Tag Archives: Can hard things make me stronger?

“It is time to defend not so much human rights as human obligations” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

My constitutional rights.

We hear it often when people are demonstrating. They are angry that their rights have been abused or trampled on.

supreme-court   And they should be.

People who don’t fight for their rights tend to lose them.

But I did a little research to see just what those rights were. I found that there is a pretty extensive list of our constitutional rights.

But not all the rights that we hear people shouting “That’s my right!” were listed.  We’ve made some pretty liberal jumps in assuming what we actually do and do not have as a constitutional right.

On the same document of constitutional rights, I found it interesting that there was also a list of duties. These rights we keep shouting about don’t come alone; they are accompanied by responsibilities. Continue reading “It is time to defend not so much human rights as human obligations” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

Choosing to dance in the sun

Our son Nick is in Peru on a mission. He’s pretty much hitting the half-way point this week. His mother and I knew that he would exceed our expectations in things he learns and the ways he grows, but even our wildest imaginings have been left in the dust by what this young man has gained in experience and how much he has developed.

He continues to share with us some pretty intense thoughts and observations on life; what is leaving us speechless is how closely his learnings mirror our own. Here we are a world away from each other, and yet we feel closer than ever as we share incredibly similar experiences and lessons.

Anybody wonder how that could happen?

I don’t.

And the knowledge of it brings me to my knees in gratitude and humility.

There was something he had written that I had misunderstood, so I asked for more explanation. What I got back was an incredibly mature, yet vulnerable self-awareness.

In a nutshell, he shared how over time he had come to embrace our family motto of “learning to dance in the rain.”

bombs

For quite a few years we seemed to take hit after hit and I think we felt a bit shell shocked. To not let each volley of ammunition knock us back over again we learned to stand in a bit of a crouch with our heads down and shoulders squared.

We were ready for the next bomb to hit.

And for quite some time, they just kept coming.

But Nick realized that after a while, with our heads down like that, we kind of missed so much of the great stuff that was also coming our way. Continue reading Choosing to dance in the sun

What is real? What difference does it make if something is real or imagined?

While the kids were young we always had a family book that we read after dinner and the kitchen was cleaned up. Some were single volumes, others were entire series. We loved quite a variety. We made it through hundreds.

book

Sometimes we’d stay up later than we should, cuddled on the couch, and reading “just one more chapter, please!” This was true as we worked our way through the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling.

I remember one evening particularly when the power had gone out and we were reading by flashlight. We ended up staying awake past 1:00 a.m. to finish the book. That memory is dear to all of us.

We did the same thing with the movies. We all waited and saw them for the first time together. Kind of a fun family tradition. Since then, watching and reading again has always made us think of each other.

Over the weekend we were watching the final Harry Potter movie together before Alex leaves for graduate school in a few weeks. So, when we came close to the end of the film, we all knew what was coming before it happened.

It’s one of my favorite conversations, in both book and movie. The scene takes place after Harry has willingly let Voldemort kill him in order to save all of the others. After the wand blast, Harry finds himself in a clean, white, between-life conversation with Professor Dumbledore. As Harry makes the choice to go back and continue the fight against evil, the scene ends with this last interchange:

“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?” Continue reading What is real? What difference does it make if something is real or imagined?

Lessons learned in the loony bin

This article is part 4 of a 5 part series.

For part 1, click here.

For series summary, click here.

I think the timing on trying to put together some words to express thoughts and feelings from lessons learned is pretty great. That doesn’t make it any easier to try to share, but the timing is good.

cake

Ann and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this week. Over the past few months I have been experiencing an increase in the intensity of my love for her. I feel as if I could reach out and grab it as a tangible, real entity that surrounds us. I am humbled by the whole thing. To have the love of someone the quality of Ann Batty makes everything else seem kind of trivial.

But at the time that my love feels like it is exploding inside me, Ann is trying to work through a real fear of what she may come home and find at the end of a long work day. And this would be every day. After all, I was admitted to the psych ward for suicidal and harmful ideations. This isn’t something imagined or can be ignored. It has become a real part of our life that has to be addressed and conquered.

I really learned some important things during my stay in the nut house that will help us conquer. As I go through them to help us figure a way to relieve some of Ann’s concerns, there may be some things that could help you on your own journey to safety and security. Continue reading Lessons learned in the loony bin

Is age a requirement of gaining wisdom?

Living in my own version of reality, I often forget that I am actually 47 years old. I instinctively think that most people I meet are older and wiser than I am. They certainly know more.

Yet a few minutes spent with our kids and me making comments like “I can’t believe that commercial just said that. When we were kids that would have been outrageous!”, it is obvious that I am not the young, spring chicken I pretend to see when I look in the mirror.

I’m not sure when I got old, or older as the case may be. It just seems to have happened while I wasn’t looking. Regardless, phrases that used to make me roll my eyes when I heard my parents utter them now come quite readily out of my mouth.

What’s more, they reflect what I actually feel.

classroom

There is something about being young and in college and so sure that we know more than the older generation. Our solutions will work; just wait until we are in charge. We are going to change the world. Life will be ultimately fair to everyone and all people will be kind to each other. We’ll show these old duffers how it should be done. They are so closed minded that they just can’t see it.

I remember feeling invincible and smart and insightful and, most importantly, passionately right in my opinions. Continue reading Is age a requirement of gaining wisdom?