Friday, November 12, 2010

Chiropratic for the Neural Pathways

It's been a while since my last post. In that time I have been seeing a therapist for my PTSD. We have done EMDR; Eye Movement Desensitization and Retraining.

Never heard of it until one day while engineering a talk show on psychology. The guest was talking about EMDR and PTSD. We were talking during the break about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and how it wasn't/didn't seem to help. The host asked me point blankly if I'd "been cured" of my PTSD. I said, "Hell NO!" He just smiled and we went back into the show.

It has been my understanding that you cannot cure PTSD. You just deal with it. Live with it. Try to minimize its effects over time. Turns out, I was partially wrong. With EMDR, my brain can be "retrained" in how it responds to certain stimuli. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the most intense reaction, I can respond with a level 2 after EMDR.

Since no one can really explain the "why" or "how" just that it works I simply refer to it as Chiropractic for the Neural Pathways since what the EMDR Therapy does is re-arrange the neural pathways where the memories of the trauma occur. Instead of being all twisted and out of whack and subject to any disruption, the EMDR therapy "straightens them out" allowing the body to not over-react to stimuli. Good for me!

After my second session I was driving home and noticed thunderclouds over the mountains to the north. Normally I would start to feel an anxiety attack come on and feel very warm and insecure. That day I actually thought, "Look at those cool clouds!" Something I hadn't said since January of 2008 when I nearly crashed after I inadvertently flew into a thunderstorm.

Now I respond with a Level 2 instead of a Level 10. So can suck it. While I wouldn't say I'm "cured" I am much more able to continue in my chosen profession, aviation, much better than I ever could in the last 2 1/2 years.

See ya PTSD...
See ya Anxiety attacks...
See ya sleepless nights...
See ya nightmares...

Hello confidence...nice to see you again!


Monday, May 31, 2010

Hey PTSD...

...fuck off.

I really shouldn't say that. God allowed it for a reason and I'm learning. But I hate PTSD and all it's done to me over the last 2 1/2 years.

I need a full-time job.
Wife needs me to have a full-time job.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Sofa King Tired

Tired. I'm tired of looking for a job for 2 years. I'm tired of depression. I'm tired of PTSD. I'm tired of ADHD. I'm tired of praying to a God who seems to enjoy seeing me slog through the mud and never offering a hand out of the miry clay. I'm tired of praying for my wife and son and daughter and having no response. I'm tired of the constant war with my son over simple obedience, respect for others, and pulling up his damn pants. I'm tired of crying, begging, pleading in prayer only to be ignored. I'm tired of doing all I'm told to do in the bible, reading the Psalms and promises of God to see that it applies to everyone else but me. I'm tired of reading of people who have been out of work for 4 months and getting a great job while I'm sitting here pushing 2 years suffering for a couple of mistakes.

I'm sofa king tired...

I even went as far as to question whether there is a god or not. And if there is, He obviously doesn't like, care about, or listen to my wife and I. I truly believe He has labeled me the "Nation of Israel" at the height of her rebellion and placed me in exile for 70 years.

I'm tempted to change my FB religious status to "Undecided", email the worship leader and tell him and the Pastor to remove me from the worship team, and beat the crap out of the next asshole who can't navigate around a parking lot or grocery store because his head's up his ass.

I'm sofa king tired...

God...if You're really out there...I could use a hand. If not, then stop punishing me...I get it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Getting From Papua New Guinea to Redding

There's a missionary who lives in Papua New Guinea who's mother lives near Redding. She needs to get to her mother to help her out. Mother has MS and she has more bad days than good.

What's a missionary to do?



So she and her husband do.

And God worked it out like this.

Missonary gal, Jen, calls her sending churches Missions Pastor and explains the details. A friend of hers finds out and says, "I have frequent flyer mles. I can get you from PNG to SFO and back."


Missions Pastor has a cousin, Cindy, who lives in Redding who is married to a good friend and former employer of mine, Victor. They've helped the mom, Marcy, install a new swamp cooler and take her to her Dr's appointments and church, etc. But they couldn't go to SFO to pick up Jen. They had plans to go to Tahoe. What to do?

Call Eric.

Eric is a "good Christian" (Victor's words), let's see if he can do it?

So Eric, Pam and their daughter Heather, pack up the car and head out to SFO and pick up Jen. Jen has never met Cindy or Victor or me or Pam or Heather. She was assured by Cindy that we were "okay...good christian people".

We spent about 5 hours with Jen learning about her life with her husband and 3 boys as missionaries with New Tribes Missions in PNG. Stories of how God provides and opens doors. How the enemy attacks where you least expect it. How circumstances change and cause you to question where God is leading you now? How In-And-Out is really, really good when you haven't had one in 2 years. Hearing someone who get's save at 27 and 4 years later is living in the South Pacific explaining the gospel to people who think a crocodile is their god.

That's how you get a missonary from PNG to Redding. God's way.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Place of Nothingness

My sister sent me this.

Do you find yourself in a place of nothingness? There is a time and place in our walk with God in which He sets us in a place of isolation and waiting. It is a place in which all past experiences are of no value. It is a time of such stillness that it can disturb the most faithful if we do not understand that He is the one who has brought us to this place for only a season. It is as if God has placed a wall around us. No new opportunities - simply inactivity.

During these times, God is calling us aside to fashion something new in us. It is a place of nothingness designed to call us to deeper roots of prayer and faith. It is not a comfortable place, especially for a task-driven workplace believer. Our nature cries out, "You must do something" while God is saying, "Be still and know that I am God." You know the signs that you have been brought into this place when He has removed many things from your life and you can't seem to change anything. Perhaps you are unemployed. Perhaps you are laid up with an illness.

Many people live a very planned and orchestrated life where they know almost everything that will happen. But for people in whom God is performing a deeper work, He brings them into a time of quietness that seems almost eerie. They cannot see what God is doing. They just know that He is doing a work that cannot be explained to themselves or to others.
Has God brought you to a place of nothingness? Be still and know that He really is God. When this happens, your nothingness will be turned into something you will value for the rest of your life.

It's this part,
It is a place in which all past experiences are of no value. It is a time of such stillness that it can disturb the most faithful if we do not understand that He is the one who has brought us to this place for only a season. It is as if God has placed a wall around us. No new opportunities - simply inactivity.
that is causing me stress. I'm ADHD...doing something is what I am; created that way on purpose by the One who created me and has now put me in a place of "nothingness".

I applied for and interviewed with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, Tx. on the 16th of July. It went well and I was told I'd be notified one way or the other in 10 days or the first of this week. It's Wednesday and I'm impatient. I hate being impatient because it means I'm not trusting God. I even went so far as to schedule another interview, this one in Nashville, TN., even though I really don't want that job. Such a dork. For truly, if I am to get the job in Texas, it will have to be a God thing.

You see, I think the interview went well but it went fast! 20 minutes in and out. They asked mainly questions about being a manager/supervisory pilot and a little about my flying career from Day 1 to today. While I mentioned the gear up on the application, it didn't come up in the interview. When I called back to explain, the guy had left on vacation and I was told the pilot had been chosen and that they'd notify me "Friday or early next week". Then a call back to HR (different person) said the position was still pending. They called a former employer/friend of mine for employment verification and he said "nice things" about me to them. All signs point to "good to go" and yet I'm still waiting.

In nothingness.


Of myself. Of the job.

The worst thing is my wife is on board for the move but it may not happen. Crap...I can't think that way. I have to stop thinking and typing about it and just sit here in my nothingness and wait for it to
be turned into something you will value for the rest of your life.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Satan's a Loser

It just dawned on me this morning as I was beginning my prayers.

Satan is a loser.

Here's what I mean:

Satan is known as the Tempter and the Accuser. As the Tempter, he dangles those little temptations at you. You know the ones; they look good on the outside but you know (probably from experience) they ain't so good on the inside. And so you move through your day, brushing aside those temptations, "resisting the Devil" so to speak and you're doing pretty well.

Until,"... each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire" comes along.

Then you stumble. You fall. You make a fool of us all to quote D.C. Talk.

If you're like me, you realize, sometimes with horror, what you've done and you immediately run back to God. You fall to your knees at His throne and repent, begging forgiveness. You fall into His arms as He grants you mercy and forgiveness. You willing accept the consequences of your sin.

But what of the devil? He's right there, encouraging you to sin and when you do, he's oh so very happy and smug. He then turns on you, going from "it's alright just this once, all the kids are doing it!" to, "you scumbag! How could you do that as a Christian. I would hesitate to call you a Christian after what you did. I'm telling God!"

And there he is, at the throne of God, right next to you, pointing out your hypocrisy, your sin, your downfall and the fact that this is probably not the first time you've done this.

But what's in it for him? I mean, come on, you just crawled back to his arch-enemy...God! Jesus! The Father! You fell for a moment but your eternity is still secure. You've just returned to Christ and His cleansing blood. You may have caused others to stumble but Christ is right there with forgiveness and love and mercy and grace for those who repent.

It's stupefying really. Unless the Devil gets some perverse pleasure in a useless gesture. It's like the kid that knows that teasing his sister is going to get him spanked and yet he does it anyways for that one moment of perverse glee. And when he's sitting in his room, butt burning from the paddle, he is torn between having teased his sister and the pain in his rear.

That's some twisted stuff my friend. But then again, no one said Ol' Scratch wasn't.

I think for me, this realization, just took the sting out of the guilt of accusation. It put into a whole new perspective the temptation to sin. It's a lose/lose scenario for Satan and a lose/win scenario for me. I lose to the sin but I win that it brings me closer to Christ. Which in the end, is a good thing. The road (sin) isn't the best way to get there but it will help point us to the straight and narrow.

My 2 cents...


P.S. Add a couple more albums to my previous post....

Derek Webb - The Ringing Bell
Jars of Clay - Long Fall Back to Earth and Good Monsters
Third Day - Revelation


Monday, May 18, 2009

Whatever Gets You Through the Day...Year

On Wednesday, I'll have been unemployed for a year. It also marks at time of great emotional, marital and spiritual upheaval. I suffered a nervous breakdown associated with PTSD, my wife and I went several rounds including one that had me writing out a Power of Attorney and packing my bags for who knows where, a growing distance between my son and I and an overwhelming fear of flying.

Lots of things got me through this past year.

One of those things was my faith which I will admit took an incredible beating. The Enemy is usually subtle in his dealings but on occasion he uses blatant, overt tactics designed to hit you when you're down, weak and barely able to defend yourself. It was those times, when he was whispering my ear that I was no good, that I'd never fly again, that I was totally unhirable, that I would be better off eating the business end of a .38 that I cried out to God for relief. For healing. For at least some acknowledgment that He was there and I was not a waste of space.

I was at the end of my rope. I'd reached a knot at the end and it was fraying. So I hung on because He said that's what I needed to do. Many people told me the same thing. People at my church. My counselor. My wife. Acquaintances. Friends and relatives all encouraged me with "God has a plan for Him." Which was hard, very hard when all I saw was the bottom of a deep, dark well. A well that, at times, I wanted to just drop into an disappear.

But my Pastor, kind of insistently, pushed for me to pick up the latest men's Bible study guide they were using this year. "Trusting God. Even When Life Hurts" by Jerry Bridges. So I joined the men's Bible study and found a group of guys who either were going through their own, exclusive, private hell or had been there.

The book helped too. It helped break some long-held beliefs about Free Will and Predestination. It helped show me that I can truly trust God. I came face to face with the reality of life that I already knew but chose to ignore so that I could do my own thing, my own way; create my own theology.

The book, the fellowship, the counseling sessions (Twice a month at $100/pop!) by a guy who was a former cop, a Christian and has dealt with PTSD cases before. And music.

Several albums got me through this last year.

O How The Mighty Have Fallen by The Choir
Howl and Baby 81 by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Good Monsters by Jars of Clay
Revelation by Third Day
No Line on the Horizon by U2
Definitive Collection: Mike Knott and LSU
The Midget, The Speck and the Molecule by The Swirling Eddies

Each one spoke something different to me at different times. Each one provided some truths that I needed to hear. And some just let me let out emotions at the top of my lungs as I rocked on with the band.

All these things, interwoven together, taken as one or taken as a group, all worked together for good, for me, who loves the Lord. That's a promise you know.

I don't know what's going to happen next. I still have doubts about my abilities. I have been in the air a few times riding right seat being a "gear bitch" and "radio jockey" in a King Air. I had no weirdness. No trepidations. Wasn't twitchy. It was actually good. Of course, I wasn't the Pilot in Command and the weather was nice so we'll see what happens next. I still wonder if I'm cut out for any kind of responsibility higher than worker drone. But I don't dwell on that. Whatever God has in mind for me, I won't fight it. I will accept it. Fighting it or trying to make something else of it hasn't worked so well in the past. I'm 43, soon to be 44. My mother used to say she didn't want me to learn the hard lessons of life in my 40's like she did. She used to try and keep me from that. But I think we are destined to more like our parents than we will ever admit and we're terrified our kids will turn out like us. Which is why I've been so hard on my son. But I've learned I've got to let him do what he needs to, to make his own mistakes even if they are the same one's I've made, to try and be a better example to him....but that's a post for another day.

Whatever gets me through the day is not just "whatever". It's more like "whomever". I have been remiss expressing who He is and what He's done both for me and for all others.


Friday, April 24, 2009

What Do You Do When You're Stupid?

As Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid."

We laugh because we know people who are stupid and can't seem to be fixed because they continue to do stupid things. Even after they do stupid things and they recognize that "that was stupid, why'd I do that?", they do stupid things.

But what do you do when you're angry and you do stupid things? You hurt people. You create problems within relationships. Especially when you are so sure you are right in your anger only to find out later as someone you love and who loves you confronts you with the stupidity of your actions. You feel your "rightness" slowing dissolve in a wave of realization of what you've done. You feel a knot in the pit of your stomach that expands as the reality of what you've done sinks in. It slowly effuses through your body and mind and the stark idiocy of what you've done sinks in deeper and deeper into your soul.

You ass.

There is an old saying that I hate because of its truthfulness: you hurt those you love.

You realize, in horror at times, that you've just set back your relationship with the person you were stupid to by a million years. And as they look back on their life in later years what you did will stand out as a defining moment in their life. When where they were headed was suddenly and horribly jerked another direction. When all they knew and thought was safe and right was blown away by the stupid actions of one they love and who is supposed to love them. When both you and they cannot believe you would do such a stupid thing.

It tears at the heart and soul. You realize you cannot go back to the way things were. There will always be this stupid incident that will be forever there, unspoken but always the unwelcome guest at every encounter between the two of you. The one thing that will always nibble at your conscious. The one thing that will always be in the back of their mind, "can I trust him?"

And it's the anger you hold inside that makes it worse. Because you don't want the anger. You've asked for God to get rid of it but it's still there. The anger does nothing good for you. It eats at your soul. It creates flashes of incredibly ugly thoughts. It is a cancer on your mind and soul. You fight it and it wins. You ignore it and it gets in your face. You beg and plead and bargain with God to take it away for pity's sake and yet it still shows up right when you least expect it and at the most inopportune time. You cry at the affects of your anger. At the pain and hurt you cause even to those to whom the anger is not focused towards nor to whom the stupid actions are not carried out on.

You beg for forgiveness but forgiveness doesn't come. And that eats at your heart as well. All else goes by the wayside until you find that forgiveness. You wait, hurting, stomach churning, mind whirling, waiting for some indication that that person has chosen to forgive you.

God seems strangely quiet in these times and yet He seems right there; not speaking, not intervening, just there. He reminds us actions have consequences. He reminds us the enemy loves to destroy. He doesn't say how He'll answer or when He'll answer and that makes you want to doubt. You know all things work out in time for our good and His glory but those seem like empty words, echoing in the dungeon of despair you've put yourself into. You try to grab a hold of any scrap of hope and when you do you hold on for dear life. You squeeze your eyes shut and hope and pray for the pain to go away. For love to reassert itself into your lives and your tattered and wounded relationship.

Then you start the long process of rebuilding. Something you've gotten good at because you tend to break things on a regular basis. You pray. You forgive. You ask forgiveness. You try to recognize your weaknesses and once again, give them over to God and hopefully this time you won't take them back like a petulant child. You need constant reminding from others of what to do. You feel like you've gone back to kindergarten and are having to relearn all you've already learned. You wonder if you'll ever figure it out this side of eternity?

You trust God. It's all you really have. Your faith is a long rope with a knot at the end which has grown tattered but somehow retains its resiliency. You start the climb again hoping you'll never slid back down to that tattered old familiar knot again. Daily you try to give over the anger and shame and humiliation to the only One who can handle it. You hold on to the truths you know are true because they are tried and true. You pray. You heal. You see the scars for what they are; reminders of the old axiom, "Stupid hurts."

Don't be stupid.


Monday, March 09, 2009

A Commentary on Proverbs...

Fr. Pat says it better than I daily devotion has been going through Proverbs and what I've been reading, while having been read before and understood, is now taking on a new light when I think of my 16 y.o. son and what he should know to make it in life.

Here's what Fr. Pat says....

Proverbs 18: Many commentators have spoken of the “pragmatic” motive in much of the Book of Proverbs. That is to say, very often what are recommended in this book are things that have been proven to work; these things get good results. Or, to borrow the expression of William James, they have “cash value.” Such things have been tried for generations, and only a fool would abandon them.

We should be cautious about this approach to Proverbs, however, because the pragmatic motive in this book is not identical to that of William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, John Dewey, and their kindred spirits. The pragmatism of these men rested on a fundamental agnosticism with respect to ultimacy. Persuaded that the correct answers to ultimate questions (“Does God exist?” “Is man’s willed activity free?”) must remain unknown to the human mind, these pragmatists recommended that human endeavor, including human thought, should follow only such lines of action as would prove to be useful and productive, such lines of action as would “get good results.” That is to say, human beings should do and think only such things as really work. If a thing or a thought does not work — if experience shows a thing or a thought to be unproductive — prudence dictates that it should not be pursued. (Thus, for instance, William James rejected the theory of atheism because it does not lead anywhere. Atheism promises nothing and delivers nothing. It is not a useful idea. It does not accomplish anything. The idea of God’s existence, on the other hand, has proved itself a very useful and productive idea.)

The problem with this brand of pragmatism is that it separates human activity from human knowledge. It is based on agnosticism with respect to the most important philosophical questions ever posed to the human mind, and it attempts to formulate a manner of life and thought divorced from real answers to those very real questions. How, after all, can I know whether something really “works,” if I have no idea what it is supposed to do? How can I know whether or not I am making “progress” (John Dewey’s favorite word), if I do not know where I am going? How can I seek the human good, if I have no idea what “good” means or the purpose of human existence?

Quite different is the pragmatism of the Book of Proverbs. It does not rest on an agnosticism about the fundamental questions in life, but on discerned and solid answers to those questions. For Proverbs it is not the case that (to use William James’s expression) “truth happens to an idea.” Truth abides, rather, in the structure of reality, and a truthful idea is not the creation of the human mind at all. It is an idea created in the mind by the very truth that inheres in reality. Men are said to live wisely if their minds and activities are shaped by the truth that God placed in the structure of reality.

At the same time, this discernment of truth in the structure of reality does not come solely from theorizing about reality. Sometimes, and perhaps frequently, it comes from the godly effort to deal with the concrete exigencies of human life. For this reason, perhaps, the deepest insights into the reality of life in this world often come to very practical men as they grapple with the shape of history by making godly decisions in difficult and trying circumstances. It may be the case that sometimes a philosopher/king must first be a king in order to become a philosopher.

Mere Comments Daily Reflections


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For The Love of God...

...and beer.

Not everyone's journey to God is the same. Many have followed the same path: go to church, hear a sermon, you feel a tug, someone asks if you want to be "saved", you find yourself raising your hand, you go up front, someone has you repeat a prayer, you're whisked away to the "door on my right, your left", some hands you a Bible and a tract or pamphlet, someone prays for you again, you go home wondering, "What now?"

Or maybe you find yourself like Tom. His path is definitely different. His is not the normal path people normally take in evangelical churches. Does this mean there are "many paths to God"? If by that do I mean that all religions lead to God then no. But each of our journey's are different. The road to which we come to the Cross may not be the same one our friends, families or neighbors are on. But we all meet at the Cross for it is there that we all come face to face with the God of the universe in the form of His son, Jesus Christ. And it's what you do with that knowledge you now have of what Jesus Christ did by being born of a virgin, living a sinless life, dying on a tree, being dead and buried for three days, rising from said death and ascending into heaven after being seen by many that determines what path you will take after your encounter with the Cross.

The path after that encounter may be mainstream evangelicalism. Or it may be like Tom's. Or you may be the next Billy Graham or the next Bob Dylan. I don't know. God does and He rarely reveals, fully, what He has in mind for you. It's a lot about trust. That's a lot of trust...putting our lives in the hands of one we cannot see; whom we only know through scripture.

What's your path to the Cross? Do you see it or do you ignore it?