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The Funeral

Okay, some of you might have already heard this or have read it somewhere, but this is the first time I saw it. The Supervisor brought it in for Noreen to read and I thought that I would post it here. I needed to dust this site off anyway. I would give credit to the person that wrote this, but I do not know who it is.

The Funeral

One day all the church members reached the church and they saw a big sign on the door on which was written: Yesterday, the person who has been hindering your growth in this church passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym. In the beginning, they all got sad for the death of one of their members, but after awhile they started getting curious to know who was that person who hindered the growth of his fellow Christians and the church itself.

The excitement in the gym was such that security agents were ordered to control the crowd within the room. The more people reached the coffin, the more the excitement heated up. Everyone thought: “Who is this person who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he died!” One by one the thrilled members got closer to the coffin, and when they looked inside it, they suddenly became speechless. They stood by nearby the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul.

There was a mirror inside the coffin; everyone who looked inside it could see him/herself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: There is only one person who is capable of setting limits to your growth: IT IS YOU!!

Our life doe not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your spouse changes, when your company changes, when your church changes, when your location changes, when your money changes, when your status changes. Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs. Examine yourself, watch yourself. Do not be afraid of difficulties, impossibilities and losses. Be a winner; build yourself and your reality. It’s the way you face Life that makes the difference. -Anonymous

D.
Addictsdiary

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I have found a peace in my heart.  A comfort that I know only comes from God and His powerful hand. I have shared my struggles with God but looking back through all of the ‘bad times’ He was always there. I never worried much about where God was taking me and my family, sometimes I did not care if He wanted to go ahead and take me, lately I have felt ready. Not to escape the struggles but just ready to go home. But I also enjoy life, I look back on stumbling and struggles and I see God’s hand constantly.

I enjoy my kids who are the greatest, my wife who understands me and the things that she does not understand she has studied and delved deep into the subjects so that she might understand. I am thankful for my friends that show me laughter and so many things that are right in the world. I am not suicidal, I am just comfortable with any direction God directs me. We are not rich by any stretch of the imagination, not by what the world considers rich anyway. We barely make it paycheck to paycheck, a lot of times we have to sell things just to make it through. We want to reach out to others but we cannot do it with money, so we try and do it with service to others, which is very fulfilling. This makes us rich.

I do not worry about what tomorrow holds, our situation is tough because I am unable to work at this time because of health issues, and legal issues. As a man I feel like I am not pulling my weight, this bothers me sometimes, but I know that God is always near. I have turned on God before, with words that sadden me. But since I have been with Nee-Nee, my kids, and my church family God has given me treasures beyond description. He is a loving Father who has not hidden His face from me, even though I have felt like He has, He hasn’t.

Sometimes I feel like Superman, a broken Superman, but Superman none the less. I do not worry about myself, and what might happen to me. I watch out for my family and I am a little protective, but I trust in God. I did not worry about the shooting that occurred here, or what my wife and I viewed outside of our window. I was saddened that it effected Nee-Nee and so many of the tenants that live here, but honestly I did not worry about our safety. I have confronted people that would intimidate others without a second thought. I am not testing God, I feel like I have a comfort with God and I feel that it is His will and His strength.

Some of you might ask then why do you suffer from depression, anxiety, compulsive, and attention deficits? The only thing that I can think of is because of my constant drug use, and a craving that I do not fully understand. But I can tell you that it is not from worrying. I am not anxious about tomorrow. God has never failed me, though when I was younger I thought He had, the truth is He hasn’t. That is another reason I like to look back into my past, because as I look at it and the times I thought that I was away from God, I see Him in the dark corners of my life at that time. I look back and see Him when I missed Him the first time. Seeing this I see that God has worked inside me and changed my faith. He has strengthened it and continues to. I know that God has a mission for me to do, I have not seen it yet, but I might even be in the middle of that mission and not realize it until later. He has kept me alive, even during the times that I was ready to leave, and take myself out of this world. My attempts were futile, because God loves me and has a purpose for me and all that He loves.

