Thursday – August 30, 2018

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I haven’t written in a long while. Not that I did not have content to talk about. But life, as it has happened over the last little while, has not been easy.

I’ve not been feeling myself, for the last little while. I need medical attention, that we cannot afford at the moment. And as of 2 days ago, that need became seriously magnified.

Over the past couple of months, my husbands office, has gone through serious changes, and to that effect, by Monday afternoon, all the furniture in the office had been liquidated, and sold off. All the employees have been working from home, which has turned the office into no-mans land. Several employees quit, and on Monday night, hubby came home and was sullen and depressed.

Before dinner, he turned to me and said the following …

“They’ve sold off all of the furniture and computers. The refrigerator had been emptied and turned upside down, over the tub, in the bathroom, to defrost it. All the employees have vacated the premises.

By the close of business Monday evening, hubby was the last man standing in an empty office. The only furniture left, in the place, was his desk and his computer. He then told me that Tuesday, would be his last day at a job, he has excelled in over the past four years.”

On Tuesday morning, I was up before dawn, watching cruise ships sail into Nassau harbor, via web cams on my desktop. One, I could not sleep, and two, I had to be up to make sure hubby was alright and mentally prepared for the day as it was to transpire.

Sleeping in, and leaving him alone with his thoughts was not what I wanted for him.

We knew going into Tuesday that a severance package was in the works. As the last man standing, he was offered a healthy severance package upon departure. In the end, he was retained on a part-time, freelance option.

The office has been closed. And the other employees, that were let go, will be afforded a flex space in Old Montreal, for important face to face meetings, with the company owners.

For all intents and purposes, the company has folded major operations, and only a few employees remain. Hubby will work from home, on a part-time, 20 hour work week, making good money for the hours he is billing the company to remain, partially employed.

We will lose our much-needed insurance, that pays for our medications. Which prompted an emergency call to our pharmacy, and we ordered three months of medication to be provided in one drop, because the insurance is going to lapse, and while it is still in place, hubby decided that we should fill as much medication as needed, hoping that he lands in a new position, in that three-month period of time.

Meanwhile on Stream B, hubby had applied at another media firm, that he had researched and sent his updated cv and coordinates. He is able to see, in real-time, how many people have looked at his papers, and their movement up the chain of command.

I am told that this company may take its time in responding to a job inquiry, so he is in a holding pattern, for a second job, while working part-time to keep the money flowing from stream A.

His intention, from the very beginning, was to figure out all these problems by himself and not bother me into worrying about the job, the money and the loss of insurance, hoping that he would have heard from Stream B by now, but that did not happen, as he planned it. In the end, he spilled the beans in an emotional flush of words.

What was I supposed to do now ? All I could do was listen to him talk, and to be present in that moment. Once again, as I look back over the past week, and for the last portion of our lives, Someone Much Greater than we are, is watching us.

And every so often, that Power Greater than ourselves, sends us a sign. A physical sign that we are not alone. The last sign we got, was at the end of the trip to Hamilton in May. That trip was a shit show, but when we got home, a concrete sign was sent to us.

I know that we are not alone right now, for sure.

And at dinner tonight, I spoke these words to hubby. Reminding him that he was not alone, that I was here, and that someone is keeping an eye out for us.

On Stream C, all my kids returned from summer vacations, as school begins the next week for them. We have been welcoming them back a few at a time, over the last little while. The last remaining folks return tomorrow, Friday …

We are all reconnecting. For a handful of graduates who have moved on, they are all relocated in jobs scattered all over Canada and the U.S. Everybody is still sober and that is a good sign, going into the Fall.

**** **** ****

Yesterday around 3 p.m. I was sitting at my desk, and in moments, the sun disappeared from the sky, and it got very dark, very quickly. Environment Canada sent out an emergency storm warning across the web and via text.

As it was dark outside, I stood at the windows and watched the rain move from East to West, across the sky. A rush of wind blew, and the demolition site, just up the block, where they are tearing down the former Children’s Hospital, the wind was blowing so hard that the mounds of dust and debris from the site, began to fly into the air in a flurry of motion.

The rain began to fall, earnestly. Had I not been watching the progress as it happened, I would have missed it. A few hundred yards from the building, I saw a rain cloud open and drop a burst of rain, falling so hard and so fast, that it obscured the sight-line of the buildings and land beneath it. I’d never seen so much rain fall in one concentrated spot like that before. It lasted all of twenty minutes.

Then it was over.

When all was said and done, over 100,000 Montrealer’s from on the island to off island were without power. Many trees were felled. Many roofs were knocked off their buildings, cars were destroyed by falling trees onto cars.

A man on a construction site, here in the city, was injured as he was hit in the face by a two by four, from debris flying through the sky, in his direction.

Off island, several barns were destroyed, including several houses. There was widespread destruction all over the place, from a storm that hit and only lasted mere minutes.

We know today that a type two tornado had dropped from the storm and severe destruction happened.

This was the second Micro-burst storm to hit this city. The last one to hit, had hit the city, West of downtown, in a section of town called NDG. In that storm, it dropped serious rain, and the micro burst destroyed a park full of century old trees. Snapping them into pieces like match sticks.

As it stands, the city is trying to decide what to plant in their place to repopulate the park with trees.

Right now, I am trying to remain calm, and not lose my mind, with the thought that these problems won’t go away very quickly. All we can go is just cope the best way we can, and not get stupid mental over the fact that shit happened in the last week, which we are totally powerless over.

Sometimes God needs to shake the tree because growth is needed, in one area or another. We may not like the tress shaking or the uncertainty of life, but I also know that someone, something greater than we are, has our backs.

At least I can trust God, as I understand Him.

I cannot afford to lose my cookies at the moment.

When Honesty Dies …

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Yes folks, the President of the United States is a criminal. But many knew this before he ever took office. The Office of the President of the United States has been irrevocably tarnished and denigrated.

The Hallowed Office that We The People own, is inhabited, right now, by a man who believes that Truth is not Truth, that alternative facts run the day, and that firing government employees and revoking security clearances, just out of spite, is just a natural thing he can do, with impunity.

Where are the values of Honesty, Integrity and Humility ?

I believe they are dead on arrival.

I have a basic set of morals and values that I ascribe to. I do my best at being honest in all my affairs. I work daily on integrity, and I strive for humility. Sadly, some do not see life in this same way.

Where are the men of honesty, integrity and humility ? Our government has failed us at every turn. They have stuck their heads in the sand, and hands over their eyes, and fingers in their ears.

It seems that if they do not acknowledge that something is seriously wrong with the current state of affairs, then, they don’t have to act to correct these critical government imbalances.

The President has lost his mind. He is erratic and unhinged, as some have already posited. Last night, well, early on yesterday I was watching my regular political fare and I watched as the day progressed and news was broke, all at the same hour, in two different cities and states. At 4 pm yesterday, the bottom fell out and we learned some hard truths about the man, many elected into office.

Not that we did not know what was going on, but without factual proof, as many really need to make an informed decision, but it is what it is. Now we know for sure that Michael Cohen, acted, and committed Federal Crimes at the direction of “the candidate” to pay off two women who had sexual affairs, the reason he paid off these women was for one fact …

TO INFLUENCE THE ELECTION OF THE CANDIDATE.

 

We not only have Russian Collusion to think about, we have a man, who at the behest of his boss, (said candidate) shut two women up from speaking up, so that the (so-called candidate) could win the election.

The Access Hollywood tape was just the tip of the iceberg. And the Teflon Don, survived that little burp on his timeline. But I wonder, if the Teflon coating on the Donald’s head has not worn off, and that maybe somebody in the government goes to the Oval Office and says to the President, Well, Mr. President, I THINK IT IS TIME TO GO …

WE HAVE A VOICE, WHEN IT COMES TO GOVERNMENT. AND THAT VOICE IS CALLED A VOTE. TOO MANY PEOPLE, IN 2016 CHOSE NOT TO VOTE, JUST BECAUSE. I GET IT, THE ELECTION WAS A REFERENDUM ON THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS.

