One for the Books– A Day to Remember

I am pretty tired, but I want to write about some things while they are very fresh on my mind.

Have you ever met someone that completely changed your life? They didn’t do anything life-changing. They are probably totally unaware that they had the sort of impact on your world that moves mountains, but they changed you.

Today, I met an extraordinary person. We have known each other for a short while, thanks to technology these days. We had a remarkable day exploring a town neither of us was familiar with. We laughed and the conversation flowed like a mountain stream, uninterrupted and so easily. I have been blessed with people throughout my life that I’m thankful to know and have known, but I have never met anyone like this individual. He has the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen. He is so genuine and engaging. I am so very thankful that I got a chance to spend time with him. I will forever cherish this day.

It’s about more than just good conversation and laughs. His presence empowers me. He has breathed into me renewed life. The way he speaks and his compassion for others captivates you. I cannot adequately put into words how incredible he is.

We can never be sure what the future holds. I can only hope that he is someone that will be in my life for a very long time. At the very least, he has given me a memory that I will forever hold dear to my heart.

People come and go in life. It hurts a lot of times when they go, especially if you don’t want to let them go. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. You can find beauty in every single situation. There is no exception. I am constantly learning that.

You are not a prison. You can’t contain everything you love in a room and hold it there forever. People are meant to grow and live. You have to learn to cherish the moments you are given and let go of the pain. You cannot regret something that once made you happy just because it no longer brings you happiness. You have to let go. I am one of those people that want to hold onto everything. It is so hard for me to let things and people go. It hurts. It hurts like hell.

Like a caterpillar must go through changes to become a butterfly, we too have to go through changes to become better. It can sometimes be impossible to see in the moment. I have been in that place more times than I can count. I have cursed my life and the choices I have made. I have beat myself down mentally with thoughts of worthlessness and telling myself that I don’t deserve anything.

It’s not true. Everyone is worthy. Everyone deserves the very best. Your mistakes and circumstances do not define you. I’ve said it before, but I can’t say it enough. Do not let the past beat you down. You have to stand back up and face the world head on. Don’t let the world harden you and take your compassion. Don’t let your own fears stifle you.

We live in a world, now, where people are more worried about keeping up with the constant stream of social media as opposed to the people in their very presence. Put down your phones. Interact with people in real life. We all want these beautiful lives and relationships and we’re always searching, constantly searching. Stop searching. Look around you. You could be missing out on something before your very eyes because you’re so caught up in things that don’t matter. Take some time to soak in the life you have been given. How can you make it better? How can you make it richer in things that matter? Stop comparing yourself and your life to the snapshot pieces you see of others. You’re usually only being shown the best parts. Everyone has woes and struggles in life. They are not exempt simply because you are unaware of them.

You have to learn to accept yourself and love yourself unconditionally. You matter and you should never ever let another person make you feel any differently. You should also never tell yourself otherwise. There are going to be people that are going to try and break you. They are going to make you question who you are. You must not let those people break you. You will not be accepted by everyone. It’s just a fact of life. It’s okay. You don’t have to be accepted by everyone. Their views and opinions of you are exactly that, THEIRS! They don’t have to influence your life unless you let them. The way you treat others is a direct reflection on yourself. The same goes for how people treat you; it is a direct reflection on themselves, not you.

I am learning to be more compassionate. I am learning to focus on the things in life that really matter. I am learning every day, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Knowledge is power and when you use that power to better yourself, others, and the world around you it becomes a magnificent place– physically and mentally.

I am so very thankful for the person I have spoken about in this post. He has opened up a world for me that I was unaware was even closed to begin with. I am so very grateful for the life I have been given despite the set of circumstances I have been handed. I will persevere.

honestly,
me

Understanding Religion

I had a very deep and thought-provoking conversation with my bestie today. I’m going to share those thoughts, to the best of my ability, here. I’m going to warn you that it focuses largely on religion and your view will likely differ from mine. If you choose to make an assumption about me or respond, I ask that you completely read what I have to say before doing so.

