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Friday, October 21, 2016

No Rhoads Warrior

i have been encouraged to write again.  And i almost wish i wasn't.  It makes life nigh on unbearable for me.

Not because i don't want to write, quite the opposite actually.  i do.  i want to with all of my innerds and a few of my outterds too.  i love writing and to make matters worse, i'm being urged to write a devotional which is a bit like inviting heroin into your life.  It feels good but several months from now i suspect my life will bear a strange resemblance to much of Syria.

i don't say that flippantly.  i've tried it before.  Devotion writing, not heroin.  i was, as you can read in the archives of this very blog and my Rabbit Trails one as well, full on into the expedition, with gunboys, porters, elephants and two particularly stout and careful fellows bearing my Ming dynasty bone china tea set.  One need not be uncivilised about such things.  But like the Brits with their empire, after the war, i had to give it up.  And for much the same reasons.

i had become an insufferable twat.

Here's the thing and it's taken me some time to recognize this about myself.  Or i recognized it long ago but oddly, my ego wouldn't allow me to speak the words.  i suspect i'm great.  i do not say i am fully convinced of this for i spend much of my time lamenting not being great.  Much of my depression seems to me now to come from not living up to my suspected potential, a word and phrase i heard growing up about as often as, "Wash your hands before dinner." or "Be nice to your brother, you know he looks up to you." or "Quit picking your nose!"  "He doesn't work up to his potential," they'd say.  "He has so much potential, this is disappointing."  "If you would only try, you have so much potential!"  Apparently, other people thought i was more than i was trying to be.

Which brought on two counter cravings.  The desire to be praised and recognized for the things i did, to be as great as they said i was and the equally emphatic desire to be ignored, to be left alone to do what i felt like doing rather than trying to "live up to my potential."  It was like i had to compete not with someone else, but with an imaginary better version of me.  A version, i was fairly certain, i did not recognize.  Though i fantasized about him a lot.  Eventually i decided i couldn't be him so why try.  i set my sights at achievable goals, OSHA approved industry minimums and bowed out.  Slowly, sadly the disappointed shook their heads and went away.

And you would think that would be the end of it.  Or you might not.  You're probably savvy enough to know that the worst voice of judment this side of the Great White Throne is in our own heads.  There's no where to hide from that voice.  No where to run.  And so as not to go into a narcissistic navel novel; yada yada, he grew up, struggles with angst common to man, listened to the voices, tried to live up to the potential once, failed, wrecked his marriage, his finances, his family and became a shell of a man, a burnt-out desolate man, a man who wandered out into the wasteland.

And now here they come again.  Worming their way into the black matter of my brain.  Should i take the bait my soul craves so mightily?  Have i become wise enough to handle the power or will the shame this time be mine?  Is the Cross enough?  Will i here, in this blighted place, learn to live again?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

communion (i think i might illustrate this)

And there was a man
clinging to a bit of wood
alone in the sea
for many days.
Many, many days.
So long he despaired of ever seeing land again.

He cried out to God
both day
and night,
"Please save me!"
Day after day
night after night
the same plea
"God, please save me!"

One day he heard something.
A voice,
not an answer
but an echo.
And there was another man
clinging to a bit of wood
alone in the sea,
crying out, "God, please save me!"

"My boat sunk!" said the man.
"Mine too!
"All i have is this chunk of wood."
"Me too."
"I've been here many, many days."
"As have i."
"I've despaired of life."
"Brother." said the man.

Monday, August 01, 2016

the famous final scene

A question texted to his eldest son hangs in the ether unanswered.


HellooooOOOOOooo?  He tries to make it funny.

His youngest finishes eating.  "You want me to put this away?" he asks.  Pappy looks at the vegetables and fruits in their sealed containers.

"Sure."  The young man puts them back in the fridge.  He never says a word.  He finishes and he goes upstairs.

Loreena McKennitt begs on the radio, "Please remember me."  Pappy sits alone at the table.  He sips his ale.  "Please remember me."  He thinks, this is where the camera pans back, back, back out the window, the air conditioner noise fades and the night enters the screen from the sides and closes on the shrinking man sitting alone.  Somehow the music rises to the fore.  "Please remember me."  Fade to black.  Roll credits.

But this isn't a movie or an artsy fartsy television show with a healthy dab of sap in its closing scene.  We won't magically move to our protagonist waking up tomorrow.  There's no way to cut out the loneliness, futility, frustration of waiting to sleep.  Of waiting for a little blessed oblivion.  Cut to daylight.  Cut to another day in the life of a sad sack.

The ipod randomly, yeah right, shuffles Ray Charles crying about something or other next.  He looks at the clock.  Seven twenty-seven.  Shit.  It's going to be a long night.  He takes another sip.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


"Life," Seamus said to me once, "is riding a bus somewhere you don't want to go with wankers you don't even like."

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Had to ask

"Have you ever been treated for depression, Seamus?"
"Life is depression.  Everyone's depressed, lad.  Weeborns come out screaming and crying.  Living, yer way of life, is nothing more or less than how you choose to treat it."

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Why do i talk to this guy?

"Yikes, Sheila cut off all her hair!"
"Woman-hater's hair cut," Seamus stated matter of fact around a mouthful of spaghetti.  I knew when I was being baited.  He knew I would give in.  Eventually.  Damn him.
"Okay, why not a Man-hater's hair cut?"
"Now what about that looks Man-hating to ye?" He gestured to Sheila's bob with his fork.
"I don't follow you.  She had gorgeous long hair.  Men loved it.  She cut it all off.  Obviously she's sick of being eye candy for men."
"Certain men.  Some like that sort of thing, I'm told.  Anyhoo, what's the worst thing a woman can do to a man?"
"Cut off his --"
"Oh aside from that, ye unphilosophical simpleton!"  I shrugged.  "Become a man!  And how can you truly hate a man if you're working so hard to become one?  They cut their hair, they wear men's clothes, they try to be independent, they try to do men's jobs, they talk like men, cuss like men and destroy and distort everything feminine about themselves.  They don't hate men.  They want to be men!  It's themselves they hate."
"So smart guy, what does a man-hater look like?"
"All the rest o' em."
"Jeez!  What do you call this dark, bleak little world you live in?!"
Seamus stabbed a spherical meatball and held it up to inspection.  "Earth."

Sunday, April 03, 2016

A mystery wrapped in an enigma all tied up with paradox

Only my God.  Only Yahweh the mysterious and all knowing could come up with this.  Only He would know that you can teach a dog like me to love by denying me all visible love.  Only He would know that you could make someone an encourager by placing them in a desert devoid of the encouragement they crave.  Only He would know that a drought of kind words, a mouthful of sand and not a drop of joy even in a mirage, could make one a fountain for others.  Only He would hatch such a plan.  Only He would spring it in a moment when at my lowest i was crying out to him and lamenting this dry, waterless waste that i stagger through.

Only He would know i would totally see Him behind it all.

i love Him!