Donny's Ramblings


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For Me, It Takes a Toothbrush

Along the Sacramento River Trail

A view from the Sacramento River Trail: my favorite place to converse with my Creator.

Last night I wept, snot running down my face and dripping off my chin, for a period of about 4 hours. It wasn’t fun and I really didn’t like it. At least not then – not while it was happening. This morning I see it in a different light, because it’s times like that, when my soul cries out to God and to others, when I feel a toothbrush at work inside.

Some of those close to me sometimes question whether I’m fully letting Jesus inside to clean things out.  I know that I am. It’s just that I don’t think He wants to magically make everything perfect. I think He purposely works on issues slowly so that I understand them better. He isn’t just taking a fire hose and spraying the place out… He’s taking a toothbrush and slowly deep cleaning. I sometimes feel like others need to see fire hose evidence in order to believe a work is in progress, but I am more than overjoyed with the toothbrush. Perhaps you, dear Constant Reader, aren’t the type that needs to understand things about yourself like I do, but I want to know… I want to understand… I want to get it. I feel that is going to be a big part of any future ministry God may have for me: identifying with others who have gone through the same things I’ve gone through and maybe being able to be used to help others “get it”.  For that to happen I need to reach that place myself.  Slowly.

My cockiness is melting away.  I am realizing I really don’t know much.  I’m not nearly as smart as I thought.  I’m enrolled in Seminary and want to be used by God, but I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever have anything to say to anybody.  Perhaps that’s all for the best? Perhaps that’s the only way to be if God’s words are to be spoken and not my own?  I feel inadequate.

In the two weeks of 2006 between September 11th, when I knew I would no longer be in “the business”, and September 25th when I finally asked Jesus to take over, I wanted instant answers and solutions to all the anger and bitterness and questions I had about Him, Christianity, and people. I tried to strike a deal with God that if he brought those answers I’d give him my life. He didn’t respond at all. He was silent. On September 25th I finally understood that it wasn’t that He wasn’t willing to answer my questions, He just wasn’t going to do so all at once. He has been very faithful with slow answers. Some of them even in dreams. Most of them through something I read and then ponder, or something someone says to me that I ponder while prayerful, or through ideas that form when speaking with Him along the Sacramento River Trail, my favorite place to converse with Him.

This slow rate is purposeful, and I am loving the journey.  I am content in the knowledge that change will continue.  I am not asking for speedy results, because I am realizing the value of “one step at a time” results that really have a chance to sink in.  Does this make any sense?  It is lovely what’s happening.   But I do wish those closest to me would reach the place where they, too, realized that all these things they think I need to let God heal – the bitterness… the anger… the constant questioning – I AM letting Him in to heal.  Again, it is purposely slow.  And maybe some of you might even be who He uses to point out what’s next, but I need those who are close to please be patient, because this is a one-thing-at-a-time situation.  Lots of time went into the damage, and lots of time is going to be required to toothbrush it away.


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Spilling My Guts On the Topic of Love (and Sex)

I wrote this a few days ago, unsure whether or not I’d actually publish it.  But why not?  Let’s do it.

On this blog I’ve voided my guts, speaking about many of my sins.  You’ve read my writings about the horrors I perpetrated on models.  You’ve read about that really stupid sex game I played with the girl to whom I was engaged when I was in “the business”.  You’ve heard me make admissions most never would.  You haven’t, however, read much about Wendy, my ex-wife.  I have this awe… this reverence… for Wendy.  Sure, I’ve blogged a time or two about some of the things I’ve done to her, but I don’t talk too much about my feelings for her or the details of the way our lives interact now.  You haven’t read much detail on the guilt I feel for ruining her life and taking away the possibilities for my son to grow up in a home where his mother and father both welcome him home from school.  Sure, I’ve alluded to it, but not to the extent I’ve discussed other things.  And definitely not to the extent that it’s screwed with my head.

Thing is, this part of my life results in inner conflict because writing is the best outlet for me to deal with my emotions, but I remain mute on this for the most part.  And, sure, I could write in private, but that just doesn’t seem to have the same effect on me as when I hit the “publish” button that allows you, my constant readers, to devour the words I’ve put on digital paper.  It’s as if, by making things public, I’m enabling God’s light to shine into dark rooms within me.  That might not make sense to you, or it might sound silly, but it’s the best way I can describe things.

In many ways, dear reader, I’m royally screwed up in the head.  I’ve seen so much, heard so much, and DONE so much that I wonder if I’ll ever be “normal”. Sure, God heals.  But maybe He doesn’t want to.  Maybe He wants me to remain raw so that I can identify with the broken.  That’s totally fine with me.  I like me.  I really, really like me.  But I do wonder if the real Donny will, for example, ever have a normal relationship.  What decent woman wants a man who has produced porn for 9 years?  A man who has had meaningless sex with dozens of “models”?   A man who trashed the two serious relationships he’s had.  And since most single women my age have children, just how much trust does it take to allow a man around one’s children who has done the things I’ve done?   And even if SHE, whoever she may be, can trust me, what the hell is her child’s father going to think… going to say… going to DO… when he finds out who his ex is dating?

Know what I mean, Vern?

And on a side note… did you know that some of the things I’ve written on this very blog about my past, are self delusions?  Sometimes I still don’t want to own up to what a total and complete ASS I was… so I sugar coat the details. Oh man, have I!  Since surrendering my life to God I’ve discovered that I even delude myself, and am slowly uncovering for (admitting to?) myself just how big a “sinner” I really was.  What a wretch!  What a horrible wretch!  (“wretch” seems to be the perfect, fitting word)

And then there’s sex… I’ve had a lot of it, with a lot of different women. And now that I’m a slave to God, and trying to honor His daughters, I’m somewhat afraid that my next wife will find me boring.  “Boring?” you ask?  Yes… boring.  “Why would you think that, Donny?”   Because I have a feeling that I’ll be so afraid of disrespecting my wife that I will be unwilling to be adventurous in any way whatsoever.  Will anything beyond the basics result in flashbacks of my porn-producing past?  At this point, if I were to guess, I’d say “yes”.

Wouldn’t it be a great story if God restored my marriage to Wendy?  Sure, and I’ve heard from people all across the country about it:  “I’m praying for you, Donny, that you and Wendy will be restored!”  Great.  So am I.  So HAVE I.  But, ya know, that’s probably not gonna happen.  After all, I cheated on her multiple times, and hid from her the fact that I produced porn for 3 years BEHIND HER BACK before finally coming clean.  What would that do to YOUR head, knowing your spouse was a lying, deceitful bastard for 3 years?  All of the memories created during those years, for instance, wouldn’t mean a damned thing, now would they?  Because every one of them would be built on a lie, wouldn’t they?  Could YOU make yourself vulnerable to such a person again?  Who would ask that of you, anyway?  Forgiveness can be given, MUST be given.  Making oneself vulnerable again, however, is not really a fair request to make.

In a very rare case of sharing detailed information from an interaction I’ve had with Wendy, let me post my own words, written to the mother of my son, in the not too distant past:

I don’t crave a relationship, but I do really want to have more kids, and I don’t want to be too old to enjoy them.  I’ve had this romantic picture in my head of getting back together with you and working really hard to communicate and build a good life together.  I love the thought of having more babies together… growing old with you… doing some traveling when kids are out of the house.   And I KNOW our relationship could be totally healed and become what it should have been all along if you wanted that like I do.  But you don’t, so I don’t know whether to keep waiting to see if you change your mind, or to believe you when you say you don’t want it.  If I thought you were just saying that and being stubborn or protecting yourself from hurt I’d wait around as long as it took.  But I don’t want to be the sad old man who is still waiting for a woman who really DOESN’T want to ever be with him.  I was an idiot and a fool and a selfish ass… but I’ve learned.  And I love you so very much and want to hold you in my arms all the time, and if I let myself think about that too much it would consume my thoughts.

So… if you do have any desire to ever talk about being a family again, I wish you’d just tell me.  Yeah, that would make you vulnerable, but I’d sure appreciate it.

And since you’re all intelligent people, I’m sure you can surmise the current state of my relationship to Wendy.  Yes, she’s my friend.  She even works for me.  Yes, we love each other… as friends, and as much as two people who have had a child together and then been split apart by divorce can love each other.  But it is highly unlikely that we’ll ever be reconciled in marriage.  Highly. Freakin’. Unlikely!

So what do I do?  In the Bible, Paul tells us that he’d rather we remain single for life, as he was… and I could probably do that.  But if you re-read that paragraph I just posted for you… that excerpt from an email to Wendy… well, I’m sure you can clearly see my preference.  My son, Caden, is such an enormous joy in my life that  I’d love to have more children.  And the thought of Caden living in this world without siblings… just saddens me a little.  Still, if remaining single is what God wants me to do I’ll be content with that, and serve Him as best I can.  And that just might be the way things go, as these past two years have made it pretty clear that a restoration of our marriage really isn’t something Wendy wants, and while I am genuine in my desire to wait around to see if that changes,  I sometimes wonder if my proclamation also serves to protect me from vulnerability.  Opening oneself up to a new relationship with another person takes a lot of courage.  Perhaps I lack that courage.

Don’t get the wrong idea, dear Constant Reader… I’m not spending my days and nights in angst, wondering if I’ll ever have another relationship again.  It’s actually not something that consumes much of my time at all.  Life is beautifully comfortable as it is. I am very spoiled.

But once in awhile…

And so I write.  ‘Cause that’s just what I do when I need to clear my mind.  And I invite you to put in your own two cents… of advice, sharing of personal experiences, or whatever you feel like posting.

Or just read and don’t post anything at all.  I’m okay with that, too.


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What Would You Do If You Knew Today Was the Last Day of Your Life?

This morning I was reading the words of a religious leader who sends out a weekly bulletin. He quoted something his mother used to tell him:

“Think, what if today was the last day of your life? What would you do with it? How would you treat those you love, and those around you? Suddenly the things around you that have so much meaning will seem so unimportant, and the purpose and meaning of your life will emerge from the shadows.”

Obviously, the purpose of such a question is to make people think on what’s truly important, hopefully causing an attitude adjustment and change in perspective. But as I sat there contemplating this question for myself I realized that what I would do if today was the last day of my life, and I knew it, would be something I do on a very regular basis anyway: I’d spend the day with my son.

I tell him all the time how much I love him, and I have no doubts whatsoever that my actions show it. If I died today, my son would be able to remember a father to whom he was the most important person in the world, who loved to play with him and chase him, who never raised his voice to him a single time in his entire life, and who he could trust to tell anything.

Despite my mismanagement of it, I’ve had a blessed life. I’ve encountered God. I’ve experienced deep love from The Father to his son, and as a father to his son.

If today was my last, I’d take a brief moment to send a few quick emails to family and friends, reassuring them that I loved them very much but that I was spending my very last day on earth doing the one thing that feeds my soul more than any other: laughing and playing with my boy.

How about you? How would you spend yours?


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Introspection

“I earn $X,XXX per dealership. I have X dealerships as clients.”

“I’ve spoken at this event and that event. I received $X,XXX to speak.”

“I’ve been on this news show. I’ve been written about in that paper. I’ve been given this book offer.”

———-

The following is a direct quote of something that was recently written to me. I’ve edited nothing. There’s an f bomb or two in there, so if that offends you feel free to skip this part. Here’s what she wrote (I changed nothing – not even spelling or punctuation errors):

actually donny i give you props for being fairly slick.

you play up the “i’m a christian” part. you make sure to keep in contact with those you now “pray” for (if you don’t get it then i’m talking about those that sell porn). and the best part, you CASH in on all of this.

damn boy, do i see the next Jim Bakker before me?

you know when you first said that you “found” god (oh and by the way, where was god and what does god look like….just so i know in case i run into this “god”), i was all for your decision. you know – whatever makes a person happy type thing even though it goes against my beliefs.

then you started in with this whole ex gf thing and that just creeped me the fuck out. i had visions of jack nicholson from the shinning with him using the ax to get into the bathroom door (sans donny). you started losing me at this point because i really started to question whether or not you were really “christian”.

but now i get it – you are the true american capitalist. if you aren’t going to make money in porn (and you were doing VERY well for yourself), then you sure as hell (oops said that word – oh well i’ll be there soon enough so…) are going to make it on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. kudos to you for making money anyway you can.

however, how many times and how may people are going to hurt and drag down along the way? don’t say you’re not because in a very real sense – you are.

i have no problem with someone who wants to believe in something – something where it helps them get through the day. what i have a problem with is fake, bullshit, self appointed, propoganda. and that is what you are doing my friend. you are USING those around you for your OWN BENEFIT and i don’t believe that god, jesus or mary, for that matter, would find it amusing.

i have read your blog, i actually enjoyed your writings even though i don’t agree with your beliefs, and i really wanted to believe that you believed what you had written. however, i have now come to the conclusion that it’s fake and it sickens me.

———-

From numerous books I’ve read, it seems many men have a need to feel validated by how well we can provide. Our self confidence is often directly related to our earning power.

I am one of those who demonstrate the truth to that line of thought. My self esteem is often in direct proportion to how much money I’m making. Not necessarily because I want to have money in the bank, but because I want to feel like I am worth something. Does that make any sense?

The three lines that started this blog entry are lines that have escaped my mouth on numerous occasions in numerous conversations. The first two lines fall right into that whole “need to provide” idea. The last one is pure ego.

There, I said it. I was honest. The truth is that I like the media attention I’ve received. I could sit here at my keyboard and try to pretend I don’t. That wouldn’t be true. I like the attention. I like the fact that people want to read what I have to write, or hear what I have to speak.

But what Cassie may not realize is that I do believe what I write here. I do believe the things I say about God. I do believe he has saved my life. But that doesn’t mean I’m perfect.

I know… I know… many Christians want people to think that giving one’s life to God means everything is suddenly fine and dandy. Hunky Dory. But that’s not the case at all, is it? I’m still a really screwed up person. I’m working on it, but the progress is excrutiatingly slow.

I’ve got this big ol’ ego on one shoulder that’s countered by this inner self-esteem problem. When the ego’s in charge, I brag. When the self-esteem problem takes over, I talk about people wanting to listen to me speak or book deals or… whatever. Why? Because I’m trying to “prove” that I mean something.

You might be thinking, “Donny, God is your self esteem. God is your source of power. It’s all about him. It’s not about you.”

I know all those things. Believe me, I do know those things. But knowing something and acting on it… well that’s two separate animals, isn’t it? For me it sure is.

I’m not beating myself up over these character flaws. What’s the point in doing so? All I can really do is acknowledge they exist and try to change them, asking for God’s help. The thing is, God’s not going to wave a magic wand and whisk all the bad stuff away. That would compromise free will, wouldn’t it? I’m still going to be me and I’m still going to have to fight my battles and I’m going to have to choose to accept that I CAN conquer these “personal demons”, with His help.

We’re not expected to be perfect, thank God. You’ll likely hear me refer to the following scriptures over and over and over again. I do so because this passage gives me hope and makes me feel like I’m not the only one who constantly screws up.

Here’s Paul, the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament, and the man who was used by God in such powerful ways, writing this about himself (Romans 7:15-25):

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.