Be Careful What You Wish For

Often, as I review history, I notice that the evolution towards fairness or resolution of issues is a positive and self-sustaining strategy to better results for the people for which it is intended.

In nearly every revolution in politics, someone loses, usually with great costs to many, and often the results are bloody, contradictory, with a winner who no longer feels empathy for those who did not always support the winner’s efforts.

This difference, evolution vs revolution, seems to be the choice we are being asked to make within both Democratic and the Republican parties.

As someone who craves peace and considers the words spoken by those who wish to serve, I worry when certain words are used. This year, I worry as an American because many words of division and radical change, which to me represent the more dangerous roads, are being spoken from the left and the right.

I hope the more moderate leaders among us soon find their voices and their passion. I hope those with influence and wisdom will step forward and become the people that will support them. Whenever America veers too far either way, usually too far right, it is at great costs to our individual Liberty.

Please consider these words. I simply ask that you hear what words are being spoken. What words incite rather than inspire are disconcerting. Words of division rather than of unity. Words of control over freedom.

What makes America great is not our most extreme views and not our military power. What makes America great is that we allow others to be different from ourselves. We appreciate creativity and uniqueness. We do not force others to our will but ask people from all faiths to respect others. And, we are merciful to those who lose, who are fearful, who are working through their own weaknesses.

Extremism makes America weak. Please do not be seduced by the easy fixes proposed by the extremes. It is likely not without additional costs not mentioned. Whether it is a promise of a big wall or a big program covering all, it forces compliance of some. And, that is the true threat to a great America.

A Note for a Friend who just lost his Dad.

Trust that no one in the days to come will completely understand how you feel.  Most will say something that just doesn’t make sense.  Some comments will demonstrate a lack of forethought.  Others will say something you will not remember.  And several will make you very mad.

Take time every few hours to write down how you feel so you can see your progress.  Cry when you like.  Take moments to scream alone so others won’t think you are crazy.  Screaming is a normal part of the grieving process.  Missing someone dear hurts, no matter your time to prepare.  And, exponentially impactful to your intimacy with them and your growth from them.

Yes, it is likely you will have moments of overwhelm and insanity.  That is when friends should love and support but may fail.  Remember that they may be grieving, too., just differently than you.  People just don’t often admit it.  Forgive yourself all the emotions and hurts.  It is just easier to do so in this period.

Get 11 hugs a day.  Less will hinder the grief process.

Send me statements you hear others say about death that you feel are absurd.  I want to write a blog to exorcize certain statements for simply not being thought out or at times hurtful.

Feel free to share things your dad would appreciate or have liked.  Listen to the stories others will share to learn more about your dad.  Thank everyone.

And be patient with all.  Few are comfortable with death.  The foolish will try to explain grief away, but grief doesn’t resolve that way.  It is a wound that feels huge, overwhelming, painful.  Yet over time your heart accommodates the loss of the person and the impact on your being.  The space cut out never diminishes if your heart continues to grow.  So, while that space reverberates with memory.  Love allows the pain to bleed from the wound the Loss caused, sponging out the scar with tears.  And, while there will always be moments and times you visit, Time provides space so that Life can moderate.

Today, for many, is a gift, that is why it’s called the Present

Today, I received good news surrounding serious health concerns from a family relation who has some renewed hope while hearing of a setback from a friend about her husband’s fight with cancer.

One comment was made that perhaps the couple with a setback started celebrating too soon after the dangerous and invasive operation which had just occured.  Yet, I have learned when you are fighting to live or you are in the battle to help someone survive the scary, the dangerous, and the constant adrenaline rushes to manage, it becomes important to celebrate minor and major victories, even if they are temporary.

Life throws us surprises and we learn that changes happen outside of any ability for someone to predict or control.  There is no shame in celebrating early and often when people are forced to live daily in the present.  In fact, whenever someone needs to celebrate and you are there, do it!  You never know when the opportunity might occur again, if ever.

Others may be able to live comfortably in the past or future, but those who must live in the now, due to circumstances and crisis, must live in the present.  Living in the present is a challenge and takes effort, energy, and hope.  It is demanding and requires frequent concentration and skills that are not required when one lives in the past or future.

Consider ways to manage the stress of daily change or momentous upheaval. At one point last year, I faced a challenging health treatment experiment lasting 11 months while participating in Carleton’s health crisis decline, just as client needs and other community commitments I had made also reached sometimes emergency level responsibility.  In the latter areas, I had specific skills needed and would not avoid the decisions due to my personal circumstance. I learned ways to keenly focus and that sometimes you could vibrantly live in each individual moment.  I continued personal traditions like date night and made this as sacred as any religious requirement.   Each minute of your day becomes a gift.

No one can maintain the extreme level of intensity of living each moment in crisis or emergency.  It takes a toll on your stamina and energy especially if lack of sleep becomes a component in crisis.  That is one reason many caregivers falter and become health compromised worse than the person whom they are serving.

Ultimately, for me, my solution to remember the importance of celebrating when possible while I live in the moment was to simply redefine one word.  I made “gift” the main definition of a very important word for those who live in the now.  Yet, it was easy to do.  The term “gift” is synonymous with the word “present”.