Saturday, July 22, 2017

Home...Home...

     The last two words I heard my dad utter as he slipped from consciousness to coma were:

                                                                "Home...Home..."

     "You're going home, Daddy...We'll get you there."

     His wife pulled me aside to say "Don't promise him that. The doctor says he wouldn't survive the ambulance ride." (Their home was in Carthage; my dad was in what was then Baptist Hospital.)

     "That's not the home he's referring to," I say, tears streaming down my face. I knew what home my daddy meant.

     My daddy died the way he lived. He packed his precious, passionate soul into every moment lived...A more spiritual man never walked this planet (well, ok, that's an exaggeration) but if anybody walked a spiritual walk it was my dad.  By the time they figured out it was cancer, he had precious little time left, which left me dropping everything to spend what time I could with him in what turned out to be just a few short weeks.

      I remember the call like it was yesterday...A Monday morning; I was on deadline for a column when his call came in. Nothing new for him to call me on his way to his 10 o'clock meetings, but I was behind this Monday...decided to let him roll to voicemail.  He left a message saying he was having breakfast with his friend, Doc, and would call me when finished. I made a mental note and went about my writing. True to his word he called back just after 11. Only this wasn't the tone I was expecting...and it sure as heck wasn't the message.

     Someone reminded me just this morning of something Dad used to say:

                                     "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems."

     Some days I do acceptance better than others. Some life experiences, however,  come with a ton of struggle.

     As I watch a world in turmoil I feel bad for what I'm about to write, for clearly nothing I'm living right now compares to children starving in Bangladesh or Serbians praying to get out of a war-torn country...That said, I am living the toughest experience of my 55-year-old life, and as fate would have it, the words that now come to haunt are once again, "Home... Home..."

     It's been building for awhile, but this weekend we placed our mother in assisted living. (Let the record reflect, she is not happy. For anyone who might speak with her, she is furious with both of her children right now and it breaks my heart to watch someone so fiercely independent long for the life she once knew and more specifically, her home.)

     We've told her it's temporary...that if she can muster the strength to walk and get about on her own, for goodness sake, YES, we too want you home (and I intend to put forth every effort to get her there if we can but make the hires, but neither her house or mine are properly suited. Read: staircases and 70's type tubs).  Sadly, the reality of her physical strength vs. the her headstrong nature have come to blows and the only one in more pain that she is right now is me. (Not to throw a pity party here, but I've talked to so many people who have lived through the same and I regret I wasn't more there for them ...If there's a support group for this, I'll join it.)

     Like a parent helping their kid set up that first dorm room, I spent my weekend hanging clothes and drapes and unpacking bedding. The sadness of facilitating the move was exhaustive both physically and emotionally. It came with the realization that life is never going to be the same, and my mother (to hear her tell it) never happy again.  In the kid's case, it's their first real stab at freedom...the launch of their own independence. (Mom's college years were her favorite, and believe you me, she isn't buying this dorm-room, send-your-kid-off-to-school analogy for one second, but it's all I got. I'm grasping here.)

     Given my kids are of the 4-legged variety, I can't imagine the bittersweet sadness of that goodbye. Though you know you'll see them on holidays and heck, they might even come back for good, that empty nest thing I'm told is very real and very painful. Still and so, it's the keen awareness (made more keen by repeated pleas to "Take me home! I just want to go HOME") that will haunt me till the day I die.

     The folks at the place offer strength. They assure me that if I'll but back off...give her time to get used to new routines, recognize the value of having help at the pull of a cord...meet new friends and try new experiences, it will all work out. ("But they don't know my mom," I think to myself. And I debate whether to erase her messages or save them as proof.)

     One thing's for sure. We don't like aging in this country, and as a result, we spend far too little time planning for it. As I watch my mom... ache for my mom... fight for my mom ( and WITH things like wheelchairs and walkers) I can't help but wonder "Who plans for this?" And then (more selfishly) "What's a single girl do?" after all, if the next 20 go as fast as the last 20 did, I'm there myself.

     And when that day comes, the question becomes: Who am I gonna call when my one and only wish in the world is to go home...home...

