On one occasion sometime between 1983 and 1990 — I can recall where I was living, but not where I was working — I came home from work and became suicidal. I don’t recall the basis of my agony, but it almost certainly pertained to certain foibles of “the flesh” that my “spirit” seemed powerless to overcome.
A former student had left a cassette tape at my door that day, full of music he wanted to share with me, beginning with “Bad” by U2. I had a second floor apartment, and had sometimes heard this from the boom boxes of people who walked by outside; and I knew what effect it would have on me, particularly the opening section, with the bells. Given my state, for that reason I intentionally delayed playing it.
When I couldn’t bear the pain any more, I put it on, and was at once transported from the pit of despair into a place of perfect peace. I count this as a case of divine intervention: by means of that young man and that music, God saved my life.
Continue reading A short route to agony
Ethnic differences don’t all need to be A Problem.
A certain woman has struggled for some years with alcoholism. I have followed her case because she’s close to me and because I am, after all, an alcoholic myself.
Continue reading Two Jews, three opinions
One’s ulterior motives can be wholly different from anything one would expect, and can make one do funny things — that one likewise would never expect. At least, things that have nothing to do with one’s real needs.
Decades ago, my brother Francis, the dentist, knowing that my prescription medicines include SSRIs, asked whether I grit my teeth at night; for it’s common for such patients to do that.
I don’t grit my teeth, but I do take special joy in crunchy foods. This has been on my mind, as this hankering has been prominent in recent months. On occasions when I got turned away from the shelter, I would buy lots and lots of potato chips to include in supper, since they’re crunchy. Also, potatoes are high in tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin; so that potatoes are, in fact, a mood-enhancing food. Continue reading Ulterior motives are funny.
Miscellaneous notes about accepting bad feelings.
[Second in a series.]
One afternoon some years back, I hooked up with my bud Brian Williard at the Light Street McDonald’s. We were there for maybe half an hour, and then set out eastbound on Baltimore Street towards the shelters where we stayed. I stay at one, and he stayed at another about 100 yards farther east.
We walked and talked, and he talked, and he talked, and a lot of what he talked about wasn’t necessarily of much interest to me. It came to me: “I’m doing ministry; he needs this.” Finally, he said, “It’s such a relief to talk to somebody sane.”
Continue reading Accepting revulsion 2: Life in the looney bin
Miscellaneous notes about accepting bad feelings.
[First in a series.]
Vladimir Putin purportedly has a video of Donald Trump directing two whores to pee on a bed that Barack Obama slept in.
Some people think it’s scandalous.
I think it’s hilarious.
Some days ago, I had a mind to post on Facebook that Trump himself is the bed wetter.
Continue reading Accepting revulsion 1: Wetting the bed
I happened upon this completely by accident. Quite a few of the suggestions echo things I’ve been saying for a long time. I note particularly the connection between happiness and health.
Friday, October 6.
I arrived at the shelter where I stay at 14:32. There was no line of people waiting admission. They nominally open the gate at 14:30, but in fact sometimes do at 14:15, 14:00 or even 13:00. When I later asked what time they’d opened today, I was told 14:30. That can’t be factual, though: given current intake procedures, they can’t possibly have processed 30+ persons in two minutes.
Marvin arrived at the same time. I stayed outside to finish a cigarette, and he slipped in in front of me. He got assigned #41, “my” bunk, a bottom bunk. I got assigned the only available remaining bunk, #40, a top bunk and thus much less desirable.
If I had arrived only 30 seconds earlier, I would have been assigned “my” bunk, a bottom bunk, the one much more desirable. I found myself scouring my memory as to anything I could have done to have left church even 30 seconds earlier. I would recognize the mistake of looking only at my last activities before leaving; whereas 30 seconds at any point during the day would have made the difference.
I would recognize that I was “bargaining.”
Continue reading 14:32
For years, I’ve had a special sensitivity to reports of child abuse.
This one may give you nightmares for the rest of your life.
According to the police report, on her 10th birthday, the mother’s boyfriend and his female cousin injected this little girl with drugs “to calm her down.” They proceeded to strangle, torture, rape and dismember her.
While her mother looked on.
Where is God, or what is God, when such an event can occur?
Continue reading Forgiving the cosmos
If you have come across this post, it was most likely via searching on one of the below tags. All pertain to Saturday’s post:
Tags: Continue reading About the Parable of the Talents – Still more tags
Three incidents from Sunday 09/18:
(1) I caught the racial vibe as soon as she came in the room.
(2) In the middle of worship, I looked at my situation. I needed to touch base sometime during the service with _____, _____ and _____, any of whom might give me cash; for smokes, bus fare and candy. I also needed to touch base sometime during worship with each of three other people ISO a ride “home.” My petty, material, selfish neediness so preoccupied me, I couldn’t get into the spirit of worship at all. This did not feel good.
(3) At the shelter, in the shower, for a washcloth they gave me a strip of fabric that had been torn from a towel, two inches wide and six inches long. That was to be my washcloth.
I responded as follows.
Continue reading Resentment and hope