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: ; dive in. Would I steer you wrong? It’s FASCINATING, really. Next stop on the rabbit trail? I went here:

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.


Life in Denial

I’ve read there are three sides to every story:  your story, their story, and the truth.  There are three sides to an argument.  Your side, their side, and the right side.

Being unsure of the origin I looked it up and found what I hope is the original, and then what I’m delighted to report is music I’ve never heard before.

“There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently.”
Robert Evans. (2002). The Kid Stays in the Picture [Documentary]. Highway Films.

Here’s the song, too, because you all know I REALLY love music. Joe has his three sides, and there are three I want to talk about.

America, holy shit, let us pray. Apparently we’ve decided collectively that Trump was the lesser of the evils running for president, and elected him.  I might have written the same article with the story taking a different turn if Clinton had won, but we have what we have. There are three sides of denial to be dealt with here, and I’m not going to let any of them pass.  I lied; there are four sides, and some of the sets of groups of people in their various denials overlap like a terrifying Venn diagram.

So here’s the denial on the party of the first part:

Side I:
Trump, like all politicians before him, has lied to the American people, and we let it slide. The Muslim ban, and the Great Wall of Mexico are quixotic, idiotic, xenophobic wet dreams that will NEVER happen, and if they do they will be disastrous for our country. We all know this. The wall promise will be impossible to fulfill and if it does come to pass it will cost more to maintain and secure than we will ever save by having fewer illegal aliens come over the borders. And Mexico will never foot the contractor’s bills, the maintenance costs, nor monitor our wall for us.

If we can’t have a wall, we probably will continue to have a revolving door for our illegal alien workforce, if they’re even caught by immigration officials. Don’t get me wrong. I want everyone to be law-abiding. But the reality is that some won’t respect the law, true about immigration, true about crime, true about guns. I hope, regarding his promise about crime, that he can get a law passed requiring the death penalty for anyone convicted of murdering a cop in cold blood. But I also want the balance of the death penalty for any cop convicted of murdering an innocent person in cold blood too. If I’m reaching for my license, don’t fucking shoot me.

He promises to use common sense to fix the mental health system and prevent mass shootings. The trouble with this is that it’s another aspect of denial. I submit that he’s probably lying here too, because “common sense” would actually separate mass shootings and mental illnesses into separate categories, each of which needs to be addressed: A mass shooter is a criminal, a person with a mental illness is a person with a mental illness. Sometimes the sets are combined, but it’s not a bus to throw everyone with a mental illness under. This discussion of mental health and crime needs experts who know something about mental illness in on the discussion, not just the kneejerk reactionary vapid and nebulous promise of policy development. This one is important to me. I want to be on the advisory committees, but I don’t expect an invitation.

Here’s why:
1) I think mass shooters and other terrorists need to be immediately executed by the arresting officers. (No invite, because with that opinion, I’m barbaric.  But if people know that at the end of it all they’re going to die, there will be fewer shooters and terrorists.)  If you and your group plan an act of terrorism and begin its’ execution, and you get caught in the act, I want to leave no further opportunity and I want to just end you, with no fame or martyrdom.  No mention of names in the media, you’re erased from life and history.

2) I think people with mental illnesses need to be treated with respect and dignity and afforded the exact  same rights granted to every other citizen (No invite, because with that opinion, I’m crazy).  Mental illnesses are diverse in scope and impact, but I believe it’s safe to opine that most people with mental illnesses want to just live normal lives, not commit crimes or kill other people.  I know people with no mental illness who routinely make jokes about killing people, just like people with mental illnesses sometimes do, and from these people, they are fucking JOKES.  I’m angry, but I’m not angry enough to buy a gun and murder anyone.  I don’t know about anyone else, but the voices in MY head only tell me to harm myself, not other people.  We deserve the right to own firearms and use them in our own defense, the same as anyone who’s called “mentally healthy.”

Because criminals may technically not be allowed to have or use guns, but that doesn’t mean they won’t figure out a way to steal one, buy one, or make one.  Plus, if a killer (translation: criminal) wants to kill someone, a gun isn’t required.  They can use bullying or some other psychological weapon, fists, a car, a lake, a knife, a rope, poison, a bomb, or any of a number of unconventional murder weapons, such as a plastic bag, or a brick wall, or cartoon-style violence if they’re truly creative: a freight train, a rocket, an acme mail-order novelty, or maybe a piano, or an anvil.

