Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Of Thorns and Fences
This blog needs a bit of a prologue, because it may not make complete sense with out a bit of context. The following is excerpts and adaptations of a letter I sent to my sister, but it explains a lot of why I haven’t been blogging for a rather long time, or at least leads to the areas of my life that have led to the non-bloggage. The original letter was a fair bit more transparent, but I don’t really want to share those details with community of readers, because it was a personal affair, and therefore ain’t none-yo dam buziness. There will be times (despite my efforts) that you’ll see the second person used in a very direct way. Its a letter, and there were times where changing the direction for a general audience would kill the meaning, so I left them. Otherwise, be aware that there are some gaps in this blog, but I hope that you can benefit from the roads that i’ve gone down in life. Here’s to growing, and becoming the person you want to be~ - - - - - - - - --- - - - - - - - - I’ve recently been reading the 5th Harry Potter (Order of the Phoenix) in Mandarin (like 20% through woop woop!). Towards the end of the 4th book I started thinking Harry was kind of a whiney bitch and I wasn’t really appreciating his attitude. However, as I get into book five I realize that maybe the reason I think he’s a whiney bitch is because I have the same line of reasoning that he does in a lot of situations, like an embarrassing amount of his inner dialogue in book 5 is stuff i’ve felt/thought before and or am thinking now. Maybe thats everybody, and that might explain why J.K. Rowling is the wealthiest author, I believe in the history of the world...She’s a saint in my eyes at least. I keep on walking down this path of life and I find that I’m not following the lessons i’ve learned from the past. There are nuggets of wisdom that i’ve been blessed to discover, or have had shown to me, and some of those things are as follows: feeling is better than not ~ even if it sucks communication is better than ignorance ~ always I was taking a shower a minute ago and had one of those stereotypical shower-epiphanies. I’ve been envying Harry Potter because of his legitimate shitty mood and I was wishing that I had good reasons to have a shitty mood. HAH! wrap your mind around that one for me if you will. Then it became conscious to me that I was envying him. Then I took one step further and asked myself why i’ve not been “living” enough to have mountains and valleys of feeling. And thats when I put my foot in the pile of a shitty situation that it is and accepted within myself that i’ve been putting up fences left and right to keep myself safe. I’m an old man. I’m now at a stage of life where I subconsciously believe that routine, fences and boundaries of many types make your life better. They help avoid destruction, and slow growth is better than destruction right? (The little ghost that hides in my ribs is making a ruckus telling me I’m full of shit.) On his soap-box a man who thought he was “setting me straight” told me that the difference between children and adults is impulse and habits. Children act on their impulses and just do whatever, and when you start making habits and get into a routine is when you become an adult. Its one definition, one that I totally reviled at the time of course, but he definitely has a sort of point. What I’m trying to get at with all this babble is that i’m an old man, but not the type of old man that I always wanted to be as that kid running around in a speedo. I’ve put up fences and decided that communicating with you is not the best thing for me to do. But here I am on the cusp of a cliff realizing that I’m killing off part of who I am by not communicating to some of the people closest to me because of burns that i’ve taken in some of the exchanges that i’ve been a part of. Its all my choice, whether I do or dont reach out for that communication. I’m not innocent. I’ve done my share of throwing fire too, but one learns either way to give wide breadth to a hot stove when they see one. My logic has been that 80-90% of the time I don’t have anything nice to say, so I just shouldn’t. Adding to that with my two cents is doing these people no service, and in fact is much more of a disservice in many cases. ~~~ I also feel it prudent at this second to say that i’ve only had 1 beer tonight, and even that was 4 hours ago so this isn’t booze talking. ~~~ Honestly ~ when I need to get something done, I have to channel you with my Ouija Board and black candles. For instance, when I had to defraud my last company in order to get money that I was contractually owed (therefore its not actually fraud... btw...). I had to book a flight, send the receipt to the HR department, call Delta, get to the right people, explain in my most composed customer service persona that I no longer needed the ticket, and thus get my money refunded in full. I myself and only me couldn’t or