I changed the blog outline.

I shifted things around. That old one was working okay, but I wanted something that would let me put a picture in there. I took the one on the header in Cuba. Anyhow, I’m trying to figure out how to change the font and whatnot. Until then, this is the new look.

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And then there were none.

I finished my last day of my AmeriCorps service year today. It was a satisfying feeling. I was really glad that I was able to meet the amount of hours necessary and find myself developing some pleasant sorts of thoughts regarding my experience. It occurs to me that the Lord has been very faithful, and He alone is the reason I stuck it out. If He hadn’t been helping, I would have probably quit. Then I would have had to find a new job, one that I didn’t care about, etc…

You might say that I grew a lot in my job. How you ask? No idea. I think that’s what this upcoming 3 month vacation is about: Time to process. I get time to pray, to think, and to talk about what I’ve learned in an effort to see what I couldn’t see about the whole thing. I’d like for that part to go well, but I guess I don’t have too much control over how exactly it goes.

One thing is for sure: I felt like a nerf-ball yesterday. If you’ve ever played with a nerf football you can squeeze it and it takes the shape of your hand. Then after you let go it fills back in to how it was. I think it was like that in some ways. When work was over it felt like the thing squeezing the nerf-ball was gone and I suddenly had all this sense of being able to start getting used to life without the constant tension that for some reason work brought.

I said it’s like that because it’s not that exactly. The nerf-ball goes back to the way it was. For me, I think that in ways that are good and bad, I’m not the same person that I was when I started this job. I submit that most of the changes are good, some of them will take time to be good, and some of them just need to be redeemed. I can’t claim that I wasn’t affected by my experience working with at-risk youth and I don’t claim to know exactly what that means.

I do believe that the Lord has good things in store for me through this,  maybe I just don’t get what they are or what they’re for…by maybe I mean, I’m pretty sure that’s the case. I hope to be granted the chance to know. I might not be given that, but I suppose there are worse things than not knowing the exact details of God’s thought-processes…for one thing trying to know them…for another, not trusting Him in the midst of things I don’t understand.

I’m okay with not knowing at this point, and I think that He has proved Himself trustworthy in and through all this…As always.

Well, I’ve been busy…

I haven’t blogged much despite my desire to do so, but I’ve been doing some other writing. At the moment I have 6 days left of work…Not many at all. In the process though, I’ve been writing a Firwood style after-action report of my experience throughout the year in the context of my AmeriCorps service time. That’s been interesting and kind of fun. It’s the sort of thing that I think I would have liked to receive from the person before me at the beginning of this year.

Otherwise, I’ve been drafting a letter. To Rachel McAdams. She’s the actress in the notebook and other such films. I’ve seen her movies over the years and every time I despair of there being such women in my life…Then a moment came when I saw Sherlock Holmes. She was in that film, and did a marvelous job. Afterwards I decided that I had had enough. I was going to see if there was a shot of anything working out. I made a facebook group to garner support and suddenly my friend Stephen had found out how to get a hold of Ms. McAdams via mail…I had a goal. So, I’m going for it.

I’ve written a letter on my computer that I will transpose to paper and I will send it to Rachel and ask her on a date. If it works…wow. Why wouldn’t I have tried that earlier? If it doesn’t work…well I didn’t really expect it to anyway…but why not at least try, right? I really have nothing to lose in this endeavor. I’d figure I’ve got about a 15% chance of anything at all happening. That’s better than zero. Moreover, the letter is good. I have had several people look over it and it has been generally accepted as quality (especially after my friend Ben and I edited it for about an hour.)

Just throwin’ it out there. What’s wrong with a little over-the-top scheme ever now and again? Can’t be that much, can it?

Relational shut-out?

I’m still blessed with extra time at the moment, so I reckon I’ll talk about something else too.

I work with kids. Most of the kids I work with have a few issues. At least. I don’t know that this is an appropriate place to talk about those issues, but one of the things that I’ve noticed recently is that they can really frustrate me sometimes. However, in spite of that even the most frustrating moment can be redeemed by the enduring nature of the relationships that I/Jesus  have cultivated with the majority of these kids. Except for one.

There is this one kid who doesn’t speak to me. It’s not because he’s shy, it’s not because he’s afraid…honestly I don’t really know why. But whatever the case may be he simply ignores me and pretends I’m not there. My words seem to be pointless when I talk with this kid. I can say good morning, I can offer him food, I can do a variety of things, but even if I get him to hear what I say he gives me this look that says, “I hate that I have to acknowledge your existence.” You should add some cursing for effect.

I don’t get it really. I come to work every day unless I’m sick or at a wedding. I spend time helping these kids learn things. Even in the midst of my burnout I am still remarkably excited to hang out with them outside of that. But this one kid treats me like a human piece of excrement that interrupts his important schedule of being an asshole.

It all started when I told him he couldn’t make jokes about killing people. That was it. Then we stopped talking. I was super pumped about getting to know him before that moment, and in the weeks and months following I just got tired of trying. How do you try to talk to someone who won’t even pretend to listen to anything you say? Ever.

I’ve never experienced relational shut out like this. It’s to the point where I don’t even say goodmorning anymore. He’s like a moving, talking object that I don’t get to engage with. It actually hurts. Sure he could do other things to get to me. He could curse and yell and a variety of other things. But this is probably the worst thing. He pretends I don’t exist. He only talks to me when absolutely necessary and even then the few words I’ve received lately have been curse words/rude statements that form the borders of a state of complete lack of communication.

It’s super frustrating. And yet, as I write this out I find while I think about it that I’ve probably done this to God…Ouch. That sucks.

Well.

I just looked at my blog stats. I’m prone to do it because as much as I like to write on this blog it is also nice to know that I’m not just throwing it out onto the internet to have my thoughts die there in the silence of swirling ones and zeros. I enjoy having people read/ respond to my thoughts. Even if they don’t post a comment.

I checked out the monthly layout on the blog and it seems that I’m not as popular as I was when I was a Peer Advisor at SPU. All in all, the stats are slipping. If this were a Presidential term in office, things would be rough. As it is…I really don’t care that much. If anything I’m pretty okay with it. I mean if you’re one of the few dedicated readers of my blog more power to you. Thanks for sticking with me. You’re probably some of the few that really want to read it anyway.

Having said that. I’ll move on.

I have 20 days left of work. Unfortunately I am counting today. I had work today most people don’t but, I do. Still, it life could be far worse. I taught a few kids how to play Settlers of Catan and watched some of agent Cody Banks. Whenever I see that movie I always wonder what Hillary Duff is doing, and how I can figure out a way to date her…What? The kids at work like it more than me…That’s why we watch it…mostly.

This weekend was a bit unpleasant at the start. I had a rough week last week. I moved out of my house, cleaned it, and moved into a new house. All things considered I’m pleased to have survived the process with as much sanity as I did (which was considerable). I think the unfortunate part of all that was that I didn’t pray much last week. I noticed. Pretty fast actually. I was renting a room in quietly frustrated land where my life outside of work was just as exhausting as my life at work and I wasn’t really talking to God much at all.

Then I did. I went to a wedding on Saturday and then got back late and stayed up till about 2am talking about Jesus and grace and other cool things with my friend Chris. The next day I realized how much I NEEDED to be putting time and effort into the most important thing. So I did that. Today is actually pretty money. All things considered I am having a lovely day. Might have even spent time with a really wonderful girl at the wedding too…aside from the bride. You should ask me later how that turned out.

All moved in.

I have made it. I am all moved into the new house. In was a super obnoxious process. Cleaning houses is never fun, especially with a sense of urgency. It was still better than the last time I moved out of a house (2-3 hours of scubbing at mold with steel wool…eehhh).

My new house has a very different feel than the old one. It’s a bit messier, a bit more disorganized, a bit older, but in general I love it thus far. As I write my housemate Andy Zook is practicing for a worship service he is playing at tomorrow. The sound of legitimate praise to the Lord of creation is such a fantastic reminder of the most important thing. Andy was playing a song whose word were ” You are the God of the broken, the friend of the weak, you wash the feet of the weary, embrace the ones in need…” I was incredibly refreshed by those words.

Frankly, all those word remind myself of me lately. I haven’t been feeling at the top of my game regarding life and following Jesus recently…whether or not that actually dictates how things are going is a different matter. Those words spoke to me where I was. I feel broken, weak, weary, and in need. The wonderful thing about all this is that this is a place where the Lord still meets with me. Regardless of how I feel, his grace is enough to carry me and He is willing to walk with me however and wherever I may be.

I dunno that I’ve got much more than that except to throw that out there in some form in spite of how I’ve been feeling. There’s this scene in JJR Tolkein’s Simarilion where a battle ensues and a man stands at the ford of a river fighting a losing battle to allow the elven king to escape. He keeps fighting as the enemy circles around him shouting “The sun will rise again!” I think that’s the sort of thing that every now and again we as Christians need to be able to do. We need to be able to keep on struggling when everything seems to suck and trust in the reality of the Triune God’s victory through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The war is over, and as the church we boldly proclaim that victory in the face of present death and darkness.

The sun will rise again.