Before I met you I was a charged electron
pulsing with a strong magnetic field
searching for my positron,
that positive energy
that would bring me peace.
When you were that first time
within the field of vision, of sound,
I was drawn to you,
and needed you so bad.
My heart poured forth in electricity,
erupting in pulsing quivering excitement
like the honeymoon's ocean's waves later in Point Lobos, Carmel by the Sea.
I flowed forth that electron charge,
passion, love, compassion, warmth, energy.
It flowed deeper than I could imagine,
overwhelming my senses and emotions.
I danced on the waves without sinking.
That ocean has always been where I was meant to be.
And you were a part of it, connected to me.
The poem I read to you when we met,
was the poem of passionate love so intense
that it was all consuming.
That poem, read when we met,
was the seal that formed my bond of eternal love,
knowing you were the one I had written it for,
before we had met that day,
fate borne by God that I was to be prepared
as I had prayed for, answered,
so that I would not have to suffer the emptiness
of being without such a passionate love.
To Nikki, my wife,
we are there, in those stars,
our names, side by side,
connected by huge distant diamonds of light
I've been doing my share of living but need to finish what I started with these books for giving.
I intend to make it a focus of the Cursillo's balancing tripod, Piety, Study, and Action.
This is the poem I wrote as a child,
when I was meeting with my grandmother
to say our goodbyes.
She was in bed, at home,
not going to last the night,
due to cancer.
To The Terminally Ill
(Delta Magazine Fall 1996)
One who creates beauty
is a poet.
The truth of the world
lies in the secrets of happiness
which comes from the heart;
where would one start
to make love's inner rhythms unfurl
into explainable thoughts
that show what is bliss
even when our lifeline has knots?
When people stray as they progress
they must back up and repress
the problem which is a sign
of a need for specific improvement.
It is wise to be happy
and to hold on to what o ne has--
to be thankful for wisdom
and the importance it casts,
for whatever knowledge we gain
in each of our lives
there are always surprises
and changes to be prized.
When something is missing
or something goes wrong
that is our opportunity
to make ourselves strong.
In the Bible, the first will be last and the last will be first. God served us by sacrificing Himself in the most drastic way in His time on earth, and will lead us in heaven. Our sufferings give us greater elation when we reach heaven in contrast to the temporary palanca we endure honorably for others and ourselves in our first lives.
To be a leader is to follow. Jesus asked Peter to feed His lambs. That is to lead. Jesus said that we must follow His example of serving. He even submitted Himself to the governing authorities of the worldly organizations instead of being a worldly messiah--He choose the eternal heavenly reward first over the work to get there.
To give everything and follow Him. We cannot serve two masters--it is either a worldly master or a heavenly master.
In choosing to lead, we must seek where God leads us, where we may serve Him.
Following the voice of my son through the rushing waves of our group singing, I navigated for but a moment in the listening to what was being sung in a search for Jesus in others. That is how this world's civilizations will get along, as I had hoped even before finding my faith. That serving search to find that love between us, closing those gaps to no longer judge but to listen with the ears of looking for the mentor inside, that voice of each of us in the body of Christ.
There are sometimes stories that are private because, even though they are miraculous and immeasurably valuable, those same stories affect people personally to be told, and thus they go on in metaphors and in parables and in fictional characters that take the true stories places.
True stories are the best stories, because their meaning isn't empty, they actually end up meaning something to ourselves. But fiction, like all art, is a reflection of life and our own experiences. Nevertheless, I feel that, to only the extent that the real stories can be said, I will tell the tale, in the positive aspects of it... after all, it did end positively and had more good moments collectively thanks be to God!
With that said I will reflect on, not so much the miraculous healing moments of the in between moments of life, but on the romantic life that it has in its best times, the ones I wish to remember when I think of things.
Me and my precious wife went to see Pippin the first time this evening at a community college and it was a very moving play all around--intellectually, philosophically, spiritually, and artistic entertainment. With this said, the play brought back our first fates meeting, the same location (which we had not visited as a couple since) as when we saw After the Fall at the Arthur Miller Conference in 2002 and noticed each other the first sight at that event with a wish, a prayer, and magic of fate in the air. The play we watched tonight, Pippin, discussed search for fulfillment or meaning of life. It has a theme song about living while there's time, and that sums up how Pippin finds love or beauty in living the ordinary to be that intense dream that he was looking for everywhere, right at home. It summed up what I had already known these past five years since I married--that love is in helping the one you love and in living in the moment.
