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Posts tagged “Community

Thursday: Spiritual Principles

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What a day, what a week, what a life …

After two months of scheduling, one of my most favorite people, well, one of my most favorite young women, spoke for me tonight.

She Is Joy Overload !!!

A while back, my best friend turned me on to a book. The Spirituality of Imperfection, Storytelling and the Search for Meaning, by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham.

HE had read the book, previously, because a friend gifted him the book at a meeting some years ago. So, He read the book, and then gave said book to me. I read, said book, and while reading the book, time and time again, I saw my best friend within the read.

Meaning: He had learned, and then employed certain Spiritual Principles. Every time I hit a topic that he had learned, then employed, I noted it in the margin. I was totally impressed by the way he had learned and how he used what he learned with ME.

Now, my best friend, another one of my guys, and His Girlfriend, née fiancée, have read the book too. The book has made the rounds of people, in the rooms. I have certain friends, who have had a hard time with sobriety. I bought them a copy of the book, and asked them to read it, to maybe get a handle on simple spirituality, based on the premise that we are all that we are.

That we are NOT one or the other, or a This or a That.

That we are human, and imperfect and that to embrace our humanity to embrace ALL that we are, warts and all, in a tremulous balance of Love, God and Spirituality, there can be a beginning.

Our Imperfect-ness …

There are people, FEW, people I know, who haven’t necessarily read this book, but in knowing them, this far, in my journey, THEY live and inhabit spiritual principles. I can hear it in the way they speak, in the way they work with others, and if you listen closely, you too will hear it as well.

Back in June, I had spoken at the Thursday meeting, and that was a BIG shit show. The following Tuesday, I spoke at an evening meeting, talking about Step 11. Prayer and Meditation and God. Yes, I know this topic very well, and I can talk about it till the cows come home.

I was the opening act for my very favorite woman, Miss. Joy Overload.

When she finished speaking that night, I felt something I had never realized before. I had a feeling of spiritual truth, of honesty and of spiritual principles.  WHY ???

Because I had read this little Tome of a book, and I was listening with not only my mind, or my ears, I was listening to her with my heart and soul. I had learned this by reading the book. I have accepted certain spiritual axioms into my practice, therefore giving me the ability to “Experience.”

Experience is everything.

Spirituality is not a Sunday morning event. Spirituality is not a once a day prayer, or a once a night prayer. Spirituality is something that we LIVE, every day, every hour, every minute.

Spirituality is something we learn to LIVE. Every Day … Every Hour.

At this stage in my game, I’ve learned this way of life. I know what it looks like, and what it feels like. To walk near God. To live near God. To stay “On The Beam” for more of my day, than being “Off The Beam.”

The more we move Towards God, the better our life can be. Because when me move towards God, life tends to take a more spiritual tack. Learning this principle took a very long time for me.

For most of my life, in the In Between times, I thought I had to live life according to the worlds specifications. When I got sober the second time, I turned my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him, at that time in my life.

I’ve spent the better part of fifteen years perfecting my connection to the God of my understanding, by learning and inhabiting spiritual principles.

This did not come overnight, by any means.

Spiritual practice is like sobriety. You have to practice every day.

We need each other. We need each other’s stories. We need community, and the care, love and support it provides.

Together, we need to Remember, Together.

It is not good for man or woman to be alone. And we know, as my friend spoke words tonight, that together, we can do many things. And you know the axiom of “When two people get together, there I AM in their midst.”

When two drunks get together, there God is …

There is something to be said about the power the fellowship has to help each other heal those areas of life that need to be forgiven and healed. And the book does say, and we say as well, “That eventually, in a meeting, now or later, you will hear another human tell your story. The book goes on to say that “in community, when we hear our story mirrored back to us, we are forgiven and we are healed.”

The fellowship might give us a way to quit the drink, and never have to drink again, the truth is that, unless you live inside spiritual principles and come to learn and know the God of your understanding, your chances are less than average.

Because there are those too, who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. If you cannot be honest with yourself, How in God’s universe can you be honest with God ???

I have friends, they are friends, because we sit in rooms together, they might not call ME a friend, but they are … They who are just white knuckling it, who just won’t Let Go and Let God.

Tonight, my lady friend told us how to do that.

You never know when the message is going to sink in and settle where it needs to.

Which is why we keep coming back.

We stick around until the miracle happens …


Thursday: Coffee Maker …

coffee cup

Always pay attention to the coffee maker, at whatever meeting you go to…

Six months ago, when it came time to change up my meetings, I realized that there was a meeting, just down the hill from home. Essentially, a 10 minute walk through the tunnel to a little church of a building, not far from home.

The Padua Center, is a building that houses the remains (read: Altar, Statues, Lectern) of an old church that was demolished, but the core of that church had been kept, and now mass is held in that building on Sunday mornings.

Many years ago, there was another meeting that was began by an old friend, who has since died. I used to go to this little meeting, when it was up and running.

Fast Forward to November 2016. I looked up Love and Tolerance in the meeting list and headed down one Monday night. Every meeting, has its resident coffee maker. One of the most unsung jobs in the fellowship. Nobody cares WHO made the coffee, but it better be damn well perked by the time those ungrateful alcoholics walk through the door.

Hell hath no fury like an Alcoholic, with coffee not ready to go…

Danger Will Robinson, DANGER !!!!

I’ve known some crazy coffee makers in my time.

That night I met our coffee maker extraordinaire. Back then, the meeting was sparsely attended, and only needed a small, 12 cup perk coffee maker. Over the last six months our intrepid coffee maker invested in a full bore 60 cup, standard issue, coffee urn.

The number of meeting attendees, has more than doubled in six months. And all of us are grateful for the coffee maker. He is there every week, busy or not, making coffee.

This past Monday, I asked him if he could give me “thirty minutes?” He understood that I was asking him to come to a meeting to hear ME speak.

Funny that …

This afternoon around 1 p.m. he texted me saying that he could not make our date for the meeting. I was on my way to the bank to prepare for my trip to N.L. next Thursday.

I came home and made two phone calls. One came back as a NO, and the other message was not received prior to the meeting. I took that as a sign, to trust God and head to the meeting as usual. While setting up, I told one of our women that I needed a speaker, and she volunteered to speak for me.

Not ten minutes later, my coffee maker texted me saying his late meeting at the office had been cancelled and that he was on his way. Little did he know that HE was the one who was speaking and not ME.

That realization came about 5 minutes before I introduced him to the room.

Color him surprised…

It all went as God had ordered it. He knocked it out of the park.

After the meeting I told him that newcomer quote I heard a couple of weeks ago that:

If you get asked to Speak at St. Matthias, You Have Arrived …

Our little Monday, Love and Tolerance meeting is a wealth of Sober Experience, that I have been tapping since I joined St. Matthias a few months ago. Lots of sober men and women who don’t usually hit the Thursday meeting, so, fresh minds are fresh stories to hear.

Last week, into last weekend, New Foundland was hit by a severe blizzard, which prompted some serious considerations of not making the trip next week, due to weather concerns. I called Air Canada, and spoke to them about weather. Then I called the bank, and tried to get some insurance on my $650.00 airline ticket. (That was a bust)

Tuesday would be the day that I would decide to either get on a plane or cancel my trip, because getting an airplane into St. John’s is dicey, frequently. Wind, Weather, Snow, are a given on any day. Tonight, it seems that the weather will be looking up, thanks to Environment Canada’s six day forecast.

I have cash in hand, and a good weather forecast, at the moment. In New Foundland, weather is never a given. All it takes is a little weather headed into that area, and Mother Nature can dump up to sixty centimeters of snow on any given day.

It has been pissing rain in Montreal for two days now. A Rain/Snow mix may fall tomorrow night, and more rain. We have heard, mentioned, double digit positive temps for this weekend … Let Us Pray …

Keto-Genic Diet

Reddit Keto Info Page
Keto Nutrition Page

Friday, last week, a good friend of mine witnessed me, two nights in a row, drinking my favorite Orange Soda. He was not impressed with that. On Friday night he said to me that I needed to stop the sugar intake and that I needed to look into the Keto Diet.

Saturday night, I did some serious investigating and came away with a diet plan that I was willing to work with. The Keto Diet, is strict. Lots of No, No’s. And very little leeway in the eradication of sugars and carbohydrates.

The Keto diet has a scientific basis. On the second link, you will find all the scientific data with Diabetes and Cancer patients.

I haven’t had a sip of soda in five days. I haven’t had any sugar whatsoever, in five days either. I wrote down the dietary restrictions on the fridge, and now we both eat very well, based on the Keto Diet restrictions in place.

Let me tell you that Detoxing from Sugar is BRUTAL … The first three days, I thought I was going to loose my mind. I was hormonal, and seriously demented. I had headaches, and I was terribly, emotionally, cracked.

One of my women, whom I work with, read my F.B. Page and she has serious time invested into the Keto Diet. So she called me the other night and we tweaked my plan, with a few changes and substitutions.

I spoke about having realized in February that I had, in fact, lost ten pounds, which spurred me into a radical lifestyle change, personally. I want to feel good, and look good, and look good doing it too.

People are noticing.

Thursday, after the meeting, is my “teaching night.”

My Elder friend in Utah, and I talk weekly via Google Hangout. We get to see each other and talk about how his life has changed since he ended his mission in Montreal. It was important that we kept our friendship going, because i want him in my life and we are friends, and each week, I get a little Faith Boost from him. General Conference was last weekend, this year, he got to see it live and in person. I get to watch it here at home.

His takeaway was this:

Community is important. Faith is Important. Charity is important.

