Sunday, March 24, 2013

Regrets a.k.a. No More Fooling Around

Yeah, there's no point going into why there's yet ANOTHER long gap in between updates. There was just a lot on my mind this weekend, and I don't know who to tell. Once again, I will talk to myself.

This past week, our congregation had the Circuit Overseer visit, and if you're a Witness, you know what that includes: the Meeting for Pioneers. Now even auxiliary pioneers can stay for the whole meeting, which is great. The meeting was on Saturday, so all the pioneers were trying to get back to the Hall from service around noon because the meeting was at 12:30 or so. Here's the part where there was a lot on my mind, so I'll try to organize it for you.

Saturday was the day for the meeting, so I only planned to go out in service for that morning. Unfortunately, I ended up getting stuck at the Hall and didn't get a ride home after service. Now, here are some numbers. In my congregation, the Portuguese Congregation of the Charleston area, there are 31 publishers, baptized and unbaptized. Of those publishers, there are 18 regular pioneers. Furthermore, there are four auxiliary pioneers for the month of March (at least). That made 22 pioneers at that meeting. Just as an additional note which will be relevant later, there are four already married couples (eight people) and three soon-to-be publishers (soon-to-be six people). The point I'm trying to make here is that almost the ENTIRE congregation got to go to that meeting, and I had to sit in an unused room while the meeting was going on in the main hall, and all I could think of the whole time was one thing:


Although I'm pretty easy to read (not sure if that's a good or bad thing), I've never been one to openly express my deepest, darkest feelings aloud. It's a good thing I didn't because I really wanted to punch a hole in the mirror on the wall across from me.

I was so pissed off about sitting in that room. It was INFURIATING! And not because I couldn't get a ride home. See, in my congregation, the average publisher is either single or married (pick one) and pioneering. I'm single and not pioneering. Oh, joy. However, my fury went beyond just feeling left out because of that. I was more furious at myself more than anything.

While I was in that room, I didn't hear anything considered at the meeting, so I ended up being the audience to the worst play one can attend: the playback of ALL the regrets one's ever had. As I sat in the room, all I could think about were the years I spent wasting my time--all the years I spent going to school, studying hard, getting good grades, and to what end?! I could have spent those years going in service more often, improving my preaching skills, starting Bible studies (yes, as in more than one), PIONEERING! I started to think to myself, "Why didn't Mom push me to go out in service more? Why did I spend nine years knowing ONLY those in my home congregation? Why don't I know more brothers and sisters in other congregations? Why is it that pioneering was such a superhuman feat to me as a child yet so mainstream to other kids of the same age? Why couldn't I start work NEXT week? Why am I not in that meeting right now?! WHY THE HECK AM I NOT PIONEERING?!" I started to loathe, despise my past and blame my parents. Even more so, I was so disappointed in myself, my stagnancy, and my lack of ability to do. Even now as I write this, I still get so worked up about it! I wasted so much time, and for what?! AAAAAAHHHH!

I've never done anything to make me hate myself, but I can truly say that while thinking about what I could have done and trying to find reasons for why I didn't (which I couldn't do), I came pretty close that day.

As the meeting came to an end, I could hear the brothers and sisters coming out of the main hall. I honestly did not want to come out of the room. I didn't want anyone to know I was still inside. It's embarrassing enough being 22 years old and not being able to take myself home, but I felt useless at this point. I knew I had to get home, but I really felt more like hiding, waiting for everyone to leave, and walking home in the cold rain. I really felt like I deserved it. I felt like I deserved worse.

I halfheartedly went back out in service for a portion of the afternoon until the time for cleaning the Hall. The rest of that afternoon/evening was a distraction from what I was thinking earlier that day. I needed it. Then when I got home, I studied the Watchtower article for the next day.

I thought about this throughout the whole study today (Sunday). Jehovah really knows what we need and EXACTLY when we need it.

The article talked about serving Jehovah without regrets. Unfortunately, the "Not-having-regrets" train has departed. There is a lot (clearly) I regret not having done. However, that time is gone. I'm never going to get it back. It's a hard pill for me to swallow, but I need it. I can't waste more time sulking about what I could have done differently. Furthermore, I can't blame my parents for my choices. All I can do now is work hard at reaching my goals for the short- and long-term. If anything, I have to work harder than everyone else if I'm going to catch up. My ability in speaking Portuguese means little if my teaching ability is lackluster and shallow. I want to be a better teacher. I want to be a useful ministerial servant. I WANT TO PIONEER! I want to be better. I want to prove myself worthy to Jehovah...and her.

That's why I've made up my mind. I'm not making ANY excuses for myself. I'm still young, so I have the strength and energy. That means more personal study, deeper personal study, more preparation for service, deeper preparation for the meetings, and more thorough preparation for my theocratic assignments. I can't make plans for Brazil or the circuit work if I'm not willing to do the legwork to get there because I am MORE than able. It looks like I talk a big game, but I intend on backing it up two hundredfold.

"There's so much I want to tell her, and I hope I'll get to do that before it's too late. But for now, I only have this wish: I hope that whatever Jehovah's will is for her, I can be a part of it someday."


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gettin' in the Way

I'm behind schedule. I don't have another job yet, and I'm getting closer to my deadline of October. This gives me two options. I can either find work in NJ and move up there earlier, or I can stick it out down here a little longer. Seriously, I'm at the end of my rope, and I don't know how much longer without a job. This is really getting in the way of my plan. Even if I do find a job soon, I'll have to wait before moving back in order to get adequate experience. However, if I can find a job in NJ with the experience I DO have, then I can go back no problem. I guess I should start considering that as a possibility in my job search.

I should use LinkedIn more to what it's good for, which is networking. I shouldn't view that as a job site. It's a site where I can build relationships with professionals and learn from theirs experiences. If I do get a job out of it, that's great. However, that shouldn't be my primary objective when I log on. I need to expand my network; I think I only have 7 connections. That's pathetic. I need to stop being so shy that it gets in the way of me building relationships with others outside of my circle, especially when it can help me in the long run.

And the beat goes on...


Friday, April 8, 2011

Well, This Is Cool...

So if this post gets through, then that means I can blog on the go, and I don't need to be at my computer to do it! I might be incited to update more often, then.

I got a job interview next week! It's a PC technician position at Santee Cooper. I'll be driving, so I need to get on the ball about getting my driver's license. This is embarrassing. I'm 20 years old, and I don't have a driver's license yet. I'm supposed to be starting my own life soon, and I can't even go out to look for apartments or even look at cars. I can't even drive myself to freakin' work! I need to get this license, but if my not having a license turns out to be the dealbreaker at this interview, I'm gonna flip!

And the beat goes on...the go! (Tee-hee)


Monday, February 7, 2011

Passing Me By

I never thought I'd be at this point in my life, the point where I don't know exactly where I am in my life and I'm not sure what exactly I'm doing. I've always had a plan. I never make an uninformed. I always play it safe, yet here I am. Maybe it's because I've always been doing something. I mean that throughout my life, I've either been in school or employed. (Summer break doesn't count. I still had projects.) I'm not used to doing...nothing. I feel useless, especially since I can't drive yet. Which reminds me: Kaitlin got her license and a job! I told her it would all work out. Anyway, I can't do much on my own without the license, and we only have one household car. Ugh, I need a car.

One thing I can smile about: I got a call for an interview today. I just hope I haven't messed it up before I go! The lady calls around 11 am asking about scheduling an interview, and she wanted to go for Thursday, 1:30 pm. I'm just glad to get a call, but I know that there are other..."factors" I need to consider before planning anything. So I let her know that I'll "check my schedule" and get back to her before setting the date, and when I say "check my schedule," I mean that I need to check with Mom first. Not that I need her permission to schedule a job interview. She has the car, and I'm grounded from going anywhere when she does. Ugh, I need a car. I text Mom to if she's working Thursday at 1:30 pm. I don't get a sure answer until she gets home around 6:30. So I call the HR lady and leave a message confirming Thurs @ 1:30 if she hasn't filled the slot in the 6 hrs I left her waiting on my response, that is. Now I'm waiting until she gets my message and calls again tomorrow. I REALLY hope I didn't mess this up. I've got bills to pay.

Have you ever felt like everyone else is just passing you by, and you wanna join them, but you don't know where to start? That's how I feel right now. I've fallen hard, moreso mentally and emotionally. I don't know how I'm going to deal with Dachelle being disfellowshipped. (If you didn't know, now you know. Leave it at that.) I'm so upset with her! She's not doing anything to make her situation better! I'm glad she's being diligent in looking for a job, but besides that and school, there is no spiritual improvement whatsoever. On top of that, I don't think she realizes exactly HOW MUCH our relationship has changed now. I don't want to associate that closely with a disfellowshipped person that doesn't see any reason to change whether we're related or not. I don't know how long it'll take for her to realize the changes she needs to make, and I don't know if I can deal with it as long as she's living under the same roof as me. I have a strong feeling that one of us will be moving out soon. In any case, I need to get my head right again. I'm young, energetic. I need to be busy. I don't mind a break, but I can't sit around doing nothing for too long. It's driving me crazy! I wish I can say "I'll just keep doing what I'm doing," but I don't know what I'm doing! I know what I'll do. Citing the reason why I quit my last job, I'll focus on my ministry. I have a lot of return visits to cultivate. I hope Jehovah helps me throughout. I need Him more than ever now...

