Category Archives: Psychological rabble dabble

Karma Comes Around

I’ve heard a lot lately about ‘Karma’ and ‘people getting what they deserve’ after a recent heart break and bad break-up of one of my children.  Their friends feel strongly about it.  It’s a comforting thought for the bad things people do – to think that they will get what they gave.  But that’s not really what Jesus wants us to do.  He wants us to do the HARD thing of ‘forgiving’ and not judging.  Which, in the end, truly does help the aggrieved person to forgive because it loosens the binds formerly held on them.

But what of people who do bad things and are NOT sorry at all for them.  People who are self-absorbed and only worry about their own feelings without empathy or sympathy for others?  Will “Karma” really get them?  Or, as my brother-in-law Billy says in his East Texas accent, “What comes around, goes around.”  Does it really?

I want to include a spooky story in this blog post where it does.  I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did.

The following story is an excerpt from a book where the guy is telling the story of the spooky show he watched on TV as a boy called ‘Night Gallery’ which focused on the dark closets of the human soul.  One particular story stayed with him (as it does with me now!) and I will tell it in quotes straight from the book:

“Josef Strobe is a Nazi war criminal hiding out in South America-Argentina, I imagine.  In spite of his cruel and evil past, his deepest longing is simply to be a fisherman.  His history haunts him, forcing him to live in a world that is dingy and bleak, a vivid contrast to his opulent life while in power.  Always afraid of being caught and constantly on the move, he is a different kind of prisoner than those comrades who were captured years before and condemned for their crimes against humanity.

He stands in front of a beautiful painting of a fisherman in a small boat drifting serenely on a still mountain lake, imagining himself as the man in the boat, free from all the problems that he has created for himself.  Josef is drawn to the painting over and over again.  He asks a forgiving God to give him another chance, a chance to survive, but in truth is asking God to absolve him from his sins while he abdicates all responsibility for his actions.

As he dreams of being the man in the painting, he wonders if, by concentrating all his mind and all his desire, he could enter that picture, leaving behind the life he has created to enter a life he could only dream of.  It’s clear, though, that Josef has never known contrition.  In the midst of his anguish, he runs across a Holocaust survivor who recognizes him as a former guard.  Josef kills the Jewish man and tries to escape by leaving town.

Instead, he is captured after some tense moments.  He escapes and sneaks back into the museum, rushing toward the painting that holds the world he longs to live in.  It is dark not only from the lack of light but from the ominous presence of the moment.  He prays to God to allow him to enter into the painting, then suddenly disappears.  Rushing into the room seconds later, a security guard and a museum official hear muted screams where Josef had stood. The picture of the mountain lake is gone, and the curator explains that the painting of the mountain lake was a loaner.  In its place hangs the image of a man crucified in a concentration camp.  Slowly the camera scans to the picture, and we realize that Josef has taken the place of the person who was crucified.  In a twist of irony, Josef Strobe has found his way back to the world he created.

from Erwin Raphael McManus’s book “The Artisan Soul”Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art“- btw, I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to all artists of any religion.  It is spiritual at times but mostly inspirational and though provoking.

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Filed under Family, Fiction, Psychological rabble dabble, Random Thoughts, Writing

The Invisible Blanket

Everyone needs to have a dream.  A ‘hope‘ of some sort, that keeps them moving forward through the occasional drudgery of everyday life.  As children we might have dreamed of being a Super Hero with magic powers like flying, super strength and being invisible.  Have you ever wished you were invisible?  I think we all have at one point in our lives.  What would you do if you could be invisible?

As adults we might choose to hear private conversations that we weren’t invited to.  Or checking up on teenagers to make sure they are behaving as taught.  But as children, oh, the fun we could have teasing people, right?

When Chance was about 5 years old he loved his super heroes.  He would watch the Batman, Superman and Spiderman movies and cartoons repeatedly.  He played with his action figures, dressed up like them for Halloween and even had Spiderman pajamas with the spider web wings on the back.  (Note:  This was before they made one too many movies and ruined Spiderman for him.)

I still have vivid memories of him playing after bath time in the evenings.  He would run into the living room with his Spidey PJ’s on, do a roll in the middle of the floor, jump up and run to the wall pretending to climb it.  He would straighten his arm, turn his wrist up, point it at you and catch you in his make believe spider web.  The options were endless with his imagination.

One day he went searching for his big brother and found him visiting with my (surprisingly imaginative) husband in his home office.  Trent had been talking to Robert about special abilities before Chance walked in.  Robert glanced at Chance and said,

Well, for example, I have this invisible blanket.  If I were to throw it over top of Chance, you wouldn’t be able to see him.”

