Run! Felina Run!

Run! Felina Run! It’s what was in my head as she told me about the pendejo who had invited her to stay with him on a visit to Richmond.

He was all that. He called himself Akim Kogan. Former addict, 6 years clean and sober !with tokens to prove it!, ex-felon on a long list of drug charges, tatted, long-haired, bearded, beyond 29, divorced, said all the right twelve step slogans . . . catnip for Felina. All good right?

Family Drama

We will get to that. I want to interrupt Felina’s nightmare. Jolana, it seems, has blown up this family gathering in South Carolina. My plans to chill with a cooler of beer in a hotel room have morphed into a tree-killing spreadsheet detailing everything Jolana wants in an epic family reunion. Lina has begged off and made plans to vacation in Kentucky with the in-laws. Way early on, Karelma dismissed the “let’s go total hippie and camp out in a farmer’s field in Oregon” plan. Merida will only see about half the sun covered by the moon. For Karelma, enough. She hasn’t been home with the fam in a few years. Between Jolana’s insistence that everything be perfect in Oregon, wait, sorry, South Carolina and missing the fam, Merida was an easy choice.

This event is wired to explode the way Jolana is rigging it. It *has* to go letter-for-letter the way Jolana has it planned on on her spreadsheets. It’s not going that way. My Dad, firmly attached to his baby-girl Lina, will be camping with her in South Carolina. So, there is that. I sort of like the idea of not going to South Carolina. Save for my Dad, the fam is finding other places to be that weekend. Because of my Dad I will also be in South Carolina. Tito will be with Lina and her in-laws in Kentucky. There is a Felina connection to this. I invited Felina and bae to use the other bed I reserved back in January. This ought to be good.

Bae Issues and Akim

Back to Felina. Felina and bae had an epic, bipolar fueled battle. Bae was evil on his face. He was the worst boyfriend ever. He should do the world a favor and just eat worms and die. Because . . . dirty dishes at the start. Felina’s Mom was also in Richmond lately. Felina’s Dad passed a few years before I met her. Good man, good life, but he went home to God after a battle with emphysema and heart disease. Felina’s childhood home in Puerto Rico was always a rental and without her Dad to keep the rent paid her Mom got behind. Plus, Felina’s Mom had the usual storm cloud of old people problems.

Felina had convinced her to buy a house in Richmond. No, I am not going to go down the rabbit hole of how a poor Puerto Rican woman of Catalan descent qualifies for a mortgage in Richmond. Ok, just a little: remember the Shrub era mortgage crisis? Yeah, that. So, taking care of Mom meant periodic runs to Richmond. Though, this being Felina, things with Mom tended to be stormy. Felina needed a place to stay while visiting Mom and Akim had been in her ear about how good it would be to see her. Bae’s geo-locus within 50 miles was suspicious because . . . dirty dishes at the start. She had to go somewhere. Akim was the Colonial Heights somewhere.

On a Warm Summer Night

Still Not Asking for It Run! Felina Run!It was fine for a couple nights. Night 3 there was tequila and roast chicken and an impressive sounding, long winded speech about how capitalism was evil on its face; including a dreamy vision of a utopian world in which no one ever got sick, never died and never aged beyond 27. Sex was easy, drugs were easy and the Internet was a government funded civil right. ‘cuz Felina and maybe he had a shot. She remembered bits and pieces of a rant about women weaponizing the word, “mansplaining”. There was something else about “rape culture” being a fraud. Akim didn’t get the irony of him mansplaining rape culture to an abuse victim. He was feeling his alpha dominance. Felina was feeling a need to sleep behind a locked door.

Sometimes You Need More Than Locks

Felina grew up Catholic so this New Age pseudo-Jewish drunken preening just weirded her out. Felina got off the couch, went to the bathroom to pee before bed and then to the extra bedroom. There was no hint from Akim that he was a prick. She slept with the door open.

I got a text message from Felina that she wanted to talk about a situation. That can’t be good. Then nothing until the next day. She and I had talked about giving her tanning bed time at my local gym. That turned in to a request to be picked up from the Pony Pasture in James River Park.

