Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sit and Wait

Things happen really quickly. Keeping pace can be harder than ever imagined when our pace was playground games and mathematics. Keeping pace in the really real world is a much different thing. There are so many instances in which I lose my bearings like some kid navigating the woods. Everywhere you look is just trees that leave no landmarks or clues of the way home. A kid will usually sit down and cry until something in their bones tells them to dry it up, rise and find your way back home. I think the crying out is what precipitates the strength to walk out of those woods. Grown ups just aren't that easy. We have learned somehow that pushing ahead and solving things is the key to finding that road that leads us back home. But when you are lost, the further you walk, the harder it becomes to find your way.

Sit down. Get your bearings. Cry for help. God responds even if His answer is nowhere near where you wanted it to be. It is the only way to get home.

You find yourself doing things you didn't think was in your heart to do. Shameful things. Embarrassing things. You walk further away the more shame you feel. The further you get from God, the further you go beyond what your innocent heart could stomach. Then wind up this monster that doesn't remember at all what is was like to be sitting at his Creators feet playing with Legos. But if we could only find the courage and humility to sit down and cry for help. Stop moving. Stop running away. We could be found. Not by God, He always knows where we are, but by that kid that played on that schoolyard.

May God's love rest on you tonight. May you find who it is God meant you to be.


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Saturday, March 26, 2011


7 minutes from my front door is this little city. It used to be grand. It used to tout a million people. It's lights shined brighter than most, it's theaters packed with excited people hoping to entertain their fears and stress away in the dark lights as the curtain opened.

When the curtain closed, the curtains began closing everywhere. This is Detroit. Paris of the West. Mo Town. This is the city that should thrive like Chicago or New York. But instead it decays as people leave it to the elements.

A few years back they put up casinos. Surely gambling what you have earned would bring us back. It didn't. It didn't make a dent. The motors stopped being made and the city became a wasteland that the mayor wants to tear down and walk away from.

I drive in to Detroit every Thursday and Friday at 6:30 AM. It is still dark outside and the lights of Motor City Casino are the brightest thing you can see outside of the smokestack fires from Zug Island. It looks beautiful. A grand place where people should be laughing and celebrating. I wish what we saw on the outside was really what was happening on the inside. You walk through it's huge doors and pass your ID to the guard and enter in to this abyss of people. Some responsibly gambling their extra money for a nice night out, and even more gambling probably what they shouldn't gamble. The inside isn't grand at all. The inside is depressing.

I think the casinos are smoke and mirrors hiding what is really happening in Detroit. Detroit is rotting. Rotting from the inside out. People stopped caring from the topside down. Detroit is just full of "Those people" to the suburbans. The news paper reports 40,000 people less living in the D than expected. People in exodus. What could possibly turn things around?

I think the answer is always God. And I think that God desires us to be faithful and positive. I love the Chrysler Eminem commercial because it shows a real star with pride for his home town, whether or not what he believes is true. He believes it. What if everyone living in the big city believed it? What if positivity is just what people need to be proud of their home again? To take pride in it's appearance. To make moves that really bring helpful change to the city. I love driving downtown. I love seeing the beautiful architecture. I would love to live in one of it's huge and really cheap lofts. But I can't. Because the city is a war zone. If you don't believe me, visit Detroit Receiving's ER and just observe.

The lights may catch your eye, but can sink your heart. What is the answer? I don't know, but I think Phillip Cooley, the owner of Detroit's own Slow's BBQ is on to something...
“Traveling and living out of a suitcase made me sensitive to my environment and helped me re-evaluate what I needed out of a place I would call home. Detroit, to me, is a blank canvas … it’s a chance for us to create a balanced and sustainable urban landscape.”

Maybe this is exactly what we need. A blank canvas. A place where things aren't in the way and young, artistic, and positive people come and save our city. We need a new way of looking at things. Maybe we need to do the same with all of the destructed and left over things in our lives. Maybe we just need a blank canvas and a little creativity.


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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mosaic- Chapter 5- Later

Flashes of light. A gown twirls like a ballerina in unison with the wind. Her flesh is like the flesh taken from a classic painting. She looks at me like she knows me, like we had met before and I just couldn't remember. The lights of the hall seemed attracted to her as her hair reflected every beam back into our eyes. She was noticed by a lot guys that night. A new entry in to the meat market that is Christian dating. The problem is that we are all looking for Christians. There simply does not seem to be enough of them.

I was  7,831.27042 days or boards old. Only a couple years from the tracks, the iron that would not bend except for the force of the power of God. My life as I knew it had been spent walking toward something. I believed it was the tracks that acted as a magnet that drew me to them. I was wrong. Kind of. I needed those tracks to finally get the point. The point of all things. The whole reason for life. Love. Maybe not the kind if love we are accustomed to. Maybe it is a love that we have never experienced, at least I hadn't. It was a love that while devoid of butterflies, leaves you searching for truth. A love that may seem to leave you to your own destruction, but shines when it sees you in redemption. My life was headed for those tracks. But the reason wasn't for death. The reason was to give me a small glimpse of hope.

When a human gets hope, there is nothing on this world that can stop him. You can bring the fire and rain and he will endure it. You can take his flesh and he will see the other side of terror. A man with hope in a Savior ever watching and providing is the most powerful weapon. I had no idea what was in my slightly distant future.

I didn't deserve him. I didn't deserve her. And I especially didn't deserve their mother. I never will and that is beautiful to me because it continuously paints a picture of who God is and what He is really about. See God isn't about minor fixes and small battles, although He reigns in them too in our lives. God is about total and complete victory. God is about releasing who He is on His beloved Creation. We resist, but fail. He will not be stopped in His righteousness. He stopped that train from ending my conscious thoughts. But even if he hadn't, His hand would still have been on me, even if committed sin against my very being and Creator. He would have held my head until my eyes closed. Even if this one person rejected the gift He had given, He would have loved me until the end because our God hates death. He hates sorrow. He hates pain of any kind. But God does give us a choice because a choice to follow Him is glory to Him. So while He has the power and strength to force every horse to drink, He does not. He still leads them, but their tongues may remain in their mouths if they choose. In my case, there was no more denying who was providing the water. I had to drink. I had to give all I was to my Creator...because I was and still am...nothing at all.

So I met her. I went on dates with her. We drove around all night learning about each other. I needed only one night to write in my journal that she was the one. I believed it more than anything. I was right because Jesus was righteous. I had never heard God speak so clearly to me. I had been saved by God. My soul, my heart, and my hands. God used her to save the rest.

The heat and fire melted the cold that the steel put in me. The walk through hell showed me just how magnificent Heaven must really be. How graceful and loving our Creator.


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Monday, March 14, 2011

Mosaic- Chapter 4- The Lights of Living Rooms

People used to write on actual paper. Paper made from wood. Wood produced from trees with a pen made from plastic and ink. People like me would write for hours. It was all we had to do. Without the internet, writing things down was our only record of our existence beyond the air we were absorbing and the footprints we were leaving.

I sat that night in my room in a one bedroom flat above my mother, writing for what I thought would be my last time. I had volumes of thoughts recorded in little spiral bound books hidden beneath my bed for only me and the demons to read.

I was playing a show with my band at the time "Faces of Adam," one of two bands named that in the Detroit area...coincidence? Probably. There were likely to be two narcissistic Adams who could sing in the area and I was one of them. I was on stage. The crowd was fierce. By fierce I really mean, not paying any attention at all to anything I was doing. I will always hate when people do that to me. I sang for a minute, but something was eating me that night. Something wouldn't let me live another two hours. I looked into the crowd and saw him. Cold is what I named him. This demon/human freak of nature that I would see when rising in the night. This mixture of temperature and emotion, humanity and deity. It was evil. It also happened to be my best friend at the time. Someone I really counted on to keep me from being truly alone. Cold wanted the worst for me. I did too.

