All The Way To Heaven

While it’s only been a little over a year since I started this blog, it seems like just as long since I’ve contributed to it.  My journey, full of spirit and joy, took one too many of a tumble and, for reasons that I both care not to, and can’t even explain, I couldn’t even think about standing up and moving forward, especially when it seemed my journey had led me backward.

Somehow, however, between there and here, I’ve managed to muster up enough energy to start to stand up, and at the very least, start dusting myself off, glancing at this mountainous journey ahead of me still, and still willing to entertain it.  Something still awaits me and if I know nothing else about myself at this point, I at least know that I’m curious and hopeful enough to check into it.  I may not have the best tools for the job, and I may not use the right tool for the job, but my heart is in the right place, and hopefully it will all be enough for God to love me.

So much happened on the way down the last time that I don’t even want to bother talking about all  of it.  I just know that there were probably plenty of opportunities for me to grab onto something as I slid, but I failed to notice.  Of course I failed to notice, I never noticed on the way up either.  On beautiful days I kept my eyes to the sky and just let my feet land where they may, not noticing my left or my right, and on dreary or stormy days I kept my eyes toward the ground, unable to see anything but where I was able to plant my feet.  I cheated myself out of half of the journey by not looking around and taking in the sights or moments.  All I was doing was moving.

I’m trying to do better now.  Some days are sunny, some are stormy, but there are still things to the left and the right that I can check out.  I can glance away from the heavens for a moment, I can try to turn off the other noises, and I can look at you, or us, or all of us.  I can tilt my head up from the ground and find the same.

Along most trails, there are marked areas for things to do, or best scenery, or something like that.  I’m trying to not keep passing them by just to get through the trail.  I don’t want to miss the point of everything, the beauty of it all, the reason behind it all, and the memories of it all.

I’ll get to where I’m going eventually, I may get lost, I may get to where I hope I wouldn’t be, either way, I will have gone knowing I made the best journey of it that I could, and that I blazed the trail with the best intentions.

~Dear Lord, what I ask of you today is for wisdom, to know when I’m taking my life and family for granted, and to know how to be the best me I can be, for the sake of myself, my family, and for all your people.  In your most precious name, I pray.  Amen~

Still….

Shhhhhh….be still…..be quiet….

Sometimes when all the noise in the world penetrates the, already blaring, noise in your head and heart, it’s good to just quiet yourself and stop adding to the noise.  You just might be able to hear something that you’ve been trying to listen for.

I’ve been reading the book of Job.  It’s an amazing book!  I’ve completed it already and have started reading it again.  One would say, that through all Job’s turmoil, that he’s talking too much, complaining too much, preaching too much, perhaps even getting impatient and upset with those that are trying to help him.  It’s understandable, he’s suffering…and doesn’t know why.  As humans, it always feels right to question why things happen…we demand reasons, we demand that the world knows what’s right and wrong, and furthermore, we demand that the world knows when we are right and wrong.  But sometimes…it just doesn’t matter.  Sometimes, it’s just better to let things play out…go through it and grow through it.  Even when we are being hurt in the process.

While going through those struggles and hurt, we can’t deny that we still feel the emotion.  I’m feeling emotion.  I can’t deny that there are circumstances around me that I can’t control and they are bringing about sadness, anger, bitterness, probably a whole host of emotions that I can feel at any given moment.  In fact, I’m feeling one right now that I wish I didn’t, simply because something special is not being acknowledged.  But oh well.  There’s nothing I can do about it.  That’s why I’ve chosen, as of this last week, in the trial I’ve been given, to be still and know that He is God.  It is better for me to say nothing at all than to say anything and risk the backlash.  All will be handled in it’s due time and by someone who is both more powerful than me and more meaningful than me.

I had a dream a couple nights ago where I was running through the rain, along a street I wasn’t quite familiar with, but perhaps somewhat familiar with.  Maybe I was only familiar with it in my dream.  I was able to do things that I couldn’t do in reality…jumping higher than an apple tree, doing flips, running without getting out of breath….in this dream, I was letting out things inside of me that I can’t do in reality.  It felt good in the dream…I wish I could do it in real life.  But when I woke, the first thing I could think of was another one of my favorite HIM songs.

