You Hurt Me (And I Hate You)

Courtesy DepositPhotos.com /  Daniel Waschnig
Courtesy DepositPhotos.com / Daniel Waschnig

I stole the title of this blog post from an old Eurythmics song. Despite spending most of the eighty’s as a major Eurythmics fan, I had overlooked this bitter gem until my friend Lisa-Fire brought it up. She was going through a breakup at the time and found it apropos.

My taste ran more towards their other bitter classic, I Love You (Like a Ball and Chain), but gave it a spin. Not as deep perhaps, but certainly direct:

A history of bitterness
You have left a blazing trail
If you had been a hammer
I’d be a broken nail
You gave me nothing
Nothing but regrets
Don’t think it’s over
It’s not over yet
 

And then a repeat of the chorus, you hurt me, and I hate you!

Oh, the things we spew when our heart is in pain. Lisa-Fire may have belted out a few choruses herself when we ended our friendship. I get it.

What brings it up now is the pain in my own heart. I’m recently divorced, and still rather in shock. It was unwanted, unexpected and required over two years of legal wrangling to produce the result all divorces produce: everybody lost.

But wishing won’t change things and there’s nothing I can do about another person’s choices. No matter how much I love them.

So I’m left feeling wronged, that a great injustice has been perpetrated against me. Forget about the people who are starving or being murdered for their faith – this is about me.

And that’s a problem.

Because even if it’s true. Even if evil has been done to me. Even if my wife were the only one at fault (as the other person is in the lyrics). What right do I have to be angry at her?

Stay with me here.

Yes, I was a battered husband in my first marriage as a teen, but this has nothing to do with disempowering myself. It’s about the opposite. It’s about the strength – and the power – to forgive. And about where I place my anger.

St. Nikolai Velimirovic tells us that anger makes its nest in the breast of arrogance, and murder lies in the breast of anger. Strong stuff.

Let’s start with that breast of arrogance part. It’s important. Because to be angry at another person, we must judge them. And to judge them, we must deem ourselves both righteously and morally superior to them. This is different from judging a person’s actions. We can love someone and still oppose their actions. We can have compassion without losing sight of the situation, and without abandoning our humility. Just think of that person in your life you were more afraid to disappoint than to upset. The disappointment let you know you were loved, even though you blew it.

Anger at someone doesn’t do that. It distances us. It creates violence. If not in action, then in word. If not in word, then in thought. And angry thoughts are transparent to all.

Then there’s murder in the breast of anger. Or, as in the lyrics:

Don’t think it’s over
It’s not over yet
 

We want to get even. We want to inflict justice. As we decide it. Forget the horses of the apocalypse, here we come. So much for considering ourselves the first among sinners. You know, that little verse the apostle Paul penned in his first letter to Timothy? (1 Timothy, 1:15)

We each know our own sins. The things we don’t want others to know. The things we don’t like to admit, or try to forget. Their number is legion. Compared to the sins we know of another, how could we consider ourselves anything but the first among sinners? And if that’s the case, how can we wish to get even? Evil for evil? Sin for sin?

Yeah. That showed ‘em.

Now, what if we don’t eat our own hearts while they’re still beating and learn to forgive? Even as the nails were hammered through His flesh, Christ forgave those who murdered him. He lived (and died) what he taught us. So why shake down our debtors when our debts have been forgiven? (Matthew 6:12, 18:21-35)

So, go. Pray for your enemies. You’ll be surprised by the results. And if you must sing a bitter tune, at least change up the lyrics:

You hurt me, and I love you!

Can you do that? Or does the pain sometimes feel too deep? What’s your experience?

 

Tweetables:

You hurt me (and I hate you)  http://clicktotweet.com/96D9d

There’s nothing I can do about another person’s choices – no matter how much I love them.  http://clicktotweet.com/2bcfN

What if we don’t eat our own hearts while they’re still beating and instead learn to forgive?  http://clicktotweet.com/0HZ3a

Pray for your enemies. You’ll be surprised by the results.  http://clicktotweet.com/bQKIm

Because Life Throws Curves

Courtesy Depositphotos.com / Andy Dean
Courtesy Depositphotos.com / Andy Dean

“How did I get here?”

It’s a rhetorical question many of us ask ourselves in life. Often more than once. And we don’t mean a place – we mean a place in life. Sure, we know the answer. But it can still be hard to ignore those who 1) don’t realize we’re speaking rhetorically and 2) answer with some hurtful if-you-planned-better-and-did-this-or-didn’t-do-that nonsense.

Duh. And yet, I’ve probably done the same things: fed my ego at the expense of others, and resented those who have done it to me. Either way, I’m wrong. I’ve judged. And then I’ve put myself in danger of a cycle of guilt and remorse. All from asking that simple question. “How did I get here?”

Don’t believe the simple answer.

Better choices usually have better results. But life throws curves. I sold a script to a major network television series as a teen, been a battered husband, a single parent (with the greatest kids on earth), a wage slave and an entrepreneur. I’ve been hit by a bus, hit by a truck, won a trip to Fiji, met my guardian angel and received a miracle from God. If there’s a spectrum for control over events, most of these were at the odd end of it. Yet all had an impact on my life. All helped me to grow. In wisdom. In faith. In my relationship with God and with others.

It all helped to bring me “here.”

And that is what this blog is about. If life has brought you into unexpected circumstances (like it has me), if you wonder sometimes what drives you (as I do) and if you want to understand what God thinks He’s doing through all this (like me), you’ve come to the right place. This blog is for you. And for us.

I’m not claiming to have all the answers, just a great familiarity with the questions. The rest we can work out together.

And because life is as wide as it is short, I’ll share my thoughts on writing, art and other life stuff in here as well. It’s who I am. (Plus, this is to be a safe community. All snarky or disrespectful comments will be removed. So don’t worry. I’ve got your back.)

So, what surprises has your life held? How did you get “here” in life?

Tweetables:

Because life throws curves.

How did I get here?

Don’t believe the simple answer.

What surprises has your life held?

A Few Quick Thoughts on the Artist as Gunslinger

©Depositphotos.com/ Witoldkr1
©Depositphotos.com/ Witoldkr1

Let’s face it, art and artists all live in the wild west. We’re gunslingers and vigilantes, barkeepers and saloon girls, farmers and cattlemen, preachers and lawmen, gamblers and forty-niners. We may not like each other, but we’re all leaving something, we’re all going somewhere, and we’re all looking to create something from what we’ve found.

We’re all galloping through Monument Valley – outlaws, cowboys and Indians – chasing or being chased, heads high and pistols handy, living a tale that maybe, just maybe, will be as grand as the ground beneath us, the vistas before us, and the sky that spreads cathedrally past the farthest of far horizons, that will be remembered after the casket comes and the undertaker drops us from the critic’s noose.

The question is, what do you as a writer or artist plan to leave behind?

Pics from the LA Times Festival of Books

Here are some photos from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books where my book, Thirty Points of Love, made its debut. It was a great experience with a lot of wonderful people. My free Kindle promotion even took Thirty Points up to #2 in Amazon’s Christian Relationships category.

There are a lot of people that need to be thanked for all of this, of course, as no success happens alone.  Cherisse Nadal of Kaya Press, who extended the initial invitation through Coffee House Writers Group. Arial Burnz who did the wonderful cover design. Jeff Goins and all the Tribe Writers who provided tools to make it possible. Ann & John Brantingham for pointers on how to navigate my way to making this happen. The Master of Professional Writing program at USC for placing a copy of my book in the case with other alumni publications, and to that most important person whom I most certainly forgot to list.

Now go ahead and enjoy the pics. It was a great day.

30 Points of Love to Debut at LA Times Festival of Books

My new book,  Thirty Points of Love, is set to debut Sunday – and I’m excited. It was exciting to see the first copies when I received them. It’s even more exciting to think that I will be signing them at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday, April 21st.

Eric von Mizener's Thirty Points of LoveIt will be also be a homecoming of sorts. The Festival of Books is held on the USC campus, and I will be in Booth 380, which is shared by Kaya Press and USC’s MPW program. That’s the Master of Professional Writing program from which I graduated a few years ago. Since I was invited by Kaya Press and Coffee House Writers Group, don’t tell MPW I’m coming. It’s a surprise. And it will be great to be surrounded by old friends and new.

Thirty Points of Love is a book of daily affirmations to help you become a better person, and a better half of a couple. Actually, they were written to help me do that. But after spending twelve years with these thirty points, I believe they can help everybody.

Plus, the Kindle edition will be FREE all day Sunday to celebrate it’s debut at the Festival of Books. So kindly take a look. (Kindly. That’s like saying please.)

LA Times Festival of Books Book Signing:

  • Sunday, April 21st
  • Kaya Press / MPW Booth #380
  • 10am – Noon
  • FREE Kindle Edition!

 

Will you be there?

 

 

 

What Are You Singing About This Lent?

Image courtesy of chrisroll at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of chrisroll at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In some renditions, God sang the universe into creation. He sang “let there be light” and there was light. He called the light day and the darkness He called night. There was morning. There was evening. One day. God sang.

For days He sang. He sang the waters and the mountains into being. He sang life into the seas and onto the land. He sang for days and saw that it was good.

In musical theatre it is said that when a person feels, they speak. When they feel too much for words, they sing. And when it is too much for mere song, they dance.

God kept singing.

He sang “let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” So God made man; in the image of God He made him; male and female He made them.

And God danced. Three years old, in exile somewhere in Egypt. He placed His small feet on His mother’s and they danced.

God stood on Mary’s feet and learned to dance. And they sang. And they danced. And He showed Joseph what He had learned. And they sang. And they danced.

And thirty years later, while those feet were nailed to a cross, He saw to it that His mother was cared for.

We’re in Lent, a time of bright sadness. We’re fasting and repenting, confessing and praying, giving alms and doing more for the poor. It’s good for the soul.

But being a season of bright sadness, we must also remember to sing. After all, we’re preparing for the resurrection. And that’s a celebration worthy of song.

What are you singing about this Lent?

Writers Launch Pad Photo Gallery

When Conclusions Outweigh Reasoning

Scan_Pic0754-001When conclusions outweigh reasoning and principals,

When rhetoric is valued over consequence, and results over ethics,

When feelings become purpose, and purpose made irrelevant,

When desire is our god, and consumption our goddess,

Then each person becomes an object – just as worthless as the last.

 

Just a few ideas I jotted on a Post-It note. Your thoughts?

The Writers Launch Pad … for Dummies

Peter Pollock
Peter Pollock

We’ve done it again. We’ve added another great speaker to the 2013 Writers Launch Pad. This time it is Peter Pollock.

A long-time blogger at PeterPollock.com, Peter is also a popular conference speaker. His book, Web Hosting for Dummies, will be available in June.

He’s also a web hosting trainer and geek (he was so excited to get an iPad that he made up a song and dance about it).

Web Hosting for Dummies by Peter Pollock
Web Hosting for Dummies by Peter Pollock

British by birth, He currently lives in California’s Central Valley with his wife and three children. He ran a web hosting business for nine years, but has been building websites for much longer than that. This has led him to fall in love with WordPress (“possibly a little TOO much” he says) and he can’t understand why anyone would use anything different to build a site.

Ultimately, Peter’s passion is to help others achieve their goals with their websites and blogs – and he believes that, with a little help, anyone can have an awesome site. Which is something every author needs.

A Very Different School by Peter PollockAdd to that, Peter surprised me this weekend by announcing the release of his first children’s book, A Very Different School. Indy-pubbed and available on Amazon, this Easter-themed work is aimed at the 6-10 year old reader.

Along with speakers James Bruner & Elizabeth Stevens, this year’s Launch Pad is shaping up to be a great event. Just follow the link.