Sunday, December 30, 2007

In the Waters

I love water. I love water in so many ways. I love to drink it and be in it and be near it…pretty much me + water = happy love time. That’s why I love to spend my free time at the lake. I don’t care if I have company or not, being near the water cheers me up almost every time. I love to take walks by the lake or sit on a rock/log overlooking the water or dip my toes in or throw some rocks in or climb on the cliffs or sit on the beach or…or swim! I love being in the water. I find water soothing and calming. Water gives me warm fuzzies. I could stay in the water forever…if I didn’t get tired and pruney and stuff. In fact, generally, when I’m swimming at the lake, there gets to be a point where I float on my back for an extended period of time. I love it because I love feeling the water surrounding me and filling my ears with its delicious music. I generally don’t like to taste the lake water, but that’s another story altogether. That’s also why I love bubble baths…even more than long, hot showers. I love to linger in the water and let it surround me. Plus, I generally have God time when I’m in the water. I do a lot of praying in the lake. God and I talk while I’m at the lake because I’m relaxed and I feel close to Him. So, we swim and walk and climb and talk. Similarly, most of my Bible reading gets done either in the bathtub or while I’m listening to my ocean CD. For some reason, in my mind, God and water go hand in hand. That’s why when I read my friend’s blog about fog a week ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about swimming. He compared the fog to the Holy Spirit, as it surrounds you and the view in front of you is limited in varying degrees. As I drove through the fog the next day, though I loved pondering my friend’s insights, I couldn’t dwell on them for long. Not because they aren’t amazing because they really are. It’s really more because I think of fog in a different way. As I drove, I was frustrated by the fact that I was in the car and not in the fog itself. It seemed like I was wasting a deliciously foggy day riding in the car when I should have been on a walk or sitting on a bench or something (now, you should understand I feel similarly about rain and sun). I think this way about fog because on foggy days, the air is thick and almost clings to you. It’s like swimming except the water is just vapor, making it thinner and easier to get through…plus, you’re less likely to drown. I just love how it surrounds you, though. It reminds me of the times I spend floating in the lake because the fog covers you like a blanket. The best part is that it’s a blanket you can’t escape from. So, of course, as I think about the fog, I think about the lake and my love of water (and apparently water vapor). I know that my feelings about fog and water are the same because they are both something I love to linger in. I don’t know if I can put into words why the fog and the water are so dear to me and how they make me feel so close to my God, but they do…every time. It could be because we are reborn through water and the Holy Spirit at baptism. I remember my pastor telling me once that he often ponders his baptism when he washes his face in the morning. I do occasionally think of baptism while I’m in the water. I think about immersion and how I’m washing away the stress of the day and the dirt of the day and how I’ve been washed clean by Jesus’s precious blood. I can’t say that’s the most common thought, though. I really think it has more to do with feeling God’s love. I marvel at water all the time, though I don’t know why. I can’t help but find beauty in it. I admire the beauty of the water itself as well as the way it moves. I admire the force of the water, whether that force is being used to generate electricity or wearing away at rock or beating on the sand. I admire its strength and persistence. The thing I love most about the water, though, is the way it surrounds me, the way I can linger and rest in it, the way I am able to be in it and move with it. I see God’s love in much the same way, which may be why I feel so close to God when I’m at the water’s edge. I believe God’s love to be beautiful and strong and active. I love the way He surrounds me with it, wraps me in it. I love the way it moves me with it while also warming me and surrounding me like a blanket…except both the water and God’s love are blankets I can’t control…they are tangible, yet I can’t grasp them and manipulate them in any truly productive way. They continue to surround me no matter what. Also, neither one every truly leaves me. I mean, most of my body is made up of water…and I was made in God’s image to love others as He has loved me. Besides, they both seem to call to me…I can’t stand to be away. There’s a part of me that I find in the water…and in God’s love. My soul yearns for God’s love just as my body yearns to taste and touch water. Oh, to bathe in it forever!

It's a Beautiful Day

Let me just say that today rocked! I feel I should write about it because I write so frequently about the rough patches in my life. I mean, I don’t want to be remembered for how I behave on bad days. I want that to be tempered by my mood when I have a wicked sweet day. However, I will keep it brief.

Today started off rough because my dad tried to wake me up before my alarm. It’s not that I hate mornings. Early morning is actually my favorite time of day. I love the way it smells. I swear the air smells different around dawn (and shortly thereafter). I love it! I wish I could enjoy it more. It frustrates me that with my work and class schedules, I often miss the early morning. I’m either so tired that I don’t get up to see it, or if I am up, I’m at work/class. That’s why I love those weekends when I’m out camping. I don’t camp that often, but I love it when I do. I love it when I take my middle school and high school girls tent camping at the lake for the weekend. I love sharing that time with them. I also love to camp by myself, though. Granted, I’m in a camp ground, and that does hinder my enjoyment a wee bit, but it doesn’t change my love for it. I love sitting at my campfire admiring the stars and listening to the waves hit the rocks. I love waking up to the sound of birds and water and breeze. I love eating my breakfast in the sun, looking out at the water. *sigh* I love the smell of the dawn mixed with the scent of bug spray and wood smoke that lingers in my hair. I know…it probably sounds like I love to smell disgusting…and I suppose that detracts from my girliness, but I don’t really care…it’s the way I roll. :P Anyway, back from the tangent. I am also a pretty chipper morning person…if I wake up the right way. I like to wake up on my own in a relaxing environment…or I can wake up to an alarm and then get ready in a relaxing environment (alarm clocks require a 20 minute recovery period in which I am not so talkative)…or I can wake up to someone saying my name…maybe even gently shaking me. But if you yell at me to wake me up or try to wake me up by making a bunch of noise, Heaven help you, I will not be a happy camper. I have been known to lie in bed and “rest” until the noise diminishes and I’m less grumpy. So, my dad opened my bedroom door before my alarm had gone off so that the combined noise of Saturday morning cartoons and my family running around could wake me. Yuck!

Whatever…I got up and got all beautified so I could go shopping with the fam in Des Moines. It wasn’t a grand experience or anything, but it was pretty good. I mean, there was not yelling or fighting or scenes made. I found a jean skirt and a few cute tops and a new book (yay!) and a mini Christmas tree with little ornaments for my apartment next Christmas. I spent time with my sisters (double yay!). Overall it was super.

After that, though, my day really started to rock. I met up with two of my favorite girls in the world at 5 and Diner and had a delicious meal with great company. Then, ice skating for like 3 hours…it sooo rocked! I mean, we got to talk and laugh and listen to music and get a bit of a work out. It was so relaxing and amazing. It was so nice to have girls’ night, too. I really needed that. I needed to spend time with those amazing girls. I haven’t felt so flippin’ happy and carefree for a long time. I wasn’t even forcing myself to act happy and carefree. I just was! I felt so comfortable and relaxed and fun. I fear I may have talked too much. I will attribute that partially to feeling more comfortable and happy and free than I have in like a month. I felt like I could just explode with joy (and cuteness ‘cause I looked amazing!). Awesome!

Then, I topped off my evening with a couple of my favorite things to do. I took a warm bubble bath (awesome!) while drinking a mug of cocoa (yum!) and reading my Bible (amazing!). I am on top of the world, despite being sore and possibly bruised. Anyway, I just had to write it out, though…partially because it’s a reminder that life rocks and I am so blessed and that after living through a few dozen shitty days mixed in with a little bit better than shitty days…an amazing day does come along. Rock on, God! Rock on!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Faded Blue Jeans

A blog about denim was bound to happen, as I’ve been spending hours working with denim lately. I’ve been ripping seams out of my old jeans (on purpose) so I can salvage the material…in hopes of giving it new life in the form of a couple sewing projects I have in mind. I’d explain them, but few people really get them as it is. Needless to say, I find them exciting. I love the thought of completing a sewing project or two over break…and…I love denim. I’m the kind of girl who wears blue jeans with her pearls. In my little world, denim goes with just about everything…but then again, in my world pearls go with almost everything, too. Hmmm. I love pearls almost as much as denim. I love sweet corn, too, because it goes with almost everything. I believe corn to be the denim of the vegetable world, but that’s another story entirely. Anyway, I love denim. Mind you, I don’t love it an excessive way. I’m not all “Yes! A bedazzled denim blouse!” or “You know what I need? A denim jumper!” or “You know what would go great with this floor length denim skirt? Yes, a denim blouse with a jean jacket! Sweet!” I don’t consider denim to be a wardrobe in and of itself…just a necessary part of any wardrobe. It’s a staple, if you will. Hmmm….I’m getting off topic.

Anyway, working with my old…er…well-loved jeans got me thinking about well…faded blue jeans…and of course how that could possibly connect to my crazy life. At first, I was caught up in the blueness of denim (that’s how I like my denim – blue). I was thinking about faded blues. I thought about how I’m feeling a lot better lately. I’ve been pretty “blue” for the last month. Let’s just say it was a bad month at the end of a rough semester. I’ve felt like a wreck. I feel silly saying that I was “blue”, though, because it doesn’t properly describe how crappy I felt. I mean “blue” generally refers to depression or feeling down in the dumps or extreme sadness. I don’t think that was really where I was at. It was rough, don’t get me wrong, but depression is generally not my thing. I actually was just really anxious and withdrawn. I know, it’s an interesting combination. It’s just that I get/got so anxious about everything else that it started to bleed into my social life. I got anxious about whether or not people actually liked me, whether I was a bother, if I vented too much, if I was driving them up the wall…So, I’d start thinking I’d be better off keeping to myself. Yeah, that’s not really blue material. I think maybe it’s white? Like white with fear? I mean, fear and anxiety kind of walk hand in hand. The sad part is that white denim is rarely okay. Generally, it’s tacky and unnecessary. I suppose that could describe my anxiety and my bad month, but…not really…It was probably unnecessary for me to feel so anxious, but I don’t know that the bad time I was having was really unnecessary. I mean, good came out of it, and I think it was bound to happen at some point. As for tacky, that’s a stretch. The best I got is I occasionally use the nickname Taky. Whatever.

My next thought regarding fading blues was regarding the way my blue jeans faded. I mean, the fading wasn’t uniform at all. I knew it wouldn’t be on some level, but it still surprised me when I took off the pockets to find darker blue denim underneath. And to be honest, it was hard for me to imagine my jeans ever being as blue as the fabric I found under the seams. This got me thinking even more about the past month. Right now, overall, I feel a lot better than I have in quite a while. Am I on top of the world? No. But I’m having a lot more wicked sweet times during my days than I have been, and I feel a lot more content with who I am and the life that I’m living. I can’t say I’m rockin’ my life right now, but I’m definitely enjoying who I am more…and realizing more about who I really am. Believe it or not, I’m not that bad. I’m actually kinda sweet (in a “that’s wicked sweet!” sort of way, not necessarily in a “you’re such a sweetheart” sort of way. The latter may be true as well, but I think that is something that is more accurately judged by others, and I would feel conceited stating it.) I’m actually a lot stronger than I previously thought and a lot more mature. I’m not a big cry baby, like I often feel like. I actually do pretty well of taking care of what needs to be done, and I generally can stand on my own two feet. However, I will admit, that I generally don’t take care of myself as well as I take care of others…and the more anxious and upset I get, the worse it is…So, if you’re one of my amazing friends that have given me tough love in the last month and “made” me eat, drink, breathe, sleep, study, or any of the other necessities, thank you so much. That’s just what I needed. I needed someone to care about me when I didn’t really care about me – someone to remind me I was worth caring for. I believe you can’t accept love until you realize you are loveable, and one of the best ways to learn that you are loveable is by seeing that you are, in fact, loved…despite being an imperfect wreck. The best part is you all have been very good about showing me Christ’s love and pointing me back to Him. You’ve done an amazing job of reminding me that you love me because God loves me, and that God loves me more and better. Right, but back to the jeans thing…it’s not a uniform wicked sweet feeling that I’m experiencing. Overall, I’m doing way better and feeling pretty wicked sweet and generally pretty content.

However, just like my jeans, I am very aware of the fact that I have some parts that aren’t feeling that great…some parts of me are a darker shade of blue, like the denim beneath my pockets. Those are the parts I’m aware of. I’m aware of the fact that I feel uncertain about going to Okoboji for New Year’s. I’m uncertain about being at camp with a bunch of people I don’t know. I’m afraid I’ll make a bad impression or that I won’t fit in or that I’ll cling to the few people I do know just a little too much. It also freaks me out because believe it or not, I’m stronger and more mature than I once was, and I’ve been attempting to be honest and live that out while I’m home. Has this been easy? Absolutely not. It makes me feel out of place at times. It makes me feel ready to move on to something new. It makes me feel…like a jerk…sometimes…and to be totally honest, I feel a bit guilty about telling my parents I would be gone for New Year’s. Oh, yes. Today, we got to talk about the whole thing for the second time. My dad grilled me on the details of my trip and was disappointed with the number of blanks. However, I did stand firm. I told him I was going and he didn’t need to understand why. I told him all he needed to know was that I wanted to go and that I’d made arrangements and was going. I guess it’s settled, but with all the stuff going on between my parents and my sister, I kind of feel bad…I suppose that’s a pretty “me’ thing to do…to feel bad for doing what I want to do…but…it’s this new thing I’m trying…it involves me hashing out a new role in the family and trying to take care of myself and my needs a little better…and this trip directly relates because barring any major catastrophes while at camp, it will do a lot to help preserve my sanity and sense of self. So far, I’m doing okay at home, but I can’t say it’s been super easy. God and I have been discussing it often. Especially because I know that I probably have crazy dark blue parts, still…parts beneath the seams (Haha…you can only see them if I come a part at the seams!) Anyway, I’m pretty sure those parts still exist. I’m pretty sure I have some unresolved pain and unexposed craziness lurking somewhere in me. I know that there’s always a chance that something could cause that to be brought to the surface (though I generally pray that’s not the case). Yet, I pray that God would grant me strength and courage each day to live according to His will and His truths and to face those tough times with boldness knowing that God will never leave me nor forsake me. I pray that He would sustain me and gird me with a belt of truth so that when I have to face the next rough patch, when someone exposes what’s under the seams, I may not be consumed by it. I pray that God will help me to cling to Him, and should I be too tired and weary and battered, He will provide me with friends that will help me to get back on my feet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Managing the Symptoms

Okay, before I dive into this blog, let me tell you a vaguely amusing side story. This blog was originally going to be titled "Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep", the lyrics from Prelude by AFI. I love that song, and it would have been an appropriate title, as it would match the thoughts and emotions of this blog. However, it was a metaphorical phrase I could not carry for long. So, I was going to change it to something that matched my mindset better, "Managing the Symptoms"...however, this morning I changed the title so it would jog my memory when I had time to sit down and blog. When I sat down two minutes ago to start writing this, I realized that in my exhaustion, I had accidentally entitled my blog, "Managing the Sleep". Perhaps that is only funny to me because I'm so tired, but I felt it was amusing enough to share with you; so, there you go.

So, as I lay awake last night trying to cope with the pain deep in my soul (the soul part is important to remember so that you don't think I'm ignoring a tumor or something), I contemplated all the ways we cope with soul pain and how we so often provide ourselves with supportive care, rather than curative care. The goal is generally pain management through pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. I mean, last spring, when my counselor determined (through the use of her computer quiz thing, which I probably could have found on the internet on my own) that I was actually struggling with anxiety as opposed to depression, she was quick to offer me a prescription for anti-anxiety meds. I'm not into using pharmacological interventions as a first line therapy; so, I turned them down. I, instead, have turned to tons of non-pharmacological interventions. I've tried to manage my pain through bubble baths and relaxation exercises. I've used quiet times at the beach and journaling. I frequently use distraction for pain control. One of my favorite ways to do this is to find a task to busy myself with that will keep my mind off the pain. This is very effective for me because in my busy life, there is so not a shortage of available tasks/distractions. I can use other people for distractions -- their lives, their problems, their joys, their stories. I can use purposeful tasks such as cleaning or fixing things or building/making things or shopping. I can use a good book as a distraction. Or if all else fails, I can distract myself by focusing on a very specific problem instead of my systemic aching.

My absolute favorite method of distraction as pain management is music. I have found it very effective to wear headphones. When I have my music on, I can live half in the real world and half in the delicious world of music. I find it to be the non-pharmacological intervention that most closely mimics meds. I mean, I am aware of what's going on in the world around me, but I'm not fully engaged. I'm a bit detached and removed. The real benefit comes from the fact that half of my brain is engaged in the music and the other half in real world awareness, leaving no brain left to register any pain. The problem comes in the fact that I can't always have my headphones on. Sometimes my battery dies before I can get to the one in the charger. Sometimes I find myself in situations where headphones would be considered rude -- when my friends need/demand my attention, when I'm in class, when I'm at work/clinical, when I'm driving (though then I have the radio).

Now, until recently, these interventions have very effectively managed my pain. However, my level of pain has increased significantly recently. Last night, I actually couldn't manage my pain with music. I found myself lying awake listening to music but still feeling an ache intense enough to prevent me from sleeping. Honestly, my pain recently has averaged to be about 8. Yesterday morning, it peaked at a 10 on a scale of 10, in all honesty. Last night, I didn't think it was a 10, but it was definitely too high for me to handle and too intense for my typical pain management regimen. Needless to say, I was frustrated by this. I started thinking of new ways to manage my pain. I realized then why people self-medicate. At a certain point, you realize that your pain is so great that you need to up your therapies, and it's a well known fact that pharmacological interventions can nearly eliminate pain (at least for a time), and if you use round-the-clock dosing, you can sustain a nearly painless state. Now, generally, I'm a law-abiding goody-two-shoes type, being 21, I thought of the two most obvious options for self-medication (tobacco and alcohol, in case you couldn't figure that out). I'm so not a fan of tobacco; so, I quickly threw out that idea. The second, I contemplated rather seriously, as it was feasible and would probably be effective. However, the adverse effects of that particular therapy were too unappealing for me to follow through, especially at 2:30 in the AM when I'm already in my pajamas. It was at that point that I realized that I had been to this place before, that I'd seriously considered self-medication before. However, the medications I was going to utilize would have appeared more benign (just not in the doses I had planned). It saddened me that I would be even considering frustrated me that I couldn't take advantage of a pill-pushing counselor at that moment. However, I was very pleased with myself for not considering any more permanent interventions (if you catch my drift).

