We want what we can’t have

Today I feel written out. My brain is just sitting and doing nothing. I think having been at home and not getting out I am feeling dull. I have binge watched some TV programs, cleaned out some drawers, and sat looking at the marsh. We had a thunderstorm and I love watching storms.

Generally I am down and need to do something to pull myself up. My husband has been easy to care for, helpful when he can and pleasant but being in is getting to me. I have asked myself what I was doing before and I really don’t know that it was anything spectacular. I don’t know that I was out that much it just may be the feeling that I can’t.

grass

It’s funny how our minds work. We always want to do what we can’t have. If I had to be out every day I would be fussing about not getting to stay home. So I will stay in as long as necessary and get out when things settle down. After all, there is nothing else to do and why complain about it.

Can we love?

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.

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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.

A letter to my grandchildren: Part One – Love

I have decided to write some thoughts for my grandchildren over time. This is the first.

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I think that I have lived long enough to share some things that I have learned in my life. As we grow and age we learn from everything we have been through. We probably learn the most from our mistakes.

LOVE

As I write this only one of you is married but I want all of you to take this to heart. Love and living together is a tricky thing. We are joined to another person whose upbringing and life experiences are different from ours. They have had good and bad in their lives and some things will trigger memories that will translate into actions and reactions. The same is true of you.

The things we have been through in our lives can cause us to react in ways that don’t actually fit the current situation. It happens because that memory has left scars that hurt when exposed. Think about how hearing a certain song can take you back to the memory you have of that moment. For a brief time we are back there experiencing those feelings. Another description might be that we have recorded certain events with their feelings attached and they will pop up when triggered.

When there is a reaction to something said or done that surprises or hurts you see if you can discover what is behind it. You may be angry but let that go. If you can spend the time to discover what is underneath your significant other’s or your action you may be able to understand and accept it. This is not easy in the heat of argument or upset but it can save so much pain in the long run.

As an example, someone in pain may be negative about everything. This may not be normal for them but they can’t help it at the moment.

There will be days when you may question your love for another. This culture has taught you that love is a feeling. That is NOT TRUE. Love is a decision. Never ever forget that. That excitement that you felt when you were first together may come and go through your relationship. Time spent on your relationship can help to keep that feeling in your love….but not every day, every moment. It can come and go. That does not mean that the love is gone.

Being with someone long term is work. And it is worth it. Today people jump from one person to another looking for something that they may never find….wanting to hold on to that passion and excitement…..like cows reaching under the fence to get the grass on the other side. The problem is it will not be better forever.

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Each morning you need to make the decision to love that person and then act on it. Having been married for 56 years I can tell you it is worth it.

(Obviously, there are exceptions to this. There can be truly bad relationships that need to be ended but I think today we are too quick to run away.)

For further thought this is part of the Greek’s description of long standing love:

  1. Pragma, or longstanding love                                                                                                           …..described it as a mature, realistic love that is commonly found amongst long-established couples. Pragma is about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.

The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that we expend too much energy on “falling in love” and need to learn more how to “stand in love.” Pragma is precisely about standing in love—making an effort to give love rather than just receive it. With about a third of first marriages in the U.S. ending through divorce or separation in the first 10 years, we should surely think about bringing a serious dose of pragma into our relationships.

from: https://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-ancient-greeks-6-words-for-love-and-why-knowing-them-can-change-your-life

 

 

Do children feel secure?

Today at lunch with friends we were told about a family who lost a 10 year old son to suicide. He shot himself in the head. Later the family lost another son to drugs. This is a loving family and their relatives say there was nothing wrong with their childhood. The younger child was bullied and I don’t think the other son ever got over his brother’s death.

media

It scares me that suicides are occurring in such young children. It’s hard to know why. I know that our exposure to so much data may be part of the answer. A child growing up when there was no media would probably never know anyone who committed suicide and certainly would not be bullied on line. There was some bullying in school when I was a child but it was nipped in the bud by the teachers. This was also the era when parents believed the teacher and usually there was some sort of punishment to follow for the child. Things have really changed.

Now we are so exposed to all the terrible events around the world that to take a gun and shoot oneself or someone else is not unusual. Exposure desensitizes us.

