This second-of-two parts Dinner Conversations episode reveals lessons learned through the real-life friendship of best-selling Women of Faith author/speaker Patsy Clairmont (http://patsyclairmont.com), comedienne Anita Renfroe (http://anitarenfroe.com) and life coach and author Jan Silvious (https://jansilvious.com). Hosts Mark Lowry and Andrew Greer encourage the lively the table talk as the wise women shine a light on why we fear, loving others locally and the health benefits of forgiveness. (And guess what? You can’t forgive yourself!) Don’t miss a single episode—subscribe below!


TRANSCRIPT FROM THE SHOW

Mark: Today we’re talking about friendship and forgiveness and fear, and we got three great guests today. Now, this is part two. If you haven’t seen part one, you need to go back and watch that. And our guests today are once again …

Andrew: Yeah, Anita Renfroe, Patsy Clairmont, Jan Silvious, continuing the conversation from last time but going into a little more of a serious realm with fear, something that I think is impacting and driving, not just impacting but driving our entire culture. So we talk especially about Patsy’s personal story of fear and how she began to work through that and with that. And then forgiveness, which I think forgiveness is actually one of maybe the elements of coming out of fear, not only culturally but personally. So, we put those things together, and I think we got a lot of interesting conversation ahead.

Andrew: And there’s one seat left at the table and it’s yours, so let’s join the conversation.


Fear, Forgiveness and Friendship, Part 2

Mark: I heard something interesting, Jan, about you that you say it’s useless to forgive yourself. Is that the correct …

Jan: It is useless to say I can’t forgive myself or I have to forgive myself, and most people you hear talking about it are saying, “I’m really having trouble forgiving myself.” And there’s a reason they have trouble forgiving themselves, is because we were never intended to forgive ourselves. Nowhere in scripture are we told to forgive ourselves. We are told that we are forgiven by God through Christ. We are told that we are to forgive and the people we are to forgive are those who have offended us. But nowhere are we told, “And by the way, while you’re at it, forgive yourself for that last affront, for the way that you hurt Mark. You need to forgive yourself.”

“Nowhere in scripture are we told to forgive ourselves.” – Jan Silvious

Anita: I meant to.

Jan: That may be one of the reasons …

Anita: I’m not sorry. I’m not the least bit sorry.

Jan: See, God knew. Hopeless. And so, what we have to come to is to recognize I’m not equipped to do that so I have to humble myself to receive forgiveness from God and to forgive other people, to give forgiveness to other people. That causes a lot of humility.

“so I have to humble myself to receive forgiveness from God and to forgive other people, to give forgiveness to other people. That causes a lot of humility.” – Jan Silvious

Andrew: Really, if we’re saying that and it is an honest observation of what’s happened internally, then really we’re talking about a pretty strictly spiritual experience. What we mean is we’ve received forgiveness.

Jan: Yes, it is received. Now, it is absolutely correct, and the actual transaction is I know I’ve been forgiven by God and I receive it, but that takes humility. But forgiveness is a transaction. It’s something that has to be done for you and to you.

Patsy: Well, that’s the finished work of Christ, so for us to think we can add or subtract anything to that is where the arrogance comes in and where the possibility for humility to be birthed and grow inside of us happens.

Mark: So, you can never forgive yourself? You can’t do that?

Jan: But you can receive it all day long. That’s grace—

Mark: You can receive it, and then you can also hopefully forget the horror of what you’ve done. I mean, that’s important to me or at least let that … You don’t have to carry it every day.

Jan: You can’t carry it every day because that’s that reliving of stuff that destroys you, and so I have to just know. I’ve known people who’ve done terrible, terrible things, and they—

Anita: Stop talking about me.

Patsy: You promised you wouldn’t tell.

Anita: You said you wouldn’t bring it up.

Mark: So you have a sin scale.

Anita: Horrible, horrible things—

Andrew: Horrible things—

Anita: Not just horrible things.

Jan: No, no, I mean things that they can’t forget. I mean, we can hurt somebody’s feelings and think, well, good night, I didn’t mean to do that and they have to still forgive us. It’s not as, well, if I hurt you. No, it’s like, I hurt you. I had no intention but that doesn’t matter. “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it. It’s like, would you forgive me? But I said I’m sorry. Well, pshaw, I don’t care that you said that you’re sorry. It’s like there’s a transaction that has to take place—

Mark: Forgiveness.

