Jesus Heals the Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a highly successful television series that has just begun it’s 5th season. Why is it that so many people are interested in shows about Zombie apocalypse or an outbreak of illness creating zombies? Perhaps Hollywood can see what so many of us are refusing to acknowledge. Many of us are the walking dead.  Well to be fair some of us are the walking dead and some of us are the walking wounded. Drug addiction, alcoholism, porn addiction, food addiction, kids killing each other in school, people beheading other people for “God”.  What the heck is going on? It seems like we are living in a world filled with zombies.

What is interesting to me about all of these successful movies and sitcoms is how they parallel our own culture.  It is as if these movies are a commentary on our culture of death. We may not live in the biblical times of leprosy but we certainly live in a time of spiritual leprosy. We live in a fallen world and with fallen people. The new normal is not man and wife with three kids a dog, a house and a white picket fence. In fact, I am not even sure what the new normal is, but it is definitely not the “traditional” family.

The movies we watch that are depicting human beings as zombies, are closer to the truth than most tv sitcoms. We are all in need of healing.  We need to find a means from which to heal our wounds.  We are all wounded in some way. Some of us are living with the effects of sexual abuse or physical abuse; some of us were abandoned by our parents. Still others were emotionally abused or psychologically traumatized by alcoholic or drug addicted parents or even others were ritualistically abused. Whatever the your childhood, chances are you either experienced abuse or neglect yourself or someone very close to you did. The effects of abuse wounds us and it is in through these wounds that we begin to form our understandings and beliefs about who we are, who God is and whether or not we believe in anyone or anything.

The wounds that are inflicted upon us are openings to evil or negativity. Call it what you will, it is through wounds that we are opened up and it is at these moments we can become bound as prisoners to our pain, our fears and the vows that we make to ourselves. We also need friends that we can trust to love us despite our wounds.  We need friends to help encourage us and help us find joy and courage to persevere so that we can go into those dark places and bring healing to them.  The reason why we are struggling in this world is not because we are somehow strange or because we are not faithful or pious enough, it is because we live in a world that has been divided because of sin. Being faithful and growing in holiness can help us in our struggles but unless we address our wounds we may find ourselves carrying a larger struggle than God desires for us to carry by ourselves.

If you or someone you know feels they are nailed to their cross instead of carrying it, then perhaps you are in need of healing.

Here is the Good News! Christ came to restore us! He makes all things new! Am I saying that healing our wounds is as simple as bringing our suffering to Him on the cross? Yes I am. It is not simple or easy to do but it is simple in choice.

But wait a minute…have you been seeing Jesus as some wimpy guy walking around in an effeminate gown talking in gentle high pitched voice? Cause my Jesus is not wimpy, he is B.A.  He will kick some major butt if anyone tries to mess with his girl (that’s me).  Are you seeing Jesus as the laid down lover he is? He is ready and willing to run into the darkest of nights to bring in his lost bride (that’s you).  You just have to call out to him..

In scripture, it says we have a mighty savior that will wipe away every tear and comfort every infirmity and remove every sin for those who believe and trust in him.  Instead of despair we shall have the oil of gladness, instead of shame we shall have double honor, not just in heaven but here in our lives, progressively as grace perfects our nature. The zombies are the sin and the evil in the world and he wants to eradicate it so that you can be resurrected and made new!

Jesus wants your happiness in the world and in the next, he wants to set you free from all that has enslaved you! Everywhere you go he is with you and longs for you to trust in him.  He pursues all of us intensely because of his great love for us.  We are no surprise to God, he knew what he was getting when he made us! You are no surprise to God, I am no surprise to God yet he created us anyways! That is such a consolation!

When our wounds are redeemed and washed clean in the blood of Christ we are made new. The very places you feel the most broken become your most beautiful gifts. He will shine out of your wounds in ways that will not only transform you, but it will transform the people around you. His light shines through our wounds revealing hope and healing.  When we are set free from the healing power of Jesus Christ we are able to retain the graces He pours out to us and we will have Christ to give them in their own thirst.

How can one begin? Pray this prayer. Come Holy Spirit Come. Next ask for prayer ministry. Even Jesus had someone help him carry his cross.  Then, find a healing mass and receive the sacrament of the sick so that your wounds can be healed. The sacraments are means of grace that fills us.  Grace perfects our nature and healing ministry is the means from which to retain this grace so that we can be transformed. It will be through this transformation that the world will be reconciled to God.

For the past 6 months I have had the honor and privilege to be apart of a healing ministry that has been offering a monthly healing mass as well as prayer ministry. People have been coming from all over the state of Wisconsin. If you cannot find a healing mass in your area then consider a pilgrimage to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville Wisconsin. We are offering a monthly healing mass to heal and free the oppressed.  If you need deliverance from the evil one, if you need healing for your afflictions then come to the living water! Come be healed! You will receive anointing with oil in the sacrament of the sick, there will be deliverance, there will be healing prayer ministry and you will be given an arsenal kit to take home so as to continue finding healing and freedom. Perhaps you are called to bring a healing mass and prayer ministry to your own parish. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern what it is you are being called to do and then ask for the grace to do it. I believe we are on the cusp of a revolution of laid down lovers willing to run into the darkness to bring in the lost bride. I believe that that Army is a Marian Army. Join the revolution. For more information you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/TotusTuusHealing

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I Grieve

Martin Hudáček’s sculpture entitled “Memorial for Unborn Children

Martin Hudáček’s sculpture entitled “Memorial for Unborn Children

SUNDAY, MAY 3:40PM

Before reading this post please listen to The Song “I Grieve” By Peter Gabriel. You can listen to it while you read my blog as it will open in a separate tab.  This song as it embodies the emotions that I am experiencing.  It captures the moment of my life that I am living, right now.  The lyrics are so perfect…  There is something beautiful and something so raw about embracing life even when it means that we embrace the intensity of suffering, sadness and grief.

I am working through my emotions as I experience this miscarriage by journaling here on my blog.  I have a hard time with allowing myself to cry, to feel.  It is easier to numb myself.  I have become quite good at.  When I wrote the last two posts the flood gates opened in a way that I realized I needed.  I only realized it after I opened to feeling the pain. It almost seems like I am not supposed to be grieving.  Some of the questions I get like “how far along are you” is just code for “your not far enough along to be so upset.”

I was almost ready to numb myself through this but then I realized that I really am hurting and if I don’t face into that hurt it is going to come out sideways.  It always does.   Rather than stay in denial, or turn to anger as a means to control my pain,  I am choosing to embrace the pain that comes from feeling everything, talking about it and processing it in the moment.  It hurts.  I still find I cannot stay in the moment with my feelings and allow myself the grief that is just below the surface because life does go on, and on and on and on.  My children need me, my house has chores and there is work to be done.  I keep having to push down the sadness and disappointment and grief.

I will keep updating this one post as I document the process of losing Kolbe.  If you are just happening upon this blog post then you can read the first two posts by clicking the links.  The first one, “I’m Having a Miscarriage” and “Deep Sorrow”  will get you up to speed and I will put headers of the day and or times of the new entries…

Where am I at right now? Well, this image helps to make that clear. Right now I am angry at my body and I feel very alone.

baby miscarriage

I am angry with my body for failing to protect this precious little person. I feel alone because not everyone sees a miscarriage as the loss of a child.  Instead it seems to be viewed as the way the body discards babies that were possibly genetically inferior and “for the best.”  I don’t know why I am miscarrying but I do know that the reality is that I am losing a baby.

So where am I at in the process today? I am still waiting. I have a terrible back-ache, I am cramping but as of right now I am still waiting for my body to complete this process it seems to have committed itself to.  There is light spotting of pinkish brown mucus. It  reminds me of when I would go into labor. The first stage was losing the mucus plug.   It was so exciting to see that process begin  because it meant the long wait to have a baby was finally going to be over.  It signaled that very soon, a baby would be placed into my arms.  It signaled that a process was starting.  It was a sign indicating that a process had begun in which the result would be my child leaving my body.

It means the same thing today but there is no joy in it for me.   There is only grief.  So I will walk into that.  I will grieve.

You Are Not a Disorder, You Are a Person

original art by Christina King

original art by Christina King

You are not a disorder, you are a person.

We are body, soul and spirit.  We must bring healing to our own “Trinitarian” being (in the sense of being body, soul and spirit).   Traditional therapy either wants to give pharmaceuticals or just discuss and manage symptoms of anxiety, thoughts or behavioral issues or perhaps to do all three but not to actually bring healing and restoration for the “whole” person.

Christ says He makes all things new. He promises us healing. Was He lying? Are we expecting too much? Are we giving the cross or God too much power?  I say no.  I say we do not expect enough. I believe Christ really has the power to work miracles.  In fact, He worked miracles of healing and told the apostles that they would do all of the things He did and more! We are called to bring healing and deliverance to those in misery, to be a sign of His power.  Christ desires to restore us.  Our healing is to be a visible sign to the world that our God is an awesome God and that He Reigns in Heaven and on earth.  He makes us whole.  I believe he wants to heal our emotions and our memories, not just our bodies.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things pass away; behold, he is made new.” 2 Cor 5:17

We are not disorders.  I believe many people who have been sexually abused or experienced traumatic childhoods like I did are actually dealing with identity wounds that distort their ability to know themselves and to know God. Being abused has a very real and powerful effect on shaping our identity.  To merely dismiss that and label someone as being “disordered” is, in my opinion, causing more damage and in a sense, keeps their pain and cries for help unheard.

I realize we can categorize and diagnose and give our psychological disorders a name but what good is it to give it a name if you do not understand it enough to help bring healing?

identity wounds Many of our disorders come from identity wounds. How do we get identity wounds? We get them when our true identity is distorted by shame. It may sound contradictory to say there is such a thing as “good shame” but in fact there is good shame and bad shame.

Good shame is felt when we are separating ourselves from God as well as others in a selfish way.  It “prickles” our conscience and in this way it helps us to address a something we are doing that we know is wrong so that we can self-correct.  This “prickling” of conscience is from our awareness that we have just separated ourselves from what is good and true.  This not only helps us shape our morality but it also protects our self-respect.  When we feel “good shame” we become aware that we have lost our innocence, motivates us to correct ourselves and turns us back to what we know is good.

Bad shame is more of an emotional torment and sickness to our very soul.  It is what begins to poison and divide us from within our whole self. All of us have shortcomings and when they are used to ridicule us or to inflict “bad shame”, we tend to believe the lie that we are bad or unworthy and this new “truth” sears into our heart, mind and soul.  We believe the lie that we are inferior, unworthy, undeserving and bad to the bone.  Bad shame causes us to despair separating us from our only cure to what ails us, which is God’s mercy.

The inflicting of this debilitating shame comes from those closest to us and causes the deepest of wounds. When we are children, our beliefs are being shaped, especially our beliefs about who we are as persons. If the message we get is that we are bad or unlovable, it can become our identity.  Identity wounds distort our ability to love ourselves, to love others and to love or know God.

the worse thing we can do to a person with identity wounds is to give them an identity as being “disordered”.

borderline Personality Disorder

 

Lets think about the word “disorders” through the lens of Theology of the Body.  For something to be disordered it has to have been rightly ordered but then gotten twisted up.  When the John Paul II wrote about Original Man he reminds us that in Genesis that Adam was naked without shame.  He had no desire or intention to use Eve as an object of pleasure for his own selfish needs or wants.  They were both subjects of God and saw one another as persons.  When sin entered the garden they were no longer seeing one another as subjects but as objects.  They covered their “private parts” of their bodies in shame.

 

What was good and right became disordered due to sin.  This is the reality of the world we live in.  If this is true then we see we are all disordered in one way or another.  If we are all disordered in some way how helpful is it to give a person made in the image and likeness of God a label of being disordered as if this is their identity or who they are as a person? I am guessing it could be potentially destructive and could create further woundedness.  Let’s call disorders what they truly are, which is distortions of truth from which we base our lives and relationships upon.

We are complex human beings.  The teachings of Theology of the Body helps us to get a bigger picture as to who we are as persons and how we are made to love and be loved as self-gift whereas psychology bases “truth” in disorders or distortions.

