stories of a failed holy man


vomiting & potty humour
August 26, 2009, 7:28 am
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , ,

there’s this verse in the bible about how a dog always returns to his vomit. i’ve been thinking about how i do that.

i let hudson out every night before bed so he can do his business. otherwise, we get the tragic 3am wake up (or the morning surprise). it’s so frustrating because i have to watch to make sure he goes, because i think he is scared of the dark. if i don’t stand there and let him know i’m watching, he’ll just stand by the garden door with his sad puppy dog eyes acting as if i will never let him in again. when he finally does go, he does this weird thing. he pauses after and sniffs his poo. i’m sure there’s some dog lover out there who will correct me on the science behind this, but what is he thinking? there is no logical explanation for that (except for the one some dog lover will probably give me, but i’m disregarding that. i’m anti poo smelling, and your liberal hogwash won’t change my mind). maybe my dog is just weird. old weirdo hudson, smelling his poo. i tried smelling his poo once to see what all the rage was about, but it didn’t go well. wow, i just said poo a lot in that paragraph. 

it’s not vomit, but it’s the same thing, right? returning to something sick. something that is trash. but for some reason i always do it (not smell my poo). i’ve dealt with addiction my whole life, and it has this way of holding on to you with both hands around your neck. it won’t let go. and just when you think you have escaped its grasp, it sneaks up behind you and pulls you back. for some reason, we always return to the metaphorical dog vomit/poo in our lives. on a quick side note,  i hope this is what i’m remembered for when i die. my dog poo analogy. someone should read this at my funeral. but you always hear about it. the addict falling victim to the very thing that destroyed them. the girl who has a thing for bad boys. the boy who has a thing for…sad toys? i was trying to bust a rhyme and make sense, but it doesn’t always work that way. deal with it. we always return to the things that hurt us. again, and again. 

my vice is the smoking/cancer stick. i still remember my first. it was -30 degrees outside, and i was in grade 9. i went for a walk with some of the cool, older kids and they pulled out their packs and offered me one. i didn’t like it. it was gross. but i was always one to follow a crowd, so i kept joining them. the next summer, i bought my first pack of smokes. i was with some friends, and thought i would be cooler if i smoked 2 at the same time. i so was. not (speaking of grade 9, might as well throw some grade 9 humour in as well). it became a pretty regular event for me after that. smoking with friends. bumming cigarettes. and then i discovered the beauty of the cigar. twice the flavour, four times the cancer. i never really tried to quit until i was about to get married to my wife. we were driving somewhere, and i lit up a cigar, and she gently asked me to put it out. not in a control freak sort of way. she has trouble breathing when smoke fills her lungs. she is such a cry-baby like that. and so that was the first time i knew that i should quit. if my future wife didn’t like it, then it probably wasn’t a great idea. but i came up with a better (not) idea. just do it when she wasn’t around. which led to dishonesty. which led to painful arguments. which led to stress. which led to more smoking. there are times when smoking has called to me so strongly that i literally could not say no. my head would be saying to turn the car around as i drove to pick up the captain black sweets, but my heart (and addiction, which i guess is also my mind. my mind is fickle like that) kept me driving. and there are times i’ve almost lost my wife because of this. not because of smoking. but because my desire to fill my lungs with poison drove me to do insane things that made little sense. it drove me to hurt the people i loved most. and the funny thing was that i didn’t even enjoy it anymore. i always felt sick after. but that part of me always wanted to return, no matter the consequences. and it’s a battle i still fight today, and will for the rest of my life. this is one example of many.

i always return to my vomit. the things that hurt us most seem to be the things we can’t stay away from. why do we do this? what sense does it make? and smoking isn’t the worst example. drinking, drugs, gambling, cheating, stealing, lying, gossip, pornography, over-eating, manipulation, insert item here…these are all examples of vomit. there are too many to list, and we all have our vice. sometimes it feels like there is no hope. like we will never escape. like nothing will ever change. 

