Are We Sympathetic? Yes Empathetic? Not so Much

via Daily Prompt: Sympathy

Such a relevant topic for a day like today. It is the anniversary of 9-11 and we are experiencing tumultuous weather issues in the USA.  Our television news channels are broadcasting coverage of these events as people unify to send aid, workers, and more into the areas of need.  Being sympathetic to the masses has been something we have all been able to do in the last few days and I assume it will continue for a while.

Sympathy, or the feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune is common during times such as these. We can see the emptiness in the eyes of those who have lost so much and we are pained in knowing that life can be so cruel.  We watch as heroes of the catastrophes rise up and become noted on the screen and in the papers. Those who walk into scary places without fear for their own lives and recue people are those who we want to be like and they give us that good feeling deep inside knowing that they are there and that humans can be so loving and so kind. We cheer on the little guy driving out of harms way with his family in tow. He who is attempting to keep the family safe from harms way are heroes in their own sense.

We jeer and ridicule those who stay behind thinking them to be foolish yet forget that they have their reasons. Perhaps they do not have the money, gas, or a good vehicle to get them to safety hours or days away. We forget about the disabled, those who cannot drive, those who are ill and who are possibly just out of surgery.  We scoff them even when all they want to do is survive the personal storm they are going through and tolerate the rest. Yet, I hear people say how those people who stay are stupid. Are they dumb or are they the true heroes of this whole thing? The heroes are also those staying at the bedside of a loved one who is in their last days. The heroes who those staying to help an elderly grandparent to be sure they are taken care of. The heroes are staying there to get the electricity back on and to put out the fires. They do not ask for your judgement, nor your condemnation for their choices. They would like your respect.

Sympathy is abounding, yes it is. But, empathy, well empathy is not so strong. The ability to understand what someone else is going through and let them do as they feel they need to without judgement is lacking.   To share how they feel and why they feel the way they do is quite often forgotten. People have reasons. Let’s take two scenarios and look at them for just a moment-

** Within a few days of when my father died there was a massive ice storm. Trees were down and the power was out across our area.  Most of the people could not get to town to the funeral. Safety was first for many.  I applaud that. Yet, some chose to still go as we did not want him be buried alone. In that case some may have thought we were dumb and judged us.  Sympathy was overflowing as many loved my father. But, empathy was not as apparent.  To put yourself in one’s shoes and allow them to choose without the ramifications of judgement and gossip are not a strong suit in the US. I am just as guilty.  I judged many that day and since.  I am trying to change. But we need to go on…

 

**** Another scenario – Weddings occur at all times. Why just this morning I watched the news as a couple told of how they modified their destination wedding and had it locally instead. They redid this all while driving back from Florida via phone calls and texts to various sites. The wedding seemed lovely. The bride appeared thrilled to have just had the ceremony and to be married to the man she loves. That newscast reminded me of our wedding nearly 40 years ago. It was to be held on Jan. 28th, 1978 – but a blizzard came through. (No, I am not making this up. My life could be a TV series LOL) We had one week during a blizzard to redo the entire wedding. Flowers could not get in etc.  We were lucky. Others did not have it so well.

My point is that somewhere someone is having a double issue every time a catastrophe happens. People die, babies are born, people get hurt, weddings and reunions have to be postponed. The elderly cannot get to their medicines, people need to be taken out of their homes on snowmobiles, boats, rafts, and more. I wish that they would show more people who tower over the storms of life and are victorious  on the news. Those brides that save their weddings, those people who rescue the newborn puppies, or stay with a young mother as she delivers her newborn child. Those moments are the ones that are able to strengthen and unite us as a nation. Those are when we can look and say “Wow” I cannot believe that they survived that!”

I have always been proud to be an American.  I am most proud when I witness the people blessed to live in the US help one another and come together to be unified as one. Times when we do not gossip nor finger point but get off our butts and help one another and do so with pure gusto. When we unify we are stronger than ever.

Be that strength that the bride who has to redo her wedding needs. Be the hope that a man burying his mother in a storm needs as he stands against the strong winds of change. You are designed to be able to do such things. Rise up America, it is time that we unify and become brothers. We need to stop dividing ourselves by bickering and picking on little things that do not matter that much in the big picture. Life matters, hope matters.  Sympathy is a good thing. We are good at that one. Now, let us tackle empathy. Understand one another. Love one another. Edify one another. Love all Americans, be the light and the salt. It is on us. We just need to believe and act upon it. We can do it!

