When You Are Hurting – Suffering Just Is

Daughters of a father who was trapped in a col...

Image via Wikipedia

My dad, excellent in his suffering, has shown how to lose, how to spend the time it takes to grieve it and enjoy the rest that makes life worth living.  My dad should have a medal in suffering. If I knew where to get them I’d send word.

Some of his suffering, he played a causal part in, but who cares.  It doesn’t have a qualifying relationship to “deserving” empathy and the spiritual nod.  Those come because of Love, not our performance.

None of us are foreigners to suffering others, ourselves, cause, accident, defined and ignominious explanations.  For reason and for lack of reason we suffer.  No, the etiology of suffering isn’t why we care about its abuse.  Sure we hope not to repeat mistakes that lead to suffering and that makes it’s etiology worth reflection, but not as
a qualifier to caring.

So no.

Between one grief and another, between this fault and that fault, the loss “Is.”  It just Is.  That’s Dad’s presence I’m talking about.

In a culture counting and studying our wrongs and our rights for the purpose of squeezing currency out of it, we need presence.  Presence allows for all the rest.  The healing.  The forgiveness.  The grieving.  The hope that remains.  Presence allows for us to continue valued.

Presence allows us to live for what is still worth living for.

After writing blog-post “When You Are Hurting, Remember Why You Want To Live, And Live For That,” I heard from someone suffering via his fabulous on-line monthly journal “Psyche’s Flashlight.”  He said,

I read this after a recent stint in the hospital, and I can’t tell you how much it resonates with me. This is what saved my life.

Suffering Is.

Question:  What has helped keep you away from qualifying your suffering or that of others?  Please tell me your story.

Lament, Celebrate, Negotiate to Take Care of Yourself

xprojectmanagement.com

Self-Care Tip #146 – Negotiate to get friendly with yourself.

How do you fit in socially when you’re taking care of yourself?  To be social you need another person.  How does that socialization become compatible with self-care?

These were the questions my brilliant sister-in-law, Trixie Hidalgo asked.  It isn’t so apparent really and I get what she’s asking.  Self-care is not all about the self.  There is clearly an exchange.  We are getting something from our environment that in turn is taking from us.  That environment can be anything, such as music, movies, books, work, or interpersonal relationships.  We negotiate with that.  We agree to what we get and what we give contextually.

How does one person in wanting to define self-care for themselves harmonize the exchange?  It’s a reduction of laments and celebrations.  For example, in going to medical school I lost time, opportunity to be a young mother, and joined without directly asking to, the competitive world that is culturally considered masculine – to name a few.  Yet the celebrations, although never equal to the losses, and vice versa, I agreed to.  I made the exchange between myself and my social context.

The self-care skill comes in the experience of your own self-discovery.  How does one do this?  Look inside yourself over and over again.  Lament.  Celebrate.  Negotiate.

For You:  I’m dying to hear your responses.  I have a feeling that they will complete the post, as so often they do.  Please tell me how you reconcile the effort towards self-care with the inherent social context.

Look Around to Get Strength and Perspective.

My sister and her baby.

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #145 – Look around to get strength.

I was talking with my colleague, Janice, who works intimately in the area of group homes and advocating for the clients.  I asked her to tell me something about them.

There are times when parents give up and they can’t provide.

I wrote a blog-post some time ago relating to this as I work with many families who are near this point or past it.  Taking care of ourselves can be hard enough in this world, let alone a disabled child or two, or three…  I’ve seen marvelous results from placements.   However, my blog-post, “Get in Someone’s Space” got a response that was not so complimentary.  I asked Janice about where she thought the comment was coming from.

There are a lot of good group homes but many are not.  The workers are paid minimum wage often and they are saints.  There are about 1/2 and 1/2 that are good v. not good.  They can make a lot of money potentially.  In some of the homes, the workers are ambivalent at best.  It is a job to them.  If they do care but are surrounded by people who don’t care they lose steam.  They can’t do it all.  Emergency homes are also useful to give parents a relief.

Some of the disabled in placement have no family involved.  Others do.  And in those that do have involved family give their family some time to recharge while in placement.  The family can recharge and use that new energy for things like continue to “shop” further for the best fit for placement.  It can be work to find the right placement and get someone moved there.  Then after that challenge is met, families will find other struggles.  Struggles such as placement being so far that the family can’t visit or be as involved as they’d like.  They find, as we all do at some ah-ha moment(s) in life, that we can’t have it all.

Mr. Rick stated it well.

I will not be a victim while choosing my burdens.

We could also say, “I will not be a victim while choosing my benefits,” perhaps.

I understand that the topic of disabled family and/or group home placements may not interest all of us.  It may not appear at the surface to be an issue involving eternal truths.  Yet, we see that it does.  We are, each of us, not so far removed from unfair life circumstances.  From choices that look “bad and also bad.”  Or could we say, rather, that look to be choices between “one benefit and another,” knowing that we can’t have it all?

No.  We are not so far away from the single mother raising her two mentally retarded children.  We are not that distant from the caregiver with license to house five children but can’t find good staffing.  We can see the fetal-alcohol syndrome child who got what he got from birth and will live where they are until they die with staff as their family.

To my parents who can’t give any more, choose your benefits.  They are there.  To my kids who are confused by their own behaviors and emotions, to my staffers who struggle to understand the value of their jobs, to you who feel more of the burdens than the benefits, to all of us, we are the same in this.  We are each other’s “people.”  We have this knowing.

Look around.  Gather strength and make your choices.

Question:  What has enabled your perspective?  What part came without effort and what part didn’t?  Please tell me your story.

Leave Space in Your Beliefs to Grow

 

standing up to stigma - mambo.org.uk

Self-Care Tip #144 – Leave space in your beliefs to grow.  Be a friend to yourself.

Madeline brought her son in.  He was born male but has always allegedly believed he was female inside.  It was Madeline’s appointment with me, not her son’s.  But he came in with her and I could either listen to her concerns about her son or ask him to leave against her wishes and still hear her talk.  So I listened.

The issue was a matter of salvation.  Madeline was fighting for her son’s salvation as a mother might.  That part was lovely to watch.  I thought of God hearing her and being present with her pain and being The One behind her fierce love in the first place.

We talked a little about the biology of homosexuality.  What is transgenderism?  If God’s Word is absolute, what part does a progressive understanding of biology play in our perception of truth?

Madeline’s son asked to leave.  I thanked him for coming in and he shrugged.  His whole family abused him, Madeline said, gulping and losing form.  She had spent many years defending him even though in her heart she was terrified that her son was damned.

Some of you may have read the powerful blog-post, “My son is gay” in which a mother described her halloween experience.  Her son dressed up as Daphne from Scooby-Doo.  She and he were promptly abused. As a mother I empathized, and as a scientist, I wanted to scream things like, “You thought the world was flat too!”

But Madeline was worried not only about bullying.  She was worried about the Last Judgment.

Stigma comes from all directions.  Inside of us, our homes, our churches, our schools, our government, up, down, sideways, this way, that…  Stigma is everywhere and it is usually a painful encounter for everyone involved.  Perpetrator included.

So here’s the scoop folks.  Homosexuality is biological. We have as much choice in it as the shape of our nose.

I’ve seen kids be mean about noses.  I’m half-Lebanese and believe me, I know what big noses are.  The nose that makes you wonder how the head escaped the vaginal canal without injury.  But I’ve never heard anyone hate someone’s nose and believe that he’s going to loose his salvation for it.  I’ve never seen someone turn her back on her brother and leave him to die without the love of family around because she thought she was condoning his nose if she did.  I’ve never heard about moral judgment being attached to a culturally incorrect nose.

In my son’s church class the other day, the teacher was trying to get him and the rest of the other oppositional three-year-olds to wear angel and shepherd costumes for the song they were going to perform. Only the stage-hams garbed up.  She kept giving the rest of us parents her pleading eyes, pleading words, and pleading emotions. She was making the wrong people feel guilty.  The kids were unfazed in both compliance and emotion.  The ones who were genetically inclined to get energy from performing that way, were.  The others were not.  I could have said to my son, “Get this on!…!”  And made him feel like he was bad if he didn’t.  But attaching morality would never change where he gets energy.  That part is genetic and it won’t change despite his conditioning.

It’s a bummer that Paul’s letters were translated the ways they were in the 1950’s using the word homosexuality.  A lot of people are scared when they read it.  Fear has threatened and hurt a lot of people.  Reverend Mel White posts about this.

I don’t know if Madeline was given anything she came looking for.  I’m not always the best teacher or student myself.  But I do know that we, all of us, will continue to learn through all eternity.  We will never know enough, love enough, or be sinless and perfect enough to take over that awesome job of being Judge.  I once heard of a beautiful beloved angel who tried.

Question:  What has been attached to morality in your life that you know is not?  How have you dealt with stigma?  Please tell me your story.

Choose Differently. You Are Not A Victim.

Candid Creeper #1 By Tony3

Self-Care Tip #143 – Choose differently.  Be a friend to yourself.

Psychiatry, love of my professional life, married me into his secretive family.  Of course I wanted and want psychiatry, finding so much inner congruence to the paradigms regarding human behavior, emotion, and more.  However, I did not want all the dangers of prescribing, of sharing advice (even solicited advice) if given outside sound proof walls, formalities with documentation, and a doctor-patient relationship that guards against abuse of power.  These are important things for sure but for me, they seemed to seep into my personal life.  For example, I was coached that even a cousin or friend or colleague whom I loved and loved me might throw me into prison, a Joseph toward the land of Egypt, should something go wrong that they thought was connected to my involvement.  Their own guilt and anger would be my judgment.

We do see this.  It is not a myth.  It happens not only in the personal scenarios I have described, but even when treatment is done in the most discreet, professional and informed circumstances.  In eating disorder families, for example, the psychiatrist might become the scape-goat.  Their calorie-deprived daughter, wife, sister, son is hospitalized and despite all their physician does or does not do, the beloved starves and dies.  The survivors are so confused by their grief.  Their pain, an angry god, will consume them if nothing is done.  And that is how the psychiatrist ends up in court to carry the sins away for the lives left behind.

And so my professional relationship with psychiatry became part of the neighborhood zoning that conditioned my choice to be more personally disconnected.  There are other cultural reasons, some of which I have mentioned in the blog-post Journey.  The key though is that is was my choice.  No one forced this on me.  No one forced me to respond in the ways that I have.  I am not a victim to my culture, sex, profession or anything else.  And I can choose differently any time I want.

I choose.  Is not that marvelous?!

Question:  What trips up your choices to connect?  What has helped you choose differently when you needed to?  Please tell me your story.

 

Connecting to Others is a Condition of Freedom Rather Than Loss of It.

Sitting on this land, fenced and gated I felt small.  It was different from my home.  Here I lost my connection to beyond the fence.  The string that attached me wasn’t long enough.  At my home, without thinking about it, I thought my self was bigger.  Small yet as large as the large connection I had to all the life that stretched out.  I hadn’t been in that place for a long time.

In the distance I saw the strange mountains, snow-covered, scoops of freedom and thought, “I must get there before I disappear.”

That’s what internet, (blogging, Facebook, Twitter) has done for me.  Taken me there.  No fences, no neighborhoods or zoning.  Suddenly my home became the great outdoors again and although I became smaller in it’s largeness, I became bigger by connection.  I had died a little in my isolation.  Designed in temperament and by human nature to get my energy from connections, I was weakening and alone.

I did not know.  I did now know a name for my condition.  I did not know the nature of my weakness.  I did not know what would happen when I took it down.  And I was afraid.

Tomorrow I’ll talk a little more about what conditions us to disconnect.  But for today I only share the openness around me with you.  It surprised me and wasn’t my conscious goal originally when I set out writing FriendtoYourself.  But as all true gifts come, It came to me from Love, not bought by labor or coin.

My land has changed.

Self-Care Tip #142 – Use the internet as a way to connect with others to be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What have been the connecting forces in your life?  Please tell me your story!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas my friends!

Raining again.  More basement floodage!   Ugh.

No real post today other than saying, I became better friends with myself when I became friends with you.

Feeling very blessed.