Something I started in September 2016 (tw?)

I wrote this September 13, 2016 and never published it.  The cruel shoes still fit just as painfully poorly (cruel shoes, remember Steve Martin anyone?), so I’m publishing it because I don’t have the motivation to write something new or the talent to write something better.  Readers beware, it’s gonna be a bumpy hayride and I can already smell the tractor diesel and smoke, musty wet hay, field-rotting pumpkins, and horse shit.


I’m supposed to muster up something.  It’s supposed to be pleasant and motivational and encouraging.  Except I have these issues.  I have these wants.  It’s possible I’m completely normal and I should be able to do everything I need to do.

It’s also possible I’m mostly dead, barely able to wiggle a finger, and I’m supposed to carry the scene, starting at 1:44, here:

Confession: I AM bluffing, and everybody knows it. I’ve got nothing. Not even a sword. Well, no. I do have a sword, I just don’t have the strength to lift it.  Some people say “the world is my oyster,” or whatever other positivism nonsense I’m supposed to make sense of.  If it’s my oyster, damned if I have the tools to crack that fucker open, and if I did, I’d end up with a broken shell of a broken world, no pearls, and everybody pointing their fingers at me, the one who broke it for no reason.  “I mean, what the hell is wrong with you, Deon?! Everything was fine until you fucked everything up!”  Except I haven’t touched it, it broke when I turned around just to prove to me that the universe fucker works overtime at making life suck for me, for everyone.  I want him dead, or I want out of the game.

Somehow along the way I have either attached myself to, or become attached to, people who expect me to do things:  Continue to flirt while understanding and accepting rejection.  Continue to have the energy to do household chores while bearing the burdens of depression and loss and failure and a lack of any kind of motivation.  Continue to provide leadership and guidance with homework and social development, and assistance in and participation in community service.  I’m supposed to feel guilty when I can’t keep up with everything, and not shut down and move away from or be upset with anyone who needs my emotional support, ignoring my own wants.  They must be “wants,” because I’m supposed to have a God who provides everything I “need.”So if it isn’t provided, obviously I don’t “need” it.  Except I think I do.

I’m supposed to listen and pay attention to everything everyone else wants me to attend, because that’s more important than whatever I am already attending and listening to.  I’m supposed to be able to tap into some elusive, deep well of hope and faith and love for people who offer something else, or soul-emptying nothingness and demands for more in return.   I’m also supposed to harness the time I don’t have to complete things with the energy I don’t have.  I’m not supposed to need anything, and I’m supposed to be able to provide everything out of nothing.  Last time I checked, the only being capable of creation ex nihilo was God.  Everyone else is subject to the laws of nature.

It’s possible I’m only venting my spleen because I’m angry at God and taking it out on everyone else, including myself.  I’ve felt abandoned.  The expression “left high and dry” doesn’t really fit, because while I feel completely dry, waiting to blow away (get on with it, “let’s go already!”(Futurama’s character, Bender)) I am anything BUT high.  Plus, back in time, some people left Jesus high and dry, but I don’t want to be Jesus.  I just want to be Deon, but certain people wonder why I can’t be Jesus, and raise myself and them, from death and depression and destruction.

That, friends, is why I have nothing.  It’s why I’ve been spotty lately with the blog.  It’s why on the weekends I do my level best to do jack shit.  Because I’m completely fucking empty, and I need three refills to stop feeling desiccated.  My friend’s recent death, honestly sucked ass.  All death sucks ass.  My mum called me, bless her heart, concerned that I might switch from side effect to suicidal inclinations because she heard how my new med is affecting me and then talked to her friends who do nursing or something.  Mum, I don’t want to die, I want to live but I want it better.

I’m still mostly dead and I don’t have a Miracle Max special pill.  Even the music I try to listen to isn’t filling me enough.  It gets interrupted anyway.  I get interrupted.  Because what I say doesn’t carry any importance.  What I want isn’t important.  No one out in my day-to-day world gives a shit that they are killing me.  I’m like something annoying or gross that they scrape off their shoe.  If it wasn’t for my blog, I might think those darker thoughts.  I wouldn’t trade you readers (both of you) and writers (several of you) in for anything.  It would be too high a price to pay.  If I could do what my non-readers wanted me to do, they’d only find a way to ask for more.  Ever heard “the task expands to fill and expand the time allotted for it?”  How about “debt’s appetite is never satisfied?”  Yeah, that’s my real world experience.

I need something and I’m not getting it.  All you self-help people? (stop reading or accept a half-assed apology for the following- click out, I mean it, here it comes last chance) Fuck you.  I’m tired of being told what to do so I can do what I need to do or have what I need to have, what to do to muster the energy to do what I’m supposed to do…  I’m tired of being told the solutions are available and all I have to do is whatever the fuck program with anywhere from one to twelve steps.  I’m tired of being told the answer is inside me, because there’s nothing there, and if it’s there I lost it.  I’ve got shit, jack shit, and fuck all, and what I need isn’t something I see anywhere on the horizon, like that cruise ship that’s supposed to show up for the guy stranded on the desert island, full of food, drinks, and available hot women for him to choose from.  I don’t want a cruise ship, it’s a metaphor for what I need.

I’m Doctor Campbell from “Medicine Man.”  “Haven’t you ever lost anything, Doctor Bronx? Your purse? Your car keys? Well, it’s rather like that: Now you have it and now you don’t.”

I say that because I used to almost have it.  I used to have almost enough whatever I needed to do almost whatever I needed.  Never quite enough, but somehow enough.  I used to have almost enough faith.  Well, now it’s not enough.  Or less than not enough because I’m always had not enough and now not enough is bigger than what used to be not enough. Not enough left inside, not enough faith, not enough provision, not fucking enough and there isn’t any more to be had and if there is, I can’t get it because my morals prevent me from stealing from innocent people, being shady and catching that extra $30K to $100K that I actually NEED on the sly, or murdering guilty people who should have taken better care of me and treated me fairly and they didn’t, or “just” getting a second full-time job while maintaining my present level of responsible involvement and volunteerism and not dying in the process, for several years, until I’m out of debt and the kids are finished with college.

You demanding people, fuck you too.  You are asking a stone to become bread, a serpent to become a ready-to-eat fish sandwich, and Jesus wouldn’t even do that when he was starving to death.  If I knew how, like Jesus, I still wouldn’t do it for you.  You’d only find another fucking stone instead of mixing up and kneading dough and baking it your damned selves.  You’d pick up another snake and then ask me to treat your snakebite and oh by the way can you make that into a nice hot fish sandwich for me?  (See Matthew 7:9-11)  Fuck you, I’m done because I never was able to do what you wanted me to do in the first place.  Not for lack of trying.  Not for lack of nearly succeeding, only to realize I never reached the mark and never could reach the mark.  You wanted the extra that I didn’t have, like a mugger who takes every penny, that’s not enough so he steals your identity for a fast buck and then just for kicks, because that wasn’t enough, stabs you and shoots you just to watch you bleed and then, runs over you with his car a few times because you weren’t dying fast enough.

I have always tried.  And sometimes I have almost succeeded.  I’ve gotten close enough to get by, after begging for forgiveness for not having enough, and people keep coming to me like I’m somehow going to have enough next time.  They are insane.  Because they think it’ll be different when they come to me again.  Bill collectors.  Wife.  Kids.  Church.  Work.  Volunteer things.  You all want too much, and give back not enough or nothing.

I’ve basically even shut down from church, something I’m aware is not the right choice.  I still attend but I used to actually be involved and doing extra things.  I liked it, but it became another thing that took and didn’t deliver dividends on the investment.  This is the one area of life I thought would have synergy, but instead, not so much.

This is called burnout.  And I have commitments  that  will keep me on a slow burn for a while.  And I have debts that will keep me forcing myself to move longer than that.

There’s a joke I’m surprised I remembered, and it’s “I did some calculations, and I’m so far behind I’ll finally be catching up and might break even, 300 years after I’m dead.”  Ha-fucking-ha.

I’m Sorry for Eclipsing Truth and Love

I don’t think it’s the depression talking yet.  It could be, or it could be I had an epiphany today.  The pastor didn’t even suggest this, so if it was epiphanous, I’ll take it even though I didn’t really like it.  I thought about myself, my blog, my character, and people in my life and social (and web) circles, and about God.  I thought about who I want to be, compared to how God wants me to be, and who I currently am.  There’s a wide gap between those last two.

For that, in a way I owe everyone an apology, if they’ve read my blog, or my life, for signs of something different I should be showing.  In a way, maybe not.  In the “not” way, I’m who I am, being shaped by the wrestling match between my hopes and dreams and the life I actually have, and the continual frustration of trying to find a path to get from here to reaching those dreams.  I feel helpless and when I do try to do things toward success, so far it hasn’t worked.

But in the way I owe the apology, it’s for this:  I’m a Christ-follower, but I don’t follow very well.  Sometimes (OK, a LOT of the time) the selfishness and anger and frustration, etc., are too much and I don’t communicate very clearly.  I’m supposed to be a reflection of God.  I’m supposed to show His character- His love, His truth, His holiness (that’s a weird word, it’s attributed to God and it means His “different-ness.”)

The moon is supposed to reflect the sunlight and shine it on the earth at night.  But occasionally, the moon gets between the earth and the sun, and instead of reflecting the sun’s light, it blocks it and casts a shadow.  It’s all very science-y and math-y, but ratios of mass and distance work out so that during those events, the light is blocked, and in some places at some times, it’s completely blocked.  Where I live, there will be an eclipse today, and the moon is going to block out something like 90% of the sun’s light.

My epiphany yesterday was, maybe I’m blocking out God’s glory, His truth, His love, and the validity of His promises, because I’m not reflecting them.  I’m in the way.  So yesterday, in the middle of a sermon about something completely different

(no, the pastor did NOT teach anything from Monty Python’s Flying Circus), I wept and prayed.

You all THINK I’m a guy full of words- angry, bitter words about how people have been disappointing and how I’m trying to be supportive in spite of their lack of reciprocity.  Occasionally, I have a lot of words about how I care about people and try to support and encourage others, guide my kids and family, and train my slow-to learn, sometimes frightened, all the time stubborn, and occasionally openly angry dog (who is still a lot like his master in many ways).  I still have those hopes and dreams, despite the crushing nature of my emotional swings, and the events in my life.  I rant on about a lot of things and I use a lot of words.  But my prayer, unbelievably, all fit in two words.  I prayed for God’s forgiveness for being that very poor reflection of Jesus.  And I prayed for God to make me into a better one.

All the moon needs to do to stop blocking the sun is get out of the way.   For a Christ-follower to be a better reflection of Jesus, it takes a little more.  To reflect His character, we have to study it, a bit like a son idolizes his dad, or if his dad is like me, maybe his grandpa or one of his uncles makes a better role model.  Or, like an idiot studies a celebrity and tries to be just like that.  It takes a long time to do it right.  Those really good comedians you might watch who do the impressions spend about 5000 hours, to start, to learn and mimic the vocal, facial, and bodily mannerisms of the person they’re modeling themselves after.  But in a cosmic kind of way, I realized I’m not important, so it doesn’t matter if the reflection of God’s character comes from me, although I would like to be the person in your life who shows you that God is good, in spite of how hard life is.  So my prayer was simplified because I realized that maybe I matter, maybe I don’t, but it’s not up to me.  It’s up to God to use who He wants to use, to shine on whomever he chooses to shine.  If I’m back behind a better Christ-follower, eclipsed like the moon when the earth blocks the sun’s light, it’s fine.  I don’t want anyone to watch me as the great example of Jesus’ love, because I suck at it sometimes (OK, most of the time).

I want people to be attracted to Jesus, like they were when He was doing his life and ministry on earth.  I want people to see better examples, as clearly as possible.  I don’t want to block them, or God Himself, from shining on others. I don’t want to be the reason someone decides, “if this guy is a Christ-follower and his life still sucks, I want no part in following his God.”

I want people to consider following Jesus, enough to look in a Bible and check into it.  I want people to read about Jesus, and the Christian way, straight from their Bible, enough to actually give Jesus a shot, rather than just ignoring the possibility that Christ could offer more than what they hope for right now.  I want people to know that God IS good, and he DOES make a positive difference in a lot of ways.  The trials and natural consequences of life and scars and hardships don’t go away, but He gives a better strength to endure, a better patience, a far-better and eternal hope, and a desire to reach out and show others that He cares.  That’s why I keep trying; that’s how I’m so (so-called) “high functioning.”   I want everyone in my life to see Him, not my poor example of trying and failing I don’t want to eclipse Him.  So I prayed this:

Move me.

From Hyper-critical to I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit in 3 seconds

I don’t know if that’s the accelerator or the brake.  But I know that the right words, or preferably,  silence with the right actions, can motivate me to work my ass off.  And I know that the wrong words, because nobody ever just shuts the hell up, can put me into escape mode.  I’m already gone.  I’m already done helping with whatever concerned you.  The silent, unseen “fuck you” has already left my soul.  It doesn’t need to be said, in language, sign, sigh, or any other physical reaction.  I’d like to think it’s a private, psychic rocket ship, one that, most of the time, is far more efficient than any known technology.

Because of this, I think it’s an accelerator.  Sometimes I wish it weren’t psychic, I wish it were real.  It’s a rage rocket.  Instead of flames, it would release sonic energy.  “Impulse” power just goes, “Buhbye! Bye now!  Bub-bye! Buhbye!”   It ramps up through other rage-induced profane and/or snarky expressions, and if you really piss me off, full throttle goes “FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU! FUCKYOU!!  FUCKYOU!!!FUCKYOU!!!FUCKYOU!!!FUCKYOU!!!

Say it.  Push my buttons.  And see what happens.  Except you presume you’ve done or said nothing wrong, and it’s me being batshit that causes me to be angry.  You’re not paying attention to yourself.  You’re not paying attention to me.  And when I told you what the issue was, you didn’t want to do anything about it, and my way of handling that rejection was to shut off that part of your part of my life.  You can still come back.  You don’t have to verbally apologize.  A non-verbal apology and promise will suffice.  But I don’t think you know how to not say it.

My problem  is I want to stay.  I want to come back.  I want you to come back.  I want my kids to know I genuinely care about them and I want them to return my care appropriately, but I can’t afford to buy that affection.  Thank God most of the time the kids have learned to read me, and know when I can laugh with them versus when what they say or do, or don’t do, will just piss me off .  I want my wife to know the same, but I can only offer so much, and there’s that trigger, more sensitive after almost 25 years of being married.  I’d think she’d know not to do or say those things in that way, and I’d think she’d know it’d be nice if she did something I liked once in a while.