 

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Will I Overcome? Not This Time

via Daily Prompt: Overcome

 

My fortieth class reunion is tonight. I am not going. I would but the people I held most dear during that time on my life are not coming or have passed away. I thought about going but then realized that with a traumatic brain injury the band after dinner alone would be too much. I picture the reunion in my head and see the tables of people talking and laughing about old times. They are discussing their careers and grandchildren. I have grandchildren. I could discuss them. But my career is over and I miss it dearly.  The multiple conversations going on about me would force me to attempt to focus in on the one nearest to me and somehow attempt to hear what they are saying. That used to be so easy to do. But, now it is frustrating and it makes me quite anxious.  I have overcome so many things in the past forty years. I have lost dear friends, family members, loved ones. I have survived major accidents and more. Yet, this time I cannot beat this thing that has messed up my brain. I keep on trying. I cannot overcome. I cannot be successful with beating this injury. It has literally taken over my life. I cannot even go and enjoy my class reunion. I know I am venting. I seem to need to do that from time to time. I vent because when I looked forward in my life I did not see this one coming.

I sat at my graduation while over 400 students walked up to get their diplomas and pictured my future. I saw a family who loved one another, a good looking dude at my side, a house with the white picket fence, a dog, and I was working as a teacher. That was all I wanted. I wasn’t asking for much. God blessed me with all but the dumb fence. I was living my dream. Then came the accident. It all seemed to come crashing down little by little after that. No more career, no more being able to drive to go family or friends, no more dog. Why no more dog? I get sick if I bend over too much. To care for a dog and have to hook them on a line to let them out would literally make me ill. So, I visit them at the farmer’s markets and swoon over them there. I miss so many things. I miss having a dog to jump on my lap. I miss being able to drive to soccer games and to be at the pool with my grandkids. Yea, I smile and make people think it is all good. I am pretty good at wearing that mask, jacket, whatever you want to call it. Then days like today come along and I come on here and type. I type to let others know how I truly feel. How hard it is to not be the old me. I miss her. I liked her more than I like the new me I have had to become. She would have been able to go to the reunion. But, here I sit and read the posts of the people in town and sulk. I have not overcome. Not today. Some days I do all right. But just like when someone you love dies you have those days that rear their ugly head and remind you of your loss. You cry and move on. It is life.

I thank you Lord for my family, and my home without the silly picket fence. I thank you for my dude at my side and for all of the things you have blessed us with. I will overcome this day by day one step at a time with you by my side. But as for today, keep me busy and let me feel you near. I overcome only with you at my side. HUGZ

Anticipation of the Unknown

via Daily Prompt: Anticipate

Ramblings on the topic of anticipation of the future, the unknown:

Carly Simon’s song Anticipation begins with the following words,

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

So true, we think on the future most all days and wonder about what is to come. This week we have watched as Texas has been digging out from the massive floods and see that more trouble could be heading toward more in the US. We hear predictions of this and that. Turn the channel and hear yet another prediction or commentary on the prediction of someone else.  Some people are rushing to gather needs as they anticipate what will occur over the course of the next few days. Will it hit the East coast or the Gulf side? How strong of an impact the trail of terror impact us all? Will my loved ones be okay? Will my home and belongings be lost? What will happen?

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

So, what do you do when you want to know of the future and want some input from an outside source?  Do you turn on the news? Go online and research the topic? Visit a psychic?  Pray and ask God? Worry and think of every single possibility that might occur? Call your friends and ask them what they think will happen? Most people do one or more of those things. So much of the time we spend our moments in the future. Is it an attempt to control it? Does it give us a sense of security?

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

What about premonitions and dreams that we have to tell us of the future? Do they come true? Why do we have them? Those are good questions and I would love to have input from others on this topic.  I do not know the answer. But, I hope I am making you think. (In my opinion those are to not so much warn us of things to come but to be able to pray for those situations in advance to alter them to lessen the effects on all peoples.)

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

We are not in control of much. Especially not the future. Yes, we can do things to alter our direction but we cannot control what will happen with those things we do. Take for example the impact of flooding on the good people of Texas. Many had wonderful homes, vehicles, belongings and more. All gone. They had planned to be ready for the future with said items and now … nothing much is left. They will be lucky to have their insurance companies replace those items. Another example-  I had taken several classes to advance my career and now have a traumatic brain injury and cannot work.  I do not regret taking those courses and still wish I could use the education but I cannot.  What about the loss of a loved one? How many times have you wondered who will go first – you or your loved one?  We are not in control of that unless we break the law. That is written by God.  We are not in control of near as much as we would like to be.