I reflection on life in general, there will be ups and downs like a roller coaster. Yes a lot of sayings and things I have contemplated are plain and cliche on the surface, but I'm reflecting on them in the deeper sense for the first time and seeing that they are not just sayings--they mean something of how we should look at and reflect on life in order to not be unhappy but feel that it all makes sense, thus giving our purpose peace. By doing so I have realized means of life, like that God is the Gift of Dreams that He gave us all. Without those dreams, without those sense, my life was literally at stake with the downs of that roller coaster, but if I have sense to it I can hold those handrails and get through it without fading away. Something, solid, something, good, to hold onto. A meaning in life.
Cliches are used often because they do mean something. Like you complete me. Like I see you. Like I love you.
If you are intrigued by the things I have said in this blog, know that every single one of these blog posts is a first draft. Not one of them wasn't flowed directly from the thoughts as I had them, though two or three were written first and then simply copied onto it verbatim. The book itself is almost entirely made up of things not in this blog, but the subject matters have come up in circular patterns as I deal with the issues working around with them trying them from angles until I find that right angle to see it best at.
I will write the things I need to say, and eventually learn how to edit, that copious beast which takes out redundancy, which judges words and cuts out, replaces with similar but better versions, makes everything in that foggy vision of the future clear. For now it's so hard because I've always been a person living in the moment--writing is the written work, not some patch quilt made from cutting up the pieces of how the mind saw it at the time. But I know deeper down that this is all a facade, that I must either become an editor in addition to a writer or else find someone to make my edits for me who I can become collaborators in the artistic process with, hopefully with a publisher--if not, in the way that I thought I might have to do it and had resigned myself to do it, on my own.
I had a friend I made of a homeless person by treating him like a human being and talking to him, a few years ago, probably gone now. He had been a veteran with stress disorder, and had wanted to go back to see his family some time, was trying to get on social security too. Homelessness is a largely not understood life for those that have never been there, that is all I was able to gather from it. I saw though, that in human frailties under stress, we fall victim to tragic extremities. I cared about him a lot, but was not willing to stake myself outside of my comfort zone when it might endanger safety of our luxurious 21st century American employed lifestyle. His name was Charles. I did not know his last name. Last time I saw him a year or two ago, he had been waiting for my return with a dessert I was getting him, and I had been delayed somewhat by running into someone at the place I bought the dessert from. Long story short, Charles looked like he was injuring himself with the fork I gave him when I got back, and I did not feel safe to confront him more than setting the dessert beside him and walking to a safe distance away. Anyway, there are sad moments of regret for all of us in certain circumstances, some are a greater sadness than others, and all of them have some purpose in the bigger plan. The reason I believe this? The reason I know this? It's because otherwise there is just void to our lives, and that does not give peace. Knowing there is a bigger plan and that our mistakes will not ruin it, and that others mistakes also will not ruin it, will get us through those unbearable moments to help us find peace again. That is the meaning of life--peace in the heart. One close to me said it was love, and that is true too. But it's another way of saying the same thing. Just like every mass we attend we say: Peace Be With You.
To trust God is to live with God at our center, and to trust that it will all work out, and to reach out to Him when things are flailing about in the winds of change.
To pray is something so powerful in our circumstances, and yet we forget to do it so often in our lives caught up in worldly concerns and fears and troubles. To pray is what God really wants from us. He created us in His image, and He, like us, enjoys being prayed to and communicated with--the signs of what we can do with our gifts to love Him and others fully.
What matters most?
What matters most is trusting in God.
Because circumstances are not in our control, fear not though because there is a reason God gave us the gift of life and that reason will be put to the good legacy that it was meant to in whatever the big picture of things is.
How does one learn?
One learns by asking the most important question: why, and following it up with more why's through all our lives.
Why does learning matter?
