March 26, 2012

Mother Earth and Father Time

Posted in family, life at 12:45 pm by jimazing

This morning, I was privileged to witness a holy moment.  It all started when Danae learned that a dear friend had passed away last night.  Molly was eating her breakfast and Danae began to cry. I told her that mama was sad.  She went to her mama, hugged her and said in her sweet little voice, “It’s ok to be sad, Mama.”

They hugged for a while and Molly asked if she could sing her mama a lullaby. Of course mama said she could. I wondered which of her many special lullabies she would sing. When she started, I was floored by the poignancy of her choice, Mother Earth and Father Time from Charlotte’s Web…

How very special are we
For just a moment to be
Part of life’s eternal rhyme

How very special are we
To have on our family tree
Mother Earth and Father Time

He turns the seasons around
And so she changes her gown
But they always look in their prime

They go on dancing their dance
Of every lasting romance
Mother Earth and Father Time

The summer larks return to sing
Oh what a gift they give
Then autumn days grow short and cold
Oh what a joy to live

How very special are we
For just a moment to be
Part of life’s eternal rhyme

How very special are we
To have on our family tree
Mother Earth and Father Time

March 7, 2012

Koney2012 – My Reaction

Posted in Current Events at 11:56 pm by jimazing

kony2012All of a sudden, there is this compelling video popping up like crazy on FB. Tonight rather than going to bed like I said I was, I watched the 30 minute video and was blown away. I was ready to sign on the dotted line. I typed my email address and zip code on the pledge form and was about to click the Pledge Now button when a nagging little voice inside asked me, “What do you really knew about this? After all, you never even heard of Joseph Koney until just 30 minutes ago. Now you are ready to sign a petition? Really?”

This is what I knew:

  • I just watched a very compelling video.
  • The presentation persuaded me that something must be done about Joseph Koney
  • I was persuaded that I could play a small part.
  • I felt empowered to make a difference in the world

The nagging voice said, “Exactly!  You don’t know anything except what you just saw. Isn’t it at least worth a google search first?”  I searched for “kony2012”. In the first four results were two sites with a negative spin. I looked at the first one with skepticism. the site is named Jezebel, which was a turn off. But I had already decided that Kony2012 was a great cause and anyone who was against them must have an agenda. Wow, I had already turned off my brain before I started.

Search result #4 was from the Huffington Post, a reliable news outlet. Hmmm.  I skimmed the article and got a little better picture of what is going on. However, this quote woke me from my slumber:

By blindly supporting Uganda’s current government and its military adventures beyond its borders, as Invisible Children suggests that people do, Invisible Children is in fact guaranteeing that there will be more violence, not less, in Central Africa.

I have seen the well-meaning foreigners do plenty of damage before, so that is why people understanding the context and the history of the region is important before they blunder blindly forward to “help” a people they don’t understand.

The Problem With Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012” – Huffington Post

The little voice inside me said, “Thank you for listening to me.”  While I was ready to blindly follow these folks because of the compelling nature of this video, the red flags were waving in my mind like crazy.  My lizard brain did not want to pay attention, but fortunately I was eventually able to settle down and rationally decide that this could wait until tomorrow at least.

Now that I have thought about it for a little while, I feel manipulated and find myself skeptical of the whole thing. If past performance is an indicator, this will end with inaction on my part. I am not proud of that.  I truly want to stop people like Koney. I want to make the world a better place, but sometimes helping hurts. It is vital to understand the person, group, nation, world that you want to help before you try to help. Otherwise, you will not truly understand what the real needs are. Understanding the history and culture is essential to making an effective impact.  You cannot get that kind of understanding from watching a video designed to compel you to action when you are sleepy.

The video is absolutely worth watching. It is important on many levels. I urge you to watch it and then before responding, take at least 30 minutes (the length of the video) to think about it and consider other opposing views.  See the video here:

March 2, 2012

Marrow Sucking

Posted in family, Kat, life, reflection at 1:10 pm by jimazing

I am sitting in the lobby at Duke Hospital writing this on my droid. Upstairs the best medical staff on the planet are pumping poison into my daughter to kill this awful cancer. I was planning to work remotely today, but forgot to bring my laptop power cord. So it has become a vacation day. Not really my choice for a vacation, but it is good to just stop all the activity for a while.

It was almost a year ago that I wrote this blog post describing the terror of our situation, I am so thankful that I do not feel that way still. Today it feels surreal. As if this cannot possibly be happening to me and my family. It’s sort of like a dream. Surely I’ll wake up soon.

When I was a youngster, I wondered if I was living in a dream. I thought maybe I had fallen asleep when I was 7 years old and even though I was 10, I expected that I might wake up and really be only 7. Sometimes I still wonder if that 7 year old is going to wake up soon, rub his little eyes and say, “Man oh man! What a dream!”

Yet, here we are… Here I am. Sitting in a hospital lobby.

I don’t ask why. I know that many people do. It is just not a question on my mind. This Bible passage means a lot to me. Jesus said, ‘He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” My personal translation of that verse is, “shit happens”. We do not get to choose everything that comes our way. Who among us would choose cancer!? And yet it happens… A lot! I don’t know why.   Although I would never have chosen this path… (ironically autocorrect changed path to pathology)… this is the path we have walked for the past year.

Because of this journey we have received such love and support that I feel completely overwhelmed. It was there all the time, but it took this horrible situation for it to be revealed. That is a blessing we experienced as a direct result of Kat’s illness.

I find myself asking if it was worth it. And immediately I recognize that question is closely akin to, “Why?” It is a question that does not need any of my attention. Of course I would never choose this course… I am not thankful for the cancer! I am thankful for family and friends in spite of the cancer. Does that make any sense at all?

Because of this journey, I am aware of the healthcare system in so much more intimate way. I don’t know if I shared this tidbit before, but just 3 or 4 weeks prior to getting sick, Kat was promoted to full time. Because of that, she has had excellent insurance. Her benefits ended with her job on March 1, 2012 (yesterday). That is an amazingly wonderful blessing on the one hand and also, I believe it is a tragedy of our healthcare system. Why is health insurance tied to our jobs? (rhetorical question) Is my life & health more valuable when I have work than when I do not? (I truly do not mean to open the can of worms that is our healthcare system.) My point is that because of what Kat is going through, I see some of these “issues” up close and personal… and that is a blessing.

There have been many times throughout this that I wondered if I would ever have another rational conversation with Kat. When she was in such pain that nothing else mattered to her, and we wondered if we would ever find out what was causing that pain. Now it is happening. She is beginning to talk about the journey so far and her dreams for the future. I find myself treasuring those times like the treasure they truly are. That is a blessing.

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.”

–Henry David Thoreau

Like Thoreau, I believe there is life to be lived… deeply through good times and bad. Unlike Thoreau, I did not choose to go into the woods. My “woods” just happened. Somehow the the hard times have a way of waking me up. I am becoming more aware of the richness that is always there, but so easily missed.