The Story So Far…

The story so far, is already here…I don’t care what I’ve lost, I just thank God I’m alive

Flogging Molly, The Story So Far

My life is…

my Life is….

I…um…

(heavy sigh)

Here’s a quick rundown:

*Formidable years spent in Arizona (hot, dry, always the same), adult years spent in WI and MA (cold, lots of changes, WEATHER!)

*Spent the last 13 years trying to date my friends; each time I tried to make that work, I lost friends.

*I’m 31 years old and (kind of) just started a new career.  Since I was 12 or so, I’ve been told that I’m a mature adult, and less than a year ago I was ordained as a Minister in the United Church of Christ.

*My little sister is getting married in about two weeks.  I’m currently considering modelling my life after Project Runway’s Tim Gunn (celibate for 30 years and no regrets).

*I live in the Boston area and I’m about to share an apartment with one of my best friends, and in the meantime we’re living in a giant house with another friend, her 8 year old son, and Marvel, the worst cat I’ve ever met (and I’ve met some cats, you guys).

Despite his excellent rendition of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," he is terrible.

Despite his excellent rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” he is terrible.

That seems like a good place to start: I have moved at least once a year, every year, since graduating high school.  As annoying and inconvenient as that sounds…as it turns out…it’s actually worse.  It only occurred to me recently, but moving from one place to another for 13 years has actually forced me into a weird little subculture.  My whole adult life, I’ve looked around me and seen other adults with interests, hobbies, relationships that work and last, these are people with diets and exercise regimens and weekly routines.  I have observed these people like E.O. Wilson observing ant colonies; surveying the landscape with great fascination, maybe even a little envy, forever distinct and alien from the object of my fascination.  It’s not that I didn’t have all these things–interests and routines–it’s that I literally thought my purpose in life was to be dedicated to something else.  I didn’t understand how a weekly routine could make anyone happy, and I didn’t quite get how hobbies or activities could fulfill a person’s life to the point of not worrying about the inevitable scythe of death coming to collect us all.  For me, my time and energy needed to be spent in larger pursuits, attempting to find the thing that would make my life complete, even after my own death.

Well as it turns out, this is what happens when you move all the time:  Your beliefs and identity take on supreme importance, because everything else around you is foreign and temporary.  It’s one thing to go on that journey for a time, but to live your entire life a state of flux has begun to feel exhausting…if not misguided.  One of my favorite teachers of all time is my Hebrew Bible professor from Andover Newton Theological School, Greg Mobley.  I remember a lecture Greg gave about four years ago on the function of exile.  If you’re even passingly familiar with the Hebrew Bible, Israel gets decimated by a couple different empires, and the elite are all exiled from their homeland.  Mobley pointed out the hardships of exile; not just the theological questions and identity crises, but…finding water?  If you want to not simply defeat your foreign enemies, but also ensure that they can’t mount a counterattack for a few generations, then you exile them, you uproot their entire existence so they have to spend a few decades rebuilding their entire society.  Flash forward a few thousand years and we find 21st Century America, a place of such privilege that no one on earth can force its citizens into exile…except those citizens themselves.  Venturing far from home, discovering new things, taking big risks; these are all essential parts of developing into a full, healthy adult human being.  But after 13 years, it’s starting to occur to me that those adventures are supposed to end at some point.  It’s just as essential to know when to put down stakes somewhere, or a once purposeful endeavor can turn into fanciful madness (Don Quixote).  One can remain on the fringes forever, clinging to one’s ideals rather than compromise (Han Solo, Malcolm Reynolds), but the cost is a life of turmoil, and more than a little loneliness.  Heroes go on a journey of self discovery, but then they have to return to share what they have learned (insert your favorite hero here).  So, that’s my life.  Or at least, that’s my life right now.

It’s time to become what I’m going to become…even though it’s easier and more fun to be Mal Reynolds….it’s time to re-enter the world.  Before I start tilting at windmills.

I started this blog a few years ago to document a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Germany.  I think it’s safe to say that experiment did more for me than anyone else.  The writing and reflecting I did during that year changed my life.  And then I got back to the States, where things were easy and my life was full and I once again had the privilege of being able to non-reflectively exile myself anytime it suited my purposes.  And in recent months it’s occurred to me:  I don’t like living that way.  I think it has been beneficial to me as a spiritual person; it’s a journey that has possibly set me up to be an important Wisdom Teacher.  But right now…it feels like a lot of unnecessary chaos.  I wanted to confront demons and slay dragons…and now I’m 31, and I would like to have some fun and a stable home environment.  And I regret slaying dragons that could have been befriended.  And I may have picked up more demons than I loosed.

This is where my story picks up.  Getting out of the exile game, getting my feet on the ground, and starting to build something out of my life.  Re-dedicating myself to the blog, re-dedicating myself to the things that balance out the chaos of life with structure and seasons and daily devotion.  Doubling down on my commitment to an intentional life of love and justice and humility.  Eating a friggin’ salad from time to time.

This IS My Life.  Thanks for being part of it.

Next Week: Homecoming, Internet Dating, and My Pet Demon (No, I’m not talking about the cat.)

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8 thoughts on “The Story So Far…

  1. Thanks, Brian…when you figure out how to get out of the wilderness wandering…let me know. It’s been almost 30 years for me!

  2. The beauty of life is that life is a tragedy; the hero always dies at the end! Not fair, just is. But between now and then is where its lived, and the fulfilling fun is in freedom – Galatians 5. Did Paul really explain it!? Hmmm – choices to be made.

  3. You know, Marvel really loves you. He’s annoying, sure, but “the worst cat ever”? Not even close. He just wants you to love him back. Isn’t that what we all want?

    • Hey I think that was Maddie’s title for him. And I believe–I could be mistaken, but I really believe–that you have also said some disparaging things toward Marvel. Even after he have you such a nice birthday present! So it seems he might have to put up with some stuff as long as he puts his butt in people’s faces.

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