Monday, June 26, 2006

Claudia

Met Claudia today. Nice lady.

Seems she is a resident at a residential care facility here. She’s been here only a week or two, the result of moving here with her daughters. They had moved here for work and asked if she wanted to move with them. She did.

One of Claudia’s daughters had called the church office, wanting someone to visit her mother. I happened to be there harassing our Youth Intern as he worked on the new webpage and our office administrator gave me the message. I’m glad she did.

Claudia is a talkative and relatively energetic lady. She’s in a wheel chair because apparently she tends to black out without warning. She sees the wisdom in using the chair, although I get the impression that given the chance, she’d just as soon take a relaxing stroll outside.

After assuring Claudia that we’d have folks come and talk, bring her communion, and a congregational bulletin, I asked if she’d like to attend services at the church. She was concerned about not having a dress to wear. You see, living most of your days in a wheel chair makes slacks and blouses easier. And so she doesn’t have a dress, or least an appropriate one, for church. Another concern was the imposition that having someone pick her up would be on whoever that might be. What with the wheel chair and all.

One doesn’t want to be a bother, you know.

I told her she could wear whatever she wants; we won’t care. And that we had more than a few folks who would be willing to pick her up and stay with her for services. If she wanted to come, we’d make it happen.

Claudia is a life-long member of our church. She’s familiar with our more conservative groups, but I don’t think she leans their direction too much.

I hope to be like Claudia one of these days. Oh, I don’t know that I want a wheel chair, or to black out if I stand up too long, but her commitment to the family of God, a desire to have human interaction, and concern about others’ scruples are wonderful.

HR

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why Did You Change?

On one of the listserves that I read, someone asked "Why Did You Change? Over time or was it sort of an epiphany?" I thought that was a pretty good question and so I responded with the following:

In my case, epiphany is closer to the answer. But it didn't happen over night.

I used to be a rather callous react-er. No more.

By now, you all should know that I read and read about, and reflect on Scripture. That certainly has something to do with the change. There have also been EO classes and acceptance training.

In addition, I've seen little kids, to whom I had given chocolate the day before, now dead on the street and sidewalks, having died from mortar or sniper fire. I've had grown women and men ask - plead - for help. I have seen the panic and anxiety in their eyes. And I have not been able to help in the immediate moment. I would not want to be where they were. I have seen men shot by snipers as they walk down their streets.

I have learned that my value, your value, comes to us simply because we are alive. That everyone deserves respect and a sympathizing ear/heart - even when corrective action is required. I have learned that people thrive with caring boundaries because of the respect they provide them. In my case, I believe God loves me; that our relationship is secure no matter what happens to me in this life. This realization frees me to help people even when it looks stupid, or when others may think I'm being taken advantage of. It's not others I worry about. It's who I am that concerns me and my motivations for acting.

I also know how embarrassing it is to spew invective and then find out that I didn't understand the situation. I have received invective that I thought was misguided or ill-timed. I don't like the feeling of either one and I don't want others to feel them.

True love drives out fear, and fear is my understanding of why people develop dysfunctional behaviors. Most of my fear is gone; I trust God. Therefore, I have no need for defense mechanisms or self protection. I can behave as a whole person without need for shadowing or conniving. I can be honest and let you either accept me or not. I can admit an error and not
feel as though the world will end for doing so. I can let you be you, with all your foibles and not think you a threat to me.

Why have you changed?

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