Lone Survivor

I watched Lone Survivor last night with one of the guys from church.  Rarely have I had the opportunity to hang out with anyone from church, so it was refreshing to grab dinner and go watch a movie.  Lone Survivor lived up to the hype and was an intense movie worth seeing.  As the men engage in combat, you feel and cringe with every blow and wound inflicted upon the SEALS body.  Though I am not very patriotic, the movie definitely deepens my respect for those who serve in combat roles overseas.

While I really enjoyed the movie, the one aspect I left disappointed in was the portrayal of the bond between the men.  In the trailer as well as in the movie, the brotherhood established between the Navy SEALS is referred to numerous times.  In some ways, I went in with expectations, longing to see men have a deep bond and connection that can only be achieved by undergoing similar extreme experiences.  However, as the movie unfolded, we were aware that the men were close, but rarely do they express that bond.  It felt as though the men still played up the importance of being tough and strong, over expressing the love and care between them and their fellow SEALS.   Perhaps it was a realistic portrayal, but for me, as you see the men slowly dying, the weight of the loss and the characters didn’t transfer over to me.  In comparison, in movies such as End of Watch, the death of a brother was so heavy that it brought me to tears.  I don’t know, perhaps I am just unrealistic.  In Lone Survivor, “We’re good right?” is as close to an expression of care we see expressed between the men through out the whole film.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an excellent film, loved every minute of it… I just really feel as though if anyone went through the experiences those men went through, the level of closeness would be far deeper and would overcome the barriers of acceptable “manly” behavior than portrayed in the film.


Always Resonating with Nouwen

The feeling of being abandoned is always around the corner.  I keep being surprised at how quickly it rears its ugly head.  Yesterday I experienced that nasty feeling in my innermost being.  Just raw anxiety, seemingly disconnected from anything.  I kept asking myself, “why are you so restless, why are you so anxious, why are you so ill at ease, why do you feel so lonely and abandoned?” …Talking lessened my anxiety and I felt peaceful again.  No one can ever heal this wound, but when I can talk about it with a good friend I feel better.

What to do with this inner wound that is so easily touched and starts bleeding again?  It is such a familiar wound.  It has been with me for many years.  I don’t think this wound -this immense need for affection, and this immense fear of rejects -will ever go away.  It is there to stay, but maybe for a good reason.  Perhaps it is a gateway to my salvation, a door to glory, and a passage to freedom!  -Henry Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey

Which Command is More Important?

In the New Testament, Jesus gives two commands:

1. “Follow me.”

2. “Go and sin no more.”

While there are other commands that are more important (i.e. love the lord God with all of your heart), and these are not mutually exclusive commands, I feel as though Christians tend to have a leaning towards one or the other in their spiritual walk.  This leads to a heavy influence on relationships and how we tend to encourage one another in our pursuit of God.

I constantly see this as I work with my youth group.  For the most part, my guys are all good kids.  None of them are openly rebellious or kids that are disrespectful.  They are reaching a point however, where they are realizing the logic their parent’s fed them (i.e. a relationship with God is doing what is right) isn’t panning out.  They are doing what is right but deep down don’t feel as though they really know and experience God.

Perhaps it is only me, but I know I experience God the most through my own screw ups, failures, and struggles.  I know I can’t make it through this life on my own and so the deep grace and mercy of God is really the only I have to hold onto.  Somedays I remember that, other days I don’t.

I wish the church might start leaning more towards the importance of following Jesus, rather than doing what is right.  Usually when you begin following Christ, your actions are also transformed.  Attempting to do what is right and not sin usually only leads to a point of disappointment as we repeatedly fail.

Girls Must Be Bored or Getting Really Desperate

I remember towards the later half of college and the years following, it seemed like everybody and their mom was trying to set me up with someone they knew.  Especially since for some reason moms really like me, I was constantly being told about someone’s daughter, niece or friends that would be absolutely perfect for me.  As you can imagine, little did they know…

I am not sure exactly when it happened but around the time I hit 25 or 26, all of that suddenly stopped.  I honestly feel as though for the last two or three years I was not approached at all by someone making an attempt to pair me up with someone.  Obviously I still had a plethora of comments about the need for me to get married but perhaps due to the vagabond lifestyle or the non-career mentality, it was no longer a common agenda for those around me to play matchmaker with me.

Three months ago, either the stars aligned to cast a special light on me, the unusually warm winter is causing everyone to mistake the season to be the love-lusted spring, or now that I have a “respectable” job… the whole process has kicked in again.  It has been so strange how many people have approached me lately.  Not only have there been attempts at people playing matchmaker, but I have had girls I knew back in college even contact me suggesting we get coffee.  I simply don’t get it.  These are girls I haven’t spoken to or seen in over 6 years.

I recently learned that at a local baby shower all the women got into a conversation about how hard it is to find a good single Christian man. Not only one, but two ladies whom I don’t even know brought my name up.  As a result, my coworker, who was at the shower, is now trying to set up double dates with me and whoever the heck they are trying to help move onto the necessary stage of life in the Christian world.  What is going on?

I am excellent at talking my way around these conversations, however at this point it is almost assumed by people that I would jump on any opportunity to meet a possible future mate.  People aren’t able to grasp why I do not date and so at least to me, it has got to be blatantly obvious to everyone I am probably gay.  With the way people have been pressuring me to date again lately, I am seriously considering coming out to everyone just to end the hassle.  I am isolated as it is and all of my close friends know anyway, so it wouldn’t really matter a whole lot.  I think it I wasn’t working with the youth group at my church, I would definitely consider it.  Anyone have any creative responses for me to give?

My friend and I are joking now that when people tell me they have someone special they know, I should simply respond, “Is he a dude?”  I am sure that the conversation would end pretty quick at that point.

Dare to Hope

I was chatting with a friend recently and she asked what my ideal 2014 would be.  I listed off my usual desires regarding community, friendship, a place to live and ultimately that I would be able to continue to trust God regardless of my circumstances.  As I was contemplating my life this coming year, I really don’t have a whole lot of reason to be hopeful for good to happen to me.  I already know some of the difficult moments I am going to have to face, such as finding a roommate and moving, my best friends leaving the state and the other getting married.  I don’t look forward to 2014.  As I was speaking to my friend, I couldn’t help but feel as though this year I am going to have to dare to hope.  I still believe in God.  Though I am wrestling a lot with my view of God as my Father, I know that He does care for me.  Regardless of what I am going through, if I were to hold onto the truths I know from scripture, God has a plan for me, He cares for me deeply and all that I am going through cannot be for nothing. 

So I must dare to hope.  For me to hope for good in 2014 is truly believing something better will happen beyond my personal circumstances.  I cannot see such good in my near future at all at this point.  Despite everything, God will still allow me to see Him in the midst of everything and I will know that He is still good.  

I have this image of me underwater, struggling for air.  While it may be excruciating, I know eventually my head will rise above the surface and I will be able to take the necessary gasp.  I hope that I reach the surface soon…


Do I Lie?

My current roommate is getting married soon and as a result I am back to the painful task of finding a new roommate or a new place to live.  With the disconnection that I have been experiencing added with the fact that pretty much everyone I know is already married, finding a roommate seems to be a nearly impossible task.  As I have been looking around online for apartments, I decided to check out the roommate-finder websites as well.  As I set up a basic profile to be able to search through the list of other individuals looking for roommates, I quickly realized that most guys looking for roommates explicitly list that they are only interested in straight men for roommates.  So what do I do? I am gay. I am not pursuing any form of a gay relationship. I recognize that most guys wouldn’t even know I was gay unless I tell them.  Do I lie or simply omit the very minor detail that I am gay?

At this point I am tempted to find a small place for my self, pay the ridiculous $1100+ for a one bedroom and attempt to live alone for the first time.  I know living alone is not the healthiest option for me.  At the same time, I know in the inevitable future I will be living on my own so perhaps now is the time to tackle this and learn to adapt.

A New Year, Unfortunately Not A New Beginning

I was really glad to be over with 2013.  Obviously both good and bad happened through out the year, but I was done with it by the end.  Sadly, despite the year changing always seems to create a mental illusion that I am getting to step through fresh doors into new opportunities, changes, and a clean state, the reality is that today started off exactly where I left it yesterday in 2013.

It is  hard for me to find hope anymore.

With every year, I am actually surprised at how much more difficult my circumstance become and in the end I feel ridiculous for allowing myself to be caught off guard.  That is the scary thing about hope; when you hope, you allow yourself to be vulnerable to being let down as well.

While I hate to start off 2014 as a Debbie Downer, the reality is  I am more isolated, alone, and lonely than I have ever been in my life.  I feel helpless to my situation.  My efforts to find friendship and community has left me hanging dry, bitter towards the church, and somewhat depressed.  The desire to give up on the celibate Christian life is stronger than ever.  While I have not gone there in action, I know my mind has been dwelling there for quite some time now.

God I need you now, more than ever.