"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


First, I don’t like ‘em … bugs, that is. Or anyone or anything that causes me to feel bugged.
      Second, by and large, insecure feelings bug me. But people, places or things don’t actually cause me to feel insecure. Rather, my ignorance of, and uncertainty about key aspects of those people, places or things, produce that dreaded, bugged feeling.
      And third, feeling bugged gives me hives—YIKES!

The Good Ship Relation

      Groucho, on one of the original TV quiz shows, You Bet Your Life, used to announce, “Say the secret word and win a hundred dollars.” There’s a secret word today that may not pay a hundred dollars when uttered, but it gives lots of folks hives, and that bug-inflicting word is—wait for the drum-roll—Relationship.
      Why is that sensitizing word such a bugaboo? That’s hard to say—oops, are my pants on fire? Okay, it’s not hard to say: People get hurt through interpersonal relationship failures, and once burned, twice shy, to the degree that we almost universally use a euphemistic substitute: Friendship. So, truth be known, a friendship is a relationship, without all the negative connotations.
      Another issue with relationships raises the stakes against them even higher: That is, the implied element of control. Yes, many control-freaks roam the earth, seeking whom they may devour. And complicating that even further is what popular-psychology calls codependent behavior, or in this case, the need to control, and to be controlled. Think in terms of an artificial bond, akin to that of rare-earth magnets, which are almost impossible to separate without the necessary knowledge and tools.
      We card-carrying, popular-psychologists know a sure fire symptom of codependent relationships: When the controll-ee takes his or her emotional and physical lumps from the controll-er, and makes excuses for the abuser, refusing to end it, that is a codependent relationship. Remember the stuck-together rare-earth magnets? In the observer’s view(that’s me), it is a bad thing, ultimately unhealthy for all parties. I say “all” parties because the most vulnerable of all are the children, who know something stinks in Relationship Land, and without a full understanding, blame themselves.
      Of course, when the controll-ee takes a few lumps, but puts his-or-her foot down and defiantly declares, “Hit the road, Jack!” we’ve just observed an injured, but emotionally healthy, person’s response to a complete jerk, or jerkette, depending upon, (yada, yada, etcetera). By the magnetic analogy, this would be a rare-earth magnet stuck to a piece of stainless steel; It’s a strong bond, but without having another magnet's reversed polls to feed upon, it can be removed with relative ease.

Truth Zone

      While watching Bones, I noted Booth’s and Brennan’s use of a little investigative tool called, The Truth Zone, where they would agree to complete disclosure of all relevant information. Wow! Is that an idealistic, schmaltzy idea, or what?
      While that would be an awesome way of defusing that bugged feeling that I’ve temporarily lost track of due to my popular-psychological tirade, it’s largely wishful thinking. To establish such a space of honesty, we would first have to establish a space of trust.
      Trouble is, there’s no such thing as a unilateral truth, or trust, zone; I can think of no way to guarantee cooperation from all participants. Here is where the “F” word reigns supreme(that’s Fear, for those with a history in the mean world). Even with a referee’s involvement, we fear that all parties will not tell the truth, or even share their best-guess as to what that really is. Who wants to expose their vulnerability without such a guarantee?
      Don’t count me in! So, Bones guys, thanks for a great, but completely unrealistic, idea.

Bag’em and Tag’em?

      Ever more forensic procedurals oozing from my very pores. Now isn’t that a lovely image!
      What the Brennan and Booth characters do with forensic evidence, the real world does with personal observations … as in, interpersonal cues. Trouble is, that’s hardly an exact science. The evidence we gather is always contaminated with relational baggage, sometimes from early childhood. Certainly, such evidence would never make a case in a court of law, even though we amateur, relational forensic analysts typically assign to it rock-solid significance. And therein lies the bugaboo; by trying to protect ourselves with fear, without allowing ourselves the flexibility of listening to and trusting God’s still, small voice, we allow our world of relational hurt to hobble our emotional development. And that’s really bad thing.
      Everyone who gets bugged about sensitive people, place, and thing-issues will not necessarily sprout hives, but God will not condone the emotional handicap caused by fear and avoidance. That’s just not His style.

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