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so, how long you been dead

I was the dead person the little boy saw. It was a long day, being dead and all. I wasn’t certain that I was dead at first. That made for some awkward moments. You may not know this, but when you are dead the living are not so polite to you. Its really criminal. I have started a petition for the equitable treatment for the living impaired, but that’s a different blog. My first encounter with this was with my ex-wife. Apparently, once you are among the soul less individuals, treating people as people is no longer required. The first step to separate yourself from the recently dead is to send an email to everyone you have ever had contact with. What you need to do is taunt the newly dead and point out all the things that have strangled the life out of the departed. IT is like a game. If you overshoot the victim role, you end up squarely in the perpetrator role. Its the balance beam of subterfuge. The next step is to turn to the family. This is a much more delicate operation. There is more history with the relatives. They understand that the loved one was once living and , in the living, had some very alive moments and some near dead moments. The way to circumnavigate this is to isolate them. You make sure there is no contact with the dead. Changing the locks and having the loved ones refer to the dead by a foreign name helps. Don’t worry about your own soul or about being honest, the dead aren’t welcome in courts and if you slid yourself into the victim role, the departed are now the perpetrator. Make sure that you are caustic and over dramatic each time you interact with the dead. You must keep up appearances at all waking moments.

The second experience was with a woman I dated.  I still had not recognized I was dead and was actually feeling much better.  Maybe I was only mostly dead. I enjoyed a new living with her. I loved very deeply. We played. We laughed. We cried. It was like nothing I had ever experienced in my former life. It scared the living shit out of me. A few months into the relationship, I started to feel my spector self. I recognized my death through counseling and some new friends I had made. The stink of death had not completely left me. I wanted to address it, but it is overwhelming. The spector weaved in and out of my new life. The taunts and humiliation of the past weaved through my being. I tried to talk about it, to address it. The living don’t want to hear from the dead. She pulled away and I panicked. I tried to re-engage in life and living. I feared the return of death. I died all over again. I didn’t like being dead, but I had not figured out how to be alive completely. I have only now recognized my re-death and progressed to live again. However, I am dead to her.

The fascinating thing I learned while dead is that our memories and unresolved traumas stay as ghosts. They are like the wind. The swirl around the living, blocking them from connection with the other living. IF the dark memories, traumas, and insecurities aren’t dealt with, they grow and multiply. The swirling becomes violent. They are isolated from the next step, the light of the world. The living cant see them. They grow slowly enough that the choking is subtle. You grow accustomed to it. The living wonder through a half existence in the midst of a swirl, a dermish. At variable intervals, part of the swirl dives into the corporeal. The ephereal infuses the body and mind. It taints and taunts. The dark diminishes the light. It confuses. IT misdirects. For my new life, it cost me love. IT always costs the price of the moment. IT seems real. It seems like a tangible force. IT feels like being hit by a truck. When it leaves the body, the ghost droppings remain. It stinks up the living. It has to be found and cleaned. Sometimes, the recently departed become part of the swirl. The pain and hurt and other emotions that accompany the memories are darker when compared to the light that was present days, months or years before.

Be Still and know I am God. These words to me quiet the swirl. It recognizes that the swirl and the turmoil are inevitable.  Letting the swirl torment you is optional.  Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. The wind has to be recognized. It has to be addressed. If the pain is too great, too violent, it will be there when the living is able to deal with it. It will infuse eventually, the swirl is constant and unpredictable. Being aware of it, addressing it deliberately, honestly, and compassionately is the key to knowing God.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in divorce, journey

 

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anguish

There were 2 babies in the parable about Solomon tearing the baby in half to give one to each who claimed to love the child. The first child was being torn apart. One parent had made a mistake. IT caused the disagreement and the ensuing war. Still, there was love and tenderness. he longed to be with his children. The other parent was wounded. Their pride was damaged and out of fear and pain, poison had been given to the child to confuse the brain and cloud the soul. The only way to understand the child would be to look at her heart. The child wailed in pain and torment. The poison worked and fueled the anger and dismay. Solomon was frustrated and confused.
solomon baby
Both parents feigned caring. Both parents seem to want the child. He pronounced custody. The child wailed as she realized the torment would continue. One parent dropped to their knees. hearing the screams, seeing and feeling the pain, he let go. For now. He knew the child might not ever come back, the poison had gone deep and wide. However, he could not bare causing the pain he saw. He let go.

The other child swang on the hands of both parents. Happy and joyous, she seemed content and untainted. She loved well and she loved without reservation. It would be some time later. The poison spilled from the first onto the second. The parent who took the first, celebrated her victory of winning the child, lauded it over the second child as proof of how she should let go of the hand. He felt the hand slipping from his and tried to hold on tighter. He asked for help, he shared, he panicked, and he loved. Standing before Solomon again, he remembered the nights of horrific pain. He recalled the tears and torment. He felt the pain of letting go. He couldn’t imagine living through that again. He smelled the poison on his child and saw the venom oozing from the serpentine teeth of his former love. He prepared for a battle. He came to fight and win. There was a glimmer from the face of his child. He quickly glanced, wanting to keep his eyes on the attack. There was a single tear on her cheek. Her eyes seemed not lost, not angry, but confused.
child-tears
He knelt down and dropped his weapons. He cried and told the child that he loved her with all his heart. He loved her, her sibling, and even her mother. He would always be ready to welcome her. He just couldn’t cause more pain. He let go of her hand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


The pain was excrutiating. The noise deafening. The smirk on the parents face as they led the child of joy away was nothing short of evil.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in children, divorce

 

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am I serious?

Today is my 48th birthday.

I am 8 1/2 years on the road of Happy Destiny.

I am 3 years out of a bad marriage.

I am 6 months into a “do-over” on my career and life.

I am about 3 days into the recognition that I take myself too seriously re-struck its disharmonious chord with me.

I have had a tumultuous few years and have had to start my life all over a few times before I could gain purchase. I even fell in love since the divorce, but was so panicked about loosing it, I lost it.

When I did a week at a counseling center in Arizona, the counselor suggested to me that I was way to serious and had lost touch with my inner child.  I had never been told I was too serious before. It was odd to me. I had lost my smile and the joy in little things. However, I thought I had been getting them back. I had moved and started teaching. I felt like I would be ok even though I was unsure how. This was one of the steps to get a license in Idaho and restart my medical career. Things were looking up. Serious? me? She thought so and suggested I go to Build a Bear and design my inner child.

“Ummm, really?”

“Yes, you need to get in touch with it and you aren’t.”

“I will, but I sort of think its stupid.”

“All the more reason why I think you should.”

Big T

I did. He rides around with me in my car. This is his, “Are you serious?” look.

Still I have been feeling lost and separated from myself for some time now. I am unsettled and lonely. I have gotten stuck in the quicksand of my past. I have screamed and hollered. I have begged and pleaded. I have not moved on. I couldn’t let go of what I knew for the unknown. I was scared of my life and of myself. I didn’t trust me or God. “You just have to know that God is protecting you, you are safe,” she said. “You will be ok,” my old life said.

I forgot to enjoy the present. I forgot to enjoy me in the present. I am not that miserable guy. I like to laugh. I enjoy to have fun and do silly things. I remembered in an unusual way. I set about the task of making my new house my new home. I was dismantling the shoddy shelving the previous owner built and was holding a jigsaw. I dropped it on my wrist and opened a gash in my arm. I stopped the bleeding and started looking for a needle and thread to sew it up. At one point, I looked at the wound and felt faint. I had to lay down. As I regained my composure, I giggled that I was thinking of suturing myself and I cant even look at it without feeling lightheaded. I called a friend to take me to ER, but said to wait about 5 minutes, so I could eat a sandwich. She giggled and said, “Are you serious?” I took pictures of the wound and posted it on Facebook so all could guess on number of sutures. I had fun in the ER, actually.

When I got home, I was going to hang those tennis balls to know how far to pull into the garage. I didn’t have any, but I did have all these Snoopy toys that I couldn’t figure out where I wanted them to go.  So…

snoopy chain

I giggle each time my windshield taps these.  You will notice that I also hung my old kitchen lights in the garage to spruce it up.

I was feeling lighter somehow. I felt like I recognized me. I had begun to trust that I would be ok. I recognized my perseverance. I recognize my character. I felt hope. On Sunday, in the education hour, we talked about Romans 5:3 and Romans 8:28. “From suffering comes perseverance, from perseverance, character, and from character, hope.” I was comforted and felt the hope. So I went to the mall and rode a motorized dog (it looks suspiciously like my inner child, Big T says).

dog ride

I am serious about hope. I am serious about life. I am serious about God. I am serious about hoping to have fun with my life and with my God.

Wanna race?

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in faith, journey, life

 

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slurping Grace

I miss my daughters. Today is my youngest daughter’s birthday. There are a few great stories that keep flashing in my brain:

She was born on Earth Day and took that very seriously. When she was 5 or 6, she decided that the activity at her birthday party was to take the party outside and pick up trash. It was a bit nippy that day, but to see 15 preschoolers carrying black trash bags and picking up trash is indelible in my mind. For years afterward, people would comment on how fun that was.

The other is a post I did a long time ago. It was around communion. First you need to know that my daughter has one of those giraffe tongues. She can touch her nose with her tongue. I secretly wonder if she could lick her eyebrows with practice. In our church, we do communion every Sunday. We pass it up and down the aisles and you hold the tray for the next person while they get the bread and take a shot for Jesus. We have those little clear plastic cups. As it gets to her, she takes her time to find the biggest piece of bread. Then takes the cup and swigs the Grace of Salvation. Then her tongue dives into the cup. It filled the cup as she explored the nooks and crannies of the small cup. It seemed like she did it for hours, but it was a few seconds. She passed the tray without returning the cup and kept playing with it, using her tongue.  I kept giggling at it and thought how that is how we should all accept Grace…slurping it and interacting with Joy.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in children, faith

 

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hmm

“I’m scared.”

“Of What?”

“Everything”

I was pondering this morning on how often I have had this conversation with God and with everyone I have gotten close to or paid to listen to me. I never really thought of myself as a coward, but each time I have that conversation, I flash on all the times I felt fear.  I was 11 or 12. There were a set of twine, boy and girl, that lived down the street. The girl, Carla, pushed my younger sister down and I stood up for her. I pushed Carla. Well, now Andy wanted to fight me. I was not much of a fighter. I was in shape, because round is a shape. I ran in my house and hid. My Dad came home and I explained my plight because he wanted to know why 10 kids were standing outside calling me a chicken and making clucking noises. He told me I don’t have to go out there, but if I did, he would never call me coward again. That sounded good at the time. Years later, I would realize he never called me that and I don’t think I ever heard him use that word before or after. I did fight Andy and both of us would claim victory.

My fears have varied over the years. I have always been afraid of physical confrontation. I quit karate because we were going to have to hit each other. I was 40. I am not weak and could probably do pretty well in a fight. I don’t run and hide, but am adept at defusing a situation now.

I fear rejection. I fear isolation. I fear fear. I fear being lonely. I fear being a failure. I fear not being liked. I fear not being loved or loveable. I fear loss. I fear pain.

Today was a fear laden morning. I feel rejected on many fronts, but most tangible in my consciousness is my ex girlfriend and my daughters. Two very different situations and yet very similar fears. I miss all of them so much. I think I set myself up to feel this pain. I say it that way to make myself feel better. I know I did. I don’t know why except that the fear list paralyzes me. With my kids, I hurt their mother and ended up leaving the home, destroying the dream life and family. They were very confused and angry and decided to stop all communication with me. I failed their expectations as a father. I felt rejected, isolated, unloved and unloveable. I hurt.  I am getting more able to cope with that pain.  The realization that instead of feeling the emotions, I slid into suffering them, helped me dramatically.  Somedays, I do very well. Today is not one of those days.

I am meeting my fear with perseverance. I am learning to trust myself in the face of adversity. I am letting myself be aware of the fears and stepping up to the plate. I am learning to love me first.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in journey, life

 

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scourge

“How do I get over her?”

“You just do. You allow yourself to feel the feelings. You recognize the good things and the less good things. You look at what you have learned and how you have grown. You don’t ignore it or rush it. You live through it and into it. You may never really be fully over her, but you will always be able to let go of the pain, someday.”

“Part of me doesn’t want to let go of the pain, its all I have left of her. We don’t talk, I don’t see her, and she has moved on.”

“Another emotion you will have to live through.”

“I really screwed it up. I let go of her. I was afraid and needed to prove myself unworthy, I guess. I have fed into the idea that if I reject myself or if I run away, then I wont be as hurt. It was self-sabotage and now I just ache to hear her voice, see her face, watch her blow kisses at the moon and birds.”

“Sounds like you did mess it up, now ask yourself, “Why?””

“I was afraid. It wasn’t perfect and I was scared. I was moving away and knew I’d be isolated and lonely. I thought I wasn’t good enough to want to move with, so I pushed away so I didn’t have to feel the pain of her saying she didn’t want to be with me. I knew she needed to stay and I knew I needed to go.”

“Sounds like it was a choice. There isn’t a right or wrong, just different kinds of pain.”

“I don’t know how to live into this. I am an escape artist. I hid behind beer for 20 years, and calmed my rejection feelings with flirting and pseudo-connections with women. How do people do this?”

“You just do. You allow yourself to feel the feelings. You recognize the good things and the less good things. You look at what you have learned and how you have grown. You don’t ignore it or rush it. You live through it and into it..”

“I heard that somewhere before.”

Transistion and growth is always difficult. I am in a Saturday experience and I feel very lost and alone. I have often spoke of how I think all events in our lives are akin to the Easter weekend. We are going along in our life, either trusting God or pleasing God. If we trust God, we are living that out in our daily life, leaning when things are good or bad. Exploring and growing in relationship. If we are pleasing God, we are faking it. We are doing the right things, saying the right things, looking good, but there is no depth to the relationship. Then our metaphorical Friday hits. It is a life changing event: it can be good or bad, big or small. It is just something that changes us. We have to die to who we were. It is the child birth, the divorce, the job change, the move, the lottery winner, the missed flight. After Friday, we are place in a tomb. That tomb is the time of change. It is the process of leaving who you were and becoming who you will be. I like the image of Jesus sitting in the tomb, considering his wounds, lamenting and forgiving Judas, smiling at Peter, sore and healing. If we have been pleasing God, we end up asking, “Why me?” We delay our own healing. We cant see God with us, even in the darkness. If we trust God, we aren’t alone in the tomb. We can heal and grow. It is only through trusting we get to be resurrected as something new, rather than resuscitated back into our misery.

I didn’t trust God. I wanted to. I even thought I was. I was self seeking. I was willing to give up on myself and my journey to not have to go to the tomb. I was afraid of the cross. I was afraid of the scourging, so I ran. I hid. I gave up on something wonderful, on someone wonderful, in order to not be hurt. It took me quite awhile to get to where I saw I didn’t trust God. I have know been scourged with the chains or despair and loneliness. I have been nailed with the reality of my situation. I have been hung to die. I was carried to the tomb and buried. I am in a Saturday. Sundays coming!

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in divorce, faith, journey, life

 

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in a maze and a haze

I saw “Maze Runners” recently. It was an ok movie, but it really got me thinking. In the movie, several guys are trapped in a park in the middle of the maze. They have created a society within the maze and have been mapping out the maze for several years. A select few are chosen to be maze runners. The trick is that the maze changes every night, amidst horrifying noises. Near the end of the movie, we discover they have mapped out the entire maze and its various changes. They think they have discovered there is no way out of the maze, but have made the decision not to tell the others for fear of stealing hope.

It hit me this weekend, the movie is an allegory for my life. I was placed in the middle of a maze. Periodically, I add new facets to who I am. Together we have made a society. I have the runners, the enforcers, the scared boys. I have boys that rail against the system and ones who meekly keep working. There are boys who seek the bigger answer and those that are content to trudge along. In the movie, and in my heart, there is a time that a new facet arrives. He is different. He thins different, he is inspired by some different knowledge of a greater force. He resolves to figure a different solution.

However, before that. I imagine when there was just one person, who even a few. The decision to venture into the shifting maze would have been a tough one. In the movie, at night creatures arrive at nightfall as the entrance to the maze closes. Occasionally, someone is exiled to the maze at dark or gets trapped there. I imagine being the first one to be caught there. The darkness falls and the noises continue. You see the creature and run. Dead-ends and moving walls make it harder to hide. The terror and bewilderment begin to close in and panic ensues. I have felt like that rat, ramming my head against a wall again and again. I was afraid and confused. I was separated from any potential goal and just trying to survive. The creatures claimed part of me that night too.

I have felt like the boy consigned to be a hanger-on. I never ventured into the maze, figuring I deserved the isolation and disorientation. I pretended it was all going to be just fine living inside. I ached for the outside despite not remembering what it was.

I have been the warrior, bound by the rules. I held strict guidelines, never to be broken. I did the right things, said the right things. More to protect me from myself than the outside world. I wouldn’t leave the maze either, unless to enforce some rules.

I have been the maze runners. I see the changes. As I think I figure out my maze, my consciousness, it changes. As soon as I know a turn or twist, it morphs into something else. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was. As I captured it, it changed. Walls and barriers shifted. Heart delighted, and heart defeated. Running from the creatures of the night, feeling brave and triumphant during the day. I was as confused then as any other time.

I have been the new person, unconcerned with the shift. Seeing the maze as one overall picture, rather than pieces to be explored. I confronted and defeated the creature. I used that experience to forge ahead and develop a plan. I returned to myself and took the braver parts with me. I found a way out of them maze.

Like a rat picked up from the cheese, I longed at times to return to the familiar. The force lifted me above the maze and I could see what it was. I was not to be in the maze. It isn’t the plan for me. It was a self created barrier. I thought it kept me safe from the world, but it was my prison. The creatures, the shifting walls, I designed to keep others out. I saw it now, and I thought I was free.

Another force announced there would be another test. I have more to learn, more to face, more to love.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in journey, life

 

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