Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Life Lesson #1

 The sooner you realize no one cares, the better off you will be.

Friday, May 21, 2021


Sometimes you don't even mean to but you get to the eye opening moment of clarity and are surprised at the truth of things.

I don't feel sorry for myself and I am not a victim because I call out truth and refuse to accept your version of reality.

My refusal to accept bullshit is the opposite of victimhood. It's strength.

Disagreeing with you is not victimhood. Complaining about your burdens and responsibilities and reality is victimhood. 

Nobody cares about how hard things are for you. How wrong you've been done. The world does not care. 

Fools will coddle and wallow with you in weakness, but there is no value in victimhood. None.

Suffering is a part of life. It's the biggest part of life.

Your life, then, is ultimately how you deal with hardships and suffering.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Stand Back and Stand By

These people walking around in normal clothes looking human. Shopping. Driving their cars. Getting gas. Mowing their lawn. Putting out the trash. Making their morning coffee. Raising the cup to their lips as their eyes read the online comments and memes and reviews and snark and alarm.  The place where their heart once beat is filled with that bitter glee of the one who sits at the sideline, never enters the fray, but watches as virtue is beheaded in the colosseum. Their comments sound neighborly and concerned but their posts expose the truth. And even those who tell themselves they're above it all because they refuse to talk about what is happening around us give themselves away with their likes and their emojis and their bitter cackles of joy as decency is beaten and bloodied and drug through the streets and then crucified. And on Sundays they go to church and thank their crucified Jesus on the cross that they are still great and that Trump is on his throne and they beat their chests as they take the host in their mouths and kneel as the choir sings 'God Bless America' while it burns all around them. 

Friday, June 1, 2018


Joy and resentment cannot coexist. 
The experience of not being able to enter joy is the experience of a resentful heart.
I'm reading Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen was a Catholic priest, among many other things. He was a prolific writer and servant, and ultimately, a man whose loneliness and desire for relationship shaped his writings and life and his spiritual journey. Though he never publicly acknowledged that he was gay, his personal letters and writings indicate that he was. I must have read a quote by him somewhere that intrigued me to look into who he was because I'd never heard of him. His palpable loneliness was intriguing. It made me sympathetic and so I picked up Return.

If you don't know the parable of the prodigal son, it basically goes like this: A father had two sons. The youngest one day asked for his inheritance, which his father gave him. He then left for a distant country and squandered it all on a life of debauchery. Left with nothing, he is forced to tend pigs. Starving and prohibited from eating even the scraps allotted to pigs, he realizes the servants in his father's home have it better. He recognizes that in his demanding an unwarranted inheritance (his father yet lived!), he had wronged his father and, accordingly, he had no real right to return home. He reasoned, however, that he would beg forgiveness and seek nothing but a place of servitude in his father's home. His father meets him with forgiveness, mercy, and celebration. This angered the older son - he had stayed with the father, was obedient and served him all the years the younger son was gone, "You never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property, you kill the calf we had been fattening!" The father meets him with the same forgiveness and mercy, saying, "My son, you are with me always, and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found."

I hadn't yet read Nouwen's section about the elder son when I happened upon the story of Juan Carlos Cruz and his meeting with Pope Francis. Juan Carlos is a sexual abuse survivor. Specifically, he was abused as a youth in Chile by a Catholic priest. The Pope was in Chile for the purpose of addressing this...what's the word...endemic scourge of the Church. In the process, he met privately with Juan Carlos, who is gay. After the meeting, Juan Carlos told people, some of whom were reporters, that during the meeting, the Pope told him "God made him gay and that God loves him the way he is."

Given that the Church's official stance on homosexuals is that they are "intrinsically disordered," this caused Catholics, particularly priests, I follow on Twitter to go a little nuts. Many called on the Pope to clarify and remind the world about Church teaching on the subject. I even had a twitter exchange with one priest who, I felt, admonished Juan Carlos for not keeping the meeting private. His gripe was that he now had parishioners who had questions and he wasn't happy about having to answer those questions. (I can't make this stuff up)

It really struck me after reading Nouwen's Return, particularly the portion related to the elder son, how easy anger, resentment...judgmentalism comes to all of us.

