Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What Drives Groups...

Something I’ve noticed is how groups of people that are arranged under a specific entitlement and who share a common mission/purpose within their group seem to be driven toward similar results as other “groups,” no matter how different their missions or purposes might be. Let me explain...

What I have noticed is that these groups tend to be driven toward obtaining a population similar is views and beliefs to empower their group as a whole. For example, take groups such as political parties. From my understanding, typically (though not always, of course) members of one party will tend to share similar views on political stances, while members of another party tend to have their own views on political stances. So basically, where you views seem to “fit” (for lack of a better term), sort of depicts which political party you would “belong” to, so to say. Granted, I realize this is not always the case, but speaking in overall tendencies.

What you find happening is groups striving for a closer and closer knit group in efforts to gain more power. Here is how I see this working…

The more similar your group is in their beliefs and views, the more likely disagreements will not occur within the group, therefore leading to a stronger core to the group. The stronger the core of the group is, the more likely they are to work as one—a whole—toward their mission/purpose. When you have less friction coming from within your group, it is easier to address the friction in areas outside the group. Make sense?

And following this idea, I must say this…

Whatever the group, groups seem to always have a compelling nature toward competition, even if that drive is an under-tone.

Do you not see Republicans vs. Democrats? How about the University of Texas (UT) vs. Texas A&M (Aggies)?

Methods are often used within the groups to motive similar beliefs and views. Sometimes it is done through pride and spirit techniques. School spirit is a technique used to help fuel drive toward better competition. Pride in one’s political party can encourage alliances between group members.

Still following me?

So, here is where I want to take this philosophy and tie it to my topic for this week: religious groups.

Just as I mentioned in my previous posts, religious affiliated groups can tend to make judgments as a whole and arrive at similar conclusions. This is nothing different from how most groups work.

From my understanding, a lot of UT students would probably agree with the conclusion that most Aggies are a bunch of red-neck hicks/farm-boys. At the same time, I don’t doubt that most Aggies have their own conclusions draw about most UT students; however, based on my background of not being from Texas, nor attending either school, I can’t tell you what that conclusion is…HA (feel free to fill me in if you’d like).

Do not a lot of Republicans like to conclude that Democrats are typically the lower-class liberals, while many Democrats view Republicans as typically the upper-class conservatives? It this how all Republicans view Democrats, or how all Democrats view Republicans? No, but it is a general conclusion that can be heard echoed on more than one occasion.

So with religiously oriented groups, what is the scenario?

What I tend to see is how religious groups do the same thing, in that they strive for cohesion within their group, in order to empower the group as a whole. Yes, religious groups are under a purpose of serving their “god,” but how far behind that purpose do you typically find the mission of conversion. Conversion, though religions ground it in the purposes of “saving,” is also a means of competing with other religious groups.

I mean, just as any other group, look at the power a religious group gains through a large following of individuals devoted to the same core views and beliefs. Consider some of the Asian and Middle Eastern countries and look at the power and influence the Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist faith groups have. The larger the group, and the more cohesive, the more possibilities for moving mountains!

So are cohesiveness and similar views and beliefs among a group of people necessarily a good thing or a bad thing?

Cohesiveness is undoubtedly good in the sense that power can be developed through the bond. Power can be good and then used in “fighting for a just cause.” But power can also be harmful, such as striving for a dominate race, as in the eyes of the Nazi group.

What issues arise when a group strives for similar views and beliefs?

I hope to end this “series” of blog posts relating to religious groups later in the week by addressing my thoughts on how these types of groups run into problems when striving for similarities. It basically will tie in this post with the judgmental post previous to this one.
In the mean time, consider these ideas to other groups that you can think of. Do you see a drive for similarities among the group members? How about a visible, or even an underlying, sense for competition? Is power of some sort tied to the idea of competing?

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Sometimes we grow out of things…

Sometimes we grow apart from things…

Sometimes we grow into a new light for viewing things…

There are many reasons why someone might choose to change a way they have been in the past. One might choose to change a behavior, or a habit, or a value, or a belief. Sometimes these changes will go by without much attention made, but other times the change catches the eye of everyone around.

This past week I had yet another of my friends express to me their “falling away from the church.” Now while this might not be an all-to-common conversation for me, the reasoning behind why the “falling” took place is becoming more and more common for me to hear…

“I can’t stand to be around church people for the main reasons of them being judgmental and way too vocal on their…views...”

