Thank you for visiting my home away from home. This is a place where I post updates about what’s going on in my life, about how I am coping with being blind and autistic, and about things related to Websites, Web development, servers, and all sorts of other topics in which I am interested.
Please feel free to comment on any post here, but be warned, comments are moderated to help prevent spam. Also, I am very real, open, and honest in my posts, not to offend or upset anyone, but rather to give people a real picture of who I am and how I live my life. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy your time here!
Another Valentine’s Day is almost here, and with it comes the realization that it’s been almost exactly four years since the end of the best relationship I ever had, and since I learned one of the biggest “love lessons” ever. With that in mind, I thought I’d use some of my free time this evening to present, after much thought and consideration, ten questions I’d like to ask a woman I might be interested in dating. Granted, I have no idea who this person will be, what she’ll be like, when God might bring her into my life, or even whether she’ll check any of my boxes. But what I do know is that it’s extremely important to get to know as much about someone as you can before you even begin to think about dating them, and these questions are one way to help me do that on a slightly deeper level (especially given my difficulty with small talk). So here goes.
Tell me your story. Everyone has one–it’s what helps make us who we are–and I’d love to hear yours. In addition, what’s your greatest triumph? Greatest fear?
Do you have a relationship with Christ? If so, how important to you is your walk with the Lord? Do you have a story about how you came to know him?
How important is family to you? If it’s in God’s will for us to marry one day, would you be interested in starting one?
Pepperoni pizza or cheese pizza? Coke or Pepsi? Sonic the Hedgehog or Mario? PHP or ASP.NET?
What are some of your political views? Is the protection of all human life, even that which is still in a mother’s womb, important to you? Are there any other hot button issues about which you have opinions or beliefs?
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do? A place you’ve always wanted to visit?
Do you have any worries or fears in regards to being in a relationship with someone who is blind?
Windows or Mac?
Of course this isn’t a complete list as I’m sure I’ll have millions of questions for the woman I’m to date someday, and she’ll have millions for me as well. Also, these questions aren’t in any particular order, but they are some of what I feel are the most important when getting to know someone new and hopefully determining whether we’d be a good match. Think I left something off this list? Leave a comment and let me know!
Sometimes people, including myself, do the stupidest things, things that leave me with only one thing to say: ya think? Welcome to a new series where I expound upon what causes me to utter this phrase in response to some of the crazy things I and others do in this weird and wacky world of ours.
Disclaimer: we all make mistakes and no one person is better than anybody else. I myself have made many in my lifetime and in no way does this post imply or attempt to imply that I have been, am, or ever will be better than the people or situations discussed herein. So with that out of the way, welcome to “Ya Think?”.
Sexual promiscuity is very prevalent in our society today; I myself am ashamed to admit even I have fallen into this very black area in the past. So it’s no surprise that my first post n this series is on this topic. Our story starts when I got picked up by a new Uber driver last week. She seemed like a fairly nice young woman, even sharing many of the same beliefs, opinions and life values that I have. She offered her hand in friendship, to borrow the colloquialism, and I took it, and the phone number that went along with it. We texted for a few days after my first Uber trip with her and she picked me up a few more times without the aid of the Uber app, saving me a bit of money on what would have otherwise been several trips. But then she began to get a little distant and admitted she had a lot on her mind. Wanting to do the right thing, I left her alone for a few days, until today, that is.
She texted me earlier today to let me know she was finally ready to talk about what had been on her mind, if I still wanted to know what was up, and I accepted because I cared about her and was curious to know what was going on. As a nursing student (why do I always seem to get tangled up with pretty nurses?) she seemed very intelligent and, while I didn’t know her very well, I was pleased that she had decided to be vulnerable with me and open up about whatever was on her mind. But this is where things get interesting.
To protect her privacy I won’t divulge exactly what went on, but basically she admitted she had been trying for several years to achieve something with the man she was in a relationship with, but hadn’t been having any luck. So, recently she started seeing a new man after complications with the relationship I mentioned, and due to circumstances that had cropped up within the past week or so she was very worried that she had achieved what she wanted…but at the wrong time and under the wrong circumstances. In other words, she was worried that her (seemingly harmless) “fooling around” (so to speak) hadn’t been so harmless after all.
Fortunately, the situation resolved itself in that what she feared had happened hadn’t actually happened, but the whole situation still left me pondering. While I don’t know her life story, don’t know the big picture, and don’t know any more of her mind than what she allowed me to access, it’s safe to say that when you play with fire, you might get burned. In this case, she chose to begin seeing someone else whilst in the midst of complications in her established relationship, and (in her words) “went too far” but was still hoping not to see any consequences, then wondered why consequences were possibly on the horizon.
Again, I don’t know the full situation nor do I know her other circumstances, and I am glad that things did not go the way she feared they might, but at the same time, I have to wonder what would have happened if a little thought was placed into her actions before they were performed. That’ll probably be the moral of many of the posts in this series, and it’s a good one we all need to learn. Consequences can most easily be avoided by simply refraining from participating in things we know we shouldn’t — in this case, fooling around with someone, going a little too far, and hoping nothing would come of it. Now, again, I’m no better, as I’ve certainly thought I could get away with things in my life, and sometimes I have but other times I haven’t. The bottom line is that what we do, what we say, how we behave, and the choices we make are extremely important, not only because they affect the outcome of our life, but because they can (and very often do) affect others as well, and are usually (but not always) born out of the circumstances in which we currently find ourselves. And when we do make mistakes and consequences come, it’s a great time to take stock of what’s happened, realize we can’t change the past, and then do all we can to learn from our mistakes so that we can change our future — for the better.
And don’t forget God’s role in all of this either. He is a loving and merciful God whose grace is sufficient for all of us and whose forgiveness knows no bounds. He doesn’t want us to fall but instead wants to help us live better lives, looking to him for guidance and following the model for living that he sets out in his Word. God says that when we come to him and confess things we’ve done, those choices we’ve made that may not have been the best, he is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Even in times when we may say “ya think?” as we look back on things we’ve done, there’s still hope and a better future. God can also help us refrain from judging others for their actions, from all the “ya think?” moments that may come up as we watch others live their lives. This is a great lesson for me to learn as I am sometimes quick to judge others for not simply thinking about what they do before choosing to do it, even when I am very guilty of that myself.
“Seek the Lord while he makes himself available; call to him while he is nearby! The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle and sinful people their plans. They should return to the Lord , and he will show mercy to them, and to their God, for he will freely forgive them.”
— Isaiah 55:6-7 NET
There’s also a lesson to be learned here about relationships and all that, but that’s a topic for a different day.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the first post in the “Ya Think?” series. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or with something crazy you want me to feature in the next post. Remember to show God’s love and kindness to everyone you meet along the way of life, even those to whom you might want to say, “ya think?”. After all, they’re only human just like we are and showing them love and kindness is just as important as when God showed it to us. To help with that, I’ll leave this little gem right here at the bottom of this post. Until next time!
Yay, my first post in 3 years! But while a lot of time has gone by, not everything that happened during that time was good. Some of it, like graduating from college, starting a new job, and moving into my own little bachelor pad were good things, even great things. But other things…well, that’s what they made blogs for, right?
Chris Daughtry has always been one of my favorite recording artists because his music and lyrics resonate with me and apply to situations I’m going through or have gone through in my life. “Crawling Back to You,” featured in the video above, is no exception, and serves as a backdrop to today’s post. Here are some relevant lyrics from that song:
Lessons learned, and bridges burned to the ground.
And it’s too late now to put out the fire.
Tables turned, and I’m the one who’s burning now.
Life is full of lessons, and the choices we make (along with the resulting consequences) usually determine which we’re faced with as our lives progress. I’ve learned many lessons in my life, but probably one of the biggest, most important, and most long-lasting is that of forgiving myself and using that forgiveness to grow, to stop dwelling on past mistakes, and to stop letting said mistakes dictate my future choices. Let me explain.
It all started three years ago, in July 2015, when I met this wonderful young woman named Ann* online. We met on a site that allows college students to freely chat with each other in an anonymous environment, and I used it while attending college to expand the circle of people I knew, as it was difficult for me to meet people in person due to my blindness, autism, social quirks, etc. Anyways, Ann went to school in a neighboring state and was studying to be a nurse (a degree which she eventually achieved two years later). I was about to start my senior year as a Bachelor’s degree student in the Web Development program, and was spending the summer working for the college I attended when she and I met.
We took to each other like fish to water, and in no time we were talking on the phone for hours on end, chatting on Skype every chance we got, and generally spending every moment together online when we weren’t tied up with school or work or something. The connection between us formed very quickly because Ann had many qualities I loved and was looking for in a woman: a relationship with Christ, kindness, intelligence, a good sense of humor, empathy, an amazing voice, physical attractiveness (we’ll come back to that one later), and many others. She saw qualities in me that she liked as well. It also helped that she was working to be a nurse, and nurses often are some of the most kind, most caring people you’ll ever meet in your entire life. As time went by, we discovered more and more qualities in each other, more and more things we liked, and I discovered some pretty interesting facts about her that hadn’t come up with other women I’d met before and haven’t come up since.
For example, I mentioned above that she was physically attractive. When I say she was attractive, I use that term loosely, because honestly she was much more than attractive. I mean dude, if the number of men who hit on her all the time, both at her college and at her workplace, is anything to go by, she had attractiveness in spades. She was looking at attractiveness in the rearview mirror, five car lengths ahead and after making a sharp right-hand turn passed sexy. OK, so you probably get the point. I’ll just say that she was so attractive that when she came to visit me one weekend in September of 2015, I got to experience first-hand what it was like for her to get hit on by almost everyone we passed, and I’ve never met a girl before or since that…well, turned so many heads, let’s say.
But anyways, back to my story. The connection between us grew until we entered into a relationship shortly after we met. But this was where things began to go downhill, and those choices and consequences I mentioned earlier began to come into play.
Pop quiz! What’s the #1 excuse used to justify mistakes made towards significant others? Well, here’s my version of it: I was young, I was naive, I was hot off my first and longest relationship, and I was dating a girl that could have any guy she wanted, and I mean any guy, with just the toss of her hair. So after the excitement of the new relationship began to wear off (that should have been my first clue something was amiss), I’m sorry to say I began taking Ann for granted. After our weekend spent together (another clue something was amiss, because that weekend was full of us doing things we shouldn’t have done so early in a relationship), I began responding to her less often, providing only one or two word responses, failing to take an interest in her life, only talking about what was going on in my life, putting other things (like my work at the campus radio station) before her, and generally just…well, neglecting her. I know it seems crazy to imagine me doing all those things, especially if you know me personally, but that’s what happened. I’m ashamed to admit it but I’ll admit it, I treated Ann like crap. I had a girl on my arm who was absolutely, by far, without a doubt the best girl I’d ever met up to and beyond that point, even now in 2018, and I treated her like crap. In fact, I treated her so terribly that she contemplated doing the worst thing to herself that any human can do. I never imagined that I could do such terrible things to someone, especially a woman I purportedly cared about so deeply, but there they were, in black and white, now engrained in my memory forever. All of those choices had consequences, like I said above, and that’s what I’ll get to next.
But wait – I want to make something abundantly clear. There’s no excuse for what I did to Ann, none at all. While I threw some out to her to try and justify my actions, the #1 thing I needed to realize during this entire ordeal is that everything I did to her was the result of choices I made, choices that could have not been made had I chosen better. If you want to forgive yourself, or even want others to forgive you, then you have to “own your own pieces” as my mother might say, and this includes realizing that the choices you made that hurt others were jus that – your choices, with no room for excuses.
They say you never truly realize what you have until it’s gone, and I guess that’s another lesson I can add to the many I’ve learned throughout this whole ordeal. I had been a monster to Ann, and so she left, having every right to do so. I tried to get her back and we got back together for a few months, but each time we did, I would make more mistakes or have a “relapse” so to speak and she’d leave again. It got to the point where she was fed up, and rightly so, and left permanently, telling me we’d never get back together and, most importantly, leaving me with a terrible weight on my shoulders for which, until now, I’ve never been able to forgive myself.
Time can heal, but the scars only hide the way you feel.
And it’s hard to forget how I left you hanging on by a thread.
Everything I said, I regret it.
Those lines from the second verse of “Crawling Back to You” really sum up how I’ve felt ever since the episode between Ann and I. Yes, time has gone by, three years of it in fact, and yes, she’s moved on and I believe she has healed as well (in fact, she’s getting married in 2019 and seems to be much happier), but I still regret everything I said to her, and there hasn’t been a day that goes by where I don’t think about all the crap I pulled, the scars it left, and how much better things could have been if only I hadn’t taken for granted what I had. While I’ve met other women over the years, none have “impressed” me as much as Ann has, and I’ve often wondered if God is keeping me away from such women because, well, if I wasn’t ready to handle Ann then why would God put me in charge of handling similar relationships?
But speaking of God, this is where those lessons I mentioned at the beginning of this (long) post come into play. When all of my crap hit the fan and Ann left for the last time, I was at one of my lowest points ever (although you couldn’t tell by looking at me), and I knew I needed God’s forgiveness, and Ann’s as well. Knowing I was undeserving of both, I still went to God and asked him to forgive me for what I had done, for the monster I had become, for the intense pain I had inflicted on another human being all because I figured the chase was over, I had the hottest and kindest and most caring nurse in the world, but did nothing to actually keep her. And while I felt God did forgive me, he wasn’t about to let me off the hook for what I had done. I know I’ll keep these memories with me for the rest of my life, always wondering what could have been had I done things differently, and of course the internal emotional turmoil of what I’d done has weighed heavily on me ever since, affecting friendships I’ve started since losing Ann, affecting my emotional stability at times, and affecting my motivation to even try socializing with others, afraid I might turn into a monster once again. But in the midst of all that, I also know God wants me to be at peace with the situation, at peace with what happened and with his forgiveness, and the only way I can do that is to forgive myself.
Those who know me will know I’m very hard on myself most of the time. I hate making mistakes, hate doing stuff wrong, and I can be very defensive and stubborn to the point of alienating those around me. This also applies to forgiving myself for stuff I do. And so it goes that it’s taken me more than three years to finally come to terms with this whole Ann situation, to look it in the face and say that I’m not going to let it affect me anymore, not going to let it steal my resolve or capture my motivation or strangle my hope. Yes, I said hope. I hold out hope that one day God will give me another opportunity for a relationship with a woman I will find equally as wonderful, if not more so, than Ann, and I don’t want to mess that up.
Forgiving myself doesn’t mean forgetting the past, just as God’s forgiveness of us doesn’t mean he completely forgets our past transgressions; rather, just as God chooses not to bring up said transgressions in a negative way, I must do the same. To borrow an amazing line from a recent article I read, if God has moved on, shouldn’t I move on too? For all these years I’ve let my past with Ann control me and introduce a very heavy weight on my shoulders, but forgiving myself will allow me to use the past only to help me avoid the same mistakes again, and give me a model for where to never, ever go again.
The bridge of “Crawling Back to You” goes like this:
If you could find a way to forgive everything, I know you would.
And I would take it all back, if only I knew that I could….
Unfortunately, she won’t, and I can’t, and so what’s done is done, what’s in the past is in the past, and so the best thing I can do in this situation is forgive myself just as God has forgiven me, and move on to whatever he has in store for my future. The lessons I’ve learned from my choices and their consequences have been some of the hardest I’ve ever had, there’s no doubt about that, but I believe they have helped me to become a better person, and forgiving myself on this Christmas Day in 2018 will further assist me in becoming the young man God wants me to be, and someone who will truly be ready to give 110% of myself to the woman God has for me, whenever that day may come.
Thank you for reading, and I hope to be able to post updates to my blog a bit more frequently than I have been LOL. If this article has helped in some way, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. I look forward to what God has in store for me in 2019 and thank him for giving me such difficult, but necessary, lessons to learn. I also appreciate and want to thank the friends who’ve been there for me over these past few years when things have been rough, and the people God has placed around me who’ve been encouraging and oh so helpful over the years.
*Name changed to protect the innocent. Kudos if you know the television mockumentary show from which the new name is a reference (think about the context).
For those still reading, I found this amazing prayer at the same site the article link above came from, and I wanted to repost it here as I believe it may help others who are in the same boat of needing to forgive themselves. I take no credit for this prayer, did not write it, and encourage you to read the entire article from which this prayer was sourced, as it was a very powerful force and reminder in my life.
Dear Heavenly Father, I understand that there is nothing to gain by holding myself in unforgiveness and there is everything to gain by releasing myself from unforgiveness and beginning the process of healing. I want to move forward and make a positive difference in the future. I confess the ungodly accountability, self-abasement, and the vows I have made to never forgive myself. Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself–to no longer punish myself and be angry with myself. I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. I ask for Your forgiveness and healing. God, help me to NEVER again retain unforgiveness of myself or others. Thank you for loving me and for Your grace to move forward with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Note: Names in this article have been changed to protect the guilty, thanks to a helpful tip from a friend we’ll call Monica.
Let’s face it: going through a breakup is hard. I don’t care if you’re the one having to issue the breakup sentence or you’re the one receiving it. No matter how you look at it, breakups are not fun. It is with that opening statement that I begin this post about a girl who has changed my life forever and in so many ways, one about whom I will never forget, and one who will live on in my heart for quite some time even though she is no longer in my life. Note that as I write this post, the song “Home” by Daughtry is floating through my head, and so I would encourage you to listen to it as you read, or just listen to it in general since it’s such an awesome song.