Jan: When there’s been a hurt and an offense.

Anita: I would also like to say I think one of the basics of a good, long-standing friendship is the idea of pre-forgiveness. The way that—

Andrew: Very …

Mark: Interesting.

Andrew: Calvinist.

Anita: No, no, no, it says that while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us. Like, while we were still in our sin continuing to sin, gonna sin in the future, people generations and generations and generations continue to sin.

Mark: And still He forgives.

Anita: And still He forgives. So it’s a continuing action but we rely on the goodness of God and the mercy of God through that forgiveness transaction, knowing that as we sin, if we’ll confess, He’s faithful.

Jan: I think He’s faithful even if we don’t confess—

Mark: Yes!

Anita: OK, great.

Mark: It’s true.

Anita: Sorry, I read the scripture. I was being literal.

Andrew: Fundamental Baptist!

Anita: I’m just saying that in our friendship there is a pre-forgiveness. I don’t know of something they could do bad enough to where I wouldn’t be like—

Mark: Visiting them at the prison.

Anita: Staying with them overnight while they knit. OK, I’m just saying there’s no things that I can’t imagine a scenario. I mean, one may exist—

Mark: Well, I can.

Anita: OK, go ahead.

Mark: Murder my sister.

Anita: Yeah, that’s a good one.

Mark: I’d have a problem hanging out with you.

Andrew: But we have seen the amazing act of forgiveness when these stories come to light of someone—

Mark: That’s only God.

Andrew: It is. That’s when you cannot look and observe that and experience that and not say there is something deeper than just us because we don’t do that naturally.

Jan: No, it has to be deeper, and I think when we understand grace, then we understand that it’s what God does in you, through you, to you, and for you that you cannot do for yourself.

Mark: All of it.

Jan: Then we understand it’s all of Him. It’s not of us, and so why would I think I can forgive myself?

Mark: Well, it’s kind of nice … Now, you’re saying we don’t have to. That’s the good news.

Andrew: Mark’s on the loose.

Mark: I am loosed. I no longer have to worry about forgiving myself because it’s something someone has to give to me.

Jan: And it’s already been given to you so you can just live in it and say I’m forgiven.

Mark: Yeah, justified.

Jan: And we’re very forgiving toward people when we recognize we’re forgiven. Forgiven people forgive people. Unforgiven people, people who are holding onto I just can’t forgive myself and you know what, I’m having a little bit of trouble with you.

“Forgiven people forgive people.” – Jan Silvious

Mark: Forgiving someone else is really in your best interest.

Jan: Absolutely, it sends away your right to punish, but it also sends away your connection to the offense. It’s like I’m not connected to this offense anymore. I’m not gonna bear it.

Anita: So those people are not taking up real estate in your head.

Jan: Absolutely.

Mark: And holding one second of a grudge …

Jan: What a waste of time.

Mark: Is a waste of time, you’re right.

Jan: We forget what it does internally in our bodies. We are eating ourselves up and we wonder why we have all of these diseases that are not generated from our DNA. We have just brought them on ourselves because we’re too pigheaded to forgive somebody or we have our nose out of joint because you said that and until you confess it, I’m not speaking.


“What is Forgiveness?” | Sissy Goff – Daystar Counseling Ministries

Sissy Goff, M.Ed., LPC-MHSP | Daystar Counseling Ministries

Andrew: What is forgiveness? What is true forgiveness?

Sissy: I’ve heard something about how it is the ability to truly wish somebody well that’s hurt you, which I love that. And Anne Lamotte says it’s when it finally becomes unimportant to hit back.

Andrew: I love that, yeah.

Sissy: Kind of the same idea with a little more grip–

Andrew: Yeah, right, exactly.

Sissy: To me, that’s what it feels like in my own life is when I lay it down.

Andrew: How does carrying the spirit of unforgiveness or not being able to get to the place of not needing to hit back, what does that do to us, the person who’s holding that? Forget the person who did the harm, how’s that impacting us?

Sissy: What I watch is that it just seems to harden our hearts and that the walls around them get thicker and thicker and thicker, and then to work through the forgiveness, which seems like so much of that does happen in the context of relationship, either with the person or somebody else safe that helps you get there, then to work through that, the wall becomes so thick nobody can really get to us anymore.

Andrew: So then what does that produce in our families and our relationships? We stop functioning, don’t we?

Sissy: We stop functioning, yes.

Andrew: So forgiveness is essential to mental, emotional, spiritual health.

Sissy: Yes.

Andrew: And forgiveness has been exemplified to us, right, through Jesus so that’s our practice.

Sissy: Yeah.

Andrew: Does forgiveness even require the other person?

Sissy: I don’t think it does because I think sometimes forgiveness, the other person you’re not able to ever work through it. I mean, say you’ve been sexually abused or something like that, that you cannot sit in the context of a time with that person to work through and have a conversation about it, but we would still need forgiveness for our own self. And it takes away … I think when we don’t forgive someone, that person has so much more power, which is one of the things I talk about with kids a lot is they just stay in that place of perpetual power and how do you get to a place where … I think what gets confusing too in terms of therapy is the issue of boundaries and forgiveness and how do you have boundaries where you still love because it can become I’m not gonna forgive because you hurt me because I’m having a boundary. And so it almost cancels each other out in a way.

“…when we don’t forgive someone, that person has so much more power…” – Sissy Goff

Andrew: So that there’s appropriate boundaries to say, OK, I may not be able to sit in a room with you. We don’t need to have a relationship, but you can literally genuinely come to a place to say, I forgive you, right?

Sissy: Yes.

Andrew: We see that … Like we’ve heard the stories of prisoners who forgive the families of perpetrators. And I heard someone say it doesn’t make the other person right but it sets you free, right?

Sissy: I love that idea, yeah, sets you free.


Project Beautiful – Rescuing Beautiful Lives from Human Trafficking

Dinner Conversations Sponsorship Message:

Mark: Dinner Conversations is presented by Project Beautiful.

Andrew: A passionate community committed to saving innocent lives from the modern day terrors of slavery, Project Beautiful has intercepted over 12,000 people from the front lines of sex trafficking and today, you can partner with us and help.

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Andrew: If we don’t help, who will? Project Beautiful, because every life is beautiful and worth fighting for.


Living Fearless

Mark: What could you accomplish if you were fearless?

Patsy: Ooh, what could I accomplish if I was fearless? I’d get over myself.

Mark: If you were fearless, you would get over yourself. What does that mean?

Andrew: We’re so obsessed with ourselves, and isn’t that fear driven?

Patsy: Well, it’s scary to look at your own issues.

Jan: That’s it.

Patsy: It’s very scary.

Jan: It’s getting over your scary.

Patsy: And that’s where the fear comes in at and that scary place where you think if I embrace this truth about myself, I’m afraid it’s gonna eat my lunch, then I’m gonna be the main course on my own diet here. So it’s hard to look at all of that, the truth of who you are but yet in doing so, the Lord promises us there’ll be liberty in it but doesn’t mean you’re not gonna be miserable on your way to liberty.

Mark: Wow, and lose a lot of friends, lose a lot of things, lose a lot of—

Andrew: And we’re in a culture though paralyzed by fear, aren’t we? In a sense of isn’t that why we’re obsessed about politics and about hot topics? Isn’t part of that obsession because maybe even back to what you’re saying because we’re so afraid of actually living our lives that we have to then project—

Anita: It’s easier to get distracted by all of that and then not have to deal as she said. But you know fear is the Bible tells us only one of two motivators in the world. It’s fear or love, and perfect love casts out fear, so what does it say about—

Patsy: Because fear has torment.

Anita: Torment in it, so what does it say about us that we would more easily embrace fear than love? But I’m also so inspired by people like Bob Goff who make it their daily aim to do everything out of love, every decision they make—

Mark: How do you even do that?

Anita: I don’t even know, but he seems to be doing it. That’s why I want to be—

Jan: It’s a choice.

Patsy: Oh, you gotta follow him. Follow him on Twitter—

Mark: Bob Goff–

Anita: His thing is called Love Does, and he believes love is a verb, it’s an action word, and everything he does, you know what I’m talking about, he believes that love is the motivator and if we follow Jesus, love will be everything.