I then started thinking about how the sensation of touch can block pain sensations from registering...something about the pain sensations traveling faster or competitive inhibition at the receptor...I forget the actual mechanics. Anyway, point is, I was thinking about that as I caught myself trying to clutch at the location of my own pain. Unfortunately, you can't hold your soul and make it feel better or massage the pain away. I will say, though, touch does help. I figure this must be related to why some find themselves using physical intimacy to cope with the spiritual/emotional pain. Lord knows I've wished I could. For a while now, I've been painfully aware of the lack of touch in my life. I read a study once that found that 5 hugs a day improved your mental/emotional health. If that's the case, I'm chronically and dangerously deficient. I think I've probably received 5 hugs in the past month...maybe I've had a few more, but I'm pretty sure the number's in the single digits.

I suppose it doesn't matter too much, though. As the title of this post suggests, it would just be symptom management. While pain may be an immediate concern, it is a symptom of a much deeper problem, and until I treat that problem at the source, I can never be truly rid of it. I will admit, I am at least closer to identifying the source, which is necessary in order to treat it. It makes it possible for me to utilize interventions that treat my problems on a much grander scale. However, as any good nurse knows, if you want a patient to be able to participate in the activities necessary for treatment, you must administer analgesics before the activity is performed. So, while I need to treat the problem at its source, my pain must be managed so that I am able to take the steps necessary for therapy and rehabilitation. I can't participate in my treatment unless my pain is under control. So, I guess I must develop a better, more complete pain management regimen so I can begin to incorporate more invasive treatments into my care plan.

In closing, it's interesting to analyze your own serve as both nurse and patient (obviously under the Great Physician, if you will)'s interesting, to say the least.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What Lies Beneath

If you've talked to me in the past week, I may have mentioned to you that I'm feeling unstable. I may have told you that I'm experiencing some emotional turmoil, though I'm trying to keep it under the surface. I may have told you that I can't quite pinpoint what's bothering, that there are a ton of surface things that have contributed to my stress, but that none of them is actually at the root of the problem.

After talking to a friend earlier this week, I realized, in fact, that there are a good number of deeper issues that I need to deal with. The problem is, I've never dealt with them because I don't want to. I've labeled them as trivial concerns and ignored them. I've never really acknowledged them as issues, or taken the time to think much about them. For some of them, I've spent years blaming myself. For others, I've written them off as a "normal" part of growing up, or as "trivial" in comparison to the experiences of others. I've always figured I have nothing to complain about, really. I mean, a lot of people have had it a lot worse. Apparently, there's a fine line between keeping things in perspective when sympathizing with others and living in denial. I've tried to just leave my issues behind me. However, your past influences who you are. So, despite my denial of those issues, they continue to haunt me.

I'm frustrated with it, really. I mean, I know that as long as the issues of my past remain secrets, they will continue to spawn lies -- lies that get in the way of me realizing who I am and what I am capable of, lies that paralyze me. It's frustrating because I had always hoped that mentioning that some crappy stuff occurred in my past would suffice, that it would free me from the grip of that shame and guilt, but that is definitely not the case. Lately, I've been nearly paralyzed by shame and guilt and fear and insecurities. By paralyzed, I mean that I've been so aware of the pain and frustration and lies, but that I've been so overcome with shame and guilt and fear and insecurities that I've been afraid to talk about them with anyone. It's been horrible because I can't work through anything unless I can tell someone. I mean, I could start with journaling or blogging or something, but trust me...I know how I operate...I need to flat out tell someone so I can hear them respond because if I'm left to sort through things in my own mind, it doesn't take long before I start justifying things and telling myself lies all over again. Similarly, I can't talk with a counselor, or if there is one I can talk to, I haven't found them. You see, first of all, I don't trust people with secrets real quickly unless I believe they genuinely care about me. I have not found that characteristic in a counselor. I mean, I'm not saying my counselors were cold or's just, they didn't know me...they couldn't understand, and so often I felt like they weren't listening. I'd talk about not being able to sleep and they'd ask if I wanted pills for that...I don't want any pills! I hate drugs! I hate the thought of sleeping pills! I don't have enough time for sleeping pills! There are days when I wouldn't trust myself with sleeping pills! (sorry, I know that was scary, creepiness.) Someone who truly knew me would know that I need a hug, not a pill...that a goodnight and a "Takara, I love you. Get some sleep." would help...not that it would solve the problems that were keeping me up, but it would at least make me feel secure and less alone in all of it so that I could sleep. Seriously, how am I supposed to get anything out of confiding in someone who doesn't know can I trust them with my crazy when the only reason I know they won't ditch me is because they're getting paid not to? How is that supposed to make me trust them? That and the last counselor I had...she gave me plenty of suggestions/homework, but they weren't practical for me...I felt like she wasn't listening to me...she wasn't putting my problems and issues into the context of who I am and where I'm from...she couldn't grasp why I didn't feel like I could bring this crap up to my mom this summer...she didn't get why I felt like I had to take on the problems of the world...and she didn't want to discuss where these messed up ideas and lies came from...she just wanted to see me change, but I've been trying to change for years. That's what I've always done. I've covered up the crazy and the flawed as best as I could, but if I don't deal with it, it'll always lurk there under the surface waiting to rear its ugly head. I will always be lying in some way -- to myself or others -- if I don't get it out there and make all of me mesh. I just can't do that.

The issues that lie beneath the persona I try to put out there cause me so much pain. Some of the pain comes from remembering how much it hurt at the time. Some of the pain is from feeling like it has to be a secret in order to keep my friends and to keep my life together. Some of the pain is from keeping it a secret, locked up tight in some dark corner of my soul. Some of the pain is from the anxious feeling I get when a joke or comment or classroom lecture mentions one of my "issues" and I swear that everyone can tell that the comment/lecture/joke could easily be about me. I swear that everyone knows that I'm hiding it and is judging me. I know that's not true, but when I hear the mere mention...I feel like a turtle, except I only wish I had a shell to hide in. But then again, other time, the pain is because I know that the person making the joke or comment, or possibly even the one giving the lecture, doesn't really understand. I want to stand up and scream, "You just don't get it! You don't know what it feels like! Yeah, it sounds ridiculous to you. Like, how could anyone get wrapped up in that mindset, but it's not as easy to escape as you think! I'm not stupid! I'm not weak! I'm strong for getting through, and you don't get that...You don't know that it's a battle that you can't win! You don't know what it's like to feel that trapped -- to feel like you have no way out and no hope of ever getting out! It's a dark and terrible situation to be in and you should never make light of it because it's not funny! Your laughter makes me feel like I'm trapped there all over again! Your laughter crushes my spirit!" (I realize that that little rant made it sound like I totally get that the stuff I dealt with was a big deal....but yeah...that's not what it just means that I know that I did hurt a lot and still do...) Sometimes, the pain is from feeling all alone. I know that I always have Jesus, and trust me, He and I are pretty tight because of all this. Yet, it hurts...because there are days where I feel beat and trapped and too exhausted from crying or from arguing with myself over all of these lies...and I feel too tired to take it to Jesus, to drag myself to His feet...I feel to weak and to broken...and I believe that that's why God gave us help us to carry our burdens and ourselves to Jesus's feet...that's why it hurts to feel all alone in this...because some days, I can do my part, and some days, I need someone to lean on...

That's all I've got tonight...but I can promise you, it all stays true to the title of my blog (if you're reading this on facebook, I'm referring to my actual webpage on blogspot) is "From the Heart"...I feel like I bled all over the keyboard (I didn't really, I swear). It's crazy...these things catch up to me late at night...well...sometime after seems the longer I'm awake, the more they gain on, if you one of the unfortunate souls that routinely sees me in the PM, I'm sorry that I've been either moody, sensitive, or some form of excessively/forcibly happy (I was over-compensating)...It's getting better, probably because I'm slowly managing to put it all away again...but hopefully, someday soon, I'll be able to get out from under this for a little while and be genuinely pleasant to be around, wouldn't that be trippy? Heck, maybe I'll even manage to honest to God cheer you up or take care of you in some way...or maybe, I'll be able to just co-exist without being a spaz...we'll see...just, while I'm trying to figure out how to work through things and who I can confide them in, please be patient with me.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My bad. I lost my cover-up.

Right, so I totally left my cover-up at camp. Or at least, I went to camp with my cover-up, put it on every morning, but did not come home with it. It sucked because all this week, I haven't been able to cover up the zits on my face or heal them (I use a blemish healing concealer). Anyway, I finally bought some new cover-up Friday, but I feel like it's too little too late. I mean, I dealt with people all week without it. I dressed up and dressed down and did clinical and presentations without my cover-up. By the time I had some, it seemed ridiculous. I mean, I put some on Friday afternoon, but I couldn't figure out what the point even was. Everyone had seen those blemishes all week, surely they'd know I covered them up. Heck, I'd had most of my interactions for the week, I was just gonna be chilling all weekend, why even bother? Well, I can't say I answered that question really, but I did put my cover-up on. I told myself I did it for myself. I wanted to look good for myself. I wanted to look presentable and polished and put together for once this week. I still felt like it was pointless, but I figured it might make me feel a little better, and I suppose it did for a while until my tears washed it away...again.

