Thoughts: A Scatterplot Faith in a Straight Line World

You said you want to hear my story, well that’s fine. I’ve told it so many times, pedaling it for nickels and dimes, believing that’s what it’s worth. Some spare change. I could spare change, there’s so much it’s fluid. Never having a single constant, never feeling at home. I thought I had it a few times, warmed my feet at the hearth at the promise of safety emblazoned my face and pierced my bones. It was just enough to feel at peace, just enough to feel released, just enough for some relief. But soon it was back out into the dark, back out into a void of lamplight and concrete. 

I often tell myself it’s my fault. You’re the one who can’t stay. They’re right when they say you’re flighty. They’re right when they say you don’t belong. You’re love wasn’t needed and it sure as hell wasn’t wanted. Did you truly believe your Christ was worth following? Look at where you are now: cursed to wander and wander. Christ had no place for you on this earth. You had no comfort in store. 

No community. 

No constants.

And I’ll believe every word I’ll tell myself, because that’s all I’m hearing. That’s all that’s reinforced around me. I don’t want that to be true.

Is it selfish to want a home? Is it selfish to want to be wanted? To want to throw off every weight of sin? To want to endure but not be able to? I’ve been running this race for so long, yes I know I haven’t shed blood, and yes I know you’ve called me son, but damn it, I’m so tired.

I can’t be honest with you because it’s not seemly, I can’t wear a mask because it’s not honest. Caught in the middle of some sort of existential keep-away, always the monkey in the middle. You throw the ball too high, how can anyone expect to catch it? Then when we’re fed up with playing we’re shunned.

Jesus why would you love this lot?

Why would you love me?

I’ve been told so many times that I drag your name through the mud. Told I’m a bad influence. That I’m a bad Christian.

When can I be loved for being honest? When can I say that I’m suffering and feel like it matters? When can I be human again?

It’s so hard to have so much knowledge about you. I see who you are, but when I put that into action I become a monster.

Can you be more than just words on a page? Can you be more than just subjective theology where you’re only one thing to one person with one goal and one dimension? Where’d your mystery go? Didn’t you know, we figured you out. We’re your God now, and we’ll use you to lord over those we don’t agree with.

I’m not trying to say I’m right. I’m not trying to say others are wrong. I just need to say what I feel.

I’ve been following your voice around for a decade now. Wandering aimlessly on trust, taking the criticisms along the way. I’m just ready to find an address with my name on it. 10 years is a long time to wander. My feet are tired and I need to rest. I remember you said your yoke was easy and your burden light, mine is not, and it feels like it always will be.

Do you know what it’s like to always be sad and never have a way out? I just want to know what it’s like to feel joy and purpose.


Pain: Living in the Dark

I never thought I would get to a point in my life again where I would be incredibly and abysmally lonely.  I never thought that I had taken the presence of people for granted.
Laying in my bed at 6 in the morning in the complete dark listening to the birds sing of treetops and wind current, I almost forgot what the morning felt like.  Working overnight has changed a lot of things for me. Sleeping when the sun is out, adapting to the lack of Vitamin D, getting used to the dark, being the most alert when those I care for are not.

That’s the hard part.

I never thought I would get to a point in my life again where I would be incredibly and abysmally lonely.  I never thought that I had taken the presence of people for granted.  I don’t think I was prepared for what changes were about to come into my life.

At first it’s fine. Life doesn’t seem to change all that much. You’re resilient, you’re youthful, you bounce back. But then you’re suddenly without a social life, without a normal routine.  You’re alone.

Loneliness is a tricky thing for me. For some reason, my mind’s reaction to being alone is to just be more alone. I forget how to talk to people, I become less interesting, then I just get to a point where I don’t even want to be around people. Why my wires are so crossed as to come up with this solution I have no clue.  I’m stuck however, I start to cling to things that I shouldn’t.  Pornography, being the main one. I hate that the moment I feel a hole in my heart I try and fill it with the most objectifying outlet to women we have ever created. I hate that the only option I can come up with is to seek out a few moments of ecstasy to create several hours of abysmal self-loathing and emptiness when I claim to have a God who is ever-present and ever-wanting-to-put-up-with-my-shit.

The even worse thing about loneliness is it makes my depression worse. I’ve had a couple cycles lately where I just sat in my room for a couple hours staring at the wall, because that’s all the energy I could muster to do. The two feed off of each other like a passive-aggressive couple, constantly taking something from the other out of spite, only they’re really taking stuff from me.

I like to write these after I’m in a better frame of mind and a better place, when I can look back and really evaluate what’s going on. There’s a few things that I’ve seen and learned from all of this and I just wanted to share.

Don’t take for granted those around you.

I never knew how much a kind word would get me through. Be encouraging to those in your life, whether they are good or not. Shitty people need encouragement too, they are probably dealing with just as much, if not more, than you are. Just because we find faults in people, doesn’t mean we should let it define them and walk away from them completely.

Encouraging is uncomfortable. Often times, women think that I am hitting on them when I am actually just imparting a kind word, men think I am too emotional and often times play it off like it was nothing or shrink back in some sort of homophobia. So in short, learn how to take a compliment, not everyone wants to get in your pants.

Words mean more than we think they do.

I’ve found myself missing just simple ‘hello’s’ and ‘how are you’s’. Care about people. Go out of your way to see how someone is doing. Quit just checking on facebook and knowing people through a 4″ screen. If the most interaction you have with people is through social media, delete it. We’re so geared towards connecting with people and loving others, yet we can’t do it without this electric brick. Say hi to people whom you walk past in public, don’t look at your phone to avoid them. Be willing to stop and chit-chat. Meet with people. Say genuine things. Our country is probably the most BS country on the planet, we can’t do anything without being two-faced or having some ulterior motive.

Be present.

When you are with people, be with those people. Don’t be on your phone, don’t be taking selfies for snapchat, don’t be watching the tv in the corner. How in the world are you ever going to be close with someone if you are more worried about documenting how “awesome a time” you are having on social media rather than actually having the time and letting it be something special for yourself and for that other person. Make plans with people, straight up, and then stick to it. Don’t send out mass texts with vague, “what are you up to’s” or “where you at’s”. Make plans with a person, show them you care about them, and then do something. Maybe it’s not the best thing that could happen but that’s your own damn fault for always wanting something better rather than being content with what you have.
It’s time we got back to actually caring.  I know this is an uncomfortable thing for me, but I also know that living comfortably is unproductive and selfish. I just want to encourage you, my dear reader, to make people matter in your life. One of my favorite bands, Silent Planet, calls their fans ‘lovers’. I felt super uncomfortable at first to hear that, but the more I reflect on it, the more I enjoy it. What would it feel like for someone you care for to call you lover. For someone to recognize that a. You need love, to b. Convey that love through one word, thus c. Recognizing the worth and beauty that you have.  How wonderful is that? Yeah it’s weird, yeah it’s counter-culture, but who cares. If you’re worried about what society thinks of you because you want to encourage and love, then do us a favor and quit contributing to that zeitgeist that no one truly believes in.

You are loved and I love you.

You have worth and I see that.

Your dreams are valid and you should pursue that.

Your life has purpose and I encourage that.

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?

Pain: Weighing Moments Too Large for Scales

It comes in bits and pieces.
It’s always bits and pieces.

It’s so shocking what can happen in such a short spanse of time. Just the frequency and multitude of life that happens in the fractions of minutes. So much weight held in mere moments. 1/1440 of a day. That’s 0.0006%. I always wonder how such a minuscule unit could be so crucial?

When I was young, one of my favorite things to do was walk the train tracks with my little sister. We’d stroll the bars for hours on end. The thud of wood and crunch of gravel the background music to our mid-day fantasies of courage and conquest. Those moments are like emeralds for me. But like most emeralds they’re found at the bottom of dried up riverbeds, underneath years and years of silt, sand, and stone.They were buried deep. Deep under a multitude of 0.0006% moments. Moments that bore more weight than any amount of emeralds could. Moments that became more than just mere moments.

Here’s where things get real REAL fast:

There’s one thing I want to address with this blog in particular.

And it’s pain.

My childhood was miserable at best. So miserable that I’ve repressed a lot of that stone, sand, and silt. My brain continues to store memories away where I can’t retrieve them. Making my relationships all the more difficult to maintain since I’m very prone to forget vital information.

But some things I just couldn’t shelve. Things like coming out of my bedroom to the sounds of screams and breaking glass. The feel of broken drywall. The smell of burning cannabis. The cracklings of a glass pipe being heated. White powder lines on a glass table. The images of fornication in a magazine thrust on me. The feel of confusion and pain as sex became my five-year-old self’s reality.

It comes in bits and pieces.
It’s always bits and pieces.

A smell or a sound or a feeling. There’s so many more triggers than you think there would be. All with no escape.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about pain. Heard a lot of complaints of the heartbreak of a fleeting lover. Of playful punches that just “went too far”. Of a major league team losing a game. Of a punishment that was “undeserved”. I could make a list a mile long of all the sayings and complaints I’ve heard about how “painful” life is. But for the longest time, all I could ever think when I heard any of them was ‘You have NO idea what a living Hell pain can be.’

All of these stones buried me up neck deep into bitterness, self-loathing, and suicidal tendencies. By the time I was 13 I had tried to cut my life short over 100 times in at least 15 different ways. I was done with life. I was done with people. I was done with existence.

Thankfully at 13 I also found out about Jesus Christ.

Never in my entire life had I been so pissed off about something. All of a sudden there was this God who “died for me” yet hadn’t done one damn thing to prevent this Hell He so valiantly defeated. In my mind it was B.S. If we were playing Texas Hold ‘Em Jesus had a 2 of clubs and a 6 of diamonds against my Royal Flush. He was a fraud.

But when I’m angry about something I like to try and find flaws to reinforce my train of thought. I will go to any length to make sure that my way is the only way. But the more and more I dug into Christ, the more and more He pushed that train off the tracks, then off of a cliff, and with a mangled, fiery, loud, and gruesome landing I couldn’t be angry anymore.

It hit me.

Christ was perfect. He wasn’t this monster watching from afar, dying for this thought-up cosmic cause. He was the voice that kept me from welcoming death with a bouquet of roses and a box of his favorite chocolates. He was the one that showed me that it wasn’t my fault. Nothing was my fault. That was worth following to me. Someone finally told me everything was ok, and MEANT it. Someone finally made the pain a memory and not a reality.

Pain is always relative. Pain is always situational. For the longest time I thought my pain was greater than others’, and that simply was not true. By physical and psychological standards, maybe, but every pain perks the ear of Christ. Pain doesn’t have to be a reality. Pain doesn’t have to last. Your value is so great that the Creator of everything died to make sure it is great. But there’s only so much I can say in a blog, so I’ll leave you with these few tasks.

Find a positive community, be honest, be vulnerable, View. Others. Complexly.