Posted by: celticanglican | July 19, 2018

Prayer Requests 7/19

Christ, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

Zachary, age 4, who is facing another round of surgery – his grandma Sharon can receive replies

The Nigerian orphans under the care of World Missionary Evangelism

The work of justice advocates working for justice reform

Sen. McCain and his family as he struggles with cancer

Teresa, hoping to get good test results

Migrant/refugee children and their families

All prisoners of conscience and all persecuted for their beliefs

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Posted by: celticanglican | July 19, 2018

No, You Don’t Get Over It

Originally published October 13, 2016.

The most difficult question to ask 131022-F-NW635-999

Soul-Fully Beautiful recently shared an excellent statement via their Facebook page. To summarize, it points out that people who aren’t emotional abuse survivors don’t understand fighting daily mental battles with someone no longer in your life. All types of abuse, physical, emotional and verbal, leave residual affects that you simply can’t just get over.

Children of veterans with emotional and mental issues, as well as other family members directly impacted, often feel as though they’re fighting a battle. That battle occurs when the effects of long-standing emotional abuse rear their ugly heads.

This become more of a problem as my biological father descended deeper into the bottle and cut himself off from those uninvolved with his pub-focused life. Fighting a daily mental battle where you wonder where to even begin should the issue of confronting their abuse come up isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy.

When the emotional abuser isn’t alive anymore or you otherwise aren’t in contact, your troubles don’t automatically end. Sometimes, the very techniques you need to use to cope with the abuse make you into someone you’d rather not be – those who think you can simply “get over it” most likely haven’t walked that difficult road.

In one way, it was good that I wasn’t forced to confront my dad at the end of his life. In my last call to him, I was able to let him know I forgave him.

The hardest part wasn’t that final phone call, as much as I expected it to be. It was knowing that there were things left unsaid on my part and knowing that certain family members I thought understood how bad the relationship was were utterly clueless.

Going through emotional abuse does alter your reality, though you never intended it. Here are some of the things you’ve probably dealt with:

  • Feeling kind of lackluster about things that otherwise interest you
  • Having to be on guard against things that might set off your abuser
  • Thinking that you’re somehow deficient
  • Feeling too anxious, not trusting yourself to take charge of your own future
  • Having emotional difficulties spill over into relationships

No two people will have the same path to recovery – some can manage well with the help of a great support system, others may require at least a little therapy. Regaining trust in yourself and a better sense of your own worth is one of the most crucial steps, as well as knowing when you need to give yourself some healing space.

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Posted by: celticanglican | July 15, 2018

Prayer Requests for 7/15

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer 1979)

Christ, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

Caroline, who has breast, brain and lung cancer

Christians near Jos, Nigeria living with the aftermath of a Fulani attack

Tiffany, working on efforts to repeal MO’s mandatory minimum sentencing law that affects her husband

Tarina, who wants to prove her innocence, for comfort, justice and truth

7Animals

Thanks to Cassie’s Place for the meme and the okay to use it

The figure in this meme isn’t some gross exaggeration, folks – it’s reality. There are enough homeless animals in the US alone that every family of four would need to have 28 animals under their care, seven for every four.

If you think that figure is outrageous, it is. What’s even more outrageous is that we, the people, have it in our power to fix this mess – yet, it’s seems like there’s always a litany of excuses.

The worst of these excuses surround irresponsible breeders. Here are just a few of them, and my responses:

She’d give birth to (or he’d father) such pretty puppies/kittens – Well, I’m sorry to say, but thousands of pretty dogs and cats, including some that probably look a lot like yours, end up getting lethal injections or getting gassed at high-kill municipal pounds, then sent to a landfill or incinerated like trash. Let that sink in for awhile.

I’m just going to let her have one litter, then spay her, Daddy said it’s better that way – There’s no evidence to support the idea of a dog or cat having to have one litter before a spay. That’s simply an old wives’ tale, and it needs to be put to rest.

Neutered dogs don’t herd, hunt or guard very well – Um, and they’re also less likely to end up brawling with every other male in the neighborhood or becoming coyote chow. Would you rather your dog does what he was bred to do, or is obsessed with chasing after every female in season in the county?

I just spay my females so I don’t have to listen to howling/yowling when they’re in heat – That’s nice, but what about spaying for some reason other than not having your sleep or peace of mind disrupted? Like, maybe overall health and better family behavior?

I’m careful who I sell or give puppies/kittens to, they won’t get dumped – Even rescues can make mistakes in vetting prospective adopters, so there’s no guarantee that everyone will provide a forever home. Also, bringing puppies or kittens into the world that aren’t part of a responsible breeding program takes away resources, including space in prospective homes, for homeless animals already out there.

Please, people, be responsible. The next time you think allowing your pet to breed might be a good idea, think of the reasons why it might NOT be.

 

 

Posted by: celticanglican | July 10, 2018

What You Don’t Know DOES Hurt Others

adult alone anxious black and white

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Originally posted September 15, 2016, textual modifications are noted

At the risk of sounding like I’m ripping off a tired cliche, this is more true than many realize. What people don’t know about a situation can hurt others, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and yes, physically. Ignorance is not bliss, folks, I’m sorry to say.

When my biological father died [November 2015], it was such an emotional trip it was unreal. Grief is never simple by any means, and when a troubled relationship is involved, things are more complicated than they appear. As with many other issues, people that are not the ones most closely involved only see one layer or one angle to the situation – and that layer or angle often takes only the [deceased] into account.

After someone made a particularly insensitive comment that insinuated that everything he went through was someone else’s fault, I realized just how rampant the one-sidedness is in people who ought to know better. The irony is that the person that made the comment witnessed a lot of his drinking antics firsthand, and had excluded him from a lot of activities because of it – once he was gone, they apparently thought they could make up for writing him off by elevating him to sainthood and pointing fingers at others.

I’m going to be brutally honest here, hopefully without being brutal in the process. My father’s military service did not make him an exalted being automatically absolved of responsibility for his actions. He had to want help badly enough to not shut everyone out, and those who had more influence than I did in his life needed to care enough to see him 100% sober to make some sacrifices for him.

If I had the chance to address the person who made these comments directly, here’s what I would like them to know:

First of all, stop pretending you know exactly everything he went through – just stop it! You weren’t there on the battlefield any more than I was. The combat veteran has one experience related to their trauma – the family members and friends have another, and some family members’ secondary experiences involving the vet’s trauma are far worse than others.

Secondly, if you never lived in the same house as the veteran when things reached their very worst, you can only guess at what it’s like. PTSD and other psychological issues mixed with alcohol are a heavy cross to burden others with who never asked for it. Maybe what some of us went through or witnessed is just too hard to talk about much.

Just imagine: if you’ve ever had to deal with a noisy, drunk, sometimes violent houseguest for a few hours at a time, imagine what it would be like to have said person living with you and having their tirades go on for hours, and worry about what the next thing is that might set them off. This is “life” for many living with an alcoholic.

Yes, there is recovery for all those impacted, even in cases where family members may have been set against each other by the [alcoholic or addict]. (Alcoholics are good at pitting people against each other, even if inadvertantly). Recovery isn’t reached by forgetting about what happened, sweeping it under the carpet, or haboring grudges.

 

My path to healing started with:

  • Accepting the fact that living under the pain of past experiences was no longer acceptable
  • Having the courage to speak out about my experiences in the hopes of reaching others
  • Having the wisdom to know that I can’t change others’ skewered views about my late father’s troubles, but can change whether I allow their alternate reality to affect me.

How did you find your path to healing? Feel free to join the discussion on Facebook!

Posted by: celticanglican | July 8, 2018

Prayer Requests: Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

Book of common prayer (TEC, 1979)

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in The Episcopal Church for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach them in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide them to perceive what is right, and grant them both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (1979 Book of Common Prayer, adapted)

Christ, in your mercy, pray for:

Zeke, who has cancer, grandmother Cheryle, and their whole family Messages for them may be sent to Frankie

For Godwin and his unspoken need

Elisa, as she reaches out to a family member to help him start a new life, guidance, support and resources, as well as God’s hand over the relationship

Letisha, trying to bring up two sons after losing a third, God’s comfort and support, and that the cycle of incarceration in the family is broken

Favor and guidance for Coty for a good reentry and new life

Vimari, who hopes to have a successful second chance bringing up his children after his release

Larry’s healing from unknown health problems and serious pain – messages may be sent through Frankie

A man struggling with making the transition to life on the outside after being in prison

Theresa’s emotional and financial support while husband Jacob is in prison

Ben, as he struggles to overcome addiction and reconnect with his 10-year-old son

Aaron, a recent convert to Christianity, for support, lasting change, and knowledge that he is forgiven

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (1979 Book of Common Prayer)

sacrifices

Originally written August 8, 2016

Dear Vietnam Veterans Memorial,

This feels odd to be addressing a wall, but talking to a wall is exactly what many adult children of Vietnam vets feel as though they are coping with with a public that still largely misunderstands the impact that this war has even today. All of the broken relationships, the heartache of those losing their loved ones to the effects of addictions, the human aspects are things you can’t get. As a silent witness, though, I know you can see that the impact on families is very real.

If you were a human, what would you feel, having witnessed so many people visiting you? Would you feel heartache for all those who lost loved ones? Share the anguish of those whose loved ones never came back and whose fate is unknown? Possibly some anger that the human race hasn’t improved much in its thirst for conflict? My guess would be you’d feel all three, and then some.

Memorials and monuments have been a part of the human experience for millenia. When we see memorials with names, we’re reminded of those lost. We shouldn’t forget, though, that behind each of those names is a person who lived, who loved, whose future accomplishments are and will remain unknown because their lives were cut short. Much of American culture glorifies the service member without considering what was important in their civilian lives, who loved them and who they loved, what they could have achieved had they lived.

Even for those who returned home, the things that made them who they are and who they were often get eclipsed in the light of honoring their service. There is more than meets the eye to what goes on with society’s designated “war heroes”. As a silent witness, you testify to the lives of those who were lost. However, it’s too easy to forget those who still live, and those whose lives ended long after their service. Many of the living still bear emotional scars, and many took their emotional turmoil to the grave.

Lastly, let’s not forget those who have indirectly become “casualties” in their own way:

  • The adult children who had their parent there for them only part-time, if at all, and have missed out on important bonding
  • The spouses who must often endure abuse that they’re expected to accept as okay because their partner is seen as a hero
  • The ex-spouses who get villified when their ex-partner wouldn’t get help and they had to leave for their own sanity and/or safety
  • The friends who don’t understand all the dynamics and think that their friend is antisocial
  • Family members who don’t know the full extent of what goes on when they’re not there and are inclined to blame everyone else.

As we remember the fallen, let’s hope that your witness to this war remains a testament to what we lost and are still losing. May you continue to stand as a stark reminder of war and its many costs. Maybe one day, our society will learn something.

Posted by: celticanglican | July 4, 2018

Why a Liberal “Voice in the Wilderness” is Necessary

Woman peace activist from Pittsburgh with sign - Fund Jobs Not Wars - 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

This post was originally published on June 17, 2016 and features a few revisions noted in the text.

When I set up my Facebook page, [which addresses the struggles that veterans’ families and many others society forgets about face] I had been realizing just how much healing I still had to do, even though my biological father, with whom I had had a troubled relationship because of his substanance abuse and refusal to get counseling, had recently passed. I also realized that many of the online support group options are too disproportionately balanced towards the conservative side.

The last time I had been part of an online support group, I found the other members nice, but felt as though I couldn’t be as open as I wanted to be because we weren’t on the same page politically. You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells because your thoughts and feelings aren’t “politically correct” for the group.

Some of the viewoints I’ve found, from personal experience, are often sources of contention in majority conservative settings include:

  • The belief that war is, regrettably, necessary sometimes, but not something to glorify or celebrate. Many “hawks” don’t legitimately understand the positions of peace advocates, and by their actions appear to glorify war, although I’m sure the idea is actually as sickening to them as anyone else.
  • An adherance to the Christian “just war” concept, which guides my belief that much of America’s military actions are unjustified. Many conservatives of a Christian background either aren’t familiar with this concept or ignore it.
  • Being uncomfortable with a culture that glorifies those who served to the extent that they are perceived as being above reproach and can’t be held accountable for their actions, even when they harm those closest to them. A helpful hint: religious leaders who are treated this way are considered cult leaders, so maybe this way of thinking isn’t healthy.
  • Believing that, if a country sends its service members off to war, it should provide adequate medical, psychological, and other resources for them and their families when they return. Most conservatives do, of course, believe veterans deserve benefits, but still cast votes for politicians who would take these benefits away from the veterans.

Although I realize that many military families are at least somewhat conservative, there are many who aren’t, or may harbor disagreement with how many conservatives approach our nation’s military politics. By providing a place where these views are welcome, I hope that other family members of veterans can stop feeling as though they’re alone in their struggle, as I frequently felt growing up.

Important note: Although many people use the terms “Group” and “Page” interchangeably on Facebook, the Oasis of Hope and Healing page is truly a public page, NOT a group with privacy settings. Please keep this in mind before posting very much of a personal nature.

In closing, here’s a song I think many of us can relate to:

Posted by: celticanglican | July 1, 2018

The Siren Call We May Miss

Scream and shout

Originally published July 1, 2016 and some revised info appears in the text.

First of all, I’d like to thank Sister Gloriamarie (knitternun) both for inspiring this post and for her support of the Facebook page I’ve created that offers help and hope to veteran families [and others often overlooked in a mental/emotional health context]. My hope is that my Hope and Healing for Veteran Families Facebook page will be a safe refuge for children, spouses, exes, friends and others who want to help a veteran in their lives or need healing from trauma inflicted by one no longer in their lives [as well as others whose struggles are often forgotten about].

One of the things I’ve had to cope with since my biological father’s passing is people treating him as an exalted being who never did or was even capable of wrongdoing. In their eyes, his status as a perceived war hero absolved him of any wrongdoing.

I’ll be blunt: my father was not free from any taint of sin from the moment of his conception. Nor was he a monster, he was a good person at heart who never overcame his personal demons. However, his PTSD symptoms were significantly aggravated by his drinking habits, and many people in his life did little or nothing to help him.

As Gloriamarie said, the symptoms of PTSD are a siren call for help. Like sailors of old myths and legends, many people who ignore said siren call have to witness or be part of a shipwreck – in this case, the shipwreck of a life ruined by mental illness and/or alcohol abuse.

There are many reasons people ignore siren calls, one of them being pure and simple denial. It’s easier to believe that someone you love just “enjoys a few beers” and that their behavior is essentially harmless than believe they can cause some to fear for their very safety.

For some it’s easier to think that the more outrageous behaviors are something to laugh at. After all, how many people want to believe that behavior that horribly embarasses one family member is anything other than said family member being overly sensitive?

Unfortunately, for others, it’s easier to think that those who had to deal with a veteran who refused serious help were making things up or exaggerating. I think it’s all part of the denial game, assigning the blame to others instead of facing the fact that their loved one needs help.

Hindsight is better than foresight by a long shot. It’s impossible to know whether a marriage may have been salvaged or whether a parent may have mended a relationship with a child they alienated.

However we can, to a certain extent, control what happens going forward. The best way to build a bridge between yourself and others harmed by the same person – stop making frikkin’ excuses!

Don’t just chalk things up to the fact that they were drinking when they said hurtful, hateful, relationship-destroying words – recognize that words cannot be unsaid, and the wounds may not fully heal.

Never, ever, treat drunken antics as though they’re a joke – such behavior can impact others in the person’s life that their perception as a hero won’t fix.

Lastly, don’t put your head in the sand and ignore a veteran in your life that is crying for help by their actions. Recognize that sometimes they won’t allow their spouse or children in too deeply emotionally – it may fall on those in their lives prior to marriage or children to have influence in their recovery.

If it’s now too late, don’t dishonor your loved one’s memory by making excuses, making light of others’ suffering, or refusing to acknowledge the role of their brokeness. Do honor their memory by showing love, mercy and compassion to those they hurt the most in their lives – don’t turn your backs on them, you do need them, even if you can’t let see it.

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Posted by: celticanglican | June 24, 2018

Prayer Requests 6/24

Please note that the following requests did not have contact info attached

Christ, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

John, who wishes to succeed in life

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to thee, sobguide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly thine, utterly dedicated unto thee; and then use us, we pray thee, as thou wilt, and always
to thy glory and the welfare of thy people; through our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Anthony, whose prison release depends on finding housing and does not want to miss his son’s birthday on 7/25

Anna, whose oldest son is taking care of his little sister while Anna is away

Julie, who is unable to locate here son, Ryan, jailed in NC

Linda, who is seeking legal help and encouragement for her incarcerated son, Paul

Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them
humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy’s sake. Amen.

O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving­kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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