Saturday, January 29, 2011

An every day journal entry

I've been keeping an online journal for a while.  Often I'll be at work or at church or somewhere and experience something I want to write about, and if I had my laptop in front of me right then and there and the spare time, I'd right write then and there about what I'm thinking (I know I screwed up tenses and swapped homophones, and my right and left arrow keys aren't working).  Usually I'll forget what I wanted to write about though... anywho, here's just an every day journal entry.  Today nothing really that interesting happened.  I did discover that my right and left arrow keys aren't working on my keyboard (which is a real pain in the ass, especially when I'm editing blogs in progress) but that's about the most interesting thing.  Other than that, I enjoyed a very nice day with both doors open and took the opportunity to air out my room and clean it again, once more arresting the onset of entropy.  Then I walked to the store for sundries and came back home.  It was an enjoyable walk, with Coldplay running through my head through most of it.  A couple of times people honked at me.  Sometimes they yell things as they pass like, "Hey man, what's up!" or "Yo whaddup chief!" and "Hey, wassssssup bro!".  I work at 7-Eleven, you see, and because I do so much walking in public I have to deal with an odd sort of local fame.  Usually I don't recognize these people who recognize me as they zoom by, but I guess that comes with the territory.  I imagine it's kind of like being a local newscaster.  People know me, but I don't know them. 

Later I went to church for vigil but left after the vespers portion because my mood plummeted.  That's been happening a lot lately; I'll be feeling ok and then I'll be feeling like crap.  No warning, just a sudden drop in mood (sometimes it will go the other way, from crap to ok, but not as often).  Heidi usually texts me when this happens, which is inexplicably awesome.  I was about to say just now that I am so lucky to have Heidi in my life, but then I realized that luck has nothing to do with it.  Thanks, God.

After I left vigil I walked to Wal Mart for more sundries.  I don't really know what a sundry is, except that it's a good no-nonsense word to describe what-nots and hoo-jiggers.  So, more sundries in hand, I walked back home and downloaded Harry Potter - The Sorcerers Stone and watched it.  I haven't seen that movie in about a year and a half, since I first read the book.  Two things I've discovered in the past two years - Harry Potter, and The Orthodox Church.  Maybe I'll discover two more awesome things during the next two years.

Now it's just about time for bed.  Tomorrow I get to take communion again.  I need God's medicine right now.  Lord, please make my heart a worthy vessel to contain Thy Holy Spirit.


Friday, January 28, 2011

This day

I felt like ugly crap today when I woke up.  It was about 6:00 and I had only been asleep for about 5 hours and I couldn't sleep anymore.  Lately I've been waking up early and haven't been able to get back to sleep.  I took two benadryls and went back to sleep until 1:30 and woke up feeling groggy and in that half-place where I couldn't sleep anymore but didn't want to be awake.  I had one of those big single beers that I brought home last night that I didn't drink, so I drank it right off the bat since it's my day off.  I didn't feel any better and my stomach hurt.  I wanted to sleep some more but still couldn't.

I stayed awake and Matt and I got into an argument of course, which is the status quo around here so that's no surprise.  I forgot what it was about... no, it was about something I was watching online.  He was in the living room listening to it, and after it was over, we started talking about it and it turned into an argument.  I don't like that, always arguing, but it seems unavoidable that my brother and I always argue when we talk.  It doesn't always start out as an argument, but it usually almost always evolves into one.  I've come to the conclusion that it's not anybody's fault and that we just don't understand each other.  We are like yin and yang.  Sometimes I wonder if Matt and I were mortal enemies in a previous life, and are now bound together in this life by karma, destined to always experience our differences so that we can eventually work them out.  Pride is one big pain in the ass.

Tonight Matt and I went to Mr. Chopstix.  I had shrimp tempura with crab rangoons, and Matt had some kind of beef walnut thing.  We started off with some saki and toasted every time we drank.  We traded toasts that went like this:

Matt - May every answer always lead to another question :::clink:::
Me - May Ryan be successful with his career after he moves to Waco :::clink:::
Matt - May all gorgeous moments be written down and remembered :::clink:::
Me - May Fr. Justin's daughters grow up happy and without strife :::clink:::
Matt - May we always be who we are no matter where we are :::clink:::
Me - May we not have to worry about typing our toasts into the notepad :::clink:::

(I didn't type Matt's next toast and now I don't remember what it was)

Me - May commercial spaceflight be affordable before we die :::clink:::)
Matt - May we live art as opposed to just doing it :::clink:::
Me - May we always stay cool (personally and comfortably) :::clink:::

And then my paltry little phone ran out of notepad memory.  We had a few more toasts that I swore to remember but, of course, I don't.

After that we finished dinner and walked home.  We had many other adventures and arguments, ranging from the forced perspective of sidewalk paintings and how they applied to the third Indiana Jones movie, to colored lighting and how it casts shadows in complimentary colors, to the Orion Nebula and BronYrAur.  We even explored the front yard of an abandoned house and wondered what was inside.  I wanted to go in and look, but that would have been breaking and entering.  We went home instead.

We of course had it out again, off and on, many more times.  It finally comes down to this moment, and I don't want to think about it anymore.  So now I end this night listening to music and waiting to fall asleep.

--------------------------sleep happened--------------------------

And now it's the next day, and it seems like a good day.  It's warm and I took a walk to the store to grab some sundries earlier.  Something about today - maybe it's the smell of the air outside, or the music in the background of the flash game I have paused, or the temperature and weather - something makes today seem like a nostalgic kind of dejavu of memories, from the old house in East Texas to bits and pieces of various times in Austin to something that I kind put my finger on.  A kind of weird positive.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy - part 1

Yesterday was wonderful.  I felt inexplicably good all day, for no real reason.  Giddy almost, kind of like how I used to feel before I ever used any substances to get high, when natural good moods were a common part of my life.  Today was the opposite.  I was depressed all day.  Maybe what brought it on was the anxiety pill I took this morning when I woke up at 7:00 and couldn't sleep.  I was groggy all day and it turned into a black pit of depression.  I'm coming out of it a little now.  Prayers now, and then sleep, I think, and tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Plans within plans

I went to confession Saturday night after vigil for the first time since November 5th.  During those three months my spiritual life really suffered, as it's very easy to let inertia take over when I start to mess up in my spiritual life.  The enemy is always looking for a way to grab hold and do some damage, and that he did (with my cooperation, of course... I'm not trying to escape responsibility for my own actions).  All of the trouble started right at the beginning of the Nativity Fast, when I was still feeling good about church.  I had told Fr. Justin on a Wednesday evening that I would help out with the liturgy the next morning, but I overslept and missed it.  As a result, I felt rotten for letting Fr. Justin down, and it just got worse and worse as I began to miss regular services.  It was very easy for the enemy to take over after that, and when I stopped fighting I instead began punishing myself undeservedly by skipping services and putting off confession.  In this way I could do maximum damage to myself for the inexcusable crime of oversleeping and breaking my promise to Fr. Justin.

At some point during my self-imposed excommunication, I began to discover that there is a direct correlation between feelings of anger, jealousy, self pity and self righteousness, and the nosedive my spiritual life was taking.  When I got back from Alaska, I was terrified of a certain situation I knew that I had to face (which I won't go into), but I was also excited about going back to church and being in communion again.  As it turned out, things weren't as awful as I had feared, and I was even able to deal with complications relating to this certain situation in a more or less positive manner.  However, my ability to deal with that situation deteriorated the longer I was out of communion until I found myself in a state of emotional wreckage.

Now I'm back in communion and I'm hoping that things will improve again with my ability to deal with this situation.  Once again I've subjected myself to a kind of self-imposed exile - not from communion, but from that certain situation.  I'm probably punishing myself now too, because I don't want to do what I'm doing and it's going to hurt.  However, I'm hoping that by removing myself from the situation I'm also removing my own potential to cause pain in others.  I see a possible time in the future when I might just remove myself completely from society and join a monastery.  The more I think about that, the more I wonder if that's what God has planned for me.  I've always been extremely shy, and it's difficult for me to form relationships with people and maintain them.  I'm also not a very good communicator, I think, because I haven't had a lot of practice, and misunderstandings are frequent with people who are close to me.  The simple, ordered life of a monastic would probably be the perfect place for a person with my type of personality.  Simplicity in life is something I've always craved, as I've always only just been able to deal with the burdens and complications of living in modern society without completely collapsing.

I believe that God puts us in situations, even terrible, painful, hurtful ones, to lead us eventually to where we are supposed to be.  I never would have become an Orthodox Christian if it weren't for my attraction to the person who led me there.  There was no other way to drag me into a church than to be led there by my selfish desire for the love of someone else, and God knew this.  I never would have even met the person who brought me to Orthodoxy though if I hadn't gone through all of the misery I've experienced with addiction, because my decision to apply for the job where I met her was one of desperation, a desperation which arose from being unmotivated, unemployed and depressed because of my problems with addiction.  I could go back even further, linking together all of my bad mistakes and painful experiences (and good ones) that comprised the crucial events which described what I thought had been a terrible life up until the winter of 2008, which ultimately led me to the church.

So now I have my current situation to deal with, another painful one.  However, based on the evidence of my past and where it led me, I have to believe that this too is part of God's plan to take me further into the future and closer to His will.  Maybe it will lead me to a monastic life.  Maybe I'll learn enough from it so that I'll actually be married some day and capable of being a good husband and father and priest for my family.  I don't know, but in the meantime I can hold on to my faith and to the belief that everything is going to be alright.