There is a quiet place, a secret place, that is yours for restoration. There is a realness in the stillness. Go there, when you can; when you need to. It's safe. For me, it is the Other Side of the Trees.
Just yesterday morning, before 6, I watched the colors of the pre-sunset coming together.Good colors, penetrating my busied soul.At the present hour, we have snow flying in.Maybe three, four, inches. There is a fire in the fireplace; I guess that is why they call it a fireplace; I hope the chill in my body will fade. One of the dogs is out like a light, on the couch. We recently moved. When I consider this dispatch to thepast, I know that most of us have moved, several times. Some of us more than others.I always was a runner, then.There is less running now, in my present.The paradox is
obvious.In this dispatch, I consider the past: memories, friends, challenges, disappointments, great blessings. Yet none of you are there, in the past.We’ve all moved on.And, for the most part, we are all thankful for that.I miss you all. One day, we will all catch up.
A previous post about my father, “Dad Man”, surfaced recently, in my mind. The nickname came about from me and my brothers. More commonly known as Bill Davis, he was referred to by his close friends as “Billy”, or “Wild Bill”. My Dad finished his race well that morning, June 24th of last year (2016), transitioning into eternity. The U.S. Navy provided a flag ceremony at his funeral. Dad served as the XO (executive officer), reporting to the commander. Dad cruised the South Pacific in WW2 on the
USS PGM 22, a PC 461 Class Gun Boat, sweeping and detonating mines. My search for a picture of my Dad’s ship came up empty. I did find a picture of a PC 461 Class Gun Boat, of the same class as Dad’s USS PGM 22. The SC-497 was an off-shore patrol and anti-submarine warfare vessel.
During WW2, most minesweepers were mechanical. “Sweeps”, or “sweep wires”, were submerged into the water, down to where the cable held the mine in place. The sweep wires of the minesweeper then cut the cable, sending the mine up to the surface. A sharpshooter then detonated the mine. The first drawing is of a mechanical minesweeper.
The second drawing is of a more advanced minesweeper, which uses a “pavane”, similar in shape to a small plane. My imagination places me on Dad’s ship, the USS PGM 22, Dad in his U.S. Navy khakis. I would have sat in the briefings, in the back, with others, while he issued the ship’s orders, and talking to the guys. Now Dad Man is up in the heavens, cruising on a most excellent patrol boat minesweeper, where there are no mines, hanging out with all of his shipmates, and other Navy guys he never met in the war. This post is about the grieving and loss we experience; and the joy of knowing others we love and care deeply about. We explore the lives of those who have gone before us, who have finished their race. We are on our own ships … maneuvering through the mines, using our sonar, thankful for a new day.
A man, a woman, sit together, no joy … just pain. They have come to see the seer, with the hope that she will see … something. Something that the two haven’t seen. Something that will help them push through the desert, a harsh desert; and come out on the other side. The seer hopes to see well, into and through, the fog, the pain, the guardedness. The seer has every bit as much hope that the two, across from her, will be able to see … that they will see those pieces that connect with freedom.
“How important is it, to you, that you do see?”
The two appear to be stunned, as if no one has ever asked them that question. And, maybe, no one ever has. They appear to be stunned, as the question is not just a question; they are being “called out” … called out to take a step forward and see, even if they encounter something that they don’t want to see. So they run that question, from the seer, through their hearts and minds … to the point that they both ask themselves a different question, “Am I really ready to be here?”
“We want to be here, and we want to see.”
“The information you communicated on your voicemail I received tells me that you are here to work on your marriage. Depending on what that means … ‘to work on your marriage’ … it may be difficult, painful to see what is problematic about your relationship with each other. Keep your courage close, your vision alive, your hope strong. Now, let us see what we can see.”
The scenario, above, is a context of seeing; a small allegory. Allegories and metaphors are powerful, for me, in two ways: teaching, and my own processes of grappling with thoughts I am attempting to resolve. In my last post (6/24/16), I wrote about my father, Bill Davis, who had passed away that morning. The grief issue, I am indeed grappling with and attempting to resolve, but I am quite stuck. To grieve, I think, requires that I “see”; that I see well. I was talking to another therapist not too long ago. I expressed to her that … me being a therapist, one would think that I would have a good handle on grief, and how to “do it”. She said something that validated some of my cognitive disruption: “I have found that many therapists avoid grief whenever possible.” Ironic. The grief process can be quite different for each person. For me, I am seeing different scenarios where Dad was involved. And the seeing brings about some disruption, some joy, some great sorrow, some anger. But grief is not the only context for us, where seeing is so profound. Seeing comes into play, some days more than others. When I worked with at-risk adolescents, I found myself seeing something that I truly did not want to see. It takes courage to see. It is also a gift to see. I find truth in the seeing; and I find comfort in the seeing. And in meaningful relationships, we must be able to see. Throughout all of this, there is strategic seeing. If we are in the thick of ot, it is not difficult to see … that we are indeed in the thick of it. In times like that, we must dig down into our heart and soul, and see the hope … see the truth that there is a bigger picture. The chaos does not define us. That’s all for now.
