Monthly Archive for November, 2009

Take A Number

My head is noisy tonight. It’s about 1:00 in the morning tomorrow. Too many pieces of words and sentence fragments floating around. Lots of half thoughts and shards of things that might have been considered ideas at one point. I can’t sleep. I mean, I can fall asleep but that sort of feels like giving up. I’m having a hard time right now. I’m not ready for today to be over. I’m not ready for this weekend to be done. I’m not satisfied at all with my day this life and I don’t want to spend the last handful of moments of what was supposed to be an amazing weekend lying in bed feeling worthless, unsatisfied, stupid, neglected, and angry. Hopefully writing this all out will solve one of two things: either kill these garbage feelings clogging me up, or tire me to the point of exhaustion… to the point when sleep becomes non-negotiable.

“I’m sorry I’m not who you want me to be.” She said unapologetically as I stepped back in apology, put my hands in my pockets and fell apart inside. Those words flowed from her lips flawlessly. She continued to climb out of the car without my help. She didn’t need it. I didn’t think she did. Where I come from, a man offers to help a woman out of respect and adoration. Out of delight and a sense of protection. She’s so capable to do anything on her own. Maybe she doesn’t know I think that. Maybe she feels trapped. Her words seemed to come out of no where, rehearsed almost, as if she’s been thinking about something for a while. I can’t stop thinking lately that I’m holding her back. I know she loves me. I just wish some days to feel… well, different than I do right now: like I’m her safe harbor, but not her adventure.

Who the hell do you think I want you to be? keeps spinning through my head, shredding all the other thoughts into pieces of words and sentence fragments. Breaking things that might have been considered ideas at one point. Autumn spirals and winter is inevitable. I’m locked out. I have a key, but I’ve no idea where the door is. The sky was crisp and black as velvet; the moon is hibernating. Yesterday’s snow still covers everything. I didn’t notice how cold it was — I was too busy trying to gain my composure. A bomb just went off in my face and I had less than a minute to clean it all up before we went inside to the party.

Yesterday was our anniversary. 11 years. 4,017 days (including Leap Days) of life, laughs, tears, joy and pain and everything else together. The day started off so relaxed and peaceful. I love those mornings when we stay in bed just a bit longer holding each other when we are both awake. I love the warmth the blankets have been storing all night and the way her hair fills the air with its scent. The way her skin seems to glow from the inside out making everything just a shade brighter. She is my adventure. Somewhere though, before we went out, after we spent the day reminiscing, she got lost. I don’t know where she went. Maybe she was already gone. The past week or so she’s been oddly distant. Preoccupied. I know she’s got a lot on her mind. I was hoping she could press pause for just a while. I don’t think she looked into my eyes once the whole evening. I’m not talking about making eye contact. I’m talking about looking into me. The kind of look that tells a person nothing else matters right now. I spent the evening fruitlessly fighting off thieves I could not see as they laughed at me while stealing away my bride. I spent the night standing in line wondering when I was going to get my turn to be in her sights. But standing in a line behind a noisy restaurant full of strangers and all their distractions, behind fucking asinine family drama, behind walls of pain and buckets of memories from hell is a long and lonesome line in which to stand.

My resilience is waning. I told her once: “I have more patience than you have crap to go through.” I can absolutely back that statement up. Last night, though, that limit was tested. Tonight that limit was tested, again. I’m finding myself slamming into that limit more frequently than I anticipated. More frequently than I’d like and it’s freaking me out. I don’t like what’s on the other side of that line. It’s not all that clear to me what is on the other side, but in my experience breaking a limit is typically not a good thing.

I used to be a bottler. I would stuff things away that hurt me or offended me and then once the bottle was full, I’d explode. I’ve been learning to not do that lately; to either deal with things or let them roll off into oblivion. Is that possible? I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good at letting quite a bit roll off. I suppose that very claim is an oxymoron. Actually… I’ve got a few things bothering me that I’ve not addressed. I don’t know if now is the right time to barf them all out. This is heavy enough already and I think my plan is working — my eye lids have become rocks and my legs are restless and numb. Proofreading is a chore. I’m battling the doze. It’s now after 3:30 am.

I love my wife. Make no mistake about that. I loved her before I knew her. She is an incredible creature, full of passion, empathy, fire, pain and light. She is thee most loving person I know, and the most honest. One of the many things she has taught me is honesty and for better or for worse, my words tonight feel brutally honest.

It’s a shame I wasn’t brave enough to make this public.

Finally posted on May 4, 2011.

Dear Copeland, How Did You Know?

Funny. I’ve had this song for years and it took a friend sharing it with me the other day for me to realize that. This song would have meant nothing to me no less than six months ago. Now, it is as the French say, à propos.

Sleep now moon
I’ll watch over her while the sun is up
And you’ll have her eyes again soon

It’s a glorious day
And my lonely heart is tired again
And I am starved for her attention

That’s when [she] sparks a light in my eye

Sleep now sweet princess
I’ll cheer for you silently and carefully not to disturb
I’ll be ready on that evening
When you’re starved for my attention

You’ll say, “Wake now, Prince
There’s a brilliant sky above
And a jealous moon in love
And they’re starved for our attention

More About Stars

One of the kids last night at youth group brought up “the possibility of another earth somewhere in the universe” and we all started geeking out about aliens and how big space really is. Comparatively, we are specks of dust next to the sheer size of the earth. And we get smaller than that in relation to the earth in its place in the solar system; and then there’s that whole galaxy deal of which we are in just one arm of its spiral. Oh, and somewhere in the vastness of space are more galaxies even larger than our beloved Milky Way.

Who cares about how many eggs would fit in a line between the earth and the sun… and the sun and the nearest star. Space is huge. Massive. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say that stupid word: Ginormous.

Big. Really, really, really big. The fact that things work on a stellar and galactic scale all the way down to the microscopic and subatomic levels and we all don’t just come apart and dissipate into fragments of nothingness is a miracle.

So… I was getting ready for bed last night and actually almost went to bed, but I looked up, out of our star-gazing window and saw some stars gazing down at me. And it hit me. Again. That glimpse into forever that lasts about as long as it takes light to travel from one side of a room to the other. If the universe was finite and had an end — a known end of the universe — humans would die of boredom and cabin fever. Nothing would satisfy the passions we all have to explore and hope and colors would fade into pointless shades of who cares, and life would be nothing more than the event horizon between what we could have been and the inevitable. Our dependence on God would be impotent. Imagine knowing the full extent of the universe and, then imagine having found that there are, in fact, zero planets like earth and the possibility of life out there somewhere is actually a non-possiblity. Hope that we are not alone is gone. Hope becomes a relic from the ancient times when we used to wonder about the night sky.

The mystery and possibility and massivity of space and all its massively mysterious contents is possibly the closest thing to incomprehensible as it gets. Which, in a way facilitates on some level the ability to comprehend God’s incomprehensibleness. Side note: the center of the universe does not exist. That which has no end, has no center. The universe is not expanding, our ability to take it in is.

We are not here accidentally, or by some very specific, chemically orchestrated mindless set of conditions and coincidences. The stars and all their glory are not just natural, hot, conglomerations of space dust and gases. No. Stars are so much more than that. They have a purpose. Everything does. They were made so we could wonder. So we could speculate and theorize and show ourselves that we have the capacity to think about what we think we see, or don’t see. They were made so we would have the freedom to try to make sense out of the world around us; to help us help humanity as a single entity take into account the economies of scale when we attempt to construct the rules by which we live and consume and re-create and believe… for what we believe… about everything from combustion engines and cereal bowls to hand-carved canoes and circuit boards to multi-grain snack bars and little rubber grommets that keep stuff from making annoying sounds. Stars were, once again, made for us. Their very existence grants us permission to ask God questions about his ways and creations and everything. Permission to seek truth and unity in the way things are. Freedom to hypothesize and propose and test and challenge a baseline for how things work.

If we knew where the possibility for wonder and the pursuit of knowledge absolutely stopped, we’d be better off as rocks colliding into one another as we aimlessly hurl towards super-masive black holes.

Is there another earth? Are there aliens? I don’t know. The universe is really big. Ask God, he made it. Do those questions hold your sensibilities captive so that you can’t really experience the freedoms of being loved or the permission for your life to have meaning or the right even ask those questions?

Twenty Minutes, or Ten Seconds

My first thought before pulling the trigger was, “I wonder if this will blow his fingers completely off.”

I hid in the bathroom. My hands were still slightly numb from the previous shot… well, from that and the effects of adrenaline and terror. I don’t remember the first shot, I just know it happened. The shotgun was still overly warm and filled the air with the stinging residue of burnt powder and the smell oil has when combined with hot metal. Surprised. His face was more intact than I’d have ever guessed was possible from a point blank range with a double-barrel shot gun.

So much blood. Gaping jagged gash on his neck from what could have been a very dull knife with a lot of effort behind it, or shard of glass, or who knows? And the first shot left quite an impression on his head. I saw his shadow waver a bit through that gap under the bathroom door and could tell he was poised on the other side. He knew I was in there. He was a rather large man. Almost unnaturally large. That bathroom seemed tiny, like my legs would never fit tucked underneath me next to the toilet, hiding. Petrified. Surprised that he was still alive. I laid the gun down with the barreled end facing the gap breaking the strip of light bleeding in from bedroom, and waited. Twenty minutes or ten seconds passed and the door flew open and his hand seemed to lunge at me independently of his body and I did it. I pulled the trigger and the noise was so loud. Loud enough to overwhelm my ears and render them useless. I watched in instant silence his fingers turn into ground beef and I was shocked they were still mostly attached. Unusable so far as fingers typically go on a hand, but attached nonetheless.

I didn’t know who he was, where I was, or why he was after me or how the hell I acquired a loaded, double-barrel shotgun. I think I was in a hotel room, but where? Which hotel? What city? Every time this happens these questions don’t seem as important as they do this time. There were no other people around, which was weird in retrospect. It seems I’m always in some sort of house or building with people around everywhere. Most of the time I don’t know who anyone is. This is the first time, though, that I’ve woken up with a gun in my hands and my head foggy and full of stuff I should know but don’t.

I bolted for the main door looking for an exit; trying to get outside. My white minivan was sitting there in the parking lot and suddenly I found myself inside trying to get the sliding door closed, fighting him off. How he got there so fast still makes me skeptical of my own understanding of time and the whole ordeal. And in a blink, my son, my little boy was standing there trying to get in the van with his hand and left side of his head blown apart.

I hate dreams like this.