It’s the same at work.  I want to work.  I want to work my ass off and make you a ton of money, but I need the favor returned here too.  Entry level wages and being ignored unless I’m being disciplined does not earn my respect NOR my extra hard work.  You pay me shit, expect my work to be shit.  And it would be if I had no pride in something I have to put my name on.  But my name is on what I do, so I want to do it right. You should want to do right by me in return.  After 10 years I’ve proven I’m worth it, and you should prove you want me to stay.

And it’s the same at church. You’d think with my training and volunteer experience, they’d maybe want me to work at the church, as more than a volunteer.  But no, I can volunteer or I can decide to do nothing.  So I’ve decided to do nothing and see if the doors open somewhere else.  Corporate America does not as a rule promote people who know what the fuck they’re doing from the inside.  They make them stay where they are and work them until they’re worn out.  Similarly, “modern day” “normal” churches do not recruit from within.   They find some superman who looks great on paper and has a more forceful presentation, and all the hidden agendas that go along with that kind of force.  Well fuck that.  If God wants to use me, He’ll set that up, and if not, well, here I remain and I think I have to be ok with that.

And it’s the same with God.  I want to have the best relationship with God, but I often fail.  Being the Creator He should know this and deal with me with a little patient and divine encouragement.  And you’d think my struggle with faith and doubt might be answered like it is with my earthly father- sometimes he’ll slip me a $10 or $20 for just being his son, which is really cool.  And lately, this whole relationship with God has actually improved.  I wonder if it’s because I quit trying to do anything.

People ask how you know when you’re in love, and they ask how to find a significant other/partner/spouse, and I think the answer is the same for some people.  If  you’re aggressive, you run after what you want and you take it whether it was offered willingly out of love, or whether it was just you being a pushy ass hole.  And you think you’re getting what you want, but really you’re just taking it.  I want to be given what I want, willingly and out of love.  And I want people to realize, without me having to tell them, that they’re selfish, grabby, pushy ass holes and they’ve been taking everything at my expense.  But I think you find love when you least expect it, and you wake up and realize you’re in love because you were falling long before you ever realized you had fallen.   I still haven’t figured out how to just get what I want at work, but with marriage it’s been a conscious decision, my choice.  Fuck, I still love her and she treats me like shit quite a bit of the time.  It’s because after I realized I loved her I decided I wanted to be in love and stay that way.

It’s naive and stupid and setting me up for heartbreak, people tell me.  And they say the same thing about believing in God.  But lately,

I quit trying to do anything, and God did some pretty cool things in answer to a pretty snarky prayer “request.”  Actually I was flippant and nearly in denial and He did answer, giving me something I really needed when it was needed.

So maybe this quitting doing anything would work for work, and for wife, and for family.  Except I like a clean house, a dog that’s been walked, a yard that’s been mowed.  I’m not sure which “anything” I need to quit and which I can keep doing, that’ll ultimately and miraculously result in me getting what I need from family and wife.

As it stands, I’ve got a dead cell phone because I didn’t demand we get more time/data yesterday when I thought I had a month left.  Kids don’t clean the house or walk the dog because they know I’ll reach a point of desperation where it’s too gross and needs to be done, or I know the dog is about to create a disaster if I don’t take care of him.  I’ve got nothing happening in other areas because I haven’t demanded that.  I don’t want to demand anything to get what I need.  I want to be treated with love and care and respect just because I’m worth it, but because I’m not demanding and pushy people take me for granted and treat me like shit.

So where’s the road sign from rage and depression and lack, bypassing forceful taking, and driving straight through to people just giving me what I need because I’m worth it?

If you know, let me know.  But right now I have to go buy a fucking phone card because mine is dead and Mrs M and the kids want to text me their list of demands.

A day without all this cloudy, grey, dam(n)p rain so I can mow at mum and dads would be great too, but that’s an appeal to a Higher Power,  Fuck it, if He wants clouds and rain, and rivers in my back yard, bring that shit on until He’s bored with that and moves on to sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and lollipops and neapolitan ice cream and remembering Buttercup, and other shit I might actually enjoy.  Same with the fucking job, and the family, and the church.   Maybe the rain has to fall and I have to be broke, and the job has to be shit and the house has to be filthy and my legs have to cramp until I can barely walk before I take the dog out, and the wife has to be off-putting and insulting and demanding, so I really appreciate when it’s finally sunny, and I finally win the Lottery AND the Publisher’s Clearinghouse, and I finally get a job I really enjoy, and my kids finally help clean the house, and finally make a habit of walking the dog and my wife greets me naked at the door and attacks me with all those soft, beautiful weapons.

For now it’s clouds and rain and cramps and abstinence and alcohol.  Bring it on.  I think I can still weather it a while.

It’s been a while since I thought of Buttercup.  I figure, if I just wait, and refuse to do shit, the rest of the clouds are sure to break soon.  (I know, but shut up and let me have my delusion!)

Invading Space

The house mess, and anyone in the way of my cleaning it, or adding to it, can kiss my ass.  And so can anyone who questions my methods but doesn’t lift a finger to DO it differently.  I’ve cleaned surfaces and gone back to find them re-cluttered.  Why?  Because it’s like this verse in the Bible, exactly like this:

Matthew 12:  43“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

Fans of Dexter will recall Brother Sam (Mos Def, FFS!!), quizzed by Dexter about Sam’s inner demons (Season 6, Episode 2) :

Dexter:  So that darkness inside, it’s gone?
Brother Sam:  No.  It’s still there, but I’m fighting its ass every day.

I’m not free.  I’m a slave to the battle.  I ride its’ whims and notions instead of my own, and that’s a poem/song I’m going to write.  Coming soon to a blog near you.  The shit is, even the Bible acknowledges that LIFE is a battle and NO ONE is free from it.  The shittier is, somehow, in the midst of the battle and thereafter, we’re supposed to figure out how it works, and we look for the substitutes instead of finding real freedom.  The substitutes only leave us more enslaved than we were before (see Matthew text above.).

I’m doing battle with the clutter, with the general mess, with work, with time, with the family, with the wife, with the dog, with training the kids (and the dog), with money, and with love.
………….

That was last weekend.

THIS weekend I wanted to die, but I couldn’t do anything about it.  No, this weekend I want to die but can’t do anything about it.

THIS weekend I was a personal failure everywhere I looked, and Mrs. M is still pushing those buttons.  My daughter cried about us not having enough money to buy her a new car now that she got her driver’s license and a job that starts soon.  We have to make travel arrangements so she can have a car,  because my boss is “letting” me have a normal shift again, starting in two weeks, but I have to go in to the office again, just because she wants to be in control and even though my work from home has been fine she wants that power.  Ass hole.  Anyway, my daughter cried about the car so I’m a failure to her.

And Mrs M and I fought because the damned plumbing still leaks.  It wasn’t her fault, it was mine.  I was angry because I felt like a failure so I raised my voice with her.  But what does she expect, for fucks sake?  Dammit, Mrs M!  I’m a village idiot, not a plumber! (Reminded myself of Doctor McCoy from Star Trek for a second.  Bless you, DeForest Kelley.)

When I let Mrs M know she pushed the button Saturday night and again Sunday morning she half-apologized. So there’s that.  I fail all the time for Mrs M.  Last night’s adventure in plumbing was trying to get the hose for the shower to not leak, and I tried various things, including washers provided by the manufacturer (fail), washers I bought (fail), plumber’s tape (fail).  This morning I didn’t grind the coffee last night (fail), or have the energy to take the dog for a walk (fail).  All I did was walk him yesterday, run about town with him to his obedience class (teaching us why we’ve failed to understand our dog’s behavior and communication), cut down the tree that’s trying to wreck our house’s foundation in the back, sprayed for the ant problem, and earlier this week reinforced our daughter’s driving skills and try to encourage her (she passed the exam!), helped with cooking and made afternoon snacks on request for son and daughter, and almost kept up with dishes and laundry and sweeping and vacuuming and straightening what I could.  But I didn’t make progress about what really needs to be done, because I ran out of energy and time.

We went to church Sunday, although I really didn’t want to hear a sermon.  What I wanted to hear was the church history lesson before the sermon.  But the sermon was about how I fail to understand the nature of God.  Wait, no.  Semi-mercifully to me, he didn’t say “you,” he said “we.”  The church history lesson was interesting.  The sermon tried hard to be hopeful and empowering.  But I went home after the sermon and don’t feel the power.

I really should, my daughter is desperate for me to show my faith.  I’ve taken leaps of faith before and everything turned out basically OK.  It’s just that the last one had the WORST landing ever.  I’ve been waiting for a blessing, I’ve been waiting on the promises to be fulfilled, waiting for it to get better and it’s just not.

My back was sore Saturday and I can’t afford to go to a chiropractor; at least that’s ok on any given morning until I start moving.  I reflect back to the $700 of bloody stupid blood testing I couldn’t afford that my crap insurance company left me stuck with and my doctor unsympathetically half-laughed about when I went in for my physical, because he doesn’t give a shit that I’m poor.  Neither does the insurance company that stuck me with the fucking bill, as if I haven’t paid more in health insurance payments to amortize my own costs for both medical AND dental.  Nor the company I slave for that pays me the same shitty wages they pay people new off the fucking street after about 10 years.  Ass holes.

They ALL pretend to be sympathetic and caring when you come to them in need.  Yes, ALL of the above.  But don’t go to them twice, or you get a letter or some patronizing bullshit or worse, you get told to help yourself.  Or you get a bill for their services.

And the dog pretends to love me, but wants to bite everyone in the neighborhood AND their dogs and stick me with the insurance bills and court costs and medical bills.   We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to control him most of the time, but he’s bitten two people, one of them was in our extended family, for fucks sake.  Ass hole.  Loveable, yes.  Loveable ass hole.

I still don’t want this life.  I want a better one.  But from what I’ve read, I’m not alone.

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

“to die is gain.”  If my labor were fruitful I might have some kind of hope, like Paul.  There were also Moses, Job, Elijah, and Jonah.  It’s by a process of twisted logic, but I find these examples encouraging because I see that even if you’re spiritually huge and important like Elijah and Moses, you still can have doubts.  And, maybe it’s reasonable to think that if the people around them called them crazy, maybe they believed it, or at least, felt those waves of depression just like I do.

I can’t kill myself.  I want the kids to think there’s hope.  Maybe there is, for them. I’m not feeling it.  But I do want to see how it works out.  It doesn’t matter whether people measure up to my hopes for them.  It matters whether God proves as infinite and loving as He says he is.  It’s unfortunate I don’t get eternal proof until eternity, and a whole bunch of absolute shit can happen to me, just as it happened to prophets and apostles and martyrs before me.  I just have to figure out what faith and trust looks like for me, and then live like that.  But I’ll tell you, like those great men of the faith (and I’ll bet women too) doubted, questioned, worried, and lamented, so also with me.  I’m doing all of that.

Deep Tears

Deep Tears, 12/22/2016, Deon Mumple

The Infant cried as Mary tried
To offer some comfort.
She hugged him close and kissed his nose,
With love, gentle support.
He half giggled, her hair tickled,
Then tried hard not to cry-
Pained and aware, burdens to bear
His purpose in His eye.
The Innocent knew He was sent
To offer love and peace.
The angels sang and heaven rang
With profound mysteries:
“Cosmos: Rejoice! You have a choice!
He’ll rescue all who come!”
He felt our aches, all our mistakes,
But fought his tears, for mum.

Sparks Near Inferno’s Gate

By the time you read this it’ll be Thursday. It’s Wednesday headed toward Thursday fast, and I am trying to exercise a way to write just to write something. For those of you who might anticipate a high level of quality writing here, bless your hearts for still holding out hope…

Because, what’s the sign say over the gate to hell in Dante’s Inferno? Come on, you know this one. … No?

“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.” The most popular translation is “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

The journey begins and to me it often looks like this:

I heard a preacher on the radio, I know that’s kind of old fashioned but sometimes I’ll hear something that’ll spark my brain in some way. Well, spark it did. I understand that everyone who reads the Bible is going to come away with something different: a specific understanding, a mystery to explore further, an interesting topic, complete confusion, and so on.

It’s Christmas, but I can’t feel it.  Not now.  I feel like Santa left sadness, disappointment, darkness, worry, rage, loneliness, pain, and helplessness behind, along with reindeer shit, in my stocking. Where are you, Christmas? Whoever wrote this song found something they celebrated at the end of the song; I’m stuck between beginning and middle:

If your reaction, to reading or to life, is complete confusion, I’m right there with you, and also I’m sorry to say that my recommendation is to read more. And so it is that with Sunday’s confusing events, and the hated translation, I hoped was butchered, I have checked the Greek. What can I say, I just have weird things that push my buttons. I went to my standard resources, and read and reread. There’s a little word tacked on at the end of Luke 2:14 in the Greek. Doggone it if there is no comma, nothing exact to explain the exact implication. It just says “eudokia.” This is one place where I think King Jim’s translators got it right, though. If there’s a comma implied, it’s SO much better for me.

Curious? Go ahead: http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm ; dive in. Would I steer you wrong? It’s FASCINATING, really. Next stop on the rabbit trail? I went here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g2107.

In my study, I do not see any indication that “eudokia,” “good will” is conditional and implies the requirement of God’s delight in order for Him to bequeath the promise of peace. So, though the language in the translation sometimes used implies it, the original language carries no such baggage. Thank God for that. So say whatever you feel like saying, translators who want to attach boat anchors and 16 ton weights to God’s grace. People seem to delight in doing that. Like this:

You want to get into heaven? OK, work for it. Work hard and maybe you’ll earn God’s favor.

Um… How do I know if I did enough good? And …that doesn’t answer the awkwardness of the bad things still on my conscience, so how can I trust that?

I don’t think it works that way. I believe there are no such boat anchors, because of several internal reference points in the same document. You could go back to John 3:16, which starts on the foundation that God loves the world and wants to save us. You could go to Galatians 2:16 or 3:10, which pretty much close the door on us ever measuring up to any kind of approval from God by our own good work. Or Ephesians 2:9-10, which are even more clear. Or Titus 3:3-8, which interestingly enough, makes the point to call out lazy Christ-followers who say, “OK, I’ve accepted God’s grace on my faith. I believe it, so I’m all good,” and they sit and wait for the end and don’t help anyone. There’s a thread though which says it’s not our works that save us, or restore us, or bring us into any kind of relationship with God.

There’s a point to all of this, and I’ll get back to it. It has to do with this preacher guy on the radio, and he went all the way back to Genesis with something that bugged me a little. I mean, I’ve said (above) that there are as many interpretations or understandings as there are people, so maybe the guy’s entitled to his thought process. He was talking about Christmas, and how God came to Earth “in the flesh,” or “incarnate,” which is a big word that means “in the flesh.” What he was trying to get at was that Jesus, the baby who grew to become a man, came as God’s gift of John 3:16 -“God so loved the world that he gave…” Jesus was protected into adulthood, until everything was ready and he was prepared to pay for all the bad things I ever did. OK, yeah, all the bad things you ever did too. Despite all of the attempts made on his ancestors’ lives and on his own, and if you read the story you’ll see those. If Jesus’ ancestors knew about it, they’d have been scared to death for their own lives. But it happened, and Jesus was born, and lived until he was ready and until the time was right. He had to wait until Israel was under Rome’s thumb, so the message could be shared with the whole world. If it was just Israel, they would have just done this:

Under just Israel’s law, no Roman or anyone else in the world would ever know what happened except Israel. But under Roman rule, the message would be visible to Rome and to Israel, and to the world. Under just Israel’s authority, the stars themselves would make less sense.

Rabbit trail #2: The sign for Israel is Pisces, the 2 fishes. (See also Mark 6:41?) The sign for Gentiles (the rest of us), is Taurus, the bull. Right between the two, hard to see hanging up there, is Aries, a ram. (See also Genesis 3:21, Genesis 22, very importantly John 1:29, and also, like a button on the end of a great piece of music, Revelation 5, and there are more, I’ll get to one or two if you can stay with me.) The Bible is a tightly woven tapestry.

This preacher on his radio show, though, said that when Jesus came to earth as a baby, it was the first time He had been in human likeness, or “in the flesh.” But the more I read it the more I wonder if God was showing us how He was going to try to save us, all along. This preacher said that when God walked in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8) he was not in human form. You remember Genesis 3, it’s where Adam and Eve screwed up, disobeyed God and fell, along with all their descendents including me, and took all of creation on a ripping rollercoaster ride, a twisting, screaming journey to hell in a handbasket. Try to deny it all you want, and then turn on the news. For some, the journey seems short, but on a cosmic scale it’s taking longer than 8,000 years, presuming a young earth, but that’s another can of worms and I am NOT touching it. I won’t go back. But this message, this implication, it bugged me, because the guy has no way of knowing that, and no way to back the statement up. This preacher wasn’t in the Garden with God back in Genesis 3. My Genesis 1:26 isn’t at all unclear: “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness…”

What I’m saying is not that this preacher was necessarily wrong, or intentionally saying something to mislead. What I’m saying is we all have to dig in to the Bible for ourselves to find our own treasures. It’s important that each of us do that. My assertion is that if we ARE in the likeness of God, “in [His] image, then He must be, in highest form, the pre-image of humans.

To the point, here’s one treasure I take from my digging:

What if God was enabling the restoration of the relationship broken by Adam and Eve as the slain lamb in Genesis 3:21?

What if God was restoring the relationship broken by Abraham, as the slain lamb in Genesis 22?

What if God was enabling the restoration of His relationship with Israel through the symbols of Exodus 12?

What if God promised the possibility of restoration in Isaiah 53 (see the Lamb there in verse 7?), written 2716 or so years ago? And finally,

What if God was offering, if we believe, to restore the whole world, as the Lamb of John 1:29, sacrificed at Passover in John 19, and raised in John 20?

You don’t have to ask yourselves these questions, but I raise them for your consideration.

John wrote in maybe A.D. 90 or so, which puts it at 1926 years or less ago, and the events of John would have taken place maybe 800 years AFTER the prophecy of Isaiah 53. If you’ve followed me down the rabbit trails this far, just read the last few verses of John 20 (verses   29-31). 31 is important. How did Isaiah know 800 years early?

Because if God did that, who am I to say whether He pushed my sorry ass into this pit of despair for some restorative reason? I HATE the pit, but if there’s some value in my being here, then eventually it’ll be fine. I’d really rather not. But I get to hang out with some of you, here in the dark, and you’re pretty cool. Maybe we can walk together a while. Or just sit here, it’s better with your company.  I’m not anything like the Lamb. I just talk about Him, just like John did. I complain WAY too much to compare myself to Him. He is, if you don’t already know, “…One you do not know. He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:26-27) He can restore, or establish, a relationship with us, if I’ve read this right. I wish there were, but there’s no promise of any circumstantial changes. Only eternal changes. All it takes is our faith. I still have to walk through this shit for now, but eternally, I’ll be eternally better off than now. I feel abandoned, not that I’m nearly important enough to matter. But Jesus himself felt the same: “Eloi! Eloi! Lama Sabachthani?” (Psalm 22:1, see also Matthew 27:46; and, how did David know a thousand years early how that scene would play out?) It wasn’t just words to Jesus. It was agony far worse than I may ever know.

What if God pushed me into this pit of despair, or let the universe fucker push me, or let me fall all by myself, to encourage JUST ONE of my readers, to let me meet you, to reassure you of your beauty and incredible worth, to assert that God loves you in ways far more pure and complete and unimaginable than I am capable? To encourage you to have courage, and faith? Although I hate the test, although I hate the universe fucker for the whole journey, if you get it, you’re worth it to me. There are times when I hurt not because it sucks to be me, but because I know what you are going through and I wish I could do something that would effectively reduce your pain or just thoroughly and completely rescue you, but there isn’t anything. I pray for you, and can’t not weep.

Christmas is coming and I haven’t got anything tangibly helpful for you. I have a prayer for me, and may it be answered a thousand billion times, yes. And I have a prayer for you, and may it be answered the same, a loud resounding FUCK, YES!!

Here’s my prayer for me:

OK, I confess, that was a joke. Well, halfway. Because I really do want that for Christmas too. But here’s my real Christmas wish for me:

Here’s my prayer for you, and maybe selfishly I want a little of that for myself too. If it gets answered, the way I want, there will be enough for you to share.

I’m going to go to work when I wake up today, because if I don’t, I’ll think about it and start crying again. This time it’s not just for me. It’s for you too.

It took me a long time, but I think I know why I cried for me on Sunday: It’s because I’m broken. It hurts. And try as I may, I can’t fix it.

And I know why I’m crying for you too: I’m broken that we’re all broken, we live in a world that is killing us, slowly and painfully, and we can’t do anything much about it, except to be there as an encouragement to one another. I hate that you hurt, and I wish life treated us all SO much better.  But while we’re alive, I want us all to share an eternal hope, even if we can’t have peace for now.

Please share that hope with me.

~Deon

About What Happened on Sunday

Sunday.

Sunday, and it’s already Wednesday and I haven’t had a chance to process what happened Sunday and the dishes are in the sink unwashed again and the trash is full and I know that damned lint filter hasn’t been emptied since Monday night when I did it myself. I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong, for the fact that Mrs M is a good investor, and she bought us a washer and dryer so we didn’t have to collect the dirty laundry, motor over to the laundromat, wherever the fuck that is, have cash, detergent and dryer sheets for static for enough loads to wash and dry, fold, motor back home, and distribute said laundry to its’ owners. No, we did the laundry at home.

I looked it up, and for my convenience there is a laundromat about 7 miles from the house. Good to know. But fortunately, we wrapped appliances up in the cost of the home when we bought it. Which means, the warranties … nevermind. I don’t want to think about THAT crisis. They’ve been dependable and despite the thick layer of lint in the trap I’ll empty tonight if I remember to do it, the house hasn’t burned down yet.

I think I know a little too much about laundry. And I also know how to dissect a vacuum cleaner and reassemble it after getting all the dirt out. I do NOT want to know how to dissect a washer or dryer. Nor do I ever want to learn how to do plumbing or car repairs. Which reminds me, I need an oil change, and about a thousand more dollars of work done on the car. The oil change I can handle. The thousand? It’s just an estimate, a grand estimate, so grand, it’ll have to wait. And I have to check Mrs M’s car soon because we get to go visit family for Christmas. Yay. (is all my sarcasm out yet?) Don’t get me wrong. I love my in-laws. It was much easier after Mrs M’s mother quit discussing ways to dissect and disable and dismember her new son-in-law. The jokes weren’t ever funny. Never.  Thank fuck she quit that.  And it is easier when Mrs M’s father doesn’t yell about how he’s a self-taught expert on everything and my son and I should be too. Dad, take your blood pressure pills, please. And put in your fucking hearing aid. You can’t hear yourself yell.

About the cars, I can do the simple things: check the oil, check the tire pressure, switch a flat with a spare (not required, yay!), but I can’t do things like replace struts or shocks or sensors or rebuild a transmission, or hang the engine from a tree, fix it and remount it. We live in a gentrified area. Gentrified is code for I can’t do things I would probably never do anyway, if I actually OWNED a piece of property. I’m not allowed unless I ask permission and get approval, because there’s an HOA. Apparently, although I’m paying the bank AND the HOA for the privilege of living where I live, I still don’t own the land, I just am required to mow and maintain it according to their standards of beauty. God only knows what they said to the guy with the rich bumper crop of thistles in his yard. Maybe nothing, after all, thistles are lush, pretty and green and grow pretty blue flowers on the top even when there’s no rain. Anyway, their recent bill for, I guess, hiring a snowplow to wake us up at 11:30PM scraping ice that would have been snow and come up easier a few hours before we went to sleep, came in and I happened to see it. Remind me to let Mrs M handle that from now on. I already know I can’t afford shit, now I can’t afford whatever costs LESS than shit. I saw a few other bills too, before I took Mrs M Christmas shopping, and wouldn’t you know the bank let us buy a bunch of shit we can’t afford in spite of what I know.

I am angry all the time. I am angry and I wish I could blame it all on the cyclothymia, but it’s something different. I call the universe fucker to account, because most of the rage comes from there. And from the very feelings of helplessness my helplessness inspires. But I’m supposed to be a responsible adult, supposed to be in control of my responses to life’s stimuli, supposed to be a good husband and father and I have to confess that I’m not well able to do any of that. I’m not supposed to be angry, I’m supposed to figure out how to fix whatever’s upsetting me, and I have to confess that I’m not able to do any of that. I have tried to earn more money, and it’s an open pit that sucks whatever I make that should be “extra” away and only demands more. I pay to fix the car, have to go for a physical and the doctor orders a test that insurance doesn’t help enough with, I pay for that, my teeth break. I pay to fix my teeth, the plumbing leaks. I pay to fix the plumbing, Mrs M’s car breaks. And so on. Except it’s now to the point that I can’t afford to pay to fix the car, so it waits, I do a minimum repair, and I hope doesn’t break to a point where it won’t take me to work. And my teeth don’t hurt, but they just have other awkward consequences I’m tired of. What I need is a break. NO, for fuck’s sake, NOT something else that breaks!! What I crave is not “control,” but rather financial security. What I want is a wider margin of safety. What I need is peace.

Every time I’ve prayed and asked God for a wider margin of safety, I’ve ended up with less margin. God has a fucking twisted sense of humor. And He also has a fucking twisted perspective on how to answer prayers. See also So it is that with all of the shit falling apart around me, //giphy.com/embed/6BPsv5NHI5jEc

via GIPHY

without taking a pause to allow any kind of recovery, I wonder why I’m not dead yet. I don’t want to be Job. You know the guy. He’s faithful and upright and God decides he’s a pawn in a cosmic game and puts him through all kinds of shit until he wishes he was dead. Or maybe more like this guy, you may well laugh (and how could I say “fuck you” for that?), and I admit it’s a trifle funny but King Arthur is basically chopping bits off the guy //giphy.com/embed/nReribyqzVy9y

via GIPHY,

rendering him more and more hopelessly and ridiculously helpless, and yet he keeps coming.

If I’m lucky, perhaps I’m not invincible as the Black Knight of our tale, and King Arthur (AKA, God) will just come along and chop my head off. If I’m not, then I’ll continue down this delusional path thinking I’m serving a purpose and I’m just for some reason supposed to be frustrated with the hopeless, completely fucked feeling of it all.

I’m still not sure what to call what happened to me on Sunday, except possibly a miniature nervous breakdown. I wasn’t hearing voices, I wasn’t unable to control myself and I wasn’t unable to pull myself back in. But I did have a very strong stress reaction to a recorded presentation. I wept. My son, either understanding me, or empathizing, or from confusion, wept with me. Honestly I think I scared the shit out of him and he didn’t know what to say or do. Neither did Mrs M, sitting on the other side of me. The presentation introduced “Peace on Earth,” the promise of the angels. And it asked how we’re supposed to have peace in this (sorry, I can’t directly quote the script, but I’m sure the intent was expressing it milder than I have here, but the meaning seemed obvious) GODFORSAKEN fucking shithole. The answer was a lot less obvious and the message even less. Or not, maybe throwing me in a pit I can’t escape is just another strange way:

I used to really love Christmas. Because “when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Children are supposed to get Christmas, but I guess ogres and men like me “don’t live happily ever after.” And yet, I know in the Christmas story, there were wise MEN and grown shepherds, everyone from kings to the lowest in society, who celebrated the birth of the King.

I didn’t get my invitation to celebrate the birth this year. Instead I got something I couldn’t put into words. Maybe a tiny nervous breakdown. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_breakdown

When I was a child, the Bible stories focused on the heroic dude who slayed the giant, the heroic prophet who kept the widow lady and her kid able to eat, those “great men,” those faithful fuckers. They barely mentioned, if at all, the parents who felt the only way they could survive the famine was to kill and cook and eat their kid(s). “Well, Johnny, we love you and we know you’re good. You’re such a good boy, we want you to know we’ll still love you after you’re dead. Because we know you’re going to be delicious. Bye-bye now!” (See Deuteronomy 28, II Kings 6, and Ezekiel 5.—NEVER MENTIONED in Sunday School, unless I read more carefully and asked about it.)

It’s very sad that medical and psychiatric specialists only treat normal nervous breakdowns and normal mental illnesses according to symptom, not etiology. And I need an etiological treatment plan. The problem with treating the symptoms and not the root cause is the same as the problem of paying off the minimum balance due on your credit cards. You can medicate away the acute symptoms and you can appease the creditors in the short term. But in both examples, the hole just gets deeper, and in that minimum payment plan, there are still no steps or a ladder to climb out. So I can either sit here at the bottom of the dark hole, and pray for a ladder, or I can pretend like fuck that I have peace and light and joy this Christmas season, the same way I do every year, Pinky. I’ve gotten good at it.

Sunday I felt all the bad emotions. I wrote down in my sermon notes several things and circled the dark ones. And the speaker did NOTHING to even help with the symptoms. He made it worse.  He said the promise of peace was for “men on whom God’s favor rests. (Luke 2:14, SOME translations)” I fucking HATE that specific way of translating it, so naturally our speaker taught THAT shit. When I was a child, when I read the old fashioned KJV, it cut off and just said the offer of peace and goodwill was “toward men.” (Ladies, I was taught as a child that when King Jimmy’s translators said “men,” they meant “people.” So when I quote him, I’m reading that it’s to you too. Because “Fear Not.”)  Why would I hate it?  If it requires God’s favor, I am royally fucked and I will NEVER feel peace. I felt pain, I felt lonely, I felt abandoned, I felt the worst soul-shredding I have EVER felt. If I’m not abandoned, why is there no hope? Why is there no peace? Where is my invitation to the Christmas party?

The etiological treatment for my torment seems obvious to me, so why, when I ask to be cured, am I not? If I’m to have peace, I need the money pit of my life to be patched and filled and resurfaced, not graveled over and left until the next cracked tooth or broken-down engine or doctor’s expensive and wacky medical experiment. “I am not an animal. I am a human being.” I am not an illogical collection of hard-to-understand symptoms. If money is the cure, and God is the Great Physician, then I’d like “enough,” please. And if there is some other cure for broken teeth and broken cars and broken furnaces and air conditioners and broken job situations and my broken heartedness, I’d like that.

The shepherds got to go to the party, because it wasn’t a party like ordinary people throw. Normal people expect gifts, and they will even give out a goody-bag at the end of the party, as long as, at the end of the party, the spreadsheets show them in the black.  Can I be a child again and get Christmas?  It’s worse than Charlie Brown at Halloween: I feel like the sheep brought me a gift bag.  And skipped the bag.

Gee, Deon, why are you depressed?

I don’t know!! (THERE’s the sarcasm. FINALLY!)

 

Did I Say What Needed to be Said?

If you read my blog you know I just lost someone I dearly love.  If you read my blog you probably read hers, and I can’t say anything worthwhile to you so I’m sorry.  I’m processing all the everything, and I don’t have a fucking positive spin for any of you fucking optimists.  Don’t tell me anything about time healing or getting over or moving on or whatever fucking cliche pops in your head.  I haven’t even got a good Bible verse.  Maybe you have one that’s not cliche.  If you do, go ahead and comment.  But if you’ve heard it before, I have a hundred thousand times and I don’t want to hear it.  Pick something new.  Go search for it, and stay away until you find something I haven’t heard.

How do I keep it together in front of people who don’t have a clue why I’ve been “triggered into depression?” (fucking clinician-speak!)  I can see it before I even start.  Tell them the whole thing and they’re bored before I start… “hmmm, OK so you never met this person but you met online…, (eye roll).”  Fuck you.  She was more real, more a friend, than some people I see face to face.  People I know face to face don’t understand me at all because I don’t let them in.  Not even Mrs. M., although I did tell her why I am sad.

I don’t approach grief “normally.”  Yeah, not that you’d want to do it but I actually had a college class called “the Psychology of Death and Dying.”

So, it’s a great fucking day, isn’t it everyone?  Let’s get started.

In the class the professor offered us the now-classic Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

I didn’t go into denial.  I’m a realist.  I never started thinking any “I can’t believe it” shit. “Yay, progress before we even start! Good job, Deon.”  Fuck you.  Oh which brings me to the next stage, which is where I start as a baseline.  My friends death just pushed the anger amp to 12, where it’s normally preset at 8-ish.”

I didn’t even experience it as “stages.”  I guess if it did, I might be “normal.”  Instead, all the shit hits the fan at once.  Except denial.  And bargaining.  There’s no asking for more time, no way to prevent any of my other good friends from following her.  I may be trying to strike a bargain here, but I don’t really think so.  You medical and counseling professionals can decide, but to me, suicide is first, deeply personal.  If you choose it, it’s your choice, and no one can do shit about it.  But secondly, suicide is NOT deeply personal.  It ripples out and hurts everyone around you.  We wish we could help, we wish we could fight it for you but we can’t.  We want to say things and do things that will encourage.  People who pray, really do pray.  And beyond that, although we wish it were different, your experience is yours and we can’t do more to fix it.  So I just ask:  Please don’t choose that.  Please stay and fight.  For my own selfish reasons:  you encourage me every day you’re able to wake up and walk with me.  Or hide in your fort blankie while I wish I could.  So here I am, in anger, depression and acceptance.  And in hope for you and me, because although it might currently be shredded tatters, hope is all I have.

As far as I know, so far, I haven’t indulged in any self-destructive behaviours.  Except I cancelled a follow-up doctor’s appointment she set up to discuss the medi-go-round she put me on to see if it helps with my depression.  Fuck, my friend’s suicide really fucked up any positive impact the meds might have been having.  Irrationally, I want to feel something other than numb and crushed and hurt on the inside.  Rationally, I know that hurting myself or destroying my things isn’t going to do any good.  It’s just adding “a whisper on a scream” as the song lyrics go.  Add shit to shit and all you get is a bigger pile of shit.  But what the hell, throw on another shovel, because once you’re buried, one more can’t hurt much.

I feel nauseous.  I haven’t puked yet, but it’s possible.

I went to work today.  Not that I’m getting shit done.  I haven’t told the boss.  She might be sympathetic.  My old boss was just the last part of that word.  The new boss is better.

I was really afraid, with all the rage, to even start writing.  I don’t have a structured writing plan, I just write whatever pops into my little nutter of a brain, and I let it fly and let the readers decide if it’s shit or not.  I usually try to be funny.  I make a conscious effort at it.  There isn’t anything funny today.  Today sucks.  Yesterday sucked.  And the day before that sucked.

I can’t express the rage well.  There isn’t a vent big enough.  There aren’t words strong enough or loud enough.  So while the world spins around and everyone ignores me because of my mask, I’m screaming and crying on the inside.  Which doesn’t feel effective at all.  It doesn’t feel like anything at all.  I wait for the moments when I’m alone, which isn’t nearly frequent enough, and quietly mourn.  I like music so I listen to music when I can, but all weekend, even my surfing didn’t get me anything but sad songs.  I got an email from a friend with a link, and that was a sad song too.  I don’t know if it helped or hurt more, listening to music.  I went from classic rock to classical to modern rock to blues to whatever, and they all sounded sad.  I went to church and felt like a zombie.  Someone whack me, please.  I have no idea what the pastor or adult Bible teacher said.  Then I drove home alone and my family went their ways and did their normal things.

I hurt.

And then I backtrack to process our relationship.  Did I do everything I could have done?  Well, she was in South Africa and I’m stuck here in my bunker with no travel budget, so geographically I’m useless.  I couldn’t have physically been there to help. I did pray sometimes, but maybe not enough. I prayed like I always pray for all my friends in this community – for us to get through the depression seasons, for us to not be self-destructive, for our words to be nurturing enough and soft enough and strong enough and gentle enough and loving enough.  For her, it wasn’t enough.  I prayed for her to be healed, through the drugs, through the other treatments, or by miraculous means outside of treatment, just like I pray for my other friends here.  And for her, I got an answer, not the answer I wanted- not in this life, Deon.  Maybe in the next one.  I’m not bitter.  God chose not to answer my prayer the way I wanted it answered, for reasons I do not understand and may never understand.  And she chose to try to make her own pathway to free herself from her suffering, and I hope she’s truly free.

I’m not angry or bitter with her either.  Her circumstances were unbearable, she was strong but how much suffering should one person have to endure?

Did I say what needed to be said?  Who knows?  Would you believe, we joked and even teased and flirted a little with each other, even though I’m a married guy and she was a woman’s woman?  I told her she was beautiful, and I meant it, and I never actually got to see her face.  I just knew it was true.  And somewhere in there, I did tell her that I love her.  And I mean that, too.  I’m sure I even told her that God loves her.

