Christianity Behind the Wheel

Something I have never understood is the public posting of one’s religion on their vehicle. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but if I should run into someone or my conduct does not match up with Christian ideas, I would much rather keep it to myself.

Case in point, there are those days like today where I would be cut off in traffic and say some bad words. Who hasn’t done that? If they don’t confess doing so, they are not being honest.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I probably did something wrong in driving in downtown Dallas. At a red light, a man jumped out of his car and started to beat on my car. He even tried to get to me inside the car by pulling on the door handles. Fortunately for me, I locked my doors so the worst possible thing did not happen. The minute the light changed I floored it. The man must have been having a bad day, but is it worth taking a human life over it?

Another time in north Dallas, I thought I was really something because I got a close parking space ahead of another driver. The other driver was irate. “What is the matter with you? Are you crazy?” she screamed.

“What is the matter with you? Are you crazy?” she screamed.

“Yes, I am,” I screamed back.

In a few minutes, my sanity returned and I thought “What am I doing? Is this worth it?” I was also barricaded in the prized parking spot to the point I could not get out. I chose to let her have the parking space.

What I did not have planned was her following me all the way from North Dallas to Arlington, a suburb of Fort Worth where my parents lived. I was visiting them for the weekend. This scared me and I thought I was going to have to go to the police station on the way. I breathed a sigh of relief when she stopped at Loop 12 in Irving.

I have had people flip me off in traffic and it is getting to the point where instead they pull out a gun. Now I ask you is it worth going to jail and ending a life over a traffic dispute?

My heart goes out to the family of the young girl who had just graduated high school and was set to go off to college. She had her whole life in front of her. It could have been me instead. Wake up and smell the coffee. Religion is not just for Sunday it is for every hour of the day all through the week.

 

 

 

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Triumph

I have been battling bipolar depression for my entire life. I was raised in an alcoholic and very dysfunctional family. It was like living in a war zone. You think the war in Afghanistan is bad – try living in my house for one day.

My mother was an abusive alcoholic and we did not know it at the time she also had bipolar disorder. We did not find out until she was admitted to an Alzheimer’s unit along with my father.

My father – where was he you ask? He was either working, was hiding behind the newspaper, or shut down emotionally at the dinner table. The dinner table was where all the volatile action happened. A daughter was pitted against daughter and it is a miracle that we are still speaking to one another.

Now that I have painted that picture of home life, I can tell you how I got out. I started going to Alanon meetings and then to A.A. meetings even though I did not have much of a drinking problem. I left home for good eventually never to return. I ended up in a homeless shelter for a while but then I had my own place.

It has not been easy. I have had to make several trips to the psychiatric hospital a few times, but I am okay. I will with the grace of a God of my understanding graduate with a master’s degree in creative writing which I did online one class at a time. I am a survivor and thrives.

 

The Dream

The dream I had was early Wednesday morning. I dreamed I was in an antiques store and all the stuff I had growing up was there. The radio my grandfather or my mother’s father I saw and I could see all the history or meaning that it had for me. I could see all the times I had listened to it growing up and all the time he had spent refurbishing it came to mind. I could see grandma’s rocker and all the times I had rocked in that rocker.

 

I went throughout the store and gathered things in my hands and handed it to my mother or the person in charge of the store. I saw that it turned into FaithWorks store and Joyce was in charge and all the antiques had their own story to tell. As I sat in the store which resembled a house I saw the wind blow outside as the whole house moved along as if time was passing as the wind blew. I then thought of Virginia Woolfe and in her book To the Lighthouse she showed the passage of time in the rain and the wind and the effect on the house. Out here in West Texas, it is the wind not the rain or the storms seem to mark the passage of time.

 

Ups and Downs

People don’t realize that people with bipolar disorder have normal ups and downs like everybody else. They seem like they want to stick you in a psych hospital at the first manic or depressed mood. Granted that manic episodes can be terrifying to those around the person and to the person having one. Those need to be addressed quickly and appropriately. What I am talking about are just ups and downs of everyday life. I can be up one day and down the next. Now when I start hallucinating and thinking I have a hot line to the Lord, then I need to be hospitalized quickly. I won’t argue with that. What I am talking about are feeling good and that everything is going my way and then feeling a little sad or a little down because of the anniversary of the loss of a friend or a loved one. Or I may not have gotten the job or promotion that I thought I was getting. Now if it lasts several weeks or a month then it needs to be addressed.

