When life gives you lemons…..


As I go through this life, I find that not anything is as it seems and is rarely permanent. I say this of human things so there always is a beginning and an end, but the thing that I refer to in this instance is relationships. I have been together with my wife for 23 years and have three beautiful children that I would never give back for all the money in the world. My relationship has, of course, had it’s ups and downs caused in part by both of our shortsightedness, not not because of the fault of just one of us. I admit that I have not been the nicest person on the planet but my spouse has not been stellar in that area either.

From the time that we were first married, my wife began lending her mother money without asking and allowing her to live with us for extended lengths of time without paying rent and having no expectation that she would clean up after herself. When she was there the house was a constant embarrassing mess and my bank account anemic. I should have been a man and put the proverbial foot down on this, but I didn’t and it caused much friction between us.

For 20 years my wife would go on to give assistance to various neer-do-well friends and family who would take advantage of her good nature and eventually leave her with egg on her face every time. I attempted to be supportive at times, but mostly ended up asking her why, if she predicted that these people were going to screw her over, she allowed it again and again. I failed to see the signs of this dysfunctions and as the years ticked by, I watched a woman who resembled a young Cindy Crawford put on over a hundred pounds of co-dependency weight. I was very demanding at first that she get outside more and walk, or go to the gym with me, but she did none of this and my frustration grew.

Mother-in-law would go on to cost us literally thousands of dollars and ended up wrecking our brand new car in a drunken haze after living with us five times during a 20 year marriage. Her advice to my wife was to leave the relationship because her husband had no right to demand that his wife not lend money without telling him first. A childhood friend who had turned to meth use would end up living with us for almost four years, costing us thousands of dollars as well as bringing her drug crazed chaos into our home and around my children. Both mother and friend lived in the house at the same time. My wife would eventually evict her friend and she went right back to drugs and accomplished nothing from the help given to her.

I was never physically abusive but said some pretty awful things which I take full responsibility for. Between all of the people coming in and out of the house, we, in 20 years of marriage, had not been able to work on and solve the problems that most couples do during the course of a relationship. My wife said some pretty awful things, most of which she blames on me or forgets that she said, but she can remember absolutely EVERYTHING that I said through the course of our marriage. Those arguments I gave up on because I refused to lie and say that I hadn’t said something that I could have said in the heat of the moment.

Through the detractors, we stayed loyal to each other for the most part. We split briefly twice when I could no longer live in a house where I couldn’t get the truth about missing money or get the mother to quit trashing the house. This woman had been to state prison at 22 for forging checks and had also stolen our checks and cleaned out our bank account several years ago. To this I would have to reply that I should have amicably left the relationship permanently due to several breaches of trust on my wife’s part. Staying only fomented further anger and resentment created because decisive action wasn’t taken on my part.

In mid 2010 my wife excitedly phoned me one day saying that she had called the local technical school and had been asked to take the entrance exam for the LPN class that they offered. She had wanted to go to college and I had been pushing her to do so due to her self-esteem issues. I had offered to work two jobs in order to pay for school if she would only try because she is very intelligent and I knew that once in school, she would develop a sense of pride. She aced the exam and in 15 months graduated at the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA proving to herself that the mental beatings at the hand of her mother were not in the least her fault. She went on to work in the jail system acquiring the keen skills of an RN while working as an LPN, all the while eyeing her next goal in nursing. I pushed her towards it and actually DID end up working two full time jobs to make sure that she could get through RN school with as little debt and worry as possible. She graduated top in her class again and still ended up landing the best job among her peer group. As a matter of fact, she mentored several of her fellow students through their courses to help them pass the program while excelling in hers as well.

My wife shoved her mother to the side and informed her that our house was no longer going to be a flop house, and she held needy friends at arms length telling them that there were other places besides hers that they could seek assistance. The bank account became rock solid and the lies ceased as we finally found our footing as a couple. In November of 2014 she decided to get gastric sleeve surgery to lose the extra weight and in 4 months lost 60 LBS. I was cutting back on the extra job and we were spending more time with the kids and going to the gym. In January 2015, after almost two years of stability and honesty, we decided to move back to where we had met in Santa Rosa, CA and start a new life together near our families. A summer trip to Scotland was in the works and it would be just the two of us on the honeymoon that we were never able to take. In February, after spending three weeks at my jobs earning extra money for the move, my wife informed me that she wanted a divorce and that the decision was final. She finally had what she had always wanted, a new image, a career, a self-esteem, and I didn’t figure into this picture at all. The end game for me was that my loyalty and faithfulness had been repaid with broken promises.

I blame myself. 23 years together only to end up being flushed once her goals were realized. I felt betrayed and used even though she explained that she had come to her decision only suddenly. The person that I had told to do all of these empowering things years ago was now a totally different person who could only see that she owed me nothing simply because we had said some mean things to each other in frustration half a life ago!

I had apologized up and down over the years and had never withdrawn my support, always believing that she was worth waiting for and that she would eventually wise up and boot her mother once she got tired of the mental abuse, and when she finally did I rejoiced and so did she. I have never known betrayal of this magnitude and I’m probably better off being without her. I never saw the axe descend on my head as she obliterated our bond with just one fell swoop, and I never expected for her to move on as though the next chapter of her life was now just a party waiting to happen.

I move on with a black cloud over my heart kicking myself because I was so naive. I will live and I will enter the next chapter of my life far wiser than before but there is no trust in my soul at this point. I have lost part of my humanity in all of this and I am angry! The next step from here will most likely be a fling to assuage the anger, followed by some venting on the woes of relationships and the broken trust of giving everything to empower a person and shortly after, being hit with the door as you are pushed out of your warm and once happy home. I will live, but right now I am sad…..



02:17 PM ET

Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism

By Hemant Mehta, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing “wrong.”

They’re anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don’t disagree with those critiques, but there’s another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

Even a writer for the evangelical magazine Relevant admitted that “While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers.”

Atheists outnumber Christians on popular discussion forums like Reddit, where subscribers to the atheism section number more than 2 million. The Christianity section is not even 5% of that.

The Internet-based Foundation Beyond Belief, which encourages atheists to donate to charitable organizations, just celebrated raising $1 million for worthwhile causes. (Disclosure: I serve on its board of directors.)

Moreover, blogs and websites espousing non-religious viewpoints and criticizing Christianity draw tons of Internet traffic these days. For every Christian apologist’s argument, it seems, there’s an equal and opposite rebuttal to be found online. I call that “Hitchens’ Third Law.”

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church 

Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can’t protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.

If there’s an open comment thread to be found on a Christian’s YouTube video or opinion piece online, there’s inevitably going to be pushback from atheists.

There has also been a push by atheists to get non-religious individuals to “come out of the closet” and let people know that they don’t believe in God.

Among other things, this proves that anti-atheist stereotypes aren’t accurate and, just as important, that atheists aren’t alone in their communities.

There’s the Richard Dawkins Foundation’s Out Campaign, with its Scarlet A badges.

There are atheist-encouraging billboards in 33 states financed by groups like theUnited Coalition of Reason.

There’s even going to be an 1-800 hot line for people “recovering” from religion.

READ MORE: Atheists to start 1-800 hot line for doubters

And last year, an estimated 20,000 atheists turned out for the Reason Rally in Washington, a tenfold increase from the previous atheist rally in 2002.

But more than anything else, atheism’s best advertisements may be the words of Christian leaders themselves.

When Pastor Mark Driscoll belittles women, Rick Warren argues against same-sex rights or Rob Bell equivocates on the concept of hell, we amplify those messages for them – and it helps us make our point.

(It goes without saying that the pairing of Pat Robertson and YouTube has been great for atheists.)

Pastors are no longer the final authority on the truth, and millennials know it.

Even if they hold Jesus’ message in high esteem, the Bible as it has traditionally been preached by many evangelical pastors is becoming less and less attractive to them.

A 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PDF) showed that many Christians aged 18-24 felt that Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%) and anti-gay (58%).

In addition, Christianity Today reported last year that fewer than half of born-again Christians under 35 opposed same-sex marriage.

When millennials’ pastors and hearts are going in different directions, church leaders should be worried.

Can churches win back the youth?

Barring a complete shift in beliefs, that may not be possible. Some of the proposed solutions seem ludicrous to millennial atheists like myself.

For instance, there’s been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion. Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses.

There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.

READ MORE: Behold, the six tribes of atheism 

What about focusing on the message and life of Jesus?

While this sounds good philosophically, the myth surrounding Jesus is part of the problem with Christianity.

To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles.

There’s no proof of any of that ever happened, and atheists place those stories in the same box as “young Earth creationism” and Noah’s Great Flood.

To be sure, if Christians followed the positive ideas Jesus had, we’d all be better off, but it’s very hard to separate the myth from the reality.

In short, there are many reasons the percentage of millennials who say they’ve never doubted God’s existence is at a record low, and nearly a quarter of adults under 30 no longer affiliate with a faith.

The church has pushed young people away, yes, but there are also forces actively pulling them in the other direction.

It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.

Hemant Mehta blogs at The Friendly Atheist. The views expressed in this column belong to Mehta. 


 – CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Culture & Science • Faith • Faith Now • Internet • Nones • Opinion • Science • United States

My sentiments are reflected perfectly above in this expert piece of writing by Mr. Mehta. I believe that the young people of this nation are being exposed to too many facts to be snowed by myth. The information age has helped atheism in exponential ways by showing people that facts explain their world while myths float on the wind as intangible stories. We, as a people, do not support the fanaticism that is present in places like the Middle East so religious psychos are few, but in Iraq or Afghanistan you can find them on any chosen street corner. Take the myth out of raising children and you advance the reasonable thinking of the human race. Yes, the U.S has it’s problems, but that cannot change without trial and error. Sheeple exist in vast numbers and must be led to do the right thing by reason and not myth.

Read this and take the message to heart! The facts are speaking in great numbers right the fuck now!! Wake up myth masters, the reason that you are losing followers is…wait for it….REASON! Most Christians don’t believe in God anyway, they are just too scared to admit it. Jesus could appear in front of a Christian today and if he couldn’t do anything supernatural then he would be dismissed as a fraud. MOST Christians require proof but live their lives in the flimsy lie of belief. It’s comfortable to identify with what you’ve been indoctrinated to and easy to carry the mantle of the believer. Once the mantle is thrown off though, you have to surrender to logic, fact and reason. There IS no cosmic sky daddy watching over you and protecting you, ( while magically letting your neighbor’s kid die of cancer ), and this life is the only one you have so you have to make the best of it now! Heavy shit, I know! I went thru this at 12 and it weighed heavily on my ‘soul.’ Everything that I had been taught was bullshit designed to separate me from personal responsibility and reasonable thought! When I accepted the truth, I began to do things that positively effected my life because I knew that I could not count on the sky fairy for ANYTHING! The amazing specter could not so much as move a fucking penny let alone turn water into wine! All of that was unwitnessed fairy tale bullshit sold to uneducated masses in need of a collective pacifier. When it was shoved into their mouths they shut the fuck up and stopped crying about their pitiful lives because now they were given purpose instead of being dismissed as idiots.

Today in America and other industrialized nations, the poor can make a better life. In the past it wasn’t that easy. Now God is becoming obsolete because other things are giving people importance besides imaginary beings. I will conclude with this. Be proud to be an individual and fill your life with knowledge and reason. Peace out y’all!