Archives For Sin

Alright everybody, gather round. Something monumental has come to my attention – and I can’t wait to share – but I thought I’d take a few moments to address some of your concerns and frustrations. I’m seeing a lot of long faces.

First. Yes, there are some unbelievable jackasses out there and they are indeed monopolizing the news. Who are these lugnuts who think that their miserable behavior is no problemo. Were they raised by pre-Neanderthal apes? No “pass the potatoes please” at their family gatherings – it was grab the scrawny monkey and violently pull it apart like a wishbone.

Second. Yes, we are all sinners but there are gradations of sin. I have at times been lost in a dark wood but I didn’t get too far off the beaten path – thankfully, mercifully. But the aforementioned jerks (producers, actors, directors, politicians, businessmen, teachers, insert favorite occupation) somehow left county lines and beelined to Dante’s ninth circle all the while dipping their toes in the other eight ones.

Third. Civil discourse has somehow decided to hang out with Big Foot and Yeti. Good luck finding it anywhere. So we find ourselves in a very sad place of not being able to discuss problems and solutions without shouting and condescension. In today’s world, that is not good.

So. Where have all the heroes gone to show us the Way?

Let me answer by sharing a life moment. I was talking with a dear friend about my upcoming surgery – nothing ominous – and she suggested that I send a prayer request to her favorite religious Sisters for a safe and successful surgery (see link below for the Norbertine Sisters).

Key point number one. I’ve never done that in my life, ever. There are great Catholics out there like my friend that do that kind of thing (as well as regularly attend Mass, fast, confess, etc.), but I’m not one of them. I hope to do better, it’s a constant battle.

Now key point number two. I love God, I talk to Him every day, and it might take me twenty years to figure out all this Catholic stuff (I converted in 2001 from atheism). So, writing the Sisters wasn’t a terrible idea – just a bit outside of my comfort zone however. But I decided to soldier on and emailed Mother Mary Augustine.

I will say that my surgery prayer was only a small part of my email. I requested what I would characterize as team effort “shoot for the moon” prayer for two people I love and since this was all new to me, I did not know what to expect in reply, if anything. To my surprise, in a matter of a few short days Mother responded. And her response was magnificent on so many levels.

Mother’s email was of course prayerful, but also warm, thoughtful, personal, humble, and edifying. But her comment that prayer is the heart of their life as Norbertine canonesses and they intercede for the needs of the world helped me understand why God loves us. The Sisters exemplify humanity at its best – loving, selfless, communal, serving, tireless, industrious. Combine that with a life dedicated to God’s honor and glory and the saving of souls and you have the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph. Saints-in-training would not be a hyperbolic declaration.

It’s disconcerting that headlines of immorality, pettiness, and selfishness bombard our senses. We almost don’t know which way is up. That is the nature of so much of the world. But knowing the Sisters are out there in the hills of Tehachapi doing what they do fills me with peace, gratitude and hope. I’m rebalanced.

Maybe you should reach out to them. Zero downside by the way – infinite upside.

Lastly, the Sisters have a gift shop (perfect for Christmas) as well as a building fund for their future chapel. They would love your support. Please click on http://norbertinesisters.org.

The Walk for Life is this weekend in San Francisco. In thinking about the holocaust of babies, I came across a picture of four doctors posing together at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival; Doctors LeRoy Carhart, Warren Hern, Susan Robinson and Shelley Sella.

unbornThree out of the four seem to be having a nice time. They were the subjects of the documentary After Tiller. (Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider, was murdered in 2009.) The doctors were most likely standing on a red carpet, a place of honor. Dubious distinction I would suggest.

They are the only four physicians in the U.S. who perform third-trimester abortions.

Please take a moment and look at the faces in the picture. If you’re like me, a flood of thoughts and emotions will pour over mind and body. Clearly, they are dedicated. They know the personal risks. Is care or even love for their pregnant patient their overriding concern? Or something else? I don’t know these people but I would like to—so that we could talk. Individually would be best. I would listen with as much compassion as I could muster then I’d pray that the Holy Spirit guide me. So that I could convince them to stop.

Dr. Robinson, who worked with Dr. Tiller, said, “We learned at his knee. Kindness, courtesy, justice, love and respect are the hallmarks of a good doctor-patient relationship.”

The irony of that statement doesn’t need my amplification.

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My first post in this series of four, “Suicide – A Multidimensional Crisis” is here. My second post, “Suicide – It Begins With Suffering” is here. My third post “Suicide – The How-to Stratagem (Absurd!)” is here.

Praying Hands

During my time of struggle––hopefully the three earlier posts told the story––I would have characterized my life as untethered. I saw myself floating head down far from the earth’s surface, arms outstretched as though I was reaching for someone’s hand. I was only a stick figure, unrealized as a human being. I wasn’t floating in an atmosphere that was quiet and undisturbed but one that was tumultuous.

As the turbulence thrashed me about, as the glass shards of reality wounded me, I floated farther away and I was in danger of leaving the gravitational pull of our planet. Panicked, I prayed that somehow I would find a connection, something or someone who would grasp my hand and stop me from becoming my own planet adrift in the infinite void.

I found that connection. God––the Truth I had always been searching for––grabbed my hand and has never let go. And as I became more accepting of His presence––through prayer––it wasn’t coincidental that I never again wanted for the basics of life. Subtle miracles I like to say. Family and friends and new relationships stepped up to help in so many ways.

I’m going to assume that there are people reading this post (as well as the three earlier ones) who have had thoughts of hurting themselves. It’s an amazingly frightful act to consider and I’m empathetic to your pain. When I think of your agonizing struggles––I’ve been there and never want to go back––with as much honesty and conviction as I can muster, I beg your attention for what I’m about to say.

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I’ve never been able to accurately describe the pain I felt when hopelessness engulfed my entire being––my physical, my mental, my emotional, my spiritual. The despair was a silent but relentless vise that mercilessly crushed my very essence.

Torment

Unfortunately, my state of mind clouded lucid thinking that might have resolved my predicament. Imagine a tomato under a boot. Good options were obliterated under the boot’s heel, the crushing weight of life. The only remaining outcome, undoubtedly a bad and warped one, would be splattered on the sidewalk. Graphic symbolism for self-destruction, don’t you think?

I was suffering but I couldn’t tell anyone. My God, what would they think? You’re that pathetic? You’re that weak? This is what I’d like to talk about in this second post on suicide. Suffering. My first post, “Suicide – A Multidimensional Crisis” can be read here.

Prior to 2009, I was living a nice but passionless life in the mountains of Colorado. I had taken time off from the institutional investing world to play. Consequently, there was a lot of golf, skiing, partying and in retrospect, drifting. Ultimately though, I knew I had to get back to work so I starting looking worldwide in early 2008.

When the summer fun ended and autumn rolled in I had three quasi-offers––two in London (President, Managing Director) and one in the UAE (Managing Director). Things were looking good. I would use my Colorado dream home as a retreat and jump right back into the financial thunderdome. Without missing a beat.

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I’m about to enter an emotional minefield. And it’s uncomfortable. Walking in the redwoods and chatting about my life with a friend is one thing. Reflecting on my spiritual journey through time and space in a book is another. But in the Internet age, revealing a very dark moment in my life can be risky. Very.

SUICIDE

This digital stuff doesn’t disappear. I know it hangs on servers somewhere out there like vampires in the netherworld. But Internet musings have the potential to be like hydrogen atoms from the Big Bang––indestructible, ubiquitous and unfortunately, a shelf life of 14 billion years.

In the beginning of my blogging life––I just passed the four-month anniversary––I decided to be candid about my own experiences in hopes that sharing them would be edifying for others. But to date, I’ve stayed away from one subject. Suicide––Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, “to kill oneself.” The memories of pondering such an act are none too sweet.

However, since I survived the 12/21/2012 apocalypse and have a new beginning (Excuse me? Nothing happened? The trailer in the Mojave was unnecessary? But I stole it!), and realizing that folks may get melancholy around the holidays, I thought I could shed some light on a more intimate type of destruction; one that is the leading cause of death by injury in the United States.

Suicide––Self murder––Warped Resolution.

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