Friday, July 2, 2010

"It's a royal pain in the ass, but I could live with it"

A deep diaconal bow to Fr. Erik, who blogs over at Orthometer, for bringing the Geico commerical below, featuring actor and former Marine drill instructor, R. Lee Ermey, to my attention. My earliest experience as an adult was Marine Corps (pronounced "core" for those who can't be bothered to learn proper pronunciation, not "corpse", as in dead body) boot camp at Marine Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. It was shock therapy for my young soul. Before that I thought summer football practice was rough! Prior to that I don't think I had never been called a douchebag by an adult, at least not to my face, though I was not unfamiliar with being denigrated in profane ways.

I posted this video on Facebook because I think it is funny and because it contains a deeper truth, at least one I perceive. In a FB comment, my friend Michael, who has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor, provided a link to this Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) tutorial by Albert Ellis, which prompted me to think a little more about why the Geico commercial struck me like it did. Cutting to the chase, Michael pulls this out of the Ellis video: "Right. But you better go back to, 'It's a royal pain in the ass, but I could live with it!'."

I try not use my blog as a space to work out my personal issues, at least not in an overt and explicit way, but I have certainly had my struggles, especially with depression and few other thorns in the flesh. I wrote about this once almost exactly two years ago- Surrendered to Self-Preservation" Lord Save Me. I made it a point to address this issue when I was feeling good, not in a morass. I alluded to it again in early 2009- Acedia, me, and Kathleen Norris.

Here is what struck me today- The method I learned from Giussani, rooted in reality, which is anchored in God made Man for me, the person and work of Christ, is the best therapy. "It's a royal pain in the ass" is an accurate perception of reality at times. How do I face, stand in front of, use these circumstances to move toward my destiny? That is the only question that ever really matters. It is only because He accompanies me that I can pose this question honestly. That things aren't always the way I want them to be is the best refutation of solipsism. The most powerful way He accompanies me is by giving me companions.

True companions challenge and provoke me. In words of the Movement that is the fruit of the charism in which, by God's grace, I share, they love me by loving my destiny, by not only helping me honestly ask the questions above, but to answer them truthfully, using what happens to me, my experience, as the touchstone. As I shared with Fred last Sunday, the line from the Green Day song, Time of Your Life, is so meaningful to me and reminds me of the primacy of my experience: "it's not a question, but an answer learned in time/it's something unpredictable, but in the end is right..." So many of my these friendships are so improbable, which improbability enables me to see that it is ultimately Him who gives me what I need, which is nothing other than Himself in various ways.

It also reminds me of the film As Good As It Gets, a movie I love, but only because I am a Christian. Otherwise, it'd be more than a little depressing. So, it is only because at times my circumstances are a royal pain in the ass that, not only can I live with it, but through such circumstances come to see what it means to be truly alive. Regardless of my circumstances, I find yellow to be a happy color.


  1. You are a Much Greater Person than I...

    Upon first coming to your Blog, I knew this, but reading your statement, that you try not to use your Blog as a means of working out your personal issues, well, that is PRECISELY why I suppose I write mine.

    I think better when I write. I can SEE what I think and I can reason with it. Sadly, I am just learning to work out the emotions part of it all. I dislike, or have disliked emotions. I have seen them as troublesome and burdensome, and quite frankly have had no use for them! Or so I thought. Now, I am just overwhelmed by them and can't figure out how to control them...Enough venting =o)

    I Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I am a New Fan, thus unfamiliar with your other posts (which I am going to read as soon as I finish my comment), but, as I stated, I thoroughly enjoyed the unguarded bluntness and "Humanity?" of your post.

    Thank You...

  2. Not greater, let alone "Much Greater"! At the risk of fomenting a mutual admiration society, to which I am not personally opposed, I just try not to be too specific about the personal work I am doing, though if you look way back, this has been something a maturing process, at least I hope it has.

    It's funny you should comment this morning because while you were commenting, I was composing a post on blogging that draws attention to your excellent work.

    I understand fully about writing to clarify things. This alone is enough for me continue, though I do hope what I write has resonance with others and maybe even helps them, encourages them, provokes them.

  3. If only you could see the smile on my face!

    Thank you!

    I feel like a teen that has just received a pat on the head, an acknowledgment, from her "Teen Idol"!!

    I will never wash my eyes again ;)

    Thank you for your encouraging words. They are much needed.

  4. I thought it was improbable to find another person in CL that actually knows about REBT (Ellis is almost as amazing as Giussani, although Albacete reminds me a lot of him not being afraid to swear and talk about sex openly, etc.) much less understands how amazing it can be to help us with our issues.

  5. You haven't found just one, but two. Michael, who brought the video to my attention, is also a member of the Movement.

  6. I never realised my off-hand concept-associative posting of the crummy-quality REBT video would spark such a long line of thought!

    REBT came to my attention due to the fact that Albert Ellis inspired the books of Paul Hauck - THE ABSOLUTE cheapest and most down-to-earth psychology books on Amazon... :D

    I think of it as a lot like "sh*t my Dad says" therapy - what we lack in the West is a real judgement on life, and often this is expressed by the default rough-diamond male as no-one else has the cojones.


  7. Well, Michael, it did cause a bit of a stir here. I think you're quite correct about lacking judgment and the need for sound judgment, even if it must take a less refined form


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