beat down but not broken

“Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty,
persevere in it for this very reason.
God often desires to see what love your soul has,
and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction.”

St. John of the Cross

(The pampas grass beat down following the deluge of TS Fred / Julie Cook /2021)

(The pampas grass beat down following the deluge of TS Fred / Julie Cook /2021)

Like many of my fellow Americans, I think it would only be fair of me
to acknowledge that I too am frustrated.

Frustrated, mad, sad, depressed, angry…and any other words that
describe this feeling of betrayal and disappointment.

I think many of us are feeling that we should just throw in the towel.
Throwing up our hands….up in the air proclaiming “WE QUIT!”

Yep. We. Quit.

As in we are mad as hell and do not care to take this nonsense any more!

Like many of you, I am so angry over the apparent loss of direction and
leadership that is supposed to be keeping a steady hand on this ship’s wheel…
With that ship being the good ol USA.

The latest frustration, coming on the heels of consecutive years of frustration,
is currently happening half a globe away.
Despite being so far away, it is something that is supposed to be under
the watchful eye of the leadership in our Nation’s capitol.

I read today that a former soldier stated that the Afghanistan debacle
is nothing but an out of control dumpster fire….
meaning that it is an out of control mess that has erupted into
uncontrollable flames.
A raging fire with no one there to work at putting out the flames.
Think instant combustion produced when multiple toxins collide.

It all could have been prevented if the right set of eyes were
keeping watch.

And like many of you, I am tired of the more elite folks among us…
those sions of business, technology, entertainment…
oligarchs and technocrats who hold control over so many of us…
controlling with the power wielded by their mega bucks…
Those movers and shakers who vie for the throne of rule.
I am tired of their attempts at controlling me and you and what we
can and cannot do all because they vie to play God.
They who think they know what is best for both you and I.

I am tired of elitist politicians who, long ago, lost their way.

I am tired of woke athletes who prefer lecturing fans rather
then playing ball.
Athletes who put politics above what they are being paid to do–play ball.
Athletes who belittle the fans who actually pay for their elitist lives
via tickets and merchandise support, fans who just want folks to play ball.

I am tired of being belittled and disparaged because I claim to
be a moralist, a conservative, a Christian…a person who loves this country.
I am tired of the ridicule simply because I chose not vote for Bill,
Barak, Hillary or Joe.
I am tired of being equated with ignorance, backwardness and
living out of step with the times only because I choose to have
a differing opinion.

And I dare say, I am not alone.

Yet this is all most likely due to our own ‘bad’.
Our sitting back a bit too long.
Our settling into complacency.
Our allowing ourselves to be swayed and swept up into the zeal
of the pigs wearing lipstick.
The distracting shimmering sparkles of false riches they’ve tried
offering us.

When the tropical storm Fred made its way northward, it brought with
it a torrent of rain.

I looked out from the back porch as a racing river of rain tore
its way downward through our yard.
A grassy yard that was now a churning angry lake.

Later in the day, once the rains had passed, I looked outside again.
That was when I saw how badly the pampas grass bushes
had been beaten down by the downpours.

Suddenly I felt very much like that pampas grass.
There was a time when I felt content…seemingly tall while
being able to sway to and fro with the wind.

Now I feel as if I’ve been reduced to the look of being trampled.

And just when I felt a sea of despair washing over me,
I stumbled on these two quotes of the day…
one by St. John of the Cross, the author of The
Dark Night of the Soul…and the other by
St. Augustine of Hippo—an early founding leader of
this thing I call my Christian Faith.

A faith that was honed, forged and tested by countless men and women
who bore much but have long gone before now…
Men and women who knew the trials of frustration, lies, wars,
torment, persecution…but men and women who, like the pampas grass,
may have been beaten down…yet what we know about them,
they were never ever broken…

Their bodies may have broken but their spirit and faith remained…
and it is why we are still here these 2000 some odd years later.

These may feel like beaten down days…
but what we as Believers must remember, we will never be broken.

“There are two loves, the love of God and the love of the world.
If the love of the world takes possession of you,
there is no way for the love of God to enter into you.
Let the love of the world take the second place,
and let the love of God dwell in you.
Let the better love take over.”

St. Augustine, p. 34
An Excerpt From
Augustine Day by Day

34 comments on “beat down but not broken

  1. Andy Oldham says:

    Wow! You have spoken for so many! Just remember, even tho we don’t understand it, it is his plan, in his hands, for his glory! The grass will get back up and wave beautifully at us, just has we will be lifted up and praise God for his faithfulness! Great post!

  2. bcparkison says:

    Yep…We are all there ….but haven’t we been told it would get worse before it gets better. Wonder how much worse it will get before it gets better? Only our god knows. We just have to trust HIm.

  3. says:

    I don’t know what to say to bring you any comfort. It seems like we’re imploding and no one cares. I’m tired of being cut down for expressing my frustration. For the shaming of those who have chosen not to be vaccinated and for the lack of strength in our leadership. Yet as soon as we allow those things to devour us, we’re giving in to the enemy. God is not going to leave us in the lurch. His promises will be fulfilled and we already have the victory.

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    Julie focuses on the spiritual, making the spiritual revelant. If you love our country and see the harm being done to it, then most likely you are sadden and depressed. In that case, like me you need to visit Julie’s blog for a bit of spiritual refreshment.

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    Julie focuses on the spiritual, making the spiritual revelant. If you love our country and see the harm being done to it, then most likely you are sadden and depressed. In that case, like me you need to visit Julie’s blog for a bit of spiritual refreshment.

  6. JMart says:

    You are not alone.
    I try to focus on the small wonders in my immediate circle. A faithful husband two wonderful daughters and grandchildren who continue to delight. Dear friends of many years sustain me as well.
    At the moment that’s what I hang my hat on.

  7. Doug says:

    Perhaps I can offer this much to those here who feel socially persecuted for their political views regarding their perception of what the country should be/used to be…

    Julie.. you mentioned Afghanistan. Imagine how it would be to live there.. even on any “good day” within the last 20 years much less what is pending for them now. By the luck of the draw, benevolence of fate, the alignment of the planets, or Divine intervention… you ended up being born here… and by comparison to most living on this planet you are a citizen of America… the place all those Afghans (and half the world) want to flee to, and you are lamenting about the country not going “your way” and uttering nonsense like “we quit”? Perhaps you might want to give up your seat on this “bus” to someone more willing to take a seat since you seem so disgruntled.

    Every single thing on your list of.. disappointments… can be placed in a context other than its emotional face value. Democracy (yes, yes, we have a Republic) takes effort and maintenance and just because you have some past reference point of the “good old days of (white) America” does not mean America had reached a point that no more change was necessary because you were happy back then.

    You were an educator. Given the fact that alone is a measure of public trust, and some level of governmental institution felt you were qualified to teach our young, pretty much sounds “elite” in society in my book. I’ve always respected educators.. but that’s just me. One of my greatest past “honors” was being able to convey my thanks to the entire school of teachers who had assembled at the request of the Principal to hear me give a report of a school board meeting I had attended… I thanked them for what they did.. and specifically how my three kids benefitted from their dedication. Few parents ever get such an opportunity. So.. I consider you an elite. Matter of perspective I suppose.

    Find your moral and spiritual support where you can. But I might recommend you consider who you are, where you’ve been, your past successes, where you wanna go.. and where you live. I don’t recall the Founding Fathers including in the Constitution that phrase… “If you do all the above you will live in peace and harmony forever.”
    There’s that old adage you well know.. either lead, follow, or get outta the way.

    Our politics do not agree as we both know. But that’s not the point. Back when Trump was President, for as much as I disliked him being there as a person… I took a number of oaths in life starting with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scout oath, my military oath… and if ever placed in that proximity I would have taken a bullet for him IN THAT OFFICE… because of my pledge to adhere to the Constitution. But that’s just me.

    • Hey Doug, first of all… welcome to cookieland.

      In response to your comment—firstly…my posted lamentation was not simply directed to what is transpiring in Afghanistan.
      It went, it goes, much further than that.

      And since our initial conversation, yours and mine, seems to be directed in the direction of Afghanistan—I just want to be clear…

      Please know that I hate the oppressive regime in those nations that adhere to Sharia law.
      Or any place that is oozing with the likes of regimes like the Taliban or Al Qaeda…those who rule by oppression and violence.

      But on the flip side, I also hate that America feels the need to take on the role as world police.

      Like you, I too have taken many an oath during the course of my life…be it for a Nation, Scouts, school, church, etc…
      I did so, do so, because I was/ am happy to be apart of those things that were/ are bigger than myself and that which spoke and speaks of citizenship, patriotism, morality along with civic duty.

      I call that patriotism in a nutshell coupled by the desire to give back.

      And please don’t play the white privilege card with me. The ode to a “white” life.

      I taught for nearly 32 years in a school system that was a city system. It was about 50 / 50 when I started and grew to a 65 / 35 minority to majority flip.
      Black, white, Hispanic, Asian…my kids were my kids…mattered not. And yes, legal and illegal.

      So yes, I lamented…for good reason.

      I lament that younger generations are racing toward socialism…a true death sentence to freedom and human rights.

      I lament a growing disdain for our Judaeo / Christian roots.

      I lament anarchists jockeying for position –as I detest the growing disdain for the rule of law.

      Law, rule, order…this is what helps to keep a civil society that…civil.

      I lament that our current president is not a leader. I wonder how we came to where we are now.

      And please know that I do not live in some sort of fantasy land or the land of the clueless.

      I do not romanticize nor do I pretend.
      I tend to be more pragmatic, more of a realist.

      I see life for what it is.
      And what it currently is, is not what I want for my grandchildren.

      So just because you seem to enjoy the fuss and cuss aspect, or perhaps it’s just the ‘poke the bear’ nonsense, with various bloggers such as the likes of Citizen Tom, et el—those who continue to ring that clarion bell…sounding the alarm for our society to return to our traditional family values and the roots of our Western Civilization…I will not apologize that I believe that we each bear a responsibility to our Omnipotent God—we have been entrusted to carry His Word to a hurting world.

      So yes, welcome…happy to have your visit…but just know that my purpose with my blog is not so much as one of defense but rather a blog written by a retired teacher who still has a few things she wants to share.

      • Doug says:

        Yeah.. “fuss & cuss” is my emotional need and I get off on it… it’s the vehicle I utilize to express my contrarian, shallow and humanly sinful.. oh, and self-centered… self. It’s the only reason I’ve followed your blog all these.. well, years now… seldom replying.

      • Well I just saw that you started following but if you’ve been like me, the WP fairies randomly drop blogs I followed for ages and I have to finally figure out I need to “re” follow—
        And sounds like we’re birds of a feather Doug— all broken and in need of some healing 😉

      • Doug says:

        To your last sentence.. I fully agree. i tend to be an optimist by nature.. not Pollyanna, but generally pulling from the inherent “good” of mankind… and certainly not looking around and screaming “Oh the humanity!”. For example, we can all scream about Biden’s “fiasco” in Afghanistan in condescending armchair judgement because we are appalled at all the video of crushing humanity and handing off babies at the airport… and while I am no lover of Biden, the fact remains.. nearly 30,000 have been evacuated over the days and weeks… and how many actual lives have been lost in the process? Certainly no reports of Americans, or soldiers. Now, I fully expect this to change.. that’s inevitable.. but point being that up to now that’s a pretty good record. Cup is half full vs half empty.

  8. boudicaus says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    H/T Citizen Tom

  9. Mel Wild says:

    A great illustration and word of encouragement for us all, Julie.

    I’m reminded of Paul’s statement in 2 Cor.4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

    Our peace and rest is found in Christ, not this world.

  10. Well said, Julie. We have giant pampas grass here, it can grow up over the top of the house. I have one in the front yard. I often trim it with the weed eater. Before we had fires and fire season the lady down the road would just torch hers, burn it right to the ground. One year my hubby attacked it with a chainsaw. It grows right back and is often even more beautiful. I’m not sure why all these comical attempts to reign in the pampas grass came to mind, but that feels kind of like where we’re at as a country.

    I do love St. John of the Cross, “love is not tried by ease and satisfaction.”

    • This new neighborhood is rife with the stuff— fluff and puff I call it. They whack it down late fall and let it begin to re-emerge come spring— I suppose it’s a good space filler with little cost— just taming it is key-
      And like your husband, mine would love to fire up his chainsaw or even his weed whacker — that patch is still flat since the storm— so we’ll see if it straightens back yup before it’s time to whack it-and don’t get me started in this country— I don’t have the strength

  11. SLIMJIM says:

    Second of August has been such a difficult time for me…

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