Category Archives: Uncategorized

2021: The Insignificant With The Sacred Unique

 

I hate marathons. I hate waiting. Especially for something that I know is coming. It makes me feel not only unsettled, but as if something terrible is going to happen until that thing that’s supposed to come, comes. Until that thing that’s supposed to occur, happens. (That feeling is called dread. Or a constant panic attack. Anxiety.)
That feeling like something is missing.
That feeling of being…incomplete.

Well I’ve been mulling over this whole new year business–a second time around–and I’ve come to only one possible conclusion:

Okay but…for real.
2021? THIS New Year Needs More Sister Act.

Last year, I was facing personal unknown, and I wrote about redefining our understanding of resolution. I had ZERO idea what was coming for everyone, not just me, because not a few months after that, the novel Corona virus caused everyone to lock down, and everything to change. And I spent the year rolling with it. I was excited to get back to teaching, only for my classes to get cut due to low enrollment, which itself was due to all in-person courses being moved to online. So I was ready to come back with a new energy and a new outlook, and then I had to adjust to teaching daily from my study.
And here we are, a year later, and…not much has changed. And yet at the same time, it feels like everything has changed. Maybe because I’ve changed. We’ve changed.

And yet…change doesn’t feel enough, does it? Because slow (possibly lasting) change doesn’t feel as noticeable as a drastic change. And it’s been a year of slow change for most. I don’t like that I feel I’ve personally changed, and yet also feel like I don’t show it. I made a goal of taking better care of myself, and connecting with my physical self (challenging as an enneagram 5), and I’ve spent the past year doing so. I’ve been flossing every day for a year now. I’ve been working out and exercising consistently for a year. I’ve watched what I’ve been eating. Meditate regularly.
Maybe that’s why I love getting new tattoos. There’s something noticeable, from before to after. I always feel like I’m closer to my fuller, more complete self after every new tattoo.
Or really, it’s that sensation of getting a new tattoo is more of a temporary diversion from the reminder of my incompleteness.
As such while I love that release, what I hate though is the time between booking my appointment, and waiting until the time comes. Because I want it now. Because I hate waiting. I want the visible, noticeable change right when I set about getting it. And it’s during the in-between, I’m facing a reminder that I don’t have the thing I believed will make me feel more complete, and I have to wait to get the thing that’ll make me feel more complete. Thus, I’m stuck feeling incomplete.

And that feeling seems like the worst part of this past year. The slow change, whatever those changes may be. The constant reminder of our incompleteness. The year itself dragged on and on, until all we’re left with is the personal and collective mindset of the “before times.Before last year. Before what we’re STILL in. A desire to go back to the time where we weren’t reminded of just how incomplete we actually are.

Ever wonder what does ‘Auld Lang Syne’ mean? It’s customary to sing it at New Years, but what’s it mean besides a call to remember?
Well, the most accurate plain English interpretation of the Auld Lang Syne’s famous title is ‘old long since’, or ‘for the sake of old times’.
Remembering the before times. And then looking forward to what will become the NEW “old times.” As I talked about last year, we mark moments like a new year as a fresh start. But how do you “fresh start,” when you can’t? When you have to wait.

How do you have a new year, when it all feels like a continuation of the old?

How do you live when we’re still stuck in limbo?

It’s not like you can just take your WaitMate pills until Covid is over, or the year, or the election.
Or until that point you believe you’ll finally be complete.

It’s not like you can just fake it and turn the clocks forward.

Here’s the thing. I really wonder how many are still holding onto the Auld Lang Syne, the “Before Times,” out of a desire to return to them when this is all over. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are so ready for this all to be finished, to return to the way things were before. Who want to return to normalcy and decency. Who view this time (or however long) as a stopgap, a pause, on life; and once this is all over, we all can get on with life.

But we can’t. Things won’t be same, probably ever again. Because we’re not the same. I know I’m not. And I won’t be. YOU won’t be.

