Be the “one”

elton johnWhen we look around us we see so many people suffering. I recently saw a map marked with all the mass shootings in the US in 2018 (so far). There were red dots showing up everywhere. The disturbing part for me is that we don’t hear about this sort of violence elsewhere. It may be there but I don’t remember hearing about it.

The violence we see every day leaves behind it a path of suffering. The people who died no longer suffer but those left behind do. Life changed for them in a second and will never be the same.

As I think about all of this I grieve for those remaining. Most of the time they have no real answers. The person they loved went to school or a party or a concert and suddenly they were in the midst of terror.

Thankfully I have not experienced losing someone I love to violence but in this climate we never know. The country seems to be falling apart from the inside. Abraham Lincoln said that as a country we would survive unless we self-destructed. It seems to be coming true.

exampleI am only one person but I am one. I can only do so much but I can do something. If each “one” would chose to live a life of love and compassion we could change things one person at a time.

We must each be the “one.”

So many questions..so few answers

quote-if-we-know-how-much-passive-violence-we-perpetrate-against-one-another-we-will-understand-mahatma-gandhi-86-66-56Once 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

so many questionsThere 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.

So many questions…so few answers.

Can we survive the hatred?

Nelson Mandela (1)Periodically I take time out to worry about the state of the world and especially the US. After the latest shooting I thought about how much hate is our there. How did we get to this? Like the song from South Pacific hate has to be taught. We aren’t born hating. It is learned. What went wrong in those families (or lack of) that taught so much hatred.

hatersHating people for their faith seems so unnecessary. However, it is not the only kind out there. Hatred seems to have spread so much faster than love. Are we so afraid of differences? For me, hatred is related to fear…fear that people like “us” will not come out on top. Fear that causes us to facilitate the eradication of any threat to our beliefs. Is my own belief so weak that the belief of others is a threat?¬† We saw this before in Nazi Germany but it was more about purity of race than faith.

god-alone-knows-how-great-it-is-all-i-hope-is-that-it-is-not-too-late-i-am-very-much-afraid-that-it-quote-1

Somehow I am not sure that humanity should expect to survive forever. We will either annihilate ourselves or the earth we have raped will do it for us. After all, maybe we are not meant to last forever. We seem to be too flawed.

I worry about my grandchildren and great grandson. What sort of world are we leaving for those to come? If only we could learn the kind of interaction that most major religious leaders have taught. I hope it is not too late.

Where has the family gone?

My oldest daughter called this morning on her way to work. She works at a major Children’s Hospital as a nurse case manager. She see some of the most critical and heart wrenching cases. In the past she worked at another unit that was an adolescent med-psych unit so she has experience with psych.

suicide

Today she was distressed that a short while ago her bosses son overdosed and died. They don’t know if it was suicide or an accident. Then she learned that a friend’s child committed suicide. This morning she was distressed that she is seeing so many cases of young adults and teens in crisis. Like the rest of us she has no idea why this is happening but is terrible concerned about the culture that is creating mental distress in the young.

It seems that both of these cases were a total surprise and not the result of known mental health issues. Of course she realizes that the problem could have been there unrecognized but in these two cases it seems not.

Recently several blogs that I read have talked about the current TV series 13 Reasons. The blogs have been very negative about the value of this program and its influence. I have not watched it….I watched a brief piece and the premise turned me off so I quit. The blogs seem to feel that this show has a bad influence on young people and the blogs were written by people close to the age.

good family

There are so many problems with the structure of the family today that it is easy for me to see why children are stressed. In some cases the children run the family and the adults take second place. When this happens children don’t feel safe. There is no strong adult influence. Parents must be parents.

In other cases the family is so busy with outside activities that there is no family time. They don’t eat together or take time to talk and share. Children need structure and down time with their family to feel connected.

Like my daughter I am equally concerned about the pattern we are seeing in children and young adults. I pray that some change will come about that re-centers the family group and gives children security and grounding.

Raising children to become anxious and prone to violence and suicide is a plague upon our society.

Our memories are selective

Today is my husband’s birthday. He turned 80 years old. He can hardly believe it and neither can I. Time flies. It is hard to believe that in June we will have been married 55 years. It is so funny to think back to the 1960’s and it seems like yesterday.

1962 pontiac

Things were so different then. We did have color TV but no cell phones. Some people who were rich had car phones but they were bulky and the signal was erratic. We drove a 1962 Pontiac convertible. The windows rolled up with handles. The top did go up and down automatically. It did not have air conditioning. We lived in Army housing and sat out on the stoop at night to have fun with our neighbors. We had little extra money and our favorite thing to do was to play games or cards with friends. We only had one car.

We went to parties at the officer’s club and the dress code was strict. Men were not admitted at night without a tie and women always wore dresses. We did wear shorts and trousers at home or with friends. Bikinis were not seen at local swimming pools. People would have been shocked. Men never used “bad” language in front of women and no one ever used the “F” word.

Long distance calls cost money per minuet so the calls were short. Our communication was primarily face to face. We knew our neighbors and had volley ball games in the courtyard in front of our quarters.

Birth control pills were a new thing and there were questions about their safety since they were much stronger than the new ones. We could talk to our next door neighbors through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. and my husband and the guy nest door had fun conversations while shaving in the morning.

Life seemed simpler then. We talked a lot with friends. We shared meals that we made ourselves and played games rather than watch TV. We spent more time with friends than we do now. These memories are fun to recall.

selective memory

However, everything was not perfect. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Blacks were suffering major discrimination. LSD was one of the drugs of choice. Everything was not idyllic. It was time moving away from the simpler 1950’s into the chaotic 60’s. My husband was later to spend two years in Viet Nam.

When we deal with memories we can choose which ones we want and disregard the others.

I am angry

anger-clipart-16Today I am angry. I am angry at all the people who want to blame just guns for the shooting in Florida. To blame guns is the easy way out. They think it can be fixed by just taking away the guns. They are so wrong. The gun is the end not the beginning of the problem.

Before the person goes to get the gun there is something wrong. Something wrong……because why would they want or need a gun unless something was wrong? Anger or hurt or pain has built up inside until it had to have an outlet. They see no other way. They see no path to shed all of that unless they hurt others. The emotion inside is too strong.

To fix the guns is the easy path. To find what has caused the hurt and pain is the difficult problem.

This is a much bigger problem with no easy answers. It is linked to so many things. Societal breakdown, over-stressed parents, broken homes, lack of mental health availability in our health systems. I am sure I cannot think of it all.

We are a country in crisis. We are a people in pain. It is hurtful that one in four people have anxiety and depression. It is hurtful that  six and seven year old children are being diagnosed with mental health issues. At least we can be grateful that we are finding some early but it is the tip of the iceberg. When we find issues can we find treatment? Can we afford it?

do_somethingI am angry and I will find a way to express my anger to those in power. They may not listen and probably won’t because they will follow the easy path but I will make it known however I can!

Seeking a new perspective

harassThe news today continues to follow the sexual harassment scandals. This is all so sad. It is sad for the women who are coming forward…..they have held these things inside for so long. I am sad for the people who are being accused…life has changed for them. I am not sure that life hasn’t changed for all of us.

This seems to be the next phase of female emancipation. For many years since women entered the work force there seems to have been an unwritten rule that some men in power could use that power to their advantage without fear of repercussions. In my young adult years I knew that many actresses had to sleep their way to the screen. It seemed to be the norm. The women seemed to accept it as a way of life. I am sure that some women took advantage as well.

That time has come to an end. The veil has been lifted and the actions are coming home to roost. The trouble is when people are talking about things that happened years ago there is no way to get at “truth.” Memories can be faulty and it is possible to push away those things we don’t want to see in ourselves.

I think since Pandora’s box has been opened we will see many more disclosures about abuse. This will be a major shake up for communication in the work place. We will be discovering new ways of relating to each other and hopefully things will be better. It may take a while to work this out and bring about another change in male perspective.

soulAnyone, male or female, who is in power can use that power for good or ill. Power can be a heady thing. Power is one of those things that we think will fill that hole that only God can fill. It has been sought instead of God since time began. Putting our priorities in the right place and seeking God first will move power to its rightful place. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all good things will be given unto you.” (from the song)