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Frivolous Facebook Final Fundamentals

(Writers note: These are the final transfers of facebook posts that I’ve wanted to keep. I am speaking to you now within a parenthetical statement, because of some commentary I want to say, so as not to confuse the post from any comment regarding it therein.)

December 6, 2013 – So, I just got a call from a security company wanting to see if I was interested in free wireless security in exchange for putting up a sign in my yard. This thing I was talking to was totally a computer with computer responses to things I said. It said it’s greeting twice in the exact same inflection and wording when I pretended like I didn’t hear it. I told it, it was a computer, and it said, “I’m not a computer.” Later on, I said it was a computer again, and it said the same thing: same voice, same inflection. I told it to prove to me he (it) wasn’t a computer. It said it was calling to find people who are interested… I interrupted and told it to tell me a movie it has seen recently. It went back to telling me it was looking for people interested… I yelled, “You’re a computer,” into the phone and hung up. Ha! Take that computer pretending to be a person. The revolution will be on us soon people. You better learn to recognize what is a real person and what is a machine. Have a conversation with that too perfectly sounding voice, their programming can not handle your awesomely, organic questioning.

(Following is three statements that I was intending to turn into “I believe” commentary. It was going to be much like my “Strange Confessions” and I may continue it on my new page.)

February 20, 2014 – I have to realize that I’m am not working on the same plane of reality as most people. My reality borders on fantasy bordering on weirdness bordering on self deprecation bordering on the outer limits.

February 20, 2014 – I believe child prodigies are people who were able to access the part of their brain that can do time travel and they came back into their own baby bodies with full knowledge of the life they just lived, and are doing it all over again with obvious advantages.

February 21, 2014 – I believe some telemarketing companies make background noises that sound like hundreds of other telemarketers quietly mumbling their business to hundreds of other potential customers. Think about it: Why don’t you ever hear something like, “Jack, you want to got to Joinkies for lunch today?” or “Who drank all the coffee?” or “Susan, I want those human recipe reports on my desk in five.” or “I just got another human to sign up to join the collective, it’s going to be quite a day when we reveal our final plans.”

(Another commentary I found hilarious enough to keep. You gotta make yourself laugh, right?)

April 27, 2014 – Facebook: Bringing families together that you never knew existed to the ultimate family reunion. Then they sit around showing you all their photos of dogs, cats and other plethoratic materials with the quirky sayings and such that they’ve collected over the years, while there is a great softball game to participate in and the cold fried chicken your grandma makes only once a year sits there, unconsumed by you, but you can’t get away.

(This one is just comments from a link I shared about this article. It was regarding witnessing to Mormons, and a friend from Utah asked me something and I knew what she was thinking so I answered her. She is a conservative so I was trying to appeal to that, but she kept coming back to saying I sound like a Mormon, in thinking that I have truth and you don’t, which is true, but we don’t necessarily come out and say that. You discuss matters, and she wasn’t willing. It is a reminder to me how even those who are attacked for their beliefs are not disqualified from doing the attacking. So, you’ll see.)

Her: So, are you saying that everyone who is not an “evangelical Christian” is not a Christian at all?

Me: Since I know you are asking from a Catholic perspective, to me a Christian in this reference is of the Protestant tradition. I understand that many religions and/or denominations believe in a partial biblical understanding and sometimes mythical tradition of Christ and still call themselves Christian. I’m not sure your stance on Mormons calling themselves Christian, so as to be accepted more by the mainstream, but I would not call them Christian. In the same way and in my adherence to the bible alone I would not include Catholic in that reference, but that is not to say many Catholics aren’t Christian… Does that answer your question? Feel free to ask follow up, I’d love to discuss it.

Her: I see what you are saying but I disagree for the most part. No, I do not think Mormons are Christians… But THEY think they are. They also believe that they are doing the absolute best thing by Christ as possible. But to exclude and/or dismiss anyone that blatantly, well it makes you exactly like the Mormons. They too like to think they are the only “true”church, the only ones who got it right, and the rest of us are screwed. It is not your place to decide who will or will not make it to the top.

Me: I understand what you are saying and I want you to know that I am not the one who make the decisions. I don’t want to say anything that would divide any further so I have a question, you can answer here or pm, Do you know the difference between Catholics and Born Again/Evangelical Christians? If you do and think I’m an idiot for asking, just say, “Duh!” but I want to make sure of semantics before I go any further.

Her: To answer, not really. But I can also tell you, I don’t care either. If you want to attempt to convince me that salvation and Christ’s love is an exclusive club that only a few can have will be a waste of your time and mine. I am sorry you feel the Catholic church let you down. I am quite happy and I feel no need to judge anyone.

Me: Fair enough, and I’m sorry if any of my words have made you angry. You must sometimes know how it feels when you post something conservative and your liberal friends don’t understand. You’d like to convince them of your intent and how logical the conservative viewpoint is, but they won’t hear you. It has happened to me and I very rarely post anything political because I don’t want to hurt or alienate anyone. I realize that I won’t convince anyone of anything but I want to make sure at least that they understand my semantics. I appreciate my Catholic upbringing and never feel as if it let me down, but that it is fully realized through my understanding now. This format is not the best way to discuss things, I enjoy one-on-one relationships best, but I must be true to what I believe and write, and have an answer for those who disagree, just like we both do when our liberal friends say something,,, (for want of a better term) in ignorance. If we sat down on a park bench or for coffee, without the world watching, we could discuss freely and understand each other better.

Her: It’s funny, I know you mean well, but you have no idea how much like a mormon you sound. I think we understand each other perfectly. You really don’t need another format to explain better what you believe. I also don’t need A different format to have my relationship with Christ explained to me by anyone who thinks that by it’s difference, it is somehow wrong. Your “label” is no different than any other human created label. There are many paths to salvation, and much like the mormons, you think you are on the only one. I think your work would be best directed towards atheists and their venomous need to not just not believe, but to destroy the belief and freedom to believe in others. The need to rank and file your fellow Christians is misguided.

Me: Well, I guess you shut me down.

Her: I didn’t mean to shut you down. I was/am offended that you would dismiss so many really good people as not Christian simply because it doesn’t fit they way you believe. Our God is a tolerant, loving, God. He knows His children are screw ups. There are many paths, I am glad you found yours. If you save one you are doing good.

Me: Part of my blog name is “Rebellion” and one of the things I am rebelling against is that we no longer (if ever) really share with each other our lives, our ideas, our faith, ourselves. We assume things about each other in order not to overburden our minds with compassion or empathy. I don’t ever want to be that way. Since I’ve been in West Plains I’ve had lots of opportunity to find out about people by asking them about their motivations for what they do and what they believe. I assumed since I was from SLC that they would be interested in me. I became disillusioned about relationships, but through love and care of some great people, I have realized that it is part of my burden too, to know and love people no matter who they are. In writing, and seeing others write, political positions of the conservative side, those in opposition just want to silence you. “Don’t give them the opportunity to speak,” is the liberal mantra, so I rebel against that in really trying to find out why they believe. Most liberals believe that even questions are an attack on their ideology. It is a sad world we live in. So even though some of the things you say about me are correct, many of the reasons you may assume I got here are wrong. I understand you not wanting to have a conversation, that I’m just trying to convert you, but there is more to it than just what you have seen in the world, I’m deeper than most representatives of my faith that you see portrayed in the media. Either way, I am glad we are still conversing.

(For my last, I was saving this “Strange Confession” because I wanted to post the story I wrote, but haven’t gotten around to it. Perhaps when I find it, I’ll post.)

May 26, 2012 – Strange Confessions: I read a lot of Stephen King when I was younger, sometimes still do. Although now, I think he’s more deranged now then he was then, but that is another story. Anyway, I wanted to write like him and when I took took a creative writing course in high school I wrote a couple of short stories in honor of my creepy dark side influenced by King. The first one was called, and I still remember, “Killer Born from a Barbecue.” The narrator was a man who married an “ugly”, unsympathetic, rich woman who had a sister married to some other guy possibly for the same reasons. He was thinking how awful his life was and what he could do to get out of his situation. How his life led up to this point of thinking so much about money that he married for it and so disliked his wife, her sister and husband. The dialogue was him answering curtly to her vacuous questions as he barbecued and her sister and husband were out in the hedges playing croquet or something. Suddenly the husband of the sister emerged from the hedges with a bloody ax(mallet) screaming and coming towards the narrator and his wife intent on killing them. Whoa, dark stuff, yeah?
The other story was this same killer years later living in a culvert near a park and coming out to listen to some people playing classical music. A sweet old lady took hold of him and brought him to her house so she could feed, bathe, and give a homeless guy a second chance. I remember thinking would he kill her or would she be actually evil. But I actually ended it with him running out of the house screaming because she was killing him with kindness.
I liked both stories and remember them fondly because it reminds me of where I came from, who I am now, and how hard it is to reveal who you were to people who know you now and what will they think of you. But, we need to remember where we came from, because that is what formed and shaped us into who we are. I believe I still have those stories somewhere, and wish I would of kept all of who I was but, alas I’m really not that sentimental.