Normal people, including normal people with mental illnesses, understand that doing these things in real life make one a criminal, but in cartoons and movies such actions are not fatal because the artist wakes up and draws, or creates new special effects, another day.  We all suspend our disbelief just like when we watch movies, and may even laugh if it’s comical.

Criminals actually DO criminal things to other people, and they need to be treated as criminals and justly taken care of so they won’t, or can’t, harm another person.

Separately, people with mental illnesses need to be cared for by a caring community of professionals, not lumped in with criminals and presumed guilty before any act is ever perpetrated.  Disallowing guns to ALL those with mental illnesses sets a huge group up to be victims of crimes by those who somehow get their hands on guns, legal or not.

He promises to make medical marijuana widely available to patients, and allow states to decide if they want to fully legalize pot or not. If it’s not a lie, I say it’s not enough. Just push for congress to legalize it across America, and then push another law that all in jail for marijuana be immediately released and the records of all convicted of marijuana related offenses be immediately expunged.

There’s probably more deceit in the lists of promises.  But I’m already tired of it, and I hope the GOOD promises he made are carried out, and the foolish ones are admitted as foolishness.

We’ve accepted as our leader a person who joked about sexual assault.  Sexual assault is a crime; it’s not funny.  Ever.  I can’t say this with enough emphasis.  I really, seriously pray that Trump is able to behave decently and morally, while in office.  But there’s no denying the way he evidently thinks about women, at least some of the time, because it’s out there.

Side II:

Clinton supporters?  You’re in denial too.  You whine and moan about the election results and claim a glass ceiling that prohibits ALL women in the office of president.  But that’s not accurate.  I’d vote for a woman for president, just not Clinton- because of her history of scandal and coverup.  There are several women I’d like to consider from these lists, who might potentially make great presidents.  I have a list of potentially viable candidates here.  Let’s investigate them all NOW and not 4 years from now, so we know who’s the most supportable candidate on the basis of all those ethical categories- misandry, ethics, criminal background, criminal allegation, um, if I’m allowed to assert there are universal goods and universal evils as measurements of character, let’s choose someone of basically good character.  If there aren’t any (and I seriously doubt that) then let’s find another woman of good character and ask her to run.

You’re in more denial, when you deny the scandals themselves.  We want to call them “mistakes.”  But there was no mistake in Benghazi when nothing was done at all to defend our citizens, our soldiers, or to rescue them.  But we rescued the traitorous Bergdahl due to the tireless efforts of Clinton in exchange for giving them back known criminal terrorists, and paid a $400M illegal ransom to a government that is openly antagonistic against America, in exchange for 4 , not all 8, of our citizens being held prisoner at the time of the event by that government.  And we were fed a story about that exchange, that just screams to me that it’s a lie.  So we care about some American citizens, just not all of us.  Depends who you know, and how valuable a chess piece you are on the global chess board.

There was no “mistake” in propping up women who were willing to allege Trump’s assaults.  The mistake was in your timing.  Tell us before he’s the only other candidate left for the people to vote for.  Saving the allegations for this late in the campaign says you’re desperate, you’re shady, you’re lying.  You made a power play in withholding this, because you let the other candidates in the race falter for various cosmetic or personality reasons because they would be stronger in the end of the race if you didn’t trip THEM, than Trump was.  And then at the end, you gave us these allegations.  Too late.  And if Trump is a bad choice, for bankruptcy or misogyny, or being whiny when he doesn’t win, then your choice in waiting because you thought you could beat him was a mistake.  Dr. Carson or Ted Cruz might have lost in the end if they were left in the race, just based on their belief systems.

