Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shower the People - James Taylor

Today at Unity of Phoenix Richard Maraj gave another message in his series: The Songs of Life

I loved how he connected James Taylor's "Shower the People" to the many aspects of loving, feeling, and sharing those feelings.

As I listened I found myself seeing parallels with what I've learned from women who have Alzheimer's in the family, whether a parent, spouse, or grandparent.

There are more songs and books about *love* than any other subject...not surprising!

Jesus showed us how to love...unconditionally love...

I was thinking about that in relationship to having a parent with Alzheimer's.
Just as we love our infants unconditionally....just for being, it gets to that point when there is Alzheimer's in the family. No longer is there much response from our parent to what we do or say.

And your parent may not even know who you are anymore...just some nice person who comes to visit.

It's an opportunity to see how pure your love really is...
Are you OK with just "loving" on your parent, even when there doesn't seem to be a positive response?

I am grateful that I truly do believe my Mom still knows me and she usually responds positively to loving touch and smiles. Sometimes not... I just never know from one visit to the next what to expect. I remember one day last year when I visited and she was sitting in the hall and never would wake up the entire time I was there...

She no longer even sits in the hall as far as I know... and I've learned to visit at lunch time when Mom is more alert. I usually sit with Mom while she eats and make certain that they bring her an ice cream sundae. She loves her ice cream!

...and back to James Taylor....
"Show them the way that you feel...."
Expressing your feelings is essential for a successful relationship. The number one reason for dissatisfaction in relationships is not sharing our feelings. We don't tell the truth ... and sometimes don't even FEEL the truth of what is going inside us.

Jesus shared his emotions. Jesus wept. Jesus shared his up feelings, down feeling, angry feelings.

As children we learned that it was much easier and we felt more loved if we said what parents wanted to hear rather than what we were really feeling. Who wants to be the one who's always in trouble for speaking up against their parents?

"You can run but you can't hide"

Don't you LOVE his amazing voice!
I have a special affinity for James Taylor.
His "Greatest Hits" CD was my first...a gift from my son, David.

Yes, you can run from your feelings but you can't hide from them.
There are negative effects when we don't notice and express our feelings.
Suppression of our feelings lowers our immune system.
Not sharing creates separation in relationships.

When a parent is getting older, not hearing well, or is in various stages of Alzheimer's or some other dementia...
After asking over and over again for someone to repeat what they've said, you'll see some older people start faking that they've heard what was said.

Or parents may hide from their children that they are really struggling with keeping up with all the details of their home and life. They feel their children are too busy...don't need to hear about their problems. And parents don't want to lose their independence. If their children think they are not able to be on their own, they'll lose the joy of having their own home and life.

I even saw a story on TV of many homeless people living in tents. People who found themselves without the funds to support a home after losing their jobs...
One couple was talking to the reporter saying they had not told their children...were ashamed to be in the situation....

Think of what's happening to our parents' immune system when they are suppressing their feelings and not sharing their problems with their children...
We need to encourage our parents to share with us.

Gregg Bauer in Real Love says that when we are in fear we can't even be honest with ourselves, much less with others.
With fear, we lie, attack, become a victim, cling, or run.
With love we feel, we're honest, and we're safe.
It all comes down to living in love or living in fear.
Only with honesty and sharing of feelings can there be "Real Love".

Talk to your parent and express your love even if it seems there is no understanding of what you are saying. Just as small children pick up on emotion before they have understanding of language, the same is going on for your parent.

Share what you are going through with someone else who cares about you. Be honest with yourself about the multitude of emotions you are experiencing. It's OK to have negative as well as positive feelings about all that is going on.

Yes, Shower the People....
with your love...
with your concerns...
with your joy...
with your sorrows...
Yes, Show them the way that you feel...

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