Thanksgiving

Well Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s the season of gratitude.    Oftentimes in my life; I find myself struggling and find myself being anything but grateful; I think like a lot of people I complain a lot when life is difficult and things don’t go my way; I fail to have gratitude on some days; it is something I am working on   I think I for one often focus on the things I don’t have and fail to see the wonderful blessings I have been given; it’s easier to look at the negative than to work on having a more positive outlook.  And I really don’t get envious about material things; sure I’d like a place of own but I realized that having people in my life is more important than material things.  So i find myself wanted what others have in terms of relationships/friendships (life can be lonely), having better health ( those that don’t struggle with anxiety or depression or physical issues ) or those with a higher job status. I compare myself to them a lot and put myself down in my own head. Why can’t I be more like them? Why do I have all these obstacles and am not as successful as they are. And of course it’s worth noting that we are all on different journeys and all have our own strengths and weakness and our own crosses to bear.  We just have to do the best we can with that we’re given and not to compare ourselves to other people because we have no idea what they are struggling with; the things that they don’t tell us.

And since I’ve started writing during Thanksgiving I always take the time to write something about gratitude but not only is it important for myself but others around me; to express how thankful I am for all the wonderful people in my life. I want to say I am so blessed that I finally have a relationship with God; I am growing in my faith and putting my trust in him. I truly believe without God; I would be lost in life and a whole lot unhappier; I’d be directionless; like being on canoe without an oar.   I prayed about getting a new job and out of this difficult situation and now I have a new job; a new lease on life and God came through; on those days when I felt all alone and was so depressed; God was there; asking me to be patient and all I had to do was pray and have faith. God has given me hope and the strength to move forward in difficult times; it took me a long time to reach this point.

And God has also blessed me with friends and family who I love; people who are rooting for me; they are happy for me when things are going well and they are there for me on rough days when I feel sad and hurting. I have friends and family I can turn to when I am struggling and they listen and I am extremely grateful for that; not everyone has that.  I have had people welcome me back home  and let me stay with them when I made it back to DC; I have had people visit me here; it means so much.  I have had people send me cards and letters; sometimes I am overwhelmed at how kind people are; I really care about a lot of you. I know I say it a lot but I am grateful to have friends like you. I am grateful to have the chance to help with the disabled ministry too; it has been a light in my life when I have have dark days.  It is probably to best thing to happen to me in a very long time and I feel it’s a turning point; where I can serve others and get out of self centered thinking; it’s an incredible feeling

I am also extremely  grateful for  my parents; who help me out so much and love me and accept me for who I am.  I can come to them with any problems I have and are there for me. I am blessed to have them in my life and they have always stood by me. They have been my best advocates; at times when no one else believed.  I love my parents so much and God has truly blessed me and I am not sure where I’d be without them.  And besides my parents I have family who i love dearly; while I don’t see them often; I communicative with them and they are really supportive and we all care about each other.  Family is so important to me and to know they care so much; really makes a difference in my.  So again I am blessed with an incredible family.  I said it earlier but not everyone is so lucky to have such a large caring group of people who love them so much.

I just wanted to lastly that I feel my writing is a gift and it gives me a chance to express to my friends and family how much I care about them in a way I couldn’t do it in real.  It’s a gift of expression and sensitivity and it’s brought me closer to people and I am grateful for that.   I am a very lucky person and if I could just keep gratitude in my mind; I might be more positive and just feel better overall.  I also want to thank everyone who reads my writings; comments on my posts, follows my blogs.  Thank you so much; your support is so incredible and I am humbled and grateful for everything.  Have a wonderful thanksgiving.