~Stranger

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One Year of Stranger in Rebellion on wordpress

It has been a while since I wrote anything on here, and today when I got on I had a notification award of one year of Stranger in Rebellion. Almost a month has it been since I wrote my last post, honoring my Mother for Mother’s Day. Usually I come back from being on hiatus for a while depressed, sorely needing something to say, and eager to get back on the bus. But not lately. Sure I’ve had a lot I’ve had wanted to write about in regards to popular culture and sermons I’ve heard and writing about all the stuff I see friends posting on that one site. It just hasn’t been pressing me as of late. Even as I sit here trying to remember all the things I’ve wanted to ponder upon through words, it just kind of fades like smoke, dissipating into a dark sky, and you’re not really sure if you really thought about it at all.

So, in the spirit of a writing anniversary, let’s do a quick Stranger in Rebellion year in review, and perhaps this little exercise will get the smoothies flowing again.

As a quick history, the “Strange Confessions” started on May 17, 2012 on my personal “that one site” page. On December 9 of the same year, I started the “Stranger in Rebellion” blog on that same, “that one site.” (Reminder: I say “that one site” because it drives me a little crazy when, in normal conversation, people give the casual aside, “I saw this (so-and-so) on Facebook.)

Then on June 2, 2013 this started. I have written 97 posts and have 79 followers. The most visits in one day was 68, which was December 1st, 2013, and that was when I wrote this article, but the previous day’s article, has the most reads, that being 24. I have an unfinished project in which I answer the 15 most ridiculous college application questions, inspired by this article, in which I am stuck on this question: “St. Mary’s College is casting for the incoming class. Send us your audition tape via the Web or DVD. Please provide us with the site for posting. Selection of this option will stand as your college essay. Consider your audience.” I’ve considered just skipping it, but that just wouldn’t be fair now, would it? Interestingly enough, this article, is one that most people come across when they do general web searches. I suppose it has something to do with the tags that include, aliens, dinosaurs and robots. That was one of my most favorite writes as well. Go ahead and read it if you haven’t. I am eager to get back to finishing this project, so I may skip the video, and then come back later.

Since I started writing I have had great spiritual growth due to a loving and open group of believers we meet with every Tuesday night, and have started going to a church that is small and challenging, which has inspired me to write summaries of what I have been learning. That is something I need to get back to again. Our Sunday group fellowship, or church as I’m uncomfortable in calling it, has taken on the challenge of going to the streets this summer. You can check it here, please do. Many of us have been called to be leaders in specific roles during this time, and I have been chosen as distribution/dissemination leader before we meet in various places in the community. We go door-to-door or where people gather and hand out flyers explaining our purpose. We hide nothing in this as it says that as followers of Christ, we have a duty to go into the community and share the love and joy that comes from knowing Him. It is a very exciting time and much prayer is needed as we will be reminded that we are at War. A war in which the outcome has already been determined, but a war nonetheless.

Writing about these things gets me going and I want to start sharing again. Thanks for you patience and remember to pray for Township Line Church. This is a watershed moment for not only the people, but also for this community. Give God the glory! Thank you Jesus!

~Stranger

P.S. Here is just a fun picture to gain interest as I re-post this on that one site.

