good reads.

The Problem Of Pain- C.S. Lewis

When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all (preface).

If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on Earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good creator (3).

Elements of religion:
1.experiencing numinous awe.
-Either a mere twist in the human mind, corresponding to nothing objective and serving no biological function, yet showing no tendency to disappear from that mind at it’s fullest development in poet, philosopher or saint: or else it is a direct experience of the really supernatural, to which the name Revelation might be given.
2.consciousness of a moral law at once approved and disobeyed.
– It is either inexplicable illusion, or else revelation.
3. When the numinous power to which they feel awe is made guardian to the morality to which they feel obligation.
-It may be a madness congenital to man and oddly fortunate in it’s results– or it may be revelation.

To ask to whether the universe as we see it looks more like the work of a wise and good creator or the work of chance, indifference, or malevolence, is to omit from the outset all the relevant factors in the religious problem. Christianity is not the conclusion of a philosophical debate on the origins of the universe: it is a catastrophic historical event following on the long spiritual preparation of humanity which I have described. It is not a system into which we have to fit the awkward fact of pain: it is itself one of the awkward facts which have ti be fitted into any system we make. In a sense, it creates, rather than solves, the problem of pain, for pain would be no problem unless, side by side with our daily experience of this painful world, we had received what we think a good assurance that ultimate reality is righteous and loving (14).

2016?

I’m typing, woo-hoo. I deserve a metal just for being out of bed with a computer in front of my face and my room relatively straightened. I’m doing big things. I always feel as if I should be writing something useful or educational or some form of poetry but I suppose just writing is healthy enough for me at this point. I don’t really talk much about things too much anyways, I guess?

Well I feel lead to recall on 2015, with the new year and all. Although, it doesn’t actually make a difference what time span is used. Nonetheless, it was a year that I don’t think my logic could ever help me forget. I can’t think of an aspect in which the past year’s events didn’t change me.My music taste, style, habits, emotions, complete aspect of thinking couldn’t begin to identify with whoever i was before 2015. I started my year out with an arrest. Well, December 26th 2014. Close enough. I didn’t go to my hearing until February, when my license was suspended for a year. I’ve been riding on a school and work permit since then.Well, Kind of. I finally go to court to take the rest of my sentence on Monday, over a year after my arrest. So I get to start 2016 off with probation, community service, a day in jail and $800 in fines. But hey, I might be able to get my license back. Which is cool since I just signed my life away on a new vehicle. I justify it by the time span my student loans will knock on my door. Which is six years from now if I stay in school until I’m a doctor. See what I did there? Now I have to reach my goals, or I have two fat payments a month. I’m so spontaneously clever sometimes.

Now that the minor trauma of my year has been reminisced on, it’s time to let go of some things.

One visit home, I decided to take my new piano I treated myself to after my first manager check home so I could label the keys. My dad sat beside me in the living room in the middle of the day (which is weird for him to do any time) and told me that he was gonna be alright while trying to prevent himself from crying. I look down at my keys and he told me he had Parkinson’s disease as I pretended to play with my keys like it was no big deal. Finally I looked over at him, cried, hugged. He had just told me that I should learn to play Sail Away with Me by the Styx so I tried to look the song up and pretend like I wasn’t traumatized by the thought of potentially losing my hero in a short time span. Any time span is too short, though.

Weeks afterwards, when I finally got my head back in line and living outside of pity,  a part of my heart was ripped from my chest (on Halloween morning like 2 am, right after I tried on my costume for work the next morning) with such a fierce force that I could feel my whole persona change in slow motion. It was the first time in my life I felt entirely out of control and utterly scarred.

A month before my brother turned 31, he stopped aging.

My mother was married prior to my dad. To a horrible man who fathered Matthew. He was physically abusive and disloyal. By the time Matthew was four, my mother was married to my dad. My brother never got along with anyone in the house growing up. Well, we all loved each other and he loved us back but not enough to prevent him from moving in with my grandma next door by age 16. Matthew was always rebellious. My mother will tell stories of him hiding from her at age 4 to the point where the cops and whole town was looking for him. Or when he got in the car and started driving it when he was four or so. The scrapbook my mom made for Matthew’s younger years entails nothing but letters to Mama about how sorry he is and that he will do a better job and never make the same mistake. Who knew that unscrewing the screws of the chair that the 400 pound Mrs. Pebble Moss– who always wore earmuffs and fell asleep reading romantic novels at her desk every day– would lead to all of the mischievousness that Matthews life entailed. Matthew never agreed with school. I mean, many kids don’t.. but who the hell skips class in elementary school. The desire to leave so badly must stem from some form of pain, whether it’s apparent to anyone else or even he himself. He didn’t wanna be there. In high-school he went to Windsor academy. Where I also spent a semester of high-school. He didn’t like that either, although I know he had a couple of rebellious friends. He eventually just graduated through home-schooling. I was only 10 at this point, so I can barely recall the things in Matthews life that weren’t obvious. I know he dated a girl named Lanamae and a girl named Katie, In his early twenties or late teens. He also lived with a girl named Brandi that he may have been calling his girlfriend at the time, or this could be after he moved to Atlanta and got arrested a few times for drugs. He eventually got “robbed” and sliced in the arm and I’m pretty sure that’s when he moved back to Macon. He lived with Brandi some and then he moved back in with my grandma, next door. By this time we had moved to Macon and became neighbors with my grandma and my aunt. Between those three women Matthew was always taken care of. He would be arrested for drugs, DUIs, stealing, anything. They would just go get him and make him feel bad and go back to living. With him living with my grandma and having things held over his head, no license and no job, Matthew was absolutely stripped of his freedom. The thing that he had taken for granted all these years. His rebellion now had to sit bottled up in his adventurous soul. He sobered up though, got nice and fat. haha He was so funny. He eventually sat me down when I was around 19 and said “Mary, I’m gay.”

[I knew that, you nut. I regret getting mad at you and telling you to stick a rat up your asshole. That was uncalled for. You were only telling me that I couldn’t sell my brownies out of the bucket that my mom accidentally threw cat shit in. That was the prime of my teen years, and I had a short fuse with the people that I loved most. I was dumb.]

I wish we had talked more. I was the only person that he felt like he could talk to in the family. He told me that. He and my mom were close but it got to the point where mama was always so worried about him she’d bug him so much about doctors and being clean and doing this and doing that because loves him and cares about him. I know how my mother can be sometimes.

He would always introduce me as his baby and talk about how much he loves his baby sister. I wish I would have been more open with him when he tried to talk to me about men sexually when I would come home from college and have to drive him to places. I was still unaware about the human nature and never represented a clear acceptance of the idea of sexual desires other than heterosexual. I did towards the end of his life, but by that time I lived in Athens and could barely see him due to the revoking of my driving privileges. He knew I loved him. He would call me sometimes and I would try my best to give him uplifting advice. You could feel the depression from the presence of his attention.

When I did come home this past year, by now he had moved into an apartment downtown for $25 a month somehow or another, he would just come over to my parents and sit on the couch until he fell asleep. Barely speaking a word. I wanted so bad for him to become motivated. He had plenty of time to turn things around. He just didn’t care to. Doctors had loaded him up on a grocery bag full of prescription bottles that he took daily. An illegal amount. But hey, they were technically legal if they were prescribed, right? Gotta love this country. My brother had obvious heart issues. He breathed so heavy.Smoked tons of cigs. There was a short time period in 2014 when he was sober and apparently losing weight from the shake diet my dad was on but that didn’t last too long. haha. As a matter of fact, on the day he died, he went to the store with an old lady who shared his apartments to get a key-lime pie. Mmmmm, what I’d do to share a pie and some milk with him now. He went in the store, came back out with no pie but his heart beating so fast, old Mrs. Peggy– his ride to the store– was concerned with his shape. Also concerned with why there was no pie. Matthew went back in to get the pie. This is all word to me from Becky.Becky is a legally blind woman (not that anyone should be defined by their physical ability or lack thereof) that Matthew chose to be his first girlfriend in ten years, in 2014. Becky also lived in the apartments. Her and Matthew had broken up but were still friends. Which I always questioned Matthew on because he had told mama that Becky cheated on him. When Matthew died, Becky told me that she had just told Matthew that she couldn’t be around drugs anymore because she was a recovered addict. Prescription drugs, of course. She told me that her and Matthew had talked about marriage. He wanted to marry her. But he didn’t want to give up the men and drugs. And so he didn’t. He died in the middle of oral sex with two men. Walked to the kitchen for something to drink. Collapsed. His heart had had enough.

The men that were there. Winners. Micah is a drug addict who was dating one of Matthews good friends who I am very fond of, Glenn. Glenn has a couple of degrees and always dresses very nicely. He is always so polite to me and my family. We had Matthews surprise 30th birthday party at Glenn’s. Anywho, Micah was fucking around with Matthew seconds before he passed. Micah also called right after Matthew was announced dead in his apartment room to make sure he could get his drugs from Matthew’s room because he was “in pain.” For most of the week that I was home after it happened, it was insanely hard for me to not blame Micah and Don (the other man that was there) for what happened to my brother. But the longer time passed I came to terms with the fact that it’s none of my brothers “friend’s” fault. Even if I wish they didn’t exist.

The funeral took place almost a week after his death. Until then we all just sat around in a house we couldn’t be at home at.  Watching the visitors come through every day and try to wrap our minds around what just happened but never actually having time to mourn because we had to have shoulders on call for my mother’s spontaneous break downs. I hadn’t been to Roberta in a while but I sure didn’t think the next time I visited would be to sit on the front row of a graveside service while a small city of people, I hadn’t seen since I had two first names, gathered around to mourn for a charismatic fella they all had known at some point in the last thirty years. The most miserable part about the funeral was not trying not to cry. The worst part was sitting through every funeral guest walking by me and saying hello and that they are sorry. Not only was this miserable because it lasted over an hour but because it was during this time when I spotted my deceased brother’s biological father for the first time in my life. Who truly enjoys funerals? Much less attending a funeral for someone you haven’t seen in twenty nine years. I lowered my anger by reminding myself that he is probably swimming in guilt from telling Matthew via-letter that he didn’t want anything to do with him, when he was too young to read. I walked over to my parents, being greeted beside a table full of pictures of my brother, as David (birth dad) proceeded to tell them how sorry he was that some people just go down wrong paths. He wasn’t wrong. but what kind of motherfucker says that to the mother who’s son died due to a lifetime of attempting to fill a void that WAS initially THIS MOTHERFUCKER. I could feel the fire in my veins. And my daddy. My sweet sweet daddy. He had been in contact with David since days before the funeral. Much stronger than I, that man is. My mother shook as she told David that he had missed out on an amazing child. It looked as if my mama had been dying to say that for a long long time. She told me it took everything she had to speak in that moment. Which is more than believable for as much hell as I have given my mother over the years for her speech dilemmas, I can empathize with her on the issue more and more, the older I get.Though, I’ve never told her that.. ironically.