Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Betraying a Feverish Mind

Although these are written in succession, I am updating from journal entries I have been keeping the past couple of days. This one is fresh from my mind.

I am in my city, Sonseca. I got here by meeting up with my friend Claire at the orientation, and meeting her friends Dean and Nick. Dean lives here, and drove to Daimiel in his car and would be passing through Sonseca, so they gave me a ride. I am here, still with no contact from my school, but I am here.

Part of the agony I felt yesterday was, no doubt, due to this illness that is now recurring in my body. I woke from much-needed sleep feeling surprised that I am in Spain, and then disheartened at the growing impression which that thought left.

I am exhausted from jet lag, from carrying all of my belongings (about 130 lbs. altogether) down narrow cobblestone paths, and from loneliness. This illness is making it all worse.

I will make it, and I will live. I am running short on cash, and will not be paid until the end of November (I discovered today). I imagine the teachers will help me, or I will sleep at the school or in the streets. I got to my city with no plans or connections, so this will happen, too.

I know that God will provide, but I don´t understand how. I don´t know how God works with prayer, as it seems he has ignored so many of mine as of late. Friends and their families with their cancer and their hurts are all still here. Why would he take care of a clueless, scared white boy when he turns a blind eye to these great sufferings?

This is nothing more than ramblings from a fool. I am nothing before the Lord, with too many words.

But I will not cease praying that he protect Mary.

Reflections on Land

The airport in Madrid was warm and comfortable, with workers sympathetic to clueless foreigners. I came to appreciate the pitying smiles and simplistic speech.

I landed and realized that I had absolutely no plans to get to my city. I bought a train ticket and then ran into travelers in the station in Ciudad Real. We walked and toted my entire set of belongings a mile to the bus station and got to Daimiel. From there we met two Germans and one Irish, all girls, and we promptly got lost trying to find a school for our Orientation.

Finally we arrived and I went to my room and clasped a perfumed letter and watched videos on my laptop, because it finally hit me that I am here and there is not one person in the program that cares about me. My school has yet to contact me, and these people I meet are friends of convenience and I will not see them after tomorrow. I am all alone, and why am I here? I left a woman that cares for me in Arkansas, and I left a church that cares for me in Colorado, and I left a family that loves me in Kentucky. What could Spain offer me more than this? I already had everything I need. I made a mistake in coming.

I wrote before that it is easier to be the one doing the leaving, but this was a fool´s lie, made out of ignorance. I left a beautiful woman. How could I leave her? Will her love remain, or fade like the weakening perfume off of this letter?

I will wait for her.

Thoughts from a Descending Plane

We were over land for about a minute before I realized it by small roads, probably more like paths, marking dry ground. Soon I saw, far off, small breaks in a sheet of clouds. It took a moment to see that these were mountain peaks taking the role of Moses, but parting sky rather than sea. As I began to see more roads, small towns, and even the swift rotation of great white windmills, terror began to sieze up within me. I tried to tell myself that this was jitters from little sleep or shudders from the poor coffee they served, but this is fear.

Now the ground beneath me is a brown patchwork, like a fine basket or more like an earthen-clay mosaic. I was unaware there were so many variations on the one brown. These new shapes and contours transfix me, and the country below is great and terrible, indeed. There is so much of her, and so little of me.

Here and there lie outposts with roads radiating out like the spokes of wagon wheels, and yet somehow the towns do seem connected in some as-yet-unidentifiable way. Roads weave improbably and then wind up concurrant like snakes winding about each other.

I am here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I am in Louisville right now, leeching free internets from a cafe. I received my visa in the mail on Monday, turned 23 on Wednesday, and am not particularly enthused about either. Receiving my visa was nice closure, but yielded mixed emotions.

I fly to Madrid tomorrow.

I don't know when I'll be able to get online there, seeing as how I don't even know where I will sleep or live or anything. I'll let you know.

Also, look for me on Skype and I'd like to hear from people. One person in particular, but others, too.

This is a lame update, and I am sorry. I'll write more soon. Take care.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life Lessons from Old Women

Every other Tuesday, several of the advanced-age women at our church meet here to put together quilts. They give these quilts to sick people, to children pulled out of abusive homes, to families who have lost loved ones, and so on. They also gave me one after my first summer here.

This summer, they have taken to inviting me down for lunch with them when they take a break from working. It is typical potluck fare, including some homemade bread, so I always join them.

And I love it. I try not to talk at all, so I can hear all the more, but I still am fascinated that 60-70-year-old women would talk to me almost as a peer, instead of asking me what I want to be when I grow up.

Sometimes I just sit and listen to them talk over each other detailing their personal ways of cooking oatmeal or what diets they have tried, what items they forgot or lost in the past week, or their gripes over crummy businesses in town (especially automotive services). But my favorite is learning from them.

They talk of the rare times their husbands will do the dishes, the times when husbands are practically obligated to do the dishes, wishing their husbands would let them help with projects around the house, the special vacations they took before they had children, the different-sort-of-special vacations when kids did come along, going camping with the whole family, and all the little day-to-day moments that gradually and then suddenly make up a lifetime.

Frankly, I can't wait to share this with someone. I want to grow old with someone. I can't wait to share stories with friends and grandchildren, to brag on my wife. I can't wait to take a picture with her in front of our first house. I can't wait to debate over names for children and paint colors for rooms and when I am going to get around to fixing the heater. To ask her to hold something while I frantically pound nails into it off-kilter, to work on her car, to surprise her with breakfast in bed (french toast, maybe), to drive across states with her, to serve her.

I am glad that men don't read my blog, haha. Well, I don't think anyone reads it anymore, so my masculinity will remain intact. I'll write about sports next time.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Dream

This morning I woke up with the oddest memory in my mind. I was in a hotel room with several people from my church in Colorado, but we were in Searcy, AR overlooking a river. On the other side of the river was Lake City, which we decided to drive through and explore. We were impressed by a large and architecturally impossible bank, and then we returned to the room. We heard that there was a tornado coming, so I looked out the window to watch it traveling down the river. The bank was in the background, with huge plumes of smoke rising from it. I looked down to find that our hotel was right on the river, although I was not overly concerned.

The tornado petered out gradually, but for some reason a boat doing water-donuts in the middle of the river started it back up again. The funnel enveloped our building but left it unscathed.

Soon we were in the same room, but in a cabin in rural Arkansas that had existed at least since the Revolutionary era, judging by the racks of muzzle-loaders just outside the window. I contemplated getting some in case any problem arose, but didn't. My friends all left and I was alone,and I looked out the window again to see a band of well-armed men stalking the cabin.

They opened fire and I grabbed the one rifle inside. The projectiles were small pewter balls, like the ones that Johnny Tremain smelted himself. I blind-shot a few out the window just to send them back, and I heard the leader advise a young man to set fire to the cabin to smoke me out. The boy approached with a rag soaked in gasoline, and I stood up to stare him down. He left, and the volleys continued until I ran into the back room to wait for them to break in, figuring I had a better chance at fighting them hand-to-hand in the smaller space.

I looked down at my bayonet to find that one of my friends had replaced it with a spatula. I grimly reflected that it would have to do, and I awaited my attackers.

Then I woke up.

What could it mean???

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Taj Mahal Morgan

Last night we met at the church building for a small, informal, and topical Bible study. These nights (we call the meeting "Outcasts") have proven to be some of our greatest successes as a group in the past. One night we studied two chapters of Hosea for two hours. Another, we looked at 2 Kings and the group was laughing, wondering, suggesting, wrestling with the passage. They were interested and wanted to know what it means.

Last night was a minor success. I'll call it a moral victory, as we discussed deep questions of the ethics of being a Christian and in the military, then expanding that to all of us having the duty to love our enemies. But the true joy was at the beginning, when Kyle Morgan came up to me and informed me of his recent revelation.

"So, so, so, I found out that I'm like 55% Egyptian."


"Yeah. Apparently, my great-great-grandfather's name was like Taj Mahal Morgan."


"Yeah. I looked at an Egyptian Horoscope and it said that my name Morgan was Egyptian."

"Doesn't it sound Irish?"

"Yeah, but they all came from Egypt."

He then proceeded to do the Egyptian walk around the kitchen, and I couldn't breathe.

Oh, Kyle.

My life.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Yesterday held some interesting moments.

I left church to find kitty paw-prints all over my windshield.

I raced to deliver a letter early only to remember that it was Labor Day and the post office is thus closed.

But then I went home, took a much-wanted shower (I just love showering) and sat down in my room to check my email. Then one of the recently arrived guests entered my room. But I was still naked. She left very quickly after I made an inexplicable "uhhhhhhhhhhhhh" sound (I had no idea what to say; I tried to go with "you're about to walk in on a naked man but give me a chance to put on clothes and then you can enter" but all I got out was "uhhhhhhhhhhhhh"). She apologized profusely from the other side of the door, but I just laughed.

Philip, the owner of the house I stay in and the brother of the lady that walked in on me, told me that her face was beet-red.

So I guess it was a decent day?

Monday, September 1, 2008


The lock-in has ended by a couple of hours now, and I feel odd. I am not loopy or depressed or confused or punchy. I am determined.

The lock-in was exhausting mentally and physically, and there were the same middle-vs.-high school arguments as there always are, and some new people that have never been to our church before, and some people trying desperately to make out, and way too much sugar. And I have decided. Rather than wait for a decision, I am acting. I have been thinking, and I want to change some things.

I have never reacted to grief in this way. Normally I hide myself away and write miasmatic poems about how I am the worst person. But I am not special, even in a bad way. No, I am making changes. I have already prepared lists and plans, just like Ben Franklin or Jay Gatsby, to make myself into a better person. I am sitting here looking at my body, seeing flaws as potential corrections. I see wounds healing.

There is no literary figure that I understand like Jay Gatsby. His inexhaustible search for improvement borne by an unquenchable love that transcends identity. I first felt this when I became a Christian, being changed and saved by nothing more or less than love. Now I have felt it again, and I am becoming something better. Something good. Anything less would be no fitting tribute for a princess, for royalty.

I have decided.


It is an odd thing to wait for someone to decide if they want to be with you or not. It is scary.

But I suppose that is what makes a relationship real, is that risk. I've never risked much in relationships before. It is awful to say, but by the time one died out I usually knew of someone else who was interested.

But, then again, Harding is full of desperate sluts.

To risk in a relationship is to give someone power over you. Power to hurt you or to complete you. It is worth the risk. And so I feel an odd sense of peace. I have made my decision, and I am waiting for a woman.

I have made my decision. It's her.

She is it.