Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Community of Heroes

[Note: Scroll down to see the YouTube video and lyrics of Avril Lavigne's "Keep Holding On" with scenes from the movie Eragon.]

This is Shawn. He's my pal. Be good to him.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how great it felt to take the time to shop around town for Christmas items that would really make a friend feel thought of. Well, my Christmas package traversed approximately 6,617 miles on a heading 285.5 degrees West by north then 234.0 degrees Southwest by west to a location 34 degrees 05' North latitude and 118 degrees 22' West longitude, arriving at Colonia in the Federated States of Micronesia on an island called Yap, just a few days after Christmas.

I happened to be chatting with Shawn online when the package got there. See him in the photo fabulously modeling and displaying the items. Once everyone saw the gourmet flavored coffee I sent, he hilariously reported , "i think everyone in the room just had an orgasm from the coffee".

Shawn is a Peace Corps volunteer there and teaches over 150 juniors at Yap High School (I call them the junior yapsters). He just arrived there this past fall and he'll be there for 2 years - that's until 2008! It's a challenge for him - teaching the kids, being in a different land, missing his family and friends, not participating in the holiday traditions in the ways that he's used to, longing for tangible and affirming fellowship - but he does his best and he's simplying trying to help. That's what makes him one of my heroes.

Don't worry, the pedestal isn't too high. He's a normal guy just like you and me. But that's the thing about heroes - they are just regular people who believe they can contribute to changing this world . . . .

It seems so lofty - for me to claim or cling to a vision of making a difference, some kind of difference. Who are we to be in the company of the icons of history - Martin Luther King Jr, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther, Jesus Himself. The history books are filled with people who affected such massive and significant change. Did they know? Did they realize at the time that they were about to contribute to an unstoppable wide scale movement that would lead to the reformation of our culture and society?

Perhaps the scope of such ramifications were kept manageable by containing such vision and passion into a precise purpose - equality, freedom.

When injustice is revealed and the cries and calls to God are made, the true heroes respond. They are the ones who stand in the gap willing to subject themselves to the persecution of the majority so that aid can be given to the outcasts, the oppressed, the helpless and the misunderstood. It is this kind of sacrifice that grants them the respect of history.

But it's a lonely place. The role of the visionary is to help others see what is not presently and physically in front of them. It is to offer hope and assurance that what could be will indeed be. And it's to rally the community to own such a vision so that they become the very heroes that they are crying out for.

Take off the glasses, Clark. You are superman.

I had been so discouraged lately - the past few months or so. I'd had enough of life to deal with and it seemed too big a task to attempt to change my world. But the spark of vision remains.

None of us can change the world alone. We need each other. We are a community of heroes simply trying to help in what ever way that we can. We battle the elements. We battle our insecurities. We battle the persecutors. We battle the very conditions that we are trying to change. And we get weary. But at our core lies our passion and vision. And that drives us forward to keep holding on, to keep pressing on, to keep moving on.

I am honored to be in the company of such heroes - Justin Lee, Peterson Toscano, Shawn, Justin Rudd, Becky 0, Ron Belgau, GCB, Journeyman, Angel, Abigail Garner, my buddy, Bryan, Christine, Jay, the countless at GCN, and so many many more! These are all people simply trying to help, people casting vision, people creating conversation, or people trying to figure themselves out - struggling to see the hero in the mirror.

There are times when we feel like no one gets us. Sometimes we don't even get ourselves. There are times when we are longing for home or even still searching for where home is. There are times when we are desperately wondering if any of this is worth it . . . is any of this making any kind of difference?

We are not alone. We understand each other. We encourage each other. We hold on to each other.

The following song is for us. If you happen to be on some island out there in the Pacific Ocean with the slowest internet connection on the planet, take the time to let the song load so that you can enjoy it with us!

"Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne from the movie Eragon.

You're not alone
Together we stand
I'll be by your side, you know I'll take your hand
When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There's no place to go
You know I won't give in
No I won't give in

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

So far away
I wish you were here
Before it's too late, this could all disappear
Before the doors close
And it comes to an end
With you by my side I will fight and defend
I'll fight and defend
Yeah, yeah

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

Hear me when I say, when I say I believe
Nothing's gonna change, nothing's gonna change destiny
Whatever's meant to be will work out perfectly
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

La da da da
La da da da
La da da da da da da da da

Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you
There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

Keep holding on
Keep holding on

There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through

Monday, December 25, 2006

Our Gift to the Infant King

Midnight is approaching and it'll officially be Christmas - for me that is. Gosh, when I chat and IM and PM and email with people from different parts of the world, it seems like i'm the last to experience the holidays - me being in Southern California and all. But that's okay!

