I can only count to 19 and a half now…

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Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the Holiday Season in the year of our Lord 2018. I thought I’d finally get around to pounding out a bit of an update on how things are going for you ol’ Uncle NecRo. And sticking to the age-old adage that a picture speaks a thousand words, here’s a recent one:
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Yeah, that’s me there, receiving my daily antibiotic treatment that has been going on since the first week in November. Here’s the whole torrid story:

For a while, my large right toe had been getting twingy. Something I chalked up to the diabetes. It’s been a struggle trying to keep the blood sugar levels at a nice manageable place. But, one evening in September, after stepping out of the shower, the nail from that toe came off, entirely. Odd, but I figured I may have inadvertently banged it hard enough against something to cause it to do that. It happened to my left big toenail back in 1994 when I dropped a couch I was helping move on it, while only wearing sandals. That grew back; I figured the same would happen with this one.

Only, there was some dark discoloration on the toe, and underneath the skin of the toe itself. I kept soaking it in antibacterial water and wrapping it up with some antibacterial topical creme, but it only seem to progressively get worse. Finally, on the final day of September, after recording the sermon at church, I checked myself into the ER at the Fremont hospital to have the thing looked at.

What I though was going to be an in-out situation turned into a three-night stay at the hospital itself. As it turned out, the toe–as well as much of the rest of the foot–was dying. There was a battery of tests done, was seen by several doctors of differing expertise relating to my ailment, and long story short: at the tail-end of October, I went in for a procedure to open up the artery in my right leg to get blood flowing again. It was quite horrendous, I don’t recommend having to have it done. They didn’t put me under; they put me into what they called “twilight sleep”, so I was aware of what was going on, but time itself became kind of wibbly-wobbly.

The first week in November, it turned out I had to amputate the toe. While the blood flow was back and very strong (and normal color returning to the foot and other toes), the damage was too far gone to benefit keeping what was left. They didn’t amputate the entire thing; there is enough left to keep my balance and feel relatively normal. Still, the joke is that the piggy went to market and never came back. Ungrateful piggy.

I’ve been staying at my parent’s place during all the recouping process. My mother being a retired Nurse Practitioner, she was more than capable to help out and give advice with all this, and provide much support when things kept escalating further than I thought it would go. The healing is going well, and anticipate being back at my usual place of dwelling when the daily antibiotic treatments end on December 16th.

I would be remiss, though, to mention that, during all of this, my depression spiraled almost out of control, to the point where I would sit in the darkness and weep silently maybe once every couple of days or so. To be expected; I’m at my lowest, feeling like I’ve lost a bit of myself (literally), what’s the point of this existence…the usual. It’s been rough, almost as bad as it was when Kim left, but again I had the support of my friends, family, and my faith to get me through.

The adverse result of this, however, was me not motivated to write. At all. Usually, when a stint like this happens, I am furiously jotting down everything into my unplugged journal notebook or whatever sheaf of paper happens to be around me at the time. Not this time around. I haven’t been posting, I haven’t been reading any of the books I have, I haven’t been doing reviews…I haven’t even been wanting to listen to METAL like I usually do. Mindless drivel on YouTube and movies. Then, staring into the darkness as I lay on the couch, my mind wandering to how things could have been, what could the future possibly hold for one such as myself, yadda-yadda-yadda.

So, in short, that’s what’s been going on recently. I’m starting to kick my own self in the rear to get back to writing something, this particular post being the first swift kick. Hopefully, those won’t just be empty words. Cheers, all.

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Suicide, I’ve already died, it’s just the funeral I’ve been waiting for…

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dark tunnelI wish I could talk about my struggles with depression and suicide openly without fear of misunderstood alienation.

Okay, let me rephrase that to be a bit more on point: I wish I could talk about my struggles with depression and suicide with my fellow Christians without fear of misunderstood alienation.

To quote an Aerosmith song, it’s the same old story, same old song and dance: whenever the topic of suicide comes up, whenever doing that “fellowship” thing with the brethren and sisteren in whatever setting it is, it’s always accompanied by statements of not understanding what would make anyone think that taking their own life was the only option.

Which, really, is a good question. Especially when you factor in the list of recent celebrity suicides, people who would have been the last persons anyone would expect to take their own lives. Even on a more personal level, people that have been known personally, whether family members, friends, or work acquaintances. The question lingers, what would drive someone to take their own life?

Unfortunately, we evangelical Christians seem to have a very simple answer to a very, very complicated issue. It’s trotted out every time it’s brought up: “If they only knew God, if they only gave their lives to Jesus, they never would have had suicidal thoughts any longer.”

That phrase runs a very close second despised Christianese phrases I’ve come across in my years as a Christian. The first being telling someone “God has a plan,” to someone who just buried their loved one. But, I digress.

I have one very strong word to say about that: Bullshit. There’s no other way to say it. Do you know why? It’s simple.

I struggle with suicidal thoughts to this day.

Now, if you’ve made it this far without clicking away and blowing me off as some kind of fake Christian at this point, good. Because maybe you understand that, regardless of Jesus being our Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit indwelling us and sanctifying our minds and bodies, and Father God declaring us righteous due to the work that Jesus did on the cross for us, and even knowing the many promises in the Bible where God said He would never leave us or forsake us, that even the full brunt force of the gates of Hades couldn’t loose His grip on us, we still have that bone-deep weariness that makes us physically not want to engage, to not get out of bed; a weariness that no amount of sleep or good thoughts or even coffee can relieve us of.

You understand the intense, shameful sense of self-hatred that can come, believing yourself toxic and harmful to those closest to you, and you understand how easy it is to begin thinking that, maybe if you were no longer around, everyone will be better for it.

You also understand that depression is far more complex than just being sad. There’s emptiness, a kind of void that is tangible, and sometimes a strong numb feeling, a disconnect with life and those around you.

You also may understand that, if you talk about any of it, you may be perceived as not having enough faith in God to heal you. Or, they may think you have some kind of unconfessed sin that’s causing this. Or, my personal favorite statement of ignorance, you may have a DEMON! and all you need is more prayer and Bible study and faith in God. Maybe there’s an Essential Oil that cures depression?

Sorry, I tend to wax pretty sarcastic with this. Anyway.

Can God heal me of my depression instantly? Yes. There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever. Have I prayed for God to take away my depression? You have no idea the many times over the decades where I’ve begged God to take away this suffering of mine, to make the darkness just go away. To let me be carefree, bubbly and happy, like I see others in the Body of Christ. But, for some reason I really cannot fathom with my puny human brain, God has seen fit to let me continue with this proverbial thorn in my side. As He told the apostle Paul, His grace is sufficient.

Maybe you’re reading this, not because you struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, but because of a genuine desire to understand why, without resorting to pat answers. We are called to be a light to the world, to reach out and comfort the broken and weary of living. But, how can we if we don’t understand the darkness that we endure?


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Confessions of a Depressed Christian: Alone

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aloneMy soul has seemed distraught as of late. I am reminded that I am alone in this world, without a companion.

It used to be that Sundays were my favorite days of the week. I would look forward to the fellowship, the corporate worship, having someone I can open up to and vice versa. Now, all Sunday morning worship does is remind me of how disconnected I am with my fellow humans, and all I have to look forward to is going back to the domicile I dwell in, and try to fend off the downward spiral into oblivion that comes with the aftermath of the worship experience that drains me.

I want to say how unfair it is to be alone…followed immediately by repentance for my selfishness on the matter. Jesus doesn’t owe me a companion. But, this does not assuage the loneliness I am at times overwhelmed with.

To wit: I realize that a wife or even a girlfriend won’t make this go away. My identity and rest lies in Christ Jesus and Him alone, and He is what makes me complete. Not a companion. Not a wife.

Even so, this is how I feel. Alone. In the presence of my Lord, and yet still a strong sense of isolation from everyone.

It kills me sometimes.

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My Dark Night of the Soul: May 21, 2018

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insaneThis darkness that is with me nearly every time I wake up. I feel like the grime of the world is covering me. I feel like I’m trapped in a contaminated body that no amount of washing will clean.

I can still feel the fallen nature inside me. It’s an evil that wants to destroy. It nearly destroyed my loved ones, and it nearly destroyed me.

The Holy Spirit keeps this monster that is my old self at bay. But, even though it’s dying, it’s not going without a fight. Wanting to destroy me. Whispering mad ideas when I am at my lowest, urging me to kill myself, to harm my flesh, to suffocate in my despair.

I know I shall never be rid completely of this, until the day that I am resurrected with Christ and given a new body. I let the monster in myself; I shudder to think what kind of destruction I could have attained had I not submitted to the Reanimator.

Wrapped in chains, this Old Self of mine remains, with the chains only getting tighter the further I walk. His screams are maddening…

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My Dark Night of the Soul: Wretched

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dark night of the soulWords cannot express at how consistently amazed I am at the constant flow of grace and mercy that Father God gives me, despite my constant failings at striving to “be holy like He is holy”. My mouth says one thing, my mind knows what I should do, but I end up doing the opposite anyway. I am a wretch, my sinful self amplified, making me hyperaware of my state of wretchedness. But, that’s actually a good sign, as the Holy Spirit that dwells in me illuminates things, allowing not only His sanctification to progress, but shining also on the fact that it’s only the grace and mercy that flows over my by what Jesus Christ provided on the cross that gives me hope and joy.

I curse my wretched flesh, but I know it’s mortifying. The Holy Spirit continues its work in me, despite this dark night of my soul. I praise You, Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit…

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AUGUST 15

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For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. – Romans 14:8

Monday. It happened, finally. Again. Wherein I absentmindedly thought at one point, to myself: “I should catch up with Grandma sometime this week.” Followed immediately by my brain reminding me that, in fact, I cannot. Because she’s gone. Forever from this world. No more catching up. No more chit-chat. No more Grandma.

Now, suddenly, my chest hurts, and my eyes are leaky.

Also feeling a bit of building anxiety about the meeting with Gary later next week. Don’t know how that’s going to play out, or what it is we’re all going to be discussing. After everything that’s happened this summer, if somehow things work out that I won’t be helping out with the youth group for whatever reason, then…so be it. I’m merely a humble servant, and if I am deemed unworthy to be a part of the kids’ spiritual lives, then I accept my fate. We shall see.

As you may have guessed, I have something of an inferiority complex. If you only knew…

Reading A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick. Rather heady, in a simple kind of way. Bit more of a potty mouth than I expected, though.

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July 31, 2016

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I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life. – Psalm 119:93

It’s been a while. A while since I’ve posted something substantial as far as brain droppings go. A while since I even posted some kind of general update to at least prove that I still exist on this plane of mortality. Did’ja miss me? I’m sure there’s at least a couple of you that did. Hi, Mom.

As it stands, I wish I had something positive to report. Even something as innocuous as “Doing fine, life is good, totally blessed,” and other similar posts I generally gloss over in my social media feed. Then again, even if I posted something like that and meant it, I’d have friends and acquaintances calling me to see if I’m feeling okay.

It’s not easy being the negative charge on the proverbial battery of life.

Boy howdy has 2016 been a trying year. I believe I began wishing for some kind of reset button around May or so. Here we are, the tail end of July, in the middle of the wicked season that is Summer, and there were two events in the past couple of months that have made me want to count this year as a wash. Just to give you an idea of what’s been happening to keep me from wanting to keep up with the content on this blog o’ mine:

My final grandmother passed away at the beginning of June. She was a week or so away from her 90th birthday. She passed away in her sleep; but it was the months leading up to her passing that took the most out of me and my family. It was tough, watching her fade away like she did. I’m still mourning her loss. I suppose I will for a while.

The second thing that hit me pretty hard this summer was something that I really did not see coming at all. Which is why, three weeks after it happened, I–and sever others as well–am  still feeling the whiplash. I can’t really get into the details at the moment; I’m still processing things, and I’d like to get as much information as possible to make a fair assessment of the situation. Let’s just say that, as of today many of us are finding ourselves without a church to call home. Like I said, I’ll probably go into more detail at a later post, I just want to be able to do so in a way that’s gracious and not falling into the realm of sensationalist muck-raking. Because we’re getting enough of that with this current election period, amirite?

Until next time, I hope to shake off the dark fog I’ve been in for the past few months to get back to posting my brain droppings, reviews and other fun stuff. It’s a struggle, buy by the grace of God I go. Cheers, all.

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