Jump to content

jeastridge BSN, RN

Trusted Brand

BSN, RN, Faith Community Nurse

Trusted Brand Trusted Brand Columnist Expert Nurse
  • Joined:
  • Last Visited:
  • 535


  • 125


  • 153,927


  • 5


  • 0


jeastridge is a BSN, RN and specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

Joy has worked in a variety of fields in the nursing profession over her 35+ years of nursing, including GI/GU, Medical Surgical, Pediatrics, Home Health and Hospice. While being a FCN for 22 years, she also worked in hospice and obtained her CHPN. In addition to writing for the website, she pursues other avenues of writing and has published a children's book and two Bible studies. She is active in her community, in her church and with her ever-growing family. She enjoys long walks in the mountains of East Tennessee, cooking for crowds and reading for pleasure. 

jeastridge's Latest Activity

  1. jeastridge

    Getting the Vaccine: Nurses Lead the Way

    Thank you for your comment. I am glad you are working to educate our patients and the public with reliable, science-based information. Joy
  2. jeastridge

    Getting the Vaccine: Nurses Lead the Way

    Nurses Setting an Example Nurses as a group lead the way in getting vaccines. Although some still hesitate—particularly outpatient nurses—as a group, professional nurses continue to set an example of willingness to combat the epidemic by getting vaccinated themselves. Statistics are still being gathered but in March 2021, 64% of hospital nurses were already vaccinated. The effort to get that number to 100% is underway. How can we help our peers and our patients who hesitate about getting the vaccine? Going the Extra Mile Nurses have been heroes every step of the way. Nurse Vaccinator Jaquelyn Chartier stated in a New York Times article, “I saw on the news they were going to roll out these mass vaccination sites but they needed nurses because they were short. And I was, like, I gotta go. I gotta go help.” Her spirit echoes the voices and actions of so many nurses who have stepped up to the plate and gone the extra miles to help conquer this pandemic. Working in health care, many of us have seen the worst of COVID: patients struggling to breathe, suffering a variety of maladies, and some even becoming “long haulers” finding themselves besieged by symptoms months after the disease should have packed up and left their bodies. Countering that are the 80% of people who have symptom-less or mild symptom infections of COVID-19 and recuperate uneventfully and quickly. The two extremes are hard to reconcile. We continue to have a lack of current science about what makes one person get acutely ill and another barely suffer a sneeze. Because of these disparities, we hear divided reports—everything from doomsday reports to a fantasy of denial. As nurses, we are sometimes stuck in between trying to educate people, help them understand, and lead by example. Vaccine Risks vs. Deadly Virus Risks The fact that vaccines have some degree of inherent risk is well-known and undisputed. But this risk must be weighed against the potentially much greater risk of severe illness from contracting this coronavirus. With a mortality of 1% (this number is still being determined), it is much deadlier than the flu (<0.1%), even after we have had over a year to develop strategies to treat it. All of us know of stories of young, healthy men and women becoming gravely ill, ending up on a ventilator and dying. Our stories in this country are numerous, but in other countries, the situation is becoming even direr. Globally, the pandemic has been devastating. The risk of getting the vaccine is extremely small. Not getting the vaccine is also a calculated risk. It is important to understand this and to encourage our patients to consider that they are still taking a risk when they choose not to be vaccinated. The recent pause in the administration of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was due to blood clots in 6 persons out of 6.8 million (1/100th of the risk of getting struck by lightning). Misinformation Misinformation and outright lies about the vaccine are plentiful for those who are willing to read it and give it credence. The internet has an overabundance of bogus “information” about vaccines going into your DNA. “The truth is that the vaccines cannot modify anything in your embryo or your child.” Miraculous Preparation for Such a Time as This The scientific literature describing the development of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines with mRNA is fascinating and reads like something out of the future. The men and women scientists who were able to rapidly develop these vaccines for COVID-19 did not come upon this technology overnight. It had been in development for a number of years and was miraculously ready just when it was needed. According to associate scientist Katherine Calhoun, “Rarely do you work on something in the lab and go home and turn on your TV and see the top 10 headlines are about the thing that you were working on today.” The miraculous preparedness of the scientific community “For such a time as this” seems to have escaped our imaginations during the crisis of COVID-19. It may be time for us to step back and reflect on how fortunate we are that events in the cosmos came together to give us these tools to combat the infection. Senior scientist Amy Barnes who is part of the development team for the Pfizer vaccine states: “This kind of reminds me of September 11th. It’s that same feeling of What were you doing at the time?” Prevention - the Best Treatment Prevention is the best treatment we have for COVID-19. Vaccines are our best hope for staying safe, keeping our families and patients safe, and preserving the economy. Like most viruses, it mutates and this one spreads aggressively. We have a short window of time to poke holes in its armor and then watch it crumble. If we work together, we can make it happen!
  3. jeastridge

    Nurses Begin Trauma Recovery from COVID: 5 Ways to Cope

    Thank you for your comment. So sorry for your loss. Your approach to de-stressing is inspiring. It has been a tough time...Joy
  4. jeastridge

    Nurses Begin Trauma Recovery from COVID: 5 Ways to Cope

    Thank you for sharing your story. It sure is a lot to process. And you are right. COVID affected different hospitals and different locations very differently. Like you, most of us will need some time to recover. Joy
  5. jeastridge

    Nurses Begin Trauma Recovery from COVID: 5 Ways to Cope

    I'm glad your experience was generally not traumatic. I think that is one of the aspects of COVID-19 that has made it so hard--the unpredictability of it. With 80% of people recovering without sequelae and 2% dying, it is just hard to know what to expect. And fear can lead to trauma. For nurses, many have harder experiences to report, including difficult working conditions.
  6. Amidst the havoc created by the pandemic, nurses have been a steady influence for good. Our profession continues to represent caring and compassion, ministering to the sick in difficult circumstances, and doing our best to preserve dignity and respect for those who suffer and for their loved ones. Nurses have risen to the occasion and led the way in compassionate care. But, at what cost? As the pandemic abates, we begin to see co-workers facing and processing the trauma of this year of COVID-19. Hopeful signs The pandemic is certainly not behind us but there are hopeful signs that the increases are abating and that mass vaccinations are taking hold to break the grip of the virus on our nation. Worldwide, the situation remains perilous and we simply hope that the vaccine will continue to be effective and give the global community relief. Slow Process of Recovery The deleterious effects of the pandemic are well-known: death and disaster all around. The USA alone mourns the loss of 550 thousand people, each a person who leaves a space to be filled with grief. With known cases at 30 million (possibly many more undiagnosed), we have a sizable portion of our population directly affected by the virus. Currently, about 10% of the total adult population in this country is fully vaccinated with about 1/3 having received at least one shot. We see signs of progress but aligned against these words of hope are the threatening presence of variants and the risks of letting our guard down too quickly. The Trauma of the Pandemic Nurses experienced a variety of traumas from the pandemic. Losing patients even with the best care possible Being overworked and having to push through intense fatigue Facing political and social upheaval with our country and communities divided on how to approach the virus How to treat it and how to prevent it On all fronts, nurses were right there at Ground Zero, dealing with all of it in the best way they could, all the time keeping to focus on advocating for and doing our very best to provide exceptional care every time to every patient. Back to Normal? How? As we see glimmers of "normalcy" we begin to process the trauma of the past few months. Sleeplessness, general anxiety, and disruption of routines contribute to many mental health issues. How do we best cope? Acknowledge it was hard We cannot move on and dismiss. Sometimes we have to sit with our troubles and turn them over and analyze them a bit to find a way to process. To deal effectively, we might need to first offer each other the space to say it was hard. How can you and those around you feel safe in discussing the difficult times of treating patients with COVID-19? Talk about it There may be one particular death or story or time that keeps going through your mind. Talking about it with a professional or a trained listener can help in dealing with a troubling time. Mental health professionals acknowledge that verbalization can help consolidate and reconcile disparate memories. Who might you enlist for a confidential conversation about specific traumas of the pandemic? Notice if you are having trouble Are you sleeping as well as you used to? Are you struggling with difficulty concentrating? Are you feeling low or "blue"? Sometimes we need to permit ourselves to not be OK. And to get help. When we go through traumatic times in our lives, the trauma doesn't go away afterward. It is still there, living in our minds. We have to find ways to work with it and to talk about it and incorporate it into our new, post-pandemic selves. We may need to seek out professional treatment and encourage each other to do so. Revisit old routines This may be a time to take back some parts of life that were disrupted: revisiting exercise routines by going back to the gym (if safe), or resuming evening walks, or volunteering at the animal shelter. What is the old routine that you want to restart? Re-engage You may be depleted professionally after the pandemic. The weariness may be making you wonder about moving on to a different line of work. While it may be time to explore further, it may also be a good time to take stock, to re-build professional interest, and to re-connect professionally. This could be the perfect time to engage in a learning activity online. Learning can rejuvenate and re-ignite our passion for our profession. How can you re-engage with nursing in a meaningful way? Whether you work in a COVID ICU, a health department, an ED, a school, a testing site, a mass vaccination location, every nurse has experienced the pandemic as it approached, surged, and now subsides. We have all dealt with our version of trauma. As we acknowledge and process our trauma we can take hold of lessons learned and move forward, even better professionals than before. What is Your Experience? How are you dealing with your experience during COVID-19? Can you share some of your experiences and how you are processing your trauma?
  7. jeastridge