I don’t like having this illness and I wish I didn’t have it and I was like everybody else. However, I have it and I have a choice to make the best of it and help others who have the disease as well. I want to try and educate people who do not have mental illness what it is like to have it and ways that they can help. I don’t want people thinking that everyone who has a mental illness are deranged killers. I will probably do something to myself and not to others around me. I am not homicidal. I don’t keep guns or anything that I might use on myself. I don’t believe in carrying or owning them contrary to popular opinion.

These are my opinions so I hope I don’t get hate mail for these comments.

 

I am rewriting my final paper and I am shifting the focus of the paper to today and the peaceful protests gone violent. I am going to argue that some people find it easier to take a gun and kill people in protest and instantaneously have it seen all over the world. I have not seen any clear leadership and structure. It is like violent chaos without soul and without meaning. No wonder people are flocking to ISIS with a structure and a soul of hate. Where is the army of light? Have we forgotten who we are?

Everyone seems to be mad at one another and pointing fingers at each other blaming them for the problem. I need to search for what the soul of the civil rights movement really was and how we can easily get it again. I think the soul of the movement was a spiritual belief in God. The music was the key to the whole thing and what kept it together and gave it strength. It had good leadership which came from the churches and absolutely refused to become violent no matter what. They were prepared to die for what they believed in.

We need that now more than ever with the clouds of ISIS forming around us. Many people are living in fear and they have every right to be afraid. When ISIS starts killing priests, then you know it is serious.

These are the things I need to be writing about which is very timely and to the point. Everyone jokes about a KUMBAYA moment. I think it is now a COME TO JESUS moment. Hopefully, I can express these things in my paper. Ann

There is something deep inside of me that craves magic. I have found myself drawn to witches and spells and anything that is different from my ordinary life.

I know I am Christian and like all good Christians I need to abhor such things, but I find myself fascinated by it. I have been fascinated by it ever since I was a young girl and my grandmother exhibited clairvoyant behavior by telling everyone when the phone rang who it was, and what they wanted long before we had cell phones or answering machines.

I also felt it whenever I picked up a guitar and sang. I could get lost for hours in my music which was a good thing because it shut out the violence and chaos that went on in our upstanding family. It nurtured me and kept me sane until I allowed others to take it away from me. I was called a “bum” because I wanted to follow my musical passion in college by my parents, one guitar teacher who thought that no one but those who were musical since the age of 3 had any right to study music. My hands were too small to play the guitar.

I was also good at art and the memory I cherished was the day after my parents had ridiculed what I was painting jaw dropped when it was finished. I am the only one in my family that made it onto the society page for my art being in an exhibition.

My parents are both dead now and I am still here. They would roll in their graves if they knew I was studying Creative Writing. I don’t care. I am too tired of hiding my light under a bushel. I encourage others to follow their passions and not worry so much about what others say. I am not concerned anymore that I was a disappointment to my parents and my family. I have spent years trying to recover from it. So I say to you dear reader don’t make the same mistakes that I have made. Follow your bliss.

 

 

 

 

Suicide is not an option

I have had a couple of people who were contemplating killing themselves recently and I was forced to re-examine my own life and death struggle with suicide. There came a time in my life where I had to decide whether I was going to continue the way I was going and doing something radically different.

I stormed out of aftercare thinking that this was it and I no longer felt like trying anymore and I was wanted by the police because of suicidal tendencies. I drove over to the church and decided there and then that I did not want to give the priest who sexually harassed me the satisfaction of destroying me. I became angry and wanted to live just to spite him. I talked to my sister into giving me some gas money to get down to San Angelo to a facility there where I could get some help. I wanted to do something different.

I spent about two or three weeks there and then came back a changed person. I was put on some medication where I could finally function without the mood swings that had plagued me most of my life. The depression had lifted because I was journaling daily and making a gratitude list. The depression lifted. I came back to Abilene and started aftercare and found a counselor. The counselor wanted to take the spiritual approach with me and I was eager to do anything I could to stay healthy and become healthier.

I have also been on the other side of suicide because a little over 10 years ago a friend blew her brains out in front of her sister and her children. I will never forget the sadness surrounding the funeral that this much loved person in the community could not feel the all the love that was surrounding her. She failed to realize what a wonderful person she was. It had a huge impact on me and I told those people that you do not know who will be affected by your death. It can affect people in ways that are unpredictable. Life is a gift from God and suicide is like trashing God’s gift to you. In other words, you are saying that you know better than God what should happen. To me it is incredibly selfish and self-centered not to mentioned very sick and distorted.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The problem will go away eventually but when you are dead there is no going back. You’re dead.

I have lived through many dark days and now it feels really good to be on the other side of depression and suicide. I have spent 30 or 40 years in the hell of mental illness. Now I am finally free and it feels good.