Are we dulled into not caring?

dulledWhat is the world coming to? It seems that violence has become the norm. We don’t go very long before another atrocity is being reported. Some seem like random acts such as the shooting in Las Vegas and some are planned and executed like the recent deaths in New York by an extremist.

It is appalling to me that these things don’t shock me any more. What a horrible thing to say! Violence is such a part of the world that we live in that we accept it. We are bothered at the moment and then just move on with our lives.

We have seen so much that we are inured to anything. I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want any of us to be this way. When violence happens we should be shocked to our core. Outrage with those who committed the violence should shout itself from us.

How did this happen? How did we get to this place? The answer is so complex that it almost can’t be resolved. I do think that all the media we have today has been part of it. Violence on TV, violence in the news….these go on every day. Some children have no concept that if you shoot someone they will actually die. They expect that they will show up alive and well in the next TV program. There is a sense of unreality about it.

I know that throughout history much violence has been connected to religion. Feelings are so attached to beliefs. Many people can’t accept anyone not agreeing with what they believe. There is the idea that I must be right…therefore you can’t be. Religious extremism is totally intolerant of any other opinion.

gandhi

Why can’t we have a world where others opinions are simply theirs and we can have ours? Why can’t we identify and heal those who are so estranged from society that they turn to violence?

I don’t have any answers. I know that I abhor violence in any form. Life is difficult enough without it.

Hold up others

One of my wonderful friends is going through a difficult time. Without going into details she need holding up by her friends and by God. Prayer does work. Just praying for those in need uplifts them. I am sure that God hears those prayers.

dutyA group that I belong to has a ministry of intercessory prayer. I am sure that some of the people on the list (which is long) aren’t aware that they are in our prayers. That doesn’t matter. Some of the people on the list are there with just a first name and there are a few who may be listed as “a friend.” God knows who needs prayer and hears our petitions. We may not know about the problems of others but can pray for God to be with them. Praying for others is such a blessing and having others pray for us is a wonderful gift.

There have been times in my life when I have been so down that I couldn’t pray. During those times it was the prayers of others that have made me feel supported. Often people will say “I will pray for you” but I have wondered how often they really do. Having a loving group that does actually pray is so amazing.

othersTake the time to pray for those who need prayer. Our intentions are good but it is so easy to walk away and forget about it. I am trying to pray immediately so that I don’t forget. When you tell someone that you will pray for them remember to do it!

Mistakes lead to

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. Will Rogers

mistakesI saw this quote and have been thinking about it. Learning does come from making mistakes. My father used to say “do what I say, not what I did.” What he said was from his experiences. His education in the world of hard knocks taught him much.

mistakes 2We have all made mistakes. Some of the small some of the whoppers. Mistakes teach us more than our successes. I think that is because we remember them better. My youngest child was good at learning from her brother and sister’s mistakes. They fussed at her for not getting into trouble. She told them she watched what they did and didn’t make the same mistakes. Most of us don’t learn that well from the mistakes of others.

This is the 500th year anniversary of Martin Luther posting the theses on the church door. Luther was concerned about how the church at the time handled sins. From his reading of the Bible (in Latin) Luther realized that the church was wrong to sell indulgences. People paid money to have their sins forgiven and a free pass into heaven. The church officials got rich on the proceeds. Luther’s understanding of the Bible led him to believe that we are all given God’s grace. God is aware that we are imperfect and we make mistakes. That’s what forgiveness is all about. We can’t earn our way into heaven. We will never be good enough.

imageA lot of our stress and anxiety comes from what other people think of us and how we see ourselves. God is aware that we make mistakes. We have to strive to see ourselves as God sees us: forgiven. God didn’t make junk and we are his creation. Live into that idea.

Can I choose?

opinionThis blog contains opinions that are mine. If you disagree with me that is fine.

Recently the in the US the state of Texas has set about removing the choices that women have in regard to their lives. The state has made it almost impossible for someone to receive an abortion for any reason whatever. Whether or not you agree with abortion the fact that a group, mostly men, are making decisions about the health of women is abhorrent to me. It feels as if Margaret Atwood’s book is coming true and before long we will be living out The Handmaids Tale (title?).

