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LarrySeiler
12-14-2003, 03:59 PM
When a Demotion is Really Promotion!

For only the second time in nearly 4-1/2 years, I found and attended an area church nearer to my beliefs. Having moved here to the northwoods nearly five years ago, I had been going about my work patiently knowing God has me here for a reason; not really pushing the point heavenward for God to hurry up and reveal to me what it was, but a restlessness has been growing of late if I were to admit.

One is accustomed in this age to believe that efforts are rewarded, that commitment leads to goals met, and that even in spiritual life…faithfulness in small matters leads to what eventually become greater things.

Having been a youth pastor several times, a frontman in a contemporary Christian band in the big hair 80’s era, an artist of reputation and some celebration, and heavily involved in a large church’s worship team as a rowdy rousing electric lead guitar player…one just naturally presumes that when God calls one away it must, it has to lead to something bigger and greater.

When one wins a prestigious fine arts competition which leads to possible publisher/agent representation, the pressure is on to prove oneself further; that the one win wasn’t a lucky fluke. Life is like that. Professionalism is desired and sought. Evidences are looked to and referred to as proofs of attaining what only naturally ought to come to those with the discipline and drive to excel.

Good things come to those that wait. Winners never quit, quitters never win. Upward and onward we push.

As I sit here sipping my hot chocolate, I reflect on the good fortune and blessings of speaking before grand audiences as a key note speaker, as a teacher, or guest speaker. Meeting the governor, another time the vice president and as a musician meeting big names in the pop culture scene. Life has never been dull in that regard.

I think of typical church building programs where vibrant praise and worship and a caring pastor with a congregation crammed in a small and wholly inadequate building push forward with great faith proclamations to build a necessary larger sanctuary. Funny that the sense of God’s presence felt in that much smaller place seems oddly vacant after the move to the larger place. Of course, the admission of such is repressed because after all where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in their midst…so onward we move.

After becoming empty nesters nearly five years ago, our dream was to take that giant leap…a move out west nearer to a thriving arts cultural environment. Wisconsin as a football/beer culture is not highly known nor regarded as a fine arts climate. Surely, with all our trials and sufferings yet remaining steadfast and faithful, God would move for us. That promise of committing things to the Lord and He would give us the desire of our hearts surely would see the fruition of such a move and what it could have meant for me as an artist.

Aaahhh…but the mysteries of God. My wife becoming ill with fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome, eventually so bad she would qualify for SSDI. Such a move would prove detrimental. Extended family living in the Green Bay area, and now our son and daughter-in-law in Chicago, Illinois providing our first grandchild. Such things would naturally be important to my wife, and meeting medical bills meant finding something more stable than the full time artist’s life.

Taking on an occupation other than fulltime art making didn’t exactly seem like a promotion, but more like a step backward. What was happening?

I applied for and received an art teaching position in a little logging community school in an obscure northeast part of Wisconsin. A local people that have never heard of a youth pastor, and have very little regard for the fine arts; thus, these fine folks have no reference for which to be impressed by my accomplishments.

This? This is how my faithfulness would be rewarded? This would amount to a promotion by God?

I liken my position metaphorically to that of a foreigner, a citizen of let’s say northern Italy whom growing up learned to speak French, German, Italian (naturally) and English. Not out of the ordinary there in northern Italy, but such a person traveling and visiting here is a wonderment to us to meet one that has four languages at their command. Surely if a linguist were needed, such a person could find great opportunity here.

In a larger populated region, a person such as I that makes art, performs music, and has varied interests as well is not so notable. Here…in the northwoods a ten minute string of one joke put after another is rumor enough to believe one must have a past experience as a stand up comedian. Humming a song indicates a singer’s expertise. Oh, really?

So removed are people here from routine exposure to such things, that I find great opportunity yet at the same time little knowledge base to respect what it is they want of me. In a given year, I teach guitar lessons as well as my art courses. Teach a grad level course on Adobe Photoshop. Solve problems pertaining to confusion on various technology related issues related to computers, digital cameras, and so forth. I’ve been called upon to speak, share, teach, lead, perform. Yet…oddly enough I am a kept-at-a-distance manner because one such as I am not fully understood. I am an oddity. One to be kept under scrutiny. This is promotion?

On one hand, my email has frequent requests to view other’s work and to please comment, critique and assist. There are the questions of when my art book will be finished and released…and yet no company of friends. No fanfare. No recognition or warm welcome. Oddly isolated.

I have for a good while seen my situation as something perhaps closer to CS Lewis living experiences, going about speaking, lecturing and developing a reputation as an apologist defender of the faith, a brilliant mind and writer whom would be amongst adoring masses hanging on his every word one day, and then the next home in his isolated cottage with his beloved.

Perhaps this is what must happen to those that are talented and yet serving God, I thought. God’s love is motivated to protect those useful to Him; to protect from falling into the temptations of pride from otherwise constant adulation.

The first area little gospel chapel I went to this past year had perhaps 20 adults, and I was perhaps the second youngest in attendance. At near 50 years of age…I believe I was witnessing a congregation that would be virturally non existent in ten years due to mortality. The pastor greeted, led song worship, gave the special song on a guitar, preached, closed in prayer, and shook hands goodbye.

Surely becoming a member of such a church with my past experience would not be a promotion of my skills, my faithfulness and hard effort. These people would not be capable of recognizing what my possible contributions could be! They simply don’t know what they don’t know. Surely God must have something else in mind!

So…this morning, I visit a mission gospel chapel in a nearby Native American reservation town. Eleven adults not counting myself, and five smaller children. They even had children’s church after the singing!

In this small chapel, God begins to speak to my heart. Could I grow in such a place? To what benefit? Would this prove to be a promotion of my faithfulness over the years?

In reality, wasn’t I really asking myself if these people were deserving of my presence, of my gifts, of my love, my service? Frail some of them, and no doubt lacking in exposure to the arts, more concerned with survival up here in the harsh conditions of the northwoods.

So…I’m sitting there in this pew reflecting. It begins to dawn upon me to inquire about what kind of culture, what experience Jesus had left behind to dwell among our hostile not so friendly ignorant mankind?

If we- the prideful, the astute talented artistic individuals expect greater position, reception, and reaction to our gifts as a natural outpouring worthy of our presence and participation…what then would the Creator whom with a word brought all things into existence and by His word holds them together deserve? Was His putting on of a garment of flesh, and being sent to dwell among man a promotion?

To put on such a garment of flesh to walk amongst unappreciable mankind to the angels must have appeared as it would to us like becoming a maggot to crawl upon cow dung to warn other maggots of impeding doom to come from the manure spreader. We can only imagine what glories, what unspeakable wonders Jesus knew with the Father prior to His coming.

Then, I began to see a thing being worked out here.

Yes…I am aware and have often taught that God is more interested in our character than He is our comfort. That His interest is to work in us, and make us to be more like Jesus.

Our emphasis to increase our professionalism and attain public status and attention we often excuse as a means to gain the respect of the world long enough that we can point a finger up toward heaven, much like the elated moment of the pass receiver in the opponent’s endzone as though suddenly all eyes taking note of heaven pointed to will be compelled to open their hearts to God.

Yet…if God’s interest is to make us more like Jesus, we might do well to ask which phase of Jesus life is this referring to? Prior to coming to earth as the Creator? Perhaps after having been ascending in glory sitting at the right hand of the Father where angelic hosts cry out “holy..holy…holy and worthy is the Lamb that was slain!” ?

Many of us strive as though the goal were to achieve godlike status that mandates the respect and accolade of others.

No…it was in not thinking it any great thing to be an equal to God. It is that Jesus we see humbling himself to serve others. Who loved the Father so, and loved us while yet sinners to even endure our abuses, hostilities, and suffering of the cross.

His cousin, John the Baptist said to the crowds that he himself had to decrease (in importance) so that He (Jesus) could increase.

It is a strange and delicate balance to be sure, because there is something tangible and good that comes of being one’s best, giving glory to God. When the very best acknowledge God, it does serve to redirect eyes heavenward. Excellence points to evidence too that God’s intention at creation was to make a world that was good…in fact, “very good.”

