A Rock Feels No Pain

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


I know I’ve been lax at commenting, and posting- but I’ve been extremely focused on the training that you all made possible, and so I promise that while I’m not being good with comments, I *am* reading…

Tonight, I received an email, that basically challenges those of us that are in training, to commit to finishing by Nov. 21st, for a “soft-launch” of the system on December 1st.

Well… I also saw on a flickr-contact’s site, references to NaNoWriMo, which is a challenge that occurs in November, to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I got to thinking, and remembering the November of 2005, when I took *that* challenge, and finished it. I had been hesitant to make a commitment to finish the *whole* training in basically two weeks more… but…

If I can write a book in a month, can’t I commit to such a positive attempt at helping someone out?

I did so. And here’s my acknowledgment of that commitment to those who made it possible:

I’ll be ready, come 12/1. I’m going to make you proud!


Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,


I can’t begin to tell you how moved I am, and amazed, and in awe of everyone of you, that read, clicked and cared-


In less than 24 hours, your outpouring of generosity in Prayers, Thoughts, Emails- and money- have raised MORE than I need, to get the certificate to work with IMALIVE…

I truly am so touched, I have tears of joy & gratitude pouring down my face- I don’t even know what more to say…



Filed under: suicide, , , ,

Help Needed

Dear Family and Friends;

I hope you’re well, and having a nice fall, getting ready for winter and some snow & skiing and such, whatever you may be planning!

I’m going to be right upfront here and now: This is a begging letter. No getting around that, really. But, I do assure you, I’m begging for an important, serious reason.

The reason is suicide.

Many people die every year, every day, because they feel the problems they face are not solvable, that there is no help for them, and that nobody cares. Well, that isn’t true. There is help and people who care, and I’m involved in a project that is attempting to get that message across, in places that it needs to be, so we can over-rule that “nobody cares” thinking.

There are hot lines, and crisis centers, and doctors and churches, and such, and that’s all good. But what there isn’t, at least not so far, is an online central point, with trained and available contacts for anyone who may need that help.

There are plans afoot, through the Kristen Brooks Hope Center, to change that. If you’re not familiar with it (many aren’t!), Kristen Brooks committed suicide, and her husband Reese, founded the center and put together the first nationwide phone line, 1-800-SUICIDE, in her memory and honor. Now, the Center is planning the first online version of this service, which will be staffed by volunteers around the globe, to be a resource for anyone that needs it.

Which is the reason I call this a begging letter: I have thought long and hard, and talked it over with friends and family, and have come to the decision that this is something I think I can be good at, and would like to offer to people that are struggling. But, in order to do this, there is requisite training and certification I have to have, first.

I’m in need of raising $250.00 for this training. I would dearly love to just write a check, but can’t do that, at this time. So, I’m asking for your help. If you click the link in this letter, you’ll be taken to my personal IMALIVE page, which has been setup to receive donations from people, on behalf of a volunteer.

If you can, I’m asking for your support in this, in whatever amount you can do, no matter how much or little. I’m hoping that in this way, I can help make a difference to someone, and we’ll have a few less kids wandering around wondering what happened to Mom or Dad, or husbands and wives thinking, “if only”, and we don’t need Mom and Dad wishing they had another chance with their child.

The second part of my request is simply for your prayers, in whatever way you do that, for anyone and everyone that is struggling with this, that they can find the help they need, and the peace they deserve, without resorting to dying to achieve it.

Thank you, and all my Love-


**Editing this to remove the link, as your incredible generosity has already surpassed!! the goal- and thank you so very much, all of you, for your prayers, and your wonderful giving**

Filed under: suicide, , , ,

Five Years Ago

Today, I was in California, on an unfortunately extended visit; I’d flown an airplane from my home in NY, to return it to the owner & have a weeks vacation with my mom & dad.

That was on October 1; the unfortunate part is that while there, mom’s health spiraled down, and by the 5th, I was calling my siblings with a simple message: “It’s time to get out here.”

Mom held on long enough for all four of us to get to her, and we had some times when she was awake and lucid enough to share a few special moments together, but mostly at that point the painkillers were keeping her pretty foggy.

She died, five years ago today, and I still miss her, dammit.

Dammit mom, I miss you, what’d you have to go and do a silly thing like dying for?

Filed under: anniversary

Bloggery thoughts

I found myself thinking of the past today, for a variety of reasons, but one of the areas that stuck in my head was blogging, and bloggers. I realized that the first incarnation of this blog, way back when, was almost exactly five years ago.

It was on blogger then, and it was called “Meandering Mind of Mine”- I started in October 2005, while I was visiting my Mom (which was supposed to be a weeks vacation to deliver an airplane, and visit, and turned into a three-week stay when her health plummeted, and she died on the 15th). Add in the extra week for funerals and such, and I was gone for a bit longer than planned, and wasn’t quite such a nice time as we’d hoped.
Anyway, I started blogging during that couple weeks I was there and basically, trying to think out feelings, etc, etc; after returning home, I posted a few little things here and there, but nothing regular until the spring of 2006.

During that time, though, as I learned that I wasn’t the only one that felt the need to connect with people by writing, I encountered blogs and bloggers that I enjoyed, and would revisit; eventually, I put up a blog roll, and began commenting, and responding to comments.
The blog morphed some, here and there, with two big jumps- one, when I yanked it down completely (and never replaced a huge chunk, as it wasn’t needed, in my mind), and one when I moved to wordpress- both of which I did for reasons that were valid then, and less-so now; but, I kept reading my regulars, making rounds where I had too, using a feedreader whenever possible.

What I was thinking about today, though, was how many of them have stopped, changed, or moved on; looking at my blog roll now (yes, I should update it, remove the dead or outdated links, but I’m lazy, so sue me!), I started wondering in a general way, “where’d they go?”

For instance:

LilBit- http://littlehmphf.blogspot.com/ – hasn’t posted since May

Buttafly: http://crazylove25.blogspot.com/ – hasn’t posted since February.

Bunny: http://crazylove25.blogspot.com/ – hasn’t posted since May

Wenchy: http://realityinpurple.wordpress.com/ – deleted her blog

Others have given it up, with a “goodbye” post, or whatnot- and others, are as prolific as ever- that’s not a complete list, of course- just noting. I wonder too, why some choose to remove completely, others leave them up for indefinite times, and still others just fade?

There are a couple of others that are actually new blogs, but the same blogger. New addresses, new focuses, have created completely new directions in her blogs, and the old are swept away- I wonder too, if some of the inactive ones aren’t in that state, but haven’t chosen to share the change, or at least not publicly, or to me.

Personally, I find that it’s kind of nice, even if there aren’t new things for a while, to have the old posts there; I like going back, now and then, to refer to something someone said, and not be left wondering “who was that, when?” (No, no, I promise- I don’t ONLY go back to peek at the HNT’s, I only read for the articles anyway!) (okay, mostly 😉 )

Anyway, this thinking led me to a question or two- do you like having your old friend’s old writings around, if you ever feel like a revisit? Or do you not care? If you personally decide to quit your blog, would you delete it? Say goodbye but leave it? Just curious…

Filed under: musings, , , ,

Black Things Suck- Big Time!

I have found it interesting, in the last few months, that I’m much more drawn, in my personal life, to the area of suicide awareness & depression, than I ever considered before.

I know, I have had my own struggles- if you’ve read here much, you’re aware of much of that, already. I recently finished the first part of training for the IamAlive program, an online-support type system that is being setup, similar to the 1-800-suicide lines, to work as a volunteer in supporting people with immediate needs. I’ve found myself, via phone, email & text, trying to offer what I can, to more than a few people that seem to find me fairly easy to talk to, about their own struggles.

I wonder, lately- is it that I’ve grown more empathetic? Is is that I’ve always had this inside me, this need to help if I can? Or, is this an outgrowth of my own depression, and the comfortable place I’m in (at the moment, praise God)?

I dunno… but, I know that I’m drawn to this in a way that feels right, so I’m going to go ahead and do the next part of the training, when I can afford it.

However, in the meantime, on a related note- one of my dear blogger friends, is struggling, and having just returned to blogging under prodding, could use a little support, a little help- so, go give a read and some love, willya?


Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,


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, , , , , ,

Four Years

So yesterday, we took the oldest boy to his internship, over in New Haven. It was interesting, as we drove, because I was thinking about the first trip to take him to college, four years ago.

I wrote about that, then, but have since shuffled the blog around and you can’t read it anymore; but, I got to thinking about that summer, the summer that led to hell fall; suicide averted, depression and black things, that cold, cold summer of darkness and despair.

As we drove, as I was thinking of that time, a song came on, and there was a line that struck me, hard; the song is “I Run for Life” http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/s/I+Run+for+Life/2nxtXV by Melissa Etheridge.