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

Those days to come are going to come (unless we die) and will be filled with all kinds of life. There will be bad times, good times, happy times, and sad times. There will be days that will feel as if someone grabbled hold of your heart and ripped it out. There will be days when we will feel love overtake our beings and we will weep with joy. There is no song, no dreams, no time travel to let us know what will occur. We try to embrace those who will predict, those who seem to know and hold on tight to hope. Hope that we will guess correctly and that all will be as on the happy ending movies or in the TV shows of yesteryears. But more than that we fear that a bad thing will happen and at times we dwell on it.

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway …… even though what we think never comes true as we thought it would.  Live for today. Be in the moment and place the things of tomorrow in God’s hands. Your life will be so much happier if you do.

 

Infatuated with Life

via Daily Prompt: Enamored

 

Enamored, a word not often used in day to day verbiage.  Defined it means to be filled with a feeling of love, to be in love with, smitten by, or merely having a liking for something is to be enamored with something.

As a young woman I would have stated that I was infatuated with the love of my life, my spouse, and although that remains true I would not be here to love the man of my dreams without life. Life, a word with only four letters and such a large meaning.  To have life, to breathe, to sustain a way of living is not a given. It is a day to day gifting.

Only yesterday a dear friend underwent an eight hour surgery. She is resting now and healing from the endeavor and she is alive. Alive to be with her family yet another day. Breathing and taking in air, enjoying a breakfast that only a hospital can make. 🙂 She has been given the opportunity as have all of us to reach out and touch people in a new way. As one who is fighting back at breast cancer she is a stronghold of the culture within we live. So many have fought the battle against cancer, so many have won the battle against death with accidents, illnesses, and on and on the list could go.  I have survived a few things myself but today I choose to focus on the fact that I live for a purpose, a reason.

What is that reason? I live to serve. I live to serve God and his church. I live to serve those who long to know more about what it is like to live with a TBI.  I live to love my friends and family.  I am infatuated with life.

This morning as I rose from slumber I came right to my PC to go onto Facebook. I knew that a post would have been made concerning the well being of my dear friend. A photo of she and her daughter greeted me as I slid down the page of entries. In that moment I knew she was okay. Joy entered my heart as I knew I would be able to talk to her again soon. We would be able to come together and make handmade cards for those we love and speak of our lives. We would form more memories and explore our lives. I am thankful for that opportunity.

In a few hours I will venture out to celebrate a birthday with someone who was in the rollover accident with me. We will celebrate another year of life. I will look at her and recall those moments wherein we were not sure we would make it. She will look at me and do the same. Then we will embrace and know that we are blessed to be here. To celebrate yet another year, to be there with those we love, and to serve.  To live, to celebrate life and to be enamored by all of its possibilities.

 

Rhyme and Rhythm is Gone

via Daily Prompt: Rhyme

 

There is a rhythm to life that seems to stand upon the threshold of time. It is one that takes us through the days, the weeks, the years until we meet the maker of our life. Rhyme and rhythm are a part of us. The synchronization of the hours, the days, tick away in a unison of ups, and downs with the syncopation, the sound, of our heart beat ever strong within us. There is a certain rhythm to life. One that goes on for years, or days at a time. Get up, go to work, eat dinner, watch t.v., go to bed – over and over until the rhythm changes and we shift into a new form of life. One without rhyme. One without that familiar rhythm and reason and we scream from within trying to figure out what is going on. The new loss of rhyme and reason makes us yearn for the past and all it entailed. Even if it was no longer what we held dear it was our normal. It was who we were. Grasping onto anything we can we move forward trying to get back into any kind of pattern.  Time passes. We see all others around us yet in their patterns as we once had. We are jealous that we cannot succeed at doing the same. We move on. Time passes and we yearn for some kind of norm. Something that we can predict and draw upon. It is coming. Wait. It will come.

Homage to God and Nobody Else

via Daily Prompt: Homage

 

As days pass and the years go by I seem to see many things in a different light. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I have survived near death. Perhaps it is just a normal part of aging.  Either way it is something that needs to be respected in our American culture (but seems to not be). With that said I wish to pay homage to the lessons my God has shown me. I hope that you glean something from this blog. It is why I write.

Lesson 1 – People who you think are your friends will use you for the sake of gossip. There I said it. I hated to tell you that one, but it is true. How do I know? I used to talk to someone almost every day. Our conversations could go on for an hour or more. But, I came to realize that as she spoke to me she slandered, or cut down, the people in her life that she called her friends. After years of hearing this I thought to myself, “I wonder if she does the same thing with what I tell her about my life?” If she were in fact talking to me to get information to tell them!  I began cutting back on telling her things and grew more and more sure of the fact that she was. I hated that I had fallen for that. I was a part of a gossip roundup – gathering and spreading the herds of data – manure and all. Since that realization I have decided to keep my mouth shut more than I used to. I have given up gossiping and use words to edify more than I did back then. People will use you. You have to set boundaries. If you don’t you will have repercussions.

