Tag Archives: Orlando

Freedom

Is it just me? Or does this particular American Independence Day seem to come with a special uniqueness. I wonder…

4th July 1

In my new neighborhood where daily I see Street People, many in bondage to substances, people seem more hopeless and desperate. And with Brexit, the Presidential Campaign shenanigans, and random acts of intentional mayhem dominating the news headlines, I actually appreciate my freedoms more than ever before.

Each new day from my first breath till I rest at night I make a strong effort to fill my space with thanks for my many blessings. And nearly every day, especially those in which I don’t talk with one of my “kids,” I remember freedom is not free. It’s a good habit.

ZnD engagement

July 4th is not necessarily about recognizing our Armed Forces, Veterans, First Responders or to remember those who gave their all in the service of their country. Still, without so many Americans who have throughout history and still continue to risk everything to defend our values, standing against insurmountable odds, tyranny and terrorism, again and again we would not have established and grown this land of liberty. Without all the above we would not have the freedom to exercise our rights:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...”*

I may be myopic here, but especially since the recent attacks on Paris, Orlando and Istanbul, I keep thinking of the line from the 1996 movie Independence Day**:

“…We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps its fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom…”

Maybe I actually am getting old. Or maybe the pressure of world events is exceptionally heavy lately. Still, in the back of my mind the song that inspired me as a child resounds in me today:

God Bless America!

“Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” 1 Timothy 2:8 (NLT)

*Declaration of Independence

**1996 Independence Day

Image courtesy ABSFreePic

 

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Hope

Even with my post deadline looming ominously, last week’s recap wasn’t especially inspiring – until I got to my notes from talking with Hope. A dear friend for decades, Hope inspired What Next’s theme and much of my writing.

In another state (and by other names, of course) she is a live-in health care provider, presently for a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder, a severe, often disabling mental condition.

HAVOCA-dissociative-identity-disorder

*

I’m fascinated with the subject. I studied and wrote a paper on D.I.D. in school. What’s more, over the years I’ve learned that while comparatively rare, it is more common than we want to think about. A form of PTSD/CPTSD, the fact that something otherwise unimaginable (consistently extensive, prolonged abuse) happens, causing the mind to shatter and recreate itself. I have the utmost respect for such victors (commonly considered victims).

I am often amazed by stories Hope can share with me without violating any confidentiality. Living with so many others, all contained in one physical body is mind-boggling. It’s a life most of us cannot imagine. I especially admire the rare individuals that excel at helping these particular victors as they pursue healthy, productive lives. Even with boundless compassion, extensive education, training and experience, not everyone is good at it. That’s our Hope.

In the fallout of the recent Orlando tragedy, and locally another young woman is in heaven early over an ended romance, I can’t shake something Hope said.

Referring to an episode she experienced where an over-worked receptionist made a mistake with Randy’s scheduling. After her charge (we’re calling Randy) pointed out the error, the receptionist became defensive, and then dismissive. Hope, like most people would have reacted strongly, but Randy graciously stepped up, handled the situation aptly and sensitively, actually calming the atmosphere so the upset receptionist could refocus on the tasks at hand and then sincerely apologized to them both profusely.

Describing her awe at how well Randy handled the situation, humbling her, Hope said,

“Seriously, I’d rather be multi-minded than minus-minded.”

Life seems crazy for most of us. Compound that by pain and confusion that can stop us in our tracks – and multiply that times infinite agony. That’s life for someone living with D.I.D. Many of us can’t imagine life for a PTSD survivor, more over D.I.D.

confusion image

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Many of us have suffered some kind of loss that bent our world sideways – at least for a season. Talk to anyone who suddenly lost their home, their job; worse a loved one or themselves.

When we become minus-minded, when we forget that people today function at maximum overload constantly; the emotions, concerns and burdens quickly spin us out of control. At those points we too easily minimize the value of individuals. In my neighborhood I see it often, mostly with the street people. Without adequately processing loss, anger, pain, confusion and fear individuals silently disappear in plain sight at an astounding rate.

At such a point any one of us, even the most devout, righteous souls can take a seriously bad turn that affects everyone near us.

The world is moving so fast in so many areas, keeping abreast of potential threats is challenging. Maybe my sons being first responders makes me more aware, more vigilant than some. And maybe I’m simply getting old. I don’t worry about it all too much, but I’m not stupid about protecting my information, my family and my loved ones either. If that’s hard to understand, just ask around Orlando, San Bernardino, Columbine, Newtown, Killeen, etc.

 

“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14 (NLT)

“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:4 (NLT)

 

*Image courtesy, HAVOCA

** Image courtesy, ABSFreePic

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Alley

To clear my head from the hard weekend, I shifted gears and started my work day at the WordPress Reader. Checking in on the blogosphere community lifted my spirits, as usual. My prayer time enhanced, perspective improved, I noticed the common thread – we are shaken.

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Later, during my first hourly circle around my block, a figure stole my attention – of someone sitting on the ground a few feet into the paved alleyway, head bowed, quietly weeping. The person looked like any of the numerous street people who frequent the avenue north of the street on which I live. Ordinarily I would have passed on by, but something about her stirred something in me.

Following my gut I stepped closer, asking if she needed help. With a sweep of her arm she waved me away, but I clumsily persisted. Reluctantly, she said she had just heard about the tragedy in Orlando.

Again, I recalled the scenes from Monday’s newscasts and held back my own tears. Awkwardly I blurted out, “I know how you feel.” To that she turned her head toward me. From the long, tousled hair covering her face I heard, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Impulsively I sat down on the pavement next to her. In due course I said, “Maybe you’re right, but I’m horrified just the same.” Surging with energy I felt uncomfortably feeble, not knowing if the stranger understood I referred to Orlando, and not my sitting by her. My mind became a blank slate. She didn’t respond. I simply sat there.

I silently asked God for direction, but heard nothing. And yet, I began to feel conspicuously at ease. We sat together in silence. Well after my tail end went numb, she wordlessly got to her feet, her head still low, and she walked away.

Fumbling to my feet I watched and noticed she didn’t look back. After the dozen-plus steps she turned the corner toward the busy street, out of view. Scant moments later I resumed walking the same direction. When I rounded the corner she was nowhere in sight.

I can’t tell you what the time meant to her. I continue to pray she’s not alone – not in her feelings or in the world. Hours later, I now wonder if angels also weep.

 

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)

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Pray

“…Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside…” Lin-Manuel Miranda

I want to imagine a world free of haters and ignorance. Today it’s very hard. But it will happen.

Neither Erin nor I heard the terrifying news, but we felt something horrible had happened. We continued to feel the oppression as we drove through the amazing Colorado Monument – even that majesty couldn’t shake our uneasiness.

This morning we felt it even deeper, even before hearing the news. Now we understand why. Humankind suffers horrifically again. Neither my feeble words nor my faith will undo the damage done. And yet I live in the hope all our cries to God help someone, somewhere somehow.

There’s no way to express my compassion for the families and friends of those lost and those suffering from this Sunday in Orlando, Florida. But I try.

Regardless how feeble we may feel in the aftermath today, love overcomes evil.

With deepest, heartfelt sympathies to all those who feel each loss, for the communities, friends and families and all of those suffering now.

Roo

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” Ephesians 3:15, 16 (NLT)

Image courtesy #PrayForOrlando, The Church at Oak Level@TCAOL

 

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