Dear subscribers for Hope Has a Cold Nose,
“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed – to be seen, heard, and acknowledged simply as it is.” – Parker Palmer
Several months ago, in Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper” message, she shared about a speaker who addressed an audience vested in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. The speaker, in her own early stages of Alzheimer’s, shared about the value of dignity over pity and that one of the best questions someone can ask is what is it like to be you right now?
Dear subscribers, what is it like to be you right now?
I anticipate some of you would say I’m doing good. Perhaps some of you would say that because you truly are, and others would say it because that is a standard response that can be easier – or safer – than communicating where we might not be so…good. Perhaps some of you are frustrated or tired of the current state. Maybe others are finding a new friend in creativity or simplicity. Some may be more anxious with the only certainty being uncertainty. And perhaps others who have befriended a deep seeded resilience or faith are standing in their wisdom that this too shall pass. We are collectively experiencing the pandemic and its aftermaths. And each of us are individually deciding how best we can and wish to respond.
Over this past weekend I heard a 60% increase in the suicide rate since Covid from a friend who is in a role in which he bears witness to the truth of this each time he goes to work. My breathe is caught each and every time I hear suicide. My heart breaks that for some the ability and the will to live is no longer strong enough against the inner mental and emotional anguish that rages relentlessly. I believed that the twenty-three co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose would be able to provide hope to their Brothers and Sisters through the sharing of their stories. I now believe these co-authors will be providing hope to so many more. Military veterans journeying with pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, and grief will not be the only ones to benefit from these extraordinary stories you will find in Hope Has a Cold Nose. Non-military civilians who are struggling with isolation, depression, and anxiety will be served by brave men and women who can empathize, and who will inspire keep going, one step at a time.
I had asked you in the beginning what is it like to be you right now? If you are like me, maybe you feel a sense that you need to tread softly – and silently. Each time I enter a public setting, I am repeating an intention to myself meet people where they are at so that I suspend judgment, respect differing perspectives, and not be one that will provoke already tumultuous emotions that some may be feeling. Because I believe underneath the raised voices, angry, downturned or fright-filled eyes, and abrupt body retreats are individuals’ longings to be witnessed – to be seen, heard, and acknowledged, the only thing I know to do at the moment is attempt to witness. As each of the co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose taught me, do not judge for there is always more than we think we see.
Recently, while in one of those aforementioned public settings, a conversation began between a dear soul bagging my groceries and myself. The discussion began when the bagger commented on a new cleaner I was purchasing that she had not seen before. It migrated to ice cream flavors. It expanded when she shared about her 10 year journey with diabetes, her 19-month old son that is her purpose in choosing to be conscious of what she eats so that she can stay the victor over her disease, and just how much she has defined what healthy means to her by decreasing her body weight significantly (more than 200 pounds!). As I prepared to leave, I complimented her on what I felt were very beautiful tattoos, one in particular on her arm. She graciously thanked me and then turned her arm to share with me how she had plans to get another tattoo just above this strikingly beautiful one already on her arm. She pointed to visible scarring that she was trying to cover up with meaningful art. She then showed me how the tattoo she currently has was covering other scars.
In that most reverent moment exchanged with a stranger, I was witness to her story though no words communicated the details of the story she had lived. She gave me a most sacred gift one can give another. She gave me trust with an essence of who she is. As my eyes met hers, I said the only thing that came to mind with a tone that I hope conveyed compassion for her journey, whatever that journey might be bless your heart and it has been nice talking with you today. This strong, determined, beautiful, soul responded in like it has been nice talking with you, and you stay well.
…to be witnessed – to be seen, heard, and acknowledged simply as it is.”
I believe most people are good
And most mamas oughta qualify for sainthood
I believe most Friday nights look better under neon or stadium lights
I believe you love who you love
Ain’t nothing you should ever be ashamed of
I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks
I believe most people are good
– Luke Bryan, lyrics from “Most People are Good”, 2017
Editing is in full swing of Hope Has a Cold Nose. In the editing process there are multiple steps that include the content review and a final proofreading. The content review is what is in process and I have just completed getting a place holder on the second editor’s calendar for the final proofreading. The design phase (when the book gets formatted for electronic, paperback, and hardcover availability, receives a book jacket/ cover design, and so forth) is still targeted to begin in September, and the goal remains for Hope Has a Cold Nose to be available for readers late Fall (November).
Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions. I welcome exchanging in dialogue with you. I can be reached by visiting https://www.hopehasacoldnose.com/, https://christinehassing.com/ or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org