Saturday, December 29, 2007


A couple of weeks ago I was reading from the book God's Grace and the Homosexual Next Door, and there was a part in the book written by Randy Thomas where he talks about the first time God really entered his heart. He had went to a church service and overheard a lady refer to God as “Abba” in a prayer. He was curious about what that meant, and so after the service, he asked the lady about it. She told him that Abba meant daddy, and that it was a term of endearment toward God. Randy makes note that the thought of God being “daddy” was something he'd never considered. And since he had never had a daddy, the thought of God being that for him, opened his heart to God.

I read that and I thought a great deal about it. I have a dad. I love my dad, and I know he loves me. But I've rarely felt very close to my dad. I've wanted to. I've wanted so much for him to open up to me, but he won't. There were a lot of times when I was growing up that I felt so ignored and rejected by him. He wouldn't spend very much time with me. And I know that's made me feel, at times, as though I'm not very important to my dad. Things have been better between us in more recent years, but a lot of times it's been the same old thing even still.

The other day I wanted so desperately to spend time with my dad, but he was too busy doing other things—things which he easily could have put off to have spent a few minutes with me. I thought back to what Randy had written, and all I could think about was wanting God to be my daddy. I want to believe so much that God loves me and that I'm important to Him. I want God to take care of me and to love me and to fight for me and to satisfy whatever desires I may have. I want to trust Him like that.

I've prayed a few times now, asking God if He would be my dad, and even calling him that and thinking of him as my dad. That may sound a little funny to some of you, but I don't care. In a way, I feel like I'm an orphan whose just been adopted. I know God wants to spend time with me. I know I can go to Him at any time, and He'll be there for me. I know in my heart that He loves me and cares for me and wants the very best for me. I can't always say that about my earthly father, but I know I can say that about my Heavenly father. And this seems to fit really good.

I know a lot of people who struggle with homosexuality tend to struggle with believing in God. A lot of times, it is because they are afraid God, the Heavenly Father, will be just the same as their earthly father. Since a lot of homosexual men tend to have strained relationships, or no relationship, with their father, therein lies the struggle. Or they view God as someone who rejects and hates, as others have treated them. They have a hard time believing God could be any different. But I'm here to tell all of you that God is not like earthly men. He is greater than that! God never rejects, He never hates, and He never condemns anyone who will simply turn to Him and believe. He is not harsh, nor uncaring, but loving, understanding, and sympathetic to each of us. He has compassion for all of us. Oh how I wish everyone could know God for how marvelous He really is! Put simply, He is love. He is the greatest love any of us could ever know. He's the greatest love I have ever known.

I haven't always pursued God in my life. I think I have always believed in Him. But there have been times when I've turned away from him and pursued my own interests rather than His. There have been times when I've found it so hard to trust God and to allow Him into my life. But I don't want to be like that anymore. I don't want to be me anymore. I just want to be God's—in every way. I want Him to be my dad, and I His son. I cherish the thought of that. I hold that dear to my heart. I'm so glad, and I'm so overwhelmed, that God allows me, and all of us, to have that sort of relationship with Him.

Abba, oh how much I love you!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Went Well

Hey, everybody!

I hope all of you had a good Christmas. I had had a little bit of a hard time getting into the spirit of things concerning Christmas, but as it turned out, I have to say that this was one of the best Christmas' ever. I felt close to my family, everyone got along, we had fun with each other, and I certainly felt close to God. It was an unusual Christmas in a lot of ways--there were a few key differences this year--but overall, it was a very good Christmas and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

New Year's is just ahead of us now, and I hope and I pray that 2008 will be a better year than the one coming to an end. I have a feeling it will be. :)

Let me know how all of your Christmas' went. God bless.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Trust of Mary and Joseph, and George Bailey

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

I am the Lord's servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38)

Could you imagine being in Mary's place? I'm sure she knew that allowing God to use her in order to bring about the savior of the whole human race would indeed lead her to experience many difficulties and hardships—and probably much ridicule. She had to be wondering what others would think of her. How would Joseph respond, knowing he was not the father? How would her family react? Would they believe her story, or would they believe she had had sex outside of wedlock? Would the rest of the people in her village believe her? And what about the future? All eyes would now be upon her son, and obviously on her, being the mother of the Savior. Mary had to have great trust in the Lord in order to willingly offer herself to Him in such a manner. Just think, she could have refused! She could have told the angel Gabriel, “I will not have this child. It would ruin me!” But Mary did no such thing. She simply agreed to let the Lord use her for His own purposes. That is exceptional trust and faith on her part in the Lord. This showed her love for God, over a love for herself. She would have this child, she would name him Jesus, and she would raise him and love him with all of her heart. She did as the Lord had asked of her.

And now we come to Joseph.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” -- which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)

I think Joseph was truly a man of great character. When he found out that Mary was pregnant, knowing the child within her was not his own, he could have easily thrown a huge tantrum, brought Mary before the city elders, and brought her to total disgrace, if not death. But Joseph was a good and caring man, and even though he was assuredly hurt and disappointed by the news of her pregnancy, he had decided to divorce her quietly in order to spare her from any disgrace. I have no doubt in my mind that Joseph was a very good man indeed, and that he did genuinely care about others.

After an angel of the Lord (who quite possibly could have been the same angel, Gabriel, who visited Mary) came to Joseph and explained the situation to him in a dream, Joseph decided to place his trust in the Lord. He took Mary home as his wife, refrained from having sexual intercourse with her until after the baby had been born, and called that baby Jesus. He did as God had asked of him.

No doubt, Joseph knew he was going to be taking on a huge responsibility. And I'm sure he questioned what other's would think, just as Mary, but he did not let that stop him from doing what the Lord wanted him to do. He placed his trust in the Lord and followed through with the plans, which God had made for him. Like Mary, he showed great love for God by submitting himself to God this way. He would take Mary as his wife, raise Jesus as his son, train him, teach him, and love him. And he honored God by doing so.

I have great respect for Mary and Joseph. I find comfort in their ability to trust God. I find comfort in knowing that they trusted God with such a difficult responsibility, and that God led them and took care of them throughout. Their trust paid off in such a marvelous way. Just think about it. Mary could have refused to give birth to God's son. Joseph could have refused to marry Mary. Both could have altered God's plans for their lives in such a drastic way. But instead, they trusted God, and allowed Him to use them in a way that would bring about a great good for all of mankind.

I keep trying to build my trust in God. Here at Christmas, as I read passages such as the ones above, involving Jesus' birth, seeing how Mary and Joseph trusted God in this situation, I can't help but feel a greater desire to do the same in my own life. I want to trust God. In my past, it hasn't always been easy for me to do that. But I know if I can only learn to trust God, he will use my life for great good. And if I can be used for any good in advancing His plans, I think that's a great thing. I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to give my whole life for whatever plans he has for me.

One of my favorite movies is called “It's A Wonderful Life”, and one of the things I have always loved about that movie is the way the character George Bailey always thought more of others than of himself. He had to make some rather huge sacrifices in his own life in order to do that, and that would cause him to despair throughout much of his life. But in the end, he discovers all those sacrifices throughout the years were well worth the price. God used his life in order to touch so many other lives around him. He used George Bailey in order to bring about a great good, which, without him, would never have taken place. Had he never lived, as he is given the opportunity to see, the people he had helped and loved in his life would have lived far different lives. They would have experienced much harder lives.

What George realizes is that his life has purpose. His life had great meaning. And though he may have little on this earth in terms of material or comfort, he had an abundance in friendship and love. But he also had favor with God. And it was God's will for him to continue living. Once he is revealed how much good he can bring about in this world, he breaks down and desperately begs God, “I wanna live again! Please God! Let me live again!” A man who was at the brink of wanting to give up on life, realizes just how great a life he really had, and how valuable he was to God and others in this life. He would go on living, trusting God. And I love that.

