Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stages of Being at Home: Grief

To grieve is to reconcile a sense of loss, re-evaluating yourself in terms of now being without whatever it is you have outlived. But we do so selectively, and surely we have to in the face of all that we could grieve.

Each moment is lost time, lost opportunities or possibilities or potentialities. If one chooses to view it that way, each passing second is the removal of branching potential tracks that life could take, a narrowing of options, or perhaps a fatalistic focusing that approaches something like binding destiny.

But to see things as such is maddening.

So instead we grieve the near-concrete. When I was a child, I understood my great-grandmother's death as not the loss of her, per se (for I have memories! and photos! and heaven to look to!) but rather I understood it as the loss of being able to hug her, to feel her love for as long as I would choose to hold on. That was the threat of death.

While I was at home, I grieved and shared in my family's grief. It hurts to lose and there is a lot of loss we could hurt over. But mainly my family shared the time that is rushing past us, and we love as we choose to hold on.

Grief was just one part of the trip home, and grief is always a part of life going on.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stages of Being at Home: Rest

Louisville is an amazing city, especially when you visit. There was no work, no commitments, and no deadlines save the flight out. Everything is familiar, comfortable, and pregnant with memories. The same books yet to be read, the same scholarly articles waiting to be filed, the same guitars to be rejoined with the others I brought to CO, all of this makes me feel like I haven't left this life completely behind.

As I travel more and see the sadly homogenized cityscapes (the same Wal-Marts, same fast food joints, same hotels becoming faux-familiarity-inducing landmarks), it is good to see my home not in stasis but rather following a known path.

Even though friends have grown and changed, they are there and we pick up exactly where we left off. I find myself shocked that their love has not waned, and we exult in time passed and time shared. It feels natural but precious still.

Old love letters, ridiculous photos, awards from school, presents and inside jokes, these all just wait there in my room in no hurry to be found. Friends, familiar trees and birdcalls, old bookstores and coffee shops, my family, they all have kept a spot reserved for me still.

And so I sink into them all, thrill to find that I still fit, and I rest.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Remember when I used to write on here? Me neither.

I am in the middle of creating and cultivating new habits to make my life more like I want it to be (thus the Bowie-referencing title, because who doesn't feel inspired to be a better man from listening to David Bowie?). And this is good.

So updates, then! For one: I am now gainfully employed by the city of Grand Junction as a 911 Dispatcher, and my training is going rather well. Also, I have moved into my own apartment and furnished it with such essentials as an 88-key keyboard and a percolator.

Also, I went home this past week to Louisville, KY and was reminded of how wonderful it is. Not quite home, but something quite like it. Its depth, its eccentricity, its history, its ongoing attempts at rebuilding and renovating, these qualities make my steps seem an echo to its heartbeat. Wishing for something more, always.

Returning to Colorado, I decided to take a trip and clear my head (but of course the opposite always results). I went to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and camped in a quickly sand-filled tent that was flattened against me throughout the night by the strong winds. It really was one of the more incredible places I've been in my life.

During my travels, I was with my family, saw old friends, and even made a couple new ones. I listened to some very moving sermons on the road, and see certain things in a new light. What more could one ask from a week and a half of traveling? (well, maybe a razor. I've kinda let that go)

Ha, I don't know if anyone would still bother to read this dumb blog, but if you do I hope I get the chance to catch up with you soon, at the very least over the phone. I think I'm gonna pick this thing back up, and see where it goes.

What an inauspicious return!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Part 1: Solipsism

I wonder: what is the functional purpose behind keeping a blog? Is it narcissism? Solipsism? A desire for attention, a staking of undefined claims, or perhaps just digital graffiti?

Those who followed my blog while I was in Spain know that I wrote most consistently when going through one of the less-enjoyable times of my life. You all learned far more about my insecurities than you did about cathedrals and castles and the constant questioning of my sandals in winter. My blog came to mirror the Spanish buildings I walked past that still bore bulletholes and broken beams from their civil war, a confusing testament to already-aged injuries.

What was I holding on to? What was I memorializing and making permanent that was worth the effort? How terribly embarrassing!

All this to say: I confuse myself. Perhaps this all came to mind after seeing "Julie and Julia," and finding Amy Adams's self-centered blogging and fame-grubbing nothing short of insufferable. So naturally I am trying to sort it out on a public forum, in some odd confluence of meta and irony.

Maybe this will make more sense in Part 2: Solipsism and Stoicism. Maybe.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Some of you know this and some of you gathered this from my last post, and some of you don't care but the truth is: I am applying to be a 911 Telecommunicator (or dispatcher, if you like) and have been for some time (PHEW what a relief to get that off my chest). I put in my first application when I moved here in June, and have been going to tests and interviews since September, back when I was a wee lad of just 23 years.

Some of you know this, too: I am very ready to have a decent job, and to earn a living. Now that I'm a fully mature man of 24, this seems to be right and proper. I have not written much about this "decent job" that I am seeking because it would be embarrassing not to get hired and then to have this failure memorialized in digital form.

This job really would be a dream come true, though. The job description is "helping people." I would get to talk to a lot of strangers each day, probably often in Spanish. The pay is respectable and more than sufficient. And frankly, it would be a nice end to this losing streak I can't seem to shake.

And so. I had a moment of clarity last Wednesday when we opened 1 Peter (written to a bunch of people stuck in one big losing streak) to read, "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." It hit me then that I have been putting a bit too much hope into this job, and indeed into a lot of things that are all, simply put, beside the point.

While I still very much want this job and the chance to help people (not to mention the chance to pay my rent consistently), there are better things ahead. It would be easy to become very stressed about this and whether or not I get hired, but when put in perspective of heaven I know it is a want and not a need.

But I DO need a decent job; I will allow that. Hopefully it will come sooner than later, just like heaven.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


So I am kicking myself.

Yesterday was going to be a triumphant and productive day. It certainly wasn't the former and possibly wasn't the latter.

First the minor buoy that kept the day from going completely under: I changed my library card into a permanent one after using a "Guest" card for three years. It became clear that I needed to do this when I tried to use my card recently, only to find it again expired. The lady asked if I had a permanent address yet, and I said I did but didn't have a local Driver's License to prove it. That day I happened to be unshaven and wearing an oversized, green flannel jacket that is very warm but not flattering in the slightest, and this combined with my seemingly transient status led the lady to lean in and ask, "This address we have for you. . .is it a shelter?"

I deflated a bit and informed her that I am not homeless. I just don't have a license. So now I have a license and a library card, and I am shaving regularly.

After the library, I had a follow-up interview with a potential employer for a great job. We went to lunch and had a great talk about work, life, and spiritual matters like theodicy and fate. He spoke very highly of me and my credentials, and we got on very well. So he gave me the job, and I was very excited to work for him. But then I felt inclined to be honest (hence the title of this post) and told him that I might, in the future, be offered a job with the city as a 911 Telecommunicator. At this, he decided to reconsider hiring me.

So a job that I don't have and that I may not ever have might keep me from getting a decent job in the meantime.

Then I went to get Colorado license plates. They asked when I first entered the state, and so I told them the truth. Based on my honesty, they charged me an extra hundred dollars in late fees.

Can you put a price on integrity? Because at this rate I may truly be homeless soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Recently I've received a few emails with new, encouraging comments that have been posted here on my blog. Whether these are real or merely the well-meaning and unimaginative attempts of my sister to goad me into posting more, they are appreciated.

I've been sick or sick-ish for a few days now which is frustrating for me to reconcile with my typically indomitable immune system.

It is also frustrating in how illness has the odd effect of amplifying all the trivialities and minor impulses that a stronger man would ignore. Be they the unglamorous banality of bachelor life (cue me eating a piece of toast, leaning over the sink so as not to have a plate to wash), the ache for family over holidays, or the bruise of a freshly broken trust covered over by excuses.

And how it amplifies my impatience. I am anxious for a better job that will fulfill, enrich and contribute to Creation (not to mention justify the four years of college). I am anxious to be able to support myself and to be able to support and help others. I am anxious for change in my church, an end to the laziness I see around me and in me. I am anxious.

But at least being sick offers a convenient excuse for all these feelings, which I still will feel when well. Oh, how we all love excuses.