Visits From A Man Named Nobody 60

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 60

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He left, trying to be as cheerful about it as he could be. As he wandered through the mall, he used his PID to request a ride. 

He made it to the exit and saw a car waiting. He took a moment to look around, failing to see anybody around. He knocked on the driver’s side window, intending to ask if the car was there for him. The PID indicated his ride was still a few minutes out, but the driver might not have taken the time to say he was there. 

The tinted window rolled down, revealing Nobody’s masked face. “I’ll take you home.”

Paul stood there, dumbfounded. It was strange to even consider. The man could immediately teleport wherever he wanted. Why would he own a car? What wasn’t strange was the fact that he was there. Nobody almost always seemed to appear when Paul was at his most angry or frustrated. It also happened to be when Paul least wanted Nobody around.

He went into the back seat and buckled in as if Nobody were indeed the public driver  he’d requested. 

“You own a car?” Paul asked.

“I’m borrowing it,” Nobody said.

“The perfect and holy Nobody stole a car?” Paul challenged. 

Nobody, who hadn’t started driving yet, turned back in his seat. That opaque mask covered the flat stare, but Paul felt it just the same. “I didn’t steal this car. More importantly, I’ve never once said I was perfect. Anyone who says they’re without sin is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

The phrase felt like a Bible verse, which annoyed Paul even more.

“So what it is?” Paul asked. “What’s the little pearl of wisdom you plan to throw at me before you drop me off and vanish?”

Nobody turned back in his seat and began to drive. “Why don’t you tell Lidia how you feel?”

Paul shut his eyes. His anger surged, but he wanted to keep it under control. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Answer the question that I asked,” Nobody said.

“No!” Paul said. So much for keeping my anger in check. “You think you can just randomly appear and ask all these pointed questions, and I’ll just go through your imagined script without wanting answers of my own?”

Nobody didn’t say anything. 

“Why do you get to have all the answers you want, and I have to sit here and be interrogated?”

Nobody didn’t say anything.

“So you’ll ignore me unless I answer your questions?”

Nobody didn’t reply.

“Then pull over,” Paul said. “I’m done explaining myself to you.”

Not only did he refuse to say anything, he just kept driving. 

Paul’s rage flared, and he flung his fist into the center compartment nestled between the front seats and the back row of the car. By some miracle, he managed to pull the punch, but he still put a tiny ding in whatever material the compartment was made of.

“Let me out!” Paul roared.

The car pulled over. Paul stared at the door. What was he going to do, walk the rest of the way to his dorm? Maybe he could call for another ride? He glared at Nobody.

“Lidia and Jordan are happy,” Paul muttered, resting back in his seat. The car pulled off the side of the road and continued its journey.

“So,” Nobody said. “Don’t you think you could do more for Lidia?”

“I wouldn’t do that to Jordan, ever, and Lidia isn’t some sort of thing we can fight over. She could have kept trying to start a relationship with me. She didn’t.”

“Why not compete for her?” Nobody asked.

“I already said I wouldn’t do that to Jordan, even it if worked that way, and it doesn’t,” Paul said. 


“Because it’s wrong.”

“So there is a wrong,” Nobody said. 

Paul flung his arms in the air. “Of course there is!”

“Who decides what that is?” 

Paul rolled his head in disgust. There it was, his inevitable need to turn this into a conversation about God.

“Everybody knows there is a right and wrong,” Paul said. 

“But who decides what that is?” Nobody asked.

“You’d say God.” Paul didn’t bother hiding the sneer from his tone. “But people know what right and wrong is.”

“But where does that awareness come from?” Nobody asked. “If were were simply mammalian animals, we’d kill each other or worse just to satisfy our animalistic needs and wants. Some people stoop to those methods because their need seems so great to them they have no choice. So we do indeed have morality, but what is the source of that morality?”

Paul waited, frustrated at the logic. He thought years back about how Dorny would rant and rave at him for hours. There wasn’t any logic in what he said, just random thoughts filled with portions of the Bible even Paul knew were misquoted. Of course, thoughts of Dorny only led to thoughts about Bill, who also spoke with such reason and logic.

“You know the worst thing about your religion,” Paul muttered. “You all can’t get along yourselves. Some of you say this is what God wants, and others say this is what God wants.”

“When I want to understand what God wants, I turn to his Word.” Nobody said it so softly it was hard to hear under the engine of the car. 

“Yeah, but you can’t even agree on that!” Paul shouted. “And what does any of this have to do with Jordan and Lidia.”

“Everything,” Nobody said simply. “Everything comes down to a person choosing what master they want to satisfy. If you wanted Lidia, you could pursue her. She may refuse you, but that’s her choice.”
“I’ve already told you, I’m not going to try and take Lidia from Jordan. She’s not a thing to steal,” Paul said. 

“Then why do you covet her as if she were a thing?”

… to be continued …

Sonnets For My Savior 35

Sonnets For My Savior 35

The Beauty of a Christly Family

Why do we hide our pain?

Did Job suffer silently?

Could it be we think our suffering means our faith is in vain?

Could we think that crying out means we don’t believe fervently?

Perhaps others suffer more greatly,

but that doesn’t make our pain any less.

If we bear our pain in a manner more stately,

does it honestly reduce our distress?

Even Christ asked his disciples to watch with Him when His betrayal drew near.

So why do resist sharing our fears with our brothers?

Could it be that what holds us back is fear,

fear that might lessen our perception from others?

Believers, suffering doesn’t have to be yours alone to bear.

The beauty of a Christly family, is that, even in suffering, we can share.



Suffering Doesn’t Mean Forsaken

We may suffer, but we are not forgotten.

Indeed, we were promised suffering would come.

Even if we lose all we’ve gotten,

It does not mean God’s heart has grown numb.

This doesn’t mean pain isn’t real.

It doesn’t mean we won’t wonder why.

Every living loved one will feel,

agony when the ones they love die.

It’s okay to pray for wisdom.

It’s okay to pray for pain to end.

It’s okay to seek freedom.

It’s okay to share your pain with a friend.

It’s not a sin to pray to God when you suffer;

It’s a sign that you trust Him more than any other.



He Is With You

Fear not, for He is with you.

He is greater than the one who is in the world.

No matter what man may do,

God’s Son has overcome the world.

He delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians.

He delivered David from the hands of Saul.

When one man sought to persecute Christians,

God changed that man’s heart, and thus was born the Apostle Paul.

What man does for evil; He does for good.

No suffering compares with the glory in the life to come.

Trust in His will, and do as you should,

for by this, God’s will is done.

Take heart; fear not; He is with you.

Find comfort in His grace, for there is nothing He can’t do.




Grant me wisdom, LORD, help me start my children off the way they should go.

Keep them on the path, even when they’re old.

I yearn to see them learn and grow.

Their learning is such a blessing to behold.   

You are my fortress;

grant my sons shelter.

Don’t let me lead them to distress,

lest they turn from you in anger.

Change me, and make me an example,

one they can follow that pleases you.

Let my patience and love be ample,

so my teaching and instruction are true.

My son’s are a blessing I cherish;

let me lead them to You until the day I perish.




I’m a fool.

I count the minutes of the day and think them mine.

I know the world is yours to rule,

but my hardened heart covets time.

Change me.

I serve, but my desire to do what I wish steals my true happiness.

Set me free.

I’m chained by my own selfishness.

Make me yours.

Grant me a heart that savors the tasks you give me.

I praise your name, and my heart soars,

but I’m not as willing to serve as I ought to be.

My heart is wrong, and only you can change it;

Help me grow, lest my desire to please you become forfeit.



Wise Provider

Our Lord never fails to provide.

He always gives us what we need.

Our Lord is always on our side.

He always hears those who pray and plead.

Our Lord knows all our necessities better than we do.

He knows what we must have isn’t the same as what we desire.

Our Lord is always faithful and true.

Just because He denies us doesn’t make Him a liar.

Our Lord formed the earth and carefully placed every river and tree.

He formed our bodies into intricate machines.

So trust in God, who brought all to be,

for He alone truly understands your means.

Do not feel abandoned if God denies your request.

Instead trust in Him because in Him, you are blessed.



Though I Am Unfaithful

I sin, oh LORD, when I forget You.

I abandon You and let You slip from my mind.

I cry out to You, knowing You are always true,

but I forget my promises to You time after time.

I have sinned against my God, who is faithful!

My heart is grieved that I could forget You so.

Have mercy, LORD, and do not be wrathful.

In Your mercy help me to change and grow.

My heart trembles to think I have wronged You,

so I call upon your grace and forgiveness.

You are a loving God, and I see that in all You do.

You hold me and teach me even through my unfaithfulness.

Change me, Lord, so I might serve you more faithfully.

Change me, Lords, so I might serve you more cheerfully.

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 20

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 20

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

See Part 7 here.

See Part 8 here.

See Part 9 here.

See Part 10 here.

See Part 11 here.

See Part 12 here.

See Part 13 here.

See Part 14 here.

See Part 15 here.

See Part 16 here.

See Part 17 here.

See Part 18 here.

See Part 19 here.


The Appointment

My sister, mother, and I loaded ourselves into the car. We got to the hospital, and my sister took us to get some blood work for Mom first to make sure we didn’t get slowed down in case they wanted more recent results than we’d had.

It was actually a quick process. We were in and out before I could finish a game of Sudoku. We then walked around to the actual treatment area.  We got to the desk, where they informed us the copay for this treatment would be somewhere around $300.

I confess this to you all: I was standing there with my mom, who had cancer, and when they listed that price, I worried.  What a horrible thing! I worried about the money I’d already spent flying down, the money it cost to fly back up, and I even worried about this ring I had planned to buy.

I asked if the copay was required before treatment.  I asked if my father could pay it at a later time.  Here I was balking at a few hundred dollars.  It wasn’t until the woman at the counter said it wasn’t an issue that I felt the shame. How dare I? How dare I think of myself and my bank account in a situation like this.

Strangely, that shame was quickly followed by a thought.  God always provides. What am I worried about? I wondered.

Here I am, still under the belief that God can cure my mom of cancer, but he can’t make sure I have money to do things?  What a ludicrous thought.  I’m not saying people should just spend willfully without thought or sense to a budget.  But we should always give to those in need.  I say again, the Bible is quite clear on this. We should give freely to those in need.

“You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake,” Deuteronomy 15:10.

For those who want to argue the conflict between the Old and New Testament, let’s look at what the New Testament says on the matter:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work,” Corinthians 9:6-8.

I paid the money, and I still feel ashamed for how I let my thoughts dwell on the aforementioned, selfish wants I had at a time like this. This event taught me something: I’m not a cheerful giver.  I used to be. When my circumstances were better, and I had a generous amount of money in my bank account, I gave freely without a single worry in my mind.

Since I’ve transitioned and pumped a ton of money into my dream to be a published author, I’m less secure. Now, I do and give, having to remind myself that God always provides. Here’s some more fuel to this fire. I never think about money when I go to a movie. I eat at the same restaurant every Friday. I buy caffeinated beverages whenever I struggle to stay awake.

I’ve made it my new goal to remember the man I was when I was much better off because God will always provide. I’m not rich, but I’m blessed already because I’m probably still a bit more stable than some other people I know because I’ve always tried to live far below my means. Once I climb out of the debt I’m in, I think I’ll be even more stable.

The point isn’t that I paid. The point isn’t that I did the right thing or even that I did it because I knew it was right. The point is that I wasn’t a cheerful giver. I felt the temptation to horde and cling, and that was an alarming realization.

After we paid the fee, my sister called our dad to let him know we were about to begin. Mom overheard and finally realized what had happened.

She’s hard to understand these days. What I remember about that conversation is how mad she was. “They’re liars,” she said.  “I’m done!”

That got my attention. My sister and I talked to Mom together to explain that nothing had changed.  We still intended for her to get the treatment, meet with the cancer team, and then get back to Yuma as soon as my father could finish up the work at the house.

