Sometimes Life Sucks . . .

That was the theme of this year’s Young Adult Retreat at Cedar Ridge.  When I first heard about this event a few months ago, I figured this would be a really good way to get connected w/ the young adult group at CR, considering that I’m really too shy to just go up to them after service and get to know them. 

Not to mention, I was ecstatic about the fact that Brian was gonna be the featured speaker, and we’d be covering topics such as depression, loneliness, lust, conflict, worry, doubt, malice, a difficult past, etc.  Clearly that’s right up my alley

A few weeks ago when registration started, Folami asked for volunteers to maybe share their personal experiences.  I have a love/hate relationship w/ speaking in public.  I love it b/c I’m generally pretty good at it (if I can use my nervous energy in a positive way), and I’m not too ashamed to admit that sometimes I get a kick outta the attention . . . but the low self-esteem issues always come into play, and I’m a nervous wreck before I speak.

But I decided to volunteer anyway.  Folami immediately asked “what would you like to talk about?” 

“Darling, I’m familiar with it all!  I could hit any of it!”

We settled on waiting for other volunteers to sign up, and I would simply talk about the things they didn’t.  It turned out that no one else was really willing to talk about much (save for depression), so I just gave a general testimony and hit pretty much all of the subjects I could in a 10 minute talk.

Per usual, I was nervous as hell, but I think it went OK.  And I’m soooo glad I went on this retreat!  Cedar Ridge has felt like a very safe church from the start (a feeling I’m not used to) . . . and even after sharing about my battles with depression, loneliness, and anger and my sexual struggles . . . they all accepted me in love.  And since I was the first to speak, I think I set the tone for the weekend – giving people the ability to be vulnerable and get something out of this discussion.

Other hightlights of the trip: getting to shoot the breeze with Brian, getting to know some really cool folks, getting to be one with God’s beautiful nature (in the sylvan hills of West Virginia).

There are 3 folks that get a specific shout-out, b/c they’re just cool like that . . .

1) Jimmy.  He drove me to the retreat center, and he really laid my heart at ease.  If I had any doubt about the sincerity and general coolness of the young adults at CR, Jimmy laid those fears to rest. 

2) Grace McLaren (Brian’s wife).  There are just SO many things I could say about her!  I particularly appreciated the banter b/w Grace and Brian.  She’s got moxie!  She unabashadly questioned Brian at every remark.  It was awesome.  She added so much to the discussion.  But more than that, she and I had some more personal time, and she asked a lot about my past, and gave me some extremely helpful information about “NFs” (intuitive feelers – if you’re familiar w/ the Meyers-Briggs typology, you know what I’m talking about).  I learned quite a bit about myself.

3) Jonathan.  We had a lot in common – at least in the way we deal with the world and all of it’s mess.  Sometimes, I feel so alone being the emotional, overanalytical, internalizer that I am . . . but folks like Jonathan remind me that I’m not alone, and that I’m more than OK with being who I am.  (If you’re reading along, J, thanx for being around, bro . . . hope we get to chill more in the future.)

There’s tons more I could say about the retreat, but I don’t feel like going through it.  If ya wanna know the gory details (’cause it wasn’t all fun and games) . . . call and ask!


On a more personal note, I have to admit that after coming back from the retreat, I emotionally bottomed out once again.  I guess that’s not surprising considering the fact that I haven’t slept well in weeks, I haven’t been indulging in my usual coping mechanisms, and I’m having issues all over the place with my relationships

I hate, detest, despise, loathe this emptiness . . . this spiritual and emotional vacuum that exists in my gut. 

The deep cries out . . . yet finds no connection with deep.  It’s unbearable torture.  Why the hell was I made this way?  Why doesn’t this shit ever seem to get better?  When will the tears stop?

I know that God is there . . . but I don’t know why He seems to be standing idly by and not fulfilling the deepest desires of my soul.  It hurts   I don’t even know who I am or what this is all about.  I can’t even put a name to what it is that I yearn for. 

Yet, I won’t let this conquer me . . . I won’t let this keep me from relating, from knowing, from serving, from protecting, from teaching, from sharing, from growing . . .

Lord have mercy.



12 thoughts on “

  1. You’re amazing in that your failures don’t keep you from doing what God called you to do today! Keep on keepin on.  Love you bro!

  2. SHOUT OUT TO   {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{ DJ }}}}}}}}}}}}}!!!
    Man, GOD BLESS YOU.  Bro’ you are an inspiration to the other strugglers who read your posts. 
    Lonelyness, emptiness, seperateness…these are all parts of the healing process.  Your usual coping mechanisms were keeping you from going through all these things.  I know you’re going to hate me for saying this but…you’re actually in a good place.  I remember feeling like the very ground had been pulled out from under me.  I didn’t know if I’d survive.  Still here I am.  And DJ, I had to do it by myself with only books helping me.  No one around me understood Gender Identity Issues.  Soak up all the support you can.
    God’s Got You on the Right Road,

  3. I agree with ConstantStruggle6. I’m glad you were able to be used in such an awesome way, even though you molested those young people with your whacked-out theories. That was such an inspiring post. I’ll be calling you to find out more about it and why you didn’t tell me you were going to a retreat so I didn’t feel like an idiot after getting your v-ms.

  4. Der,
    Hey bro. . .I hope all is going well for you (by well I don’t mean “good”).
    You brought up something in one of your last posts to me that struck a chord. You mentioned relating to others. . .or the lack thereof. Brother, I used to rack myself over this, and to a lesser degree I still do. It was weird how this all came about. . .all up until the end of my freshman year in college I always more friends than I knew what to do with. I couldn’t go anywhere without bumping into someone I knew. . .but slowly the concept crept in that I know ALL these people, yet every day after school and every weekend I am still by myself. I hated this idea and for the life of me I couldn’t understand it. I always questioned how I could be good enough to talk to while walking around campus but not to hang out with during spare time, or how come when I acctually decide to speak up and express my opinions that I am always complimented, yet I am never asked for advice or relied on to just listen and be a ‘friend’. Man this tore me up inside. . .I could not, for the life of me, wrap my mind around this. . .
     For a while afterward, I just accepted that I must have had a transparent personality. I figured that maybe I am just not that noticeable of a person. This wasn’t acceptible for me though. . .It didn’t make sence. So then I began to think that I am just meant to be lonely and my personality type is incabable of relating to others. This was the most empty period for me. This phase kicked in when I went to the movies, by myself, and randomly picked a movie cause I was that bored, , ,and this movie ironically was a love romance flick that I’d never have seen if I’d known what it was prior to watching it. I left sick to my stomach at how lonely I felt. I was THE only person in the theater who was by themselves, it seemed that everybody had somebody else, everybody but me that was. Up to this point I just felt that I would eventually find this ‘one person’ that I could relate to perfectly and this person would enjoy me just as much as I enjoyed them. . .but I was slowly accepting that this is my destiny to be lonely. Haha (though this is not funny) I acctually wrote a poem during this phase which is terribly sad, but very accurately describing my thoughts, I think I called it “Solitary State”. I think I ended the poem saying that “I will just embrace this single solitary state and start preparing my grave because at least the soil will appreciate my company and the gifts that I gave. . .”
    I realized that I had so much that I wanted to give to others, so much of me that I wanted to invest. . .but no one wanted to return this, or even accept what I wanted to commit. Anyway. . .sparing a bunch of details I dragged my feet everywhere I went, up until about last year when I was eating in the school caffeteria and a guy I worked with asked me to eat with a bunch of friends but I refused. I don’t know why. . .but I was terrified to sit with them. Well, after doing what my mind does best: overanalyzing every situation. . .I realized that my problem with relating to other people is because I am unwilling to conform. I have known that every person within a group of friends is almost an exact replica of every other person in that group. All their jokes are the same, whatever they watch is the same, the music they listen to, their theologies, etc. Now, these ‘groups’ vary from group to group, but in my eyes, for the most part the larger the group the more superficial the people within it. Superficiality is one thing that I am 100% unwilling to compromise. I journaled this also once in a poem saying that maybe people really don’t want love, but superficiality. I realize soon after that my relationships never work out because 1) I am deeply uninterested in the mediocer and simple conversations that most people are dependant on, and/or 2) Most do not wish to be challenged with the conversation or questions that I bring up or thrive on. See, people don’t want to be challenged. . .they want ease and comfort.
    So if you are a person like myself, then you probably take life a lot more seriously than most are willing. In this deep persuit for answers and justification for proof, many are not willing to spend a great deal of time being challenged by you. Also if you are like myself, you are not willing to act any other way than you are acustomed simply to “fit in”. I only laugh when I hear something I think is funny and when I don’t fain a smirk when I am ‘prompted’ to laugh people get turned off.
    In otherwords bro, putting it bluntly. . . the norms of this world are persuasivibility, conformity, and dependance and if you are unable or unwilling to do these then people do not know how to react except to simple pass over you. This is especially true amungst the Christian sect.  When people come across someone they cannot budge or move, then they quickly become disinterested. With people that share similar “struggles” that you and I do, then there is a higher thirst for reality and a deep need for answers. Simple conversation and jest is disinteresting to us because we desire for something that dwells a lot deeper. We are plauged with situations that the ‘lay person’ can never comprehend. So the bottom line is that I have come to realize that it is nothing necessarily ‘wrong’ with me. If I wanted to be popular, I could be. ..and so could you. But this comes at a price, one that I know I am unwilling and I bet you are unwilling to give up or stoop to.

  5. DJ,
    You guys on the front line fighting the fight are the ones who rock.  It’s my privilege to do a little bit to encourage, support, share your struggles, make you laugh, and hopefully, make you think.
    God’s Got A Way Where There Is No Way–The Book

  6. Hey DarrEN, thanks for commenting.  I have been really talking to people, reading articles on the issue, and i am picking up brian’s book (if i can be so bold to call him by his first name), and i am haveing “coffee” to discuss it with a friend over the holidays.  I m excited oh and i didnt mean it when i said that i didnt think that our society isnt “pomo”. still when the semester is over i will have more time to research.  oh this guy named earl crepes from agts (assemblies of god theological seminary) has been speaking to our church a lot lately and he calls himself pomo.  he recognized that our society is shifting and calls the new generation postmodern.  anyway till later.  i know that you have been going through crap, but really just like that guy said open up to friends. It is scary b/c of the rejection and they might fail you, but i think that is better than keeping it to yourself…right?  i hate going through it alone….you know erikson’s stages….complete this one of intimacy vs. isolation!! court

  7. A small group from Grace. They meet in Towson on Monday nights, and there were about nine people total. It seemed like a nice mix of people and I really enjoyed it! I won’t be able to go for a couple weeks, but I plan on going whenever I’m able. šŸ™‚

  8. Bible study with the Ertles has been cancelled for the past few weeks cause they’ve been busy and out of town. I can still go on Tuesday nights, but it’s just been me and the Ertles for about two months anyway. So, we’ll see. I should just invite them to the Bible study on Mondays!

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