Love, God and Porn Part 2

Last week I brought up 3 issues that I was shown in my struggle from pornography. Now, pornography is a sin against the woman you’re using for your pleasure and against God, who created both genders. But porn I found out was also a symptom of deeper issues in my soul. Not only did I have to ask God for forgiveness for my sin, but I had to be shown myself why I did what I did. If a person screams at others constantly because of some issue they’re not willing to deal accordingly, and just because a person asks God and the others for forgiveness for the outbursts that does not mean the real issue is handled. They cannot use the sinful nature argument as a cover for their outbursts. They have to deal with the real issue, and that is what is causing the outbursts of anger. It could very well be unforgiveness, or maybe they have other unsettled issues within their heart.
Now I’m not going to present some wild theological spew or try to defend any type of position on sexual preference, that’s not what this is about, nor my blog. I am here to share what I have learned and experienced to present this view to encourage and challenge not just myself, but the reader. There is a way out from under guilt and a way to freedom. These are the 3 key issues I present: identity, sexuality and then the view and approach to temptation.
Identity is important in Christianity. It’s molded by who we are in Christ. Identity is recognition, which is what was happening with me. I found that I was trying to be seen, albeit in my mind, at times outside of myself, but it’s what made me feel wanted, recognized, even in control because I felt out of control. This is a function of the sinful nature. It is trying to take what we know we are lacking, or think we lack and try to make it ours. Merriam-Webster states that identity is: “1 a : sameness of essential or generic character in different instances; b : sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : oneness 2 a : the distinguishing character or personality of an individual: individuality b : the relation established by psychological identification; 3: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted; 4: an equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols”.
The word ‘identity’ is not found in Scripture. But the action of believing and becoming like Christ, in Christ, is a process. Our human identity is not a static thing; it is a growth process of becoming like Christ. The phrase “in Christ” is taught throughout the New Testament writings. In summary, as we live this new life in him, we become like him, and as we become like him we see more aspects of ourselves that distain us. This is a purification process. As you learn this new identity in Christ, it’s replacing the old way of thinking you believed, or might still believe about yourself through the eyes of sin. It’s a process that doesn’t stop till we see Christ as he is. I myself can only wait for that day.
In part 1 I mentioned that my view of sexuality was molded by pornography. Too often as a single Christian male, we are taught sex is between a man and a woman who are married, and a single thought of sex in the mind is a sin. This only led to heavier guilt. I felt as if I was at some meaningless end. Why is a single thought of sex considered sinful, when God created us with the ability to have these encounters? Not just because of pornography, but my own self-image had an impact on my relationship with women. If the only way I could feel wanted was through a false sense of wanting through pictures, rather than through being married or any sincere friendship with a woman, if I could get a release from the natural sense of sex through these acts in my own mind, than that is how it was to be. If a woman was not going to be just a friend, and build a meaningful friendship, than I was only going to have to withdraw myself more. Rejection had a lot to do with this, not just from others, but more importantly my self-rejection played many tunes on my perception. I’m not pointing fingers, but as human beings we are constructed for relationships and within those relationships in the Christian setting, we have rules or a heightened sense of does and don’ts, mainly don’ts. Unfortunately this does not help with valuable Christian relationships.
Human sexuality is a part of our identity. We are born male and female. There is a complimentary not just in sexual nature, but also in emotional and spiritual as well. But it is dangerous to categorize with a broad stroke which characteristics are mainly female and which are mainly male. This stroke sets a way of thinking that says, “You should be like this and not like that.” But not all men and not all women think on a specific side of their brain. And not all men always want to do things with their hands and conquer or make their conversations always about sports or politics. To believe and say such things creates barriers to openness in diversity of God’s creation in people. This is the main reason why I am against categorizing the genders in such a fashion. We know through studies that there are differences between the genders but to paint a broad stroke over them without proper understanding of who they are as individuals can create problems for them especially as children, yet more so if they have come out of abusive situations.
I began to learn that women are there only to make me feel good. But I also learned the more I did this, the more I felt a distance between me and physical women. Yet even my interest in sex itself was waning, and all this just through pornography. As I said in part 1, sex is a meeting between the genders in an exclusive relationship that strengthens the bond between the two people, either it be nice and romantic or wild.
Temptations are wiles of devils. They lay a trap than both hide and wait, or walk away to make more and come back for the prey. But there has to be something that the enemy can use within us to lead us away, like food for a hungry animal, we go towards the temptation rather than finding our satisfaction in our faith and God’s provisions. Temptations are everywhere, yet when I come across one in an unexpected place, I’ve had to teach myself to say, “of course!” It’s saying for me that keeps everything in perspective. “Of course it happened right now during this situation!” If we focus more on temptation, that’s what we give our attention to. If we focus on how God molds us and train us and guide us, our attention will be on that. This is the problem with the “bouncing eye technique”, we focus moving our eyes away from temptation, rather than mainly focusing on Christ. Forget the temptation, that is past, Christ is the future and present. And making a covenant with our eyes to not look lustfully at a woman? As believers of the covenant with God through Christ, our covenant is with God, not our eyes. It is with the God who gave a willing sacrifice so we may live and have freedom.
Human beings have needs and basic necessities that we want filled. There are needs our souls have that are neglected or placed in danger, even told they’re not worth it or they’re stupid or they’ll take us away from what is important. Too often these comments are from people who are in authority over us, and this begins as we are children. These become wounds in our souls. When we get older, these wounds if not taken care of, fester and we seek to heal them with anything we can to keep ourselves happy and content. I’ll present the scripture in James to state this simplistically: “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (NIV)
Wounds are wounds, regardless of perspective, wounds are not the sinful nature, but used by the enemy and the sinful nature in us to either steal, kill or destroy us. They are caused by others and even we can cause them to be worse. If there is to be a change in perspective of our wounds and healing, than shouldn’t there be a change in our approach to temptation and sin? The Law of God was given to us so that sin might manifest and be dealt with accordingly, that is through the cross of Christ. We know we’re weak on our own, yet strong through the Spirit of God which indwells the believer who desires Christ. I learned that there will always be temptations, even in my mind. I can still be dragged away and enticed, but I can either fight the temptation in my mind, or turn my thoughts to the person who God is molding me into. As I continue to learn to turn my thoughts toward a better thought, or even get out of a situation where I am tempted to do wrong, this helps me more rather than focus on the tempting thought or situation. This is the process of replacing the negative thought. This also helps heal the wounds of the soul.
There is healing and there is, not a wishful hope, but a truthful longing hope. There is no expectation, but anticipation for what God will do in the heart of the hurting.

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Love, God and Porn

Today I would like to share my own experience with pornography. There are many blogs out there, books, articles that discuss in the Christian realm about the dangers and how to avoid it and even how to recover from it. We see most of the time that the porn issue is dealt with in the context of marriage. This is fine and dandy, but not everyone is married and struggles, or struggled, with porn, nor do they have a friend or a group of others to help them. There are single men and women out there who see that they have a problem. This article is for those who struggle, either single or married, either way you feel alone fighting, but you’re not.
This will be long, so unfortunately I will have to cut it into two parts. In part 1 I will share with you from the beginning and into the recovery I have had. Part 2 I will present 3 topics that became relevant in my recovery, and that I still use, that also changed for me: my view of my identity, sexuality and temptation, and why I believe the “bouncing the eye” technique and making a “covenant with your eyes” is not realistic, workable, but not realistic.
It all began at a friend’s house. Yes. The cliché beginning, I know, but true. I am not going into all of the pictures and all that because there’s no point. We all get the picture. I was 14 when I began and a recent convert to Christianity, age 13. I was also beginning my growth spurt. The self-gratification and more importantly, the understanding of my sexual nature, as well as a woman’s, were displayed in porn. Throughout the 7 years of addiction, the view of myself and women were formed and changed from what little I was taught growing up. I was empty in the first place and I became emptier. I tried desperately to fulfill this part of me that longed for attention, or more importantly, affirmation of my identity, of myself. Although I still deal with the issue of my identity, the trap of seeking to fill my sexuality with pictures is no longer an issue. I am not trying to boast, I know I can go back to it any time. Yet why should I? It was not an easy battle. No battle is easy. Battles are meant to be fought and learned from. Sometimes you win, at times you lose. You can choose the battles you win.
Pornography is an addiction of the emotions and mind, it is used to replace or help us feel something in us. There are many definitions for the word ‘addiction’ depending on the situation (http://www.asam.org/for-the-public/definition-of-addiction), but I would like to present this one: “to intake an object for affirmation or acknowledgment as a reward or punishment, as a replacement for a lack of or overabundance of an external reward or punishment,” which I believe that this can be used for pornography. There is plenty of information and help out there. Although difference of opinion differ on addiction is a brain disease or not, the effects of addiction are real.
It captivated me to give my will to satisfy this longing for emotional satisfaction, for a food that left me hungry after a little while. I learned that sexual desire in humans can be satisfied in two different ways, or down two roads. One road leads you to more lurid actions, where I was heading down if I did not change myself. While another road takes you to satisfy them in the way which fulfills not only in you, but in your husband/wife properly: not taking, but bringing together collectively in the relationship, to solidify feelings, thoughts, and openness in the relationship. I found out this habit or addiction, ensnared me and trapped me, it is like oil. And as we know, oil takes a little bit to wash off. And recovering from an addiction takes time. Hearts and minds take time to heal. Oil from the deeds of darkness takes a while to wipe away.
It got to the point where I felt this vacancy, almost like a hole inside of my whole body and my own thoughts and feelings were not very good. It felt normal, calm. Almost peaceful because I did not have any high standards to force myself to TRY to live up to, nor anyone to make me feel guilty of anything. I felt free in my own pursuit in whatever I wanted. I felt unburdened if that makes any sense.
Yet it was strange, in all of this, I felt that something was talking to me, and this something did not try to force me into a corral of conformity, nor of debasement, nor of making me feel guilty. I will say that it was this voice that asked me, “How are you?” It did not tell me what I was doing was wrong. But I felt in that inner voice a different type of peace that was not based off filling my mind with debasing myself for selfish pleasure off others. But it challenged me to not say to myself, “I’m sinning so stop now.” Nor did it say, “Sin is your problem, repent!” Or “Why are you doing this? You better stop this!” Why? Because I did know already what was wrong and right. It did not mock me or make statements to shame me, or cause me to question myself negatively. But I felt this caring, this truthful caring for my own heart and soul, which I have never received before or from any human before or sense than. This is the voice that leads me back deep into my own soul to look at where I was coming from and to find out, “why?” in a deep sense of respect and love for me.
Soon after this I began to study fasting from Isaiah 58. This became instrumental in my addiction release. But the breaking away did not end there. We commit sin, sin meaning purposeful harm against another, against God, others and even oneself. Breaking free from porn was not just about stopping a sinful action, or just simply a changing in the way to think about women, no. It had for me a change in the way I believed about myself. No matter what I tried to do, or how many times I repented to God, or how many times I tried to bounce my eyes, it was about what was inside of me that had to change. Although I was a dirty cup, no outside action could change that. Even doing my best to avoid a temptation as I was often told in church, this I found was not the solution. After all, we can even be tempted in our own mind when no one else or computer around.
Even though I accepted Christ, there has to be a transformation of my mind, not about avoiding temptation and repenting all the time, that’s not the change. The change I had found was the perception of me. Although I still have healing to go in other areas of my heart and mind, this area I had discovered back then was elemental to not just gaining back ground I had lost, but more so a gaining what I had never seen in myself before, which can be very new and scary at the time. At that present time the perception of myself was that I was not lovable by a woman, that I am unwanted and not desired. Pornography was the way I wanted to confirm what I wanted as a man. I also found that looking at this material was a way to have control over what I wanted, rather than being controlled by another, regardless of the circumstances.
The real transformation was not that temptation was no longer as strong to look at porn and I easily fell for it, but that there was a transformation in my mind. When you have that transformation, regardless if it from pornography, or anything else, you actually cut off those ties, you cut those ropes and break the chains that bind you. This was my freedom. And that can be your freedom.
In part 2 I will discuss the process of this freedom I had.

Perseverance Part 2: Receive it or Reject it: A Trouble in Faith

I cannot help but write down a few definitions about faith that comes to my mind as I read through Hebrews 11: “acting upon, through belief, on what God said.”  “You must believe to receive.”  “It is an active participation with the divine will of the Creator.”

Chances are these definitions have come from some variations that I have been taught over the years.  But can we really know about the faith in God through simple definitions?  Or should we just stop with the diddle dawdling and go with it, and experience it?  I will say that I have found that when God asks me, or wants to direct me in something, it always challenges my own fears, my preconceived notions and what I think might be best, even what I might have been taught by another.  This is mainly the best way I have found that I know God leading me to walk in faith.

In Hebrew 12, after an amazing speech about the faith of the Patriarchs in Hebrew 11, the writer states, “Therefore”.  This is, “for that reason; because of that; on that ground”, in other words on what they have done through faith (Merriam Webster), the writer goes on to say that, “since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

As it continues, we find the author writes about discipline.  We should take a closer look at this word. In America the word discipline has carried a negative concept over the years. It can mean to be disciplined as in corporeal punishment, such as spanking, or sitting in a corner with a dunce cap on your head.  To others it is to discipline yourself toward a goal, an achievement, or to a way of living.  Both are not very fond of, but those who use this device to train themselves into a pattern, such as taking care of their body, or even pursuing a career, or bettering their hobby, understand this concept better.  It so happens that in the letter to the Hebrews, this word is only mentioned 3 times, in verses 5, 7, 11, of chapter 12.  In the NIV, the word ‘discipline’ is used, which is probably the word we consider to be used the most in my first example.  The KJV uses the word ‘chastening’, that I believe is used in our first example of the word ‘discipline’.  So we ask, “Is the word that is used in Hebrews our first example, or the second?”  Surprisingly, it is the second.  In the Strong’s Dictionary it says:

 

G3809

παιδεία

paideia

pahee-di’-ah

From G3811; tutorage, that is, education or training; by implication disciplinary correction: – chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.

 

Regardless of the way it is used, its basic concept is to be a way of retraining yourself out of one way of thought and into another: whether through training yourself in some act or even getting a thump on the hand. Although I’m sure we all know someone we would like to thump on the head.

So we see this idea of discipline.  It even correlates with what Paul wrote in first Corinthians about no longer thinking like a child and acting like a child, instead he began to think like an adult, and act like an adult.  This discipline is a transitional retraining of our hearts and minds.  It involves what we think to even how we choose to react to how others make us feel and think, and even if we accept those feelings and if we allow them to control us.  In other words, taking responsibility for our actions and not blaming someone for our feelings or even how we chose to treat them.  Let’s continue on into chapter 12, it’s a gem.

Verse 7 talks about enduring hardship as discipline.  So if discipline is about retraining our minds, what is it we are disciplining ourselves out of?  What is it that Christ has come to set us free from?  The effects of sin, the power of the enemy, to now have the power to no longer be subject to the sinful nature.  How exciting is that?  And what did he set us free for?  Freedom.  So in the words of the writer, strengthen yourselves, and “do not make light of the Lord’s discipline.”  Do not think because you are going through hardships that God doesn’t love you, or somehow you’ve lowered your defenses and the enemy has gained some strong foothold into your life.  Look at love first, not the enemy.

We now come to a more difficult aspect of the chapter.  Let’s ask this first: If we really do believe after hearing, why would we fall away?  But then hearing does not really necessitate believing.  In either case, if you hear something, let alone the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have the choice of accepting or rejecting it.  Yet, the letter to the Hebrews was written to believers in Christ, not to those who did not believe.  So the matter is not about losing salvation, as the enemy has caused quarrels among believers for many years with this doctrine, but as this part of the letter highlights, it is about rejecting what we have already received if we say we believe after hearing.  But the writer encourages us!  Do not reject your inheritance rights for some simple or exciting doctrine which appears to satisfy you in some way, or go back to living the life you had because of some brash comment someone said, this takes you away from the pure teachings of Christ and who he is.  In the end, you might have given away your inheritance rights; you rejected your sonship you gained through Christ.  You did not come to a mountain that is to make you fearful, but a mountain that is your home!  (Hebrews 12:14-28).  If you are going through difficult times right now, or you are not sure what the Christian faith is about, read this part of Scripture and pray.  And ask yourself this, as I have asked myself many times when testing my faith, “Do I really believe?”  Let this question be a reaffirming yes!

Letters to My Children

Letter 4:

There’s a common denominator amongst us: we are born and we die.  We all have someone we’ve lost and we all share that pain in some fashion.  I could have died as an infant, but I didn’t.  So have many other infants who’ve fought and parents who’ve shown their extreme love to that child.  Some children are gathered to their people, some stay and discover this world.  The power of pursuit, of not giving up, is alive and well in those who see the power of changing what they believe about themselves and others.

The ability to change can be suppressed of course, or even broken from abuse by others or even from oneself, it can be damaged from the type of thinking which tells you to put your freedoms or even your own future into someone else’s hands.  Kids, to keep your freedom, you must guard it.  To live with freedom you must be free within your own hearts and minds.  This freedom comes at a cost through.  You must give up something.  Just make sure you give up the right thing!  Like being selfish or maybe that person you want to date, or maybe have sex with, not to go against your own base instincts, but what you think you want and need.  Food, clothing and shelter are the basics of what we need.  Sex is debatable, but believe it or not, you can go without it.  It is between the two points, tiny as they might seem, as they are life and death, is what counts.  And difficult choices come to everyone of course, some seem to repeat themselves, but as you choose to go deeper into your life, use what you have, you grown stronger, and even weaker, which is alright, and can be a good thing, you will find doors open which you find you have been waiting for, and doors that you have to learn to close yourself.

There will always be hard circumstances and facts you will face.  This is a fact of life.  You will probably never be able to fully tell someone what it is you think or feel or let alone explain what you do or did.  And you don’t have to.  No one ever said, “Thou shalt explain thyself.”  If they are saying this, then maybe they are trying to find something wrong with you, or compare you to themselves or someone else.  But you will be, and know you should, hold yourself accountable for what you do in your life.  The lack of accountability, I’m afraid, by the time you read this, will almost, if not, be gone.  People will do whatever they want and not think of the consequences.  People will believe whatever they want, and follow whoever they desire, and not think about what is being sowed into their hearts and minds or even what they are sowing into others.  So let me remind you children, do not let anyone tell you you are just someone who is only a body, or someone who is a spirit trapped in a body, or all you are is a mess emotionally.  As a human, created by God for a purpose, you are whole: you have life, you have breath! You have emotions and psychological makeup, and you have a body: you hunger, you have sexual urges, and everything you are interacts with itself and affects each other.

I am sure you recognize that I have been talking about God in these letters.  Maybe you do or do not believe in him.  Belief or faith is structurally important in a person’s life.  You have faith in God, or faith in whatever you find yourself holding onto the most in those desperate hours.  I pray for you that you do find peace, that you find the strength to go deeper into the mystery of this being which some believe to not exist, or maybe Man invented him, or some believe that can control him or submit to him out of fear or love.  I know for a fact, as I look around at my own life and those whom I have interacted with, that God the Creator reaches out to his creation.  And in the capacity they understand, if not, always the capacity of what they really do not want to believe.  He challenges us, and shares with us in our hunger and pain.  So here’s a question for you, would you rather have God come to you in helping you to get through troubles in life and change you, or have him baby you?  That’s a question in time you may have an answer to.

As for this Jesus figure that you have heard about, he is more than some think, and less harsh than others may try to have you believe.  He is Saviour of humanity, for those who choose to accept, as of now, and later on, judge, a reward of those who follow him.  And following this man and what he teaches changes those who desire it so.  Believe it or not, it is the same with any other belief, question is, how do you want to change?  How do you want to grow and experience life?  Experience you will find, is a teacher and critic of everyone, and plays no favorites.  You get what you put in, you receive what you plant and you share what you plant.  In everything you do, you leave a legacy, in what you believe, you become a part of that legacy of millions of others.

For now, this letter is coming to a close, it is getting late.  But I want to leave you with this: you can always choose what you believe; your belief does not choose you.  You can choose to love or hate, choose to follow Christ and believe what he has said about himself, or not.  Be careful of who you are friends with, yet be friendly to everyone.  Above all, enjoy life, and enjoy the rain.

Love,

Dad

Letters to My Children

Letter 3

I am now living on this Earth for 35 years this past July 1st, 2014.  Around this time some things are surfacing in my mind.  Along with the usual testing of my faith, I cannot help but see some special event that unfolded in my life.  Throughout my life, I have been held to a rigorous way of living.  (In the long run, I only carried on what I was taught to hold myself to.)  There’s this ridiculous measurement that society and even the “established” church hold upon people.  I will say this: throw it out!  Step on it!  Break it!  We have a choice in the mold we are in.  They either harm or help us.  I do have to ask this, if we are to break one mold, why should I go into another?  As believers, we are being molded into the image of Christ.  This molding hurts, and at the same time, brings joy.  It is a freeing process of our true selves in the image of Christ.

I remember doing my best, (what is my best?), to live by these standards.  I believe because of these standards that were set, or at times I wonder if they are really a prerequisite, for a male, caused some problems.  Let me set up the process of thinking for you.  1) A man takes care of his family 2) A man provides financial security, physical security, spiritual security, and even bread on the table for his family 3) A man provides for themselves, without any help.  (Although they would say you need help for this, they continue on with their belief about being a man.)  So if I did not have these things, or had great difficulty with attaining them, was I not, or even less of a man because I had difficulty finding a job, or even not having a woman in my life?  Was I any less than those who had these things?  Because these were the standards, or prerequisites for men, or even being one, was I not equal?  As you can tell, this is very circular thinking.  I am sure, if one of you or even only one child were a daughter, you will come across barriers like this as well.  Do not let these things become your measure.  (You, children, already have a measure given to you by God when you were born.  Use it to better the world around you, even in the smallest measure.)

Some would debate these standards, others would agree, some would toss them off as nonsense.  I guarantee that most of the men in these categories are already married and have a job.  Maybe they don’t realize that these standards are there?  Who knows, but if you ever find yourself faced with doubt about who you are, about whether you’re good enough or not, let me say this, do not, or stop, comparing yourself to others, and do not think you have to attain and walk in standards others set for you, especially by what they already have.  Even if they say it’s in the Bible.  Know what God has given you before you begin to listen to others who will not listen before they speak.

So what are standards?  What I mean by standards is: a way of living according to a set of prerequisites.  In other words, if you’re not married, do not let that standard that involves being married apply to you!  But whether you’re married or single, have a job or do not have a job, everyone is equal!  It does not matter what you have, or do not have, a man, or even a woman, is someone who is responsible, helps others, and is willing to even be helped by another.  See?  This does not require you to be married, or have someone special in your life.

Find something that will guide and help you to grow where marital or even economic status is not a part of it.  I want to pass this onto you: 1) Learn to accept help, and help and defend others, your neighbor, meaning anyone.  2) Develop what you love to do!  That is where you will find your path in life.  3) Do not compare yourself to anyone, regardless if they tell you how to draw close to God by doing this or that or how to live your life to get more, be satisfied with what you have.  This is not loving yourself.  God speaks to you in the depths of pain.  4) Be yourself!  Grow!  Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging by not answering, “How do I grow”?  You grow by breaking out of your shell, by forgiving, by seeking forgiveness, by trying new things that are not meant to hurt you or others.  Enjoy Life!  And last, 5) Love.  Know that there is someone greater than you and that love comes from this someone.  This love manifests itself by how you treat others and yourself.  Just don’t be afraid of living.  Fear will hurt you and make you succumb to some grievous things.

I remember growing up with fear, depression, and a mixture of other feelings and ideas, that caused some problems that have lasted during my time thus far after I received Tracheotomy procedure.  Even in a discussion with my father, he told me that I even wanted to be homeless.  Sadly, I remember this.  What kind of child would say such things?  What kind of child would fear being with others and lonely in a group that even wanted to interact with him?  I remember in high school, I believe my freshman year; I was in a music class.  And the final that we had was to do, well, something musical.  Some class members decided to do this small musical number, little did I know, they were doing it to help me.  I did not have any thing prepared for my final anyway, so I thought why not?  Before I found out about this, I did the best that I could do to participate in their final.  It was difficult, but I set out to have fun.  Although I had some difficulty understanding a fun concept, or even enjoying some activity in general, I managed.  Why was it difficult?  Because I had these problems that no one understood where they were coming from.  But over the years I have begun to know, and to understand the thrill, the purpose and gratitude of enjoying Life.  And having oxygen to the brain helps.

When the teacher told me about the group’s reason for the final, it hit a part of me that I did not want to believe was there, that I kept hidden.  That part of community, that purpose of being wanted to be around and longed for, the simplicity of being, of recognition.  Because of this act, I believe it helped me to continue on.  You never know what is going on in a person’s life, no matter how they smile, or shrug something off, anyone can hide.  I also want to say, thank you, to those students and teacher.  Because of your act, among the small others throughout my life, it helped me to know that even in my subconscious mind, there is a reason to live, a reason to go on.  And no matter how much we’re told, each person has to come to the conclusion that there is a reason, and that reason is love and purpose combined.  And in the end, I would say that that is Truth.  I’ll end this letter here.