Archive for the ‘post traumatic stress syndrome’ Tag

Empty Nest Syndrome


It could be a dangerous process, this thing called life.

Needed. That lost feeling of being needed. That was the real empty nest syndrome. It was the theme around here for the last 18 months. Maybe it always happened as a man or woman entered their fifties.

If you ever lost the feeling of being needed, there was an affect on how you lived. If you lost the feeling of being needed, there was an affect on your faith in God.

If you lost the sense of being needed, it affected your response to evil. That lost sense of being needed had moved into the neighborhood. I saw it in drug use. In gangs. Or with my perception of modern urban life, as 4 pseudo thugs walked by last night under the cover of darkness. By simply their sounds.

Crime was coming in. Actually 24 hours later 4 squad cars were around for an hour looking into something that had happened.

Crime. The world-wide web. Internet gambling. Chatting. The Russian Mafyia was here in the porn. And had been for the last decade. Deliver us. From evil. Kids. Adults. There was no escape. You could not deliver your kid to the internet bus stop. On the day the internet came, there no longer was a bus stop. Deliver us. From evil. If not you, your kids, your spouse.

That lost sense of being needed. I think God felt it. How could He not with the current age. In the secular world. Was an after affect of the loss of need called “mellowing with age?”

The lesson of need was learned not just upon the loss of a loved one. It came with unemployment. Or with a divorce. With the empty nest syndrome, in the age of the internet.

God certainly felt the loss of romanticism in the age of the internet. With more unbelievable ignorance of men about their lovers. The needs and wants were still present. Amidst all of this. Love. Love and needs and faith. The need to keep trying. When the magic seemed to be gone.

In this secular age, there was a lost feeling of being needed. It was palpable with the empty nest syndrome. There was trouble getting attention with a loss of life’s ritual. There was a need for a closeness that rituals provided or the feeling of need lost would exacerbate. That magic revealing yourself to someone else was lost when, one by one, people quit communicating. To God. To a spouse. At the point when the revelation of my own imperfections had been so slowly revealed. At the time of the empty nest syndrome. No wonder so many people in their fifties filed for divorce.

Divorce and the lost feeling of being needed. The loss of opening to someone in conversation to get close. When a partner did not seem to care to talk about the imperfections. Ah, those slowly revealed imperfections.

When you had failed at the most important thing in your life. Your marriage.

If I had a list, there would be 8 guys counted as best friends. Maybe a couple more. Two who used to be married to each other. Half of the most important males in my life were divorced. This would include my brother. I was not. Yet.

How did it happen? I had a discussion when one of my best friends about what he had described as the most important thing in his life when he categorized what had happened. He explained in intimate painful detail the pathology of what had happened. And then he could never tell the kids who were now over 21. Res ipsa locquiter. That failure did the talking.

How it had happened. Did you ever tell your kids the reasons why? And at what age?

There were a lot of people out there in search of the feeling of being needed again. In need of that magic which came revealing yourself to someone else. To God. To a spouse.

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer had a point when he said that the first half of life “gives us text and what follows supplies the commentary on it.”

How did it happen? When you have failed? When you have failed at the most important thing in your life. That lesson learned was not just upon the loss of a loved one. It came with unemployment. With divorce. With the companionship part of your life. There was an element of belonging in all of this. There was an unrecognized joining with others to explain who you were all along. In employment. In marriage. There was this need for community.

And it was the same companionship part that moved me beyond myself to others, to complete the grieving process. When a chapter of life was over. How did it happen? I was looking to connect, to explain the painful detail of the pathology.

I never had comprehended the method of how, the reason to grieve correctly. I never had comprehended the need for others to reach an understanding about a change in a relationship. To get an understanding of the growing tension between elements of past and current identity, of what is going on. To get an understanding of the need to connect again.

Opening up to someone to replace the people that suddenly were not there, the intimacy lost. Support groups for grieving were not just for women. There was an instruction to join with the others in grieving. The instruction was to join the community to draw closer to this God. In the search for the feeling of being needed again.

It could be a dangerous process, this thing called life.

Empty Nests

To be moved, in this world with all of its dysfunction, to act.

The 40% of American Catholics that had moved to different churches, amidst the dysfunction. The European Catholics who just plain quit worshiping. The leadership which by the way was supposed to believe in the Gospel of “I am the Good Shepard,” failed to respond to the dysfunction. Mostly it was left to the parish priest. The leadership, which seemed to called to go looking for its lost sheep, were lost in their own spiritual golf game.

To be moved. When creation had become chaos. Golf games. The priests to whom I was related had loved to play golf. Simple parish priests.

Dysfunction. The dysfunction. I saw it not far from my home in the black community. I heard it on a walk the other night where one woman never took a deep breath in the 120 to 180 seconds I just stood listening to an uninterrupted rant inside a house. When another neighbor came along from the opposite direction, I felt like I had to move on. It might have been the television but if it was, a commercial seemed over due. To this passer-by, it was not funny. It was hilarious.

Uninterrupted rants. There were a lot of them in the world. Creation had become chaos. All that the Good Book says is that Noah submits to God’s will and nothing more;uninterrupted rants. About the ongoing effects of World War II. When you elected leaders who had lived through it all. It was not just what Adolph Hitler had done to all of us, Jews and non-Jews. It was what Stalin had done to all of us. When so much of the media was ready to offer canonization, what had the leadership of John Paul II done to the church? How could anyone lived a life through all of this and not show affects of dysfunction?

Gdansk in 2001. People coming back to claim property wrongfully taken. Gdansk is about my favorite historical place in all the world. On issues of freedom in that shipyard. Following September 11, there were not many travelers looking at the Gdansk museum, where I learned that Gdansk represented much more than just Lech Walensa. The fight for freedom that arose there under the leadership of Lech Walensa came from events that had happened at the shipyard over a 10 year period. Massacres really. This was the successful Polish uprising, a lot like the ones that had ultimately failed in Warsaw in response to German occupation.

Where was the accountability in Rome to all the lost sheep? It was not just the abuse of the 20th Century and the lack of response from Rome. It was about addressing the status of women in the church for the 21st Century. Men born before World War II did not see the need to address it. Not when nuns were still ironing your vestments, making your food, and cleaning your apartment.

With a dysfunction seen in the corporate world with board of directors appointed by CEOs. When those boards did not question executive compensation. With politics as usual, without a concern for the real world. The real world of Bernard Law. And archbishops like that all over the country, not much different than the world of Wall Street.

When there was a laziness that came from your habits, without thinking. Going back to the same staid ways. When things quit working. The culture will soon be demanding even more reparations for these sins, if they had not already. The juries made up of women were a scary scene when they were going to sit in judgment of this church, on issues of damages against the church.

In this dysfunctional world, with all of the lost sheep

That party in Omaha. “What did you think about John Paul II.”

To be moved. Beyond words of apology. To be moved to change. It was time. This Penecost Sunday.