Mark: Well, I agree with that.

Andrew: OK, so here’s what’s interesting. It’s more of my generation thing, Mark, but—

Anita: Oh, wow. Fear just came across the table.

Andrew: That’s right. Here’s the thing is that I get almost called out if I express in the context of some conversation about culture or in fear-based things — I’m afraid of Muslims, I’m afraid of gays, I’m afraid of the next president, whatever — if I say, well, what if we just set that aside for now and we get outside of our house and we go next door to our neighbor and see what they need? Or we know someone’s got this need, this need, or I just go to my friend Patsy’s house and sit with Les a little bit and see how he’s doing and how is she doing and all these things that generate love and open an environment of love, and I almost get called out that to actually … I’m not saying I don’t care about these things that impact our lives, but not to obsess about it. It’s almost like walking away and taking it.

Jan: You got your head in the sand.

Andrew: Yeah, and that I’m some kind of—

Anita: Isn’t it good that we know exactly what the other person’s gonna say? Right now, we both said—

Jan: We know the same cliché.

Anita: But love is almost always local.

Mark: And it’s hard to hate it when it has a face. Fear is a horrible thing, but then there’s a healthy fear, too, like teaching your kids not to play in the street. You gotta know—

Anita: I think that’s caution. It’s not the same thing as fear.

Mark: Yeah, fear, you’re right.

Jan: And there’s a healthy fear that looks at things as they are but is not as obsessed with them. But the thing was that we can distract ourselves from these major fears, but we also need to be aware, and so it’s be aware, don’t be stupid, and there are things in the world that we have to look out for –

Patsy: That are dangerous.

Jan: And we need to be wise and not stupid, but on the other hand, look closely because what’s in your world right there is where God has you and He’s gonna give you the grace for the moment to deal with that as He will for the greater things if you encounter them.

Andrew: Here’s what’s confusing to me, though. And not about what you just said, but I’m interested in maybe sometimes I think, well, maybe I’m just a naive, maybe I am a Millennial or something, maybe I’m just dumb.

Mark: You are. I mean a Millennial.

Anita: Ain’t no maybe about it.

Mark: You’re not dumb, not dumb.

Jan: No but Millenialistic.

Andrew: I talk to friends of different generations, more my parents generation, and we’ll discuss what’s going on in the current climate of this or that. I talked to these individuals and I say but here’s what’s interesting, you’re saying you’re afraid of this person or that person who’s in this lifestyle or from that country or whatever, but if they were your next door neighbor, I know you and I know your heart. You would be over there in a second. When their kid is sick, you’re taking the casserole over. You are not actually afraid of what you say you’re afraid of. So how do we get past what we say we’re afraid of, but yet in our hearts, I find that’s not true and yet we’re dying on these mole hills. What is that about? Why is that?

Anita: Before you answer that, can I interject one thing because I know you have a good answer for that. I don’t know that we were ever meant to know the things we know.

Jan: There you go.

Anita: We have a 24-hour news cycle that is driving our consciousness, and I just heard Denzel Washington say on T.D. Jakes’ show …

Andrew: Wow, that’s a combo.

Anita: I know, right. Is there 24 hours worth of news? No, there is not. There’s not. We were never meant to know as much as we know as often as we know it. So when I hear you reporting these fears and these concerns, 94 percent of it is churned up out of things if we didn’t know, we would not be obsessed. We would only know local love. We would only know global missions and global love. We would know that in the esoteric larger sense, not this way that we know and we obsess and we’re afraid of it because of what is in our face all day long. So I would say, first of all, we know too much and we don’t know enough at the same time, but it churns these things up that shouldn’t be issues if we weren’t watching 24-hour news cycles.

Andrew: Turn the TV off and go next door, right?

Andrew: Love is local. Love is almost always local. So now, what you were gonna say.

“Love is local. Love is almost always local.” – Andrew Greer

Jan: I think you said it well. We’re so bombarded with all of this stuff and I think we get a mindset and that’s what happens. Everybody gets in their worldview and their mindset, and it’s not expansive enough to take in the next door neighbor as well as the whole world, and so it’s either or. We’re just obsessed with this whole huge worldview of we’re going to hell in a handbasket or the next door neighbor. And the thing is we need to be aware so we don’t have our heads in the sand, but on the other hand, the Bible says occupy till I come. And so what are we supposed to occupy? Whatever’s in front of us. Do what’s next. Don’t get all head up about that.

