Never-ending story . . .

Well, I’m back!  Goood GOSH it’s been a long time.  I had a
really nice time in California.  The trip was really cool. 
Me and Chris got into San Diego on
Saturday and just explored the town we were staying in (Carlsbad) a
bit.  The resort was FABULOUS!

Then we drove up to LA on Sunday to meet Audrey at her uncle Rocky’s
place.  He lives in Hollywood and has a sweet pad!  He’s a
mad cool guy – very ecclectic taste.  He showed us a very good
time in LA:

We hung out in downtown LA but didn’t meet many stars (we came across
the Asian dude who’s on MAD tv and George Huff from last season’s
American Idol).  Had some YUMMY Thai food!  The next day we
headed back, after stopping off in Santa Monica, and I met up with a
classmate (Ellen) and my dear old friend Helena, who was
co-pledgemaster with me 2 years ago

Driving back to SD, I made Chris take the more scenic PCH so that we
could see the ocean, and then I had us stop off at Laguna Beach b/c
it’s so purty:

Since we were all so sun-burned by that
point, we spent the next day mostly indoors.  We saw Star Wars III
(coincidentally, I found out this was Chris’s fav part of the trip
), and afterwards I went to a place to a get a smoothie, and they
had internet.  I got online to find that I not only passed NAPLEX,
but I did damn good!!!  I don’t know how that happened, b/c I have
never been so clueless before when taking a test, but there you have
it.  I guess the Lord was merciful   So I’m one step
closer to getting that license.  Now I just gotta study for and
pass the law boards.  Eesh.  Like I said . . . never-ending

The next day we took a nice tour of SD, and I must say that I am SO
gonna be moving there someday!  That city is so darn BEAUTIFUL!

The following day, we took Audricus to the airport, then Chris and I
spent the rest of the day touring more of SD, going aboard the old
aircraft carrier at the maritime museum (USS Midway), then taking a
trip to La Jolla beach:

The next day, we were gonna go back to
La Jolla and maybe see the aquarium, but I got sick    I
managed to at least get to the pool that day, and we had one last trip
out on the town.

I’m back now, safe and sound. 
As soon as I got back, I was hit with a wave of confusion and
angst.  It had been building up the whole trip.  I think it
was mostly because (as I posted last time), I’ve spent so much time
trying to disconnect from people so that I could study.  My heart
needs to get back online with folks, but it’s quite difficult to get

The weird thing is, I was really looking forward to spending some time
with Chris, b/c he’s been such a great friend, but it was really
awkward being around him so much.  For some reason, I didn’t trust
him.  I know it’s totally just having a bad taste in my mouth from
past experiences with others . . . and it totally sucks that I ‘ve
transferred that to a guy who’s been nothing but cool with me this last
year . . . but I guess that’s life.

I did my best to get up for church the next day, and the confusion had
just grown.  I don’t even know why I went.  From the moment I
woke up, all I could think was “I don’t belong anywhere, especially not
at church!”  I feel so lost sometimes . . . searching for answers,
for community, for honesty, for love, for stability . . . and I get so
frustrated because it’s all so very far away

And who can I trust?  Who can I go to and freely talk about this
stuff when I’m feeling this way?  The people at my church? 
Hell no!  They seem to be the ones that understand me the
least.  I think the only dude I trust there is Pastor Kelly. 
He actually came up to me in church and asked how I was doing (I guess
he could tell I had some things on the brain).  We’re gonna be
meeting up.  But even with him, I’m not sure how much I can trust
him with.

I suppose time will tell though.  I’m almost done with McLaren’s
latest book . . . it’s so freakin’ fascinating.  It’s all about
hell and judgement . . . he’s really challenged my beliefs on the
subject . . . I’m wrestling with all the stuff that he presented. 
Again, it would be nice to have someone I could ruminate with (this is
some deeeep stuff!), but I don’t really have a lot of friends around
here who can stretch quite that far.  So big ups for John (that
Canadian one) for helping me sort through some of this stuff.

