Perspective on September 11

This day, September 11th, always touches my soul in many ways. Since my last post of this kind, I have had so many more things happen in my life. My business has grown, and I am busier than I ever thought I would be. I am a part of saving lives on a daily basis through Not One More Vet, Inc., the non-profit that I am blessed to be a part of, with the goal of preventing suicide in the veterinary profession. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have caused devastation around the Caribbean and the southern USA mainland. My heart is broken for the devastation, especially that in the Virgin Islands where a part of my heart was left behind after working there in 2014 and 2015. I am in preparation now for heading down to help with relief efforts in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, but my heart longs to help in the US VI. Please extend your love of the world to those around you. Offer a piece of yourself and your life to someone else. The only way that we will solve the problems of our world is to extend our hands, ourselves, our supinator.

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I am reposting my thoughts from September 11, 2013, because it says the words that still need saying. My life has changed since this day 14 years ago, my life has changed since this day 2 years ago. Fourteen years ago, I was shocked by what had happened while I was focusing on my dreams of becoming a veterinarian. Two years ago, I was in a new job and loving it. One year ago, I was relieved of my position at that job with no warning, no explanation. Today, I am still saddened that our world is filled with so much hatred and anger. I am still hopeful that we will learn the lessons of the supinator muscle – even if it is one person at a time, one life at a time. I am mourning the lives of those that have  been lost – to terrorism, to war, to suicide (this week is Suicide Prevention Week – please pay attention to those that are around you, a kind gesture or words of support could save a life), to disease, to malnutrition. I celebrate my life and business (that change in employment status lead to the development of my own business!). Our lives are never all happiness or all pain. We live in a dichotomy of feelings. Happiness. Sorrow. Pain. Joy. Fearfulness. Confidence. I am amazed at how we can be so many things at one time. Embrace them all as they all are apart of our humanity.

Take time today to hug someone you love. To meet someone new. To stretch your comfort zone, just a bit, to help someone in need of friendship.  Start to build a relationship with someone based on dignity and respect.

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Today is September 11, 2013. It is amazing how different and yet how similar the world is compared to 12 years ago. Where were you and what were you doing 12 years ago today? I was sitting in the anatomy lab at the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Veterinary Medicine dissecting the supinator muscle. I will never forget that muscle and what it does. The supinator allows the front leg (or arm) to rotate the paw (or hand) toward the other paw (or hand). I remember my professor telling us, “The supinator allows the hand to rotate as if you are holding a bowl of soup.” When I think of this position, I think of giving and sharing. It was a contrast of thoughts within my mind – hostility and aggression versus gifts and renewal.

As information came out about what was happening in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, my head was spinning. I was forced to face some of my deepest fears and anxieties. One might ask why as I was thousands of miles away from the destruction on the east coast. I was “safe” in Wisconsin. The planes crashing and the towers falling, shook me to the core. For years, I had struggled with depression and anxiety – specifically anxiety that if someone was even 5 minutes late, then they either hated me and were not going to show up or that they were bleeding to death on the side of the road and I was thinking horrible thoughts about them hating me. The thing about depression and anxiety is that there is rarely rational thought within the mind at the time. I was suddenly imagining that I was the person in the building or the plane that could not get to their family. I was the person that was left wondering, wishing that their loved one would come home, yet never would.

We were given the option of going home, to leave class and do whatever we needed to do. I couldn’t leave, but I couldn’t stay. I decided to walk around the building and a friend offered me a cell phone to call my friends on the east coast to make sure they were alright. While I was walking, I heard the radio announcing the fall of the second tower. I went back into the lab, shared the news, and sat down with my partners. I sat back down to focus on something that I could control, to focus on the supinator – the muscle of giving and sharing.

As our world now struggles with thoughts of Egypt and Syria, of continued unrest in places all over the world, I hope and pray that leaders of all nations learn the lesson of the supinator. To turn away from violence and instead focus on healing, giving, and sharing. To share ideas, thoughts, and feelings. To give food and aid to the people that are down trodden. Every major religion that I have studied shares the same basic tenants – to take care of the poor and the sick. I know that religion sparks many wars and acts of evil, but that is not the intent of any of those religions. I am saddened when the will of man destroys what is beautiful in this world. Please, leaders and followers of our world, stand up and respect each other. Sit down to a bowl of soup, a cup of tea, and learn to love each other, not in spite of, but because of our differences. Your supinator allows you to turn your hand into a hand shake, not into a fist. Let us learn from our supinator.

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Five Days to Go

I have 5 days to raise the initial payment for my Mission to Mongolia. My goal is raise $10,000 to cover specific fees for staying in Mongolia, travel costs, rabies titer, passport fees, and incidental costs that arise. In 2014, I actually ended up needing medical care while in Mongolia.

In 5 days, the initial $2,000 need to be in my CVM fundraising account. If you are interested in helping me reach my initial and final goal, I would greatly appreciate it! Please also keep myself, CVM, and the Mongolian people in your thoughts and prayers.

How to Donate to a Short Term Missions Account Online:

  • Go to http://www.cvmusa.org/ and then to Support > Short Term Missions.  Fill in the Designation box with a drop-down menu to “other” (at the bottom of the list). A white box will appear, and please enter in my account number (UCVSTM1655) and write in my name, Melanie Goble – ST Missions in that box. CVM will make sure it gets designated to my trip. Please let me know if you have questions.
  • Checks can be made out to Christian Veterinary Missions with “UCVSTM1655/Melanie Goble” on the memo line and mailed to Christian Veterinary Missions 19303 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133 or given to me to mail in.

I can’t wait to see you again, my Mongolian friends!

Not One More Vet (NOMV)

In 2014, a new Facebook group was started called Not One More Vet (NOMV) by a wonderful veterinarian named Nicole. She was pained by the death of Sophia Yin from mental illness. Nicole thought this Facebook page would be a good way for close veterinary friends to talk about the stresses that we go through and to hopefully make an impact, however small, in veterinary medicine. It could be a place to start changing the way we view mental illness and suicide as a profession. Even the CDC has noticed that veterinary medicine has an unusually high number of anxiety, depression, and suicide, to the point that the CDC has been working on figuring out why this is the case. There are many theories, including access to methods, frequent explanation and belief that euthanasia is often the best (or only) option, perfectionism, compassion fatigue, and many others.


I was lucky enough to be asked to join this group about 2 weeks after it began. I have made new friends and seen a change in my own mental health for the better. In August of 2016, I heard that there was a backlog of people trying to join the group, but it was becoming more and more difficult to verify that people were in fact veterinarians, so I saw a need and offered to help. The group of 4 admins (Nicole, Carrie, Jason, and David) jumped on the offer and the as more veterinarians were approved to join, the requests to join came in exponentially, we have added 2 additional admins (Nora and Leigh to help as our international contingency has grown dramatically). As of today (April 1, 2017), it is no joke, but the group has reached 11,400 members! Wow, is it a lot of work to keep track of everyone and see that when they cry out for help, we are there to give it to them.

Despite having so many veterinarians connected and doing a lot to help them, we have not been able to stop the suicides. We have stopped some of them, and multiple people have come to us to share their stories of coming back from the abyss of depression and the edge of suicide and surviving. Until we can reach them all, we are not done. For this reason, Nicole, Carrie, Jason, David, and I have started Not One More Vet (non-profit status pending). On that page, we have resources available for anyone in the midst of a mental health crisis. There is also a location on the web page for veterinarians to register to join the Facebook group, as well as links to Your Daily Dose, our self care blog, and ways to contact us for speaking engagements, donation information, or general questions.

A fellow veterinarian was given this “Veterinary Survival Kit” along with the mentioned items after speaking to a middle school class!

