Sunday, July 19, 2009

The New Norm

The thought behind this whole blog was really an exploration of me physically, spiritually, emotionally, and everything in between finding my new norm. When you lose someone close to you, your life shatters that instance. When you decide that you're ready to return to the world (broken and devastated) it's time to start piecing everything back together again. Slowly the grieving process begins. You're confused, hurt, sad. You start searching for answers only to find that your appetite is one that can't be filled. You read the books, you go to the support groups, you do the blogging. You become angry, the resentment sets in, you start to ask God why, at times you blame God. Throughout this past almost year it has been one crazy installment to my so called life. I wish I had answers to everyone's questions, I wish I had words of encouragement for those who are still hurting, I wish I could be a light to those searching in the darkness.

But this is the new norm whether you like or not. Your choices are limited. You either choose to keep going or you can quit. Seeing people quit around me has been one of the most difficult parts of the entire process. Throughout the next couple of weeks I want to explore what the new norm is like. For those of you out there who have experienced a loss you know how difficult it can be, how much the new norm can help you appreciate the world around you, the good the bad and the in between that comes with the life you have chosen to go on with.For those of you out there who haven't experienced something like this I hope and pray that you never have to. But the realist in me knows that on a long enough time line disaster is going to enter the picture and when it does I hope this blog and be somewhat a comfort (if any can be found).

Thursday, July 16, 2009


"People who pretend have pretend relationships."
~Mike Yaconelli

One of my least favorite things about being a minister is causal conversation (yes I realize that this probably extends into most occupations out there, but I always assumed it would be different here). Let me explain, my job is to help a busy world try to be spiritual while try to remain spiritual myself. If you can't be honest with the guy who is trying to help, in a place set on helping then who can you be honest with and where can you do it?

I don't mind small talk... What I'm not a huge fan of is when you ask someone how they are and then you're slapped in the face with "fine," and if you're lucky you get the cordial "and how are you." (This theoretically isn't an inappropriate response, but when "fine" becomes the mask you wear to make the world think you're making it.) Try it. Ask people how they are doing. You probablly do yourself, a lot, I know I do. You'll get a lot of fines. Not many people are "fine." It doesn't add up.

"There is no room for pretending in the spiritual life. Unfortunately, in many religious circles, there exists an unwritten rule. Pretend. Act like God is in control when you don't believe he is. Give the impression everything is okay in your life when it's not. Pretend you believe when you doubt; hide your imperfections; maintain the image of a perfect marriage with healthy and well-adjusted children when your family is like any other normal dysfunctional family. And whatever you do, don't admit that you sin."
~ Yaconelli

I say this because I pretend. I pretend everything is all right when it's not. I pretend like I'm strong when I'm weak. I pretend like I've got it together when I'm falling apart. We can't make it in this word pretending. The only way to get better is to open up. To show the word your a mess and hope there is someone out there who can help, and if there isn't at least you tried. I didn't blog for two months because I was pretending. I bottled it up, while tonight I will let it spill out...

"But the truth is, we are all a mess. None of us is who we appear to be. We all have secrets. We all have issues. We all struggle from time to time. No one is perfect. Not one."
~ Yaconelli

(I might regret saying this one day, but for now) be honest. When someone asks you how you are doing, tell them the truth. You might lose a 'friend' or two but they were never really you're friends. Make them regret aking you how you're doing. Start unpretending.

Unfolding Your Deck Chair

"One of my favorite Peanuts cartoons shows Lucy sitting at her five-cent psychology booth when Charlie Brown stops for advice. “Life is like a deck chair, Charlie Brown,” she says. “On the cruise ship of life, some people place their chair at the rear of the ship so they can see where they have been. Others place their chair at the front of the ship so they can see where they are going.”

The good doctor Lucy looks at the puzzled Charlie Brown and asks, “Which way is your deck chair facing?”

Without hesitation Charlie replies glumly, "I can't even get my deck chair unfolded."

Charlie and I are soul mates."

Quoted from Messy Spirituality

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

happy birthday...

Let me start by saying, I'm not a huge of birthdays. Never have been, not exactly sure why. I guess it could be the fact that I don't eat cake, I'm not hugely fond of large celebrations, and don't really the awkwardness of getting presents. But the one thing that always made me smile on my birthday was that early morning phone call. The one that wakes you up wondering, what kind of person is awake at this hour.

Amber was always the first person to wish me a happy birthday, she would call me and sing at the top of her lungs and "Happy Birthday Little Brother" (even though I was turning 2 years older than she was). But it was always my fondest memory and my birthday.