Nouwen writes:
In response to their complaint, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them," Jesus confronted the Pharisees and scribes not only with the return of the prodigal son, but also with the resentful elder son. It must have come as a shock to these dutiful religious people. They finally had to face their own complaint and choose how they would respond to God's love for the sinners. Would they be willing to join them at the table as Jesus did? It was and still is a challenge: for them, for me, for every human being who is caught in resentment and tempted to settle on a complaintive way of life.
Nouwen says this lostness can become deeply rooted and is very difficult to return home from.

Whether you are a person who views the world and your life through a prism of faith or not, I think it's easy to look around in this age of Trump and wonder just what it is people of faith are representing. How people respond to kindness, mercy, love, especially when it's given or shown to the "other" is telling...Don't listen to what anyone says. Watch what they do.

This has been rolling around in my head and I guess I just wanted to get it out. Til next time...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Love's Servile Lot

...before her hope, behind remorse,
fair first, in fine unseemly.

Plough not the seas, sow not the sands, 
Leave off your idle pain;
Seek other mistress for your minds,
Love's service is in vain.

a Gutenberg collection

Friday, January 27, 2017

All Hail ManChild King Tiny Hands

Via Alexandra Petri and that bastion of fake news, the Washington Post:
I apologize to Donald Trump. As Sean Spicer so wisely said at his first news conference on Monday (It was the first. The one that happened on Saturday did not happen at all, and I recognize that!), it is unfair to be so mean and negative all the time. 
Here is the fair and unbiased story about the inauguration written in compliance with the Trump style guidelines that we should have been obeying all along. 
Nothing that has ever happened or will ever happen was as great as Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The crowd was magnificent and huge, bigger than any crowd had ever been before! It stretched all the way to the moon. The Pope, who was there, confirmed it.
“Thanks for being here, Pope,” Donald Trump told him.
“Are you kidding? You’re my best friend,” the Pope said. “I wouldn’t miss your big day for anything!” He gave Donald Trump a big high-five.
But then they saw him, and their doubts fell away.
The media was there, too, and they were very sorry. “Donald,” the newscasters said, “we were mean to you. We used to laugh and call you names. We were no better than all of the other reindeer. How can you ever forgive us?”
“Forgive you?” Donald Trump asked. “I’ve already forgotten.” He smiled a big, beautiful smile. That was just who Donald Trump was: forgiving, like Jesus, but blond.
It was a wonderful start to the day.
Everyone liked Donald Trump’s speech and the words that he used. They liked even more the part where he rolled up his sleeve and showed off his bicep. It was a great bicep. It made the Rock so upset to see it that he threw something down on the ground and said “darn.”
Donald Trump pulled out a violin and played a solo, and then he pulled out a guitar and played an even sicker solo. The whole ground was soon covered with women’s undergarments. (Millions of women were there to support Donald Trump, and they were all AT LEAST sevens.) Also, every woman that Donald Trump had ever dated was there, and they were not upset with him, just ashamed that they had not lived up to his required standard.
“Trump! Trump! Trump!” the crowd cheered.
via PBS, so you know it's fake liberal news
Donald Trump touched many people in the crowd in a way that they all thought was welcome and appropriate, and he cured their ailments, from cancer to autism.
“If only we could bottle your touch,” someone said, “children could stop getting vaccinated altogether.”
Donald Trump winked. “Don’t worry!” he said. “I’m on it!”
Then Donald Trump served loaves and fishes to everyone there. There were enough loaves and fishes for everyone, and they all were Made in America and said “TRUMP” on them. It was like the Oscars, but also like Woodstock, but also like the Super Bowl, but also like the Sermon on the Mount. If you were not there, you should just go home and die, because nothing in your life will have purpose or meaning by comparison, not even holding your newborn child in your arms or having health insurance. This is what FOMO was talking about for all these years.
Bono, and Bruce Springsteen, and Elton John, and the Rolling Stones, and Beyonce, and all the top artists were there. They fought hard over who would be allowed to sing. Finally Bruce Springsteen won. Bono cried and cried, and the other artists had to console him. When Bruce Springsteen had finished singing, he walked over to Donald Trump, extended his hand, and said, “You are the only real hero left in the world.”
The people were so excited that they built a very special stone pyramid just for Donald Trump so that he would not have to wait until he died to see what his monument would look like. But they were silly to be concerned. Donald Trump will never die!
A little child was in the audience, and he started to cry because the emperor was wearing so many clothes. Also, he could tell that he was not and never had been racist.
Donald Trump’s beautiful big family was there. His favorite childhood dog was there, too, back from the farm where he still lives to this day.
Donald Trump can talk to the animals, and his eyes are lasers. When the floor is lava, Donald Trump can walk on it, but only Donald Trump. When Donald Trump points his finger at you, you have to lie down. But when other people point their fingers at Donald Trump, he does not have to. Donald Trump’s block tower is the biggest. He does not need a nap or a snack. He has the longest, biggest attention span. Everyone loves Donald Trump, and what he has to say interests them.
Donald Trump is the star. People love him.

He won the popular vote, too.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

in dream

Just woke from a crazy, weird dream. We've been stuck in Ruidoso. Hiding out? Running? Loaded down.

You are driving a vehicle packed with junk. I am sitting on/in open window in back over tailgate. We are going to unload or do something necessary. But I need you to turn around. I lean down and say
we need to turn around
So many places on the road to do so but you are not turning around.

I bang on sides of vehicle (van, truck with camper?) and yell
what about here
turn around

Banging. Yelling.

We come over a hill. Before us, wide open blue sky. A turn and a guardrail and a leap over water.

Instead of slowing down, looking for a spot to turn, you speed up. And I realize we are going to crash into this water.

We do and when I come to, you are floating above me, eyes open but not conscious. Bubbles coming out of your nose and mouth.

I press up up trying to bring you above water and you come to. I ask you, still under water
what the hell are you doing
I am frantic. Angry, scared, unsure.

You don't answer.

Swim away, down, as I watch you.

The bottom is sand, white, pocked with bunches of waving seaweed. The water is light, fairly clear, green. You pluck a long strand of seaweed.

You swim to me, bringing the seaweed like an offering, like a flower, and get so close, your face to mine. Like you're going to kiss me.

But instead, you try to give me the seaweed and say
I can learn
I am learning
I can't remember...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I Dare

Look. I write to clear my head. To make sense of what I'm feeling. To understand things. To understand myself. To try to understand others. 

For a good long while the topic du jour around here has been faith. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older and wondering what it's all for or if the many mistakes I make and keep making have me questioning whether I'm nothing but a mistake making machine. (I am. We all are.) It could just be that I'm no longer swallowing things whole cloth and am asking questions because things are not making sense. Not just in the world. But in the very institutions that are supposed to be the voices of reason, of hope.

Maybe I'm just angry. Angry at hypocrisy. Angry at the status quo and the powers that be. Angry that emotion and caring and frustration, if not perfectly executed to the listener/observer's liking, is met more often than not with, "shut up!" "You're talking too loud!" "Get over it!" 

I think more people need to cop to being angry. I agree that yelling is an ineffective mode of communicating; but, so is not listening. If anger is indicative of something else under the surface, then yeah, I absolutely think more people need to cop to being angry. And more people, myself included, need to vow to being better listeners. 

Telling someone to shut up and dictating how communication occurs isn't really helpful. Neither is my all time favorite - "going invisible" or stonewalling - a mechanism people use to withdraw from interactions, shut down and close off. Speaking from experience as a world-renowned stonewaller, issues accumulate when they're avoided.

So, that's one reason I write. To avoid avoidance! To avoid stonewalling and withdrawing. To avoid disengaging from my life and the people close to me. It's also why I went to the meeting I told you about in my last post. 

I heard about the meeting via Facebook:

I was worried about attending, because as I said, I'm angry and anger, for me, often translates into loud. But I made myself a promise: attend and listen with an open mind and an open heart and a very closed mouth. 

