Sunday, December 26, 2010

Anniversary


As much as I want to hide, I cannot not write today. All day I have been either sleeping or putting on the mask of the happy Christmas guy that I always was. I did a nice job too. My son said it was the best Christmas ever. Maybe that is just because he doesn't have much in his memory to gauge from, except last year. I have tried very hard to strike dead any memory of any feeling that has re-occurred from last year. The phone ringing, the drive to his house, the sight of the lights blinking in my front yard that night, the feel of the cold rain fall and freeze in my hair. But now I sit here alone. The house is asleep as it should be, as I wanted it to be. Now I will let it in, when no one is looking. 12 months have passed since I have seen him dead or alive. It still hurts just as much, maybe in different ways, but my stomach still drops when I think about him.

Tonight is a quiet night. Drove around looking for Chinese earlier. Nothing was open and no one was on the road. Hard not to sit and remember without stimulation the tears rolling down the window to the pane. The blurred vision as I drove home from his house. The look on his mom's face. Hard to keep it out. In reality, I don't want to keep it out. I have to keep it out. I have to give my kids the absolute greatest memory of Christmas. I can't let my blood seep into theirs. They miss him so much already. Caeden has been mentioning all week how he hopes no one dies this year. This may have contributed to his best Christmas ever declaration. In that sentiment, I agree. I'm thankful for who remains in my life and who I have gained.

Set em up the dead end kids.

May you have a very merry Christmas Will. May you sing songs directly to the face of Jesus. May you build things a man could never imagine with tools never even thought of. May you remember me and smile. You had so much to smile about here, but I can only imagine what you have to make you smile in Heaven. I am glad you aren't hurting anymore. I smile when I think of you now. Took many months to get there though. But the important part is that I am there. You are finally happy and I am making my way back. I am not going back big brother. God is healing me. It was Him who gave me the strength to endure this in the first place, only He knows how much I doubted that He could.

I miss you and will always wish you were still here. I will always think of you when things get quiet. When the moon looks over the lights on Christmas and reflects it's light in beams like lasers from the eyes of God. I will never forget you, especially on Christmas, but I will never forget the Christ that came on this day so you can be with Him. That is what Christmas is all about isn't it.












Sing.
Migrate.









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Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Brother


Happy birthday big brother. 33 today if you were still here. Where you are now, they don't count years. There is no aging or looming ends. Last year, I looked into your eyes and you were somewhere else. I thank God that you are where you wanted to be.

It's been a rough year brother. I have been mad at you more times than I can count. I have thought about you every day. I have a bag in my basement filled with your things. I open it and you seem to still be in there, however I know it is just evidence that you were here. I like to imagine that you still are. Last year today was the last time I saw you breathing. We had so much fun. We played musical chairs and once again it came down to you and me. Once again, we called it a draw. I could never beat you, you could never beat me. It was a battle of wills, but we were both smart enough to disengage before we spent the entire night in battle. Just like in Twister.

I wonder what you are doing now. Your mom believes you are working. Building things. I like that. I hope you have every tool you could ever think of. I still have that one we made with the torch. I took it from your toolbox, hope you don't mind.  I don't know how I have made it here buddy. When you got in your rocket and flew away, I never believed I would survive it. For so very long you and Joe were all I had. But here I am. God wasn't gonna let me go, just like He never left you. My wife and kids and our family have leaned with me. Your aunt made these beautiful pillows for the kids for Christmas. They were made of your t-shirts and pictures of you with each one of them. It was their favorite thing. I don't know what God tells you about what is going on down here, but if you can read this, we are doing OK. We all still grieving in both healthy and unhealthy ways, but we are all different and experience things differently. We sure miss you around here. I had to replace my own faucet last week. A job Laura would have conned you into doing I think.

I watched Aidan play this Christmas song last week at school on the recorder. It was a beautiful song. It brought me to tears. I am proud of those kids, you would be too. A little less twinkle in their eyes. A little less twinkle in the lights this year, but with God's help we are all gonna make it through. We have never been closer as a family, thanks to you. So there are positives.

It is quite beautiful outside right now. Reminds me of when we wanted to start that snow plowing business because it is so pretty and peaceful at night in the winter. I miss you a lot.


"A long December, and there's reason to believe...maybe this year will be better than the last..." Counting Crows










Sing.
Migrate.






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Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Is Life


What is life? I know the answer in the Biblical sense I think and that is simply, to glorify God. The getting to that part is the hardest thing God could have ever asked us to do. Except He didn't ask us, He told us, because he has that right. He is the Maker of everything. But practically. Right here. Right  now. What is life?

Every day I open my eyes. This is something a living person usually cannot avoid. I blink a few times and lay there still...as if to trick my body into believing I am still sleeping. I look at the wall and up at the window as the sun pours through like fire in a wheat field. Most mornings I can do without that. I think about things. Not ordinary things like what I have to accomplish today or how I am going to meet goals; but strange things like how I am going to get up and brush my teeth, get dressed, and eat something without getting up one second too early to make it on time to wherever.

Some days are passionate. You can go all day on this adrenaline feeling of love and mission. Others you are lucky to feel anything at all. Understand that this blog is not a cry for help, so really, I am Ok! It is a description of normal feelings had by a person sitting in a boat in the middle of the ocean alone at times and flying over the entire world others. I told you I struggle with depression, but not without hope. Hope is life in real life I think. Hope is the difference between the living and the walking dead. There is always tomorrow and the sun may not seem so bad then. If it does, there is always Heaven. Hope is the thing that saves lives. Hope is what God wanted us to understand when He came down and laid down in the straw, just like us. He wanted us to know, He would suffer worse, yet stand tall, praying through bloody tears for help and strength. If Jesus, the very Son of God had to live through it, so do we. We are able because the same God that gave Jesus the power to rise up from the dead, is the God that wipes away our tears when we have been broken.

I know that there are some out there that don't understand me. Some that do not have the same experience of life as I do and can't see it through my eyes. I do realize that in many ways I am abnormal. But the thing that brings me so much comfort is that God made me this way. God allowed so much to make me who He wants me to be, which is so far from where I am, but hope means believing you will get there. Never while breathing, but one day.










Sing.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prowlers


My dog roams the night. She thinks she owns the house, at least when we are asleep. She lurks and in the night chews up our most precious memories. She is a puppy. Puppies are jerks.

However, I can't help but to think about the rest of the jerks that roam the night, thinking we own the world as long as no one can see.

We need to remember that God is present all the time. Might seem like an infantile concept, but is it really?

We were never promised alone time...away from God and anything or anyone else that might judge your actions. God is always there.

May God remind us of that whenever we have the desire to be stupid.







Sing.
Migrate.








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Saturday, December 11, 2010

On The Other Side Of Lights


So what comes next? What unexpected monster awaits behind the fog? This is the feeling I always have. What comes next? I don't know. There is both beauty and anxiety in that feeling. What is in front of me covered in the darkness and wrapped in the unknown may be the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. It may be the beauty that lights the sun itself. It may be rapture. Or it may be more sorrow. I may be a disaster that rages like a hungry beast feasting on blood. It may be what happens next.

Unknown is scary for anyone I would imagine. It is hard to close your eyes and allow your faith to see for you. It is hard for me because so many things have gone wrong...then again, so much has gone right too. God has built me in fire. Melted away my pride and what most people would call dignity. I call it pride. David experienced this when he danced. He danced with no shame, he had nothing but God and he knew it. We are at His divine mercy. Some people think this is unfair. I can relate to that. I have felt like a pawn at times too...like God has made me for much less noble reasons. But who am I to question the potter when I am made from clay? Reality can be very relative to some. Some will only see the things they want to see and believe what they want to believe...true or not. Fear drives it. Fear fans the flames. People are afraid of the unknown and afraid that the worst could really happen.

I have seen beauty giggling in my arms and I have seen death so close I can smell it's awful stench. Both go together. There is no beauty without the death. A baby would never be so innocent and precious if we hadn't been profoundly hurt by the less than innocent. I often come across other Christians who are singing with me who just refuse to hear the wailing in the hearts of God's people. Things must be perfect for them to have peace, they must not allow any of the other side of reality to become known. I sympathize with them too. When I was a kid, I covered my eyes at the scary parts too. It would be easier to keep your eyes covered than to take a peek at the other side. For some, the other side is forced upon them. Keep your eyes closed all you want, but the rest of your senses will compensate. It will get in.


Maybe we can stop just for a moment and listen and crack those fingers apart just a little and try to understand those that don't see the world and faith exactly as you do. Maybe we can open our arms to them and embrace them. Be a shoulder to weep on, because the world's shoulders are cold and I don't have to tell you that. People need you. People need to be loved. People need to see God in the little things that God dwells in. People need to remember that as dark as it may seem, there is so much beauty still surrounding them. People need others to remember their names and listen to them when they speak. People need love.









Sing.
Migrate.









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Monday, December 6, 2010

Lights Of A Cold City


Finally got the Christmas lights up. I have been dreading it all year. I expected to see the lights and be transported back to the misery that was last year. I expected to see it all and feel it all so intensely again, erasing a year of time elapsed from the worst day of my life. Christmas 2009. One for the books. One that will never be forgotten or looked upon in a positive light. I expected all of these things, but they didn't come. I put up the lights outside with my usual frustration and fury. I sawed down the pole of the Christmas tree so it does protrude through the drop ceiling again, to my wife's embarrassment. I strung the lights around the tree and hung them on the walls. It felt good. I have always loved Christmas, like really loved Christmas. I was transformed, but not back to Christmas of 2009, but to every great Christmas I had ever had. It truly is a Christmas miracle that I survived last year, but an even bigger miracle that God mends the torn heart. It still hurts like crazy and at times I sit and stare out windows and wish Will were out there somewhere. But I can breathe. I am a fighter and I wanted more than anything to give up. This is the strength that only God possesses.

Last Christmas, they wheeled my brother out of his garage into the back of a van. Face covered, with rain falling in buckets all over us. What a way to say goodbye. I am beginning to let that go. It won't leave my memory, but lately I can think about him without getting sad. He was funny. He was always joking. We was a manipulator. He would grab onto his mom's leg in high school and beg her for money, and if she said no, he would refuse to let go until she gave him five bucks..."Anything helps" he would say. He did legendary things. At times he was larger than life, figuratively and literally. Other times he was meek and quiet, reserving his most important and delicate words for moments that really meant something. Sometimes he desired hundreds of people around and other times, he was a loner and would disappear like a ghost into the darkness. For the past year, I could only picture him walking away. I picture him now laughing as he always did and see the day that I meet him again. Gives me more motivation to finish life strongly. To keep running.










Sing.
Migrate.









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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful


Thanksgiving. One of the few admirable holidays left. Somehow over the years it has not been tainted by commercial media. It is about thanks and this year's Thanksgiving was spent on the verge of tears. It has been a rough year. I have survived something I never believed I could survived. I told my wife in late December last year that I would find a way to be OK. At the time, I did not believe it. I was lying. But here I sit, very much alive. Changed in many ways. There are people to thank...people that kept me alive. Here is a short list, even though God sent a lot of people to help me through.

God. You brought me things that are unthinkable. You gave me family that never belonged to me and they were there to pick me off of the ground. You are the very strength that picks me off of my face.

My wife- you suffered as much as I did. You are the strong one. You kept it together while I fell into piles. You are my guardian. You are my angel.

My kids- You reminded me that there is innocence left and that God values those that have faith like a child.

Mom- I know how much you pray for me. You always have. We are very much alike and you see where I hurt.

Jason my brother- You cried with me, not for me. That meant a lot to me. It meant a lot that you knew how much Will meant to me.

JoAnn- You help me to think clearly. You remind me that Will is not missing from me. He is here in my heart. You say it in almost every conversation we have. It helps to hear from a person who loved him more than words could express.

Joe- We are what is left. Things won't be the same little brother. We will always be missing someone, but the Dead End Kids will prevail. We will fight keep fighting.

Audrey- You have a strength and heart that people don't often see. I see it. You are golden. Don't stop caring so much, no matter what this world does to you. I know what Will meant to you. He was special. I am sorry.

Jim- You have always been there for a kid that didn't have much. Never knew a dad and had no idea how to be a man. Thank you. I needed a hug standing in front of my brother who laid in a box never made for him. You gave me love.

Andy- You have hell in front of you and still had time to comfort your big brother. You were never hard to find and were always listening. You cried with me on my shoulder. I will never forget who you are to me.

Every single person who gave me comfort- I read the things you said. I took them to heart and believe them. I praise God for you because you were strength in a time I had none.

This is Thanksgiving. I really understand for the first time ever what it means to be thankful on this day. My God is great and thank Him for everything.












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Friday, November 19, 2010

Speaking Truth


What do you really mean? When you say things that have been jumping around in your head for so long, when they come out in many different ways, they are hard to understand. It takes a real guru to interpret what others are trying to say when they are saying them in their own language.

We don't all speak the same language. If I have offended you, tell me in the most direct language you can so I can understand what you are saying. If you tell me you are appalled at my candor, I interpret that as ....What?!? My bravado? My loud voice? My brash tendency to say things? My lack of tact? I don't know what you want and neither do others.

Say what you mean? Say it clearly.

The problem is that no one likes a confrontation because we don't like others not liking us. Valid point. People do dislike people that speak the truth. But if you don't speak the truth in an understandable manner, that truth will never be known to the audience you wish to reach.

I would rather a person tell me that I need to work on my delivery when speaking to others than a person that tells me I am ignorant without any real insight or direction.

The moral of the story is...Tell me what is on your mind completely and don't leave anything out. Even if the truth hurts, it is still truth. God uses the truth.













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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Heroes


It is easy to fall off. Life doesn't meet you anywhere. Most of us have to work for everything and it gets tiring. If you don't have to work for it, it doesn't mean much to us.

The same can be said of our faith. Christ did the work of redemption. It is final. Christ and Christ alone paid for sins, however, a life lived without working in your faith isn't really faith at all. It is just a hunch. A hunch isn't going to do anyone any good. A hunch isn't what Jesus had in mind when He said to take up your cross and follow me. He was speaking of a life-long and every fiber of who you are kind of commitment. That cross was the instrument of His death and our redemption. Taking up that cross means dying to ourselves. This is where people fall off. People like me. It isn't easy to die to ourselves...to leave our plans behind if He asks us to. It isn't easy to watch the things you have dreamed of since you were a kid slip right through your fingers like water through cupped hands. We can't always see something better in our future, we can only mourn our losses.

I think this is where I often get caught up. I feel like a failure because I am not accomplishing the things I had hoped to accomplish by now and in the process I forget that God still has plans for me. What waits behind the door is wonderful and perfect, even if I try to ruin it.

Ray LaMontague sings this song that says, "All my heroes have gone to Heaven." That is a real shame. I pray I have not stopped looking for heroes here and now. If I have, I am beaten. God always sends us people. The right people. The ones that will tell you point blank to your face that you are messing up and say it with love and gentleness, or even without gentleness. People who are willing to call you out are heroes. Because we need a reality check sometimes to get our heads screwed back on forwards.








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Saturday, November 13, 2010

What Still Remains


Last night, I had this dream. It was a weird continuation of an already weird dream. I think we all have this. It is a strange phenomenon, like deja vu. I was dreaming of this time I wrote about several months ago, that Will was still alive...somehow resurrected from his own ashes.

I was so mad at myself for lying to you. For writing about all of the sadness and grief, when he was still alive by some unheard and unheralded miracle of modern medicine. I was fighting with myself to tell you that he was alive and I was some kind of fraud for beckoning for you to weep with me. I was mad at myself, but happy that he was still with me. All the memories, all the feelings came rushing back. I was so excited to tell you the great news.

Then my eyes slowly opened. I looked up at the ceiling as the blurring twisted into focus. Reality. It still was one of my worst fears. Reality.

Then I realized that reality is what God has given us. What still remains. What still remains is amazing. 











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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Still Singing



There is a difference between a broken heart and a broken spirit. A broken heart is spraining an ankle during a race you have trained your entire life for. A broken spirit is choosing not to finish anyway. I may have had my heart vaporized for the enemy to breathe in and get high off of, but my spirit remains. I will still fight. Something inside me has given me the will to battle.

This is what makes God so special to me. Because the fight is waged with Him. Without Him, I tried to end my own life. With Him, while in the midst of the worst pain I ave ever felt, I feel a quickening to move forward crippled and staggering, and I will drag myself with the help of my God to a place where it isn't so bad anymore. I can't see the destination, but I know it is there, it has to be. God has made a secret promise to my heart that it is up there and I am going to get there.

These past two days have been crushing and I feel every bit shattered under the weight. I have the need to grizzly hibernate until New Years. But I don't have it in me to give up.

You can tell me God isn't real. You can tell me that I have been imagining all that He has done. You can tell me that faith is a coping mechanism. You can tell me you think I am naive. But you can never see through my eyes. You can never feel the power that God sent through me when I finally decided to surrender. You can't taste the tears that soaked through my hair as my heart broke and I let go. I threw up my arms to the sky and opened my once shaking fists to God and asked for help. Help arrived 2000 years ago, and He came back for me. This is the Spirit that reigns inside of me. This is the very thing that pulls me from the belly of the fish with my head wrapped in seaweed to breathe in real air. An air that is inspired, not polluted. The breath of God that enters your nostrils and sustains a life lived in the truth.

I was wounded while singing and searching for other whales. I was bloodied and poached. I will keep swimming and I will keep singing.













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Monday, November 8, 2010

November


I was watching Storm Chasers last night. It is a show on Discovery chronicling these tornado chasers as they try to get into the middle of a twister, the finger of God. On the show, there is this really nice guy working with a brash and unreasonable guy who is trying to get the perfect shot for his Imax film. On last night's episode, they dedicated it to the nice guy. His name was Matt Hughes, and after getting the shot for the Imax guy, and spending time inside a tornado for the very first time, he hung himself. He had a wife and two kids.

Bummed me out because he reminds me of Will. Super nice, but easy to take advantage of and quiet about what rages within. This is a tough time for me. When I was 12, I had a friend hang himself around this time. Christmas is coming and that is bringing a little bit of dread as well. I love Christmas and I don't think that is going to change, however, it may become bittersweet. It can bring both reflection on Christ and sadness. I can't believe it has already almost been a year. I still dream about him. I still see his face in others. I still feel the ghosts when I drive by the places we frequently set our feet down. I know he isn't there. I would never want him to be. I would never want him to still have to linger here, watching his family drone by at times.

I know where you are Will. I hate how you got there, but I know where you are and that gives me a smile through the tears. I will never forget a single moment spent with you. I miss our huge, moronic hats. I miss knowing you were around if I needed you, my big brother. I miss making Dorito sandwiches and baking pot roast in the night. I miss the way you played bass, simple, yet effective. I miss it all; everything. May God tell you how much I love you and may He never tell you how much I miss you.













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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Collapse


I think life can be one big lesson in structural integrity.  We build and collapse, rebuild. I think the point of the lesson is to learn how to prevent total collapse. It is easy to give up on everything when we are exposed for being weak in some areas. A building is only as strong as it's weakest part. A person can appear to have everything they need to weather any storm that might arise. The appearance of fortitude. Until God allows us to be exposed. The Bible says that things kept in secret will be dragged into the light. This is done for very good reason. It teaches us how to work on, particularly pray for help in the things that leave us vulnerable for collapse. Maybe down the road, we get hit hard, but do not collapse. Our structural damages and the cracks that cannot be filled in can serve as a blessing and an avenue to glorify God.

But there still is the learning. The learning sucks for people like me. I don't learn easy. Too much pride and stubbornness in my ways and thoughts. I for some reason actually believe I have it figured out sometimes. Dumb. I don't know anything except the existence of a loving and active God. I can't prove it, but my hope is that others at least see God's effect on my life.

I promise. You would not have liked me before God picked me up out of the mud. I wouldn't have liked you either. Not because you would have been a bad person, but because I was committed not to like anyone but my brothers Joe and Will. Looking where I have come from is an aid to reminding me how much work is left to do.  I fear often that my relationship with God has peaked and He is finished with His mission and goals for my life. I know this isn't true. But I feel it all the same, I think in part to me being so tired of walking. So tired of everything it seems.

But it is during weakness and collapse that God is best glorified. When we have lost all will to try and keep fighting. When everyone is a witness to your shame and pity you. When all we can do is hope and rely on God to sustain us. This is when God really shines in us. This is the good stuff of life and faith. When faith is necessary comes beauty. For faith to become necessary, we must lose every inclination to take control.









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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dumb School

Ahhhh! I have been so busy. I hate it. It drains all creativity from me and makes me want to just sleep when I get a spare moment. I don't want to read anything because I have been reading a really boring textbook forever and my idiot eyes hurt. Cannot wait until August when I graduate and can play music again and write with my heart again. Sometimes I am really inspired and others I feel like I am writing just to keep something on this blog.

I have script ideas and ideations to write them. I have a band waiting for me to finish so we can create again. Mostly I have a family that misses me being around, both physically and mentally.

Blaaahhh!

