Sunday, December 17, 2017

No Best Friend

When I was in my early 20's, I broke up with my serious girlfriend of several years.  And I looked around to discover that I was kind of alone.  I guess I'd done that thing where you spend most of your time with that one person and let other relationships slide.  So there I was, devastated in the aftermath of my breakup, and I didn't have anyone to talk to.  It made it so much worse. 

So I swore that I would work on developing friendships, so that I would never find myself in that place again.  And I did a pretty good job of it.  There were some friendships where we started to drift apart where I said 'Hold on there - let's be more intentional about this.'  And we were.  And it was a good thing.

But these days, I find I'm back in the same ugly place.  I'm depressed and lonely and I really don't feel like I have someone to talk to.  I mean, I have friends - some of them are very good friends that I absolutely can talk to about deep stuff.  But I don't have that one or two people that are my best friends, that I talk to all the time.

So, what happened to the close friends that I had before, that I was intentional about?  Well, some got married and had kids.  Nothing wrong with that, but it sucks up their time and energy.  Some friends have chosen not to be friends anymore without any real explanation, and that hurts more than I can express.  And there are some newer friends on the scene that I connect with but ... it's that thing.  You know?  If we were best friends, that would be great.  But we're not.  They already have their best friends.

Because what I'm missing is a best friend.  Someone who is intentional without really thinking about it.  That person that it's just assumed that if you both have free time, you'll probably hang out together.  That person that makes you their first or second choice for any given holiday.

What I have instead is a lovely assortment of friends, some closer than others, who make time for me now and then.  But I feel like it's just enough to keep me going and not enough to bring me to life.  And when I really need to talk to someone, I run through the list of possibilities and realize there's nobody to call.

I don't know what to do about this.  I mean, I've made new friends - that's not the issue.  It's having a best friend.  There's no waiting list for this - like, if your best friend dies or you have a falling out, then maybe consider me!

The only option I see is finding a girlfriend.  Which I would love to do, anyway.  But I've kinda lost hope in that department.  My suspicion, right or wrong, is that I am simply not appealing to women these days.  And while I do sometimes meet women that I'm attracted to, there is usually some real reason not to ask them out (too young, too crazy, happily married ...).

So that's where I'm at.  And I don't have anyone to talk to about it.  So I'll put it here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I've been thinking a lot about hospitality.  Before Thanksgiving, I asked around and posted on Facebook, to see if anyone didn't have somewhere to go for Thanksgiving.  I know how lonely it can feel to not be invited anywhere (at least, nowhere you really want to go).  But you know what surprised me?  On Facebook, I seemed to be the only one extending that invitation.  Most of my friends are Christians - shouldn't there have been a bunch of notices on there saying 'hey, if ya got nowhere to go, come join us'?

I think we've redefined hospitality in a very poor way.  We think of it in terms of having friends and family over.  And sure, that's part of it.  It's funny, 'cuz the guys in my men's group think I am very hospitable, in my own man-cavey kind of way.  But am I?  I mean, truth be told, when we get someone in the group that I don't care for as much, I'm not exactly going out of my way to make them feel welcome.  Sure, I'll smile and shake their hand and tell them there's drinks in the fridge, but I'll let the other guys strike up conversations with them.  Because I don't like them.  Something about them puts me off.  They're not 'my' kind of person.  So I'll go through the motions, but really I'm removing myself, not investing.

That's not hospitality.  And neither is throwing a party and inviting lots of people, but not so-and-so, because, you know, she'll just ruin it with her complaining or boasting or whatever thing she does.  Oh, and you just know that afterwards, she'll be posting on Facebook about how come she wasn't invited?

Well, yeah.  Because she's hurting.

In high school, there was a really annoying girl who was the younger sister of someone in our circle.  She was a little slow and socially awkward and super clingy.  And she would come up and grab your arm and hug on it and not let go.  And when I saw her coming, I would often quickly not be there.  And when she would talk to me, I would answer with a terse, annoyed response. Because I didn't want to encourage her to stick around.  Years later, I was telling a friend, and they asked me what would have happened if I had given this girl what she needed?  If, instead of pulling away, I had turned to her, given her a hug, and spent a minute or two talking to her and looking her in the eyes.

Wow.  I so wish I had.  And I don't know how much further I've come since then, but I'm trying to be a little better about it now.  When someone talks to me that I don't want to talk to, I want to pull away, but sometimes (not always) a little voice suggests that I stay there and listen.  'Cuz what's it gonna hurt me?  What - I can't take a couple of minutes out of my day to make someone feel heard?

