Posts Tagged With: passion

Restless

“I wanted to be a rockstar–sing for a living. I did for a while, I guess. I opened for a few famous bands…you wouldn’t know them. But hey, if that’d happened I’d never have gotten to work at this palace.”

Sarcasm runs thick in his last sentence. He works morning crew, up well before the sun to stock shelves; he sings for a local cover band on  weekends, always looking for a gig. He piqued my curiosity. I started asking others: “What was your dream job when you were younger?” She was hesitant to divulge.

“I don’t know…

“Come on there must’ve been something.”

“Well, I used to want to work at a bakery.”

You should. You would be good at that.”

“Oh, it’s too late now…”

Her attention to detail, the perfectly dribbled white chocolate accents on her once-a-year chocolate covered strawberries, her flawless fruit trays. On her off days she bakes cookies with her young granddaughter, then comes in showing pictures. (“Look how well she did for her age.”) Maybe it runs in the genes.

“I wanted to be a major league baseball player, but my realistic dream was to be a teacher.”

“What kind?”

“Oh, I didn’t have that nailed down yet…maybe History or Economics. A teacher and a coach.”

“Why didn’t you?”

My dad ran off with his girlfriend, and we were kind of backwards, you know…didn’t know how to get loans and stuff.” 

He would’ve made a great teacher and coach. He teaches in church now and again, using object lessons; he’s and umpire during the softball season in the effort to earn a little extra cash.

I’ve been restless lately, itching to move on. I think it’d be fun to work at a zoo or as a truck driver, or something… Maybe it’s stupid to want that. My manager is amazing. He gave me two ice cream sandwiches today, slipped me money to take a coworker who’s been down out to eat last week.  You can’t put a price tag on that. Money shouldn’t matter, even if I could make more money working at McDonald’s than here, but, at the same time I don’t want to work produce my whole life long. I want to make a difference, see the world–but also watch my brother’s grow up. As usual I’m conflicted.

I don’t want to be a tragedy like their stories. Years go tricking by. I have enough dreadlocks to enjoy, but not too many to hide. Could I get hired? Do I want to? I’ve not always had much luck with that in the past, but now I can say I have some job experience under my belt. Even so, there aren’t many options for jobs around here, unless I want factory work. Or I could move. Now there’s a scary prospect.

These are the thoughts that occupy my mind, my time. Is this restless a prompting of God, or my own selfishness manifested? I’ve always been enticed by the idea of travel, being a vagabond as described by Robert W. Service in his poem The Men Who Don’t Fit In:

“There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
    A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
    And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
    And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
    And they don’t know how to rest.”
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But that’s just the first stanza. The rest reads:

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“If they just went straight they might go far;
    They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
    And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
    What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
    Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
    With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
    Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
    Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
    In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
    He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
    And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
    He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
    He’s a man who won’t fit in.”
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No matter what I do I’ll never fit in, but it seems to me that this is the part of life where I choose if I’ll go straight and (supposedly) far, or bounce around everywhere and get (supposedly) nowhere., My instinct says go roam, though my comfort zone holds me back. Any advice for someone on the brink? Any stories? What did you dream of being way back when?

Categories: Journey Prologues., My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vegetables vs. People

Remember when I used to post twice a week back in my good blogger days when I had at least some of the answers and life was slower and filled with the people I loved? Those days are long gone now. So much has changed now, and I know less than I did before. But I’ve had a precious opportunity to go back for a week to people. Summer camp…those magical words. Senior high…I’ve been there, done that shebang. I may not have much wisdom, but at least I can relate. The idea of summer, and being surrounded by excited brink-of-adulthood people, and wearing normal or abnormal clothes (my job makes me realize how much I took both jeans and Ts and being allowed to express my weirdness through my apparel for granted), and seeking God together, and being outdoors makes my heart light up in places that have been dim for quite some time. Actually, I’m afraid I’ll be discontent when I have to go back.

I’ve said it before, I don’t really mind my job. I like handling food, produce in particular, though by this point I’ve seen more than my fair share. The people are pretty amazing. They appreciate my weirdness (apart from the store owner). My boss works with me and forgives my stupid mistakes (like showing up for work two hours early due to bleariness from working mornings all week and general incompetence with numbers.) The money isn’t bad, and we’ve got a pay raise coming up here soon. Honestly, my only complaint is that my wrists being mutilated from the repeated motions of the wrapper. Writing two pages in a notebook never hurt like that before. But when your boss gets you a $10.00 pen for Christmas, it’s not exactly right to complain that your job is encumbering your writing either, is it? I’ve faced worse pain. I’ll survive.

No, I don’t mind my job much at all. There are good days and bad days, but such is life. Yet, while I don’t dislike my job, it also does not fulfill my passion. Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect that anymore. Maybe I’m stupid to still want to do something that I love. After all, I’m lucky to be doing something that I don’t hate with people that I get along with most of the time. That makes me better off than many I know. Besides, I might not even like teaching. It’s a morning job, and sometimes being cooped up in a building with a bunch of over-dramatic adults is enough to get on my nerves, and that doesn’t even hold a candle to being in a classroom with a group of melodramatic teens, struggling, sometimes in very unattractive, frustrating ways, to find their place in the world. Even still, that mental image ignites my soul, much like that of the week of counseling at summer camp. I want to be making a difference. No matter what the par of my work with vegetables and fruits, no matter the degree of excellence or professionalism I achieve, it’s not going to change anyone’s life. Should I settle for less?

I should note here that I realize the possibility of being a light to my coworkers, and I do strive to be one. But there is something about the impressionable, young time. The majority of people who make a decision for Christ do so before their late teens. Even if it were not so, those people, those kind of places put a light in my soul like no other. A week without pay is more than worth a week at camp to me. But is there a way I could love the people and make a living simultaneously? Something achievable, and not debt inducing? A journey there that I could enjoy along the way? Or should I settle? Some of the employees at the store I work with have been there for twenty plus years. Regardless of whether I stay there, do I want to work any job not geared towards the people for any length of time? I think these things, and I get up and go to work each day. I’ve come no closer to a conclusion. I think, for now, maybe I’ll buy myself a car.

 

Categories: Journey Prologues., My Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Purpose

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was afraid of losing my purpose, of purposelessness. I was  afraid of too much suffocating small talk this winter at work. “Nice”, facade shrouded Christian  people who wouldn’t let me in versus the “bad”, crazy, hurting, needy ones at the people place I’ve had to leave behind. That is what I was going to write about last week. I had the words scrawled in a notebook. It wasn’t my best post ever, but it would have done. But I didn’t get a chance to type it, because I was too busy doing more important things. Instant messaging is amazing. It means I haven’t had to leave the people behind.

Go to bed they tell me. Go to sleep. Get off the computer. And I do. I always leave before I want to, but sometimes it’s hard to balance the necessary things that don’t mean anything to me, and (what some people would call) the unnecessary things that matter beyond words. The joke at our house has always been “I can’t get off! Someone is wrong on the internet.” but that doesn’t even begin to compare to my reason now. “I can’t get off. Someone is hurting, needy, broken, desperate, seeking God…on the internet.” I thought for a while that I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I think I even talked about it on here. I decided not to because it’s a lot of time and money to get the degree, and with it I wouldn’t even be able to help the ones I want to anyways. The ones I want to help can’t or won’t pay. But just because I’ve decided against that career doesn’t mean that the reason I was attracted to it is gone. The people still need love and hope. I still feel the deep need to be the ear they need. No one wants to be alone.

Another thing I said I was afraid of in my old post was living for the weekend. Not in the typical sense, but still. I’m afraid of surviving the workweek, not really living, always waiting for the next time I get to see the people. The next time I get to be Jesus. This is what I live for now–to love on the people. This is what fulfills me even though I know (and am becoming ever more aware of) the fact that it isn’t me or my words that can heal them. I can’t heal, but I can be an arrow. I live to point them to the one who can help. I live for this, which is why the last few years before I went to the people place were so hard. I was purposeless, living in a bubble of Christian “friends” when what I really wanted to do was reach the broken. I am terrified of being that again.

It’s a huge responsibility. Which words to say? I represent Christ, and if I flub up there are consequences. It’s hard sometimes because there are so many, and I can’t help them all. When they all message me at once, and I want to give each the attention they deserve it can get overwhelming. But I’m learning how to balance.  I’m learning how to balance four conversations at once. I’m learning how to balance the annoying necessities like earning money, and the deeply meaningful like loving on other humans. Like accepting them, embracing them, and being the ear they need. They’re not weak, they’re just human. We all need a listening ear.

