on bad news and “what next?”

What the crap is going on? Seriously, people. Some have buried their heads in the sand and think it’s just another day, like any other. Fox News argues one narrative while MSNBC argues the opposite. Pick a side and move onto the next controversy. But it’s not just like any other day. As the brilliant philosopher Lloyd Christmas profoundly pointed out, “we got no food, we got no jobs…OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!”

That’s about all the humour I have in me today. It feels like everything in the world is falling apart, and I’m struggling to find the hope that’s always lifted me out of the pit. I’m not even in the middle of it. I’m far removed from the chaos, or at least I feel that way.

The cracks started to show in my heart and soul with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Even before that, the Russian oppression of LGBT people brought about fear and frustration in my soul. Russia just brought the full court press the past year. I successfully squashed that anxiety by telling myself it’s far away, and doesn’t really impact me, sad as it is. Then a country was invaded. And a plane was shot down with 300 innocent lives on board. It’s not so easy to ignore.

Then the conflict between Palestine & Gaza reached a boiling point. They always fight, right? So why should this time matter to me, a 30 year old Canadian kid with no ties to the conflict? Then Israel invaded and destroyed buildings and towns and people. The death toll is above 2000. That’s not a number that is easy to ignore. Christians and much of the west blindly support Israel, to the point that they ignore the violence and overuse of force against vulnerable civilians. I’m not saying Palestine is right. But that doesn’t make Israel right, either.

Then Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. And I’m losing my mind. Because I have no idea what it must feel like to be scared to walk down the street the way every black individual in the USA must feel. I’m losing my mind because this is all bullshit. Every new piece of information that comes out of this is worse than the last. Coverups, brutality, media suppression…a kid is dead because of his skin colour. And the talking heads on the cable news distract us from the fact that a family is grieving and justice is broken. Ferguson is a small example of the underlying tension felt all across America. Don’t even get me started on Aboriginal issues in Canada. Different culture, similar stories. No trust or peace. Our police aren’t nearly as heavy handed. If anything, this situation makes me respect our police more. But the racial tension is alive and well.

Then Robin Williams committed suicide, and my heart breaks. Not because celebrity deaths are any more tragic that the stranger down the street. But because he brought so much joy with his humour and deep soulful acting, yet was as filled with darkness, which stole his life in the end. My first date was to go see “Jack,” about a boy whose body aged 4 years for every year of real time. So he was a 40 year old 10 year old. I held hands for the first time to Robin Williams frenetic, childlike energy. I cried watching him develop a relationship with Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting. “It’s not your fault.” Seems rather like an appropriate statement in this circumstance. And people are calling him selfish and a coward. And Christians are suggesting that the only cure for depression is prayer and Jesus, and real Christians don’t get depressed. Christians continually make depression out to be a result of “sin” or a “lack of faith”. These sort of asinine voices make me want to just quit. As someone who fight depression and has prayed and read his bible and has struggled to grow my faith these past 10 years, I know these false ideas to be damaging garbage. Robin Williams death is not as important as what’s going on in Ferguson or Gaza, but dammit, it sure is depressing. And if feels like the cherry on the turd sundae of this weeks news.

The first couple stressors are concerning situations, but distant enough that on their own, I can distract myself from the horror. It requires intentional distraction, but we in the west are good at this. I am good at this. The next story hits closer to home. We all know someone who could have been Mike Brown. But I’m just a white, middle class Canadian. If it was possible, I could ignore it. But it’s not possible anymore. I am so tired of it these stories. It’s too much. White people can no longer stand by and say these stories don’t apply to them. We are all human, regardless of our skin tone. But I feel so powerless to do anything. The depression angle hits closest to home. That could be me without the support system I have. That’s been people close to me. I’m watching someone I love fight the battle of their life right now. It’s not as simple as “have more faith.”

Life seems to be falling apart.

Kyrie Eleison. God, have mercy.

Romans 8 is about the only place I can land on days like this. This world is broken and I’m crying out, but the world groans with us in our pain and desperation for redemption. And while hope seems to be lost, the promise of God is that we cannot be separated from his love. We can’t. Nothing will stop it. And that’s all that’s keeping me going these days. The promise that Gods love is greater than the mess we’ve created. Neither angels nor demons, height nor depth, rubber bullets in Ferguson or the helplessness of depression. NOTHING can separate us from Gods love.

The way I see it, there are two options. 1. Put our headphones in and listen to another mindless pop or worship song, pretending all is well and right with the world.
2. Wake up and start paying attention. Participate in Gods Kingdom.

If you are like me, you will feel overwhelmed and helpless at times. So what? How do the people with bombs flying over their heads in Gaza feel? How does the community of Ferguson feel today? Being overwhelmed doesn’t give us the option to disengage the brokenness of the world. If the children and families dying in Gaza can fight for hope, we should be able to as well without falling into the pit of cynicism and despair. So I can be sad. I can mourn. But I can’t give up.

People ask, why doesn’t God do something? Tough question. Shane Claiborne always says something along the lines of wondering why we always ask God this when he looks right back at us and asks the same question. So will we do something? Or will we keep blaming God for the mess we’ve created?

Stand up for justice. Don’t mindlessly pick a side in the ideology battle. Stand for what is good and noble and right. Bombs in Gaza are not right. Neither are bombs in Israel. Fight for justice on both sides. Suicide is not the best option. But neither is someone feeling so alone and hopeless they feel nothing is worth living for. Don’t blame the victim of depression, be the voice that gives them a reason to live. An eye for an eye in Ferguson, Missouri will not solve racial injustice and abuses of power. But neither will ignoring injustice that has happened and maintaining status quo. As a white person, I may not understand their fear, but I can stand beside them and demand justice for those who are oppressed. We are all humans on the same voyage. It’s time to wake up and get involved. Speak up. The world is going to be set to rights someday. Let’s join the work God has called us to. Otherwise, what in the world is the point of all this? God is a Godnin the business of making beautiful, new things. I have to trust in that. Otherwise, I have nothing.

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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 crying and stuff easier to keep inside pt 2

Pretending is so damn hard.

Tonight, I wandered the house. I paced, back and forth, feeling uneasy, having an idea where my angst came from, but not completely sure why it was hitting me now. After all it’s been with me for years. On this night, it became too much. Even as I realized part of what perplexed my heart was a garbage day at work and exhaustion, the logical reasons failed me and led to me running away from myself. 

So lost in my own world, I announced to my wife I was going to Safeway, as if that was a thing I did. When asked why, my answer was simply, “I don’t know.” There was a vague idea of ice cream and chips, as if that would solve my anxiety and rising anger and discomfort with my inner turmoil. Sometimes those things work, but tonight it wouldn’t. I left, Missy knowing I just needed to run away for a while. Not from her or my beautiful girls. Definitely not. They were my only sense of sanity anymore. I just needed to go because to stay would be to wallow and drag down my family into the pit with me. So she let me go, always sensitive to when I need to be alone with my annoying self.

I went. I walked down the chip aisle. There were good sales, but nothing looked good. I went to the ice cream. Everything looked good, but nothing was on sale. I refuse to buy things that aren’t on sale. That’s not totally true. I just make myself sick thinking about the $1.50 I might have saved. So I pick up the ice cream, only to put it down again, knowing it won’t solve the swirling, rising mountain of emotion building up inside of me. I walk to the Redbox, flip through stupid movies I’ve looked through 20 times before, knowing I’ll find nothing worth my time. There is no distraction to solve this, not this time. Not ice cream, chips or Hobbits in imaginary lands could stop the wave from coming.

The drive home feels long. I want to arrive as if my leaving served a purpose. With something to show for my random disappearance. To act like all is well and it was actually normal for me to wander off. I can’t muster the strength. So I drive slowly with the music loud. I skip song after song after mind numbing song until Derek Webb, “Eye Of The Hurricane” comes on. The catchiest chorus I know speaks directly to the depths of my soul. Tears begin, but I do my normal thing and pull them back into their ducts. After the first verse, I can’t hold them back anymore, not even certain why. 

Cause I am the man from which I am running.

So even if I wanted to, I can’t escape.

This is the man that I am becoming.

Running in the eye of the hurricane.

The chorus describes my life beautifully. The idea of running from myself, being stuck with who I am, being the man I am whether I like it or not seemed to fit in the moment. Because I’m so sick of myself. I’m a 30 year old, failed holy man trying to be more than what I’m capable of being without the grace of God, which on most days feels too good to be true for me, so I run the other way. I feel the full weight of being a saint and a sinner (minus the saint part) and can’t bear the weight anymore of pretending to be the saint when I feel anything but.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Only that I am tired of running. I’m just so damn tired. Tired of not measuring up. Tired of a broken world, a broken me, broken trust and broken facades that used to be easy to hide behind. I have a history of being overdramatic, so forgive me if this sounds like a sob story wrapped in a big pile of give me a break. But I am oh so tired of pretending. And Derek Webb gave me permission to be honest about the garbage man I feel that I am. I beg of you. Please don’t comment here with how wonderful you are sure that I am. That only makes me believe it less. 

Because this isn’t about my self esteem, which will rebound into arrogance in no time once I meet someone on the interwebs I disagree with. This is about the man I am becoming. And if I can’t be honest about the sorry state I’m in here and now, then what’s the point of the rest of my journey? If my recurring smoking habit doesn’t catch up with me, I should have a good 40ish years left. If I have to fake it for that long, I won’t be able to stand myself. 

So I don’t know what this is. A prayer? A confession? A scream in my dark corner? 

I skipped ahead 4 more songs for some more Derek Webb truth and profundity. 

“It’s hard to keep from giving up. It’s easier to just close up your heart.

You place your votes, misplace your hope on men who let you down

with loaded words and broken promises, it’s hard to trust in anyone.

It’s easier to just fold up your arms.”

“Everything’s gonna change and nothing’s gonna stay the way it is.

One day you’ll wake and the curse will break and even you won’t be the same. 

Your hope is not wasted on the day when everything will change.”

That’s another writing session for another time. But for now, it feels true. It at least gives me hope that there’s more than my veiled eyes can see at the moment. For now, I hope in the day when I wake and won’t be the same. 



dry-ness
August 28, 2010, 8:11 am
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , , , ,

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.



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.