As a teacher and as a reverend, I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I’ve learned, and what lesson I can give about this past year. Some…morsel of wisdom, to make sense of it all. To make them feel better about their incompleteness, or to forget about it.
And the truth is…I’m not there. Because I’m still struggling with mine. I can’t give something worth while. Not for anyone but myself, anyway.
I honestly just end up either sending them the following Monty Python clip, or singing it to them:

Over the holiday, my son had an experience causing him to suddenly believe Santa is real. You see, my kids have been raised a bit free to explore their own beliefs and come to their own summations. I happily and readily tell them what I believe and why (on a level they at their age can understand), but for the most part, things like Santa, Krampus, etc, are all things conveyed to them that are fun to pretend are real. I’ve never pushed them into belief one way or the other. But sometime over the holiday break (and I have a feeling I know exactly when), my eldest went from believing Santa was just pretend, to telling me one day while having a thousand yard stare in his eye, “Papa, Santa is REAL.”

santa is real
He looked just like this when he said it, cigarette and all.

And so this Christmas, for the first time in his 5 years, he actually believed that some of the gifts left for him from “Santa” were ACTUALLY from Santa.

The thing is, I never thought I would be a parent that would perpetuate the illusion. But then, I never realized how much joy I would personally get out of my children’s sense of awe and wonder. Yes. I could explain to him what he actually witnessed. I could explain to him who the gifts are actually from. And eventually, I will. I will share the truth. And expose the lie. A lie that I am currently perpetuating.

But for one, I don’t know if he’ll actually believe me.
Or the truth.

And for another, in a way that’s just a return to what came before his experiences. And as I said, there is no going back.

So how can I even think to give ANY sort of universal statement to any of you? Something just as personal, if not more?
For one, I don’t know if you’ll actually believe me.
Or the truth.

And for another, as I said, there’s no going back to everything before the experiences of this year.

If there’s one takeaway or “truth” I can give, it’s this:

Stop holding on to Auld Lang Syne.
Stop hoping to get back to the way things were.

 

The worst thing you can do in the middle of a panic attack is fight it.

But you fight it because you want to get back to how you were BEFORE the panic attack. My daughter struggles with getting too worked up, and it is like a panic. And all she wants to do is go back to before her tantrum. All the way back to before whatever set off her overwhelming sense of anxiety and emotion. But that doesn’t solve it. And you can’t just do that every time something overwhelming comes up and causes you panic and extreme emotion.
Instead, recognize it for what it is, and then trust that it’s not forever. Let it wash over you. And through you. And come out the other side.

I sit in it with my daughter. It can be overwhelming. But I live it with her. I strive to remind her that it’s okay to feel it. But that we’re not going back to the beginning. Because that’s not going to help. And because there’s no going back.

And I’m trying to get to the place of doing that with myself.

Because it’s not about getting back to how you were before the event. Yet here’s the thing, it’s ALSO not about doing whatever you can to just…get to the other side.

Sometimes it takes just sitting and being present in the anxiety. The dread. The belief.
The WAIT.

The incompleteness.

And so it’s not about finding the lesson (or the takeaway). It’s not about finding the purpose. It’s not about finding the point. It’s not about finding the meaning.

It’s not about finding your spark.

In the newest Pixar film, Soul, the lead character Joe Gardner has been holding out “living,” hoping for the day his life will truly begin. That is, when he gets to be an actual performing jazz musician, rather than just teaching band to inner city kids. He dies.
And the rest of the film ensues.
But the thing I kept thinking is this: How can someone die who hasn’t actually lived?

See, Joe doesn’t accept his death, because he died right on the cusp of what he believed to be his life beginning. “I can’t die now! My life is about to finally begin!

It’s only through seeing a soul that doesn’t want to live, actually live his life (in his body. Movie logic), that he not only helps said soul (22) accept life, but maybe on a deeper level, is jealous of that someone else is living his life better than he is?
And why? Or rather, how?
Not by satisfying what he believes to be his purpose, his reason for being, his spark (jazz musician), but just “regular old living.” Talking with people. Truly connecting.

The insignificant with the sacred unique.

Soul ends with Joe accepting his death. Accepting the great beyond. And looking back over his life and realizing he’s already lived.
So then…when he’s given a second chance…

“So? What do you think you’ll do? How are you gonna spend your life?”
“I’m not sure. But I do know…I’m gonna live every minute of it.”

Living is what happens in between the moments you think or believe you’re actually waiting for.
Living IS the incomplete.
Not being complete. Or in the things you think or believe will make you complete.

The insignificant with the sacred unique.

You ready? To come live?

I’m scared I’m not good enough. And I never got my spark.

Yes, you did.
Your spark isn’t your purpose. That last box fills in when you’re ready to come LIVE.

I don’t have anything to say beyond this: I think I’m done teaching for a while. I mean, I have to for my job. But I don’t want anything beyond that for now. I’m tired of treating life like I’m waiting for it. I want to live. And see life. I want to learn. I want to meet you. And hear your story. I want to see life through your eyes. Because THAT is living.
If we only ever live through our own life, well then how much of life itself do we ever actually get to know?

It took a suicide attempt to fill in the last box and give me my spark.
It took a year like last to make it really matter, and for me to get intentional about it.

I wanna know all of it.

How am I gonna spend my life?

I don’t know. I don’t want to plan it.
I just want to live it. And see what happens. Or rather, what happens next.
Good. Bad. Boring. Lively. Panic. Joy. Known. Unknown. Doing something. Doing nothing. 
All the “moments.” And the in-between.

For all the love you’ve left behind
You can have mine…

 

See you all around the bend.

Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece:
Abel
Astrid
Caleb
David
Gabe
Jess
Jen
Kelly
Manis
Mathunna
Max
Trini

(I WILL be pausing all donations and billing during this time)

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Filed under Celebrating, Celebrations, Dreams, Uncategorized

Give Thanks and Let It Kill You

WATCH VIDEO:

“Good times gone, and you missed them.
What’s gone wrong in your system?

Good times gone, but you feed it.
Hate’s grown strong, you feel you need it.
Just one thing, do you know you?

What’s gonna set you free?
Look inside and you’ll see.
When you’ve got so much to say, it’s called gratitude.
And that’s right.”

Well how many have found this year incredibly easy to be grateful for? No?
Quite opposite, most likely.
In the season of thanksgiving, how do you…give THANKS when there seems so little to give thanks for?

Good times seem a distant memory, and we miss them.
A year of isolation, of misinformation, of lies, and of hate.

When the obscene and the profane overwhelms, where is the sacred? And how do you give thanks?
What does Thanksgiving even look like anymore?

WHERE IS THE MEANING IN ALL THIS MEANINGLESSNESS???

Well if you’ve been keeping up with me for any length of time, you’ll know I’ve spoken to some extent on the subject of meaning. And about just maybe where the presence of eternity is (hint: here and now, if only you just LOOK for it). However, I was asked recently about what my thoughts were on “those who are worthy of inheriting the kingdom of G-d.” And while I gave a pretty stream of consciousness answer to a very heavy question, I’ve got to be honest, it’s weighed on me since being asked (but in a good way. A good…weigh.). Particularly in light of both the Thanksgiving holiday, and also this holiday season itself.

Who are those worthy of inheriting the Kingdom???

At first glance, I think it’s easy to reduce this answer into doctrine and dogma, and by doing so, completely miss the meaning. And the wonder.
The Kingdom is G-d’s presence. Where G-d dwells. Nothing shameful nor deceitful can enter. It is a place consecrated. Set apart. Holy.
Sacred.

Sanctified.

So it would make sense that those “worthy of inheriting” the Kingdom are ALSO set apart. Also Holy. Those worthy of inheriting a holy, sacred, sanctified and set apart Kingdom…are those who THEMSELVES are holy, sacred, sanctified and set apart.
And YET, we’re told by Jesus that when you pray, it should be like this (form and structure, including these elements): “Thy KINGDOM COME, Thy WILL BE DONE. Here on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Those of you that pray the Lord’s prayer. Those of you that say those exact words, do you ACTUALLY EVEN BELIEVE IT? Do you actually MEAN the words you say when you say them? G-d’s Kingdom come, here and now on earth as it is in heaven, G-d’s Will be done, here and now on earth as it is in heaven.” Do you mean it? Do you really want that? Not to wait for death in order to reach Heaven, but for Heaven to DWELL, HERE and NOW, on earth. (We ARE told to seek the Kingdom first, not wait for heaven….seek the Kingdom HERE and NOW. And given the promise that when we seek, we SHALL find… hmmmmm. I don’t know if that was meant to be a brain teaser.)

I wonder if that’s actually the second bit of that prayer: G-d’s Will be done. The Will IS for the Kingdom to “come,” here and now, on earth. 

Well so then what IS this Kingdom that we’re asking to come and be here and now?
What IS the “Will” that we’re asking to come and be here and now?

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is G-d’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

THIS is G-d’s will: “chairō pantote; proseuchomai adialeiptōs; eucharisteō pas.”

chairō pantote: lit. “be glad always”
proseuchomai adialeiptōs: lit. “pray incessantly”
eucharisteō pas: lit. “be thankful in all (or all things)”

Wow. So G-d’s Will is to celebrate Thanksgiving more than just once a year, and more than just for America.
Hey did you catch the Greek word for being thankful, or professing (verbally) thanks, the Greek word for “giving thanks” is eucharisteō? Where we get our word eucharist? If you’re not Catholic, the Eucharist is the holy tradition of transubstantiation. Begun by Jesus and His Apostles at the Last Supper, transubstantiation is when priests turn bread and wine into His Real Presence, His Body and Blood.
You may think of it as Communion.
Now I’m no Catholic (hell, I’m also probably not much of a Protestant), but I find it fascinating that the Eucharist IS Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving IS…the Eucharist.

And partaking in it IS G-d’s will.

Maybe the Beastie Boys were right:
What’s gonna set you free?
Look inside and you’ll see.
When you’ve got so much to say, it’s called gratitude.
And that’s right.

So G-d’s Will is to be THANKFUL. In ALL THINGS. Good, bad, sacred, profane.
But…WHY? And what about the Kingdom Come?
Is it just the power of positive thinking? Denial of negativity, of wickedness, of obscenity and profanity?

Is G-d’s will just for us to force ourselves to be happy and optimistic, even if/when we’re not?

Romans 12: 2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what the will of G-d is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Well we’re told what the will of G-d is: To give thanks in ALL things.
But again, WHY? Just because we’re commanded to?

1 Timothy 4:4-5
For everything created by G-d is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude (eucharisteō); for it is sanctified by means of the word of G-d and prayer.

Now…I have to take a moment and address the thing we need to take note of: throughout scripture, you’ve got a message that G-d created all things, good AND bad.
Ephesians 3:9 “G-d, who created all things”.
Isaiah 45:7 “The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and chaos (lit. evil): I am the Lord who does all these.
Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible G-d, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
John 1:1-3 “In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d, and the Word was G-d. He was in the beginning with G-d. All things came into being through Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Those last two are referring to Jesus. But they call him “the Word.” And in “the Word,” ALL THINGS are not only made, but ALL THINGS hold together. “Word” here in the Greek is logos. Literally meaning “spoken word.” But also “reason,” and even “meaning.”
So when we look back at 1 Timothy 4, “For everything created by G-d is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude (eucharisteō); for it is sanctified by means of THE WORD (lit. logos) of G-d and prayer.”

If a thing is received with gratitude, that is, a spoken word of thanksgiving, it is SANCTIFIED by means of THE WORD.

When you’ve got so much to say it’s called gratitude.
And that’s right.” 
What if all you say (your spoken word, lit. “logos”) IS gratitude, that is, IS Thanksgiving (eucharisteō), and you aren’t even aware. 
And it’s not only MAKING all things, but holding ALL THINGS together.

And you don’t even know it

But becoming AWARE of it, would it cause you to want to actively participate in it? In the eucharisteō?
In Thanksgiving?

What’s the will of G-d? 
To pray incessantly, and give thanks in all things. But if the Bible is true, then by doing so, we not only SEE the GOODNESS of and in all things (as all things are created by G-d THROUGH the Word that is Jesus), but by doing so, we SANCTIFY. ALL. THINGS.

WATCH VIDEO:

The name Jesus means, “G-d IS Salvation (not “provides salvation”, IS SALVATION)” but maybe the WORD of G-d, the LOGOS, IS…THANKSGIVING.

Eucharisteō.

What if the Will of G-d IS truly to pray and give thanks, to speak Thanksgiving INTO the world. Because by doing so, you SANCTIFY it. You set apart and make holy everything you “give thanks” for.
The Holy of Holy’s was the temple, but somehow beyond just the temple. It is said to be where the presence of G-d dwelled among men.
The PRESENCE…of everything we hope of what’s to come. The Kingdom of Heaven, but in a tiny little living space.
It was the future, but here and now in the present. It was the pace where “it is finished. (telos. Lit. “COMPLETED, FULFILLED”).” A place of Goodness and Shalom. Everything is good and in its right place.
That presence, that space that is Holy and Sacred.
And there was a curtain that separated it from NOW, from HERE. Divided. Separated the holy, the sacred, the sanctified and set apart, from the obscene and the profane.
And then Jesus said on the cross, “it is finished.” And that curtain tore in two. Split asunder.
And that PRESENCE spilled out.
And that presence is now EVERYWHERE, making its way into EVERYTHING.
The Holy of Holy’s is no longer in a tiny little living space. The holy, the sacred, the sanctified and set apart is now EVERYWHERE, making its way into EVERYTHING.

The KINGDOM…has come.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done. Here and Now on earth, as it is in Heaven.”

G-d’s Will is for us to be thankful.
In all things, and for all thingsGood, bad, sacred, profane. The holy things, AND the unholy things. Because when you do, you see that there IS nothing unholy. Everything has worth. Giving thanks doesn’t GIVE worth, nor is it only for things that have worth. It REVEALS worth.

And the promise is, when you give thanks?
All things are sanctified.

Maybe that’s the meaning for this season. The meaning for Thanksgiving. And moreso, the meaning for the eucharist. Catholics consider the Eucharist, the turning bread and wine into Jesus, the “Source and Summit’’ of the faith. We consume Jesus, and join with Him. But the MEANING behind the Greek word, Eucharisteō, IS to GIVE THANKS.
It’s not just to be thankful for Christ. It’s that in doing so, we’re engaged in the sacred. And the sacred is Jesus. And the sacred is giving thanks. But there’s more.
You see, according to scripture, the WORD, the logos, is not only what makes things sacred, it holds all things together. And when we partake in the eucharist we partake of Jesus. When we partake of Jesus, we join with Him in PERFORMING the sacred.
In giving thanks for all things, we engage in creating all things. And ultimately, sanctifying all things. 
Because the Eucharist isn’t just about taking IN Jesus, consuming the Logos. It’s also about SPEAKING that Logos.
And when we do so, we engage in the sacred. And thus, not only reveal our own sacredness, but are revealed, we WITNESS the sacredness of ALL THINGS. The worthiness of ALL THINGS.

 

So to answer that question:
Who is worthy of the Kingdom of G-d?” 
ONLY the holy, the sacred, the sanctified and set apart are.

But guess what, if scripture is true, then we can set apart all things. Make them holy, and sacred.
If scripture is true, if we’re to believe it, WE have the ability to sanctify ALL THINGS.

Maybe that “Word”, the logos—that is, the MEANING, that holds all things together is, “thanks!”
Maybe…the thing that not only creates all things, sustains all things, AND..holds all things together, is gratitude
When you’ve got so much to say (the word, that is, the Logos), it’s called gratitude.

Through OUR thanksgiving, we can sanctify ALL THINGS.

And as such, ALL THINGS are—IN THANKSGIVINGWORTHY of inheriting the Kingdom of G-d.


…And THAT…sounds like “the Kingdom.
And moreso, that might just be what’s meant by the “Kingdom COME.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done. Here and now as it is in heaven.

Give thanks, see the kingdom, sanctify ALL things.

Wait a minute! There’s things here! There’s trees! There’s rocks! There’s birds! There’s squirrels! Come on! We’ll BLESS them all until we get vashnigyered!


Let’s party.

Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece:
Abel
Astrid
Caleb
David
Gabe
Jess
Jen
Kelly
Manis
Mathunna
Max
Trini

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Filed under God stuff, Holiday, Uncategorized

Face the Music (A Message About Death, and a Song To Unite Us)

Content Warning: Suicide

there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” –Revelation 8:1

(Partner)
This first part is important. You NEED to have the kids go upstairs and not come down to my study, or outside to the back, until all of what is going to transpire has. This is really important and I do NOT want them seeing this. You already know what I’m talking about, and what you are about to discover. I have more to say, but I understand if you will need to put this down for now. Or for a while.
Call emergency services.
It’s okay for it not to be you to first witness what I’ve done. They can. Call them. And wait with the kids. Hold them tight.

I’ve NOT been in a good place. And I think it’s been obvious. Even if it’s not been overt. I know that you’ve known I haven’t been. For some time now. I’ve felt dead. And today as I write this, I’m already gone. Shadows and remnants are just what’s lingering. The only way I can describe it is that my soul—ME—has already passed, and this husk just exists. I don’t feel like I’m killing myself today. I’m getting back to wherever my soul is.

But I don’t want my last words to be spent focusing on how much I’ve been struggling. Or what I’ve been struggling with. Or why I finally did it.
I’m sorry. I am. But I also don’t want this to be about that. We’ve talked in length about how shallow “I’m sorry” can be. And the truth is, I’ve spent the past couple days weighing the hurt I’m causing with the hurt I overwhelmingly feel personally, and apologies and “sorry’s” just feel hollow and vapid for you to read this, and struggle with everything you’re going to have to face going forward, with me being the cause of it.

So here’s what I have to say.
I believe in you. And the kids. All three of you are strong in your own merits and ways. I’ve come to this action I face before me, because I firmly believe you’re all strong enough to face what happens next. You have got SUCH a strength in you, and for as confident as you are in yourself, we both know that comes with a load of self doubt. Self assured is only one side of the coin. All three of you will weather this. But you, now where you’re at.
You WILL weather this.
Trust your gut. And act on it recklessly. I KNOW you sensed it. You felt it. You could pick up on everything before you left with the kids. You could pick up on everything with me for a while now.
Don’t use this as a means of self loathing. Channel it. Sharpen it. Hone it as the weapon it is. Finally come to trust your gut and your judgment.
And walk in it boldly.
I’m not hurt by who you’ve become or revealed yourself to be. I haven’t been. Maybe my pride has. But not me. And yet, something got lost along the way and you need to find it. Live and love who you are. As confusing as that is and as confusing as you are. It’s not a defect. It’s an existential fact. It’s something others should recognize and value just as much as I have come to. And if they don’t? Then they’re not worth keeping in your circle (yes, this includes family).

Tell Elliot to NEVER stop screaming. I know. It’s something in life that rubbed me the wrong way. Got me flared up. And if I were still around, I’d probably still be trying to work on silencing this expression of hers. But she’s our little dragon.
And her scream is her flame.
It’s…POWERFUL. No one would say otherwise once they’ve experienced it.
She has a fire in her that I’ve only ever wanted to temper and channel. Never quench.
So don’t let anyone or anything quench that fire. Please just try to raise her in such a way where she can feel the freedom to know it’s her power, and know when it’s a time to hold it back, and when it’s a time to let it loose.

Bigby. Ohhhh Bigby. Above you and Elliot, I SO worry about what my suicide will do to Bigby. Our little pack wolf. I don’t know if this is a father thing, but he needs to know I SO look forward to seeing him on the other side. Free from all my struggles. Where I can just hold my boy.
Watch out for him. Because I have the strongest feeling that on appearances and first impressions, he’ll seem like he’s handling all of this. And he’s able to cope. And that appearance can and might just go on for years.
But he won’t be. And it won’t matter how much he comes to even understand himself and maybe even how similar we are, he will still be hurting. And as that pack wolf, he NEEDS that pack. Make sure he gets one that is healthy and good and can bring out the best in him. Not the worst.
I look forward to seeing what he becomes.

I look forward to seeing what both our children become.

I look forward to them, BECOMING who they are, and then greeting them in eternity.

And I know, our beliefs of that differ, but you can at least understand me when I say those things. That I look forward to that unity, that reuniting that I believe will happen no matter what.

I couldn’t do it.
This suicide is me “reaching the unreachable star.”
I have too many scars. Or maybe they’re wounds, not yet scars. I feel too many wounds and I’m just…done with the fight.
I’m just done with the fight.
I’m done fighting.

I’ve talked of community, and the hopes of building that. Maybe this will be an inciting event to orchestrate that creation. I sincerely hope that it will. Call it narcissism, or just a suicidal dying man’s silly last request, last hope.
I believe I will see all of my family, and the infinite families created by my family, in the life to come.

In the meantime, all I can do, and find myself ending with, is the following two commands. They’re not original. But boy do they sum up everything I’ve hoped to convey in my life, and now my death:

Be Excellent To Each Other.
And…
Party On, Dudes!

This was the note I had written and taped to the inside of the garage door, that leads into my house.
It’s been a year since I was almost found hanging dead from my back deck.
Since then, I made a promise never to close off again. Never to mask. Never let myself get that close to the edge.
After that weekend, I burned the note I left behind and haven’t revisited it until earlier this week. It wrecked me rereading it.
To be honest, I’ve been struggling more than I thought I would as this…first “anniversary” has approached.

I’ve written a lot about music.
And I’ve written a lot about pain and about death.
I’m a survivor of gang rape and assault. Of an immune deficiency in my childhood before that. I’ve made suicide attempts before, in my youth. Lived recklessly in an attempt to will the Divine to take my life from me. I’ve cut myself so deep and so often over scars left on my in the assault that I’ve had to change shirts or wear multiple layers just to hide my bleeding through.
I’ve cried with “the last and the least.” I’ve found myself in that same category, the last and the least. And the one thing that I’ve come to realize through all of it, is that I’d rather fall silent than speak and not be heard. To have my swan song fall on deaf ears is more painful than anything else I can imagine, and the thought of not being listened to when I need it the most is more painful than anything and everything I’ve survived and endured.
And I’ve found I’m not alone in this.

Death isn’t anything new. Nor is pain. Nor is sickness.
I’m not afraid of those things. I’m not afraid of the end.
I’m scared of singing my dying song and no one listening or caring. I’m scared of working up the courage to cry out, and being ignored. And all too often, that fear drives me to silence. Because I’d rather fall silent, than speak and not be heard.

And I’ve found I’m not alone in this, either.

I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of life. So much so that I’d run to the “silence in heaven” than face the cacophony that comes from a life of just trying to be heard.
Or maybe it’s more a cacophony of all the other souls in this world just as afraid of life and of living as I am, but have somehow convinced themselves that it’s silence that is scarier. And the world is filled with lost souls, living lives of noisy desperation, believing that their noise is life, because it’s not silence.

When silence is good. Silence causes longing. It causes us to tune our ears and listen.
It’s a call to participate.
To connect.
To unite.
And that’s what we all really want, isn’t it?

Death is the same.
If we all just understood death as the silence we all face, that is.

It’s taken me almost this whole year and a WHOLE lot of growth to realize it’s not being heard that I truly want. I don’t want to be listened to. I don’t just want to be heard or seen. I don’t want to be popular or famous. I don’t want to not be interrupted (Mr. Vice President…).
I want life.
I want unity.
And the more I think about it, the more I realize those concepts are one and the same.
I don’t want my song to be listened to.
I want to play OUR song. With you.

TOGETHER.

(Watch the following clip)

A swan song is a final performance. In the Phaedo, Socrates says that “although swans sing in early life, they do not do so as beautifully as before they die.
Yes. I DID end my suicide note quoting Bill and Ted.
I believed I could find in death what I couldn’t in life.
And then I lived. And the third film came out. And I could not keep myself from crying at the end. Still can’t. Because it conveys a message that lay at the heart of everything I’ve been saying.

Dude, I just thought of something:
How is just listening to a song gonna unite the whole world?”
“It’s almost like they’d all have to hear it in order to play it.”

“And so, it wasn’t so much the song that made the difference.
It was everyone playing it
together.

And it worked.”

I think DEATH is the song that’s going to unite the whole world. DEATH IS THE MUSIC. And it doesn’t just take facing it. It takes surrendering to the silence (and surrender is a type of death in itself) so that we can HEAR it.
In order to play it.
TOGETHER.

Let’s long for life so much that when death comes for us all, it’ll be a party.
It’ll be an event.

I have survived far too much to go quietly.
Let a meteor take me.
Call the thunder for backup.
My death will be grand.
The land will crack.
The sun will eat itself.
” – Rupi Kaur (The Sun and Her Flowers)

FACE THE MUSIC WITH ME.
AND LET’S MAKE IT EXCELLENT.

LET’S MAKE IT A PARTY.

->and the world WILL be better for this… (and for YOU in it)

Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece:
Abel
Astrid
Caleb
David
Gabe
Jess
Jen
Kelly
Manis
Mathunna
Max
Trini


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