Clean heart, Clean and sharp…

•July 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Every time I return to my blog I am reminded how therapeutic writing is for me.  Reading over older entries I get an introspective snapshot of what I was going through at that moment of time, a slice of sadness, joy, fear or loneliness…perhaps mostly loneliness.

But alas, writing my thoughts down gives me some kind of release that talking or even “socializing” just doesn’t accomplish.

You know what else is therapeutic?

Cleaning.

Oh yes.  Unsurprisingly, cleaning is something that I very seldom do.  It’s not that I am an unclean person, it’s just that I am often lazy and inept to clean…okay ‘inept’ might be a stretch but sometimes I just don’t feel like I have the bandwidth to sweep, and mop my kitchen, bathroom and living room.  Dishes, dusting the television, laundry so I can change my linen every two weeks like we all should do.  Scrubbing the shower scum from my bathroom tiles, cleaning the dust off of my ceiling fans…the list goes on and on of things I could clean but I just…choose to let things go.

I think a bit part of it is that I don’t see cleaning as a necessary task.  I live alone.  No one to tell me when or how to clean..or even WHY I should clean.  Should I blame my parents? Should I blame myself? Should I blame the non-existent person that doesn’t live with me and cannot tell me that my apartment is a pigsty and that it needs to be cleaned immediately.  If you were to ask me, I would probably give you a million and one excuses on why I don’t but the real reason is much simpler: I’m afraid to be clean.

Now, this doesn’t make sense.  I shower daily. I hardly wear dirty underwear (confession time! notice the word “hardly”) so my clothes are generally very clean.  I wash my hands after I use the bathroom..ALWAYS.  I’m not saying I relish in being a filthy person or I have some secret fetish with dirt. Not the case at all here.

If you dig deeper, you will see that being clean means stripping the dirt, grime and grease away.  It’s a very uncomfy process that requires cleansing not just dirt but also anything that may cling to its host.  Yes, I am afraid to let some of my grime and grease go…aren’t we all?

Aren’t we all fearful of truly being cleansed, in our minds, bodies and spirits and genuinely organized and well-kept in our thoughts? Psh, maybe it’s just me who found an inner peace in disorganization.  I found solace in my filthy slothful lifestyle and calmness is darkness.  Yes, when you put it that way it sounds so dangerous. :-)

Okay, I’ll get to the point: Cleaning is very difficult for me because it requires EFFORT. It requires that I scrub in the places that don’t want to be scrubbed.  It requires me to conquer my complacency in messiness and disorganization to be reborn to an immaculate and truly sane state of mind.  Being in the dark for so long you forget it’s dark until you have a light shone in your face and your eyes slam shut from the pain of the brightness.  Oh yes, cleaning is pain.

But amidst that pain..you are CLEAN.  And being clean beats being dirty and comfy anyday.  Trust me.

I cleaned my apartment this morning and I felt a sense of accomplishment and freshness I haven’t felt in a while…and all I really did was pick up some clothes and do some laundry/reorganization of my closet.  That’s all it took for me to free myself.  Imagine that.

And who knew that I could get so much joy just from picking up some clothes off the floor.  Who would have ever imagined. I wouldn’t have.  But I guess that’s why in life you must roll with the punches.  You have to take the good with the bad, the clean with the dirty.  I think I had forgotten what it mean to be clean and I almost let it slip by me for good.  I’m glad I was reminded again why being clean is so important for my health, my sanity, and my life.

It is my life after all.

Dead end

•May 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Have you ever felt like the harder you tried to hold on to something the more it slipped through your fingers? Kinda like holding water in the palm of your hand…it’s so useless…like a dead end.

Maybe I’m just not meant to hold water anymore

Free from….[insert word here]

•May 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As I was walking home from the train today I saw an ad on the side of a bus that said, “Are you free from sin?” It kind of startled me at first because immediately it made me feel guilty.  I think as a growing man and someone who has grown and changed a lot in the past few months I feel like the ideas of ‘sin’ and what it means to be ‘living in sin’ has changed a lot…at least from my perspective.   I’m not going to go into great detail about my religion or even what the Bible says but I feel like recently my beliefs are changing, as well as my actions….to an extent.  One of them must change in order for the other to follow suit because both have to be in sync.  There is always a unison between belief and action, right? Otherwise you’re a hypocrite…

The point I’m trying to make here is that as we grow and change we try and fail…things that work we continue to do and things that don’t we stop and try another way until it does work.  I believe that life in general is one big trial, although sometimes it feels like my trial isn’t the same as others.  Sometimes I look at others’ tests/struggles and I just ponder in amazement at how little they have to conquer to get from one question to the next; how little they even have to think about to accomplish the task at hand.  Or perhaps how excruciatingly simple their lives truly are, yet they have no idea.  I think dealing with something that seems insurmountable will make any anthill seem like Mt. Everest, depending on the person, but the relativity of difficulty in a trial means nothing…it’s all about choices.  Do you choose to carry on and act like nothing is wrong? or do you choose to free yourself from…whatever it may be that is keeping you caged.

Or perhaps being caged is freedom? Freedom from a lot of things that you would never have to worry about if you really were to “free yourself.” Free from guilt and shame, rejection and persecution.  Free from loneliness and despondence.  When you list them out, being “caged” sounds better than being “free.” But alas, there’s always a catch.  Life is never that simple, no matter which side of the freedom coin you choose.  The choice you make is something that you must learn to deal with and accept eternally. Not just today but tomorrow and the next…and the next…and the next…and for always.

What am I getting at? Honestly, who knows?! I sure don’t. I think I am learning more about the choices I make  and about the consequences I face for living life in a way that only I can take responsibility for.   Being an adult, you learn that it is you that must take charge and lead with your strengths while accepting the frailties.  For example,  I’ve learned over the past several months that I am a very *needy* person.  Emotionally, I need some sort of validation and encouragement, be it from a friend, a mentor, a relative, a lover, a stranger…anything.  Sometimes I thrive off of that attention and when I don’t get it, I become miserable.  I think that coping with the misery of being “unvalidated,” or put more simply, lonely, is a whole other topic of itself so I won’t touch on it too much but I know that the difference in being alone and being lonely is your state of mind.  Even the neediest man in the world could be surrounded by multitudes of friends and loved ones and feel like the loneliest man on earth, yet the man who has no living relatives or loves ones but one significant other could feel like the luckiest man alive.  See? It’s all relative.

I’m learning how to cope each new day and I think that with time I will learn how to deal with my struggles in maturity and patience.  Patience is something that even from childhood I remember never seeming to have enough of.  Being no more than about 6 years old I recall waiting to get my hair cut with my father at the barbershop.  I would cry and whine because I hated waiting. I hated seeing others before me stroll up to the barber chair to get their afros shaved off, beards trimmed up, mustaches and goatees perfectly lined up. But my father would always say “Be patient.  Learn to have patience in everything you do.  Everyone gets their turn.”  As a six year old boy, my dad’s word meant a little something but their magnitude didn’t really hit me until a few months ago  (after nearly two decades of marinating) I think I finally understand what it means to have patience and to allow patience to direct your thoughts, words and actions despite the trials that, if not dealt with, fester within your spirit.

But back to choices and freedom: Naturally, with patience these things get much easier.  Choosing to deal with things one day at a time and accepting life as it comes is what motivates me to move on to the next day…it’s almost like compounded interest except I am the one that’s benefitting from all of the patience, knowledge, wisdom, clarity and other good things as time progresses.  I’m growing and changing and learning and becoming a new person with each experience, each trial, each fall.  I just hope that with all this patience I’m getting that I will truly be free from [insert word(s) here] someday very soon.

Oops. How impatient of me.

Looked over

•September 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m back.  I moved to NYC.  God is blessing me each and every day.

I missed writing in this blog, for many reasons.  A lot of what I had been going through (finding an apartment, getting adjusted with my new job and adult life) was so very necessary in learning and becoming stronger with each step and I’m glad that I went through it…despite some of the pain and hardship.  I definitely came out of this experience with many valuable lessons learned.

I find writing so therapeutic. The reason I hadn’t been writing is because I felt like I needed to go through this journey alone and untampered. Needless to say I was never alone through any of it, but I’ve never felt such an overwhelming solitude in all of my life.  Sometimes, God sets us apart from what is familiar to us, in order to strengthen and redeem our spirits.  It’s so easy to get comfortable to what is normal and convenient, and in the process, forget to bear a cross, or even die to ourselves as a daily struggle.  Christ’s walk wasn’t easy, why should we complain and cry when things get rough?

ah…but that’s neither here nor there.  This entry I want to talk about something that I have been pretty uncomfortable sharing before but feel I have matured enough to share it now.  Naturally, I attribute this “comfort” all to God.  He never seems to be done with me. =)

I was having a conversation with a very close friend of mine earlier today about being “looked over” by people…and it really opened my eyes and reaffirmed something that has been rumbling through my brain for the past few weeks.  Earlier I mentioned being set apart from others and realizing when God wants you to walk alone.  Being surrounded by people that love you, like you, support you, or even just agree with you on a basic level can be so crippling when you are left alone on your own.  I think that everytime I used to dread coming to NYC, it was because I felt like I had absolutely nothing and no one to give me that encouragement that I desperately “needed.”  I “needed” someone to give me a pat on the back every 5 minutes, or maybe a hug or just a smile.  Why was I miserable unless I had some kind of friendly attention, some kind of support…anything.

Stepping back I was able to see that being alone FORCES you to find encouragement and happiness within yourself.  But if there is no happiness inside your heart to begin with, what do you do when the happiness around you has moved on? Vanished? Who do you turn to? What could ever fill such a deepening void that seeps into the fibers of your soul?

Naturally, I turned to God.  I asked God to put people in my life to encourage, uplift and support me.   I “needed” a church family.  I “needed” friends.  I “needed” a motherly figure that could listen to my woes of the world andwould offer her bosom when I “needed” to cry.  I “needed” all of these things that I had back in Boston that completed me..that gave me happiness…

and God is providing them.  He’s putting people that love and care for me back in my life here in this huge new city.  Little by little, my problems are  resolving…

or are they?

Returning to the conversation I had with my friend today about being looked over, I was reminded me that being surrounded by people that bring you happiness means absolutely nothing if your entire being is filled with insecurity, hopelessness, and depression.  Now, in this moment in time, I wouldn’t say that I feel insecure, hopeless and depressed, but I have my days.  This conversation brought back some very real feelings and emotions on just one of those days.

Being a child of God, we are always taught and shown that having insecurities is nothing but the works of the enemy.  Who are we to feel ashamed, less than, worthless, valueless in the eyes of our Father?  God is and will always be the be-all-end-all ruler of our souls.  Only He can truly judge us.  It’s so simple, yet so difficult for me to understand.

We allow such awful things to enter our spirits and allow us to hate ourselves.  We try to be someone we aren’t, or even question God’s beautiful works that are in us.  I have been battling with these thoughts all summer and even though I have grown, sometimes I still feel like I’ll never be enough to satisfy someone.  I’ll always be that guy that fails every. single. time.

I know that the root of this problem is fear; who isn’t afraid of failure? I know I am.  And no matter how strong my faith may seem, or how secure I may be in myself…I always manage to question myself, question others around me, but the worst being..questioning God.  He must have made a mistake.  What did he see in me? Why me? Why would you create someone as weak, emotional, insecure, unconfident, unattractive, lazy, short, talentless, whiny, dramatic, irrelevant, and frail as me?

When these kinds of adjectives consume your head, it’s impossible to actually even find the strength to believe that there is a God that loves you, even as you are, even in spite of everything.  He created us in His image, even when we feel like we are NOTHING. Even when it feels like the world around us is so much better-equipped than we could ever be, God is there to give us a shoulder to cry and cry and cry for many nights over and over again.  He’s there.

The bottom line, I’m going to be “looked over” by people for the rest of my life, but God’s grace, love and mercy is what keeps me going.  It sounds kind of cheesy but it’s very real, and though I may not truly even believe it myself now, I just won’t let the light that shines in my heart to be put out.

*sigh*

Thank You, God, for being on my side.

People and Things

•July 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We chase after people and things so much…at least I know I do.

Sometimes I just wish I had the peace and understanding in my heart to realize that I don’t need *things* to make me happy…I don’t even really need people.  They are all luxuries. No, not blessings.  Luxuries. Riches. THINGS.  Before we had all of our riches, all we had was Christ.  Nothing can separate us from Him, not any height, depth nor creature.  Why is this so hard to understand?

God give me wise heart and mind, and help me to accept that things and people are nice but I cannot allow them to hinder me from You.  I WILL NOT allow the people and things of this world distract me.

I’m done chasing after people and things, I want to chase after You.

To whom much is given…

•July 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I don’t know why God works the way He does…but He just keeps making a way out of nothing for me.  I already know that when much is given to you…much will be required of you in return.  I just wish I knew how much of me He is expecting..

=/

If…

•July 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And which is more; you’ll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

 
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