Saturday, July 22, 2017

Anorexia and Libby--Second Stanza

About a month or so ago I posted a blog that my Granddaughter Libby had written about the struggle with anorexia. Her brave words must have struck a chord because over 1900 people have read her words she let me post on my blog. Libby has written a second piece about that struggle. I thought you might want to read this second stanza of her journey with ed (eating disorder) and what she has learned. She is doing well--studying at South Carolina Upstate, continues to run on the cross-country team and is making good grades. She works this summer as a lifeguard at a Spartanburg (SC) County Club. She has just been admitted to Nursing School. We are mighty proud of her. Run, Libby run! --rl

Recovery is such a simple word, yet it is the furthest thing from simple. You don't just choose recovery, you have to keep choosing it over and over and over again. We all wish recovery was just as easy as walking into your therapy session and coming out cured; but we all know that's just not a thing. At all. Ever. First off, realizing that you are even worth recovery is an obstacle in itself. "I'm fine. Nothing is wrong. I'm not hungry. I'm not tired. I don't need help. I have this under control." Those are some of the biggest lies I ever told myself. ED constantly told me that I was okay, and that if I stepped into the world of recovery then that would mean I'm of course the last thing I wanted to do was step into that world. I couldn't let go of ED; that was just unheard of in my world. I thought I was nothing without him. Every time someone asked me if I was okay all I wanted to do was talk about it; scream, yell, shout about it... but all I ever did was say "I'm fine."

​I knew I needed help. The voices inside my head were literally killing me. I felt paralyzed, and I felt nothing; the only thing that would put a smile on my face was if my stomach was growling and if I was shaking from hunger. Depressing, I know; but that was the truth. I had friends and family constantly telling me that I needed help and that if I got it, then I would be free. But I just could not do it, until I got to my breaking point. I would go to my annual doctor's appointments and they would name everything that will happen to me if I did not gain weight, one of those things included death. I wanted to be free from this more than anything, I truly did.

One day, the voices along with the anxiety attacks got so bad that I screamed I needed help, and shortly after, my mom got me help right away. I went to my first therapy session, and I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it was. I remember her blindfolding me while she weighed me, and then measured everything on my body. I was confused, because I did not think I was even that skinny. I also remember asking her a bunch of questions like, "wow, so you're saying if I eat pancakes, I still won't become fat?!" You guys are probably laughing at that question as you're reading this, but that was a legitimate concern for me. I loved pancakes dude, but I wasn't allowed to ever eat them because of ED. After leaving the session, I felt a little better. I had a professional dietician telling me that I will not become fat if I ate pancakes...I mean that's like the greatest news ever. After leaving that session, I thought I would go home that week and be able to eat pancakes, or really just eat whatever I wanted...but ED had other plans for me.

This is probably when I realized most that I had a problem. I did not realize I was addicted to this behavior, until I tried to stop. I wanted the pancakes, or the cookie, or the flipping salty chip for crying out loud, but ED wouldn't let me, and of course I listened. I thought to myself, "dang Libby you are really stuck." I wanted to recover more than anything in the entire world, but I couldn't. The therapy sessions continued, but I just kept getting worse. Each week I was supposed to challenge myself and eat a "scary" food...but I would never do it. NO way. I thought that I could still hold onto parts of my eating disorder while working to be recovered, but that's just a bunch of booty; because that little part will always be there and when something slips up, that little part willblow up. I would have eating disorder specialists look at me in the eye and say "Libby you will die if you keep this up much longer." You'd think that would make me wake up and change everything right? Well, nope. I was involved in more than one therapy sessions a week. One of the sessions was with a group. I only went one time, and I cancelled every other time we were supposed to meet. I came up with some lame excuse in my head and convinced myself I couldn't go to it...when in reality I could have totally gone, I was just too scared.

Months went on, and as I have previously explained in my story on the home page, I did get better; so
I won't go into the details again. Recovery is the best thing that has ever happened to me, because without it, I obviously would not even be writing this right now. Recovery to me is never-ending. Ya I don't spend most of my time in therapy sessions or doctors appointments anymore, but that doesn't mean I don't still struggle. That doesn't mean "poof! you're cured." It has gotten easier of course, and  have learned through recovery how to deal with the thoughts. This blog is a part of my recovery journey. It's very easy to "miss my eating disorder," but when I write about it and share it with the world, it reminds me that I have come such a long way, and that going back to that life that almost killed me, would probably kill me this time... and none of us want that am I right?

​That doesn't go to say that relapsing isn't okay, because it is totally and completely okay, and normal.I  relapse to this very day; but I don't ever give up on the fight. There is no cure for an eating disorder; it will never be gone forever. But you can chose to take those small steps forward rather than backwards; there will be an easier day, a true meaningful smile across your face, and most day there will be a mirror that does not matter to you anymore. ​If you have this illness you will probably carry it for the rest of your life; so it's your decision to let it kill you, or fight like hell and make a good story out of it. No food will ever hurt you the way an eating disorder will.

You are allowed to scream, and cry, and struggle, but whatever you do, do not ever give up. There is always light at the end of that dark tunnel.

​​If we "fail" at anorexia, we win ​at life. Remember that. We don't choose anorexia, but we sure as hell can choose recovery, so please do it. Whatever it is you may be struggling with...depression, anxiety, bulimia, anorexia, etc...just tell it to screw itself because it is not welcomed here. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. I am living proof of saying that recovery was more than worth it. ​And by the way, choosing to step into the world of recovery does not mean you're weak, it means you are one of the brave souls that admitted they needed help.

​Thanks for reading,

​P.S.- I can now eat pancakes without having a total freak there's another reason why recovery is worth it.

--Roger Lovette /

Thursday, July 20, 2017

When You Lose a Son

A friend of mine just lost his high school grandson from suicide. He had been troubled for a long time but nobody knew that this would happen. Someone said of another's suicide: "he died of sadness." I have said that the depression which brings on suicide is like cancer--it gets hold of someone and they see no way out. But for the young to do this just as life is starting out seems doubly sad.

I wrote my friend today and said I want to recommend a sermon Bill Coffin once preached at Riverside after his son died in an auto accident. The sermon is splendid and has helped a great many people.

Also I recommended two books which I know a lot of people have found helpful. The first is by Nicholas Wolterstorff, who taught (or teaches) at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The book is named, Lament for a Son and tells the sad story of Nicholas' 25 year old son, Eric who died in a mountain-climbing accident. Henri Nouwen once wrote of this book: "Wolsterstorff helps open the flood-gates for those who cannot articulate their pain...This little book is a true gift to those who grieve..."

The second book is Richard Lischer's, Stations of the Heart. He has taught for over thirty years at Duke Divinity School. This book is about his son, Adam's bout with cancer. Here we find the story of one last summer and the young man who lived it as honestly and faithfully as possible. This is an unforgettable book about life and death and the terrible blessing of saying good-bye.

Wolsterstorff's Benediction at his son's funeral is worth pondering.

"When we were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, we were baptized into his death and buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. Those who believe in him, though they die, yet shall they live."

His Benediction closed with these words:

"Into your tender hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your beloved servant, Eric. Acknowledge, we pray you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your abiding mercy, into the rest of your everlasting peace, into the glorious company of those who dwell in your light. And may your kingdom of peace come quickly."

Enough said.

--Roger Lovette /

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Donald Trump Stole One Preacher's Church

photo by Marie Longhin / flickr

Brett Younger is a talented preacher-writer. He writes this terrific (that is if you are not right wing) article on how the Pressident hijacked his home church in Mississippi. Read his words. They are great. Many of us could say the same thing about where we grew up and the place where we first found our hearts "strangely warmed." Funny I don't remember any American flags lining the walks outside my church in the fifties. We did not drag politics into the Sanctuary even though later I knew we were silent on some issues (like race and injustice). Yet despite it all one day I read Paul's words written to that troubled, troubled church at Corinth--he reminded them that "we are not peddlers of God's word like so many..." (II For. 2.17), He did not stop there. Paul also reminded that fledgling congregation that "we have this treasure in clay jars so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us." (II Cor. 4.7)

The late great Carlyle Marney used to say: "Boys, (this was before we opened the door to women reverends--which is a good thing) if they ever learn Jesus was a Jew we're going to be in bad trouble." And I would add: "If many churches realize that Jesus and his disciples were not Republicans we too, are going to be in a mess of trouble."

I miss Bill Coffin. I wonder what he would say about all those fat Evangelical preachers surrounding Donald Trump the other day and praying for this serial adulterer, this serial liar and this thin-skinned man that has yet to lead this country. Nary a negative word would they say about him. Years before Trump became our King,  Coffin wrote: "It behooves us North American Christians to realize what the German churches learned too late some forty years ago: it is not enough to resist with confession, we must confess with resistance."

photo by ART4TheGloryOfGod / flickr

--Roger Lovette /

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

HEALTH CARE--Listen to the Stories

photo by Miguel Discort / flickr

When I read this letter I wanted to share it with you. If we listen to the people...if we listen to their stories...we will know that this Bill to "replace" the Affordable Health Care Bill will be a disaster for millions of people. 

To date--the bill has not passed...we're not talking about politics or Democrats or Republicans--we are talking about human beings. The manner in which we deal with this problem will reflect the kind of people we truly are. 

"Dear Roger,
I am one of 317,000 South Carolinians who has gained health care coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act.  Before Obamacare, I had not been able to see a doctor for over 20 years. 
When I finally had insurance and could see a doctor, I was diagnosed with cancer.  Without the Affordable Care Act, I would have died.  After a grueling treatment regimen, I am scheduled for surgery next week.  If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, my life will once again be in danger.
I need your help.  And I am far from alone.  Senate Republicans have been working behind closed doors on a secret plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and today they're revealing their version of Trumpcare.  As it turns out, it is a whole lot like the House version of Trumpcare, which would have taken health insurance away from more than 400,000 South Carolinians
Lives are literally at stake, including my own.  Let's keep up the fight together.
 Sam Martin
Former SCDP State Executive Committeeman, Newberry County"

Nicholas Kristof, great columnist for the New York Times has written two great articles about this attempt to dismantle the Affordable Health Care Act. The first relates too the Drug War and what will happen if this new Health Care Bill is passed. 

The second article by Kristof listens to the stories about Health Care as it relates to women and Planned Parenthood. And so should we. Use your influence to express how you feel about this subject.   

--Roger Lovette /

Friday, June 30, 2017

A July 4th For Us All

photo by Lin Cheong / flickr

He pointed to a book on his coffee table and said, “Have you read this? The Art of the Deal."  “No,” I said maybe a little too edgy. “You need to read it—it’s great.” “One of the reasons that I won’t read it is that he didn’t write it.” “But it is his book—his name’s on it.” And in his den, me sitting and him standing, there was a great divide. 

Sound familiar? Of course it does. We are anything but a United States. The divisions are many. Democrats and Republicans. Trump-ites and Trump-haters. Rich and poor. Educated and the uneducated. Those with good jobs and those on welfare. Food stamps and investments. Christians and all those other types. Immigrants and those born here. White and well, multi-colored. North and South. Country and City. Whew—let’s stop there. But the beat goes on.

On this weekend when we remember 1776 and celebrate the birthday of our country—we need to ponder who we really are as a people.  Remember the Preamble to the document that took our chains off. 

“We the people of the United States, in Order to form a mored perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Even then, especially then, the “we-ness” was a dream. There were the newcomers and native Americans . The gentrified landowners and the sharecroppers. Slaves and Free. Religious and those considered pagans. Non-conformists and the established church folk. Those who wanted a King and those that did not. That list, even from the beginning was endless. 

The “We-ness” then and now is a dream. Early on many thought that we-ness meant their kind. Even many of the framers of the Constitution owned slaves. All were white and men and from the Upper crust. They thought that only landowners should vote—if they were men. 

But the “we-ness”stuck. And from then until now we have struggled to “form a more perfect union.” We have made enormous progress. People around the world really do see us as the shining city on a hill. Many see us as the last best hope for the world. And in many ways they are right. Many of us of all colors and stripes really feel a lump in our throats and the National Anthem is played or we sing: “My country ’tis of thee…” 

And yet sitting in that chair across from my good friend who wanted me to read his book—in 
2017 there is a great divide. Not only in his den—but across this land. And our task is to polish that old dream of “we” until it becomes more of a reality than it is today. 

Nothing stays won. Justice, liberty, promoting the general welfare and insuring domestic Tranquility is the task of all of us that love this country. Mr. Trump said yes to the words written down on the oath he took in January.  That pledge included all of us. But we cannot dump all our divisions on this one man. He is our leader and bears great responsibility. But—to blame him for much of the wrongness out there would be irresponsible.

We are all accountable to make “we-ness” happen in our time. We reach out to those on the
photo by Shinya Suzuki / flickr
other side of the divide. We remember they are citizens too. We treat them with respect always. We call their hands when they do wrong. But we cannot forget the dream: “We, the people.”

No immigrant who came here for a better life should live in fear or be turned away. No Muslim should be considered a threat simply because they walk our streets and yearn for a better life. No poor child should go hungry at school. No parent should worry if their sick child can afford health care. No family should spend sleepless nights worrying that some parent with dementia can find a decent place for care.

But no citizen should sneer at those who stand by The Art of the Deal. Those who drive cars with a “Don’t blame me” sign on their bumpers have a right to  believe what they choose. Those church folk have the liberty to go to whatever church they wish or stay at home if they choose. They have a right to support the man in the White House. They can home school or send their child to a public school. Liberty reaches out in all directions. A “thank you for your service” is not near enough for those who give themselves to keep us free. This week-end reminds me of a story.

A Pastor visited a home bound member. As they talked she asked how things were they going down at the  church. The next Sunday the Pastor preached a strange sermon. He entitled his words: “We Are They.” And he was right. Across the great divide it may seem like the they’s  are far different from us. Not so. We are they. “We, the people…”.Whatever our brand or our belief—they really are we. It is high time we re-dream the dream. We keep stretching its meaning. Maybe, just maybe one day it really will take us all in.

photo by Dylan's World / flickr

"I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together: black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight; men, women, folks with disabilities, all under the same proud flag to this big, bold country that we love. That's what I see. That's the America I know."
                                                                               --Barack Obama

--Roger Lovette /



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Father's Day--Second Stanza

The other day at an Art Show I was dumbstruck. This Dad stood there holding his baby child. Boy or girl--who knows? Yet the delight on his face kept me going all day long. I hope that through the years he can keep that delight front and center. It won't be easy. Life intrudes in many ways. Marriage. Health. Money. Job. A crazy mixed-up world.

Many Daddies fail the test. They get lost in the shuffle of too many things. Sometimes in the evening I watch them at a restaurant. A Daddy with one or two  children. There is no wedding band on his hand. Probably divorced. Obviously this is Dad's Night Out. The kids are squirmy sometimes. He shakes his head.  Sometimes they drop some food on the floor and make a mess. The Father scowls. They sit there munching on whatever they order. He keeps looking at his watch. He is eyes follow the waitress. He could be a million miles away.

A preacher-friend of mine tells there story of his nine-year old daughter. He got home late from work. As he opened the door his little girl ran and grabbed him by the legs saying: "Daddy...Daddy!" He held her tight on the couch and told her that the next night he had to go speak to a group at the church on, of all things: "What A Good Ought to Be" Her face fell. So he caught himself and told her he needed help on what he should say about a good father. "Let's make a list--you can  help." She took a pencil and paper and began to write. It took her quite a while. She handed the list to him--and this is what he read:
1. Catch a fish.
2. Build a fire.
3. Fly a kite.
4. Catch a butterfly.
5. Plant a flower.
6. Get a kitty-cat out of the mud. 

As the Daddy studied the list he realized there was nothing on the list that required money. Everything she put down required a Daddy. 

Any of us Father-types with years on us look back with some regret. Sometimes we give so much of ourselves  at work or wherever that there is little left of us when we get home. I am amazed at the forgiving power of many of our children. Mine especially. 

Back to the Papa in the picture. Dear God, as his tiny one grows  up--may his little one always feel the gift of delight from his Daddy. It isn't easy in this world of too-much-of-everything to give ourselves away--but may that little baby know deep in his/her heart that there was a Father that always made her/him feel glad that she or he was there. Amen. 

Such love carries any of us to the finish line with the greatest gift of them all: delight. 

--Roger Lovette /

A Father's Day Memory

(That's my tree to the left of the house.)

This Father’s Day memory takes me back to a small village in Georgia. Cotton-mill town. Eighty one years ago—could it really have been that long? Yes, eighth-one years ago I came howling into the world one frosty October morning. Born at home in a tiny four-room house across from the mill. They had been married for years hoping maybe a baby might come. Never did. And then, surprise of surprises my Mother was pregnant. 

Finally the baby came. For them, it was almost a holy moment—because they had given up all hope. And yet there in the bed cradled in her arms was the baby. It was a time when proud Papas passed out cigars to friends and strangers. “Got a boy,” he said. “Got a boy.” Outside that little house he marked the occasion by planting a little tree. Just a tiny sprig—yet kneeling in his proudness he hoped the little branch would one day become a tree. 

He nursed that seedling as if it was his child. He would wander out in the morning before work, kneel down and look. On the hot parched Georgia days he would take a bucket filled with water and baptize the tiny green sprig. 

Miraculously the small thing grew and grew. It was an unlikely spot—beside our house, next to a store—across from the mill. Yet—somehow it flourished. I went back there last year and drove down the street where the mill houses are now crumbling. The mill had burned and only a shell remains. The little house is still there miraculously. Someone painted it green. And to the left side of the little porch stands a tree. It must be say, fifteen or twenty feet tall. It has survived hard winters, tornadoes and hot-hot summers. Mistletoe has attacked its branches—yet it still lives. It has endured the years when so much around the tree has disappeared. 

My Father and I had a love-hate relationship. Near-deaf he could not hear me—and I got tired of yelling. We never got along too much. And yet this man who never really had a vacation—never owned a car—only worked and worked and worked. He brought his pitiable pay-check home week after week. He paid our bills and kept the lights on. The little boat called our family had rocky days and yet he stayed. He did what he could. 

For a long time his anger and frustrations made me furious. I would pull away and turn my back. I don’t ever remember if I ever really celebrated his birthday or a Father’s Day. When he died I had a hard grief. It lasted for a long time. I kept thinking: I never really knew him. 

Several years ago a road-show came to South Carolina. It was a play about mill people. It talked about the tiny pleasures they found after long days in the mill. They laughed and danced and loved their hard lives. And as I sat there watching that story unfold—I saw my parents as I had never seen them before. Young, in love, full of promise and dreams. 

Through the years the marriage unraveled and yet they stayed and raised their boys and did what they could. And sitting in that darkened theatre watching the mill story being told—I saw a side of them I had never seen. And I remember wiping away the tears.

Father’s Day is a hard time for many of us. Kids are abandoned or abused or just ignored. There are too-may dead-beat Dads. But despite my own winding father-journey this day I tip my hat and offer a thanks. Once upon a time my Father, on the week of my birth, knelt down and planted a tree—and it stands to this day. 

Maybe there is a parable here for many of us. He did what he could. He loved in his own way. And every Father’s Day I remember a tree and a time when somebody celebrated my birth was laughter and great joy. Maybe there is no greater gift than that.

--Roger Lovette /