Thursday, December 15, 2005
memoirs of a prodigal son
Nope, there's no geisha or culture-touring white guys writing fanciful books or making badly cast movies here (that'll be another post). It just happens to be me... the above picture being inspired by a wonderful pseudofish original.
Lots of random personal musings this evening.
Well, 2005 is almost gone and it's still hard for me to believe that it's been now over a year since I returned from my time in Japan. I think my expectations about life after I came back were a lot different. If were I to make note in my memoirs about this past year, I'd probably summarize it in terms of things that didn't happen - I didn't make a smooth transition back to American life, I didn't stay fit, I didn't find a job right away, I didn't save a lot of money, I didn't get married, I didn't change my hairstyle, I didn't see CoHi continue, and most of all, I didn't answer any of the many nagging spiritual questions in my life. Sure, I would often try to effect changes in the direction I wanted, but lots of things just didn't happen... and that's just the way it is, right?
Everybody in this world espouses a certain philosophy about life, whether they articulate it or not verbally, how they live is proof of what they truly believe. My old youth pastor, Taido Chino, had a great saying that I'll always remember - "I can tell a lot about who a person is by how they spend two things: their time and their money." For myself, this past year's time and money has been put into the usual things - family, friends, church, school, etc. - but I think there's a definite change in as the year has progressed, I've withdrawn more and more. I've let my pro-hermit leanings dominate my decision making.
A case in point would be my church attendance of late. I still love my church, but attendance hasn't been so regular. There's been times where's there has been practical reasons for missing church - like driving someone to the airport - but there's also been times where I was completely free to go, but I just ended up either visiting another church ninja-style (in and out of service, no socializing) or I did something else. What else you might ask?
I go and visit my father.
To some people, it might seem morbid that I would choose to spend my Sunday afternoons at a cemetery, but that's what I've been doing a lot lately. In a ridiculously noisy world, cemeteries are some of the most peaceful places around, and lately, my soul has been craving more peace. Sometimes I go there just for 10 minutes or so... other times, I'll bring water, beer, or *ahem* another "beverage" and just sit and drink next to my father's grave. I don't really talk or anything. I'm just there. My own sacred space.
A friend was writing recently about how everybody's relationship with God works differently and the way that people deal with that relationship is different too. Those words resonated with me, maybe because I feel like I can't relate to a lot of people, the ones who stress about what outfit to wear or buying a mortgage or planning their wedding anniversaries or big family reunions or weekend fishing trips with their dad or getting a raise at work. I'm not saying that I've reached some sort of elite, ultra-rare spiritual state, but my concerns keep turning inward. My world is different.
What I am saying is that there is an aloneness in my relationship with God. I've felt it for a large majority of the time, and the short time where it wasn't there, my days in college, that slowly becomes resigned to being an anomaly the further that that time passes away into memory. Oh, I agree in the function of the church, the need for fellowship, but ultimately, I believe that people at best can only try to guide you spiritually. In the end, I have to trudge my own muddy road with my own proverbial two feet. When I go to visit father's grace and sit by his headstone, I suppose I'm trying to confront my aloneness and to stare into my own mortality. Or maybe I go there because part of me is wondering that if I return to the point of my pain, the ground zero of where I feel most empty, will God speak to me here? If our pain is the vehicle in which God's truth rolls in, why haven't I been made to understand yet? These are the sort of things I think about a lot, but especially when I'm there.
But the answers haven't come yet. They don't happen.
I'm not really looking forward to turning 27 in thirteen days.
(sidenote: favorite flask filler is Uncle Johnnie.)
Other entries with the word "prodigal"...
-September 23, 2002
-December 18th, 2002
-February 27, 2003
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