Sunday, April 30, 2006

Insomnia, the Crazy Week, the Swollen Ankle, and that Video

[Note: Scroll down to see the YouTube video of Pink & the Indigo Girls performing "Dear Mr. President".]

This post is just a quickie to fill you in on what's been going on with me this past week. For starters, i've had insomnia every night for the past five or six days. I'm finding myself laying up in bed unable to fall asleep as tons of thoughts race through my mind. You ever have those nights where your thoughts keep you up? I am typically falling asleep around 2:30 a.m. and I'm also finding that i'm naturally waking up every night at about 6 a.m. I seriously need a full night's sleep! I think it's a combination of all the things that are going on right now (plus my bed sucks) . . . .

Last Wednesday night, I had the honor of sharing at Open Door Ministries' (Long Beach) mid-week service/fellowship/study. I had half an hour and I spoke about many of the same things that I've written about in the past regarding my 'Church' paradigm and relational communities (see section in the column on the right). I also talked about transitions that the Church is experiencing right now and how the Church of today ought to be preparing for the Church of the next 20-30 years. I think it was an awesome time and I was honored to have been asked to share! =)

Last Thursday night, I went to the men's discussion group that I go to at the gay and lesbian center here in Long Beach. It was awesome because it was a very diverse group in terms of ethnicity and age. There's always interesting insight from the great mix of guys.

Last week, I've been working on the very lengthy federal application to get the 501(c)(3) non profit status for Catalyst. I'm about half way done. I really want to do this well because typically 95% of non-profits have their application sent to an IRS reviewer because they messed something up (mostly because they were not specific enough about their programs). The approval doesn't come for about a year and a half. But for those that do everything right and are very specific, these few can get their approval in about a month. Guess which group I'm trying to be in . . . yep, the few that get their approval letter right away because I found out that I can't apply for the Wells Fargo grant (who by the way are extremely GLBTQ friendly) until I have this letter from the IRS. I may be getting a part time job while I do all this because I may not be able to fundraise for Catalyst as quickly as I need to. A friend of mine has been working on a header graphic image for the Catalyst web site. It's coming along. Once it's done, i'll let you know the web address! =)

A friend of mine from the San Francisco Bay area came down to visit for the weekend. A bunch of GCNers got together for a picnic at Griffith Park in the Los Angeles area today so that's why he was around. I took him roller blading on Friday from Bolsa Chica state beach to Huntington Beach. On the way, I fell on some asphault and had a minor scratch. It's funny because when he looked back to see me fall, he also fell. I fell because i was trying to avoid a patch of holes in the sidewalk. I realized, afterwards, that I probably would not have fallen if I just allowed myself to roll through the rough path instead of trying to go the easy way (which proved not so easy in the end anyway). There's an awesome life/spiritual lesson in there if you look for it - how many times do we end up falling because we were trying to take the easy way out? (I'm sure there's someone out there that thinks me accepting myself as gay is just me taking the easy route. On the contrary, there's nothing easy about this route i've taken for my life!) Later, we went to dinner, then we connected with a few other GCNers that evening and we all went to a coffee shop in LA, then went to a few hot spots in West Hollywood. Today (Sunday) was the picnic and we played volleyball. I sprained my ankle, put ice on it for about an hour, then played more volleyball. Yep, not so good on my ankle so right now it has swollen up pretty fat. Ouch! But the volleyball was super fun!

On Saturday morning, i got the last of my things out of the old apartment (much thanks to my friend Joon (he's commented on this blog in the past) and his partner Alan for all their help!). I went back to vacuum, do some cursory cleaning (because i figured they'd have someone else clean more thoroughly), and turn in the keys and when I was done, it was weird because I had one of those moments of standing at the front door with my hand on the knob ready to lock up while slowly taking a long last look across the room as memories of times there flooded my mind, then said my good bye and locked the door to that old apartment for the last time. Another transition was completed! Afterwards, I drove up to see my family for the afternoon because we were having birthday celebrations for both my brother and sister. On the freeway, I just felt so overwhelmed that I wanted to cry. I didn't though. It's not that i'm sad, it's just that so much is going on and it was one of those days that I just really really really needed a hug. It was good reconnecting with my family. My brother and his wife are having a wedding ceremony and reception next January for the family because initially they got married overseas and we missed it. I noticed that my brother made a gay joke with his friend. Interesting. I think its just still easier if he simply doesn't think about me being gay. When I got home that evening, I had tons of boxes to unpack from the morning move. I was super exhausted and even still had insomnia that night. The next day, I ended up waking up early to help set up for the picnic which lasted all day.

Tonight, I put more ice on my ankle and tried to relax. It was pretty chill here because my buddy had friends over and I talked with them for a bit. My buddy has been brushing up on his guitar playing and so when everyone left, he played an awesome song for me that a friend of his wrote when they both were in the peace corps. As I listened to him play, it reminded me of a song that I first heard over at Drew's video blog. The song is by Pink and the Indigo girls (who my buddy loves!) and it's called Dear Mr. President. I'm including the video below so be sure to check it out. When I first saw the video, I felt something. My point in putting it in this post is not to make a political statement but rather to (hopefully) have you feel something.

I'm tired and I've got a ton of things to do tomorrow. Hopefully my ankle swelling goes down. I'm off to bed and hopefully sleep! Be sure to check out the video below.

What do you feel when you hear this song?


Ryan said...

Interesting video... I must admit, after spending a week working with the homeless in the street, I feel that Pink and the girls have adopted a similar "victim" mindset to the three folks I have been helping. You see, those problems are not the problems of big government but ours. Mr. President cannot create a program to change people's lives. We the people can and ought to. We need to stop playing the victim role... "it's all the president's fault", "I work hard but can't make it because I have been irresponsible with my sex life and have a kid on the way." So the president should do something to help? What? The reality is we the church have the power to help... and we are to blame for the current reality. We have not been about our Father's business. Can we look each other in the eye? How can WE sleep?

Anonymous said...

I hope your ankle is feeling better soon!

That Though I agree in part with what ryan had to say--the church needs to care about the people *here*, not just overseas missions.

Eric said...

Thanks Matt, yes i agree that i'm glad that we live in a country where people can express their frustration with elected officials.

Thanks Angel, i've kept ice on it and i've been trying to stay off it most of the day. =)

I appreciate you weighing in, Ryan. (Long time no talk eh? Hope you are well!) I don't think the lyrics of the song completely expresses a "victim" mindset. Much of the song communicates how disconnected she feels from the President and how she feels he is disconnected from many people she represents. She and so many others don't feel like the President really gets them. I don't think that's necessarily a "victim" mindset.

I do understand what you mean though, and I agree that we can't blame the President and our government on all the problems that so many people live through. I do believe that we each ought to be responsible for the decisions we make in our lives. But . . .

"I work hard but can't make it because I have been irresponsible with my sex life and have a kid on the way." So the president should do something to help? What?"

Is that really fair? I honor the work that you do with the homeless, but is that statement really representative of the experiences of all those who are sincerely struggling? If so, why should the Church even help? There are so many people out there that have not been irresponsible with their sex life but do have a kid on their way. What about them?

Sure the Church has the power to help. We can be mobilized to serve and help the homeless in many ways. In what way? and who? Who do we help? Everyone? Just the ones who weren't "irresponsible with their sex life"? Is our Father's business about filtering who gets the help? How many times do we forgive anyway?

"...and we are to blame for the current reality"

I don't necessarily think even the Church is the "blame" for the current reality. We all do have to take responsibility. However, i think what would be more accurate would be to say that the Church could be doing more to affect the current reality. Hence, living out our faith, each one of us, to be the Church for and with many people who are struggling.

(Note, at this point not all of this is directed at you Ryan. These are general statements i'm making right now.)

As for the President? Who are we kidding? The President of the United States does have a kind of power at his disposal to affect the current reality. Besides, our Mr. President (many would say) is also part of the Church, so why shouldn't it be on his top ten list since (many would say) God placed him there? Even he can live out the Kingdom values in his position.

Is it the role of Mr. President to create a program to change people's lives? Um, why not? It's's's all of our call to be salt and to affect each other. He is in a position to affect lives on a massive scale. Okay, so maybe the President shouldn't have to create an actual program (that's debatable). But the President of the United States is the Chief representative of the people that elected him. At the very least, isn't it fair to want the President to call on those people - to inspire those people - to mobilize and go into the communities and have us come up with whatever programs are needed locally?

He does have motivational power. All he has to do is talk about the current reality a bit more than a passing reference in the State of the Union address. He campaigns for other "issues". Why not this one?

As for the song's reference to fathers might hating their daughters if they were gay . . . that's a reality that is true enough to sing about.

Christine Bakke said...

Preach it, Eric!