More Than 10,000 Dead People Cast Ballots in Michigan, Analysis Shows?

A worker with the Detroit Department of Elections carries empty boxes used to organize absentee ballots after nearing the end of the absentee ballot count at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center in Detroit, Mich., on Nov. 4, 2020. (Elaine Cromie/Getty Images)

A worker with the Detroit Department of Elections carries empty boxes used to organize absentee ballots after nearing the end of the absentee ballot count at the Central Counting Board in the TCF Center in Detroit, Mich., on Nov. 4, 2020. (Elaine Cromie/Getty Images) Election Integrity

By Petr Svab November 10, 2020 The Epoch Times

More than 10,000 people confirmed or suspected dead have returned their mail-in ballots to vote in Michigan, according to an analysis of the state’s election data.

About 9,500 voters confirmed dead through the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) are marked in the state’s mail voting database as having returned ballots. Another nearly 2,000 are 100 years old or more and aren’t listed as known living centenarians.

The analysis was provided by Richard Baris, director of Big Data Poll.

The data indicates that somebody else was trying to vote on behalf of these people.

“It’s also entirely possible that some of them aren’t even real people,” Baris told The Epoch Times via email. “If someone is 110 or some ridiculous age, we should have their death record but do not.”

Americans older than 110 are exceedingly rare; only a handful of such seniors are known to live in Michigan.

According to the 2010 Census, there were 1,729 centenarians in Michigan (pdf).

Even if somebody tried to vote on behalf of a deceased person, the vote would be rejected, according to Tracy Wimmer, spokeswoman for the Michigan secretary of state.

“Ballots of voters who have died are rejected in Michigan, even if the voter cast an absentee ballot and then died before Election Day,” she previously told The Epoch Times via email.

However, Baris isn’t convinced.

“While I’m open to the idea some of these have been rejected, I’m not open to any outright dismissal they all were rejected,” he said in a Nov. 8 tweet.

The data on how many ballots were rejected isn’t available yet, Wimmer said.

She said that “a ballot received for a living voter may be recorded in a way that makes it appear as if the voter is dead.”

“This can be because of voters with similar names, where the ballot is accidentally recorded as voted by John Smith Sr., when it was actually voted by John Smith Jr., or because of inaccurately recorded birth dates in the qualified voter file.”

This only happens “on rare occasions,” she said.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads in Michigan by less than 150,000 votes. The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Michigan to halt vote counting until Republican observers are granted adequate access. The GOP-led Michigan legislature is investigating allegations of election irregularities in the state.

In a Nov. 9 lawsuit, a Detroit poll watcher alleged thousands of mail-in ballots from people who weren’t properly registered to vote were added to vote counts.

Poll operators were adding names and addresses to the poll book with made-up birth dates, such as 1/1/1900, he said in a sworn affidavit.

Baris said the mail voting data he worked from likely isn’t up to date enough to capture any irregularities that happened Election Day and after.

“If they did that on Election Day in Michigan, then we likely wouldn’t know until December,” he said. “If it is true, then they’d, unfortunately, get away with it in the short-term.”

President Donald Trump is challenging the results of the elections in several states where Biden holds a tight lead. The Trump campaign is alleging invalid ballots were counted for Democrats, valid ballots were thrown away for Republicans, and Republican ballot watchers were prevented from meaningfully observing the vote-counting process.

How to Give Better, Consistent Appreciation

How to Give Better, Consistent Appreciation

Posted on by Karin Hurt David Dye

I try to give my team consistent appreciation. I always go out of my way to say thank you. But you know what? In two years, I’ve never received a single thank you from my boss. NOT ONE. I get that this is my job. But come on! I’ve led some big turnarounds here and made a real impact.

– “John,” Manufacturing Executive

Sadly, John is not alone. We’ve heard that lament so many times before.

Employees in every role long to be seen and know that you know they are making a difference.

When we ask these underappreciated “Johns” what kind of acknowledgment they most yearn for, the answer is radically simple:

“I just want a @#%@!% thank you.”

3 Ways to Get Better at Appreciation

If you’re reading this and think, “Yikes, that could be me” or “I probably don’t do enough” you’re not alone.  You might want to try these simple approaches to build a more deliberate appreciation strategy.

1. Involve your team.

When Karin was an HR Director at Verizon, her boss Gail had a brilliant approach to appreciation.

Each week on our staff calls she invited us to nominate someone in another department who had “saved the day” in a big way.

Maybe it was Tom in IT who rallied his team to get a project done in Herculean time. Or, Brian on the HR help desk who spent hours resolving an employee benefits issue.

She ordered mighty mouse statues with custom name plaques. Then, when we were together in our Manhattan headquarters for our staff meeting, we would take a break and all six of us would tromp around the building disrupting meetings and bursting into song, “Here you came to save the day,” as we excitedly handed them their mouse.

This ritual did all the things.

First, it had us on the constant lookout for people to appreciate. I know that focus upped my awareness which led to more informal “thank yous” than I might normally have remembered to do.

Second, we became known as a team that truly appreciated other departments. Which of course made them more eager to help us. You get more of what you encourage and celebrate and less of what you ignore.

Third, it had a remarkable teambuilding effect as we sang and laughed and ran around the building—in a world where we spent most of our lives in executive meetings conscious of our executive presence, this was a welcome relief and a reminder to not take ourselves too seriously.

And finally, we were role modeling what we wanted more of in the organization. An HR commercial per se of the positive impact of more appreciation in the culture.

In our final staff meeting before Gail retired, she gave each of us our own mighty mouse statue and shared specifically why she appreciated each of us. Not a dry eye in the room.

I still have my meaningful, mighty mouse displayed on my bookshelf.

Or Keep It Simple

Of course,  it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as statues and songs.

We have a senior leader client who has upped his appreciation game by asking each member of his team to give him two people to appreciate each week. Then, he carves out an hour every Friday to make appreciation phone calls and send thank you emails.

He shared:

When I reach out to provide appreciation, I’m very deliberate about who told me about the good thing we appreciate. The appreciation is really coming from the person who lifted it up, and I’m just the conduit.  I also think doing it on a Friday has a nice impact, so they head into the weekend feeling good.

2. Make a weekly plan.

Another approach to better and more consistent appreciation is to make a weekly plan.

When we find managers in our leadership training programs that wrestle with consistent appreciation, we share this simple tool.

Note: you can download this fillable PDF Appreciation Planner here.

Each week, you can think about three people that you could appreciate. They could be peers, direct reports, even your boss. Then, you make a plan for why you are grateful for their contribution and how you could appreciate them in a meaningful way.

If you save the plan each week, you can ensure you’re spreading your acknowledgment around and not inadvertently overlooking anyone.

3. Leverage the element of surprise.

The other day, we had a virtual coffee meeting scheduled with one of our clients. The doorbell rang. There was a delivery of a wonderful box of fancy pastries followed by some beautiful flowers along with this sentiment …

7 Suggestions to Successfully Lead Change

By Ron Edmondson November 11, 2020

Every organization — whether a church, business or nonprofit– needs change in order to continue to grow and remain healthy. But if you have been in leadership long you know there are some necessary steps to successfully lead change. 

The fact is change is hard. Very hard.

In my experience, the most common reaction to change — at least initially– is some form of rejection or rebellion. We simply don’t like change.

And that’s what makes change difficult to lead.

Learning to successfully lead change may be the single most important challenge of any leader.

I’m not an expert. But I’ve led some change. Some successfully. Some not.

Along the way I’ve learned a few things.

Here are 7 suggestions that can help you better lead change:

Establish trust. 

You can successfully lead change best from a pre-established trust in your leadership. New leaders should be careful not to implement a lot of major change early unless that change is vital to the organization. Major change will be easier if the leader has established some credibility.

Introduce change as early as possible. 

