Dé Céadaoin, Samhain 30, 2005

Somthing in my pocket

I have somthing in my pocket. I bought it to remind me that no matter where I am or what I am doing I am always the same. I bought it to remind me that I am a man, a tool of God, shaped with purpose. Useful both in the earthy work of everyday mundain labor and the intricate motion of art. Hard and fast, pounded out in the heat, shaped and reshaped, broken and forged anew. I feel its weight and know my burden, to live.
Thoreau says in his Book Walden, "I went to the woods becasue I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." I've always loved thoreau. Many think of his time at Walden pond as an escape from humanity, to better understand nature, to be the original hippy, but Thoreau went into the woolds and found himself, moreso he found what he needed. I went into the woods in search of a prize, a four legged one to be exact. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find somthing I had lost. You see hunting is in my family, the woods are in my blood. Think what you may of hunting, because I really don't care. Be you a animal rights activist or the President of the NRA. I go hunting because I enjoy nature, because I like seeing the animals more than I like shoting at them, because it's the only thing that my Dad and I truly and exclusively share. I go into the woods because that is where my Father has lead me there.
So I went into the woods before the thought about being up on monday morning. As the day streached on, I found myself regaining somthing lost. I found in again in me a sense of hushed excitement. My heart raced as I loaded my rifle, not at the thought of shooting it, but that it might go off. I thought of the power I held in my hands, cold forged steel, rough wood. I felt it's weight. In my hands was a marvel of human ingenuity, each peice thought over, scretinized and finally put together. But as it came light the thought came across my mind, "you aren't seriously thinking about killing somthing today?" I struggled with that question as dawn broke, I wondered if I could aim and pull the trigger. I wondered if I could do what was necessary. What kind of Christian would I be if I killed one of God's creatures? The boy screamed at me not wanting to feel that guilt. That moment never came, sitting under my tree I never saw anything.
Later that evening, before I left to go back to work I got a chance to talk to my dad. We were both disapointed, neither of us saw anything that day. But in my dad's eyes I saw the same disapointment that I felt in my heart. We both felt as if we had let each other down. Dad had failed in putting me in the right spot to see the deer, and I had failed my dad by not shooting at anything. You see this is my first hunt in five years. Before that I was never lucky enough to see anything, and now five years later I'd failed agian. Dad has been waiting for that day, when he can stand proudly and snap a picture of my and my first buck. But we didn't talk about it, but we both knew. We had failed. The feelings of power were still there, but fail loomed.
It wasn't untill I was a hundred miles away, driving down I-80 in my car, that I relived any of this. I cried a little thinking about my dad, how I wasn't sure if I would ever get to hunt with him again. How he must see this, trying to pass down skills that he learned from his dad. I thought of the rite of passage that we were both waiting for me to take, yet relizing that I had already step beyond it. I thought of the voice in my head that morning that tried so desperatly to keep me from what I wanted, telling me that it wasn't christian, that it wasn't moral. And now it spoke again, as it sensed my failure. "You couldn't do it if you had the chance. Your not man enough." The boy sneered at me. So I looked him in the eyes. I remembered my Dads smile, saying that he was proud of me. I remembered the feeling of holding the gun in my hands both fully of knowing how to use it and willing. I remembered my reason for going out, to simply spend time with my dad. The boy shrank away. The boy doesn't understand the gentleness of a man. He cannot comprehend the ability to possess power in raw untamed form and yet not useing it.
I woke up tuesday morning, uncomfortable being in a warm bed. I went to work, and was disapointed at not being challenged. I drove in traffic wishing I was in the woods. I thought that yesterday wasn't real, that it was exception to the rule. No one can hold power, no one can truly be a man. So I went to walmart. I picked up a few items, shampoo, deoderant, contact solution. I walked around for a while, not wanting to end the day in defeat, knowing that there was power to hold. But it wasn't in clothing, it wasn't in video games, it wasn't in food, it wasn't in tools. I walked until I came to the knives. On the wall there hung a folding knife, a little longer than my hand. I thought about the process that made it, the time, effort, ingenuity, patience, strength, and power. I picked it up, paid for it and walked out of the store.
Power doesn't come from the things that we have. Power comes from the one who fashioned us. It comes from the one who holds us. There is nothing special about the knife I carry in my pocket. It can't open itself, it can't hurt anything, it can't be disobediant. In it I see myself. I have no power except that which was given to be by my Craftsmen. I cut myself on it last night making sure it was sharp. It's a dangerous tool, just as I am a dangerous man. Dangerous not in the way that I'm armed and ready to kill, but I'm dangerous because I'm desperate. I have nothing to lose. Power has been placed in my hands, power to infulence the world around me. I have a knife in my pocket, because I am a dangerous man.

Dé Luain, Samhain 28, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

Dé Máirt, Samhain 15, 2005

Ups and downs

Life is full of ups and down. Anyone has live for more than three minutes out in the open knows this for a fact. And it starts right away, we can't get away from it. We start off warm and safe never feeling hungry, then all of a sudden we're squezed through a tiny whole we shouldn't be able to fit through and some guy we don't know holds upside down in the cold frigide air and discrase of all discrases, he smacks us on the crack. If that's not a clue to you that the rest of life may no me sunshine and roses I don't know what is.

My weekend was a veritable roller coaster. Friday was apprehensive with moving into a new house, again not a place of my own but it's not a bacement either. I really wasn't worried with all that, though. I don't like moving. I don't like packing everying up, and having to load and unload it. This is an oddity because I love to travel, I love new places and new people, yet I hate packing. You see when I start packing I start thinking of everything that I am leaving behind. Not necessarily the immediate things, but I remember my friends and family that I've left behind and won't be seeing in anytime soon. I remember all of the memories that I have, good and bad. I start feeling sentimental about the whole situation, which makes me wish I was somewhere else. It also makes me think about my future and who this is what I have to look forward to, not in a overly bad way though. I think about how I don't expect to have a home, and yesterday about how there's no one really to share that with. I like being single, but that is the one thing I've not been able to get over yet, the fact that when somthing good happens there no one at home to tell it too. After I get settled in this all goes away, of course. It just make for a rough couple of hours or how ever long I'm packing and moving.

Saturday on the other hand, was hillarious. I had decided that it had been too long since I had last been into NYC, so I made it a point to go. Kelly went with me and we had a blast. We walked around Wall st and checked out Trinity Church, which is an amazing Pre-Revalution building and Church yard. Alexander Hamilton is burried there, as well as a few other people influential to the beginnings of our country. We walked around Chinatown and had lunch/dinner at Joe's Shanghi, a great place for Dumplings. After that we walked through a lot of the shops looking for anything really. We did find a store that was selling china for cheap (tea pots, plates, bowls, really anthing you'd want), and we both vowed to come back. We went up to times square and walked to Rockefeller Center and watched people skate on the rink for a while. The tree was up, but not lit yet. We walked on almost to the park before we decided to turn around an come back to Times Square. We decided we'd head back to Connectiquet at this point, but realized we only had about 10 mins to catch our train. So, I suggested dessert. We went to Angelo's, an Italian resturant across the street from Carnegie Hall. I had the Tiramisue and kelly had cheesecake. We still had to rush back to Grand Central to catch our train, which we were just on time for. It was at this point the conductor came over the loud speaker and said that the metro-North New Haven Line was going to be delaied...about 15 mins. Even Better when we got to Stamford we were told that the train could go no further and that we could take busses to our stops. Kelly and I got shuffled onto a bus which took us to South Norwalk, which was past were we wanted to go. We had to hop a cab back to our station. I thought this was completly hillarious for some reason.

Sunday was normal, up at 6:30 and at the church by 7:30. I finally got to leave at about 1pm after cleaning up the sound equipment. I went to Sactuary, which has a Chaple feel for those from IWU (except for the fact that its good and I actually want to go). They had a dinner afterwards so I stayed for free food and got to meet some people there. I even found gas for 2.29 on the way back. I was excited. And then there was yesterday.

The day started out benignly enough, but after a while I started feeling aprehensive again. I've been checking out schools that I might want to apply to, but to this point havn't had time to make any real decisions. I noticed yesterday that many of the applications have to be in by the end of the month, or the beginning of December. I should add here that these schools arn't schools that I'm likely to get into. Eventhough I know this, and I put them up there simply to look at and use as reference, I started to freak out. I spent the rest of the day worrying about what I'm going to do next. My Low self-esteem managed to come back telling me that I'm an idiot for even thinking that I could do grad. school in the first place, let alone even be qualified for any of the jobs I was looking for. So by 4pm I felt like crap. I didn't know what I was meant to do anymore and I didn't care. I just wanted to go home to PA, curl up on my bed, and cry because I didn't have anyone to share my life with because no one would be stupid enough to take me. But I didn't...I went to McDonald's instead. I drove to Cove Island park, and sat in my car and watched the sunset as I ate. I wasn't sure of anything, but I knew that God had set somthing in motion that I could sit and watch and take my mind off of my worries. And as I sat there watching it get darker and darker the thought came across my mind that it didn't matter what I did next. My next decision wasn't going to ruin my life. I'm 24, single, willing to go almost anywhere and do almost anything. I heard the though come across my mind, "be faithful." Just be faithful. I was reminded one more time that my future isn't in my hands, and I was annoyed that I had suddenly in a fit of angst tried to snatch it back from the one who had it planed out before I gave it to him. The rest of the day was a bit more fun after that.

Life is full of ups and downs. But like I told Kelly last night on our way to Trumble and the High school choir practice, if we focus on one thing that goes wrong we start looking for the other things to go wrong. Everything in the right perspective can look like its backfired. We can CHOOSE to see the things are going right. We can CHOOSE to be positive. I've worried a lot in my past and it's not done me any good. I worried most of the day away yesterday, and I now I wish I hadn't. What did you choose to do yesterday? What did you choose to do to day? What are you worrying about right now?

Déardaoin, Samhain 10, 2005

the things I miss...and somthings I won't

Kelly and I were talking yesterday, and we’ve both come to the same conclusion. We didn’t come to it right away, but we really just had to admit it to each other. We miss being at school. I know that this may come as a shock to some of you, especially to anyone who talked to me at all my last two years at college. I know that I made endless statements about leaving and never coming back, about not missing the place at all, but some thing’s changed. The past couple of days I’ve been a little lonely, missing my friends and professors, and while I didn’t out rightly wish that I were somewhere else, I was coming close to it. I actually admitted yesterday that I even miss been in class. No all of my classes mind you, but defiantly some of my classes. I miss getting together with people for coffee at McConn, or complaining about not having anything do with people who were as lazy as I was (Morty), I miss talking with Alison about any of the plethora of things that we would talk about, I miss shaking my head at something that Dan would say and wonder why I hadn’t thought of that (but suddenly remembering that I wouldn’t because I’m normal), I miss Jones complaining about things in the Box Office, I miss playing volleyball with Kinky, I miss making fun of things with Bryan. I miss singing in the Chorale; I miss “doing homework” with everyone else. I miss talking to Dave about life and the Bible, I miss Philosophy with Horst, and I miss Prof. and his crazy comments about anything. I miss being called Combs; I even miss being called Timmy…If you don’t know that’s too bad. I don’t want this to sound like I’m depressed or anything like that, trust me I’m not, I’ve just been missing things that I used to have at finger tips. I don’t feel that I squandered any of these, I feel sad that I had to leave them, but it was time to move on. I love the work that I’m doing right now and am extremely happy that God placed me were He did. The experiences that I’m gathering here are beyond compare. I’ve made friends since I’ve been here, there not quite the same yet. Mike and Frank are the youth guys here, about my age, and they’re a blast to hang out with. Kelly and ElisaBeth of course, and several others that I now call my friends. But still, yesterday I found myself longing for the things that were. No more than a simple statement of truth. I just felt slightly lonely and wondering if I can finagle a chance to get back on campus in the spring semester.
Oddly enough I picked up Blue Like Jazz again last night and turn to my next chapter, which turned out to be on romance, followed quickly by one entitled Alone. Of course this had me thinking right off the bat, and the deeper I got into the chapter the more engrossed in thought I became. Of course man was not meant to be alone, God says that almost from the beginning (Gen. 2:18). This doesn’t mean of course a wedding to the prescription for this, absolutely not, but more that we just should not be alone. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I had spent to much time in a practice room without talking to anyone all day my first urge was to go and talk to someone. I know Jones can’t go anymore than three minuets or so without exploding. It’s true that each of us is different in our own right and we each need different levels of social action to make us feel like we thing we should feel. Yankey like more, Alison likes less, Jones needs a constant audience, myself I need to have at least one really good deep conversation with someone other than myself a week or I start to get stir crazy. Donald Miller relates a story about a Park Ranger that he meet while out on the trail with some friends. The Ranger walked out of the darkness, obviously tired, starred into their campfire for a while before asking for their permits. It came to the attention of Miller that this man had been the only ranger in the park for the last two months, and unable to leave he simply had not seen anyone else in that amount of time. The Man was obviously lonely but when they tried to engage him he tired of the conversation quickly and walked off without saying anything at all. Miller suggests that the man had simply forgotten what it was like to be around people.
At the end of the chapter I found myself thinking about Hell of all things. We have these images of what we might thing that hell is, from the fiery description from the Book of Revelation to the icy description of Dante’s oddly named Inferno. I happen to believe that a truer description of Hell is one of complete separation from God. Miller says that if Love can be seen as a bit of Heaven on earth, a lose of self concern, then isolation is a bit of hell, and then to a certain degree we decide in which state we would like to live. When we isolate ourselves from other people the only person to become involved with is ourselves. We dive in deep and become so immersed that after a while feeling disappears and the only thing that matters is the self, because that is all that is left. The mind will turn itself inside out to find stimulation even if it has to create the stimulant itself, this maybe where we find our imaginary friends. But in this isolation we can find Hell. Not a communal pit of fiery desperation, but lonely, cold existence, from which we know there is know escape. It was interesting sequence of thoughts. Hell is one of those things that we don’t like to talk about. It frightens us, so we ignore it because we, as Christians, don’t have to deal with it, but what of the people who do. What of the friends we enjoy so much now, that we will lose forever in the eternal separation?
Just so I’m not ending on a somber note, I’ve had to write small Christmas narrative for Christmas Eve. I guess I didn’t have to write it, but I though it would be easier than trying to go out and find something that I would like. I actually finished it before I started writing this. I wanted it to be a funny version, something from the Shepherds perspective. I think it turned out well, though I have three different versions (very different versions). It was fun to write, and just be light hearted about the whole thing. So there, a happy note to end on.

Dé Luain, Samhain 07, 2005

A hike and two free concerts

This past weekend, not to mention this past week has gone by in quite a rush. Friday being the bla day that it was needed some spicing up, and since I had no desire to see a chic flick of any kind what so ever I had to do this on my own. I went to see Jarheads which is a decent movie and asked questions like, why is there war, what's the purpose, what makes a man, what defines me? Not the "war movie" that it was advertized as at all, but still good in its own right. After that I walked the streets of South Norwalk, SoNo. It's a rocking place on a friday/saturday night. Lots of clubs, live music, louges, and things like that. I was rather straped for cash so I didn't stay long, though there were a few Martine lounges there that piqued my interest. In anycase the evening ended with a book. Saturday was a rush to set up for the next morning, at least from my end. But then I took the rest fo the afternoon off. I drove to a state park out side of East Hadden, about a hour and a half away, call Devil's Hopyard. It had been a gorgeous day, and I had wanted to get out and go for a hike in the autumn air. This place was wonderful, complet with 6o ft water fall, and hiking trails. I even go a chance to climb just a little, when I got a little intepide and took off straight up the hill. It was a great day just to be outside and enjoy nature.
On Sunday, I woke up late. By the time I got over to church, the choir was practicing already, and things where beginning to be set up. There was a lot of set up to be done, it's not everyday that the Newsboys come and do worship at your church. Now knowing that many of you, mostly the ones who've know me for a while, won't believe much of what comes out of my mouth, which is to your benefit, I snagged a camara and snapped off a photo for everybody:

yeah it's the Newsboys
The only lead worship for the third and final service of the day, but it was a great time. Very uplifting and a very positive time the church here in general. I got a chance to meet them all and talk to them, while they where waiting for a van to come and wisk them off to the airport. We got to talk about ministry, music, missions, even how hard it can be to work in Austalia and New Zealand. It really was a great time.
Later that day I went to Blackrock community Church in Fairfield, about a half hour east, and saw Audio Adrenaline perform. They had both been in the area for a very large Christian Concert called Rock the Sound that had been the evening before. All in all it was a great weekend with wonderful worship and fellowship. I never would have thought that the Newsboys would lead the worship in a church where I was working. Sweet as, bro, sweet as.