Distilling a theological message to three points …

The number of walls you can knock down when ministering to your community, friends, and family, the better. We don’t need any more walls, we need community, we need love, we need charity and we need to love one another fully.

This message, in three parts, is familiar to me. I’ve heard it repeated many times on many fronts over the past month or so.

The Blessings of Easter is quickly approaching. The whole reason the Atonement is central to the church and her people. The sacrifice of the Cross makes this life possible and grants us life, love and faith.

Tomorrow is the Best Night of the Week.

Surely more to come.

Tenzin Palmo, Buddhist monk once said:

“The more you realize, the more you realize that there is nothing to realize. The Idea that there’s somewhere we have got to get to, and something we have to attain, is our basic delusion.”

 


The Night Before, The Night Before, New Years Eve

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“Accept the Past with No Regrets. Handle the Present with Confidence. Face the Future with No Fear…”

Montreal weather, this week, has been all over the map. A flurry here, some freezing rain there, terribly dangerous conditions ensued. As the rain came to an end on Tuesday, Wednesday, it was warm enough that all that ice melted, not before wreaking havoc on the population.

Last night, clouds began to form from fronts coming from the Great Lakes, and warnings went up for some serious snow to fall. It snowed all day, and into the evening. When all was said and done, there was about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground.

Twitter exploded early this evening telling riders of rapid transit, that buses would be running late (read: Or not come at all) because of heavy snowfall.

I listened to Rafa’s advice, so this afternoon, I downloaded the UBER app to my phone and filled in all the info for tonight’s trip.

I told the app where I was, and where I wanted to go. I set up my payment option and hit the “Request UBER.” Within three minutes my driver was at my front door. He actually called me while I was coming down in the elevator to tell me he had arrived.

I will NEVER take another TAXI in Montreal, so long as I live here.

Taxi drivers here in Montreal have been up in arms about UBER operating here and decimating their bottom lines and livelihoods from direct competition.

If there is one dishonest taxi driver out there, there are more, I am sure !

Thank you UBER.

This will be the last post of 2016. I am looking forward to the WordPress end of year report that comes on New Year’s Eve. After a year of writing, I get the specific stats on just how well we did this year in regards to trends, numbers and readers.

God has been very busy this year, taking many of the most important people that entertainment has ever seen, and will never see again.

In 1977, I was TEN years old, ( My apologies ) when Star Wars came to New Britain, Connecticut. The first time we saw Star Wars was at the Twin City Theatres, across the street, from the store my mother worked in when I was a kid. The name escapes me at the moment.

Star Wars has been a HUGE part of my life, for all of my life. I remember when Return of the Jedi came out, And I specifically remember sitting in the theatre, weeping. I had had a spiritual experience, one of many through the franchise of films.

“Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, You’re my only hope ….”

While God is calling home luminaries of stage and screen, there are those who are speaking petitions to the Almighty, to remove certain people off the face of the earth, specifically. By name …

And I have to agree with them.

Death is never a good option, but, while God is doing what He is doing, why not take a few more for good measure !!!

Let Us Pray …

It is crunch time in the rooms of recovery. We’ve been prepping for this weekend for an entire year. making sure our folks have everything that they need, in terms of time and sobriety. And we even have printed worksheets for people to take home with them, along with a copy of Living Sober, for good measure.

Christmas and New Years can be real killers, both Figuratively and Literally.

As is usual, the stats go down through the weekend, and come January 1st, the stats rise and we welcome folks from all over, to the rooms. We’ve worked very hard this season to anchor our men and women in the rooms.

But, in the end, it all comes down to choices.

There are sober places to go on New Year’s Eve, all over the world.

Sober people really know how to throw a good New Years Eve Party. At least we do, here in Montreal. There are several choices one can make here in the city. Nobody has to be alone, or need to drink. You don’t have to be alone.

I thought about writing a retrospective on the past year, but decided against it.

Good Riddance 2016. It was my toughest year in sobriety for many reasons.

In the end, I am still sober and I listened to good advice where necessary

People might have LOTS of years, but some of those men and women, are not very SOBER.

There but for the Grace of God go I.

Let us turn towards goodness, hope and love.

Goodnight, for the last time in 2016.

I thank all of you who have stayed around, for those who read, and for a certain author, of my acquaintance, who LOVES the LIKE button.

You know who you are.

Many words have been written this year.

On Saturday we will see just how many words were written.

Thank You So Much.

 

 

 


Thursday: Never Take Anything for Granted

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You never know when something you do, or something you say, will impact a life.

I’ve learned in my life, that it isn’t about STUFF, really. It is about connections, love, giving, sharing. Where in the world can you go, on any given day or night, and know, that every single soul in a particular room, has your back 100% ?

The most important job I have in this life, that I live, is to make sure, the meeting I do service at, is opened, set up, and ready to receive whomever walks through that door.

Service is a thankless job. If we don’t do service, the men and women who count on us to be there for them, will be left standing outside in the cold, with no where to be among their own for the hour they chose to visit us.

When I was young, Christmas was a family event. We all participated in decorating the trees, and bushes and anything that stood still long enough to be lit up with lights, to make sure, our house was the best LIT house on the street.

My parents provided wonderful Christmases throughout my life, until of course they found out that I was gay. Then all that good cheer went out the window. It did not matter that I was still family, what mattered was that I was a confessed homosexual.

Baby Jesus and Homosexual did not compute  !!!

I remember my first sober Christmas, this time around. It was the year 2002. I had met my then boyfriend just a couple of weeks before Christmas. He lived in the apartment we live in today. But the home we live in today, is light years from the apartment we had back then.

He was going to Ottawa for Christmas. And he gave me a set of keys to this apartment. And he said that I could stay here while he was out of town.

I never left …

We did not get a Christmas tree until Christmas 2003. Because by then, the world had shifted, and not in a good way. The mental illness roller coaster had left the station, and for the first and last time, I went home with him for Christmas. To guard his privacy and protect him from everybody else, because nobody knew the struggle he went through, and to this day, nobody knows about how hard he struggled and what we had to do to keep him safe and sound.

Christmas is an important event in our lives. For a long time, and for many years, after we first got together, Christmas was very paltry. We could not imagine participating in the holiday to the degree that the family participates in Christmas. We just did not have the money to pull it all off.

Peter’s Brother and Sister, have more money than we will ever see. Every Christmas, it is guaranteed, that we will get three sets of gifts. Baskets full of nice things. Useful things, stuff, we would not necessarily purchase for ourselves.

I remember the first year that we could spend money on gifts for everyone. All the adults, and especially the kids in the family. There are five young men and women today. Everybody gets a gift.

Christmas is a well planned event.

Over the years, we have learned the value of a dollar. We live in a very spartan apartment, so there is not a whole lot of room to put STUFF. We do share gifts together. But our lists are very short. And we get to open presents on Christmas gifts on Christmas morning.

For the last ten years, I have opened our home to friends who do not have families, locally, and I invite my friends to our dinner table, both on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a tradition that my step mom taught us about.

There is an incalculable gift when you invite your friends to dine at your table on the holidays. It isn’t about anything but the simple gift of sharing.

Two years ago, Mama and the baby came into my life. Lu’s first Christmas was spent visiting grandma and grandpa in St. John’s. I was here, they were there. This is Lu’s second Christmas. And I am all in.

Today, the shipment of gifts I sent to St. John’s arrived. Lu and Mama will have Christmas in the best possible way. Even if I am not there with them.

I will win the best Christmas Gift EVER award this year for sure.

The most important job I have today, is making sure the meetings I go to are opened, and ready to receive.

I’ve worked in the nightclub business for a long time, when I got sober the first time, and I know very well, the lengths that people go to, to party on holiday nights. Holidays are some of the best nights in club business.

Alcoholics, in recovery, need just as much attention, as their drinking friends and family.

I’ve seen many, many people suffer through the holiday’s. I know what they are going through. I’ve spent fifteen years watching people make choices during the holidays, that were not necessarily, well thought through.

I once spoke my mind to a suffering alcoholic, at Christmas time, and we never saw her again. Where she went, or if she is still alive, is unknown.

I know today, that the best thing I can do for my friends, is to make sure that whatever room, I am in, on any given holiday night, is open and ready to receive.

The hour that people come to the rooms is sacred. You never know, 100% what is going on in someone else’s head, but we all have a idea. We are all there for the same reason.

It is in that hour that we can affect change. You never know, to what degree, an act of selfless kindness, will do for someone who is suffering or just needs a place to be themselves for an hour without judgment or argument.

The room is set up. There is coffee ready to go. And usually, there are treats on the coffee table as well. We really know how to do holidays right, in Montreal.

Spend enough holidays in the rooms, and you will see just what a difference you make in someones life, every year they return to spend an hour with you.

That is the way we form relationships with people. One cup of coffee at time.

One conversation at a time.

One day at a time.

We are called to be kind. We are called to be just. We are called to be merciful. We are called to care. And we are called to do good in people’s lives, because we must.

That is the message of Christmas.

There were no smart phones in Bethlehem. And there was not a single Big Box Store in all of Sinai.

We give because we can, if we are able.

There is so much suffering in the world today. The world needs a day where EVERYONE is kind and just and merciful.

All we can do, is what we can do, on a daily basis, for someone else, because that is what we are called to do.

Find a kindness and do it …

 

 


Friday: Part 1, In Quiet Desperation

in-quiet-desperation

Only time, life, experience, and finally hindsight, has given me new eyes to see life the way it panned out, how life changed, gave me its lumps, and now restored me back into the faith life that I was meant to live.

I’m amid a read of “In Quiet Desperation” Understanding the challenge of Same Sex Attraction. By Fred and Marilyn Matis and Ty Mansfield.

Having figured my self out, and finding myself of the backside of Gay, I have reoriented my life. Approaching Fifty next year, I prayed for a new experience. And I got it in spades.

I’ve reassessed my life as it played out. And I’ve figured out that What I became as a young boy, was directly related to the reading material I was consuming. I favored one flavor over another, for some strange reason.

Being fed two sides of the same coin was problematic. Having parents do one thing then say another, was confounding. Knowing I was headed in a certain direction, and having parents who derided me, and verbally and physically abused me, did not help in that process.

And I lament the fact that I did not have reinforcement in either direction, gay or straight. My parents might have loved us by the way they lavished “Things” on my brother and myself. Showing Love was not the same as Giving Love.

In my experience of parents who love their kids, and give them stable homes, with religious education and support, is something that was never afforded to me. I mean, there was church, and good people in my life, but that’s as far as that went, because when i went home, all the good was replaced with all that was terrible.

I reflect this question across many ideas … “Had someone stepped in, and said something, anything, to either dissuade me or give me another option to live my life, would I have listened, and what would that have looked like in reality ?

I know, that had my life changed even one degree from the track it took, I probably would not have gotten here, in the now, where I am in this moment.

I went into my twenties knowing I was gay. Was it a choice ? It all stems back to reading material and what fancied me, and I only carried it forwards because it was thrilling I guess. And the lifestyle I chose to take on, was based on a suggestion, from someone I thought I could trust.

My addictions only followed me and made the transition worse.

Still I did not know any better. And that is my fault. Once you are immersed in a culture and a people, and you become insulated into that community, and one does not venture very far from it.

But I see today, the wisdom of the Latter Day Saints. I understand their position on the Teaching on Marriage and Families. I understand how difficult it IS for young people, and adults alike who struggle with same sex attraction.

Because I am on the other side today, I see wisdom in ways I had not in the past.

To read Stuart’s story in this book, a young man of the LDS faith, struggle with SSA for so many years, go on a Mission, Teach and was loved, and the length he went to to get help, to pray, talk to his family and his Bishop, but in the end, being unable to reconcile his feeling with his faith, he planned his exit.

Stuart’s parents loved him, they supported him, they knew about his struggles and tried valiantly to help him, to no avail. All the words in the world, the scriptures in the book, the talks with friends, family, bishops and others, did not assuage Stuart’s feelings of his negative self worth and his unworthiness as a Child of God.

He told his parents that he was suicidal. He told his parents that the end was coming, everybody knew, but nobody had any power to change his mind, however hard they tried. They did not commit him because that was counter intuitive.

People of the LDS faith, and the Book of Mormon, rely on prayer and the authority of their church. I wonder, if I had that kind of faith life and family life, to the extent that many young people in the LDS church do, would something like that have changed my track, way back when ?

For Stuart Matis, there was no option. He had the gun, an on a Friday afternoon, Stuart went to their LDS stake center, and took his own life, by his own hand.

Mix this terrible tragedy, with the commotion caused by the push to legalize Gay Marriage in California, and the pros and cons in this discussion, and the firestorm the media creates in all things, this tragic event was defiled by hatred, only fueled by the media that twisted this young man’s death into a front page story about “hating the Gay.”

Being gay, we know is not a choice. Somewhere in our DNA there is something that triggers this state. I knew, before I hit the age of ten, who I was.

And that “Who” I was, was directly related to what I was consuming.

What did I know from gay in the 1970’s ? Nothing. The first gay man I met wasn’t until the late 70’s into the early 80’s. I knew squat about being gay, beyond what I was reading.

So I wonder, would a change in that equation, have changed the outcome ?

My heart weeps for Stuart. I was just dumbfounded as I was reading last night. I cannot imagine what his family went through, well I can, because the book tells the story, but just as well, reconciling faith and homosexuality has its problems.

Matthew Vines has spent the past five years teaching the evangelical faithful that there can be reconciliation between faith and homosexuality. I’ve read his work. And the work is sound.

People of faith, in all faiths, deal with the issue of Faith, Homosexuality and Same Sex Attraction, each in their own ways. And across the board, if reconciliation is not found, it is either “Living the lifestyle” or “Suicide.”

The LDS church offers the Option.

And I can testify that many young people in the LDS church, who deal with SSA and their faith, have, each themselves, contemplated suicide as an option.

Suicide is Not and Option.

I dissect my gay life into these areas … Gay, Attraction, Sex, Money, Addiction and Relationship.

I had dated women in my teens. I am still friends with one of those women, to this day. But I never went as far as sexuality or the spectre of marriage with any of them, because what did I know about marriage, beyond what I had seen in my life.

Alcohol and Drugs were the glue and the mortar that solidified being gay. If you take away the substances, then you have sex and relationships left. If you remove sex from the equation further, then you have just relationship.

The above list involves non-negotiables in any relationship. Remove any of them, and the relationship will fail.

Which is why, at this stage of my ball game, I am on the backside of gay, due to my special circumstances. And I am a unique case in my approach to the Latter Day Saints. And my case will be reviewed by the proper church authority before I progress further.

And I wonder … What was it that made gay good ? Boys, Alcohol, Drugs, Sex ???

That’s what made the world go round. Would I have changed anything, YES, I would have gone without certain people, activities and certain relationships back then.

It was an experience.

It got worse as I approached my diagnosis. I had never met such dishonest people in my life, until I met Todd on that fateful night.

Yes, I was still gay. But I was a sick gay. Which removed me from general population. I was serving the least of these, but I wasn’t “one of them.” Heavenly Father removed me from general population in order to save me from them and from myself.

Heavenly Father removed the

  • substance
  • the relationships
  • the attraction
  • the sex
  • and the lifestyle from me.

And over time, I changed as circumstances changed. And now in hindsight, I see the trajectory as it played out.

Today, all I have is the relationship. Everything else has been removed.

The book talks about being refined in the fire …

I was refined in the fire. Absolutely.

And now I am here.

Faith is such a personal practice for every human being. The Church of Latter Day Saints is the true church. And is built on the authority given to its leaders from the prophet Joseph Smith.

You need to read this book, to understand what I am trying to share.

I think, simply, life is about choices and options, and what lifestyle you choose to live.

We gravitate towards what is familiar. In life, In Sex, In Addiction, In Relationships, and In Faith. We are born into families, that is fact, and they don’t change.

A family, in the church, loves hard and seriously. Faith, Prayer and Scripture are absolutely important as the glue that holds families together.

Many young people in the LDS church suffer from Same Sex Attraction.

In a life of faith, in the church, it all comes down to choices.

Again, being gay is not a choice. And for many, these two ideas, faith and gay do not mix and can not be reconciled, so people suffer, until they make a decision on what they want to do.

Sadly, in high percentages, Suicide is that option. Some cannot bear the commitment to either marriage or chastity. So many choose the only route they believe is viable.

Suicide.

Suicide is Never an option.

The Church teaches that Marriage and Family are at the center of religious practice. To find a wife and then bear children. If that not be the case, and marriage does not happen, for those with SSA the commandment is to offer ones life over to God completely, and we make a covenant with Heavenly Father to live lives of chastity and obedience to the commandment set down by God.

In every life, there are challenges to be experienced, goals to reach, and divinity to seek. We might not know why we are suffering so, but Heavenly Father does. And only life. experience, struggle, pain and adversity, with the benefit of hindsight, do we figure out what God meant for us in this world.

I have seen my fair share of adversity, and I have also seen my fair share of goodness from Heavenly Father as well.

If sacrifice is what is needed, I am ready and willing to make whatever sacrifice needs to be made, save only one. and everybody knows that my husband is Non-Negotiable. That card was on the table from the very beginning. So that makes my case particular, to be dealt with on this basis alone with the proper church authority. I have not lied, or cheated. I have made my covenants that needed to be made and I honor those covenants.

I am still alive, so that first covenant I made over twenty two years ago, is still in play.

Once again, it is all about choices. And the options are all on the table.

Many are called, but few follow.

Having been through the fire myself, I don’t think there is anything that I cannot do for the love of Heavenly Father.

You are never alone. We are here. Suffering is part of life, it just depends, really, on how much time you want to spend suffering in the end. Let me tell you, the sooner you get over it, the better you will be and the easier a life of faith can be.

God can take care of all the things that others cannot.

But only if I let Him.

There are always options, one way or another. There is help. We are here for you.

Heavenly Father loves his children.


Friday: Shifting Sand

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“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” 3 Nephi 9:20

Quote taken from The Broken Heart, Applying the Atonement to Life’s Experiences by Bruce C. Hafen.

My life pivot continues. I may not know everything, I do know, that I have a solid group of missionaries standing with me in faith and support. As the days go by, knowing what I am feeling and going through, and not being able to share it with anyone breaks my heart.

The only person I trust, knows, but he is not here.

The week has not been without its heartbreaks. Conversations with certain people in my life, led to my severing my service commitment to my Sunday meeting, where I have been a trusted servant for more than ten years.

I know I am not perfect, by any stretch. Having my difficulties tossed in my face like shrapnel is painful, and to be told that I have issues that have scared away an entire population of people from said meeting, was painful as well. With that information on the table, being delivered by a woman I trusted with my life, forced me to resign from my service positions at said meeting.

Monday I attended Family night at the church with my friends. Thursday I am hitting St. Matthias, and committed to service for the next month, while several members are away for vacations, leading up to the holidays.

Christmas Trees and Christmas Decorations are already up in both the Alexis Nihon Plaza Mall and the Old Forum, Cineplex Theatre. At the Forum, there was a huge Halloween costume shop set up in an old restaurant location on the first floor. They had not even been able to vacate the store of the Halloween stock, before the Christmas Trees were hauled out of storage for the season.

I did notice that the trees were decorated differently this year, so they obviously went to great detail to put out something different than last years trees.

As it is Friday, it was the Best Meeting of The Week, night. And it was a special occasion. North End English celebrated 67 years tonight. Sixty seven years ago, a group of drunks got together and opened our meeting.

To put that in context for Quebec Alcoholics Anonymous, Dave B., began Alcoholics Anonymous here in Montreal in the year 1944. North End English opened its doors just five years later in 1949. This meeting was one of the first meetings opened that far back, that still operate to this day.

In my fifteen years sober, here in Montreal, North End English has been through several incarnations and formats. Generations of folks have come and gone in those fifteen years. Attendance was up, then it was down, then numbers fell drastically for a while, until a viable format was put in place, that we have to this day.

Several years ago, with few in number, we had a back room, As Bill Sees It – meeting, that took hold. And over a three year period, people began to show up. We once, filled the back room, then we filled the overflow room in between, because we did not have enough chairs, and once we reached that threshold, we moved into the main hall, where the meeting is today. What started with less than a dozen people, we now count upwards of 40 to 50 people on any given Friday night.

It only works when there is service to be done, and friends to welcome each Friday Night.

The Miserable Holiday Season

I worked in the bar business for a long time, when I first got sober in the late Nineties. Both behind the bar, and on the floor, and also looking down from a DJ Booth. Some of the busiest nights in the Bar Industry are Holiday Nights.

Just the same, in the rooms, some of the highest traffic nights, fall on Holiday Nights. U.S. Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday. Christmas falls on a Sunday. With Winter knocking on our door, (it was 2 degrees Celsius) today, people go into seasonal planning mode.

Seasonal Planning Mode: Depression begins to set in. So people look at their schedules and their meetings. When temps drop and snow falls, attendance fluctuates widely. People plan how long it is going to take them to get from HOME to a TRANSIT POINT and then on to a MEETING. They spend their hour and the plan of attack going home runs in reverse.

If travel time is greater than fellowship time, people just drop off and don’t show up at all, because, why bother ??? Add to that Minus temps or big snow on the ground.

If you go to meetings, we all know the story of the venerable Literature Rack. We take it out at every meeting, we talk about it with the 12 step rep, who pumps the books, and the pamphlets, but as it goes, barely anyone looks at or takes anything from the rack.

I 12 stepped tonight. The holidays are almost on top of us. And there are going to be plenty of miserable people out there, on the sober side and on the no so sober side. The Holidays are some of the toughest times for the most people, for one reason or another.

Nobody escapes the Holidays unscathed.

I’ve seen hundreds of people come in just prior to the holidays, and in huge numbers after the holidays, sadly, almost none of them make it. The odds are against them to begin with.

I cautioned our folks tonight, to be on the lookout for someone who might need the gift we usually take for granted. I begged them to take literature and to put it to good use this holiday season. The holidays are not always jolly and bright.

I know that there will be misery all over the city. And we can only do so much. But there IS a place to Go and People who will LOVE and CARE for you.

You don’t have to be miserable – there IS a solution.

You might change a life in ways you might not imagine, if the options of Happy, Joyous and Free, are pitted against Pitiful, Incomprehensible, Demoralization.

Today, the mail man came early. The mail man usually does not hit our building until after dinner time. A couple of weeks ago I ordered a couple of Books from Deseret Books, out in Utah. (This is a Latter Day Saint Bookseller).

My two books came in the mail.

In Quiet Desperation – Fred and Marilyn Matis and Ty Mansfield

The Broken Heart – Applying the Atonement to Life’s Experiences – Bruce C. Hafen

During my discussions with my Elders, I was introduced to a man I now call a friend, who appears on the Voices of Hope website. A collection of stories from Men and Women, who are part of the Latter Day Saints, who deal with Same Sex Attraction, and how, through faith, they found their way to Heavenly Father to hold on to their faith.

A good potion of my Pivot, has to do with being on the back side of Gay. And the fact that Gay is no longer what defines me. It isn’t who I am any more either. The only two things that would speak to being gay is my HIV and my husband.

I’ve cleared the Missionary List to Baptism.

But I want to know how men and women, who deal with same sex attraction, think, feel and experience life. And in order to be able to minister to new brothers and sisters, friends in the L.D.S church here, I need to study, I need to read, I need to identify, with a process that came second hand to me. What was sexual attraction, when it comes to competing with a drink or a drug ?

Alcohol always settled that problem. I had my standards, as did every other gay boy I met back in the day.

Drugs and Alcohol made the process much easier.

For me it wasn’t all about attraction. It first started with a drink. Then a drug. If you were pretty then it was all the better.

I get on the Metro these days and I look around me at the people I travel with, and I see just how beautiful they are. When the specter of sex leaves the equation, people become human once again. And I truly appreciate human beauty.

Lots to read now. I’ve added several books to my bedside table.

There is always time to read, at least for me there is.

 

 

 


Monday: The Great Pivot Continues

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In business, like in life, or in love, we may come to a crossroads, where a major decision has to be made. It is called a PIVOT. And listening to The Art of Charm today, we heard from Jenny Blake.

“Get Unstuck – How to Separate Difficult Decisions From Difficult Conversations.”

  1. Make your decision based on gut instincts
  2. How to express your decision in words clearly and directly
  3. Deciding WHEN to have that discussion
  4. Communicating that Decision
  5. Responding to reactions and any ensuing consequences and follow up

There have been many serious pivots in my life, thus far. The last great pivot took place when I decided to move to Canada, and to Montreal. It was a gut decision, based on spiritual faith. I was sober.

Since that time, I have been sitting in a safe harbor. And people around me are in one place in their lives and sobriety, and I am where I am right now as well. No two people, are ever at the same place together, experiencing the program together. Little by slowly, Heavenly Father is showing me where I need to go, and what does not serve me. And contrary to the opinions of some, I am headed where I need to go.

This Major Life Pivot took place when I met my Elders on that Metro Platform some time ago. That series of discussions led to my reviewing my life and major a major life decision, that is EPIC in size. This move into a faith community IS a MAJOR PIVOT.

I regret saying anything to some of my friends, because now I am seeing just who they are, based on the words they are speaking, I should not have opened my mouth, but it is what it is.

Heavenly Father, in His wisdom is pivoting me away from people, places and things that no longer serve me. And I have a community of Elders both Men and Women who are taking out specific community farther along, each of our respective paths.

I know who I can trust, and who I cannot.

Monday is Family and Friends fellowship at the church. We meet each week for a teaching video from an Elder of the Church. This week we heard from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

You can find him on the General Conference Page on the LDS.ORG website

He spoke on the story about the ugly duckling. And spoke to the effect that we are all Children of God, and when we look in the mirror, we will see exactly who we are. We are Children of a Loving Heavenly Father.

We had a room full of Elder young men and women tonight, who all come from different parts of the world, speaking a multitude of languages, but together we shared, in a common language. After the teaching and share, we play a game.

Tonight we played Le Citoyen … The Citizen.

We had about a dozen people, each were given an identity:

  • Citizens
  • Werewolf’s ( there were three )
  • A witch
  • A Fortune Teller
  • Hunters
  • and A Mayor

It is a close your eyes, open your eyes game, led by a narrator who tells a story involving the people sitting in the circle. Nobody knows whom is whom, except for the narrator who leads the game. And it is a kill the werewolf’s and save the citizens.

The witch can either kill or save someone who is killed by a werewolf. Th Fortune Teller is given information he might need from the narrator to save the community. The hunters are trying to figure out, as the game progresses who the werewolf’s are so they can kill them, before the werewolf’s kill them and the citizens.

It was a good game. I won round two.

All is well. Tomorrow is another day.

 

 

 


Equalize Youth …

Equalize Youth Website Here

My Friend Dan at DanNation has been working with this organization that is coming on line in a big way as we speak. The other day a request was made on Facebook for us to share with you this new venture in uniting LGBTQ kids and folks from around the world into communities of support and assistance. No matter where you are “by location” there are people just like you who have been through the things you might be experiencing.

Our Vision

A world where all young people and their families get to learn ways to foster a healthy, happy, and safe growing up experience”

There’s a world of support out here. We’ll let LGBT youth get to know they are not alone. No matter what.

We’ll let youth know that others just like them have grown up in the same towns, schools, and congregations, and have had to deal with the same communities. Regardless of where they are, and what they feel like, we will show them how others before them overcame those challenges in the past.

People’s experiences will get to transform and empower young people and their families.

We’ll empower youth by safely letting them explore what has worked for others like them in the past, and we’ll bring them comfort from the unique hostility they may still face in their daily lives. We’ll empower them to be active agents of change.

An international & netroots movement

Equalize Youth will let young LGBT youth—and the wholed world—tap the collective knowledge gathered by the LGBTQ community at large and their loved ones. We believe that every LGBT adult around the globe does want a better tomorrow for the youngest ones in their community: our vision is to give them an irrefusable value proposition that maximizes their impact, and keeps them safe and engaged.

 

We’re missing a button. 

Our current platform doesn’t enable searches to our database, and our team is currently focusing on an indiegogo campain to raise funds so that we get to program this unique backend system. Please consider helping us by making a contribution to this meaningful project here.  To develop the Fundamentals of this 21st century platform, we need help! You don’t have to contribute financially to the campaign to help us–check out other ways you can make it happen, and help us make this a functional and powerful resource.

Join the movement. Help us get them started. Continued support is the key. Take some time to investigate their site and see where you can become a “part of” and let kids from all over the world know that they are not alone and that things can definitely get better.

Thanks for your time and consideration.