    Racism in Nursing: Is It Real?

    I am so very sorry to read your story and hear about some of the abuse you suffered. I am glad you have been able to survive and thrive. My hat is off to you! I hope you will continue to pursue your studies and become a nurse! Joy
  8. jeastridge

    How Much Time Do I Have?

    How much time? She looked up at me with pleading eyes, her head resting on a freshly laundered pillow case and her hair, still damp, laid out against the white expanse to dry. Her voice was firm as she asked the question that was on her mind. Taking a deep breath of the oxygen that ran to her nose she said, "How much time do I have?" She was not old. Certainly not old enough to die. Just in her late 60's, recently a new grandmother again, she found herself with much to live for and yet with each deep cough she knew the lung cancer was getting ahead of her. As I wrapped up my hospice visit, I sat back down beside her, to focus in on her question and to carefully think through just what to say-and what not to say. Whether you work in the emergency room, in a doctor's office, on a med-surg unit or hospice-whatever your field is-the critical question about how much time remains comes up from time to time. How we answer or don't answer that question can have a profound impact on our patient's well-being. Admittedly, with hospice patients there is at least some expectation, given clinical parameters, that the patient has six months or less to live. But that time frame varies widely and despite our best efforts to meet guidelines that outline expected decline, each person is an individual case where death can creep up unexpectedly or sit coyly in the background long beyond its expected arrival. Answering this particular question well requires sensitivity, knowledge, and honesty. When any of us faces a shortened life-span, we want to know what to expect. Terminal illness is accompanied by a host of unknowables. Measuring the time left is difficult because of each person's individual disease and progression. We expect the lowered immunity, potential for infections and complications that come along but those are often countered by deep wells of resourcefulness in the individual, and a love and zest for life that triumphs over all expectations. So what do you say? Probably the #1 answer to that question is, "I don't know" While this is technically and existentially true, it can be an easy way out for us as professionals. I think a more complete answer involves telling the patient that while we cannot predict with certainty, we pledge ourselves to let them know if we see a change that would indicate the time is near. We can add to that teaching about what generally happens as the time of death nears: increased fatigue, loss of appetite, less time being alert and a gradual shut down of body systems.For family members, there are many books that describe in more details the dying process and what to expect. "What do you think about how long it will be?" A second way to address the question involves reflecting it back to them and asking them what they have been told, what they are most concerned about, what is bothering them in particular at this time. This may sound like an evasive maneuver, but it truly does help to clarify the issue, and often what we are hearing is not what they are really asking. When it comes to death, most of us don't want to know specifics as much as functionality-how long will have have with my loved ones? Will I be able to talk/communicate? Will I be in pain? As nurses, we cannot promise total freedom from pain or discomfort but we can offer our commitment to work hard to alleviate symptoms to the best of our ability in conjunction with our health care team. "Ask you doctor" This is certainly not recommended phrasing, but sometimes, when all the tests are not in, when the biopsy is still pending, when treatment options are uncertain, we do the patient a disservice by trying to address this end of life question too directly. It can be especially true when dear Aunt Sue has breast cancer and so-and-so died of breast cancer and "I just know I am going to die of it too." The underlying tone of the premature question is one of fear and panic. Sometimes, what is most helpful to to ask the patient (or relative) to wait until all the tests are in, the treatment options are laid out, then resume the discussion. It is not helpful to lay awake at night worrying about something that hasn't happened and may never happen. In these cases, our role becomes one of comforter, of listener, and of encourager. Try to be as honest as possible And, no, this does not mean laying on the unvarnished truth with a heavy stroke. There is no such thing as "false hope." Hope is hope and we all need it to continue to survive for even a day or an hour. During admissions, I often tell patients, "Coming into hospice does not mean that you have given up. It means, instead, that modern medical science doesn't have any great treatment options to offer you and your family at this time. But miracles do happen and they can happen even in the context of hospice." This is completely true and I have seen patients "graduate" from hospice as their condition improves. Honesty is the best policy always and at this critical juncture, people really need someone who will maintain eye contact, extend a caring hand, offer a hug, and say truthfully, "I don't really know how long this journey will be. But I do pledge that our team will walk with you through this time and do everything that we can to help you on the journey. We will be with you." Those words can cut to the heart of the fear of being left alone, of suffering without relief. We always need one another, but when it comes to dying, the gift of presence is the best gift their is. I tried to address my patient's question as honestly as possible. In the course of the conversation, I found out that her new grand baby was due to come for a visit in a week. Her question centered on wondering if she would be here then, and more importantly, would she be able to hold the little one. I told her we would do our best to help her marshal her strength for that event and that we would do everything we could to help her be alert enough to enjoy some grandmother time. What about you? Have you found some particular wording that helps you talk with patients about this difficult topic? How do you answer the question, "How much time do I have?"
  9. jeastridge