 

If you are a pet owner and appreciate your veterinarian, please let them know! Some days we go from a euthanasia to a new puppy appointment to a giving devastating news to a family to a sick animal that just needs a little extra help to get better. We do our best to be positive and support you. We may not be able to say it, but sometimes, we (and our support staff) need your support, too. A hug, a smile, a kind word, or even some chocolate or fruit can go a long way.

Are you a veterinarian or have a loved one that is a veterinarian that you think may need help? Please contact us. We would love to help and serve you!

Return Mission to Mongolia

I am happy to announce that I will be returning to Mongolia with Christian Veterinary Missions to train and mentor veterinarians in their small animal clinic in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. I purchased my airline tickets this morning and will now start the journey of preparing my mind and soul, and raising the funds to travel.

Golden Eagle in Flight

Golden Eagle in Flight

My last mission to Mongolia in 2014 was a life changing experience. I left a portion of my heart in Mongolia with the loving people and the vast, amazing landscape of the countryside.

When I returned from Mongolia in 2014, I unexpectantly was removed from my job, but that provided me with the amazing push to start my own business, Renewed Strength Veterinary Services.  A lot has changed for me in the last 2 years, but thankfully, I am a stronger, and hopefully better person than I was before.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I move forward on this journey.

If you are interested in supporting this mission or would like more information, please let me know. You may also go to the “Mission to…” page on this blog to learn how to donate. Please, take a moment to leave a message of missions you have been on or how someone has been a blessing in your life.

Thank you and God bless you!

Feces occurs

Last night, after spending the day with one of my best friends, her son, and new baby and then the evening with my sister and two of my nephews, I learned of a colleagues ultimate horror. The loss of her mother, unborn child, and husband all within 6 weeks. I can’t imagine the pain or how to get through it all without wanting to die along with them. Another colleague, David, has posted in his blog the words that I could not come up with. Thank you, David.

Life Along the Edge

A woman I don’t even know and almost certainly will never meet, a veterinary colleague who is part of a Facebook group to which I belong, has had unspeakable tragedy. Six weeks ago she lost her mom. Four weeks ago, she had a miscarriage. As I write this, only hours ago her husband was killed in a bike accident.

What do you say to someone to whom this has happened? Maybe they should have just forwarded that damn meme and Jesus would have blessed them?

Why is life so un-fucking-fair? Visit any pediatric cancer center and you’ll ask yourself that question in your sleep. Times like this I am glad I am not a pastor. Not that I haven’t thought about it. I think I am empathetic enough and the world needs more non-judgmental spiritual leaders. On the other hand the world definitely does not need a foul mouthed, whiskey…

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Are you prepared for an emergency?

As the USA, and other parts of the world, are dealing with storms, flooding, and so much more, are you prepared for an emergency?

If you have seconds or minutes to seek shelter in a tornado or minutes to hours to seek higher ground in floods, do you have a plan?

Is your cat amenable to being grabbed and taken into a storm shelter? Can you get your cat into a carrier or on a harness and leash in under 60 seconds?

Is your dog acclimated to being in large groups? Is your dog reactive to the sight, smell, or sound of other dogs?

Do you have copies of your animal’s vaccine and medical history?

Being prepared is not just knowing where to meet in case of a fire or natural disaster.

Notice she is wearing a harness and leash and in her carrier.

Notice she is wearing a harness and leash and is in her carrier.

What do you need to be prepared for your pets?

  • Have copies of documents:
    • vaccination history, including current rabies certificate
    • medical and surgical history
    • microchip number (make sure your information is up to date and have an out of the area contact number as well)
    • veterinarian’s name, address, and phone number
    • municipality or state license or other identification
    • if your pet is a service animal, have your documentation for that as well
  • Extra food and water in portable containers. Don’t forget the bowls, too!
  • Medications
    • Heartworm and flea/tick prevention
    • Prescription medication
    • Over the counter medications that your veterinarian has recommended (such as for allergic reactions)
    • Don’t forget toothbrush and pet toothpaste (You are brushing your pet’s teeth every day, right?)
  • Easily accessible leashes, carriers/crates, collars or harnesses
  • A plan for a location to go to that accepts pets, and know to locations of veterinarians near-by

What can you do to prepare your pets?

