Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"I'm sorry Mr. Mertz but you are working at making something of yourself and being self employed. As a result, we can give you health insurance but we will not cover the list of ailments in this list. Also, as a result of working hard for yourself, we need to charge you more taxes because we have a lot of people who aren't working that need our help"

Sunday, July 29, 2007

While trying to avoid stereo typing, I think you can put people's personalities in to different categories. I think the biggest designation you can make are someone's attitude toward their own life as well as their outlook on life in general. In there I think you will find that most people feel that the world needs improved in drastic ways. The rubber meets the road un the person's response and there really only two directions to go. Some people mix both directions and end up going nowhere. They get close and then end up hanging a U turn and lose what progression they have made.

So what are the two directions? Ironically the basis is dependant on servitude. Most issues with the world are related to people's atitudes. The majority of these issues are because of selfishness (that is, the lack of helping others). We all have the choice of whether we are going to help someone despite the fact that they don't deserve it or we help them because we believe its the only way the world can become a better place.

This world is in moral decay because no one will help others. Its not this way because all of a sudden we don't deserve the help because we have never deserved it. The reason why we are in decay is because we all know and take to heart the fact that no one deserves our help. We become bitter and erase the fact that anyone has ever showed us grace. After developing this thought process, we come to the conclusion that everyone else owes us. Suddenly, we aren't helping anyone, not only because they don't deserve our help, but because they owe us.

The human race has written off the world. In our minds it is full of evil people and that's where we stop. We don't see that each one of those people are someone just like us who only needed someone to take a chance on them but never got it.... Meanwhile we sit here and argue why that person is less than us. We constantly explain how we would take a chance on someone who was in the same scenereo as us, we are presented with people that fit that description but in a different way, and then we punish that person for everyone else's mistakes - no matter how much potential we see in that person.

There are consequences for all actions but there is also forgiveness. If we can't forgive, then we end up hating everyone. We will never take a chance on someone else because we haven't forgave those that previously hurt us. This is what we are progressing towards. I'm sure we can all think of at least one teacher in school that really made an impact on us - and you can bet that teacher was someone that cared more about the students than the paycheck. The more we progress, the more the paycheck means to us. We fight for more money in a job that we are horrible at for no other reason than not being passionate about it. We work for the sole purpose of bettering ourselves and when this filters into education, healthcare, and other social fields, well, look around you.....

We need to stop asking who is going to take a chance on us. We've had people take at least one chance on us even if it was one teacher back in grade school and we didn't pay it forward. If we start looking for people to take a chance on then there actually might be a reason society should take a chance on us. So many people have served us with such selflessness and we can't even find it in our hearts to recognize it because we are so bitter about who didn't help us.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My stomach is completely in knots. This happens to me on numerous occaisions because I put so much effort in to caring about people who, if they care at all, only care when its convient for them. While I change my life for people everyone moves on with their lives as is and when I need to talk there isn't someone there for a simple conversation. Occasionally a conversation starts and in the end I am only reminded of how that person has a lot of problems and if I want to continue being "friends" I need to become perfect and have no problems of my own. As is my nature, I just hide my problems and take on everyone else's at the same time. Then there are the people that tell me I need to find friends which is nothing more than saying "bob, I have no desire to deal with your issues". Essentially: here's a quarter; call someone who cares.

It really is a horrible feeling knowing. That if I died right now I would leave this earth knowing that the only people that cared for me were my parents, one couple from the dulles campus, a guy in new england, and one friend I've had since 3rd grade.

I'm just more and more reminded of how I really don't fit in in this world. While there may be a need for me in this world, there isn't a place for me. On top of that I am constantly being punished because of the larger portion of the stereo type I can be classified in. I'm a man and a Christian. Both of those stereo types kill me right off the bat.

The thing is, there is nothing I can do except what I keep doing and keep helping those people I care about and let them continue to walk over me. I'm about serving and its all I want to do but I simply can not anticipate being served/helped.

