Blink

Those who look backward say that our life time is a blink, a twitch of an eye lash.  To give perspective, our turn at mortality might be characterized as a bit of fog with no real impact on the issues of anthropology.  This is it.  Do it.  Blink.  The end.

Those who look forward say that our life time on earth is the blink to be followed by an eternity of one form or another.  The values of our blink determine that eternal form.  This is the tip.  Do it well and become a  forever reward.

My intention is to by-pass both perspectives.  My blink is now, the now of response, the now of commitment, the now of gentleness, the now of giving back.

For several days I have forgotten most of what passes through the senses, have asked family to repeat because I focused elsewhere, and have even looked up to wonder how I came to this room, this task, this moment.

After writing about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I again realized the tremendous value of the comments made by you, Gentle Readers.  Stories, observations, shared experiences compound to enrich and educate.

Two-Names and I are close in age but he has experiences that I cannot begin to comprehend.   He tells me that the Government now categorizes PTSD as a 30% disability, sort of like being 30% pregnant, right?  Can a woman suppress pregnancy 70% of the time?  Could it be that the government determines that, at great personal cost,  women and men with PTSD have the fortitude to suppress symptoms 70% of the time?

For a very long time the symptoms of PTSD were not in the system.  Those suffering from the disorder had no way of defining expectations.  They knew that they felt, reacted and responded in ways that were off the conventional mark.  “A bit stranger” than most is an apt self description of a gentle-man who has had the disorder for decades.  Through those decades, this gentle-man has lived a life that would read like a novel, caring, committed and self-directed to giving back through many channels, to honoring his belief in the value of every blink.

Another story of PTSD has a different form of pain.  This veteran with PTSD self medicated into homelessness and severe alcoholism.  Chance circumstance brought forced sobriety and introduced the veteran to another  man who knows the value of each blink. This man bought the veteran needed medications, shared a meal and found a mental health professional willing to donate his services to help the veteran find a way out of the pain.

I remember listening to a man talking about the woman known as Mother Theresa.  The speaker stood among the dying in Mother Theresa’s facility.  He watched the Sisters bathe, feed, and tend those with a very short time to live.  Often the dying would again soil themselves before the Sister could move on to care for another of those near death.  When the man asked how these women could handle day after day after day of ministering to those who might die before an hour passed, the answer was a prayer.    “Help me see the good in this person so this person can see the good in me.”

Now.  Now is our time, our blink.

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One To Eternity

That is my scale of importance.  It ranks close to the 15 minute rule in darker moments.  Something happens to rattle my calm and I need to find a buffer.  Enter the One-To-Eternity Rule.

Sarah Palin accuses the president of expecting Americans to sit-down-and-shut-up.  Questioned further about the source of her statement, she stumbled into a  remark about his condescending general persona, excusing her spin on the truth.

The Olympic silver medalist, Evgeni Plushenko, castigates the judges for awarding gold to  Evan Lysacek, a man who cannot execute the quad saying that a quad-less routine is not a sport but merely dancing.   Later, Bob Costas interviewed Evan Lysacek.  Lysacek was a gentleman refusing to take the bait of Costas reading Plushenko’s whine.

Scotty Lago won the bronze in half-pipe and posted questionable photographs of himself on the internet.  Doesn’t that qualify for some sort of annoyingly dumb award?

Back to my scale.  In true and valued importance these incidents rank on the single digit side, counting just a smidge more than a golfer who believed that skill and money gave him license to dismiss the rules of integrity.

The macro and micro world are racked by things that matter.  Haiti and the struggles of her people to eat and sleep in safety, to find jobs to earn what  replacements for moments of destruction.

Creeping nastiness in the world of politics and government, a nastiness that gives ordinary citizen a need to forget civil discourse in favor of personal attack.

A world economy that widens a rift between blue-collar struggles and white-collar comfort.

“Need work.  Ask for my resume.”  The new sign of the street corner times, replacing the, “Hungry, please help.”

Forty-five applicants for every available job on a government site.

A Man I Know taking the passenger seat from his car so he can replace it with plywood and pillow…his new home without a home.

A teenage boy will be tried as an adult for stabbing his cousin, killing her for teasing him.

The scale is tipped beyond balance.  These are matters for eternity.

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.