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WE’VE GOT TO GET AWAY FROM HERE

Do you know what I discovered since I’ve been gone?  First of all, I’ve been gone from blogging a very, very long time.  I really didn’t mean to step away that long, but Baby-girl got married and I decided that being fully present and involved in this wondrous event of my child’s life was my primary duty as a mother.  The sorrows and chaos of this world could wait a month or two while I got to revel in one of two major joys humans are afforded on this planet:  marriages and the birth of children (hopefully the second part of the equation will come soon for the newlyweds—“Your mother is not getting any younger, Baby-girl!”).

Author Toasting Bride and Groom

AUTHOR GIVING MOTHER-OF-THE-BRIDE SPEECH: “NAILED IT!”

It was such a glorious time.  Full of love and grace. Tons of laughter and warm camaraderie. People of different races, religions, and sexual orientations wishing another beautiful interracial couple a happy and fulfilling life.  Weather was a perfect 75 degrees, no rain, no bugs, and no Trump.  It felt as if Jesus were in our midst—so much loving, so much acceptance, so much tender caring.  For 72 hours at this destination wedding on a magnificent island in the U.S. of A, Trump’s name and destructive influence on our country and its people were never mentioned or thought about.  If there were some of his hardcore supporters among the wedding guests, they didn’t reveal themselves.

Roche Harbor

Roche Harbor| Photo Credit: Cynthia Richardson

So now I am home—back in the shit storm that is Trumplandia.  Since I’ve been gone, things seem to have gotten so much worse both nationally and locally.  I came out of my wedding bubble to the man in the White House dealing with more demons whispering in his ear than he had before I entered the wedding euphoria.   And the lying…oh, my God, his lying has increased exponentially.

Trump mentors Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star-Tribune MN

Cartoon used by permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune MN

Yet, Trump’s supporters still cling to his every word—especially his Right Wing Evangelical supporters which still has me in a state of shock (Jesus, are you watching this?).  The more Trump lies (7 – 10 times a day at the last calculation), the more his supporters worship him. The more his racism shows, the more they cheer him on and wrap themselves in things like the Confederate flag, White Supremacy, conspiracy websites, and Fox News.  I saw a poll when I returned that said 91% turn to the President for accurate information rather than their families or legitimate news organizations.  A friend just told me the other day that in a couple of prayer groups she attended, some of the members who are Trump supporters refused to pray for the border children who are still separated from their parents, may never be returned to their parents, and who are reportedly some are being abused by their caretakers. (And you ask me why I left the Church?)  Then I learned about some rabid Trump supporters in the vicinity (many of them churchgoers) who were trying to run roughshod over the rest of their community by hoisting the Confederate flag and celebrating its “glory” no matter who their actions hurt or terrorized. All I could think was which came first?  Did Trump and his demon ways awaken these horrid people from the swamp or did these horrid people awaken Trump?

Christian adoration of Trump Pat Bagley The Salt Lake Tribune UT

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake-Tribune, UT

In the meantime, while all these agonizing thoughts were running through my head, it came to my attention that it was time for my annual physical.  Oh shit!  How did this come upon me so soon?  I had planned to lose those 20 pounds from the last time I saw my doctor six months ago.  In fact, I told him—swore on my mother’s grave—he wouldn’t have to worry about me shedding them because I had the wedding as an incentive. I was not going to be a fat mother-of-the-bride—no siree!  But, instead, I had gained five more pounds!

Can I confess something?  I hate going to the doctor because I never get all A’s, and for a perfectionist, that is a real pain in the ass.  It’s like being called to the principal’s office, being stopped by a White policeman when you’re driving while Black, and your father catching you sneaking back into the house after curfew—all at once.  I got a chance to review the lab results before the appointment, and they didn’t make me feel any better.  I’ve just turned 70 and every number counts.  Everything was elevated: my weight, my cholesterol, my A1C, and my blood pressure.  I just knew my doctor was going to be pissed at me and fire me as his patient.  I’ve been fired as a patient before because I take no grief from doctors (that’s another blog, entirely).  Instead, what he did do, shocked me so much, you could have knocked me over with a feather…

Doctor office meme

DOC. H:   Morning, Mrs. Tomczyk.  How’s everything?

