lyef & thymes

Friday, February 25, 2005

hmmm...what is to be done?

It has recently come to my attention that some folks find my blog entries to be a bit on the long side. One person commented that it's just that I have that type of brain, that I like to really hash things out. It is true that I think best in an active way, getting my thoughts out there, and seeing where I logically take them. Sometimes it only seems logical to me, and less so to others. Well, that's language for you. I can say pretty much anything, and whether I believe it or not, you have to interpret it as though I am being perfectly serious, and then decide if you agree with me or not. Luckily I don't really care if you agree. I don't mean that in a cynical way, but rather, I accept you dear friends for the people that you are. It could be that you have differing opinions on certain things, and I feel no compulsion to pigeon-hole you into my way of viewing things. Of course there are times when I find a particular view offensive, or destructive, and my in the interests of comfort and peace of mind suggest an alternate view on an issue, and see where it goes. I get into some great conversations this way, and also some fantastic fights. Remember that I think things through by hashing them out, so sometimes I am in the middle of an idea and someone will point something out to me that alters how I get to the end of the idea. Or they assume I am already at the end, and they don't like the implications. For example:

In class one day we were discussing consumerism, and the idea arose that there is no more room on the fringe of western society. Being a freaky outsider who doesn't buy what other people buy, and won't wear what other people wear, and who don't care about petty material things has all become a marketting bracket. Designers and Corporations have learned that there is money to be made by selling us stuff that looks like we are dirty hippies that don't care what we look like. Ever wonder why American Eagle shirts and pants come pre-wrinkled, and often even pre-torn?
We were taking the line of thought pretty far, and began talking about Church. I love corporate/communal worship times, meaning times when a large number of people gather together and praise God together. One student in the class discussed how she doesn't like this type of thing, because she doesn't feel like it offers her a chance to give anything unique and original to God. We talked about the Western Man's need to be unique, and the angst that comes from learning that there are other people who are very similar to us in our individual values and tastes. I began to think about Vampire movies, and how everyone is turned into Vampires, except the hero and a few of his friends. I was in the middle of thinking about this when I began to speak. "Why is it that in Vampire Movies the last couple of people are so intent on running away? If every one is a freakin' Vampire, why not just let them bite you and become one too?" The obvious implications of this in the context of the previous discussion was that I was instructing my friend to stop being afraid, give up her individuality, and just become a brainless zombie like the rest of us Christians. In actuality I was just thinking my way down the line to inquire as to where we derive our sense of uniqueness, and if maybe that it is in our desire to be unique that we find our selves, but that's sure not the first thing that came out of my mouth. So she misunderstood me at first, but had known me long enough to say "I don't think I like what your saying," to which I was able to respond "oh, gosh no, I don't mean that the hero should let the Vampire bite him, I mean 'why is it that he doesn't? What is it that drives him?' and maybe in the answer we will see some part of what drives us." And all was well, and the class carried on.
So what I am saying through all of this is that I think God knew what he was talking about when He saw fit to pass some instructions down to the rest of us. "Be quick to listen, slow to speak...."
So that having been said, talk to me!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Stop talkin' 'bout my wife!!!

I currently live in a small town in New Brunswick. It is a nice place, and has its charm, but there are some real characters around here. I think of Garnet, whose IQ is likely around 60. He hangs out at the downtown Tim Hortons (that's right, we have two) and he lives in a group home for the mentally disadvantaged. He doesn't know my name, but everytime he sees me he comes over and asks where my wheels are. This relates back to a time when I stopped to let him cross the street, and he walked over to my car to thank me and say hi. Traffic came to a standstill as he told me I better shave off my beard because Cathy hates beards.
You may be thinking "this post is kinda weird. Doesn't seem consistent with what Jake is normally doing with his blog." Well, sure, but Garnet is abnormal, so a post about him should be abnormal. You see, his reference to Cathy makes sense to him, because Cathy is the lady who comes in and shaves the faces of anyone who needs it at the group home. So he associates her activity of removing beards with her having a distaste for facial hair. Maybe she loves beards more than anyone, but has to shave them for the guys who can't really shave their own. I guess I can understand that. But what gets me is that he has the exact same thing to say to me everytime he sees me. It never changes. It never developes. I think this speaks to me that Garnet has a very simple, ordered life that never alters in any significant way. He probably couldn't handle it if it did. I feel a small modicum of envy, in that this is a man who is never surprised by anything overly negative, but then I realize that he is never amazed by anything wonderful either. It seems to me that this simple little town, this simple little life still catches me off guard sometimes. I find myself challenged and encouraged in unexpected ways. I came to live and work here with an idea that I knew what to expect, and I am regularly surprised, in positive and negative ways, quite often. Perhaps it is because I still leave room in my life for growth. This is to say that as a person I have some of the faculties necessary to accept challenges and overcome them, if I am open. While I occassionally resent change, and the effort required to live this life, I am glad that this whole journey isn't over after just one or two adventures. There is a lot I can learn from guys like Garnet, if I am willing to take the time to see the opportunity, and take hold of it. Surely one day I will leave this town, heck one day I will leave this whole life, and when I do I hope I have learned all I could, and grown in as many ways as are made available to me. In the meantime, here I will stay.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Whose Voice do we Heed?

These are not the days for making decisions. I don't mean that in a grand cosmic sense, but rather that February is not an appropriate time for making lifetime decisions. They say that you should never go grocery shopping when you're hungry, because you will only buy whatever tickles your fancy at the time, and later you will have nothing of any substance to nourish you. This is the same principle. When the sky is perpetually grey, the earth is covered in snow, and life is in hibernation, everything is coloured by that. Nothing seems cheerful in February. Nothing seems to work out right in the late winter. And I am as far from my memory of last spring as I can be, without yet seeing signs of this coming spring. The problem I face is that I want to study for a master's degree, and would have to think long and hard about where to go to acheive this, and if I found a place to go, then I would have to think about whether I really had everything I would need to do it or not. In February I can only see the grey. I don't have enough money. My grades aren't good enough. Even if I did get in, I am still not sure what exacty to study. In otherwords, I can only see the downsides to everything. In the summer all of this will seem like it just adds to the adventure. All the challenges that seem impossible now, will add to the excitement in the days to come. But in the meantime comes discouragement, disillusionment (which isn't always a bad thing), and if it gets really bad, despair. As we learned in Anne of Green Gables, to despair is to forget God, and i'll be honest, sometimes I get close. But I remember that this is the time when all of the influences and voices are grey. Soon there will come a day when all things seem possible again, and in the meantime I just gotta keep my head down, and get through the winter.
In case you haven't picked up on it yet, I have been thinking all-together too much about moving on, packing up and packing it in, and getting a job in a factory somewhere. Obviously this would be no more satisfying to me than the work I am doing now. Clearly there is no one place to live that will satisfy me more than another. It all depends on my attitude. So what if the grass isn't green right here? It's not really any greener anywhere else. But soon all the grass everywhere will begin to grow again. When my heart is troubled I listen to the voice of my mind, which says "maybe it's okay to stay here afterall". When my mind can't figure it out I follow the guidance of those respected friends who know me, and know what I am going through. There is so much good when things are good, but it's hard to remember that when it's February, and there is no sunlight. God knows what's going on in my heart, and he has put the goods inside me to get through this winter, and into better times. I suppose this isn't such a bad place. I guess the snow is kinda nice. Clouds don't suck too bad...oh heck I like it here well enough. See you again when the winter blahs have passed.