Sunday, July 20, 2014

We Are Children


I was sitting on the porch with the wife and watching the neighborhood move about like they always do. They are predictable, like I am. They park their cars and go inside with dinner sometimes and then silence, until they are randomly standing on their front lawns as if they were SIMS avatars. It sparked my curiosity.

What separates humanity from avatars that just do a routine and randomly or systematically go places and perform certain duties? Mrs. Horowitz is on her porch just standing there still. Mr. Lukoshavitze is walking his yard without reason or perceivable purpose. People moving one predictable place to another, not seeming to notice the actions around them. Am I the only person in my neighborhood that sees this? What is this?

Humanity is sometimes so lifeless. People do things for many reasons, and some make no sense at all. People are a product of habit and upbringing. Many will follow suit just because. It started to bother me watching people drone about like lemmings. Then a stupid scripted video reminded me why people are different than avatars.

This Video

It was stupid, but reminded me that I daily flip my kids all over and laugh so hard with my wife. The difference is the heart behind the actions. I think that we have to be reminded not to let life become some moron behind a remote control forcing us into their routine. We are human. We are a beautiful creation of God, each unique and worthy of the attention of angels.

Consider this Bible verse.

New Living Translation
1 Peter 1:12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.


Even the angels are eagerly watching our lives unfold. How great is that?!? We mean something to someone. We are more than just moving energy. We are children. 





Sing.
Migrate.





Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Humanity


I'm watching the news tonight and they bring up a story about this woman who was hit and ran over by a boat. She is a pretty lady, has a cute little kid, and a very supportive husband that just "wants his wife to be ok." The news channel as filthy as they are flash no less than 10 different photos of this poor woman in the ICU intubated and sedated...mouth agape and eyes open. If I allowed photos of my wife like this, if she woke up, I'd end up in that bed.

It's really gross.

This is a person. This isn't about getting a good shot to shock the audience into captivation. This woman may die and leave her son without a mother, father without wife. Both of these thoughts, if I insert myself into the story instead of him are stomach turning. We shrug off death life it doesn't matter. We hear these terrible stories and keep moving forward as if it's ok as long as the tragedy stays over there and not here. I almost died a couple a few times. The prospect still rattles my thoughts when it crosses into my present.

I was a stupid kid. I was a cliche of a kid like me in some movie that America will always wish a happy ending to. I had nothing. Few people loved me. I was angry and full of anxiety. I treated people badly out of anger or fear or whatever. I remember this night when my mother and brother went out of town. I lived with my brother in an upper flat above my mother's house. I saw an opportunity to self destruct. I invited dozens of people that I didn't care about and whom didn't care about me. I filled the fridge with alcohol and opened up my mother's flat as well. I think I just wanted to be surrounded by people that were there because of me.

People came. A lot of people. They ate my chips and drank my beer and as the night aged and my eyes blurred, I became honest with myself. Only a few of these people would show up to my funeral. Vice Versa. I snuck out without being noticed and sat on the swing in the backyard watching the smoke billow from my mouth and into the night sky and wished it was all over.

I believe this was the end of trying.

It was F*&^ the world from this moment on. I pushed everyone away except Will (The Body),  Joe (Gumby), and Vernon (Andy). I was bent on my own destruction. I would drink and drink and ended most nights only seeing colors and lights. I would wake to filth and dread. I'm not going to go further with the story, because I think you can see the path clear enough.

I was rarely treated like a human being by those outside of my very small blood and non-blood family. I was either fun, or crazy, awful, or an object of fascination like a shocking news story. I tell you this because I think we all have been guilty of seeing someone as something other than human. Maybe not even on purpose, but because hearts get hard. People mess up too much and that's the end of your compassion. Someone cuts you off in traffic and they become and idiot. A police officer gives you a ticket for speeding and they are worthless and abusive of power and tax-payers money. Meanwhile, all of these people go home and continue trying to figure out how to be human.

It's hard to be a human. Life is really hard. We have to learn to live without those we have always lived with when they die or leave. We have to deal with failure and rejection. We are tested endlessly and it seems as if everyone else is walking this road seamlessly and you continue to stumble.

I look at what I have when I am sitting on the couch next to my wife with my children draped all over us and I shiver to think I may have given up my entire future to the "end of trying." I now know what it means to be really loved because of who I am. It's likely I was by many people my whole life, but didn't know it when I had it. It took my wife wading through my faults and eccentricities and vowing to continue to love me. It took my kids looking at me for their protection when they are scared, to realize that I mean something to someone.

I've told this story before, but I was in a different place then. When Will died on Christmas, I had a hard time being around my own family because I didn't want their Christmas to be associated with grief. They were downstairs playing with their new toys and I retreated upstairs to the living room window and leaned my head against it to look at the lights. Christmas has always been my most favorite days. I couldn't see anything in those lights that made me see beauty at all this day. All I saw was my best friend, my chosen brother on a gurney being put into a van while his four children wept and his mother had to be held back from him. It had rained the entire day. My head against the window, my tears began to run down it, racing the rain to the bottom. At that moment I did not believe I could be anything to anyone anymore.

But then my little girl, age 3 1/2 years old approached me and put her little arm around my leg. I looked down, trying to wipe my face and not drop tears on her cheeks. She reached up to me and gave me a little plastic heart from a beaded necklace kit. My 3 year old knew me enough to know my heart wasn't ok. She gave me the prettiest one she could find. From this day on, I knew I was going to be ok. This was not the end of trying. She showed me true humanity.


Sing.
Migrate.




Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Being Remembered


If asked any given day within the last 36 years of my life what my biggest fear was, I would give the same answer every time. Not Existing. It isn't rare or unique or anything special really. I'm not so afraid of death or the act of dying, but the not existing concept lingers in the back of my mind and makes me want to run from each thought of it. This thinking causes one to live every moment in the now, but also motivates their actions to reflect fear.

Today I came across a very disturbing meme on the internet. The unknown quote read, "One day you will die. And you will be forgotten." Although this isn't immediately true as you will have loved ones who will mourn you. But it occurred to me that I have no recollection or knowledge of anyone more than a couple of generations before me. One day, i'll have been dead for 60 years and not a single soul will entertain thoughts of me. I will not grace the stream of memories and vague photographs that make up a memory to anyone left on this planet.

At first, I was instantly saddened and clicked away in defiance of my impending doom. Then, as I continued my night, it occurred to me that fear is crippling to real life. Sadness is also rooted in fear. Sadness is also crippling to a real life. I mourn the dead because I miss them, but maybe more because I cannot truly know without doubt that I will ever see them again. I fear non-existence because I cannot know without doubt that I will live on in another state after this life. I believe both, but I have been wrong more than right in my life it seems to me.

So I decided that this terribly depressing meme actually was a comfort to me. It is mandate to live a better life. If I can resign myself to live without fear, I can truly make change. I can be liberated from myself and be happy if I can just remember that no one is going to remember any of my actions, save the less than 10% of people that are remembered in history, I can calm down finally. Maybe I won't panic and drop my stomach when I realize the next 36 years aren't necessarily going to be quite as exciting as the first. I realize that I am older now than I ever thought I'd be at my age. I should be at peace at 36 years old and enjoying every moment of my days.

It takes faith to let go of your false sense of responsibility for keeping yourself alive. It's not really our job to keep ourselves from dying, nor our job to inspire the future to remember you. We should take care of our health for quality of life reasons and also to keep from becoming a hindrance to our loved ones, but we cannot change a single moment that we will be facing. We will add no years to our lives. We are going to be born and we are going to die. These times, God has appointed for us.




Sing.
Migrate.



 Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Miracles Happen Laura


After thirteen years of marriage, my wife is still reluctant to believe the tails of my travels. I have been many places and have more stories than the average 36 year old. Many just so unbelievable.

But...

What if a person volunteered every time the world asked for one? What if the same person raised his hand very time?

My son is a prime example. He is eleven. He has been on Good Morning America. He has been filmed doing the weather for hundreds in New York to see. He has broken his femur, the largest bone in his body and hardest to break. He is me as a child.

So is it so hard to believe that...

I saved a Chinaman?
May have found a dead football player? (Perhaps)
Been driven home by Tiger Woods?

Could be I am telling the truth. Hard as it may be to prove or believe, I may be the guy that has volunteered for miraculous stories.





Sing.
Migrate.

Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, June 6, 2014

Graduation Day


At my high school graduation party, I can remember four friends being there. The rest were my mom's friends. I remember only my brothers Will, Joe, Andy, and Jeff. There wasn't anything extravagant...a gazebo and a back yard. I remember I was wearing my Rage Against the Machine shirt I bought for just this event. We played our signature game of Water Twister in which we ended in a tie between me and Will of course. There wasn't a single thing we could defeat each other in. We always tied. It's a wonder that I'm still alive.  

We spent our last year of high school lying on the hood of his car and looking into the sky, trying to figure out how we were going to remain in that moment forever with all of that chaos.

We knew the good and the bad were coming, we just wanted to enjoy right now as it happened. None of us ever lived as if we were ever going to grow old. We planned to die young. None of us wanted to fade away with no one looking. I guess we were the definition of teenage invincibility. In our hearts, we were kings of the world and no one could touch us.

We grew up. Things touched us...easily.

Will died and we scattered. We chose different paths to cope. We all chose to let our guts rot out for a while.

I chose to move forward in my career and my family. I focused and achieved so much, but I feel I lost the ability with one of my brothers to sit in the basement and argue with God. After a while, God didn't seem to be listening to my anger. At some point, I had to move forward and forget everything I have ever known about God. I had to resign that God had a different definition of fair and good than I did. He will always. For that I guess I will always be angry with Him. For me, it isn't fair and no god could see my brother as he was and still allow him to depart from his family. I just don't get it and I never will.

Most of us have moved on never forgetting, but in spite of the loss that lingers in our stomachs, we move towards the light.

We have been through hell and saw the sunlight on the other side. I think of graduation day and remember peeing on that high school sign with Will, so excited to finally be done with school and to finally prove that we were worthy despite their standards.

We celebrated my graduation that day, but all I can remember about my senior year is the two of us lying on a car hood, scared and excited for the future.

I want to change your future so badly. I want to make God's blessings for you reflect His blessings for me, but the past is the past and I am going to have to get used to that.

I still wake up looking to my left for your long lanky body. I still wake up thinking you are still alive.

I won't allow the sadness of your passing to control the fight that remains inside of me. I wont forget your smile, especially your laugh. I won't forget that you loved me more than I loved me. I loved you more than you loved you. I wish you could see what I see.



Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Narrative


I've been writing my whole life. I used to have notebooks that I would fill up, then retire. I would stack these notebooks like they were family in a corner, hidden from any attraction that may make a person see them. I placed them in boxes.

I remember the contents of those notebooks, I guess for the most part. I could show them to you, but when I became a Christian, another well meaning but deceived soul convinced me to burn them. To him, they were sin. My old life was a sinful life.

This isn't entirely false. I wasn't a very savory person. I was really good at getting you to like me at first...then creating destruction in your lives.

I burned everything in my back yard with another profoundly hurting new Christian. We burned our entire past as if we were not made up of our experiences. We vowed never to revisit them. I failed even moments after when I felt the hurt of my written thoughts go up in flames.

I started writing again. At first I wrote for me because of my desire for people to know who I really was...then maybe narcissism, I began writing for anyone in the world to read. I thought it was pretty great that a guy in Egypt could be reading my thoughts and maybe could relate.

I got my first commenter a few weeks into writing my thoughts. She was awesome! She said wonderful things and told me that my words were different and cool and impacting. My second soon after. I gained some internet friends and readers and began to get a little momentum.

Then my best friend (who has always been my brother) committed suicide on Christmas in the night. For a week I held it in because my guts were twisted and torn and I hadn't the words to express what was happening to me. I was sure that I was actually dying.

A week after, I had to write something down. I had to tell his story. I didn't want to exploit him, so I left most details out. I just needed my memory of him to become reality to other people. I poured out my torn guts to the world to read. People started reading. A lot of people started reading. People wanted to know what would happen next...if I would fall apart or rise above again.

I liked it. Reading the words of strangers helped me get through the worst years of my life. I kept writing what was inside of me. Eventually people got tired of the truth.

Which is...

You weep and wail and eventually, you get better and rise above.

People in our culture aren't always attracted to moving on. People want drama. People want a broken man spilling his life out onto the internet without restrictions.

People stopped reading. I spoke about other things than my brother and they stopped reading. A few remained interested in my life, but most jumped to the next blog tragedy.

This is America. People want to be entertained. People want drama and action. They want to feel like they are part of the story. When they realize they aren't, they leave the narrative.

You may have noticed I have shifted my focus on this blog from my personal thoughts to short fiction stories. I have done so because of the reasons above. I have realized that people want to read about things that they fear or can relate to. My thoughts are present and apparent in those, but are masked for your own entertainment.

I am simply not that interesting.


All of that being said. I love that people still read my thoughts. I love those that continue to care about me. Thank you! 





Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, May 19, 2014

In The Night


I was laying on my bed in the night. I listened to my mother talk to her friends in the living room. My mom was never much for having people over. I remember trying to listen to the conversations they were having, but for a 6 or 7 year old, words are difficult. I got bored and started running my fingers over the outlines of the brown sponge painted wall. On my imagination, I could make shapes of faces and pigs and monsters. My mom would sponge paint the house, in my child's memory once a year. She would always make sure the house was new and clean. That was here thing. She cleaned up every day.

This night, I tried to listen and heard only muffled laughter and creaking footboards as they ventured to the restroom. One particular creaking led past the restroom to my room. I listened to it as if got to my door, then stopped. I waited. I thought it must have been my mom. She was listening to see if was still awake. I closed my eyes to pretend in case she came it. She has been known to come in my room in the night and lay her hands on my back and pray for me while I pretended to sleep. She never knew I was almost always awake.

My sleeping bag zipped up over my head moments after I heard the door open. I was held down and the zipper closed me inside of the bag. I couldn't breathe all of the sudden. I struggled, fearing the devil had come to take me. I managed to break the zipper in part and saw his face, grimacing as if he hated the fact that I was alive and wasn't dead. He kept holding me down and covered my face until it was still again and he was gone.

Everything was gone. The distant laughter and the creaking of the floor. Just me and silence remained. I lay there for an eternity it would seem. Then I went to sleep. I would never tell my mother of that story, but would remember it always. It's strange how the mind works. I wasn't afraid to tell her, I just didn't. I guess I couldn't really be sure if what happened was real or a terrible dream.

It was something. And it happened. And it is in my memories.








Sing.
Migrate.

Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Other Side of the Valley (A Series of Anonymous Stories- The Conclusion)



He gave it all he had. He gave it everything. He cannot reach his feet. He gave it everything he's got and it wasn't enough and he can't bare to look. He's doubled over and doubled over. He cannot stand on his feet or even reach his knees. He drops lifeless to the pavement. This was to be his renaissance. This was to be his great awakening. He pictured this moment to be the moment he proved that all of the fight was still to come and he had more left in him to keep fighting.

Instead he cannot lift his chin off of the cement. He is trying and anger and disappointment and hatred, but he cannot move anymore. He is all done. The pain is unbearable. The pain his body feels does not compare to the pain of losing your his last hope. He gave himself to this race. He thought if he could finish this, he could move on and finish anything. There are still miles to go.

But he can not finish. He can just lay on the pavement and weep as he has never wept in his 35 years of life. He could weep like this forever, he thinks. He could give nothing more and the world would still demand more. This is the very moment he willfully and consciously gives up and allows himself to finally accept that his wife has gone. She's gone somewhere that he cannot follow her...at least for now.

He weeps as if he were a baby apart from his mother's arms. He weeps as a man that has nothing. He weeps until his guts wretch and wail with him.

...

Until a hand touches his back. She grabbed his back as she did her son who had passed away long ago. She was a shut-in for so long, but is giving up no longer. Today, she isn't letting anyone fall down. She has failed too many. She cannot carry him. She reaches beneath is chest and struggles to lift him.

Then another hand reaches beneath him. He came looking for a reason to forget that girl who he could never reach. He reached beneath and helps her lift this weary body. They struggled and moan as they try to make this man a man again. He hadn't the strength to assist. He still could not move his arms or legs. The lactic acid had it's way all around. They struggled and fought and shouted to God for help. They weren't giving up.

Then suddenly, without a sound, another hand, and another. A girl who lost her love without knowing she had truly loved him, and a man that forgot that true love doesn't reside in another person, but in God and himself. They all brought a man to his feet and carried him, and themselves, across the finish line. They crossed with grace and tears. They crossed looking to the sky and weeping. They crossed as a family, together in their loss.

It was then that they realized that they were never alone. They were family from the start. God was in them. Despite their pain, there really was something on the other side. On the other side of the valley.




Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Becoming Sunlight (A Series of Anonymous Stories- Part Four)


Before his hair went grey he married a girl. She was from Wisconsin, we was from Minnesota. They met at an airport on his way to California to see his family. She was working as a stewardess and offered him double shots on his Bloody Mary on the plane awaiting take-off.

He worked at the steel mill and she ran a small day care from her home. Life worked for the two of them. They had developed a team at home...avoiding the things that triggered anger and focusing on the things that produced satisfaction. This was the American dream before cameras could exploit it.

At night they prayed at the bedside with their kids. They ate every meal together and mom and dad listened as the kids told jokes they had learned at school and shared stories they all would laugh at for completely different reasons. Every night, dad would sit on his knees next to their beds and tell them stories about when he was a kid and compare to when they were kids. Obviously their lives were easier.

His son sat directly in front of his casket when he died. He just stared at the face of his father and wondered how he did it so easily. His wife in the back of the room talking to family and friends. He has been sitting on that chair all day looking at the past and present of his father and she never stops talking. She hasn't even asked him if he's ok. It's his father that's dead and she has nothing to say to him now? After all of this talking?

Weeks later, they sway with the waves as he holds the vase that holds his father in tiny particles. He pours them onto the surface of the water off the coast of Normandy, the place his father always spoke about. He looks over to his wife who isn't holding his hand and saw nothing. She isn't there. She is with someone else in her mind. She had left long ago, but had no real offer strong enough to convince her to leave him. She does now and they both know it.

She leaves the day after they get home. She stands face to face with him. She was an idiot, but never a coward. She says, "I don't love you, I love someone else. I'm sorry for your father and I'm sorry I've lied, but I'm leaving." No goodbye. She just opened the door and walked out into the sun and out of his life.

He just stared like he did at his father as she walked away. He knew he couldn't change any of it. They were always going to go. He wanted to stop her. He wanted to ask his dad what to do because his dad always knew what to do. Instead he stood there looking at a shadow until it became sunlight.





Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Wife, the Mother


She gets up before the sun to run. She comes home to shower and get the kids to my mother's and off to work everyday to be at work by 7. She comes home after 8+ hours of work to make dinner and rush Aevry off to figure skating, then Caeden off to baseball, then back to pick them both up. By the time I get home at 8PM, she's exhausted, but still has time to be my wife and listen to my ignorant gripes about work.

She is the picture of a mother to me. She is my beautiful wife, whom I appreciate and love. She is the very thing that gives me hope when I'm weary at work. I get to come home to her. She works so hard and sacrifices so much for this family. I could never give her enough credit or reward for who she is and what she does, so I'll write it down and give her this letter of thanks.

Thank you Laura for being the best mom that our kids could have the privilege to hug every morning. Thank you for being the best wife that I could ever deserve. Thank you Laura for working so hard for our family and giving yourself without hesitation to make all of us happy.

We love you more than the sun that rises and thank you for who you are to us every day, rain or shine. You keep us together.





Sing. Migrate.
Thanks for reading...Z