I first heard of this story on a local Christian radio show, and they got it all wrong. It was a call-in show and the host framed questions to callers in terms of Milo’s homosexuality. At that time I thought CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) had made an unconscionable decision. CPAC is not a Christian organization, but a conservative political one. Milo is gay, a conservative, and an editor at Breitbart News. Surely CPAC knew that when they invited him to be their key-note speaker.
However, that was not the issue at all. What happened is a video surfaced in which Milo seemed to support pedophilia with 13 year-olds. The reporting of this story is an issue in and of itself. It seems many media outlets do not do enough research on the stories they report and/or discuss and they get it skewed.This was the case with the local Christian call-in show.
In the video that surfaced, Milo treated the entire subject lightly and seemed not to know that 13 year-olds are children. Another disturbing aspect of this story is Milo seems to think the notion of consent is “arbitrary and oppressive.” He further quipped that a Roman Catholic priest had helped him develop some of his own sexual techniques. All of this is appalling.
I hated that Milo Yiannopoulos has been shut down at quite a few college campuses and not allowed to speak because he is gay, conservative, and a nationalist. I had supported, on social media, Milo’s First Amendment right to speak in those cases. That radical left students rioted and burned parts of Berkley’s campus was abhorrent.
That said, I applaud CPAC for rescinding their invitation to Milo Yiannopoulos. I feel a burden with regard to pedophilia. I know six individuals who were victims of pedophiles. These injured parties were hurt deeply and had trouble pulling their lives together. One of them spent his life fighting severe depression, two had battles with drug abuse. The others also had problems directly related to childhood sexual abuse and spent years in therapy. In these types of cases, child sexual abuse doesn’t only affect the victim but also horribly injures other members of the childhood family of origin. It impacts the future wife and future children of the child sex abuse victim.
In my opinion, pedophilia is much akin to murder. It kills the victims’ souls and psyches, as well as injuring their bodies in many instances. I believe the penalty for convicted pedophiles should be second only to murder.
In many ways 2016 was a year of losses and doors closed, but also with a promise of new beginnings.
So, I prepare my 2107 Blessing Jar, as I do every year. This involves writing out my Prayer of Thanksgiving as well as my Prayer of Petition with its list of my heart felt desires and whatever vision God has given me for the new year. This is far from a new year’s resolutions list. Prayer, thanksgiving, and Scripture reading was an integral part of this process. At the top left hand corner you can see the blessing jar I’ve used for the last two years. My prayer and petitions are in the center. To the right are notes of thanksgiving for prayers that were answered in 2016. I’m sure there were others, but these are the big three.
The written document is two and a half pages long. I signed it and took communion over it. Then I folded it and along with the little notes put them all into the blessing jar.
As soon as I took communion, I received my word for 2017: cherish.
Thus, my Blessing Jar becomes my “war room,” as shown and explained in the amazing movie by that name. As I live in a teeny-tiny house, I don’t have a room that could be my war room. So, I’ve made one side of my refrigerator into that and I’m going to keep the Blessing Jar above it on the top of the refrigerator. This is where I pray for other people and note the Scripture I’m standing on. As prayers are answered, I will take them off the side of the refrigerator and place them into my Blessing Jar. In this way the jar becomes a repository for the record of my answered prayers.
Intense emotional pain often isolates us. In our society today , which demands an absence of paint and a totally unrealistic demand for ‘safe spaces’, we might not even want to admit our pain to others. Some respond with anger as a way of fending off pain they feel entitled not to have. Both of these responses isolate us from others.
I’m a seasoned citizen and at my ripe, and I hope, discerning age, I’ve met people who have had real emotional wounds inflicted on them by others. They’ve been sexually abused, which is akin to murder of the psyche, except the victim must go on living. They grew up in a home with an abusive alcoholic or drug addict who destroyed everything that was meaningful and good in the family. A parent, or parents abandoned them when they were young. They or a loved one was severely physically injured by the actions of another; or a loved one was murdered or committed suicide. These types of situations cause real, deep emotional pain and often result in lasting soul wounds…damage to the psyche. And, of course, there are other situations, just as emotionally devastating.
I’m talking here to people with real, obvious, deep emotional pain. It is plain to see the world is corrupted by sin. Even the nonreligious will admit this. Jesus said that we would have suffering int this life, in this world.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 [NASB]
Over the years, I’ve talked to folks who have had real, deep emotional pain inflicted upon them by others or by life situations. They’re pain is very real. The inciting incident was not imaginary. It did happen. Their family member was maimed or killed by a drunk driver. Their husband did cheat on them and remove all funds from their joint account before filing for divorce. Yes, the pain is very real. But, what I’ve learned is that way down at the bottom of it, shame is attached. People think: if I had been worthy I wouldn’t have been put up for adoption; there was something flawed about me that made him sexually abuse me and in fact he told me exactly that over-and-over.
This attached shame prevents the injured one from sharing with others, or even if they do share intellectually, on an emotional level they continue to condemn themselves. This self-condemnation is a killer. It binds people in heavy emotional chains. What is needed, in my humble opinion, is a total transformation of the mind away from condemnation. Self-condemnation and condemnation of others is a soul killer. No matter who you condemn, yourself or others, you’re destroying your own soul’s health and destroying joy.
As a Christian, I turn to some of the great Christian teachers when I feel a case of self-condemnation or condemnation of others coming on. And I do, and have had cases of self-condemnation or condemnation of others. Of course I have. I’m human. At those times, I click away on my TV remote until I land on a Christian show featuring the teachings of Joyce Meyers, T.D. Jakes, Paul Daughtery, and many others. I personally find a good word for healing there.
What brought this article on was the passing, three weeks before Christmas, of my husband Joseph D. Chillemi. I, in my human limited mentality, thought this would be the worst Christmas ever. But the whisper of the spirit of Christmas, gently wrapped around me as if I were in swaddling clothes and kept me safe as a baby. It was Jesus, coming to me as the baby Jesus, who I encountered…as hope, light, love. So, yes, I was in a state of deep soul searing pain, and yet, Christmas was all about love and joy for me. This year, I learned how the spirit of the Christmas season so often touches nonChristians. How is that possible I would experience this when in deep mourning? I have to chuckle here, because my God can do for His people two or more things at once. [a wee jest there] He invented multitasking.
And so, the Lord had me write this article about deep pain as a way to honor my husband.
Yet, this morning I woke up dreaming about my dad’s memorial service, eighteen years ago, when I couldn’t stop crying. I don’t usually do either of those things: dream in my sleep that I can recall, or often cry.
That morning, the tears seemed to come up from my toes. I dremt an exact recall of how my BFF childhood girlfriend Christine Sloat White comforted me on the way out of the sanctuary. Christine died way too early of ovarian cancer, and as was her own personal style, carried herself with extreme dignity, right tot he end thinking of others.
Christine Sloat White, Titusville, Fl
I only have one digital photo of my dad. So, I dragged out the two boxes of photos I have in my house in NYC, thinking I’d try to take a digital shot of an old snapshot. However, I couldn’t find any. Most of my photos (copious amounts of them) were shipped to Florida, as I’m in transition for a retirement move south. Likewise I only have one digital shot of Christine stored in my computer.
As I got out of bed this morning, I flashed to my father’s hospital bedside after the stroke that left him speechless in 1997. My dad had spent a lifetime angry at God over the very early death of his own father, which thrust his mother, sister, and himself into years of hardship. Using the GI Bill, he turned to education and philosophy for answers and obtained a college degree. Much later in life he added two masters degrees. He spoke three languages. None of this made him less angry with God. He spent the overwhelming portion of his adult life as a highly vocal agnostic. Honesty was his strong suit, and he freely admitted thinking about death made him very uneasy.
I visited my dad in the Catholic hospital in upstate New York, following his stroke. He couldn’t speak, but he had full use of his hands. A retired English high school teacher, speech teacher, debate coach, and high school senior play director, he had no trouble using words. He described on paper how he had been drawn to a particular statue of a baby, actually what appeared to be a Middle Eastern mother, father, and infant. He’d ask the nurses or aides to push his wheelchair into the waiting room where the wooden statue was displayed. He’d sit there gazing at it, he said, in a total peace he had never felt before. He wrote on his notepad, “Why do you think that is?”
I asked my dad, “Do you know who is depicted in that statue?” He didn’t know. So, I told him it was the Holy Family. The baby he was so drawn to, the one where gazing upon the infant carved in wood gave him such peace, was in fact, the baby Jesus. He was nonplussed. A shy smile crossed his face.
He also told me in writing how a particular nun who worked in the hospital would come to see him every day and something happened. She lit up the room. He couldn’t wait to see her. I later sought this nun out in her office to thank her for such kindness to my father. I was overwhelmed. I explained to her he’d been an agnostic most of his life and somehow he’d seen light in her. I told her how he had been drawn to the statue of the baby Jesus, and how I believed he’d had a profound experience of the Savior. For the first time in his life, he had experienced the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.
That little visit didn’t go well. She was shocked and horrified. I came to believe, she saw a man who was going to hell if he didn’t get baptized, make his First Communion and get confirmed. Born again Christians might say she had a religious spirit. That’s a spirit of man-made religious stuff that’s not in the Bible. I’m not being antiCatholic. Christians have in the past, and some still do, make up all kinds of stuff that’s not in the Bible, such as you can’t dance or drink alcohol.