Our experiences in and through our bodies shape our understandings and beliefs and those beliefs can bind us up.  We act on our beliefs and if those beliefs are disordered it goes to follow that so too may our actions be disordered. For example when I experienced the trauma of being sexually abused it created a deep wound that penetrated my identity, which distorted my whole “person”. Psychology may have helped me to understand the distortions and behaviors but Theology of The Body helped me to understand my wounds and their effect on my identity. It was this distorted identity that shaped my beliefs and those beliefs caused me to make the choices in my life that I did.

body

Looking at someone’s whole person, body, mind, emotions, memories, spirit etc is what needs to happen if we want a person to reclaim their greatness.  Seeing the whole person as opposed to a disorder is what gives true hope for healing.  Anything else merely treats a part of a person.  Christ comes to make all things new, not part of things new.

For information on finding freedom and healing with what is labeled as “Borderline Personality Disorder” order my book on LuLu  

 

Hell Is Proof That God Loves Us

sign heaven hellThe fact that hell exists is proof of God’s love.  Without a choice to go to hell there is no free will, there are no choices, there is no love.  If there was not a hell, then God could not honor our choice to reject Him.  Hell makes choosing God possible, without there is no choice.  If there were not a choice to go to hell we would be animals, without choice, relying on our instincts to dictate our lives.

Does God pre-destine a soul to go to hell? The short answer is no.   According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church Predestined means that we are selected for divine adoption by an eternal decree of God (Eph 1:4). “Predestination is a mystery revealed but not fully understood; what we know for certain is that God is free to act as he chooses (Ps 135:6) and man is free to accept or reject his blessings (Rom 2:6-8; Sir 15:11-13). No one is predestined by God for eternal damnation” (CCC 1037).

hell

Predestined and predetermined are two different things.  We are in fact predestined for heaven.  The old Baltimore Catechism says this about why God created us: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.”  This goes against the argument that some protestants have used to say God predestines some people to go to hell and there is nothing they can do to change it.  They believe that some people are  chosen and brought into existence for this purpose, to go to hell.  This is false.  God does not desire it nor does He bring into being a person so he can then “send” them to hell.

It is a person’s free will that destines a person for hell.  God’s gift of free will allows each person to choose heaven or hell.  There are two choices really.  “I am a handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to they word” as Mary said or “Not my will but thine be done” as Jesus said.  The alternative is  “I will not serve” which was the response of Lucifer.

cartoon

So how is one to understand how a person is “predetermined” to go to hell? When we understand the immaculate conception we understand predetermined. Why is this? Because the Immaculate Conception reveals the very timelessness of God.  God is outside of time and space.  God applied the graces merited by Jesus Christ on the cross and applied it to Mary at the moment of her conception.

How could He do that? Because God knew Mary would say yes.  This did not mean she did not get to chose it, it just means that because He is God He exists outside of space and time.  He is past present and future.  God knows no boundaries.  He knew she would say yes it happened already outside of time and he preemptively applied the grace.  This is of course my laymen terms for such a complex theology that only a theologian (which I am not) could explain it concisely.

future past present

You could say that Mary was predetermined to say yes and be the mother of God.  Bl Anne Catherine Emerich talks about this in her 4 volumes that Mel Gibson used to write the screen play for “The Passion”.  She said in her writings that God desired to bring about the salvation of the world sooner but it was not until St. Anne and St. Joachim that two loved like the trinity into which Mary was brought and in which she would say yes to being the mother of God that God could then move forward with His divine plan.  That shows you how much God honors our free will.  He won’t even save us unless we allow Him to, that is how much He respects our free will.

It is hard to understand how the graces merited on the cross by Jesus Christ were given to His mother before she was even born.  Another way to wrap ones head around this mystery is to contemplate the Eucharist.   At mass we experience Calvary.  It is because the Holy Sacrifice of the mass is able to pass outside of space and time, literally making present the body of Jesus Christ, that this is possible.  We are not re-creating Christ’s death and crucifixion, nor are we re-sacrificing Him, rather we step through a mystical veil of time and space and Calvary is made present.  We are at the foot of the Cross.

