He Chose Us

I disconnected yesterday.  It actually started Wednesday evening.  I turned off WiFi and the phone.  I spent much of the morning doing different things.  I tried to pray, meditate, read the Bible, and I read a few sermons too.  I ironed my clothes, ate food, and hit one of the trees in the back yard with a machete.  No worries about email or texts.  I turned on the TV mid-afternoon since it will not notify me of any form of human contact.

I turned WiFi and the phone back on this morning.  I did not miss anything.

As I walked the block this morning, I saw people waiting for some stores on Boston Ave to open.  I wonder what sort of “Black Friday” specials they have to create a line at a local shop.  I do not wonder enough to look it up.  I was planning on reading Ephesians since it can be completed while walking the block.  I did not get very far.  I have not been very far in my prayers lately either.  It feels so dark and empty.  The dark cloud lifted to some extent a week ago.  Not enough to begin counting.

How far did I get in Ephesians?  I’m glad you asked.

Ephesians 1:4 – For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.

I read that over and over.  Stared at it with thoughts and without thoughts.  He chose us.  In Christ.  Before the foundation of the world.

That means he gave me grace with grace.  Yesterday I felt a few moments of grace.  It did not last.  I cannot even feel it this morning.  Looking at the words do not evoke any feelings.  I have not felt alive in an amount of time that seems infinite.  That could very well have been counted from the moment yesterday.  Time feels eternal without grace.  I ask how I could get it back but only God gives us this.  I think I am desperate but I do not even know what that means.

Before the foundation of the world.  Interesting words.  Does he really mean that?  What kind of grace is that?  Is that a grace that can be understood?

I asked myself this morning (and many other days), “why me?”.  There was no good reason to give me grace.  And I squander it constantly.  The time He gives me.  The money He gives me.  Squandered.  I do not know how to stop.  He gives that ability too.

You see that He did this that we may be holy and unblemished.  They tell me His blood covers me.  They tell me His grace is sufficient.  Still I do not feel holy.  But it says “in his sight”, holy and unblemished in his sight.  Not my sight.  Not your sight either.  In his sight.  Can this be true?  The Bible says it is true.  Holy in his sight.  Unblemished in his sight.  And he decided this before the foundation of the world.  He knew I would be one of His elect.  He knew I would fail miserably at serving Him and He still chose me.  Grace.

What is this thing?

Everything and Nothing

I decided I want to be a math nerd.  Math has always been an interesting topic to read about and I understand some fundamental elements of it but there are things much deeper.

I read a math article yesterday and another this morning.  Then I saw a TED talk on math this morning.  I thought about it for moments on end.  How much fun would that be.  To see things in math because we know life boils down to math and science.  Yes, really just math but I like using both words.  As the moments rolled on in my head, I thought about one other language I wanted to know, Greek.

You would think someone with as much time as I have would know dozens of languages.  God just did not seem fit to give me some abilities.

One of the things God gave me that I appreciate most is time.  I see and hear other people that do not have time and realize just how much God has really given me.  I find it difficult to grasp how these people do not have time but I try to accept it.  It is not easy.  There are many things like this that I do not understand.  I may never understand them.

It is almost lunch time.  I am thinking about seeking out some pain.  I imagine that will taste good – blazin’ sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings.  I will probably talk myself out of it before I even get that far.

What Is Truth?

The purpose.  The truth.  The emptiness.

Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!  –Ecclesiastes 1:2

Oh that does not mean we do not live life.  Exist and do our duty.  Maintain some semblance of decorum in the world.  Of course we do those things.

If only I believed that right now.  If only I believed anything.  I’d say it was a selfishness I was holding on to but that would not be entirely true.  I would say it was a desire to destroy others and myself.  Who knows what I believe at this moment.  I am sure I do not know.

Everything really is meaningless.  Wisdom.  Pleasure.  Folly.  Toil.  Advancement.  Riches.  Oh, I could go on but Ecclesiastes really embraces it all.

I told someone a few weeks back that Ecclesiastes was not the best book when in this state of mind.  How true but it is one of the books I am drawn to.  I know I could distract myself for countless hours but that would be meaningless.  Life would still exist in this state.  I would do anything and nothing.  Anything and nothing.