It was dark outside when I left for the meeting, but the super moon was bright. I took it as a good sign. I, along with about 25 other people were present. The vast majority of attendees were anglo and over the age of 55. A vast majority were female. A handful were younger than me, and at 48, I'm on the cusp of AARP-dom so can I really call myself "young"? It doesn't matter.

As church meetings are wont to do, we started with a prayer and song. And then the initial speaker passed out the paper you see in the picture at the top of this post and laid the ground rules: we are here to listen, to share; to discuss strategies for communicating as we head into the holidays and contemplate interacting with loved ones who often don't share our same viewpoints, our same lifestyles, our same values. 

She made a point to clarify "this is not about the election, the candidates, or the issues." But then, immediately after she said those words, she asked us to turn the paper over so that we could all read the Archbishop's statement "regarding the election of Donald Trump as President."


I have to tell you, I was not the only person imperceptibly shaking my head at the...what's a good word here...double standard. 

Leading with a double standard is not a great way to begin an open, honest, healthy dialogue, in my opinion. Especially when, to a person, almost every one in attendance was there because of the election (I say that because we were given a sticky note to write out why we came. These anonymous notes were read out as we began the meeting and 98% mentioned the election). 

We broke up into small groups of four to do a few exercises. We each had the opportunity to look at the "I Dare To..." list and talk about the ones that jumped out to us. Within seconds, we were talking about the election and I didn't start it!

Somehow I was in a group with three other women (haha, God has a sense of compassion! Or is it humor?). Two were around my age and we immediately seemed kindred spirits. The other woman was in her sixties and was surprised, but open, about our viewpoints. The four of us had a terrific chat. I felt like I wasn't alone in my pain and anger and confusion. I felt like maybe I made two new friends and we exchanged phone numbers before leaving.   

The meeting was nowhere near long enough to unpack the emotions so many of us were feeling, but, even if it began on an incongruent note, it was a nice start.

It's not enough, though. It's really not. 

I don't know if I have a place in this church anymore. I have faith. I believe that I am here, we are all here, not as a result of some cosmic accident, but for a reason. And, for me, that reason is simply to serve each other and to love each other as we love ourselves. That's the teaching that gets lost in the noise of our egos and our politics and in family members telling each other to shut up and in just the day to day shit of the world. But it's the only thing that matters. 

It's why I can't blindly follow a double standard without speaking what I think is truth to it. It's why I can't just sit back, passively nodding yes, when everything around me is begging question after question.

I made a point as people were leaving to pull aside one of the leaders of the church and of the meeting to ask him about the double standard of telling us - "we're not here to talk politics but please see the archbishop's message about politics." 

He dared to listen and I dared not to be angry. Maybe the conversation will continue. I want to get involved, but I'm very afraid. My faith in the church (and there is a distinction) is hanging by a thread. 

As I left the room, a slideshow was shuffling between quotes from Dorothy Day and Maya Angelou's Still I Rise. And I thought, yes, yes, up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise. These are the words I want to hear from the heart of people of faith speaking up, speaking out, not content to be mollified with a pretty slideshow that helps us feel good for a fleeting moment and then is forgotten in a flash as we shoot the finger to the lady in the parking lot who's just cut us off as we exit and spin our wheels back home. Back to busy. Back to the noise. 

I don't know what to think when my church makes a call for peace and listening but does so with a double standard of "we don't want you to talk about the very thing you want to talk about, but check this out - we want you to hear the church's position on politics so here is the archbishop's statement...please read it and pray about it but don't talk about it here and by the way it's kind of not cool to call us on it because it makes me feel a little uncomfortable I'm just doing what I was told to do." 

Especially when I juxtapose it with a voice like this:

You can't be a light in the darkness by leading with a double standard. 

I don't know...all of us try. All of us fail. And platitudes'll get me nowhere. 

So I'll Dare To...

  • risk understanding your beliefs
  • listen even when it hurts
  • think before I respond
  • try and find common ground
  • shut my mouth and open my ears

I won't always succeed. But, please don't give up. I say this to myself. I say it to you.

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