What is real?

On Easter night I watched the movie, Heaven Is Real. I don’t know if you saw this when it was in theaters a couple years ago. At the end of the movie, a pastor concludes:

Heaven is real. And if we all really believed heaven is for real, we would all lead different lives, wouldn’t we? God is love. Don’t we say, “on earth as it is in heaven.” And so, haven’t we already seen heaven in the cries of a baby, in the love of a mother and a father, in the courage of a friend. Haven’t we already seen the heaven of love but yet we choose the hell of hate, the hell of fear.

Is this life we’re living each day real? If we believe it is real then why do we do some of the things we do? And if we believe it is real, then should we be doing something different? I challenge myself on these questions often. And I look at the question through the prism of what is going on in my family, my city, my state, my country, churches, politics and communities across the groups I interact with.

Last week we commemorated 50 years since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the last several years of his life, he was a hated man by white nationalists, KKK and white southerners who didn’t want the improvements of life for blacks that he was fighting for. Even in black communities, some feared the change he was seeking but many were courageous enough to stand with him and support him. His courage and the courage of those who stood with him was real.

To persevere for what we believe is right even when the odds are stacked against you, that is real. The struggles that many people endured for civil rights, human rights, women rights, the rights of blacks & Latinos, etc., to have access to what the constitution and laws provide … all of these struggles are real. These struggles take perseverance despite others telling you that your rights aren’t real. You almost have to be more than human, a magical super hero to overcome the massive struggles of slavery, reconstruction, the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps, Jim Crow-era, segregation, post-segregation and even the era we’re in now. Jesse Williams, the actor, spoke very eloquently at an awards show about the strength it takes to get through these struggles:

Jesse Williams quote on real

When we stand up for what we believe, that is real.

Sometimes though, there are occasions when we use what is real / what is truth as a weapon. When we defame others or tear down others in the process of truth / reality just to make ourselves look good, that tarnishes our cause and in a way it invalidates what was real. Is it still real when you take truth and contort it or taint it to make you look better? We may be doing it without malice, maybe out of self-preservation but the result is the same. What was real no longer looks real. To be honest, I personally have had to check myself sometimes on this and I have ended up chastising myself. Beware of those times when self-preservation or self-defense turns into contorting what is real.  I doubt that I am the only one who has done this.

It’s no longer real if we change what was real to the point that it is no longer recognizable truth, no matter what our motivation is. That’s what we would call “incredible,” as in not credible. Not real.

I started writing this particular blog several days ago. It doesn’t usually take me anywhere near this long to write my blogs. I wasn’t sure how to frame what I wanted to say but I had this topic on my mind to share. I thought about whether to put things in the context of the zany “fake news” that we’re hearing so much about because that is clearly not real. But this thought of “what is real” has been on my mind and not just in the political sense so I didn’t want to overemphasize that. So, just a few words on the politics of what isn’t real.

It’s not real when the facts are one thing and we refuse to believe the facts. As they say, you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. No amount of lying or fooling the public will make the facts change … lies still don’t become real no matter how many times they are said. One of the areas that has annoyed me the most since the presidential election of 2016 is blatant lying as if those lies were actually real. I just can’t get over it and can’t imagine the gullibility of ordinary people going along and the complicity of knowledgeable politicians going along. Oh but I digress … enough of that.

Here’s the thing, I think what is real is felt in our bones. I think it’s that simple. I think you know when it’s not real, you truly just know it.

I think people instinctively know what is real, feel what is real. We might want to ignore those instincts but we know what’s real.  I believe that love is real. In fact love may be the only sustainable thing that is real … love extends across life forms.

That’s why heaven is real. That’s why truth is real. That’s why struggles are real because they lead to truth. That’s why civil rights are real because fighting for them lead to truth.  That’s why courage is real because being courageous is love. Love=truth=courage=real. And that is heaven here on earth.

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Love … because that’s what love does

This past Saturday, I went to a funeral of friend. She and her husband had celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2017. They had thrown a big party in November for their anniversary and then went on a six-week travel adventure to commemorate their 50 years of love. They said they acted like kids during those six weeks. Little did they know, in February she would find out she had pancreas cancer and be gone a month later.

