Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Labyrinth of Relationships: Wrestling With Forgiveness

There was an incident that started this ball rolling and all of this introspection I am now doing. If you haven't read this article yet, you should read it first prior to continuing to read what I am now writing, because it will give you a good picture of why I am where I am now. Aside from that, it's really the starting point of this whole thing.
Now, after I wrote that article, the pastor's wife read it, because they had requested testimonials about the event, and I sent her the link. So she emailed me to tell me that there was some info concerning that situation that she needed to tell me, and would do so on the following Wednesday evening when she saw me. What she told me was that the two women that were supposed to be my roommates originally, were offended too. (Now at this point, my thoughts will be italicized.)

Whaaaat???? They're offended???? Hmph!

Then she continued, "There should have been some discussion."

At that point, I thought the implication was that I had tried to take the entire bed for myself, so I said, "I did tell them that the other half of the bed was available. I told them this 2 times."

Then she smiled and said, "Well, there were 400 women there, and out of all that, we only had 3 problems. I'm glad you met some nice ladies and did have a nice time at the retreat. They were OK, too." Then she left.

Meanwhile, I was reeling. They were offended?!?!? THEY were offended?!?!?! I couldn't imagine why. At first, I thought they had told the pastor's wife that I was dictating the room arrangement, which was a lie; so I was angry. 

I can't believe those heifers told her that! Yes, I thought that word...heifers, can you believe that? Something I had to ask God to forgive me for later. But, at the time, I went home angry...really angry. They came in the door with phony smiles and that "we don't even want to share a room with you" attitude, but now, THEY were offended?!?!?! Oh yes. I was hot! My son noticed my anger, and when I told him that the pastor's wife had told me that these women had played the injured role; he said, "That's still bothering you?"

"Yes, it's bothering me. They left the pastor's wife with the impression that I had been dictating the room arrangement, when that is not what happened at all. I'm upset that she is left with this false impression of me!" Then I sank into sullen silence for the rest of the ride home, and retreated to my room when we got there. The whole thing was now just eating at me.
Then I heard the voice of Watchman Nee, an amazing Chinese Christian, telling me, "You need to sit with the Lord." You see, I had been reading his book, which our pastor had mentioned in a sermon weeks before. In the book, Nee was explaining the concept of sitting. First he said that when we are born again, we enter into His rest. We don't have to do anything, but rest in Christ. After we learn to rest in Him, then we have to sit with Him. We can't walk, or stand, until we learn to do this.

Now, my unconscious mind had grasped this concept, but my conscious mind is still struggling with it. I sat on my bed, and the tears started to flow. I knew that I had to forgive them. The words of Madea came up again.

It was about me. It was about releasing myself from the injury...from the pain that was eating me up inside. I knew this, but I was still struggling with it, because I was angry and trying to rationalize this whole concept of them being offended. I was trying figure out how this could even be a possibility after the way they had treated me.

I told the Lord that I knew I was not capable of forgiving them. My flesh wouldn't allow it, which is why I was struggling and wrestling with the idea. The wound was still too fresh. It had cut too deep. I was still hurting and now, angry on top of that. So I tried something else. In the midst of my struggle, I was praying; I was sitting with the Lord, spending time with Him, and talking to Him about my pain. 

I realized that the reason this was hurting me, was not because these women were people whose opinions I cared a lick about. It was because their attitude and reaction to me reopened the can of worms that contains my personal insecurities; something they have nothing to do with.

Then I remembered something else Nee had said in the book. So I told the Lord, "Lord, I can't forgive them. I'm not able, but You live inside of me, and have already won the victory over pain, sin, death. You can forgive them, even when I can't, so I have to rely on You to do the forgiving, because my flesh won't let me do it." 

That was the concept. It wasn't supposed to be by my work, or my power. It is by His Spirit that is within me. He does the work. I don't have to do anything, but give it over to Him. And frankly, that's all I could do. But I was still depressed; more so than I've been in a long time. Then He said to me, "What was your first thought when you got up to your room?"

I thought about that. We had been standing in several long lines during the check-in process. My back, which now has two herniations from last year's trip and fall accident, was killing me. After waiting in all those long lines, I still had to carry my 3 bags, and pillow upstairs to my room, but I had to wait in yet another long line at the elevators.

So when I got to that room, I was very happy to be the first to arrive, because I wanted to rest. I was expecting there to be at least 2 beds, and I had thought it was like a Days Inn, and I could grab the bed, or at least the side of one of the beds that was the furthest away from the ac unit, because previous experience near it had been too cold for me. My first thought had been, "First come, first serve" for this reason.

So yes, initially, my thoughts might have been a little selfish, but once I got in the room, however, and saw that it was only one large bed, I figured that either we could all squeeze into the one bed, or, if someone wanted to take the couch instead, the option was there. 

I knew I could not take the couch on account of my back. Because I was tired, and needing rest and to work on my back; I got on the far side of the bed near the window, and laid down trying to ease the distress in my back.  I always work on my back in bed at home; and my new site will  be specific to pain reduction techniques that I do for injuries and problems like this, so this was nothing out of the ordinary for me.

