Archive for the Sad Category

As the world burns


Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

I can remember once when I was either in my teens or early twenties talking with my mom about something related to the End Times. It was in a dispensational context, of course, because that’s what we knew because that’s what we were taught and everything outside of our Baptist sect was either false teaching or a “slippery slope” to falling away from the true faith. Our conversation turned to The Rapture at some point which is the only part of the conversation I remember. Mom said, “We probably won’t know the rapture happened because churches will still be full.” That shocked me at the time not only because she said it but the possibility it could be true.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30 NIV

These past few weeks have shown me that the tares are thick among the wheat. As we have moved into the worst pandemic in 100 years, I’ve seen Christians balking at having their rights violated by lockdowns and shutdowns. I’ve watched them grab onto outlandish and dangerous conspiracy theories with either no fact-checking or dismissing information refuting the conspiracies as “false news” and/or “liberal” attempts to destroy our freedom. I’ve seen pastors defiantly continue to hold in-person services and congregants attending with just as much defiance and cry about separation of church and state. I understand a lot of the behavior is denial. COVID-19 has destroyed what was normal life and it’s going to be a long time before we get that normal back – assuming we can.

Now we are in the midst of protests and rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. The former officers might be innocent until proven guilty according to the way our judicial system works, but it is hard to watch those videos and see the photos and call that either accidental or justified even though it was not likely premeditated. I can’t help but wonder how many black citizens this happens to. It would still be happening unchecked if not for cell phones. Not that it brought justice for Philando Castile. I see a lot of denouncing of the looting and rioting from largely the same people who were offended by Colin Kaepernick. And I see a lot of silence.

I look at the way Conservative Christianity in the U.S. has morphed in the last *40 years and think of what my mom said all those years ago about the rapture. We spent so much effort focusing on the sins of others (those outside of our sects and non-Christians) that we failed to see the enemy turning us from the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20) to follow the god of this world in seeking power and domination to hang on to our position of privilege. We drew a line and made ourselves watchkeepers of Western Christianity which we made the standard by our own self-righteousness. We have dehumanized, demonized, and criminalized those who are different whether it is a minor doctrinal issue that has no impact on the saving work of Jesus, or they look or speak differently than us. We labeled other sects, political ideologies, religions, and people groups as threats to our way of life thereby making them an enemy to be destroyed rather than follow Jesus’ command to love our enemies. We look nothing like Christ whom we are to follow into suffering or death.

I think a great many of us don’t know Jesus any deeper than as a get out of hell free token. We’ve turned salvation into a formula which builds our churches and makes us appear successful, but it is a façade. We oppress to maintain our supremacy and call it faithfulness to the Bible while few ever go any deeper than a prosperity gospel similar to Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now while condemning him as a false teacher. We focus on sexual immorality and abortion while ignoring the sexual abuse rampant among our churches including pastors and elders. We don’t look at our own greed and violence and divisiveness. We’ve said our Sinner’s Prayer and we go through life never growing beyond publicly avoiding vices like alcohol, drugs, and cussing and blame the other for anything that causes us discomfort let alone suffering. We blame all the troubles in our country on others while refusing to see how we created or contributed to the problems. Rather than lamenting we rage. Rather than repent we cling to our idols. We are Americans first and nominally Christians second provided our faith doesn’t interfere with how well we think of ourselves and our possessions.

We have just celebrated Pentecost while many of our cities are literally burning. Pentecost for the Christian is when the Spirit was poured out on all people. God spoke to His people through Isaiah and said:

Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed. (Or justice. / Correct the oppressor)
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

Are we going to listen to the Spirit, or will we be like those whom Paul warned the Thessalonians, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” We need to be on guard as to which voice we are listening to and whom we are following. Are we following Jesus and all he commands in loving our neighbors or are we following the world in seeking to serve ourselves? Jesus calls us to pick up our cross and follow Him, and he said this before he went to the cross. They knew what the cross meant. Do we?

*I chose 40 years because I remember next to nothing about Christianity other than going to church every time the doors opened for the first 9 years of my life. And most of my 10th year we went nowhere.

