Relationships

Stay or Go: Pain or the lonely path.

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In a previous post I mentioned including and excluding people from our lives, and I have reached an impasse.

There’s someone in my life that I feel I have no other choice but to let go. It’s a sad commentary indeed, but when you can no longer trust your instincts, your emotional response, than what have you to go off of other than your logic?

It seems a big callous to use purely logic in regards to relationships, because logic excludes understanding to a certain extent.

Let me put it to you this way: when someone is emotional unavailable, for the most part, opens up and shares their inner most thoughts, and feels rejected. The emotions would seemingly have betrayed the person it was meant to aid in the first place. A feeling of betrayal, undoubtedly, leads to a sense of distrust, and that’s why the purely logical mind takes command. That’s when we reach the aforementioned impasse.

There is a young lady that I am very fond of that I’ve had to let go. Essentially I poured myself out to hear on more than one occasion, and that is highly unusual for me. I consider it almost a symbol of high-esteem when I grant access to those innermost thoughts. Afterwards I was left without a word, and left to simmer in my own emotional turmoil. It’s a disgusting thing to feel as if you’ve been emptied out into a broken cup. The end result is the emptiness and a bizarre loneliness. I’m sure you, my wonderful readers, have felt a similar distress.

You expect other people to leave you dangling with your body tossed to the wind, but never one you consider a close friend, and one above the squabbled mass of faces in your life.

I do make my decisions carefully, and I chose to make the one that would be the hardest cross to bear. I do feel as if I could make things work, but the lingering scar will remain and poison what remains. Also, I am afraid that if I don’t make this decision that I will fall again. And I also feel like somehow both parties involved will suffer. I accept my part in this and my inaccessible nature, but the dear Lord knows that I tried.

I suppose there will be one less heartache, but one more lingering and painful memory.

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PQD: Beauty and a Lie we tell.

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“People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
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Flowers.
What is the first word that you associated with flowers when you read the word? I’m sure  most of us thought: sweet-smelling, grand, beautiful, pretty, gorgeous, and other like words. They are simply beautiful to behold, and that beauty hasn’t changed since the day the first flower bloomed.
Today, our definition for beautiful, in context of our fellow human being, has become sadly warped.
The most endearing story of acceptance, in my eyes, has to be the Genesis story from the Bible. Of course, one can scoff at the comparison of today to a story over 2,000 years old, but the imagery is so raw it cannot be overlooked. It is symbolic for exposing our entire being in a true show of beauty, that the truth is plain and as open as our very skin, and an honest, true relationship. Yes, the two were naked, but they were born for each other, and only knew there love for one another. The argument could be made that they did not know any better, but if we are to believe this story we must then believe in true purpose. If we did have a beginning and a creator– would he create something ugly?
Would you create something ugly?
The flower is anything but ugly, which is the reason why  my home-made picture is what ventured to your screen today. You see; I was walking in my neighborhood enjoying the spring time air, and was struck by how amazingly beautiful the flowers were. I was drawn inexplicably to photograph some of them with my phone at close range. Although, I felt a little awkward about venturing on to someones lawn, but I simply had to capture this wonderful slice of nature.
And that’s one thing about nature: it is natural. It is real. There is nothing hidden about nature, and nothing disguising it. There is nothing that can be sold to nature. There is nothing to be surgically fixed. And that’s the lie that we let ourselves believe:
we need products, costumes, and apparel to make ourselves beautiful. 
My desire is for you to love yourself today for what lies beneath all of the price tags.
If God wanted you to be born with all the trappings of this world from the start… wouldn’t he have created you with them?
So look at yourself today and ask yourself: do I find beauty in myself (inwardly and outwardly), and do I find beauty in this world?
I actually own this picture
I actually own this picture

 

A Letter to Remember.

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To my Future Son,

Son, there will be times when you will be hurt, and it will seem like your heart has been cleaved from your chest. Pain is God’s way of reminding you to trust in him. Trust me; I’ve travelled many miles and done many a foolish deed to be with a woman, I thought, loved me. The distance in that example is symbolic for the length of time you would be willing to give or wait for another person, or what mountain you would be willing to climb for her. There will be women out there who use flattering words, look exquisite, and drawn you in one way or another, but in time you will learn just who is meant to be the woman you love for all that you are, and you her.

Women are God’s gifted companions to men. We fit together by design like a lock to a key. It is simply the way of the world. But in this wide world God has plans for his people and we cannot presume to know his plan. All the same; one day the path will be made clear for you, and one day you will know who you are meant to spend your life with. The woman your heart bleeds over now may not have been God’s plan for you, and that is why in prayer we seek guidance. I know you believe, and I am asking you to give your pain up to God. In the Bible we can find sound advice that stands the test of time: Jeremiah 29:11 – “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.” Thus he knows his plan for you, and the young lady who you feel is still the right one for you. I can appreciate your pain, and wish you did not have to experience it, but experience is the only way we learn. And I pray that young woman will learn from this experience as well.

