Stop it (both a rant and a reflection on current attitudes)

You know I think I’m finally getting the hang of this new editor, yay!

Well if you were curious, I am better today, have been for a couple days, starting icing my inflamed muscles and taking Prilosec (for acid reflux) and I’ve been eating much better.

And another great thing that happened this week was the Oh Hellos (that band I keep leaving links to at the bottom of my posts) dropped another EP, liking it so far. Musical genius. I am actually listening to them as I write.

Plus a friend I have not seen since the lockdown began finally came to Youth Group again.

So, with some good things happening, what should I write about?

How messed up the world is right now? Yeah…

You know, I try to refrain from ranting about it and getting into politics a whole lot, because that’s not really what I want to write about, and I think too many people complain about the world in their blogs, I won’t start naming names because I still like those bloggers, YouTubers, and others, but…seriously?

Here’s a thought that keeps coming back to me over this year.

Stop. Just… stop.

Why do you bother?

I really don’t get the appeal of being “woke” about stuff, giving the hot take on the events of the world like you are some kind of expert on it. Like you really have such a great grasp of the global climate and the suffering of other people.

Now, I am all about Free Speech, I believe that the right to give our opinions in public is the only protection from tyranny we have.

And I believe that even the idiot’s right to free speech must be protected. after all, if the fools don’t speak, they will not expose their foolishness, as Proverbs assures us they will.

My issue with how it currently is is that the fools are the only ones speaking, most of the time, and people of true wisdom simply stay out of the quarrel.

Like the anime movie title, there’s a Silent Voice in both America, and other countries in political trouble right now. There’s the people who just go quietly about their lives, thinking more wise thoughts, and they won’t let on.

Proverbs also tells us that Wise men will guard their tongues and not speak unnecessarily. Which is not really talking about small talk and humor, as some people have been taught by too strict churches, but talking about saying what is better left unsaid, or saying something at the wrong time.

Proverbs says “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Meaning there’s a right time and place to speak, and a right manner.

JAmes says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

Doesn’t sound like our modern social world does it?

Well, newsflash that the media won’t ever tell you: This is nothing new. People have always been prone to petty arguments, talking over each other, and throwing insults more than reasoning.

It’s hilarious to me when people bemoan how free thought and reason have fallen out of popularity…when were they ever in popularity? There have been a few golden ages in the history of the World where Wisdom was perhaps sought after and respected by many people, but those times were decades at most usually.

When church leaders (not just in the church, it’s all over, but I hear it most there for obvious reasons) say we need to get back to being kind, and need to remember that, and not drift, I want to laugh. They mean well, but I always think, “have you read the bible? This isn’t new. Tell us to be better by all means, but don’t imply that we ever didn’t have these same problems. These are just human problems. They have existed since the fall. They will exist until the new kingdom comes.”

The real wake up call anyone reading this needs, if they haven’t had it already, is to realize this is not something that happened because humans have changed, but because they haven’t and won’t.

This is not unusual.

2020 as a whole has been a weird year, to be sure, but the problems it exposed in our culture are not really Racism, Intolerance, or radicalism to unhealthy amounts on both sides of our political spectrum. It was not arrogance, pride, or pettiness.

Oh no, if you didn’t already know all that existed, boy were you either stupid or sheltered way more than a homeschooler ever is. Read a book, seriously, I’ve known about this stuff since I was a kid, just in varying forms.

But I’m sure you did know. I don’t care if you don’t even live in the USA, it’s the same everywhere. You cold live in a remote African village, or in rural China, (though I doubt you’d be reading this if you did) and you could tell me the same crap happens there as I’m describing, it’s just undocumented.

You know what 2020 really revealed to me, I knew it already, but I never saw it so clearly before:

Just how Self-Aggrandizing, Whiny, and Anxiety obsessed my country is.

And it’s not just the young people, though it scares me how prevalent it is for them, at least in my state.

But, oh my gosh, have we gotten delusional.

I hear people say constantly that the world has never been through this kind of thing, the country has never been through this kind of thing, and we are in something new.

I mean, seriously? None of the other crisises in history came close to this one? This one that was made much better by having tech we could connect with each other through, and keep our businesses running with, and our churches. For a national or global crisis, this has been remarkably cushy, the psychological effects are far worse than the materiel ones for most of us who have not lost someone to the virus, or lost our jobs, but even those of us who did suffer that had more resources than the average Crisis victim in any past tragedy would have.

I got handouts I didn’t even ask for from my school, lots of people have.

And the political corruption line? Really. That’s been every single election since Washington stepped down and Reagan served his 2nd term.

I ask you Americans who read this, what do you think we deserve, anyway?

If you are on the Left, what makes you think we are so entitled to social justice?

Your side promotes murdering innocent children, pushing ideologies in schools that many parents don’t like, and pushing secularism and Evolution, a worldview that has absolutely not a shred of evidence.

If you are on the Right, why are you blaming the Left for ruining this country?

Who has sat back and done nothing, for decades? Or at most, protested and petitioned in weak ways, but not gone to the real battleground and taken back our schools and counties, and gotten social media savvy, and tried to understand what kids are up against now, instead of blaming them fro being brainwashed when no one tried to stop it.

I mean, I’ll give the Left this, they make themselves heard, they have popular platforms, they know how to appeal to kids.

The Right often to me does not even try to understand what we like, they just tell us what we should like. In my personal experience, it’s gotta be old music, old fashions, old ways of doing things. And anyone who doesn’t like that is just a snowflake wimp.

So much for being the trendsetters.

No, though I support Conservative ideology, the actual actions of Conservative often fail to impress me. There’s some very cool ones out there, but many just sit on their duffs and complain and say it’s all wrong, and do nothing whatsoever that will ever be remotely useful in the long run.

So, I ask, what ecactly do you expect?

You can call this years election a joke, but this is exactly what you asked for, and you know how?

Because you fall for the click-bait, you start the arguments, you rail at people who don’t agree with you.

You demonize the other side, and you worship any leader who echoes your opinions.

But what’s worse than all that, is you actually have the audacity to feel sorry for yourself. To feel you’ve already lost, and that your life will be forever ruined by forces you cannot control.

And that absolutely can and has happened, in the past, but you take it on before it’s actually set in stone, and live your life afraid of the future, and what the opposing side will do to you.

(I don’t mean all this as necessarily someone who is reading this does that, though it’s possible, I mean to the grander audience of people who complain in general)

Now, it may be no one knows what to do. But why not just admit that and start praying? Why must me insist on being so arrogant that we will deny just how clueless we really are, and refuse to seek wisdom, to study how it was done in the past, and how real changes were actually made.

I am so sick of the Self Pity. How dare we feel sorry for ourselves when we have the most freedom to control our fate, and people would kill for that in oppressed countries. And they must look at us in amazement at how scared we are.

Believe me, I get scared by the corruption too, but I have not yet been convinced that I am helpless. There are measures still open to me, and at the very least, if I can change nothing, I can at least choose not to compromise.

We asked for this. We really did. And we didn’t try to stop it. Why? Because we decided we liked anger, we liked hatred, we liked ignorance.

And I am not talking about racism or bigotry as the media defines it, I mean the pure corruption in this country that people can’t stop whining about, just as if they didn’t all contribute to it.

It’s like the Hunger Games, if nobody watched it, this gruesome, sick, charade couldn’t keep going.

69 The Hunger Games HD Wallpapers | Background Images - Wallpaper Abyss

So why do we watch it?

Part of the point of that saga is not that people will necessarily force kids to fight for food in a post apocalyptic future, it’s that people will accept evil that they do not have to accept, if it’s entertaining. That people will be fooled into thinking they can do nothing about it, if they are shown something as normal, and as supported by rich, privileged higher ups. Who in turn think they can do nothing, because people pay them for this.

That’s why things are this way this year.

And all the whining about how awful it is is not going to change a thing, that’s part of the problem. You do realize that the facade literally depends on us complaining about it instead of actually trying to improve our own lives.

I’ll tell you, if we all tried to improve our own lives alone, we’d have changed this country years ago, let alone if we tried to help out others.

That’s what Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness means, guys. The freedom to pursue the best life for yourself possible, whatever the confines of your situation are. People cam to America with nothing and became rich, not because they had “privileges” but because they believed they could change their situation.

Despite many bad legal decisions in the last few decades, that is still true and has not yet quite disappeared, though many foolish people are trying to remove it.

I don’t have a plan to fix this country, nor do I necessarily think it will be fixed, because I am much more concerned with individuals and how they think, and feel.

I am just using politics as an example because it’s an obvious one, but what I’m saying applies to all areas of life.

Just stop. Stop commenting on everything. Stop complaining about everything.

Stop talking about how corrupt our leaders are, you’re the one who even watches the news to get told who to vote for, why are you surprised when they make a sensation, that’s what you asked for, because you like feeling stirred up (nobody who doesn’t like that watches the news, trust me.)

Guess what, there are other candidates who dion’t get coverage at all, do you bother looking into them?

Stop trying to sound smart.

Stop trying to diagnose the problem.

Stop thinking that talking about it is a solution.

Like, raising awareness, what is the point of raising awareness? It stops nothing. It only intimates people who might actually do the right thing if it wasn’t shoved in their faces how terrible they are for not doing it.

But, hey, no one has to listen to me. I know that. I know that I am talking to myself here as much as anyone. But this is the best advice I could give myself. Like Portia and Alice, I don’t always follow it, easy to say, not easy to do.

But even so, I am learning.

The real reason the Bible advises us not to get too concerned with world events is because Jesus knew just how much of a trap it is, trying to fix the world that cannot be fixed, and getting sucked into the void of trying to find the perfect solution that doesn’t exist.

Because Jesus is and always will be the only Perfect Solution to anything and everything. And he cannot be controlled by us and our efforts, though he may use them.

I think, in the end, many people my age wouldn’t even argue with me that there is no real answer in this world, they just lack the hope that there is a better world with the answer that we can be a part of.

Which saddens me. The only real way to prevent despair is to hope in something that cannot be taken away by the world’s circumstances.

Christians get flack for focusing on what is unseen, and what is often vague and hard to understand, on a distant Heavenly future instead of solving the present problems.

But remember Christianity was founded under a wold dominion, a time when a human solution to the problem seemed impossible. That was why it was so clear why Heaven had to be the answer.

Because God’s kingdom must be untouchable by man’s rules or ways, or it is weak and empty, just like our own. So it can’t be an earthly kingdom. No earthly kingdom is permanent, if you set your hope in that, you might as well despair now.

So, to wrap this up, my final thought it that I will hate to see my world collapses around me, and I hope it doesn’t for a very long time, but I now it will, sooner or later, and when it happens, I want to find the rock under my feet was always something that the world couldn’t take away from me, because it wasn’t o f the world to begin with.

And I encourage people to think about that, as this year draws to a close. You lost a lot more than you expected, but what did you find unshakable? If there was nothing, then maybe you built your life on the wrong thing to begin with.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Resisting Resignation.

I have views from Thailand and Belgium today, man, it blows my mind how many countries get represented on this site.

Also, yesterday marked my 9th week of not drinking coffee, after drinking it nearly every day for several years, my family is amazed I did it. It takes 9 weeks to either completely break or build a habit.

And I’ve not been feeling any healthier, honestly. Yesterday I woke up and had one of my mysterious gagging episode, with nausea and neck tightness and back pain. Best guess so far is GERD, but my chiropractor thinks I have pinched nerves, and it’s true, stretching my muscles does seem to help. More fun from having a misaligned spine for so long, all my internal organs got squished together, fun.

My church had a healing service last night, and I got some prayer, the lady must have had a word of knowledge, she prayed for my intestines, neck, head, and even brain, not the usual guess for headaches.

I know many people view Faith Healing as one of the biggest scams of the evangelical/Pentecostal/charismatic church. And I agree there are some real frauds out there, and you will always find frauds whenever anything can get you fame and fortune.

And I’ve never really been healed all in one go either. I’ve wanted it, but it’s not the path I’ve been given so far. Though that may change.

But I still believe in it. I’ve met people personally at my church who got healed, we get reports of cancer being gone and other problems too all the time.

One can believe it was all a misdiagnosis, but after the 20th time, you just start to find that a flimsy excuse.

God truly does heal. At my church we know it does not always happen right away, my pastor says he’s known it to be one or two weeks after the initial prayer, my mom’s read of it being 1 or 2 years.

It does not seem to matter too much. We know that the answer to prayer can be delayed, both the book of Daniel and the New Testament say so. For different reasons.

So, if you were wondering, no, I don’t feel 100% today. I feel better than yesterday, thankfully. Yesterday morning I woke up and couldn’t eat, today I ate a bit, usually it’s worse in the mornings and by night I can eat an almost normal meal, like Morning Sickness. Or else I just get so hungry I don’t care anymore.

Half my sick feeling is usually not eating, and I’m working on controlling that, but I am very tired of feeling this way, it all started about a year ago, the first time I had a gagging episode, but I’ve had nausea spells, cramps, and neck pain for most of my life.

I thought my spine realigning would make it better, I was already doing better, and I thought for sure, decreasing the amount of stress on my neck, head, and back would get rid of the tension causing my episodes. My sister massaging my back has often provided some relief, so I thought a professional, definitely.

Instead it was worse than before, I gagged longer, and felt really sick. True, it didn’t last more than 20 minutes or so, and my stomach felt better after a bit of massaging. My chiropractor even walked me through a few things over the phone that seemed to help, though my hunger still upset my stomach. Towards dinnertime I felt almost back to normal, and I actually ate a real meal. This morning I didn’t feel nearly as bad. Good, right?

I have a doctor’s appointment in a few hours to try to find out more about this problem, see the likely solution, and if I can make it better for myself.

I was told, however, not to rely on doctors or medicine, but that God would do a miraculous healing. Which I have been begging for, I hate doctors (not personally, just going) I hate medicine. I used to take pain meds almost every day while suffering stress headaches (which were actually misalignment headaches, in hindsight) and eye strain, and I got to where I felt I was taking it way too much, and it wasn’t even working that well, so I began trying massages, stretches, tea, heating pads, anything natural, and it worked, usually I can get an ache to leave in a few hours if I’m not hormonal (then it’s always harder) with the right treatment.

I always think too, what if one day you have no access to medicine? It’d be much better to know what else to do, wouldn’t it? What did people do before medication? Believe it or not, they were not generally unhealthier than we are now, they just had more diseases without vaccines, and when they need surgery it wasn’t available, so they did die ore, but they didn’t always suffer from the same infirmities more than we do. They had natural remedies that more and more people now are finding work better than medication anyway.

If anything, professional help has added problems to me, I never had jaw aches and headache because of my teeth before I got braces and my jaw line was changed, it still bothers me now, my chiropractor told me my jaw is also out of alignment due to my neck. OF course, no orthodontist ever brought that up, and I even went to one to consult for the headaches. No one said “Oh, if your neck is messed up, your jaw might be pulling on it wrong and causing headaches, sorry we didn’t tell you that before treating you.”

I mean, really, we should require neck evaluations before we make people wear braces or even glasses, because those muscles both on your teeth and eyes, and those things won’t fix all of it. The average Chiropractor visit is still cheaper than either an orthodontist or an eye doctor, figure it out Health Department.

I get it, chiropractors are seen as jokes by many doctors, I read one saying “Don’t ever let those buggers touch you above your neck.”

Well, mine is a full body health specialist, so he’s a bit different, he didn’t jerk my neck or anything crazy. But hey, it’s your fault if you don’t look up who you’re going to before you do.

What I like about the chiropractic option is it relies on your body’s ability to heal itself. Some doctors, bless them, do also take that approach, but many treat the body as a malfunctioning organ that they just need to pump with meds and alter with surgery, and replace parts of, and all that is never gong to work as well as what God designed. 3D printed bones still don’t come close to God’s original, you know why? Our bones produce blood cells, white and red.

I don’t want to get surgery, I can’t afford surgery anyway.

And I don’t want the option some physicians say “Just live with it.” I hate that response, especially from a doctor. I mean, it’s like “Uh, jackass, if you don’t know how to help me, can you suggest a specialists? A nutritionist maybe, don’t just tell me to live with it! What kind of doctor says that!”

Sheesh. Well, no one’s ever told me that, but I read stories.

I believe almost nothing is incurable. Just that cures for many things have been forgotten because chemicals and minerals solve everything now.

And let’s not forget how many toxins we put on our own food now. My family tries to buy healthier stuff at farmer’s markets, but we can’t avoid every pesticide and GMO.

Some people think that certain chemicals in the food are supposed to make us more compliant, I don’t really buy that, but it freaks me out that many food corporations require GMO products and pesticides in their food.

Luckily, where I live, if you’ve got a greenhouse, you can grow anything, all year round, so I don’t really experience the “out of season” problem even with local food, though it does ripen differently depending on the month.

Anyway, that was a tangent, but someone actually asked my about it in my French class, and it is related to health, especially digestive health, like mine, though digesting the food seems fine for me, it’s just eating it.

I’ve told my family that sometimes, for me, even eating is an act of faith. I can feel so ill, and be so afraid of immediately throwing the food back up, that I don’t even want to try.

Let me stress, that’s never actually happened, I’ve probably thrown up less than 20 times in my entire life, and only once did I throw up more than 2 or 3 times while I was actually sick. My stomach functionally seems to be fine, but I’ve always feared doing it. Like I see it as some kind of ultimate defeat.

I know, it’s strange. Throwing up can be a result of so many non serious things, like over eating, over heating, over exercising, etc. that it’s not like I should treat it as a sign I’m dying, but I loathe being nauseated. And this fear makes me do things to end up more nauseated, see how that works? The vicious cycle is again my real problem.

I hope I didn’t gross you out too much, I mean, this is my life, this is what I deal with. I probably don’t seem like that kind of person in writing, I tend to write with more confidence than I actually think I have.

Plus, up until the last year and a half, I wouldn’t have thought of myself as still having this problem, I thought I was over it, till I had to deal with it all the time.

What I really hate is how it steals my joy. I know a girl who’s been dealing with stomach problems for probably 3 years now, and she is still able to be happy and cheerful, at least at church, which perhaps is not saying much but it’s more than I can be when I feel bad. I can never hide it.

Still, and this is the most important part of this post, if you’ve read this far, thanks for listening to my life story here 🙂

but the most imporant thing, is I have realized I have certain blessings I never knew I had before, because of feeling so bad.

My family has been very supportive of helping me find new things to try eating and drinking to help. Paying for doctor visits, since my income is still under $100 a week, if that much. Massaging my aching muscles. Sometimes I’m not very grateful, but I shudder to think what going through this alone would have been like.

There are times I take out my frustration on them, but it’s gotten a lot less, it takes a lot more to really get under my grill than it used to, so I guess my patience has increased.

Another change has simply been I don’t get mad at God. I do get frustrated, I have times of asking Him why this is taking so dang long, why I feel this way, and of begging Him to tell me what to do–and sometimes, He does. God is the best physician after all. Nothing too elaborate, just to eat, to go to the doctor, to not go, etc.

I know for some people who live 20 years with the same problem the idea of going one year and getting frustrated must seem pathetic..or it doesn’t, because maybe at one time, they questioned it and were discouraged.

But honestly, for most of us, myself included, it never occurred to us to question it.

I never really found my stomach and neck problems frustrating, until I found out they might be fixable. Some of you know what I mean, once you know, it’s a thousand times harder to be patient. Resignation is such a powerful killer of restlessness.

And when God tells you to rest, without becoming resigned, it’s freaking hard.

Seriously, there are times I just wish I could give up on the idea of getting better, and try to cope. To say to myself “well, I know there’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ll just have to sit this one out, lie in bed all day, and that’s okay.” It’s not like it’s not tempting, isn’t it? Sometimes even emotionally, we’d like to do that.

But if the reality is, there is something I can do. I can try to find a way. I can believe there is a way, to be better, then aren’t I cheating myself if I resign myself to illness?

From dizzy spells, to stomach problems, to back pain, to skin problems, people accept stuff they don’t really have to live with. We think it’s too expensive, or too much work, or we’re just plain scared.

I relate to all of that. But I will say after months of suffering, you start to feel like none of those reasons are worth it.

So, yes, I’m still going to try.

One more thing, there is something that I’ve done, more because I had to or go insane with self pity, than because I just want to be positive,

But I had to start looking at what I could do.

Did I feel too sick to do everything I normally do today? Maybe, but did I manage to get schoolwork done? Did I write? Did I read? Did I make a YouTube video? Did I manage to run a short errand like buying apples or getting gas.

Most importantly, did I still worship God today? Did I read my Bible?

That’s the real goal of all this stuff, separation from God, and if I don’t give in to that, ultimately, it failed, even if I still felt like crap, but usually, I feel at least a tiny bit better after worship. Scientifically, it boosts your immune system, and I believe releases endorphins.

Anyway, this has been along post (I miss my word count, still don’t know hoe to use it on the new editor) so I’m going to end it here, I hope you got something out of it, until next time–Natasha.

Lost in The Fire.

Well, the Oh Hellos released a new EP, and my Dad’s house burned down, so it’s been interesting since I last posted.

My dad wasn’t in it, thankfully. But he was pretty shook, as we say now.

Right now, it’s the third day of me waking up and seeing a yellow sky out my bedroom window. It’s so weird, like a post-apocalyptic teen movie. I guess there’s a strange beauty in it, and for a wonder, it’s been much cooler. I find it ironic that a fire burning had made it cooler, but one man’s loss is another man’s gain.

Fire does make rain too, so maybe in a few weeks we’ll reap some much needed benefits from this, but for now, no one is seeing it as a good thing.

People always say living on the West Coast is scary because of earthquakes, but the wildfires and arson every year are actually the biggest problem for us, way more than earthquakes.

Strange, my dad’s house was in danger a couple weeks back, but we prayed, and the wind actually changed direction just like we asked. So this time around, I didn’t even think about him being in danger of losing it.

When the ash starts falling down here in the valley, we know the fire is too close for comfort, even if we’re out of reach of it.

Falling Ash – Sam's Online Journal

I can’t explain why my dad’s house got spared once only to burn down two weeks later. Anymore than I can explain why Anne Frank made it to the allies winning the war, but still died in a Nazi prison camp.

In the fan fiction I write, I actually just had a fire happen in the story, literally af ew days before this, and was having the characters deal wtih the aftermath, asking some of the same questions that we’re aasking in real life now.

Why?

And what is the point?

When we get one miracle, sometimes it almost feels like mockery, especially if later we still lose the thing. Why get it longer at all? Why raise false hopes?

The Bible has examples of that too, the Israelites win one battle, lose the next. Get saved from their enemies, and years later, get taken captive. God warns them, but they probably were still confused, since when did they ever listen to the prophets, after all.

It could be that our idea that because we were saved once, we automatically will be saved the next time is actually foolish and not one God tells us to have.

God promises to always protect us, but not that it will look the way we want it to. Not that we will never lose anything.

Indeed, most of the Psalms is the author praying for emotional protection and protection from sinning, as well as physical protection.

There’s pretty much zero chance my dad will read this blog, (or listen to me, after all,) but I wonder if he’s thinking that all this just means he can’t win. He can’t be happy.

To be getting close to peace, and to have it wrenched away. Why does God allow this?

And me, personally, it’s a reminder that I may not be as far out of the woods as I think, in my own life.

Of course, safety is an illusion outside of God’s will. We never really know what will happen. We could walk out the door and get killed, or we could have an accident in our house. The only risk free thing to do it sit real still and never move…and then you die of starvation or lack of exercise.

God just doesn’t mean for us to do nothing dangerous our whole lives. Danger makes it worthwhile.

See, being better off from one minute to the next is something completely in our own heads, unless we measure it by how much we are trusting God. I am no safer this minute than I am on a mountain top in a lightning storm, it is just to me that it seems different.

It’s not wrong to think things are going well in our lives, or going poorly. The Bible certainly never tells us to throw out that standard, how else can we understand God’s goodness? But it cautions us to keep in mind that it is all a gift, not what we are owed.

I believe God does want each of us to be happy, in the right time and right context for happiness. But not a isngle one of us ahs a correct idea of happiness when we first walk with God.

My ideal of happiness as a new Christian was not to have trouble, not to have relationship problems, and to have a good career, husband, children, and be able to do what I loved doing.

To be honest, I still prefer all those things.

But I’ve had a series of rude awakenings that none of that gurantees happiness. To my amazement, I can be sad even if nothing is going wrong in my life at the moment, and I can be happy even if everything is going wrong.

Stasi Eldredge recently wrote a book titled “Defiant Joy” and I think that’s appropiate, the deepest Joy is usually defying the circumstances.

Suffering has a way of making us understand better whyt his world just cannot satisfy us, and our Joy is clearer when we see it depends on heavenly things, not earthly things.

I don’t just meant hat as a cliche, I mean that the ability to think about how heaven is, how God is over all, how we will live forever in that Reality, is the key to feeling true Joy.

You know, if I could give a pieve of advice to any new Christain, or curious seeker reading this, I’d tell them “Pay attaention to the cliches, the cliches are true.”

There’s hardly one Christian saying or teaching, which people usually roll their eyes at, that I have not found to be ultimately a profound truth.

“Just have Faith”

“You have to trust God”

“Don’t focus too much on earhtly things”

“God is in control”

We like to say that those just aren’t comforitng, that they make us feel liek no one is listening to our pain.

But I’ve come to see those sayings came form genrations of Christians going through trials, and finding that those really were the simple turhts they had to hold on to, in the end the simplest things are the most Comforitng. Like

“You’re not alone”

“God is in this.”

We say it because it’s true. Cliche or not.

I still think that God will “give me the desires of my heart” as the Word says, but I now know better that those desires will sometiems feel like a chore too.

I’m not married yet, but I do realzie once I am, there will be tiems my husband seems like more of an annoyance than a blessing. Same with children. Even if I live out my dream of adopting, I’ll certainly be tired of it at times.

I love teaching, but I don’t love it when I have a headache or didn’t sleep the night before.

Nothing mortal is always fun. Even worshipping God can be a struggle at times.

But, even so, it doesn’t make those things not worthwhile.

And losing them doesn’t mean you give up.

If I gave up every time I was disappointed, I’d not have anything left, that’s the honest truth.

I mean on everything, too. Deliverance from my personal problems, getting a job, getting a boyfriend, writing a successful book, getting a car, teaching.

All of it I got let down on a lot of times before I got any of those things, and I still am waiting on some.

I’ve learned the hard way that if you get knocked down, you really do have to get back up. Even if it’s not fair, even if it’s tragic, even if it’s tearing your heart out to keep going, you have to, or you’ll shrivel into nothing.

I think the Karate Kid remake actually summed that up in a beautiful way. (I liked the new one better than the old simply because I thought it had some deeper themes than just overcoming a bully problem, not that that’s bad, but of overcoming loss itself.)

The Bible says “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” {Proverbs 24:16}

I guess you know you’re the righteous by seeing if you got up again. It doesn’t take much to defeat someone who has no character.

They say the best way to heal from losing a pet is to get a new one soon. I think that is true. It’s easier to dare to love again if you don’t let the memory of your love fade away, along with the pain, by not loving anything else again.

Rebounding is not always healthy, but it can be far worse to close off forever. No, it is far worse.

All this to say, whatever you lose, you need to rebound. Wisely, but do it. It’s the only way to heal.

I believe that is why at the end of Job, God gives him all he had, doubled, save for his children, since God seems to count the ones who died as still being part of the number, a note of respect most people miss reading that story (I got it pointed out by someone else).

God’s message is not that the loss didn’t matter, but that Job, having lost everything, had to start again if he would be restored. That is the only way to heal.

Job is one of the only Old Testament men mentioned to have given his daughters an inheritance, treating them as equals to his sons. We aren’t told why he did this, but perhaps he realized that in life, you should bless people as much as you can while you can, because you really have nothing certain, and gender and age just don’t matter as much as we think.

Job loved harder after losing everything, and that is how I want to be. I want my loss to mean that in the future, I’ll give more to people I wouldn’t have before.

Well, that is all for now, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why should we make our bed in the morning?

Yesterday marked my 4th straight week of being off coffee. This is from someone who loves the taste of coffee and has drunk it almost every day since I was 15 or 16.

I went off it because of my infection, coffee is bad for a sore mouth, too acidic, but I realized in the onset of headaches, energy drops, and cravings that followed that I am a little too dependent on coffee. I’m no addict, but still, I don’t love the side effects.

My mood changed too. I wake up and feel a little down most mornings, low energy, empty stomach, etc. Coffee can help jolt me into productivity, I usually work on creative stuff in the morning, and do actual work in the afternoon. Of course, needing caffiene is part of what makes that feeling, so I’ve created the problem I’m trying to solve. Who can relate?

Today, I felt better than I have in days waking up, but it’s funny how when my obdy does better, my mood tends to swing back to fighting off the blues.

I’ve noticed illness can be a distraction from other problems. Some people are forever worrying about their body, who are probably actually perfectly fine, because that’s easier than facing the fact that they are lonely, unhappy, or angry about something in their life.

Of course crippling anxiety comes with illness, for me, a lot, though I’m getting over that, but to me anxiety is an old feeling, and Im used to it. The feeling that my life has stopped, will never change, will always be this gray, drab indoor existance, that is what I prefer not to focus on, when I don’t feel well, that’s easier.

Not that I prefer feeling ill. It’s a vicious cycle.

This morning I was going to watch a movie (I bet some of you wish your mornings were so free you could watch movies on a Friday, but sometimes it just makes me feel like loser) and I was going to watch G. I. Jane (good film), but it was unavailable all of the sudden, so I selected a movie my mom recommended and I was planning on watching: “Julie and Julia.”

If you like cooking or human interest stories, I think you’ll like this film, but this post is not a review.

It’s just that the film brought some things to mind.

I dont know about you, but since quarantine really started dragging out–you know, after the first 2 weeks– I’ve had issues watching anything that reflects any of the emotions we’re all feeling. Fear, depression, a sense of purposelessness.

But converseley, watching anything about freedom, happiness, and the perfect ending also grinds my gears, it’s like its taunting me with a “You can’t have this. Your life is on a loop.”

I know I’m talking to someone here.

Basically, I’m tired of living through a screen, one way or another. But reading has had rather the same effect, it’s almost worse in a book, I get more into it emotionally. I just read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and that was a rollercoaster, but hey, being in hiding, being in lockdown, there’s a lot of similarities. Anne describes the living for the little things, the brief glimps of the outside worl through a window, or through friends coming over. The frustratation of being stuck with other people, the joy of finding solace in other people…etc.

The fear of something going horribly worng. Even if at times she felt her life wasnt worth living, she was terrified at the idea of losing it.

Yeah, it hits home, doesn’t it. At least I know Im not crazy.

I figure everyone feels the same as I do, so there’s no reason I should hide it.

I was walking down a street yesterday, and I heard some women talking very loudly, the hwole block could have practically heard it, about having troulbes in their relationships. One was, anyway, and she felt seh had no reason to have a meltdown, no reason to feel this way, she was supposed to be happy. The other woman loudly told her that the whole world has never gonet hrough anything like this, we’re all in it.

I felt both sympathetic, and like laughing at this.

On the one hand, I feel you, ladies. I really do.

On the other, its pretty narcissistic or else just ignorant, to say the whole world has never gone through something like this. Oh yes it has. This is still small compared to WWII, the Great Depression, the Communist Threat in the East and Russia. I’ve read the books, it was just like this, but worse, because we can still go out, still face-time our friends, and still lead relatively normal lives, just differently. Some of those people couldn’t trust their own family not to turn them in. Couldn’t trust they wouldn’t be shot if they left their house.

I know, there’s been rioting here in the USA, so some people don’t feel safe, but it’s not every single place in the country.

Things could be a whole lot worse. And as a Christian, I have it on authority, one day they will be. But this is not the end yet. It can’t last forever.

You know what’s strange, not a single person I know at my church has contracted the virus. I’ve not heard of one. Even their families for the most part. Fortunately, no one in my own family has got it either.

Even with the knowledge that we are relativley blessed compared to past crisis, I understand many people have lost someone, or are simply depressed because of the constant gloom.

You have my condolences if you have lost someone, but there’s not much I can say about something I haven’t gone through, so I will focus on what I can perhaps help a little with.

I honestly feel like, part of the problem is that we all have toom uch time to think, about all the things, not just that we wanted to do in the future, but that we have failed to accomplish in the past.

We’re not where we want to be, and now it feels like were not even getting there, because we’re stuck in the same place, with the same people, every single day. Week after week. Month after months, has it really been 8 months? At least for some countries, I think it’s 6 months here, soon.

Before, I could do things that distracted me from feeling like I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I thought, I’m at least working on getting there, but now it feels like that ground to a halt, not by my own choice, and I feel out of control. Hence the depression many people are feeling.

My sister says that it’s human nature, not know what will happen makes us wonder if anything is worth it, but if we knew what was coming, we’d be afraid of it because of our mortality. I guess that’s why so many myths portray finding out the future to be a fearsome thing that causes people to make really stupid decisions, which end up leading to the bad things they knew would happen, or else, ruining the good things they were told would happen.

Yet, Jesus told us the future, and said “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

How?

Well, I’m still figurien that out.

I’m at the stage where one little dissappointment feels huge, because I have so few things to anticipate happening. I wanted to cry when I heard the next season of my favorite show would be delayed till next year.

And one good thing happening feels tenous. Like “but if this goes worng, then what?”

And, it has gone wrong. I can’t say a whole lot of good things have happened to me this year. Though my problems started before the lockdown did.

We’ve all heard that the little things are important. Like you should make your bed every day, you should brush your hair, take a walk. Cook.

And we’re like “why? Who cares?” I see it all over where anyone talks about quarantine, people aren’t showering, doing laundry, or cooking or anything. PEople thought they’d be productive, but now they are finding that if human approval was all you were ever after trying to work, and play, and such, then once it’s removed, you have no motivation.

Pays to be home-schooled your whole life and taught to love learning for its own sake, and to do work because it mattered to your God and your family, and not to earn browning points at school. My mom didn’t do grades. Now I make A’s and B’s. Guess not knowing all those years didn’t hurt me at all.

but I struggle with feeling like it’s all meaningless too.

But I had a thought today. When we do these menial tasks, as repetitive as they are, it’s kind of like an act of faith, an act of hope. We’re sort of saying, to our family, ourselves, and our God, that “I still care. This still matters. Because I believe that doing the small things leave me open to do the big things.”

I cook a meal today because I believe cooking will be important in the future. Even if it doesn’t feel like it matters now.

Even if cooking dosn’t matter, my family eating does.

Making the bed doesn’t matter that much in of itself, but doing your daily duty, it matters becaues it’s the daily things that remind us of the long term things.

C. S. Lewis got at the idea that th Present is the closest thing any of us experience to Eternity. And Eccleistates says that God has put Eternity into the hearts of man.

Christian think that heaven will be an eternal Now. All things will be happening at once, yet nothing will overlap. Something we can probably only even imagine though dreams, because time is odd in dreams.

And the every day things are important because, when you think about it, Heaven doesn’t really touch our lives at any time except in the present. We can’t live in the future, we shouldn’t live in the past.

If I try to live into even 6 days ago, I end up in a world of hurt, because I’m borrowing troulbe I already went through and going through it again.

I think this quarantine is kind of liek that. If we think about how long it’s gone on, we’re exhausted, and it feels like we’re serving out a sentance.

When Corrie Ten Boom was in soliatary confinement, she learned to make every little thing she did count. If she had a chore, she did that, if she had ants to watch, she would stop the chore and do that. She would read scripture “until the pain stopped” and it became more alive.

Funny, reading the Bible doesn’t make me feel worse. It truly is the book for the suffering person. It never minimizes suffering, but it promises a renewel of strength for those who suffer. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall laugh” (Luke 6).

The Bible also tells us to do everything we do as to Christ. I think this means what people are trying to say when they say “live in the moment.” Be fuly present.

You know what robs me of joy the most in my life is not sorrow itself, but being distracted by thinking about my problems. When I do things I ejoy, my mind will wander onto it all.

Take a second, ask yourself, how many times doing anything I liked lately hve I quantified it by a reference to the lockdown or virus?

Ive heard it from everyone “Right now we can’t do anything else but…”

“Everything’s crazy right now so I didn’t…”

“Because of quarantine I binged…”

If we were brutally honest, we’d admit we would have done or not done all those things even if quarantine hadn’t happened. It’s just a really convientednt exuse.

But here’s something I wouldn’t have done without this:

I wouldn’t have made a new friend in my ASL class probably, or not as fast.

I wouldn’t have tried as many new recipes and found out I liked being creative in cooking.

I wouldn’t have gotten to know the people at my church better from hearing their stories and seeing who was consistant enough to keep coming and trying to connect.

I maybe even will get a job because of it, fingers crossed.

And yes, I’ve spent too much time watching stuff, but I did find some new shows I liked that maybe wouldn’t have sounded as interesting without this.

I’ve read more books too.

And I’ve gotten closer to God, and my family.

Is it all good, no.

And do I still need to learn how to live in the moment. Yes.

But here’s the thing, what if we all stopped focusing on what we lost because of this, and started looking at what we gained? Or what we still have. What we can still do. And instead of measuring it by quarentine, look at it as outside of it. Something that isn’t really touched by this trial.

The Word says everything that can be shaken will be shaken until all that remains is what cannot be shaken.

So, maybe we should look at what hasn’t been shaken.

If nothing else, people will always be arguing about politics as long as free speech exists, which I hope is still for a long time. I get annoyed with it, but I’d rather have constant arguing than lose the ability to argue in public at all. Think about that.

I still get restless, and I’m sure I will again, even today. But if I’m growing closer to be able to just be present to everything here, then I am growing stronger.

In the end that’s what Anne Frank learned, and what Corrie Ten Boom learned, and what everyone who survives and thrives in these times learns. not to never be depressed, that’s impossible, but to live for the Now. Whatever the Now happens to be.

Looking ahead is good, too, that’s how we hope. But it’s good to appreciate what we already have.

Even if it’s just one or two things, that’s something. There’s some who don’t even have that.

I guess I’ll end this with a challenge, if anyone has read this far down (thank you) then how about you comment something that you gained or still have even after all that’s happened. Anything’ll do. We all need to talk more to each other about it.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Stand by You: Gray x Juvia Tribute

I want to take a detour from talking about anime bondage (another part is coming soon, it’ll be interesting) to talk about one of my frequented subjects on this blog.

Well, you all know how much I love talking about love, and using fictional couples to illustrate it.

Today I want to highlight one that is certainly not an unknown one, if you’re knee deep in the anime world, you’ve probably seen ads for or watched Fairy Tail, I’ve mentioned it once or twice..

The show has plenty of cute ones that’ll fill up your romance tank if you’re a ship junkie, but there’s one in particular that for me went from cute to amazingly good, up there with the List of Great Ones I keep mentally.

And that is the Gray +Juvia ship.

Spoilers ahead if you care:

It’s a canon ship that has come to completion, so I’m not going to be speculating, there’s nothing to speculate about. I just want to talk about how well it was written.

