on being a son of an S.O.B

i barely dodged the swing. my cousin ran around the car to my rescue, pushing him to the ground and standing between us to avoid an escalation in the conflict. to this day, i’m still not sure what i did. i stepped out of my car and this guy comes at me full steam. the same guy i had been laughing with earlier that week for using the phrase “son of an SOB.” it was funny because he essentially called me a “son of a son of a bitch.” i thought we were friends, and we were. but this came out of nowhere. he was an oddball and had am intensity about him. i liked him, but i knew he was strange, different from most. he usually wasn’t trying to be funny with his rants and comments, but he was, and we all laughed. i think we treated him as more than his mental illness, although i can’t be sure. i was a teenager and didn’t have any frame of reference at the time. to me, he was just a strange kid that made me laugh. it was probably a fine line we walked between laughing with him and at him, but i wasn’t tuned in enough to know the difference. so he took a swing at me, and i’m still not sure why. maybe it was because i was laughing at him. maybe because mental illness makes no sense.

mental health is a real son of a son of a bitch. i hate that word and how it’s used, but the phrase my friend coined makes sense of the repetitive frustration i feel about this subject. and if anything should be termed “son of an SOB,” mental illness fits the bill. i didn’t understand it at the time, but now i know why my friend had been so up and down. living with bipolar disorder and ADHD will do that to a guy. ecstatic and smiling ear to ear one minute…sulking and moody the next, ready to snap. meds balancing him out until he forget to take one, then everything came crashing down. i don’t claim to know what all mental illnesses feel like, but i know what my mental illness feels like. and it’ s a son of a son of a bitch. here’s some statistics.

1/5 people personally experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives.

1/4 of deaths age 15-24 happen because of suicide.

nearly HALF of people who experience depression/anxiety won’t see a doctor.

i was diagnosed with depression nearly 2 years ago. for years, i had been living in a fog, okay one day and falling into the depths of despair the next. as a youth pastor, i tried my best to put on a happy face, but the cracks kept getting larger the deeper my depression took hold of me. i didn’t want kids to feel as hopeless as i did. meanwhile, i told them all about the extravagant love God has for them, but believed the nagging voice in my head that told me i was the exception to that rule. every christian struggles with that on some level, the belief that God’s love and grace is really as good as he says it is for everyone but themselves. the difference in my case, i think, is i internalized the idea that if God hated me, i must be worthless. and if God hated me, i might as well hate myself. because i’ll never measure up anyway. and if God hated me and i hated me, then my family must hate me. i must suck at my job and be a failure at the rest of my life as well. these are the lies that went through my head every day. and it didn’t matter how much evidence was presented to contradict these lies, i woke up each day feeling worse than the one before, stuck in a perpetual cycle of feeling worthless. my depression didn’t start with a faith crisis. i felt hints of it as a teenager, but when the core of your theology says that you are loved by God and you feel anything but, you start to feel an unresolvable tension.

like most stubborn men, i refused to admit i had a problem. i kept fighting the emotions and despair and refused to admit things were bleak, even when my wife told me for years to go talk to someone. my doctor, a counselor, anyone. i wasn’t sleeping. i wasn’t functioning well with work or my family. for a while, i could pretend everything was okay when someone walked into my office or stopped by for a visit. but i slowly lost that ability. it was easier to just quit going out. so i ignored my friends because it was easier to sit at home. but i couldn’t avoid my family, so they watched me sink into myself, trying desperately to distract myself with movies and television, which in retrospect made the problem worse. i went through the motions and worked as hard as i possibly could to pull myself out, convinced it was a spiritual problem. often depression can be confused for spiritual struggle. i felt hopeless. i’d wake up one day and try, only to fall flat on my face. i was angry, losing my mind at the smallest things. it felt inside like a pot of boiling water, and each day was a battle to stop it from overflowing from the pot. but each day, i would lose it. i still remember going to get an oil change. the sign said $39.99. they started and were halfway done when they informed me there was an extra $15 charge because i had a unique oil filter. i rolled up the window and yelled and punched my steering wheel, as if the car door was a noise blocker. i’m pretty sure i scared some people. but the anger was overwhelming and for no reason. all i wanted to do was overeat and watch mindless entertainment. it got to the point where the distractions couldn’t do their job anymore, so i finally listened to my wife. i saw my doctor.

hearing the words, “you are clearly depressed, and i think you need help” felt surreal. the shame and stigma attached to mental health is everywhere. it’s better than it used to be, but the feelings of failure don’t go away with a diagnosis. the fear of what others might think is very real. to have a name for what i felt gave me my first glimmer of hope in some time. so i grabbed a hold of it, still struggling, but ready to do battle. and i still am. i take a pill every day that levels me out and helps keep the darkness at bay. i fought the embarrassment, feeling weak, but knowing i needed help. so i swallowed my pill and it helped. it hasn’t cured me, but it’s helped. it’s one step in what’s been a long process of waking up again. it took months to share this with my extended family. longer still to tell coworkers and friends.

even now, i don’t shout it from the rooftops. i casually mention it in a blog post and share links on twitter or facebook about mental health issues, but i still feel it lurking. even when i do mention it, it’s only for a passing moment, and i don’t linger. if i do, people will ask questions. and if people ask questions, that means i’d have to be honest about my darkness. and if i’m a pastor and a christian and a husband and a father, shouldn’t i be all put together and whole? even as i write that, i know it’s garbage. but that’s what depression does. it takes the lies our mind tells us and makes them real to us.

well, i’m not a pastor anymore. and the idea that they, or any christian for that matter, should be all put together and never struggle is a load of bullshit anyway. good thing i’m not a pastor anymore. i just said bullshit. the idea that anyone should have it all together is ridiculous. we all want to be healthy, and good for you if you are. but when we are pretending for the sake of a facade we want to present to the world, that’s where depression does its damage. it hides in our fake smiles and mindless distraction.

i’m tried of watching people i love struggle.

i’m tired of making excuses for my depression and letting it have control.

i’m done worrying about what people think, stressing constantly over “if only they knew…”

i’m fed up with feeling alone and watching others pretend they are okay when it’s clear they are not.

mental illness does not have the last word. and if all i do is sit and wallow and pretend all is well, then i’ve already lost. i don’t want that for my kids. if they are fighting a battle, whether it be mental, emotional or other, i want them to be open about it, brave and courageous. i don’t feel any of those things most days. but i’m tired of letting it own me. and i don’t want others fighting the same battles i am to feel as alone as i did. everyone knows someone fighting a mental health battle. it’s just a matter of whether they voice it and you are paying enough attention to see it.

so here’s a rant from one depressed guy to the world. whatever you struggle with, know that you aren’t alone. talk to a friend. talk to a doctor. talk to a counselor. if you aren’t struggling, great! but let people know you won’t judge them if they are. let them know you will walk with them and give them hope. we all are that someone or know that someone. practice compassion on yourself. practice compassion on others. it makes a world of difference to have people know your darkness and love you still.

 

one final statistic.

Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.

there is hope, no matter how hopeless it feels.



on bedtime routines
July 7, 2014, 3:52 am
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it was nearly bedtime and she wasn’t back yet.

i nervously looked at the clock, debated calling, but instead convinced myself i could do this, even if it was a half-hearted effort. Bella was 2 years old. up until this point, her bedtime routine consisted of mom cuddling her until she fell asleep. i had tried a select few times to take on the role, but if my daughter caught wind i was trying to put her to bed to the exclusion of mom, all hell would break loose. you can say i should man up and do my job as a father. you’d probably be right. so that’s what i decided to do that night, more out of necessity than grit and determination. My wife was out with a friend she hadn’t seen in years. i know, right. how selfish of her!

i hummed and hawed and postponed and let the girls stay up later than they should have been until the moment came when i knew i could no longer postpone the inevitable. i could see the look of distrust in her eyes when i carried her to the bedroom. my oldest went to bed in no time. we were visiting grandma and grandpa’s house, and she had played herself out. Bella just sat on her bed and waited, refusing to lay down or close her eyes. refusing to give in to the tyranny and injustice about to happen. refusing to cooperate with her dictator father trying to corrupt her evening routine of mommy snuggles.

the crying started lightly when i firmly told her it was time to sleep. the screaming started when i tried to cuddle with her. not wanting to wake my eldest, i picked up Bella and headed to another room, still determined to make this young person like me, feel safe with me, be willing to give in to something new. the screaming grew louder and more desperate. Bella has a stubborn streak like no other. it will serve her well someday, but as a child…i was at a loss for what to do with this. if you met Bella today, you’d quickly learn this hasn’t changed. some who know her parents would say she comes by that honestly. they would be correct.

i tried cradling her, rocking her, laying her down in a different bed, leaving the room, rubbing her back…with each new effort, the crying intensified until it was a window rattling scream. so i picked her up and as i grew deaf in one ear, walked circles in the dark, at my wits end, wondering why i had been duped into thinking i could care for this little life. i was convinced in that moment she hated me. maybe she did. maybe my own self-esteem was so shattered i just couldn’t see this is part of parenting. but i was doggedly determined even as i felt defeated. i had started this, and i couldn’t quit now.

i kept hoping my wife would walk through the door and rescue myself and Bella as she had in the past, calming the cries of my Bella and allowing me to wallow in self-pity and drown my sorrows in TSN sportscenter.

but she didn’t rescue us this time. the time ticked on, and the crying and screaming intensified. my mother in law came to check on me a few times, making sure i was alive but knowing i needed to do this. she probably wondered what i had done to her precious granddaughter to torment her so. but she knew better than to ask in that moment what was going on.

i started singing. over and over, the same few lines, made up and sung to another popular kids song i stole the tune from.

“I love Bella, yes I do. I love Bella, how about you?
Bella is so beautiful, Bella is so smart.

I love Bella with all my heart.”

it took a long time, what felt like an eternity. in truth it was 1.5 hours. i must have sung those two lines 1000 times in the span of an hour. at first, the impact was not noticeable. slowly, she calmed little by little. it might have been simple exhaustion rather than the song that began to calm her cries. i like to think the latter. either way, the screaming gave way to sobs. the sobs gave way to gentle cries. the gentle cries gave way to deep, heavy breathing. and then she was asleep.

1.5 hours of screaming, crying, hitting and feelings of failure and embarrassment came to a conclusion in this peaceful moment. i was exhausted. tired and grumpy, having shed many tears in that 1.5 hours myself, all i wanted to do was put her down and go to bed myself. but i couldn’t. i just kept staring and holding her, my arms numb from carrying her so long, but feeling closer to her than i ever had. it felt like a battle of wills in which neither of us won, but we both submitted. i gave in to her, not by relinquishing to Missy as I always had, but by not quitting and taking the easy way out, by standing with her in her fear and uncertainty. she gave in to me, realizing i wasn’t going anywhere and that she could be safe in my arms.

she still screams at me sometimes, usually for my dumb jokes and dying when we play Nintendo. but we are close now. something broke that night. she woke the next morning and hugged me like she always had, but it was a longer hug, one that said to me that she trusted me now. maybe it’s all my imagination, but i believe it’s true. i started putting her to bed more often after that. she still didn’t like going to sleep, but now it was not a matter of screaming distrust at her less than present father. it was a matter of stalling your daddy who was wrapped around your little finger. to this day, she will snuggle in close and try to make me play and laugh, postponing bedtime in any way she can. and i’ll usually give in for a little while because i remember the days when to step into mom’s territory would not be so fun and exhilarating. it took one determined battle, but something broke that night. i became a better father. and i’ll never forget the moment. without it, i don’t believe my girl would trust me the way she does now.

the hardest moments in life are often the ones that make you grow the most. my daughters love for me is a testament to that. my love for her will never be any more or less after that night. but it is deeper and i understand fatherhood better than i did before. it gives my a glimpse of what my relationship with God has felt like many times. i kick and scream. i still am. but Abba still holds me, singing that silly verse over and over again because i refuse to believe it. maybe someday, i’ll give in the way my daughter did with me. hopefully sooner rather than later.



on crying and stuff easier to keep inside

it’s always been easier for me to cry in front of people than to cry in front of the one/ones. what i mean by ‘the one/ones’ is those people that mean the most to you. it can be a friend, family member, the montreal canadiens. i’ll never let Pacioretty see me cry, no matter how much it hurts when someone slanders Carey Price.

but if i’m in a crowd, it’s easy to let my guard down. there’s something about being vulnerable on your own terms that makes it manageable; when speaking in church or addressing my youth crew. but when someone else tries to set it on their terms…screw that. that’s when things get tough.

when i was a kid, crying only happened on other people’s terms. when i was in trouble. when people made fun of me. which happened more than i care to admit. i remember hating it with a passion. i remember feeling weak and vulnerable. like when Troy kicked me in the chest. im so tired of crying on others terms, that i fight the instinct telling me to let it out. no matter the situation, it seems that i try my hardest to keep it all in in front of my loved ones, even when it’s reasonable to let it out. it’s as if my reflex has become to do the opposite of what my heart tells me to do.

lately, this has changed. my protective instincts are gone and i am wide open and vulnerable as if i’m a child again. i feel like crying all the time. luckily, the Canadiens are still in the playoffs, or I’d be a mess. like i said, Carey Price completes me (my wife and i have an understanding). everything is as good as it should be, but nothing feels good as it could be. so the tears come even as i fight to hold them back.

wrestling with depression has kicked me into the gutter. it’s subtle and sneaks up on me. the over reactions to minutiae; so small, it doesn’t warrant a notice, let alone a full fledged man cry. a new job and an early 30’s faith crisis have taken me to the brink of what i can handle.

i’m tired of holding it in. but i know me, and i will continue doing so until i break. learning to be comfortable in my own skin is something new to me. much of my life has been spent trying to be someone i’m not. faking my toughness so my man-card can get punched (yes, ladies. that is a thing). putting on a smiley face and pretending my faith is in check so i can be a good pastor and not freak out the children (even though i know that’s the opposite of what Jesus wants from me). pretending i know what i’m doing, even as I run like wile coyote off the edge of the cliff, unaware of my imminent demise and fall.

i keep telling myself, “trust in Jesus. have more faith. just pray.” and those are all true things that i should strive for. but no matter how hard i seem to try or how much truth is in those statements…it doesn’t take away the intense pressure chasing me down that says i’ll never measure up to God, who is so very, very disappointed in me. and so i feel like crying, knowing deep down this isn’t how i was meant to live, knowing that it isn’t even the truth. but feeling more entrenched than ever.

that got dark fast. get back to the love affair with Carey Price jokes, already.

i know i’ll be okay. my God and my family have too tight a grip on me to let the depression win. i started writing again to be honest. to share not only my stupid stories and terrible jokes with the world, but my heart and soul as well.

so there it is. not crying is overrated. time to start listening to my instincts and kick depression in the ass. write more. love more. open myself up more. pray more. play more. play with my kids more. play tennis more. date my wife more.

and give less attention to the lies…more. just felt like i had to add ‘more’ one last time.



on bathroom renos
April 6, 2014, 3:55 am
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I have the patience of a vulture circling a dead carcass. Just let me at it already. Unless vultures are actually patient, since they often wait for things to die. I don’t know anything about vultures. This could be the worst analogy ever, but either way, the point is, I have none. Not a point, not patience.

I’m not sure what’s worse, to be the impatient vulture or the peaceful dead carcass. You could say “at least the vulture is alive.” True, but some days I’d just rather be the dead carcass. At least then my lack of patience wouldn’t overwhelm me to the point of insanity.

Most recently, it was bathroom renovations trying my sanity. To make matters worse (probably better in truth) my father in law helping me has the patience of a saint. When we rip up the tub to find a leaking pipe, he calmly decides a course of action and takes it. When our crawl space is too small to get underneath the bathroom and reach the plumbing, he calmly finds a solution. Meanwhile, I’m crying in the corner cursing God for my woeful life. If he wasn’t there, I would have had everything torn down, then been so frustrated with my lack of ability to fix anything in 30 minutes, I’d probably just burn the house down and walk away. That’s my tragic logic and lack of patience at work.

That’s what I mean when I say i’d rather be the dead carcass. You’re lifeless. You’ll most definitely be eaten. But at least you’re life doesn’t constantly feel upside down. You know…on account of being dead and all.

Maybe there is a third option. To learn patience. I’m not sure where that fits in the metaphor. The bible says that for God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. That’s crazy talk. My impatient mind can’t comprehend that. It feels like a thousand years to wait at a red light let alone put up with my inane ramblings and justifications, the way God always does.

I’m probably testing your patience right now, making you read this post. Because what in the heck am I talking about? I wish I knew.

Mostly I am just tired of going through each day feeling anxious, as if life will be over if I don’t get where I’m going as fast as possible, or if I don’t finish a task 10 minutes earlier. I fight for free time, then waste it staring at my iPhone, then feel terrible for not reading my bible or playing with my kids or doing something useful on behalf of humanity.

I wish I could enjoy the moment I’m in so I’m not hurrying through to the next one, always looking for something better and more fulfilling. My vulture like lack of patience is stealing my joy.

Mostly, I’m trying to say that bathroom renos are brutal.



Deep Breaths…
February 26, 2013, 5:20 am
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Every night, before I can sleep peacefully, I have to make sure my kids are still breathing. It isn’t enough to just see them wrapped in their matching princess comforters.

Whatever, jerk, I’m still hardcore. I’ll punch Cinderella in the face.

I need to walk up, put my hand on their back, and feel their deep, peaceful breaths, inevitably followed with the annoyed roll over that comes from their stupid idiot dad disturbing their slumber. I like to believe that they know I’m there, and it helps them sleep easier, even if it annoys them in the present.

Deep breaths. All is at peace. Knowing my kids are safe, dreaming of pudding pops and unicorns. Whatever it is kids dream of, it gives me peace to feel their breath, steady; resting. It doesn’t matter how tough my day has been with both of them. Bella cries and thinks I’m a monster for rushing her to put her shoes on when we’re 10 minutes late already. Makena lipping (not flipping, although im sure thats coming someday) me off for not playing Nintendo 24 hours a day, like a good dad would. It doesn’t matter what they feel towards me or the world around them in that moment. The fact that they are safe, sound, in my care and I can feel their breath. It brings me peace. Most of the time.

I am having a night where the peace isn’t quite so forthcoming. Anger. Frustration . Exasperation might be a better descriptor. Exhaustion. Defeat. Weariness, not of the kind an 8 hour sleep will cure. These nights come once in a blue moon, whatever a blue moon is. Must be rare or something. One of the few things that calms me is knowing my kids are happy, safe and sound. It helps when I remember Gods love for me.

Rarely do I let it sink in enough to give me peace. I live most days running from one thing to the next, unaware of Gods hand on my chest, trying to calm my gasping breath. In my exasperation, anger, resentment, bitterness, he holds me close and says “rest.”

The truth is Gods touch isn’t always so in tune with my life. Rather, I’m not so in tune with his touch. But during nights like tonight, all I can pray for is rest and that tomorrow will bring hope. It nearly always does.

If God loves me the way I love my kids when they reject me, hurt me, run to me for comfort, depend on me for survival; if God really does love me like that, then peace should be the most natural of feelings. My kids believe in my love for them.

My prayer tonight is that I feel Gods immense, Immeasurable, insatiable love for me in the smallest of doses. To feel Gods hand on my back so I know he’s there and can sleep peacefully. I know that’s a small prayer, but a small dose of Gods love is an ocean of my own. I believe it in my head. the idea must make its way to my heart.

Deep breaths. Now go, enter the rest.



dry-ness
August 28, 2010, 8:11 am
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i don’t think there’s supposed to be a hyphen in the word dry-ness, but i like the ness. so i wanted to emphasize it. you could put a ‘ness’ on the end of anything and make it ten times cooler, automatically. awesome-ness. blair-ness. loch-ness. see? way better. that’s my theory. or maybe i’ve just been smelling the rank fumes of my dog’s insides for too long and i’m going insane. because literally, if he farts one more time, i just might go insane. insane-ness. makes going insane sound 10 times cooler, i heard.

i’m awake at 1:29 AM on a friday night partly because of my dogs rank-ness, but mostly because my brain won’t let me sleep. something just doesn’t feel right, and i can’t sleep when things don’t feel right. my brain has felt pulled in a million places lately. i haven’t blogged in a millenia because i can’t focus enough to write anything down. it all feels like a big jumble of meaningless gibberish when i start typing. that’s probably not that much of a stretch if you just read my first paragraph. but my brain won’t let me sleep because it felt like i needed some therapy. and what better therapy than the meaningless void that is the internet…mostly because it’s free. but it’s not meaningless because a few people that care about me read my blog, so thanks for listening to my meaningless void of a brain ramble for a bit.

i think the thing that is weighing on my mind the most right now is that i am not content. that is no surprise to those that know me. i’ve written about it before, talked about it before and sung emo love ballads about it before. for some reason, i am just not a content person. and i think i’ve figured out where my discontentedness (i was going to just say discontent, but the ness had to make the cut) is coming from. i don’t know how to follow, and i don’t know who i am.

when i decided to give my life to Jesus, it was an epic moment for me. i usually make fun of teenagers for using the word epic, so please feel free to mock away. i’ve been talking to a very close and dear friend lately who is thinking about being baptized and i got the chance to share my story with him. a teenage life of drugs and alcohol and broken relationships with friends and girls and family…and i decided to go to bible college. logical choice, right? it was only because i didn’t want to work and mom and dad said they would pay. for some reason, the student leaders asked me to speak at the college retreat. they clearly had no idea who i really was, because i was no speaker and at the time i had no faith. i hated campfire devotional songs, and they decided our weekend theme was going to be based around a stupid campfire devotional song, one of my least favorites. so they asked me to speak on ‘let me be to you a sacrifice.’ i don’t know why i said yes. the cheesy christian part of me wants to say that God had a plan in mind and so he ‘called’ me say yes even though it was illogical. the more honest part of me needs to admit that i was a phony and a fake and i was desperate to uphold the image i thought whoever i was around wanted me to be like at all costs. maybe a little of both were involved. i debated what to say for days. and when the day came, i still had nothing. i debated faking a migraine or taking a hammer to my hand to really sell an injury, but i was out of time. and so i was honest. i told them i was a liar. a druggie and a drunk. a thief. an empty soul. and that was all. i just told them. i was just honest. i think i shocked a few people. not many were expecting confession hour with blair, especially since i hardly knew anyone on a deep level. it was the first time in years where i didn’t feel the pressure to pretend to be someone i wasn’t. i was always acting one way for my girlfriend, another for my friends, another for my family, and still another in front of the church. honesty broke something inside of me. it felt like i could finally be honest about who i was. i was lost in sin and doubt and emptiness, and i had this confession moment where i just knew that i needed to be in relationship with God. i knew he was waiting to fill the emptiness of the life i had lived up until that point. i wasn’t sure i believed it with my head, but my heart told me to shut-up and do it, so i did. it was clear enough to me in that moment. and that night i just decided that even though i was still empty, i would give God an honest shot. because i had blocked him out for so long, that an honest search had never happened in my life. so i was baptized.

i guess i expected in that moment that a peace would overcome me. and it did for a few days. but i didn’t quite understand the ‘give your life to Jesus’ part of baptism, because i don’t think i’ve ever really given it to him. i felt joy and happiness. belonging and conviction, lots of really great feelings. but those are all things that come and go regularly. if your faith is based on feelings, pretty soon you will not have much faith to hold on to. i feel like much of my walk with God has been filled with me being discontent. and i’m usually pretty honest with people. i’m not one of those people who when asked how they are doing will just say fine. i’ll usually say mediocre, or average. or great, or crappy, depending on the day and whether the ROUGHRIDERS won or lost. but i suck at articulating why i feel that way at that time. i’ll usually say things suck, but i’m not always honest about why. i try to be honest because it’s worked for me in the past, but the longer i’ve been a christian, the easier it’s been for me to sneak back into that default mode of wearing a mask, being who people want me to be. the honesty that saved me has too easily become another mask that i wear, telling half truths to myself and others to keep up appearances. i’ve been walking with Jesus in my life for 9 years almost, and i am tired of being discontent. and i’ve realized something important about my faith. i’m very good at reading books about God. i know a lot about God. i know a lot about the Church, more than i want to at times. i’ve been moved by worship and into worship at certain points in my life. i’ve felt God near to me and far from me. i’ve watched friends and family come to God and fall away from God. i’ve seen lots happen in 9 years. i’ve experienced a lot in my walk of faith. but the times have been rare where i have really let God lead me. the times have been rare where i’ve trusted God for guidance. and i think the reason i feel so discontent, the reason i lack peace in my heart is because i know God is with me, but i don’t know if i’m being who he wants me to be. i’m not being honest about who i know i need to be. and i feel like God is waiting for me to turn to him and say, ‘okay, your turn.’

my life has been filled with movement. not movements…those too, but let’s not get into that. moving from one thing to the next. and i live my faith the same way. i always want to be moving. from one good book to the next. from one spiritual high to the next. from one activity to the next. but i think i need to just stop. everything. i need to just stop and BE. i think the thing i missed when i was baptized was that i wasn’t just proclaiming that i wanted Jesus in my life, but i was stating that i was becoming a disciple, and i haven’t really lived the disciple part. a disciple follows. and i mean, they really follow. they hinge on every word from the one they follow. their actions mimic the actions of their rabbi. i need to just stop so i can really follow. i’m tired of leading the way. and i think maybe that is why i’m discontent. because when things are hard and you have doubts and struggles, and all your counting on to get you through is a spiritual high, you will almost always leave disappointed. but…what if i could really learn to follow my rabbi? i think when you’re following your rabbi the way a true disciple follows, it doesn’t matter if things get hard. doubts will come and go. joy will come and go. but whether things are good or bad, your eyes will always be on the one that’s leading you and they will take you through anything, even a constant feeling of being discontent. and disciples still mess up. they still abandon their leader and misunderstand his meaning and doubt his words.

but they always come back to him. i think that’s maybe why i can’t sleep tonight. so i think i might let God try leading for a while and quit pretending i know where i’m going. i’m thinking my discontent might fade into the background.

i have lots of friends who are christians, probably reading this and saying ‘preach it, brother!’ i have lots of friends that aren’t christians that will shrug this off as crazy old blair, but know my heart enough to understand where i’m coming from. but i have other friends to whom i have misrepresented Jesus because of my fear and stubbornness. friends that will read this and be shocked that i would be thinking something like this. and so i want to say sorry to those that might read this and think i’m full or it. you are right…i am full of it. i have been for a long time. and i hope to change that. sorry for showing you a false picture of who i am. hopefully this makes sense tomorrow morning. much love.



take the headphones off
November 18, 2009, 5:20 am
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , , , ,

i know this was supposed to be the story time blog where i relate stories of my past in funny/emotional ways so you can laugh/cry in your pillow and think about my brilliant reflections. at least in my head that’s what i hoped for this to be, inspiring millions to greatness. i was even building my own sign like McDonald’s that says “over 1 billion served”, but they shut me down for copyright infringement. i intend fully to get back to my goofy stories. after this…

i had this unreal, truly epic moment tonight. and not epic, like a teenager saying the new britney spears song is soooo epic. really epic. it was unlike any other. my state of mind lately has been somewhere between weary and apathetic. i have struggled to find the passion that once drove me to stupidity and hope that their could be such a thing as a just world where the rich and powerful work towards bringing the poor and oppressed to an equal standard of living. where christians give a crap, and do something, about the state of those all around them suffering in poverty and loneliness. lately, that has felt impossible. but there was a time when i believed in it. with all my heart. and without that, i don’t think i would still be a Christian today. maybe God would have found some other way to reach me, like through Lee Strobel writing a personal letter to me entitled “the case for Blair being a Christian”. but i doubt it. realizing that the heart of our God beats for the poor and oppressed stirred my heart in a way nothing else could. for some reason along the way, i have struggled to find the same heart and passion that drove me before.

tonight i was leaving my Christian Social Ethics college class. we had just discussed issues like prostitution, corporations that hurt and abuse their workers and the environment, and fair trade. my mind was racing. it was stuff i had heard and known for a few years. someone mentioned in class that it feels like we can’t accomplish that much, and how not supporting one corporation as one single person would not stop the injustice. and i started thinking that they were right. as much as i wish me buying fair trade coffee would make a difference and change the heart of the wealthy elite everywhere, i had to admit there was much truth in what she said. one person can only do so much. we aren’t all gandhi, or mother theresa. and i started to feel that familiar helplessness that i’ve grown accustomed to. that deadening of my heart and mind, so i wouldn’t have to think about it. i started to think about my fantasy hockey league, and how i was so happy to be kicking the crap out of nic olson on this given week. i started to think about how i needed new struts on my car, and housework and other things to distract me. i was a couple minutes from my house and i put on a new CD i had gotten that day. i had heard the song once and enjoyed the tune, so i put it back on track #6. i hadn’t heard the words the first time, so i decided to listen closely this time in order to further distract me from caring. here they are…

Headphones-Jars of Clay
I don’t have to hear it, if I don’t want to
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you
It’s a heavy world, it’s too much for me to care
If I close my eyes, it’s not there

With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

We watch television…but the sound is something else
Just a song played against the drama, so the hurt is never felt
I take in the war-fires, and I’m chilled by the current events
It’s so hopeless, but there’s a pop song in my

Headphones on, in my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see
I want to tell you (It’s a heavy world)
Everything will be okay
You wouldn’t hear it (I don’t want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways…

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on
I don’t wanna be the one who tries to figure it out
I don’t need another reason I should care about you
You don’t want to know my story
You don’t want to own my pain
Living in a heavy, heavy world
And there’s a pop song in my head
I don’t want to have to hear it

and i could feel God speaking to me based on what was going through my head and heart. so i kept driving. i went past my house and kept listening as i had only heard part of the song. and i drove the loop around my neighborhood and came to the area close to my house where the train tracks ran by. at the same moment a train started to rumble past and on each train car were weapons of war. tanks, humvees, etc…train car after train car piled with weapons of war, designed to kill and maim. and i had to stop driving because i knew that God was trying to get my attention. and i watched the cars fly past within a block of my house. i started to think of where those things were headed and how many people they would kill. and i started to think of the companies that built these weapons for a massive profit. and how corporations make billions of dollars off of war. and in my state, you might think the overwhelming flood of depression might consume me in that moment. the hopelessness. the feeling of being lost and useless. but instead, i felt desperately inspired. i don’t know why. i can’t tell you why tanks and weapons inspired me to take up a fight of a different kind. but in that moment i knew i had a choice. a choice to quit, or a choice to move forward. and fight with all my heart. and give my life to fighting for things that God cares about. and i thought about whether my small piece of work would make a difference and realized it didn’t matter what i thought. because if i am following God’s heart and direction…then nothing else mattered. to love God and love people is all that matters. and whether i feel hopeless or not does not stop the Kingdom of God from being right here and right now. so i have a choice. do i enter God’s Kingdom? or do i quit? and i know i can’t quit. i can’t walk away. because God saved my life. in a more than dying for my sins kind of way, although i don’t mean to diminish that at all. he gave me purpose. and desire. and passion. and life. and for this, i have to give myself fully to Him. i am done sitting on the fence and feeling sorry for myself. i don’t know what this means. but i know i am not lacking passion tonight. and that’s all that matters right now.

i know my moment won’t speak to you the way it spoke to me. but look for your moment. because God is trying to speak to you right now.