Saturday, December 8, 2012

On saying "No."

I have taken a little longer to write a new post, mostly because I've realized how little I have to say that I haven't already said.

I recently applied to give a talk at a retreat. This is one of those secret retreats I'm not allowed to give much detail about, so I'll be giving as little detail as I can while still getting to my point. I had been on this retreat only once before, and unlike most people who went on I never applied to be on team. I've even had two years longer to do it, and only now that I've come to my last chance to do so have I applied. There were multiple reasons for doing this, but I did always help the retreat in some regard without being on team. Things that you can only do by not being on team for the retreat.

Well, I was denied. They offered me a different position that didn't exist when I went on the retreat - it was created simply so that they could have a larger team and not deny so many people. I didn't take it. I said no.

I have thought about this for a few days. I've talked about it with only a few people, who all seemed to believe I was acting out of anger, jealousy, or selfishness. Or some combination of those three. I'm not surprised, it was more or less what I expected to hear. I do have a few practical reasons for not going, one of which being that I don't actually have time to do it. I would be giving up sleep and meals, and I have already had to cut back on those. Sure, I was prepared to do that to give a witness, but to do a position that I could show up with no preparation and do exactly the same? Selfish or not, I said no.

I have made an effort to not share as much about myself as I once did years ago. I did this out of a concern that I was being too attention-grabbing and making things too much about myself. This never meant, however, that I didn't want to share about myself. One thing I've always wanted to do but never asked for until now was to have a chance to talk in front of my community about the mistakes I've made and how I came out of it alive - so that maybe those lessons wouldn't be wasted on just myself. Well, I asked and they said no. And so did I, in return. Right or wrong, that's how it played out and I want to think I made the right choice.

Having something bad happen to you, like rejection, is always about trying to make the best out of a bad situation and moving on. I hate sounding like a pity party but I've been doing that for a long time now and I am sick of it. I just want something to go my way. But life doesn't work according to our demands. Very well.

In response to all of this stuff I have written about for months, I have gotten very defensive of myself. My life has curled in on itself. I feel like I need to defend myself, because I'm the only one who can. I don't have anyone else who can look out for me like I can. I don't expect those who called me selfish to understand how hurt I am, how that hurt gets compounded on top of more hurt. When you're hurt you need medicine. My medicine is saying no.

I don't expect that things should always go my way, but I can always refuse to play along with other people's demands. People don't have to respect me. But if they won't respect me, I will work on ways to better respect myself. And right now, I believe respecting myself means refusing to give up hours of time that I need so that I can heal my mind.

Maybe someday, I will have a chance to share my life with people without needing to go out of my way or whoring for attention. But that is not this day.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream of saying no.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Ka is a wheel."

“Ka is a wheel; its one purpose is to turn. The spin of ka always brings us back to the same place, to face and reface our mistakes and defeats until we can learn from them. When we learn from the past, the wheel continues to move forward, towards growth and evolution. When we don’t, the wheel spins backward, and we are given another chance. If once more we squander the opportunity, the wheel continues its rotation towards devolution, or destruction.”

I continue to be amazed by life's circular nature.

Ka, in the quote above, is a word meaning destiny or fate from Stephen King's The Dark Tower, a seven eight book series chronicling the adventures of Roland Deschain, the last and greatest gunslinger, and his quest to find the Dark Tower, save it, siege it, and climb to the top. Roland's world is the Dark Tower is threatened, the fabric of existence is wearing away. Even time itself ceases to work correctly. The demons that have chased Roland his entire life and killed all of his friends are slowly revealed to be the very demons behind the slow demolition of the Dark Tower...which they wish to destroy so that they may rule over the darkness left behind.  Roland - the cold but romantic prodigy and representative of all that is good - frequently must travel beyond the realm of his post-apocalyptic world to others, where his foes follow his fast hands and blazing eyes to their deaths, in order to save his world and all the worlds.

But in the end of the story, Roland's ka...his revealed to be circular. It is his curse. As it is mine.

Well, I'm being dramatic because that's what re-reading The Dark Tower does to me, but really. It seems as though every other year I am undergoing the same trial - but in a different time and with different characters. I get what I always say I want - a chance to do it over again. It's amazing and aggravating all at the same time.

Two years ago I made a mistake that proved to be both wonderful and terrible - and wonderously reversible. For the most part. However, again I am pressed into the same situation at exactly the same season and mode of life. And this time, in the words of Inigo Montoya...I will not fail.

But sometimes, I wonder if how I plan to do things the second (third, fourth, really) time is really the best way after all. What if, indeed, I am only making things worse? How long will the cycle end? But then again, this is the sort of thing that, as a friend pointed out, "you only have to get right once." And that is a comforting thought.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream of linear ka.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The chronic thinker.

I've concluded that stopping the downward spiral of thinking that is my brain is as difficult as stopping a train with a flyswatter. Prevention is the best medicine.

A chronic thinker is someone who relentlessly contemplates everything. Thoughts can run from anxiety-provoking thoughts like "I wonder if we're in tornado alley? I better check. OHMYGOSH WE ARE, I GOTTA GO MAKE A SHELTER" to depressing thoughts like "They haven't called. I guess they're not interested. No one calls. So no one is interested in spending time with me." It likely has little to do with intelligence and more to do with emotion.

Observe: Last weekend was a nightmare for the chronic thinker I am. I had already been starting to get quite upset by how quickly many of my friendships had disappeared once I was no longer around to try and keep them going. How little it seemed most people thought of me unless I was right in their faces. So, I emailed a long lost friend and my last girlfriend, just innocently asking how they were and what they were up to. Nothing more. Then, I had to take part in my friend's wedding. It was an honor and a nightmare. For one, I had to see my last girlfriend, who seemed to be virtually inseparable from her new boyfriend. I felt as though I missed her. I began to make the connection between her and the last time I was happy, realizing again what a support she had been in my life where friends and family were failing me. I kept trying to remind myself that it was not her I missed, but the loving support. No use - my thoughts kept bouncing back and forth like a bouncy ball in a concrete room. Wondering where I'd gone wrong. Thinking about what we had been together. Hating myself for thinking about that because I knew I was right to end the relationship and it was the best thing for us.

Continuing on, I thought about how I lost a lot of the friends I had when I broke up with her. How they cared more about her than about me, even though I was hurt, too. How none of them except the guy I was friends with before we dated tried to be my friend anymore. Making the connection between that and my current misery. Reflecting on how it was my own choice, my own unselfish desire to do the right thing that led to us breaking up and destroying what I did not know was my biggest support group in life. Reflecting on if I hadn't broken up with my last girlfriend we might be engaged/almost engaged by now...and that we'd be planning our wedding. Thinking again about how pathetic this all is and I should be happy with myself for just doing the right thing and continuing to be myself.


Wrote a letter to a girl I loved and respected before she moved away. Tried to keep it brief, friendly, and optimistic. Failed. Cried miserably the entire time I wrote it. Reflected on how every time I write this girl a letter I don't stop crying until I finish the letter. Told a friend I missed her. Wondered what might have happened if I had seen her the way I see her now months ago. Tried not to think about it. Failed that, too. Told another friend, one of the few to actually still really care about me, to stop texting me everyday to make sure I was OK even though I appreciated it because it was making me too emotionally attached. She agreed. Reflected on how wretched doing the right thing can make you feel sometimes. Hated myself for not just being happy I did the right thing. Went to sleep.

And woke up...fine. Fine! I've been fine all day. What's changed?

I'll tell you. I didn't start thinking about it. So I haven't thought of this stuff all day until now. This is just one of those things I'm still figuring out about myself. If I can keep myself away from the things that trigger me (Facebook, certain people, some texts) I don't start thinking about that stuff...and I remain OK.

Now it's written, so now I can't forget. I said I was the only one who can help me, and now I am.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream to slow it down.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Elysian fields await.

"Might have to go...where they don't...know my name. Float all over the world...just to see her again. And I won' I feel...any pain. Even though all my armor might the rain. A simple plot. But I know one thing: good things are coming my way."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: you teach people how they are allowed to treat you. Every time you tolerate people who do things you don't like to you, you teach them they are allowed to do it. No more.

I haven't been mistreated lately, but I feel like I have and that's enough for me. I have to break the pattern that causes me so much pain, brought on by my own ambitions concerning other people. Sometimes, you just have to know when to quit. And so I have. The game is over. I have not won, but I certainly haven't lost.

I have a long memory for hurt and I don't feel like I've deserved much of what has come my way. But from what little talent God has given me I've made much. I've got a good head on my shoulders...well, at least the people who have seen me at my best think so. I have a talent for making people feel good with only my voice. I've grown more and more into the kind of person I've always wanted to be, despite childhood assurance I would become nothing, or at least nothing good.

In less than a year, I will be leaving this place. This place that has given me so many good and bad memories. I will have no problem making new friends wherever I go, and I know that someday I will meet a woman who can relate to me on my own level. I will ride into Elysium, and no one can stop me.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for the Elysian fields.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I don't believe in bucket lists.

Why make a list of all the things you want to do before you die?

Life is a little bit of what we do and a lot bit of what comes our way. It is my firm belief that most of our circumstances are beyond our control - it is a matter of how we choose to deal with them that makes us who we are.

It seems like the object of a bucket list is to think of cool things one would like to do - but how many people consider that they may be picking the wrong things?

Consider the things that you've done that you were sure you would enjoy, and turned out to be really bad ideas. Think of all the things you never thought you would enjoy that you somehow ended up doing and liking a great deal.

Life is a lot like that. Before you die, if you are open to experience, you will probably end up doing a lot of things that you could never foresee. However, if you are constantly chasing after items on a bucket list for the controlled thrill, you'll probably miss out.

Allow me to explain. If you live with the mindset that the most exciting and interesting things you do with your life are the ones you plan yourself, you're going to end up missing out on a lot of unplanned things that really make life worth living. Jumping out of an airplane or climbing a mountain is nice, yes...but those things are nothing compared to a long conversation late at night spent underneath a starry sky, unplanned, unexpected, and totally life-giving. Making bucket lists doesn't exclude these things, but consider how popular they are compared to how popular doing anything other than watching a movie/TV or drinking on a Saturday night is.

Be more impulse driven - give in to the spur of the moment fun decision. This is not an invitation to make bad decisions based on anger or lust - what I mean is, don't let something like social norms or some kind of fear or anxiety keep you from doing something good and wholesome and life-giving. Life is much more full of regrets for things you never did than things you did do.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for spontaneity.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Inside my madness; and other tales.

I am a firm believer in common insanity.

Everyone has their own little weirdness, their own quirks and little insanities. If you follow my blog, you know something of my insanity...I'm quite sure the last three posts or so have been the product of my own special insanity. If you're not sure what I mean, allow me to explain.

If I'm not careful, I can get into some pretty sick thinking.


This is a "normal" view of time. The past is permanent, immutable, fixed. Existing only in memory. The future is full of two or more possible directions at any one time.

This is my view of time when I devolve into sick thinking. I count every time I've gone "off the mark" of what I perceived to be the "good path" of my life (marked with blue) into the "bad path" of my life (marked with red). Imagine thinking about every instance of your life where things were inevitably and irrevocably turned in a direction that impacted the rest of your life - and disliking the result. It's not a nice burden to place on oneself.

This is the kind of thinking that has influenced the past few months of blog posts. I'm sorry if it's been repetitive or depressing. I don't apologize for writing it. It was good for me.

Things are better now, because I have relearned (with some help, no doubt) a few gems of wisdom that I feel are important for me to try to keep in mind next time I start this thinking again (and believe me, it will happen). It's sad to think that I've learned all these things before and simply forgotten, only to learn again by making myself miserable. Do you hear me sigh? Here goes.

Knowing the result of everything I try to do is unimportant compared to knowing whether or not what I am doing is good. If I believe in the power of the good, I should trust in the good to take care of the rest. If I truly believe that God exists (which I do) and that he is a good God, the power of good is virtually unlimited. It "echoes in eternity." If my soul is to last for eternity, it must be tied up to the good. If I am striving for that, everything else is nothing.

Knowing who I am means knowing what I can and cannot do. I can invite someone to coffee after only barely knowing them, because I'm kinda curious about who they are, and I'm bold enough to violate any social norm to do what I want, dammit. I can't change the past because it's over and I'm not a time traveller. It means knowing my boundaries. Being assertive. No means no, no matter how many times I'm asked. It means saying what I mean and what I feel, regardless of how others may negatively perceive me.

Finally, I must accept whatever comes my way. There are two different ways to take on life: fighting to make things happen, and surrendering to whatever fate God brings me. What one needs to be happy is to do problem is that I was only doing the former. A fruitless battle guaranteed to make me miserable...because if something is not meant to happen, it will not happen. There is no shame in saying "Very well then. What will be will be." I did not understand this - it felt like cowardice. No more.

This is what I've learned - take what you will.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for sanity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The world has moved on.

"The world has moved on. Bad times are on horseback."

I am re-reading the Dark Tower, Stephen King's magnum opus of an adventure about Roland Deschain, gunslinger, last of his kind in a world that is dying, and about his last ditch attempt to save it and all of existence itself from eternal darkness.


There is a saying that reappears in every book (there are seven) and multiple times in every book. It's "The world has moved on." The first time I read the book, years ago, I never really understood the phrase. I thought I did...I took it to mean "times have changed." But that's not it at all. I get it now. I get it now because I'm a little older and I've lived it.

"We say the world has moved on; maybe we really mean that it has begun to dry up."

When I think back to the time when college was new, and I had all the time in the world?

The world has moved on, gunslinger.

When I think about the times I always had someone else to consider if things didn't work out?

The world has moved on, gunslinger.

When I think back to when I didn't need to worry about whether I was doing things right?

The world has moved on, gunslinger.

When I think back to the times I could choose among almost any club, school, community, etc. activity as a place to have fun and meet new people?

The world has moved on since then.

I get it. What an interesting phrase - it doesn't mean a change in time, because time is really only a figment of our means an entire change in the world. My world has utterly changed, and I'm still adjusting. I keep wanting things to be how they once were, but everything around me reminds me it's different now.

In the interest of not sounding so depressed to the point of self-absorption, I know I have other things to look forward to. But true to my fashion, I'm not as interested in them as I am to the things that I've "passed by." I need not repeat them. After all, I understand as well as anyone else reading this blog how I must sound. Still, allow me this guilty pleasure.

I guess I am just frustrated that at my sixth year of leaving home, other than a degree under my belt and another on the way, and a little maturity, I'm really no better off than I was before. I think at one point I actually thought I would be married by now. What a riot that is to think. The world has moved on.

Something positive (because I really am trying, I promise): I think I would be very happy, even if I was moving on from this community alone, if I got a job where I intern at. And moved to this nice little town with a Catholic church the size of a cathedral. I'd cry...that would be lovely. We'll see...we'll see exactly how much the world has moved on.

There was a dream that I dream, a dream for a world that has not yet moved on.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just the facts.

School has begun, and it's been much as I expected.

I really don't have a lot of time anymore, and pretty much as soon as I have homework and work starts, I will have no time at all. For much of anything. It's only a matter of time before people will wonder where I have gone - some out of genuine concern, most out of detached curiosity. Mostly I will wonder why no one saw this coming when I made it practically my mission in life to be with these people as much as possible while I still could...before I left.

I don't know if people consider the life-span of their relationships much when they decide how they will conduct them, but I know in my case no one has...yet. I'll be gone in less than a year, and already I might as well be gone now because I no longer have time for what I would consider a meaningful relationship. I still entertain the idea of entering a romantic relationship as well, but I heavily doubt my own capability in making a proper decision regarding women since every other time I've made one it's ended in a disaster much further beyond what would be considered the normal or usual pains of entering/attempting a relationship. This is kind of new to me - usually when faced with even the possibility of romance I am excited - and apparently too excited to actually make a good discernment decision. Now, however, I feel merely apprehensive and doubtful, and I think I have good reason to do so. It's difficult enough to explain in person, so I won't even try to elaborate here.

It's no longer up for debate whether or not I am happy - I have definitely not been happy for quite a long time and have no one to blame for it, really. It's hard to complain when you know that the problem lies either with you or no one at all. I am generally incompetent in at least one component of anything I try to accomplish, whether it be the paperwork part of counseling, the motivation aspect of earning a living, or the discernment part of a relationship, and whenever I am reminded of that, I usually end up not wanting to do anything except what I have to do.

I know no one ever really seems to believe a word I say regarding my feelings, self-concept, general state in life, etc. but at least when I write things out here on the Internet, I can get a sense that I have explained myself as best as I can. I don't really hope for much besides a chance to explain myself, and I better get used to it, too, because that will likely be the last thing I do before entering heaven (or hell): explaining myself. I suppose if I can get that right nothing else will really have mattered.

That's it, just the facts. Thanks for reading, whoever you may be.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream that's a fact.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Lies Below.

Dreams are the mind's way of taking a nice, refreshing poop.

Last night I had a dream that bothered me a little. In the dream, someone I don't like very much trapped me in a warehouse. I played nice and asked her to let me out, while she continued to threaten me with making everyone believe I was a bad person and other things that she would never actually say but my mind knows I find horrific. Well, when she came back in to taunt me to my face, I let her know she made a mistake by promptly grappling with her. For a moment I was afraid I had messed with the wrong opponent, since I was surprised at how her size contributed to her strength, but in the end I was still able to lift her and throw her down onto the ground. This did nothing to stop her, though, and it wasn't until I brutally bent her so that one side of her face was pressed into the ground and the other into her stomach that I had truly won.

"You will let me out. You will never speak to me again." I said to her, as her face turned bright, cherry red and the pain showed very clearly on her face. I felt a pang of guilt at seeing how hurt she was, but I reminded myself of her attempt to trap and defame me before letting her off the ground. She quickly went to fulfill my demands, letting me out and sobbing as people began to ask her what was wrong...while I slinked off elsewhere to think about the lack of foresight that could get me an assault charge and whether her entrapment was good enough for a self-defense defense. Then I woke up, relieved.

What does this mean? Well, besides the obvious fact that I still have a lot of messed up dreams, it means to me that I have a lot of anger to take out. Mostly when I'm impatient, frustrated, or angry, I let out a little steam by slipping out a few curse words or having an angry expression, but apparently this isn't enough. I'm very angry about certain things that keep happening to me, which I need not repeat lest my readership that may already be annoyed at all my emo posts (sorry! It's really my one guilty internet emo thing) consider this one the final straw.

Problem is, what do I do about it, anyway? I can't exactly actually go punching people, now. I used to like to throw a softball in the air and hit it as far as I could, and run after it...Over and over until I was too tired to be angry. Now that seems...silly. And probably won't keep working.

If you have any ideas...let me know.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for peaceful dreams.

Monday, July 30, 2012


"People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence."

As perceptive as I liken myself to be, I am amazed by my own nearsightedness and blindness. Always it seems I am late to discover something about my life, which then becomes a major source of regret. Like - who is really important. Who is not. Who someone really is. I feel like an idiot when I miss out on something important.

I have developed a defense against this, though. I never hold anything back. Today, I gave someone a present I worked on for months. I don't know this person very well, but I knew that what I did would make them smile because they once told me how much it would mean to them if someone gave them the kind of present I gave. She loved it. Let me repeat - we are definitely friends and think well of one another, but we are not "good friends." I did it for no other reason than I knew it was a good idea. I knew that if I held back, I might end up regretting it. I know very well that I can't prevent every regret that might come my way, but I'll be damned if I am not going to do anything I know I can do to stop it. I will hold nothing back.

What good can come of the things we do and say to one another? How can you know if you don't do it? So long as the action is intrinsically good, good can come of it. Don't hold any of it back. That was the principle of the gift I gave today.

Today, I had to call two people. For different reasons. To the first, I said some things that I shouldn't have said. I meant what I said, but I knew saying it would send the wrong message. So I apologized and we understood one another again. However, I am glad I made that mistake. I held nothing back. Nothing at all - I said whatever I wanted to say in just the slightest hope that something significant would be learned from it. And I did learn. I learned I need to keep my mouth shut when I'm too tired to think straight.

The other person I called because I knew I had something I needed to say. I could have held it back - let the fact that I would miss them terribly next year an unsaid given. But I knew I had made a mistake. I have taken this person for granted for almost the entire time I've known them. I have been under a paradigm, a rigid stubborn view of them that never allowed me to see them as they are. I passed up opportunities to get to know this person in new ways, beautiful ways, and now I see that my time with them is running much shorter, much quicker than I would have ever imagined. I blew it. I had to tell them. Had to say sorry - even if I knew they wouldn't take an apology, or even understand why I was sorry. I found out too late in my blindness what I had missed all along. But at least I had the benefit of finally telling the truth. The truth I'd discovered now that the scales dropped from my eyes.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for true sight.

Monday, July 16, 2012


If you ever find yourself upset about something only to reply in your mind "Such is life" I think you've reached where I am in this acceptance thing.

I think too much about the way life should be, only to realize not long after that even as long as I've thought otherwise, I've never really had much control over my own circumstances. Things will just be as they will be no matter how hard I try to change them.

A friend of mine is moving away. It just came out of nowhere, like a summer rain. A friend that I wanted to make a part of my life in a significant way. But I know...I know that even though I've done everything I could to make that happen, it would not. It just wouldn't. Fate, destiny, God's will, call it what you want. That can only be the answer.

I puzzle over why my life is the way it is. Don't misunderstand, I am happy about some of the details. Others, less. This is mere genuine curiosity. As I don't really see too many things as mere coincidences, I know there must be a purpose behind it all...why the best friends I have are not the best friends I tried to have - I am grateful for the best friends I have never expected, but in other ways I must wonder why it never worked out between myself and someone whom I felt connected to in a special way.

Someone told me I like having control the other day, and I agreed with them immediately. But after I thought about it for a while, I could actually care less about most things. I don't mind the weather, I don't care who's in charge of my school program, I don't care who cleans the kitchen or how. I don't care about most random things that can change throughout my day, really. What I want to control is actually just people. And that's the one thing I've never had control over, though from time to time I fancied I actually could.

So many things just come out of the blue. Conversations, strange circumstances, accidents, insults. Try as I might to have some kind of master plan for marriage and life long friendships, it has never, ever really seemed to matter what I had planned. Even when I was discerning the priesthood, it didn't seem to matter because I ended up in a relationship not long after.

I suppose I could be mad about it. I'm certainly disappointed. But mostly, I'm just waiting. Trying to be patient. Watching the waters settle, and then flow in a certain direction...and then switch. I feel like the captain of a ship who has believed for a long time that he was an expert navigator, only to discover that his ship, in fact, has just been slowly sinking as he heads in a completely unknown direction.

Such is life.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for patient acceptance.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Doesn't anyone understand?

There is no one like you in this world. There will never be anyone else, nor has there ever been, anyone like you in this world.

But no one acts like it. Everyone seems willing to believe that they will meet other people who can replace the ones they already know...

I feel like an alien. Because I know. And I act like it. But no one else seems to.

At any moment, I could depart from this world. I am the only one of my kind, and no one else who comes after me will be just like me. But no one seems to know. No one gets it.

When I have to say goodbye to someone, I know I am saying goodbye to a soul tied with 7 billion others for the rarest thing in existence. Knowing I can only ever meet so few of those in my life, it's like saying goodbye to a fortune.

Why doesn't anyone get this? Doesn't anybody know?

If I hear anyone else say that "you will make new friends" I think I might explode. Maybe. No one can ever replace the people you have known. Ever. Sure, you will meet other people. But you are just replacing one fortune with another. They are all irreplaceable.

Am I the only one who knows this?

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for another alien like me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Hardest Part.

And the hardest part was letting go, not taking part...Was the hardest part...

Every once in a while, I'll find a song that I really like. It just...fits. It makes sense for me to play this song and like it. This is that song.

I do not like writing posts like this. I know that people perceive writing like this as passive-aggressive and overly emotional. Too much information. It helps me to have an easily accessible chronicle of thoughts throughout the years. That is enough reason for me to indulge myself. I don't expect people to understand, least of all those closest to me - family, friends, etc. That said, I will move on.

This song for me is about futility. In the past half year I have felt defeated. The hardest part about about it is  having to let go. I always want to be more like Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z. "NO! I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED!" But it's easier when all you need to do is train and get stronger and then try to punch the bad guy again. This is different.

My last post chronicles my feelings about people well enough for one to understand the importance of family, friends, and even acquaintances to me. This post is more about the effects of the futility in trying to achieve some sense of sentiment among those I know.

It seems more often than not my relations to other people involves more letting go of rather than taking part in their lives. Often I feel this is the hardest part of my goes the song. I just have to swallow my pride, swallow my anger/sadness (I could feel it go down...bittersweet I could taste in my mouth).

It is utterly futile for trying to have some semblance of constant support in my life. But I have no choice but to accept it. Life has to go on. If it is true that in a year, I will move far away and no longer have any friends, so be it. I had a dating relationship and that failed. I tried to have another and that is failing and will fail again, I'm sure. I am beaten. It is useless (Oh and I, I wish that I could work it out). Just the utter uselessness of all my efforts to change the way my relationships go. Nothing ever changes. That's the hardest part.

But I know that there really is no changing other people. I harp on this time and again: no one owes me anything. If people don't want to believe that their surface level understanding of their friends is not enough, then nothing I can say or do will change that (Everything I do, it just comes undone). If people would much rather be out of my company than reciprocate my friendship, then they will have that (You really broke my heart). I'm tired of begging people to be my friend anyway. Watching as they live their perfectly happy lives without me in it. That is their right and I have no reason to be offended. But yet I am, and I hate it.

It's just God and me. Always (You're silver lining the clouds). But "it is not good for man to be alone." I have real friends, it is true...but they are so few. Most of the time it is just a matter of waiting until the next time I may see them again.

Now, my only motivation in continuing thus is to simply be the kind of person who does the things I do. I go to mass because I want to be the kind of person who goes to mass, not because I want to. I go to class and do my schoolwork because I want to be the kind of person who works even though they don't feel like it. I continue to (try) being charitable and loving to people I am angry at because I want to be the kind of person who is charitable and loving to people he feels have done him wrong. Nothing I I do it because I feel it will actually change my circumstances (I wonder what it's all about).

There it is. I know this is probably a bad idea to put this on the Internet but I just don't care. I am doing what I want to do.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for an easy part.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The characters in your story.

There is very little that makes me angry anymore, but if there is one thing I can count among those things it is ignorance of this fact: you are not just you.

Allow me to explain. Your soul is unique. There is no one else in the world, nor will there ever be, nor has there ever been, anyone just like you. I imagine everyone is on board with this at this point, and there's nothing new. But this is true about everyone else. And God has put the people you know in your life for a reason. Nothing is simply circumstance because everything's existence is contingent on God's benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent being.

There are people in your life right now - unique, irreplaceable, unrepeatable people - that you will never be able to fully understand and fully grasp in your life. I don't care how boring, uninteresting, strange, ugly, etc. you think someone is, they are a universe of possibilities. Everyone you know is fantastically complex and full of potential. That is why abortion is such a plague: it ends people's lives before this potential can be unleashed. Your neighbors are not just your neighbors just as you are not just you. Your neighbors are potential lifesavers, friends, best friends, enemies/difficult people, teachers, mentors, and if they are of the opposite sex, potential spouses.

This is what makes me so angry: potential wasted. Other's lives gone unconsidered. How many people go through a day without considering the characters in their lives? Your life is a story. God is a storyteller and he made have a unique life to live and you're living it whether you like it or not. Don't you ever look around at the characters in your story and realize that these people are in your life for a specific purpose and to fulfill a specific role? I know many who don't. Or at least, they really don't seem to. Everyone you meet is not just a person you have met. They are not just what you think they are. Everyone you meet is potentially the person that will change your life. If you write them off as "just a friend" or "just my sibling" or "just my teacher" or "just somebody" you have closed a door to infinite possibilities.

Nothing makes me so angry as a person set in their ways about the people in their lives. Someone who just knows who somebody is. Here's an easy example for someone my age and I hope I'll be forgiven the cliche quality of it: unrequited love. I'm only speaking of the type where a friend of the opposite sex denies another friend because they're friends. It's like saying "I'm sorry, we can't be friends because we're neighbors." It makes no sense.

That's why I think really hard about who is in my life. I want to know about them, who they are, who they want to be, what they think. I know I suck at it. I know sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes I make mistakes. But damn it, I try! I try so hard. And I know I can never learn enough about these people I know. I can't figure out how I feel about all of them or what I really ought to do with them and for them. Sometimes I get tired of it, or fail some other way. But at least I'm committed to figuring it out. I can't say everyone gives me the same consideration. I know that sounds like I feel entitled. That's because I do. I feel entitled to the same consideration that I know I will probably not get. Perhaps this is probably a fault. But I know this is how I see things and I can't change that until I see how it's not true.

I'm so tired of seeing people going through their lives without asking the important questions: who am I and what am I doing? Having a job can never be as important as putting your resources to good use. Having a social life can never be as important as seeking to understand and grow with the people you know. Having a family can never be as important as building a family that revolves around love. I am a poor mouthpiece for this knowledge. But I'm willing to say it. I hope that's good enough.

Reader: who are you? To yourself? To me? What could we be? Are we willing to find out? You can count on me to have an emphatic YES to that last question!

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream to explore the casting of my story.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Time travel.

I'm obsessed with time travel.

One of my running jokes with a friend is that we're time travelers. Half of my favorite video games, books, and movies involve some form of time travel. I like time travel so much, I'm going to list all the time travelling media I consume in one post by category (since I can't remember them all at once and this is probably the only post where it would be relevant enough to keep track):

[S] = Split Timeline Theory (any changes made in the past create a new timeline based on that change, so that the future can't be changed for the time traveller, only for the inhabitants of the new timeline)
[X] = "It is Fate" (the past can't be changed, any attempt to prevent past events is thwarted somehow)
[B] = Butterfly Effect style time travel (everything in the past effects the future, you can prevent your own birth, etc., opposite of Split Timeline Theory)
[*] = Special Rules Time Travel (time travel is magic, the rules about time travel are very loose or different e.g. in Groundhog Day, the main character relives only one day over and over, or in Radiant Historia, events done in one timeline affect the other in inconsistent ways)

The Butterfly Effect [B]
Groundhog Day [*]
Back to the Future [B]
Dragon Ball Z [S]
Star Trek [B]
Galaxy Quest [B][*]
Lost in Space [B]

Chrono Trigger [B]
Radiant Historia [S/B][*]
Ocarina of Time [B][*]
Majora's Mask [*]

The Time Machine [X]
The Dark Tower [B?][*]
The Adventures of Dr. Mcninja [B]
Restaurant at the End of the Universe [B/*]

That's all I can think of right now...Anyway, there's a point to all this. I'm obsessed with time travel because I think guilt and regret drive a lot of my behavior. I have a tendency to look backwards and want to fix things that can't be fixed. It's just kind of stunning to me to consider how something so simple as a time travel fixation can come from something so complicated as feelings of regret.

Often times, I can think of several points in my life where I know if I had just been a little more patient, or a little more brave, I could have changed someone's life for the better - or my own. It's what makes me so intentional about relationships nowadays. I know I won't get another chance to do things right now. So I make sure people know how I feel. I make sure that every interaction I have with someone is meaningful. I just have to. Or else I'll regret it, because I can't change it. I can't do it again. But with time travel you can...that's what makes me a fan.

I always have to try my best...until I get my own time machine. :)

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream to master time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


So there was once this THING that I didn't understand before.

This odd depression I noticed people about four years older than me getting. You know, they'd be leaving college. I, a freshman, never understood why they all looked so mopey. They just graduated...they're movin' on. Gettin' a career. What's wrong with that? They should be happy. And it was always only the single ones. Why the single ones?

Now I get it. That thing. It happens when everyone your age is getting married or engaged. It looks like this:

These posts always make me a little self-conscious. I like to pretend I don't care but I do. I know that people will always be quick to jump to conclusions about someone making a post about being single. I do it myself sometimes. Well, here's to posting about what I want to post about anyway. I can't stop you.

Anyway, I know I won't be forever alone and I'm not lonely. That's not the point. The point is, I'm saying something about people. About life - in all its stages. And I'm at that stage where I see everyone around me getting engaged and getting married. And it's hard to be happy for them. It really is.

It'd be a little different if I were in a relationship myself. It truly feels like I did something wrong - because I was with someone for a while, and for the most part I loved it, and almost everyone I know who was in a relationship at that time is now engaged to their significant other. It didn't end that way for me. I dealt the final blow myself.

But when I go to an awesome wedding for two people whom I both look up to so much...and all I can do is clap along with everyone else and pretend I'm not, it just sucks. It just does. At a wedding, everyone loves you, sings your praises, eats, dances, and has a blast with you...your best friend at your side, with whom by the end of the night you will be having more than just a little fun. Heck yeah, I want that. At least I'm honest. I don't play along with a pretend utopia where I pretend I don't want what I want. Sometimes that's all I got really going for me - the balls to be honest and say it like I see it.

Balls - there's a word I seem to be using a lot today. That's what it's taken for me to put myself out there. Over. And over. And over again. None of that guarantees someone success. They can do everything right - I can do everything right. And nothing is guaranteed to come of it.

But I gain nothing from just not trying. And I try. I do. And I listen when people tell me to basically not worry about it. To pray. And I do, and and I try. But that's not how this thing works. What I want is something really good - and you can't take the desire for good from me.

My only temptation is to take the easy way out sometimes - and believe me, it's there. Always. But what I keep holding on to is this idea that I must always, always do the right thing. No matter how hard it is. Oh, and I know I fail sometimes, but that is what I always strive for in the end. I want to do what is easy so bad just to feel like my life is going somewhere I want it to for a while.

All I can do is just keep trying as hard as I can to do everything right. Be myself. Keep praying. Trust. Move on. And I do. But it just doesn't get easier.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for ever together.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Long Defeat.

"I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect 'history' to be anything but a 'long defeat' – though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory." - J.R.R. Tolkien

I keep coming back to this quote because I believe it applies to my life. I know it is cliche to talk broadly about one's life, but really. More often than not, I really feel like I'm just getting beaten.

I was talking with a friend who is undergoing similar circumstances, and at one point in our conversation we came to the same conclusion: we have no idea what we're doing.

I think we all grew up with this notion that all adults know what they're doing. Our parents know everything and are completely capable. How wrong we were. I really feel like all we ever are is clueless until we die, with the only advantage of age being a little more experience. How I wish it were different.

I feel like I'm just along for the ride sometimes, and no matter how hard I try, control is just out of my reach.

Me too.
All I can ever really do is just keep trying, but sometimes it just feels ridiculous how little progress I make. That's what makes me feel clueless - I think if I truly knew what I was doing, I'd be doing better.

So, I am living this long defeat, awaiting final victory that has already been won for me. But there's so much I'd like to do before I get there. Like get married, God willing.

I think I could have gotten married. I might have been engaged by now, at least. But I ended that relationship half a year ago, today, I think. It was a good decision - don't get me wrong - but I lost more from breaking it off than she did. I always thought that I was more replaceable to her than she was to me. I think she's the only one who ever really knew me in the way she did - something that I'd wanted for a long, long time. Turns out I was right. Here I am, single months later with no real hope of dating anyone anytime soon, and she's started a relationship. I've never been more upset finding out I was right. I am disposable.

I've been writing letters lately to people whom I really feel are important to me. At the same time, I'm discovering how unimportant I am to most people. I really feel like there are just three people who would miss me - really miss me - if I were gone. All I can do is whine about it like a little kid on this stupid blog and hope that someday, if I just continue being patient and nice to people, that might change.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream of the end of the long defeat.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Death, Exile, and Magus.

"At the heart of the Christian faith," says Thomas Merton, "is the conviction that, when death is accepted in a spirit of faith, and when one's life is oriented to self-giving so that at its end one gladly and freely surrenders it back into the hands of God the Creator and Redeemer, then death is transformed into a fulfillment. One conquers death by love - not by one's own heroic virtuousness, but by sharing in that love with which Christ accepted death on the Cross. This is not apparent to reason: it is, precisely, a matter of faith. But the Christian is one who believes that when he has united his life and his death with Christ's gift of himself on the Cross, he has not merely found a dogmatic answer to human problem and a set of ritual gestures which comfort and allay anxiety: he has gained access to the grace of the Holy Spirit. Therefore he lives no longer by his own forfeited and fallen existence, but by the eternal and immortal life that is given him, in the Spirit, by Christ. He lives 'in Christ.'"

This post shall talk about three things: emotional death, feelings of exile, and a character named Magus from Chrono Trigger. And even though I never plan these posts out beforehand, I'm sure I'll be able to tie it all together somehow.

First, Magus. Who is Magus? Magus is a character from my favorite video game, Chrono Trigger, a game about using time travel to save the world. If you plan to play this game on SNES, PSX,  or DS/3DS, skip the next three paragraphs. Magus' story begins in the game's "middle ages" period, wherein Magus is an evil villain bent on taking over the world. The "good guys" at this point, believe that Magus is the creator of an evil creature named Lavos, who eventually destroys the world. After a puzzling series of events, it becomes clear that Magus did not, in fact, create Lavos at all. Lavos crashed into the planet 65 million years ago. Magus was merely attempting to summon Lavos out of the ground - to kill him. Why? Revenge. However, the "good guys" foil Magus' attempt and through a bizarre accident they all end up in 15,000 B.C., a time when the "magical kingdom of Zeal" reigns over the earth. It is my personal favorite part of the game - the scenery, the music, and the dreamlike experience of the area is glorious.

Anyway, apparently, Lavos' presence on earth actually has given some humans magic powers. The Queen of Zeal, however, is bent on resurrecting Lavos to use him as a gigantic source of magical powers (which at this point in the game we have already discovered is a terrible idea). Your group follows the events as they unfold, and it is clear that Schala, the Queen's daughter, is instrumental in being used to help bring about Lavos' return (against her will), while the younger brother, Janus (whom you discover is actually Magus as a young boy), has no apparent magical ability and broods around the Kingdom, disliking his older sister's treatment. Your group, the good guys, show up and make trouble, but are foiled by a mysterious prophet. You cannot stop the resurrection of Lavos, and once it occurs, the prophet reveals himself to be Magus in disguise. However, at this point in the game Lavos is so powerful compared to all of you, including Magus/Janus, that you must make a desperate escape and actually lose one of your characters to Lavos' wrath. The young version of Magus, Janus, is sent to the middle ages, where we can easily assume he eventually became Magus. The adult Magus goes off to a remote area to think about the course of events (being a Byronic hero of sorts).

Not only did Magus live his entire life exiled almost 20,000 years beyond his birth date seeking to gain enough power to summon and destroy Lavos to revenge his sister and fail that, but when he finally gets another chance in his original time period to defeat Lavos, he is still not strong enough. He had to live through the most traumatic time in his life twice.

What does this have to do with me? Well, first of all the character of Magus strikes me as admirable in a sense. Of course, he believes the terrible means by which he gained power justified the ends of killing the evil Lavos, which would be bad enough except he also was motivated by revenge...but yet, I can't help but admire the great tenacity. The determination it would take to live one's entire life motivated by avenging his sister's (apparent) death - well, I don't know what else to say except I like that. It reminds me of my own lesser determination to follow God's will for my life, which I believe is to take part in the self-gift of married life. Right now, however, it's not going so well.

In fact, I feel like I'm reliving some of the worst parts of my life, as Magus did. It hurts, but it is a necessary hurt. I know that one cannot gain something good without sacrifice. Often times, it ends with me sacrificing my comfort in not saying something terrifying and making myself vulnerable to someone else, only to get stepped on. So be it - it will all certainly be worth my trouble, someday. At least, I have to believe so. Magus did, and he's not even real.

And so now, however, I go into an exile of sorts. I feel as though in this moment of my life, I am really bidding farewell to many of the people who have known me the best in my life. Who I have become emotionally attached to...I have to let them go. There is nothing I can do. I can only move on. That is the nature of friendship - it's not forever. It's transient. And it feels like being exiled. It hurts to feel so alone in the world. But what am I to do, except go on.

It feels like a death. Did you read the quote at the start of this post? It is all about this kind of death. I am not experiencing a literal death, however, but an emotional one. If I am to not let this conquer me, I must look at it realistically - if I have given myself as a gift to these friends who are leaving, then I should be happy to give it all back to God as they go on. I must conquer this death through my love of them.

In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, "I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect 'history' to be anything but a 'long defeat' — though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory." I believe this applies also to my life - it will be no more than a long defeat. But it will have "glimpses of final victory," in which, perhaps, I will see the fruit of my love. Perhaps in only a smile.

I know this is a long post...but thank you for reading. It always means a lot.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream of conquering death by love.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What is owed.

Nobody really owes me anything.

These days I am a very angry person. The anger is my own fault. It comes from my sense of entitlement - people ought to treat me this way. People ought to give me this or that consideration. People ought to do this or that. But I find myself inevitably and totally disappointed.

I know that I complain a lot. If you disagree, fine. I complain a lot in my head, then. My head is a mess of accusations. How dare she! How dare he! How dare they! They know better! Well, that is my standard. I can't control anyone but myself.

It is so difficult for people to put themselves in other people's shoes. This is the root of many interpersonal problems. People just don't get what it's like. At the same time as I do something I feel justified, someone does the same thing to me, and I feel it categorically unjust. But yet, if I am honest, I know they must have some justification known only to themselves.

I take today as an example. Rejection is something I find difficult to justify in almost any situation - utter rejection, without consideration. It angers me. In movies I will cheer on the most rejected character of the story. I can't help but love them and want to see them do well. That is my empathy.

So, today, I was rejected. That is the only detail necessary in telling this story for the purposes of my moral. I was rejected in the same way that I know I will someday soon reject someone else. I know that I have my justifications for it, and feel them good enough. But, were I to explain it to the rejectee they would likely consider it a very weak excuse. So the same in reverse. Today, I was rejected, and the reasoning I heard was utter tripe, in my personal opinion. Bah, I thought. Utter bull. Their excuse is not at all consideration as they say. But I must put this on myself. I know. Hypocrite.

I am not owed consideration. I am not owed consideration from the person who I spoke to today. I am not owed consideration by my friends. I am not owed anything. No one ought to do anything for me or with me. That is not the same as should, in the moral sense. Of course I have been maltreated, just as I have maltreated others.

Everything I have given as a friend has been a gift, not an obligation. I have given time, tears, and energy. I do not believe I have been given the same. That makes me somewhat angry - but what makes me even angrier is knowing that I am not really owed what I am demanding, and that the person I should really be angry at is myself, for demanding it.

Damn it!

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for release from obligation.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On insincerity.

People need to figure out what a lie is.

A lie is intentionally saying something false. A lie is making promises you can't - or won't - keep. A lie is saying something you don't mean.

I get a lot of lies from people who really mean well. But they're really not doing well at all. Consider someone who says something nice but doesn't mean it at all - where does that leave the person receiving that lie? It is only delaying the day when they finally say "Well, I guess that person never meant what they said at all." Which hurts more than just saying the harsh truth up front.

I can finally admit that I am not well-liked by the majority of people. That's it, that's the bare facts. I hardly care anymore. How do I know this? It comes in actions, not words. At the end of the day, people can say all kinds of nice things to me and having nothing to back it up. I like that they don't want to hurt my feelings by telling me they find me absolutely boring and uninteresting, but if I'm boring and uninteresting, I really don't mind knowing, rather than having to figure it out for myself.

Really, the people who are reading this blog right now hardly need told any of this, and I anticipate that this little rant is going to cost me a sit-down with one of my few true friends. Thank you, but no! You should know I mean none of you. It is the others from whom I hear a lot of nicey-nice talk but demonstrate constantly their insincerity.

I'm a grown man now. I'm really not demonstrating that very well right now, writing a rant on the Internet like a teenager and all, but if people understood this is the only real platform I am allowed unlimited expression of my feelings where they can be "heard" maybe I can be allowed a little indulgence. Still, I am a grown man. I can handle someone telling me they'd rather not be my friend. That doesn't hurt me as much as it hurts to be led to believe I have many friends, when in reality I do not.

I want true friendships, virtuous friendships, sincere and involved friendships. I don't want to hear from people that I am something to them I am not. The reality of that grievous lie comes out the first time I see them again, when people are around and they can't even look me in the eye and say "hello." That doesn't sound like friendship at all to me. Oh no.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for sincerity.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Conversion Story (And Why You Can Too!) (version 2.0)

Version 1.0: written by [redacted], March-April 2012
Version 1.1: added version history, fixed some minor errors, added further details to Answer 1 and Answer 7, added text to three links, converted to blog format

Version 1.2: fixed more minor errors
Version 1.3: fixed a quote attribution (St. Ignatius to St. John of the Cross)
Version 1.4: extended introduction, added the quote by G.K. Chesterton, added another philosophical proof (argument from desire)
Version 1.5: added a viewing resource section, first entry Catholicism
Version 1.6: fixed two minor references to email (version 1.0)
Version 2.0: expanded and modified parts of entire post

Quick note: This is not a regular blog post. This was originally an email to some friends about why I believe in God.

And how! (☞゚∀゚)☞

Often times, Christians have a very difficult time explaining why they believe in God. I am no exception, though I would say I am better than some. The following Chesterton quote provides an explanation for this trend:

"But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it. And the more converging reasons he finds pointing to this conviction, the more bewildered he is if asked suddenly to sum them up. Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spur of the moment, 'Why do you prefer civilization to savagery?' he would look wildly round at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, 'Why, there is that bookcase... and the coals in the coal-scuttle... and pianos... and policemen.' The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex. It has done so many things. But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible." - Orthodoxy, "The Paradoxes of Christianity."

Really, the problem is there are so many reasons at once the Christian has difficulty pointing to any particular one at all. I have tried to solve this (for myself) in the following blog post - first, by telling you my story, and then by telling you individual reasons that point me toward God.
First off, I want to be clear about something. There will be no empirical proof of God's existence. Why? Because there is none and there never will be any, and thank God for that. I explain more about this at the bottom of this post.

Secondly, this is my story. As such, I'm not going to make an argument that will convince everybody. Heck, I'm not even really going to make an argument, per se. I'm just sharing why I believe. There will be a philosophical Q and A of some of the questions I've asked and gotten answers for, but that'll be about it. Hopefully by the end I will have established at the very least it is reasonable to believe in God.

So let's begin where I begin.


Like many others my age growing up, atheist and theist alike, my parents made a half-baked attempt at indoctrinating in us in religion. I am what is often referred to as a "cradle Catholic" ...I was baptized, had my first communion, all that. It was a big cultural thing where I'm from. Faith, growing up, was about the least heroic and inspiring thing I could ever see in any of the people around me. For my parents, it seemed as though it was simply another chore we had to do - go to Church on Sunday, pray as fast as we can before meals, stuff like that. I didn't learn anything about God from them; I went to Catholic school for that. There, it was just a job. If I learned the basics I could go up a grade and relearn them in more complicated language. I think the only influence on my life who was actually a real Catholic - who actually cared - was my Grandma. If you knew my Grandma, you would know she's about as gentle and unobtrusive as can be, and probably figured my parents would prefer to be in charge of bringing me up in the faith.

Well, this only taught me two things, really: that religion was a chore, because everyone around me lived like it was just a cultural obligation, and that religion was boring, because I had to learn it in school. So I treated it like that.

Then came 8th grade. I started going through a phase where since I wasn't really good at anything people cared about, I started trying to be good at being a hardhead. Any conservative ideology, including religious observance, I ate up like a sponge. If I couldn't "be good" like everyone else because I was cool, or good at sports, or a really good student, I would "be good" by being a more moral person than everyone else. Really, my problem was just low self-esteem, but when you're in the 8th grade you know jack crap about who you really are, and all you care about is knowing you're just as good as everyone else.

In high school, things got kinda better for me. For some reason, instead of hating me and ostracizing me as people once did, in high school most people really liked me. That still didn't change much for me, as I still had low self-esteem, so I was still playing the "hardhead with higher moral principles than you." This led me to try and be kind of involved with the Catholic group in high school. If I would have been honest with myself, I would have known that I was really just a lazy kid who had no interest in his faith. But because my self-esteem relied on me believing that I was "morally superior to you," I instead went on a few Catholic retreats, prayed a little "harder" than most other people, kinda took part in the mass a little more. Just enough to get noticed...after all, it was a precarious balance between showing I was more religious than everyone else and actually getting involved in something I considered quite boring. And of course, I felt better about myself when I chose to get involved in something boring just to be better than other people. Haha! Ha! Ha...ah...


Well, it was also around this time that I began to seriously have doubts about my Catholic religion. There was no philosophical basis for it, was just this intellectual nagging at me that what I was doing was incredibly fake. Yes, yes, it was. I still think it was fake because I was trying to be something I wasn't. But back then, what I thought was that the whole ritual was kind of fake. There would be these...hmmm, moments of clarity, you could say, when I would look around myself at mass, see people not paying attention, teachers trying to look interested, and I would view myself in this light and think "this is just utter nonsense!" I don't think there was ever a time in all that where I really believed that the bread and wine at mass really became anything other than bread and wine touched by a priest. Of course, if I didn't believe in God anymore, I no longer had any reason to believe I was better than other people at school, so I would bury these thoughts like a cat turd in a sandbox.

So, I must have put on a really good show for everyone in high school, because when I graduated they actually gave me a medal for (essentially) being a good Catholic. It's called the Bishop's Cross, and I still have it. Heck, even if I became an more or less permanent atheist I'm pretty sure I would have kept the thing. It's pretty sweet.

When I was looking for colleges, I can't really say at the time I was super interested in it. My search was pretty lazy, but I knew there was something special about a certain college (BGSU). To this day, I really don't know if it was something about the brochure, or the fact that it was close to home but not so close that I would have to live at home, or a genuine experience of God really tugging at me. I just knew I had to go to BGSU, or college would really suck. So I did.


I was quickly roped into a Catholic group on campus called Creed on Campus. I never really intended to join a Catholic group, as I considered my job well done in High school and I could just go on feeling good about myself for at least going to Sunday mass, unlike the rest of the heathens on campus. Heh. Anyway, by some kind of divine intervention, either literally or figuratively, I got involved in this group and made a lot of friends. I still don't know how. By the end of the year, though, I was really getting tired of the cognitive dissonance in my head. Sometimes when I would look around at my fellow Catholics, I would think to myself "I can't be the only one here who doesn't actually believe in this stuff" and of course I would bury that thought down and be like "Haha! Funny trick, brain. Yeah, I believe in this. Of course I do. Yeah..."

Well, that summer I started playing video games...a LOT more. I have always been an enthusiast, but this was always tempered by my father's limiting of my game time. While I was emancipated my freshman year of college and could play as much as I wanted, this, too, was tempered by the fact that I was making friends and stuff. By the summer, I returned home and was working full time, and had very few friends I could spend time with. I was super lonely. So, on my off time, I would play video games, specifically a browser-based MMORPG called RuneScape.

By the time I returned to school, I had made a ton of agnostic/atheist friends on this game and had some serious doubts about Catholicism. Specifically, prayer. This fundamental belief that we can commune with God somehow was thwarted by the feeling that in prayer, I was doing jack. In fact, I think I had this feeling since I was in high school, too. I decided to finally express my doubts to a Catholic friend of mine, who was unfortunately not full of answers. In fact, she seemed to kind of have the same doubts. Well, that was it for me. Game time!

For the next year and a half, I would go to mass faithfully on Sundays, sometimes even attend the Catholic group, but mostly on my own I would do whatever I wanted. I was living like there was no God, and for some time I enjoyed it. I remember one time, sitting in mass, I was watching the consecration of the Eucharist and in a moment of truth a voice in my head (mine, I thought) said "I am an atheist." Well, I was momentarily stunned and then horrified, and of course buried that deep down. Remember, I was still pretending I was a believer because it made me feel like I was still OK. I do believe atheists can be good people now, but back then I had a completely different idea of atheism.


Well, at some time during this year and a half, I began to be very lonely. Of course then I didn't realize it, nor did I know why. I just thought I needed more online friends, not real life contact. Still, I was miserable on the inside. My online friends saw more and more of me, and I think I spent more time as my online persona than I did my true self. I was entirely lost within my online personality. Sometime during this I became internet famous as Jek Nexus, a video maker and "high level" on RuneScape, and this, of course, gains you the adulation of adolescents from around the world. Even though my fanbase was, on average, about 6 years younger than me, I fed off of this because of my deep-seeded self-esteem issues. I was so lonely though. Having fans and friends on the Internet was only a band-aid to my inner problems...they masked it while it got worse and worse. Then, something happened.

I had met a girl online who was from Pennsylvania, "only" about a 6 hour drive away. Her name was "Kayla", and I thought she was my soulmate. She was very attractive, nerdy, had some faith (I still valued this even though deep down inside I was hiding the fact I had none), and most important of all, was really nice to me and thought I was swell. I met her in September, and by October I was already talking to her on the phone almost every night. I would text her during class sometimes, and she would text me back. It was like I had a girlfriend without actually having one. Looking back on this with more mature insight, I am quite sure she knew I liked her, and I thought at the time she liked me, but she continued to pretend like we were only friends. But she knew, which was why it made her nervous to give me a phone call in November.

By the time that November rolled around, I was already very, very upset. Kayla was already being very distant and "busy" and even though I was kind of stupid back then, I wasn't a moron. I knew something was up. And then the phone call came: she had a boyfriend. I was crushed...destroyed, even. I had put all my trust, all my hope, all my feelings...into this girl. And of course she hurt me, she dealt me a blow that became a nightmare over the next few months. I didn't know why it hurt so much, but I do now. I had made Kayla my God.

I didn't know this back then, all I knew was that I was hurt. There were times I really, really wanted to die. I started playing RuneScape less and less, and spending more and more time at the Catholic parish nearby, and at the student group I was by this time only marginally attending. I really only wanted friends...people to talk to besides the people on the Internet like Kayla who only hurt me over and over, and I was slowly discovering that when I actually made an effort to be friends with people in the real world, I actually satisfied some of those lonely feelings I had. By God, I actually felt better when I had some real, personal contact instead of internet chat! By April, I was ready to quit RuneScape, and I did. To this day, I have never logged in to that game again.

There is a lot more to say about this time in my life, but I'll keep it simple and talk only about the things that led to my conversion. During my depression following the November let-down, I rekindled a few old friendships and made some new ones. These people, of course, kind of knew that I was incredibly depressed, and like good Catholics, just ascribed it to a poor relationship with God. I played along...but this time, I was actually kind of curious about the faith. I felt as though I never really gave it a shot. It was always a half-baked sort of faith where I "kinda" tried to learn about it, I "kinda" lived it, and of course I believed I knew everything about it. This time, though, I knew I was wrong. So I began to do some reading.


My first foray into Christian literature was C.S. Lewis. My friends liked him a lot, so I thought "Why not me?" Within a few months I had read several books by him, including "Mere Christianity" which I was surprised to see was clear, rational, and intellectually pleasing to me - and about God, of all things. I got so many answers to many of my age-old questions - answers that I couldn't help but feel as if somehow I had already known. And I corrected many of my misconceptions about Christianity. I will explain some of these later in a Q and A format.

My hunger for more knowledge of God was proven to be insatiable. It was like a hunger I didn't know I had was suddenly being fed, and so of course this hunger just got stronger. At the same time, I began to have an active prayer life and also attended mass almost every day. I couldn't get enough of it, I just loved it and I can't explain why. I really can't. This is one of the biggest problems in explaining the allure of God to those who don't know it. It's just there.

Not only that, but my belief in God was also changing me as well. I was growing in patience, generosity, love of others, and I was really happy doing it, too.


Well, this was destined to not last forever. Eventually I began to have questions that weren't being answered again, and the good feelings I had were mostly gone. Needless to say, I was concerned. I remember clearly one time, during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, standing up in my disbelief and walking out in tears. I just felt so ridiculous sitting there, and I ran out to the pond where I was accustomed to praying and just walked around it, crying for a while. A good friend came to talk to me, which was nice, but inside, I felt as though I was back where I started.

I didn't know why I could no longer pray. I was really concerned that my whole conversion was just some kind of illusion based off of my emotions. But I knew two things: I was not happy as an atheist, and being Catholic changed me. I had tried to change myself without God, and it didn't work. Somehow when I prayed and believed, I was changed.

I returned to my books in earnest. It turned out that there were answers for me...I was just looking in the wrong places. I was reading the easy books on God, and I was ready to graduate. God must have withdrawn his support from me to make me search harder. I had slacked off. What I needed most was to search for Him - because that would change me for the better. And it did.

In this "dark night of the soul" as St. John of the Cross calls it, I purified my desire for God. My desire before was superficial and selfish. I only wanted God because He made me feel good. I didn't love God. And God wants to be loved.


I suppose all that's left to say is that I have continued searching for the truth, and for God. And I believe I've found Him. It sometimes disturbs people who are not believers in God when I say I really can't foresee having doubts about Him again. I know that God must exist - the universe makes no sense without Him. But I am always interested in further dialogue between atheists and believers. How can I say I'm interested in the Truth if I am unwilling to listen to other's perceptions of it?

In conclusion, I really don't think that any atheist can be convinced of God's existence. If you don't want to believe in God, you can find a reason not to. If you do, and you continue to do so, you will find Him if you are really looking. Sometimes, He finds you.


For a list of my questions and reasons why I have chosen to believe in God, read on to the next section. For a list of philosophical proofs of God's existence that I have found compelling, scroll to the bottom. I have also included a "further reading" section at the bottom, for those who still want more.


Questions I have asked and Answers I have received

Q. Why doesn't God just prove himself to non-believers? Can't I just pray for God to show himself to me so that I can believe? Is He that selfish?
A. It's easy to forget the implications of being an all-powerful, all-knowing deity looking for love. Love must be a choice, after all, and I think if God appeared to all of us, we would really have no choice but to believe in Him and follow Him - we would be too terrified not to. God doesn't want mindless, terrified slaves. He wants us to love Him, and in return, that is good for us (as I've tried to show in my story how well loving God worked out for me). God, of course, has appeared in many forms in the past, but this has always seemed to be a very selective calling, and done very delicately. I think I understand this best when I consider what it would be like if God had never appeared to anyone at all - we would have absolutely no record of God working throughout history to speak to mankind by extraordinary means. In addition, demanding God's appearance in order that we may follow Him presumes that seeing someone is necessary to love and obey them, or that it is, in fact, somehow helpful. God's appearances have always been depicted as terrifying occurrences done to people who already believed in His existence - and as many atheists often say, it is a poor reason to believe in something out of fear.

Q. You keep saying that God loves us. Why? Isn't it rational to have the deist view that God just created the universe and stepped back, rather than doing it "because He loves us"?
A. God needs nothing from us. That is a necessary corollary of being all-powerful. As such, I can see why deists could believe God would create the universe and then do nothing. However, this also explains nothing. My main problem with this view is that it is easily disproven with the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. There is plenty of historical evidence for Jesus, such as the 2,000-year existence of Christianity, which would be pretty odd if He didn't actually exist, and I think it would be intellectually dishonest to just dismiss it as some elaborate hoax. Something happened. Many ancient writers such as Josephus and Pliny the Younger also left accounts of Jesus’ existence. This is why I can't buy the deist view that God would create the universe for no purpose at all - because obviously He did, if He was willing to die a human death for it. And if He died a human death for humanity, then He must love us. That is why I believe God is interested in our love, over anything else.

Q. Why does God have rules? Am I going to Hell because I don't want to follow all these Christian laws?
A. Well, why do laws exist? Good laws, I think, are designed to create good citizens. If we had no laws, there would be absolute anarchy. Not that it wouldn't be fun for a few days, but after a few busted windows and stolen cars, I think we'd get sick of it. Since the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, I think God has always tried to give us laws not because He is some kind of eternal supercop, but because He doesn't want to leave us to just "figure it out." The laws are for our benefit, not His. If you really think about it, if everyone followed the Ten Commandments, we'd probably all be better off.

Q. Why does God seem like a real jerk in the Old Testament? What about laws about slavery, and the orders from God to kill people? What about the she-bears eating those kids (Kings 2:23-24)?
A. Haha, that last one is my favorite example. This is one of the big problems with not putting the OT in its historical perspective. Let me just speak broadly first. The common expression as beings created by God is to call ourselves "children of God." As children, we don't learn right from wrong right away. When we are young, we have different rules, rights, responsibilities...when we grow up, we have less of those. We're called to more - more responsibilities, less rules. Think of this in light of the Old Testament and New Testament. God didn't change from the OT to the NT...we did. In our youth in Genesis, Exodus, etc., God was slowly trying to build us up for more. In the NT, Jesus came and "fulfilled" those laws, and called us to more. Think of Matthew 5:3–12 as God sitting us down for a talk as teenagers and giving us the car keys if we promise not to wreck it.

Another thing about this question is that the Bible can only be properly understood in its original language and original context. This is why the Catholic Church often emphasizes Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic when speaking about the meaning of a passage. If you want to see a great example, click this. Another great example is talked about in this article. A response to questions about Abraham being asked to kill his son can be found here. People love to take odd bible verses out of context and hail them as examples of God's cruelty (and thus, His non-existence at least as a good God), all while forgetting that the Israelites were often evil people who needed to be slowly converted - but still treated themselves and other people better than other nations! Moses, after all, wasn't a king, and had to slowly bring the Israelites to conversion...which is showing its fruition in Christian society today. Even now, Christianity and other religions are sometimes used as justification for horrible policies and behaviors - however, are the religions really to blame, or is it a misogynistic/violent/intolerant culture? Would people act the same if there were no religion? Considering religion has also been used to justify good actions that were culturally opposed (e.g. slavery/emancipation), I am thinking yes to the previous question.

Q. Why would a God who loves us send anyone to Hell?
A. It's not so much that God sends us to Hell, as we send ourselves to Hell. C.S. Lewis says "the gates of Hell are locked from the inside." I really think Hell is little more than a necessary corollary of two other beliefs we couldn't do without: our free will and God's love. God doesn't want mindless slaves. He wants love. Who ever said a rapist loves his victim? I'm pretty sure no one. I hope so, anyway. What is God if we have no other possibility than to live with Him in the heavenly marriage forever? I'd say He's a rapist. Hell is merely the result of our free choice to not love God. Simple as that. How do we love God? We simply follow our conscience as best as we can towards Him - seeking Him always. We make no presumptions about who goes to Hell, not even atheists - we just know how to go there.

Q. Doesn't evolution disprove God?
A. On the contrary. I think if that were true, it would be equally true that it proves He exists, which is of course nonsense. The Bible is not a science book. In fact, it's not even a book. It's a library. There are many literary genres within its pages - historical, metaphorical, How to Be Hebrew for's all there. Heck, if Genesis were really meant to convey a historical truth about the origin of mankind...why would there be two contradictory stories right next to each other? Hahah. That would be bizarre.

Q. If God is all-powerful and all-good, why does evil exist? Seems like a contradiction to me.
A. Not really, if you consider that God is also all-loving. Love, understand, does not mean kindness. It means willing the best for another. What if you were omniscient and knew how to prevent all evil? What if preventing one evil meant causing another? It is against God's nature to cause evil...evil is simply the absence of God. Just food for thought, that's not really my argument.

Obviously, God has a prerogative not to interfere with free will if He wants us to love Him. Sure, He could prevent people from doing evil, but in the end, that person will probably just do it again. Do we want God to control us? He has no interest in puppets, He wants us to love Him (see question 2 above).

That said, what about natural evil? What about hurricanes and tornadoes? I suppose you could say that nature has been given a free will as well. Before the Fall, nature had a perfect order as we had a perfect order - we had absolutely no inclination towards evil (concupiscence). God gave us dominion over the world, and as we were in perfect union with God's will, the world was as well. But as soon as our forefather and mother no longer wished to be under His dominion, nature changed as we did. We could not both get rid of God and have God's protection. We cannot be imperfect and have a perfect world. The habitat must match the species.
Furthermore, pain can be good for us. Just take a look at my story. There's even a piece of it I have not told: my mother passed away when I was 16 - she is not better off living here on Earth than she is in heaven, and I know for me I have gained a great deal of emotional and spiritual maturity as a result of greiving her death.
C.S. Lewis has a much longer and clearer explanation of this "problem" contained within his book The Problem of Pain.

Q. What about other religions? Are they just all wrong? Is God sending them to Hell for not being Catholic?
A. Haha, nawwww they won't go to Hell, at least not just for not being Catholic. This is another one that puzzles me - I don't understand how having lots of religions proves there is no God, or even how it makes it more troubling to believe in Him. I think the pervasiveness of it throughout the world's cultures is further proof of His existence. Surely an all-good, all-powerful, all-loving being would be so mysterious that many religions would crop up around trying to figure Him out?

Many saints of the Catholic Church have surmised that God is so mysterious that God is "that which no higher thing can be thought." It does seem like a cop-out, doesn't it? Yet, if you think about it, an omnipotent, omnipresent, all good, all loving being, with perfect justice and perfect mercy is...well, a bit incomprehensible. We need to have enough humility to admit that.

Also, no. The Catholic Church doesn't believe people of other religions go to Hell simply because they believed in another religion. Jesus gave two commandments that were the most important - Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and your neighbor as yourself. Essentially, if you had never heard the gospel, but were genuinely striving to love God in your own way and loving others, you have loved God and thus would likely go to heaven. Let me make it even more simple. Everyone is born with a compass to Jesus - so long as you have been following it to the best of your ability, you would probably go to heaven. See this for more information.

Q. What the heck is with prayer? Don't you find it the same as doing nothing? What's supposed to happen?
A. Prayer is the thing I always most misunderstood. I think my reconciliation with the important practice of prayer happened when I realized what communing with God really meant. It's not usually a voice in your head, nor is it really some kind of supernatural feeling. It is emptying yourself to God so that He can fill you. Prayer does nothing to change God, it changes us. We ask God things because it makes us ready to receive what God wants to give. I can say very little more without ceasing to make sense. All I know is, that when I go to pray, I return slightly different, even better, than before. What else can I ask for? I suppose you have to experience it yourself.

It would be a gross simplification of the above to say that prayer is an "exercise in making yourself feel good" as I have heard from at least one person who has read it. Prayer often doesn't feel good, and often I don't want to pray. But I do it any way because it's good for me. Giving my time and energy to speak to God empties me of my own desire to go do something else. That's what the emptying part is all about.

Further Philosophical Proofs of God's Existence I Find Compelling

First mover, first causer:
Since every action has a cause and an effect, everything that exists has something else that moved it. Why do we exist? We can talk about how we came from a father and mother, and they came from their father and mother...back into time, when we split off from primates, back into the primordial soup from whence we came...and still not really explain why we exist. Going back farther, to the creation of the earth in just the right place in the Universe at just the right time to provide an environment for life...but why? We still don't have the first cause, the reason for our existence. So we can go back further, to the birth of the Sun, and further back to the death of other stars that allowed the creation of our sun, and back farther to the explosion of our Universe into being with the Big Bang. But what caused the Big Bang? Even if we explained that, we still have not explained why we exist. We can keep explaining causes forever and so on, ad infinitum, which in the end explains nothing. There must be a being whose nature is simply to be being itself, whose nature is simply to be eternally creating. This is the only way to solve the infinite regression. God is being itself, the great "TO BE." He says this himself to Moses, when Moses asked Him the very reasonable question of "what god He was"...after all, there were many "gods" in his time. God answered, "I AM WHO AM." Being itself.

Argument from intelligibility:
Something interesting about the Universe is that it can be explained in a language we can understand. Science has always been able to unravel the mechanics of the Universe, our brains always being able to comprehend the language the Universe is written in. It is odd that if the Universe is all the product of some happy chance, that we are there to unravel it in an intelligible manner. Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) has a more complete and clear formulation of this argument in his book, Introduction to Christianity.

The odds:
The odds of intelligent life (us) being created by accident is "low."

Argument from desire:
"In my life, and I assume my experience is pretty consistent with most human beings, I have desires. I desire food, I desire sex--and even more than sex, I desire intimacy with another, I desire comfort and to be liked and to be safe. Some desires are passing and can easily be satisfied (I want that cookie. I ate that cookie.) or even dismissed (I want that cookie. No, it is not worth the calories). But some touch at the very root of who I am as a human being—and most especially the desire for love. I want to be loved. I need to be loved, and I need (even though this does not always come “naturally”) to give love. Every person that I have ever met, from people in jail to people on death beds to high schoolers who just seem to care about parties and Jersey Shore, all want love. And we want to experience a love that is selfless, that does not end, that keeps on going deeper and deeper. Unlike all of the surface desires that I could ever experience, this desire for a love that does not end cannot be satiated. That is why we are so struck, confounded and saddened by the death of someone we love deeply, because we don’t want this love to end, and even though we should be “used” to it by now (you’d think that evolution would have weeded out this irrational desire, no?), our world is shattered when we encounter death. I am hungry, and there is food. I hold my breath for 20 seconds, desire oxygen, oxygen thankfully exists, and I take in a great big inhalation of life giving air. I desire love that doesn’t end, and it makes sense that there is the possibility of that desire being fulfilled." - An anonymous Catholic priest

The argument against empiricism:
I said earlier in this post that I would provide no empirical proof for God's existence. Many people claim that this is unacceptable. But why? Suppose I say I love someone. What kind of evidence would constitute enough proof of that? Can one even prove such a thing? Would one say "I will not believe you until I have absolute conclusive evidence that this is true!"? I think not. There are many, many things that we take without empirical proof. I think the most important one for the atheist to consider is whether his reason is even grounded in objective reality...please provide evidence. :-)

Argument from morality:
What are our moral principles grounded in? The atheistic worldview holds that what exists in the material world is all there is. There is no empirical proof of God in the world, but there is no empirical proof of right or wrong either. I can't prove good, nor can I prove bad. If I ground my moral principles in God, however, I can know. If I don't, well...I suppose I still have my own reason, right? I can think about what the reasonable thing to do is in a situation. Mentioning the whole "moral compass instilled by God thing" aside, if there is no God, why would I do that? Why should I be bound to reason alone? Why not some other value, like progress? Or narcissism? Stalin, as an atheist, knew this when he said "The idea of a concentration camp is excellent" in response to the idea of eradicating "counter-revolutionaries and traitors" in Estonia. "Might makes Right" is the only logical conclusion to atheism. After all, if there is no God, there is no way that I can even say with any conviction that it is "good" that I exist - and so in the name of "progress", one may be entirely justified in removing me.

Further reading:
Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton
Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis
Surprised by Joy, by C.S. Lewis
The Rage Against God, by Peter Hitchens
The Godless Delusion, by Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley

For viewing:
Catholicism, by Fr. Robert Barron

Much love in Christ,

Gloria patris, in saecula saeculorum!
"There's no way of telling people that they're all walking around shining like the sun."
-Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander