Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hole in the wall

There is a hole in the wall of my bathroom under the sink. The pipes are exposed and the drywall cut away. This is the remnants of the effects of my hubris when applied to water management. The sink drained slow and I had been working with plumbers all summer so naturally I thought it was within my capacity to fix it. I thought I knew what I was doing and I blew it. I broke the pipe and proceeded to dismantle the entire sink. Today it is a scar on my flesh. I used to hate looking at it. It made me sick. If I do happen to see it, it usually screams "fill me! Mend this error! You are a failure! Make this right!" Tonight something changed.

I was listening to a familiar song and I looked and saw the hole. Suddenly,it spoke a different word. "You are human. You have needs. You are dependent. And this is precisely what you should be--don't forget it! Oh and trying to mend me yourself will only make the hole worse than it is."

For whatever reason my attitude changed. I was struck by truth.

I want to like this hole. I want to laugh about it in celebration. I want to look down and remind myself that I incline to think I have it all down. I need to be reminded of that more often than not.

What is your hole in the wall? We all have them. What scar do you carry?

I hope mine reminds me of my imperfections and what happens when I forget that I am not metal but flesh. I hope I love that hole. I do not want to fill it. I want to look at it every morning when I rise and before every sleep filled night. Because it also reminds me of the ones who love me. They love me and my ability to make holes. They love me even when faced with the truth that I will always make holes. And I am reminded to love them. To love the hole in the wall they make as I learn to love mine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Death of Summer

Whelp…. the summer is over and this is my first blog of the summer…… Ironic? Lazy? Random? Seahorses? Yes, probably all of those.

In this blog I will attempt (with one hand tied behind my back) to sum up all that I experienced, all that I learned and all that I anticipate as I enter into this new chapter in my life. So, to recap for our less intellectually inclined readers, I seek to word vomit all over this screen. The vomit will contain a slimy liquid of summer happenings, lessons learned garnished with chunks and bits about where I am at now and where I am going.

Now that we’re all grossed out by awkward imagery I will proceed.

Chapter one (just kidding).

In my last blog I vented to the masses that I felt the need to be initiated into something bigger than myself. I wanted a grand trip or an epic challenge of sorts to send me spiraling towards adulthood and success. If you remember (or can scroll down) I planned taking a longer than needed bike trek across the state where unicorns and bands and giant juicy watermelons would be waiting for me. And I would be complete. False. That did not happen. Furthermore, I think I got on my bike twice because of this nauseating heat.

My buddy Bret and I came to the realization that our dream of Lance Armstrongness would have to be reduced to “a Sunday afternoon ride.” We still have yet to do this, but I believe cooler weather is a preliminary requisite for said activity.

Before I continue with this story please know that I didn’t forget about you or us and this activity we share. I “blogged” like three or four times but I didn’t think any were good enough to “publish.” However, with the good reminder by my mother “good enough” is a relative thing and I shouldn’t care. So this is me not caring. I mean think about it, I could write about seahorses and it would still be blogging. I could type the alpha-bet backwards and discuss my ear cleaning habits and somebody out there in cyberspace might read it!

But the point isn’t that people will read it, is it? It’s something more. I told my mom it’s all the rewards of being a writer without any of the real struggles. I publish on my own terms, I can write whatever, whenever and for whomever. I can get instant feedback and often do. I can have a satisfying feeling knowing that I “accomplished something.”

Enough of this metatextual blogging (Blogging about blogging).

So I didn’t get initiated into adulthood via adventure. However I did enter into a new club that might indirectly help me feel more closure about my experience as a college kid. It’s the club called marriage. Let me back up….engagement with the eventual goal being marriage.

I haven’t really preached to the mountains about my current relationship, and that’s because in the back of my mind I was thinking “well what if it doesn’t work out?” And if that was the case then I’d have to revoke all the sweet nothings I wrote about the girl. I have done that in the past and I didn’t want to do that again. So I asked her to marry me. Now she’s trapped (I win). So I can write all I want about her!!!!!! Hahahah!!!!!!
OMG she is so cute, like totally ya know? 5ft nothing soft brown hair and green eyes like the colors of non-ripened wheat. She likes me for me and theatre and kids and flying kites from Wal-Mart and we’re just about as happy as two puppies with their heads out the window of a Toyota Tacoma 2004 standard transmission two seat truck!!!!!!!!!!

Which brings me to my other happening. I got wheels. Through the good Grace of God and those-that-birthed-me, my walking to class and virtually everywhere days are gone! No longer shall I be “that guy” that has to bum rides everywhere or ride his bike to school carrying bags of books and workout and rehearsal clothes while balancing a travel mug of coffee on my handlebars!

I did it! Four years of undergraduate college without a car! It helps that my school was very centralized and I didn’t really have a life outside it, but the fact remains that I did it.
It’s a very good thing. Also for my future children I can, in good conscience, willingly deprive them of a car until they graduate thus saving me tons of money! That sounds funny, but I am serious. Also, in no way was that a jab at my parents. They felt terrible about me walking everywhere and not having a car. I think it was a good thing though. My sister did it, and so did I. Let me tell you I appreciate this car so much more now. I will not take it for granted. Because of this gratitude I have decided to dedicate my truck (Eeva) to the powers of good, not evil. I will stop to pick up things and people. I will help my friends move out of their apartments. I will transport absurd amounts of cargo and humans to various places around the Kansas City area. Amen.

So I got me a fiancé and I got me a truck.
No, I will not reveal the story of our engagement quite yet! Calm down people. I will save that for a later blog to go into better detail. I realize that already I have wasted about five minutes of your time and so I will break this blog into a few sections.

More to come!

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Season

This post has been a long time coming but one I’ve been dreading. I am on the eve of my undergraduate experience starring at the ambiguous abyss of my impending adulthood. Quite frankly I’ve been depressed about it for probably longer than I know. I’m starting to feel it and its affects are blooming into some of my personal relationships, also, my relationship with God. The main effect: confusion and fear. I’m coping in my own way—a heavy dose of hard rock, working out and not thinking about it.

I have lived and thrived in this place that I have made my very own for four years. Being here has been the longest amount of time in one place in my entire life. As an Army brat the moment I was letting my roots grow deep, it was time to pull out and start over. This place was somewhere I chose to be. I made a name for myself, explored my passions, saw glimpses of my face in this world, and most importantly…. I was needed. I think that’s what it comes down to. We want to be in a place where we are needed. I want to be needed somewhere. Kind of like the Cheers theme song, we want to go where everybody knows our name.

I’ve got no other motive or message for any of you other than I needed to say this for myself because I am needing to deal with it and move on to make a name in a new way.

I have an exit interview with the department of communication and theatre next week and I have to prepare a 2+ page paper on what I learned here and what I would and wouldn’t change. I tried to get a coherent thought on paper but it just wasn’t happening. What have I learned? What have I improved on? What has this meant to me? All that came out was nostalgic dribble.

I wonder what I will keep and bring with me as I start this next part of my journey. Will I forsake all that I have learned and tally it up as foolishness? Will I embrace it and use it in new ways with new faces? God only knows. I feel an urge to get away and climb a mountain. I want to ride on the back of a bucking roaring bear for half a mile and then slit its throat leaving me victorious. I want to carry that bear back to my village where my people will celebrate my battle and then feast on the fruits of my work.

That all might seem strange to you, and please know I am not a fan of bear meat or of killing those beautiful creatures. I just need a grand challenge to initiate me into this new chapter. It’s a primitive and mysterious instinct that I cannot ignore no more than I can ignore the nose on my face. Every time I look down its just sort of there.

Here is something to chew on. In our contemporary American culture we have no ritual to bring youth into man and womanhood. It simply isn’t there. This is something my theatre professor told me once and I never understood it until now. Think about it. Yes, there is graduation but that’s just wearing a robe in front of other people for an hour and having a piece of paper handed to you. What does that mean? Then there is marriage. I just don’t think that would satisfy this indescribable desire in me. Furthermore I’m not getting married anytime soon.

Two summers ago I hiked New York’s tallest mountain by myself. I wasn’t alone as I had three friends with me, but they were my age—there were no adults. It was something I decided, I planned, I executed, and I achieved. The memory of that day will never leave me. I was the first human being on that summit. Nature and I alone with God. The view and feeling was something I won’t let words taint.

I want something like that. I need something epic. I need something to make me feel alive and to remind me that I am not in control before I enter the real world.

And so I am planning a 250 mile bike ride with one of my best friends from college. We’re going to ride from Kansas City to Rolla only on the back roads as to avoid the dangers of the interstate. Maybe that trek will serve this need.

Wherever you are in life try to figure out where you are needed and don’t let go. Understand what you can control and don’t worry about anything else. I may not be able to control my feelings about letting go of this life I’ve created for these four years but I can choose what I take with me as I go.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Questions for you

Hey there reader! Please take one minute of your precious time to assist me in my Undergraduate Colloquium Presentation!

Follow the link below!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Something Light....

Thank you for giving me feedback! I so enjoy hearing from my readers! It makes me feel like what I write matters or that people perhaps care. Those are good things. Even if you didn’t I’d still probably write because I believe is serves a purpose for my own health and enjoyment as well. Everybody wins.

At any rate I’m going to try and switch it up. According to the data before us, most of you don’t want to read my poetry. I am not offended. I understand most people find poetry a bore, or they had a bad experience with it or they see it generally as a silly useless thing. Furthermore, I also see that on the whole you, the reader, want more random, light hearted, humorous material. This I can do. And please understand that this does not mean I’ll stop writing about serious things, or things that I care about or controversial topics. I say this because I think there is a ton of hilarious potential in all those things. You just have to look hard.

As promised and for your pleasure please enjoy a more lighthearted memoir on recent thoughts and events.

Apparently I am funny. I don’t know if I like that. I ate some fish that tasted funny once. I projectile vomited a few hours later. Look I just don’t want people throwing up over the ridiculous crap I have to say. I just….care. Now, whether I am funny looking or have a certain way with words I don’t know, I’ll leave that for you, but I do think the world needs more humor for sure. There is just too much pain, tragedy, war, torture, hang nails, divorce, crying, Ryan Seacrest, dogs with “snuggies” and too many people who take themselves uber serious. Lame.

Well, I don’t know how to start this one…um why did the chicken cross the road….? Fail. Well speaking of “failing” and roads…..This winter I have been walking to school everyday still even though Missouri has become a magnet for snow and icy despair. It really sucks I’m not going to sugar coat it. The other day I slipped on ice face first….good thing my knees and hands broke my fall on the fluffy concrete. Oh, sure everybody falls. Its just extra humbling when other people see you. So the first thing I do after muttering an expletive was check to see if I performed the little stunt for an audience or if I was alone. Alas, I made somebody’s day as the twenty two year old kid who hasn’t mastered the art of walking.

I didn’t hide behind my shame. I waved at the driver and made a goofy face as if to say, “I’m a moron! Have a laugh at my expense!” About two seconds later I just had to let out a bolt of nervous laughter. It was a nice moment to the start of a very blustery very cold day.

So apparently we don’t even know thing one about winter in Missouri. I recently learned that in places up north people can freeze bubbles. Holy frick I never thought about that! A frozen bubble! Also, to test the temperature of the air people throw cups of water into the sky and if it freezes on the way down it supposedly means it’s colder than if the water came back down a liquid. Genius. I’m glad we have such precise instrumentation.

However, since it is colder my warm drink consumption has like quadrupled. I think I can justify the $3.40 every few times a week if it’s not about pleasure, taste, caffeine addiction but rather about survival. I need this warm delicious coffee to live or my insides might freeze! Truth.

Speaking of coffee, I ran out of cream a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to man up and drink it black. I’ve heard that gives you chest hair and the ability to build things. Men= hairy builders. I can already build things and I have a “little engine that could” chest hair going on. He’s not alone, he has friends, but they are just hard to see. Furthermore, my roommate works for Starbucks and he brings bags and bags of different kinds of beans home for us. It’s like sweet manna from heaven. And so I have all this coffee at my disposal and I need it to survive but I just gotta have my cream and sugar. I want to start my day with excellence and deliciousness. I don’t know how many of you out there bounce outta bed and reach for a warm mug of mediocrity. I hope not….oh snap wait a minute I forgot about Ryan Seacrest…. Well he doesn’t count he’s just a good looking robot plotting the untimely death of Dick Clark.

Let’s just say my coffee intake seriously dropped. At least for awhile. It did until I was sitting in class wondering why I had a pounding headache. I ignored it, drank water and went on my merry way. The next day it happened again, so I bought a cup of coffee at the Perch (coffee shop at the student union at Jewell). Magically the headache went away! A miracle! False, that just means I have a legitimate physical addiction to caffeine. Awesome…

The problem was compounded even further because I don’t have a car to go get cream whenever I want. I am also freakin poor and don’t need to be throwing my money away at the coffee shop. It was a serious predicament. So I alternated for about a week between headaches and paying for coffee. My money is gone. Crap. There is good news though, eventually I did go and buy cream so I can make my own, fuel my addiction and save money every week!

Being poor and living off campus without a car has taught me a lot. One thing is that I don’t know what it is about salsa, but it makes everything taste like Zeus himself sprinkled goodness on it. It’s like the wonder spice (other than salt). Got rice? Add some salsa and you got a sexy fiesta in your mouth and nobody else is invited! Got soup? Add salsa and you get a soup so good it can make a blind man sing! Got some old cans of beans and corn? Add salsa then you got a… just go to the grocery store cause that’s not really anything good. At best it’s a couple things needed for a Mexican dish, I don’t know. Maybe go to Taco Bell and see what happens.

Another point of sadness in my life: I don’t have salsa and I’m almost out of sugar. Tragedy.

Although if you think about it, if my biggest woes are not getting coffee every chance I crave it and have to walk in 0 degree weather up hill both ways two miles (seriously), then I am doing pretty well in this whole game of being a human. There are people a lot worse off than me. There are people who do not have a warm place to walk to, or quality higher education at their finger tips. There are people who don’t have friends to drive them to Target. There are people who would love salsa to eat by itself, not just on a heaping warm pile of rice.

And so all in all, I love the life I recognize that I am greatly blessed. How are you greatly blessed?

This year has created a lot of precious memories for me. It has taught me responsibility. It has taught me the value of a new Christmas coat. It has taught me that a savings account doesn’t work that great if you treat it like a checking account. It has also taught me that ATM’s at Bank of America literally get hungry too, and their dish of choice is check cards. Seriously folks, it ate my card. Don’t worry I have a new one.

Well I hope this little blog warmed your heart. And if you decide to put some extra spicy salsa on your eggs tomorrow morning, I hope you have a warm mouth and think about how awesome life is.

Stay warm out there friends. Somebody seriously needs to go kill that freagin groundhog. What a jerk. Why can’t the people in charge just lie and tell everyone we are going to have an early spring? That little rat needs to stop ruining people’s lives I mean this has supposedly been the worst recorded winter in like forever or something.

Much love reader! Have a happy March, count your blessings, eat some salsa. The month of Spring is upon us! For our hemisphere that is. Those creeps down south are about to plunge in a dark and twisted fall and winter. Just kidding, I have nothing against our neighbors to the south of the equator.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sociopolitical Dream

Everyone goes to college to find out one thing: They don't need college.

It’s a really silly place where older people rob you and complexify the simplest concepts. For instance I’m taking a class where the basic premise is that people are different. Duh. Wow!

Before I went to college I thought the world and everyone in it was screwed up. Now that I am a senior in college I realize I was seriously underestimating the level of screwedupness.

It’s all a game really. Society says you have to do these things in order to get these other things and they make us believe we need both. Now don't be alarmed. I'm not dropping out. In fact I’m staying in college an extra semester just to get a paper from the state of Missouri that says I can legally teach children. Who knows, I may even have the privilege of teaching your future children some day. If only they were so lucky.

College is a debt factory. Aside from this fact, a redeeming quality is that it attempts to educate individuals towards self actualization. Autonomy. Once this is reached learning belongs to, and is regulated by the owner. And so in a good way school gives you the tools to do such. Ya, college you did something right!

However, not everyone is fortunate enough to receive these life long tools because college is for middle and upper-class citizens. Yes, there are always exceptions but I’m talking about the majority of college students. Even with "government aid" no one in impoverished communities is expecting to go. They don't expect it because sadly, no one else expects them to either. Isn’t that terrible? Think about it.

We were talking in my Cultural Communications class about this very thing and I had to ask myself: Do employers, politicians and the education system unconsciously withhold investment in minority students and workers because we secretly want them to remain ignorant, thus keeping them in the jobs we want them to be in….i.e dishwashers, mechanics, janitors, garbage collectors, factory workers, fruit pickers, and other blue collar jobs? Just asking the question makes me want to take a shower. But is that not true? Is the system keeping them down to force a kind of cast system?

Ah, but maybe you are thinking no! what about the American Dream?! We can change our stars, we can improve, we can move up! “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.1” Well of course we can move up, we can be “overlings.” But it takes education, mentorship and money to do all that. Meanwhile life is happening and the system perpetuates. Oh, and about the American Dream—to hell with it. There is more to life than making money, having stuff and being comfortable. I mean compared to the rest of the living world we are spoiled to the core, the richest of the rich where wants are needs.

Not long ago I sat through an amazing lecture at UMKC with Jonathan Kozol, Education guru and political activist. Mr. Kozol hit the nail on the head when he stated that schools are more segregated now than they ever were fifty years ago. Dr. King when did we wake up from your dream?

Yet, it’s not just about race it’s also about money—and the screwedupness is compounded! Not only can we hate those who look and think differently than we do, but we can also hate those who don’t have the same amount of stuff. Classism.

Oh, but we do our dandiest to mask the truth, our feelings and thoughts by sugarcoating our words.

For instance: I am not white…I’m ethnically challenged. People don’t say that…it’s just funny. But I do hear that STDs are now STIs (sexually transmitted infections) Maybe infection is less socially damning and less permanent. If it’s less permanent then bring on the sexual promiscuity! Adultery is an “extra marital affair.” That doesn’t sound too bad! And did you further know there is a web based company designed to facilitate spousal cheating?! For real people.
Brotherhood is often denoted as siblinghood. That one isn’t that bad on the surface, but on a deeper level I think brotherhood and sisterhood have different, more profound and specific meaning. You can’t just combine both and call it even. And yes it does matter.

Now, ultimately don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being inclusive in word and deed, especially gender inclusive. I really do support and appreciate equality but its getting to the point in some classes where I’m afraid to use the pronoun “he” when referring to a male person. I might get in trouble for being too specific thus offending or invalidating someone else’s existence.

I’ve gone too far. I can’t have an opinion on equality or injustice or anything related to suffering or anything ever because I am a middle class, white, straight, protestant male. My bad. Dang. Must have been my upbringing. You know, raised in an egalitarian household where I was taught to respect and love everyone no matter what and empathize with those in need or pain.

Moving along.

This words game is all so fake. Why can’t we just say what we mean and not worry about being diplomatic and stepping on toes? Is it just to pretend like we are respecting the other person? Where is the truth? Recently I’ve found I really appreciate tactful frankness. Its true, it’s to the point and you can take it at face value. But there is a negative connotation with frankness. I don’t like that. We need more frankness in this world. I’m tired of empty words, and promises. I’m tired of fig trees that won’t produce fruit.

It’s sickening to me to think how far people and corporations will go to pretend like they are progressive or enlightened. Political correctness is the kingpin of this phenomenon for words are the beginning of thought and action. If we somehow neutralize our words to dull down our still sexists, racist, and classist feelings and intentions it’s somehow okay to continue injustice.

I say these things because even though there is a deceptive aroma of change in the air, I think underneath it all we are still very much the same.

On a less depressing note I realized recently that fear and hate are things you have to teach. Nobody is born a racist. Nobody is born thinking they are superior over another person. These are learned traits. And here is the point, our teaching and education is key.

I went to school as the son of a soldier in the US Army. I was typically a minority in the schools I attended, yet I befriended, played with and loved my friends of many different colors. I was taught to love everyone.
Then as I progressed through my higher education I learned what people of my skin color had done to my friends with different colored skin.

The institutions taught me I was a racist. They taught me that I was different from my friends, that we used to hate each other and probably still do. Then they teach us to simply coexist and get a piece of the pie—The American Dream of self love.

