Fantastic Aspies and Where to Find Them

Eddie Redmayne - Newt Scamander
No direct eye-con­tact ini­tial­ly or when nervous.
Eddie Red­mayne and J.K. (her char­ac­ter direc­tion to ER) have skat­ed around (and delib­er­ate­ly across in inter­views) it, but our dear Huf­flepuff is def­i­nite­ly an Aspie. 

Newt: Peo­ple like you, don’t they, Mr. Kowalski?

Jacob: Oh. Well, I’m, uh, I’m sure peo­ple like you, too, huh?

Newt: Not real­ly, no. I annoy people.

.

— Fan­tas­tic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Is He Worthy?

By Andrew Peter­son and Ben Shive
We do
Do you feel the world is broken?
We do
Do you feel the shad­ows deepen?
We do
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from get­ting through?
We do
Do you wish that you could see it all made new?

It is
Is all cre­ation groaning?
It is
Is a new cre­ation coming?
It is
Is the glo­ry of the Lord to be the light with­in our midst?
It is
Is it good that we remind our­selves of this?

Is any­one worthy?
Is any­one whole?
Is any­one able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who con­quered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ran­som the slave
Is He wor­thy? Is He worthy?
Of all bless­ing and hon­or and glory
He is
Is He wor­thy of this?

He does
Does the Father tru­ly love us?
He does
Does the Spir­it move among us?
He does
And does Jesus, our Mes­si­ah hold for­ev­er those He loves?
He does
Does our God intend to dwell again with us?

Is any­one worthy?
Is any­one whole?
Is any­one able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who con­quered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ran­som the slave
From every peo­ple and tribe
Every nation and tongue
He has made us a king­dom and priests to God
To reign with the Son
Is He worthy?Is He worthy?
Of all bless­ing and hon­or and glory
Is He wor­thy? Is He worthy?
He is!
Is He wor­thy of this?

Is He wor­thy? Is He worthy?
He is!
 
He is!
 

More eloquent than “Major in the majors”

Now it is one of the sor­ry fea­tures of evan­gel­i­cal­ism, is it not, that con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal­ism, both here and in the Unit­ed States, has become adept, more adept than any oth­er branch of Chris­ten­dom, at mak­ing the periph­er­al cen­tral and mak­ing the cen­tral periph­er­al; and engag­ing in dia­log and dis­cus­sions about issues that frankly I think are to be set aside if one takes seri­ous­ly the instruc­tions of Paul here to Tim­o­thy as a young man.” Aim for God’s Approval, Pt. A, Feb 7, 2012
— Alis­tair Begg – Truth for Life

Getty — Sing We the Song of Emmanuel

Sing We the Song of Emmanuel
  1. All-in-One — Score & Audio (Mul­ti­me­dia PDF)*
  2. Score (pdf)
  3. Play­back (mp3): SATB, Sopra­no, Alto, Tenor, Bass
  4. Play­back With Click Track(mp3): SATB, Sopra­no, Alto, Tenor, Bass
*This will most like­ly only func­tion in Adobe Acro­bat or Adobe Acro­bat Read­er and will most like­ly ‑not- play inside a browser. 
Errors? Requests? Mail puddleglum@marshwiggle.org

Getty — Hark the Herald Angels Sing V3

Hark the Herald Angels Sing V3
  1. All-in-One — Score & Audio (Mul­ti­me­dia PDF)*
  2. Score (pdf)
  3. Score (midi)
  4. Play­back (mp3): SATB, Sopra­no, Alto, Tenor, Bass
*This will most like­ly only func­tion in Adobe Acro­bat or Adobe Acro­bat Read­er and will most like­ly ‑not- play inside a browser. 
Errors? Requests? Mail puddleglum@marshwiggle.org

Getty-In Christ Alone V2

In Christ Alone V2
  1. All-in-One — Score & Audio (Mul­ti­me­dia PDF)*
  2. Score (pdf)
  3. Score (midi)
  4. Play­back (mp3): SATB, Sopra­no, Alto, Tenor, Bass
*This will most like­ly only func­tion in Adobe Acro­bat or Adobe Acro­bat Read­er and will most like­ly ‑not- play inside a browser. 
Errors? Requests? Mail puddleglum@marshwiggle.org

But I Guess I Wasn’t Worth What I Would Cost Her

Andrew Peterson: The Coral Castle — Carried Along

I don’t need her love to love her all I can.

