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Archive for the ‘Life and Relationships’ Category

I feel as though I’ve jumped off the pedestal with the noose around my neck only to find that I’m still alive but unable to breathe, and second guessing what I had wanted.  So I dangle and kick, gasping for breath, grasping for the beams around me, something – anything – to convince me to pull myself up for air.  Pain has become part of my existence.  I cannot function except in crisis, and yet there is the place I shine.  Am I cursed to live life from crisis to crisis?  Am I the one that brings these crises about, or is God molding me?  Well that much I know: He is.  But is it part of His plan, or is it just His Grace abounding more where my sin has abounded?  This fear of self-delusion haunts me; but from what am I deluding myself?  So shine I do in the pain, wishing the pain would stop.

After I awaken from these random thoughts, I wonder if they are just things that my mind created in its oxygen-deprived state as a way to protect myself.  Yet here I am dangling and unable to breathe except with the greatest of efforts.  My field of vision narrows, and I think of what I’ve lost, of who I could have been, who I could be, who I am, who I could have been with, who I will be with, who I will not be with.  The dream sets in and I’m momentarily granted respite from the angst, and I believe against reality that what I was meant to be, what I was meant to have, who I was meant to have, are all here with me.  Another breath enters me and I realize that this is not the case.  Or perhaps it is my lot; this pain.  Just a lesson for others.  But if my calling is to be an offering for others, is my life worth less than theirs?  Can I have happiness without pain?  Can those two things really be separated?

So much in me is being wasted.  I just want to breathe.

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For those of you that know me, you know that I am marrying the most amazing woman this upcoming Saturday.  For those of you with whom I discuss our Faith, you also know that I am a Trinitarian Pentecostal, while my wife is a Oneness Pentecostal.  And for those of you who understand the difference, a painfully obvious question arises: how can you both walk in unison?

Through much prayer and meditation and study, I have come to the following conclusion: the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly taught in the Scriptures, any more than the doctrine of Oneness.  Yet I am an unashamed subscriber to the doctrine of the Trinity.

This is not to say that I believe the doctrine of the Trinity is unbiblical.  Rather, the Trinity doctrine is a framework, based on Scripture, which allows us to logically make sense of what the Scriptures reveal to us regarding the nature of our God.  And while this might cause some contention with those who consider themselves Apostolic in their doctrine, I feel that the doctrine of the Trinity is a far better framework for understanding God than the Apostolic doctrine.

With that said, I also feel that any human explanation of who God truly is will without fail fall short of the greatness of His Glory.  “We see through a glass darkly.”  I am most certainly willing to be corrected by Scripture should I be incorrect or misled in any aspect of my faith or my walk, and I pray that God would help me to do so.  I can agree with Origen, one of the early church fathers, and one of the early theologians that helped develop the doctrine of the Trinity, when he said in Book II, Chapter 6 of On First Principles:

These are the ideas that were able to make their way into our minds as we took up these very difficult questions about the incarnation and the deity of Christ.  If someone comes up with better ideas and can confirm what he says with plainer assertions from the Holy Scriptures, let them be accepted instead of what we have written.

Even so, to anyone who puts their trust in Christ alone for their salvation, to anyone who from their heart calls Christ Lord, to anyone who believes that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and that Jesus Christ is indeed God in the flesh: you are my brother or sister.  I will not let some high-minded, self-righteous philosophy on either side of the debate separate me from the Family of God.  “What God has called clean, let no man call unclean.”

If I understand all mysteries but have not love, it is worth nothing.

And to my wife Cheri: I thank God for you, and may God use us and shine through us as an example to those who, willingly or unwillingly, have come to love contention.

“Father, may they be one, even as We are One.”

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Gah… I hate dating. I just want a normal, healthy marriage. Is that really so much to ask?

Long story short: Romeo and Juliet spoke in tongues. Really!! It’s the tale of 2 star-crossed lovers, one is Assemblies of God, one is UPCI, both terribly in love with each other, yet held apart by differences in doctrine. Yet they are both Pentecostal… are they really so different? How will it end?

One can only hope it doesn’t end in the tragic melancholia of Shakespeare. (relax… it’s just a metaphor).

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People talk about coming to crossroads in their life.  How often do most people hit these crossroads?  Lately I’ve been hitting more than a few – or perhaps I’ve just been loitering in the same intersection too long.  Maybe I’m lucky I haven’t gotten run over yet.

So my latest question (for myself or anyone who cares to try and help answer, seriously): how do you distinguish between legitimate doubt and irrational fear?  And if it’s fear, how do you identify what exactly it is that you fear?

Do I fear moving forward?  I’ve been told that I seem to sabotage things when they start going well.

Do I fear going backwards?  How long is too long to stay in the same spot?  Did I run a red light back there?

Which way should I go?  Or maybe I’m supposed to take another road altogether?  But does that even go anywhere?

So I’m trying to do what men are so averse to do: I’m stopping for directions.  But I need to get out of the road; people are trying to get through and are starting to honk at me.  Dear God, where’s a gas station when you need one?

