By Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D
There it is again, that massive lump in my throat – the one that makes it hard to swallow. It came during my morning meditation. I had just changed out the music on my CD player (yep, I said CD player not IPod or I-Pad), to my favorite Christmas venue.
Every day I include a special prayer for our military and their families, past and current, and this is when the song began, just as I was beginning that part of my meditation… the song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. It was the awareness of the words that made me ponder how many of our men and women have served our blessed country and wished each day that they could escape their current reality and go somewhere else. And these words then produced that enormous throat bump:
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high.
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
A land where the song sings on, Skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. Then I envisioned what those dreams might be, dreams that are ever so humble, ordinary and serene — a land somewhere in the world and even in our beloved country where peace and goodwill abide; where dreams are not filled with violence and awfulness but acceptance and camaraderie; where possibilities and hope still exist.
Then came the verse that caused the throat bump to grow like the naughty, green-eyed Grinch.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops…
So what troubles, dear readers, would you like to melt like lemon drops? Which clouds need to vanish to allow brighter days shine forth? My guess is that there may be more than a few troubles, but the wish may simply be for a kinder, gentler future. Therefore, has always been my wish for each of you guardians of freedom— days of joy, hope, and love. Since there is no such thing as a charmed life, perhaps all that I can truly wish is what Sarah Ban Breathnach mentioned in Simple Abundance, a holiday special package, the Strength-Wisdom-Grace package. Strength to meet your challenges, Wisdom to embrace real life, and the Grace to be grateful not only for what you have, but what you’ve escaped”.
Perhaps you may never be able to fly beyond the clouds or over the rainbow. Perhaps just being able to view the rainbow in all its glorious hues, makes the clouds a bit lighter. And perhaps, if you can’t fly over that rainbow, perhaps, just perhaps, you can still, like the bluebird, the small sparrow, or the great eagle, simply fly…
by Janet Seahorn
Have you ever heard a song a hundred times and never thought much about it?
Then one day, you are driving down the road with nothing to obscure your mind; you hear this very same song and it suddenly hits a new note, a new way of thinking about the words, and you wonder why did I never recognize the amazing connection?
Such an incident came to me a week ago while I was steering down the highway. I heard a song from Josh Groban’s album, Awake, called “Weeping”. What took me by surprise was how closely the words seemed to describe the silent torment of trauma.
How experiencing a truly shocking event, the mind, body, and spirit continues to relive the disturbing details as if they were happening in present time.
How, no matter what you try, how much you do to contain or remove the frightening thoughts, they still seem to remain.
The words from the song “Weeping” is another way to describe those living with Post Traumatic Stress. See if you agree – I only wrote down a verse and the poignant chorus.
I knew a man, who lived in fear,
It was huge, it was angry, it was drawing near.
Behind his house a secret place
Was the shadow of a demon he could never face.
He built a wall of steal and flame
And men with guns to keep it tamed…
It doesn’t matter now,
it’s over anyhow,
He tells the world that it’s sleeping.
But as the night came out
I heard a lonely sound
It wasn’t roaring, it was sleeping.
So where are those “secret” places where the demons hide? And, even more important, how many sufferers are strong and courageous enough to face them, deal with them, and move forward?
For there are no walls high enough, no amount of men with guns that will be able to tame one’s internal demons.
In the end, perhaps the residue of trauma isn’t fueled by fear and anger at all; perhaps what remains is fueled by a sense of deep sorrow. A sorrow provoked by dreams of what could have been. Sorrow from what was lost and the silent weeping formed from loneliness and regret.
And perhaps, with enough time, enough support, and enough courage even the weeping will cease and be replaced with hope and joy.