We headed to the Fan where Inger was crashing with some friends. I’m not used to having Felina cry. Usually she unloads a manic rant that runs 5-10 minutes and then either she’s at her destination or she gets quiet and falls asleep. This time there were tears. The makeup became a mess, “I trusted him! He’s been so good on social media. I stayed with him before and it was fine!” Still nothing on why Akim had gained a spot on Felina’s shit-list.

 A Level Down

This is what came through the tears. She had gone to sleep before midnight. She woke to find Akim’s hands on her. Another pig getting off by touching her. I heard this and wanted her to punch him in the balls. Make him hurt. She didn’t do that, “I went possum. We didn’t have sex or anything. I let him finish. He left the room and the next morning was all happy and shit. He had coffee, scrambled eggs and home fries ready for me. I hate eggs. I am vegan.

It’s a trope. Why don’t abuse victims stand up for themselves? Why didn’t she beat the shit out of him the first time he tried to hurt her? Some do. There are women that go to jail for defending themselves. Felina is not that woman. For all her fire she carries unspoken core beliefs about men that leave her vulnerable. She’s had men trying to get with her since she was a child. She’s internalized this intrusion as something men need of her. Men need sex. They need women. She is helping them. To which, I’d say, “Not like that!

A lot of the talk on the ride to the Fan revolved around boundaries. Maybe it was ok for him to touch her. Maybe this was a polyamory thing and she should have fucked him. Akim was older, wiser sounding, claimed a strong presence in the cube rat and bill paying world, a girl could do worse. He wasn’t as bad as the bicho she knew as a girl. Through it all I kept hearing things about bae that made me like him and his family.

Forgiveness Includes Justice

We talked about forgiveness. One thing about that. Forgiveness is not also foregoing justice. Where crimes have been committed the perpetrators need to be held to account. Felina, being firmly in the black-market, off-radar world, can get justice but it won’t come from the cops. The place where Akim is vulnerable is his carefully crafted beard that keeps his criminal truth ignored. I’ll never know if Akim escaped consequences. It’s not the sort of news you tell in Felina’s world. Shit just happens.

A bit about bicho. He’s not just guilty of sexual assault. He owns a sex-train of broken hearted single mothers whom he seduced and abandoned. All this free-love has accrued multiple child-support obligations that he has not kept current. Most of the cube-rat beard is a front. It won’t take much to break the spell and cause him some ugly karma.

We got to her friend’s house in the fan. The house was dark. Door knocks produced no response. After a few minutes I saw her disappear into the alley. She came back a bit later clutching a note. The friend had gone out with Inger and other friends to The Camel and would be back later. Felina had a key to let herself in.

There is no pithy wise ending to this. Stories like Felina either work their way around to a happy ending or they don’t. I pray that Felina and bae figure it out, take care of bicho, and settle in to being a good life, mayhaps back on Puerto Rico. Time will tell.

Last thing, a link some may need: RAINN. Don’t suffer in silence. Ever.

 

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Felina Novella

#felinaramos. Felina Ramos is my own personal, IRL soap opera. She is my guilty pleasure. I unfollow her on Facebook and then lurk. Everything about she and I is trouble. Yet I still vacillate  between following her, ignoring her, lurking her and going back to following her.

Yeah, what now? Right. She puts a message out on her wall that after she has had some sleep she wants a ride to a fast food place. Her offer is to buy from the dollar menu and also pay for a meal for her driver. I said I could do better than that. All normal and not blog post worthy. This is Felina, though. I get there and unlike previous excursions she comes out the door shaking. There is a tempest alive in her house between her cousin, her auntie, and her. Cops have been called. Contraband hidden. 3 latina women in full battle mode doing their level best to tempt the other into a fight. Entertaining for me and sad to see.

The cousin is learning a hard lesson. Once you escalate to fists there isn’t much else you can escalate to and have the same effect. The next level up is bloodshed and either a combination of jail and hospital or the morgue. The cousin’s attempts at psychological warfare are falling flat. She’s already used the nuclear option so another nuclear option is greeted with, “meh.”

I spent a few minutes with Felina on the front lawn teaching her some basics of sword fighting that enable a warrior to be cold in the middle of a fight. Hollywood has orgasms telling pornographic depictions of war as passionate. Actors get to display great emotion, to *ACTING* on camera. It’s all bullshit. A good soldier is no more excited by battle than he is by his morning shit, shower and shave. This is achieved through training and some simple techniques. I showed Felina some of those techniques so she could sooth herself and be effective.

