Reflections

I pour coffee that I brewed at home into the twist-off cup of my stainless-steel coffee thermos, take a sip and begin to think of a few aspects of my life in which I have found dissatisfaction. One: I am not in the career of my choice or desire, but that’s ok because that happens to a lot of people. Suck it up, boyo. Two: I am not at the place I want to be with regards to songwriting and music. Three: I have no friends with which I can regularly connect, spend time together, etc. I think of these things then ask myself, “What am I going to do about it? I have to face my issues instead of continually running from them.” So in response to that question, I’ve decided to take up this blogging thing again to chronicle my personal exploration of these problems, and by doing so to hopefully find a solution.

I work in a call center for a bank. I deal with complaints, issues with the day-to-day functionality of the branches, troubleshooting, and understanding of our procedures. I deal with asinine behavior of people who clearly don’t know what the heck they are doing, but hey, I get to tell people what to do. Infinite power in an itty-bitty living space, but it’s a constant “Poof! Whatdya want? Poof! Whatdya want?” kind of day, every day. Boring stuff, sure.

What I would like to do? Honestly, I would love being a missionary. I went to North Central University to get a degree in Cross-Cultural Studies, hoping this would equip me for the task. Unfortunately the credentialing process was a disaster. I would rather cover that in a different discussion; I still feel rather raw and bitter regarding that encounter. Needless to say it has given me a strong level of distaste for the Assemblies of God as a denomination. Perhaps I may find another means by which to express my faith in a meaningful way.

Now on to music. I’ve been on this 10 year hiatus and allowing myself to be continually distracted from completing a CD I have intended to make. Maybe it’s my ADHD taking over my life, maybe it’s just pure laziness. Perhaps it’s a bit of fear, maybe some lack of confidence in my abilities as a musician. Perhaps a combination of all of the above.

I have to give myself some credit, as I have been working on developing a warm pad sound for keyboard. The sounds on my wife’s Casio workstation are wimpy, as well as most soundfonts I have tried. I utilized Csound for this, and it it sounding great so far! I have some fine tuning to do on it before I can say I’m totally satisfied with it, but we will see. I’ve also been working on honing my playing skills a bit. I managed to draft Navigatio, which is a tune about St. Brendan the Navigator. I would rather make a quality CD than one that’s half-assed. Maybe I need to just sit and make a deadline chart. Right now I can’t because we’re going to be moving in a month (I know, another distraction).

The last one, I am just not sure what to do about it. I’ve tried making friends, but usually the people I’m able to identify with the most just don’t have time. A lot of friends that I’ve made through the years have been too busy, or too fickle. All I can do is keep trying, right?

There are many good things that happen, though. Through the headache of being turned away by the Assemblies of God, I feel that God has spared me. He has spared me from the evil of wicked, mean-spirited “men of God” who claim to be His servants. I feel He has spared me from becoming something that I am not, and being sucked into a system that is unkind and unforgiving to people who experience the things that I have. I suppose if even Christ was rejected by the established religious leaders of His day, I am in good company, eh? I thoroughly enjoy being a father and a husband. To be loved by a loving wife and a son full of sunshine and giggles is the best thing in the world.

I’ve taken up fly fishing again, and my pursuit of the elusive steelhead keeps going. Spending time on the river becomes my chapel, my place of prayer as I cast my line in a tight loop across the river and allow the fly to swing in the green-stained current. I feel closer to God as I wade in his powerful creation; I connect with Him, the wider world around me, and I also connect with myself.

So I stare that this screen and poke away at these keys, moisture filling my eyelids and I look inwards regarding the above mumbo-jumbo. I still wonder, “What do I do?” Sip the coffee and pray it goes away. It doesn’t. I guess this is life. Bad things happen to good people. Life happens, and it is full of distractions. It is ever fluid, the eddies of life swirl around us. We may be stuck for a time, but we can enjoy the scenery as the river’s flow carries us in it’s never ending babble.

Summary of the Mess

From a post I wrote back in Feb ’08, the fresh gory details:
So the summary of it all is:
Bankruptcy
Instability of finances
Instability of emotions
I am a poor husband/father
Disillusionment
Network insufficient
I am evil due to non-repayment of debt
I need a mentor to coach me about life
I should move back to Minneapolis

Licensing Interview

From a post I wrote on February 5, 2008 after our credentialing interview with the Ohio District of the Assemblies of God–the gory fresh details from back then:

I woke up this morning to the sound of my alarm clock at 7:00 am, wanting to spend a little time in prayer before I started my day. Today I would face the credential screening committee for the Ohio District Council of the Assemblies of God. I was very nervous, and I wanted to prepare my heart and my spirit for what was about to come. Glyphs from my GLMatrix screensaver streamed down like pearls of green raindrops against a black field. My heart was at peace. I prayed a small prayer to the Lord: “Prepare me for this day.” I heard a small voice reply: “Go to sleep. You don’t need to fall asleep during the interview.” It was the voice of my wife. I considered her concern, so I complied.

I woke again a couple hours later, a little more refreshed. I took our baby upstairs to change and feed him. It was a good morning, and I contemplated the events leading up to this point. My family had undergone a long period of financial difficulty, personal rejection from church leaders. I had spent long hours building a network of superintendents, pastors and friends to pave a path for ministry with the Assemblies of God. I had studied, paid fees, passed my test, gained wisdom and advice from my leaders and mentors. I was ready, and I was sure that this would be a slam-dunk interview. I would soon find out that I was wrong.

When we arrived we were escorted to a room and introduced to our interviewers, who asked about us, our story and what God was calling us to do. Both of us shared from our hearts as best as we could, and they asked about the fine details of our work and financial history, and one of the guys wanted to get into the dirt of our bankruptcy. “So how did things ‘fall apart’ as you say?” he asked.

We went into detail as best as we could what happened and explained we had run into some unfortunate circumstances that put more financial strain on us which forced us to seek relief from our debts. One of the gentlemen then asked what God was calling us to do. I said I felt the Lord wanted me to serve as a senior pastor, but I was open to other opportunities. At that point we were excused from the room for a few minutes while they talked in private. We were invited back in and were told with no certain terms that we were wonderful people (here it comes), and we had great hearts (it was worse than I thought), but we needed to be in a place outside of ministry where we could find a couple who could mentor us and help pour into our lives. We were in an unstable situation and they couldn’t in their minds justify conferring credentials upon us.

I sat there with jaw set as they said the bankruptcy was a credibility issue, that those who borrow and do not repay are evil. They also said we were emotionally unstable, and we needed someone to mentor us in the area of life. They said we needed to have a more substantial network within the Ohio District of the Assemblies of God, and references provided from people I submitted were insufficient.

It’s all a blur right now and I can hardly think. I’m hurt and angry, and am considering leaving the A/G again, but this time for good. I don’t really know what to do. I am confused.