He was the only one paying any attention to my bleeding that night. The only one that offered any assistance. I stopped singing as the music played on. I looked into the crowd and no one seemed to notice. Wasn't news to me, it was only my first show with this band that I would never see again. Can't even remember their last names right now. They bought a song from me soon after and that was the last I heard from them.

I walked off stage, not looking up, and through the front doors and out onto the city streets. I walked 2 blocks or so to my home and went up the dirty carpeted stairs and into my flat door. I sat on my bed and looked at this sheet of tree that once inhabited the woods untouched by human hands. I set my pen down and wrote the most beautiful thing I have ever written...right over the last most beautiful thing I had ever written. I was too drunk. I didn't even notice pages of pen as I wrote right over the top of it. I set the notebook down on the bed for Will to find...he would be coming over in just a few minutes.

I walked down those tracks for centuries. The air was October in Michigan. For those in Florida, come visit Michigan in October to understand what that means. I counted the dark brown wooden boards that creaked beneath me as I stepped one more step closer to my last. I spoke to myself out loud. I reasoned that what I was about to do was the only way to alleviate the pain. I could not stand to feel alone anymore. I kicked rocks as I went to try to lighten the moment and turn it into a game that ended in a loss. I found my spot miles down the road.

In front of me were overgrown weeds in front of the lights of distant houses. I liked it because I loved to look into the warmth of people's homes and pretend I was a part of their family, normal, with two parents, a dog, and not me. I only wanted to watch from afar. I didn't want to begin to think that there was hope of anything different for me. I laid down on the tracks...the cold steel shocking my neck at first. I had spent weeks in the library researching a suitable method of ending my life and this was the most fool-proof. Cutting gets your rescued and put in the mental hospital. Shooting gets you paralyzed and potato-ized. Hanging worked but was too slow for me. I didn't have access to a grenade. I chose a train... Mostly because my uncle Dink had trains in his basement and they amazed me.

I thought about that legend that your mind keeps firing 6 seconds after being removed from your body. It deterred me before, but not this night. I was determined to make this night and this train a hero of the world. I was gonna lay there no matter how scared I was. I would not move.

I looked down the dark tracks into nothing until I saw the distant headlight. My breathing picked up. It was cold and I was shivering, but never more than now as I could see the blade dropping on my neck. The tracks rumbled beneath me. My body echoed. I could feel it wanted to get me. I could feel my body resisting. My mind had seen enough though, and there was to be no leap from these tracks from me. I wasn't listening to reason, even if it were from my own DNA.

It got closer and closer. I saw that kid sitting under his top bunk bed weeping. I could see him throwing that football. I could see him collapsing at the dismissal of his future. I felt liberated from my own horrible future. I looked into the lights of this 240,000 pound razor headed for my head and closed my eyes forever.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3


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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mosaic- Chapter 3- Sleep

Swirling. Around and around. My head sinking, then rising again in a shock like lightning then sinking again. A picture of my life so far. I saw things blurry, like with water in my eyes. I saw stacks of cans sprawling out all over the table. They had the look of cans that someone had tried to stack and realized the futility of it all, then left like an incomplete pyramid.  There was some country music happening in my ears. I glanced to my right to see a line dance in full splendor consisting of no one I cared about at all. Their world could end now and I wouldn't have cared.

No one I cared about was there. My apartment. A place that your nightmares take note of to scare you in your sleep. Paintings on the walls, painted by some guy I never knew. Must have been me, but I don't remember painting a single one of them. One was a grave sight under the moon that said, "Cover me in ashes, abandon me in the cold, I'll still be here, I'll still exist." I knew it was me and so do you by the way in which is was written. Another was a sun and it said, "In the end, we all will fly, up to the heavens to the fire and fry." Another " F%$# the world and everyone in it." I shared my house with twenties of strangers that night. I was looking for a couple that could help me and neither was there. Just me with vultures doing line dances to Tim McGraw and the Indian Outlaw.

