Back from a long lapse

It has been almost 18 months. A lot has happened.

One of the best things to happen was that my CPAP machine was recalibrated. I have alept well for 6 nights in a row. That is the most I have slept in years.

The odd thing is that I am aware of my nightly dreams again. It has been so long, I had forgotten what it was like.

Since I remember my dreams now, I feel at peace. Biologically,  I know that my brain is finally sorting out the days’ events and processing whatever thoughts and perceptions hurled themselves at me.

It feels good to have an unburdened mind.

In Joel 2:17Open Link in New Window it says that in the last days, God will pour out his Spirit on his people so that even the old men will dream dreams again. I feel closer to this verse now than to the fevered and worried dreams for the past few years.

I am beginning to believe that a lot of my mental issues and stress were caused by a lack of brain processing and a severe aleep deficit. It would explain why I could never make much progress on the simplest question my therapist asked me.

Why are you here?

Don’t get me wrong, I still have much to work through. The biggest issue is being at peace with my past. Specifically this means the people I hurt and the doctrine I have since left behind. I feel good about now and I  do not agonize nearly as much about the future or the past.

1 Peter 3:15Open Link in New Window says to be prepared to give an answer to your hope. I am not in persecution like the audience of 1 Peter,  but I do feel compelled to give a reason for what I believe and why. I believe some things that are fundamentally different than the doctrines of my denomination. Some would consider these disputable matters, others would not.

I do not feel threatened, nor do I feel ashamed.

May God answer my prayers for peace in my heart and help in knowing His will.

Posted in Faith, Life | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Back from a long lapse

Music and the Window to the Soul

This morning, I find myself listening to some Peter Gabriel music. I’ve always loved his music and enjoy listening to it on YouTube when I can.

I started this morning with Digging in the Dirt. I had not heard it in quite a while and I forgot the power of the words. When he talks about finding all the places of hurt, it reminded me of life at the present moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a sad emo boy wailing to the world. I have a great life and a wonderful family. I have the life, in many ways, that I always wanted. It’s not perfect, but I sleep at night content.

Having said that, I have areas of my life where a lot of hurt has been buried by time, denial and various methods of medicating my feelings. I have been digging through the areas with the help of a trained professional. For reasons obvious to those that know me, he or she is not a member of my denomination.

I get upset sometimes at things my wife or kids are doing. My feelings are out-of-proportion to their actions. Knowing that helps contain my reactions, but the feeling are just as strong. Sometimes I get really tired of all the intense emotions I get. I feel burned out.

I’ve found that I was created this way and it is not due to some error on God’s part. I may not always like it, but I can choose to embrace it. The fact is, that I am passionate about a lot of things. I have attempted to embrace something akin to Buddha’s Middle Way, but attempting to deny a good thing placed into me only causes more pain.

Being passionate doesn’t entitle me to yell or otherwise be a jerk. Wheaton’s law still applies, not just online. Being passionate is also not an excuse to tune out those with whom I disagree. Being passionate simply means that I care a lot. Expressing that care and concern with energy and respect is not a sin, a crime or an extreme. It is who I am and it has taken me a lifetime to come to terms with that.

What does this have to do with the song?

I think of the verse that says “The man of God avoids all extremes.” Some translations say that the man of God embraces both extremes. Either way, this verse has been a cudgel I’ve used in the past to whip myself into believing that I am caring about something more than I should. I’ve told myself that I am being unspiritual and unhealthy when I get passionate about a particular person, place, thing or idea. It is a misuse of the Bible, primarily due to the fact that it is being used as a weapon against a person, in this case, me. As the apostle Paul said, “We do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12Open Link in New Window

I was trained to use the Bible to create self-inflicted wounds and to wound others. The intent was to help ourselves and others with sin, the method, however, left a wake a broken lives. I WILL NOT BE BROKEN.

I hurt others by making them feel stupid and morally corrupt at the smallest things. Again, misinterpreting “iron sharpens iron”, I justified this in two ways; I treated others as I treated myself (Love you neighbor as yourself) and I wanted to help them be more godly (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.) Looking back, I am surprised how easy it is to create an endless loop of self-referential verses to justify just about anything.

What I did was wrong. Those who trained me are also wrong. Jesus made clear that he would not break “a bruised reed” and that he was “humble and gentle of heart.” The situations that require a rebuke are vastly and tremendously outnumbered by situations that should be handled with asking questions with a compassionate heart. I have to pray through this quite a bit — the old patterns are so hard to shake, even after more than 10 years of effort, prayer and fasting.

I grieve for my sin against others and my lost innocence.

The battle continues, but not against myself. I am grateful for the help of many to see life in a new and freeing way. I am happy to enjoy my life and look at all the good things I have despite my circumstances. I can have joy because my God-given passion for life is no longer being used against my soul, but for the encouragement of others. I’m not perfect, but I am free.

The next song in the queue was Solsbury Hill.

So much there, but let’s just say that I have thought about the connections I should cut.

When illusion spin her net
I’m never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don’t need a replacement
I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
“Hey” I said “You can keep my things,
They’ve come to take me home.”

Posted in Faith, Life | Comments Off on Music and the Window to the Soul

Recent Project with the Family

No, I’m not in the picture, but my son did get to meet the Fire Chief of the city. My son was wearing his full fireman outfit including boots. Why on earth didn’t I have a camera to take pictures?!

Service Project for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

I’m sure I know what some of you may say. Have I sold-out (in all meanings of the word)?

Maybe I have. I’d like to provide a thoughtful response to that question, but I know what it sounds like. It always sounds like the answer is yes.

Next time, I’ll be more involved to help out the logistics. We had some minor issues that complicated certain aspects. Why will I help? Because the Fire Department wanted to do this project before he knew the church I attend wanted to do anything. Point is, someone was going to do this project and for the sake of my children, I’m glad it was us. My family does a lot of deaf and hard of hearing awareness projects and those are wonderful. However, I really want my son to be a part of something where he is a participant, not a beneficiary. When he met the Fire Chief and climbed on a real firetruck, it was a beautiful moment indeed.

Next time the free smoke alarm project will be bigger and we will be coordinating with other churches in the city. I look forward to that. Again, there are enough things we as a family do with the larger fellowship of believers that I want the children to see that we do the same thing at our church, too. They both love church very much and I really want them to see that, when we choose to serve, no one fights for ownership. Instead people come together for the common good of others.

More important than my personal ramblings, people were helped. It’s dry this winter and there are lots of fires just in January alone. The dusting of snow today doesn’t help very much, but the hope that loss of life is minimized does help. Until another four months pass, that’s all the news that’s fit to type.

Posted in Faith, Family, Life | 3 Comments