(*Update: This post had been unpub­lished while I worked to gain some per­spec­tive. I have done so. I am in a dif­fer­ent place. I am repub­lish­ing for pur­pos­es of hon­est con­ti­nu­ity.)

I don’t hold with hav­ing heroes or hero wor­ship. That said, there are two liv­ing peo­ple whom I admire so very deeply for var­i­ous rea­sons that I have to be vig­i­lant in not allow­ing admi­ra­tion to become pedestal-build­ing. One such indi­vid­ual is Dr. Ravi Zacharias (recent events trou­ble me, but they. don’t leave me angry or dis­il­lu­sioned. Rather, I am hum­bled by the real­iza­tion that, ”There, but for the grace of God, go I.”, and that even those who gen­uine­ly love and serve God strug­gle with the sin inher­i­tance we all share.), and the oth­er is Andrew Peterson.

I’ve spent the last two years being told by the impor­tant peo­ple in my life that I’m crazy. Of those who love and sup­port me, I’ve felt that no one has real­ly under­stood my heart and thoughts. Then I dis­cov­er this song writ­ten by my favorite singer/songwriter; an amaz­ing artist, book author, and sin­cere and ded­i­cat­ed ser­vant of God… He under­stands. Some­one under­stands. At least one per­son understands.

I don’t need her love to love her all I can.

That said, those telling me that I’m crazy or a fool were quite cor­rect. I wouldn’t lis­ten. I dis­count­ed their feed­back, not so much because I doubt­ed them, but because of the, nec­es­sary at the time, and awful and so very painful now, stealth nature of pro­ceed­ings. They weren’t “In the know.” Well, OK, yes, and because I doubt­ed them and thought their hearts informed by the taint of this sin­ful world; a world so infect­ed that healthy and God-hon­or­ing appear alien and for­eign. See what I did there? I claimed to be on the side of the angels and con­signed every­one else, even (espe­cial­ly) those poor mis­guid­ed fools who dis­agreed with me, to be unknow­ing­ly agents of The Zeit­geist, the Spir­it of the Age. Down that path lies, if not mad­ness, then cer­tain­ly noth­ing but unful­fill­ment, com­pound­ing sor­rows, and repet­i­tive painful lessons.

Things still do not, for me, process cor­rect­ly and com­plete­ly, and so leave me ever ill at ease. Imag­ine striv­ing and expend­ing all ones’ resources to reach a des­ti­na­tion only to have some kind-heart­ed per­son make the obser­va­tion, far far down the road, that you’ve been hold­ing the map upside down from the out­set. I bounce between cer­tain­ty and self-doubt. Admit­ting error means not only acknowl­edg­ing being in the wrong, but also accept­ing that the ter­ri­ble ter­ri­ble loss will for­ev­er and unchang­ing­ly be so. I still can’t entire­ly let go of this belief which I held. Cow­ardice? Sor­row? I fear that I am the one who mis­ap­pre­hends real­i­ty and I ques­tion my own fac­ul­ties. How much more or less than a few vow­els and con­so­nants sep­a­rate lover from lunatic?

So much pride in what I thought my abil­i­ty to appre­hend and per­ceive the heart of oth­ers. How is it that I, so very emo­tion­al­ly stunt­ed and dam­aged; trained by a sociopath to emu­late a sociopath; hav­ing made a decades delayed start at com­pas­sion and empa­thy; delude myself so unreservedly? 

Per­haps the song speaks of a mad­man. If so, then I am that madman.

I don’t need her love to love her all I can.

Per­haps in this sit­u­a­tion, ‘lov­ing all one can’ means accep­tance of fail­ure, of fool­ish­ness, of error, and vol­un­tar­i­ly incar­cer­a­tion of an organ harm­ful to oth­ers. “If lov­ing is wrong, then I don’t to be right.” becomes the mean­ing­less mag­pie cry iden­ti­fy­ing a self­ish and unkind heart.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Softer

