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Artist, Teacher, Blogger concerned with American culture, its effect on faith and how Christianity effects American culture, specifically, what the word "christian" means to Americans today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful For...

While going through some old writings, I ran across a journal entry I wrote a couple of years ago. The entry addressed some of the challenges I faced in Chicago, and my deep appreciation for the people of that... my city. I can't express how deeply I love that place, even though I almost died there. I was hit by a car there and developed enlarged heart, just from the stress of being there, but it will always have special place in my heart.

Chicago is an amazing place... a place of extremes. Good and evil, beauty and decay, order and corruption. And on a good day, no city in this country shines more, but it's people are its real treasure. Amongst all the evil and corruption, people still find the courage to try and protect what good they find. People still attempt to protect those who do them good, who show them compassion and who speak the truth.

This entry was written May 31, 2009, after being hit and the enlarged heart and a number of other things but on this Thankgiving Day, the sentiments in this entry are just as true today and they were two years ago. And it is what I am most thankful for today:

Well... it's Sunday again! And for the first time in a long time, I'm not depressed about it. I've actually had a good Sunday. I woke up this morning and had my worship. It started in an unusual way, but I went there after all. I was able to worship and that means more to me than anything! It's such an important part of my life... of most people's lives actually, but many don't know it. I can't imagine anyone wanting to live without it. It gives me peace and joy and gives my life meaning.

I also finished “In Hanuman's Hands”... finally! I think what took me so long was all of the drug stuff. Sounds funny since without it, his story wouldn't have made as much sense, but it was so depressing, some days I just had to put it down and read something else. I eventually finished it because I loved to hear him speak about Hanuman. I look at the way Hanuman was with Cheeni, how long-suffering he was, and I know that's just like God. That's real love, but he always honored his will. Hanuman never left his side, always instructing and guiding gently, never overbearing. That's what I love about God. How could you not love Him when he takes so much care with you. When the one who holds heaven and earth in His hands, who created the moon and the stars and still takes time to come see about you... because He first loved you!

For me, it wasn't drugs, it was loneliness. Having been alone all of my life as an only child, I always longed to have someone who wouldn't leave me... that I actually wanted to stay. I went through periods when I thought that I would find an end to that loneliness with people, and for a short period of time I did with Kevin. But then we broke up and He died, and I was alone again, or so I thought. When I finally began to seek God for my peace and solace, for my comfort, I felt complete for the first time in my life. There's something so wonderful about worship and prayer, it just blesses the person worshiping so much, that I just can't see why anyone would want to live without it! I know I keep saying that, but it's just the truth. I begin to cry every time I say it cause it means so much to me. The tears are my hearts offering to God for being there with me and for me... always. I needed to know that no person could satisfy the longing that was in my heart so that I would seek God and truly know the love of my life. Jesus, I will praise you always for giving me that gift. I cherish it always and forever more.

Now, you might be wondering about the paradox I've gotten myself in. The one where I see the similarities between Hanuman and Christ and to be honest, I'm wondering about that one myself. I believe God transcends culture. Christ taught that but no one in church seems to be able to grasp this. He (Christ) was never interested in making people adopt a culture, it was always about faith in Him and the belief that God loves them. Why the church seems to need to strong-arm people into believing as they do is beyond me. Jesus never did. If Christ is supposed to be in them, then why don't they behave like Christ? This is the question that really tugs at my heart and is causing me to look at other things. I know that if people of other faiths hadn't prayed for me, and I know they have, I would not be here now. I wouldn't have made it these past two years in Chicago. I can't ignore or forget that and I thank them for their love, in the truest since of the word, that they've shown me. I bless them for listening to God's voice, and having mercy to look out for me. God will not forget their labor of love. I know they may have had other reasons for being there and looking out for me, but their acts of compassion have taught me so much, about this city, the people in it and that with all the evil that's here, God is here too and the mercy and the love that they've shown me, God will give back to them a hundred fold. You can't beat God giving.