TRUCULANT ME:  Not great, as you can see.  First of all, why do you and every doctor I’ve ever been to make me weigh in before the nurse takes my blood pressure?  Of course it’s going to be 160/90.  Your lyin’ scale just gave me the shock of my life!  And why is the scale always out in a public space?  I took off so many clothes to get a more accurate read of my weight that some old man put his hands over his eyes, started to scream, and fled the building, leaving his cell phone and his cane behind because he was so horrified by my Stormy Daniels’ striptease.

DOC. H:   Now, Mrs. Tomczyk, we’ve been over this before.  Knowing what you weigh at the beginning of our session helps me figure out what you need as a patient.  Wouldn’t you prefer a little embarrassment in order to get a more accurate diagnosis?

PETULANT ME:  Hell to the no!

DOC. H:  [Sigh] Let’s see what we have here.  Hum, all your numbers are elevated.  You were doing so well six months ago.  What happened?

WHINING ME:  What happened?  WHAT HAPPENED?  Donald Trump happened!  His mania is spreading all across the land, or at least it is giving “permission” for the crazies to come out of the sewers.  The Governor of Virginia has declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville because it is the one year anniversary since the murder of Heather Heyer by Confederate sympathizers and Neo-Nazi White Supremacists, and he doesn’t want a repeat of last year.  Virginia also has a man running to become one of its senators (Corey Stewart) who is a “Lost Cause” trumpeter who adulates the likes of Nathan Bedford Forrest and calls himself a rebel sounding the clarion call for the keeping of Confederate statues in place and unfurling the Confederate flag here, there, and everywhere because…you guessed it:  He says, “it’s my heritage.”  What the hell?  This dude grew up in Minnesota, for Pete’s sake!

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about Northerners goose-stepping behind Nathan Bedford Forrest (slave trader, creator of the KKK, mass murderer of surrendered Negro troops, and the grand wizard of the KKK) and worshiping his image.  They have all been Trump supporters, of course. Their bottom line can only be in the name of White Supremacy.  What if this happens where I live?  I’d have to fight to expose this lie, of course.  I would not let my community wake up awash in Confederate flags while the African-Americans started feeling like second-class citizens in their own homes.  The fear of this keeps me awake at night.

I know you won’t believe me, but I don’t break my diet (well, not often), and I exercise like crazy.  Admittedly, I don’t get much sleep with all that is going on and all that I worry about.  But I can’t stand by and let the lies of our current President seep into the local soil where I live.  I can feel the zombie racism creeping toward me and mine.  I WILL FIGHT THIS EVIL WHERE IT SPROUTS.  I WILL ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO FIGHT IT.  I WILL NOT SURRENDER TO TURNING THE CLOCK “BACK TO THE CONFEDERACY!”

Confederate Monuments in Context David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

Cartoon used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star, Tucson, AZ

DOC. H:  All right, General Grant.  I hear you, and, believe it or not, as a White man, I get it.  I can’t tell you how many of my patients have come to me in tears because of what is happening in our country.  Grown White men sobbing because of the racism they see happening to people of color.  As one very lovely Italian man in his seventies told me, he thought we had won the war against racism long ago, and what he sees now is breaking his heart.  Not only do I understand what you’re saying, but I’m going to say something that will probably shock you.  Your numbers are elevated not because of how you eat or exercise but because of the inordinate stress you are suffering from events happening to you on a national and local level that seem beyond your control.  The stress is causing an increase of cortisol in your system, and it wouldn’t matter how little you ate or how much you exercised, you still wouldn’t lose weight.  And because you’re gaining weight as a result of the stress, all of your other numbers are increasing.

SUSPICIOUS ME:  Does that mean you’re going to up my meds?  You know those are fighting words to me, Doc. I refuse to become one of those old people on too many drugs who can’t remember their names or what day it is.  I have to take care of myself the natural way as long as I can through exercise and diet.

DOC. H:  No pills, I promise.  But here’s your new prescription:

#1.  You must fight this evil disguised in the Confederate flag! You must expose this evil! You must lead against this evil wherever it washes up on your shore of influence. You can’t fight everything everywhere, but you can fight what is within your jurisdiction, your writing arena, and your voting power.  It is for this day, this place, and this time that you were called to be.  Don’t shrink back from the fight. Write about it.  Protest it. Stand!  We need people like you, more than ever.

#2.  However, don’t let the fight kill you. You’ve got to get away from here—from the battlefield—if you hope to survive.

