I believe in being honest. So, here goes everything.........

by Rick Sluss
(Milwaukee, WI USA)

A picture of Rick

A picture of Rick

I'm 64 years old. Back in 1969, after high school, I tried to join the Navy but they classified me as 4F. I had problems with epilepsy. This angered me because I felt like I was discriminated. I couldn't accept the fact that many people were afraid to hire someone with seizures. I would be a risk to their business.

I did go on to trade school. I learned Radio & TV repair, small engines, welding, upholstery work, cooking and baking, plus as few other things. It was difficult for me to get started in anything, while dealing with the epilepsy. It was really frustrating, when I couldn't find anyone to hire me. I did have enough work credits, though, to qualify me for disability income.

So, I took advantage of this before I had problems with losing my apartment. I did manage to find some part time maintenance work.

Around age 23, I had an encounter with my neighbors. They shared a religious topic with me about Jesus Christ and how He died for my sins. It was totally foreign to me but I was willing to listen. After being raised in a family, which went to mass every Sunday at the Catholic Church, I began to see where the truth was hidden from me, while attending Catholic school. After some serious thought, I decided to become a Christian. I don't regret my decision because the past 37 years have been life changing for me.

I made a decision to go to South America, on a short term mission, with our church. Eleven of us went to Bolivia, to help build a Sunday school classroom. We labored at mixing/pouring cement, by the 5 gallon bucketful. It has also made me a more sensitive and caring person. I wouldn't trade any of my experiences for anything. I have grown into someone, with a vision to help those in genuine need.

I could go on bragging about all of my material possessions and my knowledge about things but it wouldn't mean anything to others.

Now that I'™m in my sixties, I praise God that I can get up each day and enjoy my faculties. I see so many people, less fortunate than me and I know of too many people, who cannot function freely anymore. (You and I aren'™t getting any younger either. Are we?)

When I was younger, I knew the problems of being raised in a family, which I thought was distant from each other. I didn't see a mom and a dad, who openly loved each other. This was something, which the six of us kids never had a chance to witness.

When affection wasn't being demonstrated in the home, I didn't catch on to how to love someone properly. Holding on to something, like a wholesome, loving relationship, was always hard for me. I never seemed to be able to say the right words or do the right things.

Eventually, I did meet a nice gal but we never married. She wanted to end the friendship, after quite a number of years. It was difficult but I shook the anger and the denial. I had to be man enough to apologize for my conduct and begin anew. It has helped to make me a stronger man.

I'm also a single parent. My son, Dave, is 36 years old. I'm proud of that young man. He has his health and he's quite enterprising. I've tried my best to be there for him and to love him the best way I knew how to. (I don't know if it's only me but I don't hear many men talking much about their sons and daughters.

What's wrong? Are we too embarrassed to mention our role as a parent? That's truly a blessing from God.

Today, I'm involved in men's groups and I deal with some tough issues. I enjoy being accountable to someone and I find that my reputation has changed for the better. I have learned some valuable skills in keeping relationships healthy and growing.

I look back, I am thankful for having known what a family is to be doing for their children and how to help encourage one another. It's been an interesting lifetime for me.

Now that I'm 64 years old, I'™m in another phase of my life, which is going to be an interesting one. I'm now amongst a number of people who are either: still married, widowed, divorced or still single.

I live in a large apartment complex, for people 55+ yrs. old, as well as some who are disabled, to a certain degree. I see this as a challenge to my ability, interacting with others.

I see both happy and unhappy people here, which has me concerned. It has me thinking about how I can best use my time around here. I know that I can't save the world and I can't solve everyone's problem but if I can make at least one person's life a bit more comfortable and happier, I'll have accomplished my goal.

As for activity, I'm a jack of all trades/handyman. I also enjoy cleaning cars. I learned how to wash a car, without using water. It can be done, with some fantastic results. I also spend some of my time, writing for a magazine.

I had the unfortunate experience of being run over by a driver, who was talking on her cell phone. It gave me the opportunity to spend five days in the hospital. My life is forever changed about being a pedestrian and also about driving a car.

Earlier, I mentioned that I have a problem with epilepsy. Two years ago, I had brain surgery. It was successful. The seizures have stopped and I'm coming off the drugs now. The doctor even allowed me to get my driver license back again.

I decided to get involved in health supplements because the products I'm taking actually cured my illnesses. One of my problems is that I'm shy and afraid to let others know about something that works. I don't like it when people make fun of me or anyone else. I am going to end for now.

Perhaps I'll hear from you sometime. Bye for now. Rick

Comments for I believe in being honest. So, here goes everything.........

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What a blessing reading your post
by: Rose Raintree

Thank you for being honest. You and I have shared some similarities in our journey to this senior point of our life. It is so good to hear that you found Jesus and are living proof of his power to change and bless us.

I too was raised as a Catholic and did not know Jesus until I was 24 years old. The journey for me as well in other ways has not been an easy one but I am so grateful for all He has taught me and blessed me with.

You continue this journey and may you be blessed and I am so happy for you that the surgery has stopped your seizures, as a retired RN I have some understanding of this challenge for people who suffer from epilepsy.

I too live in a 55+ mobile home park and each day I pray my presence can make a difference for some here... As it hurts me to see people get to our ages and never to have found real joy.

Thanks Rick
by: Dean

Thank you Rick for sharing your life experiences with us.

Life has thrown you some serious curve balls but in spite of that you've maintained an upbeat attitude towards life.

I like to think that we are kindred spirits in that regard. I get the greatest joy when I am able to bring a smile to someone's face. I believe in the premise of paying it forward. I am the same age as you and like you I thank God every morning that I am able to rise from my bed unassisted and am able to accomplish things each day.

My wife and I just returned from a 4 day trip to visit her mom in a nursing home up north. If anyone wants a reminder of just how blessed they are they only need to spend a few days in a nursing home.

I was touched by some of those who are severely incapacitated yet maintain a thankful and optimistic outlook on life.

Dr. Ph.D.
by: Om Joshi

I am inspired with your story, in India there are not such opportunities. Still I will try after becoming handicapped. I paint and painted post cards and published but unable to sell. Painted a painting de-picting all Presidents first ladies of USA on 42x5 fit cotton strong canvas in oil color. Want to sell. Hope some one may help. Om

Christian vs Catholic
by: Anonymous

Just a note about being a Christian or being a Catholic. Excuse me but they are one and the same.
What ever made you feel that one was different from the other. I went to Catholic School for 18 years and I am still Catholic and a Christian. You can also if you rethink your choices. Good luck.

A great story
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Thanks Rick for sharing your history.

If you feel reluctant to mingle easily with people, your ability to write your feelings certainly makes up for it. I hope someday you write a memoir. You know how to speak your truth and being real is what it is all about

The best could definitely be yet to come.
Many Blessings.

next part of life
by: Lynn

Hi Rick,

Thanks for your story. I'm always saying "we are too soon old and too late smart".

I believe it's sad but true: when we are young we have so many choices to make, so many opportunities ro succeed both in relationships and careers. But many of us just don't know enough to make the best decisions.

It sounds like you have turned around tough situations are are doing well and have fine motives.

Congratulations for that.

I am in same boat
by: Antonio/Lancaster PA

Hiding my illness, afraid of been fired of my job. Now retired and trying to enjoy my freedom. I wish you the best luck. Antonio

Remember Rick?
by: Wendy

Rick was active in the Retirement Community prior to his brain surgery two years ago. I looked online for him a few times, and just never connected. But -- here he is -- better than ever!

Welcome Back RIck!

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