That’s my monthly income. That’s a fixed amount. Yep. You read it right. Yes, I live in the United States of America. Yes, it is 2021. Now, don’t read that as a pull on your heart strings necessarily. I AM sharing this so that you might get a deeper look into my life. I want you to comprehend what it really is to be a Master.
Most who know of me; have some sense of familiarity with me, know me to be rather brilliant. There’s not a lot that I AM ignorant of in the world. I AM well-read, articulate, studious, and charismatic. Most would tell you that is a winning combination for financial and worldly success.
That is not always the case though. See, I have come to comprehend myself as a microcosm of The Universe on a very deep, intimate level. I AM, as a Master, manifesting balance and order in this world. If you have been “around” me for a few years now, you have certainly heard the phrase Tikkun Olam.
So, what is Tikkun Olam, and what does the concept have to do with the intent of this discourse? Tikkun Olam, in simplicity, means the correction or healing of the world in Hebrew. It is primarily a Kabbalistic concept through which oneness and harmony are restored to The Universe.
Let me backtrack several years now. Let’s say thirty years to be precise. On February 14, 1991, as a senior in high school, I began dialysis for end stage renal disease. At that point, I was only expected to live about another eleven years. Prior to being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease during my sophomore year, in the fall of 1988, I was an athletic, outgoing, honor student. Upon my initial diagnosis, I was prescribed high doses of prednisone.
I went from being the life of the party to crying sensitively, akin to what is often associated with PMS or even menopause. I was a fucking mess most of the time, but still had to show up for school everyday. Life wasn’t easy, but I have always been exceptional. Add to all that the fact that my body was now swelling like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and my friends and classmates got a kick out of being able to push deep indentations in my ankles, and I had become somewhat of a sideshow.
Now, the kidneys themselves are already the central organ of the endocrine system, which regulates all the glandular function of the body (which is responsible for the balance of all your hormones). Just the kidney function itself being off can throw a curve ball in the life of even the most stable of humans. Your emotions become uncontrollable, and considering this onset during adolescence for me, it just exacerbated the natural course of puberty.
I was used to attention though, and like a typical entertainer, I felt all publicity is good publicity. It wasn’t the experience I really wanted though. It wasn’t worth it at all. I was never one for sympathy. I always believed myself to be superhuman. Even as a young boy, I switched regularly between Superman, Batman, Muhammad Ali, The Six Million Dollar Man, and all of the X-Men.
Vulnerability was never my strong suit. A lot of it actually had to do with deep seated feelings of inadequacy though. No matter how many straight A grades I received, how many 99th percentiles I achieved on standardized tests, how many writing accolades I received, or how many oratorical contests I won, I always seemed to find an emptiness inside.
Even as a celebrated preacher, I was unfulfilled. I admit that a lot (most) of it had to do with me identifying my significance on my possessions, and I believed for so long that I was validated by my relationships. Add to that the subconscious dilemma of feeling like relationships had to be earned, or that LOVE essentially had to be purchased, and I spent a great deal of my life trying to buy affection.
Now fast forward back to 2021, and my monthly income. As a child, I also subconsciously developed a false Self-perception that I was a burden. A lot of it came from the absence of freedom to be. There was a standard forced upon me ignorantly that actually grieved my Soul. I honestly never fit. Not in my family. Not in my peer group. Not in my community. That’s not a bad thing though. It is just that we are so programmed in this society that there are certain standards for everything that must be achieved, and family, peer groups, and communities are the most egregious.
I learned early on how to wear masks. I was not just one hell of an actor in school plays, but my everyday life became a grand production. Most of it was because I believed every lie that I told. I wasn’t truly trying to deceive others, but I was trying to be who I felt like I had to be deep down inside. Who I thought I had to be was the best… at everything.