“But, she was the one…” It may seem like that now, but like I mentioned God has his plans for who the one REALLY is. Let me also caution you against hardening your heart: especially to the person you loved. Forgiveness is the key. I don’t ask you to do that lightly, because I myself still find it very difficult to forgive. But, because God himself gave his only Son to forgive us our trespasses: so too will I ask of you the same. We rob ourselves of joy and live in the painful memory of the past if we let ourselves be caught in these thoughts. Take solace in the fact that you had the opportunity to make memories with a nice young woman, and don’t let that memory be poisoned. Where the world will advise you to close your heart; find the strength to open yours. Your spirit is strong, and your heart is filled with goodness. You are far too strong to have your heart caged by sorrow. Live for the glory of God and he will show you the way to a woman he has ordained for you.

I pray that you live without regrets and that you live without experiencing this pain once more. In summary: trust in God and let him guide you. In the end you will discern your path and be free from this pain. You are an amazing young man so please allow yourself to be open to forgiveness to find the right woman. Joshua 1:9 “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”.

Sincerely,

Joshua

PQD: Hold the door!

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Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don’t even remember leaving open.  

Rose Lane

Have you ever smiled at a stranger, given a tip to your local smoothie shop cashier, or even helped someone struggling to carry heavy boxes? It is the idea we leave a friendly door open to the world with positive thoughts behind positive action. In my experience leading a life without expectation of people are situations is the best way to live.

Think about it: how many times have you been disappointed by people because you expected ‘a little more’?

By putting forth a positive face to the world we are leaving that door open for the world’s positivity to enter through our door. It is as simple as the person who you helped returning the favor, “good karma” revisiting you with a $20 bill on the ground, or any example you can think of.

As the good book says “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (KJV). So in order to fully leave our hearts door wide open we must rework our thoughts to exude positivity, and we just might be astounded on the good that enters through into our hearts.

So today:

leave your heart open to let the good pour out of you into this world, and let the love of true friends and family to enter in.

this picture owned by "wild goddess life"
this picture owned by “wild goddess life”

PQD: What time does positivity come on?

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The mind is like a clock that is constantly running down. It has to be wound up daily with good thoughts.”

Fulton J. Sheen

 

How do you wake up in the morning? It is, without a doubt, seemingly obvious question after reading this intriguing quote hovering above these words. It is a serious question all the same. So, take a minute and think about a few things: 1. Are my first thoughts of the day of dread or inspiration? 2. Do I look forward to the day’s events? 3. Do I loathe or cherish my interaction with others?

Seriously, think about the answers to these questions.

If you answered in the positive: you are attempting to live your life in a way that greets the world with both an open mind and heart. It is important to maintain this positive outlook with self-affirmations and positive self-talk, which will breed positive action and create desired results.

For those who answered in the negative: not to worry! We are all in this life together to; hopefully, pull each other up and out of these negative thoughts. I remember times in boarding school where I would wake up and absolutely dread the thought of the forthcoming day. That’s because I didn’t have the proper tools to look positively on the day ahead.

What do you mean by tools?

I’m talking about the tools to think positively and change the old self-talk monster into a manageable and friendly ally. Some tools that you can use:

  1. Self-affirmations– actively encouraging yourself by saying positives things about yourself.
  2. Become an active participant in your own life! – Like the movie “yes man” adequately demonstrated the power of ‘yes’. Don’t shy from life, because that way you lose out. All too often I said no to things, because I was waiting for something better that, often times, would never come.
  3. Associate with positive people- I couldn’t figure out why my mood was so down back then, because I never imagined the answer would be found in the circle I associated with. Find people who support your dreams, give freely of themselves, and love unconditionally.
  4. Take pride in you- often times I treated my body and mind disrespectfully, because I did not cherish my own self-worth. By that I don’t mean I cut or was deeply disturbed, but I mean I ate unhealthy foods and constantly put myself down. In the struggle for acceptance we lose our value by calculating it by the acceptance of our peers. Not so my friends. Take pride in all that you do, because you know at the end of the day whether you performed or not.

So, my friends don’t let the clock of your positivity run down to zero. Let us remind ourselves that our worth is nothing that can be labeled on us. Wind yourselves up with happiness instead of coffee and morning traffic.

You are capable of a better life.

