Crash, But No Burn

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Details: After some abdominal surgery and I was ready to head home, I decided to get some exercise with quick walking through my hospital floor. Without realizing, my right foot tended to drag just slightly, catching that foot on the pavement and throwing me hard to the concrete.

My foot felt a bit wet, so I looked down to discover that my assumedly blue blood was crimson red, and lots of it. Within just a couple of seconds, many hands materialized to keep me still while analyzing my condition. With my bones apparently still in place, the medical folks hefted me from the floor and deposited me in a wheel chair.

After just a few more seconds they had me back in the hospital room and began sowing me back up. That began the most thorough testing I’ve ever seen. The first thing I noticed was my glasses’ left temple piece was flattened, preventing any good TV viewing. Next I discovered some internal brain bleeding, which is not a good thing. The news they gave me was I had better take no more falls, or that could kill me. Shortly thereafter I needed to go to the potty.

I awoke in bed after my unconscious crashing to the floor and bashing the bathroom door opened. At least that unintentional embarrassing movement failed to hurt my feelings. Then they had to code me. I didn’t even experience some white light upon entry to the nether world.

They questioned me about such complex issues like my name, which had temporally escaped my notice. Other amnesia-related questions such as my location and date were also beyond my grasp. I did, however, recognize my family, but without their names.

Things gradually came back to me. I still can’t remember the nursing home’s name or its location(mental block). But it does make sense hear it. The Thought Cops (mental therapist) practiced some of the most cruel exercises, like requiring the date and telling me what was on the pictures they showed me.

My driving was another issue. Until they decided I was in my right mind they refused to allow me to drive. And I don’t like cabs. After a couple months I now have permission to drive. What a wonderful convince.

Apparently my improvement will come slowly, and the experts tell me I’ll never get full recovery. People tell me that I’m so much better than I was, though it’s hard for me to see it. All I can do is praise God for what I have and not regret what I don’t have.

C.S. Lewis on Grieving

It follows marriage as normally as marriage follows courtship or as autumn follows summer. It is not a truncation of the process but one of its phases; not the interruption of the dance, but the next figure. We are ‘taken out of ourselves’ by the loved one while she is here. Then comes the tragic figure of the dance in which we must learn to be still taken out of ourselves though the bodily presence is withdrawn, to love the very Her, and not fall back to loving our past, or our memory, or our sorrow, or our relief from sorrow, or our own love.
From, A Grief Observed

Lewis was writing about loosing his wife Joy to cancer only four years after they were married, in April, 1956. Though the calendar declared their marriage brief, Jack and Joy had enjoyed the deepest of friendships since at least 1952. Truth be told, their marriage began as a contract of convenience, as their love was anything but convenient. If you’re interested in the whole story, read, A Grief Observed, in which he chronicles his passage through the grieving process and its correlation with his observations of the world’s pain from, The Problem of Pain.

The Problem of Happiness

Marriage isn’t about happiness. Neither is love, or any other part of life. Happiness, joy, and all the other good things are simply some of life’s consequences, like sadness, injury, and all the other bad stuff. While each of those examples begins with something happening to you, not all of them are your own doing. As the saying goes, “stuff happens.”

That said, your reactions to life’s “stuff,” and not the “stuff” itself, determine what you get out of it. Tragedy, for instance, is never fun, unless you’re a masochist. And there’s nothing wrong with your natural, emotional reactions to both pain and pleasure, as long as you don’t confuse those reactions with the things that cause them. The idiot who ran the red light and clipped your rear fender caused your sore neck and auto repair bills, but he didn’t cause your furious anger and desire for revenge. Like “stuff,” idiots happen. It’s all part of life, and rarely a personal affront. Take it personally, and you spite yourself.

Happiness never proceeds from your natural, human reactions to life’s “stuff.” While temperance and forgiveness seem completely inadequate when you’ve been done wrong, your ultimate happiness (as opposed to satisfaction) depends on them. That’s why Apostle Paul wrote, “In your anger, do not sin; do not let the sun set on your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26) Jesus gave us his Divine Prescription for Happiness in Matthew 5:1-12. When you read them, you’ll see they are big pills to swallow, but no shortcut exists for happiness. It’s like liquid mercury; try to grab it directly and it skitters away, but the slight residue it leaves on your skin is toxic.

The door to lasting happiness has a pick-proof lock, and its key can’t be copied. That key is obedience to God’s New Testament principles and commandments.

Bugged

First, I don’t like ‘em
… bugs, that is. Or anyone or anything
that causes me to feel bugged.
      Second,
by and large, 
insecure
feelings
 bug
me. But people, places or things don’t actually cause me to feel
insecure. Rather, my 
ignorance
of,
 and uncertainty
about
 key
aspects of those people, places or things, produce that
dreaded, 
bugged feeling.
      And
third, feeling bugged gives me 
hives—YIKES!

The Good
Ship Relation

      Groucho,
on one of the original TV quiz shows, 
You
Bet Your Life,
 used
to announce, “Say the secret word and win a hundred dollars.”
There’s a secret word today that may not pay a hundred dollars when
uttered, but it gives 
lots of
folks hives, and that bug-inflicting word is—wait for the
drum-roll—
Relationship.
      Why
is that sensitizing word such a bugaboo? That’s hard to say—oops,
are my pants on fire? Okay, it’s 
not hard
to say: People get 
hurt through
interpersonal relationship failures, and once burned, twice shy, to
the degree that we almost universally use a euphemistic
substitute: 
Friendship. So,
truth be known, a friendship is a relationship, without all the
negative connotations.
      Another
issue with relationships raises the stakes against them even higher:
That is, the implied element of 
control. Yes,
many control-freaks roam the earth, seeking whom they may devour. And
complicating that even further is what popular-psychology calls
codependent behavior, or in this case, the need to control, and
to 
be controlled.
Think in terms of an artificial bond, akin to that of rare-earth
magnets, which are almost impossible to separate without the
necessary knowledge and tools.
      We
card-carrying, popular-psychologists know a sure fire symptom of
codependent relationships: When the controll-ee takes his or her
emotional and physical lumps from the controll-er, and makes excuses
for the abuser, refusing to end it, that is a codependent
relationship. Remember the stuck-together rare-earth magnets? In the
observer’s view(that’s me), it is a 
bad thing,
ultimately unhealthy for all parties. I say “all” parties because
the most vulnerable of all are the 
children, who
know something stinks in Relationship Land, and without a full
understanding, blame themselves.
      Of
course, when the controll-ee takes a few lumps, but puts his-or-her
foot down and defiantly declares, “Hit the road, Jack!” we’ve
just observed an injured, but emotionally healthy, person’s
response to a complete 
jerk, or jerkette, depending
upon, (yada, yada, etcetera). By the magnetic analogy, this would be
a rare-earth magnet stuck to a piece of stainless steel; It’s a
strong bond, but without having another magnet’s reversed polls to
feed upon, it can be removed with relative ease.

Truth Zone

      While
watching 
Bones,
I noted Booth’s and Brennan’s use of a little investigative tool
called, 
The
Truth Zone
,
where they would agree to complete disclosure of all relevant
information. Wow! Is that an idealistic, schmaltzy idea, or what?
      While
that would be an awesome way of defusing that bugged feeling that
I’ve temporarily lost track of due to my popular-psychological
tirade, it’s largely wishful thinking. To establish such a space of
honesty, we would first have to establish a space of 
trust.
      Trouble
is, there’s no such thing as a 
unilateral truth,
or trust, zone; I can think of no way to 
guarantee cooperation
from all participants. Here is where the “F” word reigns
supreme(that’s 
Fear, for
those with a history in the mean world). Even with a referee’s
involvement, we fear that all parties will 
not tell
the truth, or even share their best-guess as to what that really is.
Who wants to expose their vulnerability without such a guarantee?
      Don’t
count 
me in!
So, 
Bones guys,
thanks for a great, but completely unrealistic, idea.

Bag’em and
Tag’em?

      Ever
more forensic procedurals oozing from my very pores. Now isn’t 
that a
lovely image!
      What
the Brennan and Booth characters do with forensic evidence, the real
world does with personal observations … as in, 
interpersonal
cues.
 Trouble
is, that’s hardly an exact science. The evidence we gather is
always contaminated with relational baggage, sometimes from early
childhood. Certainly, such evidence would never make a case in a
court of law, even though we amateur, relational forensic analysts
typically assign to it rock-solid significance. And therein lies the
bugaboo; by trying to protect ourselves with fear, without allowing
ourselves the flexibility of listening to and trusting God’s still,
small voice, we allow our world of relational hurt to hobble our
emotional development. And that’s 
really bad
thing.
      Everyone
who gets bugged about sensitive people, place, and thing-issues will
not necessarily sprout hives, but God will 
not condone
the emotional handicap caused by fear and avoidance. That’s just
not His style.