Friday, October 24, 2008

Listening and observing life

Listening to life:

I have a 5 year old daughter. The best part of having her is cuddling with her and reading, some she does and most I do. And to hear a 5 year old laugh is so wonderful. Wonderful life.

Today I saw my counselor and she had a great idea. She could get people with DIFFERENT disabilities together to talk not about their diseases, but about managing living, things like how to get through the holidays. That would be so awesome. Interesting life.

So for me to get through what my mom has going on, and how that makes life so much more complex...we talked about that. My mom has started chemo and has still been able to come and help me a bit. I worry about how hard chemo is, and how it depletes a person, and it just seems to stink, and that the whole thing shouldn't be happening to my invincible mom. So what to do? Perhaps pray. Maybe meditate. I haven't figured that out. At other times, I've had this sense that God comes out and says "Hello Beth. I'm here. " I'm still waiting for that. I'm feeling out there and alone. Confusing life.

So I decided with all the recent stress in my life, I should find 15 minutes a day to do some kind of listening exercise, maybe meditating is what I'm thinking. Or reading these short essays. Or listening to music (I dug some up today) I was thinking writing this blog could do it, but then my husband came in to tell me about his big pay increase. Distracting life? :)

But I go back to this book I have, which has an essay by a pastor, who says to Listen. Observe. Observe religioiusly. Don't just go about life, going from one thing to the next. Really listen. God, please help me listen better and show me you are there. I'm hoping there's some glue holding everything together, but it's feeling like pretty weak glue!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To ask, to observe, to help

A friend and I have been corresponding back and forth and realize that we have a problem! We both have MS--lately she's had some financial difficulties stemming from her MS while I've had some physical difficulties stemming from my MS.

So apparently we each go through this thought process in terms of asking for help. Who should I ask? Am I bothering themz? Is this going to work if I do ask? Will thy think I'm a slacker? Well, what the heck--why doesn't anyone notice I'm struggling? Why doesn't anyone ask if they can help? Asking and observing.

With my mom going through chemo, my "assistant" may be on hold at various points. So therefore, the house seemed to be falling apart. I would come home exhausted and just look at our disastrous living room--yuck! Kids stuff everywhere. And I needed my clothes moved to transition seasons. Who to ask to help? My mom was able to come yesterday and so the problem got delayed.

But why is it so hard to ask for help? But then why is it so hard to oberve that people need help?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Insensitivity and thanks

This past Monday I was sitting waiting for my daughter to finish dance class, when I was overhearing this woman talking, then with another guy, and oh, so hard to keep my mouth shut! She was talking about doing some craft fair, how next time she's going to use the "handicapped parking" (when are we going to call it "accessible parking???") because of all the steps. Then she went on--her knee hurts--maybe she should get a knee replacement, her rotator cuff hurts, and there was something else--blah, blah, blah. Then she went on--had gone to some stadium--this is where the guy seemed to chime in with agreement. She was about to leave and the cleaning people were coming in and they looked homeless. And the guy was in agreement with this.

Come on! So I was sitting there with my walker--you think nothing hurts for me? You think you have it so rough and then can pick on people who are out there, working hard. As I said in my last post, I've been listening! I think maybe people should be more thankful for what they DO have, and thankful to hard-working people who are cleaning up their mess. Maybe this lady should be thankful she CAN walk. She was probably the one who parked in the ONLY accessible spot last week, so I sat in my car during dance. Then the comment about the people--I am thankful there are people out there who work hard given they might have a difficult life.

This kind of goes with a company picnic I attended a few years ago--thank goodness I left that dept! There were 2 clicky people who saw a homeless guy and were sure they saw him urinating and were just "Can you believe that?" about the whole thing. And then someone else made a comment that he must have some kind of mental problem. Again, why rip on him instead of thinking of how you can maybe help him.

So in rapidly typing this brainstorm, I won't list all my complaints although the past week has been tough and filled with stress. I will say I'm thankful for my family, and for my wonderful 5 year old daughter who has her moments, but is a true blessing. I am thankful that I still work, so our family has money. I am thankful that we can live comfortably. I am thankful for friends and family. I am thankful for an awesome doc I have, so when times are tough, he gives me his direct work, home, and personal cell phone numbers. And I'm so very thankful for anyone who asks if I need help, even if I don't, because I know they care. I'm thankful for those who offer and give help when I am struggling. And I am thankful for Willy, from some posts back, because I know he prays for me and keeps me in his prayers, and doesn't forget about me. I hope he is doing well.

Faith, love, peace, and hope. All very important.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Looking and listening

I was reading an entry in The Life of Meaning recently. It was by a pastor who, at times, has had doubts in faith, but has always come back. He reports that in such times, he looks around and listens carefully. There is a lot of bad stuff out in the world.

Then another pastor, pastor Joe Holub, writes "Progressive Christianity often uses the term panentheism – that is the belief that everything in creation is in God. God is not a separate being living “out there” or “up there” beyond the circle of the sky, but God is all around. We and all creation are in God. As we relate to the world and the people around us, we relate to God. Respecting creation and people is to respect God. Exploiting creation and people is to exploit God. To experience God you need not begin looking any further than into the face of your neighbor, and if Matthew 25 means anything at all, the face of your neighbor that is suffering."

So I've been trying to look and listen lately, since so much of my life has seemed in turmoil. My mom has breast cancer--the outlook is good, but yet knowing she will have to go through chemo is not that fun. So that has been hard. And I think, what about the people who do not have health insurance at all, and don't have preventive screenings, and so would get caught at a point way past that where my mom is now. And I think of me, me, me. Am I allowed to do that, because it makes me feel guilty? I've struggled with a roller coaster of emotions, and this has affected my MS--stress just does that. Today my legs decided I needed to sit on the floor of the shower to shower--ok... And overall I've felt exhausted and completely distracted.

So I look around and listen. Communities are out there. They do not solve everything and they overlap. My mom has tons of friends--I never realized that--and they hav brought her meals, called her, etc. In a different world, I've been one of the ones organizing a disability awareness dinner and that will bring people from the general disability together to connect. At work, my boss tells me that I will go through emotions of anger, grief, and anything I can imagine. Church has its own community, and communities within that community, and those are supposed to reach out to a larger community. So I listen and that's what I see now--communities out there to help each other. That seems to fall in line with God being everywhere.

Before I read the entry in that book, I was doing my daughter Lori's laundry. I had it in her room and was folding her things. Suddenly, I did become both mad and sad in the same instance, crying and thinking that this isn't supposed to happen. We had a good system going. How could it all be thrown out of wack now? But God is all around--in comunities everywhere. I believe that I will still look and listen, as these communities serve to help society. And I hope to feel the presence of God someday soon.