I was there for about 2.5 hours prior to the other two showing up. In that time, I had worked a bit on my back, and then simply tried to relax while watching a movie, still laying on that one side of the bed. I ordered my Chinese food, and had even started to munch on it while in the bed, but decided that I didn't want to risk a food accident there, so I got up and went to sit on the couch and continued watching the movie there. That is where I was when the two women arrived.

When they came in with their phony smiles, and obvious disdain, I was taken aback. I had forgotten what it was like sometimes, dealing with some church folks. Considering their fake smiles and obvious displeasure, I never imagined that either of them would want to touch the side of the bed I had already been lying on. Thus, I simply told them that I had taken that side of the bed (some of my stuff was on it), and that there was the other side, and the couch if someone wanted it. I wasn't trying to direct, but simply inform them what was available. I got up at point, and flipped up the cushion to see if there was a fold out in the couch, but I couldn't tell, so they looked at it, and saw that there was.

Yet, they paced up and down fussing; and I was puzzled as to why they were carrying on about what seemed very simple to me. There were essentially 2 choices. Yet they were complaining about what type of room had the pastor's wife arranged. The older one said that she was going to have to have a talk with the pastor's wife about it. There was no discussion, nor attempt at any conversation with me; just a lot of fussing on their part, and confusion on mine. At no point, did I get to even mention that I had been there for 2.5 hours prior, or that I had already been resting on the one side of the bed due to my back pain and injury.

So at this point, when I had considered all of this, I realized that from their point of view, it may have looked like I was directing everything. However, that point aside, it does not remove nor excuse their obvious contempt of me that they tried to cover with phony smiles when they first came into the room. That pretentious attempt to hide their nasty attitudes happened prior to any questions or issues concerning the sleeping arrangements.

 It was their contempt that made it so blatantly evident that regardless of what they may have perceived as directing from me; they would have wanted to delegate me to the couch. I was the odd man out. They were friends and had chosen to room together. It was apparent that they would have wanted to  take the bed, because they had shown so much scorn towards me even being present. Since they were so upset about having to share the room with me; God forbid that either of them had to share the bed with me. 

This was evident in the fact that the younger one would have rather slept on the ottoman and a chair, than to utilize the other half of the bed while I utilized the other side of it. I realized that even if I had had the opportunity to explain the situation with my back, it would not have made any difference in her choice of using the ottoman, because their disdain for me. Then I realized why I was so hurt.

Their contempt caused me to start viewing myself through their scornful eyes. Prior to that, I was perfectly fine with myself; but suddenly, I stopped seeing myself through Christ's eyes for a few minutes, and saw myself through their disapproval. 

This is why I so appreciate the leadership of my current church home, particularly the pastor and his wife. What caught my attention during the first visit, had been the humble spirit I had seen in the people while I was sitting outside prior to the service starting. That spoke volumes to me, and aside from my son's agreement,  made the decision easy. My pastor constantly espouses the concepts in the New Testament about how the body of the church ought to show love, one to another, and that this is how the world will believe, because they witness this love among us.

So after I had thought about all of this, I shook my head with regret at the thought that now, after two years of peace, I was back in the fray again. So, I told the Lord honestly that initially, my thoughts had been a little selfish. Did I come out of this smelling like a rose in the garden of God? Not exactly...and I acknowledge that, but at least I wasn't smelling like stink-weed. I can't say the same for those other two.

Yesterday however, something started coming to me concerning forgiveness. Once again, I know that I understand this concept; and its not because it has captivated my conscious mind yet. I know that I know the truth of this subconsciously, in my spirit, because Christ dwells within, and its His concept. He owns it, knows it, and authored it, so I know that somewhere within, the answer is there. But, my flesh is still wrestling to get the answer.

What I'm getting at this point, is that there is something in forgiveness. Its not about giving to the person who hurt you, but giving to yourself. When assault, or an attack like this comes, the thing is, we are waylaid by it. We are so taken aback and surprised. If we had been expecting the attack, then it surely would not affect us so much. We all know which people we need to be on guard around. We know which environments we are in, wherein we need to keep our guards up, like at work.

But, when you are in an environment, and around people with whom, technically, you should be safe, people that are supposed to be, in Christian brotherhood, your family; that makes it all the more of a shock to your system, and any shock to your system is like a pebble thrown in a pond. The effects continue long after that little stone hits, and can have long, wide, and far lasting effects if you don't take action to get rid of that hurt out of your system. 

It stands to reason then, that it is a greater shock to the system when you are attacked in an alleged safe zone and discover that you are not safe. In such circumstances, your guard is down, because you are around people that are supposed to be showing you love. Subsequently, that attack will nail you. It will hit you full blast, and figuratively, knock the wind out of you. 

It is the same when you have an accident. Your body is assaulted with the blow of the incident, and your muscles react. Likewise, with verbal or emotional incidents, your body still takes the blow, but that effect hits the mind first, and like the muscles, your self-esteem takes the hit and reacts. 

Your body or mind or both, have then absorbed something that ordinarily, you would not have accepted and taken in; something you would reject. Your self esteem then, begins to hurt, much like the muscles would hurt in a physical accident. Depending on how bad the accident, you may heal quickly, or not at all, and always be dealing with that pain. It is the same emotionally as it is physically, and I now see that.

So forgiving is like suffering from an injury, and giving to yourself, your body; taking care of it, whether it be through massage, or some other treatment to alleviate the pain, for the purpose of letting go of that pain. 

