By Charlie Johnston
Now that my sister is making her presence felt here, a couple of things I will have to explain. First, my father and I (and my son, for that matter) bear the same name. When I was little, I was called “Larry,” my middle name to avoid confusion with my Dad. Sometime in first grade, it occurred to me that I knew and read of men named Charlie, but all the Larry’s I read of in stories were little kids. I knew of one man named Larry, but he was a complete goof and acted like a kid. So early on in second grade, I asked to make an announcement. I told everyone that henceforth I would only answer to the name of “Charlie.” They could call me Larry if they wanted, but I would not answer to it. And so I was Charlie.
It is rather pleasing that I,
unlike many, have gotten full use out of my names. I did notice, over time how peculiarly situational we can be. Among family, if someone calls out “Charlie,” I rarely notice or look up. Anywhere else, someone can scream “Larry” as loud as they want, but I don’t notice. That got a bit blurred when some of my family who lived for a time up north took to calling me Charlie in non-family situations. So now I usually respond to Charlie, but only when with family to Larry. And that is not a conscious thing…the mind just adapts to the situation. Weird.
As for my sister’s tale of how she got introduced to my little peculiarities, I am sometimes told something specific about a particular person or given a specific message to give them. Frankly, this is usually the most dramatic direct evidence of something peculiar going on and has often occasioned tears or utter astonishment. But it is also something I pretty much keep silent about unless the person involved tells of it. I figure it is private to them. In this case, I was made aware that my nephew had said something that would have been terrifying if not properly understood. I did understand it…and I could not bear the thought of Kim agonizing over it. At the time, I always tried to be low-key about such things, to slip it by unnoticed if I could. So I just started off telling her that when he said what he did, it did not mean what it sounded like – and explained what it did mean. I said it as if we had discussed it before. At first, she was so relieved she just talked about it. Then a moment of silence and…”HEY…how did you know what he said? I haven’t told anybody. HEY!” (Kim can be quite impressive when she gets excited). So it occasioned a bit of a talk between us.
Amusingly, a few years later, after many discussions and experiences, in a casual phone conversation I told her, “I gotta tell you about the creepiest thing that happened to me yesterday…” Before I could continue, she started screaming in absolute panic, “Lord, NO! Don’t say anything!” Baffled, I calmed her and asked what she was so panicked about. “I don’t want to hear ANYTHING that creeps YOU out,” she said. I laughed and said that no, I just meant normal creepy…not the special creepy I sometimes have to deal with. She was dubious, but let me tell her my little story.
It does make for some interesting situations. When my Dad was being hospitalized for heart surgery, not everyone knew my situation, but all knew I had a weird way of knowing certain things. All of the family was coming in for his surgery. I talked to Kim and decided it was scary enough…and I told Dad I would be there right after it was over. We would visit then. Kim and I both figured it would be reassuring if I was not coming before, but waiting until after…and it was.
Back in the summer of 2011 an American aid worker named Warren Weinstein was kidnapped in Pakistan by Al Quaeda. He remains in captivity. I doubt securing the release of a kidnapped American Jew by Islamic terrorists is a priority for the American administration. They are far too busy trying to clear the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons, wage verbal and diplomatic war on Israel, and empower Jihad to worry much about Americans held captive by the people they seem to consider allies. But as it turns out, Mr. Weinstein’s daughter is a close friend of the daughter of one of our regular readers.
If I were in charge of the secular authority, my prayers for such victims would be accompanied by specific actions. There would be no proportionality involved in responding to such provocations against American citizens. The terrorists would be give 24 hours to return the victim unharmed or we would rain deadly force upon them until they were completely wiped out. Terrorists would not be allowed to hide unmolested among civilian populations. Civilians would be informed we meant them no harm, but if terrorists were hiding by a hospital, they either better get the terrorists away from there or evacuate the hospital, because we are coming. Jihadists insist they will only settle for victory or death. If I were in charge I would oblige them – and not by ceding them victory. The sooner the world knows that we are all in and that there will be no proportionality or restraint, that the only acceptable diplomatic solution is for the Jihadists to unconditionally surrender, the fewer people will have to suffer and die in this wound that is gushing martyrs. But I am not in charge – and the people who are seem more interested in ennabling terrorists than forming alliances to defeat them.
So now I pray the Prayer of Miraculous Trust on behalf of Warren Weinstein and his family, asking the Lord to send St. Joan of Arc, a Christian warrior who knew how to deal with unrepentant aggressors, to accompany, console and guide them through this ordeal. I hope you will join me.
If you do even a casual scan of news sites, you know that more astonishingly terrifying news arrives each day than used to arrive in a year. We have entered a certain hyper-drive; disorder is on warp speed. That complete crash has not already come is a testament to the vigor of a system that men who were better, wiser, more honorable and humbler than us created and sustained for so long. We won’t limp along much longer; complete chaos is at hand. I appeal to you that now is the time to be deliberate, now is the time to steady yourself. Do not get distracted by the outrages for the ages that are committed daily by people sworn to defend freedom. It is a distraction. Ironically, the more outrageous the offenses become, the more provocatively officials act, the less relevant they become to the outcome. They and their pompous pronouncements will soon be blown away like so much chaff. The only part they have to play in the next few years is as shrieking, vanquished, humiliated narcissists. It is you – and hundreds of thousands of average people like you, that will find the will and the strength to rebuild and to endure. And the way we will do that is to be deliberate…do the simple things with steady resolve. Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. The final crash is at hand. Do not prepare for crash: prepare to give succor and endure.