Keep Burning Bright

One light burning casts out the darkness. This light could be a match struck or a light bulb from a living room lamp turned on. My savior described himself as the light of the world.

I’ll boldly state that I used to walk in darkness. What is the darkness to humanity? I believe it is things like self-pity, loneliness, hatred, melancholy, bitterness, anger and giving up. Darkness has to do with despair. My divorce from the darkness happened when I was eighteen years young.

What is the light to humanity? It is the good stuff! It’s things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. The list from the previous sentence is from the book of Galations in the New Testament part of the Bible. That list of good stuff helped to light up my soul when I was a teenager. It helped make a man out of me. It helped to save me from despair and from my old self. Christ is the greatest light I’ve ever known.

One day I hope to God to sit down with the outcasts of this world in a better world I cannot currently comprehend. I hope all of the losers from the Holy Bible are there; I hope they are still joyful for taking hold of the second chance Jesus offered them and offers everybody else also. All people are loved by God and we all have remarkable value simply because we were born and joined the party of life.

Look for light in your life and be a light to others. Faith, hope, and love will always make us beautiful. The darkness can scoff at the light. Keep burning bright anyway.

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The Hero in this Story Enjoys Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches

The boy was instructed to write a one page essay for his English class. He was sweating exclamation points because he did not believe he had it in him to write a page about anything ever. The theme could be any subject matter of his choosing. This young gentleman was in the fifth grade. He had yet to experience all of life’s beauties and wonders. In his heart, he knew if he was a twelfth grader he would be able to write the greatest essay ever created. At age ten he lacked confidence or moxie.

Alas the clock on the back wall was ticking like a bomb. No man or child has yet to beat the clock in a fifth grade English class. Not even Superman has skills to defeat time. Tick tock.

With a silent burst of inspiration the boy’s imagination caught fire. It started to burn the page in front of him down. The boy did not need Superman because he was Superman. And he was flying.

Up in the sky he flew high above the tallest of all the tall buildings. Next he was fighting villains with the utmost of ease. After that our hero grew hungry, so he ate his peanut butter and honey sandwich from his super sack lunch his super, super mom had packed for him. Of course after lunch our boy hero was back out on the crime infested streets. No dirty jokers could thwart Superman or Batman or even this man who was not even yet a real grown man. On the streets were cheeseburger thiefs and gentlemen who wore two faces. Then there were general pickpockets who were not actually generals at all. The super boy superhero had large shoes to fill. Seriously, he needed size 37 clown shoes. But the boy was up to the monumental task. Boy, but first he needed another peanut butter and honey sandwich.

In an instant, the pen stopped bleeding black ink on to the page as the teacher announced class dismissed, as the bell of freedom rang out.

The Gentle Clicking of the Keys on the Keyboard

It can be difficult just to sit down and relax at times. Life can be busy with work. Then it can be busy with social events. Yet then when I am not busy I might think, Wasn’t there something I was supposed to be doing? It is a good thing to sit in the silence for a while just to think or to create or to think about creating and then sit down to do the hard work of creation.

The world around us is a noisy one. Televisions are on in the other rooms. Cell phones keep beeping away. Somebody is shouting out chores to do to the boy who just wants to read a good book in peace. I grow weary of the noise sometimes and I long for the silence or merely the clicking of the keys on the computer keyboard.

Peace is something a soul can have inside and then graciously give away to others. Unrest is a great burden. There is an art to being a peaceful person. The temptation can be to puff up and look tough and repay wrong for wrong or hate for more hate. The man who practices the art of peace has no time for quarreling or vengeance.

My mind is a noisy place and yet my heart is at peace. I always try to think with my heart rather than my mind with bipolar. Disabilities can lead to extraordinary abilities. In my heart there is love. In my mind there is disease and the attitude, or mind, of Christ Jesus. I have much in this life to be thankful for and to rejoice in.

I give thanks for relaxing and silent times when there is no noise outside my mind except for the gentle clicking of the keys on the keyboard.

The Magic Beans Sold Out Before Noon Today

An old collection of short stories from Ray Bradbury is titled, A Medicine for Melancholy. I find it to be one of the most intriguing titles I’ve yet to discover. What if there was a magical medicine that could make an individual forever happy? Would we all try to get our paws on the stuff? Perhaps some would be skeptical and refuse to take their medicine. Yet others might take more than their prescription. What would the results of that look like? The idea of a medicine for sorrow or melancholy is fascinating.

There is medicine of course for depression, manic-depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia and anything else under the stars that is considered to be a mental illness or mental health issue. But are these medicinal pills magic? Do they provide joy to the individuals who swallow them down with a large glass of water?

Melancholy is a real feeling and I must announce there is no medicine for it. The emotion of hopelessness or melancholy is just about the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I was diagnosed with bipolar (manic-depression) at age 19. Medicine has been a daily ritual for me since that age. However, I am not happy because I take my medicines regularly. I am happy because I choose to be happy. I choose faith and hope and love and medicine over negative thinking and despair. Also I truly try to make good choices throughout my life’s journey. And I pray like my life depends on it because quite honestly it does. I believe one hundred percent in taking my medicine for manic-depression. But those two pills every night are not magic beans.

We should create our own magic in our lives! Make good choices whether you are on medicine for a mental health issue or not. Do the stuff you love to do. Sadness will visit us all from time to time. After a brief visit with sorrow it is our job to overcome and live our lives fully. Perhaps I am differently able because I have bipolar. Or maybe you are differently able because of what you are going through or what you’ve gone through before. Just don’t ever let some so-called disability hinder or keep you from your joy.

My medicine for melancholy is a joyful heart!

A Green Hoodie and Pumpkin Ale

The seasons change at midnight. Tomorrow is the first day of fall. I enjoy the temperatures of spring and fall more than the bitter cold of winter and the scorching heat of summer. I like my weather to be on the less extreme side. I am excited about this fall season!

With fall my hoodies are brought out from their closet once again. Also pumpkin ales are in the grocery and liquor stores. Then there’s the fancy pumpkin coffee beverages at the coffeehouses. And, of course, my father’s birthday lands in the late October country each year. Later arrives Thanksgiving break. The falling of the leaves from the trees in fall I also enjoy. Yes, fall is my kind of season.

In my life story I hope to be living in the season of summer. I turned 35 back in April. Summer seemed to begin around age 18 when I overcame the pain of growing up. I have zero desire to return to the spring season. High school was not the best days of my life; those days were the most trying and difficult days in my story. Growing up is tough on many. It was tougher yet on me.

When I was diagnosed with bipolar at age 19 it was a game changer of sorts. My father said what I had gone through was a speed bump and not a dead end. His words were some of the most comforting offered to me as I was overcoming the worst experience of my life. Not even being diagnosed with a life threatening mental illness could steal the summer from my soul.

So I am looking forward to the fall season that starts tomorrow and I am also looking forward to the fall season in my life story whenever that may be. For now, however, I will thoroughly enjoy being 35 and the remaining years to come of my summer season. Whatever is your favorite season I hope you will cherish it with gusto. Whatever season you are in in your life story I sincerely hope you are giving thanks on all days and not merely on Thanksgiving.

Look forward to today, tomorrow and what seasons may come.

The Secret to Making Friends

A great thing to become is a good friend. People want loyal, or good, friends. We want others to accept and love us just as we are. We want others to laugh and share joy with. If we are in a mental institution or a prison we want our friends to show up and be there for us. If we are depressed we want somebody who’ll stick by our side or offer an encouraging word. If we are drowning we need a brave soul to jump ship and save our helpless selves. People need one another; people need loyal friends.

Do we know how to be a loyal friend? Is it better to be a good friend or to have another be a good friend to us? There is truly so little I have control over in this world. I do not have the skills to make anyone be my friend. I don’t have the power to make anybody like me. Friendships are gifts. Sometimes one of the two members of the friendship club decides to take their gift back. This is sad and true. I believe it is better to be a good friend than to journey through life wishing or praying or hoping that others will be good friends to us. I have power over my attitude, smile, friendliness and love I choose to share with others. I am powerless concerning the return of these gifts from another.

I read some encouraging words recently that stated something about how we should be the type of people we needed when we were younger. As kids we all needed an adult to show us kindness. We certainly were not receiving this kindness from the majority of our peers. As adults we still need kindness.

Be an unconditional good friend. Don’t worry about making an awesome first impression with strangers. Be yourself. Be friendly. Share a smile. When we want everybody to be friendly to us it leads to discouragement and sorrow. A lot of people don’t run on friendliness. They are too preoccupied with pessimism and seeing this world as a dark place. These individuals might need a kind word from you more than you need it from them. Share your kindness.

If we want to have many friends then we should be friendly first. Life and friendships within it honestly just don’t work the other way.

The Key of the Kind-Hearted

Kindness is a key to unlocking the joy in life. I’ve never regretted offering a kind word to someone who might have needed it at the time. I have absolutely regretted a mean word spoken or an unnecessary gossip that leapt off of my tongue. If a man is mean to others then I guarantee he is also mean to himself. How sad this is! Life isn’t supposed to be gone through with hatred and mean spiritedness. The darkness in our world is real, but light conquers darkness every new day.

As a youth I could not find many people in my life who were truly kind-hearted. So I decided to grow up and become kind-hearted again like I had been as a young boy. I had and continue to have a lot of help from Christ Jesus. I aspire to live my life story on the highway of the extra mile. Life is much sweeter whenever we go this extra distance. Sometimes it is easy to be mean or to give in to the darkness. However, I enjoy a difficult challenge. The struggle to always repay meanness with kindness is a true battle. I hope to always show up for this war.

If you want to have more joy in your life I highly suggest being kind without any hope of anything good in return. If I am only kind to those who seem to like, or love, me then I haven’t done much of anything remarkable. If I am kind to strangers then is when I’ve gone the extra mile. If I am kind to someone who has been rude to me then I have taken a journey I did not have to take. If I forgive someone who hurt me deeply then perhaps I am like my hero, Jesus.

Kindness is worth pursuing. Selfishness has never made me happy or brought me laughter or joy. Let’s unlock all of the joy life has to offer.