Piece of My Mind

PieceofMind

I want to give you a piece of my mind, to tell you about how I reached inside my ear and clip the electric pathways I’ve tried to ignore and interrupt the current those wires have been firing. So, this piece of mind could have peace of mind. So I could find solace in the arms of those who still hold a piece of my heart. You know, the one stamped “FRAGILE” and “THIS END UP” but was upended and shattered like a light bulb; no light was left to shine and I waited for over a year for the bottom of my feet to heal from the pieces left over, the pieces I walked over to try to get passed the shards of shattered dreams I had for you and me, all the while thinking I somehow deserved to bleed.

And a piece of my mind registered the message from my nerves and kept it locked up tight. It said, “Keep your heart under lock, chain, and key. There’s no one to protect you from this ache except you.”

So, I did just that. I forgot what it felt like to feel and I kept my arms out at all times to measure the acceptable distance between me and the world. It’s an unhealthy practice, I know, but it keeps me from having that gnawing feeling in that piece of my my mind tell me everybody will someday leave. I learned that a long time ago like I learned how to speak and read people are going to do what’s best for them and forget I exist like my father did. So I haunt my apartment like a ghost with so much unfinished business I find the strength to grip a pen and carve the messages my hearts been trying to send for nobody to read; the page is the only one who knows how to listen sometimes.

And the anxiety is crushing like sinking into too deep of water and I wait for the time when I crumble in on myself and lose the space in my lungs to breathe like bellows squeezed closed with the handles held too tight. It is then I realize I must force myself to breathe in and out and remember, under the stress of every day, this too will fade away like my feelings for everything else.

But let me also tell you this piece of my mind:

So much became too much, so I escaped the everything of my every day’s clutch and sped out of town to shake its chains, to break the bonds of everything I hated about my life and to try and heal the pain of a year’s only a year’s worth of reliving the funeral for lost love relived day in and day out can orchestrate on my nerve endings as they were stripped from their sheaths and exposed to the toxicity of my breath laced with the smoke of a cigarette.

My car was my home as I chased the sun to the horizon and back, sleeping in cheap hotels as I wandered the loneliest places on the map; they found me, not the other way around, believe it or not. I wandered through canyons and mountains with nothing but me and the soul of the poets playing on my stereo, praying for God to show me the piece of myself that was missing, to show me how to be close to whole again. This is something I’ve asked for a million times in a million ways with what felt like no response and every time it hurt I felt like saying GOD, WHY CAN’T YOU REACH DOWN INTO MY HEART AND FIX THIS PIECE THAT’S BROKEN?

He answered.

Not in an audible way, at least not through his voice as I made my way West through the Cajón pass, watching the rain come down and lightning dance like streamers on the tops of the foothills.

So, when I reached back into a connection almost two decades past after my tire went flat and I wanted nothing more than to leave the town I was in, after eating food that made me sick, and almost passing out from the heat I headed into uncertain territory. That is, I headed into a friend and/or family I had not seen since junior high without really knowing what I was getting into or why. I just knew I had to be there.

It’s a funny thing, family. I rang the door bell which seemed to ring forever and was greeted by the squeal of a mother and an old friend as she met me in the doorway with an embrace. My heart was suddenly full again as if I had stepped back into my own home, forgetting the past and the pain at the door. Over the span of three days I had never felt more love or so embraced since I lived in my childhood home and I realized this was what life was supposed to feel like all the time and that piece of my mind stopped.

I remember all the things I ached from radiating out of me like the water hitting the hot rocks of the desert for the first time in a long time and I breathed deep again, filling my lungs to the top and exhaling the last of the smoke I inhaled from you as you seemed to patronize me. I realized the most important thing was, on a moment’s notice, someone whom I hadn’t seen in since I was a child was willing to invited me into her home and treat me like family and the beauty of God’s grace for those moments we had; I was part of their family. I belonged.

When I left I realized that’s how things should be, how I should be. And that is something you cannot be or will not be. That’s okay. It’s your life. I have felt disrespected and patronized; I know you well enough to see it in the way you write but that’s okay. You don’t know what to do with me and that’s fine. I don’t expect anything from you but goodbyes. You can’t love like I’ve experienced and that’s something you live with and I don’t know how it doesn’t eat you up inside. You may know happiness now but I wonder if you’ll ever feel joy. It’s hard for me to fathom for myself but I’ve been there recently and I’ve got this little index card with the signatures of my California family to remind me.

And I have no way to thank them.

So, the piece of my mind I give to you is the piece of my mind that’s been agonizing over for more than a year. It’s the piece that wondered if I would ever feel wanted or cared for again because you decided I was not what you wanted. That’s fine. I understand that. I’ve realized you would not have been able to give me what I needed in the end either, what I reach for and strive for; finding joy is like trying to catch a falling star. You burned so brightly in my eyes but now I realize, like the stars in the sky, your light is an illusion, a reflection of the bright burning body of a star already in the sky. I have found that light inside myself and it radiates, burning bright white and blinding like I time I can’t remember.

So, I give you this piece of my mind
to tell you
without certainty
i have found my
peace of mind.

The Wonder of Wandering

desert-wandering

There hasn’t been much time for discussion with myself, let alone discourse between my thoughts and paper. Lately, I’ve just been trying to survive the day, balancing the every pulsating rhythm of my generalized anxiety, the mental stress of human interaction draining my loner soul, the stress of getting things done quickly and correctly, and my ability to take time for myself to rehabilitate my psyche amongst the tempest of all of the aforementioned. This, of course, makes me less satisfied with where I am but, at the same time, keeps me going long enough to get home and maybe read a little or watch a little TV before all of it catches up with me like a predatory animal and brings be to the deep waters of unexpected and untimely sleep.

The doctors told me I have borderline narcolepsy.

I think I’ve stayed away from the page because it all would have come out the same. it’s a pet peeve of mine to have to repeat myself for any reason and to just go on and on ad nauseam about the same feelings I have for days, weeks, months, later (it’s actually been over a year) seems like nothing more than an exercise in futility. It’s like running laps on a blacktop track with bare feet in the summer. The path and the feelings are the same no matter how many times you go ‘round it. So, I guess I haven’t seen the point lately. There has not been much I’ve needed to get off my chest that I could deem worthy of writing to you about. I’ve just been so tired.

I decided to take a vacation.

One with no destination, only a route. One where I’ll figure the rest out myself.

I haven’t taken a real vacation probably since before I started college, so about five years. I don’t count the week after graduation because I was so wired shut I couldn’t go anywhere. Not to mention the company I was in which is also the reason I could barely function for over a year. It’s why I still feel this burning from the inside when I stumble upon more supposed truths that turned out to be lies. Since April 2013, eh? No wonder you thought about not coming to visit in May. Things made so much more sense after seeing that. I suppose I should just let it go. My stance hasn’t changed in regards to humanity.

I still find myself walking the fine line between philanthropy and misanthropy. The latter has more weight but I reach for the former because, in my heart, I know that’s where I belong. It’s just so much easier to hate or to be indifferent.

Catharsis was a must after sweating black rivulets of depression and red drops of anxiety from my pores for as long as I did. I’ve been grasping at motion for longer than I can remember and I finally locked my fingers around it and pulled myself into its whirlwind to a place where I can operate without a firm destination, only a general path, an iPod full of music, notebooks, pens, a camera, and a car that’s just been aching for me to take it places it has not seen before. I, too, can feel it in my bones; the sense of freedom and uncertainty is both liberating and unsettling because I am always anxious about the unknown. Hopefully, this will loosen my soul back up and I can remember what it was to breathe again before I had to reteach myself and rediscover my loner’s soul. It has taken me a long time to get back to a near state of equilibrium and I am hoping this will be the final shove in the right direction to get me back to more of myself, to realign myself into something I better recognize.

I have thought a lot about this trip since i roughly mapped it out and I find it almost romantic. I am no Kerouac but I find myself telling stories about myself. When I first thought about taking a road trip for a vacation I immediately saw dry desert in the theatre of my mind and I don’t know why. It’s summer, so it doesn’t seem ideal but I’m always one to follow my heart and sometimes I think God shows me things. It’s happened before. I’ve imagined so much of this trip; I think about what could go right and what could go wrong. In my daytime dreaming I have fallen for a girl along the way and I never come back to this place. Other times I just see myself as the lone wolf wandering aimlessly through the Southwest part of the US. Either way, I think I”ll be happy.

Life has been filled with so much uncertainty lately, it’s been difficult to pin down any sense of direction I may have right now. I think it’s just learning to go with the flow no matter how anxious it may make me that has brought me to this place in my life. I am tied to very little and nothing has gone according to plan since graduating college. I think I’m ready to test the boundaries a little more and hit the road, to chase the setting sun and to find myself in the Spirit of God again. The sun will also rise and, eventually, I’ll chase that too.

P.S. If you’re interested, here’s the general path I’ve laid out. None of this is set in stone.

Road Therapy | My new trip on Roadtrippers.com!

Road Therapy | My new trip on Roadtrippers.com!

 

The Dormant Dreamer [Anywhere but here]

Run away

Sometimes, amidst the dark, I forget how to dream.

Go back and read some older posts. I challenge you to read beyond the face value and the convenience of reading the first few lines of this, writing it off, and going elsewhere on the interweb. You’ll see that I used to be someone who felt and thought and sometimes even dreamed. And I don’t mean the ghosts that haunt me in my sleep sometimes or the happy dreams that make me hate my existence when I wake up because those dreams I have no control over. Beyond the occasional inspiration, they’ve gotten me nothing but a crack that runs even further down the walls of my heart. My eyes? They’re harder to keep dry some nights.

I feel like i have to downplay how I feel to everyone, including my therapist because, as much as I dislike how I feel this time of year, I”m so used to it that I have all but given up. And I don’t want more medication; it’s hard enough to take the ones I have already.

Something happened. Somewhere between starting and finishing my bachelor’s degree I became this recluse. I spend my time hiding in my bedroom watching old TV shows on Netflix or I try and find random things to keep myself entertained. Before that I used to have friends and we used to go out to the bar or a coffee shop or… something. I was meeting new people all the time. Where did all those people go? They’re all married or have kids now which is fine but is this how life is supposed to feel for those of us who haven’t figured out how to find someone that doesn’t kill them slowly on the inside? I don’t know. I have reached that point again where the idea of a relationship both scares me to death and pisses me off.

I don’t want to give up my independence or my space. It’s both a gift and a curse and if you don’t understand I’m not going to explain it to you.

There are so many things I wanted to do and there aren’t that many people approaching 30 who care about the kind of stuff that I care about. I want to be in a band, I want to write a book, I want to not spend every night in my room. I’ve been told I’ve got to go out there and I’ve got to make the connections because no one’s talking to anyone. If that’s the case then why does it seem everyone’s talking to everyone but me? That may sound like self-pity and it very well may be. At the same time, my anxiety has only gotten worse with time which makes social gatherings really difficult and I feel like any friend I make quickly becomes fair-weather or ceases to be my friend just because I don’t want to be what they want me to be.

I’m not a savior, i’m not just some idea. I gave up being perfect a long time ago and now I’m just trying to get along with just being me. Even that is a struggle some days. Most days. I think too much, I know too much and I can’t let go of the girl who dumped me 6 months ago because, emotionally, she took a piece of me and I can’t get it back. So, when I hear the song “Mullholland Drive” by The Gaslight Anthem, she’s the first thing I think of [“When you think about your life, are there things you would reverse?”].

It has struck me that, maybe, I should just start over. Sometimes, I feel like there’s nothing here for me anymore and I could leave and the only people who would probably even say anything are my family. I should just uproot myself and go to Grad School in Chicago like I planned to and find people there and maybe I wouldn’t feel so out of place, so distanced from everything and everybody. All I’ve really got here is a handful of friends, family and a job.

The dormant dreamer inside me wants a whole lot more than that. If I could wake him maybe things would be better. I’ve considered giving Omaha a year since I’ve just signed a lease on an apartment. I don’t know. I’m not usually one for ultimatums but if something good doesn’t happen soon I may just give up entirely and run away somewhere.

Anywhere but here.

Of the Southern Spirit

I realize it has been quite some time since I have posted any thoughts on this blog of mine.  For some reason, a lot of my other activities got pushed into the background.  My mind has been racing in veins that didn’t really bring forth any kind of usefulness.  But, I’ve found out the hard way, if I don’t write, it’s much more difficult to get back up and do it again.  I just recently got back from my vacation to Nashville & Clarksville, TN.  I suppose I should share some of my thoughts with you.

As is my personal preference, I drove myself down there.  It’s about a 12-14 hour drive depending on how frequently you stop and such.  Once I was out of Nebraska I was gone.  I listened to music for a while and then some Driscoll and Chandler sermons I had burned to CD for myself.  It’s a great way to pass time and sort of redeem the ride there in a way.  The ride itself was very chill and relaxed and I only had a little stress getting through the hell that is St. Louis, MO.  There was a lot of open country on the way out  too which was also a nice change from the urban sprawl I’m normally accustomed to.  I made a few observations along the way:

  • The more you listen to Mark Driscoll the more you notice the more his growing up in one of the northern states reflected in his speech.
  • Matt Chandler on medium volume still rattles my speakers when he gets amped up.
  • I stopped at two rest stops within a few hundred miles of each other and saw the same two guys
  • I passed the same semi with a trailer full of cars more than once.  I guess I would stop somewhere then catch up with him.

With the road rolling underneath me I had time to think and reflect and to listen more so than I normally would sitting at my desk at work or at home.  It did me some good to get that almost full absorption of whatever it was I was listening to or thinking about.  I feel really comfortable on the road unlike anywhere else that I could go.  I guess it’s the constant state of motion and everything is always passing me by.  Driving is therapy for me in a lot of ways.

After 14 hours, and some bad directions, I made it to a bar called Dougie Rays where I met up with my cousin Nikki.  She and I grew up pretty close and still remain there despite the fact that she lives as far away as she does.  It is here my journey really began.  I got out of my car from driving all day and directly to a local show.  A band called Last Breath was playing.  They were a bunch of Nikki’s friends and they were exactly what I needed after being cramped up in a car for that long.  It was heavy music, brimming with breakdowns and parts to which I found myself headbanging.  It felt good.  I hadn’t been to a show in a long time back home so being there with good company and seeing good music was a blessing.  That and a pint of Guinness.

I would continue to hang out with Nikki and her boyfriend Paul for the next few days.  They made me feel right at home like family should and I met some wonderful people along the way.  Upon reflection, I think that is what I had longed for more than anything and have been.  To be outside the group of churched people that I hang out with [and whom I love dearly] and amongst a group of people who don’t necessarily believe what I do but knew what I was about.  These were the people I wanted to love and be around but not as a departure from myself but to be myself and perhaps show them what it’s like to walk the path I still waver from time to time.  It woke me up to the fact that, though I always feel so underprepared regarding questions about what I believe, I’ll never perfect myself so I might as well be me.  And through that, show them a small glimpse of how God works.

Speaking of the work of God, I was very honored to be named as best man for my cousin, Dustin’s, wedding.  Bitterness used to root itself so deep in my heart at weddings so much that I avoided them at all cost.  But this time it was different.  First off, I got to talk to him about his calling to the ministry which was just so amazing.  He truly has a great story and my prayer has been that he goes back to revisit that some day.  The wedding itself felt pretty miserable, physically.  The humidity drove the heat index to a wonderful 105º F and I was in my best man getup from 2-8 PM that day.  But we got through it and we all rejoiced and hooted and hollered as only our family knows how.  We piled into a limo, picked up some cold ones and headed off to the reception.  I gave my toast, vocalizing my happiness in seeing Dustin move on to that next phase of his life having grown up with him as well.  My only gripe was the use of 1 Corinthians 13 during the ceremony but I’ll leave those decisions up to the pros, I suppose.

Throughout the before and after the event there was a lot of family members calling me “Rev” and “Pastor” alluding to my upcoming enrollment in Bible college.  I was okay with it, I guess.  They asked me to “say Grace” over the rehearsal dinner and I was happy to oblige.  It’s hard to say “no” to my Grandma.  I got to talk God with one of the friends I made in Clarksville last year and Paul, Nikki’s boyfriend.  It was good times and, no matter where I went, there always happened to be an ample supply of beer.  I’m not complaining, but different from being back home.

One thing that’s happened to me a few times not only when I was in TN but since I’ve been back home.  People who know me and know the path I’ve chosen have said, “Dude, I’d go to your church.”  I suppose I should take that as a compliment but I don’t know what’s triggering that response.  Is my sin drawing them in and they get a false impression or am I just that cool Christian dude.  Something to ponder, I suppose.

And, because I had my laptop with me with no internet connection for most of the trip, here’s a piece I drummed up while watching the changes in the sky from Nikki’s apartment.  We stayed up until about 6 AM the night I got there and just sort of observed the next day while we chilled.  It’s a nice healthy departure from my usual stuff which may or may not be a good thing.

Yellowbrick sky,
let me tread the debris
of your lightningcracked surface
as I stare at you from
the tenement’s third deck
Here where
our days don’t start until
after noon and get measured
by the hash marks engraved
in our skulls from the
hammer and chisel hangovers,
forever fading and changing
ceiling I can see
out the window.
I can hear the cryptic
grumblings of diesel engines
and the whine of interstate tires
with ever-rotating,
changing license plate tag
county number letter mixing,
Spawning from there and
sometimes there.
Every now and,
introducing, here…
Again.
Against
Your black face or hand or
whichever you cloak the after-hours with
I see the ember glow from
the tip of my cigarette as
we mingle words and
smoke signals from our oratory.
Family fingers,
floating high fives and
beersmiles.
Talkin’ about that time
and the other time and this time
all the time
we are constantly killing time
with alcohol, talk and nicotine
under the eyes of you,
fading sky.
I can feel you drifting away
as my eyes ache with sleeplessness.
From 3 feet from where I sit and write this
I talked with what feels like countless
minds
Inumerable cigarettes stubbed out
and cans of beer emptied.
Managing to suspend my sleep patterns
I see you gain your color again.
And so smiles around as we pile
back through the sliding glass passage.
And through the highway noise,
the barking dogs and car alarms incessant,
I curl up tight
with your color slipping through the blinds,
dear sky.
Give me time…
give me time.
I’ll walk again.

Yellowbrick sky,
let me tread the debris
of your lightningcracked surface
as I stare at you from
the tenement’s third deck
Here where
our days don’t start until
after noon and get measured
by the hash marks engraved
in our skulls from the
hammer and chisel hangovers,
forever fading and changing
ceiling I can see
out the window.
I can hear the cryptic
grumblings of diesel engines
and the whine of interstate tires
with ever-rotating,
changing license plate tag
county number letter mixing,
Spawning from there and
sometimes there.
Every now and,
ntroducing, here…
Again.
Against
Your black face or hand or
whichever you cloak the after-hours with
I see the ember glow from
the tip of my cigarette as
we mingle words and
smoke signals from our oratory.
Family fingers,
floating high fives with
beersmiles.
Talkin’ about that time
and the other time and this time
all the time
>we are constantly killing time
with alcohol, talk and nicotine
under the eyes of you,
fading sky.
I can feel you drifting away
as my eyes ache with sleeplessness.
From 3 feet from where I sit and write this
I talked with what feels like countless
minds
Inumerable cigarettes stubbed out
and cans of beer emptied.
Managing to suspend my sleep patterns
I see you gain your color again.
And so smiles around as we pile
back through the sliding glass passage.
And through the highway noise,
the barking dogs and car alarms incessant,
I curl up tight
with your color slipping through the blinds,
dear sky.
Give me time…
give me time.
I’ll walk again.

and

We’ll talk again

Tales From an Open Book: Passing Train Cars

I realize this makes post number three for the evening but my mind sometimes work in great leaping bounds and this a great place to put my thoughts in a possibly useful place.  The idea of this and, hopefully I’ll do this more than once, I’ll put up a story or experience that I may not have shared with a lot of people or maybe anyone.  There are a lot of things stored up in my head and I try to be what I dubbed this post and maybe posts like this in the future.  I am an open book.  Honesty is very important to me and so is trust.  Honesty builds trust.  I trust that none of this will be used against me and, even if it is, I don’t think I would care.  I will not hide from who I am or what I have done in the past.  I think some people lack that.  And it makes me sad.  But, let us begin.

Last summer, I spent a little over a week in Tennessee visiting family and seeing the sights.  I started in Clarksville where I was staying at my aunt and uncle.  At 1AM, after a long drive, I was greeted by my aunt with a hug and a 6 pack of Guinness.  How very grateful I was, but my stomach was not very happy with me.  I had abused it with an entire 4 pack of Red Bull and a lot of junk food.  So, I suffered that night and off and on throughout my stay there.  Oh, well.

Clarksville is a very large urban sprawl and I had actually been there before.  I got the tour from my cousin and then I got introduced to her friends.  This is really the part of the story I wanted to get to.  First, in Clarksville, I was introduced to her best friend and her dad.  Her best friend is an interesting mix of hippie and… I don’t know what and he and his dad lived in a house, more like a bachelor pad.  We drank there and there was talk of drugs and jam band festivals.  It was very much like home.  I loved these people as they loved me and, despite the drugs they talked and my being a little buzzed from the Jack and Cokes.  It was good times and we would hang out a few times during my stay.

Her best friend then took us to a party in the rich part of Clarksville where a bunch of young kids were drinking, smoking pot, taking shrooms and I don’t even know what else.  I remember the upstairs was dark and there was a Phish DVD on the big screen TV.  There were a couple of acoustic guitars, a nice bongo drum, and a couple of kids packing a bowl.  This immediately made me nervous because I was, I think, the only one of age at this party.  I was told not to worry, this was a secluded community of Clarksville and cops didn’t really trek in there much.  There were no parents, no supervision.  I was doing everything I could not to freak out at this at the time. 

What really twisted me around was sitting outside with Best Friend and Cousin and this one kid.  Then the question came up as to whether this kid, we’ll call him Billy, believed in God.  Even in the infancy of my faith I cringed at the answers Billy was giving.  It ranged everywhere to trying to ask for a definition of God.  Then he brought up the clockmaker theory which, I guess, is that there is a great creating entity who put this entire world together, set it in motion and then just watched it spin.  Best Friend would then begin to explain the love of God and the salvation in Jesus.  Then he did something I thought was very special.  He asked Billy to go on a walk.  So, up the long driveway they went and into glow of the street lamps.  At which time, I uttered my surprise at the events that had just unfurled.  To this, my cousin responded that this was always his way of trying to reach these lost kids.  I was floored.  I still reel when I think about it.  But God would show me something far more staggering and beautiful to be sure.

A day or so later, my youngest cousin took me to Memphis.  She attends college there at Christian Brothers University as a Philosophy of Religion major.  She showed me around town and then we met up with her friends she had made from college.  I was wrangled into a small apartment with four girls.  Usually, I would be okay with this.  I sat on a wicker ottoman and listened to them talk and the conversations quickly trekked into territory in which I had not tread and do not wish to ever treat in my lifetime.

They began to load up the bowls on their pipes, setting lighters to them and getting high.  All the while these girls would speak of nothing but drugs and the deals they needed to make.  I analyzed each of them intently.  Two of them, in my heart, felt like this was their escape.  And I wasn’t passing judgement or trying to exhibit some sort of pious pity on these girls.  I just felt that, in my heart and in my gut, that this was their life and what it would continue to be.  For a couple of hours, I sat silently.  In my head I began to wander outside myself and my environment, so these people probably thought I was quite odd.  When it was time for everyone to get their nicotine fix, we headed for the back door.  Everyone would finish theirs and head inside.  I took a seat in the door frame.  The weather was nice enough that I just sat and pondered my situation.  I head heard endless talk about “bars” or xanax, adderall, pot… I just couldn’t attach myself to the situation.  And it grieved me but not out of pity but because I felt it in my heart.  I can’t really explain it.

So, it would come to a point when the night came.  I was watching the other people walking around the complex and just thinking about how badly I wanted to leave.  My cousin came over to me at one point and said that the attendees were worried I wasn’t having a good time.  I told her that I wasn’t and went back to my cigarette.  At some point, everyone came back outside for a cigarette.  I wandered off into the yard toward a chain-link fence with barbed wire at the top.  My experiences in Memphis later would best explain this.  I’d want barbed wire too if I lived there.  It was then, at that fence, that I felt a rumble under my feet.  I was so lost in my own thoughts that the vibration sort of brought me back to the moment.  There was a railroad crossing about 20 feet from me.  I watched through the fence as the train rumbled and screeched past and it was then that I felt God calm me.  In the weight of the heavy Memphis air, I felt at ease again despite the hollowness I had been battling.

And it was then that I returned to my perch in the door, smoking another cigarette.  I must have gone through an entire pack in those hours.  I prayed that God would send me something, anything that would bring me out of this state and out of myself.  I wanted someone to talk to, to bring my thoughts away from the inside of my head and back to the external.  And, literally, moments later I heard footsteps and a man with dreadlocks sat down next to me and introduced himself.  He and I got into discussing ourselves.  It would turn out that we would save each other from the situation.  While he was partaking in the festivities and I was not, it didn’t consume him.  It did not possess him as some of the other people there.  He was also the only other guy there which, admittedly, was a big help.

There were a few things I took away from these situations that I will carry with me forever.  It is that God appears in the least and the strangest of people sometimes.  I also learned the dangers of myself and the dangers of internalizing myself.  There is beauty in many things and that includes people who participate in recreational drug use, that God can be in there too.

One thing that stuck in my head, however, was the sense of calm I got from watching that train pass by that night.  I’m sure everyone there thought I was out of my head at that moment, because I was pressed against that fence just watching.  I didn’t understand it other than the effects.  Then, not too long after I returned home from my little trip, the Pastor at church told the story which I have been unable to locate anywhere.  So, I’ll quote from memory and I apologize in advance if I got it wrong.

There was a preacher who was acting in such a way that his congregation thought him suicidal.  One day, they all followed him down to the train tracks and there he stood, watching the train go by.  When they asked him why he was watching the train he said, “I just wanted to see someone else carry a heavy load.”

The meaning was not lost on me.  So, I do not look back on my time in Memphis or Clarksville with anything but love because it was then that I felt God’s love for me.  With that came the realization that God creates loving people for his work out of the hearts of the people you don’t expect it sometimes.