Money & Dementia

“I met a man, who knew a man, who said he knew a man, who knew what was going on.  I was mistaken…..”

I’ve always loved this song, written by David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame) many years ago.  I think it rather succinctly describes the uproar in our nations capitol at the present time.  There seems to be a growing vacuum at the top of our nation’s government, a lack of spiritual direction, if you will.  A number of politicians are jumping ship, and deciding to retire; I suspect many of their staffers will too.  Like Mr. Crosby’s lyrics, it’s near impossible to find someone who understands what’s really going on.

It also seems to me that manners are now in short supply.  I consider this to be a national problem, in Washington D.C. in particular, as well as in many of our state capitols.  In fact, it seems to be a viral issue, using the lingo of the day.  Good manners are disappearing at an alarming rate, and I wonder why this is so.  Surely this is learned behavior; where have the teachers of this growing plague arisen from?

Now, my opinion is that it seems best to get along with one another.   We can agree to disagree, but we can do it nicely.  But the behavior being modeled by our politicians just reflects our divided nation. And along with the nastiness, comes all sorts of greed.  More and more of our nation’s wealth is the hands of fewer and fewer people.  I believe the transfer of this money into fewer hands can only lead to tyranny.

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This concentration of a nations’ wealth is an ancient problem.  It has often resulted, historically, in the eventual destruction of a nation.  The concentration of money in the hands of fewer and fewer people, historically, has meant that those very people have made some very bad decisions.

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No one is talking much about this issue, though I believe they should be.  The shell game of the recent tax reform act transfers incredible amounts of money to the wealthiest people of this nation.  More and more citizens of our country will be left behind.  As Jesus said repeatedly in the scriptures, “Feed my sheep”.  Why?  He knew the wealthy folks that controlled the government weren’t about to do it.

Blessings,

Fr Dave

 

 

 

Trusting & Dementia

I’ve been thinking a lot about trust this week.  Having dementia, trust is always an issue.  “Do I trust myself to drive the car today?”  “Do I trust my memory, if I don’t write this down?”  Things I never used to think about, those things I took for granted, seem no longer set in stone.  These thoughts have led me to those four words, “IN GOD WE TRUST”pexels-photo-164661.jpeg

Those four words can be found on the back of all of our US currency.  We’ve seen the words so often, they’re often overlooked.  And, with the move to credit cards and electronic payments, we’re seeing them less and less.  Still, there’s that somewhat cynical old saying, “In God We Trust; all others must pay cash.”

Trust is a very important thing.  Trust allows us to live with one another.  It is a precious thing, that binds society together.  When trust is absent, there comes a lack of faith.  And,  a lack of faith and trust usually results in fear.  If we can’t trust someone, we begin to think, “What harm might they want to do to us?”

The lack of trust in one another often leads to cynicism, “If you can’t trust so and so, well then, who can you trust?”  I expect that most of us bear the emotional scars of dealing with mistrust.  Once trust is lost in another person, or institution, it’s often hard to get it back.  Forgiveness can be extremely hard to give, when one’s trust has been broken.  “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”  So wrote spoke Alexander Pope, many years ago.  Notice that he didn’t say we had to be divine to do it, but that the act of forgiveness itself was divine.

pexels-photo-208218.jpegIt can be extremely hard to trust in God when bad things happen.  Experiencing the onset of dementia has been very hard for me to fathom.  And of course, I often wish my life had gone a different way.  But there’s also things that I’ve learned, in the course of my dementia.  One of those things is that, “In God I Trust” is much bigger than dementia. And perhaps it’s bigger than those hard things in your life that you might be facing.

Sometimes I trust in God, and where it is he’s leading.  Other times, I’m not so sure I want to follow his directions.  The path is sometimes pretty cool, and at other times somewhat frightening.  But to trust in God, is to trust that what sometimes seems to be an awful mess is actually the very best direction.

Blessings,

Fr Dave

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Moving & Dementia

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Cookie and I will be moving to the east the end of June, and settling in Lewisville, Texas.  We’ve given our three months notice, here at the Parks, and have been slowly working out the details.  We will be living at the above apartment complex, (55 & older) beginning the 30th of June.  We are looking forward to moving closer to our family, family in this case being daughter Jen & Peter, and our grandkids, Ari and Will.  We’ll be just a few miles down the road, and we’re looking forward to trying to keep up with them!Attiva Lewisville ExteriorWe will be moving into a two bedroom apartment, on the ground floor of course, to accommodate the needs of our much pampered dogs.  It was a big decision, but we felt it was time to make the move.  All the details are falling into place, though not without some wrinkles.  Believe me, there’s nothing like moving with dementia.  Keeping track of all the details has been quite a challenge.  A snail’s pace would be a good description.

We’ve very much enjoyed living here in Midland-Odessa, and have made so many good friends.  We were blessed to be called to St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Midland, and to have so many good memories.  God has blessed us richly, and we are so thankful for your friendships.  Rest assured that our prayers for each of you will continue, and for your  new priest, Mother Nancy.

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God has been good to us, and we trust in his guidance, as we make our move the 29th of June.  We’ll be just down the highway, if y’all are feeling like a road trip.  My blogs will continue, as long as the dementia lets me write them.  I may even have to try writing a few blogs at poolside!Pool Shot

Thank you for your prayers, as Cookie and I make this somewhat challenging transition. It’s a lot of details for a guy that has dementia; Thankfully, Cookie has gotten skilled at catching my misdirection’s!

Blessings,

Father Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gardens & Dementia

Dallas Arb1Cookie and I visited Jen & Peter in Lewisville last weekend, and hung out with our grandkids, Ari and Will.  We visited the Dallas Arboretum while we were there, and I immediately fell in love with it.  The flowers were spectacular, the weather was sunny and warm, and the kids got a whole lot of exercise.  What more can you ask for?

I have been in a number of arboretums over the years, but this one rose to the top of my list.  It was immaculate.  Built on a lake, the gardens are extensive and beautiful.  There are a number of fountains to water the kids with, and Ari and Will made good use of them!  There was even a good-sized terrace of grass to relax on, and I swear the lawn  was equal to the lawns of Wisconsin.

As we walked through the various garden areas, there were people from many different countries doing the same with their families.  Conversations were going on in a number of languages, as people walked through the gardens wearing a virtual rainbow of colors.  And though the place was pretty much packed, everyone seemed to be enjoying the day, and getting along with one another.  Gardens can be so refreshing!20180324_141259 (2)

I have to confess, I was happy to be away from the never-ending political nonsense, even if it was just for a few hours.  I found myself thinking of Jesus, walking in the garden of Gethsemane at night, knowing he’d soon be arrested.  Surely, he must have been thinking of the irony of his being arrested, and cuffed in the midst of a beautiful garden.

And yet, things do die in gardens.  The spring flowers die as the summer temperatures rise and the new sun-loving flowers appear.  The flowers that die return to the earth, compost for a new generation.  It has been said that nature wastes nothing, and I believe that is true.  I also believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and his exit from the cold, empty tomb.

I think of these things when I walk through a garden.  Sooner or later, the lovely flowers will die, but their death, as always, will lead to new life.  I also believe Jesus was a heck of a teacher and that his voice speaks to us still.

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Jesus said to his friend Lazarus, “Lazarus, come out of your tomb.”  Friends, there are many kinds of tombs, and they’re not all in graveyards.  Come out of your tomb, and take a walk in a garden.  See the beauty that arises from death.  In the gardens of the world, there are both flowers, and people, of color.  Knowing this is to understand the eternal power of Easter.  This is the heart of the message of Easter, that Christ conquered the power of death, and has come to bring life to all people, whatever their color might be.

A Blessed Easter to you, and your gardens,

Fr Dave

 

Thanks for the Memories. And Dementia.

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I had an uptick this week in memory issues, which coincided with the week I was getting  tax stuff to our preparer.  These memory issues have been the kind where I’ve been thinking about one thing and then I lose track of what I was thinking about.  I know this happens to everyone now and then; it’s the increasing frequency of “senior moments” which distinguishes dementia from the “normal” patterns of behavior.  More specifically, dementia attacks the most recent memories first, leaving older memories virtually intact until much later in the dementia’s progression.

But, I knuckled down and got everything in, and now we wait to hear the amount we owe.  Hopefully, our preparer will work some magic and lower our pain level just a bit.  At least, that’s what I’m praying for these next few days, when I remember to do so.  It comforts to know that Jesus and family also had to pay their taxes way back when, its a very old tradition.

Thankfully, my friend Rick was in town for a few days this week, and we had lunch at Jason’s Deli.  He confessed to his addiction to their strawberry shortcake, and of course I had to try it.  Now I’m addicted too.  Why is it now that I can’t forget the strawberry shortcake, just like everything else?

Our dogs have what’s been called “selective memory”.  They are experts at knowing exactly when the treats come out.  If we forget to dispense them, they politely remind us to do so.  Okay, not so politely.  They even lead us to the kitchen and point out out where they are.  But try to teach them “tricks” and they’re not the least bit interested.  They quickly find their favorite spot and catch some Z’s.

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Memory is a strange thing.  As a priest, I can remember many Bible verses like I learned them yesterday.  But ask me where I put my glasses, and I’ll be searching for a while.  I can meet a person, and within a minute forget their name.  But I can remember people I went to school with, folks I haven’t seen in fifty years and it’s like I saw them yesterday.

