Mutual Heartache


Reality is frequently unfortunate, and rarely kind to the heart. The atmosphere today was set at the point of waking up, something was off with the world I live in.

10 mile run in the woods was difficult, painful, and cold. Yet another forewarn of impending devastation.

While enjoying a cup of coffee my wife called me. We both know that if we’re calling each other instead of sending a text, something is usually off…

Hey, what’s up?

We knew it would happen someday, and it finally did.

Oh my gosh. Where are you? I’m on my way to pick you up now.

I hung up the phone and stepped back into the shop.

I’m sorry. That was Darco, I need to go. 

Is everything alright?

Her mother just died.

I never knew that you could love someone so much that their own heartbreak you could feel yourself. I feel so overprotective at the moment. She’s sleeping in our bedroom, and I won’t even leave the room.

I’m blessed to have this marriage. I’m blessed to be able to hurt with my wife in this saddening time.

-D-

Rose Colored Reality


I am not starving to death.
My home is still in one piece.
I can worship where I want.
I can dine where I please.

Recent weeks and months have changed, so slightly, the landscape of my own life. Nothing traumatic, dangerous, or depressing; just change. The world is slightly more united, the world is slightly more volatile.

Piece by piece my reality starts to crumble.

I have slept through two nights without waking up once. While this calls for a moment of joy, it also calls for a moment of concern. What could be going on within one’s life that would cause them to sleep with such ease?

Exhaustion.

Unknowingly of course.

It started with my wife being curious about the current political landscape. It then continued into a united school building divided by legalistic opinions. It was added to from the fears of my students, and it was nearly finished off with stress outside of a rather grim world.

My students are my single ray of hope on a daily basis.

I have not had stress like this for years. Daily I have a headache as I head home from work, by 9:00 PM I tend to be ready to sleep, and 6:00 AM turns into 6:30 AM almost instantaneous. People are mean, whispers are used as murder tools, and the landscape of the reality I call home changes with each passing day.

If I complain out loud; I’m merely complaining about my status as ‘some white guy in America’, if I keep it to myself my heart just aches that much more.

I guess, summed up, put simple….even in my own chaotic mind. When looking at life in general…

I am not having fun anymore.

-D-

Sojourner


I have always been interested in the unique word sojourner. To understand what the word, not necessarily the historical name, actually means takes a bit of research and some creativity. Even in the Bible. a few translations make reference to being a sojourner throughout the land. Slowly but surely I’m beginning to have a better understanding of what this word means, and how it applies to me.

Perhaps, I should begin by offering a heart-felt apology to so many people. I feel guilt. Shame. Abandonment even. It may not necessarily make sense at the moment, but please believe me when I state my aim is not to create hate, but instead confess my own confusion.

I do not understand this world.

I do not understand this society.

I do not understand the people.

While not impossible, I do firmly question how hard it is to be a Christian within the society that I currently dwell in. Maybe that is too broad of a statement and/or question. Perhaps I have not tried hard enough to emphasize my thoughts, God’s will, or Biblical interpretations in relation to last weeks election.

I feel…nothing.

*crowd throws tomatoes*

I am sorry. This is where my heart hurts. I see one side of people thrilled about an elected leader who is going to ‘change the status quo in Washington’. I see another side that is full of fear, sadness, and anger. I’m stuck in the middle because I feel sadness for both sides. I cannot look at any person, any group of people, and suddenly feel threatened by their power. God is a lot bigger then what we measly humans can conjure up. That realization, that fact, that truth is what I hold onto on a daily basis. In fact, literally this is something I carry on me in the form of in on my left shoulder:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I did not get a tattoo just because I wanted one. I received one because I wanted that reminder with me. Originally, I thought it would serve as a reminder of what God has done to protect me coming out of a horrific divorce. However, five years past those tragic days I see that God’s message holds true in many uncertain events.

Reality is understanding that bad things will always plague this world. We have done this to ourselves. History demonstrates that to us on a daily basis. We will always have leaders that strike fear throughout the masses, and there will always be groups of people trying to rewrite the laws of society. This is not a situation within just the United States, this is a situation that resides within the global community.

