Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hometown Visit

I received the call on Monday and by Saturday evening I back in the hometown.  I have found that the only time I go back usually is for memorial services.  And so this trip was no different.  Family of family flew in from Hawaii and Ohio.  And although it was for a tragedy, sightseeing was still in order. I mean why fly to London when you can some see the London Bridge in Arizona with its own English Channel.  

The town has changed though.  I know a lot of friends have moved back to raise their kids there, but its not the same place as when we were growing up.  I mean when we were growing up, it was 30,000 when I left at 18.  Today, friends tell me its 60k.  What I never realized as a child, but absolutely realized it this trip was that town is at the bottom of the slope and all the houses are at the top.  So I guess in one sense that is nice that there isn't a starbucks on every corner, but then again I was getting aggravated driving down the hill every morning to find something to take the edge off.  

And although the town has changed, there are still things that bring back that home feeling.  Like Ed's Deli of course.  I've yet to find another place like it and sorry Vegas folks, Cappriotti's doesn't even come close.   It could be that they get their bread from someplace special.  The other place that is a hometown favorite of mine is Taco Hacienda.  Again, I've yet to find a cheese crisp as greasy and delicious as TH's.  The place I miss the most is Havasu Frozen Yogurt.  There have been some that have come close, but never have the right cookie crumbs.  The place on the corner by Smith's was darn good with carob chips though.  

Usually when I am in town, I try to get around to see friends, but this time really didn't allow such a thing.  I through out an invite to a chosen few to meet at DM and several of them arrived on short notice.  

What I've taken away from this last visit is life.  And to live that life to the fullest.  Don't hesitate to tell people in your life that you love them.  And I'm not talking about your family.  I'm talking about your friends that you've been around since Bumble Bee, the ones you talk to regularly, see on a weekly basis, talk to monthly, etc.  Don't let those moments slip by you because when shit hits the fan you are going to be saying...shoulda, woulda, coulda....and now its too late.  And I've taken this lesson as well...if I was to die today, what would happen?  Are my affairs in order so that my spouse could handle everything from the funeral (which I'm not having one except you are to party like rockstars) to the finances.  If you can answer that question with confidence that everything is in order, you are one step ahead of the game.  If you can't...get a will, life insurance, and prepare for the unexpected.  Because folks tomorrow may never get here for us.  

Love to all who reads this....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

To Tithe or Not

I've never been religious.  I mean I have tried to find this so called Jesus person.  I've attended church and churches.  I was born Catholic, but I went to a few others to see if I could find something.  In 2000, I was turned onto Tao and Buddhism and I found something in nature.  That is where my peace has always come from.  When I'm out hiking through unknown canyons, that's where I feel the most at ease.  I like to call that my religion.  The bonus of this religion is that I don't have to tithe all that often.  Sometimes where I hike there is a fee so I consider that a tithing, but for the most part, I don't have to lay down more than gas to get to the location.

I was recently approached by an individual who asked for me to help out with....um, how do I put this...a church?  Primarily to support him while he works towards creating a church for an already established congregation.  I don't understand that part since why recreate another church right down the block when there is already one there.  I had questions about this and so we talked over chat.  I got to ask all my questions.  I told him I would pray about it.  He knows damn well that isn't going to happen.

The main question that I have that he wouldn't be able to answer is "what am I getting out of this agreement?"  When one goes to church and tithes then he is getting the pastor or priest up there preaching to them.  And he is getting the building that he worships in and blah blah blah.  But if I decide to tithe to this cause, what exactly benefits me?  I don't attend that church, I don't believe in God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, and I balk at religion and religious figures all the time.  So why would I go through with this?

I've asked myself that about a million times since being approached with this concept.

Around 1993, I met this individual for the second time.  I say the second time because we went to school together for sometime, but I never really knew him.  We were introduced by another religious friend.  Honestly I think she introduced us in the hopes that he would convert me into accepting the Lord Jesus Christ.  I remember those weeks I spent with him prior to his leaving for Croatia.  I remember them like it was last week.  I remember writing to him and sending him care packages while he was over there.  I still have his letters.  I remember his phone call to me on his way back to the states.  He used his last monies to call me.  Why, I often ponder, why?  This individual and I never were romantically involved.  We were just friends.

And although I've balked at religion a zillion times where he prays to the Lord Jesus Christ every day, he has stuck by me through it all.  When I ask a religious question, he answers with a challenge.  When I ask why God would allow children to be raped, murdered, and abused, he answers with a bible verse.  And I read it to humor myself or may be humor him.  But sometimes those verses do answer the question.  But still I am no closer to finding the Lord Jesus Christ.  And I think in some sense he's come to accept that as much as I've come to accept he is all about the Lord Jesus Christ.

He's not a pusher though.  He does not push his religion on me.  In his own way, he tries to get me to find the Lord Jesus Christ, but never pushes it like some other religious zealots.  I often have called him my guru because I go to him for every religious question I have.

And so in reality I guess I have found what I am going to get out of this if I go to the site and plug in my money donation.  I'm going to get a godly friend who will guide me through my hardest times, laugh with me over the stupidest things, and pray for me even though I don't believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  +Steve Stutler