Friday, February 10, 2006

This'll be a normal one for a change...

So for a rundown of the "highlights" of the past week or so:

Superbowl party at 1863!!! With the unbeatable rootbeer pong team of Dana and Paul... the "Sign Language After-Game Special"... and yay for only having to wake up at 6:30am the next day instead of 5!! Thanks for the couch, it was a life saver!!!!

4x5 format cameras... totally one of the coolest tools of photography

Yay for finally developing amazing pictures from random trips to the Statue of Liberty over break... awesome idea Kelly!!!! So where's our next one??

Lunches, dinners, and other awesome times in 1855... What am I going to do without you once I graduate?!?!?!

GCBS like woah.... Like going from a diet of steak, potatoes, and a white tablecloth to a 4th of July BBQ... Rocking Tuesday night!!! Here's to 50 more brothers and sisters on campus I didn't know I had!!!

15 minute conversations that end up going 2hrs, and then the best 11 hours of sleep I've gotten in the past 3 weeks. Don't let her tell you any different, Erin's couch in her living room is amazing!!!

Basketball late Wed nights, it's so good to play again, even if I have to ice random body parts, like my neck, after every time... but at least I can move it!!

Changing a flat tire on the Penn Turnpike... and of course, being sandwhiched between the guard rail and tractor trailers whizzing past my head at 70+ mph, because it was the driver side front tire.... I volunteer never to do that again!!!!

IV, IV, the simple pleasures of coloring and playing with colored pencils, and totally being "that guy"... and you still can't read what I scribbled out on the back of you paper :-P

Full House... I need say no more ;-)

Siren submissions, Biblical Theological Seminary, two "go to" people having a conversation and belly laughing hysterically at 1am, being told by more than one person that since I'm questioning and über-concerned about things in life -- I'm doing it right (which by the way really isn't cool. It's like saying that if you feel like you're doing your homework wrong and you don't know where to go, that you need to keep doing it that way because you're actually doing it correctly even though you don't think you are and just wanna know how to do it right. Ummm, I get it, but that's still smells like a load of animal dung)

And thus ends a pointless "update" blog entry... what fun

But in the end, what leaves you broken
In the end, makes you better, yeah

Plumb -- "Bettter"

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Maybe what you want, is exactly what you should never get...

So after reading, reminiscing, talking, and pondering till almost 4am I've come to feel that God truly does, as we Christians say, "give us the desires of our hearts". And I hear the complaints now, "Now wait a minute, I desire to be rich, and have a supermodel wife so why don't I have it." After restraining what I'd like to say, as any respectful person should, maybe the crap that we're dealt in life is what we desire, and the good things are that which we only dream about. Not many people I know like admitting self destructive tendencies, but the truth is we all have them. I have them, you have them, our favorite professor has them, and for some of us, I've come to realize it's what we truly desire. There was a point in our lives where we got dealt a bad card, that person who we were soulmates with and destined to be with ended up massacring us inside and for some of us outside as well. We lost all our grandparents, so that they'll never see our great-grandkids. Or maybe, we always think we're recovered from tragedy or personal pain, only to find that one more thing has set it off again, and we're never as healed as we think we are.

It always starts with that one thing, and then goes to a second. Ok we think, two can happen, but it's done now, he won't talk like that to me, or two deaths is just a fluke. But no, it continues, and comes in waves bringing to mind Biblical images of the phrase, "When it rains it pours". We go through what we feel is just simply hell on earth. It can't get any worse, and nothing worse could happen after that person's mother died, or that person's sibling died, or who has cancer in my family now.... but it does. That one more thing always comes, beating and beating and beating you down into the ground.

And then it stops.

We wait...

and wait...

and timidly peeking out of our darkness wonder if it's finally over, and while the actual events may be, the real darkness and pain are only just beginning. Because, you see, there was a point in that series of events where something changed in us. Where we cried differently one time, or beat our pillow or wall differently one time, one time where we accepted the pain as how things are and will be for us. We told ourselves, that it would help dealing with the pain that way because if we expect it then it won't hurt as much, and maybe will be easier to get over, because we just wanted any way out of the agony that we were going through because the pain never left. We couldn't hide it, at least for long, we couldn't bleed it out of us, at least never all the way, can't pass it off because then it hurts someone else and that would make us just feel worse, so we made it a part of us. We accepted the pain, and absorbed the pain, and became one with the pain and saw that it was good, because the next event didn't hurt as much... we were getting there... we were almost at our goal.

Numb. By the end of the deaths of our friends, family, relationships, ambitions, goals, positivity, prosperity, we had done it. That next incident was no problem for us, we were pro's at this feeling of pain, and we were so professional we don't even feel it anymore. We have overcome...

and we wait anxiously to see what dark event we can defeat next...

but nothing comes....

the sun is out and the storm has passed...

So we naively think that we've succeeded, the pain is over, now I can feel better, now I can be happy again. But what we fail to realize, is that we no longer desire happiness, we don't want to smile because we can't cry, and we don't want to look at life positively, because it never lasts. We have altered ourselves in such a way that what we truly desire with all our hearts now is the pain. We know how to deal with that, we can beat it, we're numb to it, we've ventured to our bad place and stayed there so long, that we don't know how to leave it.

We try. We try so damn hard to crawl our way out of that place, because we long to not be fake, and just smile because everyone else is smiling. But, the longer that everything around us has settled down, the more we feel the dread, the pressure, the confinement, the inevitability of the darkness pressing in upon us. We know it's coming, it's gotta happen soon, then I can deal with it and be ok. We live our lives from one moment of pain to the next, while all the time in the middle hoping for the next one just to come so we won't be unprepared for it. We have, in our desperate attempt to cope, altered the desire of our hearts to be for that next moment of pain to come.

And we sit and wonder, on a warm, sunny day, why we can't just throw our heads back, feel the warmth and actually smile for real, why we can't trust that hand that slips into ours, because we're waiting for the knife in their other, why we can't just be who we used to be, instead of who we made ourselves into. So how then, how do we change this powerful desire of our hearts. If God truly is there, and he's just giving us what we ask for, then how do we change what we're asking for?

Well, if you're wondering my take on it, I think that first we have to feel the pain, every last bit of it. Now, if you're saying, "But I did that, and it got so bad I couldn't take it and that's why we're in this situation", I would agree with you, you have felt it. However, you have only felt as much of it as you could take. We've gone to the breaking point, but succeeded at turning ourselves numb before we totally shattered on the floor. What I'm saying we need to do, is to shatter on the floor, we need to feel the pain, ever last bit of it until it breaks us into millions and millions of tiny pieces, that we could never seamlessly put back together, and then give them away.

In our absolute disparity, chaos, brokenness, we have to give what's left of ourselves to this God who grants us the desires of our heart. We all know the coincidences of life, and how that many of them just seem weird. Assuming for the moment, that you believe as I believe, this God can do it all. He can give us our wildest dreams, or allow us to experience the darkest of our despair. If he truly is this limitless, then he becomes the single entity that has any chance at repairing the pieces of ourselves. But as he gave us our desires, whether light or dark, he also waits for us to give the pieces of ourselves to him. For only after we have given up trying to fix and handle ourselves, can we give the pieces of ourselves to him for him to fix.

We have to allow ourselves to feel what we never let ourselves feel before, an absolute low of low's, the epitome of darkness of which we have no hope of ever returning on our own, and in our lowest state, heap our pieces, our burden upon this God's shoulders. Once we have done that, the first step of alleviating the pressure, the heaviness, the claustrophobia of darkness, becomes lifted from us. This is not just an, "oh, by the way God, here's a thing I've had an issue with". This is a full on, all out, heaving, throwing, crying, screaming, abandonment of any control over your own life.

In a world that praises control and self governance, it looks and feels contrary to all you know, but what God adjusts how he works by what most people do? We need to know when there's a battle that we simply can not win, and when to give it over to one who can win. With that oppressive darkness no longer resting on shoulders, can we begin to heal, to properly mourn, to not abuse ourselves over situations our of our control or that weren't our fault. And we can finally get help from a physical source. Whether counselor, family member, friend, acquaintance, or whomever it may be for you, there is someone there, who if you ask is willing to talk through everything with you.

This is not some optimistic the sun will come out bull, but this is a desire of our heart that can only be fully utilized after we remove the oppressive darkness that prevents us from trusting that individual. Only after we stop convincing ourselves that we're being a burden to them, after we stop convincing ourselves that we're bringing them down to, and start allowing them to help, like they are willing and able to, can a true healing process begin. Talking things through with them can lead to confronting and dealing with issues inside of yourself that you might never have known were there before.

This talking, helps us to learn about our insides, what keeps us healthy, and what brings us to stand on the edge of the cliff intending to jump. We'll talk, maybe we'll cry or get pissed a few times, but we'll heal. Slowly or quickly it will happen, with or without more deaths it will happen, because we will have that other person to keep us on track, and that God to pick up our broken pieces and mold them back together. And one day, we'll just look around, and realize that there is a whole world out there, and while some of it royally sucks, that's not all of it. Maybe you won't know the specific day of that epiphany, or maybe you will, but one thing's certain, it will happen.

This worked for me. I had 8 funerals, my mother's tumor removal surgery, and assorted other mental stressors, dissatisfactions, and grievances just over a 6 month period. I have had to deal with my mind, and all the issues up there on countless occasions to either fake, or exist in reality. I hope that this post serves more than just taking an hour of my time, or worse, wasting yours, but if you take nothing else away from this, take hope. The hope that I've probably been where or similarly to where you're at and I have overcome. I have done my best to give you the secret of my getting to my finish line, and now I'm here to help someone else along either by dialogue or by my personal involvement in their life. Because I'm not perfect, because I'm not seamless, because I've been broken to pieces, I have a greater understanding of the power, the capabilities, the desire of this God to give us the desires of our hearts, and just how vital and important a role we play in this process.......