I’m hearing the birds

I have lived in the midst of a construction zone for more than a year. My home is in an upscale coastal neighborhood which touches a beautiful stretch of beach on the Atlantic Ocean. Until 18 months ago, there were a half dozen of us who are year round residents, and when I looked out of my windows, i saw four heavily treed lots and a few very attractive homes. Usually those were dark and still, with occasional weekend visits from their owners. The summers were a bit busier, but even then I could hear and see the migrating birds and happy chirpers in the trees.

And then the neighborhood change began. Lots were cleared, bulldozers grunted and pile drivers pounded, saws screamed. Massive trucks delivered building materials and stone. As many as 25 trucks in a day crowded the streets, muddied and mauled the shoulders. Strangers who played loud music and hauled big cases of tools and supplies and tossed cigarette butts.

For months I have felt annoyed, angry, frustrated, and bereft, overcome with a sense of loss of privacy and place. My neighborhood is gone. My home is no more.

Finally, however, the early mornings are still. Today I heard the sound of birds. It is different. I’ll not have the quiet of a few years ago, and I’ll have to move if I’m intent on discovering that quiet again. But perhaps if I wait a while, I will come to love the new sounds of families on vacation. Meanwhile, I am hearing the birds.


The Persistence of the Mental Illness Stigma

Dating God

stigmatizing-mental-illness There is an excellent guest op-ed piece in today’s  New York Times  written by two high-school women who articulately express the their experience of the travails of chronic depression, its isolating quality, and the stigma that remains attached to the reality. I was moved by their desire to unveil some of the solitary, and thereby confounding, dimension of such illness through their practice of journalism, only to be prevented by their school’s administrators. The argument against publishing such interviews with peers was “concern” for the students, yet this road constructed with seeming best intentions actually led to the reiterating hell of isolation and reinforcement of social stigma that needs to be lifted.

These young women deserve a lot of credit and I’m proud of the New York Times for publishing their piece. I have a number of friends — some in religious life, some not — who suffer from illnesses…

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