I have recently been trying to make an actual effort to change myself for the better, as you may have read about in my previous posts. While doing so, I have been reaching within myself to learn about my beliefs and what makes me who I am. I am trying to become secure in the person that I am and choose to be and stand by my beliefs, even if they are potentially incorrect. We are only human and part of being human is continually changing and evolving. You cannot better yourself unless you are open to change and being told you are wrong. Part of growing is learning. My views are always changing and that’s okay. I am allowed to change my mind and so are you. I do not think that someone should ever say, “this is the way it has always been done and this is how I’m going to do it” or “this is just how I was raised and taught.” I think people should question things, especially if it is important to you. You should strive to learn about something and make the decision to do it or believe in something because it is YOUR CHOICE, and not a decision that someone or something has made for you.

With that being said, I grew up around Christian faith. We were not in church every Sunday or even very often at all. In my 5th year of school, I attended a private Christian school. As I got a little older, I would attend Wednesday night services with friends. I was taught about God and Jesus and the basics of being a Christian. Present day, I occasionally attend Sunday church. I have always somewhat identified myself as Christian in viewpoint, although I have never been baptised. I do pray to Jesus/God, but not regularly. I’ll be honest, I do not know much about Christianity. I cannot quote the Bible. I am not even completely knowledgeable about some of the basic and well known stories that even children know.

I have been wanting to go to church and try and learn more about the Christian faith and what exactly it means to be a Christian. I have tried to do so on my own, but I get so frustrated because I’ll read something that I don’t agree with or fully understand and stop. Ironically enough, a really good friend of mine, invited me to try a new church with him this past Sunday. I, of course, said yes. It is quite a large church and a little intimidating though. I felt a little awkward during the singing since it’s not natural for me, but I tried to really focus on the words being sung and the message from the preacher. The sermon was part three of a series explaining the mission of the church and what it means to be a growing disciple. There was a moment when those baptised were invited to participate in taking in the body and blood of Christ. In the moment, I wasn’t completely sure if you had to be baptized or not to participate and I was beyond anxious. My thoughts were running on fast forward and I was trying to decided whether or not I should participate. I was scared that I would be judged and feel embarrassed if I didn’t. My friend asked me if I was going up there and I repeated the question to him. He said yes and stood. I waved him past me and stayed seated. I was so anxious that I was sweating and wanted to cry. I stayed calm and listened to the message. When it came down to it, I wasn’t comfortable participating because I have not been baptised and it didn’t feel right to participate in something that I still have so many questions about. Although, I was so embarrassed on the inside, I stayed true to what I believed right and I didn’t want to do something just because everyone else was doing it. I did what was right for me and stayed true to myself. By the way, no one looked at me weird or laughed at me. No one judged me. My feelings were all fears from the inside. No one made me feel uncomfortable.

The preacher talked about becoming a disciple of Christ and how you shouldn’t do so just because others are. You shouldn’t just take someone else’s word. You should seek out Christ for yourself. If you have questions and doubts, you should address them. I really liked that and I want to see about attending some study sessions that were listed because I do have a lot of questions and doubts and I would like to be better informed. I want to learn about Christianity because it is something that is important to me and I’m tired of not fully understanding.

I don’t know where I stand on religion. I know what I have been taught, but I cannot blindly believe in something that I don’t fully understand. My thoughts are:

if I am truly a good person and I strive to continue to be a good person, if I try to better others and the world around me and not bring harm, then I don’t know how any god would damn me to Hell or wherever. My issue with my experiences with the Bible is that it is very contradictory at times and that makes it very frustrating to follow. I am told that you should fear God, but why if he is this forgiving and loving God? If I am meant to worship and live for God and not myself, then what is the point of this current life?

Let me explain further what I mean by this. I already know I am striking a match and tossing it into kerosene with the following example and comparison that I am going to use. It’s the best way that I know how to explain what I am trying to say though. I am not saying the two are equal! Here is the best simplification I can give:

Hitler was a leader and ruler. People were suppose to follow him and do as he said. He wanted to kill a lot of innocent people based on his beliefs. Had everyone did exactly as he said, then the world would be a lot different. Sometimes leaders are wrong and it takes someone standing up for their beliefs and fighting back for what is right. Now apply the same concept to God. He is the leader and ruler. People are suppose to follow him and do as he says. I am suppose to worship him and live only by what he says. It doesn’t matter if I’m a good person; if I don’t live as he says I should live, then I am going to Hell.

That is where my issue is. I cannot fathom a god feeling that way, especially a forgiving and loving God. IF God is that way, then I have some issues and I feel that he is wrong. Before you go sending me hate mail, please try and understand. I am not saying that God is wrong because I don’t have all of the facts, nor do I have the luxury of asking God himself. If you are Christian, even thinking something like that is probably considered blasphemy. I am not trying to turn people from religion. DO NOT BASE YOUR BELIEFS OFF READING ANYTHING IN THIS POST. If this brings up questions for you, then I encourage you to search for answers and do what is right for you and what you believe.

To touch on some other things that rub me the wrong way when speaking of Christianity and viewpoints… Gay marriage is a big and controversial topic right now. I am not 100 percent sure if marriage is a Christian belief. I do know that the government and law of the land has made it a human belief. Christians are not the only people that get married. Everyone around the world gets married. If marriage was a Christian thing then I could completely understand it being between one man and one man and a unity between the two. However, the law of the land has made it something that affects your life beyond religion. Your taxes, all legal documents, and even your possessions are affected by it. Therefore, I don’t think it is anyone’s right to say that two men shouldn’t be married or two women shouldn’t be married. If you are not gay or lesbian then it does not affect your life. Let people marry who they want to marry and go about your business. If you believe that it is between a man and women then good for you. There is nothing wrong with that. There is enough hate in this world. If someone is trying to add some love to it, then by all means go for it, in my opinion.

I would also like to add a tidbit about abortion. I was speaking with the same friend, that I went to church with, a few days ago about this topic. He is pro life and I am pro choice. He said that he believes everything happens for a reason and that abortion shouldn’t be allowed. My response was that if he believed that everything happened for a reason, and since abortion is still legal in places, did he feel that way about the babies that are aborted… that it happened for a reason. His response was a no and that he did not think God ever meant for anyone to be killed. If he believes that then he does not believe that everything happens for a reason. I am fairly certain that he supports our troops and war, so if he believes that God doesn’t mean for anyone to be killed then what about the soldiers risking their lives and eliminating the enemy? They are very contradicting thoughts. I am not bashing his view or anyone else’s. I am no where near perfect and contradicting, at times, myself. I am trying to learn and understand though.

Now to speak about the Bible, itself. I wish, oh how I wish, I had access to the Vatican and the original scrolls. I wish I could understand all of the different languages so I could read the original word of God for myself. Nevertheless, I can’t. There are so many different languages and when translated they don’t always mean the same thing. Humans, themselves, interpret everything differently. So, to put all my trust into a book written by all these different humans that interpret things in different ways is hard for me to do. If you have studied foreign languages then you know that there are some words and phrases that can’t even be fully translated. I realize that there were all these scholars and such that translated the Bible, but who am I to say they were correct? I want to believe they are and that it is the actual word, but I have my doubts. Speaking from an American perspective, we live in a world where everything we do and say is based off of the media and news. We aren’t always given the full story and we are fed to act and dress whatever way is deemed “fashionable” at the time. I don’t want to think that someone came along and purposefully, or accidentally even, mistranslated the Bible for ulterior motives. Don’t call me a conspiracy theorist. I am not. I would not have spent this much time trying to sort my thoughts out into this post if this wasn’t something that is important to me.

Christianity is the religion that I am currently trying to focus on. My goal is to read the Bible in it’s entirety and understand it to the best of my ability. I am open to learning about other religions and even if you believe fully in a certain religion, I think it’s healthy to be knowledgeable about the other religions. Christians, themselves, can be so judgemental. I just had a friend the other day say that he didn’t really know what he believed. He was raised Christian, but Christians were so judgemental and it rubbed him the wrong way. I told him to not turn from a religion strictly because of the people that make up the religion. Making mistakes is human nature. He should focus on the message of the religion itself and apply it to himself as opposed to how the people act.

Please don’t send me hate mail. It will be deleted and ignored if you do. If you want to talk further with me about any of this, I encourage you to do so and I would like to hear what your viewpoint is. If you feel the need to attack me, refrain. If you would like to have a conversation, then by all means. Information should be shared and talked about, not pushed down throats or blindly ignored because there is disagreement.

honestly,
me