I just finished a long ‘online’ conversation with my foster-brother who lives out of state. He’s a Christian minister and deals mostly in youth programs. The guy has a HUGE heart and wants to do what he believes is the right thing so bad. I just worry about him so much because of that.
He’s struggled financially over the last 10 or 15 years because he’s moves around a lot due to ‘the call of a ministry’. Because of that, he’s placed his wife and daughter in rough situations. They’ve always struggled because most of the time, these ‘jobs’ pay little to nothing at all.
He had found out a while back that I had fallen away from Christianity. He’s been sending ‘hinting’ type questions an emails for a while, that I could tell he really wanted to get out of me what I truly believe. So, tonight, we kind of laid it all out there.
He had a rough childhood. His mother was an alcoholic and his father was not even in the scene at all. He was in and out of group homes until he and I met at youth group in high school. Soon after, he became the first foster-child of my Mom’s and moved in. It was actually quite cool for a while. He was/is the brother i never really had. I love him as much as if he were born into the family.
So, obviously, him being a Christian and me rejecting that faith, has caused him to be concerned for my ‘spirituality’. In the conversation he just wanted to know where I was coming from. So, I told him, in so many words, that I know longer believe in the faith that we were brought up in. Or in ANY faith for that matter. I could tell that he was concerned by that. I tried my best to say over and over that I am a much happier and stronger person since I’ve put aside that dogma that makes everyone believe that they are inherently evil and ugly and unworthy. He claims that he would have never been able to get out of the awful situation he was in early in life if it weren’t for Christ’s help. I say that he doesn’t give himself enough credit and is selling himself short.
I have been able to tell though the ‘tone’ of his writings that everything is not entirely alright with him. So I asked him bluntly “Are you happy?”. There was a long pause. The eventual response was ‘I am content’. I said…that wasn’t what I asked. He responded with something like “I hope that God has a plan for my life that will help him live a happy life.”
I’ll be honest. I’m truly saddened by that. He’s such a genuinely good person. It’s not fair that this burden should be on him. And for what? A fairytale? If he would have been able to answer ‘YES’ to that question without hesitation…I would have let it go there. But after a bit more back and forth. We closed up the conversion and I finished with “I wish nothing but happiness for you”.
And that’s the truth.
As a matter of background, I guess I should explain that throughout my life I’ve suffered and struggled with depression. Particularly in my early and mid 30’s. Over the last few years I’ve taken HUGE steps in finding ways to live happy and view life in an more positive perspective. But…
You know…I just don’t get it sometimes. Today I am in a really rotten mood and I just should NOT be that way.
I am a HUGE Pittsburgh Penguins fan and last night they eliminated the Washington Capitals from the playoffs to move into the Eastern Conference finals for the 2nd time in 2 years. So, you’d think that today I’d be flying high. Well, it’s quite the opposite really. I’m pretty miserable. My mind is in a million different places today. I’m overwhelmed with the amount of work I have on my plate both here and at home. I feel like there’s not enough time in the day to do the things that HAVE to be done, in order to have the time to do the things I WANT to do.
I think that’s the whole issue. I’m tired of working my life away. I’ve developed a sense of ‘life is short, so enjoy it while you can’ kind of mentality. And now, I just am tired of working all the time. Seems the moments that are enjoyable are so short lived. And even DURING those moments, I can sense in the back of my consciousness that it’s going to over soon and I’ll be back to the same ol’ same ol’ again.
I hate that this post has a huge tone of ‘whiny-ness’ to it. I’ve worked hard over the past few years to eliminate that mentality. But, some days I just have to get it out and sometimes, just getting it out is enough.
I fully expect that tomorrow, or even late today, I’ll be feeling better about things. It’s just disappointing to be still having periods of depression.
It’s been a while, once again, since I’ve come here to write anything. I’m not entirely sure why. It’s not like my pursuits for knowledge and truth have stopped. I’ve just not really had the desire to share them. And frankly, I still don’t really. But what I think I DO need to do, is use this space as a sort of regular journal. Some place where I can just write my random thoughts and findings on a near-daily basis just so that I have a way to chart my path going forward. Some days I have ideas or theories about different topics and at the time I think they are cool. But often times, they get lost in the business of life and I end up forgetting about them. So, I figure this is a good place to store those things.
I still expect that most of the topics here will be religiously based, as that’s still a very big interest of mine. So, I’ll do a quick synopsis of the last few months of what I’ve been looking into.
I’ve found a real interest in Buddhist thought and philosophy. It’s not at all what I thought is was going to be or what I was brought up to believe that it is. In my opinion, it seems to be a way of calming your mind and finding inner peace. And the power to do that is within us all. Instead of having to look towards some external influence, we need to dig deep into ourselves to eliminate the erratic thoughts and calm our minds. That’s very much the kind of thing that I believe I’ve been looking for. I’ve read several books on the topic now: Essential Buddhism by Jacky Sach, The Three Pillars of Zen by Roshi Philip Kapleau, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, and I’m am currently ready Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm. Ajahn Brahm is a Buddhist monk at the Buddhist Society of Western Australia. He broadcasts weekly Dharma talks over the Internet that I find very refreshing, calming, and inspiring. What I really like about Buddhism is they make no claims about god, so it very much fits into my mindset.
I’ve looked far and wide for answers to the worlds religions and to see if any are really on the right track. What I end up with after every new turn and bend in the road is that my comfort zone always comes back to atheism. I ponder the doctrines and dogmas of the religions and spiritualities and think that maybe certain parts could have some basis in truth, but when it’s all said and done, I still keep coming back to my disbelief. It’s really the thing that makes the most sense to me.
A few months ago, I had it out with my Mother and Step father about their fundamentalist beliefs and the fact that I don’t believe any of it. They pulled out all of the apologist tools. Like they had read them straight from one of the books or websites. I actually laughed at one point because is sounded so scripted to me. Since then, things have kind of broken down in our relationship. I haven’t talked to my Mother in a couple of months now because I’m just tired of being constantly judged. I don’t need people in my life who aren’t going to accept me for who I am.
As for today, my day consisted of taking my daughter to her horseback riding lesson and then helping some friends get settled into a new home that they just moved into yesterday. I do like helping people out when I can. I like being able to give of my time and effort. I need to do more of that…a lot more.