Tag Archive: Human Nature


Noise

Viagra for the brain
makes the words flow
on speed-
Slipping, sliding they burst forth-
unabated
uncontrolled heaps of nonsensical jargon
spewing forth, vomit
fills the page,
partially digested
thoughts,
desires,
complaints,
needs.

Corrupted images-
broken sunsets
gaping green hills-
silent whispers.

Shrieking
within-
the poet.

Hammer
splintering,
offending
hands.

Writhing words-
and
this drivel-
it must,
stop!

Bright

and shiny
people, adorn
the hallway,
waiting…
seeking
that moment-
a life time,
of stardust-
that, in
a moment,
blows
away.

We’ve been discussing the power of our words. The power of words to bring life and death into a person’s life. I wasn’t expecting to write on this topic nor did it occur to me that it would be an issue that I face and have been facing, for a while. All of us have had promises made to us that have been broken for one reason or another. Some were made by parental figures, those we love, our friends and people we just met. One would think that the promises of a stranger, would mean little, in contrast to the impact that these empty words have upon our psyche and subsequent behavior. In the series, Precious Hope, we discussed why hope and faith appear to fail. The failure of words, the reliance upon humans and the things that we promise to one another, can cause our faith to “fail.”

How many times do you have to be promised that someone will do or not do something before you lose faith in that person? How many times do you hear other people make promises that never see the light of day before you start to lose faith in people? Cynicism and a jaded attitude can flourish when watered so often through the lies that people tell. The “good” intentions. The platitudes of promises never meant to be kept.

“Guard your heart, you’re too sensitive, don’t take it personally” may sound familiar to you like words of encouragement in the face of a broken promise. Perhaps, you’re like me, and you take most of what people promise and consider it, like smoke rising, forming and dissipating with the quickened wind? I’d rather have a discerning attitude filled with grace than the aforementioned viewpoint.

However you treat the broken promises in your life; I have these thoughts on the issues. Don’t be a promise maker. When I first met my two boys, I told them, “I won’t make very many promises to you. I know that there are too many things that happen that I can’t control.” Instead, be a promise keeper. Make the promise, to yourself. If you’re going to do something for a person then do it. Now, I know what you might be thinking. How I can help someone out by picking them up at the airport and not tell them? That’s really not what I’m addressing here. Although, I will quickly amend the previous statement and say that those promises, not kept, hurt as well. Therefore, if you find yourself unable to keep promises then don’t make them. If you promise to pick someone up from the airport and you forget and just leave them hanging then you shouldn’t be making promises. Perhaps, though, you don’t know how to follow through? Most people have their own personal devices to receive calls and texts. Use them to communicate any difficulties in fulfilling your promise (traffic, forced to work late, whatever).  If you cannot fulfill your promise then do the best you can to make sure it can be fulfilled. Picking someone up and can’t make it? Get them another ride through Uber, a taxi or another reliable source (don’t call your serial killer friend and have him pick them up).  If you make a promise to pick someone up, meet someone at a specific time or have someone somewhere, waiting on you then use your smartphone (calendar, reminders, etc). Tie a string around your finger. Put notes all-around your house. Do everything that you can, if you find yourself to be forgetful, to remind yourself that you made a promise. When I think more about it, a lot of promises keep someone hanging somehow. An anniversary, a call that’s never made, dry cleaning not picked up, the list goes on and on. If you’re going to make the promise then make the effort to make sure that you don’t forget the promise. When you find yourself a promise-breaker then stop making promises.

As the one who’s the recipient of broken promises, know this, it’s not you. I know it’s very hard. I know that it’s even harder to not harden your heart toward people when they make promises to you and sometimes, it is you. If your friend Karen makes promises to you and breaks them most of the time then perhaps you need to stop relying upon Karen’s promises and either call her out or thank her and move on. Don’t be passive-aggressive or take Karen’s problem and cast it out onto all people. Whatever you do, don’t become cynical and jaded. Don’t start thinking that everything that people say is a lie. Even if most of the time it might appear to be so.

This was brought to my attention because I am a Christian and I realized that I believe in a God that I cannot see and that most of my faith comes from the Bible. It comes from the Word of God. As a Christian, we know that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)

These are still words. I’ve found myself, to my surprise, to be more of a John 10:38 person who believes through the works that prove the words that have been spoken. However, that’s not faith. Not really. However, I have to remember that God is not a human being. God doesn’t lie. He has never failed me. I look to Bible, and I am reassured by the Word of God;  Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, and Hebrews 6:18. I remember that Jesus didn’t trust people because he knew our hearts. (John 2:24)

I didn’t realize until this week how much of a struggle it is for me, sometimes, especially in hard times with people, to rely upon God’s Word and walk in Faith believing that which is unseen as seen.

I want to encourage you today, as I try and receive encouragement in my faith, to not harden your hearts to people. Don’t label them as liars and hypocrites. All of us make mistakes. All of us have broken promises. We’re all human. Let’s try and do the best that we can to speak life to people and, though it be a cliché; if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all.

To those of you are Believers in God. Trust in Him. Remember, He won’t lie to you. His ways are not our ways and his timing is perfect. Remember what He has done in your life so far. Remember the impossible that has been made possible. Count your blessings and above all. Bring your doubt, your fears and concerns to Him who is faithful, because He loves everyone.

 

Here we are, once again, shaken and perhaps even stirred, by this glorious pastime we call “Life.” Let’s, for a moment, recap a few tidbits that we’ve picked up along the way and address the question, “Why are we here?” No, I don’t mean “The Big Question.” Douglas Adams answered that for us in 1978 (42). We’re gathered here today to continue our discussion on hope and faith and why they appear to fail. I welcome those of you who have just arrived. If you want to catch up with the rest of the group then you can start here. We’ve addressed the possibility that one reason that hope and faith appear to “fail” is that, instead of pursuing God, we’re pursuing the “thing” in which we hope. We’ve discussed that, according to the Bible, hope, faith, and trust are all dependent on us. That’s right, you and me. Love, on the other hand, is based on God, who cannot fail. If this intrigues you and you’d like to read more then please read the previous parts of this series. Muchos gracias!

It was brought to my attention that not everyone believes in God. We are a diverse people, humanity, and we believe and don’t believe all sorts of things. However, whether or not you believe in God is not the issue here. Yes, I do believe and express my beliefs here with the tools that have been given to me. I do hope, (there’s that word) that we can agree that Life is not about us. Life is not about me. Go ahead, say it, “Life is not about me.”

Now, this is a major issue in the world in which we live. Too many people, for too long, have thought that life was just about them, their families, or their “in-group” of people. We’ve been running a race against ourselves for thousands of years. We put money, comfort, “peace” of mind and ourselves ahead of this planet upon which we all reside. We walk around with a mindset that, “as long as this doesn’t bother me, it’s okay.” Well, it’s not “okay.” Look around the world. Does the world look “okay” to you? Are you happy with wars, starvation, and genocides? Look closer to home. Does it bring you joy when you see a person without a home, starving on the street? Do news reports of mass shootings indicate that everything is hunky-dory in the world today? I hope not. Let’s move on and I’ll step down off this box.

We need one another. That’s just the way it is. No society can work against itself and survive. We depend on one another whether we like it or not. Let’s look at it even more locally. If you’re a blogger then you need people to read your blog, right? Enough said.

I moved to Sacramento in 2018 hoping to be healed of a twenty-year illness that had been keeping me in pain for most of my waking hours since 2016. God called me here in December of 2017. Although I had heard the call, I wasn’t set on moving. I had lived in Santa Barbara most of my life, it was my home. Then, I watched it burn and get wiped away in mudslides.

Sacramento life is very different than Santa Barbara. It’s not until you move somewhere where you don’t know the area and don’t know anyone, that you realize how many friends you left behind. I noticed, after moving up here, that I wasn’t getting better. I was getting worse. I couldn’t believe it. I thought that I had been in pain before. I thought that I had suffered before. In my pain and suffering, I turned more toward God than I ever had. I started asking questions again.

Oh, I never really stopped asking questions. Just the wrong ones, I guess. Joe was on my mind. Every year, on the anniversary of his death, I would try and not think about it. It’s ironic how something would happen, each year, around his death, to remind me of the date. Like a nagging feeling that you left something on when you left home. Like death’s skeletal fingers, tapping me on the shoulder.

Only this time, as my illness grew worse and pain crept into my sleep and my sleep became less, and my desire to live, even less. I started in with the questions again. This time, really simple, “Why?” I’d go out on pain-filled walks, pushing through the rain of Sacramento “winters” and I’d yell at God. I’d shout and demand, “Why?! I have done what you have asked. I have moved. I have left home. I have left friends. Why am I suffering more?” I let Him have it. I went down the list of everything that I had done in faith that had failed. I begged Him to bring me Home. I told Him, heal me or let me die. I can’t take it anymore. I thought I had faith, but it had all failed.

You know, there are conspiracy theorists who say that we’re always being watched by someone. Well, I remember the day that answers came. It was so much of a cliché I have to laugh when I think about it. The rain was pouring down and I was on my knees, staring into the Heavens, rain splattering into my eyes, yelling at God. I was in so much in pain. Unlike the cliché in the movie. I didn’t get the answer there, on my knees, in the mud. I got up, and continued my walk back to the house, asking Him to forgive me.

It was then, while cleaning up, moving ever so slowly in fear of the unexpected pain, that I remembered Joe’s memorial service.

I was speaking with Nancy, and we were both crying, she must have said my name, because someone from behind asked, “You’re Jason?” It was someone from Joe’s family. A cousin or someone. I don’t remember. I do remember suddenly being swamped by people who were thanking me. They were all so happy. I had forgotten their happiness. All I had remembered was my selfish pain. My belief that my faith had failed.

Here were all these people who had known Joe longer than I had. All of these people who knew who I was. Knew that Joe and I had spent his last year together. They were thanking me! Me, for being there with Joe. He shared our conversations with his family and friends. He talked to a lot of people in that last year. Here was shy Joe talking to so many people. Telling them about God and the friendship we shared. They spoke of the changes in Joe’s life. How he was strong and courageous. He didn’t talk about dying. He only spoke of living and being healed. At the time, it was like acid in my face. Throwing our conversations back at me. Into the failure of my faith. This time, though, when I was remembering it. I could see the joy. I could see hope. I could see faith. I remember telling them, “God did it. I had nothing to do with it,” or something like that. I didn’t and still don’t, deserve any credit.

Most of all, though, I remember Nancy. I remember the look of relief in her eyes. I remembered our counseling sessions, and I knew. I knew that the marriage would fail. if Joe had lived. Nancy stopped blaming him for cancer, but the issues that were there, they just got tucked under the rug.

I remembered it all. The memorial service. How people spoke of Joe. The Lord brought it all back to my mind and then He said, “Do you see? I put him into your hands. I trusted you to guide him to Me. I trusted you. You didn’t fail.”

Joe would have survived cancer only to lose his wife, the dreams that they had, the new life and new home. His family and friends would have briefly remembered Joe’s courage and strength. The divorce would have crushed him. No one would have remembered this shy man, who faced death, with courage. However, with his death, Nancy moved on and got that house and honored Joe and their marriage. His family and friends, they remember him strong.

As I write this, it dawns on me, that my dear friend, didn’t call me that last time, when he went to the hospital, because He loved me. He knew it was time. He was going Home.

There we have it. God’s perfect timing. God’s thoughts above our thoughts. His ways, beyond our ways. It’s not about me. It’s about Love and serving one another in love. Whether or not you believe or not. We’re all here, on this pretty blue planet, together. We live together, and, if we’re not careful, we’ll all die together.