The arts mean more to me in my 50’s than any other previous decade of my life thus far. It may have to do with the fact I did not have as much time to appreciate and embrace human creative skills and imagination. I truly believe that the arts are meant to make us better people because of their beautiful and emotional power.
Walls are a part of our lives in one way or another. There are the walls of your home and then there are the invisible walls people put up to close off the world. Both have the same distinction to protect a person from intruders.
When I was 14 years old, there was an enclosed tunnel made out of cement that I had to walk through everyday to get to school. The typical teenage writing was on it’s walls with some girl writing her undying love for some guy. It was a mystery to me that someone would want to be writing about love on a cold, damp wild wall. Yet here I was captured each day by its graffiti. There was no way to walk around it. It was the only way to school.
Reminded by my conscience that writing on a wall is destroying someone’s property, I never engaged in this activity. I did not want to wrangle with words that someone else would read anyway. It seemed pointless and leads to someone reading useless crap. Yet I wanted to write something, but not empty chatter as was the case with 90% of what was written on those stone walls.
One particular day I stopped as I was exiting the tunnel and said to the walls, “Give me 14 more years and I will show you something!” I then turned away from that tunnel to never walk through it again. It was my last day of junior high school.
As I have aged my childhood now holds some sacred truths. I learned that writing is good even if it is graffiti. Here I was a lonely girl holding on so long ago to those walls. They became a part of me without even understanding their impact. Every 14 years in fact I have taken stock of what I could show those walls.
This morning a friend called me after accidently sticking herself in the thumb with an epipen. An epipen is an emergency treatment injection for life threatening allergic conditions a person may be having. This medicine actually belonged to her husband for his medical problems. This particular drug if given is administered in the thigh not the thumb where she accidently gave it to herself. I offered her advice rather quickly because of the type of situation she was in, but the problem is that she lives close to 3000 miles away from me! You can feel flattered someone trusts you enough to call you, however, was it prudent to give advice to her? My answer to the question is quite simple- IT DEPENDS!
Here are my top 10 advise giving tips. This is in no particular order and it does not mean this is the only advice out there. Many folks know alot more about almost everything than I do, but after this incident, it occurred to me that giving advice is not what it is all cracked up to be. So again my disclaimer is that this is just some helpful advice on giving advice and not necessarily for only medical types as myself:
1. Be very sincere. It may have taken alot for someone to approach you. AKA-do not roll your eyes….like you are being bothered.
2. Make sure that you understand from them that they are indeed asking for your advice. Clarify with the person especially in nonemergency situations.
3. Do not get judgmental at all. No one needs a lecture. If you can offer a book on the subject then do that or a link from the internet.
4. Allow the person to explain their situation clearly if they can and what exactly their question is.
5. Make it clear that your “advice” is not the only answer especially if there are many different approaches to the question that is being asked of you.
6. Be kind to the person. Do not make fun of someone for asking your opinion.
7. Make sure the person understands your advice and that you ask them to explore in their mind if what you are saying coincides with what they are thinking.
8. Do not act like you are 100% correct unless you know you are 100% correct.
9. Remember most times folks know what is best to do in their situation and they just need you as a friend to confirm their suspicions for their circumstances.
10.Before you end your time with that person, make sure they have a plan of action in their mind.
I am sure many of you are wondering what happened to my friend that stuck herself with the epipen needle. Since I knew she was speaking easily, I made sure she was breathing all right and asked her how long ago she had done this to herself. I said she needed to go have her husband take her to urgent care for assistance especially since she was experiencing some increased heart rate and my friend does have high blood pressure and a history of breathing problems at times. I also mentioned that she should get a tetanus shot. Sticking yourself with a needle or any kind of cut means it is time to update your immunization if need be. My primary concern is to do no harm so encouraging her to seek medical attention was paramount in my mind.
Recently I shared a heartwarming story about my WWII VET step-dad Roy and his celebration of his 90th birthday ( http://wp.me/p2rYD1-o8 ). Roy grew up very poor and his parents divorced while he was a boy. Roy never knew when his real dad had passed away. One day he asked me if I could find this information out because of the release of the 1940 census. I was able to give Roy his father’s death date and burial location, but the biggest surprise was that we found out he had a half-brother, and a half-sister he did not know about. When you think you have heard it all life throws you a few new curve balls! We were fortunate to contact them both. In fact a reunion is planned for them to meet. I hope they hurry. No one is getting any younger!
I had recently flown home from Montgomery, Alabama 3000 miles to Seattle after witnessing a tender-hearted visit between my step-dad Roy and his cousin Melda. She was also researching her family tree that included Roy. She decided to drive to Montgomery, Alabama for a delightful visit while I was in town. Melda and I found each other through our mutual research.
Melda reminded me in an email of how special this experience was for her. Upon returning home Melda spoke with her elderly mother about meeting Roy: ” I couldn’t help but stare at Roy’s striking ice blue eyes. When I mentioned it to my mother, she said my grandfather had eyes like that.”
While Melda and Roy are second cousins, Melda’s father who has passed away as well as Roy led interesting work lives in the history of Alabama. Melda’s father was a Superintendent of Education during the changing times in Alabama Public Schools serving the children in Alabama. During that same time period, Roy was working as the Director of Veteran Affairs serving our Veterans. Today I give tribute to both men in their work and their lives.
Related Story: https://alesiablogs.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/unplugged/ This post shares other photos from another snow shoe trip we took in one of our National Forests in Washington State.
To me the greatest heroes among us can be the ones we hardly notice. I have found that it is a good thing to find amazement in the smallest of things no matter the situation. For example, I have a son with Autism. Luke typically has more bad days than all around good ones. Yesterday Luke had one of his really good days. He was all smiles and so was I. It was a time of wonderstruck for me. He is my hero. He has taught me something about myself no one else can. He has taught me love and what it means to give it your all. Perhaps that is what we see in Roy as a POW VETERAN. He gave it his all and survived to tell his story for all those that had died. The respect we give to Roy is for a whole generation.
How do I say I can call my son Luke my hero? First, he is my son and I am proud of him no matter what the situation. Second, when we have a good day with Luke it tells me he is doing all he can to make it a good day for all of us. He is working his mind to will it for good thoughts when many times his mind is full of obsessiveness and torture. It is this Forgotten Power of Expectancy we all should be taking into our very being. I know deep down God is amazed at Luke. For unto to Him, He asked for us to come as children.. Luke is not visibly a hero like Roy, but in the quietness of our home my son is not forgotten. God sees us all the same. There is no difference to Him. Luke is working hard to be the best he can be. Thats hero enough for me.
PS: We have an ETSY store and you can click into it from the birdhouse photo. 10% will go to the Autism Society Charity if you purchase before February 14th! Also please follow up with your neurodevelopmental stories on http://www.facebook.com/alesiaandluke I am very interested in hearing about your story.
These two children just because of their color and the times that they lived in would lead different lives. Later Whit lived in Kentucky which was a divided state in regards to slavery. Some families in Kentucky would have a union and confederate soldier in the same household. It was horrible times. I just wonder if Whit and this little girl’s eyes met in that court house. Their innocent eyes only glancing for a moment yet both forever changed by the court’s decisions that day. Whatever may have happened when Whit was twelve years old, I am convinced he influenced his own family immensely. My three times great-grandfather made sure three of his sons were union soldiers. Indeed I find this in my documents of my family line. May we never forget what Martin Luther King, Jr Day is all about and be reminded there was a BILL OF SALE in Tennessee of a little girl who was just as important as my three times great grandpa.