Tomorrow is Thanksgivng in the United States. As you indulge in your celebrations and meals, remember your blessings and those who have no home or family. Take a pause to be thankful for what you have.
I try to keep this blog off the topic of politics, mostly because I find what is happening politically in the United States horrible. I discuss it enough on Facebook to just about give me an ulcer.
The stances of over half of the states’ governors regarding refugee resettlement reflects the fear and, sadly, bigotry the country seems to have fallen victim to.
This is a map of the states whose governors have refused admission.
I do not support ISIS or any other terrorist groups. But, not all Muslims are terrorists. The Syrian refugees are just that- people fleeing the wars and hoping for a better life. There is a stringent vetting process before they’re allowed into the country. That can take 18-24 months. It would be much easier for a terrorist to fly into the country. This is how the process works:
“If you’re a refugee, first, you apply through the United Nations High Commission of Refugees, which collects documents and performs interviews. Incidentally, less than 1 percent of refugees worldwide end up being recommended for resettlement, but if you’re one of them, you may then be referred to the State Department to begin the vetting process,” said Oliver. “At this point, more information is collected, and you’ll be put through security screenings by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, and if you’re a Syrian refugee, you’ll get an additional layer of screening called the Syria Enhanced Review, which may include a further check by a special part of Homeland Security—the USCIS [United States Citizenship and Immigration Services] fraud detection and national security directorate.
Here is the link to the article: How it Works
I’m greatly saddened by the number of Christians I have spoken to the past week (both on and off the Internet) who support not allowing the refugees for various reasons. This is against the faith they say they follow. They should be leading the way in helping refugees, not fighting them entering the country. Here are a few Biblical examples of refugees.
Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock. They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
After the birth of Jesus, Joseph was instructed to take Mary and the baby and flee to Egypt. Herod threaten to kill the baby. Jesus himself was a refugee. (Matthew 2:13-15)
In Matthew 25:35-46, Jesus instructed his followers to feed and clothe strangers and to allow them to settle in the area. Those who take care of others are welcome in the kingdom of heaven; those who don’t won’t be allowed in.
How can anyone, Christian or not, can see this and not feel empathy and a willingness to to help:
Depression is like being weighted down with chains. Everything takes effort and it is almost impossible to have hope that things will get better. For some, it is a brief time due to something that happened in their lives; for example, a divorce. This is a situational depression. For others, it is a long term war. We may win battles and depression goes into remission but it often returns.
For family and friends of someone with depression may not understand. “Snap out of it,” ” pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” ” it’s not that bad” or “everyone gets sad sometime.” Or similar comments. Others avoid dealing the person. And since part of depression is not having the energy or interest to participate in activities and avoid others, it’s easy for someone to just not deal with the depressed person. This isolates even more. And feeds into the depression. Do not judge. They are doing the best they can.
Instead, reach out and support them. They need the human interaction and to know someone cares. Listen if they want to talk but avoid giving advice unless asked. Encourage them to seek counseling and medical help. There are many health issues that cause depression symptoms,such as low vitamin D of B, hypothyroid, and anemia are a few. Sometimes just dealing with the underlying medical issues resolves the depression.
Depression often accompanies brain injury and other traumatic experiences or injuries. Life has drastically changed. In the case of brain injury, the actual physical structure of the brain is different. Healing still happens but in addition to the injury and the stress of recovery, depression rides their back.
There is hope things will improve. Never give up.
Before the brain injury I ran marathons. A frequent question was “What do you do on a long run to keep from getting bored?” This was especially important when they found out I didn’t run with headphones. (I still don’t )
Running brought peace. It was a time to get away from stress and problems. Quite frequently I found solutions to problems on the road. My mind was freed from chewing over the issue and the sound of my heartbeat and the landing of my feet were calming and brought better focus.
The scenery was also part of the enjoyment. I live in a rural area. Most of my runs were on less traveled roads going through farmlands. The start of the Blue Mountains was always visible. Even staying in town, I still saw the mountains. I also did a lot of trail running. That requires focus and good balance. Trails are uneven. You always have to pay attention to your footing. One of the funniest things I did on a trail was a fall. My foot slipped when I was trying to avoid a huge middle puddle. I ended up “swimming ” in it instead. The trails also put me in nature. I find connection to nature spiritually uplifting. The scenery is golden. A river, lots of trees, surrounded by hills. At least it was like that where I ran often.
Now, add in the challenge. There was a lot of mental discipline to work out even when I didn’t want to. There was a significant time commitment. It was challenging physically. Running workouts and cross training pushed my body. Then, racing not only against other people but also against myself and the time. This is more about why I enjoy running rather than how I amused myself, although there was a fair amount of planning for pace.
Today, my long runs aren’t nearly as far or long. But, even on shorter runs, I still need to be mentally active. I do most of what I mentioned before but I can’t run trails anymore. I added in a few different activities that target some of my weak areas in memory and flexibility. I practice the multiplication tables. Quite frequently, I have to “count ” to the next number because I don’t know it. Another game I play is naming as many words as I can in different categories such as animals with the first letter of the name of the animals. I also do animals in the same family. For example: ferrets, weasels, mink, and sea otters. Or breed of dogs and cats.
Take time to do something you enjoy. Don’t be afraid of trying something new or doing something you don’t do well. The challenge is part of the fun.
I am part of several ferret groups in Facebook. Most ferrants (parent+ ferret= ferrant) have more than one ferret. The average lifespan is 7-9 years. Ferrets have so much joy and energy; so much play and curiosity, I think they “burn out” earlier than some other animals.
With all the ferrets in the group, some little critters are ill. Quite often, a ferret goes to Rainbow Bridge to wait for us.
I remembered a poem I memorized in high school: Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye. I made a meme with this poem.
I like the poem. It reflects what I believe. No one truly dies. Energy never goes away. We become part of the universe, part of the physical world. We don’t sleep in the grave. Death is not the end. It’s a transition.
I think a lot about death now. It’s not always physical death. It’s a transitional point. Perhaps it’s change you chose to make, such as stopping a bad habit. Sometimes, it’s sad such as when you lost something important to you. “Death” can be the loss of a job, a breakup in a relationship,even graduating from college. Not all the changes are bad. It can also be the death of who you were. Drastic change. It’s not always voluntary.
At times, the change can be almost impossible to manage. I think about the accident that caused my TBI. Well, actually I think about what happened after. I don’t remember the accident at all. I lost much of who I was before. I’m not certain what the transition really is. A lot of the time, I wish it had killed me outright.
Maybe it’s about that. Enjoying the simple life. Or trying to.
I have been a fan of the Seattle Seahawks for years. I was thrilled when they won the Super Bowl. The season isn’t going well this year. The team often comes close to winning a game, only to lose it by a few points. Usually scored in the fourth quarter. (Hey, Defense! Four quarters, not three!). In the game against the Cardinals, the quarterback (Russel Wilson) ran into one of his own players, causing a touch back. The team just isn’t clicking.
The way the Seahwaks are playing this year is much like life. In so many ways, we often get so close to a goal, just to miss by inches. The question becomes, how do we adapt the game?
I back the Seahawks but wish they were playing much better. Do we back friends and family when they’re in a losing season? How do we handle it?
Losing is a theme right now for me. I look back over the past four years and just see so many lost dreams.. So many things are gone. It’s damn depressing.
I wonder what I would have done differently in that last marathon had I known it would be my last? I ran but so focused I missed the scenery. How much of my life did I miss?