Origin of The Passing

I was sitting at a church in Houston called Bayou City Fellowship yesterday when I thought of an easy way to bring some light into the community. The idea would mature over the next hour into a service venture that I believe will be relatively simple to implement.

I was first blindsided by the idea due to the fact that there were no single, elderly individuals at the church I was attending. I was wondering how a church of any kind could function without at least some support of the elderly and their broadened scope of life experiences. This led me to think about how we digest information in the present day. I don’t come across pre-Baby Boomers, or many Baby Boomers, for that matter, in my everyday life. Most on the information I consume is coming from my peers or the members of Generation X and Y. Take movies, for example. I would guess that the median age for a filmmaker these days would land somewhere between 45 and 50. The actors and actresses that bring life to a screenwriter’s words probably enjoy an even lower mean/median age.

In the scope of everyday media, we are consistently consuming the ideas and beliefs of our peers, principally, and their peers. The technology boom of the last 20 years has made it much harder for the elderly to teach us what they’ve learned, to “pass on the torch.” My generation has become so accustomed to the overabundance of information and the overt overstimulation that the internet and mobile devices have provided that it’s hard for us to even find time for the elderly that have a special meaning in our lives. I always imagine that if my grandfathers would have survived their respective illnesses and not passed away when I was young, that I would always find time to heed their advice. The reality would probably be quite different from my intentions.

 

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11 Days Away

I am getting married in 11 days, so I decided I should try to write some prose.

I Have Always Wanted

I have always wanted to be like a redwood,
Growing everyday mentally, physically and spiritually,
With no regard for expectations or judgment,
I have always wanted to grow to be a better Me.

I have always wanted to be like Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena”
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood
Never criticizing others for something I could not achieve myself, rather
Always focusing on keeping my promises and achieving my aspirations,
I have always wanted to be the truest form of Myself.

I have always wanted to be like John Galt,
Creating my own definition of success,
Determining a new and better set of ideals,
Simply because I believe them to be fundamentally good,
I have always wanted to be a creator.

I wholeheartedly realize that I am none of these things, and
I understand that I may never be as brave as a pioneer,
Strong as a warrior or as diligent as a tree, but
I do know that sharing my life with you gives me the best chance
To be the man I have always wanted to be!
 

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Information

I just watched I Pet Goat, II for the first time after reading about it online today and the final frames of “Jesus” floating away from the crumbling church struck me as profound.

For those people who are intrinsically motivated to treat life as a constant search for knowledge/spirituality/meaning, there is not a fundamental need for a church any more as anything other than a facilitator for growth in a chosen path. Church is necessary in order to reinforce a belief or a lifestyle that one has already deemed or understood to be good or true. This same function, however, can be accomplished with a network of people throughout your own personal network, which can be global. This idea explains the de-regionalization of belief systems across the world.

The fluidity and widespread availability of information and knowledge has led to limitless opportunities and vehicles to find the truth, although there is certainly much more filth to sift through in order to find it. Any culture in the world could logically provide its citizens/voters with a wealth of unadulterated information, albeit from different points of view.

Therefore, it is unfathomable to me that many nations/peoples/cultures still don’t have the opportunity to be candidly informed. China, for example, has access to the same information technology as the U.S., yet Chinese citizens still can’t provide themselves with the same support and feedback online in China as you can in America. The government has successfully censored the internet, something we absolutely cannot allow to happen in the U.S. We need to be active in our protection of the internet because the development of information availability represents the proliferation of our own personal beliefs.

The ability to find like-minded communities and intellectual counterparts who can strengthen and/or challenge the framework of our belief systems are continuously, and possibly eternally at war, with a powerful agenda that seeks to dumb us down and feed us misinformation.

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Some Prose: Floating

Floating in thin air.

I finally understand what that means. There’s not much to hold you up. It took all the strength I had to make it here, but now I am not sure it was strength at all. Some people seem to be able to hold the whole world on their shoulders. Where do they find that strength? What am I missing? What was I missing, I should say. I made one terrible mistake and I should have dealt with it. I let my tower crumble. I should have made peace with myself, but that would have consisted of reaching out to other people. Whenever I bring other people into the equation, it always seems like I lose control of the situation. Maybe I didn’t have much control in the first place.

I really should have talked to Mom. I should have talked to Dad. I should have talked to Her.

I try to console myself. I am leaving all my faults behind.

Only a few people on the ground have noticed me falling. I am grateful that there is no one directly below me. This has been the longest 10 seconds of my life. I really wish they weren’t the last. I wish this were a dream! I wish I could fall awake. I hope they all find consolation in my letter. They won’t though. A tear streams down my face, then my world goes black.

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Friendly Advice: A Short Story

“You’re not in love Caleb. You’re just infatuated. It will pass in time, and then you will really feel like a fool.” He had been reiterating this point to me for the last half hour, but he can’t possibly understand how I actually feel.

“How do you still believe that? We have done everything possible to stay away from each other, but you can’t keep birds from flying, can you?” I really stress the punch line.

“You can if you clip their wings.” I am seething now, and I can’t tell if he is being smug or if I am just angry that he never agrees with me when it comes to my relationship with Lily. “She’s married man. If it’s the only way to keep you from letting this spiral out of control, then just think about the boy at least. This has the potential to really screw him up someday. You need to give him the best chance possible of a solid family life. What’s going to happen when he starts asking questions about who and where ‘Uncle Caleb’ really is.” We both nervously guffaw at the comment, but I know he isn’t joking around.

Damn it. Maybe he’s right, I think to myself. “It’s just so hard to stay away. Neither one of us has felt this way before.” Nathan’s face quickly assumes his trademark look that tells me he completely disagreed with my last statement. I am sure he’s thinking that she felt this way about Todd once upon a time. Todd. Her Fucking Husband. “I know what you’re thinking, man. Just come out and say it,” I jab.

“She’s married man. There had to be a reason for that. If it was just for the kid’s sake, then explain to me what is going on right now. Did she completely forget about the sacrifice she made by getting married? Twice!”

“I can’t seriously consider him Nathan. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.” I am really pleading now. “This affair feels too similar to the way I felt when we first met, and that was when they were on a break. How was I supposed to know that they would end up back together?”

“You weren’t, but sometimes life challenges us in times when it makes the least sense. I completely understand why you feel so drawn to her and how you slipped up once or twice, but my point is that you have to step up eventually and be the bigger man. You need to squash this thing. She’s broken, so she will keep coming to you so that you can temporarily mend her, but she is weaker than you are. Don’t fall for the trap in believing that you don’t have a choice if she comes to you, or if her husband fails to please her.”

“This has nothing to do with choosing! I don’t see a choice in the matter at all. If she wants me, I can’t turn my back on that. Denying myself time with her is like denying myself my favorite meal while I am dying of hunger. She is like a drink of water when I am dying of thirst. How am I supposed to deny the thing, that at times, feels like my reason for living so that someone I don’t even know can salvage a relationship with her that he abandoned after their son was born!”

Nathan stares right at me, and it seems like he doesn’t have anything to say, but he probably just thinks that I would never listen. He is right. I am all in. He just leans back on the couch. For a couple minutes, neither one of us says a thing. Nathan breaks the silence. “I bet the game’s back on.” He grabs the remote and turns on the TV. 

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The Bridge: A Short Story

At the end of my journey, I arrived at a very old bridge. It seemed to be at least two thousand years old, and I was immediately overcome by thoughts of retreat. I had come so far. The journey had been tumultuous, but I became a stronger person each step of the way. The bridge looked to be made out of a thick, fleshy material reminiscent of papyrus, or maybe even animal hides. The walkway was sporadically missing planks and looked altogether uneven. The longer I waited to begin the trek across, the more ominous my surroundings seemed to become. There was a heavy fog obscuring what I knew to reside across the bridge: the Tree of Life. The thought of my final destination was enough to motivate me into taking my first step. I stepped abruptly, and the walkway held intact, although the bridge immediately began to swing. I took a few more steps and began to relax slightly. Then, on the fifth plank, I stepped confidently and my foot fell through the plank! I quickly pulled myself up and turned around to the safe ground. When I did this, I was stopped by a resounding voice. I was staring face to face with my guide.

At the beginning of my journey, I had been led by the leader of the local tribe, Tuhan. He had led me through the most difficult parts of the forest, but when I felt comfortable on my own, I rudely dismissed him. He must have been watching over me this whole time!

He immediately passed by me on the bridge, ever so confidently, and began to speak softly. “What did I tell you when you first asked me to accompany you on this journey, Michael? When you came to me, you were being chased by the worst kind of enemies, and I protected you; you were hungry, and I fed you. I didn’t ask for anything in return other than your faith in my guidance. I told you that you would not fear the terrors of night or the arrows that fly by day, or the sickness that roams in the dark, or the destruction that lays wake at noon. You trusted in my wisdom as long as it suited you, and you wanted to go your own way once you found an easier path than I had presented. All I wanted to do was to prepare you for this moment, and you abandoned me. I, however, never left your side, and I will guide you to your final destination safely if you will follow me.”

I didn’t know what to say, but I knew that I needed his help. How could he be so forgiving and kind? I thought I would have to grovel in order to acquire his guidance again. “I don’t have to pay you anything for you to help me again?”

“Michael, I never wanted to seek payment from you at all. You set those terms. I simply wanted a relationship with you. I wanted to guide you to the Tree because every time I make this journey with someone, I am fulfilled.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“That is alright. You will soon enough. Are you ready to continue?”

“I think I am.”

“You will be safe, Michael. Just follow me. I have been crossing this bridge longer than you’ve been alive.”

He began to walk at a dizzying pace considering the apprehension I felt with each step. He told me to stay on the right side of the bridge as he scampered down the left, and we had made it halfway before I could stop to look back. The fog had thickened, and I could hardly make out either end of the bridge. I immediately panicked and thought about everything I was giving up on the edge of the bridge I started at. I began to hear the ropes tighten, and I asked Tuhan if this was normal. He explained our need to speed up the pace. He urged me to continue. I hesitantly followed his lead, until I heard one of the ropes begin to crack.

“We WILL make it safely!” Tuhan exclaimed. The end of the bridge was still hardly visible.

“I have to go back!” I said.

“This will be your last chance to enter the realm of the tree, for this is the only way to get there. You must have faith in me.”

“I can’t.” I ran back to where the bridge began. It took much longer than I expected for the bridge to collapse. I stood there until it did. Then, I sat and waited for the fog to disappear. When the fog finally moved away, I finally saw the world’s greatest treasure unfold before my eyes. Now that the bridge was gone, there was no way across the abyss that lay below, and I knew that I would never reach the tree.

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Long lost brothers…

Exhibit B

While watching the Grammys last night, I couldn’t help realizing the similarity between Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford & Sons, and Tim Tebow, former college superstar at the University of Florida and the Denver Broncos quarterback.

Exhibit A

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