In the case of emotional distress and hurt, you give it to the Lord, because you, yourself, cannot, by your own strength, get rid of the hurt. You give it to the Lord for the purpose of taking care of your spirit. And, you may have to do this monthly, weekly, or even daily maintenance, to make sure that you don't accept that pain back into your flesh. 

You have to do it to keep out that idea, thought, or concept that goes against everything God says about you; everything that is true in your spirit. Its the same thing spiritually as it is physically. You have to keep giving that pain away, working it out of your flesh, particularly if it is a high level pain problem, that affected you on a lifetime level.

If you don't do the work to give that pain away, and get it out of your body...to release it, you will suffer and it will root in, becoming deeper and harder to uproot and eliminate. It becomes bitterness, and that is like cancer in the body. In this case, its a spiritual matter, so you aren't supposed to do the work; just simply give it to God. You have to sit with Him.

Its just like the info I'm going to be teaching people on how to manage and eliminate pain problems, for a pain free life. (for updates on that new site, check my main site) I use my hands and body as a massage therapist for giving people relief and release from pain. Some people have emotional pain locked in their muscles, and when I release it, they experience what is called somatic release. It is the same concept in the spirit, and the Lord would be, in that instant, my spiritual massage therapist. LOL...yeah I know...I'm stretchin' it, but you get the point, right?

So I asked the Lord to forgive me for my selfish, self-righteous thoughts initially. I now feel better, but have I forgiven those two women? I'm not 100% sure. I told the Lord that I didn't see myself associating with them at all, but that I would  keep giving this situation to Him to help me  to stay in a state of forgiveness daily.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Labyrinth of Relationships: The Attitude of Entitlement

People are so self serving. I too, am probably guilty of this in some circumstances, to some degree. The degree to which I always find this demonstrated however, is as an extreme example, usually due to some person's failure to perform properly due to some set standard; whether in society, culture, or by rule or law; but always according to some self-centered reason. In such circumstances, there is usually a deceptive practice that is being covered up that is the catalyst for this behavior; which is often displayed in an attitude of superiority and entitlement.

The four examples I am presenting in no particular order, all happened  at one of three locations on my job; but some instances were of direct and indirect actions against both myself and others. As one of my co-workers later said to me after the most recent incident, "I don't want to see an attitude of entitlement, unless you are actually entitled."

In the first incident, I had a client who, at the start of a 1 hour session; decided, after a sample of my massage style; to increase the session to 2 hours. At the time, I immediately excused myself to go clear it with the receptionist, as I am in the practice of making sure that the time is available first, prior to notifying a client that this is ok to do.

The receptionist was fairly new, so that might have excused her behavior, but that fact didn't save her for another reason. It was incumbent upon her to check the book when I inquired about extending the time, and it did appear that she did that, prior to giving me the thumbs up. However, after I told the client that it was approved, the receptionist slipped a note under my door after the first 30 minutes of our session, to tell me that we had to cut the time back to a 90 minute session, as opposed to the 120 minute session that was preapproved. 

Finally, after the first 60 minutes, she slips another note under my door claiming that I had to stop the session altogether. At that point, I excused myself again, and came out of the room to find out what was going on, because I had adjusted my session for 2 hours, since it had been approved at the beginning, and then readjusted it after the first note had been slipped under my door, for 90 minutes. This meant then, that I was in the middle of the session, and not at a point to cleanly finish the session.

When I went to the front desk, another therapist I had never met was standing there, and the receptionist was telling me that she had made an error in approving the additional hour because this therapist was scheduled for the next shift and needed the room. I was very upset to say the least, so this therapist and another that worked there who had obviously been discussing this; turned to me and said that everyone was being inconvenienced by this, and that I could move my client into the room used for facials.

Now, its not like she was showing me any real concern. What she was doing, was trying to justify her own position, and tossing me a bone, in order to do so. Why didn't she take the room used for facials herself, since I already had my client on the table in my room,  and, as this was obviously interrupting the massage? The reason is because none of the therapists wanted to utilize that room, as it is full of equipment and there is little room to even maneuver about and around all that junk. However, it was fine in her mind, to assign that room to me per her own convenience. It was good enough, apparently, for me, but not for her.

What removed the "being a fairly new employee" excuse for the receptionist, was not only the fact that she had indeed looked at the book at the time of my request for an extension; but her attitude when I came out to object. It was like, "Oh well, I made a mistake. Tough luck! You'll just have to deal with it!" This was the attitude displayed to me in her nonchalant shrug.

What really ticked me off was that both of the therapists standing there made claims that "everyone" was being inconvenienced by this. The therapist that tossed me the bone of the facial room, claimed that she was being inconvenienced because she would be late setting up for her client; when in reality, if she had gone ahead and taken the room she was trying to assign to me, she would have been on time setting up and starting her massage. 

The other therapist, who apparently, was friends with this first one, claimed that she had told the owner about time extensions previously, because she said she sat for two hours waiting on a therapist who had extended without preapproval, and in her opinion, it shouldn't be happening at all. So she claimed inconvenience by saying it was an inconvenience to everyone.

I pointed out that I had not arbitrarily extended time without getting it approved first, and, at the very beginning of my session. Furthermore, this was not due to any error I made, but I was the person that was actually being inconvenienced here. No one else lost money due to this error, but me. 

I lost a considerable amount, because not only did I loose pay from that additional hour that I had to then cancel, because the incoming therapist selfishly refused to use the same room she wanted to assign to me; but additionally, that client had intended on not only extending that day for an additional hour, but also rebooking to see me the following week for another hour, just to work on her feet. I lost pay from that booking as well; because as a result of all of this nonsense, she never re-booked again. 

Furthermore, when the client was leaving, she told me that she had left me a tip at the front desk. When I questioned the receptionist about it, she claimed that the client had simply asked her for change, and never left a tip. So I lost my tip as well, because she acted like she had never received it. And all the while, all of these people acted like they were within their rights, and justified in all their actions.

In situation number two, at a different location, several of the therapists had begun to notice a trend among certain other therapists, who practice a particular style modality. These same therapists purchased their own special tables for their technique, and would frequently bring them to work and set them up for their use for the day. 

Since choice of rooms in this establishment is first come first serve, some of them conspired with one or two of the more immature receptionists, who play favorites. Due to this hidden agenda, they began bringing in their tables in the evening, to "set them up" for the next day. In this way, they would reserve the room of their choice the night before. With the approval of these same receptionists, they would also leave their tables set up in that room for the following day; if they were on shift, thereby holding or reserving the room of their choice for 2 days. 

All of the other therapists recognized this, and felt like this group was acting like they were privileged, and that setting up their tables gave them special license to disrespect the rest of the therapists, by disregarding the first come, first serve order of things. 

Some in this group acted like the incoming therapist should have to set up the regular table that was supposed to already be in that room; when they took their tables down at the end of their shift. Naturally, this attitude of entitlement caused some resentment among the other therapists.

The third situation was one in which one therapist created an extreme drama situation, drawing other people into the fray, placing blame and causing disruption to yet another therapist in the middle of a massage. This particular therapist was a recent hire and scheduled to come in to work at a certain time. 

However, because she didn't want to be inconvenienced, she called in to see if she was booked at that time. Upon finding out that she wasn't, she decided not to come in at her scheduled arrival time, and requested that the receptionist inform her as soon as she was booked.

In the meantime, another therapist, who had booked a private massage, came in to use a room for that massage; as we are allowed to rent a room for a private. There are six rooms in this particular location, however, the sixth room is small and mostly used for storage space for extra furnishings and supplies that some people do not use, like step stools, or small end tables. So most of therapists don't like utilizing this room for a massage because it is small, and because they have to clear it first, to set up.

When the first therapist decided not to come in on time per her schedule, she gave up her right to the last of the regular available rooms. The therapist with the private, who came in subsequently, got that room. Some time later, after she had started on her private massage, the first therapist was booked and was called by the receptionist and notified. 

She came bustling in right after I had arrived and taken the last available regular room that had just been vacated by another therapist from the previous shift. So this therapist had no other room left to use, but room six, which she didn't want. She looked at the book, and immediately demanded to know why the therapist doing the private was not in room six, and claimed that she should have the room that this therapist had.

Under the guise of "I'm not going to put up with this," which she frequently says, and which is an attitude that she utilizes to manipulate; she went outside the building to call the owner and complain. She told him only that the therapist with the private should not have a regular room if it was going to interfere with a regular booking; and that she should have that room, as she was booked and her client was soon to arrive. 

Mind you, she could have taken room six for that first hour, and then switched rooms afterwards, as other therapists on the first shift left, but she demanded that she had to have the room the private was being done in immediately, regardless of the fact that the therapist in that room was also scheduled on the book, and her scheduled time would have started after the 15 minutes she had left to complete that private massage.

Due to this dubious information and all the drama that came with it, the therapist with the private was forced out of her room. She then had to get her client off the table, let him get dressed, and move him to room six, which she had to rush to set up, for just 15 minutes that were left on her massage. 

All of this inconvenience happened because one selfish, self-centered therapist felt that she was entitled and above everyone else. Apparently, she thought she was too good to use room six. It was ok to put everyone else into turbulence due to her personal high opinion of herself; in which she was the proverbial gander who felt that what was good for the rest of the geese, wasn't good enough for her. And all this after she refused to come in on time for her shift, which would have ensured that she got the room in the first place.

The last example is yet another therapist who considered only herself, and keeping her client happy at the expense and aggravation of my client. My client booked a 90 minute session with me. For the first hour, everything was quiet and peaceful. However, at the start of the last 30 minutes; another therapist in the next room started her session with her client. 

However, it didn't sound like a massage session had been started. According to my client, it seemed to be a soap opera; as the therapist and her chatty client had a very loud, and ongoing, nonstop conversation, which included a lot of loud laughter that was disturbing my client.

At the client's request, I went out of the room to try to communicate with the other therapist about the noise. This after attempting to placate my client with the idea that perhaps the noise was coming from the shop next door, because there was no one in the room on the opposite side.

However, I excused myself from the room, went to the receptionist's desk, and got a piece of paper and wrote a note to the other therapist about reducing the noise. I stuck it under her door, as the receptionist was busy on the phone; hoping it would work. Once I was back in the room with my client, we discovered that it didn't seem to make a bit of difference. I knocked on the adjoining wall a few times, but the loud laughter and conversation continued, unchecked. 

My client was moving beyond angry and into furious. He sent me back out again to knock on the other therapist's door about the noise. When I did this and spoke to the other therapist, she claimed it was not her talking, and this claim was an attempt to justify herself. This was because she had grown quiet after the note was put under the door. However, she never bothered to say one word to her client about how much noise the client had been making, disturbing another client in the adjoining room.

Despite the fact that she was responsible to do this, this therapist stated that her reason for not saying anything to her client was because she didn't want to upset her. So apparently, it was fine for her to spare her client any upset at the expense of completely disrupting my client's formerly quiet, enjoyable massage. It was to the point wherein he stopped the massage early, because he said he was so stressed from the noise, more than when he had come in for the massage.

All of these situations and incidents happened at different time periods, and the owner was informed by various therapists that were witnesses to each incident. After getting a clear picture of all that had taken place the owner addressed the therapists involved in violating the rights of others, and several therapists witnessed a few radical attitude adjustments; which are typically the result of people being put in their place. It's a shame that things have to go to this extreme, and could be avoided if people would simply be other-centered, showing some basic consideration for the people around them; instead of self-centered. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dream Journal – Day 1 The Spirit World and Your Destiny Part 16

Dan 1:3 ¶ And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring [certain] of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;

Dan 1:4 Children in whom [was] no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as [had] ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

Dan 1:5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

Dan 1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

Dan 1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel [the name] of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

Now, the thing I never realized, is that Ashpenaz was not simply the servant sent by the king to get these princes and royal children of Israel. This prince of the eunuchs was sent for these children because of the prophesy given to King Hezekiah years prior. The reason for the prophesy given was that Hezekiah had acted foolishly, opening his kingdom to attack by accepting gifts from Baladan king of Babylon, an enemy of the Kingdom of the Lord.

He did this AFTER the Lord healed him. Not only did he accept the gifts from the envoys of Baladan, but furthermore, he stupidly showed them the riches of his kingdom.

 Isa 39:1 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery.
 Isa 39:2 Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil—his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
 Isa 39:3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?” “From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came to me from Babylon.”
 Isa 39:4 The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?” “They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.”
 Isa 39:5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD Almighty:
 Isa 39:6 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD.
 Isa 39:7 And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
 Isa 39:8 “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”
This confirms two things. Hezekiah was selfishly concerned with only his life, and did not care that he adversely affected his children's posterity. And, Daniel and his companions were not just educated to serve the king. They became eunuchs like the "prince of the eunuchs" that was sent to retrieve and educate them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Labyrinth of Relationships: The Far Side of Customer Service

Yesterday, as my son and I were on our way home; me from the job, and him from the library; a surprising incident took place. We were on a side road from the highway, I-595. We were traveling eastbound, and this side road can lead you from the city roads onto the highway, or to the turnpike or even to ST RD 7. I was heading for I-595, but my son suggested that we turn off onto the state road, to go to a local supermarket where he had applied for a part time job, so he could check to see if they had received his application.

So I turned off onto the state road, and got to the boulevard where the store was. As we were driving down this boulevard at about 35 mph, something happened. There was a loud wrenching sound and then a really loud BANG! I thought we blew a tire, because immediately, my on my side, the front of the car went down. We skid a bit on the road as I tried to stop the car.

My son got out to check the tire, but none of the tires were busted. I was sure we had blown a tire, and the scraping sound we had heard was the rim scraping the ground, but my son checked around the entire car, and the tires were intact. So what the heck was it?

He came back to the front of the car and bent down to look.  “It’s something under the car,” he said. And then I knew. You see, back when I wrote this article, I knew there was a problem. However, the problem I knew about was in the rear of the car.

Now, since that situation had occurred, and we had gotten the part for the rear of the car, I had the mechanic come over to fix it 3 days prior to this situation happening. Once he took my rear tires off the car, he discovered that the part we obtained for the car was not the right one. There were too connections that did not match what was on my car.

So he was going to go back to the junkyard to get another rear assembly axle for my car. I asked him to check the front end as well, because I suspected that the control arms needed to be changed also…at least one of them, either lower or upper. He told me all four needed to be changed, plus the ball joints on both sides too. So I gave him the money after checking the prices online, so that he could pick up all the parts when he went back to exchange the rear axle.

So when my son told me it was not the tire, I knew immediately that one of the arms had broken. My son was very upset, but I told him, “You have nothing to be upset about. Am I upset?” He said he was angry that the car was broken down, and that I was going to miss two days of work as a result; as I had immediately called my boss and left a message. Plus, we were also going to miss our Friday night pastime, Karaoke at the Caribbean club.

I was fine with all of that because as I told him, it was by God’s provision that we did not take the highway, but were redirected to that street at the time this had occurred. Had we been on the highway when the arm broke, we would have been in serious trouble. It would have caused a very bad accident; one which, in all likelihood, we would not have survived. But God.

He’s always got us. He takes care of us, and knows our needs before we even recognize it. When I had spoken to my mechanic, 5 days ago, I knew that there was trouble in the front with the control arm, because when I was driving, if I hit a bump in the road at a high speed, the car would wrench to the right. I would feel the steering wheel pull out of my hands if I wasn't holding it firmly, so I knew that the control arm wasn't tight enough.

The car had been making these wrenching, groaning sounds for quite some time, and this was separate from the loud humming coming from the rear axle. So I was fully aware that all this needed to be replaced. I wanted to get it done Friday or Saturday, but I was scheduled for work Friday evening, and for a double on Saturday, so because of this, I had tried to schedule with my mechanic for Monday, but he was not available.

Additionally, I was hoping my tax return would be in my account, just in case I needed some extra funds for the repairs. I was disappointed that I wouldn't be getting all this fixed this week, as I recognized the urgency to fix it. Driving with these sorts of problems can be dangerous, obviously. I think it was imperative that it be fixed this week. So something had to happen to cause that, ergo the incident last night. I guess it was important enough that I would need to miss work.

When I called AAA, it was about 8:39. I told the female rep that I needed a flatbed truck to pick up the car because the front axle was broken. I told her that we were not in a safe place, because the car was stopped in the middle of the road. That should have told them to put a rush on it, because usually, they ask that question about if you are in a safe place for that reason. I also told her that we could not move the car off the road because the axle was broken.

She told me it might be an hour before the truck would arrive. So at 9:18 I called back. The reason is because despite the fact that we had both the hood and the trunk up, the people coming down the road in the cars weren't paying attention. We were waving them off, directing them to go around the car from the sidewalk.

Yet, many people drove right up on the car and stopped behind it, looking at it, and looking at us. Some drove by and yelled out to put the hazard lights on. We had done that as soon as it broke down, only to discover that the hazards were blinking on the dashboard, but not on the car itself. Logic would dictate that if we had hazards we would have put them on, as opposed to having both the trunk and the hood up.

That was a bit annoying, the fact that hardly anyone driving was paying attention. We actually put a red gas canister in the road a few feet behind the car to try to slow people down and get them to see that they needed to change lanes and go around our car.

Police were in the area, apparently looking for a strong arm robber and his victim. Two cops pulled up behind our car. The one that pulled right behind us with blues and reds flashing was in an undercover black Crown Victoria. One of the dopey, inattentive drivers almost crashed into her car; rolling up on her so much as she pulled up a few feet behind our car, that her front end ran into the gas canister and dragged it forward as she tried to move out of the way of the oncoming car rolling up behind her. It was ridiculous.

As annoying as that was for over an hour, having to wave people off out of the lane; that wasn't what ticked me off. As I said, I called AAA back at 9:18 to find out where the truck was. The rep, a male, told me that the time of arrival was scheduled to be 9:25. I asked that they contact the driver to try to expedite the arrival time considering the above mentioned situation.

At 9:40, the driver called me, telling me that he had just gotten the call, but was a ways away from us. After getting his location, and an estimated time of arrival, I called AAA back. I was angry at this point, because I had made the original call over an hour previously, and they never bothered to contact the driver until an hour later? This, after I told them we weren't in a safe place???

So I was kind of hot about that. When I called, I got another female rep. After I expressed my frustration, she attempted to abate it by saying that the info about us not being in a safe place, the axle being broken, and needing a flatbed truck was not in the system, and she needed to put it in there.  I couldn't believe that. I was getting angrier by the minute. She attempted to diffuse my anger with a claim that pickup was scheduled for 90 minutes from the time I had called, and the driver was due to arrive at 10:10. That just got me hotter.

“Oh no,” I said, “You aren't going to change the time now. I know what I was told by the first rep I spoke to, and even the second rep said that the arrival time should have been 9:25!” At that point, I was through with the reps. “I want to speak to a manager,” I said. She put me on hold, and then somehow, magically, the line disconnected.

“Oh no, they didn't!” I thought. I immediately dialed back. I got another male rep this time. I immediately asked for a manager. He attempted to run an abatement game on me, asking me for my card number so he could look up my account. The purpose of that was to try to redirect me by addressing the matter himself. I refused. I again stated that I wanted to speak to a manager. He claimed that they didn't have managers, “…just product specialists and supervisors.”

So I said in an aggravated tone, “So I want to speak to a supervisor, because a supervisor is a manager! Duh!” The rep tells me he knows this, and then proceeds to connect me to a product specialist. So you know that when that person answered the phone, and I asked if he was a supervisor, and he said he was a product specialist; you know I was steamin’, right?

He attempted to put me through the same runaround that the previous rep had, asking for my card number. At that point, I was yelling into the phone that I wanted a supervisor. When the supervisor came on the line and identified herself as the supervisor, I gave her an earful.

The very first thing I told her about was the insulting way the reps played with people, using semantics and treating them as if they didn't know what they needed, or what they were talking about; or were too stupid to know the difference between a “product specialist” and a supervisor which they asked for.

Then I told her about all the misrepresentation and misleading information I had received from the prior 3 reps concerning the call I made for a tow; informing her about the fact that the tow driver called immediately upon getting notified of the pickup, which was an hour after I called in; telling me he had only received the call only five minutes before.

Of course, she claimed that none of this was runaround; none of it was incorrect, and that the driver had received the call at 8:39 when I called and so on. She had an excuse for everything. Whatever - but, I’m paying for this “service,” in fact, I'm paying for Plus service. I told her that they needed to get their reps straight, and their communication straight as well. She had to remove the call from my account, so the tow was a freebie.