Whatever happened to the protection of innocence? Where did my childhood go? Why can't society and businesses and the world function like my blissfully ignorant childlike state? Why instead of hours of learning about all the horrible sins our fathers and mothers committed (although we don’t really learn much about our mothers do we….) can we not be taught how to better improve our behavior? Why can't we be taught to love and to play fair and to keep it like that?

I quote Switchfoot, "look what a mess we've made of love."

I think this country will be just about as racist, sexist and classist as it always was until we learn how to get over ourselves and not talk about it anymore. Maybe if we all banned together under the umbrella truth proclaimed in the Broadway musical Avenue Q, “everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes….doesn’t mean we go around committing hate crimes…” We are messed up, yes. We are bias and judgmental and selfish. Cool, now what? But it doesn’t happen like that. We are fooled into thinking we are lovely bright creatures capable of making our dreams come true! Sweet! Hey progressive movement……the holocaust. Ya….I went there.
Even today there will always be issues. And yet some people claim that we are so far removed from all this. No way. Actions speak louder than words case and point: white flight.

Just because Barak Obama is president doesn't mean our country isn't racist.

You're probably wondering why I haven't talked about faith issues or brought God into the discussion. I am getting to that.
When I look around I just can’t help seeing that there is something horribly wrong not just with our governments, schools, words, attitudes, behavior, cities and societies worldwide. Those same diseases that infect the system also infect me. I am the problem.

So are you and we’re holding hands running toward a cliff.

I've always held that pretty much all the world’s problems would be solved if we just eliminated the humans. I said that once in a theology class. People starred and laughed nervously. I was serious.

Despite the fact that we are the problem, killing all humans doesn’t work because I like those guys too much. Ah snap! I mean I like those people too much. Women are people too….cause when I said guys I maliciously intended to exclude half the earth’s human population….

The only shred of hope I hold is that I believe there is a way out of the mess. I believe this because I have experienced and have seen a change in myself. Something completely other, outside of me. It corrects my attitude and changes the way I think about everything. It makes me act contrary to myself. When I want to be selfish or think ugly thoughts about someone who is different than me I hear another voice in the back of my mind that causes me to think twice. There is a force in this world that has the power to change. It is very real. It is not physical. It is not a new hot shot political leader. It is not the next trend in international relations or a new educational act, it is the God of the universe. He created everything. Whether he spoke it into being literally in six human days or if he painstakingly designed its slow evolution and watched its poetic unfolding over billions of years we may never know. I don’t think that matters at this point of creation. We already exist.

This God is real and doesn't like what he sees either. I'll bet it breaks his heart to see the things we do, think and say about each other. But he didn't just sit on his hands and agonize far away at the horrible mess we made of his art project. He embodied our struggle. He became flesh and blood and felt and saw the immense weight of sin on his creation. He took it on himself and became the mediator between an angry Father and a guilty child. He paid the price and gave us the ability to reverse the curse if we trust in him. This world is not going to have the final word. No sir. He has given us a way out of ourselves.

The Good News of Jesus Christ is the only true revolutionary theory. It’s turning the world upside-down. I mean think of it! Loving my enemy and praying for those who are persecuting me?! Serving to lead?! Becoming last to be first?! Giving to the least of these?! Rejecting religious hypocrisy?! Denying myself?! Joy in suffering?! Living life free and only by two rules: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Enjoying a relationship with the one who made you and seeing life like it has meaning and purpose! What else do we need?

And maybe you’ve heard this all before. Maybe you agree with me. Cool, so what are you doing to make this sociopolitical dream come true? Mathew 28:19-20. But maybe you disagree. If so, why did you entertain yourself to read this whole rant? Maybe somewhere deep inside you, you understand what I mean and see and feel that selfishness I’m talking about. At least think about it.

There you have it. Jesus Christ is my socio-political dream. I'm not talking about a specific Christian denomination, not a movement or an organization or a religion. I'm talking only spiritual. We are all one and we are all lost. And he is the only way. Keep your religions, organizations, societies, traditions and customs! So long as you have your world rocked by The Mediator and get to know the One True Father. That is his goal. I believe in God's love for humanity. I believe that knowledge of God is attainable. Through the love and knowledge of God, we can start living life the ways it was meant to be lived.

To the keepers of the system, the powers that be, the representatives in the heavenly realms and under the earth. Hear the words of my friend Neo…

“I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid... afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.2”

1. Julius Caesar I ii, William Shakespeare
2. The Matrix

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shut up and Listen

I haven't written in this blog in a while. Probably cause I have had ludicrous writer's block. Maybe I don't know what I should say. I don't know what I’ll end up writing about, but I’m going to try with all my might to muster out a coherent thought. If it ends up being profound or encouraging or inspirational, I guess that is good, but I’m shooting for coherent. How am I doing? Its like a truck on the highway with a sign that says how's my driving? Anybody really call one of those numbers? Anybody really care? Sometimes I call the numbers on the sides of food products just cause I figure no one is giving those people the time of day. Recently I tried calling the people who make Frank's Hot Sauce. That stuff is freagin good. I was eating with a group of friends and attempting to try my hand at corporate advertising. Here were the top five for a hot sauce.

(in an intense movie guy announcer voice)
Frank's Hot Sauce: So hot it can make a baby cry.
Frank's Hot Sauce: So hot it can make a blind man speak.
Frank's Hot Sauce: So hot it makes the sun look foolish.
Frank's Hot Sauce: So just shouldn't be this hot.
Frank's Hot Sauce: So hot it can bring a mere child to appreciate Russian literature.

Who knows.

Coherent yet? Nah I didn't think so either. Let's keep going, maybe we'll get somewhere together.

Well, a good lesson I’ve learned in my life but haven't mastered into practice is when you can't think of anything to say....don't. Meaning, you don't always gotta use your yapper. I think to a certain extent silence frightens people. Have you noticed this? It does depend on the relationship and the person but generally speaking, we (as Americans) tend to shy away from silence. Why is that? Is it because we hate awkward? Are we afraid what the other person is thinking? Why should we be?

I want to like silence more. I want to date it. I want to get to know it and learn something in the quiet. There is so much to learn if we just shut up and listen.

Listening is an active process. It is an active process in which we do not have full control. Not talking makes us give away control. I think we hate that too.
If we submit (ooh buzz word!) to silence and commit to listening more what would we learn? Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for your health is listen to your body. When I look in the mirror I see something interesting. Maybe you will think this interesting too next time you're checking yourself out. I have two ears, and two eyes. I have one mouth. That means I have four times as many "listeners" as I do "talkers."

What would happen to our relationships, houses, schools, communities, churches, cities, states, countries and our world if everyone committed every day to listening four times as much as they spoke?!

What would that look like? What would that sound like? Ask yourself, how much time in your social interaction do you spend talking and how much time listening? Interesting.

At heart I believe I am the biggest problem the world is facing. Me. I am a selfish creature and I am infected to the core with ME ME ME.

I believe I am not alone in this condition. Unfortunately, I believe we all want to talk more than we want to listen. I believe we want to be in control more than we want to give it away. Because of this we are in opposition to each other. Conflict and the rebellion of the soul from its loving Creator.

This past Sunday my pastor put it rather bluntly. We hate God. It’s true. Either we hate God or we Love God there is no middle ground. We play games and try to pretend that we are either apathetic or that we care, but when it comes to the heart of the matter we either love Him or we hate Him. This love or hate can be unfounded. It is usually based on faulty or missing information. Hate is usually rooted in ignorance. And so, we do not love because we do not know. We hate because we do not know. If we knew, we would love.

Maybe we have seen something we don’t like in those who are supposed to know God. If you are somebody who has seen something in me that you don’t like, please don’t judge God. I am sorry. I am doing my best to be a servant of The Story. I am learning and listening as best I can.

All in all do yourself a favor and listen. Use those beautiful ears and eyes. See the beauty in this place. See the fingerprints of a creative God. Hear the wisdom and voice of God. Hear the never ceasing chorus of creation proclaiming the only truth that matters. I am.

So maybe I haven’t said anything past coherent. Maybe I haven’t touched coherence. Maybe in your mind I have only danced around with rhetorical babble. Perhaps. All I know is what I feel, what I see in myself, what I see in others and in the world. I just really believe that if we let go and listen we would hear God. We would see God. And if we listened we would get to know God. Maybe then we would accept the love God gives to us. Maybe then we might see a very different world.