Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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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.


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Prayer

I’ve started talking to a new spiritual director. This is the first time I’ve worked with a male, although I’m not sure that matters. Anyhow, his name is Bob and he seems a bit more traditional. He gave me a booklet that he wrote about dozens of ways to bring prayer into your life. Last week, I went to Vegas for two nights with my friend Ann from Chicago. I started to read his book on the way to the airport and tried to implement some of his ideas.

The first was called the “flash” prayer. When people/ideas come across you (in any way whatsoever), just do a quick prayer. So I thought about that and found that it was pretty easy to come up with prayers at any second of the day. I boarded the plane and DUH! How about praying for the pilots? I’m sure lots of people do that when traveling in the air, but I have been out of the habit.

When switching planes, I was stuck in the waiting area. The TV was on and there were the repetitive stories about some of the NFL players and their recent problems with domestic violence. I had been watching the stories for days and had fleeting thoughts and comments, but mostly know what a terribly complicated topic it all is. Child and spousal abuse has been around since human beings have been around and it is hard to understand how it all happens. Instead of watching the footage yet another time, I decided to send up a flash prayer for all of them and their families.

What else is on TV these days? Isis. War. Again, concepts I can’t even begin to understand or offer any kind of intelligent opinion on to discuss with other people. I have zero idea on how to make all that madness stop. And again, it hit me. Why not just send out a flash prayer? I felt so much better after doing that. I can’t contribute anything meaningful to a solution, but somehow I felt helpful by offering up small prayers.

Completely unrelated to the prayer topic, I was sitting in the waiting area and chatting with a bunch of 20 something year olds. A woman was talking about seeing a very old woman get her knitting needles taken away at security because they could be considered dangerous weapons. That somehow streamed into a conversation about what happens to dogs and cats that travel on planes, which then somehow led into the idea that all the cats are probably in the cockpits with the pilots. It got sillier then imagining the pilots who are, of course, allergic to cats and sneezing while trying to fly the plane. Then one guy triumphantly announced how that explains the bumpy flights. “FURBULANCE” is the correct term, rather than turbulence. Ok, so we were all pretty tired, but it was funny at the time.

Back to prayer suggestion number two. That one was called “signal” prayers. The idea is to pick some sort of signal that you come across several times a day to remind you to pray. I came up with my text notification. I have it set for that little bell that goes off. My one client always says, “Tink? Is that you?” which cracks me up every time. So I figured that every time I hear the tinkle, I will say a flash prayer. Then I thought I was smarter than anything when I combined the two kinds of prayer in my smart, little head. I will say a flash prayer for whoever texts me! I was feeling proud of myself for that one.

What a timely thing to have happen. I got a text this morning that absolutely deserved a prayer. My son Colin is looking for a used car so he gave me the ads he had circled. I called the first one and the car was already gone. No surprise because it was a great deal. The second ad had a phone number that said it was for texting. So this morning I texted the number and I quote: “Do u still have the car?” While meeting with my spiritual director, I got a response back. It said, and I quote: “Stop F*****G bugging (me) you dumb A*S B**CH.” Whoa. I was shocked. Then I laughed. I decided not to respond, just say a little prayer. They paid for an ad to sell a car, put their phone number in, and then responded like that to a request. Holy cow. You gotta laugh, right?

If you have any good prayer stories, feel free to share them. And if you know of any good used cars for sale, send me a text. A nice one, please.