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The Wishing Map 78

Have you ever been let in on a secret that messily, even dangerously, entangled you in the lives of others?

Mitch Teemley

Wishing pix-Title-(framed)

Note: To read The Wishing Mapfrom the beginning, click here.

The Wishing Map

Chapter Seventeen: Naimian (Continued)

Previously: After gleefully hailing Zack as their new Storysmith, the naims showed him their vast forest city. It was glorious, but also a trap. Zack and his sister needed to reconnect and complete their mission.

⇔ ⇔ ⇔

He knew the naims would never simply let him go. They adored him too much. He’d have to escape. But how? And when?

The next day, he’d been told, the Naim Games would begin. A sort of naimish Olympics, the Naim Games were held whenever something jubilous—like the arrival of a new Storysmith (Zack)—occurred. They could, and often did, go on for weeks! So Zack decided he’d snatch a wagon early in the morning, before the Games started, and coax the lead stag into taking him back to Kellansend, a trip he dared not…

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scapegoatScapegoats were the animals the ancient Hebrews laid their hands on in order to cast away their sins. It was a symbolic act, meaning, “I’m ashamed of the evil in myself and I publicly disown it.” The key to healing was humility: “The goat is innocent, I am not.”

Modern scapegoatists, however, live in denial of their sins, insisting that the goat is to blame. They punish others for what they cannot bear to acknowledge in themselves. The Nazis blamed the Jews. Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, blamed gays for his failure to overcome his own homosexual desires and live according to his Muslim beliefs.

James Fields, the 20 year old who plowed his car into the opposition crowd at a Virginia white supremacist rally, is a modern scapegoatist. Since his early teens, he has attacked his invalid mother for suggesting he break his escapist behavior patterns. He has been a devout follower of Hitler, insisting that white Americans’ failings (and his own) are the fault of others, in this case African Americans. But he’s only one example. The “white nationalist” movement is Fields’s denial writ large.

Just as it did before World War II, scapegoatist nationalism is moving from backrooms to public squares: In the Middle East, in Asia, in Europe and America.

What can we do to stop it?

We can stop blaming our own “goats.” We can be transparent about our sins, economic, moral and otherwise. We can admit to bullies and other agitated souls that we are no more naturally virtuous than they. We can live lives of repentance and renewal, giving others implicit permission to do the same. We can show that it’s not only OK to fail publicly, but that it’s the first step to moving forward…


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Bible Stories in Text: Adam and Eve

I don’t do a lot of reblogs, but this string of text messages between Adam & Eve, as reported by one of my favorite bloggers, C.J. Hartwell, simply refuses (like a certain infamous fruit) to be ignored! Only, in this case, it’s a sin not to read it! ~Mitch

Feeding on Folly

A tale as old as time, told in a new way…

adam and eve 1


adam and eve 2


adam and eve 3


adam and eve 4adam and eve 5


adam and eve 6adam and eve 7adam and eve 8

                                               Two missed calls
                                           One voicemail

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Facing Life

Overcoming curses

We were put in this world to help each other do both.

~The Wishing Map

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My Scar Stories

1993-08-02 Ben Slide Rock State Park AZ 2

The Mother of All Calamities

When I hit 13, I was old enough to go on a YMCA Caravan. Caravans were cross-country trips in which two leaders and a dozen barely-teen boys would pile into a van and head for parts un— well, semi-known. My trips to Yosemite and the World’s Fair had their snags. But the Grand Canyon trip was the Mother of All Calamities.

It was a busy summer and all the real vans were booked, so we were given an oxidized green airport limousine, with eat-your-heart-out-Buck-Rogers fins, that someone had donated to the Y right after it reached the 100 trillion mile mark.

On day one, in 113 degree heat, the brakes gave out and we sailed half a mile into the desert before nesting in a prickly pear cactus patch. On day two, after just two hours back on the road, our transmission stopped transmissing. So we spent the next two days at a tiny gas station/auto repair shop in the town of Tiny Gas Station/Auto Repair Shop, waiting for it to be rebuilt. We slept in the limo (i.e. didn’t sleep) liked kippers in a tin.

By day five, our frantic parents were demanding that the trip be cancelled, but we voted to keep going. We were going to have fun if it killed us.

It nearly did.

We made it to Oak Creek Canyon. Millennia before humans created fiberglass waterslides with names like Black Hole and Perilous Plunge, there was Slide Rock. Built by God. We walked almost a mile on jagged pebbles, but it was worth it. Sleep-deprived, with nerves ajangle, we hurled ourselves into the wondrous cataract with ruthless abandon, sliding down again and again—until our bodies betrayed us. One by one, we crawled up the bright red embankment, like an artist’s conception of evolving amphibians, and fell asleep. For five hours. In 109 degree heat.

We awoke not as frogs, but as overcooked turkeys. We were redder than the Sedona soil. We walked the crimson mile back, our sunburned soles pierced by flinty fragments. Screaming all the way.

We sat in a stream near our campground, hoping our dead red epidermis would float away in the cool blue water. It didn’t. We lay in our sleeping bags that night, moaning, and despite being manly 13 and 14 year-olds, openly crying.

The next day, the worst of us were taken to a nearby clinic to have Buick-sized blisters lanced. It was the most severe sunburn the doctor had ever seen. We smeared our bodies with prescription ointment, weeping in pain and relief. And then, somehow, we began to laugh again. We were a band of brothers, we’d survived the unsurvivable. We’d bonded big time. And that made the misery almost worth it.

We did eventually make it to the Grand Canyon, after having all of our money stolen, our brakes fail (again), our trunk catch fire while we were searching for the deer we’d hit, and…

Oh, yeah, the scar. That came 20 years later when the basal cell cancer—courtesy of five hours in the Arizona sun—was cut out of my shoulder. Now, when I see the scar in the mirror, I think, “Don’t ever do that again, you idiot.” But also…

Boy, I miss those guys.

To read my next Scar Story, click here.

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