God IS Listening

I know I have been missing in action. I know it has been a while since I have posted anything to my blog. Well I’m back. I’m back and better than ever. Life has been a struggle for longer than I care to remember. My recent struggle with unemployment has just added to the frustration.

I decided to follow my own words and “If I can’t join them, then beat them.” This week I took my first steps to a life change, I purchased my own business. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m blessed. I didn’t make this decision on a whim, I consulted the One that knows.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Connecticut to look at purchasing a franchise. A franchise that would not only be the first in my area, but the first in my state. The night before our “Discovery Day” I was a nervous wreck. I talked to myself. I asked myself, “What are you thinking? What are you doing here? Have you lost your mind?”

I got up the next morning after not much sleep. I prayed like I never prayed before. I asked God to please give me a sign. Please make it obvious to me. Please don’t make it like one of Your Son’s parables like He is known for.

I started my day heading out with a technician to observe their system on how they operate. My tech and I had three calls for that morning. We had two residential and one commercial call to a CPA firm.

My tech received a message at our first call that his second call had rescheduled for another day. As we were leaving the first stop, he received another message assigning him a new call. So off to the next assignment we went.

The next thing I know we pull into a Catholic Church, yes my church home. Not totally convinced that this was my sign, I look at the tech and asked, “Is this a Catholic Church?” He responded, “Yes.” He told me they have a service agreement with them. So I responded, “So you you come and support them often?” “Oh no, I’ve never been here. They usually send John, honestly I don’t know why they sent me.” At that point the hair on the back of my neck stood up. It felt as though all my stress, negative thoughts, doubt, worry and anything else you can imagine, just lifted from my shoulders. I looked at the tech and informed him, “They didn’t send you, Someone else did.”

It was at that moment I realized I am on the right path. He sent me to my home of worship. He sent me to the one place I know I’m supposed to be. He gave me a sign and slapped me right across my face like I asked Him to do. Now I know God doesn’t want me to be a fool with my money, but He let me know I’m heading in the right direction.

I have purchased the franchise. I return to Connecticut for a couple weeks of training, I may even hang out in NYC for a weekend. I once again get to start my adventures. I once again feel the fire burning inside.

The path of my journey has once again changed. My journey takes me in a direction of pure happiness and joy. There is a lot of work ahead, but when it’s a work of passion, GREAT!

My love for my Heavenly Father is infinite. My path has become clear after decades of being lost. Most of all, my faith is recharged to its fullest and I have plenty to share with others.

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Florida

When people think of Florida, they think of amusement parks, sunshine and beautiful beaches. A place to go relax and have fun and get away from the daily grind of life. They head there for vacation, but eventually it’s time to pack up and head back to the real world.

Many years ago I packed my bags and headed to Florida to continue my education. I had visited there a few times in my younger years, but only for vacation, not to live. I was heading there after being invited by my aunt to checkout a junior college in their area.

I remember it vividly. The excitement of the adventure ahead of me. This teenage boy from Indiana leaving the Hoosier State for the Sunshine State. I enrolled in school and loved it. Money was a huge struggle, but I was making it. There were some bumps in the road, but I persevered.

The thing I soon realized was how great I felt, just not physically, but mentally. I wasn’t sure why I felt so great at the time, but I was in Florida and that’s all that mattered. Life was good, no not good, it was fantastic.

Things were just moving along, I had school, I was working and I was beginning to make some really good friends. I thought this is it, I found where I was meant to be. But as we learn in life, all good things must come to an end.

I returned home one afternoon and there was a message from my aunt that I needed to call my mom back in Indiana. I knew it couldn’t be good because my parents never called me, but I called them occasionally. I did and as I thought no good news.

My mom informed me that my younger sister that I was close to at the time had attempted suicide. She attempted to overdose on pills but was caught in time. I told my mom I would catch the next plane home. My parents caught me as I was leaving for the airport and told me my sister wanted me not to come. I was given a wide assortment of reasons, so I didn’t go. I was devastated. From that moment on I lost my Florida.

Yes MY FLORIDA! It was no longer just a physical place, but a state of mind for me. It was a place free of my dysfunctional family and all the misery that went with it. This was my place for a new beginning and a life where I could truly be me and not working so hard to be different than my family and doing things just to prove I’m not them.

I was learning what it meant to have true unconditional relationships. I was learning what it meant to be hardworking and disciplined. The were all things I never did back home. Back home I worked hard at being nonexistent. I did what it took to be accepted by others because all my relationships were built on conditions and too many conditions to list.

That moment began a huge domino effect that eventually sent me packing back to Indiana. My Florida was gone. I was once again smack dab in the middle of dysfunction USA. Most of my friends were gone, either off to college or moved away for jobs. I worked whatever jobs I could knowing I needed to finish school. I finished school, got married, had a family and no regrets for that. What I do regret that during this time I never got back to my Florida.

I keep saying I want to go back to Florida, but I hear how it would probably be different now. I know it would be. But as I’ve said, Florida is not a place on a map for me, it is a state of mind.

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Searching for Me

I'm sitting in my car watching the world go by. Confused how the world can act as though all is well while I struggle finding employment. Don't these people realize how much I'm suffering. Don't they realize my daily struggle. How can the world go on without me involved? I know, pretty arrogant words, but so many think that way. I on the other realized years ago that this world will continue without our individual involvement.

I have racked my brain for decades trying to figure out who I truly am. I still haven't found me, but I know that day will come. If my life were a painting, it would be abstract art. I believe everyone that looked at it would have a different opinion, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. I know my life isn't worthless and I have made a difference, but it's the emptiness inside that saddens me.

I have many decisions to make along with many changes. Some of these will be difficult, but I can no longer worry just how it will affect others, but also factor myself in the mix.

I know God has a plan, I just hope I'm not hiding it from myself.

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Where Am I?

As I looked around the sanctuary at Mass this morning I came to a huge observation, I don't no anyone here. Other than one person we ran into that is not a parishioner that I went to high school with, I knew no one. Let me correct that, I know the priest and my wife who was with me. So out of 1,500 people I knew 3. Not much of a comforting feeling.

I then returned home to my house on our little cul-de-sac. I stood in the driveway and realized I haven't had a real conversation with a neighbor in weeks. Some neighbors it's been years since I talked to them. It is just amazing what has happened with my life. I looked around and thought to myself, "Where am I? How did I get here?"

I am actually to the point that it really doesn't matter where I am and how I got here. I know I want out and I'm the one that has to do it. Daily I work hard to get a job in a line of work I don't want to do in a place I don't want to be. I understand that in life we have to make sacrifices. Well that's all my life has been a life of sacrifice. A life of working hard to get to a place I don't want to be.

I emotionally battle everyday the loss of time in my life. The time I have given others hoping to be loved, accepted and a part of something, It is hard seeing your spouse and feeling that loss of connection. The treatment that makes you feel incompetent and useless. The look that everything you say or do is wrong or scrutinized. The daily feeling that you have lost so much and have no one to blame but yourself because you never wised up to your own shortcomings.

You never realized the hurt and pain brought on from parents that never showed not only unconditional love, but no love at all. You find yourself swimming in a sea of regret because you have never been able to find that place in life where you have felt wanted and accepted.

Time quickly passes and those moments of uncertainty and self doubt turn into a lifetime. Those that weren't there for you are the ones that you are now bending over backwards for and you realize nothing has changed other than they expect more and more from you,

I find myself digging deep into my memory to hopefully find that moment or time in life that I was truly happy. A time where I could be the authentic me. It's a place hidden deep in my past, that many don't want me to return to. If I would return to that place some would be bothered for that fact that I would actually think about caring for myself. It's a place of happiness because everyone there wants to be there. Existence is not an obligation but a privilege. You enjoy doing for others because it's appreciated and guess what others do the same for you.

I know this post may appear to be self loathing and quite the pity party, but it's not. I ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN. I blame no one else. I have the ability to say no. I know right from wrong, but still lack that true feeling of being. But you know what, I can change that. It won't be easy. There will be some tears and hurt feelings, but I can no longer continue down this path.

Change is good. Change is hard. But change can allow me to know, where I am.

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????????

Yes, so many questions, but I have no answers. It's even hard for me to decide where to start this post. Not to offend anyone, but my life is just shit right now. All the decisions that I need to make only have choices I don't like.

My situation has many different variables. I know there are people in worse situations, something I hear a lot, but I always remind them there are people in better situations. Life at this point is intolerable. Nothing is right, nothing is easy. There is no enjoyment. No happiness. Love, trust, hope, relationships have all been lost and shattered.

The largest issue is unemployment. I have been without a job since last March. Daily I hear how unemployment is at its lowest and officially state there is no unemployment. REALLY!!!!! I can testify I am, so there IS unemployment. You place on top of that the I have been under employed for the past 10 years, it makes it that much more difficult.

Then there is my dad whom I have been taking care of for the past seven years. He has Alzheimer's, dementia, micro vascular disease on top of the layers of emotional crap he has suffered since childhood. I'm the only one of his 6 children that cares for him. I have a younger brother that occasionally visits, but that's it. His apartment at the assisted living facility he lives at has a bed bug infestation, a really bad one. Now on top of that, I took him to the state fair yesterday. He left in an ambulance after collapsing, I caught him, while walking around the fair. He is fine, it was dehydration and I think one too many corn dogs.

Dad #2: My father-in-law is legally blind, macular degeneration. He lives by himself, widowed in the past 18 months. Severe grief, depression and loneliness are overwhelming him. His confusion is becoming greater by the day and is seeking constant attention from my wife and myself. She has four siblings that are absent from helping him.

My wife is overwhelmed with work, her dad and the stress of an unemployed husband. She is at her wits end and can no longer enjoy the success and good things happening to others. She is at such a point she is unhappy with everyone including God.

I am at my wits end for the fact of all the interviews that I've had and the canned response, "OVER QUALIFIED." I'm out of answers and can only now to begin looking out of state. My wife will NOT move as long as her dad is alive, which means if I take an out of state job, I'm on my own.

My wife and I are worn out. We have cared for others for the past 25 plus years. We have NEVER looked for anything in return, but have been saddened by the lack of support that we have received from others. Emotionally we are crushed. Spiritually we are hurt. We don't know why we are going through this, but whatever the reason, I blame no one but myself.

I'm the one that trusted. I'm the one who has always believed in being a good person. I thought that being loyal and honest would go a long way. I now realize I have done nothing but fool myself. Yes fool, the way I truly feel about so much of my life. What I've believed. What I've bought into. What I have trusted. I seems it is all gone. What was once a dream is now only a nightmare. Life is now about just survival and nothing else.

I don't know where God really plays into this. I know I turned all over to Him. I don't blame God, He has bigger worries other than my problems. Mine are self induced issues that stem from my blind trust and faith. Faith that I have been attempting to recharge for years now.

I don't know how this will all end. I don't know where I'm headed. I don't know anything other than I'm lost. I'm confused. I keep following a light that I'm not sure is a light or just a reflection of my imagination.

Trust me this is a tough post to write. It gets harder and harder by the day. It is easier and easier to become so numb to everything. Right now I don't see any happy ending to this, but I will keep going. I may lose it all tomorrow with so many unanswered questions, but I will know one thing. I did all of this with faith and a servant heart.

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Redefining the Church

It must be nice to have so much power to be able to redefine the meaning of words.  When I grew up, we were taught in school that you are either born a man or a woman.  I never remember the third option unless yo want to talk about hernaphrodites and that was generally reserved for the discussion on earthworms.  Now it’s been redefined not as a biological question but a psychological one.

I remember attending, participating and even having my own wedding.  I always saw, just not told, the definition of marriage was between a man an a woman. Once again, it has been redefined and now has a new meaning.

History is even being rewritten.  If it offends you,you can  find away to have it rewritten, torn down or totally omitted like it never happened.  It’s hard to witness and it keeps getting worse. Yes I said worse.

Now evidently one of the founders of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, believes Facebook will become the new “church” and fill the void for those seeking purpose and belonging.  The place you can go and say what you want and block those that say what you don’t want to hear.  I don’t know about you, but at my church, I don’t have an unfriend option or a unbelieve option.

Today the definition of a church is a building where people go to practice their religion.  I know this definition is subject to change and may have possibly changed before I hit post just because Mr. Zuckerburg said so.  A church is where individuals go to worship and celebrate a common RELIGIOUS belief.  Not a place to chastise, insult, berate and attack those that don’t agree with you that call themselves “Friend”, Facebook.

I like Facebook, but not for my political or religious beliefs.  I save those for other places and times.  I know there are churches that are more like social clubs, been there, done that.  There are churches that are so large there is no feeling of personal belonging, but many churches are home.  Home where we are there amongst those church family members to share our common belief in a higher power.

Mr. Zuckerberg, if you want to be the next  benevolent organization, have at it.  But to equate social media on any level with religion, we continue to see how our values are eroding.  Let’s not redefine “church”, but if you want to redefine Elks, Rotary, Optimist or any other fraternal organization, feel free.

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Always a Missing Link

I started to write a book about ten years ago.  It is a out how I turned my life around from all the adversity and health issues I have faced all my life.  The ironic part was that at this point in life, adversity had actually gotten worse.  My writing hit a roadblock and here I am 10 years later with my unfinished book.

I have always wondered how I got to where I am.  I know that so many come from homes where we become adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families.  I have known this for several years now, but haven’t truly worked through it.  I have no relationship with my family.  Yes , I take care of my dad, but his battle with Alzheimer’s is taking it’s toll and he really has no memory of the horrors of our family life.  It is all so confusing to him why he doesn’t see any of his other 5 children and it’s not my place tell him.

I was raised in small town Indiana and to this day fight the scars of my childhood.  I will skip the details, that’s for another day, but I really didn’t know why I can’t turn my life around.  Why I continually fell back into the same pattern time and time again.  I continually sacrificed my future, my life and my well being for the sake of others.  I always had to pay a high price for others to like me.  Family and friendship always came at a great cost to me.

I find myself at this time of my life jobless, friendless and holding on by the skin of my teeth.  I have accepted that God is in control and feel the comfort of that, but it doesn’t fix the confusion of what I have considered life.  I hear the tough life my father had.  I hear about the strict disciplinarians that my mother had as parents.  I think my parents and their lack of positive influence in my life was a result of their own childhoods.

I recently completed reading a book written by a high school classmate of mine.  The book is “Driving with Dead People”, by Monica Holloway.  The book took me back to my childhood and opened my eyes to the truth.  I can report that physically I did not suffer at the hands of my parents, but my scars and pain of the mental abuse are just as devastating.

My eyes are opened.  My vision is clearer.  I truly believe I can now move forward and TRULY change my life.  I have a lot of work to do, but now I have direction.  Now I have validation.  Now I feel truly free.

True love and faith in God can do wondrous things, including moving forward with our lives feeling His true love for us.

The journey continues.

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