BUT COME ON, NOW DO YOU SEE, DONALD TRUMP IS NOW THE GREATER OF THE TWO EVILS, WHEN YOU STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT ?

IF YOU DO NOT VOTE, YOU CANNOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RESULTS.

WE CANNOT AFFORD APATHY ANY LONGER. WE MUST ACT AS A UNIFIED PEOPLE, WHO NEED TO GET OUT IN NOVEMBER AND FUCKING VOTE.

GET OFF YOUR SOFAS, PUT DOWN YOUR BEERS AND GUNS AND DRAG YOUR ASS TO TO A VOTING BOOTH AND PUT DEMOCRATS INTO THE SYSTEM.

BECAUSE IF THE DEMOCRATS WIN ENOUGH SEATS, IMPEACHMENT IS ON THE TABLE FOR GOD DAMNED SURE

The integrity of the Oval Office ha been ruined and the only way to remove Donald Trump is to vote senators and representatives who will have the power to impeach him out of office. If he does not just up and quit under the immense pressure he is under right now.

We Must Act. There is no greater crisis than the one we are living at the present moment.

USE YOUR VOICE AND GO VOTE.

IF YOU VALUE YOUR COUNTRY AND THE MAN WHO OCCUPIES THE OVAL OFFICE, YOU WILL DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, ONCE AND FOR ALL.

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike.

Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.

1. If one member suffers…

In recent days, a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years. Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims.

We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death; these wounds never go away. The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced. But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it, or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity.

The Lord heard that cry and once again showed us on which side he stands. Mary’s song is not mistaken and continues quietly to echo throughout history. For the Lord remembers the promise he made to our fathers: “he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Lk 1:51-53). We feel shame when we realize that our style of life has denied, and continues to deny, the words we recite.

With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.

I make my own the words of the then Cardinal Ratzinger when, during the Way of the Cross composed for Good Friday 2005, he identified with the cry of pain of so many victims and exclaimed: “How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to [Christ]! How much pride, how much self-complacency! Christ’s betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his body and blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us! (cf. Mt 8:25)” (Ninth Station).

2. … all suffer together with it

The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way. While it is important and necessary on every journey of conversion to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, in itself this is not enough. Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit.

If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history. And this in an environment where conflicts, tensions and above all the victims of every type of abuse can encounter an outstretched hand to protect them and rescue them from their pain (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 228). Such solidarity demands that we in turn condemn whatever endangers the integrity of any person.

A solidarity that summons us to fight all forms of corruption, especially spiritual corruption. The latter is “a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centeredness, for ‘even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light’ (2 Cor 11:14)” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 165). Saint Paul’s exhortation to suffer with those who suffer is the best antidote against all our attempts to repeat the words of Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9).

I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and of vulnerable adults, as well as implementing zero tolerance and ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable. We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future.

Together with those efforts, every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need. This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does. For as Saint John Paul II liked to say: “If we have truly started out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he wished to be identified” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49).

To see things as the Lord does, to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help. I invite the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.[1] This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says “never again” to every form of abuse.

It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the members of God’s People. Indeed, whenever we have tried to replace, or silence, or ignore, or reduce the People of God to small elites, we end up creating communities, projects, theological approaches, spiritualities and structures without roots, without memory, without faces, without bodies and ultimately, without lives.[2]

This is clearly seen in a peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority, one common in many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred. Such is the case with clericalism, an approach that “not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people”.[3]

Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say “no” to abuse is to say an emphatic “no” to all forms of clericalism.

It is always helpful to remember that “in salvation history, the Lord saved one people. We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in the human community. God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 6).

Consequently, the only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within.

Without the active participation of all the Church’s members, everything being done to uproot the culture of abuse in our communities will not be successful in generating the necessary dynamics for sound and realistic change.

The penitential dimension of fasting and prayer will help us as God’s People to come before the Lord and our wounded brothers and sisters as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion. In this way, we will come up with actions that can generate resources attuned to the Gospel.

For “whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 11).

It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.

Likewise, penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people’s sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils.

May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled. A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary.

A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience.

In this way, we can show clearly our calling to be “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1).

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it”, said Saint Paul. By an attitude of prayer and penance, we will become attuned as individuals and as a community to this exhortation, so that we may grow in the gift of compassion, in justice, prevention and reparation.

Mary chose to stand at the foot of her Son’s cross. She did so unhesitatingly, standing firmly by Jesus’ side. In this way, she reveals the way she lived her entire life. When we experience the desolation caused by these ecclesial wounds, we will do well, with Mary, “to insist more upon prayer”, seeking to grow all the more in love and fidelity to the Church (SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises, 319).

She, the first of the disciples, teaches all of us as disciples how we are to halt before the sufferings of the innocent, without excuses or cowardice. To look to Mary is to discover the model of a true follower of Christ.

May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.

Vatican City, 20 August 2018

 

A Year Later

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My birthday was the 31st of July. The morning of my birthday, when I got up and out of bed, I was still alive. I saw my doctor a couple of days before my birthday, and once again, I thanked him for keeping me alive another year.

This incarnation of my blog reached it’s First Anniversary. Thanks to cowards and their dishonesty. People would rather eat dirt, than be honest.

Without my doctor, where would I be right now ? I Don’t Know …

The people that mattered, celebrated my birthday, each in their own special ways.

A week has passed.

This is what I know right now.

I really do not care if people like me or not. I really don’t care what people think about me, what I wear in public, or how they perceive me.

I know who my friends are. And right now, I know, for sure, that most people, do not care for my brand of sobriety or lifestyle.

I’ve learned how to be Honest. I’ve learned how to be Vulnerable in public. I’ve seen how other people react to my honesty. They don’t like it at all. And would rather eat dirt, than to say anything directly to me. And that’s ok with me.

I don’t need validation from anyone but God. I also know, that if I need to hear God, I know where to go to hear His voice.

The other day, we talked about Acceptance. Page 417, in the Big Book. Acceptance is the answer to all my problems. That’s what the book says.

I know, from years of listening to people SPOUT the wisdom of Acceptance, that some think that Acceptance, says that I have to accept people who use the Looser Line that says: Well that’s just who I am.

They use Acceptance like a Get Out Of Jail Free Card.

It allows alcoholics who don’t care about personal growth or empathy for others, to just sit in the place of being an ASSHOLE.

There are so many assholes out there right now, it is astonishing.

All I want out of this life, is to be Honest. To know how to do the Right Thing, even if it goes against every bone in my body. I work very hard to be a good human being to everyone. Even when much of the people I see, DON’T.

They don’t care about anyone but themselves. People are so consumed with the clothing I wear, and sit in judgment so deep, that it makes me sick.

One of my friends hit a First tonight.

He mentioned Brene Brown. He too, has listened to every one of her talks, and read several of her books, like I have over the past two years. He did it in just a few months.

But he spoke language I Understood and Identified with.

I don’t trust a whole lot of people, that I cannot throw very far. And that’s ok with me. I might not be connected to certain people, like some of my friends are, but if I have to compromise my standards and values, for someone in particular, to want to work with me, I’d rather go it alone.

Because the choices in Men of Sober, Good Standards, LONG Sober, are very few and far between. I know who to talk to. And I know who to avoid.

I’ve lived another year of experiences. Some of those experiences were good, some were not. People don’t have to like me. And I have grown to accept that.

I’m a strange Gay Man of fifty-one years, twenty-five years living with AIDS. And almost seventeen years sobriety. No one has the same life qualifications and identifications.

Once again, I know who my friends are.

And for the moment, that will have to suffice, until conditions change on the ground.

I do what needs to be done. I serve my community. I help my friends. I am kind.

I know my values and my morals. I may not always know the right thing, but like my friend tonight, I trust the little voice in my head more today, than I have in the past.

If it Doesn’t Feel Right, then Don’t Do It.