So…is some obscure chapel with humble members worthy of the presence of an outsider that is perhaps more than qualified when it comes to the potential uses of his or her gifts? Well…was this sinful hostile world worthy to be visited upon by its Creator? Again…what things Jesus gave up, things which was deserving of His character and being as God’s Son, equal with God the Father and Holy Spirit in heaven…were those things he was asked to surrender to walk out the will of the Father here on earth of a lesser value and importance than our giftings?

The answer of course and by reason is without question or doubt, no!

So…where God takes me from here I don’t know. However, He is teaching me that His priorities and that of the world don’t match up or see eye to eye. Promotion in the world is to isolate the individual more from the demands of serving others to enjoy the fruit of his labors. In God’s kingdom, promotion is the privilege of becoming less so that Jesus within might be seen more. To be used in such a way is promotion.

The apostle Paul said he counted all things dung compared to the riches and glories awaiting him in the world to come, that to die would be gain over living.

What does this mean for me then as an artist? I don’t believe this means I should not be productive, but that my life ought to example that the benefits and rewards of working hard do not result necessarily in the same pay off that self-serving interests seek.

We do not live for ourselves alone. I will continue to encourage others in their art making, though my emphasis will not exalt the overblown benefits of sales and self-promotion. Instead, making art can be a way of developing sensitivities as one passing thru this world; of developing preparedness for eternity, for celebrating life and maintaining thankfulness. God reveals beauty in an age of fear, war, sorrow…with hints that His grace is always there awaiting those that seek it.

Meanwhile, I am realizing that my move here is not so much about what good I can now bring to this area, but what good God will accomplish in my heart because of it. Because of His desire for me to be made more like Jesus.

Larry Seiler

Matt Cooper
12-14-2003, 07:14 PM
Larry,

I enjoyed hearing your thought process of going through this stage of your life.

Just a quick background... I was raised by a mother and father who were very "nice" and "supportive" in what I chose to do with life, were not people that lived there life through guidance of the Holy Spirit. Initially, the goal of my life was to become smart as they were (3 PhDís combined between the two). I went off to college and proceeded in my quest to become "smart" which would lead me to great wealth and other secular fortunes.

An element of emptiness comes across ones self when they achieve self-centered goals. It took me a long while to realize that the good deeds that I provided for others could be traced to desired recognition from my friends and peers. Everything I strived for was to make myself directly and indirectly a secular legend amongst peers and friends.

So where did this leave me? There was no new "thrill" (sex, drugs, or crime) that could fulfill that emptiness (and trust me, I spent a good deal of my college years trying). It left me to look deeper into a subject that I had never glanced at before.

Sophomore year I developed a list of what I thought was true biblical faults, just to show my Christian friends that I was right and that they were wrong. Every single point I tried to make was unjustified with a very thorough explanation from my friends. Some of my statements took some research and some took time, but I was never left with an unfulfilled answer by the Christians.

I later professed my faith, was baptized, and started attending a church on a regular basis. This still wasn't enough for me... I wanted to know more. The gospel readings become a pure joy to me and all of my friends (the ones that stuck around after this). We talked day and night about the bible and how Jesus could benefit our lives.

I was still seeking one solid truth from our Lord. What church teaches the word of Christ? What church is truly teaching the message that Christ had intended? There are over 7000 Christian denominations in the United States alone... so, which one could I trust?

I began to really live the word that I was reading. I grew to realize that I had not been living Christ-like life. Christ placed himself in a life of complete poverty on earth! Everyone living at the time of Christ couldn't understand why he wanted to live this way. He could live anyway he wanted!

I believe you have been blessed with acknowledging the amount of impact that you can make within a small community. The amount of recognition that one receives on earth from peers and friends for good works done will not provide a lifetime of gratitude and happiness. Happiness comes from knowing that you did what Christ would do given the circumstances. When we make a decision that Christ would have made in our shoes and exemplify his name, then we are truly blessed!

The beatitudes stated by our Lord are very clear in the Gospel according to St. Matthew:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land.
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In order for us to be truly blessed, we must strive to emulate Christ's teachings. Sometimes it is difficult for us to discern what Godís plan is for us. For example, I work as a design engineer for a consulting engineering firm. How can I illustrate Christís teachings in what I do? Artists can obviously illustrate this by painting Christ-like subject matter, but I think ideally in how they paint. I think that one who stands and looks at one of Godís wondrous landscapes can appreciate it all that much more as a creation of God. When we realize that we are painting subjects that are of Godís creation with tools that were given to us by GodÖ we can get a different outlook on what we are achieving.

Please pray for me, that I may continue to grow to share the love of Christ always with everyone that I come in contact with and I will continue to pray for you in your life of influencing others with your many talents, always professing Christ's love in everything that you do.

impressionist2
12-14-2003, 07:15 PM
Larry, Just too much to quote! But, wonderful reading it.

Your entire post reminds me of the book, The Purpose Driven Life. Probably the greatest thing I have gotten so far from this contemplative and wonderful book, is that "It's not about us, It's about God". If we view life in that context, we begin to lose our selfish wants and needs.

We are not here to become famous, or to acquire goods. Part of the reason we are here is to bring glory to God. His glory shines all around us. In the sunsets and the vastness of the universe. In the complexity and wonder of the human body. All are reflections of the glory of God.

I read in the paper today, that although people are in general richer than their counterparts years ago, there is much more depression than ever before. That acquiring money does not ensure happiness and in fact can often times be the reason for more unhappiness.

The breakdown of the family, the lack of values and morality in the media. The loss of innocence for our children. The denial of the existence of a loving God. For those who don't have a close and wonderful relationship with God, I can certainly see where depression would exist.

What purpose is their lives if all it is, is acquiring wealth? We will all be dust with the passage of time. For those of us who know in our hearts that our immortal soul will finally be with God, there is a peace, which God said, passes understanding.

Also, on this amazing day, I just want to say:
God bless America.
God bless our service men and woman.
May God bless our President and for those who read this and believe, please pray for him.

Renee

LilKitten
12-14-2003, 08:10 PM
Originally posted by impressionist2
Larry, Just too much to quote! But, wonderful reading it.

May God bless our President and for those who read this and believe, please pray for him.

Renee

My faith is strong, although not your faith, I shall bow my head and pray for one thing.

Peace. The kind you find within, the kind you have found, in following your faith, for I believe, no matter the faith, that is the only true peace.

lilkitten

LarrySeiler
12-14-2003, 08:47 PM
Matt....a wonderful sharing. Much to think about...

yes...I'll be praying for you as I contemplate upon your words shared and think of you...indeed.

thanks!

Yes Renee...what a dichotomy of sorts for us, to develop gifts that would bring us before kings (as promised in Proverbs), but not as for the purpose that we might become famous.

To be wayshowers...pointing to the "Way"...attention being passed along, accolade toward where credit is due.

Many would say that faith and art are unrelated...but indeed striving for excellence brings people to various crossroads, and achieving success and what one does with it is directly related to one's system of belief, one's worldview. How one's success thereafter affects loved ones, dependents...friends, extended family, community. These are pertinent, for the world stands at ready to acknowledge its cultural icons.

I've always been interested that as many discuss Picasso and his contributions, few have wondered how his many and oft ignored children have fared for themselves. The offspring are often a true witness to whether or not the artist/parent conducted his or her affairs in seeking success in such a way that managed to valued others more than one's self. Sacrifice of one's potential is often part of the package of demonstrating love to others as a human.

I don't say this to judge Picasso the man...(he was afterall the undisputed founder of modern art and rightly deserves recognition of the fine arts world), but I say this as a father sorting out proper values of how I shall conduct myself and my affairs in seeking to make art. Unfortunately, marketing usually calls for creating a market which comes by creating an impression that one is important in the art world, and that by possessing a work of such a one...one attains status.

