Monday, August 30, 2010

Get a Move On Already

It has been a recurring thing with me recently in that things in my life are in perpetual flux and I have to make many decisions whereas before I was in a self-enforced state of pause. The most recent example has surrounded my process of getting rid of my apartment. Originally, I planned to get someone to take over in October, but it was suggested to me that I should post an ad early because it would go better for me if I give people as much of a heads up as possible. Turns out that as soon as I had posted the ad on Kijiji people immediately responded to the ad and they were wanting to move in September 1st. It caught me off guard to the point that I didn't even have the appropriate paperwork ready. It was probably a good problem to have, but it has definitely bumped up my time table. Now, I am moving within the week. For one month, I am going to move in with the Life Together folks and then from there head to Nelson. I didn't even get to settle into the old apartment and I'm heading back out into the next phase of my life which I am labeling the "Hobo Years".

I couple of things have been going around in my head since this development, one being the fact I am moving from the place I have lived for the last five years and now I have no place for my things. It will all be borrowed for the next long while. I am going to be leaving some items at the Life Together house and taking only the essentials. Clothes, bedding, toiletries, my video camera and computer. I will officially be homeless in that I won't be paying for my own place for a while. My little living area will be borrowed. For me, I am excited to be free of such responsibilities. I am now turning into a guest in another home for a while, but it is a different scenario than when I am paying for my place directly. It is going to be an adventure like the video games I always played. I am going to a place to complete a quest along with some side tasks. Yes, nerdy I know, but at the same time very accurate. Plus I am doing the thing that I always wanted to devote more time to, but was unsure of how I could do it.

The other I was thinking about could be epitomized from my encounter with Lance on Saturday. Greg and I went over to his place and chilled out in his new hot tub and were catching up with each other. Lance and Char are in the middle of renovating their backyard and we started talking about the future projects including the completion of his deck, a patio and in general transforming it into something that sounds awesome. I should probably clarify that. Greg and Lance discussed that. I sort of stayed quiet. I didn't know much about that kind of stuff, because I've never thought about it. It never interested me. Greg however, was able to keep pace with Lance and had clearly considered that kind of stuff before. Mind you, Greg does work in construction.

He is, however, not the only one of my friends who has some idea of what their future home would have. People in my small group can talk about their homes/future homes and what they would have or are going to do with their home or what they want to change and how they'd do it. I do my best to feign interest, but I couldn't care less about that stuff.

For the last five years I was going to put up posters in my bedroom to spruce it up, but I never got around to it. In fact, I don't think that the room was a hundred percent cleaned. The thing was, I didn't care. The only reason I wanted to do that was because I figured that what normal people do. They want their room to be unique and reflect who they are. So they decorate or arrange things in the way that portrays their personality not so much for the sake of showing off, but for their own sake of expression. That's what I assume anyway. I don't care what that room looks like. I store clothes and spend my time being unconscious in there. Why would I care what it looks like? I didn't decorate my room to be a reflection of who I am, because I didn't care what it looked like and thought it was unnecessary work and thus it ironically became a reflection of who I am.

My living space is where all my decorations are. However, all the things that I have populated my apartment with came from convenience. All my furniture was either stuff that my old roommates had and then left with me when they moved or were standees from work. When a promotion of a new movie had come to an end, I would take the standee of a character or the poster home because I thought, "Sweet, here is a free shelf and it makes it look like I tried to decorate." Aside from two posters, I didn't buy anything to add to my home. Not dishes, not towels, not furniture (except for a TV and the game systems). I have never improved my home. The decorations are purely there because other people put up stuff in their home and I wouldn't have to hear the comments like, "The walls look so barren".

The reason this has stuck out to me is because I am closing up shop here and there is nothing to close up. I don't care for any of it. The reason I'm making arrangements to leave it here in the city is so that when I return I don't have to go through the drudgery of having to find new furniture and have to spend money on it. It's not the money part that bothers me, but rather the whole fact I have to spend any time and any money on something I don't care about at all. It's just that unless you want to be a furnitureless weirdo, you have that stuff so that you can make a house more hospitable and inviting.

Some would say, "Dave, that stuff doesn't matter. A home is about the people inside." Yes, true. But finding a girl who doesn't care about that stuff too, would be mighty difficult. A lot of perception of what is needed to create a space for a family comes from how you approach your home. If I don't even care a little bit about the space I live, then I don't really care about the space when other people are there.

There is a security that comes with a home. An idea that this is a space where a family is safe to be and I have a hard time with that. I really don't care about that space and my fear is that if I don't care about setting up a home that I wouldn't really be caring for my future family.

It all boils down to this. I have been standing at a crossroads for nine years. Do I choose the life of a performance artist and devote my time and lifestyle to becoming a better one or do I choose to become responsible for my future family and pursue a stable home and income. I've to the point that I've realized that I have been standing at that fork in the road for so long and realized that I haven't chosen and now I will have difficulty pursuing either due to my lack of decision.

