Category Archives: Politics & Elections

Effie’s Therapeutic Gifts vs. the News: Mitigating PTSD

There was the collision last year, and I have finally begun to feel a bit more calm in the car. Now the well-written, well-documented news coalesces with the worst of dystopias into a living nightmare. I can’t read the news anymore. I simply become too agitated.

I am thankful I have mitigants that don’t involve medication. I have a Lord to thank for accepting my hurried prayers, such as, “Lord, grant me the grace to accept and withstand Your will. . . .” For what else can I petition? Does God change the course of His providence in the world for undeserving sinners? I’m thankful He does not!

l have a wonderful husband, a pleasant home, and an exquisitely charming cat. We live near some excellent places to fish, and I take pleasure in fishing.

Effie sensed my anxiety after I left off reading a couple of demoralizing news analyses. Her cuteness is not merely gratuitous–nothing and no one is. Effie has a therapeutic grace within her being.

She’s napping now, and I am uplifted. I feel understood; my cat lolled winsomely for me before her nap, and my husband and I are going fishing after dinner.

What a wonderful world we have been given; and God’s gracious protection and consolation are with us, throughout the best and the bleakest of times.

Effie will never have a need to feign an antic disposition–she’s a natural!

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Of ground hogs and Gadarenes

It hasn’t been good, pushing myself to follow news that ultimately leaves me in the Slough of Despond, gulping for air. (If you are unfamiliar with the venue, it is detailed in The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan.)

Last night, to waylay the effects of the gloomy articles, I decided I would check out the ground hog situation today. I had planned to drive to an arterial bounded by fields where I have often seen ground hogs. Unlike prairie dogs, who sensibly hibernate through the winter until they receive nature’s all-clear signal, ground hogs quasi-hibernate, emerging at various times to test the readiness of winter’s departure. At 9:30 this morning it was still only 16° and foggy. Forget it. I’m more the prairie dog type.

I skipped the news. I thought of Legion, the Gadarene man chronicled in Luke 8:26-38. He was afflicted with demons and quite miserable. Christ came to the man, and of course apprehended his misery. The Lord sent the demons out of the man and into a herd of swine, who promptly ran maniacally over a cliff and perished. The man was grateful. But the owners of the swine were not grateful; they were rueful over their loss of their pigs. They wanted Christ to depart from their territory because they could perceive Him only as a vessel of misfortune. The grateful man whom Christ delivered from the demons became an evangelist.

I don’t need to keep testing the waters of the Slough of Despond; it’s good to be aware of what’s going on, but not to the point of toxic exposure and unhelpful grief. Lord, give me a heart that is more like Legion’s.

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee.

27 And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.

28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!”

29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.

30 Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him.

31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

32 Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them.

33 Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.

34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.

35 Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.

36 They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.

37 Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.

38 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.

— New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Effie’s post-election therapy

p1020381Probably shredding a catnip mouse-and-feather-on-a-stick is a fair tune-up for starters–but no guarantees. . .

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A warm, bright November afternoon

p1020356Effie fends her way through dry sunflower canes, hunting bugs, digging holes, and engaging in other Things To See and Do in Effieland.

After so many days in the 50°-60° range, the temperature hit 80° this afternoon; my yard chair was finally dry after all the rain we’ve had, and I was able to enjoy a pleasant hour in Effieland with Effie, watching her stalk bugs and look very awesome.

My backyard retreat followed my usual Wednesday homekeeping tasks, with the whipping out of a few election stats in between. Our new President-elect aced the Electoral College scoreboard with 57% of the Electoral votes, but lost the popular vote by .2%–about 200,000 votes.

The scenario is neither common nor unheard of. It doesn’t matter–we’re Americans; we survive these things with great resilience and transferred admiration. For the most part, we just like winners, though probably not as much as Effie likes catching bugs.

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Perturbations and trembling

jeffersons-monticello

Jefferson’s Monticello

As the wired world knows, it’s time for Americans to change Presidents again. Some election years are simply more distasteful than others. I find this particular one a bit more revolting than most, but things settle, and our worst expectations seldom come to pass.

My attempt at glibness notwithstanding, I can’t stop myself from invoking (or obsessing on?) Thomas Jefferson’s words:

“Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”  (1785)

Truly. But I also reflect on what we as a nation have survived. God is just, and God is also gracious; and his grace is as matchless as it is undeserved.

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Grasshopper hunt (and various extrapolations)

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. . .”
–W.B. Yeats: The Second Coming

I will be able conscionably to vote for exactly one candidate for office this year, out of all the presumptive hopefuls whose names will fill the federal, state, and local ballots I will receive. I had hoped there would be two, but my state’s admirable Lieutenant Governor decided not to run for a sixth term.

Things could be worse, and they are. For instance, some rough beast driving a huge white truck slouched into Nice, France during a festive celebration of Bastille Day yesterday. As if pretending the crowd were ramparts of the Bastille, he drove along the sidewalk, maniacally slaughtering 84 humans and injuring another 200-plus. This was exactly no one’s finest hour.

My cat Effie  can take down a 2-inch grasshopper, play with it, and consume it in less than half a minute. She possesses raw talent as a huntress, and reveals little evidence of malice or forethought. She descends from animals who killed other creatures for pragmatic reasons, like food, fear, survival. But I will not set up a comparison  between human and animal behavior–it makes me too nuts to think about it. I’ll just say that practically nothing is ever her fault.

P1020119Effie purposefully stalks a trophy-size grasshopper. . .

P1020138and she always gets her bug.

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Effie’s State of the Union Message

I wasn’t going to think about or comment publicly on the U.S. elections this year, but Effie inspired me some time back to let her express my sentiments, as only my articulate cat could, given her natural knack for this sort of thing.

I normally won’t use a photo for more than one post, but I’m making an exception in this case. Inveterate Effiecianados will recall this pic from my December 10, 2015 post, “Effie: Three Variations on Good Morning.”

 

P1010196I think what Effie could be signifying here, is the state and demeanor of our country: going belly-up, with a wide, humored yawn.

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