Some Christians hypothetically believe in forgiveness

My last few months have really opened my eyes to who my true loving family is. I won’t name names, but basically my family has had two diametrically opposed views of my nervous break-down midlife crisis take charge of my life. First, some voluminous background so that you can understand what has occurred.

I won’t try to justify my actions. I was irrational for a couple of days, after years of hating my job, years of praying that God would “just let me die,”  and after months of being clinically depressed while trying to hide it from others.  Something snapped inside me.  In the past, I had been able to force myself to work through it when the deadlines approached. I could produce a good product for my clients, and give them my very best.  But. I. Just. Lost it.

The night before a big trial, when I needed to put forth my best effort and work all night if necessary, I just couldn’t.  I knew that my depression and hatred of my job had caused me to slack off, and slack off, and slack off some more, until it was too late. The night before trial there was just too much to do and too little time to do it. So I did what I do best, I tried to drown myself in alcohol. All the while driving around aimlessly, trying to work up the courage to kill myself while making it look like suicide (so the wifey could have the double indemnity insurance).

After getting good and liquored up, I remembered that a couple of the insurance policies had an exclusion if I was killed while driving under the influence. So I pulled into a rest area and slept it off. I woke up early and drove around looking for the best place to conveniently drive off the road and do it. I found a couple of choice spots.  One I drove by three different times, waiting for a time when no cars were following. But my car was on fumes.

I pulled into a gas station and discovered that I was out of money. I scraped together my loose change–even looking under the seats–and bought a gallon of gas or so (I don’t carry credit cards).  Walking through the country gas station, I literally felt surreal–like a dead man walking.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but I truly thought that I was seeing the last people who I would ever see in this life. I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t emotional, but it sure felt strange. The nearest previous sensation was when I flew home the day my father died, and his best friend invited me to golf that same day to try to get my mind off of his death. But all I could think of was how strange it was to be golfing just a couple of hours after seeing my dead father in the hospital. I was like a zombie walking.

The cold air, or seeing people, or something, snapped the spell. Instead of being earnestly intent on killing myself, I became my usual pussy self. I just couldn’t pull the trigger, do the deed, get it done. I was afraid it might not kill me, only maim me. I feared the pain. I was afraid it was too late, too strange, nobody would believe it was an accident. Why would I be driving out in Goochland, Virginia when I should have been getting dressed and driving to court in the opposite direction? No good.

So I drove home. But at the last minute I pulled into a business parking lot instead. My wife would be getting up soon, if she had ever gone to sleep the night before, and all hell would break loose.  She would be scared and hysterical and worried and screaming and crying. I just could not face her. So I sat and sat. I literally, unable to do the right thing. Go and get dressed. Go to court. Beg the court’s forgiveness. The time passed for me to leave on time. The time passed for me to be in court. I just sat there in a parking lot. 

Finally, I drove home. My lovely dear daughter asked if my case had settled the night before and I had spent the night playing poker instead (not a bad assumption, as that had happened many times before).  “Yeah,” I lied (sorry baby, I love you so much).  I snuck into my room and grabbed a shoulder bag and a couple of days of clothes and a gun and bullets, and snuck back out. I drove to the bank and made a withdrawal, got gas, and left home, never to return.

While driving basically west with no destination in mind, I told a lawyer buddy whom I thought that I could trust, everything. I made him promise not to tell a soul. So he immediately blabbed all to my wife, who flipped out and called the police, reporting that I was going to kill myself. So there I was, a desperate man who was wanted by the police.  My true friend called me and left a message that I was wanted by the cops. So I drove under cover all the way to Vegas, where I have been ever since.

Now, on to the point of my story. Basically, some of my family and friends have been totally supportive and loving, despite my terrible actions. They have been non-judgmental and in fact are happy for me that I am done making a living doing what I hated and finally earning a living while doing what I love to do–playing Texas Hold ’em.

Many other friends and family have been judgmental. Some won’t even talk to me.  Some talk to me but won’t accept what I have done and want to punish me in order to make me go back to my previous life.  To these people, I would have been better off killing myself. Then it would have been a little bit of tears and regret, but on with life, with mostly good memories of me (so good had been the lie that I had been living).

I like to think that if I had instead of moving to Vegas, had myself committed to a psych hospital that certain family members would have stood by me. But because instead I’m playing poker while mending, no dice. Because I’m living in “Sin City” and do not have a respectable job, I am a terrible person who must be shunned. 

Nobody can beat me up worse than I beat myself up over what I have done. So I just ignore those who are angry and bitter at me for what I have done. Fortunately, my loving wife has understood everything and has moved out here and is “standing by her man.” In the larger scheme of things, what I have done is small change. Hell, King David had sex with another man’s wife, conceived a child, and then had that man killed. And God still used  David mightily after that. But certain of my family cannot forgive my simple freaking out and moving away from Virginia.  Like I said, some Christians only believe in forgiveness hypothetically. 

And while the inspiration for this story came tonight on my way back to my apartment after winning $630 at the 7:00 p.m. tournament at The Sahara tonight, in condemning certain members of my family in my own mind, it occurred to me what a huge hypocrite that I am, too.  For I had confided everything to a certain family member. He was sworn to secrecy.  And he promised not to tell other family members (I am a very private person, and I did not want my huge extended family to know what a fuck up I am). So he told another family member. That do-gooding gossiper called me and I made her swear that she would not tell anybody. So what did she do? She told everybody, “so that they could better pray for me”, notwithstanding her having given me her word that she wouldn’t tell anybody.  And oh, don’t foget the lawyer “buddy” who ratted on me to my wife. So all that those people did  was tell others what I had done out of concern for me, and I have been deeply hurt, bitter, angry and pissed off at them since then.   Like I said, some Christians only hypothetically believe in forgiveness. 

Soon, hopefully tomorrow, I’ll call those people with whom I have been holding a grudge, and forgive them and act as though nothing bad has happened.  You see, this story is not just a tell all of my recent foibles, but rather is hopefully an inspiration for all y’all to forgive those against whom you have been holding a grudge. 

God has forgiven me.  He still loves me.  He knew what kind of bullshit that I was going to get into when he accepted me as his IMPERFECT child. And he knew that you would hold a grudge against _________ [fill in the blank(s)].  But he also has commanded us to forgive those who have trespassed against us.  Don’t be that Christian who only believes in God’s command hypothetically, so long as it does not pertain to somebody who has really, reallly pissed you off.

John Doe

10 responses to “Some Christians hypothetically believe in forgiveness

  1. neovictorian23

    JD-I suppose we had deduced much of this but it’s good to hear that you have reached this point and your wife is with you. I am inspired to forgive the administration that forced me out three months ago. I haven’t blogged since then but maybe I’m ready to come back. Stand by…

  2. JD- Inspirational post. Glad to know that you’re working through everything. Forgiveness is one of those things that sometimes takes years to come to grips with. I know and am working toward it myself. I have a family relative who, in a moment of drunkenness, blabbed a closely held secret to other family members the night of my Dad’s memorial service. She isn’t remorseful about it and thinks she did the right thing. Most of us, and that includes everybody, except for her, think it was best kept a secret and they didn’t have a “need to know.” So I’ve got some things to work on myself.


  3. Dear John Doe, Thanks for that wonderful and moving description of what happened to you. I think you’re a hero, it sounds like Vegas is the right place for you. I remember when I first challenged you with, if you’re so good at poker why don’t you play for higher stakes. Your answer was perfect and it indicated that you really have your head on straight as far as gambling goes.

    I’ve lived in Vegas during a much less controlled period of my life. After that I moved to Italy in a considered and careful change. In major changes like these there are always those who understand and those who don’t, but it’s your life not theirs. Your wife’s standing by you is fantastic.

    Good luck and I look forward to other posts that I don’t like so much, like your political and gun-related opinions. But, about this one I was moved and highly impressed. Thanks

  4. Thanks for all the kind words. Unfortunately, not all that I wrote is true, especially the part about the wife moving out here. She came out here immediately to be with me, but sadly she has returned to Virginia. That part of my saga is yet undetermined…

  5. i was sort of drunk last night and meant to put a ——— line through that sentence. Not all stories have happy endings…

  6. And NeoVic, I’ve been wondering what the hell happened to you! I thought maybe the high suicide rate in sunless Alaska had caught up to you. Come on down to Vegas for a visit. We seem to have sun and blue skys about 85% of the time.

  7. Words fail me.

  8. Everybody is different, with different needs and capabilities. So only God can give us any wisdom that is likely to work well. That is why so many pray, telling him their needs and asking for help. None of us can answer such a prayer. The best most of us can do when another is in trouble is listen. I fear I don’t listen well. Unfortunately, my life is not so great that I feel qualified to give advice.

    So I have just have some questions. You went to Las Vegas to pull yourself back together? That is a strange choice. Why Vegas? When you are so vulnerable, why go to a place so full of predators?

    How does the drinking help?

    You won money gambling? Are you certain someone did not make an investment in you, hoping you will return again and again.

    God gifted you with a good mind. Make certain you are using it.

  9. Tom, I thought you had deserted us! I, too, thought of Vegas as a terrible place. But once here, I find it is no different than many other cities, except that it has more trouble to get into if you are looking for such trouble. But if you aren’t, as is my case, I go through the casinos, straight to the poker tables, and am surrounded by normal people from all over only interested in poker. Sure, there are hookers walking the streets (prostitution is illegal in Vegas), but they don’t bother you. There are prostitutes walking the streets of Richmond, Va, and Washington, DC, too.

    The drinking probably doesn’t “help” except that it temporarily my heart merry. Tom, about the comment re: someone making an investment in me, hoping I return, that shows you know nothing about Vegas (I too would be in your shoes before I came out here, having never been here before). I hardly ever see the same players twice at most cash games. In the tournaments, yeah, I see many regulars. Regardless, most of my money is won off people who are tourists just passing through. They certainly aren’t trying to make an investment with me; rather, they are trying their hardest to beat my brains out. In a gentlemanly sort of way.

    True, God gifted me with a great brain, and I feel as though I’ve wasted it for the past two decades being a lawyer. After I regain my strength and equilibrium, I hope to branch out and do other things, too. Maybe write. Hell, I was even considering returning to school to become a motorcycle mechanic (those who know me best know that would be a total stretch out of my comfort zone). I’m getting stronger and better daily out here, something that certain portions of my family can’t seem to understand. See “Son” above.

  10. That’s one ride through Hell you’ve described. But you seem to have kept your head on fairly straight in spite of it. And really, John, if you’d been serious about ending it all, you would have met a tree at 90mph and let your family take their chances with the insurance company.
    Vegas isn’t a place I would associate with ‘stronger and better’. But if it’s working for you, so be it. Most bankers and investors would probably say the only difference between your means of income and theirs is what you wear to work.
    Carry on. Only dead fish swim with the stream.

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