Category Archives: Family

Bridge to understanding

Reaching Our Potential of Compassion

I may be one of those people, when you see one of my posts on serious topics, you quickly ignore, or wish, I should keep my opinions to myself. That’s understandable and perhaps I am cringe worthy at times. I hope this isn’t one of those times.

Recent private conversations with other people, cause me to suggest this is still a topic requiring open discussion or at the very least, thoughtful reflection.

Humans are complicated in many ways, but there are some basic requirements which all need in order to stay healthy. I’m primarily referring to emotional and mental health. I’m not a licensed professional or a person with advanced degrees in human psychology. I’m just someone who cares about other people, even those who live different than myself.

Each of us has a basic need to be cared for and loved. Try as you might, no one stays totally emotionally healthy without social contact and some form of reassuring interaction. Some people substitute animals for this support, but there’s still more to be found with other people. That’s also a challenge, because associations with some people are toxic.

As we go through a process of physical maturity, and our minds and bodies react to hormones as well as our thoughts, some things become automatic. One of these are sexual attractions. Out of this physical attraction, human bonds are formed, but here’s where it’s not necessarily going to be predictable, or set in a pattern which many of us think is the only way it should be.

I’ve learned through observation, not always my own experience, but through the lives of others, an empathy for people who think and act different from myself. In the case of physical attraction, I fall into the socially predominant, opposite sex attraction. It started without me thinking, analyzing, or consciously deciding that I liked the physical appearance and voices of women over men. Without going into detail, those are early awkward years for most of us.

Here’s where it gets difficult to understand for those who only have opposite sexual attraction. It’s challenging to recall or realize our gender attractions were not something we woke up with and deliberately decided on. When you meet someone, or know a family member, who has same sex attractions, think about your own experience, because this isn’t really something we choose. It’s not like going to buy a new vehicle and say, I can only drive a red car.

Here’s where it gets tougher for many of us, because we start down a path which says, you can only think like me, or you’re abnormal, freakish, or defective.

If you’re religious, you may think the person is sinful. This becomes a huge problem for many families that want to impose their life patterns on everyone within their care. Yes, I’ve heard the expression, “you can love the sinner, but not the sin”. When it’s part of our sexuality, that’s when “world’s collide”. If it becomes your mission to change someone who’s homosexual to heterosexual, you’re missing an entire fundamental of human need vs. Human decision.

You or I didn’t flip a switch and say, today I’m going to become heterosexual. Neither does someone with same sex attraction. It’s not something you can change like clothing, houses, or the brain, through prayer, scolding, chastising, shaming, or some other form of guilt burden. We don’t choose who or why or how sexuality works. It’s independent from these kinds of machinations.

What can you do if a family member is gay? Well, for starters you can show you love them, don’t try to manipulate by burdening them with guilt, lecturing, or taking them to counselors until you think you’ve found the right one for the job. Learn to understand your own reasons for doing what you do, but look around and see, your way of thinking isn’t a “one size fits all.”

Let children learn and grow, but don’t find reasons to label them as abnormal. They’re having a tough enough time at school or work. Society is an emotional roller coaster, especially for teenagers. There are enough mine fields in their world to navigate. It’s not useful or helpful to push your own values on anyone, most especially the ones we love. They need our love, not our condemnation.

I know this is a bit long, but I hope it helps someone, somewhere.

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Now what?

Caught Up With Our Self Importance

Everywhere we look, we can see examples of how we are caught up in our own self-importance. It’s difficult for us to see it in ourselves, but we notice it readily with others.

Driving our cars, we can see examples routinely of people cutting in and out of lanes, crossing the road or turning in front of us, even though there are huge gaps, or no one at all behind us. Public conversation can suddenly be interrupted by another person who walks up and wasn’t part of the discussion. We just can’t seem to help ourselves.

There are international demonstrations of this going on right now. The leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong-Un is a prime example of someone who believes his word is supreme. It’s one of many of those who rise to power, who think they’re someone very special.

A recent brief confrontation between an American reporter and a Russian Minister, makes this point when he asks, who taught you manners? She just couldn’t help herself. She thought her interruption was important.

Andrea Mitchell isn’t unique in shouting questions at someone in public. Watch talk shows when they have a guest they either don’t agree with or want to show their disdain for them in public. They haven’t the courtesy to allow the person to finish their answer before they talk over them with another question. It’s as if they’re pelting them with words, since it’s socially unacceptable to throw rocks at their guest.

All of this brings me around to an immense collective of people caught up with their importance, as this is Easter weekend. To many Christians, this is the premier weekend, because it’s a celebration of a person claiming to be a deity, that through martyrdom and the public acceptance of being brought back to life, is going to resurrect any who believe this story. They will go to heaven and live with this deity, forever.

Wait a minute, I’ve gone too far, I’m way out of line for suggesting this is another in a long history of people thinking they are really special and very important. How does this story tie in with our inflated ego?

First, we believe in our significance among the vast universe of billions of stars, in countless galaxies. Many of us think an eternal being, a deity, constantly watches each of us and sacrifices their number one son just to “redeem” us, if only we will believe this story to be true. Our distorted self-centered nature causes us to think we are so very important, that we must be permitted to carry on — forever.

For many, the thought that we don’t go on forever, united with friends and family, is too unnerving, It places us in a vacuum of, now what must I do? If there isn’t an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, intergalactic wizard that restores us back to life, then we’re time limited, hopelessly lost to our own actions, our foolish blunders, even the planet we live and spin on, is our responsibility.

How do you determine if you are being duped?

The list is endless of those who can improve or advance us. They convince us to believe they can help us find hidden or ultimate truths. Many are message experts who build their case against some personal defect(s), identifiable yet unseen power(s) or negative world condition. They tell you they have the answers to these and other unanswered questions, in which you desire to have greater knowledge, or they have answers to the great problems in our lives.

They follow a pattern like confidence artists. They have a rehearsed formula to gain your trust, your time, and your money.

  1. Associate
  2. Indoctrinate
  3. Obey
  4. Stay
  5. Pay
  6. Pray
  7. Convert
  8. Rinse – lather – repeat

As we continue to look for hope in a grand scheme which ties all of our mysterious origins and destinies together, we hang in, even if we have doubts. If you decide to leave, they have ways to make you feel guilty or declare some method of punishment to haunt your thoughts of having a safe future. The stories found in religious text bring people together, with the overarching thought, we’re here because of a deity. Our lives are controlled by the whim of this deity. We must obey all that this deity demands or we will suffer after we die, forever.

Now that’s the ultimate penal sentence. If you refuse to follow, choose to independently think, act, and realize you’re nothing more than a tiny life form on a very small planet. When you recognize you’re responsible for your own actions, AND there’s no wizard that will save you from ignorance, bad decisions, or even halitosis.  Then we begin to realize what surely will come to us all is death?

No, that’s too much to take in. Give me back my security blanket.

The Christian knows what will happen to you if you don’t believe in these stories. You will suffer in hell, while they sing and dance and look down on you. All because you dared question the idea of an ultimate spiritual dictator.

Suddenly, Kim Jong-Un, almost seems kind. He can only sentence you for 50 to 90 years of hell, or thereabouts.

The more ambitious use a variety of ideas which ultimately prey upon our own narcissism. They teach us to adopt behaviors and vocabulary which separate the insiders from the outsiders, making us feel superior to those who aren’t knowledgeable or part of the same group. Many flaunt this relationship of exclusivity, just as clever advertisers do with selling luxury cars, perfumes, or clothing.

Examples Using Group Exclusivity

Christianity, Islam, Scientism, Atheism, Polymorphs, Religious Science/Mind Science, “Laws of prosperity”, creating one’s own reality, technologists, reincarnation, meditation, faith/ confession, occultism, pantheism, chanting, mantras, universal force, energy/mind power, gangs, etc.

A Force For Good?

The short answer is yes. Clearly there are many who have joined a group of like-minded people who gain trust, hope and a greater belief in their own self-worth. If it enhances your ability to see the value in others, the consequences of your own actions, observe your own deceptions to self and others, and the need to be independently productive and creative, then those are worthwhile attributes.


Veterans Health Care – My Experience

If you’re a U.S. military veteran. or a family member of a veteran, then this blog post is for you. Those whom are also interested in government managed health care, and haven’t first hand knowledge, this may help you.

Most of what I’m going to discuss is only one man’s opinion, but in a sea of opinions, I’m going to do my best to accurately inform anyone still reading past the opening paragraphs.

CH-46s on runway destined for Viet Nam

CH-46s on runway Kaneohe Hawaii, destined for Vietnam

I’m a Vietnam era veteran. That means something specific, and to anyone that has also served during a time of war, but wasn’t a directly involved participant, meaning they weren’t in the designated country, served in a non-combat role, their benefits may differ from those serving during peace time operations.

The VA has different designated levels of assistance, depending on the time someone has served. They provide service for all in some capacity, but you may need to pay more for services rendered, depending on your current income, and when you served. Those details are available online, and if you aren’t aware of them, please follow this link.

VA heath care and the Affordable Care Act.

If you read the information, don’t fully understand it, and need more help, you can drop a response at the bottom of this post, along with your real name and how to contact you. Nothing you send will be automatically posted. I have to review comments before yours goes public. If you send personal information, I’ll not publish it. Of course I’m hoping I won’t be deluged with questions or some scammer trying to take advantage of my willingness to help explain what the VA can provide. I may just post a link, if I see the answer already available for your specific question.

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Me standing outside of a TAC – 1975

I want to encourage any veteran or family member that hasn’t been involved with VA health care to not defer or postpone the services which you’ve earned. Of course, if you’re enlistment or your appointment with the military wasn’t based on what you might later receive, it’s natural to ignore your benefits.

I enrolled about 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve been in for two annual physicals, and an eye examination and a new prescription with glasses.

I went into the Atlanta VA hospital yesterday on a scheduled surgery. It was a same day, recovery at home afterwards type of care. I went in at 9am and was out by 5pm. 0900 & 1700, military time.

I can tell you my experience was as positive as I’ve had. As it has not been my first or second hospital rodeo. I think my national and international health care provided experience gives me a basis from which I can make comparisons.

I’m at home recovering today. The surgery appears to be completed without complications. I’ve had two calls from the VA. The last one was from one of the doctors who assisted in the surgery. She left her pager number on the discharge sheet in case I have a problem.

All of that without copay or out of pocket expenses. That of course is based on my time, duration of service and current level of income. If you’re a veteran or a close family member, I urge you to become acquainted with the VA. Be sure you’re not missing out on health care services. If you’ve read or heard horror stories, which I’m not going to suggest aren’t based on fact, my experience doesn’t align with those concerns. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.

Find a VA location near you.