I had enough and went to bed. I laid on my pillow with the distant sound of people having fun and watched the world spin away into darkness and lands of mystery and confusion. My dreams were always confusion. They all ended the same way. Me experiencing the horror of death. I would wake just before the fateful moment, but felt everything on the way. It prepared me for the cold steel. I could fathom the permanence of the iron wheel rolling over a calcium shell. I could imagine what a last second slowed down would feel like and in fact, my dreams were accurate.

It was the night I decided to quit. The night I committed myself to higher learning. I committed to studying death and the ending of circuits. I attended the library, alone of course. I read books on ending one's own life. I like to look at it in the martyr point of view as all other suicidal kids. I studied every method, vigorously covering every potential flaw. I did not want to be some hospitalized cry for help or attention. I was a finisher every day of my life. I intended to finish this finally. I chose train tracks because no one who has laid their heads on that cold steel and had the guts to stay there ever survived from my studies. No one came in at the last minute and cut them down or got them to the hospital for a quick stomach pumping. People were killed on the tracks. Killed forever. That's precisely what I wanted.

This is as hard to write as it may be for some to read, but it is a true story. I left no room for error. I covered every base. I left this notebook as a note. I had pages and pages written over the top of due to the lack of vision in a drunken stupor. I left it on my bed where they could only find it after. I made my piece weeks before, so there would be no suspicion.  I told Will and Joe that I would never forget who they were to me in this life or the next. I told them I loved them with a love that no word could define. I loved them like rockets rising to the moon desperate to connect with the untouchable.

Then I went to sleep for a week.


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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mosaic- Chapter 2- The Muse

I barely knew them. I had met them only a handful of times before in Wednesday night classes at church. Due to the gang activity at my school, my mom pulled me out of public school and put me kicking and screaming into private school. I had to clean the bathrooms to attend, but in the end it ended up worth it. I sat down next to them. Joe had a video game. Will was taller than I remembered. I sat between them, next to their mom, who was struggling to listen to the blue haired super dork yelling about money or Jesus...wasn't sure which of the two were more important. I was unsure of myself. I had never been completely sure of myself. I just tried to fit in the best I knew how given the way I came off to people. I was never the shy kid. I never will be the shy kid.

I was loud. Joe would score on his game and I would yell in church as the money man was talking. Joe and Will's mom looked at me and said, "Shhh." I listened for a minute, then became distracted with her kids. She should have smacked me. She didn't, but at the end of the day, she told me not to sit by her kids again...a sentiment I could never blame her for because I was the loudest kid on earth. Later that day through her frustration she saw something different and invited my mom and brother and I to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I ate a hamburger. I hated Chinese then. Not now, but I did then.

I was attached at the hip with Will and Joe from that day forward. I don't know what was different about them. I had met hundreds before them. I had moved every couple years of my life and made a lot of friends, but none like this. There was something profoundly, but unrecognizably different about them that drew me in. Maybe it was the fact that they didn't care where I was from or what I had done. Maybe it was that they didn't need me to fit a mold of who could or would be a sufficient friend. I don't think either of them had a mold.

I sat timid in the deep couch cushions as their grandma told me that God had something different for me. I didn't and couldn't believe her. She was harsh and belligerent and tenacious about her will...God's will. She would not budge. Every time I saw her from the day I met her to 20 years later when she passed away, a real warrior, she told me she was praying for me and something different was going on with me. I learned to believe her. She was never wrong.

I sat in my 6th grade classroom with my yearbook in hand. I was trying to get a certain girl to sign it...Hopefully professing her undying love for me in it. I saw her coming. I was walking to her. Then this dork stepped between us. She grabbed my yearbook from me and took it to her locker. I was pissed. I missed my chance with this girl I had been going to school for months to speak to. How dare her, I thought. She handed me the yearbook back an hour later. She took up a whole page in the front. Again, I was pissed. But then I read something that messed with my mind even still today. This 11 year old girl bore my soul on the paper. She knew everything about me. She knew all of the things I was hiding. There was nothing I could dispute. She told me I was a follower, but really didn't need to be. She told me to step from the shadows and be what God wanted me to be. I didn't get it at the time, though I was intrigued, but now I realize what it was and why I remember it was God speaking to a wrecked child at the time he needed something different.

