Saturday, October 21, 2017

Suffering 102 - The Sequel

Last year I wrote of the onset of the sudden sorrow that impacted my life and others near to me.

Before you say, YEAH! She's better! Hold that thought...

I am better each second that ticks by because I'm here to witness it and live it. However, in witnessing what is happening in my State, in my Country, on my Planet, it's not going anywhere any time soon.

I could go on a Trump rant. I could go on a political one because even I can't say that he is the only one to blame for our ills. I could go on a racial rant or a human one or any number of rants that are consuming all of us these days.

No rant. I desire, no need,  to speak soundly and clearly with you and whomever I encounter these days. Many will not broach particular topics with me. My husband was the first to notice the lack of bumper stickers on cars supporting Trump. I think back to when I was entreating my friends and family members to recognize that he was a dangerous man during the election year. Many are NOW beginning to see why I said it. Trump still cost me someone I thought was a good friend. Dropped like a hot rock, I was.  I pray for her that her eyes have been opened by now. But there are still many who will not admit the error. I'll live with that.

It wasn't news to hear families, relationships and friendships were being broken during that time. I just never thought it was going to happen to me. Isn't that always the case, though? It's a common theme in war. Divide and conquer.

Fridays used to be the day we all looked forward to but now has become a test of my Faith and of my patience and of my security in this country, I grin and bear it knowing the end of the story. If this is the worst, we'll all be ok. If we haven't seen the worst to come, we'll still be ok.

News stations interview politicians, those with nothing to lose that is, saying we are being led to World War III. Children are worried they will have to leave all they know to go to other countries they've never even visited. The elderly and the sick are wondering if they will be able to care for themselves or afford treatments they desperately need. Young men of color are hesitant and emasculated by the feelings about driving in certain neighborhoods or walking the street where they may encounter violence (and it could be from those sworn to protect and serve us!), women cannot guarantee they will not be harassed because they have to work or walk down the street, and children have to watch the news with fear that they or their parents will die at any point. I know, Little Miss Sunshine over here.

Hurricanes, fires, floods, and random and intentional murders, poverty, greed, political strife, foreign threats, domestic threats....Earth has seen it all. We're still here. We suffer, we rebuild, and we are still here.

We rebuild because of our Will to survive. We help because of an innate desire to not see suffering in others. Yes, there are those that close themselves into their own world and fool themselves into thinking events won't affect them or their families. It's worse where they believe nothing they do affects others or don't care if it does. They are wrong. You cannot run from weather, violence, the very earth beneath you trying to shake you off. You can only hide, like in the Purge movies for so long before you or someone you know is affected. You are then forced to deal, personally, with the impact.

I believe there is a population of humans who do not believe they are like the rest and are fearful they are being eradicated in some way. They won't admit it as fear but it is and under the guise of defense of  Patriotism. I think that is so very sad. Instead of reaching out, they feel trapped in a psychic corner when no one is actually 'after' them or their money. This increased paranoia is cheered on and encouraged and in my eyes, can only be called, Evil. Lies and confusion never comes from Good and Good never is the result.

Eyes have been closed to reality, to neighbors, to Love by someone without the best interest of the supporters of the lies in mind. People are vulnerable, willing to believe anything told to them at this height of fear and anxiety. That's all it is...anxiety. It is whipped up into a frenzy with a crowd mentality which can turn dangerous. We're seeing it everywhere. I'm speaking of ALL humans, not only one or the other political party or country.

Meanwhile, we fill our days with escapism, into social media platforms to calm our fears. We take a selfie with our best makeup because it may be the last. We suffer in silence, trading real people for "@" names that agree with us, consistently. Does it really matter how many people we don't even know 'follow' us?

Well. If that makes one feel better, I can only say Go for it. But you are missing out.

Love, Beauty, Forgiveness and Peace exist. A concerted effort is being made to hide them and destroy them but they are still front and center if you look with clear and loving eyes. Being afraid and angry will build a wall...yes, I said it...that will block whatever good you could otherwise see and appreciate. It stops everyone from hearing your true voice. It stops you from hearing others. It stops the connection we are supposed to have while we are here. That is the source of my recent sorrow.

When I look around me, in real life, I am surrounded by love and look for beauty and feel as peaceful as possible. If I get online, there are many who seek to disturb it all. I'm managing now to sidestep it. I don't have to respond to every negative post. I don't have to win. It's common sense. Step away from it. Minds determined NOT to change, will not BE changed. Not by us. We can only try by planting the seed, then leave it to grow or die.

If it were easy, we wouldn't have the list above of crisis in every direction you look or the depressing paragraph written above.

The Crisis of Us is helped with a checklist of self-awareness. What is it that you truly fear and feel threatened by? Why? Why do you feel actual hatred? How does that make you feel? How is that viewed by the children around you? What do you want others to know about you? Are you open to learning about others? Who do you love? Why do you love them?  What good do you contribute to the conversation?

And there DOES need to be a conversation. Conversing is hearing speech, interpreting it, responding to it in a way that assures the speaker you heard correctly, then listening again. It is rude to be in the midst of formulating your response before the other person is even done speaking, don't you think? Yet how many times a day do we say to others "you are not listening to me" or "you don't understand". That was a Plank-in-eye moment, in case you missed it.

All won't be solved in a day, but what if all won't disappear in a day, either. We don't know when our individual or collective End comes. Do we really want to waste the time like this? What if there is a tomorrow?

Sucarichi Reboot Challenge?

1. Have a face-to-face conversation with someone of a different viewpoint without raising voices or trying to 'convert' them or focused on being 'right' today.

