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Drizztbob

Drizztbob


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PostSubject: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 11:37 am

So clearly this isn't the most appropriate forum to discuss what just happened, but there are some people on this board where I respect their opinions would like to get their interpretation: @wallace108, @steelersyak, @stlrtruck @kirklandrules and others, I'm looking at you.

Not sure if any of you all watch or watched the Sons of Anarchy series finale, but it was full of religious symbolism and just an incredible end to very well written series. It is extremely violent and gratuitous, but at the heart of the show, is love.

Anyway, in the last scene of the series a song by White Buffalo (written by the series creator Kurt Sutter) plays in the background, "Come Join The Murder". It's a song referencing SAMCRO (murder being a flock of crows) which is the basis of all Sons Of Anarchy MC's. The song is again wrapped in religious symbolism talking about betrayal, falling from grace, and a father's relationship to his son. All with undertones of flying with a murder of crows. I encourage you to listen, it's haunting: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/premieres/hear-sons-of-anarchy-finale-song-20141209

So I'm listening to this song this morning in my office which is in my basement, and getting a little emotional thinking about the series ending (it's been on 7 years), and reflecting on my relationships during that time and everything that has happened since I started watching the show that long ago. At the very end of the song during the guitar riff, I hear a crow squawk so loudly I think it is part of the song. I whip around in my chair and a huge crow is sitting in front of my only basement window. My heart kind of jumps in my chest and the crow starts tapping on the window, and continues squawking...

So, I'm just wondering for you intellectual, or spiritual types, what kind of interpretation you may have on that or would you think it is just something completely random? To be honest, I'm a little freaked out by it...

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Wallace108

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 11:52 am

At first, I thought this was going to be a Sons of Anarchy discussion and almost merged it with the SOA thread in the Television forum. But, obviously, this should stand on its own. By the way, you need to go to the SOA thread ... I've been begging for someone to talk to about the show.

To your point, I've had some really weird things like that happen in my own life. Things that simply can't be written off as just a coincidence. I'm not a religious person, but Truck is ... and we've discussed a few of those things. Although I still don't subscribe to any religion, I do believe in God and I'm somewhat spiritual, and I've come to believe that some things happen for a reason. I can't tell you why or how, but at times it sure feels like there is some kind of force reaching out to us. I guess it's up to us whether we want to answer the door or just ignore it.

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SteelersYak

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 1:42 pm

Special moments in our life aren't necessarily special because of what happens but what it means to the individual person. You could hear 20 different interpretations for what happened to you but the only one that matters is the one that you come up with. Was the crow a symbol of closure? Was the crow a symbol of hope?

My interpretation would be that it was the combination of things from the past coming to get your attention one last time before it flies off to find it's place in the (your) world.

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Drizztbob

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 2:07 pm

Some good insight there guys, thanks.

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kirklandrules

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 2:16 pm

I tend to spend more time practicing my faith than probably the average person (not because I'm more holy than average, mind you). I agree with Wally's assessment that God is trying to get our attention.

What you explain would be a huge life coincidence if it's not a calling. However, I can't really explain to you what that message is (since I really don't know you well and have never watched SOA). Crows in literature are often used to reflect death or an ending, much like the episode you describe. But in a Christian context, the Raven (close to a crow) usually is referenced as an instrument of justice. For instance, Proverbs 30:17 states: "The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures."  

Again, I don't really know what message you should take from this event. Among the various things God has chosen to get my attention, I've haven't always found a specific message. I've interpreted those events to be like Wally's God knocking at my door. For me, it's not a case of letting him in as much as it is letting me know that I should be doing His will, not my own. He's getting my attention away from myself and focused on Him. Much like a parent reminding their kid, who has spent too much time playing video games, that he or she expects the assigned chores to be done. "Are you doing what I expect of you? Because there will be Hell to pay if you're not!"

If you haven't spent much time practicing a religion, it might truly be a message to answer the door and seek to hear His message.

Or you can take the blue pill and choose to believe in a self-contained life with no responsibility or accountability to a higher authority for your behavior in this life.
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Drizztbob

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 2:45 pm

I would consider myself a fairly faithful person. I've been baptized, confirmed, go to church pretty regularly, believe in God, all the normal stuff. But I have been at a bit of a faith crossroads lately, questioning life in general, and dwelling on the deaths of some close friends of mine. Thinking about life after death and the eternal human question that none of us will know until it happens to us.

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Wallace108

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 2:54 pm

Here's one of the "coincidences" I mentioned ...

I went to high school with this guy named Cliff. We didn't know each other at all in school. But we became best friends in college. He was an intellectual guy ... literature, poetry, philosophy, that kind of stuff. We went through a lot of things together and helped each other out along the way. I graduated with a degree in psychology and went to graduate school at Syracuse for my master's. But I ended up dropping out (for several reasons) and coming back to Youngstown with no idea what I was going to do. Me and Cliff were hanging out one night discussing my undetermined future. Knowing the answer, he asked me what were my two favorite things. I said writing and sports. He looked at me and said, "So why not go back to school, pursue journalism, and become a sports writer?" Right then and there, it clicked. And that's what I did. It didn't quite work out that way (because of another "coincidence"), and I ended up becoming an editor instead of a writer. But I believe I'm where I was supposed to be.

After landing a job, getting married, and having kids, and after Cliff moved to a different city, we slowly drifted apart. Our lives went in two different directions. Our conversations grew fewer and fewer over the years and eventually stopped. We didn't talk to each other for about 5 years. Then one day last summer, me and my wife were sitting outside. I was depressed about my job situation (I'm now working in a dying industry) and once again uncertain about my future. We began talking about Cliff, and I told her the same story (in more detail) that I outlined above. I said maybe I should think again about writing. Out of nowhere, she said she needed to go to Walgreens for something. I didn't feel like going, but she wanted me to run in for her. As I was standing in line, a familiar voice behind me called my name. I turned around, and it was Cliff. The same guy I was just crediting with changing the direction of my life. The same guy I hadn't seen or talked to in about 5 years. He just happened to be passing through and decided at the last minute to run into Walgreens for something. When I was at a crossroads in my mid-20s, Cliff was there to point me in the right direction. And here I was nearly 20 years later at another crossroads, and who should show up out of nowhere? Cliff. Coincidence? Perhaps. But then again ... perhaps not.

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Drizztbob

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 4:24 pm

I think things like this could be a means of a higher power, in my opinion, God, helping to guide us in some of the decisions we make. For you, it was a pretty literal guidance, and sounds like, it continues to be. Go be a sports writer damn it! For me it may not be as literal. I see alot of symbolism and hidden meaning in my life quite a bit, so things for me aren't so cut and dry and require some interpretation. Which is what prompted me for other opinions in this post.

Regardless, to think that they aren't higher forces at work in this world than just us is arrogant and egotistical. Again IMO.

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Wallace108

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 4:47 pm

Drizz, I think sometimes it's not important (at the time) to find an answer to our questions. Sometimes it's enough just to believe that there is an answer. While we might not find the answer we're looking for right away, we'll never find it if we stop looking. Or if we don't believe that there is an answer.

Without knowing the full details of what you're going through, all I can say is don't lose faith. Not faith in a particular religion or even God, necessarily, but faith in knowing that answers and meaning exist. Just don't stop looking for them or believing that they exist.

It's interesting how this discussion relates to our Sons of Anarchy discussion. That, in and of itself, probably isn't just a coincidence.

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SteelersYak

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 6:16 pm

I am not big into faith and all that. I believe there is something out there but I don't pray regularly. I don't know that I believe the Bible but I like the story of a man named Jesus who put others above himself and I aspire to be like that.

Here's the thing I struggle with: I often have de ja vu (where I dream something and then it happens again in real life). It often makes me wonder if we are just on this per-determined track and the choices are already made for us and we just execute or what.

There are many different ways to look at life and I think it's interesting to know how others do.

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Drizztbob

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 8:52 pm

Yak, I get Deja Vu all the time and without sounding too hokey or like I'm a gypsy or something, I often have premonitions. Usually they aren't good. My wife calls them "giftings" but to me, they just make me feel weird. An example of a recent one involved me having a panic attack (first and last one thus far) at my beach house on the Eastern shore. I was with my wife, her best friend Jen and her husband. During this panic attack, I had the overwhelming feeling that I had died and was simply dreaming the life I was seeing. At the height of this attack, and just typing this makes me feel like a wacko, I saw a figure floating on the staircase pointing to my friend Jen sleeping on the fold out bed. Not in a menacing way, just pointing. The figure was white and seemed almost angelic, flowing robes and all. Keep in mind it was 4am and I hadn't slept, so it is very possible my brain was just tweaking out on me. I was only able to calm down after my wife called her mother, who is EXTREMELY religious. She is one who believes in a constant war of good and evil. Angels demons all of that. We sat on the phone and I recited biblical verses I hadn't heard since I was 12 or 13. What they were, I couldn't tell you. I think my brain just accessed that part of thinking and began blurting it out. It calmed me down enough to finally fall asleep.

The next weekend, my friend Jen died suddenly. Everyone was heartbroken, including my wife. She had been her closest friend since childhood.

That was 2 years ago. I haven't had anything since near as vivid, but I have strange things like that peppered throughout my life.

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SteelersYak

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 12, 2014 9:11 pm

It's things like that Drizz that really make you wonder. I have it often and there are times where I just stop and I try to remember what happened next. It's just wild. I hope we all get the answers some day.

There are so many ways this thread can go. Some may bring out pain for people and some may bring hope and resolve for others.

My perspective on death has changed significantly due to an event 3 years ago. I was in grad school and I received a voicemail from my dad that my grandmother was not doing well and was in comfort care. She was my final grandparent I had alive. I could hear the pain and sadness in his voice, which is something I had never heard. I rushed to the hospital to find she was surrounded by many members of the family. I was able to say my final goodbyes to her. I was present for her final moments on Earth. Through that experience, I do not fear death. I know that death is not scary and it is not some big mystery. It is not always some terrible and painful thing. Death can be peaceful. I believe that I was meant to be there in that moment to ease pain of deaths past and to have the peace of mind not to fear death. Don't invite death, but don't fear it.

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kirklandrules

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyMon Dec 15, 2014 10:55 am

Wally is right that you should continue to look for answers even if you don't find them immediately. This reminds me of two stories that might help.

Mother Theresa once said that she prayed every day and asked God to let her know He was there. She received no response, yet every day she continued to pray and ask God to let her know He was there. After 50 years she said she got her response. Can you imagine that? How many people would have given up after just a few days or a week? Here's a woman who sacrificed her entire life giving to those less fortunate because she felt it was her calling from God, but didn't give up when an answer wasn't immediately provided to her for several decades.

Another story is about my Labrador Retriever, Lambert. When he was about 8 months old I took him back to my home town. We went to the lake house my family owned for several generations (my sister lived there at the time) and decided to go for a canoe ride with one of my brothers. Thinking the dog wouldn't be able to sit still in the canoe, I left him behind. My brother and I started paddling out across the lake and Lambert stood on the dock crying and whining. As we got about 50 yards from the dock, Lambert ran off the dock onto the grass, turned 180, and ran full speed off the end of the dock into the water. He swam with a furry to catch up. I told my brother we needed to turn around so the dog wouldn't drown chasing us. Ultimately, we pulled alongside Lambert and I hoisted him into the canoe. It hit me how much that dog loved me to jump off the dock and swim after me. Some time later, I was in church and heard the story of how the Apostles were fishing after the crucifixion and were returning to shore. There, they saw a stranger preparing a fire for their return. They couldn't figure out who that stranger was. Suddenly, John announced "It's the Lord.". Peter then jumps from the boat and starts swimming for shore. He didn't wait for the boat to pull to the shore. Nor did he take off his cloths to make the swim easier and faster. He didn't think anything other than to immediately get to his Lord. Those two stories made me think about how God wants us to be so excited to move toward him that we act in a naive manner and in haste. He wants us to love him so much we might forget ourselves.  It was really cool thinking how much my dog loved me he couldn't stand to watch me leave. It must be something for God to see his children do the same.

Given the little you've mentioned (the premonition of your friend's death, the SOA episode, the crow knocking at your window) it sounds to me that your in a spot of reflection on what occurs after life ends. Your premonition could be a scary thing to think about. But one thing you might want to consider is that it was an angelic type figure you saw pointing to your friend, which would indicate there is life after death and it wasn't a negative figure, but a positive figure pointing.

Yak is right not to invite death, nor should you fear it. One of the greatest wastes of my time had been thinking of my own mortality and the deaths of those that I cared for. After all, when I see them on the other side, they'll probably tell me how much I wasted my time worrying about them after they passed. There's a old line that goes: If you aint dead, get to livin'.

Hope this wasn't too much of a ramble.
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stlrtruck

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyThu Dec 18, 2014 10:12 am

I've read some of this, but not all of it. Not enough to respond. However, in the coming days, I'll catch up and give my opinions.

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Drizztbob

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyThu Dec 18, 2014 11:01 pm

@kirklandrules thanks, that was a really well written response. I think that has a lot to do with what I've been thinking about lately. I also heard that same story about Peter and the Lord and his test of faith with the waters.

Crazy this life of ours and the constant wonderment of "what's next?"...But I think you are right, it's not worth dwelling on.

Get busy livin, or get busy dyin...a good Shawshank line to live by.

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stlrtruck

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptyFri Dec 19, 2014 12:43 pm

I am a man of faith, I believe whole-heartedly in the Lord Jesus Christ and that the only way to salvation is through Him who defeated death and now sits on the throne. I don't say that to boast about me, but to boast about what the Lord brought me from.

I wasn't always this person, and in 1999-2000, the Lord drew my attention. You see, then I was just a believer who didn't act like one. I knew Christ, but I didn't KNOW Christ. I told Him, "I want to live in Pittsburgh or I want to live in Tampa." I liked Pittsburgh for the sports and Tampa for the night life. Had I gone to Pittsburgh, chances are I'd be working for either the Steelers or Penguins, and enjoying a decent life. However, the Lord answered my demand by sending me to Tampa where for 2 years I lived a sin filled life of "gentleman's clubs" and a lot more self destructive living. In 2001, I began reading the "Left Behind" book series and that's when my life slowly changed. It has taken many years of walking many paths but I believe that through it all, I am a better example of what man can become when he surrenders all to God.

I know, I know, what does this have to do with your original post. Well, I believe that God uses various things in our lives to get our attention. Animals, people, weather, and even those moments we call "coincidence" or "deja-vu". The Lord doesn't make mistakes. He knows what will grab our attention and He knows what will get us pointed towards Him.

However, even with all these moments some times what is required is that we sit and listen for that still small voice.

Drizz, I pray that through these moments, the Lord reveal to you His answer for all this. I pray that in some small way my rambling may help bring peace to the situation.

Sidenote: I love Shawshank

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Drizztbob

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptySat Dec 20, 2014 9:39 am

I appreciate that Truck, I really do. I struggle daily with not feeling like I am truly giving myself over to God. I always feel like I have one foot in and one foot out and I always feel my faith is being tested, and a lot of times, I fail. I think you are right though that God does little things in our life to get our attention, and as I mentioned before, some of these can be pretty obvious, like the vision I had, or Wally's friend sighting, and some not so much, like Deja Vu or crows tapping on your window. All I can really do is just dedicate myself and try to reaffirm my faith in God to the best of my ability. One of the ways to do that is not to be ashamed of showing or talking about my faith in forums like these or to my friends. It's silly, but I've never really shown that side of me to friends for fear of skeptical gazes...

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PostSubject: Re: Not the appropriate forum...   Not the appropriate forum... EmptySun Dec 21, 2014 7:20 am

I use to feel the same way. But I've come to a few conclusions about those "friends". If they reject me or criticize my belief, then recognize that Jesus was scourged and beaten for me. And I'm ok if they don't want to hear what is in my heart. If they can't accept my faith, then maybe they weren't that great of a friend to start.

I've been blessed to have some truly great people step up to me and challenge me. Years ago, I had a friend that I admired, respected, and looked up to for Godly wisdom. At a bible study we were doing on false idols, he looked me in the eyes and asked, "Have you ever put the Steelers before God?" That was a life changing moment for me. Slowly, my true fanaticism for the Steelers has become a fanaticism for Christ. Don't get me wrong, I still cheer my head off for the Steelers, but that's only during the game and the game no longer impacts my relationship with my friends, my wife, or my children the way it did 10 years ago.

I've also had the privilege to talk about my faith. My grandmother's funeral I was able to delivery the gospel to those who otherwise may not have heard it. I've had great conversations with individuals on this board that has helped build and solidify my faith (even if they didn't believe or were contrary to my belief).

All along this path, the Lord has revealed Himself to me. He has made me a better husband, a better father, a better employee, and flat out a better man. Again, with that long statement, it comes down to the fact that if He is willing to put that much effort in to me, then why can't I put that much effort in to Him.

Be encouraged, be strengthened and know that the Lord has plans for you. Plans to prosper and not to fail.

And if you ever need to reach out to someone because you're struggling or you just need a brother in Christ, then my friend know that I'm here.

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