Tag Archives: Fear

It’s NOT About Trump — It’s All About Us

Folks! It’s not about Trump! It’s about us! We, the people hold primary blame for the challenges facing our country! After reading an article by Skip Bacevish (one of my husband’s classmates), I considered Skip’s words, “The individual inhabiting the White House has become the preeminent symbol of who we are and what we represent as a nation and a people.” Rather than attributing the state of the union to Donald, we must look within for our own causes and cures.

Fans of Trump as well as those of us who worry about him share an important common flaw in our thinking. We all tend to allot more power to Trump than we rightfully should. Those who adore Trump firmly believe he is the savior who will fix America — “Make America great again.” Those of us who distrust Trump wag our fingers dismally as we blame him and his cronies for the problems we face.

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Responding to Challenges Times

Every Sunday, the members of our church sing two important phrases. “This is the time we’ve been waiting for. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” With increasing frequency, I repeat these sentences to myself.

Nationally, we have an idea on which we all seem to agree — America faces challenging times. A national split seems to widen each day with no solutions in sight. We find divisions about climate changes, racial inequity, immigrants, Muslims, gays, women’s rights, taxes and many more issues. As long as we remain divided, no one can truly enjoy the freedom for which this republic began.

How can this be the time we have been waiting for? Division feels terrible. I can’t speak for others, but during times of challenge, I experience my most significant reflection and growth. The challenges we now face call on us to be the best we can possible be. Circumstances also prompt us to live up to the intentions of our founding fathers.

Our constitution begins, “We the people. . .” The words do not include we the people of a certain color, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. How might our nation look if we were to rise to the level of those opening words? According to Reverend Jim Rigby, “We seek a freedom that does not enslave others.” If I say, “I love you but I don’t want to pay you a living wage,” I clearly demonstrate hypocrisy. Likewise, can I claim love if I favor laws that make voting difficult for any group or individual? Am I a loving person if I live in fear of any religion or group that differs from my personal values?

Rigby suggests that if we live in captivity to our fears, we restrict the freedom of all of us. Additionally, putting money ahead of human values denies us our own liberty. The laws of the Old Testament and the laws of our own constitution exist to help us establish personal freedoms —freedoms, which must exist for everyone within the boundaries of this great country.

Apparently, these are the times we’ve been waiting for. These times require us to wake up and live out of compassion, to move beyond our fears and act with courage. Only with open hearts can we find the freedom we seek. No leader of any party can provide this for us. Nor can any religion or clergy provide us with healing. The freedom, as well as the safety we seek abides within our own beings. This is the time and we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Work Cited:

Reverend Jim Rigby. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Austin, Texas, 2017. Ideas in this writing come from a sermon delivered by Jim Rigby on Sunday, May 28, 2017.

RESPONDING TO TERRORISM WITHIN

In the years following the 9/11 attacks, we changed as a people. Fear crept across our country invoking all manner of defensive reactions. Unfortunately, fear invites exaggerated suspicions and outright phobias.

Of course, we must always remain vigilant. No argument about that. We would be foolish not to vet all who request acceptance into our country. And yet, as horrifying as any threat from terrorists appears to be, we face an additional menace from groups of our own citizens.

“White Nationalists” and groups sympathetic to their thinking threaten to rip apart our core values. Increased activity from the Klu Klux Klan endangers our neighbors. Groups that emulate Nazi Germany insult our humanity. Hatred of our own citizens imperils everything this country values: Continue reading

Living in Interesting and Challenging Times

Each day, I remind myself, “We live in interesting times.” A second breath adds, “We live in frightening and uncertain times.” Can we depend on those in power to make positive changes? Maybe and maybe not. Can unimportant, unrecognized people — such as retired senior citizens hope to make even the most miniscule impact? Possibly but probably not.

Foolishly, I suppose, I think that the only genuine answer comes through living from a space of love. My closest friends suggest how silly I sound. I am reminded of the person seen throwing starfish back into the ocean. “Hey, man, don’t you know you aren’t making a difference?” The reply, as he threw another struggling form back to the water, “I made a difference for that one.” I too still want to make a difference.

So, for those of us who worry about:

  • vouchers robbing low-income schools of revenue,
  • guns overtaking sanity,
  • conditions that continue to stack the decks against minority populations,
  • wealthy augmenting their troves of riches while those in the middle income and below falter,
  • destruction of the environment — the question remains, “What can we do?”

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Does Living in Fear Help Keep Us Safe?

In 1933, in his inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself —.”

Currently, we fear gangs, terrorists, police, unorthodox marriages, liberals, conservatives, and members of other religious groups. The list goes on and on. Before we can forgive and relinquish judgment, we must first face our paralyzing fear. Renouncing anxiety involves three considerations.

  1. We cannot have it both ways. We trust God or we allow terror to dominate our lives. A story from a circus illustrates this point.

During an amazing circus trick, a performer

walked across the tent on a narrow wire high in the air.

The crowd cheered.

He then took a wheelbarrow and pushed it across the wire.

The crowd cheered even more.

The announcer asked, “Do you believe he can

push the wheelbarrow across with a person sitting in it?”

The crowd roared, “Yes!”

After quieting the commotion, the announcer asked,

“Who will get in the wheelbarrow?” Continue reading

Let Pain and Fear Go

Let It GoGetting what we want and not getting what we want are both conditions for growth. Life is neither good nor bad. It’s just that we are much more satisfied when life is coming up “roses” instead of thorns. What can one do when life seems unfair?

Some people quietly hold in the pain and fear without sharing with anyone. This is called “stuffing” and usually does not work well. As an alternative, some folks get mean and take their pain and frustration out on others. This is another idea that usually backfires. Instead of either of these methods, I want you to “own” your feelings by sharing with those who love you the most. By “owning”, I am asking you to be responsible for who you are and what you want. Continue reading

Helping With Stress and Anxiety

UntitledAmy_CampbellI am grateful to Amy Campbell for this contribution.  Amy is the counselor at the Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexia. Amy spends her days helping children deal with stress.

All children will have situations or periods of time that are worrisome and stressful. A child who is feeling worried or anxious may communicate these feelings through disturbances in sleep patterns, changes in eating habits, and/or reports of physical complaints. How to help a child navigate through worry, stress, and anxiety can depend largely on the situation and the child; however, here are some general things to consider when supporting children that may be experiencing anxiety: Continue reading