How I Decided To Not Commit Suicide

Note: Language.

Earlier today, I was feeling low.

I realized I didn’t meet the standards to get into the college I’d wanted to go to and, to add insult to injury, I learned that my financial situation wouldn’t allow me to go to that college in the first place, leaving me once again stranded in Limbo for the time being.

Not the cool, do-anything-you-want Limbo from Inception (2010)…

…the nightmarish “SB-129” Limbo:

With my future looking bleak, my mind went to dark places. Thoughts of suicide popped into my head, and I just let them be — I didn’t make an effort to drive them away.

After letting such morbid thoughts have their time in the sun, I feel that I was able to think more clearly — I feel that there was a method to my madness. After my mind went through every dark scenario it could think of, the light was able to come in.

I realized that I didn’t want to die. I realized that what I really wanted was just for the pain to end. The pain of knowing that my future is looking nothing like I wanted it to look 3 years ago: before I attended a 4-year college for 1 year and spent the next 2 on the couch.

A number of factors snapped me out of my suicidal funk:

I wouldn’t go through with it. There’s a difference between what a person can do and what a person will do.

It would be selfish. I imagined how my family would react, and I realized that making the choice to take my own life is a selfish one. Why? Because I would be putting people I love through terrible pain for the sake of trying to escape my own pain.

I realized I didn’t actually want to die. To reiterate: After letting dark scenarios run through my mind, I realized that I didn’t want to die — I just wanted my pain to end.

My beliefs. Suicide is considered a sin by the Catholic Church. I didn’t want to risk ending up in Hell.*

Beauty. If anime has taught me one thing, it’s to appreciate the beauty of this world that God has made.

When we create, we are, in our own little ways, doing what God does. J.R.R.Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, called this “sub-creation”: Creating secondary worlds inside of God’s primary world.

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And: It might be embarrassing and weird, but it’s true:

I thought of that shot of Yolko’s butt in the Sword Art Online episode “Murder in the Safe Zone,” and that was another reminder of beauty, too.

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I wasn’t glad I thought of that shot because of anything having to do with sex. (Lust is a sin that I try and avoid like the plague.) I was glad I thought of that shot because, like the world that God has created…

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…I see it as another example of beauty that I realized I didn’t want to see the end of.

What I’m trying to say is: There is so much beauty in the world, and I didn’t want to see the end of it by taking my life.

Suicide is not how I’m dying. Everyone dies eventually. And earlier today I decided that since I must die, I’m going to die in such a way that will be worthy of the good life I (hope to) have lived. I don’t know how or when I’m going to die, but I hope it’s in a way that makes God go “And that’s why I made Tim! Fuck yes!”

In conclusion:

I’m doing better now.

Praying, giving myself time to think more about my situation, spending time with my parents and kids from my local Catholic school’s youth group, video games, and music, did wonders for me.

Suicide is a complex and hard subject to talk about.

If anything I said in this post offended or upset you for any reason, let me know, and I apologize, because it wasn’t my intent to do that.

*On a related note: The only sin that God won’t forgive is the sin you don’t ask forgiveness for.
If someone you know has committed suicide, pray for the salvation of that person’s soul, and your prayers will not be in vain.

Need Evidence That Good Will Triumph Over Evil? Look At A Woman’s Butt

Evidence: The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Fascination: Draw irresistibly the attention and interest of (someone).

God saw all he had made, and it was very good.
~Genesis 1:31

The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
~Genesis 2:22 — 23

The Shadow…can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own.
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Note: This post is not an apologia for gawking, fantasizing, and/or jerking off. Those things are not groovy.

On a side note: This is groovy:

As a Catholic, I believe that the Devil exists.

But the Devil isn’t a being on par with God.

God and the Devil aren’t two titans locked in a desperate battle to the death.

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The Devil was one of God’s angels. Before he decided that he wanted to do what he wanted, when he wanted, where he wanted, how he wanted, to whoever, or whatever, he wanted.

The best way I can think of to describe the Catholic Church’s view of the Devil, is this scene from SpongeBob:

We human beings (SpongeBob) are panicking and despairing because the Devil (Plankton) is running rampant. But God (Mr. Krabs) is not daunted. God walks right up to the Devil and, merely by reaching out his hand, is able to put an end to his scheme.

God could swat the Devil like a fly, but He doesn’t.

Why?

To quote J.R.R. Tolkien again:

Iluvatar’s (God’s) words to the Ainur (angels) after Melkor’s (the Devil’s) failed rebellion in The Silmarillion:

…no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.

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The reason I say all of this, is:

This shot:

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An awkward shot of Yolko’s butt.

Why is the shot awkward? Because: What is the camera doing there?

Anime is a visual storytelling medium. What about the story is being conveyed to us, the viewer, by having the camera be where it is?

I believe the easiest answer to these questions, unfortunately, is:

Sword Art Online is an anime aimed at teenage boys. Is it surprising that there would be a shot of a woman’s butt?”

The reason I say “unfortunately” is:

I believe shots like the one above can cause a person to lust. And lust can make a person do, to put it lightly, bad things.

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With lust, the Devil is twisting a person’s fascination with the opposite sex. Twisting Adam’s words of love for Eve:

Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.*

But: Despite the temptation to lust — the temptation to see people as a means of attaining pleasure, not as human beings — our fascination with the opposite sex is still, to quote Genesis 1:31, “very good.” It’s just not as good as it could be, because of this imperfect world we live in. (Genesis 3:7)

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That is how a woman’s butt is evidence of the eventual triumph of Good over Evil.

The Devil will use what God has created to try and get us to lust and, thus, be separated from Him because of that sin.

But: Despite the Devil’s efforts to tempt us, what God has created is still inherently good.

What you feel when you look at a shot like this…

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…is evidence that, despite the imperfect nature of the world, God’s creation still causes perfectly natural fascination.

And fascination with the beauty of the female body can lead a person closer to the creator of that beauty.

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…a woman’s breasts, hips, bottom, and lips all proclaim the glory of the Lord! Each womanly part honors Him. He created the female body, and it is good.
~Sharon Hodde Miller

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*I’m not saying that lust is something only men struggle with. I know women struggle with lust, too. I just used Adam’s words about Eve as an example of our fascination with the opposite sex: something the Devil tries to twist.

Thoughts On The Reality Of Evil

Throughout the movie, Louise is subject to visions of Hannah at various stages of maturation ranging from infant to adolescent. Her memories begin as innocent moments playing with her in the back yard or having a chat at the lake but then they take a turn when Hannah develops cancer, gets sick, and eventually dies. All of these wonderful moments she has with her daughter develop Louise’s rationale for deciding to have her at the end of the film. But why? Why bring Hannah into existence knowing full well that she will become the victim of natural evil (i.e. cancer) and suffer and die at a young age?

…there are certain virtues that display themselves only as a specific response to evil; for example, the soldier that jumps on a grenade or the father who drowns in a flood to save his children. While the soldier and father’s death is tragic and a product of the evil that exists, their sacrifice would not exist were it not for the presence of evil acts. In other words, a world with no evil contains less virtue than a world with evil.

…the world He created, from beginning to end, is designed to show us the immeasurable glory that flourishes in the midst of pain and suffering, to show us what true love can do in the face of evil…
~How ‘Arrival’ Affirms a Christian Worldview

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Reading these words last night, I was reminded of Illuvatar’s (God’s) words to the Ainur (angels) after Melkor’s (The Devil’s) failed rebellion in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion:

…no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.

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Having recently re-played episode 1 of Life is Strange that week, I found myself thinking, too, of Syd Matter’s “Obstacles”:

Let’s say sunshine for everyone
But as far as I can remember
We’ve been migratory animals
Living under changing weather

Someday we will foresee obstacles
Through the blizzard, through the blizzard
Today we will sell our uniform
Live together, live together

What do this movie (Arrival), this book (The Silmarillion), and this song (“Obstacles”) have in common?

1) An awareness that our world is not as it should be — for example: an awareness that there is something profoundly wrong with a person dying so young — and 2) A hope that suffering is not in vain.

According to my Catholic faith:

We lived in a world where there was “sunshine for everyone” (Eden).

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But, as a result of Adam’s and Eve’s sin…

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…as far as we can remember we’ve been “migratory animals living under changing weather.” We’ve been cast out of Eden, and have been trying to find our way back ever since.

There will come a day where we will “foresee obstacles through the blizzard” — we will see what it is that prevents us from being our best self — a day where we will cast off our shackles — “sell our uniform” — and “live together.” There will come a day where we will be reunited with the one we love, able to face life with a kind of knowledge that we did not have before. To me, that state of being sounds like Heaven.

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On a related note:

6:02 — 9:11:

My point with posting that video is:

Christopher Hitchens recognized that all is not as it should be — that our world is broken, and must be set right.

He recognized that it’s not enough to throw up one’s hands and say “Nothing really matters!”

He recognized that something did matter.

He recognized that injustice, like filth, needs to be washed away.

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Spirited Away (2001)

I’m Taking A Vacation

I’m taking a break from blogging.

The reason why is: It’s been hard to think of subjects to write about lately.

There is no theme on this blog — I just write about whatever is on my mind at the moment.

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And, lately, my thoughts haven’t been too compelling.

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I started this blog almost 3 years ago, during the beginning of what is still, in some ways, the darkest time of my life.

Thank you, everyone, for your love and support. It means a lot.

I’ll still read your blogs. I just need a break from mine.

The “Let There Be Light” YouTube Page Deletes All Negative Comments

Earlier today I looked up the Let There Be Light (2017) trailer again…

…because I wanted to see what had changed in the days since I’d first found it.

What the view count was.

The Like/Dislike ratio.

The number of comments.

And I found that: All comments criticizing the movie have been deleted.

The comment counter says 63, but as of the writing of this post (March 22nd, 2017) the only comments visible are:

can’t wait to see it.looks wounderful

Congratulations!

We that love you Kevin Sorbo , are far more than they that hate you because of your stand. God bless and Keep you

Love the trailer…brilliant!!…can’t wait to see it…

I’m in. It looks well done, and I know the motives are true and right. Blessings as you go forward!

i love you kevin sorbo

If the goal of Let There Be Light is to awaken people to the love of Christ, it’s off to a great start…

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Responding to “Clothe the Naked: Acknowledging the Need for Human Dignity”

Excerpts from Clothe the Naked: Acknowledging the Need for Human Dignity by Mark Shea, and my thoughts:

…nudist movements…propose that our natural state is to walk around buck naked on the theory that clothes are an unnatural encumbrance on our glorious childlike freedom.

For our ancestors of not many generations back, such a proposal was not just silly in a practical sense; it was also just about 180 degrees backwards from normality. Fallen man was, so to speak, born clothed. Something unnatural had to be done…for him to end up naked. It was seen, not as a return to simplicity and beauty, but as a shameful state. Pity — or scorn — was heaped on those found to be naked, not breezy “Flower Child” approval.

To nake someone, to strip them publicly, is universally understood as taking away their human dignity. Clothes, in some mystical sense, quite literally make the man.

First:

I don’t believe that Mark Shea understands why people can see clothes as “an unnatural encumbrance on our glorious childlike freedom.”

Going by the Catholic faith, clothes are an “unnatural encumbrance” in the sense that God’s original plan for humanity did not include clothes:

“The man and his wife were both naked, and felt no shame.”
~ Genesis 2:25

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It is only after Adam and Eve sin — only after the nature of the world is fundamentally changed — that clothes become necessary:

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they saw that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths.”
~ Genesis 3:7

My point is:

Nudity is natural. It is our awareness of our nudity that is unnatural.

It is because of awareness of one’s nudity that, for example, if a man unexpectedly walks in on a woman naked, she instinctively covers herself: Because she can’t trust this man like Eve trusted Adam — she can’t trust that when this man is looking at her breasts, he is seeing more than her breasts, he is seeing her. The woman’s shame is a defense mechanism aimed at reminding the man of her dignity.

Shame is a woman implicitly telling a man: Hey! My eyes are up here.

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And second:

Regarding “breezy ‘Flower Child’ approval” and the notion that publicly stripping someone naked  is taking away their dignity:

I don’t know anyone who, seeing a person get their clothes ripped off in public, would think that the person doing the ripping hadn’t hurt the naked person’s dignity in some way.

But: Let’s say the act of taking off clothes was consensual. Let’s say a person allowed themselves to be naked in public. Now would the fact that they are naked be an attack on their dignity?

A person who chooses to be naked in public knows what it is that they are choosing.

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On the other hand:

A person who is naked against their will is in a situation that they did not desire to be in.

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Thus, I would say: One person’s dignity is unharmed, while another’s is under attack.

A “Flower Child” gets naked for a number of reasons.

One of those reasons being: To see, and thus learn to accept and love, all of themselves. Even the parts of themselves — like their loins — that institutions like the Catholic Church tell them are shameful.

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A “Flower Child” gets naked in order to stand up for their dignity, not toss it aside.

The desire to have one’s dignity acknowledged is why you see campaigns like “Still Not Asking For It” — people undressing in order to say “Look beyond my body and see the human being underneath.”

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I might write more about my thoughts on this article later, but that’s all for now.

Thank you for reading.

“Let There Be Light” – A New Low For Christian Movies

A trailer for a new Christian movie was released.

And it is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.

Let There Be Light (2017):

30 seconds in, and I thought This must be a parody of the trailer. Not the actual trailer.

But I was wrong. This is real.

I don’t know where to start…

The narration is the worst I’ve ever heard.

The dialogue is as subtle as a trainwreck.

The message — atheist converts after a deadly experience — has been done to death. (Pun intended.)

For example: Another Christian movie staring Kevin Sorbo as an atheist who converts: God’s Not Dead (2014):

And before you say “You’re just an atheist liberal,” as the name of my blog implies, I’m a Catholic, and my political views lean towards conservatism. My point is: I am the intended audience for this movie, and I hate it.

I hate it because it’s mediocre.

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If excellence declares the glory of the Lord, as Psalm 19:1 attests, than Let There Be Light is not an angelic host singing, it is nails on a chalkboard.

Movies like Let There Be Light are why I believe that the world doesn’t need more “Christian movies.”

What the world needs, I believe, is just more stories that portray goodness, truth, or beauty no matter where that goodness, truth, or beauty comes from.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
~ Philippians 4:8

Because of Philippians 4:8, I have found much to think about in, for example, stories about lesbian lovers…

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Life is Strange (2015)

…friendly forest spirits…

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My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

…and killer aliens.

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Prometheus (2012)

Watching the Let There Be Light trailer after experiencing the peace and beauty of Totoro’s realm…

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…I felt like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation (1989):

Here was a movie (Let There Be Light) that promised to show me (a Catholic conservative) what I, on paper, should love.

But, as Let There Be Light reminded me:

Appearances can be deceiving.

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Boundless Challenge: Week #10

Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix for inspiring me to do the Boundless Challenge.

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Every Friday, I will write about one time during the week where I “lived boundless” — where I achieved more than I thought I was capable of.

This Friday, March 17th, I want to celebrate the choice I made to keep on living.

What I mean by “keep on living” is: Appreciate what I have and where I am.

Lately I’ve been wanting to put my home in the rear-view mirror.

Like Bilbo Baggins, I’ve been wanting to go on an adventure.

But: What a person wants to do and what a person can do are two different things.

Naturally, this caused me to feel down.

And as someone who struggles with depression, this realization just put more fuel on that fire.

I don’t know exactly what it is that made me realize Where I’m at in life is just fine but, as the week ends, I’m feeling more at peace.

I know one factor that helped me is: Lately I’ve been playing Life is Strange, and where I’m from is similar to Arcadia Bay. (Minus the time-travel-granting butterflies.)

It wasn’t hard to put myself in Max’s shoes.

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It makes me proud to know that where I live was, in a way, an inspiration for a story that has changed so many peoples’ lives for the better.

For example:

Playing Through Your Own Story: The Catharsis of Kate Marsh

Life Is Strange

It’s also quite the coincidence that today (Friday) I’m going back to high school.

Specifically: In a class called “Contemporary Issues” seniors spend a few weeks learning about different faiths. These weeks of learning culminate with people of different faiths coming and talking to students, and answering any questions they have.

One of the faiths studied is Catholicism. And so, I was asked to come to the high school for a day and answer questions about all things Catholic.

It’s been a while since I walked the halls of my high school.

It will be surreal.

Like stepping back in time…

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Pagan Prayer: Dancing Naked In The Forest

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All of creation is inherently good:

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
~ Genesis 1:31

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Because of Adam’s and Eve’s sin, we aren’t as able to see and appreciate the inherent goodness of God’s creation…

Then the eyes of both of them were open and saw that they were naked.
~ Genesis 3:7

…but that goodness does not go away.

An example of how “that goodness does not go away”:

Nude art. Like The Birth of Venus.

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Because of this imperfect world — because my eyes are “opened” and I see that Venus is naked — I can’t see Venus in a completely pure way. There’s always that inner tug-of-war with lust.

But: That doesn’t mean that Venus herself is less inherently good. That just means that I am not perfectly able to see her goodness.

On another note:

To quote George R.R. Martin:

The gods give each of us our little gifts and talents, and it is meant for us to use them, my aunt always says. Any act can be a prayer, if done as well as we are able. Isn’t that a lovely thought?
~ Lady Smallwood, A Storm of Swords, “A Song of Ice and Fire”

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And to quote Chariots of Fire (1981):

You can glorify God by peeling a potato, if you peel it to perfection.
~ J.D. Liddell

My point is:

Any act — even dancing naked in a forest — can be a prayer if it is done as well as we are able to do it.

Because all things — like a forest, a person’s naked body, and a desire to dance — ultimately come from God. And it is up to us to use them for the well-being of others and ourselves…

Typing those words, I am reminded of Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989):

We fly with our spirit.

That’s what I’m talking about! Trusting your spirit. The spirit that drives your friend to bake, me to paint, and you to fly, is the same spirit. Maybe the spirit comes from God.

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So:

To anyone who is out in nature, naked and moving, while I’m indoors, clothed and kneeling:

Thank you.

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