Gratitude List 1343

This one’s from Saturday afternoon.   Apparently, I’d had a rough morning, and decided at some point to count my blessings and begin anew.  

1. Am feeling decidedly better.  Starting the day over.  

2. Ran about 2 miles (aborting the 3 mile course when I got tired, and walking back home).

3. Listened to all of Suspended at the round table.   I think my edits are fine now, and also it sounds a lot better conceptually than it did last night.   People will either like it or hate it, but I doubt they’ll think I don’t know what I’m doing.

4. Gave a CD to this guy, the trumpet teacher, whom I saw immediately after I finished listening.   Moments later, at the Co-Op, this fellow the Math professor gave me some cash for one, and this other man the German professor told me he would pay for one if I could figure out how to put it online.

5. Ran into this fellow who writes for the Daily News and we exchanged numbers.   He’s very bright, and knows a lot about journalism, too.  Reminds me, I ran into the journalism professor the other night, who had already read my commentary, since he subscribes to that site.  He said: “Good work!”  Thankful for all this newfound focus on journalism and on getting my stories published.  It’s been a pleasantly unexpected turn of events throughout my brief retirement.

6. I finally decided to approach K. about my reservations regarding the Theology group, and we wound up having a nice long conversation.   A very nice and extremely erudite man.

7. K. also assured me not to be intimidated by all these professors and people with degrees, despite my lack of a higher education.  He said I’m on the same intellectual level as most of the professors anyway.

8. Said two really great prayers while I was running.  Actually one of them was of the magnitude of the heavily answered prayer I prayed in July 2016 outside the Sequoia station.   It was the second time it’s ever happened — I don’t want to say what the content of the prayer was — but when I prayed it, the words were given me with clear conviction, and as I looked into the sky, I “felt” that those words were heard.

9. Shaun also was helpful last night in that we delineated that I prayed in anger for a certain thing to happen, and it happened, and my anger was assuaged.  Now is the time to pray in Gratitude to make good use of that which has happened, for this is the blessing of God, though I’d asked for it in anger.

10. Asking myself “what’s next?” always works, even if the answer is silence.   God is Good.

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The Magic Words

(Note: If this post is a bit incomprehensible at first glance, the two links are to previous posts of mine that provide background information.   My hope today, as always, is that this is the last time I will have to write on this theme.)

A while back, the “professor” tried to get through to me through a third party, a wonderful man who was moved enough by my sorrow to try to “broker a temporary detente” between us, as he put it.   Through this third party (a mutual associate), the professor declared:

“I can have no contact with Andy whatsoever at this time.”

The wonderful man sort of made it sound as though at some later time, when things were different, perhaps he could have contact with me.   So he told me: “We can try again later if you like.”  I suggested we wait six months.  Then, six months elapsed, and I asked the mutual friend to try again.  But he declined, saying that the initial message he’d gotten from the professor was actually this:

“I can have no contact with Andy at this time –
and I will not have contact with him at any time.
It will not be wise of you to try again.”

At that, I felt more than a bit ashamed of myself for even commandeering the assistance of this wonderful man in the first place.   He’s the only person I’ve encountered who agreed to try to get through to the professor on my behalf.   I certainly didn’t want to pressure the fellow any further.  I figure he either forgot what he had said the first time, because he really didn’t want to intervene a second time, or else he didn’t get it right in the first place.  But that’s what happens when you can’t get it from the “horse’s mouth.”

So I was left with this frustrated feeling that this kind of message should be coming from the horse’s mouth!   I can’t even imagine just blocking somebody on all these interfaces without explanation after having been friends for forty-five years!  So the Sicilian in me – that is to say, 50% of me and no doubt the dominant genes –  began to rear its head.  I had been angry long enough, and I was about to get even.  I began to devise ways to break through all the blocks that this professor has placed toward me on all his various interfaces.   It became a special challenge for me – something that actually energized me.   I would never let go!  I would keep finding ways to buzz this professor until he breaks down completely.

Off to a good start, I noticed that my new cell phone somehow mandated me to use my given name rather than my common name, and more-or-less forced me to start a new G-Mail account based on my given name.  So, all of a sudden the professor received two Facebook messages from a guy with my given name.   The second simply included my phone number.   I waited a while before assaying to send a third, more detailed and explanatory message.  To that, Facebook responded:

This user is not receiving messages from you at this time.

This caused me to suspect that he had probably received my new phone number.  “Aha!” I thought.  “I shall text him, and see if my number is blocked.”  Then I prayed.  Vengeful though I might have been, I nonetheless prayed to the God whose right it is to take vengeance.  But I prayed for reconciliation.   Did forty-five years of friendship have to go down the tubes all because of this?