A farewell for now

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I now belong to an “elite club,” as my cousin Carolyn Jo put it. My mom passed away May 4, and I now belong to that “elite club” of having lost both of my parents. As I said when my dad died nearly 9 years ago, you might think you have prepared yourself for that phone call, but when you get that call, you realize that you can’t ever be emotionally prepared. I say that as someone who does not like emotional pain, and whose default response to a negative emotion is to shut down. This becomes particularly true for someone like me who gets that call while I am out with a friend. Despite the fact that my therapist told me (as I melted down multiple times on her in one session) that it is okay to cry in front of Petra.

But I almost cried in front of Petra as she witnessed that phone call I got from Sharon.

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It’s been a whole month now. There is still a lot of emotion. No matter how certain I am of the eternal resting place of her soul, I still miss her. Much. With the Alzheimer’s and it’s associated dementia, I’ve been losing her for a few years. I am grateful that those years were few. When my Aunt Florabel started losing her memory, I remember Mom telling me that she was afraid that would happen to her. And then it did. She never completely lost her memory, and she never lost her core kind and humorous personality. She didn’t suffer from pain, and she considered the complications from the COPD (recurring pneumonia) a mere annoyance.

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There’s a story behind this next picture. One year just before Christmas, Mom asked me more than once if I had gotten a Christmas card from Carolyn Jo. I thought it odd that she asked me more than once, but didn’t dwell on it. Then I got the card, and died laughing! A couple months prior my cousin Jill (Carolyn’s daughter) had gotten married. Mom got picked on over all the beer (which she didn’t partake of because she didn’t drink), and someone made the remark to her that she couldn’t even bring herself to pick up a bottle. So, Mom being Mom, showed them, and picked up and empty bottle and posed. Carolyn took the photo and made Christmas cards. Of course, Mom about died, but the entire rest of the family LOVED it! I framed mine, and Mom gave me the stink eye over it.

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Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. Her wisdom, her laughter, and her love. It’s farewell for now, but I know one day I will see her again.

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Maniacal Monday #27

I’m in a pretty craptastic mood (still), and actually spent yesterday evening looking forward to going to work.

I got up Saturday morning and ran the 12ks of Christmas. I mostly ran the whole thing. James called me right at the last mile and nearly threw me all off so I walked up that last hill while putting my phone back in the carrier case. But, I ran down the final stretch determined not to be dead last. lol. And I got the finisher’s medal, and most of the tribers waited on me to finish, and Nicole and George both gave me hugs which was just so sweet. My 1 picture was made when I finally got back to the car.

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Oh, and I am still tremendously sore. :sigh:

George invited me to a race on Facebook, and I thought it looked interesting and invited Karyn also just because. Well, she will actually be in town, and so we are both registered for the Morrow Mountain Trail Race 15K which we may or may not end up regretting. And on that note, I think we both signed up for 14 in 2014. I did anyway, and I think Karyn is going to if she hasn’t already. I don’t plan on running anything longer than the Tar Heel 10 Miler, and that one only because I signed up for it last year. Because finisher’s medal. ;)

And the broken out window in the living room finally got fixed. It’s not completely fixed, but the panes are in place and just need to be caulked in. But it didn’t happen before tragedy struck. Sushi/Mako somehow got out of it, and the dogs made short work of ending her life. :wail:

RIP Sushi/Mako

RIP Sushi/Mako

I got caught up on grading this weekend, and got the kids’ work graded, mostly recorded, and new schedules made. There was one portion of Jamie’s Algebra II that I reassigned with “We will go over this together,” because she 1) didn’t seem to get it and 2) had a big “help” written on one of the assignments.

So, I went to YouTube looking for a Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well, and found this.

So…

I’ve been working on a post for like 2 weeks. It’s reached the point of finish or abandon, though probably neither will happen today.

Spot brought 2 kittens home…finally. Next day, Notch got out and killed Spot. The kittens are safe though, so there is that. And after all the talk about how all the “good” cats ran away, and Spot was useless and wouldn’t leave, I cried over her, useless as she was.

Don’t judge the nasty carpet. It’s a closet. Which is why the kittens are in there.

Straight tea tree oil now causes me hives and blisters. :-/ Maybe it will still manage to kill the candida.

We are again battling a mouse infestation. Because KitKat is as useless a mouser as Spot was. I found this morning that you CAN catch a mouse with a trap that isn’t baited. One of the kitchen mice ate the bait off the trap night before last without tripping the trap. I didn’t get around to rebaiting last night, but apparently, the mouse tried to walk across it last night, and didn’t quite make it. So far, that has been the high point of my day.

I have an obstacle course race tomorrow. I already have regret.

The last Monday of 2012

It’s amazing the difference having a restful Sunday makes on a Monday. I still wanted to sleep in, and wish I had taken today off instead of boxing day, but I don’t feel emotionally drained. More on that later. Seeing as how it is the last day of 2012, and a recap of the year seems to be the thing to do, here goes a quickie:

    Came out of the worst depression ever.

    Accepted a challenge to eliminate artificial flavors/colors/preservatives from my diet and went through awful physical withdrawls. Twice.

    Failed at my exercise and reading challenges…and still can’t do even one pushup.

    Figured out a bunch of food sensitivities in addition to gluten.

    Found a metal rooster that dwarfed Beyonce.

    ROOSTER DOWN!!!!

    Had surgery to remove a nasal polyp. 2nd time.

    Learned that I can take Vicodin without getting sick if I take Phenargen first. The better option would still be Percocet.

    Lost over 30 pounds, went down 2 trouser sizes, and 1 shirt size.

    Running: First managed to run a full mile, then a 5k, then a 10k, then a half marathon, and then a Thanksgiving 8k to redeem myself from the Labor Day 8k.




    Discovered (the hard way) that I am super allergic to hair dye now.

    I learned that I can really open up to my friends and share my skeletons and that it really helps to heal from past issues.

    “Had” to buy a new riding mower. And a new push mower.

    My mom turned 80.

    Flew sober.

    Had a 29 day period.

    Nearly went vegan. Twice. Didn’t make it past 2 weeks either time.

    Our cat Simon got hit by a car and killed.

    My dog escaped one too many times, and met the same fate as Simon.

    Mittens went missing after the second to last Darci escape and is presumed dead since she hasn’t been seen since August.

    My youngest started high school.

    Took 3 of Petra’s cats.

    Was surprised with a large sum of unexpected money and was able to pay off all credit card and vehicle debt.

    Broke down and got glasses.

    Got another mammogram (first since 2006) which resulted in another biopsy (just like 2006).

    Rehab, DWI, and a totaled van.

    Mourned the sudden death of my first love.

    Complete emotional breakdown that I let spill onto others, and not in a good way.

My phone doesn’t really do it justice, but I got to see a beautiful sunrise this morning.

Weep with those who weep

My heart shattered with one phone call. As soon as Brenda started talking, I knew it was bad news. Really bad news. “There’s been another accident…”

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I have a feeling I was the first person Brenda called after she found out, and I felt so inadequate. I mean, I know there is nothing I can say or do to ease the pain, but I want to. For the whole family.

I grieve with them. I spent nearly as much time at the Whitbey’s house when I was in high school as I did my own. They became a second family, and I called Rita & Bill “Mom and Dad” as if they were my parents, too. Brenda and her siblings are like my own, except I am an only child so my siblings are friends siblings. But that didn’t really apply to Kevin since we dated off and on, so there was a whole different dynamic to that relationship.

He was the second classmate lost in just a couple days. Our class has been hard hit even before we graduated with accidents, suicide, and even murder. But this is the first within our tight group of friends. We had friendships that spanned different groups, but yet we had a core group of 10-15 people who met together before school and during lunch to hang out, and in smaller little groups on weekends based on work schedules. I’ve mourned each classmate lost, and sometimes with wishing I had known them better. None have hurt like this.

I ask that you pray for his family. His parents who have lost their son. His sisters and brother who have lost their big brother. His grandmother who has lost a grandson. His children and grandchildren who have lost their loving dad and grandpa. For his uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins. For his friends, who are many, and have lost a kind and caring friend.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
(Romans 12:15 ESV)