There is so much anxiety and depression in children. I have mentioned that I see it as being related to parenting in such a way that children do not have a safe base….a place where there are rules and secure love. Children need limits. No limits is a scary thing. It means that no one cares what you do. No one loves you enough to set limits for you.

safe child

I can see some changes in parenting recently and I hope that the changes are for the better. I so want to see children grow up loved and secure.

The Beautiful Death

My friend Deirdre loved and cherished all those who crossed her path. She welcomed people from different faiths and different cultures. Her death was so amazing with people of many faiths joining together to send her on her way. I wrote this poem following that experience. The “all shall be well” is a loose copy from Hildegard of Bingen.

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The Death of De

The light is waning and the gloaming is here.
There is a hush in the turning of the earth
it holds its breath for just a moment.

We stand watch sensing each breath
matching it with our own
anxious with each pause
while darkness encompasses the room.

Her soul loosens but holds
I sign the cross on her brow and Christ is here
A Hindu friend joins and her prayers are added.
Another comes and the prayers to Allah are lifted up.

With loving hands we anoint her with sweet lotion
brought from France by another.
All faith is here, we can feel God's gentle breeze,
there is true communion

My friend is held in the arms of love
She is suspended between life and death 
through the night.

As the sun lifts itself into the heaven
love lifts her on her journey
and with the smallest wisper
she is gone.

Behind her from the air come the words...
All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all things shall be well.

 

Musings about unlimited love

no limitsThis morning someone said “love has no limits.” The idea struck me. What exactly do we mean by limitless?Does it mean that we love not matter what or that the love is as wide as the universe? I suppose it can mean either.

On the face of it,it is true. Love should have no limits. That’s when we think of unconditional love. The kind of love that keeps on loving no matter what. This is a mother who loves her child who is a serial killer. This is loving the warts and ugly temperament. This is loving the child who actually hates us.

But there are some loves that even though limitless must have constraints on them. An abused women loves her husband but needs to learn to love herself and move away from the abuse. A child will love a drug addicted parent who doesn’t care for them. That love doesn’t make the neglect forgivable. A spouse may have to divorce an alcoholic partner. The love may still be there but the situation is unmanageable.

There are cases where the love may be limitless but one sided and the relationship is fated to fail. Is it possible for the limitless love to continue? I don’t know.

love isIf we are Christian we are asked to love without reservation. Loving this way may not require us to accept the behavior associated with it. We are also asked to love ourselves and this may be the hardest thing of all.

It seems to me that to love genuinely and unconditionally we must first love and accept ourselves with all our flaws. This is what allows us to love others flaws and all. This may be love without limits.

Pets are a joy

It is impossible to say how much I love having dogs. I grew up with dogs as my mother and grandmother loved them and we always had at least one. Now we have two rescued basset hounds. For 50 years of my married life we had dachshunds. One day my son brought a sad looking basset hound to our house. A friend of his couldn’t keep the dog and my son knew that we were easy marks. Once she came into the house that was it. At the time we had two dachshunds. We didn’t really need another dog. However, she is a joy. Calm, loving and peaceful. She knows when I am stressed and will come to bond with me putting her head on my knee.

Shortly after we got Tillie we lost first one doxy and then another. We decided to adopt another basset to keep Tillie company. We ended up with Crash.

tillie (2)
Tillie in her usual half asleep mode

Crash was so named by his foster family after he was found by a basset rescue agency. They felt he had been hit by a car. He was emaciated, covered with fleas and ticks and had a broken pelvis. When we got him he had been treated extensively by a vet. He was better but still thin.

Crash was definitely the right name for him. He crashed into our house and life has not been the same. He has relieved me of at least six pairs of shoes until I learned to put them away properly. It was his job to take this task in hand. He succeeded. He is terrified of thunder storms and cowers by our feet. He hates for us to leave home and howls the basset howl for the neighbors to hear. While we are away he pulls towels down from the racks, rearranges all loose rugs, pulls out any laundry left on the floor of the laundry room and removes it to other places in the house.

Nothing is harmed, nothing is chewed….just moved. Crash is joy personified.

Pets are wonderful things. Whether you love dogs, cats or some other pet they bring joy to your life. They improve our health. Their love is an example to us of how God expects us to love. If you have pets I hope that they bring you as much joy as mine do.