…just to quote one person…

…but that quote resembles too closely the words I have heard more and more from people.

Please understand, the “people” do not always drive these individuals away from their Lord, but more that they have been the reasoning these individuals state for what drove them away from their church assembly. Many times I’ve found when individuals have come to me and expressed this status, they still believe in their God, they just struggle with being able to attend church services to worship Him along side people that they strongly disagree with based on “judgments.”

Now, I think it is important that I clarify some terminology here. I will not speak directly for the individual that I quoted earlier; however, I will say that generally the basis of the concept of people being “judgmental” when referenced is pertaining to these church people being individuals who are quick to point out others as being “wrong” or “sinful.” I like to make this clarification because I personally view the actual term of judging differently.

To me, judging is a part of every one of our everyday lives—something crucial to our daily functioning. Frequently we are placed in situations during the day where we much judge the situation or the circumstance. Through our judging, which might include weighing options or evaluating potential consequences, we typically draw conclusions. I see judging as a natural mean for making decisions. I think we must use our own up-bringing, value system, beliefs, knowledge, experience, etc. to “judge” in our life in order to make everyday decisions. We must “judge” what would be in OUR MIND the appropriate or inappropriate thing for US to do. Because of this, I do not necessarily see “judging” as a bad thing.

I think when “judging” becomes troublesome is when we try to “judge” what would be in OUR MIND the appropriate or inappropriate thing for SOMEONE ELSE to do. Or even more troublesome, when we make these judgments in OUR MIND that something SOMEONE ELSE did was inappropriate. This leads us into judging someone ELSE’S actions. Unfortunately, I believe often times this comes from our desires to better ourselves—too try to make us look better by putting others down based on “judging” their actions as inappropriate.

This is what I see my friends running up against when they have come to me and expressed their discontentment with the “church people.” Through these conversations with my friends I have seen “church people” expressed as people who often times are quick to “judge” others’ behaviors/beliefs/lifestyles, arriving at conclusions of inappropriateness. Typically the “church people” term would be “sin,” as in “sinful” behaviors/beliefs/lifestyles.

Now, as I am one who is typically always trying to remind myself and others that we can still live in harmony with individuals that we disagree with; I am also reminded that sometimes this is more difficult than other times.

Disagreement does not have to be the basis for splitting ways with a people. We can have disagreements with our family, our best friends, or our spouses, but this does not mean the end of the friendship, or a divorce is necessary. It simply means that there is a disagreement. Still, it is when the disagreements become extreme that troubles arise.

Extremists are rare, as in my class studies I have been taught that most countries are unwilling to put up with radicals. Being extreme to the point that one becomes a radical often times will lead to the end of their radical behaviors in a matter of time. It was only a matter of time that Hitler was put to an end. Our society does not tolerate radical behaviors deviating from the norm at such extremes.

So what can make disagreements extreme enough to be troublesome, yet not to the point of radicalism?

In keeping with the “church people” topic I want to bring up the idea of holy rollers. Now if you are unsure of what types of behaviors in an individual might elicit my use of describing someone as a “holy roller” let me try to describe it. These are individuals who are often viewed as extremely religious, in the sense that their religion takes over most of their everyday life. Their religious references in their daily routine are frequent. Their form of worship might stand out as different in the sense that they take their worship behaviors to the extreme. Typically these individuals are the pack-leaders in conversion missions.

Now, before I get individuals condemning me in my comment section of this blog for my description of “holy rollers” and pairing it with the phrase of “extreme enough to be troublesome,” let me explain…

The more obvious view of holy rollers’ extreme levels being “troublesome” comes from the outside looking in. To someone who is “outside” of the church, or simply put, someone who has different “religious” beliefs from the holy roller, the behaviors of the holy roller can become aggressive and irritating. For example, when a holy roller is determined to convert someone who is a non-believer, that “non-believer” can view the holy roller’s conversion efforts as aggressive. This is because holy roller’s typically are persistent in their conversion efforts. Now, in a similar situation, the behaviors of the holy roller can be seen from those “inside” the church as troublesome too. If the holy roller becomes too persistent in trying to bring others to his/her beliefs, and they end up pushing people further and further away, the people within the church can see the holy roller’s behaviors as discouraging.

