Wednesday, September 23, 2009

it could be considered comical.

It's interesting how serious we all take life. We wake up, often times in worry about so many things that we have so little control over. Both our dreams and our nightmares are plagued with ill thoughts or overrated desires of things that could both break and bend us, lift and soar us, and utterly-everything in between. I find myself day dreaming large parts of my life away with thoughts of how things could have turned out better, how I could be famous now, or really rich, or skinny, or maybe not single, all things of no inherent value on an eternal scale; temporal desires so to speak.

I get annoyed by happy people. Even reading that sentence makes me want to vomit. Not because being happy is wrong, just because often times, immaturely, I look at happiness as a facade to reality. I believe that happiness is found in the raw midst of a potent dose of truth; I struggle to believe that happiness is a surface level antidote to the painful reality that life can be a cold, dark, and painful place. I've always been one to consider myself a realist; I look at the glass not as half full, not as half empty, but I look at it like its a glass; probably an old jelly jar if it came from my childhood-cupboard. Something I'm coming to realize as of lately is that pessimists are always pissedamists, optimist are always chewing napalm and smiling serenely, and realist are never real with themselves.

I've been fighting the utter-awkwardness of battling reality lately. I don't know if I watched too much MTV cribs as a child, or if I just thought that my neighbor, who was apparently sponsored by Miller Lite (he had hats, jackets, jean jackets, vests, and flags with the ML logos) purchasing lotto tickets was the cool thing to do. Living in Southern California lends one to internal conflicts of understanding the primacy of those of us who make $8 an hour; almost fooling us to believe that we too drive Bentleys and hang with hot chicks all day. Waking up and groggily walking outside to realize my 93 Burgandy Buick is not a Lambroghini has yet to set in, I'm still living on a prayer.

I guess one who reads this would have to struggle vigorously through the ill-written lines of comma abuse and frantically-fragmented sentences to discover what the true intention of my writing is here. However, to me, I am just beginning to realize that uncovering the story within, the real me, is so much more meaningfully than trying to recreate who I was, who I am, and who I will truly become. I feel like for so long I've been discombobulated with thoughts of inferiority on so many levels, but, when you begin to realize that at the core of everything we are as people, we were all blown to life from dirt by a Creator, all full of blemishes and mishaps, undeniable no matter what we wear or drive.
As life unfolds for me down here in beautiful and wealthy SoCal I find myself unpeling layers and layers of the superficiality I once so happily dwelt in, almost wholeheartedly in spite of how much falsified happiness is seen here. Like the sun darkens the skin, the light of reality shines upon the fakeness of those who hide from life and their shallowness beams through. I don't want to be a man of minimal character and nontransparent-integrity; I want to be far from phony. However, to be above reproach I can't chose to live life pretending to be someone I'm not; assuming I'm doing this all right, or that I'm doing things any better than the guy sitting next to me at starbucks (who I'll have you know is talking to himself, arguing, and I think 'he' is winning?).

I want to laugh at life. Not laugh at life like a crazed Pentecostal laughs at the sky or like a child laughs after a drug-dosage from dental surgery, I want to be able to laugh at those things in life that make deep crevices on the surface of the majority. Not to laugh at their pain, but to be able to laugh away the notion that this life has the right to get the best of who we are, and what God is doing in and through our lives.

I laugh alone sometimes; almost an oxymoron I guess. Being alone is not typically a laughable situation, but, often times I smile the biggest when I'm sittin-solo somewhere, just pondering the great comedy in which we all play our parts. So, I will chose this day as I have in the past to live life with a grin and a smirk, hoping to find joy in trials and find peace in calamity.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 07, 2009

alone in the crowd

Getting caught up in the future is almost as dangerous as being trapped in the present, which is about as dangerous as being uberly-fixated on the future. So, tis' interesting to consider where it is life is meant to be lived; past, present, or future. Many would admonish us to not live our lives in the rear-view-mirror lest we crash into the ugly-present unexpectedly. Others would tell us that being consumed by the occurrences of now is not only narrow but risky also. Then their are those who would encourage us to heed their warnings regarding pondering the future too-much. So, where is that life is to truly be lived?

This is one of the pivotal issues in my life as of right now, in the current, wondering what could have been, what is, and what is to come. Graduating at the age of 24 and lacking any significant direction outside of a draw towards grad-school I've struggled to find my place amidst the chaos and calamity of life as I know it. After deciding that staying in Eugene wasn't the best choice because of the lack of relational fruit and potential, I discovered Spokane was also barren in the areas of my life that I felt needs in. So, with little planning or preparation I up't and left Eugene on Interstate-5 to Los Angeles to start a new life; leaving the past behind, the present at bay, and the future to be deciphered as the white-stripes on the cali ashpalt developed.

