Fear’s Like This Thing, You Know?

In third grade I liked a girl named Lori. It’s fair to say I thought she was cute, and made me long to fly through the air a la Rudolph if only she would tell me the same. She never did. It isn’t because I wasn’t cute, because, well, I just was. Deal with that.

Pimpin' it Hef style. Don't be hatin'.

Pimpin’ it Hef style. Don’t be hatin’.

The problem is, she never had the chance. In retrospect, all the “I like you this much” signs were there, but I trembled at the mere thought of talking to her. Eight years old and I was afraid to talk to a girl. Why? I don’t know. I really don’t. Would she have turned into a dragon and devoured me? Maybe. Possible even. Might she have spat acid in my face, turned me into a head-bandaged-wrapped elephant man? Or might she have even been so bold as to do the unthinkable, and talk back? Perhaps want to talk further? EGAD!

I was terrified. And so I never spoke to her. We crossed paths many times on the playground, during recess, in the lunch room, or in the aisle between our desks, but I went stone faced every time she came near, as if I’d tried to stare down Medusa to work up my nerve. On the last day of the year, she asked to sign my shirt (For those of you who have never experienced Sign Your Shirt Day, I’m sorry, but no amount of chocolate will EVER make up for your loss). I have very few clear memories of my childhood, but I remember that moment vividly. I mouthed nothing, blankly handed her my blue marker and turned around quickly, lest she dare sign the front and force me to possibly make eye contact. She signed along the neckline of my white t-shirt. She picked a spot nobody else had signed, wrote slowly and legibly. I like to think there was meaning in that. Perhaps the next year I might have braved a conversation to find out. However, I never would get the chance to embolden myself up to the point of speaking before running madly in the other direction. We moved from Scottsdale back across the country to Florida that summer, and I began fourth grade wondering, for the first time in my life, “What if?” This would not be the last schoolmate named Lori I wish I had spoken to. Nor would it be my last regret.

Before I go on, I should say that this isn’t a lament of one singular moment in my life that might have completely altered the scope of the years that followed. No, this is something much worse.  This is the beginning of a pattern. One that makes no damn sense at all.

In High School, I joined the school paper and took my hand at journalistic prose. Enthralled by the idea of exercising my love for writing, I dove in the deep end, the rambunctious idiot I was. At the back side of the first year, something happened that boggles my mind to this day: I quit. I had written several articles, some which were fun little escapades through the fields of my insanity, and had even received some praise. I covered the football team, which meant I got to be on the sidelines, near the cheerleaders–GAK!–immersed in the atmosphere of hyper-exuberant jockiness. But I quit. Why? Beats the hell out of me. Something within just suggested all of this fun and love and certainty of purpose was just not for me.

Same year. I join the baseball team. (Author’s note((which is a really absurd aside, because isn’t this whole thing just one big author’s note? Idiot.)): There is no adequate reference to how I feel about baseball. Best I can say is this: If you believe in Evolution, and see humanity as this ever-changing creature, from atomic particles to the ultimate source of energy we will eventually disperse into … that.) I had gone through a ridiculously stupid growth spurt. From five foot five to six foot one in six months. I was all arms and legs and leaner than a pole, like some kind of anorexic marionette. I was really good at baseball, though. It consumed me. But that year, for all my talent, I floundered. The coaches saw something in me, despite it all, and begged me to spend more time in the weight room. Maybe they were just concerned a good breeze would lift me away. I don’t know. I smiled, nodded, and never bothered. I just stopped playing. Why? Beats the shit out of me.