Dave

The importance of a church family

I am often get frustrated because I would love to attend church every Sunday and take that time to grow with a church community; hear a sermon among other worshipers and be with God in prayer; I think that time is something we should as be entitled to if that is something we wish to do on a Sunday morning.   Sadly I work in retail and it almost impossible to have a Sunday off but luckily today I was free and made it to church service; I sat with the disability ministry and was happy to see them.  It was a great way to start the day.  It’s interesting how the old me would have rather stayed up all Saturday night and slept in; not even giving the idea of going to church a second thought. But here I was excited to finally go to church; something very strange is happening.   But I feel blessed anytime I can spend time with God and others who have faith.

I communicate a lot with my friends who I had grown up with in the church; and to me they are like family; sisters and brothers and parents; I love them a lot and I mention them quite a bit in my blogs.  As I was sitting in that church with my new friends from the disabled ministry; I was at peace; a little anxious about when this new job is going to call me back but I tried to remain focused.  As the service began; there was a small choir of little kids ( all about 4 and 5 years old); really cute kids. One of the kids ran up to a microphone and almost knocked it down; everyone thought that was funny; he was real mischievous and hyper; like I was as a kid;  I looked at those kids and I realized that we as a church family were all children at one point; we grew up together; some of them I knew when I was 4 or 5 years old; just like those kids. We attended Sunday school together, sang in the choir,  were a part of plays, participated in children’s time; went to each other’s houses for dinner. We not only knew them but their parent’s as well and we grew into this close knit church family and it’s amazing when you stop and think about it. I took it for granted as a kid; this protective group and kids and adults. I was in youth group and we went on trips together; we went through tragedies together and we grew to love one another and it was a strong bond up until I graduated high school and sort of moved away from the church.

I just have this gratitude I was able to make it to church today and it was perfect since it is the week of Thanksgiving.  I find it amazing that we are all adults now and many of my friends have families and children of their own; they have moved on and live in different places; met new groups of friends; have careers and yet we still communicate with each other. That friendship and bond didn’t fade over time for some of us.  Ever so often I’ll share those memories with my friends and they agree how important our friendships were; it shaped us.  The love of the church is so important especially when you I ostracized everywhere else. Just to know I had this safe place to go to with people who loved me; gave me comfort.  And that’s what was going through my mind as I was sitting in that church.

I want to end this blog though with another thought.  It is Thanksgiving week and we should keep gratitude on our minds. For those of you who have the privileged of being able going to church every week; I want you to stop for a moment and think about those who may not have the luxury of being part of a church community; maybe they work on Sundays or they live in a country where they can’t practice their religion; or they are in prison or wherever they can’t attend church.  I think a lot of people take for granted the ability to attend church regularly. And when you have miss service after service; I think you have a greater appreciation for the importance of attending church and being with God. I am not trying to point my finger or preach; it’s just something that crossed my mind.  I wish I had gone to church more often when I had the chance. I wish I hadn’t turned my back on God or my church family; but I can’t control the past. I can only take the time to attend church when I can and express my gratitude towards God when I can attend.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving; may God bless you and take care of yourselves.

Dave

 