Her husband spoke at the funeral. I don’t know how he found the strength to speak as he did at the funeral, I have seen it happen before but I know it takes a lot to do so. He talked about how much time they spent together. He talked about how they did things together because they enjoyed each other. Golfed together, went on trips together.  He talked about the sacrifice she made for him to go to medical school more than a thousand miles away while she took care of their children. All of us sitting in the church could feel that they loved each other but he said she used to always tell him that she loved him more than he loved her. I will never know if one’s love was more than the other because the most obvious observation we had was 50 years of marriage had happened and it was clear it was mutual to anyone who knew them. And for that, we had true respect, admiration and maybe a tad of wonderment.

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My older brother recently celebrated 20 years of sobriety. Our family thinks it’s a milestone worth shouting to the mountaintops. He often speaks to groups, particularly to people in recovery, about his journey and how he keeps himself on the sober path. Key to getting sober was love. In a prior blog post, I talked about a mother’s love and yes, a mother’s love is strong. But, I believe it was my brother’s love for his son that may have actually made a significant difference in making that final turn onto his road to recovery.

Our mother had made several attempts to get him into recovery. He wasn’t ready yet at those times. She didn’t give up and always let him know that she would be available to help him get into a program. So, the strength of a mother’s love had the presence in his life but it would be another love that made it happen. When his wife had died recently from breast cancer, that sent him into a downward spiral but it also left him with a toddler son to take care of. I believe what finally woke him up was realizing that he had to be there for his son. A father seeing that his life had to get better to raise the son that otherwise might lose two parents. Love.

Love is powerful and can make us do amazing things. Hopefully the things we do for love are good things. Love can motivate us to turn our lives around and we become stronger. Love can create a foundation for us to see the beauty of life around us in a different way.

I do know a few couples who have been married 50 years or more. I know several couples who have been married 40+ years. It takes a lot to make it that many years. Some would call it commitment, it is more than that in some ways. It’s a decision. Some days you decide one thing, other days you may decide something else because every day isn’t the same. Love is a like a thread that needs to be sewn into a fabric, strengthened and reinforced.

Love can inspire us, but to last it takes doing something. You make the fabric strong by what you sew with and how you reinforce it. To last 50 years, whether one spouse loves the other more or not, whether it’s a parents love for a son or daughter, the fabric of love is sustainable because of what we do and the decisions we make. It’s not easy though. Tough days come but tough days don’t last forever. Sometimes you don’t see things the same way and that can be difficult. Strongly sewn fabrics of love can last forever and I do believe strongly constructed love will transcend all space and time.

love fabric

 

A woman … nevertheless she persisted

Yep, it’s women’s history month. That crazy slang saying, “women, can’t live with them … can’t live without them.” She will persist, a woman knows how to not take “no” for an answer when there’s something that needs to be done. A friend gave me a note pad that says: “let’s assume I’m right, it will save time.” A little tongue-in-cheek for sure but sometimes women are treated as if we think we’re right all of time. If it works, good. I’m fine with being right all of the time but I do know that isn’t the case. I can’t say for sure that I am right all of the time but Sir Charles Barkley wrote a book that is a grandiose idea on this subject: “I may be wrong but I doubt it.”

Well, one thing we know for sure is that none of us would be here without a woman. I love myself and my mother so clearly I have a love for and an appreciation for women. Any of the male gender who wants to stay alive will do well to follow my lead on this. So this month, tread lightly and appreciate greatly when it comes to the women in your life. There are times when a woman’s persistence pays off. Never underestimate the power of a grandmother or mother sticking up for a daughter or son and being there for them when all others have given up. Nevertheless, she will persist and have faith that this person will make it.

So, the month of March is Women’s History month.

womens history month 2018 theme

Tracing back to as early as 1909, celebrating National Women’s Day has been an institution. In 1910, the first International Women’s Day was observed on March 8th and has been recognized on that day ever since, gradually being recognized by one country after another. In 1975, it had become so widespread that the United Nations formally adopted March 8th as International Women’s Day. In the US,  the month of March finally became a Women’s History Month in 1987.

Although there are many accomplishments that we could rattle off by women throughout the world and in the US, the list is missing a lot that still has to be done. And within many states and at the federal level, discrimination and rollbacks of rights & privileges for women occurred in 2017 and recent years at alarming paces. Whether someone believes in the same religion or not, we should always believe in respect for a woman to understand her body’s health and decide how to manage what happens with her body. Whether someone believes in whether a woman should be working or not, we should all believe in a woman not being harassed in the workplace. Some things should be easy to agree on. Discrimination isn’t good for any of us. So bravo for the 2018 theme for Women’s History Month.

There are still more women than men struggling with workplace gender discrimination, pay discrimination, hiring discrimination and misogynist behaviors. The US Senate race in Alabama was not an outlier. Women are often not believed, by men and sometimes even by other women. I heard a man in Alabama say that it should have been considered an honor for a District Attorney like Roy Moore to be interested in a family’s teenage daughter. I heard women say that they were bothered by the credible accusers having waited 30 years to tell their stories. Yuck. We’ve got to move past those sad commentaries. Women and young girls deserve better.

We’ve come a long way… or have we??

It is quite informative that countries other than the United States of the America have already elected a woman leader. Some of them would be considered less “advanced” than the US but yet they have elected a woman leader. The US is much more male-dominated and misogynistic than we want to admit. The 2016 Presidential election wasn’t just about Hillary’s emails or lack of enthusiasm or black-lash from Obama or a flawed candidate. It was a lot about a country not yet ready for a woman to be its President. That it took until 2016 before a woman was even the nominee for one of the two major political parties is instructive. How much longer will it be before we elect a woman President? I don’t know. I do know it wasn’t just Hillary’s emails, especially when we look at who was inaugurated on January 20, 2017.

This year for the International Women’s Day, I choose to persist. I will persist in helping other women achieving as much as they dream. I will persist in believing that we are capable of being the CEO, the Chairperson, the leader, the shot-caller, the director and yes the President. I will persist in sharing the tools so that every woman has a better than fair chance to tell her story. I will persist in engaging other women in the political process so decisions are made that reflect parity and reality. I will persist during Women’s History Month and every day of the rest of the year because women are changing the world every day.

women history calendar

Whites only? Tell them we are rising.

Certain landmarks or scenes are reminders to me of the days of segregation and “whites only” signs. It seems crazy to me that I am only 58 but I have memories of segregation and segregation really wasn’t that long ago. My children don’t know what segregation was like but I amazingly still remember it. Black history month is ending, segregation has mostly ended but the memories haven’t. Through it all, I borrow the words of the recent documentary on black colleges and universities, “Tell Them We Are Rising” because that is still the challenge that motivates me.

When I was visiting my hometown recently, I saw a few of those reminders of segregation. The Don CeSar Hotel is in the featured photo of this week’s blog. As beautiful as the hotel is, unfortunately for me it brings thoughts of segregation. Until last week, at the age of 58, I had never been inside the hotel. It’s on St. Pete Beach, which at one time didn’t welcome blacks. There were grand old hotels, smaller hotels and many businesses in our town that didn’t welcome blacks for a lot of years. I told my husband that I wanted to walk inside, he thought I was kidding when I said that I never been inside. Of course he has visited St. Pete and St. Pete Beach with me before and didn’t imagine that I wouldn’t have been in there. But for real, I had never been inside there until 2018.

There are many things we take for granted today that not so long ago were not available to us. There are many things our twenty-something and thirty-something daughters and sons can’t imagine. As a little girl, I have a vivid memory of my mother driving me and my siblings to a then recently opened fast-food restaurant. My big brother went inside to place an order, then walked out and started to walk around the side of the building. My mother rolled down the window to ask where he was going. He said the counter clerk told him that he had to go to the back door to place the order and get served. My mother said oh no, we won’t be eating here.

Integration LifeSept1966

Schools were segregated in my city until forced to integrate in the early 1970s. There were many court challenges, many protests. I attended a segregated Catholic elementary school through third grade. Then, the Catholic diocese decided to move to integrate the Catholic schools in our city even before the public schools did. In fourth grade, I went to my first integrated school. It was not without some incidents but they were minor. Not so much for the public schools though.

I remember the protests by white parents and white students who didn’t want integration of the public schools. I remember busing being very controversial. My neighborhood was in an uproar and my parents, both local public educators, were enthralled in it. I had friends who were caught up in which school they would be bused to.  There were meetings at our house by NAACP officers and local groups. My parents were actively involved in speaking out for integration.

ST. PETERSBURG CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE

We had a high school, Dixie Hollins, whose mascot is the Rebels, as in Confederate Rebels. That was interesting for black students having to attend there. And some of the white students took advantage of having a Confederate Rebel as their mascot to jam it down the throats of the newly admitted black students. When integration at Dixie Hollins finally happened in 1971 under court order, our county was one of the last in the state of Florida to do it.

Dixie, along with Boca Ciega High School — where actress Angela Bassett attended high school, finally accomplished integration with busing. A bit rocky and not without incident but it happened. Angela Bassett was the first black to earn admittance to the National Honor Society at Boca Ciega High School.

angela bassett in high school      Angela Bassett

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re in 2018 but it really wasn’t that long ago. And incredibly there are things going on in 2018 and 2017 that make us feel that we have stepped back in time. What happened in Charlottesville with the KKK, White Nationalists and neo-Nazi rallying should be from the past but it’s not. There are people who today are holding signs literally and virtually saying “whites only.” What we thought we had left behind is trying to be brought back by people who don’t want to let go.

I watched the documentary on black colleges and universities, Tell Them We Are Rising.

tell them we are rising

That documentary isn’t just about black colleges and universities, it’s black history. It begins with history of slavery and recounts how slave owners enslaved blacks not only by slavery but also by depriving them of education. If you have seen the Black Panther movie and were impressed by Wakanda, you should see the documentary Tell Them We Are Rising. The documentary is just as uplifting. The struggle and commitment that blacks went through to get an education is empowering. The number of times that we encountered “whites only” but pushed forward anyway is why we finally had a black President.

From slavery to Jim Crow to segregation to HBCUs to a black President to Wakanda, we are still rising. No matter how many times we see a sign that says, “whites only,” we will keep going and eventually find a way. This time the revolution will not only be televised, it will be in marches, on Instagram, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Snapchat, Google TV and YouTube. We will not be silenced or denied. Tell them we are rising.

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President’s Day in Wakanda

Let’s imagine President’s Day in Wakanda. Yes, I know Wakanda is a kingdom with a King and not an elected President. T’Challa becomes King because his father was King and then he wins the challenge from M’Baku. But … since this week in the US we are honoring our US Presidents (except of course the current occupant of the oval office because he is an agent of Russia and hasn’t shown competence to be President nor does he protect the country like a real President would do), I just got to thinking what it would be like if we were honoring our President of Wakanda this week. Go with me on this and let’s imagine celebrating President’s Day or King’s Day in Wakanda.

So, hail to T’Challa for keeping his country safe. That’s what a President does. T’Challa has a clear love of his people and he acted selflessly. He sought protection for the ideals and traditions of Wakanda. He even questioned why his father had left behind his cousin instead of bringing him to the safety of the lands of Wakanda. T’Challa did what a King, a President should do.

A New York Times article is very appropriate in its description of the movie, Black Panther: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/09/movies/black-panther-african-american-fans.html saying that the movie brings hope, hype and pride. We want a President to act in a way that makes us feel proud.

The actor who plays M’Baku, Winston Duke, was being interviewed on MSNBC and he spoke of how Wakanda shows what it means to be a citizen, what it means to be a King of a country and really want to protect it and ensure your country is not invaded or destroyed by outsiders.

black-panther-MBaku

T’Challa adored his mother and treated the women of his country with respect. The Generals / Warriors that protected him were largely women, under the leadership of Okoye. The farmers who plant and cultivate the important vibranium are mostly women. The scientific and technological brain behind the advances utilized by T’Challa and his army is his sister, Shuri.

