Thank you to all veterans.
I am sorry that you have had to take (or are taking) the risks you have (are) in service to our country, because too often they have been pointless risks.
In addition to a fervent wish for peace in the world, I wish for physical and emotional healing for all veterans and their families.
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I’m having a bit of a ‘bad day’. That happens. Of course there are many ways to deal with these occasional visits to negative terrain. There are the obvious, oft-touted healing methods, like taking a walk, meditating or reading something uplifting. Three of my favorites are drinking water, writing and sleeping. (Pardon me while I pause for slug of water.) And then there is the sensible idea of reaching out and talking to a friend. In these darker moments, I vary between an aching desire to be heard and an equal desire to retreat and isolate. But let me tell you what came up for me just now when I thought about calling a friend.
I realized that what I needed was to be heard, without judgment and to be understood, without struggling to explain. That’s a lot to ask. I have many good and dear friends who I know would respond to my reaching out. They would be kind and listen to me without judgment. Or, to be more specific, I would be able to babble and share my current, craziness (reality) without fearing that they would judge me. Which amounts to the same thing, in a functional sense: I get to evict some of the negative mojo that is swirling around in my head and gut. Some relief is sure to follow that expulsion and I am extremely grateful for the chance to spew freely, in the belief that I will not be judged.
However, wanting to be understood is a tall order. In the negative interior landscape where I currently (and temporarily) reside, it is ‘pert nigh’ impossible to summon the energy or vocabulary to communicate subtleties. However, unless my listener has previously walked the same path or has supernormal insight, I cannot expect deep understanding without making the effort to share details. I have found this to be true with friends as well as listening professionals (talk therapists). And so, what I can realistically ask for is empathetic listening, without judgment.
Which led me to think of songs about friendship. The first to arise was Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend, with these lyrics: “When you’re down in troubles, and you need some love and care, and nothing, nothing is going right… You just call out my name… You’ve got a friend… Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend”
Next up was the song That’s What Friends are For. Written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, but best known as recorded by Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick and Elton John. “…For good times and bad times, I’ll be on your side forever more, that’s what friends are for…” And then there is Bill Withers’ classic Lean on Me: “Lean on me when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on…” I realize that these are all oldies, and that there are newer paeans to friendship. Have you a favorite?
In closing, because I am tired; being in funkyland is exhausting… Or am I in this funk because I am tired? Chicken? Egg?
In closing, I’d like to bring a column from last Sunday’s Boston Globe Magazine to your attention. Wonderful title: How to Shut Up a Fat Shamer. Written by regular advice columnist, Robin Abrahams, who goes by the title of ‘Miss Conduct’. She never pulls her punches and for this reason I am always entertained and often, as in this case, cheered by her certainty about decent human behavior. Please check it out.
“Don’t insult people’s appearance. It’s rude and tacky.”
“… it is no more acceptable to mock people for the shape of their skin than for the color of it. Mocking other people’s bodies is a nasty, childish, uncivilized habit that is beneath dignified people.”