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Jesus and the outcasts

I am really growing in my faith although I can’t make it Church service due to work and I should crack open my bible more; I try to live by the principles of Jesus’s teachings            ( which I have read several times)  and I often think about how God is working in my life.  I pray a lot when I feel other’s don’t accept me; they treat me as if I am unworthy and I’m sure mock me when I’m not around; I’m different.  I’m a pretty sensitive and gentle person and that is seen as a weakness; I have mental health issues; which I’m sure people pick up on; I have a lot of physical health issues and I am often uncomfortable which makes me anxious and people see anxious people as suspicious ( at least in my case) when they’re not. So I have felt and continue to feel like an outcast in many social situations.  The people who grew up with me accepted me but most outside of that circle have treated me poorly and that hurts.   So I was thinking about that the other day and if you read in the bible; Jesus didn’t seek out perfect people; the best looking guy in town; or the smartest guy; or the man in great health or someone that could communicate well; he chose those that were considered outcasts; tax collectors; those in bad health; those who stuttered ( Well that was in the old testament but you know what I mean) because Jesus knew that they could be the ones to effectively bring his message to ordinary people.  And Jesus didn’t go around helping only the rich or the highly educated; he helped sinners; prostitutes, the sick and the lame; people that society threw away              ( much like today)  But Jesus spread the word of God to them and healed them because the weakest members of society are the ones who need the most love and care.  It is so touching to read these stories of how Jesus cared for those who were outcasts. In a small way I saw myself in these passages and at times cried because I realized that I had pushed away God and yet he was also there to embrace me and accept me back; whereas people don’t always accept you back into their lives or have forgiveness in their hearts.  So when I feel mocked and pushed aside and made to feel like an outcast; I’m proud of that because I know Jesus is holding me up and giving me comfort; protecting me from the harsh world.  Not only do I love Jesus as the son of God but as a man; A selfless man who unlike the world preached that society should take care of it’s sick and disabled; it shouldn’t cast out anyone who is different; we should accept and love them; not in spite of their differences but because of their differences.  Having God in my life has given me hope in a world that sometimes feels hopeless; where people are so unkind to each other; where there’s no mercy or justice.  Times like that I close my eyes for a second; send a prayer to God; and while I may be anxious or hurting; I have peace knowing he is listening to this outcast and sending love down to him during those rough days.  Amen to that.  Remember that God is love and with him anything is possible

Dave

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I got the job

I am so happy right now.  I have been on the job search for a few weeks now and it has been real stressful; I thought that I’d have to stay at Sears until the very end; which was a depressing scenario.  Anyways today I had my second interview with Costco; I had my first one only yesterday and I felt it went well.  I was really nervous today but I gave myself a pep talk and sent out a little prayer and thought about how supportive my friends were and how God was looking out for me and it calmed me down a bit.  It was a much shorter wait this time around and luckily I was interviewed by one person.  The conversation went really smooth and I felt confident in explaining how I handled certain situations at Sears; he just replied “Great, great” and moved on to the next question.  I asked him what the  job entailed ( like I did yesterday)  Its just bagging and gathering carts but also keeping the front end clean. I told him I was a hard worker and I didn’t like to stand around and do nothing ( which is the truth).  I know this job will be a challenge but I am up for it and willing to work hard and do the very best I can; I know I can do it; because anything worth having is worth working hard for.

I think God is working in my life right now; he is really looking out for me.  I was at a real low point and was depressed for a long time; my mental health has deteriorated and I felt so alone here and was just asking God for a miracle. At first I thought that leaving Sears was such a sudden thing and I felt like it was a bad thing but now I see it as a blessing in disguise; they is a new and much much better opportunity for me and I’m going to run with it.  I know I saw this a lot but God has blessed with me with the most loving friends.  I posted my good news and immediately my phone was just buzzing like crazy with texts and messages and notifications from my social media; my support network is unbelievable; I can’t describe how it feels to have all of these people who care about me so much; some days I can’t wrap my brain around; it really makes a difference in my life. Oh that support includes my blog followers as well. Thank you so much for all of your kind words.  So I am extremely happy right now. I am going try to calm down a bit; I’m  little too hyped right now and I am going to  treat myself and order some Chinese Food.  Today was an incredible day and It wasn’t me; it was God; he’s the one who made this all happen.  Thank you again, friends.  Good things do happen in this world if we’re patient; I truly believe that.

 

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The picture is a little blurry but I was so ecstatic after this interview.  Just such a relieve to finally have a new job!

 

What gets me through rough days

Thanksgiving is coming up and this is the season for gratitude; although I  know when I am in a negative space; it’s easy to be anything but grateful.  I wrote earlier about how I was struggling at work; how I was anxious and felt overwhelmed and I also want to add that I feel antagonized at times; people will try to engage me when it’s clearly obvious that I don’t want to talk to them; it only makes me more anxious and irritable.  Anyways today was another frustrating day; the Christmas music is really grating.   I tried really hard today to focus on the good things in my life that could make me smile and the first thing I thought about was the overwhelming positive responses I get on my blog; beautiful comments that make me feel like my writing makes a difference in people’s lives or that someone can relate to what I’m saying; that I’m not  alone because when I am at work; feeling like I have no value and people are looking at me and treating me as if I am terrible person; I feel completely alone and helpless; it’s just a negative place to be. So thinking about how all my wonderful followers helps me to see that I do matter; I do have talent; I am worth something and I don’t deserve ( no one does) to be treated this way. So I say it a lot but I’ll say it again; I am so so extremely blessed to have you in my online life; we are a community and I really appreciate how supportive people are; it’s heartwarming ( Here I am again; overemotional). If only you know what your responses meant to me on days like this.

I also thinking about my friends and family who I love so much. I get so many positive responses from them as well; they are rooting and praying for me and I also don’t think they realize how much they mean to me; I am blessed to have such caring friends because not everyone has that.  I have friends I can message when I am struggling and they accept me for who I am. I have pretty much told them everything that is going on with me ( the anxiety and being on the spectrum) and they are extremely supportive; I really cherish those friendships. It hurts that they live so far away; otherwise I’d see them in person.  So when I feel mistreated at work; I think of my friends and family and I feel grateful for them.  I know that I am a kind person and I’m gentle ( in the right environment) and a lot of people see that as a weakness and therefore treat you poorly but it’s not reflection on me; it’s reflection on them.

The last thing I think about that makes me feel better is my volunteer work with the disabled ministry; it has been such an incredible experience; I really love working with these young adults and how unbelievably kind they are; and the least judgemental people I have come across; they will be your friends right away.  I love my fellow volunteers, the lady who is the leader; I have really grown to love her; she is very sweet and thinks highly of me; which is not at all how I feel at work. Apparently she has told other people about how much she appreciates me helping and how much I care;  it’s such a welcome relief from being treated like a pariah who can’t do anything right.  It’s just a positive environment since it’s in a church; it isn’t noisy; no one is rushing you; everyone is respectful; no loud abrasive music and I enjoy being there; among the young adults who are a joy to work with.  I also have gotten to know some of the parents of the young adults and various church members; such as a 91 year old woman who adores me ( she gives me a hug every time she sees me) and she brightens my whole week; like having a grandma again.

I think about all those things and realize God is working in my life; he is taking care of me and that this rough patch is temporary.  So yes I am stuck in the noisy, dirty place; on my feet; full of people I don’t like but I can change my mindset; I don’t have to let them control me. They may be able to take away my time and my dignity and  some of my sanity ( lol)  but they can’t take this blog or my writing; they can’t destroy my wonderful friendships; they can’t control my thoughts or feelings;they can’t take away my relationship with God; it gives me the power back; I don’t have to let them have so much control over me.  God has blessed me beyond belief and I will continue to pray and get up and do what I need to do everyday; God will give me the strength to get through this; I believe that with all of my heart.

edit- As I was writing this I got a phone call from Costco and I have a job interview tomorrow. I am so excited and this is another reason why God is working in my life. When I am at my lowest point; he comes through; he listens and I might just get that Christmas miracle; a new job and maybe a positive new chapter in my life. God is good.

 

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God, are you listening?

Whenever I talk to you; I hope your listening; I hope you can hear me when i ask for help. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m talking to you or myself and if its just an echo ;i just don’t know. Some days I think you’re around ; other days you seem to be nowhere in sight and I feel alone in my thoughts and feelings. I tell myself you love me and will always protect me but sometimes life can be hard and I often blame you; when I know its not your fault. Be patient with me because I’m doing the best I can and please be there for me when I need you; even on days when i push you aside. 🙏

Dave

 

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Dreaming about God?

