Somewhat quiet on the Western Front . . .

Well, those of you with coveted protected status (if you ain’t got it, just ask, I might be merciful enough to add you to the list ) already know that I’ve been thinking about some pretty big things concerning the direction of my life.  It’s weird to ask a question for so long, and then to seemingly and finally get an answer.  Somehow, it just seems too simple.  How is it that you can churn a decision in your head so many times, nearly to the point of lunacy, and then – suddenly – it just resolves for you?


Well, I’m still skeptical about this being any sort of “final answer” for me.  But thus far, the emotional resolution has remained consistent in my heart.  So just maybe.  I guess time will tell. 


At this point, I’m really just attempting to envision what life should look like in light of that decision.  I’ve been doing a lot of mental acrobatics the last few days in regards to such things . . . perhaps I’ll share, when I have a stream of consciousness that actually makes some sense.


In other news, the residency starts soon.  I’m somewhat excited about the opportunity to learn, but DREADING the increased amount of work, the stress, and the loss of salary   Not to mention the need to “perform”   That kinda shit really does me in.  I fear returning to “Type A Darren” – I honestly don’t like him all that much.  Rather, I don’t like how he steals my joy, my relationships, and keeps me at such a frantic pace, that I forget my heart and the ones I love. Oh, and then I start doing really bad things to cope with the stress.  Eesh.  Pray for me.


Finally, I haven’t really shared this with a lot of people, because I wasn’t sure of the plausibility or permanence of the desire.  But the idea simply won’t leave me.  So yeah, as C.S. Lewis used to say “I’m pregnant with book”.  I’ve been contemplating writing a book for a long time, and I think I’m gonna start doing so . . . though I don’t expect it to be done anytime soon, as the residency will likely take over my life pretty soon.  We’ll see . . .


Holla!

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Perhaps I have value?

I’m still trying to pick myself up from the emotionally traumatic events of a couple weeks ago, but I have been getting progressively better day by day.


I feel like I encountered an Evangelical relapse the last couple of weeks.  By this, I don’t mean to denigrate Evangelicals, but it’s just that my experience with that kind of Christianity gave me this image of a very distant God who hated me for being so fucked up.  And that’s why it’s been so hard for me to reconnect with anything meaningful the last few days, and stop doing such self-destructive things, because I’ve been inundated in that mindset that God was oh-so disappointed in my absolute failure as a good, upstanding human being


But I’ve had some really cool times of releasing that kind of toxic thinking, and just being in the presence of Jesus.  Yesterday, after a dental appointment, I had some time to drive down the street to church and sit with myself for an hour praying, and crying like a loon.  It was great


Suddenly, I felt OK again – like God was OK with me and all my shit – that He was doing something with it all.  It was sweet.


And then I had lunch w/ Matthew – and I got him caught up on all the goings on in my life (falling in and out of love, dating, porn addiction, depression, and the like) – it had been awhile since we’ve had a chance to talk to each other.


And you know, he just listened, and asked questions, and took it.  And then he starts asking for my help in the church – to help take the church in a new direction.  And quite honestly, I just wanted to cry right then and there.  Because every other mentor I’ve ever looked up to has never liked me for me – they’ve always liked me for my gifts.  So long as I was being the mature, perfect boy, I was all good and “worthy” of serving the church.  But the minute some of the trash got dug up, suddenly I was no longer fit to serve.  This is the way I thought it had to be – I never bothered questioning that way of doing things really.  But it gave me quite a complex – lots of low self-esteem that I see clearly when someone like Matthew starts asking me to serve, and my first reaction is “um, WHY ME?  Aren’t I too fucked up to be of any worth to anyone here? ”  Yet, he beckons me to join in serving the church and the world around me, and accepts me for who/where I am (good, bad, and ugly).


And then, he starts telling me all these things about myself – all these good things that I’ve never really seen before.  And suddenly, I see myself as having some value and worth.


Wow.  What a great feeling.  I wonder of Jesus was anything like that?  I wonder if that’s how we’re supposed to be to the world?  I can only imagine how people might view us if we had that kind of effect on people, ya know?


Anywho . . . CTP!! 

I suppose it’s time for an update of sorts . . .


The weekend wasn’t all that terrible.  I’ve been getting progressively better each day.  The time with the fam was decent.  I’m almost back to “normal” (whatever that means).  Though, I’ll admit that I have some HUGE questions rolling around in my head – about the future, and what’s worth pursuing.


I’ve also had some interesting experiences as of late that have gotten me really thinking about where my heart it, based up where I’ve been spending most of my time and energy.  Um.  Scary!   I’m quite disturbed about the places I’ve been (mentally) these days.  I’m so self-focused.  It really does sadden me   I have to constanlty remind myself that there are bigger things at play in the universe than my will.  That there are starving, suffering people out there – and I really ought to be using my life to serve them.  Oh God, I wish I were actually good at that.


I had a sorta date tonight – at least I think that’s what it was.  I think we’ll definitely just be friends though – we weren’t bonded enough theologically that I’d want to proceed forward in a relationship – but I did enjoy the philosophical banter.  It was enlightening.


Um, I think that’s it.  Oh, the other highlight of the week.  I bought new clothes from the mall yesterday.  I’m down to a friggin size 32 (or 33 depending on style) . . . I haven’t worn pants that size since my senior year of high school!  Freaky.  The running is still going quite well, though I can’t seem to repeat that absolutely phenomenal 26 minute run I did the other week.  I’m averaging about 33 or 34 minutes these days.  Trying to get that down to an average of below 30. 


OK, that is all.  I think.  Yeah, that’s it for now.  Holla . . .

OK, totally not doing well right now


CTP

Adventures in the Pacific Northwest . . .

Hey folks!  I’m back, and I’m better than ever!  I had SUCH an awesome vacation!  I feel too base to be blessed w/ such awesome friends.


So I left Friday before last, and had a horrendous time w/ the airlines.  My flight from BWI was delayed b/c the plain was held hostage by fog in NY.  So by the time we arrived at the Pheonix airport, I only had 5 minutes to catch my connecting flight!  Fortunately, they called ahead, and I made it on time – though majorly unnerved.


I arrived in Phoenix Friday afternoon and got picked up by a friend of Anna’s mom.  She zipped me straight over to the rehearsal where I was soon to discover that I would NOT be a bridesmale   I was really looking forward to telling the world that I had been a bridesmale!  However, due to some unfortunate circumstances, Brian’s best man couldn’t make it, so we had to do some maneuvering, and I proudly stood on Brian’s side


It was an awesome wedding!  It was pretty small and intimate, only a half hour long, and the quirky nuances of the wedding (quintessential Anna/Brian life preferences) just made the event very personal and meaningful.  Thanx to Burke, I have some pics!



The happy couple



Me, my best bud (Paul), and the preacha man (Ricky)!




The coolest cats in the whole world (at the reception)


After the lovebirds went off to do “that thing”. . .it was time to focus my attention on the magnificent JJDB REUNION!!  Woohoo!!  My buddies Jon, John, (I’m D), and Burke planned to meet up since we haven’t been in the same location for years. 


(Oh, I should mention that I may be in a Canadian documentary  . . . but I can’t give details publically – you should ask me about that )


So on Sunday, we went to Imago Dei (Don Miller’s church . . . no, he wasn’t there), then had a great lunch, then we were off to pick up Canadian John from the airport. The next day, JJDB toured downtown Portland, where we saw some dysfunctional signs . . .



 . . . and went to Powell’s Books – like one of the largest bookstores in the world!  Amazing!  They even carry used books and out of print books! 


We met up w/ Burke’s friend Grady, and had some fun.



Burke and Grady


Then we headed off to Seattle, but took a bit longer than expected on our Mt. St. Helen’s excursion . . .




. . . so we just stopped off in Olympia instead and had some questionable Chinese buffet, saw X-Men 3, and stayed in the spookiest hotel EVER!


Tuesday morning we headed off to Seattle, and spent the day wandering downtown.  We saw the cool stuff, like Pike’s Place Market (yes, we did stick around to see them throw the fish ) and the Space Needle . . .




That evening, we took a bus (which shoulda been a train, but I won’t egg Canadian John about that blunder anymore ) up to Vancouver.  Wednesday morning, we scaled the infamous “Grouse Grind“.  After we finished the first grueling 1/4 of the trail up Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain, I was honestly not sure we’d make it to the top!  But by the time we reached the halfway point, we were happy enough (as you can see), and we finished it, baby!  It was the longest 1 hour and 40 minutes of my life!  But I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  Exhilerating doesn’t even BEGIN to describe the view from the top!




The rest of our time in Vancouver was a lot more relaxing, but just as phenomenal.  There’s nothing like spending some quality time with dear friends.  We saw LOTS of great sites, had TONS of great food, performed various shenanigans, and conversed about everything from the ultra-deep, to the mundane and crass. 



At Jericho Beach



Burke, impressed to have found a street with his namesake



A view from Prospect Point in Stanley Park



Improving Canadian-American relations at an AWESOME Thai restaurant (with some of John’s really cool friends)



Chillin’ some more w/ the Canadians at Sandbar (restaurant/bar) on Granville Island



Our last night in Vancouver at the Richmond Night Market – a little taste of Asia 


All in all, I had a GREAT time.  I miss JJDB already!  But I guess it’s back to the grind.  Hope y’all have a great week!  Lata!