I have loved this song since the first time I heard it. I have been blessed with people in my life who have held me up from my parents and family, my husband and friends and my God. They have all been so patient through my struggles with anxiety and IBSD. The song always brings tears to my eyes remembering how their love has held me in the midst of trials. My life would not be the same without their presence. Some are gone now but their love is never gone. Others have filled in the spaces to especially my children, grandchildren and wonderful friends.
This song makes me feel to grateful!
I was thinking today about how our image of God (if you have one) colors who we are and how we think. If anthropology tells us correctly the images of God dug up from very old civilizations were mostly feminine. Women with bulbous breasts and often pregnant. The idea that women created life brought about ideas of their sacredness.
I don’t know that I have ever read any study that gives a step by step progression of how and why that image changed. Might be fun to look that up but I suspect it had to do with the shift from a hunter-gatherer society to a less mobile farming one. As civilization progressed roles continued to be defined and somehow the God as woman shifted. In many cultures there were multiple Gods connected with the perception that Gods controlled the vagaries of the earth and could be appealed to to bring good outcomes.
As God, melded into a single entity in several cultures that entity was primarily male. Our Christian beginnings, linked to the Jewish culture, were firmly entrenched in a male image.
All this being said how does this affect how we think? If we see a male, patriarchal God we will expect a male dominated society. Our society has had this aspect for quite a long time. If we believe in a God we have to learn to see God as more. God as feminine, God as neutral, God as gay, transgender or whatever allows us to feel connected with the divine. This idea can be offensive to some but the point is we connect with a God who is like us for right or wrong. That is why some people have had a difficult time with images of god. The image we have definitely colors our thinking. It is time we espouse a very broad image. After all, we can’t possibly grasp the infinite. Don’t put God in a box.
This is a re-blog of something I wrote a while ago. It came up recently and so I thought it needed to be said again.
People can say stupid things. It is amazing to me that they don’t really think about what they are saying. When I ran a grief support group I heard some goodies.
You can have another baby (to someone who just had a miscarriage)
God needed another angel in heaven ( to someone who lost a child)
Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad (to a new widow)
I’m sure things are better now (to someone whose wife died a few months ago)
God never gives us more than we can handle (to someone who lost two teenagers in an accident)
Everything will be alright (to someone diagnosed with a fatal illness)
Sometimes when we don’t know what to say we can fall into the trap of saying something stupid or offensive. We may not mean it that way but that is how it comes out. When people are going through tough times they don’t need to hear these kind of answers. They need to hear
Can I bring dinner by tomorrow?
I’m going to a movie tomorrow can I pick you up?
I am so sorry
I will call you soon (only if you really will)
Give a hug
Cry with them
Solid concrete help is what is needed. Only say what you mean. If you can help try to do something specific. Don’t just say “how can I help?” Instead ask if you can pick up children, run an errand, offer a day out. Each individual needs different things. You have to gauge what will help.
Most importantly offer compassion and love. Nothing is more needed. If you have suffered a similar loss you may understand better what they are going through but don’t assume it will be exactly the same. Just being there is critical. Don’t just say something…..do something!
This is not my story. I heard it at a conference. It was told by Madeleine L’Engle and I never forgot it. I don’t know if it is hers or someone told her. Forgive me if I tread on toes.
There was a family that had a new baby. They also had an older child called Tommy. (not real name). Tommy seemed very attentive to the new baby. After the baby had been put down in bed in the nursery he said to his parents. “I want to see baby!” The parents tried to usher him into the room but he pulled back. “I want to see baby ALONE!” The parents were a little taken aback but reasoned that there was a monitor in the room and they could hear whatever went on. They waited by the monitor. Tommy entered the room and they heard him say to the baby: “Tell me about God, I’m forgetting.”
Many people have posted about this song on Facebook. Many were brought to tears. Memories are still there. People are not forgotten. As long as we remember them they are still there. I wrote about my father recently. He is still in my mind. My mother is always with me. Things don’t just go away. Maybe we will find the “where the lost things go.”
There are times when I reflect on someone else’s life and wonder how they manage. There are so many tragic stories out there. I have wondered how I would react if asked to live life as a paraplegic…if I could not longer feel anything but my face. What would be my reaction to being trapped in my body with only a mind to make me feel alive? Would I cope or would I seek to end my life?
How would I react if my husband required 24/day care and I didn’t have the money to hire someone to help?
In life there can be some living nightmares. Scenarios that we not only wouldn’t want to be in but also wouldn’t wish on someone else.
It is an ethical dilemma to make decisions when things like this happen. Would you be willing to help someone die? (Assuming of course that their life was full of nothing but pain and imminent death.)
These are core questions. The kind that we hope we never have to come up against but they are real.
What are your core values? If faced with this kind of decision how would you decide? It can be difficult to envision this ever happening to you but this kind of thinking does help you to understand deep moral questions. For those of us with a faith underpinning we hope that we would turn to that for guidance.
In my time as a nurse I have seen families struggle with decisions that can tax their moral ground. I have seen them divided over the answers and sometimes torn apart by it. Many times we would like for the doctors to tell us what to do but that is not their decision to make. Most of them will avoid giving an opinion which makes it harder.
If you have never considered having a living will to take the burden off of those around you please think about this. We tend to think that this sort of thing is for older people but the worst struggles come when something happens to someone young. You are never too young to fill out this important document. It seems morbid but it is important.
If you don’t know how to get an advanced directive leave a comment and I will answer.
It is sad to watch people whose hearing in declining and who won’t do anything about it. When with friends you can see them sitting without joining in on the conversation. They can’t hear others but they are unwilling to get hearing aids. Unfortunately, I can see this in my group of friends. I am not sure why hearing aids are an anathema to them. They don’t realize that not hearing well isolates them from others.
I know that the cost of hearing aids has been a factor but recently tech companies have realized that the cost was being controlled by those in the business. Technology has grown to the point that it is possible to create decent hearing aids that work for most people. Before the cost was exorbitant but now it is possible to get help for a reasonable price.
The most recent studies have shown that not hearing well leads to a decline in mental acuity, withdrawal from social activities, and a decline in overall health. I still don’t understand why some seem to find using this simple tool as unimaginable. I don’t know what would be the trigger to undo this thinking but I wish I knew what it is. Discussing the impact with them (as a nurse) doesn’t seem to get through.
Why this kind of thinking?
What can be done?