I woke up Monday to the tragic news that over 50 people had lost their lives and over 500 people were injured in a senseless act of violence in Las Vagas. I kept up on the details as they came throughout the day on Monday, still looking for a reason that this happened. Was there a history of unstable behavior, mental illness, loss of job or relationship that sent him over the edge. As of this post I don’t believe there has been any reason given.
My children saw a piece of the news and asked what happened. I told my 8 year old boys that a man went to a room in a hotel in Las Vegas and began shooting at people attending a concert across the street. He killed over 50 people and over 500 were hurt. They, of course, asked why. This was an answer I could not give them. I said, I don’t know. Sometimes people do things because they are sad, angry or have an illness, but I don't know why this man did what he did. What I do know is that people stood in line for hours to give blood to those who were injured, while others handed out water and food. People all over the world are praying for the people and families of those who where killed and injured.
I told my boys that even though we see a lot of mean and hurtful things in this world, we also see how people come together and help. It is our darkest hour that shows us who we are. We are still a world filled with love, compassion, empathy and good will towards our neighbors and strangers. There will alway be good people, and good will overcome the darkness because it only takes one light to shine to dispel the dark. You can be that light in a world full of shadow. We can all be that light and then darkness will never overcome.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Las Vagas, the people and families that were hurt and killed. The rescue workers, doctors and nurses who face tragedies head on, with such grace and courage.
Now that school is in full swing and we are getting back into a somewhat manageable routine, I still find myself stressed out and tired. In between work at the court house, my practice, soccer, theater class and everyday “stuff”, I find it hard to get a breath. I tell my clients they need to talk time for themselves but I need to listen to my own advise.
So while I can’t not take the kids to practice or theater, I can make the most of the time while there. I have discovered I love going to soccer practice. I can sit in my chair and talk to other mom’s or just sit in peace in the outside fall air. I can listen to books on tape (that is one of my favorite things) or catch up on some reading for work.
The point is, even though we have busy lives and sometimes, if not most times, can’t really catch our breath. Recognizing the small moments in between where you can take those breaks and sit out in the fall air while watching a group of 8-10 year old run up and down a field. You and the mom next to you laughs and smiles because you don't have to do that. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I helped a young woman fill out an ‘EX-Parte’ petition (restraining order) today. After I was done asking her questions in order to fill out the paperwork, I gave her a brochure I created about “Red Flags in Relationships.” As she read it she began to cry. She said, “Why didn’t anyone tell me about these? If I had known about these, I would never have gotten involved with him.”
This is a statement I hear far too often. It made me wonder if anything is being taught to our teenagers about relationship abuse. What is it and how to recognize the signs? So I did a bit of research and the answer I got was “no.” It is not taught in school, church or community centers, at least the ones I called. So the next person that asks me where am I supposed to get this information, my answer will be: nowhere. That answer breaks my heart.
We are doing our teenagers such a disservice by not giving them information that may one day save their lives. I know that sounds melodramatic but I have known people who have lost their lives to domestic violence. Families who are so stuck in a cycle of domestic abuse that almost everyone was either a victim or an abuser, going back for generations.
So here is a list of some warning signs:
Domestic violence is still something that we keep a secret because of shame, embarrassment, fear and any one of a hundred other reasons. This is an issue that breaks all barriers; race, religion, socio-economics, education levels, gender, and country. We can change the number of victims but just educating ourselves on the “red flags” and speaking up when we see them. Domestic violence is no longer a “family matter” and it is time to “air the dirty laundry”.
To get a full list of the Red Flags in Relationships you can go to my website at www.trinitycounselingkc.com and click on “Resources.”
Every year we all make our New Year resolutions. We want to lose 30 pounds, eat healthy and get to the gym 8 days a week, start that new business or change just about every aspect of our lives. This year we are really going to do it! The reality is that most of us fail at our resolutions because they are unrealistic. We look at the whole goal but not the steps it will take for us to get there. When we set smaller goals in order to get to the big goal, we are more likely to stick to the resolution we set.
Take the example of losing 30 pounds. Do you really believe that you can get to the gym every day? Life happens and things come up. Getting to the gym three days a week seems more realistic to me. Start small. On days you don’t go to the gym - take the stairs at work, walk around the building, switch that afternoon “pick me up” to the morning so you have more time to work off the calories. Sometimes it is easier to reach your goal if you do it with someone else. Having an accountability partner can get you to the gym or to remind you to put down that doughnut. Having someone else who knows what you are going through because they are right there with you can make the goal much more obtainable (and the journey more fun!)
I know I can get overwhelmed and lose interest or momentum in trying to reach a goal. Eighteen months ago I decided I wanted to start a private practice. The goal was to have an office and clients, but to reach that goal there were so many little things that had to happen. If I did not break tasks down into manageable groups or goals I never would have accomplished my overall goal. If the goal that week was to build my website, I had to figure out who would host it, what content, pictures, or text to add, and a million more issues. Even though it actually took a month, only by breaking down that monumental task into more manageable pieces was I able to get it done.
If you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Pick up where you left off. Our lives are not defined by how many times we fall, it is defined by how many times we get back up. By changing a few of our routines and breaking down larger goals into smaller steps we make obtaining our New Year’s resolutions a reachable goal.