“Healer”, not literally. In the realm of relationships, “healer” connects with change. “We are hurt in relationships, we find healing in relationships.” (Anonymous). This post is a metaphorical narrative.
The healer …
comes to the thick of the wilderness, starts her fire, stokes the fire, pulls a few sitting-stumps close, and sits by the fire. The healer’s eyes are kind, with a spark; seeing deeper into the wilderness of men and women. Seasoned, calm countenance, the healer brings to the wilderness hope … hope never given lightly, never received lightly. This healer is a redemptive disruptor.
Sojourners come to this place in the wilderness to see the healer, to sit by the fire; a fire that brings light in the night. Some sojourners want to be known, want to be seen; others cautious of being known, being seen. The fire is a healing process: at times unpleasant, illuminating incorrect thinking, problematic emotions. Sojourners face the healing of the flame, with different styles of avoidance. In the wilderness, some things need to change, some things need to go.
Sojourner sits across from the healer, the other side of the fire; cautiously and respectfully, for a short period. The healer listens, thinks about the spoken, thinks about the unsaid. The healer speaks, while listening, her words are healing words; questions intentional; silence accentuated. I am reminded of a dialog in C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia (my paraphrase):
Peter: “Is he (Aslan the lion) safe?”
Mr. Beaver: “Is he safe? No! He is not safe. But he is good.”
The healer’s eyes, not always safe. But they are good. Change agents are that way. The healer’s mind is good, but not readable. The healer’s work is important, but not predictable. The sojourner’s stay is for a short time, meeting with the healer; leaves with peace; a sacred, arcane, peace.
The story is all over the net. I simply wanted to express my a) appreciation for this story, and b) desire to see this story passed on through the generations. One man made a choice to think beyond himself, beyond his world, and to respond with a prolific, uncommon, creative, action. Here is an oversimplified glimpse of the Santa Tracker, with hopes that you will check out one of the two links below.
NORAD is the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD, inside Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado Springs, CO. One night, in 1955, a call came in on a red phone at NORAD, a number known only by two people: a four-star general in the Pentagon, and the U.S. Air Force colonel who had that red phone on his desk. The caller was a child, who asked “Is this Santa Claus?”
How the U.S. Air Force colonel responded is … quite profound. So, here are two links to choose from:
I am doing a re-write of a post, from another blog, about an issue I am immensely passionate about. Passion, a strange thing, reminds me of anger. Anger reminds me of a quote about anger, one I heard from my dad.
“Anger is like a sword without a handle: you have to hold it by the blade.”
Passion is sort of like anger (righteous and unrighteous). Passion can be used for good. There are times, unfortunately, when passion is not so good. My anger about this particular issue is passionate. And, as I live and breathe, as I write this post, I hold my sword-like passion and anger by the blade: carefully.
My heart truly goes out to the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of those specific Catholic priests / nuns who are sex offenders. My heart goes out, additionally, to the countless goodhearted, wise, godly, Catholics … angry and saddened … for their fellow-Catholics sexually abused by Catholic priests / nuns. The excerpt below from a recent story in the news, regarding victims of sexual abuse, perpetrated upon by Catholic priests, in Seattle, v a l i d a t e s the reality of such violence … a violence that many have attempted to hide for countless generations.
These words, in particular, from this man – – – Pope Francis – – – stir up my anguish:
“The Catholic Church had to take a stronger stand on a sexual abuse crisis that has disgraced it for more than two decades.”
Sexual abuse … happening in the Catholic Church since … the 1950’s (if not before then?) … And the Catholic Church is now recently expressing this profound observation … that there needs to be more action taken regarding the priests and nuns who are sex offenders. Why the sudden observation? Pope Francis’ words refer to the Catholic Church being “disgraced”. My reading of this article led me to consider this question: “Is the Catholic Church leadership more concerned about how the Catholic Church is viewed, rather than the hearts / minds / souls of their victims of sexual abuse?” Another question came up, for me: “If the sexual abuse was not exposed to the American public, would the Catholic Church still have been disgraced?”
