I slept in today, UGH! But I did get to my evening class with Sara, my Celtic Christianity class, which I totally enjoyed. Sara’s classes are comfy and warm and cozy that you come in and you sit and allow the feeling to wash over you that “all is well in the world.”
That doesn’t speak of an easy ride mind you, but one of conscious thought and work. I have been reading the course pack and through tonight’s discussion we have learned a few things. That there is more to Celtic life than we may have known. That each reading in the book is set in its place for a reason.
Imagine standing before a forest, you boys out West can better understand this than I can paint a picture, but Sara used the forest imagery tonight. And I remarked how each reading, if laid upon the one prior paints a picture in successive layers of reading, and information. And the readings tease you to walk into the forest and turn leaves over looking for further clues to the real truth of the Celtic.
We are invited to start exploring the forest for clues to our study for this term. It is not all so easy, and reading about the past – we must use our lenses of hermeneutic suspicion, to read each text and article with a critical eye. I used that term tonight, and Sara giggled to the rest of the class, “oh Jeremy, you are so clever, aren’t you!” I had to explain this strategy with my fellows.
It’s all good…
And my young warrior from the West came to visit! You can check out his blog, The Life of Robert Wesley, he is a very special friend that I have known for some time. Joy of joys he has decided to continue writing!! YAY!!
On the way home I hit “Came to Believe” in time for the second speaker, just so I had some time to sit with myself and be quiet and listen to another speak about his trials and tribulations about recovery. I just wanted to sit and listen, which is always a good thing to do when possible.
Over all is was a great night. Now I am gonna hit some dinner and chill out…
A photograph from the Portfolio of Robert Wesley from B.C.
Esto es por Arcano, en Sud America… Oye!!
Voy hoy a hablar de mis raíces, parte posteriora cuando realmente importó. La vida viví – en una gran ciudad – con una multiplicidad de influencias de muchas caminatas cubanos y latinos de los aspectos de la vida, especialmente de la comunidad. La una cosa que falto es el cierre apretado hace punto a comunidad que era la comunidad latina de Miami. Hice una opción larga hace para abrazar a una comunidad que hicieron mi vida tanto mejor que habría podido siempre estar, y que pagó la inversión apagado en espadas cuando yo más necesario él. Tan aquí está esa historia…
Cuando estaba en escuela del grado tenía una opción para abrazar español como mi segunda lengua de la estancia un gringo en el lado inglés blanco. Era el único en mi familia que abrazó la cultura, la lengua y la vida del golpe latino. La comunidad latina tenía una tapicería tan maravillosa de la vida, del amor, de la cultura y de la tradición. Era la época más asombrosa de mi vida.
La inversión de una vida en una vida bilingüe pagó apagado cuando gradué de High School secundaria porque para conseguir un trabajo en Miami, una tuvo que saber la segunda lengua. Encuentro que aquí, soy menos impulsivo aprender francés, porque era mi entrada en esta comunidad menos que hospitalaria.
Cuál es porqué honro siempre mis raíces latinas y cubanos, porque era una búsqueda larga de la vida a aprender, a saber, a vivir entre y a amar dentro. Todos mis amigos eran Latino o el cubano y ése hicieron mi vida tanto más redonda de muchas maneras. El componente más importante a la tradición del cubano y de Latino es familia y el cuidado que toma de esa familia.
Cuando conseguí enfermo, y mi familia y amigos salieron todo a partir de mi vida, volví a Miami para conseguir listo morir, porque era realmente enfermo. Ése es cuando el Latino y la comunidad cubano caminaron adentro y sintieron bien a la familia ese I más necesario. Tenía cuidado médico superior de la muesca, tenía la familia y amigos que nunca me dejaron estar solo. Había siempre algo hacer, puebla para ver, y los lugares a ir. La oficina de los doctores llegó a ser casera lejos de hogar en esos días.
Pasé muchas horas, días y semanas en la clínica que recibía el tratamiento que para la mayor parte ahorró mi vida. Éramos amamos, nos trataron como la familia y nunca estábamos solos. Muchas de la gente que estaba en el tratamiento con para el VIH vivieron todo. Como vivo hoy. El cuidado que recibí de esos doctores, las enfermeras y el personal de ayuda formaron a hombre me convertí y el hombre usted conoce hoy. Vivo porque tan mucha gente quería que viva, y vive bien.
Uno de los únicos pesares que tenía en salir de Miami en venir a Montreal era la pérdida de la comunidad latina y cubano, de la gente, de la vida, de la tradición y del amor. Sé para un hecho que mucha gente tomó para concedido y resentido los cubanos que vinieron a Miami en esas décadas, pero para mí, era el activo más grande que un hombre joven podría siempre tener.
Cuando era un muchacho joven, trabajando como agente del recorrido, traducía visas y el papeleo especial para la gente que viajaba entre Miami y Cuba. Ése era el trabajo de recompensa que he hecho siempre en mi vida. Había rezos incontables y los regalos dados a mí sobre los años como hice este trabajo muy importante, hasta las oficinas para eso bueno de recorrido eran firebombed.
La otra parte más importante de vida de Latino era religión. Cuando estaba en seminario, cada otro día era día español, y celebramos la masa en español muchas veces a la semana, y encontraría eventual mi manera a una parroquia española donde trabajé en el ministerio de la juventud y atendí a muchas masas allí en mi parroquia.
El respecto del cubano y del latín por cultura y la religión era apenas asombroso. Era uno de los toques de luz más importantes de mi experiencia religiosa como hombre joven, como está hoy en mis estudios de la religión.
El dios en cualquier lengua es vital importante para la cultura respectiva que es parte de. Pienso que también tenido un impacto directo en mis estudios de continuación de la religión. Porque era parte en paquete el factor principal de mi vida, mi fe. Era asombroso, increíble y fantástico. Amo la tapicería religiosa multi tallada que es parte de mi existencia hoy.
La celebración más importante para mí en mi vida del latino era cobre de senora del caridad de Nuestra:
Alrededor del año 1608, dos indios, Rodrigo y Juan nativos de Hoyos, junto con 10-year-old un muchacho auxiliar, Juan Moreno, salieron buscando la sal necesitada para preservar la carne de la casa de la matanza de Barajagua, que proveió a los trabajadores y a habitantes de Santiago del Prado, ahora conocidos como EL Cobre.
Ese día podían apenas alcanzar Cayo Francés, a medio camino a través de la bahía de Nipe, donde encamped para escapar la furia de una tormenta que habría rasgado su canoa frágil a los pedazos. La calma fue restaurada con amanecer, y llevaron el mar transparente. En la distancia, vieron un paquete blanco el flotar en las ondas y el acercar de ellas lentamente. Al principio ellos lo tomaron para un pájaro del mar.
Mientras que vino más cerca, se parecía ser una muchacha y en el último podían determinarse que era una estatua de la Virgen Maria que sostenía al niño en su brazo derecho y con una cruz del oro en su mano izquierda. La estatua fue unida a un tablón inscrito: la Virgen de la Caridad (de la soja de Yo del ` soy la Virgen de la caridad). Según el testimonio jurado de testigos, a pesar de la tormenta reciente y el movimiento de las ondas, ni la figura de la Virgen, ni su ropa, era mojadas.
El jefe de la estatua está de la arcilla cocida al horno cubierta con una capa pulida del polvo blanco fino, posiblemente goma del arroz, y la renovación cuidadosa reciente de la imagen reveló las características finas que las capas incontables de la pintura habían deformido. Una nariz bien formada y una cara bien-proporcio’nada con los ojos grandes, cariñosos transportan un gentleness que invite confianza y rezo.
La Virgen tiene cerca de 16 pulgadas de alto y sus pies se basan sobre una luna brillante que extremos rodeen en ambos lados la nube de plata donde tres cherubs separan sus alas de oro. El niño, en el lado izquierdo de la estatua, levanta una mano como si bendiga, y en su otra mano él sostenga un globo del oro.
La señora de la caridad, apellidada del EL Cobre porque su santuario fue construido en que el centro urbano, se convirtió en una de las preferencias religiosas de los cubanos casi inmediatamente, puesto que ella representa Ochún, el símbolo de la feminidad, del agua dulce y de la felicidad, en el culto syncretic del Afro-Cubano.
Varias leyendas sobre la aparición de la Virgen – hace casi 400 años – han contribuido a la atracción de esa figura entre believers, habitantes de la ciudad y visitantes en los vacationers generales, principalmente extranjeros que visitan la isla del Caribe de muchas regiones del mundo, como resultado del desarrollo rápido de la industria del ocio.
A petición de los veteranos de la guerra de la independencia, Benedict declaró a patroness de Cuba XV de 1916 y fue coronada solemnemente nuestra señora de la caridad en el congreso de Eucharistic llevado a cabo en Santiago de Cuba en 1936. Papa Paul VI levantó su santuario a la categoría de Basilica en 1977. De enero el 24 de 1998, en una masa celebrada durante su visita apostólica a Santiago de Cuba, papa Juan Paul II coronó la imagen una segunda vez como la reina y patrón santo de Cuba. La Virgen santa misma se reclina sobre su altar, rodeado por las flores y las esencias.
Nunca amaré el France’s-Canadiense como amo mis raíces del cubano y de Latino. Nunca sucederá. Y ésa es la manera que la tendré.
Si tuviera tres deseos hoy serían:
1.That I podría volver a mis raíces y ver a toda esa gente que hizo mi vida tan maravillosa.
2.That usted podría satisfacer a toda la gente que hizo esta vida posible.
3. Que podría tener toda esta gente aquí hoy aquí en este curso de la vida.
Now, try that one on for size… You’ll have to translate this page to read it unless of course you know Spanish as a second language…
Do you see it?
Can you feel it?
Do you ever think about it?
M O R T A L I T Y !!!!
I started my day in a church. Do you know why I did that? Why it was important for me to receive the sacraments today? To have a minister pray with me and for me, to bless me and absolve me,
to you all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden,
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The older I get, the more serious is my thought about Mortality. We all will face it one day, but I can’t help but ponder this subject in greater detail, because unlike many of you, life could take a turn very quickly and I could die, the last time this happened was in 2006 when I was testing new medications, and I got severely ill and I remember saying to myself one particular night that “I thought I would die.”
On my birthday I was sitting in the room at the meeting, the church above us I spoke about the fact that none of us know when that appointed day will come, but for me I have been waiting on it for some time. I fancy God sitting up in his heaven, with a sly look on his face, holding strong to one corner of the carpet that I am standing on and he yanks it up and I fall, the end comes crashing down around me.
Nobody wants to say the words, but I know that many of my friends are wary of mentioning the word “death” so they speak in hushed tones using words like “I’m so proud of you”, and “that I am a miracle” and “that God has blessed me with long life,” to date. The best line is this one “He looks so good, that unless you knew or asked – you’d never know he had AIDS!”
I work very hard at avoiding or talking about the obvious strain on my mental health, yet I do not dwell on death, but I have a healthy fear of it for sure. You’d never know I was even gay, from the outside. You’d never know that there was an ember burning quietly and strongly beneath the surface. That person sitting in the same place as you had a date with death several times in his life, and he avoided the reaper.
I remarked to a friend that I was afraid of what was ahead of me after the meeting, and for some they cannot fathom this fact, but my friends did. Some of the men told me that I should go on with my life and not think about it, but how can I Not think about it?
I just wanted to remind you that Mortality is an issue that I deal with every day now. Each day that passes – I thank God for life – which is why I went to mass and I think in retrospect, that is why the Reverend Canon laid hands on me and asked God to bless me and keep me healthy. I heard the urgency in her voice – the necessity that God grant that prayer – right then and there. To guarantee me a place “in community” for as long as God would permit.
I do not know how long my body will continue to take the pills I push upon it daily, or how long these new medications will continue to work – we are only a few months in and things look very good on paper, my body seems to like these mew medications and I haven’t had any great bodily changes. The look of death has not come over me – that gaunt AIDS look that most men get at some point in their journey, those you know are marked for death.
I remember my spirit and I pray daily and I attend mass when I can, and I spend time helping others because as long as I keep the focus off of me and on someone else, I can avoid having to look at the cold hard truth for very long. But I must tell you that I have had that “conversation with God” this week, and I made a deal. I think he agreed on the deal, as long as I served Him – and did my best every day – and I stayed in my day and not expected to die – that I would live a long life.
Religion, what is it? Is it a comfort to help us on the way to our graves? To give us something to focus on in death? A loving God, a forgiving Christ and a Spirit that loves us to fill the soul of man with hope that on that appointed day we would stand with our maker and be granted eternal life!
Is religion a cop out? The easy path?
I don’t know what to think – but I do believe – and for me that simple kernel of faith saves me. I know that nobody wants to think about it, so I write and remind you of the ever present fact that we all will face our mortality, some sooner than others. I’ve studied death and dying in my undergraduate career.
For many years I held on to the visual of Monica, the Angel from “Touched by an Angel” who said those simple words “I’m an angel sent by God, to tell you that God Loves You.”
I have seen every episode and I have a collection of hundreds of episodes here at home. During those years that I was so sick and I needed something to hold onto this little television show was my salvation, a second helping of God every Sunday after returning home from an evening mass. I kind of fancy that Andrew would stand here with me on that final moment to carry me to God in heaven.
It was easy to let go and let God, because of my faith in God and this little show that confirmed to me in visual form that there were angels and that I wasn’t alone, sitting in my apartment, sick as a dog. They even touched on the “aids” stories and the fact that even people with AIDS had angels. I believed that and I still do. Now in syndication, on Vision TV I can watch TBAA at night here in Montreal. And at Christmas I can watch the special shows that were created over the years while the show was running.
I find it funny the lengths I went to to maintain my spiritual beliefs when everyone around me was worrying that I was going to die, I was worried about that and the fact that I had no idea how I was going to survive another year. These memories are found back in 1998 and 1999.
When Christians were condemning us, my family included there, the angels were there to tell us that God loved us and still loves us today. That faith worked, because I lived another ten years and now we start another decade with stronger faith and a few angels here and there…
I’m fully aware of my mortality and that scares me.
The lights go down, the smoke machine is fired up and Seal is on the turntable. I stand in a large space, it is just me, the smoke and my music, as I ready for the nights events. This visual is very useful because it takes me back to the most important time in my young life as a gay man – and an HIV positive man.
I have spoken of this time and place at great length in the pages here on the blog. But I invoke it as I write because it taps that part of my brain where all those memories are stored.
This is supposed to be my “40th Birthday” retrospective. None of my friends have offered up any wisdom to turning 40, and several of my blog reads reached 40 before I did, and they seem to be well adjusted and the same men I knew before they turned 40.
I am not feeling any kind of depression or do I have any problem with my body image the only vain thing I do for me is cut and color my hair, to hide those ugly grays!! That reminds me I need to make an appointment for Tuesday!! It is Sunday Late night as I am writing this.
I was 26 when I was diagnosed in 1994. The doctors gave me 18 months to live. And here we are celebrating my 40th birthday. All the men I loved, liked, followed and idolized in my young gay life are dead, and I am still here …..
I have much to be grateful for. I have many men to thank for getting me here. The men who saved me from death at the Stud, the councilors who helped me cope and heal, the doctors who treated me, the men and women who “Loved” me into existence. Little did I know then, in 1994, that we would be here celebrating. I guess as a gay man with AIDS I see the world differently than most of you.
I am not consumed with the trappings of wealth. I am not a rich man nor a rich husband. We live on modest means and I work a modest job doing God’s work in my community. I don’t obsess over things that most gay men obsess over.
Image, money, wealth, sex, men, drugs and alcohol and going out to the bar to socialize. I guess I have mellowed with age. I have grown into the man I really want to be. And I can’t complain, because I have everything I need today. Being sober is another additive to this perception.
I get tired of reading whine after wine. Marriage has tempered me – life has taught me how to be married. That you find one to love – and that one loved you in return without question, argument or issue. Hell, I had no idea I would fall in love and get married when I was 26. I was concerned about getting through the day alive!
For many months after my diagnosis I kept a daily calendar, marking the 560 days until my death. My first sponsor kicked my ass several times over this. He was apt to tear the calendar off the frig and I would, as usual make another one. It was my way of coping then. When I reached that “Death Date” and I was still alive, it was only then that I started to work on a future.
I was sick an awful lot in the beginning. I was in the hospital all the time. I was sick as a dog for long periods of time. I haven’t had a major illness in many years. “knocks on wood!”
When I turned 30 that was in 1997. I had been sober three years, I was living in Miami, and going to the Coral room for meetings. I made it four years sober. The good thing about hindsight in sobriety is this: I can see what I DID and DIDN’T do right. From 1994 until my slip after four years of sobriety, I was just learning how to survive. Granted staying alive on the U.S. Medical system was a chore, let me tell you.
This is not racist but I was on social assistance and HRS assistance for a long time until I got on Medicaid. And I have to tell you that I had to go to places that “little white boys” did not go in the daytime! Let alone after dark. In order to get services I had to work the system before I either got denied, got sick or DIED! In the United States, Miami, in fact, until I found the loop it was kill or be killed. People were not going to help a little white boy with AIDS, that was clear. And the Government, sure as shit thought i was better off dead than to give me assistance. That is where I learned to be a “Cast Iron Cunt!!”
More than a few times I had to stop taking my pills and get deathly ill to get someone to help me. When I applied for disability I was so sick, I thought I was going to die. I stopped bathing, stopped taking my pills and walked into that government office that day, I was green. I coughed all over that poor women who signed off on my application and finally I made headway and I was able to get what I needed to live.
I became the Cast Iron Cunt from hell. Because I knew where all the contacts were. I had files at home, phone numbers and names of credible people I had amassed for myself. And more than once I was called to a hospital to help a friend who was set in chairs for 13 to 15 hours waiting for a bed, unpilled and unfed!! Those hospital administrators were truly afraid of me, because I was fucking kidding.
These people, my people would be helped or they could find other jobs. We got a lot of nurses and care workers fired over those years. There was no time to train you – your a health care worker, then do your fucking job asshole! Because we aren’t getting better with you worrying about getting AIDS from someone, unless you were fucking us or using our needles…
I was a Little Mean Asshole.
My parents did not help me. My parents traumatized me as an adult and that is their shit, not mine. I got them back years later. Never tell lies to your children because eventually they get washed out in the laundry.
So where are we 1997, I was 30. I was still alive. I set out on a number of really BAD decisions, a geographic that almost killed me a year later. That brings us to the year 2000.I was back in Miami in July of 2000. I stayed with friends after my relocation back after I was hospitalized with facial and bodily trauma.
I was agoraphobic I wasn’t eating and I had to reconnect to the system after being away from 18 months while I tripped to hell and back. I found a place to live, I had a job and my doctor took me back as a patient. That man saved my life. I tested every drug on the market from 1994 THROUGH today!! So Thank me….
I had to learn how to live again. I had to learn how to go outside. I had to take back my life. And Andrea, my therapist saved me once again. I was so god damned lucky you know that, I met some incredibly amazing people in my life, and they all played a part in getting me here. People who believed in me when I could not believe in myself. People who loved me until I could learn what it meant to Love Myself. That took YEARS !!!
And I was on the fast track plan, because people with AIDS were not living very long in Florida. Every time I saw the quilt, hundreds of more quilts were added yearly. This is the period that I learned that Dana Manchester had died. He was a drag queen artist that I knew when I first came out at the Parliament House when I was 21 – in Orlando. That’s where I came out!!! All good gay boys who live in Florida come out at the P-House!!!
God, Ive been though some serious shit in my life. AND I Lived to tell the tale! I am one lucky son of a bitch!! Someone up there likes me. I guess in a way, loosing the people I loved early in my life “family wise” steeled me to either live or die. My grandmothers deaths affected me in ways that nobody knows, not even my family.
And I don’t have any family to speak of left in my life today, and I haven’t had any family in my life since well before I left the states. My parents condemned me as an abomination. Funny that I went on and got a Degree in Religion from Concordia University in Montreal and I did it all before my 40th Birthday…
I showed you, you Fuckers !!!
I’m sorry, but Itty Bitty Bad Ass creeps up on me at times, when I reflect….
I have ever right to be angry … Their loss. My Loss. Nobody won that fight…
I miss my Master.
I miss my friends.
I miss the past – the laughing – the fun – the Joy of drag shows and of being young again.
My mother told a strategic lie to her children. And in 2001 I capitalized on that lie. My mother had retained her Canadian Citizenship until AFTER my brother was born in 1970. She was naturalized in 1974. I had an out – and I took it. They fucked me over and so the last fuck was mine and it was going to be a good, wet and dirty one…
I was 34 years old when I left the United States. I packed everything I owned and I set off for the new world. Hell, I was still alive!! And I had not even started living yet. I was just merely surviving. But I was SOBER when I pulled that next geographic and I STAYED sober during the move.
I came for Easter 2002 to Montreal. I stayed two weeks, I just LOVED this city. And I still do. It is not Miami… that’s when I returned home packed and I left. My parent’s were horrified and insulted that I would gain Canadian Citizenship because of my mother’s well told lie… She almost got deported over my application. She was so angry at me she was spitting!! It was great! Payback is a bitch!!
Itty Bitty Bad Ass…
The last conversation I had with my mother was in 2003. She said to me and I quote:
“If we get sick and one of us or both of us die, we will not call you nor notify you of any funeral or tell you where we are buried!!”
How do you like that line? I had to cope with this news the best way I could. So I had to bury them in my heart forever. We had hurt each other to the point of severance. I was going to have the last laugh. But my mother cut me to the bone. I have seen her twice here in my apartment. She came on my 1st and 2nd wedding anniversary. I saw her here and I spoke to her.
I have always said that the one thing that would send me over the edge and I would drink over is the thought that she is dead, and nobody called to tell me. I am sober and I want to keep it that way. But I tell you, if this secret ever becomes reality, I will surely go insane!!
to you all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
So you know the rest of the story if you’ve been reading this blog. All the stories and achievements are there to read about, including the history of Jeremy. I came to Canada to conquer death. I did that. This will be my 40th birthday, and I am still alive. There surely is a God. I know his voice and I’ve seen his face. I am loved.
- I came to Conquer Death
- I met a man in sobriety
- I married that man in 2004
- I went back to school at age 35
- And I graduated in June of 2007 with a Degree in Religion
- I am still sober – by the Grace of God
- I am still alive – by the Grace of God
I don’t worry about dying any more. I don’t worry about the past any more. Save one truth of secrets would probably kill me, so we don’t talk about it ever. I trust my gut to know what God is telling me. My psychic abilities are strong enough to know the truth about death. And I know for myself today. And I have accepted the truth in my heart and I am the man I wanted to become and am still becoming. So join us at Tuesday Beginners tonight and let’s celebrate my birthday Big Brassy and GAY!!!
When I had my near death experience in 1997, I went across and was seated in a garden of the most beautiful flowers. They sent me back without any answers that I had questions about. I met a wise man one night who said to me, “Why wait till you’re dead to ask your questions, ASK them NOW! So I did that…
I’ve never told anyone what I am about to share with you…
In 2001 – I had two “visitations” in my South Beach apartment. One by the Lady in White. She came to bless me. She brought the scent of roses, that I could never find the origin of and never did. I never smelled those roses ever again after that …
The second was the “taking” where I was lain on a table, in a room where beings were present. They pricked my arms and told me that I would be healed and that I would live, that all would be well. Somewhere inside I knew it and I felt it, that was the first time my t-cells ever hit 1000 – in my labs in the Spring of (2001), on the last round in July my T-cells were 1186!! My T- cells have been hovering at 1000 since 2001. They had never gotten that high before ever before…
Someone is protecting me … My faith has saved me, and Christ has redeemed me, and God continually blesses my life. Thank God for all of you.
Thank you to all my readers and friends and fellows. And as always, if you like what you read, please, by all means let us know. It is always nice to hear from my readers. I am not your “run of the mill” Christian, but quite the opposite.
I just do what I am called to do
I help where I am directed to
and I love because I am commanded to
And from the Old Testament I remind of these most important words:
“The most vital commandment in the Old Testament is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deut. 6:5…
Bye for now…
Cleric Who Led Witch Hunt for Gays Named Baltimore Archbishop
by The Associated Press
(Baltimore, Maryland) The pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal William Keeler as archbishop of Baltimore on Thursday and named Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, who leads the U.S. military archdiocese, as his successor.
Keeler turned 76 in March, a year past the normal retirement age for bishops.
O’Brien, 68, served as an auxiliary bishop in New York before taking over the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington in 1997. He coordinated a major evaluation of U.S. seminaries in 2005-2006, ordered by the Vatican in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal.
The seminary review, completed last year, gave special attention to what seminarians are taught about chastity and celibacy. It also looked for evidence of homosexuality in the schools.
In a 2005 Associated Press interview, O’Brien said that most gay candidates for the priesthood struggle to remain celibate and the church must “stay on the safe side” by restricting their enrollment. The Vatican reaffirmed that year a longstanding church policy of keeping men with “deep-seated” homosexual tendencies from becoming priests.
O’Brien, a New York native, said he would be leaving his Washington post with mixed emotions.
“I just loved the military,” he said. “The service has taught me so much.”
Keeler, a native of San Antonio, was appointed archbishop in Baltimore in 1989 and marked his 50th anniversary in the priesthood in 2005. He submitted his resignation last year to the Vatican when he turned 75, as required by the church.
In May, Keeler said he planned to remain in Baltimore as head of the Basilica Historic Trust after his successor was named. He oversaw the restoration of the historic church.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore serves 510,000 Catholics in Baltimore and nine counties in central and western Maryland, according to the archdiocese Web site.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services serves about 1.5 million Catholics, including all in the military and their families.
Totem Pole in Stanly Park, Vancouver B.C.
Why is there a totem pole on this writing? Because I need a guide to write something coherent and learned. I go there mentally sometimes when I want to write, to sit in Kingcome Village with Mark Brian, the vicar of St. George’s Church, in Margaret Craven’s,
“I heard the Owl Call my Name.”
There is a majesty in the totem, a story of a people, of their traditions and their ways of thought. I heard a man speaking about the totem at the meeting tonight, and he said,
“I remember the totem, and the fact that I am the man on the bottom of the totem and not the one at the top. That keeps me grounded and sober.”
Men of different path’s populate the downtown core meetings and every once in a while you hear something that rings true to one’s soul. My heart stirred when he spoke and I remembered my spirit.
There is a lot going on in this sphere tonight, some of it good, and some of it is not so good. People are moving, leaving, breaking up and even some are moving forward in the coupling of relationships into one home and a together life. We have talked about depression as of late. And I have a particular view on that topic, because of my own depression battle and that of my husbands Bi-Polar issues.
There is NO pill that is going to make it all better. That magic pill does not exist. That’s why we have so many drug addicted people all over the world. When I got home Peter was watching a program on the Paxil fiasco. I was on Paxil once, what a nightmare. Doctors and drug companies want to ply us with all the pills we can pay for and for the most part, we can’t afford all the pills we must take on any given day.
You want to take pills and see therapists and doctors – yes do that. Sometimes depression and medical issues NEED a doctor’s or a psychiatrists fine vision. Peter’s shrink worked very hard to help us and he did. But aside from taking a pill and then finding Jesus, unless you want to get better and step out of the darkness, you have to take that first step into the light. So I offer you a candle to help light your way.
We cannot get by on medication alone. There has to come, in time, a desire to live, a desire to get better a desire to end the depression or illness. And I am one to speak about illness. I’ve been taking pills for the last 13 years to stay alive. Some sober people shun the medical necessity of some sober folks to stay alive. I’ve had all the fights I want to have about clean and sober and medical necessity.
I have been in and out of a therapists office on and off for the last 13 years. I find that another set of eyes and ears works to help me stay on track and having that guidance and therapy has, in short order saved my life. When I suffered from Agoraphobia some time ago, and I wouldn’t leave the house, I was on specific medication and seeing a specific therapist and we worked me out of the house over a six month period. It all started with wanting to sit on the front porch of my condo outside. Then I learned to walk around the block, and in turn I learned how to walk to the beach and feel safe, that my attacker wasn’t coming to get me. So I know what fear is.
And we find that “Fear is a Great Motivator for CHANGE.”
But fear can also cripple us. Do I need these pills forever, in my case, I need pills to help regulate my brain and my immune system and keeps my depression and anger in check. I know I need medication and that medication helps me stay sane, sober and alive. But I also take the steps every day to work on and with myself. Being good to myself, and doing something good for myself every day.
“Every day you should do something nice for yourself, Just Because!!“
Fear must not cripple us into complacency and ignorance about the world around us. Depression is a hard fought battle for so many, I have a viable work – therapy solution I offer my directees and kids that I work with. When parent’s who know me ask me to help them with their children, I take that as a huge compliment and a very important charge. So I am not clueless when I talk about medical issues and pills and depression. I’ve been there and I am here. I survived debilitating depression, it can be done.
All life functions on the principle of letting go. We are constantly changing physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually. Our lives move forward, as if on auto pilot, knowing that forward motion is the preferred direction and never backwards. How I wish, on that odd occasion, when I wax on nostalgia, that time could be reversed, just for a time.
Letting Go is a sober issue too. Recognizing the wreckage of our pasts, taking stock and making note, and 4th stepping the past away so that 5 – 6 and 7 can take root into 8 and 9 and then our checkup 10th step and continual spiritual connection in step 11 and then when we have done these to the best of our abilities for ourselves, then we can carry the message in the 12th step. Every one in this world is availed spiritual awakenings. it is possible for us to see, experience and share spiritual experiences. Letting Go is a spiritual experience. It is a spiritual action. That one is able to let go Absolutely!!
Sometimes we do not know when to let go, then again, many of us will not let go because that would mean that we would either be alone, live alone, or perish the thought, CHANGE!!! Sometimes I read blogs and I can see the “pain on the page.” I think that some people should let go of old habits and old people, those people who are not serving us in a spiritual capacity for goodness and light. But how do I move on and let go, well, that’s tricky. One step at a time. You make a decision. You set a date and you stick to that date.
Relationships come and go and boys are a dime a dozen and I can personally assure you that if you leave a function-less relationship that is painful, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I spent much of my HIV positive years ALONE. Because men are pigs, self serving and heartless and clueless. I have had (count them on one hand) very few relationships where I knew that the man who was in my bed – wanted to be in my bed, because he understood the reality of death and illness and I didn’t scare them. But most of them, eventually I had to let go because I was moving at a different speed as them. Life has its own rhythm. And its own speed. In fighting depression, I did it alone. Oh, I had friends, but I wasn’t in “relationship” with any one in particular – for a LONG TIME…
It wasn’t until I came back from my slip, worked on me, let go of the past and all that went with it, including everything that I owned, I am still working on that “Let DOWN” and got sober this last time, that I was ready to accept love and give love, I HAD to find love in myself for myself before I could give it to someone else and have that love reciprocated.
“The Pink Neon Sign”
I have learned over the last six years in Montreal sobriety, that every human being walks around with a PINK NEON SIGN flashing above their heads. Go to enough meetings and seek spiritual solutions and you will begin to see it all around you. Get on the Metro or a bus or walk down the street and read all the “Signs” coming at you…
- Drunk or High
- and eventually Sane and Happy
I have learned what sign all my “peoples” carry around above them and I love them any ways, even if some of them will never unplug or change the message flashing, for a few hours each week, I can reach them through ministry, and love them unconditionally. In the practice of “Letting Go” you stop and you unplug that sign for a while until you find an appropriate message to display. And that may take some time, and that’s ok, as long as you are working on yourself. You don’t have to be getting sober. These principles are universal and can be utilized by everyone – everywhere.
Sometimes the FEAR of Change or FEAR of being alone, makes us hang on to people and situations that baffle us, just because we don’t see the way out, or we are Un-Willing to see the solution, or we just FEAR…
“Fear is a great motivator for change…”
Everyone has the power to recognize when it is right to let go, when it is necessary to let go, and when it is crucial that we let go. Life will move forward and sometimes life asks of us to do things we may not necessarily like – but if the Gardner does not prune his rose bushes, how can they flower beautifully each season…
Attributed to King Solomon
To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;
A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;
A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and
a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;
A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.
With all humility we ask for God’s blessing tonight on those who come to visit and read, that they may find peace and wisdom in the many pages of writings we offer here and may I always remember that I inhabit the man at the foot of the totem and not the eagle of top. That I am who I am, in all my humanity, without ego or arrogance.
We thank the creator for all good things…
“The God of my Understanding doesn’t go to AA meetings…“
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: July 6, 2007 – 5:00 pm ET
(Miami Beach, Florida) A Miami Beach man who has angered gays, his neighbors and city hall over a huge banner denouncing same-sex marriage filed his papers Friday to run for mayor in November.
As 365Gay.com reported on Tuesday, the banner which runs the entire width of Bill Smatt’s lot proclaims “God created Adam + Eve, not Adam + Steve.”
The banner has raised the hackles of LGBT rights groups and Smatt’s neighbors, several of whom have complained to city hall.
The city has issued Smatt with five code violations. He says he has no intention of removing the banner and will fight the city in court.
The 76-year old Smatt, with a long white unruly beard, says he is “a messenger from God.”
But the Jamaican-born Smatt says he isn’t a homophobe.
Gay leaders in Miami Beach would beg to differ.
It isn’t the first time he has placed an anti-gay banner in front of his home.
When he lived in Miami’s Belle Meade area in 1998 he hung a banner across his fence reading “Belle Meade, City of Sodom and Gomorrah. Vengeance is Mine Sayeth the Lord.”
Smatt says if elected mayor he will shut down Miami Beach’s domestic partner registry that was created in 2004.
He wants to clean up the gay club and beach scene in Miami Beach and says he would ban skimpy bathing suits for men and women.
His campaign Web site says that he would increase the pay for police by 100 percent and abolish property and school taxes for Miami Beach residents.
Three other candidates are already in the mayor’s race – Commissioners Matti Bower and Simon Cruz and resident Raphael Herman.
Callie I loved him, knew him, Mourned him
Carl was sick, and he died.
All the men in this quad were from the bar
Jorge, Ricky and I worked in Reservations at(then-RCCL)
on Dodge Island.
Pedro Zamora – Activist, The Real World
Dennis Johnson, the bar owners lover – is spoken
of in my memoirs from the Patti Labelle Concert
at the James L. Knight Center – Before he died.
Where were you on July 4th, 1994?
We you with your family and friends celebrating the July 4th Holiday? Did you BBQ in the back yard, or maybe someone else’s home? Did you see the fireworks, like many of us did?
That was 13 years ago…
I should be dead and buried already.
Over in the Pages under “History” you can read all about it, or re-live it if you wish. To remind all of my readers why my header image is what it is right now, to remind me where I have been and to keep me vigilant of where I am and grateful for being able to look ahead to the future.
Because doctors believed that I would live – That I had that “spark of life” not to mention a different strain than the rest, that something “other” than AIDS that killed all of my friends.
Those are my flowers on his quilt – he visited many displays
when it came to Miami
Before it falls behind the mountain. The sky wasn’t this dramatic tonight, but the sun was setting as the meeting let out and Louise and I were on our way, I just happen to look up at that right moment where the sun was blazing orange-red and was just atop the mountain looking towards the North. Between the trees, the church steeple and the mountain in front of us, Louise said to others standing outside the church
“Come quick and see the sun set, and for a brief moment, stop what you are doing and enjoy the moment.”
This is actually a photograph of a Montreal sunset.
The negative, petulant energy that has been so pervasive at our meeting has passed on and we had a clear night to navigate the wonders of sobriety. Aside from dogs in the church we didn’t have any other pressing issues to discuss at the business meeting, thank the Living Christ.
One of my boys was actually early tonight and we there to help us set up, which was a noted change from his usual pattern of fly in and fly out and stay distant. Tonight it was as if God has opened the little door into his heart and he sat and shared with us like never before which was fantastic. We have exorcised the bad juju from the room.
Interesting that a new crop of newbies are coming around. A woman shared tonight that she was diagnosed with cancer and that someone told her to “come to us” that we would help her – and that struck me. She actually said, amid the insanity of doctors and not drinking someone actually said to her, GO to Tuesday Beginners and share, and they will help you. I guess we are doing something right? A number of our women have been diagnosed and been through surgery, chemo and radiation so we have a very good group of strong women who can help each other and that support each other so well.
You never know who is going to walk down those steps on any given Tuesday. It seems that our work in the community has brought us some new blood and some new life and people to serve, albeit through a cup of coffee and some cookies and a kind word. A lot of people showed up for our “Meeting before the Meeting” which is nice, it is a time for us to get to know new people and talk amongst ourselves on the business of the week, how we are all doing, what we are all struggling with at the moment and we have some added time to share with members who might be in a rough spot. Our little practice of caring about others – having compassion is spreading.
Isn’t that one of the ways we stay sober? To show up and do service and to understand that sobriety doesn’t come on our time but on God’s time, and all we have to do is show up every week and open the door and build it, and they will come…
- All my boys showed up tonight
- We were able to help someone through just being there
- That everyone is well, and safe and serene
- I was able to share experience, strength and hope
- That new blood has been infused into our community
- That people come to us because they know they will find help
- The business meeting wasn’t a fiasco this week
- There is food in the fridge
- There is a roof over my head (I forgot that last night)
- and I have a warm bed to sleep in
- And we saw a beautiful sunset on the way home
- Being sober one can admire, observe and participate in the solitude and beauty of the seasons, the changing leaves, the whispering wind, the beautiful warmth of Summer
That’s all for now…
I went for coffee this afternoon with my ‘pod’ of friends as I always do on Tuesday and we had a lot of fun. It is good to laugh and to spend time with ‘my people.’
On the way into church there were cars parked all over the place and we soon realized that a reception was being held in our ‘space’ and that we had to figure out how we were going to get the space ready for our ‘people’ in time for the meeting. We called on the gate keeper to find out how long this reception would continue for, and the family asked for 45 minutes more, which was manageable.
People say that I am really good at ‘winging it’ that I do my best work when I am flying by the seat of my pants at 60 miles an hour with no real destination in mind. So thinking fast on my feet, I decided that we (my pod) would become banquet workers. So we sized up the crowd after a few minutes of observation and then set off…
We cleaned up all the dishes, plates and spent coffee cups, “may I clear your table?” Why yes, thank you, you are so kind… On it went. The leader of the family came and talked with us and asked us to share in their reception, which we kindly participated. We got the room cleaned up like any good banquet operator would, efficiently and swiftly, without a word to the wiser.
After while, the people began to depart. In the end, they left two huge flower arrangements in the reception hall because they decided not to take them. The church gatekeeper told us that they did not want to put the flowers in the church because they had too many already.
Well, this little seminarian was once a ‘flower power,’ I was in charge of flowers and altar decoration in my day. I also did this at my home parish. So waste not want not. I could not see throwing away hundreds of dollars worth of orchids, roses and lilies, all white of course. So I broke down the arrangements into bite size pieces and made several bouquets of flowers and greens and I was going to give them to the ladies at the meeting.
Superstition as it is, they all declined the offer of beautiful flowers.
So I brought them home myself since nobody else wanted them. And here they are. They say flowers are for the living, the dead can’t see them, right? What better way to honor someone than to respect the flowers that were provided for them. I just could not let all these flowers go into a waste bin. All that beautiful work for what? So I brought an armload of flowers home. People were staring and commenting as I walked down the street with them.
So like last night, I played with my ‘little web cam that could’ and here they are…
Flowers for my hunny…
And that’s the way the meeting went too. I had a topic ready and waiting, I had planned on talking about the ‘revolving door syndrome’ that so many of our young people are stuck in, and wouldn’t you know it, none of them showed up for the meeting…
I hate when that happens…
Needless to say, I had to ‘wing it’ again. We welcomed back into the fold our snowbirds that have returned from their winter sojourn in the tropics for the last six months, and also, some of our ‘oldie but goody’ past members showed up – so I had a new crowd to entertain, as I was chairing this month.
Flying by the seat of ones pants in a meeting is exhilarating. We talked about retrospect, hindsight and sobriety. Which ended up in a really great meeting. I love my ‘people’ they are always willing to share their lives so freely.
It was a good day today… All is well in my world…
We must pray for the soul of the departed.
He was a doctor, a great man, a father and friend to many. I know this because Ms. Nikki reminded us of who’s reception this happen to be. She worked for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital before they closed many years ago. He was Egyptian and will be buried in Egypt in the days to come.
Eternal Rest grant him and may Perpetual Light shine upon him.
“The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking…”
I finished my Power Point presentation on the Gospel of Thomas due on Thursday in my Christian Origins class. Thanks to the editing wizardry of my hubby, it looks really nice and should get good marks, let us pray.
I went to a meeting tonight. I always enjoy listening to speakers talk, and tonight was no exception. But I found myself shifting in my seat listening tonight because one of the speakers has been sober a long time, and time means nothing when one listens to the way people choose to express themselves in the company of others. You can tell from the get go how a share is going to go, by the tack of the speaker. When the word “RETARD” came up I almost fell out of my chair. But, drunks are drunks are drunks…
Downtown meetings are always hit and miss when it comes to the colorful characters that travel on the green line from one end of the city to the other at night. Free coffee and cookies and a warm room to sit in for an hour is a draw for the downtown runners.
There is a particular woman who panhandles in the area where I live. She is a sad soul who needs help, and I’ve watched her for years now. For the most part she is harmless, but on the odd occasion she likes to swear at you as you walk by her and she throws her empties at you if you don’t stop and engage her. I’ve more than once had to raise my voice at her because of her language and actions. She sauntered into the meeting screaming and raising her voice, people just ignore her like she isn’t there. The odd member is apt to remind her that she must be quiet if she is going to stay in the meeting, she politely and quietly excused herself after she had some cookies and a cup of coffee…
Some people will never make it off the street.
Anyways, “speakers.” I am grateful that there is a meeting close to home on a Monday night, and I am no judge of anyone. But I know that it is progress and not perfection and tonight was just one of those “gotta sit and listen to the message and try to identify, which I did.” I laughed and chuckled at the right moment. But I left there shaking my head.
When sobriety becomes a chore and the speaker admits that he has better things to do than sit here and share his story as he was asked, one must stop and see just where sobriety ranks on their order of importance.
I am just glad that I am not like some, and that I am sober today, for the grace of God. I can still learn from someone that it is the little things that matter in ones speech, because what you say in a meeting will either stick because the words are shocking or the words will stick because you can take something away from the one who shared. I got both tonight…
Time for dinner…
Politics to follow after sustenance.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St Frances pictured above…
At Step Three, many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him:
“God I offer myself to Thee – To build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy Will. Take away my difficulties, that my transcendence over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love, and Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!”
We thought before taking this Step, making sure we were ready. Then we could commence to abandon ourselves utterly to Him.
As Bill Sees It, pg. 210
I’ve stepped up my meetings once again, because I am taking care of me, and it is nice to get out of the house and see people I don’t necessarily get to see often. Over on the side bar I have listed the meetings that I attend during the week. These are staple meetings on Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights. They are all downtown and very local. So if you are in the area and want to stop by and participate, please do so. We’d like to see you.
Monday – Came to Believe – 2176A Ste Catherine’s (Right near my house) 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Tuesday’s Beginners – St. Leon’s Church (Westmount) 6:30 p.m./8:00p.m.
Friday – Meeting Someone – Padua Center – Little Bergundy – 1950 St. Antoine W. 5:30p.m.
I double dipped tonight. It was a good day. I started off on the right foot, and took time to remember my spirit. I had some time before I left the house to watch some “Touched by an Angel,” Psalm 151, my favorite episode…
I got ready for my evening and set off. All is well.
Today’s meetings were great. I met some new folks and shared some experience, strength and hope, which is always good. I am getting reconnected again. It is time for me to get back out there and do some footwork. Sobriety cannot be had sitting ones one ass, in order to put time in the bank you have to get out there and do your banking.
After the 6:30 meeting I was talking to some people and I was asked to sit in on the speaker meeting at 8p.m. And I have to say that this young lady did not take a breath during her entire share, it was like the energizer bunny had gone off at the table.
Oh My God, she made me anxious sitting there listening to her rattle off her story at a mile a minute interspersed with “you know” and “like” and she kinda reminded me of an angsty Avril Lavigne… bejeezus… take a breath for Christ’s sake…
I was all relaxed and ready to hear some great testimony and afterwards I felt like I had just run a marathon in less than 30 minutes…
In the end I gave the “beginners chip” sermon, which was nice after so long an absence.
Time to have dinner and hit the books. I have some reading to do for a reading assignment due tomorrow. Hey PB I am reading the Kierkegaard text “Fear and Trembling” for my LAST term paper of my Undergraduate career. Holy shit I can’t believe it, the last undergraduate term paper assignment. Just a few more weeks to go and we are finished with the undergraduate portion of my studies. Can you believe it? For those who have been on the train since the beginning. I don’t think there are many of you out there who were readers way back when, I know of ONE (Eric).
I feel much better, I am centered and I am sober.
I will be hitting a few more meetings this week that were pointed out to me IN my own neighborhood, who knew!!
see ya later…