I think the main reason I haven't chosen is because I do not want to choose the wrong one. If I choose to pursue comedy, I may not succeed well enough to be able to build a home for a family. If I choose the stable life, then I may yearn for a life of doing what I want to do and blame it on the family that held me back. So I have instead chosen a safe life. I had a job and stuck with it to at least pay off debts and have benefits and I would do the safe approach of doing skits for free at youth retreats just so that I had an avenue to do some but not really pushing myself. It's like the parable Jesus about the talents. I didn't want to risk anything, so I wound up taking my talents and burying them in the sand and at the end of the day, not having anymore than when I started.

Now, I am finally choosing, perhaps way too late to go and do my passion. I am turning away from building my home and a lifestyle that I could bring a family into. It scares me a little. Especially since I have found a girl that I care for and who cares for me because I am not sure what I will have at the end of this choice to offer her.

In the end, I have to do this. I can't stay still anymore. I have to choose and not let "what ifs" hold me back at a fork in the road. I have finally figured out that I would rather walk a path that may lead to failure than go nowhere at all.

"In the far off distance
As my taillights fade
No one thinks to witness but they will someday
Feel like a question is forming
And the answer's far
I will be what I could be
Once I get out of this town"
- Pearl Jam's "Gone" from their self-titled album

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lost in Thought: "The End"

Today I picked up "LOST: The Complete Collection" which included all six seasons in one package along with many other nifty extras. Normally, I wouldn't just pick up the entire collection when I already have 5 out of the 6 seasons already, but this was different. LOST really is an entire collection and now that I have seen the show, I can appreciate the entirety of the show. It was truly worth the investment of time and money into one of the most thought-provoking hours of television.

This is as good as any time to do a review of the show as any. I was away from my home computer and was not able to type out a review before, but I have just finished watching the special features of the final season (along with the last twenty minutes of the last episode) and now LOST is once again racing through my mind.

As silly as it is to admit, I have to say that the LOST finale was one of the things that actually impacted me this summer (along with many more important events) and as I watched the cast and crew review the creation of the last season, I was brought to tears and contemplated matters of my own life once more. I think the main reason that this show has hit me as hard as it has is the fact that this show focuses on the nature of humanity. Mind you, many movies, TV shows and books do that, but it may be one of the few that deals with the state of spirituality in the modern era.

When I was talking with Pastor Arden from Nelson (where I will be heading in just over a month), he pointed out that LOST highlights the need of spirituality that modern North American culture yearns for but has been disenfranchised with due to bad experiences with religion or unfamiliar with due to a lack of experience with religion. LOST is a summary of North American spirituality. Even though Lost is not a Christian show, it clearly tackles the same issue that Christianity (along with other world religions) addresses.

I know that many people were disappointed with the apparent lack of answers to many questions, I still feel that at the end of the show, all the major questions I had were addressed. Sure, there are many that were left hanging, but to go out of the way to answer it would have been answering it for the sake of answering it and thus taking away from the major narrative of the story. Although, a few of those questions were addressed in a special 10 minute segment made for the DVD. However, it would have been strangely out of place had they put those into the finale itself or really into the final season at all. For the sake of those who care to check it out, they talk about questions like "What was the deal with the palette drops in season 2?" or "What was so special about Walt?" It was interesting, but not necessary. Especially after watching the other special features and being again reminded of what that show was.

Lost had two major themes that came through out the show and that was the idea of community and redemption.

In season one the castaways were faced with a dire situation and they were deciding how to deal with things and it was pretty chaotic. It was at this point that Jack stepped forward and talked about how people needed to band together if they were to survive.

"Last week most of us were strangers. But we're all here now. And God knows how long we're going to be here. But if we can't live together—we're gonna die alone"

With that line, one of the foundations of the show was laid. Live together or die alone. There was multiple times in making the movie trailers throughout the summer that I referenced that idea and I even named one of my speeches at the Kootenay camp "Live Together or Die Alone". The flash sideways was used to underscore that main tenet of the show. Whatever happens in the after life, we are going to be facing it together. One of the thoughts I have had about death is that when we go to face our judgment, it is not going to be me facing God, but rather us as a humanity and it will be our ability to live as a people who took care of each like God commanded us that will be judged. God knows that we are not doing that now and it will have to be on the mercy of Jesus Christ that we are forgiven for failing as a humanity.

I think that we should not be simply concerned with our own personal redemption, but rather the redemption of humanity. It puts a different spin on why we do good works. It means that we do good works, not for the sake of salvation, but rather as an avenue to aid our fellow humanity who we are ultimately going to be linked with in the afterlife.

The other major theme is redemption which I have already touched on, but it specifically about how no matter our situation and background, we are capable of being redeemed. No one is beyond redemption and it is up to us to embrace that change in character. In the show, we have a group of people who are flawed, but in the situation they find themselves in on the island, they are brought to a place where they can find redemption and become the hero archtype that should be outside of their grasp.

In the same way, humanity are faced with situations and people who stand in their way and it is possible for a person to rise above and become the enlightened hero. We may not have to face a foe as powerful as Darth Vader, but like the characters in Lost, we may face people like a boss that bullies us or an impossible standard put before us by our father and our redemption and evolution into a person of a heroic archtype is found in the trials of our character along with the support of the community.

