Monday, June 05, 2006

Empty space

I'm in a grey zone right now. I'm writing in my blog to fill in my own empty space. It's Monday, and I'm waiting to hear from Lowe's department store about a position I applied for there. I've had an interview, but that was just to make sure I wasn't a drug addict or physco nut-job. I have yet to sit down with the actual store manager and have an interview about getting hired. That was on Saturday. They told me that they would call me on Monday or Tuesday about the final? interview. So right now I have to wait and it all feels like an empty space.

I can't spend money because I don't have a job. I don't have a job because I'm waiting on this interview. I don't have an apartment. I don't know how to get to a lot of places because I'm still getting used to the area. I'm mooching off my sister and brother-in-law, sleeping on their couch and eating their food and in a small way, invading their privacy, and that bothers me. It's like I wish I was invisible. Just because I am here I am putting a recorder on their lives. I'm not trying to or being nosy. I don't have to. All I have to do is be around and I'm an interruption to their normal, everyday life. I know that they don't think this way, but when you're in a strange place, you tend to think this way. I don't have a phone, although my sister let's me use hers after nine at night. But there is nothing that is really mine here. I don't have an apartment, a job, a phone, a bed, or a sense of how to get around. I'm borrowing off of everybody else for those things, which I am super thankful that they are so gracious to provide, but it only reminds me that I'm depending on everybody else for them. But I do have a car and money saved up and a decent resume and an opportunity with Lowe's for a job. So really, I have a lot more than when I first came down. I guess that's the silver lining. And there is a silver lining to every storm cloud, but thousands of people get killed by lightening every year looking for it (ha ha ha).

So that's the empty space that I'm in right now, the grey zone as I titled it earlier. I believe it to be that part of growing up where life moves at its own pace and does not check in with us about it to make sure that we're okay with it. Life doesn't ask permission from us to move at its own pace. I wish it would, but if it did, then I probably wouldn't have learned anything. And there's a lot more to learn. Something new pops up everyday that I need to learn. A lot of the lessons of life are things that I have ignored and am now paying for. Life humbles you. People humble you. And if you resist it and let your pride grow, then you never really become a successful, mature adult. You go nowhere as a person without humility.

I hope I haven't depressed anybody. I'm really actually learning a lot by having to wait like this. And I do miss everyone of you very much. All of you represent my life when it was all going smooth. I had a job, a place to live, food for free, my own cellular phone, and the ability to visit any one of you whenever I felt like it. It wasn't going to have to take a 9 hour drive. Now it does. So now, I'm really missing everything that I had. I can't believe how fast it was all ripped out beneath me as I drove to Virginia that day. And now, even though I wish it was going better, my life is beginning to create itself down here. Soon enough, I'll have a job, an apartment, a phone, and friends to visit once again. And I'll come back up there for holidays and see as many of you as I can. Life is all about losing and gaining, but it seems that if you're willing to work hard and go for it, then God will bless you. That's what it feels like, anyway.

Well, that's enough for now. Talk to u later.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A time of reflection

Coming down here (to Lynchburg, VA from Titusville, PA), I've suddenly realized that the
grass may be greener, but it's still just grass. It's
the same thing, it just looks different. It's not like
my yard was dirt and Lynchburg was lush, deep green
grass. There was grass on both sides, but I was tired of mine. I understand
more deeply the meaning of that little cliche, and
it's wisdom. When I look at all that is around me down
here, I realize that the people who live here are as
messed up and stubborn and prideful as the people I
left back home that frustrated me. It just manifests
itself differently. The more you see of the world, the
more you realize that people (or their nature) are the
same wherever you go. They have their various methods
of doing things, their time-honored traditions, and
culturally-influenced philosophy. However, it all
amounts to nothing but people who are just trying to
be people and not numbers in a mindless crowd that
moves to some brainwashing beat. They look for meaning
and purpose in these things (their church, beliefs,
philosophy, were they were born and grew up, etc.) and
are frustrated when they don't find it. Out of that
frustration, they deceive themselves into believing
that this is all there is, so you'd better be happy
with the little meaning you can glean out of it. To
me, this is sad, because I find meaning everywhere and
in everything. Everything that happens is an
experience that is completely fresh, and when it is
past, it becomes a true memory that will never die.
You can't manipulate it or change it. That's what I
love about memories. You can't load them into a file
on the computer, open them in a digital photoshop, and
proceed to add, cut, or paste what you want or don't
want. Memories are still pictures that somehow move in
our souls and speak into the present circumstance.
Some make us laugh, some make us cry, while others we
wish we could forget. But all in all, they give us the
richness and texture of life that is found nowhere
else but in the human heart and Spirit of God. If all
I had were the memories of just the past month, I
would have more than enough meaning and substance to
write a thousand novels filled with beautiful and
tragic stories. That is how much the past means to me.
To put simply, that IS what the past means.

With all of this circulating within my soul, I wonder
now why God has brought me to this place. I already
feel the needs of my sister and brother-in-law. They
need what I can offer, which is simply companionship
and sweet love that does not ask for anything in
return. And that is the best love. It truly feels good
to be able to offer it to them. I also see how some of
the young, single men need me. They need something
they can't even explain. They need help they don't yet
know of. In our pride and self-illiusionment, we truly
believe that we are fine and without the need of
emotional or even spiritual help, especially from
another person, especially from another person who
happens to be a Christian. It's as if there is a
honored, unspoken code between Christians that they
must not look to one another for help or encouragement
or even honesty. To be honest with one another about
our failures as well as our victories is to break the
illusion that we have placed around our very selves.
Being honest with somebody else means that I will
first have to be honest with myself. When you spend
everyday beating around the bush, soon enough you'll
discover that there is no longer a bush to beat
around. Maybe you can still fool others, but
unfortunately, you already know the truth of the
matter for yourself. And that is almost worse, to know
the truth about yourself very plainly and then
deceiving everyone else until you can convince your
ego that you are really okay. It gets complicated when
you try to alter the truth into something easier to
swallow even though you know that it's impossible
because the truth is most often a very large horsepill
that is simply painful to look at. We don't even want
to imagine it going down our throat.

This is what I have realized more and more each day
that I have been down here. This is not a perfect
place, not a paradise or melting pot of intellectual
stimulus. Most intellectual melting pots are just a
bunch of proud people getting together putting on a
show and trying to convince the world of something
that they are not sure of themselves. And what are
they trying to convince themselves of? What is the
question that is nagging them in the quiet moments of
life? What is that "splinter in your brain" that
Morpheous speaks of in "The Matrix"? It is the
question, "Am I real?" or "Am I a person?" or "Can
people see me?" This is what I believe the quest of
the heart and mind is. This is the search that all of
us take part in for at least some degree of our lives.
It may not consciously occupy our every waking
thought, but it is there to remind us of our very
humble state before an infinite God. It shows us the
futility of our self-centered and self-justifying
words. It is the one question in the back of our mind
and in the corner of our heart that consistently beats
against the floor, driving us mad if we let it. We
want to deny its presence, pretend it just the
scratching of branches against the window, or a small
rock that boy has just thrown at our door. But it is
alive and beating and beating and beating. We cover
our ears and wish it away, but it only knows one
rhythm, one task that is ever before it, as natural to
it as breathing is to us. It is a reminder, an honest
picture of who we really are as humans. Wouldn't it be
wonderful if this were not so and the masquerade could
continue to last even long after the final curtain
falls over our eyes? But truth does not die, nor do we
find relief by cutting our ears off or gouging our
eyes out. It is always there. Whether you live in
Titusville or go to church in Guys Mills or move to
Lynchburg, it will be there. If it wasn't, then why
would I need Jesus Christ as a constant light into my
dark life? Franz Kafka said that the Messiah will
return to earth once we no longer have a need for him
up in Heaven. When his work is done from his throne,
then will he join everything together and unite heaven
and earth and we will only cry tears of joy. Can we
know what it will feel like to no longer need to worry
or to fear or to lie? Heaven is truth in everything
and no illusions or lies to be found. Because if
everything is perfect and God has destroyed all of his
enemies, than what will we have to fear from the truth
any longer?

Can you give a name to this kind of blessing?

"You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you
free."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Who is BudRex?

For those of you who do not know why I call myself BudRex, I will take a moment to explain the reason. My name is Rex, but I also go by Bud as a nickname. My girlfriend has a little sister of about four years. Her name is Natalie (hope I spelled that right). She is a delightful little girl full of energy and mischievous creativity. And whenever she prays for me it goes something like this, "...and God, please help BudRex..."

I could not have thought of a more fitting title for my blog or myself for that matter. So thank you Natalie.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I have arrived!