I had a friend hang himself a few weeks later. He was the John Lennon of the school. He could do nothing to tarnish his image. He was everything I wanted to be, but never believed I could be. He was this myth that passed away in the night by rope to the neck. He was still just a 12 year old boy. Legend or not, he was a kid. From that day forward, death became an obsession. My mom held me on the couch as I came home from school crying. Neither of us really knew why. It was just wrong. From that day forward, death was my muse.


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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mosaic- Chapter 1- The Steel

The heat radiated from the white painted tin that vibrated in waves like a train 2 miles away from where you lay your head. It was cold both in there and out here. I lay there humming "Yesterday" from the Beatles. "Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be" was my favorite part. I liked it because half the man I was would have been a tadpole making it's way to life. I was just a kid. Both days, I was still just a kid. The tracks were really cold. There was a menacing sterility about them, like they really didn't care what happened that night. Tomorrow, they would vibrate just the same but with a little more color. The heat of the tin had enticed me to join in it's melody of song as a vigil to a child lost to disaster. I laid on it. I laid on them. Even if they didn't love anything. I loved them.

A thought ran through my head. Is this life or death? Is this me living? Is this what it is supposed to be like? Or maybe, this is me dying. Didn't much matter once I laid my head on the cold steel. But this day, it was the single question that if answered would have changed everything...possibly for the worst.

I cried. But not like a kid cries when he bumps his head or when his bicycle gets a flat. I cried like a kid that lost his mom to a freak hot air balloon accident. It was other worldly. Something no one would expect from a kid that age. I cried like a puppy cries when you have to cage it and walk out of the house. No one hears it. It may cry all day long, but you are busy being human and the puppy will never get that honor. I cried alone. I whispered to myself, "Everything's gonna be alright Adam, just breathe." I said the same thing years later still laying on that metal. Again, crying something other worldly. It wasn't like there was no one there to hear me. Mom was in the other room. My brothers were waiting for me. The battle was a silent one. But one that even the tin below me knew was coming.

I pictured sitting on the floor of a row boat in the ocean while the waves spit their venom in cold bursts of spasm throughout my body. It was dark. The moon had deserted. Everybody had deserted. I pictured that heat on the floor of the only refuge from the violence above. I didn't want to see what was happening around me. I wanted to be ignorant in that boat, just rocking back and forth like in a womb.  I thought about that boat many nights. I thought about it while laying on the hot tin and the cold steel. It was the only place I could go. 12 or 19, it was the only place I felt safe.

I walked over 6,799 boards to get to that spot that seemed like a reasonable place to sleep. Every board told a small part of how I got to my destination. I walked for a century. I had finally found a place to rest. So I laid down on the lightly vibrating cold steel. As it shook, I remembered the way the hot tin felt on my face as it sung me to sleep. I remembered what it felt like to be a fetus fighting for it's life against the impending needle. 6,799 boards will hurt your feet while crossing. They can hurt a lot of things. Things flooded my eyes. Things that I had tried not to remember. The zipper being zipped over my face in the night. The face of a demon laughing as I wretched. The kid that throws his football up in the air and runs beneath it in the front yard, then pretends to get tackled or score... The only victory he may ever see. The little man that bites his nails nervous for what may happen very soon. The 5 year old that was terrified of nuclear war, listening to a saxophone weep in the park. This kid lays his head down on the steel and feels joy.


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Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I am gonna start a small writing project. I have a week off from the rigors of school and I have been yearning to be creative in some way or another. I don't think I need to share the point of the project as if it is effective, it will explain itself.

Before I begin....
It will seem a little more pretentious, but is isn't.
I will be spending a little more time on them, so try to be a little more patient as I weed through some things.
Each story isn't meant to make sense right away. They need each other like we need each other to create the picture.
In everything, may God be glorified.

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