How I Breathed Past the Lie of Disease

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from a dear friend of mine, William Melendez. He is like no other person I have ever met, his battles unique and his writing, hauntingly good. This is an honest account of his literal fight with death. Being that he wrote this article, we can assume he won that fight, but not without walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Being a person who suffers from mental illness I have dealt with the vicissitudes of aberrant mental and physical states. Nevertheless, after enduring years of mental illness and several gastric diseases, dear reader, I began to succumb to the lie of a sick man’s philosophy: life, with its ups and downs, was always something that happened to me, and of which, I had no control over. I was clinging to a deflated lifeboat, buffeted in the winds of an unruly sea. Two things controlled the course of my raft, sink or swim: the happenstance of life and the constant intervention of God on my behalf. Mostly, I spent my time praying to God that He would get me through whatever was happening to me. My only contribution to my circumstances seemingly consisted of begging.

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So what's the scenaRIO ...

Today's my first day back. For the past week, I was in Rio de Janeiro working with two organizations -- one focused on church planting and the other on social justice. In a profound way, both are working for the Kingdom of God. 

Restore Brazil is an organization run by Jay Bauman, who is both a prolific leader as he is a social media nut. You can find him on Twitter at @baumanjay and on his blog. Please check out his organization, Restore Brazil.

Rio de Paz is an unabashed human rights organization run by Antonio Carlos Costa. They work for human rights for prisoners and social justice for the poor living in the favela. They're organization focuses on three main plagues of Rio: violence, poverty, corruption. Antonio is also has a strong social media presence, albeit, in Portugese.

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Surrounded by Smoke – Avoid Secondhand Hyperbole

Sometimes I have the great fortune of working from a café. It’s “great” because I get to drink coffee, utilize free wi-fi and, with subtlety, act like I’m working on something life-altering on my laptop. The only downside to working at a café is that there are a lot of people. I don’t mind people overall, but it’s a specific type of people—the ones that talk a huge game.

Whether they’re talking about the last stock they bought that just returned a hundredfold profit or how their recent house they flipped was a steal or how they saw such-and-such at this place-and-place, it gets rather deafening. Think Ron Burgundy sans ridiculous clothing.

This kind of chatter is difficult to escape from. It lives on Twitter, Facebook posts, blogs, glossy magazines, etc. But nothing compares to seeing it in person. Even if you’re not contributing to this conversation, hearing it can sometimes lead to secondhand exhaustion. So, for your personal enjoyment and sanity, here are 5 tips to know when you are about to walk into secondhand hyperbole and embellishment:

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Kurt Warner: Dancing for the Gospel

If you’re a football fan you have heard of Kurt Warner. If you’re an evangelical Christian, there’s a good chance you have heard of Kurt Warner … if you don’t fall in any of those categories, but you are a pop culture fan, there’s still a good chance you have heard of Kurt Warner as “that big football player now on Dancing with the Stars.”
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Umpire Jim Joyce Is Human

The Twitterverse exploded Wednesday night when what should have been a perfect game thrown by the virtually unknown pitcher, Armando Galarraga, was inexplicably denied by a blown call from umpire Jim Joyce.

With only one out to go in his quest for a perfect game (that’s when you retire all 27 batters you face in a row), Galarraga induced a difficult grounder to his first baseman, Miguel Cabrera, who played the groundball nicely and threw it to Galarraga who was scrambling to cover first base. Although the play appeared to be close, it was obvious (even to the naked eye), that the throw had beaten the runner to the bag and Galarraga got his foot on the bag before the runner. However, umpire Joyce called the baserunner safe, taking away the perfect game, the no-hitter, and quickly stamping his identity as the umpire who stole a historic night from Galarraga, the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball.

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“How’s Your Day?”

I just finished a book. It’s called The War of Art, which is not to be mistaken with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Author Steven Pressfield is a former marine, so there is a sense of warring alluded in the book, but nothing that will compel you to dust off your Risk board game. And not that many people want to play Risk anyway.

