Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


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Sadness, Anger, and Sympathy

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A friend of mine posted this a bit ago. She frequently posts these types of messages and prayers. They fill me all at once with sadness, anger, and immense amount of sympathy.

Let me give you a bit of back story.

She and her husband are in their early fifties. They were young, vibrant, active, and adventurous.

Her husband had always been a tall, strong, imposing figure. Yet he was really just a giant teddy bear of a man, always at the ready with a hug and joke.

In the blink of an eye that changed for them.

He was riding solo on his Harley Davidson when someone turned across traffic in front of him. Unable to stop he slid underneath the vehicle. After days of touch and go, not knowing if he would live or die, he pulled through.

She was awash with relief and sang the praises of her God.

Then the devastating news came that the brain damage would be permanent and also the paralysis.

That has been some four years ago now. The longer it goes the more desperate she becomes. She loves her husband and takes very good care of him but it is now more of a mother/child relationship. She has amply displayed her commitment. Yet she longs for that husband/wife relationship that she once had. She would never verbalize this but she can’t even move on. It isn’t even as she would want to if she could, but she can’t have her husband back either. Neverland.

And while all of that fills me with a great sadness it also fills me with sadness that in order for her to come to terms with her situation she must do these mental gymnastics.

She prays to the God she believes caused her situation to thank him for it. Thanking him for causing her circumstances in order to bring about her dependence on this invisible entity that cannot give her an embrace, cannot kiss her lips, cannot hold her hand – this invisible entity that cannot carry on regular conversation but is only voices in her head.

Yes, it is indeed sad.

It makes me so angry to watch as she struggles day after day with his pain management. She has long given up praying for healing. She believes her God’s answer is, “no,” that her husband must suffer and she along with him for some greater purpose. And that purpose is a desperate need for dependence on the very being that caused the pain in the first place. She will sing his praises and glorify him for breaking her down.

On Earth we call that abuse.

It’s like watching a parent beat their child until everything in them is broken and watching that child beg the parent to do it all over again. Stockholm syndrome doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The anger that wells up inside of me is visceral.

And at the same time I’m filled with so much sympathy and so much understanding of why she needs this to be so. It might all be too much to bear if it doesn’t serve some purpose. She needs to believe that all of this has some meaning or else she might just throw in the towel. It would likely break her mind to believe otherwise.

This is why religion persists, why it will likely always persist. And who could be so cruel as to even attempt to take the one thing that is holding it all together for her away?


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An Explanation for Trump’s Popularity from Shallow Hal

Shallow.Hal

He’s a pro. He’s the best.  Just ask him.

He’s as racist, bigoted, and misogynistic as people feel.  We need an exterminator to take care of the problem.

Trouble is, nobody’s asking, and even if they are they don’t care about the answer, how he’s going to do this.

So you’ve hired an exterminator, you’ve given him carte blanche to deal with the problem.  You leave it to him.  He says, “Believe me, I’m the best.  No raccoon has ever gotten the better of me.  Raccoons are losers and I’m a winner.”

You trot off to work, leaving him to fix your problem, without even asking for a plan of action.  You carry on, blissfully, throughout your day knowing when you get home those damned raccoons will be gone.  Oh, happy day.

The exterminator calls you, just after lunch to tell you that the problem has been resolved.  He’s taken care of it and those pesky raccoons won’t bother you any more.  He’s left a bill in your mailbox.

On your drive home you’re singing along with the radio – rocking out, actually – excited to get home to your peaceful, beautiful, raccoon-free home.

You turn down your street and there are people standing out in front of what used to be your house. The only thing left standing is the mailbox.  It’s been raised.  Flattened to the ground.  He used explosives and blew it to smithereens.

Sure enough, just as he said, there’s a bill in the mailbox.  It’s more than you can afford.  And he blew your damned house up!  You’re not paying that bill.

Except you ring him up to tell him so and he says that, yes, you will pay the bill.  He did what was requested.  You said you wanted those raccoons gone, and you wanted them gone pronto.  He did that.  You never asked how that would be accomplished.  You didn’t discuss the terms of any agreement.  Only that you agreed to pay him to get rid of the raccoons which he did.

And if you don’t pay the bill he’ll see you in court!

May the gods help us all.  Ain’t America great?

 


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Weakness Thou Art a Woman

During his speech at a New Hampshire rally Donald Trump entertained yet again.  And, yet again, demonstrated why he is not, in my humble opinion, presidential material.

I don’t want another establishment candidate, nor do I care for having my ears tickled and being told just exactly what I want to hear, nor am I particularly politically correct. However vulgarity, misogyny, and a lack of conscience are not exactly high on my list of qualifications for the next Commander in Chief.

“The other night in the debate,” he told thousands in Manchester, “they asked Ted Cruz a serious question: what do you think of waterboarding? Is it OK? I thought he’d say absolutely, and he didn’t. And he said, well, he’s concerned because some people –”

A woman near the front of the crowd interrupted. “He’s a p—-!”

Trump admonished her for saying “a terrible thing”.

“You know what she just said?” he asked. “Shout it out, because I don’t want to say it.”

“You’re not allowed to say that,” he continued. “I never expect to hear that from you again.”

Trump paused, looked out at his election-eve audience and leaned into the microphone: “She said he’s a p—-.”

The audience cheered – shouting “Trump! Trump!” – before he gave the woman a mock admonishment and returned to his rambling, more than 45-minute speech.

Let’s forget for a moment that what he’s discussing here quite possibly qualifies as a war crime.  That he would waterboard and “a hell of a lot worse.”

No.  I can’t.  I can’t forget that.  He knows waterboarding isn’t okay.  He’s quite well aware it’s tantamount to torture and he’s okay with that.

Yes, ISIS is cutting off the heads of those who dare to oppose them.  Not only those who oppose them, but those who just don’t quite believe the same way as them.  It’s barbaric.

So, in an effort to stem that tide we’ll, what, become barbarians ourselves?  But I digress.

What else might we expect from a candidate who would like to punch a protester in the face? He might be the biggest supporter of the Second Amendment, but the first one can go to hell.  I’ll admit that protesters can be rude, obnoxious, and annoying.  That’s kind of what a protest is.  But it doesn’t sound like he’s too keen on people dissenting.  If he has protesters removed and wishes to punch them in the face now, what is going to happen to our right to disagree and protest his actions if he’s President? Twice, I digress.

Trump has clearly demonstrated his sexist tendencies.

Let’s get something perfectly clear, just because you aren’t opposed to women working and even not opposed to them earning a lot of money doesn’t mean you aren’t sexist.  Women, as demonstrated by the female rally-goer, can be sexist, too!  Because isn’t that funny?  Hilarious, actually?  Ted Cruz is the equivalent of the slang word for the female genitalia he’s so weak.

I’m watching all of this unfold in disbelief.  I understand that a lot of Americans are angry.  I get it that many people don’t feel like their government is working for them anymore.  I’m just hoping against hope that people don’t let that anger cause them to vote with their emotions instead of logic.  That desire for a savior has cost us too much already.


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On Bitterness

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This cute little gopher tortoise showed up in our garden!

: having a strong and often unpleasant flavor that is the opposite of sweet

: causing painful emotions : felt or experienced in a strong and unpleasant way

: angry and unhappy because of unfair treatment

Am I bitter?  I’ve been told that I am.  Okay.  Maybe.  It depends on which of these definitions you use.

Have there been experiences in my life that have left a bitter taste in my mouth?  Who hasn’t?  That might be a shorter list.

Have I had experiences that were painful or that I felt in a strong or unpleasant way?  Who hasn’t?  That might be a shorter list.

Usually, though, when someone calls you bitter it’s that last bit of the definition they’re alluding to.  Am I angry and unhappy because of unfair treatment?  The short answer is no.  At least I don’t see myself that way. Then again, we often have trouble seeing ourselves as we truly are.  But I don’t feel angry or unhappy.

Having said that, I do get angry sometimes when certain topics come up based on my experiences.  For instance, when someone – be it a man or a woman – says that a wife’s submission is the bee’s knees and that it’s a perfect plan for harmony within a marriage.  It’s God’s plan afterall.

You know what?  I’m not totally opposed to submission.  The way I experienced it had horrific results.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for anyone ever.  Sometimes men choose to submit, too.  Sometimes people just want all the little details taken care of and never to have to make any decisions.  If the two people involved are cool with that then who am I to say that submission is a terrible idea?

In fact, there are many relationships where one is submissive and the other more dominant.  And they aren’t all religious.  If it’s a free choice made because a person knows themselves well then I think it can make for a mutually beneficial relationship.

However, if the submission is based on coercion (i.e. lording religious precepts over one’s head)?  That’s where I can become angry.  If, based on your religious beliefs, you want to submit to your spouse, by all means go right ahead and do that.  But if, based on your husband’s religious convictions he forces submission by continually reminding you it is your wifely duty, that you are sinning if you don’t, or threatens you in any way – emotionally or physically – it isn’t willful or chosen freely.

In fact, if your husband is doing any of those things you might be in an abusive relationship.  The teachings on submission within religions are but mere weapons in the arsenal of an already abusive person.  Anyone who uses scripture to guilt you into doing things to suit them is being abusive, be they male or female.

So, the long answer to the question of whether or not I’m bitter depends on whether you believe that a person’s life experiences informing their ethics makes them bitter.  If you learn nothing from the experiences you’ve had, if you can’t recognize what you’ve been through and honor that with future life choices and held values without being labeled bitter it is likely that there is something wrong with the label maker – not the labeled.

That is all.