(I guess it’s hard for God to express his love through our broken nature, so He sent me to her to say it.  And to the rest of my readers: we’re broken people in a broken world muddling through with each other’s help.  God uses willing people to send His message of hope and love.  Some people don’t know that when we’re motivated to help someone whether that’s God using us to show His love, but I believe it’s true. I’m willing, and He loves us even though we have to muck through all the shit.)

So yes.   I said what needed to be said.  I just wish the answer to my prayers for her was a different one, but it’s God, Who has His own plan, whatever that is, not a cosmic vending machine.  I can’t just pick item E12 like a bag of chips or a candy bar.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I’m angry at God but I can’t just ask for what I want and always get it.  If we could, wouldn’t we all pick the things that make it easier instead of going through and enduring the scars?  I can’t even pick understanding, or not hurting, or how to heal the next person before they leave me behind.  Or how to be healed myself.  I just have to accept whatever reality is, not filter any meaning from it.

Acceptance is supposedly the last stage in the grieving process.  But acceptance isn’t the death of grief.  It just means you cry and hold on to what you have left.

I don’t have any good answers.  I don’t have any good words to say, so if you stopped reading mid-stream, I understand.  But if you made it through, please understand that in my alleged acceptance, I’m holding on to you.  I wish I could hold on tighter.

~DM

PS.  If you have that text that I haven’t heard before in this kind of situation, do pass it to me.

Pretending

(So I already wrote one called Pretend, so this one will be “Pretending.”)

Pretending, 8/25/2016, Deon Mumple

I pretend so well to be so strong,
That you believe it, but it’s wrong.
I’m fractured, crushed, empty, and weak;
There is no Oz-wizard to seek.

I pretend so well to be so smart,
To cover up my broken heart,
To hide the real, small-minded me,
Untouchable, no one can see:

I have an act down pat: fearless,
With rage enough to fight the stress,
And compassion enough to care,
After I face my demons’ dares,

I pretend to be so spiritual,
My answers are so biblical,
But sometimes I feel my soul’s been trod
Under the sandaled feet of God.

I pretend so well that I’m not hurt-
Daggers don’t show under my shirt,
But my heart’s ripped, I trust no one,
It doesn’t heal, I want to run,

Pretending I can run away,
And want to come back again to play,
I can’t, but what I want to do
Is leave everyone and hide from you.

Meditations, Mysteries, Miracles, Miles and Misgivings

 

I took a pass on going to church today. Don’t die of shock, I’ll listen to their podcast and go next week.  And I recalled a favorite musical group from the 90s.  I remember the 90s.  Years of hope and promise.  I got married in the 90s.  I got a masters degree in the 90s.  I had faith in the 90s.  Stronger than the 2010s.

Here’s the group:

80s hair+  Brilliant Rock Vocals + Christian = Still kind of awesome.
And just in case you aren’t convinced here’s a bit more:  you don’t have to stay for the last minute but it was funny to me.


I’m still waiting for the answers to my recent prayers for myself.  I’m still waiting for certain things I was hoping for back then.

I could tell you a few things that led to the demise of my faith.  This is some kind of a journey to someplace while here on earth, I’m just not convinced any more that it’s to a good place.  I wish I still believed.  But I’ll just have to see a few more miracle type events  that undo some of the grind events that have slowly ground my faith down beyond the stump of faith I thought I used to have even after the 90s left and the 2000s really sucked. They decidedly sucked.

I could tell you how it’s my fault, how God disciplines the ones He loves.  Well I’m tired of discipline if that’s what this is.  The 2000s sucked, and the 2010s suck too.  Except for watching the kids grow from swingsets and training wheels to sassy, hilarious kids.  THAT is a win.  But today sucked too despite the relief of not going to church.

I don’t know how much anyone can take of life.  Today I dropped my carafe for my espresso machine, we’ve had it at least 15 years. But it’s mine, because, as she jokes, the Bible says “Hebrews.”  Mm hmm, not as funny any more as it used to  be for me.  I swept it up.  A metaphor for life?  Today the window on my car got stuck and wouldn’t move.  I pulled up with one hand and used the other on the motor until it engaged.  A metaphor for life?  Who the fuck knows?  Today I pulled A LOT of thistles from the yard, and the tiny garden areas, the little bastards.  Metaphorically speaking, I’m just really tired of being dealt the shit hands in the poker game.  I need a few winning hands in a row; that might reassure me.  The Bible also says it rains on the just and the unjust; I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.  Depends on how hard the rain falls I guess.  And it depends if I can save the water and sell it I guess.

We’re supposed to remember the good things that happened before to help us get through the shitty things, that’s what they tell us from the church stage.  I liked the good times in the 90s.  I liked when my kids were born in the early 2000s, but for me personally it wasn’t really a good journey through good times.  It was a journey of being lied to, pushed down, stolen from, and having my feelings hurt, by ass holes I barely knew, by people I should have been able to trust, and by my own family sometimes.  And the late 1900s weren’t that great, except I have lived through it.

OK, I remembered the group and a few of my favorite songs.  I bought all their albums back then.  And it’s not all terrible.  I have a house, a wife, kids, the car at least STARTED, and eventually I got the window up.  Managed to vacuum, cleaned some shit out of the garage and maybe I’ll have killed the rodent that lives under my house.  I’ll check tomorrow.  I have to take it as positive, I have to believe it’s progress.  It’s just not all sunshine and roses, Larry.

I like Larry, too, except he’s kind of clueless.  It’s his charming simplicity I like.  Trusting, naive, like kids are supposed to be.  I’d kind of like to be able to be like that.  To just know there’s a point.  To just know what I’m supposed to do.  I don’t.  Sometimes all I know  to do is sweep the damned floor, and that will be crapped up again tomorrow.  No progress.  Just status quo, and a little more loss every day.

One of the pastors talked about Ecclesiastes today.  I didn’t need to be there.  I know there’s no point and sometimes it’s just time to mourn.  But really?  More than 10 years?  I think sometimes I’m cyclothymic because I SHOULD be depressed as a baseline because life is so fucking depressing, but my brain doesn’t WANT to be depressed so it pushes a manic button and makes me not think about the shit so much, some of the time.  it’s still raining shit, but my brain won’t let me process it.  I think that’s why I think I block it out.  Why I can’t remember shit and it frustrates Mrs M I don’t remember things.

I want the fucking winning hands.  Not the memory of when it was tolerable.  I want the good things.  I want the new car.  I want a new espresso machine.  I want my wife to love me back, the same way I love her.  I want a clean garage.  I want a yard not infested with fucking thistles.  Money answers all of these but one.  True love answers that, and I guess I’ll see.  If it’s true, I’ll let you know.  It is from my side of this thing.  Oh, and a few shots of rum and a dish of vanilla ice cream would be nice.  But it’s going to be Monday soon so I have to wash the fucking dishes again and then not drink so I can do the Monday things.

God?  Can I have a few winning hands?  A little freedom?  And the wisdom and discretion to not be an idiot if You decide to say yes?  That’d be great.  It’s been more than 10 years since the last time I felt good about anything, so maybe the next 50 could be good years to make up for my childhood being kind of shitty, and the past more than 10 years being broken carafes and thistles.  “I’m not a smart man but I know what love is,” says Forrest Gump.  I know what love is, and this doesn’t feel like love to me.  Thanks.