Stay Woke, But Get Some Sleep (Self-Care in the Resistance)

Resistance is not futile, but it is exhausting.

In the middle of the night following the election, as the sick reality was starting to set in, I began to get frantic texts, emails, and messages on social media from people who were trying to wrap their minds around the absolute worst-case scenario. They were processing what seemed like inconceivable information and the fear was fierce and rising quickly. 

It was clear that tens of millions of people wouldn’t be getting to sleep that night. For many of us it feels like we still haven’t slept yet.

From almost those very overnight moments, people began pushing back; connecting with like-hearted strangers, organizing in their communities, planning protests, writing stories, calling representatives, doing their own investigative journalism, supporting one another emotionally.

The Resistance was born then, even as something in America was dying.

These already Herculean tasks of activism and civil disobedience have been made exponentially more difficult due to the speed, scale, and breadth of this Presidency’s ineptitude and recklessness. There’s been an endless stream of both real and manufactured crises to attend to; hate crimes in our neighborhoods, abuses of power at the highest levels, unprecedented carelessness with Constitutional law, refugee families stranded at airports, and an unrelenting flood of lies and misdirection—not to mention navigating the daily minefields of families, friends, churches, and co-workers with whom many of our relationships are in full-blown meltdown.

The net result is that we who resist are tired; fatigued not only physically but in the very depths of our souls. The human heart can only sustain so much until it gives out, and the number of people I know and hear from who are close to breaking is alarming. We need to address it.

On our best days, self-care is a dying art for many of us. It’s difficult with so little margin in our daily lives to nurture our own spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical wellness, let alone when adding historic levels of political sewage swirling into our lives by the second through our touch screens. Such neglect is not sustainable.

Friends, this work is critically important. It’s life-affirming and nation-altering and it is working—but it is exhausting too. There is a toll that compassionate activism takes on us; a weariness that begins to accumulate as we work and protest and read and fight—and give a damn. Often we don’t notice that weariness until we have broken down completely; until our bodies or marriages or careers have become casualties. 

Today I wanted to encourage you to stop; to step away from the fray, to let someone else do the world-saving so that you can attend to yourself. Notice how tired you are. See the ways you’ve neglected relationships and sacrificed presence with people around you. Feel the depth of your grief and fatigue. Give your self permission to do nothing loud or important or heroic today. Be intentionally selfish for a few hours. (This doesn’t have to include chocolate, though it probably should.)

Clear a spot on your schedule, make some space to hear yourself breathe—and for God’s sake, disconnect from the buzzing urgency of your Twitter Feed so that you can slow your heart rate and see clearly again.

It’s not an abandonment of the causes dear to you, to withdraw and find rest; to do things that give you joy, to waste a few hours and simply be, to remember why life is worth living and why this planet is worth defending and why people are worth the struggle. These things are all part of sustaining this fight. They are a contribution to the work because they enable us to fight and yet not be consumed by the fight; not to become bitter and angry and resentful.

The battle for your soul is as important as any you wage here. 

Be passionate, but take time to pause and breathe.
Fight, but retreat to find your rest.
Be engaged, but be present to those in front of you.

Stay woke dear friends, but do get some sleep.

Resistance, be encouraged.

 

 

 

115 thoughts on “Stay Woke, But Get Some Sleep (Self-Care in the Resistance)

  1. Thank you, John P, for your pastoral care of us. I live a Benedictinesque life. In the Rule of St. Benedict, there are four aspects of life that I concentrate on, a balance of work and study, prayer and recreation. By recreation, Benedict means re-creation and sleep.

    Spending my days like this has gotten me through plenty of crises. I recommend it to all.

    • Hi Gloriamarie. I loved and posted your “will not work together” item as a “by line” article on my blog today. You and others may go read it at the following link:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

      I had to do some minor editing and some formatting so it was not so crowded. WordPress has technical limitations on their free blogs (like mine) that require me to do “clever work arounds” to make things look neat and organized when I present them in article form. I also gave it a title because I did not see one with what you wrote—but the title was upfront and obvious to do.

      Yesterday, I read the article where Peter Heck slammed John Pavlovitz so hard. He apparently thinks all Christians should refrain from writing if they cannot or will not load their writing down with fundie proof texts. My introduction to your article addressed that issue a bit.

      But here is the thing I cannot figure out. Fundies PRIDE THEMSELVES on their love for the Bible, their knowledge of the Bible, memorizing scripture, and most of all—saving the Bible from those who want to destroy it—and Christmas (LOL). That being the case, why do they need numerous so-called “proof texts” in their writing or in what they read? Are they that Bible stupid? I can read a John Pavlovitz article without “proof texts” and still see how his writing is grounded in various scriptures. You would think the fundies could do that too because they are such BIG BIBLE PEOPLE. Apparently not—or is it just that I know most of the scriptures the fundies like to CHERRY PICK OUT OF THE BIBLE BECAUSE THEY ARE SO OFFENSIVE TO THEM AND—THROW THEM AWAY OR PRETEND THEY DO NOT EXIST.

      Yep. Now there’s the trouble!!!

      • Checked out your blog. I like what you did with Gloriamarie’s post. Will be going back to read the rest. Thanks for the heads up. Peace………………….

        • “Truly wise,” said Abba Iperechios, “is he who teaches, not with words, but with deeds.”

          “Another wise Father compares one who teaches only with words, without doing works, with trees which have leaves, but bear no fruit.

          “One of the great Fathers of the desert told a certain elder, his neighbor, who always accepted visitors and taught them: “Be careful, brother, for while the oil lamp indeed gives light to many, its wick holder is usually burned.”


          • 
“A brother confessed to Abba Sisoes: “I fell, Father. What do I do now?”

            “Get up,” the holy elder told him, with his characteristic simplicity.

            “I got up, Father, but I fell again into the cursed sin,” the brother confessed grievingly.

            “And what prevents you from getting up again?”

            “Until when?” asked the brother.

            “Until death finds you, whether standing or falling down. It is written, ‘wherever I shall find you, there I will also judge you,’ the elder explained. Just pray to God that you are found at your last moment standing upright in holy repentance.”

      • Oh my, Charles. Thank you. I value your opinion. Oh my.

        So glad you are here.

        The proof texting thing also makes zero sense to me. It is a post-Reformation thing. I have long suspected but have not done any research into it, but I wonder if its origins lie with itinerant preachers or in the days when there were not enough ordained clergy to go around and laypeople might gather to worship and one of them would preach. Lest the preacher be thought to be pushing his (of course) opinion, he would back his assertions with a quote from the Bible. As long as he could punctuate his sentences with a Scriptural reference, the audience was satisfied.

        But it’s just a guess.

      • “For someone to teach another, he must be healthy in his soul and free of passions,” says Abba Poimen. “There is no use in building the house of another, your own being destroyed.”

        “He who teaches others, without putting to practice any of that which he teaches,” the same Father further says, “is like a spring which irrigates and flows over all that is around it, while it is filled with every sort of dirt.”

        • From a modern struggler: “People who ask many questions and want many answers are fools. Distrusting themselves, they turn to the vain and empty opinions of others.”

          Also: “To see perfection in oneself is the beginning of error.”


  2. John, my brother in ministry,

    This is so spot on. I have been having so much trouble sleeping. In the last week I have had one all nighter, one night with 75 minutes of sleep, and another night with only 5 hours of sleep. I am exhausted.

    It is completely irrational, but the idea that if I stay up one more hour, write one more post, read one more article, I might find the “key to it all” or help someone else find hope in the midst of this horrible political nightmare.

    I am always telling others that self-care is the first brick in the wall of resistance, but I now see I *must* do this myself and be a good example or my words mean nothing.

    the one thing i am doing right is eating better. I need to be in better health if I want to be able to march. so I am not consoling myself with food as I normally would.

    in solidarity,
    Amma Leslie

    • “Once I saw the devil lying in wait outside the cell of my disciple,” said a sagacious elder. “So I cast an eye inside to see what my disciple was doing. He had the Holy Scriptures open in front of him and was plunged deep in study. As soon as he closed the book and ended his reading, the devil rushed in to tempt him.”

      • “If you wish to leave sinful desires and avoid foul language, do not act foolishly. Avoid the circumstances in which these weaknesses arise,” advises a young monk of modern times.”

      • “I once saw all of the snares of the devil spread out across the earth,” said the Great Antonios, “and I became terrified.”

        “Is it possible that anyone can escape them?” he said, sighing.

        “He then heard a mysterious voice answering him: “He who is humble of mind.”


        • “Again, a certain other person asked him to explain to him exactly what repentance is.

          “Not to repeat the same sins,” responded Saint Poimen.



  3. I had heard of this described in terms of a relay race – we need to pass the baton and take care of ourselves so that we can take the baton from someone else later. It’s going to be a long race and the baton will need to be passed with some frequency.

  4. Yes! Breathe! Remember our blessings. Spinning in circles is exhausting. Playing tit for tat is tedious and keeps you in one spot.

    I am so blessed because we are lucky enough to care for our youngest grandchild 2-4 days a week. She is a joy. She is life affirming. Her laughter soothes any soul. She is also a reminder that there is a reason that younger people have children. God knew what he was doing as usual.

  5. Ah, once again, you speak to me. Thank you, kind sir. I hope you will take your own advice. In one of the churches my husband served we had a women who would sit in the pew on Sunday and keep a tally of how many times he said Jesus and depending on the total if it was a good sermon. My take was that my husband spoke Jesus not said Jesus. I tell this to say you spoke Jesus to me. Hope that makes sense. It’s a compliment. Thank you again for keeping me sane and with hope. Peace…………………………

  6. A colleague confessed moments ago she and her husband who voted for Trump are concerned about the present danger to our country by Russia. She said she wishes she had not voted for him. The national publicity of Flynn fiasco and more is changing minds and hearts! The resistance is working.

    • “The sacred writers of the Old and New Testaments, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, authored books,” said a certain elder. “The Fathers took care to apply the writings in their lives. The next generation knew them by heart. But those of modern times have copied them and shut them away in libraries.”

        • First of all God’s Word is Jesus, not the Bible. Secondly, since the Orthodox Church consider the writers to be sacred, take it up with them, not the messenger.

          • right. Jesus is the Word.
            –but ‘logos’ is used in many ways.
            it also means word, speech, principle, or thought.

            Since the bible has 3800 passages that say, ‘God said…’ and hundreds more that declare ‘the bible is the word of God’, I’m willing to say, ‘the bible is the word of God.’

            • “Once the Patriarch of Antioch was sitting with his bishops in the courtyard of the church of Saint Julian. While they were engaged in discussion, they heard an unusual commotion in the street. At that moment a luxurious carriage was passing by outside the church. The courtesan Pelagia was pridefully seated inside. The road sparkled from the brilliance of the jewels which she wore. The air was filled with the scent of her expensive perfumes. The crowd of people cheered her as though they were out of their minds.

              “The bishops turned their heads aside in disgust, to avoid facing the satanic woman, who had led so many of the young aristocrats of the city into the mire of immorality. Only one, Bishop Nonos, followed her persistently with his gaze, until she disappeared at a turn in the road. Afterwards he turned to the other bishops and said to them with a sorrowful voice:

              “Woe to us, brothers in Christ. This woman puts us to great shame. Did you see how much care she takes in dressing her body in order to lure her lovers? While we lazy people-what do we do to adorn our souls to attract the love of our heavenly Bridegroom?”

              “Saying these things, he prayed with fervor for that sinful soul. And his prayer was heard. Divine Grace restored her and Pelagia came to believe in Christ, repented her sinful life, was baptized by the holy Nonos, and came to a holy end.”

          • “For nine years a monk was tormented by the thought of leaving his monastery. Each evening he packed his clothes and said to himself: “I will leave tomorrow without delay.”

            “When day would break, he would reflect: “For the love of Christ, I will be patient today and leave tomorrow.”

            “Since he struggled arduously for eight whole years and was not overcome by his thoughts, the Lord took the temptation from him.”

    • “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
      To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

      Micah 6:8

      And Christ expanded on this when He said

      Love the Lord your God with all of your being, more than you love yourself (body,heart, soul, and mind), and love one another as you love yourselves. Love your neighbors, and your enemies in the same way, as much as you love yourself.

      And also

      “just as you’ve done to the least of these My children, you’ve done it to me.”

      “Don’t be born gay” isn’t among these, and yes people are born gay, just as people are born straight. And no, I’m not going to argue about it. It’s a fact, and I’m just exhausted going over and over and over it with people that would deny it even if shown incontrovertible proof.

      There is something Christ did say about loving those different than you.

      “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same?”

      You love them, the same as you would a brother or a sister.

      You concentrate on your own sin, and leave others’ sins up to God. I promise you something, Theo. If you focused on your own sin, policed your body and mind every second, minute, hour of every day – you won’t have time to point out the sins of others. If you just can’t help yourself, pray that God will show them their sin, and trust Him that He’s up to the job, because He is.

      • “A monk found a great deal of temptation in the place where he first began to struggle. Once he lost his patience and decided to go far away to find his peace. Just as he stooped to tie his sandals, he saw someone in front of him tying his sandals, too.

        “Who are you?” he asked him.

        “The one who is pushing you out of here. And I am making ready to precede you to where you plan to take refuge.”

        “It was the devil who had tried to push him out; but he did not succeed at it, because the brother stayed in his cell after that and struggled with patience, until he conquered his temptations.”


    • Precisely. This is all politics. When is he going to expound upon I Corinthians 13? What has he learned from Isaiah lately? No, he’s an imposter. Imposters, frauds, heretics, false prophets have been around a loooong time. From Simon Magus to the circumcision group. One variety after another was warned about in virtually every one of the Epistles.

      • “The blessed Synkletike related to the Sisters that, “those who begin the life in God encounter much toil and struggles in the beginning, afterwards, however, finding indescribable joy.

        “For,” she said, “just as those who wish to light a fire are at first choked by smoke and their eyes water from the fumes, yet later succeed at their task, so we who wish to light the divine fire within us must know that we will succeed at this only by many struggles and toil; for the Lord also says, ‘I came to cast fire upon the earth, and what else do I wish if the fire be more greatly kindled?’

        “Indeed some,” the blessed one continues, “while tolerating the bother and hindrance of the smoke in order to do a little work at the beginning, nonetheless, out of laziness, did not light a fire; for they went away quickly and did not have the forbearance to persist to the end.”


        • “Another brother asked the same elder whether God easily forgives the sins of man.

          “How is it possible for Him not to forgive, my child, He Who teaches man forbearance? Did he not order Peter to forgive one who falls into error even seven times seventy, that is, to infinity?” answered the holy elder.”

  7. Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    • “It is impossible for a monk to have Christ continuously in his heart without silence, humility, and unceasing prayer,” the same elder used to say.”

        • In my experience this is true Anonymous; having the Holy Spirit is finding rest from the spinning plates ! Jesus leads you to that place and sometimes he carries you there, despite many protests and reservations !

        • “There are three things especially pleasing to God,” said Abba Joseph the Thebite. “Illnesses suffered with patience, works done without ostentation and for His love only, and submission to a spiritual elder with perfect self-denial. This last thing will gain the greatest crown.”

          • Uh oh. Gaining crowns by submitting to a human being? Thats a horrible untruth to throw out there. ‘Perfect Denial ‘ ? No such thing. That’s what the pagans do. (rather , attempt & fail to do.)

            • “If a person desires, he may attain holiness as much at the setting of the sun as at its dawning,” Antonios the Great said, teaching his disciples thereby the power of repentance.”

              • I don’t think that one ‘attains’ holiness. It sounds like you have to go through rigorous exercises and painstaking endurance tests.

                Faith = Righteousness

                ‘And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted to him as Righteousness.’ Gen15.6

                • “A monk under obedience to a certain great elder also suffered from carnal desire and struggled hard without regard for his body. Seeing him struggle mercilessly, his elder felt sorry for him.

                  “Do you want me to ask God to deliver you from this torment, my child?” he asked him one day when he was especially sorrowful.

                  “No, Father,” said the brave struggler. “For, though I am laboring severely, I see great benefit in my soul from the struggle. Pray only that God will give me the strength to endure.”

                  “Indeed, you are doing well, my child,” the elder then told him with admiration, “and you surpass me.”

          • Mouse daid… ‘no one hates paying taxes more than Conservatives. ‘ my point was…. I guess Dems hate it too. They hate it so much they break tax Laws. Trump hasnt broken tax laws. IRS audits him every year.

              • who loves paying taxes? no one. I don’t mind paying taxes, but I wish they were lower.

                i just thought it was funny that Obama’s group kept running into the tax cheating problem.

                • leslie, my comment was,
                  “no one hates paying taxes more than conservatives, oh the irony !!”

                  Before abortion was the conservative ‘one issue’ campaign motto– it was taxes.

                  “Read my lips: No new taxes!”
                  — George H. W. Bush, 1988

                • “My unclean thoughts are about to kill me,” a brother confessed to a certain elder.

                  “Do you know what mothers do when they want to wean their babies? They put a bitter substance on their breast. Likewise, put in your mind, instead of some bitter substance, the memory of death and eternal damnation and immediately you will cut off any unclean thought,” the wise elder advised him.”


        • “Three elders customarily went three times a year to the mountain of Abba Antonios to be taught by the Great Saint. Two of them would ask various questions concerning spiritual and bodily exercises. In this way they provided the occasion for the Saint to pour forth the river of wisdom flowing within him. The third elder always listened silently, without asking anything. Once the Saint asked him: “So many years you have visited me, brother, without making the slightest inquiry. Do you not wish to learn anything?”

          “It is enough for me to see you, Abba. Indeed, this has taught me much,” the elder answered reverently.”


          • “An inexperienced monk went in a distressed state to Abba Poimen: “I fell into great fault, Father,” he confessed, “and I have tried for at least three years to repent.”

            “That is a long time,” the holy one told him.

            “Are three months enough, then?”

            “That, too, is a long time,” answered the holy one. “I assure you that, if you sincerely repent and make a firm decision never to commit the same error, in three days you are received by God’s goodness.”


  8. Thank you for addressing this. It really has been like a nightmare!

    However, I’m heartened by the speed with which we are bonding with each other. This election has done this for us, at least.

  9. “Once the holy Makarios went to keep an ill hermit company. Casting an eye around the ill man’s naked cell, he saw that there was nowhere even a scrap of food.

    “What would you like to eat, brother?” asked the Saint.

    “The ill monk hesitated to answer. What was he supposed to ask for, since there was nothing in that wilderness? Finally, since the Saint was waiting for him to answer, he said that he had the desire for a little soup made with flour. But where was flour to be found?

    “The holy Makarios, so as to comfort his sick brother, went fifty miles on foot to Alexandria to find flour.”


    • Gloriamarie– in my opinion your tack on comments are not helping or enlightening– your relentless retorts can be oppressive and confusing for some reading the comment section (at least that’s how I feel which is why I am sharing. ) sometimes silence and space makes Joe Catholic’s erroneous statements more glaring– this is only my opinion and a gentle nudge not a criticism of you personally– choose what you will– peace

      • I have been enjoying her posts. They are drawn from texts I have never seen before and display a way of thinking that I have seldom encountered. And I have been enjoying the way that they quietly speak to whatever nonsense is currently being spouted.

      • I think the guru / devotee model Gloriamarie keeps using is off-base.

        Jesus is the Master, we are to devote ourselves to Him. Not a facsimile.

        • “A certain young monk, who struggled arduously to preserve the purity of his body and his soul, when he happened to be bothered by carnal desire, would say to the evil spirit with rage: “Go to the outer darkness. Can it be that you do not know that, even though I am unworthy, I bear parts of Christ within me?”

          “With these words he would cast out temptation, in the same way that one blows on a lighted oil lamp and immediately it goes out.”


      • No, I don’t feel compelled — I trust you will figure it out someday– not really my business– was only sharing an observation– if it is important God will point it out you–anyways take care.

        • Joe, I know better than to engage you but are you saying you have NEVER said anything erroneous? Are you that perfect? Making an observation is not the same as an insult. If you feel insulted that was not my intention. Take care. Adieu.

        • “A brother who had quarreled with a certain other brother went to his neighbor, an elder, and confessed to him: “Such and such a brother, Father, greatly embittered me and the thought of seeking revenge plagues me.”

          “Lock yourself in your cell, brother, and do not cease, day or night, to pray for him. Only in this way will you be released from the passion that seethes in you,” the elder advised him.

          “The brother obeyed and, within one week, he found peace in his soul.”


  10. Joe Catholic, As long as you don’t bring guns to your rallies go for it. Would love to see what you would write on your placards and who you invite to march with you.

    • 
“A certain wise Father says: “He who is wronged and forgives, resembles Jesus. He, on the other hand, who does not do wrong, but nevertheless does not like to be wronged, is in the position of Adam. The unjust person, or the malicious person, or the slanderer, however, is no different from the devil.”


  11. John P.

    Excellent blog article as usual. I decided yesterday to take a breather and not visit this blog and/or not post here as often as in the past. A resting and recharging of the old batteries really is important every once in a while.

    it will be interesting to see how long the Trump regime lasts. Opposition against Trump is mounting in Washington, D.C., even among Republicans who are beginning to see (surprise, surprise) that Trump and his dysfunction are more of a liability than an asset to them and our country. However, most of all, the American news media most everyday Americans watch are viciously and relentlessly grinding the Trump regime to powder with deep investigative reporting.

    Worst of all, the Trump regime itself is mired down with destructive in-fighting among the various people and factions within it—leaking out assorted truths designed to destroy their inside enemies. The Trump regime is already mired in scandal with even more scandals on the horizon. I doubt the Trump regime will survive. The America news media, particularly CNN, are clearly on a premeditated mission to wreck and destroy a presidency—and move it toward impeachment and a U.S. Senate trial that even the Republican Senate will be unable to stop because of the truths that are becoming known to the American people on a daily basis. A tipping point in the public mind is coming, and Humpty-Trumpty will fall down from his wall and smash on the sidewalk like an egg dropped from the Empire State Building. Quoting from the “Shawshank Redemption”: “All it takes is pressure and time.” We have not seen anything like this since Watergate.

    JUST TURN ON CNN TONIGHT AND WATCH FOR A WHILE. The sharks smell blood, and they are on a feeding frenzy.

    Viva La Resistance!!!

    • Charles, It can’t come soon enough. They just gave the green light for mentally ill people to buy guns. Just saying,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Peace

      • Kathleen, please forgive me but I winced at your use of “mentally ill” as if all mentally ill people are dangerous. I volunteer at a local county mental health clinic and all the clients are mentally ill and most of them are law-abiding citizens. I say “most” because I did observe a drug deal last November where pot was sold. But that is the only time anything illegal took place in the time I’ve been volunteering, which is five years now.

        A great many mentally ill people are quite responsible, they are not in denial about it. They seek treatment and are compliant with their meds.

        Not every person with a mental illness is violent. Very few are, actually.

        • Gloriamarie, I get that, but there is an insanity to giving people with mental illness guns. I had a couple of cousins who where schizophrenic, so I understand that not all people with mental illness are violent, they weren’t violent but I still would not want them to have guns. No one knew on any given day what would happen, so why would we borrow that trouble. I am not looking down on mental illness but the reality is one cousin would take his meds the other cousin would stop for whatever reason. Why would we take that chance. By the way, I was repeating the news item that I got which used the phrase mental illness. I do understand not lumping people together except we are talking guns. And it was mental illness and a gun that riddled the bodies of 20 little children in my beloved Connecticut. So …Peace?

          • Today, the Senate finally acted. And what did they do? They made it easier for the dangerously mentally ill to buy guns — passing legislation overturning a rule that kept people who filed benefits claims for a mental disorder from buying a gun.

            • Thank you for the adverb whoich qualifies “dangerously mentally ill to buy guns .” Not all who are mentally ill are dangerously so.

              There are certain people who comment on this blog that I hope are never allowed to buy weapons as they fall into the category of dangerously mentally ill with their single issue obsessions, hurling of accusations with no proof and then refusing to provide the evidence for which they are asked.

          • The point is that the GOP are lumping ********alll************* mentally ill people into the same category as if *********all********* mentally ill people are violent and that is Simply Not True.

            So please don’t repeat the news the way you hear it because, let’s face it, we know the media is not doing much vetting these days.

            The mentally ill are being made scapegoats for a failure to pass sensible gun reform.

            • That was not my point. My point was that they are getting rid of any gun reform we already had. I would venture to guess they will next get rid of waiting periods and the like. Whats to stop them from letting people with violent criminal pasts from having guns. They won’t let them vote but let’s give them a gun. I did not mean to demean the mentally ill. That is what the bill said. Peace……………….

          • Kathleen, like you I cannot get the picture of those angels being mowed down like an arcade game out of my head. Every time I think of what their last moments must have been like – the noise, the screams, wondering why their parents were not there with them I want to howl at the moon.

            I am not saying their deaths were more tragic than any other death. What made it worse was the “shit happens” shrug they got from the ‘morally superior” Republicans who cared more about their ratings from the NRA/gun manufacturers.

            One good thing as a result of this election is that we don’t have to hear “”fill in a Democrats name” is coming to take your guns” for at least 4 years. I wish I got a dollar every time I heard that one.

            Our oldest son has been a policemen for 21 years. Policemen carry a gun everywhere. Policemen get shot.

            A gun is not magic and I am distressed that the NRA/gun manufacturers market it that way. One moment of inattention and a child picks up a gun and shoots themself or someone else. Their whole life changes. That is not magic, that is a tragedy that happens weekly.

            Now the Republicans are going to walk back restrictions. More deaths to come.

            I do not want another company to fail. But I find it hard to empathize with a company that laughs all the way to the bank every time there is a mass shooting.

            • Joanne, Thank you, I just don’t understand why anyone would want there not to be some sensible restrictions. I am not against people owning guns, except AK 47’s and the like, but sensible restictions could save a lot of people heartache. I don’t understand. Peace…………

          • “Heed what we read in the “Asketika” of the great teacher and ascetic, Saint Isaak the Syrian: “By the same means that one lost goodness, he must try to acquire it again. Do you owe a debt of gold to God? He does not want pearls from you. Have you lost your prudence? He does not ask of you acts of charity, but requires sanctification of your body. Have you scorned the commandment of love, being conquered by the passion of envy? For what reason do you battle sleep with uncounted all-night vigils, and destroy your body with excessive fasting? These things will not bring you a single benefit; they do not cure the envy. Every sickness of the soul, as well as the body, needs a specific medicine and has a corresponding cure.”

        • Here in the UK we had one school shooting, in 1995. We immediately tightened our already stringent gun laws, making it almost impossible to get a gun licence. There has never been another school shooting. We don’t routinely arm our police, they walk our streets with nothing more dangerous than a simple baton. During Obama’s 2 terms of office 2 police officers have been shot dead by criminals in the UK – 2 in 8 years. We are baffled as to why America loves its guns more than its school children.

        • “An elder gave this advice to a certain young man who asked him to tell him how to be saved: “Force yourself, my child, to do whatever the condemned do in prison. Hear them asking continually, with agony written on their faces: ‘Where is the Governor? When is he coming? Maybe he has granted a pardon.’ They tremble and cry, waiting for the moment when they will be led to the place of execution. Say in your mind, too: ‘My sins have condemned me. How shall I face the righteous Judge? How will I defend myself?’ Grieve and weep over your sins, so as to be saved.”


  12. Joe Catholic- the resistance is full of good Americans and good Christians. I’m sorry that you’ve been fooled into thinking only Republicans are good Americans and good Christians, but I guess the conservative propaganda wins again there.

    • I would add that he keeps making not of conservative white christians. Now I didn’t make that distinction, JP didn’t make that distinction Joe Catholic made that distinction. Curious….Peace……

      • The holy woman further said: “While a person is in a monastery, obedience is preferred to ascetic practice. The former teaches humility, the latter teaches pride.”



        • “A very devout and virtuous monk had a sister in the city, who lived a dissolute life and led many young men into sin. The brothers in the desert often urged the monk to go to the city to bring his straying sister to her senses. At first he hesitated. He feared the dangers hiding in the world for young monks. Afterwards, however, out of obedience, he decided to go.

          “Just as he got near his father’s home, the neighbors saw him coming and informed his sister. The straying sister’s heart jumped at this unexpected news. For years she had wanted to see her beloved brother. She gave leave of her companions and ran into the street to greet her brother just as she was to be found in her house, with bare feet and her head uncovered.

          “He, beholding her destitute state with his own eyes, was greatly troubled. His soul wept. “Are you not sorry for your soul, my sister,” he told her sorrowfully, “and for those who, on your account, go astray? Think of what awaits you after death!”

          “The innocent face of the brother, his unassuming attitude, the tears of compassion that flowed from his eyes, along with his just admonition, shook the sinful woman.

          “Is there salvation even for me?” her lips murmured.

          “O yes, if you sincerely desire it enough.”

          “Take me with you,” she begged, “and do not leave me by myself to struggle with the fierce billows of sin.”

          “Put on your sandals, cover your head, and follow me,” the monk said resolutely.

          “But let me go as I am, brother, because, if I go back into this workshop of Satan, who knows if I will have the strength to come back out?”

          “The monk was pleased with her firm resolve. Without wasting time, he led her out of the city and they went on their way to the desert. He intended to take her to a convent that was known to him. While they were walking, they saw a caravan in the distance, coming to where they were.

          “Get out of sight a little, sister,” the monk told her. “Hide behind the bushes; for these people, not knowing you are my sister, might see us together and be scandalized.”

          “She complied with his advice. When the caravan passed, the brother yelled to her to continue on their way. She did not seem to hear. The monk went near and talked to her again. He pushed her with his foot. There did not appear to be any sign of life. She had died. He saw her bare feet completely covered with blood and torn to pieces by the stones on the road.

          “Disconsolate over the sudden death of his sister, the monk returned to his cell. Uncertainty ate away at him.

          “It is impossible for her to be saved,” his mind told him, “since she did not have time to repent.”

          “He related in every detail all that happened to the elders in the desert. They ordered a fast and prayers for her soul. It was then revealed to a very holy hermit that God had accepted the repentance of the sinful woman and had enlisted her among the righteous for the self-denial she showed, as well as for reviling, not only material things, but her own body.”

      • “The daughter of a certain rich man in Alexandria was suddenly seized by a wicked spirit and was tormented severely. Her father spent much money in order to make her well. But fruitlessly. The condition of the young girl became worse all the time. Somehow the Father learned that a hermit, who lived alone up on a mountain, had the gift from God to cast out demons. He was told, however, that the hermit was so humble that he would never agree to perform such a cure. So the nobleman had to find some other pretext by which to get him to his home.

        “One day the hermit went down to the city to sell his baskets. The father of the girl sent a servant to buy some and to invite the hermit home to be paid. He unsuspectingly went. As soon as he set foot in the door, the demonized girl, who was hidden behind the door, rushed at him and gave him a hard slap across the face. The holy hermit, without losing his calm, turned his other cheek, thus carrying out the commandment of the Lord.

        “When this surprising incident took place: the demonized girl began to quiver wildly and to utter despairing cries: “O, hurry! I must leave. I cannot stay any longer. The commandment of Christ is casting me out.”

        “With those words, the tormented creature was set free. The whole family, along with the daughter, who had regained her rational powers, glorified God for the great miracle which they had seen with their own eyes and looked for the holy elder so they could thank him. He, however, fleeing from all human praise, had totally disappeared.

        “When the Fathers in the desert were informed of these facts, they said among themselves that nothing so puts down the pride of the devil as humility and obedience to the divine commandments.”


        • “A young monk confessed with soul-felt pain to one of the Fathers that his thoughts about returning to the world warred against him.

          “I purposelessly remain in the desert, Abba. I do nothing and surely I will not be saved.”

          “The wise elder answered him: “But even if, my child, we do not anticipate stepping into the promised land, it is of greater benefit to leave our bones here on the desert, than to return to the bondage of Egypt.”

      • Here’s something that genuinely puzzles me as a Brit. Why do right-wing Americans label compassion “liberal” as though it were a grave fault? The opposite of liberal is repressive. Personally I would rather be liberal than repressive.

        • I’d like to know exactly what you do mean by liberal then, because Americans keep calling me liberal on Twitter. I am as anti-abortion as anyone – probably more than most because I have raised a child with profound and multiple disabilities and I understand the infinite value of every human life, however limited. But because my compassion doesn’t stop at the birthing room, but extends to disabled people, homelesss people, unemployed people, mentally ill people, young people, refugees (among whom I have worked, and believe me they have many more reasons to be afraid of us than we do of them) I am apparently a liberal. And I firmly believe that if people are anti-abortion and also believe that the young woman who has been abandoned by her abusive partner and courageously goes on to have her baby should be abandoned by society and left struggling to bring up her child in starvation levels of poverty, they are not pro-life. After all even the Bible says that if a someone strikes a woman and causes her to miscarry he must pay a fine, whereas if he kills or injures the expectant mother he must receive death or injury as a punishment – thus putting a higher value on the adult woman than on the unborn child. (Exodus 21. 22-24). So I am pro life, which includes being anti war, anti guns, pro social security and pro sheltering refugees. But apparently that makes me a liberal, according to the Twitterati. If so, hallelujah, I’m a liberal and not a repressive.

    • “The more that we bear continually in mind the difficulties which by chance our brothers might have brought upon us,” said Saint Makarios, “the more we are removed by this from God. When we forget those difficulties immediately, the demons do not dare to tempt us.”

  13. Thank you, John. Since discovering your blog a few months ago, I have been passing along your posts to friends who have sorely needed them.

    I don’t know where you find the energy to write such thoughtful, eloquent posts so frequently, but I am grateful that you do. Still, remember to take care of yourself, too.

  14. John, thank you! Not just that you so eloquently express what I am feeling these days, but for your advice to rest. I would add only this: between rest and spiritual renewal intervals, as an alternative to being so tuned in the the “macro” word (tweets, activism, etc), don’t lose sight the “micro”, the one person who might need a smile, a word of encouragement, or some of your time. We can attack the structure of injustice but we can’t lose sight of the victims of injustice. Triage. Finally, let there be peace. It is exhausting is that we are in a constant state of war. As Mother Teresa once said, “war and peace begin in the home”. We can start there. Then out on the sidewalk.

    • “He who has his mind under control when he prays, and is careful in what he says, keeps away the demons,” says Saint Ephraim the Syrian. “He, however, who elevates himself is duped.”

      • “If anyone abuses you,” a certain Father says, “bless him. If he accepts the blessing, it is good for both of you. If, however, he does not accept it, you receive a blessing from God and the abuse rests on him.”

  15. “A spiritual man living in our times said: “Our spiritual Fathers are mostly books. This has a disadvantage, in that we never see flesh-and-blood spiritual guides. It has an advantage, in that flesh and blood guides sometimes die. Books do not.

    “Moreover, while especially holy men do not abandon us when they repose, our impurity prevents us from seeing them with our own eyes. But even our impurity cannot prevent us from seeing what they have written in books.”



  16. And above all, take time to rest consciously in God’s presence and focus on Jesus and His kingdom. Because we all need to be reminded that Jesus, not Donald Trump, is the name above all names.
    (By the way, do y’all know across the pond over there that the reason Britain is rocking with laughter is that over here a trump is slang for a fart?)

  17. Thanks again for your words,
    Rule number one: We simply cannot do anything worthwhile on our own. Share, communicate and grow. We are renewed when we do these things. Trump and his kind are forcing us to gather and share in order to grow. That’s great! “Where two or more are gathered…” As communities of love we will be effective. Thanks

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