For those of us looking at what it means to become more like Christ..we remember what he said about the birds having nests, the foxes having dens...but the Son of Man having no place to lay his head. Celebrating or even communicating thru art versus seeking to maked a name for oneself are really two different things. On the other hand...there are times where God blesses and brings attention. Just don't let it go to our heads!

peace,

Larry

LarrySeiler
12-14-2003, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by LilKitten


My faith is strong, although not your faith, I shall bow my head and pray for one thing.

Peace. The kind you find within, the kind you have found, in following your faith, for I believe, no matter the faith, that is the only true peace.

lilkitten

appreciate it LilKitten....may we during this season and these times come to know more of it.

peace to you

Larry

Keith Russell
12-14-2003, 11:05 PM
Larry, I truly hope you find what you seek, and that it does not disappoint...

...truly.

K

LarrySeiler
12-14-2003, 11:08 PM
Originally posted by Keith Russell
Larry, I truly hope you find what you seek, and that it does not disappoint...

...truly.

K

thanks Keith...

Larry

Eisenhower
12-22-2003, 04:56 AM
Larry,

I think it's great you are with the Natives. What have you
learned from them? They come from a very wealthy spiritual foundation for the most part. What have they taught you?

There is so much to learn from indigenious cultures. Since the tibetans and native american's and bushmen all over the world have been oppressed, to learn peace from them is a real treasure.

Have they taught you the arts of their ancestors? Have they taught you their holy prayers? They may be Christian but most Natives I know keep their pre-Christian prayers close to their hearts. Very simple profound prayers.

What have the native children taught you? Sometimes God moves us into places so we can learn more. What is the one word God is trying to teach you these days? Keep it short and simple though, simplicity is Christ-like. If there was one quality you would pray for what would that be?

Have a wonderful Christmas! Blessings.
Kelly

gnu
12-26-2003, 05:40 AM
Hi Larry..:)
time and again, as a singer/songwriter, I have struggled with pride..
not so much with art..I wonder why??
Partly I think because almost any rendition(art) no matter what genre or subject, is acceptable to someone..??
whereas an off key voice is an off key voice!!!!
lately I think...We are harder on ourselves than God is..
We forget we are TOTALLY acceptable in our Father's eyes...
Our relationship with the Father, and our character/spiritual development: are more important that what we DO(say, in occupation be it a career, minister, daily living)..another reason I think it doesn't matter to God that I'vw 'switched' creative bent..
keeping our faith simple, going back to basics, ENJOYING what we have each day, giving thanks..trusting in little things and big...
learning that Our Father will not let us be 'too late' in arriving at the place where he wants us(figurativelyor realistically)
I fell that God is allowing me to just enjoy art, not stress about "doing religious art", and keeping a sensible balance..making a decision to put art away over Xmas when family time is paramount and needed..
I am learning to rest more in Him, trust Him to take care of the big stuff for me..it's quite liberating...
I pray for you God's richest blessing that you may hear his voice clearly, know when to rest and when to seek, that His plan for your life will progress smoothly....
and know too, that you are appreciated and your encouragement noted...:)

LarrySeiler
12-26-2003, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by gnu
Hi Larry..:)
time and again, as a singer/songwriter, I have struggled with pride..
not so much with art..I wonder why??


with our visual art, eyes are directed elsewhere, though they reflect on us. With performance art, eyes are directly on us.

Think about it. All of Creation, including mankind...is God's art, and we look upon it. We sense something of God's nature and character in it. Yet, scripture is pretty clear that as sinful creatures we cannot look directly upon God Himself.

Perhaps, ironically....if we could look upon God the Artist directly, our pride would even inflate to be able to report to everyone our good fortune!

Music is more difficult. Musicians in this age are more quickly worshipped and idolized by the culture for another. It is a sensate immediate gratification deal for both performer and audience, whereas we are asking more of people with visual art. We are asking them to grow into the work. To let it grow on them. To allow affections and response to develop and be on going. It might offer some immediate pleasure...but not easily the sensate variety most seek.

For some reason, those icons that can arouse this sensate pleasure need of the masses are given status deserved/reserved for kings. That we might taste of that...very often arouses that feeling of being the one everyone else wishes at that moment to be.

While we might incur an interest in other artists to wish to emulate particular skills, insight, or vision thru our visual art works, rarely does a work instill the wistful longings to others to be in our place.

Music performers play a vicarious role whereby others longing to be worshipped can identify with and wish to be. Perhaps this too is why Nashville and the subculture allows for the most part only pretty, thin, hard bodies and such to be on stage...because vicariously those longing long for more than to be able to sing or be loved.

There is a whole lot of potential for pride and ego there where all such takes place. I know myself...having been there. This is also why I am surprised, and at the same time impressed with my son who in short time playing guitar found himself in demand by some pretty big bands. He played with Left Out, which was up for a Dove award at the Grammy's several years ago...for Headnoise, with The Blamed...and so forth. Yet (and here is where I get impressed), as a newly married young man he placed greater value on his wife's frustration with him being on the road or her having to travel to see him that at the height of everything happening to him, he put all that aside.

Today..much is happening for him with his visual art, and perhaps someday he may play again. I know he is tinkering with a few musicians in Chicago currently toying with the idea, but I also know it won't happen unless it sits well with his marriage and new baby girl!

Pride on the other hand feeds the self so stinkin' much, that the ego will justify treading and tromping all over everyone that is close to you for the ultimate NECESSITY is BEING big, important, successful, and known.


I feel that God is allowing me to just enjoy art, not stress about "doing religious art", and keeping a sensible balance..making a decision to put art away over Xmas when family time is paramount and needed..
I am learning to rest more in Him, trust Him to take care of the big stuff for me..it's quite liberating...


there you go...well stated!
and as goes the "religious art" thing...we will have much to say about that in the future. However, there is great legitimacy in what we do as representatives and ambassadors, and justification is not based alone on subject content. I make an activity a Christian one..simply because I am a Christian and when I do it...it is a Christian doing it. Thus, my landscape painting is religious art in the sense that I, a Christian working out my directions with the help of God's Spirit...am the one doing it.

It is as if one could observe things like, well, how would Jesus take in an NFL football game? How would he paint plein air? How would he prepare scallops with seasonings over a bed of spinach leaves? A work takes on a redeemed state becoming such when done in the joy of the Lord.

If a man is an attorney, and becomes a believer...we now have a chance to witness what a believing attorney might be. This then is a witness and testimony. If a painter paints wildlife or landscapes prior to conversion...his state after conversion gives us a chance to see how a nature artist might be different as a Christian say compared to others. Its not about making "religious" art. All our doings by reason of our state of existence become by nature religious or Christianized....

We use temperance and wisdom, a scale of honor and good to determine what acts fit us, and which ones do not....for in that we might bring confusion to the world. Some will think for example that a man might operate an adult bookstore, become a Christian and then represent how a Christian man might operate the adult bookstore more Christianly. Of course...that is not the kind of thing I'm suggesting. Basically though, the things we do God takes an interest in, and as we do it onto Him, as joy...it blesses Him as well as we, and He uses it to demonstrate Christ in us to the world.

thanks Gill for your exonerations, admonitions and blessings. And to you strength, good health and peace!

Larry

LarrySeiler
12-26-2003, 10:18 AM
Originally posted by Eisenhower
Larry,

I think it's great you are with the Natives. What have you
learned from them? They come from a very wealthy spiritual foundation for the most part. What have they taught you?
Kelly

Hi Kelly...

well, for one I've only attended the church twice; also, there is about half and half mix of caucasions with the Native Americans, but yes, of course there are things to be learned of every culture and such.

I have found though that Christ coming into the hearts of mankind brings an amazing thread of unity and common ground where HE is kept first and foremost.

I had a direction of study about the Native Americans back in my college years, and almost went the direction of archaelogy with that aim. My area of interest was the Huron nations, the Algonquin tribal federations...and the friction of the Iroquoian federation. The early interactions and dealings of the French and in particular the Jesuits (1600's thru mid 1700's primarily) versus that of the British with the Iroquoian tribes.

I am quite aware of the histories of the Ojibwe (Chippewa) of Wisconsin, the Pottawatomi, the Lac Du Flambear, the introduction of the Oneida from New York to the present, the collaboration of tribes as distant south as the Illinois coming up to Chiquamegon Bay to ice fish together in the winter. IN fact, I am aware of histories that are no longer politically correct to recall as well.

As an art teacher, I was at first greatly disappointed when I attempted to find craftsmen and women from tribes that might be interested in coming to my classroom with their wares, talk and share about their culture and so forth. For a good long time I sought out videos produced to introduce such to my students.

I did have the good fortune of a Mole Lake family decide to have their children enroll at our school, and found out the mother did leather, beading work, work with antlers and such. I did invite and enjoy her sharing...and she shared their ideology of the Spirit, their connection to the Bear and so forth.

I have attended a number of Pow Wow's over my lifetime, and have brought my children to them. WE have participated in the open invitation dances as a matter of fact.

I did find to my surprise once, that I had to becareful and not reveal too much of my enthusiasm with meeting some Native Americans...for I found to their embarrassment that I knew perhaps more about their tribal histories than they themselves did. I found myself quite uncomfortable (as no doubt did they) when gazes were cast to the ground due to talk...and so I had to learn some sensitivity there. On the other hand, I have met those that have a rich understanding of their history, and what a delight it is to meet them.

As for church, I anticipate more what we will discover about our common faith in Christ and look forward to what possible friendships might come of it.

take care....and peace

Larry

gnu
12-26-2003, 02:18 PM
For some reason, those icons that can arouse this sensate pleasure need of the masses are given status deserved/reserved for kings. That we might taste of that...very often arouses that feeling of being the one everyone else wishes at that moment to be.
that IS it..of course!! I just couldn't figure it out!! thanks :)

Jim Craig
12-26-2003, 03:30 PM
Sounds like a real crisis of faith and in life. We're told that in life we must be challenged and tried to grow, but sometimes it's a wonder we're not all ten feet tall.

I also firmly believed that if I maintained faith, followed the commandments, did all the things the church leaders told me to do I would be rewarded with success, profit, health and all the good things I wanted. I could not have been more wrong. I missed the point entirely.

Like your wife, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That was December 28, 1994. At the time I had a very large family law practice, moved into a 44-hundred square foot Victorian mansion and drove Cadillacs and Lincolns.

My health rapidly deteriorated and one of the doctors warned that if there was anything I wanted to do that required physical activity I should get it done because in ten to twelve years I would be fully disabled and confined to a wheelchair. That was before I had a series of small strokes.

I'm not yet 50 years old yet. To make things worse, when I was diagnosed many doctors believed fibro was a "woman's disease" and because I'm not, I couldn't have it. That's when I was referred to a specialist who knew better.

In a few years I had to give up my law practice and I intended to spend a year writing and perhaps get back into journalism. We planned to live on our savings and what my wife made working for the lawyer who took over my practice. Then the week before Thanksgiving that year the lawyer who agreed to take over my practice backed out, fired my wife and left us with no income at all. I was no longer licensed and it really hit the fan.

Last January we finally gave up the five bedroom house with three and a half baths and four fireplaces and moved into a two bedroom apartment. The expensive cars were long gone, the savings exhausted. We had to learn Christmas isn't about the presents under the tree.

Well, that's the down side. There are positives. The fibromyalgia hasn't gone away and I deal with it daily, but it's managable. I returned to journalism and for the last two years I've been the news director at a very small radio station in a small market near here. While I'm looking for a better job, I love being back in news reporting.

The truth is, I never liked being a lawyer. It was boring, frustrating, depressing and I hated it, but I felt I had to do it because that's what I was trained to do and I felt I had to make the money for my family. I was wrong on both counts and in trying to do what I thought was best for the family, I short-changed them. We miss the money, but not as much as you'd think.

Unlike many of you, artistic endeavors were not supported in my family. They were for hobbies, but not making a living. I was supposed to go to medical school. That I became a lawyer is something the family apologizes for. They're really disappointed I went back into journalism. Well, tough. They'll get over it, even if it's in the next life.

Instead of shopping for wheel-chairs, I often work 50-60 hours a week. Maybe I'll never make it to a larger market. I'll be disappointed and wonder if I ever had what it takes. I do know my learning curve is still pretty high.

When I went back into journalism I thought employers would jump at the chance to hire a reporter with some age and life experience, a law degree and some other things in my background. Instead, the opposite has been the case.

I still occasionally wonder, "Why me Lord?" But in the final analysis, I know the reasons and I accept them.

Tell your wife there is life with fibro. I know. At one point I had trouble even holding a can of Pepsi. I couldn't write so anybody could read it, so drawing was out of the question, and there were days I literally crawled from the bed to the bathroom and back. It's a long road, but with the right doctors and support from professionals, my wife, children friends and a lot of faith, I made it. I still have to take life a day at a time and with each twinge I wonder if the remission is over. So far, so good.

For those of you who are fortunate enough to not know what fibro is: It's a little understood disease of the central nervous system that's related to rheumatism and in some way things like multiple sclerosis. It involves varying amounts of pain in and around the joints, but it effects the muscles and ligaments rather than the bones and cartilege. It impairs the auto-immune system and has a whole bunch of unpleasant side effects. You know the achey, yucky feeling you have when you're coming down with a really bad case of the flu or cold? That's how most fibro patients feel on a good day. On a bad day, it can be unimaginable. Even the hair on your head hurts, the mere touch by another person can trigger spasms of pain. It's a chronic disease, but not degenerative in the sense it will eventually kill--it just makes you wish it would. It also effects other areas of your health. For instance, I had pneumonia six times in two years. I catch every flu that goes around, even if I take the shots.

I'll never be the vigorous, fully healthy person I was, say fifteen years ago, when I was a runner, worked out regularly, was a competitive shooter, but life's still pretty darned good.

One word of advice: If you have a doctor who says depression causes fibro and if you get rid of the depression yet get rid of the fibro, fire the doctor and get another one. Also, if they won't prescribe pain medication, look for someone else.

There are support groups, even some on-line, but I found they sometimes are more depressing than anything else.

I suspect living in Wisconsin is tough on her too. Cold and changes in barometric pressure can be really painful.

Well, all this probably isn't much help, but I thought I'd pass it along. Never have I gone into these things in a public forum, but if it helps you, your wife or anybody else, I'll suffer the humility.

For those of you who feel I been preaching, sorry about that. I really don't mean to. For those who think this is a plea for sympathy and I want you to feel sorry for me, don't because it's not. To those I've bored with this story, I really do apologize, but perhaps it will be of help to someone.

Larry, for you and your wife, you can make it through this and life can be good. Not perfect, but good. My wife and I have been married for more than 26 years now and why she's stuck with me through all this I'll never understand, but she has and I'm grateful. We are the stronger for it.

Best of luck to you and your wife,

Jim

LarrySeiler
12-26-2003, 07:08 PM
Jim...I'd like to respond more at this time....but I have some matters I have to attend to. My wife is laying down nearby, and I read off your post. Every other sentence she was like, "yep...yep!"

I just brought her to the doctor today for xrays. A sinus infection that has lingered for near six weeks. The antibiotic made her too ill to travel this holiday to see our new granddaughter in the Chicago area.

I was hoping to bring her 20 miles further to see a movie today, but she was too dizzy sitting up in the car.

Her body does not recover from flus, colds, infections like others and you understand well from all that you have shared. It has made the holidays difficult. The most difficult seems to be extended family, doesn't it?

They of course believe everything is in her head. My stepmother and sister living in Chicago planned a big family get together this week, and my son and his wife with our granddaughter were to be there today so we'd all be together.

Like we wouldn't want to be there, right?

Fortunately, I had one son two hours away that came and spent a couple days with us, and we had a good time.

Thanks Jim for taking the time you did to post....blessings to you.

Sometimes we don't understand everything..but I've learned that God is always more interested in our character than our comfort, and that ultimately it is not what happens to you that matters, but in you.

take care....and blessings, peace...more strength, and improved health to you!


Larry