Saturday, December 31, 2011

Basal cell carcinoma

I've had a sore on my left ankle now for several months that won't heal.  For most of that time I didn't even notice it, but every now and then I'd see it and wonder, 'WTF... why hasn't that healed yet?' and then forget about it again.  Then the other night it hit me... skin cancer.  I did some net research and the images I found for a certain type of cancer, called basal cell carcinoma, look very much like the lesion on my ankle.  From what I've gathered so far, 90% of these types of cases don't metastasize to other parts of the body, so I'm not too worried at the moment.  The main concern seems to be removing it so it doesn't leave a scar.  My mom works at a hospital, and she said I could come down and get it removed, and that the lab costs would be covered.

I suppose I'll have to make some time for that.  I'll probably have to miss church one of these upcoming weekends.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Persistant visits to this blog

My blog has a stat counter that tracks visitor statistics by counting the number of visits each day, what page they visited, whether or not they're returning visitors, etc.  I usually get about 5 hits a day from all over the world from people using Google searches, which shouldn't seem weird in and of itself... but what IS weird is that almost every single one of those visits to this blog is to one particular entry - my write up about the star of Bethlehem as an astronomical phenomenon.  This page:

Every single day, almost every visit to my blog is to that page.  Visits average about 5 a day, over the course of a month, and they go back 6 months, to when I first started watching the stat counter. Some days it's as many as 20 different page views of just that one page.  My stat counter page is filled from top to bottom with visits to my star of Bethlehem blog entry.  It's weird.

The stat counter even shows the Google search terms the visitors used - things like 'bright star of Bethlehem', 'Bethlehem night sky', 'shining star over the manger at Bethlehem', 'pictures of the night sky in Bethlehem', 'star of Bethlehem', 'Bible star', and  'Bethlehem supernova', to name a few.  It's the only traffic my page gets, except for a few rare visits that don't show any referring Google searches.

A letter to myself

I imagine that it's tiring to hear somebody complain about the same old thing over and over again, especially when it's a broken heart. I should have gotten over it already by now. I think I should have... I always have before. I'm tired of it, just tired and weary of it and ready for it to go away. I'm only saying this to you right now because so often I just feel like I need to say something to somebody, and I right now at this moment, alone and wide awake in the small hours, I appreciate you being someone in my life who I feel like I can push a few words toward without the immediacy of actually bothering you. I'm kind of cheating really, because I hate bothering people with my problems, and I loath the idea of being a burden and an annoyance and a nuisance because of the things in my life which are actually such petty little issues and items; things which shouldn't even be worth all of this fuss but for some reason insist on being so painful, and pain is a hard thing to ignore.

If only I knew how to just deal with life like a normal person... I say that, and I immediately realize the folly of that concept, because I'm aware, at least superficially, that I'm not unique, and that other people have problems, and that 'normal' isn't something that exists on the other side of a threshold which I'm barred from crossing. Somehow though, over the past 40 years, my perception has developed so that I'm blind to almost everything except for the idea of 'self'. And as a result of being so selfish and all about me and so oblivious of other people and lacking compassion and just being a selfish jerk, I feel the need to reach out when I'm feeling all of my own personal pain. And at a moment like this... the selfish action of pushing a few words in your direction will help to make things ok for a little while, I suppose.

But with all of that said, I still have an idea that a lot of this way of thinking that I'm describing shouldn't have to be the case, or isn't the case. Maybe I'm only being a jerk to myself. I don't know. I don't know much of anything about most things, and because of that I'm afraid of almost all of the things that have to do with any of those things, which is just about everything.

'Stink think', as you've put it, is second nature to me and has been for as long as I can remember, and it's a hard habit to break. I guess I had a crappy childhood and my brain was programmed pretty brutally back then. Poor me, right? But the result in my adult mind is that I see failure as the most likely result of any attempt to actually take part in life in a way that matters. I never noticed that before now... that is, before the last couple of years; before I met Leah and discovered Orthodoxy, because failure wasn't something I ever actually contemplated as a possible thing that resulted from an action. It was just something that WAS, and it was natural, and I didn't really know that, because I had never tried at anything before; not really, and not at anything that I really believed mattered. And this matters... all of this that I've become involved with. I realize now that nothing matters but this.

But constantly imagining myself in this new place, at church with normal people, and especially in the position of... doing something in front of the choir that other people kind of notice, and that might actually mean something to a lot of people, and make a difference in the quality of their experience at church... this seems debilitating to me most of the time, and when I push through that feeling and actually DO, it's almost painful enough that I want to yank myself back, like the reflex of jerking your hand away from a hot frying pan. And that reflex makes things even harder, because it's something I have to fight, and it makes every resulting action clumsy and sometimes ugly, and a lot of the time wrong, and the resulting chaos is hard to turn back into order. All because of that stupid reflex.

And the cause of that reflex... waking up, getting out of bed, focusing my consciousness towards the activity of getting ready and stepping out of the door and pointing myself towards the direction of the church and actually making my legs take those steps down that same familiar path that I've walked a hundred times, to face my fears head on - that seemed a lot easier when Leah was with me. Everything seemed easier then. Life was easier and more hopeful. Things that seem impossible now felt possible then. I felt like anything was possible then, back when things were good with us, for that short while throughout most of 2009. And I don't understand why that should be wrong, but now I feel like I was cheating back then, and that doesn't seem fair... that the only time in my entire life that I had ever felt hopeful about a secure and happy future, an unbelievably awesome fairy tale life where I'd actually found a way to believe in God, and it was all because of this beautiful woman who loved me, and that there was this life waiting for us together in the church, and maybe even a family... it didn't seem fair for all of that to turn out to be against the rules, moot, null and void. Cheating.

I think this problem I have, this persistent sadness, exists in direct relation to my persistence with the church. Surely there's a breaking point somewhere or at some point, that the sadness will have to give up, the fear and pain will burn up and turn to smoke and dissipate, and the new life will begin?

I think maybe that getting over Leah is so hard because... it's kind of, like... the admittance fee for salvation. I never would have known the church without Leah, and Leah was the reason why I started going to church. Then, when the church became 'just' important enough to me that I wouldn't fall away from it and collapse completely without Leah, she was taken away from me. That was the payment. That's a crude way to put it, and not altogether accurate... but it makes sense that I would have to give up one item of priceless value for another. However, the funny thing is that I don't even understand the value of what I got in return, and what a bargain it was... an actual CHANCE at Love and eternal life, vs. this selfish desire for the illusion of personal happiness for a few decades... maybe.

When I back up and try to look at myself objectively and not through a lens of self loathing, I marvel that I haven't given up yet. And sometimes, just occasionally... like right now... I realize that the even bigger marvel is that none of the credit for the persistence I've shown is even mine at all.