Sunday, November 18, 2007

Homeward Bound!

Well, more specifically, I already AM home.

The drive was not so bad and was relatively short. I didn't even use the restroom once on the trip! It's okay to be impressed.

My city has changed. It has left me behind.

I instinctively looked around at all the people when I entered this coffee shop, although my fears were proved true when I recognized not one of the pairs of eyes that were locked on their newspapers, coffee, or loved ones.

Of course, this was a common occurrence even when I lived here, as there are about 700,000 people here, but I think I need something here. I'm looking for some familiar feeling or pair of eyes that will anchor me back to this place that used to be home.

Am I home?

Is there home, anymore?

I used to leave my front door and meet homeless people and fall in love and sing songs and dream about all the potential that I was sure I had. And dream about whom I'd fall in love with. And wonder when she'd get here. And wonder when I could bring her home.

Am I home?

Is there home, anymore?

I would walk down the streets on overcast days like today and fall in love and sing songs and dream. Now I just drive through them. Always on the way to somewhere else to dream of some other time and being there with someone.

I left Arkansas on Friday and kept looking over, half-expecting someone to be in the passenger seat with me on the ride home.

Am I home?

Is there home, anymore?

Louisville used to make me sing of love! Where have all these dirges come from?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Short Story

Well, as intellectually stimulating as the conversation surrounding the last post was (thank you, Megan, for writing; to everyone who reads this and doesn't write: up yours), I thought I'd post for the last time before break by sharing a stupid short story that I wrote in my head while on a road trip once. I tried to make it as bad as I could.

Just kidding about the "up yours" part.

Here it is:

The white lanes of the road rushed by him into the dark night like hundreds of bunny rabbits strafing him at high speed. Gordon had lost count of them long ago. His CD player lay by his feet, motionless and useless due to the short lifespan of his overused rechargeable batteries.

Gordon didn't mind the silence; he could use this time to think.

But thinking made him sleepy.

Three tears rose to his eyes as he bemoaned his situation. His cell phone was low on battery and no one was calling anyway.

Gordon needed a miracle.

"God," he prayed. "I am getting sweepy, and I still have a couple of hours left to drive. Please rescue your servant! If you follow through on this, I'll so owe you big time."

He amen-ed the prayer and looked around for a sign that he had been heard. Figuring the billboards were a good place to start a search for signs, he stared intently at invitations to rest well, eat well, spend well. There was nothing obviously divine here, although he was mildly intrigued at the prospect of joining "Midnight Disco, a Gentleman's Club." Sadly (on many levels), Gordan was not technically a gentleman as he was not a landowner.

Running out of options, he turned on the radio to find his Sign. Static-surfing yielded no results until he switched to FM. He stared so hard at the console that the car began to weave about the lonely road. If the lanes had actually been white bunny rabbits, they surely would have been destroyed.

Searching the high end of the spectrum, his hand froze on the dial when the distinctive bass-and-beat of Tag Team's "Woop (There it is)" filled the car.

Three more tears rose in Gordon. Only these were happy tears, like when the grocer gives you too much change in return or when no one notices that you farted at a dinner party.

Gordon was elated.

"Now I know that God exists."


I imagine that you think less of me now.

I'm fine with that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Continued from the last post!

Okay, this is a big issue in my mind and a difficult one in general, and it probably won't elicit any comments besides a smiley-face from Megan, but I would really like to hear people's input.

As you got if you read the last post on Soka Gakkai Buddhism, I was thoroughly unimpressed with such a set of "beliefs," mainly because it didn't sound like anything besides one big ego trip set to the tune of religion. It is so self-centered and me-based.

Which leads to the response: why is that so wrong?

As long as I've been conscious I've subscribed to a largely pessimistic anthropology. That is to say: man is inherently evil.

Which leads to the response: but why would God make man so? And how does this doctrine (even taken to the extreme of being named "Total Depravity" by Calvinists) take into account God reacting to man's creation with the poignant "It is good"?

Is there room for a positive anthropology in theology? Maybe not the point of Pelagianism (which states that man can practically achieve or earn salvation on his own), but at least not knocking man's nature so much that we can excuse our mistakes as "human nature"? I feel that this perceived characteristic in our nature makes room for a lot of expectations to fail and displaced blame.

Hmm. . .what do you think?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chicago Faith Journey, Continued

I have forgotten to continue with the details of my Chicago trip. If it isn't interesting anymore, please leave a comment and tell me to move on. I will obey. Trust and obey, that is.

Anyhoo, after the Mosque we went to a Soka Gakkai Buddhist temple, which looked like a post office. We went in and a lady, Barbara, spoke to us for some time. She seemed a little crazy, like someone who had been very hurt by very many people in the past. She mentioned having planned to commit suicide because some things had happened to her, including losing her hair. On her way to kill herself, someone invited her to chant and she felt better, and has kept up with it for twenty years now.

There is nothing but you, according to her. You chant for things and actualize them. You cause them. You don't chant TO anyone; you just chant. You don't chant to contact or tap into anything; you just chant. She spoke of having chanted for things, their not going the way she wanted, but working out better in the end, thus showing that she actualized greater goods that she wasn't even aware of.

Also, there is no evil, but you have your own sense of good through terms of cause-and-effect, and "what works."

It really freaked me out and was completely unappealing. It's just chanting. In Japanese. To a shrine.

I guess that's all I have to say about this, because I dislike it so much. Perhaps I'll write more when I have some free time.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

Today was quite different.

I am feeling a bit better, to be honest.

I was very sad when I woke up and went about my day. I went to the cafeteria and drank coffee and some friends talked to me. Then I left and a friend that I don't know terribly well but love terribly dearly told me that she had seen me from far off and was concerned. It is nice to have someone genuinely care that you are sad. And while telling me about the clinicals she was about to attend to, treating two elderly women with many health problems including Alzheimer's, Elizabeth told me that she would pray for me.

What a beautiful person she is. Even in the middle of a stressful situation, even when worrying that her patients would die under her watch, she would pray for me.

Then Alia, who knows just how wicked I can be and am, hugged me and told me that it hurt to see sadness in my eyes.

Then Mary, who has let me cry like a child on her shoulder before, hugged me and let me cry again.

Then a man who suggested a Grad School for me to go to, Mark Parker, asked what I needed him to pray for. He said, "God bless you" as I left, but he was the blessing he wished for me.

Then I went to a Shantih function with a dear friend, Alicia, and met many of her friends that are now my own, and we all had a wonderful time together.

I am amazed, in short. That anyone could love me at all, much less so many people so dearly. That I have such beautiful people in my life in general. That God would go out of his way to prove me wrong yet again. That I don't mind being wrong. That God would let me complain so much, and answer me. Just like with Jeremiah.

Truly, truly, I am unworthy.

Thank you for your concern, friends. I love you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Okay, so this might get ugly. Stop reading now.

I am very, very lonely. More than usual, recently.

If you look at Facebook, you'd get the impression that I am a popular guy. People call me "Mr Popular" and it irritates the crap out of me. They say that I have friends to spare.

Well, they're pretty lousy friends, for the most part.

I remember Freshman year, when I was heartbroken over a girl that I was in love with. I needed to talk, and a friend volunteered to listen. . .while doing a Spanish quiz online. So I poured out my guts and wondered if I should perhaps try to cry a little bit to get more attention than her sporadic glances over and slight head nods. At the end, I felt as if I had not said a word. I felt like a man crying in the woods with no one around, and it made no sound. Okay, that was a stupid analogy. Forget it.

But that is how I feel right now. I hurt inside, and most people don't care. They say stupid things and tell me not to be sad. "Don't be sad" is the stupidest thing to ever say to a sad person.

And on top of it all, I am trying! I am calling people! A select few, at least. But they never pick up! Or call me back. Or care. Is that really so much to ask?

People say I have friends to spare, but it feels more like I have a lot of spare friends.

A Dream

Last night, I had a dream.

It took place in a side-room in the library here at Harding (where I work), but the side-room was connected to the second floor of my old church building, back at home. In there, my old youth minister was giving a presentation with the aim of training me and several faceless, nameless bodies to become better youth ministers.

The method of teaching was simple: two projectors were set back-to-back, in order to DOUBLE the amount of information taught. However, this led to a bit of Tennis Neck as my eyes shot from one side of the room to the other, trying to keep up with the lesson. I voiced my frustrations and physical woes, and my youth minister struck me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

How easy it is to be reminded of how little I am.

Last year it was words, and fears thrown back at me. And shame.

Now it is just shame.

Does this make sense?

I woke up this morning and felt attractive for the first time in quite a while.

I walked and rode my bike and didn't need anyone to look at me.

I read and picked flowers and pressed them in my Bible.

I listened to a song I wrote about a month ago.

Such potential to be impressive!

If only that were the goal.

Does this make sense?

Oh, it doesn't matter, anyhow.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Think about who you are RIGHT NOW.

. . .because it's about to change.

This website will make you a new man or woman, or perhaps a vegetable. You will learn a lot about life in general.