Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Failing, Failure, Failed

Falling. Falling. Failing.
Watching life slide from Goya to Picasso to DalĂ­ to Goya.
Bleakness encroaching.
It's midnight in shades with no rock concert at the end of the road,  just a train.
The life I've worked decades to build crumbles to dust between my fingers like a Marvel superhero.
Falling. Fallen. Failure.
The job I live and breath for...gone.
It's for my health.
The mantra doesn't fill the holes in my soul.
The academic record I've built - broken.
Old joys, new jobs don't fit the way they should.
The more I lose, the harder I try, the faster I churn, the slower I move, the less I succeed.
Fallen. Fallen. Failed.
Everything I do. Wrong.
Everything I try. Wrong.
Everything I am. Wrong.
My body piles on, turns against me.
Loved ones give up, give in, quit.
Why should I keep trying?
Fallen. Felled. Failed.
You're too perfectionist. You're not working hard enough.
You're putting too much pressure on yourself. You're being lazy, not doing the minimum you should for this position.
You're too loud.
You need to speak up, speak out, speak faster,  interrupt others,  keep them on track.
Be friendly, likeable, get more people on board.
Stop worrying about what others think. You do you.
You're too much, not enough....
The world speaks in a cacophony, a torrent, a cataclysmic discombobulation of conflicting advice.
It all means one thing.
Failing. Failed. Failure.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

“I may go to church but I can still take you down, fat a$$!”

Something very odd just happened to me and I’m still trying to process it.  But one thing stood out about the experience I feel God-driven to share.  And it comes down to a couple of key verses that are guiding lights in my Christian life.

“I may go to church but I can still take you down, fat a$$!”

That’s what a woman yelled at me outside a neighborhood church this Sunday morning as my husband and I were finishing up our daily morning dog walk.  As an Adventist, I attend church on Saturday mornings, so there was no evidence of my regular church attendance this morning.   I don’t run around with a badge that says Christian or Church-goer on it for the edification of those who don’t know me. 

I believe in witnessing to others through the way I live my life, letting what I say and do lead them to want to know more about why I live and act the way I do, and in that way attract them to a relationship with God.  So, needless to say, this person had no idea who I was, how I live my life, or what I believe.

Another thing I believe in is giving others the benefit of the doubt.  I never know what else may be going on or what things someone may have misunderstood. In this case, it’s possible she may have misinterpreted my actions.

See, we were on the sidewalk, walking past the church and, in the process, the entrance to the church parking lot.  We were absorbed in conversation, in particular trying to figure out if the squirrel we’d just seen race across the street a ways ahead of us was really a black squirrel or if its apparent coloring was just a trick of the light.  So we didn’t notice the truck waiting to turn into the parking lot until it pulled through the driveway behind us.  Once I realized what had happened, I turned to wave in apology for holding them up.  Maybe someone thought my wave was less a full-handed greeting and more a single fingered rebuke of some sort.  I don’t know.  Then, as we continued to walk, I lamented not having noticed the truck to my husband, motioning that it’s presence had gone right over my head.  Maybe the woman who shouted at me thought I was discussing her.  I don’t know.

What I do know is what she shouted at me once they parked the truck, in a church parking lot, with a pre-school aged girl I presume was her daughter on her hip, before walking into Sunday morning services. 

It wasn’t just the words that bothered me.  While I don’t like foul language and avoid it as much as I can myself (old, bad habits die hard) I know true believers who have an incredible relationship with Christ and truly foul vocabularies. It was the example. 

See, my husband has a true dislike of organized religions because of the hypocritical way so many so-called Christians act.  I understand his point.  So, when this woman yelled at me like that, whatever her reasons may have been, he reacted in a protective manner, as he always does.  While this serves to bring him closer to me, as it always does, I couldn’t help feeling a drop in the pit of my stomach at the thought of what the interaction would mean for his relationship with church, God, and Believers.  He continues to have my example, and others close to us, of what a true relationship with Christ is like.  Still… this is a wedge between him and Him.  What if it had been someone else on that sidewalk?  Someone without a lover of Christ in their lives?  Someone who was questioning the rightness of Christianity’s very existence?  What would that attack have meant to them?  Even if that person had been raging against the folks in the truck and denigrating them.

This entire incident reminded me very strongly of two central tenets of my Christian faith.  One is embodied in Romans 14:13-14, 1 Corinthians 8:8-10, 2 Corinthians 6:3-4 – as Paul repeatedly warns against letting our actions be a stumbling block to others, keeping them from Christ – as well as in Matthew 18:6-7.


“13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

1 Corinthians

“8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?

2 Corinthians

“3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;


6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”
I monitor my behavior on a daily basis because of my semi-public persona as a broadcast journalist.  But, that’s about simply staying employable.  This is about something so much more.  This is a test with eternal ramifications.  And it’s a test of our behavior as Christians on a daily basis.  When we let little things, perceived insults or real ones, arouse our anger, when we lash out at strangers, when we belittle others for whatever reason, we are becoming the stumbling blocks in others’ paths to Christ.