My Bible says Jesus turned water into wine for his first miracle at the wedding in Cana. I’ll bet there was plenty of dancing at that wedding. Jews always dance at weddings. I lived next to a religious Jewish family in Brooklyn for over 13 years. It would be quite usual on Friday evenings and on Saturday for friends to come over to celebrate the Sabbath. I’d often hear them laughing, singing, and feet-stompin’ dancing. And let’s not forget Jesus changed water into wine. That was after the guests at the wedding at Cana had consumed all the wine the host provided. The Bible says wine enough to fill six, large, stone purification water jars. These jars usually held 20 – 30 gallons. That’s a lot of wine. Some Christians insist the ‘wine’ they drank was really grape juice. I take my Bible literally. If it says wine, it means wine. It also says, the headwaiter told the bridegroom this last wine was the best. I’ve never been at any kind of social occasion where anyone has said, “This last grape juice was the best.” However, there have been endless hours spent talking about the merits of one particular wine vs. another.
But I digress. I believe, this precious nun was dismayed because she saw in my dad, a man going to hell. I was so grateful to her for being a representative of Jesus, walking into his room. I was grateful to the nurses and aides who pushed my dad’s wheelchair into the waiting room where he could spend time with the Holy Spirit who obviously did a work in him. I saw a man who had had an encounter with the living God who loved him, offered him peace, and extended an invitation to one day go to heaven.
Silence your inner critic, they say. These are the tapes from your past, the ones that seem to run on a loop. These tapes say, “There’s nothing special about you,” or “You’ve made too many mistakes to make anything of yourself now.” Many of these tapes have been passed down in families from generation to generation. “Your grandpa was a hard drinker, just like your dad. You probably will be too.” This type of negative prognosticating goes on in many families without much thought. It’s become a damaging habit that’s often a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Words have power. If you say over-and-over, “Like the rest of my family, I’ll probably never amount to much,” you probably never will. These “internal tapes” can be seen as generational curses. What is a curse? It’s words…negative words pronounced over somebody or something. A generational curse is something negative that seems to travel in families and it’s accompanied by destructive words the family says about itself and others say about it.
What we want to strive to do is pronounce a positive and holy vision over our lives and bestow a blessing upon ourselves and others. Habakkuk 2:2 [ESV] ~ And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. I like to write Scripture out. When I see a Word for me in Scripture and I write it down, I’m the one who reads it, and I’m the one who runs with it.
It’s my belief that we Christians should speak about ourselves and see ourselves the way the Lord sees us. The Scripture says in Psalms 139: 3 – 14 [NASB] ~ 13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
A lot of people like to say the Scripture aloud that pertains to their particular situation, and I do believe saying a Scripture out loud can stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks. This is what Jesus did when the devil tempted Him. If it worked for Him it will work for us.
Right now this is the most important issue in my life. Somehow “Grandma” doesn’t do it for me. And I don’t want any of the boring aged-sounding ones like Granny. And Grammy sounds like an award.
I found out east-coast Italian-American grandmothers are being called Me-Me, the French Canadians spell it Meme (pronounced with a long ‘e’). That has a certain elan to it. I’ve also heard southern grandmothers called that. Italian grandmothers are also called Nona. Oma and Opa is of German descent. Baba and Lala has Eastern European roots. Yaya is Greek. Mummers sounds oh, so British.
I’ve heard one little boy couldn’t pronounce ‘grandma’ and the family wound up with ‘Mega.’ I’ve also heard toddlers can spit it out as ‘Mawa’ or any way they want.
Then there’s Nonnie, Nonny, or Nandy.
GRANDMAS STILL WANNA KICK UP THEIR HEELS AND MIX IT UP A BIT…
I think Mumzie is cute. Though I don’t think I could be Mumzie. Could I? Maybe. It’s cute.
I’ve heard there’s a trend toward words: Happy, Huggy, Lovey, Peaches, Punky, and the like. Things they are a changing. At one time I might’ve been called ‘funky’. It had a whole different meaning waaay back then. It meant ‘cool’ or ‘admirable’. Trust me. It did. Could I be called ‘Punky’? That makes me think of Punk Rock. There’s a problem when words mean different things to the different generations.
Where would a list be without a few celebrity grandma names. Debby Reynolds: Aba Daba. Joan Rivers: Nana New Face (speaks for itself). Goldie Hawn: Glam-ma. I’ve heard Glamma (glamorous grandma) is popular in Hollywood.
Then there’s GG for “grace-filled grandma” or “groovy grandma” (my age is showing again) or”genius grandma” or “greatest grandma” or “gorgeous grandma” or “generous grandma”. That last one is what the grandchild will most likely say it stands for. I also like GG.