Learning matters because each of us was created (given the GIFT of life) for us to do something (to use those GIFTS we dream about doing in life for God's greater purpose) and the learning lets us find what GIFTS are to be used in the opportunity as we live the moment.
God works in mysterious ways. It's true, and understanding that is part of the leap of faith that can get you through anything when you need it most--for God does give us the inner strength to draw from, glorifying God, which can get us through the dramas and the fears that become overwhelming.
Whatever you're going through, and whenever you have fear of lost control, or just are losing the belief that holds everything together, just remember that God works in mysterious ways and that it is just a passing moment in God's long term bigger plan.
There are ups and downs in relationships, which is why commitment and holding onto hope until the down moments pass is essential part to any relationship.
If you love someone you see the good in them, the Jesus in them. Some fleeting moments it may be obscured by emotions and misunderstandings before you get your solid footing again, and patience in those circumstances might seem futile, illogical, useless--but it never is.
Remember that whenever you feel upset that it is little in the big picture. Remember that your loved one just wants more love and that you should not feel the negative side or blaming side of anything, just that you need to take responsibility for things without bringing anyone down you just commit to both the relationship and to improving in the future, and forgiving the past.
I got through my moment a few weeks ago, and it's back to the heavenly peace again. Perhaps it's a habit of thinking of all or nothing that just needs to be broken with new habits. Perhaps it's just a normal part of life during that part of the cycle of ups and downs. Either way trust in Jesus, humbly, and take it one moment at a time to handle, one day at a time to handle. That's what eventually worked for me.
I've been through Hell on Earth and back, and I wouldn't wish that fate on my worst enemy. Preventing others from suffering that long, and preventing their tortured path being too long to get out of, or of that desperate loss that I was so close to experiencing when I attempted suicide several times--to help others avoid going that deep into depression, and instead filling them with hope--that is my purpose in life, and that is my purpose in my passion for writing. That is why I write now. But I had another purpose when I first started to write.
My first love was music. Then came crushes, some of them overwhelming my ability to see straight. The escaping from them took the first hope. The first hope was to create something as important, as emotional, as deep, as intense, as powerfully affecting in making people feel emotions like love, through music.
I had one time in my piano lessons growing up, arranged the most emotional tiny snippets of Scott Joplin music that I could find from his ragtime collection--namely The Easy Winners, Maple Leaf Rag, and some of The Entertainer. The notes poured out all the love that I have in those presses of my fingers on the keys, it was an extension of my soul. I had no where to go with my passion, my life, except to seek a way to express it. It's what moves the artist mind--to have something so important that no normal plain ordinary life could fulfill that hunger.
A few years passed, I dropped high school to get my GED and go to college to get out of the environment where I felt too much longing for unrequited love, and I was diagnosed with some stigmatizing conditions related to my depression, gained weight among the side effects, and felt alienated from everyone, especially my overprotective (I felt, at the time) parents. I hit rock bottom the first time, with an overdose suicide attempt, then admitted what I did to get to the hospital out of fear of what the consequences would be or perhaps just on autopilot, and got some help that I still resisted because of what I defined my existence around. It was because I wasn't in a love of what I thought love "had to be", and that need for my life to have meaning and to not be insignificant in its moral, finite nature, that drove me there.
It took a few years after carrying the torch for someone that I turned to writing--at San Joaquin Delta College, in a rock as a literature class by Anna Villegas, about 1995. She recommended I try poetry, which I had previously dismissed as frivolous and unimportant. I was wrong about that assumption, I realized after giving it a chance in a little leap of faith.
In 1998 or 1999 I gave a leap of faith in abandoning the carrying of the torch, to try a real flesh and blood relationship, in seeing if I could woo a headstrong lady who was in my environment for years. She took to my offer out of the blue for her to wear an engagement ring, when we were just friends. "Just take it," I persisted, and she did, accepting my vulnerable assertive heart. We replaced it with an actual engagement ring each soon after with my savings, and then after six months of engaged living together--my parent's recommendation--we broke it off and I got my heart broke, in the process breaking her heart because of my immature visualization of what love was, still caught up on dreams of the past. That was the time that I was feeling that I was motivated to be more humanly compassionate, changing my previous ambitious, surface-level checklist of perfect love into more of an open heart.
In 2001-2002 I met the love of my life at last--the story of that meeting and leap of faith is in two or more previous blog posts a way back here. I was in a rocky relationship from 2002 to the final realization in 2014 that I couldn't live without her, whereas I married her. I had realized this in moments in that time period, but the timing was off--there was a time after an argument where I had realized I couldn't live without her, but at which point I felt (wrongly so) that I could never be good enough for her, in 2008, at which I again had turned to suicide attempts--overdose again, this time on a large bottle of Aspirin. Before drifting off I had prayed to God to take me and do what He willed with me, I would surrender to whatever He had planned. I had thrown up the pills that night and called for help, and that was the turning point of going back to my faith in God. God called me, He did that, as an answer to the prayers of the one I had given up on, for she had made her Cursillo and was wanting me to turn toward a more Holy lifestyle too. Her transformation is a whole other story of faith and miracles, which is for her alone to tell. On my side of that transformation, after looking for God to show Himself with a contrite open humble heart, I went through therapy that helped me escape from that all-or-nothing fixation. If you look at it simply, I had to admit to myself that even a plain ordinary life had chance to keep living and possibly make something of that life, whereas an end to life would not only be pain but also would be a loss of chances to make something worth happening to happen, whether or not I was at that time ready to admit faith in divine creator and afterlife.
What puts this into perspective at this moment in time is hearing the Shallow (A Star is Born) song and feeling the connection of what that movie had going through, that love at which we think it's all or nothing, but at which it's really all or all. It's just a matter of opening the door to life, and seeing the light. I don't want anyone to have to go through the dark longer than they have to, and if it's in God's plan that these words reach someone and they connect without having to experience it first-hand for themselves, then that purpose has been fulfilled.
I had a realization today that I should talk in my book not just about what I have experienced relating to myself, but also to witness to the miracles of those I have been graced to see in their own miracles.
The Cursillo ministry has moved many souls around me to pray, and the results and proof that prayer has changed lives and made miracles happen has happened over the measure of our faith alone.
I want to acknowledge a couple prayers for healing miraculously answered. One is when the doctor had already been certain of a tumor being cancerous and decided on treatment accordingly, for a relative of my wife, and when her family and I prayed over her with complete confident trust in Jesus's power, she was found to be benign. She is currently recovering from the last procedure in getting her back to a healthy digestive system. The other is my wife's grandmother whom we prayed in a group over when she fractured her hip, and after that she was able to walk some again and be with us. There was a decision to be made in that case and we went with the one that trusted that she would be OK and heal, and that gave her a chance to recover instead of the decision that would have left her bed-ridden for the remainder of her years. She has been sharp as a tack since then with her alert mind, a side prayer that I had given for her to be with us in mind.
One of the things we may often have to learn the hard way, is that the hard way is the only way to achieve success.
Palanca, earning our peace, and purgatory are some names it goes by. Sacrifice, perseverance, and patience are virtuous actions we can take in that regard. Basically it all amounts to the "supernatural" trait of accepting suffering, which helps us to transcend worldly circumstances and ways by a leap of faith.
If you don't earn money, you don't value it much. If you don't have to work hard to achieve the greater things, how can one truly appreciate their value, their worth? It comes from seeing the lack of something that one is moved and motivated to do something about it. It is by being exposed to those in need that we take on the role Jesus set an example for us to do: that of serving God through helping our brothers and sisters, all adopted children of God the Father.
There's no way of cleaning up my life except by eliminating any dirt, any distraction, any sin, in order to get to the core purposes and important things underneath.
My first book in the To Dreamers series is a book of traits that are important. This is my list, and may be subjective, and may just be my interpretation of the scriptures, of amateur philosophy, and amateur Apologetics (Apologetics, in Catholic faith, are the Catechist doctrines that explain what the Scriptures mean in clear form, for which I hope to eventually devote more time to in the future as I grow in faith). Take them with a grain of salt in reflection so that you can do deeper independent study of Scripture in learning faith.
Anyway, once you're ascertained for yourself what the most important things in life are, you can eliminate anything not related to them, thereby earning the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially inner peace. This cleaner lifestyle makes for a much healthier experience of everything. And helps develop the actions, words, and thoughts that determine your destiny, and get your direction on course for your life fitting into The Plan.
The Plan? God's bigger plan is beyond our smaller scale of vision and includes suffering as a means to the appreciation of life. It involves heavenly rewards of eternity being better than worldly temporary pleasures. It involves feeling good about one's self and one's place in the world. It involves a feeling of safety inside that cannot be touched so long as the faith stands firm. It is about miracles happening when one believes in the power of good and of love. It is something of old magic, of God's magic, though He doesn't call it magic, He calls it miracles. It is about God making us feel valued, which is why He sacrificed His most precious gift, His only begotten son, in a total way.
My brother-in-Christ Julian Sepulveda once used a metaphor of the sailboat parts and the wind in how we go through life. God is the wind, but we cannot use God's gifts of the wind to get where we are best to go unless we set forth with a mast of the studied rules God has given us to live with integrity by, and we must have the outreaching sails of faith to catch that wind and hold firm to those rules in order to direct it correctly. I may not remember the exact manner of the metaphor, but I am paraphrasing on memory.
I had been alone for a thousand years or more. (The feeling is more real than the metaphor). The woods echoed, streets quiet, wind rushed without a human sound. Nor were there the electronic noises I had been accustomed to for the time growing up. Actually, it was in a basement apartment, where I had sought solace on purpose to dwell on the lost feeling I had that the so-called perfect match wasn't in love with me. The distance I put between me and my parents and the one that I had tried to love in the first relationship were mere distractions from my all-consuming sadness. But one day, I met the true match.
I had been on a dream quest, and I had prayed about it, and then, one day, out of the blue, with my most passionate love poem ready to go to a deaf and blind audience, suddenly she appeared and there was someone who I really, truly, wanted to hear. She was the One, and I knew it right when I noticed the gentle look in her eyes, the manners, the voice, the way she dressed, the way she stood, the words she said, the fact that she had been drawn to this cultivation of independent arts and written spoken words at the poetry meeting at the perfect place at the perfect time, it all started. I was no longer alone. I never was alone, she was waiting, part of God's unseen plan there all along, an answered prayer, an answered wish, a sign of destiny being an actual reality for the first time confirming that I had a purpose in life.
I was not alone. My wife with me, in this journey through life. My God with me, through all the strife. My loved ones reconnected through giving some faith. A world with a direction, not lost from hope. A dream of a dream, as CS Lewis put it. This was a real dream, a reality that was as high as that floating, glowing lights drifting, perfect focus on the inner feeling, that moment when it all fits into place and has a unified reason to be. It was life with meaning, understood. The miracle of life in its mystery, become one with my thoughts, and become part of me.
Ingratitude is the opposite of faith, but those who put their trust in worldly pleasures and measures of success, are often blind to this.
The thankfulness we show toward God results in spiritual gifts that affect our inner peace, miraculously.
In God we trust.
I once was, twenty years ago, hitting rock bottom with depression. I had no close friends and I had distanced myself from my family. I hadn't connected with anyone relationship-wise, and when I did it ended in tragic all-or-nothing type scenarios. I had lost what I had of faith, and if I had ever found it, it was in the untested sort in which the simple living a normal life was too little for my expectations to be happy with, to cope with, or to be confident around.
All that changed with a couple, actually more than a couple, leaps of faith in my life.
The first of these most notable leaps of faith was to reach out in my first relationship around 1999. I had to make mistakes to learn from them, and I did greatly. I learned the romantic notions I had of a "perfect list" type love was ill-conceived. I learned that one cannot make someone love you, and that one should not try to love without being willing to love back. I learned that the relationship was, after all, not something to control or be a leader of, but to be a partner in. I learned by heartbreak after a six month engagement that I was too immature to handle it at that time.
Three years later I met my future wife, and knew as soon as I saw her that it was meant to be, if I could only make the impression right. The feeling, the KNOWING in the heart more certain that one knows that one is experiencing life, that she was--and is--THE ONE. I had before that made a mold for someone to fit, but this time I had the fit already, and I became the one to mold to fit it. That was in November 2002, at the Caffeine Den, in Stockton, California, at a poetry reading, in which I talked about in a previous blog post here.
