LIVE LIFE BY YOUR RULES
Welcome to “Healing From Within.” I am your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit a tale of awakening, spiritual communication, healing, miracles and a guide to intuition and soul presence. Today I am delighted to be talking with Brian Peyton Joyner author of The Wisdom of Stones, an interesting story of a grandson and grandfather, his interracial relationship and a boy who would be a Southern Baptist Preacher but can’t pray away the gay.
How wonderful it would be if we could all learn to live our life plan and destiny no matter how different it may be from what is expected of us.
Sheryl and her guests share intimate experiences and realizations about life in its entirety, in both the physical and metaphysical realms of reality and possibility. Working with our dual nature of physical and spiritual energy we often begin to find the truth about, “Who we are. What life is really about, and how to transcend our fears and misunderstanding to find freedom and joy whatever life brings our way.
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” Brian Peyton Joyner tells a fictional story of a college senior who promised God he would be a Southern Baptist preacher in return for God sparing his Mee Maw. Now, on the cusp of receiving a scholarship to the seminary, unless he can pray away the gay” that path may not be an option for him. Ben’s upbringing by his grandmother and grandfather after the death of his mother and abandonment by his father, and learning of his Grandpa’s interracial relationship in the 1930’s he learned to live by his own rules, courageously and honestly. Life we will learn is often influenced by the people and events that shape and mold our perceptions of reality and learning, ultimately, what is true for you might not be true for me.
Brian has many incidents he remembers and shares in this book: some his own and some reflective of other creative sources…A mother who died when he was seven..a father who left for a new family and Mee Maw, his grandmother, and his grandfather who raised him and also, Preacher Dale. Sheryl especially liked the memory of the grandfather who was interested in crystals and arrowheads. After Brian finds a stone on a hike with his grandfather he shows it to him who then says, “That looks like a gen-u-ine Indian arrowhead. He held it up to the sunlight. I think it’s a pink quartz. He had a look in his eyes. A sparkle that I hadn’t seen since Momma died. Grandpa and I was always walking around in the woods hunting for rocks. And we was always on the lookout for arrowheads to add to his collection of stones. You want it I asked? But Mee Maw said, “ Charlie, Give the boy back the arrowhead. You have enough rocks already. It’s yours Grandpa said. “But I want you to have it,” I said and I meant it. It was the best stone I’d ever found. I pushed it back into his hand…..In return he wanted to give me something special and that was the story of a runner. The best base stealer in history. His name was Climax Clinton.” For each stone Brian gave his grandfather he gave him a wonderfully enlightening story to dwell on.
Sheryl shares a story of her own after she asks Brian why he become an attorney and what he liked about his profession. Sheryl tells him that when she was seventeen she had thought she might become an attorney as she loved helping people. Sheryl expected people to be truthful and honest but learned not all were, and she thought that she might protect people from injustice. Brian responds that he was interested in the profession for much the same reasons and also that he loved to help families and wanted clients to know that the best attorneys might not be found only in the large firms or those who received the largest retainers. The qualities of integrity and love for life really empowered people in whatever life endeavor they engaged in.
Brian describes himself as a “Southerner.” And that is reflected in the language and customs and family values depicted in this novel. The Culture of the Southern United States, or Southern Culture, is a subculture of the United States. The combination of its unique history and the fact that many Southerners maintain—and even nurture—an identity separate from the rest of the country has led to its being the most studied and written-about region of the U.S.”More than any other part of America, the South stands apart. Thousands of Northerners and foreigners have migrated to it … but Southerners they will not become. For this is still a place where you must have either been born or have people there to feel it is your native ground. “Natives will tell you this. They are proud to be Americans, but they are also proud to be Virginians, South Carolinians, Tennesseeans
, Mississippians and Texans. But they are conscious of another loyalty too, one that transcends the usual ties of national patriotism and state pride. It is a loyalty to a place where habits are strong and memories are long. If those memories could speak, they would tell stories of a region powerfully shaped by its history and determined to pass it on to future generations.” Much of this southern culture and sensitivity are visible in The Wisdom of Stones.
When Brian is asked how important his grandparents were in his developing years, it becomes apparent to readers that those lucky enough to know their grandparents receive tremendous benefits. Some of the things grandparents provide that parents often cannot are that grandparents can show us history that they lived through and which is more accurate at times in their recollections than what we read. Sometimes grandparents can give us a unique look at religion and what it means to our spiritual growth. Grandparents can also help us learn certain skills such as sewing, gardening, baking, farming or woodworking, that can be passed on and which may be overlooked in today’s social media environment. Knowing how grandparents lived through similar experiences and how they dealt with problems in their life can show us they got through everything just fine, and we can also. We can learn about our family: siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents as they tell us funny stories and help us understand humor. Having a sounding board who doesn’t spend every day with you like a parent or guardian can be invaluable when you’re trying to navigate the teenage years, and can serve as an impartial source that can help teenagers understand which friends they can trust, and which they cannot. Often the teenager spends so much time with their peer group they lose perspective, and can be unsure of what choice is best for them. Grandparents have lived long enough to realize not to get upset over the little things; life is too short. Children think everything is hyper- important, but can learn to adjust their priorities after discussing problems with their grandparents, who have a broader world view.