    Faith Community Nurse 101

    This article is written in response to a query which was posted in the thread Examining the role of a Parish Nurse. As a long time Faith Community Nurse, I hope to be able to answer this nurse's questions fully in this article and possibly inform others that may wonder about what a congregational nurse is and what the role entails. "Hello everyone! I am in progress of obtaining my BSN and right now I am taking a class called Community Health Nursing. One of our assignments is to conduct a short interview with a parish nurse. If there is anyone willing to help me with my assignment, I would very much appreciate it!" Describe the nurse's role in the community and give examples of what he/she does on a daily basis. Real-life examples should be included whenever appropriate. First of all, what's with the name? The official designation by the American Nurses Association is Faith Community Nursing (FCN); other titles used include parish nurse and community health nurse. All are correct and can simply be a matter of preference for the nurse and his/her faith community. The ANA defines the FCN role as, "...the specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the intentional care of the spirit as part of the process of promoting holistic health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community." (American Nurses Association, 2012, Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, Silver Springs, MD: Author, p1). The nurse working in a faith community serves as an advocate, a resource person, a bridge between those who have needs and those who wish to serve them. Some examples from the particular congregation that I serve include: home visitation, card ministry, casserole delivery, prayer shawls, free mobile unit health care once a month, grief recovery, support group for caregivers, blood drives, dental clinic, haircutting salon and many others. In day-to-day practice, the outreach of a congregational nurse spans everything from welcoming new babies to making hospice-type visits in the home. The FCN provides information, support, encouragement and links the members with any services they might need. FCNs work in a variety of partnerships. Some are totally volunteer; others receive a stipend and still others are paid a regular nursing salary. Some are part time and others full time. Hospital systems can be sponsors for FCN programs or they can originate in the church. Identify how and who the nurse(s) would work with for coordination of services to provide a comprehensive health program in the community. At my church, I work with a large group of volunteers. They actually implement the outreach efforts-I encourage and coordinate. I also work as a liaison with the medical community, helping people understand their diagnoses, assisting them in finding ways to get to tests and doctors' appointments. Sometimes when parishioners are in the hospital, I work with the case managers and families to make sure that everyone understands what the plan is, thus avoiding unnecessary repeat hospitalizations. How would the nurse utilize a population-based approach in his or her role? A FCN must continually assess the needs of the particular congregation that she/he serves, deciding where to expend energy and time. In my particular situation, I meet with a Congregational Care Team and they help me plan what we will be focusing on each six months. Does this role include assessment and screening of individuals, families, or groups? If yes, please include examples. We do routine blood pressure screenings as well as occasional special event screenings, measuring parameters such as BMI, height, weight, waist circumference, body fat composition. When visiting our "at home" members, or our members long term care facilities, I do brief assessments-always noting changes and progression. What health education responsibilities does the nurse have in the community? The FCN often serves as an information source as well as a referral person, helping people to connect with the medical community as needed. She can answer questions about services surrounding rehab, home health, hospice, nursing home care, assisted living and a variety of other living arrangements for people with physical needs. At times, the nurse coordinates with others to help promote programs that might be of interest, for example: grief support, advance directive preparation sessions, caregiver helps, etc. Does this nurse work with a vulnerable population? If so describe. Many congregations have a sizable population of elderly. At our church, I work hard to keep an updated list of our at risk elderly. I try to connect those that have needs with people that want to be of service. In this way, I can serve as a bridge. Describe an ethical dilemma that this nurse has faced and describe how you would have handled that situation. The most common ethical dilemma many FCNs face has to do with confidentiality. When working on a church staff there is a need to share information that is helpful but not private. It is important to constantly draw that line at the point of confidentiality. How important would record keeping and documentation, including computerization, be for a nurse in this role? Different nurses have different strategies for keeping records. Because we are professional nurses, we do keep careful records of encounters and interventions. SOAP notes are helpful and brief. Sometimes simple narrative notes on the computer can be valuable for when another encounter is needed. What about you? Have you had any contact with a FCN? Are you familiar with a congregation that has one? Choosing a Specialty but not sure which one is best for you? Download Nursing Specialties Guide!
  10. jeastridge

