Hard

“It’s Hard…..”

“It’s Hard to Stare at the Pain
But it’s harder to pretend like the pain isn’t even there.”

That quote comes from one of the main characters in Oprah Winfrey’s TV Show, “Queen Sugar.” I’m sorry that I don’t remember who said that – I was too busy scribbling it down so I could share it on here.

Let’s take a look at what they said and how it can apply to what we might be going through:

“It’s hard to stare at the pain…..”

When I look at the things that have happened in my life
• medical problems from brain surgery in January of 2018 that are still causing substantial difficulties (or differences – depending on the day) and will be until the good Lord decides to grant a miracle. (Want to know more, Google AVM – Arterio-Venous Malformation).
• It has been 2 years and 4 months since my Dad passed away.
• ………

I’m not going to go into more of mine right now – but let’s look at some of the things on the national and international scale:
• How many families all over the world are dealing with the loss of a loved one to CoVid19?
• How many children all over the world are struggling because school – in many places and for many kids – was the foundation that they could count on. I saw it when I was substitute teaching – you could tell some kids were so much more secure at school than it appeared to be at home?
• How many of our brown and black neighbors have seen a rise in discrimination because the “other fringe” seems to think that the resident of the White House approves of it?
• How many people have loved ones fighting this disease — either in their own families or because they are on the front line of caring for the people who are sick and fighting CoVid?
• George Floyd
• _____________(fill in the names of recent victims of police shootings.)
• How many times have people argued over wearing masks while carrying rifles?
• How many times has Dr. Faucci had to go in front of the media and correct things that our government says are true?

And I could go on and on and on. It’s really hard.

It’s really hard to stare at the pain. Really really hard. Hard enough that people who know way more than I do are anticipating a growing mental health crisis in our country.

It’s really hard.

But

But it’s harder to pretend like the pain isn’t even there.”

“Ignore it and it will go away.” That might work for a stubbed toe or a skinned knee, but that doesn’t work for pandemics and hate crimes and police shootings and……….

“It’s harder to pretend like the pain isn’t even there.”

Don’t put it in the closet.

Don’t hide it under the rug.

Don’t put on a smiley face because that’s what people want.

Personal note – Due to the Covid 19 and my increased risk if I got it, you probably haven’t actually seen me in a while. I’m being a bit of a hermit because the medical issues I already have, if they combined with CoVid would be kind of nasty.

But you know what, if you ran into me at the grocery store (hypothetically speaking) – or let’s say we were talking online in a Zoom call, it would be the exact opposite. It would be easy for you to pretend like my pain isn’t there. I really don’t look that much different than 2 or 3 years ago (not that much) and so it would seem to be easier to pretend like the pain isn’t even there.

Until, until I try to pick up my ice tea with my left hand and the nerve tremors make me have to switch hands so my computer doesn’t get flooded.

Until I try to lead a discussion on ___________ (pick the subject) and 15 minutes into it, my voice gets quieter and quieter and I start coughing more and…….

It’s harder for me to pretend like the pain isn’t there. Because then I’m forcing myself into a position where I have to do and say and be the same things I was before the surgery. And I can’t.

It’s harder for you to pretend the pain isn’t there, because you know it is.

It’s harder to pretend like the pain isn’t there when you see it all around you.

It’s harder to pretend like the pain isn’t there when the deacons at your church ask for more donations because more people at your church lost their jobs and need help.

It’s harder to pretend like the pain isn’t there.

And there’s so much “hard” going on right now that more of us should be seeking the help of professionals to help us figure out how to work through the “hard.”

Because they know it’s hard to stare at the pain

And

They know it’s harder to pretend it isn’t there.

I know, I have and continue to have someone in my corner helping me navigate the hard.

I hope that you at least ask yourself, “Should I talk to someone about getting through all of this?”

It could be a life saver.

Tom

Weep with Me

3 years ago, I wrote about this song by Rend Collective.

3 Years ago……

My Dad was still alive.

I could honestly say, “I feel good.”

I had never experienced the concern that comes when your kids go “driving while black.”

A multitude of black and brown families have an empty seat at their table due to police brutality.

A multitude of black and brown families have a seat at their table that is empty longer than it should be and it’s only because of skin color.  If their family member had been white, he would have done his time and gone home. 

Over 2 million people in the United States have been infected with the corona virus and over 116,000 have died so far.

Weep with me.  God does.

Listen to God talking through them and take comfort in knowing that God is weeping with us in these struggling times.

TV

Weep with Me – by Rend Collective

Three Words

I learned a lot from three words yesterday.

I saw them on the office door at my counselor’s office.   I wasn’t supposed to be there, we were supposed to meet online.   But I didn’t hear him say it and he doesn’t remember.   So we met by phone a little later.

But while we were figuring that out, I was in the outside lobby of the building.   I think someone was there because the main doors were open.  Anyway, on the door to Randy’s office, it said something like this:

“Due to the pandemic and the desire to keep everyone as safe as possible, we will be doing all of our appointments by FaceTime (not that exact one but close).  In the mean time, enjoy the extra time you have and enjoy it with family or do the projects around the house (if you already have the supplies), spend more time with the family.  

Or Just Be.”

Or just be…..  Take some pressure off your own self and just be.  Be in the moment.  Be in the day.   Don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t try to solve all of your problems today, just deal with the problems that are necessary today.

Or just be…. And if that means you have a little smaller stash of ice cream around, then so be it.

Or just be….and don’t take it personally when the Joneses across the street have successfully pulled all 452 dandelions out of their yard and you haven’t even mowed yours yet.

Or just be…..  Rest in the confidence that God is bigger than the evil that happened to George Floyd.  Rest in the comfort of knowing that He knows what’s going to happen before we could even imagine it.

Or just be….. Be well even when the world is not – because God is.

or just be……a smiling face to someone who is having a hard time making things look anything other than awful.

or just be.

Right now that’s hard, really hard.  But we can all do it.

If we all do our part to help our “neighbors.“

TJV

P.S.  I will talk more in a bit about Randy (my counselor) and why I think it would do everyone good to have someone like that to talk to…….

Childhood trauma leaves scars

Childhood trauma leaves scars?  For those of you who parent children who have suffered trauma when they were younger, you’re probably reading that and saying, “uh, yeah, tell me something I didn’t know……”  That’s not really news.

No for those who are in the middle of parenting children who have been through trauma (adoptive parents, raise your hands – I see you) we know what this can be like.   But that’s not why I kept this article.

What’s newsworthy about this article is that a major college and a fairly substantial city government (Madison Wisconsin – I know, it’s not Chicago, but it’s not Borculo Michigan either) are acknoweldging it and are taking steps to do something about it.

I’ve talked to so many people who have, over the years, suffered through so much grief and guilt feelings because they have been either directly or indirectly that their child’s struggles, their child’s actions, their child’s attitudes are the fault of bad parenting.   The “system” is starting to see that the problem just isn’t the adoptive parents or whatever parents the child(ren) have, the problem is that there was significant trauma that happened when the child was younger.

We’ll talk a little bit later – but a LOT more about the fallacy called, “All you need is love” and how that is true for everyone.”  (It’s not!)

Tom

 

 

Childhood trauma leaves scars that are genetic, not just emotional, study affirms The researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison wanted to study the impact of childhood stress on genetic chemistry. Author: John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Published: 11:14 PM PDT July 22, 2018 Updated: 11:17 PM PDT July 22, 2018

Source: Childhood trauma leaves scars that are genetic, not just emotional, study affirms | krem.com

The Thing About Having Kids

Well, it’s not really THE thing.

It’s more like, no wait, it’s not even A thing.

But it is a thing. It’s a thing that is fun. A thing that can be really enjoyable.

A thing that can help them learn and frankly, help the parents learn too.

I’m talking about bedtime stories. Reading bedtime stories to your kids, with your kids.

Acting out “Ten in the Bed” with two little girls and 9 stuffed animals.

Reading the entire 7 books of the Harry Potter series with one kid on each side of me over a 2 year time span.

And then there’s Doctor Seuss. I miss reading Dr. Seuss. “Oh the Places You’ll Go…..” (I’ve often thought that’s could be a good speech for a graduation ceremony).

Who can forget “Thing 1 and Thing 2?”

And the Cat in the Hat who always picks up his playthings? (Hint hint….)

But the story by Dr. Seuss that stuck with me most is the story of the Lorax.

The Lorax is a sad story. It’s a story of nature ruined by greed. It’s a story of manipulations and misunderstandings. It’s a story that parallels much of our world.

The story ends with nature in trouble. Pollution is contaminating everything.

And there’s this one old “guy.” He was there since the beginning. He protested the growth of the factories. He complained about the sick animals and the animals that had to leave to find a place to eat and water to drink.

When there was nothing left, he levitated through the clouds and left a marker behind with one word on it……

“Unless”
The story ends with the Onceler telling the Lorax’s story to two kids and he ends with “Unless.”

But this time he completes the sentence……

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s Not.”

Someone like you.

Someone like me.

Cares – not a little but a lot.

Unless – if we don’t care, things won’t get better. If we do care, things will get better.

A call for action from Dr. Seuss. A call for social justice. For caring.

That’s one of the things that I’ve learned and seen time and time again. It’s not the big companies that are going to make the world a better place (even though Coca Cola would like you to think they can). It’s the people.

You and me.

I don’t like the way things are right now. Too much pain, too many people struggling, too many people angry and hurting.

Whether it’s immigration or education or racism or taxes or politics or abuse or trauma or….. or………, find something that matters to you. Find something that you care about that isn’t the way you think it should be and care about it.

Do something. Make things better.

It’s the Lorax Iniative.

And we can all learn from a children’s story about how to make the world a better place.

TJV

P.S. Does anyone else remember the thing that they found in the park and what they named him?