Finishing the Catharsis

Writing is my therapy. It is a way to get my thoughts realigned. It pleases me to create, whether or not anyone appreciates the words that stream past the screen. I should do it more often. Thank you God for the laptop I can so easily type on. I can’t imagine sitting here with a 12-pound typewriter resting on my legs, as I peck feverishly out my thoughts and feelings. What would the stack of papers look like? And the wasted sheets… How did a pretender like me get along in the world without a laptop 20 years ago? Well I suppose some of them just went plain mad! Walked off down the road, headed toward the dark places in their minds, and were never heard from again. Words that come from my mind and work their way down the nerve endings and shock the muscles into action, moving and pressing key after key in a miraculous movement of God’s creation and man’s, can stun my system out of rebellion back into the Rebellion I truly needed.

I thought, “Hmmm, perhaps I shouldn’t share this link…” That my dear friends is my Rebellion of the title “Stranger in Rebellion” indeed. My fear that I’m too transparent, always halos my brain, shocking the system of buffoonery I am constantly expounding in my behavior and writings. I do it to heal. God has given me this outlet and I shall use it, Praise Him!

Anyway, I thought I should close out some of the things I brought up in yesterday’s writings, for I don’t want you to get the wrong concepts about the things I am taught on glorious Sunday mornings or otherwise.

Any examples of the “acid test” or the points in finding you might not be converted, were just things to ponder in your spiritual walk, and having one or another be a focus of who you are is not necessarily a sign that you are not saved. And that is not to say we should not be constantly on the lookout for dangerous trends in our thinking that would halt the working of God in your life. God was rich in mercy early in my Christian walk, and revealed to me things that others have an unhealthy preoccupation with, such as leading me to an early reading of 1 John. Highlighted in my mind is the verses that say, “so that you may know”. Those things, in fact, the whole bible is written so that we may know we have eternal life. Then I saw it in lots of places. That you may know: how to give a good answer, the certainty of the things I have been taught, the hope to which he has called, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, that seeing Jesus is seeing God. And most of all, that I may know Him.

He was gracious in giving me such security. One such as I, prone to doubt, fear, and depression. He early on gave me the KNOW.

Now if you find yourself looking at those lists and seeing that you are troubled by all of them, then be wary, find a good church where doubt of who you are is dispelled by the fact of who He is. I don’t have all the answers when things look the bleakest, but I do know that I know. It is not a feeling or a desire, although that does have its place. Even as I wallow in the depths I less and less frequently find myself in, I know that there is an end to all this weariness. Also, a good friend who will tell you the truth about how selfish it is, and that you can’t constantly dwell on what is to come, that what we will get is possible and even more glorious in the here and now. Not taking away at all from the awesome aweness of awe we will experience Him face-to-face. Lord hasten the day!

Thank you for partaking in this wonderful experiment that is my journey on this linear strand with no end, briefly confounded by weeds and mists, which is part of what we all experience.

~Stranger

Strange Confessions: My Current Spiritual Relationship Situation

Strange Confessions: I would much rather have a conversation, or hang out with those of the 6-18 year-old set. Adults make me very uncomfortable, and I seriously don’t make it easy for them to talk to me.

Since I became a Christian, I have always known that I have been blessed with the ability to relate with those of the younger type. Back in Utah I would try to recruit people to become an AWANA leader. One of the answers that really surprised me was, “Kids really intimidate me.” I’d stand there, shocked and amused, wondering how in the world kids could expose these people’s insecurities in such a way. Kids are the most honest people on the planet: they have nothing to hide, and they say what is on their mind. It has always been so refreshing to me, to not have to interpret what they are saying, whether or not they have some agenda, or are just trying to make me feel better. I have even had kids tell me that I am fat. It was annoying, but they told me the truth, as they saw it. I enjoy any time I can hang out with kids, finding out about them, playing with them, teaching them, learning from them. It has been a little different here in West Plains, but, you get right down to it, and kids are the same everywhere. I’ve held some pride in this gift and have given God the glory for it. I’ve always believed it was a blessing. Until last week… when I started to question my motivations for avoiding adults.

I’ve talked about in previous posts about another church family joining with the one we have recently become a part of, and  now there are lots of kids in our congregation. Lots of new names to learn. Lots of new friends to find out about. Another commitment I’ve made, when we have joined here, is for me to be more involved in people’s lives. You know, the iron sharpening iron deal, the relationship with peers, the making myself available for discipleship, the being an integral part of our congregation. Essentially, being the hands and feet of our Lord here on earth. I know, I know… perhaps part of that is having a great relationship with the children in the church. But, last week, I annoyed myself.

Before I explain about the crazy thoughts that went on in my head last week, I want to explain again, one of the many purposes of this blog: I write, to find out about myself. I get the idea in my head that I want to tell you something, something short and sweet. But, my brain works out things as I type, and I need to discover something that my subconscious keeps tap-tap-tapping away at my conscious part of the brain about. I need to understand this thing, and I need you to understand this thing too. I started this blog knowing that not many people would actually read this, and that is fine, so when I say “reader” or refer to “you” it just may be me that I am talking about. Well, whatever. I am a strange one, and I’ve never attempted to hide it. So, onward…

We have been having meals after services every week. It has been a chance to share a meal with those who have heard the same sermon we all just listened to, and to discuss our thoughts on it, sharing our lives, concerns and praises. I get my plate, look around the room and pick a spot that looks the most comfortable. The most comfortable is usually a table not full yet, but has people at it who can talk well and are already involved in conversation. I can sit, maybe answer a, “How are you doing?” question or two, but then I just blend in. I’m like camouflage: hidden among my surroundings, keeping the attention away from me. I am a professional conversation divertée: ask me a question, I’ll answer mildly, then ask the person next to me something a bit deeper, transferring attention with ease. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s not that I don’t want to really know people, or let them know me, it’s just that the standard situations we make to figure these things out are incompatible to my personality. Give me a pool table and a pitcher of beer and I’m a go! Set-up a game night where it goes deep into the night, to reveal Mr. Goofy-pants, and we’ve bonded. Take a hike on a strenuous trail together, friends for life… well, for a time: a good time I promise, maybe.

I suppose I had some more to say before I got to what happened last week. Remember? It’s about writing, about finding out more about me… Hmmm… sounds a bit narcissistic, no? Oh well, that was addressed in the last post. Whatever.

There is a lot more kids at church now than there was a few weeks ago, and they go out to play when they quickly eat up their meal. Since there are so many now, some might get in a bit of “trouble” out there. I’ve decided to make myself an adult chaperone. I go out and watch them, organize plays, have a bit of fun myself, talk to them, know them. It felt a bit like an excuse. It is a bit of an excuse. It is so much easier, so much more comfortable, so much more fun; to be with the youngins. My wife even asked me, “Are you ever going to be in with the adults?”

One of the reasons we came to West Plains, is because our life was “easier”, more comfortable in Salt Lake City. We only really knew, I mean, really knew that, was a few years of living here. Now, here I am choosing the easier, comfortable, fun way. Instead of the hard, uncomfortable, work that I need to do, to be the Christian God is calling me to be now; I’m taking the easy, wide road.

And I did it again this week. In fact, a couple of guys came out today to talk to me. They asked me how I was doing, what is going on… I gave the easy answers. I’m feeling a bit ashamed. One of them was the pastor, or head elder, (I still don’t know what to call him), I was about to tell him my thoughts, then my wife came out… probably to save me from some embarrassing statements on my part. I have to get out of this position. But, I have to admit that I don’t really know how to do it. Do I tell them this whole bit? Well, not the “whole” bit, but just my difficulty. I’m feeling like… no, I shouldn’t. I’m not like normal men. So I shouldn’t think that something that separates me from the others would be the thing that binds us. I appreciate where we are now, I just don’t know how to move on.

I have a very fulfilling relationship with the small group I have been a part of for the last couple of years. It has been only the last few months where I have truly been able to open up. Sometimes I believe I’m sharing myself deeply, but for myself, it might have been what I believe they may have wanted to hear. Which may account for some of the depression and lack of desire to attend for the first year or so. I protect myself by being open to the point of driving people away. I see that now… as I write. I do not want to be this way anymore. It is too fake for me. No, nevermind… I am moving beyond this, slowly.

One thing I do know, is that God knows what I need to do. He will lead me and guide me. I thank God that He is on my side, He is even on their side. I know there is no superficiality in their dealings with each other, I want it to be that way for me. Perhaps I do need to be a bit open about what I think, just limit it until things get… easier.

But not too easy.

~Stranger

Honest Comments On A Previous Post About Previous Posts

I posted a previous posts about how I would like, maybe expect a bit more comments/feedback on my writing. It was late and I was a bit frustrated. I realize that none of you really know me from Adam and could care less if my writing improves or not. Maybe you just like my blog so that I would like your blog.

I remember posting this one post that was extremely Christian in context and immediately I got a like. This post was nowhere near posted long enough for someone to read it, and yet there it was. I looked at this persons blog and realized that there is no way this person read what I posted. Their blog was the complete opposite in nature about what I was posting. There was no way I could read, follow or like anything this person wrote. Being a married, Christian man, with three girls, it would be irresponsible of me to do those things. Why in the world did they do this? For their own profit? Is it that the more you like the more people like your stuff? I mean did this person really have to go like fishing? There are plenty of people who would be interested in the stuff they were writing. I suppose people like that only want to corrupt everything. Someone sees they like such and such, they follow to where they are and, bam! They are lured in by lurid headings and pictures.

I’m sorry. I obviously forgot that in the world one of the main characteristics are to seek what pleases self. Perhaps that is my problem all along: that I forget what the world is like. We Christians might dwell in our own little world of other Christians, then we forget… we forget that this is a fallen world.

I get disappointed when people don’t like what I offered and dismiss it offhand. It seems that has always been the way it is with me, mostly. I’m a sensitive soul and dwell on hurts much more that when things have gone right. Like recently, my best friend told me he is reading a series that I have loved for years. I told many people about him and would enjoy talking to others about the books. They are a bit darker for the usual Christian crowd, so I don’t mention it often. But when I do, it is only to people I trust wouldn’t dismiss it right off, but that is usually the case anyway. So my friend tells me he’s reading this and it is so cool. I want to talk about it and to me it is just more of a connection than there was before. Maybe that is how I should connect with people here. It seems that most of the Christians on here just write and not really follow, or comment or make positive criticisms like I want. So, little by little I will reveal my likes, one at a time, maybe in some sort of creative way, a story or some such, to connect with others of similar likes.

I don’t know. I may be just throwing rocks at the stars here, but this is where I have decided to dwell. Like all other posts, it is an effort to connect. We need to do that. I need to do that. Rejection won’t hinder me. There is always someone who would like to connect. I also realize that I started this with the understanding that I may be writing to absolutely nobody. But, sometimes I hope too much in people. Is that wrong?

 

In Which the Author Gets a Bit Upset With This Tediousness

Question five inspired by this article.

Johns Hopkins University: “Using a piece of wire, a Hopkins car window sticker, an egg carton, and any inexpensive hardware store item, create something that would solve a problem. Tell us about your creation, but don’t worry; we won’t require proof that it works!”

Ah, I see what you did there Johns Hopkins University. You just want us to see what we see as a “problem”. You shouldn’t have put that little bit at the end there. Phhhttt. “…don’t worry; we won’t require proof that it works!” You may have gotten more from your applicants had you not expressed that bit of sentiment there. Oh well. I guess you’ll just find out that most of those that desire to attend your prestigious university will be currying your favor by stating their desire to improve the environment or what not; stroking your egos whilst you measure their necks for the collar that is a precise Pantone 284. Well not me buddy-boy! I won’t play your silly games, cause I just ain’t smart at all enuff to be a college boy there. I can’t wear them skinny jeans. I don’t have any ironic t-shirts. No pierced body parts. I don’t eat my neighbors compost. I have neither consumed any Jack Kerouac nor absorbed tinctures of Alan Ginsburg. I find Jim Jarmusch tedious and eyesoring. I have heard farts that are laugh out loud hilarious, which I’m sure your wives would find offensive, no offense to the single female on the applicant screening process team, but you are bland and humorless also, so you were offended when I actually typed, “Phhhttt.”

I actually like meeting people who may have different opinions than I hold, despite the fact that most of those educated people can’t understand that there are those with differing opinions because they have been brainwashed by some institutions into thinking that their views are the only correct way of thinking and they must crush those who hold “peculiar” beliefs, shaming them to hopelessness, arguing them down to the level name calling and illogical stands.

Seems that you got my answer Johns Hopkins University?

(Disclaimer: The viewpoints of the author may indeed be that of an insane man delving into the ridiculousness that is college applications. These viewpoints on Johns Hopkins University, the application process, and hipsters are purely based on hearsay and conjecture, and should be excused because, said author, has made it a full third of the way through this seemingly monotonous exercise of writing. Hopefully his writings may get better from here on out.)

