Tag Archives: war

A Continuum of Time

Photo by Robert Trull on Pexels.com

Despite the horror unfolding around us both in this country and other parts of the world, life has an uncanny way of just plodding along. It’s almost like a two-tiered continuum, one filled with pain, terror, loss, and sadness, and one that holds the everyday, regular stuff of life. At least that’s how it feels to me right now. My work as a news reporter and editor currently keeps me focused on war, antisemitism, underserved populations, and social justice challenges. But, I also cover lifecycle events, community happenings, profiles of people doing amazing things, and other upbeat topics. I’ve also recently been faced with some practical challenges that sometimes leave me questioning whether to stay in my job or leave to find greener pastures. And alternatively, I learned I won a prestigious journalism award. So, you see, two tiers of life happening at the same time.

What to make of all of this? My mom used to say that all of life is yin and yang. The good is necessitated by the bad, the joy is sweeter because of the pain. Honestly, I thought it was ridiculous at the time. I couldn’t comprehend what she meant. I railed against loss, frustration, and disappointment. I raged at injustice as a completely unnecessary evil. And I shut out the thought of ever losing someone I love, ever.

The thing is, no matter how hard we try to hang onto our youthful idealism, life keeps on happening. It changes us. And I don’t mean to suggest change is bad. On the contrary, I believe change is both good and necessary. That was also a lesson I learned from my mom. In order to stay afloat in the stormy seas of life, it’s important to be both anchored, and buffeted by the wind. So, I remain optimistic and hopeful in the face of tragedy, but I also hold onto the lessons and memories of those who anchored me and even in their absence, continue to be my anchors.

I recently learned about a nonprofit organization that is working to rescue people in the Eastern part of Ukraine and get them to the safer Western part of the country. The rescue efforts began with children who are orphaned or in foster care, and now has expanded. I heard stories of bravery and fear, pain and joy, loss, and excitement for the future. Again, two things happening at the same time. In another part of the country, the Mayor of L’viv is planning a fundraiser to create a hospital to care for, and help rehabilitate, civilians who have lost limbs in the war, and to provide prosthetics to those who need them. A fundraiser while war rages all around. I’ve heard that in some parts of the country, it’s even hard to tell war is happening, while in others, cities have been reduced to rubble.

As for the mass shootings that have happened since I last wrote for this blog, I actually have nothing that makes sense of that. During the last month, a childhood friend lost a child to an accidental drug overdose, and I lost a cousin to pancreatic cancer. All these losses feel unreal, random, senseless. And they are.

So, what’s the flip side of these tragedies? I don’t think there is one. They are just horrible things that happened. Much like my younger self, I am filled with sadness, rage, and disappointment. Right now, it’s hard to see the other side, but my mom’s voice keeps me anchored while the storm blows around me. That voice inside that tells me to keep going, keep loving, keep giving to the world, keep hoping. I’m still here, still learning, still growing, still changing. Maybe someday it will make some sense.

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner.  Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world.  The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at www.jewishobservernashville.org . and follow her on Instagram @barbdab58

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The Other Side of the Couch – Memorial Day

Memorial Day
This past Memorial Day weekend was perfect in its blue-sky, cotton-cloud beauty, in its breezes that tamed the almost 90-degree heat in Nashville, and in its opportunities to gather with friends and family.  This ushering-in-of-summer weekend, this celebration of all the things like watermelon and burgers and kids running around and fireflies and even fireworks, seemed light-hearted in its easy and breezy fun.

And yet – and yet – this day also carries undertones and overtones of other days, days that were darker, full of other kinds of feelings and memories.  This is a day the origins of which are disputed, but no matter where it began, it in some way began as a remembrance of those who died when this country was rent by civil war.  Whether begun by Southern women, freedmen, or Northern generals, the day evolved over the years into what it is today:  a memorial to those in this country who lost their lives in defending the lives of others.

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s.  As a child I read the Cherry Ames: Student Nurse Series enthralled by the tales of bravery involving WWII.  As a young teen I read Janet Lambert’s series focusing on the Parrish family, whose parents were military and whose young men aspired to join the service and attend West Point.  As I entered college, our country was beginning to face the struggle of Vietnam, and my patriotic ideals began to become mixed up with the war protests that were common in my northeastern college.  I was uncertain about what to think about the whole idea of the military.  For a time I turned to pacifism, but then I realized that if attacked I could not condone doing nothing.

These confusions continue, but what I know today is that I hold in high esteem those men and women who choose to serve their country by joining one of the services.  I am thankful for these men and women, and I hold the memory of those who died in the service of others with gratitude and thanks.

At the same time, I continue to struggle with the need for war, the reality of war.  Although I was never a great fan of Dwight David Eisenhower, I have recently come across some things that he said, and they make really good sense.

Eisenhower said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.  War settles nothing.”

He also said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

I hope that the words of this old soldier will be heard.  At a time when war seems endless, let’s remember that, as Ike said, war settles nothing.  In the meantime, we remember, and we are grateful.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.”  Contact Susan at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com

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