Appreciation

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For most of my life, up until a couple of years ago, I lived under the pretense that in order to appreciate others you must first be shown appreciation. Due to a large amount of factors that came against me, I found it almost impossible to appreciate others. There were times when that did change however due to previous hurts and fears I could never seem to show appreciation to an individual on an ongoing basis.

About 18 months ago, against the advice of almost everyone who knew me (my family and one other being the exception), I decided to become voluntarily homeless. Some suggested this was a sort of self punishment, and if I’m honest with myself that was partly the case, although my real drive was to find that appreciation.

In the year that I was homeless I experienced that appreciation on multiple levels but also saw many other facets of life that I was not expecting. I lived with baby killers, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, thieves, junkies, crack addicts, manic depressives, divorcees, couples, transvestites, drag queens, lawyers, doctors, bankers, politicians, dentists, bikies, Europeans, North and South Americans, Africans, Asians, Islanders, Australians Citizens and Aborigines. Each one showing me a different side of life and love in their own ways.

At the end of my time travelling the streets of this country I was broken down and felt like I was on death’s door. My body wasn’t working properly and my mind was disturbed beyond imagination. At one point, when lying in a public bathroom, I felt my mind dripping off into ‘oblivion’; the only words for it. I would regularly wake screaming in the night or throw myself out of bed, into the wall, whilst in the middle of sleep. I had taken on PTSD and would regularly break down in tears for no reason. I had seen so much hatred, contempt and conditional ‘love’ that my reality of a heavenly world had been smashed to smithereens. But I had made a promise to myself and others that I would see this through no matter what the cost, so I persisted.

In October last year I stopped being homeless but I still had this hunger inside me to figure out why people can be left to rot without any notice from  passers-by, other than a shake of the head or an upturned nose. I had met these people, these homeless’, and I had found people who would accept you no matter what they received in return. They saw the benefit in loving regardless of the personal cost for they knew what the alternative meant to the opposing party; loneliness.

I realised that our job in this life is to love those around us no matter what the cost. Being appreciated is an asset that will possibly never be personally attained but it doesn’t mean you can’t give that asset to others. These people had shown me that we may never be or feel appreciated, even though we are all alike, but we all have the ability to appreciate those around us and in doing so will often be appreciated in return.

Next time you see that guy sleeping in the gutter with a sign that screams for donations, give it to him. Next time you see that remnant 19 year old pacing the street at 1 am wearing a t shirt in winter, give her your jacket or get her a hotel room for the night. Yes they may buy boos, drugs or gamble your gift away but what if they don’t? What if you are that one person who makes them feel appreciated today because they can finally get a hot coffee and feel like a human again. What if they do have a starving family? More importantly, what if you save their life by changing their perception of love?

I’m thankful that I learnt that appreciation is the currency of this life and I appreciate all those who took the time to appreciate me in that dark time. Be blessed and please remember that I appreciate you taking the time to read this and so do all the other boys I said I would write this for.

Much love

Jordy

The Inclusive Nature Of Love

I used to call myself a Christian; a follower of Christ. Then I left it behind. Walked clear out of the Church I was attending and, you wanna know the best part? My conscience is clean.

I walked out because I knew God, if he truly existed, would encourage my desire to find love in the world as opposed to a 6 x 10 room each Sunday. In fact it was something that was preached about all the time; going out into the world to spread the love of God. Yet, no one did.

After leaving church I found love in all sorts of places. I began to truly accept people and not feel like I had the answers for their problems. I began to realise that love was everywhere and that the fingerprints of creation shone through faults and perfection similarly. I saw that in most instances, my predetermined judgements of life choices and morality did not take into account love at all but rather legalities. I began to hate this in me and wanted it gone. I decided to love everyone equally without prejudices or regulations which, funnily enough, is how God said people should love. It really started to change me and I found that people started to appreciate me for who I was.

That was a while ago now and I thank God that it happened. Especially for one very special and current reason; marriage equality. Marriage equality continues to be the debate we should never have had. Marriage is a covenant between two people who love each other, period. It’s not a constitution with laws and legislation for all to take part in. Thankfully I realised this on my journey and for that I am thankful but not everyone thinks this way.

I continue to be sickened with the bigotry and hatred that is passed off as tough love. Also, the misuse of power under the guise of love that is currently rife throughout this country. The filthy bile that spills from the mouths of people who claim to speak for a God of love that they are clearly misrepresenting. This unnecessary debate is ruining families, friendships, communities and worst of all individuals lives.

So, I wanted to stand up, as someone who believes in Love, and say to all those people out there who are being hurt by the church and told you are broken and have no right to express your love, I am with you 100% and I can guarantee God feels the same. In fact in the Bible it says God is love. It says love is the most important thing ever. It speaks of how God exists in the love shared between two people. Regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

So let’s love each other. There are no rules to love, no regulations. Love doesn’t point out the ‘wrong’ but embraces that which is different and that which is special. We all deserve to receive and give love in our own special ways and this is something that no person/s should ever have the power to take away. We should all be able to stand in front of that one person who touches our soul and sets us on fire and say, ‘I do’.

You’re depressed? Be A MAN!

So you’re a man and you’re depressed…
Have you ever thought of why… of course you have.
You’re probably just like me… craving some meaning, purpose, vision….. And everyone around you has become a reminder of how you are failing…. But failing what?
Have you ever asked yourself that question… I mean sure, maybe you’re shit at work, maybe you’re fat and lazy and maybe you hate everyone but it all started somewhere. Some area of our lives that we dropped away from and it impacted us so much that we would prefer to choose death over living…. What was that failure?!
Manhood! It’s our manhood that we let it slip away.
As humans we communicate information and our past humanity through stories…. Lord of the rings, the chronicles of Narnia, the Bible, Jack and the beanstalk, etc. All stories of men who have stood up and fought for what is right. Who have fought for love, hope and vision. Have you ever wondered why you love watching tv shows or movies about the vigilante who doesnt let anything stand in the way of doing whats right? Batman, Superman, Ironman, Vikings, Game Of Thrones, Arrow, etc. From a young age we are shown these stories and we learn that real men stand up for what is right, no matter what the cost.

Now you.
You wake up in the morning, you go to work and advance your own goals (or your bosses), you come home and you watch television and you see thousands of women and children being slaughtered and raped on a daily basis, drowning off of OUR shores, being murdered by our government…. And you flick the channel to family guy or the Simpsons… Or you put on another worship album… Or you preach another sermon… Or sell another product.
How many times have you done this?! How many times have you said, “there is nothing I can do”? How many times, as a man, have you subconsciously walked away from humans in need, from love…. And you expect to like yourself?
Here’s the deal, do you know why ISIS are so strong? Because they stand up for what they believe is right and they die for their brothers and sisters, gladly, because they aren’t half arsed… and we expect to beat those men of passion?!
Wanna stop being depressed? Good. Then realise you are a man, a good man…. Just like Jack or Moses! Start living for those around you… look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I refuse to be 21st century male but instead choose to be a man. A man who seeks truth for himself and is not swayed by media, dissension and politics. Those are the ways of greed and power. Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves… go and feed someone who can’t feed themselves, write a human rights letter, find out what is really happening in the world….. And then…. Do it again tomorrow, and the next day…… within one week your problems with depression will be cut by 50%! Within two weeks you will be helping others with their depression…. And most importantly you will be a real man. Peace

P.s. if you like this then please share it.
Thanks,
Jordan Wills

Life

“That’s what this has all been about. I get that now.
Life is a gift that, despite your best efforts to convince yourself otherwise,  will never be for me. Its sort of beautiful, really. The pressure eases when you realise that…” Me

I’m in Melbourne sitting on a large Juliette style balcony, in the sun and i feel good. I think I am finally starting to live my life.
For the past year i have been travelling around Australia in search of God, life and love and I have discovered more, in regards to all three, in the last twelve months then I have my whole life.
I have found that men will do anything for love and will have the same response when it is taken from them. I have found that my understanding of God is so eternally small and unfounded. I found Him for me and His form changed beyond all comparison to anything i may have predetermined. I found, not a God who loves me like everyone else or even individually… but a God who loves all the same regardless of what i believe. An omnipotent entity that i have tried to keep in a man shaped box. I saw Him bless sinners and bring comfort to those that were hurting.
The biggest thing i have seen, however, is that the man who has more, financially, will always come out on the bottom but a man with nothing can be built! This is what has brought to the surface the ‘real’ me.
It has been excruciating and grueling to say the least but i now know that i know nothing and im happy.

Thanks.

The dirt under your fingernails

And yet another unjustifiable event happens in our lives and we stand speechless. The idea of screaming seems so pointless yet i find myself wanting to. I cant though.

Two days ago I received some horrendous news and am, along with everyone else in my family, struggling to rationalise the intention of life, it’s brutality and it’s love. It has landed perfectly just like yet another unseen punch and there is nothing that can be said or done to rectify the situation. In actual fact, I even ask my self why I am typing this. Hope, maybe.
In this world we live in we are taught to abhor pain. Unless of course it is attached to success in which case it is a good thing. For example exercise regimes. No pain no gain type stuff. The rest of pain, however, is seen as degrading and frightful. When we lose a job and know we aren’t going to cope. When we have a fight with someone we love and wounds are inflicted. Or when someone close to us suffers and possibly passes away. Yet we grow.
I am quickly becoming a believer in pain and the wealth hidden within its unnatural depths. The places we don’t want to see or feel. The gift of pain.
As many of you will know, my mother died last year and it didn’t matter that we had known it was coming for years, the shock wave and devistation that was felt from my beautiful mother’s passing was enormous. However, the fruit that has bloomed because of her wondrous existence is still, to this day, being reaped by those who she touched. Fruit born through pain.
In life we have so many situations where we struggle through the pain; fighting instead of embracing. We waste our time trying to understand when there is no way we can. All the while losing the importance of this time. Fellowship. A coming together.
When we choose to let go and realise there is no point in searching for reckoning but rather spend our time indulging in the love formed through relationships around us we see that the pain is what binds. Like moths to a flame we all come together and walk as one.
I know this might sound cheesy but it shouldn’t; all we can take with us from this life is who we are and our memories. I love this quote by Phillip Seymour Hoffman in almost famous when he says to the main character, who is really struggling, ‘the only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone when you’re uncool’. What we share with someone else, in fellowship, in these days of pain and confusion is the only thing worth holding to.
We live the truth of the pain we share and find the person we truly are. The stripped bare version of ourselves. Our needs and wants all seem superfluous when flown in the face of subtraction. In this place though we find the creature of love and compassion that we are intended to be.

She asked me and I said yes

Whether it was a little heart chocolate and a note, in my lunch box, stating how much I was loved, or, a whole collection of little gifts on my pillow when I came home from school, I was glad I said yes.

One of my fondest memories from when I was a young boy was my Mother asking me to be her valentine. I asked her what this meant and she said that, on February 14th, we pick someone and show them how much we love them by doing special things for them. Like making a card or drawing a picture. I was excited and said yes straight away.
The years that followed were amazing. I would bring home a card that I made, or something like that, and she would have a little vanilla coloured, shaggy haired toy pound puppy, with a red bow that she would’ve tied into the fur herself, and some little chocolates as well as a note. The amount of little cute, furry animals, toys of course, that I accrued over the years is quite sizable. One of my favourites is Rufus, he’s a pound puppy I received about ten years ago. He still lives with me to this day.
Her gifts were amazing and always made me feel so special but the note was the treasure. There was always a note. Always an inscription stating how much value I carried and 9 times out of 10 it was a hand made card that she had spent time making, for me. Every single one that she made had so much love infused into it that I knew I was loved before I even read the beautifully thought out words that she had laid down. She would right about our lives, my life. About the beauty that she saw in me and the man that I was becoming. About how this gave her immense joy and satisfaction. But more than all this was the simple fact that I knew she wasn’t just spouting niceties, she actually believed what she was saying. Even when my life was falling apart, she would turn it into an opportunity to start afresh. So graceful.
The presents, trips to fun places, words of encouragement, this was my very first valentine. A woman who would show me how much I meant to her and relish the fact that she had the opportunity to.

I’m glad I said yes.

Gone

“She’s gone mate….. She’s gone!”. That’s all that could be said. It was not that I didn’t already know that, it just hadn’t sunk in. In actual fact I was angry with myself and would not let the concept of loss make the pain worse.

It was eleven and we were all gathered around her bed crying and sharing around the tissues. About twenty of us had filed into the small room that was purposed to keep those who needed it alive. As I sat there holding my mother’s, almost lifeless, hand in mine, with the other I kept refreshing the Australian Eastern Standard Time page which I had open on the browser on my cell. I wanted, needed, to know when she was gone.

11:07:00, Her BPM was done to thirty and dropping rapidly.

11:07:26, At twenty four BPM I could slowly see the colour lifting from her face.

11:07:48, Twelve, nine, six, four.

11:08:00, I refreshed the browser page for the fiftieth time. A slow and steady beep resounded throughout the tiny room as I squeezed her hand. She was gone and I new exactly what time she had left. Everyone else seemed satisfied with eleven pm but I knew better. I knew that it had actually been eight minutes past when she had departed. I put my cell on sleep, stood up and walked out of the room. Why was I such a hunter for knowledge that would change nothing? She was gone and the fact that I knew the time was not going to change……. well you get my drift.

It wasn’t until almost a week later that this really hit home for me. My father had told me, as we sat around the table, that we would not be having an open casket at my mother’s funeral the next morning. I sat stunned, but that meant that I would not get to see her again. A quiet jolt of anguish ran through my limbs and made me sit up. ‘So that’s it? We won’t get to see her again?’, I said as tears began to well up at the base of my eyes. He reached over the table and covered my hand with his, ‘She’s gone mate…. She’s gone. It’s not her. You know that’. This was breaking point and, to this day, was probably the harshest most real comment I have ever heard in my short time on this planet. I covered my face to hide the look of horror and sat in the ever-growing thickness of the comment as it began to overwhelm my mind.

The place I am at now is so surreal that it takes over everything else I feel. Unusually enough what I feel now, pain, is so mysterious that I can almost not recognize it most of the time. In fact, these are the times when friends are needed the most, the times when we find ourselves standing in front of the bathroom mirror for half an hour trying desperately to see the person that you were meant to be. The person everyone else says they see when they look at you, the person who she was proud of. Amazingly enough those friends do come and from the strangest, darkest recesses of the past.

The first guy, who I haven’t spoken to in almost fifteen years, wrote to me and said that he would love to just sit with me, over a beer, and be a pair of ears. Another wrote and spoke of the hard times ahead but promised me that God would be my comfort and that freedom would be found in the love that surrounds me…. He isn’t even a Christian, in fact far from it.  An old girlfriend, who had broken communication with me because who current partner would not allow it, rang and told me that if I needed someone to talk to and unload on she would be there, not a Christian yet such a Godsend. In fact in this time of anger, pain and loss I am being reformed through the love of God being shown to me by those who would not say that they love God. This is real grace.

Now I feel slightly better, still angry but slightly better. I realize that we do things, completely stupid things, when we are in pain but it is the getting over those things that is, almost, the hardest part. The fact that those last precious and invaluable moments spent with my mother were also taken up by my cell phone is hard to deal with. It’s the kind of error that only happens once, as the thought of it happening again is far too sickening. Yet I know now why I did it, I was in pain. I was in pain that was so steady and full on that it trumped the rest of my basic instincts, the ones that would ordinarily tell me to shape up and take advantage of those last precious moments. This is where that grace comes in. It allows me to see the man that I am through the pain that I feel. Through the artfulness and creative love of God I am now able to see the man that others see as the pain is expressed. I am able to speak about this hurt and not just to Christians but to others as well.

I sit here writing this because I think it’s a valuable lesson to be learnt. I know that when we learn this, or even just get a grasp on the fact that we are loved regardless of what we have done, we start to see grace. Not a grace that says we have nothing to worry about, nor a grace that makes us feel warm and fuzzy, but a grace that says, ‘let me share this moment with you because I want to’.

A cry for celebration

What can be said? Lets hope? Or maybe, let’s try and hope. Whatever it is that one is meant to say in this situation it seems to be that I am not saying it.

I find it amazing that millions of people have been through what my family and I are going through right now and still there is no advice. No one who has that one phrase that fixes everything. I put my trust and hope in the one person who I am finding it so desperately hard to hear. Everyone says that the Lord will come through and save the day (the standard vote of confidence in the current predicament), although I can’t help but ask myself “hasn’t He already?”. I am sitting outside the emergency department at Australia’s finest private hospital.  Writing this, I cant help thinking that the emergency department seems like such a luxury compared to where I have just come from. The intensive care unit.

My brothers are asleep in the waiting room. My dad is slipping in and out of the lightest of sleeps, not resting one iota. My dear, precious mother is in a medically induced coma fighting with everything she has within her. She needs a new set of lungs within the next two to three days to stand a fighting chance of getting through a transplant proceedure. We pray for lungs and we pray for them now.

Tubes and machines decorate the room and beep on occasion as we all take turns telling her how much she means to us and how, just as she has always been for us, we will never leave her side. Her nurse reassures us that we should talk to her and that she wants to hear from us. She says she is really very sick and we should take this opportunity to love on her. I sit outside asking God why He is waiting to heal her and I am almost positive that I don’t want to hear the answers. Then again, maybe my being in that frame of mind means a lack of faith? After all, surely as a Christian I should be hoping for the best? Surely I should be believing for the positive? What I would like to know is what is the positive?

We live so comfortably in this day and age and when trials come along we cry for mercy. In fact we are told, when we come to an age of understanding, that we will pass away one day. Depending on what you believe, some will go into the ground, some will be born as a new creature, others will go to heaven and still others will spend eternity in darkness. The point is we all know that death will come yet, when it has the audacity to rears it’s ugly face, we get angry and indignant. We run to our creator and cry for mercy and freedom, healing and hope.
Ordinarily I would be sitting there, just like you probably are now, asking myself, “where the heck is he going with this”. On this occasion, though, I can only think of one concept. Celebration.

Celebration is such a joyous and hope filled practice. Last year, when I was in Santa Cruz, a dear friend of mine introduced me to the joy of celebrating life in all it’s extravagance and at first I thought she was missing the reality but then I realized she had something I longed for. Now I feel that same longing again. I want to celebrate, with joy, the extravagance of my mother’s life. The life that she breathed in to so many people’s lives. She is an artist and not just in the creative sense. She has a way of seeing situations and people that others don’t. She sees the best in them and celebrates them no matter what the cost and to the finest point. This is one of the many reasons I long to, and will, celebrate my mother’s life, regardless of it’s eventual outcome. I have had the privilege of knowing possibly the strongest and most courageous woman I may ever meet. For this I am thankful. For this I will praise God. For this I will celebrate.

To live in the wind

I never dreamed it would be as hard as this. Not for me, as such, but more for my family.

Whenever I have thought about death, or even desperation, in the past I have looked at it through the rose coloured glasses of hope. I have thought to myself, ‘ surely it will be a situation that I can rest in knowing full well where my trust lies’. Now I feel as though I have been duped by a system that seeks to find shelter from the overbearing pain of  the situational injustice of life. I believe that God is real and that He is considering my family and I throughout this pain but I do wonder why this pain is allowed. I understand that God sees the whole situation, unlike myself, but the question that stands in my mind is still far outweighing all other truths: If I am not seeing the whole situation then should I just rest in the peace that is supposedly free to me? And if I do rest in that peace and I lose everything in the process then how will I continue to stand up as a man of the moment when my self-talk is saying, “You just did nothing while everything fell apart”.

When I went to see my mother on Saturday morning I saw a woman ripped apart, a child drowning in circumstance. She sat on the bed wheezing and straining at the thought of taking her next breath. As I stood there I couldn’t help but wonder why I wasn’t doing something more for her. I understand that you will all say, ‘ but you couldn’t do anything but be there for her’. I understand that but disagree. I don’t know what could be done differently but surely this is not all. Surely we are not meant to just sit and watch the person who has brought us into this world fall apart. It astounds me how a God, who saw his own Son slaughtered, can stand beside us while we watch our loved ones go through agony. Then again, maybe she will be healed. Maybe she will be given a new set of lungs and she will be able to worship once again. Maybe.

I don’t write any of this in order to get sympathy, especially not for me. Pity is the coldest hue of thoughtfulness and will never bring warmth to a situation. The reason I write this is to get my thoughts down on paper and to express my feelings. That is all. This may seem jilted and if so good for there is nothing more I would love right now then to cast this mayhem aside.

Thank you.