Wednesday, December 19, 2012

what is wrong with people???

what is wrong with people???  i was walking into the hospital from the garage and heard a man yelling very loudly and angrily across the garage.  there were others walking in with me too, and we all turned to look.  i stopped and watched, wondering if he would yell at me for taking notice but honestly didn't care.  he stepped out from between two cars and the person he was yelling at was a very small little girl, maybe about three.  he started walking towards the door, and ultimately towards me...yelling at her and dragging her the entire way.  the language he used isn't appropriate for public viewing so i'll leave that part out, but what matters is that he didn't seem to care that there were others watching him and as i walked slowly into the building still watching him, still listening to him, a kind older couple passed by and the gentleman whispered to me, "slap him, will you."  i told him i would take care of it.  i got inside the building and stood there trying to figure out how to handle the situation...remember, i'm totally non-confrontational so these things are very hard for me but i knew there was no way i was letting him get away with what he was doing in front of me. (i kept thinking about how gran would handle the situation and i knew without a doubt she would say something even if it meant making her uncomfortable.)  he ended up right in front of me and once he realized i was looking right at him he was visibly startled and tried to apologize.  i asked him if what he was doing was necessary and he was immediately upset with me for even asking.  i'm a pretty sensitive person (shocker, i know) and stuff like this makes me crazy.  and, in light of what happened last friday in CT, i have zero tolerance for someone who can't appreciate their children.  the rest of what happened between us doesn't matter other than the fact that he knows someone saw him and didn't ignore his behavior.  and, more importantly, that little girl heard someone speak up for her...i looked her in the eyes more than once and reminded him firmly that she doesn't deserve to be treated that way and that it was unacceptable behavior for anyone.  you're right if you guess that he didn't like me or my comments one little bit, but i wasn't there to make friends with him.  i turned from him and was face-to-face with one of our safety engineers who told me to report it and that he would follow him to make sure she was okay and that he calmed down.  i was thankful for his presence and reassurance.

i'm sure many people wouldn't do that, wouldn't stand up to a stranger who was clearly angry.  and, i know we as parents have the right to raise our children in our own ways but that was too much and my fear was not so much for that moment, but more so for what he does without an audience.  if he had no problem acting that way in public, i can only imagine what he does behind closed doors.  it made my heart hurt.  we have to stand up for those who can't defend themselves.  she was so little and my mind filled with the thought of all those poor children who had no way of defending themselves...all those families who don't get to raise or hold their little ones...made me sick.  the last thing i said to him was, "cherish her" after he had told me repeatedly that she was his and he could do what he wanted with her..."yes, she is.  and you should cherish her instead of treating her that way."

Monday, December 17, 2012


there are no words for the amount of heartache the world has endured the past few days.  humanity has been tested by demons greater than any weapon.  tiny souls were ripped from their families...parents, siblings, friends, and strangers...each mourning for lives lost in seconds.  i ache for the survivors, for the children who may never escape the sights and sounds of those moments.  20 children in one school, 20 children in a community about the same size as mine...children near m's age...gone.

my child is growing up in an age where they have "intruder" drills.  "we put black paper over the windows and hide in the backpack area.  or, if we have enough time we go to mrs. davis' class because she has no windows."  she has practiced this.  she knows why she would need to do this in a real-life situation, and that breaks my heart.  i can't make sense of this, and i don't think i ever will.  i am thankful that her school does what it can to protect her from such dangers, but absolutely hate that there is even a need for those children to "rehearse" what they would do if someone walked their halls with the intent to harm them.  it makes me sick.

i don't want to talk about gun control.  i don't want to know his name or see his face.  i have no doubt he fought an illness our society doesn't do enough to treat, but that still gives no one the right, or the justification, to take innocent lives.  keep your selfish misery to yourself, never turn it on defenseless children or those whose job it is to protect them.

friday's tragedy isn't the only one splattered across the newspapers and television...a mass stabbing in china, a family found shot to death less than 15 miles from here, senseless shootings at a there no place we are safe?  is human life of so little value that to take it means nothing to the one holding the weapon?  or is the possibility of going down in history, even as a monster, worth it?  have we allowed our children to become so desensitized to violence that they don't know the true implications when it isn't on a screen under the auspices of "it's just a game"?  i fear we, as parents, are much to blame.  we fill our lives with so much, allow our children to be occupied by things other than us...we aren't present much of the time and they turn to whatever source of attention they can find.  don't get me wrong, i'm not blaming tv or video games or whatever else you likely think i was referring to.  it's a generalization.  it is our job to raise our children.  our job, our privilege to love teach them how to love.  we can't do that if we aren't paying attention to them.

so much of life is wasted on senseless cruelty.  how do we preserve innocence?  is it possible to protect without living in fear?  or, is the answer to live each moment as if we don't know if we'll get another?  nothing is promised.  we get right now, this second.  that is a sobering, yet absolutely liberating statistic.  i pray to love with an open heart, to see the goodness in each moment, to look into another's eyes and see them as Jesus would.  we all vowed friday to hold tighter, to love stronger, to be thankful for our children and loved ones...but, those promises fade with the buffer of time.  ultimately we become more relaxed, taking for granted time and people without notice until our faith is shaken again.  it's a cycle we all live without intent, yet i guess i hope that with each horrific story i revert less to my old pattern and appreciate those in my life a little more on a continuous basis.  at least, that's my hope.

i think the best thing we can do to honor those lives is to love with all we have, to give more of ourselves to those around us and to take time to truly enjoy the gift of time.  those families don't have that luxury...

Monday, December 10, 2012


the conversation went like this...

him:  "how do you know the (insert name of long-time family friend i had just ran into in the cafeteria)?"
me:  "i'm from lathrop."
him:  "you are?  what year did you graduate?"
me:  "yes.  1995.  why?
him:  "me too.  class of '82.  what's your maiden name?"
me:  "canaday."
him:  " you know the brothers...the canaday brothers?"
me:  "yes...that's my dad.  jack's my dad..."
him:  "i took care of your grandmother...i was in home health/hospice before employee health and she was my patient.  the boys were so good to her, her sons...your dad."

at this point i was beside myself.  speechless.  this man who had given me a tb test, who i said hello to in the halls numerous times, who was just another employee...had taken care of gran...spent those last couple months visiting her, caring for her.  and, in that moment a little piece of me broke.  yet, at the same time, i felt almost like she was in the room with us and i didn't want the moment to end.

me:  "you knew gran?  you were there, with her...?"
him:  "yes...she was always standing in the kitchen cooking something.  always in that same spot.  she had such a laugh and her eyes twinkled."
me:  (trying desperately to keep it together) "she did.  she was amazing."
him:  "yes, she was.  the world just got a whole lot smaller, in a good way."

he could tell i was close to tears and apologized for upsetting me.  i told him that, no, i wasn't was a good moment and i was happy to know that such a kind person had helped care for her. it was a brief conversation.  a couple minutes at most.  but, i left that room knowing that she had been there with us.  and, tonight, i miss her so much.


Friday, December 7, 2012


my little blog just hit 5,500 page views!!    i realize that to many of you that may not sound like a lot, but to me it's huge!  there is nothing like knowing people are reading the words you write...and, then, hearing from those people that what you write means something to them; touches them in some's a pretty amazing feeling and is a large part of why i do this. so, thank you for reading my words...for telling me that what i write matters...for taking the time to know my heart and for allowing me to fit somewhere in your life.

"fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
- william wordsworth

i love notebooks.  i'm obsessed with them, have them everywhere each with something written in them.  i have two favorites though...a beautiful black leather one given me by a dear friend who appreciates my love of paper and pens.  this one i carry with me all the time just in case i need to write something down and thus part of the reason i must carry a big's oddly comforting to know that if/when i need it, it's there.  often it gets used when i'm in church or at work...on its pages are quotes and scriptures, the beginnings of blog posts that i needed to put on paper before i forgot them and a few lists.  the other is a small, well-worn pretty little notebook that i got this time four years has traveled with me, seen me through my divorce and when my mom was holds poems and quotes, song lyrics and dreams...much of my heart resides on those pages.  both of them are like old friends, each full of words that were exactly what i needed them to be in the moments i wrote them down.  i turn to them when i need strength, when i need comfort...when i need reminding.

oh...i saw God yesterday...or, rather, i felt Him twice...wednesday night had been kinda rough (for reasons that do not matter) and yesterday morning was no better, but i woke to find an email from a dear friend that said this:

"today may there be peace within.  may you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  may you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.  may you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.  may you be content with yourself just the way you are.  let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.  it is there for each and every one of us" - wanted to let you know you sooo many.  you touch so many lives.  you make a difference.  you are loved and perfect just as you are.  please be kind to yourself.

she knew nothing of what was going on yet she sent this anyway.  it was a God thing. His arms, His words reaching out to me through her when i needed them.

and then, later in the day, another the form of chocolate...reminded me that i haven't been forgotten...that i'm missed and thought of.  the timing was perfect...God's timing i have no doubt.  

i write to learn understand...myself and the world around me.  it makes me think, makes me take a good look at my life and the people and things i surround myself with.  when i write i try very hard to be completely honest and not to simply show the things i most often want others to see.  i would love to say that's easy, but it's not.  it would be way easier to write only the pretty paint a picture with no darkness, no brokenness or rough edges...but, that's not real and it's boring and while i'm about as peppy and spirited as they come...all of those less than desirable things live within me too.  so, i guess, when i write my story...when i share this life, my hope see God...working through me, living in me.

Monday, December 3, 2012


i see the world from the outside in.  rarely am i 100 percent in the moment because i'm also completely in tune with whatever else is going on around me.  i always used to think i just liked to people watch, but it's so much more than that.  i love watching people, mostly when i think they can't see me (or are so wrapped up in whatever else they are involved in)...i love seeing their expressions, especially their eyes.  generally, you only get a few moments to take someone become a part of their story, or to imagine what their story could be as is most often the case. 

i work in a hospital.  i pass through the patient registration area more than once a day.  as i move throughout the lobby i weave around people who are there for various reasons, many of which are less than pleasant.  i am drawn often to one person or another and at the time have absolutely no idea why.  today it was an elderly gentleman seated alone on a bench in an area i've not previously noticed anyone before.  he sat in the breezeway between the outside entrance to the main part of the hospital and the interior doorway that leads into the lobby.  it was dim and a bit dark in that stretch of space and he looked like he wanted to be alone in his thoughts...yet he had chosen a very busy place to do so.  in the few seconds i watched him, a handful of people passed him by; none stopping, none noticing him...each with their own agenda, their own burdens and concerns.  yet, there he was...elbows on his knees, forehead resting on his folded hands, eyes prayer?  in thought?  in pain?  i have no idea.  he didn't look at peace, but more so as if he had a heavy heart.  and i wanted more than anything to go to him and ask if he was okay....but, i didn't.  out of respect for his privacy...out of fear that i would offend him...i let him be.  the thing is, i have no idea what he was doing there today.  it could have been nothing, but it could have been any number of things and that's where my mind goes in instances like that...with him i couldn't help but wonder if he was there to see his wife of many years; that in those few seconds he was either praying for comfort, or healing, or an answer...or, he was looking back on a lifetime of memories that had quickly been wrapped up in one breath.  to many of you that may sound a bit dramatic, and maybe it is, but when i look at someone i see the things many others do not.  of course, with this gentleman, it was my story, my interpretation of a few seconds watching someone i do not and will never know.  it was my take on a situation and that is all it was.  but, what i think is so absolutely amazing is that we live among each other; passing by, often brushing against one another and never stop to ask the what's and the why's and the how's that make up our individual (yet totally entwined) lives.

we are busy.  we don't want to intrude.  we are told that it's rude to ask.  yet, even with those we are closest to, we rarely take the time to really ask anything more than the general "how are you?" that we all answer the exact same way.  we settle with "fine" and move on so as to not be forced to become more involved in something we don't have the time for.  instead, we focus our attention elsewhere - anywhere other than on those right in front of us it seems, always distracted and often somewhere else than in the moment with the people we are supposed to be most invested in. 

i can't tell you what i see when i look into someone's eyes.  with each person it's different, but there is almost always one universal truth...the need to be seen, the desire to be heard, the hope that someone will take the time to know us for who we are and not just the picture we project on the surface.  i tend to forget that while i'm busy watching others, chances are good someone is doing the same with me...i wonder what they see when they think i'm not looking, what they see when they look in my eyes, what story the imagine for me as they are looking from the outside in on my life....