Home is Where You Should Fit in Your Skin


I grew up in a family that grew into Jesus
At around the same time I did.
In a lot of ways, they are probably
The strongest Christians I know
Though we all have our faults
And we would be the first to admit that
Our faults:
They’re the things that make us human
And show our real skin
We are the church not in the
Formed from a mold off the assembly line
Kind of way

Our convictions were not mass-produced
You can see it in the way the don’t fit
Quite friendly into the seats
In the church I was baptized in
That I baptized my brother in
That my sister was baptized in

And we’ve seen this response
From people before
In other buildings, in other
Worship centers
With coffee cups and
The same unbearable
Contemporary music that all sounds the same

Words cannot describe how much
I want to punch David Crowder in the throat.

The Bible tells us
The church was built on outcasts
And every day, normal people
So, maybe if my experiences
Had been a little difference I might be willing
To cut some people a little slack

Believe me
We’ve all tried to show some grace
To the people who have said mean,
Offensive, bigoted things
Behind the back and to the face
And my parents come to me
For words of wisdom on how to handle
Not feeling comfortable in their own skin
In the place where all should be welcome
And we are all gracious around sin

God, damn those people
Who make my mother feel small,
My father apathetic,
You didn’t make them this way
So what gives your followers
The right to do it?

You, in your wisdom have adjusted me
With a very high-strung sense of right or wrong
Think trip-wire, or claymore mine
Add to the tension,
Hope you live to regret it
And I can’t be kind anymore.

I refuse to swallow one more bitter pill
In the attitude of “truth with love”
Because that is a set of bald tires
With a nail in the wall
It’s easier to overwhelm and sabotage
Then listen to anything at all
That might mean you’re espousing hate
And you’ve put my family deeply centered in the crosshair

Church, I have grown tired of your abuse
You’re a whore, I know this
And I’m supposed to love you
Which is hard
For someone who has never really
Understood love fully
And lost the only person who could really
Explain it in a way that made sense

You wonder why I’m angry.
Call it hate, call it intolerance,
I don’t really give a flying fuck anymore.
Thought I lacked a filter?
Well, the censors are out
Of the office for a while until my nerves settle

“Oh, but we need unity in the church,”
Then start being more like real Jesus
And less like the one you get from talking heads
Because blessed are those who
Don’t put people’a lives on chopping blocks
For gender, race, socioeconomic status,
RELIGION,
WHY DO YOU HATE PEOPLE
OF DIFFERENT FAITHS?
IS IT BECAUSE THEY’RE MORE FAITHFUL THAN YOU?

You are your brother’s keeper
That’s what I believe and that’s
What drives me every day
While others declare war on culture
They haven’t even taken the time to understand

My parents are braver and bigger than I
At least they’re willing to go back
Because I’m the one who reaps the whirlwind
On purpose; I stand for them of my own accord.
I haven’t been with you, church,
Longer than I can remember
But there’s no baby with that bath water

My struggle is in finding the answer to the question:
Is it possible to ever go home again

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On the Church


Today I grieve beyond measure as I see the horrors unfold within my country. I have been asking myself, “Have I been asleep this whole time? Am I only now awakening to the evil and hate people are willing to inflict on others in the name of an assumed superiority based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender? I thought myself fairly well-educated about the hatred people were capable of but I look at the reported acts of violence, the racial slurs, and the rhetoric being spewed forth by people who are supposed to be the salt and light, the hands and feet of their savior and I am appalled, distraught, and dismayed at the reports of their actions.

To the church: you have made it very hard for me to love you. You have proliferated so much of what is now a national phenomenon of hate, discrimination, and contention that I have been content to stay in my apartment and just ponder how anyone who believes the Bible, the teachings of Jesus and the Saints, can be capable of ripping off a Muslim woman’s hajib and telling her to put it around her neck and hang her with it or leaving a note for someone in the LGBTQ community that they’re going to burn in hell. The spirit of God is not in you. Don’t hide behind God as justifications for your actions or your hate.

It’s hard to know where to belong now. I have felt a great alienation from the church because of the unfortunate ties to conservatism which, to me, is a tradition that needs to be broken and fast. Conservatism in a lot of respects is regressive to the message of Christ because, in my experience, it drives people to policy and platforms that serve individualistic purposes. I die a little inside every time I hear someone say, “Why should I have to pay for X with my tax money.” To me that is tantamount to Cain asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In case you weren’t aware, I’m a registered Independent, Progressive Liberal with bent towards Socialism. I know absolutely no one in the church who would agree with my stances and that’s fine. This has also made me a target for the contingent of conservatives in my home church on more than one occasion and I do not take my stances on anything with a grain of salt or without thorough research.

It’s heartbreaking to love someone who can’t accept you for who you are. It’s impossible when it’s somewhere you should belong.

I’ve tried. I’ve tried so hard not to give up on the church but recent events have seriously made me rethink my stance on this. Is this the straw that broke thee camel’s back? I don’t know yet. I need more time to think. For every act of hatred, for every bit of invective released from the mouths and hearts of people who call themselves followers of Christ, my willingness to engage and be part of the body corporate becomes less and less. We all know the church is a whore but now she has turned to a whore who sold herself for the lowest bid and the highest risk: hate. The church has become a pack of murderers in their hearts and I don’t know what to do despite not wanting to just stand back and watch the whole show as our country is setting itself up to burn.

My shoulders are heavy with sorrow. I am all raw, exposed nerve and I’m doing my best to find a way to heal this. It’s not supposed to be like this.

It’s not supposed to be like this.

Rite II

Heather

[Let us Pray]

I am Resurrection and I am Life, says the Lord.
Whoever has faith in me shall have life,
even though he die.
And everyone who has life,
and has committed himself to me in faith,
shall not die for ever.

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth.
After my awaking, he will raise me up;
and in my body I shall see God.
I myself shall see, and my eyes behold him
who is my friend and not a stranger.

For none of us has life in himself,
and none becomes his own master when he dies.
For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord,
and if we die, we die in the Lord.
So, then, whether we live or die,
we are the Lord’s possession.

Happy from now on
are those who die in the Lord!
So it is, says the Spirit,
for they rest from their labors.

[We have come hear to celebrate the life of a friend, a mother, a wife, and one of two people I would ever call “Mom”]

The Lord be with you.
You: And also with you.
Let us pray

[SILENCE]

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day
our sister Heather. We thank you for giving her to us, his
family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on
our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion,
console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate
of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue
our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with
those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33

The steadfast love of YHWH never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “YHWH is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” YHWH is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the YHWH. (ESV)

For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men. (ESV)

1 John 3:1-2

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (ESV)

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
You: Glory to you, Lord Christ.

John 11:21-27

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” (ESV)

John 14:1-6

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (ESV)

The Gospel of the Lord
You: Praise to you, Lord Christ.

In the assurance of eternal life given at Baptism, let us
proclaim our faith and say,

[The Apostle’s Creed]

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant(s) with your saints,
You: where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

You only are immortal, the creator and maker of mankind;
and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and to earth shall we
return. For so did you ordain when you created me, saying,
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” All of us go down
to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia.

You: Give rest, O Christ, to your servant(s) with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your
servant Heather. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of
your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your
own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy,
into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the
glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

For our sister Heather, let us pray to our Lord Jesus
Christ who said, “I am Resurrection and I am Life.”

Lord, you consoled Martha and Mary in their distress; draw
near to us who mourn for Heather, and dry the tears of those who
weep.
You: Hear us, Lord.

You wept at the grave of Lazarus, your friend; comfort us in
our sorrow.
You: Hear us, Lord.

You raised the dead to life; give to our sister eternal
life.
You: Hear us, Lord.

You promised paradise to the thief who repented; bring our
sister to the joys of heaven.
You: Hear us, Lord.

Our sister was washed in Baptism and anointed
with the Holy Spirit; give her fellowship with all your saints.
You: Hear us, Lord.

She was nourished with your Body and Blood; grant her a
place at the table in your heavenly kingdom.
You: Hear us, Lord.

Comfort us in our sorrows at the death of our
sister; let our faith be our consolation, and eternal life our
hope.

[SILENCE]

Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to you our sister
Heather, who was reborn by water and the Spirit in Holy Baptism.
Grant that her death may recall to us your victory over death,
and be an occasion for us to renew our trust in your Father’s
love. Give us, we pray, the faith to follow where you have led
the way; and where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy
Spirit, to the ages of ages. Amen.

Everyone the Father gives to me will come to me;
I will never turn away anyone who believes in me.

He who raised Jesus Christ from the dead
will also give new life to our mortal bodies
through his indwelling Spirit.

My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;
my body also shall rest in hope.

You will show me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

The Lord be with you.
You: And also with you.
Let us pray.

Together:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen

Merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the
Resurrection and the Life: Raise us, we humbly pray, from
the death of sin to the life of righteousness; that when we
depart this life we may rest in him, and at the resurrection
receive that blessing which your well-beloved Son shall then
pronounce: “Come, you blessed of my Father, receive the
kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.”
Grant this, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our
Mediator and Redeemer. Amen.

Preacher Propaganda

Yep

“The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

I have a love/hate relation ship with social media which, invariably, bleeds into my love/hate relationship for news media. However, sites, like Facebook, give me easier access to the news stories from the sources I trust more than most all in one place. It’s so hard to type in all the different URL’s or risk navigating away from the page I’m on. So, in my feed, I get to see updated news stories from The Young Turks, Al Jazeera America, Vice News, TED talks, and various bloggers whom I resonate with. There is, unfortunately, a few various downsides to this influx of information and the ability to share it.

Eventually, your friends will post something you don’t agree with or a news story that is obviously biased from the far right to the point of being absurd (like Fox News!). Don’t get me wrong; I love my conservative friends. On top of being really great people, they also give me a point of view to check my ego and my stances against. For someone as opinionated and skeptical of news sources as I, that’s a really good thing to have. I still think they’re wrong most of the time, though.

Once in a great while, though, something will come along that will inflame my sensibilities so much I can’t help but react. Granted, it’s a huge waste of my time, ability, and intelligence to argue with someone over the internet but there are a few things I cannot abide. Some of my more infamous “conversations” lately have been over open carry, concealed carry, and things as recent as the defunding of planned parenthood. Things get pretty heated sometimes but I’ve learned to step away when it just turns into a game of rochamebeau.

Recently, there was a clip of megachurch pastor Matt Chandler from The Village Church going on a six minute tirade calling abortion murder and seemingly vilifying anyone who would consider such a decision. I was floored at first because it was just so vicious and vitriolic I felt sick. There was an ache in my chest because it didn’t feel right; there was something missing from the message. Here’s the clip I saw:

Granted, there is plenty of what he says that is true and good information. But, as I said, it’s missing something. Questions started popping up in my head, the greatest of which was, “How does this message exalt and explain the love of Christ to someone who has made the choice to abort a pregnancy in her past? The size of his congregation matched with the statistics of abortions in the us guarantees there is someone like that sitting in a chair in that building or in one of the satellite locations around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. This seemed like the kind of actions I’d expect from Fundamentalist nut jobs like Steven Anderson in Tempe, AZ.

Then I saw who was pushing the message out. One of the big ones was the Gospel Coalition, a group of people who are ardently trying to spread the Gospel, acting as a resource for church plants and pastors. I’ve had my issues with the tactics of this group before, mostly because their council includes the culturally inept and John Calvin worshiping Jon Piper and, up until his forced resignation, the browbeating tough guy pastor Mark Driscoll. When I saw they had posted this six minute clip, I started to put the pieces together.

I realized I was being fed propaganda to support the agenda of the religious right as a means of fortifying the anti-abortion stance for all those who would take what they were fed without thought. Don’t get me wrong. I believe life begins at conception and abortion is not a means of birth control; actions still have consequences though I may vote pro-choice. Just like things like drugs, alcohol, or firearms, if you make them illegal people will find other, and usually more dangerous, means of obtaining whatever it is they want. It’s a tragedy that a baby’s life is ended before it has the chance to see the outside of the womb, but it’s even more tragic when the mother dies as well because of inadequate training, equipment, or sterility of environment because she had to resort to some backroom clinic. All life is equally sacred which, incidentally, why I’m against the death penalty. I’m pro-life in the cradle-to-grave by conviction as well. If that’s inconsistent to you, too bad.

So, I did some looking into this particular message because I knew there had to be more to the sermon than what felt like stereotypical angry Christian rhetoric. I found video of the entire sermon, found the point where Matt goes off in the six minute clip then found something interesting at the 30:49 mark:

There! That was the Gospel truth and the compassion I was expecting and was not seeing in this clip that was being exalted by a bunch of my Christian friends. There was truth to that small snippet but, in a sermon that’s 50 minutes long, the message is lost and all you see is the righteous anger which just comes off as shaming when it’s not bookended with compassion in love. Like it says in Ephesians 4:13-16 [ESV]:

…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[e] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather,speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

This propaganda put forth by whomever thought six minutes of shaming people for the sins they committed, likely a Christian, seems to have forgotten this. That and the importance of context in media of any kind. It seems to me like an intentional act to bolster the stance of those who are violently pro-life. I’m a firm believer in the church getting involved in stopping abortion but not through blind faithfulness to a situation they’ve never had to experience. What a lot of people don’t realize the effect of content like this presented to the wrong person is dangerous not only to the souls of those who know what it’s like to make that decision to terminate a pregnancy but, presented to the wrong mind, can result in disastrous consequences and is as dangerous as any firearm:

A woman who bombed an abortion clinic called the police. She gives her reasons for what she did:

Before I got married, I got pregnant. Everyone told me that a fetus was just a little shapeless blob anyway, so I got an abortion.

Then, after it was too late, a friend gave me some literature one day showing how the baby developed at different stages. I never realized at that stage, a fetus is so much a baby that some of them have been born at that point and LIVED!

Well, you cannot imagine what that did to me, knowing I had not just had an “unwanted intra-uterine growth “removed” but had KILLED my baby! It just about ruined my life. Even today, several years later, I lay awake at night sometimes crying about it.

So maybe you can understand my reasons for doing what I did.”

Leonard Stern “Abortion Wars” The Ottawa Citizen Sun 28 May 2000

I guess the lesson in all of this is to be careful what you consume and be as skeptical as possible when presented with any kind of clip strongly supporting any stance. Do your research and save yourself from looking like a fool or, in this case, a woman-shaming misogynist. Remember everyone as an agenda, especially the church and that agenda runs the spectrum of far right to  far left just like politics which is really sickening when you think about it. We, as the church, could be doing so much to be part of the solution but the majority of us are ardently stuck, and okay with, being part of the problem by approaching problems with their mouth instead of their heart.

Jesus never resorted to violence. Why? Because, if he did, he would not have been offering anything new.

Ripping off My Mask: I am Depressed.

I want to touch on a topic that is very near to me and not for reasons that I would consider good or healthy. It has settled on my heart like a winter freeze that has persisted in melting down only in time to freeze again. It is probably one of the worst and best things that made itself a part of my life somehow, but I will almost always consider it a curse before a blessing. Those that know me well know at least part of my story and know this is something I will probably deal with until the day I die. I am not afraid of approaching this topic anymore, as perhaps I might have been in the past. But I have felt convicted of this lately and so, for those who don’t know about this part of my life…
I would like to tell you about depression.

Before I really broach the subject, however, I would like to tell you a little bit about my experience. This is not meant to be some sort of outcry for pity and rescue. That’s a very quick and fast way to piss me off. I am not a charity, I am damaged but not beyond repair and you can’t fix me. Please understand that now and we will, hopefully, avoid any sort of particular grief. I am still human underneath the layers of defenses, coping mechanisms and maladaptive behavior I’ve developed over the years because of it. I’m dealing with it. I am, however, legitimately thankful to all who show concern.

It’s typical for this type of issue to manifest itself in adolescence as I’ve learned through my research and I was certainly no exception. Depression oft requires a trigger of some sort and, for me, it was the absence of my biological father as I entered my teen years. The rhythm we had created was a visit once or twice a year on holidays and we’d go see his side of the family.

Then he stopped showing up.

A couple of years went by and, when the winter came, I sank. I didn’t know what was going on. I was an introverted and introspective kid and at that age certain things are still new. Depression was new to me but my mom recognized that something was a bit off. I was short-tempered and vocal about my anger, I would lock myself up with the computer for hours on end, I wasn’t sleeping which just amplified every emotional state and made the dark growing inside me even that much more detrimental. I went through counseling and healed of my “daddy issues”. They put me on an anti-depressant and, when things got a little brighter, I felt better and stopped taking them.

Fast forward a few years and that dark, cold feeling grew again and, with it, came an even stronger anxiety. I went through almost every anti-depressant one could possibly think of: SSRI’s, SNRI’s, MAOI’s and nothing seemed to cut it. After summarily firing the GP that was prescribing all of these drugs with no result, I found a new one who referred me to their Behavioral Health Unit. The same cycle began again. Try a drug, fail a drug, appointment, ad infinitum. In the process they were able to nail down that I was, indeed, textbook DSM-IV Bipolar II, categorized with rapidly cycling moods, uncontrolled anxiety and depression. It made sense of a lot of things and it was almost cathartic to hear those words, despite their unpleasant implications. Eventually, they found a cocktail of meds that keep me stable most of the time.

But still, the darkness would come.

I’ve learned a lot about depression in the last few years since my diagnosis. It is, in fact a disease, and a dangerous one at that. I’ve heard it described as anger turned inward which I can neither confirm nor deny from my own experience. Sometimes that description makes a lot of sense. Depression is often cold and numbing. For me it has taken me all the way down to the floor and taken any and all strength from me to get back up. It roots you very firmly in the moment and rips all perspective away from you, forces you to forget there is a future and, very selectively, lets you trek into the past into moments in life that hurt the most and then it allows you to feel that way all over again. Depression can be maddening, and can drive you to actions that you never thought you’d ever even consider. It has led some to consider taking their own life and some have tried and succeeded. Above anything else it is important to remember this:

It can be deadly.

Depression is not a joke. It has been caricatured over the years by mass media. For instance, the token “Goth Kids” on the show South Park. I remember those kids in high school and the ones that weren’t doing it just for the attention had some serious problems in their lives. But this only points out how stigmatized not just depression but any mental illness by pretty much any mass media outlet at some point or another. I cannot relate to you how many times I have been in a conversation where someone tells the typical story of someone flying off the handle or having any other sort of emotional extreme and then hear the story teller then say, “He/she is so bipolar”. Let me be clear. I have a sense of humor, I really do. I will laugh at some of the most crude and obscene jokes you can think of without thinking about it. More than anything I want you to understand that because of this take on mental illness, I, and people like me, are afraid to be open about their struggles.

Depression is a silent killer.

I don’t want you to come away from this thinking I sat down and wrote this in one of my depressive states and I wanted to take out all my angst on the blogosphere or whoever else might read this. While I am actually in the middle of an extended depressive episode right now, I really just felt this deep conviction that I needed to put my heart out there somehow. This just happens to be the best way I know how to communicate this. Let me tell you what I believe.

I believe in a God who doesn’t make mistakes. I also believe he created man who first sinned and has sent all of creation spiraling out of control and away from its creator ever since. I believe I was made this way for a reason and that I may never understand why I was made to suffer this way. I believe in drawing closer to a state of completeness or sha’lom through God coming in the form of a man who suffered everything I have in far worse a fashion and then died to reconcile me to himself. I believe some day I will be rid of all of this pain and this ridiculously flawed body. I believe in all of that there is hope.

I know there are people out there who struggle from similar and probably even worse depression and darkness than I ever have and probably ever will. But to everyone I would say that it is vital, absolutely vital, to create a culture (wherever you are) where it is OK to not be OK. The absolutely worst thing you can ever do is allow someone sit in their suffering and not talk about it. That’s not just true of our current topic but I’m sure you already knew that. For those who are suffering, my prayers are for you as they are for me, that we would be healed of all of this. I stated above that depression was both a good and bad thing in my life. I’ve so far explained the bad. These are things you already know or should know. If I could tell you one positive thing I have gained from all of this it’s these:

It has drawn me nearer to YHWH.

He has taught me great and valuable lessons on suffering.

He has allowed me to take my story to others like me.

There is joy in all of that.

As odd as that may seem to you (as it was for me for many years), out of all the darkness I’ve experienced, all the times I’ve felt so depressed that I was not able to pick myself up off the ground, for all the times I cried for no reason and for all the people I’ve probably alienated because of how unstable I can be sometimes I have realized it is a common ground not many can share. Statistically, people with Bipolar II consist of about 2% of the US population, though more generous studies say up to 5%. But I have been given Christ and an often debilitating affliction. I wonder how many people in that small percentage merely feel like an aberration, a cruel joke or a product of faulty genes. I wonder how many of them understand their reward in the Kingdom of Heaven.

When you are lost in the abyss there is always a set of nail pierced hands reaching in to pull you out.

Sick of being tired

Some days I wake up to and wonder why they’re here. I wonder to myself what good can come from this glaring insistence that this day could be better passed by sleeping it away. Then I turn over for another attempt at sleep, realizing that nothing fruitful is going to come from such a response. i then roll flat on my back as people often do and stare directly at nothing in front of me and just groan at the fact that I just do not want to face the day. In fact, I’d rather face the inside of my bedroom for the rest of the day than get up and go to work or to the church or really much of anything and as I crawl to the edge of my bed I ponder. I wonder about the burning sensation in my eyes, the unexplained tension in my neck and shoulders and the fog in my brain. All these things are normal morning things for me since I’m decidedly nocturnal.

