The temperature gauge on my weather widget says its 21 degrees outside. It feels a lot colder when the wind blows. The ill insulated windows of my room allow for a sampling of the air outside to make its way into my room. The condensation that has formed on the inside of my window frame has frozen. Its not cold in my room because the church has lent me a small space heater, but on nights like tonight that heater has to work a lot harder to keep my little room warm.

Earlier, I helped a homeless man find a shelter to stay at downtown (the church I live in used to be a shelter). I called around to a few of the local missions and as I suspected they were all full. But they referred me to City Hall, which had apparently opened its doors to allow for the influx of people needing shelter from the artic air.

On nights like tonight you can lie down to sleep and never wake up.

Just a minute ago I heard a noise below my window. I jumped up to see what was happening and saw a man I had seen before. He was homeless and what I assumed to be mentally unstable. He used to live in the University District (where I used to live) but lately he has been showing up right outside the church. He wears the same clothing all the time. For some reason he also wears this hat encased by plastic grocery bags. I’ve never spoken to him simply because I don’t know what to say. Well, tonight I decided to go down and attempt to speak with him to see if he needed help finding a place to stay. I threw on some pants, grabbed my jacket and walked downstairs to the ground level. I opened the door and asked him if had a place to stay tonight. He seemed nice enough, if anything a bit skittish, and replied quietly in a sort of high-pitched voice, “yes”. He picked up his plastic trash bag (his only possession as far as I could tell) and quickly shuffled off down the street. I think he thought I was asking him to leave. I couldn’t invite him to stay in the church because I didn’t have that authority and I really didn’t know how to explain to him that I wanted to help him but i was limited with my resources. So I went back inside, said a prayer and climbed the stairs back to my warm room.

Sometimes living in a city surrounded by so much humanity kills me. God help him find a place to stay tonight.


Selfless Snowbug

Help me to become less selfish
and more selfless.

I mumbled this prayer today on my way back home from the library. Rain turned into sleet and bounced off of my parka and onto the sidewalk. Later, the sleet turned to snow and I turned introspective. It’s still snowing.

I saw this Bug sitting in front of the Abbey. It looked kind of like it was sleeping with a blanket of snow covering the hood.


In Search Of...

Let me tell you about how something as simple as a film helped to remind me of the not so distant past. “Searching For the Wrong-Eyed Jesus”, a fairly weird and unassuming name for a film I had never even heard of until a few months ago when my Aunt sent me list of her top favorite films and on that list happened to be this movie. I don’t tend to rent movies, I borrow them from the extensive library system here in Seattle.

So I put this movie on my list and it finally arrived at my local branch the other day. I sat down and watched it last night and was completely taken aback by what I saw. This crazy film about the South and some of the things that make it what it is reminded me that I come from one of the most culturally rich places in America. A place full of the hope of heaven and the hell of life. A people who tend to see everything as either black or white with no room for anything in between. One man in the movie, an inmate at a small town penitentiary, described it like this, “There was no middle ground, you was either in church, or you was in the bars, you know, partyin’.”

One line in particular really summed up who I am (or who I want to become). An old man walking down a dirt road speaks of people in the South and says this of them, “truth of the matter was, stories was everything and everything was stories. Everybody told stories. It was a way of saying who they were in the world, it was their understanding of themselves.”



Living In Twilight

“You look darkly on the day
Memories to light your way
A little sad but its all right
Because we are always living in twilight.”

~The Weepies

Despite the weeks of endless rain filling gutters, clogging drains, and turning dry sun baked earth to mud, I am not depressed. Stressed, overworked, and sleep deprived yes, depressed no.

I wrote an 8-page paper for class this week stating why I believe moving too often at a young age can adversely affect children far beyond their adolescent years. It was definitely the most comprehensive piece of research I have ever compiled and I had a great time completing it. Writing the paper made me think that I might like to write a book at some point in the future. It seems pretty trendy right now, writing books. Maybe its all the confidence people have gained from writing blog entries that gives them the idea that they can tackle something as hefty as writing a book. My motivation for writing is not as innocent. My writing is full of much more ego than that. I believe I have something worth saying, something that people would listen to, and something worth listening to. Then again I am a self-proclaimed bastard, arrogant to the core.

So in an effort of penance for my arrogance I want to share some photos with you. Two good friends of mine, Sarah Sweeney and John Taylor, took these pictures. I have known John for many years and when he’s not playing drums (he’s one of the most amazing drummers i know) for Corey Crowder you can find him snapping pictures from the front seat of the tour bus as it wheels its way across America. John has a great sense of lines and composition which is why something as simple as a road lit by headlights turned out to be a work of art, yellow and white lines leading to a blip of red taillights set far off on the horizon. Thanks for letting me use this image John.

As soon as Sarah showed me this image I asked her two things: 1) if she could email a copy of it to me, and 2) if she would tell me the story behind this image. Graciously she said yes to both questions and now you the reader are blessed with not only a great image but also an interesting story to go along with it. Sarah taught English for over a year while living in Japan. While there she took in the sights of traditional Japanese life. On one of these said outings she was in a small village (the name of which escapes me) standing on the side of the road when the monastery bells began to ring out. All of the sudden the normally stoic and calculated monks that lived in the monastery broke out into a run and Sarah happened to have her camera in hand when they ran by. While passing by Sarah one of the monks turned and smiled at her. What you see below is the visible creation of the story she told me. Thank you Sarah for allowing me to share this moment with friends and family.

In closing I will say this: My entries will be far and few between for the next few weeks as I work hard at school and work. I will complete this quarter in three weeks but until then my creative energies have been redirected to writing essays and research papers. School is going well and I doing great. I have decided to point myself in the direction of Sociology, but I cant say that I’m completely sold on the idea of four years of school to obtain a piece of paper.

Who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy school enough to stick it out to the end.


Lose Everything

Hi. This entry comes to you from a boy trying to learn what it means to be man in a society raised by women.

This boy has been frightened lately (as boys tend to be, especially mamas boys) and hasn’t known what to make of the world around him. He hears of nothing but chaos and death near and far. All is rot and nothing is as it should be, at least that’s what he is told.

This boy got fed up yesterday and decided to quit bitching about the problems and begin to pray to a God who is bigger than all of this (I have to believe that or everything really is rot and damnation). Not sedentary prayers, but prayers of belief and faith that something will be put right, if not now then in the future.

I don’t know how to pray. Really what I mean to say by that is I haven’t had the balls to pray and have completely ceased to even utter a plea from my lips. That was until the other day. I told god that I didn’t want to become hard. I told him I didn’t want to become bitter. I told him I didn’t want to give up, crawl into a hole of apathy and wait for the end to come.

I feel good today. I feel good about the prayer and I even have a small shred of something I haven’t had in months; hope. I wont get to ahead of myself in all of this but there definitely is something there that wasn’t a few days ago.

Its good to believe in Jesus. If you ask me to explain that statement I probably wont be able to. All I will say is that Christ said things that we will not understand while still in these bodies. Because, as Tyler Durden says in Fight Club, “Its only after we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything.”


Southern Lullaby

Its one day past November 1st as I sit and listen to a recording of Sam Beam from an Iron and Wine performance recorded last year at the 9:30 club in Washington, D.C. I went into Garage Band and edited the 38-minute performance down to about a four minute and two second clip of the song I liked most from the recording called Hickory.

Its important you understand that Sam appears to be a man who cant sing or write a song unless it deals with some element of hell or the redemption from it. Sam suffers from a disease that all Southerners deal with, one that keeps us from seeing the world in anything but absolutes, one that keeps us seeing the world in anything but right and wrong, one that’s keeps us from seeing the world as anything but a struggle between heaven and hell. Unless you are from the South you may have a very hard time understanding what I am saying.

It’s also important that you understand that Sam's song writing is his way of dealing with the world he grew up in. A world of unspoken obligations, a world of contradictions, a world of false pretense. Sam grew up in his own reality. Why do I know this you ask? Well, because I to grew up in that world. When I hear Sam sing I can hear myself in everything he says. I can hear the struggle in his voice. The struggle to move past all that he was taught to believe and into all that he now chooses to believe.

I stand with Sam between heaven and hell, holding hands with the sinners and the saints hoping for something better.