It has been two weeks since I was so sick with IBSD. I have been so well in general that the episode completely blind-sided me. Now I am experiencing the hangover. Since these particular episodes always occur between 9 and 10 in the evening I get anxious each night around that time.
The irony is that this kind of episode only crops up, at the most, once a year. It will take weeks for it to fade from my mind and then I will be fine.
It is so amazing what we can do to ourselves. I am fine physically but my mind clings to the latest event. So what to do? I have increased my prayer and quiet time, continued my regular routine and let that event become a memory that will fade. Learning and using coping skills is such a critical piece to our health and wholeness. We must remember that we were created as whole beings….not separate parts. Everything that we do affects our entire being.
One of the problems with out medical systems today is that we are not see this way but as different parts managed by different physicians. Not only do they not see beyond their specialty but they seldom communicate with each other.
We must learn to be our own advocates. Even if a physician ignores or puts you down for your concerns and conclusions about your care remember who sees the end result. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and if you have someone who can’t accept that change to someone else. Never let a caregiver dismiss you. Each of us is just a important as the person caring for us. Never forget it.
Life moves along. The things we knew slide away and new things come. The church that I used to work for has 2 new pastors. They seem to have jumped in with vigor and lots of things are going on. This is a really good thing. The offices, which were in another building, have been moved back to the church building and rooms have been updated. This is moving forward.
I was there today and it did bring memories and nostalgia about the past. There are things that I will miss. A while ago I said I should have a T-shirt made that says “I have survived 8 pastors.” If I added the ones I worked with before that job it would be even more. Each one had their own personality and own way of doing things. Part of the job is to support the pastor so I learned the ways and ideas of each one. It feels strange not to be doing that with these two but it is time to help elsewhere.
We have all talked about dealing with change. it is a constant like death and taxes. There are changes that are easy to move on from and some that are not. Regardless that is life. There will always be changes that we will regret and mourn. That is as it should be. We just have to accept that there are things we can’t do anything about and we don’t need to get hung up on them.
We have to move on to new things ourselves and find our place and our fulfillment somewhere else.
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.
In the midst of life we are in death. This phrase is often heard at funerals. What does this mean? It is a reminder that life and death are linked. From the moment we are born we are dying. That is not morbid it is just the truth. In fact, from the moment we are conceived we are dying. We are set into motion like the winding of a clock. At some point it will wear down and stop. In our world it can be snuffed out by an illness, accident or crime but nevertheless we each have an expiration date.
Some cultures accept this fact easier than those of us in the western world. We worry about death. We can feel fear and panic just thinking about it.
Before I was a nurse I had ideas about death. I never wanted to think about it or be with someone at their death. After being at many deaths I have changed my feelings. I have seen people in so much distress that death is a friend.
Most of the people I have been with just slipped quietly away. No anxiety, no visible fear. Some spoke to relatives on the other side. Whether they really saw them I don’t know but I would like to think they did. Some expressed peace.
A long time ago I complained to a minister friend that I was upset about the death of a child in an accident. I fumed that her life had been cut short. He said he had a different perspective. He viewed each person’s life as a candle that burned until it went out. That could be when the candle is completely burned or just after it is lit. Each person has a life span that is different. This view was a comfort to me and still is.
Death is not something to fear. When we remove that from our minds life becomes brighter. It is not easy to do and we may waver from time to time. It is difficult to imagine not being alive and can produce sadness when we wish we would still be around to see grandchildren or great grandchildren marry and have children of their own.
No matter our age and the length of life no one wants to be gone. Life is beautiful in spite of any trials we face. The important thing is to treasure each moment and when we come to the end say “I have lived!”
Have you known people whose whole life is a drama? Their life is really no different from any of ours but they tend to enjoy the hullabaloo. This morning the minister at my church talked about that. He pointed out that for them it is a way to make life more interesting. However, continuous drama gets old fast. The constant anxiety and stress related to it is not good for the drama queen/king. It keeps life in a continual adrenaline rush. Not good for us physically or mentally.
This lifestyle keeps the focus on the drama-maker. It is part of their way to remain the center of attention. It also wears out the people around them and can result in people not responding as in “the boy who cried wolf.” Their need for acknowledgement is sapping their life force.
I don’t know if this lifestyle comes from a childhood of being ignored. I am not an expert. But it does seem that they desperately need reinforcement of their goodness and value. When relating to people like this we can mirror their goodness back to them but we can’t be pulled into the drama. This can be a negative stressor for us.
Some of the people I love are like this and I have struggled with learning how to deal with it. I have found that giving them as much love and support as possible without diving totally into the drama works for me. I have to make a conscious decision to maintain some distance and calm or else I will be anxious and stressed too.
There are some things in this world that no matter how much we want to fix them we can’t do it. It is important absorb this and live accordingly.
The other night I had the strangest dream. I was in a situation where all I did was wait. I won’t explain the whole dream but it was obvious waiting was the point. I was with others and waited for hours. I got very upset and angry because the wait was due to poor management.
I don’t like confusion, poor planning, and waiting.
Years ago I learned the response to poor planning: “poor planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on mine.” I actually used it once and then felt so bad that I have never said it again.
I think the dream was trying to remind me that there are times when we have to wait and we need to do it patiently. We also have to remember what we are waiting for, This season before Christmas is Advent. The dictionary says that Advent is: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. If you are Christian then the wait is for the Christ child.
I am not sure in this day and age how seriously we consider this. There is so much else….shopping, parties, baking, decorating and sometimes traveling. We are so busy that there is not time. I doubt that those who are celebrating other holidays do any better at paying attention to the meaning of the holiday. I hope some do.
During this time before Christmas I plan to concentrate on the meaning of it all and try to move away from concentration on gifts and gatherings. I hope that my times of meditation and contemplation will help me to focus on what I am waiting for.
In this season before Christmas there is something that changes. Whether people are Christian/Jewish or celebrate something else there is a change at this time of year. People seem more kind and caring. They are more willing to make donations and volunteer to help others. There is something about the season that, like snow, floats down over our parts of the world. It is as if a profound sense of generosity is awakened. This time of the year is different and I think Dr. Seuss, in the Grinch, was right. It is “something more.”
May we keep this caring and outpouring of help into the new year.
Peace. How much weight is carried by that word. What does it mean to be at peace? I have come to the conclusion it has to do with accepting life as it is. The ability to see each thing that opens for us as part of life and be in accord with it.
It sounds so easy. Unfortunately it’s not. How often do we spend time bemoaning what has happened or obsessing about it? So much energy is expended worrying and planning. Think how easy life would be if we could just let go.
Peace the quiet of a starry night a moment in time
the comfort of a warm bed on a cold night
a dog’s welcome after a long day of stress and pain
the sound of ocean waves as they caress the shore and the foam gently touches my feet
the Christmas lights twinkling in joy for the season of love
the quiet of snow silencing the world and turning it white
these thing bring calm to my body and peace to my soul
Today seemed like it was not going to be the best day. We arose at 5 AM to travel to Mayo Clinic for my husband’s appointment. I HATE getting up in the dark! There was no problem with the drive but at the appointment we got the news that the physician wants to do another procedure for my husband to make sure he has the best possible outcome. (God bless the Mayo Clinic for caring so much!) This is not bad news except it requires another trip and additional two nights at the clinic. Unfortunately this has to be done as soon as they can schedule and it looks like Dec. 19th for tests, 20th for procedure and 21st for therapy. Yikes! This is the week before Christmas but it will be worth it.
I am the grandmother. I am not the mother of young children with an all out Christmas to plan. I have to remind myself of that. Everyone around me will deal with it and if Christmas is not as planned…Oh well. It will still come….and go.
My friend has offered us her RV (not huge and easy to drive) so that we can save the expense of hotel and dog sitters. We hope to do that and take the dogs with us. I will rotate between keeping dogs and being with my husband. (He would rather me be with the dogs since they are more important than me! LOL!) God bless good friends!
So instead of feeling stressed about all of this I am feeling grateful. Grateful for caring physicians and good friends. Grateful for loving family who will be happy that we are still around. All in all, not a bad day but a blessed one.
As I read the blogs in my reader and explore the writings of those who read my blog I am struck by the wideness of differences in our lives. Yet, we are alike. Something written has caused us to connect in some way.
The view of lives in far away places and close to home expands my understanding. I see the simple, everyday moments people experience and I feel a kinship with their thoughts. The writing is a window into other lives. We are more alike than we are different. Most of the joys and sorrows are the same. Most of us encounter love and hate. Most of us have seen grief in some way. Most of us long for a better, more loving world.
Surely this glimpse into another life, another world, will draw us closer together. Understanding blocks hatred. The desire to reach out and draw closer will surely open the path to deeper relationships where hatred has no home. We can give love the chance to grow and encompass those around us.