Archive for August, 2015

Aliens

Monday, August 24th, 2015

2abd153ebe33d856057069ad339f2ea1I’m at our farm stretched out on the back of our pickup truck.  I’m staring up at a dark, moonless, star-lit sky trying to stay awake for the Perseid meteor shower. So far I have seen one meteor. I’ve done this before and it always disappoints.

A few days ago I read an article about Dr. Edgar Mitchell, one of the NASA Apollo 14 astronauts,  who took a nine hour stroll on the moon in 1971. Dr. Mitchell stated that “recent stories from high-ranking military officials report of the existence of intelligent life from other planets. According to those tales, missiles shot toward visiting aircraft were easily deflected by the visitors from outer space”.

He went on to say that world governments are now in the midst of a pre-planned process of acknowledging the visits which have occurred for at least the last sixty years. He predicted that before long life in the universe other than here on earth will be an officially acknowledged fact. This guy may be the biggest nutcase around, but he sounds credible to me. But as my wife has said many times I’m the most naive guy on the planet —- earth that is. So what?  What if Dr. Mitchell is correct? What if some public official, in the not too distant future, stands before a bank of cameras and states that we are not alone?

How would that change life as you know it?  I’m not sure it will change much of anything; it does cause some wondering on my part. Here are a few of my musings: Where did they come from? Do they cry?  Do they laugh? Do they all speak the same language? Do they have versions of the NFL, the Internet, the iPhone and Diet Coke? Do they have a drug problem? Do they both love and hate? Are they all the same color? How do they reproduce? Do they fight wars where they live? Do some of them lie, cheat and steal? How do they feel about us? Who is in charge up there? Do they believe in God?  I sure hope they do!

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Don’t Believe Daddy

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

1a4323c1b6a947678f523e714ab78885She was blond, blue eyed, and running full tilt chasing big brother across the lawn.  Suddenly she was on her knees sporting a brand new boo boo with tears streaming down her cheeks. In an instant dad was there to pick her up. As he hugged and kissed his little girl, he said, “It’s OK. It doesn’t hurt….Don’t cry honey. It’s alright”.  Once again without warning a little girl’s fun had morphed into pain; such is life — probably happens a million times a day.

The scene playing out across my street reminded me of the Brooks and Dunn’s song Cowgirls Don’t Cry. The message of the song is that life is full of pain, but even so cowgirls don’t cry.  The song starts with the cowgirl’s  dad  instructing her not to cry over little girl boo boos, then as an adult, not surprisingly,  she chooses not to cry or show her hurt  when she was repeatedly emotionally abused by her husband. At the conclusion of the song, with dad on his death bed, daddy again with his last words tells her that “Cowgirls don’t cry”.

Like all Brooks and Dunn’s work I like the song at lot, but think the “Don’t Cry” mantra is very bad advice.  I’ve know too many boys and girls who grew to men and women who, for one reason or the other, faithfully never cried.  For years I was one of them. For me and countless others our tears were the first steps along the long road to emotional healing and recovery from our hidden hurts.  The ability to cry is God’s gift to you.  Don’t be too proud to use it regardless of what daddy may have said.

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

Nothing to Believe In

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

zomby-8I read an article by Nici Lalli, a writer, educator and the author of the book, Nothing: Something to Believe In.  Lalli is an atheist; her new article passionately expresses her hope that believers and atheists could learn to coexist without imposing their personal beliefs on each other. I am cool with that even though I can’t get a handle on believing in “nothing”. Conversely, I expect Ms Lalli would say the same thing about my belief in God.

In the last century when I was an altar boy, the week before Easter was a big deal and a special time for young John. It was a time of “supersized belief”.  During “Holy Week” there was something going on at our church every day or night and I was always right in the thick of it. Although I couldn’t put my finger on it, I recall that time as being strangely exciting and spiritually set apart from the rest of the year. Accordingly, I felt especially close to God during that week.

Back then we didn’t talk out loud when we were in the church. Instead we whispered because we knew God was there. A perpetually burning candle high above the main altar constantly reminded us. The truth is I knew he was there even without the candle because I had been taught he was there.  That is why I believed.  That is why I believed in God. I had been taught to believe. Twelve years of Catholic education taught me to believe in someone beyond myself.  Today, I believe for a better reason. I’ve experienced God and the truth of these words written by Jeremiah.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)

I know what God has done in my life.  I have experienced his miraculous power and presence, his mercy, his love, his acceptance, his forgiveness and his leadings.  Can I explain God? No, but I know that he is.  When I read Lalli’s article I felt sadness for her. I don’t see how anybody can have even a speck of hope in nothing at all.

As I wrestled with that question it occurred to me that when it is all said and done I believe in nothing too; albeit not the nothingness of Lalli’s book. Yet, we both believe in nothing.  My nothing is the fact that there was nothing in the tomb that first Easter morning. Friends, that “nothing” is indeed something to believe in.

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

The Lesson from Cecil

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

downloadCurrently, the reigning most hated man in the USA is Dr. Walter Palmer, the vilified “former” dentist, who killed Cecil, the favorite lion of the country of Zimbabwe. Like most I am sickened by the media reports surrounding Cecil’s demise. I have no idea why folks choose to do such things but I expect some would wonder why I rode a bicycle for 36 miles this morning. As I understand it the shooter thought he was on a legal hunt and had paid a professional guide $55,000 for leading the expedition. My guess is that is likely the truth; but the damage is already done to both Cecil and the Doc.

I can neither wrap my brain around the killing of that magnificent animal or the over the top reaction. With the advent of social media I have come to believe that many of us hold animals in higher regard than we do human beings. That is not a good thing! From the moment Cecil was initially shot with an arrow from Dr. Palmer’s crossbow, until he finally succumbed some forty hours later, Cecil’s death was horribly agonizing.

I hope you will understand this. During those same forty hours, four thousand, five hundred and sixty human lives were taken in abortion clinics in this country. Quite likely many of those were also slow and agonizing. Where was the outcry?   Except for the extreme right wing there is none. What does that say about the rest of us? I consider myself a political moderate. I do not want to be associated with the wing nuts of either political party. Yet, I have been pro-life as long as I have known what the word “abortion” meant.  I believe that most of us should be allowed to own guns, believe in a form of God – directed evolution, that climate change is real, that some significant change needs to be made in Social Security and that we should stop being the world’s police force. I think we should rebuild our own nation and let the rest take care of themselves.

I realize that Planned Parenthood is more than just messy after the fact birth control and that it provides much needed health services to some of the most at risk women and men in our country. Its website says that only 3% of PP services involve abortion. But until it is out of the abortion business I pray that those of us who care deeply about this issue, but who are without a political agenda, will urge our government not to give Planned Parenthood another dime.

Folks, love Cecil and Fido but never lose sight of the fact that by God’s design human beings, created in his very image, are his ultimate masterpiece and Jesus tells us to care for the least of them. A great way to do that is by encouraging defunding PP until they shudder the abortion rooms. It is time for regular people to make some noise about ending the slaughter of the innocent.

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877