Wednesday, March 5, 2014

... This is Your Brain After Three Semesters into Your MSW.

Warning!  I have seven weeks of life bursting forth on the keyboard here.

I just finished Social Welfare Policy I and have a week off before starting SWPII.  Before I started this degree, I wanted to work in low-income neighborhood transformation via individual and group therapy.  Then, I wanted to overturn the food stamp policy so that people could not buy soda and candy with their food stamps.  Then, I wanted to go into the prison system and work with addicts, so that when they come out, they are not pulled in that direction again.  Needless to say, the more I learn, and the more I experience, the more I want to do!  Thankfully, I have another two years of school.
This was my brain -                                                                  And this is my brain now.












The past seven weeks in movies:
After finishing up my class Racial Justice and Cultural Oppression, I saw Twelve Years A Slave.  Why would I do that to myself?  I couldn't talk to anyone for a day.  I was completely wrecked.  Yes, it deserved the Oscar, and I am pretty jacked that the one time I actually saw a movie nominated for movie of the year won!  Brain message - be a voice for those who have no voice, and, I am privileged to be white, while some are not.
Then, I saw Gimme Shelter.  It's a true story about a homeless girl who is beat by her mom, in and out of foster homes, gets pregnant, gets into an amazing group home, and turns her life around.  Brain message - work in, or open up a group home like this one to help these girls get back on their feet, and, don't judge - because you never know what's in someone's background.
Lego Movie - only message I got from that was - we are "The Special"!  We have a purpose!
Son of God - The first two thirds was a lot of what I remember from the History channel series.  But in the end it was redeemed (pun intended).  Once Jesus started His walk to the cross, I was wrecked again - that a blameless and perfect lamb would reach out to me like that, when I rejected, and continue to reject, Him.  When the disciples claimed; "We have a job to do", I walked out broken and driven.  To reach out to those who are far off, because we are here as ministers of reconciliation!

The past seven weeks in weather:
Yes, it's been cold.  I'm done complaining.  I'm over it.  Here's the good that's actually come out of it: We had a burst pipe which flooded the kitchen.  I got brand new floors on our entire first level, which was greatly needed - thanks to Allstate!  During the flood, a friend and her kids, who had previously been homeless, were at our house.  This puts things in perspective.  I couldn't complain.  We had a broken toilet, but we had another one upstairs!  This is a rich person's problem, one of which, I am thankful for more than I was before.  Even for the leaks that we discovered at my daughter's window and over the front door - because we are not sleeping outside, or on the floor, and all have beds that we don't have to share!!
Also, even though I haven't worked out in over a year, thanks to all of the snow, my arms have remained quite buff!  And, since there is constantly a new coat on the ground, and I have not been able to pick up after the dog, no one notices!  And I haven't taken down my Christmas lights because they are frozen to the gutters, still!  So now, I can just wait till it's warm.  When the weatherman said the high on Thursday is "freezing", I was so excited!  That's just weird.
Lastly, I have walked my dog every morning.  Amidst blizzards, polar vortexes, and darkness.  As the temperature rises above ten, I start to sweat.  As my youngest daughter gets into hockey, I can handle the rink, thanks to the temperature training I've been through this winter!  But I'd be happy if it doesn't happen again in my lifetime.

The past seven weeks in school:
Our textbook was called The Reluctant Welfare State.  We've been studying social policy over the years, from before The Great Depression, until today.  Presidents, movements, wars, first ladies, psychologists, other countries, and why ours is "reluctant".  Because I didn't really pay attention in history class earlier, this was mostly new to me.  I've written papers on my conservative roots; drug problems and various ideological angles in which they are addressed; the economic proof of the obesity issue; world-wide comparisons of government-sponsored social programs; and poverty, fetal development and the WIC program.  A year ago, I wanted to make the world eat healthy.  Now, I just want people to be free from anything that is holding them back from being "the special".

The past seven weeks in hair:
I shaved my head.  I liked it.  No one else did, really, but I didn't care. It's growing out and feeling bushy.  It's easy and I now feel like I can relate (a little) to a Kenyan!  Also, there's something written in the Bible about Paul shaving his head as part of a commitment he made, I like that.  There's also something in there about women who shave their heads being shunned.  I'll skip that part.

The past seven weeks in people:
I had the opportunity to visit a prison that is home to 2500 inmates, an adult mental health facility that is home to 250, and a fourth floor apartment that is home to one.  I want to go back to all of them all the time.  I have friends in each one.  I now have ammunition for fighting for the rights of the oppressed.  It's personal because of relationships that have been built.  I am learning that that's what has made my brain fly in all directions.  As I get to know people, and their backgrounds, my heart aches, and I start to understand.  And I stop judging.  I have not seen Heaven is for Real yet, but on the trailer, the little boy, Colton, is seen gazing off into the sky.  Sometimes I just want to live like that.  But then I come to, and remember, as the new Needtobreathe song claims for all of us; "I am a Difference Maker".

The End