Talking is Not Unloading.

I was at my little bank today. Just through the doors and up to the counter when the banker who knows me well told me all about people who tell her all about themselves.  She tells me she’d never tell her banker all about her life.  She wonders why people walk in the door and just unload.  I sit there listening to the banker unload about others unloading on her, and I wonder why it strange to unload as the banker was unloading and I was just fine to have her unload the load she’d been handed – burdened by all the many people coming to do their banking with more than banking on their minds.  And as she counts the money, I think how nice it is that she knows me well enough to tell me all this.  And how rare it is to know anyone at all.  I think about the many trips to town, not recognizing a soul, and how special it is to know someone and to be known. 

Why do we call talking dumping, anyway?  I drive east over the mountains to a small town where family live.  People stand on the sidewalk in inclement weather, talking to each other about the weather, just for the sake of talking, and it’s such a friendly interaction, really about nothing at all.  A state or two south where my husband grew up is a lazy town.  Middle of road, often seen, a pickup that has once been heading one direction – comes across a recognizable someone, and they both stop right where they are, pause, windows down, flanneled elbows hanging out the windows, cap tips too, just saying hello, without horns a-honking behind them, there is no hurry.  And I wonder how we’ve lost all of that to education and careers. 

I suppose to get through college a person must be hyper-focused.  Must be headed a direction without delay.  Some people in small towns have attended college. And I wouldn’t say small town folk don’t get things done.  Maybe their timeframe is different from ours.  I haven’t figured it out.  I hope to one day.

In the meantime, my 8 year old is begging me to play a game and I didn’t hear a word she said until she’d said it like 4 times.  Oh dear, off to play a game:)

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What Race are the Kindest of Doctors?

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I had a doctor once, slight of stature, brown kind eyes, practical wash and wear hair, nothing fancy about her, and the one who sifted through mountains of charts – two separate charts belonging to one giant medical system.  One chart spelled with an “e”, the other spelled correctly without.  Both charts mine – and she found them.  Bent over her desk.  Diligent she was. 

Discovered, out of dozens of notes that I have 2 MTHFR gene mutations.  This information was not found where one might expect.  She found it anyway, because she worked on my case.   From this information she realized I must not take Tamoxifen, a medicine used for breast cancer patients who are found to be estrogen positive.  A medicine that can cause a stroke for those with my gene mutation.  She suggested I not take it.  Diligent hunt.  Diligent follow-through. 

I had 6 miscarriages before the gene mutation was looked for and identified. 

The gene mutation that caused the miscarriages. 

A number of doctors did not check, though they knew my history.

One did. 

Brown kind eyes he had, too.

Found it. 

Treated it. 

And Butterfly was born perfect and alive.

“Miscarriages are not unusual. 

They are nature’s way of discarding what is flawed”

say lazy doctors everywhere,

brown and blue eyed alike. 

Those doctors who do not see the value in learning the cause of a problem

before using one-liner’s to shush up the likes of me.

My PCP, always respectful of me, when I mentioned how heavy my sheets felt on my neck at night while laying on my back, immediately stepped out of the tiny examining room, hurried down the hall and ordered an ultrasound.  There it was, thyroid cancer. My endocrinologist who hand checked my neck each and every visit paid no attention when I told him the same story.  One doctor listened. On doctor didn’t.  Taking little stock in what the person that lives inside the body might know about herself.

After the thyroid cancer diagnosis, my husband and I asked my oncologist if thyroid cancer might have been related to the breast cancer I had months before.  She said “no”.  The next visit, the same oncologist brought in research showing us she had been wrong.  Said that it very well might have been related. 

She didn’t have to tell. 

Didn’t have to admit she had been wrong. 

There are doctors who are sloppy, lazy, don’t read the fine print. 

Make mistakes because they don’t listen,

don’t trust,

don’t respect. 

And then there are the doctor’s who do.

Thank God for the gene testing doctor’s of the world.

Doctor’s who don’t take it upon themselves to social engineer other people’s lives. 

Doctor’s who don’t minimize another person’s need when it causes them inconvenience.

For doctor’s that hunt and read and listen. 

The doctor’s who set aside ego, and act accordingly.   

I am alive because of some good ‘work hard for another’s sake’ sort-of doctor’s.

Women,

Men,

Asian,

Puerto Rican,

Jewish

Irish,

Tibetan,

Middle Eastern,

African American,

German,

a mix of them all. 

Each of these good doctors have more in common with each other than language and country of origin.  Hard-working kindness is a culture of it’s own.  A race of kind hearts, and kind eyes. 

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin,

but by the content of their character.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Goodbye Elie Wiesel 1928-2016

 

 

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A Holocaust survivor and author.  A man who endured unimaginable horrors and lived to tell about it made sure that he did. Wiesel once said “I must do something with my life. It is too serious to play games with anymore, because in my place, someone else could have been saved. And so I speak for that person. On the other hand, I know I cannot.”

