Letter to an unknown friend

Hi, Brenda:

Reading your long epistle, I feel similar feelings. You, being a pastor, should be ‘above it all,’ be serene and relaxed, rely on your faith, be a rock, the shepherd for your flock. But you are human, just like the rest of us struggling souls. I tell myself, ‘no need to feel anxious,’ but I do. I am a bit of a loner, but this – not being able to see, talk or laugh with someone living close by, drives me crazy. My muscles are tight, my breathing flat when I don’t think of it. I can’t sleep. My legs hurt from sitting too much. I started to go on little walks with my Nordic Poles, without those I couldn’t. My heart hurts; I breathe deeply to give it more oxygen.

I talk to myself; I talk to God because I feel embarrassed to talk to anyone else about what rattles or worries me; everyone has and deals with their problems. Neighbours become strangers. People were walking their dogs: I used to stop and talk to them, touch and stroke the doggies – now the people step off the sidewalk when they see me coming and walk on the road.

The dogs strain on their leashes, they remember me, want to come to me, they are not allowed. Do you find it weird that I miss the happiness those dogs used to show me more than exchanging a few words with their owners? I can still fill the hummingbird feeder, and those little critters don’t care about COVID, they still come. I see them, I love them, but they are the only sign of life as I knew it.

Yes, Brenda, it’s a weird time in all of our lives. Does it, will it ever change again? It will change alright, but it will not be the old ‘normal’ as we knew it. The young ones will adjust to the new ‘normal’ and deal with it the way my generation dealt with the war, the starvation, the diseases, the fallout, the re-building of bombed and destroyed cities.

This new war, the master of which we can not see, attacking friend and foe alike, reducing the number of the billions of people on our planet, is a phenomenon we can not conquer, try as we might. Will it stop when some kind of balance is achieved? For us, there is only HOPE left, as we struggle to retain our FAITH and LOVE.


Two Wolves – a Message or Revelation to me?

A few years ago a handful of people ruined my joy and self-confidence, but the worst was that they destroyed my sense of belonging. I have tried hard not to let it affect me, but it did. Many years before that, something happened that had my world crash unexpectedly and made me believe I had wasted twenty of the best years of my life. It hurt, and it still does. I told nobody of my search for a way to end my life that would look like an accident but not hurt other people. I could go on and tell you about specific untrue accusations. My pain and inability to fight back caused anxiety, resentment, grieving, sadness, loss of energy and finally depression. On the surface, I kept on showing the world a smiling face and buried myself in work; I was successful, built a new life, but, nobody needed to know what I felt inside. My inner world was dark gray, sometimes black. With the dogs of a friend, I experienced the only truly happy hours. They made me forget… They made me laugh, they accepted and loved me the way I was. I could be me, I could be myself. A blissful feeling just “to be.”

An overwhelming need to be alone overcame me a few weeks ago. I didn’t really know where I was going to go. I did not want to burden my friends with my feelings of anxiety and my dark mood. After approximately thirty minutes of aimlessly driving around and without much thinking, I found myself on the highway. My car took me to a small, pleasant town about twenty or maybe thirty kilometers away. I knew a small bakery where, once upon a time, I had shared the best cheesecake of my life with dear friends. Pleased to see the only table outside available, I had a coffee, and, you guessed it, a piece of their delicious cheesecake. I sat there, watched the world go by and thought of the present reason for my inner turmoil. I felt despondent and lonely but already a bit better than when I first arrived. Since here in Canada nobody would ever ask to sit at the same table, I cleared my dishes and went on my way, making room for the next people. I was wandering up and down the charming streets until I finally felt the need to find a restroom. I knew just the place, a large grocery store with a café and gift shop upstairs. The ladies room was taken, so I waited. My eyes fell onto a large poster next to it. It was here that I read the following:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”


The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Wow! I did reread it. It was a revelation, a message especially for me. This kind of thing has happened three times before in my life; I was taken to a place, or the people I needed to see. Was my Guardian Angel at work when I most needed him? This story stayed with me ever since I read it, I thought about it every single day. Has it been only three or is it already four weeks? I have thought about it, analyzed it, compared it to my inner demons and realized that I had favored and fed the wrong wolf, for many of the past years.

No more. Not that I had forgotten to feed the other one, but one adverse action or word from people I loved or respected, would push me back into the dark place, and the big bad wolf has been waiting.

