Brutal Honesty

I think it’s time I came clean about why I haven’t been cranking out the stories lately. I have plenty of time, after all; I’m barely in school (one class) and I’m only working part-time. But I’ve been lazy, depressed, and overall just unmotivated to do ANYthing. I think part of it has to do with me not feeling like I really belong anywhere.

I used to have a very clear place in the world, but now it just feels like that has kind of disappeared. I’m a little here, a little there, plus I do not open up to people very easily at all and do not have many close relationships because of it. That is such an isolating feeling that I am not sure I can describe it in words. I keep waiting for this period of my life to be over and for things to get better again but it seems like it never happens. I know everything happens for a reason, and I trust that this experience will help me become a better person and even a better writer. However, at the moment, it feels like I’m trapped; handcuffed and blindfolded, totally unable to do anything constructive. I’m sure most if not all of this is my fault, but that doesn’t make it easier. In fact, that only multiplies the burden. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock and undo a LOT of the decisions I have made in the past, but unfortunately all I have is today. Today which often seems very gray and miserable.

It actually took a LOT of courage just to be open about that in a blog post. I don’t like to admit that I have “feelings,” those tend to make one vulnerable. But everybody has feelings, whether they admit it or not, so why not show it and get the help you need? It’s hard to reveal your life to people if it’s not impressive or pretty, but hey, life isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always beautiful. It isn’t always perfect and everything isn’t always “okay” even if you say it is when people ask. So I want to send out a challenge to all my readers; be brutally honest. Tell people when you’re hurt or scared. Let other people see your weak side. Yes, some people will take advantage of that and kick you while you’re down, but the good ones will love you through it. Don’t close yourself off from your emotions. I have done that for too many years, ever since my father left. I decided not to trust people anymore and to stop hoping for good things to happen because, in my mind, they rarely did. But it doesn’t make any sense to cheat yourself out of all the good things in life just because of the bad. Let your heart stay open and your faith stay strong, and never, never give up hope. Rain and storms don’t last forever.

If the last part of what I said sounds like a fairy tale, read the 2nd paragraph again and then ask me to tell you the story of my life. My story is no fairy tale, neither is it a horror story, but it does tell the story of God’s mercy and love to a very undeserving and broken sinner.

Justin Whitmire’s Funeral

My family and I found out this week that a local soldier, PFC Justin Whitmire, had died in Afghanistan and his funeral was going to be in Simpsonville. Westboro Baptist Church apparently decided it would be a good idea to come to Simpsonville and protest/picket(/whatever you want to call it) his funeral, and our friends and we simply could not let such a thing happen without taking action against it. We decided to meet along Main Street and other central roads in Simpsonville with flags, signs, and patriotic attire, hoping to block out the picketers and allow PFC Whitmire’s family and friends to mourn in peace.

As we drove into downtown Simpsonville, we saw cars lined up all along the back road where we parked…and a lot of motorcycles driving up and down the streets. Hundreds of them. Come to find out, those motorcycles were all in one group together and they call themselves the “Patriot Guard.” Apparently appearing at these kinds of events is their thing, and I thought that was pretty cool of them. They say they don’t go just to counter-protest WBC, but their presence certainly helped.

My sister and I had made a sign just before leaving for our little counter-protest which read, “We RESPECT and APPRECIATE your SACRIFICE,” and at least two people stopped along the way to take a picture of it. The kids seemed to have a blast waving their flags and marching back and forth down the side of the street. They probably had no real understanding of this being anything other than a giant 4th of July celebration in January, aside from the fact that a funeral was taking place. In a way, I think it was best for them that it wasn’t a traumatic, scarring experience, but rather a positive one.

The part that overwhelmed me, though, was watching the procession to the graveside from the side of the road, holding our sign, and remembering my grandfather’s funeral. If someone had been protesting his funeral (he was a vet, thankfully he didn’t die in the line of duty or I wouldn’t be here) I would have lost it. You’re already in enough grief and then some stranger starts preaching from the side of the road that your loved one is in hell because of their service to their country?? What a horrible thing to do to someone.

But the great thing is, so many people showed up from Patriot Guard and Simpsonville/Fountain Inn that WBC was pretty much outnumbered 20 to 1. I never even saw them, but I saw the amazing people from our area that care about the Whitmires, our military, and our community. The turnout was just unbelievable. When we tried to make it to the cemetery to help block the protesters, it took us almost an entire hour just to drive 2 miles down Main Street because so many people came out to show their support. I am so proud to be a part of this community. Let this be a lesson to the haters, you don’t mess with South Carolina!! 🙂 We stand up for what we believe in and rally around each other when someone is in need!

R.I.P. PFC Whitmire. Your community loves you and your family and we appreciate your service to this country.

God bless the USA!


UPDATE: 11:43 PM on Jan. 7th–It is unknown whether or not Westboro made an appearance, but according to the local news, if they DID show up, they were not obvious enough to create a disturbance. Mission accomplished!!!!! 🙂