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I LOST EVERYTHING…ALMOST

Over the past few weeks I’ve talked a lot about me and some of the things I’ve been through. My world at times has been convoluted with crazy events or pain, even disappointments that I’ve experienced. The most prevalent thing that I can talk about in all of my experience is my depression. It lasted for almost 2 years, and it was the most serious space I’ve ever been in. I also realize that through going through that much turmoil within myself that there had to be some type of effect on those around me. I’ve already spoken about the days where my daughter wonders if I’m coming back home or if I’ll be gone for a while. That’s surely painful, but what I didn’t and haven’t really spoken about are the fears of the things I almost and could have lost had I not gotten the help I needed, and come out of that place.

My Family

For those that know me, my year started out with a new Hashtag, a new theme for my world. #FAMILYMATTERS. It’s a theme that I prayed about and spiritually believe in. God allowed me to see myself through the lens of my family in ways I didn’t know possible. In that dark place in my mind, I convinced myself that my children didn’t need me. Or that they’d be better off without me. I thought that their grandparents and mother would do a better job of influencing their life than I ever could. I didn’t think I was needed. To be completely 110 about it, that’s where I truly almost failed. I failed in thinking that there was anyone that could replace me in my own life. Well, Jason, when you say it like that, it sounds silly…Yeah, I know. As men, as parents, as fathers, we have to understand that God has entrusted the lives of our children to us. They are just on loan. And it is our job to instill in them the values, and goodness that were given to us. Behaviors are taught, no inherited. In other words, when someone is good to someone, they were taught to be good, even more so what is good. The values that I have for my children in treating others the right way, cannot be taught the way I teach them. The way my son and daughter do things will come from me and their mother. No one else can give them that, and I do myself a disservice to believe anything otherwise.
I mention all of that because when I lost sight of that, I was in danger of someone else doing for them what only I am supposed to do. I’ll keep it real. The thought of another man, person, or otherwise raising the children that I helped to birth sickens me. Not because another man isn’t capable of doing well in certain areas, but BECAUSE I AM STILL ABLE…I still have my life, my faculties, and my values that were given to me. Things that no one person can ever take away. And to think that I was about to give up my place (cause someone can’t take that away, trust me) is a real cause for concern.

My Wife

That last two lines of the previous section are a big theme for this subject. The moment I pictured another man with my wife, I cried, and cried, and cried. I saw someone else making her smile and it almost killed the very heart of me. But when I thought about it, I realized that it was my doing. Something I will always be hard on myself about. My wife has been everything to me for the past 17 years of my life. I have known and loved her for almost half of my life. And to believe that it was time for me to give up on the woman I call the ‘LOVE OF MY LIFE’ just…well…it just…I don’t know…I don’t know how to describe how that feels. I guess I could equate it to having a hole in my chest. Or missing a vital organ. My issues caused me to think that it was okay to walk away, and that was a deafening feeling. But a decision that didn’t just hurt her, it hurt me too. I just couldn’t believe we weren’t gonna make it. That’s what I kept telling myself. And rather than tell her, that it’s not what I really wanted, I just sat there, in my stupor. I sat there and wallowed in my own mess. Some of are out there being so comfortable in chaos, that we don’t or can’t even appreciate how good we have it.  I honestly thought that was the right thing to do. As if that was acceptable. I thought for some reason someone else could be better for her, when truth of the matter was she had who she believed was best. When I finally saw what I had done, it was this long hard gaze into a mirror. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. There was someone there, but there was almost no SOUL to the person that did what I did. I didn’t think about what I was doing, I simply ran. And that’s honestly tough to confess today. Even though we’re in a much better place, I still have trouble thinking about it all. Simply because it could have gone another way. I still feel the doubt in her voice at times.  It’s something I will have to deal with for as long as it takes. And I will, because I understand now. I see that I CAN’T LOSE her again. I can’t give UP All that WE Have, and have established together.


My Life

IN a matter of 4 seconds, I was contemplating giving up something another thing that didn’t necessarily belong to me. My LIFE. And I know for me it wasn’t even serious in the grand scheme of things, but I am a very internal person, and those 4 seconds felt like an eternity. This in no way shape or form is HUGE on the grand scale of suicide attempts of others or actual successful suicides (CAN WE really CALL SUICIDE Success??). It was however, a turning point for me. It was what I needed to know I had to get some type of help. Some type of counseling. I felt my voice leaving me. I was in the Sunken place as the movie Get Out suggests. I could see it all happening, but it was as if I couldn’t speak up for myself. I was truly Broken at the time. I wanted to be better, but so much was happening around me that I didn’t think I could be. At least I had convinced myself of that. All in all, I knew that if I didn’t get help, I would never be well again. I would never hear my voice again, I’d never be me again. It’s a victory, Yes. But it doesn’t mean I’ll never have to fight again.

I say all this to basically say, that if you haven’t taken inventory, because for some reason you don’t think it’s important. You really need to. You need to count the blessings that you have. And when you do you’ll see that you have more than you actually think you do. More to love, more to live for and more to Lose. There’s probably so much more to lose than you’ll ever know. Also think how it would truly affect other people if you weren’t here. Our spouses, our children. Those are the areas of loved ones that we affect the most. We don’t take a second to think that we have an impact that isn’t always spoken about. We are also appreciated much more than we could ever know. We just have to find ways to see it. We have to be cognoscente of the things that got us here. The experiences that we have shared with others, and that make us who we are. It’s just a life lesson that I’m talking about today. I’m talking about understanding that you haven’t lost everything just yet. But if you give up, and bow down to the forces meant to break you, you absolutely Will. And losing everything doesn’t just HURT you. It doesn’t just cost for YOU. It cost EVERYBODY you know…It’s COST EVERYTHING…

More to come…

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The Court of My Own Opinion

gavel

So I haven’t done this in a while, but I guess it’s probably time for one of my moments…You know, those moments where I decide to be completely transparent for a few minutes.  At least for a portion of this blog.  I honestly believe doing so helps me to know more about myself, and who I am meant to be for my life.

So here goes…

For most my life, I’ve had a part time job.  Not the type of job that required any schooling.  Not the type that I actually get paid for.  It’s not a 9 to 5, but you can actually show up at any point in the day and still be good at it.  I’m sad to say that I’ve probably being doing this job better than most for the past 20 years.  That job is none other than that of a Judge.

Not only have I provided judgement for others and their situations, but I’ve also been the jury and executioner in the court of my own opinion.  I’ve handed out life sentences, bans, fines, etc.  Whatever I’ve deemed necessary for the time.  I’ve done what most Christians do.  I’ve told others that I believed in Jesus and what he is about, and yet, have created my own judgement for individuals when I saw fit.  While at the same time not allowing myself to face the same possible punishment for my own crimes of morality.  Ouch!!!!  Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, it hurt to say it.  But I guess the point of it all is whether or not I understood how it could have hurt others when I put them under the jail or microscope of my own imagination.

*****Romans 3:23   23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God*****

Now don’t get it twisted…I still believe in right and wrong.  Still believe in black and white, but the truth of the matter is that I shouldn’t, we shouldn’t as believers or religious folk always be the one to hand out the trolls of punishment on others.  We have to allow the True Judge to do his job at the end of the day.

When I think about being judgmental in situations I tend to think about my faith.  I constantly go out of my way to say how different I am.  1. Because I’m a believer, and 2. Because I just don’t do things the way a lot of people do.  Apparently I always thought that I was a living example of this moral code on how to live life.  The fact that I didn’t drink or smoke or partake in certain things made me this moral authority or something.  Then I discovered something recently.  When or how did I become so “holier-than-thou?” Although I claim to be something different, that thought process makes me in fact, no different from the others.  It actually makes me just like the rest.  Just like the so-called saints that are out there in the abortion clinics, or keeping Muslims from this country.  It makes me just like those that would judge a decision based off of what my eyes saw and not what actually happened.  It’s as if the evidence presented showed one thing, but there was something that wasn’t actually brought to the table.  But I only saw the circumstantial things…In trying to be better, I acted as if I actually was…and I’m writing to this to say, it’s not what I actually believe.

I believe in God.  I believe in Love, and I believe all of us have come short of that on multiple occasions.  Just as I do at times, people tend to rely on themselves, in addition to their intellect and their own personal experiences rather that what and who they know God or their creator to be.  If He’s loving, then shouldn’t we be?  If He’s forgiving, then shouldn’t we do the same?  If He trusts us with the benefit of the doubt, then shouldn’t we treat others the way we want to be treated.  I’m not gonna lie…this is, and has been historically a very tough lesson to learn.

Here’s a question I would ask to people who have been judgmental to others throughout their lives:  Where has the way you treated others got you?  Are you better off because of it?  Are you a better person?  Are you “different” than the rest?  If the answer to any of those questions is “no”, then you need to be…

I thought I was being different from every one else by saying so or being different than my actions of my past. But what really makes you so different? Is it saying it or displaying it? It can come across as holier than thou, when the One you follow or say you follow was not that way.  Trying to set yourself apart isn’t what Jesus ever did. He always embraced becoming part of the crowd and yet standing out. He always went in but his virtue is what shined through. I think a lesson we could truly learn is to not be so concerned about what others think of us. Or the fact that when we think or believe something, trying to impose that same belief on others because we think they should choose the same path. Stop trying so hard to be different and just be. That’s probably the best thing that can be done.  Now I’m surely not saying it will be easy. What truly stands out about us as believers or non-believers alike, is the ability to be in any situation and maintain your life, your integrity, etc. That’s what Jesus did truth be told. I guess the hardest thing for me personally is moving past my own individual stereotypes and ideological thoughts concerning life.  It’s been honestly tough for me. I don’t always know how to overcome my judging past.  I do, however, know that I am NOT better than any other person. I guess the best thing I can take out of all this is that I do in fact know who I want to be. But am still trying to figure out who I am in that sense. Am I the man that goes to the crowd trying to reach them, or does my just living reach them?  What’s the best way to teach, I ask?  I have prayed that God teach me how to love. I mean really love in a way that helps others. Guess the only way to truly know how is to love Him and to learn more about myself.

It’s crazy when we often try to argue a belief that we don’t even practice ourselves. That’s why most people view the people who claim to be Christian with the side-eye .  Why people could potentially view me that way.  I guess I’m working to believe I can overcome all of it.  The one thing that has given me pause, is being called to the mat on most of it. The thing is, all one can control is what they do. And the thing I’m trying to do best is be good and appreciative, and grateful. And I know I haven’t done the best job of that lately.  Trust me when I tell you, there will be growing pains.  But if you go through life thinking how you treat others, and how to apply the “Golden Rule”, you’ll most put down the gavel that you’ve used to judge so many, and start actually living your own life…

More to come…

I Don’t Think You’re Racist…

I guess what they say is true…you know, that a good writer never gets a vacation…well…Maybe, I’m the only one that says that, or could be that I just made it up for the sake of this blog…

Truth of the matter is, every time I attempt to or have a reason to take a hiatus from blogging, I find myself getting right back to it, because of the silly things that happen in this world. Not silly things I do believe it or not, it’s silly things others do. Or the world. Or let me just come out and say it…possibly WHITE FOLKS…Now don’t get me wrong, black people do silly things all the time, and I don’t want to completely put it on one group or another. But let’s just be honest for a second…Some white folks, just, for all intensive purposes…just take it a little far…

So anyway…

This evening, while watching one of my favorite shows, HTGAWM (How To Get Away With Murder), I heard the rich white guy Asher, talking to some ladies and he accidentally touches one young lady’s behind who he mistook as his girlfriend. When the black girl called him racist, he did what most people of the Caucasian race try to do when accused of such of thing. Try to prove how many black people he actually knows. Now when his black friend actually does appear (recently murdered), Wes something that I found profound. Asher says, “you know I’m not racist right?” Wes immediately says, “You’re not racist. I just think you’re white.” LOL!!!

I’m sorry I had to start out that way because that was one of the truest statements I’ve ever heard. I will say that it is certainly true that black people and other races don’t necessarily see all white people as racist. We don’t actually think white folks are all bad, not one bit. However, I will say this though, even with that being said, white folks still tend to have a way about them that at times makes us wonder if they can be trusted. One that makes them seem oblivious to things of the black culture. Not all of them understand the way we speak, look, dress, walk, etc. They don’t understand the reasons why we tend to get angry at them.

Let’s put it this way: Two people witness a store robbery. When asked to describe what the assailant looks like, in most cases (not all), the one that was black will describe what the person looked like as far as their hair, clothes, etc. When the other person who just so happens to be white describes the same thing, the first thing that they describe is generally the color of someone’s skin. And generally speaking, these are the same people that will say that they don’t actually see color. Hmmm. You saw it that time though. You don’t see color and yet somehow, someway, a miracle happened when you witnessed that robbery. The Lord gave you back you sight of color, for such a moment as this. Hallelujah, prayer really works!!!

Funny, huh…I think so…

I say all that to say, that there’s actually nothing wrong with seeing color, or colors. That actually means something is right about us. It means we see God’s variety and hues that He chose for all of us. It shows that there are in fact differences in people of this world. And that’s a good thing. It becomes a not so good thing when people choose to not allow something because of the color of their skin. Or because they represent a certain ethnicity. I think, but am not to certain, that’s what happened in the time of slavery, separate but equal, and Jim crow right? Then there’s a thing about white people to where the things that happen to black people just don’t seem as though they are on the same radar. When black people generally see a crime, we see the crime and how harsh it is…even and especially when they are black. We are probably more harsh on ourselves then we are on anyone else. But we see it all. We see the fact that white people commit crime and so do black people. But the point is that we actually pay attention to it all. We see what they do and we dislike all of it.
White folks seem to have this inherent FOX NEWS point of view. A few weeks ago, we saw many women and men March for the Women’s March, an incredibly noble cause to which everyone should have participated. The interesting thing is, when something like that happens and it involves black women, where are all those same groups. Where are they then to help the cause? Just asking. Where were those same marchers when it came to Trayvon (Martin)? I mean I get it if you’re weren’t gonna March for Michael Brown (Ferguson). We’re not even sure if he was a criminal. You March for gay rights (LGBT), as you should, but when it comes to movements such as #BLACKLIVESMATTER, where black lives and children are being taken by the police, so many make excuses. Yes there are some that will stand for the injustice, but where’s the support for real? Many got mad when a black president who just so happens to be half-white said that it was upsetting when a white kid walked into a church and shot 9 people who were minding their own business. Dylan roof wasn’t sorry for what happened, and yet there were those that felt he deserved mercy. Com’on now. I might be Christian and believe in mercy but not for someone who is without remorse. But I digress.

My point is that: IF you don’t wanna be deemed as racist, then stop being racist. Stop being biased, and judgmental. And yes, when people speak about racism they do mean white people. Would you like to know why? Because whites historically have hurt many cultures and affected every race because of its own fear. They never asked to share. They always took. Took from Native Americans…still taking for Native Americans (yeah, I said it). Took from Asians, took from Middle Eastern people…South Americans. Oh yeah, and took from….you guessed it…Africa.

Like I said before on many other occasions, of course I’m not speaking on everyone, but if you’re offended by what I’m saying, then I’m probably talking about you. Yes, you’re absolutely right…racism is offensive. To be called a racist is bad, I agree…but when you ignore that it exists and the effect it profoundly has on the world and its cultures, then you sir/madam are in fact just that. A racist. And most of you are just oblivious to the trials that other cultures have had, which makes you (a.) Privileged, and (b.) Most likely white (sorry not sorry).

I would like to take the time to enlighten people on some quotes that people of color find inherently racist:

1. I don’t see color
2. My black friend…whom I speak to all the time and love…
3. You’re different from what I’m used to…(that’s my favorite)…
4. I just had a few bad experiences with black people…
5. Did you play basketball (Now although that’s not quite racist, every tall black man doesn’t play ball…)
6. I love hip hop…I used to listen to NWA and Tupac all the time…
7. If I could have, I would’ve voted Obama for a third term (yeah, me too…)
8. I thought Denzel Washington was incredible in Training Day!! (Really??? Have you seen Malcom X)

Those are just a few…I’m pretty sure they will be more to come…

Thy Will Be Done…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:  2-8 A right time for birth and another for death, A right time to plant and another to reap, A right time to kill and another to heal, A right time to destroy and another to construct, A right time to cry and another to laugh, A right time to lament and another to cheer, A right time to make love and another to abstain, A right time to embrace and another to part, A right time to search and another to count your losses, A right time to hold on and another to let go, A right time to rip out and another to mend, A right time to shut up and another to speak up, A right time to love and another to hate, A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

“Why God?  Why?  Why am I dealing with this thing?  Why am I hurting like this?  I thought you wanted me to prosper?  I thought that you had a plan for me.  What do you want me to do?  Why am I going through so much if I’m supposed to be able to do all things through you?  I’m leaning on, begging you, asking you, and all you’re doing is watching me go through all this.  Can’t you hear me?  I’m screaming at you right now to do something…I’m screaming, and starting to lose my voice…Why can’t you hear me?  Why are you doing this, or letting this happen to me?”

Not gonna lie, I’ve said all that before.  I’ve said some of it recently.  I’ve been through some things that some would say weren’t that bad, and others would say are so serious that they don’t even see how I’ve made it this far.  And maybe there’s a possibility that they wouldn’t have.  Not because they don’t have the ability to survive, but because they just can’t go through the things I have to go through.  I ask myself, if all this is happening, then how in the world could this (the bad stuff) be God’s will?  How could God’s will involve pain, and brokenness?    How could God, whom every good and perfect thing come from Him, allow me to be subjected to this.  After all, if you know anything about the Bible, you know that no harm could ever come our way, without God’s consent, right?

