Ghosts and Monsters

I've had a Monster in my closet for 13 years.

The Monster was turned loose upon me by its master 13 years ago. I was completely taken aback by its attack. It was completely unexpected, unleashed upon my by someone I trusted wholeheartedly. The attack was violent and swift, and the Monster was vicious and angry and spewed fire and venom, clawing me to shreds, leaving me ripped apart, exposed, and bleeding. It ate into to the very core of my being, stripping me of my identity, my dignity, my dreams, and my faith. I was pinned under its huge talons and too weak to fight back; it then stalked the perimeter of my life, holding me captive in its dungeon, chasing away my friends and my family, isolating me, making me feel like a freak and an outcast. I lived in shame and guilt and utter despair; I was completely alone.

Then it lied to me and told me it was all my fault. It made me believe that I was the one who was the monster, that it was inside of me. It made me hate who I had become. It made me feel guilt and shame and self-loathing...and then it made me wish that I was dead. It made me wonder where God went, and why He had let this happen to me. The Monster told me that God had let it happen to me because I was bad. It told me that I was ugly and undeserving of love. It destroyed everything I knew to be true... it twisted Truth and made it a lie.

But time passed, and the trauma of the initial attack began to fade. One day, I was able to force the Monster into the closet: at least it was hidden from plain view. That worked for a short while, but the Monster didn't like its new home, and it would scream and bellow from the recesses of the closet, striking fear and horror in my soul. I was constantly reminded that, even though I couldn't see the Monster, it was still living in my home. Every now and then, when the Monster was still, I would go near the door of the closet and listen, just to see if it was still alive. Sensing my presence, it would rage and claw at the door, spewing its threats and accusations once again, and I would tremble and wither on the floor in fear as the memories of its vicious attack came flooding back.

Over the years, as I kept the Monster locked away in the closet, its screams weakened and its threats became less insidious. I eventually learned to stop thinking about the Monster all the time, and it began to shrink. Sometimes, though, I would find comfort in the Monster's presence. It was easy to keep it around, and I grew accustomed to it. It became a crutch, and excuse for closing off those around me.

Every so often I would run across someone else who had been victim of the same Monster -- and in fact, its same master -- and I began to feel vindicated, understanding that it was not just me who had been targeted. I became a little more brave, and soon I came to understand that I needed to begin to forgive the master for sending me the Monster. I began to understand that living with bitterness and unforgiveness towards its master was not hurting its master, as I wanted so desperately, but was, in fact, feeding the Monster and allowing it to prey on me still. I learned that the only way to truly slay the Monster was to release its master from the debt he incurred upon me; to forgive this man and wish him well.

And so, one day, I got on my face before God, and He and I did serious battle with the Monster. I chose to walk away from the anger and hatred and began to look at the attack in a new light: it didn't happen because I was "bad" or because I was undeserving of love, but God had allowed it to happen to me, and because of it, I was forced to change courses. If I hadn't been pursued by the Monster, I would not have run the other way, thus finding my true family -- my husband and my son. And with this revelation, I was led back to my faith, knowing that God, while allowing the attack, had me in the palm of His hand the entire time. That day, in my bedroom, I chose to forgive, and in doing so, I chose to allow God to slay the Monster.

Then God began to restore me. He gave me back my music, something that the Monster had forced me to let go of for years. He began to speak Truth to me, telling me that I was loved, I was accepted, and I was safe. The Monster no longer dictated my actions and my plans. I began to come back to life. That was seven years ago.

Over the years, I have always just accepted the fact that I would not finish the old business with the Monster's master, and that was okay. I had closed the adjoining door on the past that we shared, even though this man had left his door open. And sometimes, through the door, I could hear the Monster's ghost whispering its old lies to me. I would walk away, unharmed, but irritated that it was still trying to talk to me.

But two days ago, out of the blue, I received a letter from the man who unleashed the Monster on me. I opened the letter, not knowing who it was from. The man identified himself in the first line of the letter, and I began to tremble. I read on, not knowing what to expect, but I was surprised and shaken at his words: "Please forgive me. My actions towards you were evil. I was wrong. I hope you can forgive me."

The end.


It was the letter every victim of such abuse longs to receive. I had prayed to receive such a letter in the years following the attack, because I thought I would find healing through those words. God knew better. He knew that I had to forgive without condition, without any guarantee that I would ever receive an apology. That is where I found true forgiveness and healing.

This letter marked the end of the Monster once and for all. Though long dead, its ghost no longer has the ability to haunt me. I've lived with it for 13 years, and now it is gone, and I'm not sure how I'm supposed to react. It's indescribable. It is a gift. And it is, once again, a testament of God's perfect will, His perfect timing, and His perfect love.


Live Earth's Massive Carbon Footprint

From the Daily Mail:

"A Daily Mail investigation has revealed that far from saving the planet, the extravaganza will generate a huge fuel bill, acres of garbage, thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions, and a mileage total equal to the movement of an army.

The most conservative assessment of the flights being taken by its superstars is that they are flying an extraordinary 222,623.63 miles between them to get to the various concerts - nearly nine times the circumference of the world. The true environmental cost, as they transport their technicians, dancers and support staff, is likely to be far higher.

The total carbon footprint of the event, taking into account the artists' and spectators' travel to the concert, and the energy consumption on the day, is likely to be at least 31,500 tonnes of carbon emissions, according to John Buckley of Carbonfootprint.com, who specialises in such calculations.

Throw in the television audience and it comes to a staggering 74,500 tonnes. In comparison, the average Briton produces ten tonnes in a year.

The concert will also generate some 1,025 tonnes of waste at the concert stadiums - much of which will go directly into landfill sites.

Moreover, the pop stars headlining the concerts are the absolute antithesis of the message they promote - with Madonna leading the pack of the worst individual rock star polluters in the world.

Supermodel Kate Moss, another profligate polluter through her use of private jets, is producing a T-shirt for the event. Yet, Gore is touting the concerts as 'carbon neutral'. So how can that be?

Let us start with some facts. Worldwide, an audience of around 1,268,500 is expected to attend the concerts - making it one of the largest global events in history.

Dr Andrea Collins, an expert in sustainability from Cardiff University, has researched the impact of such mass gatherings on the environment.

"An event of this size at Wembley - which holds 65,000 at a rock concert, will generate around 59 tonnes of waste," she says. "That is largely composed of the rubbish from food and drink consumption."

She found that a Wembley-sized football match generated an 'ecological footprint' of 3,000 global hectares - an area the size of 4,166 football pitches. This is the amount of bioproductive land required to absorb the C02 emissions produced by such an event.

Dr Collins estimates that the global audience for Live Earth will generate some 1,025 tonnes of waste. An extraordinary one million people are expected at the free concert at Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach, featuring Lenny Kravitz, Macy Gray and Pharrell Williams.

Other venues including the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg - where Joss Stone is performing - will cater for audiences of tens of thousands.

Live Earth say that they will recycle much of the waste generated. Fine talk, but in fact some of the concert venues are struggling to keep up with their commitments.

A spokesman for Wembley says they only have the capacity to recycle around a third of waste produced - the rest will go into landfill sites.

Travel forms the vast majority of the 'carbon footprint' talked of by ecological campaigners - contributing up to 90 per cent of the environmental 'cost'.

Collins says: "It is patently absurd to claim that travel of this nature doesn't have an impact. Each person attending the event will have to make a return journey to the venue, be it by air, rail, bus or car. This burns fossil fuel - precisely what we are trying to reduce.

"There is also the environmental cost of these artists flying around the world - that is absolutely huge."

Indeed, an audit of the lifestyles of the A-list performers appearing at Live Earth, reveals that they are among the worst individual polluters in the world, as their world tours and private jets billow thousands of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. One hour in a Gulfstream jet burns as much fuel as driving a family car for a year.

The Daily Mail has found that five of the top performing acts together have an annual output of almost 2,000 carbon tonnes. Madonna alone has an annual carbon footprint of 1,018 tonnes, according to John Buckley.

Remember, the average Briton produces just ten tonnes.

The veteran pop singer's Confessions tour last year produced 440 tonnes of carbon pollution in just four months, simply in flights between venues. This does not include the trucks required to transport equipment, the power needed to stage each show, or the transport for fans travelling to each concert.

Rock group Genesis re-formed last year and are in the middle of their European tour. The three-man band will fit their Live Earth performance into a tour of at least 47 locations across the world. Their carbon footprint last year totalled 195 tonnes.

James Blunt, another Wembley performer, completed his world tour of the U.S. last year, racking up a carbon footprint of 195 tonnes.

American band Red Hot Chili Peppers have, like Madonna, flown in to Wembley from the U.S.. They have produced 220 tonnes of carbon dioxide with their private jet alone over the last six months.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has learnt that Bon Jovi left the UK this week to travel back by private jet to the U.S. to perform at the New York stadium for the American leg of Live Earth.

Music impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber's ex-wife Sarah Brightman is being flown out to sing at the Shanghai concert in China. This is a distance of 5,679.95 miles, producing one tonne of carbon dioxide pollution.

Two other acts have already been criticised for being paid to promote fuel-guzzling cars. John Legend is featured in a Lexus advert, while Sheryl Crow's hit Everyday Is A Winding Road is used to sell Subaru 4WDs.

Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell has been criticised for urging people to drive electric eco-scooters - but buying a 1,000cc Moto Guzzi bike - described as 'a monster-revving beast'.

Such is the level of disquiet felt about Live Earth in New Zealand, that a pressure group called the Climaction Coalition, is urging people to protest against it on July 7. Radiohead, who are pioneers in eco-friendly performing, have refused to appear. Of course, Live Earth is doing its utmost to ensure the event is 'green' in appearance at least - stars will be ferried between the stage and dressing room by energy-efficient Smart Cars and biodiesel fuelled Mercedes.

A proposal for Gore to appear at concerts in Britain and America on the same day - something that Phil Collins, the Genesis drummer and singer, was able to do at the original Live Aid in 1985, courtesy of Concorde - has been dropped because of the anger that the 'gas-guzzling' flight would provoke.

Andrea Robinson, Live Earth's green manager, says her message to celebrities is: "Leave the Learjet at home - fly commercial."

Wembley Stadium will be lit using low energy fluorescent lightbulbs, while the backdrop is composed of recycled tyres and oil drums. The organisers tried to introduce re-usable cups for interval refreshments, but found that - like many green strategies - this was not practical on such a huge scale.

Some bio-produced plastic, made from corn, will be used, and artists' changing rooms will be fitted with energy-saving lightbulbs - all rather a drop in the ocean compared to the pollution generated by fans traveling across the UK to the concert or using the stadium's 2,618 toilets. Plans to ask the British public to turn off their electrical appliances during the Live Earth broadcast were scuppered when the National Grid pointed out that as everyone switched on again, a giant power surge could cripple the country.

Read the entire article here.

Bottom line: Al Gore's junk science-based initiative is producing a whole heck of a lot of hot air... a lot more than the average person's "carbon footprint."

Pair this with this weeks study from Greenland's ice core samples that told scientist that the earth was much warmer 120,000 years ago than it is today (read that article here), and it sure makes Al's agenda look pretty lame.

But what do you expect from a guy who wants us "developed" countries to cut our carbon usage by 90 percent, but "developing countries" like China, the world’s leading producer of carbon, and India, another nation that has a low Environmental Performance Index rating (47.7) ranking it 118 out of 133 nations by the World Economic Forum) would not be required to cut their usage. And what do you expect from a man who wants us to cut our carbon usage, but who refuses to give up his private jet-setting and his gargantuan Belle Meade house that sucks up 20 times more electricity and fossil fuel than the average American.

Hypocrisy abounds in Gore's world.

So spare me all the preaching from the stage of the Live Earth concerts. These artists who traveled by private jet to their respective locations to perform these shows did so because it was a good career move, and that's that. At least Radiohead had the moral decency to stand up for what they believe and refused to appear because they saw the hypocrisy behind it all. I can handle environmentalists if they walk the talk. I can't handle self-righteous, preachy politicians who don't... but hey, it's Al Gore. It just reaffirms why I didn't vote for him.

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