I was always the “smartest”, so on the occasion that I didn’t achieve the perfect score, I was judged harshly, and even whipped. This eventually led me to forging my own grades that I brought home at times. I didn’t always feel up to doing the schoolwork (and in hindsight, it was probably the early symptoms of chronic kidney disease then). So, I attempted to hide that I didn’t ace the test by creating my own report cards and presenting them to my Mom. This was my way of avoiding beatings. I didn’t realize how deeply jaded I had become in that.
I only desired to be accepted. I desired LOVE. None of my peers had the requirements that I had. Even when I did exceptionally well, there was no reward. All of my friends got to go to the parties on the weekend, and hang out with one another, but I had to stay home. An only child, bored, with some other semi-adult responsibility that rather than empower me, only enabled me. I didn’t learn how to be responsible. I simply learned how to better look responsible.
Take the honor student who everyone thought had everything going for him, then watch him barely make it to graduation through overnight peritoneal dialysis treatments EVERYDAY, that often meant being late for school. Dealing with all these new traumas and stresses on the mind and body, then leaving for college four hours from home, with really no true social skills because of being practically sheltered, while abused.
Now, I AM in a dorm room, meeting an entirely new peer group, and finding what I would like to call friends. These new folks knew nothing about me other than that I AM the guy across the hall on dialysis, and a fellow college freshman. It gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself. I finally felt a little bit of freedom, though it was short-lived when I ended up nearly dying Thanksgiving of my first semester at college. That landed me back home, and back to square one.
After my long recovery from pericarditis, I agreed to transfer to the University of Cincinnati, much closer to home. My Mom convinced me that we should be roommates, and get an apartment together… in Springdale, a northern suburb of Cincinnati, which really didn’t save me a lot of time versus if I had commuted daily from Middletown (which is what my Grandmother begged me to do). So, here I AM, nineteen years old, practically a new college student (because I didn’t complete my first semester at the University of Akron before my first near-death experience), and immersed into the world of adult responsibility for the first-time, with a roommate who had lived with her parents her entire thirty-six years of life too. Granted, a roommate whom I had so longed to win the approval of, despite unrealistic expectations.
The Sunday before we moved, I preached my first sermon to a rather full church. I was in my element that day. My true gift was on display. I didn’t have to work to impress anyone. Then, the very next Sunday morning, as it was time to prepare for church, I had a seizure from an electrolyte imbalance. Instead of my first Sunday morning as a licensed minister in the pulpit, I came to in the hospital, not sure at all as to what had happened.
Let me add to all of this that I AM the consummate Capricorn. Driven is an understatement to describe me. I dream bigger than anyone I have ever met, and I believe in everyone of my dreams. I have never been one to make excuses. In fact, I typically try to eliminate all the excuses; not just for myself, but for others. I have tried hard all my life to control how everyone is perceived. I wasn’t just trying to project my own reputation, but I was always trying to protect everyone else’s. If you really know me, you know that I AM going to find a way to celebrate others. I could have been a spin doctor. So, it hasn’t just been about me hiding my own scars, but hiding the scars of others as well.
Having all the knowledge that I have, I have helped hundreds of people over the years to accomplish their goals. As a Christian, I was always looking for ways to serve. My Mom still despises several pastors because of how she feels they took advantage of me. For me, though, I truly believed that by serving them, I would be blessed. I wasn’t completely wrong. The problem is that I didn’t comprehend the law of reciprocity back then. So, I helped everyone I could, freely giving of myself, while many of them took what I gave them, profited from it, and never thought to yield a harvest, or even a “tithe”.
Because of the challenges I have endured with my health, I have not had the opportunity to work jobs like the average individual. For years I felt inadequate because of this. This society equates the value of a man to his income. So, even in my desire to be married and have children, I have always sought to make dreams come true- for my wife, and then our children. Despite the obstacles presented in my way, I have always tried to figure out how to make it happen. I have never been one who easily asks for help. It is hard, most times, for me to even expect compensation for services rendered.
At most of the things I AM gifted to do, I AM one of the best. I AM not going to exhibit some false humility, and act like I don’t know how exceptional I AM at so many things. I have a brilliant mind. I haven’t had the same opportunities to use my mind as many others who I have shared my mind with. I have, literally, done the college coursework for people who have degrees and successful businesses. I have drafted visions and missions for thriving businesses and organizations. I have served as leader of organizations that helped communities. The thing is that I have nothing tangible to show for it. Some of the very people who have pointed this out through the years, are the same ones who have gotten the most advantage from my gifts.
I have had some decent jobs in my life, but by far, EVERY job I have had, I was grossly overqualified for. The issue is that, in this society, there is a cycle of roadblocks. It begins with access to certification. See, education doesn’t always equal skill. I AM more skilled and knowledgeable than most. However, some of the very people who have the degrees can thank me for doing their schoolwork. Many people who don’t know my story would think I AM lazy or an opportunist. The truth is that I AM a hustler. I AM just not a drug dealer, booster, or pimp. I exchange what I legally possess (my mind, knowledge, wisdom, and charisma) for what I have needed. Most people only have value because of the job someone else hired them to do, and thus they look down in judgment upon those who don’t have the job, for whatever reason, but actually have all the skill in the world. This is precisely why it is suggested that if we give to you our spiritual things, shouldn’t we be permitted to receive from you natural things. I have not met a person who will deny the spiritual wisdom that is within me, but because most judge the temporal, they sit in derision of those like me, while they celebrate the ones who can do nothing but offer them that which perishes.
Now, back to my monthly income. I AM certain you are wondering to yourself “how is that even possible?” Well, long story short, I always figure it out. Not only have I survived on (less than) that for years now, I have continued to help others and give whenever I have had opportunity. Even in the midst of my struggles, I have never allowed anyone to see me sweat. I have never really even allowed anyone to see me in need, because I felt like I AM never supposed to need anyone.
I AM a Master. I AM accountable for myself. I AM eternally grateful for those who have lended a hand to me over the years, many without any questions asked. It’s funny though because the people who are often quick to assist me are the people who know nothing whatsoever about my struggles. They are the people who appreciate the I AM that I AM. The people who you would think would expect so much from me are the ones who are constantly there for me.
While my Grandmother was alive, I rarely went without; even though I was often too prideful to even admit to her that I was hurting, on in need. I AM on the verge now of manifesting all my dreams, but the thing that has actually been blocking me is my refusal to be transparent. I AM so used to figuring something out, and that something used to be illegal in the form of passing bad checks. However, I moved to Miami, Florida from Ohio over four years ago, and on $816 (or less) a month, I have always figured it out. It meant that I often had to ask for help with simple things like paying my phone bill or getting back and forth to dialysis, or doctor’s appointments. It also meant I spent a lot of time fasting. It meant that even while hospitalized from surgeries and in pain, I had to muster up the strength to share my gifts just to make a few dollars here and there to pay for my roof over my head.
So, I don’t want you to read this and be sad. I want you to realize that, though you don’t see everyone’s scars, some of us truly live the lives of Gods. We do it because we don’t have the luxury of being human. I AM in the hospital right now, because of complications from a routine surgery, and my phone is off. Though I AM here alone, I AM never alone. All of those who LOVE me, without even fully knowing me, never leave me nor forsake me.
I AM pure of heart, and thus I see God in everyone. I AM not naive, nor in denial. I know that most people are not sincere, but I know all people have the capacity for sincerity. No one, though, was accountable for knowing me, or understanding me. Especially because I wasn’t making myself known. I AM the ingenuity of God, and it is time that I put myself on full display. What I AM building now is an eternal Kingdom. Nothing shall be impossible to me. I can ask or think beyond what any other being I know can, and the power within me is able to do exceeding abundantly above THAT.
You want to know how to do what I have done on what I have done it with? Rather than judge me, ask me how. You may just learn something about your own heart. So, when you read that foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head, think of it in this context. I AM not homeless. I have never been homeless. At the same time, I have learned how to be content in whatsoever state I AM in. As the winds of change are blowing in my life, watch what happens when you refuse to become weary in well-doing. This is what due-season looks like.