Category Archives: kindness

A PSA today because here at The Takedown, you’re cared about.

Whatever you may think about the news site itself, I saw this article today and thought it worth passing along. Even though the article specifically says “..the Mommy Juice,” take it from someone who had an uncle who died a literal wino; this can apply to ANY gender.

The link to the article follows below:

http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/04/07/7-signs-youre-hitting-mommy-juice-too-hard.html

Friends, let me say this as I close out this article. If this article spoke to you, please do yourself and those you love a favor, even if you don’t think you need to. Get it checked out and get some help. YOU CAN DO IT. 

If you know someone who is an alcoholic, or whom you may suspect is one, do everything you can to try and help them get the help they need. You can’t make them get it, of course, but you can do all you can to help and support them, and show them you care.

Please note that “caring” does not mean “don’t say anything,” “cover for them,” “make excuses for them,” “allow myself to be abused because of their dependency,” or “help them deny they have a problem.”

Sometimes, the truest form of compassion is the ability to show tough love when God knows you’d rather take an easier way. It won’t be easy – but it will be worth it.

God bless, my friends.

 

The Good Samaritan – or – “Compassion isn’t just for work hours”

I have found that the more I try to make impacting, detailed posts on The Takedown, the less I end up actually posting things. I think a lot of that is because that when I do that, I focus more on how I’m saying something; how witty/engaging/emotionally engaging it is as opposed to what it is I’m saying. I forget the statement made by the Ghost in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir when he said, “This isn’t a blasted literary epic!” In future, I’m going to try and heed that simple advice and, God willing, end up with more posts that are meaningful and encouraging, even if they, too, aren’t “blasted literary epic(s).”

Anyone else remember the Good Samaritan? I remember the story well. It’s been used as an allegory for everything from warning children not to walk alone on dangerous streets to why it is that we should unconditionally accept refugees, to why we should accept universal healthcare. Many of the newer interpretations of the story, however are, unfortunately, dead wrong. At its base, and when you strip away the religious overtones of the story, what you’re left with is a very good look into the two basic types of human beings that exist in the world. You have those who are, primarily, out for themselves, and those who are not. Those who focus on their desires, their goals, their needs, and those who put the needs of others ahead of their own. Sadly, those people – those “Good Samaritans,” are also often the subject of ridicule and scorn by people who may feel that they are a rebuke to them. They’re characterized as “do-gooders,” “superheroes,” “crusaders,” and generally out of touch with reality because, after all, no one REALLY does that because it’s the right thing to do, do they?

Saddest of all, I have (and am) encountering it in my work in the EMS field. I encountered it when I obtained my First Responder certification, have seen it on the job, and am encountering it now as I take my courses to become an EMT. ‘Don’t go out of your way,’ the popular thinking seems to go, ‘because you could get sued and lose everything.’ ‘Don’t stick your neck out because if you do, you could lose your job.’ If you’re on the clock and covered by your agency, that’s one thing – then you HAVE to do it – but outside? No way. Hide the fact you’re an EMT or Paramedic. Don’t stop to help. Like the Levite and the Jewish priest in the story, they would advocate passing by on the other side of the road, so to speak, because it’s more important that you keep everything you have and have worked for than it is to help and possibly take the chance of being sued.

Well you know what? I’ll take that chance. I hope you would, too. The lives that were saved by people who jumped in to help – many with no training and certainly without proper body substance isolation and the like – at the Boston Marathon bombing – were saved by people who made the choice to be human and to fulfill their ethical and moral duty to their fellow man instead of backing away and saying “Hey, not MY problem. I’m not taking the chance!”

Friends – compassion and caring don’t only apply during business hours. The whole reason that we have Good Samaritan laws (sounds familiar, right?) is because people were passing by and not helping out of fear of lawsuits. People MAY laugh. Let them. People MAY think you’re all those things I named above. Let them. Those same people, I’ll wager, will be looking for someone like you if the day comes they’re bleeding their life out on the side of the road and the ambulance is nowhere to be found.

I close with this quote, taken from a story in which the man of steel, Superman, testified on the behalf of a group of superheroes who were accused of harming someone while stopping a villain. It’s never been more appropriate. I hope it never applies to myself, or to any of you:

“It’s a little sad, when you think of it – I can’t help thinking that someday, someone isn’t going to answer a call for help because they’ll be afraid; afraid of the lawsuits, the publicity, the cost – not in human lives, but in dollars and cents.”

Don’t be afraid. Step in and help, and do the right thing.

God bless, my friends.

 

In honor of Superman (the real one, I guess you’d say)

**The image used can be seen at full size, here. Unfortunately I had to resize it to fit on the blog post.- The Doctor 

I was doing some reading and I saw this today. It really made me think. Written by Grant Morrison who, I presume, is a recent author/writer of some of the newer Superman comics, it puts some ideas forth that I had not thought of, but can definitely agree with and identify with. I believe that there is some definite encouragement here in the form of this sentiment – underneath, we’re ALL ‘Superman’ if we want to be and choose to be. He’s the pinnacle of what it means to CHOOSE to do good with the abilities you have, whatever they may be, instead of taking the easier way and looking out only for yourself or using the circumstances of your life as a reason to cause pain to others. 

I draw this contrast because there seems to be almost a mania with the character of Batman these days, but as I have expressed before, Batman may ultimately do “good” in some form, but he himself is as dark and in many ways as twisted as the criminals he fights. (I keep going back to The Real Ghostbusters – “When Good adopts the ways of Evil, it becomes Evil.”) That, to me, is the inherent difference between Superman and the current incarnations of The Batman, and why I prefer one over the other. Batman is the opposite; he’s what happens when you let the circumstances of your life decide who you are, now and forever, and make you dark and angry instead of trying to rise above them. No matter what spin is put on it, Batman is, in his current incarnations, a sick man who never let go of his parents’ death and lives on the pain it caused him.

I don’t see that as a particularly encouraging role model. Do you?

All that aside, I hope you find the quote, below, as encouraging as I did, and it lifts your spirits today.

God bless you today, my friends!

“In the end, I saw Superman not as a superhero or even a science fiction character, but as a story of Everyman. We’re all Superman in our own adventures. We have our own Fortresses of Solitude we retreat to, with our own special collections of valued stuff, our own super–pets, our own “Bottle Cities” that we feel guilty for neglecting. We have our own peers and rivals and bizarre emotional or moral tangles to deal with.

I felt I’d really grasped the concept when I saw him as Everyman, or rather as the dreamself of Everyman. That “S” is the radiant emblem of divinity we reveal when we rip off our stuffy shirts, our social masks, our neuroses, our constructed selves, and become who we truly are. Batman is obviously much cooler, but that’s because he’s a very energetic and adolescent fantasy character: a handsome billionaire playboy in black leather with a butler at this beck and call, better cars and gadgetry than James Bond, a horde of fetish femme fatales baying around his heels and no boss. That guy’s Superman day and night.

Superman grew up baling hay on a farm. He goes to work, for a boss, in an office. He pines after a hard–working gal. Only when he tears off his shirt does that heroic, ideal inner self come to life. That’s actually a much more adult fantasy than the one Batman’s peddling but it also makes Superman a little harder to sell. He’s much more of a working class superhero.

American writers often say they find it difficult to write Superman. They say he’s too powerful; you can’t give him problems. But Superman is a metaphor. For me, Superman has the same problems we do, but on a Paul Bunyan scale. If Superman walks the dog, he walks it around the asteroid belt because it can fly in space. When Superman’s relatives visit, they come from the 31st century and bring some hellish monster conqueror from the future. But it’s still a story about your relatives visiting.”

Builders or wreckers?

This post will by no means be a Scripture lesson, although the idea for it came as I was reading a passage from John in my Bible this morning. For those not familiar with the story, a lame man was healed by Christ after being afflicted for some 80+ years. (If you want the entire story, you can find it in John 5:1-15) What struck me as I read it was that immediately – right after Jesus told the man “Get up, take up your bed and walk” and he did so, the next part of the verse says “And that day was the Sabbath.” Guess what? The Jewish leaders of the time immediately came to the man and said, in colloquial terms,  “Hey – this is the Sabbath – it’s against the rules for you to be carrying your bed.” The story then continues to say that they began to actively persecute Christ because He was doing those things on the Sabbath. When I read that, I laughed right out loud, and shook my head somewhat ruefully at how little we, as a people, have changed in the 2000 years since Christ walked the Earth. I mean, if you believe the story is true (which, obviously, I do) instead of being happy that the man had been healed, they immediately began berating him for breaking the rules and finding fault in what had been done. They were experts at turning lemonade into lemons, you might say. They were wreckers, instead of builders. (Nice plug for the title, eh? 😀 )

“Ok,” you may be saying, “So what?” So this. Have you read the comment sections of any news articles lately? Perused the comments of things posted on social media? It doesn’t matter what the story is; how positive or uplifting, or how tragic and heartbreaking, there invariably are those who come along and feel that it is their God-given duty to point out something negative or something judgmental about the situation. They come thundering like gangbusters, making lemons out of lemonade and finding the dark cloud in every silver lining. By way of examples: snow slides off a roof and buries three children, one of whom dies. In among the expressions of grief and sorrow are those going on about how the parents should have kept the roof clean, or THIS is why you DON’T have metal roofs. A person posts about how they are going through a tough time for X or Y reason, and someone comes along with condemnation about their lifestyle, or even worse, some trite “Christian” statement about their need for God or lack of faith, or something similar.

We’re experts at judging others, and pointing out their faults and failings – and also experts at ignoring our own, a great many times. We tear down much more easily and quickly than we build up.

Want some encouragement? IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. None of us HAVE to do that. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am by no means advocating the “lack of tough love” lifestyle put forth by so many, also known as the “I can’t say anything because…” Sometimes, there are situations in which we are called upon to take a stand, draw a boundary, or even ‘tell a harsh truth, wanting ten more times to tell a loving lie,’ to paraphrase a quote by Robert Brault. Compassion is not enabling. However, I firmly believe that those times are much fewer than what we may think. The encouragement I spoke of, above, comes in realizing that we can be builders instead of wreckers. We can uplift people instead of tearing them down. We can help instead of hurt, and when all else fails, we can choose to keep our bloody mouths shut instead of criticizing. (OUCH!! The author took a hit on that one. No pedestals here!)

I close with this poem, taken from the book God’s Minutes, and written by Carmelo Benvenga. May it come to your mind as it has to mine, and remind us all that we have a choice every minute of every day; the choice to be a Builder or a Wrecker.

God bless, today, my friends.

I watched them tearing a building down, a gang of men in a busy town. With a “Ho, heave ho!” and a lusty yell, they swung a beam and a sidewall fell.  I asked a foreman, “Are these men skilled, and they kind you would hire if you were to build?” He laughed and said, “Why no, indeed, just common laborers are all I need. They can easily wreck in a day or two what builders have taken years to do.”

So I said to myself as I went on my way, ‘What part in the game of life do I play? Am I a Builder, who builds with care, thoughtfully measuring with rule and square? Am I shaping my deeds to a well-made plan, patiently doing the best I can? Or am I a Wrecker, who walks the town – content with the labor of tearing down?’

 

I’m back – and a reminder to “Say it now!”

Hello all! Thank you to those who have been checking The Takedown in the interim of relative silence, post wise, and those who keep coming back faithfully when a new post pops up from yours truly. Things have been quite busy on this end, but the time had come for a new post, and here it is.

I have in my possession a book given to me in 1977 by my aunt (yeah, I know that makes me fairly old by a lot of standards but hey, getting old is a privilege, and one denied to a lot of people, so I don’t mind!), the title of which is God’s Minutes. In it a story is read of a group of children who go to a florist to buy flowers for their friend, Mickey. In true heartstring-tugging fashion, you find that the boy had been killed in a traffic accident, and the children wondered if they could buy a nice bouquet of yellow roses with their collection, which was some eighteen cents. The florist, of course, agrees, and the children sorrowfully march off with their flowers to give them to their deceased playmate.

The story ends on a note, however, that is the subject of this post. It ends by saying that the saddest thing is that Mickey would never know the love being shown to him, nor of the care and affection of his friends. They were showing it, sadly, after he was gone. It ends with this poem, which I can say honestly has come to my mind from time to time, since first reading this book after it was given to me (I was 7 at the time):

I’d rather have one little rose from the garden of a friend, than all the choicest flowers when this weary life will end. I’d rather have one pleasant word in kindness said to me, than flattery when my heart is still, and life has ceased to be. I would rather have a loving smile from friends I know are true, than tears shed ’round my casket when to this world I bid adieu. Bring me all the flowers today, whether white or pink or red – I’d rather have one flower now than a truckload when I’m dead. 

Friends, our life can be busy and, thanks to our technological connections, it gets busier all the time. We’re connected by email, text, cell phone, Facebook,  Twitter, and a hundred other things that keep us in constant touch; yet how often do we take the time, one human being to another, to truly let those who matter to us know that they do? All too often the story told of here plays out in reality; the platitudes, the love, the caring is shown after the person has died, while in life they may have never known or realized that they had those who felt that way about them.

Don’t let the Mickey in your life leave this world without knowing. Don’t worry about “Oh I’ll look foolish,” or “Oh, I’m far too MANLY to show my heart like that,” or even worse “I don’t need to say it – he/she/they already know it.”

Tell them. Bring those flowers today. Do it now, while you have the chance. Believe me when I tell you, it makes a difference and, as one who has been on the receiving end of that type of statement at the bedside of a friend who would shortly thereafter die, it can literally change your life. 

Do it today. God bless, my friends.