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Joy Rising

Friday Joy Rising …

Courtesy: The ever cute RawrDaniel

I got an email last night from a fellow traveler who said that “This is what God wants you to know today …”  And the quote was short and simple.

“Today, you are to work in helping your fellows to get to the place you are now!”

You have experience and life lessons to teach people all that you are and all that you have to offer them, to help them to get where you are today. And it is Friday and it is Joy Rising night.

On Friday nights I get to participate in a collective. To bring people joy and good news. We get once chance a week to extend ourselves to our fellows and to make joy rise.

When the opportunity presents itself the words will come and we will lead our fellows and friends to where we are on our own personal journeys.

It is apparent to me, in my limited scope, that God is moving through the field right now. And he is giving us our mandates as we approach this season of Advent. And he is speaking to his people and telling us that this is who we are to be at this moment in time and for the near future.

Mother Teresa tells us that we should abandon ourselves to God completely and without reservation, and secondly that God thirsts for our love, our suffering and our sacrifices.

Winter is coming and the long dark days of the season are coming, and we need to be prepared in extending our hands and hearts to our fellows here in our respective fields. And like a friend of mine wrote tonight that he has been doing his job whilst, he is searching for the next right thing to do, God stepped in and said to him… that he is a simple preacher and that is all for this moment.

If you are busy looking for the next big thing, what are you not paying attention to in your immediate surrounding? If you are looking too far outside yourself, you might miss the one thing you need to see right in front of you.

Let it be written in the book of life that this year, this holiday season that we resolve to bring joy into as many lives as possible.

You have it within you. And only you know what joy you can bring to another’s life. Pick someone, a group or a community and give to them. Abandon yourself to others this holiday season and bring joy to the lives of your friends, fellows, families and people you come in contact with.

You have to find happiness within consider for a moment Your Breath … Let that fill you up, and let that build up within you… And let the joy rise …


The Burning …

Courtesy: I’ll be the sun …

Last night I came home from the meeting after talking to my sponsor and I had a lot to think about, and I was encouraged not to make any decisions right away about what I wanted to do with “the letter.”

I watched Oprah’s Life Class last night, “Joy Rising…” I just needed something good for my soul and to forget the pain that was in my heart for an hour. After that I tuned in some Military Channel and 2 docs on WW I.

It will be on my final exam for my Western Civ class so I thought maybe I should watch them. But there are so many parties involved in the Great War and the assassination that started the whole deal. I am not sure how one would approach the essay on this topic.

I got to bed after 3:30 in the morning. Forgetting that CJAD goes off topic from Coast to Coast at 3 am in opt for those infomercial vitamin specials. I usually pipe in AM 640 Toronto from the computer, but last night it slipped my mind.

I got into bed and curled up with a good book. Come be my Light, the Mother Teresa evidence for canonization.

I had started reading the book when I first got it, and about three quarters way through it, I wanted to throw it against the wall because she made me so angry. So I put the book down. And put it back on the shelf. I only picked it back up the other night and finished the read through, so I thought I would start reading it again from the beginning since I am in a righter mind to accept the message.

And with all that’s going on in  my head, I hear Mother Teresa saying to me that I have to give it all to Jesus, my life, my love, my suffering and my happiness and joy. Just give it all over, because Jesus suffered so much for us, that we should be united with him on the cross…

Just what I needed to hear at this point in my sobriety.

Family …

I was born to a 60’s couple of mixed background in the Northeast U.S. in a bastion of ultra conservative Catholic parishes. After my brother was born my mother had a tubiligation and was ex-communicated from the church because it was birth control. Doctors said she couldn’t have any more kids, so let’s tie the tubes shall we… It’s a good thing there were only 2 of us.

I was baptized and given a name. A name that wasn’t mine to begin with. He was a soldier who fought with my father in Viet Nam. He was killed and my father was never the same. I am making this all up from my lifetime’s observations and studies of the gay man, and the self hating gay man.

My father came away from that war with secrets. I am sure of it today.

Everything I learned about being gay as a kid, came directly from my father’s bathroom reading material and the collection of magazines he had hid in the garage. Thanks to a little snooping on my part I had enough reading material to last me months and months.

If my father was totally straight, and totally Catholic by the book, hell, fire, and damnation, why was he exploring variations ???

When my father began to heavily abuse me after drinking himself into a stupor he would recite this mantra with every swing of the belt … “You were a mistake and should never have been born…” This went on for almost twenty years.

I was supposed to carry a name of a dead soldier that had something to do with my father emotionally, and he was beating me, in the name of the man he named me after, what was going on in his head?

1. Was he in the closet and hating the man who died?

2. Was he beating me to exorcise his own demons?

3. Was he just an angry man all around?

4. Or was he just beating me to beat me?

When I turned 30, I was sick as a dog, and frequented my death bed. That was only four years into my AIDS diagnosis. I was still suffering in big ways. I had not leveled out yet. And I knew my parents were not on board. None of my immediate family was on board.

I sat in my living room one night watching tv, and I was reading my bible listening to Pearl Jam and it all happened just like that.

Jeremy’s Spoken …

I knew that had I died my family would have swooped in and taken my body and my life and condemned my eternity to some slum burial in some backwater graveyard without proper identity and recognition. It would have been as if I had not existed at all. I was dead, who would know any better ?

So I went to court and legally changed my name. To keep them from ever having any part in my care or burial. I had legally divorced my family out of my life. But that decision took on a life of its own.

So to date I was (1.)  Gay (2.)  HIV + (3.)  Legally changing my name.

I had nailed three nails in my proverbial casket…

It took me all these years to work out what it all meant.

It wasn’t my fault.

When people show you who they are the first time, believe them. I needed this realization 20 years earlier.

When I changed my name, in essence, my father’s beating mantra of “You were a mistake and should never have been born” became a self fulfilling prophecy. I had killed that boy, he wanted dead when I was growing up. I had given him the very thing he wanted so much himself.

Even though I tried to be the good son, there was no way I was ever going to make a dent in the damnation that I was facing from the very beginning. They were set in their ways. And I wasn’t going to change them no matter how hard I tried. Once I sealed the deal, it was done for me.

And it took me till today to make this connection for myself.

I have been waiting for lightening to strike. A miracle to happen. And like I said last night, sometimes the miracle comes from a direction you didn’t expect.

My prayers to Blessed John Paul II and to Mother Teresa were answered.

Long ago. In a universe far far away, I once prayed for my father’s death. I prayed that prayer for years. Waiting for God to smite him. So that I could ride in on my white horse and save my mother and reclaim her for myself. This before any of these changes took place. I was sick and had no where to go, and I assumed that if the old man was dead, I could move to Sarasota and take on my mother’s care as my life’s work. Ever the savior !!!

He didn’t die. I went on with my life. And here we are today.

Coming to Canada was the final nail in my coffin. I had spit on the heritage of my bleeding deacon U.S.A. war veteran father. How dare I cross the border and take my mother’s heritage? Because when he imported her she had to forswear her origins and deny her roots. She didn’t complete that task until 1974. Both my brother and myself were born with birthright Canadian Citizenship, because mum was still technically, Canadian.

Tonight after some prayer and meditation, I took that letter I wrote to them and placed in my fire can on my balcony, and I burned the letter and flushed the ashes down the toilet.

As far as I am concerned this issue is finished. I cannot change them. It is not my fault. And in the end I learned a few lessons that took almost half my life.

And some say sobriety is a cake walk … NOT !!! 23 days …


Lesson #20 Joy Rising Friday …

Courtesy: Rawrdaniel

Daniel is joy … and cuteness to boot !!!

How do you find joy in your most difficult times?

I think I find joy in doing for others. To make things happen and to brighten someones day or night, as I am mostly a night person. Tonight Joy rose in the little church of Saint Columba’s. We had a beautiful concerto concert by an aspiring piano impresario who studies at McGill University. Everyone was touched by her playing and for a few precious moments, we were caught up in the joy rising.

I guess I have been in a difficulty free zone for the last little while. Living in the moment and day to day makes things a bit easier. I try not to get bogged down with difficulties.

Can you feel the joy rising ???

Shug: More than anything God love admiration.
Celie: You saying God is vain?
Shug: No, not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off when you walk by the colour purple in a field and don’t notice it.
Celie: You saying it just wanna be loved like it say in the bible?
Shug: Yeah, Celie. Everything wanna be loved. Us sing and dance, and holla just wanting to be loved. Look at them trees. Notice how the trees do everything people do to get attention… except walk?
[they laugh]
Shug: Oh Miss Celie, I feels like singing!

That is one of the gifts of the program of recovery. Because we learn to take the spotlight off of ourselves and to put it on others. We are given a gift every day and with that gift we are to give it away freely of that which we are freely given.

You get involved with a group and do service, you become responsible and for an hour a day you take the stress and strain off of someone else by giving of yourself. You don’t need to get paid or to be recognized all the time, but it is when what you do makes a difference for someone else.

My old timer friend from the West Island comes with his wife to the Friday meeting and we were all sitting in the church listening to Maria play the piano and his wife, several times over was amazed at hearing such sacred music. For a little while I believe that joy rose in every heart in that church.

Two nights a week I get to give it away. Once at my original home group on Tuesday night’s, and secondly on Friday nights on the West End. it is like welcoming someone into your home for an hour to gather with friends and to share in the wonderful gift of sobriety.

That is joy rising …

Are you bringing joy into someone life each day?

And if you aren’t then why not?

Build it into your life, do something joyful for someone else and then joy will come back to you ten fold.

Joy is the fuel of the heart …


Joy Rising … 42 Days …

Courtesy: Endzeit

It is Friday and today’s lesson comes by way of “Joy Rising!!!”

It is one thing to experience joy. But it is totally more joy when you can give that joy away. When you receive joy, if you can, pay it forward and give it away to those near you.

It is really important to know that at every meeting we go to, joy rises.

Sit in a room of people recovering from a disease that affects minds and bodies, and you will feel joy rise. Every meeting it may happen, but you may not get to see it for yourself. But when someone gets up there to the chair and shares, sometimes joy rising is palpable.

You hear it in their voice, you see it on their face and you hear it in their words. People who have been to hell and lived to see a brighter day is in essence joy rising.

Tonight was truly a joy rising event. The room was packed. And the speaker was a last minute pinch hitter and the recommendation of one of our members to the chair before the meeting started. He came with a group of people to honor one of our members who was taking a cake – I’ll share more on this in a moment… He wasn’t actually there to speak, but spirit moved and he was chosen. And you know, if you are asked to do something you do it gladly.

We have a great group of people at our meeting. Lots of good women, doing good work for the greater good of the community. We all try, each week to do something good for the greater community.

That’s why we have setter uppers, coffee makers, kitchen workers, chair and secretary, greeters and hand shakers. Everybody works together to welcome the masses for a Friday night meeting.

And our speaker got up there and knocked it out of the park.

Gratitude … I have Friday night’s free to be part of this good thing.

I sit and I listen to everyone who gets up to the chair. I love listening to people talk about sobriety, because it is not only a warning of what NOT to do, it is also a lesson in gratitude. Because the speaker has invested so and so many years to this program and they can get up there and tell us how they did it.

Not only did we have a winner speaker, we had two cakes.

The younger went first. She was celebrating double digits. 10 years. And the emotion was raw and I needed a tissue before all was said and done. Seeing joy rise is a gift, and to share it with my fellows is amazing. Double digits for the first time is a big event in sober living. It is a great marker. And we are all so proud of her for her achievement. Joy rose !!!

The second cake taker was “The Artist!” And if you have been a long time reader of this blog, I have, on more than one occasion, written about “The Artist.”

Tonight was his 29th anniversary. Poignant because in the depths of his disease, he did not think he would see twenty nine years of age. And his father died when he was 29, and tonight he took a 29 year cake. You can do the math …

In the kitchen one of our members had prepared food. We always prepare food for after the meeting, food always goes well with cake and the more cake there is the better. There is coffee, conversation and lots of celebrating.

Joy truly rose tonight.

And I am grateful for all that I have and the ability to give it away in my small way to the greater good of my community. It was a wonderful night.

A good night was had by all.

In 42 days, it will be my turn … One day at a time…