Worst part is that I could write a beautifully parallel paragraph about my emotional cover-up -- the wall I like to hide behind -- the wall that guards me...Somehow, I lost that at camp as well. Granted, it was generally compromised by the end of any given day in the weeks leading up to that trip to camp, but still, it wasn't truly absent until after camp. I'm not sure if it's because being at camp for the weekend reminded me of a lot of the things I love and miss -- passions that I'm not pursuing -- or if it's because I had some truly amazing conversations at camp. Some of those conversations were thought-provoking and lead to a re-examination of aspects of my life. Other conversations were very honest. They caused me to share thoughts and feelings and parts of myself that I generally keep locked up. The interesting thing is that I felt a lot more relaxed and a lot more secure when I got back from camp...overall. However, be it lies swirling in my head or deeper concerns I refuse to deal with, I've felt very unstable this week. I've felt like I'm feebly covering up a desire to break down. I've felt like I'm showcasing each and every one of my faults in turn. I feel vulnerable and fragile and emotionally unstable. I feel like I'm a danger to myself and others, and I mean that in a generally emotional/spiritual sort of way. I've wanted so badly to run and hide this past week, to hole myself up in my room and just cry and sleep, only leaving for class and food. However, I've tried to fight that urge. I've forced myself to go out and leave the apartment, to be around people (though admittedly not large numbers of them and generally not for extended periods of time). I've forced myself to be vaguely social, though I felt horrified the whole time and was fighting a strong urge to bail. I do apologize to those of you reading this that had to be one of my confidants this week, one of the people that I identified as safe. Hopefully, you are flattered in some way that I feel safe around you (or at least safe enough to be a little unstable and trust I won't get cut down) and that I find you somewhat calming (whether I was just feeding off your testosterone or your joy or whatever you brought to the table). Yet, I'm still sorry. I feel like a tremendous nuisance, like I took up too much of your time, was too much of a pest, and dampened your week by being your own personal rain cloud. Hopefully, you can forgive me. I know I've been bitter, jaded, and prickly this week. I haven't been of much use to any of you. I've been inept at caring and comforting and loving you. It's ironic because I feel like I've been cold and uncaring while I felt so vulnerable and mushy. I guess that's what happens when you viciously try to protect your soft parts. I don't know. This probably stopped making sense a long time ago. It probably isn't even serving its intended purpose anymore.

I meant to apologize to all of you for being such a train wreck. I meant to explain, albeit minimally, why I seemed so disconnected and unstable this past week. I meant to warn you that I'm not over the funk I've been in. I meant to tell you that I'd try to stay out of your hair.

The problem is I meant to convey all that in some witty, whimsical as not to have this be to heavy or unwieldy or labored. I didn't want this to sound like I was trying to throw a pity party for myself, though I know that's probably what it sounds like...but at this point...I don't know how to fix it...maybe I'll get back from clinical tomorrow and decide that this blog serves no purpose and did more harm than good and delete it...maybe I won't who's to say? Just please, understand that this was hard to write...because it involved honesty and's not a commentary on the world, it's a statement of my present state of mind/feeling...and my musings about the trouble it may have caused those I love. Honestly, if you feel I had no place posting this, keep that opinion to yourself...this is my personal way of trying to fight through the funky, depressing feelings I'm experiencing by making a feeble attempt to reach out and expose the problem (though with a dim light) instead of cutting myself off from everyone and withdrawing from the world to muddle through it on my own.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Planning, Perfectionism, Procrastination

I read this in my stress management book: "Too much planning can make the actual experience of living almost anticlimactic. Too much thinking about a thing removes us from it. We become observers, analysts, spectators, or critics rather than participants."

Later on in the chapter, it talked about the types of procrastination. It turns out that the one style was so me...Perfectionist. It said, "Perfectionists fear that they can't complete tasks up to their expectations. They focus on details rather than overall objectives, and they fear making mistakes."

Now, allow me to be a broken record and say that this made me think about what else? My relationship track record....or rather, where I'm at right now...

I have a tendancy to be hesitant about relationships. Why? Because I don't want to make another mistake. I don't want another break up. I don't want to find out, once again, that I'm not good enough or whatever. So, I put it off...I pretend the potential relationship isn't there...I ignore it. Best way to not screw up a relationship? Not be in one? Yeah, I know...cowardly and counterproductive...but I'm being introspective here.

I also over-analyze relationships way too much. What did he mean by that? Is he interested? Is he losing interest? Is he avoiding me? Do I bug him? Am I the right kind of girl? Ugh! I can get so neurotic about it...and just like that first quote removes me from the relationship, or potential one (depending on the actual situation). I never get to enjoy it or react to it or be a part of it because I'm too busy hashing and rehashing it -- analyzing it to shreds -- until it's unrecognizable as a relationship, or even a human interaction?

Ugh! Well, at least my crazy, over-thinking neuroticism...makes me...special? and at times...endearing and cute in a strange way? *sigh* We'll see.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Faith and Relationships

I gotta throw this out there because...I dunno...I just won't be eloquent, but it's the truth?

I've been very aware recently that God is writing my love story. I've been thinking on my past relationships and my current state of singleness. I realized that each relationship I've been in, was one that I hoped would end in marriage. I hoped I would marry each of those men because I was afraid to be wrong. I was afraid to find out that I had invested time and love into a man that was not to be my husband -- to have put forth that effort just to have it return to me as heartache. But none of those men were right for me. I compromised who I was for each of them in some way. I tried to be a better person, more ladylike, more conservative, more fun (depending on the guy and what I thought he wanted). If I were to have ended up with marrying any of those men, would I have continued to deny who I was? Would I have revealed who I am? Would he have accepted me? Would I just have gone on pretending to be someone I'm not and perpetuated my own unhappiness?

I get frustrated sometimes, though. I don't understand how it'll all work out. I mean, I know that's where faith comes in. No part of my "love story" as it were can truly be authored by me. There is one reason, in particular, that comes to mind to illustrate this. All of the actions and occasions that make me feel the most beautiful occur when I am more or less alone. The times when I am at my peak in beauty (in my opinion), are when it is just God and me. He sees me in those moments when I am most sincere and my most beautiful. I hope and pray that he tells my future husband how I truly am...shows him how I truly am. I mean, I don't know that you would always guess at it, but God knows. God could tell him about my faith, about my love for Christ, about the simple pleasures I enjoy...I know I should do a better job of living out my love and my joy and my passion, but at the same time I know I'll never do it perfectly. So, I have to have faith that God will show the right man just how special and truly beautiful I am...and show him that I'm worth the time and the effort.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Crisis of Knowing you Care....

Do you ever feeling like turning and running away -- hiding away behind the walls of a fortress you've built to cut yourself off from the rest of the world and hide yourself from any potential pain? Bet ya' have :P Seriously, though, I was in panic mode, last night....and that's exactly what I felt like I needed to do. I realized that I was emotionally vulnerable and uncertain about what the outcome of that situation would be. I freaked. I want so badly to retreat to my fortress where nothing can hurt me, nothing can phase me. But at the same time, I really don't want to do that. I'm sick of doing that. I'm sick of hiding my heart and who I am to avoid getting hurt. I mean, you can only be detached for so long, right? Besides, I want adventure and what's more adventurous than taking a huge risk and risking getting crushed? :P It seems kind of ironic because I could very well be in a situation that I've been craving. Isn't it crazy how you ask for something, you truly want something, and when you may very well be on the verge of getting it, you question whether or not you truly want it. Or when you find yourself thinking you may potentially be in that situation you asked for but also realize that there are some less than ideal attributes to this situation that you failed to anticipate, you wonder if it's worth it...a little cost benefit analysis if you will. It seems silly to be doing a cost-benefit analysis of a situation that at present only exists in my dreams, but that's how I roll, I guess. IT seems silly because I'm freaking out over something that hasn't happened. It's fear in the extreme. I mean, I'm afraid of what might potentially happen. I'm foreseeing a painful occurrence that may or may not actually take place. I want to run and hide not because someone has actually hurt me nor because pain is an immediate risk, but rather, I'm trying to run and hide before anyone has the chance to threaten my safety and security in who I am and what I want. I'm trying to retreat behind those walls before someone can cause me harm while I stand here all vulnerable. I'm quite honestly torn, right now. I mean, a part of me wants to be ashamed that I've been so vulnerable as it is seems so feminine and well...weak. A part of me wants to say that I'm a rock or an island...that I can exist on my own, that I don't need anyone else and that I've been hurt too many times to allow anyone access to me. However, there's that other part of me. I guess it's the truly feminine part or something. That part is disgusted that I would ever consider hiding myself again because I should never be ashamed of who I truly am. I shouldn't be afraid to bear myself to someone else, even if it does make me vulnerable, it's honest. And that part thinks it's cowardly to make yourself an island, to cut yourself off before people can cut you down. That part thinks that I'm too soft -- too real -- to pretend to be a rock. I can't pretend to be unaffected and unattached because I'm not. I'm human. I have a backbone and plenty of other bones to give me structure and cause me to be solid, but I also have a lot of soft and squishy parts surrounding those bones. It's hard to put those soft and squishy parts out there, though. I mean, it's hard to walk out of that fortress and into the open field to face a knight covered with gleaming armor when you are nearly naked (at least in comparison...the amount of nakedness would depend on the situation and just how confident and honest I'm feeling). Anyway, to approach a knight in his shining, protective armor while you are wearing...well, let's say a petticoat or something else that would allow for near nakedness, denoting honesty, vulnerability and a lack of intensely intimidating and frightening. I mean, you don't know how that knight will respond when he sees you defenseless. Will he lend you his protection? Will he remove his armor and come to your level, approaching you almost as defenseless as you? Or will he cut you down where you stand? I guess right now, that knight is in sight, but we have yet to confront one another...perhaps that's why I feel skittish. I can see his armor shining in the sun, and then I look at my garb wondering if I can actually handle this. Whether I have enough backbone to keep walking toward him...or if I should retreat behind the walls and yell over the wall or suit up and head out on my own noble steed...What I hate is that I think I know the right answer, but following through on the "right thing" doesn't guarantee a positive outcome. It just means that you put forth the greatest effort you possibly could.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm Just a Girl in the World

Let me start off by saying congratulations to Pratibha Patil, the new president of India. I realize that the office of president is largely ceremonial in India, but women in India need a voice, and President Patil will provide them with a voice in the government.