He gave Trent a secret look, hoping he would play along but not knowing if a 9 year old would catch on to the game.

Trent has always been quick witted and not only caught on, but played along with Robert.

No way!  I don’t believe you.  I’d have to see it to believe it,” Trent said, acting indignant.

Chance was bursting with excitement.  His grin stretched ear to ear revealing the gap in his front teeth, his blue eyes widened and he jumped up and down.

Yeah!  Throw it on me!  Throw it on me!

Chance still believed in magic, Santa Claus and the possibility of super powers.

Ok, but with special powers comes responsibility.  You can’t do anything that would hurt somebody while you have the invisible blanket on,”  Robert said, in his serious ‘you better behave‘ voice.

With that agreement in place, Robert pretended to throw the invisible blanket over Chance.

Does it work?  Can you see me?  Can you see me?”

Chance was jumping up and down as the excitement bubbled out of him.

Where’d Chance go?” Trent said, faking confusion.

He’s invisible now,” Robert said.

Chance immediately ran over to Trent and poked him in the side.  He laughed his ‘I’m a little devil’ laugh and poked him again.

Now, we can’t see you Chance, but we CAN HEAR you,” said Robert with a smile and a chuckle.

I’m going to get you now,” Trent growled as he jumped toward Chance.

The race was on.  Chance ran under his arms and took off down the hallway with Trent on his heels.  He ran into the kitchen, where I stood by the stove cooking supper, and pinched my leg.

Hey,” I start to scold Chance.

Chance has an invisible blanket on Mom,” explained Trent, grinning big, revealing his dimples and gleaming green eyes.

Well, where is he now?” I ask, looking around as if I couldn’t see him.

The boys played that game for years.  It went way beyond the time that Chance was too old to still believe he was invisible, because, as he said recently,

It was so much fun, I WANTED to believe it still worked.”

Such is life, if you think about it.  We may know a truth, like maybe our dream is to far-fetched to ever come true, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to believe in it, and that maybe it COULD come true.

As adults we may lose the childlike awe at life, yet some of that childish wonder still remains in us all.  It just manifests itself as ‘Hope‘ in adults and the belief that

Dreams can come true‘,

that same belief that our patriotic forefathers held when they founded America.

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Filed under Family, Kids, Psychological rabble dabble, Random Thoughts

The Games People Play (Part II)

I started thinking about this recently because of some of my daughter’s friends/former friends and the difficulties involved in being of the female sex and dealing with other females.  Thinking I might be able to help my daughter in some way, I started reading this book called ‘Odd Girl Out – The Hidden Aggression in Girls’ by Rachel Simmons.  Rachel interviewed various aged girls/women all over the country learning about the silent bullying females partake in against each other.  Anyone who has read ‘Reviving Ophelia‘ will appreciate this book as well.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I will let you know when I do if there are any solutions offered.  So far, there have been MANY stories of girls hurting other girls by excluding them, talking about them behind their backs, playing cruel practical jokes, gossiping and ruining reputations, the stares and looks of devious plans obvious only by the victim and the victimizers.    It’s actually depressing and frustratingly sad to read and it puts me in a bad mood after having read it.  The interviews detail points of bullying/abuse while the girls are in elementary, junior & high schools.  After all that misery, you would think grown women would know better than to re-enact those years.

Alas, that is not the case.  Which depresses me.  Every female I’ve ever known has agreed how hard it is to find a good female friend.  We learn in our youth that females (in general) cannot be trusted – because of unkept secrets, lies, the talking-behind-the-back-thing, phoniness and fake fronts, oh the list goes on and on.   The majority of women in the world will fully admit that it is easier to be friends with a guy because we always know where we stand with a male.  When it comes to women, most men complain that they can’t figure us out.  Guess what?  Women can’t figure women out.

Every female knows what it is like to be betrayed by a friend.  Whether it is a broken promise to keep a secret or a boyfriend stolen or a sudden dropped friendship.  And every girl has done one or all to a friend.    Some girls learn early that they do not enjoy doing wrong to a friend so they grow up to become women who are trustworthy, caring friends.  Some girls never learn.  Because of the hurts during our informative years,  when we become women out in the world we are less likely to trust each other and world-weary of female drama.  Yet, it doesn’t stop.  I’m lucky to have found a few good women friends and some lifelong ones that I feel comfortable enough to be myself with and trust them – and I truly cherish these friendships because the fact of the matter is – females must remain weary of their female counter parts – for the rest of their lives (check out what goes on in the Nursing Homes if you don’t believe that last part.)  Why do we do this to each other?

