Memorial Day

May 28th, 2012

Today here in the states we focus on those members of the armed forces who died while in service to the country. There is little we can do for the fallen. There is some comfort we can give to those left behind and we should but on this memorial day let us grieve also for those who have been wounded. Let us consider the hospital beds and the wheelchairs thousands of which are filled at this moment. Let us consider the suffering of those who sit vigil at the bedside of wounded warriors. Let us consider those who look into the other room of their house and see not the person who went off to war but the broken body that remains. Let us consider those with fine young bodies but tormented minds and broken spirits. Let us consider those who love them.

Yes, it’s a day to fly a flag for those who sacrificed their lives but please don’t ever forget that you don’t have to go to a national cemetery to honor sacrifice. On your street or around the block or on the other side of town is a house filled with suffering. There sits or lies or paces a wounded veteran. He or she could use a kind word or a nice lunch. The caretakers could use a movie ticket and a hour or two off. Maybe just sharing a cup of tea or coffee once a week and just listening. Anything and everything you could possibly do would be helpful.

When I was discharged from the Marines many years ago I thought of all the adventures I would have in my future and now when I walk the halls of the veterans hospital I see all the adventures that never will be. Some men and women left their lives on foreign soil and thousands upon thousands of others left so much more. Send a prayer to heaven today for those who passed and tomorrow reach out and pray for those who still suffer. The best way to honor the dead is to take care of their comrades.

(C) 2012 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


Pain and Loss

May 21st, 2012

Part of the human experience is pleasure and happiness and part is loss and pain. We will always be somewhat jealous of those that seem to have a disproportionate amount of happiness and we will always cringe at those who seem to have a plethora of pain. Every day we fervently wish to be one of the happy ones and we humbly pray to be spared the fate of the other ones.

But before we pray for a life free from pain and loss we must understand their blessings. Yes, their blessings. Your pain is going to keep you present. It is going to make you prioritize what is worth your energy and time. It is going to make you reach inside and find a way to take the next step when it seems impossible. Your pain is going to summon more strength than you ever thought possible. Your losses are going to test you most of all. Your losses will suck the very will to live from you but you will find that although you may not want to live, life will live through you regardless. You will understand not only the fragility but the power of life. You will go on because life wants you to go on.

Pain and loss will force you to seek and find answers, not THE answers but more importantly YOUR answers. You will create a belief system from those answers and that will sustain you through all your further bouts of pain and loss. These answers are what you will pass on as your wisdom.

Yes, all these are benefits of pain and loss but maybe the greatest benefit of enduring pain and loss is you will know unequivocally who loves you.

(C) 2012 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


How Big?

May 14th, 2012

How big is your life? You know the size of your room and your height and your waist but what is the size of your life? Is it a big life, one growing with ideas and openness to whatever comes or is it a small life, concerned with surviving and stepping around obstacles and praying nothing bad befalls you?

A big life has very little to do with work and chores and obligations. You can have a small life and still be run ragged with a million things to do. A big life is a life that is filled with trust and faith. It is a life that says “Oh Dear God, I dislike what is happening but I know it is all for the best and I trust you.” It is a life that says ” I am going to make a positive difference in the short time I am alive.”

A small life says “Oh Dear God, please don’t let any problems, health issues or financial or relationship issues negatively affect me or anyone I care about.” It is a life that wants a story book existence (forgetting of course that all story books are about problems that have to be overcome!) so that there will be no need for sleepless nights or soul searching. It is a life that says “I don’t want to give up any of my pleasures but I want the results as if I did.”

Live large! Whatever comes your way, without exception, is helping you to grow. No matter how big your problems, realize that in your pain is an alarm clock. You are being awakened. You are being taken from your slumber and told to remember your dreams and to start making them a reality.

When you decide to live large, you will become a bigger target for fools and problems but the bigger you live, the smaller those things will seem. You are not here to be stopped by your problems but to grow bigger because you encountered them and to step over them and keep going. Whatever problems there are in your life, know that you are as big as you think you are. Think positive, powerful, big thoughts! It’s who you really are.

(C) 2012 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride



May 7th, 2012

Loss. It hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles. We fear the loss of our life, our friends, loved ones, control, possessions, health, wealth, sanity, love. Come right down to it, we fear loss of any kind. What can we do about it?

Fear of loss is actually a two fold fear. We fear change and we fear our inability to deal with that change. In other words, we don’t think we can handle it. When faced with a thought, a doubt about our own strength during a loss, we search ourselves for the strength to deal with it and it’s not there! Our suspicions are confirmed. We firmly believe at that point that we don’t have the strength to deal with loss and we panic. It’s a lie.

Oh, it’s not a “I didn’t eat the last cookie” type of lie. It is a lie of misunderstanding. If we thought in the summer about how we would handle a winter chill and we looked down and saw ourselves in shorts and flip flops and we freaked because dressed like this we would freeze to death, it would be absurd because when the cold weather comes, we will change. We will do whatever is appropriate to the situation.

When loss of any kind happens to us, we too will change. We will be given the strength to deal with it. We will be given the friends, old or new, to help. We will be given the insight about what to do and when to do it. One of the immutable laws of life is that whatever we truly need will always be given to us when we need it and not one second before. Faith in a Higher Power is not necessary but it does make this so much easier to accept.

When fear of loss pops up in our thoughts, rather than freaking out, it is much wiser and much more empowering to say. “Oh, you again. I’ll be ready for you when and if the time comes. Until then, shut up!” And then go ahead a think a better thought.

(C) 2012 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride