Monthly Archives: July 2018

Ramona’s Reason

She feared for her life.

He stared at her with a terrifying rage. His temples pulsated.

Her heart pounded.

She was trapped – physically, for he had cornered her in the bathroom. All 6’2”, 250 pounds of him. What would he do? How far would he go?

Would she die? Or just go to the hospital?

She was also trapped emotionally and mentally.

This man about to violently assault her – again – was the same man she’d glowingly walked down the aisle with nearly 20 years before. He had been the handsome, charming hunk who any girl would swoon over.

What a catch! And a devoted Christian too. He helped lead her to the Lord, talking to her about Jesus.

Impressive. He had it all.

She was married to someone the outside world knew only as one kind of man – and she knew as quite another. Would anyone believe her? Jekyll was so persuasive, polite and amiable that Hyde was inconceivable.

She had fallen in love with an attractive monster.

His emotions could go from 0-100 faster than a Maserati.

Hers were always on a high wire – taut, precarious, nerve-wracking, only moments from danger.

This particular evening, they were preparing to attend a business meeting and he wasn’t getting ready. He was laying on their bed. She urged him, he did not respond.

They began to argue.

Suddenly, “he lunged at me and grabbed my head in his hands, driving his thumbs into my eye sockets. I couldn’t move, couldn’t get up. I remember thinking my skull might crack. I feared my head might split open from the enormous force. The pain was excruciating.”

She survived – with bruises.

This wasn’t the first time he attacked her. But it would be the last.

The bruises weren’t just on her body – they were on her soul.

“Something broke inside me,” she wrote. “Mentally, emotionally and physically, I was totally depleted.” The future would be different. This couldn’t go on. She couldn’t go on – not like this.

Not anymore.

“On that day, with bruises still marking my face and neck, I made my first step toward healing well and living free. I chose me.”

This is Dr. Ramona Probasco.

She’s a Marriage and Family Therapist, devoted mother, loving wife and faith-filled Christian believer. This lovely, poised, well-spoken and highly intelligent woman is also a courageous survivor of violent domestic abuse.

Dr. Ramona, as she is affectionately known to clients and colleagues, is now also an author.

She has bravely chosen to tell her story in Healing Well and Living Free from an Abusive Relationship: from Victim to Survivor to Overcomer.

Ramona has made this successful transformation with the strength and grace of God, the support of a loving and loyal family – including a husband who adores and honors her – and the faithful encouragement of friends and colleagues.

The book describes Dr. Ramona’s journey in compelling prose and moving detail. It captivates from page one and never lets go.

As she writes, “This is not going to be a casual, poolside read.” She has included probing and profound questions “to ponder” at the end of each chapter, along with a Prayer of Reflection and an assortment of powerful scriptures under the heading, God’s Enduring Promises. These alone are worth the price of the book.

This is a must-read story and its timing couldn’t be better.

In the United States, one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

How women are treated by men increasingly dominates the news. Abuse and exploitation of women has made headlines and stirred controversy in virtually every profession and institution in America.

While the Catholic Church has struggled with the abuse of altar boys by priests and its coverup, Southern Baptists recently discovered their own house is not morally in order when it comes to honoring and respecting women.

In the world’s largest Protestant denomination, male chauvinism has too often ruled a corrupt and arrogant hierarchy. Paige Patterson, SBC icon and seminary president, was fired and punished for telling a female student not to report her alleged rape to authorities and saying to a wife with blackened eyes she should return to her husband.

Power corrupts and especially so when it’s wielded by powerful men over women.

“Domestic violence has been glossed over, set aside, and quite honestly ignored for years,” says former NFL player Ray McElroy in his Foreword to Dr. Ramona’s book.

Why re-visit such a painful past? Why arouse the haunted memories and raw emotions of a former life, now joyfully made new by the grace of God?

Because others need hope. They need help.

Abused women – and men – need to know there’s a way forward and a way out of this dark and dangerous valley – this lonely midnight of the soul.

Writes McElroy:

“Dr. Ramona is a picture of courage, willing to be vulnerable and transparent through her own painful past in an effort to lift others out of their current dark realities.”

God “comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others,” Paul explains to the Corinthian believers. “When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (II Corinthians 1: 4).

“The great illusion of leadership,” wrote Henry Nouwen in The Wounded Healer, “is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.”
Empathy – having been in that desert – more than sympathy, defines our reason to help and to serve.
For Dr. Ramona Probasco, a “wounded healer”, that’s more than reason enough.

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Mightier Than The Sword

It wasn’t easy to notice.

Not an apparent thing.

Many were surprised when they met him.

Charles Krauthammer, the brilliant essayist and Fox News commentator who gave up a promising career in medicine to enter the world of journalism and political ideas, was in a wheelchair most of his life.

When he was in his first year at Harvard Medical School, Krauthammer dove into a swimming pool and hit his head on the bottom.

It was a freak accident. While his head was uninjured, the force severed his spinal cord.

Krauthammer was in the hospital 14 months. The event changed his life forever. It did not diminish his determination to live life to its fullest.

“You can be hopeless and despairing,” he observed years later, “or you can live your life. And to me, there was basically no option.”

After graduating from Harvard near the top of his class and distinguishing himself in the field of psychiatry, young Charles decided to embark on an entirely different path. Appreciating the importance of politics and the difference it made, he chose to write about it. Beginning in the 1980s, Krauthammer wrote for The New Republic, The Washington Post and Time Magazine. He also appeared on the PBS news program Inside Washington.

In 1987, Krauthammer was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

Later, he joined the Fox News nightly program Special Report with Bret Baier.

He was an instant star.

Krauthammer’s powerful intelligence was so impressive, his physical disability was an unrecognized irrelevance. Always persuasive, calm, confident, dignified, thoughtful and erudite, he made viewers forget he was in a wheelchair – if they knew at all.

Though possessed of an engaging sense of humor, he could be intimidating in his serious, finely-tuned and flowing articulation.

He was never weak, never wishy-washy. He didn’t care if you agreed with him. Life was of most supreme value when one spoke one’s mind without apology or equivocation on Things That Matter (the title of an essay collection published in 2013).

He treasured words.

They were his gift – and his gift to the world.

Krauthammer used words to make cogent and reasonable arguments, to advance his view of the world and to compel his audience – both viewers and readers – to think and sometimes to think again.

His own circuitous political journey from a liberal campaign aide for Walter Mondale (“I was young once”) to principled and fair-minded conservative helped to give his views – and his manner of expressing them – a depth and insight rare for television punditry in the age of fast-talking air-heads.

Language as art has been in steady decline for years. Social media have often reduced communication to dismissive grunts as we stare at a small lighted screen and thumb-type for entertainment.

College freshmen require remedial education in basic English they should have learned in grammar school.

In both politics and religion, public speaking has become trite, shallow, often coarse, seldom inspiring. The bar is lowered, the standard dismissed and smoke and lights have taken the place of serious and passionate exposition. Speakers need props – even if it’s a water bottle. Eloquence is disappearing and oratory is suspect. Convictions and principles seem quite beside the point.

Charles Krauthammer was a standout exception to these trends.

He understood that abbreviation of speech led to abbreviation of thought.

In a time of deep divisions, he appealed to reason. In an age of banality, he exhibited excellence. In a culture of complaint, he illustrated quiet grace in the face of physical suffering and serious limitations.

His essays could be moving. His tribute to older brother Marcel and his ode to a beloved dog that died inexplicably young were beautifully touching.

He never raised his voice on television, no matter how heated the discussion. Perhaps that would have been physically difficult for him, but I like to think he wouldn’t have anyway.

You were drawn to his arguments, not his histrionics. You listened to Charles Krauthammer. You wanted to hear what this man had to say – in part because he always said it so incredibly well.

Krauthammer, a secular Jew, did not profess an orthodox faith in God.

“I don’t believe in God, but I fear him greatly,” he was fond of saying. He marveled at the awe and mystery of the universe and wondered about the implausibility of it all. He admitted to “a complicated view of deity.”

The Bible declares that the fool has said in his heart there is no God. Krauthammer was no fool and dismissed the atheist argument as “the least plausible” of all theologies – as cold and soulless.

The idea of a divine Creator who stands behind the order of the cosmos and directs it, Krauthammer said, is a mystery that “deserves reverence and awe.”

Perhaps Charles Krauthammer’s reverence for the unknown mysteries of an almighty God would serve worshippers far better than a Sunday morning Happy Hour.

God must have appreciated CK’s reverence for the word.

In the beginning God spoke creation into being. “In the beginning”, John wrote “ was the Word”(John 1:1).

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).

When Charles Krauthammer left us too soon, after a brave battle with cancer, he left a legacy of golden words fitly-spoken that remains timeless in its enduring testimony to the power of persuasive expression.

A pen mightier than any sword.

Thank you Charles. You will be missed.

No Regrets

“I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

From Charles Krauthammer’s farewell letter, announcing that he had only weeks to live, June 8, 2018

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