Relationships, Reality & Redemption

What do I know to be true?  Know yourself, and I will know myself, and if I come up short in that area, then … then … What?  Then what?  Oh, my!  Maybe the earth will rip off its axis and hurl into the sun!!!!

No, I doubt that will happen.  Here’s one truth about me: I am able.  I am able to do both good, and not-so-good.  I am able to empower (good).  I am able to enable (bummer, not-so-good).  I’ve walked with many folks over the last 20 years in the counseling context.  And in the realm of addictions, I have encountered the “enabling” dynamic a great deal.  And, if an individual is an “enabler”, that does not mean … that their heart is not good.  In fact, with every enabler I have sat with, there has always been a good heart.  We, with our good hearts, are able to miss the bigger picture, to mess up the smaller picture.  And we, with our good hearts, are able to walk with a soul and inspire, without many words.  We, with our good hearts, are able to run races with specific individuals who have come into our world who want to run well, with love in their hearts … a healthy love, an empowering love, a fragrant love, a tough love, a tough love not without honor, a tough love not without integrity, a tough love not without gentleness.

I am able.  I am able to go after myself with rocks and razored insults; rage and disgust.  There is a fancy word for it, I think: “self-contempt”.  Truly, I am not exempt from self-contempt.  And, truly, there is no exemption from redemption.

And, to use the title of one of my favorite films, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, there is an indescribably intense piece of fighting with honor and love and fairness and staying in the place of a safe place.  Not fighting with physical warfare.  Not fighting with psychological abuse; or verbal abuse; or emotional abuse.  No … this is a fighting where, at the core, is a deep authentic love for the other; caring for the other; and choosing to not let the other “off the hook” … because that is the last thing we need, to escape the responsibility of loving well and “doing relationship” well.

And that is all I’m going to say about that, for now.

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Philomena! Philomena!

Movie poster, Philomena
Movie poster, Philomena

Judi Tench: amazing.  Judi Tench plays the role of Philomena.  It is one thing to read a book, or watch a movie, and walk away with “Yeah, I liked it.”  It is another thing entirely when you watch an excellent movie, and find out at the very end that … this is a true story.  It makes to you, I hope, that as I am writing this, I will avoid giving any information away that could possibly spoil this movie, for those of you who have not yet seen the movie.  As for Steve Coogan, I really cannot imagine a better actor for that part.

So, here are some themes, words, that may encourage you to see this move:

  • Injustice, exposed;
  • Portrait of a courageous woman with priceless inner strength and profound resilience;
  • Redemptive change;
  • Disruption that will bring out the bewilderment in you … the bewilderment about how this injustice could happen;
  • Beauty in a great woman’s character;
  • Hope.

This movie will be worth your while, unless you only watch the “action / adventure” movies (Bruce Willis / Die Hard … Do you know what I mean?)

My Side of the Trees, Your Side of the Trees

The trees below are from someone’s  “Other Side of the Trees”, not mine.

wallpaperscraft.com
wallpaperscraft.comA road, or a path, or both, heading outward or inward; or both.  It is good to be out, accompanied by trees.  It was my path.  Yesterday, I knew I was to be … there.  I was concerned about more firewood.

A road, or a path, or both, heading outward or inward; or both.  It is good to be out, accompanied by trees.  It was my path.  Yesterday, I knew I was to be … there.  I was concerned about more firewood.

We had snow … two nights ago, and a lighter sprinkling last night.  Our wood, close to the house, is almost out.  That makes sense, as we are on the final snows, I think.  My backup firewood is down on the other edge of the property.  There is a place where one can pull in, or back in, there.  I have used the space to pile up downed trees.  After I chainsaw, I haul up the logs to our house, right after I chop.  But this past summer, I kept chopping and never got around to hauling.  I made my way through the thick two feet of snow, pulling a long sled behind me.  A strange sight: shoveling snow off logs.  I loaded the logs on the sled, and used bungee chords (which are like gold) to keep the logs from falling out of the sled.  Once back at the house, out of breath, I unloaded the firewood.   I was looking forward to calling it a day, when I couldn’t ignore the dog, Stash (short “o”), her .deep resonating barks … just loud enough to be a nuisance.  Stash is our Bernese Mountain Dog.

My Bernese Mountain Dog. Refusing to be herded.
My Bernese Mountain Dog. Refusing to be herded.

To get Stash into the house requires a patient “herding” strategy.   How do you herd a dog that has come from many generations of seasoned Swiss “herders”?  I walk through the deep snow one way, then walk back the other way, depending on where Stash is going.

Once inside, my daughter gave me a great hug … and she said “Dad, you smell good!”  I didn’t know if she was being serious.  I thought she was talking about my perspiration.  She said “You smell fresh, like you have been out with the evergreens.”

Sunset Other Side of the Trees
Sunset Other Side of the Trees

   Now, all of this was happening on my “Other Side of the Trees”.  But the picture at the top is of trees from someone else’s “Other Side of the Trees”.  My hope is that you are able to find your own quiet place: your “Other Side of the Trees”, or some other beautiful, healing, place.