Lesson 2 –  Private matters should be discussed with someone who is a counselor or trained to help you sort it all out. This is a follow up to number one. Confide in those who must keep your private matters private. I have gone to a counselor and not am ashamed to admit it. I know that they have taken an oath and will guide you. Friends and family on the other hand might think they know what is best and want to help but they are not always right. I lean on God and pray more than anything now to get my answers.

Lesson 3- Set boundaries with those who need it – I am not real good at this yet, but I am trying. I have people in my life who seem to think that they can tell me what to think even though what they think it completely opposite of who I am. I cannot do as they wish nor will I. To me, if I do as they tell me to do they become a sort of false God. Especially when they are telling me to do things that are not in agreement with the Bible.  I set boundaries and will listen to the one true God, not anyone who is a wolf is sheep’s clothing.

Lesson 4- When You Change People Will Not See it and Think You Are Still the Old You – Change takes timeI have changed but most still see me as the old me. I let her go a while ago. I am a new me dedicated to God. It is okay that people do not see it. That is not what matters. What matters is that God sees the new me.

Lesson 5- People will judge you even though they have no right to – It is a natural thing – to judge others for whatever reason. Maybe your eyes are a different color or you are in a wheelchair. Maybe it is something not physical but spiritual as you are of a varied faith. The reason is not important. It is the action that is taking place. Judge not lest ye be judged. Speak words of love, not judgement. If you are offended by someone pray for them. But more than anything, if someone judges you do not let it bother you. By doing so you give them control over your feelings. Focus on what God knows to be true. That is the only thing that is important.

 

I used to give homage to so many things. Those were the things that I spent an enormous amount of time on. Now, I choose to give homage to God and what he asks me to do. Homage to God as his disciple is not always an easy path to choose. But I choose it.

 

 

Magnets – Small Bits of Inspiration

via Daily Prompt: Magnetic

A dear fried was explaining to me that she was going to have a mastectomy. Cancer had invaded her body and therefore removal of one breast and the reduction of the other had become something needing to be done. I listened as she explained the procedure including the part where a magnet would be placed into her breast during the surgery. At that point my TBI brain went aloof as to why a magnet was being placed in there. My brain was yet trying to understand all that she would have to endure.

We had not known each other long, less than a year, but this dear friend had become the one to drive me to most all of my appointments for therapy etc. When we had met her health was good, not great, and we talked of many things. Don’t get me wrong, our talks are wide in breadth but we do speak of our health issues with one another. It is as if God placed us together to help each of us deal with the hand we have been dealt. Anyway, back to the topic. As I sat listening to her it dawned on me that we each have storms in our lives. We have those mountains to climb and we have those times of pure joy.  With some storms you can reach out to those who have had a similar experience and with others it is not so easy. So many have suffered cancer and its impact on their body and the soul. But, as for me, I have not met so many with a TBI. To be able to hear from those who are victims of a common thing might be comforting in some ways.

This morning as my dear friend and I chatted on Facebook I watched a news story about a local race for the cure. Cancer was the cause of this race and the people were helping raise funds for research etc.  My TBI mind began to wander. It began to ask itself if there are races etc for the cause of those with a TBI. I would hope so. Looking online I find a bowling for the cause idea and that the Veterans get help as well. That was a good start! In the end I realized that I have an opportunity to attempt to be a spokesperson for the cause of those with a TBI and their loved ones. There are so many of us. It is not to say that the other causes are not good, it is not that at all. I am now connected to this cause. My dear friend is connected to her cause. It is what we know. It is what we live.

Tomorrow my friend will have a magnet placed into her body and it will be a part of her forever.  In addition, she has the means to be a magnetic personality for the cause of cancer. She will be able to help those in need of assistance if she so chooses. As for me, I am going to choose to do the same for the cause of those with a TBI.  I am going to choose to begin to seek ways to help with the cause and help others understand the ramifications of a TBI.  There are so many who have not a clue about what we endure with this injury as a part of who we are. They cannot see it, so we must be fine. My friend and her circumstances has inspired me to reach out to others. To be like a magnet in the sea of people wanting to learn and to help. I am so thankful for her in many ways.

God, I ask that you be with my friend as she undergoes her surgery tomorrow. I ask that you guide us in the days to come. Thank you for helping me to be able to serve you and to be a magnet for those in need. I thank you that my life did not end in that accident. I am beginning to see why. Help me as I go forth. Amen.