Regardless of my plight... I will still...

Sing.
Migrate.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Super Bad


I was a little kid. I had a huge imagination. I thought that stabbing walnut forks into the arm of my mom's best friend's dead husband's favorite chair was a good idea. It made me a very nice little throne to sit on while we waited for them to finish with their endless talking. However, it crushed my mom's best friend and embarrassed my mom. I wasn't a bad kid I don't think, but I was a challenge. I wasn't easy. It took me a long to time to realize how hard it must have been for my mom to raise two kids on her own, not to mention, one of them that tested everything. Everything.

Here are a list of things I should not have done, but are not really genuinely sorry for that put my mom into panic attacks. Some of these she will just learn about as she reads this.

1. Pulled a knife on a kid who was part of a rival tweener street gang.
2. Mooned my teacher and got suspended.
3. Shot out people's windows with a BB gun.
4. Caught fish and put them in the video store drop box every weekend.
5. Started a forest fire by my house.
6. Announced that I had gotten my ex-girlfriend pregnant at my mom's family reunion. She thought it was a joke. It wasn't. I did that one passive aggressively on purpose.

There are so many more, but I don't want to kill my mother today. Anyways, it isn't mother's day, but I sure do appreciate you.















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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Self Speak


Everyone has self speak. It is the way you talk to yourself when you are experiencing things like stress, joy, trials, sadness, laughter, despair etc. It is a coping mechanism.

After a fight, we justify ourselves and our actions and play out the scenario as if it went completely different than it really did, at least our ideal way it should have played out, and would have if we had it to do over again.

After a loss, we may blame ourselves, knowing full well we had no fault in the loss, however we do this anyway. Some people like me have the tendency to try to make an already bad situation worse by adding shame to the equation.  We tell ourselves things that are not true and sometimes, we begin to actually believe these things.

After a success, it is human nature, not God's, to pat ourselves on the back for our conquest. We like to idealize ourselves and our personal talents involved in the winning of a certain battle in your life. It is really easy to forget, if you are not careful, who gave us everything that is good in our lives. Our talents, our brains, our skills, and our good circumstances were all given to us by God for His purposes and through His love.


After abuse, it is common for the person to blame themselves and every minor mistake he or she has made to justify the actions of the person we love that has abused us. It is our defense and for some, our only defense.

What do you tell yourself when you look at your reflection every morning? Are you confident that you will be OK given any circumstance: That no matter what comes today, God has given you the skills to overcome? Or are you not liking your chances on a day to day level? Maybe you aren't sure you can get through even one more hurdle. Sometimes the fear of the struggle wins before we even consider taking a stand against it.

Studies show that confidence and positive self speak offer more positive outcomes. The self fulfilling prophecy theory. Don't know what I think about that, but I do know that when you are confident in God, you will walk into a tornado and find yourself walking out the other side.













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The Sound Of Silence


The experience of waking up is different when it's dark out. I don't want to drag myself out of bed. I have the fan going, the window open, the peaceful music playing. Life in bed at 6 AM is beautiful, especially when you wake up for a few moments to experience it.

I step out into a quiet dark sky. The wind is blowing hard this morning and there is a bite in the air. I leave for school a little early, so I can sit in my car and think for a bit. I hate that life is so fast these days. I want the quiet back. In just a few short minutes, the sun will be up and the angery people will be pressing their horns. People will be walking down halls carrying stacks of papers. The phones will be ringing and the night stalkers sleeping. But for now, I will sit in this silence.






Sing.
Migrate.





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The Sound of Silence

The experience of waking up is different when it's dark out. I don't want to drag myself out of bed. I have the fan going, the window open, the peaceful music playing. Life in bed at 6 AM is beautiful, especially when you wake up for a few moments to experience it.
I step out into a quiet dark sky. The wind is blowing hard this morning and there is a bite in the air. I leave for school a little early, so I can sit in my car and think for a bit. I hate that life is so fast these days. I want the quiet back. In just a few short minutes, the sun will be up and the angery people will be pressing their horns. People will be walking down halls carrying stacks of papers. The phones will be ringing and the night stalkers sleeping. But for now, I will sit in this silence.






Sing.
Migrate.





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Monday, October 25, 2010

Sad Stories



Everyone has a sad story. We all live in the same existence. Some in different circumstances, some with less, and some with more. But we all still live in the state of this world. Don't believe me? Look at the suicide statistics. The most common person to commit a suicide is a middle aged, upper class, white man. Is this guy disadvantaged? Most would say no. I don't think the effect of sin has any more effect on the disenfranchised than the white collars that lurk behind desks and are on the verge of  horrific breakdowns. No one has the market cornered on suffering.

Some of us wear where we have been and what we have been through as a badge to testify to our inner strength and perseverance.  We can hold on to that chip on our shoulder for a very long time and drop the gloves to anyone willing to challenge our fight. Others wear them as badges as a testament to the work that Christ has done in them. We hold on to this pretty tight too, mostly because they prove our God to us and validate why we fight so hard. Others don't wear them at all, they just keep bleeding.

I like to do all three. However, the only truth and worth is in option number 2. The others are a reflection of my pride. A reflection I am eager, yet still reluctant to get rid of. Until I do, I will struggle with anger, with regret, with sadness, with impatience, and with pain.










Sing.
 Migrate.









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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pretty


We bought a dog a few weeks ago. A Labradoodle, named Snooki, from the show. She is a hellion. She battles us day and night. She poops, she pees all over the carpet. But she is so cute.

It is crazy how cuteness can change a consequence. She is cute, so we don't kill her. Pretty people, especially girls get less tickets, more jobs, higher salaries, better promotions, better grades, half price car washes, and songs written about them. As if they had different brains and souls than those that aren't so pretty.

Kind of shallow isn't it?











Sing.
Migrate.










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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Name Tags



People come out of the blue. They just keep coming. New people, interesting people, sad people, needy people, courageous people. God sends people our way for many different reasons. Maybe for us to help them, or for them to help us, or both. Or maybe just for relationships. Relationships make unpleasant things workable. I hate school, but I have made pretty good friends that have made it ok to be there so dumb much. Originally, when I started going to church, it was the relationships I was attracted to, not the programs. I think that is why most people attract to others, because of the innate desire for intimate friendships. By intimate, I do not mean sexual, I mean relationships that go deeper than superficial pleasantries.  We call these friendships our most valuable, because there is trust and we can let down our guards and relax our insecurities.

I just happen to be the kind of person that tries to force these deep relationships on people by not accepting superficial banter and asking personal questions. I ask because I care. I don't want to walk away from a person without them knowing what I am about. I have always shied away from surface level things. If I think you are not being real with me, I will probe you and try to get to the bottom of who you are by recognizing who you are trying to be. I am not clever at it, but I do have success sometimes.

When I meet you, I don't want to talk for very long about your job or your car. I want to know about your greatest fears and your alcoholism. I want to know what you have been through because I believe all people are going somewhere and I want to be a part of them going to a good place. I want to be used by God in all situations.

The thing is: I may forget your name a half dozen times. But I will not forget anything you have shared from your heart. I forget names in part because I don't value remembering your current label or name tag. I care more about what is going on inside.









Sing.
Migrate.










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Monday, October 18, 2010

Bad Guys

What is your definition of a bad person? Do angels grieve their deaths? Is the same God present in their lives the way He is present in ours?


Being a bad person is so subjective, yet so well defined in our own minds. A guy rapes someone. That person in most people's minds is a bad person. A kid tells a lie to his mother. Not such a bad person, boys will be boys, or at least that is what Jesus always said. Right? No? Ok.

Is anyone really bad in their own minds? Does the rapist think he has no hope or good in him at all. Does the one who lies believe that they are a good person. When we see someone who seems evil to us, we generally label them evil and maybe that isn't so wrong, maybe they are. In the same breath, we might see someone who is sacrificing for others and tell ourselves, "That guy is a good guy." Maybe he is, but maybe he really isn't.

The Bible says there is no one who does good, not even one. In reality, I don't believe any of us are good, that is why we need a Savior so bad. However, as evil as we can be, God gives us this gift redeemable upon belief which makes us perfect in His eyes.

This concept has always troubled me. Not because I don't believe it, because I do, but because it goes against the human concept of fairness. You get what you pay for and reap what you sow in our culture. A guy kills a whole family of people in cold blood, he automatically should go to hell many would say. No chance at redemption. Jesus does the opposite. He dies for that person. Unbelievable. But so good.












Sing.
Migrate.












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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Green Acres


She didn't even mind me going through her cd's. I was looking to see if our musical choices were compatible. I had just met her. She was perfect and I needed to find something wrong with her. But instead of finding awful music, I found every cd my favorite band, Counting Crows had ever made. It was then I knew.

She bought me tickets for this day 11 years ago. I was so sick, I could barely breathe, but I would never miss Counting Crows. More importantly, I would never have missed a chance to see this girl. We sat in the Mezzanine and all I could think about was her. And cough obnoxiously loud. I think I was wearing what she called, "My cutie boy pants." I had and have no idea what she meant by that, but I liked it anyway.

So I married her. Who wouldn't? I would marry her tonight...again...all over again.

She is my center. I cannot function without her. God knew that. She evens me out. If you know me, you know there is something underlying that is profoundly inappropriate and dangerous. She gives me balance. Or I should say, God has given me balance through her.

She is my wife. Goodbye city life. Green Acres we are here!













Sing.
Migrate.











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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Steps


Anyone else fall up the stairs often? One foot in front of the other as fast as you can. Maybe you take two steps at a time, maybe just one to increase your anaerobic cardio. One slip of the toe and Bam, your shin is shattered, or at least it feels shattered. Or if you slipped at the heal, your whole foot is dead because it scraped the entire step with the weight of your body. Falling up the stairs sucks. My wife has seen or heard me do it so many times, I cannot even count.

It reminds me of growth. We grow. We are people. We start physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually growing at birth. Until something stumps our growth. Moms always say it is caffeine. I don't think that is true, but I will contribute to the lie that helps the world calm down. Our spiritual growth is my concern here. All are connected, but specifically, our spiritual growth can take a tumble during our ascension toward spiritual maturity. Be it stress, laziness in studying God's Word, Lack of a passionate prayer life, substance abuse, divorce, addiction, and any other thing that presents itself as a stumbling block, all too pretty to deny.  We are striving for God..desperate for Him, and these things find a way into our lives and distract us.

Too many distractions. The basics are being overlooked. We think we are so smart and need to be fed complex things, but a lot have forgotten the very basics of what it means to be saved. Think about those things.












Sing.
Migrate.












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Monday, October 11, 2010

Hello Darkness My Old Friend


It has been several months since I began taking a decent anti-depressant.  I started taking them after Will died because I wasn't sure I could handle depression for no reason and grief. It has been that long since I have had an episode. Until today. It broke through the chemical restraints and my words now run parallel to my eyes.

These days everything is art to me. The sound of a swing set or a rusty gate opening. The way people look in the cars next to me while we wait on a red light. The way waves can sound like music when you listen really hard for it. The beauty of things is why I got attached to my depression in the first place. However, during these times it feels as though my heart is crumbling sand. It can get far too intense. I just want to be alone today. It is hard for me when it is this bad to keep putting on that make-up and wig and dance for everyone.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I thought I heard music and I opened my eyes and began to cry. Partly because I thought I had found a remedy for this, and the other part because I missed it so much. It is like out of nowhere for no particular reason, I miss everyone and everything. I suppose I knew it was coming, re-reading last night's post clued me in a little. I usually don't read my posts after they are written. If I did, I would want to change things and that wouldn't be honest. Let my words be my words at the time I wrote them. I wanted to write in the first place to record an honest memoir of my life. I know, kind of grandiose, but I want to go back and read when I am older and see where God has put me, and how He has survived me. 













Sing.
Migrate.











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Get Well Soon


I have been doing this semester's clinical rounds in a psychiatric unit. This is a special interest to me, I guess because of my family history of mental chaos, including my own. There is one very distinct and profound difference in the 4th floor and the 3rd. When you step off the elevator on the 3rd floor medical unit, there are pictures on the walls. You go into a patient's room and see cards and flowers and balloons beckoning someone's loved one to "Get well soon." Take that same elevator up to the 4th floor psych unit and things look gravely different. The walls are static, painted cream some 20 years ago. No wall hangings, no pictures, possibly to reduce stimulation for the schizophrenic patients, but what about the depressed ones?

Walk into any room on the unit and you will not find any balloons. No cards, flowers, or get well soon notes. Just people meandering. The beds aren't even up to date, they are the old steel ones with the cranks at the bottom. Left overs. I ask why is this the case? Why does the psych unit look and feel so much different. Is it that people have lost hope in the mentally ill and do not believe they will get better? Is it because of the stigma that mental illness is something to be ashamed of and that they are all a danger to society and mass murderers? Is it because many "Crazies" aren't really paying attention anyway due to the copious amount of drugs flowing through their hypothalamus?

I don't know, but I do believe it is wrong. People get judged for being mentally ill. A person does something that others would never do and the "Normals" in society look at them down their noses and grimace. If a person had cancer, would people shake their heads at them and sneer? Definitely not. Why then someone with Major Depression or Bipolar? Schizophrenia? Dissociative Identity Disorder? Movies are made about these people with these illness and sadly, nearly all of them end in one of them killing someone or many people. Truth is you are most likely to be killed by a greedy person than a mentally ill person.

You can probe your churches' prayer list and you will see dozens of people with cancer and heart disease, things that are acceptable to get. But how many times do we see a prayer request for a person with schizophrenia? How about Major Depressive Disorder. People can't even get out of bed and have endless thoughts of hopelessness and self medicate with poisons, and they are not worthy of our prayer? When was the last time you saw a church ministry to the mentally ill? We go to nursing homes, soup kitchens, prisons, pregnancy centers and all of these things are beautiful to God and to the world, but what about a psych ward? I don't mean to be on a high horse, but it has been weighing on me since I started this rotation. Everyone is lovable. My pastor Dave was talking about that this morning at church. Loving people for real. Having your first instinct be to protect. I feel that there is a whole culture of people not being protected or loved very much. Loving the marginalized people is what Jesus was famous for, we should be too. I realize the tone of anger and self righteousness in this post. It wasn't meant to sound like that because I am to blame as well. I have laughed at a guy talking to himself before. I have assumed I should grab my kids and get them away from them. So the tone is not meant to offend, only to vent.













