Skip to main content

Eight Years



Multiply that by eight years.

Eight years ago - 2008. The US elected a man I did not vote for nor like. His administration rammed a health care package down the throats of the American people that forced many of us to pay for birth control and abortion, which we find morally repugnant. He spoke of "freedom of worship" which is far different than "freedom of religion" - a fundamental right of Americans. His presidency will be remembered by some of us for going after the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns founded in 1839. They provide end of life care for the destitute. The president for the past 8 years believed these women should provide birth control and abortion for their employees, which is a direct violation of their religious freedom.

I could go on.

Eight years.

For the past eight years, I have fought like hell for a daughter with special needs. I have been told by "her" social worker, a state employee was charged with my daughter's care, "I haven't read her file, [laugh]. It's pretty long." The woman NEVER MET MY DAUGHTER, yet was responsible for making decisions regarding my daughter's care.

Another government employee told me and my husband as we were trying to get help for our daughter, help that was promised to us when we adopted her: "Oh, you're THOSE parents. You adopt a kid and then try and give her back to the state." That guy still has his teeth, which in itself is a miracle, because I damned near punched him.

When my daughter was viciously and repeatedly attacked, a police detective told me, "Your daughter is just a bad kid who got involved in stuff she didn't understand." This, despite the fact that my daughter identified her attackers; no one was ever arrested.

Eight years.

I've fought for my kids' education. I've raised 5 kids, some of whom have significant mental health issues.

I taught high school.

I lost both my parents, caring for them at the end of their life.

I've been in two horrific car accidents, both caused by distracted drivers.

I almost lost my husband to a rare complication following a "simple outpatient procedure."

I have depression. I'm still here.

I have a benign, inoperable spinal tumor that causes me pain every single day.

My kids have, at various times, found me stupid, irrelevant, overbearing, and difficult. Yet we still fight on for our family, in love, mercy and sheer stubbornness.

I've repaired a relationship with a sister.

I wrote a book, and in the process met some of the most amazing people who fight every day for victims of human trafficking. Some of those people are themselves survivors and are heroes just for getting out of bed every day, let alone fighting for other victims.

I was forced out of a job I loved and was damned good at, for reasons I still don't understand. I found a new job, only to be fired four days later. The guy who hired me told me I was an "embarrassment." I was still trying to remember where the break room was. I started another job in January of this year, and am pleased and relieved to say it is a joy to work here.

Eight years.

I'll bet if you look over the past eight years of  your life, you'll see joys and sorrows, triumphs and setbacks. Most of us are too damned busy to go out and protest against a politician. We have lunches to pack, laundry to wash and fold (and maybe put away), bills to pay. We have to get a teenager through geometry and a second-grader ready for First Communion. We have to help plan the parish bazaar, or makes meals for a neighbor who just had surgery.

Eight years. I have to say that - politically - I haven't been too damned thrilled with politicians in the past eight years, especially the President of the United States. But then again, I've never been too damned thrilled with politicians.

Here's the deal: every four years, one side wins and the other loses. And we Americans still have to get on with doing what we do. Right now, we need to decide: Is "what we do" tearing each other apart? Is that who Americans are now? Are we so politically divided that we will call each other "bigots" across the table at Thanksgiving? Do we divide our friends by whether or not they agree with us on every damn thing that comes down the pike?

I hope not.

I'm not too damned thrilled with the current President-Elect. But I've got bigger things on my mind. Am I being charitable? Am I doing what God's will is for me? Am I praying enough? Am I truly seeking what God wants? Am I serving my family and my friends.

In eight years, will I be a better person than I am today? Eight years.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Trauma Mama

Dear Husband and I both enjoy certain medical shows, such as "ER" and "Code Black." ("St. Elsewhere" was another fave!) These shows revolve around trauma: humans who'd been ambushed by life: a car accident, a fire, and abuse, as examples.

More often than not, these shows also highlight the trauma the doctors and nurses needed to deal with. Having a patient die is always offensive to a doctor: they are charged with saving lives and losing one is the ultimate failure. Nurses spend more time with patients, and can forge strong bonds with people that may be in their lives for just a few days.

But trauma doesn't always look like a bloody body being wheeled into an emergency room, or a house surrounded by fire trucks and police cars. Trauma comes in many forms.

According to one website, trauma can look like surgery. It can look like moving. Trauma can be losing a beloved spouse or more horrifying, a child. Trauma can also be chronic pain, loneliness, m…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …