One Step at a Time

Life’s waves of turmoil and despair are crashing over me non-stop, with one knocking me over and another on top of it before the prior one subsides. So, what else is new? We all go through periods of strife and pain. But, why so much, God? Why now?

As life flies by, faster each day, I find it harder to digest all that happens. First, it’s a lack of a job. Then, the loss of connection with long time friends, followed by children that move away, both physically and mentally. The hardest of all is the mental loss.

What did I do wrong? Why is my child avoiding me? My first reaction is to blame myself. I did something to alienate him. My opinions on politics, the country and the world don’t match my child’s. Okay, so that’s not the worst thing that could happen. I am thankful that he is living and well; successful in his work, happy (seemingly) with lots of friends.

There is a change, however. A gradual movement to fewer visits; visits for big events such as Christmas or Thanksgiving, or a birthday being the ones worthy of the effort of traveling. They are short affairs, with the exit at the end of the visit quick and early. It’s like, if there is too much time spent together, something might be said or done that is disagreeable.

Are there issues hiding behind the smiling facade? Secrets that would be uncomfortable if shared? Has something happened that is too painful, or objectionable to speak of? Doesn’t my grown child know how much I love him? How much I would do for him; even if I don’t like things now central in his life?  That’s what unconditional love is all about. But, the same unconditional love also means doing the hard things; saying what needs to be said only because it is for the good of the receiver and it is said in love.

My husband loves to tell me (too often I think!) that truth hurts. We can know in our hearts that what is said is for our well-being, but in our heads, it hurts and we want to shun it. It comes down to the fact do we trust the person who tells us these things in love, or do we trust what the world tells us that is not necessarily the best for us or even the truth.

This is my real fear; that my child will believe the world’s lies before listening to, or even considering that what I say is the truth spoken in love. I fear he will be misled, lured down a road of lies, deceit and even betrayal. I fear that it is a road that could end in spiritual death.

When gazing upon the world’s current stage of events, it is easy to see how so many are affected by the emotion of the masses. Little to no consideration is given to the truth of matters discussed (more like shouted and screamed and threatened). Too few stop to consider the true consequences of their actions, both on themselves and on others. The pleasure of the moment, or what seems to be the politically correct thing to do, often outweighs the rationale or sanity on any given issue.

I look at these things and want to wrap my arms around my child and whisper in his ear to be wary, to watch out for the handsome devil, the cleaver deceiver. I want to beg him to stear clear of the lies that tickle one’s ears; ones that are used to coerce and manipulate.

As I take this unwelcome and uninvited journey, I realize I must give up control over the situation and plead with God for His mercy and justice. Daily, I beg Him to intervene and do what He knows is best and to help me let go of what I think is better.  I pray to Him to intervene in the life of my child and his eternal fate. As my knees get calloused, I slowly acknowledge it is out of my hands. It is only His hands, which are bigger and stronger, that can hold onto my child, and me at the same time.  And, through it all, faith is the only lamp I have to light the pathway in front of me, one step at a time.

Are Your Bad Guys Bad Enough?

Most people don’t like bad guys. After all, they spend their real or fictional lives antagonizing others or themselves!

The epitome of a "bad guy" stage!

The epitome of a “bad guy” stage!

Bad guys make us sit on the edges of our seats, get sweaty palms, or even raise our heart rates. But are they really necessary for a good story?

YES! It’s been stated many times that conflict makes a story engaging or engrossing. What better way to create conflict than to have a bad guy antagonizing our hero. The greatest thrillers use this model and even dramatic stories successfully incorporate the bad guys into the plot line.

I’m a fan of Diana Galbadon (The Outlander Series and Starz Network Show). She has successfully created a number of bad guys that really set my teeth on edge and make my fingernails grow a couple of inches; all the better to claw their eyes out with! I hate the bad guys. I want them dead, gone, kaput! But, if they left the scene right away, what consequences would ensue? Sure, the protagonist would be “okay” but, would the story be as interesting if there was nothing to fear or be angry about? Would the reader really want to continue reading?

Not all stories use human characters to facilitate the bad guy persona. While many do, many authors are quite adept at using events and inanimate objects to antagonize the protagonists. A hurricane, health scare or disease outbreak, or financial crisis are just a few situations that are “bad” and can do much to facilitate character development and story interest. Situations a reader can relate to also help to grow interest and empathy from a reader. An author is not limited to human, breathing bad guys, but objects and events can be drafted to do the job.

I must admit I love “pulling the chains” of my “bad” characters. It is fulfilling, at times, to inflict emotional and/or physical distress on them. No, I’m not a sadist! But, writing in this manner is a great release of frustrations in my own life. I find it very cathartic and liberating. However, it is also rewarding to let some bad guys find redemption and become someone who is forgiven, loved, or even a savior of the protagonist. Either scenario, letting the bad guy stay bad and resolve the issues encountered with tragedy or letting him or her change and resolve the story in a more positive note make for writing that is captivating.

And if it makes for a best seller, all the better!

Until next time . . .

We have so much right at our fingers. Do we know or care?

What some call weeds, others call medicine.

What some call weeds, others call medicine.We have been blessed with so much, not just the material things in our lives, but the things Nature has given us.

We have been blessed with so much, not just the material things in our lives, but the things Nature has given us.

Those in past generations knew about some of the naturally occurring medicines provided by nature; things such as berries, roots, bark, leaves, etc. But as humankind advanced and began to make our own medicines, it became very convenient to forget about what was given to us by Nature.

Today, there seems to be a rising awareness as to the bounty of natural substances that are ready and waiting to be discovered and used. New interest is growing in the use of herbs, nuts, various plants, trees, and shrubs to cure, heal and even enhance our lives. Books are proliferating on shelves that discuss and dissect the entire topic of herbal and natural healing.

When our world was created, we were given all we would ever need to survive. But, we were challenged to discover and perfect our knowledge on our own. All the medicines to overcome the frailties inherent in our species were provided, but cloaked or hidden in various plants or in nature itself. This is a great thing to realize we have it all, but mankind is too often blinded by his or her overblown sense of self.

Those with determination, the will and the ability can study and learn how to use these medicines and how best to harness their power. Win-win, right? Not necessarily. Humans aren’t perfect and our inner core screams out to take care of self first. From there it is a slippery slope into outright deviation from doing good, to just doing what is best for the self. I think we all have a point of corruption. Given enough rope, (some need more than others) we would all hang ourselves. Given no boundaries to stop us, we would all eventually self-destruct, all in the pursuit of self pleasure.

In Against Their Will, scientists have discovered a natural substance in pine rosin that shows promise to cure many diseases and even enhance the human life. They develop a series of compounds that can cure multiple dreaded diseases, change personality traits and even give extraordinary longevity to humans. Sounds great, right? Sadly, these wondrous discoveries fall into greedy hands and are manipulated to serve selfish interests, not the greater good.

Should the abuse by some cancel the good that is done by others? That is the question, both in my book and in life. If seeing how this dilemma is played out in one scenario, read the book Against Their Will. If you’re interested in learning about some of the valuable plants that can benefit your life, read more at the following Healthy Holistic Living