Coping with life and those who judge

care kitEvery day is different. There is no being prepared for what comes next. I am sad. Sad for two members of my family whose life has been disrupted each in a different way. Concern for them and wishes for some peace and foremost in my mind. It causes my worry to raise its head. Life definitely changes from day to day and we have to find ways of coping. The younger we are the less coping skills we have.

Things that happen to us teach us and we learn the skills we need. Some people are lucky enough to not have things go wrong in their lives. However, this means that they develop little ability to handle things when the fall apart.

The only people who can really understand what someone else is going through is a person who has had a similar experience. When people don’t understand they can be judgmental. For so long there has been a stigma for those who struggle with any sort of mental issue. Sometimes I would love to make them have the same problems so that they will get it. For many years those with AIDS struggled with abuse and being ostracized. It is still happening with mental issues. I is amazing how hatred can be born.

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I think that people often wonder why those who struggle just can’t pull up their socks and fix it themselves. It is just not that easy. Everything can’t be fixed. That is a hard lesson to learn. You can’t judge others. You don’t know where they have been.

Teach Well

strongIt is very difficult to raise children and let go when they become adults. Sometimes we have to stand by and watch as they make life changing mistakes. This is probably one of the hardest things we face when we have children. It is easy to deal with the mistakes that are made when our children are small. Usually those are small mistakes and easy to deal with. Mistakes made when we are adults can be more serious and have long reaching effects.

We can’t fix things for our children even when they are small. If they don’t learn that actions have consequences when they are small it is too late when they are grown. That is why we must let them feel the results. Too often we want to help so that they have no unhappiness but that doesn’t help them as adults. When I was young if a teacher called my parents about me it was already understood that I was the one with the problem. Now parents are quick to blame the teacher. Children are rescued from all wrongdoing by parents who really think they are doing the right thing.

imagesRaising children is no easy job. Most of us have little experience when we begin. Most good parents do what they think is the best for their child and yet later children can confront us with our flaws. They will not understand unless they face raising children of their own.

When I was working in the church every fall I wrote an article about the importance of taking your children to church. Some people think that they should let them grow up and choose. How do you choose when you have nothing to compare with? If you have a faith why would you not let your child know about it?

Proverbs 22:6

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

Worry, worry, worry

rocking chairIf we are blessed with a good family when we are young we don’t worry much. As we reach our teens we encounter social issues and worry about how we seem to others. For some teens this can encompass their whole being. Social media has made this worse.

If we are blessed enough to find a partner and start a family our worries grow…..will there be enough money?….Will the job work out….etc. Then we have children and the worry increases exponentially. As we age our children grow up, find partners and have children of their own and then we have a larger group to hold close to our hearts. I guess the law of large numbers (out of my area) means that the more people involved the more potential for problems.

One of my children lives in the same town. One live 3 hours away and one is an 18 hr drive. We talk frequently and I am glad they also talk to each other often. No matter how old we get our children are still our children and when something crops up for them they call mom. I am glad they can do this. I see it as my place in life to be there for them.

This allows me to utilize my skills at worrying.  My grandmother used to tell me to sit in a chair and worry as hard as I could….then get up and see if anything had changed. She was so right. Worry doesn’t help anyone but I am so good at it.

worry2Worry can turn into anxiety as we magnify the problems and think of all the things that can go wrong. I am good at crossing many bridges before they are anywhere in sight. My husband says do what you can and then stop thinking about it. He is right. It is time to let this go. Jesus tells us:

Matthew 6:27-29New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[a] 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

Change?

For some reason I spent the last week stressing about taking a trip with my daughter. I wanted to go but there is something about leaving home that is stressful. Is it about leaving my safe place? I suspect that is part of it. Routine is familiar and comforting. Sometimes it is hard to get outside of our comfort zone. I have always been this way. The crazy part is that I enjoy myself when I go. Why do some of us have this problem?

So I got myself organized am now I’m visiting Boston with my daughter. I also get to be with my grandaughter who is at Brandeis University.my anxiety is suspended. So why all the drama?

It is interesting how change can send us off the rails. Most of us don’t like change and some of us are anxious when we have to accept it. The trouble is change is one of the true constants. Life never stays the same. Again I share the quote from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. Since I don’t have it with me it may not be 100%: ” in the midst of all the changes and chances of this life I rest in Your eternal chamgelessness. ” please God let us live into this!

THEY did it!

blame1It seems to me that in today’s world no one is to blame for anything. Somehow the faeries made things happen. Society lets us get away with this. In the US someone sued McDonald’s for burning themselves with hot coffee. I ask you….don’t you want your coffee hot? Wouldn’t you be careful to not spill knowing this? Yet they were at fault. There is always a they.

I wish I could take they along with me every day. It would be nice to be able to say “they” did it!’

The trouble is this blaming someone else has really gotten out of hand. The caution labels on products are insane! “Do not let your hair dryer fall into the water in your sink. Shock may ensue.” I am not sure if we are stupid or smart. Stupid not to know better but smart to find a way to blame someone and get remuneration for our ignorance.

Costs-and-Consequences-400-x-300-Photo-dictionary-com-on-Google-PicturesThis is bad enough but parents have taken this to heart and their children can do no wrong. If something happened in school it is the fault of a teacher or another child. If my mother was sent a note home about me she immediately assumed the culprit was me. She would listen to my explanation but usually felt the teacher was right. (and teacher usually was right)

The problem is that we are raising a generation who are never responsible for their actions. They have been saved from consequences every time. If we don’t learn what happens if we do something wrong early on then we learn it later….usually with more dire results. They are surprised to end up in jail. I am distressed and angered by girls who bullied another girl to the point where she committed suicide. They have simply not learned that actions have consequences.

We must all teach, from our own experiences, what happens when things go wrong.  Science says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Children (all of us!) need to learn this and soon!

Why are we lost?

stress-cartoonWhy is life today so stressful? I don’t remember it being like this when I was younger. I don’t know if the world has changed or I have. Probably both. Instead of hearing local news we hear news from everywhere and the focus is on the sad, tragic, violent and horrible things. Seldom do we hear about something nice. The one good thing to come out of the recent disasters from hurricanes to earthquakes has been the stories of people helping each other.

I have been listening to the book The Tribe by Sebastian Junger. I have ordered the book. It is interesting to find something that follows my own thinking so closely. If you have read any of my previous posts you know I am concerned about how disconnected we all are. There are many reasons why that is so. People move for jobs away from family. Very few people live in towns small enough to know most everyone. Both parents work changing the family dynamic. Communication has changed from primarily face to face to email, internet, social media, and texting. A lot of people do not know and may not have seen their next door neighbor. Our circle of people has grown exponentially smaller. Most of us do not have a wider community that we belong to. As I have said before this may one of the most critical aspects of a church if it is truly a community.

This loss of community has removed the glue that we need to hold ourselves together. There is no way of knowing (since there is no data) if the incidence of anxiety, depression and related problems was as high when we were more communal. My suspicion is that it was not.

Here in the USA we rush from task to task. People work longer hours and get less pats on the back. We are accessible 24/7. I wonder why everyone isn’t anxious. Maybe those of us who are are the ones who get it.

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If you suffer from anxiety etc. try a find a community where you can be accepted and find belonging. I have the feeling it will help.

And all manner of things will be well

batterdownthehatches_2011-12-20-humor-1Tonight I am discombobulated. A great southern term. Since we live in coastal Georgia we will begin putting things away and battening down the hatches. I know that we are blessed to not be in Florida or some of the islands that will be very hard hit and I grieve for those people. To have your life disrupted  by mother nature can be a devastating blow. Any idea of safety and security is literally blown away. Suddenly you are completely vulnerable. Having been through this last year……as did all the places being hit again…..you start to feel caught in some dreadful nightmare. It would be easy to ask where is my God in all of this?

The thing is I start to wonder how much part we humans have played in all of this. Are we having so many storms because of the warming water due to global warming. It is possible the earth would be warming anyway but I suspect that we have helped it along.

buddhaSo where is God? The answer is right where God has always been…at our side through any kind of adversity. There was no promise that life would be perfect. Just a promise to always be there. So..I will leave my home and hope that when I return things will not be too bad. My husband and I will still be together and the rest of our family safe. As Julian of Norwich says: “and all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”