#3.  To keep you from having a heart attack or a stroke, I suggest the following:

  • Wage war where and when you can, and then pull back for a respite—on a daily basis
  • Watch or read the news, but only for an hour (bad news can wait); organize your battle plans, but only for a portion of the day, then…
  • Spend the rest of day in your garden, reading, engaging with your husband, spending time with good friends, enjoying your children, practicing your hobbies, thinking about all that is lovely in the world. Be fully present!  What’s that Bible verse I learned as a kid?  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8).
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day—everyday! Give that Fitbit a run for its money.  Keep that body moving, Lady!

Statism

 INCREDULOUS ME:  What?  I think you’re gonna make me cry, Doc. A doctor who understands his patient.  A medical person who gets my struggles. A physician who doesn’t think I’m lying about not eating fried chicken and chocolate bon-bons? Who knew there was such a creature?  I could just kiss you!

DOC. H:  [Smiles] See you in three months.  Oh, and Mrs. Tomczyk—one more thing.  Above all else—be civil. Among the many things the man in the White House has destroyed is civility.  You can’t win this war without civility.  What’s that Michelle Obama maxim:  “When they go low, we go high!”

Incivility Bob Englehart Middletown CT

Cartoon used by permission: Bob Englehart, Middletown, CT

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT THE CONFEDERATE FLAG AND CIVILITY

“The Confederate Battle Flag was the emblem of Jim Crow defiance to the civil rights movement, of the Dixiecrat opposition to integration, and of the domestic terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens’ Councils of our all too recent, all too awful history. White Christians ought to think about what that flag says to our African-American brothers and sisters in Christ, especially in the aftermath of yet another act of white supremacist terrorism against them.” Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission who called for Christians in the South to forsake their affinity for the Confederate flag after the Charleston massacre of Black Christians

“I believe that our president has fostered a culture and climate that has allowed for what was there and has been there for years to bubble up. It has empowered people in a horrific way. Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any question about it.”—Rev. John Gray, pastor of Relentless Church in Greenville, S.C

“Civility is not not saying negative or harsh things. It is not the absence of critical analysis. It is the manner in which we are sharing this territorial freedom of political discussion. If our discourse is yelled and screamed and interrupted and patronized, that’s uncivil.”—Richard Dreyfuss

 “Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”― Stephen R. Covey

Uncivil War John Darkow Columbia MO

Cartoon used by permission: John Darkow, Columbia, MO

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com

THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKS:  Monsters’ Throwdown, Fleeing Oz, The Fetus Chronicles on sale now at Amazon!

WANT TO HEAR THE AUTHOR’S LATEST PODCAST INTERVIEW? http://breadboxmedia.podbean.com/e/what-if-it-is-true-can-you-find-faith-in-darkness/

REFERENCES

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/22/christian-confederate-slavery_n_7638676.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/corey-stewart-airbrushes-slavery-out-of-civil-war-history/2018/07/05/2ef44a06-7be5-11e8-80be-6d32e182a3bc_story.html?utm_term=.ee61505ad0c4

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/08/01/trumps-tampa-circus-proves-you-cant-reason-with-his-base/?utm_term=.98f368a79838

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

ONE FAMILY IN GOD’S EYES

Do you know what I discovered this week?  Charlottesville and Houston had similar “aha” moments for me.  I’ve basically been sitting in sackcloth and ashes for several weeks—unable to pray to God or write a blog—ever since the hate-filled murderous march of the KKK/Neo Nazis/Alt-right in Charlottesville.  Back when I was a child, they wore hoods to hide their faces—now they are unashamed to commit murder with open faces and lit torches to illuminate their visceral hate.  I have been numb ever since—barely able to breathe and scared stiff for every Jew, African-American, Latino, and anyone with the slightest melanin in their skin.  Worried sick that this hatred would wash up on the shores of my children and grandson’s lives.

At first I just put on a shapeless, itchy, sackcloth dress (think burlap coffee sack) while still wearing full diva makeup to signify my mournful state, but when Trump refused to issue a full-throated rebuke to the KKK/Neo-Nazis/Alt-right demons who proclaimed their racist hatred in his name, I stripped my face of makeup and smeared my body with ashes like the old biblical characters.  I also expected to hear a loud thunderous rebuke from the Christians who support Trump about his lackluster rebuke of our domestic terrorists, but all I heard were crickets.  White Christians I once knew who once upon a time said they loved me “in the Lord” were now justifying the actions of the White Supremacists on their Facebook pages.  I was so hurt that I sat down on the ground and proceeded to engage in an African death ritual.  In the dust I mourned the passing of truth, the manifestation of the love of Jesus, as well as my naïve concept of our national unity.