Vintage Wine and an Indecisive Emperor

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It is a child on a temper tantrum, a brooding and scorned lover, a well of sweet promises, a cornucopia of dreams, and it is a detailed life story written in red ink. It is the heart. As a writer the one that comes most readily to mind is my own, and of course they say the best writing comes from personal experience. The two previous sentences were as cliché as they come because everybody has a heart and every writer will inevitably write about something they are familiar with, but please bear with me as we dive into this beast.

Our lives and hearts are inevitably marked with the photographs and captions of times in our past. When you look back do you find that your heart yearns for that certain someone? Take a minute and really consider this for a moment. Is there someone that you would have dropped all other tasks and engagements to be united with? Our hearts are the children within us that beg to see that favorite person again, and pulling our hands with hurried feet toward the direction of a love interest. And, when we finally have picked the apple of our eye from the tree of life… it ceases to shine and like Aphrodite’s golden apple it causes discord within us. For men, and please excuse the overly male metaphor here, it is as if were are gladiators or huntsmen. Dueling against ourselves in our hearts until we wear away the armor of logic and army ourselves with the crude tools of emotion, and once the victory has been won the trophy heart loses its luster.

Welcome to my world; with the exception of this being my present reality as well.

As I type these words it seems a cacophony of  “These Words” by Natasha Bedingfield,  John Mayer’s “Half of my heart” and the Counting Crows version of “Big Yellow Taxi” are playing within me. I know that the pressed grape wine of love has been poured into my cup, and yet I feel the desire to push it away in favor of another equally appealing vintage. The truly lamentable idea is that one cup has been already poured and the bottle cannot be returned, and I know that the bottle of white whine that glimmers in holy sunshine is being courted to another table. I, of course, harken my wine and my gladiator to the splendor of Roma. Of course what can be more romantic than a dinner at the Olive Garden, no?

Now for the Metaphor

And as I continue to watch the two Gladiators fight within me I partake of the wine that has been so graciously been poured for next to nothing. I glance over and I see that one Gladiator has his crimson blade resting on his throat. He awaits my thumbs vertical approval. To the left of me is an aged man full of thought and experience, and to my right is a young and wild, passionate, lover of many things. They both paddle on to each other about the merits and detriments of the situation I find myself in. And yet when it comes to giving the gladiator a decision… My eyes darting back and forth from the wild lover to the aged scholar. Each give me fair arguments and fiery passion, and yet neither one is convincing. What to do…?

I wave my hand in a noncommittal fashion and the fallen gladiator springs back to his feet and continues his bloody fight to the end.

Wine has a bitter taste and yet when consumed gives a pleasurable effect, and if taken without moderation robs us of our decision making. The security of my faculties brought low by the quick power of a sip of intoxicating love, but now my sense have returned do I realize I have entered the coliseum out of folly, and I desire a way out in sheer panic lest I strike out and destroy something beautiful.

The Emperor gives but two choices to a gladiator: Life or Death. I know to whom my heart wishes to live, but that is the losing Gladiator, and the victorious Gladiator I know deserves to be brought low.

And again, the red wine has been poured and cannot be returned to the bottle. I must drink. If I do not my fear and weakness will show, and someone will fall.

I am the Emperor. Now, I must decide.

Visit the website in the description for ownership of this picture.
Visit the website in the description for ownership of this picture.

Speaking Candidly: the Death of my grandfather.

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I was in 8th grade getting ready for lights out at Fork Union Military Academy. The snow was falling ever so gently that night. After brushing my teeth I remember the officer on my hall calling me to officer’s station in the middle of the barracks that separated Alpha Company for Bravo Company. There my Commandant was, just there in his green faculty uniform.

“Son, you’re grandfather has passed. You’re parents are on their way.” He said it with a sort of hardness but with an unusual mix of compassion. I remember him getting a blanket for me. After that I couldn’t help myself but shed tears. I cried because there was unfinished business, I cried because there was so much about the man I would never know, I cried because his last words to me were that he never wanted to see me again.

My experience with him as a young boy was one of changing times. As children of the 1990’s we were blessed with rapidly changing times and technology. My grandfather wasn’t very open about who he was, and what his past was. I do remember a time when my grandfather answered all my questions as a kid on the car ride up to their house one summer, but that’s as close as I remember getting to him. But as I grew up: I was left alone and to my own devices. Of course, it was no fault of my parents being in separate states and the one parent at home working nights, and sleeping mornings. Unfortunately that being the case I was left to my own devices… I got into trouble. My form of trouble: staying up as long as I wanted and doing what I wanted. I was very tame in my amusement at age 9, but who was to tell me no? I occasionally pretended my flamethrower soldier could actually melt the other one, which was just me with a lighter. Unfortunately, late night television lent itself to the more adult form of entertainment, and I was mesmerized. To this day I can’t fathom what my life would be like today if I hadn’t been exposed to such mature content. From horror movies, late night cartoons, Adult rated movies I watched it all. This, of course, leads me to the next segment of where this story will lead us.