I believe that tragedies occur sometimes to be a lesson to others, and to help others grow even when we are so deep in our own sorrow, or loss. Death is not an ending but a beginning to a beautiful life, I think that sometimes instead of sadness with all the death that I have experienced, was jealousy that they do not have to deal with this world anymore. My Gramps on my mothers side was a horrible man, who obviously thought of carnal pleasures over his own children and grand-children. But when most people would say a man like that must be headed to hell after he died. And the odds are against him, but God works in different ways. There is still a chance that God brought him home. I don’t know, no one does. I just realize that I have a peace that surpasses understanding.

This upsets people sometimes because they don’t believe me. With all the tragedy, and the ‘hardship’ that we are experiencing at this time, people tell me that it is okay to ‘admit’ that I am worried. It is not impossible for us not to worry, or God would tell us it is normal and go ahead and do it. I do have to work on my patience but not with where my life is going, I have short patience with those that worry about things that they cannot change. We talk about how good God is, we talk about His love for us, and how comforting He is to us. So if we believe, TRULY believe this, why worry? If God took away all of our material things I could go on. I would miss the convenience that they offer, but I know I will live without them. If God took away someone close to me again then I know life will go on, and I will see them again, but in God’s time. I will cry because I miss them, but I will not cry that they went to a better place.

If someone was offering to sell you peace of mind, would you allow yourself to let down your guard and your control, which you don’t have in the first place, and buy it and allow it to work? God offers it for free, accept it, let your guard down and I guarantee you there will be a peace that you cannot describe or understand.

D.

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Not one of my best titles, but I like it. Not that I live by it, I just like it. The past few weeks or so have been tough, first my boy gets burned, then we have a double homicide in the building next door to where we live. This didn’t bother me too much, I don’t know if I have grown cold to it, or just know how these things play out. I know the guy involved isn’t living here anymore, probably afraid of retaliation. I know that they are not targeting the complex if there is payback it will be for the people involved and they are gone. But it has effected Nee-Nee something terrible, we have worked hard to get a better reputation for these apartments and out of the four years that we have been here nothing like this has happened. Four people wanted to transfer to another complex, which is a little nicer but they seem to have forgotten the shooting that happened over there less then a month ago.

This can happen anywhere and I think that I have resided to that fact a long time ago. It is funny Nee-Nee had a joyful noise in her heart not too long before this happened, and she called a few people to share it with them. Then a day or two later the shooting happened. I believe that God wanted her to keep joy in her heart through times of trouble also, not just when it is easiest. Letting her light shine as a Christian a follower of Christ, a light in a dark world. A Sister from Church stopped by today and talked to Noreen, (thank you, Amanda) and it all kind of came together to Nee-Nee. The only thing I hate is she is really more cautious of people. I have always wanted her to be, but I hate that some of the innocence left her that night. I am the cautious one, we need each other to balance us out.

Before that there was my near overdose on my pills, I have fallen in the shower two times and fell down two different stairwells, hurting my back even further. My depression has been coming and going like a roller coaster, the dark days last longer then the days of light. So I have been trying to find disciplines that help in pulling myself out of a funk, here is what I have learned.

Write five things down daily that you are thankful for. Praise God for those things throughout the day, there was a monk that used this, and when he washed his hands he would be reminded to praise God, or anything that had to do with water: a fountain, a sink, etc. Then the next day he would use something else to remind him to praise God for the things that he was thankful for that day, and so on.

On a whole we have more positive input then negative, but for some reason we concentrate on the negative. Say 5 people tell you something positive, and one person tells you one negative. The five positives go out the window, and all you can think about is the negative. Re-train yourself to think about the positives and less on the negative. If the negative is for growth, use it as such remembering the positives. If the negative is hurtful, and from a hateful heart then forget about it, pray for them and concentrate on the positives.

Be positive toward other people in your walk. Wish them well, or offer a friendly greeting. If nothing is said do a quick prayer for their day to go well or that God will use them in the only way He can. I was told that if you do this for at least a week you will begin to feel more positive not just about yourself but others as well. Just imagine how you can change your outlook if you begin to live by these.

Next post I am going back to my drug days and recount them for you, hopefully they will help. As I recount those days I still see God using me, I think that if you look hard enough you can see them too without me pointing them out.

May God bless you all,

D.