Clinton also threw the race on the basis of her idiotic stance about gun control.  She said she would implicate gun manufacturers in gun crime, and restrict guns like Obama did in Chicago.  We see how well gun control is working there, right?  And the people who make guns aren’t any more culpable in gun crime as McDonald’s or Hardee’s is in causing morbid obesity.  They make a product to meet a demand, it’s sold under circumstances basically controlled by the threat levels they pose, and no one is forcing the fast food customer to supersize their asses and not exercise and clog their arteries and die of a heart attack.  And no gun manufacturer is forcing the gun buyer to commit a crime.  I sympathize with people who have been the victims of gun crimes, but I put to you who would restrict gun access to law abiding citizens, that it isn’t the law-abiding citizens who are causing all of the gun related problems.  Restrict the law-abiding citizens, and they are marked with targets.
Side III:

Finally, there’s the overlapping set of denials we all perpetrated here.

Let’s start with the electoral college.  We have the electoral college that makes us a democratic republic, and not a true democracy.  The news media is saying that Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral college.  This tells me, the electoral college is an antiquated system for choosing a candidate based on an elite few who may or may not represent the voice of the people.  It should be abolished, and the popular vote should select elected officials.  The whole nation is in denial in letting that system choose our president.  If you want your vote to count, abolish the electoral college.

We picked these two, or four, whatever, that’s not the point here, and presented them to America as if they were our best and brightest, and we voted for them (or against them).  Both majority candidates were lacking in character.  Both lied, or hid truths, or told half truths, or asked forgiveness for various character lapses, and we bought that shit and put it on our dinner tables and served it up.  America, if we’re not ALL, collectively, a bunch of fucking idiots…

Trump tried to tell us the electoral process is broken, and if you believed that and you voted for him, you’re a bigger idiot than he was for saying it, and if you believe it now and voted against him, read what I said about the electoral college again and compliment Trump for saying at least ONE thing that was the truth.

Clinton tried to tell us that increasing the minimum wage would be a good idea, so she could fulfill her other promise of increasing taxes to pay for all the programs she wanted to give us.  Some of her campaign rhetoric, and some of her campaign ideas, like her opponents, were fucking brilliant.  But not this one.  Some of Trump’s promises and rhetoric, and some of Clinton’s, were utter and complete bullshit.  This idea is case in point.  Because I’ve worked very hard for a long time to get a wage that is higher than minimum wage, but if you shove a raise at everyone that doesn’t make a higher rate of pay in the name of just raising it, you neglect to consider basic economics.  Basic economics lesson:  the economy adjusts itself.    This means, if you suddenly decide to raise the minimum wage “to get people out of poverty,” it sounds good on its’ face, but after economic adjustment, the new minimum becomes the new poverty.  It’s basically stupid and doesn’t honor my efforts to better myself by staying with a company for a while until I earn raises.  It slaps me back down until I’m back at the bottom of the fucking pay scale again.  Fuck you, for wanting to make me at the lowest level of poverty all over again.  Just FUCK YOU.

Oh, I forgot I lied, there are 4 sides to this story.  I made a mistake, it was simple math classroom talk, it was an oversight, forgive and forget, OK?

Side IV:  What we all should do:

In short, what we should do is face reality, and go forward with whatever’s left of our integrity, and pray for America and for Trump and Pence.

I said it when the Christ-followers thought Obama was the anti-christ in the flesh, and I’ll say it now that the Demoncrats lost their bid for the White House:  Pray.

After you finish praying to whatever god you believe in, in whatever faith you practice, remain as productive, law abiding citizens and do the good you would have done if Clinton had won, or the good you wanted to do if Trump won.  Or your third party choice.  We need to work together, and we need each other to make a strong country.  It’s not Trump or Clinton who makes us great.  It’s each other, supporting and helping each other.

I heard several public faces saying they’d leave the country if this or that candidate won.  Well, my first reaction is, if you said you’d leave if Trump won, get the fuck out.  But my second, more heartfelt and loving reaction is, if you still can make a go of staying to help the rest of us, please stay.

The ridicule, mudslinging and character assassination of presidential candidates is over for the next 4 years, thank GOD, so let’s move on like we always do.  The Cubs won, but I bet The Cleveland PoliticallyIncorrectNativeAmericansWhoProbablyAren’tReallyNativeAmericans went home and they’ll keep practicing and playing because that’s what they always do.  And the Democrats and Republicans will keep trying too.  They’ll be back on those ballots, slinging mud like old times, in another few years when it’s time to elect new liars or re-elect the old liars in between presidential elections, and in 4 years from now, it’ll be back to the same old presidential shit.  Win or lose, life goes on and we try again tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I have to go back to work at my day job, and I’ll do that same shit all over again and it won’t get me anywhere.  I’ll also buy a lottery ticket, because there’s a possibility, however slim, that I’ll win that shit.

