Back to the Group

It had been 4 months since our Alzheimer’s Support Group met. Christmas holidays, and months of horrendous weather shut us down. So, it was great to reassemble the group last night. One of the main issues resurfaced, “How long before I must put my loved one in  a care facility?” Several in the group struggled with this question, and you could feel the stress they experienced as the 36 hour caregiving became more and more demanding. It was helpful to have a member of the group who had placed  both parents in memory care. She was so devoted to the group, she remained after their deaths, and proved to be a valuable source of information.. A couple dealt a parent who had dementia, but proved stubborn and unwilling to appoint one of them as  POA.  Another member had experienced the same problem, and stayed after the group ended, to give them positive steps to take  that action.  We all felt the pain of one person who told how her husband no longer talked with her. “I feel all alone,” she said, and the group responded to her with love and support. Another woman faced major issues of the dementia of her mother. Although living in “Independent Living,” she had lost all language,  could not order from the menu, and often got lost, wandering the halls at sundown. She also was paranoid, believing  a man was in her room, and stealing from her. The group helped this caregiver face options, but did not decide for her. It was a moment of joy for me, since a member of the group, who had been a participant since the beginning, was  trained as a facilitator. So, with another facilitator also involved, I became “emeritus,” and could remain as a source of wisdom for the group. If ever there was a need for a  community of support, I am convinced that Alzheimer’s support groups answer that need. Bound together in the struggle of caregiving, they provide safe and loving support for anyone facing this disease for which here is no cure. My never answered question remains: Why doesn’t the church provide such groups for members who face this issue??????

 

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Steph Curry: A Gift

 

As I stroll through halls and malls with my walker, with the Davidson logo on the front, I get various responses. Some ask me where my Harley is;. others call me Mr. Davidson. Finally, two doctors associated Davidson with Steph Curry. One said, “Does he ever miss?” And the other commented, “He has to be the best shooter of all times.” Take that Michael Jordan! Ever since Curry led Davidson  to the Elite 8, I have followed his career.  The basketball world finally woke up to Curry, as the little man  led the Wildcats, who  swept through Gonzaga, Georgetown and Arkansas before almost making it to the Final 4.Last year Curry was “All Everything,” winning MVP and leading the Warriors to the World NBA Title. This year, Curry continues his amazing play, as the Warriors try to win 72 games on the way to a another Title. With other fans, I  watch with amazement as Curry  launches one of his cloud scrapers, the ones that seem to fall out of nowhere and barely  ruffle the net. But it is  more than his skills on the court that .inspire me. It is his humility, character and service to others that make him a real role  model.  Curry gave a week  of his off-season to go to Tanzania to hang 37,000 anti-malaria nets with Us for Nothing Nets.  Curry paid for a lot of those nets, which means more to me than  his swishing the basketball nets with his trifectas. ::Like the mythical Camelot, the Curry craze can’t last. This little man and his little ego and large, towering shots will soon become history. But let it not be forgot that once  there was a Stephen Curry. I took the photo outside a clothing store in a Mall. No, it isn’t Christmas now. Bur Steph Curry is a gift!

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EXTREME NARCISSIST

Once a month while my wife teaches a Bible class in Greensburg, I have the joy of going to Barnes &  Noble Book Store. I have no agenda in mind but browse the stacks until a book catches my eye.  Today it was Dr. Joseph Burgo, The Narcissist You Know. Narcissus was a mythical Greek who fell in love with the reflection he saw of himself in the lake. Dr. Burgo claims that in this age of selfies and social network, all of us have some semblance of narcissism. However, he is warning us of the Extreme Narcissist. Dr. Burgo mentions some of the characteristics of this personality disorder: self absorption, arrogance, speech always centered on himself, tendency to insult others,  and marked  by a continual smirk on his face. When criticized by others, he either  shrug off such comments, or mocks those who make them. Most often this narcisstist is an alpha male, programmed by an authoritarian father to believe winning is everything.  at any cost. Driven by power and success, this personality accepts no blame  for his actions, responds to criticism with rude insults and  never accepts blame. Burgo also writes about the Bully Narcissist and the Self-Righteous Narcissist. It is a book worth reading “Honest Abe” was the direct opposite of an extreme narcissist. . My great-great grandfather was Edmund Burke Lyon. He was named for the Irish politician who is reported to have said. “The best  way for evil to triumph is for good men (and women ) to do n0thing.{” . Indeed!

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History Always Repeats Itself

I have lived a long time, more years  than I ever expected. I’ll be 87 on March 7th, just a few years from becoming a nonagenarian. Throughout my life I have seen how history repeats itself, and the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. I’ve been more research on my ancestors, and in particular, ,my material grandfather, Dr. Milford Lyon. During the 1920s he was associated with the fiery evangelist, Billy Sunday, the converted White Sox player.  I read Sinclair Lewis’ novel, Elmer Gantry.. This is no reflection on my grandfather, but it does expose some of the evil effects of revivals. Gantry was a flamboyant womanizer, a super con artist. He appealed to middle class white people with his simple “gospel,”  showmanship. and  promises with no substance. Gantry was a narcissist,  prone to vulgar attacks on other people,. Although he was a ruthless self-indulged person, he seemed to appeal to the common man, who “hit the sawdust trail” to  find Gantry’s salvation and promise “to make America great.”  In those days there was no television  and only silent movies.. So,  people packed the aisles of the tents to see a great show, which  mimicked a carnival, with Gantry the loud barker. . One of my favorite characters in  the book is the business man, William Morgan. (no relation). He tries to bring some sanity and order to Gantry’s revivals, although often his work failed  because of  Gantry’s excessive squandering of funds. and reckless expenditures. .  In the preface   to his book, Lewis wrote., “No character in this book is the portrayal of any actual person. Really??. “History repeats  itself,” ad nauseam.

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Be Angry But Sin Not

Some called this “The Year of the Angry Voter” One need only listen to these endless debates to  hear angry words from all the candidates  Everybody is angry, from the right to the left. Some of the support for candidates emerge   from siding with people who are angry with the government and Wall Street.   When I was young I was taught that anger is a sin, and needs to be suppressed.  There is a positive way to express anger, but not by t attacking other people and venting  anger at anybody. Paul wrote, “Be a angry, but sin not.” What did he mean? There are to kinds of anger: he kind that is selfish and characterized by our unbridled egos, and the other that is focused on the injustice done to people. I have long that believed there is a righteous anger, whenever God is misrepresented or  people are mistreated. I become angry when “religious:” people make “god” a vindictive tyrant, with no compassion for those of who sin. Or, I get angry when older people are denied their rights, and some claim they will change Medicare and Social Security. I become angry when  vulnerable and poor people are either ignored or become the target of political debates. I am sure as this election year goes on, anger will be even more expressed. Where is forgiveness, compassion and kindness??

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