Sunday, December 19, 2010

Youthful Innocence

So the little kids at church have been putting together a bell choir. I did not know this, but I haven't been to church for so long that I wouldn't have known that. Before they started I figured it would be a pretty bad performance. Considering who some of the kids are my assessment wasn't far off. Let's just say that many of them live in a world of their own. But when the first note played I was blown away. It was a Christmas theme today, and so they played Christmas songs along to some music being played on a CD. What I'm trying to say is it was wonderful. As I watched them, shaking those bells with all their childish enthusiasm, it nearly brought me to tears. They were so young and innocent standing there. They didn't have a care in the world. It's hard to believe that I was once like them. I think what bothered me the most was knowing that they would soon grow up to be like me. They will grow up and be faced with the temptations of the world. They will lose that sweet innocence. I don't want them to do the things I've done. I don't want them to struggle like I have with some of the sins of the world. But I can't stop it. It's just a part of growing up. They can't stay young forever, I know that, but I still wish that they could live a life only filled with happiness.

As just as a little aside, I know this post doesn't flow really well, and it probably doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's how I feel right now, and I don't want to go back and spend an hour trying to make it sound nice. So this is what you get.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On the Verge

It's Thanksgiving today, but most of you probably know that. Tonight, as I write this, I'm sitting in my grandma's house, not even half a mile from the farm that has suddenly taken center stage in my life.

It's good to be back; it's good to be here. Much of my family is around me, and we are recovering from our first Thanksgiving together in the past ten years. We're not a very lively bunch, but it doesn't matter, they're still my family. To be honest, it feels a little odd being together again after such a long time. It might never have the same feel as it did when I was a kid, because, let's face it, I'm not a kid anymore. Things have changed, we've changed, I've changed.

Tonight I went over to look at the farm that might very well be my entire future. It's an eye-sore still, that hasn't changed. But maybe it is something I will be able to change in the future. The amount of work it will take to make it look the way it looks in my mind is daunting, but to be positive, just getting rid of all the junk and cutting down the weeds will do wonders for its appearance. I would have taken pictures to post on here for you, but I don't have any batteries for my camera. So it'll have to wait.

The idea of moving back excites me. I don't show it, but by my standards I'm excited. I talked to my uncles a little bit about it, and they wish I was already here. Things seem to look good right now. I only hope the future brings that same feeling.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Farm (continued)

So it's uncertain what will happen to the farm down the road. If my dad hadn't died, I can almost bet I would still be right there with him on that farm. If he hadn't died I would naturally be the one to take it over. But things changed.

My mom remarried and our family moved to Missouri. But that's never stopped me from looking back and wondering how things would have turned out if my dad was still here.
My future would have pretty much been set, but my life would be so much different than it is now. I would have grown up with a much stronger sense of family around me, but I would have missed meeting some of the most amazing people I've ever known. I wouldn't have received the religious foundation I have now, and there's no telling what I kind of person I would be (morally) if I'd stayed there in Illinois. So it's really a toss up between a blessing and a curse that my dad is no longer here. It certainly changed my life, but whether that change was for the better or worse is still undecided.

But about a month ago, fate took an unexpected turn. My mom and sister went up to Michigan for my cousin's wedding. I had to stay home and work. As it turns out most of my family was there. Apparently my mom had a great time, because when she got home she sat me down and, for two hours, tried to explain how she thought I needed to move back and begin working with my uncles on the farm, that that would have been my life if my dad hadn't died, and there is no reason why it still can't be my life now.

(to be continued)

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Farm

Sitting on roughly 250 acres, back home where I come from, is what I like to call the farm. The farm is where my dad and his five brothers grew up. The farm is where me and my cousins did a lot of growing up. The farm was where all our family gatherings were. The farm was happiness; the farm was fun. For more reasons than one, the farm has only meant good memories. And to my little child's brain the farm was like heaven.

I don't know exactly when it was started, or exactly who started it, but I do know it has been around for at least four generations. It's what they call a centennial farm--meaning the same family has owned it for over 100 years. It's a piece of history, and it belongs to my family.

