Author Archive

Smell #Cold

Posted: February 17, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality

It has a smell,

many do not realize it

or feel it

whether dry or wet

cold has a smell.

Whether you are home,

or awaiting a mat in shelter

huddled under a bridge,

hoping someone will bring a blanket or a coffee

not to be rousted by the cops

There’s a smell

as you numb soul pain,

melting dumpster fines

records and polish

liqour pours off to drink

numbing becomes hallucinations

Cold no longer in mind

but the body freeze burns

Overdoses

seize

fight

hug

love

outreach worker’s loving hand

warm clothes

number called

safe standing room only in sanctuary

different smells of many seeking

LIFE

the smell of cold

left outside.

 

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One Voice…

Posted: February 13, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
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Esther (The Megillah (Scroll). It is an ancient story in the Hebrew Bible, what some refer to as the Old Testament, designated in the third section of the Jewish Tanakh (Writings). The festival of Purim is centered on the text. It is not until a rather awkward Deutero-canonical-Apocrypha ending is tact on in Greek that YHWH is blatantly mentioned. It is the story of Esther, who became the Persian Queen (492-460 BCE). It is a story of what good can come from evil, but also about unexpected blessings when the answers to Prayers can appear as No. Yes, this story came back onto my radar last night as my son was watching the Veggie Tales video- Esther, well worth the watch.

It starts with King Xerxes throwing a 150 day festival to show of his riches of money and flesh. When he demands his wife, Vashti, show up only in her crown to be the entertainment to the gathered dignitaries, she refuses, and well is deposed. Which leaves a vacancy in the Queenily department, yes Xerxes had a Haram, but that was not a queen. He does the normal misogynist thing and runs a beauty contest to find a queen among the young virgins. It is not a contest by choice however.

The nation of Israel was not well liked, Esther hid her lineage, when she was picked up for the, lack of a better term, cattle auction. Esther becomes the new queen. Now, at no point am I condoning this ancient practice where women were seen as property, and essentially forced into rape relationships. No, that is wrong, and it was wrong at that time regardless of what the morals of the time dictated.

What I am pointing out is how subterfuge was used by Esther, to actually make a change for the better within her world as Haman plotted the destruction of her people, Esther worked to reveal the plot and save the nation. She did this by playing into a role, and then asserting her own  power by standing steadfast in the truth.

Just let that set in. Both women in this story, Vashti and Esther, each took control of their won bodies and lives. They stood against evil, and each in their own way one. It is a story of transition, for it is about each finding their own voice, their own value, and their own strength.

How often when we are in a personal, professional or corporate transition do we let out own self shrink away and simply take up the familiar with a new paint job? Same work, same partner, same friends, even if their faces and names change, but at the core the same? Esther is a story of one travelling through the darkness, and finding a way for the light to shine through for an authentic new beginning.

Can we find that same light in our own lives?

 

The Spirituality of Starman

Posted: February 12, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality

What makes a hero? What makes a person? These are themes of two well thought out comic book series of the 1980’s and 1990’s. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman takes Dream of the Endless through a journey of freedom, endings, and new beginnings. Yet it is a legacy character of another stripe we are touching upon. It is a Gardener Fox creation, Starman. Originally the scientist, Ted Knight, it would go on to eventually become the mantle of his sons. In the in between time when the Justice Society of American would vanish into Limbo, there would be a short lived Starman of 1951, and then Mikaal Thomas, a blue alien of the disco scene. In the 1980’s a Will Payton would be given super-powers and become the Starman of the era, sacrificing his life to stop Eclipso from taking over the world. During his tenure, David Knight, eldest son of Ted, would take up the mantle while under the control of the Mist to attempt to wrest it back. All these characters would come to feature in the planned out story arc of the reluctant antiques dealer turned hero that James Robinson would weave.

