Can’t Keep A GOOD Man Down

Most of us have parents or guardians of some sort.  I’ve yet to meet anyone whom has arrived at adulthood without a ‘teacher’ of some sort.  But did you know that your parents likely had a much different upbringing than you did?  While I had pondered this over the years, the depths of it were never understood, or appreciated, until recently.  

My Dad often talked about his five-mile walk to school, in the snow, with no lunch.  This seemed to be a common theme from his generation.  But I have learned more about my Dad’s past in the last two months, than I’d ever thought possible.  Dad is now 77 years old.  I had always understood that his younger days were much different than mine.  While I knew a lot about my maternal roots, I knew very little about Dad’s background.  All I was ever told was that he was working from a very young age, didn’t have the best relationship with his father, and he and his 10 siblings “didn’t see a lotta’ love growing up.”  But after having some personal time with Dad, he has been opening up to me a lot about his deep past.

Dad really never liked school.  After the nuns kicked him out, he asked the milkman one day if he could join him on his delivery runs.  The man let my then 11-year old father come along and learn the route.  As dad familiarized himself with the procedures and route, the man eventually let dad do the deliveries himself.  Imagine that:  a kid teaching himself how to drive a stick-shift, Milk truck in the early 1950’s.  Dad said he would have to slide off the seat to reach the pedals.  Like, were there no cops back then??  Better yet, the guy who hired my father would let Dad go alone, while he got drunk in the pub all day.  It all just sounds so insane!  Not surprisingly, Dad said he never got in an accident.  

Around age 13, Dad’s father said:  “If you’re not gonna’ be in school, you’re comin’ to the (coal) mines with me.”  My grandpa, Bob, was a big-shot at the mine – 18 Colliery – in New Waterford, Nova Scotia.  It was required for one to be 16 before entering the mines, but Dad was only 13.  He said his father pulled some strings, and had a lady from their church falsify documents so he could get hired.  

Dad has told me horrific stories of being in that narrow, dark pit for up to 16 hours a day – every day of the week.  He said if he woke up on weekends, and his mom had his lunch waiting for him on the table – he knew he was going to work!  Dad also described how everyone in the coal mines used chewing tobacco to keep the black soot from sticking to your throat, and to provide some  moisture.  

Aside from the abuse and neglect witnessed, my Dad has always had a very positive outlook on life.  Not only did he have a great work ethic, but he has always been a true, self-taught gentleman to my mom.  Dad moved to Toronto in early 70’s, and got a great job driving bus for the city.  This was a job that I knew he had so much pride in, as he took road safety, public transportation, and customer satisfaction seriously.  He worked many hours to provide for our family, and never seemed to show the stress he must have felt.  Also, he mentioned how he never had a single public complaint filed against him the whole time.  

Around 1983, Dad was in a terrible bus accident.  During a snow storm that removed the streets, he was told he had to do one last trip.  Pleading with his superiors to cancel the trip as per the weather, he was instructed to carry on.  It was a decision that changed the course of his (and our family’s) life altogether.  During extreme white-out conditions, Dad was rear-ended by a semi-trailer, resulting in only one significant injury:  Dad’s back.  It wasn’t until years later that he would realize that the accident had a much bigger impact on his life than just his broken back, however.  

We never went without life’s necessities because of him, and never knew what neglect or abuse were.    After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years back, I can notice a decline in Dad’s health.  Even after falling several times, he will be the first to tell you:  “Oh I’m alright…no complaints.”  This man seriously never complains.  Even though he has sustained many blows in life – his childhood (or lack thereof), worker’s comp., financial stresses, Parkinson’s – he refuses to stay down!  His resiliency and determination have motivated me to want to be a better person everyday, always thinking of OTHERS before myself.  Dad has taught me so much about so much:  faith, family, fitness, love, life-lessons, and forgiveness.  One thing I know for certain, is that I couldn’t be the person I am today were it not for my Father.  Your legendary story, Dad, has saved me from many low points in my own run at this game of life.  Many times I have wanted to throw in the towel, but I have felt your strength within me, pushing me.  

My Dad had a rough life; bittersweet, you could say.  But because of his amazing attitude, he has prospered.  One of his famous life-lines is:  “Never look back!”  I live by this, as I myself have been consumed by past, sabotaging beliefs many times.  I have learned that pitying oneself will only lead to more self-pity, and that you always have to realize the beautiful potential in life.

My generation will never know hard work like Dad’s generation did.  I have had some crumby, downright demoralizing jobs which I have literally walked away from.  If I reached a point where enough was enough, I just quit….because I could.  I did so without consulting anyone, and usually found another job quite easily.   Many of our forefathers didn’t have this option, and I feel a bit selfish even admitting this.  Nowadays, we work where we want, when we want, and we generally get treated pretty fairly.  So many “capable” people simply choose NOT to work because they don’t have to.  Our complex and confusing system takes care of those who wish not work as long as you can find a reason not to.  Yes, today we have it pretty easy.

They say our parents are our first teacher’s in life.  I don’t know how someone can teach something, however, that they themselves have never been taught.  How on earth does one simply start loving, if they haven’t seen a whole lot of it??  Dad, I don’t know HOW you became the generous, considerate, hard-working man you are today, but I want you to know how truly, truly, truly proud YOU make me to call myself a TURNBULL.  Thank-you!  

      

Open Letter to Jesus…

Dear Jesus:  I’m writing today with regards to Faith, hope and humanity.  It seems there are less people following you everyday, and this scares me.  There is so much darkness in our world today, and many are suffering.  Atheism seems to be on the rise, as many are believing “Religion” to be nothing but a great tool for organization; a general guidance system to keep people on the (perceived) right track.  I was raised a believer in Christ, but shut you out for many years.

About 5 years ago, I began a Spiritual Journey to find out if you were ‘real’.  I believe you did exist, but wanted to see for myself that you are, in fact, still a part of the lives of those whom seek you.  Even people that are close to me have a hard time believing in your power.  Many are struggling in Finances, Health, Relationships, and FAITH.  I, too, was troubled for many years.  I feel better after having sought you, but I’ve wondered if it’s like a placebo-type effect; like, perhaps my emotions are getting in the way, and I’m hoping too hard.  I have been praying everday, and I have asked you many times to say my name.  I’ve heard so many stories about people who have asked, and poof – you seem to just appear to them!  Unless they’re lying.  I’ve heard of you appearing to people in dreams, spirit, and even physically!  I read a book where a guy (Neale Donald Walsch) claims to have written a note to God in a frustrated state.  Shortly after, God began communicating with this man!  Are people whom claim to hear the voice of God, Jesus, or any Saint, simply imagining it?  I would love to know.

I have hand-written over 150 notes to God after reading the aforementioned book, and guess how many messages I’ve heard back from God?  Exactly.  Zero.  Not only has my prayer not be answered, but I haven’t heard any unfamiliar voices, possibly divine in nature.  I have encountered some strange ‘coincidences’, but am just not sure if it’s you, or just the unfolding of life.  Many would say, well, you’re alive, aren’t you?  Isn’t that good enough?  Honestly, no, it’s not.  I want to know that there is a higher power out there, and that Jesus is a real part of my everyday life!  I have always said, once I know for certain, I will dedicate my life to you.  I feel like I already have given much of myself to you, My Lord.  I have confessed my sins, and you know my motives.  Considering how many non-believers are out there, I would have hoped you would find my efforts noteworthy.

Lord, there are a lotta’ people bashing you, saying you never even existed!  Please, let me know that you are listening.  I feel sometimes like I’m praying for nothing; just talking to myself, perhaps.  But part of me knows that you are there…I just wish you could give me a sign.  In ending, I want to say that I will continue following you.  Although I am confused and frustrated, I feel like it’s the right things to do.  I know that millions upon millions of people whom believe in you also, cannot simply be ‘fooled’ by your existence, My Lord.  AMEN.

Blaise 

“Karma’s a You-know-WHAT!”

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Karma’s a Bitch!  Yes, we have all heard this lovely proverb before. And while most have an idea of what it means, does Karma actually have any influence on our actions, outcomes, and the unfolding of this game of existence?  Or is it all merely a coincidence, and we’re just hoping there IS some sorta’ payback on the selfish, inconsiderate ones?  Like most things, it depends on what you BELIEVE, I guess.

In Buddhism and Hinduism, Karma was traditionally seen as an invisible power that seemed to keep this fine-tuned universe in a harmonious, balanced state.  The word, which literally translates to “action, effect, or fate”, is Sanskrit in origin, and was here even before the hills.  This reciprocal concept assumes that the sum of our actions will determine our ultimate fate; what GOES around will eventually COME back around.   Most religions teach this idea that, “as you sow, so shall you reap” in one way or another.

