Hindsight 2020

2020 was a rough year… I don’t think anyone can or would argue that… I don’t think anyone is left who HASN’T heard that yet. In some ways it was a blessing that so many people struggled last year as people are more willing to make exceptions to rules and adapt when everyone is suffering at the same time, but hard times are STILL “hard times”.

But there are benefits to hard years. Things you can only see once you go through them. Changes you are forced to make after experiencing them. Parts of yourself and the world around you you are forced to see when being dragged along them.

In a lot of ways 2020 was indeed 2020 vision. Just, being able to see clearly, and liking what you are seeing aren’t always the same thing.

I was once told that we don’t feel sick when we are GETTING sick. We feel sick once our bodies start to fight back. In the same way we aren’t overwhelmed by the world falling apart, we feel overwhelmed when we decide we want to piece it together again.

And there were catalysts for sure. Crisis, people, laws, reactions, media, what not. There were indeed many catalysts that made things seem very worse, but did the world suddenly get worse in 2020? Or did we simply begin to see where we already were headed?

There are benefits to hard times, but we can often try to push these benefits away. This is of course not to belittle the struggle of hard times, nor to say that it’s wrong to complain or want them to be over… but several years ago when I was trying to get used to my life falling apart, my social network crumbling, my career collapsing, and my health breaking, I was completely focused on “enduring” on “Getting this part of life over with so I could get back to living again.” I had to “Improve my health, get a job, get self sufficient as quickly as possible. My life was on hold until I could and I was wasting years away on this.” But then, God put something on my heart.

“You’re alive NOW… so LIVE!”

See, I had been so focused on the journey of life I had been told. The one where you are a kid, then a teen, then college, then independent, then start a family, then retire, then die… that I felt that any minute you weren’t pursuing that cycle was a waste of your life. In viewing my life being sick as a waste, I was essentially… wasting it… By viewing these years as a bad memory I just had to endure, I was essentially making them nothing but a bad memory…

But I am alive now… There are things I can do now… This is my one talent of silver… do I really want to bury it under the ground and wait for the master to return so I can get back to normal business? Or do I want to see what I can do with what I have now, even though it’s nothing compared to what I think I need?

I think the desire to “endure” bad times until “Things get back to normal” is a completely reasonable response, but not helpful for two main reasons.

1. It Means This Has Been a Total Waste of Time.

The hard times are unpleasant, but you got through them. If you let them teach you you can learn from them, they teach us lessons. Make us more aware of our real personalities. Make us more aware of what is wrong and what we are uncomfortable with. But when we toss away the hardships as just “distractions from life that held me back.” they become nothing but that. Nothing but a rough time we endured and gained nothing valuable from.

Have you honestly learned nothing? The value of friends and family? The ingenuity of desperation? How far technology has come? How people can accomplish something if we work together towards a common goal? How to entertain yourself and manage yourself when not being told what to do? How to improve your mind? Nothing at all??

2. Life NEVER Returns to “Normal”

We often claim we want things to “Return to Normal”, but things never will return to “Normal” because our lives were never staying the same way to begin with.

Have you ever reunited with an old friend? Have you ever seen them come back after years of being apart and thought “Man. They have changed so much!”

The truth is, that it’s not ENTIRELY about THEIR change, but because YOU have changed as well. Like two parallel lines that suddenly diverge, you left each others’ influences and began changing apart from each other. You learned things through your experiences and life lessons and they did the same. When you reunited the gap between yourselves seemed far greater than either had ACTUALLY changed, because the truth is you BOTH changed.

The truth is we are always changing. And that is not a bad thing. Change is how we grow, how we learn, how we create and adapt.

When we claim we want things “To go back to normal” what we usually are ACTUALLY arguing is that things have changed too quickly for us to be comfortable, so we wish to return close enough to what resembles when we last felt in control, so we can continue changing at a pace we feel comfortable with.
But again, to return to exactly where you left off means to throw away all the hard learned lessons you just faced. It is like becoming a couch potato after a year of strenuous boot camp to get in shape. Or eating nothing but snacks and unhealthy foods in large quantities after dieting for a year. Why throw away the benefits of your hard work?

This of course doesn’t mean you continue the hardships you went through if you have the choice. If it was a struggle you barely scraped through on, there is no shame for searching for a more bearable pace, but don’t just try to return to the life you had before when you are not the YOU you had before.

I feel like troubles can come in like a wave.

There are those who try to endure it, positioning their ship in the way that takes the least damage, patching up leaks with what they have lying around, each and every moment hoping and praying that this storm will end before they break completely.

There are those who try to punch through it. This wave isn’t the waters they like sailing on, therefore it is their enemy they must destroy it! They go full force at ramming speed, covering their ears and preparing to hit with full impact. In the end they may get through life a few times like this, but will one day be capsized by it, or at least irreparably damaged

But there is a third method. A far harder, and more difficult method, though one I feel like has some benefits to it…

There are those who try to ride the wave. They realize this may take them slightly off course. They realize they won’t always succeed and may end up falling numerous times before they get it right. But they try to take this wave and ride it. See where the current takes them, and some even get good enough at it to use it to add speed to their journey.

In the same way in life, when we face hardships, we can try to endure them hoping we will hold out until they pass us over (and I think ANYONE faced with hardships unless they are very used to them will spend at LEAST the first 6 months living this way as it is a very fair and natural response)

We can fight against them claiming them to be against our rights and unfair and needs to be overthrown but… life ISN’T fair… and we will one day face an ‘enemy’ that is too powerful for us to defeat on our own no matter how much righteous fury and justification we have. In turn, more often than not we will often end up attacking the wall holding the disaster back claiming it to be the disaster we face itself only to be drowned out should we succeed.

Finally you can try, and pray, and struggle through, to find ways to use the hardship to your advantage. To grow from it. To ride that wave. To maybe even end up stronger than you went in.

2020 was a difficult year… but I’ve also seen a lot of changes that weren’t so bad come from it. I’ve seen a lot of improvements that had been held back on simply because people liked things the way they were made. I’ve seen a lot of people who usually didn’t interact reach out to each other in encouragement and aid. I’ve seen levels of generosity and empathy that before was impossible in our “EVERY MAN FOR YOURSELF! PROTECT WHAT’S YOURS OR SOMEONE WILL CHEAT YOU!” society. A lot of things I knew were coming but expected to take the next 30-50 years to happen got sped up. Some things I expected to happen quickly got delayed.

2020 was a difficult year, but there was growth that happened from it. The question is will we accept it?

Pruning the Branches to Recovery

I was thinking today about PTSD therapy… both how it seems to destabilize your life to it’s core, and also how, when facing it, you can be viewed by other people looking in as a… ‘simpler’ person… someone weak… someone struggling or unable to comprehend even the most basic aspects of life that others seem to understand easily.

I’d been trying to figure out why these two things happen for a while now and I think I’ve finally got a fairly good analogy for it.

We tend to view ourselves as heading down the race of life. The further we progress down this path, the more knowledge we gain and the stronger we go. We need to hit all the checkpoints in the right order to progress, and those who seem to be missing some of these checkpoints, be it an achievement like a career, financial security, marriage, children, or something intangible like self worth or an understanding that you probably won’t be attacked on purpose, we assume their progress has halted AT that checkpoint where they are still standing now.

In reality, our lives are more like a tree. As children we start to sprout branches of foundational concepts that the rest of our world view will be built upon.

“Don’t hurt others.” “Pain is bad.” “There is love in this world.” “Experimentation brings progress.”

These foundational branches of logical deduction grow as we age becoming stronger and more robust through our experiences, and further logical deductions branch off from them.

“Don’t hurt others. -> People Like it when you do good things for them -> People like different things than you may like -> it feels good to help others” etc

These branches form built on the observations and repetitive confirmations we receive through childhood through our teens, to adulthood and all the way to the end of our lives.

However, some of us… in fact I would go so far as to argue MOST of us though we may not always realize it; have branches that grow the wrong way. Be it from the environments we are raised in, or a freak accident that bends and breaks the branches growing, we form branches that instead of reaching towards the sun as they should be, curl downwards towards the ground where they risk

withering and growing rot. The branches that are affected like this in childhood are ESPECIALLY troublesome as many are close to the trunk and become the foundation of many of our beliefs and the way we view the world.

I should point out, that not EVERYTHING that branches off from these damaged branches are bad. In fact, there can be many that angle back up to the sky and become some of what many consider our better qualities. But as the branch continues to grow lower and lower, even some of our better qualities can come at a painful and destructive cost.

To fix this, we need to go back to the source of the damage and prune it. We need to cut the branch on an angle so that it will regrow in the proper direction. We need to approach it methodically and carefully as to not ruin it forever but instead allow it to regrow safely, the way it was intended to. But we also need to realize that there is a heavy cost to this pruning, especially if the damage happened long ago.

Many new branches have sprouted off of the damaged branch, and to prune the damaged branch will mean affecting them as well. Branches both good and bad will fall to the ground and many of the things we have grown from and learned to rely on will be brought into question.

However; with time and attention, the branch will regrow, and while it will never be the same as it was before, the other branches that sprouted from it will grow back as well. It is a slow process, and one that will quite likely change the look of the tree forever, but something that is essential for the tree’s survival and will allow it to grow stronger than before.

Below is just a single one of the many branches I need to fix. One of the core branches that I have struggled with for years due to things I had dealt with growing up. The concept that my own life and happiness are worthless. From it, many negative views have sprouted and held me back. A lack of self preservation. Not bothering to mention when something hurt me or fight back if it was just me getting hurt. A lifestyle of pushing myself to the point that I permanently damaged my body, and a lack of value that led to suicidal thoughts.

But there were also good things that sprouted from it, and things that are hard to let go of. A strong value of others that came from feeling like it was too late for me but I didn’t want anyone else to become what I did. A desire to help others, even at the cost of my own comfort. An ability to realize that I am not always right and that there are things I don’t understand or agree with that are still valid.

As I work on pruning this branch, I feel all these aspects of my life being affected and changed… but at the same time I have hope that the good aspects can come back stronger by sprouting from a less self loathing source. That it is possible to care for yourself and for others.

It’s a long journey to recovery, and quite honestly, the recovery process feels more unsettling than the actual thing you are curing often enough. But it’s a recovery worth fighting for.

Again I say, don’t be afraid to turn for help. Don’t be afraid to deal with problems from years ago. It may feel like you’re regressing to a child at times. It may feel like you’re throwing away a lifetime of experiences at others. But you aren’t! You HAVE grown, and that growth will stay with you and let you come back stronger. But sometimes we need to move backwards to move forwards.

Take it one step at a time and keep pushing onwards!

Looking Back on a Year of PTSD Therapy

So, it’s been about a year of PTSD (well, now complex trauma) therapy and… that’s a pretty big accomplishment for me.

For those who didn’t know, I’ve always HATED counsellors and psychiatrists with a passion. To me they were the enemy. The antithesis of everything I stood for (which was extra ironic considering majority of the people I helped emotionally through high school and college ended up pursuing the field)
This fear of counselors and psychiatrists wasn’t just from what people told me, or some misguided old fashioned beliefs. It was from experience. The counselors I had experienced in middle school during the worst of my trauma. The ones who shook their head sadly saying it was too late for me. Saying “I was a mistake for society to learn from and wouldn’t make it past the 7th grade. And even then, I wouldn’t even make it that far without hand holding and medication.” The ones that then were the cause of me watching the most energetic kids in my class, the ones with the most personality and imagination, suddenly become so medicated that they just sat silently with blank stares towards the board.

To me, counselors and psychiatrists were like people prescribing Vaseline to people sitting in vats of acid. They dealt with the chemical balance in the body assuming that was the cause of all thoughts emotions and personalities, but never considered that maybe our thoughts, emotions, and personalities could upset the chemical balances in our bodies.

That was my thought of counselors and psychiatrists, and I have met many since who held up to that persona…. but just because my thoughts were justified doesn’t mean I was right. And I apologize for that.

What originally forced my hand to break this 20 year stand off I’ve held with counselors was these last 4 years of hardships (and I should point out it STILL took 3 years of hardships to finally bite the bullet!)

I was low… very low. I don’t think it would be possible to go through what I had just gone through and NOT have felt low. I had lost so much, every attempt of moving forward was being blocked out, my attempts were illogically being thwarted to the point it felt like someone was actively working against me, my body was weakening, I was having full on panic attacks and breakdowns at the thoughts of “cold calling” or “Working in a call center”, and scariest enough, the suicidal thoughts I had back when I worked in the warehouse were starting to creep back in.

So I did what is ironically one of the hardest things for people to do. With a shaky voice I called up my doctor’s office and asked for help. I laid it out flat. I had no job, no income, my benefits were laughable, and there was no way I could afford $200/hour on a psychologist, but I needed to do something or else I was going to end up somewhere I didn’t want to be. My doctor told me that the doctors in Barrie had banded together to create a counselling office which could give patients 4 free sessions with a counselor but that it was far from enough and that I could be looking at a year or two of a waiting list for it. Desperate, I said it was better than nothing and had him sign me up.

I went to the clinic to fill out their self assessment form and was surprised to find myself checking off everything on the list. I mean, I knew I was a bit more depressed and stressed than usual, but it felt like the bar on these questionnaires was far too low as I couldn’t remember a time I DIDN’T feel like most of the questions. After handing it in I ended up getting called back and told that after reading my form, they had decided it was best to bump me to the front of the line and that they would see me within the month…. It was at this point I first realized that things were maybe a bit more serious than I had expected.

See, this is the first problem I think many people face when deciding to seek help on their problems. “Normalization”. If you’ve ever driven a car, there’s probably been a point where you stopped looking at your speedometer an instead judged your speed off of the cars around you. You probably figured you were driving the limit because in spite of how it felt a bit faster than normal, there were STILL people riding on your bumper and honking at you as they passed you. This is why it is always such a shock when you look back at your speedometer and realize you are going WAY faster than you had ever intended!
In the same way, we often normalize the pain we go through, especially when we’ve lived with it for a long time. We just tell ourselves “Well, I can imagine a worse scenario than what I’ve gone through, so it’s probably not actually trauma, just me being weird.” and that in turn creates a contradiction in our lives which leads to nothing but more stress.

Personal example, 1/4 women and 1/6 men are expected to have been sexually abused growing up. Truth is, the problem is probably far higher than that. I know back in Brampton it was rarer to meet someone who HADN’T been sexually abused. I myself also had been. Numerous times in fact in numerous ways by numerous people for 6 years. But it never clicked to me as sexual assault. Why? Because in my head I had drawn a line of what attested to sexual assault and said “Well they didn’t go THIS far, therefore it wasn’t sexual assault.” This has affected my life in MAJOR ways. I have an acute case of androphobia (fear of men). It’s not full on panic attacks, but when hanging with guys I always feel on edge like someone is behind me and will attack me at any moment, and whenever I see a guy naked, even myself in the mirror, especially if they are muscular, I get a strong urge to throw up and have to look away. I also spent the rest of my time in junior high and high school finding the darkest corner of the gym change rooms to get changed in, would wait till no one was looking my way and then get changed as fast as I could. But I never really questioned these things or attested it to what I had been through. I was just shy, and was more comfortable with girls since I grew up in a mostly female extended family…

I say this not for pity, but instead to point out that yes… you can do things that are COMPLETELY abnormal to other people, yet completely rationalize it as “Well it’s not that bad. I can keep going so there’s no real problem with this.” You can carry these like a backpack full of rocks that you struggle to carry as you run the race of life. You’ll watch confused and frustrated as you’re exhausting yourself to run and yet get passed easily by people chatting and jogging lightly. You’ll be ridiculed for being lazy, crazy, unmotivated, unpassionate, immature, stupid, and more by people who looking from the outside just see someone who isn’t moving the same way as everyone else and therefore must lack discipline. You will keep running like this telling yourself “Well I can still stand so I must be fine!” until one day you find yourself falling down and get shocked by the point that you CAN’T stand up again… which I am starting to believe is God’s way of saying “DEAL WITH THIS ALREADY!”

So ya. I went to those 4 sessions, and thankfully my counselor ended up being someone gentle and kind. Also had uncontrollable twitches like I do which was a bit relaxing as I do feel self conscious about those.

4 months is not enough time to actually deal with anything… but it WAS enough time for me to realize that the problem was much bigger than I first expected. It also made me decide that, while I was always aware that the events of my past had made me act differently and view the world differently than those around me, that I would up it a notch and look into full on PTSD. After consulting with some people I knew who were getting treated for PTSD, as well as some pastors I knew worked a lot with people who had PTSD, I was advised to a PTSD workbook from a lady from my church Sheri McLaughlin which I do advise anyone who is thinking about this stuff to look through as it is very well written.

After reading the book I was shocked at how many things felt like looking in a mirror. Even things I hadn’t really thought to question since I was a kid. It felt like being described by someone who knew you deeply yet had never met you. One line in particular stood out to me:

“YOU are normal. What happened to you wasn’t.”

I read through the entire book, and it was like the giant steel door blocking my emotions had been partially wrenched open. I knew that it would never be shut the same way again, and that I also now had to commit to seeing this through. Turning to my parents, they graciously agreed to help me financially so I could attend counselling directed at PTSD, and I do praise God that they did.
This past year has been…. overwhelming but also very enlightening. There are many ways I have tried to describe PTSD therapy: “Mental Chemotherapy” “Adding light to the room to see what the shadows are.” “Emotional Weightlifting” but none of them really seem to be sufficient. What I can say is

1. It is INCREDIBLY exhausting
2. It is NOTHING like I expected it to be
3. It WILL change you

I expected it to be a lot of “See, life wasn’t so bad as you expected. You’re okay now, you were just scared at your own weakness.” and it ended up being a lot of “No…. things were about 100x worse than you thought and it shows how strong you are that you even survived.” I expected it to be a lot of “See, your instincts say to do that, but really that’s immature so do this instead.” and it ended up being a lot of “Actually, your intuition was spot on here, here, and here, and this was actually all you trying to build proper boundaries and normalize things.” I expected it to be over in 13 weekly sessions, and here we are a year later and barely even scratching the surface.

I’ve learned a lot about myself though… and what’s more, I’ve learned it’s okay to BE myself. I’ve come to realize that a lot of the children we call “Mature” because they “Never cause a problem” are quite often just way too traumatized and terrified to make a ruckus. For me, I am someone who finds it very easy to treat others well and with respect, giving them what they want, but when it comes to treating myself…. Well to be honest I always viewed myself as trash.
I was the freak of nature, damaged goods, dirty water tainted by everything I went through and who threatened to taint anyone else who I ever let get close to me with my own filth. I longed for companionship but also feared betrayal and worse hurting those who got close because we grew up in completely different worlds. LET ME TELL YOU! That look you always get when you’re talking about your childhood and look up to see people giving you a horrified expression only for you to realize “ah. that is shocking for other people to know.” is NEVER pleasant! I was an outsider, an alien, I lost my humanity, I glitched the system. I somehow survived something that was meant to kill me and now there was no further content in this world for me. The only thing I could do was to prevent others from becoming as messed up an individual as me.

Those were all things I viewed myself as, and I had lived my life according to those ways. I didn’t complain about my own pain because I figured who really cared? If there was an unpleasant task I’d take it. If something good was coming in I’d let others have first dibs. But not only is this something unhealthy for yourself, it’s something other people CAN’T wrap their heads around.
Other people go through life expecting everyone else to be in it for themselves. To complain when things get unpleasant. To get the most gain for the least effort. So when someone like me DID complain, for me that pretty much meant “If I go any further I am going to majorly injure myself.” but to them that meant “Oh, he’s tired. Push through it and you’ll find your second wind!” For others, of course you’d make sure you had what you needed first, so it would be okay to finish off whatever was left over, but for me, I had missed out on so many meals and snacks and prizes and whatnot because I wouldn’t even go up until everyone else had mostly worked their way through. All this to say, my lifestyle itself had become incompatible with the culture I lived in and it led to a lot of stress causing misunderstandings. To others I was lazy. To me, If they said I was lazy I must be lazy but I couldn’t think of any other way to work harder if I tried.

In all honesty, PTSD therapy is not easy. It means facing fears you had buried deep inside. It means facing emotions that you aren’t able to handle in one go. It means accepting realities that may be complete opposite to what you originally thought. Watching as what you once considered to be maturity to become harmful pride. To see what you once considered to be rash laziness to actually be a struggle to survive.

In fact, I am really struggling with the concepts of laziness and tough love in general now. Both with physical and emotional issues I’m working through, it raises questions. Is anyone truly lazy? AKA Actively pushing work on others because they want life to be easy. Or do they all have reasons we are not yet seeing. In the same way, is tough love EVER a good response? Or is it just showing a lack of insight on the part of the person giving it to find the root cause of the problem and thereby showing maturity on the side of the person receiving it that they can actually produce any good result in spite of it??
There are so many questions which raise as my world around me gets flipped upside down and right-side up again. So many things I don’t understand or know how to process. In a sense, I’m really thankful for the 2020 quarantine because I have honestly no desire to face people right now with how mixed up everything feels.

At the same time, healing IS happening. I can laugh at things again. Genuinely. Emotions are starting to form again, though I’m still struggling to cry. I actually relaxed for a few seconds… for the first time in over 20 years NOT being on guard for something coming. I’m starting to realize not everything rests on my shoulders. That it’s okay to be imperfect. That there is still benefit in things that aren’t perfect. And that opens up many new opportunities. It’s becoming easier to talk to people, to learn new things, and I’m starting to watch out for my own needs too a bit more.

I still have a long way to go, yet I’ve also come a long way. So honestly, I say this with all my heart…. Counselling isn’t for those who are too weak to face the harshness of reality. It’s for those who are strong enough to admit they want to do better.

Whatever you faced in life. Whatever you’re dealing with now. Don’t just brush it off to something others need. Don’t just roll your eyes at people being “too sensitive and delicate.” Life is tough, and no one’s ever come out of it alive anyways. Look for help and know you don’t have to face it alone.

Keep on fighting!

Wisdom is a Double Edged Sword

Wisdom is a double edged sword…

Contrary to what its rarity might suggest, wisdom is not actually very hard to obtain. In fact, it is one of the few things the Bible states we will be given whenever and no matter how often we ask for it. God does live up to this bargain too, but… if you long for wisdom to stand over others and have the masses come from far and wide to hear of your guidance in order to govern their lives…. give up…. wisdom is not quite what people often think it is…
Imagine you found a pair of glasses lying on the ground, and when you put them on you suddenly saw monsters standing all around you. These monsters were always there, and cause great calamity to those who encounter them through injury, corruption, or even destruction… but they are also invisible to most.

This is essentially what wisdom is like.

The double edged part of wisdom however, comes from how even if you can see things others seem to miss, doesn’t mean you can convince others of the severity of your words. You can call out of course, but most will look forward and see empty space where you call out monsters and proceed to walk in where they are quickly attacked. When they are attacked, they are focused on the damage and so the fact that you warned them of this result is most likely the last thing on their minds meaning future warnings will provide similar effects.
Every so often there will be a time when the majority of people realize there is a monster somewhere and will bring people together in arms to escape its clutches. They will question why you are not overwhelmed by the monster they are all terrified of, unaware that you are already overwhelmed by the thousands of others they are still seemingly unaware of.
They will usually proceed to mass exodus away from said monster and walk directly into the lair of another. Again, you may call out warnings, but they will not understand. After all, they know there is a monster behind them, and they can see nothing but empty space before them. Why are you trying to prevent them from escaping? Do you want them all to be destroyed??
And so you sit, and watch… as countless people run into the same monsters, some times the same person repetitively runs into the same monster…
Having the ability to see danger does not mean you will have the ability or power to let others recognize danger…
At the same time, will you ever take off the glasses? You know these monsters exist whether you can see them or not. Naivety is not something you can regain once lost. You can choose to have ignorance but that is far from the same and the consequences are far worse… Therefore wisdom, while powerful and impactful for your life, and truly worth pursuing, also comes with the pain of occasionally feeling like you are no more effective than a fortune cookie, writing words that people oo and ahh over and then quickly toss aside as if nothing had changed.

Even still, wisdom is worth pursuing… Even still the impacts you have do exist… Even still, you should never stop trying

You Cannot Fight Hate With Hate

When people say stuff against us or those people or things we care about, we feel anger… bitterness… hatred… A strong desire to fight back welling up within us and a strong desire to knock the accuser down a peg. Hurt them… Make them second guess ever attacking what matters to us ever again!
I get these emotions… Every day I’m exposed to hundreds of people bashing me and things I care about…
“The internet is an evil time waster sent by the devil!”
“Videogames are only ways for people to escape reality when they aren’t mature enough to do things that are healthy for them… like sports…”
“Social media influencers are all greedy spoiled anarchist brats!”
“Religion is nothing but a bunch of primitive brainwashed sheep that are controlling our world and pulling in the young to teach them to be hateful and spiteful like themselves!”
“All men are sexual predators with no brains and no purpose save for making women’s lives miserable and holding us back because they know we are better than them!”
“No white Christian man from a first world country could ever comprehend the concept of people being hurt!”
Yes… Hatred is EVERYWHERE… and the people who hate often have lists upon lists of all the reasons of what caused them to hate… But here’s the problem…

You may OCCASIONALLY be able to protect someone through fighting and hatred… But you will NEVER be able to save someone by it.

Because of what I just said…. When we deal with the bitterness and hatred directed at the things we love, we feel a justified wrath towards the attacker. We don’t often ask ourselves “Why do they think that?” or “What hurt are they dealing with that makes them want to fight so hard?” NO! We just feel pain so we punch back to shut them up! How dare they believe such small minded things after all??
Even with the things I listed. How many of you found one, if not all of them, gave you a desire to write a comment justifying WHY people say stuff like that and how that’s really not the same as TRUE hatred and bigotry that they’re fighting against…
I’m not saying this to wag a finger at anyone, but instead to show what is a wall and what is a mirror. How we are all humans and all dealing with the same issues and feelings!
But we often don’t like to face this truth. Because deep down we know… The people who stand against what we believe in are all just evil! Or stupid! Or immature!
These are titles we love to give to other people we don’t want to understand. They say far more about our own lack of willingness to look for causes for the person’s actions than anything about the other person’s character.
Is anyone in this world evil? Is anyone in this world stupid? Is anyone in this world lazy? Or are we simply not able to accurately see the causes behind their actions?
Now this is not to say we hold no accountability for our actions. Those who attack are as accountable for their actions as you who attack back are. But if we live in an “Eye for an Eye” kind of world we’re just all going to end up blind, and people’s actions are not so cookie cutter as we love to make them.

We are logical beings. Even if our logic is flawed, it is flawed due to our limited perspective, or weakness towards carnal desires we haven’t dealt with.

No one wakes up in the morning and goes “OOOO! LET’S SEE WHAT KIND OF EEEEEVIL I CAN DO TODAY! Let’s see! Drown puppies in the river at 7. Steal candies from babies at 2… OH NO! I double booked that with taking more than 1 free sample and cutting in line at 2:15! CURSES!”
Even if such a ridiculous cape and top hat wearing, mustache twizzling, maniacally laughing individual DID exist; I argue their reason for doing so wouldn’t be for doing evil in itself, but because of something they feel they get out of robbing a bank.
Let’s put it this way. No one robs a bank JUST because robbing a bank is wrong. They may do it for the money, or to hurt people they feel justified being angry at, or for the challenge, or because they feel they have to to avoid something horrible…. It isn’t JUST to rob the bank! In the same way, no one does horrible things just because they are an evil human being.
Find me the most racist, pig headed, sexist, stuck up, elitist, stubborn, loud mouthed, rude, individual you can find, and more often than not, when you finally get past their bluster to WHY they believe what they do… More often than not their reasons are “I’m scared the things and people I care about will be attacked and that no one else seems to see the threat that I do!”
Now does this justify them for doing wrong things?
People who do wrong can expect consequences for their actions. I’ve said all this NOT to justify those who do wrong. No one can do that nor should they. I have said all this in order for you to understand WHY meeting such people with hatred and fighting back will accomplish NOTHING except an ever escalating war.
They FEEL justified in their position. You FEEL justified in your position. They attacked you, and made martyrs out of your cause. Why on earth wouldn’t you attacking them just work to make martyrs out of their cause??
If people were aware what they were doing were wrong, or felt guilt in their hearts, then MAYBE, just MAYBE, pointing out all the reasons that’s stupid would help push them back to the right side, but even then, you may only make their bitterness towards you who hurt them make them cling to their cause all the harder if only to spite you!
This is why hating those who hate you doesn’t work. All it accomplishes is empowering your enemies through an increased hatred of you. It builds larger walls of people who refuse to accept such a bitter and spiteful person such as that could possibly have ANYTHING good and worth listening to. What’s worse, is that by focusing on what you hate in this world, your world will become full of nothing but what you hate as that will be all you see. And just to make it worse still, you will become what you hate, because where you focus on is where you will eventually go.
So how do we approach this differently? There quite honestly will always be those who do stuff hurtful and hateful in our world… If you must correct them, then do so out of love and patience. They may have already judged you to be a cruel and hateful person, but show them a reality that differs from what they believe. Show them respect, love, kindness. Explain why you believe what you believe. Try to understand why they believe what they believe and then comment on why you still believe what you believe in spite of it.
If they still don’t change… You won’t change them… Move on… Don’t waste your life chasing after those you hate to destroy them. Invest your life in building up those you believe in and empowering them to change this world.
But that’s just my two cents. Whether you agree or not is your choice not mine 🙂

Even in the Darkness There is Light

I feel at this point, everyone has seen how bad this world has gotten…
People all living in fear… Refreshing their internet browsers every 5 minutes to get updated infected tolls as if that will help them in any way… people getting laid off left right and center… Businesses getting shut down… People dying… Streets bear… economies struggling… governments worried…
I’m pretty sure everyone has seen all this and much much more… It’s almost impossible to escape now as everywhere you turn it seems to be all that is on peoples’ lips… it’s changed our world so drastically…
But that’s not all I’ve seen…
I’ve also seen people give up their grudges to work together and support each other in this time. I’ve seen countries cooperate in ways I never thought they could. Diplomatic barriers fall down that were held up for so long.
I’ve seen businesses make changes they had for years said were impossible. I’ve seen infrastructure built and progress made in ways we never would before because “It wasn’t the way things had always been done.” I’ve seen companies from large conglomerates to small entrepreneurs give free resources and services to people during this time such as free internet to families who can’t afford it so their children can still keep going to school, free improved video calling services so that people can still remain in contact with each other and find social connections during isolation, companies making temporary last minute tweaks to their games and services in knowledge that millions of people are currently stuck at home, scared, and bored.
I have seen people who have never been pulled out of their comfort zones before pulled out and forced to face the music that this world is far bigger than they imagined. I’ve seen those with extreme prejudice forced to accept charity from those they tore down. I’ve seen encouragement and support given from those who were already stuck here in these pits of despair to all those who have recently entered. One by one, I have seen so many lives that have been forced to confront areas of their lives they had been avoiding up until now and are growing because of this one disaster. Almost as if there were thousands of loose and unconnected ends all being tied up in one final sweep.
What’s more, I’ve seen so many times and in so many places, areas where infrastructure had been implemented years ago (sometimes begrudgingly) that has made this time far less impactful than it could ave been. Maybe it was self serve checkouts, or online service desks, or digital video conferencing software, or digital workspaces, or even livestreaming functionality added to churches… But all these little things that were added for a plethora of unique reasons that now all have a moment to shine as if they were put in place to just prepare us for now.
Now I’m not totally oblivious. Anyone who knows me knows I have my cynical side too. So yes, I see those who cling to their political regimes. I see those who see this as an opportunity to profit off the miseries of others. I see racist comments and vigilantism spreading along with paranoia and mass hysteria. I see those who have always stood on mountain tops cowering in fear and clinging to their seats lashing out at anyone who comes near them whether friend or foe…
But this could have been worse… No… this SHOULD have been worse… so much worse… Because I have also seen what this could have become… How many more people could have been infected… How much more extreme the effects of this could have been. How much more people could have panicked. How much more selfishly people could have decided to live… the anarchy that can come from a world that is scared but also feels they cannot trust or rely on those around them and so instead looks for the opportunity to backstab before they are backstabbed…
But instead I saw something that even I couldn’t have expected… And it’s not done by everyone… but it has been seen through by far more people than I ever could have imagined…
I have seen that when a danger comes that affects EVERYONE equally, we are forced to put away our pride, our fears, our ambitions, and our prejudices…. That we are forced to face the one truth we are usually never willing to admit… That we are human… that we are weak… That we NEED each other…
And as I said, not everyone will make this decision even when pushed to the brink. Quite often those we give the most power to and who have the most people looking at them are the least willing to make this decision and as such cling to their old ways as it drags them down…. However; when those who stand up high refuse to change and make the necessary choices to act… There will still be those who come from below who will rise up to make the decisions that need to be made. Who will be the selfless lights in the world… the beacons of hope that keep people going… It may be as large as donating millions or opening hotel rooms for hospital beds. It may be as small as making webcontent to inform and encourage people during these rough times… But the darker the day, the brighter even the smallest light will shine.
Make no mistake… This too shall pass and when we look back we shall be surprised at how short a time it really lasted for and it will soon pass from our minds as just an unpleasant memory we can all relate back on, just like how every crisis we face always does…. But the lessons we learn from these times… The maturity we can gain from facing our weakness… The wisdom we can build from stepping outside our comfort zone… The broader our world will become by being forced to face those with lifestyles and worldviews we never held before…. Those things will stay with us if we let them….
While the pain may only last for a few months at most, the lessons shall stay with us for a lifetime.
Do not fear the current darkness, for there is light all around us; so long as you’re looking for it!

It Wasn’t a Waste

It wasn’t a waste…

That course that failed

That job you got let go from

That house you had to give up on

That project that went no where

That career path you can no longer pursue

That relationship that ended

That effort that came back to bite you

It wasn’t a waste…

Though there will be many to tell you it is…

They will point out your failures…

They will tell you how you aren’t getting any younger

How at your age they had accomplished so much more

How they know others your age who don’t struggle like this

How if you were a bit more responsible or reliable you wouldn’t deal with this….

There is no shortage of people in this world who will call you useless, broken, a waste, dead weight, a lost cause….

Don’t be one of them…

Because it wasn’t a waste…

The truth is those who feel they cannot show signs of failure will never be able to keep up with those who embrace it as a way of life….

Because it never was a waste…

You learned from your experiences

You gained skills to carry across

You gained insight few others will have

You gained empathy many others will need

It wasn’t a waste…

But if you throw away your failures and unfinished projects as nothing more than wasted time it will be…

Learn, grow, explore

This life is far less on rails than people will have you believe

Keep on trying!

Because it isn’t a waste

PTSD Therapy Update

Time to do two things I am not overly good at.
The first is be open and candid/vulnerable about myself. I’m sure some are thinking “Wait… aren’t pretty much all your posts TMI about things most people would keep private??” But in all honesty I am pretty careful about what I say even though I don’t let it on. The easiest way to hide a closet you don’t want anyone to know about is to put it next to a massive open door. In the same way, the easiest way to keep people from asking about things you don’t want them to ask about is to be super open about other things.
I don’t like to talk about my past. Part of that is due to the fact that majority of it is a nightmare of repressed memories that I can easily get pulled into it, but a larger portion is that when I talk about my past it makes me realize how “not normal” the things I’ve experienced have been and how “Different” I am from others. My sense of normalcy is completely broken, and if I’m not always watching myself I can say something naturally that seems totally normal to me but is apparently disturbing to others.
In all honesty there have been those who have tried to get me to open up about things I’ve experienced and I’ve lost a number of friendships being accused of destroying their innocence just because I suffered… Even the ones who stay are rarely the same. So ya… talking about my past and the things I’ve experienced… my true feelings and fears is hard for me. Especially when I’m talking to people who know me.
The second thing I’m going to do that I’m not good at is talk about mental health. I have a long and awkward history with mental health. Partially because my first encounter with a counselor was with (what I have no come to find) an abnormally horrible one. I was in the Ritalin generation where any kid with a personality was diagnosed as ADHD and given Ritalin and few explanations and considered dealt with. In my case they didn’t just say I had ADHD (which I have recently found out I have never had) but they also said it was too late for me. If they had caught it sooner they might not have been, but as of now I was “A mistake for society to learn from” and “Would never make it past the 7th grade and even then would need my hand held the entire way to make it that far!” ……My bachelors degree and 4.0 GPA would like to have words with those people….
The other reason it’s hard for me to talk about mental health comes from my own prideful differences in ideals. Many people who work in mental health focus on the facts. The concrete. Your chemical balances, and genetics. For me, I am abstract. I focus on the heart. Your feelings. Your motivations. Your purpose. I’ve had many arguments where others would say “Your chemicals set your feelings” and I would argue “Your feelings set your chemicals.” and honestly neither side can prove or disprove the other but it’s been a point of tension for over a decade and a half.
So this overly long intro in mind… realize it took a large amount of will power and desperation to make the decision a few months ago to pursue counselling and later on PTSD specific counselling.
The fact that I had PTSD wasn’t a surprise to me. I knew what caused it, and I’ve known I’ve suffered with it for years. I’ve been locked into memories time and time again where for hours I relive the same fight and either get killed and it restarts, or I survive and it restarts with a harder setup. I’ve had panic attacks especially when cold calling or in crowded places. Just in general, my experience in living seemed different than others. Like we lived in two completely different worlds.
What I didn’t realize was how intense it had gotten. Normalizing things is both a very powerful and very terrifying human ability. It allows us to survive things and continue living through hardships, but it also causes us to underestimate just how extreme a situation is provided we are used to it. I knew I was anxious and depress… I didn’t expect they were cases so severe that I would be jumped ahead to the front of the line of a year long waiting list. I knew I had PTSD from one event, I didn’t realize that it had caused me to undersell several other traumatic situations I had experienced since then making it highly likely I’ve entered into the realms of complex trauma.
PTSD as well is a topic that is hard to talk about in mixed company. There are a lot of stigmas that come with it… that it only applies to soldiers… that it only comes from people who are violent… that it makes you psychotic and unpredictable… Truth is it’s estimated that 1 in 4 people right now deal with some form of PTSD, and it is probably a lot higher as most go completely untreated. This world is hard and sometimes we can’t process why things happen the way they do. PTSD is our survival mechanisms getting hard wired into the “ON” position forcing us to lose our ability to relax or leave that survival mode.
This makes PTSD therapy incredibly difficult to handle…. When I first started PTSD Therapy I stated “It is like Emotional Chemo Therapy…. It’s hard to know if it’s healing you or killing you.” as well as “It’s like the iron door that held my emotions back has been wrenched open and I have no idea how to close it again…”
In all honesty though, the best example I can think of for PTSD therapy, is that it’s like the Sun has risen for the first time in your life. And light is good… you need light.. things grow in light… but your first time seeing it it is blinding and painful. It’s also scary, because the scenery around you hasn’t changed, but the light lets you see and understand it better than you ever could before. That dark shadowy area that hurt when you walked through it… You now feel your stomach lurch when you realize you were actually walking through rusty broken metal that gave you tetnis. Alternatively that other shadowy area you’ve avoided because it looked a lot like the first…. You can now see that it was something else different entirely.
PTSD therapy does NOT change your situation or what you’ve lived through… but it does help bring into light what was normal and what wasn’t to go through, as well as helps you come to terms with what happened and helps to heal the damage from what you’ve survived.
For me personally, the two areas I’ve been really struggling with are self preservation and what right I have to exist…
When I dealt with the 6 years of trauma, my purpose was in question. I was dealing with people every day whose philosophy was “We will never kill you, because death is a peace you don’t deserve. Instead you’re going to live each day knowing you have nothing to look forward to but a pain worse than the day before!” and they acted on it. I’ve been gang beat, groped, stripped, cut, pounded, held down, choked, strangled, had my fingers bent back until they made a sickening pop and snap sound only to have them never be the same again… And I’ve seen stuff happen to others beyond what most people are capable of imagining.
My life purpose at the time? It was obvious. I was going to die. There was no way I was going to keep living through this. One day I was going to die, and the only thing that could keep me going would be to take down as many of them as I could with me.
I got vengeful. I was justified wasn’t I? After all these were bad people who hurt others!
But then in Grade 6 I was switched to the Christian school system where the first time in 3 years I was treated like a human instead of a number and a problem. In grade 8, an… annoyingly persistent girl in my class pestered me until I went to her bible study and it eventually led me back to God (which was also the time my bullying era ended) but it made me realize what I had become… and it scared me… and I realized God still loved me in spite of that.. and it broke me…. So now I live for God. And I live to discover what I can put into this world, not what I want to take out of it.
But then the question came… what was my purpose in life? What was I worth? I mean… I was still going to die. I was sure of that. How could I have lived through all that and still live?? I had pushed my body far past its limits without letting it rest and there was damage caused. And plus, what place did I have in this world? The people in the Christian school were nice, but they were sheltered and naive. They lived in a completely different world than I knew. They were so blindingly innocent and pure that I felt like anyone who got even close to my blood stained self would be tainted by me. Even the bullies and mean kids were like watching infants trying to be tough. It was more pathetically cute than actually scary.
I had no place in this world, but had been left to live a bit longer. I couldn’t let people get close to me because I had been tainted by what I had experienced. And you can’t unlearn what you find out, so if I said too much, I would risk warping these peoples’ lives forever. I decided that the only purpose I had left was to be an outsider and spend whatever life I had left trying to keep people from becoming someone like me.
But then something unexpected happened….. I kept living on…. Life continued… And what’s more… I began wanting things… I was lonely… I wanted people to relate to, people I could relax around… I wanted at least one friend who would come up and choose to talk to me no matter who else was in the room. I longed for close connections and acceptance… but I had already decided I didn’t deserve that….
So I told myself… As long as I have a small house of my own, get married, raise a family, and have a job that earns enough to get by on…. that would be enough for me. I didn’t need big ambitions or fancy goals… I didn’t need fancy cars or travel the world…. I was alive and didn’t deserve to be. Wasn’t that already more than I could ask for? Wouldn’t asking for anything else be just greedy?
So through college I worked hard to achieve that goal… and failed…. my body that I had learned to push past and ignore its limits finally snapped… It took a while to snap completely leaving me in an annoying place where I would work harder than anyone but provide the least results… but then eventually after a false start and starting to question if I had any place in this world at all if I couldn’t even succeed at the basics of survival… it finally broke completely… and that led to these last 2.5 years of doctors, lifestyle changes, deaths, rumors, relational issues, losses, and more….
In all honesty I started to feel like I had somehow glitched the system of life… that I was really supposed to have died those years ago, and somehow I had survived and now the world didn’t know what to do with me. It had nothing prepared to let me live but also had no method to get rid of me…. It made sense… after all why was I allowed to live anyways when so many others died? Weren’t they smarter than me? More talented? Stronger? Friendlier? There was no logical reason for me to have gotten through the stuff that I did when they didn’t… Maybe God made a mistake… or maybe worse, maybe this was punishment for all the things I had done! After all, like those people had told me all those years ago… dying isn’t punishment, living without hope is.
My mind and heart were such a ball of confusion and hurt. The contradictions between the world people told me about and the world I saw and it was crushing and terrifying.
So what was the answer? To tell you honestly I’m still not there yet… I’m still going through PTSD counseling and I’m in a bit of an identity crisis. Things I thought were once strengths now look like weakness to me. People I thought were weak, now seem strong to me. The whole world is confusing, like the training wheels are off and you’re now veering all over the place….
But I have learned some things…. First off, I’m starting to realize it’s okay for me to want things. I am allowed to look out for myself a bit even if it’s inconvenient to others. I can’t spend every day living in fear and keeping my distance from people in fears of them being hurt by me. I need to let people in or else I’m never going to get out!
Also that I am not cut out for the simple “Just enough” life. Not to say I’m greedy, but… I’ve lived through too much. I know there is hurt and pain in this world and that others are hurting just the same and more! I can’t just sit back and enjoy my life oblivious to others. I’ve lost the luxury of mediocrity… the blessing of naivety… I can’t go back nor do I really want to.
I still don’t know why God has kept me alive through all this. He knows there have been MORE than enough opportunities for Him to end it all… but I’m still here… and I do know that He doesn’t just have us live in suffering and torment for the sake of punishment. The suffering we go through is always so that we will come back to Him and better realize that He is stronger and larger than it!
I don’t know what you’re going through right now… Perhaps you’re suffering with anxiety or depression… perhaps like me you have full on PTSD….. Perhaps you’re just someone who thinks people who talk about stuff like this are weaklings who aren’t willing to take on life’s problems without whining…. In all those cases… I hope being open about stuff like this will help you see the world differently. Even if not, I hope it will help start a deeper relationship with you than I’ve been able to do while being distant and keeping my own feelings to myself….
The truth is I’m not incredibly strong… I fall a lot… I cry… I hurt… I question… I feel completely overwhelmed. But my natural instincts are to lock myself away where no one is looking and suffer alone so no one else has to be taken down with me. But I’m working on that… because even if I’m messy I want to be better…
Keep fighting on!

You Can Hate Your Life and Still Be Christian

There is a strong belief that the Christian approach is to always be thankful for your given circumstances. Even if we don’t outright say it, there is still a pressure to “Never complain” and “Always look on the bright side” lest we receive scoldings and “reminders” from well meaning individuals.

This is not how we are meant to live though…

If we look through the Bible, do we see it say “Joseph was sold as a slave and praised God that he got promoted to head slave!” or “David was forced to flee the country, but at least he had an entire city’s worth of followers so there were others worse off than him.” Do we even read “Job lost his family, his wealth, and was forced to live on the streets scraping off bits of his own skin while his well meaning friends told him to apologize for what he did wrong because that’s the only reason he would be suffering like this……. but at least he HAD experienced wealth and family. Some people don’t even get that!”
No. As often as we hear this in our day to day lives, you will not hear the Bible pointing this out. Why? Because life is stinking tough! And yes. All these people who went through hardships WERE still being blessed by God THROUGH said hardships, but that didn’t make the hardships NOT hard!
Do you know what IS said in the Bible a lot? Things like “Oh that I would never have been born!” “Curse the day my mother was told she was pregnant!” “God has betrayed me!” “There is no meaning to my life!” “That God would just bring a swift end to me so I could finally know peace!” “Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”
This is tough, hard, non-grateful comments to be given. Some of them almost feel sacrilegious to write! But here’s the thing… God already knows if you’re feeling them. In fact He knows what you’re feeling before YOU know what you’re feeling. He would much rather hear you face Him head on with your worries so He can address them than to let you hide your true feelings from Him because He’ll get angry at you as you haven’t earned that mythological level of bad that will let you complain without someone saying “Someone else has it worse.”

Here is a secret to life… It could ALWAYS be worse!

There is no “Sally Saddom” living as a starving orphan in Africa with 20 different health issues, a family destroyed by war, and $100,000 owed in student debts made by a betrayed lover who can truly say “No, she is the one who has it worst”. It can ALWAYS be worse… But you don’t HAVE to have the worst circumstances to have the right to be upset at them!
Here is a secret for you: There have been people who have come up to me to complain or ask for advice on things that are troubling them where I’ve thought “Man… I miss when my life problems were that simple…”
I have “THOUGHT” it… do I say it out loud? Of course not! In fact, I don’t even think any less of the person for struggling with these problems! Instead you give them a hug. You pray for them. You advise them as best you can and are there to support them and tell them they’re strong to have made it this far. This isn’t a lie. This isn’t pampering. This is true! They are strong to have made it this far! Because life IS tough!
So where do we draw the line? Because it’s never as simple as “People are idiots for going to the left so we need to go all the way to the right instead!” no… life is about balance. And even in the Bible, there is a clear distinction between Lament and Whining.
To find the answer, let’s look to one of the bigger names in the Bible who was unhappy with his given circumstances and complained about it…. Jesus…
Jesus in the garden prayed to the point he cried tears of blood begging God if there could be any other way could they use it. He didn’t even just pray once and get a no… He prayed for HOURS. Think about this for a second. Hours of asking God the same question begging Him for a different circumstance, and He KNEW how it would turn out!
But what Jesus said at the end is what makes all the difference. “But your will be done.”
See, what keeps us from being the Israelites in the desert isn’t our being happy and thankful for all our circumstances and saying “At least I’m not like ____!” No… what draws the line between lamenting and whining is the surrender that comes after. To accept that even though you hate the current circumstances, God is in control not you. To realize that even though it hurts like crazy right now, God is still active in your life and blessing you.
Often times when God does come to address lamenters in the Bible, He doesn’t come to say “You did well, and passed. Now I will bless you for all the pain you experienced!” No… in fact He usually doesn’t address the things the lamenter was lamenting about at all! Instead He talks about the stars, the weather, the nations, the animals, the birds, the fish, the insects, the clouds, the plants, EVERYTHING that exists in creation…. then He says how He is in control of all this… He is in control of your circumstances too.
If you are struggling with something… anything right now, and are scared to pray about it because you buy into the Western Church lie that we should be happy and satisfied all the time or we aren’t trusting in God…. don’t be. Read the Bible. It was given to us not so we could have heroes we look up to, but so we could see fellow humans we could relate to. You aren’t the first to question why you are going through what you are. You won’t be the last. If we understood everything we face in life, we wouldn’t need faith to begin with.

Bring it to God, He’s strong enough to take it. But in all things in the end, give it back to Him. He is in control not us.

An Empty World

You Will Never Remove Evil From This World…

This goes beyond philosophy, theology, or prophesy… It is simply logically impossible to take evil OUT of this world.
Imagine you had an empty box and were told to remove the emptiness from it. No matter how hard you dig and pull. No matter what machinery you make or how you position the box. Can you remove the emptiness from the box?
If you had a dark room and were told to remove the darkness from it. What could you turn off or remove from the room (aside from walls and a roof) that could take the darkness out of it?
In the same way, no matter how much we complain and argue about injustice, hatred, bitterness, and unfairness in this world… we will not remove it. One injustice will simply be replaced by another. More often than not, the new injustice is brought on by the party that fought to remove the previous. For evil is not the opposite of good. Evil is the absence of it!

It is not about what we want to take out of this world that matters. It’s about what we want to put into it.

You cannot take the emptiness out of a box, but you can fill it with things instead. You cannot remove darkness from a room, but you can fill it with light instead. In the same way, you cannot remove evil from this world, but you can work hard to put something good in it!
Now even a full box will still have some empty space. Even a lit room will still have some shadows. Even a world with good in it will still have some bad. But if you spend your life focused on what evil you wish to take out of this world, you will only find yourself left in a cold and empty world that has turned you cold and empty in turn. If you focus on what good, what hope, what light you want to put into this world. Who you want to encourage and empower. You will still have a world that has some cold and dark things in it, but it will not be empty, and you will not stand alone…