Nepal vs. Baltimore

The sensational news these past few days. We go between the struggles of watching the earthquake in Nepal, to riots in Baltimore. I said to Chris while we were eating dinner last night that I feel like I am in the early 1960’s. Why is there so much struggle with race, color, and violence? Such different issues in different parts of the world. In Nepal they did not ask for an earthquake and yet look at how the world is coming together (as often happens with natural disasters)? I received a notice from my company to donate, Facebook reminds me, there are mentions all over social media to donate and support the victims of this massive earthquake. We donate because we care. We donate because we know one day we could be in a similar situation. We donate because that is what we do — we take care of others.

Why then do we then see the juxtaposition of rioting, looting, fires — a war zone in Baltimore? How is it that we can see such generosity and such anger? Both situations have a result of pain, but different triggers of that pain. I am not going to even give my opinion one way or other as to the situation that occurred to cause this anguish. I had not actually followed what happened. What sparks my interest are the actions of those that are reacting. How is that living a non-violent approach? The police officers in the earlier incident could have very much been in the wrong, and it could also be a misunderstanding. It makes no sense to me that the result is that individuals feel they can damage liquor stores, throw bricks at cops, and burn and destroy public property. It completely diverts from the actual original issue. Others no longer see what actually happened. The issue is lost because all the people can see (my view completely) is their reaction.

It reminds me of a kid that does not get their way. What do they do? They throw a temper tantrum. They lie on the floor and keep their feet and whine and moan. Sometimes they use violence by kicking their parents or a sibling. Sometimes they might punch a wall, break something, or destroy an object to prove their point. Basically, I watch what is happening in Baltimore and what was happening in Missouri and I think stop it all. Stop acting like children. Stop with the news frenzied temper tantrums. Grow up, use your words, and make change in other meaningful ways. Ways that have a lasting effect.

We all have those days when we want to pitch a fit, but deep down we never want to steal, destroy, or hurt someone else. We want to be seen and heard. The individuals in Baltimore may be acting out because they feel an injustice has been done. They want to be seen and heard. Yet, there is a part of me that feels they do it because they can. They do it so they can try to prove a point, but in turn they lose a lot of credibility. In the words of many parents, I just want to yell: “Use your words.” We have got to stop this violence and instead put our focus on Nepal and other areas of the world that truly need our help.

Love in your heart

We all struggle with others. Somedays are better than others. You know when a sibling, or co-worker bug you or just get on your nerves. We agonize over what happened yesterday, or the conversation we overheard. It often leads to different thoughts, not always good ones that cross our mind. We judge, question, and ponder what happened.

ImageProxyWhat if we took a step back and loved them anyways? Of course you probably love your sibling, but that does not mean we always hold love in our hearts for them. There is a difference. They might get on your nerves one day, and just because you love them does not mean the thoughts you think of them are ones of love, goodness, or happiness. So, what if you let go of what happened and hold only good thoughts for them? What would that do for you?

There have been days I have tried this, to just let go of what happened, and think only good thoughts about the person that has frustrated me. It is not easy. So often we want to saturate ourselves in the experience we had, the way we were treated or wronged, and we want to hold a grudge. What if we were bigger than that? What if we wallowed for just a second, and then let it go and moved on with our life? We could then free space in our mind and thoughts for good. Just as the quote to the left states…”the more you will establish good in yourself.”

I am going to try it this week. Thinking about the thoughts I think towards others, and deciding to let go of the crap, and think of the good. Others deserve that from us, and is it not what you would want from others?

Sometimes you have to drop your pride

Even if a novel is not a true story, sometimes there is a character that gets under your skin, and makes their way into your heart. I just finished reading “Outside the Lines” by Amy Hatvany. It is a story about a girl who is trying to find her father. When she was ten he left because of his mental issues. He could not stay on his medications because it numbed him, but could not function without his medication. She is 30 and trying to find her father 20 years later. This excerpt made me think of my own dad:

“‘I’m useless,’ he cried. ‘Totally useless. I’m a terrible father. I’m a terrible painter. I should just leave…you’d be  better off without me. Everyone would.’ He shoved his face in his hands, making it awkward to keep him in my embrace. I could feel his tears drip down on my forearm. His pain bled into me, pushing through my skin. It made my stomach clench. He only used to cry once in a while, now it was happening all the time.” page 39

Dad rarely cried. He would call me every few weeks when I was in college. Instead of short frequent conversations, they would be three agonizing hours. I could not get him to stop talking to me. Maybe that is why it is hard for me to finish a conversation today, and why I feel guilty walking away, even if I am late for another engagement. I never knew how to get my dad off the phone. Maybe I felt that staying on the phone with him would make things different for him. Or better.

The final years of his life were not great for my father. Looking back it makes me sad to think about his loneliness. Those late night phone calls, when I should have been studying, made me feel like the parent. It definitely made me a better listener. He would tell me about the construction jobs he was working on, and the clients he liked, and those he did not. He would talk about his siblings, and whether he was in touch with them. We talking about my siblings and whether he was in touch with them. He would talk about his dreams, and where he wanted to take his life. He hoped that things would come through for him, and if they did he was going to find a better place to live, or eventually replace his old blue truck. Sometimes he was in a good mood and would tell me how proud he was of me, other times he would be so down in the dumps that I knew my words of affirmation would not sail into his ears, they would just float through the mouthpiece of my phone and out the ear of his phone.

My mom was dead. He missed her. Even though they divorced a few years before she passed on, I knew he still loved her. Even if they fought and argued, you could still see the love they had for each other. His work life was hard, back-breaking work and he was not getting any breaks. He longed to be able to pay his bills, and have something be easy in life. My sister and I encouraged him over and over again to get a job working for someone else for the knowledge that he would have a regular paycheck and health benefits, but that was not my dad. From as far back as I could remember my dad did not take orders from anyone. This meant the last thing he would do is work for someone else. I do not think he truly understood that sometimes when things are tough it is better to drop your pride, be good, collect a paycheck and put your feet up at the end of the week.

What he may not know is that I learned from his example. I have a bit of him in the “do your own thing” in me, but I also appreciate what it means to know you have a secure job, health benefits, and someone who might just rub your feet at the end of the week. It is not something to take for granted.

Adventurous, resilient, and one year older…

It is my sister’s birthday. I do not write about her that often. More because I feel that other than those that have passed on, and then of course Chris, that I do not talk about or expose too much about those in my life that are close to me (friends or family). I want to respect their privacy.

yes…she let me join her and blow out “HER” candles…

I have lost most of my immediate family, except for my brother and sister. My sister and I have had our ups and downs in life. Times when she kept the family together and other times when I felt I kept us together. We have had our fights and struggles. My not so nice lash outs (I used to be a biter). Okay, and a clawer, and am still a bit of a yeller. My sister has taken it all in stride.

At different times she has been a mother to me, and a sister, and a best friend. We have not always seen eye-to-eye. We have not always been happy with each other. In the end though we have always been there for each other. Countless experiences in hospitals while nursing my mom, and then my grandma. Many moves and purging of my family belongings. Extremely boring and depressing holidays with no real family. Yet, we got through it — together. Our lives are better now then we probably could have imagined.

Sista. You are a strong woman who is not afraid to take risks. Loves fiercely. Likes adventure. Respects those that respect you. In the above picture, you’ll see that even on her birthday she shared with me.

Have a wonderfully, sunny, pampered day. I love you.