I was impressed with her election because it is a well-known fact that women are not held in high regard in India. Indian daughters are not treasured but rather considered a curse or a burden. This is why an estimated 10 million daughters have been aborted in the past two decades, despite the fact that sex-selective abortions are illegal. Baby girls have also been the victims of neglect and infanticide. So many baby girls were abandoned after birth that the government has begun setting up cradles nationwide for unwanted babies to be left, in hopes that these babies may find homes with other families (more than likely abroad).

In addition to the killing of baby girls, young girls and women face severe discrimination. An estimated 40% of Indian women are illiterate because men and boys are given perference in academic settings.

Despite the fact that India is slowly turning itself into a sausage fest of nearly Chinese proportions, India has a history of electing women to prominent government positions. For instance, in 1966, Indira Gandhi became one of the first female prime ministers in the world as the prime minister of India.

So, my question is why are we, as Americans, falling behind? Why is it that women are the minority in our government? Why in this nation where women and men are supposed to be equals are women under-represented? Why is there resistance to strong, opinionated women? Why is there an undercurrent of disapproaval for women who want to change the world, especially if they choose the political arena to do so?

Let's look at the facts a minute:

In 2007, 86 women serve in the U.S. Congress. Sixteen women serve in the Senate, and 70 women serve in the House. The number of women in statewide elective executive posts is 76, while the proportion of women in state legislatures is at 23.5 percent.

Congress: women hold 86, or 16.3%, of the 535 seats in the 110th US Congress — 16, or 16.0%, of the 100 seats in the Senate and 70, or 16.1%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In addition, three women serve as Delegates to the House from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC.

Statewide Elective Executive: In 2007, 76 women hold statewide elective executive offices across the country; women hold 24.1% of the 315 available positions. Among these women, 45 are Democrats, 28 are Republicans, and 3 were elected in nonpartisan races.

State Legislature: In 2007, 1,733, or 23.5%, of the 7,382 state legislators in the United States are women. Women hold 422, or 21.4%, of the 1,971 state senate seats and 1,311, or 24.2%, of the 5,411 state house seats. Since 1971, the number of women serving in state legislatures has more than quintupled.

What is wrong with this picture? Our government is clearly not reflecting the composition of our country, as women make a marginal majority of our population but are only a small component of our government. Now, don't think I'm a feminazi demanding that a certain number of seats be reserved for women because I honestly don't believe that to be the answer. I don't think forcing the public to put women in office will change the attitudes that are creating this problem. I honestly think we as women need to work to change the world around us. I whole-heartedly believe that women have the right to be whatever they want to be. If a woman feels called to be a housewife or a nurse or a teacher or some other "stereotypical" position, I support them one hundred percent. I believe each of us has talents and desires that make us best suited for a particular career path. However, I don't think that any woman should sell herself short. I don't think that any woman holds an unimportant or weak position. Women are strong and dynamic, bright and intelligent. Women need to realize just how strong they are and realize the change they can evoke in whatever position God calls them to be in. Strong mothers set an example for strong daughters, strong teachers open the world up to the next generation, strong nurses advocate for people when they are at their most vulnerable.

I think women need to use the voices they have to show the world that we are valuable and have a lot to contribute. We need to be present, be active, and be loud that we can silence that voice that keeps yelling, "Will you shut your yap, woman?!"

It brings tears to my eyes to think about the ways young girls, young women are taught to shut up. I think of all the times that I've heard an adult ask a young child what their mommy does (for a living), and when the child is silent for a moment, the adult asks, "Does she stay home with you? Is she a teacher? Does she work at the hospital?" I thnk about when I was young and told everyone I was going to be an author. I remember my teachers telling me that they would buy my book and that they wanted to be at the book release, but I remember other adults pointing out that it'd be hard to earn enough money to raise a family...I remember telling people I wanted to be a famous singer...I remember that dream dying when it was made clear to me that I couldn't be a good mom AND a famous singer...and I wanted so badly to be able to be a good mom. Then comes the piece d'resistance: Once upon a time, I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. I wanted to change the world. I wanted to dialogue with world leaders, fight to protect the environment, and guide our country forward. I clung to that dream for quite a few years, but I remember deciding against it sometime in middle school. I like to say that I decided the position wasn't worthy of me, but I honestly think that it died because I believed I couldn't do it...which is why I thought it ironic that I was voted "mostly likely to be U.S. president" my senior year.

Anyway, the point is, I can think of several times in the recent past where I was made to feel as though I'd be a less capable leader because I'm a woman. I am the president of the pro-life organization, and I know that there were individuals who preferred to deal with my male vice president. I think I played into it, sadly, refusing to be the bad guy...because I'm a woman, and if I'm the bad guy, I'm a bitch, and that's the last thing I want to be. I just don't understand it, why should I be made to feel like a "little girl playing politics"? The worst part is that so much of the contention I felt was...not outwardly or directly expressed. But I can't deny it was there. I feel resentful that I had to prove that I could make an intelligent argument or a diplomatic statement. I hate that I have to prove that I function on reason as well as emotion...I hate that I have to prove that I can respond without getting catty...I hate that I have to prove that I have more to offer to a campaign than my breasts as a billboard.

I suppose it makes me feel better that I changed a few minds...not necessarily about the issue we were discussing but about me...and my value...and my a woman. I want respect because I am a woman, and I am bold and strong and I know that women can and will change the world with whatever power society has the guts to give us.

It still depresses me that in a nation where we proclaim equality between the sexes we imply through our votes and through our speech that men are more deserving of power and respect, that men are stronger and more capable of guiding our nation. But I ask you this, if we trust women to mold formidable young minds, care for the weak, and shape the next generation...why can't we trust them to nurture our democratic nation and guide into the future?

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I don’t know how well you know me. It seems that few people really do know me, and some of those don’t seem thrilled that they do. The fact that few seem to know me, though, is largely my fault. I tend to be guarded…extremely guarded…some might even say repressed. I have a tendency to learn as much as I can about you and then show you only the parts of me that I think you might like. Why? To keep me safe I guess…and I suppose because I don’t know who to trust. I want to be loved and wanted and valued, but I generally think that I can’t have that and let people know me…but knowing that people don’t truly know does leave me lonely. Walls…or even chain link fences are great for keeping people out, but then all you’re left with is yourself.
I’ve been thinking about why I’m so guarded…it’s probably the same reason that I’ve been prone to self-destructive behaviors and anxiety…why I’m at risk for disorders associated with avoidance and anxiety as opposed to depression.
But where did all this come from? Who really knows? I mean, I suppose some of it might be my upbringing…the feeling that I must be “together” and “self-sufficient” because my sisters need my parents’ attention. I mean, often times my parents don’t know about my struggles, hardships and heartaches because they seem so busy being absorbed in the troubles of my sisters. I need to be okay because no one has time to deal with my problems…or something…It could be one of my most grandiose relationship failures. I made myself so vulnerable once upon a time…I let that man-boy know me so intimately…I let myself be exposed in so many ways…and believe it or not it ended terribly. Oh, the hurt! There was such physical, mental, emotional pain…and circumstances that left me feeling like I’m just too much to deal with…too complex…too messy.
Maybe that’s why I’ve been so careful to be squeaky clean since. Maybe…that’s most assuredly why I am even more wary of being vulnerable around men than I am women…I mean, if anyone will take advantage of my vulnerability or fail to appreciate it for what it is, it’d be man, right? I don’t know…I just…I hate that one relationship with a jerk has led me to be wary of trusting any men with who I am…all of me…
My pastor’s sermon was on vulnerability today. He pointed out that the dictionary holds two definitions: 1) able to be hurt 2) unprotected, exposed to danger. I thought this was significant because those two types of vulnerability apply to different situations for me…both scare me, but I respond to them very differently. The second definition “unprotected, exposed to danger”, would be the kind of vulnerability I feel when I take a risk in my life. Situations like going off to school in South Dakota, breaking up with a boyfriend, starting a new job, leaving a position to seek another, etc. It’s the kind of vulnerability I need in order to grow as a person and move forward in my life. It scares the crap out of me because it’s a situation in which I’m stepping out unprotected, not without a safety net, but definitely out on a ledge…I mean, I know there are people in my life who would step in and catch me if I were falling, rescue me if I were floundering…but it would be one terrifyingly jarring ride down…until I reach them…and there’s always the risk that they fall through and I do actually crash into the cement floor below. This is the type of vulnerability that makes me want a security blanket…a soft place to land…reassurance that I won’t be a goner if something goes wrong…or if I just can’t do it…The first definition “able to be hurt” is the type of vulnerability I need in relationships if the relationship is going to grow and if the other person is going to be able to truly get to know me. It’s scary because that’s the kind of vulnerability that requires me to “let my guard down”. To expose my fleshy parts, my flaws, my “messiness”. It’s really hard for me to do. In some ways, I’d rather be exposed to the whole world than to my closest friends because those that I love most are those who can hurt me most. Their rejection would be traumatizing. I just…don’t want to be hurt, but I don’t know who I can trust…who can see me vulnerable and not take that opportunity to take a jab. Worse yet, though, I’m pretty quick to put my guard back up, to put away my messiness…I’m like a snail or some type of mollusk that will peek it’s head out, and if you’re lucky will crawl around your hand or at least crawl around in your presence, but if you make one false move…zip, slide, slam…I’m back in my shell and even harder to coax out. I think this type of vulnerability is hardest for me because there are no guarantees…no safety precautions.
I don’t know how to make myself vulnerable, though…how to be myself in front of people who think they have me all figured out…I don’t know who is willing to deal with my mess…
I hope that those who do see me all vulnerable appreciate it because it means that they must be someone truly special and truly trustworthy…because they are one of the few. That’s why there are a few people in this world that I just can’t stay mad at…that I appreciate more than I know how to say…because they know me well enough to yell at me…or disagree with me…straighten me out…and put up with me when I’m ridiculous…they may get exasperated, but they don’t give up. That’s important to me.
I know I’ll be stronger for all of this, including the pushing and prodding from my friends. I guess I’m kind of excited about that because it’ll be real strength not just a strong front. But that doesn’t mean I’m not scared to death.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Naked...and Unashamed

I guess today has just been a pensive day. Perhaps it’s because I finally have a day off from work, who knows. Regardless, the fact remains that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today. Most recently, I’ve been thinking about how you recognize “the one”. You know, how you know this is who you should marry. Now, I’ve read many books on marriage and gone to women’s conferences where such topics were discussed. Typically, the married women I know say that “when you know, you’ll know”, which is a long way from helpful. I know that God will reveal to me, in time, who I should marry and when, but sometimes patience is a virtue I don’t have. That doesn’t mean that I’m off getting engaged to every man I meet, but It does mean that I ponder and wonder and dream sometimes. Recently, one of my guy friends talked about maturity in a relationship being indicative of an impending engagement/marriage. My devotional talked about how many types of intimacy must be present such as emotional, spiritual, social, recreational, physical, etc. Now, admittedly, I don’t know what all of those types of intimacy actually entail; so, don’t quiz me on them, but I was thinking about intimacy, maturity and marriage…and how they fit together. I realized that my relationship with my boyfriend is not really intimate. Now, I don’t know what social and recreational intimacy are, but I was thinking about Adam and Eve and how the two were able to stand before each other “naked and unashamed”. I think that those words are powerful. I mean, to naked is to be vulnerable…to remove all your armor and show yourself in a raw and natural state. I wonder if perhaps that is what intimacy is…to be naked with one another. I’m not saying that means you need to be without clothing while you talk about your feelings or while you are taking part in some recreational activity or while you worship, but that you are unguarded and allow yourself to be truly vulnerable. Perhaps, a good indicator of being prepared to marry your significant other is when you can be naked and unguarded in more than one of those intimate situations and know that the other person will love you unconditionally, respect you and find you captivating…thus allowing you to be unashamed. Perhaps it also implies that you are so solid in who you are that you are unashamed to be vulnerable and naked before your significant other because you love yourself and your significant other and you are safe and secure in that love. I don’t know…I’m excited to entertain those thoughts some more. This I know for sure, though: intimacy in a relationship…true intimacy…comes from knowing a person well…knowing them intimately…knowing what makes them tick…knowing how they think...Perhaps that is why I feel more intimate with some of my guy friends than I do with my boyfriend. Not because I don’t love him or because I’m somehow cheating on him, but because our relationship is younger and is less mature…because we’re still learning about each other and figuring each other out. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how time changes such things.

Between the Lines

Now, on the heels of that theological blog, I would like to point out that, in general, I’m not an advocate of polar divisions. I believe that none of us has it all together, or has it all figured out: not one person, not one party, not one group, not one church, not one country, no one. I also believe that no matter what we do, there will be flaws because we are all selfish and we will never work in such perfect harmony that we will manage to discover the perfect balance and the perfect compromise. This is why I love democracy, though. It is our differences that keep our nation going. If there were not a difference of opinion, we would never be asked to examine what it is we truly believe and determine how to move forward. I do believe however, that our political parties contribute to polarization, which impedes progress. It makes it a sick sort of contest. I mean, they can’t agree for fear that they’ll hand votes over to their opponent. Thus, they contribute to polarizing the population and impeding progress toward social justice. How? Because so many have come to believe that if you align with one party you can never agree with the other, and you must find half-truths and misleading statistics to support the party’s view. This frustrates me because I want to see people in this world taken care of. I want to be a blessing because I am blessed and I would love to see our country do the same. This means taking care of the poorest, and having the richest giving the most. This means the strong fighting for the weak and the bold speaking for the mute. But most importantly, it means doing something. It means breaking this trend of discussing ideals and beliefs and taking action, action that brings about a change that accomplishes something. That’s why I’m an independent. I just can’t align myself with either party because they both have their problems. I was thinking about it today in the shower, though, and I realized that in many ways, the Democratic party has bigger balls than the Republican party. This is not to say that the Democratic party is a big strong man and the Republican party is a demure woman because quite frankly there are many women who have bigger balls than men…I include myself and my chesticles in that statement. But the fact of the matter is, the Republican party spends a lot of time trying not offend those with money and power…because then they might lose their jobs. This causes them to be all talk at times. They speak about protecting life and caring for the poor, but have not been known for proposing practical or workable solutions through which to do this. Why? I believe it is because they can’t seem to separate one issue from another. They can’t enact a workable solution for reducing abortions because those interest groups who support them would not be satisfied unless the plan addresses all of their beliefs regarding sex. And for some reason they allow homosexuality to be lumped into the same debate as abortion and the war in Iraq. I believe this is why the most impressive solution to the abortion rates in the US that I have seen came from the Democratic party. The Democrats who put together this plan clearly identified their goal (to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S.) and then outlined how that might be achieved using a variety of approaches (education, funding, etc.) This, in my mind is a prime example of the Republicans making it a point to TALK about valuing life and the Democrats actually ACTING to protect life. Now, of course, this also brings up my problems with the Democratic party. The Democratic party works so hard to be the opposite of the Republican party that they have come to pick and chose what issues are included in social justice. The Democratic party is much better at acting and is great at proposing practical solutions to issues of social injustice, but I feel that they work so hard to be politically correct and to be different than the Republicans that they refuse to acknowledge all social injustices. That is why I must specify that the bold and decisive proposal written by Democrats was not in fact supported by the party as a whole, but rather by Democrats for Life. (Yes, there is such an organization, and yes there are actually congressional members). Many registered Democrats believe that only Republicans “respect life” (As evidenced by my sister saying things like “Pro-life, that’s so Republican”). Similarly, Republicans can be so closed minded as to think that they are the only ones who value life. In all actuality I find myself torn because I want to see actual progress made in matters of social justice, but I do not want to see issues which I am so passionate about fall by the wayside. So, who am I supposed to vote for? The party that will work to protect and provide for some of the oppressed? Or the party who will talk about protecting all but probably fail to follow through with any type of impressive plan. Oh, the woes of being an independent, I see that each party has its strengths, but I can’t quite reconcile myself with their flaws. This is why I believe that if some of my bold and decisive, liberal, Democrat friends and I could find ways to work together, we could do so much. I truly believe it would be a powerful coupling to have a bleeding heart idealist like myself aligned with someone who would be bold and decisive in acting. The world will never be perfect, and we will never agree on everything, but honestly…who doesn’t want to make things better than they are?


It frustrates me when people judge an idea or an institution based upon their interaction with one flawed individual. I find myself deeply saddened when I learn that one of my friends or even acquaintances has lost all faith in God because of the impression made by one (or more) believer(s) or one (or more) church(es). I mean, I would not suggest that someone belong to a church where they do not feel welcome. However, all churches, all denominations, all people are flawed (Romans 3:23). No one is perfect and without sin or flaw except Jesus Christ himself and there will never be a perfect church this side of Heaven. A wise man once said (it may have been Martin Luther…I don’t know) that churches are not homes for the righteous but hospitals for the sick. It is our flaws that cause us to need each other and to need God. We show the world God’s marvelous strength not because we are great or powerful or strong…but because we are weak and yet God can use us to do great things (2 Corinthians 12:9). This is why it frustrates me when Christians fail to show Christ’s love and compassion to others. We have all been commanded to not take the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). This goes way beyond simply using his name as an interjection when something terrible happens. Rather we must recognize that we are representations of the Lord’s name. We were made in His image (Genesis 1:27), and we were given His name when we were baptized (CHRISTian). So, each day that you recognize yourself as a CHRISTian, or one who follows Christ, or god-fearing or whatever term you’d like to use, you are bearing the Lord’s name in the world. And as that commandment implies, that is not something to be taken lightly. You must realize that your actions are representing Christ to others and the way you behave reflects upon our Lord. As another wise man once said, “You may be the only Bible a person ever reads”. Yes, the Lord has shown us what is right and what is wrong, and we should strive to do that which is good in His sight, but we must also realize that none of us is perfect, and no man’s sin is greater than another’s in the eyes of the Lord because every sin…EVERY SIN drives a wedge between us and God. In Matthew 7, the Lord tells us “Judge not, lest you be judged. For with what judgement you judge, you shall be judged.” That is in the verses directly preceding “And why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own” (Matthew 7:3 KJV). As one of my favorite hymns says, “they will know we are Christians by our love”. We would be fools to ignore the fact that love is at the very essence of our Lord, for it is because of God’s great love for us that we are living and breathing today (Lord knows we don’t deserve it). Similarly, it is because of God’s great love that we can have hope in life after our deaths. So how do we justify loving those who disagree with us? The Lord tells us to hate the sin, but love the sinner (Ephesians 6:12), and to realize that we are blessed to be a blessing (James 1:17, Luke 3:11, Matthew 24:45). So, we must recognize that each church and each sinner that claims Christ as Lord has been blessed with talents and strengths with which to do the Lord’s work. We must come alongside one another to work for peace and justice, to worship the one true God through the work of our hands and the words on our lips (1 Corinthians 1:10-17). Yes, we all practice differently and our liturgies and catechisms are different, but the one thing that remains the same is that we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That is how we are united, that is what allows us to come together and feed off each others strengths, for our weaknesses are many.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Smoke-free's the way to be

I got this from, I thought it was extremely noteworthy.

With increasing anti-smoking sentiment in Ames, impending Iowa legislation may give the Ames City Council a more effective way to ban smoking in public places.
Although the form the law will take remains in question, legislation is being passed through the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives that would raise the tobacco tax by another dollar and ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places.
"I think the net effect we will see is that we are just able to enforce the ordinances we already made," said Councilman Matthew Goodman, owner of Smiles & Gyros and co-owner of The Flying Burrito.
The Senate approved raising the tax by $1 and creating a statewide ban on public smoking, but the House is debating leaving the option up to each individual town. A Senate committee also endorsed a plan to allow harsher restrictions to be dictated by each city than the laws passed by state legislators.
Much of the controversy surrounding the smoking ban in Ames revolves around the loss of revenue for restaurants that no longer support smoking. Many business owners opposed the ordinance enacted in August 2001 that prevented smoking indoors from 6 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., with the argument that they would lose customers and profits.
Goodman said there was no empirical evidence to show that restaurants had lost any revenue since the ban.
"From everything I've seen, we really haven't lost any customers or profit," he said. "Although a lot of people were against the city enacting laws that restricted some of their smoking, they've adapted to the change. They can still smoke outdoors and then go inside the building."
Mayor Ann Campbell echoed Goodman's sentiments, noting that even when the ordinance was first declared unconstitutional by the Iowa Supreme Court, many restaurants did not revert.
"In terms of outcry, when any change that is significant is made, we always have some controversy from people who do not want the change," Campbell said. "When the law was first struck down by the courts, however, I noticed many of the restaurants that had been complaining about possibly losing business didn't go back to allowing any smoking."
The council unanimously approved the smoking bans and will continue to support the legislation.
If approved, the new legislation would not affect the recently enacted 25 ft. nonsmoking radius around all university buildings.
Unfortunately for smokers, Iowa State may follow the University of Iowa in the complete banning of smoking on campus. The new state laws will give more freedom to the university to ban all smoking on campus.
ISU President Gregory Geoffroy said he hoped to pass a rule banning all smoking on campus which would be in place by 2009.

I am extremely envious of a smoke-free campus. As one of my famous groups on facebook says, "having a smoking section in a restaurant (in this case, a public place) is like having a peeing section in a pool".

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Moved to Tears

I got this out of my John Piper devotional:

"Not long ago, a phone call moved me to tears. I had never recieved one like it in my life. Never. I hacn hardly believe it even now. It was more gracious than I could have legitimately hoped for.

A friend of mine called from out of state. He is a pastor and a school administrator. He is busy in multiple ministries and has a family. He told me that he was at a conference recently and the speaker challenged those present to consider the impact they might have if they devoted themselves to praying for someone every day.

He said that as he was praying, the Lord brought my name to mind. He had given it thought and prayer, and he wanted to tell me that from now until he dies or I die -- or Jesus comes back -- he is going to pray for me everyday.

I could hardly believe it. No one but Noel, my parents, and Jesus has ever made such a commitment to me. Imagine it. That means, if he and I live out our three score and ten years, he will pray for me more than eight thousand times. It means rain or shine, he is praying. For better or for worse, he is praying. If I make shipwreck of my faith and commit apostasy, he is praying.

This kind of commitment takes my breath away. It brought tears of joy and gratitude. It made me tremble. It was, in fact, an inexpressible demonstration of God's covenant love to me. I feel that I have been loved with bands that cannot be broken. I am overwhelmed.

How is such a thing possible? It is possible because it really is a part of God's covenant and not just a human imitation of it. This kind of love is an overflow of God's commitment to be everything my friend needs in this life and the next. God has said to him and me: "I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put hte fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me" (Jeremiah 32:40). This means that God is the guarantor of our constancy. If we do not turn away from what we promise to do, it is God's work; "I will not turn away from doing them good."

I hung up the phone and prayed: "Thank you, Lord. I need this power and this guidance so much. O that I might be docile in the Lord's hands. Lord, bless my friend in his intercession for me. Strengthen him. Use me for his good in the way you touch me through him. May we be mutually empowered by this commitment."

What an amazingly foreign thing this is in our unstable culture! Someone who says, "Not just if it feels good, not just if I think of it, not just if you respond well, and not just if I am fulfilled by it -- John, you can count on it, every day until the Lord returns or I die, I will pray for you, whether it's one minute or one hour."

What prayer promise might God be leading you to make? This is not the only good king of commitment you can make. There are all kinds. For example, I am committed to pray for our church staff by name every day as long as I am the pastor of this church.

Pause and ponder the possibilities."

When I read this, it kind of blew my mind. I mean, prayer is crucial. Through prayer God is able to work in our lives, touch and shape our hearts and move us forward in life. Prayer is powerful. God does hear and answer our prayers. Sometimes it doesn't seem like it, but I believe that God always gives us one of three answers: "Yes", "Not now" or "I have something better in mind". With that in mind, we've all heard stories about the power of prayer in people's lives. People who have prayed for missionaries and then those missionaries have brought people to Christ. People have prayed for prisoners and seen them change their lives. People who have prayed for their friends and family and seen them flourish. The best part is that God is working in your life while He's working in the life of the person you're praying for. God can do great things through prayer. It would be great if each of us could find a person, a group, an organization, a nation, whatever each day. Obviously, it would be good to learn about the person or group of people that you're praying for, but a good start is to just pray that God would hear the prayers of that other person and address their needs, showing them His loving mercy each and every day of their lives.

Just a thought...I'll wait and see what comes of it, though. If you have more to contribute or thoughts on this topic, totally share them with me...I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Enjoying the Scraps

Mark 7:24-30

The Faith of a Syrophoenician Woman
24Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[g] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil[h] spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27"First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

28"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."

29Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."

30She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Genesis 2:18-25

18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Ok, so here are my thoughts for the day on the readings of the day. How bold is the faith of that Syrophoenician woman? I mean, even though she is a non-Jew, she approaches a male Jewish teacher (yes, also the Messiah) and asks him to cast a demon out of her daughter. Not only that, but she was not deterred when Jesus said that "the children", i.e. the Jews, should receive miracles first. She was humble and said that she would be satisfied with scraps...crumbs...She said she would take whatever He was willing to give her, and Jesus gave beyond what she had hoped to receive. This is how God works. I mean, look at the Genesis story. It doesn't say that Adam whined about not having someone to share his life with or anything. Instead, God said, "It is not right for him to be alone." So, God blesses Adam with an amazingly beautiful woman, the crown of creation. I mean, think of what Adam's response must have been when he first saw Eve. He did want companionship, but do you think he even dreamed of having a companion that was so beautiful? I think Adam was like the Syrophoenician woman, though in a more passive sense. He wasn't looking for much and God blessed him beyond his wildest dreams.

And when you think about it, doesn't God do that a lot? You become content and are able to rest fully in God and that's when He choses to bless you beyond compare. The world says, "Make your dreams come true." God says, "Wait on me,and I'll bless you beyond your wildest dreams." When you're willing to take whatever God wills you to have, He will give you exactly what you need.

