I Found Great Resources on Guilt vs. Shame

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This is my favorite photo of our dog Paul. Why? Because he is always in trouble, and when I took this he was apologizing.

I don’t remember why my phone was photo ready, but I am certain that he was raising some kind of doggie hell just before I tapped the picture button. The clovers that got stuck in his collar are the clue that he was up to no good in the yard. Right before I plunked into my reading chair to calm myself, I likely stepped onto the back porch and embarrassed my family

again

by forgetting that I live in a city now. Three years later, I sometimes still yell in my farm voice.

That look on the face of Paulie is his “apology face” and it works, of course, every time. He doesn’t try to convince me that he will never do IT again. Our other dog. Lennon Francis (Lenny) cowers, and hides and shivers when he is in trouble until the issue passes. His way of apologizing is to drop a ball or chewed up play toy at me feet and then step back and sit down. It’s like he’s saying, “seriously mom, we both need a round of fetch to resolve this tension.”

Paul McCartney on the other hand, manages to make me stop shaming him by insisting that I NEED him, and I need him right now! Right here. On my lap, in my arms, or his favorite – like an infant resting his head on my shoulder.

Isn’t shame an interesting topic?

If  you don’t agree, you should.

JeezlePete. I did it again. Shame on me.

I have had some really great things happen this summer, but right now near the top of the list is reconnecting with my friend Therese Borchard. She is so funny. We hadn’t had a private chat online in a long while and for some reason time alllowed for that to happen more than once over this school break.

It’s interesting – she and I share a birthday and when we lose touch and reconnect a little bit, it’s pretty common that similar things are on our minds. I really appreciate that she passed on some facinating resources in between our twisted and humorous conversations.

I’ve mentioned here a couple of times, I think, that last year I started my studies to become an Educational Sign Language Interpreter. Well, this year I am able to move ahead with three classes and I am so excited. The frustrating and disappointing thing is that I had to turn down a great offer to continue working at the school I enjoyed so much last year. My classes will be during the day.

Backer to my writer friend Therese: here’s the short version of what we are connecting about right now and are both sort of, well, tearfully even, thankful about: we are a little bit stuck on the topic of shame and redemption.

I know. Strange. Isn’t it? I envy the the people that start their break with plans to be light hearted and and keep up with that commitment.

I promise that I started the summer with three goals: lose twenty pounds, create a kitchen that looks like this:

long range kitchen color planand stop obsessing about the topic of shame.

I did clean out the cabinets, and I am still obsessed about the topics of shame and redemption – but it is in a super charged and good way now!

Through conversation with my college roomate and writer friend, along with gathering some books, I sort of clarified why I was so angry during that first year and a half back in the work world. I had taken a much longer than I should have sebatical.

I’m not the only on that was, and still is enraged about the Sandy Hook massacre. But, for me, the impact was to realize that realistically, people my age don’t have forever to enjoy their careers. Maybe that’s why it is common to start one, or restart one at age 50 – which is what I’m doing.

And pardon my french, but I am thouroughly pissed at what the world has become while I was home loading the wood stove and packing the moving boxes and discovering the great Mississipi river.

Thank God I re-stumbled onto to my mental health and spirituatlity writer friend and now have some resources to try and understand and cope with how obessesd society has become with shaming and blaming each other. The first thing I learned is that what is most destructive, is that we, America espeically, are keeping our worries and secrets private and losing our sense of place and self.

How in the world did this happen? Is it because of social networking? Global warming? The Berlin Wall? The death of Fred Rogers?

I don’t know – but it was a huge shock to me when returning to the classroom and teacher lounge after a fiver year or so break,

yet, I have never been so thankful for work in my life.

My confidence is slowly regaining it’s speed and my faith life has taken off again. My family of course means the most to me, but I am also the one who was lucky enough to hold a hungry first grader who was throwing a crying fit about sounding out a WHOLE page of reading After I convinced him that sitting in the hallway with me is the most boring idea ever and that carpet time is the Bees Knees, I ended up being the lucky one. I get to remember that In grade one my belly was always full enough and I spent hours watching Fred from Dad’s lap. And while I sorely miss to my sons…those were good days indeed.

But you know what? The world has gone mad.

 

We are shaming this fantastically charming little generation of readers in epic proportion and I will not put up with it another minute.

Someone, somehow, somewhere – decided that name calling is no big deal.

Well, guess what.

It is. And the last thing that these teachers and students need, in the face of gun violence and hatred, is more wasted time on tattling and idioticTom Foolery.

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If you are feeling frustrated on similar topics here is a video, and here is a **killer good** article, and here is a song. Each of them have helped to calm me down while I try to sort all of this out.

By the way – isn’t that tin of buttons that my friend Marti made the coolest rainbow you have seen since yesterday?

I do like buttons.

 

Shame on You and Your Racism Judge Cebull

One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as

complex human beings. 

~Franklin Thomas

Sorry Franklin, we ain’t there yet.

In response to an article I just read in the Huffington Post about disgusting and outrageous racism against our black President Barak Obama, (Richard Cebull, Montana Federal Judge, Admits Forwarding Racist Obama Email) here are some quotes that reflect the reality that we are not much further than when we began.

Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity. 

~Desmond Tutu

Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.  ~Author Unknown

The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.  As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash. 

~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

If a white man falls off a chair drunk, it’s just a drunk.  If a Negro does, it’s the whole damn Negro race. 

~Bill Cosby

Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught.  I have a two-year-old son.  You know what he hates?  Naps!  End of list. 

~Dennis Leary

David Prays About Shame

King David Action Figure

Reflections and comments from Larry Broding in his lectionary site named Word-Sunday.

Psalm 25

The Path of the Lord

By David.

1 To you, YHWH, do I lift up my soul.
2 My God, I have trusted in you.
Don’t let me be shamed.
Don’t let my enemies triumph over me.
3 Yes, no one who waits for you shall be shamed.
They shall be shamed who deal treacherously without cause.
4 Show me your ways, YHWH.
Teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth, and teach me,
For you are the God of my salvation,
I wait for you all day long.
6 YHWH, remember your tender mercies and your loving kindness,
for they are from old times.
7 Don’t remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions.
Remember me according to your loving kindness,
for your goodness’ sake, YHWH.
8 Good and upright is YHWH,
therefore he will instruct sinners in the way.
9 He will guide the humble in justice.
He will teach the humble his way.
10 All the paths of YHWH are loving kindness and truth
to such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For your name’s sake, YHWH,
pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12 What man is he who fears YHWH?
He shall instruct him in the way that he shall choose.
13 His soul shall dwell at ease.
His seed shall inherit the land.
14 The friendship of YHWH is with those who fear him.
He will show them his covenant.
15 My eyes are ever on YHWH,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me, and have mercy on me,
for I am desolate and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged.
Oh bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my travail.
Forgive all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies, for they are many.
They hate me with cruel hatred.
20 Oh keep my soul, and deliver me.
Let me not be disappointed, for I take refuge in you.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.
22 Redeem Israel, God,
out all of his troubles

How smooth or rough has your spiritual path been over the past year?

Psalm 25 presents us with a different tack on the spiritual life. As Christians, most of our spiritual focus is on the afterlife. Yet, God meant his life to be realized in the present. In other words, the struggle of the spiritual life has its own rewards in this realm. As we walk the path of the Lord, let us realize (and enjoy)… faithfulness and love, for (God) is with us now.

How do you feed your spirit every day? How have your efforts given you comfort, even in the tough times?

Worried Wednesday: Have I Created a Sham?

How interesting. When I typed in the word “sham” the spelling auto correct quickly changed it to “shame.”

Actually, shame is at the core of the little ditty I was planning on writing on this fine morning.

Now, originally, my plan was to write about how excited I was yesterday to have spent an awesome thirty minutes in Steak N’ Shake writing with a, (dramatic pause) pen!

Yes, treating myself to a pack of eight yellow mini legal pads has completely rocked my week.

Rocked my socks,

and,

if I can stick with what is beginning to be a fine new plan,

will rock my world.

Search as I might, I can’t find the source of a wonderful essay on a writers forum that described mindsets that many, if not all of us have. The author said that all, not some, but all writers spend time fighting the urge to believe that what they are doing is a sham.

sham  (shm) n.

1. Something false or empty that is purported to be genuine; a spurious imitation.

2. The quality of deceitfulness; empty pretense.

3. One who assumes a false character; an impostor: “He a man! Hell! He was a hollow sham!” (Joseph Conrad).

4. A decorative cover made to simulate an article of household linen and used over or in place of it: a pillow sham.

When I was a teacher we didn’t feel like that – our job was clear: teach kids. And even though it is true that teachers don’t get the credit and appreciation that is deserved of our profession, we don’t spend much time at the chalkboard looking around the room at scruffy heads and scribbly papers and thinking, “Oh my, I’m not even sure if this day is real.”

Okay. Actually, when the pressure is on, such as, say, a typical teaching day that includes a fire drill, a nosebleed, a few forgotten lunches and an unannounced assembly here an there: these are the days that teachers wonder if they are on some sort of parallel universe.

But, for the most part – one of the nice things about teaching is that when it comes down to it, school is fairly cut and dry: children need to learn, so teachers teach.

And. One of the things that I’ve learned in just these few months of building up more and more intention with my writing is that the flip side of my self created solitude and freedom has been isolation and insecurity.

Ta da! In steps the grungy broken pen I found while waiting on my cheese n’ chile delight. As I dug through my purse for something to write with, most of my thinking was something to the effect of:

“Writer? Pllllspppbbbt. You don’t even have a damn pen,

so,

whad up dog?”

Thankfully, I found the pen and gifted myself with an entire hour of glorious junk food and my very own handwriting. I scribbled furiously and didn’t even feel the need to people watch to be sure they don’t consider me a freak. By using my old pals (aka: pen and paper), I realized that not only did I have an awesome good idea, I have the guts to sail past the necessarily neurotic first few steps of panning out a big new project – just starting. That’s all. Just getting started.

What does all of that have to do with shame? I forget now. Oh well!