I have been really stressed lately and it disrupt my sleep; it has been weeks since I’ve gotten a full night’s rest ( 8 hours); daylight savings time didn’t help matters much. I think last night; my body collapsed and I caught up on that lost sleep; I was sleeping for at least 9 hours.  And I had a really intense dream; which I think had a lot of meaning.  In the dream I was a at a church and this person who lived up the street from me when I was kid was famous chef.  He had a different name but  I knew it was him but he didn’t recognize or acknowledge me; so we didn’t talk.  After the seminar or whatever it was; I was walking with a bunch of people who I didn’t know and I decided not to follow them out of the church but I took the staircase instead; I was by myself. I went down a few flights but the door was locked. So I just opened whatever door I could find.  Each door lead to a completely dark hallway with only a few rooms; I couldn’t see a thing.  As I was walking; I keep hearing this voice like from above ( maybe a loud speaker); it was calling out the name of the person I knew from church that had hurt me.  I was really scared that I would never make it back to the parking lot so I could go home.   I ended up in a lit room and I saw a window and outside it looked like my backyard. It was high up but I knew it was my only chance and I jumped and landed on my feet.  I then realized that the yard was surrounded by a large creek all around. I was trying to determine how I was going to make it across the water.

I then woke up; late for work but i managed to jot down the dream as soon as I woke up because it seemed important.  There is so much to this dream. I mean, I’m in a church and I’m lost.  I just went through a painful experience with someone who I knew from church and during the dream the voice called out her name. Could that voice be the voice of God? What is God trying to convey to me through this dream?  I feel lost at times and I struggle with my faith.  I try hard to be a good person and make friends but always find myself locked out ( pushed aside) and it’s a dark feeling.  I just woke thinking; whoa; this was quite a dream.  I hope that I can find my way someday and be able to open more doors in my life so that there’s more light instead of dark hallways.   All I know is I must have a lot on my dreams are trying to tell me something.

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My mountain Trip

Well I just got back from a 3 day fall retreat to the mountains with the disability ministry  that serves those with special needs.  I was taken aback when the leader asked me to go on this trip since I’d only been there a few weeks. I guess she could see how well I interacted with the young adults and how much they liked me.  I was concerned about some of my physical issues but I learned to manage them because I was determined to make this trip a success and not let it get in the way of being there for the young adults we were helping.  And by the way; in the short time that I have known them; I have really grown to care about them and I hope the feeling is mutual.   I get along with them great and I have stated earlier but they all are so kind and gentle; with the biggest hearts of anyone you’ll ever going to meet.  It was touching to see how happy they were and how much they cared for one another; when others were down they made such an effort to cheer them up; at one point praying over someone; I was amazed.

This trip was also good for me because it has been a stressful and painful few weeks with a lot going in my life; I needed a break and this trip kept me so busy that I forgot my troubles for a short while and focused on being a part of this ministry instead.  And we were really busy; we did all sorts of things like cooking meals, bible study; hot dog roast, apple picking, out to dinner and exploring the mountain city; it was busy busy busy but they really seemed to enjoy themselves; they were very excited everywhere we went. One of the more frustrating parts of the trip was that a few times I noticed people giving us funny looks and that made me sad. These young adults are so cool and funny and sweet and yet the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way. But you obviously can’t react so you  talk to the person next to you and continue eating your chicken fingers; pretending not to notice the people staring at us. But for the most part; people were accepting of them and that made me smile.

When I joined this group I was also looking forward to getting to know some of volunteers and I felt that I was able to connect with most of the people there; really well.  Oh and I have always managed to get to know some of the parents of the young adults and I can tell some of them really like me; I really try to get to know them and hopefully they can realize how much I care. Anyways while I get along with a lot of the people; .  I am exhausted and I finally have a day off; so I am taking this day ( how did i get Saturday off?) off to rest and recover from this positive yet emotionally draining trip.

