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Archive for September, 2015

Tuesday – Act or Not to Act – The Thin Line Between

tumblr_l8s7v2G5CF1qaz2rlo1_500 steffrawrThe last line of the Serenity Prayer says … “And wisdom to know the difference.”

Tonight we read from Living Sober and “Avoiding Anger and Resentment.”

Every time I come around to these topics, some of the same thoughts come to mind, the same old pains and hurts and sometimes new thoughts come as well.

When I think of anger, it brings up my delusional self that has a bent towards revenge and vindictiveness. The alter ego of the man I am today, who wields a very large aluminum bat.

Quietly plotting in the back of my mind, onerous things.

Tonight, that thought came, and I realized that I’ve already inflicted pain and suffering right where I wanted it to land. All because I chose to act.

Every action has consequences, either good or bad consequences.

I remember points of anger as they played out and I spoke of them to my friends.

It is always good to have men who are more than twenty five years sober to talk to.

When I got sober the first time, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.

The location I got sober, was not healthy at all. The location I worked in was very healthy for all the right reasons. So I overlooked the negative.

The first year, when I got to a year, I had won the race. My horse came in first. I stayed sober, even while my fellows were all betting that I would go back out and drink, and made it plainly aware that the bets had been laid down.

As my sponsor gave me my chip, I told them all to go fuck themselves.

Not healthy at all. And that clouded the rest of the time I was still in the rooms. That unhealthy beginning only led to more unhealthy decisions and actions not to mention, unhealthy and not so sober men and women.

The second time I got sober, I followed the local playbook. And I played by the rules and did what ever I was told to do. And I have to say that, over the last 13 years and some months now, I have lost more friends to anger and resentment, in sobriety, than I did growing up.

When I was newly sober, I stayed away from conflict and kept my head down and when shit happened, if it didn’t involve me, I walked away. Said nothing. Did nothing.

As it went, people I loved and respected and adored, usually became casualties of their own shortcomings. It was my loss, but it was their anger and resentment that drove the wedge.

Today, in sobriety, I have a choice. To Act or Not to Act.

In most cases, if it does not directly involve me, I usually avoid the problem.

That has been my personal decision over the years.

The longer I am sober, I grow up, and I change.

When there is injustice or inequality or an inequity within my friends, for the most part, I am invested in the lives of my friends, I will sometimes offer counsel. Only when asked.

I never assume to have all the answers, because it is not all about me.

When my friends come to me for advice, I can do one of two things, One, give a solid answer, or Two, allow them to choose what they want to do, enlightening the subject they have asked about.

My friends trust me because every once in a while they come to talk.

Recently, I have shared a situation that has been on the stove.

The situation does not directly involve me. but when more than one friend comes to talk about the same subject about another friend, I chose to act. That action came full circle and I lost in the end. Not because of me, but because of someone else’s anger.

I spoke to several old timers about this situation, and not one of them had the same answer for me.

I owe and amends, I don’t owe an amends, I did the right thing, I should have stayed out of it altogether.

My sponsor has the last word in the consultation process.

But I see today, how sobriety has affected what I listen to, what I devote my time to, what I chose to act on, and what I choose to ignore and walk away from.

Situations arise. And the fine line is drawn. That fine line of wisdom to know the difference.

I see that today, that although I don’t always think about life in these terms, the serenity prayer always applies to any situation I have on my plate.

In the beginning, the better wisdom was to do nothing and not get involved.

Because, I did not have the ability to be objective and solid. They say that hindsight is our best teacher. And I have that today. The old timers have much more than I do.

Tonight’s revelation came when I realized that fine line that sits between action and inaction and how that applies to my life. And everyone in it.

People are where they are in their lives. And we have to allow them that latitude. Sober people are all over the map, when it comes to people, places and things. I am powerless over my friends, and I surely don’t want to be like some of my friends.

So I keep a safe distance, and I learn what NOT to do, based on the actions my friends choose to make on any situation. I’ve been doing that for almost 14 years now. My friends have been my greatest teachers. A good number of them drank again. And some of them never made it back and are either drunk or dead.

I stayed sober, because I did not follow the trend. I sat back and watched the fireworks.

Knowing when to act or not to act is wisdom in the bank.

“Wisdom to know the difference.”

More to come, stay tuned…


Monday – Early Edition … “BULLY”

tumblr_lywgauGWfc1qgdvbco1_500 stalkerThere are few things that piss me off. And I rarely get mad at anything, I do admit that I get upset over things, when I know I am powerless to change situations, or hope that my friends will rise to the call to love and serve unconditionally.

I am a Gay man. And I am a Gay man who lived through and survived AIDS to date.

I do not deal well with heterosexual men with ego’s. I can smell them at fifty paces. I have been discriminated against because of who I am and the disease I carry. I’ve been asked to leave certain meetings because I was gay/live with AIDS by not so sober people, I’ve been denied services because of this fact.

And in the end, there were times in my life when I have had to resort to becoming “A Cast Iron Bitch,” to get help and assistance because my life depended on it.

That is not a pretty place, but when necessary, has been quite useful and successful.

Based on my history, and what I have survived, when someone pushes the wrong button intentionally, that’s when I take action.

Several weeks ago, a good friend, walked into a meeting and announced to us all that he was spearheading a drive to kick a certain woman OUT of a certain meeting.

The Third Tradition states, “You can declare yourself in, nobody can kick you out.”

It is obvious that my friend disregards this reading.

After that meeting, several other friends came to me to ask my opinion about how they should vote in a group conscience meeting about this contentious issue. This push to deny access to meetings has been gaining strength over the past few months (again).

Recently, two women I know well, were kicked out of their home groups because of how they identify themselves in those meetings. The group voted, and they are both out the door.

I had several conversation about our issue with my friends who spoke out of fear because they don’t want to jeopardize a friendship and vote against the bully. They believe that if they vote against a certain friend, that that is akin to treason against a friend.

I shared my thoughts but left them to decide what they were going to do.

Because several people came to me to ask, I made the decision to approach the woman whom we were talking about. I am told I caused her pain by telling her the truth, that people were plotting and scheming behind her back, and without any defense and not knowing, I did not want her to walk into a meeting and get blindsided.

I defended a friend in unfriendly territory.

Was that my bad ?

She spoke to her roommate, who in turn, verbally assaulted the bully in open community, and when pressed, told the bully who had delivered the original message, Me. At the end of that meeting, the bully got in my face, fists in my face, screaming and yelling at me.

To Date, I’ve never seen another member get in my face with that kind of anger before, ever.

I took two weeks off to let the issue die. It didn’t …

I went back to that meeting last week, Friday.

I walked in, the bully was there, and I said not one word to him the entire meeting. He got in my face, originally, and I walked away, allowing him the last angry word. He in turn did not say one word to me either.

I did not respond. I walked away.

Sunday night, I was sitting out front of the Sunday meeting, and the bully showed up, and I was sitting and talking with a sponsee, and he walked right past us, in the door and down the stairs, once again, I said not one word to him. He said not one word to me again.

We read Tradition Nine.

And on his turn he let loose with his grievance to the entire meeting present.

The meeting ended and we had a business meeting. On the way home I spoke with my long time sober lady friend, who gave me some advice and told me what she thought of the situation. But she told me to speak to my sponsor in any case.

When I got home, I called my sponsor, who was at His home group on the West End.

We spoke at length.

He told me that I did not owe anyone an amend, that my only issue was that I meddled in somebody else’s business.

He knows the bully, well.

He told me to stop going to the Friday meeting until this issue works itself out and not to get involved any further. He also told me that our bully is violent and is prone to violence and bully tactics to get his way, based on past behavior.

He as much threatened to go out and drink again, if people did not say hello to him.

Hell will freeze over, before I say another word to him. He crossed that invisible line, that as a gay man and a sober man, I have in place to protect myself.

I am told that it is up to him to rectify the situation, not mine.

I do not take a bully in any situation, sober, gay, AIDS or any situation.

I’ve lived far too long to allow someone to disrespect me and get in my face.

I’ve handled worse situations, and I am well trained in ignoring people to their faces.

I’m a gay man.

I don’t like this at all. I don’t like it one bit.

But I am told this is a sober learning opportunity.

Mom and Dad placed that button very carefully.


Sunday Sundries – Papal Apology

popeapologize-660x330My problems and dramas, pale in comparison tonight. So we close the weekend with hope from The Holy Father. If his actions of late are true, and His words mean anything to anyone, this is the one issue that needs to be heard, acted upon and dealt with swiftly and decisively.

And we (read: I ) know that Jorge Bergoglio is a decisive and thoughtful man, when pushed to act he acted decisively. I would love to be a fly on the wall for the next series of discussions Pope Francis will have with his Vatican counterparts.

Goodnight.

Lifted From: Joe My God

“My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, I am grateful for this opportunity to meet you. I am blessed by your presence. Thank you for coming here today. Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered. You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love. I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted. In some cases the trust was betrayed by members of your own family, in other cases by priests who carry a sacred responsibility for the care of soul. In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity.

“For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.

“We are gathered here in Philadelphia to celebrate God’s gift of family life. Within our family of faith and our human families, the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret and in shame. As we anticipate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, your presence, so generously given despite the anger and pain you have experienced, reveals the merciful heart of Christ. Your stories of survival, each unique and compelling, are powerful signs of the hope that comes from the Lord’s promise to be with us always.” – Pope Francis, speaking today at a Philadelphia meeting with the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, family members, and teachers.


Friday – Choices

tumblr_lndtyet7pF1qhlja3o1_500We are sitting at 11c at this hour, but I could have sworn it was colder than that.

I had checked the forecast prior to leaving, since I had been out earlier today, and it was markedly cooler outside. One layer was just not enough, so to play it safe tonight, I layered and wore a big comfy hoodie. My toque came in handy. I think next time, I am just going to go with my jacket, it’s warm and one layer …

Trains were in both stations on the way out and back, which made it painless and quick.

Tonight’s fare from A.B.S.I. was about choices:

“Looking back, we see that our freedom to choose badly was not, after all, a very real freedom.

When we choose because we “must,” this was not a free choice, either. But it got us started in the right direction.

When we choose because we “ought to,” we were really doing better. This time we were earning some freedom, making ourselves ready for more.

But when, now and then, we could gladly make right choices without rebellion, hold-out, or conflict, then we had our first view of what perfect freedom under God’s will could be like.”

When I was a boy, I listened to a great many things people said around me, and because of those words, I was faced with a choice that I had to make. There was nobody to talk this choice over with, nor was there another “choice” offered.

I could not be GAY at home, hence I had to leave to find my fortune.

The ONE piece of advice I got, was from a shrink who said the following:

If you want to fit in and become part of, go to the bar, sit on a stool, and have a drink, hell, have two, and see what happens.

That really wasn’t a choice, it was more like a command. Thinking, at my age, that that was my destiny, that that was what I had to do to find my way in, I took that choice. I know now that it was a bad choice, because my alcoholism followed me out of home, to where I went (read: Orlando).

Once again, I did not get any other choices offered. Nobody said Stop, and Nobody thought to ask me if I thought I had a problem.

I HAD a problem from day one.

When I turned twenty five, I hit one tragedy after another. The only way out of the pain was to drink. I did not see any other choice to deal with it. At Twenty six, when I got very sick and doctors told me I was going to die, once again, I made a choice, I tried to drink myself to death.

Another bad choice…

When Todd stepped in He finally said the word STOP. He really did not give me a choice in what was going to happen, but I guess you could say, I could have said “go fuck yourself!”

I didn’t.

He wanted me to live. And to do that, I would have to turn it all over to Him, (read: God) I “must” quit drinking, and I “must” find the will to live. These choices were “MUSTS.” They started me in the right direction.

But that success was short lived, because I got lonely, and based on that loneliness, I made another choice, once again, ill informed and solely based on self will.

I drank again.

When I took my last drink in December 2001, I had made another choice. A choice that I “ought” to make, because it was the right thing to do. I knew it was the end of the road, because to continue would have probably hastened death much quicker.

I wanted a way out of dead end living in misery, and getting sober was only one portion of that decision (read: Choice). The second came when I was offered a way out. I came to Montreal.

Once again, because I “ought to” take this once in a lifetime opportunity.

This time I did it right. I chose to connect with other folks in the program from the outset. I got connected right away. Those right decisions changed my life, in ways I did not imagine.

It has taken all this time, to find God, because that is who I was seeking. He didn’t need finding, He was right here all along. I just needed to reconnect. I’ve worked very hard at that over the years.

I am not ever alone. There are people to talk to. Life is full of things to do, people to see and choices to make. I’ve learned the importance of having the ability to NOT make decisions or choices all by myself any more.

I trust my God. And my days are not always carefree or easy. I must apply myself every day to make sure I do the right things, make the right choices, for the right reasons, at the right time.

Working with others, is a daily practice. And must come from the right place as well.

All I have to do is ask, when I am in need.

And God provides.

More to come, stay tuned …


Mary Untier of Knots

Mary-Untier-of-Knots

[Jorge Bergoglio] Made a pilgrimage to the Bavarian city of Augsburg where, in the Jesuit church of Sankt Peter am Perlach, he contemplated s Baroque-era painting from the early 1700’s known as Maria Knotenloserin, “Mary, Untier of Knots,” which was the object of a local devotion. The painting’s story goes back to a feuding married couple who had been on the verge of a bitter separation. The husband, Wolfgang Langenmantel, had sought help from a local Jesuit priest, Father Jakob Rem, who prayed to the Virgin Mary “to untie all the knots” in the Langenmantel home. Peace was restored and the marriage was saved; and to give thanks for the miracle their grandson commissioned the painting and donated it to the church.

At First glance, it is nothing out of the ordinary; the painting shows the Virgin, surrounded by angels and protected by the light of the Holy Spirit, standing on a serpent with the child Jesus in her arms. But the middle of the painting is striking: an angel to Mary’s left is passing her a silk thread full of knots that she unties, handing on the un-knotted thread to an angel on her right.

Father Rem’s prayer to the Virgin had been inspired by an ancient formula of Saint Irenaeus: The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary.

Obedience was precisely Bergoglio’s knot. It is the key vow for Jesuits, and one he strongly believed in; it was what made mission and unity possible. Yet what he had been given was not a mission, but a means of getting him out (sic. Of Argentina) because he was an obstacle. What obedience did he owe?

Obedience comes from the Latin obaudire, to “hear” or “listen to.” The vow is meant above all to free the heart from the ego in order to listen to God, and submit freely to His will: the Virgin is the perfect model of such obedience.

What was God’s will, now, for Bergoglio, in the middle of his life?

Bergoglio took a handful of Maria Knotenloserin prayer cards back with him. In the 1990’s, after a local copy of the painting – known in Spanish as Maria Desatanudos – was hung in a church in Buenos Aires, it took off in an extraordinary way, leading Bergoglio later to say he never felt so much in the hands of God.


Thursday … “Siempre Adelante …” Always Moving Forwards

20140127-pope-x624-1390859938Tonight, Pope Francis is in New York City.

“Siempre Adelante …” Always move forwards,

is a motto Pope Francis has shared for years and years.

I’ve listened to what Pope Francis has said so far. And he has stuck to a theme, a Catholic Theme of being “Our brother’s keepers,” “Charity,” “Being good stewards to the earth,””Respect for life,” and that we should go out from our homes and serve the least of these with all that we have, because as Christians, we are called to serve.

Along this process, I am reading, “The Great Reformer,” about Pope Francis.

Last night, as I was reading, I came across a sermon that the young Archbishop Bergoglio was giving to the church in Argentina. And I found that the message he was sharing so long ago about people, the “Pueblo Fiel,” and what a nation must do to build up its people, to care for the poor and to take care of the world, is the very same message Pope Francis has spoken in the U.S.

Along with his words, are words that come from politicians, who believe they know something particular of the Holy Father, and they speak with indictments against him. One Marco Rubio says that “The pope know nothing about the poor, and also that he wasn’t a scientist, so should keep his counsel to himself.”

I beg to differ…

Jorge Bergoglio was a Jesuit who worked in the Jesuit order for his entire adult life, until he left the order upon assuming the Throne of Peter. He worked in the slums of South America, with the poorest of the poor. Many Jesuit priests worked with the poor, much to the consternation with the church hierarchy, and at one point, with Jorge Bergoglio himself.

Which leads to the term the Pope of the slums …

Jorge Bergoglio is also schooled in science. He is very well learned for a pope.

It was the issue between many of the priests who worked in the favelas, who thought that their work was too important to be stopped. And two priests lost their licenses and ended up being kidnapped by the guerrillas and held captive and tortured.

When American politicians speak about what THEY think is the truth about the Pope, and try to indict him, those men should really shut their damned mouths.

There are common themes that Pope Francis repeats over and over again. They are themes that were born when Francis was a young Jesuit. And as he rose in the ranks of the church, his influence only grew. And the words became flesh for him, in the way he worked so hard for the “pueblo” and what he saw as justice, charity and peace.

We could all learn a little about the life of Francis, and what he sees and believes as important.

But we need to dig a bit deeper to learn that knowledge. The papacy of Francis is still young, but there is a wealth of words written about him, if you know where to look.

I think the themes of Charity, Love and Caring for others is universal. In his speech to Congress today he quoted the Golden Rule …

“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto You.”

**** **** ****

It has been a challenging few days indeed. I work every day to be present and accountable; consistently. If it were possible, I could use a few more “me’s” right about now.

I had a conversation with a friend the other night. And I am confused as to why people are the way they are. I am powerless over people. And sometimes I place unattainable expectations on them, knowing, that I am flirting with stupidity.

To this end, still, people continue to astound me with their selfishness and self centeredness.

I am not preaching from some lofty perch, like God. And I am surely not arrogant to think I hold sway over anyone except myself. I hear my friends speak words, and they don’t ring true. I have implored my friends with things to do. Certain, Specific, things that need to be done.

We must succeed, or else, great failure is at hand.

We must go out and serve our brothers and sisters with all that we have, if we are able. I am able, and I devote serious time to that outreach work. The more I talk, the less goes into action, by any of the people I need to act. Before I speak, I consider my words carefully. And the other day I found an opportunity to talk and I did that. Hoping that it would bring results.

I am saddened to say, nothing has changed.

I was talking to my friend and I told her my story. Well, one big story. To demonstrate where I learned to be present, accountable and consistent. And she does not dispute my abilities.

But she said to me that There is only one of me. And she fears that I will burn out and go away when I have had enough. I’ve learned that lesson, I am in it to win it.

But she is of the mind that every human being needs three Strong, Present, and Consistent people to guarantee their survival. She doesn’t have those three people. She has me and one other woman, who’s mother is suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease, but when needed she shows up and attends to what needs to be done. The other couple of folks, are unreliable, and inconsistent and can’t be depended on, not for lack of trying, but the lack of desire to be 100% present.

We all have lives. But one of our number is in dire need of support and I do not know what to do for her but to repeat, as often as I can, that right now, I am here.

I fear that message isn’t going to be enough to ground her permanently.

If I can’t get any other players into the game, and things don’t start looking up soon, my friend is going to pack up herself and the baby and go back to New Foundland. Forever.

I don’t know what else to do. My words fall on deaf ears, and my friends are unable to rise to the occasion. And that IS a problem, that I have no solution for.

In the end, I am only one man. I am not God and I can only do so much.

**** **** ****

I drank, I stank and I sank …

That is the short version of the share we heard tonight.

One of my friends spoke tonight. It was simple and to the point. In seeing another alcoholic drink, get drunk, loose his family, his job, his home and end up sleeping in the park, our man got sober.

Coming in, at first, he believed we’d all be brown baggers, dirty clothed, and sleeping in the park, but much to his surprise, we were happy, clean and well dressed people who welcomed him.

It was the commonality, the identity, and the honesty that kept him.

And for more than twenty five years, our man hasn’t had a drink since.

Tomorrow is Friday. We’ll see what that brings with it.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … The Baby, The Pope, GOD and Me … Not Necessarily in that Order !

pope-francis-do-not-disturb cropPope Francis, as we speak, is in Cuba. Having Celebrated Mass in Revolution Square this morning, has met with Raul Castro and today, his brother Fidel. It was an informal but cordial meeting between the two men.

The Pope wants “Change.” Change in a good way, Change in an internal attitude way. Of leaving our safe homes and safe lives to go out in the streets and serve “the least of these” in the best way we can, from our hearts, not our minds.

He wants to unite the world in the ways of God. Francis sees God in a very particular way. He invites us to share in the divinity of God through Jesus, and come into that special spiritual awareness that comes with the resurrected Christ on Easter morning.

I admire Pope Francis a great deal, because he asks simply to serve God in each other. Because we are all formed in the image of God, and we are also, star stuff. Which means that “Divinity” exists in each of us, as we are, warts and all.

If we stopped and took a serious look at our fellows, our neighbors and our friends, we too would see that divinity.

It comes to us to “change” to be able to see it.

We are called to serve. Not for our own good, but for the good of others. For the good of God, yes, “church” would be mentioned here as well, Francis has been stripping away the trappings of “Church” for a simpler way of life. We don’t need finery or gems and gold.

Jesus once commanded his disciples to go out into the world carrying only what they had on their backs, and to do the work they were commanded.

Just the same, Francis calls us to go out and do good works.

Because it is in those works that we exemplify the spirit of God.

I am slowly working my way through The Great Reformer, Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, written by Austen Ivereigh.

I have read a few other books about Francis. When he was elected Pope several tomes were released. Pope Francis has not escaped the past because he plays a much hated man, a much loved man, and a man who was once a very tight Jesuit priest with his own ideas and ways of life, until the time came, when God struck him and Francis had his spiritual awakening.

People have many opinions about Francis, and the role he played during the Dirty War. Was he complicit, was he flying under the radar, or was he a victim of the times as they played out before him?

Every writer I have read has painted a picture of Francis.

I do not stand in judgment of his past.

I do stand in awe of the man he became and the words he speaks and the challenges he puts before us as the leader of Holy Mother Church. Even there, he turned the Curia and the papal household on its ear, by living in Casa Santa Marta, and sharing his days working in the church, then at night, he changes into his spiritual superman suit and goes out and visits with the least of these, inviting them to dine with him and attend his morning masses at the Vatican.

There is a kernel of Holy Mother Church in me, I won’t deny that. I loved the church that educated me, the church that served me, and the church that went above and beyond to save me when I needed to be saved and looked after.

I am eternally grateful to those men who took time out of their lives to sit with me, to break bread with me, to minister to my spiritual needs, and to give me Hope and Faith, in a time when Hope and Faith were in little supply.

Churches … Many of them, Across the board, were not kind to the gays, especially us gays who had AIDS, because it was said that we got what was coming to us from God himself as punishment for our sinful lives.

I can say this with total confidence … I have NEVER met a man of God who EVER pointed a damning finger at me and said that God was punishing me for any reason whatsoever.

That is a thing …

We’ve talked of God these past few days again. God has been in high rotation for a while now, and I really did not have anything substantive to write, but it was coming.

We read “An Artists Conception” tonight. It opens with this quote from Appendix II in the back of the Big Book, in regards to Spiritual experience.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance –

That principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

Herbert Spencer

Our man has a serious problem. And he knows what the problem is, Alcoholism. He has investigated the issue backwards and forwards, but he lacks one thing; the spiritual approach, because like many of us, religion is a nasty word, because of the taste it left in our mouths.

But he meets one man, who shows him the way, humbly and quietly. And our man GETS IT. Then he meets twenty other men who also have gotten it. And the desire to drink becomes pointless against all of his other problems. But he never picks up a drink again.

He says that it wasn’t the words they used, or the book they were reading, but there was an invisible force that he recognized. He saw it. And in some miraculous way, he finds that power greater than himself.

Many of our folks are still trying to figure it out for themselves. God as an intellectual pursuit is a rather hard task. But if you stick around long enough, you will find it, sure enough.

Did I tell you the time I met God ???

Yes, I have. Over and Over again. It is the best story I have in my bank.

After listening to my friend vacillate and try to figure out who God is for them, I had twenty minutes to state my case. And I tell them of the horrors I was living in the nineties. And how my life came to a crashing end when I was diagnosed with AIDS, and was told to go home, kiss my ass goodbye and wait to die.

I made one phone call that changed my life.

I had actually made several other calls that did not pan out.

So that one call I made was to Provincetown.

Todd and Roy returned from their holidays early because I needed help.

When Todd stepped up, it was because he loved me. He chose me to save, in the way he chose to do that. He concentrated everything he had into me in those first two years that saved my life.

Meanwhile, at the bar, all of my friends were approaching death in exactly the way they chose. living fast and leaving a good looking corpse. Well, how good of a corpse is it when it is riddled with K.S. stricken with disease, plowed with exotic drugs and tanked on the best liquor a bar tender could pour ?

I had no other choice. Well, I did have a choice.

I could have taken that route myself. Todd had other plans for me.

He began to teach me how to live, with the reminder that BOB was in the cemetery right across the street from the bar. And if I was not willing to try to live, that I would end up there myself.

When I needed God, He came. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, that I know what God looks like, I know His voice and I know for sure that He was with me in my hours of need.

And I looked at my friends after telling this story, (with more words used to get the point across) that if they need proof that God does exist, they need not look any further than myself.

I lived. I did not die. Because God saved me.

But like any mortal man, addiction knows no bounds. I forgot …

But when I returned, I said a single prayer to God for help.

And let me tell you, I prayed a specific prayer for specific needs in a specific order.

  1. I prayed for the desire to drink to leave me
  2. I needed an alcoholic to come to me, and
  3. I needed to get to a meeting.

Nothing is too difficult for God when we really need help. Because He moved heaven and earth and provided me that prayer in the order it went out, as if to say,

“Hey there, I got your back!”

Not a day goes by that I do not remember where I came from. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Todd. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for something. However, I admit, freely, that gratitude is not something I think about constantly.

It is an action.

I’ve chosen to live out my gratitude in my “Presence” to my friends. Like Francis calls us to do, I go out and I serve the “least of these” and those who need the love and faith I have.

Which leads nicely into the next portion of tonight’s read … The Baby

I work every day to be a man of honor, courage and strength. I work every day to make the right decisions, and to be of maximum service to my fellows. And let me tell you, that does not come easily.  Creating family is difficult. Maintaining family is challenging. Taking care of a baby is the most rewarding experience I can share in today.

Today, I got an entire afternoon with the baby, we had some lunch. She would not eat her food, by herself, so she did eat when I offered food to her. hen we played for a while with her blocks, but that did not last very long.

So we dressed her and popped her into her stroller and went to the park. This was our first park outing together. And we passed a few of my friends on the way, and it was said to me that “we probably started tongues wagging …” but you only live once.

We did some swings. We did some slides, and some playground rides. We played in the sand and got dirty. It was just me and the baby. It was the most wonderful feeling. There were screaming kids all over the playground, and their parents watching closely, and for a while, I was one of those parents, playing with his child.

It was immense …

I want to close with some thought’s by Pope Francis.

“Archbishop Quarracino invited Bergoglio in January and April 1990 to give retreats to dozens of his clergy in La Plata. In the first, “Our flesh in Prayer,” Bergoglio reflected powerfully on Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, the story of the foreigner who comes to the aid of a traveler beaten by brigands. He showed that those who passed on the other side – symbolized in Jesus’s telling by the priest and the Levite – used a series of distancing techniques, which were all temptations: either they intellectualized the suffering they saw, or evaded the responsibility for it by reassuring themselves that this is how life was.

The Samaritan, on the other hand, got on his hands and knees to get close to the victim, opened his heart to him and bound his wounds, shouldered him and spent his money on him. “That is what we will be judged on,” Bergoglio told the priests, adding that this proximity was at the heart of the Incarnation. Jesus, far from “passing on the other side,” paid the ultimate price in sacrificing his own flesh for those who suffer; and God’s closeness to humanity is the reason why “Prayer touches our flesh in its very nucleus, it touches our heart.”

Prayer, he told the priests, meant enduring the possibility of change; it meant a willingness to suffer. When a person ceases praying and starts complaining, “he ceases to serve the Gospel and becomes a victim. He canonizes himself.” Making oneself the victim, rather than Christ, was blasphemy; and a flesh that is used to blasphemy, which does not know how to ask for help for its own wound and sin, is a flesh incapable of helping the wounds of others.”

Even if he dedicates his life to God he will only ever be able to come close to himself.: It is the asepsis of the Pharisee,” Bergoglio warned: “neither virus or vitamin.”

There is a God, and I am not He.

More to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday – The Baby Almost Killed Us All !

tumblr_lnf35rFEG61qg5qxfo1_500 falloftheromanempireCourtesy: Fall of the Roman Empire

I did A LOT of this over the last six days.

Our visit to the M.U.H.C. hospital last Monday, was the beginning of a weeks worth of pain and suffering. What we did not know then, was that a toxic mix of baby/gastro/sick kids was running rampant through the daycare where the baby goes during the day.

They did not inform the parents that this was a problem. It WAS a problem.

Tuesday morning I dropped labs, that I had some results on Saturday when I saw one of my doctors.

Wednesday, was the Madonna Concert. And like I said, when it was over, I was like, “Is that it?” I wasn’t particularly moved. And now I can safely say that I was hours away from critical mass, the incubation period for gastro was in process.

I had peaked emotionally, Wednesday night.

I had reached critical mass and exhaustion on Thursday morning.

Thursday as the sun rose, and hubby was getting ready for work, I come flying out of bed, and spent all of Thursday, ALL DAY LONG, hugging the porcelain bowl. You would’ve thought I drank a huge amount of liquor or something like that.

I was THAT SICK !

I was so thirsty that I went thought bottle after bottle of juice, several jugs of water, and six or seven ice trays of ice, trying to hydrate. The more I drank, the more came back up. It was so violent that by the end of Thursday, I had no voice.

It was Gone, Shot, See Ya !!!

Between bouts of being sick, I got dressed and went to the pharmacy to get some much needed gravol pills and Pepto. I stopped off at the grocery store for more juice, which was a no win scenario.

I slept through most of Thursday.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were a wash out as well.

Saturday I had a doctors appointment, that I did make, But that was it for Saturday.

On Wednesday morning at first light, baby mama’s parents flew in from New Foundland to visit and to see the baby. By Friday morning, both were deathly ill. They came, they saw, and they got sick, themselves.

The second string folks who took care of baby mama on Sunday afternoon into Monday both got sick themselves. That would be seven people who were infected inside a weeks time and got deathly sick.

By Monday evening I was feeling well enough to attend our monthly GSR meeting. I had some of my voice back, so that was good. I came home right after, made some dinner and went back to bed.

I was out of commission until today. I went to see baby mama and the baby, on my way to the meeting. It seems, everybody is on the mend. This was the first time that we’ve seen sickness hit so many people in such a short time.

Babies are toxic … Especially when there are several sick babies in a day care.

None of us thought that we would get so sick, taking care of baby mama and the baby, in the hospital. That obviously was the last thought on my mind at the time. I had a job to do and I did that job, until I was finished.

What happened next, almost killed me.

Add sickness, toxic sickness, to someone who has a compromised immune system, this could have ended much worse, at least I did not end up in the hospital myself.

We return to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

More to come, stay tuned …


Madonna – Rebel Heart – Review (Club Section 200 Row D Seat 14)

IMAG0037We arrived at the Bell Center before 8 p.m. Our seats were in the Club Section, half way up the room, above the first section of seats, and between those and the nose bleeds. Prices started at $150.00 @ for Club seats. We got great seats for what we paid for them.

DJ Diplo spun some records for an hour prior to the show starting promptly at 9:30 and ran exactly 2 hours, start to finish. The stage was backed by a full wall panel of screens reminiscent of past Madonna shows. The walls move left to right and up and down to allow set pieces to be slid onto the stage from behind the set.

The runway consisted of a cross/heart shaped configuration with two false floors in the stage allowing for set changes and moving people up and down throughout the show. It was a simple light set up hanging in the ceiling. The lights hanging on stage were a bit more complex.

The floor of the stage was square and opened and closed, rose and fell, and had projection screen that went along with the back stage wall panels. For several numbers the stage rose diagonally which allowed the set to be tilted towards the audience.

It was quite spectacular.

The projection screens along with the stage were some of the best settings I have seen on a stage. And Madonna is very well known for screen technology to go along with the show. What you see on stage only makes the presentation all the more better.

It wasn’t as massive as the stage set of Confessions. That entire stage set up and configuration was much more massive than tonight’s simple set. The projection screen technology was the best part of the show production.

The opening scene, with all screens screaming, opened with ICONIC, featuring a voice over by Mike Tyson. It was pure production value !!!! Madonna was lowered to the stage in a cage from the ceiling. Probably one of the best numbers in the entire show. Like I said below, the stage set and the projection screens on the back wall and on the floor, were the best part of the show.

However …

I was not wowed by the show. It kind of left me flat. I knew the music she was singing or not singing because of several montage pieces with active screen montage and sing overs. The set list included a bevy of old music, set to new melodies and styles.

There were whole sections of music that was retooled out of the original keys and styles, into a mish mash of cha cha cha, latin style presentation, that really did not do much for me. At several points in the concert, the oldsters who were sitting in our section were on their feet dancing in the aisles, if there were aisles to be had.

I really was not moved to get on my feet at any point in the show. BAH !

She sang almost the entire Rebel Heart, save one or two numbers that did not make it into the show. However during some of the video montages, the actual production video, was shown backing other tracks that were sung or presented as sung.

I lost perspective sitting in the crowd, versus seeing it live on film. We were so high up from the floor, that I was having to choose whether to watch the simulcast on the video screens above the stage or watch the floor show going on below us.

My camera did an ok job at some of the photos below. it is a first generation cell so it is not as swanky as the new phones on the market. By the time we got home, entire film clips of the concert that we had just left were online. So there were very savvy social media folks recording live video and uploaded it already.

I still think the Confessions Tour was and IS my favorite tour, for production value.

Yes, every good gay man should see Madonna once in his life to knock her off our Gay Bucket Lists. It was an ok show. Like I said to hubby on the way home, maybe it will warm on me once I see the concert on film. I will remember it better getting to see it from the stage perspective and not from so far away.


Madonna – Rebel Heart Tour – In Pictures

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Tuesday – “EMERGENCY” A Lesson in Resource Management

muhcThis is the new M.U.H.C. The McGill University Health Center.

After the building opened for business, the reviews were stellar. Brand new site, lots of space, consolidated services under one roof for several medical institutions. The Montreal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Victoria Hospital serving the adult population, and the Cancer Center, with state of the art medical technology, and the Shriner’s Hospital for sick kids.

Over the past months, the reviews have changed. I was not impressed with the way they limit access to your doctors office, choosing to refer patients to a “Reservation Center” that fields calls for appointments, changes and cancellations. I fell into this trap as both my doctors were transferred to the new MUHC.

I do not like NOT being able to talk to the doctor or the office directly, that is a royal pain in the ass, as my medical needs are acute and sometimes need direct intervention right away, instead I get, “well, we can’t get you an appointment for months …” So I avoided the hospital.

The Montreal General is still operating and has lab services. All of the hospitals are on the same main frame for medical charts and lab results and can be accessed by doctors in any office or hospital setting.

Yesterday I was visiting with baby mama. In the middle of the afternoon, both she and the baby began getting violently ill. I had an appointment uptown with a sponsee before the Monday M.A. meeting, so I had to leave. But I had called in the second string to take over for me.

A bad case of Gastro was going around the daycare, and children were getting sick. Much to our dismay, the staff did not tell the other parent, opting for silence. In any daycare, when one kid gets sick, it is a far gone conclusion that more kids are going to get sick too.

So that is a thing …

My jealous friend showed up because she had a car. Something I don’t. By 9 p.m. things were very serious. So she rushed baby mama and LuLu to the hospital. I was just leaving the meeting uptown, in the middle of a pouring rain storm.

I got home, changed out and had dinner, as I had not eaten all day and I was tired. By 11:30, my phone rang and the second string had had her fill of being responsible and present. They had checked in mama at the Royal Vic and the baby at the Children’s. They share common space on the lower level of the complex.

She had told baby mama that she was leaving her alone, both very sick and needing attention. It was very sad. Having no option but to accept that second string was going to leave her, mama panicked and she made a call to New Foundland at midnight.

Meanwhile, I had talked jealous girl around into coming to get me and take me to the hospital to take care of mama and the baby.

The damage was done.

An Inter Canada emergency was initiated.

We’ve been very careful in managing family because of what we went through to get mama back in one piece and alone, with the baby, in July. But in a moment of panic and fear, she made that call, instead of calling me.

We left my apartment and hit the highway. All of the Montreal highways are under construction so exits and ramps and entire through ways are blocked or closed for demolition. We should not have done that because it caused an “over the river and through the woods adventure to find ourselves off the highway and to the hospital.”

I finally arrived.

In the past, to what ever hospital you went to, if you visited an E.R., your wait time was as long as 48 hours to see a doctor. I shit you not. Totally unacceptable.

They were checked in sometime after 9 p.m. Tuesday night. When I got there, there were few people waiting in chairs. There was a wait. I arrived close to midnight. Mama in tears, baby wrapped in a blanket, sitting in a wheelchair in the waiting room.

Not long after I arrived, they took mama into an exam room. So there was me, mama and the baby. They had triaged the baby, and gave mama fluids to give the baby at regular intervals to keep her hydrated.

Meanwhile the doctor had come in for mama and said they would run blood tests and push fluids, so she was going to be there for awhile. The baby finally went to sleep and she slept right through the rest of the night.

We were waiting for the doctor on the Children’s side to see the baby. We finally were taken around 2 a.m. The two hospitals are side by side, and share common emergency room floor space, separated by and office so you have to exit one space and re-enter on the other side.

They allowed me a short cut with a baby in my arms.

I was given an exam room, and shortly, a very young and sprite doctor came in and did his exam and we spoke about what had happened. It took all of five minutes. We got her medicine and I took her back over to the adult side.

It was close to 3 a.m.

A nurse came in the exam room and told us that I had to take the baby home, that she could not stay in the room while mom was violently sick. She gave me a taxi chit and mama gave me her keys and I bundled up the baby and we departed the hospital waiting for a taxi.

I was standing outside in the garage waiting for my taxi, with a sleeping baby in my arms. Another nurse came outside and spoke to me, saying that mama wanted the baby to stay, so I asked, “who is in charge?” Instead of taking the baby home, we decided that I should go home and get clothes, food, diapers and stuff for mama that she needed, if the baby was to stay with her all night.

It was 3:30 a.m.

I took a taxi back to the apartment, did my duty and got on my way back to the hospital. It was closing in on 4:00 a.m.

When I got to the apartment, the door was open, all the lights were on, and for a moment I thought that there might be someone in the apartment that should not be there.

“Caution murmured …” ( ten points for the reference )

I got what I needed and headed back. It was around 4:00 a.m.

I arrived back at the hospital, mama and baby were sleeping. They had dosed mama and she was on her way out. She told me that I could go home, so at 4:00a.m. I took another taxi to my place.

It was after 4 a.m. when I walked in my door.

Hubby was sleeping. I had plans, if I really needed to stick it out all night long, to get my labs done at the new hospital. I had taken my sheets with me in a book I was reading. They gave me a new hospital card and I was ready to go.

I decided after 4 a.m. that I would just stay up and hit the General at first light, and get my labs drawn. I was pooped ! I went to lay down around 5 a.m. and could not sleep, so at 6 a.m. I got up, got dressed again, and set out for the bus to go up the hill.

I arrived at the General. They have re-sorted the spaces vacated by offices moved to the M.U.H.C. there were a few people waiting, as the lab had not opened just yet. I took my number, which was 26 … The reader on the wall was sitting on number 19. So that’s where they stared the call ins.

I waited a while. By the time the lab opened, the waiting room was packed. It was a good thing I went so early, because i would have surely waited double the time I had.

I was out of the lab at 7:30. I needed to get a new hospital card because my old one was expired.

While I was doing that I got a text from mama saying that she was going home and could I do some light shopping to bring to her later in the day.

I got a second text from second string inquiring about the night. I told her all was well.

The new M.U.H.C. is a beautiful campus. There is plenty of space. The staff were warm and caring. The doctors and nurses were efficient. I had never gotten through an E.R. experience in such a short time, which was a blessing. That was a PLUS !

I got home around 7:45 and took a shower and hit my bed.

I slept all day long until I had to leave for mama’s and the meeting.

So where does resource management come in?

Like I wrote the other night, relationships are based on the work we put into them. And not all people are created the same, nor do they ever exceed expectations when the chips are down.

People can only cope with so much, and the thought of committing to a job 100% is a hard pill to swallow and a tough task to expect of some people.

When things got dicey, I was out of touch, in another section of the city. Jealous girl had the car, and she rose to the occasion doing what I needed her to do. But a couple hours into the night job, she stated that she had had enough and that she was leaving.

She was done.

The emergency call was initiated.

I arrived on the scene.

Had jealous girl told mama that she was going to come get me and take me to her, instead of blurting out … I am leaving you … with no assistance, we could have avoided a family intervention.

The parents are on a 6 a.m. flight this morning coming from St. John to Montreal.

She just bolted when she had had enough. In the end, mama was not pleased, and quite frankly she was really upset over the dismissal.

I was not pleased that I was called in to pinch hit the ball game. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right ?

I did my duty. I was present, accountable and reliable.

Over all, the night went as it did. The hospital far exceeded my expectations.

Tonight, everyone is alive and well.

The parent’s arrive in a few hours. So we will have to deal with them in real time, and try to manage the fall out. They need to see me and meet me. So that they know who is responsible for mama and the baby. So that they don’t freak out and do something stupid, because that is entirely possible.

More to come.

Tonight, Wednesday night MADONNA – Rebel Heart Tour at the Bell Center.

Woo Hoo !!!!


Sunday Sundries – The Relationships you have …

tumblr_lwdrzs4X441qhzv6oo1_500 darkandchaosCourtesy: Dark and Chaos

The weather has been hot and steamy. We have been under heat warnings for days now.

People have been marching in the streets calling for Government action on the refugee crisis in Europe. However we all want our politicians to do the right thing, for the right reason, nobody seems to agree on just how that is going to work.

We want open borders. We want the red tape to end. We want to help. I think that is the main goal of these actions, that we, as Canadians, are strong and reliable people, and when we see people who need help, our people, North, South, East and West, English, French and everyone in between step up and do what we have to do until the job is finished.

Our Prime Minister believes that there are several things we need to do.

  • First we need a combat strategy to fight Isis, militants and enemy combatants
  • We need to eradicate them off the face of the earth
  • We need to find a way to end the Syrian conflict
  • We need to find a way to end the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East
  • Once we figure out what we need to do, we can act on that intelligence
  • Then comes the humanitarian crisis; what to do with all those displaced.
  • Where do they go, how many do we bring here, and/or send them back home

Conflict zones are no go zones. Have you seen what these conflict zones look like? For many of these human beings now on the move, even if we thought to send them back, there is nothing to return to. Cities, towns and villages have been decimated by bombs and combat.

It would take decades to rebuild critical infrastructure to be able to even think about repatriating people back to where they came from.

The emergency measures that opened up borders between Hungary, Austria and Germany are going to be slowly curtailed. They won’t last much longer, and refugees will have to abide by the U.N, resolution as to the first country they entered for processing, which means, those in transit need to make that transit quickly and without pause.

Those still stuck behind them, might find themselves in registration camps, if they don’t start moving in the next 48 to 72 hours.

Bringing souls from conflict zones to North America is fraught with difficulties.

  • First, there are security issues with National Defense, they say
  • Bringing people to Canada, they need sponsors to get them sorted out
  • They need proficient language skills to enter certain Canadian provinces
  • They need money to bring with them, because that is something the government does not provide. That is where churches and N.G.O’s and the public come in.
  • They need homes to move into.

Pope Francis posed a very serious challenge today.

He called for all Christians, and their churches and parishes Europe wide, to open their houses and give shelter to refugees. I think he wants open doors for those that need them so badly.

Since the four party leaders are at odds with just what to do, and in what order to do it, and how that is going to play out politically, we don’t see much movement coming very soon, or quick enough to make a dent, the numbers they tell us, they will move, is a paltry number, based on a several year plan for immigration.

The European Union is going to have to come to some agreement on just how Everybody, all the E.U. Member states, are going to attack this humanitarian crisis on their doorsteps.

There is no magic bullet and no quick solution. This is going to take some time and serious discussion between governments and their leaders, not to mention their citizens.

Muslims moving into mainly Christian countries is going to be problematic. That solution is going to take some work on everybody’s part. In the end, and from the start, these refugees are Human Beings first. If we remind ourselves of that main point, then we have a starting point.

My final thought is this … Conflict need to end.

That’s what we need to do.

Stop the killing, and stem the bleeding, get rid of them once and for all.

**** **** ****

Relationships

The Relationships you have today, are a direct result of the work you put into them, to begin with. Who your friends are, in whatever circle they are in, who your spouse is, and the depth of that relationship, is, right now, the direct result of whatever work you put into them.

It is a fact, that people don’t necessarily put the same effort or “investment” into everybody they know. Family is the same way. Whatever you invest, you get back in that specific connection.

I’ve learned a great deal about people in sobriety.

I’ve learned the crucial role that “presence and investment” plays in my relationships.

Marriage is a constantly evolving organic relationship.

Friendships are the same way. Some friends are close, others even closer, depending on the need of the people involved.

Over the past 3 years, I have worked very hard at my friendships. Outside of my daily ritual, and my marriage, my friends come in a close second, as to the amount of time I put into them.

We learn, in the rooms, the importance of the telephone. Some have learned this lesson, and others could not be bothered by it. Most just don’t care to be honest. But people need friends, one way or another, that’s how we do this thing …

Over a year ago, baby mama went back to Newfoundland to have the baby. In her anxiety and haste, she thought it better to go home, because she did not trust those around her to do the job she asked of them. She needed care, she needed trust, and most of all she needed someone to be in the room with her when LuLu was born.

None of her so called “friends” would rise to the challenge, so she left us.

I had her phone number.

We did not know each other well enough at that time, that that connection might have been fruitful to the point that I could have started there, instead of where I started here.

I made a phone call, and had one conversation. And I did that without fail, consistently.

Over the weeks and months, one call a week became several calls a week.

And I did that without fail, consistently.

A year would pass, and her plans to come home were hatched. We worked them out. We talked about how that would sound to her family. We scripted conversations until the day that she got on that plane with the baby this past July.

Had it come to it, had she needed me to, I would have gone to get her, to make sure she got on that plane without fail.

Over that year, I encouraged her friends to invest in her.

I did that without fail, consistently.

The relationships they have with baby mama, is a direct result of whatever work they put into that specific relationship. I did not interfere, but calmly and quietly encouraged them to be present and accountable, consistently.

Sadly, today, they have not risen to the occasion to the degree I had hoped they would. And that has cost Baby mama a great deal.

I believed that if I wanted to be her friend, I was going to have to step up and be accountable and trustworthy, every day, consistently.

And I did that.

Before she moved back, there were chores to do, and I wrote about every step of the way to get her off that plane and into her condo. When I asked certain people to step up and do just One Job, they did that admirably. But that was that.

When she got here, we spent time with her and the baby, forming bonds and a family for her.

I can only be in one place at a time. And I am only one man.

But I resolved a plan of action that was consistent.

I talk to her every day. I see her several times a week. One night a week, I bring dinner and I cook for her and the baby. Consistently. Without fail.

Today, “our” friends are not happy with me because of the depth of my friendship.

Every time I talk about her to the others, or talk about my progress with the baby, they call her and mock me, and are snarky and from what I am told, they are jealous. Rage jealous.

This has been an ongoing problem.

But I return to my original thought. I asked them to step up and be counted. I encouraged them to build their own bonds with her in their own ways. They did not. So what they have today is a direct result of half assed efforts to be friends.

I’m not sure why they are jealous. They had their own opportunities to build meaningful relationships, and they failed in that effort.

That is not my failure, it is theirs.

A text is not a phone call.

A phone call is person to person, direct and in person.

You can’t expect a text relationship to flesh out into a full blown relationship, it just doesn’t work that way. I use my phone, I only text when I can’t get a human on the other end.

This is all bullshit and I need to call it out. Soon !

But this was on my mind tonight. So there it is.

More to come.

Stay tuned …


Aylan Kurdi Laid to Rest today in Syria, The place they were trying to Escape

syrian-migrant-boy-turkeyaylan kurdi 2 policemanAylan kurdi

Aylan’s father buried his wife and his two children in Syria today. He took them back to rest when all they wanted to do was escape the tragic circumstances that exist there now.

We say our prayers for the Kurdi family and I will say, you are not forgotten nor forsaken. The world will rise, if it takes us days, weeks or months, in the end the world will rise.

And do right by your family. For ALL your families…

Imagine. Across the blogging platform I read on a daily basis, NOT ONE PERSON has written one word on the crisis in Europe. This tragic scene played out for all the world to see, these photos come from the photographer who snapped them on that fateful day. Aylan’s brother lay just 100 yards up the beach from his brother, also dead.

It seems, in the United States, it is all about politics (read: Donald Trump), and gay marriage strife (read: I shudder as I type this name, Kim Davis) she should be stoned…

You’d think that for at lease a day, or maybe one news cycle, that the world would rise to the occasion and say something useful, or to speak up about this unimaginable horror taking place across Europe.

And or pledge help and assistance.

Not even the U.S. President, Barack Obama, He has not spoken one word on tv tonight.

Our Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said SHIT today. And he promised NOTHING to help this tide of human suffering. Meanwhile the other three parties, the Liberals, N.D.P. and the Green Party are calling for immediate action and the opening of our borders and that we receive those we can immediately. NOW…

I have read that several European Soccer Clubs, F.C. Bayern Munich, for one, is pledging millions of dollars towards the human “migrant” suffering. At least they are stepping up along with the German Chancellor to spearhead assistance when it is needed.

The Hungarian Government rose to the occasion and stopped, “stopping” the human flood from moving forwards in their goal to reach Germany and hopefully Sanctuary. They actually had buses trucking these human beings towards to Austrian border.

There will be no further posts on any other subject until the end of the holiday weekend for all of us to sit and ponder what we can do to help this human tragedy.

I encourage all of you who read this to go out into your community and find something to do to help, be that write something, support an organization that can help, or get other to join this call for people to get involved and do something for some one just because you can.

We all have homes, roofs over our heads, food in our fridge, and warm beds to sleep in.

These human beings have NONE of this.

NOTHING !!

Does that strike any of you as utterly sad and inexcusable ?

The world deserves better and our politicians needs to step up now and do something.

This is not a partisan issue, it is a HUMAN issue. We Must Act Now.

There is no turning back now. We have to do something. Anything.


Change the Canadian government’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis

ZRd9h5TSc2HLrSwhmf0E_syrian+boyGo Here: I Petitions click the link, sign the petition.

The widely circulated image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy lying face down on a Turkish beach broke hearts around the world earlier this week. Many Canadians, parents of young children, and others, could not hold back their tears as the image appeared on the screen of their phone or computer, at home or at work.

While the scale of the Syrian refugee crisis has been in the news for a while, the gut-wrenching image put a human face on the tragedy, and many of us were finally shaken enough to act. Such is human nature, for better or worse.

The signatories of this letter are not partisan and are not associated with any lobby or interest group. We reside in many different provinces and plan to vote for different political parties in the upcoming election. We do not all share the same social, economic and political priorities. Some of us are religious and others are not. We have many different ethnic backgrounds. Some of us are conservatives, some are liberals, and some are social-democrats. Some of us even wish we had a separate, French-speaking country.

But today we are united in our desire to see Canada take immediate, decisive action on the Syrian refugee crisis and propose a bold and inspiring approach. The status quo is no longer tolerable.

We have the means to do it. Canada is a rich, vast country with a diverse population and a tradition of generosity. The last few years have been especially prosperous, allowing the federal government to lower taxes and generate a surplus. Economic times may be harder now that oil prices have fallen, but we are still among the wealthiest people on the planet. We believe such privilege comes with responsibility.

The Syrian refugee crisis waded into the election campaign last week, allowing each party to state or repeat its promises on the subject. Some are admittedly better than others.

But we are not petitioning political parties. We do not care about promises that may or may not be honored in the weeks and months following the October 19 election. By then many more children will have died because of the inaction of Western countries, including our own.

We are asking the current Canadian government to act immediately — before the election — and announce a radical change in our approach to the Syrian refugee crisis. It is possible. Some countries — such as Germany and Sweden — are showing the way.

We do not want a technical policy adjustment. We are asking for a paradigm shift dictated by necessity. We want to see Canada drop its defensive stance and offer asylum to 40, 50 or 60 thousand refugees in the next year, and we want our government to materially assist these people. Private sponsorship is not enough. We want something bold that will make young and not-so-young Canadians hold their heads high. Because it’s the right thing to do. We have the means to do it. And, in time, we believe we will be richer because of it.

Our message to Mr. Harper is simple: impress us. Do something that will make us proud. Something that we will remember. Something that will distract us from the ambient cynicism and demonstrate that politicians and election campaigns can alter the course of people’s lives. Something that will cause us to believe that a three-year-old boy did not drown in vain as his family was trying to make its way to Canada. Something that will show we noticed, we were moved, and we acted.


Sanctuary – There are so many facets

je suis europe

If Jesus walked among us today, what would he say about the state of the world, as we are seeing it right now? Would he be angry, Would he agree with the way the world is reacting to the “least of these” Would he say that we need to buck up and do what is right in the eyes of God ?

Hundreds of Thousands of human beings, (in Europe they call them just “Migrants”) this word does not do justice to those who are, for all intents and purposes, “the least of these.”

In the Middle East, there are problems that are way beyond the abilities of nation states to change, stop, or even make a dent in. I don’t talk about the Middle East, because it is not my area of study. Religion and Theology are my areas of study.

Radical Islam, is entrenched in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other nations. This is not new news. And the battle between Islam and the rest of the world has been going on for centuries. The Caliphate would like you to believe that it is their goal to convert the infidels to Islam, so that we would pledge to the powers that be, our allegiance. And they would occupy the world unchallenged.

The rise of Isis, is a blight on humanity. We have had many chances to stop them. We have wasted every chance we have had to stop them now. We can’t just bomb them out of existence, because of the human shield factor, protecting them from further destruction.

As they moved in, the people began moving out. What do you do with all the people who had been settled in one area of the world, when they leave that area in search of sanctuary somewhere else? What do you do when an entire portion of the world’s population decides to get up and go somewhere else, because of terrorists and Islamic murderers are killing them and others with impunity?

So we have hundreds of thousands of Muslim human beings, seeking sanctuary in Europe. A place, light years from where they have come. We have nations of religious men, women and children on the move.

Islam, as a whole is moving from where they were, to where they want to go.

How do we accommodate these people?

Religious sensibilities say that, well some say that, we should not allow them sanctuary in Europe, that they must go home, or at least go somewhere else, any place else but here.

Because that would upset the fine balance of religion, sectarianism, and ethnic diversity.

You just can’t allow a population to be invaded by another religious faction into a world that may not and probably certainly will not accommodate them.

There is a definite religious divide here.

We must remember that beneath the label of Muslim, these people are Human Beings first.

We cannot allow the world to minimize them into the category of Migrants.

If Europe thinks they are under fire, and they are, we need a new game plan. These human beings need safety, they need sanctuary and they need peace. They need homes.

And that costs money, money they don’t have to spend, nor do Europeans have themselves to give to the poorest of the poor. It just does not work that way.

In the end someone is going to have to pay for this massive human migration. And on whose doorstep do you lay this burden?

It is an impossible question to ask.

But we have been seeing for months, men, women and children are dying by the thousands on rickety boats trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This is a tragedy of immense scale.

These people have nothing to go back to, nor return to the homes they once had, because of the radical ideology of terrorists, and their cut throat way of life. Where there once was the cradle of creation, there is now a wasteland of destruction.

When do we say that we have had enough of this and we set a new goal in mind to rid the world of this scourge on humanity, and we take them out, once and for all and we eradicate them off the face of the earth by any means necessary.

But to do this would incur certain collateral damage on a grand scale.

What do we do with all this land that is now populated by insurgents? They are killing indiscriminately, Westerners and their own. They have gone as far as eradicating historical sites off the face of the earth, because they are in congruent with radical Islam.

Migrants are human beings, no matter what religion they profess. Thousands upon thousands of those human beings are children. Are we going to deny them a future because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time? What are we supposed to do with these families, searching for sanctuary?

Can we afford to slam doors in their faces and build fences to keep them out ?

We can’t surely repatriate them back into Syria or Iraq or other Islamic countries that have forced them out with no real place to go.

They say that this “migration” is the largest migration of people we have seen since World War II.

This human migration is just that, A HUMAN MIGRATION. These are people. People who should be afforded the right to find a home somewhere where they will be safe, and be able to prosper and live without the fear of radical murderers coming to kill them.

But there is just so much space in other parts of the world. What do you do when you add tens of thousands of humans to already existing populations of people all over Europe ? Where do you put them, where do you make space for them ?

The next question is … “Who’s going to pay for all of this ?”

They say that You can’t get something for nothing in this world. Security comes with a cost. And we know, world-wide that millions of people live in “Insecurity and Poverty.” Now we have these humans migrating someplace else, who have nothing and carrying what they can on their backs.

Can we say they are the poorest of the poor? Having been forced from home only to go on the road to hopefully find someplace that will take them in ?

How far does hospitality reach? And are we obligated to extend the hand of hospitality to anyone who shows up on our door step? North America is safe in that we don’t have to worry about the European migration. We do have to worry about the migration on our southern border of the United States. That is an entirely different thread…

So many people with nowhere to go, trying to find sanctuary.

If we want to stop this migration, we need to step up and STOP the war and conflict.

But in order to stop this scourge on the earth would need a decisive attack plan, that seems to me, there is only one way to eradicate them off the earth. But this plan would certainly incur massive collateral damage. It is the only way to really know for sure they are gone is to wipe them off the earth with the only tool we have that would certainly do the job, because we have used it before.

But we swore we would never use it again. And right now the world is in consultation in making sure that certain countries enter non-proliferation treaties.

Then we get the shit end of the deal, that if we use this tool, that land would be unlivable so who ever is left, we would need to find a home, along with the millions of people who are now displaced.

This is a No Win Scenario …

There is no winning any route we take to stop the violence and repatriate human migrants from Europe, back to where they came from.

The worlds nations do not have the balls, nor inclination to do anything substantial that would stop the cycle of violence. We’ve allowed violence to disrupt an entire section of the world.

We’ve not done anything to make it stop. And this is a no win scenario.

These issues are fraught with complications. This is just scraping the surface of what needs to be done for the least of these at the moment.

More to come, just not tonight.

Stay tuned …