Besides conversion efforts, the extreme levels of religious views from a holy roller can discourage others. Sometimes the extreme levels cause the holy roller to become close-minded in the sense that they see their way as the right way and the only right way. It is then that the “judging” others behaviors and lifestyles as inappropriate or “sinful” can cause an up-roar.

Yes, other individuals besides holy rollers will view other individuals as “sinful,” but it is when the views are pushed to the extreme that they become more troublesome.

It is here that the movie “Saved!” comes to my mind. I just watched this movie today, for what was my second time, and I had forgotten how much I love this movie! It isn’t a movie with great acting or a movie with an academy award-winning storyline; however, it is a shorter film that brings some religious views and stances into the spotlight to be evaluated. It might not be a movie for everyone, as I can see it causing some dissatisfaction amidst an audience of holy rollers, because it does poke-fun through its attempt to make some points; however, I would recommend it as a movie to try once and draw your own conclusions. What the movie does is it takes religious views to the extreme to make its points, and I love it!

It reminds me of another of my favorite movies; one that more people might be more familiar with—“Crash” (this year’s academy award winner for “Best Picture”).

Each time I watch “Crash” I often find myself thinking how much I want to say to Chris “Ludacris” Bridges’ character in the film to “give it up already!” So many times throughout the movie his character seems to be trying to turn EVERYTHING into a racist scenario—trying to make EACH and EVERY action/comment/look into a form of discriminating. Maybe it WAS a behavior with intent of discriminating, but maybe it wasn’t. Whatever the case, the movie takes each and every situation to the extreme to get the point across to the viewing audience the ways discrimination CAN slip into our daily interactions.

I think both “Crash” and “Saved!” use the extremes perfectly to get their points across.

In “Saved!” it is the holy rollers who are quick to “judge” the behaviors of others as “sinful.” They are very “judgmental” in the idea that homosexuality is “wrong.” Being a “non-believer” is purpose enough for a crusade to “save” you. Sex or pregnancy outside of wed-lock is a disgrace in God’s eyes. These are the views and “judgments” that extremists will preach over and over to the point of labeling each and every individual as “right” or “wrong.”

I love how the storyline in the movie is setup where those who do not meet the “appropriateness” of the religious views (i.e. those who are homosexual and those who are pregnant teens) are sent to leave the “religious” school and sent into a different school to “make them better.” So yes, this is another of the “taking it to the extreme” points in the movie, but how close is that to what occurs in churches everyday? No, maybe at church they might not “kick you out of the church” if they FIND OUT you are gay, but they will for sure make it their mission to try to “make you better,” since that is “inappropriate.”

So is it the “judging” of those within the church that is causing individuals to leave? Is it the “judging” that is causing some WITHIN the church to hide who they really are, out of fear of being “judged” as inappropriate or sinful?

I suppose we might never know. But I guess I just leave you with this…

To what extent do you seeing “judging” reaching a point of being troublesome? Or as I would put it, at what point does it become troublesome when we are viewing in OUR MIND that something SOMEONE ELSE did was inappropriate?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Some Points...

Yes, for once, I am posting during the week. HA! Lately I have had to share my time with more activities than in the past.

I won't say "I'm busy," because we are only as "busy" as we allow ourselve to be. "I'm busy," is an excuse; if you want an excuse, use it. But I don't need an excuse.

I won't say "I don't have time," because last time I checked, we all have the same amount of time. I have 24-hours before I will hit my next calendar day, what do you have?

What I WILL say is that I have found myself with priorities right now that are coming before my blogging, and I have CHOSE for it to be that way. And right now, I am fine with it that way.

Let's face it, I'm at least still blogging weekly...it just happens that they are normally on the weekends though...HA!