Whether “Karma” is solely a religious idea, or a universal law which can be explained by scientific principles, I find it intriguing, nonetheless.  I am amused when people feel screwed over, and mutter to themselves in frustration, “Yeahhh….Karma’s a bitch!” or “Don’t you worry, he’s got it comin’ to him!”  When someone does something really bad (ie. Hitler), is there a gigantic, judgmental force that is GUARANTEED to bring them MORE, well-deserved badness?  Personally, I do not think so – but what do I know!?  I would like to think that in the end, a “higher power” will judge us based on the life we have lived here on earth.  I think it seems fitting that if we live an honest life (thinking of others before ourselves), we should be rewarded in some fashion (ie. Not going to hELL).  

All in all, even if you never discover proof that Karma is in fact, FACT, I urge you to just pretend it is.  Just imagine that how you treat others, is how you will end up being treated.  People have false hopes, I think, when they expect bad things to happen to others whom have wronged them.  They may not feel an urge to seek revenge ‘cuz they have faith in karma; “The BULLsh*t-tornado’s comin’ ’round and it’s gonna’ get you eventually, sucka’!”  If something horrible happens to an even MORE horrible person – even if it’s totally unrelated to how they F’d you over in the first place – many feel relief in the knowing (Hallelujah!) that deserved justice was served – KARMA!  That’s what YOU get!  No, it’s not just a coincidence!

Many cannot come to terms with the fact that there are just so many hurtful, inconsiderate, disrespectful, crumby people out there.  Many will go their whole lives being this way, and Karma may never ‘get’ them (on planet earth).  Afterall, they are just expressing their God-given free will.  But do not waste time hoping that bad things will happen to bad people; wishing that, I would assume, will only invite calamity into your own world.  I know it’s hard, ‘cuz we feel like payback is always necessary for our inner peace (as is the case with most wars).  

True justice would be forgetting about what wrong was done to you, learning from it, and NOT letting it happen again.  I know it’s hard to let certain things go as it just doesn’t seem right!  If you poked my eye and ran away, I may feel the need to poke yours to even the score.  Or I could just say, “There are some idiots in this world who will do stupid things like this from time to time.  It’s time to move past this.”  You deserve to be the best you can, and feel the best you can.  

Holding grudges from the past will only limit your ability to grow peacefully.  One piece of advice I will never forget came from the mouth of a wise Portuguese man I was blessed to have known.  In referencing anguish and revenge, he simply said:  “…be the bigger person; learn, forgive, then forget.”  When our egos get involved this can seem impossible, but for our OWN happiness and freedom, it is necessary.  You may have much faith in your understanding of morals, but our perception will have little influence on the final verdict anyway.

 

The P.M. Slice…

Pizza used to be one of my all-time favorite foods.  Probably yours, too.  When I was a kid, I used to love going to Pizza Pizza with my Dad.  I would get a gigantic, fresh slice of that hot bready, cheesy, saucy, meaty goodness – and I’d be so bloody happy!  Nothing seemed to bother me, as long as I had that triangular treat underneath my nose.  The perfect crunch, the flavours, the smells, the hot cheese burning my inner roof.  Just amazing!  But then things changed.

Many years later, I still do enjoy pizza.  But y’know what really aggravates me?  The P.M. slice!  That’s right.  The slice you purchase between 7pm-midnight.  You’re so hungry, and the three slices available through that arched window don’t look too appealing.  They look really dry, with flies flyin’ around it; and when it’s “warmed up” again in the oven, any last pinch of moisture is sucked outta’ that once-lively snack.  It’s garbage!  I have cut my throat before on the razor-blade-like crust.  It’s just not right!

Understandably, the pizza places *ahem* don’t wanna’ put on a fresh one just hours before closing.  It’s inefficient, and they could lose money if it’s not sold!  But one thing I learned working in customer service, is that the customer that comes in at closing, is just as important as the day’s first customer.  I’ve had the pizza guy look surprised when I actually order the deserted slice just layin’ there.  One time I think I saw tumbleweeds; even they were bailin’!  This is Bull!  But the real kicker???  Oh, I’m glad you asked!  How about..          …..PRICE!  You guessed it – you’re paying the same price at 11:59pm for that hard, stale, buggy, (probably) sneezed-on (a few times) slice!  It should be FREE, or maybe $1; but it’s typically around $4/slice.  You would never pay top dollar for anything that wasn’t top quality, right?    

I really don’t like to complain…about anything!  But this needed to come out.  It’s basic customer service vs. saving money (and saving money always wins!)  I know a lotta’ people might say, “Well why don’t you go when the pizza is fresh?”  Wow….genius!  But that’s not the point.  In almost any industry, when a product is damaged or inadequate, the price is reduced to reflect that imperfection.  Health inspectors would probably say you can’t even SELL something that’s been sittin’ out for so long!  All I want is fairness.  Please take this seriously, pizza corporations.  

Blaise Papa Roni

Do We Have the Ability to HEAL Others?

These videos are very powerful.  I find it hard to watch them without feeling some sort of emotion.  They give me hope that miracles do exist, and happen everywhere, everyday in our amazing world.  But can anyone do it??  Or do I need a degree, Voodoo’ey powers, or a special calling from the Lord first?  

I would love to put my hands on a complete stranger (or a loved one) who is in pain, and heal them.  Not only to get it on video and upload it to Youtube for fame and recognition, but to know that I did something divinely miraculous for someone else!  I would love to heal a blind child, or fix someone’s knee, or back.  I am considering approaching people in public (whom appear to be in distress) and putting my healing skills to the test.  My concerns are that it won’t work, and after praying on them, they’ll be the same….or worse!  I don’t want to face a lawsuit trying to do a Divine deed – the Lord’s work.  I just want to see if I can.  After all, I am named after a great Saint, who performed many miracles (involving throat issues).  

When a suffering individual is healed, they turn to the Healer, often hugging them or crying in praise.  The Healer will then say, “Don’t thank me – Thank Jesus!  I didn’t do anything.”  It seems too good to be possible, doesn’t it?  But then again, how often do we actually seek the Lord (truly and intimately!) when we are lost of suffering?  Most seldom do.     

Last night I was laying in bed suffering from Weld flash.  Not a big deal, as I’ve had it hundreds of times before.  But this time my eye was very painful (even with no  lights on).  So, I reached out.  I put my fingers on my eyeball, and said:  “Pain, I command you OUTTA’ my body NOW!  In the Name of Jesus, get outta’ my body NOW!  You’re not welcome here, and you need to leave my eyeball NOW – in Jesus’ Holy Name!”  

I woke up this morning around 8 a.m…..pain free.  Usually, with Weld flash, the symptoms worsen for 2-3 days before improving.  Nothing!  I can’t explain it; I’m not sure if it’s a miracle, but I’ve never been healed THIS fast from this common, albeit minor injury.  So, maybe I can go heal people?  Maybe we all have this ability to heal?  That is awesome – especially considering hospital wait times!  I would love to know that I possess that sorta’ power (through Jesus Christ!), and would love to do much good with it!

Many will say it is just a coincidence, and that nature just works that way.  Biology, chemistry, and time are what allowed your body to heal, Blaise!  C’mon, you learned this in school!  We may never know the truth while stuck in this limited, physical realm, but I would encourage all to reach out and test your mustard-seed-like faith.  He IS there and He IS waiting for you to be the bridge for His words and works.  

Fresh Prince, FATHERHOOD, and Running Away

Many people are familiar with Will Smith, and his first hit tv show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  But few know the truth about the sad, emotionally-charged episode, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse”, from 1994.  Speculation has arisen about whether or not Will was referring to his own personal life in this scene, and the absence of his own father in his life.  Either way, this scene hits home with anyone whom has a heart and/or soul.

In short, Will’s Father (Lou) is leaving him.  Again.  Lou leaves a small gift, then walks out (presumably, for good).  The gift was a small statue of a father cradling his infant son.  Will, acting tough and confident, brushes it all off with his cool demeanor.  When Uncle Phil consoles him, Will snaps, slamming the statue onto the table.  Will vents his heart out to his uncle, listing the ways his own father was a deadbeat.  The one line that always chokes me up is at the end.  Will is pleading with Uncle Phil, when Will asks, How come he don’t want me, Man?   

This scene hits home with me for a few reasons.  No, I have never had my Dad walk out on me, but I know many whom can relate to this.  I still do feel a sense of guilt when viewing this clip, however.  When I separated from my kids’ mother, I felt as if I was walking out on them.  I did, basically.  Although they are both still too young to understand it all, I know one day I will explain it as best as I can.  I remember packing my things, while my kids just looked very confused and scared.  I, too, felt those same emotions (among many others).  I always worry that their mom would tell them I walked out on them, or left for “another woman”.  Unlike Lou, I do see my kids.  I pray to God that I can one day see them everyday – or at least twice a week.  I never wanted this sorta’ life for them, where they are raised in two families, with step-parents and step-siblings; it’s just not how I was raised.  I miss kissing my kids on the head every night before bed; I miss getting their baths prepared; I miss taking them to school; I miss painting and doing crafts with them; I miss bringing them breakfast in bed.  There’s just so much I miss!

Many assume that (single) Dad’s just don’t love their kids much, and the only reason they have any contact is because it’s enforced by the courts, or perhaps a new partner in their lives.  But I never wanted to be away from my angels.  I was a stay-at-home Dad for my daughter’s first 3 years of life, and that was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the WORLD!  I know I wasn’t a perfect father, or perfect partner to their mother; but I found it harder than anyone will ever know, walking out of our home that fateful evening.  I could not even look back as I knew I’d see two beautiful, yet confused faces pressed up against the living room window.  I knew it would take but a glance to have me running right back to them and that bittersweet life!  That was a defining moment, and a turning point in my life, and I remember it like it was yesterday.  I used to assure myself that I just had to stay in this less-than-perfect relationship until the kids go to college – just a few more years.  The kids were 4 and 7 when I left.  

When I hear of people who have had their biological friggin’ parents walk out on them, my heart weeps.  I don’t mean a parent that has to work overseas, or work 15 hours a day either; many don’t get to experience “family time” because of a hectic work schedule.  I’m also not referring to a parent that has, unfortunately, passed away.  But LEAVING, disowning, ignoring, shunning, drowning (figuratively speaking), or completely walking out on your offspring, is utter cowardice!

When we are adults, we like to get close to those that make us feel loved.  We cherish the many special feelings that accompany companionship.  Or perhaps it’s just about the sex – let’s be honest here.  The scary part about it, however, is that if you’re not careful – you can begin a new, HUMAN LIFE!!!  We learned  all of this in grades 5 and 6.  While many women, too, give up on their children (*another blog post!*), there seems to be this stereotype that it’s usually the father’s whom run away.  After I had left my kids, I was HORRIFIED at hearing the term “Deadbeat Dad.”  What if their mother referred to me like this?  OMG!  I know I’m not perfect, and distance makes seeing my kids difficult.  But I love those kids more than life itself, and I would graciously die a horrible death five times over, to prove it.  

In ending, I want to say that I do believe that most things happen for a reason.  We may not always know that reason, and that is bothersome, I know.  Many people will walk in and out of your life, and many may leave without saying Goodbye.  Many people will stab you in the back, and make you feel worthless.  But your parents should be there forever!  Even if you were an “Oopsy baby,” you still have the right to know your biological creators.  It just seems very unnatural to have to go looking for your parents.  I can’t imagine being responsible for one of life’s most amazing miracles – creating a HUMAN life – yet denying it due to fear, uncertainty, selfishness, or just damn ignorance.  When you do something great in life, you expect and appreciate recognition.  But when you make a mistake in life, you just ignore it (when you should be holding yourself accountable!).  Don’t run away from it – especially if you know it’s something that can track you down one day and demand answers.  Even if you have a child that you want NOTHING to do with, you owe them an explanation at the very least.  I’m not talking about a simple apology, a box of chocolates, or a hug, either; a verbal or non-verbal testament to why things are the way they are may suffice.

To me, family is everything.  Ideally, we’d like to have a connection, and deep relationship with our physical creators.  But as you know, this isn’t as easy as it was 50 years ago due to economic and personal reasons.  Our values are not the same, and hence family just isn’t what it used to be.  More than anything else, we humans strive for love and dignity in our lives.  I sincerely hope that anyone who feels lost, or unloved, to look around you and see that you are cared for.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, parent, neighbour, policeman or the Heavenly Father – feeling cared for is an amazing experience!  The best remedy for hurt, I feel, is to Love.  I think people whom have felt unloved are resilient, and learn to love like they’ve never known possible.

We will never know the motives of others, and we should never strive to.  If you’re surrounded by good-hearted people in your life, then that’s all you need.  You may search for the missing pieces, trying to make sense of this puzzle of life, and that is understandable.  But don’t waste energy seeking something (or someone) that intentionally evades you.   You are worth so much more than that, and have such a greater purpose!   

In ending again, I want to quote someone.  They said:  “Any man can make a baby, but it takes a real man to be a father.”  This is so true.  Biologically, it’s quite simple to make a baby (too easy, if you ask me!).  But environmentally, economically, socially, and morally – there’s a lot more to it!  The easy part is gettin’ started.  The true test of LOVE comes in the lifelong commitment.