Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I used to pray for world peace, health and happiness for my loved ones and friends, and the ability to get through each day with a minimum of craziness.
Lately, however, it has become increasingly apparent to me that what I should be praying for is clarity; not only for myself but for the entire world. From my observation point, it really does seem that the entire world has gone not only crazy but absolutely and insanely topsy-turvy and confusing.
I read and watch the world around me, and the people that share this journey with me.
Here’s what I am trying to figure out.
Many people that that the United States was founded on “Christian” principles. Actually, as I recall my History classes, it was FREEDOM OF RELIGION, but I digress.. I don’t know what Sunday school these folks attended, but it must have been a great deal different than mine.
In my Sunday school classes we were taught that we were to take care of each other. We were to respect one another. We were to treat others as we would want to be treated.
That we should take pains to help “the lesser” survive, thrive and improve themselves.
So I am wondering. How did we get to where we are?
I read posts from people on blogs, forums and Facebook, and here is my problem:

Why is it that when a church or organization collects or serves food for people in need, people that are homeless, people in trouble that it’s called “Christian charity”, but when a government attempts to expand programs to aid these same people it’s labeled a “welfare state” and Socialism? If the founding fathers truly founded this country on Christian principles, wouldn’t this be the right thing to do?

Why do these same people think that the government shouldn’t interfere in people’s private lives, such as gun ownership, but think that a woman’s reproductive rights should be legislated? Further, why is it unacceptable to terminate a pregnancy even in a case of rape, incest or medical emergency but cool to use the death penalty? Is it only ok to kill people after the birth process? Confusing.

Speaking of carrying guns for one’s protection, how much sense does it make to make it illegal to carry one in a government building (where the people that are making these bone-headed decisions work) but imperative to allow potentially drunken and irate people carry them legally into bars? Wow.

Health care available and affordable for EVERYONE is bad, people dying because they can’t afford medicine is acceptable and as long as “they” have what they need, screw everyone else?

Why is it that people in need are lazy people that don’t carry their own weight in society, when many of the people that qualify for services are too proud to use them and would rather do without? Further, how is it that a person that needs assistance to put food on the table are lazy when many are working multiple jobs or have already spent their entire lives working and are now so elderly and frail that they can no longer work? Or worse, are 80 years old and are clearing trays at the mall food court or greeting at Walmart because they retired years ago but the CEO of the company they retired from tanked the company after making sure that they have their 15th vacation home well furnished before cashing in their stocks and moving on?

Seriously, we are in a major mess. People need to go back and re-examine their ideas and priorities and make some adjustments.

We were put here for a reason. Time for these folks to figure it out.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Some Things Can't Be Fixed

From the time that my daughter was very tiny, she would bring things to me that had broken and say.. "WIX IT!"

By some miracle, she always brought me things that I could actually repair with my somewhat limited abilities. She would look up at me, beaming, when I handed her back the now-repaired thingamajig, as if I were some sort of magical wizard. I would always tell her "I can fix anything but a broken heart."

Those days seemed so difficult at the time. We worked, ran to day care or school, shopped, took care of the household and worked to be the best parents we could be. In retrospect, those days were actually nirvana. There was truly nothing in her tiny world that we couldn't fix for her.

Now, at sixteen years old, and branching out into a world that is not always as perfect as our little nest, things happen that are not so easily "wixed".

First boyfriend. First breakup.

And terribly, last night the news that a friend she had met at a church youth retreat was killed in a car accident.

The girls had just talked about the holiday. They shared the common experience of being sixteen, going to the retreat last January, and the New Orleans trip last summer when they and 30,000 other Lutheran youth had converged on the city to attempt to repair some damage from Hurricane Katrina. The things the kids experienced together there were the best and the worst. Seeing a city and people ravaged by storm damage years ago, the horrible destruction, heat, humidity and spiritual sadness of those that feel deserted, unfix able. The girls were all to meet up again next weekend at another youth retreat. Instead, tomorrow Angeline, her friend Kristen, and their Moms will go to a funeral home and pay their respects to a friend. Not fixable.

I've decided that the single most difficult part of parenting teenagers is that both they and we come to the realization that there are things in this life that are just not fixable. As parents, all we can do is wipe the mascara from their cheeks and try to find the words to explain why these things happen.. difficult when we often grapple with the "whys" ourselves.

We pray that some healing and spiritual growth comes of it all. I've heard this existence of ours called the "school of life". I am proud to my core of how, so far, my daughter has handled it.

In New Orleans, the group of kids Angeline was with was doing their service project. It was revoltingly hot, sticky and miserable for them. They were, of course, beginning to be more than a little cranky. As they walked through a street, an elderly man called out to them, recognizing them as belonging to the Lutheran group by the "Jesus, Justice, Jazz" t-shirts they wore.
He walked up to the kids, thanked them for coming to help his city, and asked if they could pray together..which they did, right there in the middle of the street. It wasn't less hot or humid after, but the elderly man surely "wixed" the way they had been feeling by lifting them spiritually.
His gratitude that they and thousands of other kids would give up part of their summer to come and help a city that was broken and request to pray with them formed a bond that will last their entire lives, though they likely will never see each other again.

Tomorrow our challenge as parents will be to hold Angeline and Kristen's hands, put an arm around their shoulders, and attempt to convince them, and ourselves, that even though we can't fix what has happened to their friend, they can take comfort in the belief that a young life cut short made an impact on her world, that she both learned and taught others in this school of life, and that even though she never got to fulfill the promise of long life, that she has done what she was sent here to do. Godspeed, Tori. Though you were here a short time, you obviously touched many.

It can't be fixed..but we can attempt to put the healing of our love around our kids and hope it's enough.