The Bible would have us look no further than Jesus for that answer.  Look at the way he was martyred.  Slain, and left out to pasture, by his own people.  It was God’s permissible will.  It happened so that God’s perfect could happen.  There would be no resurrection if there without his earthly death.  There would be no salvation, if we didn’t need to be saved (from ourselves) from the curse that is sin.  That’s just the way it is, right?  In life we have been through things, and have dealt with trauma over and over again.  And we often-times ask ourselves how we could pray or ever hope for God’s will to be done, if this is what we’d have to endure for it happen.  “Lord, if this is what it means for your will to be done, I don’t think I want that.”  I know I feel that way all the time.

We hear people quote the scripture from Romans 8:28:  All things work for the good of those that love God and are called according to His purpose.  We use that scripture to say that no matter what everything will alright.  To say that we can get through it because it’s about God’s purpose.  The truth of matter is, we don’t wanna go through anything (at least no type of adversity) to get to our purpose.  Why would we?  We quote these scriptures and pray for God’s will to be done, and it’s as if we don’t really understand what that entails.  We don’t understand that perhaps in God will being done, that He’s gonna have to allow us to be broken into pieces.  Ouch!!  That He’s gonna have to allow our relationships to be torn apart and maybe even fail (Yes, I’m even talking about marriages, ie check the divorce rate among believers).  There are going to be some casualties and some losses in this war.  Someone told me once that War is a word indicative of destruction, and therefore we should be careful in using that word to describe things.  They were absolutely right when they said that.  I would interject, that sometimes, war is exactly what it is.  Some things will have to be destroyed.  Others will have to be rebuilt afterwards.  God doesn’t allow it just because, He allows it for His purpose, otherwise known as His will.  That loss that impacted your life, and caused you to go through some things, was for the will of God.  That marriage you got into and have had for 10+ years, that all of the sudden no longer works, could be a part of God’s will for you as well.  It’s a plan.  It’s purpose driven.  The truth is, rarely do we agree with the execution of it.

I saw a video posted last week on Facebook titled, if Someone Leaves you, Let them Leave (wow).  That doesn’t seem very nice.  I know right?  The purpose of what TD Jakes was saying in the sermon, was that God has a purpose for all things.  And when you’re in something and someone makes a decision to make an exit, then it’s quite possible that it happened according to God’s permissible will.  I use permissible, because, it doesn’t necessarily have to happen that way, but God is not going to do anything to stop it or intervene, because He ultimately knows that person or thing is not attached to your true purpose.  Let’s talk about relationships for a second.  We see people try and try and try to “make” their relationships and marriages “work”.  They want to talk and go to counseling and figure out all the things that have gone wrong to repair their marriage.  Don’t get me wrong, you are supposed to perform your “due diligence” for your relationships/marriage.  You should make sure you’ve done all “humanly” possible.  That’s just it, when it goes beyond the two of you, and you get to that moment where you finally decide to pray, you better make sure you know what you’re asking.  You need to know that when we ask God to intervene, that some stuff we think is crazy might just happen.  Are you saying that heartache, and heartbreak are possible when God’s will is done?  That’s exactly what I’m saying.   Sometimes it’s almost a certainty that someone will be hurt, depending on the situation of course.

What if I told you, that in order for you to reach this peak level, you will have to lose everything you hold dear?  Some people would say, “Sure, I’ll do it.”  What if, in that same breath, they said, you’ll end up homeless, losing a child, your wife, and have no earthly possessions with the exception the clothes on your back?  Would you still be so quick to accept the challenge?  You’re lying if you jumped to say “Yes!!”  Nobody, and I mean Nobody wants to go through some of the hardships that have to be had in order to fulfill God’s will. That’s why we have to be willing participants in it.  We have to understand that there are things that we can’t pack in the suitcase to go on this journey.  Things that just don’t fit.  Like trying to put a square peg into a hole the shape of a triangle.

God’s will can be harsh to us at times and we never know what He has in store.  That’s because God is willing to do whatever possible to get the best out of you.  He doesn’t act the way we do, He doesn’t think the way we think.  He sees hurt as possibly helpful (of course He doesn’t want us to hurt, but He knows we have a great tendency to get in our own way), and not necessarily as a hindrance.  It’s a means to an end to get us to where we need to be.  They are lessons and parables to Him.  They are there to ultimately prosper you.  To make you the best version of you EVER.  That’s what we call His Perfect Will.  That’s why when Jesus was in Gethsemane praying, knowing that He would soon be taken to be crucified, that He would pray “Nevertheless, your will be done.”  It’s because despite what He felt, He realized that the perfect will of the Father was always going to be best.