childhood

My Post-Child Life Crisis

Sometimes life really sucks and you want to scream and tell everyone about how much it sucks. Like say, for instance, a blog about how cold its been lately. But then it warms up to 40 degrees and the sun shines and you think, “Whoa, I really blew a gasket back there. What happened?”

Yes, it’s been a tough winter for me and my wife. We moved across the country (from California coastland, no less) to upstate New York. We don’t know anybody, it’s cold, and I’m so busy with school that I can’t pee without compromising study time.

Lately, the loss of time has put me in a funk. Admittedly, I’m a creature of habit. I like coffee in the morning. I also like to do nothing in the morning. If I can swing it, I’ll read my Bible and center myself and pray and ask God to forgive my binge watching of Dexter. (more…)

Advertisements

Does God Leave?

God will never leave you. Have you ever heard that? I have. All my life, it seems. You could call it the core theme of my childhood spirituality. This idea—the one of an omnipotently present God—both intrigued me and frightened me as a child. The good news (back then), was that if God were always around then I’d be bound to catch Him sooner or later.

I’d walk around and flip my neck—like some sort of weirdo—trying to catch Jesus in the corner of my eye. I’d pray and strategically leave enough room for my eyes to peek through… just incase. The freeway held great potential. It made sense to me, “Angels ride on the back of motorcycles.”

“Those aren’t angels,” my dad would say.

The Guardian

My great grandma had the guardian angel over the bridge painting in her bathroom—you’ve probably seen it somewhere along the way. Slightly crooked, her painting rested comfortably in the wall above the toilet—as permanent as God’s Word. I assumed it had always been there and always would be. Most plausibly, the painting was a gift, given by the house itself and birthed from its foundation.

To me, the painting was nothing but a stark reminder—angels watched you pee. I blame my shy bladder on this haunting print.

Then there’s that Footprints poem. (Don’t get me started).

In 200 years, I’m curious if Footprints will be canonized into scripture. Maybe we’ll be giving piggy-back rides in church on Sunday as an act of worship.

“God will never leave you. There’s guardian angels and footprints in the sand.”

An Example or Two

From youth we’re taught the doctrines of our faiths and of God, as concrete as a grandmother’s painting. Then we get older and read scripture for ourselves; sometimes, our doctrines turn to sand. Sometimes we discover our beliefs were never written in stone, but passed down through magnets on a fridge.

A couple Bible passages have recently revealed some startling news. God does, in fact, leave. Often in the most troubling of times, too! I’m not talking Bruce Almighty vacation or anything, but it would seem apparent that He leaves us, individually, from time to time.

God left Samson in Judges 16. God left Israel in 1 Samuel 4.

I don’t bring this up to unnecessarily riffle any feathers. It’s in the Bible and I believe it’s worth talking about. Hopefully you’ll want to join in on the fun.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Maybe it’s in response to sin. Sin is forgiven under Christ; sure, but there’s still consequence. Does God temporarily leave as a consequence to sin? (These may read as rhetorical, but they’re not. I’m asking you).

Maybe it’s an assumption of the Bible writer. Regardless of what you believe about scripture’s origin, it makes sense that each Biblical writer had a cultural and linguistic lens through which he or she wrote.

Maybe God is incapable of leaving his creation. This feels most comfortable to me, though I hesitate saying it. God is not a math function; there is no limit we can assign.

Maybe this was Pre-Jesus. The smart readers/bloggers out there may have a verse or two (or a personal experience) to back this theory up. I’d be interested in reading those.

Whatever the outcome may be, we most likely won’t fully know it anytime soon. Until then, I’ll continue to look for God where I can—in the corner of my eye, in every blade of grass, on the freeway, in my heart, in my friends, in my family, yes, even WordPress.

Even WordPress.

Well, what say, you?

Adulthood: Embracing the Now & Forgetting the Why

One can’t help but get a little older. Wives are good for nothing if not for telling you how old you are. Megan reminds me of this all the time: “You’re two years older.”

