Morning musing 4.24.16

Early morning musing 4.24.16

I’m thinking of writing for my eyes only an ongoing narrative called “What Bothers The F*** Out Of Me” or WBTFOUM for short.

Now while it might appear to be over the top, after all I’m using a variant of the “F Word” in the title, it’s a strong word because I have strong reactions to some things; such as social injustice, food deserts, racism, grace and forgiveness being withheld on my part, responding out of fear and not love, mental health stigma internal and external, et al.

All of the things that bother me in this life mainly pertain to human behavior, and not the human in and of himself/herself. Which I think is good, because I can work through reaction and respond with action.

I don’t see human beings as issues, their own or imposed, we all have faults and cracks. Yet this is how the light gets in (as so elegantly sung by Leonard Cohen in Anthem), and so I want to expose my cracks and be illuminated.

I have cracks, I have faults, I have an inner darkness, I have fear of true intimacy. But I have a desire for the light to expose all of me, I want to be seen for who I am and not some cheap imitation that’s “socially accepted” and that’s it.

I was made for more than that,
You were made more than that ☺

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

Presently I have a hard time being present; being here and now when I am mentally else where

2 nights ago I spent 5 of my 7 hours of sleep contemplating and analyzing and thinking- subconsciously. You see, as of late I have been really REALLY restless when it comes to BEing present, I am mentally elsewhere when I am with friends as well as family. Why? Well as I was subconsciously exploring this in my sleep (if I were indeed sleeping) I realize this truth about myself: I am a 5th wheel, I am a single guy at the age of 31.

And it’s not entirely a bad thing to be single, I am aware of this fully, but there are some things that it takes being a “we”, a couple that cannot be addressed when you’re single. Some of it I take in stride, some of it I dismiss, and some of it I am hurt by being single and lacking that connection with another human being. As a full fledged heterosexual male, I miss being a “we”, having a girlfriend I can call up to see how she’s doing, making plans for the weekend, making cards (yes, I make ’em by hand with all my love), doing normal and sometimes banal things, the …I miss it all.

Being with couples as a single guy has contributed to me not being present, being here, being here in the now, and so on. It’s not the only item to my distraction but I realize it has played a big part. With that being said, I am working to overcome my distractedness and BE present to what’s happening around me and who I am with.
I might still be single, but I am intentionally working on myself and my lot in life and what have instead of what I have not. I admit it’s an uphill boulder-pushing endeavor, but I know it will be worth it in the end. Presence and BEing is what I seek at this time, but if more good things come my way I will seek to be present and BE with it to the best of my abilities.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

Morning meditation 6.24.15

Morning meditation 6.24.15

The church does a lot of good in the world, but bone thing the church has been doing wrong for some time is sowing seeds of fear; Islamophobia, homophobia, yogaphobia, et al. If you’re able to scare the masses you’ll be able to keep them in check and have them coming back for more out of fear.

But Jesus & the message of the Gospel is not one of fear, rather of love and grace and faith and trust and belief all rolled into one.

I can’t sway others to think differently, only the Holy Spirit can do that (and trust me, she does a damn good job at doing that). But even if you turn a deaf ear to her promptings, consider the following Bible verse;
2 Timothy 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Where there is fear, there is an absence of God’s love. You can continue operating out of fear or turn to the source of love, the choice is and always has been yours.

– Nathanael –

I know how to BE, but I don’t [always] know what to say

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Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to a wake and a service of a young man I kind of knew (I know his family better). I knew about when it would be and I knew where it was being held, but when the time came to head there I changed my mind.
It’s not that I am not uncomfortable with being in the presence of suffering and those who suffer, on the contrary I think I am pretty good at BEing in the present. However, I am prone to overthinking and overanalyzing things, and I talked myself out of going because what if I was told to say something, what if I were to provide verbal comfort?

Where I am at in my journey of life and journey of faith, I cannot bring myself to verbally comfort someone who is suffering. I can sympathize, I can empathize, I can BE, I can be silent…but words, words escape me if someone wanted verbal comfort because I find a lot of comfort words in times of suffering to be trite, cliche, and even the exact opposite of comfort.
To extend myself a bit of grace, I will say this; the words I select are deliberate much of the time, I am careful in self-examining myself in what I am to say a good deal of the time. It is probably because of this I come across as being quiet, but on the contrary, provided I think things through I have quite a bit to say!
But saying anything in times when people are hurting strikes me as taking away from what’s going on, and I rather be than to do, I deliberately choose silence paired with comforting.

