Thursday, November 12, 2009

Respect, Join, Fight

Lots of people always say that everyone has their purpose and the one thing that they were meant for. Most of the time its finding that purpose that's the problem but then even after you find that finding what you're supposed to do with that is a whole different ball game. I've been alive for 29 years now and I still can't tell you what I'm meant for. I can tell you that I have been given clues and I have ideas and that every day that goes by I learn just a little bit more of who I am. It's a process -- and I don't think it ends until life it's self ends. Of course, a few weeks ago I went home to PA for my great grandmother's funeral and I have to wonder that in the 109 years that she lived if she knew what her purpose was or if she really just lived her purpose without even knowing it. Personally, I think most people do just that -- and there isn't anything wrong with that.

If you look at any sports team you'll see different players serving a different purpose. They all have their position or their task. The greatest football player may just be the one that never gets a touchdown. Actually, there is no such thing as the greatest football player which is why it wasn't Ben Roethlisberger that won the Lombardi but the Steelers. Sure we have MVPs and awards that honor individual players but I don't think anyone will argue that the greatest award in the NFL is winning the Super Bowl. In a player's life they will go through many different positions and sometimes it'll take years and years for them to find their place and it'll happen by their coaches and team mates seeing something in them that would be great for another position other than what they may be in at any given moment. In fact, it's rarely the person that finds their place in anything but those around them.

I just finished watching an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger -- specifically Evil in the Night -- which made me again realize one component of me that defines who I am and what it is that excites me. Quite simply it is multiple people and organizations joining together for a common fight. If you asked any person what the most exciting part of that episode was I can all but guarantee that not a single person would tell you the same answer as I would. The part of this episode that got me most excited is when Ranger Trivette decided that the elders of the tribe needed to have a ceremony over an ancient burial ground that was disturbed in order to help Ranger Walker. The next scene was a van with the elders following Ranger Trivette in his truck with his red light flashing -- it was that scene that excited me the most. There is a lot to be said about that scene and more than most people probably even thought of.

This episode started out with the talk of ghosts and demons and Ranger Trivette really didn't buy any of it. As time went on he started to warm up to the idea but I doubt that he ever really understood or possibly even fully believed that evil spirits were being used in the attacks that happened in this episode. In order for my favorite scene to happen there was a very serious thing that needed to take place and that was simply that Trivette needed to respect the beliefs of the native americans regardless of whether he believed them or not. Aside from the respect there was another major component that had to happen and that was two groups that really don't always see eye to eye needed to join together and totally cooperate. The Native Americans could have easily said "these are the people that took our land" or refused to take part in easing the spirits of the souls of those buried in the burial ground that was disturbed in order to build a new building that had nothing to do with them -- but they didn't. They realized that people were in danger and that there was something that needed to be done for the good of everyone and they gladly went with Trivette.

All of us have our enemies individually but then we have our enemies that oppose the groups that we are in. I know I personally have a hard time with some people at the fire hall and in many cases it's better to avoid those people but if the call comes in and its down to me and those people we all have to put things aside and realize that our enemy as a group at that moment in time is the fire or the mangled car holding someone inside and we need to defeat that enemy as our major priority. It may not always be easy but I try. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to put aside your seniority or your rank and realize that everyone needs to learn from everyone and join together for the common good. On a larger scale one thing that I think is awesome is that when we're driving our ambulance or engine out of town and a police cruiser is sitting waiting for speeders that officer will often flash their lights at us to say hi and we'll do the same -- despite all the talk about the police dept did this or the fire dept did this we realize and recognize in that moment that we are on the same team regardless of our differences. When Joey and I arrived first on the scene to the accident where the 16 year old girl got hit by the drunk driver we went to work and we did what we knew best to do and as more engines arrived each person took their part in doing what needed to be done. We also had sheriff's deputies and state troopers on the scene and there wasn't any fights about jurisdiction -- it was people getting done what needed to be done. The officers handled the issues with the drunk driver and the fire department was there to help while the firefighters handled the scene and officers were there to help and the EMTs did their part and I still held c-spine on the girl even tho I'm a firefighter and not an EMT. Everyone doing their part is what took care of that scared girl and got the guy in jail that needed to be in jail.

It's really sad that you don't hear about these things and mostly don't see them anymore. And I don't just mean in the fire service, the NFL, or any other organization but in each person's personal life. We see Virginia license plates that say "Fight Terrorism" on a car that cuts off numerous people in order to save a few seconds of their commute. Instead of joining together to be prepared for what may happen we disrespect others and ignore the fact that others could use our help and genuine advice until disaster strikes and, only then, do we pull together.

As humans we all need to realized that it is a crucial part of our survival to respect each person and let them do what they believe they are meant to do and to help them, and allow others to help us, realize what our place in life is. Once we start respecting each other and start learning about each other then we can join together and fight the common enemy rather than arguing amongst ourselves. Without respect we can't join and without joining we can't win.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Nagging Wife

When you hear so many men talk about their wives you generally hear a reference to her nagging. Its so often about the "nagging wife" that all of the good stuff is hidden. Our distorted views of reality are so hard to overcome and it gets worse and worse with every passing moment.

For me, one of the things that I want more than anything is a wife and kids to love but anytime I mention it I generally end up hearing about how I don't want to get married and how my life is over when I do.... and it goes on from there. I suppose it's possible that I'm just a single guy and there is no way that I could ever begin to understand but I tend to think the problem is not with me. We think that everything is supposed to be just perfect and we have the right to get angry when things are not perfect but the reality is perfection is boring. If everything was perfect, there would be no excitement.

Let me tell you about my life. I own my own house and I run my own business and I have no one to tell me what to do. I do what I want when I want. I have the life that most people dream of having but like almost anything that anyone dreams of there is no reality mixed in with that dream. When people find out that I run my own business and I own my own house they think that I must be the happiest person in the world, however, reality is that it's not the case. In fact, there are so many times that I seriously debate looking for a job and giving up this self-employed thing. People fail to see that things like health insurance are luxuries to the self-employed and that is just one of the many things that someone with a job takes for granted. I live alone and I don't have anyone nagging me and therefore, I must be happy. Reality there is that part of the reason I want to get married is to have someone that will keep me in check. If you walk into my house right now you'll likely be crawling over stuff. While I have free reign over my house I lack any kind of motivation -- and that's a disaster for me and I'm sure many other people as well. To top that off, I have no set time that I need to be at work. There is no structure and to make it even worse, with the way my business is set up, set schedules would be tough to do. It sounds great to be able to wake up and decide to sleep in if you still feel tired but, again, there is no motivation. Why should I rush to get myself up and moving when I can go to the data center when I want? The problem is the sun starts setting and I'm still in bed. And people laugh at me. Oh they laugh. Everyone seems to think that if they were in my position they could do it so much better than me. Some might. Of course, it is true that the grass really might be greener on the other side.

The problem just might be that we're all losing sight of structure. We've seen the checks and balances disappear from our government and we see the mess that has been created along with so many other examples. In the movie "The Matrix", the agent explains to Neo that the first version of the matrix was programmed to be a perfect world but the humans couldn't deal with that. We can't. We really can't. A big reason of this is the concept of ying and yang. How can something be good if we don't first know what bad is? Even if there is a constant hum of something in your house you stop hearing and acknowledging it after some time but if you have something that constantly makes a different noise, you'll never get used to that. I guess maybe that's the true definition of a "boring life"?

As a society we need to start looking at some of the negative things as good things. No one wants to see the bad things or to deal with pain in so many situations but we really need to start respecting those bad things as something that will make us a better person and help us live a better life. I'm pretty sure this is a big part of why God created Eve. God said that Adam needed a helper and I think that became true when God gave us our own free will. We make a mess out of it but at least if there is more than one person working together there is a much better chance of things staying in check so please stop looking at your wives as just someone who nags you but, rather, realize that she is a gift from God to help you -- even when it doesn't feel like it.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Friday, October 17, 2008

Unconformed Rebels

Ok, I'll admit it. I watch Nascar sometimes hoping to see a good wreck.... Who wins? Well, thats not that much of a concern to me. There is at least a little bit of this person in everyone. Have you ever wondered why? What makes a Nascar wreck so interesting? I think there are actually a few different things that come into play.

The first and foremost is that in most cases no one is seriously injured. This is a primary reason why someone who sees a wreck happen in front of them on the interstate will have nightmares about it and yet that same person loves the carnage of a Nascar wreck. This will, of course, vary between person on how the respond but at a very base level there is a part of every one of us that has a huge respect for other human beings and care about their well-being. I don't think that in today's age we make that very evident because there are so many things in our enviornment that lead us in a different direction than what our base selves are trying to be but I'll touch on that a little later.

The second thing that is extremely important is that it is totally unexpected. Did you ever wonder why a wreck seems so much more exciting when you're watching the entire race as opposed to just seeing a clip of the wreck it's self? It's the element of surprise. If someone is showing you a clip of a wreck then you are expecting it.... but if you're watching the race and it happens live, it's unexpected and it's just that much more exciting.

The third important thing is that it's a break from the norm. If you look at a typical Nascar race, all of the cars race around a track 200 some laps. It's the same thing over and over again and why there are a lot of people that just simply can't stand watching Nascar. Some people take notice of the details of that race regarding who is in what position and they may know stats of who is expected to win and it's exciting to them when they see someone else taking the lead -- the more unexpected that person is to take the lead, the more exciting the race is. A wreck is the ultimate break from the norm.... instead of cars going around laps on all 4 tires, suddenly, it's different... things going in different directions.... We are designed to break from the norm so when other things break from the norm, well, then we almost "relate".

So we relate to chaos? Actually, I think we do in a very abstract way. Why are horror movies so popular? Thrillers? Comedies? Drama? Did you ever stop and realize that every single one of these genres of movies have a very important element -- the element of surprise. Why is it that Drama tends to be a less "popular" genre of movie? If you think about the typical genre, there isn't always a lot of surprise. There's the boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl get married.... we except these things to happen. A good drama is hard to build because dramas all tend to be based on the same thing and it's hard to integrate these unexpected things.... that's why we've started seeing so many more "romantic comedies" ... We just can't simply have the same romance films and be entertained and the best way to mix in unexpected happenings is with comedy. That's really all comedy is.... something that is unexpected.

Since I have been working on my TV system (MythTV / LinuxMCE) I have started relaxing more with and ended up starting to watch Fringe. This show has gained a lot of popularity and its not hard to see why.... the confusion, the thinking, the mystery.... these are concepts that our lives were designed around. Fringe has made me realize a lot of additional things than just these elements.... things that may exist in me and not many others.

When I was a kid I had a matchbox city set. It was a little town that folded up and had streets, police department, fire department, some stores, hospital, etc. I remember it being entertaining to me to cause accidents between cars on the streets... sure, every boy did. The more I have been thinking about how my life has been going and the directions God seems to lead me in I'm starting to remember something very interesting that I used to do when I played with that town. When an accident occured I would, of course, bring in the fire truck and police car.... but I always did something interesting.... I would build temporary roadways and find ways of directing traffic around that accident. For me, it wasn't so much the accident it's self that was exciting but it was trying to find a way around that accident.... how can it be taken care of?

Now, I don't think you'll run in to many people that could say they built temporary roadways on their matchbox playset. I guess you really don't meet many people like me either. I remember looking around my room and finding things that I could use to build roads with.... I'd often use paper and cardboard and every kind of tape you'd imagine... straws were useful... The thing was, I always needed to look at what options I had and use them the best way I knew how. Hey, I was a kid that couldn't drive and had no money so was I going to go to the store to buy something? Not a chance. I was forced to use what I had instead of taking the easy way out and getting what was needed.... and I had a lot more fun in doing that anyway.

So what is it that is happening in our society? If you look at corporations that grow larger and larger you'll notice a general trend.... those companies lose their creativity.... they get comfortable.... they grow bored. Oh... they get greedy too. Is it all greed? Well, maybe not. I can imagine if I was an accountant I'd probably get bored of the same thing over and over again... there is that part of me that wants to think and be creative.... but I've got people holding my hand and watching everything I do... so the creativity has to happen in secret.... all of a sudden it's "Can I actually get away with this?" more than it is "I really want to have that money"..... Don't get me wrong, money is driving a lot of disaster but what is the motive to do wrong to get it? Quite possibly it's the lack of creativity.

We, as humans, were created into uncertainty. You can see this in watching a child grow up. Everything is amazing to them.... we're not sure of much at all when we are born.... but we learn..... The problem is how we learn. Are we told "this is the way things are" or are we guided through our experiences and left to figure out things on our own? If you talk to any child psychologist they will likely tell you that you need to give your child options and ask them what they'd like to do rather than tell them what to do.... it's important in their growth. But while the child psychologists have this it seems a lot of parents don't.... most of that is out of frustration..... you want your child to do something because you need a break...... Another place that you start seeing this "do it this way" is in the school systems. I remember in middle school math being told to show my math. There were many times on a test that I lost points not becuase I didnt have the right answer but because I didn't show how I came to that answer. The more I think about this, I wonder if this is why I hate math so much. I remember that I used to love trying to figure out equations but anymore, I can't stand it. It kind of makes me wonder if that's part of the reason my math scores started dropping.... I had my way of doing it.... I figured it out for myself.... but I was punished because I didn't do it the way the school system said I needed to.... It seems to get worse in college.... there is such an emphasis of the way things are that they really no longer cultivate the creativity that we need in order to go beyond where we are now.

We go through our lives in social situations. We're taught what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.... and every single one of us is deadened to at least some extent. If we are raised in a family that is prejudice then we have a greater tendancy of being prejudice as well because, well, we're taught that this is the way it is. We don't have a change to realize that a black person can be extremely smart and that they are just like a white person.... these are things that "any idiot" can figure out.... but we're learning based on what we are told first and then we'll figure out what we're not told.... this, my friends, is why laziness is such a bad thing. We're so lazy that we will take anyone's word on any situaiton rather than looking in to that ourselves.

Take a moment to think of the stereo typical things that you are taught. What child has not heard "when you grow up and make lots of money....." You see, its comments like that that flat out tell us that money is important to our happiness. We stop taking the time to figure out other things in life because our entire world revolves around money that we are essentially told that this is the way it is.... the longer that goes on the more focused we become.... We see the patterns that have made many businesses lots of money and we take those as being told how to do things -- rather than figure out a new way on our own. Then we see businesses making these same moves and even when they are totally wrong us consumers go "well, hey, they are a business".... This horrible cycle repeats it's self. Sadly, that pattern gets worse each time it repeats it.

As a result of these processes and cycles we are not given the chance to figure out who we really are... from the time we are born we are surrounded by this world that is showing us everything the way that it wants to be and because of our internal laziness, we don't take the time to figure it out. We quickly lose who we are as humans and we become part of the problem. If we decided to think on our own we become a "rebel" or told that we just live in a dream world and, in many cases *ahem*, we end up in mental care because we're not conforming to the world is. All of this happens while the world continues to decide that communism is bad. Whether our government is communistic or not we live our lives in such a horrible hippocritical way and we show our own little communism to anyone who doesn't conform to our standards.

I believe that the only way to really save our nation and our world is to break free of the comformity. We need to quit thinking that throwing money at the economy is going to solve the problems. We need to believe that some crazy ideas might actually be the solution..... And maybe we just might need to think about the person that we wrote off our entire life as being totally crazy and psychotic might actually be the uncomformed rebel that we need to help all of us find ourselves.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Improvising Life

I find it a very interesting thing that the root of any kind of Improv group is this concept of agreement. Tonight I listened to the first part of "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell which is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone. A chapter covered an improv group in a lot of detail and used many examples of this agreement concept. While the outsider believes that improv is pure chaos there are actually some very important rules of conduct that are vital to sucess. The most important of these is that you can not turn down anything that is suggested. The example used in the book was a skit where a doctor and paitient were discussing a problem with his arm. The paitient said "you can't amputate it. I'm rather attached to it" and in the next line the idea was shot down and the skit abruptly ended. The basic reason for this is that there is a need for a smooth flow of ideas and improv is constantly working with what you got and when your in a live performance you simply can not take something back. It is crucial to go with the flow and to build upon what was done and let the ideas of each person involved in a skit to flow uninterupted. This is a very small description of the rule of agreement.

Recently I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine that scared me in that I saw so much of myself in this person from a dark time of my life and I realized that the majority of the things this person had been doing that upset me were completely justified in their mind and in the same state of mind I would have responded much the same way. Perhaps scared isn't the proper word but startled would be a better description of the way I felt. Realizing that this friend of mine has been trapped in a position with their hands tied and not being able to do what they believed they needed to do and then thinking about the situations that I went through 4-5 years ago in my life made me realize the similarities were overwhelming and realized that, while things did need to change, I could not fault this person for the reactions they had to many different things. This added to the desire to understand what it was that made me better a little over 3 years ago which I explained in an earlier blog. I think this concept of agreement helped answer at least a small portion of that.

At the end of 2004 I was undergoing some different treatments through Western Psychiatric in Pittsburgh, PA. On of these was a program that was based upon the research of Marsha Linehan. Just a few days ago I was reminded of her concepts from a podcast that I listened to, Wise Counsel. Listening to the interview was very interesting for me because this was looking at what I went through as a paitient from the eyes of the psychologist and the concepts became a lot more real to me. The most important concepts in the program I went through was "it is what it is".... The example that I remember the clearest was the story of a boy on a bike who is going down a hill and is out of control. At the bottom of this hill is a very busy intersection and, ultimately, the boy runs into the intersection and is killed. The typical response that everyone has is "that shouldn't have happened" but, in reality, yes it should have. It's not to take light the tragedy that occured because it is devestating. The reason why you can't say that it shouldn't have happened is because of the events that led up to it. The stage was set and it was ultimately what had to happen. Realizing this reduces a lot of stress and anxiety we place on ourselves. If we do not accept the fact that this had to happen because the events led to it then we find ourselves trying to explain why they happened and we start blaming people while our another part of our brain is trying to scream to us that it is not their fault. We don't make anything better when we can not accept what happened and what events led to that. We can look to the future and possibly prevent it from happening again but the bottom line is that what happened is what happened -- it is what it is. It wasn't until I listened to the podcast that I realized that there is an entire field of "acceptance therapy". What is interesting about Linehan's work is that it takes a slightly different approach in that it mixes acceptance therapy with adding some possibility of change but only after you accept that you can't change the past. This is a little deeper than I need to go in to right now so let's just leave it at acceptance therapy.

When I was about 16 it seems that a long series of events happened that really pushed me into situations that I could not control and what made it worse was that many of these were things that were absolutely not fair. Not to take lightly the fact that I made mistakes there were situations where people acted more immature than what I did in response to my immaturity. My life started to go downhill a little more with each step because my motivation was to change that which occured and convince these people of their immaturity. I spiraled more and more out of control because these were just simply situations that could not be changed or improved upon -- the problem was that I didn't know this, or at least I didn't want to know this. I became more and more incapable of accepting things as they were and moving forward regardless. This entire phase of my life is an almost carbon copy of the concepts involved in my friend's current struggles.

So what was it that changed me? Was it this program I went through? Not eactly. Actually, I still don't know but I think the concepts that I learned in the program that I went through were a vital part in whatever it was that made me better. More so, I think other concepts that have already been brought up in the book, "Blink", play a vital role. There was a huge need for my unconscious to be retrained. It was important for me to accept the things that had happened, no matter how horrible they were, and to continue the flow of life. I had to improvise. Its interesting to find that acceptance therapy is becomming well known as a highly effective therapy and I don't think its a huge leap to understand why.

Its interesting that all of these improv comedy groups have had the answer all along. Never deny the fact of something that happened and agree with the other people involved and move forward and build off of each other's ideas. Everything stated in an improv skit needs to be used as a springboard for more thoughts and, in the same way, everything that happens to us in our lives needs to be used as a springboard for the rest of our lives. No matter how bad something was that happened to us we need to accept the fact that it happened to us and we need to move forward. Bad things are going to happen to us and bad people are going to hurt us but if we can not move past that and we obsess on "getting even" it isn't that other person's life that we hurt but, rather, it is our own life that we hurt because we are failing to progress. We refuse to agree that the events that led up to the negative event that harmed us had to end that way and, thus, we hold ourselves back because we are trying to change events that, well, had to happen. The most important part of all of this is to realize that accepting that events happened does not mean we accept that they were right. We need to accept that it is what it is and to move forward from there. If we don't agree then we end up killing this amazing improv show that is called -- life.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Be there for someone, no matter what

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. --Galatians 6:2

It's often hard to understand what it is that we are accomplishing and I think many leave this life without knowing half of the good that they have done. My 2nd cousin's wife, Becca, had a long fight with cancer and it ended last week when God took her home. She grew up in the same church that we grew up in. I didn't know her like a close friend but we did, of course, know each other. She always was an understanding person and someone that you just wanted to be around. It's quite possible that no one knew just how great of a person she was until last week.

Last night I called my mom to let her know what was going on with me and with my friend who has been dealing with this horrible custody battle and harassment from her ex. It was supposed to just be talking but I ended up in tears at least 3 times. It's a really hard thing when you know you're supposed to be somewhere, and you actually are there, but you just simply don't know how much of the pressure you can take. My mom and I ended up talking about various different things and she told me about Becca's funeral. My mom said that at at least one of the viewings people were lined up the street about 5 blocks.... I'm not talking about cars but people standing in line to go into the funeral home. My mom said that the service was one of the longest she had ever been to because when they asked if anyone had anything to say or share person after person stood up and explained how Becca impacted their life. You have to wonder how much of this Becca actually knew about.

It's continually hard to stay focused on doing good and trying your best to be a good person and being there for others. When these people are hard to deal with thats when they need you the most because everyone else will start giving up. Another thing that my mom and I talked about last night was how years ago I was the person that no one could deal with. I still think back over that time and I realize how much pain I put Tiff through. Sure, Tiff had her problems too but the way that she stood by me in times that I would have shot me had to be extremely tough on her. Ultimately, I don't know if she realizes how much she helped me. I wonder if she realizes that what I was going through was an important thing for me to experience because I believe God was preparing me to help others. I wonder if she knows that it's highly possible that an adorable 2 year old has been powerfully affected by her indirectly. All these people that helped me along the way -- do they realize that I may be impacting people's lives that I wouldn't have been able to if they didn't deal with me. My mom told me how years ago she would read my blog at night and just cry and realize that there was nothing more she could do than pray.... I have to think that in a way my parents are like Abraham and Sarah.... My mom loves kids but she still doesn't have any grandkids. Things just haven't been going in that direction for myself and my sisters.... I guess my youngest sister is the closest since she's getting married soon but sometimes if we focus on what we don't have we totaly lose sight of what we do. If my mom focuses on the fact that she doesn't have grandkids then she misses the fact that, because of her, hundreds of kids are being affected positively. Both my sisters are gymnastics coaches and they impact the lives of toddlers through teens about every day of their lives. One of those sisters is a special education techer in elementary school.... So maybe I don't have a job that is impacting hundreds of children but what I do have is a great friend who has an adorable 2 year old who I adore and she adores me..... and while I miss Eli greatly, I like to think that I did some good in his life..... and the brushings that I have with my other friends that are single mothers.... It's my hope that I have at least been some type of a positive impact on a child's life.

The hardest things that happen are almost always the things that make the biggest impact. More often than not we don't know the impact that we are making but its important that we keep making that impact because we may end up being remembered for more than one generation as "the person who really was there for me" .... or "there for my dad" ... or "there for my grandpap" ......

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dealing with tough times? Don't place blame!

I think lots of us have these little defining moments in our lives (especially from childhood/teen years) that direct us in a different direction whether we realize it or not and something from that moment sticks with you your entire life. One such moment in my life was in 10th grade when we had a substitute teacher. Not just any substitute but the infamous Mrs. Stewart.... she was probably the most abused substitute but mostly because of her own doing, I think. We got nothing accomplished in that class except I made a perfect paper airplane and sucessfully delivered it to her.... by express air, of course. This landed me in the principal's office which, actually, is the ultimate goal of just about everyone in a class that she is subbing for so this wasn't a punishment but a reward and when I went into the office and they asked who the teacher was they just kind of laughed and said "go ahead and sit over there" .... the office staff knew this was the goal and they, at least seemingly, understood.

There wasn't much to do in the office but listen to the secretaries talk. They started talking about a student (cant remember his name) who was just always extremely polite and caring about people. One secretary said "With all that he has been through it is simply amazing that he is the person he is".... I realized something very important then but I didn't really take it to heart until just a few years ago after I realized that my mistakes with Tiffany were related to the opposite of what this person was doing. Right now I am in a situation where I am watching someone go through the same type of struggle and failing at it the same way that I always did -- a way that this kid in high school learned very early to avoid.

There is no secret that some of us have more pain than others and there are various reasons for why this is the case. We don't know the reasons and we may never know. Another thing that is certain is that there will always be someone there to care for us.... for some people it may only be a single person while others have an entire army. Again, we don't know the reason for this. Regardless of how many people care it is important on how you handle your attitude toward the negative situations that are in your life. The way you RESPOND to a situation means a whole heck of a lot more than WHAT the situation is.

I have had a lot of emotional pain in my life. A lot of it was self-inflicted, I'm sure but there was a good portion of it that was completely out of my control. The reality is that I deal with the same approximate amount of pain now than I did 5 years ago but yet I am handling life a lot better now than back then. I find myself trying to process what it was that changed. Where was the defining moment that my life "got better" even tho I have always been dealing with the same stupid crap that seems to happen in my life. I don't have the answer to this. I know there are a lot of things that happened right around the same time like moving to Virginia, getting a new job, being treated for ADD, etc..... I don't, however, think that these were the biggest influence on things. It leaves me still asking the question of what happened that made things better and what is it that I can do to help someone thats feeling the same way through their time of pain and help them deal with it..... Unfortunately all that I'm learning (first hand) is how much pain that I must have put so many people through during that time. The only thing that I'm leaning towards is that there really isn't anything you can do to help people in this scenario because its something that they need to figure out themselves -- as much as I'd like to be able to fix it for them.

What I've been noticing recently is how much guilt plays a role in the way people operate now. Even looking at the way people drive in Northern VA shows a subtle guilt motivated attitude. If someone pulls out in front of you your instinct is to tailgate them. Justice isn't really being done but I think a hidden motivator is to make sure the person in front of you knows that they screwed up and to make them feel guilty. We're also getting better and better at being a dickhead underneath a calm and collected "its ok" ..... Phrases like "oh, that's ok. It's not like I really cared about the fact that you hit my car and now my family has no way to get around" .... Again, it's the guilt card being played. I think the same type of thought holds true in situations where people are going through an extremely tough time.

Let's, for example, say you called "Joe's Car Shack" about a problem with a car that you bought from them. This car dealership typically has about 600 cars in it's lot and you get the image of a large car dealership. Someone named Joe answers the phone and tells you that he just isn't able to help you.... as a result, you get pissed off and think you're just being bullied by some big car dealership. You hang up the phone but a week later someone tells you about how this guy who runs a car dealership by himself just lost his entire family in a house fire and he's on the verge of bankruptcy. Suddenly, you feel a lot different about the scenario and when he calls you back a few days later and tells you that he actually found a way to help you out, you are completely amazed by the fact that he actually did keep working on a way to take care of his customer despite everything that had been going on in his life. Sure, Joe could have told you all of that on the phone but if he told you all of that, how would you really respond? I imagine not too well.

The problem with being in horrible situations is that we naturally want to tell the world how bad things suck for us right now and basically tell the world to back off because you can't deal with it. What happens when we let this surface is we become tagged as a complainer and/or someone that just simply can not deal with life. The most important thing that we can do in these times where everything is going wrong is accept the fact that there is no one, including ourselves, that can do anything to change the scenario and focus on what is going on in other's lives. If you take the time to find out what is going on in someone else's life rather than complain about your own you very often will find out that you are not alone and you'll find yourself in a conversation that goes both ways and your story gets shared in a positive way because its a two way conversation rather than a one way complaint. What ends up happening is that person that your talking to may talk to someone else and tell them that its amazing how well you're holding things together despite all the crap you are going through. This process may continue and you'll find that you end up with a lot of people that respect you in ways that you never imagined they could but the important thing is that you don't complain about the situation your in because these people have seen you in a light where you are bigger and more powerful than your problems -- which is really the way that we all want to be seen.

Of course none of this directly makes the pain any better but, I suggest, what it does do is prevent a good amount of extra pain being dumped on top of you. Eventually you find that you have a lot of other things to focus on rather than the pain your experiencing and you'll find that you're better able to deal with the horrible situations in your life because you're at least getting a break from them. If you'd rather complain and MAKE people feel bad for you you'll find that it pushes the people that really DO care away and, aside from that, you're focusing on horrible things 24 hours a day which just leads to an endless snowball.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Twitter: Example of a failing race

First of all I want to say that this post is nothing negative towards Twitter as a service, company, or concept. I love Twitter and I still continue to embrace it (even if it is sometimes unreliable). What this post is about is how the human race continues to self-destruct because of a growing "logic" that is counter to what we are designed for.

When I first started using Twitter it was only because I thought it would be a way of updating my clients to let them know which building I was in and whether I was able to take on extra projects that day. As for the concept of Twitter, I thought it was absolutely retarded. I had the reaction that pretty much everyone that hasn't tried Twitter has: "Why do I care that someone is eating a cheese sandwhich?" It wasn't until I set up my Twitter account that I realized the community was a breeding ground for very strong relationships because what everyone's tweets were was simply daily life. It was them in a very unfiltered way. Because of this you start to understand a lot more about people and you find ways to connect with them that you never would have in any other fashion. Sure there are blogs but the majority of blogs are passed through our internal editor (aka, IMO, the frontal lobe) and is dulled down and made to be exciting or made to hide true emotions. It wasn't until what happened with the Frozen Pea Fund that I fully realized the potential of what the community inside of Twitter held. A couple years ago everyone would have said it was crazy to want to tell the world that you are holding a bag of frozen peas against your breasts.... but now we see where the "stupid" little things make a huge difference when a single tweet, stating just that, launched a movement that has raised many of thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.

But what happened? One of my tweets last night said "Starting to feel like I'm tweeting to the wall".... and I started thinking about that. Twitter used to be a place where I had a lot of encouragement when I was down. If I said something was bugging me, there were people that responded with advice or even just a simple "I'm thinking of you" but now I notice less and less replies to anything that I am saying. Interestingly enough, I start feeling this way around the same time that "Follow Spam" is becoming a heated topic. On top of that, it seems like the people that embraced Twitter for the community that it was are now more concerned about their "numbers" than about what is actually going on in people's lives. The concept of more followers is interpreted as cash value to so many people now and it's gone so far as someone selling their Twitter account on eBay.

So now it appears that Twitter has progressed into a medium to make money while losing the concept of community and compassion that was what brought people to Twitter in the first place. I think its great that there are people who have Twitter accounts to broadcast news and I think its great when a person shares a story that really jumps out at them because these are all part of the community but where the community is starting to self-destruct is when the focus becomes getting more followers rather than recognizing the followers that you do have. More and more tweets are being consumed by "I'm almost at 500 followers and need 8 more" while 492 people now don't matter because they already are a follower. Of course once you have someone following you it's rude not to follow them and now it's also a sure sign of many spammers so you, in turn, have to follow the 500 people that are following you and, in doing so, you eliminate the ability to genuinely care about the people you follow simply because you are overloaded and don't have the time to care about the person that is eating the cheese sandwhich and we revert back to life before Twitter except that now we drive ourselves to post tweets and now it's another "task" that we have to do rather than something we want to do.

The whole timeline of Twitter has displayed exactly why we, as humans, simply can't seem to be happy anymore. We focus on everything in ways that it can be turned into money, add stress to our lives, and lose any kind of compassion that we have on anyone else. Interestingly enough I think the reason why Twitter and just about any other social network gains such a following in the beginning is because our human emotions are so starved for interaction in this face paced world. Social networking allows us to interact with real humans while being "on the go" but the problem is that the world teaches us that the most important thing is to make money so we end up self-destructing any process that gives us that interaction by trying to monetize the most important thing to the human race: emotional stimulation. Once emotional stimulation is monetized it becomes a job rather than an enjoyment.

In 1997 after Steve Jobs rejoined Apple Computer, he made an annoucement at his keynote that Apple Computer was joining forces with Microsoft. Steve, who has an almost cult-like following, was literally booed. Steve's response was "we have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose". Steve went on to say if someone wants to help them then that's great because they need all they help they can get. The reality of the human race is just that. We all truly do need all the help we can get. I don't care how much money you make or what you have -- you still need other people's help and they need yours. When those 492 people don't matter because you are trying to get a mere 8 more and you focus on those 8 people you are trading 492 people that could potentially be those that will help you in exchange for only 8. It's so true that everyone's focus is on acquiring more that they lose any consideration to what they do have and it creates a perpetual greed cycle which, sadly, is becomming just as true with regards to emotions and compassion than it is with money.

Our society certainly is self-destructing and we're doing it because we turn our advancements into things that only set us back because the prize is always what is ahead and never what is already there. We're in a vicious cycle that is only gaining more and more force with each advancement and, while we are solving one or two problems with advancements, we are creating 5 more. The end result is that we display an image of advancement but in each person's lives we realize that it really is just that: nothing more than an image.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Living for life

I still think it is amazing to watch how animals behave. There are distinct ways of telling when an animal is happy and when an animal is upset. While I don't think that animals experience emotions, per se, I do believe they experience euphoric states as well as states of fear. I love watching Lisa go about different things and just by watching her feathers and the position her crown is pointing, I almost instinctively know how she is feeling. I also know the reaction when I give Lisa her favorite egg crunch treat or I give Bacardi peanuts or I give Cracker, well, anything edible :)

I also think about the joy of seeing a newborn or seeing a child learn all of the amazing mysteries of this world. To a 2 year old a yoyo is an amazing thing and there is this desire to learn about the world - and we smile at watching that amazement. That same 2 year old doesn't understand that she shouldn't put the yoyo in her mouth. Eventually she grows up and learns that its wrong and figures out that she, too, can make a yoyo go up and down on her own and suddenly that amazing toy is now just a boring piece of plastic on a string.

What is it that turns something so exciting into something boring? Its the lack of wonder or mystery. With my birds I need to give them new toys and I need to confuse them so they have something entertaining to figure out - and one of the best ways to do this is to create foraging situations which is basically making them work for their food and figure out how to get it.

In almost all cases we will see an underlying need for survival in just about everything. The greatest sci fi and mystery films all have an aspect of a human surviving. Make a sci fi about someone that can't find an object (that's not crucial to their life) and you have a poor movie.

What is it that differs between us and animals? And does that difference mean we're better off or is it just something that simply makes us different. One of the fundamental differences is that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But why is it that this tree was the subject of a curse? Isn't that knowledge good to have?

Consider this. In the Bible sin is not based on laws in the new testament but on what is in someone's heart. Basically this means that if you don't know something is a sin then it really is not committing a sin if you do whatever it is. So one could come to the conclusion that if we didn't have the knowledge of good and evil then we obviously could not sin. And yes, this is why dogs can hump anything and still go to heaven. They don't need to be judged because there is no right or wrong to them. If Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit then the result would be that permarital sex would not be a sin. The sex the human race would have would be completely different but it would still be euphoric.

So why is foraging such a great way to keep birds entertained? Simply because food is essential to life. When you hide food then they have a desire to find it because they need to survive. When they find it, it is euphoric. Sex is essential to life so when animals mate it is euphoric because it is carrying on the race. Seeing a newborn baby is euphoric because its our race continuing.

The problem that us humans have is that we are so confused by things going on because we now have a "logic center" that has to weigh the appropriateness of each situation before acting upon it and to further confuse that the same logic system is trained by those who came before us using their logic system. Every generation that goes by we get further and further away from who God intended us to be. I believe we were created very similar to animals in that we were not intended to have this logic system - we were intended to live for life. The simple things in life are what are supposed to make us happy. Simply surviving another day is meant to be exciting. Every generation that goes by we're seeing more and more distortment of what life is supposed to be. In today's world our logic systems are telling us that we need to do everything that our boss says no matter what because we can't survive without that job but we just end up living for our boss instead of life its self. We need to drive nice cars in order to be worth something and we need $100k salaries in order to "make it". All of these are the result of our twisted logic.

Most of the world no longer lives life for life. We regress more and more in life the more we progress in society. We are all losing the fact that we are all a team and the greatest way to survive is to work together instead of rising above others in order to survive. We see more and more acts of greed and we covet things more and more. We have truly lost what it means to live and yet we spend so much time figuring out the meaning of life - as we drive by someone stranded on the side of the road. Afterall, according to our logic system, our life can't continue if we don't hurry up and get to work to make money.

Our world is not going to get any better until we all start living life for life. If we can start to realize that survival is survival as the human race and that with that survival comes euphoria and happiness then we might have a shot at making this world a better place. We need to live life for life in general rather than just for our own lives..... This is where we find the meaning of life and become happier people.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Who Am I?

There was a radio commercial for Levi Jeans that advertised their jeans as being for hard working men.... they started listing hard working, manual labor, jobs and then the last thing in the list they said "... for the man who carries the sleeping baby up the stairs to bed". I swear everytime I heard that line I got chills and my heart skipped a beat. I think it was a way of defining who I am. Ok, so I don't have kids..... but the definition of who you are isn't what is around you and I think this is where people go so far away from what life is meant to be. The car I drive doesnt define who I am (even if who am I influences my purchase of it) nor does the house I live in.

I'm really pulling for Obama in this election but despite what people want to say about me, I'm not pro-choice. Republicans are pro-life so they obviously reflect the best intentions and hold high the miracle that we all are as humans and wouldn't do anything to hurt us. The problem is that it's easier for people to make judgements based on the outward because getting to know the inward takes time and its time that we don't want to waste.... and this is the whole basis for racism of all types. It was so much easier for slave owners to look at the color of their skin and make a judgement based on that rather than actually take the time to get to know those people as human beings. It's easier to attack me and say that I can't be a Christian because I'm liberal or that I can't be liberal because I'm a Christian. It's easier to look at the picture on the book cover and say its a good book or a horrible book rather than take the time to actually read it.

So who am I, really? I'm 27 years old, I am a male, and my mom's name is Kim..... I'm from southwestern PA and I grew up around a family that had a few prejudice thoughts..... I was in a mental hospital once.... I dropped out of high school -- and then out of college. I am a virgin but have been known to really enjoy sexual pleasure. I moved to Florida in 1999 for four months and came back after spending "needless" money because I couldnt stand to be away from my family.... I declared bankruptcy a few years ago... I once punched my sister on the playground in elementary school.

If those things answered your question then you are sadly misled.... but not because any of those things are a lie. All of those things are 100% true and are factual statements that can be proven with various different legal documents or talking to the right people. I can't go back and change any one of those facts but not a single one of those defines who I am.

Think about what you thought of as you read those things. Many of you didn't know some of those facts about me -- some of them were because I never told you for the reason that you might think what you may have just thought. If I say that I was in a mental hospital then obviously I must have something wrong with me mentally and you should relate to me with caution..... thats the easy thing to say, anyway. The harder thing to do is ask why. If you ask why you might have to hear about how I was misdiagnosed with many different mental "conditions" such as depression and anxiety for 6-7 years before we actually realized that I was ADHD -- a condition that is present in many fully functional Americans. You might also have to learn that I checked myself in to the facility because I wanted to find an answer -- not because I *needed* to be there. But all of that is too much work.

Or you might look at the fact that I dropped out of high school and college and that I declared bankruptcy and decide that I am a failure and that I give up. Again, it would be harder to ask why. In that case, you might have to learn that I dropped out of high school after my guidance counselor and my mom discussed that it was a viable and probably the best option for me and that high school was mainly holding me back from accomplishing what I was capable of. You might have to learn that the one year of college that I experienced was crucial in developing who I am as well as the 4 months that I spent in Florida. You might have to dig a little deeper and figure out what the motivations were for each one of these things and you might have to realize that the good outweighed the bad on these things. You might have to realize that the things I did weren't neccesarily the "easy" way out. You might then have to change your views on a lot of things -- not just views about me.

I've heard people say that I'm obviously a virgin because no one wants me and the result is that I'm sexually frustrated..... of course, thats the easy thing to think (and the most uplifting to the person saying it). But if you ask why with the intent of learning you might have to realize that this is one of my core values. You might have to try to understand that its a lot harder for me to keep this commitment than you might think..... and if you said those things about me because you wanted to attack me, you might learn that you've only uplifted me.

"But bankruptcy? Surely there is no excuse for doing that..... Its not what God would want you to do! You just wanted to take the easy way out and not have to pay those debts." No matter what your views are on bankruptcy, its, again, easier to attack me based on what I did rather than to try to figure out what it was that led up to that. You might have to learn that I spent more than 3 years going through no less than 2 credit counseling agencies and continually bringing myself down because the level of debt that I had and the debt/income ratio I had was not something that even the credit counseling agencies were able to reliably assist me with. You might also have to consider the concept of Jubilee in the Bible where every 7 years everyone forgave everyone's debts (that might be another blog entry sometime). Ok, now this one comes with a disclaimer. None of this is meant to justify my action or to make up your mind about whether bankruptcy is good or bad because those are issues of the heart and are truly between you and the Lord. But no matter what the action was, its not fair to judge anyone solely on the action without first understanding the motive of that action.

I'm 27 so I must behave like all other people my age. I'm a guy so I must be an asshole in relationships. I punched my sister as a child so apparently I was born evil. I had uncles around me who said negative things about black people. Oh -- and not only that but I DECIDED that I wanted to be around those uncles. These are just tiny little examples of that outrageous prejudice that goes through our heads every single day and we allow them to go through our head simply because it's easier to let them rather than actually weigh the evidence.

Oh -- one other thing about me. I am known as "BibleBoy" a lot of places. This name came about in middle school when I always had a Bible with me. Everyone started making fun of me by calling me BibleBoy.... but even in 7th grade I was already starting to recognize the fact that I need to be proud of who I was. I was heavily involved in BBSs back in that time (if you don't know, BBSs were basically the pre-internet online communications and were access through dialing a phone number with your computer to access a system on someone else's, typically personal, computer) and I had been going by the handle "Headpin" because I was really into bowling. One night I decided to log on to each and every BBS and change my handle to "BibleBoy". Since BBS systems were local based this is something that all the other computer geeks in my school realized right away. The response was awesome..... "Uhhh.... you know we're making fun of you" .... "Yup, I know". The name stuck and I allowed it to. In 2000 I registered and that officially was who I was letting myself be known as on the big (then fairly new to most) internet. Eventually other people crept up that were also known as BibleBoy so I had to shorten it to bblboy54..... then time went on and I realized that the name had me tagged as a religious freak. I guess, again, it was a situation where I was being judged based on my nickname rather than who I actually am. I considered changing the name of my blog so that more people would take me a little more seriously. Less than a year ago I realized that the person who I am would never really be taken seriously by someone who does judge a book by it's cover and I decided to stick with the name and if I say something that makes sense then I'd let it be for the benefit of those people who take me seriously no matter what my name is.

Did I answer the question of who I am? I hope not! Who I am is a definition that is always changing. All of us are very dynamic people that are capable of learning and understanding and the more than we learn and understand the more that we are naturally going to change. The facts, figures, and posessions are quite possibly the worst way to judge someone even if they are the easiest way. It's more the motivation of the person that led to those things. In reality, we should all primarily respect everyone for who they are.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The "Religious Right" strikes again

It is appauling to me that the biggest hinderance to God's Church growing isn't the homosexuals or the adulterers or the ACLU or the KKK but, instead, it is the conservative Christians. I think yet another picture of this has been painted by the recent "scandal" between John Hagee and John McCain.

See McCain Faces Fire Over Minister's Views.

Don't get me wrong... I do think that John Hagee is a very good preacher and I can't say that everything that he said about the catholic church is wrong BUT at the same time, attacking another denomination is exactly the opposite of what we need to be doing. But the catholics aren't in the clear either. John Hagee attacks the catholics so they do exactly what Jesus would do and turn the other cheek, right? Not quite. In today's churches it is important to strike back because God can't be honored if we don't? It's seriously pathetic what has become of the Church. It's all about which denomination is better anymore.... the church has become no better than any major corporation in America. It's a sad sad thing that we've let the concept of corporate America even think about entering an organization that is supposed to be about Love and Unity..... and yet, it hasn't just enetered but its BECOME a corporate entity.

We, as Christians, question why we are seen as hippocrits and we act like that answer isn't right in front of our face - we flat out our! Think of the typical Christian Church today. The preacher preaches about how God is Love and cares about everyone on week and then the next we talk about how homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to associate with the church. Yes, I believe that homosexuality is a sin but that is MY BELIEF and it is NOT for me to use to attack those that are homosexuals. Each man is judged by God and God alone and it is not our place to be attacking others. The church then goes out and violently protests against pro-choicers.... even the non-violent protests aren't out of love in any way..... Love would be getting to know the woman who is struggling with an unwanted pregnancy. Again, I am totally pro-life but I feel that I'm smart enough to realize that the actions that the church is taking is only complicating the issue more than it has to be. Instead of convincing women that they need to care for this little child growing inside of them we create a situation where now those women want to have the abortion just to spite us.

Back to the issue of McCain and Hagee. I don't have many facts in front of me and I don't have the time right now to look into them. Maybe the catholic church did make deals with Hitler in the past and maybe John Hagee is a biggot..... but these aren't things for me to judge. It is God's place to judge and no one else's..... When we judge and we try to remove the sins from this world we are only doing damage to the Church. Jesus made this very clear:

Matthew 13:24-29
Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

It's not our responsibility to be uprooting the sins of the world because all we end up doing is creating a mockery of the Church and rendering us completely ineffective. Do we honestly think that God can't move in a world of sin? Do we really think that if we just forget about the sin and focus on loving people no matter what is going to hinder revival? Not according to the book of Acts. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1).

Its not about who's right and who is wrong but its about the Church making a mockery out of it's self.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Living in the wrong era

As a kid we could walk to my grandmother's house and just walk right in even if she wasn't home. We didn't have a key - she just never locked her door. There wasn't a need and this was especially true to the people that grew up in their generation.

I keep feeling like God created me many years before I was born and just forgot to actually send me to earth. He finally remembered in 1980 but I was already at least 2 generations too late.

My life is just the same thing over and over again. It happens where I work, where I go to church, who I'm friends with, and even who I date. When someone needs help I put my all in to it. I always have the impression that whoever I'm helping will, in turn, appreciate what I am doing and will do the same if needed. While this was the way life was (and still should be) years ago, it isn't the case now. The result is I'm continually punished because I focus on caring about people but when I'm hurting not only is there no one there to help me, the people that I have been helping expect me to just keep going because they've grown accustom to whatever it is I'm doing.

So at a job, ill get the "this is business and that is personal" comment. The problem is that in order to be so passionate at work, I rely on all the good in my life but when there is a time of trial I end up going back down to average; average in the same standards that an employer will look for in a replacement. But because I put my all into something for a average pay doesn't mean I get a raise but it just means that the standards I get headed on go up. And these standards won't carry over to the next person they hire. No, they just apply to me without me getting any additional benefits. Naturally things go sour in the eyes of the employer and they generally end up disapointed in me. I end up back at square one. With people in my personal life, they just tag me as a horrible person and ignore anything that I did that was good for them. These are the things that turn me into a failure in everyone else's lives and, eventually, my own.

This is my life but its also an example of how society is in a downward spiral. The problem is that no one wants to stand against it because, well, you end up here writing this blog. For me, I don't know how else to live but I don't know if I'd want to anyway. Its just going to continue to be my life and all I can do is pray that I will someday find a girl who has this same problem. Of course I'm not holding my breath because they've all been with numerous guys in the past and have no desire to take a chance on me. Their solution to the problem is to change nothing but if they happen to find a guy that cares they just take what they can until it requires something of them. Once that time comes then the relationship with that vendor.... Oh, I mean person.... is over. We all hate corporate America but we live our lives with the thriving corporation as our bible. So what with that ancient book that was named "Bible" - we have new and greater things in our lives now.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 29, 2007

While trying to avoid stereo typing, I think you can put people's personalities in to different categories. I think the biggest designation you can make are someone's attitude toward their own life as well as their outlook on life in general. In there I think you will find that most people feel that the world needs improved in drastic ways. The rubber meets the road un the person's response and there really only two directions to go. Some people mix both directions and end up going nowhere. They get close and then end up hanging a U turn and lose what progression they have made.

So what are the two directions? Ironically the basis is dependant on servitude. Most issues with the world are related to people's atitudes. The majority of these issues are because of selfishness (that is, the lack of helping others). We all have the choice of whether we are going to help someone despite the fact that they don't deserve it or we help them because we believe its the only way the world can become a better place.

This world is in moral decay because no one will help others. Its not this way because all of a sudden we don't deserve the help because we have never deserved it. The reason why we are in decay is because we all know and take to heart the fact that no one deserves our help. We become bitter and erase the fact that anyone has ever showed us grace. After developing this thought process, we come to the conclusion that everyone else owes us. Suddenly, we aren't helping anyone, not only because they don't deserve our help, but because they owe us.

The human race has written off the world. In our minds it is full of evil people and that's where we stop. We don't see that each one of those people are someone just like us who only needed someone to take a chance on them but never got it.... Meanwhile we sit here and argue why that person is less than us. We constantly explain how we would take a chance on someone who was in the same scenereo as us, we are presented with people that fit that description but in a different way, and then we punish that person for everyone else's mistakes - no matter how much potential we see in that person.

There are consequences for all actions but there is also forgiveness. If we can't forgive, then we end up hating everyone. We will never take a chance on someone else because we haven't forgave those that previously hurt us. This is what we are progressing towards. I'm sure we can all think of at least one teacher in school that really made an impact on us - and you can bet that teacher was someone that cared more about the students than the paycheck. The more we progress, the more the paycheck means to us. We fight for more money in a job that we are horrible at for no other reason than not being passionate about it. We work for the sole purpose of bettering ourselves and when this filters into education, healthcare, and other social fields, well, look around you.....

We need to stop asking who is going to take a chance on us. We've had people take at least one chance on us even if it was one teacher back in grade school and we didn't pay it forward. If we start looking for people to take a chance on then there actually might be a reason society should take a chance on us. So many people have served us with such selflessness and we can't even find it in our hearts to recognize it because we are so bitter about who didn't help us.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"I hate my life! I wish I was a [insert favorite animal here]"

How many times do you hear someone say that? Actually, how many times have *I* said that? As humans, we deal with so much crap that we don't want to deal with and I believe the truth is that God never intended it to be this way. There is a very important key to the story of Adam and Eve and that involves the name of the tree.

When God gave Adam and Eve the Garden of Eden, there was one tree that was called "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" and they were told that they were forbidden to eat from the tree. Later, Eve was tempted and mankind fell. People interpret all of the pain we experience now as a result of the sin but I don't think that is entirely true. Oh, the sin does not help, but I believe the tree really was what God called it. If you ate from the tree you gained knowledge of good and evil.

So what is one of the largest differences between humans and animals? Animals run off of pure instinct. Animals have very large emotions at times but everything they do is the result of an instinct. They don't have moral reasoning. When you're training a dog, the dog does not respond to negative reinforcement because you hurt their feelings but rather that they associate the bad thing they did with the bad result. The more I learn about birds, the more I learn this concept. My quaker says a lot of different words and she says them in very humorous times in many cases.... but those words are not said out of reasoning but rather out of a situation. It's an association of the word and some kind of external stimuli that prompts that word to be said. Again, there is no reasoning and no thought of "hey, it would be really funny if I said this"....

If we combine these two concepts then we can understand why people say they would rather be an animal. We're being punished for our sinful nature out of the natural result of the sin. If a child touches a hot stove, they are naturally punished by being burned. The nature of eating of the fruit of that tree was that we now have this knowledge and moral reasoning that we were not initially intended to have. As a result, we have to deal with a lot more than just acting upon instinct. So if animals still act only upon instinct, it's only natural that we would want to be one of those animals that doesn't have to worry about moral reasoning. They don't have to wonder what the "correct" response is and how it might affect other people's feelings. As humans, we don't want this responsibility. The truly sad part about this is that we take on even more than we have to. We take it to the extreme and we transfer this into a model of weighing what other people think of us before we act.

Last night I was hanging out with a 1 year old and I was curbing fussiness by acting like a complete and total idiot in a very congested neighborhood. The happiness of that child was much more important to me than what other people (strangers) thought of me. Last night I was able to simply act without thinking of what anyone else thought of me. I erased that line that everyone so often prevents them from allowing them to do something that their nature and their instinct would have had them do. They miss out..... the same way I miss out all the times that I allow that line to stop me. I was rewarded last night by something that I couldn't have even began to expect. Out of nowhere I received one of the greatest hugs of my life. It may sound small but in this situation, it meant more to me than anyone can even begin to imagine. Nothing I did was working towards that hug -- but that is what made it so awesome.

There are a lot of trade offs to the fact that we now face moral judgement. We experience ups and downs. While it may be true that things would be less painful if Adam and Eve had never sinned, it also would mean that we wouldn't experience a lot of the amazing happiness that we now can. For one example, animals don't even enjoy sex -- oh, but we do! Because of our struggles, we gain great rewards and one of the reasons those rewards are so strong is simply because we had to work for them and we understand the opposite. We understand the pain and as a result, we can enjoy the happiness even more.

While there is a very evident sign of emotions inside many animals, it is not the same as what we, as humans, experience. The emotions that animals experience are based out of instinct. This doesn't mean that your dog or my birds don't want us around them or that they are not happy to see us but their base emotion is not what we know as love. While my birds are happy to see me and sad to see me leave, their instincts are greater. Bacardi has bit me quite a few times and it wasn't because he was out to attack me or because he wanted to hurt me but rather because he felt threatened for one reason or another. Animals are not able to have a self-less love for anyone else. It is only humans that are able to intentionally lay down their lives for a friend....

.... and it is that reason that selflessness and erasing the lines of "the way it is" is so important to our happiness. When we make a sacrifice for someone else we are rewarded by knowing that we have done something that most of the universe is incapable of. It's what makes us, as humans, unique... and that is what we search for most: Uniqueness.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.Isaiah 40:31

Sometimes God tells us stuff and does stuff that we wouldnt expect. Usually when we are losing our hope, the reminder that there is hope comes in the strangest for.

The strange form tonight was seeing the movie "Evan Almighty" .... Ashley and I went to see it and let me first off say that it is BY far my new favorite movie. I have never laughed so hard in my life..... Despite all the humor, I left the theater crying..... Don't worry -- the chances of you crying about the movie are pretty slim... it really was an excellent movie and everyone should go see it.

The thing is, I have been really questioning my purpose and my worth. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend and he gave me some really solid Biblical advice but at the same time, he really questioned my ability to do something.... something that I was already questioning myself about but something that I really shouldn't have been questioning. While I really appreciated him for caring about me, I left the conversation somewhat hurt. Later that added to a lot of other things that had me really questioning my purpose and whether I really am doing the right thing in certain situations.

--- SPOILER WARNING : Movie ending revealed ---
The basic story line of Evan Almighty is the story of Noah. God commands Evan to build an Ark in -- none other than NoVA. He continually fights it and later is convinced that he just needs to do it. The entire world ridicules him and fellow congressmen get a court order to destroy the ark. Amongst all of this ridicule, Evan expects to see the world destroyed. Kind of reminds me of Jonah. The thing is, God wasn't going to flood the world again.... He promised that by the rainbow. So Evan is standing on his ark telling everyone they need to get in and they dont believe him.... suddenly it starts storming... people get concerned but when the storm ends just 30 seconds later, the laugh at Evan and his family even harder. When the neighboring dam breaks and people are running into his ark, it's a different story.

Immediately I recognized myself being in the position of Noah and of Evan. I know that what I have done and the way I'm handling things is the way God is guiding me to -- or at least my heart is in the right place. I'm also reminded of Abraham and how he was supposed to sacrifice his son to the Lord. Why would God ask Abraham to do something that is clearly against the law and against the commandments God had set? Well, God knew it wasnt going to be follow through because He sent an angel to stop Abraham. God just wanted to test Abraham's faith -- and he passed. But can you imagine his family and friends? They'd be calling the cops... I know I would.

The last week or so I have really felt like I didn't have any meaning in my life... that the things I was doing really didnt mean anything at all. How were my actions going to affect the rest of the world? God reminded me of the chain reaction.... The chain of love.... just like the country song goes.... Little tiny things happen that change the entire course of the world. Maybe you buy flowers for someone that cheers them up and they end up going to hang out instead of staying at home and then have a conversation with someone that later goes on to find the cure for cancer.... Because someone bought flowers, cancer is cured years later. These things happen... they really do. The Acts of Random Kindness that we do create amazing ripple effects -- and we may not even know the full extent of them.

I left Evan Almighty crying because God had reminded me that no matter how small what I'm doing is and no matter how wrong everyone else thinks it is, I am following my heart and I am serving people who need to be served. In those tears, Ashley looks at her watch and goes "oh crap! I forgot the metro quits running ad midnight" .... no worries, I just take her in to DC and drop her off at her apartment. On my way home I make my typical stop at the Sheetz in Harmarket and when I pull in there are at least 8 or 9 cop cars in the lot with lights going, etc.... I go in to get my sweet tea and I half jokingly asked the clerk what you have to do to get the attention of that many cops.... her response is "a double stabbing" .... I was blown away.... just a little bit before I stopped at Sheetz, two people were stabbed in the parking lot. If I didnt have to take Ashley in to DC, would I have been the one to be stabbed? Even if I wasn't the one to be stabbed, how would I have been able to live after witnessing something like that. Maybe its still a little far fetch but the truth is that may well have been the case.

No matter how small we think what we are doing is or how meaningless we feel, we may be creating the ripple effect that really does save the world -- whether we know it or not. God reminded me of this and really did renew my strength by something as simple as a movie.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Monday, June 11, 2007

There really are times when someone can impact your life in ways that you never dreamed possible. One thing I am learning as time goes on is that the people you least expect to be the ones to impact you are usually the ones that make the greater impact.... and actually, it's usually in ways that you never imagined or thought to be possible.

I guess in my psycho-analyzing mind, I'm realizing that the failure of relationships may just be the fact that they are designated as relationships. All of us limit ourselves in ways that each one can't realize. There is something that we allow to control us... and often, there are things that we believe will always control us. This isn't the way God intended it tho.... Actually, God gives us all our own free will so that we can make our own choices. This is the way that we were designed and when we allow anything to control us, we are held to expectations of whatever it is that controls us. The person or object that controls us will vary between person to person. Some are addicted to drugs, some pornography, some alcohol.... some let a parent or an ex or a friend control them.... others allow situations to control them. Each one of these controlling factors carries some sort of an expectation.... drugs have the expectation that you will give your body more drugs.... pornography has the expectation that you will spend hours at your computer throwing time away.... when you get into another person controlling someone, the expectations that are possible are and endless list. The point is, while so many of these things can be great at first, it eventually comes to a point where the expectations are greater than you wanted and all of a sudden you are trapped and the relationship with that person, addiction, or thing suddenly isn't all that great.... disaster ensues.

If you think of the social scenario of "dating", it doesnt take long before you see where expectations come into the picture. In one look at the other person, expectations (and assumptions) are made instantly.... sadly, it's often all based on physical attraction. Before even your first words are said, each person has at least one expectation.... from there on out, that game seems to be convincing yourself that those expectations were wrong.... You're already behind the gate because your not starting at 0 ... you're actually starting at a negative because your not going into the scenario trying to learn who someone really is but your going into a scenario where you have to first realize that they are not who you thought they were.... if you make it past that point, then you can begin learning who someone is.... but I think most relationships die before this point. The second that we form a "relationship" (meant in the romantic sense), we essentially doom that friendship from flourishing. Oh, it's true.... many people go on to get married..... but don't you think that may explain why the divorce rate is so high?

I've been told so many times that I shouldn't go looking for love and that I should just let it find me.... maybe the answer to a relationship isn't love but finding someone that you can share your life with. Oh, love is an important part -- but we're supposed to be loving everyone. And sure, there is love in a marriage ... there has to be. But maybe the problem is that we are so focused on loving and being loved and at the same time we're focusing on finding someone that is completely unlike anyone else inside of that love.

I guess the point is this.... even if I'm waiting for love (romantic) to find me, I can not be expecting it because any expectation at all can truly taint the awesomeness of what is possible. Instead, maybe it is best to look for the love that we should love everyone with and find someone that makes sense for us and someone we can trust and they can trust us.... Before Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they had no knowledge of good and evil and they were taken care of..... things were as they were and they had no shame..... I guess maybe if we completely close the idea of what romantic love is and isn't, it really will find us -- maybe long before we even realize it found us.... and that, quite possibly, is the scenario that would result in the best marriage ever -- a marriage with no expectations of what the other person should or shouldnt be but only expectation of commitment (ie. being faithful to that person and not cheating, etc).

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Friday, April 27, 2007

You're living in a dream world....

What does that really mean? It's a negative comment made to someone who supposedly doesnt understand "the way the real world works" .... It's said to someone who is "broken" in the way they think......

..... or is it the other way around? Maybe the way "the real world works" is what is broken?

We're becoming such an "advanced" society... we're doing more than we have ever thought to be possible -- and yet there are more depressed people now than there ever were. Every person experiences stress and most experience it at least once daily. I hardly think this is what God intended, however, I do believe that stress is a part of this world functioning properly but living in constant stress is not.

In The Matrix, Agent Smith was explaining to Neo how the machines had created the perfect world but the human mind couldn't respond to it. Neo was told that the machines had to create a world with problems so that the humans could function mentally. The irony is that the entire movie was based on the stories told in the Bible -- is it possible that the authors of the movie understood the Bible more than many Christians do (whether they practice it or not is irrevlevant in this case).

Imagine yourself in a perfect world.... in that imagination, take away everything that you know about pain. All of a sudden, you're "dream world" changes because it's no longer a feeling of euphoria because you simply do not know what the other end of the spectrum is. Imagine the color spectrum.... we mix red, green, and blue to create all of the colors that we know. Now take away blue as a base color and we're suddenly left with an entirely different world. We lose a complete side of the spectrum. The concept of ying and yang is quite true. You can not have evil withot good and you can not have good without evil. While evil may exist, we don't realize it as evil because there is nothing to compare it to -- and vice versa. We constantly hear from people who our upset with a God that would allow satan to fall and take the world with him and create so much pain for us but could it be that allowing pain to be added to this world actually has made it more enjoyable for us?

I watched a documentary a while ago about the mind of a killer. The explanation was simply that people who commit crimes suffer from LOW stimulation of the mind. If the mind isn't used or isn't able to be used then it "makes it's self known" so to speak. Basically, it's out of boredom that the human mind would commit a crime -- it adds excitement to something that is boring.... quite interesting that one of the first signs of ADD/ADHD is a child being a bully at school.

I was told today at work by someone that if we fixed everything now, what would we have to complain about. Usually that is something that is said jokingly but he meant it seriously.... and he explained how he had been in situations that they fixed everything rapidly and the next time he went back, they were complaining about stupid little things -- things that didnt make the slightest bit of a difference. He really couldnt be more on the money. The human mind simply can not deal with something that is perfect because being perfect is outside of our human/wordly logic. Perhaps this is another reason why so many people have trouble believing in God -- because there just can not be anyone that is perfect -- at least in our logic.

I've been told I'm living in a dream world and in so many ways, it's true. The thing is, it's not ALL my dream world. If it was, things would be different and, quite likely, a lot more boring. The important thing is that I have parts of my life that are my dream world because it really is what drives me. Watching dreams come true is a miracle unfolding right in front of you.... having dreams drives those and makes you a better person. If you believe that when you "grow up" you need to quit living make believe then you have lost all hope of being truly happy and acomplished. Maybe you'll end up with a lot of money but when you die, that's all you'll be. You wont be remembered for very long -- and you certainly won't have changed anything. On the other hand, if you fight for your passion then you truly will make a difference.... driving this might just be that you face more hardships but those hardships will then make the other end of the spectrum that much more enjoyable which, in turn, makes you a happier person.

I've worked for many companies and I've watched them turn from a business that was passionate about what they did into a company that was now nothing more than making more money -- and almost all of those businesses have lost money. I've seen Disney Resorts lose sight of the Disney characters and all of a sudden go into lots of turmoil and lose lots of profits. I've seen Pizza Hut lose sight of customer service and quality pizza in exchange for cutting labor costs and using cheaper products. I saw Wal-Mart lose sight of Sam Walton's vision and eventually turn into one of America's most hated companies. I can only imagine that Sam Walton, Walt Disney, and the two brothers that started Pizza Hut in Wichita are rolling in their graves. Actually, I think everyone that died 50 years ago are doing the same thing just wanting to yell up at the generation that controls this nation, and especially corporate america, and tell everyone that we've just got it all wrong. The way to make money is to be passionate about what you do. It's about stimulating your brain and thinking about how you can make it better instead of thinking how it logically would fit into our business world.

I've been told that I live in a dream world and now my response is "what is wrong with that?" I dreamed of owning a house some day.... the incredible thing is that I pursued something that just didnt seem possible and as it sits right now, I'm going to end up with an awesome house AND 1.8 acres of land. I could have never dreamed that.... not in a million years.... at least not before I was 30. I talked myself out of this four times already and finally I just realized that I needed to jump and live my dream whether I thought I could financially do it or not -- and by living my dream, it amazingly seems that I am going to end up with a lot more money in the end. Psychology has told us that belief in Santa Claus and The Easter Bunny and other imaginary stories and characters make our children better able to handle things in this world. Lots of research has said that when we force our kids to grow up too fast they struggle a lot more. I think the unfinished research would show that if we totally "grow up" even in our adult lives, we are just as likely to struggle -- no matter how successful the world believes that we are.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My thoughts, prayers... and tears,,, are with everyone down at VA Tech along with any friends or relatives of people at VA Tech.
Maybe this is coming a few days late but sometimes you don't really grasp everything that has or is occuring until the details are all layed out. I write this in tears after reading the long article in The Washington Post (That Was The Desk I Chose To Die Under).
As I read that article, names of towns popped up that are "next door" to me -- and even one that I lived in. Tragedy can happen all over the place and yet, until it relates to home, you don't feel any of it. I sat reading this article and just thinking about that same scenario playing out in a situation that I had been in.... Imagining this scenario happening at Lock Haven. True -- the scenario would never play out at Lock Haven -- but neither would it at VA Tech. Consider you being the student at VA Tech and knowing that your parents are freaking out ... or consider that you are the parent with a son or daughter at VA Tech.... Imagine all the possibilities that could put you right in the heart of this situation.... If you read about the events that occured on Monday, April 16th, 2007 and you think of the ways that that could have hit you and you don't cry -- well, I can't understand how you don't. When the Columbine shootings happened that was on the other side of the country and everyone over here on the east coast didnt think as much of it because, well, that was the west coast..... and this week 32 people now don't even have the chance to think "wow, that could have been me" because it IS them now.
Now starts the time of figuring out what could have been done to prevent this and what so and so did wrong -- but the truth is, maybe it could not have been prevented. There is no point in blaming anyone other than the shooter who killed himself -- but it is something that should take consideration as to how the future can be made better.
The reality is that all of this is a part of life and things are going to happen. We're going to go through hurts and pains and we're also going to see the glory and the miracles that come out of tragedies such as this. The most important thing that we can learn from this is that we can never say that it'll never happen to us -- because so many people on the east coast never dreamed a mass school shooting could occur and we now have had the worst one in U.S. history. And those of us that live in Virginia or those of us that have friends that go to VA Tech -- and especially those who attend VA Tech -- have learned that it CAN happen here.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Monday, April 16, 2007

So I guess it's time for a little bit of an update since I've been slacking on the "me news" recently.... There have been a lot of things that have gone on and there still are some directions that are unknown -- but thats something that will always be present in my life because I want my life to be about helping those who need help and that means going where I can be the most help.

Today was a huge turning point for me.... but some of the changes happened a few weeks ago when I had a conversation with Tiff.... and there is a reason why I didn't mention that back then. The biggest problem wasn't that I missed Tiff and I wanted to be back with her... the reason why she consumed so much of me was because I wanted to have answers to something that seemed to be a focus of her hiding. What I wanted to know is that she was a good person and that she was, in fact, capable of telling the truth.

I guess it's kind of like the situation of someone dying without you being able to tell them something that was on their heart. All you want is to be able to talk to them and say good bye and exchange anything that either of you feel needs to be exchanged. To me, Tiff died and I never got any closure to anything. It was a long and drawn out battle... years and years and years went by and it destroyed a part of me.... tho hindsight can see that when a part of you is destroyed, it's often to make room for a part of you that is better. I knew Tiff lied to me time after time and I knew that she lied about lying to me as well.... and for the past 2 years I wanted to hear something that would really hurt me but yet, anytime that came up, all I was given was a lie. I wanted to know that it wasn't ALL a lie.... I wanted to know that at least something was real -- but when a lie was put on top of a lie, you can only imagine that everything was a lie. Tiff told me a few weeks ago that she is back with Jim. I now know that she is capable of telling the truth.... and she is capable of being a good person.

See, here's the thing. For the past 2 years, I really honestly never wanted to be back with Tiff but there were a few times that I let it appear to be going in that direction because I felt it was the only way that I could get closure.... I learned about a year and a half ago that Tiff wasn't ANYTHING that I wanted for my future wife.... and I also learned that whether or not she cheated on me in actions with Jim I knew that she did in thoughts and I learned that that was where she was meant to be. Simply put, I knew that Tiff needed to die within my mind but I didnt want her to die with the horrible image that I had.... I wanted her to die in my mind on a good note -- and help me put this bitterness aside.

It's been pretty earth shattering since then. Tiff asked me why I let her tell me the truth and then just wanted to walk away and I told her because it's what was needed... it's what has been needed and was well overdue. I don't want her in my life and I really havent for the past year or so.... I just wanted to have something to hold on to.... and because I did really care for her, I wanted to know that she was ok.

Jesus said that we need to give Him all of our burdens and He will give us rest... and over the past few weeks, a lot of burdens have been lifted from me.... some really huge ones that literally bring tears to my eyes. Finally closing the final chapter on Tiff has been extremely life changing.... and the financial burdens that have arose in the past month or so were miraculously lifted today... and most importantly, the miracles that God has performed has really restored my faith in the fact that He really is taking care of me no matter how bad it may seem at times. Because of that renewed faith I have had a lot of bondage lifted from me.... a lot of the things that I have struggled with seem almost non existent right now... Right now I sit here writting this blog and I realize that the eyes that I see the world through right now are so different than the ones that I saw through 2 or 3 weeks ago... I have dealt with a lot of struggles.... my faith has come close to totally disappearing... but as has always been true in my life, God will let things get messy for a while because I need to learn new lessons and I need to be prepared for "my next mission" ... and whatever the next thing is that God has for me is something that I usually don't know.... but God knows me and He knows when I need just a little something to give me a little boost. The singleness has really been hammering me hard recently... and my faith in ever finding someone special became extremely numb... last week someone asked me to the prom. Yea, there are some things to laugh about there but there is more seriousness to that than it might seem. I do look really young so she wasn't real sure of my age.... but you know, that gave me something to keep holding on to. True, it was something that wouldn't materialize BUT having someone see something in you that would push them to do something that they normally wouldnt do can really make you feel good about yourself.... and it really did remind me that there are girls out there that will find something about me that they don't see in anyone else.... and ultimately I will find a girl that sees something in me that she can't live without and vice versa.

I am really thankful for the fact that I have this blog. I'm thankful for everyone that reads it (even the ones who read it because they are "out to get me").... This blog is my life and the purpose of it is to show both the good and the bad and hopefully it will touch people.... Honestly, if keeping this blog and going through the horrible experiences that I go through ends up helping even just one person -- then it's all worth it. And I really love the people who try to throw salt on my wounds by spreading the news that I made a depressing post or try to say "oh look, Christian boy is hurting" .... actually, its not really salt -- it's more like peroxide... whether it hurts or not it cleans out the wound and makes me stronger -- probably the whole reason why I had the wound in the first place.

Life is all about helping people, loving people, and being honest..... The greatest fruit of the Spirit is Love.... and you can't love people and lie to them or love people and not want to help them.... so I guess it all really does go back to that.... and being honest about the fact that we don't always feel happy is, in my opinion, a very important part of being able to help people.... we really can't help anyone if they have any view that we're not human and have no possibility of understanding what they are going through. Rarely does anyone know exactly what the other person is going through but the people that have been through more can come closer to those who have had the poster "perfect life".

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Love cannot endure indifference. It needs to be wanted. Like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another's heart, or its flame burns low." - Henry Ward Beecher

Tonight we were watching House and Lisa was hanging out on the back of the couch where she likes to be so she can look at everything going on.... tonight she did something that really made me smile.... after being on the back of the couch for a while she crawled down to sit on my shoulder.... which wasn't an easy task for her but she really wanted to be on my shoulder. Not only was it really cool that she wanted to be on my shoulder but that it was something she wanted bad enough to actually work for.

Recently I have really been thinking about a lot of things.... ok, well, I am always thinking about things... but specifically I have been thinking about relationships. Relationships aren't easy and I believe they are designed that way because if everything was easy, we'd have no way of showing what we truly desire. If the slightest bump comes along in a relationship and someone just gives up, then it wasn't a relationship that they truly desired.... If a relationship really is worth something to you, then the hardest struggle that comes along can not keep you from fighting for what you truly desire..... If someone is worth enough to you, then you do all you can to be with that person. You do this because they are something that you truly want.

Love can not be just a breeze because if it is, then there really is no point to it. You can't love someone without truly wanting to be with them or talk to them or at least do something to help them... there is always a want or a desire before love can be born... if you have love without a want or a desire, then it's most likely just a passing thing. You want someone because they have something to offer.... and in the most amazing relationships they have something that only you want.... something that sometimes can't even be explained.

Recently my struggle has been with what it is that I have to offer someone. I love my job for a reason -- because I have knowledge of fish to offer to people. I talk to people every day about what is the best tank set up and what is best for their fish.... And people tell me they come back to our store because they can tell there is a passion behind what I tell them.... and they are right because I do have a real passion for fish. I also have a passion for seeing new technology implemented for people who are really helping others.... and I guess that's why one of the most important things I do is something I do for free -- volunteer at New Life. It's a passion of mine because I know that I am helping people that are really out there ministering to people that are hurting.

But you ask what the struggle is? Simply -- what do I have to offer anyone in a relationship? People can tell me all they want that I'm attractive or that I'm an awesome person to be around but when that ends with those words and there is no desire then what's it really worth? The craziest thing is that the only times that I feel attractive are when people are trying to put me down. Just a little bit ago I posted the comments to a fark post where people really did a lot of putting me down... the truth is that those comments only made me stronger and feel better about myself..... It's a hard thing to explain but it is true.... but I still am left with the question of what do I actually have to offer someone in either a romantic relationship or even just in a friendship? The truth is that I may never really believe that I do have something to offer until someone makes the journey and really fights to be with me. If I'm worth taking risks for I don't want to just hear that I'm worth taking risks for -- I want someone to take those risks.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sometimes one of the greatest mysteries about the mind is the subject of dreams.

I remember years ago getting my first computer. It was a Tandy Color Computer 3 (TRS-80). You really couldn't call it a computer based on today's standards of what a computer is and does.... but this machine gave me a baseline and got my interest going even more than it already had.

One thing about this machine was it had a few easter eggs. One of these was holding down a key combination while turning it on or resetting it and you would be shown an image of the 3 major developers of the platform. There was also a program that turned the contents of the RAM into a display of garbled text and characters.

This is not meant to be technical but only an analogy. I remember running this program and watching what came on to the screen. I questioned why text contents of a program ran hours ago were displayed and, yet, programs that ran only seconds ago seemed to not have their place. I guess this is the same question I have of the human mind.

God embeds in each one of us a number of things that make us who we are. Unique to everyone else. It is the contents of our memory that makes us the most unique, however, there are variations in our embedded programming that truly make us unique from the time of birth. All of these lead to things that provide some type of force.... whether that force be changing the lives of others or just reminding us of who we are. At times our minds run this program that dumps the memory and all of a sudden we are questioning why.... why was one aspect of our lives seemingly important and yet another one that we thought should be in reality was not.

Dreams are sometimes that memory dump. I believe that God does use dreams and I also believe that many people read too much into dreams. No matter what, dreams are something that our mind uses to give our hearts feedback and in some occasions, just the opposite. I believe that the latter is the most likely time that God is directly involved.

Just last night that very thing was true of me. For so long I have been so incredibly proud of the fact that I have remained a virgin. I still remain proud of that fact but recently I had found myself questioning why I am bothering. In the recent year I have lost a lot of really special relationships and in at least two of those cases I believe that my desire to wait for marriage was to blame. I questioned why it was worth it to abstain from something I wanted so bad when all it was doing was preventing something else that I also wanted so badly -- a relationship. I found myself starting to believe that some people would maybe desire me more if I wasn't standing in the way of something they desired so badly -- apparently something that was so important that the matter of a friendship was misplaced.

Last night I had a dream.... I stood at a counter talking to 3 girls. The girl on the end was one of the most attractive and cutest girls that I had seen. She looked up and smiled at me so intently that it moved my heart in a tremendous way. I found myself explaining lots of things about my life.... the I mentioned my desire to wait for marriage and immediately the other 2 girls said something to the effect of me really capturing the heart of this third girl. I looked over at her and she had the biggest smile that was possible and it also appeared that she had tears in her eyes.

This morning when I woke up I remembered that dream vividly and I was reminded of why I have the desire to abstain: because my future wife deserves it. I have been struggling with the thoughts that I will never find her but I have so strongly been reminded that she is out there and that when God introduces us (if he hasnt already), it is going to be nothing short of miraculous.

It's extremely hard to understand why we are who we are. We know that our experiences and our emotions make us that person but we never really understand how that process works. One thing is for sure -- God has designed us in His image and has made us perfect in His sight. Why our mind holds one thing and not another is a mystery that only God understands. We may begin to understand the organics of our mind and be able to see reactions to stimuli but in the same wat that those 3 developers knew the workings of my first computer in a way that I would never be able to understand no matter how much I tried, it is God -- and only God -- that fully understands the mysteries of our minds.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 22, 2007

So yesterday a really good friend of mine told me that he was going to be leaving his job. Naturally I asked him what he has going to do and he said "I don't really know. I just know this is the right thing for me and my family. I guess I'm just doing a Bob Mertz".... That was really awesome to hear because in some way I feel like I was a testimony to him. He knows God will take care of him.

I like to believe that I am making impacts on this world - especially after the last 4 or 5 days. It has been incredible the amount of stuff that has gone wrong for me.... I really have been feeling like I was cursed because just about everything I touched has broken. I also have been struggling with the fact that there seems to be no one around me to support me.... hearing that in some ways I actually am ministering to others is about the only thing that can keep me going.

I have also noticed something in watching some drama unfold in the lives of people around me.... When your stress level goes up, you forget how to appreciate the things that some people do to help. In so many cases, these situations take our eyes off of God and put them on the things we are worried about.... sometimes these things are what we're doing FOR God.

I am as guilty as the next person in getting caught up in the work that God is doing that I forget that the relationship with God is more important than the works. I have witnessed this happen in so many cases recently. I have seen entire organizations get so caught up in the project that they completely miss the mission.... and worse yet, they forget the people that make the project and the mission possible. It is true that God provides the workers but if we aren't appreciating that gift isnt that the same as saying God has not provided well enough for us -- or even that God is not capable of managing the project.

I believe that God trusts each and every person with something very important. I once had a teacher that used to work for the CIA and had numerous clearances and he explained how each person had their task but no one knew the whole story..... each person was trusted to handle their own little part. I imagine if anyone found out more information than they should have known, things would have got interesting. It's the same with the body of Christ. If we think we can handle the entire thing, then what do we need God for? Maybe this isnt what we believe but it is often how we act.

Are we doing our part and only our part? Are we appreciating the gifts that God has given us - especially the people? Are we letting God control the situation and letting Him guide us? These are questions we need to ask ourselves daily.... otherwise, all we are doing is getting in God's way.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I have really been missing a really big point. For over 10 years I have been trying to find "my place".... where God wants me and where I can be effective for God. Its been me knowing that God wants me for ministry and me trying to figure out where in ministry that is.... Ransom Network, New Life, Teen Quest.... I embrace or embraced all of these things as tho they were "my place" but now Im learning that the reality of the situation is that it really is God's place.... see, Ive been trying to say that I was cut out as the main course.... prime rib.... or whatever. The thing is, while I have been wanting to serve God, I've been missing the point.... In Matthew we are told that we are the salt of the earth.... I never have collected all of these thoughts and combined. See, it's not about my place.... its about taking the place where I am at and making it taste better. Thats what salt is all about... it makes things taste better.... and thats what I am supposed to be doing.... I need to take each day and make it taste better to the lives of others.

Constantly, things in my life rapidly change... and people say I need to be more stable.... but the only way that I can be more stable in the world's eyes is to ignore what God has for me next.... it would mean ignoring that each day is a day tha God gave me.... it would mean using that day for what the world thinks is "my place" and, thus, ignore that Im only supposed to make it taste better for others.

Why are these things in my life changing again? Quite simply, there is a new place that needs flavor.... there is a new place that God needs me to help.... and Ill be the flavor of that place until God moves me to another one, if He so desires.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 01, 2007

""Animals don't care if you can't have small talk about the weather," she says. "There's just not as much anxiety as there is with human interactions, so you can really connect.""

I'm finding myself more and more of a pet lover which is to be expected since I work at a pet store.... but there are some things going on in my head that's kind of questioning some things. I watch people come in to the store and spend lots of money on their pets.... heck, I do it myself.... Sometimes I wonder if Lisa is spoiled.... and at the same time, I wonder if Lisa is the replacement for something that I don't have in the human world....

I see how much the pet industry has grown and how much of a business it is.... and it is an honorable business -- at least as long as your respectable in the caring of the animals rather than a pure focus of making money. At the same time, there is no secret that our world is in a moral decay.... hurting people left and right.... broken friendships and relationships.... Maybe this explains the stereo typical "cat lady" who is a single woman who has no one around there except lots of cats....

The quote above is from an article in Psychology Today about Asperger's. It's basically a form of autism but I think what is really interesting is that people with Asperger's drift away from many "normal" scenarios simply because no one understands them and they fear being mocked -- often times, it's a learned response from people actually mocking the person. The thing that I find most interesting about Asperger's is that a lot of the symptoms paint a vivid picture of things that I think everyone is experiencing... and, at the same time, I recognize a lot of symptoms in my own brain that I think may be things that most people don't portray. Interestingly enough, many symptoms bleed into the ADHD classification.

When God created man, He decided that man needed a suitable helper.... God created the need for friendships and He made us emotional beings who long for and need interaction with others. In today's world, we keep taking more and more focus off of people and putting it on things that really will not matter that much.... ultimately, we even take the focus off of ourselves and, before you know it, we are all caught up in how much money we're making or raising and how well we have done or how well our companies have done. Even those who make or raise money to help others seem to lose sight of who they are working for....

I think it's quite interesting that before God created woman, he brought all of the other species before Adam and found that none of them were suitable for him.... This means that the dogs, cats, birds, fish, etc that God brought before Adam do not Biblically meet our needs as companions. They *ARE* great companions and there is a lot of research that shows that pets are healthy to have.... but the important thing is that we do not REPLACE human interaction with our pets.

.... It kind of makes me wonder if God has me in a pet store because it's a great collaboration of people who need help -- and people that I can connect with?

Article Referenced: The Girl With a Boys Brain - Psychology Today

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Yesterday I posted lyrics to a song by Kids in the Way. The song is a song I always liked but yesterday when I heard it on Sirius 67, it really stood out.... just didnt know why.

I've learned something over the last month.... and I think maybe this adds to the focus of something God is teaching me: why bad things happen to good people. I've definately progressed to a point in my life over the last few years that I am happy that I have experienced all of the pain that I have and that, given the opportunity, I would not go back and change anything -- because this is who I am now because of what happened them. I went through a good couple of months where I experienced very little emotional pain.... and I look back and I realize that most of my blog posts have not been extremely insightful. Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, maybe it's because its the bad things that make them good people? Maybe it's because the good people are the only ones who have the ability to take a bad situation and use it to minister to someone else.... and maybe it's because good people want to help people and in the long run, they are happy that the bad things happen because of the good they bring later. If you think about it, isn't this what Jesus did for all of us? If you want to talk about a bad thing, He died on the cross for our sins. He even asked the Father to "let this cup pass Him by" because he didnt want to experience the pain. In the end, Jesus had the Joy of knowing that He saved the world. If Jesus was given the chance, He wouldn't go back and change it. And if we are created in His image, well, doesnt that mean that we have the same capability?

Last night was a pretty confusing night... and it was after a very hectic day at work. Once I got home, I basically went straight to bed and really wasn't feeling all that well emotionally.... this morning I woke up and still had this nagging of trying to figure out what had happened. I watched some videos on the net and ended up just laying down on my bed for a bit watching Lisa walk around and explore the bed.... I had closed my eyes for a short time and I started thinking about a lot of different things.... well, more so aspects of the things that were confusing me. The things that confuse me were not specific actions on my part or on someone else's part but they were the motivations behind those actions. As I sat thinking about this, I remembered the song I posted yesterday.... the it hit me: Everything we do seems to almost always create a piece of fiction. We really are making fiction of our lives.

Think about it.... everything we do is a certain amount of smoke and mirrors. If you go for a job interview, you may not lie but you sure stretch the truth or you present the truth in a way that it sounds really good. If you're selling something, you try to find the best way to make that product look as good as it is. We use this psychology all the time and in some cases, it is a good thing. The problem is that I think over the years, we have all developed this sense of the need to make things what they are not.... It happens when you're selling a product and you build it up too much and the customer buys it and it's not at all what they expected. I'm not a sales person but I do sell stuff at work.... and I make it a point not to try the most expensive thing to a person unless it truly is something that would benefit them... why? Quite simply, I want that person to be happy with their purchase and when they are happy with it, it will bring them back to me to purchase something else when they need it because my recommendation worked well for them. Worst case scenario here is I make something out to be what its not, a customer buys it and eventually brings it back and doesnt visit my store again..... but, what happens when this same process gets applied to an emotional situation? What if we don't like who we are and we try to hide it from someone because we think that in no way they could like us for who we are? What about the girls on myspace in their underwear? Society jokes about myspace having this epidemic.... but is anyone bothering to think what is going on? It's not about control -- its about these girls feeling like they have nothing so they need to make themselves something they are not. If you take a picture in your underwear, you'll get attention from guys -- but the attention is being brought to a product that isn't anything more than marketing. You build a profile on any social networking site and you make keywords like sex and drinking... or whatever you think that is going to attract someone to you..... but what about the keywords that aren't often used? Sadly, they don't get enough hits.... the difference is, the marketing matches the product and when the "customer" finds that product, then they will be happy with their "purchase".

It really is sad that the best way to describe the process of relationships in this day and age is to compare it to a marketing scheme... but that is exactly what it is. We try to become something we are not. The really hard part is when you run across someone that is completely open and honest -- all of a sudden, you can not trust them because, well, they aren't like everyone else.... it doesnt seem like they have any bells and whistles so I guess we also think that if they are doing any kind of marketing, the real product is pretty pitiful.... then this entire process takes the open and honest person and makes them feel like they are absolutely nothing.

I think all of this is a huge reason why psychology is becoming such a huge domain in the medical fields.... we have created so much fiction and created a world that requires us to write fiction of our lives that we now need to create a way to break through the fiction and figure out what the truth is. That's the whole process of psychology.... you say words and a professional figures out how to break those words down and filter out the fiction and find out what your true inside is feeling. So many people have become so good at hiding what is really going on that they don't even realize it themselves. And I think we all know at least someone who creates so many lies that he or she believes them themselves. All we are doing is creating a snowball effect that makes the next generation need more and more fiction in order to survive.

On Sunday Tim used an example in his sermon of his wife taking up violin just because it got her out of class for a day a week. She didnt enjoy doing violin but she still kept going because she got out of class. She started building this image of who she wasnt based on something she wanted to accomplish (getting out of class). When the concert came, she was clueless. Thankfully, she was in a group of people so no one could single her out... but what if she would have been? What if we are emotionally hurt in a way and we want to avoid it.... often times we create something that becomes a part of us but yet really isn't us. Over the years, this new part of us becomes a visible part of us and we become known for something that doesn't even match who we are -- and next thing you know, we are at war with ourselves because, quite honestly, we don't know who WE are anymore. We continue to create this world that is dependent on fiction and it's filtering into our relationships.... we're creating people that we're not and we're acting like we're happy when we're not.... maybe this is why sex is becoming such a huge part of society... It's such an easy way to cover up a problem -- but the problem never goes away...... and I think people start having sex and all of a sudden they realize that they've had sex with a lot of people and the create a fictional spin on top of the fictional spin which makes them happy with the fact that they are happy with the thing they created to make them look happy..... We're in a world now where no one wants to commit to anything and that includes marriage, girlfriends/boyfriends, friendships, and even family. We're affraid to commit to a relationship because a commitment to a relationship (and I'm not even saying just a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship) means that the other person will start finding out who you really are over time and we're afraid of that.... We can't let people see who we are or how we are feeling because maybe they won't like us anymore... or maybe we don't even know what they are going to find that we, ourselves, don't even know. So now we create an enviornment of "open relationships" so that we won't let one person be able to focus in on who we really are because we're, instead, letting lots of people know very little about us. We become the jack of all trades but master of none -- except we're dealing with other people's lives instead of just fixing parts of a computer or building parts of a house.

Out of all this fiction and pain that we are creating, we've lost the ability to learn from our mistakes because our fiction is becoming reality to one part of us while we hide that part of us that is who we really are. When you take any kind of psychological test or online surveys that determine you are one way and you're shocked because you think you're another way -- well, maybe you need to look at what that test says and do some searching because maybe you've created a front to who you really are and eventually you forgot who you really were.

And the worst thing is.... the people who are trying so hard to be open and honest end up with no one to be open and honest to.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I want to write something here but I just dont think words are capable. Sometimes you think something is going to amazing and, while it is extremely amazing, its not at all amazing in the way you had expected.

God does amazing things in our lives but what He does often remains a mystery for a long while -- but so many times this only makes things even more amazing.

There is something that I didnt realize until tonight.... I really just never realized how much pain my heart has been carrying. The saying goes "if you dont use it, you'll lose it" and I think this applies to all of our hearts. What I mean is the ability to feel emotions. If people dont take interest in your heart, it will become hard.... The harder it becomes, the more effort required to break it. Sure, you could say that breaking a heart means pain..... exactly! You will never be able to fully love or be loved until your heart has those rocks removed. So when the first person that comes along that is actually commited to helping, you better expect some painful times. You havent felt certain emotions in a while so you may not understand what is happening.... but you'll start learning all you knew before.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The world keeps looking for something perfect.... and in my own life, I keep looking for that perfect someone.... but I've had a huge reminder this weekend that perfect people do not exist... It's not a perfect person that we need but an honest person. People make mistakes and if we can't get over someone's past, then we'll never get to know who they truly are.... The thing is, it's not about who they were but about who they are.

It's no wonder that we all walk around totally discouraged.... We're looking for something that we're just not going to find. The perfect car or the perfect house.... but the perfect car breaks down too.... just the same as the plumbing can be a problem in a house.... True, the newer the cars are or the houses are, the less problems there are -- but they build up over time and we eventually realize that they, too, are not perfect. If we put a huge amount of faith into those items then it's a huge let down when they do let us down. There is so much beauty in imperfection... and we miss that beauty because we're so caught up in in perfection that we miss the beauty hidden in that which is imperfect.

A lot of people have always said to me about how finding someone exactly like you can create a huge problem.... Opposites attract.... and all that fun stuff. If that is true, and it seems like there is a good amount of truth to that, doesnt it seem logical that our idea of a perfect person is actually the worst possible person for us?

Enough getting caught up in these rules and these checklists.... sometimes the connection is all you need... and the rest just seems to fit into place -- no matter how different the puzzle pieces may seem. Miracles do happen.... even if it means puzzles pieces morphing into different shapes.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -- 2 Corinthians 12:10

I have been laying in bed just thinking.... cant sleep.... but what is really getting me is that I started 2007 out being pretty down.... it seemed to get worse hour by hour... and I found myself getting more and more discouraged.... But Im learning all over again that sometimes when God seems like He is far away, He is actually closer than ever.... It really is a reminder of what God layed on my heart a while ago.... actually, multiple times. It is the times that you feel like you have absolutely no control that God is able to do something miraculous..... and that miracle may not mean anything to anyone... except you. It may come from someone saying something that comforts you in ways that no one can even realize. Sometimes its just amazing the little things that can make more of an impact than they were even meant to.

I think 2007 is going to be a great year..... and it took a total stranger to show me that. This may be the year when strangers turn into best friends and best friends turn into strangers. I do know one thing that 2007 is not going to be any different that previous years: Its going to be another year of changes, choices (sometimes seemingly illogical ones), risks, faith, and most of all, miracles.

Its time for that word again....


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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I so often wish that I could understand more about the human mind and why people do what they do.... why do they believe that doing that opposite of what they should do is the best option? What drives us to lie and to hurt others?

A few hours ago I was really taken back by what I experienced. It boggles my mind that some people can do all they can to try to convince you that they care about you, but yet everything else they do or say seems to contradict what was told before. Worse yet, I can not understand why you can be an ignored and unimportant person but all of a sudden you make a mistake and next thing you know, you're the only thing that matters -- in a negative sense, of course.

It seems that the entire human race is becoming so much more self centered than I think our ancestors could have even dreamed of. Everything is someone else's fault... and we are becoming experts at convincing ourselves that it's not our fault. Quite honestly, I have been developing that ability and I hate it..... well, when I am thinking rationally, I hate it.

Why are people in debt? Well, it's because credit card companies give them more credit than they can handle, right? I mean, it should be everyone else's responsibility to give them guidelines and know what's best for them.... but dont you DARE tell them what they can and can't do.... that is, of course, discrimination.

At work last week I was talking to someone who was explaining why she really enjoyed working with a certain person. It wasn't because he was a perfect person.... it was because when he made a mistake, he owned up to it. It was honesty that got him to where he is and the friendships he has may or may not be plentiful, but they are meaningful.... because everyone knows that they can fully trust him.

I think the most comforting feeling in the world is knowing that you can trust someone and knowing that someone trusts you. I don't think there is anything better than that aside from the Love that God gives us. Maybe that's why so many people get aggrivated when they are micro-managed. I don't think it's so much that they don't want leadership in their lives as it is that they don't feel trusted to make the right decissions.... and if you aren't trusted, how can you really excel at what you are doing.

Something that God really spoke to me a few days ago I think really applies here. We think of what Jesus went through.... the pain He went through when He was nailed to that cross. It is a physical pain that I don't think any of us could even imagine.... but there is something deeper that I think people miss the boat on so often. Jesus took the sins of the world upon him. Jesus was spit on and laughed at. People mocked him all over the place. I've always said that I would rather have horrible physical pain than a little emotional pain.... think of Jesus in this light and try to imagine what He went through. I can't. And what I can imagine, hurts like hell. Imagine the people that lied to Him and emotionally abused Him. Think of all this and then ask yourself if God really understands how you feel.

It's so hard when people don't tell you what they mean but one thing I have realized is that you can almost always tell what someone is truly feeling if you pay enough attention to them. We've calloused ourselves into hiding the pains that we experience.... sure it means that we can endure more, but all it means is that our hearts become hard and untouchable.... It may sound like a good thing, but it's the complete opposite of what we were created for. Love is the center of everything but yet it's the farthest thing from our minds and even our hearts.

We've got to stop looking at others and what they do wrong and start realizing that we all sin and we all make mistakes. Instead of becoming defensive, we need to let others in so that we can all live happily. We're meant to be around people and we're meant to help one another. So why would we tell someone something and then not listen to what they have to say back? I think in most cases, we're just afraid of what they are going to say.... more so, we're afraid that they might actually say something and be right -- and all we want is to be angry with them

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tonight is the first in a while that I have had trouble falling asleep... Ive been thinking about a few things and Im gonna try to get them out.

I think its safe to say that just about every day we face fears and every day we have to decide whether we win or our fears win... and its so much easier to let our fears win. I think its our instinct to run from trouble and from our problems... its easier to lie to ourselves than to face our fears... and then we condition ourselves so that the only options we see are the options that involve lying.... we start the ball rolling down the hill and we end up out of control.... once that happens. its then even easier to just let go and let the mess continue. I mean, have you ever tried to stop a rolling snowball that is 10 times your size.... we eventually look around and realize the mess that we have created and I guess we may feel overwhelmed... so we just give up all together? Maybe this is why there are so many suicides now?

I think back over the last few years of my life. I thank God that He has really got me to a place where I can really face fears and put my faith in Him.... but yet, there are still many things that end up snowballing for me. I let my gaurd down for less than a few seconds and next thing I know I am trapped in a world of addictions. I guess my fear is that Ill never be free.

The point is that we really need to overcome our fears. There is so much excitement when we do.... and so much more freedom. Even at work I sometimes feel trapped because of my fear of mice... and I am working on it.... but the fact that I am now able to stand next to the small animal pens and see how many mice we have.... well, it makes me feel good. Its a huge accomplishment to me.

Whatever our fears are, we need to work at overcomming them. Maybe its the fear of riding a roller coaster... and you get on and have the ride of your life. Maybe its a fear of breaking something but you try to fix it anyway and you gain a skill that helps you in life..... maybe something you feel like you should do for someone but your affraid of the reaction and you do it anyway and see a smile that warms your heart.... maybe you see the girl of your dreams and you overcome your shyness and end up happily married..... maybe its just reaching out to someone you lost touch with or a relationship that turned sour and you remember what they meant to you and the joy they brought you.

I do believe that God gave us mountains so that we could learn how to climb.


(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Three real life scenarios that are all the exact same thing.

First: A high school teacher who has her own shortcomings gives one of her students a retest... and another... and so on. She believes this student is capable of more and she wont stop giving him chances until he either passes or he gives up. As a student, you're sick of working towards it.... you actually want her to quit giving you chances so you can just take the failing grade and move on.

Second: When the issues started arising with Tiff I started having a really hard time trusting her but yet I believed that she had it in her to be honest .... So while I may have known something I still asked her the question.... I wanted her to tell me the truth so that I could reaffirm the belief that she had an honest heart. I wanted to hear the truth so that I could begin trusting her again.... but every lie -- even the little "white" ones just frustrated both of us in the long run. I was a person who had alot of his own problems but had a belief about someone and put faith in someone doing the right thing. Ultimately, I was let down when Tiff gave up and felt more comfortable lying than actually caring about the truth.

Those are just faliable humans having faith in another faliable human.... but the third is how God feels about us. He knows us and knows what we are capable of and He gives us retest after retest until we pass. The same way that the student became annoyed by the teacher and Tiff became annoyed by me, we often become annoyed with God. But see, God is not faliable. And to think that He still believes we are capable of something great is pretty incredible.


(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

I am really glad that in the Bible we can see that even the great heroes were perpetually confused. Trying to understand this life is tough and trying to understand people is even more confusing. I am also really glad that in Christ, I have a direction.... whether I know what that direction is or not.

I am realizing how much I unintentionally annoyed people. Over the last 10 years of my life I have had many people really hurt me emotionally but the problem was that I let that ruin the few friends that were actually not hurting me. The problem was I was so consumed by my pain that I brought everyone else down.

So I am realizing this all now because I am on the other end of the spectrum. I am surrounded by people that are looking for something that I cant provide and they bring me down in the process. The worst part is that some of these people really make me feel uncomfortable.... some people use what I do have to offer as an excuse not to get better.... so then I am stuck in my own personality flaw of not being able to help someone and beating myself up over it..... so what do I do? I hate the fact that I cant help... but additionally I am affraid that the people who are now what I was will pull me back to that time of my life.... and thats just not good for anyone.


(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just 2 days ago I was going over some information on marine fish at work and going over some stuff about starfish and I remembered something I learned back in science class in middle school. Starfish will regenerate if they lose a part of their body, however, if you cut them in half, you literally have 2 starfish that will regenerate. What I remember is how fisherman had lots of problems with starfish so it was an unwritten rule that if you saw a starfish, you picked it up, broke it in half, and threw it back in the water.... what those fisherman didnt realize is that they were actually building a much stronger starfish community.

I think this is what is happening with the church today. Satan is attacking so many churches and it seems that he is succeding at what he is doing but he still hasnt realized that when he attacks one of God's family, he just creates a scenario that brings more people into the kingdom.... In so many cases, Christian's souls regenerate. It's horrible when things happen with a pastor sinning.... considering what happened in Colorado especially.... Does this really make the church look bad? I guess it depends on who you are. If you are someone that is heart and soul against the church, then I'm sure it does -- but its not like anything else doesnt look bad in their eyes either. I think what happens when all of these "scandals" happen is that it becomes a testimony that Christians are actually real human beings -- which seems to be a very common misconception among the non-believers -- and mostly because we feel the need to act like we really are "holier than thou".

Think about it.... what's going to happen to the next church that has a "pastorial scandal?" .... Call it a hunch, but I think revival.... Satan may be attacking people and it may look bad but it's really producing something much more amazing.

When all of us Christians realize that it's not a bad thing to be human, maybe we'll be given a little more respect from those who are not Christians.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I was faced with alot of things tonight... The biggest question on my mind was regarding looking back. I was just doing some research on Scripture that might help me and God led me to Luke 9... I don't know why we, as humans, always want to look back on the things that we have let go of and did so for good reason, but it is definately a problem that we all have.

Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." -- Luke 9:62

Apparently it's a lot more critical than I thought. I think that this also can apply in some specific scenarios that would reverse what I said in my last post (about not giving up on a friend). Sometimes you can care too much. If a friend runs into a burning building, you're a great friend if you run after them -- however, if that friend makes it into the building then the wise decission is to stop. Only people that have the proper equipment will be able to succede at rescuing that person and if you enter the building unprotected, then you have brought more on yourself than you are able to deal with.

There is a point when a friend may not be thinking clearly and as brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our job to help them but when it gets to a point that they are determined to stay the way they are then it becomes our responsibility to eliminate any contact with that person because its no longer an issue of saving them but an issue of saving ourselves. The only thing we can do for the person in the burning building is call a fireman just like the only thing we can do for our friend who is determined to continue the way they are is call on God to help them. Once we eliminate that contact, it is important to realize that we did everything that we could.

He told them: "Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them." So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere. -- Luke 9:3-6

I can't imagine that when the disciples left a ton that they didnt still pray, but it was important for them to make a point and to leave. If you have advice (whether it be Godly or not), and someone has no interest in hearing it and they run from you, then it is time to shake the dust off your feet and not follow them into the building. You have made it to the edge of the fire and it's no longer your job -- if it was, God would have equipped you for it.


(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." --Matthew 11:28

I'm really having a problem understanding things going on in my life right now. Today this Scripture came to my mind but I could not remember where it was. As I layed down in my bed to go to bed, skipping my nightly Bible reading, I just kept hearing this over and over again.... there is just so much on me right now and I'm not seeing where the rest is coming. Thankfully, I finally realized that I needed to read so I picked up my Bible and read the story of Daniel in the lions den. God ministered to me that sometimes people are tricked into doing something that they wouldnt do if they knew the whole story. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how (or if) this applies.... but again, I kept thinking about the rest that God promised to the weary and burdened..... I turned to the back of the Bible to look at the topical index and looked under rest... my search didn't lead me to Matthew 11 but as in so many other cases, I ended up back at 1 Corinthians 13. To me, it is a supernatural phenomenon that I keep ending up at 1 Corinthians 13. No matter what I'm looking for, my search always ends up at that chapter -- or at least passes by. I have to be up in about 5 hours but it just kept running through my mind so I got up and searched biblegateway and found Matthew 11:28.... and now I'm blogging about, well, I dont even know.

I guess some of the things on my mind are just questioning why it seems like God isnt answering me and questioning what it is that He is trying to show me.... I feel like I'm backwards to my surroundings... which is most likely for a good reason... but I don't like self-centered people and yet, God puts me in NoVA which is the capital of self-centered people. God is definately trying to talk to me about love... but I don't understand what.... And if love is such a huge factor in my life, why is it that all of my relationships fall apart or are ripped away from me..... add to that why there are so many relationships that are so strong and yet an external force seperates it. Is God trying to show me what I'm doing wrong and I'm not listening? Is God trying to teach me something that I need to learn for the future? And why do these typical male sexual desires consume so much of me?

Aside from all of that, there are even more questions. Where am I supposed to be? When I was 15 I knew that God had a place for me in ministry.... Actually, it's where the base idea of RansomNet came about ( What is my next step? Is it possible that I was wrong about what I felt I was called to.... or is where I'm at as far as I'm supposed to go in ministry? I don't feel it is.... but what does that mean? Does that mean that I need to go into full time ministry? But my jobs in corporate america have brought alot of things to the table and the contacts I have as a result have provided things that New Life would not have been able to do otherwise.... so corporate america is a big part of my ministry -- but is it supposed to stay that way?

Nothing I am questioning now is the result of anything going bad... I'm not depressed but I am confused. I am functioning and I'm trying to be as strong as I can be.... I know that my God will sustain me.... but I still question Matthew 11:28.

If anyone has anything to say about this, PLEASE leave a comment! I'm really starting to think I'm the only person alive in the blogosphere. I started blogging so that I could vent and hopefully help other people understand me... and it seemed like it worked for years but I dont even know when my last comment was.... Either way, I'll keep blogging.... this is the history of my life as well as an outlet.... but it would be so much nicer if I had feedback.... Just more rambling... don't think I'm mad at anyone :)

Ok, I really need to head to bed... hopefully now that I've spent a little time with God I'll be able to sleep.


(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

(C)2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
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