Accept yourself

It has been nice to be here in Boston with my daughter.We have visited museams and seen some beautiful things. Art feeds my soul. I so wish it was something I could do. Sometimes I feel so lacking in creativity. I keep forgetting that I can’t do everything. It is so hard to focus on the things that I can do well. I used to put myself down. I do better now and have accepted myself more. I suppose that may come with age. I know myself better.

It is not easy to accept yourself with all your flaws. We have to remember that God accepts us no matter what. His love is freely given.This is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his theses. Luther believed that the grace of God is freely given.I agree.We are so blessed.

Accept yourself. God does.

What is your fear?

I have just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air. This is a wonderful book written by a neurosurgeon/neuroscientist on his journey toward death. It is not as sad as you might imagine. He has spent his life searching for meaning and has multiple degrees from medicine to English. The book is full of wonderful thoughts about life.

Dying seems to be the thing that haunts us.Not existing is unimaginable. We can’t begin to imagine ourselves absent.There are cultures that live closer to it’s reality and have less difficulty. We love youth in this culture.Death is not acceptable. This brings to mind again those who want to be immortal. What arrogance? 

Somehow having a beginning and an end feels right. I wish that we could turn loose of our fears. After all as FDR said “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Most of us who struggle with anxiety and fear are usually not thinking about death but whatever triggers our fears.We truly see fear as the enemy……maybe not death.

This is where our faith and faith community are so important. We need the love and care to hold us up. It can be the difference in our lives.

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!

Moving On

life-changes-and-insuranceA friend of mine told me today that she is moving to be near her daughter. She feels that since she is aging it would be best to be near her daughter. She is moving to an independent living place. We talked about this major change in her life.

As we age there are many changes that come to us. We don’t think about this until we are at least in our sixties. We begin to realize that there may come a time when we can’t stay where we are. In the past when families lived near each other this was not such a major change. Now it seems that our children grow up and move away and we not longer have family where we are. I don’t look forward to having to leave my home but know it is a possibility. We all hope that we will age gracefully and maintain our independence but it doesn’t always happen.

Most of our lives are spent acquiring. We acquire spouses, children, homes, furniture and lots of other stuff. As we age we begin to divest ourselves. The next home may have to be much smaller and things will have to go. Children have moved away and have different lives although they are faithful.

moving-on-quote-birds-300x286The thing about divesting yourself is it’s the little things that get you. My friend has saved cards sent to her that are special and she is deciding let them go or not? It’s these kinds of choices that break us. The mementos of life….they carry so much meaning and to part with them is painful.

Sometimes when I think about this it’s as if most of life we have been on the way up and suddenly we are going downhill way too quickly. It is a difficult time. Maybe losing health, sight, hearing, and friends is too much. We are lucky if we are able to keep active until God takes us home.

Are You Compassionate?

Compassion_FuneralCallI have often thought about the difference between “feeling sorry for” and “feeling compassion for.” We can feel sorry for someone but it puts us in an us and them mode. We are outside the situation and see it from a distance. We are not really involved.

Compassion is a totally different things. When we are feeling compassion we can feel the pain of the other person. We are involved. We are connected.

When we have been through a similar experience, such as losing a loved one, we know how that is. We have had some of the same feelings and hopefully have come out the other side. This is not a time, however, to offer advice. When people need our compassion they just need someone to be in the same place. Listening, touching (if appropriate), being present in the moment are the most important things.

God uses our stressful experiences by given us the compassion to help others. Compassion is healing for us and others.

Life Happens

life hThere are some days that “you should’a staid in bed.” This was one of those days. Part of my schedule was to pick up a friend who was having some minor surgery done and take her home. I like to listens to books on my Kindle in the car….wellllll my Kindle had no charge. I popped a small charger on it and left the house early so I wouldn’t be late. I arrived in plenty of time to discover that I was at the wrong doctor’s office. I took out my phone…..which I had removed from the charger in my house…..and guess what? My phone wasn’t charged.

I quickly got in the car and plugged the phone in to call another office to find her. She was only a couple of blocks away. Actually got there on time. She had been given a mild sedative before the surgery which was to relax her only. Wellllll it knocked her out. She slept all the way home. I questioned her about meals and she managed to tell me that she had food. Her husband is 90 something and has a caregiver with him. When we got to her house I had to get the caregiver to help me get her into the house…..we put her in a gown and she immediately fell asleep. Checking her refrigerator I could find nothing that would do for dinner so I made a trip to the grocery to get a prepared meal for dinner. Leaving her house the low gas light came on in my car and I had to quickly find a gas station.

Understand the plan was to pick her and take her home. About an hour to do this. Having left home at 10:30 I arrived back home at 2:30. . No lunch for me.

faith_tells_me no matter lies ahead god already there v1 designLong story and funny in retrospect. It just shows that things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we just have to take things as they come. Life is irregular. God, after all, did not tell us everything would go smoothly. He just said he would be with us. He was certainly by my side today. I wasn’t the least bit anxious and just rolled with the flow. When she is fully rational I will share the funny story with her.

How would you do?

trauma

In a previous post I mentioned reading the book Tribes. I have noticed lately that I am secure enough in myself to agree or disagree with someone. I have felt that way about the last few things that I have read.

Years ago I read a book about the PTSD that is being seen in our returning soldiers that was excellent. Being married to a military man (his first career) the book clarified for me many things that had changed in the handling of military personnel and that the changes were not good.

In the book Tribes the author suggests that if people who suffer from PTSD were integrated back into a loving community environment that it would be easier for them to recover. I am sure there is truth to this. Being accepted is critical to our well being. However, the way soldiers have been handled in Iraq and Afghanistan has created more stress than in previous wars. I think the PTSD is more severe than we have seen before.

Recovering from any traumatic event causes PTSD. If the event is sudden and ends quickly recovery is usually easier. Any of us have a big physical response to trauma. All of our fight or flight responses are activated with some major physical changes. Major amounts of Adrenalin are released, our heart rate increases, blood to areas of the body not needed is reduced and brain is super alert. This is what is supposed to happen in the short term but suppose you are in this mode over a long period of time. The body is physically stressed to the point where it is difficult to recover.

So what made this happen to our soldiers? In previous wars there was a front……an area where the fighting took place and units were rotated back from the front for rest and time to come down from the high. In the last wars there has been no front and soldiers are in danger no matter where they are. They are never free from the adrenaline rush. There is no place to rotate them to for rest. During Viet Nam soldiers served (usually) one year and knew that they would be rotated home at the end of that time. They were usually away from battle for at least two years before being sent back. (If at all) Many of the prime units used in recent times have been at war for an undetermined length of time. (usually shorter than before) They were brought home and may be sent back in a few months. Some of them 4 or 5 times or more. The time away from battle has not been long enough for any sort of recovery. This information is not hearsay. I have personal knowledge of this.

PTSDits-not-that-the-person-is-refusing-300x300Having said all of this I know that the writer of the Tribe is correct is saying that recovery is better if there is integration into a community. Unfortunately, for most of the sufferers there is no community awaiting them. Many can’t find a job or have any major support system. Their trauma has also been so much more severe than previous cases we haven’t really learned how we can help. Work is being done but maybe too little, too late.

Wow! I really needed to say all of that! It has bothered me for a while.

Anxiety and stress and difficult for any of us to handle. How much more so if we were exposed to life threatening events over a long period and then expected to return to normal over night.