“And wiser,” I respond.

Despite the rabid pace at which youth escapes my body, I expect some of the mannerisms and routines that accompanied my early years will always be with me.

The sample tables at Costco are primary. Shopping is second… at best. There’s others like me, too. Yesterday, I ran into the same sample shopper at every table. We nodded.

My attention span is weak, like coffee from the church foyer weak. At any given time, I’m usually half present and I apologize for this; I’m trying, really. This will probably be a lifelong struggle. Bare with me.

I say weird things at awkward moments. That is, the moment is fine until I make it awkward. Once, I worked at a hotel and checked in a guest. During the silence I asked if he met any ladies on his trip. He was a priest and promptly said, “no.”

You see what I mean. I’m sure you do weird things too. I know you do. The crazy little brain movements and body patterns are just part of the human experience. You probably rant in the bathroom with strange accents or something. I can only guess.

We are all just grown up kids. (No one has refuted me yet!) As adults we can choose when we want to be a child, that’s the coolest part. I mean, haven’t you seen Hook? (You’re doing it, Peter!)

normal_hookpt2205

As we get older, we pretend this stuff doesn’t exist. The weird mannerisms. The strange facial expressions. The awkward moments. After all, we’re adults now and there’s bills to pay. We have kids and jobs and degrees. There’s no time to be ourselves anymore.

Don’t Start Eating Boogers Yet

It’s okay to have responsibilities; in fact, I rather like them. There’s men and women who meet the challenge of adulthood at every turn and I respect them.

I learned responsibilities from an early age; most older people around me were too busy beings kids so I had to step it up in their absence. Sometimes people never grow up, because of them I now struggle with letting my hair down on the weekends, or being myself.

I’m convinced, though, that every now and then we need to embrace the child within. We need to be ourselves. Not revert back, but just be ourselves. We need to allow who we are to shine and forget about the future for a change.

We need to embrace God’s greatest present—the present.

I’m sure we could all use a little more of that.

Road Trip

This weekend, Megan and I decided to be irresponsible. With two days notice, and a very inspiring episode of Parks and Rec to motivate us, we’ve decided to visit the Grand Canyon on a whim.

We have little money, a car that’s traveled too much this year already, and a severe lack of camping material; needless to say, we’re excited. My good friend Randall, who you may remember from Salmon Creek Trail, will be joining us.

It’s Friday. Go do something fun this weekend. Enjoy the present! Embrace the kid within you and report back to me. You may find adulthood to be a little more interesting when you do.

What are your thoughts on God’s gift of the present? Is it dangerous to focus too much on the past or the future? Any good stories of embracing the kid within? How about Grand Canyon advice? 

That One Time the Roof Caved in on Me

Memories from my past bubble to the surface every now and then. At times, they feel larger than life—tall-tale even, like in Big Fish. Since taking Psychology 101 last year, some memories have become suspect.

There’s this one memory I have; the one where the ceiling caves in on me. Until recently, I wasn’t sure it was real. I asked my older brother about it. In the memory, he’s the one who carries me to safety.

Quickly, here’s the memory: 

It’s an old white house in Paso Robles, California. Two stories, maybe, just one. I’m eight years old or so and scared to death of the Daddy Long Leg spiders that inhabit every corner of every room in the house. Everything is dirty and dusty. I hate it here.

“Kevin,” he yells. I wake up. The air is thick with dust and drywall; broken wood is everywhere. In fact, my bed is covered with it. I look over to my brother, standing beside the bed. He’s laughing. “You slept through it,” he says and laughs again.

Everything is confusing; I’m paralyzed with fear and can’t move. The next thing I know, my brother is carrying me out of our room and into the kitchen where everybody is listening to music and eating popsicles.

Party

My early years were quite… different than most. After the parents split up, my dad moved us around a lot. Life got weird. Shady, actually, is a better term.

