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
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.
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
Many people who have known me know that I am the biggest Beatles fan; a little obsessional perhaps but their music has shaped me from childhood all the way to adulthood; getting me through some of the roughest patches in my life. When people think of the Beatles they may not think of any spiritual music in their catalog ( and remember we are talking about spiritual and not religious) and while there may not be many; there are some songs that I consider to be spiritual in nature and most are from George Harrison.
And let me just say that even now I have difficulty picking my favorite Beatle, but I will say that very few people would choose Ringo as their favorite ( right?). I appreciate all their styles; Paul represents to me the more melodic pop side that I like; his music is mainly happy and upbeat. I really love John; his witty sense of humor and sarcasm; I can relate to his activist side; an idealist trying to make the world a better place through music and art. And George ( the quiet Beatle); his music more understated; his songs with the Beatles may not stand out to some but they do to me. During the later years he really grew as a songwriter incorporating his interest in Indian spirituality into his music; adding sitars; a virtually unknown instrument into the rock world. Not only does George interest me as a musician but as a person. I admire his intelligence and gentleness as a man; he just seemed like a kind person who didn’t have the ego of his other band mates; he didn’t buy into the mythology and that is what I most admire about him.
When I was a kid all I listened was music from the Beatles ( solo works included). I have this clear memory of us as a family driving to the beach and playing George Harrison “My sweet lord” as we on a bridge; over looking the Atlantic Ocean in Norfolk, VA with the battleships in the distance; that music gave me a lot of comfort and I’m not why. Every I hear it I just get this calming feeling when I hear that song. The lyrics are so beautiful; and you can deny the spirituality. ” I really want to see you. I really want to be with you. Really want to see you lord but it takes so long, my lord”. It really doesn’t get any more spiritual than that. And if you listen to his first solo record “All things must pass” it can be overbearing at times and preachy but the message of love and god and spirituality is all there; I think that is important in music. I think we all need something to turn to in times of trouble ( no pun itended) and music can serve that purpose.
I remember I was 14 I was at a friend’s house. Something happened where I was sick but my parents weren’t home so I went to a neighbor’s house and she ( his mom) took care of me. I was looking through her cd’s and noticed she had the White album by the Beatles; I don’t think I had ever heard it all the way through. I asked to borrow it and I ended up listening to it over and over; analyzing the songs and just soaking it all in. It’s such an underrated albums with so many different styles; a lot of people don’t like it but I think it’s album that is way ahead of it’s time ( particularly Helter Skelter. First metal song ever, right?) There was one song by George Harrison titled “long long long” and at first listen it sounds like a love song. The chorus goes ” It took a long long long time. Now I’m so happy, I’ve found you. How I love you”. That sounds like pretty much like every love song you’ve ever heard but the music is somewhat somber and has a serious tone; it doesn’t sound like “Something in the way she moves” or “If I fell” This song was something else entirely; it was haunting; it stuck with me and through the powers of the internet I researched the meaning of the song ( like most nerds do). The general consensus is that its not a love song at all; in fact it’s a song about God ( or spirituality if you will) The years of searching for the answer and finally finding it in God; how long that search was but the happiness gained from finally knowing God. At the time I had not found God yet but I appreciated it’s meaning. Now as a spiritual person I find the sound hauntingly beautiful and relatable on a deep level.
I wrote this as I listened to “long long long” for the thousandth time in my life; music has played a big role in my life; the soundtrack to my life and I find so much inspiration for my writing in it. It’s a shame that George Harrison only got 2 songs per album during his days with Beatles; he think he was far more talented than his band mates gave him credit for. And I think he could have added even more depth to the Beatles music had been allowed to record more music. I hope after reading this you can listen to the songs and George Harrison and hear the spirituality coming from the music and maybe gain some comfort in his gentle spirit ( may he rest in peace)
Thanks for listening
This post may seem jumbled due to the fact I’ve had little sleep and I’m anxious about this incoming storm; the wind is starting to pick up and we are prepared for a tough few days. Anyways I decided to get back on Facebook so I could let people know how I was doing with the hurricane and to see if they are okay; I also messaged everyone I knew who lived in the area; I am anxious and I get overly concerned when storms like this come. As far as I know everyone is managing the storm or evacuated; that made me happy. I also created a fundraiser for this Suicide awareness walk yesterday and had a goal of $150 to raise; the goal was reached within 5 or 6 hours; with only two donations; one person was so generous and gave $100 and I am so grateful to have friends who care so much; people who love me and are there when I need them. So that being said I plan on logging off after the storm and only checking Facebook periodically so I don’t get back into that addictive cycle. I really want to continue giving myself a break from social media because I realize how much better I feel without it.
So I’m at work and I waiting on replies to the numerous message I sent. So people are replying and I’m answering some messages making sure everyone is ok. I haven’t slept well and I am just not functioning; maybe it’s anxiety. I had my phone off for a while to save the battery and as soon as I check Facebook; I get this random message request from someone I don’t know. I am always hesitant to accept message from strangers; last time it was some guy trying to sell me medical marijuana or some catfishing account. I open the message and he said “David I want to apologize for being mean to you when were younger; I had low self esteem and you were a good guy” I’m thinking who is this guy and when did he bully me? The only bullies that really affected me were in elementary school and I remember all their names and to be honest I would never respond to them ( even after 25 years). So I asked him when did he bully me. He said middle school; now at that time my home life was chaotic; my brother was away at a treatment center and he took his life when i was in 8th grade ( 14) so I don’t remember shit from that time in my life; there was too much going on and I mentally blocked it out. If anything I was the one who bullied others; not the other way around. I thought about it for a second and how I should respond and I basically said ” I don’t remember you and I don’t care when you bullied me because it doesn’t make a difference; I accept your apology” He said thank you and that was it.
In my exhausted state; I sat for a minute and thought about the courage it took for this person to contact me after 20 odd years. He must have been carrying this around for awhile; feeling bad; not realizing I have no memory of it or grudge. But I hope now he has found peace in regards to that and I was able to show grace and mercy; just like Christ calls us to do. It’s an amazing thing to be on the other of that for a change. I can’t tell you how many times I have said hurtful things and wanted to make a amends so bad and the person didn’t accept my apology; like i poured my heart out and was sincerely sorry and you’ve shown no mercy; you know how much that hurts? I stated earlier in my other post about an old friend who was upset at me because I said something hurtful on Facebook. She was clearly upset and I just remember feeling so bad I had hurt her. I apologized and instead of holding it against me; she had enough grace to accept my apology and reconnect with me; that’s an amazing thing; it shows that this person cares and has a good heart. With a few exceptions; I always accept people’s apologies given the right amount of time. Because when we hold grudges; it’s like poison and it eats away at us and who knows how bad this guy felt for bullying me. I mean we were kids and we were are assholes, right? I know I was. And so many people have their definitions of what a man is and in my opinion a man recognizes when he is wrong and has the courage to apologize when needed. So while I won’t be adding this person; I now have the utmost respect for him. What a powerful lesson on grace and humility today. God works in mysterious ways
Have a good one
Ted sat in his car; early in the morning; feeling the summer burn his neck; the sun partially blinding him; in front of a breakfast joint he had been to a thousand times. He watched the early bird crowd shuffle in slowly; eagerly awaiting their morning meal. He felt nervous; his leg shaking at lightning speed; his hands quivering; his forehead drenched with sweat and it wasn’t from the heat; he was anxious about what he was about to do. Ted stared at his watch; a cheap daffy duck watch his nephew had given him as a gag gift last Christmas. Ted remembered how his sister stopped talking to him after he go out of the jail last time and demanded that he was not to see his beloved nephew until he got his act together. Ted shook his head and thought to himself “How did it get this far?” The time ticked on and on and Ted became more visibly nervous; fortunately people passed by him in the parking lot without noticing the anxious man in the car; chain smoking. Where is he; Ted said out loud. He checked his phone; waiting for a message that Bill would be arriving soon. Minutes go by and the text alert chimed on his phone; Ted saw the message in sheer disbelief it read; the cops are here with a warrant; they found everything; you are on your own. Don’t do it, man. Just forget about it and find a place to hide”. Ted slammed his phone down in anger. “Dammit what am I going to do now? I can’t do this alone. Oh shit oh shit. Just think this through” Ted thought about how desperate he was; the debt he owned; the threat of broken knee caps; his mother’s medical bills; it was all too much for one man to take. His back was against the wall and said the phrase that had become his mantra in life “Fuck it”. He walked into a restaurant fully intending to rob them for all their worth; cash registers; old ladie’s purses; tips on the table; that was his money as far as he was concerned.
Ted noticed the beautiful woman with a cheery smile guide him to his next table; a part of him felt bad about this; he didn’t want to hurt anyone but he felt he had no choice in the matter and he never backed away from anything in his life. Ted had a moment of hesitation when he saw a young boy out to breakfast with his grandparents. He thought about all the breakfast’s he went to with his grandpa; right before their fishing trip where he had time of his life. He got lost in the moment; lost in the past; days that no longer existed. A smile ran from his face when he realized he was going to rob the place; he felt down around his hip to make sure the unregistered pistol was still there; yep still there. He felt like such a man with a gun on his side; he just hoped that the gun wouldn’t jam; like the robbery where the gun jammed; the cops had an informant and he spent 6 years in prison; only to be released 3 weeks ago. The waitress came to the table; scaring Ted who was panicking about his next move. “Would you like to order?” she asked. Ted nervously replied ” Uh yeah umm I guess I’ll have the Early bird pancake special with a coffee” “I’ll be right back with that” she said in all too familiar cheery voice that Ted detested.
Ted was having second thoughts as he walked toward the bathroom to try to calm his nerves. As he was walking he noticed a group of Priests out to breakfast; he got a knot in his stomach. Now he felt even worse; how could he rob these men of God?. For years he wore a cross on his neck but had given up on God and religion a long time ago. Robbers have little use for church he chuckled to himself. One of the priests; an older man; said to Ted ” Are you ok, son? Do you want to sit down with us and talk about it?” Ted shook his head no; and half paying attention; almost walking in front of a waiter;carrying trays of food; who angrily explained ” Hey buddy watch where you’re going”
Ted walked past him into the bathroom and into a stall. He said to himself “I don’t know about this I can’t do this. What if i fuck up again; I cant go back to prison. I can’t” Ted felt himself panicking. Suddenly Ted heard the sound of footsteps which made him even more nervous. He again felt for the gun around his hip as a reminder of his intended mission. He pulled the gun out and checked to see if it had bullets; he knew they were there but he needed to be sure. Ted opened the chamber and in his sweaty nervous hands clumsily dropped the gun and it miraculously didn’t go off since the chamber was open; the bullets fell on the floor. “Son?” he heard someone say from out the stall door. ” Son, what are you doing?” He recognized the voice from priest he had just talked to. Full of emotion Ted said ‘ I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I am so desperate; I am out of options, man and this is all I got. I didn’t want to do it but here I am”. All of a sudden Ted fell to the floor; having a anxiety attack in front of a complete stranger ( who just happened to be a priest) The priest picked up the gun from the floor and embraced the man. Ted cried out loudly; so loud it could be heard in the next town. He said “I don’t know what to do” as he hugged the Priest. The Priest said “My name is Father Michael; I love you and so does God. Please son, turn your life around. Do the right thing. Give up this life of sin and turn to the Lord. Will you pray with me, son? Can you do that?” Ted agreed as the Priest held his hand with both hands and prayed ” Lord, please show your love to Ted this morning. Show him a better way; give him the strength and faith and trust into you. Help Ted find a way towards your grace and mercy. Forgive him for his sins and show him that life is wonderful; he doesn’t need to rob or hurt anyone because God will provide for him. in Jesus’s name I pray. Amen”
Ted completely shaken walked out of the bathroom, out of the restaurant and from then on never forgot that moment where he walked into rob innocent people; risking a long prison sentence and walked out turning his life to God. He looked up at the morning sun and said “Thank you lord”. God had saved him right then and there and he didn’t deserve it. He was a miserable, angry man who felt crime was his only option; now he knew that God would take care of him; any time day or night.
Years later Ted would think of that day when he walked into his job where he counseled prisoners getting ready for release. He couldn’t believe that 10 years ago; he was in a prison just like this; with no remorse; ready to rob and hurt anyone to get what he wanted in life. Now he was helping those just like himself turn their lives around. And it took a failed robbery attempt at a pancake restaurant and a kindly priest to make him see the light. Ted was saved and he wasn’t going to forget it.
For the longest time I was angry at God; I blamed him for all of my trouble and tragedies I faced; it was his fault. I was lucky to grow up in a very loving church and I made some wonderful friends who I am still in contact today but as I grew older; religion as a whole soured on me. I looked at religious people to be hypocrites; pointing their fingers at non-believers, pushing their morality on everyone else ( homophobic, bigoted people who were intolerant of anyone different from them and wanting to spoil everyone’s fun) I think of the Ned Flander’s types; the one’s who demand that everything be censored and can’t understand freedom of religion ( or lack thereof). The ones who say America is a Christian country ( Oh man). They don’t curse; they don’t drink; no one should have sex before marriage and no one else should either. Of course that only a segment of the Christian community and you know what, I find them to be annoying too; in fact I can’t stand them either. And interestingly enough I rarely met those kinds of people in the church I grew up in; maybe they existed and I chose to ignore them. So the above example i think is how most atheists ( or those struggling with God) sees religion. They look at that and think “I don’t want to be a part of that” and I don’t blame them. But then here is where I think they get confused; they associate God or Jesus with religion itself ( it’s hard not to). It’s hard for them to see beyond the doctrine and some of the unfortunate things said from the pulpit; especially homophobic comments from southern baptist preachers who should be ashamed of themselves. So I always state that it’s important to recognize the difference between Religion and God and that you can believe in God and live by his principles but never step foot in a church.
First I am not an expert on religion and I can only speak from my own personal experience with God in my life and faith. About a year ago I was in a deep depression and I needed to make some changes in my life; I felt at this moment I had no other options but to get on my knees and pray to God; help me; please help me; it’s all I could say. I just remember feeling God’s presence; I can’t explain it but something changed. All of that anger and doubt was replaced with a feeling that everyone was going to be ok. I didn’t have this experience by going to church or reading the bible; or going to Mecca or buying a preacher’s dvd on how to be a christian; it was alone in a room with God. Because when everyone has gone and you have nothing and you are desperate for help; God is with you; everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter where you are; God is listening. And God is saying you can come to me anytime for help; you don’t need to go to church; or step into a confessional booth; or read the bible front to back or follow a strict doctrine; just ask and pray. To be honest I used to think prayer was total bs and it didn’t make a difference. And let me say that I don’t pray as much as I should but anyway things started happening when I prayed. I became a kinder person; I learned to forgive. I give all my writing credit to God; his grace gives me so much inspiration.
Now I may have lost you because it still sounds like I’m talking about religion. Again, God is holy; religion is man made. Do I think it’s a good idea to go church; sure. But to be honest I feel God’s presence more when I’m at the beach staring at the crashing waves; then in a stuffy church; singing boring songs with people I don’t like. My relationship is with God; not others in church. I’d rather be alone with him and the cool thing is that he’s available 24/7. It hurts when I hear people say God doesn’t care or doesn’t exists because of so much suffering; I used to say that same line. And I am on mission to change people’s mind that God loves you; he listens and sometimes shit happens in life; we are not puppets and God is not our puppet master. God gave us free will; which means we are free to make our own choices without his interference. God guides us, listens, using other people in our lives to help us but he won’t interfere. And yeah the world is a shitty place full of terrible people; war, disease, exploitation, grief but blame that on the world; not God.
So next time someone tells you they don’t think god cares; ask them their views on religion. Explain to them that God has nothing to do with religion ( as crazy as it sounds) tell them about loving everyone; having compassion; forgiving those that hurt you; helping the poor, needy and disabled, doing kind things for others because it’s the right things. Tell them it’s not about morals; live your life; do what you want as long as you don’t hurt people; as long as you trust that god will take care of you; look for signs. But please don’t mix up God and religion. I hope whoever reads this will find God today; not in a church; but in the woods by themselves; or a cross in the sky; a phone call from a friend. God is there if you take the first step
Take care and remember always God loves you
Today was such a wonderful day; as most of you know I have been very passionate for a long time about helping those with developmental disabilities and am in school working on a degree in human service/developmental disabilities. A part of that passion comes from the fact that I got special needs services from the time I was a small child; I am so blessed that at that time ( over 30 years ago) there were people who were just as passionate about helping children like me as I am with the disabled adults I have had the pleasure to work with over the years; it’s amazing to give back. I am also blessed to be part of a church that serves the developmentally disabled in many ways; there is actually a ministry dedicated to helping the developmentally disabled in the community and when I heard about that I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of that somehow. I have made a lot of changes in my life. There was a time; not long ago; in which I said I would do this or volunteer or help with this and I never followed through; things are different today; when I say I am going to do something; I will try my best to make that happen.
So today was a lunch served by those helped through the ministry; it was wonderful to see them interacting with people; feeling a part of things; being productive; I just was smiling seeing this because some of the kindest most wonderful I have met have been disabled in one way or another. In fact if I had a choice between spending time with disabled people or non-disabled people I would choose disabled people; they are a hell of a lot much nicer and much less judgemental overall than people that don’t have special needs ( some; not all. I don’t like making generalizations) I sat next to a lady who had been to the lunch before and she was explaining some of the things they do out in the community; the activities through the church; I was impressed. She was also very friendly and I was glad to be seated next to someone who cares about this community. Her daughter was also there and was also interested in helping those with special needs; I told her about my internship and that it serves the many needs of the disabled and I gave her the card I got from there. Even though my experience was bad there; I hope she finds it rewarding. Actually my internship experience soured me a bit on getting into the disability field, but after talking with people today; I feel more positive about it. I think if I can just connect with the right people I can be successful; like anyone else I just need the right guidance It is refreshing to be around people who care so much about serving those in need; I am not around people like that on a regular basis. I went with my mom because she knew a lot of the people there and she introduced me to some of the leaders there. I talked to a young woman who’s mom founded the organization; she was very friendly and I enjoyed talking with her. I told her about how i was in school to get a degree in human services and she seemed very enthusiastic. She told me to email her and the other leaders about what times I can volunteer. Sadly I work retail and my schedule is erratic to say the least but I will talk to my boss about making time for this ministry because it is important. I am just so excited to be a part of this; I feel this is God’s calling for me. And I love to be around people who as passionate as me and who want to help others. I am just at a loss of words at how happy I am right now. Truly a God moment.