ISOFaithfulandTrue: Confession and Direction

Today the Lord got me to confession and it was wonderful, as it always has been before. My rage will only consume me if I let it and it won’t bring about change and healing for myself and others. Yet at the same time, I remembered this quote from Fr. Heilman’s Basic Training¬† manual: “Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.” So, my anger can be transformed by the power of the Surrender Rosary into courage to turn it over to Our Lady of Good Remedy and do something that is constructive. I have some insight about something I can do to effect positive change–thank goodness…

ISO:TheFaithfulandTrue: Letting Go of Expectations

Since Splendid High’s birthday, we have both been in a frenetic state. I know well enough by now that my burdens affect him. A lot is going on and he knows it.

I have a choice, I now realize. I can continue on with my Vocational Rehabilitation or slide back into the state of victimhood from whence there is no escape, nor hope of healing.

The Catholic Church does not want to hear from those of us who have been abused by their fallen priests. They do not want to address the issue because it is painful and they have no answers, seemingly. Either they do not have answers or they have them and are not applying them.

The fact that the diocese here is in bankruptcy because of fallen priests seems not to be of great concern. I was told that in the town I live, a woman who was asked about the now-deceased priest accused of sexually abusing a girl in this town, refused to hear of the girl’s plight and defended the priest, saying, “well he’s not here to defend himself.”

I see why those victims now want their day in court. I truly do. Maybe it would be a good thing for local Catholics to hear the testimonies given in a court of law under oath about what happened to the victims. If it will help the victims, I am all for it.

So, my case is even more inconvenient because the Archdiocese of San Francisco paid for 6 months of therapy for me and they would never have done it unless they knew my claim was valid.

I become quite triggered by anything Catholic these days–not the saints or the Lord or the rosary, but anything having to do with the Church hierarchy itself. So, out of compassion for the government which has helped me through my disability which began with the priest abuse when I was 17, I really owe it to become well and productive. One thing for sure is that if I go into an episode where I have to be hospitalized over this, the Catholic Church will certainly not pay. It will end up being the government who pays and how fair is that? It is not fair at all.

I got through college on scholarships and loans and grants. My parents paid for my books. The way I got through was when I had to be hospitalized, I would drop for the semester and restart the next semester. That works for school, but not for the world of work.

I had three years without an episode at the end of my undergraduate years and if I had not thought that would have continued, I would never have applied for grad school. When I received the full fellowship to Stanford in the Master’s program in print journalism, my father was stern with me, saying, “you better get your financial aid form in!” That was all he would say. I wasn’t asking him to pay. I had a full-ride fellowship. It was one of the greatest moments of my life–to receive that award. He was not happy though.

So, I went into an episode at the start of grad school–not because I was scared but because I was so elated and my mood escalated to the point of no-return and eventually I had to be hospitalized. I was asked to withdraw and reapply. If I had diabetes or was in a car accident, it would have been different, but it was not. So, I did not get back in, not surprisingly, because they’d seen me at my worst.

What I did was apply for the summer intensive Mass Media Institute which was supposed to be training for the field and was where Ted Koppel was trained. I finished that even though I had to go to the hospital after my interview with the mentor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Joan Baez. In retrospect I can see that the one-on-one intimacy of an interview brought up issues from my past which I had not yet confronted and would not for years.

My first job after finishing there at Stanford was with the Millbrae Sun, a small weekly near the San Francisco Airport. I loved the job and they were very happy with my work. Then the sports editor started hitting on me. He was married and I was in no way interested but I still went into an episode and quit because I could not write when I was in that state. The publisher told me I would never work in the field again. I did not tell him about my illness. I just quit before I somehow made a spectacle of myself.

So, this is not an ideal field for me–or it was not. I did fine when working briefly for the Billings Outpost, with a few exceptions, but I bottomed out after 9-11 and watching the news non-stop of the planes flying into buildings and people jumping out of them too. I became so depressed that my speech was so slowed down that my doctor thought I was about ready to fall asleep. I told him, no, I am not at all tired. My brain is so slowed down from the depression that it looks like I am going to fall asleep. I said, that is why I cannot work as a reporter like this. If you think it looks like I am falling asleep, how effective can I be as a reporter? (I often interviewed doctors, as I was a health reporter.)

