A “Drive-In” To Good Memories

Spring is in the air and summer will be here shortly. With both comes the return of activities that the warmer weather can only bring. And one of those I was able to enjoy just the other night…the Drive-In.

There aren’t many of these left in existence today. Most will say it’s because of the rise of the multiplexes and their huge screens, digital surround sound systems, stadium seatings and plush recliner seats. While I love the movie theater experience, no matter how amazing it seems to get each and every year, I continue to be drawn to finding drive-in theaters and reliving one of the good moments I had in my childhood.

It’s true as they say, the older one gets, the more nostalgic one becomes with things of the past. While my childhood was filled with many unsettling moments, there are some that I am beginning to remember when I felt happy, the more that I heal. Going to the drive-in was one of them.

In my hometown, Poughkeepsie, NY, there were at least four drive-in’s in local proximity that my family would go to quite often throughout the summer. My family liked following the same habits a lot so that when we would attend the drive-in on a summer night, it would always be the same pattern. Dinner would be McDonalds take out where I usually had two cheeseburgers, an order of fries, and a diet soda. We would eat it after finding the spot to park the family station wagon which was faced backwards towards the movie screen. I can still remember sitting on the tailgate, eating that meal back then which I always found to be delicious. Today I’m not so sure but that’s because I’m a more health conscious person and McDonalds isn’t the first place I think of when it comes to eating healthy. Anyway, I usually devoured that meal so that I had a good half hour to hour on the playground that was situated right below the large movie screen. I spent most of my time riding on this contraption that doesn’t really exist anymore because of the danger it brought over the years. I can only describe it as a circle of interconnected benches that sat on top of a spindle, that someone would grab onto and run as fast as they could until at the last second, they would hop on it and enjoy a dizzying spin. Between that and the swings which I usually loved jumping off of once I got really high, I was always quite excited by the time the first movie was about to begin. My parents were pretty strict about the movie ratings with my sister and I. So for most of those drive-in experiences, I could only watch the first movie and not the second as it was beyond my age range they would tell me. With it, I was supposed to fall asleep but never really did. I remember one time I peaked over the seat without getting caught and watched a bit of Animal House that was “R” rated. I know today that wouldn’t be that big of a deal to many children who’s parents allow them to see just about anything at the movies but for me it was exhilarating.

Thankfully, there are others like me around today who are nostalgic and still enjoy going to a drive-in during the warm summer months. Poughkeepsie still has two in operation but I live no where close to there now. Unfortunately in the area of Massachusetts where I still live, there aren’t any close by. Where my partner lives though, there’s one still left behind in operation and that’s where I found myself with him this past Saturday night. There are some differences today from back then that I notice have evolved over time. Gone are the playgrounds where I once would have played. Gone are the bright colored poles with the small radios that would have gone on a car window to listen to the movie. And gone are the reel to reel devices the movies were brought in on, having been replaced by digital versions. Regardless of those changes, I still enjoyed my time there watching Oblivion and Identity Thief. Although I must say, what’s funny is that I really liked the first movie which my parents would have allowed me to see as a kid. The second movie, the “R” rated one, I didn’t like at all.

Thinking back to just a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed going to any drive-inn because everything that I thought of with my family brought back the bad memories and not the good ones. As I have worked hard this past year in turning my entire will over to God, I have found more healing from all those not so happy childhood memories and begun to remember all the good ones. Going to the drive-in was just one of them and now today because of all that work I am doing on myself, I can enjoy this experience and think back to a time in my life where I knew my parents loved me and that being a kid was pretty cool.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Fixing Me, Not You

It’s so easy to point the finger at the ills of society we see everyday. It really is. I did it for most of my life before I became aware of one simple fact, that I was the one that needed to have the finger pointing back at myself. I was the one that needing fixing, not everyone else.

I once thought this to be a trait that alcoholics and addicts only shared. As I’ve delved deeper into my relationship with God, I’ve begun to see that it’s a trait shared amongst much of the world’s population. So why is that? Why is it that people are prone to cite out something negative around them that someone else is doing? The answer is simple. It shifts the focus away from themselves. It prevents people from seeing who they really are. And for most of my adult life, I’ve been this way.

For the longest time, I mostly hung around with people who were living blatantly immoral. I always had at least one active addict friend in my life that I was close to who was regularly lying, cheating, stealing, scamming, or more in their lives. I would tell myself that I wasn’t anything like these people and I’d continue hanging around them because it made me feel more superior. My ego would congratulate itself on a daily basis as it felt I wasn’t doing anything remotely as negative as the people I was spending time with. So when the drama would happen in my life, I would usually transfer the blame and shift the focus onto those people around me that my ego felt superior towards. But what’s ironic in all of that behavior was that while I told myself that my crap didn’t stink, it really did. I just made sure to constantly shift everyone’s including myself’s focus onto those people living so outright lopsided.

Sadly, my life was filled with a lot of its own darkness that was just as immoral as those people I was trying to point my fingers at and fix. I was harboring sex and love addiction issues secretly in my life. I slept with married people. I skipped out on a lot of plans and promises so that I could live in these addictions more. I spent hours on the web at night perusing porn and communicating with people sexually that I never had any intention on being with. And I lied often to cover all of this up. I backstabbed people often by character assassinating them. Gossip was a regular part of my life and so was greed.

For a long time, I didn’t want to take a real long, hard look in the mirror at myself both literally, and figuratively. It was too painful. I didn’t love myself and I knew I was broken. I stayed away from me by trying to point out and fix other people’s toxic lives. I rarely focused on myself and the healing that needed to take place for me to spiritually grow. Instead, I kept these toxic connections to others alive so that I could feel better about my own craziness and have some project outside of myself that I could place my energy in fixing.

Over time I began to notice that no one ever got better. Not the people I pointed the fingers at and tried to fix, and not me. If anything, both grew worse. I became a very negative person. I began looking at all the bad things happening in the world around me and constantly commented on them aloud to anyone that would listen. I yelled at reckless drivers. I talked bad about those in the news who were doing shady behaviors such as politicians, actors and actresses, policemen and policewomen, coaches, teachers, etc. Through all of that negativity, my immorality increased until I was doing just as much of that type of behavior as those I had been pointing the fingers at.

Thankfully, a year ago when the pain in my life was becoming too great to handle, I decided it was time to turn over my entire will to something I knew could show me how to live a much better life than the one I had created. That’s when I turned all of the reigns over to God. It was the best decision I ever made as I realized soon thereafter, that I was the one broken and needed fixing and not everything I had been pointing out.

This makes me think back to a specific moment in my life when I had been trying to live as I am now. I was being interviewed by the local news and asked to comment on whether I thought President Bush was doing a good job or not and if certain problems our society was facing today were worse because of his holding office. I think my answer shocked them. I said that the President was just a figurehead and that the problems could all be fixed when each of us begin to realize the real work is done by healing ourselves first. This is one of the greatest illusions in the world today. Every single problem that all of us see happening now can be changed by changing ourselves, by fixing ourselves, and by taking that finger we point so quickly and turning it back on ourselves.

This is what I am doing today. I am working on fixing me. Little by little, I am repairing more and more of the damage I caused myself throughout the years. As I continue to work on fixing all those parts of me that were broken, I am seeing less of what’s wrong in the world today and more on how I can help God to heal it.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

An Eye For An Eye Won’t Bring Peace

This past week, Boston became the latest casualty of another death filled tragedy. As the Boston Marathon came to a close near the end of the day at its finish line, several homemade pressure cooker type bombs went off injuring hundreds and, as of the time of my writing this, killing three people.

It was supposed to be a normal day of running, cheering, and spectatorship for everyone as Boston was celebrating another annual marathon and Patriot’s Day. The state government and many local businesses were closed to honor the day. The sun was out and spring was in the air, yet someone decided to turn the day red with blood for whatever dark agenda they had within.

Lately it seems as if a week doesn’t go by anymore without one of these deadly sprees occurring. With a quick glance at any of the major newspaper’s websites on any given day, some husband or wife has shot each other, their children, and then themselves. Some disgruntled worker has gone and killed their boss and co-workers. Some young adult found a gun and opened up fire in some public venue. Public mournings and vigils are held because of these senseless tragedies. But it seems as if something else is being creating from all of this bloodshed. Revenge.

I was standing in line this past Tuesday morning waiting for one of the local state offices to open as I had some paperwork that I had to take care of. In front of me in line was a woman who was being anything but silent about the bombings. She told anyone who might have been in earshot that they need to find who did this and cut off each and every finger of that person one by one making them suffer too. I could see the anger and rage in her eyes. I’m sure for some of those who were directly affected by the bombing, or even by the Newtown or Aurora massacres, they felt similar.

Revenge isn’t the answer is though. That old saying, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth doesn’t bring resolution or peace to anyone. Sometimes I think that people don’t realize going after someone to kill or torture them won’t bring that closure they’re seeking within. Even worse, it creates a domino or ripple effect outward. Let me explain what I mean.

Person A goes and murders Person B. Person B had Persons C and D in their life who adored and loved them. Person C and D are now angry and full of rage and decide to take justice into their own hands and seek out Person A for revenge. Person A is then murdered. Unbeknownst to Persons C and D, Person A had two close people to them in their life as well, Persons E and F. Persons E and F decide to continue the revenge based spree and seek out the families of Persons C and D and kill all of them. I could go on and on with this. What people don’t realize is that this is how wars start. Look at what’s happening with North Korea lately.

The country is escalating their threats of nuclear terror daily. The country reminds me of the Napoleon complex in that they are so small yet they want to create a name for themselves. If North Korea was to fire upon anyone, especially South Korea, a full fledged war would begin imminently with South Korea firing back and then the U.S. and other allies getting involved and also doing the firing. The death toll that would result from those actions would be staggering. Who wins in all of that? Does any of that really bring peace and resolution?

Guns, fighting, wars, and battles…none of them will create peace. All of them will foster more anger. All of them move in the exact opposite direction that the world needs to go towards which is love. I was asked at one point in my life if one of my family members was murdered wouldn’t I want to exact revenge and have that person either killed or put on death row if they were caught. My answer, albeit painful, was a resounding “No!”. More death won’t ever bring back my family member and it won’t offer me any closure in my heart. I also believe in forgiveness because of God being at the center of my life. I believe that the person who does something such as murder should be given the chance to see the err in their ways even if its in a jail cell for the rest of their lives.

The only way these senseless tragedies and massacres can end in this world is if we all work on loving each other a little bit more and hating each other a lot less. The only way that I see newspaper’s websites reporting on anything else but these awful events is if all of us realize that we are all connected through a greater Source which for me I label as God. By one of us dying tragically, some part of all of us is affected. The answer isn’t to seek revenge. It’s to ask for forgiveness and healing not only for ourselves and all those who were affected, but, hard enough as it may seem, those that created the tragedy in the first place.

One day people will realize that all this bloodshed is doing nothing but creating more of it. When that day comes, everyone will begin to see the only way to a world filled with peace is to love, even in the face of hate.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson