Sunday, January 31, 2010
Well its been another long night, but you sure got alot done! Good work on the music and laundry, not so much on the studying and planning for the week. Don't forget that tomorrow you need to call corporate and register that certificate and award, other wise you lose the credit, cash, and pretty much look like a dumb ass.
BTW...in the morning, please make some fresh coffee. This really weird habit of drinking day old coffee is starting to freak someone out (you know who) and even though he doesn't touch the stuff, he still doesn't think its healthy. (read...sane)
Hmm...well might as well put everything away and head off to bed, just didn't want a this day to rush by without putting a few thoughts down. Congrats on the good work yesterday and for getting home after work, instead of slaggin' all over the city. Make sure to call Stephen in the morning and make sure he woke up for church. Oh...and don't forget to pray about what David stopped by and told you. Mums the word, topper!
I know you are tired, but a few more lines won't hurt. What is going on with you? How have you been? Why have you just kept operating on auto-pilot? I think you are trying to talk yourself out of school (DON'T) and also are thinking about blowing off the Pure Heart Seminar. (PLEASE DON'T) Are you really this self duplicitous all the time, or is this something new?
Don't forget to get the car clean in the morning, and for once, wear something casual for a change. And yes, some of the things you wear "look" casual, but lets change it up a bit? I dare you to just grab something and put it on, say...right out of the dryer? Oh...and cut your hair, it looks funny!
What about the new glasses? Are you ever going to wear them? Let me know on that, otherwise what the hell did you buy them for?
Hmm...new thoughts on the blog, about asking and answering questions and then have other people post their thoughts and answers...prolly not going to fly, since people don't even have time to write their mothers a letter. How are they going to find time to write you something? I dunno...think on it I suppose. Love you man and glad you are feeling better!
PS: Call your parents tomorrow, and your siblings..they miss you.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Bunch Of Phonies Mourn J.D. Salinger
CORNISH, NH—In this big dramatic production that didn't do anyone any good (and was pretty embarrassing, really, if you think about it), thousands upon thousands of phonies across the country mourned the death of author J.D. Salinger, who was 91 years old for crying out loud. "He had a real impact on the literary world and on millions of readers," said hot-shot English professor David Clarke, who is just like the rest of them, and even works at one of those crumby schools that rich people send their kids to so they don't have to look at them for four years. "There will never be another voice like his." Which is exactly the lousy kind of goddamn thing that people say, because really it could mean lots of things, or nothing at all even, and it's just a perfect example of why you should never tell anybody anything.
Yesterday I left the house to wash my car and meet Tom Cole for coffee. Everything was fine till I decided to take a "short cut". Or rather, a different route to the prayer house that I have ever taken. Easy, huh? Just another exit off the highway and right to it?
Totally got lost and turned around. While driving around trying to find my place and space I had to drive past this back hoe that was dredging a broken water main and putting all the muck into a dump truck, all the while spewing vile nastiness onto the road. Clean car...mud and water.
Needless to say...I was HOT!
Like cussing and screaming in my car at the idiots.
Drive, drive, drive..where am I?
I finally decided to go all the way back to the highway and take the route that I know. But while doing so, I got my bearings and figured out my hour of wandering was started by one simple wrong turn.
Has this been a picture of my life? Talked and shared my testimony with Tom and then spent 4 hours at the prayer room reading his book, Pure Heart, and crying my eyes out. I am sure they thought I was a nut job. Big dude...crying. Nice...just had to keep getting tissues for my nose and face.
But I needed that. It is what I am going through. My nice clean life is driving by that place where all the dirt and crap is being dug up, and no matter how I rage, it is getting on me. I can't avoid it. My past is rushing up to meet me and I can't deal with it all.
So then I went and got hammered at the bar.
That was my response to so much emotion and God. To drink myself into a happy stupor. Is that really the healthy way to cope?
I don't think so.
I am the rich young ruler and I can't just let go of all that I am, all that I have, all that is mine and follow Him. But my heart so desires to. So much.
Now what to do? His love demands my all and I am desperately clinging to all that is me. I just can't force my hands open. I mean, I have everything I ever wanted right now. At this moment in many ways I am happy and content.
But another part of me just weeps. This is not what I was created to be.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Woke up this morning with the first thought on my mind to delete my post of last night and resume business as un-normal.
For those of you who read it, my sincere apologies, but that is where I was living in my head place and heart space last night. To recap for those fortunate enough not to see it, simply put, I had a moment of clarity last evening and it spilled over into this venue. I am a materialistic fool who indulges himself and his wants without a thought for the future. I place resources and things away for my eventual retirement, to be sure, but also spend sums to placate this wanting in my soul...and it does not satisfy. For a moment maybe, but it is not true peace.
As I choke down my vitamins and protein this morning, the moral inventory and visual perusal of the physical plant finds me sorely lacking. Raw posts, without the filter of reason and present sight are not a good thing, though honest. In the future I will refrain, or at least attempt to sort my thoughts before placing them here.
To those who were offended...I simply ask forgiveness.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
This song came on today as I drove into the city, slipping past my ears and down into my heart, where it settled down heavily and curled around my soul. The last few months my music has been a collection of old and new music while my worship music and time in the car has slowly wasted away. I was not consciously cutting it out of my life, but instead was choosing new anthems to celebrate all the changes and choices in my life.
Some when in there I stopped singing about HIM and started singing about "him". I stopped dancing for HIM and started dancing for "me".
I was sick again today, another bout in a long line of harsh days following dark nights of less sleep and rest. All of this is taking a toll on my health and manner and I am finding that my body is slowly wasting away, almost in a picture of how my spiritual health has been. I am neglecting too many good things, and living and diving into all that I have left so many times before. I am not eating right. I am not sleeping right. I am not right.
So confused and clear at the same time. It is like looking at the exit ramp and driving right by it, again and again and again. How to change lanes and break the death grip I have on the steering wheel. Steer me, God!
Lately I have felt an impostor at church, someone not meant to be there, who soon will be asked to leave, even as I sit there and try to listen. Those unconnected to me, simply walk on by and see what I want them to, while something in me is reaching out for more accountability and friendship. I am near, but not with. Loved but not cared for. Talked to but not asked. Lonely in a pack.
I must choose.
I must reach out.
Or this is going to kill me, in time.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
A friend had some questions posed for a group of friends so I thought I would share the questions and my answers here today...
1: Have you ever told your pastor/congregation about the fact you are gay and how did he/they respond?
Yes. This was the one of the initial things I talked to my head pastor and personal pastor about when I visited my church for the first time, even prior to salvation. I was invited by a girl who met me at a coffee shop and was witnessing to me (long story) and I started going to church with her to listen and try to figure what this was all about.
And by “this” I mean faith and the gospel. I have never hidden anything in my life so I simply let them know I was a gay guy and would my boyfriend be welcome at church with me?
Tim and Shayne both welcomed Kyle and I and simply told us to listen and be open to what we heard and how it affected us, ask any questions we have and see what happens. They were wise enough to not condemn two unbelieving gay guys and honestly opened their doors to us when we were seeking truth. They knew that the truth of the Bible and working of the Holy Spirit would convict us in the areas we needed change in, but also understood that nothing mattered at first except where we stood with Jesus Christ.
Suffice it to say, this was the first time in my life I had been welcomed into a church as a real person and loved by anyone in any type of spiritual organization. They lived Jesus to me, and that made all the difference. The other churches I had grown up in just kicked me out and told me I was going to hell, right at the time in my life when I most needed some help. After that happened in high school, I never went back to a church till after I got out of the Navy, but that is a story for another day…
2: What are two or three things you wish your pastor/congregation understood about the gay people in your church?
We have many diverse and different people in our church, but even with all the understanding and other places in life we have come from, there is still always room for improvement. There are many other guys who are struggling with SSA, or who are gay and all the other areas on the spectrum, so I am not alone or treated oddly because of my past and present. But a few things I wish I could relate to them all are:
1. Please do not define me by my struggle. I do not want to be known as another “gay guy” at church. I never let my orientation and struggle define me before I met God; it was simply a facet of my personality, like the color of my hair, or my last name. It was important to be sure, but not an end to itself.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk to me about my life and how I am doing. Some of the guys still kind of tip toe around the issue, wanting to be a help and truly care about me, but either their discomfort, or a lack of understanding seems to stunt how our friendships develop at first. We all share our different fights and battles and mine are no different from yours, the pro-nouns are just different!
3. Just because I want to be your friend, and genuinely like you does not mean I am sexually attracted to you. If I am attracted to you, I am going to tell you, and we will deal with it then. I have to have honesty to have a friend, and when I am dealing with this kind of stuff, I can’t hide how I feel and expect to be healthy.
4. At times all the church activities are geared towards families, married people, dating couples and people at different places than my life status. This can hurt at times and make me feel an outsider in the very place I need to be loved. Think of things way “outside of the box” and consider how guys and girls like me feel and find ways to include us, not exclude us, simply by not thinking.
5. Do not assume that some guy who comes to church with me is my boyfriend or that we are sexually involved simply due to my nature. This goes for my close friends at church too. I can have friends too! But on the flip side, ask me questions, it keeps me safe and sheds light into areas that sometimes are easier to keep dark and vague.
6. My identity and struggle are wrapped around each other in my head. I literally “am” my sin, or at least that is how I feel at times, so when you condemn harshly or thoughtlessly comment on stuff, I feel you are hating at me. The other reaction is just ignoring the topic all together. This makes me feel invisible and unwanted.
7. There are always going to be many different opinions about SSA, homosexuality and all the issues around it, but please respect others beliefs and don’t try to “fix” or “change” anyone. Let God do that. Truth always prevails. I am not anyone’s project or cause.
8. Just love me. I am human too, and no, I don’t want your kids!
3: What could your pastor/congregation do to help you in your walk with Christ? (Especially in regards to understanding God's forgiveness)
1. Ask me how I am doing, and not just politely…and then LISTEN to what I say. I make a great effort to understand all these hetero people, even though I cannot identify with them in so many ways. We have completely different lives, but we have much we can learn from each other. Please show me the same respect.
2. Do not ask me a question you do not want the answer to, because I will answer it.
3. If I need your opinion I will ask for it. When I ask a question, I am looking for what God says in the Bible, not something you think, maybe, sort of, kind of know, heard once, stole from a book...and on and on. When your words match His words and His heart...I will believe you!
4. I can smell patronization from a mile away. And yes, I can see your face, when you react to things, you are not invisible. Just be real, even when it hurts.
5. Talk to me, not at me.
6. If God forgave you, then He forgave me too! God's forgiveness of me is not dependent on YOUR approval! Sin is simply sin. Don’t make me out to be some kind of weird freak because I like guys and this country has serious hang ups with human sexuality.
7. I will never live out a belief that I truly do not comprehend or understand. What this means is my external actions will match my internal convictions. If these are not up to par with your thoughts and ideas, please let God work on me about it. The last thing I need is you trying to imitate the Holy Spirit.
8. Just be yourself. That is what I am doing.
9. Please do not ignore me or act like I never told you the truth. I listen to your problems. Friendship and community are not one way streets.
10. Never, ever, ever, try to set me up on a date with a girl. That is fair to no one and will hurt me and make me upset. A girl cannot fix my problem.
4: Have you told your parents about the fact that you are gay? If not, why not? (I ask this because most of the time pastors deal with homosexuality only when a parent tells them about their kid who has just "come out of the closet." So this is a big issue in the ministry)
I grew up gay, so this is a moot point. I never came “out”, because I was never “in”. I came home from school in 6th grade and let my parents know I liked Erek. We just went from there. They have been with me and loved me every step of the way.
Even when I did not believe in God, I was still their son. This has never come between us, though it was not always easy. Why do people not communicate about the truth? Is living a lie any easier? That is not a condemnation, simply an observation. I am not saying that my parents were thrilled to have a son who liked boys, but we opened a dialogue that has lasted till today.
I will never forget overhearing my dad tell a friend of his that “I love my gay son”. I am sure that was not easy for him, nor having me as a son was ever simple, but love conquers all. They were always a picture to me of what Jesus must be like and always pointed me to God.
My mom and I have always been close and she is the one who has walked me through the heart aches and giddy feelings that all relationships have. I owe her so much. Love you Mom and Dad!
5: If you told your parents, how did they respond?
I still remember my mom’s words when I told her I liked a boy. “We will see…” and “We need to talk to your dad when he gets home…”
My dad was a bit confused at first till I let him know that I liked Erek the way my brother liked his girlfriend. Then he got it. He went out of his way to teach me and affirm me as a man. I learned everything he could put into my life. He was determined that I not be a "sissy" (his word) and it may have been easier for him, since I did like sports, and the outdoors, cars, hunting, fishing, camping all the stereotypical "guy stuff". He never understood my softer side and all the cooking, fashion, writing, music and botany. But...he loves me very much and I thank God everyday that he gave me to them.
We have simply taken it one moment at time. The guys I dated were always welcome in our family, because my parents would rather have me near than outcast and away. I think their treatment of me was wise. They let me be myself, but never apologized for the truth of what they believed either.
They want me to be happy, how ever I define that, but they also want me to follow God. This is a journey that is described, found, and lived one small piece at a time, one day at a time.
I have never heard and or seen such tears of joy and relief the day that I called them and told them I had found Jesus. We are now walking the same road together from different places back to home.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
You know, I had a really good day today. Simple...slept in (day off) and just puttered around at my own pace. Cleaned house a bit, worked out, got my run in, showered, coffee...the usual things that I don't always have quiet enough time for. Was actually able to sit down for a bit and read, listen to some new music (thanks Chad for the burns) and just generally make some time for myself without all the distractions and thoughts of others.
Tonight was great too. Had a big dinner at church(something we do every Third Thursday) and met some new people and spent time with old friends as well. The food was awesome, as usual, and I found myself eating dinner with strangers, well, at least people I did not know yet. I made it a point tonight to go sit in the big open space, instead of the comfort zone of my circle of friends and then interact and introduce myself to those who joined me.
I guess I looked rather friendly and non-threatening, because my "L" of tables filled up rather quickly and talk ensued. The strange thing is, I found myself kind of flanked on 3 sides by girls, females, what ever the right word is for those certainly different and somewhat strange creatures. First observation, they ask so many questions! And by so many, I mean, they never stop asking questions, not even when you ask them questions back. Talking to a girl is quite a work out I guess, cause their minds think so differently? They kind of establish a base line of reference to measure you, and then go in and out with the verbal jabs, probing for more information and content.
Guys do not do this.
We just talk, or listen, depends on our mood.
So yeah, verbal sparring or something. I think I held my own well, simply by emulating their patterns and turning the line of questioning back on them. This worked for a bit, until they seemed to grow restless answering my questions about them, so they quickly pounced on the next male target that their sights acquired. Poor guy...but he seemed to love the attention so, more power to them!
Second observation, they are always making eye contact...like too much...and they tend to touch the people they are talking to. What is that all about? I do remember the stuff they said and the questions they asked, but just not sure how to rate or quantify that experience. I do not know much about them (females) so I'll just kind of leave all that alone.
That was an odd part of my day.
The second weird thing, that I alluded to in the title of this post was about being worried. And this is what worries me. I spend time reading other guys blogs and they have a multitude of words and thoughts. I mean, they think much deeper about so many things than I do. Now I count myself of okay intelligence, quite brilliant in some areas actually, but when it comes to things spiritual and political, I find myself aghast at the depths these guys delve.
My brain doesn't even work like that...ever.
I cannot even figure out what head space makes people think and reason like that about things.
I do not want my brain to work like that either.
am I an idiot?
I had this experience once where suddenly I was struck by the fact that I was retarded, literally. I mean, hell, it made sense. Everyone liked me and was always really nice to me. They tended to make time for everything I wanted to do. I always had a different set of rules than the other kids, and the world seemed to step aside for me. That, countered with the fact that people kept telling my I was special and there seemed some confusion on what to do with me in school, led me to the conclusion that I, Daemon, was disabled, retarded, whatever the PC word is I am supposed to be using there.
So, being the resourceful guy I am, I confronted my Dad and Mom about it. (Just like I confronted them about being adopted that one time...or having a twin brother...long stories both) And what did they say...No...they protested! You are just smart in your own way...blah, blah, blah..used the word special, expressed concern that I would feel that way, asked questions about who told me that. In short...
...all of the things you would say to a retarded kid to reassure him that he was "fine" and "okay" and "special" and that there was "nothing wrong with you" and "God made you very unique".
Well crap! It ended up backfiring and becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy to me, that I battle at times to this day. While I do have my deficits in neuro-cognitive development and know that I am not neuro-typical, something inside of me realizes that I do have some intelligence and a large mastery of knowledge, coupled with a small portion of wisdom. That being said...there are just times when I fell retarded all over again.
Sometimes it is about life, or matters of faith, girls, boys, money, friends, all of these things make me feel less than my peers at times. After reading these other peoples thoughts tonight...I am worried again.
What is wrong with me?
Hmm..sitting here about noon considering either more coffee...or lunch. Haven't bounced out of the house yet, but the gray day seems to be holding me in a bit longer than usual. Yesterday was excellent and much needed. Got to do some wandering, work on my photography, met Jeff to hang out a bit and then pizza and a movie with Michael. We watched "Must Love Dogs". Pretty cute movie and seemed to fit the occasion as he is getting ready to adopt a new little puppy this weekend to fill the void in his heart left by Brutus, who passed away just a few months hence.
I did find it interesting that while he identified with the girls in their search for love and meaning, the points in the film that brought me a few deep sighs and single tears were the intersections of the guys in their lives and the beauty that such conflict and communication can bring. It was good to watch something funny and sweet and just hang out. It is good to be close.
Today has a list in store, but how much will get done I am not sure. Oil change, grocery shopping, dinner tonight at church for Third Thursday and who knows what else...oh yeah...fill the car up with gas and stuff. At least it is clean!
I guess I don't have much on my mind at the moment, though my toes are kind of cold...mental note, grab some socks...lol This week is going well and this year is finally kind of settling into a comfortable pattern and rhythm after the hectic pace of holidays and birthdays. Simple I guess is good.
Something is needed though, a change perhaps of something, not sure what, just know that there has to be more than this? I am not talking about activity, or friends, or work, but of the satisfaction that comes from truly producing something of worth and living for more than just myself and keeping the people in my life happy and taken care of. I need something to stretch my horizons internally, a challenge to something new. Music, art, free time, patterns, conversations, movements and haunts in the city are all the same and have been for a while. New everything, or new something? I already have a new someone. I dunno right now.
Somewhat puzzled by my relationships with others right now, but I guess that inquisitiveness appears when all is well and I am wondering when something is going to mess up or break. Contentment fits well, like a over washed flannel shirt and broken in blue jeans. Is this what happy feels like? Not sure...it has been awhile.
Welp, guess I ought to get my day going, this list isn't going to do itself. At least I got my workout and run in already...time to hit the shower and get out there for the rest of the day. Hopefully I'll find some words later to capture what is going on in my head and heart right now. It is all over my face, in my eyes and crisp smile...the way I hum and sing to myself...just don't have the clarity to put it down here.
Brutus we miss you.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
It is amazing to me that at times when I am at my lowest point internally, both spiritually and emotionally, out of the blue, a Christian friend will call to check on me, chat and just share life and time.
Tonight as I was getting ready for bed, I was feeling pretty low about some stuff and Stephen called to check in and see how I was doing and what was going on with me. It was great to talk to him about current things that I am learning, what God is showing me and to also listen to his struggles and lessons.
We both have realized that we need accountability in our lives about so many things, but are hesitant to take that step and really open up and share what we are facing and fighting with. As men, we hate admitting weakness and confessing what is really going on in our lives. Why does everything always have to be fine, and when did we get the idea that the real details of our friends lives are none of our business? If we never asked and answered questions, we would never learn anything about them, or be able to help them with their problems. It is good to have such a great friend who continually points me back to Christ, listens to my crap and still loves me in spite of my brokeness.
Tonight he asked me if I had any interest in starting to minister to others, sharing my testimony, possibly teach or speak and get involved in prayer and worship for others. I was candid and told him that for so many reason I feel unworthy or unqualified to be a part of God's work. He listened to it all, reminded me who I was as God's beloved kid, and spoke some truth in love to me. God can use me. I am not worthless. It is time I stop listening and believing all these lies that pop into my head.
God's timing is good. I need the encouragement and shot in the arm from another brother. Stephen, thanks for being my friend. You are loved. I trust you will consider and pray over what we discussed and hold me in your heart and prayers before God, as I will you.
Thanks God. You are pretty amazing...
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I don't feel like blogging right now, but you know what? Tough crap, Daemon! Sometimes you don't get your way, and this is one of them. Not sure why I hesitate to share life at the moment, but something inside of me is really pulling back from it all and everyone. I think David hit it on the head last night, when he pointed out that I am independent all the way to the harming and marring of myself. Why is it so damn hard for me to reach out? He also said lots of deep stuff about foundation and formation, but it was kind of hard to grasp. I mean, I sort of got it at the time, but then it kind of slipped away.
I guess what he was talking about was that some things "are" me. For instance...I am male. I have a dick, a penis, whatever word ya like. That part of me is pretty easy to see and understand. But so many other things have been formed around that reality in my life, and much of that formation seems to happen around our childhood years. Now to be honest, that always sounding like a load of total crap to me, and I never put much stock in all that touchy-feely, talk about your childhood, hold hands, kum-bai-yah, sit in a circle jerk, crazy talk. BUT now that I am willing to really examine some stuff about growing up,from childhood to teenage years, there was some (edited for content by author) bad things going on.
I am sorry to you all, that is the only way I can put it right now. (profanity deleted)
Looking back I realize that I have claimed as my own all the actions of others, all pain they caused and confusion and made it into something "good" in my life. I have been the ultimate spin doctor of my own history. Meaning, I have 1. tried to claim that power they exercised over me, as a conscious act of MY choosing, 2. decided to remember good there, when there was bad and thus attempt to 3. negate all the harm and hurt done to me. It is like a perpetual pair of rose-colored glasses looking back at my past, or just re-writing all the events in my minds eye, to re-explain or resolve all the things I hated or did not understand. Kind of like, I chose this and actively participated in it, got some good out of it through who it made me into, the lessons taught about people so....it was all a good thing. Blah, blah, blah...bull shit!
Many things were far from good. How I grew up as a child and then young adult was not normal, healthy or even morally right. Where did I end up with this wonderful story about it all? Who cooked this up? (I know that I did, but am trying to figure out why...)
Now if you are wondering or worried , I am not about to verbally vomit my past on you all, as I hate it when others do that crap to me. There are alot of things I am better off not knowing about my friends, about people I care about, those that I love or even the guys I casually know. I do not think the answers to life problems come from "talking about it all" or "sharing our hearts" or all the other nonsense crap that this weak version of manhood and emasculating drivel has tried to coax into our lexicon and practice as men. I am all for some honesty and bearing each others burdens, but you know what? There's alot of stuff that you all just need to keep to yourself, and the same goes for me too! I believe that some things are just to be taken to the grave with us. No other comment needed.,
I am starting to see that there are some things that I do need to process out loud with a trusted and respected friend. Feed back from another persons perspective is a powerful thing and tends to cut through the pattern of lies and thoughts that we tell ourselves to cope with all the stuff that just that builds up inside of us,all through the years. It is not that I forgot about my childhood, or suppressed some memory of it and all the events, it's just that I never thought of it at all, except to summon stories about the stuff I liked, or color beautiful the less than savory aspects of it all.
Suffice it to say, this still isn't easy to write right now, but I hope by winging it and getting some words out here without a filter or self-editing that I am making a bit of sense. I guess maybe sometimes I say more by what I leave out than what I include?
If that is the case, please read all the words I did not type.
Crap...I am going to go smoke, come back here and start all over, or keep going, or something like that.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I have been doing quite a bit of reading and pondering the story of the Prodigal Son as of late, as it is one that I keep returning to, so many times in my short spiritual life. Each time I go through it, and see it in my mind, something different stands out to me. I find myself there again this week, as the events of the last few months, in my personal decisions, have mirrored this story once again. I have been that P-Guy...for yet another time. So as I sit here in some free time before another day and full night of work starts I wanted to share what was on my heart...at least simply here, for others to see. It has impacted me.
I am sure you are all familiar with the story, if not check it out in Luke 15:11-32, then come back here...I'll wait for ya...
No really, if you have never read it for yourself, walk away from the computer, grab your Bible and read it...and then come back! :)
Still not going to do it are you? Okay...don't say I didn't encourage you to get in the Word!
Now looking at the story of the Lost Son again we see that P-guy is the younger brother of a family. (as I am in my family and as we are all younger brothers of Jesus Christ) Now being the younger kid, the money, lands and estates that Dad would give him is going to be a smaller portion, at least by how I understand the Hebrew/Middle Eastern culture. Things kind of roll that way here in America too. First come, first served kind of thing. I get it. But P-guy has had enough of this life and goes to his Dad and says he wants it all NOW. (I did not see the word please anywhere in any of the versions I checked out.) Basically, in that day and age (and even really in this one now) he was saying, " Hey Dad, I wish you would just drop dead so I can get what's mine. Hand it over...k?!"
Well, he gets his piece and heads off to live his "own" life. Man, does this sound familiar to me at least. How many different times in my life I have packed my bags, grabbed my money and just ran off to Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Charleston or anywhere else and just lived out my life? Sometimes in the middle of the night, without even a goodbye or a note? I know that in my heart this was what the Navy was all about. I knew it all and had it all. I have taken off on this trail before and man, it is a long and lonely road...but hey, with youth comes all that optimism and what does Dad know about life anyway?
Needless to say, he blows all the money on himself and all these "friends" he makes. I have spent fortunes in my short life trying to find happiness too. So many wasted years and dollars made by someone else. Jesus didn't go into all of the gritty details, but it's pretty easy to figure out the things young men want. Just look at what young men want now. Look what I wanted! People are still people, and guys are still guys, regardless of when and where they lived. I think it is safe to assume the absolute worst here. At least that is how I lived with my freedom.
Well, P-guy burns through it all at which point he is deserted by all those wonderful, loving, close, concerned, deep "friends" Right, huh? Ever seen that happen? Even been one of those friends? Ever been P-guy? I know I have to all three of those. He ends up working for a hog farm, which was some serious crap for a Jewish kid. To make it worse, he lives with the pigs and only food he has is from their trough. Man! What a picture of where our sin, pride and lust take us. It makes us a beast with nothing left that was so freely given. I have been there too. Living the high life costs us so much! Suffice it to say, he is seriously jacked up and unclean now. Spiritually, physically and emotionally ruined. Unclean. At this point in the story he says, "When he came to his senses..."
Man, I completely remember times like this after I got into politics and started doing commercials for gay marriage in my home state, trading on my family name and military service. Talk about disgrace and shame on my family. I never even considered what that would do to them and everyone they knew socially. It is one thing to have a gay son, and quite another to see him on television encouraging voters to change their minds about sin.
(This reminds me suddenly of a time in my life that my own Father told me simply and quietly, " Daemon, change your ways...or change your name.")
So in my mind's eye, I kind of see a large ranch and compound like my Grandfather's place. You know the idea, couple thousand acres off the main highway. Long, dusty drive out to the gates and that long ass trail to the main compound of buildings. In my family, we always like plenty of space to see who is coming, and no one drives out to our properties on accident. Guess we like the privacy and wide open spaces, but anyway. Dad's place was way off the main road and was a safe place he wanted to return to, even just as a hired hand.
When Jesus was telling this story, he said that while this rotten kid was still "a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion..." This means that Dad was not in the main house, the barn, the back forty, the main compound, the feed lot or in the woods. Not at the office, or the bank or working. Not with Mom or the older brother and siblings. He had left it all, the safe areas, his responsibilities. He wasn't even on the outer road or trail to the property.
He was out there watching and waiting for his child to come home.
He certainly could have sent a servant or one of the crew out there to watch and look, but he didn't. He went himself.
He was there...way out there on the main road...waiting and watching for his kid.
What happens next is of extreme importance. Jesus says that after the father's heart was filled with compassion..."HE RAN to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."
But his Father falls on him, give him the biggest bear hug of his life AND a kiss!
But do you know what is missing here? Do you see it? That boy had not even had a chance to say a word!
It was too late!
The Father had been waiting, watching, hoping, praying with an attitude of anticipation and forgiveness the ENTIRE time. Forgiveness PRECEDES repentance!
When P-guy finally gets a chance to give his little speech about becoming a servant, or one of the hired hands, his Dad just ignores him. He does not even respond to what his son has just said. What he DOES do, is basically snap his fingers and say, " Get the tent set up, fire up the kitchen, somebody get me a DJ, we're having a party because you know what?! MY BOY IS BACK! HE IS HOME. MY SON IS HOME!"
Now what this story is really about is the relationship between God and those whom he calls His beloved children. While we often treat God as if he is kind of slow, or dim-witted, the fact of the matter is that He is considerably more clever and intelligent than we could ever know. You see, Jesus KNOWS what a jacked up mess we are inside. He knows we have all sorts of guilty, dark secrets and issues that we struggle with. He knows everything that happened out there while we were living it up and spending cash and life. He also knows that at times we won't just sin, we will also willing walk away from Him for someone or something else...and sometimes for a long, long time.
Now was P-guy ever at some point no longer the son of his Father? Did his DNA, name and parentage ever change? Nope. He had willingly, and actually very cruelly, selfishly and rudely walked away from Dad.
Daemon's Note... Borrowed liberally from and blatantly stolen from a fellow Christian Blogger! :) His words certainly hit the nail on the head! Check out his sharing of words, time, space and life!
I Will Rise
I have traveled the road of my desire
My heart deceived and yet my heart the liar
And hopelessly it cries
That I can reach no higher
Still I must face one more refining fire
I will arise and go to my Father
I will arise
I have spent far enough to know my debt
Has bought the things that now I can't forget
But yesterday is gone
And I refuse to let
The past imprison me to my regret
I will arise and go to my Father
I will arise
I will arise in the strength my God supplies
Confronting all the lies
I realize and now despise
Lord, the road back to home is seems so long
I can't return unless you make me strong
For now I clearly see
The journey was all wrong
Now I desire to be
Where I belong
I will arise and go to my Father
I will arise
I will arise and go to my Father
And I will say
Father I have sinned!
And am no more worthy to be called thy Son
Make me a servant in Thine eyes
I will arise
Monday, January 11, 2010
A David Psalm
I've looked at the back of your head
long enough. Long enough...
I've carried this ton of trouble,
lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies
have looked down their noses at me.
Take a good hard look at me,
I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me
or laugh when I fall on my face.
I've thrown myself headlong into your arms—
I'm celebrating your rescue.
I'm singing at the top of my lungs,
I'm so full of answered prayers.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Did a bit of shopping in the afternoon for myself(since today is now my birthday) then headed home for dinner and celebration of birthday's (Mom and mine) with cake, candles, football, parents and siblings. It was good to have us all together again. I so treasure them.
I then had to leave early to get to church again tonight and was troubled when I heard what the message would be on tonight. Deliverance.
Lately I have been very fragile internally and emotionally. Little things have been setting me off and I am not an easy person to break down. I was telling my Mom that lately I have had this weird, hollow feeling deep inside of me. It is literally a scooped out, empty physical feeling and I have been a bit concerned for my health, since I have dropped so much weight in the last two months.
So feeling that way, I settled back and listened. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I pulled out my little black book that I use as a day planner, opened it up to a blank page and started writing. Now, mind you, this isn't my journal. I had already filled four pages there today, accidentally left it at church in the pew, beat a retreat back to retrieve it (whew) and then set it aside.
I started writing names.
First and last names.
Of every single guy I have dated or been with physically in my entire life. From long term relationships, casual flings and even pre-adolescent experimentation.
I could not stop.
I did not know why I was doing this.
Stuck I was between two good friends who couldn't help but notice and wonder what was going on.
I wasn't emotionally distraught, simply putting down information on paper.
Finally I was done.
I put away the book, but removed those pages, took them down to the altar and gave those guys and my past to God and walked away.
We decided to eat dinner at Stephen's loft downtown so I followed him there and while parking my little car got stuck in the ice and snow. Now, I have driven in all the ice storms and snow storms the last few weeks and never had a problem, but not, on a plowed street, my little car decides that it is stuck and nothing, I mean nothing we could do would free him.
This just broke me and I over reacted in anger, sadness, confusion and fear. Stephen finally convinced me to come inside, give up on it a bit and eat dinner. So up we went and spent some time just sharing life and enjoying each others company. It really looked like I would have to spend the night and wouldn't be home for my birthday and all the things I had planned on my day off. Stephen has a 4x4 pick up and chains, but the angle of the street combined with how low the car sits made that solution impossible.
I was trapped by almost nothing at all.
No help and no way to get out. Cars in front and behind me.
We decided to pray that God would move the cars around me so that I could simply drive off, so I put my gear on and we took the elevator down...
The only car trapping me in had been moved. It was gone!
Needless to say I came unglued and was whooping and hollering all over downtown at 11 pm at night!
Now you may ask yourself...why the silly story Daemon? It was not that big a deal! Ahhhh..but that is where you are wrong!
My little car being stuck was a perfect picture of where I have been at in life spiritually these last few months. After meeting God and living for him for three years, overcoming all kinds of insurmountable obstacles and hopeless situations with His grace and mercy...I got stuck.
And that helpless feeling of not being able to do anything about it is the worst feeling in the world. I have been abandoned before. I have been the victim of violent crime. People have used and abused me in the past.
But none of that compares to simply being helpless and unable to move. Not forward, not backward...just stuck. No where to go, nothing.
I think I got unstuck tonight. I am handing my past to God again. Letting go of all the names and faces and simply stopping and asking Him to please, please help me to get out. Please move the things in my way. And only when I come to the end of myself and simply stop trying so hard and fighting it all, He steps in and makes a way out.
I am helpless...
Daddy...I would like to come home please...your loving son,
Friday, January 8, 2010
“Maybe there are no right moments, right guys, right answers, maybe you just have to say what's in your heart” - Carrie Bradshaw
Just read this piece of writing from a friend and it makes me wonder what is in the hearts and minds of all my friends who do not share my orientation.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
There comes a time in your life when you finally get it ... When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out "ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on." And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your shaking sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.
..........This is your awakening.
You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren't always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
So you begin making your way through the "reality of today" rather than holding out for the "promise of tomorrow." You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you've received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :
- how you should look and what true beauty and masculinity is,
- what you should wear and where you should shop,
- where you should live or what type of cars you should drive,
- who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
- who you should marry and why you should stay,
- the importance of the possibility children or what you owe your family,
Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.
You accept the fact that you are not perfect ,and that not everyone will love appreciate or approve of who or what you are... and that's OK... they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 32x34 or a "perfect 10".... Or a perfect human being for that matter... and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.
And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" hungry for your next fix, a new coat, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in "giving" that we receive, and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of "creating" and "contributing" rather than "obtaining" and "accumulating."
And you give thanks for the simple things you've been blessed with, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about - a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, the freedom of choice and the opportunity to pursue your own dreams.
And you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors, including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you've learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.
Then you learn about love and relationships - how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally, and that not everyone will always come through... and interestingly enough, it's not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren't done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns - anger, jealousy and resentment.
You learn how to say "I was wrong" and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you.
You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to Say NO. You learn that you don't know all the answers, it's not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.
Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or a child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships, and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it's wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet "your" standards and expectations.
You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that "alone" does not mean "lonely" and you begin to discover the joy of spending time "with yourself" and "on yourself." Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know - Self Love. And so it comes to pass that, through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.
Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn't change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead, you set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.
You learn that life isn't always fair and you don't always get what you think you deserve, and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God... but merely a random act of fate.
And you stop looking for guarantees, because you've learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you'll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time - FEAR itself. So you learn to step right into and through your fears, because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.
Then, you learn about money... the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life.
And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.
Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
A word about the Power of Prayer: In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed, not for the answers to my prayers or for material things, but for my God to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.
Remember this:- You are an expression of the Almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.
My God has never failed me.
It has been a few days since I have put words here, but with all the change and schedule, combined with commitments and weather, the time did not find me. A day off, of respite, relaxing and recovery has suited this man well. All cozied up inside, while the storm and cold howls, I became familiar with myself again and had time to process all these many events and circumstances.
I like lists, so this collection will take that format. First a string of numbered ideas and then comments to follow as they come.
1. Re-awakening and connecting my spiritual life. Returning to my first love. God and I.
2. Cold weather and all its woes...I hate a dirty car. Grrrr...driving in snow and ice...hate!
3. Work and the new varied schedule. Day then night? Plus the where and who I work with.
4. Event at the onething conference and prayer meetings. What was that all about?
5.Talking to Craig and Justin, healing and confession. Never cried this hard in memory.
6. Finding new friends, reconnecting with old ones. Who fits and is good, who must move aside?
7. School, decisions and considerations. Culinary places all over the US. What do I want?
8. Music and all the new ideas. Piano and voice just blowing up all over the place.
9. Spiritual and physical birthday this month. I'm getting old, but still so young!
10. New found fitness and exercise regimen. Why and how is my body changing?
You know what? After making this list, I think I will come back later and write about it. Did not realize I had that much on my mind...
Monday, January 4, 2010
Stepped outside this morning in my pj's and hoodie and simply stared at the sky and snow covered landscape around me. A moment of clarity came...but was so fleeting.
I tried to grasp it and hold on, make it work for me and push it through different areas of my head hoping to find some insight in areas that have me confused right now, but it was not to be.
The simple thought I was left with was, "This is my life."
Now that may not seem like a profound statement, or even something that would shake another person in any way, but that clean, clear thought brought several things home to me and also gave me a bit of direction to my path.
Nothing is "happening" to me.
This is what it is...and it is amazing, interesting, inspiring, sobering and pause worthy. This is the man I am, oh, and I am a man too. Not just as a male, but as an adult. Huh? When did that happen?
I guess what I am saying is, it is good to be making choices again. Life isn't just happening anymore...it is becoming what I make of it.
May I do well.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Woke early today to the sound of music blaring at me in a not so gentle way from a machine that I reset last night...volume knob noted. Padded around the house waking up and taking stock of another winters day of snowfall. I enjoy what e.e. cummings said, "Snow doesn't give one white soft damn who it touches."
Coffee procured from the hot to touch carafe, drank a liter of water, choked my protein down with vitamins (British pronunciation, of course) and put my body through its paces. It is changing every day, to the eyes and to the touch. Inside of it, I know it is different in so many ways.
Through out my life, whenever great change comes, my body goes through some type of process that makes me look and feel different than the last chapter. It is hard to explain, but it seems to unconsciously know what I will need to appear as, become and do in this next phase. Whether becoming an athlete in school, transitioning to a scholar in college or building myself into a sailor soldier...it just changes. I realize that the choices I make without thinking speed and hasten this process, but much of it seems to just happen. Diet differs, work outs become different and viola! New and improved Daemon 9.1!
I have all of my old id's and while the hair stays shortish, and I always prefer glasses to contacts, each and every photo looks like a different guy. This has led to much consternation in the friends and people in my life at times, but as a result of knowing this, I keep a diverse wardrobe of various items that accommodate each new look and shape. So many different appearances and presentations, but I am still me inside here.
Now life seems to be bringing me into a long and lean phase. I still retain my broad shoulders, but the torso and legs seem to be slimming down, compared to the heft and solid mass I became accustomed to while using my body greatly at work to move thousands of pounds of raw materials and perform maintenance and operations of the heavy machinery. From manufacturing to chemistry. I feel myself moving back into my head, touching down into wide slender hands and a certain grace is slipping back. Fluid movements, more flexibility, easier running, and lightness of foot. I finally am devoting the time I need on my chest and arms and am happy and proud of the return of those lines and strength that I have not seen since my Navy days.
So what is this all about? As I age, and this body changes, what does this next episode have in store? What about me needs to be healthier, fitter, smaller and to my eye, more attractive? I am working with the public more, sure, and have a vested interest in my appearance, but health and fitness seem to be taking center stage at the moment. Am I doing something here for a reason, or has this become another fixation and turning inward of my person to myself, due to confusion and fear of all that is around me? What will the end of this transformation look like?
Another question to pose is, how is my mind changing? As goes the body, goes the soul...
Well, I must be away and around. Today is another whirlwind I suppose and too much contemplation slows me down. I am aware of the change, and that at least gives me scent of transition. Time to stretch and breath, to pause before the storm.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Woke up at 6:10...headache and where are my glasses? Hmm...pill taken, glasses in my shoe? I seem to recall patches of more, but my phone tells the tale. Calls made...not so good. I guess I have the general idea?
Another long day at work. How to muddle through? Many thoughts on my mind, but still my heart is leaping? I can't seem to shake this silly, happy feeling. It's like screaming on a roller coaster, contagious and full of flexing. Ever smile so hard your face hurts? Or get caught dancing to a tune that no one else seems to hear?
Blew my nose, coughed, feel much better. Why do my toes pop so hard when I flex my legs? I can make it through this day. I chose not to let my mind rest heavily on the decisions at hand. Let's save that for later. I want to consider it all, but not at the moment.
Glad that I got my car clean and wow...it is cold outside. Need to make some coffee. Back in a flash.
Listening to music after an hour of sitting here and taking in information about the world around me. I am so blessed. What have I ever done or been to have so much? And still. it just keeps getting better. Do I take it all for granted?
Communication last night was good, though I missed the point and had to be explained to like a child and know that I still don't quite grasp the message that was being passed to me. Obtuse or maybe just familiar with another ones language and reference. What exactly did he mean by all of that? Does it scare me? Am I excited, or just merely letting myself run along with me? So confused now that I thought about it all. See what good does that do?
How far will this go? Where is my heart? Have I handed it away already? I wish I could remember...
Friday, January 1, 2010
When you say a situation or person is hopeless...you are slamming the door in the face of God.
Today marks another milestone in life, and I woke early, as none were the matter for my heart, even though in this tight, smooth place is at rest. Oddly enough, I feel settled.
I do not have the answers for all the questions. I do not have a turn of phrase or glint of eye that will make all right.
But I have the absolute confidence that this too shall pass. Time tells all things.
Hello Mr. New Year! May this day find my steps light, my heart full of bubbling joy and the song on my lips that follows me greet each person with something more than myself. This year bodes well for a man-boy yet to be.
What an odd and strangely blessed day. Drove to work on top of the world, and drove home tonight settled and at peace, even in the midst of this storm.
New Years past have found me anywhere from Manhattan to Chicago, but this one was spent here in Kansas City simply and happened to be the most amazing one of record to date.
I worked today, after sleeping in a bit, and then went downtown to Bartle Hall to the One Thing conference to spend my New Years with Stephen and so many people. 20,000 young people singing and dancing their hearts out to begin today and the rest of our time. Wow! I have never seen anything like that in my life!
It was good, and I am in a better place. Sleep will find me soon, but I sleep tonight happy and at rest with all the things I still don't understand. There is an answer.