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mer­cies and God of all com­fort, who com­forts us in all our afflic­tion so that we will be able to com­fort those who are in any afflic­tion with the com­fort with which we our­selves are com­fort­ed by God. For just as the suf­fer­ings of Christ are ours in abun­dance, so also our com­fort is abun­dant through Christ. But if we are afflict­ed, it is for your com­fort and sal­va­tion; or if we are com­fort­ed, it is for your com­fort, which is effec­tive in the patient endur­ing of the same suf­fer­ings which we also suf­fer; and our hope for you is firm­ly ground­ed, know­ing that as you are shar­ers of our suf­fer­ings, so also you are shar­ers of our comfort. 
2 Corinthi­ans 1:3–7 NASB

When Love Doesn’t Matter and Never Shall

(*Update: This post had been unpub­lished while I worked to gain some per­spec­tive. I have done so. I am in a dif­fer­ent place. I am repub­lish­ing for pur­pos­es of hon­est con­ti­nu­ity.)

This shall be a work in progress for a while. I’ve not band­width and shan’t for a while. How­ev­er, I wish to get the thoughts out before I lose them.

I’m com­ing to re-rec­og­nize the obvious.

Wak­ing dream of fail­ing to dis­suade Rain from her hor­ri­ble purpose.

Ravi or Ray Com­fort, HAVE “nobody has ever been argued into the king­dom”. Nobody has every been argued back into love once they’ve estab­lished a fic­tion­al per­spec­tive of the past.

I can do nothing.

I have no choice but to accept.

I’m no stranger to hav­ing the past, espe­cial­ly the parts that mat­ter most to joy and the heart, torn and man­gled and made poi­son. Bit­ter awful poi­son. And no choice giv­en, no chance of appeal. Like Socrates, I am made to drink.

I noticed some­thing over the last few days. My heart is grow­ing cold to rela­tion­ships almost across the spec­trum of my life. A part of me knows that this is just hideous­ly awful but the rest of me is just glad of the respite and does­n’t want God, or scrip­ture, or church fam­i­ly to inter­fere. That part just wants to dou­ble-down on nurs­ing and turn my back on the remainder.

Reconnecting a Disconnect?

(*Update: This post had been unpub­lished while I worked to gain some per­spec­tive. I have done so. I am in a dif­fer­ent place. I am repub­lish­ing for pur­pos­es of hon­est continuity.)

A ques­tion has been on my mind a great deal late­ly, and for all my pon­der­ing, I am no clos­er to an answer. Tru­ly, I sort of took a jab at it and real­ized a very short time lat­er how absolute­ly fool­ish the rea­son­ing behind that jab was… it made good log­ic sense, as long as I set aside my aware­ness of the emo­tion­al side of things. In oth­er words, no sense at all. 

The ques­tion is, how do you make the obser­va­tion to some­one of, “I get what you’re say­ing in the here-and-now, but it is com­plete­ly at odds with what you did and said in the before-now.” 

I’m begin­ning to believe that the answer is, “You don’t.” If some­one has care­ful­ly con­struct­ed an alter­nate reality/belief, or has pick-and-choose-en which infor­ma­tion to retain, to give focus to, and to empha­sis, and which to treat as incon­se­quen­tial, dis­count­able, per­haps even for­get­table, they’ve done it to relieve emotional/mental discomfort. 

As bad­ly as I want, for myself (and I tell myself for them as well), doing so is self­ish and unlov­ing. I think that pret­ty well changes the ques­tion of “How To?” to a res­o­lu­tion of telling myself, “You Can­not, regard­less of the effect upon you!” 

It doesn’t mat­ter how con­vict­ed I am. It doesn’t mat­ter how much it hurts. It doesn’t mat­ter if it feels ‘unfair’ or like a wrong which needs right­ing, or like the real­i­ty of the uni­verse has gone all off-kil­ter and spun into the nuclear coro­na of a gas giant. If I claim to love, then I must also act in love. 

And. I must pray for strength and resolve to over­come self­ish­ness and weak­ness when the hurt and temp­ta­tion begin to bet­ter my weak-man. 

Nursing School Update — Aced Chem. Treading Physiology Water

Health and heart strug­gles con­tin­ue, but I did pull an A in Chem. Phys­i­ol­o­gy is prov­ing a bit of a strug­gle, just get­ting every­ing done. 

The late sum­mer ses­sion I will be tak­ing Phys­i­ol­o­gy & Lab, and Nurs­ing 209 in the ear­ly fall ses­sion before tak­ing the TEAS VI exam a cou­ple of times before apply­ing to the Nurs­ing Pro­gram for the March 2019 cohort. 