I have watched friends, colleagues, people of faith, and people without, tear at each other for the past seven days. I tiptoe around every conversation I can, barely giving recognition to the results of the previous week. Why? Because I’m not spiritually swayed one way or another, there is no line for me. I follow the government as instructed, and I follow the God that created all of it. I try to keep my regulations and rules to a minimum, and simplify thoughts so that I do not become lost within ‘red tape’.

However, the problem with the information stated above is that it does not sit well with anyone within society anymore. I can say the things above because I am “a middle class, white, male who owns personal property”. I’m ‘entitled’ to live life risk free because of elements that I cannot control within my own identity. With that said, if I do choose to take a side, most likely either viewpoint will immediately conflict within the Biblical principles that I am to hold myself accountable to. I can gain the whole world, but in turn I can also lose my soul.

I feel like a wanderer, a person without a home. I feel the urge to apologize to every person I come across since last week because there is not a camp that I fall into. I don’t understand how Christian’s can take such polarizing stances on any specific political topic inside our society. So much of everything conflicts with the governing nature of God, Himself. I know what Christ said about government, I know what God warned about in relation to government, and I know that the direction is at all times to trust God, love like Christ, and endure the world that I currently live in.

Currently, I am not mad, angry, or frustrated with any group of people within the United States. Extremists, political groups, advocates, social media stalkers, etc…I’m sad because inside my soul; I can tell I do not belong. I feel isolated and alone because I did not take a side*, pick a camp, or reside with specific people that have the same political views. I chose none of it because none of it made sense compared to the teachings that I have immersed myself in. I do not need Church leaders to tell me who to vote for, who to be afraid of, or when to panic. I need a body that is willing to focus on what and who is important and recognize that the kingdoms of this world with come and go. Only one will forever remain.

In conclusion; I am sorry that you do not find me with a  safety pin, and I apologize that I do not join you in jokes about protestors, immigration, and racial charged groups of people. I apologize that I have very little share on social media, and my ‘political education’ appears to be turning up nothing of value for fuel of those looking.

I am sorry that this one time I will agree with former teachers, leaders, parents, and everyone else; I cannot resist but to go against the grain and not follow the standard norm. I am a sojourner; this is a land where I realize I will never belonged.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19

-D-

*Note: As a citizen within this society, I would like to go on record of stating that I did vote within the election. Should be stated just as an act of clarification.

XXXI: No Formula


I did not go to church today.

I sat in our living room; marveling at the beautiful, frozen landscape that had created itself over the night.

My wife did not go to church today.

She sat beside me, half asleep, taking in the warmth of solar radiation and a pristine paralysis that surrounded her.

We did not go to church today.

Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: No Touching


True story…
For several reasons I have a “no touch” policy, not just at school, but in life as a whole. Darco is the only one that I’m alright (obviously!) with the exception.
As a male teacher it was something that was beat into my skull as a student in my undergrad.
Don’t make physical contact with any student…ever.
This morning, one of my students (I confess, I have favorites) came downstairs and told me they were moving…today. It’s sad when the fun ones leave, and this was no exception. They hung out with me for twenty minutes prior to school starting, and asked me where I’d be around 9:40 AM (when they were leaving). I told them where to find me.
9:30 AM came by while I was walking down the hall and I saw them walking towards me.

Mr. D, my grandma is here to pick me up. I’m leaving. Could I have a hug?

Today, I went back on my commitment, I ignored my professors of the past, and I hugged a sobbing student.

-D-

XXXI: Not My Own


It’s 9:30 PM and I’m sitting in the living room eating tacos from the kitchen. i’ve just finished another anime episode and I fell asleep on the couch; requiring Darco to wake me up for bed. It’s been that kind of day.

Absolute exhaustion and trying times.

Yesterday was a mess. Between some student loan issues (imagine that), screwing up an assignment for class, and just a failure to adapt to the classroom, it was not a pleasant experience. I was in a rather foul mood last night by the time I left school, and I was hoping (and seriously praying) that today would be different. Thankfully, this was the case. I’m not stating that the day was perfect in comparison to yesterday, but I am going to say that God was able to change my mindset and expectations, so that I could work in an area I love with a more humble soul.