   

Saturday, May 27, 2017

God in the Moment (Sometimes Shows Up As A Monkey)

   
Carlos and Karlen...Sittin' in a Tree
     I was not having the best of days.
     I received an early morning call telling me Mom had fallen. (Fortunately, she could get up, thanks to someone being there, but it wasn't without ramifications.) They were monitoring her for a concussion and she bruised the heck out of her back side. I was heading to her second, but first I had a doctor's appointment to deal with an unruly knee that is not healing properly. (That's not counting the pain; no doubt, standing up is the last thing I need to be doing right now, but it's kinda hard to be of use to anybody, much less 29 goats, 5 dogs and myself while lying flat with knee at heart-level, which is absolutely driving me bonkers and I am failing at miserably, so go ahead and heap on the guilt because yes, I blame myself for my knee still being swollen like a son of a gun.)
     Mom was stable so I kept my appointment, only to find out my new insurance (having been booted off Blue Cross, thank you very much BC/BS) was screwed up...(something about referrals, which I literally watched my primary care doctor's office DO-- it just got lost in the system).
     Normally, when a cyclone of "nothing's-working-out" is swirling about me, I don't leave the house. I hole up. I cancel things. I do whatever I can to stop the contagion, having learned that once your day starts off sideways, you'd be wise to minimize the damages to others and not heap coals upon the burning, downward spiral. But in this case...facing a holiday weekend with a bum knee that was hurting like heck and a mother whose situation was uncertain and about to get worse as they'd stuck her in a room that portended a roommate soon (no offense to said unknown roommate, but my mom doesn't want visitors right now and she REALLY doesn't want strangers living along side her) I was in no mood for one more challenge.

     But then...
          the funniest thing happened.
   
     (I say funny because it is downright IMPOSSIBLE to stay in this mindset with a monkey in your midst.) I turn around from talking on a phone through a plexiglass window to a person who was, to her credit, trying to help navigate the new insurance people (Think: Karlen's an extra in Shawshank Redemption) I turn... to spot ....a monkey sporting a pamper. I think to myself: My God, it's a monkey...wearing a pamper! (This is normally where I pinch myself to make sure I hadn't shifted to some alternative universe.)

     I don't think I can paint the picture with words this time. I mean...who owns a monkey these days? And who takes one to a doctor's office? (Answer: Thank God, somebody.) In a 180, zero to 60 moment, my entire mood shifts.

     "Awww....What's his name?" (I have no idea why I assumed he'd be a guy... turns out my gut instincts were spot on. Must be all those dating years kicking in...)

     "Carlos. But don't worry. He won't bite. He has no teeth and he can barely see, but he WILL need to sniff you, just to make sure you're OK."

     I had noticed the girl while waiting for my insurance people to cooperate with the nice lady behind the plexiglass. This girl looked like Tracy; a grown up version of my best friend from first grade. Sadly  it couldn't be Tracy because Tracy died in an car crash when we were 16, but I'd been watching this girl since I took my seat in the waiting room. She was waiting for (what I now assumed was) her grandmother. The waiting alone prompted a flood of emotions as I closed my eyes and thought about Tracy and how much I missed her and how this could've been her and what it would've felt like bumping into her in a doctor's office after all these years...if only she hadn't died.

     Suffice it to say my whole day had been lived like this: at the brink of tears. (Note to self: remove damn magnet from refrigerator door; pretty sure this wasn't what it meant.) But no time to think about that now. There was a monkey amonkst us.

     Conscious of the myriad of smells that might set a monkey off, I resisted at first (not that I didn't want to shake hands with Carlos. To the contrary, I wanted to pick the monkey up and hug him to smithereens. Who sees a monkey in a doctor's office?)

     "Probably best I don't." I offered. "I live with a bunch of goats and some really big dogs. I'm sure I'm toting their smells. "

     "Oh, he'll LOVE you. We have goats too" says this Tracy doppleganger.

     There's a bond that comes when someone says they have goats. It's a goat-herder to goat-herder thing I guess, but goat lovers ~ we are who we are, so I smiled as I cut this Tracy-looking girl a knowing look.

     And with that I stuck my hand down and Carlos shook it. And then he kissed it. And then he reached up with both arms and whatever crap was happening in my day went down the drain, after all, I had won the approval and heart of a monkey.

     And Carlos, in this instant, won my heart right back and changed the entire mood and outlook of my day.

     I know we are to look for God is in every living thing. But that God can show up as a monkey in a doctor's office in just the right moment...Well, may I just say ...much as I love my little red bird, a monkey in the moment ... is even better!
 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Surrender Dorothy

     As personalities go, Mom and I are quite opposite...Polar opposites I'd even say. ..
   
     Mom tends to anticipate problems before they've arrived. Me? I focus on solutions like a heat-seeking missile even before there's a problem's to be had. (Makes for a good radio producer, but it also makes for twice the work as the mind has to anticipate first, what you're about to bring up as the non-existent problem, before the funner challenge of solving it is upon you~ It's become all but a game with us. At least I choose to view it that way.)

     Mom likes to tell you about her life...her travels...her encounters...her many accomplishments. Me? I like to ask about yours, after all, mine's rather redundant~(You can find it on Facebook:  Feed. Water. Hoe. Sleep. Rinse and Repeat next day.)

     Mom's a clean freak (not a neat freak, mind you ~ neither of us are that). Me? Well you see the many animals coming in and out of my life... Let's just say they leave their traces :)  There's a coaster on my coffee table given to me last week by a friend that reads: Cleanliness is next to ...Impossible. No truer words for animal lovers, can we agree? At least I gave up feeling guilty about that one years ago.)

     Mom's good with math. She prefers the left side/ linear half of her brain to the right, which makes her really good at bridge...and balancing her checkbook. Me? I avoid my checkbook at all costs and quite frankly think the right hemisphere/creative half of my brain may've EATEN the other half...I'm not sure I even have a left hemisphere anymore.

     Our noted differences make neither one better than the other, they are just differences spotted over time ~ things that delineate us and define our approaches to life...They encompass in us each, a world view ~ that outlook that we as our individual selves wake up with in our own respective worlds. In short, our outlooks are different. But our bond is our bond. This is also the stuff that reminds you how key the players who shape and mould you into the individual you've become and are becoming in the day to day living of our lives.

     But there's one arena in which Mom and I are ENTIRELY in lock step; in fact, we are downright identical. We are both fiercely independent in wanting to take care of ourselves, by ourselves, not wanting to impose or ask anyone outside of ourselves to DO for us what (on a good day) we've grown used to doing by ourselves. We both hate to inconvenience folks...Yet as much as we'd prefer not, on this one point, we have both been forced to rethink our lots.

     It is not lost on me, while care-taking a mother whose legs are not working that I'd take a fall just to experience what it's like to be immobile and unable to do a single thing about it. The evening of my fall (late night actually...it was the night of our last full moon and the dogs were howling louder than ever; I went out to the pen to bring one of the boys in, thinking it would break up the pack when my girl Rosebud spotted a cat and bolted, straight through my newly leashed connection with Hix, bringing all three of us into one massive and abrupt huddled heap, my knee taking the brunt of it all...) I had help on the farm that night (thank God)...a friend was here to see to the animals while I was tending to Mom's needs. Be it dogs or my screams that alerted this soul to come fetch me off the ground and tote me to my couch, I cannot say, but that's where I slept, not moving a muscle, with ice pack on knee until morning, when I discovered that the slightest effort to move the thing sent a dagger of pain the likes of which I pray never to experience again.

     The physical anguish was one thing. (NEVER have I experienced so much pain... When they asked "On a scale of 1 - 10" I asked "What comes after 10?") While attempting to change clothes just to get to the ER,  I confess I cursed saying "Screw it. (Or some version thereof) Take me in my PJs. I'm sure the ERs seen worse" ) Yet while lying there on that steely cold table as they brought the machine to me rather than watch me writhe any further, the mental anguish I had time to deeply reflect upon.

     THIS (and only this) could I do something/anything about and if I was going to survive this ordeal (at the time, convinced there'd be surgery) I KNEW I would have to release to whatever was about to happen to me as I had but one intensely focused thought and that was to walk again without crying.

     On this front Mom's different.

     Mom can't walk either right now without assistance. And I KNOW this is frustrating for her. (It frustrates ME knowing how frustrated she is. It is painful for a daughter to watch; I am now helpless to fix this one.)  But when your mind thinks one thing and your body says "No way..."  Guess what? Your mind better adjust, because the body (and those gosh-awful pain signals it has in its arsenal to control you) is gonna win. Every time.

     Today Mom is in an assisted living facility that provides "skilled care" (For those of you who've yet to live this chapter with your parents, get ready to bone up on your Medicaid manual for IT controls the bulk of these decisions, not you/not your health care provider.) Having used up her "acute care" days to the extent she was granted, this was the only possible next stop (for home is not an option for people who can't lift their legs to get in and out of bed).

     She is not happy. And I understand that. I hurt for her. Yet she wants no visitors. (I actually understand this too, though in my case, I quickly learned to embrace the comings and goings of my friends...They are not only my own life's support,  the kids needed them too...Kinda hard to tote water buckets on crutches.)

     I know my situation is different. She must look at me and say "Yeah, but you'll heal." (And yes, age puts me at a slight advantage.) But aging is a funny thing. As your body starts shutting down one area at a time you never quite know what to anticipate. But regardless even with these differences, I am sufficiently convinced "surrender" is still our best (if not only) option.

     I know it's not easy. It hurts exponentially for a person SO very used to living life on her own terms. Watching her has brought up a wellspring of emotional questions in me (after all, my kids have 4 legs, not 2; I didn't really think through this whole "last chapter of life when your body doesn't do what you ask it~" I dare say most of us don't).

     But like everything else in my life, it's again, brought up more digging...more soul searching...more deep conversations with friends and loved ones as I'm asking and writing and asking "So have you thought about what happens when..." not in a depressing way, but in a caring and compassionate way...A way that says "Let's talk about this now...Before it gets here...Before it's real. I'd like to know what you're thinking ...what you want...so that if I'm the one helping YOU, I get it right...and if you're the one helping me, you'll know my wishes.)

     Modern medicine is great for patching body parts, replacing our hips, our shoulders, our knees... sticking tickers in our chests to keep us going like Energizer bunnies. But sadly, modern medicine has done nothing to address what happens to our minds, our hearts and our souls while the mechanics of the physical linger thanks to duct tape and glue. Mom recalls her 40-something self when broken legs just mended as expected. But when aging takes the reigns and complications ranging from pneumonia to congestive heart failure to C-Diff to cancer to  ____ (you name it)  well, we alone are to blame for side stepping the deep and meaningful talks we should've been having long before now in order to know what matters most as our individual, unique selves face the inevitable.

     Without such talks--done with soulful compassion, preferably before the time comes, we are otherwise left to ponder these things, staring at the ceiling of some place we don't recognize as home anymore.

     The very thought of that notion.... is more painful than my knee.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Oh What A Beautiful Day . . .

     What a day for synchronicities...

     As I savor the planting of my garden, (enhanced by the anticipation of tonight's full moon), I am reminded by a friend that today's date marks the anniversary of Buddha's enlightenment...

     For those unfamiliar, may I introduce to you, Sadjguru~ one of the planet's most spiritual leaders and one of the best storytellers I've ever had the honor of interviewing as well as studying under in my younger years ... Below is a link to the story of How Gautama Became a Buddha ~ (23 minutes long, fyi)



     While Christianity may be the prevalent religion in our 'neck of the woods' ~ some scholars believe (and I happen to be one) that Jesus may very well have been a student of Buddhist (and other Eastern) teachings, in those "lost years" the gospels leave out. (Buddha walked the planet roughly 500 years before Jesus, in case you're not familiar with the chronology.)

     Regardless, it is a peaceful teaching...a meditative teaching...a contemplative approach to life, which I think we can all agree, our planet could use a lot more of about now...

     I wish for you each this day, this night...a peaceful full moon. For those who strive to live a more enlightened life, may we remember to look inward, not outward for our true source of power. For it lies not in DC...not in big businesses, but true power ~ the only REAL power that counts ~ lies meekly, quietly, silently within. (It packs the punch of a still, small voice if we'll but get quiet enough to listen.)

     If so inclined, won't you join me this evening in taking a moment as you marvel at the moon in your own back yard, to ask for continued guidance, grace and peace for our planet, particularly now.

     I believe with all my heart there are angels, guides and ascended masters who've gone on before, ever present, ever near... to help direct our paths more inwardly, ever lovingly toward God.

     May we humble ourselves as we ask for this guidance.

     From the God within you, to the God within me...We are one.

     Namaste'

Friday, May 5, 2017

No Way to Live/No Way to Die

   
Roz and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
     I've been remiss with the updates; honestly, didn't know exhaustion came in this many flavors...

     For those who have asked, my mother has recently undergone just about everything a living body can endure and today is rallying as best she can in a rehab hospital ~ (She's a fighter. I gotta hand her that.)

     After a skin cancer removal with skin graft (in March), awaiting radiation marching orders, Mom began experiencing immense pain in her abdomen, so much so that she asked to go to the ER. Here she was diagnosed with C-Diff (I'll let you Google it if you care to, but it's a nasty intestinal infection brought about by too many antibiotics and too many hospital stays, both of which she's seen a lot of recently.) Next, we added bladder infections and pneumonia (both of which require more antibiotics, which is like a growth hormone to the C-Diff bug). Suffice it to say it's been one challenge after another and by the time you DO come home to rest, the last thing you want to do is talk about it some more...(You actually want to talk about anything but, but friends and family deserve the updates, so forgive me for being late with things. I know you guys are praying for things you don't even know ~ Or WHO for that matter, as that last picture could've just as easily been my brother ~ (Out of respect for 'hospital hair' I didn't show her face~ We girls still have our pride.)

     But yesterday we got hairdo's and new togs and today we fight to live another day~

     She's asked for no visitors, but I'll see to it that she reads her Facebook page or mine~

     Till then, just wanted to say thanks everyone. I DO so believe in the power of prayer...Pretty much all that's been keeping us both alive these past few, that's for sure~

     With much love and gratitude~


     k

Sunday, March 12, 2017

"Don't Forget Your Angel"

   
     Some things hit you in the oddest of moments....This was one of those things.

     The line:  "Mam...Don't forget your angel." will be etched in my memory forever I suppose.

     But first, the background...

     This past Christmas my mother gifted me a small clip for the visor of my car --the kind you've probably seen before with a mother's prayer asking God to protect her daughter while driving. I stuck the pewter heart-shaped message on the visor of my Jeep and went about my merry way, only a week ago this weekend, we admitted my mother to the hospital for a surgical procedure. Because her car sits lower to the ground and is tagged for handicap things, we took her car to the hospital.

     The last thing I did after seeing that Mom was situated in the passenger seat, was grab my purse from my own blue Jeep, and in a "this'll make her smile" afterthought, grabbed Mom's angel clip, placing it above my head on HER car's visor, saying "If we're taking your car, that angel comes with us."

     As an update on my mother's health, she is still in the hospital; the surgery (to remove skin cancer cells run amuck) was not pretty. We do hope to have her home shortly, but as anyone knows who has dealt in these sorts of things, there'a a lot of back and forth to the routine when it comes to families in the hospital, doctor updates and the like.

     The surgeon had told us it could take a couple of days to get the lab reports back. ( There was skin grafting involved. We've got a bit of a journey to go.) But as if she hadn't endured enough drama, I was heading back into Nashville, after a day back home to tend critters, hoping to get to my mother before the pathology report was presented. (Some things people should not hear alone; furthermore, I am the designated stenographer, hand-holder and question-asker of doctors ~ Little do they know I'm a trained professional in this department, but I digress...)

     In my haste to get to her, sadly, I took out her car...by "took out" I mean I totaled it ~ (Or rather, a tractor trailer did.) For the record when you tangle with an 18-wheeler, Camry's do not win. We have living proof of that, with an emphasis today on "living" ~ Suffice it to say, it just wasn't a pretty week all the way around, but I am nothing but grateful to be writing this much of a report.

     Having talked to mother's doctors by phone while walking in a fog of aftershock and guilt for ruining a perfectly fine car that didn't belong to me (thank God for insurance), I finally got up the nerve and made my way to the car impound lot where the shock of what survived almost brought me to my knees.

     The kind man who owned the lot let me in, following with a trash bag to gather the things left in her car, which consisted of a pair of boots for me, some mail for her, some jumper cables in the trunk and a couple of walking canes that match certain outfits...(Of all my mom's priorities, fashion sense ranks high on the list. We love buying her designer canes.) As I crunched through the last of the shattered glass surrounding our belongings, the kind impound man gave the interior one last glance when he noticed the shiny heart still clipped to the visor. Reaching in he to grab it he turned to hand it to me with ...

       "Mam...Don't forget your angel."

     Living life at the point of tears is more than a refrigerator magnet in my world these days, but I must say, this moment took the cake (if not my breath away).

     I would like to take another moment to thank the Lebanon police department, the paramedics and even the driver of the rig who, NOT in shock as I was, had the presence of mind to call for help...The women in my Women's Circle (I was likewise heading to see) and the many, many friends who've been helping me with the farm and who are praying for us both and still are...

    And I of course, want to thank the nice tow truck man who summed up my entire life story this week with one simple, yet all too telling line of  "Mam... Don't forget your angel." (Oh, and I want to thank that angel, or band thereof, as well, for clearly they've been on overtime this week.)

   

Monday, January 30, 2017

My First 100 Days (Days 6, 7, 8 & 9)

   
 Day 6 - I cashed in a massage certificate someone got me for Christmas. (Reducing stress now top of mind on a daily basis. It goes right along with turning off the TV, which I confess, I backslid on this weekend.)

 Day 7 - I prayed a lot, thanks to said "backsliding" ~ Watching all those protests at all those airports did frighten me, as did several other things being signed in warp speed. (That man DOES like  his John Hancock)

 Day 8 - was a Sunday... but not just any Sunday. This one had a vibe about it, and has prompted action on my part and sent me into a spiral of reflection.

     For starters it was a "Spiritual Boot Camp" Sunday, (SBC is this thing my preacher has allowed me to test as a form of a support group for those struggling with their feelings in these volatile political times. It's not just for Democrats (I know what you're thinking.) It's for any caring person who is hurting for missing friends they no longer feel safe with, or feeling fear for things they don't understand.  (Think AA for the politically minded, which more of us than ever seem to be these days, again, regardless your party affiliation.)

     My church (Nashville Center for Spiritual Living) is a non-denominational church that focuses intensely on the power of prayer (also called Spiritual Mind Treatment, which no, is not Scientology). It's a form of praying that removes the negatives; for instance, if you came to me and said "I'm broke. I need to make more money." We would pray (treat) that "Abundance is flowing as God is your source." (as opposed to mentioning the words "broke" or "need" which only reinforces the same).

     After church, those of us who are practitioners (i.e. trained in these teachings and there to pray for folks who believe, as I do, in the scripture that states where two or more are gathered) avail ourselves to pray with you for whatever it is you are dealing with.

     Yesterday's prayer time caught me slightly off guard (though I don't know why it should've). A precious lady, a few years my senior, came to me with tears in her eyes asking if I would pray for her. "Of course" I said, thinking: "My gosh, whatever it is, it's clearly tragic. Was this a break up? A death?" Whatever it was she clearly needed help.

     We found ourselves a quiet space, sat down, then placing hands on hers I asked, "So tell me what is happening here?"

     With tears streaming down her face as if her dog had died, she says, "I just can't get past it. I am SO scared...SO angry at this election. I don't know what to do. I can't go on like this, but it seems to just keep getting worse."

     Clearly she, like me, had taken in too much of the political angst of our President's first week in office and in addition to praying for us both, I invited her to come join my group therapy session where for the next hour and a half we discussed various frustrations and potential solutions that each of us as individuals might mete out in the week ahead. (Again, while we might state the problems, we don't dwell on problems, but rather "How are WE as individuals ...we as Americans going to get through this together?")

     Response to my earlier blog touched my heart, and I thank you folks for that.

     But now I would like to issue another challenge~

     We cannot afford to be polarized.

     Whatever it is you believe...Whoever it is that you voted for, this was your right, my right, OUR rights as American citizens. And whether you are proud of this president or scared out of your wits right now, the worst thing that can happen to us is NOT going to come from some proclamation or some signed piece of parchment. It is what we do to ourselves if we insist on letting our leadership divide us.

     I know our President doesn't read books (his words, not mine), but I wish he would take in a biography of Lincoln right now. It is said that Lincoln, in the worst of the civil war, would be in meetings, head in his hands weeping when his assistant would come in with the daily death counts. "I cannot bear this...I cannot bear this." The man cried in front of his cabinet. Lincoln struggled with what the war meant to this country and to each family and each person in it. He spent the better part of his presidential career in a state of melancholy (as if losing a child weren't enough) and sadly he never lived to see the good that wound up resulting when the war ended. But folks, we don't have a Lincoln right now. All we have is US.

     I don't know who becomes the appointed leader for the spiritually minded (for spiritually minded people come in both Democrat and Republican parties; I know. I've met them.) But there ARE political tactics out there designed to divide and if I could have but one wish for this great land of ours, it would be that WE the people, don't fall for it.

     So today on Day 9, I issue this challenge (and I'd sincerely love to hear back). Practice this day, one concerted effort to hear the other side--truly HEAR the other side. FEEL their side. Have COMPASSION for their very real beliefs and opinions. Find someone you think you disagree with, and make an effort to either find something good (hey, we all want our economy to grow, we just disagree on how to do it); or find a personal trait you admire (i.e. something to compliment in this person who voted opposite you). We have GOT to diffuse the anger between us.

     If we don't, we all lose.

     And ours is NOT a nation of losers.

     My faith is in the goodness of humanity.
     My faith is on the God in each and every one of us.
 
(Even my atheist friends who don't believe in God. I honor your right to believe it.)
(I just know better ;)