2. Look at the sky, at the ground, a tree or whatever you consider Beauty. Take a deep breath. Realize that it's there for everyone to enjoy. Be happy about that.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Suffering 101

Beautiful Mind
Squad 38
Jealousy Incarnate
The King's Face
Love Me If You Dare
Kill Me, Heal Me
Gaekju: The Merchant
Innocent Defendant
Tree With Deep Roots
Arang and the Magistrate
Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
The Legend of the Blue Sea
Better Call Saul
Grace and Frankie
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

On Writing
Why We Eat Pigs, Wear Cows, and Love Dogs
Divine Intimacy
Tuesdays with Morrie (on hold until further notice)
Woman's World (weekly)

....and this is part of what has occupied my time since December 20, 2016.

Tuesdays with Morrie was a book I started and threw into the back seat of our vehicle until I dare to face it again. It was hitting too close to home. Morrie had time. Morrie wasn't gone in a little over a week. Everyone prepared for Morrie to leave. Morrie prepared for himself to leave and was making the most out of his final moments. We did not. My Mother did not.

The suffering and sorrow that comes with losing a loving parent is not anything I'd wish on my worst enemy. It can consume you if you allow it. Any type of suffering can.

"The soul that is absorbed in its own sufferings and concentrates its whole attention on them, becomes unable to bear them serenely an courageously....Even when our suffering is intense, let us not exaggerate it, nor attach too much importance to it: let us not foster a morbid tendency to nurture our sorrow, to ponder over it, weighing and analyzing it under every aspect.. To act in this way would result in the paralysis of our spirit of sacrifice, of our ability to accept and to act, and would make us useless to ourselves and to others. One who is oversensitive and preoccupied with his own suffering, often becomes insensible and indifferent to the suffering of others." - Divine Intimacy

Losing my Mom on that day kicked into gear every thought of my own mortality, of sheltering my daughter from the dark hole that tends to swallow the strongest of us, and, literally, staying on my feet to do all I can while I am here, no matter how small the tasks.

As she lie upon the hospital bed, connected to everything but us, we gathered around her. We talked to her, we encouraged her, and we made sure she knew how much she was loved. When the time came for her to be called home, we were at her side with prayer, and watching the life leave her body. We toasted her with her favorite drink, cans of Pepsi (which mysteriously appeared in the room...seriously, they were NOT there earlier, only ginger ale!), and we thanked her for being such a stellar mother and grandmother. We stayed with the shell of her body left behind without her Spirit, wept, shared stories, and laughed a little. We finally left, reluctantly, as my daughter said, she didn't want her to be alone.

From that point on, there has been a humongous void in my life. It can't be filled by K-dramas, books, or magazines, or even the wonderful care and love from my family. I was sinking fast into the darkness of the soul many Saints spoke of and I was fully aware it was happening. It didn't shake my Faith but Life suddenly became tedious. It didn't happen immediately. As long as I was all about the business of handling the business of caring for Mom and travelling to make sure all went well for the rest of the family, I was, well, cool.

Girls' Night Out at Tracy Morgan's Show

But returning home, avoiding the street she lived on, the stores we frequented, the music she loved and the places we had our best laughs, even sitting in the car, or our last outing to see Tracy Morgan perform, I realized this is going to take more time than I thought. I can't pick up the phone to call her. I can't drop by to see her or surprise her with anything and we can't watch movies together. What about our annual gathering with my husband to watch Tombstone!. I'll have to bring palms to her on Sunday to a different place. I can't lovingly fuss at her about eating too much ham on Easter Sunday. I do laugh with her and talk to her, still. I see things she'd find amusing and laugh to myself.

I disappeared from the negativity of Facebook. I rarely make phone calls. Loving friends call me to check in. Family called. A wonderful priest told me to stop trying to hold in the grief and let my daughter know I feel it instead of 'being strong' for her. He emphasized the need to grieve together. It's better than grieving alone and brings loved ones even closer.

The suffering is real, Folks. How we handle it is by getting outside of it. We all think our suffering is the greatest because it is ours.

"We must forget ourselves, go out of ourselves and our own sufferings, become interested in the sufferings of others and endeavor to alleviate them. This is a very effective way to regain in times of discouragement the strength to bear our own crosses. We should be mindful of the truth that we are never alone in suffering: That if our sufferings are great, there are always those who suffer incomparably more than we. Our troubles, often enough, are but a drop compared to the sea of sorrows in which mankind is engulfed, and are practically nonentities in comparison with the Passion of Jesus." - Divine Intimacy

Throwing my time and energy, what little there is, into being an advocate for foster children is like a rope thrown down to me in that dark hole I fell into, helping me slowly climb to the surface. The suffering I see in young eyes that didn't ask for the situations they are in snaps me back to reality that there are, indeed, so many more worse things that can happen....and ARE happening in the World. I abandon myself to it. I must. 

I not only have to look outside of my own sorrows and sufferings but look outside of my house at others, look my city, at the State, at the Country, at the World! This, you would think, would make One more sorrowful at the overwhelming picture of suffering. But you'd be mistaken. It makes you see the needs and ignites the desire to do something about it. It forces you stop complaining and do something. It helps you see the beauty when a child hugs you and tells you they are glad you are there for them. It allows you to see that along with the suffering, there is peace. It makes you see one cannot exist without the other or you would appreciate neither.

My big brother, Dad, and Mom are not here. They are missed so very much. So, as I continue to binge-watch my Korean dramas, at the times I need to, and will pick up Morrie when I'm able to, I know this is, simply, Life. This is Living. This is Loving. This is Loss. But, it's not the End. The Love remains.

Sucarichi Reboot? What suffering can you name in yourself? How are you living with it? What are you doing to alleviate it outside of yourself?