Twice, in the past six months, I’ve failed to gain a classroom position inside the school. The first time it created a horrible sense of bitterness internally, but in the end I had to accept the reality that I didn’t hold the legal requirements to teach. Why should I be mad at someone else for the mistakes I’ve made? With that memory in mind I was able to handle the news of potentially missing out on another classroom position this week. Through this process I started to see the pattern that I’ve become a hypocrite in front of my own students…

So many times I’ve complained about students having this sense of entitlement when they’re in school, “Well, I earned this.” or “Well, I deserve that.” can be heard as distant echoes down the hallway. It’s rather irritating to hear and very discouraging when thinking of what the future could hold for them in this very hostile, unfriendly world.

I say that while with the same mouth and mind I can hear myself saying, out of bitterness…

I’m mad because I’ve earned this opportunity…

I’m upset because I deserve to have this chance…

Doesn’t matter the age, the reality is the same. I’m no different compared to my own students. I have this horrible, worldly sensation that punctures my soul with greed. The truth is, is that I don’t even deserve the job that I currently have. The bitter reality is knowing that there’s nothing in these previous four years of life that indicate I even deserve the life that I’ve been given. Classroom? Trying deserving the wife I have, a supportive family, loving friends, a healthy life, etc…

Who am I to seek entitlement for a life I don’t even deserve?

it was a hard, bitter pill to swallow. Recognizing how fallen I am, and how dirty I’ve become. Realizing this is why it became easier to accept my position, cling to my school, and stop worrying about all the details and just live an enjoyable life. I can firmly say that, that in itself is a blessing that I’ve missed for years.

Maybe this is just another one of my random rants about life. i’ve missed out twice on the hopes of having a real classroom for the next school year, and I’m thankful that God’s prepared my soul to handle the understanding that sometimes His timing and our own for our lives don’t always match up.

I have to require my soul to be alright with understanding that I cannot be in control of my life.

It wasn’t my own to start with anyways…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Numb Death


Death.
The context of it didn’t mean much to me growing up. I accepted the idea of death, but an individual dying didn’t play at my heart strings.

Truly, honestly it was until finding out this morning that a former supervisor (and a current friend) lost their spouse, that the truth of death really set in.

Finding the news made my heart hurt. I put Darco in the scenario, and the imaginary trip from that was enough to force me from bed to locate food.

It hurts. Death hurts when you embrace love. As a Christian I can speak of the peace associated with the first death, but as a human the reality is still haunting.

I’m going to squeeze Darco a little tighter tonight, and keep praying for my friend. I suppose all of this reminds me that I’m getting a little older, and my heart is finally getting a little softer.

-D-

XO: I Am No One


I am no one…

…and it feels great.

I was running last night through some rural roads while a storm system passed through; creating a delightful [and cold experience]. Upon my return back to the starting position of the adventure it started to sink in…

I am no one…

However, in past experiences this would be met with doubt, guilty, pity, and a plethora of other mentioned terms that’d make me feel sorry for myself, yesterday was not that experience.

I am no one…

Over the past two years I received exactly what I wanted, I got a taste of the spotlight, and I accepted the pressures of life before me. I tried, I failed, and then I was brushed off and led onto a new path. I love my life; I have an awesome wife and an incredible job. Imagine, I sit at a computer all day finding ways to market products and services through social media. I practically live on Twitter and Google+, how cool is that? My wife has become a health nut, of which I love her even more because of it. We travel, work on new projects, pray for her promotion, and watch life evolve before us.

I am no one…

I am not a successful businessman, entrepreneurship really isn’t my thing; even though I find the process fascinating. I love to type, dream of writing, and get wrapped up in new, creative ways to market new ideas and dreams. I wasn’t really designed to be in the spotlight, the preacher, teacher, businessman, or anything of the life. I enjoy being behind the scenes, staying quiet, and operating life from the stroke of the keys. How different is that from a piano player? I read books, run outside, and drive throughout the country between work and home. There are dreams of fitness, and hopes of health; knowing that one will always compliment the other. I hang out with my best friend, she’s everything to me and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better life partner. We’ve witnessed tragedy, disappointment, and many sleepless nights, but God never left our side. We’ve cried for repentance, and wept when hope felt lost, but each morning we’d wake up knowing that He was still in control.

I’m trying to live a reality and a dream I had years upon years ago; simple truth of being less so God can become more. It’s taken hard lessons, and painful realities, but as time progresses scars do really heal. My blood pleasure is lowered, and sleep comes rather easy these days. More time is spent with family, and after 7:00  each night social media world gets placed on hold for the next morning. There are dreams and ambitions, many tasks I hope to accomplish, and bigger adventures that lie beyond the current path.

With that said though, no matter the event that lays before me, or the path that is taken, I am so much more comfortable hanging out in the shadows, being more quiet compared to loud, and learning to put pride aside and understand what ‘me’ is really about. The idea of ‘me’ is merely pride, accepting that the importance of life revolves around yourself. It’s a dangerous place to be as a Christian, and it become hard to keep your tongue controlled. Thankfully God is good, a loving Father that always rescues His kids every time that they’ve fallen. In recent months I’ve fallen hard, and it’s hurt, and it caused pain, but at the end the lesson learn was understanding that when the sun sets, when the sun rises, I have to always uphold to a holistic truth:

I am no one…

-D-

Where Do We Go From Here?


“X” was so last year…
“O” is past its prime…

*tap, tap, tap…*

It’s literally taken me days to figure out how to even begin this mantra of collective thought. The fact of life is that the Kansas City Shock has ended its first season; it ended at 6-3 with a trip to the playoffs in Dayton, Ohio. We did lose in the first round to the eventual Midwest Division champion out of the St. Louis area.

It’s incredible to know that this summer has been a complete blur and that the soccer season has come to an end. Now the echoing question that sits in my head, “Now what?”

The nasty reality is that these past two weeks have been absolutely devastating to my personal life. This summer I’ve recorded a grand total of dodging bankruptcy three separate times; not something I’m proud of, but something very real. Losing my job in June wasn’t ideal, though it still isn’t something I regret. The amount of personal financing that I placed into the Kansas City Shock has wiped me clean and then some. My firm belief is that it was needed to ensure that this business, more importantly, this ministry continued to run its course, and amazingly it isn’t even close to being over yet.

With that said though; this is where the challenges lay ahead. In a few short weeks Darco and I are getting married; we’ve already started merging our accounts together, including banking, credit cards, student loans, and the similar. We’re already tackling several different obstacles…all of which are mine. This is the baggage that people talk about I’m certain. It’s caused for some tension and sacrifice within our soon-to-be family and our business. There comes a point to where I cannot financially give, give, and give to ensure the stability of a program without doing damage to my own family. The reality is that one of the hard choices, but correct choices, is knowing that family is my priority. That means employment, wages, and ensuring that they [she] is taken are of.

So, that dramatic paragraph brings us to the simple question: Where Do We Go From Here?

Darco and I have taken some time to review our options, make notes, and see the direction that we’re going to aim for. As I’ve stated several times over, she’s looking at promotion in Starbucks starting next month. This likely will set up a move in September to the Kansas City area, and an elevation in her pay. Now, that brings up the question of where I’m going on the side of employment. The immediate direction is heading back into the classroom as a substitute teacher. With so many school districts in the area, my hope is that I can be occupied throughout the week. This also gives me the flexibility to ensure that I can maintain optimum standards on the Kansas City Shock, since it is indeed a year-round program. Now, that’s saying that these schools are available to get me in the classroom.

We’re giving it a go in August; at least eight districts are available as of this moment. If substitute teaching isn’t available though, and the funds aren’t there, then I’ll need to go towards other employment. This is financially smart and keeps family as the top priority, but most likely it’ll require the Kansas City Shock is placed on the back burner.

At that point, and this is where Darco and I were at tonight, we’re stuck at a unique spiritual…block. One of the things that I most thoroughly enjoy about Darco is the fact that she sees the Kansas City Shock as a move from God, that it is our responsibility to treat it as a ministry because…well…it is. How do you maintain a ministry that requires 24/7 care, but at the same time ensure that your family is taken care of? That’s the responsibility of the husband, it’s never about fun, I’ve read enough marriage books that never define the role of the husband as fun, but more so as a role of sacrifice. I can’t say I thoroughly agree, but I don’t necessarily know anything different. The Kansas City Shock isn’t putting food on the table, and it isn’t ensuring that bills are paid. It’s a great idea, I see God’s handiwork all around it, but the pressure from outside forces is unbearable. When I have to live a style of reckless faith; that’s enjoyable. It’s when the voices from the people around me, the books of theology, and the overall stature of the culture I live in begin to breathe down my neck that I’m uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do. I can 100% say that I’ve never worked as hard as I have for the past 18 months, and the only monetary result from the adventure is making sure my student loans do not default. That’s it. My family sees no value in it, I see no resources from it, and the only thing I clutch to dearly is knowing that it is positively affecting an individuals life.

It’s after midnight now, and I still don’t have answers. I don’ t know the next move, and I know that Darco is deep in prayer as well. Why love a passion so strong that your only option for survival is to step away? I fought for a year trying to convince people that this was a job, that this is my work, that this is my ministry, and now I return back with…a few spare coins, an empty coffee cup, and a broken heart.

This doesn’t even include the arguments within the league, this doesn’t include the errors I made within the Kansas City Shock program, and this doesn’t include the plan for a 2014 season. There’s not enough time tonight to even think about those topics.

Childishly, I just want to be able to wake up, go to work on this project, and just enjoy what I naturally am comfortable doing; building and developing, helping and assisting, demonstrating and growing not just a sport, but a reality that the average man can build something great that has God’s grace laced within it, and people of all backgrounds will have no choice but to see His glory, and not myself. That’s what I want, that’s what I dream.

Reality unfortunately tells me something completely different.

This is when adults lose their imagination.

-D-

O: Idolatry


Idolatry 

An absolutely horrific word; tends to bring about the ideas of Biblical times, statues, prostitution, and all sorts of weird things.

Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that.

Right?

My thoughts exactly.

Time for some bitter truth:

God has been silent.

My prayer life, while not ceasing, has been insanely driven one way; I haven’t heard from God in some time. Even my days at MoVal feel…distant. My girlfriend and I were discussing this tonight over a plate of tacos. Times with the Kansas City Shock are hard right now; there’s been a lot of struggle and stress as of late, both within the program and personally. I couldn’t put my finger on it, it was literally driving my girlfriend to tears to see the amount of stress, and finally tonight she asked, “How’s your prayer life?” I responded honestly by stating that it’s been steady…but then for the first time that I could recall I paused and looked at her and said:

God’s been quiet.

We’ve learned through history that any time God is silent; something big is about to happen, whether that person [or people] is in sin, or His might is about to be shown, or the temple is about to go through an earthquake…God’s silence should always be a red flag.

I missed the red flag.

Since the silence from the creator the struggles with the Kansas City Shock have been numerous and far outside the power of my sole being. It’s been hard, frustrating, and saddening in every way you can imagine.

While sitting on my couch tonight, after my girlfriend had left and the tacos had settled; with the distraction put away I simply asked to the blank room and empty sky, “So, what’s going on?”

After some random talking, confessing, and random confusion this incredible, sorrowful, humbling realization hit me like a ton of bricks:

Idolatry.

I’m guilty. It’s on me. I committed idolatry, and told God to take the back seat because other things in my life were more important then Him.

More specifically: The Kansas City Shock was more important then Him.

How could I have been so warped? Every time stress hit me, chaos ensued, and argument broke out…it was all about the Kansas City Shock. So what did I do? Every night I’d go to bed practically yelling at God, “Do this for the Shock, show me this for the Shock, let the Shock do this, etc…”

Where was the thanks? The praise? The hope?

Nowhere. It was all about business.

Tonight has been a humbling, troubling night. Going to the roots of my beliefs of confessing, asking for forgiveness, and repenting. I feel dirty, soiled, and a mess. How could I boldly proclaim the faith I live by, when I wasn’t even living by it? Honestly, in my mind this equates to the dorks who decided that making a golden calf because the crazy dude went up on the mountain wasn’t coming back. The result? This bitterness that I’m facing is my calf destroyed and placed in the water.

I sat in the dark for some time after realizing this concept, and understand the error. It was following, understanding the concept of forgiveness that I wondered what exactly I should say. What could I do to get back on the right path, and move forward?

I asked God for one thing tonight:

Hope.

Does this mean that everything is fixed, and the world is realigned and spoons of happiness and peace await me? No, probably not even close, realistically it’ll probably get even worse. However, no matter my position in life I will always stand by this. I would rather have a life of chaos with the connection to my God, then have the perfect life on earth all to myself.

-D-