A Day Alone

Thomas looked out to the field he loved so dearly and saw something that enamored him. A duck flying over a small pond that had no fish or any life beyond microbial. He went to sit next to the pond and ponder the idea of what it meant for him. For him, this was his time alone with God. He prayed for his salvation and his neighbor’s salvation. 

Looking at a butterfly that had just landed on his lap he saw how beautiful the world truly was. Looking to his left side there was a spider that was creeping along. Holding the spider he thought how there was beauty in even the most grotesque things of the world. After realizing this he prayed for those who wish him harm and those who despise what he believed to be true. 

A moment later he went off to another area where he saw something etched in a tree. “To whom it may concern, here lies Alan Army.” He prayed for the man’s soul and moved on. Thomas began to remember the things he wanted in life. Things like a family, a beautiful house, and overall happiness. Understanding that this would all come with a struggle he began to slow his walk. Thinking deeper on the goals he was making and how he would get them. Thomas pulled out his notebook and wrote out the goals. Then he prayed and went on with his day remembering these goals and storing them in the back of his mind. 

He came home to see that there was a news story about a family that had been robbed down the road from where he lived. Thomas thought back on the spider and how there was beauty but also terrible mishappenings around the world. Standing in front of his Icons he saw that there was only one way to be and one way to live. 

Thomas took to writing an article on the place in which we stand today. He titled it “A Day Alone”, the title had to do with our judgment. “In the last days there will be extreme strife”, he remembered.  These thoughts were there simply because he was feeling this deep sense that things in most of the societies’ spiritual life were lacking. People were not truly loving one another as they were commanded to and using each other for personal gain rather than helping each other when they fall. For Thomas, this was peeling his emotional skin and causing him to despair. Thomas started to think if it was even worth making any effort to help those around him if they were just gonna stab him in the back or not be thankful and regret his help. 

Thomas sat down to write anyways and he poured his soul into the words he chose. He wrote a somewhat lengthy paper and went to publish it on a website that accepted letters to the editor. They published what he wrote and in less than a week he was getting messages. These messages were from people who greatly appreciated his words. He received many thank you letters and noticed that all he had to do was step up and speak up. The people around him began to change their demeanor and quickly his whole little town began to thrive. 

Thomas stood in prayer and prayed for discernment. He wanted to know that what he wrote actually helped and to bring him back to a good grounding. A gust of wind blew through his room and it smelled of incense, Thomas then knew what he had done was right and blessed.

Hope

In the pandemic there has been a rise in suicide. This all being the result of the stress of the pandemic and individuals mental health. I personally feel as though suicide is one of the main factors that hinder the youth of our nation and other nations around the world. Having dealt with my own personal struggles there is very real consequences when we don’t take time to look at ourselves and determine how we feel.

The fact that we are mostly working from home and no longer able to see our friends in the workplace and be able to talk and get that human contact that we all really want is becoming rare. There are reports of attempted suicides on the rise across the country in part because of the contactless living we are under. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-pandemic-effect-suicide-heightens.html a report on New Mexico and the rise in attempts there. Even the military is having a rise in suicide https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/01/suicide-rate-among-active-duty-troops-jumps-six-year-high/5879477002/. This whole pandemic has caused those with already very fragile mental health to become very unstable. Those who have mental disorders already feel like outcasts or even shunned by society and adding to that the trauma of a world pandemic that has been said to be so deadly it kills everyone who gets it in some cases. The massive leap in cases shows how deeply we need something better in our lives. The fact that at the beginning of the pandemic Churches were closed, is not good for those who really needed to be with someone who can give them help.

In time the pandemic may go away and something totally catastrophic will happen in the world that takes the place of the pandemic but for now we need to be focused on our own lives and things we know we can control. Our mental health is the one thing that can truly keep you healthy. The mind and the body have the kind of mechanical connection that if one or the other is in disrepair everything else will eventually crumble. If you constantly think that you’re a terrible person and all sorts of other things then your physical appearance will show that as well. If you think that you are healthy and perfect then it will show as well, sort of a physics thing. Remember though to not become egotistical and be full of yourself or you may fall into great sins. If you need references for that read the Bible or the saints who talked about such things.

There are a great many ways people can keep from falling into despair and depression and suicidal thoughts. For me it is in Orthodoxy I find refuge in the lives of saints and the daily readings of the Bible as well as being able to go to Church for the Liturgy. I also have writing out my thoughts like a goth teen and playing and working on instruments. Things that I can feel good about after having finished a project keep me from being depressed about whatever it is that gets me down at times. I also go to my priest and talk to him at times. Its not my place to say to those out there who are not Orthodox but confession is another way to get rid of these things that make us feel ill and dirty. Especially when we have suicidal thoughts.

St Nektarios of Aegina says “Don’t let anything deprive you of hope” this is to be remembered, St Ephraim The Syrian says “Don’t lose heart. There is hope, and it is Christ.” There are many other quotes I could use but the point is that right now with all the hopelessness in the world we need to find Christ and go to the Liturgy and be in the Church. There is hope in Christ and when we realize that we have no need to despair over anything in the world.

The Father is my hope; the Son is my refuge; the Holy Spirit is my protector. O All-holy Trinity, glory to You.

New Book

I recently published the ebook version of my book. I am writing something that I feel needs to be read and known as well as offering a story that to my knowledge hasn’t been told. The future is bleak but with Christ everything is possible.

I wanted to write out the whole book in one go but it didn’t turn out that way. My vision for the book became farther and farther away and I needed more time. My personal deadline for the book was before December. There is a man named Blackie Lawless of the band W.A.S.P. who in a conference for his album Golgotha talked about the vision one has when undertaking something of great importance that person should always keep that beginning vision until the end. He realized when he was writing the album Golgotha that the more time he took the less he saw the original vision for the album. In this I took the idea that when an artist, writer, composer, or whatever it is they do creatively need to keep the original vision through to the end. When artist start to nitpick at what they made they tend to lose the original idea and everything falls apart. I didn’t want that to happen with me so I chose to break the book into two or maybe three parts, I’m still not sure about it.

I am however already putting together the main parts for the second part. I’m hoping that in time the final product is something people enjoy whether they are Orthodox Christian or not. The very basic message of the book is hope even in times when you are so oppressed that you think nothing good can ever happen. Hope is something people today tend to be pessimistic about but it is much needed in our life right now.

Please buy and enjoy the first part of an adventure that has love and hope at its core. Enjoy!!!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MCNX9GW

Keeping Faith

In the trials of our time, we have so many hurdles that come before us. The obvious pandemic has its own set of hurdles, but there is also that of our faith. As a Catechumen in the Orthodox Church, I have a whole new set of hurdles. These hurdles are not really related to the Church just things that come along with converting to Orthodoxy, killing the old man, and bringing the new man forth. It is a struggle, but everyday people struggle with even little things like what to eat and what color they want their baby’s room to be. Through this the main principle of keeping true to the Faith and struggling in the world of passions and sins so that we can purify ourselves and have salvation. The orthodox definition of salvation is an ongoing process of purification that reaches beyond this world into eternity. It is referred to as deification or theosis. An article to read on theosis would be this one http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/theosis-english.pdf.

The faith that is at times so much of a struggle that some begin to despair and feel as though there is nothing that can help them. In this we are called to help them, we don’t have to be priests or monks to do. We can be the angel unawares to those who have become distant in faith. It is a requirement that we be lights in the dark of this world. This is sometimes hard to do especially when we are looking out at something that seems hopeless, but we need to persevere and help those who can’t help themselves. When we help our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can get satisfaction knowing we helped someone even little things like helping grandmother get something from a top shelf or greater things when we help the homeless, the sick, and the suffering. These things become unnoticeably a calling and something that at first is hard but afterward, it feels as though someone else is doing it and you are just there watching.

I write this because there is a hole in the world that seems to be being filled with something that demoralizes people without their knowledge. It seems to be a popular idea that we need to be feminists, BLM supporters, communist/socialist, as well as blind followers to people who are the presumed experts. The Churches are told to keep the people distanced and that they wear the masks. The pandemic has helped many have extra time to research the world and see things differently. From this, some have woken up to the agenda in play and are attempting to take steps towards true freedom. Knowing that the masks are a symbol of our oppression and that we are called not to be followers of Christ but sheep to the system. The system that calls for mandatory vaccinations and abortion on demand even forcing some to stay inside their homes for the good of humanity. I  don’t personally see how so many people have succumbed to these demands of mask-wearing and lockdowns when just a few years ago the mass media talked about personal health rights, yet now they say you have no right to think for yourself. This is part of the struggle on the path to salvation, to struggle with the world and always keep our eyes and hearts on God. “Even if we fall a hundred times a day, it does not matter; we must get up and go on walking toward God without looking back.” Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, an important quote in my own opinion.

The ideas that are out there are going to bring people down, but we need to remember to be positive. Having a happy outlook on life and being appreciative of everything that God puts in front of us even if we fail. There is no time that we are not faced with a passion or sin that can not be turned away from. If we stand tall in the faith and understand that our life in this world is fleeting and we are going to be gone soon, we need to have our focus on what really matters. If we forget that there is always room for sin to enter and cause any number of issues. “Do not let anything deprive you of hope” St Nektarios of Aegina. “Blessed the one who farms fair and good thoughts each day and by hope conquers the wicked passion of despondency, by which the Lord’s ascetics are warred upon.” St. Ephrem of Syria. “Everything in this life passes away only God remains, only He is worth struggling towards. We have a choice: to follow the way of this world, of the society that surrounds us, and thereby find ourselves outside of God; or to choose the way of life, to choose God Who calls us and for Whom our heart is searching.” Blessed Fr Seraphim Rose. Remember to always help those in need and be positive and happy to those around you.

here is a video that can help understand that its better to be positive than negative towards others if you are not religious https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1sWVjXhKfg