Guest Editorial: Confessions on Being Silent No More

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 5, 2013 — 50 Comments

[The following is a guest editorial by Lydia M N Crabtree. Lydia M N Crabtree, back from a medical sabbatical, confesses she is many things through her website and her blog (Confessions of Being...). She writes on social justice issues, incest survival, physical and mental trauma as it relates to spiritual development, and Family Coven - the idea that a family unit is the first and primary coven anyone is part of. "Family Coven: Birthing Hereditary Witchcraft" will be released in Spring of 2014 through Immanion Press.]

Obamacare! Government shutdown! Republicans, Democrats, class wars, racism! Honestly, I turned it off and tuned it out about a week ago. I had my head, heart and hands dealing with an immediate problem, a real life situation that is a vivid and painful reflection of the arguments going on in this nation.

His name is Nathaniel Pucket. He is single, twenty-seven years old. His mother moved away about four years ago and resettled in West Virginia far from the Jasper, GA town he grew up in. He is beautiful inside and out. About 5’11’’ solid muscle, honed with his four years of service as a Boatswain’s Mate stationed out of Japan in the US Navy. Even two years after his honorable discharge, he has kept in shape riding his motorcycle’s and doing labor as a chef’s assistant or working in kitchens when he couldn’t find a good paying assistant chef’s job. Needless to say these jobs do not pay enough for him to cover insurance premiums so he doesn’t have any.

Nathaniel Pucket in the Navy.

Nathaniel Pucket in the Navy.

His really curly hair is cut military close and his eyes are that delicious chocolate brown that complements his mocha skin, which is the color of a great coffee with a bit of milk and sugar in it to enhance the flavor.

He has been living with other single men renting an apartment and actively involved in Willow Dragonstone Community, a circle without hierarchy and a dogma of practice. He has lead ritual in our community and been an overall force for good.

1373621_10202126771874656_706317362_nLast Friday, after spending time with a circle mate holding her hand while she got a new haircut, he was on his way home. He was thinking about starting school soon on his military scholarship to study computers and computer networking. He slowed his bright blue Yamaha bike which made the loud engine pitch to the downshifted tone as he approached a major intersection. As long as he has been riding bikes, he has learned to be cautious. Noting his green light and the passing of the large SUV in front of him through the intersection, he let off the brakes to move through.

The Lexus sport utility didn’t see him, the driver would claim later. Having the red light, she turned left cutting off Nathaniel’s natural crossing of the intersection and causing him to impact the Lexus at forty miles per hour ejecting him from the bike. She would later be ticketed for failure to yield among other things.

The off duty ambulance waiting on the other side of the intersection immediately turned on its lights and moved to provide aid. The only thing Nathan was sure of during the accident was that he was going to be in some serious pain. The thing he was aware of after the accident was the other driver saying that she never saw or heard him. For her, Nathan appeared out of thin air to crash into her vehicle.

As horrific as the accident was, it has been the ongoing fight since then that has zapped his energy and his strength. The ambulance saw him safely to the hospital where I would find him on a back brace with a neck collar. My husband (who is also my High Priest) and I would hold his hand while we learned that he had a fifteen break fracture of his left humerus bone broken directly above the elbow. His left foot and ankle had fared no better. He had a split fracture with multiple dislocations. Basically the bone attaching his large toe to his ankle had shifted backwards, impacting with the ankle bone, splitting down the middle, dislodging and dislocating all the other connective bones.

The orthopedic surgeon would never come in to consult that night. Now immobile, they wrote a prescription for a wheel chair, bundled his leg and arm up in temporary splints and sent him packing. If my husband had not spoken up, I firmly believe he would have been shipped off to adult social services instead. A circle mate took him in temporarily until my family completes our move into a home that would be better suited to his short term disability. Starting the next day, the battles began.

Suddenly unemployed and waiting on his last pay check, his medication was $200. The wheelchair nearly $1000. Our circle mates helped cover the cost of the pain medication which was all that they could afford. My husband used his contacts to borrow a wheel chair and Monday Nathan and I tried to see the same orthopedist who wouldn’t bother to see him in the ER. At his office the mantra was, “Does he have insurance? Does his motorcycle insurance have med pay? We do not accept third party insurance.” After getting essentially the run around all day Monday, we broke down and sought legal advice.

Sitting in Murrin and Wallace’s law office, I was faced with two legal experts in motorcycle accidents and they kept saying, “They sent him away like this? Really?”

Nathan was in pain. I knew that whenever a bump was run over or he had to figure out how to inventively get into the vehicle he was in pain. He was doling out pain medication like the very precious commodity it was. Murrin and Wallace made it clear. In most other circumstances medical insurance allowed accident victims to receive treatment and then seek damages from the driver who caused them.

“This is what the Affordable Health Care Act is trying to prevent,” Steve Murrin tells us, “People who have insurance believe everyone has insurance.”

However, because the hospital had sent Nate away without treatment, he was left in the precarious situation of not having had treatment and not having any prospects for treatment.

Tuesday, I sent Nathan an email of homework. A long list of links I had found for him to apply for, everything from food stamps and unemployment to Medicaid (which is unavailable to new applicants because of the Government Shutdown) and VA benefits (which take five or more days to process). I spent a significant amount of time on the phone calling social workers at various agencies trying to get him something that would cause him to be able to receive help. During this time, I heard his bones knitting together wrong causing him to be wheelchair bound the rest of his life and unable to use his left arm for any purpose.

Call after call the mantra kept returning, “They sent him away with those injuries?” Some said it differently and the essence was always identical. As it did my constant background noise, like bones grating upon sandpaper keeping me on edge, and a horrible realization took root in my mind.

Nathan had been considered less of a human, someone less worthy than others for treatment because he didn’t have insurance or because he was mocha in a lily white hospital in the South or he was single and separated from his biological family, perceived as the weak link in the herd that not be miss if something went awry with him.

As this realization settled on my shoulders, my pent up rage at a system steeped in racism and classism bubbled in me like Cerridwen’s cauldron and I snapped. I did the one thing people who enforce the status quo hope no one will ever do. I spoke.

“They sent him away with those injuries because he was black in that lily white ER. He was single and seemed to have no immediate family who cared around him. He had no insurance and the hospital and doctor all hoped he would become someone else’s problem on some other day knowing full well that not much was likely to change fast enough for him to get the proper treatment. In short, the doctor and hospital just couldn’t be bothered.”

The representative from the doctor’s office sat in stunned silence as what I said sunk in. My Southern sensibilities quaked as I considered what I had done by shattering the sound proof barrier of apathy.

“That was the ER Doctor and hospital’s call,” she said with a shaky breath. “Maybe I need to take my complaint up with them.”

And I did. I was nervous. I was scared. I was worried. Was I really doing what was in Nathan’s best interests? Still, I couldn’t rid my ear of that bone knitting noise that kept playing like a deranged loop in my brain. In the end, isn’t it better to do something, I reasoned with myself, than nothing?

I would speak with a low level administrator about my complaint. I would make my assertions to them about the horrible situation they had placed Nathaniel in. I would cite his record as a service man with our country and the Hippocratic oath. I would talk about the trials and tribulations they had laid at his feet when they patted him on the head and sent him out the door. I would talk about community and the responsibilities of those in power in our community. People whose decisions can make things better or worse for someone.

After my controlled and passionate dressing down, the administrator would say, “What do you want from us now?”

“Want? I want Nathaniel Pucket to be treated. I want his bones to be set properly before they heal improperly and cost the system and your hospital more money. I want Nathan to have the chance to walk again and drive again, preferably in a safe automobile. I want him to be able to stay in my home and his brow to not be marred by constant pain, unable to sleep because your hospital and the orthopedic doctor were all too busy to care about the long range consequences they made last Friday when he was in your hospital the first time. I want Nathan to be getting well so the lawyers and he can figure out how to pay for this horrible occurrence that wasn’t even his fault!”

She hung up without any promises and I resolved to call back if I didn’t get any response.

Nathaniel Pucket

Nathaniel Pucket

I had only been in my office forty-five minutes when Nathaniel called urgency ringing through his voice mail. Scared that he was doing worse than I thought, I promptly called him back.

“I don’t know what’s happened but the doctor’s office and ER called me and said to come straight to the hospital. They are going to treat my injuries. I need a ride.”

I laughed. I mean it was an ironic belly laugh. In that single moment I had an epiphany. I don’t have to hold signs to make a difference. I do not have to enter into heated debates online or send money to some group that supports what I believe. I simply have to have to BE. Isn’t that the traditional charge of High Priests and High Priestesses in my tradition?

To Know. To Do. To Will. To Be.

To Be Silent? No! I wasn’t silent. Suddenly every argument and discussion I have had with Pagan elders came into focus and the above clergy mantra took on a whole new meaning.

To know. I knew what was right. Everyone I spoke to knew what was right. We all knew that the right thing, the ethical thing, the things required by the Hippocratic oath had not been done.

To dare. I had done all I knew how. If I could have operated on Nathan I would have and that skill is outside of me. It required someone else to do, someone else to step up and act.

To will. I could have done a working. I know that others in our community did do workings. One community sister told me she pulled out the “big guns,” setting a special altar to address the obstacles Nathan faced. However, my willing something through magic alone would not necessarily force the action Nathan needed.

To be. I am what and who I am. I am a writer and I am activist. Maybe not in a protesting, sign waving, get arrested kind of way, but an activist I am. I am a High Priestess with my own pledges and oaths to uphold. I am educated and well spoken. I am white in the white South. With all these titles and privileges I can actively accept that they are my right. Or I can fight to extend the same privilege to my fellow humans because food, essential medical care, shelter and opportunity should not be given based on race, religious orientation, sexual orientation or the circumstance determined by their birth.

To be silent. Recently this has been consistently sited as the driving reason for the clergy to be neutral when it comes to divisive topics. Groups have been saying, “Let’s not take an open stand on the poor, class warfare, and race because it might offend.”

The reasoning is that the privilege of high priest/esses, elders, leaders in a Pagan community is to know things that not everyone does. Information, the working of negotiations, the politics that drive the large actions directed by leaders and elders. Our spirituality and these political issues do not cross, they are separate from one another.

It wasn’t until Nathan called that I realized silence and apathy are kissing cousins and my spirituality and politic issues are not separated, they are one. Everything is One. Clergy’s silence on social issues supports the idea that essential human care, food, shelter, equal opportunity and medical care, happen or do not happen because of the whims of the universe or because the person happened to have some internal flaw that makes life more difficult. When the very thing that prevents others from having essential human care is racism, classism, sexism, religious and sexual orientation and attitudes of entitlement unchecked – these are the social, political, issues that many have decided aren’t in clergy’s prevue.

So I ask Clergy this…

Who better to raise a sword and fight, if not for us, the spiritual warriors who have been trained to do battle? Are we only called to do the abstract? To pray and light candles? If we have risked nothing, our names, our beliefs, have we really been in service to the gods and goddesses and our community? Or are we playing at being clergy? Are we whipping out the title of Lady, Lord, and Reverend without having done the real hard work that earns that title? Are conferences, inter-faith meetings and long winded blogs enough to make the case that we are providing for our community? Are these things simply our way of making ourselves feel like we have done actual work instead of doing actual work?

If our spirits and our walks as leaders have lead us to lead, how can we if we do not defend the weakest among us? Who else will see the disenfranchised, the discriminated against and fight for them if not for the lauded class of clergy? Where will pagans turn on this physical plan for a manifestation of Warrior Gods and Warrior Goddesses if not among those they have elected, chosen or have been ordained to lead? How can we say that classism, privilege, racism, religious discrimination and any law, action or behavior that leaves a spiritual being disenfranchised and wounded is outside the prevue of spiritual work? Isn’t, by definition, these things the work? How can leaders address these spiritual wounds while refusing to address what actively does the damage? Don’t our people need both sword and shield? Confidant and advocate? Leader and servant? Warrior and healer? How can you know and then be silent?

