Acknowledgement

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” 

Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

Today I watched short video today on Facebook Watch by Megan Devin. In this short animated video Megan talked about how to help a friend going through difficult times.

I’ve watched this video several times today because it helped me understand a lot about my own story. My stories have cleverly evaded me all my life. By sharing them I hope to understand myself better. Some experiences are difficult to share but I share to help others who may have had similar experiences. Unless I sort through all the baggage I’ve been carrying around with me all these years, I don’t think I’ll ever be at peace. As I unpack I pray others will find a way to lessen their own load.

Here are some of the things Megan mentioned that helped me understand my own feelings about loss and grief.

We’ve all been in situations where someone we love is hurting. It’s a hard thing to watch because we feel helpless. We’ve been taught we need to find a way to make things all better–we need to fix it.

Megan discovered it’s actually better to stop trying to cheer them up. Contrary to what we believe, it is better to allow that loved one to feel their pain.

Megan quotes Palmer Parker:

“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. 

It simply wants to be witnessed exactly as it is.” 

We cannot make someone feel better by trying to lessen the pain they are experiencing. What does help is letting them know we understand, we know their pain is real, and the pain they feel is just as bad as we think it is.

For me, the grief I’ve suppressed over the years has become a monster. After my mom died no one ever talked about her again. She’d completely disappeared. Even as a kid I could tell people didn’t know what to say–so they said NOTHING.

I wonder if my childhood would have been any different if someone had been brave enough to ask me if I was really okay? How was I doing without my mom?  Did I want to talk about her?

If someone close to you has lost a loved one, reach out to them. Be patient and allow them to be in their pain with you. Listen to them with the knowledge you cannot fix anything but you are there and you can help them heal.

” I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later, when somebody says your name for the last time.”  ~Banksy

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Large Paw Print

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” 

Ashly Lorenzana

Every year when Halloween approaches, I think of my dog, Fanny.

I’ve written about Fanny before–I think it was Halloween last year when I shared the story about how she disappeared from our backyard.

Fanny was my first dog and the soul who comforted me after my Mom died. When my stepmother joined our family, Fanny was one of the first things to go.

Sadly, I never knew why she disappeared–I went in search of her for days and days–especially on Halloween when I knew people could be mean to animals. It was weeks later when the phone rang. I raced to answer the phone–being a teenager I was certain it had to be one of my friends. As I listened, I heard a very nice woman tell me she had just adopted our dog–my dog–from the Waterloo Humane Society. She needed to know if she was current with her shots?

My heart broke into so many pieces.

Part of me was happy because I knew Fanny would never leave me. But…I also learned, in a flash, people and things are not always as they seem.

On that Saturday afternoon, I lost my trust in most adults.

For some reason Fanny has been on my mind. Maybe it’s because our oldest dog, Bud has been following me closely the past few days. His intense gaze reminds me of Fanny–maybe she is visiting?

That thought, my friends, is very comforting.

Thanks, Fanny. I love you always.

“The very best thing about dogs is how they just know when you need them most, and they’ll drop everything that they’re doing to sit with you awhile.” 

Steven Rowley

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

Expectations

“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” 

Margaret Mitchell

For many, this week has been a nightmare. The stories that continue to emerge are heartbreaking.

As I sat down at my desk this afternoon, it was raining–hard. Each drop dulls my mind and weighs down my heart.

There is something different about this rain now. It makes things feel unfamiliar and uncertain–no longer stable or safe.

We’ve watched our community and our neighbors lose so much in a matter of hours. We gather in groups at the store to talk about what we saw and how the entire landscape around us has changed. Our tears flow–as does the rain.

Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.” 

José N. Harris, MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love

Many tears have been shed all across our country for years. For me, the things I’ve witnessed this week have added a much deeper understanding of natural disasters. It reminded of when I lived in Colorado and saw wildfires explode, taking all that was in its path. All in Colorado cried as we helplessly watched walls of fire destroy the homes of neighbors and friends.

“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life. 

” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.” 

Alexandre Dumas

Our world seems to be filled with much misery. I don’t know–do you think maybe we are given these experiences as some last-ditch effort to help us find some common ground in order to understand each other better?

A prayer for the weekend with my thanks to St. John Fisher Catholic Church:

God of compassion,

You created a world for us

To know your love and peace

Yet amidst the beauty of creation

We encounter pain and hurt

And forces beyond our control.

At times like this our hearts are shaken and ache with sorrow.

