Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #33: "Bad, Sad, or Mad?"

by allenbclark@aol.com    www.combatfaith.com


     For thirty months (January 1979-June 1981) it was my privilege to be a political appointee in the administration of William P. Clements, Jr., the first Texas Republican governor since Reconstruction after the Civil War. When he became a candidate in the spring 1978 primary, I quickly signed up to help him because I had met him by sitting next to him at a head table when he addressed an audience in his position as Deputy Secretary of Defense. His business success and leadership experience at the Pentagon convinced me he would be an outstanding governor of Texas and that he was!
     As it evolved I was his first selection to help staff his office after he won a hard-fought uphill battle against a heavily-favored Democrat. I was hired on the staff of the outgoing Democrat Governor Dolph Briscoe in early December 1978 to assist in laying the groundwork for Clements' assumption of office in January 1979. He appointed me his special assistant for administration and when one entered the governor's office suite, if one turned right instead of left to his office, one entered my office. One of the unexpected responsibilities of my new position was to help screen the intermittent "characters" that were drawn as magnets to the governor's office. They were a diverse crowd of "bag ladies," recently released patients from state mental hospitals, paranoids who were being invaded by messages from outer space, CIA mind control victims, individuals seeking all sorts of redress of grievances at all levels of government, and even a representative of a "cultic" religion who said his leader could be the returned Messiah. It was my desire to derive some sort of perspective on this interruption of all the many other duties consuming my time.
     Eventually I requested a psychiatrist from the state's Mental Health Department to visit with me to impart some wisdom and equity to the approach I should follow to respond to these people from circles I was encountering for the first time in my life. He differentiated "challenged/troublesome" persons in three ways, "bad, sad, or mad." It was a simple manner of triage for those who presented themselves to our receptionist
and the Department of Public Safety security person in the Governor's Reception Room. The definition has always stuck with me and I tend to catalogue some people in one of those categories. Since I have had my own healing from Post Traumatic Stress after losing my legs in Vietnam, I have dedicated myself to helping combat veterans and active military heal also. Many troubled combat vets, who will admit issues from wartime, are in the "sad" mode, grieving from the emotional or spiritual wounds of horrific wartime experiences. Many suffer sadness from moral injury in the war from killing others, especially women and children in the fog of war, or when they did or did not do something which caused injury to others.
      Clint Eastwood starred in a 1966  movie, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." That title was apropos for my eleven months in Vietnam beginning in 1966. We recognize the "bad," serious criminals amongst us. Among the "bad" are also those "uglies" who hurt others through perpetrating or not performing actions that harm others emotionally, bodily, or financially through wrongful emotional or ethical actions. My manifestly  "good" Lord Jesus healed my "sads", and faith in Him can go a long way to healing everyone's "sads," and maybe also many of the "bads" that relate to wrongful and sinful behavior, and, who knows, maybe even some of the "mads," although those admittedly are best left to medical professionals.
     By faith in Jesus it is my definite belief that all who are "bad, sad, or mad," can perhaps obtain some relief, if not healing, through faith in Jesus with the transformational changes that only come through His teachings in our Bible. I tried it and liked it! It just may work for all of us and many we know.

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