Posts Tagged ‘courage’

It’s late, I should be sleeping. Tomorrow is a busy day, so much to do and it seems the older I get the faster the days go by. Tonight, I am troubled. I am concerned about our nation, I don’t trust our president and I don’t trust our government. I am appalled (more…)

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The Guilt of Survival……..

There is a time that strikes our hearts with a sense of guilt…for surviving something. It could be life, it could be having a house when others were flooded, it could be for keeping a job when others were laid off, it could be living when someone else died.

It is not an easy road, this life we live. “In this world there will be trouble” and wherever we go and whatever we do we will run “face first” into it. The question is not what the circumstances of the trouble are, the question is how do we deal with it. Do we scream and curse, or do we help out, oftentimes going beyond what we even think is possible, or do we collapse and crumble under the onslaught.

Many of the people in Minot have had their homes destroyed by flood waters sweeping in under unprecedented circumstances. Many have found themselves in shelters, and others in a friend or stranger’s home. Some are living in tents, or campers or doorways, or in vacant flood damaged buildings.

Yesterday, I found I was one of those who was blessed with a little “rectangular box house“, courtesy of the federal government. (although I am thinking I may have actually paid for it many times over) It arrived on wheels, was jacked up and placed on concrete blocks. Someone came and hooked up a water line, a sewer line and electric. Someone built a wooden deck, someone put in an pole that the electric was hooked to, someone dug a ditch and buried the electric line. Someone put vinyl soffit material cut in pieces around the bottom of it to “skirt it” or close it in for winter. I doubt seriously that the people doing this have ever spent a winter in North Dakota….but they did what they did, and for that I am grateful!

The “little box house“, has a furnace, a stove and fridge, kitchen cabinets (although since I am short, I can only reach one cabinet), a kitchen and bathroom sink, a shower, beds, a couch and a table and chairs a closet with a place to hang things, and hook ups for a washer and dryer……It is an interesting little house. The walls are all covered in multi-brown colors, and it is smooth and easily cleaned surface….I suppose if you were writing a description of it, you would call it “Multi-colored” neutral!

One of the most interesting things it comes with is a weather warning system. If a tornado is approaching the warning system is activated (don’t ask me how….it is one of the many things I just don’t know) There is a white light that will start flashing and I am guessing that if it goes off, there is not one chance in a million that you will not hear or see or know that a tornado is approaching. What to do if that happens….is questionable…..first you have to survive the warning signal, and next take shelter. In my case, I am guessing the only shelter would be in the basement of my house which has just undergone massive flood damage, and where I would prefer not to be…..I don’t think it will go off if a blizzard is coming….in which case I really don’t want to be in the basement at all…

Today, my “little box house” is my castle! It is one of those places that I have never said….”gee, I would love to live in a little box house!” Well…that is not actually true….when you have no place to go and winter is coming, and you know it….you wish for a “little box house” or anything that will keep you warm, as the days turn cooler. It is downright cold at night even now.

I feel guilty….there are so many people who have no where to go. Some of them have little children. Some of them are so tired of the living arrangements they have that the relationships they have with those they are living with, are quickly going downhill. It is not a good thing. There were supposed to be two thousand of these “little box houses” all set up and occupied by now. I think it was about 12,000 people who are without a home.

It is only a matter of time before a good number of people who call Minot home, will be forced to leave. Death comes to those without heat and shelter, in the winter in North Dakota. It is hard to leave here…there are jobs HERE, lots of jobs…..the rest of the nation is struggling with no jobs…..What to do? Oh What to do? Stay where the jobs are…and freeze or go where there jobs aren’t and starve. Wow…what a choice!

Trouble…“in this world there will be trouble”……”but be of good cheer for the Lord God delivers us from them all!”

One of the real problems with each of us, is that we discover as times become more difficult, and the options begin to disappear, we become more self-centered. We loose track of other peoples needs and begin to only see OUR needs. When we recognize that, we begin to “feel” guilty! I think that the “feelings” we have are satan’s way of trying to beat us into the ground and destroy us.

Of Course, you should be concerned about yourself and your family, or group. It is your job to take care of those in that group. It is how it is supposed to be. Each person is to be responsible for those around them, and from that circle reach out to others…..but first we have to take care of ourselves. Without taking care of ourselves, we would be unable to be of any value to others. The Golden Rule says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We usually only see…..love your neighbor…and miss…the part about loving yourself. That Word tells us that it is “normal,” “expected” and “ordinary” that we love ourselves….FIRST!