Back in it's glory years it was an honest-to-God, functioning farm. By this I mean it had animals, and it raised cash crops. I can only imagine what it looked like then. I'm told that my great grandpa had a hired hand that maintained the place. Sadly, this is was contributed to its downfall. Because the hired hand did everything to take care of the place, my grandpa and his brother were never really taught to take care of it--so they didn't. For a while after my grandpa inherited it I'm sure it looked like it should have looked. But I don't know how long that lasted.

As long as I can remember, the farm has looked like it does now--a junkyard. Over the years my two uncles that still live in the area have brought old machines, cars, buses, trucks, tractors, and all other manner of crap onto the place and left it there. Take five steps in any direction and you'll probably run into an old engine or some other piece of machinery. It tears me up to see what has happened to the farm.

About a month ago my sister and I drove up there for the weekend to see old friends, and to visit with family. For most of the drive I took the back roads through the rural parts of Missouri (where I live now). The only feeling I remember having during the trip was that I was going home. And as we drove, we were constantly passing these farms. And there were so many nice ones--grass mowed, buildings painted, no junk. They were beautiful, and then I thought of what my family's farm looks like. It's a disgrace, plain and simple. But I can't help but dream about what it used to look like, and about what it could look like.

After my dad and uncles grew up, several of them moved away. But my dad and his two younger brothers stayed. My mom tells me my dad did most of the farming after that. He never planned on leaving. He loved it there, and all he wanted to do was farm that farm. But those weren't God's plans for him. He died from cancer in November of 1997, two months after my grandpa also died from cancer. That was a hard year for the family. Nothing was ever the same after that. Whereas before the farm had at least some sort of future, whatever that future was died with my father. Two of my uncles still live right next to the farm, but only one really does the farming, and neither one of them have kids.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Winds of Change

It's been a while since I've written anything. I just wanted to give a quick update of what has changed in my life recently before going to bed. To get right to it, it looks like I will be moving back to where I came from to try and save my family's farm. At first the idea kind of scared me, even though it's something I've secretly wanted to do for many years, but the more I talk about it with my mom the more I want to do it. I talked with her today about it and I think I'd leave next week if I could.

I'll be writing more about this later on, so that's all for now.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feeling Stressed

It's hot. It's humid. My room is a mess. I have no place to put everything. I need to get a reliable car soon, but that's looking like an impossibility. Did I mention it's humid? I feel like a mist of soda pop has been sprayed on me and has dried. I stick to everything. The clutter in my room is driving me mad. There is so much I want to get rid of—desperately need to get rid of. I want to get a camera so I can take pictures of stuff and put it on eBay and Craigslist, but I am preparing to go on a trip and have drained my checking account on equipment. So this, too, is an impossibility at the moment.

I need to get away. Thank the Lord I'm leaving in two days. For the first 13 years of my life I lived in the country. It was home, and it still is. It’s where I know I belong. But we moved to the city 7 years ago, and I do not have the means of moving back. As of late I am realizing more and more that I was never meant to live in the city. The constant and unrelenting hustle and bustle is hard on this simple guy. I can look in all directions and see people, and houses, and cars. Even on the quietest of mornings I can hear the road noise--cars, buses, trucks, sirens. The city never rests, it is never calm, and it never takes a break. There are many times when I desperately need silence, and a place to go to feel alone—a place I can call my own. Even in my own home, and in my own room, I don’t feel comfort, because in reality it really belongs to my parents. And the fact that my room is so disorganized throws my mind into chaos. And unfortunately our entire home is like that. Since we moved into it three years ago, we have been working to remodel it, but the progress has died, and we are to the point where we simply live with things as they are—walls aren’t finished, rooms aren’t painted. I can’t help but get the feeling I will never live in a normal, finished house. I know that things will never change around here unless I do something about it. This summer I’m gonna have to get my act together and try and get stuff done around here. Hopefully this trip will help set my mind at ease. I know I sure can use it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Feelings About Church...

I haven't been to church for like 2 1/2 months. This has been due largely to the fact that I got a job and have been working every Sunday. Also, though, it’s because I haven’t wanted to go. But as bad as I kind of feel for not being at church for so long, what makes me feel worse is the fact that it really hasn't bothered me.

