Sunday, February 22, 2015


WARNING: This post contains rather disturbing subject matter and if you have some psychological or emotional triggers this might be the kind of post that you just want to skip. You have been warned... and... I'm sorry, in advance.

I received some news that I'm having some real issues understanding, it starts on an unremarkable Monday on some cold November afternoon. An individual I've worked with for three years didn't show up for work, we have flexitime and he's not usually in until later in the afternoon anyway, but it was still considerably late in the afternoon, even for him. He doesn't show up.

No big deal, maybe he's sick, it happens, it's customary for one to send an email to the office to explain the absence, but whatever, it's above my pay grade.

He's a no show the next day, and the next.

The company I work for has had two suicides prior to me beginning there, we were understandably concerned for our work mate.

He's not there the next week, or the next. The month ends and he's not been seen or heard from. He had previously threatened to quit and we were beginning to wonder if he'd gone through with it, but his desk had not been cleared and looked like he had every intention of coming back. Half finished bottles of soda, reading glasses and personal effects still left on the desk as they had been the Friday night he was last here.

The next month comes and goes, he's off the grid, his Twitter account went silent, he's not responding to texts or emails. It was sad, kinda, this guy inspired me to learn new technologies and to think in new ways. I felt like I owed him a debt of thanks for helping me and for helping me develop the skill set that I enjoy using even today.

Someone at work managed to contact his brother and we were politely but firmly told that his is "alive", it was... Rather blunt.

It just seemed like he'd walked out and abandoned everyone and everything, it... I took it hard, I really looked up to him and he just vanished.

If only I knew.

Four days ago, on another random Monday afternoon, I'm quietly told to Google his name followed by the name of a newspaper local to his city. I wasn't prepared for what it was I read. It was indicated that it was a bit not good, but I really wasn't ready for it.

There's no real way delicate way to put this, and I've not really in any real way put it down, so I'm just gonna write this down and... It's really not nice, so here goes.

He had turned himself in to the police and admitted to five counts of sexual assault and one count of serious sexual assault upon a child under the age of thirteen years old.

So, yeah, that's really messed up.

I really did look up to him, I sought his help frequently, I would not be the programmer I am doing were it not for his help and advice.

I feel weird. I wander around and pause and try to figure it out, maybe understand why.

I can't.

I feel a whole bunch of things, most seem entirely irrational if I'm honest. I feel confused, kinda betrayed, weird, definitely feel weird about the whole thing. I take a small comfort in the fact that others in my work place seem to feel the same way. We stop, look at the desk he used to work and take down some art work, or disconnect more of the equipment. Slowly beginning to move on. At least it's nice to know that I'm not the only one just trying to make sense of it.

You know how people say they just wouldn't have suspected, that he just seemed so normal and you think that it must have been impossible? That someone MUST have suspected something? Yeah... He just seemed so normal...

I don't really have much else I can say at this point, it's a situation I'm still kinda in disbelief about and it's kinda shaken me up a little bit.

Don't know what else I can say really, not sure I've fully processed the fact that someone I worked with for three years was capable of such things.

So... Yeah... Til next time, I suppose.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Prison In My Mind: Part 2, Shackles

I'm sure I'm not the only one, but sometimes I just feel really weighed down by stuff. It's like this big ball of oppressive junk that makes me feel slow and heavy, I've found myself recently getting bogged down with something and just like sometimes, on my own, as I was walking, I'd just stop and pause. I felt like I was dragging things around with me that were limiting me.

As we continue this series it occurred to me that were was a device that's used to limit a prisoners movement. This device has many names and forms, ankle shackles, leg cuffs, ball and chain, the point is the same, a device that limits movement and holds a person down. I call them “shackles”.

Shackles don’t just weigh you down, they can also be used to chain you to one particular place, prisoners can be chained into a sort of kneeling position with their wrists shackled to their ankles. Holding you in a fixed position, unable to move from it.

As I mentioned in part one, everything in this ‘mind prison’ is either self inflicted or self created and what is it that leads me to find myself bogged down and unable to move sometimes. So what is it that’s caused me to feel this way?


More specifically, I find it hard to forgive myself.

Yeah, I know, it’s supposed to be easy, I screw up, I ask God to forgive me and I try not to do it again, but, what if it’s one thing that you did once and only once and you find it hard to move past the fact that you did it? What if it’s something you did in good conscious and later found out it was bad?

That sensation of being wracked with guilt over something you did and you continue to punish yourself for it. Yeah, when it comes to un-forgiveness of self it really is essentially shackling yourself to the past and you’re either dragging it around with you or it’s holding you in place.

Yeah… Shackles suck.

I’m behind in the daily devotions that get sent through and fortunately so, because I had a bit of a binge this morning. I’m too sick to get to church and I thought catching up on bible study and having some quiet time to myself would be a good idea and what do you know? I happen upon a message about forgiveness. It was split into two parts, upon reflection though I discovered something. It raised the points that we find it hard to forgive others because what they did was so bad, it hurt so much and no-one could understand the pain.

I realise this is how I feel when faced with the fact that I need to forgive myself. 

In relation to harbouring unforgiveness against others it read “Unforgiveness [against others] is like drinking poison and hoping someone else gets sick” and I realise in my own little world I was drinking the poison, sure, but I wasn’t expecting anyone else to get sick. 

I was hoping I would.

When you refuse (or, in my mind, find it hard) to forgive myself, it’s like drinking poison, knowing full well it’s poison and not caring.

That’s either really dumb or just means you wish to punish yourself.

Fortunately this devotional briefly talked about self punishment. If God has forgiven us and we don’t forgive ourselves and continue to try to make up for what we’ve done by refusing to forgive ourselves, or trying to atone for it, or perhaps other things, then we’re saying with our attitudes that the cross wasn't enough.

I mean, that’s bold for all the wrong reasons. 

How can we… How can I, as an informed, forgiven individual believe that the cross wasn’t enough? Where do I get off telling God what did or didn't work. 

I can hear myself thinking (in a rather perplexing inner monologue) it now: 

“But you don’t get it I’m horrible! I don’t deserve to be forgiven.” 

“God can wrap space and time around his little finger, I’m pretty sure he knows how nasty or not I am, were or could ever be.”

“Yeah… but, but but….”

There’s not really an answer to it, but I still try to justify it, for some really weird reason, does anyone else?

It begs the question of why I hold onto the issues of not being able to forgive myself. So, this morning, I recognised that I had been living with my rule of punishing myself in the way I deserved and I felt I had to live as God wanted me to life, not as shackled down to what I had done, but free to move freely into what's coming next.

I tried to find a passage to include here, but I couldn’t find something really deep and meaningful, maybe that’s because being forgive in just so simple and we overly complicate it with our issues and disbelief. I guess when we are forgiven we are forgiven in our entirety and we are free indeed.

Til next time.