The reason for my repeated request is because I will be able to cease to contact you once I hear from you directly that you wish not to hear from me.   Otherwise, my mind automatically keeps searching for the “magic words” that will somehow move you to acknowledge me and accept me as a friend once again.  I realize this is my own stuff, but it’s basically not healthy for me to keep buzzing you like this, and I know myself well enough to know that a simple statement from you will suffice, as did with Jerry and John D. and others from LHS who have chosen not to have contact with me.  I hope this is not too much to ask, and I certainly hope you are well.
Love, Andy

Success!  The message was not blocked!!  But wait a minute – couldn’t he simply have changed his phone number??

Fed up, I prayed: “Lord, if he’s never going to talk to me again, and if that kind of thing is fine with him, can he at least do us both the courtesy of telling me so directly?   You and I both know that if he simply lets me know, without confusion or mixed message, that he doesn’t want to hear from me until some such time as he chooses, I’ll be man enough to stop buzzing him.  Or better yet, can’t we reconcile?   Why is this forgiveness ball always in my court?”

It may seem strange,  but after that I honestly did let go.  For that moment, anyway – I let go completely.   There are no magic words.   There is nothing I can do in my power that will get this guy to talk to me again, either to tell me what it is that I did that caused him to suddenly diss me like this, or what it is that he did that makes him not want to face me.  He more-or-less knows his part in the whole affair; he obviously has chosen to disrespect me and I have to get over it.  I more-or-less know my own part in the whole affair; he has declined to “fill me in” with a more complete understanding, and I have to get over that too.  It’s done.  It’s over.  I’m through.  We’re through.  I have to accept the hard fact that forty-five years of friendship were shot down the tubes for reasons I will never fully understand.  Andy, that’s life.  Andy, get over it.  Andy —

Andy, take a valium?   A friend listened to all of this and said:

I hate to break it to you,
but it’s more important to God that you forgive this guy
than that you finish your script.

Damn – I sure wish it were the other way around!

On Identifying with Darkness

On the script, there have been a few developments. I know if Jack is reading, he’ll be interested in these internal turns of event. My friend Danielle has strongly urged me to truck through the impasses even if what I am writing is lousy – and bless her heart, that does make sense. She’s a writer herself (a good one), and so she knows the basics of hammering out the “rough draft from the heart, final draft from the mind.” But in this case, I found that it absolutely is not working to do this, for rather unexpected reasons.

What happened when I tried was that I led the characters into this really weird place where I found myself actually identifying with their darker attributes.   Then, although arguably I might have been writing something that was artistically good, it wasn’t spiritually good, and I myself had to cease from the writing process, in order to cease from personal sin.   Also, it took the script into this very strange tangent where it really ought not to have tread.  When I looked at it the next morning, it looked as though it had awkwardly morphed into an entirely different show.

This has caused me to question the extent to which I dramatically feel the inner intentions and motivations of my characters. As a result, I have decided to cease writing whenever I encounter that energy. This is causing me to transform the nature of the protagonist-antagonist dynamics in my characters and their associated conflicts. I’m bearing in mind that their conflicts pertain largely to ideological differences in worldview. Ms. Mortalis (I’m starting to hate that name) is attuned toward detecting the criminal aspects of all people – that’s her nature. She’s a suspicious person. It doesn’t mean she herself is a criminal – she’s just tuned in that way. Winston is more of an idealist who tends to see social evils while overlooking personal evils, and who exults in drawing out the good in all people. This dynamic is what causes their intrigue pertaining to each other, and is at the thrust of all their interactions.

It’s weird to be writing a show that I didn’t finish three years ago, and to be painfully determined to finish it, as opposed to picking up an entirely new project, one that I might easily finish joyfully.  But I somehow feel a moral obligation to do so.  Also, I must admit that my new friend Mary has been more than encouraging. She’s a musical theater actress – and the choir director at my church – and I’ve noticed that she grasps the kinds of themes I’m trying to convey.  The last person who put any real effort into reading this piece was the professor I mentioned earlier.  It’s pretty obvious that either he didn’t grasp what I was trying to do; or if he did, it irked him on some strange personal level — otherwise, he would not have employed character assassination in his critique.  

So, on the up-and-up, it’s nice to have at least one person in my life who is willing to read what I’m writing, and whose comments are more attuned to what it is that I’m trying to accomplish.  Also, a handful of local theater people and a couple of journalists have tuned into it, which sort of increases my sense of mandate to get it into producible form.  I guess the next step would be, once this draft is finished, to organize a sit-down read-thru and just see how it reads. I do need to get a move on.

Danielle’s advice makes sense, but I also know that she is trying to protect me from experiencing further rage toward the professor, whose involvement in those whole thing is nil from his standpoint (of course) and ought to be nil from mine. But that’s my strange personal Cross, involving the sense of failed friendship and abandonment.  I literally have to force myself not to think about him as I write.  If I do so, I become too depressed, and I can’t go on.

But I will keep at it, unlike what I may have said earlier, when I was discouraged.