So whatever I do, wherever I go, I don’t want anything ever to stop me from this. This is my purpose. This is my passion. This is my reason to live.

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Passion & The Shaping of Stories

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the people. I’ve said that before from this platform with certainty. I’ve said it so many times because it is deeply true. The people are my passion, my love, my joy, and often the reason for my sorrows. I’ve wondered before if I could make it through the isolation test they put the astronauts through. I think the answer is yes…praying for the people.

It came in the mail last week, yet another college flier. I opened it because I hadn’t heard of that college before, and I liked the words on the cover. It was different. Inside above the list of majors was a poster which read “I’m______________, My Passion Is______________________” I’ve been thinking about those blanks this week, or more accurately about what should go in them. Currently I’m thinking something like “I”m a child of the King, my passion is His passion…people. ” which is, I’m sure, not at all what they were looking for. But it is the truth.

I’ve been wondering if I’ll be able to make it next year without the people. Without that generation, without my passion. And where can I love on the people the most? There is a major called humanities that draws me, but everyone says it is useless. I don’t want to spend my life on useless. So I wait in indecision while the earth goes around the sun. How can I leave the greatest mark on the people? That is the question at hand. I don’t know the answer.

Obsession is something I try not to do. I don’t want to miss now living in the future. I’m trying to love the people now, and I’m seeing the effects of that effort, though they may be small. She wanted to walk with me for gym. She with the pink hair, spiderbite rings, and burden. Her burden is displayed prominently on her leg — a tattoo gravestone, a date. She wanted to sit with me in bio. She with the blond hair and perfect fashion sense. I know her half sister, a sixth grader, but she doesn’t know that. I know of her boyfriend. I knew his last girl. They are precious in the King’s eyes and thus precious in mine. Some of them I have a harder time appreciating.

Letting the future loom I lose appreciation for today. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own, but I can’t seem to stop wondering and maybe worrying a little bit about future days. If I had a Facebook maybe it’s status would read “seeking direction”. Living without planning is something I’m good at in the short term, but in the long term it scares me a bit. Stories are shaped by choices. Not all choices are between good and bad; some are equally good, but different, though they both lead to the sea eventually. So I’ll live today, and wonder about tomorrow and what God would have me do with the passion He’s given me.

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Moment of Truth

Life stopped again in a hallway, the hallway. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I walked through the temporarily empty school corridor I realized again how much I love them. These people mean the world to me. I realized again that time is running short-temporarily and forever-but somehow my failures to act in the moment didn’t sting as much this time. Those moments of fullness don’t last, but their truth remains: I love and care for these people, I am deeply connected to them, and I’m running out of time.

The truth comes in little moments, and small traditions. There’s a boy on the bus that I swap candy with. He’ll give me a piece of gum (or some such thing) and keep one for himself, and a few days later I’ll give him a jolly rancher, or the like, and either have mine, or give it away also. He’s about twelve; we don’t talk much, but we share something much deeper than sugar. One day, after I had had an especially hard day he was eating a Daffins chocolate bar, and I (half serious, not really expecting anything) said I’d had a bad day and asked if he would break me off a section. We bantered back and forth a bit, then I went back into my own world, only to find, moments later, a section of chocolate bar in my peripheral vision. I couldn’t stop thanking him, though he pretty much remained mute. My day got better, but it wasn’t just because of the chocolate.

It isn’t always that simple, of course. They’re not all that easy to love. I find myself gravitating to the rough ones, the transparent ones. Yes, they’re far from perfect, but at least they don’t pretend to be. I struggle with the preppy “Christians” living their lies. I struggle with whether my preferences are Christ like or not. He didn’t like fakers either. I struggle with the balance between standing up for yourself and others and turning the other cheek. I wonder if they know I love them, that I appreciate them. If I thanked some of them I know it would freak them out.

Internally I embrace them. In Stargirl’s words I want to “Take from the day…[and] give to the night.”, to take from God’s fullness of glorious light and give it  to them in the dark. So, I’ve been praying for them a lot today-them and other people-anyone who comes to mind really. It’s been a meditative day. It’s been an interesting week. Each day God brings new surprises, some good, some scary. Sometimes days are what you make them; sometimes days are just what they are. I wonder what the summer will bring.

In so many ways I just want to stay here in the swing of things with the people, the ups and downs, and the love (compassionate, imperfect, messy love), but  that is not meant to be. As Ananias Nin said in the quote I’m planning to hang on my locker: “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” I do not want to die that kind of death so I will keep moving, if reluctantly, towards the new people and stories that the future holds  treasuring moments of fullness, pain, love, and joy along the way.

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Blueberries and Acorns

Blueberries are coming on, acorns are falling: these subtle markers of the beginning of the end. A time to start counting the weeks until I’m back to the thing thing I’m passionate about. School. I’ve missed the people. It’s not like I’ve been isolated all summer, but there’s something about seeing the same people every day. There’s something delicious about looking forward to another year of unpredictability, and promise.

The signs for the fairs, and parades are starting to go up. Harvest is coming. The corn is well past it’s knee high mark for the fourth. People. I thrive on people. No, no one understands me. No, I don’t have any close friends, but somehow that doesn’t make me love the people any less. I love loving on people. I wish I could freeze frame the moments of sharing laughter, confusion, and anguish for you. I wish I could show you my heart.

It’s been both a long and short summer in many ways, but now I’me just so ready for this sabbatical to end.  I’m far from perfect, but this one thing I do well. I gather stories; I love them even if they break my heart. I gather stories, and I pray. Hard. I pray, and I watch God work. It’s funny, I had a dream the other night about one I met last year. One who will not be back again. The dream wasn’t particularly meaningful, but I woke up in a cold sweat with my heart pounding, and I prayed for him with an urgency I’ve missed. An urgency I’ve tried, and failed to maintain.

The blueberries are coming on, the acorns are falling, and I’m wishing away a part of my life until I can walk through those doors again.  I don’t know what I’ll do when I can’t go back; it’ll hit me harder than most. Journeys have seasons too you know, and right now the fields are ripe with harvest. And I just can’t wait to get picking.

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Old of Heart

The old of heart: the hurt, the stubborn, the confused, those who have seen more than their short lifetimes have had time for… this people group has been heavy on my heart these last days. They hide it all so well; they remind me of myself, perhaps that explains my fascination with people such as these. That and their eyes. The eyes so deep they make me feel like I could dive in. So much is happening there, right under the surface. They may look me in the eye, their eyes might dart from here to there, and they could be any color, but there is a subtle distinction that engages my imagination. Though sometimes the imagination does not have to be put into action very much, sometimes they are willing to tell their stories, only I have not yet met one of these beautiful broken people who appreciates sympathy. “I’m sorry.” is met with “I can handle it.” my soul wept as I said “I know.”

Maybe my soul should not have wept. Maybe the old sayings “No pain no gain.”, and “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.” should have crossed my mind. Still my soul cries. The pain they must endure seems monumental in comparison with occasional miniscule gains, and strength such as this often seems unnecessary. One must wonder what God is preparing this generation for, with so many young people who are truly old at heart. Or is it merely one generation suffering for the sins of the last? What will these enduring ones be like in ten, or even twenty years? By then will the pain have killed them, or will they be strengthened, becoming the strong leaders and teachers that our nation so desperately needs? Will the refined by fire turn to God to complete the purification process, or will they trust in their own stubborn strength to see them through? I cannot predict the future; I can only guess at the reasons for these hard lives, but I am sure that these heartbreaking pasts will not go unused.

The old of heart remind me of myself. I have not had a difficult life, yet  I see mirrored in their lives what might have been. I find stubbornness, and grit such as my own. Perhaps God chooses a few of those with lesser pains to mourn over the fate of this people group, to pull them towards himself and into His love. God has chosen me, and created me for a purpose, just as He has done for them. My past has helped to make me who I am. And yet, it is not in my past that I am able to relate to them, it is not rooted in my past or in the present, this bond, this attraction I cannot explain between myself and these hurting teens and children. Maybe it is a seed God himself planted inside of me, maybe it is something I will never comprehend, but just accept, and act on.These people are my passion; they are pulling on my heartstrings. My question is: Who is pulling on yours?

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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