  • Take the time to train your cat to wear a harness and leash and to load into a carrier, may mean the difference between life and death or having to leave your fuzzy friend behind.
  • Train your dog to wear a basket muzzle. Some emergency shelters will not allow dogs without a muzzle due to the risk of injury to people and other animals. A basket muzzle, allows the dog to eat, drink, pant, and prevents the dog from biting or eating things that are not meant to be eaten. This is most important for dogs that are reactive to the sight, sound, or smell of other dogs. Remember that even the most mild-mannered dog may snap and bite when in a stressful and chaotic situation.
  • Acclimate your pets to car rides, or be prepared for vocalization, vomiting, and general dislike of the trip for everyone.
  • You may even want to consider getting a life vest flotation device for your dog, and get him or her used to wearing it, especially for short nosed breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs, bulldogs, boxers, etc.

These are just a few ways to help protect yourself and your furry family members in the case of an emergency. Do you have any tips or recommendations to share? A story about an emergency evacuation or natural disaster and how it effected your family?

One Small Act. One Giant Difference.

Today, I was reminded of the fragile nature of life and how one action can make a difference. A woman came into the clinic to have her dog checked, because the dog had been urinating more frequently and had blood in her urine. While the assistant was getting a history, the client’s phone rang. Although, we normally frown upon people talking on their phone during their appointment, the woman answered her phone.

Her nephew had just the left her house and was involved in a serious car accident involving a school bus. The woman was crying and shaking. I could hear every word from the other side of the clinic. She started making calls, alerting family members to the event and attempting to coordinate getting everyone where they needed to be.

As the staff members began arranging for the dog to stay for the day, I stepped into the room. The woman’s phone rang again. The nephew was being transferred to a local hospital. As she hung up yet again, I took a step towards her and wrapped her in a hug.

She clung to me.

She shook and cried harder.

Her hug back tightened.

Then she whispered, “Thank you.”

After a few moments, she let go, stating she had to call Grandma. She was shaking so hard she couldn’t hold her phone still enough to get to her contacts list. I held her phone with one arm over her shoulder until the call was made.

She struggled to get the words out to meet at the hospital, she would be there soon. I knew she was in no shape to drive right then. I apologized that I needed to get some information about her dog. I got her to focus on the dog for long enough that her breathing started to steady and she could answer some simple questions. We discussed what the plan would be for the day, and that I would call her as soon as I had any information. I had her take a few breaths and she signed the paperwork for her dog. She was calm enough to drive.

Throughout the day, I made contact with her to update her on her dog’s status, always asking about her nephew first. Although the dog was my patient, my heart broke for this woman and her family. I knew I was needed in more ways than just my role as a veterinarian. As we went through the tests, we found that her dog did not just have a urinary tract infection. She had never been spayed and was recently in heat. The blood in her urine was caused by a pyometra, a uterine infection that, if not treated, could be fatal. The pup needed an emergency surgery to remove her infected uterus.

The family did not have a lot of money, only a couple hundred dollars available, but they made some calls and found friends that would help. She called back and told us to go forward with surgery.

Surgery was a success, and I was able to call to share the good news. I was greeted with news that the nephew would also be alright.

After leaving his aunt’s house, his car went under a bus. He was pinned in the only portion of the car that was not crushed. The woman’s daughter was supposed to be with him that day as they were supposed to carpool. The bus needed to be lifted by a crane to remove the car from beneath it. The daughter would have been dead. The nephew survived with few injuries amazingly; damage to his hands, cuts and bruises to his body.

When she picked up the dog at the end of the day, she wrapped me in a giant hug, and then she showed me pictures of the car. No one should have been alive with the extent of the damage. Her hands were steady, but her voice still shook. She gave me another hug and whispered, “You were my angel today. Thank you for being there. Thank you for saving my baby’s life. You are a blessing from God.”

