Thursday, January 8, 2009

God spoke to me through the radio...

This story is true, allow me to preface by saying I was a deeply unreligious person before tonight.

God came to me tonight…he was in the radio…

Let me begin at the beginning

I was discussing something with two of my counselors at IOP tonight. IOP is an addiction recovery program which I enrolled myself into after my life became a downward spiral. I thought that my life had become so bad largely because of my use of pot. Tonight we ended up discussing something I thought to be very different, but I discovered it was the same. We were talking about my former girlfriend, Rachel. A girl who I was so crazy about that at the age of 18 I was ready to marry her…we had made plans to get engaged two years after and married two years after that. A girl I was so crazy about she could have slapped me across the face, kicked me in the nuts and my only reaction would have been guilt that I had done something to warrant that reaction and the first words out of my mouth would have been, “what did I do?!?” She cheated on me. With my best friend, Neal, a man I consider my brother. I went running back to her, four times. Each time, she broke up with me, even after the last time when I warned her that I did not want to date her again because I could not deal with breaking up with her again.

Today something interesting happened, I found a sponsor and as it turns out they know a girl who lives in Madison, literally five minutes away on bike. Finding both people was an extraordinary coincidence. Oh and my phone has been fucking up lately, I couldn’t pick up a phone call from anyone, I had to call them back…man that was annoying. Later, as I was discussing my issues with Rachel with my counselors one of them said to me, “I know your not a religious person, and you may be offended by me saying this, but maybe what happened between Rachel and Neal was your higher power looking out for you because you needed a fucking boulder dropped on your head for you to see.” I used to think that Rachel was my gift from God. I know now that when I thought that God must have nearly shit himself. I am thankful, although it fucked me up so bad for years, that it happened because I may have been planning my wedding right now, to a woman who I cannot be with.

They reminded me that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I expected that Rachel would not be a thorn in my mind although I knew different. They convinced me to not meet with her that night, and I prepared to drive home…feeling more depressed than I did on my first day of recovery.

I didn’t drive home. I went to meet my brother in law at a bar. I didn’t intend to drink but he offered me a great beer. I had not taken more than 4 sips of it when Rachel walked in. I politely grinned and bared it and made polite conversation until she finally left to meet some other girls. I sipped on that beer for a few hours and eventually left at midnight, feeling a little better.

I walked outside and started to feel bad again. Every step made me feel worse. As I sat down in the car I felt depressed again. As I drove down harden street I thought about calling her. I thought to myself, I really don’t have anything against this girl, why shouldn’t I go be with her. I knew there would be sex in it for me if I did. A little voice in my head said “where did your resolve go? It was so strong not half an hour ago! You know, you can convince yourself of anything...” I pulled the Circe out of my pocket that reads “Insanity is…doing the same thing OVER AND OVER AGAIN…expecting different results.” I read it a few times and held it in my hand. I felt more depressed than ever. I said the serenity prayer to myself. I had been saying the first part of it for the last few days…the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. That had helped me alot. Today, for the first time not in a meeting, I said the entire prayer. “God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I yelled the parts in capitols to myself as I drove. Something crossed my mind that Katie said earlier that night, God will always give you a way out. I felt a little better already.

Then something really strange happened. I’ve been listening to the same radio station so much I’ve nearly memorized their play list…it isn’t that long. They played a song they had never played before…Chicago – Saturday in the Park. Its one of my favorites, I like to play it on the piano. Let me share the lines, which today meant so much more to me.

Saturday in the park
I think it was the fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the fourth of July
People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs
itse barre, itso nate
Can you dig it? yes, I can
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For Saturday

Saturday in the park
You’d think it was the fourth of July
Saturday in the park
You’d think it was the fourth of July
People talking, really smiling
A man playing guitar
Singing for us all
Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it? Yes, I can!
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For today

Slow motion riders fly the colors of the day
A bronze man still can tell stories his own way
Listen children all is not lost
All is not lost! NO NO NO!

Funny days in the park
Every days the fourth of July
Funny days in the park
Every days the fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all
If we want it, really want it

Can you dig it? Yes, I can!
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For the day

I screamed, literally screamed, into the roof of my car. “THANK YOU GOD! THANK YOU GOD!” I turned the music up so loud it hurt. I heard the words for the first time although I had heard it so many times before. Can I dig it? YES I CAN! Will you help him change the world? YES! I was waiting so long for the Saturday that didn’t come, but it was there all along. Every day IS the Fourth of July! All is not lost! If you want it, really want it! And I've been waiting so long for the day…

Then as the music was playing I felt my phone vibrate, I looked…it was Rachel. I didn’t turn down the music, I couldn’t. But I resolved to answer and tell her I couldn’t turn the music down, I didn't know what to say to her, I was a little afraid I would let her convince me to go back to her. I hit the “accept” button...

Nothing happened.

The phone kept ringing. My phone wasn’t allowing me to take calls. I could have called her back but I had no desire to. I remembered my resolve I had been so quick to convince myself didn’t exist. I don’t owe her shit. I don’t have to call her back ever again. She called a second time and I laughed. The song ended but I didn’t feel depressed anymore. God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle. He had do drop a rock on my head to show me she wasn’t the right one but I hadn’t seen it then. He had to bring me to the point of not being able to eat without smoking pot so I would go to IOP and learn to really see my problems, not just run from them. He gave me so much but I didn’t see it. Suddenly, I saw it all, clear as day. There it was, there it had been, all along.

When I was at the brink of destruction again he played me a song, and gave me a helping hand.

God talked to me tonight through the radio.

Even in the greatest disaster, there exists a perfection…call it anything you want but I will call it God.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Something to think about.

By July 20, 1944...

There were 15 attempts on Adolf Hitler's life from his own troops.

Nearly 5,000 people were executed attempting to end his reign of terror from the inside.

January 1, 2009...

Conservative reports (requiring two official reports of death) place the Iraqi civilian death toll at 98,000 innocents. Other estimates, most likely far more accurate, place the death toll between 733,000 and 1,446,000 civilian casualties.

The individuals within the Iraqi Ministry of Health attempting to discover and publish the true death toll have been threatened under penalty of death not to publish their information. The director of the Baghdad morgue has fled the country as a result.

Even the most conservative estimates place the killing rate at 120 per day. This number is double the number killed in Saddam Hussein's last two years in power.

So now I ask you, how many of you were willing to pay the ultimate price, as 5,000 brave Germans were in 1944, for what is right?

How many of you were willing to pay any price?

The true horror of Hitler's reign was not in the sick and intelligent lunacy of one man, it was in the many thousands who were unwilling to fight against it. Too few were.

Now how many of us are guilty of the same?


Saturday, December 27, 2008


I walked along the dew misted grass. The soft rain that fell was like a gentle breeze, gifted by mist. the soft ground beneath my feat gently gave way where i laid my steps. it was warm but the water blowing on the breeze was just far away enough from comfortable...the ground too wet to enjoy.

and yet, it was perfect

later, i lie on the dimpled asphalt, looking up into the cloud covered night. I could see only the brightest stars, the planets which shone their light to me best. the dark was encompassing and the silence oppressive

and yet, it was perfect

within every moment i saw the beauty of that existence, with every second I could count the joy. truly nothing is perfect, for nothing ever can be, but within that is every mistake, in every problem, in every miscalculation there is a room for improvement...when we cease to have that...we have nothing at all. our entire existence is based upon solving problems, upon bettering ourselves and those around us. assuredly my life is imperfect in so many different ways and yet,

it is completely perfect.

for every problem I have faced, my armor has become stronger, my wit sharper, and my compassion wider, and for every problem I face or will face it is not a chance to stumble or fall...although those a certainly a possibility...each problem is an opportunity, a chance to become greater than I was before.

I looked up into the clouded night, I lie on the only spot not still covered by the wet of the day. The stars were beautiful, all of them, and those that shone through the clouds touched my heart.

for a moment, I could see the entire universe

and the perfection it contained.

I regret no choices, I begrudge no situation, for every one has been absolutely perfect.


Thursday, December 25, 2008


The masks we wear become so natural we almost forget the faces underneath them.

how many times do you actually have a conversation with someone?

a real conversation is about the way people feel, the things they want, need, avoid or hate. a real conversation isnt a recap of the things you did during the day...thats a summary. a real conversation isnt an ideological debate about the beliefs you hold, there is nothing wrong with a debate as thats how we learn about the subjects we are discussing but its still not a conversation. a conversation is never a place where you begin with a goal in mind, it is an exploration into unknown territory, places unexplored by you or the person you're speaking with. I've realized that rarely if ever do our "conversations" stray into this territory. when I was younger it was easiest for me to just be the person my parents wanted while i was in front of them. its only natural, every kid keeps things from their parents, but when i got older the same continued. it was easier for me to be the person my friends were entertained by then actually be who i was. its easier to be the guy the girl wants rather than deal with the possible consequences of being yourself. at some point, there is a new face for every person you meet, another mask to take on at every turn...sooner or later, you are bound to forget which face was actually spend so much time wearing the mask that the face underneath doesnt even feel like your own anymore.

its time for me to change alot of things in my life and this is only a small piece. ive given up holding the masks, trying to keep the many versions straight and keeping them convincing is incredibly difficult but most importantly the denial of your true self is a poison that will slowly creep through your body. it will infect your mind and rot your you to madness and lock you in insanity.

i know i am not alone, we are brought up in a world where we are tought not to say what we truly think. be polite, dont complain, its not nice to talk about many times have you answered "fine" to the question "how are you?" when you were nothing but? even people in a doctors office answer similarly when obviously it is not true, if it were they would have no need to be there. it is not our fault that we are so eager to deny what we think and feel, it is a consequence of our society.

so i suggest a swift change. put down the mask and try putting on your own face for once. it may not be easy, it may not be pretty and it will almost assuredly be uncomfortable but it will eventually make you happier. tell someone what you want, let someone know how you feel, be a frown if it is what you feel and eventually you will want to show a smile. for your own sake, take off the masks, burn them until you do not even remember what they looked like, let your own face become your permanent mask and take a few steps in the real world.


"start saying what you mean to say
all your worries gunna run away
start saying what you mean today"

-Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

Sunday, December 21, 2008

An Interesting Insight

I figured this is particularly relevant to a blog...

I realized that one of the few things I am proud of about my college career are the papers I write. I may not put alot of effort into school in general but I do put alot of effort into my papers...and I've written some pretty good ones. Thank god, because it's the only thing that has saved me.

I really care about the things I write and I put what I think into what I write.

Odd that after so long I never considered that it was my writing I cared about most and not what I was studying...

You Don't Know Jack...

Hanging out with old friends is always so peculiar...

I knew all of these people, probably better than they liked, when we were in highschool. we were mostly inseparable, especially the few of us who really made up our "gang" (a sect within the nerd-herd) really did everything together...we had every class together, cross country after school, we hung out after that...we did alot of things together and I made some good friends when I was in high school.

But all things change

We all went to college, slight dilemma with being in a magnet program, everyone gets into the school of their choice and we mostly went off to our respective corners of the country to make new lives. I was never really one for talking on the phone...the result? I have hardly talked to these people in 4 years.

And now it seems like I hardly know the people who I used to know best...but I think of a line from The Rules of Attraction. Lauren yells at Sean "What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever!" Maybe she's right. Even the people you know best, do you really know what they think? What motivates them, what causes them to think and act in the ways they do? Did you know in marketing studies people will pick one identical shirt over another most of the time if it's on the right? I think people hardly know themselves what motivates them or influences their choices. People spend their entire lives trying to figure themselves out, I mean fuck, I don’t really know what I want...I may have in inkling but I've spent 22 years trying to figure it out. How can we expect anyone else to really "know" us? It seems like an impossible task.

In the is a troubling thought, but in doing philosophy I've realized that philosophy is the art of answering questions which can’t be answered. You can take comfort in gaining insight into a question, even if we know the "answer" can never really be attained. We may never really "know" our friends, our families or even ourselves but the process of learning about them, and ourselves, is a rewarding one and the insight we gain, although never complete, is always comforting none the less.

Tell people what you really think, ask your friends what they believe, get into your families' heads. Really getting to know someone can be uncomfortable...the uncertain road to knowledge always is, but the place we're going is always better.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Found Harmonium

I drifted between waking and dreaming...

they were mostly the same...

There is an old saying, Chinese in origin I think, that one who sighs longs for something they do not have. I let out a slow sigh and tried to relax...It seemed to me, in that odd and wonderful moment, that life sometimes has a soundtrack... theme music for your revolution. No actual music required... It follows your cadence and the orchestra watches for your direction. I heard those same notes this night but they felt different to me now. They had the usual character but there was something behind them that was not there before. Then I heard something I hadn't in a long time. It was hope. And hope laid down next to me there as I journeyed to dreaming. The music grew tense, the danger of chaos is never far off, but without that the resolution would be meaningless, and all the while I heard


and the music filled my was the soundtrack to my revolution. I had spent so long looking for happiness I hadn’t noticed that some of the notes were already there. I had forgotten that it is not merely happiness we require it is peace. Peace of mind, of soul, of body, of conscience, of desire and of love. True happiness carries with it its own peace but often you must make your own, the wars we fight are mostly against ourselves. But suddenly it seemed that maybe I would have both. I lay there, listening to the Penguin Cafe, staring at the shadows cast by the textured ceiling. The smile that had spread across my lips wouldn’t budge. Then as old emotions dared to show again, the plaque of years of jaded anger and fear began to break loose. Like a vine slowly growing its way through concrete something was freed again, and I sighed in relief.

Then hope sighed too, and I knew everything would be fine.