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Grief, A Few Days Ahead

Status/Tumblr short essay

The month of February will probably have a twinge of pain associated with it. Earlier this month on the third, it was the night I found I lost my grandfather and now nearly three weeks later, we have buried my grandma.

We are never tricked into believing our loved ones will be with us forever but we are tricked into believing they will be with us tomorrow.

The painful truth of aging is that loved ones aren’t as we remember, they need us to go to the store because it’s hard to get out of the house, they are nice some days and forget who you are on others. Some days they know who people are but their names can’t escape the tongue. The toughest days are the ones they forget your name.

The drives to see them become longer and the visits grow shorter. When they decide to talk just a few minutes longer, or decide today is a good day for a stroll outside, or when they stay awake to watch a TV show, Those are good days. These days are like a drop of rain on a highway in June, relief is given albeit short lived but it is enough to keep going back.

If caretaker were written as a job ad, no one would want to take it and it would be the last one on the list but it is the only one available. The commutes go late into the night, plans need to be made weeks in advance.  I am afraid of getting a condition like Alzheimer’s or Dementia because I have made thinking and creativity a part of my life. I realized in all of this my talents, mental and emotional capacity, or even Independence don’t make me who I am, being a person makes me who I am. The same is true for my grandparents and anyone else who lives with these conditions. These experiences with them helped me realize  there is a life beyond illness, not just after death.

If you have any diseases like these know that you are not a burden to those who care for you, you are loved. If you are a caregiver, take care of yourself, do whatever you can, and keep going back.

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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Life, Writing

 

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Warm Strangers: The Friendship Between Writers and Readers

I think of creative people as hermits.  We go off to a room or some other remote location and  spend a few hours repeating the same repetition and hope that we can somehow achieve masterpieces or the best words we can if we are more realistic.

The first human contact we have after we click publish or send is when a reader comes along and reads our work, we jump up and down because that is one more person that didn’t read it before. Someone took some time to actually read work from an unknown writer.

A writer forms friendships with people whom they have never met by marking our stories, dreams,  and desires on paper or a computer screen and this process shows us as at our most vulnerable.  It sets up an intimacy only the Writer and Reader know.

In the old days when I started writing I hide myself as a writer.  I convinced myself that my words weren’t good or I would be embarrassed when someone would see then berate them.  These insecurities don’t disappear and sometimes I wonder if they might still happen.  The only good lesson I learned about this is the fact that I’m not alone. Like any relationship the work may be rejected and the writer may be left heartbroken from the evaluation but if the writer chose not to send the pages out in the world they would grow old and dusty on the shelf,  never to be seen by the world, never fulfilling their purpose.

The truth is not writing is a far worse fate.  The reader never sees the possibilities locked inside the human head and the heart.  The writer doesn’t learn about people whether or not they are actual or fictional characters and the reader never sees the fruits of that labor. 

People who write join a community of human beings who see reality as what it can be, might be,  or ought to be, instead of what it is. Writers are an interesting group of people. Every writer is a hiding show-off.  We love words and their magic.  Everyday we see blank pages and decide words should be on them. We hope the world will become a more fantastical place because our words exist– even if it is only for today.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Life, Writing

 

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The Lent Connection: Reflections of disconnecting with Social Media

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The opening scene of Holy week depicts a scene where Jesus, an unlikely king, is riding a donkey into a city as a new symbol of hope.  Sometimes Hope doesn’t look like what or who we wanted. It looks inadequate at first but it is what is needed.

I think hope exists in the times when I am the most hopeless.  I whine when life gets too overwhelming and I  start to become angry when a small thing doesn’t go our way or we will try to spite someone who has it better than we do and we know that if they were my friend this wouldn’t be the case.

Regardless of my lousy attitude and or actions I know there is Love, which treats most of our ailments.  It may only look like a small amount but we are given more than we are aware and it is pretty potent. 

We live in a world that it is easier to observe than it is to love.  The internet gives us insight to the lives of not only famous people but our acquaintances, friends, and family members that has never been available in the rest of history.  I found myself knowing a lot about people I know through a news feed but never really connecting with them or myself due to the distraction social media had become. After this realization I made an important decision: I decided to give up social media as a vice for Lent (full disclosure: I didn’t include Sundays because in the early Church they were considered feast days so I would log on those days but not very long). I did this because I felt like was only accessing a representation of people’s lives.  While it is great to update people on the internet, it is hard to see who a person really is on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and even more so to know who they are and by extension, to love them.

I generally use these networks to post what I have written or created to share with others.  As a writer, I like when someone has seen what I have written and enjoys it. It is like a dancer receiving applause  after giving a performance.  The reader doesn’t see the missteps and falls from the previous drafts.

It is nice but in my case it was at the point where I was hoping and anticipating the praise too much.  I was afraid to write what I really felt and create the projects I wanted to make.  The acknowledgement was addicting and I was numb when it was silent or when no one saw the piece I posted online after I spent so much time working on it.  I was miserable and I forgot creating was more important than accolades. Fulfillment never comes from the comments other people make.  It serves as a good push to keep going forward but not to sustain the pace long term.

I learned how to be brave as a writer and an artist. It is important to stand by your work even if it isn’t perfect or if no one notices it.  I have also grown closer to My creator and I understand him more because of this experience.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2015 in Writing

 

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Whology: Theological Parallels in Doctor Who

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If you are a fan of British Science Fiction then you are more than likely heard the sound of a high-powered spaceship within an old-fashioned Police Box.  You have also accepted the moniker Whovian and wear it like a fez or bowtie.

If you have no idea what I am talking about I will fill you in.  I am talking about the television show, Doctor Who. The show involves a time traveling alien who takes a human companion with him along travels throughout history and multiple dimensions. 

One of the main features of the protagonist is that he regenerates into a new person every few seasons. This event makes him more than one person and at certain times,  more than one doctor can exist at the same time. I started thinking about my own belief systems as a Christian.  I am like most Christians believe in a three-fold God,  consisting of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  It is hard to understand how this can be true but I think Doctor Who may have given me a glance to how it is possible.  If we can conceive even of a being who is one person and has one personality and is also a completely different person and has a different personality, how much more complex is a God who is one person and two others at the same time . 

What I like the best about The Doctor are his clever and humorous ways to solve problems like his ability to defeat armies with a screwdriver (albeit a sonic one but a screwdriver nonetheless). It reminds me when Jesus, who needs to pay a census tax tells Peter to go catch a fish and open his mouth and he will find the payment. (Matt. 17:27)

With the discovery of two new planets we learn our universe is bigger than we thought.  What we thought was impossible is possible that is why I love Science Fiction, it holds the virtue of possibility.  This is helpful when a new discovery happens like when we find two new planets and we learn our universe and the world around us is smaller than we thought. In scripture we are taught that A whole universe, galaxy, and solar system glorifies God. (Psalms 19:1)  What if we find this event looks something like this?

If you are a fan of British Science Fiction then you are more than likely heard the sound of a high-powered spaceship within an old fashioned police box.  You have also accepted the moniker Whovian and wear it like a fez or bowtie.

If you have no idea what I am talking about I will fill you in.  I am talking about the television show, Doctor Who. The show involves a time traveling alien who takes a human companion with him along travels throughout history and multiple dimensions. 

One of the main features of the protagonist is that he regenerates into a new person every few seasons. This event makes him more than one person and at certain times,  more than one doctor can exist at the same time. I started thinking about my own belief systems as a Christian.  I am like most Christians believe in a three-fold God,  consisting of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  It is hard to understand how this can be true but I think Doctor Who may have given me a glance to how it is possible.  If we can conceive even of a being who is one person and has one personality and is also a completely different person and has a different personality, how much more complex is a God who is one person and two others at the same time . 

What I like the best about The Doctor are his clever and humorous ways to solve problems like his ability to defeat armies with a screwdriver (albeit a sonic one but a screwdriver nonetheless). It reminds me when Jesus, who needs to pay a census tax tells Peter to go catch a fish and open his mouth and he will find the payment. (Matt. 17:27)

With the discovery of two new planets we learn our universe is bigger than we thought.  What we thought was impossible is possible that is why I love Science Fiction, it holds the virtue of possibility.  This is helpful when a new discovery happens like when we find two new planets and we learn our universe and the world around us is smaller than we thought. In scripture we are taught that A whole universe, galaxy, and solar system glorifies God. (Psalms 19:1)  What if we find this event looks something like this?

I am not saying we will find alien cats on the day of Resurrection but I do believe God will restore not only our world but all worlds. After they are restored Heaven will be infused into our universe and we will see a new Heaven and a new Earth. Even though it is fictional, maybe in this show we are seeing small glimpses of what that is actually like.

I am not saying we will find alien cats on the day of Resurrection but I do believe God will restore not only our world but all worlds. After they are restored Heaven will be infused into our universe and we will see a new Heaven and a new Earth. Even though it is fictional, maybe in this show we are seeing small glimpses of what that is actually like.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Writing

 

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Me, Robin Williams, and The Relationship to Depression


Photo credit: http://www.ninerfans.com
It was five minutes after eleven and the news leads into the Arsenio Hall show.   As a four year old,  my bedtime was usually non-negotiable but occasionally I could stay up late to watch the opening monologues of the show.  A comedian opened the show and said things in crazy voices,  one after the other.   Every single one was proceeded by laughter.  The routine was funnier the longer he was on stage. At that moment,  I wanted to be like him when I grew up.  His name was Robin Williams.  

I was 23 and in my last semester of college.   It was a time I should have been excited about graduation and starting a new phase of my life but I wasn’t.    I should have left my small campus dorm room but I couldn’t.   I knew I had hobbies, passions,  and dreams but I was disinterested.    The happier I tried to appear, the sadder I became.   I was depressed.  

I didn’t know that in addition to our shared love of humor,  Robin also struggled with depression.    All the while,  he built a successful comedy and film career and no one saw depression quietly haunting him.  

  I  thought I was over my depression but his cousin whom comes over to visit, anxiety, was here for a visit.  He likes to drop ideas in a person’s head.   These ideas convinced me I have an illness and the only way to cure it is to search the Internet to find out what it is,  even though by a doctor’s account I’m healthy. These ideas rant like a conspiracy theorist.   I still had these little thoughts flying around in  my head,  not all the time but enough of the time.   They grew more persistent,  soon they became obsessed. I thought I was going crazy and any day soon my loved ones were going to find me drinking mouthwash out of a dog bowl.

Fortunately, along with help from some new medication and a few other changes started a process of mental healing.  The journey to a new place of peace continues,  I will find it one day.

Depression and anxiety are complex and are even difficult to understand even if you have the same diagnosis.   I am not plagued by Suicidal tendencies like Robin and shudder to imagine what it is like living with them and suffering until the only escape to find is death.    Make no mistake,  Anxiety and Depression are disorders no one wants afflicted upon them.  No one is condoning Suicide by empathize with these victims.   Suicides are a symptom not a cause of a much larger problem.  Life and death were never meant to be choices.  

I encourage you to research these common disorders.   You may or you may not have depression.   If you do have depression,  it doesn’t mean you’re suicidal, talk about it with a friend or relative whom you trust.  If you need further help,  call a professional.  Please tell someone because the worst part of depression is feeling isolated.   Even if it seems no one seems to understand,  talk anyway.   Don’t struggle alone.  

If you know someone who has committed suicide.   I hope you see this soul’s life is greater than a dark moment when they ended it. Life is greater than death, dear friend,  and God brings life even when others choose to end it.  As a Christian,  I believe life conquers death and those who departed and their loved ones should have hope even when life is gone.  

P. S.   New information has come out on Robin Williams diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.   According to research, Parkinson’s can exacerbate depression and anxiety.  Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s new treatments are being developed.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2014 in The D-Word

 

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