Archives For hurts

If you have seen the movie Braveheart, you know of the scene where
young William’s father is brought home to him, on a cart, dead. You may also
recall that, after the funeral, an imposing, battle-scarred man
arrives unlooked for. This is William’s uncle Argyle. And his
frightening visage is grace’s unexpected face.

Of all the things he does for William, the most powerful is to,
despite his heavy loss, let him know that he is not alone in his suffering.

Grace once came to me like that–unexpected, unlooked for. Only his
face was not that of a battle-scarred Argyle, but that of my stoner
friend, Pat. His wounds, the ones I could see, were the battle scars of adolescence:
he bore the telltale pockmarks of acne.

Pat was a husky, olive-skinned Italian. And oregano was not the only
herb he was fond of. We were the same age, had brothers around the
same age, and were fast friends from about 1978 until high school.

Then our paths diverged, and he got into drugs. Somehow, God knows, I never
got into pot. I smoked–cigarettes, cigars–chewed tobacco, drank. But
somehow drew the line there. I don’t know why. Certainly I was wounded
enough to make drugs an alluring escape. All I can surmise is that it
must have been the grace of God protecting me (even before I believed
in Him).

So Pat cycled in, and out, of my life throughout the high school
years. Our biggest falling out had to do with something said in passing about my aunt. I didn’t see him for sometime. And one day, he dropped by unexpectedly. We had shared some in
our appreciation of the feminine form, swapped magazines.

In fact, it was about magazines that he’d come by. Thinking that he
wanted to borrow some of my goods, we went to my room.

“Dude, aren’t you sick of this?” he asked.

“What?”

“The porn, man, the porn.”

I took deep breath, exhaled, took another. Realized I was.

“Yeah, man, I am.”

“Let’s trash it, dude.” It took a moment to register what he’d said. I swallowed, took a deep breath, and said:

“Okay.” So that’s just what we did: took down the centerfolds, gathered the
magazines, trashed them all.

I felt so free, so gloriously free. Here was Pat, the stoner I
couldn’t get to give up weed, calling me out about my porn, recognizing my addiction (but not his own. And isn’t that the truth? We so often lack necessary perspective about ourselves). Looking
back, I realize it was God moving, perhaps getting my house in order: less than a year later I would bow
the knee to Christ, make my faltering profession of allegiance in a speeding car.

————-

After that day, I never saw Pat again–until his brother’s funeral.

Grace often comes like that–wearing a face we don’t recognize. Look
for it, and you will see. And how I wish that was the end of my
involvement with pornography (oh, it was–for awhile).

How has grace come to you unexpectedly?

'Suicide prevention notice' photo (c) 2009, Samantha Marx - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/My cheeks are rose-tinted with the hot flush of a smoldering rage. Because it happened.

Again.

A smart, capable, accomplished woman—skilled in the art of healing, possessed of the patience of Job, and the bedside manor of an angel– was taken in her prime.

Not by accident, nor incident, but by the rigors of life.

I did not know her, but I knew her, you know? I know women like her.

My mom, for instance—a woman who: taught elementary age children, worked as a youth probation officer (her handcuffs were real—I know), and ended her career as a youth diversion coordinator, keeping kids out of the justice system. If anyone has suffered through the slings and arrows of life, it’s her. Add to that a troubled marriage, subsequent divorce, and one could safely say that life did its number on her.

She was:

Bowed, yes. Broken, assuredly. But alive.

Not so much this other woman I mention above. As a wife, mom, and
bringer of hope to many, she had none left for herself:

In her mind, the career she loved took the brunt of the blame for a
marriage that was failing. Somehow, it was solely her fault.
Despite a husband declaring his love for another, and a desire to
leave.

So this smart, capable, talented soul–a light to so many–snuffed out
her own light, leaving behind her young children. Soul crushed beneath
the weight of a guilt that wasn’t solely hers to bear.

How did we not see? We who knew, or knew of, her? Why did we not see
past the happy veneer to the hurting soul inside? How did she not keep
any hope for herself alive?

Why did she believe the lie that she was alone–that she alone was to blame?

Why?

Because smart, capable, and accomplished is no match for some lies.
Especially those predicated upon false premises. Falsest of all: that
you are alone.

Because you are not. Women—men, too–please don’t be the woman I here wrote of. We need you. We need your gifts, your talents… We need you. Only you can tell your tale.

Have you ever been there? Known someone who was? How did you come back from the brink?

The Walking Dead may not be your thing–I get that. But unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that one of the burning questions of the series was answered this past Sunday night:

The on again, off again, on again bromance between Rick and Shane has
reached a definitive end (though, in the interests of maintaining journalistic integrity, it was most decidedly on again–for a few moments, anyway).

That’s right, the question of will they, or won’t they, (kill each other) has been answered:

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You see it there, right? Right there in the title of this post–“fiend.”

Who do I mean? Who is this “fiend?”

Bryan Allain.

What do I mean?

He did this to me:

This Bryan Allain.

That’s right–I play words with this fiend!

He’s cutthroat, he’s lean…

And he’s mean!

This Bryan Allain.

Play him yourself.

You’ll see what I mean!

(search for ‘bryanallain’)

*By the by, I’m given to understand that his last name is French Canadian, so one pronounces it “Eileen.” Or so I’m told. 😉


This past weekend, I saw the new movie, Courageous, twice–once with my wife, and then again with my son. Like Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof before it, it has a strong faith-based message. How could it not–being made by the same team–brothers Stephen, and Alex, Kendrick–that was behind those fine films?

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