In the past my friend and I walked the neighborhood each winter. We loved seeing the houses lit for the holidays. All the sparkling lights were so festive. When you walk in the dark you can also see lit rooms in the houses we passed. People living their lives.
This morning our pastor talked about the dark and how the light of home beckons us. It made me think of the John Denver song “Back Home Again.”
“Back Home Again”
There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are rolling in
The afternoon is heavy on your shoulders
There’s a truck out on the four lane, a mile or more away
The whining of his wheels just makes it colder He’s an hour away from riding on your prayers up in the sky
And ten days on the road are barely gone
There’s a fire softly burning, supper’s on the stove
But it’s the light in your eyes that makes him warmHey, it’s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Yes, and hey, it’s good to be back home again
The winter can be a difficult time for those of us who crave the light. However, it is a wonderful feeling to turn into the drive and see the lights of home welcoming us. We are pulled into that feeling of belonging and peace. The light from home does draw us in. It is the place we feel secure….the place where we can rest our souls. It is a warm place in the coldest dark. Even in the darkest time that light can brighten our feelings.
Through this winter darkness remember there is light and peace not only at home but also coming with the spring. The darkness fades and the light returns.
Once again the things that happen here in the US fascinate and appall me. Years ago when teaching about suicide one fact that usually made people think was that the suicide rate among survivors is higher than others. It seems that the message of suicide is that if you can’t cope this is a way out.
I am wondering if the same mindset is encouraging all these random shootings. Have they seen others do this and see it as a solution? Are these people really our to kill strangers to appease some mental aberration, or is it a wish for suicide by cop to end their pain? Quite a few have been soldiers with possible PTSD but why did their anguish lead to random shooting? Were they suffering a flash back and saw those people as the enemy? The sad part it that we will never know
There are so many question and so few answers. Since so many of the killers end up dead there is no one to ask. Some want to blame weapons and there may be a link but if you really want a gun you can get one. I don’t think there is any way to remove all the weapons entirely.
I wish that we knew what to do to end this violence with pain for the families killed and the shooters family. No one wins.
The only people who change, who are transformed, are people who feel safe, who feel their dignity, and who feel loved. When you feel loved, when you feel safe, and when you know your dignity, you just keep growing! That’s what we do for one another as loving people—offer safe relationships in which we can change. This kind of love is far from sentimental; it has real power. In general, we need a judicious combination of safety and necessary conflict to keep moving forward in life. Richard Rohr
This is an amazing statement. It is important that we feel safe. That safety has nothing to do with being safe from accidents, guns etc. It has to do with having a safe ground beneath our feet. A tree is able to grow to great heights if its roots are deeply set in the ground. The same is true of us. We can endure the winds of life buffeting our branches if we have that grounding. We can survive and be strengthened by the challenges in our lives. We can grow tall and strong.
This follows Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Safety and security are the base of his pyramid. For him it has to do with food, safe home, basic needs fulfilled. Rohr recognizes that there is more. We all need someone in our lives to acknowledge our existence and to show us that we matter.
Change is inevitable. We need to know where our roots are held fast and then we can move with the change. We may find that grounding in God, in a person, or in a community. Where is not important. Find your ground.
Life is a team sport. The idea of a sports “team” is that they all work together toward a goal. No one player is foremost. Without the others the game would be lost. I know that sometimes there are players who seem better than the others but that person could not go out on the field alone. Each one is important to the outcome.
Some games are not for team players….I’m thinking of tennis (mostly alone) and golf (also mostly alone). This is the place where the individual shines. They do shine at the game but I suspect that it took a team to get them there. They didn’t do it alone.
For most of us life requires a team. We need other people in our lives. Without it life is barren. I once saw a documentary about a chaplain to those on death row. The interviewer asked if he believed in the death penalty. He said no. He was then asked what he would suggest instead. He answered that he would sentence them to life in solitary confinement. For most of us this would be worse than death. Total insanity would likely be the result. We really need human contact.
For some people human contact is difficult. Social anxiety can make being with others difficult. For some, being so needy that wanting acceptance from everyone can make life unmanageable. ( a different kind of social anxiety) However, contact of some kind is crucial to our well being. For those people social media is a blessing especially if it offers a safe place to interact with others. Hopefully this contact will help move them toward enabling a face to face interaction.
When I thought about this I realized that there were people in the past who recognized like minded others through books, letters, and limited contact and who used the written word to communicate with each other. Many formed a bond and later connected in a more intimate setting. So even in the past communication in a non threatening way was possible. Now it is faster and easier.
Never stop seeking out those who can enhance your life and offer a safe environment for exchanging thoughts and feelings. Life is a team sport. We can’t do it alone.
Is there something in your life that makes you feel good? Something that you like doing and it puts you in a calm place. There are several things that I do that calm my mind and my mind is peaceful. I do Mandalas. I started these after seeing the book by Judith Cornell on Mandalas for healing.
I am not artist but just creating something while in a meditative state gives me peace. I also use the book Praying in Color as a way to pray for others using drawing. Again, I am not an artist but the action is calming.
Writing is also calming for me (most of the time). Writing poetry allow me to vent my feelings in a constructive way. I also like to play the piano.
The point of all of this is that if you can find something that is calming for you and that you like doing, use it. If you, like me, tend to binge on TV to reduce stress and keep your mind from freaking out, try something like this instead. There is something about engaging your hands, eyes and mind all at once that soothes us.
I have been fighting the dregs of this cold for so long. I feel as if my head is twice its normal size. In addition I am cloudy….that is my brain is not working at 100%.
Sometimes I feel as if I am in a dream-scape. Everything seems altered. My thoughts are vague and it is difficult to write about anything comprehensive. If this and the last few blogs seem peculiar that is why.
You would think that being in a dream like state would be pleasant but for me it is not. I feel drugged…without any meds. When I was young I never tried taking the few drugs that were around at that time. I never wanted to feel out of control. LSD was popular and was being touted by Timothy O’Leary. This was the late 50’s. Most people didn’t realize that LSD could be so damaging. There were friends whose trips never really ended. I never understood it and I am grateful that I felt that way. For some reason being out of control was terrifying for me.
I still don’t understand the desire to be out of control. I think I worry more about staying in control which may be why anxiety can wipe me out. That is definitely being out of control.
It worries my so much that young people feel the need to escape reality. It is sad that real life is so disturbing that some other reality is preferred. What is happening in our world today? Why are so many children depressed, anxious and finding drugs to change their world? I wish there were something that could be done. Some way to give them the (mostly) carefree, safe childhood that most of my peers experienced.
Times have changed and I am not sure if for the better.
Today I have thinking about my dogs. The two of them are such a joy. They have me get up laughing and go to bed laughing. They are so loving and caring. No one else greets me at the door so excited to see that I am home. They sense when I am happy and when I am sad.
If only we could be as kind and loving as my dogs. Most of us realize how much of an example dogs are for us. It seems they are the best of us. They have been exposed to humans for so long that now we are seeing them with the same illnesses that we have. My daughter recently adopted two bonded dachshunds…Lucy and Cash. Both dogs must have had a terrible life. They are both so stressed that they are on multiple meds for anxiety. Lucy is afraid of everything…especially men. Someone was very cruel to them.
It almost seems that we humans created such horror for those dogs that they have PTSD, were abused and hurt beyond imagining. We humans suffer too when life has hurt us so badly. We also suffer when, for no reason that we can see, anxiety, depression and other forms of anguish cause us to struggle to cope.
My daughter and her family are working hard to have those two dogs understand that they are safe and loved. Life would be better for everyone if we could all feel loved and safe.