Monday, July 27, 2015

The Hands of Prayer

If heartache wrote the story, then surely I've seen my share, but I am an eternal optimist and still believe in prayer.  It does not mean my faith is intact, only that I still believe, that when my book is complete, God will have a better place for me.

I have no complaints in the life I've had thus far, as I am doing much better than many that I know.  I never took the vow of poverty and charity, but it seems my path was semi-predestined, as troubles have come my way.  As an Irish Colleen, I must keep my sense of humor and laugh beneath my breath that success will probably come posthumously, if ever at all.

At least, I enjoy the process of writing and have enjoyed some journalistic accomplishments.  The biggest joy; however, besides having two kids who have showered me with my grey locks, is knowing that I have been able to help a few people and teach them the skills they seek.  Some cannot read or do simple math, while others lack confidence, and I am able to listen.

I may not don the habit, but I do try to be charitable.  My personal life strays from the Catholic Church, but I am happy in the sense that I am now a free thinker.

For those mothers, who are struggling with their children, in whatever capacity, it is with you that I most identify.  My son and daughter as well as myself have had to come to terms with mental illness. Sadly, now despite my best efforts to protect my son, he languishes in a prison cell because the system is so out of touch with needs of our young people.

Last year at this time, it was in the State of Washington, that my daughter walked aimlessly amidst the streets, lost in a state, she did not know.  For three days she was missing.  She was released from a hospital without a proper plan.  She was homeless 3000 miles away from me.  I did what all mothers do, if they have been raised with faith, I prayed.  Now my son is in Washington State 3000 miles away from me, and I can do nothing more, than what I have done, which is to trust the public defender to provide my son the best counsel, knowing that I have given him every bit of detail that I can.  I knew my son needed help and for three days I reached out along with family members by contacting Providence Hospital in Everett, Washington and law enforcement to try and get him help. I knew he had stopped taking his medication, but know one in authority was interested until there was a crisis.  Please join me in advocating on stopping the insanity.

I implore all of you who are mothers or fathers or those who don the judicial robe, legislators and care takers, please aid me in advocating for change in the system at both the Federal and State levels, so our children as they enter adulthood have the proper treatment and skills necessary to forge a better life for themselves.

I know my children.  My daughter, at age 16, was a Student Ambassador and traveled to France, Spain and Italy.  President Dwight Eisenhower recognized the impact war had on our people and began the People to People Student Ambassador Program to help bridge new alliances and cultural understanding. My daughter was also a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Jr. Girls.  She is highly intelligent and feisty.  Now at age 26, she is developing her sense of purpose and thinking about going back to college.  I know she can be successful, provided the proper support.

My son was in college and was working full-time as a manager when this latest incident occurred. Like many young people he has struggled with things that have complicated the matter.  As a student, he was doing well, but when you have a chemical imbalance, some things need to be left alone.  He is a young man, who contemplated joining the Navy, but the same day he was to sign the paperwork in Michigan, he lashed out and was placed in jail.  In one of our latest conversation, when he had been attending school, he talked about how upsetting it was to watch the world chaos and listen to his professor in a World History speak.  He pulled out of school that semester because the class was too much for him.  He went back just prior to this latest incident took an English class where he studied Anime and Japanese culture along with math.  He was pleased with his English grade, but disappointed in his math grade because he had to work the day before the final.

The school is working with my son and is aware of the situation.  I can only pray, he is granted the opportunity to finish, as he indicated he wants to be a teacher.  I know he will be an excellent teacher and mentor.  He is social and well liked.  He is 22 now and struggled to earn his high school diploma, but he did it.  He is intelligent, but has dyslexia.  Help me raise awareness on a national and international level concerning mental illness.  If properly treated and monitored, anyone can enjoy success in life, as long as medications are adhered to.

Our children are the future of our nations, and we must bequeath them a better life than the international crisis in the world we have today.  We must believe in our children to have the backbone to be the men and women who will lead our countries to Peace.

War is temporal in time and place, and yet, its destruction leaves minds and hearts forever changed. Our Veterans lay in all continents with dreams unfilled. May peace be upon you, السلام عليكم.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Soul Mountain By Gao Xingjian Translated By Mabel Lee

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to read the book Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian translated by Mabel Lee.  Later in the year, I had the opportunity to view a late night interview with Mabel Lee, which truly made me embrace her as a translator and individual.  Lee had me laughing along with her in the interview as she inadvertently fell in and out of Chinese to English and visa versa.  She laughed each time she did this, which endeared me to her. She became a real personable individual that I felt was sitting right across the table discussing Gao Xingjian's book Soul Mountain with me.  I don't understand why some of the best interviews happen so late at night?

Soul Mountain was an excellent read written by Xingjian, who ultimately won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  What I initially found most difficult to understand was the use of "I" as the pronoun was declarative in identifying with the people his character happened to be associating with at the time. Somewhat like Charles Dickens had done in his use of the name "Jack," in identifying with the movement in, A Tale of Two Cities.

It is critical to have an open mind when reading Soul Mountain as it is one man's journey and yet, the journey of so many more individuals.  The book in its translation by Lee offers and understanding of the Chinese culture and the various dynasties of the time.  Sadly, most Chinese may never have the opportunity to appreciate Gao Xingjian as he wrote a work, which reflected on Tienanmen Square Massacre.  Hence, Gao's work is banned.

Soul Mountain will challenge ones' understanding of morals, values, ethics, and religion.  This book is an excellent read for those wishing to discover and question the status quo.  The book offers a window for free thinking that one can either choose to walk through or close the book without understanding the complexities presented within each chapter.

In 1989, I had just given birth to my daughter and suffered a bought of post-partum psychosis.  I was watching was happening in China.  I was horrified by what I was witnessing.  In that moment, I saw the horrors of Kent State in Ohio all over again.  How could this be, our own inhumanity?

Later that year, I wrote the poem dedicated to the Tienanmen Square Massacre. My heart is in poetry and prose like many writers.  The words flowed from heart to paper like an intercessory controlling my very thoughts.  That particular poem emerged within minutes not hours or days like other works.

Some day, the young people who have become soldiers of ISIS will have to reconcile their actions and deeds should they survive the movement.  The children of a new generation are growing up in an era of war.  An era, I had hoped would be less violent.

Soul Mountain offers a temporary reprieve from today's events and grants one the opportunity to explore the meaning of life in its beauty rather than death in its cruelty.

Note:  To view my earlier work on Tienanmen Square type into the search engine on my blog Insurrection in China.

Friday, July 17, 2015

I am a writer who has discovered living on the other side of the rainbow

I have the privilege now to view my world on my terms.  I choose to enjoy every day regardless of what is happening in my personal life.  It took me a long time to recognize I have control over how I respond to my immediate family.  I used to ride the roller coaster right along with them until I recognized I have a choice in the matter.  I am grateful that I finally have the ability to respond in a manner, that is healthy and positive.  It does not mean that I am unsympathetic to what is happening with them, only that my personal response does not have to place me into crisis mode.

I believe that my life skills were halted in great part due to my experience living in an orphanage for ten years, and clearly it played a huge role in my inability to recognize how to manage situations within my marriage that were clearly unacceptable.  The Catholic Church also played heavily on my mind though I had given up practicing the faith long ago.  There were many pressures for me to remain loyal to a Church, I simply could not believe in.  I respect the nuns who raised me, but I do not agree with the dominance the Church has over its members.

I am grateful to be where I am today, though I am poorer now than I ever been.  I have a roof over my head and food in my belly.  I have an editor who is trying to work with me, and I am rich in friendships. Indeed, I am truly blessed.  Time dictates who we become.  I choose not to remain stagnant in my life and to be pleased for the opportunities that are presenting themselves as I discover who I truly am.

My memories used to haunt me, but now I realize they are not present day occurrences.  I am grateful I have control over my life, and I do not have someone dictating what I should think, eat, and believe. Do not be mistaken; however, I do believe there is a God who allowed me to have my personal struggles to make me a better person.  My personal life has given me great empathy for those with special needs.  I have functioned both in their world and outside of it.  In my present circumstance, I am not paid, but I have more opportunities to teach than ever before, yet, I also remain a student in life.  My peers are those with special needs, who help remind me through their struggles how very fortunate I am.   I am the voice of the silent, the advocate of the weak and the friend to others that so many shy away from because I am one of them.  I have been homeless, insane, lonely, angry, tired, weak, lost and on occasion abused, but now I am the champion of my life.  I am happy to be me and grateful to have gone through my life experiences because I have insight on so many levels.  If I fail to smile when you smile at me, forgive me, I may be deep in thought.  If I fail to make eye contact, please do not hold it against me, it is not what I learned.  I will try to think of these things when I meet you.  Thank you for reading my life adventure and may your travel improve as you traverse this great world of ours.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lesson Learned

I never knew I had the strength within to combat fear when so many things in my life were out of control, but in the last two weeks I have discovered, the me, I need to succeed.  I realize my children are adults and their choices are theirs' to make. I do not have to fall apart when something is desperately tragic in their lives.  It does not mean, I am not sympathetic to their situations, but it means I need to function despite the difficulties they are facing.

Medication is paramount in combating mental illness.  I used to have a spouse, who thought everything could be solved with vitamins.  Unfortunately, this is not so.  Mental illness involves a chemical imbalance of the brain.  Often there is an over production in dopamine.

I look forward to the advancements in the human genome project, as I am certain, one day, solutions will be found to modify the gene(s) responsible for mental illness that has loomed over my family for generations.

I am the product of a generation that believed in life upon conception, yes, Catholic.  I personally do not practice the Catholic Faith, but I do appreciate what the Daughters of Charity provided for me when my parents were unable to.  I had a roof over my head and food in my belly.  Some nights it would be cold and lonely, but I was cared for, and it was far better than living in the streets, which would have been my lot in earlier times.

At times, I must confess, I had thought it would have been better not to have been born.  Now, however, I embrace who I am.  I have a college education because so many people believed in me.  I have avenues arising as I write this blog.

I have met individuals, who change the course of our existence though they probably do not remember me.  I have the opportunity to meet sport professionals and singers.  I appreciate artists on whole different level because I am one.

I have also learned to respect my God given talent for the written word and to do my best to exemplify not only my thoughts, but thoughts of others.  There was a time, no doubt that my faith was in question, however, those times have caused me to have a greater faith than ever.  I now say my God has no face or religion, but the moral and ethical principles I try to live by are the doctrine that dictate my actions on a daily basis.  I am loyal to the cause of Peace.  I am a believer in children's rights, however, I will never dictate to another woman whether she should carry an unborn child.

I abhor the atrocities that are occurring with ISIS, but Muslims are not to blame for the actions of few who are not practicing the true Islamic faith.  I have attained the age of freedom of thought and for that I am grateful.  My hair is grey though colored, my hands are showing age, but my mind is clear of negative thinking, which the Catholic Church unwittingly bestowed upon me.  I felt liked I sinned when I came into the world as it was taught on a regular basis.  Good Heavens, a babe is not a sinner.

I take responsibility for my actions today, and I live with my choices and consequences.  I understand finally who I am and what I am about.  I love my country, though not everything my country has done.  We are a nation of evolving people, who are learning the importance of recognizing the differences within our land.  Hopefully, as time progresses and continued changes come about like taking down the Confederate flag and placing it in a museum, healing will occur. Now, I must confess if the flag were given a burial, I would actually be happier. They could give the flag a 21 gun salute, and I would not have to see again.  Well, at least it is down for now.

My family is that of orphans.  We are all one, but of different nationalities.  I have blood sisters. Their experience is my own.  Their wounds, mine and their challenges I know as my own.  We are slowly finding one another again thanks to technology, but my home---the one I knew for years, St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Home, stands as a shell of itself on a parcel of land in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Jobs remain difficult to find here in Michigan, and the homeless are plentiful, but no one wants to discuss that.  Far better, to highlight the travel, indeed we are a beautiful travel destination state, but we must find a new industry.  I am blessed to have a home, but hopefully this writer will start seeing the fruits of my labour, for it certainly hasn't been for a lack of trying.  I certainly am like many who do not want to be on the welfare roll.

I look forward to my continued endeavors and the prospects for a brighter future,and to you my fellow bloggers, may inspiration serve you well as you pen your own words for the world that we writers read.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Queen Bed Blow-Up

There are many things to get upset at in life, but then there are times when it is so ridiculous because you're poor, laughter is the best thing.  Now, I have a friend who thought it would be a genius idea to rent a U-Haul and buy a queen size bed for about $350.00 on sale.  The problem was he did not ask the right questions. That bed was to be purchased on a credit deal, which would have locked the price into a year contract that is actually sold by Big Lots to Progressive for payments. So what would happen is that bed would actually be close to $650.00 by the time it was paid for. If one wanted to buy out the contract, there would still be a ridiculous amount to pay.

So when things went wrong, since the truck had already been rented, it was time to just make the best of the situation.   We went out to eat and he had White Castle for a little over $7.00 and I had Burger King for $4.11.

I couldn't help laughing; however, when that queen size mattress became a blow-up mattress purchased at Wal-Mart along with an electric pump.  The mattress came in a box and when blown-up was 8" high. The solution, stick cushions from the couch beneath it along with the twin mattress from the old bed.

So many questions had been asked about the U-Haul and whether because trucks were not available could the U-Haul van accommodate a queen size mattress that it just was hilarious when the van wasn't needed at all since the mattress fit in a box 14"x 3."  Since we were at Wal-Mart, I picked up a bike pump.

The good thing, it was actually cheaper since we only drove about six miles to have rented the U-Haul rather than a car.

Have a Happy 4th and tip your hat to a Vet.