Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Clown


I have always had a thing for clowns. They are both idiotically happy and so awfully sad. My mother had a thing for them too, I think for the same reasons. She collected Emmett Kelly figurines that lined a large glass stand in the corner of the living room. I didn't understand why she liked them so much until I realized I had been in childhood ignorance until my late teens. One day I woke up and realized I was a clown. I learned how to hide everything.

A few years later I was in a bad place. I was profoundly lost and had given up. I started to paint things on the walls of my apartment. The largest of the paintings was an Emmett Kelly face. Clowns never smiled the way I saw them. Clowns were always hiding something traumatizing.

When Will died, my other mother (Will's mother), gave me this Emmett Kelly figurine that Will had always wanted from his grandmother's house. It nearly crushed me when I opened it because of what it had always meant to me. It meant things she didn't even know it would. I knew I was changed when Will died and I would never be without that traumatizing event that had happened. I had lost my brother and best friend.  This particular figurine was named Willy. Imagine that. She didn't even know until she looked it up before she gave it to me. He worked on a train yard with his hands, just like my brother.

This was the single most meaningful gift I have ever received.

So I see a clown today making balloons for kids at a restaurant. We were sat at the table right next to her station, so we saw countless bratty kids coming to her for balloon after balloon, then popping them and asking her to make more. She made them over and over as these kids, with their parents blessing, continued to bring broken balloons to her to make new ones and never giving her a penny for her time. She smiled the entire time.

We were cashless. We don't carry cash anymore. We were trying to avoid her making the kids anything because this time we didn't have a tip, so we were careful to mind our own business. She approached us when she had a spare minute and asked our kids if they wanted a ballon. The kids said "No thank you" and we explained we would get some next time. She frowned at us and asked the kids if they wanted a balloon again, which forced us to explain why we didn't. She shook her head at us as if we had no idea what a clown was for. She made Aevry this princess that she told her wasn't even on the list because it took so long. She made all of these kids wait in line until she was finished and handed the most glorious balloon image I had seen. Then she gave Caeden a Tiger's balloon baseball cap. This was a moment that I will remember when I forget that some people still bleed.

Some clowns just want to make people happy. It made me really sad to not have a hundred dollars to give this woman who just gives to others. When I have it, she will get it. I asked for her card in case she isn't there next week.

The story reminds me that people really need love. If a clown in a restaurant could cause me to pen these words, then maybe I could really try harder to be a compass in another's life. People are speading in all different directions and many of them are the wrong direction. Maybe a little love could point them forward.


Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Breathe


"This is the start
This is your heart
This is the day you were born
This is the sun
These are your lungs
This is the day you were born

And I am always yours

These are the scars
Deep in your heart
This is the place you were born
This is the hole
Where most of your soul
Comes ripping out
From the places you've been torn" - Switchfoot

I work and I run. I work at a place that replaces one person's heart for another's. One person's lungs for another's. I wake up early and step out into the cold air and breathe in deeply because I have my whole day ahead of me. 

Then one foot in front of another, it doesn't matter the task. I may be running miles or going to work. Both can be equally exhausting. Life is lived one foot in front of another. If you look at it from too far away, the task looks too big, like standing in front of a mountain you have to get on the other side of. You have to choke down the fear and give it a few seconds, then go. Just let go and put out your first foot. Remember to breathe, then remember what keeps your heart pushing blood through your miles of vessels and back again. 

Blood travels through your body in about 1 minute. One cell after another, each carries oxygen to your organs so they won't fail...then to your lungs as you step out the door and breathe that deep first breath of the day air. Imagine being the size of a red blood cell. You could take 1,250 of them and lay them down in a line and they would equal 1 centimeter. Now imagine those same cells traveling your 60,000 miles vessels in one minute, allowing you to take a gasp of air when you are weary. Life goes that fast for us too.

Then you get hurt by something. 

Everything was working fine until you were crushed and scarred. You try to get up but you can't. You make so many mistakes and pray for help and nothing happens...no one comes. Breathing becomes labored and your anxiety makes your chest rise shallow. You sit and tap your fingers against things and bounce your knee when you sit. You bite your nails waiting for a verdict on what you've done, but nothing happens...no one comes. You just breathe, then remind yourself to breathe. 

Maybe you have travelled too fast. You turned off and hit the gas and now you are lost really far away. Somewhere you took off your cape and became normal. Somehow conformed to what insane people believe is normal. You follow the rules and eat out of duty. You breath incompletely. You stare blankly. You collect what you have earned and sleep lightly, waiting for something to come...someone. But no one ever does. So you try to remember to breathe until you can't anymore.

Life is not about breathing until you can't anymore. This is insanity. Life isn't supposed to be lived normally. Each person has something different inside of them. Let's call it a super power. The most imaginative and revered people this world has known are those that live life abnormally. They refused to give in to conformity or cultural mores. People like Rosa Parks. People like Albert Einstein. People like Neil Armstrong. Have you any idea how much abnormal courage it takes to sit on a bus with demons or move forward in science knowing something isn't right about you, or exiting the earth's atmosphere in a tin can? 

At some point greatness starts with taking a breath and then a step. God is in control of what comes next and you have to trust that. 

Eat because you're hungry.




Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Furnace


I was little. I cared about nuclear war, and Satan, and the things that made my basement make noises when everyone else was asleep. I would lay by the wall register and wait for the heat to turn on. I would listen to the little dings and bangs that would happen moments before I would feel relief from the loudness of silence and fall into my own little comfort, as the heat would wrap itself around my face and warm everything under my blanket on the floor. I had a bed and my own room, but there was something about sleeping on the floor next to that heat register in the same room as my mother that I could not resist. My mom didn't mind, I think we were both lonely.

Loneliness is the thing. It's that terrible feeling so deep in your stomach that sometimes you can't even feel it at all. Sometimes you go about your day just as normal as the last, but feel terrible with dread. You shrug it off and do it again the next day. It creeps in and quietly makes you unhappy and discontent.

The absolute worst is when loneliness makes you think about the most precious and beautiful memories you have ever had and yearn to repeat them. You listen to songs that remind you of when you were happy and you get sad and your stomach starts to hurt, like a child's hurt in a department store when they have lost their mother. You ask something like wanting to go back and just watch it happen. You don't want to change it, you just want to feel it again.

The truth is that those times weren't so great. We tend to forget the reasons we wanted to be grown ups then. We forget the things that made us lonely then. Our lives are better now.

We have to try not to live in the past. Find a heater and lay next to it for a while until it turns off. When it turns off, you remember the cold distance between hot and cold. Then you have to wait in anguish. Loneliness leaves you in anguish.

Instead, find the things that make you warm, like your husband, or wife, or kids, or a place you once were happy and go there. Or buy a space heater and run it until it burns down your house. Either way, there is nothing wrong with comfort, just be comforted in the things that last.



Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Signature of God


So what happens when despite your best intentions and devotion to the promise to never "do that", you find yourself on the outside of your own moral map? 

We plan our lives to reflect what is in our hearts. We make promises to ourselves and stand firm in the cement that keeps us devoted to the person you want to be. 

In the Bible, Peter the apostle rebuked the possibility that he could ever deny his best friend and savior, Jesus. Jesus said he would deny Him three times and like clockwork, he did. Jesus was murdered, then buried, and the apostles scattered and returned to their lives, Peter to fishing. Jesus returns and finds Peter back in the boat he sat in when they met and forgives him. Then He uses Peter to start the church. 

That is what you do. You accept grace and forgiveness and move forward. There are lessons to be learned from everything in the Bible. The biggest lesson I learned from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is that looking back at sin is foolish and isn't well liked by God. When you are pulled from the fire, you should not strive to go back. So you move forward and forget, after you confess and rely on God to enrich your life with good things. 

It is the guilt that keeps us looking back. Love drives out guilt. This is the beauty of Christ. The very name of Christ means Messiah/Savior. If we are still guilty, why is He called the Savior? We trust in Jesus as our hope for a really great eternity and the lifting of the burden of death from our hearts. 

My goal in life was to be a picture of integrity. I have always desired to be honest and real and open. I try really hard at these things and fail often. Despite the pain failure causes, my conviction is to never look back at my failures. Again, I struggle with this too, but leaving bad things behind does give quite a liberation in your life. 

I'm not going to write a blog about a new age, artsy, feel-good kind of positivity. My desire is that you and I  would focus on the positive because that is exactly what God has given us. This is what God has called us to. We are not to give up. Instead, we can find His signature everywhere, just like an artist that leaves his signature on a painting. God has left His here. He has left His on you.





Sing.
Migrate.



 Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Cabin in the Evergreens


My eyes flicker. I've been sleeping beyond my alarm clock. I've been sleeping for ages. This has happened a few times. I wake up without an alarm, feeling too well rested, and look at the clock that makes me late for everything. Eyes dart open surveying my surroundings. A dark corner. A blinking alarm clock. A velvet painting of a deer with another deer. I survey my position. I am on my side facing what appears to be the back of a rough fabric couch. I am wearing a flannel, jeans, and some boots made of rubber and leather. I open my eyes fully and look around. There is a television with an antenna, a deer bust, and a picture of a guy in a wooden barrel scrubbing himself with a brush.

This isn't my life.

I live on 39th street in New York City. I have a wife and three kids and two dogs. I work at a law firm as a new lawyer. I have impressed my bosses a dozen times and have been insinuated a promotion. I wear a suit and tie to work and take pride in my appearance. I am young and good looking and intelligent. I am what everyone in Harvard University looks like. I work hard at looking the role.

I wake up completely. The way a person wakes up when the smell of coffee has become too strong to resist. There is no coffee here though. Here, as I look around, seems to be nowhere. I am nowhere. I am a man in a flannel laying on an old sofa in a cabin in the woods with no other sound but my own sober breath. Where am I and how did this happen? I remember sitting in my chair with a bottle of whiskey. That's it. That's all.

I lost a big case. The first big case I was assigned to. I had worked on many, but this one was mine: I was in charge of it. A kid went missing and I was sure it was the father who did it and not my client. They found the body in the river miles down stream. The killer? A 15 year old that confessed dumping him there; paralyzed in guilt. They all laughed at me after that. I went home and sat down with a bottle of whiskey and leaned back in my chair.

I am surrounded now by evergreen trees. I don't recognize where I am. I call for my wife. Nothing. I call for my children. Nothing. I roll over and reach my feet, legs feeling 100 years old. I look outside the window after clearing the cobwebs from the sill and see nothing but wilderness. Trees, Just trees. Where were my wife and kids? Why did I feel so old? The refrigerator is empty. There are no tracks in the dirt that surrounds the cabin. There is no phone to call out. One single box of Rice Chex in the cupboard. I realize that no matter how I got here, I am screwed. I know this because this has always how I've pictured hell. Now I am here.

For a fleeting moment it occurs to me that I've always been here...the hell, not the cabin. I've been sterile for some time; letting work consume me. I've neglected everything but manilla envelopes with red strings that tie around little spheres. I walk over to the bathroom and pull the little rusted chain that operated the buzzing dull bulb that lit the room. My reflection is blocked from the mirror that hung over the sink, caked with dust. I wipe away the center and look into my own eyes to see who I really am in this cabin. I have a habit of being different people in different places.

Today my eyes looked panicked. My face is bearded and hair is long, but well groomed and free of oil. It appears I have shaved my neck around my Adam's apple; a spot my wife detested when I would neglect the razor for a few days in law school. I was always afraid of shaving off the flesh around the bones that constructed my windpipe. The jugular was a concern as well. I have compulsions which make me want to do things harmful to myself. I literally test fate and run the razor once or twice fast down my face, leaving small cuts several times. I was afraid of these compulsions during shaving my neck. One false move and I could have two cupped hands full of blood.

My appearance took my attention away from my current existence for a moment. This may have been due to the fact that I'd always wanted to live in a cabin in the woods and wear flannels and not shave and answer to no one. After this momentary fascination, I feel my heart sink again. I had written my greatest desire off as hell. I walk to the door to the right and realize that this house is the exact architecture of my other house. Except this one is here and that one is there. Am I here or there? They both all of the sudden feel familiar. This home feels as much as home as the other, which gets more distant in my memory as the moments pass by. I shake the cobwebs and enter my daughter's room. Her bed. Her bed is there! Her things are kinda there! But strange recreations of her things. They are made of wood and sticks and berries and leaves. But they are her's! This place is beginning to feel familiar again and warm. I rub my beard in the doorway and wonder about the woods. No particular part of the woods come to mind, just whether people in other places of the woods could hear me if I shouted. I feel sadness for my daughters little stick dolls, but I also feel at home.

I try really hard to remember the decor in my other home. My sofa is leather, brown with fake weathering. I have an oil painting of the New York Skyline, pre-911 on my wall. My daughter's room is a violet color with American Girl dolls lining the wooden shelf lining the walls of her room. More dolls on her bed, and more in her closet. Pictures of mommy line the walls and a single picture of me...daddy, on her art desk. She has drawn me almost perfectly. Almost. Except for the beard. I never understood why she drew the beard.

Where am I right now? I cannot figure out if right now is a dream I am having as a lawyer in New York, or if New York is a dream I had while sleeping last night. Either way, the scenarios have their strengths and weaknesses. I could have my dream or my family. I grim as I pull the chain to release the energy from the bathroom halogen light. I turn around and go to my bedroom. Opening the door becomes a task as something is on the other side that seems designed to keep someone out. A chair, or a card table, I thought. I slammed my body against the door until I won the battle and placed my foot into a different universe. 

The smell was the first thing I had noticed. It smelled of lavender at first, then vanilla. It was a smell that made me close my eyes and try to remember where I had smelled it before. It was so familiar. The bed wasn't made. The covers were spread midway to the foot and the bottom were turned over as if they were kicked off the feet. My wife never could stand her feet to be covered or held down. I would do this from time to time to piss her off or be playful, not sure which was the real reason I did this. 

I walked over to the closet and opened a militant room of organization. Shoes together on the floor, married to their other half. Clothing hanging perfectly on the closet rail. I smelled the clothing. They smelled of a summer campfire. I would have expected to smell of perfume. My wife always wore perfume. I sit on the bed to collect my thoughts. I light a cigarette, which feels strange to me because I don''t smoke and don't know why I have the cigarettes in the first place, or why I even have the urge. In have never smoked before. I look to the table at the bedside and see a wedding picture. It all looks so familiar, except for the beard. What is the deal with this beard? 

At this moment I get sick onto the floor. I wretch and wretch until there is nothing but dry heaves. I don't even know why. I felt nothing before, but now I cannot breathe a full breath without vomiting. I have to get out of this room. I have to get out now! I want tog o, but I can't make my legs move. I am stuck here, vomiting, but feeling so at peace. 

I fall asleep.

My eyes flicker. I've been sleeping beyond my alarm clock. I've been sleeping for ages. This has happened a few times. This isn't my life. I wake up to the sun beaming through a very large window. My leather couch is caked with my sweat, as it usually is when I drink too much. I know the day, and the time of the day. It is 7:00 AM. I am supposed to have been at work already. Usually I would be freaking out about my tardiness, but right now, I don't feel at home. 

I don't feel like I should be here. I have feelings of dread, so I go to my daughter's room and look for her. She isn't there. Just a colored picture of me on the wall with a beard. I panic. I go to my wife's room and easily open the door to find a smell that made me want to cry. The smell of lavender and vanilla filled my nostrils. My wife was here. Was here. Was. This isn't home anymore. 

This is hell. This is the life I made to forget. What happened to them? All at once, I remember. 





Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Cabin In The Evergreens Part Two


My eyes flicker. I've been sleeping beyond my alarm clock. I've been sleeping for ages. This has happened a few times. I wake up without an alarm, feeling too well rested, and look at the clock that makes me late for everything. Eyes dart open surveying my surroundings. A dark corner. A blinking alarm clock. A velvet painting of a deer with another deer. I survey my position. I am on my side facing what appears to be the back of a rough fabric couch. I am wearing a flannel, jeans, and some boots made of rubber and leather. I open my eyes fully and look around. There is a television with an antenna, a deer bust, and a picture of a guy in a wooden barrel scrubbing himself with a brush.

This isn't my life.

I live on 39th street in New York City. I have a wife and three kids and two dogs. I work at a law firm as a new lawyer. I have impressed my bosses a dozen times and have been insinuated a promotion. I wear a suit and tie to work and take pride in my appearance. I am young and good looking and intelligent. I am what everyone in Harvard University looks like. I work hard at looking the role.

I wake up completely. The way a person wakes up when the smell of coffee has become too strong to resist. There is no coffee here though. Here, as I look around, seems to be nowhere. I am nowhere. I am a man in a flannel laying on an old sofa in a cabin in the woods with no other sound but my own sober breath. Where am I and how did this happen? I remember sitting in my chair with a bottle of whiskey. That's it. That's all.

I lost a big case. The first big case I was assigned to. I had worked on many, but this one was mine: I was in charge of it. A kid went missing and I was sure it was the father who did it and not my client. They found the body in the river miles down stream. The killer? A 15 year old that confessed dumping him there; paralyzed in guilt. They all laughed at me after that. I went home and sat down with a bottle of whiskey and leaned back in my chair.

I am surrounded now by evergreen trees. I don't recognize where I am. I call for my wife. Nothing. I call for my children. Nothing. I roll over and reach my feet, legs feeling 100 years old. I look outside the window after clearing the cobwebs from the sill and see nothing but wilderness. Trees, Just trees. Where were my wife and kids? Why did I feel so old? The refrigerator is empty. There are no tracks in the dirt that surrounds the cabin. There is no phone to call out. One single box of Rice Chex in the cupboard. I realize that no matter how I got here, I am screwed. I know this because this has always how I've pictured hell. Now I am here.

For a fleeting moment it occurs to me that I've always been here...the hell, not the cabin. I've been sterile for some time; letting work consume me. I've neglected everything but manilla envelopes with red strings that tie around little spheres. I walk over to the bathroom and pull the little rusted chain that operated the buzzing dull bulb that lit the room. My reflection is blocked from the mirror that hung over the sink, caked with dust. I wipe away the center and look into my own eyes to see who I really am in this cabin. I have a habit of being different people in different places.

Today my eyes looked panicked. My face is bearded and hair is long, but well groomed and free of oil. It appears I have shaved my neck around my Adam's apple; a spot my wife detested when I would neglect the razor for a few days in law school. I was always afraid of shaving off the flesh around the bones that constructed my windpipe. The jugular was a concern as well. I have compulsions which make me want to do things harmful to myself. I literally test fate and run the razor once or twice fast down my face, leaving small cuts several times. I was afraid of these compulsions during shaving my neck. One false move and I could have two cupped hands full of blood.

My appearance took my attention away from my current existence for a moment. This may have been due to the fact that I'd always wanted to live in a cabin in the woods and wear flannels and not shave and answer to no one. After this momentary fascination, I feel my heart sink again. I walk to the door to the right and realize that this house is the exact architecture of my other house. Except this one is here and that one is there. Am I here or there? They both all of the sudden feel familiar. This home feels as much as home as the other, which gets more distant in my memory as the moments pass by. I shake the cobwebs and enter my daughter's room. Her bed. Her bed is there! Her things are kinda there! But strange recreations of her things. They are made of wood and sticks and berries and leaves. But they are her's! This place is beginning to feel familiar again and warm. I rub my beard in the doorway and wonder about the woods. No particular part of the woods comes to mind, just whether people in other places of the woods could hear me if I shouted. I feel sadness for my daughters little stick dolls, but I also feel at home.

I try really hard to remember the decor in my other home. My sofa is leather, brown with fake weathering. I have an oil painting of the New York Skyline, pre-911 on my wall. My daughter's room is a violet color with American Girl dolls lining the wooden shelf lining the walls of her room. More dolls on her bed, and more in her closet. Pictures of mommy line the walls and a single picture of me...daddy, on her art desk. She has drawn me almost perfectly. Almost. Except for the beard. I never understood why she drew the beard.


Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Cabin in the Evergreens


My eyes flicker. I've been sleeping beyond my alarm clock. I've been sleeping for ages. This has happened a few times. I wake up without an alarm, feeling too well rested, and look at the clock that makes me late for everything. Eyes dart open surveying my surroundings. A dark corner. A blinking alarm clock. A velvet painting of a deer with another deer. I survey my position. I am on my side facing what appears to be the back of a rough fabric couch. I am wearing a flannel, jeans, and some boots made of rubber and leather. I open my eyes fully and look around. There is a television with an antenna, a deer bust, and a picture of a guy in a wooden barrel scrubbing himself with a brush.

This isn't my life.

I live on 39th street in New York City. I have a wife and three kids and two dogs. I work at a law firm as a new lawyer. I have impressed my bosses a dozen times and have been insinuated a promotion. I wear a suit and tie to work and take pride in my appearance. I am young and good looking and intelligent. I am what everyone in Harvard University looks like. I work hard at looking the role.

I wake up completely. The way a person wakes up when the smell of coffee has become too strong to resist. There is no coffee here though. Here, as I look around, seems to be nowhere. I am nowhere. I am a man in a flannel laying on an old sofa in a cabin in the woods with no other sound but my own sober breath. Where am I and how did this happen? I remember sitting in my chair with a bottle of whiskey. That's it. That's all.

I lost a big case. The first big case I was assigned to. I had worked on many, but this one was mine: I was in charge of it. A kid went missing and I was sure it was the father who did it and not my client. They found the body in the river miles down stream. The killer? A 15 year old that confessed dumping him there; paralyzed in guilt. They all laughed at me after that. I went home and sat down with a bottle of whiskey and leaned back in my chair.

I am surrounded now by evergreen trees. I don't recognize where I am. I call for my wife. Nothing. I call for my children. Nothing. I roll over and reach my feet, legs feeling 100 years old. I look outside the window after clearing the cobwebs from the sill and see nothing but wilderness. Trees, Just trees. Where were my wife and kids? Why did I feel so old? The refrigerator is empty. There are no tracks in the dirt that surrounds the cabin. There is no phone to call out. One single box of Rice Chex in the cupboard. I realize that no matter how I got here, I am screwed. I know this because this has always how I've pictured hell. Now I am here.



To Be Continued...




Sing.
Migrate.



 Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Beauty in the Battle


When did life stop being about the hard work you put into it? It just isn't valued by many anymore. When the wind hits your face, we want to retreat. This is common to every person, but it doesn't mean you retreat. Things get hard. Life gets hard. No one should have ever promised you different. Rich or poor, sick or well, life gets hard for us all. It is equally hard. The poor may think the rich have nothing to complain about, yet the middle to upper class white man is at the greatest risk for suicide. The rich think the the poor have it made, not having to deal with all of these decisions. They just have to accept the hand-outs. Meanwhile, the poor are standing in lines applying for things they will get rejected the first three times they apply, even though they qualify. They will try to figure out a way to pay the rent AND feed their children.

It doesn't matter who is against the wind, it will blow when it blows. We are in this together. We all get covered in whatever the wind blows on us. We all face the earth together and fistfuls of dirt is no different than fistfuls of money.

We are separated by one thing...our pride. Some choose to ask for help and others don't. Help is always near. The issue is with the whether the person is willing to ask for it.

I was always taught, both in words and deeds, that you face what the world throws at you and keep moving forward. Some things are going to be harder than others. You are going to want to quit...don't. When the going gets tough, you shout at it as loud as you can and run toward it. When life hands you lemons throw them back and pursue the one that threw them. You fight until you can't stand, then you get back up and keep fighting. You never, ever, ever give up for any reason. If there is something you want in life, you fight for it. You put in the hard work for however long and you will end up with your obstacles under your feet.

Our culture seems to feel differently. We seem to want what we don't deserve and demand what others have worked for.

The saddest part is that these people don't understand the beauty they are missing in the battle.


Sing.
Migrate.

Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

She


It was a balmy summer night when I met this girl. She was wearing a lavender dress that matched the wedding flowers that lined the aisle she sat beside. Neither of us were emotionally available at the time; both had things to work out in our lives. We met anyway. We danced all night and into the next several months.

There was this thing she did that made me laugh so hard that I couldn't hold on to the annoyance it would have usually caused. She habitually and historically got everything wrong. If there were a name to a movie, she would mispronounce it. If she were trying to say Dax Shepard, she would say Dax Sanders. She sang the wrong lyrics in a song, just loud enough for me to hear and cringe, then grin because of how wrong it was. She would sing ACDC's lyric "She was a fast machine..." as "She was a fax machine..." It was so frustrating, but completely adorable as well.

She had these eyes that would look into mine at the important parts, then glance down as if she were embarrassed that she made contact with mine. We dated for a year before I gave her a ring. For an entire year, she was subjected to my dancing and lip syncing songs as she sat unamused.

She drove most places because I am not sure my driver's license was on the up and up, and intimidated me with her brains. She was different than me. We were altogether different. At first, this was a problem for both of us. We both would give each other these looks, trying to figure each other out...trying to figure out if the other was serious.

I was an extremist. I was always going full steam ahead with my ideas without the knowledge of how to get to where I wanted to go. Subsequently, she witnessed a lot of hamster-wheeling. I had huge dreams and was hell bent on being impressive. I wanted to be that guy that people could see and want to be like, but never get close enough to touch. We all know that person. He or she may show you a little attention, but then back off to keep themselves untouchable. I was in a band. I dressed cool...sometimes, danced cool....once in a while, and sang cool......as long as Limp Biscuit was cool. I would do this one dance where I would gyrate my hips in such a way, the audience would actually move their heads back, afraid I would hit them. She would sit on the side as proud as ever, silently making notes for when she would be able to mock me ten years later on the couch with some wine. Then we could laugh about it, but not now. In these moments I danced like a Pentecostal holy roller making love to everything in the air. I would just close my eyes and allow the devil's angels to laugh at me as I swayed.

She was a voyeur. She is smarter than the average person. She will put in her headphones and not turn on the music so you wouldn't bother her, but she could hear what you are saying to your husband over the phone and you wouldn't know. You would say, "Laura" and nothing. Then you would wave and she would take off the headphones and answer. She heard you the whole time. Imagine how many times she made me look stupid with this practice.

She worked at a golf course as the beer girl, which bothered me a little because golfers are generally jerks that ogle women like this. She was practical. Everything I wasn't. She was pragmatic. She did things that made sense because they made the most sense. She didn't want to test danger because that was stupid. She wasn't hard to please and wasn't extravagant. A person didn't need to be anything special to catch her attention.

Even a tattooed guy from the other side of town could catch her attention.

We had a date. We were both expecting something different I think. She was probably expecting the typical guy in his early 20's that would probably end up being a jerk that she never spoke with again. I was expecting the typical pretty but shallow girl I was used to. We both got something different. I immediately noticed how easy it was to be around her. It wasn't awkward at all. It wasn't hard to talk to her. She was down to earth and funny and full of stories. I took her to a cider mill, then an old train yard that I would frequently go to and speak with the homeless in. I walked her up the hill to the train cars. I'm not sure what I was trying to prove, I just think I was trying to let her know who I was at the start, so if she wanted to run, it was because she didn't like who I really was at the start.

I dropped her off at her car and walked back to mine. I wanted to kiss her. Every time I saw her I wanted to kiss her. But I didn't. I didn't want to connect that way. There was something different about her. I would tell my pastor almost a decade later that I knew she was sent for me. He would question how I could know and I still can not produce an answer because I truly cannot hear God with perfect accuracy. But that night, I went home and wrote down in my journal that I met a girl. I went out with a girl on a date and I would marry her. I cannot be certain of the voice of God, but I can be certain that she was the one girl that confused me and turned me upside down. She was to be my wife.

She remains my beautiful wife. She is still so different from me. She still messes up the words of every song and every name. She still looks at me and pulls her head back, trying not to be hit by the dancing of this clown. She is graceful and soft: She is a balance to everything I am. One day one of us will bury the other. She will either get my name wrong on the headstone or I will say something embarrassing at her funeral. Either way, we will be together. We will be the same. We will be different.





Sing.
Migrate.

Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Between Where Faith Begins...And We End.


I don't write a lot about the years growing into a man. My thoughts here usually start when I was able to decipher what everything meant in the world...or at least as I thought they meant. What I thought the world was and what it actually is profoundly defies my entire youth. I didn't understand so much of the gold I held as I do now. Kids wake and they worry about things that will not matter to them in ten years, then redirect their attention to whatever is in front of them. I had bad things happen. I had sorrow introduced early, but I didn't understand what it was even about. I only understood the things I could hold.

In real life the things you can hold sometimes go away and you can no longer reach them. Many try to keep stretching, but they will always be just out of reach. Always something you always wanted to be or to do.

Some things are meant to happen one time for all eternity and no more. These moments when the moon was bright and the the person next to you understood you perfectly for that moment only and never again. These are the moments you won't forget because they define your childhood...and your adulthood.

I had a gang called the brat patrol that consisted of my little brother, but not blood yet, Andy. We made the blood ritual official the summer of 1988, when we pressed our bloody fingers together and swore a life long pledge that neither of us was ever willing to defy. We were famous in the 7 blocks that surrounded us. We were the savages because we pinned a kid under the ball pit at Chucky Cheese's for 10 minutes as his mother looked for him. It was his birthday. We were the gang that had Cub-scout knives and threatened to kill kid's mothers. I sat in a wooden club house with two guards at the side and two guards at the door, just waiting for a rival gang to attack and meet their doom.

My mom ran a day care, so during nap time, we would have fight clubs to see which 4 year old was the toughest to move on to defending the honor of God Himself. At least we told them.

Really, we wanted power over something...I did. In honesty, I wanted power over something. I wanted to be something great. I would never settle to be ordinary. If I was considered ordinary, I would break a kid's arm to get notoriety. And I did.

Meanwhile, I would lay in the living room at home on the floor next to the heat register, listening to the sounds a furnace makes when it begins to go to work. It reminded me of how I would eventually go to work.

I would set an alarm and when it rang I would hit the snooze once before rising. I would stagger to the coffee pot, trying not to wake anyone. I would brew the coffee and brush my teeth. I would drive to work with a sadness and dread that anyone would feel at 2:45 AM on a Tuesday.

This is how I remember it feeling as I waited for the the relief of that heat to hit me. I had listened to the preparation and needed the reward. The heat would rush through those little horizontal cuts in the baseboards that I would count with my fingers so many times. Eventually, the comfort would cease as the heat turned off and the loneliness returned.

The heat always seemed to turn off, despite it's promises.

When the tinkering subsides, you will always be listening to the machines shutting down. This is where real faith begins.

Sing. Migrate. Thanks for reading...Z