Be that friend…

August 5, 2020

In yesterday’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote that was setn to him by one of his followers – “Everyone needs a friend who will call up and say, Get dressed; we’re going on an adventure.”  (Sent by Andy Bezenah)

That sentiment is especially true in today’s COVID-19 environment, although it might have to be changed to read, “Grab your mask; we’re going on an adventure.”

One of the bad side effects of the pandemic has been the isolation of so many people, especially the elderly. Many were probably already somewhat isolated by other health issues; however, the need to social distance because of the Corona Virus has taken that isolation to a whole new level.

For the younger, who might be more tech savvy, it was an easier shift to the world of Zoom meetings and other forms of contactless communications. Many of the elderly don’t even have a wireless phone, much less a smart one and many do not have access to a computer, much less one that is on the Internet. For these people, the requirements imposed by the pandemic have been like a sentence of solitary confinement. Perhaps they see one or two people a day or on occasion. Maybe they see the Meals on Wheel driver or an orderly at their facility, but that is not the same as a visit with a friend.

If the person that you are thinking of is confined to a care facility there is little that you can do to visit or take them anywhere right now; however, a phone call and a chat might make their day. If they are still living at home a visit might work, even if you have to sit on the porch at a safe distance to have a conversation. For a few, who might be in good health and willing, picking them up for a short trip (an adventure) would be a great way to liven up their day. Just remember to mask up and have hand sanitizer available.

Whatever way you and your friend feel comfortable getting together (in person or electronically), the important thing is that do it. Your “adventure” may involve nothing more than a lively conversation or a rousing round of reminiscing, but is will make both of you feel better.

Call someone you know today who may need to talk to someone else. Be adventurous if you and they feel safe to do so and go visit with them; otherwise, just have a nice long call with them.

Be that friend.

Just be there…

October 9, 2015

“Sometimes we need someone to be there.  Not to fix anything or do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.”  (From a picture of Charlie and Snoopy) That little saying was forwarded to me by Pastor Jack Freed from Jack’s Winning Words. Jack is a big fan of the Peanuts cartoons, assnoopy and bird am I.

For me, today’s little saying conjures up memories of snuggling on the couch in from of a fire on a cold winter night. No words are needed and there is nothing wrong or needing fixing; however, just being there together makes us both feel that all is right with the world. There are just times when having your life mate at your side or in your arms provides a very warm feeling of completeness and contentment. I think that is what Charles Schultz was thinking about when he wrote that little saying in the Peanuts cartoon.

What memories do you have of those kinds of moments? For some it might involve memories of being cradled in our mother’s arms. For others it might be time spent with a nest friend or a loved one. Whatever the moment, cherish those feelings and save them to bring up again and again as needed, when things aren’t going as we would like.

caregiver handsSometimes we play the role of the person who is there to provide the feeling of comfort and safety. Cherish that also. It is one of the most important roles that you will have in life. Caring and supporting others, especially in moments of need is a privilege and an honor, which we should take seriously. There is vulnerability and trust on the part of the person that you are supporting that must be protected and honored. They have let you into their emotional inner-circle, which is a place that few probably get to see. Be kind. Be gentle. Be respectful. Be the person that they believe you to be and play your role, even if it is just sitting there in silence and holding them. Don’t try to fix everything , just be there for them.

Have a great and caring day.

Here’s to your health my friend

July 9, 2015

“Friendship is a powerful healing force.”  (Dr Joel Kahn, a holistic cardiologist in the Detroit area.) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack added that Dr. Khan also mentioned an old African proverb – “If you walk fast, walk alone.  If you want to walk far, walk together.” According to Dr. Khan, grabbing someone’s hand and walking together through challenges may be the most powerful health tool.

I believe that to be true. The power of friendship and the power of human touch are over looked and under-
massageappreciated.  One of the owners of Essential Massage and Wellness Center is in our local Chamber of Commerce Referral Network Group and she is always proclaiming the healing benefits of the power of touch, especially the touch rendered in a good massage.  I can certainly attest to that power, having had her work on a shoulder that I injured a couple of years ago. It’s wonderful! I believe the part about wellness in her business name; the benefits of the human-to-human touch in massage are well proven and provide a path to wellness in life.

I suspect that the magic in the use of friendship as a healing tool has a lot to do with taking away at least some of the fear that comes with a sickness or injury. It is comforting to have someone there with you when you are ill or injured that you can share your fears with and who can reassure you that everything will be OK. As a child we run to mommy to have her kiss our boo-boos. Does her kiss contain some powerful pain killer or antiseptic? No, it just makes things feel better. As adults mommy is not normally there to kiss our boo-boos, but we still find comfort in having someone to share the moment with, a spouse or significant other, our own children or just a good friend.

There may be pain involved with whatever we are going through, but pain can be managed these days (not always
to the extent that we might like); but is the fear of the unknowns that we may need the most help coping with andsick at home that’s where having someone to hold your hand and walk with you is a great aid to facing those fears and overcoming the illness or injury. I can’t imagine a worst case scenario than being in a hospital away from friends and family and facing an illness or injury without any support from loving friends or family. Of course the doctors and nurses will do the best that they can to treat whatever ails you and make you as comfortable as possible; but they have rounds to make and other patients to care for; so, they can’t sit there and hold your hand. They may be the most competent people in their profession; but, they are not your friends.

So, if you have relatives or friends that are facing the unknowns of and illness or suffering through recovery from an injury; be there for them. Be a powerful healing force for them. Be that comforting, familiar face that they can caregiverrelax with and share their fears and concerns with. Find the strength to lend them your strength and help them through their challenges. Take their hand and walk with them on their journey. Someday you may need their helping hand. You might also be surprised how many people are in hospitals and nursing homes with no family nearby to walk with them. Volunteer and become a healing force for someone just by being there. You might be surprised at what a positive force the volunteer lady who pushes the book cart around in the hospital can be, just because she stops to talk to the patients who are alone. What better things do you really have to do today than to be there for another human being in need of a friend?

Here’s to your health, my friend…

When you’re done being sore, it’s time to soar…

May 8, 2015

“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she began to fly.”  (Dr. Happy)-  from my favorite source of daily inspiration, Jack’s Winning Words.

Life certainly throws enough at all of us to leave us sore sometimes, down and thinking that we’re out. We tend to cocoonwithdraw into our own protective cocoons sometimes. Hopefully we’re not holed up in there for long and come out as that butterfly to soar anew. I’ve written enough here about dealing with pain, sorrow and anger that I needn’t repeat the advice from all of those posts. Here are links to a few of latest ones  –

I think the idea of the butterfly emerging from the cocoon and flying away is a great visualization of what can happen in life, once you unburden yourself. That was sort of the underlying story in this recent post about finding new roads  –

I get to see this happen more often than many people because, in my real estate business life, I deal with so many people who are undergoing stressful times in their lives – a divorce, a death in the family and illness forcing them into some form of care or other circumstances that usually involve having to do something with their home. I often suggest that they read a few of the posts, but never push it on them. I try to play the role of being the calm person (sometimes the only one) in the midst of the stormy situation.

It’s interesting that so many of these little sayings about resiliency and persevering through tough situations use the female gender as the protagonist. I suspect that it is because the authors know that men will always try the more macho girls huggingapproach of toughing things out before giving up and curling up in despair into a fetal position (seeking to return to the protective cocoon of the womb I guess).The other thing that I written about before is the tendency of men to approach life’s problems alone, whereas women will more often seek help, usually from other women. While the butterfly emerging from the caterpillar cocoon analogy would seem to indicate a lonely stay in the cocoon, women seem to have a way of inviting others in so that their cocoon becomes more like a coffee klatch – a much healthier and efficient way to handle crises.

Some who go into the cocoon wrap it around them so tightly that it shuts out everyone and everything in their lives – they descend into the darkness of depression and some never make it back. There is no comfort or sense of safety in that cocoon for these people. There is help available, but many do not seek it. These single mompeople need help to get to the road to recovery and to being able to emerge and take flight. That is where you might come in. Every now and then you have to get outside of your own comfort zone and take the risk of trying to intervene in the life of someone that you truly believe needs help to break out of despair or in dealing with overwhelming anxieties.

Providing help to someone can often be as simple as just being there to listen to their problems. You don’t need to try to play the role of the amateur therapist, just play the role of the good friend.  Help them see that it’s OK not to know what to do, but that it’s not Ok to let that take them down into depression.  Suggest that they see a professional or their pastor or someone else who can get them the help that they need. Tell them that you’ll stick with them. Volunteer to drive them there if needed. That kind of help goes a long way and you’ll be surprised how good it makes you feel later.

butterfly1So go rap on a few cocoons that you may know of and yell, “Are you OK in there? Can I help?” There’s a butterfly in there somewhere that may need just a little help to get out and take flight. You may not be Dr. Happy, but you can sure be a “good friend.”