As a woman, I cannot accept that medical issues of female health are being legislated. I don’t see men’s health issues being handled the same way. What if someone wanted to legislate who could take Viagra? The outcry would be heard round the world.

choiceThis is another one of those ethical issues that I touched on in another blog. It is so difficult for us human beings to parse the complexity of abortion. We have the same difficulty with euthanasia. The whole thing seems to rest on whether we control our own lives or not. Our freedom will necessarily be tied to whether or not we harm others and both of these problems are linked to that. As a nurse I certainly adhere to do no harm but each individual case may have a different answer. Does the government get to decide without knowing the circumstances?

I don’t claim to know the answers. Where does our freedom to choose stop? If you have an answer let me know.

Can life be too good?

riceMy grandmother (who lived to be 100) lived in a world we can only imagine. Born in the late 1800’s she was raised on a rice farm. Some of her stories about growing up were fascinating. She reminisced about watching the workers put the rice in (what sounded like} a large mortar and pestle, beating the rice and then throwing it up in the air to let the husks fly away.

An image that is way out of my understanding.

She did have one trait that sometimes bothered me….especially when I was a child. If life was too good or things were going along too well she worried about something bad happening. Almost as if each of us has a quota of good and if we reach that limit then the bad will come our way. She once said that my youngest child was too good. Knowing her thinking it bothered me for a while. I was able to shake it off and move on.

One of the reasons that this seemed so against her character is that she was deeply faithful reading her Bible and praying. I never saw a day go by that she didn’t pray morning, noon and evening. She rested after lunch and read her Bible. Thinking about it now I wonder how her faith in God aligned with her “good and bad” thinking. Maybe she never connected the two. Maybe it had to do with God’s image from the Old Testament.

god is our refuge

I belong to the camp that believes that God wishes only the good for us. Nothing in scripture promises that our lives will be perfect. We are not perfect. We are promised that God will be with us every step of the way. Always  ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46

What is right?

moralThere are so many ethical issues that we have today. Some of them almost seem insoluble. Advancements in gene studies have given us major things to wrestle with. Where do we draw the line.

When I was working in Neonatal Intensive Care ( many moons ago) there already was the issue of which babies should be saved and which ones to let go. King Solomon wouldn’t know what to do. Now it is even worse. We do invitro  fertilization and have eggs left over. Scientists want to use eggs that will be discarded tto get stem cells which can be used to help many diseases. Are they “potential” babies or not?

Medicine has challenged many ethical and moral ideas over the centuries. We can do so many things that were not done before. We are living a lot longer and there is a question about prolonging life beyond what is reasonable and moral. Are we using up resources that could better be used for others?

pathThe Bible does help us with its basic moral ground but these things were not issues when the Bible was written. We have to learn to ask questions and spend time understanding the answers in order to make judgments.  Even then there may not be any clear path. Sometimes there are two good choices….sometimes two bad. Who is to decide? It seems that it is up to each of us to understand and make a decision based on our own beliefs. This means that there will be differing opinions and we will have to learn to accept that others may not agree with us. It is important for us to view their decision with tolerance even if they can’t see ours.

God, as always, will be present and knows that we will try to make the best decisions with prayer and compassion.

Anger…what to do?

angrySometimes it is so easy to get angry. It may be that we are in an edgy mood or someone pushes the buttons that set us off. Occasionally someone takes advantage of me and anger crops up. There are people who always seem to rub me the wrong way. I can’t stand people who want to make me or someone else feel inferior. I know that is their way to make themselves feel superior but it is really hard to take. I really hate it when a fragile person is the victim. There is some kind of radar that aggressors have that they hone in on just the person who can’t take it.

Recently I watched while a socialite snubbed and put down someone who they felt was inferior. The person was deeply hurt but unable to respond. I am not good at quick retorts and couldn’t come up with something to alter the situation. I was frustrated with myself and afterward was so angry at myself, the victim and the aggressor. When I run into that person again I will let them know how unkind their behavior was.

prayer 3So, what to do with the anger? Anger is not good for us. A temporary anger is ok but when we push it down inside of us and let it fester it can have physical repercussions. Writing, for me, is a way to let go of that anger. I also intend to pray for everyone involved….even the aggressive person…..even me. Prayer is much better than anger!