Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Getting there...

"I'm in repair. I'm not together, but I'm getting there."

I was thinking today about where I'm headed, because, for some reason, it seems that the farther I travel down my personal road, the less I know about the destination. The journey is important. I know. Still, I'm wondering if the means are working toward any perceivable--let alone justifiable--end. I mean, I'm all for exercising my individuality. I understand the singular nature of my particular walk, and even agree with the ideology that a little travel and experience ultimately leads to a better and more fulfilled life; I'm just wondering if all this aimless wandering is completely necessary.

This question, though generally applicable to almost every aspect of my life, is particularly geared to where my head and heart is at spiritually. I know I rarely talk about this here (or anywhere, for that mater) but a conversation with a dear friend sparked what is growing to be a particularly unruly flame of discontent.

Have you ever sat trying to wrap your mind around or identify something that is perpetually out of reach--even if only just barely? What's amazing about such a predicament is that it sometimes takes only a few words from an extrinsic source to transform that cloudy, nebulous "something" into a clear, distinctly important, conception of an often deeply affecting part of your personal reality. Making this specific to my situation, I’ve known for a while now that a once barely comprehensible concept has been making itself more and more apparent. Narrowing this broad stroke even further, I'm coming to the point where my spiritual journey is, for the first time, being laid before me.

* * *

As the aforementioned friend intimated, the hand holding process has ended and the path to self-discovery and spiritual fulfillment is now mine to choose. With all of this before me, I'm wondering if the way that I've been led-- a way that has been anything but "less traveled"-- has hindered me from ever being able to make it on my own. If I'm walking the path that those before me have walked, how am I supposed to choose anything other than what those before me have chosen? I guess I'm wondering if my confusion lies in the fact that I'm expected to come up with an individual understanding of something that has hitherto relied on (and, presently, all but demands) communal construal.

* * *

I don't agree with half of what most people believe in this faith. This makes things all the more difficult considering that I can't seem to differentiate between the plural reality of "the" faith and the--more important--singular reality "my" faith. I'm stuck with walking the thin line between what is progressive and what is blasphemous, and it's completely clouding any vision of the future. I'm not quite following in the footsteps of those I have grown to respect and love, and I am nowhere near coming into my own. Instead of venturing down a discernible path, I'm pushing my way through the dense, inhibiting, brush that lies between the two, and I don't know how long I can keep it up. The foliage is stinging, blinding and disorienting, and I'm loosing sight of either way.

Do I play it safe, or boldly go where none has gone before? Seriously, either way I choose I'll be letting a part of me down. I don't want the religious answers, despite how comfortingly numbing they can sometimes be. I don't want a connection based on a historically perpetuated system that has become disconnected from its founding principles. I want a relationship. One that is not predicated on what I've done to atone for past occurrences I could not control. I want to be loved, and to love unconditionally. I want to feel needed and to need. I want to consistently practice what I preach and follow a God that does the same. I don't want the God that my mother, father or peers believe in. I want the God who truly loves me despite my (many) faults and who I can love in return; the one who is as ashamed of what "our" faith has become as I am; the one for whom I am enough and who is enough for me.

I am truly sorry if this offends anyone, for that isn't my intent. I'm merely verbalizing what has been stirring up so much internal dust as of late. Hopefully, this will be the first step toward some rehabilitating clarity.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Reading: The story of my life...

The day has finally come. I've decided that I'm going to start reading. I've been putting it off for so long because I know deep down that it's more than starting one book. In beginning the list, I'm also beginning a new way of thinking about and looking at what occurs in them all. I feel like I'm committing to a marriage that can never be annulled with a partner whom I barely know. From what I've heard, things change on the other side. Once passionate love affairs turn into embittered resentment... quaint familiarity becomes sardonic intimacy... basic exoteric gratification becomes acidic esoteric frustration.... Ah well...

To mark the occasion I bought three books to add to the already staggering list of ones I've yet to read. I should probably seek counseling, because it seems to be becoming an addiction. At any rate, I'm thinking I'm going to heed the advice of those who have come before me and start with the books that I'd normally use as paperweights.

I want to be ambitious, but the small amount of good sense that I do possess is telling me that starting too hot will burn me out before I get a good pace set. So, I'm thinking Middlemarch, Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick (ugh) and Tristram Shandy are ones I'm going to have to build up to... sue me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


So I Just got back "home" after a week long foray into the inner sanctum of familial relations. My parents renewed their vows after 25 years of (more or less) happy marriage, four kids, a host of semi-adopted auxiliaries and half a lifetime of dealing with large groups of Type A personalities. After having the privilege of participating in the ceremony (by far the worst "singing" I've done in recent and not so recent memory) I realize that I'm in no hurry to venture down that road.

Don't get me wrong. I love family. I love seeing the look of true pleasure in their eyes when they behold the reassuring sight of a lasting union between two individuals in whom they see a wellspring of promise and possibility. I love the almost palpable bond that connects even the most estranged members of the convivial collective. I love feeling a sense of safety amidst a world of danger and chaos. Still, too much of any good thing counteracts that thing's goodness, and--true to form--, the family that I hold so dearly is also the family that-- given the proper amount of time--drives me up a wall-- and/or out a door.

All in all, the week was enjoyable. I had the opportunity to see folk I hadn't in a very long time, and also got to hang out with friends whom I'd been sorely missing for what seemed to be even longer. It was a week I didn't know I needed. Here's to the times when surprises are doubly unexpected and, equally, enjoyed.