This is why we pray for the dead or why we ask for the Communion of Saints to pray for us.  Our prayers can bestow graces to them before their deaths.  We can pray for those who died and our prayers can merit graces that outside of time can be given to them before they died to help perfect their nature.  It is this mystery of timelessness that many of us cannot understand because we are temporal beings. We are bound by space and time but God is not.  The spiritual is not.  Angels pass through this veil easily because they are not bound time space as we are.  Perhaps this is why some Saints could bi-locate.  They could pass through the veil because it is a reality created by God to govern the physical realm.  However, we are spiritual and physical beings.  Therefore, we too are able to pass through the veil in ways known only to God and in our Glorified bodies we will move as fast as our thoughts and will pass through walls much like Christ did when manifested into the upper room.  He passed through the veil, the dimension that separates us.

At the moment of conception God creates a holy immortal soul and infuses it into the body of that child.  At that moment God knows all of the choices that person will make before they make them, never diminishing their free will.

choices

It is the choices they will make that will determine their final destination.  All souls are destined for heaven.  This is the the truth of the trinity because every person is created in the image and likeness of God who is Love.  God is love poured out and overflowing and in that excess of love He creates Holy immortal souls.  This means we are all created to love and be loved.  If we do not chose enter into that love we reject God (who is Love) and chose the alternative.

The fact that hell exists is another proof of God’s love.  Without a choice to go to hell there is no free will, there are no choices, there is no love.  If there was not a hell, then God could not honor our choice to reject Him.  Hell makes choosing God possible, without there is no choice.  If there were not a choice to go to hell we would be animals, without choice, relying on our instincts to dictate our lives.

God does not force himself on us but rather allows us to decide if we will be with Him forever in Heaven or if we will reject Him and spend eternity in Hell.  We will exist for all eternity, where we do it is up to us.

So if we are not predestined to go to hell are we predetermined to go to hell? What does predetermined mean? In this context predetermined means that before it happens it is already known to happen.   Souls are predetermined for hell because their choice of hell is known by God before they live it out.

James 1:13-15, “Let know one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.”

c.s lewis

It is our choice to sin that determines whether or not we spend eternity in hell.  When a soul is pre-determined to go to hell it means that God knows that they would reject Him regardless of His invitations or intersessions.   He knows it because He sees their decisions, sees into their personhood, knows their hearts and understands all of their choices and gives them the freedom to choose.

Free will is a very powerful thing.  Even the devil has no real power other than what our free will gives him.  When we submit our will to evil and enflesh it, that is when the devil is able to oppress us.  Free will is something we should all contemplate more.  It transcends space and time and can condemn a person before they are born (because a birthday is a time and God is outside time).  On a positive note, it can also save the entire human race.  Jesus and Mary are proof of that.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is Speaking

Our Lady of Guadalupe is Speaking to the Church of the 21st Century, but are we listening? 

Today is the Feast of   Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Many people think  she is only a image and others believe her to be a special devotion for the Mexican people.  The truth is that she is a living icon, a spiritual doorway wide open with supernatural grace flowing out to anyone in her presence.

I created this image

OLG: Mother of Mercy

The image on the Tilma of Juan Diego appeared in an instant, just as the image on the shroud of turin appeared in an instant.  Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Icon of the New Eve just as The Shroud of Turin is the Icon of the New Adam.   Both of these images are theology in color, telling us a story of truth, life and love.   These images are supernatural in that no one painted them and there are details such as the colors of the Tilma being neither animal, plant or mineral yet existing 200 years before synthetic dyes were invented.  So what is it? It is supernatural.

In the age of advanced technology we have discovered details within and about the Tilma that were always present but that we could not have known until now.  We need to shout form the roof tops that in an image where everything means something, these new discoveries mean something! Heaven has written a message to us and it has been waiting to be revealed until now, the age in which we would have the technology to discover it!

Using telescopic lenses 14 people were discovered in her eyes

Using telescopic lenses 14 people were discovered in her eyes

The fact that in Our Lady of Guadalupe’s eyes, there is not only the discovery of the Sanson-Purkinje effect, that of a living cornea, but also the discovery of 14 persons.  Juan Diego, Bishop Zummaraga, a mother with a child on her back and small children around her as well as others in the room at the time of the apparition.    What is God telling us about the Church and about the domestic family by capturing them in her eyes?

