Monthly Archives: March 2011

Unfortunate Hiatus

Hi everyone, yes, I am still here and surviving. I have been kind of busy and couldn’t help neglecting my virtual community, sorry.

Health – Doing OK, control is still not there yet. I am optimistic that I am going to get back to pre-marathon wellness.

Tragedy – I lost a dear friend last week. This was the first time that I have lost a friend within the virtual community. Even though I have never met him or heard his voice, it seems that through email, blogging, and writing in an online community is all we needed to draw a close bond together. I remember the first time we started conversing together. He started posting on 7villages (an online United Methodist community) were I was hanging out at, trying to get a feel of the heresy going on in this church. Yes, at the time I was in deep with an extremist religious group. Heck, I thought it was my mission to observe their heresies and learn how to combat these false teachings. Well, John started posting his Mark study from the Gospel of Mark. He gave many book references, so I ordered the books and began studying these heretical writings. I was hoping to get some insights from these books to be able to combat this guy. Hey, I was God’s warrior and I was at war with the devil’s minions (John would have gotten a kick out me saying this. He was often told he was a minion of satan in this community). Something happened to me while reading these books, I changed.

I knew for a while that I was not comfortable with the way my life was going. I thought for sure that the religion I was in was the right one and I need to follow it without fail. The only problem was, I hated who I had become because of it, but I didn’t want to change because that meant internal damnation and life without God. So, one frightful day, I said no more, faced my fears, and changed.

John was the first person that I reached out to after that. He probably thought, what the heck did I get myself into. One would think that he would be the last person that I would reach out too. Wasn’t he the one who was the heretic! Come to find out, I was the one who was on the wrong side of the fence. After many email conversation with him, his comforting demeanor helped me realize that everything was going to be OK. Hey, I was scared to death that God was going to crush me, something that never happened.

Few weeks ago John sent me a message on FB asking me how things were going. It was good to hear from him. I knew his health was shaky but he seemed to think he would recover. Anyway, I replied back and at the end of my message I told him that I thank God quite a bit for his service to the Church. If it wasn’t for him putting himself out there, facing ridicule many times, it is hard telling where I would be today. Unfortunately, he never replied back to continue the conversation. I figured he was busy and did want to bother him to much.

Couple of weeks later, I was poking around FB and learned from a post written on by John’s sister that he had passed away. It was truly shocking, did not see that coming. I wish I could have had some more conversation with John before his passing. I am hoping that he did read my final message to him and I hope he knows that he fills a special place in my heart that I will not let go. His legacy, as I know it, will not fade away at his death. He was a blessing to so many people throughout his years and I want that to continue. Rest assured John, I am never going to forget you and it is my hope to carrier on with the mission we found so precious; social justice, wrestling with theology, and to keep on learning.

John, from this day forward I dedicate my blog, “Religiously Challenged”, to you my friend. May your life be a blessing forever more and I pray that God will see fit to grant me the ability to continue your legacy through me. I love you my friend, it is my hope that we meet again and have some heavenly coffee together.

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Friday Ramblings

Hi everyone, hope your week was a good one. I have been sort of busy this week, but probably not that busy that I couldn’t have posted. For most of the week I found myself making comments on Methodist sites on Facebook. There has been a lot of discussion on social issues and I felt compelled to share my thoughts on it. It is amazing how much time Facebook can suck from some ones day.

My Health – I have been pretty upbeat all week so I would say I am feeling pretty good. Yeah, there where a couple of rough patches but nothing I would deem major. I think I’m starting to come out of that two month funk that I was going through. I hope this continues.

My Training – No formal training but I have gotten out there for a few miles. I still need to formulate a training schedule for the 10K race at the end of May. What ever happens, I am going to have fun with it.

My Religious Activity – I went to church on Ash Wednesday and have been pretty spiritually upbeat about life afterwards. I have been doing a lot of thinking about things and have already started making the best of Lent. I was planning to write something before Wednesday about my contemplation of Lent, but it did not happen as planned. I had something written but I didn’t like it. It lacked spirit and I wanted to write something spiritual. It just didn’t feel like something I would write and lacked genuineness.

Well that is about it…

Take care…

Ash Wednesday 2011

This year, on my return to Christianity, I wanted to observe Lent, something I haven’t done before. Yes, this is the first time I have attend an Ash Wednesday service. Not really sure why but I guess that how it goes sometimes.

Normally, I would be more likely go to the United Methodist Church for most services, but this time around, I went to the Episcopal Church instead. I have always been quite fond of this Church and it’s stance on Social Justice (something that is dear to my heart). Frankly, I had never been to an Episcopal service and I was hoping to get the hang of it while I was there. My UMC has always been a “hang on to your seats” kind of service. This service in the Episcopal Church was more of a traditional liturgy service. Luckily, I am pretty well adept at liturgy, because of Judaism. I wasn’t worried about fumbling through.

The service started at 12pm, which made it easy to attend. My UMC had their service at 7pm and I am pretty sure my wife was not interested in going, unless something has changed in the last 15 years. Earlier I had to run some company errands before noon and managed to get myself in a bout of dyspnea. So, with little time I had before leaving, I quickly got the nebulizer out and did a breathing treatment. After finishing that I headed to church. At first I was wondering if it was wise to have done this today, because I was pretty rough waiting for the service to start while seated in the pew. Luckily, the breathing treatment helped with the coughing but, unfortunately, took its sweet time fighting the dyspnea.

It was a great service. I played it by ear. I screwed up a numerous times, but found it to be spiritual uplifting. I had never had the sign of the cross from ashes on my forehead before. That was kind of interesting. Plus, I had never been to a Eucharist before, but I made it though.

All in all, it was a great experience. I am glad that I took the time and observed this day at such a nice church. Maybe, I will be able to do it again next year.

Friday Ramblings

Hi everyone, I am a little late getting this edition of Friday Ramblings out, I guess it is better later than never. The week has gone by quickly for me. Heck, I am not sure were it went.

My Health – It was not to bad week starting about Tuesday. All the shortness of breath that plaguing last weekend seems to have subsided. Good, because it was exhausting. Looks like I am going to make it two days without reliever meds, which is a good start to an upswing (I hope). My PFs have started to climb in the 500s or 90% range. I am sure glad to see that and feel it also. The extra dose 180mcg of budesonide daily has started taking hold and making a difference.

Training – I managed to get a lunch walk in at the park on Wednesday of 2.5 miles. It was slow going but a nice day for a walk. My lungs felt better and I thought it would be good to get some miles in while I am feeling decent. I did have to neb afterwards. They started complaining a little bit after the walk.

Anyway, not much rambling today. Hopefully I will have some posts written here shortly. I am getting behind.

Take Care Everyone!

Blood Work Attempt…Fail

I am sorry if this sounds like a broken record, but I would like to write about it again. Maybe if someone was in my particular situation, they could find some peace knowing they are not alone. I have two other posts on this and they can be found here and here.

OK, I decided yesterday that I need to get my blood work done so the doctor can figure out what’s bugging my lungs. So, I headed down to the clinic. Just going to the clinic is a big deal for me. I really thought that I had it in me to just sit there and let them do their thing.

Unfortunately, it ended up being a big fail. The second they place the rubber strap around my arm, self-preservation clicks in my brain and it overrides all my rational thought. Sad part is I can’t control how I feel. I am truly brave up to that point.

After multiple fails at this and all the embarrassment I feel, this is just not going to happen without some serious help. The nurse said in her 26 years doing this that she has never met a person like me (not sure I really like hearing that). There was some other craziness and not so nice things said by others who thought they could help. I am sure that they meant well, but had no clue how to help me. In the end we all decided that this was not going to happen. I ended up getting upset that I wanted it done and couldn’t, feeling like an idiot didn’t help either.

This phobia must run deep in my subconscious, because I have analyzed this most of my life. It is certainly not the pain thing, like some seem to suggest that it is. For instance, I was using my screw gun one day and the drill slipped off the screw, the bit went straight though my thumb nail and almost through my whole finger. Yeah, I felt pain like I never felt before. Even though that happened, I am not afraid of screw guns.

My wife asked me last night, when the last time I had blood work done. I said 20 years ago in the army. How did I do it back then? Well, it was involuntary and I hated it. They didn’t give me any choice what so ever. Plus, I guess it was more tolerable then.

My biggest fear is not getting honest help for this and the doctors giving me the boot because I refuse the blood work. I certainly can’t stay on the meds because of it. Nor is it going to help me get better.

Right now I am embarrassed and don’t know what to do.