***

In hindsight, I wish I went. I wish I went to be present with the brothers, the parents, the extended family, the friends, et al. because if I were able to get out of my head and BE, that’s all that would matter and it would matter immensely as a lot of the time we need someone to listen to us without having anything to say.

Lesson learned,
~Nathanael~

[in hindsight] what my depression looks like

Well, I’m out of the thick of it, the latest round of my depression that is.

It’s not something that happens all that often to me, but I do realize that it is there. Depression with a capital D, which for me usually looks like this.

Some catalyst occurs in my life (in this case, being unemployed) and I start worrying and thinking negative thoughts about myself, my identity, what I’m capable of, what I’m good at, my value to the world and so on…I also over-analyze even more so; as if I have a scarlet “D” pinned to my chest for all the world to see, as if my emotions and thoughts that course through my mind are translucent and knowable to anyone who catches my gaze even for a fleeting moment.

I stay up later, I wake up later, and I become antisocial and limit my contact with friends and family. I do realize that I do want to hang out with them, but there’s a part of me that thinks “God and I have this, why do I need community?” Yet my bro Mark who has seen me in this state of mind (and body and spirit) shakes me to my senses about the value of community. In these coming-to moments I “get it” even if I don’t practice it out.

I eat…when I remember to eat. I have lost some weight now that I’ve gotten back into a routine of working out, but more weight has been lost in my time of depression than in my time of getting into shape. It’s kind of odd, but I will remember the last time I ate, but not really weigh out the ramifications of having eaten, oh, 2 days ago?

I keep to my pattern of living, but in an empty shell half-assed kind of way. I realize I take in what people have to say, but I listen half-assed, I engage in community, but what I have to bring is half-assed, which only fuels my depression a bit more since I feel as people are fully aware of my half-assedness and are judging me and whispering behind my back when it’s turned.

And stranger still in the midst of my depression, in the midst of my despair- I find God to be present and very comforting at that. I don’t read the bible all that much (though I do plan to do that very soon) any more, but I find myself at a place (despite my circumstances) where I feel wave after wave of “a peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) a pulsar-like notion that “I [God] am here…I am here…I am here”.
This doesn’t stir me from my depression, but it does help ease my pain.

***

I realize this is a part of me and that there’s no escaping it. It ultimately helps me when I’m in the throes of depression that God is there and community is there as well; I might pull back and isolate myself, but it’s there any time I need it. Even when I choose not to accept it, just knowing that it is there is reassuring.

Still I realize that I’m not alone in my depression, that there are other people who have this as well. We (who have depression) aren’t alone in our struggles, which is why I don’t feel like a hypocrite for posting this:
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I know how to work through my depression, but please take heed to the phone numbers above and use them if you need to. Not every bout of depression produces suicidal ideations, but still you can call and share (if you want to) what you’re feeling and what you’re going through. They’re good people on the other end of the line, trust me, I worked with some of the individuals.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

A coup against heaven; I will wait

I think Mother Teresa was a badass, and yes I know what she did and how she carried out her life has received some backlash as of late, but still she’s my kinda badass.

She is quoted as saying the following; “If I ever become a Saint—I will surely be one of “darkness.” I will continually be absent from Heaven—to lit the light of those in darkness on earth.” Lately I’ve been wondering about that, and lately I’ve been wondering that if on the other side of eternity there’s a split down the middle of people going to Heaven and people going to Hell, if I’m in “the right line” as it were aka going to Heaven, I will wait.

I will wait and stage a coup against Heaven, and wait and wait, till not just all my friends are invited in to Heaven, but all of humanity is invited in.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the after life, and lately I’ve been pondering the nature of Heaven and Hell, the nature of dynamic versus static realities of the other side of eternity, and get this…The nature of Heaven as portrayed by Jesus as recorded in the Bible is what I want to be a part of! Yet the Heaven portrayed to me by parents, peers, Evangelicals, everyone-gets-a-mansion peoples…this cartoon sums up how I feel about that form of Heaven;

It strikes me as absolutely boring! A mansion? Really? Give me something to do and not just say I have a house waiting above for me.

Then I think the portrayal of Hell I’ve been told about:

A lot of what I’ve been told about Hell comes from looking at the Bible in light of its English Translation and medieval artwork…

I’ve started down a path that is one that questions the nature of heaven and hell, as to what really lies ahead, because I think that we will not get a true picture of what the other side of eternity looks like until we get there.

I also think that if I’m going to start working at snuffing out hell, it starts on this side of eternity. By helping others through personal hells they’re going through caused by others or caused by themselves, those kind of hells seem more pertinent and prominent in the lives of others than anything they could possibly face after they die.
I did say could because I’m questioning if hell after one dies is an actual reality, which I must say has been something I have expressed with my closest of friends, some who are like me and some who aren’t, if I trust you I’ll tell you…but now I am extending this to a much larger audience.

It might make me blacklisted in some Christian circles, I realize that more than ever, but I want to explore this…I say maybe too besides could, simply because it is a maybe that I say these things and without absolutely 100% certainty. It’s a struggle, but I must soldier on, I must fight this uphill battle for my sake and the sakes of others.

So that is why I will stage a coup against Heaven, that is why if I’m invited in to Heaven I’ll be off to the side with Mother Teresa and anyone else who is willing to wait.

Will you wait with me?

~Nathanael~

God in ordinary life; has God changed?

God in ordinary life, no bright beams of life a-crashing down on me, no audible voices that sounds like Morgan Freeman (he has a nice “God” voice)…

But as I showered not too long ago I pondered a question:

Has God changed?

God has been around for quite sometime…some, time, haha…God made time but cannot be bound by it, we’re the ones who rely on seconds/minutes/hours/days/weeks/months/years…

Anywho, God, has he changed…

I don’t think that God has changed since the dawn of him creating everything. But I do think our perceptions of God has changed over the years; from times when people felt the need to fight others in his name, when people offered up sacrifices to appease him, when people saw God as gods and thought every element had a god affixed to it in some shape and fashion.

Now there are those the world over who still do these things, and still believe gods are behind everything there is to living as well as dying and being dead. Their views of God aren’t backwards or ancient, they’re still perceiving that’s who God is, their perception of God is their perception of God, and when you believe that for so long who’s to say they’re wrong? I think God can work within culture groups like this, he’s great at contextualization where us humans sometimes lack the sympathy and compassion to engage these types of people on their own terms.

I can actually see this in my timeline, I once believed in a God that was “that kid” who lit fireworks over an anthill or with a magnifying glass, just toying with smaller creatures, messing with us hoping we’d fight back only to be zapped and made into crispy critters.
But as I’ve gotten older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I look at the nature of who God is through Jesus (which, I know, the Trinitarian God thing is hard to piece together at times); Jesus came to Earth, humbled himself, lived amongst us and taught of us how we can get right with God, how to love others as God love us. He died, was buried but 3 days later he came back! As I read what usually gets marked in red letters I have a better perspective on how to live my life and how to help others out, I don’t believe in Christianity as I believe in the good news of Jesus, for Christianity doesn’t save me, but God saves me on a continual basis!

My perception and perspective of God has changed, not God changing. I see abundant love and grace and mercy for all of humanity, where once I saw a God who looked down upon us angrily sighing at how bad we screw things up sometimes.

What’s sad to me is that some Christians still live in Old Testament times and fear God more than they love him, at least their actions seem to be ones of worry and doing all the right things so as to attain God’s favor. It doesn’t work like that any more, that perspective has changed by way of Jesus and what he did, again it’s the perspective changing and not God. God isn’t pissed off at his creation, he loves us all so much, he demonstrated this by sending humanity Jesus. Everything hinges on who Jesus is and what he did for us.

So what about those times where the Bibledoes point to God calling the Israelites to attack a certain group of people in his name? What about “those moments”?

I don’t know, maybe I’ll think of something next time I shower…

~Nathanael~