Monday, December 31, 2007

new years, holidays, etc

i'm really tired of the holiday season. don't get me wrong, the sentiment is amazing, but everyone's either flying high, or finding a new low.

as i'm sitting here...on facebook on the turn of the year, i'm hearing people desperately looking for something to do, and people who don't want to say goodbye to 2007. the problem with the holidays is everyone wants the media ideal of the holidays - perfect friends and family to spend it with. when they don't get that it brings them down, hard. i'm excited to see the holiday season go, that way we can all get back to normal life, and normal emotional states, rather than flying all over the place.

i know this year has been amazing for me, lots of hard times, but that's what made it a year, no story is without conflict. 2008 should be equally incredible, and yes, i'm desperately looking forward to being back at camp this summer, and spending the spring with the underground.

then, i have no clue where i'll be.

in the moment

i watched garden state this past weekend, and it's brought me around to thinking about "in the moment" living. i spend a lot of time planning things (thinking about the future) or reminiscing about the past (thinking about the past). how often do i actually think about right now? not tonight, but about this one moment in time. at theunderground we often show a clip from garden state where sam says something around the line of "this is your one opportunity to do something completely unique that no on in history has ever done before". a verse that comes to mind is this one:
do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. each day has troubles of its own.
it challenges us to give up control, and let tomorrow be as it may. that's something that seems nearly impossible to do for me. i want to plan coffee appointments, or know when i'm's easy just to say write it off and keep on going, but i think that would be ignorant (no kidding).

i have no idea how i can continue about life without thinking about the future, i think what it's saying is spend time present in each moment, appreciating everything. it's always at this point that i quote emily gibbs "do any human beings ever realize life when they live it?" i think i've realized about five minutes of my life. (that may or may not be an exaggeration) the rest of it i've been distracted by the past and the future.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

oddities and eccentricities

i really like thinking about people.

not individual persons, but the whole race of humans. we're really odd creatures.

i was sitting with one of my really good friends and we started talking about our 'peculiarities', and i promised her i would write a blog about her story.

the whole conversation started with me telling her that every night when i go to bed, i have to put a sock on top of my clock otherwise i can't sleep.
the reason is that the light from the clock keeps me awake. there will be nights when i lie in bed for 20 or 30 minutes unable to sleep; it's then i realize that i forgot to cover my clock with the sock.

my friend then said:
"i know exactly what you mean! i was up all last night because my bookshelf needed dusting"
on her way to her bed that night she noticed that her shelf was a bit dusty.
"i tried to go to bed, but when 2 o clock rolled around i just gave in..."
she then proceeded to dust her bookshelf, alphabetize her books, and put the un-needed books into plastic bins.

another night she told me was a vacuuming night, where she vacuumed all of the upstairs hallways.

things like these are what fascinate me. the people who can't get their day started without a venti soy light water, no foam chai misto, the people who have to have a bran muffin on a plate, with butter, and a plastic knife - stainless steel cutlery will not do!

another one that came to mind is my actress friend, krishna, who never passes up a penny on the ground, and has to have everyone's drawstrings aligned - i've picked that one up too.

we're so habitual with our lives, so caught up in trivialities to feed our obsessions, some of us have things like ocd to cling to, while others are in denial of their eccentricities.
i have no idea what my point is, but i find these neuroses fascinating.

i've found that as i've gotten to know people more and more, i see their neuroses, their compulsions, extreme introversion, or an inability to maintain eye-contact. they then see my little neuroses - the need to keep my stereo between 18 and 23, how i like to drink my drinks with a little straw or out of a can; never plastic.

i find humans really's odd that they object when i call them eccentric...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

on the topic of...

today, i was driving through a little town named alberton reflecting on my life. suddenly i had an epiphany.

in my earlier years, i wrestled greatly with the concepts of karma and providence.

to clarify:
- karma is the idea that "what goes around, comes around"
- providence is God's diving justice, although it's connotation (street meaning) generally boils down to "when we do bad, God punishes us" and vice versa.

those two thoughts have caused me a great deal of pain.

i used to worry a lot. i would fret about everything. the issue for me was this: if i do something bad, then in theory that bad will come back to me by some divine justice. as a result whenever i messed up i would spend the rest of the week waiting for something bad to happen.

that is a waste of life.

all i felt were pain, stress, worry, anxiety and worst of all guilt.

i believe God's in complete control of my life, and everything around me. as a screwup, that's a comforting thought. since grade 11 i haven't really had to think much about divine justice, but until earlier today it wasn't nearly as clear to me why i disagree with it.

here's some rhetoric for you: if i believe God is in control of what goes on in my life, nothing i do will get in the way of what God intends to happen in my life. as a result nothing in my life will make God go "whoa!". my point: nothing bad can happen in my life that will interfere with God's plan.

it would be proud to think we can control what good and bad things happen to us by what we do.

today when i realized that, a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


i'm a fairly positive person, passionate, happy... just optimistic in general. i don't really spend too much time at home, but if i'm asked where i'm from i say "hamilton" with a tone of "it's a great city" in my voice. now, a few people i know hate it, and that's up to them, but what bothers me is the negative "you'll get shot" in their voice.

i was at my uncle's house tonight - he's a police officer. so naturally he's got a different perspective on the city:
he's seen murders, his partner was almost stabbed in the wesley house... he sees hamilton at it's worst.

i told him of my intent to move in to the beasley neighbourhood, and he called me - in not so many words - a naiive optimist that has yet to be hardened by the world.

according to my uncle, the people in the core are hopeless, horrible, stupid people, completely incapacitated by mental illness. whoa. of course, he said this over a series of stories, but his point was clear.

my father has a similar perspective:
he rents properties to people in the downtown core. only a few weeks ago he was witness to one of his tenants being beaten by his drug dealer for cocaine money. he's been repeatedly scammed by tenants with all sorts of addictions, and as a result is jaded, and cold towards the residents. he has a great heart for the poor, but a lot of times he fails to see the beauty in the people.

he told me tonight that my uncle steve used to have a heart not unlike mine, wanting to serve, and help scares me to think i might one day become jaded and hard hearted.

my uncle's point was that he wanted me to be careful


though nonetheless, i disagree with his perspective on the people.

i know that circumstance is what has caused their situation, and as a result, they are where they are. to call them horrible is another injustice. i'm no different than them, it's an injustice that i am in my cozy house, fed and full from a turkey dinner, and they are lined up in the halls of the wesley house hoping to have a bowl of oatmeal tonight. had i been dealt the same circumstance, i would be the same as them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


so i'm at the hospital right now. some of you might not know, but my mom's had cancer for a while. she's getting better, don't worry. but naturally my thoughts have turned to death... why? because lots of people die at the hospital. it's not uncommon to see people crying around the hallways of mcmaster. i do find it wierd. i mean, i'm walking on grounds where tons of people, now dead, have walked. although... come to think of it, that's the case with the whole earth. morbid, i know. when i see the kids, who are in sick kids, it's kind of sad. it's an injustice when someone half my age (9) is sick, and doesn't get to experience a "traditional/happy childhood". i was listening to a sermon about the pharisees, and how they ignored things like mercy, justice and faithfulness, and as i hear a moan of pain from across the hall, i can't help wondering how much i have in common with them. gosh, i wish someone would turn off the call button. the beeping is killing me. wow, i need to watch my diction.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

snowed in.

in our darkest times, when we feel lost, i think we lose touch with what makes us human. we feel dry, burnt out, and overburdened. i know we weren't ever supposed to deal with these things. in the garden all we had to do was pick fruit, not deal with death, hate... all that stuff. i've noticed in those times, sometimes just a shower can make us feel better, and even better than a shower is a hug, or an encouraging note.

things like that reaffirm our humanity, because they make us feel better about ourselves. i first got thinking about what humanity really is when i read sex god by rob bell, and he talked about beauty. he tells a story about a medical shipment to one of the camps during the holocaust getting mixed up. instead of relief supplies, the camp got crates of red lipstick. they decided to make the best of it, and they put it on all of the people, and they felt better, because they felt almost human again after the terrors. the characteristics that affirm our humanity, like love, hope, passion, are also the characteristics that best reflect god's presence in us.

some might also say that hate, and deceit are "human" characteristics, but they weren't originally, when god first made us.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

i'm amazed.

last night was the christmas banquet, and i had the privelege of being at the jr high ugly christmas sweater party. now that in of itself was sweet, but afterwards the serve team stayed behind to clean up. not just after themselves, but after the senior highs as well, then they also stuffed operation good thing bags for homeless youth. amazing. these guys are incredible, intense, servant hearted, loving, eager, did i say amazing yet? i couldn't believe how extreme they were. a few of them were so intensely in to taking out the garbage (not just a bit of garbage... but heaps of garbage bags with chicken guts volcanoing out of the top) that when i told them "you guys need a break, go finish off the cake in the other room for five minutes" they said to me "no! gotta finish the garbage". then they swept, mopped, scrubbed the place clean, and scrubbed the dishes in a little sink. now as though this wasn't enough, a few of the garbage bags exploded on the way to the dumpster, because they were overfull. i walk over to help out, and i find a bunch of them bare-handed picking guts and goop off the ground and chucking it into the dumpster in the cold at 1230 in the morning. these guys are extreme.

Monday, December 3, 2007

wakeup call

lately i feel as though i've been perpetually dreaming. i am up late, and i am up early. i feel blessed that i've seen so many beautiful sunsets and sunrises, but at some point i need to sleep. thank you to those who told me to go to bed, and told me "you need to rest!" (candace, josh watterworth, my mom, jeanette, thats all that comes to mind right now... but there were definitely others). i've recently noticed that i've been losing contact with a lot of people, i've been so tired, and busy that they've dropped out of my life. i'm looking forward to spring coming... nothing against winter, but i enjoy the rain, and late night sunsets a lot more than long nights and dead trees. there's obviously a lot of beauty to winter, but the forever night gets to me. i've noticed that people as of late have been having it rougher, things are getting to them, and i think it has to do with the longer nights. i think people find it depressing, melancholy, and the dark causes them to feel more alone. and thats a scary thing to feel. i've always noticed people are happier, and better adjusted in spring and summer. the times when the weather's nice, and the sun is hot. i think i'm gonna go rest...