Odds and Ends No. 48

The temperature hit 112° F as I got out
of the car to walk Thunderbird. A few
spaces down, a young man was standing

near his car. He looked like he was in
email or texting mode. He was dressed
in running shorts only. “Adonis lives,”

was my first thought. Stark white.
Perfectly muscular. As I opened the
trunk to get my walking stick, he took

off running up the trail to the first ridge
line. He looked like a Greek statue; not
one body hair! To say that he and I were

opposites is an understatement. Here I
am dressed in black top and shorts, my
belt with stuff hanging all over it, two

water bottles, and a walking stick. He,
on the other hand, ran off with nothing.
Just his phone and shorts; no water!

As I crested the first ridge, no sign of
him. I was only a minute or two behind
him or so I thought. I got to the top of

next ridge which gave me a wider view.
I started to pan the trails visible from
this vantage point. No sign of him.

Fifty-five minutes later I was back in
the parking lot. His car was gone. Wow!
In my car cooling down, I toweled my
head, neck, and arms. Then, on the

drive back home, I started to chuckle.
How did he do that? You and I both
know that Adonis lives in Greek

mythology; not in that parking lot!
I have enough hair on my body for at
least three people! A big knot above

my left knee. My skin is more olive
than white. (Maybe that is why the
Army listed me as “Other.”) Well, it

is a good thing that the Lord loves
me like I am. Adonis, I’m not. I had
a power bar soon after I got home.

I was depleted, needed protein. She
just left for a meeting but I’m now
thinking dinner. I have one frozen

hamburger left. Sounds good. Not
very hungry. Good day. I baked in
the sun and basked in my Father’s

love for me as I am; hair, knots,
and all. Correction: Great day.
Hamburger, sliced pickles, ketchup.

Cheese? Annoying phone alarm.
It is garbage night. Trash out first,
then dinner. And iced tea. Most

might say I saw an ordinary guy;
another my guardian angel. I’ve
never been one to agree with “most.”

Odds and Ends No. 36

I’m having one of my regular not-photo-worthy
lunches. And, I’m writing on a steno pad to my
left, sandwich in the middle, and thinking of

reading my lunchtime book, open on the right.
To slow the eating process down. When you are
too hungry, you eat too fast. Fast for me is no

doubt slow for you. Historically, I’ve always
been the last one to finish. To this day I can
still hear the tapping of my mother’s hard long

fingernails on the table giving me a look as I
was the last one to finish the salad so she
could serve the main course. I can’t tell you how

happy I was when I joined the Army to learn that
salad was an option, not mandatory. And, yes, I
found Army chow an improvement, a step up!

I’ve never enjoyed the taste of passive-aggressive
cooking. Hard to swallow. I was probably more
hungry for lunch because we had breakfast so

early today. A little after six. Her cold isn’t as bad
today. Mine is same-o, same-o. A cold means food
doesn’t taste. Well, not quite. It tastes, but not…

(Finished my lunch about here. Back at my desk
with three cookies and morning coffee from my
thermos, two sugars, three of creamer.)

…good, not right. Because your throat feels like a
waste bin. Turns everything to bland. Although,
bland is higher on my list than passive-aggressive

anything. I don’t believe there are any passive-
aggressive bartenders. Have you ever had a bad
Martini out? Of course not. If someone passive-

aggressive made a dry Martini, what would it taste
like? Pure lighter fluid, I imagine. Big heart burn.
(I know these things. I have the sick relationship

history to prove it.) Why did I remember that book
as being so great? I’ve read about first century
rabbis studying the law for weeks now! It is

getting old. The Law did us in then; does us in
now. Choking the life out of me (and the Church).
Worse? Present day Christians studying the Law

and living under the Law (who don’t know any
better that they are under Grace). Sad to think
when Jesus returns there will still be legalistic

preachers teaching series after series on the Ten
Commandments without a hint of Grace (or Jesus).
Holding their flocks in bondage when Jesus set us

free. (To clarify lest I’m misunderstood or have to
bleep a whole bunch of so-called Christian
comments—one can teach about the Ten

Commandments but from a Jesus, saved by Grace
point of view. Please do not make the same mistake
many preachers do. That is to separate “grace and

truth.” Grace and Truth are on the same side of the
seesaw; the Law is on the other side of the seesaw.
You can’t live under the Law and by Grace and Truth

at the same time. Like having one foot in the grave
and the other foot out of the grave. Just like
passive-aggressive food is never going to taste good.

It only looks the part. “For the law was given
through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus
Christ.” (John 1:17) The Apostle Paul proved that we

cannot fulfill or keep the Law. Hence, Jesus came to
fulfill the Law, completing the Law for us. If I can’t
keep the Law, I’m as good as dead. If I fail under

Grace, I’m forgiven and still alive by God’s Grace.
Well, cookies are long gone. Looks like I’ll be making
a run to Home Depot for my second replacement

smoke detector. Trying to replace them all, one a
month. I don’t want any more screaming eagles at
two in the morning! Smoke detectors only fail at

night; not during the day. There ought to be a law.
And we might stop at Dairy Queen for medicinal
purposes on the way back home.

Commentary on Haiku 16.17

I got out early on purpose today. I had Moo Goo Gai Pan on the brain. And steamed rice. Simple chicken and vegetables seemed like a great idea. I ate slowly because I still had forty minutes before my next EMDR session.

Well, sort of. These are sessions in between EMDR sessions. For several weeks now, I’ve been drawing a large sectioned chart of my life starting at birth with detailed notes. It is amazing how much I’ve not thought about in many years. It is equally amazing how much trauma, pain, and abuse I’ve forgotten, squashed, not thought about over the last fifty years or so.

Last session we covered Vietnam. This session we got through my life after Vietnam, at the AADA in NYC, and back in the Army again. Language school and Ft. Myer. Thailand, Korea, Ft. Dix, etc. A minefield of poor choices, bad relationships, abuse, and more abuse. I was going to chart more, but I couldn’t. I felt like silly putty in a puddle on the floor. There were good memories, too. A number of good things; but a number of bad things. I felt like the bad outweighed the good.

Most of the people who abused me as a kid, young adult, and adult were supposed to be trusted. Family. Friends. Marriage. Sixty years of abuse is all I can take! Enough already. You will never get approval from anyone who abused you. Family, friends, wives, or other. Doesn’t matter. Add to that bad circumstances. And, well, it makes for a tough time. (These thoughts specifically on “approval” came to me when I read a blog I follow; the one about a family member abuser. But I was thinking about too much to leave a comment. You might say this blog post is my comment.)

Lying here on the floor in my puddle of self-pity silly putty won’t improve anything either. This is where the truth comes in. I learned that I was never ever in my lifetime going to get approval from my mom and dad. You don’t get approval from your abusers. The fact that they have been dead for many years doesn’t soften or change that. It won’t change; I might like it to change, but it won’t.

I can only get approval from one source for free whether I believe it or not, want it or not, deserve it or not, etc. God approves of me no matter what. That is all the approval I need for a lifetime and for eternity. God’s love for me is unceasing and unconditional. Not dependent on me at all.

I’m approved. On my worst day I have God’s approval. In my worst hour, I have God’s approval. No one can love me more than God. No one will love you more. Can you hear this? I hope so, because I wrote it more for me. To remind myself that I am loved and approved forever by a God who is unchanging and true, when everyone we loved (or thought loved us) failed us. I may feel like crap. I may feel beat up. But it can’t change the truth. God loves me, approves of me, and is good.

Odds and Ends No. 26

What do you do when the day has
gone by so fast you only have
fifteen minutes to post before you

have to do the next thing? That is
me this very minute. I’m typing
like a madman! The time since my

last post was full, no complaints
but all the neat things I thought
I’d write about, I’ve forgotten. Like,

the time before my last walk, I
looked at my phone for my end
time only to realize I forgot what

time I started my walk. Few people
say hello. I’m not racing anyone.
Keeping time adds stress to an

otherwise sweet walk (painful at
times, but sweet). Seven minutes
to go. Still have to get my boots on

and fill my water bottles. After
EMDR this week, I started writing
a poem about being “dismissed.”

Too serious a revelation; too serious
a topic to write about in one sit down.
Three minutes to go. My parents

totally dismissed me; they set me up
to be in second place my whole life.
Good thing God didn’t agree with

them. I could probably write a book
with the title “Life on the Back Burner.”
But I won’t. One minute left. This

birthday, it is more important for me
to remember that God has given me
life for another year and that is a gift.

Glorious thing that God sees me
differently than my parents (and
others) have treated me. His love for

me tells me I’m in first place; in his
eyes I’m living life on the front burner
(from here on out). Two minutes after!

Severe child abuse and continued
abuse by others created this mess
otherwise known as my life, but

God will heal it all. The best part of
my life is still ahead. Time to walk.
Dinner out tonight. I can say with

almost certainty that I will celebrate
this day with my “a few times a year”
martini up with Absolut and olives.

Mostly Minutiae No. 30

Quiet, reflective day after my third session
of EMDR yesterday. I’m exhausted really.
Feel like I went through World War II in a

single day. It seems my brain was on a
mission to seek out what I didn’t know
about the details of my abuse. How did I

live through that? Why am I still alive?
By God’s grace alone. His love prevailed
when there was none, when I lived daily

in the pit of Hell. Okay, enough of that.
Better I should talk about coffee. At my
advanced age to learn who did what is

not fun. But necessary if healing is to
follow. Being Friday, the day started off
with Gevalia, my Wally coffee. Stronger
than our usual, but wonderfully mild in

its own way. She drank one cup; I drank
two. She talked; I listened. (Good choice.)
There were things heavy on her heart as

we sipped and munched. She her toast;
me my matzo. EMDR is a workout for the
brain. So exhaustion is expected. More

so than I thought. I sat studying and staring
at my laptop until noon. How perverted, how
sick is sexual abuse! But politicians don’t

change. Arrogance prevails. Promises of
change come and go. But only the power
of God can change or heal the human heart,

restore to health, joy, and peace. No guru or
self-help book in the world can fix a thing.
Man-made band-aids don’t last.

Dinner last night and lunch today for me
was bologna. A comfort food for me. Spicy
mustard, provolone, and a kosher dill pickle

spear on the side. Oh yes, and a very strong
cup of tea today. I need all the help I can get
today. Man will never stop trying to do what

only God can do. Man will never stop trying
to stop God from what only God can do.
Good luck. God wins. I read the end of the

Book. When she gets home it will be our
favorite Friday dinner. Pizza and my salad.
Looking at the clock, I can fit an espresso in.

(I missed my window two days in a row.
Hellish week. I deserve an espresso!)
It is hard to end a post when you didn’t

know where you were at the start. Some
days are like that; you have hope, feel God’s
unceasing love in the midst of horrific pain.

It is okay. That is why God gave espresso.
And a cookie. And blessings when I least
expected it. God’s love for me cuts the hell

out of Hell. Time for coffee. And a cookie.