I'm pretty sure I will never be able to put into words exactly how it is I'm feeling, because I think there are just so many different reasons and causes that it would take forever. But let me try.

I believe in God. Let me just throw that out there right now. I will always believe in God. But right now I feel like I’m in a rut. I need to find him on my own time, and on my own terms. My entire life I’ve grown up going to church almost every Sunday. I’ve been taught to pray. I’ve been taught to be good, do what’s right, obey the rules, that sort of thing. It’s like I’ve been programmed to do things automatically. But I guess that’s what a parent’s job is, to teach you to do things so they become healthy habits when you’re on your own, so that’s not so bad. But I’ve also always been taught that at some point your religion has to become your own. You can’t do it simply because that’s what your parents do, or that’s just what you’ve always done. It has to become real in a way that you understand why it is you do what you do. It can’t be just a routine. Otherwise it becomes a vain tradition and it has no meaning. The only way it can have value is if you do it because you want to. You do it not because it’s expected of you, but because you know it’s right. That’s what I want. I want my religion to be real; I want it to be mine.

I think...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rescue Me

Hold me close my Savior
As I sink beneath these waves
With the water raging over me
Will I sink without a trace
Can anybody see me
Will I be missed when I’m gone
Hold me now my Savior
And keep holding on

Hold me now my Savior
Draw me close to you
As my tears stain this paper
I don’t know what to do
I feel so far away
From where I’m suppose to be
Draw me close my Savior
Come rescue me

Hold me now my Savior
Let me feel your embrace
Help me to hear you speaking
Help me to seek your face
I know you’re out there somewhere
You’re just too far away to see
Draw me close my Savior
Rescue me

Hold me now my Savior
Hold me in your arms
While my mistakes and failures
Attempt to tear me apart
I want so badly to forsake them
But I am far too weak
Help me now my Savior
And rescue me

Are you there my Jesus
Can you even hear my cries
Can you see through these defenses
Can you look past my lies
The sins I continue to carry
Can you release me of all these
Forgive me please my Jesus
Please rescue me

Hold me now my Savior
My days on Earth are done
You held me as I asked you to
Until the war was won
Thank you my Lord, my Jesus
I’ll praise you for all eternity
Because you never did let me go
Because you rescued me

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blogging vs. facebook

Well, I can see that I still have not received a SINGLE comment since bringing my blog back from the dead. But you know what? That's okay. Because I know that eventually the world will become addicted to my witty and excitement filled posts and I will have to stop allowing comments because I will be overwhelmed with them.

And then I woke up...

But in all seriousness, I wanted to write a little bit about why I now prefer blogging over facebook. My first reason is that nobody on earth, save one person, knows this is my blog. As a result, I can say or do almost anything on here and nobody knows just who it is saying it. There's a great deal of freedom that comes with this almost complete anonymity. Whereas on facebook, anything I write can be viewed by everybody, and it is immediately attributed to me. So my complaining about being alone, about my mom, about my lack of a Jeep, about my extreme dislike for people that clip their keys to their belt loop and let them just dangle there are instantly read by others causing them to form an opinion about me. But here, people can form any sort of opinion they want, but it makes no difference because they have nobody to pin it on. All they have is a pseudonym--an invisible being somewhere out in cyberspace.

And my second reason is that here I can talk about anything that's on my mind. If I want to talk about guns and blowing stuff up, I can. If girls are on my mind, I can just as easily talk about those. If my mom is being particularly aggravating, I can come here and vent. Complain about the President? Well, I better be careful with that one. Free speech will soon be a thing of the past. I can talk about myself, I can speak my mind, I can say and do almost anything and it won't make a difference in the world. Mainly because nobody ever reads my blog, but also because that is what blogs are for. They are here so the author can talk about anything they wish. And that is exactly what I intend to do.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Socially Retarded

It's a Saturday night, and while the rest of the "normal" teen population is out terrorizing neighborhoods, or swapping spit with their significant other, here I sit, at home, lost in deep concentration as to what the heck is wrong with me, and very much alone. It's a simple diagnosis, really. I'm socially retarded. Somewhere along the way I missed the class on interpersonal relationships, carrying on a conversation worth listening to, and talking without sounding like a fool. Oh yeah, and flirting with girls.

But is flirting really a necessary practice? I like to think it's not. Obviously, though, I'm very alone on that one, because everyone flirts. Perhaps this unique perspective of mine could be the reason I sit here tonight typing this instead of out on the town. Perhaps it is the very reason I am still alone. Do you think I could be on to something here?

Basically, I'm broken...or socially retarded as I like to say. Example: Whereas most males naturally gravitate toward a good looking girl, I move away from one. Whereas most males flirt with a girl they like, and talk to her, I basically ignore her. I wish I could tell you why; I wish I could tell myself why. I wish I wasn't this way, but I am. It's this realization that makes me seriously believe I will spend my life as a bachelor, and will eventually die a lonely old man--if I even make it to the old man part.

It has happened time and again throughout my teenage years. I will start liking a girl and immediately begin shutting myself off from her. It doesn't even matter if I was already friends with her before, once I start liking her I shut down. I can't talk to her; I can't act normal around her. I get so nervous I forget how to function. Most recently it happened with a girl from my high school class. I was never really close to her to begin with, but throughout the first half of our senior year we did become better friends. But over Thanksgiving break something changed, I don't know why I did or how it happened, but I started liking her. And just like that, what little friendship we had was over. I could no longer talk to her. I was afraid to be in the same room with her. I couldn't breathe when she was within 20 feet of me. She suddenly consumed my thoughts, and even though I wanted nothing more than to just be her friend, I couldn't. The worst part about it is there were so many clues that told me she liked me, too. I'm sure she thinks I was oblivious to them all, but I wasn't. I'm a pretty observant guy, I think I picked up on most of them, but I was too scared to do anything about it. I didn't know what to do about it.

I still think about her every day; it seems like I dream about her at least every other night. We graduated almost one year ago and she is still always on my mind. I only have to catch a glimpse of someone that vaguely resembles her and my heart will stop. Just the sight of a car that looks like hers is enough to give me goose bumps. Even though I'm sure she has never thought of me like I do her, I can't help but hope that maybe she does think about me. Even though holding onto her like this is killing me, I don't know how to stop, I don't know how to let go.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

At the Cross of Jesus

Don’t cry,
Wipe away that tear
Forget all of your sorrows
Forget all of your fears
Cast off all your worries
And every burden that you bear
At the cross of Jesus
Leave them lying there

He sees all of your problems
And all the issues that you face
He can see that you’re hurting
He knows of your disgrace
He wants to make it better
He wants to make it fair
At the cross of Jesus
Just leave it lying there

He knows when you don’t feel Him
Because He can feel it too
He longs to have you near Him
He longs to be with you
To place His arms around us
To fulfill our every need
And to take our worries from us
As we lay them at Jesus’ feet

He will offer you His shelter
And give you safety from the storm
He’ll give you a place to run to
To feel safe and to feel warm
For the streets are cold and dirty
With no place to safely fall
Come and fall before the cross
Of the God of Heaven, the God of all

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Time of My Life

Looking back it is easy for me to say that the best time of my life up to this point was when I had a girlfriend. I am 19 years old now, and while most guys my age have had multiple female companions by now, I have had one. She and I dated for a year and half, and without question it was the happiest time of my life. I can honestly say I have not been the same since.

From what my mom has told me, my dad never thought he would get married either. His plan was to stay single his entire life and continue working the farm he and his five brothers had grown up on. But clearly that plan changed. He somehow met my mom, and, well, things happened. But now he's gone, and I'm here. My mom and grandma tell me I'm a lot like he was. I like to think so, but I will never know.

Sometimes I think I will be spending my life alone as well. This is not because I want to. I think I would love nothing more than to fall asleep at night holding the most beautiful girl in the world, or to have someone to talk to. I think it would be fantastic to have someone in my life that would be able to break through these walls I’ve built around myself. And I can’t even dream about how it would feel to hold a baby in my arms and know that it is a part of me; to see the sweet, innocent beauty on its face. I’ve spent years thinking about these things. But I don’t know if they will ever be reality for me.

It turns out I am more like my dad than I even realize. Part of the reason he never planned on marrying was because he didn’t want his kids to end up like him. I’ve determined that is also one of my fears about having kids. His entire life he struggled with dyslexia, and a resultant feeling of inferiority. He didn’t want his children to go through what he did. Well, neither one of them has dyslexia, but I think they both carry a feeling of inferiority around with them. But like I said, I don’t want to pass on the same traits to my kids that I find so appalling about myself. I want them to be at ease in a crowded room, I want them to be friendly and not afraid to meet new people. I want my son to be able to talk to girls, to be able to open up and share himself with his friends. I want him to make friends on a deep level without fear of appearing foolish. Above all, though, I just want them to comfortable with who they are. These are all things I’ve struggled with for years, and I know that if I have kids of my own they will pick up these things, because that is the example I will unintentionally set for them.

This is one of the reasons why I’ve avoided any possible relationship with a girl since my last girlfriend and I broke up. It’s not that I plan on having kids anytime soon, know. But what makes this really stupid is I know that when I was in a relationship I was the happiest I’ve ever been. That certainly had to have something to do with the girl I was with, but who’s to say there aren’t any other girls out there that can make me happy?

Anyway, I’ve spent the last year and a half or so dreaming about having a girlfriend, but never making any moves to get one because I’m too scared for a hundred different reasons. It’s lame, I’ll admit it. But that’s just how it is. Maybe one day I’ll find someone that can set me free again. Maybe someday I’ll grow a pair and go after what will make me happy. Maybe someday I will once again have the time of my life. Maybe...maybe...maybe....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Jeep Tale: A Narrative Update on Maria

She sits there motionless, as motionless as a log in a forest, parked, and completely unable to fulfill her purpose. She does me no good. She benefits me about as much as a microphone would benefit a mute. But none of this is her doing, and none of it is mine either. This impasse that I find myself in is nothing more than a result of the passing of time, and perhaps a bit of neglect. After 22 years of life, she has been around the block once or twice, she has seen her share of the countryside, she has done more than her duty. So I suppose it is only fitting that this should happen. Just as a cow gets put out to pasture after a lifetime of use, so too, it seems, must this friend of mine.

But the problem is that I am not ready to see her go. She has been in my life for such a short time. To say goodbye so soon would be like quitting a marathon after the first mile. It would be shameful and embarrassing. A feeling of failure would follow just as sure as the hangover follows the all-night party. I would spend the remainder of my life asking that infamous question, “What might have been?”

But I suppose I owe it to her. Prolonging a life is not always what is best, and prolonging hers, knowing the constant aches and strain she must be experiencing, keeping her here for my own purpose and my own satisfaction would be a perfect example of the ultimate selfish act.

Oh how I long to restore her to her former beauty! To see her radiant and shining again, to see her racing across the fields, climbing the tops of hills, and frolicking in the mud as she did as a child. How great must be her pain. How strong must her desire be to go home, to end the suffering. Well too bad Maria! Once I get your harmonic balancer replaced you will be just fine, at least fine enough for me to continue to punish you with my three days-a-week commute to school, and my snow-covered-roads joy rides, and my short trips to the bank. Aww, get over it. You can handle it, you’re a Jeep!

Update on Maria

For those of you that don't know, Maria is my 1988 Jeep Cherokee. It's been a while since I've posted anything on here, so I figured I would say a little bit about what has been on my mind about Maria.

Last Saturday I changed the transmission fluid for probably the first time in her existence. It was scary low. Out of the approximate 2 1/2 quarts that she is suppose to hold, there was maybe a pint of fluid. So when I filled it up I thought for sure that would be the end of it, and it least until Monday. But now I know that there is a reason the fluid level was so low. The puddle that inevitably follows her and I wherever we go is proof of that. And for those that can't see the puddle, the smell of the leaking gear oil as it runs down the scorching hot exhaust pipe will validate it for you.

I swear, if it's not one thing it's another.