Saturday, September 17, 2011

Only the Faithful Shall Make it Across...

Only the Faithful shall make it across…..
Today is the day.  Sometime around noon, my wife and I will got the UPS store, carrying with us a stack of papers, find a notary public, and for all intensive purposes, end our marriage.  If ever there were a day of dual emotions, today is that day.  I have spent many hours and days anticipating this moment.  I have look forward to this moment, dreaded this moment, and in some instances done both at the same time.  All I know for sure is the moment has now arrived.
I look forward to and relish certainty.  I like knowing that the red spot on the radar will hit West Asheville at 6:10 PM, just like the weatherman says, thus giving me a window of 45 minutes to complete any traveling I want to do whilst successfully missing the storm.  I am comforted in knowing that Flight 109 from Charlotte to Pensacola will land exactly at 10:27 AM, just as the ticket tells me, and just as my watch counts down.  I enjoy knowing that the band will begin promptly at 9:30 justifying my need to get to the venue at 8:30 so as to secure the perfect space equidistant to the stage and the bar.  I am comforted by the “sure thing,” the obvious, and the predictable.  
So life, being the mischievous imp that it is, throws at me the mother of all curveballs.  I am now existing square in the middle of unpredictable chaos.  The red spot has stalled and I can no long plan my travels around the storm’s path and timing.  As I set out, I may vies the awesome beauty of cloud to ground lightening as the storm passes 3 miles to the south or I may have to squint as I drive through the worst hail and wind storm I have ever seen thus rendering my knuckles permanently white.  I may have the smoothest flight in history.  One where everything takes off and lands exactly when it’s supposed to and I am equipped with my own satellite radio hub, a window seat, and a working fan.  Or, we could be flying into wind sheer and making preparations to circle the runway for an hour and a half whilst the ground crew is busy cleaning up a spill.  I may arrive at the venue only to find the band hanging out at the bar ready to hand out back stage and after party passes to the myself and the 15 other people who thought it important to get to the spot an hour before show time.  Or, the lead singer could have strep throat and not be able to perform and the make up date that the purchase of my ticket affords me falls on the date I have a soccer game scheduled.  
The future is uncertain and I must accept and get used to that fact.  I have no clue what will happen in the next few hours or days let alone the next few years.  The possibilities are exponential and are equal parts sad, scary, and wonderful.  
Being a lover of history and good movies, the Indiana Jones series is quite appealing to me.  I love all of the movies.  I exclude The Crystal Skull from that series as I sometimes just ignore things when they are too bad to warrant my attention.  My favorite of the series is The Last Crusade which chronicles Indiana’s quest for the Holy Grail.  The part that stands out is the very end.  Upon finding the Valley of the Crescent Moon, Indy faces the unenviable task of actually entering the cave where the Holy Grail is housed in hopes of retrieving the life-giving chalice of Christ, filling it with water, and giving it to his recently gunshot wounded father.  As if being burdened with the responsibility of saving his dying father’s life wasn’t enough, Indy must pass three, very dangerous, tests before entering the Grail Chamber.  Narrowly escaping a beheading and falling to his death because he remembers how to pray and spell Yahweh in Hebrew, Indy faces his third, final, and most difficult task.  As he stands at the edge of a cliff, that he seemingly must fly across, he opens his book of clues and seeks guidance for his next move.  What is depicted are 3 men at the edge of the same cliff.  Two seem to fall to their death while one seems to fly across the cliff.  The words below the picture explain that only the faithful man will safely find his way across the chasm.  Not able to muster up the courage of faith to fly across the empty space, Indy reaches for his whip and looks for a place to swing across.  He finds none and discouraged, turns back and explains that there is no way to cross. He does not hear comforting words.  He hears his father’s sputtering breath and he struggles to cling to life.  Indy is faced with the challenge he most dreads, a challenge that will not be solved using his cunning and guile, a challenge that will be solved using faith alone, something Indiana does not have in surplus.  Hearing his father weakly mutter the words, “Just have faith Indiana,” he takes off his hat, wipes his brow, closes his eyes, breathes deeply, and takes a step into the abyss.
So, much like Indy, here I stand at the edge of a cliff, one that offers no certainty or comfort.  I don’t know what lies across the cliff or I can even make it across.  I am faced with the situation I dread more than any other, a situation where no amount of preparation of research can guide me through.  I am faced with a true test of faith. 
The difference between myself and Indian Jones is I could actually turn back.  I can go back to the predictable, the certain, and the somewhat safe.  I can choose the path of least resistance of danger.  I can choose the apparent solid ground of the status quo and not the uncertainty of the cliff.
So, today is the day I choose.  Today, I make the most important decision I have made to date.  Today, I take off my hat, wipe my brow, take the biggest breath I have ever taken, close my eyes, put one foot over the edge of the cliff, and simply step……..

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5.9 on the Richter Scale....

So....yeah....there was an earthquake today.  Apparently, somewhere outside Washington DC, there was a small to medium sized earthquake today.  That doesn't happen too often so I think it's time to assess what it all means.

I am of the understanding that all natural disasters are a sign from above. A warning that things are not going as the Almighty would have planned.  Let's review:  Hurricane Katrina was obviously some sort of divine retribution for New Orleans giving us someone like Emeril Legasse. Sure, the response to hurricane the Federal Government would not have satisfied a hall monitor at Baton Rouge Elementary School conducting a fire drill.  How can you possibly hope to survive when God uses Katrina to hit that evil coastline with a bit of His own essence.  BAM!!!

Let's move on to the eruption of Mt Novarupta on June 6, 1912 on the Alaska Peninsula.  1912 would have been about the time that Sarah Palin's grandparents were trying to decide whether or not the back seat of the car was a good option.  I think we know how the Omnipotent One feels about Sarah Palin.  The eruption was obviously the Great Foreseer's way of pre-emptively punishing a state that would not leave Mrs. Palin alone.  Lawsuit after lawsuit was thrown at this lady's doorstep.  And for what?  How big a deal is it that she used her influence to convince Alaskan State Troopers that it was ok, nay, expected that they harass citizens on behalf of jilted lovers.   And the rest of the country is not out of the clear either.  I hide under the bed every time Palin is ridiculed on TV for fear of massive amounts of lightening bolts being thrust upon the earth by He Who Wields the Bolts.

Oh, it's another one you want.  This past summer we witnessed unprecedented floods as the Mississippi River overflowed its banks.  A weather happening due to global warming you ask?  Nay, says I.  This was obviously revenge for the many dances with the Devil that the south has enjoyed.  I'm not talking about slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK, or catfish grappling.  I'm talking about the fact that this area is home to some of the worst city planning since Nero decided to construct Rome out of wood.  It is not uncommon for small towns in the south to have more one way streets than actual drivers.  Or the fact that there are more churches and auto parts stores per square inch than grains of sand on the beach.  The Man Upstairs is truly displeased.

I could go on and on but I will not.  I will not dishonor those who have been effected by the DC ShakeUp of 2011.  I will not sit idly by and look the other way as the Great Earthshaker in the Sky sends me a message.  I know why He's upset.  It should be obvious to everyone.  It's Obama.  This guy is the worst kind of president.  What kind of president takes time to look at all sided of the argument?  What kind of president tries to actually compromise with the opposing party? What kind of president would rather see poor people pay less money to the government than the people who enjoy rides in private planes?  What kind of president would want to see every person, rich or poor, enjoy the top notch care provided by American hospitals?  I'll tell you what kind: a stone cold wuss.  The Great Physician wants a president who speaks loudly and has someone else carry a massive stick for him.  He wants a president who shoots from the hip.  He wants a president that wants to limit student reading to only those books found between Genesis and Proverbs.  He wants a president who would be such a patriot and lover of America, sorry, "Merica," that he would secede from that country just to prove a point.  Well, he would secede from the country until he needed money from said country for other messages sent from the One Up Above.  He wants a president that can obviously separate signs from God from weather events that might prevented by the human race understanding that their actions are destroying the planet that He created.  He wants a president that would have the poor and uninsured fend for themselves.  God knows that the more that occurs the more he gets to populate His realm with truly appreciative souls.  He wants a president from his favorite state: Texas.

I'm talking to you Rick Perry.  Do us the favor of winning the White House so none of these natural disasters occur again.  Grace us with your love of country, good steak, hair spray, and Tastee Freeze.  Grant us the honor of being right about the fact that we don't need a president who studied constitutional law or was Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Who needs that when you could have a guy that barely graduated community college  but was a hell of a drinker?  It's not like we've ever had someone like that before.......oh......wait......

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And then there was one.....

Well...I am alone now.

What happened?  I had a seemingly happy marriage.  Things were not perfect but they were certainly looking up.  My wife and I moved to a town we love, she found a job she enjoyed, and I was happy with my career.  Then, about a month ago, all that was done.

I am left with an empty apartment and an unhappy a massive empty space inside of me that I have tried to fill with everything from local beer, copious amounts of running, coaching soccer, teaching school, and playing a bit of tennis. Don't get me wrong, these things are great, but none of them will replace what was once there.

I realized that last night.  On the surface it was a day for the ages.  From the moment I woke I spent my day doing things that truly made me happy.  On the surface, it was one of the best days I have had in quite some time.  Around 7 AM I woke, made 2 eggs, some coffee and watched a large amount of soccer on TV.  So far, so good.  Around noon, I watched a tennis match.....which I thoroughly enjoyed, not so much because I like watching tennis but I got to hang out with some great people and cheer on a great friend.

After that, it was a couple pints at the Bywater, a Tourists game, and a little dart throwing at a downtown watering hole.

Like I said, on the surface it was a great day.

But at some point time I end up at home.  With nothing but an empty apartment, an emptier space inside, and an unhappy cat.

I have decided that there are going to be times when I'm sad.  There are going to be times when there is no way possible to fill the emptiness that exists.  There are going to times when I mistakingly try to fill that emptiness and quell that sadness in a manner that probably isn't the best.  My hope is that more often than not I don't try to fill the emptiness and quell the sadness in a manner that probably isn't best.

So, I'm putting it out there.  I going to chronicle the next year.  I hope that in doing so, I can help others going through the same thing I am going through.  I also hope that this provides some therapy and comfort to me.

The emptiness will always be there but I think every time I get up recognize that there is a void and appreciate the situation I am in, that emptiness will decrease.  There is a song I love by Trampled by Turtles called "Blood Shot Eyes."  The opening lines, I believe, say what I am feeling best.  I will close the first post with those lines.

It's empty where you were,
Just a big empty hole
I've tried every bottle
Every pill that I know
But time, precious time
Works better than wine
And them blood shot eyes

(Side note - I really need to apologize to someone for my actions and words last night.  I was an idiot and said something really stupid.  I made a mistake and will probably make more.  I just hope I didn't ruin what I feel can be a great friendship.)