Monday, October 2, 2017

Vegas Tragedy

It is sadly ironic that I wrote an entry last night about how difficult life is in today's world.  I woke up this morning to the news that many, many innocent lives were torn apart by a single gunman.

I have a 26-year-old and an 8-year-old that love people, and they both display empathy toward their fellow man.  Thankfully Tyler will never have to see the kind of news that unfolded today.  As for my daughter, we are left to figure out how to explain something so evil. 

Being Tyler's caregiver made me very sensitive to things going on around me.  I still fight for others to treat him with compassion and respect.  I also spent 25 years making sure that we protected everyone around us from experiencing his aggression and outbursts.  It was a quarter of a century mission to make sure everyone was well taken care of.

Then we see the events of the last 24 hours.  I do not understand the way people treat each other.  It breaks my heart to think of the anguish being felt by so many people tonight.  And for what?  

Somehow we have to get the message: we are all we've got.  We have to take care of those in Texas, and Florida, and Puerto Rico.  They are our brothers and sisters regardless of the language they speak or the color of their skin.  We have to take care of our sick and our disabled.  We need to respect and care for our elderly so that their years of life do not end in loneliness and poverty.  We must teach our children to care about each other and to strive to improve a world which we have foolishly wasted away.  

Tonight I pray for those lost to such a senseless act.  I pray for those families and friends who lost loved ones.  I pray for our nation that we step back and look at ourselves.  We have to stop the stupidity and realize that we are killing each other, and our planet.  We are not leaving a world to be proud of for our children. 

We have to dig deep and find the courage and faith to continue on.  We must help each other and watch over each other if we are ever going to conquer evil.  Most of all we have to BE THERE for each other.  If you see someone hurting....reach out to them.  If someone seems to feel to them.  

Tonight, like too many other nights, we mourn and we move on faithfully.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fear Itself

John Kennedy famously said:  The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

How many times have all of us been afraid of something and found that our greatest fears did not live up to reality.  It's those moments where we reflect and say "that wasn't as bad as I thought!".  We almost feel silly for worrying so much.

As caregivers we have likely come by our fears for good reason.  We have likely experienced heartache beyond what most people can fathom.  With Tyler I came to expect that bad things would happen.  So many endless nights sleeping beside him in the hospital will wreck you as a person.  My fear became waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Unfortunately fear perpetuates itself.  It feeds off of itself.  It becomes its own self-fulfilling prophesy.  It tells you to give up before you have a chance to lose!  It makes you look only at the worst-case-scenario

So what does JFK mean by this statement?  We cannot live in fear.  Regardless of what our situation is...we cannot live in fear.  Our minds enjoy tricking us by making us believe that everything will crash and burn.  I was afraid that Tyler would break down if we were not taking care of him, yet he has survived and thrived.  I was afraid that by leaving my job of 13 years I would lose everything, yet a month later I realize I am not only ok, but doing much better.

Why do we do this?  My opinion is that we are conditioned as consumers to protect against the unseen bad thing.  Think about it, we are surrounded by ads that show us how awful it would be to be bald, or impotent, or have eyelid pain.  We think we either are already a victim of these things, or we surely will be.

Have you ever had one of those maddening friends that always seem to survive everything?  No matter what risk they take they come out just fine.  These people drive me crazy!!  Its like they have teflon clothing and can walk through fire and not get burned.  But why can they do this?

I believe the answer is that we can either choose to live in fear, or choose to live without it.  Rod Stewart sings "Luck is believing that you are lucky.  That's all.  And showing just a little bit of faith".  Just as fear feeds off of itself, so must feeling confident.  

Being a caregiver is extremely difficult.  But it will be difficult regardless if we walk in fear or not.  So why can't we learn to walk with that teflon jacket too?  Things will still stick to us to be sure, but maybe we can win some of the smaller battles, which can only help in the long run.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

A Difficult World

Good evening.

Unfortunately our children are growing up in a very difficult world.  In many ways they are facing more challenges than I ever had to while growing up.  That's not to say that we didn't have our own challenges, but it is just different.  Perhaps the problems facing our children today are similar, but they certainly are magnified if nothing else.

In my childhood the parents had to worry about us using pot and drinking wine coolers.  There were exceptions of course, but for the most part this was the worst of it.  We experienced bullying inside of schools and for the most part we were told you had to "get tougher".  

Now, we have a meth epidemic.  Young people in our community are dying by the day and even those trying hard to fight it are losing the battle.  We also now have social media which provides bullies a forum for spreading pictures and rumors which are driving more children to desperate measures.  We can find tapes of kids fighting, having sex, and doing horrible things to other kids.

Our community is now faced with a young man that has committed suicide.  Apparently, for reasons I do not know, he decided life was too hard and he hung himself.  He was a high school senior.  He could not have been more than 17 or 18 years of age.

I heard about this during church this morning.  Our Pastor prayed for this young man, and then he talked about the couple of children in our congregation, one of them being my daughter.  He prayed that these 2 girls, who are such a blessing to all of us, that they be protected from the evil and the tragedies we are seeing so many children being pulled into.  

I looked at my daughter, and my son.  And I wondered how in the world I would ever have the courage and strength to protect them.  The bad things in the world seem to be so big compared to little me.  

How do we protect our children in such a difficult world??

I don't have the answer.  It scares me to death honestly.  What I do know is I love them, and I tell them both every day that I see them.  I'm sure I tell my daughter multiple times every day that I love her.  When they do something great I let them know how proud they make me.  We also try to surround them with people who share our desire to protect them.  We have them involved with the people at church, where we hope they are hearing powerful messages of love and faith.  We have Sam involved in healthy activities like swimming.  

Is it enough?  Only time will tell.  It's a difficult world.  

Be well and God bless.     Tom