USING NASA SOFTWARE THE CONSTELLATIONS ARE DISCOVERED ON THE TILMA

USING NASA SOFTWARE THE CONSTELLATIONS ARE DISCOVERED ON THE TILMA

olg nasa

 

 

The fact that the constellations as they appeared in the morning sky of 1531 from Tepeyac Hill appear exactly on the tilma in perfect alignment.  We needed N.A.S.A. software and it’s advanced Kepler’s math to know this! The movie “The Star of Bethlehem” proves that the stars have told stories of biblical proportions since the birth of Jesus.  What story are the stars telling us? Why did God chose those particular constellations to  be there that morning so they could be captured on the tilma for us to discover hundreds of years later?

A MUSICAL COMPOSITION IS WITHIN THE TILMA

A MUSICAL COMPOSITION IS WITHIN THE TILMA

olg music 2

 

The fact that within the Tilma is a musical composition that can be found within the Tilma.  In October of 2012 we saw the canonization of St. Hildegard of Bingen.  She created music that brought healing to people.  She also was a prophet and told us of the anti-mary and the battle that would waged.  Could this musical composition be a song in which the vibrations and tones could bring real healing effects to the listeners? Why else would God put it there?

If you have not entered into the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe now is the time to do so.  She is calling up a mighty army and desires to heal, protect, form and lead us to Christ.  We are on the cusp of another Guadalupian miracle in which those living in the America’s will be privileged to witness mass healing’s and conversions.

If you have been feeling called by her, chances are your one of the chosen ones that she desires to particularly form because you will be on the front lines.  If you have not been consecrated to Mary yet, please consider doing so now. The battle we are in will require supernatural grace and protection form the evil one and consecration is the spiritual armor you need.

St. Louis DeMontfort has a great means of consecration and St. Maximilian Kolbe does as well.  I have done both and prefer Fr. Michael Gaitley’s “33 Day to Morning Glory” book and workbook.  I prefer it because he helps us understand why Mary is important.  Many of us have felt like it would be wrong to go to Mary instead of just going right to Jesus, but that is not the case.  Mary always leads and points us to her son.  She desires none of the glory.  She is just our model and our hope because she proves that we can do it! She proves that the power of the cross and the graces that flow from it are sufficient!  Mary was immaculately conceived just as Eve was immaculately conceived from the side of Adam.  What I mean is that Mary was as sinless as Eve was before the fall.  Mary could have sinned, she just didn’t.  She shows us what we are capable of with grace from Jesus Christ.  His book helps you to walk through this in such a beautiful way.  The workbook really helps us to open our hearts, which for many of us, have been hardened by sin and wounds and pain from our lives.

I pray that you enter into the story with me.  Heaven is sending us a message of truth, life and love and that message is going to change the world!  Will you join in?

 

 

 

 

Why I love “Survivor”

Why I love Survivor

 Survivor

Say what you will about reality television, for me I have loved watching “Survivor” on CBS from the day it first aired in May of 2000.   For those of you that don’t know what Survivor is, let me enlighten you.

survivor 16

The show takes 16 total strangers and maroons them on a remote tropical island for 33 days.

survivor_maps_world_map

The players are split into two “tribes”.   While living on the island each tribe lives off the land with limited supplies of beans and rice.  They must forage for food and start fires the way cavemen did.

tribes challenge

They live together in a shelter that they must build themselves and usually have only the clothes on their backs.

shelter

The tribes compete against each other in “challenges” which consist of puzzles, obstacle courses, relay races, memory games or eating disgusting local foods.

food

 

The challenges in which they compete are either for a reward, which is usually a luxury item (blankets, soap etc.) or immunity.   The immunity challenges protect a tribe from having to go to “tribal council” in which they must vote off one of their own members.

council

 

survivor

 

At the halfway point in the show, about day 11, the remaining persons on each tribe are merged together forming one new tribe.  At this point they begin competing as individuals.  The people who are voted off at this point become the “jury”.  The jury consists of the last players voted off (they are housed at a nearby resort).   Every other night the jury attends tribal council to see how everything plays out until the last 3 players are standing.

final three

 

When the tribe consists of “final three”, there is a final tribal council.  At this tribal council the last players plead their case to the jury as to why they believe they deserve to be voted as the winner of Survivor.  They must explain how they have outwitted, outplayed and outlasted everyone else.   They also face a group of persons who get to question them in turn.  Whoever gets the most jury votes wins a million dollars.

