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.