Brian goes on to tell us that religion played a huge part in his formative years and it is very evident in this story of a boy dealing with many conflicting issues in a coming of age story. A passage in the book shows how faith and trust in God’s plan helps his grandmother before she passes. Religion gives many people an understanding of an afterlife. Watching his Mee Maw pass Brian wrote a very lovely passage of her transition… “After he left, Mee Maw pointed to the blinds. Open please.” I cracked them a little and a beam of light hit across her face. We sat there for a few moments in silence. She began to transform. The pain and worry that had lined her face and deepened her wrinkles seemed to lift. She had this glow about her. Later she said, Promise me…Get help And then I felt her grip loosen as she took a deep breath. “Be a pastor she said, and then exhaled. I held onto her as I felt her spirit leave her body. And I saw the look on her face. She was smiling a joyous look I’d never seen before.”
Sheryl tells us that religion or spirituality or metaphysical ideas helps to make one tolerant, accepting, understanding of human frailties or predilections to follow certain patterns of sexuality, and should help one realize that while we are not perfect, a Divine Energy or Universal Energy or God doesn’t even need to forgive us as he loves us as we are. Therefore the rules of religion that shame or deny people’s genetic predispositions to certain behaviors must be written by man not God. As a medium in meditation and readings for people she only feels the grace, peace, quiet and beautiful poetic messages…never anger criticism or denial. Finding God in a personal way and aligning to soul purpose is possible for us all and has little to do with structured or man- made religious beliefs. In Sheryl’s book The Living Spirit she addressed this thought and wrote, “Spirit allows us to face challenging situations that our energy: (emotions and thoughts) bring into our lives and helps us to see how to make the best of any situation. Through our faith and the surrender of some of our personal needs, we allow the universe and a higher source to help us find new ways to search and remember our already preconceived destiny and life plan. Spirit gives us all the time in this world, in this life and other lives and beyond, to find our greatest means for developing levels of infinite love and healing as evolving compassionate expressions of the Divine.”
Brian wrote in The Wisdom of Stones how his being gay was first perceived by the grandmother who raised and loved him….”Even my Mee Maw wanted me to get help to stop me from being gay as she wanted me to be a pastor and help people. On her death bed she apologized for not raising me right …She loved me but still because of her religion could not accept or understand my natural sexuality.” Brian also writes about some events observed when working for the Christ-ify Curriculum Committee. In the South Carolina Baptist Ministry publication on the cover in bold red letters…”TWO CHURCHES EXPELLED FROM CONVENTION.” It was the first time in history the Southern Baptist Convention had expelled churches. One church had ordained a gay pastor. Another had allowed two guys to get “married in their church, or at least to have a commitment ceremony. Brian asked Pastor Hardy for help who then told him he had a son who was a homosexual and had not been able to help him, but he did have a seven step program to freedom from homosexuality and offered to help Brian.
Brian would like readers to take away with them the idea that living according to your own needs and requirements will lead to finding out more about your true inner needs and will free you from the cares and judgment of others. A story that Sheryl liked in the book is also well worth remembering and reflecting on. Brian told Karen a young woman who was fighting alcoholism as she had had her first drink with her father when she was only seven. Brian relates a story that gave him great hope when he was a child and often unsure of his own ability to handle matters. Brian wrote, “When I was six Momma cheered and clapped because I had climbed this huge pile of dirt fifteen feet high. For a year after that when I got scared or there was something I didn’t think I could do Momma would remind me that I had climbed a mountain. I could do anything I set my mind to. Every mountain in life is just a series of small hills. You don’t have to get through the weekend without drinking. You just need to not drink tonight. And then you need to not drink tomorrow morning. And then tomorrow afternoon. And then tomorrow night. Sometimes if we look at the mountain range we can get overwhelmed, but if we focus on just a small task like climbing the first hill, we can do it. My mother believed that God has a special plan for each of us. And that although we might not understand it and we may question it and we may get angry when we don’t agree with it, in the end we need to believe that through Him all things are possible.”
Brian Peyton Joyner Esq. has shared an intimate tale of coming of age from a Southern orphaned gay person’s life journey, and a hopeful perspective for finding the wonderment of alignment to one’s truth and personal power, and therefore, to finding love success health and tolerance in a world of varying, often limited ways to see the whole tapestry of life. It becomes clearer to us that often we are pursuing the goals and dreams of parents, grandparents and society, accepting their values, fears and prejudices, and judging ourselves while often identifying with groups, either religious, regional or according to gender or sexual preferences. These influences may cloud our judgment and we may miss the real promise of life which is to accept ourselves as spiritual beings having a physical life that guides us to find goodness, and beauty within, beyond any physical constraint of family, culture, or gender. We are the possibilities of eternal change and evolution, and finding what makes us tick, what makes us resonate with joy and love, is the key to knowing ourselves as both human and divine. This wisdom moves us to appreciate every living thing without judgment, blame, anger, fear or distrust. The Wisdom of Stones is a story of transformation love of hope and of following one’s intuition or heart and soul being in a world where a productive entity is often besieged by misunderstanding and unfulfilled potential.
Brian and I would have you celebrate your earliest life memories, family challenges, joys, and know that nothing was random or unimportant. All roads lead to the discovery of inner wisdom and of the stories of soul courage and pride in life lived purposefully.