 

So now your probably thinking, “What a waste of time!” or perhaps “why in the world is this one of your favorite shows?” or “why are you using so many air quotes?”

 

The answer is relationships.  I don’t love this show because they eat grubs or swim relays or start fires with friction.  I love this show because of the people and their relationships.

moment

When the season begins I am introduced to 16 people that I don’t know and will never know as a personal experience, but I do get to know them.  Over the several months of the show I watch them form alliances, make friends, share personal stores about their lives as well as plot and strategize how to win “the game”.

top moment

I see how each person treats others or how they establish relationships (or don’t).  I listen to their individual commentaries as they are each taken (privately) throughout the show to discuss the game as it unfolds.  They tell the camera why they are doing what they are doing, how they feel about it and how it is affecting them.   This is a great way to understand more about who they are.  It’s like reading the inner dialogue of a character in a book.

 

What have I seen?

 

I have seen the good.  I have watched people give up food to give it to their tribe, sacrifice a visit with a family member to allow another person to receive that luxury and I have seen people give up immunity in attempts to save another.

immunity

I have seen the bad.  I have watched emotional meltdowns, manipulation, and lying, cheating, stealing and downright bad sportsmanship like throwing challenges just to vote someone out.

colton hateful

I have watched the ugly.  I have seen people burn others clothing to make them miserable, destroy a food supply to make their tribe starve and I have seen players orchestrate deceptions resulting in an entire tribe ganging up on one individual and verbally and emotional abusing them.

 

hantz rice

Everything I have seen has taught me a lot about how people hide from who they really are.  Some use rationalization saying, “it’s just a game”.  Many manipulate or use people all the while denying that their actions speak about who they are as persons, after all it is “just a game”.

 

These persons often despise those who are kind and honest.  They see those players as “weak” and untrustworthy.  After all, the players that are honest cannot be expected to lie and cheat and steal as they do so they are a “liability”.  It doesn’t always go like this.  It depends on the tribe.  Get one very wounded and unhealthy person on a tribe and they will either get voted off or they will take over the game.

heros

 

Regardless of how a person “plays the game”; we still see each person’s heart.  What I see is people hearts being poured out on screen as the games literally breaks them open.  All facades are stripped away, there is no hiding the true self, not on Survivor; everyone is broken open there.

crying

The lack of things to do, the harshness of daily life, the constant companionship, the exhaustion, the lack of food, all cracks open the shells used to protect themselves.  We see all of the wounds a person is carrying in their hearts as they are broken open and poured out on screen.  While it is true that we are seeing an edited version of reality, we are still able to see into the hearts of each person as we watch how they “play the game”.

 

What I don’t like is when the contestants begin to tell the camera that they are going to lie and cheat and steal and do whatever it takes to win because, after all, it’s only a game.  They go on and on about how this is not the kind of person they are, they are separating out who they are from how the game requires people to play.

 

This could not be farther from the truth.  The choices we make everyday and in every situation IS life.  Survivor is not a game, it is a competition in which people compete and the person they are factors into how they “play the game”.

 

I like watching this show because I learn about people.  I learn how to love people better.   When I watch Survivor I learn about all kinds of people dealing with all kinds of issues and I learn how to love them better. When I see how wounds that people carry in their hearts effects their capacity to love others, I am reminded to love them anyways.    I can love people when I can see how what they are doing to me might be more about something hurting in them and less about trying to hurt me.   This is when we truly begin to see one another.   It’s like our sin is a figurative fig leaf that helps us to hide ourselves from being truly seen.  The irony? We all desperately long to be seen.

pics

Survivor has taught me that what you see is NOT what you get.  Do not judge a book by its cover.   Every person has become who he or she is through the circumstances of their lives.   We can love them better when we learn to see the forest through the trees.  Meaning? We can love people better when we learn to truly see them.