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A mountain poem

The mountains so beautiful before me; air crisp and cool; a crow provides the soundtrack as i enjoy this time of peace with God; alone in my thoughts; bright blue fall sky as I rock in this chair; smoke billowing from a nearby kitchen where we cooked breakfast; reflecting on the days events as i prepare to go back; back to the routine, but for now i am peace with the cold wind blowing at me. This is time I need ; time to reflect; gather my thoughts. Nature inspires me to write out my inner thoughts to no one and everyone at the same time. A good trip this was; just what i needed.

 

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Learning to serve others ( An Update)

It’s been about a week or more since I’ve written; which is a lot for me; and I have been too tired and busy to write but I wanted to give you guys an update.  Things are going very well right now and I’m trying to stay positive even though sometimes I find myself depressed and anxious; working a job I hate and feeling lonely can be difficult but I feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am continuing my volunteer work with the disability ministry and it has been wonderful.  I really get along with both the young adult with disabilities and the volunteers running the organization; I can tell there is a lot of love there and people really care for one another; after working in such a negative environment; this is a welcome relief.  They paired me with a young adult with disabilities; he washes dishes; I dry. To be honest I have so much fun talking with this dude that it doesn’t feel at all like at work. Not only am I connecting with the volunteers and the young adults but also with other members of the church; this is perfect since I work Sundays and never make it to service; which is a real drag, you know.  To me people with disabilities are some of the kindest; least judgmental people I have ever been around; they’re easier to get along with than some non-disabled people; that is for sure. It doesn’t take much for them to be your friend; just be nice to them and treat with respect and they’ll accept you; you can’t say that about most people.  I feel God has placed this opportunity in my life and I’m running with this; it is such a positive thing for me when life has been so hard for the longest time.

I admit I can be a pretty self centered person; lost in my own thoughts and needs.  I can be self obsessive and I endlessly throw myself pity parties and complain about the things in life I can’t control but yet when I am helping others; I forget about myself after awhile and I feel a boost in my mood.  I love to make people smile and I smile in return. It’s nice to feel needed and be around people who want to make a difference; I am not getting a grade or a paycheck so there’s no pressure; I’m doing it out of the goodness of my heart and I think that is what God calls me to do.  This is the best cure for depression and certainly for chronic loneliness; to connect with others in a positive way; if only everyone knew about this; the world might be a better place.

We had a get together and to be honest; those kinds of things make me nervous. I’m never good around large groups of people; I get anxious and lost in all the noise and chatter around me. I am not the best at keeping up with conversations and I often feel ignored or misunderstood so I leave frustrated.  But for whatever reason this get together had about 30 or 40 people ( some I knew from the lunch crew) made me less anxious.  The lady who ran gave me a big hug and said ” I am so glad you could make it; it’s good to see you”; I felt really welcome unlike most social events.  And I was able to meet some of the other volunteers;; one guy was in the same program at college as me and he was telling how bad it had become and I explained my terrible experience at my internship and how this organization was much more positive; he agreed. It really is a difference from my internship where I didn’t feel welcome and all I saw was support workers bark orders at clients and treat me with disdain; this ministry is a world of difference. They had a huge house and we all had dinner and I got to know people; it was nice to talk to them. I was impressed about how much they cared for the young adults with disabilities; they weren’t clients but more like friends; even family I might say.  This is what I’ve been praying for all these years; something in the here and now I can focus on; instead of relics from the past. I walked out feeling really good and optimistic.

There is only one down side to all of this. I feel an almost high; an elation after working with this group but then I had to go back to work; which is negative and brooding; noisy; dirty and full of people who just don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves; reality. But all of it is jarring; two polar opposites; feeling incredible one night and going to work in the morning and feeling like nothing again; it makes me terribly depressed; hopeless even. I know I have to get a paycheck but does it have to be so damn difficult; why is it so negative and how do i cope because someday I feel like I am going to lose it.  I am holding to this group as the only positive thing I have going for me right now. It’s not much but it’s a start.

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

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