Mondays are often viewed as the start of another routine week. They signal the start of a weekly cycle. This particular Monday started off like many others, yet it didn’t stay that way.
On the afternoon of Monday, October 23 at a little after 1:30, life suddenly changed for me and many others in Pasadena, Texas. That afternoon, the Phillips petroleum plant blew up. The sudden shaking of a 3.5 Richter scale explosion, followed by the tell-tale dark cloud in the sky above the plant let everyone for miles around know that something is terribly wrong.
Inside the plant, friends of mine ran for their lives, escaping the expanding cloud of dangerous gas that began enveloping the plant. Rather than follow procedure, they ran. They knew that in a crisis, safety is more important than procedure.
Vivian told me about how she ran, stumbled in her heels, got up and ran some more. She left behind her shoes and continued running with the cloud behind her.
To this day, she doesn’t regret leaving her shoes behind. A piece of shrapnel hit the ground where she had stumbled. Had she picked up her shoes, she would’ve been another victim. She knew it wasn’t time for following protocol. It was time to run for your life!
A reader recently wrote me with the very pertinent question, "What happens if you encounter the other person at a party or public place?" Although you don't want to think about such events, the possibility of that happening is real.
This question comes up frequently regarding work place affairs and affairs in small towns. Although I wrote about the challenges of affairs in small towns on my blog, the last of those posts were several years ago.
Encountering the lover is always awkward. In many ways, it's similar to encountering the ex-spouse.
I recall that awkward "I don't belong here" reaction when I attended the wedding of an old girlfriend. I have also gone out to eat with my wife and met a different old girlfriend and her husband.
The circumstances were different and there was no awkwardness. These situations can be managed and handled.
Choices were made and every part has to work through the consequences of those choices.
Yes, those chance meetings make everyone uncomfortable. That's a sign that guilt and conviction are doing their jobs. Everyone is uncomfortable for different reasons.
You may want to discuss with your spouse ways of helping each other feel better in social situations before some awkward moment happens.
When you are confident in your marriage, and your social skills, you can handle those awkward moments much easier.
One of the benefits of having chickens is that you gain first hand experience with chicken poop. From dealing with it on a daily basis, you see what the term is used in calling people out on their avoidance.
Chickens show no consideration as to when and where they do their thing. There is no consideration of consequences. In a similar manner, the falsehoods that are dumped with no regard to where, when or the consequences are termed ‘chicken droppings’.
Cheaters throw out falsehoods when put on the spot, much like my chickens do. They are so used to doing it, no extra effort is taken or required. Lying just comes naturally to them. They do it without giving a second thought to their actions.
One of the problems with such lies is that they undermine trust. You never know when to believe them and when not to. In all likelihood, you’ve gotten so used to their lies, you accept them as ‘routine’.
You learn ways of telling truths from its counterpart. You also learn ways of confronting the droppings.
I realize that if I want fresh eggs, I’ve got to put up with the chicken poop. I also know that I’ve got boots and shoes for wading through it, along with plenty of plants in need of fertilizing.
As summer is now upon us, many of the television shows have presented their season finales. The finale always ends on a cliffhanger.
They build up tension and leave you hanging. You are left with many questions in your mind about what happens next.
Television producers know that emotional tensions keep you coming back and keeps you hooked.
They know if all the issues were resolved and settled, you wouldn’t keep you coming back. They want to keep you tense and unsettled all during the summer months until the show resumes in the fall.
Playing on your emotions by manipulating you with tension is just one of the many lessons I learned about television programs in a course I took on the subject.
I was reminded of this tension ploy when reading some recent emails. I keep asking myself “What keeps so many people from getting the help they want?” I discussed this unsettled question with my wife. We examined the many motivations for inaction, including tension.
After the discovery of an affair, things are tense between you and your spouse. That tension keeps the two of you hooked into each other. It creates a stressed, uneasy relationship revolving around the affair. Your marriage isn’t over, but it’s not great either.
When you’re used to living with the tension, you adjust. Living with the tension is safer than taking any risks. Getting help is scary since it may change things.
When my youngest son was doing firefighting classes, I often wondered “What makes a person run into a burning building?” I was reminded of that on reading of how one of the landmark restaurants in the town where I live burned to the ground in the early morning hours.
The newspaper was filled with images of the smoldering ruins along with stories of how quickly the fire spread and lives were saved.
I considered what it was like for those volunteer firemen, awakened from their sleep, rushing to a fire and going into a burning building. The story brought the question back to me. What would make you run into a burning building?
My natural tendency is running away from burning buildings. I see the danger and seek out safety. My training is that of escaping fires.
I suppose that when those firemen come to me for counseling, they wonder what makes me run into the issues and marital conflicts rather than running away. My training equips me for handling those emotional fires.
It’s easy saying that training makes all the difference. Training helps, but that’s not the whole story. It’s your concern for people that makes the difference.
When you care about the person in the burning building or the troubled marriage, you ignore the dangers. Your concern for the person overrides any fears of rejection or threats.
Mysteries and plot twists grab my attention. There is something intriguing, fascinating and mind blowing about finding a whole new layer of meanings to what I thought I knew.
In today’s culture people look for Easter eggs in the movies they watch. These little hints give a whole new meaning to what’s going on.
(I must warn you though. If you continue reading, your view of Underdog will change forever.)
I had one of those mind blown moments on considering the cartoon, Underdog. Underdog is always fighting his nemesis,
Simon bar Sinister. Simon, like most villains is out to ‘rule the world’. Underdog, as his name conveys is an unlikely hero.
It’s only when Underdog makes his transformation that he thwarts Simon.
What blew my mind was the discovery that Simon bar Sinister is a ‘love child’. Bar Sinister is an old term for a child born out of wedlock. Not only does his name give it a whole new meaning, he is also considered ‘the most evil man alive’.
Think about that for a moment.
The outcome of an affair is the evil, destructive force seeking to rule the world. The hidden morality of the cartoon has more moral punch than many Sunday morning sermons.
Simon strikes fear in the hearts of everyone he encounters along with always seeking the destruction of Sweet Polly Purebred. Polly represents the epitome of innocence.
Memes are powerful ways of getting your message across. You’ve heard that one picture is worth a thousand words, well with the right combination of image and words, you can reach millions of people. When memes go viral, they even give the censors at facebook something to worry about.
One of the popular memes deals with when you see something that you can’t unsee. Once you’ve been exposed to the image and it’s message, an indelible mark is made in your brain. The image is burned into your neurons.
I’ve had my share of encountering such images. There’s always a tension between curiosity and wishing I could unsee what I was exposed to. For many years anytime I traveled Interstate 10 near Houston, my mind filled with images of a car wreck my family experienced at Pederson Road.
The image would enter my mind, along with all the associated feelings from that incident. You’d think after all these years, that image would fade.
The power of images, including those you imagine are astounding. Some, like pleasant ones from your childhood, you want to keep around.
There are also some images like those associated with the affair you wish you could purge from your mind. They may even keep you awake at night, or steal whatever positive feelings you still have when around the cheater.
Images change your mood, change your thinking, and construct blinders limiting your ability to consider other options.
A couple of years ago, I visited an exhibit on the King James Bible that featured ‘the Wicked Bible’. It’s called the wicked Bible based on how the one of the verses read, “Thou Shalt Commit Adultery”. The error wasn’t discovered until it went to print in 1631.
It was one of those oddities I’d read about, yet had never seen. Whether the misprint it was a typesetting error or someone’s Freudian slip is open to debate.
In the case of the Wicked Bible, one word was left out which radically changed the meaning and message. Although no cult officially sprang up from that error, there are many people who follow it’s teachings. A little bit of error in religious teachings lead many people astray.
Few things get my dander up like twisting religious teachings in order to accommodate their own lustings.
Another twisting I’ve encountered lies within the commentaries and theology itself. There are some ‘experts’ or ‘ministers’ who tell their followers that there’s nothing wrong with having an affair with a married person who does not belong to your faith.
Somehow those of another faith don’t count in their view of whether or not the sexual activity is a sin. Things get so twisted that it’s not considered adultery when the other person is of a different faith.
A sense of relief always comes over me when I receive a phone call from my wife while she’s out of town. Just hearing her voice starts calming me. On hearing from her, all is well in my universe. At that point, I can take a breath and be at ease.
It’s not that my mind plays out fear of an affair. I am relieved that she made it to her location safely along with reconnecting with her. Even during the times she shares her challenges and frustrations, I enjoy hearing from her.
Although I can be at ease when she’s out of town, I know there are many of you who are terrified of when your spouse goes out of town. When they leave you, it’s like they go into a black hole of the unknown.
When you don’t have trust, even small things like business trips become major challenges. Each hour you don’t hear from them is one filled with visions of ‘what if’ scenarios.
Your mind imagines events and situations. During those times, you may find yourself having to stay busy in order to keep your mind from ‘imagining’. The longer there’s communication silence, the more your imagination comes up with.
When the trust is really low, you don’t even need a business trip to trigger things. You have those kind of thoughts with each ‘trip to the store’ or going off to work. When trust has been damaged, even routine events like these create fears.
Although I get along with most people, there are a few I worked with that produced some real sparks and animosity. Although I’ve learned some important lessons from them, it was grueling going through the learning curve.
One of them earned the nickname of “the weasel”. Although I didn’t give him that nickname, I certainly see how he earned it. He was always doing sneaky things. If he ever did anything ‘nice’ for you he reminded you of it with the statement “You owe me!”
His way of doing things made me want to avoid having anything to do with him. Everything had strings attached to it. Whenever I dealt with ‘the weasel’, I had to watch my ‘p’s’ and ‘q’s’. Nothing was ever a simple request or kind gesture.
I hadn’t realized the long terms effects of the scar he left until I encountered someone with his same name years later.
I found myself holding back in getting to know the new person who shared the same name based on the scars left from my previous interactions from the weasel.
I felt my stomach and mind wince in my first interactions with the newcomer with the weasel’s name. Fortunately, he was a comedian with a quick sense of humor that put me at ease.