Friday, October 6, 2017

Keeping our heads and hearts in the worst of times

HALLIE EPHRON: I think we can all agree, it's been a horrendous couple of months. Hurricanes, Earthquakes. Floods. And then there's the man-made mayhem. Shootings. Stabbings. Cars running down pedestrians. And this latest mass shooting in Las Vegas during a country music concert. That doesn't count the reports of slaughter of Rohingya Muslims or the plight of Syrian refugees or the chest-thumping leaders of North Korea and the US who threaten to make all of our efforts moot. 

Anyone else remember the old Kingston Trio's Merry Minuet? 

Somehow it doesn't seem funny right now. 

I feel helpless, and I want to help. Today I'm looking for advice. Are you personally affected? How to help? And how to preserve your sanity in insane times?

LUCY BURDETTE: Yes it feels insane--a relentless battering of bad news that leaves me feeling angry and sad and helpless and a little guilty. 

Honestly, my mind is boggled by Syria and Myanmar. Plus, why did Hurricanes Maria and Irma decimate the middle Keys, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands and only brush by my beloved Key West? 

And then the same tired questions repeat themselves about the latest mass shooting: Who was this man and why did he develop this plan? How can we work to identify people like this and do something before more people die? And why oh why won't our politicians look seriously at our gun laws and make some sensible changes? Does any normal citizen really need access to an assault rifle?

Those are my questions anyway. As for answers? 

I give money to groups who are helping the stricken (Red Cross, United Church of Christ, Doctors without Borders, to name a few.) And I stay active in nudging my congress people and participating in causes I believe in. 

And to preserve my sanity, I read and exercise and cook...it's never enough...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: As you all know, these have been the personal worst of times for me and my kids. I struggle every day with the temptation to view life as WH Auden did in his poem: 

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; 
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; 
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

What I try to do, every day, is focus on the goodness in people all around me. Very few of us actually live in the angry, divisive world we see online. 

Instead, we have kind neighbors, thoughtful friends, considerate strangers. I'm too...overwhelmed to take a single action right now: I can't protest, I'm not writing letters to the editor, I don't have money to spare to donate. But I can look for, and cherish, the caring nature of those whose lives intersect mine.

RHYS BOWEN: Julia, you put this so beautifully. 

We have gone through uneasiness and uncertainty with political madness, natural disasters as well as man made ones, but you have gone through the worst time one can imagine: watching a loved one slip away. 

Like Lucy I feel angry all the time: especially yesterday watching members of congress in a moment of silence, the president sending out thoughts and prayers and then none of them have the guts or brains to vote on gun control. 

I'm trying not to watch TV news as it's all bad. 

My own remedies--get out into nature. Walk along the sea-shore or in the mountains with friends. Laugh and talk as we walk. And I try to give to charities where it will do the most good. I gave to the Texas Library association to furnish libraries with new books after Harvey. And Catholic Charities where I know all the money goes the disaster, not to fund raisers. And I've just sent off a box of books for Murder By the Book's fundraising auction in Houston.  

It's not enough. It's never enough, but it's that one starfish on the beach.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Why do the huge and unimaginable things make the "small" things seem bigger?  The hole Ross leaves. The way the leaves turn color. My funny Jonathan, and how he reads all the sections of the paper at the same time. How lucky we are to have, l don't know. Bacon. Dahlias. 

I remember so clearly the chilling week after the Boston Marathon bombing, when the very atmosphere of the city changed--it was hollow, and terrifying, and the streets were deserted, and seemed like a different place. Even now, you can walk by the spot where the first bomb went off--and I  tell you, even if you didn't know, you'd know. 

It's just so difficult to know how to be "normal." Is it okay to laugh? When?  Is it okay to have fun? When?

But if we don't celebrate, then what's the point?

We must face it, head on, honor it. Do one thing a day, whatever we can, to make the world better.  More horrible things have happened, certainly, but right now it doesn't feel like it, and it doesn't matter what happened before. But it's not the end of days. It's just-breathtakingly sad.

Here's one more thing I love. And why we will be okay. Somehow. 
The other day in the edit booth, I said to my editor (whose name is Collins) "Man, those people better not start a war with North Korea."

And Collins said: "There can't be a nuclear war! I just had my house painted!"

So yeah 

INGRID THOFT: When the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, I try to keep a few things in mind.  I remind myself that there have been other times in history when, surely, people felt the same way, and yet, they persevered.  There are people who have had to survive the unimaginable—Holocaust survivors or survivors of any genocide came to mind—and somehow, they have survived.  

I think about Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, and Malala Yousafzai, and I think about the people in my community who do a far more difficult job than I.  The cop with whom I did a ride-along this weekend, who works every shift to manage the fallout from rampant homelessness, opioid addiction, a proliferation of weapons and divisive leadership at the highest levels.  

I spent a day watching one person work to help other people, regardless of their circumstances or station in life.  If he can keep on keeping on in the face of all this misery than so can I.

JENN MCKINLAY: I asked the Hub the other day, "If you knew what the world would be like when the Hooligans came of age (they are both around 16), would you have still wanted to have children?" 

Without hesitation, he said, "Yes." 

I was not so sure. I mean we are sticking them in this Dumpster fire of humanity at its worst, natural disasters on the rise, and a society that is ruled by bullies and stupidity. This was never ever what I imagined for them. Every age has it struggles, I know, but wow, we have really ratcheted up the awful. 

And then, the Hooligans find a teeny tiny, half dead, two-week-old abandoned kitten, and they are absolutely determined that he will survive and thrive. I have stepped back to let them take the lead on this rescue and while guiding them, I see two young men committed to saving what to many would be a lost cause, a small inconsequential life of no importance, and I think, we're going to be okay. 


DEBORAH CROMBIE: You are all so wise, and so lovely, that just sharing a page with you and reading your advice lifts my spirits.

I have to admit that on Tuesday, leaving England for home, my heart felt very heavy. And then, in the car on the way to the airport, I had a long conversation with my car service driver, a lovely guy from Manchester. We talked about everything--amazing the ground we covered in that short drive--all that had happened in the last few weeks, then the unimaginable shooting.  When we reached Heathrow, this man, whose name I never learned, said that the only thing he was certain of is that we all must try harder to love one another, every day, and to find the good in everyone. He gave me a big hug and wished me well, and I was moved to tears.

So on that long flight I thought a lot about all the good things in my life. Wonderful family. Precious grandbaby. Loving friends, kind neighbors, and the basic goodness of ninety-nine percent of the people we deal with every day. We do nothing for the world if we let ourselves drown in anxiety and despair. So I'm working on focusing on the big things and the small things that are right with the world, and doing many of the things you all have suggested. And I'm very glad to be a part of this community.


HALLIE: This week I'm donating to United for Puerto Rico and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. And Go Fund Me

What are your thoughts? How else to make a difference?

70 comments:

  1. Between Mother Nature and the mayhem of people, the divisiveness and the disasters feel positively overwhelming.
    I don’t know that anything I do will make a difference, but I give to organizations that will help the storm-ravaged people; I focus my efforts on helping neighbors in need. I doubt that it’s enough, but it’s important to me to do whatever I can to help.
    Wonderful people surround me: family, grandchildren, neighbors, friends . . . there is much in the world that is good and right and beautiful. There is much that must be celebrated.
    I don’t know how to “fix” everything; I only know that I need to do what is right and be the best person I can be . . . .

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    1. That seems like a sturdy response to me.

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  2. When I am overwhelmed by the world, I turn off the news and focus on being here, now. Right here, right now, there are plenty of me-sized things I can do to make the world a better place, even though I can feel completely overwhelmed by the world-sized problems of war and violence and idiocy that I can't do anything about. So I rescue dogs and mentor students and sit around a table at a restaurant with my colleagues to plan more ways we can, as the mission statement says, "Bring joy to people through band music." Sometimes the results can be pretty awesome, even if they don't end hunger or bring world peace.

    Hugs to you and your family, Julia. It's a horrible, awful time, and there's no way through it but through it. Just remember, we all love you, and are here to help any way we can as you go, tiny step by tiny step, forward into what comes next. It may not feel okay for a long time, but it will feel better eventually.

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    1. Thanks, Gigi. I was reminiscing with my daughters about an old favorite children's book. Does anyone else recall "We're Going on a Bear Hunt"? The family involved keeps running into obstacles: mud, a river, a dark, scary forest. And at each refrain, "We can't go over it. We can't go under it. Oh no! We've got to go through it!"

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    2. I remember that book, Julia. As a kid, I didn't appreciate the layers as an adult well, I finally get that yes, we've got to go through it. I have thought of you and Ross so often these past few months. I hope we can help you get through it. Hugs.

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    3. One of the Bernstein Bears series I think. I remember those too my boys loved them and in fact they are still all downstairs waiting for the next generation to love and enjoy them.

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  3. Thank you all for those beautiful statements of love and grief and finding beauty and solace where we can. Your words about the Hooligans and the kitten brought tears, Jenn.

    Some of you know my younger son (age 28) took the worst possible time to visit his former place of employment in the mountains of western Puerto Rico - just before Irma, and he didn't get out in time before Maria. The educational farm where he worked was mostly undamaged except for losing their new greenhouse, but the surrounding community - already impoverished and living on the edge - was hard hit.

    I was worried literally sick before I got word indirectly last week that JD and his friends were unharmed - but yesterday he managed to call! What a blessing. Anyway, donating to the farm, Plenitud PR, a 501 (C)(3), is a great way to get money directly to a community service organization. (http://plenitudpreng.weebly.com/giving.html)

    The mom of another coworker down there and I are also planning a fundraiser at a brewery in Kittery, Maine, on Nov 3 - y'all should come! These concrete actions at least make me feel useful in this time of chaos and sorrow.

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    1. Edith, I'd been following you on Facebook and so relieved to hear your son is fine. The farm sounds like a great way to donate to go directly to helping the community.

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    2. Thanks, Hallie. Hearing his voice yesterday was such a relief.

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    3. Watching them has made me water up a few times, too, Edith. "Look for the helpers" isn't that what Mr. Rogers said? Kind of amazing when the helpers are your own sons.

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    4. Jenn, I've loved hearing about your boys and the kittens. And Edith, so glad your son is okay!!!

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  4. I believe in the essential goodness of us. Not all of us, but the vast majority of us. Sooner or later this madness will pass, perhaps supplanted by another (possibly lesser) madness. I have great faith in what Julian of Norwich once said, "All shall be well again." also, a sense of humor, heavily laden with snark, helps.

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    1. Thank you Jerry--All shall be well again. I will remember that.

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    2. Jerry, I love that saying, and repeat it often.

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    3. I like that, Jerry. My mantra tends to be - "This, too, shall pass."

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  5. A few things: I don't watch TV news. Period. Ever. I listen to the radio only and turn that off when the world feels overwhelming. I listen to music. I read a book. I pull in my net and focus on my immediate community. And I turn to thought leaders I respect and admire to read their analysis of the news.
    And, this week, I'm doing a lot of "this time next week I'll be at Bouchercon!" Reminding myself that in a tiny corner of the world people who write good stories will connect with readers who love those stories. And love the authors who write them.
    And, yes, I donate to charities, too.

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    1. I don't ever watch TV news, either Amanda. See you next week!

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  6. I love love love "Me-sized things." That's what I do -- take care of the grandgirls, tutor, teach Sunday school -- avoid the news. I have a small job from my Cape Cod parish -- "sunshine notes." On the one hand, I hear the bad news, but on the other hand I have a concrete action to take.
    Individual loss stops the clocks -- yesterday I watched a live-streaming funeral for a friend who died in Tennessee. When the news is full of large-scale loss, it is good to focus on one special person and the love she brought to the world.

    This weekend my family is gathering --- the four daughters, three sons-in-law, and six grandchildren. We will take pictures and eat and go to a pumpkin patch. We will talk about our anger and our frustration with some "current events." We will be together.

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    1. Thanks, Denise Ann! Sometimes I am surprised by how large an impact me-sized things can have on my immediate world. Enjoy your work and your family. My condolences for the loss of your friend.

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    2. So sorry for your loss, Denise. Enjoy your family!

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  7. I have seen, in my work, a great deal of bashing of 'neoliberal NGOs' lately--and I want to shake those authors and say to them: "Are YOU on the front lines helping cholera victims in Yemen? Are you helping to get food to starving masses in the South Sudan? Are you in the camps, trying to provide water and food and basic sanitation to fleeing Rohingya?? I can't be there either--and I can't give much--but I give what I can to the people who CAN be there.

    There was a time in my life when I felt I was standing in the bottom of a deep well, in water and muck and exposed to the elements night and day. But far above me there was a glimmer of light, and I held two struggling little birds in my hands--and they fought me and pecked at me--but I needed to keep them warm and alive until they could be strong enough to fly away--and there was never a moment when I could lie down or rest or give up. If I let it, the world could feel that way again, now. There is often joy to be found in the smallest moments--I treasure those--share those--and I get through to the next moment. Last night, for example, I belly-laughed my way through a Rick Bragg 'letter to the Grumpy Gardener' in Southern Living magazine. Highly recommend laughter! And friends and loved ones....

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    1. Flora - your description of being at the bottom of the well with the tiny birds in hand struck a chord - beautifully written. Glad you made it out!

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  8. My husband and I watched La La Land this week and it was a balm... if you haven't seen it, have a watch esp when you're at Wit's End.

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    2. All I could think of during that first scene was this was the biggest Sig-alert of all time.

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  9. This was a wonderful post, and the comments so far have been so uplifting! My son, who turns 24 next month, called me last weekend feeling very overwhelmed by the state of the world he is inheriting as a young adult. My advice to him was to find someplace he can do something --however small -- to feel less powerless, more like he is actually making a difference. Now, I think I'm going to refer him to Gigi's post above.

    Gigi, you really nailed it. I feel like your little kernel of insight, well stated as it is, could help a lot of people. You might want to think about expanding that into a blog post or an opinion piece.

    Thank you, Reds, for your insights and uplift. Reading this blog every day is definitely one of the little things I do to preserve my sanity and lift my spirits!

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    1. Thank you, Susan. I just try to do the best I can with what I've got. Best wishes to you and your son. I have faith he'll find a way--as Flora did, above--to pull himself out of the hole by helping others, and finding a laugh with friends along the way.

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  10. Step 1: Turn off the news. I haven't watched TV news in forever. Not that I'm turning off the world, but there are places to get facts without all the depressing negativity.

    Then I bury myself in pictures of beauty, of little "feel good" stories like Jenn's kitten. Simple things like a beautiful sunset. Because there really are more of those things than the big depressing things.

    I can't "do" much, but I do give to Catholic Charities regularly and I can give away a smile to everyone I meet. Smiles are free.

    Mary/Liz

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  11. Hallie, that Kingston Trio song has been going thru my head since November. Plus everything Tom Leher ever wrote. I initiated a news blackout on Nov 9, and except for the odd hurricane and mass shooting, criminal annihilation of refugees, and the Super Bowl, our TV stays tuned to Acorn and Britbox. Call me an ostrich.

    However, our next door neighbor's daughter, Maggie Kiley, directed the 3rd episode of Cult, this season's American Horror Story, so yesterday I knew I had to catch up with the series. I made it thru E1 and E2, saving Maggie for today. What is striking about it is the theme. It is about a woman, a mother, who is completely devastated over the last election, who is terrified of the evil let lose in the world, and who is having enormous soul-crushing guilt over having voted for Jill Stein instead of Hilary. If you can stand it, have a look at E1 or at least the first few minutes.

    I'm off to PT but I will be back to give you my thoughts on all the questions and emotions today's topic is stirring in me.

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    1. Really? American Horror Story... will (try to) watch...

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    2. If you can, just the first five minutes, unless you are a fan

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    3. Whoa. Okay, maybe.

      And I've been singing Tom Lehrer, too. Got to try to laugh. "More room for you and more room for me.South America STOLE our name..."

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    4. Ann, I tried to watch Cult, but it was the brainwashing of the boy that I couldn't take.

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  12. Growing up Catholic meant having religion class every day of my school life for 12 years. Something that has stuck with me all the ensuing years was a long section of one of those classes on sainthood. If you are not Catholic you are probably only dimly aware of why anyone has been canonized, or what the process entails, but it's a long, exhausting one. Testimony and/or documentation about miraculous acts performed is a big part of that process. Mother Teresa's sainthood took far less time because her life and actions were so well documented that the Church waived the usual five year waiting period before beginning the process. (There were 35,000 pages of documents of miracles attributed to her intercession.)

    If there is a body it is often exhumed to see if (there's no other way to say this) putrefaction has occurred, as in the normal way of death. Sometimes, in the way of Catherine of Siena, the flesh does not rot, which is why her "incorrupt" (not rotted) head is still on display in Siena, and one of the many, many reasons she was canonized, and is the patron saint of Italy.

    But some potential saints, when their bodies were exhumed, turned out to have been buried alive. This is evident because of their posture in the grave. If there is evidence that that person tried in vain to claw their way out, they are disqualified for sainthood, because they showed despair.

    The sin of despair is a big one in the Catholic religion (Rhys, you might check my theology on this one; I'm rusty!). Not that I'm ever going to come up before a review board on canonization, but I try to keep in mind that there is always an answer. Despair is a deadend, and it doesn't do anyone any good to have a fatalistic attitude.

    And besides, it's a mortal sin. It's the only sin that cannot be forgiven by confession, by the way, because the conviction that one is damned absolutely, thus a repudiation of the Christian Savior and a challenge to God's infinite capacity for forgiveness.

    So, thanks to all this dogma drilled into me for most of my early life, I refuse to despair, even today, in the face of these overwhelming horrors. Spending a part of my day here, for instance, with intelligent and caring and funny people, is a salve for my wounded soul, and I so appreciate all of you.

    Thanks for helping my struggle with despair, and I hope I'm helping all of you, as well.

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    2. You are correct, Karen. Despair is defined in the Catechism as "ceasing to hope for personal salvation" - the feeling of "God will never forgive me." The Catholic Church considers it sinful because it denies the all-powerful love and mercy of God.

      You are right - despair is a dead end street. I'm glad to be part of a community like this, too.

      Mary/Liz (whose husband is a certified catechist)

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    3. I'm not Catholic. Or really anything. And yet I can relate to this because if you take God out of the equation it still makes sense.

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    4. Karen, I find it hard to see despair as a sin. Those in deep depression need most to be pitied. I suppose this dogma is why suicides were not buried in hallowed ground. It all comes down to love. If we love other people then in the end everything must be all right!

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    5. Love. Yes! Thank you, Rhys. I think it's always the answer.

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  13. For years Jungle Red was the first site I visited each day and then I would go on to view the news sites and read about what was going on in the world. Lately I have switched the order of my reading - I look at the news first, briefly, and then come here, to JR. I find my spirits are lifted and I face each day armed with your common sense, words of compassion, maybe a great new recipe to try or book to read, and the feeling of community and resolve needed to be proactive in these times. Thank you all!

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    1. It's the whole crew - us as well as YOU--that makes it so.

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  14. I think we are all feeling that "the clocks have gone back." I know I do. Growing up in the fifties and sixties we took for granted that sense of "America going forward." We were just going to get better and better. This has always been a part of the American character, both a component of its charm and its Achilles Heel, I think. And now to have lost that sense of optimism hurts, deeply. But I wonder if it might help to put ourselves in an historical perspective. All human steps forward have been followed by a few steps back, and I refuse to let my faith in people be destroyed by the actions of a few bad apples. There are countless acts of heroism and kindness, big and small, happening around us every day.

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    1. Periodically it hits me that a year ago, the election still hadn't happened.
      A year ago, we lived in a completely different world that we took for granted would remain stable.
      As a writer, i force myself to grapple with my present sense of unreality. Because the people i write about in past eras and past crises must have felt a similar sense of shock at inexplicable change. Hindsight dulls our awareness of that.

      I keep reading political and security experts who know their worlds. They haven't disappeared in this know-nothimg environment. They will be back and the clocks will run forward again.

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  15. Oh, and I don't watch television news, either. At least not at home, although I did in the UK, but it was the BBC, which still retains a modicum of sanity!!!

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  16. I often think I have something to contribute, but today I've got nothing. I'm just sitting here soaking up hope from everyone's posts. Thank you all.

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    1. I think your presence is a contribution, Jim. I think touching base with friends and colleagues every day, even when you have nothing to say, is an act of hope!

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  17. Thinking of the Auden poem after 9/11 happened. Thinking about how people in England endured the Battle of Britain. I try to focus on the goodness in people. I refuse to travel to places that allow guns, for example. I made a conscious decision to protect myself. When there are food bank bins at my local public library and community center, I buy a bag of food to donate and bring it to the food bank bin. I do what I can. There was a quote I saw on Instagram about being gentle and kind. I think it was a quote by Gandhi.

    My godmother survived the Holocaust. She and her parents were on their way to the gas chambers on the same day their concentration camp was liberated by the Allies. They emigrated to the USA. My godmother died when I was a baby. She had this philosophy. Living well is the best revenge. She refused to let anything get her down. She enjoyed life to the fullest. Before Gloria Steinem and the women's movement, she learned how to fix cars. If she had a flat tire, she could change the tires on her car without help. She married and adopted a child. She could not have children because of the damage to her health from her time in the concentration camps.

    I read the comics before I read the news. I try to start the day with happy thoughts. I focus on photos of cute animals. I spend time with family and friends.

    I appreciate everyone's comments.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, laughed when I saw your comment on how you read the paper. For me it's #1 bridge column #2 horoscope #2 comics #4 Ask Amy...

      Your godmother's philosophy sounds like a good one to emulate.

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    2. Thank you. I often read the Carolyn Hax column. My grandmother used to play bridge. She died before I had a chance to learn how to play bridge. I'm the youngest grandchild. Once in a while I do read my horoscope.

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  18. Where we put our focus gets stronger in our life.
    The more we allow ourselves to sink in the muck of the things that are happening, the more of that sort of thing we will see.
    I do not mean to pretend everything is peachy keen.
    Anything that you can help, do so.
    Anything you cannot help or change, acknowledge it, wish it well, and move on. (As best you can)
    Libby Dodd

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  19. Responding to hate with hatred or anger just adds to the hate in the world. Respond with love. It is the most active thing that you can do. Imagine, if need be, that what you are seeing is an illness. An illness of hate. Would you send hate and abuse toward someone who is ill? Send them waves of love and healing. That energy is extremely powerful. There is a study, that I can't find now of course, that one person's energy can affect 15,000 people. Have you ever felt that? That if people concentrate on sending positive vibes it can raise the temperature in a room? Send white lights of love and healing.

    Also as mentioned, help also by turning your attention to the good -- what you look at or think becomes reality. When tragedy happens, find the positive stories. I have found a lot of them with the Las Vegas tragedy and I've posted them on my FB page.

    And lastly, my friend Danielle Egnew has a wonderful blog post to help out: https://calltolight.org/2017/10/02/three-steps-to-heal-las-vegas-and-the-world/

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  20. I'm listening to one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. No matter your faith or spiritual bent or religion or philosophy, I give this to you today, hoping it will give comfort.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnilUPXmipM

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    1. I don't watch the news, but today I saw a bit while I was on the stationary bike, P.T. It gave me hope that all the therapists were as appalled as I was at the latest (insert expletive here) coming out of the (inset stronger expletive here) mouth of (insert expletive here.)

      I came home to find my Puerto Rican housekeeper tell me she'd just been diagnosed with not one but two aneurysms on her brain, more to follow on this one.

      And then I turned on Classical 91.5 and the Faure Requiem came forth. Like Karen, I am Catholic. Like Deb, I love choral music. Like Hallie, I often need to take God out of the equation. Like Julia, I understand unspeakable loss. Like everyone here today, I am angry about something or other for months now.

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  21. What loving affirmations of the best of humanity in today's posts! Thank you for hope!

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  22. It's a beautiful day at JRW and we sure are grateful for all of you!

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  23. I'm another one who doesn't watch the news much anymore. I get plenty of it without even trying. I have watched the reports about the Las Vegas shooting, but what I was looking for was those people that Fred Rogers' mother told him to look for whenever anything bad happened, the helpers, the ones who defied disaster and helped to save lives and give comfort.

    I don't think it's at all disrespectful or uncaring to find joy in these times of tragedy in the world. It keeps me sane to have dinner or do things with friends, to go to activities that my granddaughters participate in, and to read good books and do my reading blog. We cannot let the evil in the world destroy all joy. That would be giving up, and I won't do that.


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  24. And, I should have added that one of my daily pleasures is coming to Jungle Reds every day, with few exceptions, and spending time with all of you wonderful authors and readers.

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  25. Julia, so happy to see you back on JR. Profoundly sorry for your loss. We have had two deaths in the family in the last 3 years. Both elderly, so not quite the same as yours, but still hard. I did a lot of research on grief, and read that it takes a year to begin to recover. I believe it. My beloved was not himself for a year after his mother died - now the person I love is gradually returning. Give yourself time, and try not to make any huge changes in the first year since your judgment may be impaired.

    As to the topic today - the only comfort I can find is to tell myself "It's always darkest before the dawn". I hope young people will start voting in huge numbers, and I hope all the people who voted for the extremists in Congress will wake up and realize those Congressmen are trying to destroy Medicare and vote them out.

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  26. I don’t have a lot of time today for a response but wanted you all to know that I experience JRW as a place where my faith in humanity is often restored.

    Edith, I’m so glad your son is safe! A close friend at church has relatives in Puerto Rico; when I asked how they are, he said they’re all fine. They live in the city and are grateful that all they’ve had to deal with is loss of electricity. Their friends who live elsewhere are having a hard time.

    Last week I made the decision not to read/listen to the news indefinitely, as it was just upsetting me, and keeping me from getting to bed on time. (I don’t have TV but check out the news on my cell phone and on the radio.) The next day Las Vegas happened, which I found out from people at work. (I’m assuming that if anything horrible happens, someone will tell me about it.)

    Every day I give thanks for my blessings, from the things I might otherwise be tempted to take for granted, to the bigger things. A couple of weeks ago I had carpal tunnel surgery, and a busy retired friend took time out from her schedule to take me to and from the surgery (in another town), and to stay with me the first night. Just one of the many heroes in my life.

    As for donations, I’ve decided to add the local non-profit mental health center to the organizations that I contribute to, in the hopes that they can reach as many suffering people as possible, to keep them from despair.



    DebRo



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  27. I wish I could still hide under my bed until it all goes away.

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  28. Well said by all, and thank you.It's been a tough couple of months for me (health issues) which in some ways shuts down the outside noise.I have to focus for now on what is right in front of me. But also, I sign the petitions. Send the contributions. Know it's not enough but know it's not nothing, either. And personal sanity? Kids and grandkids. Try to write. Read entertaining books.Watch silly tv. Cook. Cherish my husband, friends, siblings. We all do need to focus on what nourishes us.

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  29. Thank you for this ..... I live in Australia and watch with despair the events around the world, it seems we are living a charmed life here. I saw the shots of P. Trump throwing kitchen towels to the people who were looking to him for help and immediately donated to the best charity I could find that will help these people. The saddest thing to me is that my father is 97, he fought against these people...gave up his youth to do so....I can't imagine what he is thinking and I don't ask...what would I say.... sorry we've forgotten already!

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    1. It's a good thing Australia is 15+ hours away... or you'd be experiencing a HUGE influx of Americans in despair and fleeing the insanity.Thank you for posting.

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    2. Ha ha yes we are a bit far away but you are all welcome anytime. I can't pretend that we don't have our problems but nothing that equates with Donald Trump, firearms, Brexit etc etc.

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  30. I don't let the news get me down, never have; only the stuff that personally affects me (bus fare increase or reduction in library services/hours). We need a new furnace. The old one was shut off because of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. I started a Go Fund Me account for a new furnace but no one's contributed! Maybe you can spread the word:
    https://www.facebook.com/michelle.fidler.3/posts/1698564823518469?pnref=story
    My dad's 91 years old and we can't afford a furnace. Earlier this year it got really cold in the house, down to about 50. We had to use space heaters.

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