Our Hearts Cry Out, I Am Emmanuel


Carmel Mawle, Founder and President Writing for Peace
Carmel Mawle, Founder and President Writing for Peace

Mental Health Resources & Advocacy mourns the death of the nine members of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Our condolences are being sent to their love ones, friends, church family and Charleston, South Carolina.

We welcome guest author Carmel Mawle, Writing for Peace Founder and President. Please read and meditate on her words Our Hearts Cry Out, I am Emmanuel.

I know I wasn’t alone in sobbing at this morning’s news. Yes, it is terrorism. It is clearly a hate crime. But what can be said that hasn’t already been said again and again? Empty words. African Americans can’t worship and pray, swim in a neighborhood pool, play in the park, shop at their local store, or jog or walk or drive down the street without risking their lives. And, it’s no surprise that the killer is another young white male. It has been shown that the concept of “race” is a false construct. Race does not exist, but racism does. The truth is that this country was built on a foundation, not of Christianity, but of white supremacy. The truth is that incomprehensible violence simmers beneath the surface of this white privilege – the militarized police forces, the branches of our corporatized military, our privatized prisons, the NRA – and until we can recognize the monster within us, claim responsibility for all its actions from slavery and genocide and atomic bombs to “stop and search” I’m afraid we will continue to spawn these young white males. Our hearts cry out “I am Emmanuel”; we pray for and grieve with the Charleston victims, and Sandy Hook, and Columbine, and Aurora, and every mass shooting, and we study these killers to learn what thoughts filled their heads, how they spent their time, what they ate, and what meds they took – how they are different from us. If we look honestly at the death and destruction still reaped by an economy built on the military industrial complex of white supremacy and corporate imperialism, then it seems plain to me that these young white males are our logos, our mascots, our brand. How do we change that? How do we end this violence? I believe we first have to own it.

© Carmel Mawle 2015. All Rights Reserved.

What is Grief?

Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one, or news of a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received.

They might find themselves feeling numb and removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular duties while saddled with their sense of loss.

Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft or the loss of independence through disability.

Experts advise those grieving to realize they can’t control the process and to prepare for varying stages of grief. Understanding why they’re suffering can help, as can talking to others and trying to resolve issues that cause significant emotional pain, such as feeling guilty for a loved one’s death.

Mourning can last for months or years. Generally, pain is tempered as time passes and as the bereaved adapts to life without a loved one, to the news of a terminal diagnosis or to the notion that someone they love may die.

Do not hesitate to consult with a professional trained in grief and bereavement.

HandiCAPABLE by Author Lisa Weldon with Illustrations by Niaren Binford

Author Lisa Weldon has written an important and inspiring book HandiCAPABLE. HandiCAPABLE’s main character is a  five year old little girl named Lola. Lola is wheelchair bound. She was raised by two wise and loving parents, to believe she was capable of doing anything she aspired to. Lola never feels sorry for herself instead she embraces life with joy, childhood wonder and wisdom beyond her years. She plays games with her four sisters and like her siblings does chores. Lola loves everything having to do with the princess theme. She believes herself to be a princess as opposed to being handicapped, and her wheelchair is known by all as the princess mobile.

HandiCAPABLE will resonate with adults as well as young people, it has many important lessons to teach. HandiCAPABLE is sure to inspire confidence, self esteem and an appreciation for each individual’s uniqueness and gifts. Everyone has special talents and gifts to share. Lola has interesting experiences and meets someone who does not share her same confidence and self esteem. You will have to read HandiCAPABLE to learn what and who they are.  I enjoyed this book from start to finish, and will undoubtingly revisit its pages and recommend it to others as an important learning tool. Niaren Binford HandiCAPABLE’S illustrator has done a wonderful job of creating beautiful illustrations!

HandiCAPABLE author Lisa Weldon with admiring readers and supports Bronx Book Fair 2015
HandiCAPABLE author Lisa Weldon with admiring reader attendees Bronx Book Fair 2015

Nearly thirty years ago lead by Cheryl Hudson Willis and her husband JUST US BOOKS, publishers of children’s literature was created. This husband and wife remain on the forefront working to insure publishers publish diverse books for children. Years ago when the Willis’ went to purchase books for their children (now adults) there were none with their children’s image. They set out to create and have successfully changed the old exclusive narrative, into one which is inclusive. Traditional large corporations are getting the message, but there’s a long way to go. HandiCAPABLE is not only a children’s book but an excellent tool for parents, teachers, clergy, and mental health professionals.

According to Kids Health.Org in the article Developing Your Child’s Self Esteem healthy self-esteem is like a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who know their strengths and weaknesses and feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures. They tend to smile more readily and enjoy life. These kids are realistic and generally optimistic.

In contrast, kids with low self-esteem can find challenges to be sources of major anxiety and frustration. Those who think poorly of themselves have a hard time finding solutions to problems. If given to self-critical thoughts such as “I’m no good” or “I can’t do anything right,” they may become passive, withdrawn, or depressed. Faced with a new challenge, their immediate response might be “I can’t.” What is self esteem?

Self-esteem is similar to self-worth (how much a person values himself or herself). This can change from day to day or from year to year, but overall self-esteem tends to develop from infancy and keep going until we are adults. Self-esteem also can be defined as feeling capable while also feeling loved. A child who is happy with an achievement but does not feel loved may eventually experience low self-esteem. Likewise, a child who feels loved but is hesitant about his or her own abilities can also develop low self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem comes when a good balance is maintained.

Patterns of self-esteem start very early in life. The concept of success following effort and persistence starts early. Once people reach adulthood, it’s harder to make changes to how they see and define themselves.

So, it’s wise to think about developing and promoting self-esteem during childhood. As kids try, fail, try again, fail again, and then finally succeed, they develop ideas about their own capabilities. At the same time, they’re creating a self-concept based on interactions with other people. This is why parental involvement is key to helping kids form accurate, healthy self-perceptions.

Lisa Weldon is an author with vision, creating new paths which are diverse and inclusive. She’s working to change the image of persons who are HandiCAPABLE. I’m looking forward to further Lola adventures and future great books from author Lisa Weldon. Well done! HandiCAPABLE can be purchased at  www.Amazon.com.

©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved.