Longings to change/alter

It's only happens just like that, when I stop and do what I tell people - what I told my friend, just today - not to do.

Mentioned, the thought of growing old with someone, I thought not of that as possibility but rather at the longing I have every morning to do just that upon the previous day. The same, the next day; and the next day. We do that until we're exhausted in our own exuberance for nostalgia until we've lived our lives and have not the time to be old, because we've been old our entire lives.

Recognized not for my youth and energy, but my cold-tempered blandness, and antiquated view upon most things I cease temptations before they become possibilities, and then shed tears into a longing soul, truly present in reality to eternity that so many seem to miss. Apparently.

The truck has put in work, lately. But, the timing of payments to home-town lenders and having parents handle affairs seems to make things messy, until they're done. And, then we can worry about them another month from now. Unless we're late in remembering of course, for minds these days are so full with clouded foresight cast that we close our eyes to see the present time.

Longings. Longings. Longings.

All to change, yet again, and again; a day's perfection drips through our temple to the ground and we wake up to new desires/new dreams in beds that all sleep the same.


Today, I failed to be a man again. In the triumphant windswept nights of cities without street signs, a roguish soul finds solace in the only thing he knows to be wrong. Late nights of sleeping press those obligations where someone finds themselves face-to-face with someone they've never met but lived with their entire life. Occasionally. And then comes the time when bar-back tumblers smash to the floor at our feet, and for lack of something we don't acknowledge they exist. Or any recognition, momentarily, of the event.  There is comfort in knowing insanity when it spits into the air and rattles a chain link fence you've fit to brand yourself in it's sturdiness. Envy ensues and then the recognition that all who have it known, don't know anything but the shell of a person who they vaguely remember begging in shopping marts for bubble gum sticks. It's hell, my friend; hell. The day when the door opens and you look out to the most recognizable and cultured landscape of heaven, only to think of how much gas is in the tank of your friend's car; thankful the entire time for having been allowed to borrow the tread of their tires. It's the end of justice for oneself, when you say martyrdom is a myth and that all we can find are souvenirs from smoky New Jersey trattorias, memorialized as good when they were actually quite the same as those unintentional roof top night stompings. Yes, we find a plan but too often the dreams we never had catch up with us and then find the moment we've been waiting for and then release ourselves to momentary gladness, just before they close our eyes.


Providence - not in Rhode Island

Several wise beings have stated, when a man feels the imposition to stray from his convictions he should practice them at once. For years I have felt a desire to write about the abruptness and observations of my day-in, day-out. But, out of sheer exhaustion (I like to claim), or laziness (that which is more true) I have been inconsistent at writing.

Without being too introspective, the last few months have been a time of transition without the time to acknowledge that my life is now on a completely different path than when I first stepped foot on London street, those 2.5 years ago. Or perhaps, it's the same route but has taken that eminent transitional turn that was meant. Work at the Center has continued to progress, although the romantic period is long over and working the first nine-to-five, albeit 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., has been rough considering the freedom granted by the years prior.

My heart is constantly in flux, transitioning from my standard rigid coldness, to a more inclusive and understanding perspective now being around those who society would claim as the most broken. I wish I had an answer to what seems to be an unanswerable problem, much of the time, but the reality of a system so dysfunctional in its focus and allocation of resources is destined to serve many, but brutally and tragically leave out even more. And, those are the folks I'm getting to know each day. Those who walk away their lives on streets paved with fame many ventured to Hollywood in search of, only to be turned down and unhealthily treated toward insanity.

"...comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Amidst the new confusion, and the community a few friends and I are hoping to establish, absolute concern with social justice and the whirlwind of emotion has lead to complete and utter exhaustion. There are ways to balance a passion; new-found desire and the willingness to listen to the whispers of God, but I have failed to this point.

A few months ago, in the midst of feeling way too comfortable and unchallenged I prayed without replete for 'affliction'. Like clockwork, and in the spirit of truth it was as if God was waiting for me to ask for that very thing - and when I did, he provided. What comes from being humbled is never grand in the moment, or the months to follow (I've found) but it does help one to grow is always a righteous desire to grow closer to He who humbled himself far more than we'll ever be able to realize.

I am thankful for my new position in a community, where i actually feel a part of a 'community' and even amid the exhaustion that I'm constantly afraid has hurt those around me who I simply haven't had energy to love as much as I wish I was able, I am humbled and praising Our Lord evermore for the opportunities he grants, and the prayers he answers even when we're feeling way less sufficient than we ever thought possible.


Day 2

This morning the night's excitement rung in my temple, just a bit, but I had no notion or dismay at what the day entailed - only, that i didn't have coffee in hand from the moment of consciousness.

Sleep's a funny thing; a necessary absurdity of life. Recently discovering in San Francisco a project instituted by a German Catholic priest; The Gubbio Project stunned me unexpectedly one May morning. The idea to purport that idea to the streets, and a church, in Hollywood instantly became a fascination. The need in Hollywood is greater than most other places in this United States, and I have constantly felt a pull to be more incarnate of the things I see to be as truth in charity. 

Arriving early to the Center, I pumped the coffee from the pre-made carafe, and then took my usual place (after two days, comfort is often found in minor routine, I've found) and awaited the arrival of the rest to discuss expectations for the day, and review of all things yesterday.

The warm morning left most a bit lethargic, and late to arrive but once into Morning Mindset the conversation steered from "what we are grateful for" to "why saying sorry is bull shit"... and a few points in between. I have been constantly amazed at the absurdity of dialogue with certain friends I've made, to the flip-side where in a group setting a person can be absolutely functional and insightful. As the Noon hour approached, a new friend of mine; dark-skinned, wearing a dollar-store cowboy hat, and eyes to piece amid a perfect 3-day beard, progressed in a monologue of unforeseen surrealistic diction. A-sexual he claimed to be, and having 9 children of which he'd all killed, he'd live a life as a Mexican - no - a true Mexican, and the sun being so hot had burnt deep into his skin making him appear to be African-American, of which we had all confused with 'real Mexicans'.

No brown-bag sandwiches today, but plenty of JNB cards to give out, I sat about observing the nature of the facility I know I am growing attached two, and of which I feel was destined for me and my foreseeable future. Building Czar, entitled, the next few weeks will be dedicated to figuring out how better to utilize the present facility, with the present staff and resources, while pulling in ideas from outside and freshness. The flexibility and off-the-cuff nature of a place undefined, in a lot of ways, is exciting and troubling at the same time. Destined to dream big things in the spirit of Charity, my burning desire to help my new friends discover how much they could use Jesus in their lives is in the forefront of my mind.

Asked what he was grateful for today, one man - hat covering much of his face, and dirt seeped into his bag, pants and arms folded on his chest - he said: "I'm grateful for nothing." "Being out of this shit is all I want right now." 

And because of the attitude and pain of my friend, I will come to work each day hoping that something we can do will help to change his mind.


The Center

How do I sum up four years of experiences that were at times so overwhelming, and so enlightening I feel humbled and sorrowful more people couldn't have experienced?

Today, I officially made my iPhone a second priority, didn't answer emails as they came in, and most-assuredly didn't make my way back from Midland, Texas with a car needing three tires and a deep clean to the floorboards. Today, I started a new job.

Digesting my time with MATS (Ministry Auto and Truck Service ... as I told folks more than 75 times on the phone) and how to comprehend all its significance will take time. But, if I were to sum up the 10s of thousands of miles driven, the people met through late night sales calls and in parking lot vehicle swaps, it would be with the word, adventure. When a high school friend told me his brother in law owned and ran a car business from my hometown, where they bought and sold vehicles throughout the US and had amateur drivers do the driving, I didn't waste a minute. My boss (now former, weirdly enough) called me right back and asked: do you want to fly to Houston tomorrow and drive back a truck?

Ecstatic for meaning, and adventure, I of course said yes; made the trip, and now sit reflecting of the hundreds of flights, and bus trips taken; the chilled fingers jumping dead cars in Dartmouth, Mass January mornings, and the heavy sobbing in rural Nebraska when all I had to face was myself, and He who I came to know more and more.

Moving to California wasn't popular, but seemed doable enough to make happen. So, in June, 2011, I packed up a SOLD 2006 Toyota Corolla and drove West, emotionless as I left and unsure if this was the right idea. Right off the bat, I remember Los Angeles having a new vibrancy, yet caustic dullness to it I never expected. I got involved with Young Life in September, and blessed with uncertainty began pitching MATS to people throughout Southern California over coffee and bagels. Meeting wonderful people, centering my week in the Church, and selling cars became my world.

Last week, coupled with the knowledge that things had hit a mild-stagnancy and with an offer to move to Indiana into a role similar to what I left in 2011, decisions had to be made and for a few days I was certain to make my life in California a silent and occasional reflection of a reality that became blurred.

But, luckily my plans did not trump what was presented. And now, today I started a new job working at the Center at Blessed Sacrament Church. The last two weeks have been miraculous in what has been presented, and taken away; further evidence to the sovereignty of a God who, ultimately, loves and takes away. I am excited, and energized to define what I now live and to be an opportunity to socialize I have missed these past few years, to engage in the lives of those who don't seek pity but friendship, and to finally reciprocate the Love God has given in allowing me to fail, while still nurturing, and ultimately keeping me in L.A. a little longer.


A Whipped Plane

A whipped plane, plain to see with the windows up, but down, to be downed by the splendor encompassed only with this type of vastness.

Sitting for hours, silence not for naught but traversing efforts toward closeness to the bringer of Peace. The only.

Dreams are heavy, and comforting when the roads journey takes more tolls and toiling on our souls. We disregard for a while the sipped perfection from whence we came, glamoured for justice to who we became.

Trivial matters none the less, uncovered near Hermit's nest. Blessed to bless, fessed to confess.

A priest to stare, iconic to share a truth-unfair to the tune of the wind in our softened hair.

"As a child I spoke like a child, felt as a child does, but now that I'm older I fear that all's not lost." Once a brain, now to complain of a surrounding so deafened, and dream-less. I take it back; for when dreams strive in equal relation to Justice, the days of golden mussels, and embraced lovingness from our soul's longing will reap.

To be.

nuestra diddy

A morning awakes to pounding temples - reminder of the night's lack - telling oneself: it's always the last time. Cold sweat, outstretched mornings turn to afternoons; cutting quick from morning to afternoon time is seamless, and seem-less. Coffee shop jolts off-set by meaningless conversations; carnival fears, planned trips Western Europe, hidden cigarettes, and forced dreams on paper. Perhaps other cities drone on in the day, pass slowly by night, but no city drags with the lethargic daily hangover of the Ciudad de Los Angeles. A time was born when they'd sit around, in like sleeves and reasonable arms, applauding the environment, characterizing it as a place to be, but never to stay. Rare a dream, born in the age of gilded faces, left unfulfilled. A dollar's worth bought a dollar's share - not so anymore, with the feint of the devil's snare, became a grim to bear. Hours spent, isolated from truth, and the witness to change gritted its teeth, passive to action but paned to normalcy. And then, we wind awake, slumberous in the mid-day, non-invasive sun. Caustic-carelessness straps our shoes to the boardwalk where so many, and so few die in silence, without care for no one even knew we were there.


It seems we spend all our lives trying to figure out what it is we should be doing with our lives. Recently, after years of worrying, and sometimes considering (but mostly worrying), I gave up in that whole nonsense. Telling myself I should just enjoy where things are, and take each day-to-day. And, wouldn't you know it? Not 24 hours later I've two people, maybe three, asking me what i am going to do with my life?! If there's one theme running deep in our lives, it's irony in what we do to what we think we're going to do, what we want in what we end up wanting, and so on.

The truth is, after discnering the clothe or the aisle for some time now, the answer to what we should do is often in our self recognition of where find ourselves. It's more than often the opposite of that which we wish. If we are alone, it's the touch of another for which we long. But when we have it, we know it's squander and distruth that comes.

So, today when you're in your most intimate moment of the day...washing dishes, walking here or there, or maybe praying; ask yourself: what is it that I'm trying to wish myself out of but is my reality and stronghold of comfort? Piece that to what you love, and you may have what you were meant to be.

And you know what St. Catherin of Siena said (whose feast is Monday!):

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire..." 



And then, we're just sitting at a stop light and a little dog wanders joyfully, tail-wagging, too close to the yellow-light-running-black Corolla. The driver never even noticing what was to happen.

I do like dogs, but I reserve attachment to them as any animal. Truth teaches us to be kind to all living things, sufficing our needs only when we must and never denying justice even to the birds of the air, or fish of the sea. I have had many animals through my short life; salamanders when I was 10, Holly the crazy sheltie, frogs, toads, fish, a squirrel I trapped in a box, and about 347 hamsters I'll never forget. I love animals; they're enjoyable and I miss Bella the crazy, floppy-eared, red doberman my parents now call their own.

But the other day I realized I hadn't felt that pit of sadness in a long time reached only at loss, subjectively witnessed and unexpected. One of my YL kiddos and I were doubling back, sitting at Western/Melrose; a very busy, E. Hollywood intersection where it's almost impossible to turn left, anytime of the day, or night. And then comes this little dog, and in a flash I thought in my heart: 'oh, no'. And then it happened. The car running the light much the same as I do, and as everyone does, didn't see the little dog and neither did the dog see that car.

Hours later; after eating, hanging out and flamingo-ing as part of YL tradition on a Thursday night, I drove back to that intersection, still subtly stunned at what had happend three hours earlier. When it had happened a quaint dark-haired girl ran out into the intersection picked up the dog, and carried it over to a green bus-waiting bench at the corner. My light was green, so I turned left at that moment. But this time, parking the car, I walked in suspense and sadness at what I would still find lying on the bench, and sure enough as I did there was the little dog. Dead. And still lying where that poor girl probably laid and wept for the loss she had witnessed. So I stood puzzled at what would be the right thing to do - knowing well, as apparently no one else did, that leaving this little lifeless creature on a bench through the night was an injustice. So, bringing from the car a black garbage bag - providentially stuffed in the car - along with a towel, I carefully wrapped up the dog. Onlookers walked by, and one gentleman said: 'thanks'.

Puzzled at what to do next, I leaned against the car on Western peering down at the black bag containing the lifeless dog for what seemed hours. My phone buzzed and seemed uncontrollable and annoying, as the angst I felt was tragic and cutting. Eventually, I prayed a bit asking God to deliver some semblance of an idea as to what He would like me to do now for this creature belonging to no one, but Him. Googling, I finally deduced that I didn't think it possible to bury the dog anywhere, I wasn't going to throw him in a dumpster, which would have been worse than simply leaving him on the bench. After loading him up, pressing the junk from the rear of the car to the front, I took off to Caehuenga Animal Hospital. I reached in my backpack for a piece of paper, and discovered first a blank THANK YOU card. I wrote a small note, much without thinking, to describe what had happened, and how I came to see what I saw; noting I thought they (at the hospital) would know better about what to do than I. It was now 11:15 p.m., and I had friends texting me to go to a bar with them not 5 blocks away, I realized later. Instead, I unloaded the sad creature, now wrapped in a Target towel, and a black garbage bag; placing him feet from the door, and lying the card and his collar - I had risked to recover in the traffic of the same intersection - on the bag. Praying for Grace upon the life of this dog, the people his life had affected, the girl who pulled him from the street and for peace, I blessed the little thing and then drove home.

I need to do a better job of writing down some of what enters my little head, but it's hard when most fleets so fast I can't catch it even with a long-armed butterfly net.

Recently, I spent some time in New York City. Heard of it? At the Catholic Worker house, on E 1st Street, where I made many friends, and lived a minimal life-style for about 10 days...albeit including night caps at Stillwater, a local watering-hole frequented by Oklahoma State University graduates.

The experience was subjectively overwhelming, as I spent time with homeless (which i love), ate three meals a day (rare, but wonderful for me), and spent time at Union Square dressed as an inmate while silently protesting the holding of those at Guantanamo.

To which this thought inspired me to write that I'm at a loss for the reason behind Gitmo, and the continuing denial of justice for even those who may be enemy combatants. I don't think this government can deny rights of even the most evil of those, with the worst intentions and then guarantee that any other human's rights are not at risk, as well.

However, I began writing because a close friend of mine is a CWer and was just arrested today, charged with obstruction of a government building. Which means standing where the local, or federal government doesn't want to you stand while conveying a subtel message they don't want you to read. The arrest was expected, and that's where I am stuck. I'm confused at whether I would take part in this sort of 'action' but I am not confused upon my feeling of whether I agree with being arrested, just to be arrested. Much like the Gospel message is unflawed in its Truth, I believe the message of non-violence and the peaceful acknowledgement as such is without flaw, as well. But the hearts of men are flawed, and if those hearts are even close to holding my concern, while shuffling to propagate any message then they shouldn't be on the sleeves, let alone body's of those protesting.

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