So today, or tomorrow…or whenever it comes that you have something that someone else doesn’t….don’t let satan destroy you with “guilt”. Jesus came, forgave sin, and took away guilt. That’s as true today as it was the day he did that! Guilt is satan’s way of trying to “kill you”, “steal from you” or “destroy you!” Don’t allow that to happen. Instead of “feeling” guilt that you have something that others don’t have, rejoice, be happy…you have what you have, whether it is life, hope, love or a “little box house.”

In my case I have a “little box house“ aka FEMA TRAILER…..but there is room inside for another person….or perhaps two, or maybe even 3. The couch I thought I had, is really a hide-a-bed….so there is room for someone else. For those who are waiting for their “little box house” to come….perhaps I could share mine, so they have a place to wait. Through it all, we will grow, we will be frustrated, gracious, kind, angry, and hurt. But we will come through this valley, and on the other side….we will realize how we have changed. We will realize that the things that were important once, are no longer and other more vital things have taken their place. We will be better for what we have experienced, what we have learned, what we have endured. We will find we are strong and courageous, and if we allow ourselves, and draw closer to Jesus, we will find that He has provided all that we need!

So for today…let’s not let the “guilt of survival” overcome us, but let us ask….who can we help, until help comes for them? And eventually…..when once again, you have your space to yourself….enjoy it…be free…and be Thankful to God, because He has given us “All that He is, was, and always will be! Above all, remember….we are to Him and then to LOVE OURSELVES….

Be glad! Be cheerful! Be thankful! But don’t be guilty! You survived, and are exactly where you are supposed to be……Be Free!

Blessings to you all,
Prayyior

The Guilt of Survival……..

There is a time that strikes our hearts with a sense of guilt…for surviving something. It could be life, it could be having a house when others were flooded, it could be for keeping a job when others were laid off, it could be living when someone else died.

It is not an easy road, this life we live. “In this world there will be trouble” and wherever we go and whatever we do we will run “face first” into it. The question is not what the circumstances of the trouble are, the question is how do we deal with it. Do we scream and curse, or do we help out, oftentimes going beyond what we even think is possible, or do we collapse and crumble under the onslaught. (more…)

Let’s not let Disaster make us Victims……

There are so many lessons that you learn when you are in the midst of a flood, or any natural or man-made disaster.

It seems first there is this devastation and you live in a period of despair, or perhaps it is shock. What has always been is no more. You know that life has just changed and nothing will ever be the same again. You try to fight off the desperation and defeat, but it clings to you. It is not a pleasant feeling, and as feelings go, they make you think it is all important when actually feelings are just that…how you feel.

There is no right or wrong feeling. Feelings are just that….feelings. (didn’t I just say that?) You don’t control them, you don’t put them away, you can’t blame yourself for how you feel.

Feelings aren’t really important!

What you do because of those feelings is important. It is not OK to act on feelings, because if you do, you will act wrongly. It is those times when you have to reach out and let someone know that you are in a battle for your life. Perhaps someone will come riding in and pick you up, take you away, cheer you up and replace some of the despair with hope. Most importantly we must call out to God for help. He will never leave us or forsake us, and will be there and know and understand our pain and help us through it.

There have been times when I felt absolute joy…..I don’t remember those times much, because the feelings of joy seem to have gone off in another direction, and all that is left is a memory, a faint glimpse of another time, but now there is the helplessness, and the emptiness of houses without walls and floors and windows. There are those who sleep in doorways and it is cold. There are those who are in campers and tents and in shelters, all knowing that winter is coming very fast and they have no where else to go. There is the hand out of a stranger. There is the worry of how to keep your family warm, and will you be able to pay the many many bills that have staggered your existence.

I sometimes think that it would have been better to live in a “soddy” like the early settlers did, because then you would be able to survive without furnaces, and lights, plug ins to run the appliances. Then there was a cook stove with a warm oven door where you could dress your child in the morning. There was no need for make-up and baths were taken maybe once a week in a big tub. It might be easier to have a kerosene lantern for light, and the only TV was hands creating shadow objects on the wall. There were lessons to be learned, and one of those was….save everything because you might need it and you couldn’t afford to buy it. Food was scarce, and for many it is now. But then you carried your gun and hunted your food. You were strong, resolved, determined, courageous……You knew that only you would care for your family, and you had a mighty pioneer character that made you honorable, proud and self-supporting.

Times have changed and now without electricity we can’t operate. We have bought lots of tools and gadgets that require electricity or gas to run. Our lives are much easier, but our spirits are weaker. We still have some of the characteristics of years gone by. Many people have given to others their entire lives…..Those people are the people you hear others talk about and say things like, “ so-and-so would give you the shirt off their back”. Receiving, to those people is difficult, but that is one of the lessons in a disaster that you have to learn. We fail when we don’t ask for help. When we are too proud, to even tell someone we need help. I suspect I am a little like that. It is difficult to reach out to someone and ask for assistance. It is good that there are people who just take it upon themselves to help even if not asked. It is difficult to have someone give you money, even though you needed it. It is difficult to have someone come and clean the gunk out of your house, even though you needed it, and it needed to be done. It is difficult to allow someone to cook for you when you have always done it. It feels like you are going to “owe” everyone for the rest of your life.

Others in disasters become “takers”…..they are the ones who think the world owes them a living. We have raised a whole generation of these people. It is sad, because somewhere they got the impression that work wasn’t honorable, that they were incapable of working or caring for themselves, that if they sat, someone would come and do it for them. I think it happens when parents do “everything they can” to make their children’s lives easier for their children than what the parent had. I think it happens day by day. A child has a problem and the parent “fixes” it for them. What we should have done is let them learn how to deal with their problems by guiding them in how to do it. School may be another area that makes kids think they are not capable of handling anything for themselves. Take a “bully” as an example. Kids in school are told to “tell the teacher” if someone is picking on them or doing something mean. When I was young we learned to handle it ourselves. When that happened all the kids that were being “picked” on got together and confronted that bully, if that didn’t work, then they handled it physically. Bullies didn’t last long in my school, but they are all over the playground in my Grandchildren’s school.

When I was being chased by kids with garter snakes, my Dad said….”Well, what are you going to do about it?” “As long as you are afraid they will keep doing it.” “If you run away“, “they will keep on doing it.” “If you pretend to NOT be AFRAID…it will no longer be fun for them and they will eventually quit.” “Now, what do you want to do?” I chose to pretend, until the day I opened my desk and there was a coiled Rattlesnake looking at me. It wasn’t real, it was an image in plaster, but the first looked scared me to no end, and that was the day the bully no longer even got close to me, because he was beaten up in the classroom and embarrassed because a girl did that, and even though I was sent to see the principle….and had to sit in the hall the rest of the day….it was worth it.

It was freeing. I had handled it myself, and now I was stronger…..no longer afraid….not willing to be a victim anymore. Had the teacher been called into action to handle it, one person would have always had the ability to make me “feel” less competent. I learned that day, that I could take care of myself. I could be strong and courageous.

Our Grandchildren today are not being taught that they are strong, or that they are capable of handling their own problems. We are raising a generation of incompetent kids, that will end up having to be taken care of their whole lives. If we don’t empower our kids now, how in the world are they going to grow up and raise another generation of strong and courageous people….They aren’t!

What does this have to do with disaster? Well, it makes sense that people have to learn to care for themselves and the lessons of childhood, help them do that. Let them learn the lessons so they aren’t sitting and expecting “someone” to take care of them their whole life. Every tough spot we find ourselves in as children and adults will make us more capable of coming out the other side with new found strength and ability to deal with problems. The Bible says that “in this world there will be trouble.” So learning that it happens and that we are to deal with it is the only hope.

God does not expect us to sit around and do nothing and wait for someone to come along and help….He expects us to get up and do it ourselves. If he did he, then the Bible wouldn’t say “ those that don’t work, will not be allowed to eat.”

So what about this disaster business. Some people should be helped….All people need some help….those who don’t ask for or pretend to not need help…should most definitely be helped. Every person has something to learn during and after a disaster has entered their lives. Our job is to help others, and that may come in the form of money, shelter, food, clean-up, encouragement, tears shed together, words of love, a Father in Heaven who loves them and wants to be part of their life, who wants a relationship with them. So many lessons….we also have to learn to say “no” in a disaster. It is not alright to give someone who does nothing but take….more. They have lessons to learn too, and if we keep giving and giving then they will not learn and will not grow stronger.

Disasters are a complete “balancing act”. We are called to help, and feed, and care for each other. What form that takes, is up to each of us. The one thing that we must not do, is to grow weary in well-doing, but be there for people in the way God wants us to. Another thing we must do, is to love our neighbor as ourselves. We must gather with others who have gone through the same thing, and bring encouragement to them.

It has been said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” In a disaster, you can share the love of Jesus, and help them to know HE is always available, ALWAYS there, Always wanting to be their best friend. He is always there with His Gift of Forgiveness and Eternal Life, and all they have to do is ASK.

So as the days in a disaster time go on, we must pick up the pieces of our lives, give and take, love and wait, and watch and be….All that God has for us to be, so that others can become who God wants them to be!

Blessings to you All,

Prayyior