Nursing School Update — Resuming with Chem 109

So after an extra­or­di­nar­i­ly dif­fi­cult year of health and heart, I will be resum­ing my nurs­ing degree track with Chem 109: Chem­istry for Health Pro­fes­sion­als on Tues­day, May 1st. I’m look­ing for­ward to it with equal parts antic­i­pa­tion and trepidation. 

The late sum­mer ses­sion I will be tak­ing Phys­i­ol­o­gy & Lab, and the ear­ly fall ses­sion will round out all of my pre­req­ui­sites need­ed before tak­ing the TEAS VII exam and apply­ing to the Nurs­ing Program. 

Ear­ly spring ses­sion will be my first oppor­tu­ni­ty to take Nurs 209 the intro­duc­to­ry course with clin­i­cals. I haven’t yet fig­ured out how I’m to pay for that and keep a job as the clin­i­cals are dur­ing day­time hours. Pray­ing for wisdom. 

Laid Up On Da Green

The Driftwood Rule
If you plan to go beach­comb­ing, a word about a local cus­tom. It’s not a law, as such, but you’ll cause severe offence if you break the rule that says you can only pick up drift­wood and oth­er flot­sam if it’s lying below the high­est tide mark. Any­thing ‘laid up on da [the] green’, as they say, has been put there by some­one else and they’ll be back for it some day so please leave it alone. Con­sid­er­ing the val­ue of drift­wood in a large­ly tree­less arch­i­pel­ago, the fact that this rule is uni­ver­sal­ly observed says some­thing about the hon­esty of the islanders. — Shetland.org

Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Shetland (TV series)There’s a BBC crime ser­i­al on Net­flix by name of Shet­land, and it’s mak­ing me dream again on that part of the world. That nature. Those peo­ple. The stark beau­ty. The ever-present wind, the sun, and the rain. It reminds me much of the beach in Fanor, Co Clare in the Bur­ren at Rock­yview Farm­house. The peo­ple and the things they con­sid­er cus­tom­ary that strangers like meself find endear­ing and fas­ci­nat­ing. Just now, “The Drift­wood Rule”. 

I nev­er want­ed to leave Ire­land. Nev­er want­ed to leave the north­ern coast, or the Arran Islands, which Shet­land puts me in mind of. Real­ly, any part of Ire­land except­ing the indus­tri­al­ized agri­cul­ture areas of North­ern Ire­land. It’s love­ly to be able to immerse myself for a brief peri­od of time while watching. 

C’ello. Nice tae meetcha.

I’m lov­ing lit­tle serendip­i­tous hap­pen­ings and try­ing to hold onto them as teth­ers to this life… try­ing with delib­er­a­tion not to let them slip by unno­ticed, unre­marked. As such I want to relate the serendip­i­ty before expla­na­tive back­ground. I’m chuffed and a lit­tle bewildered. 

This morn­ing in the last 10 min­utes of Sun­day wor­ship prac­tice it was decid­ed that I should have a go at play­ing a cel­lo part for the spe­cial music dur­ing the offer­ing. I was delight­ed and a bit ter­ri­fied (though sur­pris­ing­ly not trou­bled by jit­ters). We played a song I’ve long want­ed us to play, Your Glo­ry as per­formed by All Sons & Daugh­ters and I was priv­i­leged to join the beau­ti­ful piano, gui­tar and drums of Ingrid, Adam, and Stephen, and beau­ti­ful (Dur­ing prac­tice, beau­ti­ful. On stage, I’m not cer­tain I heard them at all.) vocals of the first two and our Glyn hold­ing down the low end of the vocal spectrum. 

I’m hon­est­ly not cer­tain how good it sound­ed, but it felt good and it did seem peo­ple were wor­ship­ing, and sev­er­al were delib­er­ate in giv­ing affir­ma­tions afterward. 

So, to the back­sto­ry. I’ve always loved the cel­lo. I feel it has a phys­i­cal res­o­nance with the human body that allows it to touch and pen­e­trate and stim­u­late and com­fort where oth­er instru­ments do not. That said, in all my oth­er musi­cal affec­tions, the cel­lo has always felt a bit beyond grasp. I’ve had Great High­land Bag­pipes. I’ve built a prac­tice set of Uil­leann Pipes. I have three ear­ly sys­tem flutes, two of which for cer­tain were built in the 1800s. I’ve got­ten to own and have enor­mous plea­sure from all sorts of whis­tles, recorders, gui­tars, ban­jos, a con­certi­na, man­dolins, a vio­lin, a Bodhrán, a Glock­en­spiel, pianos, clar­inets, and a bouzouki. 

At uni­ver­si­ty, I stud­ied flute and bas­soon and played in com­mu­ni­ty ensem­bles. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for ensem­ble work, I’ve always strug­gled with get­ting lost, con­fused, and mud­dled if play­ing any­thing not hold­ing the core shape of the melody. 

For some rea­son, the cel­lo seemed beyond grasp of my sil­ly hob­by­ist’s desires to make music with all the beau­ti­ful clever con­trap­tions that have caught my fancy. 

Then, a cou­ple of years ago some­thing very unfor­tu­nate hap­pened. A good friend and musi­cal men­tor passed away sud­den­ly leav­ing the church bereft of a bass play­er to lay foun­da­tion and har­mon­i­cal­ly under­pin the melod­ic tex­ture of the oth­er instru­ments. Also, by serendip­i­ty, a young man of our church had moved on to dif­fer­ent mis­sion­al adven­tures, leav­ing behind a beau­ti­ful Ibanez 5‑string elec­tric bass, and every time I’ve inquired if he want­ed it back, he has respond­ed by say­ing, “If it’s being used to fur­ther the king­dom, I think it prob­a­bly where God wants it.” 

I start­ed teach­ing myself to play the thing while sit­ting at the sound­booth dur­ing wor­ship prac­tices, with­out much hope of being able do the har­mon­ic thing where I’ve always tend­ed towards the melod­ic. It turned out to be sur­pris­ing­ly easy and fun and not the bug­bear I’ve always made it… I want dots on a page, not Alpha­bet fig­ur­ings. I fear the abstract and cling to the concrete. 

I do love the bass and it’s growl­ing per­cus­sive some­times smooth voic­ings, but it put me back in mind of yearn­ing for the beau­ty and res­o­nance of the cel­lo. Each year I would attend our asso­ci­a­tion of church­es’ Faith­walk­ers Mid-west con­fer­ence and be joy­ful­ly trans­port­ed when Lucas Shogren of Clocks & Clouds would lay down his bass and pick up the cel­lo. As the bass began to seem with­in my reach it seemed to draw the cel­lo along with it. If I could teach myself to fill a role on one instru­ment, per­haps I could do the same on one very sim­i­lar in many respects. 

I did not think to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to try as cel­los are very dear and I could nev­er jus­ti­fy the ini­tial out­lay just to jour­ney down a road a piece to see how I got on. I talked to friends about look­ing for one, but only in a vague wish­ful way. Enter Face­book Mar­ket­place. I try not to look so that I don’t find a bunch of things I did­n’t know I need to have. In one of my rare moments of weak­ness, I found what looked to be a beau­ti­ful used full-sized cel­lo here in town when I hap­pened also to have a few unbud­get­ed kopeks rat­tling around in my pock­et. It seemed a rather low price for a love­ly stu­dent-mod­el instru­ment in a very good hard-side rolling case with not much more than a small f‑hole crack to pro­voke con­cern. I felt bad about talk­ing the own­er down to a price I could afford, but which prob­a­bly could not have pur­chased the case new. 

Of course, I quick­ly found it to be unplayable with a tun­ing peg that had no affec­tion for the peg­box to which it should adhere, and a bridge that was placed nowhere near where it should be and had been inex­pert­ly carved to use­less­ness so that if the bridge were to be posi­tioned cor­rect­ly, the strings would lay on the fin­ger­board. I had to find a skilled luthi­er and save my shekels (They seem to hold val­ue bet­ter than do kopeks) for a while to engage him to stop the crack, replace the peg with one stout enough to stick prop­er­ly, and carve a new bridge. 

I got the work done but life intrud­ed for a cou­ple of months, and I nev­er got a chance to get the thing out and play with her now that she was a playable instru­ment. It’s been grow­ing on my mind for a while that I need to put down the bass gui­tar, which is fun and relax­ing to play, and start the hard work of the neo­phyte learn­er. Halfway through this last prac­tice I remem­bered that deter­mi­na­tion and got my lit­tle girl out and tuned her. She tuned. Right away, things were look­ing up *chuck­le*. I start­ed fig­ur­ing out where notes make their home. I had hoped that I would have this under my fin­gers some­what con­sid­er­ing that the Man­dolin, Vio­lin, and my Bouzou­ki are all tuned to GDAE. Nae. A bit of a men­tal rearrange­ment as the cel­lo lives a per­fect fifth below but does­n’t quite make it to the low B I love on the Bass. In the mid­dle of the song they were prac­tic­ing, they asked me if I was going to play with them Sun­day morn­ing for the spe­cial. I thought they were havin’ a go, as this was pret­ty much the first time I’d done more than fight to tune and saw out a few scales. 

This morn­ing dur­ing prac­tice, things real­ly sort of clicked into place. One of my friends on the stage has told me in the past that she val­ues bold­ness so I decid­ed that I could either stay silent and won­der and wish, or be bold and risk doing poor­ly. Risk was reward­ed. As vague and wish­ful as the cel­lo has always seemed, and as sur­re­al as play­ing it dur­ing wor­ship felt, this morn­ing it was made solid. 

The poten­tial was made sol­id. Before me lies a good deal of work and frus­tra­tion; to pull from var­i­ous sources to try to learn good tech­nique and not prac­tice in poor habits that will hold me back fur­ther on. Before me lies the invest­ment to make as famil­iar and com­fort­able, the notes of first-posi­tion of the cel­lo as they have become on the bass, and to build a tool­box of tech­niques and orna­ments to add rich­ness and variety. 

My goal is fea­si­ble. I want only to do what I’ve been doing with bass, but do it with an instru­ment that makes me want to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly hold my breath and weep. I want to use this instru­ment and ask God to use me as His instru­ment as we seek to wor­ship and facil­i­tate the wor­ship of oth­ers in our family. 

What it Means to Fall in Love

With­in this Chris­t­ian vision of mar­riage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at anoth­er per­son and get a glimpse of what God is cre­at­ing, and to say, “I see who God is mak­ing you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to part­ner with you and God in the jour­ney you are tak­ing to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your mag­nif­i­cence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!” 

— Tim­o­thy Keller, The Mean­ing of Mar­riage, Ch 4, pg 121

Bound to Fulfillment

With­out being for­giv­en, released from the con­se­quences of what we have done, our capac­i­ty to act would, as it were, be con­fined to one sin­gle deed from which we could nev­er recov­er; we would remain the vic­tims of its con­se­quences for­ev­er, not unlike the sorcerer’s appren­tice who lacked the mag­ic for­mu­la to break the spell. With­out being bound to the ful­fill­ment of promis­es, we would nev­er be able to keep our iden­ti­ties; we would be con­demned to wan­der help­less­ly and with­out direc­tion in the dark­ness of each man’s lone­ly heart, caught in its con­tra­dic­tions and equiv­o­cal­i­ties, a dark­ness which only the light shed over the pub­lic realm through the pres­ence of oth­ers, who con­firm the iden­ti­ty between the one who promis­es and the one who ful­fills, can dis­pel. Both fac­ul­ties, there­fore, depend on plu­ral­i­ty, on the pres­ence and act­ing of oth­ers, for no one can for­give him­self and no one can feel bound by a promise made only to him­self; for­giv­ing and promis­ing enact­ed in soli­tude or iso­la­tion remain with­out real­i­ty and can sig­ni­fy no more than a role played before one’s self. [empha­sis mine]

— Han­nah Arendt, The Human Con­di­tion, 2nd ed., pg 237

The Wounds We Carry

(*Update: This post had been unpub­lished while I worked to gain some per­spec­tive. I have done so. I am in a dif­fer­ent place. I am repub­lish­ing for pur­pos­es of hon­est continuity.)

Many peo­ple come to mar­riage hav­ing been seri­ous­ly hurt by par­ents, lovers, or for­mer spous­es. I am not talk­ing about par­ents who phys­i­cal­ly or sex­u­al­ly abuse their chil­dren. I’m talk­ing of the more wide­spread expe­ri­ences of cold and indif­fer­ent par­ents or of ver­bal­ly abu­sive par­ents who know how to pun­ish chil­dren emo­tion­al­ly. Then there are the dat­ing rela­tion­ships or for­mer mar­riages in with the oth­er par­ty wrong and betrayed you. All of these expe­ri­ences can make it extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to trust the oth­er sex, while at the same time fill­ing you with deep doubts about your judg­ment and char­ac­ter. “Wound­ed­ness” is com­pound­ed self-doubt and guilt, resent­ment and disillusionment. 

— Tim­o­thy Keller, The Mean­ing of Mar­riage, Ch 3, pgs 60–61

I let myself be crip­pled by this for about sev­en years… my own voice com­pound­ed with the schiz­o­phrenic lies and dis­tor­tions of she who sought, with great suc­cess for a time, to under­mine every decent thing I’ve ever been or done. 

…extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to trust the oth­er sex, while at the same time fill­ing you with deep doubts about your judg­ment and character…self-doubt and guilt, resent­ment and disillusionment.
Even know­ing the voice was one of psy­chosis and hatred, did­n’t stop it from wound­ing me more deeply than I could have imag­ined, wound­ing ever deep­er time and time again. I would be filled with those deep doubts about my judg­ment and char­ac­ter. I would despair of ever hav­ing a future, and I would allow axes of utter non­sense to fell my tree-of-self-awareness. 

I am so very grate­ful, not just for the heal­ing God has giv­en me, but espe­cial­ly for the pro­tec­tion and reas­sur­ance against such attacks. I had thought to nev­er again be sub­ject­ed to such attacks until a let­ter arrived a cou­ple of months ago. This new pack­et of hatred sought to go back to the utter begin­ning of our love affair, well before mat­ri­mo­ny, and paint over great beau­ty with foul and rot­ted pig­ments of self­ish­ness and wicked­ness. Instead of felling me for a time, it became one more rein­forc­ing arti­fact to add to a pile of cor­re­spon­dence which my spir­i­tu­al and psy­cho­log­i­cal advis­ers agree show a descent into madness. 

It pro­duced deep sor­row, but sor­row is not at all the same bun­ny of which Tim speaks. You can­not des­per­ate­ly and deeply love some­one, what­ev­er the cir­cum­stances, and not ache for them and the pain, unhap­pi­ness, and poi­son of hatred they con­tin­ue to imbibe. 

I won’t say that I’ve grown com­plete­ly immune, and to be hon­est I do not want to become so. Satan does find those very occa­sion­al low­est points to charge one of his tempters with whis­per­ing into my ears tired old lies and doubts. I am glad I am not entire­ly immune sim­ply because the hubris of immu­ni­ty would be an utter lack of hum­ble­ness and fail­ure to see myself rela­tion­al­ly as fall­en man in need of Christ. If I became that, I might tru­ly begin to be the mon­ster she describes. I think Spur­geon said it best when he said, “Broth­er, if any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him; for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” All the more rea­son to sur­round myself with friends and spir­i­tu­al lead­ers who know me well and hold me ever account­able. Instead, I think it leaves me clear to see those issues with my char­ac­ter and judg­ment that still mer­it large allo­ca­tions of prayer and effort. 

God brings joy in the morning.

Psalm 30, HCSB 1 I will exalt You, Lord, because You have lift­ed me up and have not allowed my ene­mies to tri­umph over me. 2 Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. 3 Lord, You brought me up from She­ol; You spared me from among those going down to the Pit. 4 Sing to the Lord, you His faith­ful ones, and praise His holy name. 5 For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a life­time. Weep­ing may spend the night, but there is joy in the morn­ing. 6 When I was secure, I said, “I will nev­er be shak­en.” 7 Lord, when You showed Your favor, You made me stand like a strong moun­tain; when You hid Your face, I was ter­ri­fied. 8 Lord, I called to You; I sought favor from my Lord: 9 “What gain is there in my death, in my descend­ing to the Pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it pro­claim Your truth? 10 Lord, lis­ten and be gra­cious to me; Lord, be my helper.” 11 You turned my lament into danc­ing; You removed my sack­cloth and clothed me with glad­ness, 12 so that I can sing to You and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise You for­ev­er.

I’ve explored only of the wound­ing caused by adult rela­tion­ships. So long since has God healed me from the first type of wound­ing Tim dis­cuss­es, that I near­ly for­got to touch on the sub­ject. Learn­ing some cru­cial truths resolved my fear of being mar­ried and of being a father to chil­dren such that they no longer seem jus­ti­fi­able con­cerns. I remain vig­i­lant but no longer paralyzed. 

I have learned to tru­ly love, to affirm, to serve, to sac­ri­fice, to place the pre­rog­a­tive of anoth­er above my own and to take joy in doing so. I am not my father. I will nev­er vis­it upon a beloved wife or child the ter­rors vis­it­ed upon me; the fear of which kept me from believ­ing I had any right to love and be loved. I will have my own unique blind­ness­es and short­com­ings, but nev­er those and nev­er lack­ing the love and humil­i­ty that keeps me from real­iz­ing (yes, after prompt­ing and time per­haps) that these blind­ness­es and short­com­ings exist. 

I like­wise real­ized is that even were there some ‘demon’ hold­ing license to lurk with­in me, a fear I once very much held [knowl­edge of which was used by anoth­er as impo­tent firey dart which fail to wound], I do not exist in a vac­u­um. I will nev­er be sep­a­rat­ed from peo­ple who know me and who have been giv­en leave to look deeply into my life and sift and seek and confront. 

Most impor­tant of all con­sid­er­a­tions is that my deal-break­er-if-lack­ing cri­te­ria for a future beloved is a deep, abid­ing love of Jesus Christ com­bined with a sharp intel­lect, a heart of love and wis­dom, and the courage to be bold. A mar­riage is not one per­son per­form­ing solo, but two per­sons act­ing in sweet and sacred con­cert with one another. 

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
For God has not giv­en us a spir­it of fear and timid­i­ty, but of pow­er, love, and self-discipline.
If one mem­ber begins to play off-piste and ignores the direc­tion of the Con­duc­tor Almighty, the music quick­ly sours and the part­ner in error must cor­rect if sweet­ness is to again be achieved. 

I am no longer slave to a heart of fear on this, or this, or this account. 

The Proper Study of God’s Elect is God

It has been said by some­one that “the prop­er study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equal­ly true that the prop­er study of God’s elect is God; the prop­er study of a Chris­t­ian is the God­head. The high­est sci­ence, the lofti­est spec­u­la­tion, the might­i­est phi­los­o­phy, which can ever engage the atten­tion of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the per­son, the work, the doings, and the exis­tence of the great God whom he calls his Father. 

There is some­thing exceed­ing­ly improv­ing to the mind in a con­tem­pla­tion of the Divin­i­ty. It is a sub­ject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immen­si­ty; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infin­i­ty. Oth­er sub­jects we can com­pass and grap­ple with; in them we feel a kind of self-con­tent, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this mas­ter sci­ence, find­ing that our plumbline can­not sound its depth, and that our eagle eye can­not see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn excla­ma­tion, “I am but of yes­ter­day, and know noth­ing.” No sub­ject of con­tem­pla­tion will tend more to hum­ble the mind, than thoughts of God… 

But while the sub­ject hum­bles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larg­er mind than the man who sim­ply plods around this nar­row globe… The most excel­lent study for expand­ing the soul, is the sci­ence of Christ, and Him cru­ci­fied, and the knowl­edge of the God­head in the glo­ri­ous Trin­i­ty. Noth­ing will so enlarge the intel­lect, noth­ing so mag­ni­fy the whale soul of man, as a devout, earnest, con­tin­ued inves­ti­ga­tion of the great sub­ject of the Deity. 

And, whilst hum­bling and expand­ing, this sub­ject is emi­nent­ly con­so­la­to­ry. Oh, there is, in con­tem­plat­ing Christ, a balm for every wound; in mus­ing on the Father, there is a qui­etus for every grief; and in the influ­ence of the Holy Ghost, there is a bal­sam for every sore. Would you lose your sor­row? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge your­self in the Godhead’s deep­est sea; be lost in his immen­si­ty; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invig­o­rat­ed. I know noth­ing which can so com­fort the soul; so calm the swelling bil­lows of sor­row and grief; so speak peace to the winds of tri­al, as a devout mus­ing upon the sub­ject of the God­head. It is to that sub­ject that I invite you this morning.

— Charles Had­don Spur­geon, Jan­u­ary 7th, 1855