But one part I really loved is how he describes “deep ecclesiology”,
which is how he and his group of friends meet up once a year to catch
up with each other, and truly grow together.  It reminded me of my
own deep ecclesiastic group, and I’m so glad I know you folks.  So
to those out there who know what “Der” is short for . . . thank you SO
MUCH for being Church to me.  For being people I can grow
with.  Safe people.  Brave people.  Caring people. 
Y’all seriously rock my world.  I don’t know where I’d be or what
I’d do without you. 

Keep it real, homies!



What’s up, Doc?

So I’ve been gone a long time.  I don’t think I’ve gone this long
w/o posting since I joined xanga!  But I’m back . . . and I’m a
doctor now

In case you’re wondering, you may still refer to me as just Darren (or
Der for my very close friends), but if you so feel the need to stroke
my ego . . . Dr. D.J. will suffice

Today was graduation.  Four years gone.  I remember when I
first entered pharm school – just after graduating from college – and
thinking how HORRIFIC it was staring down the barrel of another four
years!  But here I am.  I survived it.  Formal education
is finally behind me (hopefully).  And you know what?  I did
it pretty damn well!  Graduated cum laude with a number of
accolades and awards to enhance the celebration (even though,
techinically, I think it’s sort of a demotion for me, considering I
graduated from college w/ the highest GPA in the Chem/Biochem Dept.,
and magna cum laude from the College of Life Sciences . . . but
whatever )

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.  I think I was most honored
by one of my best friends in the world (Paul) when he said “Darren, I’m
so proud of you.  Not only did you make it through the most
difficult years of your education, but you did it during the most
difficult couple of years of your life.” 

I was quite close to tears when he said that, becuase that reality
finally hit me.  I’m actually amazed that I was able to do so well
despite the fact that I’ve spent the last couple of years battling all
kinds of depression, emotional lability, and fierce temptations all
around!  It’s just a testament of God’s goodness and mercy.

But you know what? I’d trade all the accomplishments for a little bit
of love and fulfillment.  Because quite frankly, the fact that I’m
now a doc means shit to me.  And the fact that I earned that
degree with blood and sweat, and was one of the best at it . . . 
means jack.  What does it profit to gain the whole world, if in
the process you lose your soul?

After it was all said and done, I woke up this evening from my nap and
felt such an intense emptiness inside.  A feeling I haven’t felt
in quite some time.  I’m sure a lot of it has to do with how sleep
deprived I am.  I’m sure some of it has to do with the fact that
I’ve been so amped up the past few weeks, that now that I have no
immediate goals ahead of me, it’s set me up for depression.  I’m
sure some if it has to do with the fact that I’ve been disconnected
from friends and loved ones for the past few weeks all for the sake of
studying and passing those damn boards.  And I’m sure some of it
has to do with the fact that I’ve been putting my heart and it’s
yearnings on the back-burner for the past few weeks b/c I had to get
crap done, and now that it’s all done, my heart is screaming.

But right now, I don’t really care about the cause, I only care about the pain.  It’s there and in full force.

But tomorrow is another day.  And Christ’s mercy is new every
morning.  And in the morning, I head to San Diego for a week w/
some cool friends from church (Chris and Audrey) and some old college
friends (Nel and A).  I’m looking forward to the chill time. 
And while there, I’m hoping to see Star Wars III, because I’ve been
waiting forever for it to come out!  And somehow I feel a resolve
to involve God in my life more, and allow my loved ones to see my hurt
and shame . . . it’s time to start opening up.  Not that I keep my
friends out . . . I give them details,
but rarely do allow myself to connect with what I’m sharing.  It’s
time for that to change.  God give me courage. 

