So many times, we don’t recognize the value of a moment, or even a season, until later. So many different factors play into this, that it makes things more complex than they should be. I have spent most of my adult life trying to make sense of things that never made any sense at all, because people kept trying to hold onto a life that never really existed. Many years of frustration pretty much amounted to nothing, until I chose to withdraw from everything, and do some personal introspection. I needed to save myself, and what was left inside, that I still found value in. In the process of that, I realized that the life I had been taught was unsustainable, and could not be brought into a future, that I had always wanted. The pain that had always defined me, and ruled over everything, that should have brought me joy, was not mine, after all. It wasn’t until I walked through the darkest parts of my soul, that I ever was able to reconnect with who I was, and to discover that everything I am, beyond soul-crushing tragedy. I recently walked through a paradigm shift, that I thought was going to be the death of me. For over a year, it felt like I was drowning, and that no one cared to save me. They just stood by, with looks of appalling horror in their eyes, while I struggled to find my way. It wasn’t until I chose to walk away from people like that I realized that they had fully known the answers I had been seeking the whole time. But for whatever reason, they didn’t think I was worthy of them. That’s when I started rebuilding my life, without really understanding the magnitude of the threshold I was standing on. I got into the cosplay convention world, for some of the same reasons, that I have seen in others. It’s a fun form of escapism, into a world, that allows us to express ourselves in personal ways. I was just trying to find a life that would work, for once, when I went to my first convention. We recognize in others, what is familiar, when we share the same truth, even if our individual circumstances are different. From the first day I walked into the convention scene, I knew one thing for sure. Some people cry with tears, others with words. I could feel the pain flowing off of people like a waterfall. It was a surreal experience, like being at a party, where everyone appears to be celebrating, but are too broken to even be able to communicate with each other. So we find ways to release ourselves into an emotional high, because we are used to being numb. After getting to know the local cosplay community, and being accepted by it, I came to another realization. Some have lost their ability to cry, at all, and no longer feel the parts of themselves, that have been disconnected, through traumatic experience. For a while, I kept quiet about this, because I was the same way, and didn’t know how to even proceed, without overstepping. So I just appealed to people in the only way I knew how, through shared fandom obsessions. Then, one day, I went to a Goth cosplay event, because a photographer was hosting, and it was my first opportunity to pay for a professional photoshoot. I met so many people that day, that became everything to me. This opened doors to being invited to other events. I well remember the day, that it all came into a point of focus for me, that absolutely broke me in half. I had been dealing with much, for several months, that I was unprepared for, because I was having to learn a whole new world, with different rules and expectations. I had been having to push through some scary and painful emotions to be able to see past them. It would have been too easy to stand in judgement of what I could see in those, that were very sincere in their artistic expressions. That’s putting it lightly. Just maybe, the appalling looks of horror I had gotten from the toxic souls, that I was trying to relate to, were the evidence that we shared the same reality, but were on different levels of acceptance of it. Some are taught that pain should be avoided, and is somehow, perceived as punishment for hidden sin, or that it is weakness, that can be exploited and used as justification for abuse. That is a stretch, to say the least, in a real world. I was confused by all of this, until the day that an unexpected incident at a cosplay event, basically, put me in the line of fire of feeling the pain of someone I did not know, but chose to reach out to. For some time, I had been aware that there were people that were reconnecting me with a life I had forgotten, and that they had become atmospheric points of light for me, just by being who they are. But, it was in this moment, that all of that hit a flashpoint, and became a focal point, an interface, to gave me access to the understanding of things, that had always been numb to me. I didn’t know what to do with all of this. So I kept quiet for a few months to see what played out. It’s interesting what will ultimately give clarity. We planned a beach trip to the Gulf Coast, shortly after this. We didn’t realize until a few days before we left for our trip, that we would be riding out a tropical storm, across the road from the Gulf of Mexico. We sat in a 4th floor condo for 3 days, watching the sea get bigger than we had ever seen before, in our experience, and flooded everything around us. All we could do was wait until it was clear for us to cross over into what was a place we had been promised, because of a reservation, made in advance. As a side note, the owner gave us an extra day, because of this. I didn’t draw a personal parallel to all of this, until we had gotten home, and were out of any kind of danger. I realize this is a cultural reference that has been made many times, but I wanted to add my personal take on it. I am a believer, that draws hope and encouragement from Biblical scripture, that is actually still relevant, because it always has been. Many would cut me off right here, but I believe that the reason many don’t understand the power of things like this, is because no one has handled it appropriately to teach and guide. I am struck by the importance of the Jordan River crossing, as it relates to paradigm shifts, boundaries, and destinations in our own personal journeys. Not only did they have to camp out on the beach for 3 days, and watch the Jordan at flood stage, but they knew that was no way they could do anything in their own strength. They recognized the magnitude of the situation, and they didn’t take it lightly, at all. They had to keep their distance from the Ark of the Covenant, which was interesting, because it was about a half a mile. This, of course, becomes more significant later, but is an acknowledgement of power here. They crossed over on dry land, just like they had through the Red Sea, which was symbolic of an escape from slavery. I believe the Jordan River crossing was more about remembering the faithfulness of God, while the people were still being rebellious and disobedient. The reason I believe this is, because they made an altar of 12 stones, to represent the 12 tribes of Israel, as they were being brought into promises, that were the result of binding covenant. The number 12 is also symbolic of a perfect foundation of government, that flows out of God’s power and authority. I also want to note that the name Gilgal, means, “circle,” which has always been symbolic to me, of the promise of life, through relationship. Theocracy is usually seen as having negative connotations in our culture, because of how much humanity has misrepresented the true character of God, which has caused many to not care if such a entity even exists in power. My point is not whether anyone believes me or even agrees with me. I just want to share with others the places I have been, and how those seasons of experience have shaped my view of the world, life, and the way that we relate to one another. This is the first of many posts that I will share from a perspective that has been shifted many times over a lifetime, depending on where I stood, and what was made to look real. That is my parallax, that is always flowing in influence, my flux.