Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Reverend Alden

I’ve been watching Little House on the Prairie nightly. I don’t remember it being so intense, but almost every episode is loaded. The books were written in the 1800’s, the television show was produced in the 70’s, and most of the topics are completely relevant in 2021.

The Ingalls and most of the folks in Walnut Grove are pretty great people (Mrs. Olsen and her brats excluded). They have high expectations of themselves and an extremely strong faith in God.

Sometimes though, I find myself getting pissed off at Reverend Alden. I’m pretty sensitive to Christians who preach “turn the other cheek” to the extreme. I see the results of it today. Ministers/Pastors who expect women to tolerate abuse (of any kind) from their partners for the sake of submission. It’s horrifying.

Even the college I attended in order to become a missionary has been in the news for the last few months. Allegedly, their response to students over the years who have been abused, assaulted, and raped was dismissed. Some were even told the horrifying, “What did you do to get him to do that?” type of stuff.

Makes me shudder.

But I digress. In the last episode I watched, three men (one a teen) moved into town and they were bad news. They fed a line of crap to Reverend Alden who bought it. They swindled the townspeople, but worse abused the women. Sweet Mary Ingalls got a black eye from the teen. Sweet Caroline Ingalls was approached by two of the men and inappropriately touched. You should have seen the look on Charles’ face when he found Caroline.

Unfortunately, there were two of them so he got his butt kicked but he sure gave it a try.

Reverend Alden’s sermon was on turning the other cheek when he first became aware of the grievances. When he finally realized he had been bamboozled, the next week’s sermon was jaw-dropping. He talked about people doing evil and grabbed one of those men, twisted his arm behind his back, and shoved his face into the wall. The man said they would leave by nightfall. The reverend responded with, “No, you will leave now” and he summoned all the men in the congregation to escort them out of town right then and there.

He did turn on his way out and say, “Caroline, lead the women in a hymn” which she did with a smile on her face.

GO REVEREND ALDEN!

Go men of God. Get the story straight and rise up as you should!

By the way, doesn’t Michael Landon have the dreamiest blue eyes?


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Covid Restrictions

This blog is NOT about any controversial views of what restrictions are or are not appropriate. I have chosen to stay out of all that and will continue to. This is simply about my sporadic (and unpredictable) near panic attacks when I am suddenly hit by the state of affairs.

Why things hit me one day and not the next I have no idea. I doubt it’s important anyway.

Before this weekend, the last one I remember was a day in the fall. I made an appointment at the DMV. I pulled in to the plaza to see masked people along the entire side of the building. West Seneca was without electricity. Of course, no one could predict when it would come back on.

I surveyed the folks in line and said to the security guy, “Do you ever feel like you’re in the twilight zone?” He responded with, “Every day.” Just as he said that, two cars made a loud crash. The traffic lights were out so the cars at the lot entrance looked like they were in a maze. I got to my car after calling the police and the labored breathing started. It was too much.

This weekend, David got to play in a hockey game for the first time. Usually, this is the end of the season. This particular rink was very strict. Only one spectator per player. Neither one of us could even enter unless we were together and checked in. The part that I didn’t understand, is why only one? The other rink allows two. This facility is quite large and could have easily fit three spectators per player and still be completely socially distanced compliant. This is hard enough. Why make it harder?

The first rink I went to, every other bench was taped off. This is a usual sight for us now, right? Making sure we sit apart in whatever waiting room you are in. I sat on the back row and some masked parent comes up to the rail and says to me (twice), “You can’t sit there!” She said it louder the second time and another parent told her I was sitting exactly where I was supposed to. She understood but I got no apology. This is when problems happen- when people feel it is their duty to police other people. And they were wrong on top of it.

It has nothing to do with my rights. It’s just that some days I’m barely holding on and then someone increases my anxiety unnecessarily.

But the kicker was in the second rink that was extra strict. I went in and saw the usual blue tape on the benches and sat down. However, after sitting there for a minute, I realized I was in the wrong spot this time.

The blue tape actually showed a small seat that you were allowed to sit in. Those were the only spaces. I don’t know why, but that completely freaked me out. Is this what life is like now? Now we can’t even pick a space on a bench. The space is specified. And of course, they were more than six feet apart. You have to send hand signals to another parent.

I started texting friends the picture and I managed to avoid the panic attack. But I did have a few uncontrolled tears on my cheeks and I had to control my breathing. Later, I found a section without blue tape. I guess whoever was doing it got tired of taping.

And we all socially distanced appropriately without a square spot telling us where to put our butts. I’m grateful that David got to play, especially when he scored a goal in the first 20 seconds of the game. But I have to admit, it was lonely.

Sigh.


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Why Do I Bother?

I try very hard to do whatever I am doing with ethics and passion. Sometimes, though, that has to be balanced with realism. Watching out for burnout is also important.

My cousin challenged me to push the system this week and I told her, “Girlfriend, are you kidding me? I do almost every week of my life!” She is younger than me and in graduate school. She is fired up to fix this broken world and all of its broken systems and I will be her loudest cheerleader! There is no way I am going to damper her enthusiasm by suggesting she get a helmet so she doesn’t get concussions from beating her head on the wall.

Besides, what if she is one that can actually make it happen?

I had a client tell me in her frustration with the mental health system that had failed her, that we (mental health professionals) all needed to march to Albany and demand change from the higher-ups. (She is much younger than me!) I told her that I am just the type of person to do that. And I would if I thought it would help but I truly don’t think it would. The brokenness starts at the top and then trickles down.

On a much smaller scale, I had a frustrating weekend with another job. I did my usual OCD arrangements with several different parties. I had everything organized and the details mapped out. I group texted all the parties involved and told them all the particulars. I even did a call out for specific details that related to specific people.

Then over the next two to three days, I just started getting the questions. Hey! What’s the plan? I just copied and pasted the text and sent it again to him.

Hey! I was looking at the contract and this isn’t supposed to happen. Oh, well look at the text and the part that is particularly spelled out and tagged with your name about that. It absolutely is supposed to happen.

On and on.

Not a big deal in the picture of life. But when you are already exhausted and worn out, you go the extra mile and do an excellent job, and others aren’t even bothering to read the texts, it gets aggravating. While I’m doing the actual job, I’m being interrupted. And when I’m tapped out, things feel more annoying than usual.

I’ve tried many times in my life to say, “Screw it. Why should I try so hard when other people don’t do their jobs?” But I can’t. Thanks to my upbringing, I have to give it my best anyway.

Thanks a lot, Dad.