Sing.
Migrate.









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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flying In Your Rocket



We would build rockets not because we had nothing else to do at 3 AM, but because we wanted to see things fly away. Something that we made, with our own hands. We loved to watch the rocket fuel burn as it sparked, then propelled those rockets into the cold night sky. We would soon lose sight of them, but something about them falling into someone else's grasp made us feel good inside.  We knew we weren't leaving. The thing about the Dead End Kids is that we don't really go anywhere. But we do enjoy every piece of land we conquer. We may leave, but we will always come back. Because this is our home, our ghosts still roam these streets.

His ghost will roam these streets until I can no longer remember them. For a minute we were the kings of our existence. We were invincible.


Will proved that to be immature. We aren't invincible. We get severely and fatally hurt. We are human, not robots, not machines. We are fragile.

It would be really nice to see my big brother right now, but he is ashes and enjoying Heaven. I can only selfishly wish he were here.










Sing.
Migrate.









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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Opium

It's alright now, the world can see it through your eyes now. But you still didn't have to go.



Imagine the entire world seeing life the way you see it. All of God's creation reacts to the way you feel, the fate of each day rests on the way you perceive waking up. Some wake up to the sun and on those days, the world will dance and sing and see the beauty of everything. Others like me would wake up suddenly to four walls caving in as the joists bowed, then cracked, then snapped. The sun would decide not to shine and the moon would hide behind nothing. And you would still see the beauty in everything.

The problem is that we usually don't see whats really going on until it is too late. I could see it in his eyes, but I didn't see it through his eyes, so I lacked understanding. Empathy is the practice of seeing things through another's eyes, not just pitying them. To the very detriment to this world, apathy runs parallel to empathy. Most choose the smoother apathetic road as it has no cracks, valleys, or hills to climb. On the smoother road, we can walk right by the wounded and they won't slow us down, because we would never really stop. We would look down, frown, and leave that guy alone. "Too bad for that guy," we would say. The empathetic road is full of good Samaritans searching for a way to alleviate the broken from their suffering. It isn't the easiest road, but it is the most rewarding. It is the road, you will see Jesus on every time.

I wish I had been traveling that road 9 months ago. Can't change that now. But for the sake of keeping accurate records, let it be known that I would have changed everything.

We cannot continue living a life of opium. We can't push back the things that evoke negatively perceived emotions and choose not to feel them at all. They are gonna get you one way or another. Putting them off will lead to greater pain. So trying to avoid seeing the way the world really is to another that is hurting will really only harden your heart. A hard heart is death.











Sing.
Migrate.









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God


What is it that makes a person rise up with the dirt from the ground falling from their face and look up to the stars and continue dreaming?  I say these ARE the things that make us rise from the dirt. Many have no idea that they are blessed so much that they have received minor struggles. Others have no idea that they have been given even more by being drug through the fires of hell. These times make us what we are today and tomorrow. Even if today, you suffer, there is tomorrow, and who knows but God what tomorrow will bring?

There was a time that I thought there was no hope.

There was a time, I thought what I had seen would be what I would forever see.

There was a time when I stared at the door of life and decided to open it and jump right off into the abyss that showed me nothing but darkness.

Then there was the time that my God saved me. Gave me everything I needed, and not much of what I wanted, until my needs became my wants.

God is good. If there is a theme to these ramblings some people call blogs, this should be it. I hurt so bad. Sometimes I wonder if I can take another moment of it. But I will tell anyone who will listen how good God is. I am alive and hopeful because and only because of how great God is. Literally, everything good in me, is because of Him and only Him. I have nothing, and never was anything outside of Him. So if you compliment me on something and I say thank you, that means thank you to my God that has given all good things to me without limit.











Sing.
Migrate.










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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daddy?




Doesn't my dad look just like me? Except, he probably isn't my dad, although he could be I suppose. One of my students was watching a projection slide show with his grandma and saw this and sent me the pictures. I was amazed. One of two things has happened. 1. This guy is my father as he did live in the same general area, or, 2. I have traveled back in time for moments of my life and am what you could call a time twister. Or there is a third option...too awful to think about for most. 3. There is a version of me in every generation. If that is true, my mom definitely had good taste! How unfair would this be to everyone else? I am joking obviously for those that know me, or for those that REALLY know me...Am I joking?!?

Makes me think though. People were all once young. You look back at your grandmas old pictures and see how beautiful she was and how vibrant. It is a stark contrast to now, because people are constantly falling apart. Breaking down. At the end of our lives, we are left with memories and pictures that are supposed to remind us of the few isolated moments when someone thought that specific minute or second was worthy of documenting.

I think that is why I like writing so much. It is rewarding to document things. To write down things exactly as you have perceived them to have happened. They could come in handy. They could serve to remind you just where you have been in this time-line of life.

I will get old and read these old words and remember how it felt to live right here, right now, when everything mattered to me. I can remember the hell I have been through losing my brother. I can remember being struck by a car and my life saved miraculously by my Creator who is so big and yet so interested in details.



But for real, does this guy look just like me or what?













Sing.
Migrate.







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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cool or Not?


I was thinking about last night's post today. What makes a dork a dork? What makes something cool? It is all so subjective. Who is the guy who sit in a big office with a cool and uncool stamp looking at things and stamping them with his judicial verdict? It bothers me that I have never met The Man that makes things cool. I feel like such a follower. So instead of fretting over it, I will do something about it.

From now on...I am the one who makes things cool or uncool. So to start it off, I will reinstate some things that used to be cool and faded away into dorkness. It really is sad when you think about it. Usually people stop progressing cool-wise 1 year after college, then all of those cool things find their way into some dump somewhere. Like my old Doc Martin's. They are buried under ground somewhere as if they never sat comfortably on my feet. If these things had feelings, this would be a dreadful existence. So here goes.

Things I am reinstating to be cool again:

Doc Martin's of course.
Used Jeans by Elie
Slap bracelets
Burple
Taz
Starter coats
Stadia sneakers
Skids
Marvin the Martian
The word rad
Lick'm Sticks
Chicko sticks
Maxwell House coffee
Zima
Breaking and Entering
Sleeping in conversion vans

New cool things:
Paper plate masks
Counting down from 13
A really hairy chest
Bear skin carpets, not rugs, but entire carpets
Chopping off your little toe
Getting into the coffin with the deceased at funerals
Bill Knapps
Pretending like you just did a line of cocaine every time you come into a room
Following police officers
Always...Always acting like you don't know what people are talking about


Give me suggestions in the comment box and I will tell you whether it is cool or not and why.










Sing.
Migrate.










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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pinocchio

Then you will know what I've become.



You go to this high school reunion and see the people that you envied the most and it occurs to you just how blessed you were to be a dork.  Because dorks have feelings that others don't understand. What is a dork anyway? Who invented the word to describe the person that does not dress how you do? Doesn't spend $100 on a pair of ripped jeans? Doesn't drive the most beautiful car your mommy bought you? A dork, I gather, is a person who does not fit in. So I guess I am not a dork. Not because I don't have serious mental and emotional deformities, but because I have put on better defense mechanisms.

At first glance, I will try to overload you with charisma. The second wave will come with humor. The third with bravado. If you can stand to get closer, you will break through to arrogance and pride. But you will also see a guy that is broken. You will find a guy that won't call you when he is down, but you can read it in his eyes.

I keep reading by accident, these passages that tell me that God is made perfect in my weaknesses. This is never an accident. Any time God's Word hits your eyes, it is no accident. So it tells me something that cannot be argued away with logic and life experience. When I become less, He becomes more. He takes the shards of glass that fall from the surface of my frame and reflects himself in them like an exploded firework. Life as a rocket. It takes the shell to be broken to expose the beauty of what's inside.

People shouldn't judge and those being judged, shouldn't judge the judger, because we all judge. There is something always buried beneath the surface that is visible in our minds, that we would never want another human to know. Sometimes the skeletons cooperate and stay in that closet and sometimes, there is nothing you can do to keep them covered. Be real is what I say, but this is coming from a hypocrite of being real.












Sing.
Migrate.











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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stress


When was the last time you got to the very end of what you think you have left? I mean, if you feel even one little bit more stress, you will lose your mind, or at least think you will. I am juggling a full time job with a full time college workload. It sucks. I hate school. I love my job. So it becomes really difficult for me to continue doing something I hate doing. I study every day and when I get done, I try to figure out how to make the most financially efficient and effective youth ministry I possibly can with little resources.

It is a good thing that God is for me. It is a beautiful thing that God is in control of all things and promises to work things out for my good...because I love Him.

God has a habit of doing that...of posting overwhelming odds against you, then defying all that we think is possible and making things go the way He wants them to. Then when we think we have nothing left to give, He reminds us of what is laying in our laps. I have a wonderful wife. I have beautiful children that make my heart hurt I love them so much. I have been given a wonderful family, both biological and adopted who would die for me. I have great friends who really do care for me. I have the whole world in my pocket.

May God be glorified for all of it.











Sing.
Migrate.










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Sunday, September 19, 2010

He Sat In The Back Seat


Thanks Jerame for the picture.

This is what I supposed Will's view of me on stage was. He stood in the back and played the bass, for those that do not know much about music, the bass is the most influential, unrecognizable instrument. You feel it, and it makes the most profound difference, yet it's notes are hard for the untrained ear to distinguish. That was Will in a nutshell. He stood back there playing the things that moved you without the glory of kicks and screams. He sang back-up vocals and unless you were really listening, you would have no idea...because I am so loud and he was so often quiet. He took the back seat in most situations, choosing meekness over domination. I always admired him for that. While I beamed with confidence, he stood unsure of himself, wondering what he could say that anyone wanted to hear.

Now I can say nothing of honest appearance. My actions and vibrato do not show what is really going on. It has been almost nine months since I sat in that car with Joe and watched suited men wheel my brother to a van and put him in, and nothing has dulled. Sharp pains run through me at moments I do not expect them. Memories flood back and make mince meat of my concentration. And now it creeps closer to Christmas. This is a day that I have no idea how to function in. I have to be joyful in affect for my family. They MUST have wonderful memories of Christmas, yet I feel like I have been stabbed in my stomach every time I think of those horrible lights and that Christmas tree.

Before you get mad and lecture me...I know Christmas is about Christ. I know that Jesus saved my friend into eternity. I know I should celebrate because of the coming of the Messiah into the world. I WILL do all of those things, but I am not sure I can do that without mourning.

I get weary of being the clown.










Sing.
Migrate.










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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Invincible


Photo courtesy of powerfulnightmare

The world is pretty under the lights of the sky. We would lay under a big tree in the front yard and stare into the night sky and say things we would never have dreamed of telling another living soul. We would get up and light the wick and watch the sparks follow a long line of string until it ignited the small engine taped to the inside of a paper towel core turned glorious rocket. The fire would spit colored lights and find the early morning chill descending on our car windshields.

Kids do think they are invincible. They play reckless games and do crazy things because life is too short not to. We didn't understand responsibility or commitment. We understood what this moment was like though... so we chose to live in that. People think I am crazy when I tell stories of things I did as a child and teenager. Lately I have been questioning whether I am or not, but I do know that whatever the reason...I would not take back one stupid thing I did. We were invincible. Nothing and no one could tear us apart. Things change. We grow up and those things that we always thought were the center of our existence become things that sit in the back of your mind as you deal with the things life has to deal you. You get talked out of that zeal and that passion for life sometimes. You go from this kid who people could not stand to be apart from, to this man that works too hard to pay bills that are too high. What it looks like from under that tree is a distant memory now. The stars hide behind the clouds whenever we look up. When did growing up become so hard? Before now, I never felt that tightness in my chest, that inability to take full breathes. We become accustomed to breathing half way because that is all our brain tells our bodies we have time for anymore. It was fun to be melodramatic. It was fun to get a broken heart. It was fun to get fired. We would plan it and do it on purpose just because it is funny to get fired when you don't have any need for a job. Now we fight for them.

What is your favorite thing in this life to do and why?
















Sing.
Migrate.











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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too bad

Me at the gates of Heaven: What?!?
Peter: Your dead man.
Me: I don't want to be dead.
Peter: Too bad.











Sing.
Migrate.










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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Die Smiling

"Papa died Sunday and I understood. All dead white boys, say God is good. White tongues hang out, God is good." -Iron & Wine


I like to think I will die smiling. Like I had the last laugh. Like I finally won. The fact is that people die. It doesn't make anyone bad and it doesn't make someone to blame. Death is what we bought when we disobeyed our Creator. We can get upset at God for allowing things and even rationalize that God wanted it to happen or willed it to, but in the end, we are still left with this curse of death. The grass dies every fall, any goldfish I have ever raised has died within two weeks, fish flies die within a day. We are dying the day we are born. This is life. But where does that leave faith? Faith is nothing mystical. Faith is belief, even though we are dying, we know we have hope. We are holding on with white knuckles to that belief that there has to be something on the other side of what we can see. There must be someone watching all of this.

Knowing something is being able to empirically prove it. So in a way, I cannot know God exists at all. I can feel His presence, know His Spirit as it encounters every fabric of who I am. I can read His word and the Spirit will help me understand what He is trying to tell me. I can tell you hundreds of stories of the things God has kept me alive through, but I cannot know with evidence that any of these things are true. But I can tell you this. This is a theme of my life right now. It has been since Will left us. God is good. I don't know much, but I know God is good. So for that reason, I believe I will die smiling.














Sing.
Migrate.











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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It Is What Separates Us From Other Mammals


Everyone has a different story. It is what makes us different from the next person. Most of us were born with chromosomes and DNA similar to everyone else's. Most of us were born with all of the predictable parts, fingers, toes, some have deviations like an extra toe or nipple, but we love them too.

