What does life look like post graduation from graduate school? I am about to find out!

Monday, January 10, 2011

This Is Such a Pity!!

"This is such a pity. We should give all our love to each other, not this hate that destroys us."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This past weekend, a US Representative was shot in the head along with several of her aides and some innocent bystanders. There are those who are saying that it was politically motivated as the Representative was a Democrat who supported healthcare reform, an issue that has been the subject of much debate in this country. There are others who say that this was simply a random act of violence committed by a mentally ill individual. I'm not going to posit on here about which side I believe nor am I going to turn this blog post into a political debate about who's right and who's wrong on these issues. Instead, I just wanted to take a minute to share my thoughts on the act itself.
Can I just ask, what kind of people have we become when we start to resort to violence against those who disagree with us politically?? Is this really the kind of future we want to give our children and the lessons that we want to impart to them, that if you don't agree with someone else's political or religious or social or ethical beliefs that you can just go shoot and kill them?? Surely that is not something that anybody finds acceptable or justifiable. Yet, this is not the first time that something like this has happened and neither will it be the last time. I may not like or agree with certain politicians or religious leaders but I would never advocate that they be taken out. Unfortunately, I fear that the vitriol that is spewing out of so many would argue with me there. It's hard not to be confused when certain politicians and religious leaders are talking about how certain people who they disagree with need to be eliminated and taken out. Their rhetoric makes it sound like they believe whole-heartedly in that message. I'm not going to name names or point fingers but there are definitely some people in power out there who advocate or at least seem to advocate violence against others and so are trying to start up a riot or rebellion of some sort.
What is the Christian response to all this?? I certainly don't think that Jesus would be telling us to shoot and kill those who disagree with us. Somehow, that's not the message I got from the Jesus of the New Testament. After all, isn't he the one who said love your enemies and when somebody slaps you, turn the other cheek?? That was him, right?? So, then I fail to see how any Christian can rationalize violence against another person no matter what form it might take. No war, no shooting, no genocide, no death penalty execution can ever be justified using the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. That is the truth that I believe in and accept. He is called the Prince of Peace for a reason.
What ever happened to loving others?? Who is out there preaching the rhetoric of love and reconciliation? Hate has no place in our modern-day society and especially has no place in the Christian Church?? It's one of the reasons why I stopped being a Christian for a while. I couldn't handle hearing all the hatred that was being spewed out there. In the wake of 9/11 especially, there was a lot of hate and vitriol being spewed about the Muslim religion most of which wasn't true. The Christian faith needs to be the voice of love in opposition to all the hate. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and then preaches hatred or bigotry or violence is not a follower of the Jesus I follow and believe in. The only thing that can bust through the hate and vitriol is love. Nothing else can do it. It's time that those who call themselves Christians actually start living that message and showing others the love of God and the power that that love can have in one's life. It won't do any good for us instead to shoot back or start killing those who disagree with us. That way will only lead to more violence and bloodshed and I think we can all agree that there has already been too much of that.
Both sides, Democrat and Republican, have been guilty of this so please don't take this as a screed against one side or the other. While I myself am a Democrat (usually!!), I also acknowledge that the Democratic Party is just as guilty of doing this as the Republican Party. Both sides need to tone down the hate and amp up the love. Let's cross party lines and show that no amount of vitriol or rhetoric is going to prevent us from spreading the love. Don't hate that person down the street because they are a Muslim. Don't pretend to ignore that homeless person just because they are black. Don't attack somebody or shoot them just because they happen to have voted for a Democrat. Violence only breeds more violence and love only breeds more love.
I'm not a theologian or a politician. I'm just a 20-something male who is quite frankly tired of hearing all the messages of hate and anger. I'm also not a prophet so please don't start treating me as one. I just really felt like I needed to get this off my chest. Perhaps you will disagree with what I've said here. That's ok, I realize that I have said some pretty controversial things in this post. However, no amount of disagreement is going to make me back down from this stance. Love each other, or perish.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010: The Year in Review

Now that we have entered a new year, I feel that it is now appropriate to take a moment and just reflect on all that I have learned about myself and what all I did this past year. 2010 marked a year of great personal growth for me although it was marked by some great tragedy as well. Overall, though, it was a pretty great year for me and I just wanted to take a moment and talk about what this year helped me realize.
  • Honesty really is the best policy even when it does cause you great personal distress. Still, it remains important to be yourself and be honest about yourself.
  • I finally moved away from home after years of wanting to do it and yes it was scary and I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it successfully. However, it turns out I really can make it in a big city.
  • I finally found some sort of life direction. I no longer feel like I am drifting through life and actually feel like I have some sense of purpose.
  • I started to really like myself and make peace with the person I am now. I spent too many years hating myself and now finally can actually say that I like myself and my body and mean it.
  • It is possible for me to successfully live with other people and enjoy myself.
  • Somehow, in the entire year of 2010, I managed to avoid getting sick. I attribute this to the fact that I started listening to my body more and started taking better care of myself. I hope to continue this pattern of good self-care throughout 2011 and maybe I can avoid getting sick again this year!!! This is made even more impressive when you consider that I got a bad eye infection in 2007, had bronchitis twice in 2008 and strep throat twice in 2009. So, the fact that I managed to dodge the sickness bullet this past year is a minor miracle.
  • I've realized who my true friends are. The people that have stuck by me through everything and continue to support me no matter what decisions I make. Those are the kinds of people that I want in my life and if you are one of them, then thanks so much for your support! It really does mean a lot and I hope you will continue to support me throughout 2011 which is guaranteed to be another year full of major life changes.
  • While I still love the theatre and the stage, I've realized that acting is just not meant to be my career. It was a hard thing to realize but to be honest, I really haven't missed the stage all that much. It has been almost a year since I was last in a show and I have really enjoyed exploring all the other opportunities available to me. Not saying I will never do another show again but if I do, it will be because I genuinely want to be back on stage as a way of glorifying God not myself.
  • I need to take more time to just spend with God. I also need to learn to trust him more. I'm a control freak, Type A personality so this is proving to be difficult but I resolve (dare I use that word) to try and make God the number one focus in my life. After all, I wouldn't be where I am today without him.
  • The years of abuse I suffered were terrible but they helped make me who I am. I hope to use my past suffering to better other people's lives. Only then can I truly break the cycle of abuse.
  • I need to not be afraid to call myself a Christian. Indeed, I need to be more willing to acknowledge and label myself as such. It doesn't benefit anybody to deny my faith. Maybe by letting others know that I am a Christian, it might change other people's minds about what Christians can be. Help get the negative images out of their heads and show them a different brand of Christianity.
  • I really need to do a better job of keeping in touch and reconnecting with people. I've lost touch with so many people over the years because I have been afraid to talk to them because I didn't think they would care. I need to quit that attitude. If they are really still my friends, of course they will care. If not, then they aren't really my friends and I shouldn't worry about what they think anyway. This is one I am really going to work hard at this next year. It might take some time and will not be easy but I am determined to make it happen. After all, I don't want to get to the end of my life and have nobody there to help me pass on because I was too lazy or busy or scared to keep in touch with anybody.
Well, I think that really sums it up. 2010 was a pretty good year for me, one of the best ever but I sincerely believe that 2011 will be even better. If anything, it will certainly be filled with lots of change again which is a positive thing. Thanks for following my journey so far this year. Hope you will continue to follow me throughout the next year. It's been a long, crazy ride that's for sure and it is sure to get even crazier!! Hope everyone had a Happy and Safe New Year!!