I had hoped that when I grew up the female games would be over.   That was back when I was young and idealistic.

I’ve worked in many different places.    In every place that involved more than two females, you can bet there was drama, angst, lying, gossiping, back-stabbing and general female catty-ness going on.  Like trying to make it through ‘Survivor’ you have to learn quickly all the stories and decide which group you will become part of – because one group will be staying while the others slowing disappear unable to take the game. (Just like in the television showOutcomes vary.)   (I am therefore ever so grateful to be a mostly stay-at-home-mom now, wink :-).

Another example of adult females acting juvenile happened to me when my children were in elementary school and I was nominated to be involved a particular school organization whose main goal was to raise money for the school so the children could have a better education.  Seems like a respectable volunteer organization right?  (Not).   I was new to it but learned immediately of the inner turmoil going on.  The VP and the Pres were talking behind each others backs but being ‘oh so nice‘ to each other’s face.  Other members were lobbying behind their backs to take over their positions the next year.  The gossip flowed about each different person in the group only when they weren’t around.  I quickly wondered what was being said about me when I wasn’t around.  (I made a special point to never say anything critical about anyone because I saw how quick they were to spread gossip.  I did listen to them though.  (I never took a stand and stood up to defend anyone – maybe that was my mistake?)  The back-stabbing that went on – for what?  This was supposed to be a do-good group.  Why would anyone want to turn it into the equivalent of a high-school popularity contest or ‘Mean Girls‘ episode?  I never spoke bad about anyone, maintained my rule of following the Golden Rule, listened and learned, and when my time was up I refused to re-join.  I’ve stayed back from any other kind of group activity at the schools because of that experience.  It’s a shame that the parents can’t be grown-ups ya know?  What happened to handling things in a mature fashion?

Why do so many females turn against each other?

If this book gives me some answers I’ll let ya know, but I haven’t seen any yet…

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The Games People Play (Part 1)

I used to LOVE Baseball.  As a child I took to the game naturally.  It just felt right.  I never once was told that I throw the ball like a girl, yet I was never specifically taught how to throw the ball.  I was never taught how to swing the bat correctly either, but I did swing and hit the ball pretty good quite often.  I can remember my older brother giving me tips on how to catch fly balls in the outfield, but that was really the only instruction I ever received.  I just absolutely loved playing the game.

I grew up in the 70’s in Southern Indiana, with the closest major league team being the Cincinnati Reds.  This was around the time of their ‘Hay Day‘ when they had (MY HERO) Johnny Bench as the catcher, Tom Seaver pitching, Pete Rose on 3rd or 1st, Joe Morgan on 2nd, and well, you get the picture.  I loved them all and collected their baseball cards.  I even had my 4th grade school picture taken wearing my Johnny Bench t-shirt.  I knew how to keep up with their stats.  I can remember one summer break from school when all the kids who lived nearby would gather in our backyard and we played baseball everyday.  (Reminiscent of that movie the Sandlot, we wanted to hit a home-run over the fence, but then again, we feared the neighbor man who lived there – but there was no big dog, lol)  Since I played with my step-brother, who was one year older than me, the most – I learned to play the game like a boy and actually played better than quite a few.

Team sports didn’t start at birth back in those days, so we didn’t get the opportunity to play on actual teams until about 4th grade I think.  When the time came, I wanted to play Little League Baseball.  But they didn’t allow girls to play.  I was livid.  My argument was simple,

“I play better than at least half the boys, why can’t I play with them?!”

The powers that be said I could play Softball with the girls.  For those who don’t realize this – there is a huge difference between the two games.  The biggest difference is the feeling of satisfaction.  When you hit a softball with bat, it just goes ‘thunk.’  There is no good, true sweet spot.  But now, Baseball, when you hit that sweet spot just right, there is a delicious, satisfactory ‘Crack!’ and you can feel the power you just transferred into the ball.  Sure, baseballs are harder, move faster and can be dangerous.  But when you are in grade school that kind of power is not an imminent threat.  I was totally miffed that I had to play softball instead, but I did it since it was as close as I could get to the game I lived for.

Which leads to my 2nd complaint – all the boys Little League teams were given actual uniforms mimicking the professional teams.  Us softball girls – our teams were colors.  We were issued only a cap & a t-shirt, the color of the name of our team.  Red, Green, Yellow and Blue.   They were plain, no designs, logos, or even numbers!!!!  We had to provide our own shorts.  I was placed on the Blue team.  I quickly realized there were going to be problems as it seemed there were only a handful or less of girls who actually knew how to play.  Since I had been throwing overhand my entire life, the under-handed pitching in softball eluded my skills.  I couldn’t pitch under-handed to save my life.  The coach’s daughter (thankfully) could pitch that way and became our pitcher.  I was the only other one on the team that could be counted on to catch the balls thrown to me on a regular basis, so I became the 1st baseman  (even though I was short.)  Every so often one of the other girls would whine about it enough that the coach would let them try 1st and move me to 3rd, short-stop or 2nd.  I liked playing those positions too, so I didn’t mind.  But after too many ball drops causing the score to get out of hand, the Coach would always move me back to 1st.  It became apparent that the Blue team was also the losing team.  I hated losing.

I tried again the next year and was once again placed on the Blue team.  This time with a different Coach and a new set of girls – most of which actually threw the ball like girls.  I was the only one who could throw the ball from the outfield and get it into the infield.  This year I was placed in the outfield.  After wasting me away in the Right field and our team making pitiful sad losses, the coach did move me – back to 1st base.  It was another sad losing season.   I still looked forward to the baseball games I would play at home or at school recesses.  (When the boys starting playing baseball during school recess I was the only girl they would allow to play with them.  This was thanks to my stepbrother who not so politely informed them that I could play just as good or better than them.  At 1st when they picked teams, I would always be one of the last ones picked.  But after a few games, that changed and I was quickly moved up on the list of desirable players.  More on recess baseball later.)

After noticing that the other colored softball teams always kept the same players and the Red team always had the best players, I told my Mom when we signed up for the softball the next year that I wanted to be on the Red team.  The powers that be refused, and totally LIED saying “We don’t let the kids choose their teams, they are picked on a random basis.”  I was only in 5th or 6th grade at the time but I was smart enough to see this for the BULLSHIT it was.  You can’t say that the exact same kids wind up on the exact same team 3 years in row ‘RANDOMLY‘.  Yeah, right.  And it just so happened that all those kids also lived in the same ‘special‘ neighborhood.  What ‘the powers that be‘ were actually saying was “You’re just a poor country girl nobody, some silly hillbilly hick, just be thankful we let you play at all.”  I heard them loud and clear.

This would be my last year playing because I was angry to be once again placed on the Blue (AKA:  Losers) Team with a bunch of whiny, bratty girls who didn’t even know what a stinkin’ actual ‘HOME-RUN’ was – they were so ignorant to the rules that they called all runs ‘home-runs’.  If you know the game at all, you know there is a difference between a ‘Run’ and a ‘Home-run’.  I even tried to educate them, by screaming at them,

It’s only called a ‘home-run’ if you hit the ball from the batter’s box and run around all three bases and make it to the home-plate scoring!  Any other time you cross the plate IT’S JUST A ‘RUN’!”

Not all the girls were bad, some were sweet & had good intentions, but you know how memories are –  some things stand out and sometimes it’s the worst of things that reverberate loud in the mind.  After that Hellish season, I told my Mom I didn’t want to play anymore.  The Powers that Be had totally ruined it for me.  If I couldn’t play the sport I loved or even be on a decent team in the 2nd rate sport, well, then enough was enough.  I lost my desire even for baseball because of the unfairness of the situation.  Grown-ups had turned something that was once a fun, magical, wonderful game into something more akin to a popularity contest – a political, power-tripping, who’s who.

This was my 1st lesson in the Games that People Play.  There are different kinds of games in life.  There are games that are played for fun.  Then there are the games that devious people play with other’s lives.

You get your first whiff of this stuff in Elementary school and Junior High.  By High-school you begin to hope like Hell that once you graduate and get out in the real world with other adults that the absurdity will stop.  But then Reality smacks you in the face – most people never grow up or out of this.  They continue to play (mind) games into the workplace and beyond.  It never ceases.

(I’m going somewhere with this, stay tuned for the next post.)

P.S. I kept a special place in my heart for the game of baseball even though I had given up playing and I still enjoyed watching it on TV on occasion.  Right up until 1993 – the year of the Strike – that’s when I realized Professional Baseball had become just a mockery of the game – it was just another business full of greedy people wanting more. I haven’t felt the love towards baseball since then.

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Filed under Kids, Psychological rabble dabble, Random Thoughts, Sports