I can see now the steps leading towards destruction.  They are in my mind.  Eating away at me.  They like to repeat the word “destroy”.  I hear you over there.  Seeking my destruction.  I remember.  I do.  And you see, I could achieve those things with very little effort.  Destroy.  Destroy.  Destroy.

The heart of evil.

You know I have heard the words “return to the breath” quite a few times the last few weeks.  I began two different podcasts.  One by my good friend (I do not really know him), Sam Harris.  And another about Secular Buddhism.  It has been an interesting learning experience.  The thoughts come into existence and then disappear.  Yes, so as I return to the breath the idea of destruction is removed.  The main point is there is no other thought.  All patterns are zero.  I have achieved zero before (many times).  I do not think I have realized I achieved zero while being zero.  Only after the fact.  Yet we are supposed to see this zero while experiencing it.  I have set aside time for this thought pattern.  It will be of great study interest.

There it is.  Destroy.  It was only gone moments.  Again – return to the breath.  It sounds all Zen, I know.  Zen.

As the “Zen Master” speaks, what does he say?  I suppose I will need to read a book or two.  But given the amount of introspection I do.  The focus of the mind that I maintain.  I can say that I can see the “truth” in the words.  I must say it that way to avoid specific feedback loops.  I cannot avoid them all because people do not typically know what words mean and refuse to evaluate them more than a single time (in most instances).  We accept the flow of life we are in and realize that it will come into existence and then disappear.  Yes, that amuses me.  Yes, I experience existence and disappearance.

Distraction was induced.  The desire to destroy is reduced.

What Is Real?

It is difficult for me to know what feelings are real sometimes.  I try to calmly think about them as they come but so often I am holding on for dear life that calm cannot be had.  I found that when that happens my mind is not responsive to rational thought.  It is not even responsive to requests for control.

How can I look at those things and determine if they belong to me?  Or if they are even real.

I ask how can I implement a solution.  I do not know.  I have devoted a significant amount of time to implementation and since I do not think I will do this then I must find another solution.  The other solution that comes to mind is a slow death for me.  I do not care for the slow death method.  Is the solution even real?  What is real?

Yes, well short is all I have right now.

That Moment of Realization

It was a quiet in the storm, I guess you could say.  My mind slowly recovering from the onslaught of pain.  I had that moment of realization as to the problem and solution but I could do nothing about it.  If the solution was only going to hurt me then I would have implemented it immediately but it would effect others.  So I had to weigh the situation.  These thoughts made me physically ill.

What does one do?  One suffers of course.  As I contemplated all these things in my head, I understood that I was powerless.  My tone changed the rest of that day and the next.  I did a poor job last night but poor is all I have, I suppose.  (And thankfully it was no where close to detrimental.)  I would be surprised if there were not additional realizations last night.  Things that people began to understand.

Beyond words there are meanings we can only attempt to grasp.  Are our minds taking in these details to predict the future appropriately?  There are indeed moments when we do and other moments we get terribly wrong.  I cannot say how anything will turn out.  Predictive analysis is just a tool anyway.  Then there is action.  Based upon the analysis, when should the actions take place?  There is no time like the present unless it is the future present.  (Yes, that was for my amusement.)

My daughter was ranting about the closed mindedness of the reds (my word not hers) on Thursday.  As I probed with questions about what she meant, how they were closed minded, and if she was closed minded by not accepting me stealing her money, I believe she began to understand.  I pray she did.  I asked her why she respected my opinion on the “black lives matter” issue months back.  And then showed her how my questions to her lead to that respect.  I wanted to understand why she believed that and not specifically to change the way she thought.   Then I asked if she thought this was a better model than the one she was living.

It seems she realized her own closed mindedness.  I pray she really did and begins to approach life differently again.  For many years now, I have felt like it was part of my role to make sure my kids question everything.  Seek the reasons why you believe what you believe.  Do not accept my words, your mom’s words, the words from a tweet, post, snapchat, church or anything else.  Find the truth.

My own moment of realization was a painful one for me.  One that seems as if it will lead to more pain.  I would prefer it lead to healing.

I was awake just after 2am.  The previous days I was waking up a little after 3am which was good but today will be a long day – an entire extra hour.  I do not know what should be accomplished.  I hope to be able to read some.  Maybe a nap after lunch would be good.  Not too disjointed.  There are more words but I do not want to write them.

I Am Evil

I found this post from May also.  Decided it was worth posting.  It is a bit dark but it is real.  So real…

I am evil.  Being evil is not really satisfying.  Wanting to destroy people because they are not even real.  No value in them at all.  This desire is real and deep.

The extent of my evilness is saddening.  Yet, at some point I stop caring.  The grace of God refrains me greatly, no doubt.  If I had better control, more faith, more reliance.  Maybe.

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”  –Psalm 16:2

Everything in my flesh wants to destroy.  Everything.  I can feel it.  The battle from Romans 7 wages on in my body and mind.  The more pain there is, the more I want to destroy.  The more corrupt my mind becomes.  If you only knew…

Shrouded in darkness.  It is different the past few weeks because people have ceased to be image bearers of God.  My mind, corrupted, deceived, blind.  Covered in darkness.  Not the kind I am used to, not the kind I know how to be safe in.  I have been here before but I do not like it.  Who am I really?  Evil.  Could you look at my life and tell?

This is a reason to hate myself.  You will never hate me as much as I hate me.  And even this is not the same.  No value to even hate myself greatly.  This state of mind is desperate for grace.

I suppose I can waste my life away.

Friday someone stopped by.  They cried over my state.  I’m not sure they knew the full extent of my depravity.  Only God and I know.  Will he allow me to escape?  What is the purpose?  *sigh*

The Doctor

I found this unpublished post from May.  I remember that time.  I wanted to experience the “people have no value” yesterday.  I pretend in my mind that feeling that way would have been “good” for me.  Ahhh, it was close.  Very close…

I have been watching Doctor Who lately.  The kids were all about it and so I finally decided to watch them.

It is a very sad show.

I remember the first book I liked.  The one that made me a reader, an avid reader.  To Kill a Mockingbird.  I determined the reason for liking the book later.  Atticus Fitch was someone I understood.  I probably mentioned this previously but who knows since I do not always publish what I write.

It seems the Doctor is someone I understand as well.  Every day feels like eternity.  And it is an eternity of loneliness.  Time just creeps by – it seems to be slower each day.  Moment after moment.  The time is filled up with “things” and none of them have much value at all.  Lately it has even felt as if people have no value.  I hold on to what I can but three weeks of this feeling may be worse than depression.  Do I care at all?

Someone told me I did care yesterday.  I told them how it was but they do not know my heart and thus they did not believe me.  Most people would not believe me.

So I loathed life because what happens on earth seems awful to me; for all the benefits of wisdom are futile—like chasing the wind.  –Ecclesiastes 2:17

You should see the “look” with each new adventure the Doctor has.  Oh let us fill the days with adventures so that we forget the eternity of loneliness we must endure.

I seem to be drawn to Ecclesiastes in times like these.  It seems I need to be reaffirmed in my understanding of the world.  How futile it all is.

Waves of Pain

I have a wonderful life.  I sometimes suffer pain from sadness, loneliness, depression.  I do not want or need your sympathy.  I do not want or need your suggestions on how to change my thought patterns (or anything else in my life) to avoid this pain.  Today I am documenting my experience from yesterday for informational purposes only.  Again, I do not want or need your sympathy.

I wake up and it is not instantly upon me.  It is there, deep in my chest.  I can feel it but the weight is not heavy.  I wake my son up so he can get ready for school.  I make myself busy because that provides temporary relief.  I drop him off at school and my head is under water.  I get to work and dread the schedule but God gives me enough strength to get to my first appointment.  I solve the problem and chat with the client.

I return to the office.  It isn’t so bad.  I remote into a few computers and begin to resolve more problems.  I am masking it now.  I know the difference in myself.  One of my employees walks in and I make a comment about having no friends.  It is difficult to avoid using words like this when the pain is so intense.  It was so painful I could not think properly.  I go to a meeting and I find it unlikely that I hid the pain I was in.  I eat lunch.  Just another short distraction (5 minutes or less).

The pain continues to crash upon me.  It won’t stop.  Someone drops off some money to me.  I try to act like I am not in pain.  But there is no telling what they thought.  I meet someone to go vote early.  They see the pain in me.  It is too severe to hide at this point.  I fake a smile for a picture and return to work.  Head to the bank to deposit the money that was brought to me.  Find out I did not count the money properly.  The mind was gone well before that occurred.  Return to my office.  A respite.  Even so brief.