~Lord, please bless this day, the anniversary of my mom’s birth, and please guard her health that she may have another birthday to celebrate.  Thank you for all the blessings you’ve bestowed upon us, even in the form of trials and tribulations, where we’ve grown in spirit and are continuing to grow.  Please watch over our travels and health, and see that we find togetherness in our daily lives.  In your most precious name I pray.  Amen~

The Gospel of Chaos 1:1

One would think that with all this chaos in my mind and heart right now, I would have so much to say, yet, I’ve been staring at this screen for at least half an hour and haven’t been able to think of one thing to say.  I went to church with my mom this morning, took notes, and still can’t figure out what to say. 

Yes, I’m at my mom’s house…in Texas.  My wife and I went shopping last Wednesday afternoon and, after a phone call about some test results, left the store before we had anything in the cart and started packing…leaving about four hours later and driving sixteen hours through the night to get here the very next day.

So now I’m here and there should be so much to say because there is so much going on but, alas, I’m unable to purge anything…my tear ducts even seem to be in a form of drought, despite my desire for them to just bust wide open, hopefully relieving this heaviness on my chest and this tightness in my throat.

Surely there must be a word to define all that I’m feeling…sad, hurt, fear, anxiety, stress, anger, bitterness, defensive, exhausted, yet, at the same time, showing calm, patience, a sense of reason.  My wife is scared because this is not how I should be acting…and I would agree with her, I’m a little scared too, but I’m leaning more on the calm side, finding comfort in my Heavenly Father, that He is guiding me through this darkening part of my journey.

I feel like I’m in one of those boxes they used to have on game shows where blasts of air come in and send money or whatever all around the box as everyone watches, while the contestant has to struggle to catch and hold onto their prize…except in my box, emotions are flying around, and because they are intangible, I can’t grab them and hold onto them long enough to focus on each one.  At the moment they’re just kind of hitting me and bouncing off until they come back later and hit me again…I hope that changes, I’m sure it will later down the road.  But for now, this box is filled with emotions, memories, and unhealed wounds that hit and sting…if only for a moment, then fly off in another direction again.

Life is scary, strange, imperfect, full of struggles and that’s what makes us who we are so that when we get to the next part of the journey, we’re somehow prepared, even if we’re torn down to nothing just to be built up again just so we can learn how not to be so torn down the next time.  The Lord shows us the truth about ourselves through the life that we lead and the choices we make, sets us down on our path at birth and allows us to come to the forks in the road, and with each direction we choose, He shows us our truths, whether we like them or not.  Our desire in life, well, at least my desire, is to please Him, so that I may be counted among those beside Him in the Kingdom of Heaven, having felt His nudges, understood and carried out His word, and faithfully followed Him on my journey toward Heaven.  Sometimes, to get there, we have to go through a great deal of crap, endure emotional turmoil, pain, shame, live with memories and embedded behaviors that have no purpose, other than to remind you that you are stronger than that now…that the power within you is greater than the circumstance around you.  And the more you commit to that desire, the more truth will come out, but the more truth you find out, the more at peace you will become…because God does not want us to hurt more than we have to.

There are many ways to translate the phrase In Venere Veritas, a song title by the band HIM.  The lead singer, of course, is the only one who knows what he meant by it, but, it’s art and therefore open to interpretation.  In…is simply “in”, venere is “Venus” and veritas is “truth.”  In Venus is truth!  Huh?  The truth is on a planet?  No.  Uh oh…the truth is within the goddess Venus?  We’re not supposed to worship any other god…so now what?  How about we look at the symbolism!  First, the symbol of Venus is a cross with a circle on top of it. 

venus_women_symbol_decor-e1388197881290

The cross, representing our spiritual connection to the universe and the circle representing our inclusive connection to the universe.  The attributes of venus are love, allure, desire, beauty, passion, harmony, affection, sexuality, creativity, attraction, inspiration, femininity, aesthetics, imagination, appreciation, relationships, and unification of opposites. All that being said, could it not be said that these attributes are what should be aimed for, careful to not find ourselves with over-abundance, but that it’s quite possible that in the desire to be the kind of person that is those things, the truth about ourselves, and the Truth of the Lord, is going to help lead us there, keep us there, and grant us the keys to the gates of Heaven, where we can leave all the baggage we’ve been carrying along the way behind?  Sounds good to me anyway…at least right now…

~Dear Lord Jesus, you know my needs better than I do, so I ask that you continue to guide me with your love so that I may have the strength, the courage, the wisdom, and the ability to continue this journey and fight the battles ahead of me and not lose sight of hope in the face of the struggles ahead of me.  I ask that you watch over all of us in our travels, and in our daily health so that nothing shall overtake us that doesn’t need to right now, Lord.  Thank you for your many daily blessings and lessons.  In your highest, most holy name, I pray, Lord.  Amen~

Thank God For Sunday

It’s been an absolute hell of a week.  To even try to go into detail about it would be both too difficult and too personal for all people involved.  The devil was surely nipping at our heals this week, nearly blowing out all our lights that shine our way on God’s path.  It’s amazing how one small thing can be interpreted so very differently and, therefore, get crazy out of hand because of it.  Sometimes I believe we, as a society, are losing the art of communication with one another, and the ability to understand each other.  It’s detrimental.

Couples should take classes once a year, health care providers should take classes on how to communicate with patients, people, in general, should take a class on normal expected human behavior, and the world would be just fine.  The amount of disrespect and misunderstanding between people is almost criminal in this world lately.

And it’s so easy to get caught up in it all, to get caught up in the bantering, or acting like you’re better than the person who is supposed to be providing you with a service, and letting your mind get over-run with that conversation in your head where you say everything on your mind but your mouth fails to actually filter it, thus hurting people’s feelings around you and scaring people around you because they have no idea what to expect of someone who just doesn’t harness their behavior at all.  And when people lack the ability to discern what is troublesome and what is not, it can get some people into worse situations, emotionally, mentally, or otherwise.

God gave us a voice, brothers and sisters, but He first gave us Love.  I’m pretty sure the voice was to express that, not anything less than.

Be prepared, however, when you speak of God and His glory.  There are some that find that troublesome as well.  As if believing in God, and His ability to pull you out of rough waters, is a mental disorder that is something that needs to be dealt with.  But isn’t that the way it’s always been?

Earlier this week, I was helping my mom through a Bible study in Acts 1-4, which I had never read before.  In the later parts of it, I learned that Peter and John had been arrested for, what my understanding is, preaching about Jesus and His good works and what He is capable of.  This did not sit well with the boss men, so they had Peter and John arrested, telling them they could never do that again.  It was something interesting to learn, and at the time, it was knowledge, at best.  However, the other night, telling somebody that nobody could help me through what I was going through but God landed me in quite the conundrum, one in which my rights and control were completely taken away.  I won’t say that the catalyst to this event didn’t play into that decision, however, my statement did not sit well with the one in charge of my fate at the moment.

So for quite a while, I found myself with only God to call upon for strength, remembering the verse from Philipians 4:13, which happens to be my wife’s favorite Bible verse, and the one I played over most in my head during my time of trial, so to speak…”I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”  And I waited, and prayed, and meditated, and Trusted, and relied on truth, and the Truth of God…and thought about this song.

Many thanks to God for renewing my strength during that time. 

My mother-in-law’s birthday was on Friday, we had a wonderful family meal at Outback.  It was great to be around everyone, although afterwards, it was nice to come home and just call it a family night around the television.  Saturday we started the day off lazy, although much deserved after the week we had.  We decided to go tubing down the salt river, however, after an hour of getting ready, getting in the car and hopping on the expressway, a phone call to the recreation park revealed that they were no longer renting out tubes for the day because the weather conditions weren’t favorable.  That was a kick in the junk, since we were trying so hard to take a mental vacation and just have fun, regardless of how much it cost that we shouldn’t spend.  We were quite disappointed, but eventually, the day went on…even though we had some battling to do with our daughter.  Some things never change.

Sunday…yep, church.  Nope.  We played hookey today and reclaimed our opportunity to take that mental vacation and just do something, dammit!  We deserved it…and it was the last day to go for the season.  We got all of our stuff together, drove up the mountain, got in the water, said our prayer, thanked God for bringing us all together, asked Him to forgive us for not going to His house today, as we were working on forgiveness with each other, and proceeded to float on down the river.  It was a blast…we had so much fun.  It was peaceful, beautiful, exciting…offered up a time for trust, and just…well, time together, and a break from the monotony of our daily struggles. 

