Thoughts from my dear friend Elyse …
I am not an athlete. I barely even follow sports.
But when the Olympics roll around, I am suddenly energized and dialed in to whatever different competition is going on. I may have never heard of the athlete before, but plop them into a gold medal race, and I’m a FAN. I get very tense while watching. It’s a little ridiculous.
Here are my two favorite experiences with following sports*, plus a bonus third that I wasn’t yet alive to witness:
*despite whatever ensued in the aftermath
1) The summer of 1998 as Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals chased the home run record. It seemed like every night I would hear my dad call from the family room, “McGwire went yard!” and the rest of us would come rushing into the room to watch the instant replay of his homer and to marvel as that home run tally increased one by one. It was the summer before my junior year of high school, and I remember feeling so American. Shoulda slapped some cherry pie in my hands as I watched that summer, watched and hoped and dreamed of that elusive record, this race drawing back fans after the recent strike.
2) The 2008 Beijing Olympics as Michael Phelps pursued 8 golds in 8 events. Day after day returning to the Beijing National Aquatics Center to watch whatever magic Phelps would unfold. I remember the 4×100 relay where Phelps had to rely on Jason Lezak’s anchor leg swim to come from behind to secure that gold. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I remember the night that Phelps beat Cavic by .01, and I was on my feet and my eyes fooled me. One-hundredth of one second is a tie to human eyes but means the difference between silver and gold to a computer. This time it was me who would yell to Desiree from the living room, “Phelps is about to race!” and she’d run in to join me, and we’d watch the stars and stripes rise above the others once and then over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
3) The 1973 Belmont Stakes. My dad would refer to this race as “the greatest moment in sports,” and if you watch the race, it would be hard for you to argue with that assessment. When I watch the race, my heart just about explodes with pride as Secretariat, the powerful horse with the huge heart, pulverizes his competitors, winning the race by 31 lengths. “Secretariat is widening now … he is moving like a tremendous machine.” Toward the end of the race, it appears that there are two races instead of one: Secretariat running his own, and all the rest battling a second so far behind. The other horses weren’t even in the film shot as Secretariat finished the race. That is power. It’s overwhelming to see.
What are your favorite moments in sports?
One of my OCD friends just sent me a message that said: “I have also been reading your blog… ha almost like looking at my own biography.”
It reminded me so much that although OCD tries to make us feel like freaks– like we are the only ones who could think such thoughts– like we are unique in our horrors– it’s not true. All obsessive-compulsives are telling the same story, just with different details. We are wearing the same outfits but have put on different accessories. We are not alone.
OCD wears many masks: scrupulosity, checking, ordering, washing, etc.– but in the end it is a neurological disorder that makes us think unwanted thoughts and then perform actions to give ourselves temporary relief. We are all in the same boat together.
I as a Pure-O can sit with a washer and empathize. We have a common enemy.
For years, I thought I was some kind of anomaly. I’m not. I’m just a girl whose mind has a glitch, and I stand alongside many others who experience the same thing.
Community is important. I felt validated when I discovered that there were others like myself. I remember reading Kissing Doorknobs for the first time. I remember my first conversation with another OC. I remember reading Stop Obsessing! and seeing myself in the pages, just the way my friend is seeing himself in my blog posts. Community matters. And that is one reason that I shout from the rooftops that I have OCD, just in case any other OCs are listening, in case they recognize themselves in me. Then we can sit down, talk, share stories, and realize that ours are both the same.
Some of you probably think that I am being dramatic. If you do, I can almost guarantee that you have never suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, because those with OCD know that it essentially steals life and joy right out from under you.
I was in a dark place. My thoughts felt uncontrollable and blasphemous. I could not take long car rides or fall asleep at night without audiobooks because I needed to give my racing mind something to focus on. I felt deeply guilty nearly all of the time– and even about small or ridiculous things. I had an unreasonable weight of responsibility on my shoulders, as if I were somehow the one keeping the world functioning. I entertained silly and/or terrifying idea of reality. I felt hellbound and cut off from God’s love and forgiveness. I was without hope and utterly exhausted.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy was one of the hardest things that I have ever undergone– but those 12 weeks of intense therapy were what God used to set me free from the clutches of OCD. CBT is a strange concept– give in to your obsessive thoughts in order to gain control over them– but IT WORKS. I am living proof.
I cannot recommend CBT enough. It is my mantra to anyone who suffers from OCD: get CBT, get CBT, get CBT. I feel so much happiness, joy, security, normality now that I want to plead with OCs to come join me on the other side.
Listen up. If you have OCD and are living in darkness, I know the way out. I would be happy to sit down with you and tell you all about CBT, answer any questions that you might have, and encourage you as best as I can. Go to http://abct.org and find a cognitive-behavioral therapist in your area. There is a light ahead.
Jesus Christ is a believer’s gravity; he infuses meaning and purpose into our lives and tethers us to reality through the Body and the Blood. There is no story more fascinating, mysterious, devastating, resplendent, and sanguine than the gospel, and this is the reason we need more Christian writers in the United States to write and be published. Believers have an incredible capacity for story—true story—which is our duty and privilege to share. When we weave gospel truths into our stories—even when we whisper or our voices shake—those stories assume deeper meaning, exactly what the world craves, whether knowingly or not. Tales with no hint of the divine, no rumor of a Savior, may often be a poor investment, a squandering of what might have been.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” Books written by Christians are just such miracles, stories that are able to be held, while the Great Story, instead, holds us.
Just finished …
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson | Just from the description, I figured it would be a tearjerker– readers know upfront that Taylor’s dad is terminally ill, and before he dies, he wants the family to spend one last summer together at their lake home, which Taylor hasn’t been to since she was 12. When they return, she has to face her former best friend and former boyfriend and deal with her dad’s illness. Yes, of course I cried. It was a really interesting premise, but I thought Matson could have done more with Henry, the love interest. (I hate when I can’t really understand why two characters like one another. Pet peeve.) Anyway, I give it a solid B.
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers | This is not your typical zombie book– sure there is an outbreak of the undead spreading across the country, but the real story in this book is about the dynamics between the six teenagers who have barricaded themselves inside their high school while the attack rages outside. I was really, really impressed with this book. A- and it made me check out all Summers’ other books from the library.
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers | This is basically a book about b****y teenaged girls fighting with one another. I was shocked at the cruelty, and I kept thinking, “Are high school girls really this bad?” I felt like Summers anticipated that question with her book title, answering me, “Some girls are.” It was frustrating to me because the main character Regina never seems to quite spit out what she needs to say. That drives me crazy about book characters, and I realized it is probably because I have never really let that happen to me. I am so vocal and usually refuse to be walked on. The book gets a B from me– it was well-written, but it was so unedifying that it kinda just left me feeling low.
The Magician’s Nephew; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; and The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, even though I just finished reading the whole series. Just started over, I guess. I told you I was addicted.
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green | Good, but not even close to The Fault in Our Stars. Still, I adore John Green, and I have this secret desire to one day have published a YA book that has an endorsement blurb on it from him. DFTBA.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson | Just finished this one ten minutes ago (as I write this review), and I adored it. Tinker Bell narrates the love story of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan and how everything changed when Wendy Darling came onto the scene. Masterfully written. Writer’s envy flaring up! A wonderful story, but a sad one, which readers are warned about from the very first paragraph: “Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you’ve ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by Jo Rowling. I missed my friends and needed to get back to Hogwarts. Just wrapping this one up. I love the story more every time I read it. Do you remember where you were the first time you read it? I do. A hotel in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and every couple of minutes, I would do a frantic inventory in my head: “The diary … the ring … the locket … the cup … what am I missing?!”
About to purchase (once my B&N gift card arrives!) …
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
3 AM Epiphany by Brian Kiteley
Powerful words from an eyewitness to the Colorado tragedy …
“So, you still believe in a merciful God?” Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.
Yes, I do indeed.
Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.
Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil. God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.
In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.
Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.
I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark NightRises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort…
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1) I lose my life to gain Life.
I love that when I surrender my life entirely to Christ, I gain real, true life in Him.
2) Strength through weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
3) When I give in to my intrusive thoughts, they lose their power over me.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy’s premise is a simple one, and though it seems backward, it works. My life is proof.
I know I’ve mentioned this book before, but it really deserves its own post.
TFiOS is a young adult novel written by John Green, and while it has characters with cancer in it, I would never classify this as a “cancer book” (cough, Lurlene McDaniels). This book is clever, FUNNY, moving, and it has incredible characters, most especially ♥ Augustus Waters ♥.
You really ought to read it.
I will say this:
1) This book made me cry both during and after I read it. During because I was so involved in the story and after because I was so envious of John Green’s writing abilities. (I am not joking– I’ve told you before I struggle with writer envy!)
2) I was working on an adult novel about a woman who discovers she was adopted when she inherits her birth parents’ estate, but after I readThe Fault in Our Stars, I completely scrapped that story and started over, making my debut writing YA lit. That was in January, and now, in July, I have a first draft of a YA story!
So TFiOS is very important to me. In some ways, it feels as if this book birthed my own. I hope that makes sense to you. This book and John Green were so much my muses as I wrote my story (working title Her Truest Lamentation) that I set it in the fictional town of Green Lake to throw props to John Green.
Request it from the library or buy your own copy at Barnes and Noble andread this story. And then let me know what you think of it.
Are you familiar?
Essentially, it’s this test you can take that will tell you what type of person you are/personality you have.
Years ago, I took the official test and tested as an ENFJ, which seemed quite accurate and which made me join the ranks of other famous ENFJs such as David (king of Israel), Ronald Reagan, Dick Van Dyke, and Oprah Winfrey.
Over the years, I have grown increasingly more introverted, so I’d really like to take the test again and see where I fall on the scale. Although the official test costs money, there are free versions of it online.
Just retook it.
I have a hard time believing that. I am far more energized by being alone than by being with others.
And yet …
The new test said I was 1% extravert. The old one said 100%. That’s a pretty big jump.
In the interest of discovering, trends …
If you have OCD, what is your Myers-Briggs type? Do you find yourself more introverted or extraverted?