Dad calls.  Wants to schedule a weekend with Blaine.  I barely have enough strength to have a conversation with him.  Why won’t he stopped talking to me?  Please Lord, make him stop.  Make them all stop.  The call is over.  I can focus on the pain again.

My daughter texts me about my plans tonight as if this socialite had plans.  Seems there is a movie she wants to see.  Then she arrives at my office.  Our dinner and movie date is schedule.  The pain continues.  I make it through the next hour at work, by the grace of God, only His grace gets me through.  I did not accomplish anything but I survived.  I pick up both my kids and head out to eat.  We arrive but wave after wave of pain is crashing upon me.  I do not hear the words they are saying.  I am barely holding myself together.  Holding back tears.  I remember three waves during the 45 minute dinner.  There might have been four waves but I’m not sure.  I do know that I finished my food in three minutes – Kristen timed me for some reason.

My mind, normally well ordered, is in disarray.  It has been most of the day.

We head out to the movies.  I was hit at least once by a wave of pain on our way.  Now distraction.  My daughter next to me, laughing, joking.  Another brief relief from the pain.  Yet it is quick to return.  We are not out of the theater yet and I can feel the wave building.  Slowly building inside me.  I drop them off, head home, and crash into bed.  Free from this last wave of the day.

Today begins…

I could have described additional points to yesterday but my mind still lacks focus so I will have to leave it at that.  Two weeks ago ended my 110 day streak of days without major depression.  I experience the sadness most days but those 110 days were probably the longest streak I have ever had.  At least I do not recall ever counting that high before.

I was just thinking about the focus on the pain.  I am wondering if that helps ease the pain or intensifies it.  If the Lord sees fit I will contemplate that today.

Gall of Bitterness

The gall of bitterness.  It runs deep.  It consumes.  Freedom can occur but slavery soon returns.  I wish I could pronounce its demise but alas that cannot be.

Last night I told someone how deeply they were loved.  They said I was too but I just could not see it.  I told them even if I was I reject it.  I do not know how I could be loved by anyone but God.  Who is man that I should trust in him?  I know man and I cannot put trust in him.  Bitterness mixed with knowledge and truth are dangerous.

I scoff at the idea that a person could love me.  Do not think a state of mind could alter this.  I tolerate the idea when in the best of moods but accept it gladly in the depths of despair.  Let us just ignore facts.  Let us ignore reality.  My heart “knows” the emptiness.  My soul knows the void.

I have been reminded of late of Shakespeare.

by sleep to say we end the heartache and thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to

It continues on of course.  Lovely words.

I read words for so many people.  I see you here.  I see them there.  But where are the words for me?  He brought THEM out of darkness but He seems to have left me in it.  Yes, there is a reason He left me there.  To be His light in that darkness.  What a battle.  Ahh, tell me again why He gives some strength that others do not have?  To each was given grace.  Grace, I tell you, grace.

The one thing, the only thing, grace.  All else flows from that.  It is much more than the common grace but a saving grace.

Belongs To Another

Well after five days of sadness, I recovered to a neutral.

This morning however, I feel someone else’s pain.  I cannot even pray for them directly because I do not know who it belongs to but it is intense.  I would say nearly debilitating but I suppose that is relative.  Some people can handle more than others.

Some days I would rather not know who it is.  When I know who, I often know why.  We tend to have the same problems in cycles.  It is quite odd.  I remember a girl who saw me three years in a row in August.  One of the few times each year she was sober.  I did not see her the previous two years but I do know that she was clean every time they popped her for testing.  I did however see her twin sister.  Hmmm, that seems strange.  Last week, she asked someone to take her into rehab.  I do not know if she made it.

A few weeks back someone came to me and asked about a feeling they were having.  Then asked if that was something like what I feel.  I believe it is but it is difficult to say.  I could probably drown out this feeling but would it return to the person it is coming from?  Would it be more than they could bear?  This specific individual is dealing with issues they do not want to accept.  It is hard to accept the truth when you want something so badly.

Time to stop writing and wake up the kids.  Time to start their week…