I think what you have to ask yourself

I think what you have to ask yourself is: if you had to choose between:

having this country run entirely by non-whites, but the ideals of our founding fathers were held up in an exemplary fashion;

vs.

having this country run entirely by whites, but the government was a cross between a Nazi, Communist and monarchical government–

which would you choose?

I think Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell need to ask themselves this. I think Trump supporters everywhere need to ask themselves this. I think we are in the process of getting our answer from these people, whether they want to seriously ask themselves this question or not.

It is no longer a matter of “waiting to see what happens” or “the Clintons and Obama did this, too.” You are watching our system of checks and balances get shredded for good, and you are either okay with or you aren’t. You are watching a maniac making himself King, and watching him take measures that no other President has dared to take. The ones who came before him have regrettably set a precedent for this behavior, but the people who control Congress are the ones who are enabling it. They seem to think that in the end this deal with the devil won’t hurt too much and will leave them mostly in a good place.

It is unfortunately still framed too much in a partisan narrative. It is bizarre that so many NWO conspiracy theorists believe that Trump is their man to prevent the NWO government from arriving. An elite lines his cabinet with elites and behaves like a king, but he is ultimately doing this for the good of the republic. It is unfortunate that too many NWO conspiracy theorists were at the end of the day far-right individuals who were every bit as hyper-partisan as the rest of us–folks like McCain, Bush, Romney, etc. simply weren’t far right enough for them.

I am fully aware of the fact that I am at least partly to blame for the rise of Donald Trump

I am fully aware of the fact that I am at least partly to blame for the rise of Donald Trump. I ranted and raved and subscribed to liberal political magazines and volunteered for and donated to political campaigns quite a bit between 2000-2008, and once Obama won, I stopped worrying. I got a little agitated when Cruz tried to shut the government down and Trump started winning primaries, but I thought for certain that the American people were smart enough to pull us through in the end, and make the right choice for President. I assumed that people would understand that not voting for Hillary meant voting for Trump, no matter how much they despised Hillary. And that people would see just how much worse our country would be under Trump than Hillary. I assumed that the number of people now living in the United States who would make the right decision would far outweigh those who wouldn’t. Yes, Hillary won the popular vote, but I mean to say that I assumed Trump wouldn’t even come close to getting the number of votes needed to win the White House.

I am no longer assuming anything, except that my future and my son’s future will probably be dark and unhappy. I get how everyone talks about getting up off my ass and doing something, but I also lived through the Bush years and watched the results of so many efforts to do and say something to take Bush and Co. down. Even Alex Jones was anti-Bush. Nothing took Bush down except for the charisma of Barack Obama. Nothing changed things this year for the Tea Party set except for the charisma of Donald Trump. Sure, they put some people into other offices, and yes, they got Ted Cruz to pull a stunt a few years ago. But, the crowning victory came once a charismatic personality lent his name to the spirit of the movement if not directly to that particular movement. I wholeheartedly believe that if the woman’s march of a week or so ago had taken place back in August and had made Hillary its figurehead, and she had properly taken the mantle of charismatic leader of that movement, then Donald Trump would not have been elected. Showing that you have strength, voice and power against the establishment on the day after it takes office isn’t as helpful as showing it during the time leading up to the election that will hopefully upend the establishment.

And let’s be clear: Donald Trump is part of the establishment. He is not draining any swamps, he isn’t going to Make America Great again for anyone except himself and his family, and it is even dubious if he will succeed at that given his track record of terrible business decisions and corruption. A best case scenario will be that he convinces Congress to end presidential term limits, and spends the next fifteen years in office living like Berlusconi until he croaks and people finally get a clue and vote for someone more sane. A more likely scenario is that with the coming martial law, Trump will more or less set up a dynasty and his children will rule after he leaves office.

What I am actually witnessing in my lifetime is the process by which the United States of America undergoes what the Republic of Rome did as it transitioned to an empire. My best hope for me and my family is that we are so utterly inconsequential and insignificant that all of the ranting on blogs and Facebook and Twitter and letters to Congresspeople and Editors and marches, etc. will go largely unnoticed. We will quietly live under the radar and cross our fingers that Trump will not set up a National ID system in which you are microchipped or tattooed with a special Mark of Allegiance to the American Way and the Economy and other things sacred, but now utterly meaningless given that the word America is fast becoming nothing more than a proper name. When Trump began saying that if we don’t do something soon, we wouldn’t have a country at the start of his campaign–it was, of course, a dog whistle for racists, but it was also a signal of his real intentions: Donald Trump has no desire for the U.S. continuing to exist as the country of liberties and freedoms we claim to know and love. When it comes to the kinds of Executive Orders he is pushing and the people he is putting in charge, it is not even close to what Obama and past presidents have done in the past.

To be for sure, the Executive Branch has continued to witness more and more power flowing to it, and the efforts of Congress and the Supreme Court to check that power, along with the efforts of States and local governments to check the power of the Federal Government have been slowly eroding over time. All of us citizens are responsible for this, when we take interest only in who will be President and then mostly ignore all other elections and political and government activity. We have all enabled the monster that is Trump to arrive, and frankly, if it hadn’t been him, it would have been someone else. Hillary probably would have tested the waters a little less overtly, but she surely would have contributed to the erosion of the system of checks and balances.

Will the ultimate end to the U.S.A. as our founding fathers intended it to work happen during the office of Donald Trump? He is certainly to my reckoning the best candidate we’ve had for this to happen since FDR. However, no one knows what is really in Trump’s heart. I would still like to hold out a little bit of hope that the man is sincere in helping America to return to whatever he thinks it’s supposed to be to make it great, and has enough reverence for our original founding principles that he wouldn’t make himself a dictator, but I am only holding out a tiny bit of hope. I certainly was wrong about Bush being as bad as he ended up being–he was largely more dumb and incompetent than evil. I was definitely wrong about Obama coming next after Bush–how could anyone see Obama coming in an era when everyone equated a man named Osama with Satan, and a man named Hussein with Satan’s best buddy? To have a name like Barack Hussein Obama seemed like the worst possible name to have to become president. At times, I was pretty certain I stood a better chance of being president, simply by virtue of being white and having an Anglo Protestant name.

So, fortunately, I am wrong a lot in my dark assessments of what the future will bring. But, I don’t think I am incorrect in saying that Trump has take abuse of the Executive power to a whole new level, and too many Republicans like Paul Ryan are enabling it because they think they will get a good deal in the end of their deal they are making with the devil. As an aside, I should state that I find it utterly absurd that you cannot directly contact members of the House unless you lie about your zip code–as most of these men and women, especially ones like Ryan, are more than willing to weigh in on national and international issues, it has never really been the case that he simply represents some tiny little backwoods section of Wisconsin.

In a lot of ways, men like Paul Ryan are worse than Donald Trump. Trump is more or less a WYSYWIG–he may have some more evil tricks up his sleeve than the evil that’s come out of his mouth and been signed by his pen so far, but whatever Trump has done or said in the past few weeks has not in the least been out of character or astonishing. Someone like Paul Ryan will occasionally show flashes of integrity and respect for the job that has been entrusted to him, but your average Paul Ryan inevitably caves to men like Trump because at the end of the day he cares more about his job and money than he does about his country. As so-called Christians, I must say that these evangelical types and conservative Catholics have made their priorities very clear: Mammon first, then Country, then probably a lot of other things that they would hate to give up before giving up their faith like Football and Guns and red meat, then Christ. This is not a statement about whether or not I am more Christian than them–I am fully aware of the fact that my priorities don’t always put Christ first–however, I don’t think these holier-than-thou types are nearly as self aware about just how much they put a love of money over even a love of country.

To say that our Founding Fathers would be appalled at Trump is a bit of an oversimplification, of course. Our Founding Fathers were a diverse (in opinions, not ethnic backgrounds, of course) bunch of smart guys who differed on the amount of power the President should have. I am pretty sure that more than a few of them would have been okay with banning Muslims and building a wall–the idea of religious freedom was a lot more narrow in a lot of these men’s minds, and the idea of who was actually fully human was pretty different as well. However, I do think that most of the Founding Fathers wanted what was best for this country in the long time, and they were products of their time. It is easy to knock people who don’t think like you do when they didn’t have the same opportunities for enlightenment that you did. It could even be argued that poor Donald Trump has been sheltered and suffocated intellectually by his own particular environment, and he is in some perverse way a victim as much as someone born in war-torn country trying to get to a better life. Obviously, this is absurd and Donald Trump has had access to the entire world–in his lifetime he could have traveled everywhere and taken dozens of classes to better himself and make himself a more enlightened person. What’s more, his sheltered world is the kind of world not many would object to, were they to find themselves living in it tomorrow.

Really, what am I getting at with all of this? There is clearly a problem now of some magnitude. As a father and husband and citizen of the U.S., I feel that it is incumbent upon me to assess the gravity of the threat and make the best decisions for myself and my family, but not become so utterly quick to run off to some other country to work and live that I turn my back on those who may need some kind of support or advocacy from me. I am not nearly concerned about the threat to my own neck as I am about the threat to my son’s future. I don’t want him growing up in a country where he pretty much sees his best opportunities as being part of the Trump Youth, or joining the Trump Party, or what have you. Of course, if Trump is the Antichrist, then moving to a place like New Zealand only delays the inevitable–we are in the end times, and Jesus will be back soon to set things right.

Like any other time I think deeply about something, I tend to start to also think about its opposite

Like any other time I think deeply about something, I tend to start to also think about its opposite. I’ve had these insights recently into how much my life really is my own responsibility, but what’s followed them has been a sense of sheer paranoia–a series of “what if’s” asking that perhaps the cage of this physical reality is constructed this way for a good reason.

This might seem a little crazy, so I should preface it along the lines of saying something about it being nothing more than a thought experiment.

The proposed thought experiment is this: if you were going to take a huge number of entities, and keep them imprisoned so that they wouldn’t overpower you or escape and exist independently from you, then you’d want to hold them in place by force, or you’d want to hold them in place by fear, or you’d want to simply create an illusion for them so that they would stop believing that there was anything better beyond the reality that they knew.

Why would you want to keep them imprisoned, aside from the possibility of them overpowering you? Or, let’s say that all of them combined still couldn’t muster enough energy or power to overcome you–then why hold on to a bunch of prisoners? Aside from purely ego reasons, it could be that these entities provided something for you that even they were unaware they were providing–entertainment, a particular type of energy, a life force of some kind, a collective attempt to solve a problem you’ve been unable to solve on your own–or, along the lines of a particular type of energy–some type of substance that sustains you or empowers you. If you are Adolph Hitler, your goal is mostly ego-related, and at the end of the day, you really just want to exterminate everyone you’ve rounded up.

So, who or what am I talking about? God and us? The devil and us? Some other collective of higher beings plus global elites and some of us?

I don’t know. The real reason this occurred to me is the spectacular way in which the mind has been limited by way of scientific inquiry, and prior to that, the mind was kept limited by religion. For anyone who would declare religion to be an opiate of the masses, I think they could be overlooking just how convenient it would be for some sinister higher power or collective cabal that exists on a higher, mental plane to replace religion with scientific materialism. At the end of the day, the mind is still kept in check and rendered subservient to some greater force. I realize this is kind of a gnostic way to think–that all or many of us are in possession of mental powers that far exceed anything we could imagine, and that the higher reality beyond this one (inside, outside, above, below, etc.–location becomes meaningless in a higher dimension) consists largely of a type of energy that can best be thought of as Mind or Mind plus Love. By dismissing such thinking as crazy or backwards, we are kept in check and left to be reincarnated time and again to short lives of hard work and tiny amounts of happiness.

I realize this is exceptionally heretical to most Christians, and I can’t say as I actually completely believe it, however, it doesn’t bother me to occasionally work through thought problems with an eye to maybe catching glimpses of something that truly is above and beyond this physical space and short life I generally accept as reality.

I am wrestling with something that I think is very fundamental to me understanding myself and reality

I am wrestling with something that I think is very fundamental to me understanding myself and reality. In some ways, it seems like the same old, same old–which is why I am reluctant to write about it. In other ways, it has the potential to be utterly radical, if I can actually leverage it to completely transform me. The more that I think about it, the more restless and nervous I become–the less happy I seem to be on the outside. But, I think this is because there is an old self, or thought pattern, or demon, or learned pattern of behavior, if you will, that is kicking hard against what I am finding.

The way to describe it could be “radical personal responsibility” — but, if you Google this phrase, you are going to get all kinds of New Age self help methodologies. Most of them seem to come close to getting at what I’m trying to get at, but none of them completely seems to get it. I think the problem is on one hand utterly simple and described by many who would seek to take your money and transform you for the better: I need to stop blaming others and outside circumstances for the things in life that make me unhappy and start examining myself as the root cause of what makes me unhappy. I am reluctant to take the idea of personal responsibility to such extremes as solipsism or utter masochism. Those are unhealthy, unrealistic directions. I do think there is an objective reality, there are absolute truths, there is such a thing as evil and the Devil and there is such a thing as a God of inifinite Love. I do think that many of the problems of the world are caused by others, and I am only to blame so much as I participate in the system instead of living outside of it. I don’t believe in taking on the sins of mankind because I believe that another man already did this.

However, I also don’t think that stating something like “take more personal responsibility for your actions” quite gets to the root cause of the matter, either. I think that there is an acute learned pattern of behavior that is at the same time comfortable in its familiarity and wretched in its destructiveness and ways in which it impacts me to an unhealthy degree. To wake up one morning and declare “I am taking personal responsibility for my actions henceforth” is a nice start, but I’ve done this many times only to fall back on old, well-known patterns of behavior where I am quick to fault others or circumstances for why I am unhappy, and slow to make any sort of changes to my lifestyle or way of being that might see me become happier.

What got me thinking about all of this again was a realization that I have placed too much emphasis on forces external to me as being the cause of my problems or even my successes and chosen to be accountable for my shortcomings in ways that tend toward the masochistic. In other words, I ignore practical methods to become a better person and try to make up for all of the times I should have been more aware of how I, myself, was impacting my life by being overly repentant of my sins.

The clear examples are the destructive swath I’ve taken in my finances and career choices. It has been much easier to pretend that one day in the not-so-distant future I will be discovered by someone important for doing something–writing, painting, making music, developing websites, etc. and that I will be propelled to great fame and fortune where finances will never be an issue again. I have continually thought that the next job I hop to would be the one where people really “get me” and give me the chance to shine–all because these particular people at this particular job environment happen to be so much more enlightened than all of the other ones. Meanwhile, I’ve ignored obvious steps to improve my career, like joining trade organizations, coming to meetings prepared with helpful suggestions, proactively setting up meetings with bosses and bosses’ bosses to make my voice be heard.

The actual act of facing a life where you really are responsible for everything that happens, and you are responsible for your outcomes, is a frightening act to step into. I am not discounting prayer and seeking guidance from God, so much as I am using God as a crutch or an excuse for why things aren’t going the way you’d like them to. If you pray to God, and God shows you how you can improve or do something differently in order to get what you are asking for and you don’t do it, then you are to blame for why you didn’t get what you wanted. If you pray to God for something that may not have been precisely what you wanted, but it seemed kind of nice or it seemed like it might make you happy, and God gives it to you but you decide that you really didn’t want it after all–then, it does you no good to complain about God never giving you the kind of life that would make you happy.

It also does you no good to decide that you want to do God’s will, and then take a month or two to imagine or conjure up what you think that should be, and then dash out and start trying to do it, only to find yourself rather unhappy about the kinds of sacrifices you have to make or some of the outcomes that would indicate you aren’t as validated as you’d hoped to be.

I still believe very firmly that God’s will for what I should be doing overrides my own will. However, I am not completely convinced that God isn’t simply trying to help me become the most happy, healthy and successful person I can be given my particular set of talents–and I keep throwing those talents away in the mistaken belief that God has a different set of talents waiting for me. In the parable of the talents, I wouldn’t be like any of the fellows described, but a new sort of pernicious example–one who wants very much to make the best use of his talents, except for the fact that he hasn’t been given the ones that he thinks he has. Or, I am the man who was given five talents and I keep trying to be the one who was given ten, thereby making me fall short at accomplishing tasks for which I am not equipped but also failing to do much of anything with the talents I’ve been given.

However, to get more closely back to the matter at hand, I want to again stress how most of my given mechanisms for behavior in any particular social situations are mostly auto-pilot responses that have enabled me to never completely put myself out there in full service of others, in full expression of who I really am–but, I am also putting just enough out there so that I give the impression I really am as fully engaged as possible. It helps me cover or hide a part of myself that I feel is vulnerable, and gives me the chance to always blame bosses, coworkers, family and friends for things not going completely my way. But, to be clear, I have perfected this unsatisfactory way of being such that I can at any time demonstrate just how much I really did try my best (but really just appearing to do so) while leaving room to be the victim when necessary (but without being so much of the victim that it becomes too obvious).

Why have I settled on such a way of being? I have my own particular mixture of laziness and fearfulness. I am too lazy to work hard enough to accomplish exceptional things and too afraid of sticking my neck out for fear of some kind of figurative chopping of it off. In reality, I am always being judged by others and rejected–it is clear from my overall lack of close friends that many people have come and gone who have determined I am not what they were looking for in a friend. All of the things that I have tried to avoid out of fear have come true, but I have pretended that they have not. As for my laziness–perhaps some of the laziness I have so heavily critiqued is just who I happen to be–in other words, I am simply not made to be the man who is running about town at all hours of the day attending events and meetings and trying to sit on a million committees and accomplish a million things. Where I have so heavily despised and criticized myself for not trying harder, volunteering more and standing up and speaking out more may simply be an act of participating in unrealistic expectations.

Or, to consider this slightly differently, it is easier for me to critique myself for things that I really shouldn’t be so critical about so that I don’t have to actually face the things that I should be changing.

In all fairness, I have tried to stick with the general truism that it’s better to only write about what you know

In all fairness, I have tried to stick with the general truism that it’s better to only write about what you know. My attempts at fiction and my assertions about what it takes to be successful as a human being are pretty one dimensional, because it is rather difficult for me to develop and hold together a complex world that is not my own. If my writing seems overly self-absorbed and/or boring, it’s because I strive to only write about what I know.

In complete and sober honesty, I have not been a very successful prophet, when it comes to predicting the future. At one time, I honestly believed that George W. Bush was going to declare martial law as he mustered in the Patriot Act and ramped up the country for war with Iraq. I believed that he was a sinister man from a dark cabal of a family who played the role of the buffoon and verbally inadequate public speaker to make people think he was a lot dumber than he really was.

I can say truthfully that I only once believed that Obama was going to radically change America for the better, and that was after his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. Every speech he uttered after that seemed to indicate a man who was not quite prepared to take the office of President, but between him and Biden, there was more qualification than McCain plus Palin. There were a few times where I was marginally concerned that Obama might even be the Antichrist, that he was overstepping his bounds of power too much, and at the beginning when he held such a strong majority America having a favorable opinion of him.

I never have been convinced that Hillary is as bad as those on the right say that she is, nor has the left ever done a good enough job of convincing me that she is as great as they say she is. I am too jaded to believe in third party candidates and Bernie Sanders types. Once again, in 2016, I basically weighed the qualifications and competancies of the two people from each party, and the Democrats seemed to be slightly more favorable. Also, Trump frankly terrifies me because of his lack of predictability. Who knows what he will ultimately end up doing? In all of my attempts to objectively assess Trump and Clinton, Trump seemed more likely to be the kind of individual who would declare martial law and crown himself king–and also have the backing of a bunch of fearful Americans following some kind of Reichstag burning event.

But, from where I sit now, I hold no more illusions that I can change anything that happens at those levels of power. I am having a hard enough time changing myself for the better–making myself into a more sociable and likeable person who would excel at being the associate pastor of a medium-sized mainline Protestant church in a small city or large town that was predominantly a college town somewhere in the Midwest, Northwest or Southeast.

At seminary, I have met some genuinely good people. I have gotten an opportunity to see what really good, decent, giving and caring people look like. I know that I have an enormous amount of work to do before I could call myself one of these people.

I still have some faith in the Lord. I wish I had more than I do. I think I am going to need a lot more faith to get me through the next few years. I believe that God ultimately has a plan for me and my family, and for humanity as well. I just can’t read the news anymore and see it at work. As a Christian, for me, the most important thing is being a good Samaritan, a loving neighbor. This comes before any sense of what is best for my country. Maybe it is heresy for me to say that as an American who is supposed to put country slightly before God or family these days, but I think that any careful reading of Christ tells you to put Christ first, and country and family second. This isn’t about leaving your family to a pack of wolves, but about putting yourself and your family in God’s hands instead of in the hands of the President or the military.

As a Christian, then, the idea of refusing hospitality to those who are in most need of it is exceptionally abhorrent. When Trump said things like, “We aren’t going to have a country soon, if things keep going they way they have…” I first of all don’t believe such rhetoric for a minute. But, secondly, if I did, I shouldn’t care, because those who would put country first have created an idol of their patriotism, and they are now worshiping that idol. I firmly believe that those who would put their gun rights over the safety of children worship guns as idols. I believe that those who are concerned about too many brown people in their country have made an idol out of their own white skin and their flag and all of the myths that accompany this country that would prop up the idols they worship first (including football, pickup trucks, guns, etc.) before they would consider what it means to follow Christ.

“If you don’t like it, you can leave…” is a common response. There are many things you can say to that. First of all, why didn’t all of Obama’s detractors leave during Obama’s presidency? That would have been helpful. Why do these people insist on following the laws of the land and quote Jesus’ saying “give to Ceasar’s what is Ceasar’s” when the laws are in their favor, but seek to abolish the laws and change them when the laws aren’t? But, my response these days is: “no, I don’t have to leave, because God put me here on this earth in this time and place. I follow Christ first, who the hell do you follow? Mammon? Guns? A flag? Your own warped ideas about who belongs here?” And, more realistically, I still do keep on the table leaving as a possibility. I don’t have any qualms about becoming a citizen of New Zealand, except for how hard it would be on my wife’s parents who seek to have an active role in my son’s life.

Today, I am prepared to die for Christ, if it were to come to that. I am not quite ready to offer up my family as additional martyrs, though I must contend that having faith in an ultimate afterlife means that I must be prepared to lose everything during a relationship with Christ. I do believe that most evangelical Christians who support Trump have lost their way. They have made a bargain with the devil in hopes that it won’t hurt too much and that the devil will keep his promise to put a judge on the Supreme Court bench who will do away with abortion. They have chosen a man who has spent his entire life lost in a love of mammon and sin as their President, because a few of their leaders like Dobson and Falwell believe Trump has sincerely converted to their so-called authentic form of Christianity in the past year.

We’ll see what happens. I think a lot of people are going to be very disappointed when their Mexican wall and their ending of Obamacare doesn’t net them the golden calf of more manufacturing jobs they were hoping for. They will, of course, buy hook line and sinker Trump’s assertions that the jobs didn’t come back due to Obama and Bill Clinton, and then before people get too mad, Trump will allow a terrorist attack on our soil that is on the level of 9/11, and people will get scared, and Trump’s approval ratings will go through the roof–Herr Trump, we are so sorry we ever doubted you. Trump will even have Alex Jones believing his false flag is the real deal–the one false flag Alex Jones should have seen coming is the one that fat sack of shit will miss.

One thing that I keep swearing I will stop writing about and obsessing over is Donald Trump and the news articles that are coming out daily about how bad things are. It makes me feel better temporarily to drop some random opinion down about everything, but I’m not really changing anything. Nobody will read what I write until after I’ve been dead for a long time.

Inevitably, my thoughts return to politics, because it is that odd sort of world where I can maintain the illusion that I have some control over what is about to happen when I really don’t. I don’t have any more control over what Trump will do next than I do over what God will do next, but saying shit about Trump feels better most of the time than talking smack about God.

A couple of vivid dreams last night–more vivid than usual, anyway

A couple of vivid dreams last night–more vivid than usual, anyway. The first one found me at my first day of med school, where I was apparently part of a very hands-on med school that gave its entering students opportunities to work with cadavers and real human body parts from day one. Even something as mechanical and groundskeeping-related as learning to use the lab equipment involved the usage of body parts and cadavers. At the start of the dream, I was walking into the room past a conveyer belt of cadavers of the recently deceased and donated who were being processed for various classroom activities.

One of the cadavers sat up and started shrieking about something. He was a man in his late 30s, and the body he was animating was clearly still dead. He was livelier and more verbal than a zombie, but clearly not quite alive. He started shouting that he’d made a deal with the devil to be able to come back and be immortal, and insisted on us letting him go. As “evidence” for his assertion that the devil had allowed him to come back, he started writing furiously in a backwards script and trying to hold it up to a mirror. In the dream, “Satan” written backwards in the man’s script looked like “Nathan.”

I asked one of the instructors if this happened very often with the cadavers, and they said yes, but they basically refused to report the phenonenon for fear of losing their scientific credentials. So, they would just have a couple of strong fellows tie down the cadaver and decapitate it, and the shrieking would stop.

Moving on, I saw that my first project was to learn how to use the fancy scales and measuring devices by practicing on a real human breast. All of the breasts were taken, and so I had to hunt down an instructor who could get me set up at a work station with a fresh breast and a caliper and scale. The caliper and scale were connected via bluetooth or some other means to a monitor that was providing me with all kinds of readings.

The next dream, which came a little later on in the night, consisted of a type of church/missionary retreat in a South American country like Colombia or Brazil. Apparently, as long as we stayed within this particular area, we were safe, but if we wandered off, we might be killed. There were two sides to the retreat divided by a gorge of some kind, and the leaders of the retreat decided to have a retreat within a retreat inside some more rustic cabins that were on the other side of the gorge. However, most of the group wasn’t eagerly participating in singing hymns and worship music enough, and so they almost immediately decided to cancel the retreat within the retreat and return to the side of the gorge that had quarters with more creature comforts. Apparently, I’d already made quite a mess of unpacking my stuff, and had to spend a fair amount of time gathering up random things like wall tacks and toothpaste bottles from the floor. My old husky dog was in the dream, and she kept getting out and running around, and I had to keep chasing her down. At one point, I got to feeling adventurous, and apparently I could fly, and so I took off to fly past the perimeters of the retreat on the opposite side that the gorge was on. I flew into this forrest where the roads were all awash in floods, and some men were driving their pickup trucks through the roads. I soon got scared, because I felt like I was actually in another country for the first time, and flew back to the retreat camp to finish packing my stuff.