We were those obnoxious, trashy neighbors. The ones with the loud, late night parties, or fights that ended with clothes on the lawn and the cops being called. That was us.

Sorry neighbors.

“They were partying in the next room,” my brother said. Last year, we reminisced about our childhood and I asked him about this event. “We came out of the room,” he continued, “covered from head to toe in drywall dust. No one knew it happened. I think it was the music that caused the ceiling to fall. The bass.”

“And I slept through it?”

“Yeah,” he laughed, “you slept right through it. I thought you were dead.”

Guardian Angles 

It seems a little self-absorbed to claim this event as a miracle of God. Honestly, I’m really not that important. It could’ve just been dumb luck.

Still though, I think back to the broken wood in and around my bed—some pieces large and quite dangerous. All I know is that the ceiling caved in, one ugly night in Paso Robles, California, and two young boys were spared.

In times like these, I’m reminded that I need to live my life in a worthy way. Not because I survived my childhood or because a ceiling caved in on me, but because I was born at all.

Life is an opportunity and everyday among it a unique gift. Don’t wait for tomorrow or you may just get crushed to death by your own ceiling.

“If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.”

What are your thoughts? Do you have any good memories from your childhood you suspect are false? What is your response to living life as a gift? 

Fearing Fear and Then Punching Fear in The Face

origin_2768351879I remember standing in line at Space Mountain, Disneyland—six years old or so. My older brother and sister were there, maybe my mom. Yeah, definitely my mom.

Knees buckling. Tears building. Fear grabbing.

Space Mountain? Could there be so terrible a place? My brother was pushing me along in line; this was not a good sign. He was always trying to get rid of me. What evil plan had he concocted now?

Escape. I had to. Closer and closer we inched, past the TVs and the red, terrifying flashing lights. Finally, it came. The exit door. After an hour, we were so close to getting on the ride.

I could just do it, I thought, go on the ride. Would I really fall out?

I looked left and saw the exit sign, then to the right towards a deeper entrance to the ride, then to my brother who was evilly nodding his head. Now or never, I thought.

Tears bottled up, I went for it. Running as fast as I could towards the door, kids laughed behind me and I heard my brother yell. I bursted through the exit; bright-white concrete sun blinded my eyes and I collapsed on concrete—crying my head off.

New Fears, Old Chum

For those of you who may have missed the news, Rochester, New York is now officially in our sights. Scholarships and grants came through in a big way from the University there. We’ll be moving sometime in summer.

See kids, dreams do come true.

It’s bittersweet, really. We’ll be leaving San Luis Obispo—SLO town—and I love it here. I grew up here. I moved away for a number of years; since we, my wife and I, moved back, our time here has been well spent and well loved.

Old chums, new pals, boogie boards, farmers market, breakfast burritos—reconnecting.

All good things come to an end? I guess; new things can be good too. Also scary.

Fear, get out of my face. 

It’s too easy to fall into fear’s trap. We listen to the negative over the positive; we cave in and take the easy way out. The greatest, most terrible side-effect of fear is that it keeps us from doing what we love: accomplishing goals, moving across country, or say, eating octopus.

What if fear was just a tool that we could use for our gain? Recently, I’ve come to terms with fear. Well, I’m trying to at least. See, fear isn’t some trick of the devil. It isn’t Satan’s test. It’s just a test.

Without fear, personal cost couldn’t be measured. For example, would the water be as sweet if I didn’t fear jumping off the rock? Would it even be worth it? I’m starting to wonder.

I encourage you to embrace fear for what it is: a mere tool. Use it for YOUR gain. Mark your dreams by how much they scare you, then reach for the scariest one.

When fear over steps its boundaries, punch it in the face and go on the ride. Space Mountain is totally worth it.

medium_47529326Photo Credit Top [http://www.flickr.com/photos/disneyworldsecets/2768351879/]

Photo Credit Bottom [http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeandy/47529326/]