Friday, December 4, 2009
The Season: Time for Love
We are entering that time of year when some of us have a little more room in our hearts and perhaps a little more gratitude for the small things. Daughter Linea, she of the bipolar gremlins, is wrestling with a push-back from this challenge in her life. She is fighting hard against all the symptoms insidiously trying to sneak back into her life while finishing winter quarter of her last year in college. She is working on writing a "senior synthesis", a paper that breaks her heart while she looks back over her last years of college. She is studying for finals, completing all the paperwork for graduation, etc. etc. I drove her to the medical center for a blood draw today so that she didn't have to hassle with either the bus or parking as the area around the center is under massive construction. She was exhausted after a night of terrorizing nightmares and certainly not thrilled about the blood tests that go along with the medications she takes. I drove her back to her apartment and headed to campus for my own set of responsibilities while feeling worried about her and wanting to use my magic mother skills and make everything okay. As I drove her home she pointed out the bundled, bag-laden, elderly homeless guy on the street, a regular in her neighborhood. As I dropped her off I again offered to take her out for coffee or breakfast but she planned to have a bowl of cereal and get ready for her day. But she had no milk. She walked down to her local in-and-out to buy some milk and there was her homeless neighborhood man digging through his pack, trying to find a few pennies. She bought her milk...and some protein bars and water for the old man living on the streets, telling him to save his coins. A large percent of our community members who are homeless are mentally ill. We know how lucky we are to have the resources for health care and that we are able to treat Linea's health condition. Linea was hospitalized with many, many people that were released from the hospital to the streets. She was often overwhelmed by the inequity in care and support as she faced this up close and personal. Today she reminded me that even in our own lives, touched with worry and illness, there are those who manage with much, much less. In this season let's give to someone on the street, someone perhaps living with untreated mental illness. Something as simple as a power bar and a bottle of water, perhaps a hot meal,or time spent volunteering for an afternoon in a shelter. My daughter has taught me not to turn away, not to ignore a person living on the streets. I look, I speak, and acknowledge although I have to admit that it has been easier in the past to ignore a fellow human being as I rushed through my life. It is the season to notice, to give, to love.