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.

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.

* * * * * * * * * * *

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.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Here is a picture of one of the many headstones at Normandy Beach, France

Here is a picture of one of the many headstones at Normandy Beach, France

is a day of remembrance of those that have died while serving the United States of America. It is a time to reflect and appreciate the freedoms that have been bestowed upon our nation’s citizens by those that have protected us and given their lives for us. Not everyone in the world respects our freedoms, and although it saddens me, I appreciate that they have the freedom to not appreciate it.

I would love it if war was no more. If peace was the priority for all. If people were able to go about their day not worried about their safety or the safety of others. If no one was asked to give that final hug and kiss to their son, daughter, spouse, parent, knowing that they may not return from the battle field. I would be so happy if people stopped for a couple minutes to consider the view points of others, discuss a topic, and find common ground. There is always common ground, but few people take the time to find it. Politics, religion, even the weather is controversial these days. People find the smallest things to fight about, even when the ideology is the same, they pick apart where the other is wrong and never reach a point of mutual respect.

This year, as you grill out with your family, relax by the lake or the pool, take the time to respect each other. That is why these soldiers have fallen. They respected life, liberty, and freedom. They offered themselves for many reasons, some that we agree with, some that we many not, but they did so knowing the risks that were before them.

Please, take a moment to bring peace to where you are today and every day to come.

 

Words (written and spoken) Have Power

A couple weeks ago, I posted about bullies. Today, I ran across this post on “Veterinarians Behaving Badly.”

I am sickened by the cruelty of people at the moment. I know so many people that are struggling with depression in veterinary medicine. I know too many veterinarians and veterinary students that have considered suicide, and sadly too many that have succeeded.

I do not know Dr. Shirley Koshi, but I know my struggle of depression.

Please keep her family in your prayers.

Please keep your veterinarian in your prayers.

Please consider the consequences of words and deeds.

Remember that you cannot control someone else’s actions, but you can be a bastion of peace and comfort to all which may save a life.