Thinks on Things

A gathering of ponderings…

Old people are funny!

The following is a retelling of 2 events recently that have caused me to rethink some of my thinks and want to create new thinks.

Incedent Number 1: Yesterday I was walking through my town on some errands. I was about to cross one particular street when I noticed that a car had approached the intersection and the driver appeared not to know where she wanted to go next. The car was going slow and sort of rolled through the stop sign and began a large circle around the intersection to perform a U-Turn. She was travelling slowly so I figured I could simply walk through the assumed circle and both of us would be on our ways all the more quickly as neither would have to stop for the other.

To be on the safe side (as I have been hit by a non-observant driver in the past) I made eye-contact with the elderly lady as she turned her car in the circle. It was then that I noticed the gleeful smile on her face as if she had just done something extremely sneaky and perhaps scandelous. She had her finger to her lips as if she wished to plead me into a secret pact that her illegal maneuver would never be revealed. She was clearly having a good ol’ time driving around the intersection and making a fun joke of it all. It was great!

In response, as I was laughing out loud, I had to shake my finger accusingly at her in mock contempt. I glanced back after completing my crossing of the street I could see that she too was laughing to herself.

Incedent Number 2: Last week I was leaving my bank and, like a proper gentleman, held the door open for another older man. As he passed through the doorway he thanked me. It was so fast (and sort of socially expected) that I almost missed it. But he caught off guard because he said “Danke shein”. I quickly reviewed all the German I know (which isn’t much) and replied appropriately, “Bitte”. It was pretty obvious that neither of us were in fact German which made the exchange that much more humorous. We both smiled and went on our seperate ways.

Current Ponderings: These 2 scenarios have caused me to wonder if I haven’t been wrongly harboring some ill thoughts towards the elderly community in general. Old people drive slow. They’re mean, way too old-fashioned, and just not hip with current culture. They just don’t seem to get it, whatever “it” happens to be at the moment…

So my current task is to try to curb those thoughts. I want to create new thoughts based on encounters that I actually have with these people, rather than simply going by rumors, stereotypes, or other people’s say-so. I will try to seek out opportunities to cross the generational gaps and learn about their lives. As these 2 example have already shown me, old people are funny!

(could be like this video…)
(or could be like this video!)

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February 21, 2007 Posted by | All My Thinks | Leave a comment

Grand Central Station this is not.

I just thought it would be interesting to note that since I began this blog in late  November of 2006  I have had almost 300 visits to my site! I am so impressed… (I even gave myself a goal to see when I reach 500.)

In other news, there were 491,000 WordPress bloggers last Thanksgiving and now there are more than 691,000!

So why aren’t more people visiting? Don’t they know this is the Most Amazing Blog in the Known Universe!?

Thinks on Things… remember that. And pass it on if you want. 🙂

(Although this is not Grand Central Station, admission is FREE and you just might travel farther than Kansas, Oz, or the bottom of a Rabbit Hole…)

February 17, 2007 Posted by | All My Thinks | Leave a comment

I can’t stop smiling!

The bulk of my conversations consist of the following phrases liberally dowsed with useless smiles and general happy feelings and a lot of wasted energy that isn’t really there…

Hey, how’s it going?!
Great! How are ya?
Good! Well, gotta run!
OK, see you around!
Catch ya later…

And man is that ever frustrating! Because I know it’s fake and just plain old habit. I’m sick of the stupid masks that I have automatically learned and put into practice growing up the way I did. Maybe it sounds strange but I want to just frown for a while (or at least not smile) just to show people that NO, I am not happy or at ease or even feeling good. So there, put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Genuine smiling these days is extremely rare for me, so count yourself lucky if you are witness to one. That’s if you can tell the difference…

February 12, 2007 Posted by | All My Thinks | Leave a comment

My Freedom Paradox

Who (or what) am I? I don’t want to be an “-istic” or part of an “-ism” or worse, an “-isticism”? Maybe I am but I don’t know what that just might be. I don’t know much about all the various terms, phrases, or labels I’ve heard through the years. Frankly I don’t really care that much. Just knowing a label name doesn’t really change much. Being “unrealistic” all your life and then finding out that that is what you are doesn’t make you “realistic”, does it?

Naturalism, realism, worldly, post-modernistic, legalistic, relativistic, monasticism, theism, atheism, polytheism, Polynesianism, bolognaism, whateveristicism… I don’t know or really care what these mean or what the difference is but I am finding out what I am and how I react to things. Tangible and realistic results from what I see and feel and know. This is my best guess as of right now.