The most important things I can advocate are 1) to pray, and 2) do whatever you can to make our country better.

So Distracted Sunday

I can’t concentrate for shit.  Oh, and the medication messes with that too.  Me, before medication: regular as clockwork.  Me, after medication: I get one urge per day and if I don’t go right then, the urge goes away and I hurt randomly from intestinal cramps because I made it wait, and then I have to wait and hope the purge urge comes back that day.  I hate being irregular.  Thanks, doc.  This is great.  But I’m not writing about that kind of concentration.  No, really.  I have germ and dirt and sense-of-smell issues and if I never had to go and clean myself off I’d be happier.  And no one else is allowed to clean me off either, because I have personal space issues: from eyes to ass, and everywhere in between or nearby, don’t ever touch me without a special invitation.  I barely let anyone cut my hair.  I hate the burping on an empty stomach too.  Gross.

I was going to write a poem about a friend I swore I saw out at a store yesterday, or at least I thought it looked an awful lot like her, but I got distracted with life and work and didn’t remember it until just now, too late today.  Maybe Monday.  It was in the parking lot and she was in her car and I waved, but if it was her I bet she didn’t know it was me because I haven’t put my face on the internet and I’ve never met any of my internet people out in the real world.

So I was crampy and distracted yesterday when there was work to be done.  I don’t feel like I accomplished shit yesterday regarding the list that needed done.  And I was crampy and distracted today while I was at church trying to pay attention to whatever it was that the pastor said.  Something about trusting in God and staying the course and being self-disciplined, which I know is right, but fuck you for pointing that out, and then And after church, I did fuck all around the house when I should have mowed the grass and cleaned and everything, except I did wash some of the dishes.  I didn’t want to eat either, another side effect?  If Mrs M hadn’t almost thrown it at me, I probably would have saved it for lunch tomorrow.

I have a whole list of shit to do tomorrow that has to be done, and it doesn’t take a break or end this week until bed Friday or possibly Sunday, whereupon it all starts all over again, and I don’t want any of it.  FML.  Still need to reschedule with the doctor, not that the meds are doing what she said they could.  If they were, I should feel a lot more peaceful.   And damn it, I should be able to concentrate and get shit done without it dragging every shred of energy out of me.

The joke that’s closest is where the guy says he’s got a headache and the doc’s response is, You want something to help with that?  And the guy says some variation of Yeah, got any cyanide, or got a shotgun, or some other similar cure-all, except our recent loss renders it not fucking funny.  It’s not funny any more, but then, nothing much is all that funny right now.  I wish I could find something light-hearted but it’s pretty damned heavy right now.  Still.  Because our current medical practice practices better than they practiced 50 years ago, but we’re not where we need to be, because what they offer now might work in some cases but in others it seems like they’re answering the patient, “Sure, here you go.”

So my hope is, that amid the shit and chaos and other scheduled events of the daily grind, I can schedule some serious down-time, and ideally “down” won’t refer to my fucking depression, may it rot in the darkest smallest, most terrifyingly crowded cage in hell where demons and other cursed souls poke it frequently with rusty barbed wired sporks dipped in shit and strychnine and skunk sweat.  And may the crowd in the cell include your depression too if you have it.  I want some down time that lets me breathe, and sleep, and feel successful and productive in places I want to feel successful and productive, not just the ones everyone else fucking expects me to be that way.  While we’re filling the cell it can have panic attacks and side effects too.  Stuff it all in there; we can take weekend tours!  Come one, come all, step right up!  A complimentary pre-loaded spork, hand sanitizers and a free steak dinner for every visitor!!

The meds are supposed to help me concentrate and not be so depressed when the wave falls into a trough.  The weekend tells me maybe they’re not working so good.  Or maybe they are:  Hope for tomorrow and the week, that’s a positive note to end the weekend with.  Someone write it down:  Deon expressed one hopeful thought.


Inspired by a letter from father to son by Edmond Sanganyado
I love the spiritual blogs almost the same as I love any other blog that strives to encourage.  But right now…

Ndiri ndakasuruvara kukutaurirai kuti pasinei hurukuro motivational nezvaBaba vedu, ndine aneta. Colossians 3:21 “Madzibaba, musatsamwisa, kana vana vako kuti akaora mwoyo.”  (Sorry if my Shona is bad, I tried a translator.)  I confess My Father has left me feeling unloved, abandoned, empty, embittered, and very, very, discouraged.  My earthly father lately seems much closer and more helpful to me than my Heavenly One.

His Letter to me that used to sound loving and caring sounds empty and hollow.  I’m sinking under storm waves of hurricane-force depression again, my cries for rescue have been long ignored.  I know He knows what I need, and I admit, I’m alive and have been given much.  Still certain things that are bigger than I currently am cause me to stumble and doubt instead of responding with faith.  I know about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” and have been given several of those “gifts” as well.  (Is sarcasm the same thing as gratitude?)

There is no progress, there is no growth, and frequently I have no hope that anything will ever change.  He is capable of miracles, not that I’m entitled, but that He said to ask.  I imagine my feelings very similar to Mary and Martha at Lazarus’ first death, and my circumstances more and more similar to Lazarus’ health on that third or fourth day.  I have days that are all right, but whenever I feel that there might be an answer, that mustard-seed of hope is snatched away before anything really good comes.

IF, spiritually you’re thinking, Deon, you’re just a sinner and that’s why God allows your circumstance,  Thank you for your analysis, …what was your name again? Eliphaz, Bildad, or Zophar?  I will freely admit that I sin, inasmuch as it is the human condition and I make certain less-than-perfect choices in life like others do.  IF, spiritually, you’re thinking, Deon, “just” put God first, as this article borders on the spiritual I’ll refrain from expressing what I want to say to you, which is not so much a refrain as it is profane.  Similarly, if you’re thinking, Deon, “just” wait on the Lord, I’ve heard that forty-two million too many times to not hate that answer.  To me, that’s a useless, but scriptural-sounding platitude for “I don’t want to get involved even so much as to pray for you, may God bless you, now please go away.”  If that’s all you have, my God bless you, now please go away.

If the prognosis for myself is grim, how can I encourage others like I am supposed to? When I pray for myself it feels mostly ignored.  How can I tell others to pray when He doesn’t answer?  When I pray for others I get about a third of an answer.  How can I tell others He loves them when my prayers for them fall on deaf ears?  I have a friend who needs some help and I’ve asked God (and others) to intervene, and her burden has yet to be lifted.  And I need help and I’ve asked God and it’s only gotten heavier and more impossible.  I’m tempted to joke about God the way Elijah joked about Baal, at the risk of fire coming from heaven and burning ME up along with the other stubborn oxen on the altar.  How can I lead my family toward God when my faith is so very badly shaken?

I just need this circumstance to be miraculously resolved.  I’ve started praying for God to help me without hurting me, because any more, it hurts and things only seem to get worse.  I said “just” which is a trigger word for me because when someone says I should “just” do whatever, to fix myself, it makes me enraged.  If I could “just” fix it myself, I would have done that already.  But for God, nothing is impossible, so if He wants to, he can “just” fix it.  He doesn’t even have to involve any people in the process, it can “just” happen.

I would like His letter to His children to offer this son encouragement, refreshing, and reassurance that His letter is the very Word of Truth.

Crocodile Daydreams

I’m a crocodile.  That’s a hell of a spirit animal to represent, but there it is.  If you’re nice to me I’m gentle enough a bird could clean my teeth and gums.  I care about family, watching the clutch of eggs until they hatch, and then carrying them around in my mouth until they are old enough to fend for themselves.  And don’t think about stealing or hurting one or you’ll find out what a normally gentle, but angry, parent is capable of.

I like the sun, and relaxation.  I’m equally fine on land or water.  I’ve got a thick skin, but I’d prefer to keep wearing it for myself, as I am not fond of boots or shoes.  I only like cobblers if they have fruit on the bottom.  I wonder why a shoemaker specializing in repair is called cobbler, and there, now you know even my daydreams are full of random interruptions.  I wonder what the attention span of a real crocodile is.