I've never been good at relationships. I've never been one to function with any true-vigor in relationships; romantically speaking. I've found myself able to make great friendships greater, and good friendships great, outside the romantic-realm; but something transpires when desires change. I know what your thinking while reading this, how did this just go from a blog about living life in the appropriate-posture to the lost-love-tales-of-ben-strength. Rest assured, I would never embark on that journey in published documentation for fear of painful retribution-also I am almost holistically-positive no one would continue reading this thing.

I love to make people laugh. It's not a mystery why I find humor such a necessary tool in my arsenal-if i can make people laugh than I can make people smile; smile=happiness? Right? Isn't that how it works, if we are laughing than we are all ok, everyone's fine, the worlds problems have subsided-poverty and famine evaporate into thin air-ok, not exactly. but sometimes I feel that way when I see people smiling. I don't see a person smile and think about the camps at Dachau-I don't watch people laugh and think about the Killing Fields-when I see people laugh I think about the good times in life and think of those things which bring me peace despite my true state-of-being.

I've always had this way of hiding behind humor-a shield from the true deep and intimate side of life and relationships. This probably explains without why I tend to befriend people who are deep conversationalist but horrific in committal and relational situations. I pride myself in being one who is wholly committed to people and set my expectations unwaveringly high-but such the opposite is expected from me by those I'm close too. I'm not saying I'm a better friend to others than they are to me, because perhaps the opposite is truer.

This move to California has put me in one of the most awkward situations I've ever faced. Everything happened so sudden and swift that I didn't have the opportunity to inform and explain the change to many of my close friends from Spokane and Eugene. Moving to a city where I only knew a few people was a daunting but not unfamiliar task-because the same was true from my Spokane to Eugene move some five-years ago. But, when I made that move I was a 19 year old looking for companionship, relationship, and answers to some of the deepest and most heartfelt-issues I'd ever encountered. I found so much of that in the classroom, in the prayer rooms, in the dorm rooms, in the streets and coffee shops of the greater Lane County region.

However, moving to Santa Clarita (LA) has been a brand-new kind of experience for me. I never thought I'd go through 5 years of college and come out the other side jobless, single, and still painfully-immature in such a vast-plethora of life's most essential areas. I guess it always looked different to me in my mind? You know? When your in school and your fighting vigorously from one course to another, one term to another, one loan check to another, the important technicalities of post-graduate life are so meaningless and subdued. But here I sit, 7pm on a Monday night, alone, in beautiful southern-California, jobless with a bachelors degree in an unusable-field, single, wondering what is to come.

Not all is vain. This isn't the book of Ecclesiastes and a life full of trials and tribulations from the nipple-to-neptune has shown me that life is to be lived through filters of faith instead of lens of lies. Being in this city only a week I've had the incredible opportunity to connect with one of the most loving and accepting bodies of believers in Southern California. A group of men and women devoted to righteousness whom bask in the splendor of real and raw Christian living-not covered in superficiality or material-living. These people are all about the gospel; the hospitality, the orthodoxy, the necessity of choosing a life formed by the very mold Christ has fitted-for-us-all.

But, something I've realized is that their is no amount of fellowship on this planet that will remove the deep feeling of loneliness that's burrowed in the deepest parts of my-being. Their are reasons why I'm single. Their are reasons why I chose friendships that only fill the surface level needs of my life; shying from the real, raw, and deep areas of hurt and pain. The answer is sadly found in the humor, found in comedic relief, and found in my desire to use my sense of humor as a defense mechanism; never really letting anyone inside. Those walls, formed most assuredly by years of bitterness created towards those who hurt me deeply; both past, present, and interestingly enough, the future.

So, I guess this makes me a wee-bit of a basketcase ey? Well, if takes being crazy to chase down the track to sanity and peace then strap my jacket on and call me nutso. I just know that being myself for all these years and cashing in on my insecurities have only left me hurt. Laughing off major issues in my life has only continuously swept under the rug that which was meant to be greeted, that which was meant to be wrestled with, and that which was meant to form me into a man. Running cowardly throughout my life from those things which challenged me has left me sitting here alone in a starbucks wondering about the past, present, and the future, for all the wrong reasons.

Lord, I pray that you would give me the strength to combat those internal-struggles with reality and truth from both your Word, your people, and even from myself. Grant me peace in the areas of my heart and mind where chaos has taken reign. Strengthen my ability to find refuge in the things of You and not be swallowed up by insecurities and unnecessary self-bantering and belittling. Help me to trust that you've got this whole 'life' thing taken care of and don't need my help in making things 'happen.' amen.