i love Alcoholics Anonymous. i think it is brilliant. it meets people in their brokenness and throws them a lifeline. and when you think your life can’t get any lower as an alcoholic, you see in a group like AA that there is always hope. there is always something to strive for, to fight towards. and even when you slip up and drink again, you are always welcome back at AA to grow and fight your demons and flee the thing that is destroying you. i think there should be a group like AA for people who return to their vomit. not just alcohol, but people who beat themselves over the head with the crap (and i’m not referring to hudson’s crap) in their lives. a group of losers and broken people who can’t fix themselves because they keep returning to the things that destroy them. i would be a natural leader for this group because no one is better at vomiting than me (ask me about my moxie’s brownie story. it’s not pretty, but humorous to vulgar rejects like me). actually, i guess that wouldn’t qualify me as the leader, just the biggest loser in the group. so we would need to find someone that had fought the demons and won. it would be a wonderful group of misfits and losers who can’t make it on their own, led by someone who has been there before and can now lead the way. and then i remember the church.

because that’s kind of what church is. we don’t often admit it because we like to be presentable. but we are a group of broken misfits who constantly return to the things that destroy us. i’ve always been uncomfortable with talking about “sin”. because “sin” conjures up images of fire and brimstone and all that awful stuff that is a discussion for another time. whenever i hear the word “sin”, it makes me think of those greasy televangelists wanting my money, lest i be thrown to the fiery pit. you can call it sin if you want. you can call it vomit. you can put whatever name you want on it, but i think we all have to admit that we as human beings have a tendency to fall prey to the very things that destroy us. and when we escape, we end up going back.

and so the church must worry less about appearing respectable and become more honest. more broken and humbled. because we all want to return to the things that hurt us, as crazy as that sounds. but there is hope. even when we feel like there isn’t, there is. the church must represent that hope to the world. that hope that we can escape what haunts us most and live lives moving forward. not because we are so great and have all the answers. but because we are broken as well, and follow the hope that has taken away our brokenness. what is the church if it is not a form of AA for the vomiters?

just some random 1 AM thoughts during my week as a bachelor. it’s amazing how i immediately go to poop jokes when my wife isn’t around. i thought about posting some pictures of poop and vomit to further solidify my point…be thankful i quit when i did.



put that in your pipe and smoke it
August 25, 2009, 4:48 pm
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: ,

you should probably read this by my friend nic olson. i think he might have just changed my life. profound words from my own personal prophet.

stolen from jeremy's flickr page

stolen from jeremy's flickr page



where do we go from here?
August 20, 2009, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , , , ,

when i got back from alaska, the world had changed in my absence. i know that’s not true. i know i had been the one to change, but it felt easier to blame the world for turning it’s back on me rather than admit i had turned my back on it.

i’ll never forget the scene walking into the terminal when i flew into regina. about 25 friends and family were waiting and i can still hear the burst of laughter and joy as they saw me coming towards them. i like to think they were that happy to see me, but the reality is they were mocking my beard. 2 months in the bush without a razor will do that to you. i had forgotten much of the way the world worked. but it didn’t take long to readjust to the rat race. i greeted everyone and got in my 86′ hatchback corolla for the drive to dauphin (to drop off my dad who had come to visit me the last week in alaska), and then to winnipeg (to hug my girlfriend). i don’t know if it was two days without sleep or the pollution filled air, but something changed in those first couple days back. i felt lost. i felt like i had become this whole new person that nobody knew, and now they expected me to be that guy again. but i wasn’t. and so i had a choice. i could change their view of who blair roberts was and introduce the new me. someone who didn’t live a life of worry. someone who didn’t want any part of the rat race of our society. someone who saw beauty in simplicity. someone who had seen God in a couple months and wasn’t the same because of it. that was the new me. or…i could go back to being that guy they knew. and so i went back. because it was easier. it’s like climbing up a mountain. you have the best of intentions. you may even make it a pretty far up. and you get to that halfway point where if you go any further, you know it’s going to get harder. so you can either move up and fight. or you can go back the way you came. and it’s easier to walk downhill than up. and so i walked down. because to move forward would have been too hard. 

i moved to regina soon after and roomed with my big brother. i tried really hard to keep that worshipful and Christ-centered attitude I had found in alaska, but i couldn’t find it. i lost it and fell into a spiral. life quickly lost it’s lustre and every day became a chore. i came back wealthy, with almost $10, 000 in my pocket, but after about 3 months, was on my last gasp. new music equipment, a sweet dvd collection, and daily trips to BREWSTERS were my undoing (curses on you al pacino for your brilliant acting and BREWSTERS for your insane banana caramel xango cheescake!). i dropped out of college. i had an incident with a teacher who thought i had cheated. i hadn’t, at least not in my opinion. i got angry and quit. i didn’t have to. all they wanted was to have a discussion about it. but i was looking for a reason to leave, so i took it. i had paid for a semester of college and got no refund. i was broke. stuck. living a lifestyle that was destroying me. my only joy was seeing melissa, but i was even not treating her the way she deserved. there was something that was happening inside on me that i couldn’t put my finger on that was causing me to slowly take any little bit of strength i had and stomp on it until it was broken. i’m amazed melissa didn’t give up on me. i’m amazed and eternally grateful she fought through it with me. but to this day, i couldn’t figure out why this had happened to me. why had i gone through this spiritual high only to come crashing down so hard? 

i was at clearview camp this past week for high school week, and one of our late night camp fire chats was about how hard it is to follow God sometimes. chelsey (my brothers wife) talked about how hard that time in my life was for her and how mad she was at me. that shocked me. i had hardly known her at the time. she was just becoming a christian when i got home from alaska. and she had heard me speak during a quick devo at one of our concerts the week i got back from alaska. that’s right, i was in a band. google it. she said it was a weird moment for her because she thought we were cool, and she didn’t think you could be cool and be a christian, because christians were nerds (i think her first instinct was probably more accurate). and 2 months later, she watched me falling far away from Christ. and in that moment it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. selfish. i would never have known my actions at that time had affected chelsey in this way. someone who i hardly knew at the time. and so if my actions had impacted her in this way, how had they impacted the people that loved me most? how hard was it for them to watch me fall and struggle and not listen to them? the only focus in my life was me. i came back and got wrapped up in myself. it was all about what i could get from other people. it was all about what i could get for myself. selfish. i realize now that i didn’t really care about many people back then. my only concern was my state of mind. 

i’ve been thinking a lot about selfishness since this conversation. how many of our problems in the world could be solved if people could only see they were being selfish? would we need to debate the pros and cons of universal healthcare if we acknowledged the real reason we are scared of it is because we are worried about how it might affect us? if we realized that fear was rooted in selfishness, i think that fear would go away as the foolishness it is and we would see the value of supplying healthcare to those who need it. would we have teenagers who cut themselves (usually as a last resort to remind themselves they are alive) if we had a society that cared about their youth the way they care about their 401k’s and retirement packages? maybe our children should be more important than work, and they should know they are loved more than anything else in the whole world. i can’t believe i just made that idea up. i am so brilliant…and also guilty of putting work before my kids. would we have conversations about how annoying those people on the streets that beg for money are if we took a moment to see their value rather than assuming they have none? instead of assuming they’ll just buy booze, maybe taking time to talk to them could give them some dignity and tear the blinders off our eyes. would we need to go to war over natural resources if we were willing to ration and share what we have? would we need to fight our way through life striving to attain some outlandish goal of wealth and prosperity if we realized that happiness is found all around us and not in who has the most toys? selfishness eats away at us. it’s a disease, and our individualistic society does nothing but perpetuate this never ending cycle of destruction. 

when that lightbulb went off, and i realized that selfishness is the reason i fell so fast when i came home, i thought about what’s happened since then. i look at my life and realize i have been very lucky. things have fallen into place easily for me. great wife, great kids, great job. i’ve had a few moments where selfishness hasn’t controlled me. but for the most part, i still feel just as trapped as i did back then. i still feel as if i’m not getting enough of it, whatever “it” might be. i’m still scared. i’m scared that i won’t matter. that i won’t be recognized. that i won’t be happy. and so i live most days in order to please myself, so i can convince the world that i matter. but i’m tired. and i want to stop thinking about myself for a while. and so i wonder where i go from here, now that this lightbulb has come on. and it seems right to say i need to move forward living an unselfish life. but i don’t want to. cause it’ll be like climbing that mountain all over again, only this time it’s higher, because i’m starting at the bottom. so i’m going to try. and i’m going to ask that if any of you see me turning around to take the easy way out, that you stop me. i’m tired of starting over.