A little more about the technique. You have seen Bruce Lee and others go through dramatic motions and vocalizations to focus their energy. That’s for camera. The real technique isn’t obvious to those uninitiated. It also doesn’t stand out because a swordsman should live this way so that there is no shift between battle mode and life mode. It is the way he is. He is never not practicing bushido.

Back to Felina. After the cops came, after the cousin lost the momentum, we went to the bodega to make groceries. Felina is a hot mess. She is also a good catholic girl who can’t escape her confession of faith nor her anger at the church. Felina, when she begins to be attracted to a guy or a girl, has expectations of the prospective partner. One of them is that when she complains of being hungry said partner should offer to feed her. Whelp . . . the current bae is a very fashy boy. He is tall & skinny, olive toned, of non-obvious lineage, with sharp green eyes and fiercely blond, nappy hair. He favors androgenous fashion, mixing thick cowboy belts with leggings, ripped jeans and wildfang sweaters. He is also a rather fine snowflake, expert at the approved fashy signals.

So, we’ve all been there. You go to the kitchen, hung over, dreaming of a favorite cure, and upon a search of the cupboards, find that the cunt cousin has scarfed down what you had hoped to eat. Through the fog of the hangover you remember that you ended last night having to get the bae to pay for your Uber home because this week’s check got smoked on a bar tab. There was a fight with the bae because he was not being very copacetic and you were drunk. So, the refuge of a millennial, social media, becomes a place to shout out your annoyance and desperation. What’s the reply of all those fashy friends to your plight? “Wow, that sucks. Wish I could help but . . .” Bae isn’t returning your texts or replying to voice mail. A quick trod around the tubes turns up a thread on gab.ai where the bae is flirting with some yup bitch. Asshole.

Yeah, so . . . all that virtue signalling about the plight of the downtrodden and when one of ours is ass-out the sincerity is smoke on the water. This isn’t just a thing with the fashy protest crowd. My brethren, confessed Christians, do this. Actuality is scary. It threatens our bubble and we react by trying to push it away. Guys like my Uncle Gary and people like Felina, who are an affront to a few orthodoxies, at first generate an itch to shun.

My Jesus was a badass. He was a carpenter who ate with thieves. He did scandalous things that insulted the establishment of his day. I don’t hear him saying to me, “Wow, Felina is a handful, stay away from that mess.” No, he says to me, “learn to love her as I would love her. Serve her as I would serve her.” Ruh roh. That’s not inside my comfort zone. Watching three women go at it is not my idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Listening to Felina hope that her cousin is arrested isn’t the sort of Gauloise fueled conversation I imagine I could have with a girl like Felina. Yet, here I am, leaning on the fender of my Impala, waiting for the storm to subside.

She had me on her front lawn and bae on the phone. Fashy boy was begging off. He had to work overnight at Denny’s and didn’t have any clean uniforms. The circle of friends she engaged with on social media evaporated as she posted about the fire fight under way between cousin and auntie. Everybody was broke, out of town, had to work, car trouble . . .

I did my small act of kindness with some love. I dunno about great love. Felina is on my list of folk who are a challenge to love. She is this big storm of hot mess that seems untamable. At the bodega she lit up buying Haitian items. I had a whole different list in my head when I offered to make groceries. No matter. Part of my task is to do these acts of kindness agenda free. It was illuminating to see what she bought.

On the way back she was negotiating a night away from the house. Bae wasn’t pleased. He didn’t get that a standard piece of advice is to stay away for a bit until things calm down. She was just going to drop the groceries and get a ride to the friend’s house. Cousin’s parting shot was a post on social media that Felina was trading nekkid favors for what I spent at the bodega. As if. But, in the hour since we left the cops had calmed things down and the auntie had started some red rice and stewed chicken. So, from my passenger window she said her goodbyes and went back inside.

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Hello 2017

I don’t have 1500 odd words on a single topic. I have a storm cloud of random thoughts buzzing around like knats on meth. So, this post will be a little (a lot) scattered. Your normally crazy-making, pugnacious blog posts will resume soon enough.

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We have been told for a century that we have no agency, we can’t do it ourselves, we must keep taking what pittance Pimp Daddy US deigns to grant us and praise him for his benevolence. We don’t need to burn down D.C. or anything that dramatic. Just move our commerce into the black market. Yes, some of us will get arrested for failing to pay taxes and such. That’s the cost of doing business in an authoritarian, socialist republic. Pimp Daddy US has never been able to completely shut down the extant black market so I don’t see him able to do so anytime soon. Self-reliance, the thing of 2017.

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These are the current cabinet departments under the Executive Branch: State, Treasury, Defense, Attorney General, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health & Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Education, Energy, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security. 15 huge bureaucracies that have an enlightened self-interest in continued existence. In addition, there is the White House Chief of Staff, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Trade Representative, the Ambassador to the United Nations, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. 7 more bureaucracies that are treated like Cabinet level offices in the Executive Branch which also want to continue to get funding.

Congress has its own administrative organization feeding from the trough of Pimp Daddy US. You have to also add in the lobbyists, who are a hidden fifth element of the federal government. Much of the sausage making of governing this empire happens inside the offices of law firms lobbying on behalf of their clients. They provide the staff needed to write the laws, provide congress with the digests of the legislation written, advocate for the laws desired by their clients and provide cover for congressmen and senators who want to claim that the junket to the Turks and Caicos was a working one. We won’t be able to do much with the licentious relations happening on K-Street. Free speech, etc. There are things we can do, though.

We are a multi-trillion dollar economy. We are one of the wealthiest and largest empires in history. It takes a government of a certain size to run this massive empire we have made. That said, we have built an unwieldy and ineffective bureaucracy in the Executive Branch that has become a tail eating serpent. It no longer exists to serve the President or us. It exists to serve itself and to grow. We will not fix our present malaise unless we cut this cancer on the republic down to size. So, if I were king (no danger of that), I’d do several things. First, day one,shut the government down for a hundred days. Essential services like Defense and Homeland Security would stay in operation. Everything else, though, would be shuttered. All Executive orders would be suspended pending review. Next, these cabinet offices would be kept: State, Treasury, Defense, Attorney General, Commerce, Transportation, Homeland Security, White House Chief of Staff, Office of Management and Budget. The others would be shut down over two years. The work they do would be turned over to private, non-profit entities with supporting law and/or regulation through the Attorney General to ensure they behave themselves. These entities would not receive federal funding.

Dumpf campaigned on “Drain the Swamp”. The first president to take a serious whack at the bloated fourth branch of the government will get crucified by the press and those with a vested interest in sustaining it. The opposition will unleash all the political dirty tricks they have. It will be a fight for power unlike anything we have seen since the Civil War. If that president survives the fight and manages to eliminate the Cabinet departments I’d like to see gone it will have the effect of taking money out of Congress’ hands and out of the kitty of any following President, maybe. Anything done on an Executive Order can be reversed by succeeding Presidents. Part of the victory will be to tie the hands of any successors so that putting back the eliminated Cabinet Departments will be too politically expensive. Swamp drained. Power in Washington reduced. Both good things.

I am not so naive as to believe that shrinking the Executive Branch will make the government less corrupt. Wealth and power are like water. They find their own level. In the absence of power vacated by the Executive Branch something will step up to fill the void. We’ve had our century of feeding on Pimp Daddy US’s benevolence. Government is already corrupt. I’d like to try allowing that corruption to go somewhere else. Gone out of the White House maybe we can find a better battlefield on which to fight it to the death.

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I am reading James O. Hannay’s, “The Wisdom of the Desert”. Holy Crap! We are a bunch of glutinous wussies. I keep talking about living on less, devoting a whole blog post (Money) to it recently. I haven’t changed my habits. I still fuss over finding an afternoon at Starbucks on one cup of coffee to be too expensive. Will I follow through in 2017? The new year is 2 days old. We have 363 more days to see if I do.

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Ray RobertaBob’s rules to live by:

  1. Lidera con compasión y misericordia. Solamente después de que su encuentro con alguien desafíe su opción para comenzar con la compasión usted encuentra maneras de limitar creativamente su misericordia hacia ellos. Incluso entonces, considere a los monjes y su voluntad de sufrir más allá de lo que la mayoría de la gente consideraría sana.
  2. El perdón te hace libre.
  3. Constantemente pregunte si sus elecciones actuales le acercan a su deidad o interfieren con su relación con su deidad. Todo lo que te aleje de una relación sana con tu deidad debe dejar tu vida.
  4. Un poco de miseria es bueno para el alma. Algunos de lo que quieres sólo pueden venir a través de la lucha.
  5. El rey no es tu papá de azúcar ni tu amigo. Deja de esperar que él te cuide.
  6. La sabiduría comienza con parientes y amigos. Amad a vuestros parientes, amigos y enemigos por igual.
  7. La forma en que usted califica para ser servido es servir a otra persona.

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That’s pretty much it. I joined my local YMCA as 2016 neared an end. I’ve done 3 workouts so far. I’ve been on diabetes meds long enough to be addicted and overly tolerant of their effects. Bringing my disease under control will mean more addictive/damaging/powerful meds or a much more impactful change in habits. If you want to pray for something, pray that I’ll get it in gear and eat better/exercise more. I’ve said enough about my money dysfunction. It’s not a matter of more knowledge or more words. New Year’s Resolutions are slow-news-day filler. I am a writer. Talking about doing something isn’t the hard thing. It’s the follow through. Stay tuned. This story will play itself out over the next few years. Keep reading the blog to find out how it ends.

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You So Sadomasochistic

First Posted 28-Oct-2014

I may be repeating myself. It is something I noticed as an Americorp Volunteer at Boaz & Ruth. People who had been horribly abused as children sought out adult relationships with abusers. It was as if because of some unresolved business with God the evil of their parents drove them to carry it into their adult life as they sought partners. Children of drug addicts somehow found their greatest love in other addicts and drug dealers. I’ve learned of late that some of the crap I went through as a kid is an inheritance from my grandparents and perhaps further. Lovely.

shacklesI live in the capital of the South. Richmond, VA is one corner of the slave triangle. The other corners are London and the West African Coast. The wound on the soul of slavery is still felt deeply here. It still festers in the hearts of our ancestors, slave and slave owner. The abuse perpetuated was horrid. The inherited bitterness deep and hard to heal. “Why can’t you just get over it?” If you have been abused you know. It isn’t something you just get over. So much of your life is colored by the scars of the abuse. The physical wounds heal. The psychological wounds can be a chronic illness that is difficult, perhaps impossible to heal. You don’t just “get over it”.

We elected a black President. Good on us. He is not, as is popular to say in the conservative press, HRH Obama. But the way some of us have responded to him, the expectations we have placed on him, feel to me like slaves wanting to return to the plantation and shackle themselves to involuntary bondage and whippings. It feels like some of us are seeking from him the very sorts of behavior we despise because it hurt us so. I hope you are mad at those words. You should be. Obama needs to succeed as a president, as a man without regard to race. That his popularity is fading among some because he didn’t buy them a cell phone and a Cadillac should expose a flaw in the character of our culture. It should not be a metric of Obama’s performance as president. It should also reveal a need to continue to heal the wounds in our culture which drive us back to the destructive relationships we left.

That itch to seek justice from the sumbitch that abused us, just drives us back into the hell we so passionately say we never want to return to. The healing has to come from forgiveness and a healthy relationship to God. We need to leave our sumbitch alone. One more thing, though. I am saying we need to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. I’m not saying that we should forgo seeking appropriate justice. Choices need to have consequences. Folk that are behaving in a dissonant or damaging way need to be called to account. Most of the time this means involving the cops or other appropriate support. It’s not something we should do on our own.

This relates to Obama how? We have to stop electing politicians we elevate to demi-gods or kings. We have to stop putting them in power expecting them to stop abusing us, wrap us in material comfort, and attempt to fill the God sized hole with pleasures or things of this world. We have to get over the idea that a president is good or bad based on whether he buys us a Cadillac and a cell phone. Obama can’t do a lot of what we wanted him to do. We have to do it person by person, at the local level. That’s how we break the cycle of bitterness we have inherited.

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The End of the World

First Posted 10-Feb-2105

Not dead yet? Sun rose again today? Doh. Guess we are not going to die just yet. Dang. I was hoping to be raptured so I didn’t have to do dishes tonight. Well that stinks. As I type it’s a fairly typical February day for Richmond, VA. It’s cold, it rained this morning, there was sleet but now it’s all melted and the streets are dry. We haven’t had our snowpocolypse storm yet this year. The one where the weatherman swears it’s going to dump 1,000 feet of snow on us and we won’t dig out until the year 3,000. So, there is bread, milk & toilet paper still on the shelves in the store.

“Mosque” by Antonio Melina

I am familiar with my Christian brethren who live breathless lives sure that today is the very day when St. Lucifer will show up, pronounce his victory over Christ, and begin the end of the world. Various fools in our history have set a date & time that came & went and the sun rose and the end of the world was . . . not so much. So, they had to mop the floors like yesterday and do dishes and all the other stuff that comes with the day to day. Not raptured today? Maybe tomorrow.

Now, though, I learn that there are Muslim fools who believe an Islamic apocalypse very similar to our Krischin one. They too keep believing that Mohamed is nigh and we are all dead about . . . now. Not dead? Rats. Maybe tomorrow.

The hamper is full. The victory garden needs weeding. I’m cool with a kind of passive foolishness where folk run about evangelizing because they are sure that the end is near. What I don’t like is the thought that we should do something to precipitate the end. If God isn’t moving fast enough to bring final judgement on his creation then we have to get it in gear and start making it happen. Uhm, what? Wait. Meaning?

If I understand this right, meaning that we are doing God’s work by killing all who don’t agree with our flavor of Abrahamic religion. Whoa. That’s not good. If it’s true, it needs to stop. Too, if there is an eight century beef against Christians because of what we did back in the day, OMG, start forgiving, please. I’ve said similar things earlier on this blog. Vengeance just begets more vengeance. The whole reason that the final play of Oresteia is a trial is that by then folk have figured out that the rule of law is the only thing to break the perpetual bloodshed of a feud. Resentment is a bottomless hole. There is nothing the object of the resentment can do to make it even. There are no words sufficient, no number of bodies on the floor that will be enough. At some point justice and mercy have to come together to break the cycle of violence.

I don’t have the way out of this. Being nice to them doesn’t seem to mean anything. Talk is useless. They use the time to clean their guns and resupply. I know of the debate over whether it is “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not murder”. I tend to fall with those who say it is “Thou shalt not murder” and on that, say that there are times when killing is necessary. I’d rather we didn’t fight, we didn’t unleash our military might in the Middle East. But, if that’s what it takes, if bodies on the floor are what is needed to end the fight, so be it. Those of us that survive will get the dishes done and do the needful.

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Forgiveness is Work

#johnk. My buddy and I were kicking around the various malfunctions we suffer from/through with our kin. His Dad somehow picked up the “go away/come here” tactic of some women. It is a core belief of his that any relationship that feels like it is in “come here” mode will flip to “go away” mode right ricky-tick. So much so that he almost needs a friendship to swing between moments of closeness and moments of distance. He also talked about the substantial list of “‘spose to’s” that his brother has. His brother, then, spends a fair amount of time being frustrated because the world/people/God doesn’t come correct and do things the way they are supposed to. His family also seems to suffer from “last word” disease. This is where you can’t end any conversation with the other party unless they have the last word.
missouri-black-eyed-susanFor my part I talked about our family believing that we know what’s wrong with you and that we also know what you should do, what you are supposed to do, to fix what ails you. We are quite sure that if you’ll do it our way everything will be fine. Also my Dad’s habit of saying something provocative for his own amusement at the rise he’s able to get out of you. I carried into adulthood a core belief that I was the sacrificial lamb that needed to die so the family’s sins could be atoned for. A sacrificial lamb who became a sheep who liked the color black and has an abiding suspicion of overarching orthodoxy. Tell me the price of friendship is adherence to your orthodoxy and I tend to want to fight about it. Becoming a disciple of Christ took some doing. I had a lot of forgiving to do.

The conversation came around to forgiveness. I’m all about mercy and compassion because it is what has kept me out of jail. If I don’t forgive, don’t remain merciful to my ex-wife, I probably would be in prison and she would be dead. My son would lose his mother and his father, one to the grave and the other to the prison system. My son’s Mom is alive and well and living in Henrico, VA because I made a practice of being compassionate.

My friend was struck by these words: “forgiveness is work.” I said it because as many times as I have forgiven my ex-wife and for all the years we have been apart, I still get triggered and find myself reliving old bitterness. I have to forgive her again, pray again, do the things I’ve done for fourteen years to keep my heart pointed toward Christ again. I’ve gotten better over these years. I can do this in seconds where it used to take me several hours. Still, I am never done with the work of being compassionate, of loving my enemies. Forgiveness is still work for me. I used to believe it was a one & done sort of thing. You said the words and it was over. You said, “I forgive you.” and the power of the egregious event is gone. Then I met my ex-wife, who has a remarkable talent for holding the emotional weight of an egregious event far longer than I thought was possible.

When we separated I found that it wasn’t enough to offer an apology once, to say I forgave her once. I still felt the hurt of our destructive relationship, separation and eventual divorce. I had to do it again, do the work again, so that I could stay spiritually healthy. It wasn’t a one & done sort of thing. I’m still working at it. So far, it doesn’t look like I’m done. I’m better at it than I was fourteen years ago. But stuff happens and the work I’ve done evaporates and I find myself repeating prayers I thought I’d finished with. Still, practice has made things better. Over the years there is less that truly unbalances me and I find it easier to rebalance and refocus on Christ. If there is any message it is that you shouldn’t give up if an ill wind blows apart your life and you have to repeat the work of being/becoming compassionate. Keep at it. Things do get better.

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3-Dot Mediocrity

First Posted 24-Jun-2015

Ok, yungins, go Google “Herb Cain“. Also Walter Winchell. Both published columns talking about what was going on in their respective cities. Herb Cain was a fixture in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost 60 years. His columns were tidbits of news seperated by an elipsis. I will never be as good as either Herb or Walter. But I’ve been away from this blog for a while and the backlog of topics has gotten long. Rather than try to make a post per topic I figure I’d steal a tactic from Herb Cain and do a few topics in this post.

confederate_flagLet me start with Rachel Dolezal. I need to marry her. Brown, crazy, liar, single mother, divorced, bitter, all my major malfunctions in one woman. She’d hate me so I’d feel right at home. Oh, and Rachel? Newsflash: you are white. . . We are a week into the aftermath of the tragic death of 9 Christians by a lone gunman. A lot has been said. I don’t know how much I can add to the conversation. Definitely prayers and condolences to the families that lost loved ones. As for a-hat, everything I have to say involves a criminal act of vengeance so I’ll not say it here. I am pleased that folk have taken the high road and talked about love and forgiveness. . . the knee-jerk reaction of Obummer and Billary to lay the blame at the feet of inadequate gun control is just stupid. There is gun control. For a law abiding citizen it is plenty difficult to get a gun. Yet, the a-hat who killed 9 people was able to get a gun. The gun isn’t the problem. The a-hat and his evil ideas about African-Americans is the problem . . . the various politicians and corporate leaders who are reacting to public opinion and removing the Confederate Battle flag from public buildings and products. I get it that some view that flag as a symbol of racism. Yes, we did unspeakable evil as a nation in our first century. Yes, the Confederate flag was flown by those who fought to keep slavery. I get that. I can understand a desire to not have that symbol part of ones visual landscape. . . 9 people are dead because of the heart of an evil man.

The problem is/was his heart, our hearts. The battle should not be over external symbols. It should be over the content of our character and the quality of our hearts. The absence of the Confederate Battle flag will not change that. . . I haven’t heard much from Billary. I’m working in New Hampshire, the focus of a lot of campaigning for the 2016 Presidential election. Of what I’ve heard it’s as if nothing was done over the last 8 years. Healthcare has to be reformed, more money taken from the rich and given to the poor, the same tired rhetoric about being a change agent for the middle class (meaning Union workers). Blah, blah, blah. Can we get a new song from the Democrats? Please and thank-you. While I’m at it, can we get some political leadership that hasn’t sold their testicles to the Chinese? The current crop sounded wonderful in the election prior to starting their term in Congress. Now they are a bunch of whining weenies who happily bend over for the Democrats and Obummer. Useless.

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