You Are Ink + Water


Being responsible for what we do now is not the same as being responsible for what has happened to us or is happening to us.

How to tell someone who suffered abuse that they are responsible for themselves?  How to tell a child of an OCD mom, that his adult self, is responsible for his emotional health?  How about someone living in poverty?  How about a victim of natural disaster?

…A parent whose child died before they did?

My dad tells me, no parent should live longer than their own child.  In 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, the US state department sent him to find a hospital that was usable as a service, not in anticipation of war.  There were essentially no hospitals.  Stripped, robbed of wood used to burn, hocked copper wiring, and a spirit of “every one for himself” sat in place of hospital supplies.  Dad had met with some tribe elders to try to conciliate, but without effect.  Before he knew it, it was war.

There was one hospital he found with 2 operating theaters and some recovery beds.  He joined the French nurses who were still there.  Working around the clock, he was Mogadishu’s only surgeon for that first week.  He walked out to a mile of bodies spread outside the hospital.  He chose who would be taken in to the operating room versus who would not and what that meant.  There was no anesthesia for hundreds of amputations.  Life expired without many theatrics.  Three weeks later, and after other surgeons had come, they evacuated him.  He came back to manicured bushes, telephone wires, paved roads.

After surviving the Vietnam war, 40 plus years of medical practice, and participating in treatment for many people who have died over many years, it is Somalia‘a open album that stays in Dad’s thoughts.  He sees the faces of parents shrouding their children.  He tells me as if I’d forget, “I can’t say enough about how I loved the people!”

Although Dad shared these traumas, he must claim his health.  The grieving parents likewise.  This is not to say, “Get over it.”

There is so much bad stuff affecting us, that it makes it easy to not take responsibility for our own selves.  But, the success of our health – emotional, physical, spiritual – begins and ends with “Me.”

Don’t give up or get over or go at “It” alone.  Buying in to being a friend to yourself, does not mean giving up on your other friends, including God, family, your beliefs, your assistance.  It does not mean erasing your history.  It does not mean starting over.  It means joining all these things.  It means being ink in the water, everywhere in your story.

So, here you are.  (Clang, cling, Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom!)  Can you still hear yourself?  You must!  I must!  Our health begins and ends with “Me.”

Self-Care Tip #74 – Be your story.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Have you done this?  Do you relate?  Please tell me your thoughts.