The Best that We Can

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

During my journey of healing from mental illness and demonic oppression, I have had the pleasure of encountered a system of psychological intervention termed, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.  Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is an intervention first invented by a therapist who herself had mental and emotional difficulties.  It was first intended to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, but it is truly useful for any number of maladies.  DBT is complex, but part of its corpus are a set of principles that the patient or subject is to take a priori.  One such principle is the idea that all people, no matter what we see them doing, are “trying the best that they can.”  From Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama to Elizabeth Warren, to homeless people on the street, to Wall Street profiteers, to racist police officers, to pedophiles, to child slave traffickers,  ALL OF US ARE TRYING THE BEST THAT WE CAN!!

 

Now at first I was offended by this notion that all of us as human beings are trying the best that we can.  At first, I thought, “That’s impossible!!”  Look at some of the heinous things that people do?!! How could they possibly be trying the best that they can.  But the more you ponder on the idea, the more you see that blindness and insanity and pain and anguish can bring about barriers to a person’s righteousness or beauty, even if they are deep down trying the best that they can.  But even now, as I try and defend the idea, I see that it is truly indefensible.  It just simply is.  Everyone in the world is trying the best that they can!! It is a fact.  And when we operate under this assumptive fact that everyone is trying the best that they can, we are freed up to love unconditionally as God loves us.  We are freed up to love without judgment.  We are freed up love with a positive regard that is unshakeable.  If you are a bit incredulous to what I am suggesting.  Try it for a week.  For one week, assume that everyone you know and come in contact with and everyone you hear about on the news is trying the best that they can.  I think you will be pleased with the results.

Namaste and God Bless!!  Woody

The Jujitsu Revelation Revisited-The Birth of the Santa Clause Blessing

By: Woodrow Lucas

Hello faithful readers of this blog,

A few days ago, I posted a post called the Jujitsu Revelation that I am quite proud of.  In this post, I really laud the influence that my ex-wife Machel Mills has had on me and I unequivocally declare that I still love her with all of my soul.  Well, a good friend of mine read the post, and intimated to me that it seemed like from the post that I was still in love with my ex-wife.  I found this very alarming, because I really don’t want anyone, especially my ex-wife, her boyfriend, or anyone that I might date to think that I am still in love with my ex-wife, because I am definitely not in love with my ex-wife.  There are several kinds of love that you can feel for a person.  You can feel Agape love, which is unconditional love.  You can feel Philos love which is friendship love.  And you can feel Eros love which is romantic love.  I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I feel a whole heck of a lot of Agape love for my ex-wife and Philos love for my ex-wife, but absolutely no romantic love for my ex-wife whatsoever.

As I see the way that my ex-wife has prospered with her new boyfriend, it is obvious to me that while she and I definitely had something special, what she has with this new fella is really even more spectacular. I mean the two of them are like twins.  And they have an unspoken kinship that runs deeper than anything that I have ever seen.  I believe that my ex-wife is more suitably matched to her current partner than she ever was to me.  And I rejoice in that.  But that doesn’t take away the beauty that I shared with her.  And I believe that God wants me to always celebrate that beauty even if it manifests itself in much different ways post divorce than pre-divorce.

The way I see it, love should never die.  It is too special to die.  It just takes on other forms.  And maybe, I am just a little ahead of my time in the belief that my ex-wife and I can still have deep love for each other, even if that love is not romantic, and even if we are with new romantic partners.  But I would rather be ahead of my time and right, than with my time and operating in something less than beautiful.

When my ex-wife and I got divorced, God gave me a vision for our future which would retain the love that we had for each other.  We would become good friends, and then our new spouses would become good friends with each ex, and we would all become like one wonderful blended family.  This may seem farfetched.  But I told you in the Jujistu Revelation that I don’t think anything is too hard for God.  I call this wondrous blended family composition, replete with “ex-in laws” and the like, the Santa Clause Blessing, because it mimics the kind of relationships that Tim Allen ,his wife, his ex and Judge Reinhold had in the movies Santa Clause I, Santa Clause II, and Santa Clause III.  Now this might be a little narcissistic, but I kinda see myself as Tim Allen in this whole configuration.  And in truth, maybe my ex wife’s boyfriend, or my ex wife is more suitable for that role.  But I must confess that I have not fully transcended the ego, so for now, I am the Santa Clause in the Santa Clause Blessing!! LOL!!!

I encourage you, if you are divorced.  To quickly forgive your ex-spouse and cancel all debts that they owe you.  Seek to resurrect the love that you once felt for them.  And if it seems appropriate to reconcile, then reconcile, but if it seems maybe like both of you are better off with different partners, then pursue the Santa Clause Blessing!! It is work, that’s true!! But it is well worth it.  Because harmony is so comforting and beautiful it’s worth the work that goes into it!!!

Namaste, God Bless, and Love Always, Woody!!

From Tribes to Nations, Godly Cooperation in our Society

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

The idea of tribes among peoples is a very ancient notion.  I believe that God intended for us to operate in tribes from the outset.  A tribe allows one to focus most of one’s love and energy on a certain group of people who share the same general space as one. However, I believe that God never intended for tribes to war against each other for goods and services, this is a perversion of God’s intent. God’s intent was that you would pray for and protect a small group of people, and show love towards others outside that group as circumstance required.  This is the notion of being kind to strangers.

As time has passed and society has evolved the idea of the tribe has become a more categorized sense of belonging and identity that revolves around religious affiliation, national origin, race, class, gender, and sexual preference.  These notions of organization are not problematic in and of themselves but when they are predicated on pride and competition, rather than mutual respect and cooperation then they become barriers to God’s will.

Whatever our forms of social organization, harmony, admiration, and cooperation are always the ends to be pursued.  And disharmony, war, and competitiveness are to be avoided.  So as we consider our world, full of atheists, Muslims, agnostics, African-Americans, Africans, Asians, Jews, Hindus, Indians, Native Americans, Caucasians, Methodists, Catholics, Pentacostals, Scientists, Preachers, and so many other categorical forms of organization and identity.  Let us remember that cooperation and admiration outside of our group, enhance everything that happens within our group.

So everlasting God, please bless faith and science to cooperate.   Bless the religions of the world to cooperate.  Let there be harmony between all of the nations and races of the world.  Let us Lord God, do as the bumper sticker says, “Coexist” for the alternative is not a future that any of us would choose if we saw it in concrete reality. In Jesus Name, Amen!!

The Jujitsu Revelation

By: Woodrow Lucas

My ex-wife and I have a very amicable relationship and have worked out a parenting plan that works for us both.  I get my youngest daughter Gabi on Thursday nights and every other weekend.  Well every Thursday night for the past 5 months my daughter Gabi has had Jujitsu class, so it has been my responsibility to take her after school.  I very much enjoy Jujitsu and what it is accomplishing in my daughter.  The self-reliance, self-discipline, and self-awareness that it is creating in her are palpable.

Now during Jujitsu class, every now and again, I sneak over to the Polynesian Restaurant next door and get my signature salmon salad.  Today, I was in the restaurant eating my salad, reminiscing on something I said to the Lord today about how people need to be focused on healing and getting healed, because getting healed is a much faster route to happiness than waiting for this distracted society to wake up to its need to care for those with disabilities.  So I was reminiscing on my earlier profundity, when I heard a voice clear as day say, “My son, let me ask you a question.  If I give you a man who is fully healed and whole and functional in the world, but he is all alone on the earth and I give you a man who is missing one arm and one leg but everyone around him loves and cares for him, which man is happy?”  I quickly received my Savior’s rebuke, and answered, “The second man is happy my Lord.”  To which Jesus responded, “Well done.”

The truth is that I am a man obsessed with healing.  I take Luke 1:37 that with God nothing shall be impossible very seriously.  I believe that any person, anywhere can do anything, if they truly set their heart, mind, and will to it.  When I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder in 2001, I paid very little attention to the doctors who told me I would never get all of my mental faculties back, or the doctors who said that I would have symptoms for the rest of my life.  And truth be known, I did get my mental faculties back and went to one of the most prestigious graduate schools in the country and now, at this very moment, I am on the precipice of being 100% symptom free and 100% functional on meds.  But as I ruminate on how incredible my life will be when I am totally healed and how much I want to free others who struggle with mental illness and demonic oppression.  I am struck by my Savior’s rebuke.  For if I heal myself or cooperate with God to be healed and have no friends or people or partners to share my freedom with, will I be happy?

Questions like these make me think of the role that my ex-wife Machel Mills has played in my life.  From the very beginning of me experiencing illness, my ex-wife has given me two things in abundance, comfort and hope.  When I was in the hospital after my first psychotic break, my ex-wife came to me and said, “Woody, this is for the good of your ministry.”  When I wanted to step out on faith and go to graduate school, my ex-wife never questioned me.  She just started to pray.  And even when I experimented with getting off my meds, my ex-wife supported me all the way.  Even now, that we are divorced and she has a pretty serious boyfriend, she called me last January and said, “Woody, this is your year.  This is the year that you come all the way out of mental illness and demonic oppression.”

Words cannot describe the way that I feel about this woman.  While I no longer feel romantic feelings for her, my brotherly love and respect for her could not be higher.  I love her with all of my soul and make no apologies for it.  She is a better mother to my children than I could have possibly asked for, and I am glad that she is finding happiness outside of our marital union.

One might ask, “if there is so much love between the two of you, why did you get divorced in the first place?”  This is a formidable question, as the reasons for my ex-wife’s and my divorce are complicated, messy, and difficult to easily describe, just like life with mental illness is often complicated, messy, and difficult to easily describe.  But I tell you, in retrospect, that I believe that part of the reason for our separation came from this deep knowledge that we both possessed that I had to walk the last leg of my healing journey alone to experience the full benefits of what God wanted me to learn from it.

And I can honestly say that I have felt more alone and isolated in the three years following my divorce than I have ever felt in my life.  This journey of having to overcome some pretty serious symptoms while managing my life and high stress jobs has been extremely difficult.  But I can honestly say, that I wouldn’t trade it, because it has made me the man that I am today.  And I am quite proud of who I am in this moment.

So how does it all fit together?  My obsession with getting free from mental illness even though the medical community says its veritably impossible?  My belief that our society is so broken that it is better for me to develop the skills and faith to get people better, than to try to sow compassion among a people who think that a public option for health insurance is socialism?  The Jujitsu revelation that I received today from the Lord, in which he ever so gently reminded me that healing without loving relationship is  summarily useless?  And my gratitude to my ex-wife for always getting my back, both in marriage and after marriage?  How does it all fit together?

Well this is my theory.  I am definitely going to become 100% functional and symptom free on meds.  That is an inevitability.  I have the persistence of Jacob, and there is no way that I am letting go of the Lord until that goal is a reality.  But the memory of what my ex-wife has meant to me, and my parents have meant to me, and my friends have meant to me, and my prayer warriors have meant to me, and my kids have meant to me, and my brother and brothers and sisters in law have meant to me, and my cousins have meant to me, and the smiles of random passers by have meant to me in this process, in this journey, in this quest, makes me think that maybe I have been a little hard on us as a society.  The person who my ex-wife has been in my life, reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13.  1 Corinthians 13 is in my opinion the most profound pericope of scripture ever written in any religious text of any religion anywhere.  And there is this line in 1 Corinthians 13 that says and “abideth these three faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is love.”

You really can’t come out of illness without faith and hope.  Faith and hope are the substance of power, and power is the essence of regenerative life.  Healing and faith, even the faith that science has in its principles and laws are so inextricably connected that you cannot have one without the other.  But what the Jujitsu revelation reminds me, is that my mandate once I am free is not just to free others, but it is also to convince this society, that love overcomes all pain, even when someone for whatever reason doesn’t get the healing they seek.  Love is the answer.   Love is always the answer.

When I was a young minister in Chicago, the Lord said to me, “You hate what is, because you love what should be, love what is and it will be as it should be. “  I must confess, that sometimes I get a little impatient.  Sometimes I want everyone to see the possibilities that God can create, as I see them.  But the example of my ex-wife and the beauty of the Jujitsu revelation is that through love we can solve that human problem of unhappiness whether great faith is present or not.  Don’t get me wrong, I will always be a man of faith. And I will always push myself to defy the limits that conventional society claims are writ in the very fabric of the universe.  But as I do, I will remember, “Love what is, Woody.  Love what is and everything will take care of itself.”

Namaste, God Bless, and Love Always……Woody Lucas

Why I voted for Hillary Clinton

By: Woodrow Lucas

When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he had such momentum and purpose that it seemed like he had a mandate direct from the almighty to take the helm of leadership for our country.  But this election, it seems that such a mandate is not clear for either candidate and that both candidates suffer from a lack of public trust and confidence.

But as much as I believe that Barack Obama is a better leader than Hillary Clinton, I do believe that Ms. Clinton definitely has a clear mandate from God to be the next leader of our Nation.  But even if I did not believe that Hillary had a mandate from God to be the first female President of the United States, I would have voted for her anyway.  Because in reality, I believe that in a sense she is the only person running for office.

When Obama ran against McCain in 2008, I may have preferred Obama, but I had the sensation that two formidable statesmen were running against each other.  In this election, I feel as though the Machiavellian circus that surrounds Donald Trump just cannot be legitimately considered a political campaign.  Trumps journey to the Presidency smacks more of the reality TV which made him famous than a true and sincere desire to enter into the political arena.

Similarly, Trump’s supporters seem also to be more like caricatures of hateful ignorance, that hate others so much that they are willing to vote against their own economic, social, and political well being.  Trumps supporters in my opinion are as surreal as Trump.  One, a man with very little conviction, supported by those who want a reactionary revolution in America back to the good old days of Jim Crow and unequal wages between men and women.  Trump’s supporters are afraid of the future, and so they embrace the past.  At least the past they imagine, for the past of reality, is not something that I think any of us want to revisit.  The generations when a flu could easily kill you.  The generations when you could lose two sons who didn’t want to fight, to a  war they didn’t believe in.  The generations when Jews were systematically exterminated in the name of pathological nationalism.  The generations when my grandparents had to ride in the back of the buses of Smithfield Virginia and sit in the back of movie theaters there as well.  No, I don’t think that anyone really wants to go to the past to which the zealous fundamentalists and rich reactionary supporters of Trump suggest we return.  But a past of imagination, a past that really never existed, and only exists in the minds of the uneducated, this is the past that an angry mob can embrace.  And it is truly an angry mob that supports Donald Trump.

So you see, although I believe that God truly has chosen Hillary Clinton to be the first female president of the United States of America.  I voted for her as much out of a sensation that she was the only real person running for the office as I did for any other reason.  Namaste and God Bless!! Woody Lucas!!