Twisted life lessons

Twisted up all tied together.
Feeling like I can’t escape but not sure I want to.
Learning more about the things life doesn’t care about.
Feeling like it should be better.
In the end no one is dead.
I’m not homeless and my belly’s fed.
Just wishing there was an easier path.
Life is life and that’s all it is.
I’m but one player, an insignificant one at that.
Learning my place will be the hardest lesson of all.

Two Introverts meet at a party

(This was inspired by a writing prompt I found on reddit. Enjoy!)

The music was banging through my skull… Loud. So very very loud.

I could feel the pressure building within my chest. That pressure of, I need to be alone. I was very familiar with this pressure and I was typically able to keep it under control. But tonight it wasn’t going to happen. I needed to find some place to myself soon or I was going to snap. I knew I couldn’t drive since Kelsey had decided she was going to drive us there in her Daddy’s new sports car. I thought it was a bad idea (I usually think all of Kelsey’s ideas are bad ideas) but she decided to drive.

Now we were at the party and I was starting to lose control. Being an extroverted introvert sucks. Great around people and everyone always assumes you want to hang out with them. But a lot of the times, you just want to be by yourself and get lost in your own world. Like I was right now…

I’d been lost in my own world up to that point. I hadn’t noticed when he came over and started trying to flirt with me. Or at least, I think he was trying to flirt with me. He was telling me all about the vacation his parents had gone on. Pointing at the different pictures on the wall. I really couldn’t care less. He had been leading me down a hallway towards what appeared to be the bedrooms (the last place on earth I wanted to be with him). So when he turned to point to another picture and start in on another story from their trip to white sandy beaches that I’d never been to, I turned back down the hallway and walked through the first open door I found.

Closing the door as quietly as possible (so he wouldn’t know which way I’d gone when he noticed I was gone), I realized I had stumbled into a bedroom. I fought back a brief moment of panic realizing that I was alone in the bedroom so that was fine. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I started to notice toys around the room and posters on the wall. A desk in the corner with a laptop covered in boy band stickers told me whose room I was now a refugee in. His blonde little sister was vacationing with parents while he through a party.

“Go away.” I nearly screamed when I heard the voice. Thankfully I didn’t otherwise I’m sure I would have been caught by him.

I started glancing around the room trying to find the owner of the voice. After a few moments I saw a person shape standing in a darkened corner. “Go away.” the person said again. “This is my hiding place. Not available for fucking.”

Taken aback by the directness, I stumbled some words out before I finally managed, “Can I just hide in here for a few minutes please? I’m not trying to fuck in here, I just need to get away from all the people.” The person didn’t move but somehow I knew they’d agreed to let me stay. I sighed and collapsed to the floor. I ended up in the opposite corner of this stranger with my back partially leaning on the door. We sat in blissful silence for a few minutes. Nothing but our own thoughts to occupy ourselves.

The peace was short-lived however, “Who are you hiding from?” the voice asked. I wasn’t sure who the voice belonged to yet but I decided that I could trust a fellow person hiding in the dark.

“Chad.”

“Which one is Chad?”

They didn’t know who Chad was? I thought everyone in our school knew who Chad was. “He’s the guy who lives here. I’ve decided his parents had to buy a house this big in order to fit his enormous ego.” I chuckled a little at my own joke but she just brushed hair out of her face and said, “Oh. Him…”

I had figured out that it was a girl that was taking refuge with me from the storm of teenage angst and hormones. She seemed to be pretty enough from what I could see. All I could really see was some flowing blonde hair and a face that was well framed by it. She had a somewhat long face that came to a nice point at her chin. The only other feature I could make out was the light from the street lamp shining off her eyes. The light seemed to dance, almost as if she were on the verge of crying.

Her response to my attempted joke was not what I expected. It was laced with the odor of an untold story she’d rather forget. My gut told me it had something to do with Chad.

Not wanting to bring up unpleasant feelings in my temporary room mate, I decided I’d try to cheer her up (being an introvert that cares about people’s feelings sucks…) “What’s your name?”

Silence.

“Are you from around here?”

Again, silence. She had up to this point seemed lost in her own world ever since I mentioned Chad.

“Hey… Are you ok?”

She finally turned her head to me as if being snapped out her of herself. “I’m fine. I think I should go though.” She tried to stand up but for some reason was having some difficulty. I stood-up and started to walk over to her but she held up her hand to top me. “I don’t need anyone else touching me tonight.” I stopped and waited. A moment later she struggled to her feet. Although I couldn’t see anything physically wrong with her, she walked very gingerly as if she was in an extreme amount of pain. She walked past me without saying a word and walked out into the party.

The next time I saw her was the first day back after the party. I was sitting in the cafeteria at school waiting for class to start. Our school had TV’s hooked-up to the different news networks so we could, “…keep up with the current affairs of our world.” according to our principle. It was on one of those news networks I saw her picture. I got up and turned the volume up on the TV to hear what the news caster was saying:

“Her body was found by some local fishermen this morning as they were getting ready to go out on their boat. It appears the cause of death was a suicide. A toxicology report shows that she had 3 times the recommended amount of vicodine in her system. According to the Medical Examiner, she had been dead since Friday night.”

I stood completely still. Unable to think. Unable to breathe. What had just happened? I willed myself to not go into shock just yet. I turned my attention back to the newscaster.

“Authorities also believe there may have been foul play involved. There are signs of a sexual assault.”

That’s why she had walked so gingerly when she left… She’d been raped!

My mind filled with rage as I thought about Chad. I knew he was the one who’d done it to her. She became so quiet when I mentioned his name… And he was gonna try and get me into his bedroom too!

Before I knew quite what I was doing, my phone was in my hand with 911 already dialed. I smiled as I pressed the send button. I was going to make sure that Chad paid for what he did.

Feeling like I have to write

I have had this feeling for the last couple of days that I just need to sit down and write something. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be writing about but I feel like there are words inside of me and I’m going to explode unless I get some of them down on paper (or on the Internet as this case may be).

Why do I need to write? I have no idea. Seriously. Not a clue. At this point it almost feels like a compulsion. But I’m just not sure what is making me have to get these words down.

Maybe it’s because so little of my time has been my own lately. I’ve been spending all day at work and then going from straight to work into rehearsal for Les Mis. Then when I get home from rehearsal, I’m spending time with Jaden and Theresa. It’s literally been about 3 weeks since I’ve set foot in my office or turned on my laptop for any extended period of time.

And don’t hear that as me saying I don’t like my life. Right now I love my life. Lots of wonderful things are happening in it. I have an amazing wife and child. Both of whom are extremely patient with me while I pursue something I love. I’ve got a great job that I enjoy. I love the people that I work with and the projects I get to work on. And I love that I’m getting to do Les Mis and play Thenardier. It’s a really wonderful life that I get to live right now.

But all of my time is spoken for. All of my time is spent doing projects for other people or serving other people. And maybe that’s just the way it has to be. Maybe my role as husband is meant to be a servant to others before a servant to myself. Or maybe that’s just who I am in general. I dunno.

It’s hard to set myself in the background. Seems very counter culture. “My own happiness should be the thing that matters most” seems to be the mantra of the culture. But my happiness at the expense of others isn’t something that is going to make me happy. The idea that other people have to be put on the back burner so that I can be happy is one I don’t appreciate. What’s even worse is how much I do that in my own life. My wife and son spend their time on the back burner right now while I’m in a show. They should be first on my list. They should be above all the other things going on in my life… Now I’m just preaching to myself and sometimes I need that.

Deuteronomy 7

This post is part of the Lent Reading Series

1. Who is God?

This passage shows off the jealousy of God for His people. The passage admonishes several times that they are to utterly destroy the people in the Promised Land because He doesn’t want the Jews following other gods (v1-5). He calls the Jews “…His treasured possession,” (v6) and wants them holy for Himself. This comes out of God’s faithfulness to fulfill His covenant with Abraham and his sons (v8).

God’s faithfulness is talked about further in the chapter when it talks about God delivering the enemies into the Jews hands. The Jewish nation is small but God is saying that He’s going to use them to destroy the nations in the Promised Land (v17-24).

God’s passion for us to know Him is on display most in this chapter. He wants to bless us and enjoy the relationship He originally intended for Man and God to have. He wants to show that He is for the Jews by giving them the ability to take out the nations that would be able to destroy them.

2. What has God done?

God has let the Jews know that the way is clear for them to enter the Promised Land. And it’s not because of anything that the Jews did; it’s because God is in control and He is initiating the action. God has taken the steps to bless the Jews in countless ways, all they need to do is walk in it.

3. Who are we?

In this passage, I think we’re the people that God is talking to. He has a promised land setup of abundant life in Him, and all we have to do is walk in it. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our sin has already been defeated.

The nations that need defeating can be drawn as direct parallels to the sin in my own life. My pride, my addictions, my shame… These are all things that God has already defeated through the Cross but I am unwilling to walk in them. Sometimes I can remember that I am saved by grace and walk in that, other times I forget though. More often than not I forget.

It’s easy to just shove the Gospel aside and say “Now what?” but the Gospel is it. It’s the ONLY thing that really matters. We forget how much it cost God because of how lavishly grace has been poured out onto us. But that grace came at a terrible price.

My sins mock the death of Jesus. They show where my priorities in life truly lie.

But my sin shouldn’t drive me to despondency. My sin should help to point me back to Jesus. Having sin in my life is a constant, painful, reminder that I need Jesus and I can’t fix my relationship with Him under my own power.

Sin teaches me how much I need Jesus and reminds me that I have no choice but to rely on Him; just like the Jews that are being talked about in this passage.

4. What should we do?

We should respond by remembering what Jesus did for us and what it cost for Him to do it.

Lent

So Lent is upon us. The time where we abstain from something in order to draw ourselves closer to God. I have been told that you’re supposed to take the time that you would be doing that thing you’re abstaining from, and use it to pray and seek out God; to know Him more fully.

Knowing myself and my past experience with Lent, stopping doing something is easy (don’t drink pop for Lent for example) but replacing that item with prayer is very tough. I don’t know that I’ve ever successfully completed a Lent season of both denying myself and praying as a replacement for the thing I’ve been denying myself.

All that to say, this year I have decided to do things a little bit differently. Instead of taking something away and replacing it with prayer, I’m just simply adding prayer and bible reading time to my life.

Our church is currently going through a read the bible in a year plan. Thankfully it’s not the whole bible, just parts of the bible that highlight the redemptive story of God throughout history. I have wanted to participate in it for a long time but always found an excuse to not do it or I simply forgot, and forgot, and forgot. I kept forgetting until I didn’t think about it at all.

So my goal for Lent 2014 is to read the bible passages suggested in the reading plan, and then answer some of the questions that come with it. They will be a different blog post each day for each passage.

Hopefully I can keep up. I’ve never been very good and finishing challenges and it’d be really neat if this was one that I could complete. For a couple of different reasons:

1. I simply want to get to know God better.

I have done a horrible job of taking a hold of my faith and truly making it real in my life. Yes, I’ve done a lot of christianese things in my time but I haven’t ever really done anything to improve my faith life outside of going to church on Sunday. I hardly ever do a quiet time, and I hardly ever feel like I’m truly pursuing God in the every day life. My hope is that by reading the bible on a daily basis, I can start to really grasp what it means to be living under grace and how I can start sharing that grace with those around me.

2. I want to finish something

I’ve never been a good finisher. I have so many started and unfinished stories, it’s ridiculous. I haven’t felt a real sense of accomplishment in a very long time. Sure, I’ve finished projects for work but it’s been a long time since I’ve completed a project that I wanted to do just because I wanted to do it. I’d like to feel that again… Hopefully I will after Lent.

So that’s what’s going on here on my personal blog. If you’re reading this or a future update, feel free to comment and share your thoughts.