For some reason, I have a calling to the mountains, and I feel the closest to God when I’m in them.  I had the time to just be close without thinking too much, just plug in and get recharged, and hopefully, I’m charged enough to face the week ahead.  I have Christ in me, I hear Him, through music, through the Word, and He holds me close….so too, shall I hold Him close.

~Dear Lord, please forgive me the sins of my week, as my weakness overcame me.  Thank you for your protection and for guiding me back to you, Lord.  Please continue to wrap your arms around me and my family as we face struggles of daily lives that the world imparts on us, help us to overcome them and to lift our family and our selves, our own hearts and lives above anything else.  Thank you for your blessings, and for allowing us to have this wonderful day together.  In your most precious and Holy name, I pray.  Amen~

Love Says “No”

In light of the fact that I know I’m going through struggles right now, and people I love are going through struggles right now, and people that I don’t really know, but that I know of, are going through struggles right now…I feel this song is appropriate…plus it’s come up all week on my playlist.  I’ve always liked this song and it took on a whole new meaning for me a year and a half ago after our kids started, literally, dragging me out of the darkness.  And for those of you who don’t know the band HIM, please don’t judge their style, or anything about them at first sight or first lyric, or anything.  They are amazing…and while all of their song do not sound like this, some are darker…they are not satanic, so don’t get skeered. 

Recently, one of the Jackass crew, Ryan Dunn, was involved in a fatal car accident that claimed his life and the life of another.  I don’t know all the details behind it, although I’ve heard a few things about alcohol.  Frankly, I don’t give a rats behind about the details.  I care that he’s dead.  That in an instant, his life was taken, terribly taken…and I pray that he and his friend didn’t suffer.  I saw a picture of the car they were driving, nothing about it looked like a car.  My heart aches more for his family and friends, I guess, especially his friends, like Bam Margera, Brandon Novak, WeeMan, Steve-O, Johnny Knoxville…all those guys that came together and made something together that was just so crazy to watch but, I, along with a lot of people, loved to just watch.  I didn’t know him, I didn’t know anything about him, or any of these guys except what I saw on t.v….but I knew that they loved each other…so my heart aches for them.

We all have times, days, moments, phases, that drag us down into pits of despair that make us feel like we’ll never see the light of day, the light of happiness, the light of God again.  It may be brought on by anything, maybe from the earliest times because that’s just how things went as we grew up…shit was just hard to deal with and we kept sinking into an emotional sea of hell.  Maybe something happened that rocked our world and sent us into an emotional tailspin.  Maybe we had an argument with someone and it put us in a place we didn’t want to be and made us question everything about our hearts, the foundation of ourselves, and our faith…who knows.  At any rate…we all go through tragedy, we all go through hell, we all spend time in darkness…for some of us the darkness is darker than for others, but that doesn’t make that shade any less harder to deal with.

Darkness surrounds us and it’s always there waiting for us, to engulf the very blessed soul that we are and chew us up.  I know this, I’ve been there.  I have a youtube channel with videos I made that outlines my very existence in the depths of darkness for a very long time.  I plead to all those who are crawling through darkness, looking for any speck of light to keep crawling, keep looking, and know that the light is there, and you will find it, and there is a reason for you to crawl out of that pit and that, no matter how hopeless and terrible things may seem right now, it will get better in time….even though it may take a long ass time. 

I’ve been through hell in my life and I’ve crawled through many levels of darkness to a point that I honestly believed that’s where I was supposed to live out my years.  My only son died two months before I was to begin a life with him.  My best friend died on my bathroom floor, and despite my efforts, along with my wife’s, to perform CPR, and even the paramedics, there was nothing bringing him back.  I was the only one around when my grandma died, and I held her hand and looked into her eyes as I watched her, not so peacefully, pass through to the other side as the only thing I could think to do was pray the Lord’s prayer.  There has been many things in my life that have sucked royally…and I have begged for my own death just to relieve me of my own pain…but I would not do it on my own.  God, and the Love of those around me…always said no.

“Lord, please place your arms around us all, as we seek comfort, consolation, guidance and strength through our tears and trials.  In your most Holy and Precious name I pray to you, Lord.  Amen.”