Monday, December 21, 2020

     I watched a video recently that a Facebook friend sent about what the globalist technocrats have in mind for us. No doubt it's important to stay informed about what is or might be going on in the world, so I listened as this video laid out the dystopian future that may be on the horizon. It was plausible. It was unnerving. My mind had to work hard to keep it from casting a pall over my day. 

     When the video finished, I set about doing the routine housework and the not so routine - decluttering countertops, giving the sink a thorough scrubbing. One good thing about mindless housework is that it leaves your brain free to do a lot of thinking and some decision-making. 

     I've decided to make this the very best Christmas ever, and I hope you will make the same decision. Even if you have to spend the holidays alone, put up some simple, inexpensive decorations. Watch no more than a half hour of news a day, and don't take it too seriously. It's nothing more than what a corrupt news media wants you to believe on any given day. It may or may not be true. 

    A lot of the usual Christmas events are not being held this year. So what. Dress up like you’re going to a concert, put on your sparkly jewels, and watch a concert or a Christmas movie on TV. Make things festive in spite of lockdowns.  Listen to Christmas music. Celebrate western civilization by honoring all the old traditions. Put up a tree if it's nothing more than a twig. Hang a wreath or some green boughs. Light the Advent candles. Observe the twelve days of Christmastide. Put up some outdoor lights even if it's just one string around your front door. 

     If your upbringing didn't supply you with any holiday traditions, adopt the familiar ones.  Explore the history of time honored traditions we all take for granted. Or come up with your own brand-new traditions. All traditions began somewhere with an idea that somebody set in motion.

   Read all the beautiful Old Testament prophecies about the coming of Christ. Read the second chapters of Matthew and Luke that tell of Jesus' birth. Read the chapters in Revelation that tell of Christ's coming kingdom and the restoration of all things. Revel in the story God is telling. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed by His love for you.

     Read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. The story begins when Narnia is under a curse - it's always winter, and yet Christmas never comes.  This relates to our current situation. The draconian response to Covid is like a spell cast by a wicked witch. But in spite of Narnia's curse, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver have a cozy, cheerful home where they await better times when the wicked witch will no longer be in power. One of the definitions of the word, kingdom, is "an area or sphere in which one holds a preeminent position." Your home is your kingdom. Make it a cozy, welcoming refuge from the benighted world. 

     Remember, dark powers never last. The light always breaks through. A curse is always broken. Christ has already broken the ultimate curse - death. You can be a light in the darkness. If someone is in complete darkness, think of what the sight of a tiny lightning bug would mean to them. If you were stumbling your way through a dark forest, think what the sight of a single candle in a cottage window would mean. Be a light in this dark world. You can do that by being brave enough to speak the truth. You can be a light by remembering and reminding others that what is good and true and right always triumphs in the end.  Make this the best Christmas ever, and be a light all year long. 


Friday, September 11, 2020

They say it’s an ill wind that blows no good.  Covid has been a storm.  It has meant death for some people, unemployment and struggling or failed businesses for others.  It has meant the heartbreak of not being able to visit loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes.  It has meant not being able to have a proper funeral when someone dies.  It has meant an unsettling feeling of alienation when you see more masks than faces.  But if the old saying is true, surely there are a few good things that have come out of it.

Here are some good things that I have experienced on a personal level - 

I found out I’m ok with being gray.  I had my hair dyed for so many years, I had no idea what color it was.  I knew it was gray.  You don’t get to be my age without being gray.  But I always wondered how much of my hair is gray?  And what kind of gray?  Is it a dingy yellow gray or snowy white or a steely silver?  It’s leaning toward silver as it grows out, and I’m happy with that.  If beauty shops hadn’t closed, I’d still be having it dyed.  I found out I like my hair longer than it has been.  I got a trim yesterday for the first time since March 5.  My hair was beginning to be unruly and needed what my beautician calls “shaping up.” It’s a good bit longer than it has been in years.  I like it.

When you live out in the countryside like I do, a trip to the big city to shop and run errands is an all-day affair.  In the past I always had lunch at a restaurant.  Now I pack a lunch.  I bought a nifty lunch thing that has three good sized compartments and three little trays.  All of this screws together and makes a tower that slides down in an insulated case.  Yesterday I had salad in the largest container, mandarin oranges in another container, and a protein bar cut in squares in the third container.  I found a spot next to a tree in a parking lot and parked there to eat lunch.  It’s an idiosyncrasy of mine.  If I’m not seated inside at a table to eat, I want to be by a tree. (If you’re a psychologist, and you know what this means, message me.) Since it was 96 degrees outside, I stayed in the car and kept the air-conditioning running. I played some music on Spotify.  All in all, it was a pleasant dining experience.  Restaurants are open now - although not at full capacity - but I think I’ll continue to pack my lunch on most of my big city days.  It’s more economical and probably more healthy.  I know this isn’t good for the restaurants, but it’s good for me.

Since I’ve been at home more than usual the last few months, I decided to endure the chaos that goes with home repair and sprucing-up projects.  I wonder now if some of my past outings weren’t just excuses to get away from home and avoid these projects.  We had some water damage on the dining room ceiling from a leak.  The leak was fixed a few months ago.  Since Covid, we’ve finally had someone repair the sheet rock and repaint the ceiling.  We also had the 1970s gray paneling in our guest room painted a pretty blue called “Icy.”

