A Fair Warning . . .


There I was, minding my business, getting a drink from the soda fountain, while simultaneously planning the rest of my day in a near-neurotic fashion.  As the bright red fruit punch poured from the spout, I glanced askance at the slight man slowly appraching me.  Somehow, I could just feel his gaze on me from across the room, and it sent shivers through my bones.


“Is your father the one with the bow tie?”


“No”, I said sheepishly, as my mind raced in an effort to shuffle through my options in case this all went awry.  I knew that I could take him if I really needed to – he wasn’t much of a threat to me, except that we live in litigious times, and even complete lunatics have rights these days.  I should know, I’m one of them.


“The man he’s looking for,” he continued, barely letting me get my response out, “tell him, to stop looking”.  “I’m the one he wants, so stop looking.” 


His tone seemed to suggest that he was serious, and angry, but that I would get off with just a warning if I was compliant.  So I replied “OK” – with more confidence this time.  I looked in the other direction to see a lovely African-American woman sitting calmly in a chair a few feet away.  Her face told me this was an every day occurrence for her.  She giggled as our eyes met, as if she knew the thoughts running around in my brain. 


“Don’t pay him no mind,” she said.  “He’s harmless.”


I smiled, letting out a sigh of relief.  I wouldn’t need to beat this man’s ass, and subsequently lose my job.  I retorted in genuine, child-like glee: “I loooove working in psych hospitals!”  Schizophrenia’s a funny thing, dontcha think?

I, Robot . . .


When I was younger, I used to imagine that I was a robot, in some grand experiment.  I was a test subject.  The rest of the world knew that I was a robot, but I was never to have this knowledge myself – for that would ruin the experiment.  But no one ever figured out that I was self-aware, and cognizant of this grandiose test. 


So every human I interacted with was actually part of the experiment.  Scientists were studying how I would respond to certain situations.


I’m not sure why I imagined such a fanciful tale.  It really was a philsophical quagmire for me, in that there were times when I did in fact wonder if this was true of me and reality.  I think in large part, it had to do with my love affair with the movie “D.A.R.Y.L.” – which my brother used to bring home from Erol’s Video for me several times a year.  I think I have always been largely impacted by movies.  Even to this day, movies speak spiritual truths to me that I could not imbibe from any sermon – no matter how well it was taught.


That was totally random . . . I don’t know why I bothered sharing it.  New thought:


“Torontonians” . . .


I still think they should be called “Torontians”, b/c it makes it sounds like they are people with some sort of disease or something . . . but Brian says it’s “Torontonians” . . . I’ll accept that


So I just got back from Toronto last night, and I had an AWESOME time!  I met my boy Paul in New York on Friday afternoon, and then we headed off on a looooooong ass journey to Toronto.  The driving was quite smooth up until we reached Buffalo, and then we hit TONS of snow!  What a nightmare!  But it was actually quite clear up in Canada, so we pushed through, and met up with Brian and Anna.


I won’t bore you with every last detail, but here are some of the highlights:


Sushi! “Rent” the movie with some of the dearest people to my heart (there really isn’t anything like experiencing “Rent” with folks who actually get it).  Thai food.  Nearly getting arrested. . . Yikes!  Drive-through antics  The “Peanut Butter . . . and Jelly!” song . . . 10 minutes of laughter from that alone.  Prank calls to unsuspecting people coast-to-coast Snow.  Silly talks, deep talks, and everything in between.  Progressive church service with artsy Canadians.  Dandini!  Twizzlers and Lucky Strikes – addictions for everyone  


All in all, I found Toronto to be rather schizophrenic.  I’ve never seen a city where very ghetto shops are in juxtaposition to very upscale shops.  It shouldn’t surprise me, considering Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world . . . but I guess it’s strange b/c my idea of diversity is where there are distinc communities within an area, but Toronto is so well mixed that there’s nothing distinct about it!  Everyone’s just thrown in the mix.  It’s very cool, but very weird.


Paul, Anna, Brian . . . I miss you guys already   I had such a great time.  Thank you so much for doing my heart well.  I needed that.  Thanks for being the bestest friends a guy could ask for.


Anywho . . . back to the grind . . . and lookin’ for love in all the WRONG places. *sigh*

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


To each and every one of you . . . I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!  Please, go home, enjoy your family, your friends, your God.


I’d write some really cheesy thing about how much I’m greatful for . . . but I refuse to be cliche.  However, I must say that despite all the stuff going wrong in my life right now, I’m so very greatful for so much.


Since I’ve been charged with neglicence (in not adequately informing people of my plans), I’ll go ahead and tell you folks what’s up.  Tonite after going to see Lance, I’ll be headed home, and spending the next 2 nights with the ‘rents.  Friday morning, I’m headed to NY to meet up with Paul, and then we’re going to Toronto for the weekend.   Woohoo!  I can’t wait!  It’s gonna be good times   I’ll be back Monday evening. 


BREAKING NEWS!!!  I’ve decided to do the residency.  In all honesty, I’m still iffy on the matter, but they needed and answer, so that’s the one I gave.  I will likely regret the decision in about 2 weeks.


You catz have fun!  Holla atcha boy!!

*Whimper*


I’m losing energy, motivation, hope, reality . . . life is such a big confusing mess right now.


The worse thing about fighting yourself when you’re a good fighter is that no one wins.  I lose against myself either way.  It seems that there simply are no answers sometimes . . . and that usually doesn’t bother me, but today it does.  I need . . .


a voice


clarity


peace


tranquility.


I don’t know why I beat myself up so much about not loving people the way I should, but I do.


This is not a pity post.  I am not looking for encouragement.  I’m simply venting.  This is my catharsis.


In brighter news, the incomparable Paul successfully convinced me a couple of days ago to invest in the 2-disc, original Broadway cast “Rent” soundtrack, and I’m friggin glad he did! 


The movie . . . comes out TOMORROW!!  My only regret is that I’ll be busy opening night and won’t be able to see it   But I’m friggin’ EXCITED b/c the reviews have all been great!  I can’t wait to see it!!

I’m fucking pissed right now!  


CTP . . .

Lord have mercy . . .


An old Bible study leader of mine (Dave) used to say: “Justice is getting what you deserve; mercy is not getting what you deserve; and grace is getting what you don’t deserve.”


That grace part really reverberated in my gut.  As it should for any good Evangelical.  I never really worried too much about that silly mercy part though.  After all, when you’re the Evangelical shiznit, who needs mercy, right?


Hey, I do.


As my life has been jilted into oblivion, I’ve come to realize just how far away I truly am from ever measuring up to any standard one would call “holy”.  Grace is great, but you may have noticed in recent months that I’ve ended some posts with “Lord, have mercy . . . “


I seriously need it.  I feel like I can’t do right no matter what I choose, and I haven’t the strength to do right even if I were to choose it.  And I find myself simply pleading for Christ to have mercy on me.  I’m grateful that I’ve recently been taught “the Jesus Prayer” (from Orthodox traditions):


“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”


I remember saying that over and over in my car the other night, and suddenly feeling so close to Jesus – so comforted by His presence.  At least I know He hasn’t left me.  I hate being so screwed up   But He’s surely been merciful through it all.


I pray the Lord’s mercy on you all . . . may you not get what you deserve.


Paz

Sometimes Life Sucks . . .


That was the theme of this year’s Young Adult Retreat at Cedar Ridge.  When I first heard about this event a few months ago, I figured this would be a really good way to get connected w/ the young adult group at CR, considering that I’m really too shy to just go up to them after service and get to know them. 


Not to mention, I was ecstatic about the fact that Brian was gonna be the featured speaker, and we’d be covering topics such as depression, loneliness, lust, conflict, worry, doubt, malice, a difficult past, etc.  Clearly that’s right up my alley


A few weeks ago when registration started, Folami asked for volunteers to maybe share their personal experiences.  I have a love/hate relationship w/ speaking in public.  I love it b/c I’m generally pretty good at it (if I can use my nervous energy in a positive way), and I’m not too ashamed to admit that sometimes I get a kick outta the attention . . . but the low self-esteem issues always come into play, and I’m a nervous wreck before I speak.


But I decided to volunteer anyway.  Folami immediately asked “what would you like to talk about?” 


“Darling, I’m familiar with it all!  I could hit any of it!”


We settled on waiting for other volunteers to sign up, and I would simply talk about the things they didn’t.  It turned out that no one else was really willing to talk about much (save for depression), so I just gave a general testimony and hit pretty much all of the subjects I could in a 10 minute talk.


Per usual, I was nervous as hell, but I think it went OK.  And I’m soooo glad I went on this retreat!  Cedar Ridge has felt like a very safe church from the start (a feeling I’m not used to) . . . and even after sharing about my battles with depression, loneliness, and anger and my sexual struggles . . . they all accepted me in love.  And since I was the first to speak, I think I set the tone for the weekend – giving people the ability to be vulnerable and get something out of this discussion.


Other hightlights of the trip: getting to shoot the breeze with Brian, getting to know some really cool folks, getting to be one with God’s beautiful nature (in the sylvan hills of West Virginia).


There are 3 folks that get a specific shout-out, b/c they’re just cool like that . . .


1) Jimmy.  He drove me to the retreat center, and he really laid my heart at ease.  If I had any doubt about the sincerity and general coolness of the young adults at CR, Jimmy laid those fears to rest. 


2) Grace McLaren (Brian’s wife).  There are just SO many things I could say about her!  I particularly appreciated the banter b/w Grace and Brian.  She’s got moxie!  She unabashadly questioned Brian at every remark.  It was awesome.  She added so much to the discussion.  But more than that, she and I had some more personal time, and she asked a lot about my past, and gave me some extremely helpful information about “NFs” (intuitive feelers – if you’re familiar w/ the Meyers-Briggs typology, you know what I’m talking about).  I learned quite a bit about myself.


3) Jonathan.  We had a lot in common – at least in the way we deal with the world and all of it’s mess.  Sometimes, I feel so alone being the emotional, overanalytical, internalizer that I am . . . but folks like Jonathan remind me that I’m not alone, and that I’m more than OK with being who I am.  (If you’re reading along, J, thanx for being around, bro . . . hope we get to chill more in the future.)


There’s tons more I could say about the retreat, but I don’t feel like going through it.  If ya wanna know the gory details (’cause it wasn’t all fun and games) . . . call and ask!


—————————————————-


On a more personal note, I have to admit that after coming back from the retreat, I emotionally bottomed out once again.  I guess that’s not surprising considering the fact that I haven’t slept well in weeks, I haven’t been indulging in my usual coping mechanisms, and I’m having issues all over the place with my relationships


I hate, detest, despise, loathe this emptiness . . . this spiritual and emotional vacuum that exists in my gut. 


The deep cries out . . . yet finds no connection with deep.  It’s unbearable torture.  Why the hell was I made this way?  Why doesn’t this shit ever seem to get better?  When will the tears stop?


I know that God is there . . . but I don’t know why He seems to be standing idly by and not fulfilling the deepest desires of my soul.  It hurts   I don’t even know who I am or what this is all about.  I can’t even put a name to what it is that I yearn for. 


Yet, I won’t let this conquer me . . . I won’t let this keep me from relating, from knowing, from serving, from protecting, from teaching, from sharing, from growing . . .


Lord have mercy.