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Archive for the ‘Faith:Grief’ Category

Looking back on everything, there is one thing that I cannot shake, and that is the times that I have brought irreversible damage to others in my past. I believe the reason I am trying so hard to make this experience a positive to others is the fact that the majority of my life had been such a negative to others. I used religious misconceptions in my arguments, depending on what I wanted the outcome to be. I used to sell different types of drugs, it was a way to get them cheaper and make a little money on the side. I had a reputation that I wasn’t one to double cross and I tried to keep that image up. I could never find the happy medium, I was either viewed as mean, and then I would come across, later, as a pushover. I felt that the hard side of me was necessary to survive.

I would go to parties to sell sometimes to people that I didn’t know. If the product was bad, I would find someone that didn’t know much about it and hand it off to them, for more then I should have. Otherwise I would sell everything else to people that I wanted repeat business, one was to a guy that later died from an overdose. An overdose that I assumed came from what I sold him, I sold him quite a bit. That wasn’t the last time I sold, and there is other stories I could tell but that is one that sticks with me. I feel like I murdered him, how can I make something like that up to the ones that miss him? And to the others that ended up in accidents after they left partying with me? I think of these things constantly, I eventually stopped dealing, and kept using. I can’t get my head around the people that I mislead spiritually either. I knew what I was saying to them was wrong at the time, but I kept on. The people that I fought for no reason, the people that I talked into things even when it was against what they stood for, and so on and so on.

I have talked to others on how I feel with different answers, but I can’t help but to carry each burden on my shoulders. I sometimes dream about them, , more like nightmares than dreams. It is one thing to forgive myself for what I have done to myself, but how can I forgive myself for something I have done to others? I can’t go back to all of these people and ask for forgiveness, I couldn’t even tell you all of their names. I wanted to write this in an ‘Arrow’ story, but I can’t envision how God would respond.

I am told we are forgiven if we turn away from our sins. I have been told that we can’t turn back time, and we should do as well as we can day by day. I was told, when I was younger, that we have to confess all of our sins so we can be forgiven, this is something that I have laid down as untrue, but I still believe it is somewhere in my psyche and I can’t fully shake it. I have conflicting pulls on this subject, I so want to lay this down and move on, but how can I when it is others that are feeling the pain caused by my actions? I don’t feel that I have that right. If I continue to carry it with me, and never laying it down, will I remain unforgiven?

D.

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 I got back from my fifth installment of my counselling session today. We talked about yesterday and going to the viewing with Brian, she wanted me to pull positives out of it, I was able to see that the knowledge of my past experiences helped him with minimum words. When we first got there I was silent, everything flooded in on me and my heart was heavy. Faces of my friends and various funeral homes flashed by me like an old projector, and seeing the tears well up in Brian’s eyes made me look away, finding that I wasn’t trying to avoid him as much as trying to hide my own tears.

Aside from the normal pleasantries I kept my silence as Noreen met some of the kids she knew from Atkins. I kept silent going past the pictures that were mainly of Brian and his friends. I remained in silence as we went past the casket, I have never liked viewings and prefer nothing of the kind. As we stepped outside tears were flowing heavy, I knew that reality was hitting Brie hard, I knew that dreams would come that seem so real that upon waking up you feel so desolate, so alone. I knew that he would want to talk to his friend and call him, and then the realization of him not being there would set in. Seeing him in the casket I know that he felt that it was a cruel joke, that he would get up. It always seems that you can see their chest moving as if they were still breathing, gently sleeping.

Right then it was tearing him up, I looked away as he grabbed hold of his mom, his face toward me red with tears and pain. After that he looked at me, with his hand out and told me to give him a hug. He held me tight and told me he knew that I have lost a lot of my friends in my life, I told him with a shaking in my voice, ‘Yes, it hurts doesn’t it?’ He put his head to mine and answered ‘Yes, it does.’ I did not think about those words as nothing more then validation of an indescribable pain. I heard him tell another one of his friends the same thing. He hugged me again before we left and I said something that was just between him and myself.

I was worried that he would do the same thing that my friends and I would do afterward and that was go to a mutual friends house drink, throw back a snow cap, and get stoned. Then we would talk that we should get together more often and not wait for a funeral, and then at the next one we would repeat the cycle and the speeches. But instead I heard him tell a few of his friends that they all needed to straighten up so this wouldn’t happen again. I do not think that anything I said caused that, I think that it was God clearing their eyes.

D.

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I just got back from my third visit to the counselor. It’s hard to look inside one’s self much less show that self to others. It’s also hard to know that I have a while before the physiological effects of the addiction are gone. One day at a time. It’s one thing to say that to myself and quite the other to believe it.

I had a dream last night, I was standing on an alcove but it was upstairs, and I was surrounded by friends, even though I did not recognize them in my dream I knew that they were my friends. Everyone was renovating this old building, someone hollered up to me that they couldn’t fix the window with chicken wire, that they were told that it had to be fixed right this time, and they would have to put a new window in. When I woke up I felt a heavy sadness, it wasn’t that the dream was sad, I just felt a heaviness. My counselor asked what I thought that meant, I told her that I feel that it had to do with my transparency at this time and that all the different people were everyone that is working to support me, or ‘fix’ me. I think that the chicken wire represents the piecing together I have tried to do to hold everything in. But the window was an insight to me now, and since it is out in the open, it was to be a window without any dressings, just a new pane of glass.

I’ve removed my mask and I find myself fumbling with it, like an old Victorian ball, removing it and replacing it with everyone I pass. My counselor found it to be God’s work that I survived five overdoses, and now I am were He has put me. He has a use for me that I might not see now but will when I come out on the other side. I believe this, it’s okay if some of you don’t, I do. I have to, it is hope for me to know that there is reason to this insanity. I am shedding my mask and underneath replacing it with a body of glass for the world to see. Even at this time I can see that I need that, I shielded who I was. I created a one size fits all person, I was what ever anyone around me wanted me to be. I am now becoming what I am, it’s just that I don’t even know who that is yet.

There are some things others will never know about my past and that is okay, but a big part is out there. What if we all had a body of glass, of course some things that are hidden would be too distant to see, but more of the real person shown through? It is very humbling, I know that to be true. I am not saying that I won’t slip and become judgmental at times, but I know that it makes it harder to be that way.

I am speaking tonight for the first few minutes at church about my addiction, leading into the lesson. Noreen asked if I felt like I should, I want to do it while it is fresh. This is new to me, I was raised in an environment where mask were handed out left and right and you were not to remove them unless you responded to the invitation, and even then you were supposed to put it right back on before you left. I have never been to a place where you were invited to remove the mask, with love. Knowing that you were not the only one with scars to hide, that you are not the only one imperfect behind the mask and that you are in a long line of others removing them.

There will be others this month during this series that are stepping out and sharing their different struggles, and though they will all be different I think they will all be similar. Showing times of feeling alone, or helplessness, searching for the right path while being bombarded with the struggle, fear, hope, faith, etc.

I thank God I am surrounded by His lovers during this part of my path, it gets way too dark sometimes, without their light I would be lost.  I want to help someone that has been where I have been, I have had that help before and just knowing that you are not alone is a comfort.

D.

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A Vacant Home

“Where is God?…go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent in time of trouble?” – C.S. Lewis’ -A Grief Observed

I used this quote before in the post, ‘Jesus Wept’ lately it seems that I feel this pain. Even in my lowest days I felt God, but lately I have been feeling so alone. I have wonderful friends, a wonderful family, a wonderful church family and a wonderful wife who all love me very much, I am surrounded by loving people so why do I feel a void? I wrote my last post on Friday and continued it after the kids and I went to a site and simpsonized us, and I wanted to share it with everyone because the kids mean so much and every little thing that we do together is a blessing. So why do I feel so alone?

I have been clean for the longest time ever, I won’t say how long because I am afraid that I will disappoint some people, but I am tired, I am drained. I fight the urge to contact people, I am at war with myself almost daily. I can’t hide from Noreen, I hide from my kids, I put on a smile and desperately try not to upset the special short time that we have to share. I am putting Noreen through hell, I get so up tight that I lash out at little things, I get so tired that I break down in tears over everything. 

The only way that I can describe it is that it is a hunger, a thirst that I cannot fill. I have never looked at quitting in an infinite way, it was always opened to when can I do it again. I try substitutes, coffee, cigarettes, workout stimulants, I sneak asthma medicine that has ephedrine in it. I guess it is odd that I confess on here about things I hide. I guess this is the way I can get it out in the open to a faceless computer. I pray, but I have lost my want to journey as I did. I knock on the door, I yell, scratch, beat and try to break down the door just to feel the presence of God, and yet I sabotage myself in not taking a more gentle approach, I want Him to come to me I guess, but I hesitate. Secretly hoping that He will not answer, because if He does I will have to choose. To succeed I can never be filled with an appetite that I have found to be insatiable.

I realize someone will read this, I am not fooling myself. I look forward to my next counselling appointment, yet I dread it also. I know God cares, I know Jesus loves me, but all I see ahead is a brick wall and I am speeding straight toward it. Noreen is the one that is suffering the most and I hate that, she loves me and it hurts to see her so sad. So I know that I will get over this, I just don’t seem to see it yet.

D.

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I was watching the interviews of some of the kids from Virginia and it amazed me that everyone was talking about prayers and community outreach as being the most important thing for them right now. Of course the handful that were interviewed cannot speak for all, only for themselves and during this time of their loss of boyfriends, girlfriends, close friends, sisters, brothers they wanted prayers. I didn’t see any interviews with parents, which is understandable. I know that there are questions about why God allowed this. I also know that there are people that are leaning on the same God that others are turning away from, and the same God that is being questioned and blamed. The shooter killed himself, the question is how do we keep this from happening? How can a campus that encompassed enough kids to make up a small city be secured?

My youngest daughter, Brittany, called me about a month ago with some alarming news that a kid in their class was seen on myspace holding two guns and a long list of possibly random kids that he was planning on shooting. His myspace was protected with a password that only people that he invited to view his site could get on, someone that was invited to view it saw it and told the administration about it. Needless to say they were on high alert, they got the kid and the accomplishes, but from what I was told just kept them over the weekend. What was I to do? She lives twenty minutes away, I know that she called her mother to pick her up and she was safe for the time being, others were excused for the day also. Thank God nothing happened that day, thank God for the people that were saved from Virginia, but what about the ones that weren’t? Prayers will be sent out and it will be remembered as the worse massacre in U.S. history, the one before this was in 1966 in Texas.

I have no answers, I think that it is something that is taken all in an individual way. Some survivors, and parents will turn more toward God for comfort and support though they know that some questions will not be answered, and that they are stuck with an emptiness that will be with them for the rest of their lifes. Others will turn away from God, or if they did not believe before, will use this as an argument against God. But there is no doubt that in one way or other God will be on their mind.

Sometimes I feel alone, isolated. I am secure in my faith, I know that God is with us. I know that God is not always behind the bad times, but I believe that He is our great comforter if we allow it. It is not up to me to take on all the hard questions, I was not asked to, and God is greater then me. But I feel alone at times, overwhelmed with my own questions. An insignificant dot.

I have a picture that was done for one of my classes, it is a process called stippling, a picture made up of nothing but dots. If one of those dots were not there the picture would not look right, all of the dots work together to make the picture but none of the dots stand out on their own. I know that this is not a new way of thinking, but it helps me sometimes to see myself as one of those dots.  If we look at those dots as community, and God as a whole being the picture, we can see a support base. We are in it together even if we are not affected directly, our hearts go out during difficult times, not necessarily trying to answer the questions of why, or to say we understand, we don’t. But to support where we can. Lift up the families, friends, survivors in comfort where comfort is difficult to find.

D.

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Reruns

My TV has been showing me reruns lately, so I thought it only fair to do the same thing on my post. Actually, I have noticed that the Jesus Wept post has been getting a lot of hits lately, and I thought that I would bring it up to the forefront again. Also, during class Sun. I noticed some people still question why Jesus wept, I think that it is important for comfort to know that it was not for sympathy, and that death is our goal to be re-united with our Father. Since they are longer post, I put a ‘read the rest of..’ tab on them.

Please feel free to comment.

D.

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“Where is God?…go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent in time of trouble?” – C.S. Lewis’ -A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis wrote this after his wife Joy Davidman passed away. More of a journal really than a book. As his Step-Son stated in the forward it is simply as the title states, an observance of grief. Lewis never denies God, he struggles with who God is. To me it feels like God was a close friend who let him down when he needed to call in a favor. 

We find ourselves sometimes in that same spot, we care for people and we seek God’s will, we love God with a passion, just to find out that He has a different agenda then ours. (more…)

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