for the loyalists

So lately all I’ve been posting are my head, heart, and hands articles, which is a marked improvement from what I was doing, but I’ve been extremely inconsistent (or, if you look over the course of my blog, really consistent) in posting, and I’m sorry.  I had a gilded age there for awhile.

So this is for you who actually read this because you want to, not because it’s in a newspaper.

Gregg wanted to me journal about my life right now in my private journal, and each time I tried I felt nothing worth writing down.  This is usually the case when I have to write somewhere outside of my blog when it comes to me.  Ironically, I feel more comfortable speaking my life into the anonymity of the Internet rather than the privacy of my own journal… perhaps I missed my calling to journalism?

Here’s how I sum up where I am right now: I’m a senior in college all over again, but I feel like the stakes are 100 times higher.  When I decided on the CCO and Gannon, I had no fear of the next year.  I just assumed things would get worked out, and the did.  This time around, however, I have fear of things: what happens if I bomb the GRE?  What happens if I don’t get accepted into any of the schools I’m applying to?  How will I pay for it?  What am I going to do from May to August?

I don’t want to live a boring life.  As I’ve sat here and thought and prayed and reflected all week, there’s the answer.  I don’t want to live a podunk’d life.  It’s not that I’m craving to become extreme, but I fight so hard against my life becoming suburban tranquility, which in my mind is really just numbing oneself from the world even merely outside ones house (this, by the way, is not meant to be taken personally, lest you find it describes you).

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the way God loves us and how we should love ourselves that way.  And I wonder how much these two things become related.  As in, I wonder how much do I not want a podunk’d life because it gives me identity which I could get from God if I let Him.  That’s not a complete explanation though, because I’ve been thinking about many of the ideas I have now that I want to do for years.

I guess I don’t want to screw up and be wrong.  I don’t want to fail, and I certainly don’t want to be told that I’m a failure.  I’m coming at my life right now like I have something to prove to everyone.  How much am I going to miss if I keep trying to prove something?  How much am I going to not enjoy because I’m defending myself to myself?

I want to take steps with God and allow Him to put me faithfully in a position to serve.  I want to serve the poor in the city.  There are moments I see that being done with a Degree in Urban Planning.  At times I see that being done with a Seminary Degree and a church in the inner city.  At times I see a year doing Mission Year.  At times I see Teach for America.

Okay.  That’s enough for tonight.  Suffice it to say for the rest of my CCO buddies who are on the threshold of being done, I understand.

head, heart, hands: the price of illegal parking

So I would say almost the entire time I’ve been writing to you this year, I’ve tried to be as honest with you as possible. If I’m not, I will at some point expose myself as a liar, and you’ll end up not reading, and then I’m wasting a good hour of my life doing something that no one will see. I’ll write in my journal or play guitar or practice my interpretative dance moves instead. My hope is authenticity will keep you reading.

All of this to say that I have a doozie for you this week.

Walker Apartments were I am the RD is on the corner of 7th and Peach Streets, and right across from me is a parking deck. Now, I already have parking on 5th street, but days like we had last week with driving rain make the deck significantly more appealing. So usually I pick the deck over my own spot. While this seems like a perfect solution, as it normally is with life, there is a catch – to not have to pay, I can only leave the deck at night, typically past 9, and on the weekends. Most of the time that’s not a problem, but this Friday I needed to leave to get something at the mall and then some lunch.

For each day I’m in there, I am supposed to pay $10, unless I don’t have a ticket, then in which case it’s only $10 maximum. Most of the time (and here’s where the transparency and honesty comes in) I just never seem to be able to find my ticket. Sure, occasionally I may find it in a cup holder 10 seconds after I leave, but how awkward is it to go back and say you found it?

Friday was different though. I felt guilty. I have one of those consciences that will wake me up in the middle of the night. There were nights when I was younger that I would wake up my parents to tell them something I’d done that day that I completely got away with. Weird, I know.

So on this Friday, I decided to give $20. I couldn’t remember if it was quite the full amount, but hey, $20 and I have a clear conscience and I don’t have to think another thing of it. As I approached the man at the gate I felt nervous. No joke. As if he was going to yell at me for giving him what I was supposed to. Well, I explained my dilemma:

“Good morning sir. Oh, I’m doing well! Yes, see, here’s the problem: I looked all over for my card, and I just couldn’t find it. I know I’ve been in here for two days, so here’s $20 dollars.”

The man looked at me strangely, as if it was going to be a problem to do, which he assured me it wouldn’t be. Soon, he looks at me and says “well, hey, I’ll let you out for $5”, gives me $15 dollars change, and manually lets me out.

I win.

Oh no. I lost. I lost so badly. I looked up to Heaven and said “Okay, God, you win”, especially after the man in the booth then said to me “Remember that I let you out of here for $5”. Nothing perpetuates a guilty feeling quite so well as getting away with a scheme better than you thought. I thought I was doing the right thing and had no satisfaction.

Nothing perpetuates a guilty feeling quite so well as trying just to eliminate a guilty feeling.