Frankly Friday

On Frankly Friday Jason looks at a topic discussing it in an open and honest manner.

Frankly Friday: Chasing Faith

Frankly Friday: Chasing Faith 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Questioning FaithI have always considered myself a Christian. I was born into a Methodist home, raised in a Methodist church and I attended Sunday school as a child. I can remember the pride that I had on becoming an acolyte as a young boy and getting a children’s bible.

Although we changed churches quite a bit throughout my childhood due to moving, I still felt a connection to the community of church whenever we would return. All that changed when my grandmother died.

I was fourteen years old and I remember being furious at God. Angry that the one woman who I felt always was my rock and guiding light would be swept out of my life. It was during her battle with breast cancer that that my mother and father divorced and any remaining faith I had went down the proverbial toilet. Now, I’m not saying that I became agnostic (those who question the belief in a higher deity) or atheist (those who don’t believe in God at all)… What I am saying is that I failed to care whether there was a God, whether God was real or whether anything else was. I was angry, I was numb to everything and I felt alone.

Fast forward almost twenty years to the birth of my first child.

My beliefs again were put through the wringer. For the first time since my grandmother had died, I was certain without a doubt that there was a God. I could not see anyway that such a precious life could be created. So complex, so incredibly and so beautiful without some higher power orchestrating things on a level that we still can’t perceive. I’m not saying I came full circle, my doubts are still very strong in many areas. However, believing that there is in fact a God (in whatever form he/she or it may be) for me is most definitely there.

This whole realization pushed me to analyze my faith and the very concept of faith, God and in some cases religion. The more I wrote, the more I discovered that there were underlying tones of faith within my stories / books (like The Lantern). People ask me all the time if I intentionally write those into the stories. The reality is, I don’t intentionally write anything. I don’t write an outline, I don’t know how a story is going to end. I simply sit down and start writing. Yes, I have a concept at times or an idea that I want to move with, but it’s never as rigid as a planned out piece. It’s my heart flowing out of my fingers and onto paper. Most of the time, I’m as surprised as everyone else where things go within the stories.

Now I face another life changing situation. One that I am uncertain of whether it’s questioning my faith, encouraging it or negating it. Only time will tell.

That being said, my whole of experiences with having children, dealing with life issues and now with writing has caused me to analyze time and again my morals, my beliefs and the blurred lines between right and wrong. What is true, and what is not? At the moment, I believe strongly that there is a higher power. The Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an and every other written text out there (as far as I’m concerned) was written by man. Do I believe that there might have been some divine influence in such writings, or that they may have been written by those strong in faith? Yes, absolutely. However, they are humanity’s interpretation of something that they do not understand; what lies before our existence and what lies after it.

What do you believe or feel? There is no right or wrong, there is only opinions and there is nothing wrong with having an opinion.

Frankly Friday – Parents: Those Left Behind

Frankly Friday – Parents: Those Left Behind 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Everyone counts

A close friend told me a few weeks ago about a friend of hers who lost her son Michael Black.

It got me thinking about the people I know who have lost children. I have heard many times the axiom “Parents should never have to outlive their children.”  Being a father of two, as many of you know – I happen to agree with that statement.


How they touch us

We parents have children for a number of reasons:

  • For company
  • For comfort
  • For a part of us to live on after we are gone
  • For an offspring in this world who is part of the person you love
  • For blessing in disguise (in that we may not have planned to have them at all)

And of course there are those who have children who never should have had them – but then that’s not the point of this blog article.

Those of us who do have children (and many who don’t) know that children are a very special gift. They are a link to our past and a hope for our future. They connect us in ways to the world around us that we never thought possible until we had them. We watch children grow from babbling little balls of drooling, diaper-filled-giggle-jiggle creatures, to young people developing thoughts of their own and finally, to young adults who find their place in this world independent of us. They go about creating and finding their own dreams, hopefully achieving them, and drag you along for the ride in ways you never imagined possible – often in ways you never wanted to imagine . . . but you trod along with them regardless, through the bad times as well as the good.

The news that none of us wants

Then, one fateful day, one of our  friends, family members or loved ones receives a call – a  call that in six words shatters your world forever: “I’m sorry. Your child is dead.”

What do you do at a time like that – what does anyone do?

You curl up in a ball – physically, mentally and emotionally – and you cry. Your world is falling in on  itself and you feel as if an entire skyscraper has caved in upon you. You yearn to be comforted, but you want to be left alone at the same time. Most importantly, you want the pain of loss to go away and you want your child to be remembered – to have a chance to live out all the experiences that you are now starting to realize will never come to pass; to never graduate from high school, to never fall in love, to never be married, to never know the beauty of having their own children. And if that child is very young, that “never going to happen” experience may even be a little thing, seemingly insignificant, like never losing that first tooth.

It’s a horrible thing to lose your mother, your father or even your spouse, but in each of these cases, you can go on. Moving on after the loss of a child is something that is never really possible. The depth of loss burrows itself like a tick in the skin of your soul and heart, festering, and creating a hole that will never be filled – ever.

Recovering from the pain

Whether you believe in God, believe in heaven, hell or simply believe that we go nowhere after we die – everyone has his beliefs in what lies beyond, even if it’s no belief at all. I personally believe in God. I just have a hard time believing that all of this bio engineering is simply here by “chance” of evolution.

My beliefs are not the point here, however.

Lisa, I don’t know you – though anyone who has best friends like you is in my opinion a wonderful person. I just want you to know that regardless of whether I (or other people) know you or not, there are people who have you in their hearts, myself included.

I don’t know the pain of losing a child, and I pray that I never do. I am, however, an author. It’s my job to imagine the unimaginable. I frequently find myself trying to put my head into the mind of killers, cops, men, women, children and teens. So it’s not a huge stretch to contemplate and imagine what it must be like to lose a child; but it hurts to even imagine it, and frankly, I’m not sure it’s something I could handle, even with the loving support of friends and family.

It’s up to each person drenched in grief as to whether or not he accepts that comfort or denies that support. Now, I’m not saying that accepting the comfort is always the right answer; sometimes it’s not. At times people need to heal just by being left alone. But eventually, we all need someone to hold a hand, offer a hug, or perhaps just fall asleep beside.

And we’ve all heard those well-intended words: “God never throws you anything you can’t handle.” But let’s be frank here – I think that’s bullshit at times. God throws you things all the time that you can’t handle. But that’s what friends are for, that’s what family is for and that’s what spouses are for.  I can’t think of a single person who has lost someone they love who had absolutely no one else in life to offer comfort.

If there is one commonality in this world, it’s that we don’t have to go through sadness and tragedy alone. Even if I don’t know you well . . . if you’re in pain and you need my comfort, I will be there for you if I can. We are all human, after all, and we are all in this together. So, if you see anyone who has lost a child, reach out to that person. If your comforting gesture or words are not accepted, that’s fine, but be there regardless. That’s the important part.


Frankly Friday – Personal Support Systems

Frankly Friday – Personal Support Systems 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

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“Lean on me when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. For it won’t be long, ‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”

Bill Withers ~ Lean on Me


Everyone has dreams, goals; things that drive them or help them to have a purpose in life. For some of us, its our children or careers, for others its making money or helping to create a better world. Regardless of one’s focus, the question I put to you is this; do we need a support system, someone who believes in you, to get there? Its certainly important to have self confidence and believe in your own dreams, but is that enough? Or do we truly need an objective set of eyes or an external voice that supports and encourages us to press on?

Everyone needs a support systemI started considering this today when I saw a video featuring Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann. Now hold the phone friends and keep reading, this will not become a political discussion.

Ann was eloquent of course in the video, but what hit me hardest is how much she believes in Mitt. How much she (at least publicly) supports his dreams and goals to become president. It is obvious from looking back through archives of videos that she has supported him from the start of his political career. If you look at Obama, Michelle has also supported her husband from the start. So, my question goes to the character of people. Not just politicians, but people in general that support other people, especially spouses.

Whether it’s a man married to a woman, a girlfriend who supports her boyfriend, a man who supports his partner or a woman who supports hers… it really comes down to the core of us as people. Love does not know genders, ages or race, not real love anyway.

SupportWhat it truly boils down to is the love of one another and the respect that comes with that. The need for us to support each other as humans, as people and as individuals with individual dreams and goals. We all deserve a chance to be more than our inner workings. A chance to step outside of our designed box and have a moment in the light.

What does a person (politician for example) do when they have the ability and the drive to achieve the impossible – to become president of a county, yet they have a wife who adamantly opposes their dreams? Do they divorce her and find someone that does? What does that say for thier character? Does it ruin their chance of following their dreams and goals? If so, doesn’t that become a catch-22, as people look at their character when trying to achieve such an office? Can you think of a president that made it to office that went through a divorce? No, you can’t. Because only President Reagan was a divorcee (long before he became president).

The idea of that necessary support system raises another set of questions. Can someone succeed if they believe in themselves, but those closest to them do not believe or have a desire to believe in them? Does it mean that the person should simply give up? What do you think?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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