Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

HISTORY

Where has the past gone?
No one believes in history

People panic about things
That all happened before

Study the mystery
Of humanity’s progress and regress

Of climates come and gone
And come again

We don’t need to panic
It’s all happened before

Learn from the past –
Isn’t that wisdom?

Not to dismiss disasters
Or pass off plagues

But
It’s all happened before

Be prepared

This is the last day of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Below are a few of my posts related to mental health, from Facebook.


5/18/2019:

In one town in recent travels, we saw a disturbing sight while sitting at an outdoor cafe. We had a party of about 14 people.

While eating, a man approached who was either mentally unbalanced or high on something, or both. There was a low metal fence between us and him, and he stood across from one of the tables and just stared at us. His pants were sunk too low, to put it kindly. Eventually I approached him with a gift card to a restaurant and said, “Could you use this?” He answered, I’m afraid of that,” but accepted it.

My daughter says that, working with homeless ministries, they don’t necessarily try to converse with such people, but would definitely give them food or clothes, etc., if wanted.

People like this used to be “institutionalized”, sometimes perhaps against their will. What are people’s thoughts on how to help them, if they can be helped?

I told this story to a mental health professional, and he surmised that the man suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Imagine being afraid to ask people for what you need! Pray for the mentally ill!


5/24/2019:

[I recommend reading] the [book] “The Hiding Place”, by and about Corrie ten Boom. After WWII, she was able to forgive a Nazi officer (face to face) who had mistreated her in a concentration camp. That was through God’s grace, because her human emotions rebelled against forgiving him. But God gave her the power to forgive the man.  (Apparently he was repentant as well, though it’s not clear in the story.)


5/29/2019

I read somewhere, something to the effect that believing one cannot be forgiven by God or others, or being unable to forgive, can be a big factor in mental illness. Makes sense; I think I would go mad if I believed I [couldn’t] be forgiven.

Spiritually speaking, when we receive the grace of forgiveness from God, we won’t be so tied to those people who won’t forgive us, seeking their approval.  [And, when we forgive, we are freed from the same unhealthy “attachments”.]

[A book by a “forgiveness therapist:]
The Forgiving Life


Besides the Facebook posts, here is an article about forgiveness, which mentions forgiveness “expert” Everett Worthington:
Setting Captives Free: Forgiveness and Freedom

Grand Canyon

On first sight,
Like little children,
With eyes agog and mouths agape —
Paralyzed in awe and wonder

Or crying,
Strangely still,
Feeling humble

Ancient, ancient rocks
Tell God’s secrets
In silence

I am a rank amateur when it comes to the recreational vehicle world, but here are a few experiences and observations that might whet the curiosity of those who have no experience at all.  If you do have a lot of experience, please write your corrections in the comments.

There is tremendous variation among recreational vehicles:  From small trailers with barely enough room to sleep in, to 19 or 20 foot sizes, to bus-sized vehicles.  Some RVs are towed, others, even very large ones, are driven independently.  And the independent ones sometimes tow a regular automobile, so that the users have a small vehicle available, exclusively for driving use, instead of for habitation.  We have even seen a truck towing a “fifth wheeler” RV and a “toy hauler” (a trailer that might contain a racing car, motorcycle(s), dune buggies, or similar items).  Many trailers, campers, or large RVs have pop-up roofs and/or “slide-outs” (sections that slide horizontally out of the RV to create more living space).  We were totally impressed once at a U.S. Forest Service campground near Oroville, California, as we watched the driver of a 30-to-40 foot RV back his vehicle (with the help of family) into a barely big enough camp site, AND he did it in such a way that the slide-outs were not blocked by the large surrounding pine trees.

The culture of the RV world is fascinating.  People come from all walks of life.  You can meet many interesting people, once you get them talking.  I always want to ask them, “Where are you from?”, and they are literally from all over the world.  At our most recent rental experience in California, there were four or five groups from Europe waiting to rent their RV.   Apparently they fly to the U.S., have a taxi bring them from the airport or their hotel to the rental location, and go on their vacation!  The rental companies charge them an extra fee to stock the RV with bedding, linens, cookware, dishware and utensils.  And at a recent campsite, our next-door neighbors spoke Japanese.

Reasons people have RVs:  Some rent temporarily for vacations, some buy for the same reason, or to live in continuously as a home.  We met a group of six who had flown from upstate New York to Las Vegas, Nevada, rented an RV, then drove up to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, to stay for two nights only.  On the other side of us at the same campsite, we met a couple whose RV was their main home.  They had sold their house, most of their possessions, and bought a thirty-five to forty-foot RV to use as a home.  We have met several couples like this, and they often use one of their children’s addresses as their permanent address.  A variation on this theme is people who are campground hosts, living in their RV all or part of the year at a campground at which they provide help and information to visiting campers, in exchange for a rent-free campsite.  Other families use RVs for vacations only, whether they rent or own.  And, we know of a family of seven who live out of their RV while traveling on their Christian ministry, home-schooling their children.  They have a bus-sized RV.

We once spoke briefly with a small family (mom, dad, and two small children) in Winnemucca, Nevada, who had a tear-drop shaped trailer.  The tear-drop shape is aerodynamic for towing, with the large side of the tear drop towards the front.  But when you park it, some models let you tilt the short side of the tear drop up, stand up inside, and convert the table to a bed for the kids, along with having an adult bed.  Some tear-drop trailers have kitchens, either inside or outside.  The tear-drops can have a heater and air conditioner, and some even have a shower inside.  As with many RV styles, tear-drop trailers vary in size and features.

Problems you may have with an RV:  Sensor problems are the most common we’ve encountered.    Many RVs have, for example, holding tanks for human waste, and there will be a sensor light inside the RV that will show whether the holding tank is 1/3, 2/3 or near 3/3 full.  Soon after the 3/3 light comes on, you will need to “dump” your holding tank.  In this case it’s called the “black water” or “dark water” tank.  Well, if your sensor isn’t working, you have to guess how full the tank is.  If you misguess, you may have a toilet backup.  Or the gray water tank (for water contaminated by washing) may have a sensor problem.  With our last two rentals, we’ve had problems with the tire pressure sensor, which is supposed to tell you if your tire pressure is off.  In both cases, the tire pressure alarm(s) kept indicating low pressure (at almost every gas station), though usually when we checked the tire pressure, it was fine.

Valves for the holding tanks can come loose, and if you forget to check those before dumping, you can have spillage of the gray or black water.  Needless to say, that can be nasty.  We had a small spillage once, diluted it with water, and the campground host eventually came by and threw kitty litter on it.

Here’s another interesting problem, a minor mystery we had:  For background, if your RV is not hooked up to city water, you have to use your vehicle’s stored fresh water and turn on your water pump.  At one point, we did have the city water hook-up connected, but from time to time, the water pump seemed to be turning itself on unnecessarily!  My husband ingeniously figured out that sometimes when we opened a cabinet near the water pump switch, it would bump the switch and turn it on.  That problem is a result of the small interior spaces some RVs have.

If you have a refrigerator in your RV, you will want your RV parked reasonably level, otherwise the refrigerator may not function, since it runs on propane.  Also, leveling will probably make life in your RV more comfortable, especially when sleeping.  (Many of us may recall that tent camping on a sloped campsite can be uncomfortable.)  The bigger RVs sometimes have leveling mechanisms attached to the RV.  Others use outside detached blocks for leveling.  And we learned that gray water backing up out of the shower drain can be because the RV is not level.

In short, the sizes, shapes, varieties, features and amenities of RVs are seemingly endless.  Be sure you learn how all the features work, especially those involved with your safety.  Then, enjoy your home away from home, or maybe your permanent home!

On the brink of eternity,
I pause and look behind —
The people known,
The work grindstones,
The things I owned —
What do they mean?

For nothing lasts,
And all must change,
And jumbled thoughts,
All disarranged —
Assail me.

Those people I looked up to
Seem to grow so small;
I don’t know them at all.

I cannot tell what God is doing —
What purpose does He have?

So many years ago,
All seemed bright and full of promise,
But gradually, the light did dim,
And now the world seems grim.

I cannot tell what God is doing,
But surely He lives —
As He slowly writes my story.

This life is one of tears and pain;
We once get up, and fall again.
Evil, sin, seep through the cracks;
The heart of man — God’s peace it lacks.

And yet, with patient, open arms,
Our Savior calls us from all harm.
A different path He offers us —
Of peace, of joy, of deep’ning trust.

When evil grows, when peace is shattered,
Cling to the cross; His Love’s what matters.
Have patience, and with growing faith,
Let God be guide to glorious fate.

How small I am
In Your immensity;
How ignorant
In Your luminosity.

Who am I
That You should care for me?
A wretched creature —
Yet destined for eternity.

How tiny I am
In Your vast universe;
And yet, invited,
With Your Heart to converse.

Participating
In Your joy and sorrow —
Through present, past
And all tomorrows.

In Your crosses, trials,
I can partake.
And thus in heaven
Your face will contemplate.

Winter Walk

Whipped-cream waves
Of frosty foam
And winter white.

Wind whips at your face;
Pull your hat on tight.

Weak heat of the sun,
But still so bright.

Something suddenly moves;
Now seagulls take flight.

The world is alive;
Let us walk in the light.
At the cafe/grill — a Monday.
It’s slow at 9 a.m. —
Not the bustle of a Saturday.

Low, soft voices
Of Spanish and English;
The frying pan sizzling.

We’re the privileged —
A day off,
When everyone else works.

At the other cafe
I saw a man outside in the cold,
His head in his hand,
Mumbling to himself.

I feel so helpless sometimes
In wanting to help others.
Don’t hold on too tightly;
See the light shining brightly —
Let earthly things grow dim;
Hold onto life lightly.

Your wealth, your possessions,
But briefly will last.
What good do they do you,
When too closely grasped?

We’re just passing through,
And life’s but a gleam.
Just love for God and others
Makes worthy our theme.

We’re on our way through;
The world seems an illusion,
With dangers and snares,
Fraught with tears and confusion.

There’s just one exception:
The good that we live,
The love that we share
And compassion we give.

Tag Cloud