There are times when I become very aware of the fact that Jesus is always what we need most. I mean, I go to Mass with Kyle at least a few times each week. There are times when I'm there that my desire for God is almost overwhelming. There are times when Kyle goes up for communion and I am struck with how much I hunger and thirst for Jesus. I mean, sometimes, I am so willing to settle for the scraps, times when Kyle sits down next to me and I can smell the wine on his breath and a part of me wants to take the residue of it from his lips. I mean, we don't kiss...that's a boundary we have...and it's not that I want to cross that boundary...that's not what it's's about how much I want Jesus, even if it's just a drop, just a residue. I mean, I'm not going to lie, getting that drop from Kyle wouldn't be a bad way to get it, but as much as I hate to say it, it's really not about him.

Hmmm...this time, I think I'm ending with more questions than answers, but the musings are still so valuable to me. I guess, sometimes I wonder what God does have in store for me. I mean, if I'm willing to have the scraps, will He let me dwell in Him and He in me? I suppose He already is...maybe He's just teaching me to recognize that...I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Child Care on Campus

So, it seems that SDSU is granting a small part of my dream. It's not quite what I envisioned, but I can't deny that I am super pleased to see that SDSU has been awarded a grant to provide child care for students at the on-campus child development center. It's not free child care, but the grant does pay part of the cost for parents to have their kids at the on-campus center. It's both exciting and encouraging. We'll have to see how well it is utilized, but I do hope this program grows and becomes even more user friendly. I truly believe that affordable child care for students is an asset that benefits all of us here on this campus. It makes it easier for parenting students (some of which are our friends and classmates) to more easily attend classes. It grants more opportunities for the early childhood education majors that work in the child development center. We'll have to see exactly how things play out, but I am definitely excited.

Here's the description of the program from the school website:

CCAMPIS - "Child Care Access Means Parents in School"

To: CCAMPIS Childcare Applicants
SDSU has initiated a joint venture with the United Retirement Center’s Child Development Center in order to meet childcare needs of students. All undergraduate students who have childcare needs may apply.

Priority will be given to those:
(1) who are full-time students
(2) who demonstrate a great financial need
(3) who are from underrepresented groups within the student body, and
(4) who have children with disabilities

The application contains three sections: (materials available below)
1. The SDSU application page
2. The URC Child Development Center section
3. The South Dakota Childcare Assistance program application section

• You will need to apply for South Dakota Childcare Assistance through the state office in Pierre as CCAMPIS funds are intended to supplement existing federal funds.

• This information is necessary in evaluating your application--please turn this entire section in with your application.

• If funded by the CCAMPIS grant, you will need to check back within 1 month before the start of childcare need in order to update and sign this section of your application. (Childcare Assistance in Pierre will not evaluate applications prior to 1 month before need.)

The collaborative effort between SDSU and the URC Child Development Center is exciting. It has a lot of potential to serve students, in the capacity of parents with children and those working in the fields of health, early childhood education and human services.

The potential childcare funding for each student, depending on continuing needs, could possibly follow the student through his/her college career. Each year a re-evaluation process to assess needs will be conducted; therefore, those students who have previously received funding will need to submit a new application in order to determine their current need.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dedicated to Norma McCorvey and the Power of Christ's Blood

I was thinking today about how to best make an impact on the world. I was thinking about what it means to be pro-active and pro-life. I mean, we want to respect life and that requires changing minds. As I thought about it, though, I realized that what really had to happen is for people to experience a change of heart. Now, the thing is only God can change hearts. We may be so blessed as to be used by Him, but it won't be our words and our power of reasoning that changes a person's heart. Thus, I concluded that one of the most powerful tools for fighting for life is prayer. I mean, hardcore prayer...for pro-choicers, for abortionists, for women considering abortion, for the men who encourage their girlfriends/wives/daughters to have abortions...the kind of prayer that changes lives. I think we need to come together and pray for those who don't agree with us. We should pray that God would hear their prayers and provide for their needs, that He would show them His love and have His way in their lives. Just think what we could do if we really set out and prayed for them. My goal is to have a list of people in need of our prayers up in the next couple weeks. In the off chance anyone reads my blog, let me know if you want to "adopt" one of the people on the list and personally pray for them.

I just want to end with some lyrics from Kenney Chesney and Alan Jackson. The song is entitled "Baptism"...hope you all enjoy it.

The summer breeze, made ripples on the pond
Rattled through the reeds and the willow trees beyond
Daddy in his good hat, mama in her Sunday dress
Watched with pride, as I stood there in the water up to my chest
And the preacher spoke about the cleansing blood
and I sank my toes into that East Tennessee mud

Then it was down with the old man, up with the new
Raised to walk in the way of light and truth
I didn't see no angels, just a few saints on the shore
But I felt like a newborn baby, cradled up in the arms of the Lord

Amazing grace, oh how sweet the sound
There was glory in the air, there was dinner on the ground
And my sins which were many, were washed away and gone
Along with a buffalo nickel I forgot to leave at home
But that seemed like such a small, small price to pay
For the blessed peace of mind that came to me that day

And it was down with the old man, up with the new
Raised to walk in the way of light and truth
I didn't see no angels, just a few saints on the shore
But I felt like a newborn baby, cradled up in the arms of the Lord

This road is long and dusty, sometimes the soul it must be cleansed
And I long to feel that water, rushing over me again

Down with the old man, up with the new
Raised to walk in the way of light and truth
I didn't see no angels, just a few saints on the shore
But I felt like a newborn baby, cradled up in the arms of the Lord
I felt like a newborn baby, cradled up in the arms of the Lord

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Power of a Man

Men as Leaders

That's a post I wrote last June, but I wanted to take a moment and expand upon it this morning.

Thinking about mens inherent ability to lead shows their importance in the pro-life effort. It proves that all men have something to offer this effort -- their strength. In Bible study, we discussed the fall of mankind. We discussed how while Eve was the one to first eat the fruit, the text from Genesis does not suggest that Adam was far away. Thus, he plays a part in this act even before he takes a bite. He committed the sin of silence. He didn't help Eve to do the right thing, he did not validate her feeling that was wrong. He took the stance that it wasn't his issue, it was HER problem and HER choice. As a result, she couldn't rely on his strength in the face of temptation -- the snake. So, ultimately, she gave in and took a bite of that forbidden fruit. What Adam failed to see ahead of time is how Eve's action would affect them both.

I see some great parallels with unplanned pregnancy. Studies have shown that the reactions of the woman's partner and her family can greatly influence her decision. When a man's reaction is one of horror or distance, a woman is left in an even harder situation. The man has either told her that her pregnancy is a huge inconvenience for him and therefore is a problem to be solved, or he has told her that it is her problem and she needs to figure out what she's going to do about it because he's not going to help. In either case, the man has turned a difficult situation into a desperate one that the woman feels unable to handle. The likelihood of her choosing life at that slim...because if she chooses life, she's alone in her decision.

Now, I believe that resources need to be available in communities so that these women can see that they're not alone. That someone is there to help them and be a friend and help them figure out how to make choosing life actually work. However, that's not the focus of this post.

So, rather, I want to show you all this man's testimony, in which he discovers that his decisions had consequences for both him and his partner at the time.

The Secret I Buried for 20 Years. I thought my girlfriend’s abortion would make my life easier. I was wrong.

By Steve Arterburn

In front of 2,200 Baylor University students, I confessed a sin: "Twenty years ago I came to this school to get a Christian education, but what I got was a girl pregnant my first year here."

Being invited to speak at my alma mater was a great honor. As I thought about how I could challenge these students, it would have been more fun to play up my accomplishments. But I had to admit who I really was and what I had done.

Twenty years ago, I helped pay for my girlfriend’s abortion. My immediate reaction to her news was it was an inconvenience that must be eliminated. I never stopped to think about what I was doing. I never considered that a real life was inside her that I had helped create. I simply thought the doctor was removing some unwanted tissue.

My wife and I struggled with infertility. Once I could create life, but ended it. Now I could do neither.

Years later I faced the truth. I had selfishly destroyed a human life because I didn’t want to be inconvenienced. My rude awakening was "male post-abortion syndrome," a flood of guilt, confusion, and denial that often follows an abortion. Post-abortion syndrome is typically associated with mothers of aborted children, but I’m one of the thousands of abortion fathers who have also gone through this ordeal. In my case, it resulted in 80 ulcers eating at my stomach, intestines, and colon. The pain was excruciating and made worse by the knowledge that it was a result of my secret sin. Accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ was the miracle I needed. Over time the internal physical scars disappeared; subsequent tests revealed no trace of the trauma. The guilt of my secret sin had destroyed my health. However, God restored it.

Shortly after speaking at Baylor, the woman I had gotten pregnant more than two decades earlier called me. She had heard about my talk. It was wonderful to hear that she, too, had experienced God’s healing from that horrible act.

She had only one suggestion: "The next time you tell the story be more honest about what really happened. You didn’t just help pay for the abortion; you pressured me to get it."

It was true. She never wanted to do it. She wanted to keep the baby. It was my forcefulness that finally led her to do what she didn’t want to do.

I came face-to-face with who I really was – a coward who preyed upon someone else to make my own life easier.

Studies show the most significant factor in a woman’s decision to get an abortion is lack of support from the man to keep the child. As painful as it was hearing it, I was glad this friend from years ago had the courage to confront me.

-For the record, I'm not talking about he and his wife having fertility problems. I'm talking about the emotional and psychological distress that he suffered from later in life regarding the abortion of his child years before.