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August, 2011
an idea is born…

We are all created in the image and likeness of God…a personal God of our own understanding. Each of us comes into this world full of possibilities and destined to live lives full of vision, imagination, fearlessness and wholeness. Lives fully lived that are happy, joyous and free.

As we all know, life happens and we take on layers and layers of indoctrination about who we are, who we should be, and what we must do. That new born infant full of possibilities is often lost and left in the in-between to journey from who they have become back to who they are really intended to be…to their original selves.  Too often we don’t know where to begin and sometimes we aren’t aware that wholeness is missing in our lives. We have forgotten who we are, who we are called to be and to whom we belong.

If we choose to find our way back to our original selves, we commence on a journey through the in-between – from brokenness to wholeness. A journey on which we experience a desire and willingness to surrender ourselves to God as each of us understands him. Remember, that how we come to understand God is not as important as knowing that God understands us. Knowing that someone truly and nonjudgmentally understands us provides consolation and hope making the journey all the more worthwhile. On this particular journey we are gifted with the opportunity to Discern and Discover.

In May, 2011, I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and so my journey began. It took a while but I finally realized to quote Dennis Healey: “when you’re in a hole the first thing you do is stop digging.” I was determined to find my original self and to live a life full of joy and wonderment. To experience wholeness for me also meant sharing my personal journey and encouraging others to embark on theirs. Together, we can create a truth telling community. When we tell ourselves the truth about us and share that truth with others we empower each other to tell the truth simply and without shame. The end result is quite simply that we find ourselves sharing the Good News by example and by living simple lives focused on loving ourselves and our neighbors. We not only increase our understanding of God’s presence, but see it everywhere and in everyone. We come to realize that the stranger next to us may be the source of our joy, happiness, and wholeness.

I invite you to come along, to imagine new possibilities, to discover your original self, and become a truth tellers and sharers of wisdom.

“The quality of the imagination is to flow, and not to freeze.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.


September, 2011
tomorrow never knows…

I remember being 18 and feeling like I had all the answers. I was off to college, walking the first steps of independence, and all too often living up to the expectations of family, friends and society.  I was taught how to live without being taught how to embrace life.

Tomorrow Never Knows is a track from the Beatles album “Revolver.”

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream – it is not dying.
Lay down all thought, surrender to the void – it is shining.
That you may see the meaning within – it is being.
That love is all and love is everywhere – it is knowing.
That ignorance and hate may mourn the dead – it is believing.

My ability to relax, to shine, to be, to know and believe got lost in my day to day anxieties and denial of who I was and who I didn’t want to be. Anxiety is really nothing more than fear inspired by future imagined collapse. It is a failure to trust.  It is born out the belief that I can’t live up to the expectations. Secretly and unbeknownst to myself,  I began to imagine a life fully lived without fear. A life in which I could embrace my demons, tell myself the truth, and begin to live out loud.

The Franciscan Mystic, Richard Rohr, reminds us that history eventually turns itself upside down. That is certainly true of my life in the past few years and I believe sincerely that I am not alone. The loss of my father, the end of a 26 year relationship, selling my home, getting sober, making amends, losing my job, and battling Clinical Depression have certainly turned my life upside down. Out of survival, I began to imagine my life fully lived and without fear. Living a life where I would come to know God not through my perfection but through my imperfections.

My journey toward wholeness continues and I move forward little by little. I have learned that I am not alone and invited you to journey with me. I have learned that the work is harder than I ever imagined and patience really is a virtue. I am learning that my demons lurk in the shadows of my brokenness and their ugly heads rise and often catch me off guard. I also know that God is doing for me what I can’t do for myself. I am learning that denial is both friend and enemy. Denial may protect me from pain, but it also allows me to participate in my own abuse.

Ira Progoff  in “The Cloud of Unknowing expresses the belief that when an individual undertakes to bring his life into relation to God, he is embarking upon a serious and demanding task, a task that leaves no leeway for self-deception or illusion. It requires the most rigorous dedication and self-knowledge.  Heregards man’s imperfections as the raw material to be worked with in carrying out the discipline of spiritual development.

Journey with me as we explore denial and learn to trust the healing process that is healing us from all that we have denied in our past.

What was your original face before you were born?  Zen koan

October, 2011
a conversation long over due… 

Dear Cathy,

I haven’t looked at a picture of you in a long time. This morning, I went through the photo album and knew this was the one. I framed it and it now sits on my desk in a place of honor. It brings much joy and much sadness. Until this morning, I had forgotten how much I love you, sister.

Susan Phillips in her book “Candlelight” reminds us that Jesus meets us in the darkest, deepest, deadliest places of our lives. I know He’s with me on my journey to wholeness and wellness, but I wasn’t ready to reenter this pain until today. It’s like the wind coming out of nowhere – you know it’s there, you fell it, you don’t know where it’s coming from or where it will lead. It just stirs everything up. It gets in your eyes, messes your hair and can’t be ignored.

A long time ago, I stripped you of your right to exist and sent you to the darkest, deepest, deadliest place of my life. I exiled you to the place where my anger and resentments are guarded by my demons. Usually there’s no escaping, until we call the demons out by name and invite them to tea. I’ve been practicing that in my recovery, but didn’t think I was that good. I’m just arrogant enough to think that I’m still in control at least once and a while. But alas, you never know who will show up to tea so best to set an extra place just in case. Do you still use sugar?

Cathy you’re  a few years younger and like me adopted. Unlike me, you were a great student and the apple of Mommy’s eye. You could do no wrong. It’s hard being a big brother to a perfect little sister. Of course, I didn’t see it that way. You stand a little over six feet and cast a big shadow over me. I hated that… after all I’m the big brother. I didn’t have much to claim couldn’t I at least claim that?

Raised in the same house, by the same parents, sharing the same relatives and walking the same dog – how could we be so different?  How could I be such a good little boy and you such a bad little girl? It was so wrong that you got all the attention. Why couldn’t the rest of them see that too? I had the perfectly neat and clean room while you resided over pig palace. That alone should have told Mom something. Nobody listens, nobody sees, nobody cares when you’re a perfect little girl.

Maybe neither of us is all that perfect. I’m realizing that I reside over my own pig palace where my demons live in luxury. And, I suspect that deep in your heart you reside over a perfectly neat room. I’m realizing that growing up in the same house we couldn’t possibly be anything but the same. We are plagued by many of the same demons and bonded through dysfunction, deep pain and many unanswered questions.  Our first drug of choice was the same “escape.”. Our pasts elude us, but the future can be full of hope, love and answers.

Dearest sister, I believe that we all have two names, the first chosen by God and the other through fate.  Maybe God’s name for me is “little brother” and his name for you “big sister.”  You’re a towering tree that casts a big shadow protecting me from the noon day sun. Take my hand and let’s go sing and dance under that tree and laugh until the sun sets. Welcome home. My heart has many rooms, not all neat, just pick one and know you’ll be safe, loved, respected, and never sent away again, Now, if I only knew how to get this to you.

Love,
Eddie

October 12. 2011
No Tears for Queers

Remembering Matthew Shepard
December 1. 1976 – October 12, 1998

History teaches us that eventually things get turned upside down. During their lives, saints are often misunderstood. When will we learn to be thoughtful about who we label saint or sinner? Pay attention because saints come in ways that we’re all too often not prepared for

There are many things that could be said on the anniversary of Matthew’s death and undoubtedly there will be no shortage of reflections about a life that could have been.  I started to wonder what Matthew would have to say. I started to wonder about how Matthew feels now. In prayer it came to me – pray to Matthew and trust in the Spirit.

“I’m no saint and don’t make me out to be one.” At my funeral, I saw a sign that read “no tears for queers” and I agree. Tears are for the children of God not for the labels by which we’re defined.  I knew my truth because I listened to God speak through my heart. My truth is His truth and it empowers me to be who I am. LGBT brothers and sisters, its ok – God made it so.  Parents, brothers, sisters, neighbors, strangers, friends, foes, saints and sinners, like it or not, God made it so.

The funny thing about truth is that we don’t really understand the freedom it brings. Being a truth teller is hard and telling ourselves the truth even harder. Most people don’t get it. But when they do tell themselves the truth about who they are and live steadfastly into their truth they begin to live their lives out loud. I can’t tell you the truth about yourself – not my job. My job is to know my truth and to share it with you. Living my life out loud inspired others to start living their lives out loud. They began to wonder what their truth was and perhaps find the courage to tell themselves and others that truth and begin to live their lives out loud.  What if we lived in a world where everyone lived their lives out loud…it might look a lot like “God’s Kingdom.” They would be so busy living their own lives that they wouldn’t have time to live our lives too

Live out loud, find fresh vision; love so deeply that you’re free to face the future with a steady eye forgiven and strong in hope.

On a cold dark Wyoming night, naked, beaten and tied to a fence, I realized I was living my life out loud. I was naked before God, strong in hope, full of forgiveness, very much at peace, and free.

Love,
Matthew

November, 2011
my love is all you need… 

In Genesis 16:8 The Angel of the Lord said to Hagar “where have you come from and where are you going?” Like the Israelites in Exodus, we are a people desiring to journey to a better place.  This need to journey lives deep within. We have the heart of pilgrims desiring to journey to a better place. Who and what we leave behind is not often easy to say goodbye to. We become comfortable with the good and with the pain that resides in the deepest, darkest corners of our souls. Yet when we listen deeply we can hear the Angel of the Lord asking “where have you come from and where are you going?”

Through alcohol abuse, lost relationships, job loss, and depression, I have wondered “am I still in the wilderness of Egypt or close to the Promised Land.”  “Where am I and where am I going.” In response to the Angel of the Lord: “I’m travelling through the in-between places on my life from brokenness to wholeness – back to the Promised Land to reclaim my Sacred Identity. I’m going home; I’m going home to where God and I live as one and where nothing else really matters. And on the way home, we sometimes find ourselves journeying through past pain, suffering, and loss.

On the way, I have heard the Angels singing

Don’t you remember?
Mothers gaze
heart pounding
fear and doubt
hands extended with new life
to be given away
is that a tear on your cheek?

Don’t you remember
I will always love you
On the darkest of days
And on the brightest of nights.

Believe me child, if I knew how to love
and if you were mine from the beginning
I wonder if you would have known
I did my best with the little I had.
I just didn’t know
and no one cared to shown me how.
Perhaps I should have found the time
to figure out how.

Don’t you remember
I will always love you
On the darkest of days
And on the brightest of nights.

Don’t you remember when the pain was
too deep for tears?
Don’t you remember feeling like the last
rose of winter?
Don’t you remember listening
and not hearing?
Can you remember why
Journey?

Do you remember finally asking
am I good enough now?
Am I good enough to be loved?
And do you remember hearing
The Angel of the Lord singing

Don’t you remember
I will always love you
On the darkest of days
And on the brightest of nights.
My love is all you need.

 

 

 

One Response to Archives

  1. Daniel says:

    Thank you Eddie, you touched me with your honesty. As I read I envisioned your home, sister, mother and felt your pain of loss. So easy as life’s distractions, selfishness, jealousy, anger, pain, etc. interfere with our ability to hear Gods gentle voice so we cause pain to others and again to ourselves….speaking of myself here. But as God promised, He will never leave us no matter where we go, no matter what is happening He promised to be with us. As I suffer the loss of my greatest love I find a greater love in God.

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