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Failures

A heavy person is afraid to go to the gym to better themselves, because of all of the fit bodies there. They are fearful to take the first steps outside to begin walking and eventually working their way up to running. Fearful of the stares and what is said behind their back. The recovering alcoholic in not wanting to offend and hoping that everyone enjoys themselves at their party, has beer for those that still drink. Afraid of the party being boring or called childish for having only soda. Being talked into having just one beer saying that they can handle just one, and ends up at step one in their recovery. Not admitting to themselves or others that one is going to hurt the recovery. After the results of the heavy person getting the nerve up to work out, walk and run come in, we see a slimmer more attractive, healthier person. The ones that laughed before now feel a tinge of jealousy to the attention this person is getting now. Where once they were shunned they are now accepted. I have been there with body building, I have let myself go, gained almost three hundred pounds, lost the weight and gained muscle mass. I was treated totally different. Some tried to bring up when I was heavier, while no one else cared they saw the end result.

The alcoholic that succeeds loses some friends but becomes a better man. No longer a ‘functional’ alcoholic but a person that is functioning successfully in his marriage, with his kids, and with his work mates. The focus is not totally off of wanting the occasional drink, but the drive is there because of the better life, the new high he/she has now. Some people don’t want others to succeed because they are complacent in their lives. If they see change in others they feel the need to compete, and frankly do not want to commit to the work involved.

I am going to say something that some might see as blame on others and not on self, all that I am saying is there is a combination of the two. The pressure of others, the draw that is inside, and the lack of the strength or experience to face the worlds problems. All of this can cause relapse to the old person. While the old person returns, the fears, and comfort also return. I think, for me anyway, that fear of wondering if I did too much of something, the need for excess, the challenge of fooling others while I am on one of the best highs in my life, experiencing an overdose and beating it for one more day, the sudden crash that makes you so tired and depressed that all you can think of is what can I do next? Be it speed, pills, acid, whatever will pull you back up. A different high, a different day, the same concerns. That is what draws me back. I am used to those concerns, I know how to handle them. Life’s real internal problems, not so much. It is easier for me to go back into a lifestyle that I have known for 27 years, then being thrown into a lifestyle I have only known for one year and four months. That is what pains me in having to apologize to everyone that has supported me in this, and that has stood beside me. I found myself failing to succeed.

I have not gone back to speed, what I did was use my perfectly legal drugs in a perfectly illicit way. I have always been afraid to over do on psychological meds. And someone else has helped pay for them so respect to that I would not abuse them. However, the latest prescriptions are Prozac and Clonazepam both prescriptions are affordable so I pay for them myself. The Prozac is 60 mg while the Clonazepam is 0.5 mg, I take the Prozac right but come on, .5 mg’s? Really? For a guy my size I laugh at that. Studying up on it, Clonazepam, as I do each new drug I am given, I found out that it is highly addictive. This intrigued me, why is it addictive? I read more about overdose, and what to expect. I laughed at this being addictive and that is probably why I got such a low dosage. As I took them I found no difference and still did not see why someone would like these enough to be addicted to them. They probably had a higher dosage.

I was becoming frustrated I could not get across to the Psychiatrist what my problem was, and for my next visit Noreen was to come with me to show an outside view to what is wrong with me. But that was still a few weeks away, I wanted fixed now. The Lexapro that I was taking at the time kept me from crying and took away most of the depression, but I still had an underlying depression and anxiety that persisted. Also I was still suffering with something that I could not explain to others, frustration setting in I took more of the Clonazepam, four tabs equaled 2 mg, what could 2 mg do to me? Nothing in my mind except maybe help me with what was bugging me. The second day I ended up taking five adding up to 2.5 mg. I was also taken my Lexapro at the same time, though I was taking it correctly did not seem to help with the problem. I thought that I was hiding this pretty well, for two days I put myself and Nee-Nee in jeopardy. For the first time she was afraid of my driving, I stumbled around the house and my speech was slurred. I do not remember anything but bits and pieces of those days and was very ashamed of myself. As I said I thought that I was hiding it well enough and felt no real danger. I have over dosed on coke, meth, and pain pills, all of them are different feelings. But I have never overdosed on Psychiatric drugs before, I felt fine just so very sleepy by the second day. So out of character for me I laid down in the middle of the day to have a nap, just to be awaken by Noreen in my face, asking me how many were taken. She counted my pills and knew that I should have a lot more then I did. I was still groggy and probably under the influence of the medication, and mumbled a few lies. But she knew.

She had counted my pills while I was asleep, and then Googled overdose for Clonazepam: Trouble focusing, ability to walk being impaired, impaired judgment, slurred speech, loss of memory, sleepiness, and finally breathing halts altogether ending in death. I felt when I went to sleep that my breaths were not labored in fact I almost had to concentrate on my breathing, but not to the state of paranoia, but more of a peaceful rest. Noreen woke me up to make sure that I was still alive. She woke me up to get me out of falling back asleep again. The problem with overdosing on a drug like this is it is dangerous to go completely off of it, the irony is you have to continue taking it. This worried Noreen more, is it okay to go back to the normal dosage or should I ween myself back to that dosage. I went back to the prescribed dosage, and have been doing well since.

I went to the Psychiatrist with Noreen in tow, Tuesday. Noreen was able to explain that I over focus on everything. My mind cannot seem to stop thinking, this explained a lot to the Doctor, she said that it is in the Attention Deficit class but it is classified as Compulsive behaviour not allowing to let go of things. She took me off of Lexapro and gave me a substantial increase to Prozac, which seems to help, but I still have the underlying depression so far anyway. She also increased my dosage of Clonazepam to 1mg which is helping, but I still do not see the addictive quality of it, and no longer want to. I just want to get better now. I failed Noreen, almost to the point of losing everything. She has never experienced me having an overdose. I do not think that it was just from one day of taking it like that but the combination of the two days along with my other medication.

I feel like I failed Noreen, my kids, my friends, my Church family, the people that have supported me in all of this. I am truly sorry, and I promise I will not ever do that again. What is prescribed to me is to help me, and by me taking it in the way it is prescribed is the only way that we can see what hits and what misses. Until I get where I need to be. I know that this medication is for my own good to re-wire me, not to abuse or play doctor with. I learned a valuable lesson in all of this. I am sorry about my failure, I pray that you forgive me, as I have prayed for God’s forgiveness.

I think that is why I needed testimonies from my last post so that I would not feel alone in falling down, and maybe having others look at their struggles and consequent failures in some way would make mine seem normal. A normal relapse of days gone by, old habits dying hard waking up to a new life, with new people in it that I do care about and want to live to see.

D.

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Brave Soldier

One of my twins, Anthony, suffered second and third degree burns on his back and arms. He was warming himself in front of a gas heater when his shirt caught on fire, running outside to his mom and dropping and rolling on the ground as his mother frantically ripped his shirt off causing small burns on her fingers. Yet she didn’t care about herself because our son was in peril.  I recieved a text message from his sister saying that her mom was taking Anthony to the ER because he burned himself on the stove, at the time I just assumed he burned his hand a little by accidentally leaning up against the stove. When his mom called I found out that was not the case.

Fear spread over me, anger that I wasn’t there, confusion of how could this have happened to my little guy. He is thirteen and will be fourteen tomorrow, Thursday the 21st, and almost as tall as me, but he and his brother will always be my little guys. He didn’t cry, he squeezed his mom’s and step-dads hand all the way, he did not cry until the pain was unbearable because the shot he received in the ER wasn’t working fast enough. His step-dad is the best, and I don’t think that there could be a better man that wasn’t his dad, to be in his life. Yet I still felt a bubbling underneath that it should have been my hand he was squeezing, it should have been my shoulder that he was leaning on. Like I said nothing at all against his step-dad or his mom, they did the best they could and comforted him like he needed, I still felt like I wasn’t there when he needed me.

He has always looked up to me through my faults and all, but now I find myself looking up to him. He won’t take the pain medication unless he truly needs it, otherwise he turns it down. His father would take it rather he needed it or not. He lies in the hospital bed that he has been in for a week Friday without complaining. He is not a lazy person, and would rather work out or stay active then watch t.v. So I know that this is bothering him yet he keeps a good disposition. Every once in awhile he gets a little edgy, who wouldn’t? After awhile people poking on you day and night waking you up every thirty minutes to an hour to move you around, check your vitals and change your bandages will get old. There again much better then his dad would be.

He had surgery today, a skin graft on his arm. They took two layers of skin off of the back of his leg, about the size of two sheets of notebook paper. This exposes the nerve endings and they said that most patients complain about this area more then they do where the skin was grafted on. God has made the body in such a wonderful way, the skin will grow back over that area and a small scar, if any, will be left. Where the skin was grafted will look like mesh, and the skin underneath will grow up into and fill in that area. I am going back down to Children’s Hospital today to stay with him again tonight. His mom and step-dad have been switching off with me to stay the nights, and tonight is my night.

Again I felt like I let him down. He wasn’t scared about the surgery and I told him that I have been through four surgeries and if he wanted to ask me anything just let me know. One of his questions was will they put me to sleep? And I answered with a yes, and told him the next thing that he knows he will wake up in his room, a little groggy and that he will fall in and out of sleep, and then recover from there, not remebering a thing. When I had my first back surgery I came out of the anesthesia a little too early and had panic attacks, thinking that I couldn’t breathe removing the oxygen mask and giving the nurses a hard time about it all. I did not tell him this because I just did not think that it would happen.

I  was on my way to the hospital today because he was supposed to go into surgery at 10:40 and I wanted to be there for him before he went in. His mom called and said that they took him early. I had just taken my other kids to school and was about twenty miles away from the hospital. So I thought that I would still go and be there when he got out. While I was there I must have looked tired, and my back was definitely hurting. Anthony’s mom, Tracy and his step-dad, Stephen, suggested that I go and rest before tonight and reassured me that he would not remember anything after surgery, and I agreed because besides that one time I never remembered coming out of my surgeries, just waking up later. So I left.

No one knew what was going to happen, when he came out of surgery he had panic attacks because he felt like he could not breathe. Oh man, I wasn’t there again. I never prepared him for that just because I think that it is rare and should not have worried him for nothing, yet he experienced it and it is such a scary feeling. I am glad that Stephen and Tracy were there to comfort. I am glad that the doctors reacted the way they did, and checked him to re-assure him he was okay. And gave him medication to help him. But I wasn’t there. I know that he loves me and won’t fault me for any of this. He is brave, his love is so unconditional that he sees with his heart and not his eyes. His brother is worried but he is also brave and does not concentrate on any of the bad but looks for the best. His sister worries but sees the best outcome also.

I don’t want their views to be tainted by the outside world putting it’s fear into them. We know the thoughts that we have and feel are ‘normal’, and that men nor God will fault us for our lack of faith during trying times. So when a child is trusting and fearless, looking at it without concern we try and feed them our own fear in big doses. Come on, your scared. Anyone would be, it is normal. Maybe it isn’t, the trust should be there in God. So doubt comes in when that small percentage hits us of something happening, we begin to doubt. I think that next time, if there is a next time, for Anthony to have surgery he will be more weary about it because of what happened this time.

As I said I look up to him. I look up to his bravery, I look up to him that he is his own person, as is all of our kids. I have seen so many things go wrong after positive thinking that I lost my trust. I remain positive if others are negative, but if someone is positive then I am cautious. Don’t know why but that is the way I am. I feel like someone has to worry, but with him I was behind his positive attitude, now how do I go back to him after trying to strengthen that and to know he didn’t just wake up in his bed like I told him. After waking up feeling something that is strange to him, worry, anxious. The thing I could have warned him about but didn’t. Trust me the one thing that he will remember from the surgery is that feeling. It does something to you that you guard against ever feeling again.

Men and women in the battle field experience similar yet stronger feelings of this. Going there not knowing what to expect, and coming out less trusting. Memories searing so deep into their psyche that they do not know who to trust, what to expect from a ‘normal’ life. Anthony stands by his convictions, I am sure that he still will not take the pain medicine unless he needs it, he and his siblings refuse peer pressure and are their own people. They won’t look up to me, or anyone, enough to mimic the bad habits. They love God and trust that His will is good. They will get scared at times, I know this, but they are still my brave soldiers. Dealing with life in a way that I wish I could capture and use for myself. I love them and wish that I could be there everytime they need me. Everytime that they experience a dissappointment, anytime that they suffer from an unspeakable pain, anytime that their eyes light up from a new revelation and to share that with them, yet I know that I cannot. I just have to know that their true Father is there and any thing that happens is for growth and that their eyes will be opened enough to see this as strength and not defeat.

 D.

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Age 19, 1984 I had already dropped out of college, I quit the Pizza Hut after making head cook, and training to be a manager. I quit that job for one that I thought that I would enjoy more, and I was right. It was an arcade/pool hall, what I thought of for a long time as one of my best jobs ever. Here I was at 19 already experienced death, and an overdose, found it easier to move away from God then try and keep up with Him, and I was in overdrive in hustling, drugs, alcohol, and sex.

The place was Ziggy’s in the farming community where I was raised, Morrilton, AR. This was the hangout for all of the kids and cons of the area. Lot of ex-cellmates came in for the pool and I immediately befriended them and learned a lot about hustling. Here I was at 19, my paycheck alone was over 500.00 a week, I was pulling in almost that much in pool and after hour poker games. Unfortunately, I could cheat a good game of cards, but I never got the straight playing down. I was a mark for the guys that would stay after hours for a little extra money. One of the guys was the owners son, he and I had became good friends. Everyone there was my friend and would either let me owe them, or a chance to win it off in pool. I always liked the latter because I could usually get my money back, and sometimes a little extra.

I would go through my money like water, I had no bills at the time I was still living with mom and dad, had a 1984 Mustang with a Boss engine, all I had to worry about was gas and partying. Some might have considered that spoiled and I knew I was I would admit it, what I didn’t admit was I felt like all of it was payback for never measuring up, I would have rather had the acceptance of my dad then the material things that were thrown at me, why shouldn’t I enjoy it while I had it? After my shift ended I would always stay there, go out get high, or pick up some girl from the place and go get high and party. I never had an official girlfriend while I worked there, but I had some that thought that. I would pull up with one girl in my car while another one, hanging in the parking lot, would either storm off, or try and start a fight. I was pretty calloused at that time, I didn’t care. I did not want them to fight, but as far as getting nervous I would usually just laugh it off.

One of my friends and I would go out and hustle wherever there was a pool table. We had different set ups that we used, one would be that we would come in and play crappy until a couple would want to play us in partners for money. We would purposely throw the first game or two, and then we would clean them out. We would come into a place separately as if we did not know each other and one of us would always win the others money, pool players notice how others play, size them up and wait for the kill. Say if I was losing all the time against this person that I supposedly did not know, and someone put up there quarter for the next game I would ‘accidentally’ win. This made them happy, they could get an easy mark, and make some easy money at the same time. Afterwards we would have to leave separate also, as not to blow anything. Sometimes we both would join a pool tournament until we would end up facing each other and combine second and first spot and split the winnings.

I got caught hustling at Ziggy’s by a con, he was a pretty big guy all I could do was stand up to him and tell him that I just got lucky is all. He was mad and later pulled me over in a parking lot, he had a friend with him, and if I didn’t have one of my friends with me also, I don’t think that I would have made it. It was more arguing then a fight, and we both just walked off. That was the end of it and he later was one of my fellow hustlers. Hustling became a part of my social life also, I already knew how to hustle street drugs, and began to learn how to hustle prescription drugs. I was in the world and as far away from God as I could be. I still prayed sometimes, more like deals then prayers. I figured if God would do something for me then I would do something for Him. I never kept my side of the deals.

19 years old, that should have been the time that I was finding myself instead I was too busy losing myself. Drugs were my life, I had a circle of true friends though I was surrounded by a lot of people all of the time, those ‘friends’ couldn’t care less about me, as I for them. There are two sets of friends that you get when you are a druggie, friends you can count on, and a circle just there for the drugs you can supply, or a rowdy time. At that time though my circle of true friends were my family, we were all misfits with troubled lives. We would stand up for each other, we would watch each others back, we actually enjoyed each others company, but we were always high. Not a one of us would hustle each other, it was an unspoken rule. What drugs you had was what you had, you shared, if one of us had just enough for ourselves then it was understood that respect was to be shown. So then we would go and hustle someone else, or find a party, depending if we wanted to be by ourselves or not.

My mom would think that I was high when I wasn’t, and straight when I was high. I don’t know if that says more about me then her. I was learning trades for the world, I was not going to have anyone take advantage of me again. Now it was my turn. I still would not allow anyone to hurt a woman, if I saw a couple arguing I would step in the middle rather it was my business or not. I couldn’t stand it. All of my friends that were girls were raped, they felt like they could talk to me about it, I don’t know why they felt comfortable with me about it because I never told anyone what had happened to me when I was younger, but it infuriated me anytime I heard about it. Saying that, I have to say that I would take advantage of almost anyone if it benefited me. That is why it is hard for me to accept anything from anyone now, I don’t like that feeling. It feels like a hustle to me, or I don’t want them to think of me in that way, because I am so far away from who I was. I honor and cherish any trust that comes my way, I will defend it with all that I have.

At that time in my life though I now knew what the world had to offer, darkness. And if I was going to survive in it then I was going to be part of that darkness, anyone that wasn’t was foolish to me. Being guarded is one thing that I still am, it is one of the things that is the hardest for me to lay down, besides the drugs. That was the year I decided that it was time for a change, my heart was becoming harder. Coke, Meth, ‘Scripts, and a circle of friends that was all that mattered to me, I had no other family left. I had been a black sheep in my other family, here I was someone else, I found where I fit in, with people like me, young and jaded.

D.

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אני אוהב אותך

My title is ‘I love you’ It is in Hebrew, my friend that I met on Facebook told me this. She is from Israel, and I was thinking that it would be Arabic, but unlike most places in the Islamic country, most of Israel speaks Hebrew, because the biggest part is Jewish. I should have known that but I wasn’t thinking. Don’t get me wrong I am not on Facebook cheating on Noreen by falling in love with everyone I meet on there. I love you is a sentiment that means you are a great friend, I care about you and your well being.

She is a wonderful person that God has given me an opportunity to meet through this, she also made me think about how hard it is to say I love you. Noreen wrote about her love for the Church on her post. Usually we put ‘I love you’ in a romantic sense, especially between the members of the opposite sex. Noreen will tell everyone that she loves them, and it is not just words she gets an overwhelming feeling in her heart and she really feels it. She is so overwhelmed with the feeling that we will talk about it afterwards, sometimes it takes over the whole conversation up until we get back home and beyond. The conversation never gets old to me, and it makes me so happy to see her heart filled with a genuine love.

Used to I had a hard time telling my friends that I love them, just because of how it might make them feel. I always felt like I could tell my best friend Jimbo that I love him, because we have that understanding. I have another friend that I used to work out with, a man’s man. We started telling each other I love you, only after Noreen told him. She opened the door to me being more opened with my ‘guy love’ Brothers from Church will come up to me and tell me they love me, to be honest at first it was awkward for me, I was brought up saying I love you to my family, one good thing that was instilled in me as I was growing up. But I also know that it is hard for guys to say it to each other, because most of them view it in the romantic sense, and even if they feel the same way it is usually just an unspoken feeling between guys.

Now I welcome guys and women coming up to me to tell me they love me and that they are always there for me. It makes me feel good. I used to wait for them to tell me, I am still working on getting over me saying it first. I try and bring it out, I was talking to a guy at Church about some problems that he was having, I was wanting to say I love you, man and if there is anything that I can do just let me know. It came out, WE love you and if there is anything we can do just let us know. Which is true Noreen would do anything for anyone also, but I wanted him to know that he could lean on me if he wanted, there are some things that the same sex feels more comfortable talking about to each other. Like I said I am still working on it and with God’s help I will get there.

With everything that has happened to me I am skeptical about giving my love, but I am getting better. Noreen has no reigns on her love, and I pray that I get that way someday. I am usually curious of anyone with a sob story, not at church but others that need it just as much, and needs to be shown God’s love. I want to learn ‘I love you’ in more languages, I am not speaking of dialect, but actions as well. Not just romantic love, I have that with Nee-Nee, not just a deep caring, want the best for you love, I have that with the kids. The love that combines a little of all, not always allowing what everyone wants, but what they need, a love that shows a deep caring even though I don’t know you I pray that you are well, wanting the best for you, giving you the support and what I can but not that I will enable you to rely on me and what I can do, but how you can move forward. A love that reflects God’s love. He gave it to me freely, I wouldn’t even trust myself to give me that love. I need to do that to others also.

The only way I know to end this is by saying: אני אוהב אותך

.D

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