In the end, what I walk away with at the end of Lost is that people can be redeemed and that it is found through the power of the good community. Of course, I would submit that it also requires the pursuit of goodness that is found at the core of teachings of Jesus, but for a network television series to actually address anything of spiritual significance and in a profound way is amazing.

One of the reasons the ending of the show has impacted me as much as it did this summer was the imagery it used in the flash sideways. The idea that people would find each other in the afterlife before they move onto their final destination was fascinating. I was thinking about what would my flash sideways look like and I have a feeling that it would look like camp. A camp where the people significant would gather and it would be around the camp fire where we'd realize the significance of each other in each others lives. I can imagine some people would be around that fire and it is such an interesting exercise.

So my question to you is: Who would be in your flash sideways and what would it look like for you?

For me, Lost was a fantastic show that dealt with issues rarely touched by television and actually got me thinking inwardly as to where am I in the whole scheme of things and that is something I can't say for a lot of things. Kudos to the cast and crew to making one of the best shows on television.

(It kills me to quote a Creed song, but alas, the song fits perfect)

"Why hold down one to raise another?
Discrimination now on both sides
Seeds of hate blossom further
The world is heading for mutiny
When all we want is unity
We may rise and fall, but in the end
We meet our fate together"
- Creed's "One" from their album "My Own Prison"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Too Much To Say

I just got home last night and I can't bring myself to sleep quite yet. My mind is filled with a lot of thoughts right now. Thoughts of the future, memories of this summer, preparations for the wedding reception I am the master of ceremony for, the girl I can't stop thinking about, what am I going to do for the next couple of months while I live in Winnipeg, wrestling in my mind about my relationship with my mom. It is all tumbling around in my mind, and I still haven't unpacked from the summer yet.

Although, it may sound like I am complaining, but in actuality, I am quite exhilarated. Sunday will be a good day to recover from one adventurous summer and to take it easy. This week coming up will be one to reflect and prep for the next couple of months. I have a couple of months before I head west and I have some decisions to make and I hope I don't get so wrapped up in the future, that I forget to live in the present and make wise choices now.

On Monday, I plan on starting to develop my last comedy show for Winnipeg with the help of a very smart and organized friend and put something together that will be an appropriate good bye to the community that I have spent the last eight years with. I have a rough idea of how the show will be designed and I hope that I can pull it together in the midst of other important tasks that need to be done before one moves to another province.

There is so much I want to write, but it is late. I suppose I wanted to set the stage for myself to write down some various thoughts in the next while and I hope that in the midst of this time of change that I can crystalize those thoughts for the sake of later when I think back to this major turning point in my life. I will get to it later after this last crazy day.

"Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow

Gonna rise up
Burning back holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
And suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole"
- Eddie Vedder's "Rise" from the "Into the Wild" soundtrack

Friday, August 13, 2010

That Feels Good

I have one more camp to go here on the Camp Ministry Team. I am a bit tired and have been sick for the last few weeks with a few different colds. My back is scraped up and my clothes in the laundry getting rid of the caked-on mud from last night's game of "Fugitive". My voice is shot and my ability to yell a mighty yell is affected by the constant threat of cracking.

I feel alive.

This is a good kind of tired, beat up and sick. I feel like I am actually doing something and I am still having fun. I am truly going to miss this summer despite it's trials of various sorts. However, there is an exciting, new adventure on the horizon.

As it stands right now, I am moving to Nelson, British Columbia in a couple of months to do the internship I mentioned in my previous post. The details of exactly what my expectations are not fully ironed out, but my conversation with Pastor Arden gives me a lot of confidence that we are on the same page. I am looking forward to getting to perform regularly and working on various video projects and youth group events.

One thing I know I am going to miss are the people in Winnipeg. I have been there for essentially eight years and it will be a little sad to leave them. At this point I don't think that it will be forever, but you never know. This may be the start of a life on the road.

It's very strange to be where I am right now. I feel good and happy for the most part and I kind of don't know what to do with it. It has been a lot longer than people realize since I have been this content. There's still question marks in my future and I still have a hard time with the idea of whether or not that I am "living up to my potential" but I feel like I have found where I can help and excel doing something worthwhile.

I am thankful for how God has been leading me out of the valley of the shadow of death and I hope that I can do what I am supposed to do.

"The world awaits just up the stairs
Leave the pain for someone else
Nothing back there for you to find
Or was it you you left behind?
You're always saying you're too weak to be strong
You're harder on yourself than just about anyone
Why swim the channel just to get this far?
Halfway there, why would you turn around?
Darkness comes in waves...tell me,
Why invite it to stay?

You're one with negativity
Yes, comfort is an energy
But why let the sad song play?

I have faced it, a life wasted
I'm never going back again
Oh I escaped it, a life wasted
I'm never going back again
Haven't tasted, a life wasted
I'm never going back again
Oh i erased it, a life wasted
I'm never going back again"

- Pearl Jam's "Life Wasted" from their self-titled album