“Maybe there are no words for what happened. Maybe somehow  … the cruel killers, have succeeded at least in one way, at least that it deprived us, the victims, of finding the proper language of saying what they had done to us, because there are no words for it.”

We honor an unusual man who worked to use words the best he could to never forget.  We honor his brave telling about the ugliest of things, a bulwark of raw words for the prevention of future acceptance of evil. We honor that his honest speak has worked a path of healing for those frozen and silenced by haters.  A way for the harmed ones to move forward. 

And as we bless Elie Wiesel for saying what needed said, we daily shun and hush those around  us when words are spoken that tell stories of having been harmed.  Words of being blamed for the harm.  Sideways words reminding another ‘you are nothing, you matter only in terms of how you benefit me’.  The drip, drip, drip of ‘you don’t count, your story doesn’t count, oh, come on, it wasn’t that bad’. 

The murmuring of these same messages run through our speech all day long: 

Get over it.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Poor you.

Talk about happy things.

What a drag.

She’s such a victim.

As a trauma therapist, I spend more time than any other issue on trying to move my clients to a place where they realize they are not ‘living in the past’, ‘grabbing for attention’, being ‘negative’ or trying to shift the blame when they explore their whole story.  Truth telling and integrating that truth does create healing, however it is very difficult for the one having been harmed to admit harm has been done.  In reality, people who have been traumatized want desperately to find a way for what has happened to not have happened. They want to minimize what has happened, pointing to others who had it far worse.  If there is no way around denying it, placing blame on themselves is next best. The reluctance to notice and admit what has happened comes not only from others around us and their words, but from our own.  The tapes we play in our head may have been formed initially by another, but we keep them going.

You’re such an idiot, poor you.

You could have stopped it and you know it.

You wanted it.

You got what you had coming to you.

Recognizing lying tapes and correcting them much like we would a sassy child is important, and does eventually assist in allowing for the truth to emerge.

The behavior of speaking truth was an action in direct opposition to the way things were done in Germany before millions were herded off into packing plants and burned whole.  It’s not like Hitler stood up one day and said “OK guys, here’s my idea, let’s round up all the Jews and kill them.”  No.  The opposite of honesty and openness are lies.  When the goal of a world leader is sadistic, the monster knows it will never sell to the masses at face value, which is where manipulation and sideways speak comes in. The climate of disrespect, jealousy, and spite had been brewing and had been acted upon in many little ways.  Hate was hidden, explained away by seemed to most as unrelated intellectual ideas that sounded very rational if one happened to be feeling less than.  Less than leading to class envy, at at it’s heels prejudice.  All of which was hiding what really fueled the ideas.  Murder.  A culture of open truth-telling might have uncovered that for years people were being treated wrong. Safety would have allowed those harmed to say out loud what had been going on, and those who heard would have been safe to be outraged and speak out against the behaviors and attitudes that were absolutely not OK!

When we smother any speech that belongs to one who has suffered for the pretense of ‘Oh, you don’t have it that bad” or in worse cases forbidden speech, we fortify the hater, turn aside the one harmed, and become an unsafe world. 

The Bible is God’s inspired word.  There is no pretense in the Bible.  Stephen was stoned.  The Bible doesn’t cover up what really happened to Stephen and who was responsible for it.  If this happened today, I could hear most Christians say there is no good reason for smearing Saul’s name by telling the story.  “Telling it doesn’t bring Stephen back” they’d say.  Might lessen the good name of Paul who did straighten up and become an apostle.  No, that’s not how God in the Bible deals with evil.  One story after another tells the whole truth, the bad right along with the good, and put into print because evil must be voiced for good to prevail.  Evil doesn’t go away when we ignore it.  It doesn’t go away when we ‘just get over it’.  Evil goes away when those harmed by it become strong, find words for things that have no words and say what has happened.

When will we become a people that supports truth telling? 

When will the entire story our my lives be owned? 

When will we choose to not remain in foggy world of pretend

but instead agree with what has happened

despite

what should have been? 

When?

When I speak my truth out loud, I am giving you permission to speak yours.  And united we say “ENOUGH!”.   Thank you Elie Wiesel, for speaking up, challenging me to speak my truth.  Your life tugs, it calls to speak of my own pain as a way of giving voice to the pain of one whose words have been taken away. 

How Not To Be

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain

                                          Solitude- by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Davis Family Reunion 013

Amelia

Perfect Excess

You can’t light too many candles.

Can’t sit on edge of the bed too long and hear your sons’ amazing thoughts on worms that eat dead cats.

Can’t overdo the music and movies and stops under mistletoe.

Don’t forget you can’t overdo sitting quietly, early dark of evening, under the lit tree playing Chinese Checkers – reading stories – coloring pictures with little hands.

Can’t overdo slow and listen and love.

R0004

This weekend, overdo it.

Amelia