perhaps at least wouldn’t have done that. But you left a mark. How dare you :p I really am a vindictive creature sometimes. My 2nd year in China helped me realize that a lot. That was when I was escaping my vicious boss, maybe you remember. The reason I realized how vindictive I could be is because I was able to anticipate all of the nasty things she would want to do after I left her company, and prepare for them or avoid them all-together. If I could anticipate those things and have incite into the way those thoughts work though, that shows you how much my brain can work that way though. Daniel (Lion’s den, that one....) had a phrase in one of this prayers that I really appreciated. When God revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and its meaning he said... (among other things) “... he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 2:22” I hope to be a person that “light dwells with,” but as of yet, there is still a lot of my heart that lies in darkness, and I can be a very bitter creature. Thats another of those fences that God is going to have to help me over, because otherwise part of me very much so wants to hold onto my bitterness. I find it validating. To grieve when you’re offended, to hate when you’ve been wronged, its what you’re entitled to right? those are the rules. The rules say I get to feel this way. Small consolation though, and in the end it doesn’t really bring you anything that you get to keep. You just get to stay at the same level, or go back, no moving forward. Its really the same problem that I had with Korea. I had my preconceived notions about what was going to happen. Those things didn’t happen, and instead, I got bitten like 50 times in the ass because of the way I was going about things. So instead of continuing to learn I subconsciously put up a granite wall, because why the @#(% would I want to persevere through that to better understand people I DONT like? Fuck that AND them. And that attitude RUINED a lot. It distracted me from the fact that I had a gazillion friends while I was in Korea, and had a large number of really unique experiences while I was there. But I burn’t my fingers on the stove, so fuck cooking! I went back to Korea last year for a friends wedding (after a year of being away from Korea) and I saw the country with a rather different set of eyes. I’d be lying if I said they were completely different, but its true that it was RATHER different. I met some amazing people, because of the friends that I was blessed with the first time around. And even tonight, as I sit here pulling this thorn out of my heart, I have to admit that I’m tangibly excited when I hear Korean, or see Korean people/ Korean things. Its like theres this awkward dichotomy between wanting to dislike them and at the same time having a sort of natural resonance with what they are. I think my personality and natural state is a little too close to Korean culture, but I wasn’t willing to adapt to some key issues in their way of viewing the world, and they (as a society) sure as hell weren’t willing to adapt to mine (hah~ what a farfetched notion eh? an entire society changing to fit my world-view...) All that is to say, Prejudice, Fences and lashing back at offenses that I TAKE are becoming more of a theme in my life, and its ruining whole swatches of my human experience. I can’t say that I’ll let down my guard, but I can say that I will keep looking for ways to get over and I don’t know how to finish that sentence. That was a really difficult and uncomfortable moment. I actually recoiled and my shoulders tightened as I tried to find the words to finish it. All this is like textbook explanation of the parable of the sower by the way. I never really understood it, but the more I wrestle with my decrepit values, the more I understand just how much I’m missing, and just how much I need what God is giving. So parable of the sower ~ scattering seed, some falls on the road to be eaten by birds, some falls on the rocky zone, grows up quickly and withers quickly b/c it has no root, some falls among the thorns ~ which also grow up, and choke the plants, and then there is the seed that grows in the good soil where it produces a massive crop. I am those thorns. Left to myself, without “the love I need to see me through” that Florence + the Machine sing about, i’d choke the life out of every last worthwhile thing. These thorns want to grow up too. As I go to write down in my little book the connection between the parable I was just writing about, I notice that not too long ago, there was another quote that caught my attention, and i’ll write it down here for you so that you can see some of the continuity that i’ve got going on in my life (at least on paper.). “Break up your unplowed ground, and do not sow among thorns... circumcise your hearts... or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done - burn with no one to quench it.” (Jeremiah 4:3) So here is me, trying to pull up some of the thorns that I tend.