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27 March 2010

Code to Zero

My mind would not turn loose.

That was a problem.

I had made it through forty years of living, and I counted on my mind-- had learned that I could count on it. 

I think through things differently than most people-- sometimes better and sometimes not.  It was all in the exercise of the purist forms of logic that I began to realize that other persons went about some (not all) logic problems differently than I did.

I remember sitting at my desk in first grade, being exposed to math for the first time.  I remember envying those who "got it" right away, and then the beauty of the logic appearing when I joined them in that understanding.  It was not the accomplishment-- it was the beauty of math.

The only pre-school I had been exposed to was a short stint with the Sisters at the Tuller School in Fort Worth and if there was any academic preparation I was given, the only preparation I remember having received was spiritual.  It was there, at the Tuller School, that I existed in the world alone for the first time and learned that love existed there as well.  Something of a false lesson looking back, but one that made me bold.

But sitting at a desk in Mrs. Shields' first grade class at Northwood Hills Elementary School (my Sunday School teacher the summer before had been Mrs. Sword!) I first realized I was behind the game.  Some of my classmates knew how to read, and I had not even tried.  With vivid recollection, I stared at this flip-chart Mrs. Shield's was using on the third day of class.

Some of my classmates read the dozen or so words on that page readily.  I was impressed and wanted to do it too.  I distinctly remember a drawing of an orange, colored in, with the letters o-r-a-n-g-e next to it.  There was something "tricky" about the displayed objects and words next to each, and while several of my classmates were guessing, the trickiness thwarted their attempts.  In the minute or two in which I studied the board, and noted who had the correct answer, I was trying to sound out the word printed by whichever the teacher was pointing at when the student answered. 

I remember the orange, because that was the one I used to de-code the trick.  If there was a picture of an apple it may have had printed next to it, a-p-p-l-e or it may have had the letters r-e-d.  After a couple of wrong guesses by classmates, I knew that the printed letters would be descriptive, but that it could be the thing or the color.  Mrs. Shields noticed my intent concentration, I guess, and she pointed at one item and asked me if I knew what it said.  I didn't.

She was pointing at a banana I think it was, but I said, looking at the orange, "I know o-r-a-n-g-e is orange, but only because the fruit and the color are the same.  I don't know why those letters spell 'orange' and so the one you are pointing at must be 'banana' because the first letter is a 'b' and not a 'y' I think it would be."
"And if it was a 'y?'"
"It would be the word "yellow?'"
"Good.  You are just where you are supposed to be."

She went on and vetted the rest of the students.  Ultimately, we were each assigned to one of three groups.  I don't know how she described them, but the groups were obviously equivalent to "readers," "clueless," and "ready to read."

Those who had been guessing, "red" when it said "apple" were in the "clueless" group.  Those who obviously could read were sent to sit on a corner with some assistant who was there that day and they sat down with what must have been "Fun with Dick and Jane--" taking turns reading through it.

The clueless were sent to the opposite corner and I think they were helped by another helper to work on the alphabet.  I don't remember.

About six of us were brought up behind the teacher's desk and she read from a book as we watched her finger trace across each word in a way that made it "click" with me after a couple of minutes watching.  She stopped, and asked what the next word was now and then, and asked me to try as her second time of prompting one of us.  I said, "Not yet, ask someone else, I think I am getting it."

In truth, I was humiliated.  I had no idea anyone my age knew how to read-- none of my friends did and I had been looking forward to starting first grade for the very purpose of learning how to read and how to do lots of other things my big brother could do.  On day three of school, I was horrified to find many others already knew how to read.  Besides, three minutes before, the moral lesson had been manifest to me:  Guessers are cheating when they try to act like they can read, but really just don't want to be exposed as ignorant.  It wasn't enough for me to have won a moral victory-- I wanted to be with those reading aloud to one another in the corner, but I knew I did not belong with them.  My little ego was in dangerous peril, and it took me a little bit to focus.

But after Mrs. Shields prompted a few others, some who sounded the word out correctly and some who did not, she came back to me, and I read the next word.  She asked me to continue, and I managed the next several words.

Something about symbols and meaning and the written word is miraculously apparent in such moments.  Mrs. Shields' knew it and it showed.  Her face showed joy!  I got it and she knew it and she was filled with joy that she saw it happen.  She had probably done this with others-- been there prompting as a student read their first words and then a whole sentence-- hundreds of times, but the joy always came.  It came when I did, and it came when the others did it.  She had one or two that didn't do it that day.

