Thursday, December 29, 2016

Beauty and Mystery of Faith: From Personal Experience

The First Misconception

Faith is not a wishing well. Believing and praying does not make a painless life. If you live on this earth, there will be pain; it is the cost of living. We live in a broken world full of free will and
worldly things.

I think it is a detriment to faith, the idea that if you pray you will succeed or your loved one will survive. I have learned that our path has many diversions. We have a plan but God has his own and believing doesn't make an easy path, there is unexplainable joy that eases some of the pain we experience.

My Story

Faith is an easy thing to profess when everything is going well. It's when things go wrong, when we lose loved ones, when we are frightened; that's when it is a powerful thing that we can actually feel working in us.

My dad died when I was only ten years old. Faith is what brought me and my family through. Our paths intersected with people in the church, my mom sang in the choir, we met two great friends that were there when we needed them. Through that sad time, we survived and we felt a joy you can only explain if you experience it.

Coincidence or Divine Intervention

Like most people, I have always had a fear of cancer, a fear of losing loved ones to an illness. I think my fears are more intense being an artist and having lost my dad so young.

Early in our relationship, my fiancé experienced a lump in her breast and at the time I had no tools to handle the situation in fact I made it worse. It was more about my fear and anxiety than hers. It all turned out well but I was soon to learn how to deal with my fears and lack of faith.

A divine intervention started with a kidney stone. It was a series of hospital visits and a procedure that brought me to a point of depression and anxiety. After a sleepless night and a day of missed work, I realized it was time to get help.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety from a very young age but have never missed a day of work or school since I was ten years old. It was time to talk to someone.

After several weeks of therapy, my counselor shared with me a story about a family member of hers who had cancer. She read me a letter and it was like someone else in the room was insisting I needed to hear it. She told me she didn't read it to everyone but felt she needed to read it to me.

The next day my wife had a cyst explode on her ovary. For the next twelve hours we spent in the emergency room I overheard words like biopsy and malignant but because of my recent divine intervention I stayed strong, I was faithful. Instead of it all being about my fears I was strong for my soon-to-be wife.

A Blessed Event

Soon after that frightening time and because of the cyst being removed, we had a child. A blessed event and an amazing time in both of our lives, a new house, new cars and we were living the American dream.

When our son was just two years old he had an intestinal interception. My wife and I watched as my very young child suffered through tubes up the nose, scary medical procedures and finally a surgery. It was a week we spent in the hospital with him where we all held our breaths and prayed.

He got through the procedure but in the next few months he would be back in the hospital for a blood infection which would turn out to be even more frightening than the previous stay. I remember holding this precious little guy in my arms, he was scared and I knew the nurses were on their way with a papoose, a medieval torture device, okay that's how it seemed to me.

I literally felt a lifting of both of us, as if we were momentarily brought out of that dark and scary place. We got through all the procedures and in that time I went to church and felt it like nourishment as I had never felt it before.

When my wife and I went through the darkest parts of our marriage, I knew God was with me, I wasn't happy in fact I was terrified most of the time but I got through with a peace I can barely explain. I was never alone through the whole process and as horrible as it was, I wouldn't trade it all for nothing as it made me who I am today.

The Body is Always Vulnerable: Faith Protects the Soul

I don't believe faith will bring exactly what you want but I do think it will equip you with what you truly need. In recent times I have felt great fear financially and it always seems the money and means comes, not when I think I need it but in his time. Faith isn't being always happy and okay, Faith is found in the darkest moments when instead of terror we feel peace, instead of anger or frustration we feel calm, instead of indifference we feel joy.

Flesh is always at the mercy of the elements, of ourselves, of time. The soul is the eternal and everlasting gift we have, take care of it and you will find miracles in the darkest times and than you will realize what faith is all about.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

News and Drinking Kool-Aid...Who's right? Who's wrong? Facts? Half-truths? Hard to keep up.

I have been accused of drinking the Kool-Aid and the assumption leads where ever my political bent leans. What can you say when I don’t believe either side, only a portion of what I see and little of what I read.

This is the era we live in: an excess of information, half-truths, political bias and a desperate need for ratings, gaining followers, getting shared. Fake headlines; once restricted to a media with bias now has been commandeered by national and international private entities seeking hype.

It used to be the outlandish headlines sold rag papers; Aliens have kidnapped Elvis, a woman has a monkey baby. These headlines were assumed for entertainments’ sake and no one reasonable would take them as fact. It now seems like rag and true journalism have become often indiscernable.

The mainstream media, takes initiative to bring you the story before it is even a story with a  goal to be first at any cost. Truth becomes assumed, placeholders to fill the 24 hour news cycle until the details of the story become available.

Giving up it’s old standard of getting all of the facts straight, the media developed it’s own latitude of not only filling in the blanks for you but explaining only what you need to know. When you show old pictures of a person for emotional fodder or only use words for the impact of your viewers, the story has become propaganda instead of truth.

Our news has become much like the prosecution and the defense on either side making their point by only showing a piece of the whole story.  On either side the rabid viewer digests what they insist are facts while calling the other side fools and misguided, drinking the Kool-Aid.