Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong. Throw the stone away, let the guilty pay, it's independence day

The teacher wonders, but she does not ask
It's hard to see the pain behind the mask
Bearing the burden of a secret storm,
Sometimes she wishes she was never born

I suppose two things come to mind on October 31st for the average person. The first is, obviously, Halloween.

The second, primary in Christian especially Lutheran, circles, is Reformation Day.

Before Halloween candy, before Martin Luther being all "TAKE THAT CATHOLICISM!", another day comes to mind. Independence Day. Now, before you think I've lost my marbles, I know it's not 4 July yet. There won't be any fireworks tonight, although there will be in my heart. And there won't be cookouts and baseball, because I really don't care much for either.

Seven years. I moved out seven years ago. And while it was undeniably the best decision I ever met, it was undoubtedly the most painful. No 18 year old should have to make the decisions I made that day, and no 18 year old should have to live through that.

I was, after all, only 18 years old. And I turned my father into the police. I had people I thought I trusted turn against me. It's so hard to believe it's been seven years since all that happened. But there are still nights I miss my Daddy.

Yes, he's a colossal class A asshat. But we'd watch movies together, or sometimes I could convince him to hook up the SNES or my Genesis and we'd play video games. We'd play "Name That Tune" to the Oldies Radio Station, and I'd kick his ass in Bible Trivia. He'd take me to see the movies. I can't really name that many good qualities about him and he is, at his core, a drunken pedophile, but dammit, he's my father. I miss him. I miss what I lost, I miss what I never had, I miss what I never will have. I guess that's normal and I guess it's the way it should be. But at the same time... I still deeply grieve.

But I've changed so many in seven years, and I will change in so many more. Next Halloween, I'll be wearing a costume for the first time (and it'll be awesome). The next year, I'll continue to heal and grow and change. And who knows? Maybe one October, it'll just pass as fleeting memories.
Like my father's come to pass, seven years has gone so fast.

Me at eighteen. Yup. Really, not much has changed.

And with a broken wing, she still sings
She keeps an eye on the skies
With a broken wing, she carries her dreams
Man, you ought to see her fly


go rest high on that mountain

I know your life on Earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to life's pain

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on Earth is done
Go to Heaven a-shoutin'
Love for the Father and the Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered 'round your grave to grieve
Wish I could see the angel faces
When they could hear your sweet voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on Earth is done
Go to Heaven a-shouting
Love for the Father and the Son.

It's just one of those days. I'm sick, the fibro is flaring, and I'm in an emo-panda state. I miss my friends and family members who have passed, I wish I could talk to them about the big decisions I am facing in my life. While I know there are other people I can talk to, it's no substitute. And I miss people. And I miss... so much. Even though their "work is done", it's hard to see that while still left behind...


And we pray that our unity may one day be restored

Christians are becoming divided. We bicker about everything. You are for the marriage amendment, you are against it. You don't think anyone should take birth control, you are fine for it for medical reasons only, you are all for it. You believe in evolution  you don't. You are voting for Romney, you are voting for Obama, you aren't voting at all.

The Marriage Amendment is the big one. It's ripping apart churches, it's ripping about colleges, it's ripping about the body of Christ. Come on, people, is this what being a Christian is TRULY about!? You claim you love God, but then you trash-talk and name-call those who don't believe what you do. It happens on both sides - neither side is innocent of this. We are all guilty of casting undue judgement calls and being far less than perfect.

It breaks my heart to see my state, to see people I love and care deeply about to bicker and fight for what I believe to be a basic human right - the right to love and the right to marry. I realize that you (general you) may not feel the same way I do, and I can accept that. You may feel that marriage is one man, one woman. I am not here to debate that at this time, nor am I here to try and change your mind.

What I am here with is a broken heart. What I am here with is a plea to remember that while our views may differ, at our core we all love the same God, we all love our friends, we all love our families. I assume as the election season gets closer, the fights will get more heated. The name calling will get more coloured and hurtful, and the body further divided. What good does it do, though? What good does it do we do causing such strife and turmoil within a body of believers? What is the purpose of doing that? To help them see our point? Getting into a heated debate won't change their minds.

We need to remember that at it's core, Christian simply boils down to a doctrine of love. While at times we are poor vessels of it and we fail magnificently at demonstrating such love, it is no excuse to instead choose a path of hatred. We need to remember the words of the hymn "And we pray that our unity may one day be restored, and they'll know we are Christians by our love." We can restore the unity and we can show love.

Whatever you choose to vote on 6 November 2012 is your choice. It is not my job, my duty, or even my desire to persuade you one way or the other. So no matter what you mark on the ballot: Romney or Obama, for or against the marriage amendment, for or against the voter ID law, or the numerous other issues on the ballot, DO choose to vote in love. DO choose your votes, your choices, out of love, not from hatred. Make your choices based in love, and allow your actions to show forth.