I like meat.  I prefer it cooked since I don’t have a crocodile’s immune system in real life.  However, if you’re a fried chicken or a steak, or …some other form of delicacy, if you know what I mean, don’t tease me; don’t get too close to my teeth, or leave me hungry too long.  It’ll make me angry, and I’m up for a death roll any time.  Or a dinner roll.  But I’ll take the steak first, thanks.

You won’t see me until it’s too late.  I’m already there.  When I was younger all I wanted to do was help people, but I’m older and I saw all of the lies and the selfishness and I reached the point where I don’t give a shit any more.  Now, I just want to take what I want.  After all, it’s how everyone else treated me when I was younger.  It’s only gotten worse as I have gotten a little older.  Nobody cares, except Boy Scouts, and people who are pretending while hoping not to get caught.

If I didn’t have a conscience, if you had it and I wanted it, and if I were strong enough to take it, then I’d just say, “Fuck you.  It’s mine now.”  It would be so easy.  It’s a pity, this conscience.  I watched an old crocodile who took apples and grapes and stuff from the grocery store.  I watched a young little shit who stole candy and grew up to burglarize houses and jack cars to support their drug habits.  I watch the news and see the idiots in the trench coats stealing food.  And I watch the people who know how to work the system, scoring steak and crab legs and alcohol and other luxuries on their food stamp budget.  And cigarettes, too- those are very expensive.  I never got into the habit.

If I didn’t have a conscience, I don’t think I’d get caught doing what I want.  Plenty of people get away with this taking-game every day, and their hearts don’t trouble them in any way.  I exercise plenty of restraint, because if you do that kind of crap and get caught, there are consequences.  That’s why I pay for my groceries.  I don’t want to end up on America’s Most Wanted, or America’s Dumbest Criminals, or some other idiotic reality show like that.  But there I am, lurking under the surface of the water with just my eyes showing, watching all the bullshit people hand each other, and tried to hand me, and I’m ready to strike.  I’ll smile at you.  And then you’ve had it.

I’ve learned that a person’s word is not his bond any more.  Spoken promises aren’t worth spit.  Go ahead and lie to me though, so I can wish you were dead.  If you’ve already lied to me, maybe there’s an angel somewhere who can poison your crab legs, you crooks.  I can hope.  Wonder if I’d see that item in the evening news.  If I didn’t have a conscience, and figured out how to get away with it, I’d be first in line to get my revenge.  I’m too old to do it, but I work my ass off to earn my keep.  I buy lottery tickets for two reasons.  One, the fantasy.  Two, I have just as much chance of winning as the next sucker.

I watched the last jerk who won the big prize.  He was already a millionaire, and obviously didn’t need the money.  He bragged about how he’d do good for this and that church, and then complained a briefcase of his money was stolen out of his truck.  Outside the strip club.  Who’s a liar?

I daydream about the big win.  I have a plan.  But it’s becoming more selfish the older I get and the less I see people helping each other.  People all have the same hearts: they’re all corrupt and evil and selfish.  Except Boy Scouts.  I wanted to help.  I wanted to give.  If  I won the lottery, all my old “friends” would come out of the woodwork or from under their rocks and claim to have cared about me my whole life.  And my family would have a plan for how to spend that.  And a few hopeless beggars would come out wanting to help, too.  The current jackpot is $450M.  Well, once I stock the liquor cabinet and the freezer and refrigerator in my new house and get my new car, and take a vacation, we’ll see.  But until I’m settled in, fuck you.  And if I remember you, unless you were nice, fuck you too.  And if you want to steal from me, I may just poison you myself.  And hire someone to get rid of the bodies.  Now there’s a pleasant crocodile daydream.

But if I win the lottery, if you’re a boy scout, don’t get greedy but I’ll buy a lot of your popcorn.  A year’s supply.  And popcorn to give to friends and family.  You need the money for your camping trips and adventures and your service projects.  Because boy scouts, by and large, are good kids. Girl scouts and their cookies too, those thin mints are just plain good.  And there’s another pleasant crocodile daydream.  I’m smiling just thinking about it.  With all those cookies and that popcorn, not to mention rib eye and porterhouse steaks, I’m going to need a good dentist for my new, gold, crocodile teeth.