Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dennis On: "So...What Have I learned From All This Drama?"

So...What Have I learned From All This Drama?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorWhile I know this site is not given to rehabilitation from past religious and theological stress, behaviors, beliefs or experiences, it is a major waste of life energy to merely rage against the machine.  

There are several ways humans react to disappointment, feeling betrayed and disillusionment.  We can rage on and on only changing from topic to topic but never growing past the repetative nature of our rage.  We can rage for a time and feel that asking, eventually, "and how does this serve me?"  is probably a question in our lives worth answering.  We can be in denial and cover up those things too painful for us to bring forward into the light of day.  We can feel blame the great Satan who we know has us in his crosshairs and only finding the right , true and final real Church of God will save us.  We can live and burn.  

I can't speak for what others have learned from this all.  I just know in my soul and without the need for any other human being on this planet to agree with me, I was sincere in the search , compassionate in the administration and believing in the message for as long as I could be and then wasn't.  I have made mistakes both small and large.  I have stomped my feel in ways that helped and ways that didn't. I have said things I wish I had never uttered and uttered things I wish I had not said.  I sat down when I should have stood up and I stood up on the inside when I was appearing to sit down on the outside.  I have lost things that I cannot get back.  I accept responsibility for all of it.  My choices were my own even if in a fog of hurt, pain and disappointment along with a healthy dose of fear and passive aggressive anger that I was taught growing up was not appropriate to express.  When you don't express it properly we end up treating ourselves for depression and anxiety.  Don't worry, neither you nor I invented this reaction to life stress. 

But why reinvent the wheel?  Why said poorly perhaps what has already been said brilliantly on this topic of learning and living with our pasts.  We all have and I suppose you only get  a past loaded with experience if you are lucky.  I know we only get older if we are lucky having buried way to many children along the way. 

When it's all said and done, the following observations by others who also had life experiences are worth noting.  Everyone has a story.  With one decision different here or there along the way, all our stories that did happen would have been merely stories that could have happened but didn't. We would have had a different story. Their stories may have been different too, but the choice to learn from it is universally the same.  

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaar

“You realize that our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor

“It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.”
George Harrison

“People are all over the world telling their one dramatic story and how their life has turned into getting over this one event. Now their lives are more about the past than their future.”
Chuck Palahniuk

“Sooner or later we've all got to let go of our past.”
Dan Brown

“Your past is always your past. Even if you forget it, it remembers you.”
Sarah Dessen

“When you understand," Brandy says, "that what you're telling is just a story. It isn't happening anymore. When you realize the story you're telling is just words, when you can just crumble up and throw your past in the trashcan," Brandy says, "then we'll figure out who you're going to be.”
Chuck Palahniuk

“No man is rich enough to buy back his past.”
Oscar Wilde

“My past is everything I failed to be.”
Fernando Pessoa

“How many people long for that "past, simpler, and better world," I wonder, without ever recognizing the truth that perhaps it was they who were simpler and better, and not the world about them?”
R.A. Salvatore

“You go on. You set one foot in front of the other, and if a thin voice cries out, somewhere behind you, you pretend not to hear, and keep going.”
Geraldine Brooks

“You couldn't erase the past. You couldn't even change it. But sometimes life offered you the opportunity to put it right.”
Ann Brashares

“My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me; it has only strengthened me.”
Steve Maraboli

“The past can teach us, nurture us, but it cannot sustain us. The essence of life is change, and we must move ever forward or the soul will wither and die.”
Susanna Kearsley,

“I’ll tell you another secret, this one for your own good. 
You may think the past has something to tell you. You may think that you should listen, 
should strain to make out its whispers, should bend over backward, 
stoop down low to hear its voice breathed up from the ground, from the dead places. 
You may think there’s something in it for you, something to understand or make sense of.
But I know the truth: I know from the nights of Coldness. I know the past will drag you backward and down, have you snatching at whispers of wind and the gibberish of trees rubbing together, trying to decipher some code, trying to piece together what was broken. It’s hopeless. The past is nothing but a weight. It will build inside of you like a stone.
Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging at your back and running its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do—the only thing—is run.”
Lauren Oliver

“These things...they are who you are. They brought you here. To this day. You didn't give me a chance to understand that ever the unattractive parts of you, the messy parts, were something I could accept.”
Laura Dave

Life is what it is and does what it does.  While we have the appearance of control at times, we control nothing.  We make our choices and only learn as time unfolds the nature, wisdom and outcome of those choices.  We can long for the past all we want but only have the present moment in reality.  The past is merely a present moment gone by and the future one that has yet to arrive at which time it will simply be another present moment. 

Earth School is a hoot.  Sometimes in life there is nothing left to do but have a good laugh....

Dennis C. Diehl


Black Ops Mikey said...

Armstrongism has taught me so much about:

Nut jobs,
Cults and cult leaders,
Con men...

and what you get when you compromise logic, truth, reality, math and science to pay to be abused.

And mostly...

Don't do that again.

Anonymous said...

The Onion's take on the drama.
The Drama of the Universe

Mich-Mash said...

Thanks Dennis for your article. I keep telling myself in my head to let it all go, but its hard. Spent years 3 to 43 in a COG. Now I realize that all I believed to be good and righteous and God's church to be a big lie. I had good times and bad times there. I even left when I was 15 to become completely Catholic, then came back at 25 because I almost lost my vision (detached retinas) and I was so scared that God was punishing me. Now I'm with the messianic Jews and I don't really feel much better. I thought it was great at first but now its just COG with a prayer shawl and bagels for lunch. Where is God ? I'm really trying to find Him. I would go back to the Catholic church but they have problems too. Hey thank God I'm going to a psychologist next week. Do you think I'm going to freak him out if I dump all this on him, or should I just stick to panic attacks because my kid won't listen to me?
Is there anyone out there that still wants to believe in God, but can't stand the freakshow of religion? Where is God if so many people are in dire need of Him and can't seem to find him in prayer or any church/synagogue?

Not to copy our MT friend but I'm signing off...
M.T. Prozac Bottle

Retired Prof said...

Mish-Mash, Byker Bob seems to have gone through the same crisis you speak of and finally come to believe in god without the freakshow of religion. As you have observed by reading his posts, he is at peace with himself and his past now.

On the other hand, several commenters who post here (including me) have found peace with themselves and their past without faith in god. Byker Bob followed that route out of the clutches of Armstrongism before he found found his way back to faith--a much more satisfactory faith than he had before.

What I'm saying is that, no matter how deeply you feel lost in the spiritual woods now, you can find your way out. Even with guidance from a psychologist you will have to be patient, though.

In fact sometimes you can find your own way out if you just quit struggling and wait. A little parable about getting lost in the literal woods may apply to your situation. Once on a cloudy day where no landmarks were in view I completely lost track of where I was and rushed here and there looking for something I recognized. Finally I forced myself to sit on a stump till my panic died down. After a while the sun came out, so that I knew which way to go and how to keep a straight line.

However, a good guide can speed the process of finding a path out of either the literal or metaphoric woods, and it's good to know you will consult one.

It may ease your mind to know there are many paths out and also more than one potential destination.

Mish-Mash said...

Thank you, Retired Prof !
You are right, I do need to just be patient. I have said to God to just let me work through this and I know he will guide me to a place where I can worship in peace. We have expreienced some traumatic experiences lately, I had back surgery in February (I'm doing ok though) and then just last week, we adopted a dog, it turned out aggressive, attacked my husband. We brought it back, but besides the bite wounds, my husband now has a terrible case of shingles. I can't help but slip into that same old mentaility that if I'm not in the COG, God is punishing me. That is why I left the catholic church in the first place when I had my vision problems. It was out of fear, rather than out of love. So now some 22 years later I finally realize this, and I am mulling it all over so to say. But I get scared when things happen I start to feel like this is a punishment for not being in a COG. I have to keep reminding myself that bad things happened while at COG too. I really want to believe God will not hold it against me if I need to take some time off to figure out who and what I am meant to be.

Thank you so much for your insights. I will take your advice to heart, it really helped.

Byker Bob said...

One of the Star Trek spin offs from the late '90s had an intense simulated training platform called the Holodeck. Crew members were put into lifelike situations while on or in the Holodeck to test their mental capacities, judgement, and reactions. They learned while undergoing their sessions, and were presumably evaluated following the experiences. I think someone really did their thinking to come up with such clever subplots in this series, because in a sense, that's one way of viewing our physical human lives. It also dovetails nicely with Dennis's latest dissertation.

Not that I rely on astrology, but Pisceans such as myself are supposed to be like two fish swimming in opposite directions. While I first learned to be a pariah as a young WCG teenager, I later deliberately embraced being in peoples' faces by being different, once again, possibly due to the Pisces thing, swimming against the prevailing current. It seems that it is good to be different, and to provoke people into asking questions. They may not always verbalize such questions, but you can literally see them in their facial expressions.

Forget about impressing others simply for the sake of impressing them. That takes you nowhere. The greatest accomplishment in life may well be learning how to be effective in our activities, despite what others may at least initially think of us. If I could think of something as a "Kingdom skill", or something I would want to take with me into eternity, it would be effectiveness in everything which I do. Naturally, I'd also hope that that effectiveness was always devoted to good purposes.


Byker Bob said...

Thanks for the kind words, Retired Prof.! You are totally correct that like some of our other posters, I've arrived at a more peaceful spot in the journey we're all on.

I think ol' Wet Willie said it best back in the early '70s when they sang their tune about keeping on smiling, trying, laughing, and living.


DennisCDiehl said...

Mich Mash....It's a process. It takes time. The depression you might feel could be anger that you have not expressed either because it is too costly to do so or you don't feel you have a right.

It is costly not to process anger. What eats you EATS YOU, it seems to me. Reality can be our friend ultimately though painful. I got a painful dose of a reality today and had to regroup which took a few hours.

If you're getting counseling, tell him or her all of it. Dishonest or partial self disclosure is not helpful. Don't worry, they have heard it all. If you ever want a phone number, just ask and we can chat sometime.

You'll be fine. I can't answer where God is. That is the job of each of us as we can see through it all.

Andrew said...

Yes, Mish-Mash, I think there are a lot of people out there who fit the description of wanting to believe in God, but being unable to stomach religion. I left a comment for you at the bottom of the post with the picture of Dave Pack's money tree.

I am kind of tired of people on both the science side, like Dawkins, and the religion side, each calling the other fools.

On the one hand, scientists always put things in terms of, if some evidence to support a thing is found, then it is labeled absolutely true, otherwise it is labeled as absolutely false. Perhaps there are two camps who argue over what ought to be considered evidence and what shouldn't. But then some new evidence is found that proves BOTH camps to be at least partially wrong, and all of a sudden something that used to be labeled as absolutely true is now labeled as absolutely false. And the establishment never apologies for the bum steer, they just get back up on their soapbox and preach something new, as though they've never been wrong before and they're preaching the absolute truth now. This drives me crazy. Sure, they may not be religious, but they can preach with the best of them.

On the other hand religious people label all sorts of things as absolutely true and plenty of other things as absolutely false, for no other reason than maybe somebody else believed it before them, and they would also like it to be true. No evidence is necessary to preach as though all the evidence is on your side, even when it isn't. It only took the Catholic church until 1984 to apologize to Galileo about the Earth orbiting the Sun, and not the other way around. Conveniently. This also drives me crazy.

Why are people so content to pass judgment on what is true and what is false in situations where THEY KNOW THEY DON'T KNOW?

I followed all the religious rules as best I could for decades looking for God. If I'm honest with myself, I haven't come up with anything. I'm tired of pretending. The disconnect between my desired belief and real-world evidence has proven too costly. I can't keep doing it. I still want to believe in God, but all the evidence I have suggests that either he's ignoring me, or else he isn't there. Either way, finding God seems to be out of the question. I'm not the one with the power in this equation.

If God is there, he knows where to find me. If he does decide to look me up one of these days, he has to know he'll receive a positive response from me. But as for now, I have to proceed upon the basis that I'm not in the running for some type of divine favor or anticipated afterlife, and it seems I probably never have been. The whole thing has always been out of my hands anyway. If anything changes, I suppose he'll let me know. But it has to be God, not some self-appointed prophet who merely claims to speak for him. I'm done with trusting men to tell me about God. The evidence suggests none of them know what they're talking about.

At the end of the day, I refuse to pronounce judgment upon the unknowable. I don't have to put labels on anything, but I do have to proceed on some kind of basis. I'm always open for new evidence. But I need evidence. Fairy tales from a "freakshow" don't cut it anymore.

Allen C. Dexter said...

"If God is there, he knows where to find me. If he does decide to look me up one of these days, he has to know he'll receive a positive response from me. But as for now, I have to proceed upon the basis that I'm not in the running for some type of divine favor or anticipated afterlife, and it seems I probably never have been. The whole thing has always been out of my hands anyway. If anything changes, I suppose he'll let me know. But it has to be God, not some self-appointed prophet who merely claims to speak for him. I'm done with trusting men to tell me about God. The evidence suggests none of them know what they're talking about."

Very rational, Andrew. Nobody ever had Zeus, Thor or any other god do what you're asking, and it's a perfectly rational request. All the millions who perished in the holocaust didn't have any deity charging to their rescue either. Yet, millions are absolutely sure their prayers will be answered. I once did too, but they weren't.

John said...

"...While we have the appearance of control at times, we control nothing. We make our choices and only learn as time unfolds the nature, wisdom and outcome of those choices..."

I couldn't agree more Dennis. To quote from Downton Abbey, a favorite show of mine at present:

Lady Mary: "The truth is, Ethel's made her choice and now she's stuck with it."
Lavinia: "That seems a little hard."
Lady Mary: "Does it? Aren’t all of us stuck with the choices we make?"

Make no mistake we're all where we're at in our lives--“stuck in a rut”--because of the choices we've made in our pasts, whether for good or bad; and no matter how unpleasant the situation, if there are lessons to be learned that cannot be learned any other way then there won’t be any way around it except to learn it the hard way--through it, first hand. I can only hope that the lessons we learn in this life will have some measure of relevance to the hereafter otherwise what’s the point of it all? To be filled with regret and angst over a past that invades your mind as if a mischievous child were at the helm of a carousel-like time-machine, going backwards and forwards, round and around, taking you to those places you ache to go again and do over? Well, I, for one, am so over it at this point, I figure what the hell, it’s all water under the bridge, so just let it go and with matches in hand am ready to burn those bridges down once and for all!

Mish-Mash said...

Dennis and Andrew,
Thank you for your comments. I think Mr. NO2HWA should set up a social network side of this site for us to all chat. Sure Dennis I would love to have your number. If NO2HWA is agreeable, you can email it to him and he can email it to me. I'm surprised to hear you were in NJ at times. I was there as a kid, but I don't remember you. Ah well, the state had a quite a few congregations in its hey day. I was at the Union NJ one. If you ever were there, we might know some people in common. I'm glad to know its OK that this is just a process I am going through. Many masks and walls are falling. I'm not going to fall for the "fear" programming anymore.

I appreciate your comments too. You are very practical. I'm asking God too if he's there then please show up minus the dog and pony show. I can really identify with what you said is your desired belief and reality. I'm tired too of putting my heart out there to trust and then having it crushed. If God could just make it clear when certain prayers aren't answered, I think we would all feel a little better and could trust him more. However, so much has happened, not just personally, but with the whole "edifice" of churchianity, it makes what is said in the bible sound ludicrous (hope I spelled that right).

I really do have to give this some time. Hope I didn't sound suicidal in my former posts. I'm angry and depressed, not stupid.

To lighten the mood, wanna hear something funny? We live in the Poconos, the old feast side must have dumped their 16 million folding chairs on the local schools. My daughter goes to a catholic school nearby Mt. Pocono. It cracks me up seeing all the youngsters sitting in Mass in a folding chair stamped: "Worldwide Church of God". You think Malm would have a holy melt down over that !

NO2HWA said...

I am going to try Google Talk and see how it works

Anonymous said...

Hi Mish Mash,

I also attended in Union, NJ.
Mostly at the Fox Theater on Route 22.

Remember when the theater was showing an X-rated movie, and all the deacons came early to put sheets over the movie posters before services?

I also remember when the Church had bowling at a bowling alley on Rt. 22 near Hillside Avenue, in a bad neighborhood. I think they cancelled it after someone was murdered there, stabbed with a bowling-ball drill bit.


Mish-Mash said...

How could anyone forget the Fox Theater !!! I missed the bowling outing in Hillside but I know exactly where you are talking about. We were bowling in Edison when I was in YOU. I remember cutting services, going over to Two Guys Dept Store to play video games and smoke. Oh what a horrible example I was. I'd freak out if my kid did that. I remember on Day of Atonement they would put messages on paper towels in the water fountain written in grease pencils reminding people not to drink. You could write VOLUMES of comedic material of everything that went on at the Fox Theater, Hillside NJ.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Mish Mash!

I cut services a couple of times and went to Two Guys, too. Much more interesting than a dreary Robert Spence sermon. There was a break in the fence that separated the Two Guys and Fox Theater's parking lots.
Satan must have been imitating God, who parted the Red Sea, by parting the fence for wayward yoots like us!