Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged trust

Sounds of Silence

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Daniel: “I like you.”
Hannah: “I like…frogs.”

The Beauty of Life

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Being a little quirky myself, I could really relate to the following article:

I knew that Jim Hankin was dead before the medical examiner came out of the house to ask me to identify the body.

Jim hadn’t answered his phone for a week. And he didn’t come to the door when I went to his house Saturday.

But that wasn’t the tip-off.

Jim was a recluse, a modern-day hermit who lived in a house so crammed with old tin cans and piles of newspaper that even a cat would have a hard time slinking into some of the rooms.



Sometimes annoying.

Surprisingly sweet.

The reason that I knew Jim was dead on Monday morning was that he hadn’t called his 15-year-old next-door neighbor, Sam, to sing “Happy Birthday” like Donald Duck. It was his signature move.

A few years ago, I thought I had an accurate and true trust in another human being. I had a deep and abiding faith that things would be fine especially because I felt our friendship was strong from moment to moment. I began to expect that my feelings of trust would continue growing and developing.

What is still strange to me is how just a few things I did (and a few things the other person did too) caused the friendship to stress and bend like a metal spring. Before I knew it, the metal was fatigued by fear and distrust, and it just fell apart. The worse part was that I didn’t really see it coming until I was at the stepping off place. As I held what was left of the friendship in my heart’s hands, I didn’t see any way to fix what was left. I didn’t see any way for me to trust that the same stressing and bending of my heart wouldn’t happen again if the die was recast. I was afraid.

In my fear, I chose to stand still. I held myself away from the friendship for a time and tried to sort those distrustful feelings out, but the time only made my fear grow. I felt disconnected and disjointed, like a kneeless giraffe that wants to run, but knows that it cannot. I stayed there in the silence of my soul for a while, cocooned from the hurtful words, pleas, and demands of the other person who couldn’t understand what I was trying to communicate nor what I was doing.

At last, a change happened in me and I emerged from the cocoon in my soul, willing to try to reshape the metal of that friendship again. But, I came to realize that the friendship wasn’t just broken, it was also only memory now as well. The other person wanted to hurt me in return for my previous actions. So, I wished the other person well, and worked to grow in the spirit of unselfish love.

Later, the person tried to rebuild the friendship, but this time there were situations beyond my control that disallowed the rebuilding of the friendship right away. So, I tried my best to put it all out of my mind and see if the roads of life would lead me back to that friendship again. I searched and grew in ways that I never thought possible. Like a butterfly unfolding its wings, I started to see things in new and interesting ways. I often thought of my friend from before and how I would have wanted to share these new skies’ grace with them.

Whenever I saw that person, my feelings were still confused and fearful, like I was struggling in a dragonfly net. My friend couldn’t see the change in me, and the descriptions I used to convey those changes were judged by the words I used and how I had used them in the past. The person was just hurting due in part to my actions, and I knew that I shouldn’t (and couldn’t) pull them up from this hurt. I could only try to amend the past in whatever way made sense.

This strange simile story isn’t complete because I don’t know the ending. I have a heightened awareness of things today, but I see that I am still easily trapped in the webs of my own dreams, instead of reaching for sunlight and letting others reach for me and with me. I see that I need to continue to grow and develop, but most of all, I need to learn to trust that as long as I do what’s right in terms of my head, body, and emotions, then the right thing will happen in the end.

Perhaps a friendship can be mended or perhaps not, but I do know that I must have faith that whatever happens, I will be loved and cared for. I must trust these new wings that I’ve been given by emerging from my cocoon of self so that I may reach the grace of the sky, and dance on the winds’ wings in the sunlight. That must be where I put my faith and trust…


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When the mountains are at your feet,
and this life’s got you in too deep,
when this world’s got you feelin’ weak,
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When the birds, they don’t sing your song
and your words, they come out all wrong
Yeah, life, it’s been gone too long
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When you write a song and its true,
when you climb just to see you through,
when they try, but your smile comes through,
this is home, this is home.

When your heart, it feels way too small,
and you wait, but you get no call,
when you wonder, “Is this all?”
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When your days start to fade and blend
from the start, you can’t see the end,
you might break as you just can’t bend.
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When there’s sunshine on your back,
you’re not broke, not even a crack,
and this love’s got you right on track,
this is home, this is home.

When the stars that lit up your night,
they go out or just seem less bright,
and you wish your dark had more light,
that ain’t home, that ain’t home.

When your moon’s taking back the sky,
you can’t fall even if you try,
you remember you have a why
this is home, this home,
this is home, this is home.
~Allison Lickley

5 Lessons

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Five Lessons About How To Treat People
— Author Unknown

1. First Important Lesson – “Know The Cleaning Lady”

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. Second Important Lesson – “Pickup In The Rain”

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.

A special note was attached. It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3. Third Important Lesson – “Remember Those Who Serve”

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “50¢,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “35¢!” she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4. Fourth Important Lesson – “The Obstacles In Our Path”

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand – “Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.”

5. Fifth Important Lesson – “Giving When It Counts”

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.”

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

from my sister, via Inspire21

An Experiment


It was after dark on the streets of Ann Arbor. The street lights had been on for over an hour as they cast their fluorescent glow on the sidewalks. I was supposed to be up quite early the next morning, so I was in a bit of a hurry while I pedaled my bike down the half-empty streets. There were a few people walking down the sidewalks, but overall the city was not very alive.

As I rode down Liberty, I passed by an older man asking a young couple for directions. I heard, “Do you know how to get to…” but I didn’t catch the name of the place he was looking for. I slowed down just enough to hear the young man say that he didn’t know where it was. I kept riding for a few seconds while I debated whether I should turn around and help the guy. He was dressed in the dirty clothes of a panhandler, and his shoulders showed a slight shrug of tiredness or something else.

I eventually chose to turn around, deciding to at least see what his question was. I rode up to him, and asked him what he was looking for. He said that he had four young children who were up at the hotel on Huron, and they needed food. He wanted to get to St. Francis Church to maybe get some help from them.

He was sweating profusely though the ambient temperature was around 65 degrees. His hands were shaking and as he was talking, he had started to ‘rest’ against a wall nearby in a half-slump. I told him St. Thomas Church was closer, and he said that he couldn’t go to a Catholic church. I then “broke the news” to him that St. Francis was a Catholic church. He started to argue with me, but his words trailed off. Then he said that maybe I was right, and he went into telling me all kinds of details about the hotel and his little girls, and how he only wanted to get them something to eat. Then he asked for some cash.

In spite of my feeling that I was being lied to, I told him that I would walk with him to Jimmy John’s nearby and buy subs for him and his children because I had no cash (but I could use a credit card). He just stared at me for a moment, but then said that he needed money to buy milk for the kids as well. I told him that I would buy them some large sodas. He refused my offer, but thanked me, saying that I was a “good person.” He then walked away quickly before I could reply.

I watched him walk for a while longer, and thought a bit to myself about the dangers of what I did, as well as what was behind my actions. It would have been simple to pass him by and let him keep working the streets, trying to find a friendly soul who would give him some green hard cash. The result was the same, whether I had stopped or not. The gentleman would still be wandering the streets telling his story to any passerby. So, what’s the difference?

I guess one thing I gained is that I now know for sure that I could not help him in the state he was in (given my limited experience and his current outlook on life), instead of wondering later if I could have helped.

As I mentioned before, I feel that people who need help should get it, and I hope that those who are lying eventually get honest so they can get the help they need, not just what they want. Another thing that bothers me in trying to help people who need it is that it is very easy for me to get taken advantage of. What would I have done if that man had a gun or had an accomplice hiding out nearby to attack me? Am I willing to risk my life to help someone who may be trapped in a world of their making, a world filled with some real horrific actions?

I’ve often helped people on the side of the road who have said that they didn’t think anyone stopped anymore and they were extremely grateful for the help I provided. I’ve also met a lot of people like the gentleman above where their minds are twisted (in my opinion) to the point of not being able to ask for any real help. Alas, I don’t know if I could ever tell just by looking at a person whether they were “deserving” of help and trustworthy.

In the meantime, I think I will continue this little experiment of helping people when I can in the ways that I feel comfortable and just see where it leads. I wonder what the results will bring…–how-panhandlers-use-free-credit-cards

In my travels and dealings of late, I’ve come across a lot more needy and homeless people. In the not-so-distant past, if I had money or food, I would give it pretty freely. But a while back, people convinced me that it doesn’t really do the people much good because they often don’t use it for the things they need. Instead, they believe that it would be better given to a charity to ensure that the money is used well, or pay the person for a service like cleaning a car or mowing the lawn.

I haven’t come to a very good conclusion either way, and as a result, I don’t act the same way every time I encounter this dilemma. Sometimes, I’m willing to give a few bucks. Other times, I ignore person completely. I may even help them from time to time.

The article above references what people do with the “money” they are given. Reading between the lines and adding my own experiences to the mix, I find that homeless and needy people genuinely want to be honest and trustworthy from the deepest parts of their souls.

So, what gets in the way of a person’s genuine honesty? I think one reason is perceived need. They “need” to get more food or what-have-you, and that need is greater than the need to be honest in their minds. My own experience has also taught me that as you lie more often, the situations for which you will succomb to lying become more and more frequent. I also think that it can be easy to lie to yourself. A part of you might know the truth, but another part seems to speak over the truth’s voice, and without proper defenses, it’s easy to be swayed by that “voice in your head.”

I really don’t know the best way of dealing with homeless/needy people. Perhaps there isn’t a “best” way, and I should just trust my heart and wether I feel comfortable and trusting in a specific situation. Or perhaps I should find a middle-of-the-road response that I use for all situations. In any case, I hope the people who need help get it, and those that are lying to me or to themselves get honest, and then get the help they need.