The guy across from me wears headdress and his beard decorated, trimmed, in a way that is either Moslem or Deep South Central L.A. He talks of the place he lived before coming to Hope Again on Sunset Boulevard. At his old place "the brothers were in The Word all day, but they also smoked, smoked and smoked." I'm wondering if he's talking about tobacco or weed, but don't ask.
To his left a guy tells his tale of forgiveness, how after getting out of prison, in the parole office, he met the guy who really did the crime for which he'd just done time. "And I forgave him," he said, "I said, it's cool, bro."
We all talk I listen more than talk and take a lot of notes, jot things down.
The former Moslem guy says, "That's just how people are."
That's just how people are, I write in my notes in curly letters. Sums it up.
The guy who leads Anger Management at Hope Again is Pastor Ron, I've known now for more than five years. He's my age, grew up in L.A. near where I lived, but he grew up in a totally different L.A. than me. His parents were Christian preachers as well. Ron just gets it, he's embued in it, he's so ... calm.
He says, "You have to forgive yourself first," and I write down, "Let go. Stop beating myself up."
And I start daydreaming about the lies people have said about me to try to discredit me, that I'm "not a real journalist." Oh, and my favorite, which apparently comes from a couple board members of groups that allegedly advocate for victims, which is really mysterious: "Kay Ebeling is conducting a behind the scenes smear campaign to harm survivors," or words to that effect.
That stings. It rankles worse than if Mahony said it.
I jot down in my Anger Management notes,
"Truth = Freedom"
In big letters, then beneath it:
"They can lie about me all they want. I know I'm telling the truth, no matter what happens here temporarily as a result."
Just before the session started, there was a Bible on the table, and I opened it to Proverbs randomly, as it's always good to read a proverb when you have a few minutes of extra times.
The one I turned to was Proverts 24:24 which in the Amplified translation reads:
24 He who says to the wicked, You are righteous and innocent- peoples will curse him, nations will defy and abhor him.
25 But to those [upright judges] who rebuke the wicked, it will go well with them and they will find delight, and a good blessing will be upon them.
See, I think I'm seeing another layer of wickedness here, even lower and deeper than the pedophiles, and the bishops who enabled them. Most other people don't see it yet, and I'm being condemned for saying what I'm saying.
Ironically the persons condemning me most for saying it are the ones from whom who I see evidence of great wrongdoing. So I can't shut up about it, just have to keep reporting it as it comes up, as it is appropriate to report. And yes, there are a whole bunch of people who insist on continuing to glorify the wicked.
Here is Proverbs 24:24 from The Message translation:
"24-25 Whoever whitewashes the wicked
gets a black mark in the history books,
But whoever exposes the wicked
will be thanked and rewarded."
AH this translation works even better, New Living Translation:
"24 A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations. 25 But it will go well for those who convict the guilty; rich blessings will be showered on them."
It's sundown. My sabbath starts now.