And the beat goes on...


Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting Back...

Dang! I only had one post for ALL of last year? And that wasn't even meant for my blog! I originally posted that on Facebook and thought, "This would be great for my blog," so I posted it. But, jeez! How slack I have been about this! Only ONE post! Oh well. It's 2010. Time to catch up.

I'm almost done with school by the way. The last class I'm taking is about fiber optic technology. It's pretty cool so far. I got to make a cable and take it with me. I also passed the mid-term exam, which was the last mid-term exam I will ever have to take! Can you say "w00t!" children? Don't get me wrong, though. This is a hard class. I actually had to study for that mid-term, and I got an 83. In retrospect, we as a class really should've taken Master Chief up on that offer to go over the chapters we needed to know for the test...

I'm going to Florida for the first time this weekend! I'm in the Portuguese language group in my congregation, and the Portuguese circuit has a Special Assembly Day in Fort Lauderdale, FL. My friend Kaitlin (who's been doing this forever, tee hee!) says that this is good timing for me because it's only one day, and I wouldn't want to overwhelm myself at my first assembly/convention. Yeah, I'm not gonna argue with that. You know, sometimes I think back to when the announcement was first made that there was going to be a Portuguese group established in our congregation. I turned in my application for it...and didn't get in. That hurt me. Really. Part of my personality likes a challenge, but that wasn't my entire motivation. I wanted to do something I had never done before, and I wanted to do it for Jehovah. That was the first actual leap of faith I took in my life! I was anxious those days that passed by and I didn't get a call or anything. I really doubted whether Jehovah wanted to use me like I had been told throughout my childhood so many times. I wasn't sure what I could do about it at all, so I begrudgingly left the group alone for two years. (after a 2 min pause to reflect) Besides, I had my own problems, and there was no way I would've been able to balance that with what I had to deal with outside of the Kingdom Hall. The big change didn't really happen for me until last year.

One of my responsibilities was holding the microphones during the meeting, and the brothers in charge of the sound department let me go. I had a low monthly average of hours out in service, so I was encouraged to increase those with the goal of resuming my privilege. Summer was coming up, and I know how I am about heat. I had to go out in service earlier if I wanted to get my hours up and keep them consistent. I talked to another friend of mine who went out early and arranged to go out with her. That early Saturday morning, I worked with her, Lauren, and the aforementioned Kaitlin. It was mainly street witnessing, which I had done before and wasn't a major shock to me. This went on for a couple of weeks, but I gradually started to feel left out within the group. Everyone but me was involved with the Portuguese group! Well, that was the obvious fact, and I knew that already. I just didn't think it would be a problem or anything. In any case, I did no speaking when we sought out Brazilians and other Portuguese-speaking people. This got to me because in addition to being the only dude in the car, I was the only one that didn't speak Portuguese. So, initially due to my eternal quest to belong, I eventually decided to learn Portuguese, but I refused any notion to join the group. Yeah, I know. "What sense does that make?" It didn't make any sense, but I didn't want to join a group that, in my mind, rejected me in the first place. I decided the best way to learn the basics was obvious: Rosetta Stone. I studied on a rigorous schedule, and I finished the whole Portuguese-language program in three months. However, throughout the first month, I thought about how much sense it made for me to learn this language for the ministry and not apply my skills in a better way? Or even the best way? I finally decided that I would eventually join the Portuguese group when I finished the program. I was really going at a steady pace, so I was actually able to say that--"when I finished the program." Hey, Kaitlin told me that the group needed more brothers, so it was perfect! In the meantime, I started going to the back for the Portuguese meetings. I didn't comment or say a word in Portuguese; I planned to surprise everyone when I finished RS. And when I did finish the program and gave my first comment in Portuguese...! Oh, MAN! I was sitting in the back, and EVERYBODY turned around just to see that I wasn't Brazilian! Even Kaitlin's jaw dropped! (No lie; she told me that.) That Saturday after the Public Talk/Watchtower Study, I approached Bro. Dossantos with my wish to join the Portuguese Theocratic Ministry School, and I told him in Portuguese, too! Now, some months later, I'm going to my first Special Assembly Day in the Portuguese Circuit. Look out for pics on Facebook about this!

I really wish I started with the Portuguese group sooner. I mean, I know I wasn't accepted to formally take the Portuguese class offered by the organization, but I had chances! Not to mention, I had my own territory! Going to Goose Creek HS, I encountered many Portuguese-speaking students, and of course, I, nudged by my eternal quest to belong, wanted to talk to them and see how they were doing. Now that I am where I am with this, I really wish I started earlier, like waaaaaaaay earlier. I could've done so much more and been so much better, and I passed it all up over a grudge--over a STUPID grudge!! Some lessons are best learned the hard way, I guess. Heck, if I am where I am after about seven months, imagine where I would be after two years! Not a Saturday goes by where I don't kick myself after considering this fact. Nothing like wasted time, the one thing that can't be recycled...

And the beat goes on...


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Probably the Deepest Self-Examination I've Ever Made

Last night, I was doing the Watchtower lesson for today's meeting. The article was about spiritual maturity and how a person can progress toward it. As I read and highlighted the answers to the questions, I thought about what exactly the article was saying. The article was saying that a spiritually mature person partakes of the word of God, his Bible, and applies it principles in every aspect of his life. Such application results in a willingness to obey His commandments and the advice of his "faithful and discreet slave." In my mind, I was thinking, "Am I still a babe, or can I honestly call myself spiritually mature?" Thinking about the answer to this question just gave me another question: Who am I?

Who am I? I don't know exactly. Well, let's see what's true. Legally, I'm Daniel Matthew Sutton, firstborn son of Shavonne Sutton-Turner and Victor Rezabala's second son, born February 22, 1991, in Jersey City, NJ. Biologically, I'm a male of the human species. I'm 5' 6" tall and weigh around 137 lbs. Scholastically, I am an alumnus of Goose Creek High School, graduated a year early in the top 5 of the class of 2008, and had a GPA of 4.51. I'm currently a student of ECPI College of Technology, pursuing my A.A.S. Degree in Electronics Engineering. Spiritually, I am one if Jehovah's Witnesses. I was raised as such, and I was baptized on June 25, 2005, in Columbia, SC, when I was 14. Okay, all of the above is true, but is that all that can be attached to my name--cold, hard facts?

Despite legally being an adult, I guess I can say I'm still pretty impressionable, but is that really a bad thing? I guess it depends. I do tend to take certain habits and behaviors from different people. My varied taste in music reflects this perfectly. Maybe I do this because I want to imitate the apostle Paul in 'becoming all things to people of all sorts.' (1 Corinthians 9:22) However, Paul did that so he could find common ground with potential servants of God. Why do I do it outside of that reason? Is it because I want to belong? Do I want everyone to like me? Should everyone like me? Would pursuing that be wise? If I know not everyone I meet will like me, why do I try so hard? Am I blind in my pursuit to belong? Have I belonged all along and never realized it? Or maybe I have realized it and simply kept trying. Despite my tendency to be a loner, I do not wish it upon myself to be such. Wow, now I know for sure I'm not ready for any relationship. Right now, I can't emotionally handle being by myself, and I won't be ready until I can handle it. I guess my being 'all things to people of all sorts' is fine as long as I wish to associate with good, wholesome people who have the same values and ideals as I do. If that's true, then I can be as impressionable as I want to be because I'll be around good people, and according to Proverbs 13:20, "He that is walking with wise persons will become wise."

If I was to take away what I have absorbed from others, what is there left? Is there anything original? Anything unique? Is there anything I do of my own accord of which people say, "That's only something Daniel would do."? Trying to answer these questions would take a long time. I'd have to mentally strip myself of all that I've picked up from others over 18 years, and that would involve classifying what parts of me I've picked up from others and what parts of me I've developed because of experience. There is one thing I've developed from experience. Due to refusing to let my biological father's absence in my life get to me, I've developed a sense of nonchalance about a lot of things, and that led to somewhat of a coldness toward people. I thought that if don't let people get too close, I won't get hurt again.

Wow, I did let him get to me.

For someone who doesn't want to be feel lonely, I've really set myself up for that. I'm working on that, but I won't be done until I've forgiven him. Well, have I forgiven him?

I'll keep you posted.