This is a link to an article on the women of Wakanda that is worth reading:  http://www.espn.com/espnw/culture/feature/article/22443520/powerful-heroines-shine-black-panther

My President T’Challa treats his romantic love, Nakia, with admiration and respect for her choices to be involved in helping others. He does not ask Nakia to give up her desire / dream of doing all that she can to help people outside of Wakanda. Instead, he identifies a way for her to pursue her dreams while still partnering with him. Nakia is to be with him, by his side, not taking a role subservient to him or giving up her dreams.

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Wow, that’s a President I would love to have running my country … a President who believes women are equals and deserve equal pay, equal opportunity and equal treatment.

Much will be said of Black Panther’s visual presentation as a cinematographic force and its historical success in the box office. More will be said of the role this film will play with respect to representation in terms of both race and gender

We had a President like that, Barack Obama. We clearly have a void now. But, as Ta-Nehesi Coates say, we were eight years in power. On the occasion of President’s Day, this book is a good read. It’s a series of essays that reflect on the era of President Obama, relates it to historical times and connects how his election may have resulted in the backlash that caused the current 45th occupant of the oval office.

ta-nehisi-coates-we-were-eight-years-in-power-book-review

But, I digress. Let me get back to King / President of Wakanda. From an article written by Howard University Professor Greg Carr, he compares T’Challa to the President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere:

With advanced degrees in physics, engineering and economics, T’Challa’s intelligence rivals the smartest people in the Marvel universe and, like Batman, he has mastered pretty much every martial art on the planet.

In his Wakandan homeland, however, the Black Panther selflessly rules a staunchly independent, hidden nation that’s based entirely on African tradition and culture.

Carr said. “Nyerere believed African culture had the answer to solve Africa’s political problems. He tried to make that real in a country. He was incorruptible. That’s the reason he was universally beloved.”

The full article compares each of the main characters to a real-life person and provides some interesting analysis:  https://mic.com/articles/187702/black-panther-is-fiction-but-its-characters-have-a-lot-in-common-with-these-real-life-people#.ibvcSGFL5

In any case, President T’Challa is smart and has an appreciation for science and technology. I can’t help but be pleased with how his breadth of intelligence was utilized for good. In the movie, he was portrayed as wanting to be protective of his country and having to be convinced to use their resources for those in need in other countries. I am told that the Marvel comics version actually showed the opposite. In the comic books, the King of Wakanda actively allowed the resources of the country for the betterment of other countries. At the end of the movie, King T’Challa proudly stood before the United Nations and announced that Wakanda would be a force for good. That’s a President I would be proud of.

On this President’s Day, it’s an opportunity for us to think of those who held the office of President that served the country well. Of course for many of my friends, family and colleagues, we have a very recent example to look to for someone who served admirably – President Barack Obama. T’Challa makes me as proud as Obama made me feel. And even more so, the pride I have in all that I saw in Wakanda gave me the beautiful feelings of hope that I had during many moments of those Obama eight years. An article in Buzzfeed touches on the beauty of what so many I know would feel with a President T’Challa:  https://www.buzzfeed.com/koviebiakolo/black-panther-is-for-everybody-black?utm_term=.yxDjjp30jp#.xqxJJM72JM

In the conclusion of the film, affected by his experience with Killmonger, T’Challa goes to Oakland and sets up a foundation, headed by Shuri, for the community Killmonger’s father had hoped to help, decades earlier. In the final scene, Wakanda is represented by T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia in the United Nations headquarters, ready to open itself up to the world to share its resources and information. The influence of Killmonger’s black American experience caused the Black Panther to not only change how Wakanda interacts with the world, but how he later saw his relationship to other people who looked like him.

My President T’Challa says, “The wise build bridges, the foolish build barriers.” I say to all of the little T’Challa in each of us just as his father said to him in the movie, ” Stand up, you are King.” That’s what a role model President does.

Black-Panther-movie-cast

 

When No means On

Is there a connection between Black History Month and the MeToo / TimesUp Movement and the word “No”? Seems like a provocative proposition. What in the world could that be? Does No mean No and when does it mean On?