Lynchburg, VA, welcomed me at around 7 PM yesterday. As I drove closer to my destination, I could smell the blooming blossoms from some tree that is still unknown to me. The air is a gentle warm, not too hot or sticky. It's like the very beginning of summer. It was a most excellent ride down from PA. It took me 9 hrs. which included one stop for gas. The MapQuest directions took me on what you could call the "scenic route". I traveled through the hills of West Virginia, and I do mean quite literaly the hills. For about 30 miles during one part of the journey, I could only go about 20-30 mph because of all the sharp curves. It was as if every turn was a horseshoe bend. Trees surrounded me, and in some parts, there were high rock walls. Occasionally, I would go through a small town or past a few houses. I was preparing myself to see a man in overalls with a straw hat sitting on his front porch playing a banjo, but I never did. I experienced the same thing again during my last leg of the journey in VA. As I drew closer to Lynchburg, I went past or through (I'm not sure which) Jellystone National Park. That's where the road became the same as in the West Virginia hills, constantly curving and slow moving. But because it was different and so far away from everything that I was accustomed to, I really didn't care. There's something about traveling to new places, especially new places that you will be staying at for awhile, that makes you very content no matter where you are. I have to admit that it was a little intimidating at certain times. Traveling alone and not knowing anyone in addition to having no means of communication except an old cellphone that can only be used to dial 911 can make one a little uncertain of all that could take place.

But now I am here, and very much disoriented in many ways. My departure was rushed and sudden, which has left me looking back and wondering where home is. Why isn't it close anymore? Where did everyone go? I know the obvious answers to these questions, but my heart has not yet adjusted to the reality of being two states away. The torturous thing is to reach for a phone and suddenly realize that a phone call is the closest I will get to anybody back home. That and email and this blog. It used to be, at maximum, a half hour drive, and I would arrive at the doorstep of any friend or close relative. You don't realize how close and consistent everything is until it's gone, or at least 9 hours away. It isn't that great of a distance, and I'm not really necessarily talking about an actual physical distance. It's the distance of lives. The people of my life, my mother, father, sister, grandma, grandpa, girlfriend, pastors, etc., were my life. Even my job held a small emotional attachment for me, mostly with the good people I worked with. And now I am two states, 9 hours, and $60 in gas away starting a whole new life for myself. A new job, an apartment all of my own (which will be a first for me), and new people. It's a fresh start, and very daunting when I consider that I could have chosen to change nothing and remain in PA living the same life that I had been used to for the whole 20 years of my existence. But I knew that staying wasn't right for the simple reason that I was supposed to go away and grow up. Yes, I could have grown up there, but that was not what God wanted. It was time for me to go.

I miss everyone dearly. That may sound like a "sissy" word to use, but it describes my feeling perfectly.

To Mom and Dad; I love you both so much and am even now beginning to respect you both even more just for being adults that have survived the cruel, harsh world. I have much more to learn from your examples. Be encouraged in knowing that home has meant more to me during the last few years than it ever has. I know my actions, attitude, and words may not reflect this, but my sincere grief over leaving has made it true. Thank you.

To Tessa, my special, little sister; I love you and cannot wait for you to come and visit me. I hope that your Bible study blesses you like the Bible studies that I attended at your age blessed me. Don't stop writing stories or telling me about what makes you happy. I'm already missing you a lot. I have no one to poke now. I can't poke Maegan because she's pregnant!

To Ashley; You know how I feel about leaving you behind. But we also both know that it was the best for both of us. Those words have been said, so let me say a few new ones. Love never knew a distance too far, and my dreams last night prove it. I dreamt of you babysitting the Morris children and at least 12 other of their friends. As always, you were never outpaced by any of them. It's as if your mind was made to be engaged by 20 children all at the same time. I've never known anyone your age able to take on responsibility with such strengh, composure, and unfailing compassion. It reminded me of why I loved you. Because you give so much to others, so freely without ever thinking that you deserve anything in return. I know I'm gushing you with compliments, but I do because you're the most precious person that has ever entered so close to my heart. You are not forgotten. I hope that we will learn how to adapt to the new ways of communication (phone, letters, email, this blog), and that our relationship will take deeper roots in firmer ground because of it. Again, I love you.

I'm afraid that I am exhausted now. I would write to so many more of you, but mental and emotional wearniess restrict me. Please do not hesitate to email me if you have my address. If not, simply leave a comment on this blog and I will find a way to contact you. Don't leave your email on this page as anyone will be able to see it that visits it. You are all in my prayers and thoughts constantly. And I cannot wait until we can be with one another again. Adios.