Anita: But I believe because of social media, we believe we can affect it.

Andrew: OK, so–

Anita: So here’s the thing. We get the news and we’re like, oh gosh, I gotta tweet and get people on this. It’s a false sense of action when all the action is next door, but we believe somehow we’re impacting it, and I’m not saying we’re not, at all. I’m not denying that. I’m just saying it’s too much responsibility. We were never meant to bear that.

Mark: When we were growing up, there were three channels.

Anita: Three channels and one time of news with somebody you trusted.

Mark: Right, Walter Cronkite.

Anita: That’s right, and it was only half an hour. Half hour they got the whole world in in half an hour.

Andrew: And then you went on?

Anita: And you went on. You ate your dinner and went on with your life, and you’re like, oh, well, I guess that’s what’s happening.

Jan: I Love Lucy and then you went to bed.

Anita: You’re back with your neighbors.

Andrew: And that’s what I think when I’m having these conversations that span generations. I’m thinking you lived through Civil Rights, you lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, you lived through harrowing things, and you’re afraid of today? Yes, there’s equal fears, but I think that—

Anita: Cuban Missile Crisis wasn’t on TV.

Andrew: Right.

Mark: No, it wasn’t.

Andrew: Exactly, we didn’t know–

Mark: I didn’t know about it till the movie came out.

Jan: It was, 1962, it was.

Andrew: I didn’t read about it until 30 years later.

Anita: But it was one day in your life. It wasn’t every day.

Jan: Exactly, and then we went on about our business because we weren’t gonna blow up. There was tension, but it was momentary tension. It was not this daily tension. And I think we were informed but we weren’t informed on an hourly basis.

Patsy: That’s how I became agoraphobic. Same story, over and over until it began to affect my mental health, and I became so stuck that I was hopeless, and I went from hiding in my house to hiding in my bed and one day I woke up and I though, well, where will I go from here? There wasn’t much of a path open, and so it was at that point that I began to say, Lord, I wanna get well, and if You show me, I’ll walk on that path. So He began me on a very slow process I thought but a very deliberate one and helping me get well, and it was by the very thing she said is the fact that our brain can choose paths to how we feel. And so God has designed us with the will that’s stronger than our emotions. So we can make a choice based on truth from a principle of God even when our emotions are objecting, and eventually, they fall in line with the truth.

“God has designed us with the will that’s stronger than our emotions. So we can make a choice based on truth from a principle of God even when our emotions are objecting,…” – Patsy Clairmont

Mark: Wow, how long were you agoraphobic?

Patsy: About six years in my home.

Mark: What age were you at this time?

Patsy: I was in my 20s.

Mark: And now, were you married?

Andrew: With children?

Patsy: I was married. Yes, I married when I was 17.

Mark: And you had children at this time, too?

Patsy: Had one child when I turned 20, and then that’s when things were accelerating.

Mark: Do you think it was postpartum?

Patsy: I think part of it was. I think not having the insight or the information that we have today delayed some of the help I could’ve had, but then again, I look and I think God’s timing is never wrong, so as stuck as I was, it may be how stuck I needed for my temperament to get to a place to say, “God, whatever you want me to do.” And when I began then to see breakthroughs, hope started coming back into my heart.

Andrew: And she lived in Michigan.

Anita: That’s a depressing place.

Mark: I love Michigan.

Patsy: I do, too.

Anita: No, but in the winter time, really everybody is agoraphobic, right? Like just get me inside next to a fireplace.


What is Agoraphobia? – William Bryan Bell, M.D., Psychiatrist

William Bryan Bell, M.D. | Psychiatrist

Dr. Bell: We have a condition, agoraphobia panic attacks drive that kind of a fight or flight. It’s like somebody just threw in 30 rattlesnakes, but I don’t see that—

Mark: That’s what they’re feeling?

Dr. Bell: That is what they’re feeling, and so I don’t see snakes, I don’t attribute what’s going on inside me to what I can see, and so I target I might be having a heart attack.

Mark: Right.

Dr. Bell: There’s an urgent intensity. Just as with 30 snakes, there’s an intense response to do something to get out of the situation That’s what agoraphobia panic attack feels like inside. Sometimes with panic, it’s just not that understandable that what triggers are. Are they out there? Yes, that’s how we work.

Mark: So what would you say to someone who says, “Oh, that’s what I go through. He’s talking about me.” What would you say? I would say, and I know from experience, when I feel that, and I have felt what you’re talking about where I’ll feel this anxiety. There’s nothing wrong. Everything in the world is great. My heart’ll start racing and I’ll think everything’s OK. Take a deep breath. And I’ll tell myself and literally just deep breaths help a lot, for me, but I also take Effexor. I take the smallest amount you can every day so mole hills aren’t mountains.

Dr. Bell: Sure, counselors, 29 years of doing this, I’m kind of used to talking with people who have been in the middle of a rattlesnake pit and don’t fully understand it. And so sometimes people … support isn’t quieting the reaction down enough. People are imperfect. Medications can be used supportively. They work in the physiology of the fight or flight reaction, kind of as you describe. They help chill it out. They help quiet the reaction. I see 30 snakes — my reaction to them is subdued. Is that helpful? It can be. If I wanna learn to deal with the snakes better, that’s the spiritual part. If all I want to do is make the uncomfortable feelings go away, well, that wasn’t God’s purpose in providing the trial and tribulation. We’re called to rejoice in trials and tribulations. Nobody does that. Most racing hearts, rejoicing isn’t … Well, why do the authors say that? Because through it, God’s helping us grow and mature, but that would mean what I’m going through has some spiritual attributes also.


Project Beautiful – Rescuing Beautiful Lives from Human Trafficking

Project Beautiful Sponsorship Message:

Mark: Dinner Conversations is now sponsored by Project Beautiful, which I love this organization but I had not heard of them until you brought them to my attention. How did you hear about them?

Andrew: Yeah, our executive producer, Celeste, and I found out through a friend of ours here in Nashville about the organization and, of course, human trafficking and the idea of modern day slavery is something that’s still fairly new to me as far as hearing about it and not just hearing about it but then understanding that this is a relevant conversation in our world today, that at this moment in history, more people than ever are actually enslaved, which is mind boggling to me. I think of it from a textbook scenario, American history or pre-Civil War, but in fact, through human trafficking rings, more people than ever are in slavery. You hear a lot of stories about people helping girls, women, boys, men, whoever, people who have already been in—

Mark: There are grown people involved in this?

Andrew: Adults.

Mark: Yeah, getting trafficked?

Andrew: That’s correct. Well, what Celeste and I were initially so impressed by is that with Project Beautiful, they’re not being rescued after being trafficked, they’re being intercepted before they’re being trafficked as they’re in the process. So, as human traffickers are deceiving them and—

Mark: Yeah, then they catch them at the border.

Andrew: That’s right.

Mark: I mean, that’d be kind of exciting. Hey, let’s tell them where to go.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s a easy thing. Go to projectbeautiful.org/dinnerconversations. That’s how you’ll find our partnership with Project Beautiful explicitly. You’ll be able to partner with us there, give. We’re gonna give you a little something just as a thank you because of how much it means to us. We hope that Project Beautiful becomes a part of your own big picture spiritual conversation in your family.

Mark: If we don’t help, who will? Project Beautiful, because every life is beautiful and worth fighting for.


Overcoming Fear

Andrew: Patsy, something we talked about earlier was getting over our self in the elements of understanding fear, putting fear in it’s place. Part of overcoming fear is getting over.

Patsy: One of the things that has really helped me in my development and growth is the truth that I wrote on two years ago, and that was a book entitled You Are More Than You Know. And what I learned in that is that I was more than I knew not because I was really something special but because God is greater than we can imagine and because He is Creator God, He has placed within us potential beyond what we’ve experienced yet. We cannot get to the limit of our potential because He is potential-less in regard to what He places within us opportunity wise as far as our gifting. So a friend came and asked me, “Would you like to go to a poetry class and an art class?” And I said, “Well, I don’t paint and I don’t poet.” Then I thought about that and I thought, well, I really need to learn how to take more risks or I won’t know what I’m capable of. And so I agreed to go, and when I went to the poetry class, every time the poetry teacher would give us an assignment, she would give us a word and say, “Write on this.” Every time she gave us a word, I would say, “Oh, I have nothing to say about that.” And then I would have to get over myself and I would have to say, “Give it a try. Risk it. See what’s inside here.” And so I would say to myself, “Self, do you have anything to say about water?” And that went down in me to a deep place and rose back up, and I knew immediately what I wanted to write about, and that was a story about my husband and I. We have been married for 54 years.

Andrew: And you’re 56-years-old.

Patsy: And I’m only 56. That little robber. This is what I wrote that day, and this is to my husband. The first time I met you and you held my hand, it was on the shore of Lake Superior. I was 15 and you were 16. The water stretched out around the world and back again. I thought I had heard a song on the waves as they washed my feet and caused me to leave for a moment imprints of my walk with you, and then as if a lake breeze had caused it, your hand found mine. My heart smiled at the thought that we, like the water and the shore, belonged together. And now we are seasoned with years and tears. We’ve known rough waters of change and loss. We have held tightly to each other’s hand, even when we weren’t sure why. The crashing waves of hardship wash away at our footprints but not our love. You are water. I am shore. We belong together.


Addicted to Fear

Patsy: Being someone who is addicted to fear, I can tell you that it has an addictive quality because there is a certain surge in there. There is a certain–

Anita: Adrenaline gets in there.

Patsy: Adrenaline but also sadness. You can get addicted to your own sadness and the sadness of the world—

“You can get addicted to your own sadness and the sadness of the world.” Patsy Clairmont

Jan: Ain’t that the truth.

Patsy: Just helps add to it.

Andrew: Why are you pointing this way when you say that? You get addicted to your own sadness, cue to the left.

Jan: Well, addiction to sadness. So when you begin to think about that, what is it about sadness that is so addictive?

Mark: Or attractive?

Jan: Yeah, who wants to be sad?

Andrew: I do.

Mark: You do?

Andrew: It is so–

Anita: A true melancholy.

Jan: What is good about it?

Mark: You love to be sad?

Andrew: Listen, the first time I ever knew you could actually feel good while being sad was when I first heard Emmylou Harris sing. And I grew up in Texas, and that old hollowed out voice, which has always sounded old even when she was 25-years-old, sang these strains, very plaintive strains—

Anita: The fact that you used the word plaintive strains means that you do not belong to this time. You were born in the wrong era. Plaintive strains, continue.

Andrew: When I was in elementary and middle school at recess time, I’d get asked to play kickball or volleyball or whatever, and sometimes I would, but more often than not, I would say, “No, thanks,” and opt to walk the perimeter of the playground on my own.

Mark: Oh, you were high drama. That is just high drama.

Andrew: Some of that’s introversion and lack of medication—

Mark: And you probably thought they were filming your life. I used to pretend I was the center of the universe, and they would be filming my life–

Anita: Like The Truman Show?

Andrew: And then he made it true. Welcome to Dinner Conversations.

Mark: Then Facebook made it true.

Mark: Or you can only relate to the people who deal with that same problem.

Andrew: It’s specific thing—

Mark: You become a poster boy or poster girl for agoraphobia or whatever, however you say that.

Jan: For that.

Anita: Arachnophobia.

Mark: Too scared to leave the room, that kind of thing.

Patsy: And what I like to deal with is fear in general because then that fits everyone.

Mark: Yes, really nice. It’s like writing a song. You can’t be too specific.

Andrew: What song did you write?

Mark: “Mary, Did You Know?” We like to mention that every program.


Mark: To learn more about Dinner Conversations, go to dinner-conversations.com.

Andrew: And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. That’ll allow you to get a new episode every week. Like us or don’t like us and leave a comment, good or constructively criticism.

Mark: And if it’s really, really, really mean criticism, we can delete you.


Season One title sponsor, Project Beautiful … a passionate community committed to saving lives from the terrors of human trafficking. Learn more about how you can partner with Mark, Andrew and Project Beautiful to help bring innocent lives home by visiting:

Project Beautiful: https://www.projectbeautiful.org/dinnerconversations


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