Monday, December 2, 2013
Ever gotten to a point in your life where things conspired against you to the point where you couldn't even conjure up the basic notion of hope? Which ever way you turned you were met with a bricked in doorway and no obvious way out? I certainly have.
Those days in reality were not that long ago yet they almost seem to never have existed at all. I never lack for hope even though the recent past has been fairly grim around here with a very serious fluke injury, a terrible case of infection and several months of playing the "In or Out Of The Hospital Game" followed up by "The Doctors Don't Have a F**king Clue Game" and topped off with the "Let's Do Surgery For The Hell Of It Game!"
I absolutely expected to feel hopeless after all that Mickey Mousing around I did but somehow I just didn't fully feel that way. I was frustrated for sure and I'll admit that I questioned God's motives for letting me go from finally doing well in life physically and financially after getting sober to having my whole physical and financial world collapse down on me. Why was HE hurting me? Had HE abandoned me? Was I one of those Moron's who let themselves be duped into believing that God would take care of me.
That was the most frightening time of this whole ordeal...when I began to revert back to my old, mistrustful way of thinking and instead of pushing forward with Faith, instead I started to look for someone to blame for MY problems, difficulty and indiscretions! Ultimately faith prevailed and I held on to the One thing that could save me...a belief that no matter what God wouldn't abandon me, NO MATTER WHAT!
There was no one to blame...life just is HARD sometimes and that is that. I know it is somewhat easier to say when the scratching and clawing one's way out of the deep, dark & hellish hole you were in has passed and things have stabilized a bit. But trust me...I haven't and will never forget how troubling and difficult that was.
At times I wish life was one cool activity after another with no heartache and pain involved at all but it is NOT ever going to be that way. One must learn how to cope and persevere. I often wonder if future generations of Americans are truly prepared for life and it's hard ways. We seem to have spurned a generation....perhaps two generations of WHINERS.
Yep, I called it first: the WHINER Generation where one hits a bit of adversity and their only plan of action seems to be to sit around a lament how unfair life is ...until Mummy/Daddy bail them out again with the checkbook, the doctor loads em up with Anti-Depressants & Xanax or they just spend the rest of their days in and out of therapy blaming others for their problems.
Ach...I dread the whole idea of that but unfortunately I have witnessed enough of it to know it's not a bad dream...that the behavior...er, culture really , already exists in our society. I don't know how but I still hold on to the notion of toughing it out when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan!
Perhaps I am being too harsh on our society today but it is difficult not to witness that behavior each and every day.....so NAW, I'm not being harsh, just realistic.
Look at the TV commercials we are bombarded with each day for an example: Do you have a headache (perhaps it's just because you skipped lunch), quick, take a pill. Are you having trouble making love to your wife, is it hurting your marriage? Quick, take a pill, then go buy his and her bath tubs and you'll have the best freaking sex of your life...Marriage saved, thanks to a wee, little pill (that costs a fortune). Can't get a job in a tough economy? Go hire an attorney who almost guarantees he will get you on the Social Security Disability. You'll never have to work again and live happily ever after...unless you actually have a conscience!
This is how we live today in America...our expectations are all messed up. So it makes sense that when life get's ugly and hard....people panic, get depressed...turn to booze and drugs for succor.
It's tragic really because the answer.....GOD has been here all along. No one promised that life would be easy...so why should it be? Hey...you can rely on science and TV for the cures to all that ails you...and see if that brings you happiness...I'll stay the course and trust HIM!
Thursday, November 28, 2013
November 28, 2013....
Today my friends, is Thanksgiving Day 2013. As I sit here at this moment, I am having a wee bit of internal conflict. Why? Well when I sat down to begin this post I guess I figured I would kick out the typical "What I am Thankful For" kind of thing. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of post. I think it is important to express our gratitude for the gifts we have in this life, And I am no different then any one else...I have a ton of reasons to be thankful.
But there is part of me that feels strange just writing about that because there is no doubt in my mind that this has been one of the most difficult, uncertain and painful years of my life. It is definitely the worst year I have experienced since I got sober in June of 2006.
Not only I have suffered through some of the most severe and sustained physical pain for over 9 months now but the psychological, emotional and spiritual price that I have paid has been very, very high. Part of me will never completely recover from this nightmare...and realistically it is still going on and will continue for another 6 months or so. No matter how hard I try...my life will never ever be the same.
Every aspect has been affected from financial, to my health, to the very way I now look at people. I no longer trust like I used to....when the proverbial Sh*t hit the fan, I was totally unprepared for what happened to me. People I thought I should trust, particularly my Doctors, really dropped the ball and I paid nearly paid the price with my life when I came back from surgery/hospitalization with an infection that took over 5 months of HELLISH pain and suspicion, 3 hospital stays and a truck-load of IV Anti-Biotic to eventually knock it back....only to discover the infection combined with my Nueropathy to destroy the Tibia Bone at the ankle joint in my right leg, requiring a major fusion surgery and possible amputation.
I am certainly thankful to be alive these days though I will admit there were days when the alternative looked pretty tasty comparatively. It's true...for the first time since my active addiction I woke up on certain days wishing to GOD that I had Not! It was terrible...
A great many people literally prayed and pulled me through this ordeal but I have to admit there were some folks I thought I knew and trusted that jettisoned our friendship and I still wonder why...That hurt and really affected my trusting people in general. I've already posted about this so I won't go into detail again.
Ultimately though...this post is coming back full circle to the fact that I am incredibly grateful to be alive, reasonably healthy and surrounded by family ( but I miss daughter Chelsea and the boys though!) on this cold Thanksgiving evening here on Iyopawa Island. here is wishing you and yours and fantastic Holiday!
Photos by Kathy Tomson
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
I have often written about my feelings of alienation. I have felt this way my entire life...though as I boy I didn't understand why I felt differently then others seemed to feel. Yet it was obvious to me, even at a very young age that I did feel differently and I was in fact different.
More sensitive, fairly artistic yet still quite athletic, a wild individualistic side with a heavy pull toward music...I had some natural leadership tendencies often led as much by example as I did vocally. I was the strange mix of obsessive book-reader and totally absorbed outdoors-man/athlete. With people I was familiar...I was extremely comfortable, talkative and social but among strangers I was withdrawn and observant.
Of course at the age of 12 my life simultaneously crashed then burned and hit the accelerator at the very same moment!! It is now a well known fact here on THE SHOCK that I was sexually assaulted at the age of 12 years of age and badly beaten. My whole world imploded and crashed in around me yet at the same time it did not stop. No...things started moving really quite fast and I didn't have a clue who I was or what I was supposed to do.
I had not told anyone about the rape so I was carrying this horrific secret that was burning a hole through my SOUL. I tried to blend in to keep going but every time I was in public or the company of other people I felt like I had a scarlet R seared into my forehead and that everyone knew what had happened to me. I felt dirty, used and unworthy. I had already felt like I was different somehow, like an outsider to begin with...now I was feeling outcast by society...I was a sexual outcast and a social LEPER, condemned to a life time of guilt, fear and self-loathing.
It is not unusual for me to look back in time from my perch in today and wonder how in the world I managed to survive ALL of THAT self hatred, self-abuse and the suicidal way in which I conducted my life and day to day living. The twist in this lifestyle was though I hated IT and myself...I somehow still clung to the notion that I knew what was best for me. I hated anyone whose life looked good compared to mine...which was pretty much everyone.
But most people could not see what I felt inside so they had no idea. I think my X, M just knew this life we were living was insane and eventually she convinced herself she had to get out. I'm not entirely sure I have ever forgiven her for that. I understood why she did what she did but there was part of me that still feels with her help and support I could have found recovery. I faulted her with not living up to her vows..."for richer, for poorer, for sickness (I definitely qualified for the sickness part) and in health, etc".
And looking back at it in that light, I definitely felt abandoned...and I was...sort-of. YET the realistic part of me knows that I was living a lie...I was not being honest to her, to myself or to anyone. The man she married...was in reality, a GHOST...he never really existed. I was a faker, a poser and I pretended to be something I was not. So now I believe the reality of this was if the man she made her marriage vows to was a faker & and a liar...then the vows aren't valid either. The monster she found herself with 11 years down the road was not the man she thought she knew. She had to save herself.
The bottom line is today I do not blame her, I no longer think I was abandoned because now I realize it was I who was dishonest right from the very beginning...I was living the LIE. She had no choice but to run or I would have devoured her. And frankly....that is
is what makes me now feel sad because she was a very special woman, one of a kind and I drove her away. Could she have handled the whole separation better? I'm believe so but living isn't easy and no one is perfect.
So the marriage died...it imploded and I kept on with my daily diet of dying...I was going to get there one way or another....To be continued.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
I have been writing Shell Shock Serenade for about 4 years now. During that time many changes have taken place in my life. I managed to stay clean and sober through the entire 4 or so years by the Grace of God and One day at a Time. I became a Christian a couple years ago, I openly acknowledged that I had been raped and actually forgave my rapists. I have been brutally honest about my suicide attempt and have written a very frank and graphic account of that horrific day. My relationships with Kim and my family have grown and blossomed, I have endured and am still enduring major medical challenges but it finally looks like I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I continue to use this blog to grow Physically, Psychologically, Emotionally and Spiritually by sharing my experience strength and HOPE here...one itty bitty day at a time.
There have been many more changes as well, far too many to list here but one I would like to add is that in that time the readership of Shell Shock has grown quite a bit and the people reading it now have expanded from people mainly with addiction issues, survivors of suicide, rape, Depression, etc to a wider more mainstream variety of reader. Many people from my church, for example now read this blog and I would guess that many of the mainstream, newer readers here don't really know why I started Shell Shock Serenade, what it's really about and why it is as important as ever that I write openly and honestly about all aspects of my life.
The original premise for the blog was to realistically write on a day to day basis what it was like for this one recovering addict/alcoholic...warts and all. First and foremost this blog is a recovery blog that then became a suicide survivor blog, a rape survivor blog and now also focuses on spirituality as well as any other subject that pops up from moment to moment.
As I just mentioned above...The original readership were primarily people who were hurting...struggling with addiction or loneliness, rape victims or suicide survivors. People from all over the world read Shell Shock Serenade and I get a ton of feedback from people who were hurting in one way or another telling me how surprised they were to find they were NOT alone. It is very humbling, my fine reader friends...when you are told that what you have done, by baring your wounded and tortured SOUL for all to see has brought someone some solace, some HOPE and encouraged them to keep on plugging through their pain. I'm still blown away when I get those messages.
But I don't get them if those people cannot trust me. if i do not have credibility. I cannot modify, bend or change in anyway my feelings...I have always written what I felt...if I started to sanitize it people would know right away. For one I would start looking like I have LESS flaws...that would be a dead ringer right there. I have to be free enough to make a fool out of myself if that's what it takes. But I won't call people out by name, humiliate or hurt anyone. Often if I say a person's behavior was hurtful to me what am I really saying? The fault could be entirely my own. I could be prejudiced against churches (which is in fact true...or it was. I was terribly biased and resentful of church and church-going Christians. I have been very open about that. As a matter of fact...my latest posts are tame compared to some of my early writings about organized religion and especially my feelings during my childhood.
Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that some felt I have unfairly criticized people and used this blog to do the communication dirty work for me. Honestly People....it never happened nor was it ever my intention for it to happen. In that individuals defense he has never really read the blog (only individual posts that I and others had sent him), has no context nor any idea of what I write about here and who it is geared towards. Once that was explained...he backed off the accusation, somewhat amazed about what it is I actually write about...most are shocked when they read the level of openness and honesty in these posts.
And honestly that's OK and understandable....he was forwarded my post without context by someone who was concerned about what they were reading and that it may reflect poorly on myself and the church. I tend to look at this kind of thing as a positive opportunity instead of a reason to get angry because it has given me this opportunity to write this post which I am afraid is long over-due. And that one is definitely on ME!
The fact is that I still have that same hard-core readership today who finds their way here looking for the harsh, uncensored TRUTH about addiction and healing from Rape and Suicide. In addition now we have added whole lot of newer readers who come in with a more casual day to day interest concerning, perhaps a different kind of subject matter, probably more spiritual in nature. What they must do is try putting one's self in the place of the hurting and the LOST to try and understand what it must be like to think & feel that kind of fear, hurt, doubt and pain. Then perhaps they'll understand that I cannot change the way I present certain aspects of this blog...it has to be a true feeling or thought. That doesn't make it right...God certainly knows I have been wrong before. But in this particular case...that doesn't make it wrong either...it just IS what it IS: one fallible human beings feeling at one point in time. No malice, no vengeance...NO ANGER.
I sincerely hope this post this afternoon has spread some much needed light on the subject and I hope any misunderstanding has been cleared up about first & foremost, who I am writing for and why. In the future friends....please know I am always open to questions and criticism if you feel I have crossed a line somewhere along the line.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
One of the greatest assets I have from living a spiritual life in recovery is the relationships I have been so privileged to be a part of. For the first time in my life I have true....I mean REAL friends...who cut through the BS and deal with any situation that may arise. They'll fight for me, help me, hurt for me and I for them....without a shadow of a doubt.
Most importantly of all...they will with out question ALWAYS tell me the truth.
Today I received a PM on FaceBook from a friend who attends my church and he had some things he wanted to share with me. Some were supportive and complimentary and some were what I would consider....constructive criticism.
Those of you who know me personally know that I am a temperamental ...even a "touchy" SOUL when it comes to negative feedback. I could and still can be rather quick with an "F-U" when faced with criticism if I am not in a good balanced spiritual place. And that my friends is the key...Spiritual BALANCE.
In the end I agreed with some of what he said...and some I thought was a bit much but the bottom line truth is this: I really appreciate the fact he took the time to basically "Have my Back" by hitting me with some hard truths and questions. These statements, questions and critiques were offered in the most positive of ways and with LOVE. The man cares about me...he knows my story and doesn't want to see me shoot my "mouth" off on the blog and get hurt in return.
As a result of this exchange of messages today i was able to admit some hard facts about myself. Below is a direct quote as I explain that I know a great deal about what my weak areas are:
"Unfortunately but rather typically I am a "work in progress". Certainly that is NOT God's doing, He saved me and gave me a new life. It is My WILL, My Demons, Suspicions, Prejudices, Fears and an inability to forgive that always holds me back and creates the anger and resentment that at times will continue to drive a wedge between myself and others. Hey...I want to be respected, understood and forgiven but I am often not good at giving others those very same basic, important things".
Needless to say this arrogant old boy NEVER used to admit that I had flaws...of course I always knew what they were...but would never let YOU know that I knew. No that wouldn't do.
It took a while to get used to living life in this transparent and very visible way. But the rewards of doing so were so much greater then the alternative that I now cannot imagine trying to live that old life of secrets, illusions and LIES. The TRUTH my friend...ROCKS!!
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
November 19, 1863
I cannot ever read the Gettysburg Address with out being profoundly affected by what Lincoln said there. I cannot imagine a politician today saying something like: "But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate--we can not consecrate--we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated, far above our poor power to add or subtract"
Why? Because politicians today have a terrible tendency to take credit for things they have NO business taking credit for. President Obama repeatedly saying HE killed Osama Bin Laden for example when it is obvious he did NO such thing. Navy Seals Killed that clown. And on the flip side...Politicians today refuse to take credit or responsibility for the stuff they actually DID Do. Reagan and Iran Contra, Obama and Benghazi, Obama-Care Snafu and so on and on.
It just highlights the fact in my opinion that we no longer have True Statesmen who lead this country and frankly we now never will.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
A Few weeks ago, I responded to the post of another blogger who was writing about her experience dealing with her elderly mother in a Nursing/Assisted living Home. I responded with a comment about my own experience of growing old with my aged parents. that comment makes up the basis/foundation of this post...
Several years ago I sold my home in Holland, MI and moved two hours south to Coldwater Lake, MI to live with and care for my 2 "80 something" parents. We are at the very beginning of the process of decline...memory loss, physical limitations really restricting them for the first time, lot's more aches and pains as well as more and more medical issues, etc.
My father is 3 years older then my Mother is in decline overdrive, Mum I would say is in 3rd gear. But in both of their cases I find that I am shocked daily, befuddled & stunned by some new unusual behavior, attitude or reaction of these two people I have known and loved for over 50 years. They are changing so fast now that my ability to accept it is lagging seriously behind. How often I have wondered lately: "Who is this person in my Father's body?!"
But then something occurs and there they are...just like they always were. I know this is normal and it isn't going to stop until the day they or I move on from here. Really, deep down I am OK with that...I understand. Though it doesn't really matter if I do or don't understand and accept it because it is going to happen anyway.
All i can do is carry them through the present, making sure things are taken care of, that they are safe and the needs of the home are met. These are two of the hardest working people, I have ever met yet they no longer have the stamina or the inclination to keep things up the way they did just a few months (or years) ago!
But this is life....it is reality and it will happen one way or another...no matter if I like or accept it or not. It certainly makes more sense and is easier if I do.
What is weird is dealing with these people who I seemingly don't know anymore. And they are aging at different rates of speed...Father fast out-pacing my Mum. Who knows what that will ultimately mean but it is already a point of contention between the two. My father does not do enough stuff around the house anymore to satisfy my mom and dad feels nagged and picked on when she points this out. that is one of many examples.
So in addition to Son, Caretaker, Gardener, Lawn Maintenance, Driver, Handy man, etc I am also a Referee!>
Anyway...I ended my comment on the other blog by saying honestly and accurately that no matter what happens here...there is NO PLACE would rather Be then here with my beloved Mum & Pawp.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Surprise, surprise.....I created a wee-bit 'o controversy with my post last night. Though I wasn't trying to be controversial or provoke anyone I knew that I was throwing Flame-Thrower Darts when challenged some peoples motivation for saying or acting the way they do when it comes to their spiritual beliefs. Bottom line: when you imply that someone is a PHONY you more then likely will piss them off!
I got several anonymous vulgar comments about this and since I won't print anonymous feedback they won't get posted. But it seems they missed the part where I am including myself when I am talking about phonies mainly because in my previous life of active addiction I was one....not to mention a self indulgent, self-centered liar whose main focus in life was getting mine and the hell with everyone else.
I understand that when a person, such as myself makes a major change in their life (like going into a life of recovery from alcoholism/addiction) it takes an all-out effort and a COMPLETE & TOTAL change of how one lives their life. Some would call that behavior drastic and pretty radical....to be frank, I do NOT disagree. I was DYING right before everyone's eyes and if I didn't change EVERYTHING about the way I lived and conducted myself...I would have been dead in a very short period of time.
What this means is I have to live my life based on certain principals of giving and selflessness. I have to give of myself by helping others to keep what I have today: namely my sobriety. I don't know if that kind of life works for every recovering person...I do know that it works for me and many others I know personally.
Hence my lack of tolerance for those who pretend to care...to help and then don't do it. I do not understand why anyone would bother to pretend when it's perfectly fine in our society today to be a TAKER. I could care less what you do...just do not lie to me or others who may trust and then God forbid might come to count on you when the chips are down.
That is truly the root of my intolerance problem right there. I have come to know over the past 7-plus years so many incredibly loving, cheerful, giving people who are honest, sincere and would give the shirt off their backs if not their life to help others. So many good folks in fact that it ruins it for the rest of you poser's out there, haha. Seriously...I have simply come to expect people to act that way and for a person to pretend otherwise seems ridiculous at best dangerous and unethical at worst.
Where I come from...working and living with addict/alcoholics...people DIE every day. For example...if the only way in June of 2006 I could get sober and kick drugs was to go to church and be a Christian...I would have chosen DEATH (and in fact I actually did). I simply could not deal with that because I had no trust for church goers or Christians. The truth here is very simple, i was so biased, angry, mistrustful and sick that I would have chosen to die before I would go to church! Pretty twisted and sick, eh!??
So honesty and integrity matter because addicts trust no one...so you better be who you say you are if you going to talk to them about recovery. PERIOD...no middle ground, no place to hide..or someones life could depend on it.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
There are certain aspects of my personality that I was born with and then there are other parts that are a result of my living experience. All my life I have been an introvert...preferring to energize or motivate from within. I like people and their company but I am as or more comfortable in my own company. I know people who cannot stand to be by themselves. I was never bothered by that and frankly I preferred it. I love people and really enjoy them but it's just that I would rather meet and socialize with them on my own terms.
As I grew older and my alcoholism/addiction manifested itself more and more, I isolated myself to an extreme and came to really mistrust others...just about everyone. I was particularly alienated from people who tended to hang out or participate in groups like church or other religious and political organizations.
I considered them "mindless" people who prefer instead the safety one finds in numbers...just like SHEEP do. I believed in a creator but I thought this daily reliance...even dependence on daily prayer and fellowship a terrible weakness. To me church people basically just stood together in false piety to pass judgement on others and justify their own arrogant idea of life, politics and living.
That is why no one was more stunned and surprised at my acceptance of God and Jesus as my Savior then I was. I began to find that to a certain extent I also enjoyed the company of other Christians & going to church and began to feel remorse & guilt at being so harsh & judgmental of others in the past.
But as of late I have started to feel uncomfortable again in the presence of my fellow Christians...even some of the members of the church I attend. I have always been open minded about the choices other folks make for themselves and really believe that people can and should live their lives the way they choose. But I started to feel the evil eye of judgement again along with noting a great deal of hypocritical behavior and gossip in the ranks of people I thought cared about me and whom I had begun to trust. my natural reaction to this was to feel like an idiot for ever letting my guard down and trusting people again.
I am a very open and honest person when it comes to discussing my personal life , it's challenges and failures. I feel like GOD has really demanded that I share my life's details openly with others in the hope that they might find comfort and solace in knowing someone else has walked in their shoes. So that is what I have tried to do even going as far as creating and writing this very blog to achieve that openness and share myself with others...no holds barred, warts & all. It is not easy to share my failures, weaknesses and shortcomings with the entire world but it is something I truly feel compelled to do.
I also work hard at listening to people and being available to them anytime, not just Physically but Emotionally, Psychologically and Spiritually to help them in any way I possibly can. It has become the most important "work" I have ever been involved in and I relish the challenge. It is truly a holy endeavor for me and one I take really seriously. But I am as far from perfect as a human being can get and I make mistakes. I have feelings that can be hurt and aren't always totally rational...especially when it comes to my relationships with other people.
I do not understand and will admit I am less then tolerant of people who proclaim to live their life according to the principles Jesus taught yet in reality do not....they live indulgent, self-oriented lives. And you know what...I have absolutely no problem if that is the life they choose...they work hard at what they do and are entitled to do what they want with their lives. What troubles me is they say they live differently then they do. They pretend to care, to want to help but it is immediately evident that they are horribly uncomfortable in that role. And that is fine...stop pretending that you are something you're not, simple as that.
In the end...what really matters to me is honesty, integrity and sincerity. What I see lately is typical of many I meet these days. Folks will say one thing about themselves then act in a manner contrary to what they say. I know it is difficult at times being that honest with yourself but the reality of life is we are what we are and unless we take drastic measures to adjust and change that...people already know the true nature of who we are. People can spot a phony a million miles away.
One reason I am so terribly bothered by this scenario isn't because I am perfect and think I am better at this then others....No it certainly is not that! It's that I have spent years living that VERY SAME LIE! I was a PHONY...always trying to be someone I wasn't. What I have learned after years of living in recovery, becoming a Christian and doing my best to live by spiritual principles is that I need to be authentic, true to who and what I am and stop pretending I am something I am not. Hence my feelings of mistrust when I realized there are people who claim to be a friend yet they actions to not jive with their intentions.
Honestly....I have never felt so alone in all my life as I have when I was hurt this past winter and then became very sick with various infections after suffering series of significant injuries and set-backs. People will ask me how I am doing but it has become obvious that they truly didn't want to know the truth...heaven for bid I ask them for help!
And to a certain extent I understand....I really do, I get that...because I've been there. I made a great living before Addiction/Alcoholism literally brought me to my knees and I lost everything materially, nearly killing myself in the process. And there were people who took advantage of our friendship and demanded material help. Several times I purchased cars for people or co-signed loans for people who were down on their luck. The result in many cases was they only wanted more then more and more. Yet there were a couple cases where that was not the case and I ended up realizing that I had really helped someone who needed my help. I never regretted that. That was LOOOOONG before I became a Christian. I discovered GIVING truly was better then receiving.
Because of that experience I now think differently about how I treat others, God has changed me through hard experience & adversity...I chose to come and live with my parents to take care of them in their old age when the obviously could not take care of themselves...it is difficult and not my first choice...trust me. But it is rewarding in ways that I never imagined. Same with the illness and serious injury I have faced this year. This isn't fun....racking up over $120,000 in medical expenses...now over $13,000 out of pocket is not only not fun but the pressure and demands have contributed to the most painful and chaotic, pressure packed period (financially anyway) of my entire life.
Knowing God is with me is a great comfort but I am still responsible and liable for those medical expenses....hence the pressure, the worry and the feelings of helplessness...and it changes a person. Hence I no longer am a new naive Christian. I realize there really are folks who really do not care about me or what happens to me. Initially that realization really hurt but I can live with it. This also makes me realize and appreciate those who truly do care even more.
I have to live my life the way I have to live it. God speaks to me in a language I understand and I know now that he will NOT accept half measures from me. That includes the writing of this post. I realize I have friends who I really care about who may think I am writing about them. But I feel compelled to document my experience, my feelings and how this has affected me...I am not responsible for the feelings of others just as they cannot make me do or feel anything I do not want to feel or do.
It is not easy nor enjoyable. There are always some who will judge my actions harshly and turn away from me...so be it, in reality they were never really there for me so nothing has been lost except the illusion of trust and friendship.
I am hoping that this will prove to be the catalyst for change and growth...first and foremost within me. I know that I cannot truly effect change in others...only they...and GOD can do that.
Picture by Kathy Tomson