Friday, October 10, 2008

"Now I sit with different faces
In rented rooms and foreign places"

Ok, so I visited a high school campus today, which I rarely do, so I may be overly morose and drunk on nostalgia, but the phrase does ring true. I stayed up a little bit tonight looking at an old high school yearbook. I cannot say that I've had the experience of going back to visit now that I know what I received in that time. Truly, I am now in a far away place.
But all the faces and places in the pictures draw me there mentally; how has it changed? How have I changed? I look in the mirror. I'm a different man now, yet those echoes of that time still reverberate in the framework of my face. How much changing have I left to do before I am that final creature?
Praise God things move forward. I remember standing there in front of the school, last day on campus, or whatever we called the school property back then. I would never have let you go, Rosslyn, had it been up to choice. I would never have sought to know new people, to grow.
And yet, praise God the memories remain. You who I've known since that time were some of the most influential in my life. Sometimes looking back serves as a better guide forward than all the road maps in the world. I noticed a bumper sticker on a car parked near mine today. It said, "Remember who you wanted to be..."
For me, tonight, the scent of the past is strong.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

49 weeks, 2 days, 32 minutes.
That's how much time, cumulative, I've spent on our schools email/bulletin board system.
If virtual time were money, I'd be going to the bank.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Fewer and further between, fewer and further between, yet life is giving me twice the content, it seems. Just not in the form of paper or post.

A moment: He stood there at the pulpit for the second time. Same message, different story. He stood there, an older man, clearly passionate about what he sought, almost desperate. He told us a story of a life he'd changed, just one, and how much it mattered. We all understood; yet somehow none of us could actually respond in the way he sought. "It's the soul of a person that matters," he exclaimed, "the soul!" His voice was hoarse. It had been so the last time as well, rough with the desperation of a message several thousand years old yet still unheard, a message whispered by that first breath into Adam's lungs. "There's all this talk about economies and bail outs," he said, his words pleading more attention than the hour he'd been alotted. "But that's not the point. It's the soul."
I remember thinking he was right. But I jotted a note down as a thought came: "True," it said, "but it's so much more complicated. When did it become this complicated?"
As he continued, my mind wandered back to childhood, when an afternoon with a book kept me happy, and when something so simple as jam on bread really did make my day. When the right thing to do seemed so clear cut and easy, and life seemed relatively unhindered. Now there was this nagging inadequacy; not just a personal one, a whole civilization thing. All the energy and time we spend--every day millions of alarm clocks alerting us of our turn on the hamster wheel, each evening millions of tv sets tuned in, awaiting orders like,"laugh" or "cry" or "gasp in disbelief", the emotional rollercoasters, the plateaus of ennui, millions of words uttered each day, millions of galons of fuel burned up to never return, roads filled with drivers, vast building projects, love given, tears shed, dreams dreamed, lived and forgotten; and for all of that, we're still trying to build that tower to the sky, to touch the face of heaven somehow, brick by brick, dollar by dollar, shilling by shilling, trying to reach that place that seems just out of range. Perhaps God put the stars so far up to show us how far we are from anything substantial, and that "up" is in fact the wrong direction. Touching the stars will only lead to a quicker burning. Prayer is not up. Relationship with God or fellow man is not really up. It's in a different dimensional direction altogether.
I returned to the man before us. He went from energized to tired. Tired to resolute. Someone needed to take over his work--not the work of a builder, or an economist, or the work of a world leader, but important work nonetheless. The work of loving and saving souls one at a time. Complicated. But then, maybe not so much.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A quick notion:
Living in the urban community, there is an elusive yet ubiquitous paranoia that follows me, a longing for significance and yet total anonymity, like a hidden genius or a sidewalk coffee shop philosopher who knows himself and knows all, and gladly tells all who actually find him what they need to know, but never writes books or anything public to evade the trappings of fame. A part of the paranoia involved in it is that perhaps I am somehow keeping an individual of significance bound up in my mundane existence, never to emerge, unknown to any except God.

The other part of the paranoia is that, in fact, though the longing is there, the person of significance is not, except in the dancing of shadows that do not belong to me on the cave wall. But when I finally face the living fire, perhaps I will find that all along there was someone making caricatures of human delusions behind me, like bait for a fish, just hoping I would bite and follow an unhaunted haunting my whole life so to speak.

This is all mad man's talk, I know; I hope it does not reek too much of ego centrism or delusions of grandeur. Perhaps I'm simply in need of a moment of inspiration and poetry in my life.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

(Karen, this one is for you)
As I put on my coat and slung my bag over my shoulder at lunch time today, it suddenly struck me how much I looked like I was about to go to the airport. I liked it.
In truth, I was just going to my car to try to eat and escape my cubicle as much as possible in the 60 minutes I had, but the idea that I even looked like I was going somewhere of more consequence--that made me happy.
It's not that I need to get away (though I do), or that airports in particular are the place I would like to be right now. It was the possibility of action, the potential energy added to a person by a coat and a carry on. When my laptop is in the bag, the potential is increased tenfold. Today I only had books and a Gameboy Advance, but still, a sort of strange un-urban power surged within me.
Recently I've felt somewhat deflated by adult life, perhaps because of the cosmic parody of childhood it seems to be; dressing up like you've got somewhere to go, trying to look and sound as important as possible, like you've got connections or know-how. But the farther you go, the less hope there is that you truly are what you initially thought. Still, perhaps the parody is simply a challenge to overcome. The deep sense of inadequacy we sometimes feel often flows not from the reality of our situation, but rather from the daunting feeling of finally reaching a place where that power of action is put to the test. As a child one always imagines this power is mightier and more easily accesible than it is.
I do not want this thought to crash into anyone else's quandry and set them on a wrong path; I simply want to enhance this fact in life: I really could have gone to the airport today. I could've jumped on a plane and headed east, or pulled my car out and driven south. I could've written a song yesterday, or gone jogging. I could have walked along the shore or buried myself in the corner of a bookstore with some poetry or a book on physics. I could have written this blog right then. The coat and bag were always there in my closet. So was the pen, the running shoes, the fuel, even the music. All I lacked was execution. All I lacked was volition.
So today, take stock of your coats and bags, the nail and hammer you've left in the tool box, or the phone you haven't picked up. Take out the whole lot of them, if only mentally. Then do something. Don't put it off like I tend to; you might miss your flight.