Your life matters – to me

Black lives matter.

Blue lives matter.

All lives matter.

There is no argument that these are true statements.

So why is there so much controversy?

protest3I wonder if it is because we can’t get past the blanket of color or category to see into the personal life of a real person.

Perhaps we’d be better served to say:

Philando Castile’s life matters.

Brent Thompson’s life matters.

Cheyenne Stewart’s life matters.

It’s true that death doesn’t somehow hurt more if you are black, or a police officer, or an innocent child.

But it doesn’t hurt any less either.

Continue reading Your life matters – to me

To those who feel helpless watching a loved one slipping into madness

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

Today I defer the writing to my incredibly talented and insightful daughter Alex.

A few months ago she read a humorous post online that had a throwaway sentence along the lines of “I literally went crazy. Lost my mind.”

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She thought the post was funny and didn’t think anything of it. However, someone read and responded and was offended, saying things like “How dare you make light of a serious thing” and “You don’t even know what it’s like.”

It made her pause and think about what she would say if she had been the original poster.

The following is a thoughtful response to someone who deserves to hear from someone who truly does know what it is like.

Let’s call her Susan.

Dear Susan,

To be fair, this can be a really triggering topic for some people, and for that I do apologize. I’m sorry that you’re hurting.

However, I see the humor in it.

Continue reading To those who feel helpless watching a loved one slipping into madness

To those feeling themselves slipping into madness

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

Today I write to a young man who feels like he is losing his mind, and it’s making him crazy – because it’s inconceivable to him that he could actually be crazy.

Let’s call him Adam.

question mark6Dear Adam,

What is real?

Lately I would imagine that has become a question you’d rather not ask, because you aren’t really sure of the answer.

Scary, I know.

One of the hardest things is trying to find the words to explain it to those around you.

You know inside, even though you don’t want to acknowledge it, that something is very, very wrong. But you have told yourself that if you just give it some time, you’ll work your way through it.

And it will get better.

Kind of like a cold.

Or a broken leg.

I wish it could be that simple, but it’s not. Here’s the hard truth:

This isn’t going to just go away; most people won’t understand that something is really wrong until it’s too late and something bad has happened; and all of your natural instincts to fight it are pretty much going to make it worse.

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Reassuring, right?

So, what’s a guy to do?

It kind of sounds crazy, but accepting that you are a little crazy will, in the end, make you less crazy.

Continue reading To those feeling themselves slipping into madness

I guess this letter is to me  

A couple of months ago I was working on a series of letters to those who were struggling with different issues and perhaps feeling lost.

Looks like I kind of got lost in the middle of it all.

Not sure it’s safe to say that I’ve been found, but I can definitely say that I’m actively looking.

P1270019And I’ll keep my eyes open this time.

You know, constant vigilance.

So, I’ll give it a whirl at taking my own advice:

Dear Greg,

Got a little too big for your britches, didn’t you? Cocky confidence about being able to be “normal” came back and bit you right in the back side of your trousers didn’t it.

That’s okay.

I still love you.

And believe in you.

I know, it’s just so enticing to feel that emotion of clarity, strength, soaring – actually just BEING alive.

In other words, our good old friend Mr. Mania.

Continue reading I guess this letter is to me  

To the bully

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

However, today I write to a young woman who feels safely distanced enough through Internet anonymity to mindlessly type words to one such as Lily and then hit send.

textingI’m tempted to not dignify her with a name, but that always gives more power to the deceiver. It’s important that we put both a name and a face with the painful text. After all, someone who really knows who they are would never hide behind secrecy.

Let’s call her Ashley.

Ashley,

I know what you’ve been doing to Lily.

I see you shrug your shoulders and say “it was all a joke, it really isn’t that big of a deal – besides everyone was doing it.”

My first instinct is to grab you and shake you so hard that your teeth rattle and then scream “What is wrong with you?”

Okay, it would also be my second.

And my third.

It is NOT a joke.

It really IS a big deal.

Fist beating into Water, vertical, splash

And right now, I’m dealing with you – you can’t hide anymore behind this nameless group called “everybody.”

So, I’ll punch the wall, pace for a few hours, and take some calming breaths.

And quietly ask again:

“What is wrong with you?”

Continue reading To the bully

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”