Forgiving Judas Iscariot and all the Apostles…

I used to believe that past lives were a bunch of New Age bunk.

Not anymore. Never again . . .

After having read a million spiritual books, especially, Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard, I find that I can NO longer suspend my disbelief in past lives and reincarnation. It is just a fact. He (Gary) is visited by two ascended masters: Pursah and Arten and they basically – in a coconut shell – give him everything we need to know when it comes to why we fight ourselves and why we kill each other and why forgiveness and love are our only tickets out of this place. If you have not read this book, then do yourself a favor and read it.

It is the second Gospel of Thomas. They buried the first. They buried the first out of fear (Nag Hammadi). The second one is here because the truth can NO longer be buried.

Thank you, Gary, for meditating and being vigilant for God and the Truth. Fear is over. Death is over. Forgiveness is here to save us all from ourselves and each other.

As a student of  A Course in Miracles, the 1300 page metaphysical masterpiece, which is ONLY a self-study book and NOT a religion, I have come to know exactly what the message of Jesus was and is. ACIM is one way . . . not the only way. Just to be clear.

It is time for the world to read the message and forgive the big ones and the small ones alike. Especially guys like Judas. He was the one Apostle who never got to have his “cake and eat it, too.” He was the fall guy and he takes the blame every Easter across the world for being the only one who seemingly betrays Jesus. The kiss of death has become his scourge to bear and we re-enact that every year in many Christian denominations.

Enough is enough for poor Judas. In the text of ACIM, Jesus mentions his name three times. We just covered it in my Saturday class we hold at St. Thomas’ church every weekend.

Jesus says in the Text of ACIM:

“Their (the Apostles) own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the ‘wrath of God’ as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their own sense of guilt had made them angry.”

He (Jesus) goes on to say, “If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they could never have quoted me as saying, ‘I come not to bring peace but a sword.’ This is clearly the opposite of everything I (Jesus) taught. Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, ‘Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’ unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not [believe in betrayal]. The ‘punishment’ I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?” (p. 94 – 95…Text of ACIM – Foundation for Inner Peace – combined volume, 3rd edition. 2007).

Jesus wants teachers, not martyrs. Judas must have felt unbelievable guilt and then hung himself after trying to return the money he had taken.

Suicide is not the way out. Judas’ Gospel was only added to the Gnostic Bible in 2009. Thank you to Willis Barnstone for translating this;) If you go there and read it, it’s pretty great stuff. Judas was a great man . . . just like the other Apostles. We cannot continue to separate out his gifts and make him the fall guy every Easter and teach children he was the worst of the Apostles, when in fact, he was a brother to Jesus just like all of us are.

We must put the Voice of Truth on the one Apostle who seems to get the short end of the stick all the time. Peter denied Jesus three times and it seems we lionize him but not Judas. Peter and Judas were brothers to Jesus . . . both are saints.

Judas was a good guy. Not a bad guy. He must be forgiven in our minds and our hearts and our souls. We must love him as much as we love Jesus or J or God. We must have joint salvation through forgiveness for we are not separate from God – we just continue to think we are. And that, as they say in AA is “stinkin’ thinkin’.”

Gary Renard says in one of his books that the Apostles had twenty more life times to live before they would understand the message of Jesus. Guess what then, the Apostles are still with us in the 21st Century . . . walking the earth as the holy Sons of God himself.

Judas is, too. He is, I am sure, still walking this earth . . . just in a different body.

Thank you, Gary, for making this clear: Thank you Cindy (Gary’s wife): for making this clear. Thank you to all the Course teachers who are walking this earth being passersby and sharing the message of ACIM. You make this one person in Richmond, Virginia feel the sanest she has ever felt – ever!

We are all the lights of the world. Including our brother, Judas. We are all only teaching love (through forgiveness), for that is what we are – love.

God Bless Judas and all the rest of the Apostles who are getting it right;) We need you and the voice of Jesus to bring us all home.

So, I unofficially appoint this day, September 21st as a day we think of Judas and forgive him. After all, he was never given any recognition till of late.

But as we know, it is never too late in fiction or in life to REVISE.

Go, Jesus, Go . . . Go, Holy Spirit, Go! Rock stars in Heaven. Rock stars on earth.

All my love and forgiveness,


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Miracles and Marrying Heather…

Miracles are everywhere. This month . . . June of 2015 and the right to marry anyone you love is one of them. *Small wave of rainbows across the land of the free.*


In my favorite tome, A Course in Miracles, it states early on, “Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.”

Later on the same page, it states, “Prayer is the medium of miracles.”

As a member of the LGBT community and a person of faith, I have been a fervent prayer for many things. The right to marry the person I love is one of them. The fact that we are of the same sex has been the voice of unconscious conflict and hate for a million years. But, Heather and I both know that we’ll just have to forgive the people who bear the false perception that you can separate love and keep it in a box for only one kind of way. And, that is exactly what we have been doing and will be doing: forgiving the sleepy eyes of hatred and exalting the open eyes of peace.

But not in a million years . . . in just two short weeks, we now get to say, “I do.” Legal shpegal and all. In a church with a real marriage license and with all of the good friends and people I love in my community.

I wanted to thank some people.

First, I want to thank the Supreme Court for falling silent last fall. A silence which has sounded the largest wedding bell in LGBT history.

Secondly, I want to thank Virginia, my home state, for saying, “yes.” After all, Virginia is for lovers and that motto seems more firm now.

Thirdly, I want to thank our President and all of the LGBT miracle-minded thinkers over the last fifty years. Harvey Milk, thank you, for giving us more voice, more courage, and more -umph to add to our “try.”

Next, The Stonewall rebellion in 1969. I was only three years old, but thank you to all of those people who stayed in their right minds and said “no thank you” to marginalization.

Next, I want to thank the young men and women around the world still hanging on to their loves in spite of many countries who still execute them for their “sin.”

I want to, really, thank Heather for saying yes . . . “yes” I will marry you when I was laid up in a hospital bed five years ago, certain I would die from a terrible fracture to my leg. In that moment of asking her and her saying “yes,” I felt no pain. Nothing. Even though my tibia was nearly sticking out of my skin and my fibula had been crushed. She held me with her loving eyes and said, “yes.” It was December 21st, 2009. All I can remember from that moment was no pain. No pain. None.

The miracle has always been Heather for me. She is what I have prayed for. She has saved me a million times over.

I love you, Heather. You are my girl. Soon, you will be my wife . . . my partner in life. Of course, you always have been, haven’t you?

Thank you to all that came before . . . all who are here now . . . and all who are to come. The miracle of right-mindedness has come.

Later, than sooner. But, that will do.

All my love,


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The Last Supper to The First Breakfast – Our Children . . .

Recently,  I was driving home after work and was met with the most road rage I have ever witnessed. Evidently, I had been going too slow in the turn lane for the woman behind me. I don’t think she even saw the driver in front of me who was making the slowest U-turn on record. I waited for him to finish his wide-range, Driving-Miss-Daisy arc around the median and then as I hung my left, this car zipped around me then curtly cut me off – close enough to remove my front fender. I released my foot from the gas, braked hard and moved into the other lane to give the woman her road rage space. Traffic was stopped at another light. I was a good two cars behind her and in another lane.

Then, a weird thing happened. She slammed her car to a halt, got out and started screaming at me. “You bitch!” The vitriol spewed in spit formation slinging its arrows at me. She pointed at me and stepped forward. “You bitch!” she screamed. “I have had enough of you!” Her eyes were on fire and I thought from her mannerisms that her head might explode right in front of me she was so mad.

Two years ago, I might not have done what I did in that moment. Two years ago, I might have met her with a fiery look or incited her with my middle finger. But, I slowly turned my head to give her a calming signal as dogs do with other dogs (people should, too). With her in the moment, I said aloud: “You are a spirit, whole and innocent, all is forgiven and released.”  The light changed and she, on the rules of this planet, had to return to her car and go. I was relieved and forgave her again.

Gary Renard taught me this forgiveness lesson in the three books of his I have read. His ascended masters (my mom calls them angels) who have arrived here to teach him (and, in turn, us) the way. Now, as a Course student and facilitator at a new group, I am imparting those same words.


The children.

If there had been an eight-year-old child in the car with me or younger . . . or anyone, really, my response to choose forgiveness as a “reaction” instead of anger would have been my only right function in that moment. As a matter of fact, the woman full of road rage may have been that child in another car years earlier in a similar situation watching, perhaps, an adult yell at someone else with the same kind of rage she was now spewing at me.

For all I know, this woman was mad at someone or something entirely foreign to me sitting in my Honda Fit (almost made a tiny smashed SmartCar three seconds earlier). She may have been drunk or on drugs or had just not gotten her way for the millionth time. We’ve all been there, right? Who hasn’t been mad at the world. I have, myself, been angry more than a time or two. I myself have driven drunk more than once. I myself have slammed doors and thrown bottles of beer at my fence. Pissed off I have not gotten my way.

In my class on the metaphysical masterpiece, A Course in Miracles, I jokingly sometimes call it “The First Breakfast.” The idea sparked as a silly response to the finality of The Last Supper. Instead of “The End” . . . it is “The Beginning.” Which, of course, is signaled in this season of Easter and resurrection.

Children need signs of forgiveness and joy from us. When we do this, we assist them in the very thing the Course is trying to teach us in 1200 pages. That the peace of God is an inside of all of us. When we forgive, we tap into that altar of light He has placed there.

The cool thing about the Course, is that it reminds us that we are all children. The Holy children of God – spirits, whole and innocent. Everyone on this planet. No one is left out of this picture . . . not the angry, raging lady in the middle of the street yelling at me. No one. She is with us. She is calling for love and we need to respond.

Choosing forgiveness assists her and it assists me. My altar of light meets her altar of light in that moment and we are both okay. Nothing more, nothing less.

The past is nothing. No need for me to repeat it with anger towards this woman or to anyone.

I’d rather be awake in peace than unconscious in conflict.

Peace on earth, brothers and sisters . . . The Answer is here – YOU. It just takes a little willingness.

Love to you all,


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Miracles and Former Students – The Dawn of a New Era . . .

If I never live another day in my life, I know it was a life well spent. I received a letter from a young man whom I taught when he was in the gifted program as a sixth- grader at Moody Middle School in Richmond, Virginia. Now, as a graduate of psychology from UVA, our paths have crossed again.

I will let him show you here the meaning of love and what it means to reach out and hold each other up. It’s a long letter, but if you stay with it . . . you will see and feel the miracle:

Written to me on March 22nd, 2015: This is from Nathaniel Mason. At 23, he is now a student of A Course in Miracles. He has one of the smartest, quickest minds I have ever encountered. Watch for him as the years unfold. He is the light of the world.

Now . . . to that letter he wrote to me . . . a letter meant for more than just me. With his permission, I am reprinting it here because it is all about walking each other home. I am elated to be in this young man’s presence.

Ruth – 10 years later

Time is remarkable; but, then again, so is anything related to time. Seasons, sunlight, moonlight, buds on trees. The most remarkable symbol of time is running into someone who will unknowingly change your life forever. I suppose a better way of saying that would be to say running into said person was a matter of perfect timing from God.

Ruth Perkinson, on a piece of paper, is a remarkable lady. Off the piece of paper, no cameras around, off-record, she is truly a God send. I first encountered her at Moody Middle School in 2002, just before the leaves hinted at their fall tints for the season. I was attending the baccalaureate program there for gifted students. It was a socially stunting program (save the few good friends I still remain in contact with) but academically it prepared me like no other place would. Ruth was my English teacher assigned to me for that year. My first couple impressions of her are just as germane to my impressions of her now. Intelligent, witty, and particularly warm – something I thought so many teachers lacked. She wasn’t an old spinster or a grammar Nazi or even one of those English teachers that retires at 58 who, even though she’s had a great life and still loves her husband, she makes her student write in cursive. Ruth was innovative and engaging as we marched awkwardly with our pre-pubescent gates into the antiquated and often stuffy cinderblock classroom.

The ever-anonymous feelings we had as students in many of our other classes, where we didn’t know if our teachers knew much beyond the first few letters of the names we go by, was totally null and void when we walked into E Block (my first period of the day on ‘Gold Days’, the other day being ‘Burgundy’, respectively deemed appropriate based on the school’s colors). Ruth knew our first and last names and our distinctive little quirks in our personalities. Right away, she picked up on my wittiness, particularly quick comebacks where other students were afraid to speak. She laughed with us and not at us. The stories we studied were taught with such a strong emotional connection to the main character that I felt as if the characters had truly come alive in my sphere of consciousness. Beatty from Fahrenheit 451 was as glossy and devilish as he was in the novel. Charles Wallace from A Wrinkle in Time was the little prodigy that never will quite fit in that we all rooted for, while turning the pages of the wonderful sci-fi novel in the springtime sun. We were graded for the first time on our poetry, on our research writing skills, and I still remember the gorgeous cursive that slid upward as her comments became increasingly enthusiastic.

My sixth grade year was filled with uncertainty. Not knowing how to fit in, not knowing what I would get on my next assessment, not knowing anything about my new social group (or lack thereof). Middle school, for all intents and purposes, is a horrible place where creativity and individualism go out the window to die. But that’s all I really have to say about it. Every other stereotype is sufficiently addressed in other people’s memoirs. It would be paying lip service to the already understood. But when I walked into Ruth’s room 2 or 3 times a week, depending on the schedule, I knew I was being paid attention to, that I mattered, that we as people matter in this bizarre world that was just surfacing on our 11-year-old radars. I knew that the love felt in that room for 90 minutes was as real as the love my parents, grandparents, and close friends and family had ever showed me. This wonderful lady exuded a light that couldn’t be diminished even if someone tried.

She left such an impact on me that I wrote to her in the 7th grade, telling her of my memories of her classroom and thanking her for teaching me the value to be okay with a “B.” I had no idea she would still be there the following year for English. And that I would be lucky enough to have her again. The class was wonderful, and I had a straight “A” all year. We had a test on Hamlet, and read Fall of the House of Usher, a story so menacing and haunting that it needed so little action and dialogue to convey the emotion of a disintegrating family. Sadly, very sadly, in the winter of that year, before Christmas break I believe, she announced that she was leaving. I was very disappointed. I knew that she was going to be doing great things and I wanted a way to keep in contact with her.

One night, while at my job as a library assistant at UVA, I Googled her name and found a radio interview on an independent station in Richmond where she talked about her novels that she had written. I was flabbergasted to hear the same voice, with the loving, warm cadence that I had remembered from years before. It was really her! I found out she had a blog, and I read about every update. I finally picked up her latest spiritual novel, Spirit Home, and found myself enamored by her tales of forgiveness, love, and the beauty in life that resonates with us even in the darkest of moments. That book catalyzed my fascination and desire to continue this very memoir. Thank you, Ruth. That book, coupled with the strong whisperings in my soul to reach out to her, compelled me to finally reach out. I left a private message on her blog about coming out, the season with Cameron, and where I felt spiritually and psychologically at that time. A day or two later, I got a beautiful and heartfelt response. That turned into more responses. Then coffee at a local Starbucks.

We talked and gossiped and laughed about nearly every subject in the book for almost 3 hours until they closed. I left feeling the aura of being around someone that was now not only a former wonderful teacher, but a holy, tried and true Friend. For those who know me I am not a private person with those that are open. But for those that are close-minded or set in their ways of thinking about you, like most people, I have a difficult time sharing. I could talk so freely with her about life and religion, and family and sexual encounters, drug use (or in my case, a strong lack thereof) and at the end of it all still laugh. What a pure blessing it was to connect with someone on that level again. At the time, the biggest thing I needed from her was reassurance that heartbreak is very real, but it is not forever. She shared with me in the coffee-infused space near the little frosted window her tales of woes with women. Women who doubted themselves, the world, and their feelings towards her. There have been tons of “Camerons” out there. Ruth is so similar to me in that we are both expressive and have a hard time keeping our feelings closed. She has been blessed in time with being more sure of herself than I am currently of me, but I feel the Holy Spirit is working through this encounter to teach me about self-love and sharing my aura with the world.

Her source of inspiration to keep going, through years of psychotic episodes, near-suicides, and pain and suffering and addictions, was her stumbling upon a beautiful text, A Course in Miracles. The Jesus – scribed, divinely inspired manual of about 1200 pages has seeped through her soul and sweated out in beautiful droplets through her pores. Many people have loud, cranky opinions on how religion, God, and the world at large should be viewed. The Course boils it down beautifully:

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

And the ego, with its menacing entity of many faces, rears its ugly head to spread the wealth of lies, guilt, shame, anger, anxiety, and worry. But these are all a dream, a feverish dream from which we wake in a moment of glory when we realize the separation between man and God was never real in the first place. God is within us and wants us to engender joy. We do this by loving and forgiving others that we hold grievances against. That is the summation of the Course in a small nutshell.

Ruth has attended a Monday night group for ACIM for a while now at a local Unitarian Church in Glen Allen. I encourage everyone to read her novel, Spirit Home, to find out more about where she came in her love to need and find joy and fulfillment in the Course’s beautifully simple message. The novel, quite literally, might have saved my life from decades of the same destructive patterns I had been engaging in for years – self-loathing, not finding self-worth internally, impressing others that don’t care about me, worrying incessantly about my resume, my finances, my image, etc. The novel brought me back to her. In a glorious email a while after our coffee meeting, she mentioned she would be starting an ACIM group at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in the beautiful Bellevue neighborhood off Laburnum avenue. The sidewalks are caked with large, stately brick homes and landscaped backyards.

The first Saturday morning (what a perfect reset time of the week!) that the ACIM group met, I felt nervous. I was shocked to know that Ruth was nervous herself in leading the group. Not only has she been studying the Course for a while, but also – like she was in the classroom – she brings that rare brand of intelligence sprinkled gingerly with a lot of heart and humor. Everyone agrees she is a blessing. By the end of my time there, I knew I had met people that would become lifelong friends. They were loving and warm, and embodied the energy and fellowship of Christ. No judgment, no questions asked to make anyone uncomfortable, perfect listening and understanding. And like everyone, these people all have their own stories. I have yet to fully share mine, but everything in due time. Like my mom says, you’re not going to solve every major problem in one day, especially on a beautiful spring Sunday.

Ruth and her partner, Heather, have brought me the kind of joy and friendships that I have never experienced. We never need a TV, a radio, or a phone to fill the silences, simply because there are none. Heather, her partner whom she is marrying this June (I am so excited for that wedding) is wise beyond her years, and is probably one of the calmest people I’ve ever met. I like that she doesn’t like small talk and acts like little things that people do or quirks that they have are beyond her scope of paying attention to. True introverts are a gift to the world because they help us extroverts remember what is written on our souls. If my partner in life was like Heather, I would be as joyful as I see Ruth. We’ve all laughed, sometimes one or more of us have teared up, and we still can’t believe that this couple that visits these two locales for ACIM are real. God bless Mickey and Coco for all they give to the world. God bless the fact that they are likely African American ghosts sent to us through a time portal off of Chamberlayne and Hawthorne Avenues. They have assured me, time and time again, that I am a spirit, whole and innocent, and that all is surely forgiven. Every time I am with them, I feel the spiritual buzz of love and joy ringing in both ears and the pathways of the neural noodle.

They ironically live about 2.5 miles away from where I live in a wonderful house with a sweet, loving dog named Sadie, and a black cat that is probably a gay, angry man trapped in a cat’s lifetime. His name is Gabriel and I can’t help but like him. He needs a lot of love and attention, just like we do in the darkest of moments. All of this in the past few months because I reached out. All of this in the past few months because I kept wondering what had happened to her. All of this in the past few months because the Holy Spirit had it written years before, when that little lady in the summer of 2002, in a ruddy-brick building off of Woodman Rd. put me in this lovely woman’s class, probably not thinking twice about it before sipping her watered down Diet Coke from lunch.

Truly, it is the smallest of miracles that get us to where we need to be.


I hope this encapsulates just a fraction of what you’ve done for me. This is my chapter I have written to dedicate to you in my novel. I think it is starting to take shape. Love you with all of my heart. And to think it all started in E block!

Living in a holy encounter,


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Lent, the Ego, and the Guiltless World…:)

For Lent, I am giving up the Ego. I am not giving up cheese or cake or chocolate. I am giving in, finally, and giving up that pesky little thing we call the ego. With grace and ease and lightness, I flick this flea off my shoulder. Into the wind and into the light to be done with forever. See you later, ego. It was not really that real. Thanks, you lovely mind disaster, but I’ve had enough of the vicious vitriol. Buh-bye.

Simple as that. I choose again. For me choosing again means to choose the “resurrection” instead of the “crucifixion.” This means I choose love instead of fear. Light instead of dark. Comedy instead of sadness. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler over the incessant images the ego-driven news media puts out to frighten the JESUS out of us. Isis. Malaysian air disasters. Beheadings. You get the picture. A thousand times an hour.

Turn it off. The TV. Turn on Pandora. Go ice-skating. Square dance. Circle dance. Trapezoid dance. Whatever…

I work in a church and am reminded daily of the events of the liturgical calendar even though I stink at understanding any of it. I was raised a Roman Catholic till I was about eleven and then I went to a Methodist Church till I was out of college. I’ve read a lot of the Bible and understood little. Even when the scrambled mass is put in front of me, I can never make out what it is trying to say. The language in it has been turned over and over and over again into so many different versions that I find it somewhat farcical. Scatological, even. That’s a big word for crap.

For most of my life, I thought for sure Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit had left me because I was a lesbian. That insane ego lives in religion and church and I was told by the media and “others” that I was relegated to the margins. So much pain inside of the church – the ego knows no boundaries because the ego “lives” in our minds. It goes with us everywhere. Yep. That’s you and me.

But, I love the Bible because it’s got this really cool guy – Jesus. Who I have come to know really did live and really did not hate gay people and really just wanted to spread some good news about how we can get a little piece of heaven – now.

The heart of the Bible for me is the New Testament. Herein lies the peace that our hero – Jesus – brings to us.

Here are some new words Jesus brings to us because he’s here in all of us now to teach us that we live in a guiltless world. This is a large leap from our Bible of two thousand years ago…but I think this is a good addendum.

There is a new book on planet earth (about 40 years old) that has the Voice of Jesus. It’s not a beach read. It’s 1200 pages. It’s hard to read like the Bible. But the language is fresh and new and it is ONLY the Voice of Jesus and NO ONE ELSE. I feel this with my whole being. I take it two pages a day and it has completely brought me back to church and back to religion and back to – you know – Jesus.

Here’s what He says:

“There is no fear in love, for love is guiltless.”

How cool is that?

He (Jesus) goes onto say:

“No one who condemns a brother (or sister or child) can see himself as guiltless (without sin; without ego) and in the peace of God. If he is guiltless and in peace and sees it not, he is delusional, and has not looked upon himself.”

When he says “condemns,” its that judgy part of our ego. I am better than you and my beliefs are above yours…blah, blah, blah.

He then goes on to say…”Let us look upon him (your brother) together and love him. For in love of him is your guiltlessness. [Only] look upon yourself, and gladness and appreciation for what you see will banish guilt forever.” (p. 265 – Text)

The message of Jesus is summed up here:

“Nothing real (like love) can be threatened.
Nothing unreal (ego) exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.”

You heard it from His lips – not mine. The ego is the scatological part. Fancy word for what we have slipped up in. It’s all in our minds.

For Lent, I am giving up the ego because it does not serve me or you or anyone. Perhaps we could then roll right into Easter and see that we truly live in a guiltless world where love is it.

Not to bad for the beginning of Lent. I get to eat pizza. I will not watch the bad news. I will Trapezoid dance. I will love all my brothers and sisters. I will forgive me – everyday. I will love you every time I see you.

That Jesus. He’s onto something.

Go, EGO, Go…done.

Love wins.


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A Mentally Ill Man – A reminder to everyone…

I didn’t know at 8:45 a.m. that I had only about an hour before a thin, sparsely bearded, dark-haired man named David was going to show himself at the church office where I work.

At 8:45 a.m., I was pulling into the parking lot and going through my usual routine. Glad that it was Friday, I thought of how much work I could get done in all those manila folders that lay thick with paper and spreadsheets and names and dates and blah, blah, blah on my desk.

Christi, the financial secretary, came in and we exchanged our pleasantries and talked briefly about an “Ellen” episode she had watched. For a moment, we both shared what many women in our culture probably share: our woman-crushes on Ellen. I only admit one man- crush and that is to Bradley Cooper because of his outstanding portrayal of a bipolar hero in the movie, Silver Linings Playbook.

I wasn’t thinking of Bradley Cooper or Ellen when David arrived. Slightly disheveled he came to the door of my office. On the outside, I assumed – for a moment – that David was one of our volunteers or perhaps a member. He looked a bit scruffy but if you have ever been to our church, you will see a good case of bed-head and ragged clothes everyday: volunteers and parishioners alike.

Suddenly, David began to speak in a high-pressured speech of which I am all too familiar. His first words were: “I’m sorry . . . ” And, then like the manic episode he was in, he could not stop himself.

Here’s a bit of how he sounded: “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I just need some help. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Uhhh . . . sorry.” Picture now, David armed with a folder looking at everything around him: the pictures on the wall, the mailboxes, the floor, and me. His eyes and mind were ablaze. I gently guided him to the wingback chair and asked him to have a seat and told him that everything was okay and that we were going to help him.

“I’m sorry,” he continued, “here is my folder and my prescriptions. I’m sorry. I have a meeting at eleven (it was 9:45 a.m.). I can’t miss it. I need to see my case worker. I don’t . . . I’m sorry.” He looked up and into my eyes and for a moment, I saw myself.

Time stopped.

Fifteen years ago, I was having my own manic episode – lack of sleep and work-a-holism had me in the same chair. The worst part of mania is the complete and utter confusion it throws you into. It is like you are outside of your body tethered by an invisible umbilicus and all you want is for your on-fire-and-about-to-explode brain to stop.

David told me he was bipolar and told me he desperately wanted his medication. Between all of the “I’m sorry’s” I knew he was telling me the truth. Our church protocol is to let the priests handle these cases but both were out at a council meeting. It was me and Christi.

“How much do you need?” I asked him quickly.

“Twenty dollars. I just need twenty dollars.” Can you guess what his next words were?

“Hold on,” I said. “Stay here.” I walked into my office and pulled out my wallet. Two fives. I was short ten dollars, short two priests, and looking at my twin from fifteen years ago. It was strange . . . but we all know that this earth plane is one freaked out place sometimes.

I scurried down to Christi’s office. “Do you have any money?” I felt hurried only because I knew how desperate this guy was and how much he knew the medicine was going to help him.

“Yes.” Christi always says yes. “All I have is a ten.”

Thank you, Jesus!

I grabbed it from her. “I owe you!” I said. Christi said not to worry. Christi gets it. After all, she’s straight and has a woman-crush on Ellen.

Quickly, I returned to David. I handed him the twenty dollars. “How can I pay you back?” he asked. I told him not to worry and we walked down the long corridor back to the double-doors. We both walked quickly as we both knew that the sooner he got his medicine, the better he would feel.

I hear you, David.

When we got to the door and after a few more “I’m sorry’s,” David thanked me. I said to him that he had come to the right place. The small church with a big heart – as we sometimes call it.

Then, I said, “God loves you.” I opened the door for him. He stopped and said, “God loves everyone.” He said it clear as a bell. No apologies before, during, or after those three words.

I didn’t show up for David today. David showed up for me. A reminder that no one on this planet is relegated to the margins because of a label or a stigma. Sometimes we push people around in our heads this way – with a label or “that’s not me” . . . but it is you. David is us.

Out of the wound always comes the gift. Wherever David is right now, I know he has swallowed some medicine and is trying desperately to get his life back.

Life is what we all want. Go, David, Go!

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The Sweet Eyes of Christmas – A Little Girl

My partner and I arrived at Leonardo’s Pizza last Friday worn out from our tiresome week. I had another eye injection in my right eye and had powered through a 36-hour migraine working at St. Thomas’ Church. She, on the other hand, was working another grueling week as a Civil Engineer. Sewers and waste water.

It was early in the evening – 5:00-ish. We ordered apps and our waitress was wearing a shirt that said, “Love” on it. I remarked to her that I liked it. She was kind and the banter was light.

Heather (my partner) and I were in a deep discussion about the ego’s mis-creations – some of the ultimate ones – like the crucifixion. More like Easter talk than Christmas. Ironically, we were enjoying the diversion into our burgeoning spirituality through A Course in Miracles when I heard a lady yell from across the restaurant.

Time stopped. Dead in its tracks. Floating through the ether were the words: “Does someone know CPR? My granddaughter is choking!” It was a pressed call for help.

From where I was sitting, I looked to see that trouble was indeed looming. Hurriedly, I scrambled to the grandmother and the little girl. By the time I got there, the girl was standing next to the booth. I wrapped my arms around her from behind and placed my hands in a ball beneath her small ribs. She was tiny. On my first thrust, I lifted her off the floor. Nothing. I did it again. Nothing. Another thrust. Nothing. Right before the fourth thrust, I do not know why, but I bent my lips close to her ear and said very calmly, “It’s okay to throw up.” I lifted her and hit hard a fourth time, the projectile of a hard green candy flew from her mouth onto the floor. She breathed.

I looked around and saw that no one in the restaurant had moved. The little girl sidled next to her grandmother and I walked back to my booth and sat down. By this time, the waitress – the one with the “Love” shirt – was there in tears. I hugged her and told her that the little girl was okay. I think by the end we must have hugged at least three times.

I looked at Heather and she looked at me. Time was still locked. I finally intimated – calmly – that I could not eat the dinner. After all of that, it seemed right to leave.

We asked for boxes for the spaghetti. Later, Heather would tell me that the little girl’s mother entered the restaurant and witnessed the whole thing. She paid for our dinner.

Before we left, I had to see the little girl. I had only been behind her and then had simply walked away. Heather and I walked over to the booth and met her mother and her grandmother. I looked at the small, I think four-year-old child, and asked her what her name was.

“Hayden,” she said. She smiled at me and I looked into her eyes and witnessed the most angelic vision I think I have ever seen.

I asked her what she was getting for Christmas. She replied with a shrug, “I don’t know.” I then said to her that I hoped she would get everything she wanted. She smiled and nuzzled next to her grandmother.

At my study group on Monday night this week, I told them the story. I’ve told several people this week. The first person I told was my mom. I tell her just about everything.

What struck me this week were two things. The timing of our “grueling” week last week navigated us right to that restaurant. The other thing was that I was glad – elated really – that during my three “dark nights of the soul” in this lifetime, I did not choose suicide over the love of life.


Merry Christmas, Hayden. I hope that is how you spell your name. If not, forgive my error. I hope your life is as precious as your family and the sweetness you showed me in those minutes last Friday.

The sweet eyes of a child. A blessing indeed. Christmas is coming and Hayden is here.

All my love,


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