Tonight I just want to put some points out there that I have thought about lately, or realizations that I have come to lately.
  • I have learned that what can make a working atmosphere unbelievably AMAZING is when you are working around people that are AMAZING. Sounds pretty obvious, but let me tell you: When you work with genuinely caring people the workplace setting is so welcoming. What is the icing on the cake is when this workplace setting is a setting you find yourself in as a learning experience. Let's say for example, an internship. Having genuinely caring people to work with in that situation can make the learning experience great! And to top it all off, these professionals you find yourself learning from are GREAT at what they do! Such a blessing!
  • Do you know what is one of the BEST words to hear out of a client's mouth when you are a beginning therapist is? "Exactly." For a beginning therapist who is trying to validate what a client is saying and/or feeling, hearing the client respond back with "exactly" is like winning the prize at the end of the race!
  • So far, therapy hardly tends to go "as planned" in the sessions...and you know what, that has been GREAT! HA!
  • I'm building a caseload of clients now and it is SOOO cool as I am real excited about my "regulars" so far! Such potential! Like it honestly brings a smile to my face thinking about them, and it brings an excitement to my mind thinking of the challenges we can work through together in our "partnership" (which is our counseling experience together).
  • Our overall supervisor at my internship has said this week that as she and the other therapists have talked about our group of interns they have this semester, they have all noted what a great group we are and how they can always tell when the interns are really interested in being good therapists. They said we all seem so interested and dedicated and seriuos about our learning experience there. Now that is just as encouraging to here as hearing the "exactly" from the client!
  • Can I tell you just how much BOTH of my internships have made me aware of how "quiet" I am when just beginning to work with new people. My goodness, you would think I was a different person for those of you that know my "talkative" self. But honestly, the more I think about it, I do not see it as I am "shy" because I don't MIND talking, it's just like I have a thing for taking everyone in first and "figuring" people out, so I know how to interact with them. I have a think for figuring peoples' personalities and taking as much in as I can before I start my part of the interaction. Part of me doesn't like this because I often feel that the impression that I am giving off to the others around me is not an impression that I want, but I still can't get myself to "warm-up" any quicker with people, even when I find myself frustrated with myself because of how "quiet" I come off at first. HA! HOWEVER, having said that, I CAN report that this week I have seen my "normal" self is coming around and I have begun to interact more and more in my typical ways with my co-workers. I like when that side of me is showing!
  • When working with the severely mentally ill I will say this, it is AMAZING how simply hearing a person talk can change a person's impression of an individual. When an individual who is mentally ill does not say a word, the uncertainity of the unknown can cause a state of fear, especially when the mentally ill individual is a rather large gentleman. However, the initial feeling of being "scared to death" of a person can be so quickly diminshed by simply hearing the individual speak, because the certianity that speech elicite can tell so much. For example, one can then get somewhat of a sense of how functioning they truly might be based on if their responsive speech made sense or not, or if it was an appropriate reponse. Let's just say I had this experience this week and now I don't find myself as fearful around that individual anymore...HA!
  • My last point is what has basically driven my ability to blog tonight (besides what was mentioned in my first "point"). Basically, I have found that I appreciate my internship so much right now because not only does it represent a place that I look forward to going to each and everytime because of the AMAZING people I work along side with there (including the staff and my fellow interns), but I also have greatly appreciated this internship because when I am there I find myself totally focused on my internship. I don't even think about my life outside of the internship typically. And honestly, I have found that to be such a blessing because many times I have found myself heading off to my internship in a bad mood, or just "down" because of frustrations or other stressors in life and then when I get there, I forget all about it, and typically when I am driving home, I am in a GREAT mood from having been there.

So what am I seeing so far this semester? That I really think my LONG aspiring education career dream of "counseling" truly is something that I think I will love and possibly end up being pretty good at. Well, I suppose we'll let my supervisors/clients decide that, but in the mean time I'm LOVING each minute of it!

One last thing that has been on my mind is a fun "list" of like a somewhat "Top Ten List" of funny things I have experienced with my internship thus far. I don't know that I'll end up with "10" of them, but right now I have two that I thought about the other day and I think they are pretty funny, so maybe I'll come up with that list and post it on here soon. I mean in all honesty, do you think I could be enjoying an internship so much if there wasn't SOMETHING fun and funny about it!? ;)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

You’ll Know the Real From the Simple…

If you’ve ever gotten an email forward before in your emailing history, I would be surprised to know that you have never seen this one before…

A Simple Friend vs. A Real Friend
A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps him/herself.

A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names.
A real friend has their phone numbers in his/her address book.

A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean up.

A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.
A real friend could blackmail you with it.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend calls you after you had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!

I have definitely gotten that one a fair number of times, but that doesn’t mean it is just one of those forwards that goes around so often that I write it off as having no significance. If anything, I’ve recently realized just how true the thoughts in this forward truly are in real life.

