Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This Is My LAST Blog Post...And I MEAN IT This Time!

Before I start: If you do not consider yourself a Christian, please do not read any further...though all of my friends should keep the title in mind.

In 2008, I did the unthinkable: I left Facebook.  As a means to get my thoughts out, I started this blog, and shared it with some of my friends online.  Since then, it's undergone name changes, layout modifications, and plenty more...but, it's still standing to this day.  It's largely become a place for me to vent my feelings--usually at length--and share them with my friends, though that has gotten me in trouble at times.

So, then, after nine years...why put an end to it? Multiple reasons.  First off: I've pretty much hit a wall with my writings.  How many times do my friends have to read the story of how I became a Disney Channel fan, or the reasons why I refuse to be in a relationship, or quotations from a former friend that were written just before our friendship went kaput? Oftentimes, when I think I have a new thought, I look back and realize--or somebody tells me--that I've said the same thing already.  King Solomon once wrote, "There is nothing new under the sun," and sometimes, I feel like that applies to my writings and feelings, not just the world.

Second off: Instead of sharing at length how I feel, I need to try to understand how others--especially my friends and family--feel.  As a longtime computer user, I can tell you that sometimes the things computers tell you--Macs, PCs, whatever--can be misleading.  A year or two ago, my Mac told me that my iPad needed to be wiped and reset to factory settings, when the real problem was with the sync cable.  I also knew someone who was scared when her PC gave her the infamous "illegal operation" message; she was worried until I told her what it really meant.  Since computers can only tell you what they're programmed to say, you have to figure out why they're saying what they are; that can make all the difference in solving tech problems.

It's true with people as well; instead of taking their words at face value, you have to understand the meaning behind them.  What's going on at the time and how the person is feeling can change the meaning of their words a great deal.  My problem has always been that, when things go wrong, I assume the worst from other people, even if what was done was meant as a kind gesture.  Case in point: You may remember hearing about an infamous incident on Memorial Day weekend 2004, where the youth group at the church I was attending at the time took a trip to the beach, and wanted me to come along.  Everyone involved was frustrated with me because I refused to attend, and me and the associate minister had an exchange of words via e-mail that led to a personal meeting.  The whole time, the incident had me so infuriated that I was proclaiming, "I wish they'd never invited me!" However, now that I think about it, I realized something I didn't before: When they were trying to get me to come, they weren't being jerks; they were trying to get me to do something that didn't involve staring at a screen, and just wanted me to have fun.  No, going to the beach is not my idea of fun, but, I still should have respected them for trying to look out for me.  If I'd realized their true intentions back then, much of the ensuing fiasco could have been avoided.  Similar incidents have happened to me countless times over the years...so, my plan now is to put a stop to it.

Third off: No matter how you try and explain things to people, many of them still won't understand.  All the way back in spring of 2000, my mom held a garage sale at our house.  It was different than any other we'd ever had, though, because we weren't making a profit from it ourselves; it was to benefit a single mother of four who had lost her home due to being unable to pay her rent.  People--mostly from our church--donated all sorts of items for the sale...but, many of them didn't understand what the sale really was.  When my mom saw people's donations, she would say, "That's nice; I'd like to have that," and the donors would reply with something to the effect of, "Well, all the money is going to you...so, why don't you just take it?" They were surprised to find out that my mom wasn't making one red cent from that sale.  Though the sale was announced during church services by the minister of the congregation, it wasn't his fault; he said that the sale was for that other lady plainly and clearly.  The problem was: People were only halfway listening.

Sometimes, I have the same problem: When I say what I say--via whatever medium--people just ignore me, or brush me off, or may hear my words but refuse to consider them.  It's almost as if they can't understand the English language.  Back in the day, when my mom was dealing with being a single parent with a severely disabled daughter, people didn't understand what it was like to be in such a situation.  I used to wonder why my mom didn't try to make others understand...and, now, I realize why: They couldn't possibly know what her situation was like without actually walking a mile in her shoes.  So, instead of begging and pleading with them to try to make them get it, she just lived her life the best way she knew how.

My point is: Why do people need to know why I watch the Disney Channel? If someone asks, that's one thing; however, I think most of my friends either already know or don't care.

All right, now for my conclusion: I'm thankful for you friends of mine who are regular readers of my blog.  I still plan on staying on Facebook and giving my usual updates, and I may re-post old blogs from time to time...but, this blog is pretty much done.  Unless I get some new comments on old posts, which could happen, don't expect to see anything new on this site.  Thank you, and God bless.

Monday, April 10, 2017

It's YOUR Experience...Not Mine

Okay, quiz time.  Let's see how many of you can answer these questions correctly...without Google!  The answers will be at the end of this post.
  1. Who is Miranda Sanchez?
  2. What Digimon evolves into Greymon?
  3. What band has had hit songs such as "The Real Sin Savior," "Smooth Grandmama," and "Narrow Way to Heaven"?
  4. Which sitcom character had, "I'm not at liberty to say!", as a repeated line throughout one episode?
  5. What was Mindy's last name on Mork & Mindy?
  6. What impromptu song did a character sing on the first episode of Complete Savages?
  7. Which celebrity incorrectly answered the question, "How do you say 'hello' in French?", with, "Oui, oui" on an episode of Weakest Link?
  8. Which Disney Channel actress has the same name as a character on the DCOM Cadet Kelly?
  9. Whose perspective is the Star Wars novel I, Jedi told from?
  10. Who is always the last secret character you unlock on Super Smash Bros. Melee?
How many of those could you even guess? Maybe, if you're of my generation or a fan of Christian music, you knew one or two...but, many of those are about entertainment entities of which you probably haven't even heard.  However, not only are those ones I've enjoyed over the years, but, at one point or another, I considered them my favorites.

What's the point here? Simple: It seems to me that, both inside and outside the realm of entertainment, I have different experiences than most.  Sure, some people may have gone through something like I have at some point; I may not be the only person you know who has a "condition" such as mine, or who grew up with a disabled sibling, or who was raised without a father.  Still, my experiences are largely unique among the people I know, which is why people have always had trouble understanding me.

Case in point: In a recent Bible class at my church, we were studying from the book of 1 Samuel, where the nation of Israel tells their leader/judge Samuel, "You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." (NIV) Samuel is hesitant to do this, so, he tells them this:
This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day. (NIV)
The people of Israel are still undeterred; they reply with, "No! We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles." (NIV) So, Samuel anoints Saul as king...and he blows it, big time.

If you were there for the lesson, or have seen the video lessons from The Story, you may know that Israel at this point was likened to kids in middle school: they just wanted to have what everyone else seemed to have so that they could fit in.  However, that was largely not my experience during those years of my life.  At first, I was into Pok√©mon, like the other guys in my class were...but, by the time my sixth grade year was up, it became uncool to everyone in the class, save for me and my best friend.  I still continued to be into it, even into seventh and eighth grade, and off and on over the years since...including today.  When I got in seventh grade, I considered myself an outsider; I was unhappy with the behavior of my peers, and not just at school; my sister had to practically force me to hang out with the middle schoolers at my church.  Instead of doing what my peers--any of them, really--wanted to do, I wanted to be the exact opposite; they way they talked, joked, acted, treated me, etc., made everything they did--even their name-brand clothes--seem unattractive.  True, I did have some clothes I was proud of, but that was because they had my favorite entertainment entities or cute sayings on them, not because of how much they cost.  That trend continued into eighth grade; I was all about things that hardly anyone else in my grade cared about one bit.

So, it seems to me that all of these common experiences that people--of my generation or otherwise--have are simply foreign to me...and vice versa.  I know that there's a way I could use my unique experiences to help people...but, I just wish I could figure out who and where.  I guess, in the meantime, I'll just do what I can with what I've got. 

Okay, now for the answers:
  1. One of Lizzie McGuire's best friends.
  2. Agumon.
  3. ApologetiX, aka "That Christian Parody Band".
  4. Wilson from Home Improvement.
  5. McConnell.
  6. "Aprons for Christmas".
  7. Booker T., the wrestler.
  8. Jennifer Stone.
  9. Corran Horn.
  10. Mr. Game & Watch.