So, instead of trying to go back to a field where even the best reporters are being let go and the industry is in free-fall, my plan was to become a licensed addictions counselor because that is one field where having dual disorders of addictions and mental illness is an asset rather than a liability.

The reality is that people truly do not want me to tell them what to do about their addictions. They just do not. That is a fact. I am in the less than a fraction of 1% who have been obese and become normal weight and kept it off for some time but others are really not interested in learning what I do or how I do it. I honor that. I am not interested in forcing people to listen to me or be around me at all. I just am not.

Enter the Thoroughbreds, whose huge hearts are healing beyond compare…I have a chance to do some kind of work because of them–River Island aka Jack and now Splendid High aka Mel. I have been told to write and now maybe I can see a way to be a professional Mad Woman–not like the Mad Men who do corporate advertising but rather as a copywriter for a cause.

We’ll see, because my going nuts over the Vatican and the Church’s treatment of victims is not doing justice to this blessed government which has kept me alive over the years. The next hurdle for me is to heal from the brain injury from electroconvulsive treatments (shock treatments) but I am heartened that my computer decided to work today. My brain has a really tough time wrapping itself around learning computer functions, even though in college I interned at Classroom Computer Learning Magazine and did well there.

I have been in decent recovery from my dual disorder as evidenced by the fact I have not totally decompensated from my brother’s attempts to destroy everything positive in my life–including demanding that I sell Mel. So, it is just this next hurdle, and if I find a way to heal brain trauma, as I have found how to heal PTSD, then that ought to be very valuable to to U.S. Armed Forces. This is what I do: I live like a monk and study health and healing and apply what I have learned to heal. It takes many, many hours each day to be in recovery for me, but it is totally worth it.

I owe it to this country to stand down in my battle to get the Church to do what is right. If I can actually recover, then that may be the best thing I can do for other victims. Right now, it is just a really bad thing for my recovery to have much to do at all with the Catholic Church. It is just one giant trigger for my illness. I need to focus on finding people who have recovered from what these priests are addicted to and I have a lead on someone who has–in a book–but not from the Church.

Splendid High needs me not to be an “Al-Anon” with the Vatican–which has the highest per-capita consumption of wine of any country according to a report I read. I am not in the Al-Anon fellowship because they do not allow members to say the name of Jesus in meetings (or Buddha or any other name of any religious figure–and that is a worldwide stance). People who go crazy trying to control alcoholics can be far crazier than alcoholics–and far sicker, too. It is a spiritual sickness of trying to play God. I cannot go there. Fixing what’s broken at the Vatican will take the Lord Himself and that is way, way out of my league. I need to just back off. I can write some about it, but ought not to expect anyone will care. As my Vocational Rehabilitation counselor said, I ought to let go of all expectations.

I need to just focus on recovery not on the disaster that is the very real consequence of fallen priests. I would like to report on recovery as a charitable work. For a paying job, maybe copywriting is the way to go. Today I am grateful that my computer decided to work after having just a black screen for days with only the cursor showing. To me, this is a miracle because getting it fixed would have meant the Geek Squad making a trip for $100 just for the mileage to do the long-distance travel and then the time it would take to fix would add up to an extremely burdensome expense. Maybe I ought to take a cue from this computer. I shut it down completely for a few days, retrying it again just to see.

Maybe I need the down time away from the institution that still supports the predator who disabled me and another teenage girl, but feels no need to support our healing. That is alright. I forgive them because I was taught about forgiveness by Elizabeth Clare Prophet and she taught me to say the rosary and to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I will heal with the tools she taught me because I do know Him–because she cared to teach me and so many others. By God’s grace I will not lose faith in Him because of what is done in His Name and I will move on and have no expectations that the Vatican will do the right thing.