And if the Catholic Church had not been disgraced, then would their really be a problem in their eyes? “Hush Money” (the term) has been used in articles / news referring to funds for victims of sexual abuse … to be quiet … about their abuse. “Hush Money”, therefore, is for keeping the Catholic Church from disgrace. Did the sexual abuse victims feel “disgraced” after they had been sexually abused? I think anyone would feel disgrace after being violated in a sexually abusive way. Many victims kept silent for a long time. Why? Shame? Fear of reprisal? Concern that no one would believe them? “Disgrace”? And yet, the Catholic Church communicates their concern, more about the Catholic Church’s disgrace, than with the victims of the sexual abuse from Catholic priests. For the cases that have been exposed, it was no longer “Hush Money” … but now, it is more of a pitiful rationalization, my paraphrase: “If we pay you this money, then its all settled. You go your way, and we will continue to do what we do (what does that mean?).”
The Church (globally) in America calls people to live with integrity, to be safe, to be honorable, to be virtuous. Some good news in all of this is that … the “Hush Money” is exposed; sex offender priests / nuns are being exposed; the numbers (settlements and victims) are being made known. All of this stands up against the secrets continuing.
Is a predominant theme …
In the depravity / violence of …
Sex offenders …
And the fear / shame of …
When the secrets are told, the secrets lose power.
Here are some numbers, some of many, that are staggering.
*Roman Catholics spent $615 million on sex abuse cases in 2007, alone. *$85 million in September of 2003 (just that month). *$100 million in 2005, January.
Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said in a statement on Tuesday (6/24/14), according to the Seattle Times newspaper,
“Our hope is that this settlement will bring them closure and allow them to continue the process of healing.”
REALITY CHECK, people. Let’s not be so naive as to think that there is going to be significant healing for allof these men and women who have been victimized. For some, yes there will be healing. For others, no: there will be little or no healing. And its possible that some individuals are hearing Sartain say … my paraphrase …
“Hey, here’s the money; and its a lot of money; so, since we are paying out a lot of money, then we expect for there to be a lot of healing, and then we won’t feel so bad. And we don’t want to hear anymore about this. Now, get out of here.”
Now, I know; I know, I know, I know … that those were not the words from the archbishop from Seattle … but if I was a victim of sexual abuse from the Catholic Church, I might just think that way about what Sartain is saying.
The money … d o e s n o t c h a n g e … what happened. The money … d o e s n o t g u a r a n t e e … full healing …
The money does not guarantee that the sexual abuse will stop. So, healing for everyone? No. It doesn’t work that way.
Hey, just wanted to give a heads-up to anyone who reads my blog … ever, at any time. I am re-writing some of my posts, and re-posting them. The reason for this is that I am compiling a group of posts to pass on to my friends and family who don’t read my blog (ouch!). I am also preparing some selected posts for (I hope) a self-published book.
If and when you see a re-write of a post you have already read, then you can save yourself some time and not read those posts … since you have already read them. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? IS THIS AS CLEAR AS MUD?
Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge you who I follow on a regular basis, who I look up to, who I have learned immensely from … not only from your writings, but also about life, about the reality and the redemptive aspects of the human soul, matters of the heart. I am so indebted to you for your contributions to my journey of wanting to become a better writer. Having said that, if you feel any leading … whatsoever … to speak into my writing, my being, in any way please do so. My promise to you is that I will not be offended, no matter what you write. It will not affect how much of a fan I am of your blog. If we are true writers, then we must be in a posture to receive feedback from others, no matter how blunt, how painful, how blatant, that feedback might be.
True, I may have a tantrum, where I throw myself down on the floor, yelling / kicking / screaming. But you won’t see that, and I won’t tell you about it. Thanks! T
Oh, one more thing. I do not know when you will start seeing these re-writes. They are the same posts, just re-written. Nothing really different.
“Holiday, coming. Are you heading southward, to see your folks? You have some older brothers, there as well, eh? And your parents?”
“Parents and my two brothers (a nod), down there, east of Dallas.”
Both men sat in the logged house, a small place, in chairs made of gnarled pine posts, smoothed from years of use and exposure to the wood stove heat. Words were suspended in the air, transformed into vapor and memory.
“I am not going back . . . “
“It is a drive, isn’t it …. What, about 1200 miles? Twenty-two hours?”
“If I drive straight through, its only about eighteen hours. And, around 120o.”
“Boy, that is a bear of a trip. So you’re not going to make it this year.”
“Naw. I’m not going back. Its one thing to pack up, load up, head out on a 1200 mile trip… (pause) But, the trip … or the thought of the trip … is a metaphor for the struggle I’ve had for years: ‘going back’ to the lies I bought into, the l mistakes I’ve made in my life. In that sense, I’m not going back, or backwards. ”
“So, why is it that we want to … ‘go back’?”
“For me, I think I go back to my past because it is easy, a path of processing that has very little resistance. I know those apparitions. I know my past. I think that I can change it by going there. As for what is ahead, I don’t know it because I’ve never been there. But I plan on going there, soon.”
“Yeah. Me, too. There is good stuff happening there.”