Monday, July 23, 2007

When we went down to New Orleans to help after Katrina our purpose was to help people get to the point where they could help other people. This was how a group of less than 10 men was able to affect the lives of thousands. It was a great example of what I consider my theme song: "The Chain of Love" by Clay Walker. The only thing that we asked of the people we helped was that they helped someone else.
There were times that we also helped people that were bitter. Those people had no intention of helping anyone else but we helped them anyway because, in this case, they really needed to be shown love. I guess these were the times when we had to just trust that God was going to use the effort we gave.
Life is about helping other people and its what keeps us alive. Society is moving more and more towards "me, myself, and I" and the bitterness that people have is fueling this.
Its scary to me. No one interacts with people anymore and there is no care for anyone else. I feel like there is no hope but I keep trying and I have to keep trying and not expecting anything in return. Its worth more if your not expecting anything in return.... And I guess you don't get let down either.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"I hate my life! I wish I was a [insert favorite animal here]"

How many times do you hear someone say that? Actually, how many times have *I* said that? As humans, we deal with so much crap that we don't want to deal with and I believe the truth is that God never intended it to be this way. There is a very important key to the story of Adam and Eve and that involves the name of the tree.

When God gave Adam and Eve the Garden of Eden, there was one tree that was called "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" and they were told that they were forbidden to eat from the tree. Later, Eve was tempted and mankind fell. People interpret all of the pain we experience now as a result of the sin but I don't think that is entirely true. Oh, the sin does not help, but I believe the tree really was what God called it. If you ate from the tree you gained knowledge of good and evil.

So what is one of the largest differences between humans and animals? Animals run off of pure instinct. Animals have very large emotions at times but everything they do is the result of an instinct. They don't have moral reasoning. When you're training a dog, the dog does not respond to negative reinforcement because you hurt their feelings but rather that they associate the bad thing they did with the bad result. The more I learn about birds, the more I learn this concept. My quaker says a lot of different words and she says them in very humorous times in many cases.... but those words are not said out of reasoning but rather out of a situation. It's an association of the word and some kind of external stimuli that prompts that word to be said. Again, there is no reasoning and no thought of "hey, it would be really funny if I said this"....

If we combine these two concepts then we can understand why people say they would rather be an animal. We're being punished for our sinful nature out of the natural result of the sin. If a child touches a hot stove, they are naturally punished by being burned. The nature of eating of the fruit of that tree was that we now have this knowledge and moral reasoning that we were not initially intended to have. As a result, we have to deal with a lot more than just acting upon instinct. So if animals still act only upon instinct, it's only natural that we would want to be one of those animals that doesn't have to worry about moral reasoning. They don't have to wonder what the "correct" response is and how it might affect other people's feelings. As humans, we don't want this responsibility. The truly sad part about this is that we take on even more than we have to. We take it to the extreme and we transfer this into a model of weighing what other people think of us before we act.

Last night I was hanging out with a 1 year old and I was curbing fussiness by acting like a complete and total idiot in a very congested neighborhood. The happiness of that child was much more important to me than what other people (strangers) thought of me. Last night I was able to simply act without thinking of what anyone else thought of me. I erased that line that everyone so often prevents them from allowing them to do something that their nature and their instinct would have had them do. They miss out..... the same way I miss out all the times that I allow that line to stop me. I was rewarded last night by something that I couldn't have even began to expect. Out of nowhere I received one of the greatest hugs of my life. It may sound small but in this situation, it meant more to me than anyone can even begin to imagine. Nothing I did was working towards that hug -- but that is what made it so awesome.

There are a lot of trade offs to the fact that we now face moral judgement. We experience ups and downs. While it may be true that things would be less painful if Adam and Eve had never sinned, it also would mean that we wouldn't experience a lot of the amazing happiness that we now can. For one example, animals don't even enjoy sex -- oh, but we do! Because of our struggles, we gain great rewards and one of the reasons those rewards are so strong is simply because we had to work for them and we understand the opposite. We understand the pain and as a result, we can enjoy the happiness even more.

While there is a very evident sign of emotions inside many animals, it is not the same as what we, as humans, experience. The emotions that animals experience are based out of instinct. This doesn't mean that your dog or my birds don't want us around them or that they are not happy to see us but their base emotion is not what we know as love. While my birds are happy to see me and sad to see me leave, their instincts are greater. Bacardi has bit me quite a few times and it wasn't because he was out to attack me or because he wanted to hurt me but rather because he felt threatened for one reason or another. Animals are not able to have a self-less love for anyone else. It is only humans that are able to intentionally lay down their lives for a friend....

.... and it is that reason that selflessness and erasing the lines of "the way it is" is so important to our happiness. When we make a sacrifice for someone else we are rewarded by knowing that we have done something that most of the universe is incapable of. It's what makes us, as humans, unique... and that is what we search for most: Uniqueness.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Waitress gets $10k Tip

These are the kinds of things that need to happen in the world more often. Completely self-less people helping people in need. God has given me similar blessings and I really pray that some day I am able to be the person God uses to bless someone in this type of way..... I guess this is why I like the country way of life - it's not about who is better than the other but rather about the needs of others.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This is an ongoing blog for the day. I am in Shenendoah National Park and will have no signal all day. I've been feeling really under appreciated and realized I have become a negative person. I need to be reminded of what God has given us. Last night I watched "The 5 People You Meet in Heaven" and it reminded me that God has a reason for everything that happens.

Just got into the park. I came in via 522 because driving up the mountain there is an adventure in it's self. The attitude your surrounded by is the way life should be - we'll get there when we get there but until then, let's enjoy the ride.

I initially thought that this day should be a day for me to live without technology and just enjoy what God gave us in nature but I think maybe I forgot that He gave us technology as well. I have really enjoyed having a V6 today. It has allowed me to enjoy the drive more - as odd as that may sound. And while I may not have a signal, having my phone is more important than I expected. I assumed it would stay in the car but now I realize that with the camera and the ability to keep this ongoing blog, I can share this experience with others that may never get the opportunity. So I guess this just needs to be a day that I let God lead me and show me what He wants me to see.

Starting on the whiteoak canyon falls trail

Things change so much. To think that at one point all of our major cities were nothing more than nature - with a beauty like this park. I think things are meant to change for reasons we don't understand. While we may not like the changes to us or to the areas we live in, we should consider ourselves blessed to have experienced those times and carry those memories on to the next generation. If we spend all of our effort on fighting the changes then the memory of what we are fighting for will die with us.

While I said I was going to do no climbing on rocks, I couldn't resist one. While it really wasn't much of a climb, being able to sit up here with the sun shining down through the trees and beating off the stream was worth whatever it took. Truly, I didn't know how awesome it would look on top of this rock but I never would have known if I didn't take the risk. My gut said it would look great and I just had to act upon that. Sometimes I think we need to listen to our gut more often, despite the world telling us what is best. Many people would have told me not to climb the rock but the world doesn't have all the answers. We are supposed to go to school, get a job, make lots of money. There really is a place for that but each one of us is unique and if we try to live oir lives according to everyone else or to corporate america or whatever, we don't even scratch the surface of what we are capable of. We miss out.

Climbed another rock :)
I just passed a family that had a 3 year old that was crying non-stop. I don't know why someone could think their 3 year old could walk a 4-5 mile trail but it got me thinking of how often God pushes us to do something and we cry the whole time that we can't do it. We may know that He has a reason but we don't realize how beautiful the falls are at the end of the trail. Unless we had some one pushing us, we would never experienced something great. A parent does push their child to what they know they can handle. They push them to walk when they would rather crawl. They also expect the tears and screaming. A parent that loves their child wants them to grow and understand that its going to be a struggle for them as well as their child. They won't push their child beyond what is safe but definately will push them.

Some climbs are worth the view and some are not. We want to know if its worth it or not before we go but we don't know until we check it out for ourselves.

I met up with a group of people and its nice just talking to random people.

Stopped at the picnic grounds with the group of people I met up with.... After being taught an important lesson. The 3 year old that was crying on my way down... Well we passed them going up and the one girl in the group asked them if they needed help carrying her so three of us took turns carrying her. Man I needed that to happen. I'm someone who wants to help people and yet I got so into the why that I missed the opportunity. We do this a lot. We get so bitter up what is wrong that we miss the solution.

Just watching the end of the sunset. The group I had been hanging out with invited me to go to an outlook and watch it with them. We read Scripture and just really enjoyed God's creation. I can't believe how much we miss on a day to day basis. God has given us so much to enjoy every day but the problem is that we don't pay attention to it. Its amazing how everything fits together so perfectly. God has this world and our lives so perfectly timed but it seems that we never pay attention to His schedule.

I guess this day is winding down and that means this entry is as well. In a short while my cell phone will get a signal and while it sends this blog it will also receive lots of emails and maybe even voicemails and I will be attached to the world again but my hope is that I will remember the things God taught me today and that I remember that, in the same way He had me run into a great group of Christians, He will always provide my needs.....

.... And use me to provide for the needs of others

Dear Congress,
Please do not allow others to compete in communications. We are a monopoly and like it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hi. This is bob. The guy that has never been able to make anyone happy and continually upsets people by caring for them.

This is why I am 27 and live alone and don't even have anything on the horizon. All I want to do is help people. I don't expect anything in return but for some reason that isn't even good enough. Why couldn't I have been born in the 1920's? Why do I have to be this way?

I realize that all I have to offer, no one is interested in. As a result, my life is pointless. I don't understand why God created me..... I feel like I'm nothing more than a waste of space. My goal is to make people happy but I can only accomplish the opposite.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It seems I am again at a point of not having a clue what is going on with my life. I'm kind of just wandering around this life with no direction... And when it comes to making something work, I lose interest. I guess I'm the Dr House of life. I just get sick of the same old stuff... And to try to question why is even more complicated than the feeling its self. Ironically I think everyone I meet loses interest in me and I'm left emotionally alone. I'd like to find someone that actually takes an interest in me - in who I am. The only people that seem to have an interest obviously find something that they don't like - at this point they either disappear or try to be nice and pretend to be there for me. Words do not mean anything to me anymore. Its so easy to say we'll do this or that but carrying through is what counts to me. I don't expect anyone to constantly sacrifice themselves for me but unless it happens every now and then, I have no reason to believe the words that are said. Suddenly I'm nothing more than a convience. I'm not saying that people always take advantage of me but its more of an out of sight/out of mind thing. If I'm present, they are a good friend but I can only be present when its convient for them.
Right now there are some questions about my physical health. There is a lot going on in me right now that isn't normal and no one seems to be able to figure it out. One thing I think I may need to accept is that some of this could be anxiety creeping back up on me. I don't want to have to even think about the time when my family doctor says he can't find anything and, for lack of anything else, he refers me to a psychiatrist. That might be the time that I really do give up. Its a real hard thing wondering if your going to live to be 30. Ok, nothing points to anything that drastic but at the same time there is a huge unknown. The hardest part about this is I am alone in this. Aside from my parents, I can pretty much bet no one would visit me if I was in the hospital.
I need someone in my life. I can not do this on my own. I can't stay focused when I am on my own. There isn't anyone there, nor is there anyone on the horizon. Hell, even the eharmony system is scraping the barrel to find a match - almost all of my matches are marked with "flexible matching". I guess I'm not compatible with anyone - and its now a scientific fact.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ok, finally I think I got things running with my websites and email and such. Sorry for anyone I confused.

Monday, July 09, 2007

So things are better this morning.... thats the good news. This weekend really kicked my butt even tho there were exciting things that happened and I guess I was just so worn out last night that I over-reacted to some things. While there were things that incredibly hurt me, my interpretation of those things was incorrectly estimated.

It's a new day and a new week.... and I got a new car. Life is just about moving on, I suppose, and making the best of the situation we're in.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I'm on that emotional roller coaster that I get on oh so often.... Don't even really know how to feel. I got a car today which is really awesome.... it was a crazy scenario tho... the car I wanted to by (A Chevy Tracker) was $400 too cheap.... yes, I was told by Capital One that I could not buy it because it was too cheap. I ended up finding a Suzuki Grand Vitara at CarMax in Dulles and even tho it's a V6, I think it's turning out to be the best option anyway.

I really don't have much of an idea of what is going on in my life tho.... I mean, it just seems like history repeats it's self over and over again and I end up hurting people when it's the last thing I want to do. I really feel like I'm not really a huge benefit to anyone and I feel like I just inconvience people when I have my own problems. I had a scare this week on July 4th.... there were some concerns about internal bleeding and I spent a good 4 hours in the ER. Adding to that is that July 4th is one of my favorite holidays and I ended up going to bed well before fireworks. Maybe a lot of my emotional confusion is tied to what ever is happening physiologically -- which they still don't know the answer to. It's really hard when you're worried about something and there is no one there to support you.... and it's hard to realize that when you want nothing more than to be there for someone all you end up doing is causing damage.

I guess the biggest thing I feel right now is guilt.... Whether I should or shouldn't, I feel guilty because I want a friend that is beside me and that I mean something to. I'm constantly reminded that I'm not worthy of it and I end up feeling guilty because I want what I don't deserve. It hurts me when I hurt someone.... and I just can't seem to fix whatever it is that is wrong with me.

There still are some very exciting things happening in my life and I am excited about those.... but at the same time, I'm scared to death emotionally because, well, what's the point of it all? If whatever I do is not helping someone then there is no point and if I have no point then what is the purpose of my life?
My new car!
2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara
4x4 and stick shift

Saturday, July 07, 2007

iPhone: The Musical
I'm 24, and I have ADD and coasterphobia. My girlfriend is a fanatic who loves all the rides. I haven't been on a roller coaster in 12 years, and the last time, I got off a ride dizzy and unable to see or walk right. I now go along on park trips for a nice day out—but end up wishing I'd stayed home. I sit there hating myself when I have to see people thrilled by my terror. She expects me to be excited for her after she gets off a ride; that's asking me to ignore my feelings. I want to do rides and enjoy life like normal people.

I hate to break it to you, but there is plenty of excitement outside of amusement parks, and it is perfectly possible to live a full life without ever going on another roller-coaster ride. Roller coasters are designed to turn fear into fun. Obviously, it's not your brand of fun; that is nothing to be ashamed of. It's inconsiderate of your girlfriend to insist on going someplace that feels like torture for you—and it's self-abuse that you agree to go along. Your needs and wishes deserve as much consideration as hers in planning how to spend time together. Your social life is something you should be jointly negotiating. Start speaking up for your own needs in this (or any) relationship—and respect yourself enough to believe they deserve equal play. Your girlfriend can go to amusement parks with others. You need to be spending time together doing things that satisfy you both. That she ignores and even enjoys your discomfort suggests you're in the wrong fun house altogether. If you feel she has redeeming virtues, then at the very least, don't collaborate in her willingness to unnerve you; next time she wants to go for scary rides, tell her you prefer to seek amusement elsewhere on your own.

Advice: Ups and Downs of Fun (Psychology Today)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Don't leave me now my memories are more than I can take tonight
And God show me how I'm supposed to trust in things beyond my sight
So teach me how to kneel when I don't know how to feel
and show me where you are when my faith can't reach that far,
my faith can't reach that far

And tell me there is more to this life than only what my heart can see
take all these fears make them into more than who I used to be
is my soul to blind too see the truth you have for me cause this peace I feel
inside is too weak to survive

My heart has left me alone again is this the beginning? Is this the end?
Is this the time you'll never let me in again?

"Reach That Far" by Eleventyseven

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.Isaiah 40:31

Sometimes God tells us stuff and does stuff that we wouldnt expect. Usually when we are losing our hope, the reminder that there is hope comes in the strangest for.

The strange form tonight was seeing the movie "Evan Almighty" .... Ashley and I went to see it and let me first off say that it is BY far my new favorite movie. I have never laughed so hard in my life..... Despite all the humor, I left the theater crying..... Don't worry -- the chances of you crying about the movie are pretty slim... it really was an excellent movie and everyone should go see it.

The thing is, I have been really questioning my purpose and my worth. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend and he gave me some really solid Biblical advice but at the same time, he really questioned my ability to do something.... something that I was already questioning myself about but something that I really shouldn't have been questioning. While I really appreciated him for caring about me, I left the conversation somewhat hurt. Later that added to a lot of other things that had me really questioning my purpose and whether I really am doing the right thing in certain situations.

--- SPOILER WARNING : Movie ending revealed ---
The basic story line of Evan Almighty is the story of Noah. God commands Evan to build an Ark in -- none other than NoVA. He continually fights it and later is convinced that he just needs to do it. The entire world ridicules him and fellow congressmen get a court order to destroy the ark. Amongst all of this ridicule, Evan expects to see the world destroyed. Kind of reminds me of Jonah. The thing is, God wasn't going to flood the world again.... He promised that by the rainbow. So Evan is standing on his ark telling everyone they need to get in and they dont believe him.... suddenly it starts storming... people get concerned but when the storm ends just 30 seconds later, the laugh at Evan and his family even harder. When the neighboring dam breaks and people are running into his ark, it's a different story.

Immediately I recognized myself being in the position of Noah and of Evan. I know that what I have done and the way I'm handling things is the way God is guiding me to -- or at least my heart is in the right place. I'm also reminded of Abraham and how he was supposed to sacrifice his son to the Lord. Why would God ask Abraham to do something that is clearly against the law and against the commandments God had set? Well, God knew it wasnt going to be follow through because He sent an angel to stop Abraham. God just wanted to test Abraham's faith -- and he passed. But can you imagine his family and friends? They'd be calling the cops... I know I would.

The last week or so I have really felt like I didn't have any meaning in my life... that the things I was doing really didnt mean anything at all. How were my actions going to affect the rest of the world? God reminded me of the chain reaction.... The chain of love.... just like the country song goes.... Little tiny things happen that change the entire course of the world. Maybe you buy flowers for someone that cheers them up and they end up going to hang out instead of staying at home and then have a conversation with someone that later goes on to find the cure for cancer.... Because someone bought flowers, cancer is cured years later. These things happen... they really do. The Acts of Random Kindness that we do create amazing ripple effects -- and we may not even know the full extent of them.

I left Evan Almighty crying because God had reminded me that no matter how small what I'm doing is and no matter how wrong everyone else thinks it is, I am following my heart and I am serving people who need to be served. In those tears, Ashley looks at her watch and goes "oh crap! I forgot the metro quits running ad midnight" .... no worries, I just take her in to DC and drop her off at her apartment. On my way home I make my typical stop at the Sheetz in Harmarket and when I pull in there are at least 8 or 9 cop cars in the lot with lights going, etc.... I go in to get my sweet tea and I half jokingly asked the clerk what you have to do to get the attention of that many cops.... her response is "a double stabbing" .... I was blown away.... just a little bit before I stopped at Sheetz, two people were stabbed in the parking lot. If I didnt have to take Ashley in to DC, would I have been the one to be stabbed? Even if I wasn't the one to be stabbed, how would I have been able to live after witnessing something like that. Maybe its still a little far fetch but the truth is that may well have been the case.

No matter how small we think what we are doing is or how meaningless we feel, we may be creating the ripple effect that really does save the world -- whether we know it or not. God reminded me of this and really did renew my strength by something as simple as a movie.