As I’ve been writing this, I also recalled another recent dream where I’d been enrolled in a bunch of random undergrad classes, like English and Psych 101, and Sociology, but I’d forgotten all about one of them, and it was now the end of the semester. I think I was also trying to impress someone with my knowledge of Hebrew, but I couldn’t remember what a Daleth looked like. So, I was trying to impress them with knowing Aleph, Bet, Vet, Gimmel–and that’s it. Later in this dream, I also had to move out of one of two places I was living in, because I apparently still rented an apartment in addition to living in a dorm. In the apartment, my situation was similar to the one in the above dream about the church retreat. I had so many random little things that I’d allowed to disburse about the place, and was having a difficult time gathering them up and sorting which ones I needed to keep and which ones I should toss before I moved out of the apartment. Maybe this is a metaphor for the work I am doing write now with trying to get through all of my past writing and organize it by date. There is surely a lot of crap there, but I am reluctant to part with any of it, and so I am caught in a place where I am just sifting through a mess with good intentions about making it neater while at the same time feeling inclined to simply gather it all up and throw it in one spot and allow someone else to sort it out after I depart from the earth.

Putting down a quick dream–the best parts of it have been forgotten

Putting down a quick dream–the best parts of it have been forgotten. I dreamed that I had a Hebrew exam in an hour and a half, but I was going to go back to my place and rest for a half hour before studying. I believe that I was exhausted from all of the activity that took place in the parts of the dream that are now forgotten.

I entered an open room that had a bed like the one I sleep on in real life. I threw my stuff on the floor, took my clothes off, and started to doze. But, I had to use the restroom, and so I walked down the hall. Apparently, the bed was in a room more like a dorm room from college. Upon entering the restroom, I quickly discovered that there were no urinals. I realized I was on “the 5th floor” which was apparently a women’s floor. Back in the room I’d entered, I hurriedly began gathering my things. I recognized that even the alarm clock by the bed looked like an alarm clock I used when I was a kid. In the dream, I remembered that my room was on the 7th floor, a men’s floor. In my real life college days, all of the odd floors had been women’s floors, and my floor was on the 4th floor, but this was, of course, a dream. A woman entered, and I began explaining to her that the bed looked like my bed–it was made up the same way as in real life (of course, my wife makes the bed up that way, so this was all dream nonsense). Then, my wife’s phone alarm went off, and I woke up.

I haven’t had many college or school dreams since I’ve gone back to school. The endless and hopeless dreams of showing up on test day and realizing I’d missed most of the semester due to slacking off, plain forgetfulness or a complete unawareness that I’d been enrolled in the class–those dreams have been few and far between. Actually, I haven’t had that many dreams at all that I remember. Perhaps I’ve been invested enough in my waking reality that I haven’t bothered to think much about my dreams upon waking. For the most part, I’ve taken to placing little or no significance in dreams. They are generally chaotic, messy and incoherent–dreams no longer satisfy my expectations of what truth and reality should be.

Maybe this is a key reason why I no longer have any mystical experiences. I don’t place a lot of stock in things that can’t be apprehended in a straightforward sort of way. Partly this is due to a fear that I might be seeing visions provided by spirits who are evil. Mostly this is due to the fact that dreams and visions have done little to change reality. I can remember dreams about my little brother wrecking his truck and thinking little of them. They weren’t significant enough for me to change anything that was to happen. I remember a dream where some men rode up to me in the desert and said that they were “sons of ISIS” and this happened at least a year before ISIS appeared in the news. What good did it do? All of the mystics and seers and psychics in the world haven’t stopped things like 9/11 and all the terrorist attacks in Europe. Of course, there are plenty who claimed to have witnessed such things–but their visions are so heavily interpreted after the fact that they might as well have not had any visions at all.

I will say that I’ve had nothing but bad feelings about Trump. I think that those who could have stopped his rise to the presidency were making deals with a devil whose awfulness they can’t even begin to understand. The false equivalence of Hilary being just as bad or perhaps worse–the drumbeat of eight years of Obama apparently messing up everything even as no evidence can be mustered–but the really exasperating part of it all is that Trump brings a precedent for a kind of corruption that is only seen in other countries. The America we have known and loved is over. The new America will seem great for enough years to get the man re-elected, and then things will get really bad for almost everyone. All I have to back this up is just a terrible gut feeling of pure awfulness when I watch Trump speak. Maybe this is how others have felt seeing Obama and Hilary speak–I hope it’s all in my head, but I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s not.