I fought tears that swam in my eyes. I am so thankful that I was present today; that I was willing to do more than “just my job.” I was able to be God’s hands and feet on earth. I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to help someone. What I did wasn’t much, but it was everything to this woman and her dog.

Please, take the time to do something small (or large) to help someone. Listen when they are in pain. Be there when they need a shoulder to cry on or a hug to lean into. Please keep this family in your prayers.

Why I haven’t changed my Facebook picture to the colors of the French flag

I have not changed my profile picture to include the colors of the French flag, not because my heart is not broken for those killed and injured, but because the pain is so much larger. For those in Beirut, Lebanon that were killed in a bomb blast, for those at a Baghdad funeral that were blown up as well. People going about their lives, just like those in New York on 9/11, some happy, some mourning, all with goals and dreams for another day, suddenly gone.

I do not understand the hate that lives inside of someone that spurs them to commit such horrible acts. I do know that it is not Allah, as Allah is the same God of Abraham that I believe in as a Christian. It is the person that has been brainwashed to believe a distorted view of the world. In the same way that I do not understand the hate and vitriol that is spewed from the mouths speaking and fingers typing that call for more war, for retaliation, and sadly for hatred of all Muslims or anyone of a different ethnicity or skin color or belief system. These horrible words are often spoken in the name of Jesus Christ and His father. This is also a distorted world view.

The Bible does not call for hatred. It calls for love. It calls for caring for the widowed, the orphaned, the lost – guess what!?! That includes refugees and those trying to find peace int he world. Although difficult, it also means caring for those that have perpetrated such horrible crimes as those witnessed in the last week, and to be honest centuries. Taking care of one group of people does not stop anyone from caring for another group. We all have a responsibility to care for others. Everyone. That does not mean that you personally have to hold the hand of every grieving person or anything like that, it means that you have respect for each person as a human being. It means when you come in contact with someone that needs help, you help them. It means not judging people you have never met and finding them lacking.

What does your hatred and misunderstanding teach? It teaches more hatred and misunderstanding. What would happen if instead of bombs and soldiers that kill, we send books and teachers that teach respect, love, reading, and arithmetic? What if in our own homes and towns, we teach respect? This does not mean that you are to be walked all over, it means that you give every person the benefit of the doubt. When respect is given, it is usually returned. When respect is withheld, it is usually withheld. Remember that “Eye for an eye” thing? Yeah, Jesus was the one that switched that up and changed it to, “Turn the other cheek.”

There is always the chance that when you extend respect and love, it will be shot down. That you will be treated with disrespect or even violence. I have been there. I have experienced that. That does not mean that I should react the same way. It means that I have to work that much harder to love when times are hard, and even when times are easy. It does not mean that I cannot get upset. It means that my feelings are real, but I am in control of how I chose to respond to my feelings. I can act with anger and hatred, but once again, what does that teach?

I am forever thankful of the people that have shown me love and kindness when I have not been loving and kind. I am thankful that they remind me what is important. I have been thankful when something goes wrong and I have made a mistake and the person opts to forgive me and show me grace rather than swearing and a lawsuit.

I hope that when I have shown grace and mercy, love and kindness, it is an example to others as well. That they also will feel the respect. That they will decide to move forward with respect as well, that a lesson has been learned. A lesson of peace, forgiveness, and love. Not a lesson of violence, grudges, and hate.

My heart is braking for our entire world. The hungry, the lost, the broken, the abandoned, the sick, and the hated. Also for the brainwashed, the self-righteous, the egotistical, and the angry.

Some people may not appreciate the prayers that I say to my God. They may say that I am brainwashed, lost, self-righteous, egotistical, and unrealistic. Their view of me, does not change who I am. It does not change my faith. It does not change my deep longing for peace.

Do I change as a result of the world around me? Yes, I do. My heart bleeds. My eyes cry. My soul screams in anguish and pain. At the same time when there is goodness, my heart mends, my eyes still often cry with happy tears, my soul laughs with joy.

The world shapes each of us. Molds us into the person we are at any given time. We cannot be apart from the world. We are all one body. We are all interconnected. I will still pray. I will still reach out to help those that I can. Whatever your belief system, whatever your ideology, I ask you to choose love, respect, peace, and life.

One Year Anniversary

One year ago, October 17, 2015, I officially became a business owner. After a sudden change in employment status, investigating what lay ahead, and a lot of prayer, I filed the documents that made this my new reality.

During this past year, I have worked in practices throughout eastern Wisconsin and the US Virgin Islands. I have also traveled to the desert southwest for the first time, working through Christian Veterinary Missions to perform spays and neuters for the Navajo Nation in Arizona. I have completed continuing education courses in Wisconsin, Florida, and Virginia.

Due to all of the farm animals that began showing up in the Virgin Islands and my goal for doing more mission work, I decided to do the Farm Animal Training for Missions (FARM) course in Catawba, VA in September. The Scottish Highland cows wanted to join the lessons!

Due to all of the farm animals that began showing up in the Virgin Islands and my goal for doing more mission work, I decided to do the Farm Animal Training for Missions (FARM) course in Catawba, VA in September. The Scottish Highland cows wanted to join the lessons!

Mabel was my first goat patient in the Virgin Islands.

Mabel was my first goat patient in the Virgin Islands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have made time to visit friends in Puerto Rico, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. I have found some balance for myself. My goal for the business was to provide renewed strength for other veterinarians, and even when I am crazy busy and not getting a lot of sleep, I have found that I am renewed myself. I would like to share just a few of my adventures, patients, and travels!

Dulce saying goodbye and going to America

Dulce was a patient in the USVI heading to the mainland to her new family!

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Sometimes, fawns need doctors, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kristy, Thurman, and I in front of the Navajo mobile veterinary unit. June 2015

Kristy, Thurman, and I in front of the Navajo mobile veterinary unit. June 2015

Churchill was injured in a dog attack. After repairing his wounds, including fixing his broken ribs and a hole through his chest wall, he was able to go to his furever home.

Churchill was injured in a dog attack. After repairing his wounds, including fixing his broken ribs and a hole through his chest wall, he was able to go to his furever home.

This is the face of a dog that enjoys eating Cane Toads (they are toxic). Thankfully, his family was quick thinking and they flushed his mouth out. After some fluids, oxygen, and more fluids, he did great!!

This is the face of a dog that enjoys eating Cane Toads (they are toxic). Thankfully, his family was quick thinking and they flushed his mouth out. After some fluids, oxygen, and more fluids, he did great!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have continued to build my skills and providing care for animals and their people. Lots of my normal dogs, cats, and rabbits, but also some goats and even a donkey! From vaccines and health certificates to skin and ear infections to major surgeries and behavioral consultations, my skills have been tested and improved. I have had cases that have pushed me passed my limits and brought me to my knees, but I not only survived, I thrived.

Juan Carlos, my first donkey patient, at about 1 month of age was found 20 feet out in the ocean after being attacked by an adult donkey. He found a new home on St. Thomas, USVI.

Juan Carlos, my first donkey patient, at about 1 month of age was found 20 feet out in the ocean after being attacked by an adult donkey. He found a new home on St. Thomas, USVI.

An arm full of puppies makes so many things better. This was a litter at I saw in St. Anna, Wisconsin.

An arm full of puppies makes so many things better. This was a litter at I saw in St. Anna, Wisconsin.

I would like to thank all of the clinics, doctors, staff, clients, and patients that let me into their lives. I would like to thank all of the family and friends that supported me with good thoughts, prayers, and places to stay.

My sister's dog, Macy, needed emergency surgery to remove a tumor on her spleen (note giant mass under my hand). Thankfully, she did well and the tumor was benign. Yeah for not having cancer!

My sister’s dog, Macy, needed emergency surgery to remove a tumor on her spleen (note giant mass under my hand). Thankfully, she did well and the tumor was benign. Yeah for not having cancer!

Revisited: The Supinator Muscle: A Lesson of Giving and Sharing

I am reposting my thoughts from September 11, 2013, because it says the words that still need saying. My life has changed since this day 14 years ago, my life has changed since this day 2 years ago. Fourteen years ago, I was shocked by what had happened while I was focusing on my dreams of becoming a veterinarian. Two years ago, I was in a new job and loving it. One year ago, I was relieved of my position at that job with no warning, no explanation. Today, I am still saddened that our world is filled with so much hatred and anger. I am still hopeful that we will learn the lessons of the supinator muscle – even if it is one person at a time, one life at a time. I am mourning the lives of those that have  been lost – to terrorism, to war, to suicide (this week is Suicide Prevention Week – please pay attention to those that are around you, a kind gesture or words of support could save a life), to disease, to malnutrition. I celebrate my life and business (that change in employment status lead to the development of my own business!). Our lives are never all happiness or all pain. We live in a dichotomy of feelings. Happiness. Sorrow. Pain. Joy. Fearfulness. Confidence. I am amazed at how we can be so many things at one time. Embrace them all as they all are apart of our humanity.

Take time today to hug someone you love. To meet someone new. To stretch your comfort zone, just a bit, to help someone in need of friendship.  Start to build a relationship with someone based on dignity and respect.

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Today is September 11, 2013. It is amazing how different and yet how similar the world is compared to 12 years ago. Where were you and what were you doing 12 years ago today? I was sitting in the anatomy lab at the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Veterinary Medicine dissecting the supinator muscle. I will never forget that muscle and what it does. The supinator allows the front leg (or arm) to rotate the paw (or hand) toward the other paw (or hand). I remember my professor telling us, “The supinator allows the hand to rotate as if you are holding a bowl of soup.” When I think of this position, I think of giving and sharing. It was a contrast of thoughts within my mind – hostility and aggression versus gifts and renewal.

As information came out about what was happening in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, my head was spinning. I was forced to face some of my deepest fears and anxieties. One might ask why as I was thousands of miles away from the destruction on the east coast. I was “safe” in Wisconsin. The planes crashing and the towers falling, shook me to the core. For years, I had struggled with depression and anxiety – specifically anxiety that if someone was even 5 minutes late, then they either hated me and were not going to show up or that they were bleeding to death on the side of the road and I was thinking horrible thoughts about them hating me. The thing about depression and anxiety is that there is rarely rational thought within the mind at the time. I was suddenly imagining that I was the person in the building or the plane that could not get to their family. I was the person that was left wondering, wishing that their loved one would come home, yet never would.

We were given the option of going home, to leave class and do whatever we needed to do. I couldn’t leave, but I couldn’t stay. I decided to walk around the building and a friend offered me a cell phone to call my friends on the east coast to make sure they were alright. While I was walking, I heard the radio announcing the fall of the second tower. I went back into the lab, shared the news, and sat down with my partners. I sat back down to focus on something that I could control, to focus on the supinator – the muscle of giving and sharing.

As our world now struggles with thoughts of Egypt and Syria, of continued unrest in places all over the world, I hope and pray that leaders of all nations learn the lesson of the supinator. To turn away from violence and instead focus on healing, giving, and sharing. To share ideas, thoughts, and feelings. To give food and aid to the people that are down trodden. Every major religion that I have studied shares the same basic tenants – to take care of the poor and the sick. I know that religion sparks many wars and acts of evil, but that is not the intent of any of those religions. I am saddened when the will of man destroys what is beautiful in this world. Please, leaders and followers of our world, stand up and respect each other. Sit down to a bowl of soup, a cup of tea, and learn to love each other, not in spite of, but because of our differences. Your supinator allows you to turn your hand into a hand shake, not into a fist. Let us learn from our supinator.