Thoughts: Cardboard Box Spaceships and Bob Dylan’s Hair

I wanna see the veins in the poplar’s leaves, four points pointing at me, stoic trees singing in the spring. UV dancing through the green tint, lost in all of it, like Calvin and Hobbes I need some stripes, a tail, and a cardboard box to travel this world, even if I have to make them up to make it all worth more.

Feet planted in the Rockies, “Laugh with me, buddy. Jest with me, buddy.” Just playing through my head. Thousands of feet above the sea, up in the air, through the pines, my God why can’t it always be like this!?

I forget about these moments, losing my imagination, wandering through my trials like I’m caught in some sort of trench. “Your pipes are frozen, by the way. A squirrel’s made his home in your ceiling, no sleep when there’s scuttling above your head. You needed to pay your rent last week, but all your bills come at the same time. But time’s not a thing you really have, work harder, damn it! Work that job you don’t feel competent at, slaving away as no one notices that you’re a drunk, drowning in the things you never wanted to become. YOU’RE NEVER ENOUGH!”

So I find myself singing Dustin Kensrue to get by, “It’s Not Enough” and it never will be. Yahweh won’t you find me and hold my hand for a bit? I’m tired of being plagued with these diseases that leave me drained and wondering if the air I’m breathing should be for someone else. Can we just have five minutes to sit and give it up? I know I don’t have the time, but maybe we can make it? I’ve got it all with me, it’s always in my head. Maybe you can take it for a summer, just one summer, that’d be grand. I could spend it in the Tetons or maybe Pugit Sound! I could take in everything with a new lens, see colors again, anything but gray.

I’m just a bit scared, you see, a friend of mine got choked out by your zealots and now you’re not real. But I can’t help but see your outline more clearly. Why is it that he can put his faith away and mine can’t be hidden?  I’m just a bit nervous, not that you’ll leave, but that you’ve become too real. I keep praying for joy and I’m afraid you’ll give it to me, like it’s Valentine’s Day and it’s a gift I knew I was getting but was surprised to receive wrapped in a heart shaped box.

I remember in the 4th grade I got an award for being optimistic, and to this day that’s the award I’m most proud of. I just want that to be real again. Jesus, can’t we be 10 once more, I know I left my joy there. I don’t want to be cynical anymore. I don’t want to have to worry about getting hurt, about waking up at 2am to anxiety attacks. Let me see this Great Cloud of Witnesses I’m surrounded by, I want to lay down this sin that clings so closely, it’s so heavy God!

I don’t have any endurance to run anymore.

So now I’m left with this heart-shaped box. I know what’s in there: joy and a deeper understanding of my faith. I’m afraid to open it because I’ve never known what that is. Every time I think I’m getting close to it, it’s taken back before I open it, or it’s one of those cans that explode into snakes, or there’s just nothing inside.

So could you help me open it, and could you stay for a while? Can we go on adventures and find out more about the things you’ve created? I really like this ribbon you’ve chosen, what’s this knot you’ve tied? I’m just trying to distract you from the fear I have for what’s inside. Can we write some songs about barn owls or about Bob Dylan’s hair? Maybe we can joke about the future, or about how bad horror movies are now. I’ll just shake the box a bit to feel the weight of what’s about to happen. I’m caught in this giddy state of brainstorming all the things that could make me happy, the longest Christmas Eve.

Maybe tomorrow will be Christmas, maybe it will be next week. All I know is I have the gift, I’ve already had a peek.

For the first time in a long time I’m excited about my life. I feel as if I am capable of being happy. It’s scary, and uncomfortable, but I’ve been waiting for so long. I hope this lasts for a while and I swear I’ll do what I can to get used to smiling. 

Thoughts: Awkward Is the New Black

My heart likes to make weird, awkward tugs when Jesus inaudibly speaks to me, this one said, “Why don’t you act like that?”

Today was an interesting day.  Most times, Christ teaches me about himself through people and through the things that they do.  I’m really, really good at observation.  I have many thoughts on many different subjects brought on by many different stimuli.  There were several stimuli today.

My grandmother is a wonderfully obnoxious, lovely worrier who will literally kill you with kindness.  I don’t think there’s been a day in my life where my grandmother hasn’t called me more than twice.  She is forever in her head and forever in everyone else’s business.  Yes, it’s obnoxious, and yes, most days I get incredibly pissed off by her constant barrage of questions and nagging, but Christ always seems to find a way to teach me a lesson through it.

Today, I took my grandmother to KU Burn Ward at KU Medical Center in Kansas City.  A while back she decided to grab a pan that was engulfed in flames and get 3rd degree burns on most of her right hand.  Her right hand being her dominant hand, she has been unable to do most things for herself.  While driving up to KU, dear, sweet Ethel rambled on and on about whatever popped into her mind.  It’s hard to keep a conversation with her because she burns through topics very quickly, or gets tired of talking about one subject and moves onto the next without warning.  I’m not proud to admit that most times I just get irrationally angry at my grandmother for this and my reaction was to turn up my new Dance Gavin Dance album and listen to that instead.  But, willing to do anything to have my attention, my grandmother just started tapping her foot to the beat and headbanging along with me, asking questions about the band and why I liked them.  Not in a million years will you find a 70+ year-old woman who will willingly bang their head to a song titled “Shark Dad“.

When we arrived at KU, it was actually a pretty short visit.  All they had to do was clean the burn and remove any dead skin that may be impeding healing.  While I was sitting in the waiting room, listening to Steve Harvey hosting The Family Feud and reading Bob Goff’s Love Does, there was another man with his grandmother, only he was the one with the burnt hand.  Their relationship reminded me a lot of mine and my grandmother’s.  As I watched her awkwardly comb his hair and try and plan out his day with a barrage of prying questions, I couldn’t help but make an awkward face and think, “What the hell is this lady’s deal?”  Not surprisingly, the man got quite cross with his grandmother and demanded that she quit asking him questions and leave him alone (She didn’t stop).

The man was called back by a hearty, smiling black man and the woman sweetly asked if she could come back there.  He replied with a sure and a grin.  “Hold on just a moment.” She had been counting some change, for what, I have no clue.  “I’m incredibly sorry, I was counting some change for the parking toll.  I spent all of my money on gas to get up here.”  Without hesitation, the man pulled a money clip out of his pocket and handed her $3.  “That should cover the fee.”  He said with a smile.

I didn’t get to hear how the rest of the conversation went down, as my grandmother and myself were exiting the waiting room on our way back to the car.  But where the conversation between the hearty male nurse and this overbearing grandmother ended, my conversation with Christ began.

My heart likes to make weird, awkward tugs when Jesus inaudibly speaks to me, this one said, “Why don’t you act like that?”  I was kind of taken aback by the question.  My instant reaction was to get defensive, but I had to push that back.  The more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I wasn’t like that.  I was reading an entire book on how love is an action and yet I was thrown by the man’s kindness.  I felt terrible because I should be treating my grandmother like that.  I treated my grandmother like she was a nuisance, and even though this man knew this woman was a nuisance, he still offered a gesture of love.  After that, I was very obliged to take my grandmother to dinner, and we listened to She & Him on the way home because she loves Zooey Deshanel.

Bob Goff really spoke to me in one of his chapters as well.  He said he didn’t go to bible studies.  I thought this was odd, but he expanded on that and said he met with a group of guys, they read scripture, and then they either went out and did something about it right then to show the love of Jesus, or they made some sort of plan as to how they could act on what they had spoke about.  He was very much about being with people rather than gathering information.  I thought about this quite a bit and even had a vivid dream about several people in my life.  It’s really easy for me to just get the latest information on people and then claim that I am involved in their life.  It’s easier that way, it hurts less, to be honest.  Being with people rather than just knowing them is messy, it’s awkward, it’s very real.

When I woke up, I started preparing for my day and turned on “Awkward” by Dance Gavin Dance, where the tag is literally, “Don’t make this awkward”.  It reminded me that I should just be human, yes, that is awkward, but I don’t have to make it that way.  After I got done brushing my teeth and trying to get my facial bed-head to lay down, I went into my kitchen and talked with my roommates.  It was nice to have this new perspective.  I felt like I didn’t have any agenda in talking with them and I could simply just laugh and talk and be happy.  When I put on my jacket and made for the door for work, I realized that one of my other friends was sitting on the couch in the living room.  It’s someone I don’t see very often that I wish I did, but more often than not, I make my interactions with them awkward with small talk that doesn’t matter (which I absolutely hate, so I have no clue why I do it).  Today was different, I really enjoyed getting to see that person and I was able to combat my instinct to be awkward and removed.  I wish I didn’t have that sort of reaction to this person because they have an absolutely lovely heart, but I’m glad that today, Christ pushed me through a reaction and pushed me into being an actual human.

I’m really starting to understand what Christ meant when he spoke through his apostle saying, “Put off the old man and put on the new.”  or when he said, “To truly live, you must die to yourself.”  I thought I already pretty much had those in the bag, because I had studied them.  It turns out, I really suck at living things out.  I can memorize and regurgitate, but I can’t put things into action.  Yahweh is forcing me into a lot of uncomfortable and counter-cultural things lately and it’s very scary, but I’m also incredibly stoked about it because through all the adversity and fear, I am finally getting my faith to go deeper rather than wider.  Jesus is getting more and more tangible with each step.  I feel like I still screw up just as much as always, but now, I can move past it.  Love is difficult, it hurts, it’s messy, it’s awkward.  But just remember, “Don’t make this awkward,” accept it and live.

Pain: “Yeah, Sometimes I Wish I Weren’t Me Either”

“In the same way, let your light shine before others so they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

This has been such a huge verse in my life. To the point where I’m going to get it tattooed on my body. If there’s one thing that I’ve made my entire life about it’s Jesus.

I’ve been catching a lot of flak from a lot of different people lately. People who want me out of ministry, people who believe me to be a drunkard, a liar, a bad influence. The ironic thing about it though is that I’ve never once heard this from the people themselves. I’ve ALWAYS heard it through someone who was told by these things by these people themselves.

It’s incredibly hard to fight bitterness over this. It’s incredibly hard to seek reconciliation or come to some sort of understanding with these people because: 1. I have 0 clue who these people are. 2. These people are spreading lies about me to get me kicked out of church.
How do you deal with that?

I’m incredibly hurt that my brothers and sisters would opt to cause me pain and create dissension rather than  actually, physically speak with me. They would rather see my downfall than understand where I’m at and correct me if I actually needed correcting.

I’m frustrated because it’s not Christ-like. Yet because I live honestly and refuse to hide behind religion, lies, and fear of looking bad, I am a horrible person.

Normally, I would go out of my way to show people what I am actually doing for Christ, but not now. People can believe what they want to believe and that’s fine. I know where I’m at and I know what Christ wants me to do and I’m going to do that.

Usually I would have some sort of turnaround with hope but I’m not at that right now. I feel hopeless, I feel hurt, I feel persecuted. I just want this to be an eye-opening experience behind the heart of some Christians. To my non-believing friends and family, I’m sorry the church is like this and I promise Jesus isn’t. I hope the actions of a few don’t affect how you look at Yahweh and the way He feels about you, his beautiful, and glorious Creation, I just need to address this, whether it makes me look bad or not.

Sometimes it’s hard to find hope when those who are supposed to have it create the opposite. Sometimes I wish I didn’t do what Christ asked me to so life was easier. Sometimes I wish I grew up indoctrinated. Sometimes I wish I didn’t know Christ. Sometimes, I wish I weren’t me.

This is how this makes me feel. As someone who struggles with Depression and Suicidal Ideation, sounds exactly like what I need to be feeling from my Brothers and Sisters, right?