So, Fairy Tail is a bit of a zanier show that occasionally has very serious moments that it brings home with a bang!

Gray and Juvia’s relationship could represent the best and worst of this show as a whole. It’s played off for humor 70% of the time, and is sometimes funny, often it’s a little uncomfortable.

The other 30% of the time it’s incredibly profound in its own simple way, which I will now elaborate on, enough build up.

Gray and Juvia meet on the battlefield, on opposing sides. Juvia falls in love on the spot. Gray doesn’t exactly get it, but he does feel some kind of connection. He wouldn’t call it romantic, but he later admits he sensed they could work well together with their abilities.

He also saves her life and is otherwise a gem in the course of their fight. Juvia falls head over heels by the end and later switches sides.

Juvia is by far the crazier of the two–outwardly. She initially stalks Gray, though she doesn’t do much besides watch him and send him gifts, finally she works up the nerve to approach and ask if she can join the guild he works in (Fairy Tail, naturally.)

Gray is down for that, though he doubts their master will be so willing, however, Juvia ends up helping them out with their current crisis, and gets in no problem.

From thereon out she begins the pattern of pursuing Gray, who seems consistently uncomfortable with her affections, but never acts like he dislikes her personally.

At first, we get the feeling Gray thinks she’s crazy but good hearted, and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings, so he puts up with it.

But over time, we get hints Gray actually does feels something more for Juvia, but is in deep denial. Unlike your average anime protagonist, he’s not oblivious, he’s simply…unwilling.

My sister and I speculated as to the reason for this, the show itself provides clues, but it was finally at the end of season 2 we got confirmation we were right.

So, what we figured out was this:

Early on, Gray was shown to have deep guilt issues. He’s one of those tragic backstory guys. He’s not as bad as some, (I mean, I’ve been watching Naruto, so talk about messed up origin stories.) He lost his parents to a demon, and later his teacher/mentor to the same demon.

Gray blames himself for going to seek the demon out in order to kill it, and having people always need to sacrifice themselves for him.

This gets reinforced later on when the daughter of his mentor makes a similar sacrifice for him and his friends.

It caps off when he long-dead father is reanimated by another villain, and forced to work for the evil people, but rebels and fights Gray in order to try to die for real and be able to be at peace.

Gray refuses to kill his father, and they have a heartfelt few minutes. But while this is going on, Gray’s father, Silver, speaks telepathically to Juvia, who is elsewhere, fighting the very person who is controlling him.

Silver asks Juvia to kill the Necromancer (that’s the villain) and let him die. Juvia does not want to do this to Gray’s father, but understands that if she doesn’t the world will be in jeopardy, and Gray also will not be in a good position.

Juvia succeeds, and Gray’s father thanks her and gets to go to heaven and be at peace, leaving Gray with a final gift of the power to defeat the demons.

Up till this point, the show had begun to use Juvia a bit more seriously. Early on, she was almost pure comic relief. No one took her feelings too seriously.

Her backstory is pretty sad in its own way, though it lacks the traumatic twist of most anime stories. She was unable to control her water magic very well, and it led to being depressed and isolated from people who couldn’t take how gloomy it was around her.

In a heartbreaking thought humorous shot, Juvia is shown making an army of Japanese Rain-Away dolls, which she always wears one of on her clothes.

Yeah…dark without being gritty, what a novel idea!

When Juvia falls for Gray, she is able to stop the rain for the first time and see blue sky. Light has entered her heart, if you follow the analogy.

In a later arc, Gray is shown to have deep shame in himself, that keeps him from expressing happier emotions or doing light hearted things like dance, or other displays of beauty or joy. It’s a weird episode, but managed to pack in an emotional punch amidst the silliness.

Juvia, in a still later episode, wants to do something nice for Gray to celebrate their anniversary of meeting (sort of) and knits him a scarf.

Unfortunately, this anniversary happens to be the same day his teacher/surrogate mother died.

Here the show got very profound very briefly, Erza, one of the wiser characters, comforts Juvia, after Juvia finds out and feels horrible for trying to be cheerful when Gray was feeling so sad, Erza tells her that she doesn’t need to feel bad. Every day is a good day for some people, a bad day for others, and what matters is what it is for her.

Gray also comes around to realizing it wasn’t Juvia’s fault, and also realizes her gesture reminds him of something his teacher did once. He finds a sort of comfort in it after all.

By the way, Snow is used to represent Gray’s sadness and shame. It’s always snowing when he feels that way. Like the rain for Juvia. (And yeah, it is a lot like Frozen. Writers love this metaphor.)

This culminates (well, for season 2) in a short but awesome scene at the end of the Tartaros Arc, the one she defeats the villain controlling his father in.

Gray is feeling sad again, and shame, because he couldn’t do as much as he wanted, and he couldn’t prevent his father dying. Though he knows his father wanted it that way, it still stings. It’s snowing.

Juvia comes up, feeling pretty bad over it, to confess what she did, and say she doesn’t have the right to love him anymore, because she killed his father( indirectly) who he loved, and she is sorry.

Gray seems angry at first, and is shocked also that is was her who did it.

But suddenly, he starts crying and says “Thank you…you freed me…I’m sorry…” He seems to be apologizing to no one in particular, or maybe to everyone he feels he failed.

This scene was powerful for me, in a simple way.

Juvia and Gray are not perfect, they actually are very human. Both can be shortsighted. Gray can be kind of a jerk, unintentionally. Juvia can be easily distracted by her emotions to the point where she neglects caution, and can be obsessive.

Juvia is also not free of emotional problems. Many anime ships have one messed up person and one stable person, but Juvia and Gray are neither wholly messed up, nor wholly stable in of themselves.

Juvia often feels she is unworthy also to be loved.

The show brilliantly shows us in this moment that Gray is the same way. He acts cold because he doesn’t feel he deserves to be adored. He’s just himself, and he always thinks he is too weak.

Why does he say Juvia freed him?

It’s simple, if Juvia hadn’t defeated the villain, Gray might have had to, and kill his own father. Something that would have haunted him his whole life.

Perhaps he even thought he had, since he didn’t see the fight and just saw his father disappear.

Juvia did something for Gray that he wasn’t able to do for himself.

It brings it full circle, in the past when Gray saved Juvia, she felt he had done something for her she could not do for herself. The rain had stopped.

I don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll try to keep this short:

I love this so much. To me, it doesn’t matter whether I like the show or not, if this was the only thing I got out of it, it’d be worth it.

It’s not even about romance. This goes further than that…or, I should say, it’s an aspect of romance not often explored.

But, think about it, in marriage, who wants to be with someone they cannot take their heart to? Who cannot be shown all the ugly parts of their past, and find them still lovable?

I certainly don’t want to marry a man I can’t tell this stuff too, he’s going to see me at my worst, after all, as well as my best. Why not learn why I am the way I am.

Juvia and Gray are a very realistic example, for an anime, of how a couple can help each other. Juvia often finds herself at a loss for words with Gray, she learns more about his past over time, but has nothing to say, it’s so different from her own, and she’s not very good at expressing herself anyway.

But Juvia acts out of her strong love for Gray and manages to convey a lot without knowing she’s doing it. She fights for him, and is always there whenever he does choose to open up. Sometimes it’s simply that she does the right thing by accident that seems to mean the most to Gray, because she wasn’t trying to make him see a point, she just honestly wanted to help.

And that, ladies and gents, is Real Love.

There’s a time to teach someone, but there is a time to just be there, and love them however you can.

And I like the additional message that love is messy and we aren’t smooth about it all the time, but our honest efforts rings the most true to people.

It’s beautiful. And its not something you have to be an expert on relationships to do, that’s the great part, you can start off knowing nothing, and still be able to do this.

Until Next Time–Natasha.

 

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Anime Bondage: Naruto–3

Okay…time to tackle Sasuke…

I know if you’re done with Shippuden, you probably like Sasuke again. I’ve not started Shippuden yet, so bear with me, this will not be a very positive look at his character.

(I know he gets redeemed people, but it’s one freaking messed up origin story just the same. Oh, also, sorry if you didn’t already know that…but trust me, you’ll want to know it ahead of time if you’re going to endure hundreds of episodes of frustration.)

I’m not going to go into the myriad of things about Sasuke that I do not like, a lot of it is likely going to be changed anyway. I can’t speak for the future, so I’ll just sound stupid if I try to.

But the subject is bondage, so I want to talk about two things. A:  How did Sasuke get into bondage? and B: What did it do to him? Or, what is it? If you will.

I know that thousands of fans have no doubt assessed why and how Sasuke fell from grace, probably to the point where other fans hate the mention of it. I am not going to hyper-analyze everything, no worries. (frankly, it’s not worth the energy.)

I’m just going to highlight a few things:

Sasuke starts off as your typical emo anime boy, less likable than Todoroki (MHA fans) or Gray (Fairy Tail Fans) or whatever nicer version you happen to like (Naofumi from Shield Hero anyone?). But he wasn’t awful. I liked him up till season 3 or so.

He starts to get he typical emo arc of learning to care about friendship, and balance out their darker tenancies with strong loyalty to a select few people. Very common in anime.

Then, also common, he gets stuck with an evil power he didn’t really want, at first. But the allure of it slowly begins to corrupt him.

What is interesting, and horrible, about Sasuke’s fall is that not all of it is his own fault.

Both of the main villain of the series screw with his mind directly. One gives him a cruse mark that feeds of hate and fear and anger and corrodes the person who has it every time they use it.

The other traumatizes the crap out of him twice. In a way no human being should be put through.

Sasuke’s mind snaps, understandably, and though he is healed from the mental strain, the effects on his soul play out in a way that was very painful for everyone involved.

I really don’t like the punk, but I am going to be fair to him. It would be impossible to survive that unscathed, even uncorrupted, without a lot of help that he does not have available to him.

You see, in dealing with trauma of my own, I’ve found only God can really take the poison out of it. In Naruto, God is not often acknowledged. And no one would know that He can heal.

It may surprise the non-christian, or the legalistically raised christian to learn that the bible describes God as the Comforter, Near to the Broken Hearted, Binding up their wounds. The Healer, The Protector, and of course, our savior.

In the bible, it might surprise you to know, easily half of what the people who cry out to God in the major books want to be saved from is emotional turmoil.

Sure, it’s awful to have people trying to kill you., but the sting of despair, of being neglected and alone, is far worse. That is what the prophets, David, and people like Hannah, Hagar, and Abraham and Jacob, are always asking God to help them with.

I know I spend more prayer time begging God for help with my pain than with my real-world problems…if those two things are really different.

I pity Sauske, for being on an anime, and not having access to such help.

You may laugh at me for thinking about it that seriously (trust me, I’m light for a weeabo) but what I can’t laugh off is that Sasuke’s story is something that happens to many, many people. Only, he has the rare blessing of friends who do not give up on him and who risk everything to try to get him back.

Sasuke’s story is not painful because it is rare, it is painful because it is common. Though most people have not had their family massacred (in the West, that is,) they have had their home lives destroyed. There’s a little of Sasuke’s past in my story, probably in yours too. Who had not felt alone? Abandoned? Neglected?

If you haven’t, man, you’re so lucky.

A theme on Naruto is that a child who’s left alone will get twisted by their grief.

I don’t really like that the show always goes to extremes with it, as it gets kind of hard to believe after awhile, but I agree that loneliness causes you to develop weird habits.

I dealt with loneliness a lot as a kid. And, I still do. I still cry about it.

The truth is, we just rarely love each other the way we should and the way we would like to be loved.

Maybe we don’t care, maybe we don’t know how, maybe we just can’t.

Sasuke fell because he had the same problem as everyone, but not the solution. The solution all of us can have, if we search for it. Our pain will drown us if we do not seek a life line, and God is the only life line that never breaks on us.

Now, briefly, what did Sasuke lose? What did bondage do to him?

It’s important to know this, because until you know what you lost, you will not know what to ask for.

Sasuke is warned that he will lose himself if he uses the corrupted power. He is not able to resits the temptation because he has no strength of soul, and never did. But, unlike the usual fare on shows, the curse does not take away your ability to think, or reason, or fight….so what does it do?

The answer seems to be that it takes away your heart.

Not to overthink it, but I noticed that the more Sasuke used it, the less compassion or guilt he had.

This also is real life, people. You may suffer mentally form your baggage, but even if you escape that, your heart is going to be damaged.

It’s not your fault. The only time its our fault is when we could have healed, and we chose not to…like Sasuke.

(I could do a whole part two on the other problems with Sasuke’s choices, but I am trying to focus on how he got into bondage, not on what he did once he was in it, and that’s two different things. I’m trying to prevent it getting that far.)

Well, that’s all temporary anyway. But there are those who never recover once they refuse to heal. I’ve known them, you probably do too.

So, if you take away nothing else, my plea for this post is that you will seek to heal, and not to stay damaged.

The answer is very simple. God is near to the broken heated. With people who are in bondage simply from trauma, going through healing, prayer, and inviting God to bear that burden with them is the answer. How it will look for you specifically will depend, I can’t speak to that. There’s a lot of good resources about it, I recommend checking on John and Stasi Eldredge’s writing and teachings.

Until next time–Natasha.