I like to read people's thoughts and experiences. I like to feel what they are feeling, especially if it is vastly different than what I feel. I am fascinated with people that have been blessed with lives that are tremendously normal. I would really like to know what normalcy feels like I think. But only for a minute, because I like what God has brought me through. I don't like some of the collateral damage, but I like that I have been through so much and God's glory still lifts me off of those sheets every morning. I still breathe His breath when I step outside into the chilly dark morning. I am in love with things no one notices. I like to sit and stare at the transformer box that hangs outside of my bedroom window. The birds have a home there with the squirrels. I like to watch planes fly above me and people laughing in cars next to me about something I can only imagine. They have stories too. They have seen things I haven't seen, like the ocean for example. I like it when someone in traffic flips me off sometimes, because it is funny. It isn't right and it shouldn't be done to anyone, but the thought that putting up a finger means something so terrible makes me laugh silly laughs all the colors of the rainbow. I like huge sweaters, and hats. I have a wonderful collection of hats no one but me would wear. I like to fish, but don't really like catching a fish. I actually like to catch it, but I could do without getting that stink on my hands for the rest of my time fishing and throughout the day. I like to fart as loud as I can  in crowded elevators and pretend I didn't hear anything and just look straight forward. Before I was married, and in high school, I used to run up to girls and kiss them in front of their boyfriends and then run. I like these things because of my experiences. You like different things because of the different things that you have seen.

I want to ask you to answer this question in the comment box. What does it mean to be human?










Sing.
Migrate.









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Monday, September 13, 2010

A Momentary Lapse in Congestion


I like to sit in public places with headphones on. I can look around at all of the different people, saying and doing different things. I love that I have no idea what their lives are like. It is a reminder that human life is precious and important. That every person should be valued.

Have you ever said something stupid or judgmental in front of a person, who in fact met the criteria of the stupid or judgmental thing you said? You probably had no idea. Maybe you made a comment about people giving up on marriage in front of a previously divorced person. Or said something terrible about a person who aborts a baby in front of a person who has aborted a baby. I have said some dumb things in my time. In fact, I will probably and probably just did. I have done it in my blog and I have done it in my conversations. To that person you offended, they somehow became the exception to the rule right? Present company excluded? Maybe everyone deserves the benefit of being the exception to the rule. Not that all actions are acceptable, but that all people have the right to dignity and love. The right not to be judged as something or someone they may not represent.

Right now, there is a girl studying who hasn't lifted her head from the book since I got here. I can relate to that. Maybe she is studying nuclear physics or home economics. There is a guy that is at least 30 years my senior playing something of his iPhone. I think he is probably playing a retro game app of astroids.  There is a guy reading the paper, probably retired, who has not come off of the first page of the paper and it has been an hour. His coffee continues to steam...Oh, he just turned the page, good for him! There is a woman holding her baby, who is quite chubby and cute, (The baby that is) waiting for her husband to get back with their food. I think that kid might be an offensive lineman one day. There is a pile of elderly ladies talking about Lord knows what very animated with each other. I think they are talking about the sale on fake flowers going on at Kohl's.

Try it sometime. You get a revived feeling of humanity.







Sing.
Migrate.










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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Positive


I love my family. I always know this. I always feel it, but some days in some moments, I look around at my wife and kids doing the things they do everyday and just realize like it were some kind of epiphany, that I love them so much.  They are perfect. They are perfect to me because they love me for whatever reason. My son tries to be me. He buys the same clothes as I do and always asks if I like what he likes. My little girls fights with us. She is stubborn just like dad, but at the end of the night, she curls her little body up on my lap and lays her head down on my chest and she is perfect. My wife sits at the end of the couch reading blogs. She is laughing for reasons I don't know, but I suspect one of you have wrote something very funny. I ask her what she is laughing at and she tries to tell me, but many times I zone off to the television and don't remember what she said. My 13 year old loves me in a way she doesn't quite know how to express. But I see it when I am with her. I am a very, very blessed man. God has rained down His love on me.

I pray that tonight or tomorrow or the next day, then the next, you and I will look at our families and the things God has given us for our happiness and be thankful. Really thankful. Take a really long and good look at the positive and beautiful things God has given you and the wrong things will fade away. It doesn't matter what or who you have lost, God has still given you so much. There is always a silver lining if you will forgive my cliche. There really is. My best friend is in Heaven, but I have never been closer to those who remain...my family. I challenge you tonight to look at what you have instead of what or who you have lost. I know for some it isn't easy and this isn't meant to take away from the pain you have to endure, but it is a nice break to re-evaluate what you have.

I have learned in psychiatric nursing to always focus on a person's strengths, not their weaknesses. This is true in a way, but in another it doesn't add up. 2Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It is in our failures and the things that we hate about ourselves that God's power is made perfect. God is glorified through our strengths and talents, but even more through our downfalls. The things we hate about ourselves, they show the power of God as He works in and through them.

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.










Sing.
Migrate.










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One Day Closer To December

"With your body and mind...restored, it's good to see you once more." Other Lives


There is a chill in the air. It is getting close to Christmas. This makes it a little more cold. I love the cold weather in Michigan. I love the way the seasons changed and can be matched by no other state. I love the colors that only the northern states get to see. You may have the ocean, but we can the colors. We have the greens and yellows in it's thousands of shades. But now I can't help but be kinda sad.


People do a lot of uncharacteristic things when they are under pressure. Kids run away, people commit crime, try to kill themselves, leave their family, and do things that they swore they would never do. They swore they would never, and they meant it. Yet they did it anyway.

It remindeds me that pressure can be a devastating thing. The pressure to be the right father and the right husband. To be the best friend and the reliable worker. My friend Will was all of these things in my eyes. Some people see different things than I do, but this is what I saw. We used to always tell people that when our wives died, we would go to the same nursing home and act up everyday, just for our twisted entertainment. Hopefully we would have been faking it, which was our plan, but it was a good plan. A plan that will never happen. Memories get rusty. Senses dull and things get foggy. Right now I feel things so hard and in a sense I pray that I will never stop feeling so intensely, but on another hand I still gasp for breath once a day when a memory comes to mind. If I smell car exhaust, or if I see greasy fingers. When I think of Christmas lights or beards. When I breathe in the bite of the air at 5 AM when it is still dark and the cats are sleeping under cars and trains are whistling in the distance. I think of him. It makes me sick for moment, then takes away my breath.

Most days, I just take one step at a time and move forward. Others I can't snap out of it. Some see rainbows and others see more storms coming. I have never been one to see a rainbow.

It is my own attitude problem. Life is a fight for me some days. I make myself get out of bed to see the sun. I move with much effort towards what I am supposed to do. I try to do things without mistakes, but I fail and when I lay down at night, I imagine different things to help me get to sleep.

But then there are the other days, when I see everything God has been sticking in my face. I see Will laughing and remember all of these beautiful times that can never be mimicked or repeated. I remember fishing in the middle of the night. I remember the games we would make up to pass the time. I remember the time we both quit smoking on the same day and I thought he might kill me. I remember that old Escort we used to drive around in. I remember sitting in that garage all night long, sometime happy that the car wouldn't get fixed because I loved to spend time with him.

I am dreadful of Christmas this year.










Sing.
Migrate.









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