Silent Screams (and other odd sounds)

This is what I'm thinking RIGHT NOW. It may not be what I'm thinking tomorrow.

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Mastering the Art of Loving Kindess



I am not always loving and I am not always kind.  There are times when I allow something or someone to enter into my sense of well being and rob me of my peace and serenity; it is at those times when the art of loving kindness eludes me.

Yesterday, I wrote a post entitled Listen to the Music of your Emotions which suggested that I can not get rid of a negative emotion until I know exactly the nature of that emotion and own it.  Since yesterday’s post, I have been able to name an emotion which I have been experiencing.  That emotion is hatred.  The word “hatred” makes me shutter and to attach that word to an emotion that I am experiencing makes me shutter even more; and to own that emotion is almost more than I can handle.   I think the reason I was having such difficulty naming my emotion as hatred is because it has been a terribly long time since I have actually “hated” and attaching hatred to me is something I had hoped that I would never have to experience again.

Why have I allowed this emotion, this hatred, to invade my peace?  I have allowed it because I have a preconceived idea of how certain people should act and behave in a given situation.  I guess, in my mind, certain people and organizations, by their mere oaths and doctrines should behave in a semi-predictable manner and when they fall miserably short they open, not only themselves, but a wide group of others by affiliation, to scrutiny.  Two such examples are respected religious organizations and physicians.

A catholic (affecting, concerning, or involving all, universal) organized religious institution who professes to preach love, kindness, compassion and Mercy has perverted those things which I hold dear.  When a religious organization truly acts with love and kindness, it will not take a person from a fragile place, give them high hopes and dreams, and turn those hopes and dreams into a nightmare.  A religious organization who acts with compassion and Mercy will not take that same shattered person and drive them further into the ground with life changing conditions.  A religious organization will not say they practice Mercy while dangling the very livelihoods of people in the balance.  Mercy is descriped in Webster’s dictionary as “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power.”  Interestingly enough, Mercy is what is shown an “offender;”  how much more Mercy should be bestowed upon those who claim to hold us gingerly in their hands?

Physicians take an oath to “do no harm.”  I think most physicians take this oath seriously and work tirelessly to do the best in medical situations, but is that where “do no harm” should end?  Is it only “do no harm” in medicine?  It appears, for some physician, do no harm translates to “don’t do anything that may result in a malpractice lawsuit.”  What about doing no psychological harm to patients, employees or peers?  Are these situations exempt?  Is it wrong to expect a physician to treat other physicians, employees as well as patients with the respect and dignity that all human beings deserve?

I have to ask you can those two examples get much worse?  Well, yes it can.  It gets worse when a self-professed, God-fearing, Christian doctor who spreads dissention, hatred and discord via gossip and inuendo is employed and believed by a religious organization.

You might say that this post is nothing more than sour grapes.  You might be right; that might be a thought I will have to explore more in depth.  What I want this post to be about is getting in touch with my emotions and I can’t get in touch with them until I lay them on the table.

The hatred I feel is a direct result of my perception of how I think others should act. No one, not an organization or person, has the power to make me hate unless I allow it.  It is my expectations that have disappointed me, not the behavior of others.  I expected this religious organization and this doctor to act in specific ways and when they didn’t, I found fault in them.   Who am I to dictate the behavior of others?  When I expect things from others and they don’t deliver what I think should be delivered, I am doing nothing more than judging and that is God’s job not mine.

Hatred does nothing more than harm me.  My hatred of a person or institution has absolutely no effect on them; most often they don’t even know I’m hating on them, but it can cause me sleepless night, stomach discomfort, headaces, as well as a multiple of other physical problems.  I refuse to allow hatred to consume me so I have to find a way out.  I have to take action!

When I find an emotion, such as hatred, is totally consuming me, I have to spend more time in prayer and meditation asking my Higher Power to have me be what He wants me to be.  I have to pray for those who I hate even though I don’t feel they “deserve” it.  I have to ask God to bestow upon them all the blessing and fortune I would want for myself or those I love even if this in direct opposition to what I actually feel.  I have to pray for them until I actually believe my prayers.  Then and only then can I be what God would have me be.  It is easy to be loving and kind to those who are nice to me.  Only when I reach out and tap into a Power greater than myself can I begin to master the true art of loving kindness.

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Forgotten Gratitude

File Feb 29, 9 44 13 AM

Sometimes life can feel so oppressive that even taking a breath can feel difficult.  Sorrow and pain consumes us on all sides so rapidly that it seems that it is all we have ever known and there is no end in sight.  It is at those times when even a small problem becomes too heavy for us to bear; a small problem becomes the exact thing that “breaks” us.  Our burden, we think, is too heavy.

During those times, since I can not make sense of what is going on at the moment, I have to look at something other than my problem to find serenity.  I can get lost in my problems; consumed by them as sure as a fire consumes the oxygen that we breathe.  I can get so lost in my difficulties that I can’t see anything except “poor me” or “why is this happening to the people I love?”  It is in those times of desperation that I have to look at the things that I am grateful I have; however difficult it may be to find them at that moment. Today, I need to look for those things I have forgotten to be grateful for.

First, I am eternally grateful that I have a God who loves me despite of myself.  My Higher Power does not fit into a box but is universally encompassing.  When I turn to Him for comfort, He is there.  When I tell Him that I hate him, He understands that too because He knows my heart is screaming out from pain.  When I turn to Him and apologize for my words, He takes me in His arms and comforts me without resentment.

There are so many other things that I sometimes forget to be grateful for.  I am grateful that my eyes can see.  I am able to look at my children and see them in all their glory.  I am able to look out my window and see the change in the seasons.  I am able to see the colors of the rainbow when it appears high in the sky.  I am so grateful that I have the vision to experience all these things and so much more.

I am grateful that my skin has felt the soft kiss of a loved one, the wind as it whirls around me, the cold of a snowflake as it lands on my nose, the water of the shower as it sprays down on me, the slippery sensation as soap glides across my skin.  I am grateful that I have the proprioceptors to experience all these things and so much more.

I am grateful for the scar on my chest that tells the story that I have had two heart attacks and open heart surgery and have lived to tell the tale.  I am grateful that others have seen that scar and have told me it is my “beauty mark” that God has given me.  I am so grateful that I have had this experience because it reminds me that life is fleeting and I need to live each day fully.

I am grateful that I have hands that have held my newborn children. I am grateful that my fingers have felt the warm tears of those I love as I wiped them from their eyes.  I am grateful that I still get a chill when my husband takes my hand in his and walks down the street with me. I am grateful that these hands have performed CPR on people who have survived and I am also grateful that these hands have held the hands of others while they took their last breath.  I am grateful for these hands have experienced all these things and so much more.

I am grateful for my sense of smell that has experienced the scent of a rose, the smell of a newborn, the clean smell of the air just before a summer rain.  I am grateful for my sense of smell because it has warned me of potential danger from smoke and fire.  I am grateful for my sense of smell because it has allowed me to experience all these things and so much more.

I am grateful of my sense of hearing because it has more than one time made my heart leap with joy as I listened to my children laugh.  I am grateful for my sense of hearing because it allows me to listen to barking dogs, birds singing, the ocean waves, the soft sound of rain as it falls as well as the thunder.  I am grateful for my sense of hearing for these experiences and so much more.

I am grateful for all the people who have helped shape my life:  my husband who has taught me about forgiveness, kindness, mercy and love; my children who have taught me unconditional love, patience, as well as to give without wanting anything in return; my family who accepts me despite myself and my few friends who keep me in check and tell me the truth no matter how painful that truth may be. I am grateful for those who have hurt me and hurt those I love because they have given me life lessons which makes me try my best not to hurt others.  I am grateful for all these people and so many more.

I am grateful that life is dynamic; neither the good nor the bad last forever.

I am grateful that I can breathe.

Just breathe.


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Which Face of God is Right?


When I was a child, my version of God was a man with long hair dressed in bright white robes with his hands outstretched in a seemingly loving manner ready to slap me silly if I did anything wrong.  The God of my youth was strict, religious, and I was so unworthy to be in His presence.  He loved righteousness and I was so not righteous.  I was a sinner.  I was born a sinner.  I had no hope of ever obtaining the goodness that God required.

Since I thought I had no hope of ever pleasing God, I lived my life the best I could knowing that I was not one of the “chosen” to live an eternal life with God.  Although this was my thoughts about God, I was always searching for a “loophole” for Him to like me….to love me.  I found many loopholes but none that lasted.  Once again, I felt unworthy of God’s love.  The proof that I was unworthy was the “lot” in life God had given me.  I was ugly, I wasn’t financially blessed and my mother was not in the best of health.  I was blind to the blessing that surrounded me.  Gratitude was elusive.  Even though I knew I was unworthy, I still searched, even more diligently, for a loophole into God’s heart.

I thought about why God was not working in my life and I had to ask myself a real question.  Image

Who is my God.  I didn’t like the answer.  My God was not who I thought he was.  My God was materialistic.  Since my God didn’t bless me financially I had to admit that my God could possibly be…  I shivered.


I didn’t like the revelation so I discarded it immediately.  It was a lie.  I didn’t have to accept it and I wasn’t going to accept; but in the back of my mind I wondered if it could be true.  I cried out to God to give me a more pure vision of God.  I begged God to give me a vision of Him that I could live with….a God that was there for ME.  My only desire was to have a closer relationship with God.  I wanted a God that I could love, respect and trust.  If God was so powerful, why did I trust my car to stop when I stepped on the brake pedal more than I trusted God to care for me.  Then it hit me.  In my youth, I had put God in a box and I had never let him out.  The God of my understanding couldn’t work for me because I didn’t allow Him to do so.  The box I put him in kept getting smaller and smaller and my cry to have Him work in my life was large.  He couldn’t do anything for me because I wouldn’t allow Him to do so.  I had made my God too small.Image

Today my God no longer fits in any box.  He can not be contained.  He is the first thing I think of in the morning and I am more than willing…in fact eager… to get on my knees each morning and each night to express my gratitude and love to him.  I am more than willing to humble myself in all things because He knows what I want but more importantly, He knows what I NEED.  I don’t have the entire picture of what my life is to be but HE does and I trust Him to do for me what I can not do for myself. 

My God is spiritual…not religious.  My God is everything to everybody.  My God had many names and is no respecter of persons.  He loves those that call Him Allah, Buddha as well as God.  He loves the righteous as well as the sinner.  His love is endless; caring for the murderer, homosexual, liar as well as the “godly.”  He is all in all.  What more could I ask for in a Higher Power?

The God of your understanding may not be the same as mine; and that is fine…in fact that is the beauty of a God that is so powerful and crosses all barriers. 



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In a Blink of an Eye

Back in April of this year, the weather was unseasonably nice for this area.  It was almost summertime in the spring.  The flowers had started to bloom, the trees were starting to bud and slowly the motorcycles has started to appear in the sunshine.  The cycles shimmered in the sun after being freshly pampered by their owners in anticipation of the first summer ride.

Having never been a motorcyclist, I can only recant second hand how excitedly cyclist talk about riding in the wind.  The lure of letting the wind’s fingers filter through my hair as my thighs embrace the seat of a bike has always been appealing to me; but far too scary.  Working in an Emergency Department has taken the fun out of riding for me much like the carnival loses its luster to a carnie.  I’ve seen too much motorcycle destruction and death to make it “fun” for me to wrap my legs around a Harley.  All too often I’ve had to tell families their loved ones are hanging near the edge of death, are paralyzed, have massive head trauma, or worse because of a collision between a motorcycle and …well… and almost anything.  In most cases, the motorcycle loses.

Today, I visited a woman exactly one year younger than I am who is living in a nursing home.  She is there because during one of those beautiful April days she was out riding her motorcycle and someone pulled across three lanes of traffic giving her just enough time to stand up on her bike to open her arms in an attempt to save the life of the person who was riding with her.  The passenger survived with minor scratches, bumps and bruises; my friend did not fare as well. As I walked through the halls of the skilled care facility towards her room my eyes glanced at all the elderly in their wheelchairs.  Some of the residents were “awake” but absent in thought, some were present in thought but unable to express to anyone that they were awake except when their eyes met yours.  Some residents were watching television in a common room, laughing and talking with each other; others just sat.  Each had their own stories of why they were living communally in this nursing home but all the people that I saw as I walked through the hall had one thing in common: they were all advanced in years.  My friend is not advanced in age.  Looking at the residents and thinking of her being in a place reserved for mostly “elderly” was something I was having a difficult time meshing in my mind.

Finally reaching her door I closed my eyes as I placed my hand on the door knob.  I inhaled deeply, the characteristic aroma of a “nursing home” filled my senses.  I shook my head trying to clear the sights and smells from my conscious before I opened the door to her room.

Mercifully, when I opened her door, her room was filled with visitors so I had time to rid myself of the thoughts flooding my mind.  Her eyes brightened when she saw me.  “Carmie!”  Her eyes filled with tears and so did mine. This was the first time I’d seen her since I visited her after her extensive surgeries.  She looked wonderful but still more fragile then the strong, vibrant woman I knew her to be.

Since her surgery for a shattered pelvis and ruptured bladder, she has been unable to walk.  She’s not paralyzed, but her injuries are so extensive that her pelvis is not stable enough to allow her to bear her own weight.  Inwardly, I know she is blessed just to be alive.  Statistically less than 5% of people sustaining her types of injuries and surgeries survive.  She is one of the “lucky” ones.  Yesterday she was delivered what she perceived as another devastating blow.  Her trauma surgeon told her that she would have to have another surgery (not as extensive as the last) but she would have to remain bedridden another 12 -16 weeks after the surgery.  She will not even be able to attempt to walk until around October of this year.

Most of her visitors slowly left her room before she turned to say to me, “Do you know how it feels to lay in a bed for 12 weeks?  Do you know how it feels to look out the window of this room and see that other people are doing things and I am sentenced to this bed for another 12 weeks after my surgery? I haven’t been out of this bed since my accident.” It took all that I had in me not to cry.  What good would I be to her if I was a crying fool at her bedside?  What good can I be at all?  I can’t take her place and I don’t really know how she feels.

After I listened to her vent, I lowered my eyes and shook my head before letting my eyes meet hers.  “No, you are right.  I can’t really imagine how you must be feeling.  I do know that I can get up out of this chair and leave this room and you can’t.  I know that if I come back here tomorrow the chances are that you will be in this bed.  I know that when you look outside you see others moving around and you are confined to either this bed or at the mercy of someone else to put you in a wheelchair and wheel you around.  Hell, you even have to depend on someone to put a pot under you to piss in.  No, I don’t know what that’s like at all.  I’d be crying every bit as much, if not more than you are if I were in your bed.  You have every reason to cry and be mad.”  As I spoke my next words I couldn’t look her in the eye, I had to turn my head from her.  “The alternative would have been worse.  Never seeing your children again; never hearing them laugh or cry; never hearing your husband tell you he loves you.  I’m not sure, but I think I would try to endure the bed before the coffin.”

She was silent for a few minutes before letting out one of her familiar deep laughs. “Carmie, the Lord done saved my life once and I tell everyone it was Him.  I think the devil just wants to pour more shit on me so he can say…’Go ahead, tell everyone how good God is now.’  Well hell Carmie, He is good and the devil can just keep piling shit up on me ’cause he ain’t gonna win.”

Her mood, and mine, was much lighter when I got up from my chair to leave.  I bent down to hug her as she laid in her bed.  I kissed her forehead and cheek before saying goodbye.  “I love you girl.  Take care of yourself.”

“You know I love you too Carmie.”

I waved goodbye as I opened the door to her room feeling a bit guilty that I could walk out of her room and she could not.  I walked down the hall passed all the residents in their beds and wheelchairs more alive to my ability to walk than I have ever been before.