Nick Wilgus's Blog

November 10, 2018


Once upon a time there was a little boy who watched Little House on the Prairie. Sometimes, when it was over, he hurried to his bedroom so he could cry and not be seen. He wondered why the mother and father on the TV show were so nice to each other and their kids. He wondered why the kids on the show always treated each other respectfully, even when they disagreed. He wondered why he didn't have a father like Charles Ingalls who respected him, who loved him, who sacrificed for him. He wondered why he didn't have a mother who was interested in her children, why she was sad, distant, far away, who seemed to think her children were a cross to bear, a nuisance to be endured, not little humans to be cherished and treasured but little monsters who ate too much, fought too much and caused her too much suffering. 
He had a sense, watching that show, that something in his family was not right, but he didn't know what and didn't have the vocabulary to put this feeling, this vague unease, into words. What he learned was that some families are nice to each other, and love each other, and care about each other. And some families don't. So sometimes, when there were touching scenes on the show, he could not help but hurry away to a place of privacy so he could cry. He didn't know why he was crying, only that some emotion had gripped him, some sadness, some grief he couldn't understand.

This little boy began searching for family. He found it with a Catholic family who lived on the other side of the woods. He played happily with their children. He felt included, respected, wanted, even though he overstayed his welcome a great deal-indeed, he often spent the night with this family as if he were one of their own.

But then something happened. The little boy grew into a young teenager who realized he was gay. And this religious family, this Catholic family that treated him so nicely, had a thing about homosexuality. They didn't like it. Soon, although he tried hard to gain their approval, he found himself not welcomed by this foster family, who eventually moved away. No matter what he did, he could not make them love him again.

He was not sure what his own family would say if he told them about being gay, so he said nothing, but the gayness, the homosexuality, was a deeply bruising, shameful thing he carried with him and could not escape no matter how he tried, how fervent his prayers, who desperate his desire to be normal.

This young teenager grew into a young man who proved himself to be a damaged, unstable individual with emotional problems. He'd always been a sensitive boy, and the terrors of his childhood haunted him-his violent, drunken father, the sexual abuse he experienced, the death of his friend Tommy when he was eight, the death of his father when he was ten, the religious violence he experienced as a convert to a crazy Catholic cult, the harsh feelings of self-loathing and hatred over his homosexuality-oh, it was a toxic brew.

He was quite alone with these terrors. No one in his family seemed to understand him, to understand what was happening, what was wrong. He knew he was an unwanted burden, and when he chanced upon a risky way to escape, he took it. This involved accepting a plane ticket from a gay man in Las Vegas. He'd corresponded with the man, having found his address in the back of a gay magazine. How he found that magazine, he does not remember now. What he remembers is writing to some of the addresses in the personals column, and receiving offers of plane tickets from older gay men who said they would be happy to "help" him. So he accepted the plane ticket and made his escape. He arrived at the airport in Las Vegas feeling very satisfied with himself, that he was now on his own, that he was an adult, was going to survive and not be a burden on anyone anymore.

The man who met him at the airport seemed nice enough, but when they arrived at the man's house and he began to unpack his small suitcase, the man came into his bedroom, forced him to disrobe and proceeded to rape him.

Not knowing what else to do, he wrote to some of the other men he had been corresponding with. Eventually he found himself moving to LA with one of those men, where the scenes repeated themselves. And then one day he found himself thrown out onto the street.

He thought of calling his family and asking for help, but he knew two things: They would not understand. And they would not help. And he knew it was pointless to ask. So he began to walk the streets, looking for someone to help him. Various tribulations awaited him that he does not care to discuss now.

Eventually he met a young traditional Catholic man who promised to help him. He went to live with this young man and his Italian family in Kansas City. They helped him get a job and make a start in life. They loved him like he was one of their own, but he knew he must not divulge his secret. Should they learn of his homosexuality, they would ask him to leave, so he remained silent.

The Italian family tried very hard to love this young man, but he was shy, awkward, terrified of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing. He wanted their love so much he could hardly breathe, and he lived in fear he would disappoint them or that they would discover his terrible secret and they would ask him to leave.

He especially loved his Italian mother. Yet he couldn't think what to say to her, what to talk about, how to express his feelings. And soon, because he was so awkward, so quiet, so nervous, so afraid, she concluded that he did not like her and she grew distant.

He then met another family who took him in. An Hispanic family. Because they were traditional Catholics, he tried very hard to be a traditional Catholic to please them even though he no longer believed in it. One day, when he could hold it in no longer, he told them he was gay. Very quickly their friendship ended and he found himself living alone.

In his quest for family, for people who would love him, he took in roommates. They were all young gay men like himself. They made a sort of family. They loved each other as best they could. But since they were all estranged from their own families and full of hurt and shame and confusion about themselves, they did not live happily ever after. They were all lost souls, wounded souls, hurting, prone to addictions and violence.

The years continued on and, in this quest for family, in his late twenties, he married a woman in the belief this would "cure" him of his shameful condition. It did not, and proved to be a terrible mistake. It was very unfair to the woman he married and the child they eventually had.

Knowing he had to divorce her, that she would better with her own family and people and country, he sold everything and moved to that country far, far away. He continued to live there until his child was eighteen.

A much older man now, he returned to his own country and settled down in a small town close to where one of his brothers lived. They were friendly. They did not argue. Yet there was distance between them. They were completely different now and seemed to no longer have any common ground.

His mother lived at some distance away and he finally decided to visit her. The years had cooled his anger, his disappointments, his hurts. He wanted her to know he was okay, he had survived, that he did not cling to the past. They made small talk over lunch. They did not speak about the past. They were basically strangers.

Having spent his life searching for a family of his own, for people who would love him, for people he could love in return, he finally understood this was not meant to be. It was not in the cards. Fate had decided otherwise. Or perhaps it had been homophobia and shame that had decided otherwise, that had kept him at a safe distance, excluded, apart from the normal course of affairs. Or perhaps the family he came from was broken, was composed of broken souls who could never be a proper family no matter how hard they tried. Perhaps they had never learned to love each other. Perhaps they had never learned to forgive, to talk, to work out problems. Perhaps no one had ever told them how important family was. Perhaps they were all disappointed in each other, for their own reasons, in their own ways, and wanted nothing more to do with it. Or perhaps he himself was to blame: perhaps he was still emotionally unstable, unwell, had unrealistic expectations. Perhaps he was not a very nice person. Perhaps he was an embarrassment who didn't know he was an embarrassment. Perhaps he was not the sort of person one enjoyed spending time with.

Recently, as the holidays once more approached, he began to wonder if he would receive an invitation from his brother to spend Thanksgiving dinner with him and his family. In the past, he had invited himself on such occasions, but felt uncomfortable doing this. One year he tried cooking Thanksgiving dinner himself. He invited his brother, but his brother did not come.

Christmas was likewise problematic. He did not want to invite himself to houses where, he suspected, he was not really wanted. Yet previous experience had shown him Christmas would come and go and no invitation would be forthcoming.

Pondering these things, he decided to do nothing. He had learned, the hard way, that you could not force people to love you. It would either happen or it wouldn't. No amount of wishing and hoping would change that fact of life.

He knew also that people who love each other found ways to show it. There were phone calls, visits, cards, letters, Christmas presents, text messages. He looked back on the few calls and letters he had received from his family and realized that perhaps they had other priorities, other interests, that he should not fault them for this, but rather ... do nothing.

So this boy, who once cried while watching sentimental TV shows about nice families, who tried to force other families to adopt him and love him and heal him and include him, who ran far, far away from home looking for love, looking for someone who cared, who could help him make sense of his life—this boy, this unhappy child, this confused adult, this man whose life was marred by devastating self-doubts and self-loathing, this man who tried many times to kill himself because he could not stand the pain of being who he was, the pain of being so alone in the world—this man finally decided to let it go. And to do … nothing.

But before embarking on that path, he wanted to find a way to let people know why he no longer called, no longer visited, no longer seemed to care. He wanted them to know it wasn't their fault, that he realized he was broken in ways no one could fix and that he no longer blamed them for that.

Most of all, he wanted them to know he kept his distance because it was too painful to do otherwise. This, too, he had learned the hard way. There were some people in the world who were toxic poison. No matter how much he loved and cared for them, it was best to stay away if only for his own peace of mind. He had spent far too much time dealing with such people to believe that anything good could come from it. Just the opposite had shown itself to be true. Let sleeping dogs lie. Let the dead bury the dead. He had learned those painful lessons very well.

With the holidays once again fast approaching, he resolved to address the matter once and for all. He sat down and wrote a short story. He addressed envelopes, mailed out copies. He hoped his story would be a way of saying what couldn't be said. He hoped the format of a story would convey more than ordinary words were capable of.

Mostly, he hoped the point of the story would be clear: There are things in the world that, once broken, can never be fixed. Things like children, men, women, yes, but also families and institutions and even foundational relationships like parent-child and brother-brother. Some things, once shattered, can never be put back together, can never again serve their original purpose. They can never again be what they were.

He hoped this understanding, this insight, would eventually comfort them as it had comforted him.
Nick Wilgus is the bestselling author of MINDFULNESS AND MURDER and many other novels and screenplays. 
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Published on November 10, 2018 20:15 • 33 views

August 22, 2018


Dear Father,

We need to talk.

You don't know me, and there's a reason for that: As a 50+ older gentleman who grew up in the Church, I learned long ago to steer clear of you. And I do. I don't attend the pot luck dinners. I don't hang around for coffee and donuts. I don't volunteer. I don't even shake your hand at the end of the infrequent masses I attend. I steer clear. In fact, I usually attend a different church denomination entirely.

I don't want to know you, and I don't want you to know me. Had you any clue what happened to me at the hands of people like you so many years ago when I was a child, you would understand.

I told my story once. I was dismissed as a liar. I was told that "men of God" could not possibly do the sorts of things that were done to me. I was told it would be gravely sinful to embarrass the Church by talking about what happened, that I should keep such things to myself "for the good of the Church." I was told to get over it, that I had brought it on myself. that it was a sin to besmirch the "good" reputations of priests and religious brothers, and that my pain was such a trivial matter I should be embarrassed to even mention it. I was laughed at, ridiculed, shunned.

So I will not repeat my story here. First of all, you've heard it before. A hundred times. A thousand times. Secondly, it has become increasingly obvious to me that you do not understand. That you - and your bishop and your cardinals and even the pope himself - have no clue what has happened to so many of us, your children. Perhaps you have an intellectual understanding of what sexual abuse does to a child. Perhaps you've counseled a lot of victims. Perhaps you have a heart of gold and really, really want to help. But .... you don't understand what's been done.

As the recently-released massive report on predator priests in Pennsylvania has made clear to me, the only people who actually DO understand are those of us who got hurt. In this report, I have read story after story of the difficulties victims face later in life, how the wounds don't heal, how the hurt goes on and on, how the shame endures, and how difficult the healing process is.

When victims talk about how their lives were destroyed, I get it. When they talk about how much it would mean to just get an apology or any sort of acknowledgement, I get it. When they talk about how they can't believe that something like this could happen to them at the hands of a priest they trusted and loved, I get it. When they talk about years of fractured relationships, addictions, a general failure to thrive, how their lives have been diminished, the deep shame they feel, the rage, the hurt, the inability to trust, the problems with authority figures, the sheer incomprehensibility of the whole thing -- I get it.

Years wasted. Years gone. Years spent in counseling. Relationships that failed. How they can't pray. How they can't believe God loves them. How they can't even believe God exists. I get it.

Do you?

The Church has inflicted a demonic horror on so many of its most vulnerable members. It has introduced a darkness into our lives, a sorrow in our souls, a cancer that rots in our bones. The price we've paid to be your victims has been tremendous. We carried your shame. We bore the weight of your sins. We paid the price for your iniquities. The most you have to worry about is being embarrassed while trying to figure out a way to keep your fellow priests from raping little kids. What we worry about is how to get through the day and how to have a relationship with a God who let this horror loose in our lives.

One of the things that most infuriates me about this report is the care and solicitude -- for the offending priests! How they continued to receive their medical insurance, their dental insurance, their vision insurance, their car insurance, their living stipends, how they spent months on end at "treatment centers," and never once had to worry about where their next meal would come from.

What did their victims get? In a few cases, there were settlements and some had their counseling paid for, but for the vast majority of us, we got the shaft. We were left to deal with the aftermath on our own.

This report has ripped open gaping wounds -- and perhaps that's a good thing. And perhaps we need to keep ripping open these wounds until you get it. Until you understand. That this must not be allowed to continue. That no church should ever be allowed to destroy so many lives.

Perhaps someday you will see me in the back of your church. I think you know who I am. I think you can see it in my eyes. Perhaps someday you will come up to me and say you're sorry about what happened. Perhaps you will realize that abuse not only destroys lives and potential and happiness, it destroys our faith. Our ability to believe that God loves us.

I want to close this letter by saying that I don't hate you. I believed in you. I loved you. I did what I was supposed to do, but you repaid my love with an unimaginable horror. If I don't show up for mass, if I don't shake your hand, if I don't have much use for you -- I hope you will understand.

The ball is in your court, not mine. I didn't break this relationship. You did. And I think you -- and every parish priest in the world -- need to understand that. The ball is in your court. This is something you did. This is on all of you. And now you need to find a way to fix it.

Nick Wilgus is the best-selling author of MINDFULNESS AND MURDER and several other novels.
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Published on August 22, 2018 18:40 • 10 views

Dear Father,

We need to talk.

You don't know me, and there's a reason for that: As a 50+ older gentleman who grew up in the Church, I learned long ago to steer clear of you. And I do. I don't attend the pot luck dinners. I don't hang around for coffee and donuts. I don't volunteer. I don't even shake your hand at the end of the infrequent masses I attend. I steer clear. In fact, I usually attend a different church denomination entirely.

I don't want to know you, and I don't want you to know me. Had you any clue what happened to me at the hands of people like you so many years ago when I was a child, you would understand.

I told my story once. I was dismissed as a liar. I was told that "men of God" could not possibly do the sorts of things that were done to me. I was told it would be gravely sinful to embarrass the Church by talking about what happened, that I should keep such things to myself "for the good of the Church." I was told to get over it, that I had brought it on myself. that it was a sin to besmirch the "good" reputations of priests and religious brothers, and that my pain was such a trivial matter I should be embarrassed to even mention it. I was laughed at, ridiculed, shunned.

So I will not repeat my story here. First of all, you've heard it before. A hundred times. A thousand times. Secondly, it has become increasingly obvious to me that you do not understand. That you - and your bishop and your cardinals and even the pope himself - have no clue what has happened to so many of us, your children. Perhaps you have an intellectual understanding of what sexual abuse does to a child. Perhaps you've counseled a lot of victims. Perhaps you have a heart of gold and really, really want to help. But .... you don't understand what's been done.

As the recently-released massive report on predator priests in Pennsylvania has made clear to me, the only people who actually DO understand are those of us who got hurt. In this report, I have read story after story of the difficulties victims face later in life, how the wounds don't heal, how the hurt goes on and on, how the shame endures, and how difficult the healing process is.

When victims talk about how their lives were destroyed, I get it. When they talk about how much it would mean to just get an apology or any sort of acknowledgement, I get it. When they talk about how they can't believe that something like this could happen to them at the hands of a priest they trusted and loved, I get it. When they talk about years of fractured relationships, addictions, a general failure to thrive, how their lives have been diminished, the deep shame they feel, the rage, the hurt, the inability to trust, the problems with authority figures, the sheer incomprehensibility of the whole thing -- I get it.

Years wasted. Years gone. Years spent in counseling. Relationships that failed. How they can't pray. How they can't believe God loves them. How they can't even believe God exists. I get it.

Do you?

The Church has inflicted a demonic horror on so many of its most vulnerable members. It has introduced a darkness into our lives, a sorrow in our souls, a cancer that rots in our bones. The price we've paid to be your victims has been tremendous. We carried your shame. We bore the weight of your sins. We paid the price for your iniquities. The most you have to worry about is being embarrassed while trying to figure out a way to keep your fellow priests from raping little kids. What we worry about is how to get through the day and how to have a relationship with a God who let this horror loose in our lives.

One of the things that most infuriates me about this report is the care and solicitude -- for the offending priests! How they continued to receive their medical insurance, their dental insurance, their vision insurance, their car insurance, their living stipends, how they spent months on end at "treatment centers," and never once had to worry about where their next meal would come from.

What did their victims get? In a few cases, there were settlements and some had their counseling paid for, but for the vast majority of us, we got the shaft. We were left to deal with the aftermath on our own.

This report has ripped open gaping wounds -- and perhaps that's a good thing. And perhaps we need to keep ripping open these wounds until you get it. Until you understand. That this must not be allowed to continue. That no church should ever be allowed to destroy so many lives.

Perhaps someday you will see me in the back of your church. I think you know who I am. I think you can see it in my eyes. Perhaps someday you will come up to me and say you're sorry about what happened. Perhaps you will realize that abuse not only destroys lives and potential and happiness, it destroys our faith. Our ability to believe that God loves us.

I want to close this letter by saying that I don't hate you. I believed in you. I loved you. I did what I was supposed to do, but you repaid my love with an unimaginable horror. If I don't show up for mass, if I don't shake your hand, if I don't have much use for you -- I hope you will understand.

The ball is in your court, not mine. I didn't break this relationship. You did. And I think you -- and every parish priest in the world -- need to understand that. The ball is in your court. This is something you did. This is on all of you. And now you need to find a way to fix it.


Nick Wilgus is the best-selling author of MINDFULNESS AND MURDER and several other novels.
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Published on August 22, 2018 18:40 • 20 views

July 21, 2018


As an Old Queen, my dating days are quite behind me and thus I find myself spending my evenings sipping Bailey's Irish Cream and wandering around places like Netflix in search of whatever solace us Old Queens can get in our old age, which is how I happened to stumble upon DARK.

This is not just a buffet of creepiness; it's an entire smorgasbord. It's the Gucci of gruesome, dear. I highly recommend you sit yourself down and enjoy it, dish by dreadful dish.

And oh, such dishes on offer! Never mind that it's a German production (the first for Netflix, actually). Never mind that it's been compared (rather unfairly, I think) to STRANGER THINGS. Sit yourself down and enjoy this tale of children going missing in a sleepy German town with a nuclear power plant in the distance. Nothing is really what it seems, and just to confuse matters, there is a bit of time travel and odd things that happen every thirty three years and questions about whether any of us are actually free to choose our actions or whether we are just repeating everything we've already done. What could be more dreadful than wearing last season over and over?

Mostly, it's about the evil that lurks in small towns and the very thin walls that separate us from the madness of others.














What I like most is that DARK never overplays its hand. It eases you into the story, teases you with delicious bits of horribleness, and you keep chewing because you have to find out how it ends -- and it's never certain how it will end. And when it does end, you will want to hit the rewind button (oh dear, I'm showing my age; they don't have rewind buttons anymore, do they?) and start all over.

The photography is gorgeous, muted, "dark," if you will. The entire production is understated. It has no need to dazzle with whiz bang shenanigans. It sucks you in because it's otherworldly and yet so real. It's like a door to a basement and you know you really ought not to open the door but a girl just can't help herself, can she?

I give DARK the highest honor of Five Tiaras. Any more, and we'd have a coronation on our hands.

* Nick Wilgus is the bestselling author of SHAKING THE SUGAR TREE and numerous other novels. 
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Published on July 21, 2018 18:07 • 26 views

February 1, 2018



The following is an excerpt from my novel THE DEPTHS OF EVIL, published by Double Dragon.
***

“That’s odd,” Douglas said.
They had walked silently through the small town, looking at dusty, run-down cars, abundantweeds, rickety porches, old, faded curtains hanging from rods on dark, dusty windows beyond which they could see nothing. They had gone into the gas station, looked around, had found nothing of interest.
Now they were searching the old general store, full of dry goods in old, crumbling boxes and rusting tins and cans. There were old coins and a few bills in the till – quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies, most from the 1940s, 1950,1951.
“What’s odd?” Sheila asked.
“The cars,” Douglas said.
The cars they had seen were few and far between. They were old, with sleek lines, outsizedpanels, running boards, massive fenders. Definitely old school. All sat on flattened tires, had broken windows, had been claimed by the jungle, as it were – weeds grew in them, out of them, around them. It had been fifty years, after all.
“What’s odd about the cars?” Sheila asked, exasperation evident in her voice. Douglas was in one of his thoughtful moods when he mumbled most of his words and did not seem to be aware of the presence of others.
He looked up sharply, roused by her tone.
“Some of them didn’t seem that old,” he said flatly.
John joined them, looked at Douglas expectantly.
“I didn’t want to frighten you,” Douglas said quietly. “But unless I’m very much mistaken,there’s a Toyota Prius sitting out there, not more than five years old. I used to drive one, when the hybrid thing was all the rage. I’m quite certain there were no Toyotas on the roads fifty years ago, at least not in this part of the world.”
They considered this in silence.
John frowned as the implications sank in.
The dust in the place was oppressive, the air close and hot, all but suffocating. Sheila brushed away strands of orange hair from her forehead. “So what does that mean?” she asked at last, as if her mind was not willing to figure it out.
“It means other people came here, not so long ago ...” Douglas said carefully.
“And never left,” John finished. “Question is: Why?”
“Well,” Douglas said in a quiet voice, “I’ve been thinking it over. Maybe they thought this place was a free place to live or something. Or maybe the county dumps wrecked cars here to dispose of them. Who knows? There could be all sorts of explanations. But that isn’t what bothers me.”
Damn, but he was indirect.
“What bothers you?” John asked impatiently.
“Well, the cars ... they’re in good shape, really. Windows are broken, tires are flat – but nothing else. No structural damage, least none that I can see. They’re not wrecked cars, is what I’m saying. They’re not up on blocks, like they’re broken down or something. They look like they were ... just ... abandoned. Like this town was. Just left to sit there and rot. Why would you leave behind a perfectly good car?”
There was a long silence.
John looked out the general store window, saw a car half overgrown with weeds and clingingvines. It seemed menacing, somehow, that car – just sitting there. Full of secrets. What would they discover if they opened the door, looked through the glove compartment, under the seats? The inside of such a car would be the perfect place for a writhing nest of snakes, like rattlers. Why would you walk away from a car like that in the first place? Why not use it to drive away, drive to safety? Why leave it behind, abandon it to the elements?
The land here is evil.
“There’s got to be a rational explanation,” Sheila insisted. “And we simply haven’t found outwhat it is yet. Right?”
They agreed with her – reluctantly.
John glanced around, betraying his anxiety. The stillness, the quiet – it was unnerving. It was as though they had dropped off the map completely. It was a silence that one felt deep in one’s bones, a silence that screamed to be heard. There should have been the normal background chatter, normal background noises – the chirping of birds, the roar of a semi, the squeal of a motorbike, even just the distant rumbling of a tractor. There should have been the sounds of wood creaking, of trees moving, of fish jumping and splashing in the lake. The sounds of life. Yet there was nothing. Only the sound of their breathing, the sound of their shoes against the gravel and grass underfoot, the sound of the fabric of their shirts and pants as they moved.
You could go mad, John thought, in such silence. With nothing more than this silence. It would break you, eventually. It would crush you.
Overhead the buzzards continued to circle their eventual prey, whatever unfortunate animal that might be. John watched them. Did he hear their distant cries carried on the wind, or did he only imagine them?
In horror movies, he thought, there was always a moment when things start to go wrong – the center does not hold and things fall apart. Was this that moment? Should they pack up and leave, like sensible people would?
“Let’s take the canoe and go out on the lake,” Sheila suggested brightly. Bringing the canoe had been her idea. They were going to need shots of the famous Edward’s Lake – both the town and the body of water – after all.
“Maybe I can get some good shots from out there,” she said, nodding her head in the direction of the dark waters.
“Yeah,” Douglas said. Then said no more.
John stared at the dark waters, gripped by uneasiness. The lake seemed dangerous, somehow. There were so many sheltered coves and inlets, so many weeping willows perched on its overgrown shores. Anything could be in that lake, he thought.
He thought of other lakes, of Michigan winters, of childhood, skating on cool, smooth ice with his brothers and sisters. He thought of the possibility that Joey had drowned in the river, his body washed downstream, never to be found. That it might still be lying somewhere. Bloated. Chewed by fishes, crabs. Dragged off into the woods by a bear. Now nothing but bones and a skull.
He had a thing about lakes. About water. Watery depths. Darkness. Things down there in the darkness. Clinging things. Things that bite, rip, tear.
“Sure,” he said, screwing up his courage. “Douglas and I can get it down from the SUV.”
Sheila followed as they walked back to the church and around to the side where the SUV wasparked. Tied across the top was a canoe that belonged to Douglas. Douglas had a thing about water, too: he loved it. They undid the ropes, got the canoe down – it was surprisingly light.“Not really built for three, but she’ll manage, as long as Sheila doesn’t bring too muchequipment,” Douglas said with a smile.
John and Douglas carried the canoe on their heads down to the waterfront, less than a hundred yards from the village. An old, rotted dock stood there, many of the boards missing. It marched away into the dark water, ending abruptly in a collapse of boards and wooden pilings. The water was clear but murky. Lily pads clustered around the shore, spreading out into the lake, making it impossible to see how deep the water was.
“Canoes tip over rather easily,” Douglas said into the stillness. “John, you ever been on one?”
John had not.
“Sheila and I go out all the time, so why don’t you just sit in the middle and sit still? Don’t beshifting your weight around or you’ll spill us.”
They put the canoe in the water. Sheila jumped in, cameras around her neck, walking on sure feet. She took up position in the very front.
“Now you,” Douglas said to John, pointing at the canoe.
Trying hard not to betray his misgivings, John got in the canoe, was immediately horrified at how easily it swayed this way and that. He sat in the middle, in the very center, and sat very still, gripping the sides with trembling hands.
Douglas got in gracefully. He paddled first on one side, then on the other, taking them straight out into the middle of the lake.
“Nothing to worry about, just keep your butt still,” Douglas said to John from behind, as if reading his mind. “And for God’s sake, don’t stand up – if anything will tip a canoe, that’s it.”No need to worry about that, John thought. Don’t puke, would be more to the point. He stared at the sullen waters passing by on either side, wondered how deep the lake was and what was down there – then desperately tried to push such thoughts away.
They were so close to it, he thought – so close to the water. He could reach out and touch it, if he wanted to. What he couldn’t do was see down into its dark, watery depths.
The lake was not very big, the waters placid: Ten minutes of rowing would take them to the other side. It was clear of lily pads and the green slime of algae in the middle, but along its edges, it was positively choked as the lily pads and algae competed for space.
Douglas took them to the right, following the outgrowth of lily pads and the green of the algae blooms. Cattails stood out among the lily pads. The banks of the lake were tangled with undergrowth, weeping willows and old tree roots.
It was, John thought, not a very pretty lake. And there was no sign of life. No frogs calling,jumping from one lily pad to the next. No fish. No minnows. No water spiders. No mosquitoes. No cranes standing near the shore, searching for prey. It was a dead lake. Like everything else in Edward’s Lake, there was not a sign of life to be seen. A lake like this should be full of life. There should be birds on the shore. Frogs on the lily pads. Fish and minnows. Hunters and the hunted. Predators and prey.
Nature, red in tooth and claw.
The land here is evil.
Why had Joey said that? What did it mean? The land here was the same as any other land. Right? There was nothing inherently evil about land. Yet something must have driven off all the animals, the way a jungle goes suddenly silent when a lion appears. But what could possibly drive off all the animals, right down to the mosquitoes and spiders and worms?Nothing natural could account for that.
Nothing natural.
“Guys,” Sheila said, putting down her camera for a moment. “Did you ever wonder why mostwords that begin with ‘sl’ are negative words – like slut, slush, slam, sludge, slit, slave, slate, slay, slouch, slime ... didn’t you ever wonder?”
John and Douglas had to admit that they had not.
“What about slim?” Douglas asked. “Slender?”
“Not all words are bad,” Sheila admitted. “But most of them. Like sleaze, sleuth.”
“Sleuth is not a negative word,” Douglas protested.
“Tracking down a killer? That’s not negative? Or slippery. Or a slight. Slick. Slow. Slither.Slitty-eyed. Slum. Slump. It’s like all those words are descended from some original word that was negative. Know what I mean?”
“Sleep,” Douglas said. “That’s not negative.
Sheila rolled her eyes. “You’re really sluggish sometimes, Douglas, I must say. Sluggish. Not to mention a bit of an intellectual slouch.”
Douglas merely grinned, dipping the paddle into one side, then the other, propelling them forward through the turgid waters. They left a slowly-twirling trail through the green algae.“Can we go back now?” John asked. He was feeling decidedly faint and unwell. Perhaps it was the sun overhead, which was bright, hot, unpleasant. Or perhaps he’d had just about as much water as he could take for one day. He wanted to be back on the shore and the sooner the better.
“It’s lovely,” Douglas said dreamily. “I should have brought my paints.”
“It is lovely,” Sheila agreed. “So tranquil, so peaceful. The water is so calm. And these lily pads are simply gorgeous. They’ll make a lovely illustration to your story, Johnnie. I still have a lot of pictures to take.”
They approached a rocky outcropping on the far side of the lake.
“Do you smell it?” Sheila asked, turning to look at them.
John did. It was the smell of death. Of a dead animal.
“Let’s see what it is,” Sheila suggested.
John bit his lip and held his tongue. Let’s get the frickin' hell out of here, is what he wanted to say, but didn’t.
He was suddenly unnerved.
I’m in the state of sanctifying grace, he thought, rather frantically. I just went to confession. Not a sin on my soul. If anything happens ... That was childhood talking. Whenever you did something wrong, you ran to the priest and he forgave you and you were “clean” again. Otherwise, you were in the state of sin, and if you died in the state of sin, you would go straight to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Even though he knew that – knew it was just childhood talking – he felt a superstitious sense of relief. At least if something badhappened ... 
The smell of death became heavier, undeniable. They drifted into an alcove, of sorts, formed by dark rock walls. The water continued straight into the rocks and there was an opening just high enough for them to pass under.
“Shall we go inside?” Sheila asked, turning to look at them.
John said nothing.
“Why not?” Douglas said. “Could be caves in there. You know how much I love caves.”
“John?” Sheila prompted, wanting his approval.
“Sure,” he said. He tried to smile.
Douglas steered their small craft toward the opening. They ducked down and disappeared underneath the rocky outcropping. Inside they found a large cave. The smell of death was all but sickening here, and they quickly discovered the reason why: a pile a carcasses lay on the rock floor at the water’s edge. Deer, mostly, John thought, judging by all the antlers. But bear, too, and other animals no longer recognizable. The animals themselves had not been eaten, as such. They had been bitten all over their bodies. But dragged in here and bitten by what?
“Oh shit,” Sheila said. She fiddled with her camera, began snapping away. The flash of hercamera lit up the scene in ghostly bursts.
“Guys, I don’t think we’re alone,” Douglas said very quietly. Too quietly. John glanced over his shoulder at the tall, gangly man, who lifted his eyes very slowly toward the ceiling.
John looked up – and froze. In the darkness, he could see eyes glinting, staring down. Theylooked like the eyes of children. When Sheila’s flash went off, he saw that they were indeed children, perhaps a dozen of them, perched on the rocks above.
Douglas backed the canoe away very slowly.
“I’m not finished!” Sheila exclaimed angrily, turning to glare at them. What she saw on theirfaces brought her up short. She looked at John. John looked up, almost imperceptibly, towards the children. She caught his meaning, raised her eyes casually. Quick as a flash, she brought her camera forward and started taking pictures.
There was angry hissing above.
“Don’t!” John exclaimed.
Sheila pressed the shutter again and again, ignoring him.
There was a weird screeching noise, the rustling of bare feet against rock.
The children vanished.
***
Click here to order your copy of THE DEPTHS OF EVIL, available in both paperback and ebook formats.
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Published on February 01, 2018 12:38 • 28 views

November 5, 2017



So this is all about me. Yet I suspect it might also be about you.

By the way, how are you? Fine, did you say?

That's right. You're fine. So am I. If you're reading this, you speak English and have access to the Internet. Which also means you probably have access to electricity. Those factors alone put you ahead of billions of others on this planet. You're ahead of the game. You're doing well. Relax. You're fine.

But back to me.

I've spent a lot of my years not being fine. The very excellent Dionne Warwick explained it this way:

A fool will lose tomorrow reaching back for yesterday

(If you need a boost, watch the video. We'll be referring back to Miss Warwick, but there will not be a quiz.)

Anyone who has been abused as a child will understand. You spend a lot of time looking back, trying to figure out what happened, who was to blame, what is to be done about it. You grieve over the things that were taken from you. You spend an unholy amount of time wondering what life would have been like had such things not happened. You see all your friends pulling out way ahead of you - because they're fine. But you're not. And you don't really know why. And you don't really know what to do about it. And you get counseling and you talk and talk and wonder if you've ever going to be fine, if all the bad guys are going to just go away and let you live your life in peace. You feel cheap because you were treated cheaply. You feel broken because you were, in fact, broken.  They broke your body, your spirit, your heart, your courage, your belief that the world was a good place.

Those who grew up rough know what I'm talking about.

Running this race you call life, you're limping along, way behind. Your friends are too busy trying to win the race they don't notice how far behind you are. You meet on the street, they ask you how you are, you say -- you're fine. But you're not. And you wonder if there will ever come a time when you are, in fact, fine. When you're fine and know you're fine and not just pretending.

A fool will lose tomorrow reaching back for yesterday

You ever waste some of your years this way? Yeah, I thought so.

And then, because that bit of self-torture just isn't enough, you waste more years worrying about the future. Are you going to "make it"? Are you going to be fine? Are you going to survive? Are you going to get better? Are you going to live a normal life? Will there be enough money to pay the bills? Are you going to get fired? Are you going to keep it together long enough to limp your way to some sort of retirement that doesn't involve living under a bridge or visiting a soup kitchen?

Are you going to be fine?

I don't know who said it, but sometimes we truly are our own worst enemy.

So, anyway, one day, after almost fifty years of "reaching back for yesterday" and looking to the future with a small pain in my gut, I woke up and thought -- I'm fine. I'm still here. I'm still not dead. I survived. And the past is so far behind it doesn't seem to matter much anymore. And the future ... well, the future is going to be whatever it's going to be. I got through the past; I can handle whatever else might be coming down the pipeline.

I realized, with a sudden, surprising clarity, that I'm fine. I really am fine.

I spent a lot of time being upset about the past; that time would have been better spent finding constructive ways to deal with the past. I spent a lot of time paralyzed by thoughts of what the future might hold; I would have been better off tending to my day to day business to make sure the future would be okay.

But, at the end of the day, I realized: I'm fine. It's okay now.

This dynamic gets explained in a variety of ways. If you were a Zen Buddhist, you might talk about the power of now. Of being here, in the now moment. Right here. Not in the past. Not in the future, uselessly fretting and worrying. But right here. Right now. In this moment. Because everything in this moment is fine.

If you were a Christian, you might cite Jesus:
"Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life?  And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" (Matt. 6:27).

In other words, Don't Worry, Be Happy
(If you need another boost, here's the video.)
We could go a little bit further: There really is NOTHING but right now. The past is gone. That ship has sailed. The future isn't here and never will be. There is only RIGHT NOW. That is all we get. Right now. Right here. This moment.

If this current moment isn't fine, we have the power to do something about it. We can make decisions. We can make choices. We can shape our reality.

Are there people in your life giving you stress and heartache? Get rid of them. Get off the crazy train. Don't like your job? Take the plunge, take the risk, get a new one. Don't like what the future holds? Start changing it. Go back to school. Quit smoking. Go to the gym. Make changes. Shake things up. Try something new.

It's all in your hands.

That's another thing I realized. It's all in MY hands. No one else's. Not the bad guys. Not life. Not "circumstances." Not which side of the tracks I was born in. It's all in my own hands. My future depends on what I do right now.

Simple stuff, but like a lot of things in life, it takes a while to realize it. To really grasp it. To comprehend it. To internalize it, use it, lean on it, make it work.

But back to Dionne Warwick.

A fool will lose tomorrow reaching back for yesterday
I won't turn my head in sorrow if you should go away
I'll stand here and remember just how good it's been
And I know I'll never love this way again


And back to electricity:

I've got electricity. Do you know how many people can't say that? If you have electricity, you're doing awesome. If you have food on the table, you're doing more than awesome. If you speak English, you're part of the global elite. If you have access to health care, kudos. Got retirement funds? Good on ya. In good health, everything at work hunky dory? Hey, wow, aren't you lucky? Compared to literally billions of people, you're doing well. You're fine.

And so am I.

Count your blessings.

Maybe the past wasn't so great. Maybe the future looks a little worrisome. But right now, everything is fine. Right now the good far outweighs the bad.

Don't waste your tomorrows looking back at yesterday.












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Published on November 05, 2017 08:06 • 36 views

September 23, 2017



Children go through stages of development - and so do religious/spiritual folks. And there's nothing quite so tedious as a spiritual baby pontificating to the masses on how things ought to be when all you want to do is yank the pacifier out of his mouth and tell him to sit in the corner and take a time out for showing his spiritual ass.

You know what I'm talking about. When an otherwise intelligent person starts spouting nonsense about how the latest hurricane is God's punishment for accepting homosexuality, you know you've run smack dab into a temper-tantrum throwing child with immature notions about how the world works, and what God does and does not do.

At each stage in a child's life, they are in the midst of learning something and trying to accomplish something. A toddler going through the "terrible twos" is trying to figure out that he or she is not actually the same person as his or her mother. He is trying to differentiate himself. He is learning to be an autonomous human being with his own wants and needs. Children in elementary school are faced with the task of finding out whether they can get things done - or not. It's all about industry and a sense of accomplishment, a feeling that yes, I can do things, I can be successful, I can put together a science fair project, I can read a book. Puberty comes along and suddenly they are aware of sex and sexuality and questions about who they are and who they want to be and what their place in the world is. They get rebellious because they are trying to separate themselves from their parents and learn how to stand on their own two feet. Their peers become more important than their parents because, to be successful as adults, they will need to work together with their peers.

If you know what stage of development a child is in, you can better help that child in his development.

The same is true in the religious/spiritual life. There are distinct stages that are plain as day to those who have gone through them and know what they're about.

Children go through stages of moral development, which have similar parallels with religious development. Younger children refrain from doing things because they don't want to get caught. It's not about right and wrong, sin or virtue, good or bad. It's about not getting caught and nothing more. If they can get away with something, they will happily do it and lie about it afterward and never have a single pang of guilt.  

But at some point a more mature understanding of behavior comes along, and children begin to understand the difference between right and wrong.

Older children often look to their peers for approval. They refrain from doings things which their peers consider "uncool." They follow their peers like sheep hoping to get their approval. Their sense of right and wrong depends heavily on what their peers think.

Younger children view their parents are god-like figures whose word is not to be questioned. Older children begin to ask questions - sometimes very uncomfortable questions. They have the uncanny ability to see how their parents don't always live up to their stated values. And they no longer view their parents as the final word on important matters. They began branching out to other forms of authority and insight.

As children grow up and move on to college and adult life, they stop worrying so much about what their parents think, or what their peers think. They began the process of figuring out who they really are, what they really believe, and what their values really are, as opposed to what they have been told their values should be.

All of this is Child Development 101 stuff and it is mirrored in the lives of religious/spiritual people. There is the believer who is caught up in authority and takes the pastor's or priest's word as gospel truth. There is the believer who begins to question, who begins to sense that the pastor's or priest's stated values aren't necessarily reflected in his or her life. There are believers who do whatever they want, but are careful to make sure fellow churchgoers don't find out - they're not concerned about the moral value of their actions, only that they don't get caught.

Thing is, as soon as a believer opens his mouth and starts talking, you can pretty much tell where he is on the moral development stage. Is he is his terrible twos and saying "no" all the time? Is he an elementary child who is trying to get away with things and worried about getting caught? Is he a brimstone kind of guy fixated on punishment and retribution and bowing down to authority? Is he one of those troublesome folks asking too many questions? Is he overly worried about how is viewed by the folks sitting next to him in the pews? Is he convinced he knows it all and has nothing to learn from his elders?



There was a time in my spiritual development when it was all about authority. The authority of the pope. The authority of the Catholic Church. The authority of the bishops and the priests.

There was a time when I was motivated simply by the fear of going to hell.

There was a time when I wanted to be like everyone else in the pews, when their good opinion and approval meant more than anything else.

There was a time when I began to see that what was preached from the pulpit was not necessarily what was lived in the pews.

There was a time when I did things merely to get a reward, when I thought of God as an ATM machine, when I thought I could manipulate him (or her) with prayers and rituals and pleadings.

There was a time when I was a self-satisfied, smug know it all who thought he had nothing to learn from others.

There was a time when I wanted God to prove his love for me. And then there was a time when I realized he had been doing that every day of my life.

There was a time when I was not satisfied with the answers that had been handed to me by authority.

There was a time when I rejected authority and went my own way.

There was a time when I was arrogant enough to believe that God loved me and a time when I was ever more arrogant and believed he couldn't.

And, eventually, there came a time when I realized that those who knew the most were not necessarily the ones who were the most talkative. They're not on the television screens trying to make a name for themselves. They're not trying to get you to buy their latest book. They're not on public speaking tours or holding forth in mega-churches.

I discovered the most authentic spiritual people are so busy doing their spiritual life -- living their values and beliefs -- that they have little time for talking about it.

Where are we on the spiritual development scale? Is our religion or spirituality based on fear? Or love? Do we do things in hope of a reward? Or because it's the right thing to do? Do we explain to God how things ought and need to be, or do we accept things as they are?

Are you a spiritual baby? If you are, then for heaven's sake, grow up.

Nick Wilgus is an award-winning author based in Tupelo, Mississippi. Check out his latest novel from Dreamspinner Press, RAISE IT UP, available in paperback and ebook formats.











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Published on September 23, 2017 18:31 • 53 views

September 17, 2017



I'll just say it out loud: I don't believe in hell. I don't care what the Bible may or may not say on the matter. I don't care what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches. The concept of hell is monstrously absurd -- and no sane person should believe it.

I don't need to argue my point of view by citing this or that scripture, or some or other famed theologian. I arrived at my conclusion that way most sane people do: By the use of reason and a dash of common sense.

The doctrine of hell -- the concept, the idea, the premise -- is that a loving God created a place of eternal torment for people (and angels) who refuse to love Him. To avoid this dreadful fate, evangelical Christians talk about taking Jesus as one's personal savior. Muslims talk about making their submission to Allah. Catholics stress the need to be baptized and die in communion with the Church in order to be saved. The basic idea is the same: Unless you jump through some hoops, you will spend eternity in a "lake of fire."

It's important to understand the idea, to dig deep into it, to genuinely comprehend it.

Firstly, it cannot be stressed enough: Hell is an utterly monstrous idea. It is a shocking creation. It's twisted. It's sick. The psychology beneath it is deeply abnormal.

Eternal punishment is ... eternal. And that's a very long time. No matter how many eons might pass in such a place, it would still be only the beginning. Millions of years could pass ... billions ... trillions ... trillions upon trillions of years ... but still , it would only be the beginning. The torment, the agony, the dreadful pains, would never end. Never. No matter how much time passed, the agony would go on and on for eternity. What could a finite human being do to deserve such an infinite punishment?

If you don't grasp the full horror of it, spend some time with it. Chew on it. Think about it. Dig into it. Immerse yourself fully into the idea of it. The more you think about it, the more you realize what an insane idea it is.  And not insane with a small case i, but INSANE. Sick. Twisted. Preposterous. Literally beyond belief.

But the really insane thing is to attribute the creation of hell to a "loving God." A great many Christians will tell you flat out that if you don't accept Jesus as your personal savior, you will go to hell. And they believe it. And they are genuinely distressed at the idea that you would prefer such a fate when all you have to do to "save yourself" is accept Jesus as your personal savior. They are quick to point out that this isn't their idea, that this is God's plan, that it's all there in the Bible.

As indeed it seems to be.

Here's the rub. A loving God created you, but if you don't love Him back, He will destroy you forever in the lake of fire.

How is this love?

You have to ask yourself. If I stood in front of you with a knife to your throat and insisted that you "love" me, how would you feel? If your safety and well being depended on loving me, would it be love? It's ridiculous, is it not? Yet we are asked to believe this is what God expects of us. This is "God's plan." Unless you agree to "love" this all-powerful entity, you will be utterly destroyed.

This is not love. It's insane to even have to point it out. This is not how love works. This is not how you treat someone you love. This is deeply unhealthy. This is perverted, sick, twisted, abnormal. And to attribute it to God is complete foolishness. It's insulting.

I'm not the first to arrive at this conclusion by any means, but it's always been a well-kept secret.

Something in us wants the idea of hell to be true. Right? We feel that people like Adolf Hitler deserve a place of eternal torment in the afterlife. We feel his crimes deserve it. We want him to be punished. The Jehovah's Witnesses have an interesting solution to this dilemma. They believe that people who have rejected God will simply wink out of existence when they die. God will remember them no more, and they will exist no more. No need for a place of eternal torment. Just a respectful acknowledge of a choice that a person made.

Different demonstrations have different ideas.

Hardliners will tell us that without the threat of the punishment of hell, people will not be good. What I've found is exactly the opposite. When you come to the realization that you are indeed loved by God, you will want to respond to that love, not from a place of fear, but out of a genuine sense of gratitude.

Our psychology does not allow us to love someone we fear. We cannot mix fear and love. It doesn't work that way.  And this attempt to try to force people to either love God or face eternal punishment, has done enormous harm.

Don't take my word for it. Look to your own experience. Can you love someone that you are afraid of? Does it work? Is it healthy? Or don't you get tired of being afraid?


Nick Wilgus is an award-winning author based in Tupelo, Mississippi. Check out his latest novel from Dreamspinner Press, RAISE IT UP, available in paperback and ebook formats.
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Published on September 17, 2017 16:59 • 42 views

March 26, 2017



Are you my dad?

Are you the one
who's going to come
and take me home
so I don't have to be alone
so I can wake and always know
I'll never have to go
I'll never have to leave
but always and forever
THIS is where I'll be

Are you my dad?

My bed, my room, my toys
my food, my house
my yard, my life
my ... dad

Are you my dad?

He didn't say these words
his eyes - so full of hurt
said what he couldn't say
instead he looked at the stuffed bear I'd brought
his eyes wide
his fingers trembling
the fur so soft
the glassy eyes that shined
he put it to his face

Did you say thank you?
The social worker said

Thank you ...

Are you ...  ?
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Published on March 26, 2017 19:11 • 83 views

December 31, 2016

David Bawden
Meet David Bawden. He lives about 20 miles outside of Topeka, Kansas and calls himself Pope Michael I. He was elected to the papacy by a conclave of six people (one of whom was his father) in the early 1990s.

Bawden is a traditional Catholic who believes the Roman Catholic Church strayed into heresy and error during its Vatican II sessions in the 1960s. Because it has "embraced heresy," it is no longer the Catholic Church, or so the traditional Catholic believes.

You may think all of this is perfectly ridiculous (and it is), but Bawden is not the only "pope in exile" wandering around the planet. There is Pope Linus II in Hertfordshire, England, Pius XIII in Montana (now deceased) (and not to be confused with the new movie starring Jude Law), Pope Krav I in Croatia and Alexander IX in Argentina, among others. This Wikipedia entry is a good place to start your own research.

Since I grew up in the traditional Catholic world, I know about these things.

We believed:
That the end was near and we lived in the End Times.That the Roman Catholic Church had been destroyed from the inside out by heresy and error.That the pope, by embracing heresy, was no longer pope. That the mass, because it had been changed and was now said in the vernacular rather than Latin, was no longer valid.That all Catholics (from the pope and cardinals on down) who were part of the "New Church" with its "bastard rites and bastard sacraments" were in heresy and would therefore go to hell.That we alone - traditional Catholics - were "true Catholics."  There are many flavors of traditional Catholicism. The brand I followed featured a bishop (Francis Schuckardt) who stockpiled weapons and was extremely anti-Semitic and who had a painting of Adolf Hitler overlooking his bed. We passed around a pamphlet called The Six Million Swindle about how the Holocaust never happened. We attended John Birch Society meetings and waited for society to collapse.

Francis Schuckardt
You can read the official version of Schuckardt's life here, but you might also want to have a look at this article as well as this article.




Glenn BeckI read an article recently in The Atlantic about Glenn Beck, that perennial purveyor of doom and gloom who found his voice by comparing Obama to Hitler. If you thought Beck would be happy to see Trump become president of the United States, you thought wrong. Beck has now turned his guns on Trump and is convinced, yet again, that the END IS NEAR and that the US Constitution "hangs by a thread" and the Ship of Liberty is about the founder on the rocks and ... you know the drill. Same same but different.

I was reminded that people like Beck - and Pope Michael I and traditional Catholics and all the other doom and gloomers among us - have always been around, and will always be around, and that it's not the issue of the day that concerns them. It's the outrage. The feeling of outrage. The feeling of moral superiority - that they know something the rest of us don't. That they "get it" while the rest of us are clueless.

I could easily populate this post with an endless list of examples of hysteria and fear-mongering going back to Jesus himself, who seemed to believe the end was indeed near.

None of this is new.

It's been more than fifty years since the Second Vatican Council closed in Rome in 1965 and there are still traditional Catholics who are utterly convinced the Roman Catholic Church has been destroyed and is no more, despite the fact that it is still very much alive and actually prospering.

As we head into 2017 and whatever a Trump presidency will bring, there is a sense of doom and gloom among many of my friends, some of whom have been talking in rather apocalyptic language. My message is simple: It's not the end of the world as we know it. There is cause for concern and renewed vigilance, but the world is not about to collapse around us.

I've heard all of this before. In fact, I've heard it over and over and I wasted too many years engaging with the doomsayers, trying to reason with them, trying to comprehend what the fuss was all about. I've come to realize that some people enjoy a sense of impending catastrophe and that if there wasn't something awful on the horizon, they would invent it just so they could have something to rail against.

To each his own.

As for me and my house,  we're going to go about our business and enjoy whatever time we have together in the quiet confidence that this too shall pass and all shall be well.
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Published on December 31, 2016 07:44 • 213 views