Thank You Lord, for helping me to move on towards recovery by striving to be a “stable nun” in the non-denominational Order of the Holy Child, seeking you in the manger of hearts. Thank You for training us, O Faithful and True, to “Run For God” during this time when I have not been fit to ride because my attitude stank and You worked through Mel to show me I needed to run again. Mel likes to trot next to me while at liberty when I run. He has been training me by being my running partner and I am grateful. Sometimes running away from what is abusive is the best thing for recovery. Thank You for that lesson O Lord! I will “run with patience the race that is set before us” out of abuse and onto the path of recovery, so help me, God!

on the passing of Jess, a dear retired roping Quarter Horse, in memory…

1-24-18 at a public computer, so my time is limited…

In my mind’s eye, I saw the Lord with His Arms around Jess, hugging him. I gave a prayer that we give for those passing on each day. Matt said it was about as good as it could have been and that God must have had a Hand in it.

As I was driving home, I had this image in my mind’s eye of the Faithful and True riding Jess in a BALANCE Western saddle and practicing roping, in case a calf went astray, to help Him get through what is being done in His Name to souls on Earth. Jess was helping Him cope and He was pleased that the Sarahs had more love for their family than many of his so-called best servants who persecute anyone and everyone in His Name.

I know that this is not exactly what the Sarahs would envision and I am not saying it is absolute truth by any means. All I know is that they showed more love for Jess than the Vatican did for children victims today and that that is what is eternal, for “God is love.”

Maybe I will visualize Him roping in the Pope while riding Jess now. I think His rope is one giant rosary formed by prayer…I will enjoy forming this rope each day for Him and for Our Lady by prayer and He may use it to keep the Pope in check as He had to do so often to Peter…”O Jesus, I surrender myself to You! Take care of everything.”

Maybe Jess had his birthday carrot cake for his birth into eternal life with the Faithful and True–and today I think he did get “room service” and had it delivered right to him, even as his back is straight and he is now muscled and fit once again for his new challenge…He leadeth him to green pastures..He leadeth him beside the Stillwater of the river of eternal life…

Love to you Jess forever…I am honored to have known you…I will never forget this past Christmas when it was quite below zero and I looked for Him in your manger…and He was there as the Spirit of Love…with plenty of hay in case He needed a bed as a homeless Infant…I know you would have shared your blanket with Him and serving you was my ultimate Christmas present because you came to me at your gate and shared your love…Now I know that my calling really is to be a “stable nun” and to serve Him amidst the animals where He too is comfortable and accepted–not despised and rejected of men…Namaste

Found: ISO Faithful and True Today in Mother Nature

Heavenly Father I so grateful You did not answer my prayer yesterday to drop the temperature to freezing so it would snow and not rain first! Thank You for sending me a teacher, Elizabeth Clare Prophet who taught me to how to pray to You, how to ask, but always, always end with the Words of the Messiah she taught me is my Lord and Saviour, “nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.”

Yesterday I said to Matt, the Beartooth Ranch manager that I was going to pray that we not get rain but that the temperature drop and it just snow so we do not have to have the ice underneath the layer of snow forecast, which as I said to him and others, only benefits the emergency workers. In truth though I am sure they do not need the extra work of accidents from iced roads with slippery snow on top for enhanced treachery.  I added, well, I can only ask. It is the Almighty who answers or not.

In the book “Praying for Miracles” Mike H. was on a Coast Guard cutter with really bad weather and winds and rain and the commanding officer was cursing the weather. Mike said, “I felt a stirring in my spirit to say to the commander, ‘I know the Man personally who controls the weather.’ He responded sarcastically in the presence of several officers. ‘Good, I want less than 10 knots of wind and clear visibility.’ Later in my room I felt the Lord saying. ‘You can have whatever weather you ask for.’

He continues, “the next morning I was scheduled to get the ship underway. I checked the wind and it was less than 10 knots; visibility was unlimited.” The commander remained an unbeliever, he recounts, but his faith skyrocketed from the experience, he witnessed in the book (which is by Father Robert DeGrandis, S.S.J. and is out of print).

The rain began last night and then the snow came. I cancelled a chiropractic appointment I had in Billings because it was not worth getting in an accident and *really* needing an adjustment then.  I live an hour away and the roads can be quite dicey indeed.