There again, at Christmas time, we get to see how trusting God is worth it in the end. My hope is that for all those reading this, you will trust God as well. Reach out to God and let him take full control over your lives, and see if miracles don't start happening. Allow God to use you to better this world, and to bring about great things indeed.

God bless, and Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wise Men

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matthew 2:1-12)

I love to read about Jesus' birth. In particular, I love to read about the excitement so many felt upon hearing news of his birth. What a glorious thing it must have been for those Jews of old to hear that their savior had finally been born.

I think it's interesting that the magi should be so often referred to as “wise men”. Here we have men of foreign lands traveling from afar to see, worship, honor, and even protect the son of the living God, the future savior of all the world. And they are called “wise”. I think that's interesting because they did not do anything different than Christians do today—to search out, see, worship, honor, and protect the son of God.

A wise man is indeed one who has Christ in his life. If we believe in the life and death and resurrection of God's son, Jesus Christ, we are spared an eternity of punishment, and are given an eternity of peace with God instead. Those who do not place their faith in Christ, are called foolish, for they bring punishment upon themselves. For all sin is punishable, but through Christ, all sin is forgiven.

At Christmas, we remember the birth of Jesus for this reason. We remember, because he loved us, died for us, and saved us from the clutches of eternal darkness and damnation.

Yes, it is wise to seek out Jesus. It is wise to accept the love, mercy, forgiveness, and hope which he offers us all so willingly.

Merry Christmas, everybody! I hope each and everyone of you a glorious day wrapped in the love and warmth of our magnificent, loving savior, Jesus Christ.

Lonely, Restless Night

Well, it's almost three in the morning, and I have absolutely no desire to sleep. I've had a good day, as days go. I was actually very much so full of energy earlier, and quite happy. I felt good. But now, I just feel lonely. I've been reading through several other blogs and that's made me wish so much that I could know some of you better than I do. I wish we could all just live next to each other and be friends and hang out and encourage each other and help each other in our lives. I wish the only people who ever seem to understand me didn't always have to be people who live so very far away from me. I'd love to sample a great old bottle of wine with Rik. Or go to the beach or a hockey game with Jay. Or sit and listen to Beast talk about growing up in Vietnam. Or tour the city of Seattle with MR. Or go to one of Pomo's football games. But all of you are where you are, and I seem to be where I am, and I suppose that's not going to change. We're limited in what friendship we can have. But at least I do have a friendship with several of you, and I'm grateful for that--even if it is in this limited capacity. And I'm grateful for the Internet, because without it, I don't suppose I'd ever have known any of you. So, I'm grateful in one sense, but I'm frustrated in another. I just wish I could make more closer friendships. The personal face to face kind so that I wouldn't always have to feel so lonely. I wish I felt like I could open up more and just be myself around people closer to me, and to not always fear what they'll think of me. I keep myself lonely, I suppose. But then, I don't feel like I can be open and be myself around other people most of the time. I don't feel safe to do that. But I'm tired of being lonely...

I think I'll try to sleep now.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

This Is For Scott

I always hate to hear of people who commit suicide. It grieves me terribly, because I know what it's like to want to do that—to feel such utter hopelessness, despair, and emptiness. I've contemplated killing myself many times in the past. I came within only seconds of doing that a few years ago. I had planned on driving my car off the road and over a bluff. I remember turning the wheel and hitting the rough edge of the road, and at the last second, I turned the wheel back. I honestly do think that if I had stayed on course only a second longer I would have went over that bluff. I would have killed myself. And the thing is, I really don't know why I didn't. I wasn't afraid of dying. I wanted to die. I just know that something made me turn the wheel, and I don't think that I could ever credit that to anything other than the hands of God directing mine. But I know what it's like to want to die. It's such a terrible, empty feeling. It's a miserable feeling that I don't think any words could ever accurately describe.

Last Friday, a man I knew of—not personally, but just knew of—killed himself. His name was Scott. He was a hairdresser and worked in one of the local shops. I had never met the man myself, but my brother knew him and had told me about him. Just today, my brother informed me that Scott had taken his life. I asked him how it had happened. He told me Scott's parents had found him Thursday night curled up in a ball on the floor with a Bible in his hands, and then the next day, they found him hanging from a rope in his home.

Why? Why did this have to happen? Why couldn't I have done something to help him? To show him the truth?

I blame myself in part for Scott's death. I honestly do. Because here was a Christian man, who lived near to me, who struggled with his sexuality, just as I have, who I knew of and I could have went to and I could have befriended him and helped him, but I didn't. I could have helped him! Thing is, and this is where irony or something has such a horrible way about it, I had prayed for Scott just last Thursday night. I'd thought of him, because he was a hairdresser, and in a book I've been reading, God's Grace and the Homosexual Next Door, Randy Thomas mentions going to a gay hairdresser. That had made me think of Scott, and it made me pray for him to be able to find God, and to be okay. While I was praying for him, he must have felt so awful. He must have felt so lost and empty, and confused and hopeless. And he killed himself.

Why didn't I go to him sooner? Why didn't I do more when I knew there was more I could have done? Why didn't I go to him and tell him how much God loved him?

I know Scott was raised in a Christian home, and I believe he was a Christian. I don't know how God is going to judge him, but I pray that he shows mercy upon him, because I do know that Scott was a kind, warm, loving, and gentle person. I remember how he took pity on one of my nephews when they were babies. Their grandmother has only ever favored just one of the two, and she had left one of them in his carrier without showing him any special attention as she did the other, while at the shop where Scott worked. I know Scott went to that one and held him and played with him. And I always was grateful to him for having done that, so that my nephew didn't feel neglected or alone, or unloved. I wish I had known Scott. I had wanted to meet him for a long time now, and I had just recently been thinking about going to him to get my haircut.

Do you all know that God loves you? Do you know how much God cares about you? Do you know how much he wants to be there for you and to spend time with you, and to make everything in your lives better? Don't you know that he loved you so much that he was brutally beaten and died just to save you? To save all of us. Just so that we could all spend eternity with him. God's not your enemy. This world and the devil is your enemy. And killing yourself is exactly what your enemy wants you to do. I wonder if Scott knew that. I don't suppose that he did. I'd imagine he thought as I did once—that death was the answer, and a way out. You know, God doesn't care that we're attracted to this, or tempted to that. None of that stops him from loving and caring about any of us. He doesn't condemn or hate any of us because we're gay or have homosexual temptations. Nor does he hate us if or when we give into those temptations. He loves us always.

I know that it's not God who made me different, or to have bad feelings, but the devil. I know that God is my best hope, my friend, my daddy. I know that He loves me beyond anything I could ever imagine. And I wish so very much that Scott had known that too. Like I said in my last post, I wish nobody ever died without knowing the truth. I think Scott probably knew some truth. But I doubt that he knew all of it, and I doubt that he ever had the Christian help that quite possibly could have saved his life. I wish I had helped him, and been friends with him. I knew the truth, and I didn't help him. I wish I had helped him.

Please, all of you, pray for Scott and his family, and for all those whose lives he touched. It's so close to Christmas, and I'm sure this has to be so hard on all of them right now. Please also pray for me to always proclaim the truth, and to never hold it back.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If You Give the Devil A Ride

One of my favorite quotes is “if you stop to give the devil a ride, eventually he'll want to be the one doing the driving.” What that basically means is that if you entertain sinful thoughts, and give in to those temptations, the devil will use that to little by little gain control over your life. The point is that, if you see a temptation coming up ahead, don't stop, just drive on by. Get out of there! Don't stop to let the devil into your life. Just leave him there stranded on the side of the road.

A few months ago, a friend of mine recommended a book to me called Heaven's Back Row, by a man named Bob Blackford. Nowhere have I ever known a greater example of how a person can allow the devil to take over their life. Blackford describes in his book the events, which led up to him contracting the HIV AIDS virus. And even though his story is one of great hope and redemption in the end, it is nevertheless an incredibly sad life story. It's one of parental neglect, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, confusion, self-doubt and low self-esteem. It's a story of a man who becomes a Christian, gets married (even though he knew he was homosexual), has children, goes into the ministry, and then little by little severely damages his life by allowing Satan to control it.

He began going into gay bars and adult bookstores. Then he began secretly having an affair with another man. He let that man introduce him into a very promiscuous gay lifestyle. One in which he lied to his wife for many years in order to have it. And it was through this relationship that he contracted the HIV virus. When that happened, he was caught. He knew he had to confront the people in his life about this, and the aftermath of that was that he nearly lost everything he had—his ministry, his family, his friends, even his life. And the truly sad thing about this was that, by that time, he was hooked. He continued to seek out other men and to have sex with them. He continued looking at pornography and lying to his family. And he hurt all those other people in his life so terribly.

I read Bob Blackford's book and I can't help but break down crying. I feel sorry for him and for the people in his life. I've had a lot of the same feelings he's had, and I've even done a few of the same things, so I can relate to him very well. I know how awful he's felt about some of the things he talks about. I know all too well about some of his struggles—a lot of them have been my own. And I hate that he's had to go through everything he's went through. I hate how he allowed Satan to get such a strong foothold on his life. I'm saddened that he now has to face all the consequences of that. I'm saddened that the man he was with also died of AIDS, as a very lonely, poor man who never knew Christ. I'm saddened that another man he knew died in a very similar way, rejecting God only because he was afraid God would be too much like his uncaring, unloving father. I'm saddened that Bob's wife and family and friends had to go through all the turmoil that he brought upon them. I'm saddened by the fact that they have to continuously watch this man they love now die slowly by a ravaging illness.

I wish, with all the openness of homosexuality today, that there was a greater openness of a persons options when dealing with this. If I find guys attractive, does that mean I'm gay? If so, does that mean I have to live a gay lifestyle? Can I be a Christian and still be gay? Is there any help or hope for me to overcome homosexual desires? All these questions and more I don't think are being answered. Are people getting help? I don't think so. At least not like they should. We have ministers who won't talk about this issue, or if they do, it's only to condemn the homosexual to hell. The media and a great many school officials and politicians seem to push and promote the idea that homosexuality is okay. That is, believe it or not, a fact. And so where does that leave a person? Especially a young, confused person who doesn't want to be gay? It leaves them alone and confused, and prone to giving into things that they probably wouldn't give into if they were just properly taught about this issue—as in the case with Bob Blackford.

I see people who are so confused and desperate for some answers. I see people suffering. I see them going down a road of destruction, led by the devil, searching desperately for something they can't seem to grasp onto. And the very thing they need (God and his truth) so many of them turn away from because of self-righteous, hypocritical bigots who show them no care or mercy or love, and give them the message there's no hope for them. And so they keep on searching... in vain.

And that's what Satan does. He gets at you little by little until eventually he takes you further than you'd ever imagine or dream you'd go, all in a big ploy to get you to turn away from God and to destroy your life. I'm sure Bob Blackford never intended to meet that man in the bookstore when he went in. I'm sure he never expected to have a long-term relationship with that man afterwards. I'm sure he never expected to get AIDS, or to hurt his family and his ministry and his friends. You see, once you pick up the devil, once you open your life and your heart for him to infiltrate, he's going to do everything he can to destroy you. That's his sole purpose, because he hates God, and he hates us because we're a part of God's creation.

I look at the man, Michael, who Blackford talks about as his second long-term gay partner, and I feel so sorry for him. I can't imagine how unloved he must have felt. I can't imagine how horrible a death he must have experienced. And why? Because his father didn't love him and was ashamed of him. Because he believed the lies of those bigots. Because no one of the church, not even Bob, ever really tried to reach out to him with the love and truth of Jesus Christ. And why? Why can't we as Christians go desperately into this world saving more people? Why should anyone be dying, not knowing the truth? Why isn't the church being that shining city on the hill for all those affected by homosexuality? Why are homosexuals looked at as the scum of the earth, with no hope for the future? Where's the compassion, the forgiveness, the mercy, and the care? Jesus loved sinners—desperately loved them—so why don't Christians today? Why do the homosexuals of the world have to wander about, searching in vain, dying without ever hearing the truth when we Christians today have the truth right here in front of us? Why aren't we giving it away to others with arms wide open and with all of our hearts, bringing them to Christ, and showing them there's so much better a life to live through Jesus Christ? I just don't understand it.

I am glad to say that Bob Blackford did eventually find his way back to God. He's found healing and redemption, and has been able to salvage his marriage and his ministry through the grace of God. He is now helping other people to break free from homosexuality as well, and is showing them that through God, all things are better.

I want to recommend that all of you read Heaven's Back Row. It's one of the most moving books I've ever read. It does include some detailed scenes, so be advised at that. But overall, this is a really powerful book. It's a cautionary tale. If anyone ever wanted an example of why not to engage in homosexual behavior, this is it. And not necessarily just because Blackford got AIDS, or because it damaged his ministry for a time, or because of the effects of his having an affair with another man, but because of the emotional and spiritual damage it did to him. He admits that he engaged in those acts as a means of trying to achieve legitimate needs, but that those needs were never met through homosexual acts. The result of that was that he became a wanderer. He kept searching for something so desperately, through homosexuality, and yet that never brought him anything but ruin. In his never-ending search, he nearly destroyed everything he cared about.

This story makes you feel for your fellow man, and to look within yourself and to examine your own life. It's a message of hope and understanding and redemption. But above all, it's a message of God's truth, love, and forgiveness for even the worst of us sinners—all of us sinners—and that not a single one of us is beyond God's reach. We are all important and of worth to Him. And if we just turn to Him, he's not going to destroy our lives, or condemn us, but love us beyond measure. He'll give us a new life, in Him, better than anything our old lives could ever hope to be.

Why would anyone stop to give the devil a ride when God is waiting just down the road—waiting to love, forgive, and heal the broken parts of our lives?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Where's the Magic?

When I was little I used to look forward to Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, my birthday, and certain other special occasions such as that. There was a magic to each of those times. There was excitement, fun, adventure, family, rejoicing, and love and warmth beyond measure. They were good times. They were the times I enjoyed most when growing up. However, the last few years those times haven't felt like that at all to me. The magic just isn't there. My birthday has become just another day—usually one that I dread. Halloween just comes and goes—I never even thought to carve a jack-o-lantern this year, and that's always been something I've looked forward to. Thanksgiving was a hectic free-for-all with everybody running around like wild chickens with their heads cut off just to get a piece of turkey and pumpkin pie. And Christmas usually isn't much better. At least with Christmas, there is still that feeling of family. And there are the decorations, the gift-giving, hopefully some snow, and the rejoicing in Jesus' birth that still makes it all worthwhile. But, overall, I don't feel the way I used to about any of those times. I don't look forward to them the way I did when I was little. They're not as fun as they used to be.

I wish sometimes that I didn't have to grow old. I wish I could stay young and even go back to certain times in my childhood. Everything seemed so much less complicated back then; so much simpler. I've heard people call that feeling having the Peter Pan syndrome, and I guess that's what I have to a degree. I've resisted so many adult things. In a lot of ways I've passed up and neglected certain responsibilities just because I wanted to preserve the illusion I wasn't an adult. And I know I've been wrong to do that. I've held myself back in a lot of ways by doing that. But I know a lot of the reason why I've done that is because there was so much I felt like I missed out on when I was growing up. Being a little older now, I've been able to do some of those things I felt like I missed out on, and I've enjoyed those things. That enjoyment has made me want to cling to more youthful days, and even certain ways of thinking, at times.