We let her know that we weren’t worried about the money.  That calmed Mom down, and shortly after that, she was in the treatment center getting her first dose of the new treatment plan.

I met with the liaison during the treatment. It was my only chance to get a medical opinion on where things stood. She was the one who told me no matter what the problem or issue since that last visit to the emergency room, this treatment would address it.

She even did something I felt thankful for. My flight left right in the middle of everything. She told me my sister could put me on speaker phone so I could listen in on the meeting.

Therefore, after I said my goodbyes and got through airport security, I waited for my sister to call and let me listen in. It was a bit of a relief having everyone able to ask questions or make comments. Our first worry was the possible effect this treatment might have on my mom, and the team (through one person I think is the liaison), told us there weren’t any immediate concerns with this treatment. My mind shifted then to the plan.

“So we’re going to do a treatment. Then Mom can go home until it’s time for the next treatment (about two weeks apart).  We’ll do three treatments before we check on the tumor again.”

The doctors confirmed that was the plan.

I flew home, and the first thing I did when I got back was send a text. Mom seemed fine.  The next day, Mom seemed a bit more mobile and clear.

Things looked well for the next few weeks, but the trial wasn’t over, and things were about to take another turn.


Questions and Revelations


You seriously thought about not paying?

If I’m being nice to myself, what I was looking to do was verify if I was the one who had to do it. I was a coward who’d seen a wolf creeping up on the sheep. I’d be willing to fight it off, but only if there weren’t any other options. I do this far more than I feel I should. Oh, something has to be done? Can anyone else do it? Can anyone else bear this burden I don’t want to bear. I mean, sure, I’ll do it if I can’t find anyone else, but I’d really rather someone else handle it.

This is why I find myself remembering that God sent his son to die for my sins.  Jesus, willingly sacrificed himself for my sins.  They didn’t balk and look around hoping someone would come along and grant us salvation.  They didn’t even discuss it.

They did what they did out of endless, joyful love for us. So why complain or balk when any ask for something that isn’t, “Hey, would you mind dying for my sins?”

At this point, I still have to remind myself. When I feel doubt, I tell myself, “God always provides.”

Did God provide?

Yes! I’m fine! I even bought that ring I mentioned. Heck, I bout a freaking Kindle (the lowest-priced one). What the heck was I worried about? The answer was simple. I had, and I didn’t want to have less. What a selfish, sinful thought.

We all face this from time to time, and I don’t want anyone to think it wasn’t at least something to give. I’m of the opinion that those who do give, even begrudgingly, are still blessed. However, I don’t think those blessings are as great as those who give cheerfully.  I’m glad I paid the money. I just feel thankful that I’ve come to realize how miserly and selfish I have become.

Don’t just give when you have so much more to give. Don’t be generous at just those times in which you have so much to give you honestly don’t  know what to do with the rest. If I have $2, and someone needs one, I’ll give it.  Currently, I’ll have to remind myself not to worry. I’ll have to remind myself not to be selfish.  I aspire to simply give without any thought or worry at all. This is what I ask others to pray for at this point. Pray that I have a cheerfully generous heart. I give because I know it’s right, but I want to be happy when I do it. I want to do it without “hoping” or “wondering” if “God’s going to take care of me.”

That leaves me to what I want to conclude with.  I think a lot of people know this verse: “The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Until quite recently, I had been reading that to mean. “The Lord is my leader, but I don’t really want to be led.”  I thought it was a statement on the hardened hearts of people and how they resist. I thought it was a reminder that we should want to be led.

Well, that’s true.  We should want to be led.  But I’ve seen a few other translations, and I want to share that with you all.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I will never be in need.” That’s from the Contemporary English Version.

But you said the Bible is accurate!

What I said was the Bible was accurately transcribed. From Greek text to Greek text, through the generations, the Bible is remarkably accurate. Translation is a different matter.  This is why reading other translations of the Bible. (New International version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible (which I plan to buy when I read the Bible again) are those I think should be compared from time to time.) I’d love to learn Greek one day so that I can read the New Testament in it’s Greek.  For now, I tend to listen to John MacArthur audiobooks, where he explains some of the Greek words and their connotations.

Back to my point. For the longest time I had a negative view on the lesson from Psalm 23:1.  The message isn’t that we should trust in God even if we don’t want to. It’s that we should trust in God because if we do, we will have all we need.

I’m seeing it in my life now. I’ve seen it before. I’m not over this hump. I’m of the option that there are two major sins I want to sanctify from my life at this point: the sin of pride, and the sin of worry.

Yes, worry is a sin. Jesus tells us in a plain, direct command not to worry.

These two sins of mine, these thorns in my flesh, cause me to grumble at work when I think I’m doing more than others. They cause me to lament giving money (I didn’t say loan). They cause me to be selfish with my time.

I’ve come to the belief that these bad habits are rooted in my sins of pride and worry. My current plan? Humble myself, and give. My intent is to start looking for tasks to do. I’m not worried about which of my coworkers is doing what. Ok, I am, but my efforts are in the spirt that if I keep doing this, I’ll improve.

To be clear, my actions are correct, but only God can cleanse these sins from me, and I ask that those reading this pray for him to do so. Free me from my pride and worry so that I might do the work of my hands and give cheerfully.  The actions I’m taking are to give me the opportunity, so that when God calls, I find myself answering by doing that which I know I’m supposed to do and find joy in doing so.

If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading


Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 7

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 7

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

The Caretakers

I’m not sure what a normal family is. I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know how it should feel. We argue. We judge. We don’t honestly get along. It’s an issue that vexes my mother.

My mother, on the other hand, is the epitome of unselfish love. No matter what stupid stuff we pulled or horrible things we said or did, she’d take us back.

When our grandmother became too ill to truly care for herself or live alone, my mom stepped up. She moved Grandma in and cared for her until the day Grandma passed a little more than a year ago. This was a sacrifice. There were events or trips my mom couldn’t go on. There was the strain of caring for a woman who was honestly in need of fairly consistent assistance in one way or another. Thing is, my mom never complained. I did. My dad did.  But the most my mom would do is mention that she couldn’t do something because she was taking care of my grandmother.

I wondered something during that time. Who would step up when my mom needed that?

You see, if this were one of the fiction books I was writing, I’d be the hero. Fact is I’m not. I’m more than 3,000 miles away. My life hasn’t truly changed in terms of day to day habits and action. I don’t have to get mom to appointments or help her if she’s ill. I don’t have to negotiate my own life around her treatments or the other members of the family who visit and want to spend time with mom.  I’m just a guy reflecting on the process, but I’m not actually a part of it.

My older sister and her family are.

My mom needs to be close to the hospital that treats her. This is why my mom can’t stay in our hometown with her husband and youngest daughter. The fact is there are several people who love my mom, and they’re doing what they can just as I am.  But my older sister stepped up. She moved mom in and she’s coordinating all the visits and appointments.  The fact is, while there are many supporters and helpers, she’s the hero of this story. Amid the handful of people working and doing what they feel is best to help, this woman is the one there for all of it.

I hope these words don’t sound like an accusation to those in my family who aren’t there every minute of every day. The honest truth is they can’t be. Some have jobs. Some are ill themselves. Some are trying to keep my mom’s home in good condition and even make it better.

I am, in fact, doing the least in the family. I’m writing a blog.

But I don’t want the fact that I’m in the worst position to be of use to take away from the fact that my sister and her family are doing an amazing job just because they happen to be in the best position to be of use.  I hope that makes sense. If I’m being frank, some aspects of my relationship with my siblings make us pretty judgmental of one another. Every now and again I get defensive about things because I know my sister has made taking care of our mother her life.  Am I a lesser child because I’m doing less?

I certainly feel that way, but that’s not the message I want to deliver here.  What I want to do is give the credit where it’s due. Should I feel demeaned or humiliated simply because I’m giving proper acknowledgement to she who is doing the most?

I’m on the wrong side of the country to be of use. But each day of this trial, my sister, who, if I’m being honest previously held a reputation for publicly complaining about a great many things, hasn’t complained once. At least not to me. It may be because I’m simply not in a position to do anything about it, but it doesn’t make it less true.

The only thing more humbling than her efforts to help my mom is the growth I’ve seen from here through the process. No look, I can’t say enough times that I’m not there. I have no real idea what’s going on. I call once a week or so to see what’s happening and how things are.

But then there was a text. She asked if I’d be able to make it down one week.  You see, my niece is about to graduate, and she’s got a lot of things to do. My sister needed someone to take the edge off.

At first I said I’d just need word, but would it make sense to see if those closer to home could help. Besides, I imagined a number of them would be around anyway to attend my niece’s graduation.

Prior to all of this, I’d burned up my leave. I came home from Christmas intending to spend a year to 16 months here to save up leave.

However, when my sister sent another text saying she needed help, I did the wrong thing. I balked.

I wasn’t without reasons. My biggest fear was that if I took leave now, and then something horrible happened, I wouldn’t have the leave to support that. I spoke to a number of people about that, including my sister’s husband. I didn’t say no outright. I called my dad to see what was going on. He, my older sister, and my younger sister all got together and worked something out.

At the end, they didn’t need me. I can save my leave for another purpose (hopefully a happy one), and my sister has the help she needs to get my niece off to the next leg of adult life.

Despite the fact that it all worked out, my failure is clear.

My sister called for help.  I should have simply said, “OK,” and figured it out. It would have been hard, and it could have been even more difficult if things don’t go the way I’d like them too, but how often are we called in life?

I don’t think the reasons I hesitated are unreasonable or even wrong. That’s the trap we fall for in life. I wanted to work out something where everyone got what they needed. To be honest, it worked out that way as far as I’m aware.

None of that changes the fact that I was wrong. When someone calls for help, you answer.

You might have to figure some things out. You might put yourself at risk. You might have to change things you had planned for months. None of that matters. When someone calls, you answer.

My mom needed help. My brother-in-law just started a new position at work. My niece is about to graduate. My sister was still relatively new at a job of her own. My nephew is adorable, but he’s a handful. None of that mattered. My mom needed help, and that family stepped up.

For those who may feel even more defensive about it than I am, I implore you to see that this doesn’t have to be about selfish pride.  My ego and feelings are what they are, but I don’t have to let that selfish pride prevent me from testifying how Christian my sister is being right now. She’s stepped up.  She’s followed the example our mother taught us for so many years. For that, she deserves all the blessings I can pray for on her behalf.

That sacrifice allows for the other members of the family to chip in by doing what they can do. My other siblings stop by. As I mentioned above, my baby sister was able to make some tweaks to her schedule to get up there for graduation week. My dad is taking care of the house. My other siblings are helping.  I just wanted to make sure to put the spotlight on someone who’s doing an amazing thing.

I talked to another one of those older siblings about graduation just a few days ago. None of my circumstances have changed. There may be a time when I’m needed, and I’ll stand ready. I wasn’t needed this time. Sure, I made a few phone calls and made sure it would have worked out. Of course I would have gone down and made it work if my other siblings couldn’t.

The wrong in what I did was looking for other ways because I saw other ways. I need those reading this to understand this most of all. We get called so often in life. How many times do we compare what we’re asked to do to what we want to do? It doesn’t make our lives or our dreams meaningless, but it does make us selfish. Even if it didn’t make us selfish, it still makes us unhelpful.

Most of this situation took about a day.  But by the end of my dinner the night of that text I’d told my girlfriend, “I’m doing this wrong. What I should have done, the right thing to do, is say, ‘I’ll be there,’ and figure it out.”

The wrong isn’t in the reasons it would have been difficult. The wrong was in the fact that I thought about my situation first. I thought about my complications and my obstacles before I thought about my mom and what she needed. I thought about my issues before I thought about my sister and all the things she’d already done and sacrificed to be the day-to-day caretaker for our mother.

Don’t follow my example in this case, readers. Don’t fall for the trap that I fell for. I don’t think anyone I talked to (including my older sister) blames me or holds it against me. Again, those reasons are quite valid. But the trap was to think of myself when I should have been thinking about others. I hope you’ll do a better job if you’re called.



Questions and Revelations

Where do you get off writing this blog after you fail to show up the first time you’re asked?

Frankly, I’m still just doing my best. When I was called, there was never a doubt in my mind that my sister would get the help she needed. My family is huge. I knew it was only a matter of talking to everyone and figuring out who could help.  The wrong was in using convince as the measuring stick. The question was “Who can help my sister without too much interruption.” When what should have happened was, “I got you!”

Also, this blog is (as of now) a real time process. To me, sharing these victories and mistakes are important. I know a lot of people who did things very much like I did. They explained it to their friends (like I did), and those people said something like, “I understand. It’s fair. It’s okay. You had things to figure out.”  Those justifications usually make other people feel great. Each time I heard them, they just felt more accusatory. I’d save readers the same feeling if I could.

So are you going?

No. The issue and need was, “care for my mom,” and that issue was resolved. Once the discussion became about my nieces’ graduation, it was something we’d talked about the year before. My sister has the help she needs, and that was the main issue.

I love my niece, and she knows I’m proud of her. My failure was in not answering a need. Once it became a matter of want or desire, then all involved parties should look at things and do what they feel in their heart are best.

Need = do.

Would like or wants = do if you can.

I still won’t sacrifice my ability to head home in the event of a more unfortunate emergency for an event everyone in my family knew I wouldn’t make it down for since last year.

Wouldn’t someone have helped?

Of course they would have. There are a few things in place, and I work with some amazing, generous people. my pride is a bigger issue here. My mom and I have that in common. Never cause those around you stress because you want. That’s a rule we follow. My mom feels pretty bad right now because she honestly thinks she’s being a bother to my sister and her family.  It’s just how we’re wired. I could be pined under a bus with a comet heading toward me and I still wouldn’t ask someone to help if I thought they were “too busy” or they would be “too inconvenienced.”

Had my baby sister been unable to help, I would have worked things out. My guilt is over the fact that I worked around that.  Fact is, I have no idea what my baby sister already had planned or how her leave situation was. I didn’t occur to me.  She answered the call, and she stepped up.

Why do you feel so guilty then? Everything worked out right?

Well, let’s look at Job.  In Job, after he’d already been suffering greatly. His friends showed up.

They did a lot wrong.  Seriously, they did a LOT wrong. What they did right, however, was show up. I even talked about this the night all this went down. I defensively said, “Well they didn’t have jobs or overworked coworkers.”  Even then I don’t actually know. I haven’t read all of Job. I’ve only heard a few sermons on the book, but that book is special to me already.

I’ve often prided myself on being the guy who helps when it’s needed. So even though I had honest, reasonable explanations for why I might not be the best person to help, I already felt pretty crappy for handling it the way I did.

Guilt is a pretty handy whisper from God. What I recognized is that my defensiveness, and I’d dare to say any defensiveness you might feel, was my soul’s way of telling me I’m in the wrong to begin with.

Try it out.  Have you ever not done something, but then felt the need to explain why you didn’t? Some who read this now might feel angry or defensive simply because I’m speaking so highly of my older sister.

If that’s the case I’d argue why? Is this defensiveness or anger a result of what I said, or is it a result of how what I said makes you feel about yourself? One of the three major points of this chapter was to point the blaming finger straight at myself.  So don’t be like me. Don’t be selfish. Be selfless. When someone asks of you, just help.

I’m not recommending servitude to someone. I’m not saying carry another grown adult through life. Those are all circumstances I can’t predict. In this situation, with actual people who needed actual care, I was wrong. I have said no to others who asked for help and felt zero guilt. Why? Because they had all the ability in the world to help themselves. For many a day, I wish for a burning bush or angel to come down and just tell me what to do.

All I have is my conscience. What I learned from this was to let it be a better guide from now on.

If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading