Secrets Shared

by Keith Branson
What would people say if they knew what you had done?
What do you care if now it can’t be undone?
Does their opinion make it better or worse?
Are you living with freedom or a curse?
What if your actions now cause further harm?
The stories you share raise questions and alarm?
Discretion and respect they warn are needed in your plan,
The secrets you have held, when shared cause ripples through the land.
There is a balance I agree to what is said and when.
The truth is best told in confidence to a trusted friend.
If you have a darkness in your past that holds you back from life,
Share it with someone, seek forgiveness from God; end internal strife.

Siri-ously!

Siri captureI got to upgrade my phone last week. I am very grateful to be able to have a phone and a family plan to share minutes and cost.  It is a privilege among so many that I don’t want to take for granted.

A big bonus for me was that I was finally going to experience this helpful assistant with the cool computer voice accent named Siri. My other GPS helpers have always been my friend in time of need for direction. The English speaking Tom Tom lady in the van always helps me get turned around and guides me on and off the “motor way” with ease. She has brought laughter on many occasions with comments like, “Bear right 100 yards”, causing my son and I to go into our redneck routine and look for the “bear” off to the right somewhere ahead.

So, I introduced myself to Siri with some new excitement.  I am an older kid with a new toy. “Siri, give me directions to The Peoples Church in Spring Hill, TN”.  She calculated and gave me the first directions for the journey.

Let me interrupt right here to tell you that I am direction-impaired. I don’t know if there is an actual medical or mental condition by that name, but where I grew up, it was described like this, “He couldn’t find his way out of a wet paper sack.”

My amazing wife has helped me with this problem for decades now. She will patiently, now almost even unconsciously, tell me to turn at the appropriate time, or warn me of an upcoming exit or of a missed street and the need to turn around.  She was GPS (Good Partner Service) long before satellites tracked me along my journeys. However she is not always with me and my surrogate helpers have been my GPS ladies.

So, you see how Siri was my anticipated support when Rona wasn’t with me. She was glad for me (and looking forward to a break when we ride together I think).

Luckily, I had my experienced navigator/co-pilot in the van with me on this maiden voyage with Siri. She had printed directions and was carefully eyeing the road signs to confirm Siri’s directions were accurate.  They weren’t.  The good news is we saw new back roads in Tennessee. More good news is that Rona helped me know when her commands were not only questionable, but terribly wrong. After a few miles, I sadly turned Siri off when we realized she was trying to take me to a completely different city.

Ok, strike one on that Siri experience.  I defended her by saying it was probably an Apple Maps dysfunction that led her astray.

Yesterday, I am driving and wanted to safely call my friend Jeremy.  I asked Siri, “Will you call Jeremy?” She replies, “I don’t have your call history.”  Humm.  I must have asked the question wrong.  So, I tried again, “Can you find Jeremy on my contact list?”  Siri, (I think she was smirking  but I am not sure, I was keeping my eyes on the road) says, “I never really thought about that.” What?  Siri-ously! Strike two.

My final try came late yesterday afternoon. I was in east Nashville, glowing inside from a great Chicago hot dog and also not sure of the best route to get back on the “motorway”. I told Siri, ( I didn’t ask her this time) “Give me directions home.” Siri says, “I don’t have your home address.  Would you like to add it now?” Ok, now we are communicating.  My phone contacts opens up and I enter my home address.  Boom! Siri is on it.  Perfect coordinates through the city street maze and I have my hoped for travel assist help.

I don’t know how Siri and I will do together in the future, but I do know I still prefer my wife beside me.

SAFE CYCLE™

TOGETHER utilizes the safe cycle to help with conflict management.  We help you Stabilize the situation.  Once calming and safety is in place, the people in conflict can be helped to reach an Agreement.  A decision on how to move Forward from where they were leads to peace and even Enjoyment again.

 

Safe Cycle verses the unsafe cycle:

SAFE CYCLE™
CONFLICT → Stabilize →Agreement → Forward → Enjoy

 

UNSAFE CYCLE
CONFLICT → Chaos →Disagreement →Stuck → Misery

 

Four phases from conflict to peace

 

I am the father of five, maybe six children.

14274278_s - heart in piecesI am not sure about the sixth because the miscarriage, if that is what it was, happened suddenly within the first eight weeks of my wife “sensing” she was pregnant but no pregnancy test was taken beforehand to confirm or deny. She had given birth to two children prior to this time and the way she felt, the way things tasted and smelled told her that she was with child. I take her word on it, I am guy and I can’t really know these things first hand.

The three children I talk about (a lot) are the ones I saw born. I have held them, laughed with them, cried with them and everything else that comes with parenting.

Ok, let’s see where we are now. 3 + (?) = 3 for sure. What about the other two, you wonder? I did introduce myself as a father of five.

Well, those two are the ones I don’t talk about. I haven’t spoken of them to more than a handful of people ever. I don’t think about them very often either. But sometimes I do and it makes me sad. Just mentioning them now stirs my inside, churning me with emotions that I usually can press down, push over, block, or ignore. You know probably what I am talking about; when you have a memory that is not pleasant and you try to remove it from your mind but it is still there in the background.

Why am I dragging this out? What’s the deal with the other two children? Did they make bad choices or embarrass me in some way? No, they never had a chance to do anything right or wrong. They were taken from the womb before they were old enough to go it on their own. I still am dragging my feet here, funny, well not really funny like “ha ha”. Strange may be a better word, or difficult to just say the “A” word.

They were aborted.

There I said it.

Am I relieved to get that off my chest? No, I didn’t think so at first. As I have let it settle into my mind that I am free of the long-term storage fees, I do feel relief.

Do I feel any better about it now that more than a few people know that has happened in my life? I can only respond with “maybe”. My feelings on how it is received and acted on will be the determining factor on that answer.

Will I regret sharing this information? I hope not, only if it brings additional harm and not healing.

If I get defensive and seek to justify what happened, I start to talk about those early years of my life in rebellion; a “prodigal” from my Christian upbringing.

When I get real, I say both abortions were terrible things to have happened.

But when I own it I admit the abortions were wrong and tragic events that I caused.

Yes, it took two people to get pregnant. However in both cases, I was the pursuing party, seeking my own selfish pleasure and without self-control to with-strain my desires and respect the women. Did they agree to have consensual sex with me? Yes.

Don’t miss my point, especially my pointed finger to myself and other men who may read this. I could have prevented the death of my two children by not helping to create them. I put two women in a situation that they had to make a choice that I wish, so wish, they never had to make. One I knew about and let it happen. The other I was told after it was done.

There are complications in my sharing of this long-held, “Classified” information.

First, the women that chose to abort the pregnancies I helped cause don’t know I am sharing this and have not given me permission. “Oh, well tell it anyway, it’s your story” is one thought. However, I continue to remind myself that it is not just my story and I must respect their privacy to process through the post-abortion life in their own way. They haven’t asked me how I am doing, how I feel about any of it; as a matter of fact, I don’t have contact information on either to even approach them. I wish I could share more of the details; it would probably be helpful to others. But as it is now, I won’t.

Second, by bringing this up, and out, I cause a lot of attention to my life and my past. That is not comfortable, especially since I am like everyone else I have ever really known; I have made mistakes in choices and behavior. To have people sorting through the facts of my stories, like a browser at the yard sale is disconcerting at best. In most areas of my life, past and present, I am an open book. In this area I have fiercely guarded the lid on the box from even cracking open a little.

Third, revealing myself to others has caused to me examine the evidence carefully before presenting it. As I thought back over the emotions and mental struggles I had after the abortions, I recounted other consequences that were a result of  loss and pain that I needed to acknowledge. There were also issues that had occurred in my life before the “wild” days that contributed to my bad decisions and actions. It all has been a lot to process internally and sort out.  It has been worth it.

Privacy for the other people is showing respect that I didn’t show before. Letting people in on my secret is risky but also, somehow freeing. To let a burden be shared with others can make it lighter. There is a level of healing by letting it out and there is a sense of purpose from it — if the telling helps someone else that is burdened or if it prevents it from occurring in someone else’s life. Again, I say it is all worth it.

I am committed to helping other men get relief from their past.  The reality is that if a baby you helped conceive was aborted, that was your child too. Your can’t raise him or her now, however you can let the life count for something.

Crisis marriage workshop for an engaged couple?

I talked with the bride-to-be about her plans to marry. Even though the wedding day is several months away, she was grateful to be able to attend a weekend intensive workshop designed to help any marriage, most especially marriages in extreme crisis.

Her parents, attended the workshop two years earlier and the destroyed relationship was rebuilt, their marriage given a new life, the family restored to health, and hope was born anew for everyone involved. Why was this oldest daughter going through the experience with her fiance when they had not even said the vows to one another yet? It was her parents’ wish. Actually it was their requirement of her and all her siblings.

As a condition of supporting the wedding the parents are requiring each of their children to attend the workshop before they are married to receive the tools, resources and perspective they need to have a deep level of commitment, love and intimacy in their marriage.

This story is beautiful in so many ways. One is the fact that this young girl and her future mate are willing to prepare for the future in this way. It is so encouraging to all of us that have weathered marital challenges, saying afterwards that we wished we had known preventive methods earlier in our relationship.

Conflict prevention is a part of my work with individuals, couples and groups. This is a great example of doing that in a marriage commitment. She told me that she will gladly go to the training she needs for marriage to prevent her future family from going through what she and her siblings endured with her parent’s struggles.

When I asked her for an email to send the enrollment information, she laughed and told me that she and her fiance had a new email address. “A” new email? Don’t you have individual ones? Not anymore. We decided to begin our oneness preparation by sharing one address together. Then she gave me the email address. It is her and his first name, their date of marriage @(blank.com).

When I shared this story in a mixed group, the ladies in unison, said, “Awe, how sweet!” The guys just shrugged their shoulders. I couldn’t containment my excitement about this whole plan with the finale about the joint email.

Guys, look this is brilliant! Everyday, this groom will be seeing his bride’s name and their wedding date. Don’t you see the conflict management built into this incredible idea? He will remember his wife’s name, his wedding date and will be able to do the math quickly to say how many years he has been married upon request for the rest of his life!

I am a quick learner. Here is my new one: keithrona12586@gmail.com. Wife’s name? Rona. Check! Anniversary Date? January 25, 1986. Check! Years married? ah….26.  Check!