So anywho . . . I guess I’m outtie.  Oh, and in case you were
wondering, I took the first half of my boards on Thursday.  I
think I did horribly!  So I’m expecting to fail   But
then again, I’m told that all of my classmates who took it before me
felt the same way, and they all passed . . . so just maybe I passed
  Once I get back from California, I’m gonna be starting my
new job, moving into my new apartment, and studying for the law portion
of  the licensing exam.  Hopefully by this time next month,
I’ll be licensed Dr. D.J.

I just had to say . . .

OK, so I know I recently posted that I wouldn’t be posting, but I had to add this entry before declaring my hiatus from life.

So, I’m on the young adult listserv for Cedar Ridge, and I’m SO FRIGGIN
HAPPY that I signed up a few months ago, or I woulda never found out
that they were putting on a book discussion w/ Brian McLaren and Tony
Campolo.  It was friggin AWESOME!  They talked about
everything from church to politics to seminary to homosexuality to the
war in Iraq.  Veeerrry groovy stuff! 

My heart was so warmed by some of their stories, and it was just a
great reminder to me of the essence of Jesus: LOVE.  Love without
compromise.  Full of truth, and full of grace.  That’s where
I want the Church to be, but most of all, that’s what *I* want to be
walking in, and I know that I fail on love tests daily.

I got to talk to Brian a bit afterwards about the state of the Black
Church in America, and why there are so few African-Americans who
identify with the emergent church.  Super interesting stuff . . .
don’t have time to delve into the complexity of the issue here, but if
you ever wanna question and wrestle with me, gimme a holla!  You
know I love this stuff!   But he invited me to join
emergent village and get in on the black cohort that will be starting
soon.  I can think of nothing more exciting than that!

Aight, I gotta jet . . . more studying before I lay my head down tonight.


Thought I was hard to get ahold of before?

Yeah, well now it’s gonna be even harder!  Expect me to be MIA for
the next 3 weeks or so, because it’s crunch time.  I’m starting to
learn the ropes at my new job this week, I have boards coming up very
soon, one last law test, one last project for my Diabetes elective, a
poster presentation, finding an apartment, a graduation, and a trip to
San Diego.  Whew!  Yeah, so I probably won’t be posting much,
won’t be picking up the phone much (I’ll try to give calls back, but
I’m already falling behind in that arena . . . sorry Bobby, Linz, and

And don’t even get me started on my personal life.  My last
session with Lance was gut-wrenching, to say the least . . . and I’ve
been a mess ever since.  I woke up Sat nite/Sun morning at 4am and
just started bawling for like half an hour   Between my time
at the gym and all the crying I’ve been doing this week, I’m losing a
lot of water and salt!

But it’s not all horrible.  The weekend wasn’t nearly as horrible
as I thought it would be.  Had to do the driver’s improvement
class so as not to get points on my license from that damn ticket a few
weeks ago.  ‘Twas an all day class, but it was raining all day, so
it’s not like I missed out on a beautiful day

Afterwards, I went to The Melting Pot in Annapolis to celeberate my
cousin’s graduation from Stellenbosch University in South Africa (she
got her PhD in international ed.).  It was nice seeing my cousins
and aunt again.  My aunt and mom have been having a bit of a feud
the last few years, so it was nice to see them in the same place again
w/o duking it out

Things with my new “friend” are progressing quite nicely.  She’s pretty cool.  We’ll see where that goes.

Had a good time yesterday at Church.  Actually, I HATED being at
church, because I felt absolutely miserable, and was pretty much
holding back tears and frustration the whole service.  But the
message was short, and the rest of the time was spent enjoying the
African Children’s Choir, and they totally made my day!  These
kids – who’ve lost one or both parents to AIDS (or some other disease)
– had sooo much friggin joy, and it gave me a reason to smile.

Afterwards, had a great lunch and went on a nice hike w/ some of the
EPIC crew.  Good times   Rounded out the day with a
movie at Audrey’s . . . we saw “Spanglish” which was decent, but about
30 minutes too long!

Anyway, the fun times are over . . . time for crunch

See you guys in a month!