Months ago I bought a Kalimba - that little hand-held musical instrument - mainly because it’s so cute.  (I know, that’s no reason to buy a musical instrument.)  Since the Covid lockdown, I’ve actually learned to play the little thing.  I’ve played the piano since I was nine years old, and I also play the flute.  The Kalimba is a different animal.  On the piano the pitch gets progressively higher as you move from left to right on the keyboard.  The pitch on a  Kalimba alternates from side to side.  I think it’s good brain exercise to learn how to navigate this side to side instrument.  I’m playing it so much now I decided to order a case for it.  I took it with me on my errand trip yesterday.  When I had to kill time between appointments, I sat in the car and practiced the Kalimba.

These are a few of the positive things that the Covid wind has blown for me.  I’d love to hear some of your positive developments due to the lockdown, so comment below.  

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Grief & Gratitude

Whenever I start having free-floating anxiety, it’s usually because I’m not grateful enough for the good things in my life.  I’m too focused on some personal crisis or problem.  I give myself a pep talk, ask God for forgiveness, and make some time for gratitude.  That’s worked pretty well for most of my life.  But life has significantly changed in this Age of Covid.

Yesterday I masked up and went into the big city to run some errands and do some necessary shopping.  I’m one of those renegades who don’t think masks are necessary.  I think social distancing and a lot of hand washing is sufficient.  But I wear a mask where its required just out of compassion for the poor store clerks whose job it is to be sure everybody is wearing a mask.  They’re just trying to make a living.  I know some anti-maskers defy mask requirements.  I’m not judging them.  In fact, maybe we need a few defiant people to make a statement, but I don’t think that’s my calling.

Shopping used to be pleasurable.  Sometimes, even when I had everything on my list in my shopping buggy, I’d browse around and find something I hadn’t known that I needed - or wanted.  But shopping is not pleasurable anymore.  It’s more like a military mission - a foray. Get in, get what you need, and get out.  

Eating out used to be pleasurable, but masks have ruined that.  Of course, you’re allowed to remove the mask to shovel food in your mouth, but the mask is supposed to be on until the moment your food arrives.  Some restaurants only offer outdoor seating.  That might be pleasant in the Scottish Hebrides, but it’s not too pleasant in southern Louisiana in 95+ degree heat and humidity.  Yesterday I sat in the car and had a cold drink and a protein bar.  It was sufficient, but hardly a “dining experience.”

I’m a little bit introverted.  Even so, I used to enjoy the occasional chat with a stranger in the grocery aisle or the cashier when checking out.  Masks have ruined that, too.  We all seem to talk less.  It’s harder to make yourself heard and understood when you’re wearing a mask.  I never realized how much I used to observe facial expressions when talking to people.  Now it’s sort of like talking to a blank wall.  Someone might speak a greeting, but I can’t tell if they’re happy or sad or grumpy.  It’s like I’m interacting with robots.  I miss seeing people’s faces.  When you’re faced with masks (no pun intended) every time you leave your house, it begins to wear on you.  On some level you start to feel like everybody’s humanity is being sacrificed.  

And I miss church the way it used to be.  My church is open with social distancing and masks, but what kind of fellowship can you have with a mask on?  We Christians need each other more than ever in these trying times.  I think we all understood in the beginning when we were supposed to be “flattening the curve,” but how long is this going to go on?

Add to the Covid business, the state of the nation - cities being burned with impunity by the hateful and the lawless - politicians turning a blind eye to the destruction - millions out of work - the destruction and removal of historical monuments, accompanied by scathing insults to us and our ancestors.  This is cause for grief.

I’ve tried giving myself the usual pep talk.  I’ve prayed about it, and I’ve received some comforting insights.  I’ve suffered losses and so have you.  There’s no point in denying it.  Some people have suffered big losses - the death of a close friend or family member.  Some people have lost their jobs and don’t know if the job will still be there when this is all over.  These losses are in a special category all their own.  The attacks on one’s heritage and culture is yet another category.  But even the small losses - just not being able to live the way you used to - are significant.  I think God is giving me permission to let grief and gratitude coexist right now.  Grief over the continuing, daily losses and immense gratitude for health, enough food to eat, resources to pay the bills, and peace in my neighborhood.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Mental health professionals say that the way to stay sane in the current swirling chaos is to stay off of social media and limit the time you spend watching the news.  I know it’s true, but I’m not having much success in taking their advice.

Like a moth to the flame, I keep going back to Facebook and TV news.  I can’t seem to leave it all alone.  Some might say that I can’t leave the news alone for the same reason people slow down and ogle when they pass a car wreck on the road - morbid curiosity. I’ve considered that, but no - that’s not it.

I remember when my kids were little and one of them got really sick and had a high fever.  I couldn’t leave their bedside.  I’d sit and watch them sleep, closely observing - hoping for some tiny sign of improvement.  

Now my country is sick and has a high fever.  I keep going back to Facebook and the news, hoping for some tiny sign of improvement, but the fever seems to get higher and higher.  If a sick person with a high fever is going to survive, the fever must break.  The temperature must come down.  I have no medical training, but common sense tells me that if a fever keeps getting higher and lasts too long, the patient will die.

And that’s why I keep monitoring Facebook and the news.  Something has to change.  There has to be an improvement.  If there isn’t, our beloved America will die.  And there’s not another place on earth like America.  If you don’t believe me, ask all the immigrants that come here from other countries.