I entered my twenties at a dead sprint, the only running I’ve ever done by the way. Afraid to talk to any of the female species, I missed out on countless friendships, dates, conversations, and lest I allow subtlety to ruin everything because my mom is probably reading this, sex. It wasn’t that I was incapable of wooing, I was simply terrified of what would happen if it was received well. WHAT IF SHE WANTS TO SAY MORE THAN JUST HELLO OH DEAR GOD WHAT WILL I DO? So, I avoided it. This led to an overdeveloped sense of marital need, and far too much loneliness to expect rational decisions related to females going forward. Perhaps I believed if I locked one down, I could stop fearing interaction. I don’t know. So I married the first girl who showed me any desire to be with me long-term. We dated three months before we were engaged. One year later, despite my worries I had stepped in a pile that wouldn’t wash off, we got married. It lasted a year and a half. In anything shy of grand style and theatrics, I retreated into myself, proceeded to once again shy away from female contact, and spent the next six years without any emotional connection. Then I met someone else who wanted to connect. Never one to learn from the past, I thought the best thing to do was to repeat the same action and expect an entirely different result.  So, we essentially decided we were getting married that first weekend, and I though that was as cool as a frozen banana in ice cream. Less than four months later, we were. Not a frozen banana in ice cream.  Married. Just to keep things clear. That one lasted an improbable four years, and ended with her insisting I was cheating on her (at one point with my gay friend) and trying to kill her. Of course, she did get engaged two months after our divorce, but that’s neither here nor there, or an apple worth eating.

I have no idea where that apple thing came from.  Sometimes, I tell ya.

Anyway.

The one thing I’ve never given up on: my dream to be a successful author. But I don’t talk about it much. I don’t talk publicly about much of anything. I opened a bookstore did you know–not unless you were there, since I HAVEN’T MENTIONED IT AT ALL ANYWHERE TO ANYONE–which fell during the economic collapse of 2008. Not to say there weren’t other problems.  There were plenty, but if not for that downturn, I still believe it would have survived, even if in some other form. Regardless, when it closed, I didn’t talk much about it. To family, to friends, to my then wife, to my cadre of associations on Facebook. I got quiet. Depressed. Withdrawn. I have two books published, and I tend to shy away from discussing them? Why? Because I don’t like them? Certainly not. If you haven’t read Anointedwell, first of all shame on you. It’s fabulous fun, even if it isn’t the best thing I’ll ever write. It was nominated for the 2010 Sidewise Award for Alternate Fiction, so it isn’t bad. Publishers Weekly liked it, so hey, right? Fluttermy second book was a nice step up in ability and storytelling, but I don’t talk about it. I whine about the silence it received, with that being the only sound I ever make regarding it. Genius. I’ve been working on the Storyteller, an ever-evolving piece of children’s fantasy that–toot toot–is freaking awesome. I’ve had a few near misses (and there it is, I hate that term and yet I wrote it. As punishment to myself, I’m not editing it out. Idiot. Near miss. It makes no sense in any context shy of “Did you see those trains collide? What a near miss that was!”) on publication, got myself worked up in promoting it, then stopped when all momentum on finding it a home dried up. It’s been one year plus and I’ve not made a single public statement about it. I have a Facebook page, so yay me. And though it needed some more work, a slight tweak in direction, there’s been no reason for it.

I had a list of things I was going to troll through in order to demonstrate what I now have come to accept.  Despite my best efforts to convince myself otherwise, I’ve been afraid for the better part of my life. Afraid to choose, afraid to act, afraid to live, afraid to succeed. I don’t know why, I only know that I can’t do it any more.  That ends now. I’m tired of being afraid.

No more fear. From now forward, I am me. Idiot, yes. Afraid to talk to this girl we call Life, no.

Maybe being afraid of a 500 lb. roach isn't all that awful, but still...

But I am still afraid of 500 lb. roaches. You should be too.

The Historically Bothersome Butterfly

I don’t remember when it was, but whenever it was, I watched the movie Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. The Moss was there. Must have been last year. Anyway, the movie begins with the lowdown on the crisis: A meteor is on a collision course with Earth, and this time Bruce Willis couldn’t save us. Or at least I like to imagine it was Bruce Willis. The film didn’t specify. So, the meteor is coming, and we’re doomed. Nothing can be done. There are no superheroes coming to the rescue, no amount of scientific trickery to call upon, or no word from God to pacify the internal need to know that humanity must live on. Just The End.

To my great surprise, I found myself overwhelmed by a feeling of peace. Of happiness. Of relief that, just like that, life could end. No more struggle, no more anxiety, no more stress, no more self-doubt. I could take hold of the trusty eraser and wipe the Board of Life clean.

I think, somewhere in there, the shock overtook me. I mean, obviously, this wasn’t really happening. I knew that. But I had never before had such an overwhelming joy at the thought of it all being over. To know that I could finally put down my weapons, my gear, dust myself off and breathe a hearty sigh of relief. It stunned me. I’m not sure I can recall the first thirty minutes of the movie. Then again, I’m not sure I can bring myself to watch it once more to find out. I don’t want to feel what I felt again because I liked it so much.

Allow an injection here, if you will. I’m not suicidal. Though I’ve contemplated the end many times in my life–several since that moment watching the movie in fact–I have no desire to end my life. It’s not a choice I could make, or one I am willing to make. Much like murder, I suppose. I trap insects and set them free for a reason. I say this only because I don’t want the thought or fear for my well-being to intervene in what may or may not be a casual read. I’ll die when I die. Not a day earlier. I’m fine with this. I do actually enjoy living, after all.

I spent a great deal of time internalizing that moment, trying to determine what it meant. All I can deduce is it meant I’m not at all happy with my life, or my place in it. Maybe that’s a stretch. Maybe it’s dead-on. I don’t know. However, it led me to a simple question I can’t shake. Where did it all go wrong?

I can remember a great deal from my childhood. More vividly than is ultimately helpful, it would seem. I remember this kid:

The Sonny's BBQ Padres, age 12.

The Sonny’s BBQ Padres, age 12.

I remember walking to my games. I remember playing them. I remember moments in the field, pitches I saw, the final scores. The first season I played, I fouled off exactly one pitch. One. I swung and missed at everything else. By age 12, I was clinking balls all over the field, one of the best bats on the team. Something happened between age 10 and 12 that changed everything I was as a baseball player. I think it was me. I happened. I practiced, I played all year with my cousin, I watched the Braves on TBS every day. And it clicked. I made a conscious decision to be better, and I became so. And as the years passed, I got even better. I probably could have kept going, made something of it, but in tenth grade I grew eight inches, turning me into a gangly all arms-and-legs buffoon with the coordination of butter. My skill set suffered and I quit. I could have taken the coach’s advice, worked out to get my body back in line with my growth, and likely found myself right back where I was. But I didn’t. And I’ll be damned if I can remember why. Or how I did it without feeling loss, or pain, or regret. I could have simply walked into another room for all the difference I felt.

It could very well be that writing finally found a grip where it couldn’t before, my focus on becoming a writer of substance narrowing my vision enough to allow the loss of a true passion. Yet, instead of seeing the more traditional path of the writer–in the modern sense that is–and furthering my education, building credentials through said schooling or articles or what have you’s, I chose to bypass college and travel. To see more of America than I had seen. To pour my soul into writing without the interference of an instructor’s voice. And, honestly, because I hated school. I didn’t want to endure any more years of study. Not institutional study any way. I wanted to learn. I just wanted to do it on my own terms. I made this choice without any hesitation or doubt. Into another room I went.

I met a girl when I was twenty-four. Exactly twenty-four, as it happened. At the time I was steeped in church, looking for answers to life’s myriad questions. She had just moved into town. We sat next to each other. We laughed. Emboldened by my favorite celebratory day of the year, I was exceptionally charming. So much so that, though she was away the remainder of the summer, I left a favorable impression she couldn’t shake. Several months later she surprised me at work with an invitation to her birthday party. Well, not a party so much as a dinner celebrating such in which her mother played a prominent eye-cutting presence. A few months passed and a romance blossomed. A proposal happened. A year and half later, I had a house, a wife, two dogs, a cat, and the distinct feeling that everything in my life was coming into focus. Then something happened. I think, looking back, it was me that happened. She had health concerns, sure, and they taxed me physically and emotionally (not to diminish her own suffering), and brought stress into our marriage, but it wasn’t really the cause. Religion became an issue, as I had begun to question my devotion to the church life, and to Christianity. This was a problem, but as the judge in divorce court would later say, plenty of couples of diverse faith co-exist. It could have been surmountable, I suppose. There were arguments about where things were going. Attempts to rectify what had been lost. But I admit to being horrible at articulating what bothers me at any given moment and loathe to cite minor problems when they happen in exchange for accumulating them and dropping them all at once in a twisted jumble of “what?” Which never goes over well. Then one day I just decided I was done. Just like that, it was over. I gathered what belongings I could carry and left the state. My home, my marriage, my life in that backwards, sleepy, little town, gone. Poof. And when the divorce was done, my move final, and my hands washed clean? Yeah, I just let it go. Moved on. Didn’t give one thought as to whether or not I made the right choice. Yet another room.

You know what? This happened AGAIN.

The factors were different, and the pressures of life much greater, but almost ten years from the time I met wife #1, I met wife #2. As before, there was a very brief courtship. Three months to be exact. And we were married. I can’t front the blame alone, ultimately, for the failure of this one, but end it did, and when it was over I was glad for it. I moved on. This happened near the time I lost my business. I’ve detailed it before, and there’s really no point in doing so again; but there’s definitely a parallel. I never considered the full spectrum of owning a business and what it took to run one. I just did it. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t take people down with me. Which is, perhaps, one room I didn’t blithely pass into. I don’t like bringing people pain or suffering. I don’t even like upsetting them. I just seem to somehow. By way of decision or circumstance, I have left a nice little row of destruction along the way. People I still love and care for, and I can do nothing to correct this wrong. I can do nothing to alter the choices I made.

These are mere examples, mind you. I have many more. Places in my life where I made decisions that now confound me, and leave me wondering what would have happened if I chose otherwise. I’m sure I’m not alone in this phenomena, but I only have my eyes to weigh them against. Only have my expectations. My dreams.

From that fateful day I left baseball forever, I’ve wanted to be a writer. No, a published author. No, a successfully published author. I do have two books published, which is nice. Good books. Not great, but good. Entertaining and fun. They were received well, which is something. I have a great children’s story I haven’t found a home for, and a few other stories I’m working on I believe could also be great. I’ve worked hard to become what I am as a writer. Same as I did as that kid who couldn’t hit. But there have been no breakthroughs. No a-ha moments of career-altering discovery. Instead, I place myself in the company, by work or network, with writers who have achieved my dream on their behalf. It’s infuriating. And depressing.

It may occur to you that there is no exact cohesion here. You would be correct. I’m just taking out garbage I’ve had a touch too long and hoping not to hit you over the head with the bag.

I used to be more active on Facebook and Twitter, but I’ve backed off because I don’t want to let everyone know how terribly unhappy I am with my life. I have the Moss, and she’s well worth bragging about (and an incredibly talented photographer at that), but what do I have otherwise? Just struggle and frustration, disappointment and despair. One bad decision after another, with a few good ones sprinkles in for taste. I’m not where I want to be in life, so I don’t talk about it because I don’t want everyone else to know I’m not where I want to be. I want to see the light, to feel the hope, to know that everything I’ve been through–whether by my own hand or not–will be worth it. My break is just ahead. My time.

But it hasn’t happened. Maybe that’s why I felt the way I did watching that movie. I’m tired. Losing hope. Losing faith that all the decisions I have made were made with a singular purpose in fate. And so I spend far too much time analyzing a life’s worth of decisions, wondering which of them would unravel the tapestry too much, which would incite the butterfly to flap a typhoon into my future. Then again, I can’t evade the sensation there’s a typhoon here already. What that I have would I be willing to lose in order to gain what I want but can’t seem to receive?

It’s a fruitless quest, searching for an answer like that. Regret is a pain in the ass. It will always be a pain in the ass. I remain steadfast that life has a purpose. Nothing is random. I lost a bookstore but gained a publisher and the Moss because of it. I haven’t rejoined the published world, but I’ve written in that time and improved dramatically. I don’t have what I want now, but maybe I need to have nothing in order to fully appreciate what I will have later.

I’ve never been one to prattle about me. I don’t spell out my woes to anyone other than family, or the Moss. I don’t pretend my life is great, but I don’t allow for sharing that it is not. I like to laugh. I just find it hard to do that these days.

I can’t deny that news reports of a meteor bringing about an Extinction Level Event would pacify me greatly. Not because I want all of you to die, but because knowing the end is at hand would allow me to once and for all let go of every disappointing decision I’ve ever made. Then again, maybe I can just whip out the scissors and cut loose all the rattling cans I drag behind me. More decisions.

Of course I’ll accept good news, in any form instead.

That would help.

May Showers Bring May Flowery Deaths

So, yeah.  You’re going to die soon.  Just so you know.  The people at We Can Know can even tell you when.  To the day.  Behold, the End Times:

So, I should hold off on that June Cruise deposit, yeah?

For the record, this is not a joke.  This group of 4 ministries has decided, through biblical prognostication, that the Rapture will, indeed, take place on May 21st, 2011, and that actual end of the world will occur on October 21st, 2011.  So, basically, if you’re a Christian, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for.  Finally, the Word will be proven true, and you will be ushered into Heaven, where you will live out your spiritual days in the warm embrace of a loving God.  Conversely, if you are not a Christian, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for.  All the Christians will be gone, taken from the world in a flash, leaving you with a world bereft of dogmatic Believers who like to shake bells, throw pamphlets at you, and clog up lines at Golden Corral on Sundays.  it’s the world you’ve always dreamed of.  For five months, anyway.  At which time, your little fantasy land gets gobbled up by a God who is perturbed at your sinful ways (but isn’t at all displeased with allowing Miley Cyrus to continue living, go figure).  There’s a silver lining, though.  You have the next 6 months, and 18 days to do whatever you want , and then you can repent on May 20th, find some Holy-type to dunk you in water, and smile a lot, be fine the next day, and take the G-train to Heaven.  Just a thought.

But, maybe you don’t like baths.  I don’t know.

If you’re in need of a tutorial, the folks who created the video program at Xtranormal can be thanked for letting our Christian friends make this tutorial:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yDWXNKPtNw&feature=player_embedded]

It’s not as funny as the Geico commercial.

So, where does that leave us?  Well, I’ve done the whole bath thing, and been certified Jesusian, but have since reneged on the agreement, and gotten all dirty with sin, and written books that sort of, well, mock the whole process, so I’m guessing that I’m not on the G-train.  And since it may have been a one-shot deal–I’m guessing that you can’t have two baths with Jesus in a lifetime, and sell that you’re totally serious about it this time–I have to deal with the reality that I have, give or take being stabbed in the eye, about eleven months in which to enjoy my time on this rock.  So, rather than fret about the end of the world, I’ve decided that I’m going out with a bang.  I’m sure this list will need some editing, over the period of Doom-to-be that remains, but for now, it’s a start.

  1. Listen to every Justin Beiber song until I have them memorized.  Attend concert on December 23rd at Phillips, and squeal until my voice cuts off.  Buy t-shirt.  Why not, right?  I mean, it’s not the New Kids or anything absurd like that.
  2. Contact Warner Brothers, and plead with them to move up Deathly Hallows Pt 2 to May 20th (I can just hear it now: “Yeah, I was going to get baptized, but it was either that or watch Harry Potter.  Pretty easy choice, I think.”), or to implement a post-Rapture contingency plan to ensure the release of the movie.  I’m not dying before I see how it plays out on the big screen.
  3. Find a booth at Waffle House, and stay there for 24 hours.  Eat everything on the menu.  Enjoy the next 24 hours, alternating between the toilet and the tub.
  4. Host a Rapture Party on the rooftop of the tallest building that will accept money.  Watch the Christians float into the sky, and create a pool for “number of airplanes crashing into buildings as Christian pilots are taken”.  Rig pool so that you win.
  5. Move into the largest church I can find on May 22nd.  Host readings of Apocalypse South every Sunday, readings of Flutter and Anointed every Wednesday and Friday, and change the sign outside to read: “God is good, God is Great, WTF, did I just inherit a Chruch?”  Misspell ‘church’ intentionally because Russ Marshalek will want it that way.
  6. Get a job at Starbucks (because we all know they’ll still be around), and ask to be paid in coffee.  Drink only coffee until the world ends.  Never sleep again.
  7. Begin reading the Mark Twain bio.  Put it down three days later when it becomes apparent that there isn’t enough time to finish Volume 1.
  8. Walk part of the Appalachian Trail with an ATV.
  9. Acquire the most expensive computer available (depending on availability when the looting begins).  Strip it of every program, and create a screen saver that reads, “What are you doing, Dave?”  Leave it on until the world ends.
  10. Host a “naked party”.  Invite no one.
  11. Watch every Star Wars movie in succession, enjoy them immensely, then write a 400 page letter to George Lucas detailing how much better they could have been if he hadn’t directed any of them.  Reference Empire as the platform of awesomeness that it is.  Hand deliver to the first person you encounter, and thank them for buying Statewide Rapture Insurance.
  12. Create a Twitter account for a Christian who you know has been Raptured.  Tweet from Heaven.  Tell those remaining (I just deleted, “left behind” three times…I just can’t say it.) what they need to do in order to be Saved.  Hint: it involves cheese being delivered to my chruch.
  13. Make enough Kraft Mac N’ Cheese to fill the bathtub.  Bathe in it.  Bathe in it real good.  Like it like you want it, mmmhm.
  14. Find a replica Darth Vadar costume to wear from October 18th through October 21st.  Speak only in Vadar lines, and die with your helmet off.
  15. Call the ex-wife on May 22nd, and remind her that she didn’t get Raptured either.  It goes both ways, apparently.
  16. Find some D&D goons, and suggest your chruch as a fine place for a week-long campaign.  Play all week, so that you can die knowing that you’re a rogue Elf with…
  17. Learn D&D terminology so as to better define your character before you die.
  18. Make the trek to Chicago, and find a seat in the bleachers at a sure to be empty Wrigley Field and yell, “you suck!”  Do the same in NY at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, before returning to Atlanta, and Turner Field.  Do the chop for six straight hours.
  19. Call all my friends (none of them will have taken the G-train, for sure), and let them know they don’t have to worry.  I’m still awesome.
  20. Call my Jewish friends, blame them for everything, and say, “I told you this would happen.”
  21. Find Seth MacFarlane, and thank him for being such a delightful bastard.  Let him know that you got yourself checked, and your not retarded.

This isn’t done, but I’m too impatient to save it and wait.  Who has ideas?

The Path to Redemption

In MYongoing effort to stay current on this here bloggity thing, I am…oh, wait.  No, that won’t work at all.  The correct word would be, “failing.”  I am failing.  That said, I living the spartan life, shaking MYbones to the core of their Old West roots (of which I have none) and enduring a life at home without the interwebbies for which to guide my wayward and lost soul.  Fortunately, there’s Jittery Joe’s, which is not only home to excellent coffee, but free wi-fi.  In a way, I like it.  In another way, it’s a pure living hell being detached from all of the wonderfully useless websites I love to visit.  At some point, the world will right itself, and I will be able to connect anytime I wish.  Either that, or I’m pirating somebody’s signal, with or without the eye-patch, and riding the interwebbie waves of doom to my ultimate peril.  And to yours, if you are so inclined to follow MY ramblings.

So…

I hear the “Lion of the Senate” is dead.  No need to link, I’m sure if you’ve moved today, somebody (television, Internet or random person on the street) has yelled it in your face.  And in an interesting twist of mind, I have come to realization that Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy is the ultimate embodiment of modern religion–most specifically, Christianity.  No, Kennedy was not Christ.  He wasn’t even the cheap knock-off pageant Christ with a bad beard, shady eyeliner, and a bad robe that would better befit a cheap hotel room.  No, he was the ultimate embodiment of sin and redemption.  I think he was baptized by the media, or perhaps just had a really good PR team, because somewhere along the line, his great deeds outweighed his, um, less than great deeds.  This is the guy the murdered a woman, right?  I mean, I’ve heard the litany of excuses, or, “reasons”, for the, “accident”, in which the young girl died, but what cannot be changed is that he walked away from it, and went off into his Kennedy-safe world, where he was, ultimately, protected from prosecution.  Now, before I get carried away on this point, or before I frustrate those who find these remarks tactless, or without proper research, or some such, allow me to keep to the original point.  It cannot be argued that this event will not be at the forefront of articles or documentaries about the man.  In fact, I would be surprised if it was mentioned much at all.  After all, we do not dissect the sins of the fallen.  Rather we praise their achievements.  It’s a human thing.  You’ll find very few roasts at a funeral.

The point I make is this: In the same way that a man could commit a heinous crime, or live a life molded in, “sin”, so too can the same man be redeemed in the eyes of God by a simple wash of the skin.  Jump in a bath with a man of the cloth (which has been done many times in a very improper way as well), confess your sins, and live the life that Christ sacrificed Himself for, and poof!  You’re whole again.  Your demented deeds are forgiven and you are free from the shame and ignominy of your acts, and accepted into the fold, as well as given the keys to the gate of heaven. 

What bothers me with this is that there is no real accountability for what you have done in life.  Maybe there’s a review of your acts in Heaven, and maybe some good finger waggling, but if you have truly turned to Christ (in that same way you might turn to the alternate gender when undergoing a trans-gender surgery…a true commitment there) then you could literally have been the most evil and deranged being on earth, but with a pure heart, with pure actions, with a turn in your soul, it’s all washed away.  I find that the scene in O’ Brother Where Art Thou?when Delmar steps from the river after being baptized, and professes, “all of my sins has been washed away,” that we have, in a microcosm, what is truly wrong with this system.  The system of beliefs only acknowledges wrongdoings in those that are not part of the flock.  Once you are initiated, you are forgiven.  Literally, all the wrongs you have committed, are viewed to have been washed away from who you now are.  See…if I’m God, I don’t have that short of an attention span.  HI, He might say.  REMEMBER ME?  THE GUY WITH THE EIGHT-BALL?  WELL, IT SO HAPPENS THAT I AM NOT ENTIRELY DAMP, YOU KNOW?  I SAW ALL OF THOSE THINGS YOU DID, AND IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOW COME TO TERMS WITH THEM.  I CANNOT HELP YOU WITH THAT.  GOOD LUCK.  SEE YOU WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND.

Because, truly, does a child understand the wrongs it has committed if its father or mother promptly forgives without explanation upon hearing the child profess true sorrow and a willingness to live properly?  I mean, does that help the child at all?  Do we truly believe that one simple moment like this will, once and for all, leave the child with no true course but that of purity?  Well, no, of course not.  The child is still human, after all.  It will wrong again.  And if it knows it can be forgiven, if it knows it can avoid the pain and suffering of ultimate punishment, then it will apologize again, sincerely, be forgiven, and move on.  Sometimes, a child just needs a good smack on the rump to realize how far it has fallen into a path it should not walk.  And that is a pain, a reminder, that lingers. 

Don’t get ME wrong here.  Senator Kennedy is no more or less a sinner than any one of us.  He just happened to have taken a life along the way there.  The one facet of Christianity I will agree with is that we are all sinners.  Hell, we are all human.  Such is the way.  If weren’t, there wouldn’t be much point to life, would there?  There would be nothing to learn.  Nothing from which to grow, spiritually speaking.  There would just be…life, and not-life.  Kind of like sitting at home all day, never having to work, never having to worry for growth.  Just play Wii and be happy.  Then, someday, the Wii gets shut off, and you leave.

So, praise the man, praise his acts, praise everything that he may or may not have meant to the political landscape, but remember what he did along the way.  What he did to get there.  What he must now, whether we mention it or not, come to terms with.  A woman died because of his actions.  If we forget that, then there truly is no such thing as judgment.

So…yeah.  That’s all I have to say about that.