In the further journey, I found faith again in the struggles of learning how to love and let myself be loved, and to compromise and still have dreams, when I was in another moment of insecurity. I had not felt I was worthy, had given up on the relationship because I had felt that I couldn't bear to argue over things that one or the other of us wasn't compromising in. The love we had was passionate and intense, but at the same time we were both proud and had our lines drawn in the sand. I had broken up with her and attempted an overdose, but not before praying for a way to resolve it whatever that way was that I could not see but God would know best, over ten years ago that was, and after a few minutes threw it up and called for help.
Since then things grew better and better gradually. I learned how to live and how to love. I learned about faith and worship. I learned about peace inside being the only thing, and the circumstances of worldly things around being seen and changed by how you see them. I became Catholic, married, and involved myself in the Cursillo. There are infinite steps on our ladders, each of us not to be judged by our place along them except by God. The steps, those levels, can be improved and we can help improve each other. It just takes a leap of faith to get past the negative side of things, and to see the light.
Most of us can agree that confidence is a positive trait that leads to success, along with perseverance through the bad and good.
What many don't connect with this in their thinking is how looking at the positive side of things is the motivation for confidence AND for perseverance.
When it comes to describing the point of view that takes everything equally, both positive and negative, you can look at that view in itself in two ways: that of describing it as objective, in which you give fair value to everything, or alternatively in taking it as indifferent, in which it doesn't take enough of a stand on what one values and believes in and puts faith into, and puts hope into.
What I'm saying that objectivity, when it comes to viewing the bad and the good attributes of any given situation, is less effective in creating motivation that we need to succeed than the alternative of having an outlook of seeing the positive light in a situation.
The opportunities for improvement and making a difference are there either way, it's just a better more effective approach to look at the sunny side of life when living it.
Being upset over what you cannot control is not a heroic thing. It is not an even powerful thing. But our human selves hold onto what we want or what we think is the most just way of doing things.
And that's Okay.
It's Okay to hold onto what you want, what you dream of, what you know is right. That is who you are.
What you have to let go of is the assumption that we control more than our own decisions on what the one person that is our individual self does in any given situation.
By facing our challenge without assuming the right thing will work out, just being who we are and not assuming success by worldly terms, is what faith is a big part of, and is what gets us through the downs in the ups and downs of this roller coaster called life.
I'm learning not only to be mindful of what my inner focus is, but also what I am mindful of in the sensations around me, such as opening my ears to the sounds of nature.
Like a barrier was lifted this morning when I was walking to work, when I turned my attention from the steps I was making and the thoughts about things I could do productively, towards the purposeful listening to the birdsong and sounds of nature and critters all around me that were not noticed just moments before.
The world is out there, and noticing them is the essence of what stopping to smell the roses means, not just a cliche or expression, but an action. God's blessings to you all.
I'd once always wanted to refuse John Lennon's line "There are no problems, only solutions," when I heard it sung. There were times when I wanted to be strong as Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela, in their resolve and patience to change the world. There were times when I would wish I had the relationship that was in perfect harmony without arguments and brief separations--now I've resolved those issues for the most part, as much as any human can. I realized a fundamental truth.
If I don't have inner peace, if I'm not happy with all of my circumstances in my worldly life, then I have no one to blame but myself.
We don't control other people, or even the things that happen, and can never expect to. To attempt to do so is insanity, and the source of all unhappiness, all problems, and all arguments.
So the solution is to simply accept everything we cannot change, like that old adage from ages old, that serenity prayer. If we ask God to grant us the wisdom, and simply realize that we cannot change anything around us, we can only change that Man In The Mirror (as Michael Jackson put it), then we will achieve happiness and all that we could ever hope for, because we have at that point let go of worldly purposes that are futile, and given ourselves fully to the spiritual purpose--that God has us in His great plan and that we just need to take that leap of faith and trust in it, and move on.
In mathematics if one has two things one notices as a pattern, one can combine them as variables in an equation in order to solve for one variable (in this case how to find joy).
If one were to use these equations...
God's will, including work such as suffering for others (is greater than, not equal to) My will
God's will is the source of all good
Good is how I find joy
My will is not equal to enough for joy,
God's will is much more likely to bring joy than my will
What we need to redefine is what replaces poor quality thought habits with good ones.
Don't worry, instead think of your good dreams, your precious moments of life. One can't both worry and imagine joy at the same time.
Repeat to yourself that you are being taken good care of, it's a big mysterious plan.
Inner peace will transform any experience.
I heard somewhere that the rich have more in common with the poverty-stricken homeless than they have in common with the middle classes. That makes sense when I look at it recently.
To be at a point where you've nothing to lose, and to be at a point where you have everything to lose, both have attachments to the situation the person is in, possessions in emotional and physical worldly investment that one feels entitled to and obligated to take care of. The world is on their shoulders, for both types.
I've been on the poorer end for a while now, but have always been able to provide for the basic necessities (thanks be to God) and have been able to take small comforts that have led to an appreciation that I've nothing that I want aside from what I can have (thanks to the American lifestyle of technology, of convenience, of freedoms, and of protections).
The comforts I have from a small apartment in California where the weather is mild (relatively) and the beautiful places are just a two hour drive away, outweigh the fact that our living costs are going up over the course of each lease renewal and living costs of everything raising with inflation. I have been able to keep up with these, with minor setbacks, with a ladder rung at a time of blessings that Jesus provided us with in response to open prayers. And we know and trust with our faith, me and my wife, that He has our best interests in mind and will provide for us a good future in this life with a safe haven in the next when our gifts, including our stewardship of time here on Earth to serve Him, has been used up as it inevitably will one day.
To give my everything over to God as I did when this long upswing from the depths of depression started towards the perfect peaceful harmony with my life of now, to give that 100% in faith (or as close as humanly possible through the Graceful presence of God in our hearts) I am given everything I could ever want, without needing any worldly materialistic shallow measure of success in career, finances, possession, security, or guarantee of future (aside from that in the most important thing, our Spirits). The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
In our lives we have grown accustomed to thinking of a higher value in "caring" about things, i.e. worrying needlessly and having strong negative emotions when things go wrong as if we had to. That is what brought me to the depression depths in the 1990's and early 2000's, and which is now replaced by the much more important value in Joy (which is obtained through gratitude from faith in God and His purpose).
Joy is much better than to be caught up in the feelings of hurt. Forgiveness, letting go, meditation, and leaps of faith are all the release from the worldly value that clings to a false sense of justice, in lieu of the real justice, God's right and wrong which stems from values of the Spirit and not of worldly possessions and conflicts.
The secret to meditation is minimized thought, on some known good.
I am focusing a little of my thought now on a book and a movie, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, which I grew up with long before this digital age kicked in and the overabundance of media drowned my direction for the while that it had.
The focus of that book becomes metaphorical and lets me philosophize on a deep wisdom spiritual level the meanings of the Bible in real life, through looking at it slightly distanced from the traditional viewpoint of first hand scripture. CS Lewis seems to have weaved into the story much of the underlying conflicts we have about our faith and the true meaning of the sacrifice of Christ, of our human obligations, of the laws of life and of right and wrong, and other truths both light and heavy.
I recommend going back and reading it from cover to cover, or reading it for the first time if you have only seen the movie.
It's got some truths that hit me on the second time around seeing the movie right after reading parts of it. Like the reflection on taking responsibility for our impact on others, and how it's really easy to blame but when we are honest we realize the real reason for each other's falling is because of our own coldness or indifference, and how we wish we could go along with Jesus in His journey but there is only so much that He can have us bear that weight with Him.
Another truth that CS Lewis, or else the movie directors, put into the book, is the confession being a clearing of the past where you start over fresh without the sins being your downfall any longer, like in the movie scene where Edward goes before Aslan (symbolic of coming before Jesus or to God through another) in a penitent manner giving himself to him. That is one thing I think is important in my decision to be Catholic, having the sacrament of confession, aside from the Eucharistic rites being handed down.
God bless you, and the world, and all Praises and honor to God.
Donald R. Anderson. Aspiring writer. Amateur philosopher and amateur writer of Apologetics (i.e., the Catholic reasonings). Faith-driven kindred spirit.