Another therapeutic rant from me…

Yesterday a video clip of protestors in Michigan crossed my Facebook page and I could hardly fathom what I saw. A woman was sharing her frustration with a reporter about the horror of her gray roots showing and the inability to take care of them with a hair appointment. A man was venting his angst that the government is keeping him from getting his lawn fertilizer. I wish I could feel compassion for these people because I know that life is hard for all of us right now. Instead I feel nothing but a desire to put their sorry little asses in a Covid 19 hospital room and tell them to wake the hell up to reality. How can it be that with almost 30,000 recorded deaths and no end in sight to this pandemic that anyone can possibly imagine that these things matter? 

Later in the day I turned on CNN to get an update on things. A strong male voice, relaxed and calm but incredibly serious, was addressing his state and the American people. Governor Cuomo of New York was giving a briefing. As I listened, I was surprised at the way his words and tone of voice combined to bring much needed calm and perspective to my troubled mind. Nothing he said changed the fact that this is a horrible situation he and we, as a nation, find ourselves in.  He didn’t waste time or energy assigning blame anywhere. Instead, he made the facts crystal clear. He acknowledged that the suffering all around him is horrific. He acknowledged the human losses were increasingly unimaginable and so painful for people.  He didn’t brag about being the one able to get this bull by the horns and behind us.  Instead he just made it very clear that there is no alternative but to do what it takes to get the bull taken down by the horns and put in a pen behind us. He gave no false assurances of any kind.  I have determined he will be the voice in my head when I am thinking about this. 

Today arrived and I was made aware that my home state of Nebraska, like here in Texas, is righteously committed to the avoidance of a statewide mandate to shelter in place. The Nebraska governor says that it is not appropriate for the strong arm of government to require its citizens to comply.  It is up to individuals doing the right thing and taking responsibility.  So far, so good it seemed until this week when a packing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, was forced to close because of an outbreak. 

As I heard the news, I was also told that the reason this outbreak occurred is because the Hispanic subculture within the state, also the primary workers at most packing plant facilities, ignored the suggestions from the governor, exercised their individual rights to gather as they saw fit and continued to celebrate their rich tradition of hosting Quinceañera celebrations. In an instant, the blame for this fell smack dab on the minorities.  I’m still trying to process the ease with which the plant and/or the government were bypassed in taking responsibility for the situation. The reality of worker proximity to one another and plant’s responsibility to do due diligence in educating its workforce wasn’t even considered in the discussion I was having. 

Packing plants are horrible places to work in. They are smelly, wet and cold. The work is ugly and physically demanding. It is amazing ANY human being would WANT to work in one. These plants rely on Hispanic and foreign workers because we white people are doing other more interesting work. The hard cold fact is that without these plants in production, there will be no meat for your BBQ, no chicken for your soup, and no turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner.  Because of this virus we will, as a society, finally be forced to understand just how valuable these hardworking packing plant workers actually are.  More importantly, we just might begin to realize exactly where our food actually comes from. 

 

The Bible

The Bible was the spiritual text of choice when I grew up. Like many of us, my family had one and though revered as sacred, I don’t have a single memory of anyone actually opening it. I was given my paternal grandmother’s Bible with our family record of marriages, births and deaths recorded in it. I will always cherish it but I will do so with the awareness that my grandmother didn’t actually read it. Neither or she or my grandfather belonged to a church or showed any desire to participate in one.

The Bible became significant in my life as a teenager  when I committed myself to a serious search of the way to be a genuinely good person. At 16 my spoken desire was to become a TRUE Christian. Having loosely grown up in a mainline Christian denomination, I had experienced it as someone on the outside looking in rather than anyone with any real awareness of what on earth it was all about. After a hayride and bonfire on a crisp cool fall evening in Nebraska, I found myself awakened to the possibility that Christianity might be a more valuable pursuit than I had realized.  As the weeks went on I sought out more opportunities to understand this real Christianity better. My desire to live my life within its boundaries only increased and as it did, the Bible became a conduit of life to me.  As it did, church attendance and being with those of similar devotion became the center of my life.

I graduated from high school a very different person than the one I was when I started. Smoking, drinking and dabbling in rebellious pursuits were short lived once the new devotion to the Bible and Jesus took over. Honestly, I no longer needed anything like that. I felt incredibly positive much of time because I was fully aware that I was walking with the God of the Universe, the creator of the stars. In a small group designed for the leadership students of the group I studied the first chapter in the book of James.  Why the adult leaders chose that place to guide me in laying down a Christian foundation, I’ll never know, but that verse by verse, word for word study has literally given me the capacity to walk through some of the darkest of times in my life.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

This was literally the first scripture I memorized and chewed over and over as I lived my life. The process of doing it gave me strength and courage to walk through the experiences I had with a weird illness the doctors thought to be Lupus. I was 16 with my whole life in front of me. “Consider – stop, think about and look closely at…it-whatever it is…all – everything about you – joy…” This was my way of coping. This was the life blood of my being. Over and over the words went in my head and the promise that God was testing my faith to produce endurance and endurance would have its perfect result in my life… making me perfect, complete lacking in nothing…I am far from perfect and complete 43 years later but what I can say for sure is that as a result of this kind of effort applied to biblical study, I simply can not decide to believe that the various trials that come into my life do not work for a more perfect result in my life. AND I HAVE TRIED.

The years that followed this period of intense study led me to believe that anything and everything I would need to know or believe would be found between the covers of the Holy Bible. Understand that when I say, everything, I truly mean every single thing.

I have a cold…seek God’s word in the Bible.

I need a job…seek God’s word in the Bible.

I need/want a husband…seek God’s word in the Bible.

I need a new dress for an event and I only have X number of dollars…seek God’s word in the Bible.

I’m 13 weeks pregnant with my second baby and my water just broke…seek God’s word in the Bible.

Get the picture? The Bible was my life and as a result, prayer, spending time with other Christians, sharing a four point gospel gleaned from its pages with those who didn’t know what was in it,  also became my life.

SO MUCH GOOD.

SO MUCH.

What was less understood by myself and those who knew me well, was that underneath all of the good and all of the faith and all of the practices this life had led me to employ, was a ruthless desire to be real. That desire for authenticity and truth is for reasons I have yet to discover, completely ingrained in my DNA. I have vivid memories as a child sitting in school wondering if what I was being told was the truth and almost always would have to test the validity of things. I know we all do this but I was strangely driven. I was in trouble a lot growing up because I always pushed the envelope and had to see things for myself. I have one strong memory of sitting with my arms folded and vowing that when I grew up, I would not forget what it was like to be a kid. I was determined that adults would know that kids weren’t stupid and had things to contribute. Thus, the impetus behind becoming a teacher, I’m guessing.

As much as I loved my life of faith and practice with the Bible at its core, I was almost always dealing with the reality that something profound was amiss. Year after year, I pushed through the resistance to things that did not make sense to me. Year after year I continued to lean into being a wholehearted and devoted follower of the Bible. Bible studies, conferences, missions trips, Christian school for my profession and for my children’s education. Three years working part time in a Christian bookstore selling…Bibles and the stories written by those who traveled on the same path. I was one hundred percent saturated in all of it. THEN it came. Like a dark smoke from the mouth of hell, a force so strong came into my life, burned up everything I was, left me for dead and opened the door to an entirely new life that finally makes sense to me. It makes sense because at its core, it is simply real.

This darkness that began to overtake me wasn’t really darkness. In fact, it was just the opposite. It was a bright, white beam of increasingly intense light that slowly exposed the real darkness I had been living in for way too long. Starting with a small candle-like flame of understanding,  it grew in intensity until it became a ravaging flame of intense scrutiny that I could not escape. I had no choice but to stay put in the middle of the fire. In that place, the pages of the Bible began to burn. The structure of religion began to crumble. The relationships built to hold up a belief structure were seared beyond recognition. I had never been so lonely. Paradoxically, I had never been so aware of a God who was there with me in the intensity of the flames.

One question from a guide in the furnace changed everything for me. That question was this.

“Have you ever considered that you may need to approach the Bible in a different way?”

I. had. not.

The next time I went to my Bible, opened its pages and sought divine advice, my eyes landed on words below the title of one of the books within The Book. They simply said that this text was written in 60 AD. I looked at that and went, “What that you say?” AD…as in the year of our Lord…the day Jesus was born. Wait…the guy who wrote this, did so 60 years after Jesus was born? So why do I read it as if it was written it as it happened? Why do I read it as if it is relevant to my life today?

Understand that for me, the only possible place I would ever feel free to ask such a question and accept the answer I would come up with, would be in this intensely brutal hot place of trial. In that place, I was desperate to escape but simply could not. Any attempt to return to where I had been would only bring more pain and suffering to my situation. I had no way to go but through it.

I began to realize from the beginning of my love affair with the Bible that I had chosen to believe some things that in my situation at the time no longer made sense. The first of those things was the established belief within my faith community that all of the words in the Bible were literally dictated by God for mankind to follow. The belief is based on the following scripture from 2 Timothy 3:16

“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

In my life from 16 until this day in my 43 year, it was essential for me to believe that all scripture meant that all of the words in the Bible we have today from Genesis to Revelation, were literally breathed into being in the mind of the writer of the text by the God of the universe to instruct mankind. ALL of them. Every single one. This was what I believed until that day. That day the balloon popped and once it did it could never be re-inflated.

As I look at the Bible today, I see it as a group of ancient texts that began in many places as oral stories passed on to others.  Long before anything was ever written down on any kind of solid source there was no other way to pass along information gleaned from one’s experiences. Jewish scribes were tasked with writing things down but they are not responsible for the content of this version of the Bible. They were also not claiming to have been inspired but were instead the record keepers of their day. The Bible is simply not an actual recording of events as they occurred  like we have the capacity to do today. And think about it, today we can make anything look like it was a real event in real time. Imagine those coming generations who discover our trove of movies and how they will determine what is and is not true within them?

So this is me. This is my story on my journey. Today, I still believe in God and that is because I believe I have personal experiences with that God. I continue to follow the teaching of Jesus. I continue to believe that Jesus did die on the cross but I believe that it was because he assaulted religion with his teachings and his life. I am not sure I can embrace that it was to save us from original sin. As to his resurrection, I can only say that in principle, my life seems lived with cycles of death, burial and resurrection which makes me think that there is deep truth in the Easter story. I am not certain anymore and I no longer have to be.  In this place in my life – 59 freakin years old!! – I am out of that intense fire and the darkness associated with it is no more.

The Bible remains a source of deep wisdom to me. It remains a record of the encounters others had with a prophet named Jesus and how I can connect with his wisdom. I am no longer obsessed with getting it ingrained into my psyche or making sure I follow it to the letter. Today, I worship God in what I believe to be spirit and truth and attempt to love mankind as myself. That’s all that makes sense to me.

Namaste

Avoiding Avoidance

A few days ago while I was doing my upteenth Facebook scroll of the day this post from one of my dear friends in Utah showed up. I read it and felt sad but quickly moved on. I couldn’t respond. Not one word. 

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I read that she was home and okay and that was enough. I didn’t think about it at all until yesterday. When I did, I let the thought go faster than a bolt of lightning. Today when I woke up, my friend posted that so many had responded wondering how she was she wanted to let us know she was home and doing well.

Bing! The lights on in my brain. OMG, Carole was in this accident!! It could have been terrible. She could have died. OMG, I didn’t even say anything to comfort her. OMG, what’s happening to me? Because it was Carole, I told her I was so overwhelmed I didn’t really even grasp what I saw. Carole, is a friend who prefers my real over platitudes and pretense. Just want you to know that about her.

As I’ve thought about this experience, I have realized some things. As a person who has endured a number of personal losses and learned how to process them, I have a deep knowledge inside of me that gives me courage to continue. I understand at a cellular level that  just about anything can be overcome. At present, I know that the human species can overcome this…but…here’s the thing, overcoming this will involve the kind of work that those of us in industrialized countries are hell bent on avoiding.

What is making this nightmare incredibly difficult to deal with is that while we sit here in our homes with electricity flowing, lights on, refrigerators full and running, we don’t know how to imagine that when we get through this, we will do anything but return to our old lives. Simultaneously, as this crisis continues to drag on, we are collectively becoming aware of the reality that normal is just a setting on our dryer.  Whatever anyone’s normal has been, it is now gone.  And we are just beginning to realize that. We are going to be stressed out for awhile. We are going to have to figure out some things.

A few years ago, Dean’s and my world was completely shattered when we had to liquidate everything and borrow ourselves into oblivion to get our daughter treatment for a life threatening mental illness. It simultaneously included a five year battle with United Healthcare in order to make them honor the words in our family’s health insurance policy. We won but the emotional toll was profound.

Today, I’m thinking about the reality that unfathomable circumstances require unfathomable things from deep within us. Things we didn’t even imagine existed. We all know this at some level, especially if we are at all interested in history. Stories of survival are always favorite ones and give us hope. Simultaneously, they encourage us to do whatever it takes to avoid any need for such heroics. I’m here to say, the coming seasons will require us to find ourselves at the depths of ourselves.

I’m grateful today that my friend Carole knows that I am always in her corner and that it’s no big deal that I didn’t respond as I normally would have when she shared the news about her accident. I am grateful that I could process this strange experience instead of avoid it. My personal journey has taught me that any avoided experience collects in the dungeon of my soul and slowly sucks the life out of me.

My hero is Nelson Mandella. He led his people in the fight to end apartheid – white rule of the country. He endured much hell and experienced unimaginable suffering. He chose not to resist and found a well deep within to endure for his people. He survived 27 years in prison and became the President of South Africa upon his release. He left prison without bitterness and was able to see apartheid come to and end in his lifetime. He lived with these words engraved in his soul.

Dealing with Fear

Roosevelt is famous for saying that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. When we are most collectively afraid, someone somewhere always quotes this. Were President Roosevelt still here with us, I would ask him a few questions about this thought because I do have a few.

  • If we focus on NOT being afraid, what do you suggest we replace that fear with?
  • How do we choose NOT to be afraid say, when a rogue virus we didn’t even know existed a few months ago (because it actually didn’t exist) now threatens our very own lives?
  • How do we not engage in fear when one day the President claims all is well and the very next day he’s signing legislation to help the victims of the “unseen enemy” that the Democrats are making use of as a “hoax” (or something like that)?
  • How do we actually be more fearful of fear than the virus itself?

First of all I don’t think you actually can avoid fear entirely. I also don’t believe that it would be healthy to do so. Fear seems to be a double edge sword. On one side fear is dangerous and creates panic. On the other side, fear becomes our greatest ally.

We are simply not afraid of many things we actually should be afraid of and what those things are is always debatable. Right now though, we know that we must allow healthy fear into our lives. When intelligent and learned health experts tell us to wash our hands repeatedly, we do it because know that if we do not, we are at risk for bringing this virus into our bodies.

The famous aviator, Howard Hughes was known to be terrified of germs and as a result developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His rational mind found no way to escape his emotional one. He had no ability to reasonably assess his risk and whether or not to wash his hands. He was so powerfully afraid that he was compelled to wash his hands that sometimes he would scrub so hard he would injure himself. OCD is what happens when fear itself allowed to run the show.

Last night I read a Coronavirus story that shook me to my core. I visualized myself in this person’s situation and found myself overwhelmed. I am a “high risk” person with an underlying autoimmune disease and a body that’s endured a lot of traumatic injury. The very fact that I’m 59 years old and alive in 2020 is often a great, wonderful surprise to me. Much of the time I live with a river of deep gratitude underneath me because I’ve been in hot pursuit of how to live WITH myself for decades including a very intense few years with a trauma therapist. In my work with her, I discovered that the only way I could continue to live without complete existential dread was to fully FACE the reality of the life I had, the intense fear, understand why it was there, allow myself to feel it, then change my experience with it and remake my life.

Today I’m living with strong feelings of fear. To try not to feel them only makes them overwhelming. When those I care about are diagnosed with the Corona virus, I shudder at the news.

I have come to the conclusion that though, President Roosevelt meant well, fear itself is really NOT something to be fearful of. It is instead something to be acknowledged. In acknowledging my fear I allow myself to be human. I take the fear from my emotional mind and ask my rational mind to process it. Most of the time I can see the steps to take in front of me. Just taking those physical actions, like washing my hands more often and more thoroughly, releases the dread and I can continue on in a healthy way. But last night, my rational mind became my enemy. I could not stop the catastrophizing. My central nervous system was on high alert and I could literally feel a panic attack in the making. Having ridden this bull before, at 2 am I sought out those in the a cadre of teachers and healers I’ve connected with over the years. Eckhart Tolle is one of those people.

In this recent teaching Eckhardt posted on his Facebook page, I was reminded to re-engage in the present by closing my eyes and feeling my hands. Sounds super weird if you’re not familiar to it but what it literally does is allow your brain to move out of thoughts that become obsessive. Often intense fear very quickly turns into obsessive, hamster wheel spinning. Doing this one thing slows the wheel down and even allows you to get out of it.

After I did that, I was still fairly charged so I decided get a story I used to read to my students years ago and read it aloud to myself. I loved the story, it was the middle of the night and verbally engaging in the story further calmed my central nervous system down. When I finished reading I felt safe again, put my head on the pillow and was fast asleep until 7 this morning.

All any of us really possess is this moment. What’s in front of us is unknown with parts of that unknown completely out of our control. Last night, I saved myself from a panic attack. Today I am grounded and embracing what is. It’s really a very good place to have landed.

🙏🏻 Namaste

They Didn’t See This Coming

Today while doing the regular scroll through Facebook, I came upon a live feed from a Congressional hearing. The details of that hearing aren’t important for this post. What is important is that though these views reflect much of  MY own interpretations of my personal faith in Jesus, how I live and what I believe about how to treat people, I’m not sure they are appropriate for a legislative body. I had to ask myself whether or not these expressions of faith actually belong in a legal Congressional hearing.  Should the person of Jesus and the words that he said to his followers actually have anything to do with the proceedings of a secular government overseeing a pluralistic country made up of people from many different religious persuasions? Before I go on, here is what I heard spoken today. 

“I’m experiencing this hearing and I’m struggling whether I respond or launch into this question as a legislator or from the perspective of a woman of faith,”.

“… it’s very difficult to sit here and listen to arguments in the long history in this country of using scripture and weaponizing and abusing scripture to justify bigotry,” she said. “White supremacists have done it, those who justified slavery did it, those who fought against integration did it, and we’re seeing it today.”

“Sometimes, especially in this body (Congress), I feel as though if Christ himself walked through these doors and said what he said thousands of years ago, that we should love our neighbor and our enemy, that we should welcome the stranger, fight for the least of us … he would be maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors.”

“There is nothing holy about rejecting medical care of people, no matter who they are on the grounds of what their identity is; There is nothing holy about turning someone away from a hospital,”

“My faith commands me to treat Mr. Minton as holy because he is sacred, because his life is sacred, because you are not to be denied anything that I am entitled to,”

“That we are equal in the eyes of the law and we are equal — in my faith — in the eyes of the world.”

When I asked myself these questions, the answer that came to my mind was, that though faith and practice should affect an individual, in all practical reality, it should be specifically irrelevant in Congress because what a holy man or a holy book says about a person does not belong in the making of our laws and policy in an official way. If it does from the Bible, then it also does from the holy books of other people of faith.

Why did this Representative feel the need to say these words in her official capacity? In the same vein, why did the Speaker of the House recently make a point to talk openly about prayer, specifically that she prays daily for the POTUS when she was asked about it? Think about what would happen if Representative Ilan Omar dared to express any of her beliefs in this way.  OMG, the GOP would become apoplectic! At this point though, I’m expecting that because this Representative isn’t the right kind of Christian, they are freaking out anyway. 

The answer to why this is now the norm in our public discourse, especially in DC can be found in what I believe to be the founding of two Evangelical organizations in 1979 and 1983. I believe that in their righteous zeal to obey God, as they saw it, they had no real idea what they would be ushering into those places by demanding that their one right way of things become the only right way of doing them.  These people didn’t know or realize that Christianity is an ancient religion theologians have been trying to understand and implement for centuries with their own take on the accuracy and precision of it. They forgot that not ALL Christians are Evangelical ones. Actually, they didn’t forget, they assumed that if they got enough of the right kind of Christians in office, they could control the state of public affairs the way they believed to be right.  Nonevangelical Christians are not real Christians in their minds. End of story. 

The first organization I remember was called the Moral Majority and it was founded by Jerry Falwell Senior. Falwell was a Baptist minister and the president of Liberty University. Mr. Falwell was a devout Republican who believed that America was founded exclusively on Evangelical Christian principles. It was his express aim to reclaim what he believed to have been lost in the nation’s capital. Other associates across the country joined Rev. Falwell in support and many Evangelicals across the country began to follow its work. The Evangelical pulpit began to be politicized in a way it had never been before.

The next organization was established in 1983. It was called the Family Research Council. A nonprofit founded by Dr. James Dobson, Armand Nicholi Jr., George Rekers and others. In 1988, due to financial difficulties it became a part of Dr. Dobson’s Focus on the Family ministry. Gary Bauer joined the organization as its first president and its work continues to this day. The primary aim of this organization is to lobby at the national level for Christian principles with respect to faith, family and freedom.

It is my observation that these two organizations, as well as a plethora of others, including Pat Robertson’s Regent University and 700 Club, had a collective mission to make America Evangelical Christian, again.

The preachers and leaders (not historians) believed that the early settlers came to America primarily for to establish the Christian faith. They believe that the Founding Fathers were Christians and claim any view to the contrary is the result of secular humanist wrongly interpreting American history. I can say this with confidence because my husband Dean and I were devout Evangelicals committed to the collective cause.  I also taught American History in an Evangelical Christian school. I was deeply committed to this cause for almost 30 years. 

My journey into a very different worldview began with questions, a lot of them. It is now clear to me that a whole lot of people came to America for reasons other than religious freedom and the Founders were a group of men with and without faith in God and with and without religious principles. Yes, the culture was generally Christian but it was profoundly diverse. Our founders did not intend for us to be an Evangelical Christian Nation, or a Christian only nation. The government our  founders established was a government for ALL of America’s citizens.  It was never intended to reflect a specific religion of any kind. If it was, the Founding Fathers would have clearly set that out in the Constitution.

The reason this particular Representative was compelled to share what she did above, is because Evangelicals in her midst are constantly bringing the Bible into the discussion as though it were a part of the US Constitution. In essence Evangelicals have asked for it to be this way. 

The number of Evangelicals in the House and Senate who believe that they have the one true and right way to have faith in God, the one right and true way to live their lives and make others do the same, is likely the largest it has ever been. What no one committed to the agenda seemed to have seen coming was that bringing in this very specific Christian worldview, they would also bring into the political decision making exercise anyone else who claimed the Bible as a holy book. They would have to actually be confronted by others on their use of the Bible as a justification for making the laws the way they do.

What this Representative described today was a worldview established by a Jewish carpenter. It is a worldview that Evangelicals actually share with her IN THEIR CHURCH ministries and yet, simultaneously they do not believe government should do ministry. Government should control the populace is what seems to be the gist of their involvement in it. They believe that biblical mandates, especially on morality should absolutely be a part of the law of this land according to the way they perform their duties in the House and Senate. What I do not believe they thought through very well, perhaps because they didn’t really expect to succeed, is how to actually use the whole of the Bible to make laws to govern. For example, the laws, with respect to LGBT individuals  cannot be made by throwing Bible verses at one another. MANY MANY Christians do not interpret that the Bible prohibits homosexual behavior. MANY MANY Christians do not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible or the inerrancy of the words within its pages. 

At the end of the day, WE ARE A COUNTRY OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM! There are core principles of right and wrong shared by all religions but there are atheists using rational thinking who come to similar conclusions. Religion does not belong in a government like ours. It belongs in our country because religious people live here and we need to respect their right to believe as their conscience dictates. The only time we should object is when that religion is a physical threat to others. 

The Representative who shared this today was Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. AOC…I waited to say who it was because I knew some of you wouldn’t have gotten this far had you known that to begin with.

POTUS

As we’re heading fast into the 2020 election season, I need to get something out there. I have been a relentless foe of this POTUS from the get go. I’ve blogged about him numerous times and daily attempt to use Facebook and Twitter to post truthful accounts of the realities we are living with since this man was elected and has attempted to lead our country.  I have simply refused to let go of just how serious I believe it is that we have elected someone like Donald J. Trump and that he is enabled to continue. I don’t think HE is actually doing the work of POTUS. I think instead, that other, more self-assured people in his orbit are.

In my opinion, the horror of a leader like Donald J. Trump is first and foremost that he has no locus of control, no center with which to govern from. I have a zillion issues with what has happened the Republican Party where I spent most of my years as an active citizen but nothing is as serious to me as this. President Trump literally has no sense of self possession. Though full of narcissistic bravado his real genuine sense of his own self is almost completely absent. In other words, when one thinks about the way healthy human beings develop, there is little there to imagine that his growth and development was healthy enough to achieve the milestones necessary to be able to direct his life based on maturely developed core values.  According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs we discover this central place of control in our lives as we begin learning from our parents and move into a place called self-actualization. (see below)

maslow

Of course, this process doesn’t begin in a sequential manner as if we’re jumping through hoops to get there. It’s more of a natural progression in a healthy person’s human development. Consider if a new baby experiences severe oxygen deprivation during birth.  That baby is likely to become a human being with little or no actualized sense of personal actualization. The person will grow and only want to be fed, to be safe, loved and to belong, but beyond that, a conscious sense of self control and self direction will be very unlikely.

I am not sure why it is true, but it is daily obvious that in spite of President Trump’s needs being met in the lower half of this triangle, the one thing he didn’t seem to reach maturity in, is the peace and security of life in his own skin. He continuously needs validation from his base and others in his circle to assure him he’s doing a great job. Do you believe that he genuinely knows that he’s done good work? That he knows he’s a smart, intelligent leader? If you do, what do you see that affirms that to be the case. Ask yourself, why he must say so out loud all of the time.

One of the most obvious conditions of someone without a developed sense of their own real self is that they are driven by the moment in an unhealthy way. They are not necessarily present in the moment, they are always, always looking for validation from others in the moment. If self assurance was an actual fluid, a person with a severe deficit would need a 24/7 IV infusion of it.

Most of us are on a journey of self possession. Knowing ourselves, understanding our core values, living self assured lives etc. is all a growth process. It has a lot to do with what happens to us from conception to the grave. There is no one size fits all approach. Some of us have had to do a whole lot of therapy to figure out why we don’t have comfort in our own skin and figure out how to grow into it.  Some of us work hard to parent our children to develop a strong sense of self in them.  When self possessed people face hard times, they look first into their own life, evaluate their own behavior, learn how to own it and how to alter it so that in the end they become better people. For whatever reasons, President Trump doesn’t know how to face his hardships in a mature way. Take a gander at his Twitter feed if you’re not convinced.  He simply cannot do it.

This is the single most important reason why I oppose this man being our POTUS. In a position like this, a self actualized person would be humble enough to seek counsel. He does not seek counsel. He seeks enablers. He does not have genuine friendships. When a relationship doesn’t hold him in high esteem and meet his deep need for validation in some way, that relationship ends. He fires anyone who opposes him. He copes with dissent through verbal abuse and mistreatment.

It is terribly sad that people reach the age of the Donald and haven’t figured out how to grow up, but more importantly, it is terribly dangerous when these people are in leadership. Cabinet members, lawyers, White House staff, a plethora of personal acquaintances and most of all the Press have been verbally beat to hell and thrown under the proverbial bus because they dared to stand up to him. Consider is this. If someone with this level of immaturity possesses our highest office  and becomes desperate enough,  what’s to say that throwing our entire country under that same bus is  beyond him?

I know that many of my Evangelical friends and family believe that if Jesus is in a person’s heart, the only self that is important is the Jesus self. The only way to growth as a human being is growth in Christ. I believe that this one things is blinding followers of Jesus to the reality that an empty soul is leading this country.  One can grow  in Bible knowledge, church attendance and/or missionary work but no one grows in Christ without facing hard truth about themselves, no one.

Luke 2:52 says, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” I strongly believe Donald J. Trump is incapable of this kind of growth and therefore, is a very dangerous man to hold the office of President in the United States of America.

Trump: What Some of Us Always Knew

Epstein, prostitution and underage sex trafficking isn’t out there in some other place. It is right here and has been for a long time. It’s interesting to me how many of us with a history of childhood sexual abuse knew at hello that 45 was very likely one of the worst offenders. We knew and felt his brand of creeper deep down in our collective soul. The night he stalked Hillary on the debate stage we felt it and wanted to throw up. We were in awe of her strength and ability to stand her ground. As he hovered, we shuddered.

Over and over again we have endured the very real PTSD symptoms that hit us out of the blue when we brush upon a sexual predator. We watch him spin one of his webs and tell a boldface lie to divert attention away from the horror of himself. As the men in our lives embraced him…and then the women in our lives did the same, we were speechless. How could they not know? How could they not see?

Many of us went straight to our therapists in tears seeking guidance during the 2016 election season. Every single day felt like someone was loading a gun and pointing it at us. It’s been a very long 3.5 years for us. Many of us have dropped out of political discourse of any kind because it’s just too damn hard. So much loss.

What our friends and families can grasp is that we can’t unknow our experiences. We can’t unfeel the gut tightening sense of danger we learned to know so well. Our rational brains couldn’t begin to grasp how someone so blatantly out there, so disgusting and dangerous could possibly be embraced by any sane voter. Then it got worse.

He did what so many like him do to put another layer of protection over his sordid life. He hooked up with “righteous” men who have also fallen in love with their own power to persuade and convince others that they are other than they appear. He became a Christian and surrounded himself with the religious…what better place to hide than in plain sight. We’ve experienced what felt like soul crushing betrayal as friends and family embraced him even going so far as to see him as God’s chosen deliverer for America. It felt like the sucker punch of all sucker punches.

At present, the daily struggle to wrap our heads around the reality in front of us continues to be no less difficult than it has ever been. Every day we continue to feel the ick that is our 45th POTUS. When this bomb dropped last week, we knew. We knew they would know each other.

Now, what we don’t know is…will it matter?

Dear Dr. Dobson

This letter was sent from Evangelical faith leader Dr. James Dobson. As a faithful listener to his program for 2 decades (80’s and 90’s), I am always somewhat interested in what he has to say. I nearly blew a gasket reading this and to you, my Evangelical friends who will likely almost blow one at my thoughts, I hope we can somehow stop telling lies about the other side and find a way to live in America with each other. I cut and pasted this letter in its entirety. The bold text is full of my thoughts on what he has said.

Dear Friends,

Several weeks ago, I was invited by White House staff to visit our southern border at McAllen, Texas, where federal agents are struggling to deal with a massive influx of poor and destitute human beings. They come in never-ending waves. Please believe me when I tell you that the media and leftist politicians have not been truthful about what is going on there. It is a human tragedy. 

The media and leftist politicians? Is this really what Dr. Dobson’s message must begin with? One visit, on one day does not equal a  complete understanding of “what is going on at the border” for anyone, anywhere at anytime. It’s a pretty LONG border with several points of entry and the situation at McCallen is just that, the situation there at McCallen.

To frame every treatis on a subject of Dr. Dobson’s choosing with “the media and leftist politicians” completely sets the reader up to understand that hundreds of journalists, camera feeds and interviews with those on the ground in multiple places along the border ARE leftist, liberal reflections. Dr. Dobson and others have said this for so long that their followers actually believe that anyone working outside of Fox News and Conservative Christian and mainstream Conservative talk radio are a plethora of things people of faith should be afraid of.

If the Bible is true and we are told that God does not give us a spirit of fear, we can be sure that Dr. Dobson and the other predominately white male leaders among him have taken on the mantle of fear promotion for themselves.

I promised the exhausted U.S. Custom and Border Patrol agents that I would go home and tell as many people as possible what I had seen “up close and personal.” Today, I am attempting to fulfill that commitment.

Clearly, were Dr. Dobson actually watching “the liberal media and listening to the leftists” he would have heard multiple reports of how exhausted these federal workers actually are. He would also have seen very similar faces like the ones he saw across the length of the border. He would also know that our President, under the direction of Stephen Miller, entertained the idea of using the military to shoot and kill those trying to cross the border – men, women or children. 

Approximately 5,500 people show up every day in districts organized along our southern U.S. border. McAllen is the site of only one of them, but it is the busiest and most besieged. The “refugees” arrive exhausted and ragged from walking hundreds of miles. Among them are large numbers of children, many of whom are unaccompanied by a caring adult. Last year, 382,000 aliens were apprehended for illegally crossing into this country and almost 100,000 of them were minors. Some of the kids have been abused along the way. Many of them carry lice, scabies or other diseases. Currently, the facility I visited is experiencing a flu epidemic, and there are no additional beds on which to lie. Some of the women have been raped. More than 70 people of all ages are sent to local hospitals daily along the southern border. Doctors and medical staff are overwhelmed by their patient load. Remember that word, “overwhelmed.” It describes every aspect of the effort to deal with the situation there.

This reality has evolved THIS YEAR and has never been the case in McCallen before. A “leftist” journalist I follow is from McClarren, Texas. On January 14, he returned home for a visit and spent time with a local journalist who has lived there for 15 years and recorded their conversation. The issue at hand was whether they needed a border wall there or not. AT THAT TIME there were no large groups of families coming in. The reporter gave a very well rounded perspective sharing thoughts from Border Patrol agents and there was no conclusion drawn at the end of the podcast. The listener was left to consider the conversation on his/her own. No condescension of POTUS just, “this is what the President wants to do, what is your perspective” I left with the assurance that my brain was quite welcome to think for itself. I don’t listen to this podcast daily, nor do I take what he says as gospel truth. He’s one of many journalists I read or listen to. 

The most heart-wrenching experience occurred during our tour of the holding area. It is a huge gym-like building consisting of dozens of fenced-in areas. Each one is crowded with detainees standing or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on benches. They stared out at us with plaintive eyes.

Again, if he actually watched the “media” from a variety of different sources, he would actually know that we have seen many faces like this too. Thus the reason we’re saying something about it. BUT the difference is that we’ve been talking about it for at least 3 years and some of us for much longer. We’ve also been fact checking from a variety of places whether the things the President has said at a given time are true or not. 

I noticed that almost none of them were talking to each other. The children looked traumatized and frightened. Tears flooded my eyes as I stood before them. They had no toys or dolls, except for a few items bought by compassionate border patrol agents. One tiny little girl clutched something that resembled a doll bought for her by an agent. There are few provisions made to accommodate the children. The week before we were there, a delegation of agents went to meet with members of Congress, and begged them for additional money to buy Pampers, toothbrushes, and other necessities. They were turned down flat.

These meager supplies have to be purchased with the border patrol budget, which is stretched to the limit. 

If he is going to make a claim like this he needs to tell us who was in that delegation so we can do our jobs as citizens and chew their butts out. If we knew which representatives he was actually talking about here, we’d know whether or not he was talking about the leftist liberals or not, wouldn’t we? Without that knowledge and with the way this letter is set up, it’s easy to assume they were leftist liberals (insert eye roll) 

As a liberal learning about a different place along the border where several NGO’s were “turned down flat” by the Border Patrol when they showed up with Pampers, toothbrushes and other necessities, I can tell you that I am deeply disturbed about this. The BP insisted that because the law stipulates that the only items they were allowed to use had to come from federally funded sources, they wouldn’t let them in. So, who do we blame for that? Of course the law makers but when your house is burning down, you could give a rats ass about whether it’s legal to use a certain type of hose or not to fight a fire! You do what is right, period.

I sincerely doubt it’s a policy that can’t be overridden in the name of human decency – “the only way for evil to triumph is when good men do nothing”. Complex problems like this take solutions that don’t fit nicely in law books. Seriously, do BP agents really want to hold this standard and live with the stench for one thing but do they want to live with the realities like they are? Who would even prosecute their transgression if they actually took those diapers, soap, toothpaste? Seriously! There are hundreds of stories out there where cops dig into their own freakin pockets and help a citizen whether the law allows it or not. It is the insane devoted adherence to law that allowed things like apartheid and slavery to exist. Jesus really had it out with the Pharisees when they bemoaned him healing someone on the sabbath. Maybe we can stop trying to save our own hides so much and just do the right thing. I think I said that already. Oh, well. 

I then walked up to a fenced area holding many skinny young men. An agent standing beside me asked if I would like to speak to them. He offered to translate for me, to which I replied, “Please tell them that God loves them.” Then I said, “Now tell them that I love them, too.” They smiled and waved timidly. 

Telling a thin, starving man that “God loves them” without doing anything to ease his suffering in the moment seems a bit hollow and out of touch. Maybe some kind of genuine empathy would be in order. I can’t imagine it’s easy to think a loving God would allow a situation like this.  

My heart aches for these poor people. Lest I be misunderstood, let me make clear that I am among the majority of Americans who want the border to be closed to those who attempt to enter illegally. There has to be a better solution than this. Really and truly MOST Americans know that according to the law the border IS closed to those who enter illegally. Dr. Dobson and others have been saying over and over and over that we want OPEN borders as if we want people to just come in anytime they so desire. I’m not sure how any intelligent, serious thinking person could believe that.

Right now with the asylum laws as they are, the only people allowed in and especially those in this crisis situation are coming in LEGALLY. Yes, the system is overloaded but the only solution to the crisis is to change the laws allowing people to arrive at the border requesting asylum. Until then, there is nothing we can do but take care of people the way Jesus would expect us to do. We liberals are generally devout humanitarians but that does not mean that we are eager to open the borders with no scrutiny. BUT if something is spoken often enough people seem to believe what they haven’t even intellectually processed. 

I’m personally working to help my liberal friends understand the situation LEGAL refugees face here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We do not genuinely serve them well. They live in poverty regardless of education, they work in jobs we won’t do and their daily lives are too often subject to some pretty hideous verbal and physical assaults. Those of us liberals who are aware of these realities know that WE NEED REFORM. ALL of the politicians I support are liberal and all of them agree that reform is necessary.

The harsh truth is that when the POTUS is demeaning the colleagues he cannot control and treats them like his subjects instead of his co-equals in government, the onus is first on him to change his ways and bridge the divide as much as it is on them. This is a Democratic Republic…not a theocracy or dictatorship. Really, it is. One very important task Dr. Dobson could undertake instead of joining him in the rhetoric and name-calling would be to encourage him to give up Twitter. He could also actually teach him to follow Jesus instead of just enjoy his perceived ticket into heaven. 

This is America – not Republica. We liberals are in fact American citizens whether you like us or not. We will be here for as long as there is an America. There are also many, many of us who are followers of Jesus even if we don’t interpret the Bible like you do. But more importantly, every person is a human being and deserves to be treated with respect, even if they don’t deserve it. 

I have wondered, with you, why the authorities don’t just deny these refugees access to this nation. Can’t we just send them back to their places of origin? The answer I received was “No,” for reasons I will explain.

Only 10 percent of the detainees are Mexicans. This year alone, people have come to our southern border from 127 countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, India, China, Palestine, Albania, San Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and other nations around the world. They speak their native tongues, which means they can’t be understood by each other or the staff. What are we to do with them? The Mexican government will not take them back, and there is no place to send them. Our current laws do not permit us to repatriate them to their country of origin. This is a disaster with no solution or projected conclusion. 

Let me tell you how these desperate people come to be our responsibility. They are the lowest rung of many societies. They sell their shanties and any other possessions to scrape together $3,500 to $10,000 to pay “coyotes” to guide them. I don’t know what happens to those who can’t meet this demand. Apparently, most manage to pay the fee, and arrive penniless and profoundly needy. I was told that some of the vulnerable children are “recycled” repeatedly to help men gain entry to this country. An unknown number of these men are hardened criminals and drug runners, and they are difficult to identify. Most make their way across the border.

Here’s something else you should know. I have been under the impression that these would-be immigrants try to cross the Rio Grande River and outrun or evade the agents. That is not true of most. They come in large groups, from 100 to 400 people at a time. As I write this letter, a record 1,200 people arrived together at El Paso. The refugees quickly give themselves up to agents. That is why they have made this journey. They know they will be fed, medicated, and treated humanely, even if they are in holding areas while they are in our custody. Then they will be released on American soil. This is the system set up by a liberal Congress and judges. THIS IS A SCAPEGOAT IF EVER THERE WAS A SCAPEGOAT. Every POTUS since George Washington has had to deal with immigration during his time in office! 

It is a well-known fact that President Obama’s administration established many of these unworkable policies, and Congress is steadfastly unwilling to change them. Every effort at reform has been overridden or ignored. It is set in stone. Democrats want massive numbers of immigrants who will someday become voters. Some Republicans (YES a whole LOT of them do) support the policies because they want cheap labor for agricultural purposes. You could mention here the millions of tax payer dollars that have gone out to America’s farmers that these same workers have seen precious little of, but I digress. The border could be fixed, but there are very few in authority who seem to care. That is simply not true. History is clear that every POTUS since the founding of this country built by a plethora of immigrants who took the land away from the native people (and that really is a well known fact) has dealt with Immigration policy and reform. To blame this present situation on liberals or Obama would be as absurd as to blame it on either of the Bush Presidents or the Clintons. NOT ONE has dealt with hoards of families coming up from Central America! That is the reason these facilities are inadequate. How many border patrol agents need to say, “The facilities we have were built for single men.” Clearly we have a new problem that cannot be blamed on any one political party.

You might consider these sources if you can allow yourself to digress from your usual sources of information.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/29/bush-immigration-reform-1990-1014141

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Immigration_Reform_Act_of_2007

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_Immigration_Reform_and_Immigrant_Responsibility_Act_of_1996

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_reform_in_the_United_States

Getting back to my story, our group of national faith leaders and humanitarian organizations was taken to a grassy park underneath the international bridges where the “coyotes” bring the refugees. We stood 50 feet away from them and watched as about 200 people sat on the ground. Then buses arrived to transport them to Border Control. Agents have to work fast because another group will be showing up soon, and then another and another. The would-be immigrants are taken to the center and given cursory medical exams. Then they are segregated by sex and age and placed in the fenced-in areas to be held for the next 20 days until they are processed and given a Notice to Appear. If that sounds inhumane, what would you or I do? There is simply no other place to “house” them. 

Mismanagement of the border has a long history. A federal judge years ago issued a ruling called the Flores Settlement Agreement. It is still the source of many problems. It requires that any unaccompanied alien child must be released within 72 hours. This is now the law of the land, and poor people around the world know it. A single male typically seeks to find a child and a woman to help him “game the system.” Clearly, many of these are “fake families,” but there is no documentation in Pakistani or Bangladesh to challenge their claims. Lawyers at home have told them to claim that they are fleeing from oppression or seeking asylum. They are allowed to plead their cases to judges, but there are too few of them to keep up with the volume. These people are given a court case and released. The vast majority are never seen again. Most then become “anchor babies” who are citizens with rights to bring members of their families. Others are given transportation to an American city where they disappear into the culture. 

In addition to this influx of people from places around the world steeped in poverty and despair, Senator Chuck Schumer authored and helped pass a “lottery” system, whereby winners are brought to the United States. They become permanent residents, who then begin bringing their families to our shores. Thank you, Senator. And where did your ancestors come from? Who allowed them to come to “our” shores?? They came in droves from Europe and were given free land. They became permanent residents in numbers that would make the situation at the border seem like nothing.

Senator Schumer tried to bring a solution to a problem, the House, the Senate and a President chosen by Americans signed the bill into law. A new reform has to take place in a new time in History with new facts, new problems and new complexities. Vilifying Senator Schumer – is not doing anything but allowing Dr. Dobson to vent his own frustration. He is still there and will have to be worked with so I don’t know how this is at all helpful. 

Ten years ago, 90 percent of illegals apprehended at the border were single males, mainly from Mexico. Now, more than 50 percent show up with babies and children, and 90 percent of them are from countries other than Mexico with 64 percent being family units or unaccompanied alien children. Together, they claim to be “families” and within three weeks, they will be home free in America. Is there any doubt why there have been more than half a million illegal immigrants this year alone? 

10 years ago, the world was a bit of a different place, wasn’t it? 

Before I conclude, I must tell you about the agents who have to deal with this chaos. They are compassionate men and women, sworn to uphold federal law and protect our borders. And you think that we liberals don’t care about them because our leftist media reports on the bad hombre’s among them? Interesting.

They obviously care about the detainees, and I respect them highly. They work tirelessly feeding people three times a day and providing clean clothing. They must also maintain the portable toilets in the cells. It is a never-ending task. There are only two large showers in the facility, one for males, the other for females. Their capacity is for only 20 people at a time, which is insufficient.

The border patrol agents administer this program, but most of them didn’t sign up to be caregivers. Agents were trained to patrol the border and apprehend drug runners, traffickers, smugglers, murderers, and every kind of lawbreaker. This is very dangerous work. But, please understand this: the border patrol agents are so busy caring for refugees seeking entry to the United States that they have very little time to police the borders. It is so porous that huge quantities of contraband, including all kinds of narcotics, flow into this country every day. Then it is transported northward to America’s cities to be consumed by adolescents and millennials. Lawless gangs, such as MS-13, are also pouring into the culture, making violence for inner cities a way of life. There is one more aspect to the work of the agents that you should know. They are openly hated by citizens who resent the work they do. They are routinely vilified and mocked and demonized. Their families are also subjected to ridicule. These agents need our appreciation and prayers. They have one of the most thankless jobs in America. 

The situation I have described is the reason President Donald Trump’s border wall is so urgently needed. He seems to be the only leader in America who comprehends this tragedy and is willing to address it. This is so untrue I’m not even going to bother. I will say he’s the only one in America combining his delusional reality with a very real one and trying to make America think that his border wall will solve THIS crisis. Dr. Dobson himself, though not intending to, has explained exactly why this current crisis has nothing to do with the need for the border wall. That’s another argument entirely. 

Those who oppose him do everything they can to impede his effort. Dr. Dobson of the 1980’s would have never given a guy like Trump the time of day. In fact he and others would have been all over the indiscretions, the narcissism, the infidelity, the criminal behavior, the habitual lying, heck, along with Larry Burkett they would both be going ballistic over the increase in the federal debt and the continued deficit spending under Trump. They might have even challenged his bizare and lavish lifestyle (golden toilets, anyone). Dr. Dobson was always the first to let us know if he thought Hillary or Bill were lying, remember? Now he claims that we’re opposing a habitual liar!  The same Dr. Dobson who had program after program on teaching our kids morals and values, telling how to have strong marriages and basically teaching us all things thought wholesome, now embraces a man like Donald Trump? I. don’t. get. it. 

That is why I went to the border to see the situation for myself. I came away with an array of intense emotions. Your intense emotions were geared up and ready to find validation of your already skewed worldview. First, I was profoundly grieved over the misery of thousands of people. Second, I felt a deep appreciation for those who are doing their best to help in an impossible circumstance. Third, and frankly, I was angry at the political fat cats It’s so tempting to insert  a photo of the current POTUS in right here but that’s a bit too below the belt…who have deliberately allowed this chaos to occur for political or financial gain. Oh, that is rich coming from a devout follower of the man in power gaining millions day after day for his own personal empire because now he has Jesus in his heart! They, and their friends in the fake media have told the American people that there is no crisis at the border! Shame on them all. No, shame on YOU, Dr. Dobson. Because you only get your news from sources you agree with, you are grossly misinformed.  The border wall is one topic and that topic has nothing to do with THIS present situation – and you know that. 

What I’ve told you is only a glimpse of what is occurring on the nation’s border. I don’t know what it will take to change the circumstances. I can only report that without an overhaul of the law and the allocation of resources, millions of illegal immigrants will continue flooding to this great land from around the world. Many of them have no marketable skills. They are illiterate and unhealthy. Some are violent criminals. Their numbers will soon overwhelm the culture as we have known it, and it could bankrupt the nation. America has been a wonderfully generous and caring country since its founding. That is our Christian nature. But in this instance, we have met a worldwide wave of poverty that will take us down if we don’t deal with it. And it won’t take long for the inevitable consequences to happen. 

Thanks for letting me set the record straight. NO, you did not set a record straight. You spoke like you know the absolute truth from one day at the border and a lifetime of learning to de-Americanize anyone who thinks different from you. 

P.S. I want to conclude this disturbing account of the border situation with a suggested “action item” for the reader. There is one solution as I see it, which is for people of faith to pray for our President as he seeks to deal with this humanitarian crisis. And pray more curses on Nancy Pelosi and the other demonic liberals. He is facing enormous opposition from both political parties, the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, the judiciary, portions of agriculture, powerful lobbies, and virtually every dimension of the culture. Well, my goodness, one would think AMERICANS have issues with the pathological liar, narcissist, impulsive very ill man with mental illness-who Dr. Dobson should actually recognize being a psychologist and all. But agenda usually has more weight than reality for most of us. I know of no one with political influence besides the President who seems to care about the crisis at the border. It’s very sad that you know of so very few good people in government. Will you join us in making it a matter for concerted prayer? NO, but  I will continue to search for real facts, I will continue to pray every day for this situation and that Republicans return to sanity. 

This letter may be reproduced without change WELL that’s good to know.  and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from Family Talk. Copyright, 2019 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Printed in the U.S. Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is not affiliated with Focus on the Family.

Sometimes Reality Bites Hard

About a month ago I lost a dear friend and mentor. My friend didn’t physically die. My friend simply ended our friendship in response to a boundary I needed to put into place where conversations about food restriction, increased exercise, clothing size changes and weight loss were concerned.

It’s been difficult. It’s been easy.

It’s been painful. It’s been soothing.

I’ve felt powerless. I’ve felt empowered.

It’s been incredibly confusing. It’s been equally clear.

Paradox: when two opposites are equally true.

It is utterly impossible in our western world to live a life free from discussions about the list of things I mentioned in the first paragraph.  We are a shame driven, perfectionist culture where success is defined first and foremost by our size. Nowhere is this more evident to me than it is knowing that there are little girls as young as five talking about dieting and how much they already hate their bodies. It is everywhere and as a result, it would be utterly impossible not to have conversations with others where some kind of talk ensues about all things related to the size of our bodies. Though I have made personal choices to change the conversation around these issues, I am not unrealistic about the reality that there will be talk that is uncomfortable for me. Unfortunately, in this relationship my coping skills and/or ability to articulate with enough grace and truth early on proved sufficient to end a very special friendship.

Months ago my friend started dieting in earnest in response to a medical test indicating she was nearing Type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, I have two friends who have made similar decisions in response to this issue. My take on both has been that I love my friends and that it is really none of my business how they choose to manage their health concerns. When affirmation is sought from me, I habitually redirect the conversation to something else unless I am specifically asked what my opinion is. If a friend chooses to  engage in a conversation in response to an advocacy post I put on Facebook I freely share what I think and sometimes, often times, we agree to disagree.  My belief is simply that life is complex enough without my direct interference.

All that said, like Frodo in The Lord of the Rings after he was stabbed by the Ringwraiths sword, I will always carry the wound of having been stabbed by an eating disorder that nearly took my daughter’s life on multiple occasions. The layers of personal trauma are going to be something I will carry for the remainder of my life. These traumas have and will continue to incur a cost for me. And there will be no cost greater than the impact this reality has on my relationships. Over time and thanks to five years of intense psychotherapy, I have learned how to manage my vulnerability pretty well but there are just times when it’s necessary to part ways. I never expected this would be one of those times.

Perhaps maturity is simply coming to grips with one’s reality and choosing to allow it to be what it is. I will miss this person in my life acutely and I will always be grateful beyond words for the impact made on my life as a result of knowing her but this is my sovereign path and tonight I just needed to write about it.

Discovering Talk Radio Again

I’ve started a new thing of late. When I’m out running errands, I turn the radio onto our local talk radio station.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to do it but for now, it’s been very educational and enlightening. The Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity programs are often on when I’m out so that’s who I’ve heard the most.  Topics covered include but are not limited to:

  • Fake News
  • Liberal Media
  • Educated Elites
  • Leftist
  • Socialists
  • Obama
  • Hillary
  • Dems
  • Witch Hunt
  • Hoax
  • Hillary’s emails
  • Peter Strzok
  • Comey
  • Andrew McCabe
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Michael Avannati

If you aren’t aware of these terms or people, well, you must not be paying attention because they’re constantly in the news. Between Rush and Sean (Hannity) they are totally obsessed with Democrats and the tale they tell is genuinely from those on the far left. When you listen to their programs they honestly talk more about what they hate about Democrats than what they love about being Republicans. In fairness though, most late night comedian/commentators do the same thing using another forum. To the Republicans there is nothing funny about the leftist socialists out to take away all of their hard-earned money.

Today Hannity was all over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He was warning his listeners about her worldview and  that she was the face of the current Democratic Party. According to Sean, Pelosi and Schumer are terrified of this woman’s far left beliefs.  You would think that he talks to them as often as he does POTUS.  Limbaugh has no love for her either.  They are both equally unimpressed with all but a select few people under 30.

Yesterday, Rush was trying to convince his listeners to believe that there is no such thing as White Privilege because if there were, those who were “half white” like Obama would make much better use of their whiteness and claim that privilege, including President Obama. Not kidding.  It was such a bizarre way to frame it my head was spinning.

Rush spends a fair amount of time talking about the whole Russia Thing. Yesterday he was very strongly educating his audience that it is actually an elaborate hoax created by the FBI to cover up the real collusion between Hillary and the Russians. Gee, doesn’t the FBI have plenty of other work to do?

For now, I’ll keep listening and trying to understand these guys or whoever happens to be on air at the time.  I’ll continue to try know grasp how they took over the party I spent most of my life in. Oh, and I will try hard NOT to shout obscenities while driving along. No guarantees on that one.