There seems to be an issue where people are confused with the meaning of the word “no.” I thought it was fairly simple. No means no. As in, no that is not happening. No, the answer is to not proceed. No, you may not do what you asked. No, that which you seek is not for you. But for some people no seems to be the other way around, it appears to be the reverse: “on.” For others, it apparently means let’s go on with what I want to do even if someone thought that I wasn’t supposed to. It somehow gave someone the thought that they proceed with doing what they desired instead of what the other person requested.

I am seeing where No being turned in to On can be a good thing or a bad thing. I’ve been thinking of it in two ways over the past several days. One way is within the context of Black History Month and the other way is within the context of the #MeToo Movement.

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At the core of #MeToo and #TimesUp is respecting the boundaries of the word No. Of course it’s also about taking advantage of power over others too, but it does come down to lack of respect for boundaries and an unwillingness to accept the meaning of No.

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Domestic violence is in the news with the White House on the wrong side of the issue. There is nothing that has been done or said by anyone in the White House so far that appropriately defends No Means No. In fact, they have excused a grown man with a degree from an Ivy League university who served in the military with a boss who served in the military, whose boss is in the role of president of the country. And they have essentially said No doesn’t mean anything to them. They’ve said No means someone can still do whatever they want if they have a position of power and access. And the staff of the White House, with the full approval of the occupant of the oval office, has condoned that No doesn’t mean No and we can lie about if we want to.

Bravo to one of the ex-wives who wrote an article that said she will not be shut up. She will speak out and will not be silenced. Jennie Willoughby says she will not be diminished, a link to her article is here and it is worth reading: http://time.com/5143589/rob-porter-ex-wife-trump-domestic-violence/

Fortunately, we still have freedom of the press and for them No means On. The press and journalism have kept the lights on during the past 14 or so months to let us know that boundaries were being crossed and truth was being covered up. Journalists have taken “On” the responsibility of digging through the stories and finding out what the politicians aren’t telling us, exposing the truths, asking the hard questions and not taking No for an answer. When something doesn’t look right and the data doesn’t add up, they keep pushing and finding out why. Journalists have found out that “No” just might mean “On” so they pressed on and because of them we found out about Rob Porter’s violence against his ex-wives and he is now no longer working in the White House. This time “On” worked.

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Black History Month is about celebrating the many, many people who turned “No” into “On”. So, here’s the good context of looking at the way the word No can be turned completely around. These people of color were the pioneers, the martyrs of the civil rights movement, and the inventors who weren’t given credit for their patents. These are the ones who had obstacles and road blocks and defeats and doors shut in their faces and flat out “no” given to them many times along the way. They reversed the “No” and pressed “On”.

Some of the heroes, women and men, of Black History are named and some aren’t. Some are controversial and some are praised universally. All deserve our gratitude because their footsteps left imprints for us to walk in. Their shoulders have shouldered burdens of fights and struggles that we may never be able to understand how heavy they were. I know that many articles are written and many stories are re-told about the people we could spotlight during this month. And, this indeed should be a year-round commemoration, not just one month. Many of the people we might think of under the auspices of Black History Month actually were integral to the development of this country, so they should not be relegated merely to Black History Month.

There is a wonderful quick blog post on the website of the National Museum of African American History & Culture that portrays the American story, a people’s journey, through the lens of African Americans: https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/peoples-journey-nations-story. It is a beautiful pictorial from Harriet Tubman through Black Lives Matter, bringing you up to 2018. It’s joyful to watch. One of the best ways I can think of to turn “No” into “On” is to not accept no for an answer. One of the best examples to see how that happened in countless ways by countless people, is to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It is an experience everyone should set aside a date to do. You will find many people who showed the meaning of “No” being “On”.

Museum photo 20170202_173341

 

 

 

Resiliency … when up is down and down is up, what’s abnormal is normalized and what was normal is nonexistent.

Have you ever had days when things just don’t feel right? That can happen after the death of a loved one or after a trauma or dramatic event. It can happen from a personal tragedy or a public tragedy. When it feels like what used to be up is down and what used to be down is up? We go through periods when what used to be normal feels strangely abnormal and what used to be abnormal becomes so normal that it makes you even question whether there was even a time when it was abnormal. Resiliency is a way to cope.

I’ve asked myself about this several times over the past year but actually before that. It might seem odd to say this but I remember when my mother died and things that used to be so normal for me, like calling her up to ask about something or expecting to hear from her when a certain event occurred … those things that were normal then, no longer were existent. I am pondering this within the context of a few scenarios.

When life changes, even though the changes are instantaneous, as humans we often need some time to adjust to the changes. This occurs with births and deaths. The baby is born and as parents and families, we need to figure out how to take care of the child whether we had prior experience or not. Ya gotta get with it. When a loved one is gone, they’re gone and our lives continue so we have to figure out how to move on. Ya gotta get with it. What we used to think was normal is now abnormal and we must go on. Sadness or gladness, birth or death, whether being turned up or down when we thought it was supposed to be the other way around, we have to figure out how to keep going. Resiliency.

resiliency quote by elizabeth edwards

Whether the evolution of the changes are good or bad, it still takes time. I have seen organizations that I am in have new leadership with less than good intentions or at least less than good leadership. While those within the organization may not immediately realize the extent of the bad, as it becomes known people have to adjust to a new normal while not normalizing the abnormal so that the good is preserved. They have to figure out what to do to go forward.

The destruction of the norms of our democracy in the US right now certainly are an example of what used to be normal is no longer. The abnormalities of what has been done by the current administration are so bad, but frankly so prevalent now that things that happen from one day to the next don’t cause the shock and awe that they once did a year ago. I have lost the art of shaking my head in despair and had to control my emotions to keep from sinking further. And yet, I must speak out, call Congress, get out to rallies and do what I can to scream that this is not normal. Resiliency.

The world feels upside down. Things that used to be up are down and what used to be down is up. Something is very wrong and we can’t get used to this as the new normal. If we do, we’ve lost. So, pull forward with resiliency.

resilient-inspirational-quote-and-motivational-poster,2010807

Ezra Klein says that the current occupant of the oval office is winning because the rest of us are caught up reacting to the disruption of the abnormalities. A new column of his speaks to this:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/29/16900646/trump-administration-tweets-media-polarization

Such a massive side show has been created and the potus benefits from even the effort to gawk at the abnormalities: “His rule, his realization, is that you want as much coverage as possible, full stop. If it’s positive coverage, great. If it’s negative coverage, so be it. The point is that it’s coverage — that you’re the story, that you’re squeezing out your competitors, that you’re on people’s minds.” 

Charles Blow, columnist for the New York Times did a column last week about the Soul of the Nation which references some of these same undertones, “What we control is our collective commitment to morality and ethics. When that is lost, so are we.”: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/25/opinion/trump-russia-investigation-mueller.html

But even more relevant was a column that Blow did in September 2017 after the Charlottesville KKK rally that really pointedly said, these happenings are not normal.

We are talking about the basic concept of whether our government, and by extension our country, advances unity or division, love or hate.

We are talking about an assault on our democracy by a hostile foreign power, the contours and scope of that assault coming into greater clarity every passing day.

How can any of us, if we are true patriots, be expected to simply calm down and suck it up when the Russians are bragging that the “president” of this country isn’t ours but theirs?

How can we be expected to sit idly by while the fabric of this country is unwoven by maleficent hands, whatever their size?

None of this is normal or right

But I know well, and am comforted by the fact, that I am not alone. Millions of Americans see this travesty for what it is and share my disgust and indignation.

Good people of good conscience are seeking to do what Trump only gave lip service to, and in his way bastardized. We, patriots, will not stop resisting this destruction. It is we who will Make America Great Again by trying to limit the damage Trump can do to us until he feels the reckoning of the damage he has done to himself.

Life throws us curves. We dip and dive and bob and weave. Hopefully, we learn to adjust and in fact do adjust. Resiliency is a needed skill in current times so we can bounce back from the hits that life throws at us. In addition to resiliency, another needed skill is being able to still know the difference – discernment – between normal and abnormal when a barrage of abnormal hits so often that it becomes blurry. There’s still a difference. We may not be able to bring back a loved one who has died, that is a new normal that we will have to adjust to. But there are other abnormalities in life that we shouldn’t get used to. So, how to cope? Discernment and resiliency. They are important right now when up is down and down is up.

Resiliency