Dastardly Shenanigans?

otherwise...Life would be so boring

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A Wish Your Heart Makes

 

I have dreams and, in a word, they’re horrible.  They aren’t nightmares, they are, in fact, horrible dreams. They all begin the same way: i’m in the middle of something when i find myself in conversation with someone.  I find myself living out the reality i want, with the people i want, in a heart-felt moment of reconciliation — expressing things of great value and saying the things i wish to say to, to those i wish to say them and they, of course, have the affect they would only have in dreams — poof, all is right with the world.

Sometimes, in a strange twist, i figure out i’m only dreaming and in an even stranger twist,  when i realize i’m dreaming, i leave the scene, whomever i was talking to, and moments later, i die.  Often, I walk out the door and find myself stepping through into nothing and i plummet to my death a la  Going Postal. Sometimes, i get hit by a car or bus crossing the street, Other times i drive my car off the road, die in explosion while cooking dinner at my electric stove, drown, am shot or hung, shoot myself or hang myself, choke on my favorite meal or some of my mothers baked goods, or am eaten alive by sharks or bears, my own dogs or sometimes ferrets.  Comical.

Regardless of the manner in which i die, (while i’m falling, being eaten, choking, gagging) while i’m dying, i close my eyes and feel a great sense of relief, like something is finally right with the world.  When i die, i don’t wake up but, rather, i find myself in Heaven (or what i dream Heaven would be like).  I don’t talk to God, or ask him questions. I need only to experience His presence, like when stepping out of the shade into the light and feeling the goose bumps grow as the sun warms your face and body, and there, in His presence, i experience what i can only describe as the confluence of knowledge, understanding, restoration and reconciliation; the peace of being made whole.  It’s like the urgency, excitement and anticipation you feel as you rush out to meet, face to face, the voice of a loved one as they shuffle through the door.  It’s the kind of visceral thing that brings one to tears.

It’s just then that i wake up.  It’s just then that i wake up.

I started seeing a counselor about my dreams and, at his suggestions, decided to start taking anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication.  The medication had several side effects, one of which was the suppression of R.E.M. sleep.  I stopped dreaming, stopped sleeping deeply and was essentially power-napping for 8 hours a night.  I don’t know if you power-nap much but after a while, you just start to feel like you’re constantly running on energy drinks.  You’re awake, but you’re not.  You’re there, but you’re not.  You’re conscious, but in a drug-induced like stupor.   You hear and feel everything.

I stopped taking the medication and, thus, started dreaming again.  The faces are different but the dreams are pretty much the same.  The dreaming, the talking, the dying, the healing, the waking up and then, the dénouement — the disappointment, it’s all there, for almost two years now.  Regardless of how i wake up, whether i live or die in my dream, whether i find my happy ending or not, the inevitable disappointment is the same, just as intense. I’ve done it so many times that i almost dread going to sleep, and sometimes, while i’m dreaming, i think to myself…“here comes the part where i wake up…” It’s disappointment upon disappointment.  It’s Groundhog’s Day.  It’s a fate worse than death.

I had the same dream 4 times in six hours, Now, it’s 4AM and i am frustrated and all i can really think about is the idea that the truth of this life is that our dreams don’t really matter, and the truth about our dreams is that they often lie to us, they mislead us.  Hollywood makes a fortune selling us second chances and the reason we love buying them is because they are, indeed, very rare.  They don’t happen everyday.

Who would spend twelve dollars to go to the theater to see what is common, of the everyday variety and mundane?  Who would want to pay for a happy ending when they can just go home and do it themselves and make one of their own?  Why would we dream about things that are simple?  What’s the point of dreaming if only to dream about that which is real?

Life would be so boring….

    Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.

(Song of Solomon 8:6-7 ESV)

 

When Worlds Collide

Many people I know are grieving today. Some grieve the death of a loved one, the impending death of a loved one and still others of us grieve, not the dead, but the living.

Grief is a strange thing; burdensome and painful, yet necessary. It seems to be and makes us feel…backwards…it makes us feel backwards because, well, it is backward. When we realize that something isn’t just amiss, askew, offset or slightly out of line, but backward — grief inevitably follows.

We experience grief when the world we envision meets the world as it is, when the world that was collides with the world that is…

What’s doubly strange is that grief is a gift from God — gifted to us so that we might cope with our nature. It’s given so that we can reconcile opposing forces, competing ideologies and desires… so that we can cope with the fact that we live in a world that isn’t as it should be and, more importantly, that we are not the way we should be.

Life would be so boring…

Too Deep For Tears

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering;
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

Life and Poker

So you’re in a hand of poker:

Your hole cards are 7-5 off suit. You don’t know it but your opponent holds two Aces (A-A). Your opponent raised before the flop, you’re in the big blind and since you never fold your big blind, you call.

The flop is J-7-5. Your opponent has a pair higher than any possible pair on the board — so he checks, hoping to slow-play his aces. Your opponent raised before the flop, so your thinking is that he has a big hand, A-K or A-Q and based on his check and what you see on the board, it’s pretty obvious to you that he missed on the flop. So you bet big. Your opponent just calls. The turn comes and now the board is J-7-5-J. Now you have two pair. A BIG two-pair. The highest two-pair available. What you don’t know is now, your opponent also has two pair (Aces and Jacks). A BIG two-pair. A BIGGER two-pair than your BIG two-pair.

Unless you have a keen sense about your opponent you’ll usually go all in at this point in the hand and you’ll do this for two reasons. First, your opponent’s call after the flop was a little strange so you’re actually a little uneasy even though you feel you’re in the lead. You’re pretty sure you can’t lose the hand here. The other reason might be that there’s a possible flush draw on the board, so you bet big hoping to push your opponent out of the hand and take down the pot right here. You don’t want him to hit the flush on the river.

In Poker, this situation is commonly referred to as being “counterfeited”

when i was junior in high school i took a chapter exam in my AP US History class.  I didn’t study and as a result i got all but two questions wrong.  My teacher was so underwhelmed that he repeated my score to the entire class, rather emphatically, i might add.  I later realized that if i had simply stopped guessing and filled in the letter C all the way down scantron, or any letter for that matter, i would have increased my scored a minimum of 5 fold.

This week feels a lot like that day in class.  This might actually be the shittiest week on record.  It’s only Wednesday.

Light Up My Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t why i always run,
Is it fear of the fall or fear of the touch?

I don’t know how to really love,
I’ve never stood still long enough.

I don’t know how to see you now,
A friend from before but different somehow.

I don’t know when i’ll love again,
but i don’t trust myself to just let you in.

I hold on to my pride, I’m digging deep
It’s pulling me down and I’m no closer to Thee

It’s taken ten thousand days to get stuck in my ways and it offers no grace.
I cannot stand this place with love that might fade and i walk away slowly.

 

Ash Wednesday

Several years ago, i had a rather embarrassing moment with a co-worker (i wrote a blog post about it, i’ll see if i can find it).  It was on Ash Wednesday, and having forgotten that fact, i proceeded to tell a female co-worker of mine, that she had some dirt on her forehead.  I thought i was being helpful, i thought i was saving her the embarrassment of walking around all day, unaware of the dirt on her forehead…

i, very tactfully, called her over to my cube, away from people she was training and i believe i said these words:

“Margeaux, um, i’m not sure if you knew this, i’m not sure you noticed, but i thought i would tell you that you have some…some…dirt… on your forehead…”

Margeaux’s response was just as tactful, if not, educational.  She said, “Oh, well, thanks…i’m not sure if *you* know this, but today is Ash Wednesday”

So, ever since then, i think of that moment on Ash Wednesday.  Today was different though, i woke up knowing it was Ash Wednesday, and as i was showering, i had my first real thought of the day and it was this:

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor; [1]
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; [2]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. [3]
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

From The Ashes

So…it’s been almost a year since my last post, and over a year since i posted anything substantial. I haven’t posted in a while, yes, but that doesn’t mean i haven’t been writing.  I’ve been writing a lot…just not anything worth posting.  Maybe i’ll  clean my posts up a bit and publish them, who knows.

Anyway, I found out today (really i decided today) that i’ll be leading a mission trip this summer.  I am excited, scared, shocked, elated, and petrified…all at the same time…

Going forward i think i’ll be writing a bit about prepping for the trip this summer.

Justice

SeekJustice

the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.  the quality of being just, impartial, or fair.  conformity to truth, fact, or reason

Two Pieces of Eight

When i was a boy, i knew a girl that i had never met.  We lived more than a thousand miles apart.  i knew her only from her letters, small gifts and a single drawing we shared between us.  it was a page torn from a children’s coloring book that had on it the caricature of two kittens — one on each side of the page.  One kitten was dancing to the black musical notes in the air above it’s head that came from the radio, while the other was plinking away, walking on the ebony and ivory keys of a piano.

She used two shades of purple crayon (the darker for the coat, the lighter for the belly) that were spread with even pressure and neatly touched the lines. i, with my two sharpened pencils, scribbled on my kitten (quite masterfully i might add) a green eggs and ham like green coat, yellow belly and matching paws.  Boy…ish.  She colored one and i colored the other and though many years would pass between our correspondence, each new letter brought with it a folded, weathered, familiar picture of two kittens; one playing, the other dancing, mine and hers.  One childishly simple picture that, without knowing it, bore an uncanny resemblance of one person to another.  I learned a lot about who she was, believe it or not, by the colors she used and the way she colored in the lines. and I imagine she gleaned quite a bit of my eccentricity from my Suess-like kitten.

Many years later, when i was a man, i met her face to face.  I met her and, in a matter of about six days, hated her and then fell in love with her.  When we would travel, when she or i would visit, the kittens would travel with us.  When she would get ready to leave, i would tuck the drawing in her bag for safe keeping, and when i would visit she would pass it back to me and it became a game of “find the kittens.”  Sometimes, she would find it, sometimes I’d have to tell her where to go or give her hints. Sometimes i’d hide them in the luggage, sometimes in her purse, in the laptop bag or were tucked away quietly in the laptop itself. But, wherever we hid them, wherever we found them, they were a reminder of our love and affection for each other.

Some time later, we decided to close the distance and so there was scarcely a thought that entered my mind or a sentence that left my lips that didn’t include her in some way.  I saw her, spoke to her, or interacted with her for some 2000 consecutive days.

As with many things though, that which can take half a lifetime to build can be ruined in a fraction of the time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, but i was sacked and burned to the ground on several occasions. So, i have very little, if nothing, to show for those 2000 days.  I have some ashes, and some bitter memories and healthy helping of grief.  I never really knew what it meant to “suffer to another man’s praises.” i know now what it means and more to the point, i know how it feels; it’s the worst feeling in the world.  The funny thing is that it doesn’t feel like much yet, at the same time, it’s the most painful of all zero-sum games imaginable.

It’s like drawing dead in a hand over poker.  It’s like drawing dead on the flop and, as is the case with most of those hands, you don’t know you’re drawing dead until you’ve committed all your chips and the hand is over.  Worse yet, you’re drawing dead after the flop, but the turn and the river improve the quality of your hand, making it really strong, so you think you’ve got a chance.  So, you push all-in and the guy across from you turns over a better hand.  He turns over the only possible hand better than yours…the “cooler.”  You show your cards and he shows his and then, you realize that you never really had a chance at all.  You show, he shows, and what looked to be a sure victory turns into a monumental defeat.

Then, something really strange happens. You stare at the community cards (the board), you look at your cards trying to make a hand that wins but you can’t and the moment you realize that you can’t…it gets really quiet.  So quiet that you can hear yourself breathing.  Not like when you take a deep breath or when you yawn, but you can hear your breathing between your ears, like when you exercise too hard and you can feel your heartbeat in your eardrums.

There are no emotions, there are no words and no real thoughts that come about either.  It’s a little like being in shock.  No, actually, it’s a lot like being in shock.  You understand what it means, but you don’t really understand what it means.  You understand enough to know that it’s time to get up, grab your jacket and walk away from the table.

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