So I figured I'd take a sec to write a quick Christmas post to extend my greetings and best wishes to you all. By now, I hope you know that I love and appreciate those of you who have journeyed with me this past year. And i'm equally excited and thankful to many of you who have come along within the year or even just recently. We all have such similar stories!

This season is about His story. Jesus - the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior - born into this world to reveal God Himself. Sometimes, we can forget about how significant His story is during this season because often times Christmas is simply a time of family, friends, decorations, gifts, traditions, crowds, shopping, lines and traffic. It's the hustle and bustle of trying to "make Christmas happen" that can cause us to lose focus on Him and His story. When the magi from the East approached the manger, they brought gifts to Him. So why is it that during our Christmas season, we give gifts to everyone else but Him?

Let's remember that Christmas isn't an event that happens. I doubt even that December 25th is actually and literally His birthday anyway. But that doesn't really matter, does it? Christmas is an annual reminder for each of us to consider a new beginning. It is through His birth, that we have new birth - a new life of purpose that acknowledges and reveres God. And so, it isn't merely an event for us, but rather a beginning of a new life that expresses a continuous lifestyle of faith and worship of the King.

When the season's trees and trimmings and traditions are done and over with, let's remember that Christmas hasn't ended. We continue to celebrate daily by living out our discipleship of Him who was born in us. Let's make sure there's room for Him INN us. Laying down our lives before the infant King, committing our loyalty to Him daily, and following after His Way - that is our Christmas gift to Him.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

(hehe, i put that cheesy part INN, just for Shawn!)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Shut Up and Listen

I feel like I've been such an ass to the Lord.

If you've read my other posts regarding my paradigm of Church and discipleship, you can gather that I'm less about the routines of faith and more about the relationship of faith. Well, honestly, I've been ignoring that relationship.

Despite the fact that I haven't given Him the time of day (as if He would need such a thing from me), He's been absolutely faithful to me - especially during the past month and a half when I really did need Him. He's the one that shot the beam of light penetrating through the dark clouds - revealing that the Calvary is on it's way, His help and assistance. He has heard and responded to my cries and prayers. He has come with comfort and joy and friends.

I'll be going to a church service again this Sunday, first time since right after my birthday. No, I really don't feel guilty about not going. And that's not the reason why I'm going. Nor am I going because it's the day before Christmas. I'm going because in my relationship with Him, I'm acknowledging that I haven't been keeping that relationship mutual . . . .

Gosh it takes me forever, practically, to realize that much of the frustrations that I have with people here on Earth can have a parallel with my relationship with Christ. Pretty much every time, I'm the one doing to Him the things that others frustrate me with. I ignore Him and I take Him for granted. And I really do know how He must feel because I hate it when I feel that from people that I love.

Over the past month and a half, I've been in a funk (which I'm out of) and my insecurities had me feeling undervalued at work, at home and with some friends. So if I can apply that to my relationship with God I realize that I've been undervaluing Him. That means I haven't been worshipping Him. Back in the youth group days, I used to teach that worship is "worth-ship" - communicating and living out the reality of God's value and worth to us. And I've been short changing Him.

I really do love Him. And I talk about Him. I pray to Him. I've encouraged others in His name. But i haven't been listening to Him. I haven't been receiving my encouragement directly from His throne. I've been looking in His direction, but I've been looking at things near His throne and around His throne, but not at Him - not in His eyes. And since I haven't been looking and listening to Him and was instead looking at others, He persistently sent His encouragement through them. It's crazy to think about that....even when I am too distracted to look at Him, He is so relentless in communicating His love to me that He will reveal it through the very things I'm looking at - even if it's not Him.

GCN has been an incredible encouragement to me lately. I've made my needs and requests known and they are so awesome to pray for me. And i've even prayed to Him for others. I really appreciate this cyber community. If you are looking for gay Christians in the world, and you've stumbled upon Two World Collision via Google (i know there have been many), I encourage you to go to GayChristian.Net and register as a member. There is such incredible support there!

But even still, for me, I realize that I can and should look to my Christ personally. It's not that I "should" because I have to. I "should" because I desire to nurture that oh so valuable relationship that I have with Him. In my earthly relationships, I strongly value a sense of mutuality. And yet, that's the very thing that I don't give to my own heavenly relationship with my personal Savior.

I'm gonna check out for a bit here, i need a moment ----------------

I'm sorry Lord for being distracted by the good and bad things of this world and neglecting to look in awe of You. When I went atop Signal Hill and overlooked the city of Long Beach a few weeks ago, this place that You have sent me and called me and planted me, I remember hearing Your voice and missing it. It was so gentle and, for the moment, I sensed peace in the storm of my own thoughts and insecurities. And yet, when i'm with You, I am completely secure because You've proven every single time that You accept me as I am. All my insecurities come from a place of me worrying that people won't accept me. But You have never rejected me and You never will. How can You love me so much? I don't understand. I reject myself alot of times. I project that onto how I perceive others and I assume that they reject me too. Yet, you persistently accept me. How and why? On at least three occasions, I should have died yet You spared my life. Why? I could have been with You and rested in Your arms and I could have been able to worship You undistracted. I miss You so much! As i imagine You miss me talking with You, instead of me talking at You or talking into the wind in Your direction. You know the things that have burdened me. I feel like my past mistakes and regrets anchor me. Will they ever go away? This time of year is always so hard for me. Lord, cover my regrets. I'm so sorry for what I have done before. How can You still use me? How can You still trust me? With anything having to do with Your Kingdom? Lord, Your peace overwhelms me. And I worship You. I really do value you. You are worth more to me than anything on this Earth that You created. You are worth more to me than anything that You have given to me - my friends, my relationships, my family, my job, my accomplishments, my dreams, my community, my things. I feel like You've rebuilt the things that I destroyed. I don't deserve what I have now because of what I took for granted before and screwed up. And yet, these things I have now, are gifts from You. Thank You. What can I do but to appreciate them and bless them the way that You have blessed me. Continue to use me for Your glory and praise and purposes!

----------------------------------checking back in.


He really has been so good to me. And as Paul said, the things I know I ought to do, I don't do, and the things I ought not do, those things I keep doing. I know I ought to worship Him more. I know I ought to listen to Him more. I know I ought to listen to Him more.

I think i'll take a page out of Peterson's approach to prayer and just shut up and listen.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Good Morning Sunshine!

[Note: Scroll down to see Fisher's "Beautiful Life" video on YouTube followed by the lyrics.]

I woke up this morning and I could tell that I was starting to come out of this funk i've been in. The fog is lifting!

Did any one thing happen to get me over the hump? I don't think so. I don't think there was some kind of magic formula or anything like that. I think it was a combination of having both local and distant friends to support and encourage me, pray for me, being able to vent, debrief, and process thoughts, and choosing to move on.

It's like that feeling when you know that you are about to lift a heavy weight so you prepare yourself for it by taking a firm stance with feet planted, hands on the weight with a tight grip, and a few deep breaths before the grunt and burst of energy to do what needs to be done. That's the mode i'm in when I say I'm choosing to move on. It's not that challenges and obstacles have been removed, but rather that I'm choosing to press through them, around them, under them, over them - whatever it takes - because I would rather be somewhere else than in that funk.

Sometimes, it takes a choice to go where the sunshine is . . . .

When the fog rolls in, I can see how it's easy for me to focus my eyes on what happens to be in front of me - even when it's the negative. I can focus in on one particular friend that has let me down and i'll find myself overlooking, even taking for granted, the precious friends that actually are trying to reach out to support me. I can focus in on the delay of not getting the financial compensation I've requested at work while forgetting to be thankful for having a job in the first place. I can focus in on how inadequate I feel in trying to change the world and I overlook the fact that I've already changed it - in some way. It's easy for my insecurities to take over and dominate my thoughts and I'll get to a point to where it paralyzes me.

To say that i'm not happy isn't a complete statement. There are things that i'm not happy about but there are so many other things that I am happy about. And so maybe events and circumstances don't need to define my emotional state. Perhaps, I can be happy in the midst of enduring unhappy things.

I wonder if that makes sense?

Maybe being happy isn't even the goal. I think the goal is to be honest with how I feel. There are times when I need to complete my mourning and my grieving. There are times when I need to fully celebrate friends and successes and blessings. There are times when I need to take a few emotional risks. Maybe being open enough with my community to share about what i'm processing doesn't have to mean that i'm a basketcase. Perhaps it's okay to let go of an illusion of a good friendship when a more accurate picture of it is revealed.

I think i'm finding alot of sunshine in acceptance. I'm learning more and more to accept myself. I'm learning to accept circumstances for what they are - both exciting and disappointing. I'm learning to accept the fact that friends are who they are - some are constant, some are fair-weather, some are seasonal, some are mutual, some are takers, some are givers, some are more whole and some are still figuring themselves out.

I've been asking alot of questions in a GCN forum thread regarding the expectations that we have towards our friends. I'm realizing that people view friendship in very different ways and they approach them very differently. I've been disappointed in the past and now i'm seeing that it could have alot to do with clashing paradigms regarding friendship. Add in the complication of my own insecurities plus my own needs and things can get pretty messy.

I try to be the kind of friend to others that I want others to be for me. That's an expectation rooted in my own personal values and needs. But what if others don't share that same value or need? They will never reciprocate the kind of friendship that I'm wanting and so i'm bound to be disappointed. On the flip side, I do think that there is a degree of healthy expectation that we can have of our friends - something rooted in common sense, compassion, and genuine care. If i'm having a bad day, I think it's fair to expect a good friend to make a gesture of concern . . . "Hey, how are you doing? What can I do to help?"

Regardless, I'm learning to accept things for what they are - people for who they are. Sometimes, it's a terrible wake up call to see that the value of our friendship is unequally perceived. Sometimes, it's a wonderful revelation to see that we mutually value our friendship. I'm choosing to move on by accepting the fact that not all my friendships are equally ideal.

I don't know how healthy that is but for now it's what I need to move forward out of the funk and hole of disappointment and insecurity. The bottom line is that there is too much in this world (circumstances and relationships) that I cannot control. But in the fog, I can choose what to focus on. If I squint, I think I can see a ray of light!

One of my favorite songs for the past couple of years has been Fisher's "Beautiful Life". You may recognize it from a Toyota commercial. Check it out:

"Beautiful Life" by Fisher

Hey child up and go
-Big world is out there waiting for us to
live in every day

Outside you will find
there is love all around you
-Takes you, makes you wanna' say

That it's a beautiful life
and it's a beautiful world
and it's a beautiful time
to be here, to be here, to be here

The sky's blue
-just us two
Side by side we'll see the world
that surrounds us
-Hey, seize the day

Each road - every mile's a photograph in motion
to astound us, carry us away

into a beautiful life
'Cause it's a beautiful world
and it's a beautiful time
to be here, to be here

Leave all your cares behind you
The sun is rising
Turn around -it's right in front of you
and it's a beautiful life
and it's a beautiful time
to be here, to be here, to be here

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Recovering From Bad Days and Seasons

[Note: Scroll down to see Daniel Powter's video for "Bad Day" on YouTube and the lyrics.]

Damn it. Sigh. I'm sorry, it's just that . . . I just need a break. I'm waiting for something to break. I've been feeling pretty crappy for the past several weeks now, with a few patches of fun and smiles here and there. What's going on?

I just need a good long hug.

Among the emotional rollercoaster, there's also the work drama. There will be elections for new Board members in February so that means everyone's got an agenda. No one can be trusted, really. The office manager/accounting person just resigned yesterday and so no one trusts that the budget and ledger is accurate. People are out to "get" each other. Plus, i've got my own agenda . . . .

I woke up at 5AM (today) yesterday, early Tuesday, and got to work by 6AM to get a report done. It was needed for the Board of Director's meeting. Also discussed at the Board meeting was the reclassification of my job. I mentioned a few days ago that I'm not being paid consistent to the work I've been producing. I'm doing the work of a job five categories above my current classification which is a huge salary difference.

I've been and still feel undervalued there but at the same time, I feel compelled to do well - at what ever I do! I believe that God calls us to a standard of excellence in the work place and so that very different paradigm and approach has led to fruitful results, compliments from superiors, and the favor of my boss'. I don't think it's unfair to ask them to pay me accordingly. In fact, i'm not asking for a raise, per se, just that they would reclassify me to the more appropriate position (which has a higher salary scale).

With all the craziness and politics that's going on in the office right now, the Board tabled the discussion about my reclassification until next month. I don't mean to be a brat and all - but hell, that puts me off and it means another month of working for less than I'm giving. I know, i know, I can see a spiritual lesson coming out of this. Virtue and righteousness aside (but by no means devaluing them), on the whole i'm feeling pretty taken for granted - not just at work but at home, in life, in relationships.

I'm weary and i'm starting to shut down.

I guess I feel like i'm running out of gas - going on fumes and I just need to be ministered to, encouraged, hugged. On the surface, it kinda sounds selfish but it just feels like I give and I give and I give and I really don't mind giving - it's just that I long for it to be mutual and reciprocal. Isn't that fair?

I've acknowledged before and still do appreciate special people to me who have been supporting me lately. This post is not referring to them! I love you soooo much! (I'm just venting now.)

So anyway, i'm waiting for something to break. Is it just a season? Am I doing something wrong? Am I being wronged? Perhaps, it's all three. Either way, I can see that i'm starting to get a little bitter and I'm finding that I've got less strength to give out. I don't like being in this place.

But alas, the journey continues. After work today, I was bummed so I felt pretty anti-social. I avoided the gym (again) and went home, ate more than I should have (comfort food), and fell asleep early. I woke up at 2:30AM and here I am an hour later. I've got work in the morning - and *sigh* it's only Wednesday.

I finally have a reason to post this old favorite song "Bad Day" from Daniel Powter. I think I discovered him through Yahoo's Lauchcast videos a while back before it hit mainstream popularity. I saw it when they featured him as a new artist to watch and I loved him and the video immediately! Guess, they were right because the world caught wind of him soon enough.

He came out to LA a few month's ago to do a live radio performance for STAR 98.7 FM and for the first time performed a new song of his called "Love You Lately" (see the video at his site here). I got it on iTunes and i'm loving it as one of my new fav's! In fact, i'm listening to it now. So anyway, when he was on that show here in LA, he also did "Bad Day" and he explained that when he wrote the song, it wasn't just talking about having a bad day at the office. Rather, he said that it talks about how we have bad seasons in our lives when we hit low low times, even rock bottom. That's one of the reasons why I was attracted to the song back when I discovered it because I am all too familiar with low times and rock bottom.

Gosh, as bad of a day today (yesterday) was, it's amazing to see how God lifted me out of bad seasons - there was the suicide, not to mention 2001, and also one year ago, plus the days here or there along the journey of this past year and a half. The thing is - God always orchestrated these extremely difficult times to lead to amazing blessings. I've learned that closed doors always lead to opened doors because we are always traveling - always journeying towards Him.

He truly has been and is my Rock!

Bed time. It's 4:18AM and I've gotta get up for work in 3 hours at 7:00AM.

Here's to the bad days and bad seasons that God carries us through:

"Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

Where is the moment we needed the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to grey
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces everytime
And I don't need no carryin' on

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Well you need a blue sky holiday
The point is they laugh at what you say
And I don't need no carryin' on

You had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day

(Oh.. Holiday..)

Sometimes the system goes on the blink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well oh that strong
And I'm not wrong

So where is the passion when you need it the most
Oh you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Nice Guys Score Points

So a friend of mine said to me the other day, "You know, sometimes it helps to not always be the nice guy. You don't always have to be nice." He went on further saying, "Sometimes, you get points by being mean because it shows you don't really need him. And that will make him want you more."

No. That's dumb.

If a guy doesn't like me because I am nice, then what does that say about him? Concurrently, if a guy does like me because I am mean, then what does THAT say about him? And what does it say about me that I would be someone I'm not just to play the game and the charade of trying to get a guy to like me?

Sounds manipulative to me.

Besides . . . I am a nice guy. Why shouldn't that be a strength of mine instead of a weakness? It doesn't make sense to me to be (or pretend to be) a jerk just to attract a jerk. I don't even like jerks - regardless of how cute or hot they look on the outside. A jerk and a meanie is just so . . . . unattractive. So i'm not going to play that game.

That said - the other night (Sunday) I discovered that being nice has its rewards . . . .

If you've kept up over the past two weeks or so, you know that I haven't exactly been having the happiest of times. It's been a rollercoaster and sometimes it can suck being in a mood - especially, a lonely one. The really refreshing thing that I experienced Sunday evening was shifting my focus off of me and on to a friend. I spent the evening shopping for a variety of things for a Christmas package. I won't divulge now which items I drove all around town for but I will say that it made me feel so good to actually consider carefully the things that he would like, the things that he would appreciate, and the things that he would just get a kick out of. It was absolutely fun because my heart was in it. I had no other motive or mission except to try to get him to smile and feel thought of. And I expect nothing from him in return! that what having the Christmas spirit feels like? It's been so long!

So maybe this is me just being nice. Maybe it's me being thoughtful. Maybe it's me being caring. Whatever! As long as it's me. Why in the world would I want to intentionally be or act mean (or act anything) just for the ulterior motive of getting him to like me? I choose to be content being the person I am - just a regular nice guy who may unintentionally offend someone (I can take responsibility if I do) but just wants to make someone smile or laugh or feel a tad bit better about themselves and this world.

Here's the thing. I don't want my friends or my potential romantic interests to bring the worst out of me. I want my guy to be the kind of person that brings the best out of me. He's the kind of guy that makes me want to be a better person. Nicer, even.

That's what scores points with me.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Week and a Half's Worth of Anxiety

I know it's been almost a week since my last post. I've had a pretty rough week emotionally and I wasn't quite at a place to where I was ready to articulate all that's been in my head. And there surely has been alot on my mind!

Thanks to my good friend Shawn in Micronesia on an island called Yap (- he's a Peace Corps Volunteer and we met through GCN), I've been able to think through and process alot of it in a recent chat. I've also appreciated many of our chats this past week - they've been refreshing and fun!

Thanks also to a fellow Journeyman from "A Westward Journey" who wrote a recent post on his blog that I completely related with. What turned out to be a comment to his post evolved to be a mini-blog post of my own, unpacking my own feelings of this past week. Sorry Journeyman, hope you don't mind the temporary hi-jacking! Click that link to read his post and my comment.

Huge thanks to my friends and prayer warriors over at GCN. There's a prayer & support forum there and people around the world have been gracious and kind to keep me in their prayers.

I'm not so sure if i'm ready to unpack all of what has been on my mind lately here in today's blog post, but i'll sum a few of the things up in a nutshell . . . .

I'm approaching my job about reclassifying my job position to one that will match the kind and quality of work i've been doing (and that they've been asking of me). I'm not sure what will happen. I'm just feeling pretty undervalued and taken advantage of.

I've been wrestling with alot of emotions connected to the awkwardness of seeing people from the old house church (refer to "Death of a Church and Life in the Hot Zone"). A friend of mine was having a birthday dinner get together and many from that church was going to be there. I freaked with much anxiety so I flaked and didn't go.

I've also been grieving (still) the reality that I'm no longer working with that first non-profit that I co-founded (refer to "For the Kingdom and For the Baby"). It's extremely hard to see them move on and do well without me. I'm glad they are doing well. It's just that I was there in the beginning and helped catalyze the initial vision for the organization. I know that it was the right thing for me to do, especially since God eventually led me to developing the vision for Catalyst, but there's a part of me that longs to be a part of a team again.

Speaking of Catalyst, i've been really excited about some things that i'm wanting to do with the organization. But to sum up my insecurities - how can I even attempt to change the world when I can't even change me? I'm certainly no perfect example for anything so who am I to try to speak into our culture and try to catalyze a movement of change? Sigh. I can't do this alone nor do I want to do it alone. As Ori Brafman and Rod A Beckstrom refer to in their recent and awesome book "The Starfish and the Spider", this catalyst needs a champion! This has been a heavy one for me lately.

As you can probably imagine, i've been wrestling with loneliness quite a bit. The whole being single thing is really getting to me. I appreciate the friends around me who are coupled and I am sincerely happy for them, but it's hard to be "three" when I know they want to be "two" so that they can eventually be "one". So it's easier to just not be around and I'll just make myself scarce.

Remember that guy that i mentioned in the last post - the one that I wasn't exactly sure what i felt about him? I wasn't sure if I liked him or even if I specifically didn't like him. I was just trying to gauge it when I saw him last night and I discovered something pretty significant - it's a HUGE turn off to see that he has eyes on someone else. I've mentioned it before but mutuality is important to me. And i'm so tired of liking a guy that likes someone else. So i'll nip it in the bud before it starts and i'll just decide - nah, i'm not into this guy. I'm obviously not on his radar. If I am, then he's going to have to show some interest.

For once, i'd like to be on someone's radar and be pursued. Can I say that? Is it okay to say that I want to be chased? In a safe sense, of course, but isn't it fair to want someone to actually show interest in me by demonstrating interest in me? I'm not only talking about a romantic context but also in friendship. How about a mutual sense of interest? I've noticed that I'm often the guy who asks questions to go deeper. I'd just appreciate someone wanting to know about me. Believe me, i don't want to do all the talking, so there'd be a fair exchange of conversation. But have you ever had a conversation where you were the only one asking questions to try to keep the conversation going and the other person was only answering the questions and not offering much more than what you asked? Argh!

Okay, got that off my chest. (LOL, Joon, did you say that I was handling this better than I think?)

Oh yeah, one other thing that bummed me out this week. Have you ever noticed in some of those pictures of me in the filmloop that I'm wearing a white bracelet alot? It's from the ONE campaign and a good friend of my named Brian gave it to me when I met him almost a year ago. I've worn it every day since then. Earlier this week, it snapped. Yeah, that drove my OCD up the wall! What can I say? I'm a creature of habit!

So that's what's been contributing to the knots in my back, shoulder and neck. I can use a good massage! I've spent some time this week at the coffee shop just reading. I also spent some time at a high place that overlooks the city. It's a beautiful view and I like to go there to think and pray.

A couple things on a positive note:

I did my fourth Toastmasters speech this morning and got the ribbon for Best Speaker again. Woo hoo! I was quite shocked actually because I wasn't particularly pleased with my delivery and the other speaker was so much better than I was (in my opinion). But the award is decided by a vote from the audience and I got it. I've learned to graciously accept the compliments while at the same time recognizing that there are things that I know i'll be working on so that I can feel good about the delivery of my next speech.

By the way, I just saw Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto" last night. It was AWESOME! I loved it and i'm planning on seeing it again too, perhaps this afternoon before a party tonight.

The other thing is that I finally purchased my plane tickets for the GCN Conference at the beginning of January. It'll be held in Seattle, WA and i'm looking forward to connecting with many of the people there.

So that's it. A week and a half's worth of anxiety. Thank you to my friends who have been supporting me, encouraging me, and praying for me!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Off The Radar

It's weird to think about how we'll protect ourselves sometimes. Our life, our heart, our body, our mind, our self-respect - sometimes, it's so much easier to be in denial. It's like an emotional condom. It serves as a barrier from things that can cause both life and death.

I'd like to think i'm pretty self-aware. Especially since starting this blog, I've been in the practice of articulating where I'm at in my thought process or debriefing about events and decisions that i've made along the way. I want to be honest with myself on this journey.

This past week, i've been reflecting on my singleness. No, i don't want to stay single. Why am I still? I've been chewing on reasons that my imagination have manufactured and I can say that they are not all true. I can also acknowledge that, in some ways, I know why I'm still single. There's alot i'm trying to figure out regarding this area of my life.

So there's this guy . . . .

. . . . And the truth is that I don't know how I feel about him. I don't know if I like him. I don't know if I dislike him. But i find myself thinking about him ever since i met him. And at the time, I told myself that I wasn't going to go there. No - I'm not going to get all hot for the guy. I'm not going to fixate over him. I'm not going to pursue him. I'm not even going to hope that he'll pursue me. He is off the radar - my radar.


I don't know. Maybe i'm assuming he won't like me and i'm trying to protect my heart from being crushed from rejection. Maybe i'm just judging him by assuming he's a certain way based on what I observe from the outside. He's not my type. Or i'm not his type.

Do I like him? Do I hate him? Is he one of those guys that just makes me sick of gay culture? Is he someone that has substance and would find him refreshing and inspiring if I just gave him a chance? Is there something there?

I don't know how I feel about him. I keep thinking about him but I also find myself actually resisting the idea of him. All this in the context of not wanting to be single. Sure, maybe i'm just sabotaging myself. But something is different about him. Or maybe, there's something different about me.

I don't think he's completely off my radar.