An Attitude of Gratitude makes a difference in my perception of life in general. Sometimes I must slow down to look at what matters most to make my attitude change from a negative perspective to the positive.
Having 19-million views on Google Maps does make me feel grateful on one level, but it’s only another number added to my accomplishments as a Returning Citizen.
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Writing about gratitude when not feeling so grateful about life as it is while writing isn’t easy, but I will overcome the negative feelings by writing about the positive aspects of my life.
I’m not filled with self-pity or dealing with depression. Things just haven’t been going the way for me the way I had hoped.
Because I am dealing with a personal relationship not turning out the way I had hoped. I’m just not in my typical cheerful mode, as I often am when walking around the store where I work trying to spread cheer by speaking with others. Or when walking in a park enjoying nature, feeling a cool breeze that heightens the senses, or experiencing the joy of seeing something beautiful.
Self-Pity: One saying for feeling self-pity in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is, “Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me, Pour Me Another Drink.”
The antidote for self-pity is to make a list of all you are grateful for in your life.
Writing and Typing: Right now, I am sitting in front of a computer working on a blog to help brighten the day of those whom I cannot see or do not know. If this makes you smile, I am grateful for taking the time to do what I am doing.
Thinking about someone smiling while reading this blog gave me a burst of joy, and gratitude for the God-given ability to use words to help others to experience feelings.
Grateful for What Counts: I am grateful for my good health, for having eyes to see, feet to get me to where I want to go, and even if my two feet hurt, for having two feet to hurt. I’m grateful for the ability to love and for being loved.
Family & Friends: More so than anything else, I am grateful for still having friends and family who love and care for me and who I know would be there for me in times of need.
Tomorrow I will be celebrating with loved ones as we share love and hugs, and then while we eat good food. 🙂
In closing, I am grateful for not being in the same position that I was in back in 2016 when I wrote Gratitude and More from inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. I am grateful for being a free man, a good man.
Now that is something to smile about, to be proud of, and grateful for being in a position to sit in front of this computer doing what I do best: write.
On the night that I received the medallion displayed above, four members of a twelve-step program sat at a table pulling cards from a deck. I overheard the only male in the small group say, “I don’t want one.”
He didn’t want to pull a card, so I volunteered and exchanged seats, due in part to three lovely ladies sitting at the table where he sat. That is where Master Number 33 comes into play for the topic of this blog, though I didn’t learn that I was a Master Number 33 for several weeks because I recall that I pulled a card containing four images.
The interpreter, Stephanie, then asked me several personal questions before our affair was interrupted for those of us celebrating milestones in recovery to be honored with the presentation of sobriety tokens.
Stephanie made some positive comments about her findings before we had to rearrange our seats for the spectacular events to proceed for which we were gathered.
Months later I asked her what all of that meant that she had said after reading the card, etc. She then sent me the link below on the Master Number 33 and suggested I read it. When I did, I was amazed at the accuracy proven by my history and observation of Number “3” and events in my life, which I will not go into for the purpose of this blog.
In reference to Master Number 33, one example is that in recovery and in life in general, my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, uses me to help others to find a new way of life. Something I do out of love for others and love doing to compensate for the many dirty deeds I did before my conversion (changing my lifestyle in 1995 and retiring from the Thug Life I lived for several years because I didn’t know how to change what began as a child). Here is a quote from Ganehaspeaks.com to support that fact:
“Master Number 33 Powers and Characteristics
“They seem to possess an unlimited reservoir of spiritual energy which they use extremely liberally to help those around them. The root of 33 that is 6 is a number that is naturally associated with family, love, home, and responsibility.”
I am responsible! I suit up and show up when committed to helping another person find a new way of life.
Matter of Perception: Thirty-three years ago on August 18, 1988, an event occurred that some may view as good while others may see it as bad, meaning not-so-good.
Personally, since I am the Star of the Show, I see it as necessary and a combination of both, good and bad, because if the event had not occurred, I would not be alive to write this blog or to enjoy the life I am blessed with living today. To understand that statement a person needs to read my book to grasp a full understanding.
Though far from the life I imagined and believe is on the horizon, I am doing well in that I have the main essentials for survival (good health, food, shelter), and am still alive and free as a spirit having a human experience.
THE EVENT: Kentucky State Patrol pulled me and an accomplice over in Campbell County, Tennessee, which ultimately led to my arrest and conviction on several federal charges and a 420-month federal prison sentence, all of which I wrote about in Essays & More Straight from the Pen. (Buy paperback for $8.95 or eBook for $0.99)
Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of change. The well-written essays take the reader deep inside the life of their author who overcame circumstances and obstacles that kept him chained to a life of drugs and crime. The stories inspire and motivate people to not give up or lose hope, and to fight for a new life.
August 28, 2018: I walked out of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons in Edgefield, South Carolina. That was the first time in 30-years and 10-days that I walked outside the confines of a prison without handcuffs, chains, and shackles.
In Electronic Chain on this site, I wrote about some of my experiences after completion of my federal prison sentence on March 8, 2019. And then in another blog, Prison and Personality Changes by Wayne T. Dowdy, I included an update to my life after release and a recent post on Quora.com, all of which I write in hope of using my experiences to help others.
My goal is to convert my negative experiences into positive ones by sharing my experience, strength, and hope with others, as is common in Twelve Step programs.
In conclusion of this blog, I will end with an excerpt from the Conclusion in Numerology: Master Number 33 that if someone elects to buy and read Essays & More Straight from the Pen, will probably see a substantial contrast in the man I am today versus the person I had become based upon life experiences, and thus see the Power of Change I want others to see in my life:
“People affiliated with this number will be loving, sympathetic, emotional, kind-hearted and zealous in their essence.”
[Paid content is as submitted, other than minor editorial changes. Straight from the Pen does not express any opinion on the subject matter or content or the validity of any statement or claim made. Views and beliefs expressed and posted herein are those of the author and not necessarily agreed with or endorsed by your host]
All praises and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord of Honor, the Mighty and Majestic who sent to mankind a Messenger while they were in a state of darkness, ignorance, and tyranny perpetrated by their deception from Satan. He sent this Messenger as a caller inviting and illuminating with the bright Light of Truth in order to rescue them from the darkness and heedless that they were in. Some hearts were softened and thus beckoned to this call while some on the other hand chose the path of slander, revilement, defamation, and launching wars of hostility in order to malign this call seeking thereby to be a violent whirlwind of darkness to descend upon a lone and illuminated candle:
< They desire to extinguish Allah’s Light by their lips but Allah refuses except to perfect His Light even if the Disbelievers hate it so>[At-Tawbah:32(Qur’an)]
And after many tentative steps of incitement as well as mediation were made, Allah decreed the convergence of the two forces on a decive day and in an epic way to mark the prevalent swaying of bigotry and rancor, and even extending to them a chance to change course anew:
<If you seek an opening (start) then certainly the opening (al-Fath) has come. And if you desist it will be better for you all while if you all resume, We will resume and your forces will not avail you anything (in the least) even if they were to be many and that is (because) Allah is with the believers>[Al-Anfal:19]
And thus the promise of Allah was made true for those before and we will not be asked regarding what they used to do in the past and nor will they be asked about what we do. Prayers and Peace be upon the Messenger of Allah Muhammad, his family, companions, and those who follow their example until the Day of Judgement.
As for us today, what will be the legacy and remnant memories of these times? As the scorching winds of bigotry blow to and fro and the disease of Wahn in the hearts continues to infect the world faster than the Coronavirus-what exactly is it that we are observing? And are the conspiracies we hear of truly existent or are they nothing but childish play like the fantasy world espoused by the QAnon members?
As the world sat back contented to watch the atrocities hailed upon the Muslims of Syria by the Nusayri elite minority, feigned uproar to the Chinese persecution of Uighurs, shed crocodile tears over the fruit of their poisonous tree that led to the massacre of unarmed worshipping their Lord in new Zealand, and turned deaf to the cries of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma (Myanmar), after we hear of two novelties which by technicality, is nothing new, we are left with the Armenian aggression on Azerbaijan and the retaliatory attack following an attack on the honor of the Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) in France.
As for the conflict in Azerbaijan then perhaps this could be chalked up to ethnic rivalry, territorial aspirations, and long held grievances mutually held by two sovereign states. What then of that event they speak of in France? Is it something new or old? Or is it simply the blame on Islam and intolerance of Muslim fanatics wishing to demolish the foundations of Freedom, as said by the effeminate mayor on BBC?
The person with intellect irrespective of their beliefs, if they choose to be objective and just, will easily concede that this is nothing new. For so it is that the twin humiliations wrought upon the confederates of Charlie Hebdo is not too far behind us in the past. So if that question is answered we must then turn upon another. Yet in order to do that we must discuss the concept of freedom of speech and expression. No right thinking person advocates the necessity or even permissibility of absolute free speech nor on the opposing side, absolute curtailment and censorship of an individual’s thoughts and ideas except for the rubbish and immoral and then the likes of Hobbes, Nietzsche, and the extreme Libertarians and their comrades who envision a homogenous secular utopia in the mode of 1984, Atlas Shrugged, or Brave New World.
Even the fanatical Jacobins from the French Revolution, Rousseau, and others left realms of delineation for the limiting of such in light of public morality, sedition, and other factors. Even those with the false sirens of individualism were hurt and offended when Trump shunned and chose not to engage with them on Twitter so they sought a recourse of ‘justice’ because they felt some sort of injustice and did not believe that his ‘freedom’ should affect their ‘freedom’ and sensibilities.
As for today no one holds this position except in the idealistic sense or the aforementioned rubbish and tyrants. For instance every government (Islamic or otherwise) has enacted laws sanctioning against threats of violence to others, speech directing others to commit violence or crimes, false advertisement, defamation, libel, spreading falsehood, false witness or testimony, and the like. It is illegal to deny the “Holocaust” in some countries, or to make racist, anti-sematic comments, or to express so-called ‘hate speech’.
In line with the idea and claim for absolute freedom of speech and expression then we should be able to deny the existence of the Atlantic Slave Trade as a myth or fable, be able to claim Whites or Aryans are superior to Blacks and other races and vice-versa, praise Hitler and his actions, Stalin, Judas, Charles Manson, the Pharaoh who persecuted the children of Israel, the Roman’s subjugation of early believers and followers of Christ, fly the Confederate flag, extols the genius and greatness of Robert Lee, call Blacks monkeys or Whites ‘devils’, advocate and allow the promotion of incest on television, the radio, and the like and glorify wantless murder, rape, and pedophilia. Yet this is not what they are doing. All of these infringe on ‘Free Speech’ as they claim yet they don’t deem it as the ultimate act of enlightenment and hallmark of the civilized man to take on these sorts of taboos.
But when this zeal is exclusively shown and promoted calling for caricatures, smears, and insults to the Prophet of Islam under the guise of Free Speech, Free Expression, and ‘art’ , then this is something that must be scrutinized, observed closely, and categorically and unapologetically condemned. It is the same with these governments as well. In this ‘need to tackle on hate speech’, they do not include these vile acts but instead condone, encourage, and defend them. While on the other hand these ‘Free Republics’ and ‘Democratic States’ permit Twitter, Facebook, and the like to penalize and ban American white conservative ideas, causes, and ideologues, ‘Confederate Pride’, QAnon and the like yet they do not interfere with the base acts of others. When states do not restrain culprits then only vigilantes and brigades of force excused or unexcused will pursue culprits. And culprits, evil people, and such are what these people are without doubt.
If Charlie Hebdo, Pamela Geller, and the like were sincere then they would also take it upon themselves to take the mantle and uphold the banner challenging these other infringements on so-called free speech as well. Why don’t they conspire, assemble, and congregate to do such in respect to the Pope, Christian saints, Civil Rights leaders, and Biblical prophets if they are truthful? If it is a matter of a group’s intolerance then why don’t they take on the bishops, cardinals, and priest of the Catholic church in order to take on the silence regarding the molestation of altar boys?
Yet if you engage them in this vein they will say that “there is no need to do such because it will only offend and irritate. And the Christians, Jews, and others do not share the fanatical intolerance like the Muslims and they accept difference of opinions and the agenda of the modern secular state, or ‘civil democratic state’ as some call it, if offended.” And thus if they respond as such it will prove that they only wish to infuriate the Muslims and this is the sole underlying reason which is to bring about humiliation and calumnies.
Every peace loving person with the most basic shred of ethics would agree that the aims of society is not to pit people against one another, cause transgression, hurt feelings, humiliate or subjugate another group in society, unless you believe in the Marxist call for the necessity of delusional class warfare or promote some sort of epic Aryan race war. They may also claim:
“Yes you are right this is not the proper aim or objective of society but nor is it to allow intolerance and fundamentalism to fester and grow like a spreading disease. If we treat the Muslims special in that regards then we will be accepting a challenge, defiance, and nullification to what the concept of liberty is based on and such would be a loss and setback in the long held battle and gains fighting to preserve the rights and voices of individual liberty. Fanatical attachment and this sort of devotion that the extremists have, threaten the freedom of others and whenever society remains silent on it, it then breeds the seeds which may one day duly rise as totalitarianism and censorship or embargo within the free market of exchange of ideas.”
We would then then point out the hollowness of their argument. For, the extremism and fundamentalism they censure in reality come from fanatics who promote burning the Qur’an and making such a festival for rallying and insulting their (the Muslims) prophet a symbol of progress and civilization. The Muslims do not go out burning Bibles, copies of the U.S. or French constitution, Torah, Talmud, Communist Manifesto, Bill of Rights, or other religious tracts and political treatises. The Muslims in the land of the agitators simply tend to their own affairs and are the ones being needlessly bludgeoned over the head with provocations, disrespect, and campaigns of intolerance.
And if we talk about the seeds of tyranny then it is from their side who are the zealous farmers of barren land ardently sowing discontent. For all tyrants start off by persecuting a group through demonization until horrors like what the Egyptian Pharaoh did the to the Israelites, Hitlers campaign against gypsies and non-Aryans, the Zionist persecution of Palestinians, and Stalinist ‘purges, the Japanese internment, McCarthyism, and the lynching of black folks in the southern U.S. states take place. Rather instead of ‘multiculturalism’ they seek to instead impose conformity. And if the Muslims are truly bigots as they say and we were to accept this for the sake of argument we would say: This bigotry of theirs is a private and personal religious matter to them. Meaning if they are left alone believing or harboring their ‘bigotry’ then this harms no one since they are not going around forcing people to confess to the nobility of their prophet. In fact they accept the fact and reality that others don’t even deem him a prophet. Aside from this small cadre of malcontents disguising themselves as champions and stalwarts of liberty, no one sees a need or desire to go around mocking their beliefs or prophets. They mock the hijab, niqab, and burqa but don’t target the dress of nuns, Mormon women, or the headgear of Sikhs…
It can’t be said that any value is obtained from such base acts for it does not further any perspective, shed light on a discussion, or educate people by the act of insulting the prophet; the teacher who wishes to teach about freedom of expression should teach the responsibility and mature use of words and effective communication if they wish to bring up the next generation upon noble virtues and create exceptional citizens who are familiar with their civic duties but these are not the type of people they wish to produce rather the rubbish wish to produce more rabblerousers. If one says it has entertainment value of humor then this still lacks legs to stand on. For we would say, you it is who don’t accept Whites to do ‘black face’ or make stereotypical jokes of minorities refrain from one sort of so-called entertainment for fear of ruffling feathers while choosing to permit and engage in another revolve around hypocrisy and contradiction. Yet it is no surprise for it is you as well who were enraged against a congresswoman for saying “all about the Benjamins” and thus lashed out saying it was a Jewish Trope. It is you who abandon your illusion of absolute free speech and hound the U.S. president Trump for using his discretion(in light of absolute free speech) for making remarks you deem as racist or sexist. If such is outrageous to you then why not the insult, slander, revilement, defamation, and mockery to a man revered by more than 1/5th of the world’s population, who brought a religion which does not permit transgression nor compel the conversion of others forcefully? You it is who claim rights of individuals yet sought to use the power of the state and courts to force a devoted and respectful Christian bakery to bake cakes for a newlywed gay couple after they used the liberty of their discretion to refuse such request.
The sane and prudent person, if he or she has reservations on saying ‘he got what he deserved’ would nevertheless agree that this individual knew the risk he was undertaking. He was not ignorant of the fate of the illustrators and publishers of the Danish cartoons, the offensive against the creators of SouthPark, the Garland, Texas affair, and the twin strikes upon Charlie Hebdo. If they consider him a ‘liberal saint’ or ‘martyr’ then by all means let them do so and anyone who wishes to trek this path of ‘martyrdom’ would not be restrained or blocked from doing so. Let them follow the path of their forebears. And let the agitators continue to run out of breath like one repeatedly blowing upon trick candles at an American style birthday party for kids. And let them continue to mask their true motives and desecrate the name of that noble and virtuous human right we all wish and attain for and strive to protect anmed Freedom. And let them defile it until she is nothing more than a harlot masquerading in make-up as a woman of nobility. Because we will not accept this, and we will not be deceived. For that queen of liberty for us will always have supporters and loyal subjects behind her to stand with her against this coup that they are hatching.
And the apologists say to the Muslims as was said by that magician on BBC after the last saga of the Charlie Hebdo affair: ‘The Muslims are undermining their own interest and causing what they abhor to repeat since anytime they do this it brings more attention to what they were offended by’ and ‘they need to be like the prophet who forgave’. Part of what was said is correct and the other part is ignorance, feigned misunderstanding, or a lie. Before we move on it must be said that what we as responsible free people citizens of the world simply ask for is responsible speech. Debate is welcome and constructive even if it happens it the most robust and aggressive manner and even if egos are bruised. A scathing criticism and pure maloney trolling are two separate and entirely different thing as different as the distance between the East and the West. And the last kind is what must be opposed just as these fake guardians of morality and information launch the audacious campaign against ‘fake news’ and ‘misinformation’. I see no one with decency who would oppose standing together to ban or turn away from maligning the prophet Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Abraham, Jacob, or the like. Where are these so-called voices of inter-faith?
The prophet Muhammad(SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) who Allah sent as a mercy to the universe was very forgiving especially to the violation of his own rights and person yet those ignoramuses can’t claim for sure to know that these cartoonist and others would have been forgiven as the classical Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyyah stated:
“The Prophet’s reputation may be damaged by reviling because he is human being like other human beings whose reputation and image may be tarnished by reviling and slander….
“Because reviling the Prophet(SAW) leads to a loss of respect for him in people’s minds and thus tarnish his reputation and undermine him, and it may be a cause of people being turned away from him and losing respect for him, the punishment is prescribed because of the evil consequences that result from reviling him…
The Prophet(SAW) is reviled by trying to belittle him and put him down. Disbelievers and hypocrites have motives for that, such as jealousy for what Allah has bestowed upon him of His bounty; enmity towards his religion…
“There is a hadd punishment for reviling the Prophet(SAW) because it is reviling of a human being who is dead, so there no way of knowing whether he would pardon that person; that punishment is not waived by repentance. That unlike the case of reviling Allah (GOD), because it is known that He will forgive the one who reviled Im if he repents.” [See 8/926-930 of As-Saarim Al-Maslul ‘alaa Shaatim Ar-Rasul]
***And this has been stated before by other classical scholars before him like Qadi ‘Iyad the author of Shifa which is a biography of the prophet. The term ‘hadd’ or ‘hudud’ refers to certain penal ordinances and punishments of Islamic law to be enacted within a country ruled by the Shariah. Islamic laws are not executed or performed in a vigilante manner nor outside of the territory of the Islamic government.***
As for the hashtag #Jesuis_Samuel then I believe scholars and students of knowledge like Shaykh Ahmad Musa Jibril, ustadh Abu Baraa from SalafiMediaUK, and Ustadh Musa Cerantonio have discussed the impermissibility of using such. So this launching the blame on the Muslims is not something new, rather it is their preferred and coveted method or tactic when a need for serious discussion arises as I mentioned previously in my essay, “Islam is to blame,” which whoever wants to look it up will find it. It is like Abu Abdullah mentioned once in a speech summarizing or referring to what is written in Aesop’s Fable about the deer who after being provoked and provoked while meekly submitting one day decides to lash out after the wolf went too far and ate her young doe. But instead of blaming the persistent wolf, the monkeys, parrots, and others chose to find fault with the deer.
So, it must be known by every man or woman who can reflect or ponder, that these are not vanguards, stalwarts, protectors, guardians, nor supporters of freedom as they claim. They are a bunch of provocateurs with an anarchist concept of liberty who wish to make attacks on Muslims legitimate and protected. Yet drawing a swastika or the like is evil to them It is beyond double standards but more like the ‘one standard’ previously articulated by the likes of Noam Chomsky.
Even if we were to accept their arguments or justifications and distinctions it is universally acknowledged that the golden rule or principle is no one should not be allowed to cause harm to others. The one who creates loud noise that disturbs his neighbors would be penalized in any country then why not afford this to the Muslims, who are being greatly harmed, disturbed, offended, disheartened, and dishonored by this act of theirs? Yet it is the same whether we choose to partake or remain spectators. You can’t save pepo-le from their folly. If they consider these slanderous and offensive acts ‘freedom’ then let them proceed upon their caravan of ‘freedom’ and ‘Liberty’ and ‘progressivism, I for one won’t come between them and their ‘liberal martyrdom’. Who are we to proscribe this new sacrament of self-sacrifice upon the mantle and altar of freedom? We will treat them like the self-flagellating catholic priests or Shi’ah and watch with dismay what happens.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Say to those who disbelieve: If you desist then what was in the past would be forgiven of you bit if you all return then certainly there has occurred for you the examples of the previous ones.”[Surah Al-Anfal:38]
So if these governments established and ruled by the whims of men and man-made laws seriously wish to fight ‘hate speech’ then let them stand with their Muslim citizens who they claim to afford protections to, and ban/criminalize the drawing of the Prophet Muhammad “SAW” as they ban the depiction of swastikas and holocaust denial, and ordered the removal of certain flags and images. And let the reporters and journalists come together rejecting the vitriol and bile that some of their colleagues who speak such under the guise of freedom. Let them go to North Korea and stay firm to let ‘enlightened’ principles or let these vanguards of free speech publish criticism of Xi Jing Pin while in China on assignment for a story if this is truly a principle they uphold. But we know that they won’t and never will since for now Muslim are their easy targets.
it shows the extent of backwardness and regression when they deem insulting a person who lived almost two thousand years ago to be a mark of prestige, status, and symbol of progressivity. And so too are these governments who feign benign rule yet undermine the Muslims and fill their prisons with them from the East to the West simply for demanding the most basic of human rights and the observance of their religion. they would mourn for this teacher and Charlie Hebdo yet shed no tears or raise serious objections to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. It is thus clear from this what sort of journalism they wish to see, and which type they could care less about. How plump are the strutting peacocks and mockingbirds!
Originally written on the 18th of October 2020 from the jaws and prison of Leviathan.
[This article is not advocating any acts of violence but simply a rigorous and scathing commentary on the illusions of modern liberalism and wished to expose, dissect, and analyze this phenomenon in a thorough manner from an Islamic standpoint. Any errors or misconstrued content is only from the author.]
Abdul-Jalil Rashid Al-Imarah
(Samuel Baptiste) #09681-104
PO Box 019120
Miami, Fl 33101
Abdul-Jalil Rashid Al-Imarah is a Salafi Islamist political Prisoner of War being a casualty of the ‘War on Terror.’ Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti he began to coordinate relief efforts for Haitian Muslims impacted. During this time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sought to entrap him, and a cleric (Imam) involved with the relief efforts. Abdul-Jalil Al-Imarah plead guilty and received an 80-month federal sentence in 2017.
Shortly thereafter in 2018, a superseding indictment was returned charging him with distribution of information pertaining to explosives and material support to IS, the Islamic State ( ISIS). These charges stemmed from sharing solidarity with Islamist causes worldwide and the management of a Telegram news channel called ‘J-Gear’ or ‘Jihadi Gear’ wherein he provided commentary on ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, discussed the tactics and weapons used by various factions, encouraged, and promoted the use of self-defense by Muslims through fitness and awareness.
Abdul-Jalil is also a poet, critic of U.S. foreign policy and mass incarceration, and Talibul-llm (Muslim Student of Knowledge).
(This blog post has a religious tone, so if that is something anyone finds offensive, then perhaps its best to find another blog to read. Check the different categories to find something of interest. Thanks! )
Easter of 2020 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, with thousands of people prohibited from assembling in crowds larger than ten people: some will rebel and meet anyways in the name of the Lord.
In 2019 I wrote the blog I will conclude with: a Special Break from the Status Quo. Thousands have died from Coronavirus-related illnesses and the numbers will continue to rise for an unspecified time.
Many countries and states have ordered citizens to stay at home, to practice social distancing, wear face masks, and to take other safety precautions to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
Hundreds of thousands of families and church members will not assemble on April 12, 2020, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ or get to go spend time with friends, family, and loved ones.
Thousands of people across the globe are mourning the deaths of loved ones. The Coronavirus has infected almost 500,000 in the United States and killed over 18,500 people.
Some churches will use social media and the Internet to get the word out that Christ has risen from the dead. Other church members will not allow fear to stop them from filling the churches to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The United States Department of Justice warned law enforcement about trying to stop religious gatherings.
Religious gatherings are exempt from the Stay at Home orders.
The United States Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state.
Pope Francis urged people not to yield to fear over coronavirus.
Fear will trump the faith of millions of believers on Easter of 2020.
Each person must do what he or she feels needs to be done to protect life and liberty, including the life and liberty of others entrusted to their care.
Coronavirus Kills! Faith Heals!
And now for a personal message:
A Special Break from the Status Quo
Happy Easter to those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each of us, believers and unbelievers of the miracle of the resurrection, may use this special day in the Christian faith to pray to a power greater than ourselves and to ask for the spirit of forgiveness; to forgive someone who may have offended or harmed us.
Resentment, a poison to the soul; freedom from resentment opens the door for a better life.
Whether you believe in a power greater than yourself or not, let the day be special by being grateful for the life you have, perfect or not. Know that you are loved for being who you are, regardless of whether you believe or do not believe in a power greater than yourself.
The love is free that flows from a special place in our
hearts where the spirit lives. My hope is that each you get to experience the
pleasure of love today and every day. Wayne
Suicide seemed the solution to end the torment ravaging my soul when I was thirteen years old.
A quarrel between my mother and brother triggered the episode of depression that made me want to die. I don’t remember what the argument was about, only that it ended with my brother slamming the door after he and his wife stormed out of the house, vowing never to return. The incident pushed me over an already frazzled edge.
At the age of eleven, I had begun doing LSD (a hallucinogenic drug), and then started selling it and other drugs to stay high, including phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP. I had been doing a lot of it for a couple of weeks when the above incident occurred. The particular batch that I had been using and selling was extremely potent. As a drug addict; I took advantage of people without giving it much thought. It wasn’t anything personal, just what I had to do to stay high, which I did on a daily basis, whether from alcohol (the oldest drug known to man), or some other drug.
From shaving pills with a razor blade and storing it in a pill bottle, I had accumulated the equivalent of maybe fifty pills. I was in the living room when my brother and his wife left the house. As soon as they were gone, I began to cry and then ran to my bedroom where I kept my drugs and syringes hidden in a coat pocket. I prepared a large shot and injected it into my arm, and then ate the remainder of the PCP in the spoon and pill bottle. Numerous people had died from far less than what I had taken.
My parents had raised me as a Southern Baptist, so I had a concept of heaven and hell in my mind, and I did not want to go to hell for sure, which is where I was afraid that I was heading just as soon as I died.
Well, I went to school with a girl named Sherry, whose father was the pastor of the Riverdale Church of God. They lived three blocks down the road from my parent’s house.
As I recall, as soon as I had eaten the remainder of the PCP, I jogged down the road to their house. I jogged so that I could get there in a hurry, because I believed that I would die when all of the PCP that I had swallowed was absorbed into my system. Since I did not want to go to hell and was afraid that I was going to die quickly, I had to get there fast. I made it to their house and banged on their storm door. The preacher’s wife opened their heavy oak door and looked at me through the safety of the storm door.
“What do you want?” she asked. (I was the neighborhood hoodlum, and she probably thought that I was there to rob or steal something.)
“I want Brother Price to pray for me, because I have taken drugs to commit suicide, and I don’t want to go to hell,” I said. I believed that his prayer would stop me from going to hell, where I had been told that I would be going for the last few years.
“Bingham, someone’s here to see you,” she yelled.
All I remember after she called for him and he came to the door, was repeating what I had told her, and then him opening the door to invite me into his home. I lost consciousness when I walked across the threshold.
When I came back around, Sherry was sitting across from me at a foldout table with a Monopoly game between us. “Are you going to play?” she asked.
“No,” I said, and shook my head.
“Well, you said that you wanted to play,” she said. Then she asked if I wanted to go outside and sit in the swing, which is what we did. I remember telling her that I thought I had damaged my brain, because everything was moving so slow inside my head. Trying to formulate a sentence was difficult for me.
It took some time, but I eventually recovered and went right back to my insane ways for the next twenty-four years. In 1995, I finally stopped using drugs and alcohol by going through three years of therapy to address the personal issues that made me want to drink and use, and then by getting involved with twelve-step programs to learn the spiritual approach. Today, I do service work at the meetings and by sponsoring people. I remain willing to do God’s will in my life by helping others recover. I feel that I am blessed with each day that I wake up, and especially when I see the lives of others transformed through God’s love and power, as was mine.
I am grateful to have survived my suicidal tendencies. I hope and pray that if someone thinking of suicide reads this article, that they change their mind, because suicide is not the solution. Feelings come and go, good and bad ones alike, and if God was able to save me and give me a life worth living, then He will do it for them too.
I realize that it is only by the grace of God that I am still alive and have a brain that works.
I am thankful that the prayers of Brother Price and his family were more powerful than the mega dose of PCP that I had done. Today, I am glad that I was afraid of hell because if I hadn’t been, I would have stayed in my bedroom and waited for the inevitable.
Gratitude Drives this Post: Gratitude for Experiencing Sight.
[for other blogs related to Gratitude, click Here]
I posted the original version of this essay on Facebook to help those who follow my posts and who are friends, to understand why the majority of my content concerns a photo or video I make for their entertainment. At the end of this post I will include another video from the Adventures of Wayne.
I hope you enjoy this modified version of the essay I wrote while in prison and used to reach beyond the walls, bars, and fences, lined with rows of razor wire, which held my body but could not bind my mind.
Reading this may help you understand my fascination with taking photos to post online and why I am quick to post images of nature and the natural beauty of God’s creation. I’m grateful for my eyesight:
EYES by Wayne T. Dowdy (excerpt from Essays & More Straight from the Pen).
Seeing the beauty of God’s creation thrills me because I realize how fortunate I am to do so. This story will help you understand why I feel that way.
The sun shined brightly on the day my older brother, Stanley, came home from school with a bright idea that he had formulated from something taught in his science class: recharge a penlight battery with a twelve-volt car battery. I think I was about six-years-old. He was close to eleven.
My mother or dad had left the car battery sitting on the carport. Time has erased my memory of exactly what I was doing when he summoned me to assist him.
“Come here,” he yelled.
In one hand he held two wire coat hangers; in his other one was a double “A” battery, the ones like you might put in a radio, clock, or small flashlight. He had straightened the coat hangers to use as leads: one to make the connection between the negative post of the 12-volt battery and the negative post of the AA, and the other one for connecting the positive sides of each battery.
When I got to where he stood on the carport, he said, “Take this, “and then handed me one of the straightened coat hangers.
He laid down his coat hanger and the AA battery to free his hands as he wrapped the end of my coat hanger around one 12 volt post. Then he wrapped the end of his coat hanger on the opposite post. “Now,” he said, “hold this tight,” having me to grasp one end of the AA to hold to the coat hanger. “When I say let go, you let go. Okay?”
I nodded in agreement. I held the coat hanger tight to the end of the AA as instructed, always wanting to impress my big brother. I watched him hold the end of his coat hanger to the opposite 12-volt post. And then he touched the AA with the opposite end of the coat hanger. My fingers burned instantly from the heat of the coat hanger and AA. “Let it–,” he said. BOOM!
The AA battery exploded before he completed his instruction. Particles of the battery struck both corneas of my eyes. I screamed, blinded by tears, eyes on fire.
Stanley grabbed me by the arm and led me to the water hose attached to the spigot on the front of our brick house. He sprayed my eyes with water.
“What have you did to that baby?” my grandmother yelled, accustomed to me and him fighting on a daily basis; me getting beat up, usually, though, I did sometimes win when using a weapon. More stories.
My grandmother made him bring me to her for examination. She was in poor health and unable to hurry to me. After inspecting my face and learning about what had happened, she yelled for my sister, Brenda.
“Get the mineral oil and pour some in his eyes,” she said.
My Mother was en route from work when the incident occurred. It was about time for her to get home, so they waited for her to arrive. As soon as she pulled in the driveway, someone ran and told her what had happened. She put me in her station wagon and then rushed me to the Emergency Room at the hospital that was about ten miles away.
The doctor examined me as he used a solution to rinse my eyes. His diagnosis was external damage to the cornea and surrounding tissue, from particles of sulfuric acid and fragments from the battery casing. The prognosis was that I would be okay, to keep putting eye drops in my eyes for the next few days to prevent any infection.
The doctor said to my mother, “If y’all had not put the mineral oil in his eyes, he would have been totally blind by the time you got him here.”
Mineral oil neutralizes acid, whereas water only dilutes it. Diluted sulfuric acid eats flesh and tissue; especially, the tender tissue of a child’s eye.
Ironically, for many years my vision was better than 20/20. I could see two lines below the 20/20 line, which isn’t true today, almost fifty years later. However, my eyes still allow me to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, without glasses, except for reading.
I had written the above and thought this was ready for submission until I returned from the library to the cellblock where I live as a federal prisoner. Two chain link fences surround the compound, layered and lined with razor wire; several coiled rolls strung in-between the two. Back inside, I looked out the window and saw two mockingbirds fighting inside the compound, flipping and flopping on the ground. Seconds later, one took off and zoomed through a square in the chain link fence, then weaved between strands of coiled razor wire in-between the fences. Then it flew back and forth through squares in the fence closest to me; the other mockingbird hot on its tail. I watched the chase until both birds disappeared down the fence row.
Then I watched a gaggle of geese walk on the other side of the fence; some honking and flapping their wings. Two pair of geese escorted seven goslings, two adults in the front, two in the rear, protecting their offspring from other geese in the procession. I thoroughly enjoyed watching both events and knew I had not finished writing this story.
My feeling was confirmed later. It’s rare to look out the window and see deer. That night I watched six of them graze. I also have a fascination with great blue herons. The next evening I watched for maybe three minutes as one flew outside the fence and then across the compound, right above where I stood amazed.
After those events, I knew I had to write more. When I stand and admire the beauty of the trees and nature, beyond my reach, but within my sight, I feel grateful for having had a grandmother who told my sister to pour the mineral oil in my eyes. I know I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe the beauty of God’s creation for all these years.
Moving slowly back into society, one day at a time. Nine months ago today, I walked out of federal prison after having served thirty-years and ten-days.
Today was a hot one that I was happy to enjoy as a free man, physically able to walk around, alone, without assistance, and without chains dangling from my wrists and ankles.
Before leaving a Twelve Step meeting today, I shared with a man I sponsor that, when I find myself disgruntled about my circumstances, I try to meditate on my favorite saying: “I complained of having no shoes until I met a man with no feet.” Then I become grateful for what I have and stop complaining about what I don’t have but want. I have all I need to survive, so Life Is Great!
Do people who commit or do not commit crimes, make their choices based on moral or legal principles? Karma helped me decide the answer for myself.
The logical conclusion for why other people do or do not commit crimes is a little or a lot of both (for moral and legal reasons).
I can only share from my perspective, as no one can honestly say why another person did or did not do something, unless told by that person, and then it is debatable because the truth may remain hidden, even from the spokesperson. The easiest one to lie to is ourselves.
Having committed several crimes and going to prison for them, and not committing any crimes today, I live this way because I got tired of Karma abusing me, and because I learned to treat others the way I want to be treated.
I do not want someone stealing from me or from my friends and loved ones.
I do not want anyone committing unwanted sexual acts against me or my friends and loved ones.
I do not want someone harming me or my friends and loved ones, in any form or manner.
I do not want to suffer the consequences of my actions, so I let my actions fall within the parameters of what is legal and ethical.
I live within the boundaries of a defined set of principles and concepts of what is moral (ethical) and just.
The laws (spiritual and legal), affect where the boundaries were drawn and affects my decision to stay within the established boundaries, whether I agree or disagree with what the law states.
I changed my life because of Karma, after being in prison for seven years (twenty-three years before my release).
For the first seven years, I continued living my life the way I had lived before being sentenced to prison. I committed crimes within the prison setting. Being crafty, I got away with a lot of things that could have put me in the hole (locked inside a small cell for 23-hours per day), for a long time.
What I could not escape was the penalties imposed by Karma, so I changed my evil, wicked-ways and learned to live a more righteous life to yield better results. Now Karma and I get along well.
Man’s laws and penalties had nothing to do with my desire to change my life and to stop committing crimes.
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