Before, I simply did not realize my silence was cripplingly people, figuratively and literally. There are plenty of Nathans out there – how many fall through the cracks and dissolve into obscurity untreated and uncared for while clergy hides behind precious silence and the separation of politics and spiritual growth and development?

To know. To Do. To Will. To Be.

To Be Silent… NO MORE.

END NOTE: Nathaniel Pucket was denied treatment on Friday, September 27, 2013. Nathaniel was admitted into the same hospital that had originally denied him Thursday, October 2, 2013. He entered into a double surgery on Friday, October 4, 2013 to fix both his humerus and foot injuries. Before surgery, Nate was told that because of the severity of his injury to his foot and the length of time permitted to elapse before treatment, he would never see a 100% recovery. He will be required to be fitted with arch support he will be forced to wear the rest of his life. Additionally, they anticipate arthritic and ongoing pain complications. A circle sister has agreed to be with him on Friday and Saturday and to take him in when he is released. Next week he will move with my family into our new home which will be better suited to his ongoing recovery. Saturday, October 5, 2013, Willow Dragonstone Community will be at Atlanta Pagan Pride Day. Despite his injuries, Nathan had volunteered to be at PPD and supply our group with water before his re-admittance into the hospital. He actually apologized that he couldn’t deliver as promised. Other circle members gladly took up the slack.

Nathan was most upset by the idea that being single without immediate family present may have caused his predicament because he lived with other single guys in similar situations. In essence, he clearly saw the potential for the system to hurt other people he knows and loves regardless of race.

I will be updating Nathan’s status regarding his recovery and on-going legal issues on my Facebook page, and at the Willow Dragonstone Community Facebook group. Those who would like to donate monetary support for Nathan’s care may do so to me by contacting me via email . I would like to publicly thank Nathan for allowing me to tell his story.

[The opinions expressed here are those of Lydia M N Crabtree, and do not necessarily represent those of The Wild Hunt, its contributors, or underwriters.]

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    “I did the one thing people who enforce the status quo hope no one will ever do. I spoke.”

    BRAVO!!!

    More people need to speak up when they see something that disgusts them.

    This piece is beautiful.

    Give my best to Nathan, I hope his recovery goes better than the odds and that the pain is drowned out by joy.

    I love your challenge to clergy. It is time that (more) people stop playing at being high priests or whatever and become actual clergy – it is a full-time vocation where your duties are to your community before yourself.

    I did the one thing people who enforce the status quo hope no one will
    ever do. I spoke. – See more at:
    http://wildhunt.org/2013/10/guest-editorial-confessions-on-being-silent-no-more.html#sthash.YH0tvWVV.dpuf

    • Lydia M N Crabtree

      Thank you. This situation has opened my eyes and really made me look at things differently. I appreciate your support, as does my community and Nathan!

  • Medeina Ragana

    YES!!! You are doing exactly what should be done. I also have learned that the old saying: the squeaky wheel gets the oil, is so true. See something that’s wrong. Speak up!!! Speak up!!!

    My energies will go out to Nathan and your Coven. Question: Would the VA assist him in any way?

    • fdhbstephanie

      There should be some sort of VA assistance – one of the few good things to come out of the Bush administration. You’ll need his DD214 and a lot of patience but my husband was able to get into the VA system to receive care several years ago when he was refused insurance (pre-existing condition). It might be harder with the furlough but get to work on this.

      • Lydia M N Crabtree

        I am glad your husband got care and part of the problem is the government shut down. He meets eligibility requires for medicaid and is not able to apply because of the government shutdown. See my post above regarding the VA.

    • Lydia M N Crabtree

      VA Benefits will take five to seven days (before the shut down) to process. Given the shut down, his application has been made on line and we will be waiting to see what assistance, especially physical therapy they can provide in the future after his release from the Hospital.

  • Medeina Ragana

    Oh, one more thing. He needs to sue the hospital and the orthopedic surgeon since because they did nothing, his injuries will never be healed. Whereas, if the surgeon had seen him on that Friday, he would’ve recovered 100%.

    • Lydia M N Crabtree

      We have a great legal team and will be pursuing this course of action at some later date. Our energy and focus is squarely set on his immediate treatment and recovery. Thank you for the suggestion and believe me it has been discussed and the option will be open to Nathan. We will support him in any decision he makes.

  • Margana Skye

    As horrible as this accident/story is, I’m confused as to why the driver of the Lexus SUV’s liability insurance is not paying for his injuries. The accident was clearly her fault and she was cited.

    • mamaraby

      It will, but it’s a bodily injury claim and that doesn’t payout a little at a time like health insurance or your own Medical Payments coverage on your owninsurance. It’s a one time settlement for a lup sum of money and it can take months (or years) to reach settlement.

      Nathan’s story should be heralded from the rooftops so that everytime some Republican insists that people can get treated in the ER when they don’t have insurance, reality comes crashing down and illuminates their lies for what they are.

      • Lydia M N Crabtree

        Mamarby – THANK YOU! This is an excellent explanation about why despite the Lexus’ driver’s fault in this accident, it does Nathan little good in this immediate situation.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Lydia, the Goddess has given you a field promotion, from Activist to Champion. You and Nathan and your circle have become the standard against which others of our larger community will have to judge their own actions.What you’ve done, I found out a while back, is known a “medical advocacy,” which sounds a lot better than “reaming health bureaucrats over the phone.” I had to do some for my wife a few years back — a faint echo of your achievement; I was not up against racial or coverage issues, merely medical inertia — so I have an experiential appreciation of your efforts, if only in diluted form.It’s tempting for a small, minority-faith group, in a region not known for its friendliness to such things, to be tempted to a low profile on the wrenching larger issues of the day. Until they come home to roost. You have lit a torch to show how to act when they do.

    • Lydia M N Crabtree

      Your comment made me cry. It was very sweet and I really appreciate it Baruch. I told this story because of all the other Nathan’s out there who are going untreated and gaining life altering injuries because of this practice and focus on MONEY and PROFIT before humanity. Nathan too worries more about those who may find him in these situations than he does himself. He says, “I have Willow Dragonstone. What do people do who do not?” I’ll have to adopt medical advocacy as a term instead of what the community members have been joking saying, “Nobody wants to get the Dia Treatment after this.” LOL Now I can tell them I am just being a medical advocate, not treatment involved.

  • Charles Cosimano

    Remember. When you repeat the “isms” the eyes roll and the mute buttons are hit.

    • T Thorn Coyle

      Charles, I disagree. We need more talk and actual examination of racism and classism in order to reach a deeper understanding of how they operate and uphold systems of injustice. We look away too often.

      Lydia, I know you are just doing what is needful, but I thank you for doing it. Blessings to you, your family, and your coven.

      Nathan, swift healing to you! May you get what you need.

      • Lydia M N Crabtree

        Thank you Thorn. I passed your wishes on to Nathan today. He is a bit overwhelmed that so many people care about what has happened to him and are as outrage at the injustice. It has done his spirits good. I thank you for your kind words.

    • Crystal Blanton

      Charles, that is one of the major problems. privilege allows some people to roll their eyes and hit mute… while the rest of the world has to live injustices. Maybe if people stopped rolling their eyes, they could see what is actually happening right in front of them.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        How do you stop people rolling their eyes, if they actually do not care?

        I think that apathy is much harder to overcome than antipathy.

        • Lydia M N Crabtree

          I think the destruction of apathy begins with you, me, Thorn, Crystal, Jessica, Tony, Nathan and all other individuals who speak when they see racism, injustice or privilege at work. When we adopt the causes of those around us because inaction and silence is what those who rule these issues in companies and the government count on our inaction and silence. This has taught me like nothing else that a little champion of the cause, a little more words said against bigotry, hate and privileged goes further than we can imagine. It is the butterfly affect in practice … apathy begins and ends with each of us and as we burn our apathetic ways, we spark others to do the same. This is how the battle is fought and ultimately the war will be won.

        • Franklin Evans

          Apathy can be as strong as a force of nature, not to be stopped or diverted with brute force. As
          Lēoht and Charles allude — no, I don’t condone Charles’ pot-shots, I just know him personally and am willing to take his intentions at face value — this is not a rational argument, and it will not constructively conclude if the only approach is brute force.

          Allow me to suggest it this way: The eye-rollers are already unwilling to invest the rational energy to this issue. Their apathy is like a sponge or a deep well. No amount of passion is going to result in much more than disappearing into the dark.

          I don’t have a good alternative. I thought I had one once, but personal experience convinced me otherwise. Discussion of where to devote our energy is critical as an action, not to be mistaken for criticism of the choices some have already made. The point is that your (general) choices, however well they’ve worked for you, are not necessarily the best or only choices for others. The plain difference in geographic location can be fatal if assumptions about past success don’t examine the difference.

      • Lydia M N Crabtree

        Preach on my sister!

    • MadGastronomer

      Oh, yes? And what happens when you DON’T mention the BIGOTRY? (Don’t belittle the bigotry that KILLS PEOPLE every single day by calling it “isms” in snippy little quotes.) What happens when you STAY SILENT about it?

      What happens is that people ignore it.

      But some people DO listen when you call out bigotry, and some people are actively protected when we call it out. That’s why we do it. YOU might hit mute — and that’s basically what I assume about anyone who says this, that they are talking primarily about themselves — but other people LISTEN. We did not get the Civil Rights Act by not talking about bigotry. We didn’t bring down DADA and DOMA by not talking about bigotry. And the list goes on, far more than I can talk about here.

      We cannot FIGHT bigotry without TALKING ABOUT bigotry.

      What you are doing is shutting down people who fight bigotry. You are telling them not to fight as hard as they can.

      You might want to think about why you would want to do such a thing.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Or, if you look from a different angle, you could see that many people *do* roll their eyes at the mention of the ‘isms’. And, rather than do nothing, you use a different tactic to address the issue.

        • MadGastronomer

          Oh, yes? What? How do you talk about BIGOTRY — stop using your insipid, belittling “isms”, it trivializes the experiences of actual people — without saying it? Or do you mean you should just never address the real problem? You should just let it go? Or you should just never say anything that the people you’re addressing don’t want to hear?

          What is your “different tactic”? Because mine has a good record of actually accomplishing things on a big scale.

        • Lydia M N Crabtree

          Excellent point! Thank you for making it.

      • Lydia M N Crabtree

        I might also point out that racism was not the only issue I sited with the hospital administration. Although, he was/is a black man in a predominantly affluent white community at a hospital that serves this prominently white affluent community. I suggested his being poor and without insurance could have cause this out come OR that he was single and seemed without immediate familial care. The thinking in the later was that there wouldn’t be a mother or father available to fight for him so he wouldn’t be missed in the familial herd. Which is part of why our communities are important. They didn’t count on the formidable will of Willow Dragonstone Community and our group efforts that would be made on Nathan’s behalf.

        • MadGastronomer

          Certainly, and I did not mean to imply otherwise. But institutions in the South that are covertly instead of overtly racist can be very touchy about accusations of racism, and while they may not reply when you make them, they know it can be very bad national press, and it can spur them on to get things to mention the racism along with everything else.

          I grew up in Florida, and have family all over the South. I’ve seen it.

          • Lydia M N Crabtree

            Nods I agree. For the benefit of other threads I wanted to clarify that “isms” were not the only reasons I suspected this happened. :) Willow Dragonstone is going to Florida Pagan Gathering in the Fall are you still in FL?

          • MadGastronomer

            No, I moved to Seattle some years ago. The climate suits me better.

    • MadGastronomer

      Also, weirdly enough, mentioning the racism Nathan experienced in the ER is part of what made things happen. Huh. Doesn’t sound much like mute buttons being hit to me. Sounds like getting things done. Shocking, huh?

      • Lydia M N Crabtree

        I agree MadGastronomer. I think pointing out the different types of injustices I saw being played out, including race, has been a large driving force behind Nathan getting the treatment he is currently being given.

    • Lupa

      Which is generally a sign of lack of compassion on the part of the listener, not the lack of a genuine problem on the part of the speaker.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Exactly!

        It is something to be wary of, though. If a prejudice is institutional, bringing attention to it can actually do more harm than good.

        Those situations require more tact and diplomacy than I possess, so I couldn’t really say how best to progress, but many people do manage to overcome these hurdles and break down the barriers that prevent true equality.

        • MadGastronomer

          If you don’t have any constructive suggestions to make, then all you’re doing is saying, “No, that way doesn’t work, don’t do it,” to people who are trying to accomplish things — and are actually doing so, because these tactics DO work more often than not.

        • Lydia M N Crabtree

          Fierce Conversations and Fierce Leadership by Susan Scott are great books to start to learn the tact needed to successfully deal with these situations. You might want to check them out!

        • Lupa

          It is a case by case basis, and too often activists (myself included) sometimes let our vigor in getting our voices heard override our judgement of how to present our voices to make them most likely to be understood by the given audience. And sometimes it will take one group of people longer to get what the problem is and how to fix it than another, in which case going for the more sympathetic people first at least helps adds to the voices speaking for justice. I’ve yet to see a situation, though, in which browbeating and intimidating someone I agree with actually did any good.

      • Lydia M N Crabtree

        Thank you Lupa! I completely agree and it was uplifting to read this statement.

        • Lupa

          You are most welcome, and thank you for starting a lively discussion.

  • Raksha38

    May the Gods bless and help Nathan and may they bless you, Lydia, for being such a fierce friend and advocate for justice.

    • Lydia M N Crabtree

      Raksha. I will pass your blessing onto Nathan. He will be blessed because his community will permit nothing less. It isn’t only I who is fierce, they are as well.

  • Franklin_Evans

    Lydia, if only it were that simple. I believe, regardless of which belief system and however extensive its hierarchy, that being in a clerical role is neither qualification for being the sort of warrior you were for Nathaniel, nor is lack of clerical training an obstacle to it.

    It comes from inside, and if left to progress as it must, I believe it inspires the person to express it as effectively as it needs to be expressed.

    It’s a subtle distinction, perhaps, and maybe I’m being too assertive (and pompous) in this post, but I’ve experienced the difference personally: If I know in advance that I must do something with anger, I will be wrong much more often than right. If the moment and circumstances inspire my anger and the manner in which I express it, I will be effective much more often than not.

    It is, I submit, according to the nature and gifts of each individual, and not in the level of or lack of spiritual training.

    My view of your situation and your feelings in the aftermath — and no reader should get this wrong, I admire and honor Lydia — is that the focus belongs on the cleric to be mindful of her limitations, and to seek out those better suited to a task at hand when it proves to be beyond her limits. Getting help is as valid and strong an action as being personally involved, I do assert.

    You did both. You got involved personally, and you recognized when help was needed. I can think of no higher praise to offer.

    • Lydia M N Crabtree

      Franklin – I agree with many of your points and I wonder aloud, without a good answer, why our clergy isn’t trained to be warriors when social justice, racism and privilege need to be confronted. I would point out that the Civil Rights movement in the South has been largely maintained by Black Preachers who have not necessarily been trained. In the independent churches in the south, many rise to the rank of ordination by being “called by Christ” and having that call accepted by another clergy or by a group or congregation. And this lack of training does not keep them from seeking out mentors and learning how to successfully hold rallies and create change in situations that change is needed. Why does our clergy not feel the overwhelming call to behave in this manner? On the flip side, shouldn’t there be some training for our clergy to help them identify the situations that they could not handle and then empowering them to direct community members to the appropriate places for help? For certain this is a broad topic that I would love to discuss further. Maybe for my next blog?

      • Franklin Evans

        We all — especially clergy of any stripe, and I hasten to point out that I am not clergy — have our specific starting points with this. Mine is a lifelong path fascination with shamanic practices.
        Very simply (maybe simplistically) modern clergy almost haphazardly find themselves challenged to be shamans. Others may see it differently, but that is IMO the most difficult role to adopt and fulfill in any belief system. Pagans don’t have anchored traditions and longstanding holy texts on which clergy and believers alike might depend. We are closer to the requirements of a shaman even while we often don’t have the community or social structures that would enable a person to devote his or her life to it.
        It’s all very difficult to sort out, especieally as you allude because very many people are ego-driven as well as or perhaps more than service-driven. Even those religions with formal training aspects fail to produce clergy you and I wish for. That our community does as well as it does is a testament to our energy and focus on individual commitment first, and recognition later. Our “mainstream” siblings don’t have such a strong focus. I don’t mean that as a comparison of any sort, just an observation. In the Pagan community, I see plenty of room for improvement.
        I’ve done and will do what I can as I can. Please do promote this on your blog, and post links here. I’ll lend my energy to it, for whatever it may be worth.

        • Lydia M N Crabtree

          I strongly feel this is an important topic. I am moving this week and settling in Nathan which includes getting his new physical therapist coming out to the new house. However, I would love a quick reminder next week, maybe on my facebook page? Perhaps we can collaborate on this topic for my personal blog? I look forward to fleshing out this issue and maybe looking to others about ways to improve this training and processes in our community.

  • Lydia M N Crabtree

    Hey Gang! Lydia M N Crabtree here. My email is broken. Please send emails to craftydia@gmail.com OR lydia@lydiaMcrabtree.com (NO ‘N’) I will comment later today on the many posts. I appreciate the support and the comments!

  • Matthew White

    Thank you for helping out one of the people I truly consider as a brother, I had no idea what was going in until I saw his comment yesterday about the surgery. I met Nate in Japan and since then he has always been a great friend. Gods have mercy on the souls that put you all through this trial. Once again thank you from the bottom of my heart and every fiber of my being! Blessed be and thank you!

    • Lydia M N Crabtree

      Matthew – Thank you for your service. I am glad to see how many people have been positively affected by Nathaniel. Which has been part of the bafflement I have personally felt. If there ever was a kind, gentle, wonderful soul, it is Nate and that makes what has happened to him all the more horrific. I hope you are home safe and maybe you can come visit our community and Nathan in the future.

  • Mira

    The focus of this man’s *looks* in this article gives me a bad taste in the moth. Or does his haircut, his mocha skin, and his chocolate eyes matter somehow after all…? I wish him the best *regardless* of how he looks and how tall he is.

    • Lydia M N Crabtree

      Mira, I focused on his looks because it is important that we see Nathan as the white administrators, white ER doctors, white nurses, white intake coordinators who are all part of this predominantly affluent white community see him. Here in the south his mocha skin and kinky hair do matter. That we find this point distasteful may speak to our inherent lack of understanding regarding race and social services. During this process the hospital’s treatment of Nathan was mirrored over and over again when we saw other intake personnel. Through the entire process I kept wondering if Nathan had been Lilly white would his treatment have been the same?

  • Aurora Campbell

    good job. Ive gotten a lot of flack for speaking up, and i am very glad you have a circle like you do. he is lucky. Many don’t have that. Race however Doesn’t play into it as much as you might think to be honest. that has been done to me. Nobody spoke up but me though… nothing got fixed. As time goes on they play off of that, swipe it under the rug. I have yet to find a coven with people willing to be, to do, to acknowledge the interconnectedness. so I am a solitaire and will remain such until I find the circle that is right for me. I am glad I am not alone, even if you are very far away, in believing that standing by is wrong. To be honest, Ive seen the harm that lay in Silence. In what happens when people stand idle not wanting to get involved or offend anyone… this world is pretty screwed up and it will be people like you who do what it takes to heal it, not people like them. I am proud to share a path with you, and hopefully one of these days I will find a circle of people who I can be proud to stand beside and with, people like you. That is a big thing I look for in a coven. nothing ever gets fixed, healed… nothing ever gets done when people are just silent and don’t DO anything. Most of the time when I point this out it feels like im talking to a damned wall. To be, stop letting others decide you, decide yourself. be yourself because nobody can BE for you. You are well on your way and I am proud to walk the same walk, even if we do not live and practice in the same places. We both walk the same ground and look to the same moon, the same sky, the same path. I can honestly say, go you!