At the destruction of our lives, homes and livelihoods.

Hear our prayers for those affected by the floods

And for all those working

To bring relief and fresh hope.

Amen  

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

 

 

Please Start Stopping

“The storm starts, when the drops start dropping

When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.” 

Dr. Seuss

I hope the storms start stopping soon.

The forecast is not encouraging.

It’s time to put an official call out to all my prayer warriors out there.

Please join me in prayer for all struggling to recover from the natural disasters that have besieged our world.

The following prayer was composed by the Diocese of Austin for those affected by the recent storms in Central Texas. 

 God of majesty and compassion, 

You set the earth on its foundation 

and all elements of nature obey your command. 

You created us and know the fragility of human life. 

Help us [or our sisters and brothers] 

in our time of trouble; 

hold back the damaging winds 

and contain the waters that threaten our community 

so our fears may turn into praise of your goodness. 

  

Have mercy on those who have died in the flood waters. 

Welcome them into your Kingdom of peace and joy. 

Bring consolation 

to those who have lost loved ones and friends. 

  

In your compassion look upon us 

and give us tears to mourn their loss 

and strength to assist in the needed rebuilding. 

Protects us and help us to live for you. 

We ask this through Christ our Lord. 

Amen. 

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

A Very Sad Wet Day

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.” 

Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

Since we moved into our house I’ve told everyone Lake LBJ would never flood.

Never say never.

Throughout the night we heard siren after siren signaling more flood gates were opened at Wirtz Dam. This morning the Lower Colorado River Authority could not keep up with the massive amount of water coming into Lake LBJ.

Our little communities on the shores of Lake LBJ washed away as flood waters rose.

I’ve sat in front of the TV hypnotized as docks, boats, homes, and collapsed bridges washed over Starke Dam.

Put Texas on your prayer list tonight. The rain has slowed but the Llano River upstream will crest for the second time later tonight at a level even higher than what was seen today.

God, I need to know that You are with me; that You hear my cry, I long to feel Your presence not just this day but every day. When I am weak and in pain, I need to know You are beside me. That in itself is often comfort enough. I do not pretend to know Your ways, to know why this world You have created can be so beautiful, so magnificent, and yet so harsh, so ugly, and so full of hate. The lot You have bestowed upon me is a heavy one. I am angry. I want to know why: why the innocent must suffer, why life is so full of grief. There are times when I want to have nothing to nothing to do with You. When to think of You brings nothing but confusion and ambivalence. And there are times, like this time, when I see to return to You, when I feel the emptiness that comes when I am far from You. Watch over me and my loved ones. Forgive me for all that I have not been. Help me appreciate all that I have, and to realize all that I have to offer. Help me to find my way back to you so I may never be alone. Amen.   Naomi Levy, To Begin Again

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless. Please stay safe my dear friends.

~Peace~

My thanks to Texas Parks and Wildlife for the photo I’m using today.

Hell-o, Doctor?

“Your warmth has more healing power upon the patient than all the medical tools in the world.” 

Abhijit Naskar, Time to Save Medicine

I had my “Welcome to Medicare” physical today.

This was my second physical with “my personal care provider.”

I have no doubts he is a good doctor. I am having doubts whether he is the right fit for me.

I think I’ve figured out why finding “the one” is so difficult for me. It is not unlike dating–in the dating world and in the seeking a physician world, both parties have expectations of what they expect from each other.

To clarify, I come from a long healthcare career. For most of my so-called adult life, my physicians were people I knew from working with them. They knew me not only as a fellow healthcare worker but as a person. Many knew my family–which was not always a plus. When I had an appointment with them, they listened to my concerns and knew I had some knowledge to contribute on how things progressed from there. We talked. We had eye contact. We questioned back and forth as we planned together.

Retirement changed that. We moved to a new state and entered the world of the self-insured. It has been a rough road with not many good advisers out there.  I’ve learned what it’s like to be on the other side of healthcare. It is not a comfortable place to be nor is the forecast for the immediate future favorable.

Today I sat beside my physician, telling him about my latest symptoms while reviewing my list of questions, yearning for the eye contact confirming he actually heard my concerns. As I spoke, I watched, leaving little breaks in my dissertation, hoping that’d encourage some type of acknowledgement. Not the case. My silence seemed to give him the opportunity to progress through his forms more quickly. I wondered if he’d noticed I’d stopped talking. I don’t think so. My pauses did give me time to realized most of what I’d shared with him only brushed the surface of my real concerns. Sadly, this made me aware he was completely unaware of how uneasy I was entering this phase of my life. I’d filled out all the forms and answered all the questions honestly… I had not been depressed. My energy level was good. I did exercise. My home was safe. Okay–yes, I still had my daily glass or two of wine…As he checked off his boxes in his history taking form, I realized I was not going to get the level of empathetic care I’d hoped.