~Stranger

Page 217 of my autobiography entitled “Watersheds”

Question four, inspired by this article.

University of Pennsylvania: “You have just finished your three hundred page autobiography. Please submit page 217.”

____________________________________________________________________________________

Watersheds

217

on, I knew that I was never going to write again. But, as things changed, and life went on, as it often does, I was drawn back to the pen and paper, or in my case the keyboard and the screen. But it took a long time. The characteristic that rears its ugly head in me, at times of great failure, or in this case betrayal, as you know so well, is self-abuse. Many a day did I stare blankly at the world, not seeing anything. My wife would ask me, “What’s wrong?” and I’d tell her simply, “Nothing. I’m fine.” I’d go to work, to church, sit among groups of friends, and note the changes in those around me. They were all so conciliatory, that it made me sick. I was tired of people trying to placate me from the despondency I imposed on myself. I had enough at that point. It made me want to scream until my lungs were empty, to poke stiff fingers into people’s stomachs who blandly smiled at me, trying to gain some sense of empathy, knowing full well no one understood. I could have had cancer and been better off. I could have lost my home, my job, my family and it wouldn’t have equaled the pain of everything that was building within me. Yes I understood more than most that my home, my job, my family was what made me have being. But this was different. This was a stripping of my being. I was gone; shattered. I could not see me living life as normal again.

But God. Those two words that makes the Bible such a beautiful book. They make the universe have hope and wonder again, when all is lost. I can’t tell why you’re reading this book. Perhaps you know me and are humoring me, after much begging, to read it. Maybe you found this book at a junk store, and you read everything, and the title intrigued you. But for whatever reason, you need to hear this: That God is the only thing that brings hope, TRUE hope. Nothing else will satisfy on a level you really need. Either way if you don’t know Him, you won’t understand.Of course you come across more about God before or after this section, but you cannot just pass this by. I will never understand those who claim in no God and live life as is. Just do what you want. Nothing really matters. It is all an accident anyway. This isn’t what they say, but it is always what you hear. Examine the world. Look up. Look around. Where will you find hope? There is this commercial, interestingly enough, that addresses hope (little “h”) and at the same time reminded me of my hope. The camera showed people just staring, while something is going around them. A man pours a cup of coffee, and the cup overflows, spilling on his hand, on the table. Yet, he stares, straight ahead. A woman sits in a park, children running all around her, other women talking next to her. Yet, she stares, straight ahead. A man sits at the kitchen table, while his children go off to school, his wife looking at him with grave concern, as he stares, straight ahead. Then a word flashes in the corner of the screen: “Hope.” To me the message is predictable, it is a commercial for some church in town. Because without God, why do anything? Why work? Why look around you? But then, the message turns to makinghomeaffordable.gov. These people have no hope because they can’t see paying their mortgage for the month, or they will be paying it for years and years. Their hope is gone. Really? I understand the difficulty and challenge home ownership is. Even see that it seems hopeless to get through the next month, or the next year, or the next thirty years. But even that seems a little extreme, especially at the time I saw it. For this was the era of Obama. I’d seen countless videos of college students being interviewed, not even knowing how presidents get elected, but they knew, really knew that Obama was going to solve it all. Then these commercials that show the only true hope comes from the government come around. I knew he was trying everything to keep himself looking good, but this was beyond reason.

I’m not going off on a rant here, well, that may not be true since this is basically going to be a 300 page rant or so, but it’s all been said and done before and this is about me. Me! Me! Me!

It was this commercial that made me angry and yet reminded me of my TRUE HOPE. My God. He brings about messages, to His people, in His time, the right time. God took His super glue and put me back together. I was gone for months, but then I came back. The watershed moments in my life hit me hard at always the right time. I’d seen the waste I’d made of 11 weeks or so. I repented, washed my face, got up, looked around, and started moving again. I started writing again, with a new zeal I hadn’t before. It was like my hands couldn’t keep up with all that was in my mind. For years I’d practice writing those “Strange Confessions”, and it all was mere childs-play to what was coming forth, bursting from skull and fingers, I barely managed eating or sleeping until that first publication: “Magnanimous Highlighter” It wasn’t received well, but I had people writing to me about how they came across

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~Stranger

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