For instance, I never had very much quality time with my Dad when I was growing up. There just wasn't much that we shared an interest in. But then, about five years ago, my brother introduced us to the Nintendo GameCube. Now, it had been a long time since either of us had played any video games, and that went back to the time of the NES. So, when we saw how much better the graphics were and how much the level of game play had evolved over the years, we were both quickly hooked. My Dad and I both wound up playing several games together, spending hours on end doing that. And for the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed doing something with my Dad. That was a really good time in my life because of that. I actually felt like I could finally relate to him about something. I felt close to him. I felt loved by him. I felt like I was important to him. When I was little, that's something I never really felt or experienced. My dad had always spent so much time playing and listening to music—that was his thing—and I never got into that at all. Anytime I've ever tried learning an instrument I've ended up embarrassing myself terribly. It's just something I'm not talented at. But when we did find something we enjoyed doing together, I know I sort of desperately wanted to cling onto my dad, as a child would, I suppose, just so that I could make up for the time with him I felt like I didn't get from him when I actually was a child. I'm glad I've been able to get closer to my dad the last few years, and that has definitely made up for a lot of the lack of time we spent with each other while I was growing up, but there are a lot of other things I know I just can't go back and get.

I really like the Harry Potter movies, and I think one reason for that is because I see these young kids enjoying themselves on some grand adventure (called life). I see them making friends. I see the sort of camaraderie they have with each other. And I wish so much I could have had that when I was growing up. I always felt so alone when I was younger. I didn't have many friends at school or at church, and at home my brother was usually too busy running wild or hanging out with his own friends to spend time with me, and my parents were usually off doing what adults do. So, I felt alone. But when I watch those movies I see great friendship. I see people caring about each other, enjoying each other's company, and fighting for and with each other in desperate times. It makes me wish sometimes that I could have been in a boarding school of some sort when I was younger. I wonder if that might have forced me to interact more with other people my age, to have depended a little less on my parents, and to have developed in me more social skills at an earlier age. I could have possibly made more friends than what I actually did make. Friendship really is something I've been striving for the last few years. I've craved it, in fact.

I know I've made some horrible mistakes in my past when it comes to making friends. I was once told by someone that, “in order to make friends, you must first be a friend,” and that's something I've struggled with at times. I haven't always known how to be a friend to others. I'm still so used to isolating myself that I've allowed so many good opportunities for making friends just slip right by. But I just wish I could have had that when I was little. I wish I could have had the sort of friendships and quality time with others that I see those kids having in those movies.

In a lot of ways I don't feel like an adult at all. I like being silly sometimes and probably a bit immature. I like children's games like hide and seek and make believe. There is fun in those things. There's a chance to escape all the negative things of the world, the seriousness of adulthood, and to be free to enjoy oneself. There are a lot of adults out there who, to me, just seem like they've lost all fun in their lives, or that they've lost sight of true enjoyments. In their maturity, they've lost out on the fun things in life.

I like the innocence of children. I like their naïve ideas. I like that so many of them see the world in such a positive, worry-free way. I like their excitement about things. And I like the way their eyes are so full of hope, and there faces so full of warmth.

There is one picture of me when I was little that I like to look at sometimes, and it's a reminder to me to have fun. I have such a beautiful, innocent look about me in that picture. I see it in my eyes and in my smile. And when I look at it, I can't help but wonder why that had to change. I look at other pictures as I got older, and I see the smile become a little more fake along and along, and my eyes become colder or more nervous looking—having a lack of trust behind them. And I see that in the pictures of others too. I see peoples eyes become tired, and their faces long. And I can't help but think, wouldn't it be better if we could all just stay little children, and never have to grow up?

I love that part in the Bible when Jesus tells his disciples, “Let the little children come unto me,” and when he talks about having the faith of a child. That means trusting and hoping, and believing without any reserve. I wish I could still feel that way about a great many things. I wish that around the holidays in particular. I wish I could still see the magic in things the way I used to.