    Vaccine of Hope

    Thank you, Mary! Yes, there is an end in sight! Joy
  11. jeastridge

    Vaccine of Hope

    Brimming with Hope In December as many of us stood in line with other health care workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, we were brimming with hope, some of us were even moved to tears at the prospect of seeing this scourge of disease and destruction drawing to an end. Two months later, we continue to see hopeful signs with the infections and deaths decreasing, but the pace has been much slower than we would have liked, and the reality of vaccinating a country full of people has been sobering. Along with the logistics of putting a needle in an arm, we have also confronted supply, transportation and weather issues. Vaccine Meets Expectations / Distribution Fumbles The vaccine appears to be all that was promised: 95% effective after the second dose and curbing transmission even after the first. However, the slowness of the national response coupled with state-to-state and even county-to-county differences in procedures have left the public bewildered and distrustful. Many have said that each state is like its own country, so divergent are the approaches in vaccination policies and procedures. The categories—divided and subdivided—proceed at a variety of rates, producing vaccinated teachers in one county but not in another, and efficiently protecting 65+-year-olds on one side of a state line two weeks before the 65+-year-olds on the other. Though these differences may seem insignificant, to those who are waiting daily for the dose, the differences can add confusion and anxiety to a time when those emotions are already heightened. Nurses' Role - Providing Accurate Information As nurses, we can be an important part of the process of imparting accurate vaccination information to those around us. Whether we work in a hospital, office or community setting, there are reasons why our patients need accurate and up-to-date information about where and when they can get the vaccine. As professionals, we have an opportunity to stay informed and provide help as needed whether it is on the job or even in our social media and personal community interactions. How can we keep current? CDC The CDC site is the gold-standard for the latest on vaccinations and eligibility. At CDC.gov nurses and other professionals can get the latest on research and unfolding vaccine information. Most recent information includes how we can mask better to protect ourselves and others, information about the new COVID-19 variants, and information about how to re-open schools safely. Your state’s website Most states are pulling together information and posting it on their websites routinely. Check out the website and the facebook page and set tabs to follow these sites regularly. County websites and facebook posts In our area, the county has done a good job of posting changes and notices about availability and location. They also post more current event notices such as advising people when there are no lines at vaccination sites, on their social media platform. These have been highly effective ways of getting the word out to the community, although our elders and those without ready internet access continue to require help getting the information. Individuals dedicated to compiling and posting new information In our area, we have several groups and individuals who have made it a personal mission to check out all the sources of vaccines, including new pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, doctor’s offices, health departments. They are also posting and re-posting helpful websites and sign-up apps. Doing some searches online can produce helpful results and shortcut the work that nurses must do to provide accurate and concise information. Share/repeat/listen We have an opportunity to be helpful during this pandemic. We can be a part of bringing this sad episode that has already taken the lives of 500,000 Americans, to a close. By sharing helpful information and re-sharing, we can be part of what brings order out of some of the chaos. As professional nurses, we are part of the trusted community of providers. We are “go-to” people. When we share and repeat and then listen for feedback, we can gain valuable information to disseminate to the public. With over 63 million in the US already vaccinated and probably another 50 million (at least) who have had COVID and have some temporary immunity, we are poised for success in the battle against COVID-19. With over 100 million already having some immunity, we are well on our way to seeing our population of 330 million obtain protection and returning to more normalcy. We have hope that the rate of vaccination will accelerate over the months of March, April and May as procedures are smoothed out and weather disruptions subside. As nurses, we can help make that happen by sharing what we know, combating misinformation, and re-sharing accurate updates. We are agents of help and hope in this war against disease. What has been your experience with the vaccine? If you have been a part of the process of administration and coordination, what lessons/stories can you share with us?
  12. jeastridge

    Racism in Nursing: Is It Real?

    This is certainly a difficult situation. I hope that the conversation you all had might open doors to further understanding. Joy
  13. jeastridge