The next day, to my immense relief, I sat on the carpet with my own copy of a book, and took my part in reading aloud with the others.

A couple of years before, the story goes, I was excited for my father to come home from work.  I was four, so I was always excited for him to come home, but more so because that day I had found out how the picture got inside the television set.  That is what I told him: "Daddy?  I know how the picture gets into the TV set."
"You do?"
"Yes.  It comes in through that cord in the back."
"Oh.  Well, Hoss, actually those metal things on top are called antennae and they pick up the signal from the air--"
"No.  I'll show you."
I walked back behind the television and unplugged it.  The picture went away, and I said, "See?"

My Dad was one of those who was "scary smart."  You know?  The kind who gets things so far ahead of everyone else that it seems unreal?  So smart was my father that he knew when he was licked.  Just as my mother had decided earlier in the day when I made public my findings regarding the great mystery of television picture source; smiling, my father said, "Oh, well, I guess you must be right."  The family loves telling me of that story.

I plugged the cable back into the wall and the television picture flowed through the narrow pipe right into set as before.  I went to my room triumphant.  The next day, I was let down in the best way possible.  My Dad unplugged the antennae and then began explaining radio waves.  As we drove around later, he pointed out the radio towers that were sending the signal.  Cool!

I did alright up through my junior year in high school.  I found my "one true love."  Family crises (plural) left me virtually alone to figure that out, but I managed pretty well, working without a net.  Then, that false lesson I learned way back with the Sisters in Fort Worth at the Tuller School was exposed as false in the most brutal way.  My heart was ripped every bit as deeply as it had allowed the joy of that first and true love to settle into it.  No one told me that there was such a risk.

Working without a net, I retreated into books, television, music, and building things.  I never came out again until my first child was born.  My own life was wonderfully rewarding at the time, but physically and emotionally painful.  Better that combination than the inverse, and I knew it.  But my son, and soon enough my daughter, got all of that unhealed heart to work as if nothing had ever happened to it.  That was bliss.  I knew bliss.

And five or six years later, again (still, really is a better word) working without a net, I was shoved out of their life with a treachery-- an inhumanity!-- that few persons are willing or even able to believe exists.  Most cannot believe such excruciating evil can be allowed to exist without their own ability to function being jeopardized-- threatened merely by the acknowledgment of the possibility.  So they don't.  I understand, and it is hard for me to blame them for looking away so as not to see the gore, but...  I mange to blame them, none-the-less.

The good people choosing not to look at the human gore allows them to do nothing while it allows evil to do anything.  My son doesn't believe his father loves him.  My daughter tells me that she remembers me, but mostly from stories.  Two innocent results of persons choosing not to look at the gore.  Yeah, I blame those who do not look.  Yes I do.

Each of such persons are welcome to my anger anytime they want it.  I'll rage on them without mercy because I am running very low on mercy these days-- used up most of what I had already and no one ever gives me any, so...

Anyway, at first, I thought there was a solution.  I just thought my mind would produce a solution.  In my first career, I was a highly paid problem-solver.  I was damned good at it.  So I set my mind to work on the problem with the false assumption that there was a solution.

Three years later, I was a shell of man.  My mind would not accept that there was no solution and day-by-day I began to hate myself and stopped trusting myself because my own mind was failing me when it mattered most.  I could not save my children!

I had tried to get help, but everyone who was in a position to help soon told me that there was probably no answer that I could tolerate.  It wasn't their children, I told myself, so they gave up when they realized that the problem I was working on might take years to resolve-- shorter if they would help instead of give up.

I was wrong.  They wanted to help, but some had experience looking at the gore and they knew there was no solution.  They were telling me the truth.  The ultimate gore is that evil wins, love does not conquer the consequences of evil, it merely endures it.

I went to Half Price Books near where I worked and bought an armload of paperbacks, thinking that my mind needed to allow itself to get lost in a story other than my own.  One of those books was Ken Follett's Code to Zero. It was a spy novel, and my father got me started reading those when I was a teenager.

The hero in the novel is a rocket scientist who wakes to find himself possessing all of his knowledge, all of his skills, and above all, all of his character; yet, all memory of his relationships with people and his associations-- including where he lived, where he worked, who he knew-- all of that was gone.  Spies had captured him and given him a drug to cause all of that.

I made an appointment with a psychologist and went.  I told him about my children and how I had been slandered to the effect of being thrown from their lives.  He asked me what I wanted him to do for me, and I told him what I had read about in Code to Zero.  I said, "I want to know if there is a real drug that can do that, and, if so, can I have it?"

Too often, still, I post on my personal Facebook account, my status using a few words from the lyrics to UB40's Red, Red, Wine:
All I could do, I've done.  Memories won't go.  Memories, won't goI just thought, that with time, thoughts of  you would leave my head.  I was wrong.



06 March 2010

Mission City, something new and not so clear

Something, in my minds eye, only seen from averted vision, is bothering me.

I have several Mission City posts written, needing only a proofread before posting. I have, well, enjoyed the power, frequency and excitement of purpose in what I have written to be posted here, as well as matters written for other purposes and venues. This one interrupts with something of urgency, so I am going to cooperate and slap it through the process ahead of everything else.

Just for myself, the necessary thought which allows me to post some difficult items to share when I know only a few readers do not know me-- that "a prophet is without honor in his own home." I mean, what I write of in Mission City related posts is not often even intended for anyone I know. This blog, evocation, is not dedicated to those posts anyway-- merely the place I chose to put them, along side of stuff with posts for intended intimate readers. But this one post, is different, in that I think it is for someone I know-- I just haven;t a clue who that might be. In Mission City, I just try to cooperate with what is created-- I don't create anything. Now back to our regular programming...

To the North. A new reference point not on the map: The old "Showdown." Somewhere north of there and involving friends and acquaintances from the "Showdown." I don't know where Showdown is in Mission City, but it seems as if it is adjacent to or perhaps even a part of the ever-morphing "home"which is just east of downtown.

To the north of there is that troublesome place-- new to me, but repeating, not changing, and always "north." My intuition is that this represents a real place, that truly is north of the old Showdown at 27th & Guadalupe in Austin.

It is a modern place, smooth white plaster walls-- that hard and cold plaster found in aluminum framed office buildings of the last few decades. It has a brown tinted glass front lit from within, only one or two stories high, and in a part of town which few buildings are as modern. Inside it is a large place. I am not certain what it is, and I intuit that it is connected with games-- like computer games, video games, and maybe even old-style board games. Pool or shuffleboards tables may exist there, I am not sure.

Even so, gaming does not seem to be the real purpose for those who gather there. Unknown to some, I think: There seems to be a sinister element of strangers. So much so, that the strangers and the malevolent real purpose of the place are inextricably intertwined-- defining the place. All of the persons inside are at least ten years my junior, and the few I know there are good people, but I am concerned that they either chose to ignore the threatening feel of the place or are complicit, believing they won't get hurt.

Kind of sounds like drugs, doesn't it? Yet, I don't think that is what it is. Could be, but I feel it is something else. As with all, or nearly all, missions I find myself on, I merely find myself at a location when the vision dream begins. Unlike most of the missions, I am neither with someone, nor am I cognizant of any purpose-- so I begin to explore the place. I am delighted, at first thought, to see some people I know and like, but who I will not name because of my doubts about sharing this mission, here.

In fact, so obscure are the repeated (and mostly brief) encounters with this place, that I only decided to write because I think perhaps that there is nothing more for me to do that post this and let anyone who knows what it means take warning. I doubt I will ever know, but I am hoping that after posting this, I will not return there. I don't like the place, and I do not like having no feeling of mission there. Moreover, I didn't like having my "tail" handed to me the first time I was there.

I'll start there, as a means of providing detail for a reader who I hope finds something here meaningful.

It was dusk, a beautiful evening following a warm day. I am inside the place-- brightly lit, making it impossible to see out the tinted windows. The inside includes a wide curving and inclined main hall that leads to no place that can be seen from the entrance. I am just descending and curving out of view from the main doors which lead to the street when I come across an acquaintance I know and like. He seems happy, or maybe amused, to find me there as he passes me in a hurry-- having some plan of which is of the essence.

From that bright white, and wide entry ramp, and without transition (i.e., no door that I recall) I am in a much darker room, vast, I think. Colorful lighting against near black. Neon lights? Florescent pigments under black-lights?

A few more I know are there. Unlike the first familiar face, these look concerned for me (not of me). I sense the darkness and unnatural light of the place was chosen because it fit the purpose of the owners-- it said what is felt-- that is that the ambiance was intended to cooperate with the meaning, not provide it, not cover it, but to be an acknowledgment. I do not believe it was spoken, although we did speak-- none of the words spoken recalled by me, but the sense was felt by me that my friends down in that room were sharing a concern that I would be unwelcome there, and that they were in no position to help me. More specifically, that they knew that I would not cause them harm even if I knew what the place was about but that the strangers there would no ask questions. The strangers would simply identify me as a threat and take what actions those strangers believed to be necessary or prudent to protect themselves.

I explored the downstairs, some rooms brighter with light and easy activity around me-- nothing specific, but the sense of competitive benign game playing being share amongst the "patrons" of the place. Many of the "patrons" seemed like people I would like, and some of the women attractive. No sooner did a sense of comfortableness with the place begin to suggest itself to me than a warning appeared. A large man with dark hair wordlessly confronted me. A wordless, passive-aggressive challenge. The actual event is not distinct to me, but something like standing cross-armed and staring at me, or positioning himself so as to require me to slightly change my stride as I roamed the facility.

The gaming then became casino-like in my mind. I used to "have to go" to Las Vegas on business trips, and held user group meetings at the casino hotels-- because Vegas would boost attendance which was good for the company I worked for back in those days. The mob, the power, the money, the usually benign but omnipresent security and surveilance-- all of that seemed suddenly a fit comparison, However, while the danger in Vegas, while palpable to me at all times, never seemed to be directed at me, or even threatening to me, the appearance of the dark-haired man did seem to be targeting me.

I can only say that he was something of a "bouncer" and also something more-- the tip of the iceberg-- no, the pointman. Yes, that is it. The dark-haired man was on point, and had an unseen squad behind him. I don;t know how I had been vetted so quickly, and remember being bothered by the fact that whatever or whoever determined me to be a threat, did so and acted upon it before I realized I was being threatened. PTSD has its advantages-- you are almost always the first one to be ready-- you know a fight is coming, from whom and when before the person targeting you has completed the thought which will bring them to act against you. You feel, from experience, their bodies preparing to act. You have some reasonable certainty of their final decision-- act or not act-- before their muscles tense or relax in keeping with the decision they make.

As I said, I was greatly bothered by being behind the action in this place. I did not know why I was a threat, and said so at some point in the chaos which followed, but the pointman's squad was on me and overwhelmed me before I had even begun to consider my tactical situation. I did not like that feeling at all. I was bit roughed up in the process and literally thrown to the ground outside some secondary entrance, or in this case, exit, onto the sidewalk. The men of the squad looked no more "professional" than I do, but I fear they may have been better. I really did not like that feeling, and I really do not want to go back.

I still have no clue what the strategic purpose of the place is, but the persons of that place (not necessarily those in it) was overwhelmingly certain of its own, and had me "pegged" so fast and dealt with me so easily that I feel like I need to be better briefed before going back again. I have mentioned, in other Mission City entries, that the missions to which I appear to be assigned are known by me no later than the instant when I need to know what to do-- a very intuitive sort of feeling. But that evening, my intuition was working just fine, but was overwhelmed by superior force -- one with foreknowledge of the mission given me.

The sidewalk upon which I was unceremoniously tossed, was a sidewalk on the large block of the "home" when I described it elsewhere as having morphed into some beachfront compound. That connection surprised and confused me as I got back to my feet. The squad surrounded me-- five or six men, I think. Spoken of by them in the third person, there was not a hint that I mattered at all to them, and that repercussions of whatever they decided to do with me also posed no concern for them. Still, the decision was to let me go. The other option was to kill me. Oddly enough, neither they nor I seemed to care much about which decision would be chosen.

It occurred to me that perhaps my indifference as to the matter of being let go or killed somehow swayed the decision made by the squad. I was not paying much attention. I'll end with a bit related to that...

Obi-Wan Kenobi lived in a whitewashed cave in the middle of a hostile desert, just close enough to keep a protective eye on his charge-- young Luke and, vicariously through another, Leia-- all the while invisible and unknown to either of those being protected. I was never the young Obi-Wan, but the older one is a comforting model for me. In the midst of the battle with Darth Vadar, he warns his enemy, "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can imagine." Yep. That is why I took my feet again on the sidewalk, as prisoner, and not caring what happened next. I wasn't going to be out of the battle no matter what was chosen by my captors. It really didn't matter to me. That is not despair, it is faith.

I have been back to that modern building to the north, and cannot make entrance, or if beginning inside, cannot find a way beyond the grand entrance ramp. I don't why. Each vision dream is brief in tos regard-- I am there, no mission, nothing accomplished that I can tell. That is frustrating, and it occurs to me, that perhaps this place in Mission City has nothing at all to do with me.

This leads me to a segue. Oddly enough, of what I had pasted here with a note, before I finished the above Mission City item, and merel;y because I was pressed for time and needed to unload the clipboard...

And, because I am in a hurry, and because I need to post before I have opportunity to save the item which I intended to rework into a more generic passionate plea for someone else (or, knowing God, it may well be related to the a person who knows what this mission city posts means-- I know I don't!), this is a paste from a forum message I wrote this morning dealing with Parental Alienation Syndrome, and those whose rage and fear have pushed them too far for their endurance:

Crews Giles I don't post here often. I think I started when a friend sent me a link to the PAS suicide thread; because she knew of my perspective that we fight evil and endure evil; that a hearty faith is one with mission, danger, and suffering; that this world is the domain of the Enemy and the good souls rage against it; and that the antidote to true despair and hopelessness in this world is the soul's transcendence-- living less and less in and of this life and to and for the next.

If I did not have the faith I was given, I would stop typing and end it now; because without faith, this life is all there is and it isn't worth the pain-- not for me, not for what my heart and soul demand to be worthwhile, purposeful, and full of meaning. But, my faith is real, and beyond "nice to believe", "I hope it may be so," I want to think that" faith-- it is tested, purposeful, and on occasion my Lord is so intimately present in my life, that denying my faith would be an act of insanity.

I would like the life experiences which brought me to this to be different than they have been, because I don't know how to call others to such a robust sort of living out the faith other than through despair in the world I don't want my friends to suffer so that their souls can transcend-- recognize that we are all trapped behind enemy lines and embrace suffering as a mark of our being alienated by this world because our souls long for the next.

None of that has a direct link to parental alienation, but it is the only answer to suicidal thought that I know which is more than a mere pablum.

As parents of children alienated from us, we are in a unique place to experience God the Father's longing and suffering for us-- cut off from direct contact with Him, and so doubting His love. Sharing that with the Father Almighty, Lord God of Hosts, the Most High God, we are also in a unique position to experience our children's pain, and doubts; and to understand their raging:
"Why doesn't my parent love me? Why doesn't my parent rescue me? Why doesn't my parent care?"

I don't know the persons contributing to this thread, but the recent expressions have been antagonistic to one another-- baiting. Yep, we are all angry-- we would all be heartless if we were not angry. The anger is valid and even healthy under the circumstances, but the target of the anger (one another) is invalid. Moreover, targeting one another on a thread about suicidal thoughts is not what someone coming to this thread for the first time needs to read.

As an aside, and as clarification. I use the Judeo-Christian Biblical term, "Lord God of Hosts" for a reason. That ascription, "Lord God of Hosts" explicitly describes the Most High God as possessing an army (a "host"). That is important because we need to know that we are at war with the world-- and the unseen powers which conspire to make us and our children believe that unseen love is no love at all, and unseen evil is no evil at all, and unseen war is the same as peace.

I'm not at peace, I am at war, but it is not my war, it is the war of the Almighty against the unseen powers, against evil, again despair, against purposelessness, against injustice, and so on. I chose which side represents truth. I chose for Whom I fight.

Because I am angry, and because I want to fight with my spiritual sword in hand, I am not rushing toward a meaningless death-- not when no one else fights for my children, for our love, for justice. I love too many people in this life (whether they know it or not) to leave them undefended. Not enough are there to fight for us, and we know it.

We are on the same side. Those that believe, fight. Fight for those who despair, whether they believe or not. God loves them whether they believe or not, and I am not going to judge or punish my children for not believing in my love due to a world which seeks to prove to them that I do not, anymore then The Most High God, Father Almighty, would do to any of us, His children-- all of us suffering from being alienated from Him and not able to see clearly His rage and His gathering armies preparing to fight for us and for our children.

That is what I say from my soapbox. If some want to call that an "opinion," or rage at me for living as if I am child of God, because such a detractor is certain that God causes evil, and believes or at least claims in rage that it is the godly who alienated them from both God and their children-- well, I understand where that comes from, but it is a tantrum of tyrant child wanting the plate of peas served to change into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is still a plate of peas.

I don't know what to say to them-- other than I live because I know the truth in that regard (the unseen battle, not the lack of peanut butter!), and my living it out as best I can includes raging at the world which blinds others from that truth -- the same Enemy which stole our children.

Now, whatever animosity exists between the rest of you, take it somewhere else, please.