“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. It means understanding that something is what it is and that there has to be a way through it.” Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox is an inspiration to me and to many and I am so happy to see the thought he added to the phrase: “…it is what it is,” –THAT “there has to be a way through it.”
That phrase, “it is what it is,” has irritated me since about 2010, when it seemed to permeate many conversations that I was either having or topics that were being discussed by others. It seemed so definite and defining and I guess I am the type of person that cannot readily accept things as permanent or without possibility. I would say I am not one to follow the “status quo.” It doesn’t mean that I cannot accept some things, such as the manner in which the sun rises or set. It does mean that when something seems to be an irritation or an injustice, it bugs the hell out of me that I can not do something to improve it or that we cannot at least discuss possibilities. I do not think that makes me a “negative person” because I get so upset with that idea of “it is what it is.” One reason I get upset is that when someone says that to me it expresses a finality and that I “should just get over it and move on.” Ignoring an injustice is not something I can do easily. If anything, I am hopeful that things can be better!
“There has to be a way through it” expresses to me that there are countless possibilities. No matter how bad a situation, no matter how difficult the experience, there is a way out or forward. If one approach does not work, we can try another. Not giving up on possibilities is being hopeful and optimistic. Not giving up on others, no matter how many times they have done every possible thing to drive you down into the valley, there is always the hill that can be climbed to new heights.
Lately, our country is experiencing many soul-stretching boundaries. We have to look at our beliefs and what we actually live and breathe. With every spurt of growth there is a little pain. We have to keep on hoping in ourselves, in one another, and in the common good of humanity. I know I fail at this many times. but each day I wake up and have to try again and not give up or say “it is what it is.” No, I must add, “there is a way through it” and continue with HOPEFUL ACTION.
Written by my Granddaughter, Nadia, when she was 4 years young! (January 12, 2014 at 17:39:32)
I love this photo of her! The love glows in her face…such a beautiful, free soul…such a whimsical gaze!
With your eyes so bright on me
You will be my Sweetie
We will swing on a star
And you will be my car
for Lily Elizabeth Brooks
My New Granddaughter
5 Months into this world!
i look upon your face
your gentleness does not escape
warmth and kindness in your grin
lovely, lovely welcoming in
your eyes follow my every move
my love for you I will prove
soaking in the tone of my voice
love from me is the only choice
the touch of your tiny finger to my hand
sends a message deep for all I stand
Lily, you are gift beyond measure
In my heart you will always be my treasure
We woke up today to a brand new bridge
Offering our hands to help them make the leap
Days and days on the road with no sleep
We knew they had walked through too much grief
The elderly man held his wife’s wrinkled hand
Their grandchildren clung to them as they sat in the sand
The young married couple looking for hope
Their son and daughter with an adventurous scope
They hadn’t eaten for several days, no water passed to their parched lips
Their thirst for freedom was their drink and their trust in God their sailing ship
Their grateful eyes filled with tears
Man of La Mancha dispelled their fears
We finally were at peace with ourselves
We stopped the war placing it on the shelves
We no longer had a hollow heart
Living humanely initiated the start
We sat on the hillside and by the beach
We laughed and smiled and made the reach
We were proud to say there is enough for all
We leapt for joy and tore down that silly old wall
We woke up today to a brand new bridge!
old Picket Bridge, built sturdy and strong
many moons ago is the history’s song
with Whatcom Creek rushing below
the soldiers marched to and fro
different feet from various walks of life
trod upon it day and night
the years flew by as did the time
still the bridge stood ever so sublime
today its purpose is doublefold
the only home for the humble-souled
the pavement is laid and so are the planks
people using it without asking their rank
sheltering the homeless safely underneath
in the cold they sleep with shattering teeth
progress they say has come our way
yet so many are left with no place to stay
Poverty in the USA is growing quickly and we are fast becoming a Third World Country, though few want to acknowledge it. Yes, we have many more safety net programs than most countries. This is a true fact. But the number of homeless is growing more rapidly than are the solutions to help people feel like productive human beings.
Recently, I read that France has made it illegal for their grocery stores or supermarkets to throw out food. Instead they must donate it to a shelter, charity or place that needs food for the hungry. (https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2017/03/24/France-s-food-waste-ban-One-year-o)(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/04/french-law-forbids-food-waste-by-supermarkets) Of course, with this new law, there are the pros and cons. But overall, the principle of the idea is sensible and it should be kept and utilized in all countries! Waste is a terrible thing, especially when we know children in Yemen are starving to death, when someone in Togo jumps into a well because they have no money to feed their family, when people are emaciated and starving! How can we dump the food into a garbage container. I vividly recall the scene from the film, “Dr. Zhivago,” which portrays the upper class dining, drinking and having a ball, while the people below are marching on the streets asking for bread.
Why are so many people on the streets? Why are there families living in cars?
The answer to this dilemma is more than the simplified answer: “They are too lazy to work.”
Yes, there are people on opioids, there are people smoking pot–yes, these are real people who end up living on the streets. But NOT everyone is a drug addict or a pot smoker. There are people who are mentally ill. People who have social anxiety, people who talk to themselves, people who are lost, people who do not seem to belong to anyone, people without family. There are people who for one reason or another, lost their job, and he/she or both parents and their children live in cars or under bridges and are without nothing. There are people living in the sewers of Las Vegas!
What has our world become? A world of have and have-nots. And NOT every fault lies at the feet of those who are without.
No one is going to tell me that a person would rather sit on the cold cement, as I saw on the streets of Bellingham, Washington, because they like the rain pouring on them and the cold wind biting at their bodies!
I have visited Bellingham on four different occasions because my youngest daughter now lives there. While there, I spend my day time walking on the streets, because my daughter is working and I need to do something with my time. I walk and I observe. Occasionally, I engage in conversation with those who are homeless. Yes, they think I am one of them because I am walking everyday. I write as though they are someone from some distant planet! My God–they are people with red blood running through their arteries–just like you and me! I suppose they are observing me too.
One particular day, four women were huddled together drinking coffee and one shouted to me, “Hey, I like your jacket.” I took this as an opportunity to interact with them. There I stood with them and spoke with them for over an hour. I learned a lot. Each woman had a poignant story to tell. Elizabeth lost her trailer because she had been with an abusive man and the police came and confiscated the trailer (yes, I am sure I only got some of the story). Another said she had no family. The third woman said she had been in a hospital but they discharged her and she had nowhere to go. Still another woman said she had been living with her daughter and her two children in a low-income housing project, but she had to leave because she was not allowed to remain with her as the housing stipulation said only her daughter and children could live there. Never mind, that the woman experiences social anxiety, is over 60, and had only a shopping cart filled with her belongings and a cat on a leash. She expressed that she feared going to a shelter because of the men who also stay there. There are no separate facilities, I presume.
There are as many reasons as there are homeless people on the streets.
I saw one person’s attempt to help. One day I was walking along Whatcom Creek and along this creek is a walkway with posts and a guard rail overlooking the waterway. I noticed that several posts had bags on them and one post had a jacket. I have attached the photos below, but I will write what was on each bag in each photo.
Photo #1: “With Metta…for you or a friend, may you be safe. May you be well. May you be warm. May you be happy. 3x”
Photo #2: This (a jacket) was my brother’s. He traveled the world with this, was smart and talented. I miss him. Let it serve you well!” Peace Sign
Photo #3: “With Metta. May you be safe. May you be well. May you be warm. May you be happy. 3x”
I have also seen people come down Holly Street and stop their van and hand out sandwiches to those on the streets. Others have given out water and juice bottles. Each day I see the generosity of the people of Bellingham.
And, I also see the dark side. Entrance ways that would provide shelter for the homeless overnight are sealed with an iron gate and lock.
There are many challenges facing us as a society. We have much work to do!
What can we do? Unlock our hearts!
Dedicated to each and everyone of my grandchildren
ALL children of Mother Earth
All children of every race
All children of every faith
entrusted to our care
whispering love into the air
hope is within
each child we see
it is up to us
to guide them to BE
what must I do?
I must love them for always
come what may
“love them for always” is all that I can say
a person who has the job to watch over something very carefully and record your results over a period of time
Have We Become a Culture of Monitors?
Picture these events:
We go to our doctor appointment and the nurse monitors our blood pressure. Up and down and around we go.We go to our doctor and we tell her or him our symptoms and she or he tells us to watch ourselves very closely. (I have already been watching myself closely, that is WHY I am here!) If your toe develops a green color, you may have gangrene and then we can cut if off. Monitor your foot!
We go to Church, and the priest tells us to monitor our behavior. We go to our financial advisor, (in my case, that is my alter ego and my checkbook) and he is monitoring our situation. We go into a bank, and the safety officers are monitoring the comings and goings of various individuals. We watch the highway workers who are monitoring how many accidents occur on the corner without the Stop Sign. We have to wait until a certain number of deaths occur before we install the Stop Sign. After all, what is one human life in our world of a billion plus?
We know the amount of clutter in our garages and basements have the potential for a fire, but we are monitoring the situation and continue to watch the collection grow! We are monitoring the situation.
We know that if we changed one thing in the classroom, such as taking the time to speak to the child as a person, we might just be the only adult who is coming into the child’s life, listening to that child. However, we have tests to correct and forms to fill out to hand into the Principal daily so that he “knows” we are “doing the job!” He is monitoring the paper situation.
Then we have the judge in the courtroom, and we know that alcohol is used daily by the defendant. The judge says he will monitor the situation, by allowing the abuser to spend a night in jail for observation, while the court clerk takes the fine and builds the prison fund so that his friend who sells to the prisons, will garner a profit. The next day, the alcoholic allowed home, becomes father of the year and beats his children once more. But, hey, the judge, the court system, the Social Service System, the Guardian ad Litem have all done their perfect paper recording job. What else do we want? Children are property– written into law since the Founding Fathers. Who knew?
We are monitoring the situation. We are a Guardian ad Litem, and we collect our $120 per court appearance, read the information, and monitor the situation. We do the perfunctory requirements of our office, but do we actually care what happens to the lives of those children? What do we actually do besides fill out forms and file papers?
We have a widow neighbor living next door, and we talk among ourselves how lonely life is for her now that her children have moved on with their lives and her husband has died. We monitor the situation. Do we think we might invite her over for coffee? Do we think we might offer her a ride to the store? Do you think we might give her a phone call? No, that would be meddling in other people’s business.
How is that the man who lived here for 14 years in our subdivision, and then died in a tragic train accident, and we didn’t know it? How is it we do not know each other any more? How is it that the single Mom only gets nasty letters in her mailbox and not one can offer a listening ear or a hand of help when one of the four children loses her way?But we are monitoring our neighbors offenses, I am sure.
So, we continue to monitor the situation. Our bridges are collapsing (remember the horrific deaths when the Minnesota Bridge 9340 met its demise, killing 13 people and injuring 145?) literally!
Our bridges to each other are fragile if they exist at all. We are too busy building walls and fences, rather than a pathway of help.
We have more monitors in this country than anywhere in the world!
Why do we wait for a crisis to occur before we take action?
Isn’t it better to avert destruction, rather than sit and watch the issue continue to fester?
Where have all the DOERS gone?
When and where does action take place?
Do we have to wait for blood to be shed?
When do we go beyond monitoring to action?
Do we just wait for everything to collapse and fall apart?
Whose responsibility is it, if not ours?
Yes, I am sure there are many good people, many good holy people, many good teachers, many good Principals. many good Social Workers, many good Guardian ad Litems, many good judges, many good bridge builders in our country. We just need MORE Doers!
Who of us will apply for the job? Who of us will be a DOER and not just a monitor?
I have my eye on you…
I am monitoring YOU!!!!!!!