People need time to warm up to the change that is coming. The less you surprise people the greater your chance for success can be. Change always comes with an emotion attached and giving ample notice allows people a chance to acclimate those emotions. (Granted, this one is not always possible, but exceptions should be rare and have an obvious reason attached to them – such as a pandemic.) 

Communicate. Communicate.

Inform people along the way by keeping them updated with the progress during a period of change. Include the good news and the bad news in these updates. Hold nothing back. I’m not sure you can over-communicate. And use different means of communication to make sure you catch everyone and every style of listener. Finally, use a caring approach, recognizing their sense of loss they are feeling as a result of the change. 

Widen the distribution.

Get buy-in from as many people as possible. Sometimes leaders have to lead alone. People can’t understand where you’re taking them that they need to go, but may not even know yet or want to go. But those times of loneliness should be rare. Wherever possible, include others in decisions concerning change.

Follow through on commitments made.

The quickest way to lose trust is to say one thing and do another. Likewise, do not make commitments you cannot keep. Be true to your word. This is even more important when people are experiencing change.

Be consistent.

You will keep people’s trust through the change if it is easier to figure out where you are as a leader, what you are thinking, and why you are making the decisions you make. And the “why” — it’s critically important. People need to continue to trust your leadership, and the more they understand the why the more accepting they will be of change.

Keep changing. 

Do not make change a rare occurrence in the organization. I’m not suggesting change just to be changing, but the more you have a culture that anticipates healthy change the more it will be accepted when it comes. That takes time. And experience. You need some wins so people learn to trust you when you are trying to lead change.

Did This Really Happen In America?

CAUGHT! Election data analyzed, producing detailed list of over 500,000 votes SWITCHED from Trump to Biden via voting machine software theft, with heavy fraud focused on swing states

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 by: Mike Adams

New Copy URL 2,260Views

Image: CAUGHT! Election data analyzed, producing detailed list of over 500,000 votes SWITCHED from Trump to Biden via voting machine software theft, with heavy fraud focused on swing states

(Natural News) An analysis of the raw voting data dumps from the 2020 election, carried out by user “Centipede” (“PedeInspector”) at, reveals bombshell news.

It appears that hundreds of thousands of votes were switched from Trump to Biden via the software control systems of the voting machines. This was done in real time, during election night, which also explains why election counting was slowed in swing states in order to allow the election theft to be coordinated and executed.

PedeInspector explains how he wrote a script to detail all the instances of votes being lost or switched from Trump to Biden. His data source is the NYT raw data dump feed at the following link (which may not function once the NYT pulls it):

As The Gateway Pundit explains:

The author also claims that the data is from Edison Research and it is the same data that is used for election coverage by at least ABC News, CBS News, CNN and NBC News. It is also used for the website of the NYT, and probably others as well.

This json data feed is like a transaction log file. It shows each update to the voting totals, like a Flight Data Recorder (“Black Box”) on a commercial airliner.

He shows what one of the data switches looks like:

As you can see, votes were taken from Trump and added to Biden. In this case it was only a few thousand, but there were thousands of other vote switch transactions in the log files.

Understand that this is absolute proof of software-based vote theft. (See more details below.)

This is like having the black box recorder recovered after a jet crash. All the data are intact. The election was stolen over the ‘net, in real time.

A detailed list of the vote theft results

This list is organized by voting systems (voting software brands). We are highlighting the swing states in particular, so notice how the special emphasis on vote theft focused on these states.

Dominion Voting Systems :

Pennsylvania : Switched : 220,883   Lost Votes : 941,248
New Jersey : Switched : 80,242   Lost Votes : 20
Florida : Switched : 21,422   Lost Votes : 456
Michigan : Switched : 20,213   Lost Votes : 21,882
New York : Switched : 18,124   Lost Votes : 623,213
Georgia : Switched : 17,407   Lost Votes : 33,574
Ohio : Switched : 14,965   Lost Votes : 5,102
Virginia : Switched : 12,163   Lost Votes : 789,023
California : Switched : 7,701   Lost Votes : 10,989
Arizona : Switched : 4,492   Lost Votes : 0
Minnesota : Switched : 2,766   Lost Votes : 195,650
Tennessee : Switched : 2,330   Lost Votes : 0
Louisiana : Switched : 2,322   Lost Votes : 0
Illinois : Switched : 2,166   Lost Votes : 54,730
Wisconsin : Switched : 2,078   Lost Votes : 3,408
Colorado : Switched : 1,809   Lost Votes : 0
Utah : Switched : 1,627   Lost Votes : 0
New Hampshire : Switched : 973   Lost Votes : 116
Iowa : Switched : 938   Lost Votes : 477
New Mexico : Switched : 268   Lost Votes : 4,610
Missouri : Switched 0 :   Lost Votes : 20,730
Nevada : Switched : 0   Lost Votes : 0
Alaska : Switched : 0   Lost Votes : 0
Washington : Switched : 0   Lost Votes : 0
Hawaii : Switched : 0   Lost Votes : 0

Kansas and Texas use Premier Election Solutions, owned by Dominion Voting Systems.

Texas : Switched : 14,954 Lost Votes : 30,557
Kansas : Switched : 1,674 Lost Votes : 2,154

Election Systems & Software :

Nebraska : Switched : 30,086 Lost Votes : 50
Kentucky : Switched : 8,129 Lost Votes : 23,849
Arkansas : Switched : 3,664 Lost Votes : 20,748
South Carolina : Switched : 2,779 Lost Votes : 2,119
Montana : Switched : 2,330 Lost Votes : 1,276
South Dakota : Switched : 1,347 Lost Votes : 1
North Dakota : Switched : 234 Lost Votes : 681
Maryland : Switched : 203 Lost Votes : 0
North Carolina : Switched : 0 Lost Votes : 15
District of Columbia : Switched : 0 Lost Votes : 0

Unknown Systems:

Nebraska : Switched : 30,086 Lost Votes : 50
Connecticut : Switched : 3,834 Lost Votes : 272
Massachusetts : Switched : 3,613 Lost Votes : 51
Oregon : Switched 2,557 Lost Votes : 0
Alabama : Switched : 1,170 Lost Votes : 408
Mississippi : Switched : 355 Lost Votes : 0
Maine : Switched : 271 Lost Votes : 35
Rhode Island : Switched : 6 Lost Votes : 13
West Virginia : Switched : 0 Lost Votes : 78,300
Idaho : Switched 0 Lost Votes : 0
Oklahoma : Switched : 0 Lost Votes : 0
Indiana : Switched : 0 Lost Votes : 0
Delaware : Switched : 0 Lost Votes : 0
Vermont : Switched : 0 Lost Votes : 0

Rudy Giuliani confirms that Dominion software people are stepping forward as whistleblowers

In yet more shocking news that will change the course of history, Rudy Giuliani has now confirmed, during a live broadcast with Steve Bannon’s “Warroom” program, that Dominion software witnesses are stepping forward and blowing the whistle on the massive vote theft fraud:

Without the vote fraud, Trump wins with 307 electoral votes

The website shows the real election results once you remove all the vote theft.

Without vote theft: Trump wins with 307 electoral votes.

With vote theft: Biden wins with 304 electoral votes.

Fraud has been detected and documented in nearly all the swing states, including PA, MI, WI, GA and VA:

See full details at

Source reveals that the CIA ran the vote theft while Trump and the DoD documented the entire election coup

Yesterday, sources told us that the CIA was in charge of running the vote theft operation, with Gina Haspel deeply involved in straight up treason. On election night, President Trump and hand-selected DoD personnel were sitting in secure command room, watching and documenting the entire election theft taking place in real time.

All the vote theft was recorded in detail, and this vote theft was allowed to take place so that deep state treasonous actors could be caught in the act.

Big Tech, the mainstream media and the CIA are all conspiring to try to gaslight the nation and falsely claim that Biden won, even as they all know the election was stolen via voting machine software theft. This is why they are rushing to remove Trump from office right now, with John Brennan, Obama’s former CIA director, practically crapping himself on live TV and demanding Trump be immediately removed via the 25th Amendment.

That’s because Brennan and the other deep state actors know they’ve been caught. Trump has all the evidence. In fact, he has a detailed transaction log showing the fraud playing out in real time.

In the coming weeks, this information will be presented to the U.S. Supreme Court. We anticipate SCOTUS will invalidate the presidential election and kick the outcome back to Congress, where each state gets one vote to choose the next President. Republicans have a strong majority in the number of state legislatures they control, and they will easily win that vote. (Nancy Pelosi may refuse to allow the vote to take place, but if she does, she will be arrested for treason.)

Trump has fired former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and is cleaning house at the DoD in order to get the Pentagon ready for military arrests of the traitors who carried out this engineered election theft.

Hundreds (or thousands) of people will eventually be arrested and charged with various crimes, including conspiracy and sedition. Many of the deep state players who worked under Obama will go to prison once this is all said and done.

The insane, radical Left-wing lunatics in America will explode with rage and violence once the election is announced for Trump, and this will almost certainly lead to President Trump invoking the Insurrection Act and deploying troops on the streets to take down left-wing terrorists. At this time, America will be plunged into significant chaos and violence, which is sadly unavoidable as part of the process of draining the swamp and putting down left-wing terrorists.

All American patriots are advised to double check their rifles, ammo and red dot sights. This situation is absolutely going kinetic, most likely within the next 70 days. But the good news is that Trump holds all the cards and has all the evidence of vote theft that he needs to win.

Listen to my emergency podcast from Nov. 11th for a full explanation of what happens next: SCOTUS, Congress, Nancy Pelosi, military police and more. This is my current best estimate of where this goes and how Trump wins the election and defeats the deep state

What A Christian’s Heavenly citizenship means

Most every person is born a citizen of a political state or country where they have identity, rights, protections, and share in a certain culture, mores, and values. Additionally, we are told in the Bible that each person is also born into the kingdom of this world where Satan rules (2 Corinthians 4:4) and is therefore enslaved as a member of that culture, taking part in Satan’s values and practices—namely rebelling against God (Romans 6:16; Genesis 3:1; 1 John 2:16).

This is the sin we are born into and remain captives of until we are rescued and redeemed by Jesus (Ephesians 2:1–5). When we join the kingdom of God through the grace of Jesus and the power of His resurrection, our citizenship is transferred from the world ruled by Satan to the heavenly kingdom ruled by God (John 3:3). Philippians 3:18–21 describes this concisely: “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

The Bible tells us that our entry into this heavenly citizenship is like being born again (John 3:3; Matthew 3:2; 7:21; Romans 14:17). The Gospels record Jesus speaking of the kingdom of heaven repeatedly. He likened it to a field where wheat and weeds grew together, appearing similar. Jesus said the two would be identified and separated at harvest (Matthew 13:24–30). God knows the difference between those who belong to Him and those who only appear to. There are those who act like citizens of heaven, but have no relationship with Jesus and have not experienced a rebirth in their hearts (Matthew 7:21).

When we are reborn into the kingdom of heaven we are also made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Ephesians 1:13–14). He then begins His work of transformation replacing worldly desires with godly desires, making us more like Jesus (Romans 12:1–2; 8:29). It is through the Holy Spirit’s work that we are empowered to make decisions that reject the values of the world and practice those which honor God (1 John 2:15–17). Matthew 6:19–20 tells us that we can store up treasure in heaven. Additionally, as citizens of heaven, we are given the role of ambassador to others until we are recalled, in a way, back home (Ephesians 2:18–19; 6:20; 2 Corinthians 5:20–21).

Our time on earth is relatively short compared to eternity. We are called to live here as strangers in a land that is not our own, looking forward to living in our home land (Hebrews 11:9–10)

The Life Confession: A Discovery of God’s Mercy and Love

As we near the new liturgical year which begins with Advent, the mass readings focus on heaven, hell, sin and the final coming of the Lord. We also give our hearts and prayers to the Holy Souls in Purgatory to ease their suffering. In this period preceding God’s formation of the Holy Family, we feel a particular closeness to our deceased family members. It is a time to take a sobering look at our life both past and present. 

In prayer with God, that ‘look’ into ourselves can stir up a desire that is difficult to articulate. You cannot put your finger on it, but you sense the need to work through incidents, attitudes, and behaviors in your past life. Someone mentions a general or life confession, and your heart stirs even though you feel clueless as to what it entails.

A life confession is a review of your relationship with God throughout your life, finding patterns of brokenness and sin, and its impact upon the relational dynamic with God and with other people. Because of this, there is no straight path, road map, or instruction book. It is not a listing of all sins ever committed. Rather, it is an unveiling of the deep roots those sins have grown. In the beginning, it may feel as if you are standing at the beginning of a path overcome by fog and can only see a few steps ahead. 

Preparing in prayer with God not only uncovers patterns of known sin but also brings you to see your life from His perspective. God’s perspective of sin then becomes your understanding of it. From this, a major discovery occurs: the fog is not that sin of which we were already aware. It is the behavior that we did not know was sin, the suppressed wounds, the self-protective and self-reliant behaviors that fog up the eyes of the soul.

The Life Confession: A Discovery of God’s Mercy and Love gives a common example:

A mother receives the sacrament of reconciliation regularly with the same priest. This gives him some knowledge of her circumstances and spiritual growth. Through his wise guidance in the confessional, she has come to realize she is possessive over her children and in some ways even makes an idol out of them. In this, she begins to have a taste of the freedom experienced from true liberation.

She now decides to make a general confession of her life as the Holy Spirit has grown in her a desire for God. She spends two weeks praying daily in silence. God opens her eyes to several patterns of sin, including a tendency to be possessive about other relationships beyond just her children. In her general confession, the priest (guided by the Holy Spirit) is able to help her identify the fear at the root of this possessive behavior, its source and some of the other ways it manifests in her life. Through this, she now sees both the patterns of sin as well as specific sins she would never have known to confess without this preparation and general confession. She also knows she needs to develop her trust in God. She leaves this confession with the eyes of her soul wide open to the hope of mercy that will come as she prays on that which God has revealed to her. In her daily prayer, she can talk to God on a more personal, intimate level. He will continue to reveal to her knowledge of herself and of Him so she can grow in trust in Him. That growth begins to bring new vitality to all other relationships in her life, and love spreads.

Confession does more than heal the soul by absolution of sin. It is a personal experience of God’s profound desire for us. In spite of those sins, He has upheld and sustained us in love through every breath of our life. Now like the Father of the Prodigal Son, He embraces us in our conversion and our confession of these sins. Any relationship is a dynamic of exchange in love, and our sincere compunction is our return of His love to Him.

Shame and the Day of Judgement

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During this month of November, the Church’s liturgy (together with nature all around us) invites our hearts to consider the realities of death and judgment – events we prefer not to ponder, especially in our culture of comfort and hedonistic escapes.

The monks of the Middle Ages left us with a haunting, yet stunningly beautiful hymn entitled the Dies Irae, which proclaims that the Day of Judgment is at hand, and urges us to cast our hopes of salvation on Jesus Christ, as he resurrects us and tells the true story of our lives.

In elegant Latin verse, the hymn summarizes that great and dreadful Day: the world as we know it will be dissolved into ashes, the trumpet will sound, and all the dead will be raised from their tombs. Death itself and all of nature will stand agape as the Just One assembles us all before his throne. The written book will be brought forth, in which all is contained, and the stories of that book will be told publicly for all to hear. Whatever has remained hidden will be proclaimed openly. My true story and yours will be told in all fullness

At first blush, the thought of my full story being told for all to hear, full and unabridged, is utterly terrifying. When I tell my story to others, I get to pick and choose what they hear, to keep certain things in and leave other things out, to shade things my way. Not so on the Day of Judgment. My truth is my truth.

But I am learning that, rather than being a day of deep shame, the Day of Judgment (if I desire it) will actually be a day on which I am definitively healed from my shame. The very shame that fills me with dread at the thought of being seen and known is the very shame that needs to be brought to the light of day, indeed, to the light of The Day so often promised in Scripture. Until I am fully seen and fully known, I cannot truly be myself.

Is the Day of Judgment not a Day whose coming we pray for daily? Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come!” Many Christians often pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!” – in words that echo the last words of the Bible: marana tha (“Our Lord, come!”). If he does not come with the fullness of his truth and love, we will never become our truest and deepest selves. We will remain less than fully human.

Shame is a heavy burden and one with which I am quite familiar. I have spent most of my life finding ways to hide my true self from others. As an infant, as a child, as an adolescent, and beyond, I learned to hide what I was really feeling (shame, sadness, loneliness, or anger). I even pretended for many years like I didn’t have those feelings at all! I learned to be “independent” and self-reliant, pretending like I didn’t need anything from others. Needing others felt shameful. Reaching out for kindness and support felt uncertain and unsafe. And all the while a deep and painful loneliness grew – undetected for many years because it was the ocean in which I was swimming for so long.

In my hiding, I developed a vast array of subtle (or not-so-subtle) defenses that proved highly effective in keeping other people from having access to my truest, deepest self. What a bind that creates! My inner self continues (as God made me) to desire deeply to be seen and known and understood and accepted for who I really am – yet the moment good people actually draw near, I still tend to react in ways that keep them at a distance. I put on one kind of mask or the other, so they can’t see the real me.

Then, of course, there are my many sins – all the ways, over the years, in which I have stumbled in my ungodly self-reliance and self-protection; the harm I have caused to others and to self; the rupture to relationships. There are my darkest or most twisted fantasies – the “if only…” thoughts or urges that I like to pretend are not really there. How could I possibly look forward to those being proclaimed publicly on the Day of Judgment?

The Dies Irae provides the answer to all this anguish after it asks similar questions. What am I to do, poor wretch that I am, in the face of so great a Judge, before whom even the just cannot be secure? Is there anyone who can plead for me on that Day?

Yes. The King of Majesty will plead for me. He freely and gratuitously saves those who desire salvation. He longs to save me.

The hymn proceeds to tell the ultimate story, the definitive story – the story of Jesus, who though divine, freely and willingly emptied himself, became one of us, and saved us in his Passion and Resurrection. When my story is perfectly united to his story, every moment of my life has new meaning. All my masks can be removed and laid to rest, my true self can be seen, and all can hear my full story – a story redeemed and transformed by Jesus. When my story is told, all can hear how Jesus was there at every moment – especially the moments of greatest heartache, heartbreak, and shame, moments in which I was betrayed, moments in which I betrayed others. All the while he was attuning to my heart, and gazing upon me with love and kindness as a beloved child of his Father. He was suffering with me and for me, weeping with me, breathing life into me, and rejoicing with me.

When we talk about dying with Christ and rising with Christ, it is so much more than a cliché! We prefer to compartmentalize and lock away certain parts of our story. But that means leaving them unredeemed, and it means not being a whole person in Christ. Only when we allow him, the Alpha and the Omega, the true author of all human history, to take authority over all these shards and fragments, can we find ultimate resolution to the discord in our story. That means going down with him into the dark places and allowing him to shine forth with his love and truth. We all have memories in which (if we are honest) we do not truly believe that God is good. Jesus surprises us with the new life of his resurrection and opens us to be loved even in those memories in which we feel unlovable. We don’t have to hide.

The Dies Irae has many dark notes in it, and is a beautiful hymn. It ends with stunning trust and hope in the one who loves us and so empowers us to be just and holy. Perhaps the book that will be opened on the Day of Judgment will be more like a book of music. Each of our songs will be sung. No doubt, there will be many discordant measures, bearing witness to our darkest days. But if I give Jesus permission to tell my story, it will be a song that gives great glory to God. And all those assembled will only be able to sing a resounding “AMEN!” in response – for he is Truth itself