Thursday, June 25, 2015

The change we need

Last week, I posted that I was with Caroline’s family at Myrtle Beach.  The post went up on Thursday, and at that time, we hadn’t had the TV on for at least 24 hours.  It was late in the day on Thursday when I heard the horrific news of the murders in Charleston.   I probably wouldn’t have been ready to write about that last week anyway.  Since then, I have watched with sadness the news and social media coverage.  I see the overall message as “something has to change”.  There has been much chatter about the confederate flag flying in SC and streets that are named for people that oppressed black people.  I believe that if there are public symbols that offend a lot of people, public officials should seek to change that, but I can’t agree that I think that is the “change” that we need.   My parents taught me that the change we are most capable of is the change in ourselves.    Prayer is an important part of that process for me.   By slowing down and turning off the world for a few minutes, it allows me to listen for what is important.    And while this process can be relaxing, it also frequently leads to a call to action for me.  I don’t know for sure that the call is always God inspired during those times, but I choose to believe it is.  So in my prayer time over the Charleston murders, the question that confronted me was “what I am going to do? “  Not “what are the police going to do?” or “what are the lawmakers going to do?” or “what is the governor of SC going to do?”, but “what I am going to do?”   When I think about the killer’s motive, I think of two things – hate and illness.   I am not sure both were there for the murderer, but I believe it must be so.   I don’t know if it was the hate that brought on the illness, or the illness that allowed the hate.  If he was taught to hate by people close to him, then those people need as much (or more) help that he does, and they should be our focus.  If he learned to hate on his own, I want to understand what would cause someone to do that.  If he is sick, and I believe he is, then I want to understand what we can do to help people recognize the sickness earlier, and get them the help they need.  I have spent some time this week trying to find out what other people know about  the relationship between mental illness and violence.  Most of the articles I found deal with debunking the myth that the mentally ill are more violent than the rest of us.    I believe that, but that is not really what I was Iooking for.  I found this heartfelt video from Kevin Breel.  Kevin is a comedian that struggles with depression, and he offers his thoughts on what living with the disease is like.   He talks about what he is doing to overcome the problem.  I found Kevin’s video in this article, which also has a good discussion of how to help people that you think may be depressed.    I don’t know about all of the different kinds of mental illness, but I suspect that a lot of them start with or include some form of depression.   In summary, the article recommends that if you feel like someone you know is depressed, ask them “how are you doing”, with the goal being to truly understand that, as opposed to figuring out how you can fix them.  I like that advice, and I want to do that more.  I might not prevent a mass murder, but it is something I can do

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Family Ties

I got to spend this week with some of Caroline’s family at Myrtle Beach.  Aunt Delma and Uncle Dickie rented 4 condominiums so everyone that wanted a bed would have a bed to sleep in.  Family birth dates spanned 7 decades, with Uncle Dickie and my grandson, Evan, serving as the “book ends”.   I know how hard it is for Caroline and I to decide where to go out to eat when it is just the 2 of us, so it is amazing that 17 of us ended up at the same table at two different restaurants two nights in a row.    We don’t get to see Caroline’s family a lot, and it is extremely rare that this many of us would be together at one time.  I love being with her family and love seeing how everyone takes care of each other.  I am thankful to be a part of it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Who's accountable?

Caroline and I have been participating in small group meetings in our home that are sponsored by our church.    These group meetings give members a chance to get to know each other better, learn more about Jesus and pray for each other.  Our last group was made up of about 12 men and women.  Our church is starting a new program that will encourage men to meet with other men, and women with other women in group of only two or three.  These groups are designed to promote more sharing and higher intimacy and accountability.  I am excited that I will be meeting with two other men next Tuesday morning.  If you have experience with a similar group that you would like to share, please feel free to post or send me a private message.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Who’s the hero?

With all the chatter this week about heroes, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to post my own entry.  I love music, and these two superstars singing about a hero make me happy.  Some of the lyrics hit home with me.  “I don’t want to be your hero.  I want to fight like everyone else.”  “Your masquerade - I don’t wanna be a part of your parade.”  Very timely.  Very true.  Please excuse the advertising up front.  When 11 million people want to see you, somebody needs to make a buck.  Nathan and Eva, thanks for being my kind of heroes.