Friday, January 27, 2012

Crawling Into Data

What I have to say is nothing new. I will not wow you with information I do not possess. But I think it is worth writing down anyway for history's sake.  Sometimes, it isn't the new things or ground breaking discoveries that we as people need the most, it is the constant reminders of things we have learned a thousand times. We all know that lying is wrong, yet we often do so without a second thought. We know that it is wrong to slander others, yet we often do not even notice when we are murdering someone with our lips. The thing that has been sitting in my stomach and aching me in this culture that is quickly trading human interaction for electronic relationships, is the lack of human touch. We are losing the humanity that comes with knowing the person your venom is directed at is a human with blood coursing through their veins. People who go to breakfast in the morning and have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper, or Reddit. People who miss their parents and daily think about the day they buried them. People who enjoy roller coasters and want Boblo Island to come back.

During this year's Republican primary, one thing that has stood out to me the most is that people seem to toss aside the knowledge of the person on the other side of their screen and all that data, actually being a warm human being. People tossing insults, lies, and sharp words at each other like they are flaming lawn darts aiming to punish the soul of the person who simply disagrees with you. I am guilty too. I have noticed an increase in paragraphs I have written, then deleted before posting, realizing that they do NOT glorify God. It doesn't have to be an inflammatory statement to be pointless. God says to let your words be few. Much of what I say has no real point as far as glorifying my God.

I ask myself...would I say this to the person if I were face to face? No. Probably not. Because then I would feel bad, because I don't like confrontation. Unfortunately, the internet has become a haven for confrontation from those that also don't like human confrontation. You simply can delete the person, block them, then slander them and they will never see it. Data is unforgiving, lifeless, and brutal. A simple number will never change it's mind because of the look on the person's face in front of it. It will thrust the cold steel into the bowels and turn to another and repeat.

People are not numbers.

We can open the newspaper and read the obituaries and the stories of people who have died and we can have no emotion at all. We did not know them. People die everyday. It is life. It is the end of all people. Who cares. Who cares? But what if you held that person's hand as they died? What changes then? Human contact reminds us that we may be all different, but we are all the same. At my job, a person will die and you will put them into a bag and put tags on them. You will call the proper outlets for organ donation and whatever. You will sign the right paperwork and be done with it and on to the next thing...until the family get's there and wraps their arms around you in utter agony. All they see are their family photos stored in their minds, and the way their mom or dad smelled on Christmas Eve. There is no number for that, it cannot even be recreated. This is the beauty of life and death. God is present in both.

Often we forget that God is also present in our interaction through electricity. Your words hurt or mean just as much as if face to face, yet we lack the discernment of judging a person's face.

Let's keep it clean and civil. Let's handle our electric communication as Christ would handle His physical interaction. Let's make it a point to actually stand face to face with another person sometimes, instead of over lights.


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Facebook is changing over to the Timeline look of your profiles which allows users to go back and view the history of one's life. This is both wonderful and scary at the same time. It is like taking a snapshot of a person's entire life and saving it for whoever wants to look in at any time. I can understand that some people hate this new feature. I personally like it a lot, however stalker friendly it may be.

I went back tonight to my posts from when Will died. I have had a series of dreams of him still being alive over the past few nights which brought me to do such a dumb thing. I realized while reading posts that I can remember my tears flowing over, that I have a lot of people who care about me, and cared about Will. I read really awkward posts of condolences from people I have barely spoken to in years, just speechless in the words to say, but were caring enough to try. Of course you didn't have words to say. No one would. There are no words to make a person feel better when their hearts have been crushed, but the attempt is worth more to me than the effort. God has a way of protecting His children. I was angry and bitter at Him, yet He sends people out of the woodwork to lift me up out of the mud.

I have been going back there all day. It is weird, because I avoid thinking about Will as much as I can, because as wonderful as he was and as much as I loved him, remembering him still brings me pain. Today, the dreams would not allow me to avoid the feelings they intended. I just prayed for God to tell Him that I miss him. I pray that prayer at least twice a week and hope when I get to Heaven, he says that he missed me too.

When you look at a historical timeline, you are looking at the significant events of that period of history. I believe that Will spikes a very significant event in my history. The moment my faith was pushed and tested until it broke and God's grace fully engulfed me. Below is my timeline as I remember it.

1978- I was born
1981- I meet my little brother Andy
1983- My father wins the paternity case (No blood tests allowed)
1988- I get tuberculosis and spend a half a year out of school and in therapy
1991- Suicide is introduced into my life by a school friend over his parents divorce.
1993- I meet Will and Joe
1997- My first daughter is born
1997- I meet Jesus
1999- I meet my future wife
2001- I marry my wife
2003- My son is born
2006- My second daughter is born
2007- I contact my sister and get rejected
2009- Will passes away
2010- The crushing of my spirit
2011- I come alive again


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What I Come Home To

People will accept you or reject you based on a thousand different factors. We get up every morning and prepare ourselves to meet an ever changing world. We leave the house without any guarantee that we will be liked, succeed, or survive. We get insecure about ourselves and accept a reality that doesn't have to be true and start that car and enter into a cold and unforgiving world. This isn't news to you. You live it, I live it. The problem is that we often forget what we are coming home to. I have spent this past weekend watching my family. My son, who was stricken with anxiety this weekend, his birthday weekend. He had two major panic attacks this weekend. My wife, who is always worried about having cancer and loves her husband and kids so much she fears losing them everyday. And me....a mess...and absolute mess. I come home to the warmth of my family. I refused  to leave the house this weekend for more than an hour. I refuse to let them go. It is easy to forget the people that will die for you and vice versa when life gets rough. But they are the very people God has given me to survive and be happy. My heart is full. I cannot imagine a better life. There is no "Grass is greener" situation. I have what I always wanted and never deserved. I have everything. The world can reject me...shut me out, but I get to lay on a pillow next to my wife's and wrap my arms around little people that call me their dad. I get to be a dad that they will always love and lay their heads on, instead of the one that is distant.

God has given me all of these things.
God has given me everything.
God is good, not because I am happy, but because He is good, even when I am evil.
God is everything.


Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Punching That Clock

I haven't been writing lately. I apologize for that. I have thought about it everyday, but don't have anything interesting or groundbreaking to say. Things are changing for me quickly and I am just paddling to stay above the water, there hasn't been a lot of time to really think about how I FEEL about these things. When one is caught in a place they have no idea how to survive, much less flourish in, they rarely have the time to write down their live experiences of those things. Often they journal at times when it becomes quiet and calm and he get's a sense of peace are safety. So here it goes, because right now it is peaceful. I fully intend to journal more with different things and spill out in different ways, but for now, here is an update.

I am doing well. I am not liking the man I am becoming. I say that because when change happens we rarely like it. It usually shakes the ground beneath us. I don't like it when the alarm clock blasts with the sound of the trumpets of Jericho at 5:25 AM. Most mornings my first thought is "What was I thinking?" As a full time pastor, I would take my kids to school 3 hours later, then come home and start work in my sweatpants and t-shirt. I would put on my music and do what I did. As of late.....if my hand does not grasp that card and swipe it through by 7:06 AM, I will lose a half hour pay and be cited in an incident report.

My last boss was a very brutal man that would ask your opinion about things and take it to heart, and field any complaints and keep them from me in order to spare me the discouragement. I fear now, although I admit it is probably unfounded, that I could lose my job with one simple mistake.

The morning traffic is horrible, but not terrible (I have decreed that terrible is a more harsh word than horrible because of the strong T sound.) I drive down 75 into Detroit before the daylight showers the sky with light and will leave well after it has left. It is a difficult transition. I used to begin projects at 3 AM on a Tuesday. Now I am counting the few hours left after work, before I can drop my head to the pillow. I used to need things to think about to put me to sleep. Most nights, I fall a sleep before I realize I am trying to.

Earlier, I said I did not like the man I am becoming. I don't like him because he is what my family and I need to move forward. I need to serve Jesus full time, but do so with a joyful and serving heart, without pay. This transition really is bitter sweet. I am being forced to live a practical life. I am not practical.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, January 2, 2012


New Years Day night...the very first night it has resembled winter. There is a bite in the air that will instantly entice your hands to pull that zipper all the way to the wind pipe. It's been a pleasant holiday season, and an ending to a very eventful year. I got through college this year. I fought the urge to give up and pressed on in the power of God. I became an RN. I got a job working as an RN. God is good even when we think He is bad. I saw another side of myself this year. I saw an anger I had forgotten I was capable of. I literally gave life all I had left. At the end of this past year, I found myself standing on my feet again. My face left an imprint in the mud at my feet and the dirt remains caked on my face, but my legs are firm. My demons are beneath my shoes finally. The war was long and hard and I expended faith I didn't have to give and wound up unconscious in the arms of God...just as He had planned.

It was a very nice Christmas. I have much to be thankful for. But underneath that torn wrapping paper there is something still waiting for me. I try to get it out of my mind and haven't even thought about writing about it here until now. I didn't want it back. It is a not-so-distant memory of the phone ringing just after my son opened his Nintendo Wii on Christmas morning 2009. The other side of all of that electricity and wires was my little brother Joe and I knew what had happened. Christmas was ruined. Forever, it would be synonymous with loss and confusion.

Christmas Day 2010. I made a choice to make Christmas off limits to any feeling at all. I felt it at times, but pushed it out and turned it to anger. I would simply pretend it didn't happen and that is how I would survive. Just close my eyes and open them when I saw light beyond the darkness of my eyelids.

Christmas Day 2011. I came to this day with the same plan. This time it doesn't work and I realize this every day since Christmas. Under that paper torn in happiness, is a very real and serious issue I have to come to grips with...My brother killed himself on Christmas and I cannot rewind any tape to bring him back. I have tried not to write about him so much because I know it hurts some of his family to read, and I feel like I am whining all the time. I look at my blog stats and see that there is an influx of people visiting my blog on Will's birthday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve expecting me to spill out here. I haven't written on any of these days this year because I don't know what to say that I already haven't. I am sad, but things are getting better. It hurts to think beyond that. It is easier to pretend. But doing that is forgetting the whole point as to why I began writing for any random person to read. I put down my personal journal I had kept for 12 years and decided to bring whoever wanted to go with me on a journey through my experience of being a human being in a dying world. It doesn't make sense to keep my thoughts and experiences from this blog. For those who read regularly, you know that I don't know all the answers. I don't know most of the answers. Sometimes I feel like I don't know any of the answers. I just write things down as I see or feel them. I try to do this in honesty because I am tired of being lied to and I thing you are too. This is me, take me or leave me behind, I will continue because of the power and grace of Jesus.

2012, I am going to deal with whatever is waiting for me under that paper. And I am gonna share it with you.

Here is a list of other things I plan to do in 2012:
Write a fiction book.
Become a part of the normal masses that venture out into the night to work and return again when it is dark, and actually get used to it.
Stop doing things that my heart hurts after doing, like losing my temper and yelling at someone I love.
Crafting the most perfect batch of beer I have tasted.
Stop letting people that hate me for bad reasons effect me and the way I feel and think about them.

If I accomplish any one of these goals, I reckon I will be happier than I am right now.


Thanks for reading...Z