But some days it just doesn’t go away.

I can’t explain why. Not this early.

So, I am able to hoist myself from the mattress into my morning and out the door quite easily. I’ve decided I could do my morning routine in my sleep if it was required. I get dressed in what is my usual daily attire, – Black everything with a hoodie on top – I grab my dickies messenger bag that is now on its 7th year and is looking a little worse for the wear and I head out the door. I get into my car, crank something that I hope will pull me out of this morning funk and get out of my driveway and a few blocks away before I realize I forgot to take my heart medication but decide it’s too late and keep going on the assumption that it won’t kill me (It really won’t. Don’t worry)

I arrive at my destination feeling no better but no worse for the wear either. I do realize within the first few minutes of being there that I am in no shape to talk to anybody or endure any sort of cognitive process. I push through because, honestly, I feel that I need to and that’s the way life needs to be.

It’s only until I get to my job that I realize what the real issue is. I feel that odd, burning tension in my gut for a little while and I find my focus is just about shot to pieces. I have little to no patience with the people around me and am extremely thankful I’m not taking phone calls for 7/8’s of my shift. I can feel that last straw and I remember a very large part of who I am is screaming for some sort of sensory deprivation so I don’t have to tolerate the influx of people and environment.

I am an introvert with extroverted tendencies.

I stress that I am an introvert.

We introverts are an interesting breed, especially those of us who don’t let life manhandle us into a life of seclusion. It works for some but not for all and so I know there are people out there who fight this same fight with themselves and struggle to love people when people are the last thing that they want to be dealing with. It’s something I’ve had to contend with all my life and it’s something that I’ve just had to understand and navigate myself.

Since I was a kid I’ve always known that I need that time away from personal interaction so I can recharge a little bit. As I’m writing this I’ve actually holed up in my office at the church where I will be left alone. The day I described above was my day today. I thought I was going to lose it completely at work today because, along with the exhaustion that this week has caused, I hit a wall emotionally and got pretty depressed. I switched over to some more upbeat music and that actually helped quite a bit.

I love the power of music.

But it just goes to show that something in the rhythm of my routine just isn’t quite right. There’s this thing in the Bible that is referred to as the sabbath. The sabbath is a day of rest which is first illustrated in Exodus 16 where the Hebrew people are given bread from heaven called manna. It’s interesting because YHWH provides for them all that they need six days out of the week and tells them on the seventh there won’t be any manna because the seventh day is to be kept holy. YHWH’s normal promise of provision is even altered on the sixth day to allow for the seventh.

In Exodus 20:8-10, YHWH lays out the law about the sabbath stating that it is to be kept holy, that no work was to be done. This commandment was skewed a lot as the year progressed and, indeed, seems to be misunderstood by Jews and Christians alike. In my personal experience, I can see in my normal rhythms that my body and mind cry out for rest about once a week as if I were designed that way. That thought is interesting. Is the commandment of Sabbath there to say, “You were built this way. Your natural tendency will be to fight against that so I give you this command for your own good.”

Sometimes I wonder if pushing myself as hard as I do is counter YHWH’s command. I currently have a day I consider my day of rest but it’s interesting to me how fast that day gets filled up with things I need to do until it’s not a day of rest. To just illustrate how bad it can get, I can tell you I felt much better just getting out of the building I work in and into my car. The moment the car came on and the music started playing I instantly felt better. The sheer violence of such change makes me wonder.

There’s a church near where I work. As I walk out the doors I can see the cross that sits on top this massive structure and that usually sparks some thought and I’m able to sort of center myself again. Or at least, I try to. It doesn’t always work, sadly. But I’d like to think I will find rest in Jesus after all the garbage that I go through because of the volatility of the inside of my head.

It’s well established that Jesus had to retreat and pray every now and again. So, I think from now on I’m really going to work on finding some time to go hide off the grid and away from people for a while each week just to get myself back closer to center. I don’t know where I’ll go or how I’ll pull it off but I’ll pray that I figure it out for my own sake as well as the sake of others.

I need some rest.

I’m sick of being tired.