Tag Archives: Helping people

Moving Around in the Alternate Universe

     It’s a fact in life that if you move around you’re going to bump into things, bump into people, stumble upon things you might never encounter otherwise, and it’s no less so in the alternate universe.  The biggest struggle in the alternate universe is the one to survive, and anything or anyone you find to help you do that is what you look for, so there’s very few things out-of-bounds.  Stealing certainly wasn’t, but stealing isn’t as easy as you’d think when you live in the alternate universe, and you look like you’ve just stepped out of a dumpster.  Trying to move around without drawing suspicion was like trying to walk on water.  It couldn’t be done.  Ever wonder why the worst of things happen at night?  Simply because the odds of success go up under cover of darkness. 

     There were other ways to survive and less risky.  Most times, if you hit the dumpster behind any McDonald’s or any restaurant you could find something.  Shelters more often than not offered something, and sometimes churches had outreach programs for the homeless.  Life is anything but easy on the streets, and moment by moment is what it is.  Still, as in anyplace, live there long enough and you get to know your surroundings, and the people who live there.  There’s a certain communication that exists between the animal and human kingdoms no matter what level it’s members may be on, and its no different among societies lowest members.  Word gets around, and people of like circumstance tend to congregate, and even on the streets there’s a hierarchy among it’s members .  As I said word gets around when anything that can be of benefit is found, and that’s how I found out about a place run by a kind-hearted woman who distributed coats to the homeless for free.

     It’s not often you hear about people that are almost universally loved among any group of people but Judy was.  She lived in a dilapidated 2 story house that had seen it’s beginning at the turn of the century, and had since lost much of its’ old world charm and elegance, but was still impressive in it’s own way.    Judy had turned the first floor into a thrift store, and she and her son, David, lived above.  It was well known that Judy had a heart for the less fortunate, and would help anyone who asked for it, but it was also known and understood that anyone who messed with her wouldn’t do so again.  

     I found out why when I entered her place for the first time.  If there was more than an inch of unoccupied space in the store I don’t know where it was, but a big chunk of it was taken up by about as big a man as I’ve ever seen.  Maybe Andre the Giant’s twin brother, if he were colored.  He sat on the stairs near the top with a full view of all that went on below, and he had a way of looking at you that made your innards curl.  It was then I understood why nobody messed with this woman, but it turned out that he was only a part of it.

     When I entered that store for the first time, I didn’t know it, but I was about to find the key to getting out of the alternate universe, and it came in the form of an eight year old boy named David.

Finding my Motivation

     I left off with saying I’ll try not to make the next post so long, so here goes, but remember, you’ve already experienced one digression.  Anyway, I left off saying I’d lived the first half of my life pretty much for myself, but that I wanted to spend the second half trying to do something good with it.  Sharing my experiences on a blog may be a small thing to a lot of people, but when I said it’s a beginning, it is.  A new beginning, one in which I do have a direction, a purpose, and a strong and sincere desire to make my life mean something to somebody besides myself.

     How does that translate to writing a blog?  It does so in the hope that what I write here might make a difference in somebody’s life. A poem by the poet Emily Dickinson entitled  Not In Vain may seem a little hokey, but I like it’s sentiment.  I know what it is to live for oneself, to think only of oneself, to want only what brings me enjoyment, and makes me feel good.  What I don’t have as much experience with is putting myself last instead of first.  That’s not to say I don’t have any, but I certainly feel like the balance scale in my life is weighed down more by the weight of me instead of others.  I’d like at the conclusion of my life for it to be more balanced.

     So now you know what the motivation is.  The desire to maybe help someone.  I’m sure for a lot of people the desire to help people is nothing new, and even expected, but for a majority of the years I’ve lived, I’ve known a greater number of people who looked out for themselves rather than others.  Over the last 12 years I’ve changed a great deal; consequently, that’s the same amout of time I’ve been married to my wife.  It’s possible there’s some revelance in that, and I’ll let you determine for yourself just how much you think there is.  I can tell you that marriage and children, and growing older does tend to change one’s perspective, and one’s priorities. 

     I’ll tell you something else, too.  My beliefs have changed over the years.  It’s funny, and sometimes not so funny, how much life can change not only how one thinks, but in what one thinks about.   Something else that has affected my view is the world around me, and I don’t like what I see.  I can’t deny that I was part of what I see now as a problem, but those days are over.  Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  I can see some truth in that, but I think there’s more to it.   I know I don’t have the power to change other people, and to be honest, I don’t really think that people are truly capable of changing everything in their lives by themselves. 

      For years I tried to change the way I lived; notice the word years.  To go into all that I did and was into is just more than I want to go into right now.  Remember, I said I’d make this blog shorter than the first one.  Just suffice it to say I knew more about vice than virtue, and so did a lot of my friends.  Most of those people are long gone, and yet I’m still here.  I tried to change, tried to quit, and I did, over and over again.  It was like putting on a different set of clothes everyday, my appearance changed, but what was on the inside didn’t.  My life was like a kid trying to set a record for the most times riding the same roller-coaster; I’d be on top every once in awhile, but never for very long. 

     I guess you could say I was trying to save myself.  When that didn’t work I looked for someone else to save me.  Twice I married people that I thought could save me.  I’m twice divorced.  You don’t have to work for NASA to figure it out.   Simply put, even the best people, get tired of lies, manipulation, and being used.  Don’t expect to stay in a relationship long if you do this to people because you won’t.  In short, I did everything I could, and the people around me did everything they could, and it wasn’t enough.  I knew I wanted to change, had to change,  if I wanted to live. 

      Ever been in a place that’s totally dark, pitch black, and you’re alone?  You don’t know where to go, or which way is out, and screaming doesn’t help?  That’s as close as I can come to what it feels like to live without hope.  You think there’s anything worse than death?  Try living without hope.  You’ve seen the title for my blog.  You’ll have to keep reading to find out how I got from there to here, and I believe that’s what fiction writer’s call a tease.

Life Of The Believer

     I’ve debated about what to call my blog, and tossed around some different ideas, but I keep coming back to this one.  Mainly because it’s what I want to write about, that is my life and what I believe.  You may be asking yourself what is it that I believe, and as you read these pages you’ll find out, but first I’d like to tell you why I’ve decided to write this blog.  You know that motivation is everything, and too often, I think that people fail to look at a person’s motivation when evaluating what someone does.  People, I think, tend to take things at face value rather than looking deeper, and I think that’s one of the reasons why people are so easily deceived.

     There comes a time in everyone’s life, especially when they’re older, and perhaps wiser, that they start looking back at their lives and evaluating what they’ve done with them, and, for me, that time is now.  I’m a little dismayed that it’s taken me so long  to start that process but nonetheless it’s started.  One thing that’s remained a constant in my life is the fact that I’ve always been a late bloomer, always coming to things a little late.  That goes for the rate of my maturity and my realizations concerning the life I live.  Better late than never though, right?  If nothing else, at least, you can take comfort in knowing that there’s someone else in this world like you, if you happen to be like me, and feel like you’re always a little behind.

     If you’ve read my profile, you know that I’m 49 years old, and if statistics are any kind of measurement at all, that means I’ve already lived over half of my life.  Fine time to start having revelations about one’s life, huh?  Could be worse, I could be 59 or 69, and I won’t go any further because then I think I’d be forced to admit that I’m not just slow, but perhaps something else.  I’ll let you fill in the blank.  Judging from what I’ve read on the internet and who you are that could be a wide range of things, but I’ve learned that one thing I can’t control in life is what people think of me, and how they respond to me.  Hopefully, you learned that before I did.

     Anyway, in looking back, and having a lot to look back upon, I have come to a few conclusions.  It’s rare that I ever come to one because I have a tendency to overthink things, and, more often than not, I’m the guy in Wal-Mart walking through the store holding an item for 30 to 45 minutes debating on whether I want to purchase it or not.  You guessed it, didn’t you?  9 out of 10 times I leave the store without it.  It drives my wife crazy as you can imagine.  She has helped me with this though in her own unique way by making it harder for me by simply grabbing whatever it is I’m debating about, and taking it away from me and not letting me put it back.  Being forced to pay for stuff I’m not sure of has simplified my life by giving me two options which are either being more decisive or shopping by myself.   I’m sorry to have made you read through this, but it was such a wonderful opportunity to score points with my wife that I couldn’t pass it up.  If you’re married you understand why I mentioned the benefit of being married to this awesome woman.  If you’re not, and you get married some day in the future, you will.

     Sorry for the digression, but you may as well find out now that I do this from time to time.   This, too, drives my wife crazy, but after twelve years of happy married life I’ve quit worrying about her sanity.  I still worry about mine, but not hers which leads me to one of the conclusions I’ve come to, and it’s this; married life to the right woman is about as close to heaven as I’m ever going to experience here on earth.  Another conclusion is that a bad marriage is the same thing only it’s in the opposite direction, and I know this, as I know everything else, by experience.  Another conclusion, and by far the most painful, is that at 49 I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot of distance between the man I envisioned myself being as a young boy and the man I am today. 

     As in most things, the failures and successes of my life have been a mixture of bad decision making, and circumstances of over which I had no control.  In other words, life happened.  Ready for another conclusion; if you lead life without any kind of direction it’s a certainity that you won’t get anywhere.  Even for those who do it’s not easy but, as anyone who’s ever driven to an unknown destination knows, it’s a little easier when you know where you’re going.  Still, there’s always hope, and never is life all bad or good, at least it’s been that way for me.  Seldom does anyone’s life ever turn out to be everything one may have dreamed, but neither is it the nightmare it could always be.  All the above is to say simply this, though my life hasn’t been all that I wanted it to be, it’s been good in many ways. 

     Still, there are things I regret, periods of time in which I failed myself, and others miserably.  I made serious mistakes which impacted my life, and the lives of others.  It’s one thing to pay for one’s mistakes, but it’s a terrible thing when the ones you love most are the ones who pay.  It’s my hope that you won’t ever experience this, but if you have you’re not alone.  I’d like to tell you that I’ve made amends for all those things I did, and that there’s been reconciliation and forgiveness, and in some cases there has been, but not in all.  I can’t go back, and you can’t either, and it’s a fact that we can only go forward in life.  Well, that’s not wholly true; you can live in the past in your mind and heart.  You can even stand still, refuse to move forward, but I don’t recommend either one.

     By now you’re probably wondering what all this is leading to, and it’s this.  My motivation for writing.  I’ve spent the better part of my life living for myself, but I’ve concluded I don’t want to spend the rest of it the same way.  I want to know that at least with a part of my life I did something good with it.  Maybe sharing experiences in this way isn’t the best way, but it’s a beginning.  If you’ve read this far perhaps you’ll go a little further, and I’ll try not to make the  next one so long.