Within the past year I have seen some friendships flourish, as well as some others fade. Some friendships take a long period of time to slowly fade, while others can fade in a matter of weeks. Some friendships take a long period of time to flourish into the closeness that a friendship can share, while still others can grow close in a matter of days. Each friendship is special and unique, and that is such a blessing.

What’s interesting is to see the distinction between one friendship and another as flourishing and fading progresses; comparing the simple friendship to the real friendship during these times.

Over the past couple months I have gotten to see this sort of thing happen. I have had some time to give it all a lot of thought and I can look back on points during this time and note things that have distinguished a simple friendship from a real friendship.

Now before I go into my explanations, I need to clarify my thoughts on friendships…

Friendships are held in high regard with me. The value I place on friendships puts it near the top of my priority list many times. This goes for all types of friendships. I feel simple friendships are important to have, as are real friendships. I think having both shows the ability to relate to people on different levels, as well as the versatility that a person can have with other people. Please understand that I view simple friendships as important pieces of our lives. I think one should be willing to put forth a fervent effort for a simple friendship when paths seem to be wavering. A friendship is a friendship. We chose to be a part of that friendship for a reason, so it has value just as any other friendship. I think the difference that is to be noted between one friendship over another is the depth of the investments put into the friendship. I think the original email forward mentioned previously helps to depict the different levels of investing in a friendship.

Recently I found myself sitting at a crossroad in with a friendship. The crossroad was a situation of obvious disagreement. Disagreement does not have to be a crossroad, but in this situation it had developed into a time for re-evaluation for both of the parties involved.

Evaluating a friendship should never be something to shy away from. In all honesty, it can only shed light on the truth, if you are willing to see the truth and willing to give it the opportunity. Maybe the friendship really isn’t what one (or both) the parties hoped or wanted it to be. Maybe both of the parties were trying to invest in what they WANTED out of the friendship, when in actuality that was never a part of it in the first place. Sometimes it is this evaluation process that allows one (or both) parties to pick up on this sort of situation.

Still other times the evaluation can allow a party (or both) to realize the importance of what they have going on with the friendship. The blessing they have that they might have taken for granted for some time prior to evaluating the friendship.

Many, many years ago (like back when I was in high school…HA!) I told a best friend of mine that when I thought about it, it was my closest and best friends that I had the hardest time pinpointing what it was about our friendship that I loved so much. Many of my acquaintances and simple friends I could typically note what drew me to their friendship, but with my closest and best or real friends it was not always as easy. Today I still often find this to be the case.

So there I was. I was sitting among a time of evaluation—a time to reflect. Reflection on myself, my friend, as well as our friendship together. It was during this time that so many things became so clear to me. Things that reminded me that I was evaluating a friendship, but not just any friendship—a real friendship.

Let me add some stanzas to the original email forward, based on what I learned during this time…

When a simple friend tells you they disagreed with how you behaved you will apologize.
When a real friend tells you they disagreed with how you behaved you will apologize and think twice before doing that same thing again.

A simple friend will get to handling a situation surrounding a friendship when it is convenient.
A real friend will get to handling a situation surrounding a friendship when it happens.

A simple friend will be invested in figuring a situation out.
A real friend will be invested in working a situation out.

After having had a fight with a simple friend your body can usually disguise your mood.
After having had a fight with a real friend your body usually has no hope in disguising your mood.

When you are “not talking” with a simple friend, time passes day-by-day.
When you are “not talking” with a real friend, time passes minute-by-minute.

And the main difference I noticed through my situation…

It’s your mind that will remind you that you had a dispute with a simple friend.
But it’s your heart that will remind you that you had a dispute with a real friend.

I think what brought this whole real vs. simple friendships into perspective for me was seeing how one situation that posed friendship “fading” immediately caused friendship evaluation, while another situation that posed friendship “fading” has had friendship evaluation left lingering.

Friendship “fading” is never something I push for in a situation. It is one thing to evaluate and come to the conclusion (hopefully mutually) that a friendship is not going to work out, but it is a different thing to simply allow a friendship to “fade” due to a lack of investment.

Recently during a night of reconciling with a real friend of mine I shared with her the story of when I found myself trying to correspond with a friend who was allowing our friendship to “fade.” It was after I shared this story that my friend said, “that right there, kim, is why i never have to question why i'm friends with you...you never give up on a friend.”

I don’t know. We all invest ourselves at different levels in different areas of our life. For some of us, friendships are a high priority. For some of us school is a high priority. For some of us work is a high priority. For some of us sleep is a high priority. Whatever we view as a high priority we are willing to invest more of our self into.

If I am more invested in sleep than I am work, I will be the employee that often over-sleeps work. If I am more invested in work than I am in sleep I will be the employee that goes in early and works late nights.

That's just two examples, but this can be the case with any priority. Friendships vs. sleeping. School vs. Work. Friendships vs. Work. Still, there are other areas of interest that we prioritize that can be added in: significant others, food, hobbies, etc.

I think it goes without saying that there is quite a bit of truth to the idea that our lifestyle will reflect what we value in life.

So, in the end I realize that we will be able to distinguish one type of friendship from another. You’ll know the real from the simple. You’ll not only be able to see the investment differences between the two, but you’ll also be able to feel it…

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Breaking Point…

What do you do when you reach the point that you feel you can’t take it anymore?

Depending on the person, the response is different, but many will look for someone to let it out too. I obviously believe that is a much more appropriate solution than some other methods of relieving the pressure, but besides some of the other alternatives, I think letting it out to someone can be more therapeutic many times than actually getting a “solution” to the issue at hand.

Yes, finding the “solution” to the issue is of course a sense of relief, but sometimes even once you have “fixed” whatever it was, if you haven’t let out what has been within you, especially if it has been brewing for a while, it can still remain within you LONG after the issue has been “fixed.”

Maybe you were hurt midst the issue. In cases like that, leaving that “hurt” unattended too, even after the issue has “gone away,” does not mean the hurt will “go away” as well. Hurt can be deep and it can take some specific attention, and you should be okay with taking that the measures for addressing it.

What’s interesting is how we all have different breaking points where we actually “need” to relieve the pressure. Some can keep things bottled up for only a short period of time while others can live with their insides holding on to so much for so many years. I suppose it is related to the level of “hurt.”

In an aside here I want to bring up a thought I’ve thought about lately. It will seem kind of random, but hopefully you’ll see how I think it ties in…HA!

Recently, when driving through a large parking lot at a smilie-face store I came to this idea…

We all have different acceptance-levels; points where we will accept one situation over another similar one. Here is my figuring…

Take the parking lot scenario. As I drove up and down the aisles looking for a spot I thought to myself, you know, there is a spot right there. Granted that spot was probably some ten-miles from the stores front doors (let’s face it, this “store” has BIG parking lots because they are pretty well known and popular places to shop), but none the less, it was a spot. I didn’t “accept” it—I kept driving; maybe I’d “find” a closer spot.

I don’t recall if I ended up finding a closer spot or if I just ended up getting that one or another one that was some million miles from the doors, but the point was, at what “point” was I willing to “accept” the situation at hand instead of continuing along looking for something different?

Some think of this as “settling,” but I don’t know what I think of that terminology, because “settling” has such a negative connotation. I mean is parking ten-miles from the front door necessarily a “bad” thing? We all like to play it off on the exercise “joke” that “Oh, I could use the exercise,” or whatever, but in actuality, depending on how “lucky” you might get, by the time you actually FIND a closer spot, you might have been able to park in the further out spot and have already gotten into the store by that time.

So as I pondered this, I thought, you know, had someone else been in the car with me, or even better, had someone else been driving the car, at what “point” would either of us been willing to “accept” a particular parking spot? Would our “accepting points” been similar or would I have been more likely to continue searching for a closer spot when they were willing to “accept” the further out spot, or vice versa? Which spot is to OUR specific point of “acceptance,” in that it is not far enough out to influence us to continue our spot-searching, but instead it is close enough for us to “accept?”

Now here is the tie…

In a way, I see our “accepting point” and our “breaking point” both as points when we give into our idea of “continuing on.” With the “accepting point” we have come to the conclusion that this is “okay,” it will “suffice” and we “accept it” meaning we will discontinue the way of being at hand (i.e. discontinue the parking spot searching, as in the previous scenario). With the “breaking point” we have come to the conclusion that this is where we can’t take it anymore and we will discontinue the way of being at hand (i.e. discontinue the keeping whatever it is inside us or whatever the case might be).

It goes without saying that “accepting points” in a situation such as choosing a parking spot is a MUCH easier point to reach than say a “breaking point;” however, when each point is presented there IS a decision that has to be made.

Breaking points can be hard. They are typically not readily welcomed by the one experiencing the pressure, but they can bring such a sense of relief when the pressure is released.

Recently I’ve experienced some of my own “breaking points.” You can feel like you can’t take it anymore and you need to get it out. Luckily, I’ve had close friends to turn to and to let it all out too. I’ve cried and that’s okay. I’ve gone over letting it out a few times and cried just about every time it came up, HA, but that’s okay too. What matters is that I WAS able to get it out. I had people to “vent” too.

I think what is important is when you feel you CAN let it out. It is always so helpful when you feel someone is willing to listen to you and willing to not judge you.

I’ve had the blessing of being a “vent” for people in recent times that I do not think I would have been someone they would have come too had it not been for the openness I’ve expressed on my blog over time. There is something comforting in knowing you are not alone in your beliefs or in your doubts, for that matter. But even when those that you choose to go to, to talk to about something, if they are not (or have not) experienced what you have, there can still be a sense of relief of just getting it out, even when they have not given you any advice specifically in reference to the situation at hand.

I will be honest, I don’t always know what to tell people in situations, but I can assure you that I will listen, and sometimes that is one of the MOST important things someone at “the breaking point” needs. I’ve experienced that in times of letting it all out—having come out of the situation no closer to having “solved” the issue, but nonetheless I feel better because…

…I got it out.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 20 –Jesus: The Lines on His Face

I was watching one of those news shows on television several months ago about a woman whose son was on death row. He had killed a man and buried him in the woods. The television show followed the woman around during her son’s last few days. The cameras were there for the last visit when the son, a young black man, sat across from his mother in the prison visiting room, and the mother had tears in her eyes and was trying so very hard to disguise the fear and regret and confusion and panic.

These are the scenarios that get me every time.

Being in the son’s shoes is the situation I mentioned in a recent blog entry. I mean where does your mind even “go to” when you’re in the situation of facing your impendent death?!?! Oh the thoughts that must cross one’s mind during those last hours…

But then you can’t forget the mother. While facing your own inevitable death is of course the toughest thought to deal with, I’m sure facing the death of a very close loved one is a close second. What would you say? What are your last words? It is obviously not a “see you later” situation.

In both situations, I can’t even imagine the feelings that would come across one’s being…


We kept hitting repeat on the CD player and ended up listening to Patty Griffin sing about Mary more than forty consecutive times.

I just like this sentence because it reminds me that I’m somewhat normal! ;)

…of course, my typical “repeat” songs are NOT Patty Griffin, but I can bet I’ve played some other songs near “forty consecutive times.”

You can’t help but just get hooked on some good songs!


Everybody sings their song the way they hear it…

That’s so true! And thankfully, that is what makes us all different! It is the different life experiences that affect our “song,” allowing us our own way of singing it.

What a beautiful thing!


But what song will you sing when your soul gets set free?

That’s a good question, but I also would ask, have you let your “soul” be “set free?”

There is so much possibility!


And that concludes the blog series on Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz text.

What an amazing book! What a deep thinking, gentleman. Mr. Miller—quite the clever guy.

I plan to start another Monday blog series, but the series topic possibilities are still being considered. Like I said…

“There is so much possibility!”

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

Sunday, June 04, 2006

sometimes the road is rugged...

i think i know what one of the worst feelings in the world is...

...knowing that someone you care deeply about and that you talk to quite often doesn't want to talk to you because of how you behaved.

in this situation i've had to be reminded that "patience is a virtue," but that doesn't take away the hurting and the hatred one feels toward their self for developing the situation...


...the time has just begun, and i fear the road will be long and rugged...

...but i know i must tredge on...


i'm not a very humble person...

...but i've been humbled tonight by Someone.

It can be hard to get me to shut-up when i want to say something, but Someone has shut me up. For once i kept my words simple and short.

i really appreciate this Someone.

Unfortunately, i can not get myself to humble for many, but i have tonight for One.

And i also have been reminded at how the physical body can get so "off" when the heart is hurting...

...sometimes we are not as strong as we would like to act or believe.