Which is why in Matthew 5 Christ counseled us to turn the other cheek.  This is the second tenet that guides my faith. 

He begins “38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a]39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” 

And then later adds, “43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”

This is the embodiment of what it means to be meek.  Those who are meek, He said in the beatitudes, will inherit the Earth.  I do not believe he was speaking of this earth, but the New Earth of the second coming and eternal life.  Yet, meekness is not easy.  Which is why we see the idea repeated time and again throughout the new testament, using different language each time.  The one that resonates the most with me is in Romans 12, when he tells us to bless those who persecute us. 

Romans 12:17-21: “17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

For years now I’ve striven for caution in what comes out of my mouth (or fingertips when online).  I don’t always live up to my own standards.  I am a sinful person in a sinful world.  But I try.  This, however, is about more than making sure I remain employable as a broadcast journalist in the public eye.  This is about a much more permanent concern.  I do not want anything I say or do to keep others from Christ.

I do not know why this woman lashed out at me the way she did this morning.  Perhaps there is something in her life she needs help with right now.  But I know I do not have to respond in kind.  Instead, I can add her to my prayers.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Take the girl...

There is definite truth to the old saying... you can take the girl out of the newsroom but you can't take the newsroom out of the girl. Recent events have once again held that up.

It's been nearly a year and a half now since I left the news business. I'm in my second year of teaching. Yet, my antennae still twitch when I notice something newsworthy, at least potentially. I immediately start thinking of how quickly a news crew could make it to the scene, how many should be sent, can I get video or still pictures now without waiting for the crew, etc.

For example, when driving home and I see swat teams with really big guns swarming a local farm house (turned out to be a training exercise), or it starts snowing at the beginning of what's predicted to be a major snow storm, or I see cars that have slid off the road during an ice storm. It doesn't take much.

The thing is, since I'm no longer an official member of the media when I do see these things and call the local TV stations I'm often brushed off as another crazy viewer who's seeing things. It's only when I get ahold of someone I once worked with that I'm treated like a reasonably sane person.

I doubt the folks on the other end of the phone ever realize I know exactly what they're thinking of me as they fob me off with an, "I'll be sure to pass that on" or "We'll check into that". But see, I used to use those same lines on folks who would call in about seeing UFOs or political conspiracies, etc. So, I recognize when it's being done to me.

Highly frustrating. I can see now, why so many journalists who leave the business eventually do return. Not that I have any such plans. I'm committed to teaching. But, it's easy to see why others do.

Nimitz' Lady

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Halloween, Part Deux

Check out more Halloween pictures on Flickr from actual Halloween trick or treating. Also, pictures from the guys latest experment, Mentos and pop. They got one nice eruption. JBP wants to try again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween, Part Un

We had our first taste of Halloween today. I've spent more on JBP's costume this year than I've ever spent on any Halloween costume. Ever! But he was so in love with it I just coulcn't refuse. I remember too often having to go without something I wanted so desperately. I don't always say yes, but this time I did.

The costume is Sir Peter of Wolfsbane, from the Chronicles of Narnia. Of course, being the contrarian that JBP is, he prefers to think of it as Sir Edmund. For some reason, JBP identifies much more strongly with the fallible Edmund than with the near-perfect Peter.

However, since we spent so much, I told him he has to get our money's worth out of it. That means wearing it as much as possible.

Tonight, we attended the trick-or-treating event at the local zoo. Wednesday at school they have a costume party. And then, of course, is the big night itself.

Check out Flickr (link to your right!) for the latest photos. Of course, we'll be updating with each new event.

Nimitz' Lady

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Weighty Matters

Courtesy of Nimitz' Lady's Mom:

All's Quiet on the Home Front

After a weekend of hectic activity due to four kids 16 and under in the house, all seems waaaay too quiet. BRING THEM BACK!

The good news, a good time was had by all.

Die Spielerin and La Moldova, another exchange student at our church from the eastern european country of Moldova, tried to go to a movie last night. The whole project didn't turn out so well. Their first choice movie ended up being sold out when they got there. They're second choice ended up being Rated R and the theater was actually checking ID's and rejecting patrons under the age of 17. Very rare. So, they spent an hour or so at Freddy's Frozen Yogurt next door to the theater, and then called for a ride home.

JBP and his friend, Soccer Boy, got to stay up late and watch a movie at home. Then, they slept on the sofabed downstairs. We also baked sugar cookies. They had a great time.

Today, the boys decorated their sugar cookies, played computer games, had pillow fights, went swimming at the Y and generally raised heck.

The girls did Die Spielerin's homework. She's in a Foods & Textiles class and had a homework assignment to plan, shop for and cook a meal for the family. She and La Moldova spent most of the morning cooking up a storm.

They prepared chocolage chip cookies, sweet potato bread, fruit cocktail with vanilla pudding and German pancakes.

For the pancakes they used my Der Deutscher's grandmother's recipe. It was the height of irony, as Der Deutscher, to have an American teaching a German how to prepare a traditional German dish.

The meal, and the weekend, was a great success.