A Rock Feels No Pain

In despero , obscurum ; In Diligo , Lux lucis. (In despair, darkness; In Love, Light). -Me

Connections

I’ve been accused, a few times, of not being quite-so-rock-like, as I used to be; nor even, by one or two people, a rock atall, atall.

Well. Um.

Yeah, me. Sometimes, I’ve been known to, just a little bit, now and then perhaps- well, maybe a teeensy bit- I well, um… sometimes, people get the strange idea that I might get a little sappy, once in a very great while.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, you’re saying to yourself now, “Not Dave, not the ROCK, the one that has no feelings, that feels no pain, is an Island, not THAT one, not sappy!”

I, of course, agree with you, don’t agree with those others in the slightest; I am a rock, solid and unemotional and uncaring and cold and all of those other traits you’ve grown to know and love. They’re merely spreading vicious rumors around, right? Right!

Now, keeping that in mind, the conversation I had this weekend, probably was just a dream, or something. Yeah, that’s it, a dream!

I didn’t tell a very special someone about how I love the deep, deep strong connection that we share. I didn’t mention to her, that I could feel her, across the miles, across the hours; I naturally never said anything at all, about how magical and wonderful that feels, and certainly I never ever said anything about it making me feel all warm-melty inside; no, not ME, I never said such things. Ahem. Of course not. Never.

I never mentioned that even when separated, we’re still joined in amazing ways, that just hearing her, seeing her, sends a thrill through me, nope.

And, of course, I certainly never said anything about magic- I wouldn’t do that, nohow. I never said magical connections, or indicated that I knew anything about that kind of magic.

Did I? I DID? Me?

Well… mebbe. Mebbe, once in a while, even a rock gets to feel some magic, gets to recognize a connection that is more real than can be explained in logical words.

Yeah. Me. So… sue me, lol- take away my man-card, impeach me as president of the un-emotionals… Yeah, I did say it- and feel it- and continue to feel it-

I celebrate it, in laughter and sillyness, in wonder and joy, and tears and hugs and special times shared. Surprises given, dark eyes sparkling, joint insights, long intimate talking-time, sharing and learning and growing even closer, even when we think we’re as close as can be, there is more. More to know, more to explore, more to want.

So, here’s a different kind of song; not a song of “Hello Darkness”… but one that came to my mind, as I was remembering that conversation; one that, maybe our friend  Madeliene herself would know, and understand? Maybe? I think so- and maybe there’s a few others out there, too, that will get  this:

Give a listen… let yourself go a little bit, drift along and dream; yeah, I know, sappy and silly and so what? Even a rock can appreciate a little softness, once in a while.


Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they’re wrong wait and see.

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
Who said that wishes would be heard and answered when wished on the morningstar?

Someone thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it’s done so far.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing and what do we think we might see?

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
All of us under its spell.
We know that it’s probably magic.
Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.

Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.

I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.

Filed under: communication, emotions, , , , , ,

Friends, Thank you!

The last few posts I’ve done here, have been back and forth, and not particularly spelled out; but, I have to say this: despite some knocking, despite some attempts by that ol’ black thing, to sneak back around-

You beat it back.

Yes, I know, “I” did it- but dammit, you all were here, even when I didn’t answer your comments, even when I’ve been so bad about commenting on your blogs (I do read, promise!)- and I’m grateful, for that.

Even now, you’re there, you’re here, and I can feel it. It is a wonderful feeling, to me, to have people that care. In so many ways, this is a new feeling to me; I was commenting just the other day, to a dear friend, that the old tagline of my blog (in it’s first iteration) was “I Am The Invisible Man”.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am, to each of you, that I no longer feel invisible; so, thank you- all of you:
Craig
melissa
imetam
redheadeditor
buttafly32681
emily
phyllis
lb
db
sb
ms

I wanted to say that, and also to let you all know, including the folks that inquired via email or IM- I’m okay. I’m okay, and doing better than ever, and the light is shining far above, spreading it’s warmth.

Thank you again & God bless all of you-
Dave

Filed under: "mental illness", depression, emotions, friends, friendship, God, invisibility

PostSecret # 3

If you have been reading this blog for long, or if you’ve gone back and read the past, you may have noticed that the PostSecret project has a rather special spot in my heart. I wrote in a couple places about this- for sure here:. For those who may not know, PostSecret is a community art project that a man named Frank Warren started. He’s invited people to send him, anonymously, postcards with a secret on them; he then posts some to the PostSecret website; puts some in traveling exhibitions; and puts still others in books.

Anyway… I had enjoyed the website, and knew of the book, and remembered on that bright(dark) hot(freezing) day in 2006, that on the website a person had written to thank Frank, for the 1-800-suicide reference that occurred in the book. On that day, I was so messed up in my head, I didn’t remember the number; but I did remember that it was there and when I made my way to a bookstore, just to look at the book, there it was.

I called that number, that day- and never really said a word. The woman that answered was pleasant, but I couldn’t speak. I do know that I babbled something about needing to go, and called Lynn; from there, I worked along the paths of trying to get my head right, which I sortof kindof maybe think I may have made a little progress toward in the last three years. (3 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, and some odd-hours, if you’re counting, but who’s counting?)

But, I never forgot the fact that Frank Warren had a friend, who committed suicide, and however many years later, he opted to include this number in his book, and on the website; perhaps so some screwed up nut would be able to make use of it?

That memory stayed with me- to the point that when I read that Frank would be visiting a college near my work, one night, I made my plans and made my way to see him. I took a moment then, to meet and thank him, directly, as best I could, for saving my life even though he didn’t know he had.

Later, Frank was speaking in New York, at a big Barnes and Noble bookstore there. I took the opportunity then, too, to head down and hear him speak. This time, Lynn came with me, and when Frank had signed my copies of the new books, she looked at him, and said something about thank you and he’d saved my life, and that she’s grateful for his project, his books, and his whatever. I didn’t hear it all, as I’d gotten a bit emotional during the presentation when people can choose to stand, and share a secret right then and there; and let me tell you, some powerful things can happen, in a roomful of strangers.

So, why is this all in my head?

Because (yes, you got it!) tonight, I went once again to a PostSecret event. This one with my eldest son, who had obtained tickets at his university, and since I was going to be picking him up to come home for the weekend- well, he knows I love PostSecret, that I have the four books currently released in a place of honor on a shelf within easy reach, that I’d been to a couple prior events, that I love perusing the secrets each Sunday on line, so he thought he should see if I wanted to go again.

I did.

We did.

Wow. Again wow. I didn’t speak to Frank this time, I didn’t feel a need to, for I’d expressed my gratitude to him and Hopeline (the 1800 number foundation) before. But, as I listened to him speak, and listened to the brave people that shared a secret or a thought with us, I think I recognized why I felt that I needed to be there once again.

It’s to remember. To remember, in gratitude and with joy and with tears and laughter, to remember that I am not alone, nor are you. We share this journey together, in our common humanity, seeking and trying and stumbling and falling, together we connect with people all over the world. Separately, yet somehow still together, we seek God, we seek Love, we seek a partner, friend, lover, family; we have different secrets, different perspectives, different lives- but, if we choose to, we can reach out in whatever way, and find that we’re not rocks; we’re not islands; and that it’s okay to feel pain, and even to cry once in a while.

So, as we left the school, my boy-that-is-now-a-senior-and-I’m-around-to-see-it, as we left and drove home, we sang at the top of our lungs, together. Badly, I’m sure, but with enthusiasm and silliness and pounding the beat on the dash and the wheel, laughing and dumb jokes, and talking about what we’d heard together, I thought of this.

This time, Frank and PostSecret and umpteen hundred university students taught me to remember this:

We are only as alone as we choose to be.

Go visit Frank and PostSecret sometime. I know you’re as welcome there as I am, and the 270,607,242 others that are sharing on our way.

Filed under: depression, emotions, frank warren, learning, life, postsecret, , , , , ,

David and the terrible-awful-no-good-day

Today, March 13th, is a terrible-awful-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day.

But not for me, anyway. Today, for me, is a day like any other day. I got up, went to work, did some research, put together some analysis, had lunch- really, just a day.

But I feel great. The only thing I can point to, is simply related to the last few posts.

I’m alive.

I have God.

I have family.

I have friends.

So I’m feeling happy and content and at peace, at the moment.

I hope YOUR Friday, is just as nice in it’s own way, for you.

Filed under: "mental illness", emotions, family, friends, friendship, God

Not My, but Thy

(This is really long, and rather wandering, but I needed to write it, and post it- so my apologies in advance)

I’m jumping back again, back to the fall of 2006. This would be post suicide-by-truck-into-bridge-averted-by-some-other-powers-hands-on-mine-that-saved-my-pretty-useless-carcass-for-some-reason (at the time) unknown-to-me timing. This would be post drop-the-kid-off-for-his-first-year-at-the-university timing. Post (or during?) the find-out-about-things-in-our-relationship-that-are-not-so-good-to-find-out-about timing. Anyone following that? No? Me either, but that’s okay.

The important parts, of the whole time period then, are varied- it’s sufficient for some of it, to simply note that a whole lot of garbage has been worked through, sorted, thrown away and is gone. A lot of ripping out of the deadwood, to leave behind what is real, and true, and valuable, in my relationship with Lynn. Of course, there is the minor detail that I’m still alive and around to care about this stuff, which along with our caring about one another again, is an ongoing process, as well as an ongoing commitment.

But something very very interesting happened, in the midst of all of the yuk. There was a time, a moment when my heart was breaking, when I honestly couldn’t have given odds that I would ever be whole enough to care about anything. But, once again, I was feeling those warm hands, that so soft voice- and because of that, I did something I hadn’t done in years.

I left my house, and went to church. Not on Sunday, not for a service, but just because I needed to be there.

I went to the church we’d found back in 1999, when we moved to this teeny village. The white clapboard little country church, where we’d found a spiritual home. Granted, I’d spent intervening years actively avoiding it, granted that during that time I couldn’t have, (or rather, wouldn’t have) acknowledged that God existed, much less cared- that didn’t matter. I knew, in the same way that I’d felt those warm hands on mine two months before, that I needed to get my ass to church.

I prayed there, sincerely, and for the first time in a long long time, I prayed the one prayer that I believe God likes to hear more than any other. Pretty much, I said, “Show me what YOUR will is here, show me where I need to be going, because I don’t know; I need you to show me what path YOU want me on. If that means I lose my marriage, my life, my place in this world, so be it.” YOU know- the whole, “Not my will, but Thy will be done” praying.

And, much to the chagrin of the part of me that had been running from it, for so long, so thoroughly, He did what will always be done, if we can but listen, if we can only see. He told me. He showed me. He made it very very plain to me, that despite all of my best efforts, He was there and waiting, patiently, for me to wake up. He made it plain, that my first job now, was to get my house in order. Then, he wanted to talk to me some more. (Know how it was, when your dad or mom would say “I want to talk to you?” Yeah, that’s the tone, right there).

At that point, there was still a lot of work to be done, of course. A ton of work, a lot of tears, and anger and frustration and ready to quit. A lot of learning, and relearning, and all the work of restoring trust, and rediscovering one another, and relearning about one another. (No, I’m not talking ’bout marriage here, although that was true, too- no, I meant between myself and God).

That growth is ongoing, of course, and will be forever. I started by making the simple changes I needed to, in order to make the opportunities for communication to happen. I started getting to church, and becoming more actively involved there. I began to make time to pray, and study, and think, again. I spent time reflecting on things that I’d heard, and known-but-denied, and acknowledging that sometimes, other people might know us better than we know ourselves.

And so, eventually, I took an opportunity to explore some things at the Seminary in New York; I jumped into some things at church that I’d never done before, and they were amazing. I started teaching the high school classes, as I’d done years before. I started working with various groups, and these days, I’ve found myself on the vestry- whodda thunk THAT, five years ago?

I’ve struggled, and still do- and probably will, forever, with wanting things that aren’t good for me, aren’t what God wants for me; and, no doubt, I will succumb to those temptations, and beat myself up for it, for not being stronger, or better, or whatever.

But, I’ve learned something that I can cling too, that I grasp, that I hold dear to my heart, and that I thank God for each and every day, each and every time I pray. I’ve learned that I am much happier, much more complete, much more than I used to be- if I remember to pray “Thy will”.

There is a whole range of things I can think of, and point to, and reflect on, that let me know that I am finally heading where I’m supposed to be, that at least I’m at the beginning of the right road for me to take. I’m not going to try to catalog them all, I’ll spare you that.

But, one of the steps that I took last week, is a huge one. A letter was sent to a carefully, prayerfully chosen group of eight people of our parish. This letter is the biggest thing I’ve ever tackled, and the most important thing of all, in so many ways- so, I’m placing it here, as well as in my heart and the hearts of the ones that received it in the mail.


To: ***
From: Father ***
Date: Ash Wednesday – 2009
Re: Discernment Committee – David ***

Dear Friends –

I write to ask your help in serving on a discernment committee for David ***. David has a strong sense of calling to serve in ordained ministry in the church, and has over the past two years begun the work of testing that calling by taking some classes at General Seminary and by substantially increasing his involvement in various church ministries here at Christ Church. The time has come to assemble a parish level discernment committee on his behalf.

The work of a discernment committee varies with the candidate they seek to serve, but always involves hearing the story of the candidate’s life and sense of calling, and helping the candidate reflect on their experiences of both church ministry and ministry in the wider world. Discernment committee work is typically prayerful, deep and nourishing for all involved. This committee will meet to assist and support David until he either moves beyond the parish level in the “process” of formation for priestly ordination, or until he is clear his vocational calling lies in another arena.

If you agree to serve on this committee, you can expect to meet about once every six weeks, usually on a Sunday afternoon. Past discernment committees have typically shared a simple lunch together after church, meeting for about an hour and a half. We will convene for our first meeting of the group at some time early in the Easter season.

You are receiving this invitation for very specific reasons. I trust you will honestly and prayerfully consider serving with this group. Your presence would be a blessing to us all, and David in particular.

I will call soon to answer any questions and see if you’ll be joining us. Thanks in advance for your kind consideration.

Faithfully Yours –

Father ***

Obviously, I don’t know for sure where this will lead. I think I do, and so do many others- but the point is to help discern that. But that’s okay, right? Cuz I get to say, “THY will…”

Filed under: depression, emotions, God, learning, love, lynn, marriage, suicide, , , , , , , , ,

Unsettled

I’m not sure if I’m regressing, or if Lynn is- but there’s something going on, or perhaps I’m just being foolish. Can’t tell for sure, so I asked her, last night, and was assured “Everything’s fine- I’m fine, we’re fine. Are you okay?”

I am, as far as I know, okay. My fear, of course, is that the black thing can sneak under my guard, and draw me down without my realizing, until way low, that I’m being pulled under, or wrapped inside its cold embrace. I know I’m feeling far away from Lynn, but whether that’s her, or me, I can’t tell.

I know that I don’t think it’s me, rather, but how can I tell? She’s chatting more again, and not coming to bed and/or going to bed at the same time as I am. There’s no random calls during the day anymore, and very few mentions of what’s happening in her day, beyond surface things: “Class was good, professor isn’t, photography is exciting, etc.”

We’re both busy, and trying to get back into the routines of kid’s sports, school runs, drama, band. We’re both taking classes- Lynn is an undergrad at the local college, and I’m taking Masters classes at the seminary in NYC- well, one class at a time, but that’s enough for me right now, while I explore whether or not I want to do more. I’m sure that just the business of our lives has something to do with it, but I don’t particularly like it, I guess.

I hate this feeling, where I’m not actually being “depressed”, or sad, but I have this gnawing in my heart, this feeling that there’s something ominous looming around the corner, or above my head. It’s rather the feeling I get sometimes, just before a major storm arrives, as the air gets heavy and still, and feels so humid you can’t breathe.

All I know how to do, for sure anyway, is to pray- to ask for strength, and courage, and the safety and happiness of the kids, and Lynn, and my family and friends- and even there, I’m not even exactly coherent at what I’m asking for. Lucky I don’t have to be, isn’t it?

Filed under: depression, emotions, pray

Confidence and Trash Compactors

I’m posting this because I don’t know what else to do with it, but that’s okay, sometimes I just need to get things out of my head even if they don’t make a lot of sense

Confidence, and thoughts along those lines. The other day, we were talking, and somehow or other, Lynn asked me if I knew that she loved me. I guess my answer wasn’t a completely positive affirmation, and she said something about how she hopes that someday I’ll “know” it, with confidence and certainty.

It made me start to think about what has occurred, in our relationship over the past several years, and particularly in the last few years. I used to know, without a doubt, deep in my heart, that she loved me. If anyone asked, which would occasionally happen, “How do you know she’s not doing x, y or z?” my response was simple, and immediate- “Because she loves me, and I trust her completely.”

These days, I find that one of the most unsettling things in my life, is the missing confidence in that love that I used to have. It’s not even as simple as trusting, really- I’ve gotten back to that, at least as far as the immediate day to day things. As far as she’s able to be honest, anyway, I trust that she is. No, it’s deeper somehow, less a factor of our relationship than a lack of something inside me.

My mind wanders around this, coming back to it and circling it, approaching it from each side, as if to gain a different perspective somehow. I feel this lack of confidence in my own emotions, in my own valuation of myself; doubting that I’m loved, and doubting my own abilities to meet her needs. Not sure of anything, sometimes.

I didn’t realize what a busy place my emotional and mental life was, until I started really paying attention to them again. Ups and downs and ins and outs- and if my responses are just as bad as they have been, in terms of slamming lids on emotions, shoving them down and ignoring them, at least I’m more aware of that tendency and can try to guard against it. I don’t do very well at it, perhaps, and there are the days like today, when I’m actively running the trash masher, squashing those nasty messy emotions down. After all, if I can be the one pushing the buttons to squish them down, then I’m still in control of them, right?

Does anyone else use stupid little mental pictures to help with their thinking about emotions? I don’t even *own* a trash compactor, but that’s the first thing that popped into my mind, when I realized how viciously I’m not allowing them to bubble up, those icky emotions that unsettle me and disturb my thinking.

Filed under: emotions, relationship

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