I’ve been Good to Life

I’ve been Good to Life   Recently I had opportunity to meet with someone I’ve not seen for about 12 years. When he saw me, he smiled and said, “You look great! Life has been good to you.” It has? I was under the impression that life has been a mixed bag of stress, joy, and deep disappointment, with a dash of happiness thrown in for flavor. At first I thought this was just a social pleasantry, but considering this man’s professional expertise and history with my ...

How to Grieve for the Oregon Shooting and so Much More

How to Grieve for the Oregon Shooting and so Much More On October 1st, 2015, ten young and beautiful lives walked into Oregon’s Umpqua Community College and never walked out. Ten lives, including the shooter, which had boundless potential for either great good or great destruction. It is easy to get mixed up in the flurry of opinions around the tragedy, yet we must recognize that the most important and heart breaking word of the previous sentence is the word “had”. The anger and pain of injustice scream within us because ...

How to face death and destruction without losing your mind

How to face death and destruction without losing your mind *Some details have been changed to protect the individual’s identity. “I watched them get murdered and I didn’t use.” she said. Her face wore an expression like she couldn’t believe she had actually stayed sober. The gun man had been on foot, causing bloodshed, leaving our town with four less souls in it that night, including his own. Emma had wrestled with addiction to heroin for 6 years and had only been sober for a little less than 6 months when she ...

Abusive Relationships: Closer than you think

Abusive Relationships: Closer than you think Abuse is a word that carries a lot of weight. When I think of abuse, I think of a little puppy who was left in a kennel for too long without food and water and looks sick with scurvy. When I think of abuse, I think of a little child who was sexually assaulted. Abuse does look like those things, but it looks a lot more familiar too. The definition of abuse is “any unwanted action taken against another person.” ...

Be Worthy of Your Sufferings

Be Worthy of Your Sufferings The Russian writer and philosopher Dostoyevsky once said, “There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.” We can recognize the weight of this idea easily enough, but when placed in the context of the holocaust (as it was in Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning), this thought becomes profound. Imagine being starved and beaten for months on end and still holding to this idea! Recently I had a less noble version of this ...

Real Men DO Cry

Real Men DO Cry Whether you heard it from your father, brother, friends, or society as a whole, every man has felt the pressure to hide his vulnerability, namely tears. Either intentionally or accidentally, mankind is taught the rules of the animal kingdom: show no pain, otherwise you are a target. Thus, pain, suffering, or the growth that results from breaking and then healing, is sorely undervalued. Since suffering looks like weakness, we men avoid it strongest since our gender is supposed to represent ...

Seriously, Don’t Face Your Fears

Seriously, Don’t Face Your Fears There is a problem with the traditional way we think about facing our fears. Take the following metaphor to help us understand why: A man stands in the center of a perfectly dark and empty room. The man has lived in this room all his life and has never seen the light of day. In the complete darkness, a small but bright light begins to shine on the far side of the room, about 20 feet away. At first, the ...

I Hate Fake people!

I Hate Fake people! I’ve heard the phrase “I hate fake people” a lot, and yes, I’ve said it a lot. Fake people are the worst! You know the type: those people who are always spewing out lies and constantly talking about themselves, presenting themselves as something other than who they really are. We can see right through them, and I get this icky feeling that grows in my stomach when I’m around them. Weather I like it or not, I have been this type ...

Why Secondary Trauma Is A Big Deal

Why Secondary Trauma Is A Big Deal Grief is an all-encompassing word. It is an experience of loss. This loss can range from the death of a loved one, all the way to the death of an idea, or a hope. It is all loss. The kind of loss I want to talk about is called secondary trauma. Trauma is anything that we experience as life-altering or overwhelming. It can be something as “small” as finding out Santa Clause is not real (which could include finding out ...

A Story about a Painting

A Story about a Painting “This is never going to work,” I thought, “but I’m going to keep pushing forward until someone besides myself tells me I can’t move forward. If I never try, I will always wonder if it could have actually worked.” My wife, Betsy, had long been enamored by the paintings of a man from West Michigan named George Peebles. She loved his style and the vibrant color that often accompanied the moments of nature he would capture on canvas. Many months before ...