My friend Rick asked me how I was feeling, and I just said this: “It’s taking a lot of medication just to be the way I am.”  And it takes some doing for me to remember to take my meds.  But I have Cookie to remind me, and she does that very well.  Thank y’all for reading, it really means a lot.

Blessings,

Father Dave

 

 

Politics & Dementia

pexels-photo-592600.jpegWell, there you have it.  Once again, the children have to take some action because the grown-ups won’t.  Our children have to grow up fast these days, because they’ve quickly realizing that the “system” isn’t working.  They know, as youngsters, that they are in the cross-hairs of the violence of this nation.

Thank God, once again, the kids are marching.  I say, let them march.  Let them learn the trials and workings of democracy.  Let them learn that to change things, they have to speak in unison.  Change is hard, and those who control the status quo aren’t wanting you out there marching.  “Let the adults handle things, after all, we know what’s best for you.”

Let me say that I, for one, am very proud of what you’re doing.  You will learn more about yourselves on your marches than you’ll ever learn in school.  Education is an important thing, but it comes in many packages.  You didn’t create this mess, but you have become the targets.  I believe that together, you have the ability to fix it.  If you don’t, your children will be dealing with the same things you are.

I also know that the grown-ups will try to stop you from your marching.  They will threaten you with punishment and cast doubts about your future.  The shootings will be labeled an “isolated incident”, and added to the ever-growing list of carnage.  And you’ll be left to wonder if the next school shooting will be yours.

If my children were in school today, I would hope that they’d be marching.  I would pray that they’d be challenging the grown-ups to do something to make it stop.  I would hope that they’d insist their schools and teachers get better funding.  I would hope they would ask that their teachers could concentrate on teaching, rather than thinking about their guns.

As a former police officer, let me tell you something about having guns.  In my twenty years of policing, there were a number of misfires.  Not just citizen misfires, but officer misfires.  They happened on the shooting range, and they happened in the City-County basement where we parked the squad cars.  They happened to some of the most competent officers I worked with.  Fatigue from working long hours around the clock were certainly a factor.  I myself once pointed a loaded gun at a fellow officer in a training exercise.  These things happen, and they will happen in your schools.  In the news this week there was a story of an officer who left his gun unattended in a school room.  These things will happen.

So I say to y’all, march.  March for those who are no longer with us.  March for the children who have been traumatized.  March for the teachers in your schools who are so poorly compensated.  March, because if you don’t, nothing will happen.  You must take courage, and work together for change, because you are your only hope.  And be assured that I and many others will be praying for you.

Blessings,

Father Dave

 

Politics & Dementia

pexels-photo-592600.jpegWell, there you have it.  Once again, the children have to take some action because the grown-ups won’t.  Our children have to grow up fast these days, because they’ve quickly realizing that the “system” isn’t working.  They know, as youngsters, that they are in the cross-hairs of the violence of this nation.

Thank God, once again, the kids are marching.  I say, let them march.  Let them learn the trials and workings of democracy.  Let them learn that to change things, they have to speak in unison.  Change is hard, and those who control the status quo aren’t wanting you out there marching.  “Let the adults handle things, after all, we know what’s best for you.”

Let me say that I, for one, am very proud of what you’re doing.  You will learn more about yourselves on your marches than you’ll ever learn in school.  Education is an important thing, but it comes in many packages.  You didn’t create this mess, but you have become the targets.  I believe that together, you have the ability to fix it.  If you don’t, your children will be dealing with the same things you are.

I also know that the grown-ups will try to stop you from your marching.  They will threaten you with punishment and cast doubts about your future.  The shootings will be labeled an “isolated incident”, and added to the ever-growing list of carnage.  And you’ll be left to wonder if the next school shooting will be yours.

If my children were in school today, I would hope that they’d be marching.  I would pray that they’d be challenging the grown-ups to do something to make it stop.  I would hope that they’d insist their schools and teachers get better funding.  I would hope they would ask that their teachers could concentrate on teaching, rather than thinking about their guns.

As a former police officer, let me tell you something about having guns.  In my twenty years of policing, there were a number of misfires.  Not just citizen misfires, but officer misfires.  They happened on the shooting range, and they happened in the City-County basement where we parked the squad cars.  They happened to some of the most competent officers I worked with.  Fatigue from working long hours around the clock were certainly a factor.  I myself once pointed a loaded gun at a fellow officer in a training exercise.  These things happen, and they will happen in your schools.  In the news this week there was a story of an officer who left his gun unattended in a school room.  These things will happen.

So I say to y’all, march.  March for those who are no longer with us.  March for the children who have been traumatized.  March for the teachers in your schools who are so poorly compensated.  March, because if you don’t, nothing will happen.  You must take courage, and work together for change, because you are your only hope.  And be assured that I and many others will be praying for you.

Blessings,

Father Dave