I have a problem trusting. That leads me to lie a lot. This keeps me from experiencing true life-affirming love that I desperately need. I am so insecure in myself that I don’t want people to know who I truly am inside. So I become what I think they want to see. I let them suggest good things and then I easily manipulate that into becoming their perception of my reality. I block out most vices and I exploit some virtues. This leaves everyone thinking that I am a good obedient Christian kid who knows right and avoids wrong. “Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God,” and “fear the Lord and shun evil.” Masks can easily be formed for whatever the situation calls for. This is what I’ve learned to become in my life. Religion and church have played a large role in this formation of my soul.

So I found it mildly ironic or amazing that I actually kept reading part of the book The Ragamuffin Gospel when it started talking about honesty. My initial response to this sort of thing is to view it as an attack. But reading on, Manning states that when we “seek to shed defense mechanisms and subterfuges, honesty becomes both more difficult and more important.” I have found this to be true. I’ve built up blockades and stiffness against truly hearing some advices that strike deep at my inner being. I never imagined that it would really be that hard to want to not appear weak. To family, friends, church acquaintances, and even to God Himself.

Love has never been such a good topic. I guess I know a lot about it. But to actually feel it or explain it or pass it on is completely different. As Manning says, “when it comes to God’s love, …we get antsy and start to talk about theology, divine justice, God’s wrath, and the heresy of universalism.” I don’t even know what universalism is, much less what the heresy reference might be, but I’m sure I would choose to discuss it over God’s love in my life if I had to choose. I can tell you all about how God loves us and died for us so we could be forgiven. But to really get dirty and explain what I need to be forgiven for is hard. And of course there is a lot.

Manning, “Getting honest with ourselves does not make us unacceptable to God.” Yeah, but it does make us unacceptable to other people, and they are the ones I have to live with. I’m not a hermit but that would have certain advantages… Admitting things to people makes them look at you differently. They talk differently, maybe avoiding some topics or maybe only talking about those topics, quite frankly just plain making things uncomfortable. I feel like I’m simply perpetuating a fake sincerity by admitting some typical faults and omitting other more devastating sins. Sometimes I will admit something if I think there’s a good chance the other person struggles with it as well. That way I can be a good Christian and confess but I don’t really have to worry about condescension from the “prayer partner”. They can’t judge me for something that they themselves are guilty of.

Manning, “To be alive is to be broken; to be broken is to stand in need of grace.” To accept grace requires trusting in love. Trusting in love leads to a life of freedom. That freedom means being able to admit weaknesses and be broken. Somewhere in my life this vital cycle was broken leading me to build walls to protect myself. These walls block out condemnation and pain and shame. They also block out love and acceptance. I am becoming numb. It is not what I want but I feel like it is the only way for me to survive.

Romans 8 tells me that “nothing can separate me from the love of God.” Yeah I know. In my head. Nothing means NOTHING. And that means nothing… I see the list of non-separators and it sounds great! Nothing can separate me from it, but when will I see it really make a difference in my life? In my heart? I don’t see it, I don’t feel it, and therefore it is hard to pass on. Using my new chart, I am not comforted or accepted. I am not confident or satisfied. I am certainly not overjoyed! My inability to accept or perceive God’s love (or anyone else’s really) leaves me perplexed and self-conscious. Embarrassed and ashamed. Lonely and defeated.

This distresses me and makes me afraid because I am more irritated and bitter than ever in my life. This isn’t even a cycle. Cycles edify and get stronger with repetition. This is a spiral downward into darkness. This ugly spiral needs to break before the freedom cycle can replace it. But I am trapped, how can a bitter person truly accept love? I can’t. In order to become non-bitter I need to challenge this paradox and accept love. In order to accept love I need to become non-bitter… somehow.

February 8, 2007 Posted by | All My Thinks | 2 Comments

Reliving Elementary School

After feeling completely humiliated (although no one would know) I think I may be breaking through to recognize the benefits of counseling. Yes, I see a counselor. That’s because I’m not perfect and I have problems and I’m messed up.

So my mentor saw fit to give me the stoopidest thing ever. It’s so childish and elementary that I felt my intelligence insulted. I was given a piece of paper with about a hundred different feeling words. Yes, that’s right, an emotional chart. The only thing missing (fortunately) was the little smiley faces and frowny faces to go with each emotion…

It’s taken almost 2 weeks to break down my resistance to this simple page of nonsense and realize that it was for the best because I have a very hard time putting my feelings into words. Worse than a typical male… I see now that it is actually a helpful tool and it was not meant to debase my self-esteem. Hopefully this is a step in breaking down some of my barriers in trusting.

Baby steps to the door, baby steps out of the door, baby steps into the hallway…
-Bob

Ironically, I don’t have this chart with me at the moment so I am really at a loss to describe how I feel at the moment. Maybe lost, exhausted, and frustrated.

February 6, 2007 Posted by | All My Thinks | 1 Comment