Sometimes I fear growing old. I fear some of the uncertainties to that. But then I remember there's still some magic left in this world. There's still some good to this world, even despite all of it's darkness. There are still miracles that happen all the time. There are still good times to be had. There are still days of wonder and peace and love and warmth ahead of me. And I gain hope at the thought of that, and to remember that God is indeed always with me and that He wants me to enjoy the life that He's given me. Then I remember He offers me something so magnificent to look forward to. He offers me an eternal future, wrapped in His abundant love, where all wrongs are made right, and where I hope my heart will always be that of a child's. He offers me a future better than any past could ever have been. And I know there is still a whole lot of magic left in that for me. There is still something to look forward to and to get excited about.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

There Are No Good Titles For This Post

Last Thursday I was having a really bad day. I started the day by talking with my counselor, and naturally he got me to opening up about a few things and thinking about a few things that I'd been trying to bottle up. We talked for about an hour and that was that. I then sat around for a few hours considering everything we'd talked about. Then my brother stopped by later on that evening and told me some of his problems. Worry then sat in, and the next thing I knew I was so depressed I couldn't see straight. I felt lifeless. Completely lifeless.

When my Dad got home, the two of us went for a drive and I started talking to him about a lot of the things that's been bothering me lately. Things dealing with work, church, my brother, the future, you name it. And then I told him I'm attracted to other men. For about a minute you could have heard a pin drop. Then he got to asking me a few questions, the usual sort of things probably everyone is asked dealing with this. He was actually handling the news fairly well. I told him about my brother finding out, about my counselor, about my past, about everything. And of all of that, what seemed to bother him most was that I'd never told him before. He kept beating around the bush concerning that, and I really didn't know how to answer him. What exactly was I to say to him? I was worried you'd beat me up or hate me. Or, I was worried you'd do some other dumb thing I knew in my heart you'd never do. I was afraid. So, anyway, I couldn't really answer him on that one. He eventually asked about my mom, and said he thought she should know. I agreed and asked if he would tell her. He said he would, and then before everything was over and done with, he let me know he loved me.

It was all rather comforting in a way that I hadn't expected. Surreal would probably be a better choice of expressions. Or, perhaps odd? It wasn't at all how I'd imagined. My dad's overall response hasn't been anything like I'd imagined. It's almost like this is a non-issue to him. Like it doesn't matter. He hasn't treated me different at all, in any way. There has been a comfort to that, but I'll admit I'm a little torn by it as well. Shouldn't he be just as mad about this as I've been? Shouldn't he show some sort of feelings about this? I mean, it's as if I'd never told him. Then again, I'm worried he's just in denial, and then when it all sinks in, that's when the s**t is going to hit the fan.

I'm reasonably sure he told my mom last Sunday night. They came home from a church meeting and pretty much went straight to their room, which was unusual for them. And then yesterday, when mom came home from work, she seemed to make it her mission to avoid me. I knew my mom would have trouble with this news. She worries and gets stressed out about everything, and always takes everything so personally. I take after her in that regard. But still, I'm a little worried about where this is going to go. I'm not sure telling them was a good thing or a bad thing. After talking with my brother about this today, he seemed to be inclined to think it was a good thing that I told them.

I am trying to be optimistic. I don't want to fall to pieces over this. I'm just hoping that maybe it'll draw me closer to my parents the same way it's drawn me closer to my brother. And I do feel relieved that its out there now. It's not something I have to keep a secret from them anymore. In that regard, telling them is a great thing. I do see this as a possible step in the right direction. Being more honest and open with people usually is so much better than the alternative.

All I know is that my emotions have been all over the place the last few days, and I'm tired. I have been developing several new writing ideas, so I've been excited about that. I've actually been writing like crazy since I got laid off from work. I'm also really getting into the Christmas season. All the decorations are up and I've been listening to Christmas songs and movies. And I've also been hoping for snow. I thought it was going to the other day, but it went a little bit north of us.

While I'm at it, I want to thank everyone out there who have been praying for me and encouraging me, and putting up with my negative thinking here the last few weeks. And I especially want to thank Rik for all the help he's giving me. I also want to thank God for leading some of you to write about some of the things you've written about recently. I've read a lot of posts that really have lifted me up and got me to thinking more clearly about a few things. So, God bless all of you for everything.