Now that I think about it, I think I'll keep what I've picked up from others. It's served me well so far, so maybe I picked them up in an attempt to cover over the cold, resentful person I don't want to be on the inside. However, that's all that it is, a cover-up. I won't be the person I want to be until that part of me is gone, but when that part is gone, what's left? All that will be left is what I have picked up from others. Maybe it's those parts from others that I've picked up that contribute to who I am. I guess I don't want to be absolutely unique in the sense that I reflect who I really am deep inside. I'll settle for being relatively unique in the sense that I reflect a unique combination of traits that no one else has. I have these traits because I liked the people they came from, and I wouldn't like them if they weren't good people. After all of this, I'd like to think of myself as a good person. However, I only want to be a good person to only one, and that's Jehovah. It's the least I can do for all that he's done for me, my family, and all of his servants.

So, who am I? I still don't know exactly, but I'm going to have fun finding out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Faith in the One Who Deserves It

In today’s society, the government is in place to serve us, the people. In a democracy, the people choose to give these offices to the men and women they believe will work the hardest to fulfill their promises to them. This means that the people must have faith in the candidates—the men and women desiring these offices. However, what have these people done to deserve our faith? Can we really trust that the candidates have our best interests at heart? It is for this reason that some people, including me, feel apathy when it comes to voting. The rest of the reason why I choose not to vote is this: why put my faith in imperfect human beings who make mistakes just like I do when I could put my faith in the creator of life itself? I am not the only one who believes this. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are united in belief worldwide. History shows that humans have not been able to govern themselves effectively, so I put my faith where it belongs, with God.

Here's an illustration of my point: In a rather upscale neighborhood, there is a large apartment building. On the outside, it looks beautiful, but the inside tells a different story. The paint is chipped, the plumbing is terrible, and the insulation is terrible. The numerous tenants see the bunch of problems the building has, but they have faith that the landlord will fix these problems. Over the 30 years that the building has been open, there have been 15 landlords, and the building is no better than it was when he first started. Some problems are fixed, but those fixes are quick and, therefore, very temporary. In addition, most of the other problems still exist in the building. Hence, some tenants move out, but the vast majority of them continue to put faith in the same kind of people that make the same promises and cannot follow through with them every time. This situation is much like what world citizens experience with the government they live under. No matter what country, politicians always make the same promises, and when the time comes for them to deliver, something of greater importance gets in the way. This situation is much like how the government is to its people. As much as we want to believe that it will solve all of our problems, we always hear that little voice in the back of our head that says, “Does it really matter who I vote for? We will only be in the same predicament four years from now.” Unfortunately, history does not plead a good case for world leaders.

Ever since the very first government created by humans, leaders have tried to act in the best interests of its citizens. However, these efforts always produce unfavorable results. For example, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal gave new life to society during the Great Depression and helped them work its way out of it. However, there is one group the New Deal affected negatively, and not a lot of people know about this. According to Jim Powell, as cited by Damon W. Root, “states with a higher percentage of black residents…received fewer New Deal dollars than the richer, whiter states.” Powell also explains how “to meet the inflated payrolls required by New Deal minimum wage codes, employers eliminated…the sort of jobs filled by African Americans and other disadvantaged groups.” While this was definitely wrong in his moral eyes, especially to his wife Eleanor, Roosevelt “was not about to risk losing either his New Deal or World War II by alienating Southern supporters or moving too far ahead of public opinion” (“Bad Deal: How FDR made live worse for African Americans”). Even the best of efforts could not completely remedy a troubled society.

The Bible says at Jeremiah 10:23, “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” One cannot look at historical events and not see the truth in this statement. Every human government has failed to solve all of mankind’s problems. As a result, people accept the fact that not all of our problems will be solved but that we must try as hard as we can to solve most of them. Most people remember this quote from Jerry Garcia: “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” I do not want to choose evil every time I vote in an election. Instead, I choose to follow the advice at Proverbs 3:5-7: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight. Do not become wise in your own eyes. Fear Jehovah and turn away from bad” (New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures).

I know that human government will never be able to remedy all of the world’s problems, so I do not put my faith in something that does not deserve it. Does that not make sense? Would a son believe his father’s promises only to be disappointed by him every time? I know that I would not. Therefore, I do not believe in any human government in this world, and will not vote in support of anyone who wishes to become a part of it. I believe in the government that God will set up for the benefit of all mankind. Yes, God’s kingdom will remedy all of the world’s problems, and as long as I live on this earth, I will continue to out my faith in God. He is the one who has truly deserved it.