Okay, back to my point. There’s a captivating line from the book that reads, “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” If you want me to fully comprehend the whole notion of Resistance, I would suggest you buy the book, but basically, Resistance is the thing that stops you from releasing your creative work.

During a snow day I had last week, I was faced with many options. Shovel, sled, sleep, schlep, surf the Internet and many other activities that may or may not start with the letter S. The one thing I found hardest to do was “silence” the day. My Resistance was the inability to just get quiet, soak in the moment for more than a moment and actually ask God, “What’s up?”
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Four Friends and a Funeral

On a recent Saturday, I attended a funeral to honor the passing of a friend’s mom. All I knew driving to the funeral was that she died of cancer, and that funerals are almost always sad. This particular day proved the latter wrong.

People say, or at least I’ve heard it said, that funerals bring people and memories together. The strange thing with this funeral is that I hardly knew my friend’s mom. All I wanted to do was support my friend through what has been a tough year. I decided to carpool with four friends, all of which shared the same sentiment: support our friend during this time of loss.

If you Google mapped our journey, it began in New York City to North Jersey to a quick stop at a rest area for gas and coffee and then a straight shot down the New Jersey Turnpike toward Princeton. During our drive, the five of us caught up on life, discussed various current events, commented on the blandness of the Turnpike scenery and then before you knew it, arrived at our destination.
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Apple Tablet, Steve Jobs, iSlate ... oh, and Haiti

Unless you've been living under a rock or a Kindle, you probably have heard the rumors surrounding Apple’s unveiling of the Apple Tablet (which will take place Jan. 27). According to Steve Jobs, the tablet “will be the most important thing I’ve ever done.” That is saying a lot since he was the mastermind behind other little hits (iPod, iPhone, Pixar). In any case, you don’t have to be a tech geek to know that the announcement may revolutionize the world as we know it, or at least the world that revolves around multi-touch screens, cool apps, pricey gadgets and a man who loves wearing jeans and a black turtleneck.

I’ll come out and say it, I want this tablet. I don't even know what it looks like (although this blogger took a nice stab at it) nor do I know what is really rumor or fact, yet I still want it. Functionally (I assume), it will make me more efficient at my job, as well as make for a great companion on my morning commutes. Not only that, but I’ll be the envy of every subway commuter … well, until they get their own.
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Getting Fired: Conan’s Great Legacy

“Please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism--it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” - Conan O’Brien

The above quote was part of Conan O’ Brien’s farewell speech on the last taping of The Tonight Show. As everyone knows, his run was short-lived (7 months). A combination of low ratings, poor primetime programming (Jay Leno’s 10 pm show), impatient NBC executives and the invention of DVR/Hulu/Cable all led to the demise and firing of Conan as host of The Tonight Show.

The public relations nightmare that NBC faced all week has hopefully come to an end (for now). Could it have been handled better? Probably. Did Conan, Leno and David Letterman showcase the highest level of etiquette? No. Was this trainwreck entertaining to watch? Yeah. Still, there was more haranguing on late night this past week than you’ll find on C-Span … snare drum and cymbal. There were more finger pointing taking place than a dance floor at a 70s nightclub during a Bee Gees song … crickets. Wow, it is a hard gig.
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Be Moved by Haiti

During a crisis like this, one can only do so much. But in what we can do, the most important thing is that we actually DO.

Please continue to keep Haiti in prayer. Also, give to organizations that has a lot of people on the ground in Haiti. Talking about Haiti and the people impacted by the devastation doesn't actually do anything for them. 

Here are some helpful links to get plugged into doing something for Haiti and its people:

Earthquake relief summary

CharityWater summary

Mashable summary

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About
A proud St. Louis native, Won Kim currently works in NYC as Social Media Director at Reader's Digest Assoc. and is a husband, father of two boys. He talks in short spurts at Twitter.com/wonki78


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