This is the summer that will forever be burned into my memory. My parents were sending me to go visit my grandparents for the summer. I had to have been 10 or 11 at the time. My aunt and uncle were living with my grandparents until their house could be built, and my aunt needed a lot of attention. The adults, grandparents and relatives, lived upstairs and my brother and I were downstairs. There was a TV and a computer (back in the days of dial up). Everything had been fine between my grandparents, but that would soon change after that summer.

Over the course of time our grandparents would have us do chores around the house, and of course being obedient children we would do them, and for the most part we were left to our own devices. I just remember staying down in that dark basement for hours just watching TV and going to adult places. Day and night there I would be exploring things one so young shouldn’t be. I am ashamed to write these words, but they are God’s own truth. One instance in particular; my aunt came downstairs because she needed to use the phone (because dial up disabled home phone use), and I hid because of shame I suppose, but even at that age I knew what I was doing wasn’t right, but I couldn’t help myself. I was addicted.

After a while my grandparents didn’t really know what to do with me. I wasn’t being wild and crazy, I wasn’t setting things on fire, I was just in the basement doing god knows what. I don’t really remember too much about how the fight with my grandfather started but I do remember clearly how it finished. There was a chore that needed to be done, specifically weeding around the tree, but I was fighting doing the task. In my mind I’m sure it made perfect sense, but now I wish I could take it all back. My grandfather was the type of man to say something and mean it, and only asked once. But, I fought him and I remember my words very clearly.

“I hope I never have to come back here again.”

In response to my callous words found a sharp rebuttal

“Good. Because, I hope I never have to see you again.”

            After that summer the two weeks we were there for the summers were cut down to a few days. I knew and know that I was the cause for the change. From then on out my relationship with my grandparents had been strained and I could never recover the innocence I had lost in their eyes. The traditional side to them would not forgive me and my sins against them. Unfortunately, the word might have spread to my extended family, and that of course is the conspiracy theorist in me, but sometimes I felt as if they could see right through me and see all my mistakes.

I saw my grandfather very sparingly after that summer, and he spoke with me little if at all. My grandmother I knew was affected by my poor behavior as well. She was less fond of me after that summer as well. But, the past is the past, and as much as I would take back every second… I cannot.

We got the news he was sick a few years later. He had non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, and quickly found himself bed ridden in the hospital. Unfortunately, to his detriment, the hospital made a mistake and gave him tainted medical equipment and fell further into illness. I had the chance to see him with my family in the hospital, and it was shocking. I had never seen him so pale, so flat, and so helpless in his fight…  His dark hair matted with sweat, his olive oil skin pale and clammy, and his eyes were depressed and closed up almost like a decrepit home. When it came to finally giving my grandfather my last words: I needed to be alone with him to say what I needed to say, but my father was in the room with me and I just couldn’t. Still to this day I don’t think I could have brought myself to say what I needed to say in there. Fittingly he could not speak to me either because of the medication. What would have changed if I had said what I needed to say…? Would this regret in my heart have passed with him? Not even the world’s greatest minds could solve that riddle…

After I had received the news my grandfather had passed I was whisked away to the land of Benjamin Franklin and the Philadelphia Eagles. I remember how bitterly my grandmother and family wept at the wake and the funeral. I was dressed in my Class A military uniform and I shook the hands of men and women I had never met, and will never meet again. I just remember the priest saying “he is in a better place”. It certainly made me think of eternity after he passed, and certainly where he would end up. I pray for his soul even now. I almost wish that he would look down on me and smile at the man I have become, but I have only my imagination to comfort me. I wasn’t the person that he needed me to be back then, but I will love for a higher purpose now, and I hope that will be enough to make him proud.

This post is an admission of a few things: the mistakes I have made, and my struggle with the passing of a loved one. I have made mistakes and I have tried to hide them, but I want people to know that I am flawed just like them, and that I hope this story gives them strength in knowing that they are not alone in that. I could only be so lucky that one day I will have the chance at redemption. If you are suffering the pain of loss: you are not alone, if you are suffering from the rejection by family members: you are not alone, if you are ashamed of your mistakes or sin: you are not alone. If you are suffering from severe depression and anxiety please seek medical attention, but know that you are never alone.

God has blessed me to bring you this story and I know he will bless you to overcome your struggles as well. 

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