When Awake Is Better: Night Musings

Insomnia is a plague, a terrible affliction of mind and body but there are times when the mind is so filled with good things that extra hours of thought are a blessing.

Last night’s reasons to be awake….

Yesterday we did the garage sale search looking for those elusive wood and metal toys. After a morning of zero finds, I am convinced that wood and metal toys gather dust in the attics of antique stores or are touted in high dollar green-catalogues.

While driving in a beautiful lake community, we saw our neighbor’s truck and trailer loaded with rock and pipe.  Steve was ankle-deep in mud, bent over a loaded shovel.

Steve is one of those naturally gracious humans ready to smile no matter what the interruption.  Bob’s “How’s it going?” brought a typical Steve answer. “Great.  Just enjoying my life.”

Further conversation explained that he was doing drainage repairs to the house as barter for some equipment the home owner was willing to trade.  Barter.  What a great way to handle parts of the struggling economy.  And what an unusually nice man.

Thursday was Sam day, the highlight of every week.  Sam is close to 3 1/2, tall, thin and filled with wonder.   Taking advantage of a break in the rain, we were playing outside when a pick-up pulled into the driveway.  For over a year, this man has come multiple times wondering if we wanted the driveway sealed for a really good price.   Sam watched and listened as the man sat on a step and began the sales pitch while Bob kept shaking his head.  “Not now.  Maybe later in the summer.  We just don’t have the money now.”

Sam jumped up, ran to the toy room, opened his cash register and counted out eight pennies.  Hurrying back, he handed the man the fist full of money and said, “I will pay for Papa’s driveway.”   What a beautiful little boy.

During the past two months our family has experienced multiple health challenges.  Many things about the health care system are miracles of restoration and comfort.  Some are frustrations of the most maddening sort.   “Too big to fail” was one of the justifications for the financial bail-out.  “Too big to be transparent-to big to admit mistakes” might be applied to health care.   How I hope the evolving situation will prove me wrong.

And now the last chapter of wakefulness.

Why is it that so often it is easier to handle a loved ones physical problems than to handle the mental and emotional problems?  Why do so many of us reach out to alleviate physical pain while dismissing emotional pain as weakness?  How odd we are.

We profess to love but can withhold that love if the beloved needs on-going support for mental, behavioral and emotional sickness.  For some of us, there is no question that we would help a loved one fight cancer with every ounce of determination.  But let a loved one fight depression, and we bail.  We can sit by the physically dying for weeks on end, but we pass on the emotional dying calling those symptoms weakness or craziness.    Wonder why the boot-strap mentality is so difficult to shake.

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A New Beginning, A New Resurrection (ccr)

In the Christian world, we mark the greatest miracle in the celebration of the Resurrection.  The  liturgy for Easter Mass is a splendid thing, lovely in every celebratory way.  Outside the churches, the buds of Spring are the standard metaphor for new life, for resurrections from the earth.

Some weeks ago this blog found “God’s Shopping List” a puzzle, one I will never solve.  Some comments found the answer in my faith labeled ‘weak’ and explained to me that God DID answer every prayer on the list, just not in the way the supplicant intended.  No point in furthering that debate, at least not if my weak faith is the linchpin.

For me, Easter Sunday is a new beginning of hope for the needs we seem to butcher or bury along the way, the needs of human existence that pull us away from one another and from the God of  different names, but the one personage we call Power.

WAR as  method and solution.  Brave women and men, through centuries of warring, live maimed in spirit and body, die too young, and become a blip on a historical list of shifting power.

PREJUDICE as  method and solution, a tool to maintain control and power, a constant fulcrum to keep ‘them’ below the ‘us’ we see as chosen.

ABUSE as method and solution.  The world requires more than keening in voice and action to end abuse of every kind.  ABUSE is WAR and PREJUDICE, inflicting pain to maintain the status of chosen.  ABUSE is in governments, churches, homes and in our schools.

RAPE as  method and solution.  Rape is violence, prejudice and abuse of power–an obscene use of a body function.

ABORTION as  method and solution.  Birth control is as available as a package of Life Savers, front and center on many retail counters.  Granted that women should have the right to control their own bodies.  No debate on the heart of that argument.  Two simple solutions to end the diversion debate of when a fetus becomes human, birth control and, when all else fails, self-control.

POVERTY as method and solution.  There are always reasons explaining why children die from malnutrition, but not a word of any of those reasons stop the cries of hunger.

DISHONEST GOVERNMENT as method and solution.  Listen to debates.  Read news reports and editorial comments.  Search for truth and balance.  Try to understand the rhetoric of well-meaning people using defamation to support argument.

Personal Integrity, Education, Health Care…the list is so long and convoluted beyond easy sorting.  This piece of writing is lame, indeed, because it offers the list of resurrection needs without methods and solutions.  If our world has grown too complicated for reasonable solutions, then the ramifications of that  growth are the greatest resurrection needs.  With all due respect, I add this to God’s Shopping List— and Man’s Working List.

Looking Around

I have wanted this blog to type itself because I have this huge need to ‘run-around-scream-and shout’ and I haven’t found the words.  Things are a mess.   More and more people are homeless.  Houses in foreclosure.  Bankruptcy filings by hard-working honest men and women being sucked into such difficulty.  Food lines at kitchens and churches grow longer each week.  Expenses climbing and salaries either not keeping pace or disappearing in company lay-offs or closures.

Look at the faces around you in stores, malls, churches.  Bitterness and hopelessness are struggling in those faces.   Prayer?  Even men and women who have prayed for a lifetime say the word with rejection.

Health insurance premiums going unpaid so food is on the table.

Anger rising as people search for someone–something–to blame.

“How can it be that there is no solution?  How can we continue when there are no answers?  How long can we survive without work?  Where do we live when the house is gone?  What is wrong with me that I am in this place?”

Demoralized is a very ugly concept.

And, as these questions do not get answered, the anger continues.