Garden

All is settled, and
All shall settle.
A cool drip of water
A breeze, breeze wet and cool.
And the dirt rubs off
The dirt from breaking the land.
It is scarred in my small world
In my universe
From my actions
For my ends
The fruits of which whither,
And fester, and rot
Into compost.
A garden of life and vegetables, Amen.

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“they were watching” Susanna Part 3

Once, while they were watching for an opportune day, she went in as before with only two maids, and wished to bathe in the garden, for it was very hot. And no one was there except the two elders, who had hid themselves and were watching her. She said to her maids, “Bring me oil and ointments, and shut the garden doors so that I may bathe.” They did as she said, shut the garden doors, and went out by the side doors to bring what they had been commanded; and they did not see the elders, because they were hidden. – Daniel 13:15-18

One inner circle behavior wasn’t evident until a therapist helped me see it.

It’s easy to read this story and see the judges’ faults of lust, plans to gang rape Susanna, and lies under oath.

Do not miss their voyeurism. It is easy not to spot it in the story or in your own life.  I spied not how I spied others.

At the beginning of this story, the elders are watching Susanna come and go.  Here, they’re watching her as she goes to bathe.

One behavior led to another. Had the elders practiced custody of the eyes, they would not have lusted to the extent they did.  They would not have turned their eyes from Heaven. They would not have conspired together to sin more gravely.

In my life, I called voyeurism by innocuous names like “people watching” and “curiosity.”  It started as a glance, then a stare, then a peep through closed window blinds.  Next I bought binoculars and a camera.  I took the pictures with me when I was alone, and pleasured myself to them.

I never committed a rape, but neither did the judges.  Why?  The circumstances were not right.  Had things been different, could I have attempted it like them?  Could I have lied in court like them?  Could I have gone through with it?  Could they have?  The answer to all those questions is yes.

God’s grace has pulled me away from this darkness.  I repent and choose to follow Him.

Eighth Station

As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ – Luke 23:26-29

Today is Good Friday, the day we recall the passion and death of our Lord.  Many people have reflected upon the stations of the cross on the Fridays of Lent, especially today.

The Eighth Station has always stood out in my sex addict mind.  Sex addicts, men and women alike, often engage in behaviors that are risky.  For some, the risk of an unwanted pregnancy is like the risk of getting caught in a public place.  It increases the thrill, until you are actually caught or conceive a child.

These unwanted pregnancies are a mark of behavior we regret.  While some people can welcome the child lovingly into their lives, some of us may resent the child, and many of us choose to give the child up for adoption or to have an abortion.  For both women and men, these last two choices often come with a great deal of shame and guilt.  We lose our own flesh and blood on account of our addiction.

So, indeed, we may find ourselves crying out, “Blessed are the barren!” Perhaps you’ve thought to yourself, “if I were sterile, I could sleep around without worrying about the burdens of pregnancy.” Maybe you’ve made yourself sterile for that very reason. We do some elaborate things for this master we call sex addiction.

Whatever shame and guilt you have, offer it to Jesus on the cross.  He gave His flesh to free us from the sins of the flesh.  He died to destroy our guilt and shame.  And we know that He rose to restore us to new life, not only in Heaven, but here and now.

The grace of the cross is given in the sacraments. Go to confession! God is waiting for you.

If you live in the presence of God, high above the deafening storm, the sun will always be shining on you; and deep below the roaring and destructive waves, peace and calm will reign in your soul.

— St. Josemaría Escrivá