Introduced in Zero Hour Crisis in Time, Jack would emerge as the hero in Starman #0. An assassin’s, bullet had taken his brother’s life on David’s first patrol. Making a deal with Ted, Jack agreed to do the hero thing when needed if Ted would pursue his science to better the world. A supporting cast that included circus misfits, fortune tellers, a family of cops, and a villain who may or may not now be on the side of angels in The Shade. Jack would defend Opal City against unique villains and have the hero’s journey as imagined for the reluctant hero.

Why do I call it a spiritual journey? A path was laid out with his name as a child, Jack, a hero’s name his Dad called it. Jack in his rebellion had re-written family history in that it was his brother that wanted to be the hero, but that was wrong. It was about coming into his own, living into his destiny, and discovering the balance of life. To a pilgrimage to the stars to discover that life can begin again, to new life, and old life falling away.

Jack transitioned from young adult hood to adult hood, embracing that which he loved, releasing that which no longer served him. It was not a pseudo-new beginning of the same old dance with new names and partners, rather Jack had struck a whole new dance with new partners, new ways and paths.

For is that not what the journey of life is about? Knowing when something new is to come into being, and fully entering into it when it is for the best?

Releasing that which no longer serves us, so that we have soul space for that which grows us.


If you are involved in the medical or scientific world there is always a question that must resonate with your work. How much of our knowledge has come from unethical practices? Human experimentation with thinks like Milgram’s prison experiment, or Nazi experiments on those the Third Reich viewed as deficient- persons with disabilities, LGBTTQ2+, mentally ill, multiple births (twins, triplets, etc, as it gave the experimenter a control subject).

This is the ethical dillema Star Trek: Voyager explored in their Season 5 episode, “Nothing Human“. A hazardous first contact as an errand of mercy creates a unique and dual life threatening situation. Rescuing a species they cannot understand the language of, that is injured, flies its vessels through secretions. The cytoplasmic life form in a panic to save its life in sick bay it attaches itself to Lt. B’Elanna Torres, integrating itself into her system. The Doctor is stumped on how to separate them. Working with Ensign Kim, he creates another emergency holograph medical officer, this one an expert in exo-biology, a Dr. Crell Moset. A Cardassian. Torres refuses treatment by this hologram as he is Cardassian, Ensign Tobin, a Bajoran when he realizes who it is points out that this man was not a hero saving lives during the occupation as Cardassia had celebrated the doctor. Rather, he performed torturous experiments on those he saw as deficient to save those he saw as worthy within the occupied.

The Doctor as chief medical office is left to decide to move forward with the live saving surgery for both B’Elanna and the new alien, or to follow through on B’Elanna’s wished and both will die?

What do you do with the information? The source is unethical, but it is needed in the now? Do you delete it and try to figure it out from scratch? Or do you build on what came through horrendous events so the deaths were not in vain?

That is the quandary the Doctor and Captain Janeway were left to move forward.

How would you decide? and why?


It is funny as my church’s minister starts a series on the Lord’s Prayer, and we celebrated new life in community through Communion that these thoughts tumble through my heart.

That’s life as the old song goes. It creates this idea around mental health to suck it up or buck up and carry on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it malingers and tears you down. In spiritual circles we shift to the pray/meditate about it. This idea that it only exists because we are somehow not holy enough or lack faith. It is the heresy of our times.

Life is a journey. We truly do not have much control over what happens to us, but we have control over response, and when we do not, as in the case of mental health, we have the decision to seek aid or not. The title of this post is a take off on two things that hit me this week, one was a Brad Paisley song, Noand the other was a find in the Red Deer Scott’s Parables. We had gone up to Red Deer for my son’s 13th b-day to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, and stopped by the shop for him to get some Veggie Tales, that he oh so loves. On the racks I found Kerri Rawson’s (daughter of the BTK Killer) memoir, A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Sotry of Hope, Love and Overcoming. 

The song speaks of prayer. Whether you are one to mull, contemplate, meditate, pray in the traditional or the affirmative sense the song rings with truth. It is that all prayers are answered, even when it is no. It walks through a young man’s loss of his grandfather and other prayers that got the big N-O and what the outcome of that was. It is a reminder, that there are times when we have yet to grow into our journey. For any answer, is an answer in the journey of life.

This song wrung in my ears as I read Rawson’s memoir. Her prayer for her adult life was a calm normal life. Then on February 25, 2005 it all changed when the FBI arrived at her front door saying they had arrested her father, Dennis Rader for the BTK serial murders. BTK stands for Bind, Torture, Kill. The killer had terrorized and taunted Wichita, Kansas for over three decades, with her father’s confessions he was found guilty of 10 murders (8 adults, 2 children), 7 families of victims. The memoir is a journey through the 8th family of victims. His own. He was a eccentric, sometimes abusive in the home, but he was a loving and caring father. He was the president of their church, and a Scout Leader. The journey is Rawson’s of faith, and transformation as she understands what the No to the prayer of her life was bringing her into and through. The shedding of the old skin, the family life growing up her Dad had been quoted as calling social contacts and pawns in his game; into her new life as wife and mother, and healing(ed) daughter.

It is the journey of discovery and challenge for me in the last few years. No, my father was not a serial killer. But in the healing process it is the No answer to many methods and spiritual practices that I had used to keep myself healthy in the journey. In the work of helping. When Mr. Roger’s would say in the dark times look for those who are the helpers, and you will see hope. I had the honour of being one, and serving with many. That crashed down in 2017 after months of mystery from 2016.

It is a journey of discovering the new-true you on the other end. Shedding the old damaged skin, and knowing what lies ahead. Denying the No’s from prayer, because that was obviously not meant to be so why hold fast to it. Stepping into and affirming the maybe’s and the yes’s. It is about resting. Resting in the silence of the Holy Mystery’s love.

Sometimes, the hardest part is admitting one needs help. The second hardest will be the patience to wait for that help to materialize. It is a journey, there is a shimmer of light, now what one has to ask is simply,

what new book of life awaits?

 


Related imageThe Heroes in Crisis mini series has been excellent. Well paced with the super hero action, and the crime mystery noir feel of mystery to it. Who invaded Sanctuary? Who did the spree killing? Who removed the safe space for heroes to heal? These are the underlying questions.

But then the questions erupt even more as the mysterious Puddler has leaked the story to the media of Sanctuary. Lois Lane can only sit on the story for so long, and as issue 4 came to a close, it was revealed the story was going out.

This is the opening to issue 5. As Booster Gold and Harley Quinn, partnered with Blue Beetle and Bat-girl respectively seek out answers. Flash and Batman deep dive into this weird mystery.

Superman and Wonder Woman address the press. It is a timely tale within the week of Belle’s Let’s Talk, a social media initiative to remove stigma of mental health. It reveals that there is much more needed than simply social media awareness raising. It is a concerted effort by governments around the world to appropriately fund mental health care equally, and as part of universal health care. It is understanding what is happening, that it is shifting how one experiences the world. It takes courage to live differently, but it also takes courage to understand when one needs help, to seek that help out and to heal.

This is what Superman addresses to the world. The fear that they human citizens are feeling knowing that metas are struggling with trauma, and PTSD. The thoughts of someone that can level cities now being afflicted with what has been mistaken for violence trigger. It is a key piece of Superman’s press conference, and something everyone needs to understand with any first respondents, front line workers:

“The nightmares, the nightmares they will forever endure. Yes Sanctuary exists. It exists to help these heroes recover from this pain, to help them recognize themselves under these scars, to help them wake from these nightmares. But its existence, it should not scare you. On the contrary it should comfort you. This suffering, is needed for healing. It is not the mark of a madman. It is the wound of a warrior. It’s a sign. A sign of their love…”

-Superman, Heroes in Crisis #5

Will you live in fear of the unknown, or know that by someone opening up they will discover whey they are under the scars, and discover love of life once more.