This was and is so sad to me.

At a time when we “seniors” most need a healthcare provider to care for us physically, mentally, and emotionally, most of those needs do not have a corresponding box on any of those review of systems pages.

Did I get good care today?

It’s all still pretty new to me. I think I received the level of care that is standard practice today. Does that make it good care? I guess that depends on how you define that good care.

I don’t think all the government and insurance companies rules and regulations have made anything better or safer. I guess that probably wasn’t the real reason anyway. What it did do was create a badly engineered money-making machine that continues to wobble on in spite of itself. No one knows how to fix it so we all, physician and patient, do our best to adapt in order to survive.

“THE MAXIMS OF MEDICINE 

Before you examine the body of a patient,

Be patient to learn his story.

For once you learn his story,

You will also come to know

His body.

Before you diagnose any sickness,

Make sure there is no sickness in the mind or heart.

For the emotions in a man’s moon or sun,

Can point to the sickness in

Any one of his other parts.

Before you treat a man with a condition,

Know that not all cures can heal all people.

For the chemistry that works on one patient,

May not work for the next,

Because even medicine has its own

Conditions.

Before asserting a prognosis on any patient,

Always be objective and never subjective.

For telling a man that he will win the treasure of life,

But then later discovering that he will lose,

Will harm him more than by telling him

That he may lose,

But then he wins.

THE MAXIMS OF MEDICINE by Suzy Kassem” 

Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

In My Neighborhood

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” 

Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes

So many in our world need help. We seem to go from one disaster to another. I imagine I am not the only one wondering how they can help.

What we all need to remember is it doesn’t require a disaster.

It may be as simple as helping our neighbor take out the trash or using our professional knowledge to help them understand new medications or medical equipment. We are here to help each other. If we have the ability and the knowledge to help, what a blessing we could be without leaving our neighborhood.

There is no question our neighbors appreciate our help. What continues to surprise me is how much better we feel after we give our help and support.

 Dear God, when my problems seem overwhelming, I trust you to take care of what I cannot. I choose to fix my gaze on your and trust in your mighty power. I know that nothing will happen that is outside of your knowledge or control. Teach me to find shelter in your presence, to follow you one day at a time, and take the steps that will overcome the challenges I face.  Amen.  Maria Shriver, I’ve Been Thinking…

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Nature’s Remedy

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” 

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

Earlier today a Monarch Butterfly granted us an extended visit. For about thirty minutes she explored the flowering shrubs in the Donna-Bethie garden.

What a gift she gave us today! While we savored our coffee we were given a brilliant show from one of God’s true masterpieces.

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 

Albert Einstein

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

A Prayer for Comfort

Heavenly Father,
You hold time within your hands, and see it all, from beginning to end. Please keep and carry these precious people in their sadness and loss. Cover them with your great wings of love, give their weary hearts rest and their minds sound sleep. Lord, lift their eyes so that they may catch a glimpse of eternity, and be comforted by the promise of heaven.

We ask all this in the precious name of Jesus.

Amen.

My thoughts and prayers are focused on one of my dearest friends. Words escape me so I am drawing on prayer.

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless them and send His angels to comfort them.

~Peace be with you~

A Day at a Time

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” 

Tom Hiddleston

Today two friends are facing some serious challenges. Now, these women are very strong and courageously independent. They will persevere because that is what they do.

So, instead of sitting idly by and worrying for and about them, I’ll do what I do best…

I’ll write and send them love and prayers.

In addition to that, I ask us all, myself included, to remember this:

“The key is this: Meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow’s strength yet. You simply have enough for today.” 

Max Lucado, Traveling Light: Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear

Dear God, when my problems seem overwhelming, I trust you to take care of what I cannot. I trust youth take care of what I cannot. I choose to fix my gaze on you and trust in your mighty power. I know that nothing will happen that is outside of our knowledge or control. Teach me to find shelter in your presence, to follow you one day at a time, and to take the steps that will overcome the challenges I face.  Amen.                                                            Maria Shriver, I’ve Been Thinking…

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~