According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, more two thirds of American children reported at least one traumatic event by age 16, including witnessing or experiencing psychological, physical, or sexual abuse or neglect, national disasters or terrorism, sudden or violent loss of a loved one, a serious accident, or a life-threatening illness1. Sadly, these statistics only tell part of the story. They do not include the number of unreported cases or the number of children who have endured multiple traumas.
Many childhood traumas occur privately, where only the perpetrators and children know what happened, and neither may want to tell. Offenders may fear the legal and social consequences; children may feel confusion, shame, guilt or fear of stigmatization, or of getting themselves or their offender into deeper trouble. Some children (and some offenders) may justify the offense as somehow being appropriate or deserved.2
-Guest of the Now I See Podcast, Dale B. Sims.
In his book, “Dust Of A Distant Mesa”, Dale recounts the tale of a young boy suddenly uprooted and transplanted from his suburban midwest home to the wilderness of a reservation in New Mexico. There he began to experience the trauma of instability, hunger, poverty, and religious, cultural and racial disparity. He experienced physical, psychological and spiritual abuse. He observed the pain, confusion and fear that came from a lack of understanding, authoritarian rule, and injustice, that often led to resignation, hopelessness and despair. But that’s not how Dale’s story ends. Somehow he took the seeds of adversity and nurtured them into a life-giving vine that will wind its way into your heart and bear fruit that will feed your soul.
In early 2019, Dale’s father was very ill, and the family had been called in. Dale’s brother, hoping for an inheritance, jokingly asked if they had found gold while living in New Mexico. His father said no, but implied that something else had been gained, and said it was Dale’s story to tell. If there was something precious there, it was buried deep in layers of desert sand. Dale began digging through his past to uncover it, and found this treasure of a book.
“For some people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they block everything out. But for other people, every single second, every minute, becomes extremely clear. And they carry that with them for a long, long time. Some people never get over it because it becomes so clear,” Dale says, “[My experiences] were something I kept inside for a long time. There were parts of the story I didn’t share with anybody, not even my wife. There are things I have thought about and carried with me for years and years.”
“[My experiences] were something I kept inside for a long time….There are things I have thought about and carried with me for years and years.”
-Author Dale B. Sims
“The last few chapters were extremely difficult to write; they are the most emotional chapters in the book. There are a couple of chapters where I just had to stop. I just could not go on. I’d write as much as I could, and when I’d be overwhelmed with emotions, I’d go walk it off, work on my courage, and the next day I’d work on writing a little bit more. It wasn’t an easy write, but I wanted it to be an excellent write.”
Dale drew inspiration from writers like William Faulkner, O. Henry, Guy deMaupassant, and his story-telling grandmother, Clemmie Minton. “Clemmie, who lived to be 100, told wonderful family stories, shocking things–not stories that I would want to share outside of the family!” laughs Dale. “You could see in your mind’s eye what was happening because of the way she told the story. She knew how to share them in a way to help you remember them well. Clemmie Minton was very inspirational.”
“We are imaginative people. It’s easy for us to make up stuff and fill in gaps with what we think might probably be. I worked very hard at making sure that what I wrote is the way I remembered it–that it was the real thing. Time and space color our memories. We gloss over some things and sharpen other things.” Dale continued, “And I tried really hard to make sure the story I was telling is one that is worth reading.”
Dale confesses, “You don’t get many chances to tell your story, so once you tell it, you want everybody to remember it, and to remember it well.” Here are some of the things Dale hopes you will remember after reading his book:
“It’s not particularly a good thing to live in the past. It’s really a good thing to live in the here and now. Enjoy the days that you get. Make every day count. Spend your life encouraging people. Encourage people to spend their days doing extraordinary things with an ordinary life.
“Rather than concentrating so hard on what impressions are you going to make in the years ahead, concentrate on being the best person you can be right now. Be the kind of person that other people respect. Be the kind of person that is helpful, kind, caring, and tolerant of people that are very different from you.
“There is no such thing as the perfect family.”
-Author Dale B. Sims
“There is no such thing as the perfect family. There are a lot of people who come out of highly dysfunctional families, who are impressive individuals. Your past, although it shapes you in some ways, does not define you. You can overcome all of those things.”
Dale Sims is an impressive individual. He has multiple degrees, and was a leader in the fields of bio-sciences and information technology before becoming a popular professor at Dallas Baptist University. He served as the Dean of the College of Business at DBU, where he was awarded the Piper Outstanding Professor of the Year, and the DBU Business Faculty of the Year. He is a Fulbright Scholar, and is in the Southwestern College Scholar Hall of Fame. He speaks four languages and admits to “a smattering of four others”. He is the author of the book, “Latvia Matters”, released in 2012, and the recent Amazon Best Seller, “Dust Of A Distant Mesa”, now available in print, digital and audible. “I’ve had a great life,” Dale said. “I’ve worked hard and really enjoyed meeting people of all different walks of life and looking at different cultures.”
When the dust settles, this well-told and memorable book, full of trials, troubles and treachery, will at times, touch your heart, make you laugh out loud, and impart seeds of wisdom. It is, as its cover proclaims, “a true story of friendship, loss, redemption and courage.”
Contact Dr. Dale B. Sims