I promised myself he won’t be the winner!

Dog Days Or Other Miserable Days… #Depressed #DogLove

BuffiQuoting from Wikipedia:

The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog); this linkage first appeared in the Greek poem Phaenomena by Aratus (~310-260 BC) while Sirius’s association with summer heat is found in an earlier Greek poem, Works and Days by Hesiod in ~700 BC. Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term “Dog Days” was used earlier by the Greeks (see, e.g., Aristotle’s Physics, 199a2)

The Dog Days originally were the time of the year when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun (heliacal rising, in Conjunction (astronomy) with), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes.

Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.

Are those the days when I am not sure what is ailing me? I am sad, weak, down, tired, can’t get going and somehow it seems the whole world is ganging up on me. If someone says something nice I feel they just want to put honey around my mouth. A stubborn donkey is growing and bucking up within myself and wants to kick the kind person… If someone says “come on, cheer up…” or even worse, “you have no reason to feel that way” I know they don’t know what they are talking about. Can’t I just feel bad without a reasonable reason? Just let me be miserable. Leave me alone. Maybe that’s what I need, ‘lone-time’ to find my centre again, to balance my emotions.

Have you ever thought about how tough it is to always pretend everything is all right? We keep smiling, we do what we have to do or think what we have to do, give polite answers or the expected answers. In reality we would like to scream or throw even some of our best china against the wall. Before my back gave me trouble I would grab the vacuum cleaner and give it a real good workout. Just a couple of years ago I would spend hours in the garden, listen to the silence and let myself suffer through sometimes agonizing back pain without being able to stop before the job I had started was done. Mind over matter? What matter? The physical pain or the pain you can’t put a finger on? The pain accumulated during a lifetime without ever having had a chance to clear the air? Because there are things you just don’t talk about. You don’t want to trouble others with your troubles because they have their own troubles.

Okay. The really well-meaning people tell you to have counselling. I tried it. Pay for the pair of ears that will listen to you. Sometimes you get asked intelligent questions but mostly they wallow in your misery, stir it up like pea soup, push it around and explain it from this side and the other and, by acknowledging it, they multiply it. In the end you start to believe life has dealt you some bad cards. In your heart of hearts you know it is not true, that that wasn’t the problem in the first place. Run while you can! But if you keep going back and enjoy listening to these smart people, after all you want your money’s worth, – in the end you start believing it. You like the new truth? It makes you feel ‘poor me’ but it feels good? You don’t realize that by dwelling on it you get worse but the worse is that you start seeing it as the ‘true truth’. Some truth! Brain-washing! And by telling other people about your (new) truth you unwittingly hurt the people that may love you most and you push them away.

No, counselling wasn’t for me. And psycho pills were not either. Why would the first one make me feel so bad that I had to throw up? Oh no, – I never took another. There was no way that I would let anyone, or anything, alter my brain waves. I told myself to take the bull by the horns, face my demons and acknowledge them. Take stock. What was it that made me feel so miserable? Why the loss of energy and getting tired of not being able to defend myself against what, – other people’s truth? Things? Circumstances? Take charge of your life, I told myself.

You know what I just did? I broke a lot of china. I was venting. I talked about all the things that don’t work, did not work for me. I remember part of a joke: A zebra came to God and asked if it was black with white stripes or white with black stripes. God looked at it and said “That depends entirely on how you see yourself.”

Lovely TinaLet’s get back to the very beginning of this outburst. So how do I see myself? Some days are better than others and things seem clearer. But as there is dark and light, bright and dull, up and down, dry and wet, day and night, good and bad, happiness and sadness, so your outlook changes. My way was to keep busy. Did I ever realize that I might have exhausted my store of energy? No. I felt responsible to “keep going” like the rabbit on the battery. I forgot one important thing: Work and play, activity and rest, laughing and crying. There was nothing to laugh about? Too many of those “dog days”?

The antidote: Get a dog. It ties you down? You have to walk it, get up earlier, lose your freedom? You don’t even realize what you would gain: unconditional love and lots of it, an incredibly understanding of your troubles. It looks at you and transmits feelings without words. By owning and being responsible for a dog you may even extend your life.

doggie mediicineSecond best? Go visit a friend who has dogs. These creatures just know how to lift your mood, get your mind off anything that may ail you. They love you, they want you and they play with you and before you know it they have delivered the medicine you didn’t even know existed: “Doggie Medicine”.