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This past Saturday Cheri and I were both feeling productive, and she helped me get my huge artificial Christmas tree out of the attic and put it together.  Surprisingly, there was no great frustration putting the tree together or getting to stand up straight (although it’s just a *tad* crooked).

While we were setting it up, my boys were watching SpongeBob.  It was the episode where SpongeBob failed his driving test (again) and was complaining to Patrick about how hard it was.  The Patrick (the “dumb” one) took the test and passed it on the first try.  He then went on to just flippantly tell SpongeBob how easy it was, and how anyone could pass it.

I said to Cheri, “You know, Patrick plays dumb, but really he’s a hyper-intelligent jackass.”

Cheri said, “Kinda like you.”

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Sometimes I wonder if I am entirely unique.  Yes, I know that “we’re all special in our own way”, but I really think I’m just a freak.  I sometimes ask whoever I’m talking to at the moment, “So, what are you thinking about?”, and 9 times out of 10 the answer is, “nothing”.

“No, really, what are you thinking about?”

“Nothing.”

How can anyone be thinking about “nothing”?  And this is not anyone in particular that I’m talking about.  That seems to be the case with most people that I talk to.  I don’t understand that.  My mind is constantly racing, and not necessarily in paranoid OCD kinda way (well, it’s not limited to that, I should say…).  If you ask me what I’m thinking about, you will likely hear about a whole slew of things, and the way I put them together as they fly off my tongue may or may not make sense to the average person.  If you ask me what’s really on my mind and ask me to expound upon it, you’ll get more than stream of consciousness; it’s more of a firehose.

Forgive me if I sound arrogant for saying as much.  If I sound that way, it’s only because I genuinely think I’m different in some weird way.  Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing is up to each person that meets me, I suppose.

And I suppose that this next point is somehow related to that: I am an extremely emotional person.  And yes, I realize that that fact is a turn-off to many people.  But I don’t mean “emotional” as in crying all the time and not able to handle life.  I’ve been through some stuff and I’ve handled it very well, and I challenge anyone that knows me to dispute that fact (I didn’t win custody and my house by being weak).  I mean that I experience emotions, both positive and negative and everything in-between, very deeply.  Life experiences, especially in the past 4 years, have definitely changed me.  But fundamentally I am still a very passionate person.

I’ve been told that some people actually set aside their emotions during certain events so they can better deal with whatever it is that they’re dealing with: be it work, some crisis, etc.  I personally have a very difficult time doing that.  There are moments, such as when my oldest son busted his head open and then when I had to hold him down to get stitches, where I can shut them off.  But on a continual basis?  I’m not wired that way.

When I was younger, this was a handicap for me.  My Mom had taken me to a counselor, and he told me I was hyper-sensitive (or some such adjective), and that we could work on desensitizing certain aspects of my personality.  I resisted that, and shortly afterwards asked my Mom for a reprieve from the sessions, which was granted.  It’s the same reason I didn’t stay on the anti-depressants, either: that stuff makes you numb to the world.

What I have learned over these past few years is how to leverage my emotions instead of letting them rule me, or worse, repressing them.  If I am happy, I use that as a springboard of sorts to catapult my creativity.  If I am feeling morose, I use that help me shut out the distractions around me and focus on the task at hand.  Somehow my emotions make me feel alive, very aware of myself and those around me.  It lets me sense the atmosphere I’m in.

The one thing that divorce taught me was how to be alone.  If you’ve been there, you understand what I mean.  I learned about myself, my likes, my dislikes, my desires, my fears.  And I learned how to overcome those personal demons that we too often look to others to handle for us.  God has indeed done a marvelous work in me, and for that I am grateful.

Which brings me back to what I was going to say at the top of this post: is there anyone else that understands this?  Is there anyone else out there that feels the same way?  Heck, maybe we’ve known each other for ages but we just haven’t opened up to this level with each other yet.  I ache for this kind of fellowship, where I can be myself without reserve.

So I’m sending out an SOS… anyone out there?

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I didn’t believe in Purgatory until this week. Let me paraphrase the conversation. Use your imagination to increase the intensity of vocal and emotional inflection at each line break:

“I need to let you know that I love you, and I’m not mad, but what you said last weekend hurt me.”
“Why didn’t you tell me then?”
“I didn’t want to upset you.”
“I don’t want to be with someone who is afraid to talk to me.”
“You’re right, my bad. I will do better. But I’m saying it now, you hurt me.”
“So you’re upset at me telling you how I feel?”
“…”
“If you’re afraid to talk to me, then don’t say anything at all.”
“You’re proving my point.”
“I don’t wanna talk about this now.”
“First you’re mad for me not talking, now you’re mad that I am.”
“I don’t want to talk about it now. I have to go.”
“Can we talk about it Thursday night then?”
“I’d rather talk in person.”
“Are you coming over then?”
“No.”
“I can come out to you. Can we meet after you get off work?”
“No.”

And that would be that, but she will call again later today and apologize, and I will accept it and gravel myself.

So what did I do? I had flowers delivered to her work this afternoon. She thanked me in a text msg.

At least it makes for interesting reading. I have enough material for several good throw-away novels.

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