Posts Tagged With: rest

 
 

Finding Somewhere Safe

“Just take me somewhere safe.”

If someone answered that way when you asked them if they needed a ride, what would you do? Where would you go?

MSH saw a man looking a bit lost and bewildered, carrying a backpack and a sleeping bag. He bought lunch for the guy at McDonalds and chatted some. Said he was a veteran but hadn’t seen combat. He said he had a family out of state, five kids and a wife. He seemed nervous and a bit uncertain. Parts of his story didn’t make sense with other things he said.

He didn’t want to go to a shelter, or to a VA hospital, or a food kitchen. He finally just asked MSH to drop him off at a shopping center, near a spot where a group of guys had gathered with their restored cars. MSH asked them if any of them were Veterans. A few were, so he explained about this man he’d tried to help who, in the meantime, wandered away and couldn’t be found again.

When MSH told me about this encounter my worry meters buzzed. Such things make me wish I could fix the world. But of course, that isn’t possible.

I’ve read recently about Mother Teresa who, when asked about the huge task before her, replied….

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ~ Mother Teresa

I’m surely no Mother Teresa, but I do try to make a tiny difference where and when I can. I help at a local Food Bank from time to time. I donate to charity. I offer my services regularly in a variety of volunteer opportunities. On occasion my home has served as a sanctuary of sorts.

notre dameWe have a family friend or two who drops in from time to time. They see our home as a safe place to land, or a spot to score a slice of bread, which really means a slice of caring and a listening ear. Once, on sitting down at the kitchen bar to some fresh homemade bread and strawberry jam, one of these friends said something about finding sanctuary in our home.

That caught me off guard.

Sanctuary sounds like somewhere sacred and set apart and rare. My home? A sanctuary?

Another friend I know has told the story of a man at church who asked her why she sat in the hall during part of our worship service. She replied that she felt awkward and out of place because she’s single and so often seemed left surrounded by empty chairs rather than by mostly-married worshippers of our congregation. This kind, younger, married man, sweetly put his arms around her and hugged her tight. She proceeded to sob. She said she hadn’t been hugged by a man in decades and felt his kindness in that platonic squeeze. From that day forward if he is at church he has saved her a seat next to him and kept a lookout so he could pat the chair and let her know it’s saved just for her. My friend found sanctuary in a house of God in the most unexpected of ways.

I know this man, and he’s no Mother Teresa either. But he saw a need and has done his best to fill it. He’s a saint in one person’s eyes.

The word sanctuary finds its roots weaving through Middle English from French. Before that it started with the Latin word “sanctus” which means “holy.”

Anything we do to alleviate another’s sadness, to lift a person’s burdens or to cheer a weary soul is a holy act.

We can all provide sanctuary, if not in actual brick and mortar, at least in deed and action and maybe even in word.

Perhaps the sanctuary we provide is simply the small space around us as we provide a reassuring hug, a human touch to a person aching to feel loved in some small way. Maybe we rub a set of tired shoulders for a few seconds to push courage and fellowship into weary shoulders.

Perhaps the sanctuary we’re in is a porch swing where a heartfelt conversation takes place, temporarily lifting the weight of worry or sadness.

Perhaps the sanctuary we create is in the holding of our bitter tongue, the forgiving of long held grievances, or a word of thanks. Perhaps our smile creates a sanctuary that carries someone through to the next way station for disillusioned travelers.

Mother_Teresa_1985_croppedAnother quote by tiny but powerful Mother Teresa says, “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

Are we tossing coins when a slice of bread is needed? I hope not. Are we giving out bitter sponges soaked in vinegar when a glass of cool water is all that’s required? I pray not.

To be completely honest, I have turned away when a need was evident, mostly because I doubted my ability to lift or cheer or make a difference. Sometimes my own needs kept my eyes looking inward and I simply couldn’t or refused to see another’s need. Sometimes I’ve just been world weary myself and needed my own sanctuary.

We aren’t always on one side of the equation. As humans we often find ourselves on the other side of needing. That helps us feel compassion when the roles switch places again.

Hopefully I learn and apply the knowledge when facing a person in need of sanctuary.

“Take me someplace safe,” the weary one says, “wherever that is.”

I hope I know where that place is and how to get there. I hope others are also willing and able to help as well.

~~~~~

“Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen

Acuminate_Leaf_(PSF)

 

 

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Categories: Being Human, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Best Cure for Insomnia

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m infinitely grateful for that glorious elixir called sleep. It’s the cure of many ills, both physical and emotional. Sleep can turn a cranky toddler into a happy child or transform a short temper into patience. Enough sleep can make the difference between overwhelmed and empowered.

A couple of fluffy pillows is all I need!

A couple of fluffy pillows is all I need!

Oh, I know it isn’t that simple. But sometimes it is. Sometimes all it takes is a nap, or a full night of uninterrupted dreaming. Sometimes calling it a night is the best answer to any problem we face.

Sometimes sleeping in heals our brain fuzz. The fog lifts and what was indecipherable and impossible becomes doable and understandable.

An entire book, a classic, exists based on the idea of one man’s sleep deprivation adventures. Have you ever heard of Don Quixote? Here’s the part of the book where I wanted to cry because I’ve almost been like that a time or two.

“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.” — Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Running on the fumes of not enough rest can render us nearly mad and fairly ineffective or even nonsensical.

I’m a big fan of naps. Not long ones. Usually. Twenty minutes with my pillow are often all I need to regenerate and get through the rest of the day. Although yesterday I left the alarm off and let myself sleep nearly two hours. Surprisingly I dreamed a vivid, colorful, creative, restful dream in a sleep that left me feeling awake and not groggy or drugged or foggy.

This quote by Rita Rudner makes me laugh.

“I love to sleep. Do you? Isn’t it great? It really is the best of both worlds. You get to be alive and unconscious.”

Ernest Hemingway shared this same love of sleep, albeit for different reasons I suspect, based on these two telling sentences.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

Sleeping like a baby is an oft misunderstood phrase. Babies, esp. newborns wake up crying every two hours to be fed.All. Night. Long.

Sleeping like a baby is an oft misunderstood phrase. Babies, esp. newborns wake up crying every two hours to be fed.All. Night. Long.

I’d like to think I’m less self-destructive than he was when I’m awake. Although I wouldn’t mind being as prolific and talented a writer as that guy. There are days, especially the sleep-deprived ones when I think I should have stayed home, away from civilized people and kept my rude, aggravated, bleary-eyed self out of trouble.

I’ve often wondered why we sleep a full third of our lives. I’ve yet to come up with a good answer for that. I’ve concluded that being human is an odd thing. That’s all. Nothing profound.

If you want profound look to some spiritual leader like the Dalai Lama XIV who said the following:

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Who knew those guys could be funny as well as wise, huh?

Here’s one more funny guy with his thoughts on sleep.

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” – WC Fields

My favorite thought on sleep was one that made the rounds on the internet recently. In fact, I think I need to get a t-shirt with these very words printed on it.

“I already want to take a nap tomorrow.”

Ah, sleep, I love thee dearly.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Day Is It?

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for those rare days that happen when time slows, pauses and provides a restful sense of calm and peace.

Most often these are three-day weekends. You know that Friday-feels-like-Saturday sensation? Mmmm. Then the real Saturday feels like a bonus day. Then a tangible slowness silently inhabits Sunday. To-do lists cease to exist. Urgency disappears. Sweat pants or pajamas fill all clothing requirements.

Catlike, I nap, liquid, languorous and delicious. Stretching, I peer at the hours that lay before me, unhurried and unworried.

Add in a Monday free from obligations and by Monday evening I’ve transformed into a new person, rejuvenated, alight with quiet energy, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

All this finds more pleasure if the people you’re with are agreeable to a slow pace, quiet talk, flexible meal times, ignoring clocks, lazy strolls, comfy couches and plenty of chocolate.

I’ve been fortunate, richly blessed, to have just had such a weekend. I’m all smiles and ease. Just what I’ve been needing.

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Ground cover softening a stone path beside a small pond.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A Mess of Mixed Metaphors

“I am the captain of my soul, I am the master of my….” whatever…

Whoever said that, whenever they said it, didn’t have the eternal cough of the blue plague of 2013.

Sure you can pick your attitude but that’s about it.  You can’t pick up an extra packet of actual physical energy at the corner drugstore when the survival of your basic vital organs has taken precedent over, oh, lets say, walking and sleeping and eating.

When breathing in becomes akin to sucking air through a soggy wet sponge and exhaling is more like a ’55 chevy truck trying to get started on a subzero morning, attitude counts for zilch.

Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day (Photo credit: simon_redwood)

No amount of perkiness is going to hide that hair sculpted uniquely by the pillow you molded, wrestled, cursed, punched and eventually drooled all over. The lovely color coördinated pajamas you carefully picked out to show stalwart resilience, sooner than later give over to a kind of Harry-Potter-got-dressed-with-some-things-from-Hermoine’s-bottomless-purse-look that should never be purposely duplicated.

And when you think you’ve cheerfully hit that magical spot in the illness where improvement feels imminent, you’ll overdo it by, oh I don’t know, sweeping off the front porch rug and running a load of laundry. And suddenly you’re back to desperately whispering sweet nothings to your lungs in hopes of pacifying them into a quiet stasis.

Days and nights run into each other, not even bothering to say excuse me, in a kind of manic rush of boring nothingness. Where is optimism now? In the trash can with the overflowing used Kleenex and saltine wrappers.

The formerly comfy couch and I have become too well acquainted. It’s not a healthy relationship anymore. I’m thinking of cutting back to visiting once or twice a week.  I’d like to renew my friendships with my boss and her neurotic dog, my car, the grocery store, my gardening and the laundry.  It’d be wondrous to see real live people again, too!

Highclere Castle

Too much Netflix, too many books, too much internet combine into a perfect storm of fevered sleepless weirdness involving Downton Abbey, White Collar and Sherlock Holmes which, oddly, seem to go together ever so well.  At least they did. In the haze of cheerful coughing everything is lovely, loverly, lovely!! Cue the soundtrack to “My Fair Lady.”

But now, ah yes, now I am on the upswing.  No, nix that.  I did not say that.  I don’t want the virus/bacteria/evil dark Sith to know that I think my body is winning.  After all, Attitude is Everything and Pride goeth before a Fall and all that. Rest, rest, rest, rest and more rest is about all I am capable of or should try to do.

Han Solo and Chewbacca

Until the rebel forces prevail and the planets all align, I will continue to sip herbal tea, Russian Tea, hot ginger honey and lemon, hot chocolate, mulled cider, broth, powerade and NON-diet coke. Once Han Solo shows up with Chewbacca, then and only then, will I stop slurping Ramen noodles, yogurt, Chicken Soup and saltine crackers.

Do I seem a little lost in fantasy land? Yup, I probably am. I’m teetering on the edge of a not so optimistic attitude, thinking this cough really will never end.

I can’t imagine keeping my sanity intact for an illness of any real magnitude.  As it is, this nineteen-day (so far) cough has pushed me to my perkiness limits.

Don’t worry.  I’m working on it.  I’ll get there.  In the meantime, I’ll just rest and try to stay off the internet as much as possible.

Where’s my book?

Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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