I had also hoped to go to pray in front of Planned Parenthood with others as Wednesdays are the days that abortions are performed there in the Heights. Today it dawned upon me that the winter storm warning for the conditions may well discourage women planning to have abortions today from risking the trek from around this large state to come to the abortion facility, as it entails driving many miles for healthcare of any kind in Montana for many. The child was an inconvenience of some sort to the mother but perhaps she would think twice if her own life was in danger.

This was an irony to me, as we all pay for the private decision the women make as we are supporting this taking of life as a society and it is enshrined in our laws by the Supreme Court. We have collective blood on our hands, in our nation. Child sacrifice is a right in America now, a sacrifice upon the altar of convenience. It is big business, too. Just look at the seven figure salary Cecile Richards CEO of Planned Parenthood makes.

Abortion increases the risk of suicide and increases the risk for all death greatly as recent studies confirm. Women also face much higher rates of breast cancer, which many have tried to downplay but the statistics and studies, including ones conducted by the Chinese, bear it out.

So, many people were inconvenienced by the weather today in this area. It may or may not have saved a life of an unborn child. I had to use my spray can of de-icer on the gas hatch which was frozen shut by the ice in order to gas up today. The latch to the pasture where my equine partner usually lives was frozen stuck too, but he was in another area to help his hooves heal. I get to clean his shed in there and haul the manure to the river which is about a half mile up and back, which I enjoy doing even when the windchill is minus 7 as it was when I left. I know how to dress for the weather and it is an adventure to me to deal with the elements. When I gassed up, I was really in a state of joy because it had taken some time to get the hatch open in order fuel it up. I was laughing to myself how some in Oregon were complaining about having to pump their own gas. It amused me because in this area of the country, Mother Nature can be really challenging. I am continually in awe of the men and women at the Beartooth Ranch and how they cope with all the tough conditions Mother Nature hands them. My small efforts are but minor.

My father, who was on the board of Planned Parenthood in the San Francisco Bay Area at one point, was pro-choice, as was my mother. They had their reasons and we disagreed. We do reap what we have sown, whoever we are. No one escapes that reality no matter what you believe or do not believe. In the East, that concept is called karma. In the Bible, we see what happens to nations that practice child sacrifice. They go extinct. They die.

I simply choose to honor the LORD God of Israel and the Spirit of the Prophet Elijah who challenged the Baal worshippers to a contest between his God and theirs. A hint to the ending to that challenge for anyone unfamiliar with the story: God gave a spectacular demonstration.

Today, my Heavenly Father, to whom my Saviour introduced me as a Messianic Jew through the Our Father in the holy rosary, taught me a profound lesson. My Dad on earth asked us at dinnertime what we learned in school today. Today, Our Father answered my prayers with a “no” and I am so grateful for the lesson. May His Kingdom come of an entire Planet Earth as a Blue Zone of health and happiness because we all chose life not death that we and our children could live. Thank You O God for refusing my prayer! Mother Nature delivered a great lesson today for which I will always thank You. I look forward to the many ways that Mother Nature will continue to school us on Earth that we reap what we sow, and I also look forward to many more inconvenient Wednesdays in the Billings area.

 

 

ISO Faithful and True: Found–on Epiphany–MacroBlogInk reborn

The blessed chalk from last year marked again above my door and also in Mel’s shed. The Epiphany holy water cleansed us both, too. The day before, I had prayed the rosary in his shed as part of my unstructured time with him, just hanging out with him. I left to go feed another and came back to him lying down in the shavings in his shed. I sat down with him and fed him some carrots too. He was completely relaxed and at peace. I took a snapshot and sent it to his race owner so she could see him just chilled out because I think his jockeys made him tense.

That photo of him, just his head from the vantage point of us both lying down together, I prize more than any win picture, any medal, any award. It means he is at peace with me and can relax in my company. I have said that one of my greatest thrills in life is getting an ex-racehorse to relax while being ridden.

Today, Splendid High gave me another truly great gift. I had let him loose in the ring and brushed him afterwards and then put my helmet and riding gear on myself. I then brought his saddle and bridle over and he came over from across the ring to me. I went inside the ring and then he went over to the portal to look outside to his friends. I decided to sit down and wait until he was ready. He then came right over to me and let me tack him up.

The fact that he willingly chose to come to be saddled and ridden was such a treasured gift. It means he is a willing partner in our time together. It touched my heart to no end.

I had some doubts about how he would be today because another at the barn said all the horses were wired today and one rider came off after her horse spooked when some snow crashed down from the roof. I wanted to ask her if she prayed, if we could pray for the rider together, but I decided not to. Instead, I knew that my best prayer partner, Mel, and I would pray while we were a team, mounted for the Lord and praying the rosary while circling the ring.

Mel was calm and relaxed and reaching down for the bit with his head lowered, as I wanted. It was our Epiphany ride for Him.

Afterwards, Mel wanted to go over to one of the empty runs and he went right to the manger. A little hay was left and he munched on it.

The day before, on the actual day of Epiphany, as Mel ate his hay that I had put inside his shed so he would be sheltered from the wind and rest his sore hoof, I ate my dinner that I had thrown into a thermos container. It had brown rice, lentils cooked with carrots and onions and wakame sea veggies, as well as cauliflower. Mel sniffed it and I held out on the spork some of the macrobiotic mixture. Mel ate it off of the spork. I gave him a few more spoonfuls and he liked it.

I knew I had found my healing friend then. In my favorite cookbook, The Self-Healing Cookbook, one page is devoted to writing a letter to an imaginary friend who would share their macrobiotic healing journey with you. I wrote that letter many years ago in response to that assignment. Little did I know that I would have that friend manifest in an equine body!

Mel is my partner-in-grime today as we work through our earthly life together and I get back to muckraking. My aspiration to become a Zen macrobiotic stable nun came true as my way to honor the Faithful and True on His path to the East in His Lost Years.

St. Melchior, the Wise Man, has long been a guiding light for me and he is manifest in the Buddha-nature of Splendid High, who is truly Sir Melchior today, as a knight for our King. The Buddha-nature is a concept that within every living creature is a latent potential to become a Buddha, an enlightened being. St. Francis of Assisi spoke to Brother Wolf and other animals as fellow creatures in Christ and was one of the few who really proclaimed the Gospel to all creatures, literally. Who can say that the donkey the Lord’s Mother rode to Bethlehem and the young donkey colt He rode into Jerusalem are not more enlightened creatures in the Heavenly Kingdom then we who refuse to bear the crosses He gives us?

I had not expected to be able to ride Mel today but his hoof was completely fine as he fully extended his legs in the exuberant extended trot he loves to exhibit loose in the ring. As the blog I used to call MacroBlogInk to chronicle my macrobiotic healing journey is reborn this day, I wonder, was that macro-stew I shared with Mel imbued with healing potential as I cooked it while praying the rosary?

Stay tuned for more on “macrosaries”…and healing stories to come…

 

The Lord’s Prayer for Recovery

When I was in a program for the mentally ill homeless in the Los Angeles area–in Panorama City to be precise–I passed on a recovery tip to a fellow patient. She was trying to quit smoking unsuccessfully.

I told her I had heard that if you have an addiction, including to cigarettes, and you pray the Lord’s Prayer when you have a craving and even before you indulge in it and you keep doing that no matter if it does not seem to stop you from giving into the craving, eventually you will be delivered and quit.

I do not know where I heard that and I wished I remembered so I could give credit, but it worked for my fellow sister in recovery. She quit smoking!

That was long before nicotine patches or any of the other tools they now have. It was 1988 and took place at the Harbor, which was a bare-bones type of place in a rough area where my car had gang markings scribbled on it in the dust. That was alright. It was a great place and they really cared there.

I write this in memory of my neighbor Roger, who recently passed away. He was on oxygen and a smoker. Maybe if I had written this sooner, he might still be alive. I keep to myself and have to spend a lot of hours praying in order to maintain any type of recovery. I did not know he had passed and it grieves me that this might have helped him. People do not want to hear me tell them what to do, but maybe if he had been able to read this, it could have saved him. I will never know.

I do know I needed to write this and it may help someone some day–or not. I am not cut out to be an addictions counselor but this is my way of passing on what I have learned. I have been sober from alcohol since the treatment program and for that I am grateful. While I am not an alcoholic, (I requested an in-depth chemical dependency evaluation from a licensed addictions counselor as well as a sponsor in recovery from alcoholism to determine if I was an alcoholic or not and both said I am not) I still have a dual disorder of severe mental illness and addictions and now possibly a brain injury as well from shock treatments back in the 90s.

I have a trifecta of disorders–an unholy trinity of illnesses, so this may be what I can contribute. Sobeit. I am very grateful to be alive and I wish I had been able to help Roger but it may not have been meant to be. I cannot force recovery on anyone and I do not know of anyone who wants to do what I have to do. That, too, is alright. The addictions counselor once said she did not know of anyone who worked harder on her mental health than I. Believe me, it is not because I am a better person–it is because I am forced to or I will be back to lying on the couch all day hoping and praying for energy to get up to go to the bathroom. That is my choice–interspersed with being so wired and out of it that I have to be confined in a psychiatric ward to contain my energy and force me to contend with reality while living in a waking nightmare of illusions.

I have been blessed with a stark choice and by God’s grace I choose to strive for full recovery through my sponsor “Dr. J.” or Dr. Jesus, who administers His path of prayer and meditation as well as working through medication, as needed. I am only on PRN meds now and have been on that basis for some time. My range for the antipsychotic Zyprexa is from 0 to 40 mg., for any professionals who may read this blog to give an idea of how severe my bipolar/PTSD is. If the psychiatrist who administered shock treatments were to ever know that I am not on daily meds of any kind and only take them PRN, he might not believe it. He once said he took me through the whole PDR, trying me on every medication in an attempt to manage my illness.

He did not acknowledge my trauma history but that was not his specialty. He was a Medicine Man. What his M.D. could not accomplish, the Faithful and True can through the hearts of Thoroughbreds, helping me become what I strive to be: a stable nun, and even more precisely, a Zen Macrobiotic stable nun, because my current psychiatrist who is also a psychoanalyst has written a letter stating that he has observed that my adherence to a macrobiotic way of eating has helped me and should be supported. It is also the method of prayer and fasting Dr. J. prescrbes as did the Ancient of Days in the Bible to Daniel the prophet. I am fortunate indeed and He has blessed me with the ability to live and eat that way. All Glory be to God!

2018: The Blue Army of Recovery Advances

As I ran in the indoor ring on this chilly New Year’s Day, I wondered if I can truly run for God this year? I was scheduled to run a virtual 5K last year, but days before I fractured three ribs when another’s horse bolted right after I mounted him. I fell of before I knew it. His saddle did not fit and he had a sore back and a very tender spot from an old injury, none of which I knew at the time. Now I know I will never, ever ride a horse who does not have a properly fitting saddle again. I also know to be on guard even if the horse is a schoolmaster, as he was.

He taught me a great lesson. This one “who would be king” gave me an experience I will never forget. Just days before, Fr. Bart at St. Anthony’s in Laurel, Montana gave a homily on Our Lady of Fatima on the 100th anniversary of her appearance. He emphasized the prayers and while I knew them and used them already, it was a first for me to hear a Catholic priest preach about Fatima at a Mass. I was taught them by Elizabeth Clare Prophet and they are in the prayer book she published, as well as the story of Our Lady’s appearances recounted in books she wrote.

The message of making sacrifices came in extremely handy in the next week when I broke my ribs. After coming off of the 17 Hand Warmblood–about 6 feet from the ground–I led him to the round pen and got back on him there to contain him more in case he tried it again. I have had it drilled into me that if you fall off, you get right back on–even if only for a moment. So, I did. I knew then that I had broken ribs because it hurt to breathe. I did not stay on long because I wasn’t sitting square anyway and I knew I needed to get x-rayed. So, I unsaddled him and led him back to his paddock, up a hill and back and got in my car and drove to the emergency department.

They x-rayed me and wanted to take a urine sample to check to see if my kidneys were damaged. I had a debate with the attending doctor about getting a shot for pain. I did not want it. He said it would help with inflammation. I said, I have a brain disorder I need to best preserve brain functioning and I do not want narcotics. He told me it was not a narcotic but a local anti-inflammatory, so I let him give it to me. He did not try to give me pain meds because I guess he knew I did not want them, but he said that someone would call me the next day to see if I needed anything, including pain relief, I suppose.

He told me I could wear a rib belt when I was caring for horses, including feeding. Other than that, I was not to wear it because restricting breathing can cause pneumonia. That is why they recommend pain management.

Well, I just decided that I would put to use the Fatima prayers of offering up sacrifices for a Higher Good. So, with broken ribs, it hurts every time you breathe. That is just the reality. I practiced deep breathing that I learned originally from a Sister at Sacred Heart High School who taught yoga. I also said the prayer Our Lady gave, “O Jesus, this is for the love of thee, for the conversion of sinners and for reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” I prayed that prayer a whole lot. It did not take the pain away; it just helped me cope with it by believing it could be used for a higher purpose.

When I went to the pharmacy to pick up my rib belt, as I was leaving, a neatly dressed man said to me that he was wearing a rib belt, too. He said he tried not wearing it but he would put it back on because of the pain. Also, he was there for his pain meds which he also tried to go off of but he started to feel the need for them again, so he was back. I could see he was jonesing. He was a dear, respectable man who attended the local evangelical church in the town where I live. I thought to myself, this is how it all begins. This is where the opiate crisis originates. I told myself I cannot afford to go down that road.

For one thing, opiates would be sure to cause my brain to become more disordered. I was sure of that and I also did not want to become addicted. I already have an addict’s brain and it is the last thing I needed.

I knew I could probably legitimately take time off of my job of feeding another’s horse. I had a good excuse. Every step was painful on uneven surfaces and it was an unpaved dirt road I needed to walk on to feed. I just told myself to get through it, and I offered it up, again.

The woman whose horse I had been riding kept trying to get me to take Ibuprofen but I did not want to and I didn’t. I have read about research that even taking that common remedy can decrease empathy, as studied in college students. It also is not ideal for bone regrowth either.

My doctor said I was the only person he knows who has gone through broken ribs without pain medications. I give all glory to God and the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima and great gratitude to Fr. Bart Stevens for his most useful of homilies. I am also grateful to the equine schoolmaster–the first horse who has seriously hurt me–to drive home the lessons I must have needed to learn. I skipped confession that Thursday which is the only day it is offered in the town I live to ride both him and Mel. Mel was a delight that day but it would be many weeks before I could ride him again and be able to sit squarely and evenly and be effective as a rider. I missed a good part of the summer’s riding because I did not go to confession that day. I realized that if I go to confession every week, I may eventually not have to be in therapy. That is my goal.

Now I have a story to tell, as well, about addiction and the opioid crisis. Just as Saul of Tarsus was thrown from his horse and converted to St. Paul, I pray that I be raised up to spread the Good News about bearing one’s cross through Our Lady’s intercession. Her prayers work and they are free and simple and easy. May this message travel far and wide because many are dying needlessly in this epidemic. Karl Marx’s dismissal of religion as the “opiate of the masses” may not be valid; instead, I affirm that at Mass, we can learn to do without opiates.

This is not just religion, though, but a spirituality, as evidenced by the fact that it is used in a church other than the Catholic Church. These prayers are available to anyone and you do not have to be a Catholic, so it is not promoting religion per se, but a spiritual approach to pain management. I remain a Messianic Jew, although I have been re-baptised and confirmed as a Catholic. I prayed the holy rosary before I became a Catholic as well as the Fatima prayers. It does not violate the separation of Church and State because the prayers are not confined to the Catholic Church. Just as the Lord’s Prayer is prayed at the end of every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, so could these prayers be utilized by those of any faith or none. Here is to Our Lady’s Blue Army of recovery to triumph in this year 2018! May my pain be for Divine gain and may I be able to be a Freedom Rider for the Faithful and True spreading the message of liberation from the enslavement of addictions, the Death Rider that stalks the country…and may this blog on this New Year begin my life as a Freedom Writer, as well, God willing…