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?

Talking to Yourself

No, I don’t think I’ve totally lost it (though if I have, how would I know?) but seriously, I don’t know about you but I do a lot of talking to myself – but I do it on digital paper. What’s digital paper? It’s the computer screen. I can usually think and type way faster than I can write and so my thoughts to myself make more sense that way.

So back to the real subject that I want to share with you.

I was talking to myself about some of the things that have happened in my family this past year. There have been highs, there have been lows, there have been really low lows. The lows were often a lot harder than we expected they would be. Thanksgiving without my Dad here was hard.c  After my son read a poem in church that he wrote about his grandpa, it was hard and it was good. Hearing Pastor Joy pray a prayer of gratitude for all my dad has done and the people he has blessed. All of this took place in a prayer request time. There were many prayers of thanks but also many prayers filled with sadness.   In addition, I could go on about my medical issues (which are still ongoing), about…..

As I was talking to myself in my journal, I found me saying, “At the same time, I don’t want to stay where I am.”

I stopped, looked at what I had written and said, “How do you mean that?” Do you mean, “I have a plan and here’s the way I want it to go?”

Or do you mean, “God, I don’t know what “all of this” is for, I don’t know why it has happened, I don’t know why I’m still dealing with side effects, rather nasty ones, from a medical procedure for an AVM (Google it if you want to know more), 10 months later when it should have only been two to 4 weeks. What do you mean?”

I don’t want to stay where I am.

But

I can’t seem to see where you want me to “go.”

At that point, the words of Pastor Darrell came back to me from a discussion that he and I had over all of “this.” “Tom, do not doubt that the Lord has you exactly where he needs you and you are right here and right now, for such a time as this. Be still and know.”

I think you and I both know that God isn’t using major life events to bring us back to “where we were.” He’s using them to change us so we can be the change that our communities are.

So may we all spend more time being still, more time listening for God and a lot less time trying to force our plan into motion.

Tom