The line, was this:

How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin and they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul
And now I’m still learning the lesson
To waken when I hear the call

She is talking about cancer, and the darkness, and preserving her soul. Well, that’s good, but I was thinking of a different darkness, and wondering what kind of toll it takes. How have I changed, what have I learned- what lessons, if any? Have I wakened? Also, could there please be something like a partial ‘soulectomy’, I’d gladly give up whatever it is that allows the dark thing to root and grow…

I dunno what all I still have to learn, and I don’t know that I’m done learning them- even if, as now, depression is far off and more a memory of darkness, than an immediate fear (thank God for that)… but it seems that often, when I reflect, I find new little bits and pieces that fit together, that seem to be something that I’m supposed to take away and learn. Learn, from the depths of that time, and in the struggles since; learn, from the cold numbness of depression, to the hot anger of jealousy and betrayal; learn, from the new way of seeing things, too.

I’ve learned, that I can’t neglect my own self, by trying to do to much, or be too much, to others. I have to remember that I wont do anyone any good, if I’m not around to do things.

I’ve learned that (as strange as it seems to me, still!), I’ve learned that there are people that actually like me, want me to stick around, enjoy my company- who knew!

I’ve learned that I’m a pretty good friend to have, sometimes, and I’m actually kind of proud of that; I don’t (or didn’t) have many friends, for a long long time- I was content to work and be invisible, and do solitary activities, because it’s easier and doesn’t hurt.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to love a whole lot, that it’s not something that has to be clutched, doled out in dribs and drabs, in case I run out; no, the more I love, the more I’m loved in return. I’ve learned this about love, too, that there’s all kinds of loves and all kinds of people that I can love, and it doesn’t take away from the rest.

I’ve learned that I have somethings to do still, even if it’s not always exactly clear what they are. I’m here for somethings, and I’m learning to listen, to watch, to pay attention and try to see what those things might be, without being afraid of them.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to enjoy sex and sexuality, that there’s nothing wrong with that, that explorations and games and laughing silliness are okay, and that guilt about enjoying it is silly.

I’ve learned, and this one is big for me, and I love it- I’ve learned to sing again. No, not well, not like music lessons and such- but I’ve learned to let it belt out and enjoy the music again, and so what if it’s out of tune, or off-key, or makes no sense?

I figure there’s lots more to learn, lots more growing to do, lots more explorations still to come; but, I also think I’ve come a long way, in four years, and today at any rate, I’m wondering what the next four years will be like.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Mission: Dominican

Mission: Impossible

Mission: San Marcos

Well. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, and longer still of any substance; and this one, too, is delayed, but I am still processing, still trying to think of all that went on, that I learned and felt and the times we shared.

So, practical things first. A couple of weeks ago, on the 28th of June, 21 people set out at the crack of dawn. Sixteen kids, from 14-18, and five adults, from some age to 47. We met at 0-dark’thirty, at the Church, and boarded a chartered school bus. We rode said bus, to the Newark, NJ, airport, and got off at terminal C. (It would have been silly to get off anywhere else, because that’s the terminal the flight was departing from, you see. I know you were worried about why we chose that terminal, and now you know).

Anyway, we herded and corralled, and counted heads a lot, and worked 21 people through security, immigration, boarding-pass checks, and onto the plane. A few (short!?!?!?) hours later, about 1230, we disembarked at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and began a great adventure in hard work, sharing, laughter, tears; in working, building, sweating, bleeding; in short, we started a week of mission work to the San Marco area of the Diocese of The Dominican Republic.

I can’t tell you, how proud of those kids, I am. Sixteen teenagers, working in dirt, shoveling, carrying concrete, heaving buckets of water (“Mas Agua! Mas Agua!”). We dug, we sweat, we panted; we sang, we laughed. We made friends, even across the language barriers. We learned that in this country, in our cozy little tiny-village lives (Yeah, small- the population of the “bigger” village, where our church is located, is estimated at 6663, as of 2007; the hamlet I live in, next to that village, is so tiny they don’t measure population separately from the surrounding areas), just how blessed we are, how fortunate.

We spent that week working, on a building site that will eventually become a Church, School and shelter for single- moms. Our little band turned out to be the first group in. The Padre we worked with had never had a mission group to work with before, and indeed, we were the ground breakers for the entire project.

Not to minimize the physical, for the kids did an incredible job, considering- 250′ of trench for a foundation, 18” deep and wide; concreted mixed, barrowed and poured that length, and cinderblock wall to about 4′, for most of that length, using hand tools like hoes, shovels and picks; some of our young ladies are almost five feet tall, and might weigh 100 lbs, and they worked without a serious complaint, for a week, in temperatures that approached 100, with 90% plus humidity. Not a single one of us were seriously hurt; as the designated first-aide guy, I had to flush two kid’s eyes, one for a bit of rock chip, and one for sunscreen dripping, but other than that my primary concern was blisters, hydration, and sunblock. (After all, I had to bring ’em back in the same shape I took ’em from moms and dads, right?).

So, the upshot, was a lot of hard physical labor.


The most wonderful parts, had nothing to do with that. As great as they were at work, the gang of kids were even better, at mission and outreach, at connecting and friendships. Each one, in their own way, joined hands with neighbors and friends that we hadn’t met yet. Smiles, laughter, little ditties in Spanish, little ditties in English, clapping to the beat of songs we didn’t know, couldn’t recognize, set the stage for a deeper relationship. (I wish I could remember some of the little movements and words, to a little thing we learned from a 14 year-old gal, that first night; we have video, but I don’t have it here, but oh Lordy, we laughed!).

Some of the things that stand out, with crystal clarity-

  • The Dominican workers refusing lunch until we, the “guests”, had eaten; and, on the last day, when they realized they’d not purchased enough food for the entire week- watching them eat ketchup sandwiches; some of which, were cut in half, so each would get something.
  • The grandmother of one of the little girls opening her home, humble as it was, so we could use her bathroom- and, although clearly impoverished, offering me a cup of cafe, as if she had gallons to spare. (I know she didn’t, because 1. I could see her supply of coffee, and it wasn’t much, and 2. All water had to come from bottles, you’d no more brew gallons of coffee than you’d water plants with your drinking water).
  • The look on a couple of our teenager’s faces, when they realized, in horror, that one of the workers was barefoot not by choice, but because he didn’t own a pair of shoes. The look on those same faces, as well as the worker’s, as they took him to the little peddler’s cart and bought him a pair of shoes.
  • Later, the gratitude on Joan’s (Pronounced jo-ahn, and it’s a male name- we kept wanting to call him Yohann, lol) face, too, when he received a pair of shoes from the feet of one of the boys. (Does it count that I did bring some of ’em home shoe-less, albeit healthy?)
  • The gentle kindness of the Padre, as he bent to speak to the little girls that flocked around us, after we started our days with a prayer service in the teeny shed that acted as the church, for now, explaining why they couldn’t wheel the wheel barrows full of sacks of concrete up the street for us.

There’s so much more, so many little things that I can’t recount, I can’t express some of it yet, I’m still processing the whole trip, the whole community we formed to go, and expanded while we were there; the welcome we were given to join that far-off group, the love we all held, and showed.

Why, today, am I writing this? Well, cuz we had a follow-up meeting with the ‘gang’, today, after Church. We managed, it seems, to raise a substantial amount more than we needed, and the kids decided it would be appropriate to give it back to our parish, who had contributed so much to the trip; but, they also decided, on their own, that they needed to continue this connection, and all we heard for an hour, was how they could do more for the people of San Marcos.


It costs $300.00 (US), per year, to send a child to school, up through high-school. That includes tuition, uniform, books, etc. So our gang, today? They figure that if each of the twenty of us did just a little bit, per month, that we probably wouldn’t even miss, well; “Pauloa, Joan, Roberto… they could go to school!”


Proud, I am, so proud of that gang.

And I love ’em all, each one.

Filed under: blessings, friends, friendship, God, musings, spirituality, , , , , , ,

Cool Thing-

I came across a really neat site over at dangerous lilly’s tonight. I’d never heard of this place, it’s called “Gives Me Hope”.

Little snips of things that people have done, or observed, or thought of, that give hope to another, in some way or fashion.

This one, particularly, floored me:

A little girl was dying of cancer and her younger brother had a match for the bone marrow she needed.

The doctors told him it was a matter of life and death.

After he had the surgery, he asked the doctors how long he had to live.

He thought if he gave his bone marrow to let his sister live he would die – but he did it anyway.

Goosebumps, and, mebbe a tear or two- okay, so I’m not such a good rock anymore, lol.

Just wanted to share…

Filed under: friendship, life, love, ,

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Ancient History