This is not the first time I've had questionable service from AAA. They make a killing through hundreds of tow companies that contract with them. I have been a customer of theirs for years, but I’m getting tired of this kind of poor service. I may have to consider looking into other road service companies at the end of my year with AAA. Apparently, they don’t respect their customers enough to treat them with respect, and give the kind of great service people are paying for.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dream Journal – Day 1 The Spirit World and Your Destiny Part 15

It's been a while since I did an entry on this study, so if you need to reference where we last left off, click here.

Dan 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

I wanted to know what these objects were; these articles from the temple of God that got carried away into Babylon.

First of all, apparently there was a vessel unto dishonor and then there were vessels of honor that was taken. Jehoiakim represented the vessel of dishonor. This is the information I found about vessels.

1) article, vessel, implement, utensil.    a) article, object (general) b) utensil, implement, apparatus, vessel 1) implement (of hunting or war) 2) implement (of music) 3) implement, tool (of labour) 4) equipment, yoke (of oxen) 5) utensils, furniture c) vessel, receptacle (general) d) vessels (boats) of paper-reed

Jer 27:19  For thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city,

Jer 27:20 Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;

Jer 27:21 Yea, thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain [in] the house of the LORD, and [in] the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem;

Jer 27:22 They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place

This prophetic prediction was filled with the articles were carried away in 586 BC and returned in 538 or 537 BC.

However, there was more about the actual vessels.

2Ki 25:13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the LORD and they carried the bronze to Babylon.
 2Ki 25:14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service.
 2Ki 25:15 The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver.
 2Ki 25:16 The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the movable stands, which Solomon had made for the temple of the LORD, was more than could be weighed.
 2Ki 25:17 Each pillar was eighteen cubits high. The bronze capital on top of one pillar was three cubits high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its network, was similar.
The end of this chapter of the book of 2 Kings, tells how long this king Jehoiakim was held captive in exile. Daniel lived through the reigns of 3 different kings during this exile period. At  the time of these events, Daniel, along with 3 teen aged companions from royal families, were brought into the king's service and the tests of their faith began.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Labyrinth of Relationships: Party People

Party People, Party People,
We gon' get funky, soul sonic force,
We gon' get funky, yaaaaa just hit me...

If you know this groove, you have a pretty good idea of the era I'm from. Recently, I was directly and indirectly involved in party situations. Now, I gotta tell you that for me, going to a party means dancing. I was a dancin' machine back in the day. My spoiler? A double fracture to my left leg in 2000. That cut down my moves a bit, but I still like to work it a little.

My newest distraction in this arena? Karaoke. I always wanted to try this. So now, somehow, I got entered into a contest on Monday nights, and became a regular at this little Caribbean bar and grill for Friday night Karaoke. Now, I know that Karaoke really means "tone deaf" in it's native language, but nevertheless, it's still a lot of fun. I've always loved singing, and I'm finally breaking through past some of the inhibitions that held me back in the past, and kept me silent, worrying about what other people might think.

So that is part of the whole relational deal...this worry about the impressions of others. And mind you, its not because I can't carry a tune. I actually can. To hear some people tell it, I sing very well. With Karaoke however, it's difficult because the speaker is right behind you blasting, and the reverb from it can throw you off pitch. I've had to stick a headphone plug or my finger in my ear just so I can hear myself and stay in pitch.

So Friday night after work, I was there. I encountered some fun-lovin' folks and had a good time. My son keeps himself occupied in the back pool room while I'm doin' my thing. I found this place quite by accident, because I wasn't looking for Karaoke at the time, and didn't know there were really too many places around still doing it.

I signed up on meetup.com because I was looking for some sort of group activity in my feeble attempt to be more social, as I tend to be a homebody; and a fellow massage therapist/friend/business associate was in this particular group that I signed up for. She's like a social butterfly, and completely strange and somewhat unfathomable to those of us that are social sloths. She is a complete 180 from her mom, who falls into the category of socially shy. I met her there as well.

At any rate, it was the first group I ran across and was a business networking group, and since my networking skills are so lacking, I figured that was the one. They meet on the first and third Friday of the month, and the meeting was...interesting. Certainly different, but then, I didn't know what to expect. We did this speed networking thing, which is similar to a speed dating situation, but it was cool.

Afterwards, the karaoke started. Most of the meetup people left, but there were others there...a very small crowd as this place had only recently opened. So there were only a few people trying to sing, but in every crowd there is at least one person that is a true character, and that person got everyone else into it.

I managed to get past my own reservations and do a little something, but I didn't start to really feel comfortable until the second visit. By that time, the owner hired a more professional Karaoke DJ, actually a couple, and things went better. Now, I'm on this couple's list to be notified of Karaoke events around town.

So this past Friday, I met my new friend Caroline, and her friend Larry there. I had met Caroline there the previous visit, and she can blow. She's got a great voice and is a lot of fun. Her daughter-in-law and son showed up, and we all sat together and sang, danced and just enjoyed everyone's singing...singing along with them. We were having such a good time, and then at midnight, they shut down the Karaoke for this party. There was a bunch of young people that had been filtering in, and this was the reason.

Apparently, the mother of the young lady who sang in this party, paid for the event. The young lady was cute, and had a decent voice. She said she had a CD that was being released that day, which was Valentine's day. She was singing songs from the CD, but lip-syncing all of them, just singing with the track vocals. 

Thing was, despite her vocals being decent, the music itself was so boring, we couldn't stand it. It all had the same beat, and was slow and monotonic. The little dude that apparently had been working on the tracks, got up to tell everyone that they were going for the grammys. We looked at each other in disbelief, and said that they were a long ways from the grammys.

Most of the kids just stood around, or sat at the tables very nonchalant. We were bored just looking at them. Larry commented that they were just too "cool" to do ANYTHING. We were all asking ourselves what kind of party was this, because there was nothing to it. No dancing, no food, no fun. Just boring, monotonous, slow tracks by a seemingly dyslexic DJ, who abruptly cut from one song to another with no mixing; or stopped the music altogether creating "dead air" while he tried to figure out what he was doing next; or just played very slow, boring music. It was nothing you could dance to. No good beats at all. So we ended up leaving due to complete boredom. We couldn't believe that this was considered a "party" by these young people (18-25 in age).  

At first, I thought this was a fluke. Honestly, are young people this bored and out of touch with the concept of "life"? They didn't look like they had any. They didn't look like they knew or understood what "fun" is. However, this was not the only occasion like this. My son went to a birthday party of a young lady that he likes. He is mindful and respectful of the fact that this young lady has a boyfriend, but he does care for her, and has let her know as much.

She invited him to her party. He was very excited to go, and despite his Asperger's, when he is social, my son is quite the charmer, and certainly knows how to socially have fun. When I went to pick him up at the original time he said the party was supposed to end; he came out after I texted him, saying that he wasn't ready to leave yet, and that the party was still going strong after a late start. So I left, only to get called back immediately, because they had to end the party on account of the young lady's grandmother's bedtime hour.

Once I picked my son up, I asked about the party, because it had sounded like he had been having a really good time. However, upon further examination and questions, my son realized that he did not have a good time, in fact, I really think that he was just happy to be invited to this young lady's party, despite her spending all her time with her boyfriend; who my son said, poked him a lot. 

He said that he really didn't know anyone, and despite knowing a little about everyone's main topic of conversation, anime, he was not an expert on it, like everyone else seemed to be. He was not as into it as they all were, so he felt he could not really participate in the conversations. He just felt like a third wheel, and said he spent most of the time standing by a wall, observing everyone else. He became very depressed after that.

I totally got it. I have always been a wall-flower in social situations where I don't know anyone. I'm one of those people that people watch until someone approaches me. I rarely if ever just start a conversation with someone. My deceased brother, Guy...he was the social butterfly of our family, but it has always been a challenge for me. I'm not totally socially inept. Once I find someone that I relate to, I could talk your ear off on topics I know about, like massage for instance. But the connecting part is the struggle. I even told my son that this is part of the reason that I hesitate to date.

The thing is, people that know me never believe that I'm actually shy to some degree, but this is because I know them. I'm comfortable. The scary thing is stepping outside your comfort zone. I tried to explain to my son that the fact of the matter is, you cannot expect to "fit" with everyone. Every person has their niche.

It makes me recall a conversation I once had with a man that I had relational friendship with. He got upset and angry with himself because he had bought a cover for his car, and the instructions that came with it, said that to attach another piece to the cover, he could iron this fabric on to the cover. Now, I can't tell you why this part was necessary, but the instructions said to do this, so he did. The iron burned a hole in the cover.

He was so frustrated, he started spouting language, and I had to stop him, asking him why he was so upset. He said that he felt stupid because he burned a hole in the cover. I took the instructions from him and read them. Then I told him that he was not the stupid one in the equation. It was the company that put this product out, and their instructions that was stupid. The reason? 

Anyone that knows anything about fabric, knows that you do not iron nylon, not directly at any rate, but this company's instructions said to iron the nylon. If one is going to iron nylon, they would have to place a cloth between the iron and the nylon to avoid burning it up, because nylon is not made to handle heat, particularly from an iron. 

I had to explain to my friend that he was was not stupid, he just lacked knowledge of this particular fact, because his path never lead him to work on fabrics and obtain knowledge about nylon. Mine did. So in reality, no person is actually stupid. 

Each person has a path, and in most paths, there is a system. There are many paths in life. Many of these paths never intersect, and many of these systems have different language dominating that particular system. If one is not familiar with the language of that system, should they ever cross paths; they may not know how to navigate within that system, because it is not on their path, they've only briefly intersected with it.

It is the same with people. No path, and no person is greater than any other. They simply have different paths, different passions, and different knowledge accordingly. The key is in finding your niche...people with a similar commonality with your passions and path. I found a fairly good variety of groups on meetup.com after my son's experience, but as always, there is a lack of groups for young people. When my son was12-17, I couldn't find anything to get him connected. Now, he's 18, and still, I see nothing for his age group. 

There seems to be nothing out there for "non-addicted party people" in my son's age group. All the kids do these days is computers, and outside of that, nothing exists! Maybe this is why everyone stood around looking at each other in that club. Outside of computerized interactions, they simply don't know what to do! They can't communicate with others. How is that living?