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Broken Tongue





Updated: 2014-09-30T22:49:40.580-07:00

 



On Ambition

2008-08-23T20:39:38.576-07:00

I have been thinking lately about ambition. Last Saturday I went to a party, and it was a lovely evening.  I met many interesting people, and had all sorts of interesting conversations.  But there is one thing that is kind of unpleasant about parties, for me; and that is that people are always asking what you 'do.' There's nothing offensive about that in itself.  It's a very basic question that can easily lead into interesting conversation with someone you don't know very well.  The problem for me is that if I answer that question honestly, I have to say that I live at home, I am a supervisor at a drugstore, and I am not in school and have no real plans to be. I would love to say that I am not embarrassed of the life that I am living, but that would not be entirely honest.  I am learning not to be embarrassed; but I am not bothered by embarrassment as much as I am by the idea that because I am not 'doing' anything with my life, I must not have any ambition, or anything that I want to accomplish in it. The truth is that I have a lot of ambitions; it's just that none of them are really related to a career.  My ambitions are more related to the person that I want to be than to the job that I would like to have.  I want to be wise, and good, and joyful, and kind--in a word, I want to be like Jesus Christ.  I feel like that is very ambitious; but I'm fairly certain that no one is ever going to pay me for it.  Our culture conditions us to make judgments on people's value as human beings based on their drive to obtain material comfort; but it is more important to me to be successful as a human being created in the image of God, by being as much like Him as I can, than to be successful as a producer in a thriving economy. Which is not to condemn anyone that is materially comfortable, or whose ambitions are related to their career--I just feel like sometimes people think that doctors and lawyers are better or more admirable than people with less impressive resumés, and I do not believe that that is true. As a human being, of course the temptation is always there to use my interest in spiritual things as an excuse to be disinterested in material things.  It would not be honest for me to say that I have not given into that temptation.  Truthfully, I would like to go to school and learn theology, and church history; and I would love to get an education that could help me into a career in ministry, or social justice, or even missionary work.  And to be honest, I have been held back from doing so in part by a lack of resources, credentials, and knowledge, but it has probably been my own laziness that has held me back the most.  But if I never go to school, and if I never have an impressive job, I think I will be alright with that, as long as I am who, where, and doing what, God wants me.  That is what I want most out of life.  It may make me kind of boring at parties, but I think it's the best thing I can chase. And that's all I have to say about ambition.[...]



But sister, in our darkness, a light shines.

2008-08-23T20:40:33.999-07:00

Sometimes, the world just seems bad.


I'm trying really hard to make peace with existence; to remember what was good in the past, without being bitter that it has passed away; to look for the good in people, because I've come to believe that we will only find what we look for; to do the best I can in a creation that has been corrupted, looking forward to the day when God will redeem it the way that he is redeeming me.


But there are moments when the darkness just seems overwhelming--when I just can't forget that every good thing dies, and that people don't do right, and that I can't do anything about it.


O come quickly, Lord Jesus!




On All the Pretty Girls That Don't Like Me

2008-08-23T20:40:14.702-07:00

Saturday, July 19, 2008 It is past midnight, and I am sitting alone in my room, listening to All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone by Explosions in the Sky.  They always come up with the best titles for their work.  When they were recording this album, they said that they were trying to write an album that sounded like the feeling of being alone.  I think they did a pretty good job.  Listening to "The Birth and Death of the Day" puts a picture in my head of the sun coming up and going down over Atlanta like a time-lapse film.  One of my favorite things about post-rock is the way that it really interacts with the listener--the music pulls up personal pictures and feelings in a way that lyric-driven music is very rarely able.  Good post-rock is able to bypass all the awful, awkward words (and all the pretense that so easily sneaks in with them) and go straight to where you feel things in your heart. I'm listening to this album because, for various reasons, I've been thinking a bit today about being alone, and how good and how awful it is at the same time.  I've been thinking about the great freedom of making decisions without affecting many others, and growing in whatever direction you like; and the cold loneliness of having no one to talk to, and of going days without being touched. I have never been in a relationship.  I was in love once, but I never had the nerve to tell her; and anyway, it would not have worked out.  Now and again over the past few years I've been interested in a girl, or a girl has been interested in me; but mostly it hasn't been mutual, and the one time that it was, I screwed it up before it went anywhere (but not before I found out that I have "amazing" eyes.  Yes, "amazing."  That's a quote. That's got to count for something, right?).  My bad luck (or tactlessness, if you want to be a prick about it) combined with the fact that I was home schooled and spent most of my teenage years sitting in my room puts me in what must be a truly miniscule demographic of American boys that have legally purchased alcohol before they have kissed a girl.  This used to cause me a great deal of grief, because I accepted it as a statement on my worth as a person; but it really doesn't bother me much, these days.  The conclusion that I've come to is that girls are just people, like everyone else (granted, they're people with pretty faces and some fun extra parts, but they are people all the same), and that it's not the place of any person to decide whether or not any other person is valuable.  God, faced with the choice of giving or withholding existence from us, decided on the former; I conclude from this that we are all worthwhile, and that we ought to be decent to one another (even to girls who have an unreasonable preference for really good-looking guys that treat them like garbage that leads them to reject any moderately good-looking guy that would treat them very well if they'd just give him a chance).  All of this is to say that the topic of amorous relationships is not one in which I am well-versed; thus, I will not speculate on it very much. On the other hand, my resumé in solitude is one with which only the most antisocial of hermits could compete.  I doubt very many American teenagers have been literally friendless; but I was.  And for no less than four years--from the time my family moved to Florida when I was 13 to the time that I left when I was 17.  You know, just all the years that most American kids are making friends and talking to girls and doing all the other things that build those "social skills" that everyone is always saying are so valuable.  They were very dark years; I struggled with depression the entire time, and I'm not sure I'll ever completely recover from taking such a long "time out" from life.  But they were not entirely without benefit.  One of the good things about being alone is that you're not distracted; I was able to really think through a lot of issues that I think a lot of adults[...]



Bad Tobacco

2008-07-02T22:39:02.224-07:00

I sat for half an hour tonight, and smoked a cigar, and thought, and talked to God.

Right now, I'm feeling honest, and humble, and grateful.

I hope one day to feel this way all the time.

And by then, I'll probably have the ridiculous Father Time beard I want so badly; and that'll just make me all the happier.



The Insurmountability of Everything

2008-06-26T23:35:48.268-07:00

Right now, I want to drive 90 MPH down the freeway with impunity.

I want to let the music play loud and not think about where I'm going.

But the sun will come up tomorrow, and it will be as daunting as ever.



On Father's Day

2008-07-01T00:25:03.282-07:00

"Our parents have made so many mistakes;
But may we forgive them, and forgive ourselves."
--from "The Sun and the Moon" by mewithoutYou

Even with Father's Day coming up, I hadn't really thought about it until I read PostSecret.

What can I say about my own father?  Well, I had one, but only in the strictly technical sense; i.e., there was a man that donated his genes to my conception, and watched TV in my house for ten years afterward.  But nothing I could say would really say any more about his positive influence on my life.  To be fair, he seemed to take more real interest in me after my mother divorced him; but by then, puberty was already starting up, and it was too little, too late.

No, my father's main contribution to the person I've become was his absence.  His disinterest in me during my childhood because I wasn't fast or strong, and didn't like sports; his failure to keep in touch with me during the years I lived in Florida.  When I talk about fatherhood, I'm talking about something I don't understand.  I never really had one.

It's hard to talk positively about a void.  That is:  How can I tell how different my life might have been if I'd had a loving, supportive father?  Would he have taught me how to shave, and fix things, and talk to girls?  Would I have more confidence?  Would existing in general be less daunting?  For all I know, my life would have been completely different.  But I don't know.  So it's not like I can really feel sorry for myself about it.

I'm not really sure what I'm writing; I just wanted to write something.  Don't take from this that I hate my father.  I used to; but with much personal growth and prayer, I've forgiven him for all he's done against me and mine.  But sometimes it hurts, when I feel that absence, and wonder if things might have been different.  In any case, if God sees fit to give me children, I hope I can be better to them.

Since I don't have a father to honor this Father's Day, I'll dedicate it instead to my mother, who I know has always done her best even when she couldn't help; and to her father, who works really hard to take care of us all.  If you have a dad, don't take him for granted.



Broken Tongue

2008-06-04T00:34:26.856-07:00

Times like this, I get wanderlust. I start to think I'd like to go somewhere far away and never be seen or heard from again.

Maybe I'd change my name.

Maybe I'd do something I hate until I learned to love it, like hiking or going to the beach.

Maybe I could even go on dates with pretty girls; and they wouldn't think I was weird, or be in love with jerks, or care that I was homeschooled.

But most likely, it would just be exactly the same as it is now.

[my teeth are iron bars; my ribcage is a dungeon cell]



Uneasy, Tiger

2008-05-09T23:25:49.328-07:00

I'm getting really fed up with my job.

How do people get the idea that they can insult and abuse someone just because they wear a uniform and stand behind a counter? Why should that make them less than human? Just today, this woman told a girl I work with she was too stupid to run a cash register, just over some menial misunderstanding. For reference, the girl she insulted is in her third year of college, with a good GPA. Why does working at a drugstore make someone less intelligent than someone else?

The worst thing is that you can't even say anything about it. You have to coddle these jackasses, and just let them say whatever they like, and agree with them, and apologize, so they won't take their money elsewhere. An irrational bigot is more important to a company than a loyal employee.

I'm just venting, I guess. Where I work, the past week or so has just been a parade of self-absorbed products of the service culture, and it's wearing me down. I just feel like any raging dick off the street who had his head far enough up his ass could up and get me fired, even without a good reason, regardless of the quality of my performance at my job.

I need to get out of this. I want to travel. I want to go to school. I want to grow as a human being, in knowledge and experience. And if I stay in my current job, I'll just keep getting put on the schedule, week after week, until I'm too old to care anymore.

I need a radical change.



Isaiah

2008-04-27T00:31:57.303-07:00

He comes with a sickle!
(we will go out with joy)
He comes with a staff!
(we will be led forth in peace)
He comes with a scale!
(the mountains and hills will sing)
Oh, pray he comes soon!
(all the trees of the field will clap their hands)



Isaiah 55:12 is one of my favorite verses, because I find it aesthetically beautiful. An audience of applauding trees just goes hand-in-hand with joy, to me.

And I've also been thinking lately about how glad I am that Christ will be the final judge. The proud, and the greedy, and the deceitful, and the lascivious--those blind to truth, and beauty, and goodness--will not have the last word. Someone's coming with a scale, to set everything to rights. The world will be full of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea.



Upon Baptism

2008-04-20T22:55:12.808-07:00

I was baptised tonight. One of the questions asked of me was "What brings you to the waters of baptism?" This is the extended version of my answer, if you're interested.

I was raised in a Christian family, and I was taught about Christ from a very early age; but for whatever reason, I never really got the heart of the message. I ended up forming this rules religion, where you better do this, and you better not do that, so you can go to heaven instead of hell when you die; and I thought of salvation primarily in terms of my postmortem destiny. But it was hollow; and as I grew older, and I started to have to deal with loneliness, and depression, that emptiness really started to manifest itself; and that began, for me, a sort of spiritual wandering. Eventually I came back to Christianity, just because I never found anything better, and what started to dawn on me, and what’s changed my life, is that God’s love isn’t just an abstract theological idea--this Jesus is actually a real person, and he loves me; and salvation isn’t just about what happens to me after I die--it’s also about my life right now. I can be saved not just from hell, but also from depression, and loneliness, and meaninglessness. I’ve become convinced that substantial joy, and peace, and hope are not to be found anywhere, or with anyone or anything else, other than him; and I’ve come to the waters of baptism tonight to solidify my commitment not to look for it elsewhere anymore; to live my life in obedience, in response to his love.




Honesty was more endearing in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

2008-02-26T00:03:11.173-08:00

Kyle, Matt, and I ended up at Wal-Mart after I got of work tonight. We met a very interesting woman whose last name eludes me, but who goes by Lil. “Lil the Pill,” as she said some call her. She said she was bipolar, recently divorced, and living in her car; but despite all that, she seemed like she was pretty much all there. But I may be biased. She also came right out and said that she was lonely, and my heart goes out to lonely people. I’m pretty lonely, myself; but much less than I used to be. She asked us all about ourselves, which for me meant talking more about my father and my sordid past than I’m accustomed to, but...I dunno, I guess it was kind of nice. I’m a really open person, but no one ever asks. I really wish my friends did, but maybe people aren’t like that. I don’t really know. It can be hard. I feel pretty cut off from most other people. I don’t know if it’s because I was homeschooled, or just because my father had such little influence in my life (if I had to guess, I’d say both), but I seem to just have different thoughts and feelings about things than “normal” people. I have a hard time making conversation with someone I don’t know very well, or who isn’t themselves very outgoing; which makes it extremely difficult to make new friends, or to have very deep relationships even with the ones I do have. Anyway, we talked to her for probably an hour, and she was extremely interested in Trinity. She asked for all our numbers, and information about Trinity; but she also asked Matt where he worked like four times, so who knows if she’ll even remember. Whatever the case, I hope things go well for her, and that she won’t be lonely. Talking about my family always gets me thinking deeply about everything, and I can’t remember how I came to it, but I want to record it here, so that I’ll remember later, that I’m really glad to be alive. It sounds kind of trite, but it’s something I’ve thought about a lot, and something I couldn’t always have said. It’s good to be alive; but at the same time, I’m terrified of living. It’s a strange duality of feeling. On the one hand, God didn’t have to make me; he doesn’t need anyone, and the world would certainly get on fine without me. But he apparently thought it better for me to exist than for me not to exist, and existence is his gift to me. That idea infuses my life with real meaning. It shows life as an opportunity; as an adventure; a part that I get to play in the great cosmic drama. On the other hand, I only get to do this once--if I screw up, that’s it. I don’t get a second chance. So I want to live rightly. But I don’t know what I’m doing, and I feel like I’m running out of time to figure it out before the choice isn’t mine anymore. But maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be for me. Maybe if I just go with the flow, it’ll take me where I’m supposed to be. I don’t know. I’m kind of rambling now, I guess. I just want to remember that I decided when I was young that, as hard as life is, it’s still good to be alive. But I hope I don’t forget. I guess that’s all.[...]



We'll be like torches.

2008-01-25T00:47:17.132-08:00

"You struck the match;Why not be utterly changed to fire?To sacrifice the shadow and the mistOf a brief life you never much liked."--mewithoutYou, "Four-Word Letter, pt. 2" Some thoughts I've had lately:Regarding women: I've often made light of what I've called my "terrible luck" with girls (often enough, in fact, that I believe it's made me odious to certain people), but underneath the jokes, it really was something that caused me inordinate anxiety. Lately I've finally begun to see God's hand at work in all the years I've spent "alone," so to speak; I've realized that I've been thinking all wrong. I thought I needed a girl to love me as a sort of validation; a cosmic stamp of approval that proclaimed me 'LOVABLE.' But I looked where it was not to be found; it is for God to give the final word on the worth of a man, and not for any of His creatures. I tried, as it were, to reverse the sun and the moon; where God was supposed to be the sun, and I revolving around Him and receiving from Him life and light, and any woman who was a part of my life was supposed to be peripheral to that, I reversed the two in my heart; so that God seemed small comfort to me, and I worried overmuch for my lack of warmth. By God's grace I'm beginning to straighten out the stars.Regarding plans: I went after Christmas as a chaperon on a trip with my church's youth group to the Youth Evangelism Conference in Macon, GA, and their main speaker, David Platt, gave four very insightful messages over the weekend. He preached from the book of Isaiah, particularly from chapter 6, verses 1-8, in which the prophet has a vision of God, and He ordains him to take His message to Israel. He concluded one of his sermons by admonishing his listeners to "write God a blank check" for their lives. This for me ties back into the previous topic, as he mentioned specifically among the things to be given up, "your hopes of one day being married." In short, it's what I've decided to do; what, by God's grace, I am doing. Nothing I've ever pursued has given me any lasting happiness; but God promises just that, and begins already to let me taste it. Why should I live my life in pursuit of money, or comfort, or even of a home and a family? What is preferable to the knowledge of God, or the work of His kingdom? None of this is to say that I never want to be married--on the contrary: there is nothing else under the sun which appeals to me except to have a family. But as I said earlier, the planets must be in their proper orbit; I must say to a woman not as before: "I will be spent for you;" but rather, "Come and be spent with me." He said that a man who is not married is preoccupied with God, and with the things that please Him; but that a man who is married is preoccupied with the world, and with the things that please his wife--and for the first time in my life, that's actually giving me pause. Christ stands at the threshing floor ready to grind me into grain, that I might be made bread for the hungry; and I no longer wish to be held back. I cannot now keep very close to me anyone who will not be ground into grain with me. The way all that comes down into practical matters is that I'm really not sure what I'm supposed to do with myself anymore. Except for His call to me to abandon all that is not simply Himself, He seems silent (though God knows I'm deaf enough to miss Him when He speaks). I never meet any new girls, so as cathartic as it is, my resolve not to look for happiness in women makes no practical difference in my life. As for school, no doors seem to be opening. The only thing that looks like change is that I might move out with some friends soon. In the meantime, I can only assume that God wants me to supervise a drugstore, and do it to the[...]



On Christ and the Fat Man

2007-12-26T02:07:26.697-08:00

So, Christmas.

I've come to think of it as two different holidays on the same day. One I term Giftmas; this is the one most people seem to celebrate, extolling a pantheon composed of Frosty the Snowman, myriad reindeer, and in place of Zeus, old St. Nick himself. The other I hope to really celebrate myself one day: the yearly special commemoration of the Incarnation.

I've probably taken both of them more seriously this year than any before; the former because I actually sort of almost have some money right now, and the latter because I'm starting to actually care about the One responsible outside of what I want Him to do for me.

In the past, I've sort of dismissed the seasonal decriers of the materialism and commercialism our society associates with this holiday; but this year, I've all but joined their chant. It's been almost disgusting to me this year, to sit in the traffic, to sell the useless junk spawned by Santa's half of the holiday. Experience warns me against condemning the mass giving of gifts outright, and so I'm having a hard time figuring out where exactly to draw the line; but for a certainty, the whole spirit of the thing is for the most part wrong. To give gifts to close friends and family members as a part of celebration is one thing; picking something up at the last minute for a fourth cousin you forgot existed is another.

I don't know. I'd probably best be silent on the matter, lest I be embarassed later, when hopefully I shall be wiser. But we're missing out on so much! What gift could eclipse the opportunity to spend a whole month contemplating and waiting, as it were, for the Incarnation of the Christ with everyone else who believes on Him? And there's so much to be contemplated!

I think the general conception of the Nativity Scene is quite misleading. I personally have lived almost my whole life with a picture of a sweet little baby in a perfectly sized trough full of neatly arranged hay, attended by an adoring woman, men with staves, and various farm animals. But how far it must be from the actual event! A barn is no place to give birth to a child; a manger no place to lay him. It was desperate, like a birth in a city at war--and fitting, because it marked the beginning of an invasion. The Incarnation was a raid on enemy territory (I forget who said it first); the King that hell had thought to depose had come back to relcaim his throne in the hearts and minds of men.

I don't know what exactly I'm trying to say, except that we're missing the point. I'm missing the point. God entered His own creation--it's the most important thing that has ever happened; the turning point of the drama of the history of all creation, and I've barely thought of it on the day set aside to remember it.

I know I've said nothing new; but then, there's nothing new under the sun; and this is all just stuff I've been thinking about a lot lately. I don't know yet how best to reconcile Giftmas with Christmas (or, rather, to conform the former to the latter), but I still hope to do a better job of it next year.

I wish all four of the people who will read this a (belated and very disjointed) merry Christmas.



Bad Decisions Well Made

2007-12-10T22:59:19.501-08:00

I'm not sure school is part of the plan anymore.

I really feel called to the ministry. I don't know what area, or really even what I'm capable of doing, but I just can't see myself doing anything else with my life. I need to know when I get out of bed in the morning that what I'm doing matters; that someone's life is actually, meaningfully better because of my action, and I'm not just working to feed people's hunger for things they don't really need.

Not that I'm condemning industry in general--there's nothing wrong with affluence as such, and I know that. But I don't want that life.

And anyway, if West Georgia won't take you, you're pretty much out of luck.

Now that I have a job with a fairly consistent schedule, I'm thinking of volunteering during the late morning/early afternoon at a local charitable organization; it seems a viable way of getting a foot in the door, and it wouldn't cost me money, which is another problem with school. But I don't really know what's going on in Newnan that I could help with; so if you do, suggestions and contact information would be appreciated.



Update

2007-11-25T22:58:31.432-08:00

So, I got promoted.

I think it may be the end of my life outside of work. Every day but two out of the week, I'll be working until 10pm. And the two are like, Monday and Tuesday. So, suck.

But, money is good. And it completes step one of my foolproof five-point plan to make my life kick ass:

1. Get a better job
2. Get into a school
3. Move out
4. Find and solve problem with girls
5. Kick ass forever

As for step four, it could really fit in at any point in the plan; I just stuck it where I thought it was most likely to work*. And I've got a sneaking suspicion that chicks would actually dig me, if I knew how to talk at them at all. Any tips on fixing that would be awesome, because I'm pretty much lost. Women just don't make sense to me.

So, school's next. Damn. I'm lost again.

It's a good thing I'm so great, or it would really suck to be me.

*That's what he said.



All the Oceans Together

2007-10-30T23:47:09.388-07:00

A black sea raged, and a cold wind howled, and I clung to your side
Too half-hearted, too vain to plant my feet on the Rock!
And all the time I wailed, and my grumblings filled up the sky
I didn't really wonder why--I was never that blind

You'll break the backs of the proud!
Bring us down to the ground!
And if we'd only opened our eyes, we'd have seen:
You've been making a feast
You've been saving the best of what You made
For the meek!

I wandered in circles, depleted, drained dry in this wilderness
I made it myself! I clogged up the wells!
And I kept cursing You, calling You bitter
But You're a fountain of life, and I was drinking from puddles of filth!

You made bread of your body
And wine of your blood
Such sweetness--a delicacy men can't conceive!
But how can one savor the taste
Of an unspeakable feast
With a tongue so foul, so unclean!

I am a broken staff!
"Lean on me," You said, "you'll see that I'm strong when you're weak."
If anyone trusts in me, I'll pierce his hand!
"I pierced them myself," You said, "and all for your sake. Come and see! I have what you seek!"
Oh, but I'm stained so deeply
All the oceans together couldn't hope
In all their might to make me clean!
"I will wash you with water from my side, little child; and whom I call clean--
He is clean indeed!"

Lord, break my back! sear my tongue! sever limbs!
Take me apart; but put me together again
In a shape more like yours
That I might stand on that rock
And eat of that feast
With a smile on your face
And the holes in your hands
And the words in your mouth
Make me free!



Circles

2007-10-16T00:00:38.094-07:00

So if you know me, you probably know I got rejected from the only college I've ever applied to recently.

It's a setback. It's really disappointing, because I felt like I was getting on track and getting my life moving somewhere, finally, and then this is how it turns out. Add to that the fact that I'm completely horrified of rejection in any form (this neurosis is at the core of a lot of my less desirable habits), and I'm set up for a good depressive phase.

By God's grace, I avoided getting too down about it for too long, but it's odd--before I could catch it, the thought actually crossed my mind: "You know, it's been a while since I've had a good wallow." It's so perverse, to take such pleasure in misery; yet I have, and unless God helps me, I will again.

Oh, God help me. If I love sorrow, it will never leave me.

I guess I'm not really down about it anymore--if you're a Christian, you know the whole spiel about God's sovereignty, and if you're not, it's really not a starting point; so I won't go into it--but it sucks to be right back where I started. Now I have to start looking at two-year schools, and junior/community colleges, and I don't even have any idea where to start.

I just really don't want things to be the same. Wandering in the wilderness is one thing; walking in circles is another. I want to feel like a real, living person; like I'm doing more than just metabolizing and respiring. Most of the time, I just feel like an accident; like I'm not supposed to be here, and it doesn't make any real difference if I stay or go. And I can't keep on living that way. I need to feel like my living matters. I need to know that I'm doing something that no one else can. I need the people I love to have actually, tangibly better lives because I love them. And I don't think that can ever happen if things stay like they are now.



Same Old, Same Old

2007-09-28T13:46:14.550-07:00

Oh, insomnia. I'm gonna wish I'd slept tomorrow morning.

So everything's still stuck in one place. Life was supposed to be this epic journey, this big deal; but it turns out, on inspection, to be simply a long sequence of repeating Monday mornings, and I remain the same.

I read somewhere that if you're not moving forward you're falling behind, and I think that's true. And I'm trying to get moving, really; it's just that for some reason, I can't seem to really believe that anything will ever really be different.

I am a piece of some puzzle. Somewhere, at some point in time, I'm supposed to find the place where I just fit, and everything's better and everyone's happier because I'm there.

But mostly I just feel like a clerk at a drugstore.

I am wasting my life. I am dying, little by little, with every passing second. But what the hell am I supposed to be doing, anyway?

This is not the life I want. It can't be the life I'm supposed to have.

And I'm starting to write nonsense.

I need to get in school, and move out from home. I need to make more money, so that I can do those things. And maybe in the middle of all that I'll find a real reason not to just sleep my life away.



Of Ink and Agriculture

2007-09-09T20:13:09.316-07:00

So I've been thinking about tattoos for a while, and I think I finally thought of something I'd like for the rest of my life.
(image)

Or possibly
(image)

The idea is a symbol of agriculture, of the yearly death and resurrection of the crops; which is itself a symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I'm kind of leaning toward wheat, because corn could easily be comic, but if I could find a way to make corn look cool, I might go with that. And I don't really want a whole scene, or anything terribly colorful. So I guess, if you have any suggestions or anything to say, I'm open.



Hope

2007-08-28T23:02:44.652-07:00

Let me be buried in the likeness of your death--
Lust and fear, vanity and sloth, pride and misery--
Down, down into the blackness of the grave;
Slain.

But leave me not there.

Let me be raised in the likeness of your resurrection--
To be purged and washed, broken and edified, rebuked and instructed--
To follow and obey;
Becoming.

But forsake me not then.

Let me be caught up in the likeness of your ascension--
To be given my true name, to eat of your bread, to bathe in the river of life--
To adore and be adored;
Remade.

And cast me not away, but let me dwell with you forever.




October is too far away.

2007-08-02T00:31:32.620-07:00

I'm looking at old pictures, and really wishing that summer would be over and it would be cold outside again. And suddenly I'm feeling pensive, and so I'm writing this.

I expected leaving the country to really change something in me, deep inside. I thought I'd come back a better person. What actually happened was that I spent most of the time I was in Dominica under crushing ennui. Life seems to be teaching me that anticlimax is the way of things--nothing is ever as big as you think, once you finally get there. Everything under the sun is tainted with a touch of that dull no-color that distinguishes one object from another in almost absolute darkness.

But it's alright--I won't always be under the sun. One day, I'll see by the light of God's glory; and then everything will be burning and alive.

But right now I'm still wistful, and I can't stop thinking about someone, although I doubt I cross their mind very much these days. And it bothers me that I'm almost certain that half of what I'm thinking about isn't real--not them, but just some idea that I've made of them because they're not here to prove me wrong. My capacity for self-delusion constantly amazes me. I wonder sometimes if I really know anything at all.

And if you think you're the person, you're probably not. So just don't guess.

I want to believe that growing wise is just a part of growing old. I want to believe that I can't miss it if I live long enough. Because I really do want to know the truth. I want to be able to teach people things. When I'm old, I want to give guidance to young men that need it. Young men like me.

Because even though everything seems obvious once I finally start to understand, it still feels like the lessons are coming hard and few and far between. I have this sense that I might have missed something, that I might be wiser, kinder, more capable, maybe even better at talking to girls, if there'd been someone there to teach me coming up. I wonder if I might not be so hard-headed and obstinate and unteachable if someone had just been teaching me all along.

I thank God, who is kind and good, and beats things into me when He has to.

I just don't want to always be the person I am now. I could do so much better. So much better.

I know I'm being remade. More and more, all my other hopes and dreams are falling away, manifest as the ash and noise they always really were. More and more, what's depressing me is the thought that I and everything I love will die. More and more I'm seeing that life would be a cruel joke, the work of a cosmic sadist, if there were no way for anyone to live again.

I thank God, who made a way for us in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Everything will die. Everything good will live again.

I think I'll stop here.



Just watch the fireworks.

2007-07-04T20:08:30.581-07:00

I wasn't there this year when the sky caught fire, but I bet that the explosions said her name.



C.S. Lewis

2007-06-23T22:28:56.683-07:00

"The state of affairs in which ordinary people can discover the Supernatural only by abstruse reasoning is recent and, by historical standards, abnormal. All over the world, until quite modern times, the direct insight of the mystics and the reasonings of the philosophers percolated to the mass of the people by authority and tradition; they could be received by those who were no great reasoners themselves in the concrete form of myth and ritual and the whole pattern of life. In the conditions produced by a century or so of Naturalism, plain men are being forced to bear burdens which plain men were never expected to bear before. We must get the truth for ourselves or go without it. There may be two explanations for this. It might be that humanity, in rebelling against tradition and authority, has made a ghastly mistake; a mistake which will not be the less fatal because the corruptions of those in authority rendered it very excusable. On the other hand, it may be that the Power which rules our species is at this moment carrying out a daring experiment. Could it be intended that the whole mass of the people should now move forward and occupy for themselves those heights which were once reserved only for the sages? Is the distinction between wise and simple to disappear because all are now expected to become wise? If so, our present blunderings would be but growing pains. But let us make no mistake about our necessities. If we are content to go back and become humble plain men obeying a tradition, well. If we are ready to climb and struggle on till we become sages ourselves, better still. But the man who will neither obey wisdom in others nor adventure for her/himself is fatal. A society where the simple many obey the few seers can live: a society where all were seers could live even more fully. But a society where the mass is still simple and the seers are no longer attended to can achieve only superficiality, baseness, ugliness, and in the end extinction. On or back we must go; to stay here is death."
--C.S. Lewis



Dilemma

2007-06-20T00:25:10.856-07:00

Very often I come home feeling miserable from spending time with some of my favorite people, and I don't know why. I always have this sense of being essentially separate from everyone around me. I don't want to be. As far as I know, I don't try to be. But the feeling is still there.

I don't understand. I don't belong.

I can't understand. I can't belong.

But I want to belong. I want to understand, and be understood. I want to love and be loved.

Sara said earlier that I'm cutting myself off from other people by being too critical, but I'm not sure what to do with the idea. Most of what I think she was referring to is just superficial; in which case, it's just a misunderstanding. But it seems that I'm also expected to just accept perceived error, which I cannot do; I'm not built that way. The world is black and white; all that shit about gray areas is precisely that--shit. In any situation, there is always absolutely the best thing you can possibly do, and that's white--and anything else, however close to white it may be, is black. There is truth, and there is falsehood. Very little outside the realm of sensory experience is left up to opinion.

So it would seem that the problem is this: I must either give up the truth to have relationships, or give up relationships to have the truth. By my very constitution, I am incapable of the former.

But I don't want to be alone.

So I guess I'm just stuck.



A Thorn in the Flesh

2008-06-28T00:08:08.881-07:00

I've just come out of a bad depressive phase. Really bad. Possibly the worst I've had since leaving Florida.

I'm prone to despair. The way that I, at my very worst, wallow in misery, would give any sensible person the idea that I enjoy it somehow. C.S. Lewis speculated that people are divided into those who enjoy being happy, and those who, odd as it seems, don't. And I think I've been part of the latter group. There's a foul, black pleasure in wretchedness that I can neither explain nor justify. It is but one of many things that must be mortified in me.

But it is completely incongruent with the person that I really want to be. I want to be happy--I want to want to be happy. I want to take all things from God's hand as they come; giving thanks for the present pleasure, asking grace for the present trial, and not sacrificing joy on the altar of some possible unhappiness in the future.

And that's what's occurred to me. This whole time, I've been asking God to save me forever from that gray cloud of depression that's hovered just behind me--so often smothering and obscuring everything in view--my whole life, when I should simply have asked enough grace for the day, or hour, or minute, and attended to whatever was being asked of me at the moment. And I never seriously considered that even Paul had a thorn in the flesh, having which he gave God more glory than if he had been whole. It's true that the Lord is the only One who could ever drive that cloud away; how if He willed that it continued to follow me, so that I stay close to Him?

So, I guess I'm just saying that I'm doing well right now. And I'm trying very hard not to think about how long it will last, because that's the whole problem of despair--it looks too far ahead. We have to stay in the present--giving thanks for the present pleasure, repenting the present sin, asking grace for the present temptation. I'm trying to do that. And not to forget.

"[T]here was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:7-9