    "Perhaps": Finding New Ways to Be Kind in Nursing

    Thanks for your post. I applaud your efforts to stay the course, even in times where opinions and divergent political stances can pull us apart. All the best to you! Let's keep learning from our children's books. Joy
  14. The snippets of conversation among co-workers on the floor revealed the level of antagonism as each expressed their dismay over recent political events. I side-stepped the conversation and moved along but not before hearing enough to make my heart beat faster, my blood pressure creep up and a slight pounding in my temples. Along with the stresses of COVID-19, our country finds itself sitting on a major fracture. Not only do we hold wildly dissimilar views, we are suddenly emboldened to become evangelists for our cause, proselytizing ineffectively on both sides of the aisle. Whether in nursing or any other field of work, we are all navigating new territory related to self-expression, social media and activism. What has happened and how do we move forward? Recently, I unearthed an old children’s book to read with my grandkids. What Do You Say, Dear? by Sesyle Joslin, is a timeless book that helps children—and adults—learn good manners. One of the vignettes has a nurse bandaging a child’s hand injured by a dinosaur bite. The victim offers a sincere “thank you” and the nurse replies with an appropriate “You’re welcome!” The book is silly and over the top but strangely relevant in these times where we seem to have forgotten our manners. How can we re-discover civility and good manners while still expressing ourselves? How can we fight against injustice and oppression while still working with and influencing others for good? How can we maintain healthy and thriving relationships with those who don’t think like we do? Without a doubt, it is important to speak up and call out bigotry and racism. Perhaps there is a way to counter society’s cancers with treatments that include civility. Maybe we can take a page from the children’s book and adopt some basic good manners. 1- Listen well to others People long to be listened to. Really heard. Ironically, in a time of social media where opinions blaze hot and spread like wildfire, the speakers are often left feeling empty and misunderstood as the arguments and counter arguments pour fuel on the heat or smoother any flicker of life with a wet blanket of condemnation. Listening well works at work, at home, at church. It doesn’t mean agreement. It might mean asking a simple question for clarification. It might mean postponing the conversation if it gets too heated. It certainly means being genuinely polite and kind. Every person has a life of experience behind them. Every person is on a journey. Every person is in the process of changing. We can be agents of gentle influence or of corrosive decay. 2- Sometimes being kind is more important than being right How often we forget this! In our zeal for correcting all wrongs, we walk all over people’s thoughts and opinions, blindly pouring out our store of great knowledge for them to see the error of their ways and thoughts. How often does our righteous zeal bring anyone around? How often does our thinly veiled pride provide the intended results? I was taking a graduate class once and the professor encouraged us to start our answers to one another with the word “perhaps.” As in: perhaps there is another way to look at this. Perhaps we don’t know everything yet on this topic. Perhaps I need to read more and get back to you. Perhaps. It’s a magic word. It allows room for both parties to breathe. 3- Be humble This point is likely to be as unpopular as an opposing political/social view! Who wants to sign up to be humble? And yet. Acknowledging that we may not know all there is to know can be the beginning of beautiful things. I hope that all of us have progressed in our thoughts and views as the years have gone by. People do change. Information comes out that focuses the lens and sharpens the outline of the situation. Looking back and reflecting on past opinions and perspectives can make us all take silent stock of where we are and consider that we may not know all there is to know at this time. Perhaps. 4- Don’t just say something If you don’t know what to say, maybe refrain. Consider sleeping on it and rejoining the conversation —or not—at a later time. On social media, we see evidence of friends and family filling the space opining in ways that may not be helpful in the future but will be very hard to retract. Once said, always said—that is the problem. While the speaker may go on and finesse their views and come to new and enlightened perspectives, their stated views hang out in virtual space into posterity. 5- Build bridges and tear down walls When our political, social, moral, religious values diverge, it is tempting to wall off the relationship and no longer pursue friendship. People make mistakes. They may not apologize. But holding grudges burdens us, not them. It also pollutes our lives with unnecessary weight and clouds our vision with uncharitable thoughts. We don’t have to agree, but we do have to continue to work together, cooperate, communicate. Perhaps we can give the other person the benefit of the doubt? There is a song that says, “We are more than the sum of our past mistakes…” Having an attitude of kindness, tolerance and forgiveness toward others can not only relieve us of our burdens but it can keep the lines of communication open dynamically allowing for change to cross. Perhaps ... Perhaps in these days of sound bites and video clips…perhaps in these days of incessant media bombarding us with images…perhaps in these days when our phones substitute for a friend…perhaps it is time to stop and take stock. Do we remember the basics? Do we practice good manners? Do we default to kindness? In the children’s book mentioned above, the main character accidentally bumps into the angry snout of a crocodile. Just when it looks like things might go seriously awry, she turns around and says, “Excuse me!” Her simple apology allows life to go on. Perhaps.
  15. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. There are so many unknowns in this particular case. I hope that we can use the little we know as a springboard to look within ourselves and ask one more time, "How can I do better? How can I be better?" And I hope that we can all realize that there is usually much more to the story than what appears in the media coverage. Joy
  16. Thank you for sharing with us. Your comments show a great deal of insight and caring. Being aware is the first step to positive change! Joy