Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31 2016

I'm sorry if any of you feel I just write this diary to whine.  I am using this diary to process what I'm going through in trying to quit my adrenaline addiction into a life of balance, and there's a lot of negative stuff I might share.  I won't slam anybody else, if I can help it, but my frustrations will certainly come out.  Please be patient with me.

If you want me to be funny, go on my Facebook timeline.  I'm funny half the time there. :)

Today, my frustrations have to do with the kind of work I do.  I just want to help the homeless, to build community, to establish a safe place for them.  But there have been threats and complaints from every side.  The church we share the facility with want to keep animals and sleeping out of the church building so that the sanctuary can be kept "holy."  We let them know that "holiness" for us is loving and that welcoming those with dogs they can't put anywhere else and offering sleep for those in danger and having no place to sleep is how we practice holiness.  That doesn't matter to them.

Nor does it matter to the denomination who owns the property.  They want us to disallow sleeping and to disallow animals in the building, and I said that I cannot act as a police officer for arbitrary rules.  If someone is coming from the hospital and needs a place to sleep, I will give it to them.  If someone with a baby needs a place to sleep I will give it to them.  Even if it means that I lose use of the property.

That sounds pretty harsh of me, from one side.  Narrow minded, at least.  After all, I'm threatening the use of the building for hundreds for the sake of a few.  But from my perspective, they are forcing me to be the person who James and John said not to be.  They say that to display my faith, my love of God, I have to take what I have and offer it to the person who needs it.  Perhaps I don't own the property, but no one else is there.  Why shouldn't they sleep overnight in the warm instead of being sick or having their baby outside in the cold, where they are in danger of their lives?

Of course, there's the neighbor across the street who is constantly complaining to the city and the code department who threaten us with fines and the police department who blames me for all the poor in Gresham, or so I hear.

I see the managing of a building to be a great burden, perhaps one that I cannot bear.  Perhaps it is time for my church to give up use of the building as long as people are requiring that I follow rules that I should not follow.  Perhaps I should just find ways to support the poor otherwise.  Managing this building for the last five years has been great for the homeless community.  And it really has caused me to grow, as well as causing my health to fail.

But I am interested in following Jesus.  I am interested in obeying love, not rules.  If saving people's lives is against the law, against the rules of the church, then I will break those rules.  If helping the sick and an infant is against the law, then throw me in jail.  If the denomination wants to cast out three congregations from a place to worship, and hundreds of homeless from their home that they have slept on, worked on and grown food on, I don't see that as my responsibility.  I must follow the dictates of the Spirit who tells me to love.



Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016-- Relapse and Withdrawl

So for years I've been functioning on a combination of adrenaline and testosterone.  I accomplished things that normal human beings can't typically accomplish-- forming a community from the homeless, establishing eight churches, counselling thousands of people in severe trauma in their lives.  But I am just a normal human being, but I was able to tap into a deeper well of adrenaline than most people do to accomplish more difficult tasks.

This is commonly known as drug addiction.  Sure, it's a drug that my body creates itself (although I used testosterone to enhance it for a number of years), but its still a drug.  And my body uses it like a drug.

So the last couple months have been a tremendous amount of work.  I needed to establish a new system of support for the overnight shelters, and fast, for wind, ice and snow hit our region early.  I both opened up more day shelters, which I usually ran myself, and pulled in people to organize night shelters, because in my undrugged state, I couldn't do it anymore.

Then I visited a new homeless camp, where about fifty people were going to be thrown out in the middle of the worst weather of the year.  At that moment, I reached into my deeper well of adrenaline and found greater reserves in order to help these folks.  I helped them create an organization, I worked with the mayors office and now they have a new camp, organized and settled peacefully.

I spent two months in this higher adrenaline state. Then I got sick.
It was just a cold, but my immune system was down from my drugged state and from spending a lot of time in the cold and wet (being outside a lot and because one of my house heat source was broken).  The cold turned into bronchitis, and I got really sick.  

So I had to slow down and rest.  This caused my adrenaline to reduce.  Which caused my body to go through withdrawals.

I'm a drug addict, and like any drug addict, I have to recognize that going back on my drug has consequences.  I feel good about the work I accomplished.  But now, I'm sick with headaches and coughing (for a month) and exhaustion.  It's the cost of doing too much, of going back on the adrenaline.  I'm okay with that, although the people around me may not be.

Again, the goal is balance.  The last two months I had no balance.  I need to return to the old pattern.  I'll get there. Winters working with the homeless are always going to be hard, though.  I will have a hard time not to go back to using adrenaline in order to save lives.  Frankly, the temporary cost to my body is worth the work I did.