Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Reflections on family and stray dogs

 I was reading a post on Social Bridge this morning, and like most of what Jean writes, it leaves me thinking about things long after I have finished with the post.  I think that is what Edward Albee meant when he once said he wanted patrons to leave the theatre thinking about more than where they parked the car.  My cousin sent me this photograph a couple of weeks ago, taken of Mother the year I took her to San Antonio at Christmas to spend a few days with her nieces.  Growing up, we had always been closest to the children of mother's sister, and in fact, her sister, as we saw them the most and spent the most amount of time with them.

Mother was able to get around well then, although the steep climb up the winding steps to reach the lovely lakeside cabin we had rented for a few days was a challenge.  She could still see well, as the macular degeneration had not yet begun to take its toll on her vision.
 I have been trying out a new photo-editing software, and learning to use my new camera, so while importing some photographs into the new software, had to stop a few times and look at something that caught my eye.  While I am not maudlin by any means, and in fact, am quite happy with my life and how it has turned out, I look at the photograph of Dad and me, taken when I was mid-20s or so, which would have put him mid-40s, and looking back, never had a thought of how those perspectives would change over the years.
 Beth's post on Small Simple Things of Life this morning also triggered some thoughtful reflections about those who are vulnerable.  I think it captured the emotion of how frustrating and painful it can be to want to do something, and be unable to do what you wish you could, yet, doing something that is as much as you can is often enough, or at least, better than doing nothing.  In my class last week, as we are moving into teaching about using groups in clinical practice, I was struck by the depth of emotion that emerged in one of the small practice groups where we were working.  I shared with the students that I felt some sense of loss and lack of knowing what to do to help, and that it was painful to me.  We worked on processing it, and I hope that it was helpful in some way, but the reality is that there are some burdens I cannot ease--as there are for all of us who care about what people are feeling and experiencing and how we all struggle at times with making sense of an often overwhelming influx of stressors.
At those times, it may be necessary to not only practice mindfulness and the ability to center ourselves and manage those emotions, but also to focus.  Focus has the ability to bring things into greater clarity and weed out the unhelpful noise and color of the background.
Once we do that, it is often that we are able to summon the energy and strength to continue the journey, and in a spirit of optimistic self-confidence.


LindaRe said...

The photos of your mother, of you and your father are beautiful. You are providing your best and in the future that will bring you great comfort. Continue to enjoy today's tender moments.

Suzassippi said...

I like that phrase: Continue to enjoy today's tender moments. I think it is far too easy to get caught up in the overwhelm instead, when really all we have is today's moments, and the hope that they will enable us to make sense of the future that then becomes today.

Beth said...

As women who are "fixers" there seem to be many burdens that we struggle to ease, some successfully and others are left for time to deal with. Nice post, makes me think! The photos are priceless; our photos tie us to our past and our future.

Suzassippi said...

Yes, women are fixers--we are conditioned from early on to care about others and their feelings. I kind of like that legacy.