Trump and his many sides rebuke Daryl Cagle CagleCartoons com

Cartoon used by permission: Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com

Then Hurricane Harvey struck, and I really started crying.  Not just crying, but sobbing—that ugly hysterical kind of crying, which turns you into a Tammy Faye Bakker replica.  I cried because I couldn’t see God anywhere in all this horrible devastation.

But on the third day, I noticed something that gave me hope that he might be on the move:  American men and women of all stripes risking their lives to save people of all stripes and not one of them asked if the other were something they weren’t or didn’t like.  Christians rescuing non-Christians, straight rescuing gay, immigrant rescuing life-long Texans, Blacks rescuing Whites, and vice versa.  They all were elated to help and be helped.   It was then that I got up out of the ashes, and started writing letters of observation to God because it looked as if he had showed up in the storm.

National Uniy Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Cartoon used by permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

DEAR JESUS:

It’s me—Eleanor.  You know, the one who is constantly nagging you day and night about the sorry state of our human affairs.

I’ve been wondering where you’ve been.  The scientists are saying this situation in Texas is a 1,000-year flood event unprecedented in scale, and places in and around Texas may never recover.

You’ve been awful quiet of late.  Were you dealing with the severe flooding in Asia which I hear has caused a couple thousand deaths, and there may be more to come in the monsoon season?  Or were you preoccupied with the despair in Africa over the severe famine that may starve out 20 million souls before all is said and done?  Oh, I almost forgot about Syria—maybe you were there.   I feel kind of wretched having barely noticed those other tragedies, but when it comes to my own country, I can’t sleep over the devastation in Texas.  I know I should be more global thinking and feeling, but these are my countrymen and women, and it is in the country where I live.  Right now the devastation in Texas is breaking my heart.  The police don’t know how many still haven’t been rescued and the poor (who always seem to bear the brunt of these disasters) may not be able to recover—ever.  Please help, please save, please deliver, and please restore my sisters and brothers—my human family—in Texas!

Houston Flood Bob Englehart CagleCartoons com

Cartoon used by permission: Bob Englehart, CagleCartoons.com

DEAR JESUS:

It’s me again.  I’m sitting here scratching my allergic reaction to my burlap bag and wondering why you allow so much suffering to happen to us.  I know that humans have been asking their gods this since the evolution of man, and it has always remained a very squishy topic and a mystery.  It would be a lot simpler if you sat down for an interview on CNN or with the NY Times and did a Q&A on the subject.  You could start out by making yourself visible (not being able to see you creates more problems than you can possibly imagine) and letting us know that you are more than our pathetic miniature concepts of you as a god.  Maybe we could withstand the trauma of the journey better if we understood the “why” of the destination.  There are a lot of precious people in Texas who are never going to be able to put their lives back together again.  The rich might be able to, but the poor won’t.

Before I fled Oz (the Christian Church), I used to glibly look at disasters like Texas and equate it to your will—your judgment for some sin that had gotten on your nerves—as if you were a petulant Greek god.  (I’m sure you’re appalled to hear that attributed to your character, just as I am horrified to admit it.)   Let’s just say I had been taught about the essence of your character by some very ignorant people, which is why I no longer attend church.  At least I’m “woke” now.  Now I know you are a God of love and spewing destruction is not in your wheelhouse.

But do you know what will probably make you vomit?  When Hurricane Sandy hit the New York area, Christian leaders like Dobson, Robertson, Franklyn Graham (and many Texan Mega-Church Christians) blamed it on your wrath for the liberal ways of those “northern elites” who supported abortion and gay marriage.  Two Texas (born-again Christians) Republicans tried to block relief and recovery aid to New York and New Jersey.  When Hurricane Katrina practically wiped out New Orleans, those same folks blamed the gay and lesbian communities.  Houston has at least 37 mega churches and 53,525 Christian adherents per every 100,000 persons.  Yet, I haven’t heard one Christian conservative call Hurricane Harvey—the worst disaster in American history—an act of God’s will because of some perceived sin(s) committed by the Texans.  Isn’t that ironic?

People of Houston David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Cartoon used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

DEAR JESUS:

Okay, I did find an egregious sin in Houston that warrants your immediate smack down.  There’s this dude who claims to know you and speak for you.  His name is Joel Osteen.  He has a church of 43,500 attendees and a facility so huge that you could show up one Sunday in all your glory surrounded by 10,000 twelve-foot angels, and no one would ever notice you were there—that is, if you ever deigned to set foot in the place.  His church is the biggest in Houston.  Osteen is reportedly worth $40 million and lives in a $10 million mansion in Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood, and all of it gotten by trying to sell access to a prosperous life via you.  (Is this bringing up shades of you ridding the temple of the money lenders back in the day?)

Anyway, I’m writing to squeal on Osteen’s behind.  While furniture stores were opening up their businesses to house refugees, sporting goods stores were housing entire emergency rescue teams, and ordinary people were taking in strangers in their homes, this dude shuttered his church (your so-called house) doors.  Twenty-five mosques opened their doors immediately upon the onset of the storm to become centers of refuge for their fellow citizens—regardless of religion. Meanwhile, down in the flooded streets of Houston, people were using whatever would float to rescue others, and I even saw a couple guys wearing hats with the NWA logo (“Niggas with Attitudes”) carrying a little ol’ White lady through the flood water to safety.

Now Osteen says he didn’t really close the church (there is a video that shows otherwise). His church is open now, but only because Twitter went all, “Hell to the no, Joel Osteen–you should have been the first in line to rescue your fellow Houstonians after all the money you’ve soaked them for.”   HOWEVER, he later contradicted himself and said he didn’t initially open his church because he was never asked to open it as a rescue center.  (FYI—none of the thousands of volunteers who showed up were asked, they were simply being human.)

May I suggest you talk to your boy, Lord Jesus, and get him to straighten up and fly right. Cause if you don’t, Houston is getting ready to open up a can of whup ass on him for being so “un-Christlike.”  While you’re at it, would you mind schooling Osteen on the fact that the “prosperity doctrine” he pushes in your name (God will make Christians rich if they give at least 10% of their money to people like him so he can have a house the size of a hotel and a private jet) is pretty obscene, and it has nothing to do with you?  Osteen and all the rest of that prosperity gospel gang (most of whom are ardent supporters of Donald Trump) are really giving you a bad rep.  By the time they are finished, you won’t be able to pay people to become Christians.  Just looking out for your reputation.  Love and Kisses, Eleanor

Joel Olstein Meme

Joel Osteen, Christian Empathy Award Winner of the Year

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ELEANOR’S SELAH (“AHA”) REGARDING GOD IN THE MIDST OF PAIN

I am discovering that the spirit of Christ is always in our midst no matter how dark the night or how deep the pain—if we choose to acknowledge that presence.  If there is anything good, or lovely, selfless or kind, there Jesus is. That’s what I got woke to years ago, and I hope and pray that if I am ever caught up in a disaster such as the one in Houston, or Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, or September 11th, that I’ll be one of the people God can count on to administer his love, his grace, his mercy, and his comfort to those around me regardless of who they are and without hesitation.

Melania had right idea RJ Matson CagleCartoons com

Cartoon used by permission: RJ Matson, CagleCartoons.com

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”John 15:13

“Nature is value-free. It can’t tell the role between the deserving and the undeserving. God’s role is not to decide where the hurricane goes and how severe it is. God’s role is to motivate people to help neighbors and improve methods to predict hurricanes. God is found not in the problem, but in the resilience.”Rabbi Kushner, author of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”

“You, me, and the citizens of this country carry a special burden in 2017. We have to do what our president has not. We have to uphold America’s values. We have to do what he will not.”Vice President, Joe Biden

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WANT TO READ MORE OF THE AUTHOR’S WORK?  CHECK OUT HER LATEST BOOK:  “THE FETUS CHRONICLES: PODCASTS FROM MY MISEDUCATED SELF” ON SALE NOW AT AMAZON!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT HER WEBSITE: www.eleanortomczyk.com

*** 

REFERENCES

http://www.thedailybeast.com/joel-osteens-prosperity-gospel-made-him-houstons-hurricane-pariah 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/29/opinions/joel-osteen-hypocrisy-harvey-filipovic-opinion/index.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/joel-osteen-lakewood-church-houston-harvey_us_59a6ac7fe4b084581a148cef?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

http://www.salon.com/2017/08/30/religious-leaders-like-joel-osteen-are-a-big-reason-why-americans-are-dumping-religion/

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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