Just something to think about.  We need to make time for the irritating and annoying people.  Take time to listen.  Offer a hug, unbidden.  Invite them to the party.  Because that's true hospitality.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

My Week of Depression

It's been a rough week.

Sunday night I couldn't sleep because my brain was spinning over work issues.

Monday, that continued and I got really depressed to the point that I was almost catatonic.  I've never felt that way before, to that extent.  Not crying, just kinda ... gone.  And nothing was working.  I prayed, went for a walk, wrote poetry ... don't know how I even managed those.

Tuesday was better.  I went out and did an inspection and while I was driving I came up with a plan for dealing with the work situation.  I emailed my bosses and they seemed cool.  And that night I had a breakthrough while talking to God about how desperately I need him.

Wednesday - more of a normal day.

Thursday was actually lovely - Thanksgiving with friends.

Then Friday, I had invited folks over to play games, but nobody showed up.  People said they were coming, but nobody did, and nobody called or emailed or texted.  The depression returned.  I wrote about it on Facebook and several of those friends apologized and explained some of the reasons they hadn't come.

Saturday, several of us played poker.  And it was fun.  And it's not like I was pretending to have a good time, but I compartmentalize.  So it's like I set the situation aside while that was going on.

But now I have to deal with it.  And I don't know how to deal with it.  One friend has suggested a depression support group, and I'm considering that.  Or maybe therapy, although I have issues with therapy because you're paying the person to care.  And the real issue is that I don't have someone to talk to.  I want to sit with someone, someone who gets me, who has time for me, who wants to make me a priority.  Someone who is safe, who doesn't flake out on me.  And I want to tell them things, like:

You know how my love language is quality time?  Well, the opposite is also true.  Several of my closest friends just told me by their actions that I'm not worth spending time with - not even worth a text to tell me they're not coming.  I know they don't feel that way, but that's what their actions told me.  Not to mention that my friends, who read my cry for help on Facebook on Monday, a few days later left me to sit alone waiting for someone to show up.  That's pretty shitty.  So now I feel like garbage.  But I can't tell them, can I?  I have to smile and say 'that's OK' and just move on.

What do I do with that?  I'm not clinically depressed, I don't think.  I mean, once in a while I have a day where I kind of fall apart and cry and think the world is falling apart, and then I'm fine again.  Don't other people do that?  I dunno - maybe they don't.  And I do get more depressed around the holidays, because I don't have anyone specific to share it with, and I'm often scrounging around, trying to figure out who wants to do Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning.  But again, lots of people deal with extra depression during the holidays. 

Sidenote: I have a friend who, at Christmas time, always calls me 'the king of Christmas'.  I'm not sure how this started, and I wish he would stop.  I've found Christmas rather depressing ever since my first girlfriend ruined it for me - there's a whole story about a crappy tree that she got me to buy that wouldn't stand up and how it messed up my Christmas traditions and made me feel like a poor loser, but that's a story for another time.  The problem is that the more my friend tries to project on to me that I'm some pro-Christmas spreader of cheer, the more it rings false.

Anyway.  I would say that I'm prone to depression.  But I work through it.  I dunno.  Maybe I do need professional help.  Wish I had someone to talk it through with.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Manly Poetry

My men's group did poetry last night.  Here are some samples.


There is no still of the night.
Run, escape the incessant buzz, the houses howling.
But where is my shelter now?
The wind seems to address me as a tyrant.
Tossing structures to the sea.
The moon's display is a quiet violence.
Descending on me like a thief.
As though dawn's light has never shown.
The hills burned bright, their flames
Stark light spelled out a glorious deception.
And the sky was a candle.
Was the night's patience wearing thin?
It's true nature starting to show?
There is no still of the night.
Still, a faint light remains.
Not the capricious flicker of another flame.
But a warm, enduring glow.
Brighter it grows as I slowly draw nearer.
I knew I couldn't ascend, but it descended to me.
Is there a still of the night?


No thing was in the beginning, but I AM.
Then something came from nothing, because I AM.

I AM spoke things and gave Saturn those rings,
The earth kings, the birds wings, and the voice that sings.

All things come from I AM, the Most High King
Who spoke into being all good things.
Including Adam and Eve and the tree which they ate from.
Which broke all the good things I AM gave them.

I AM continued to speak into creation.
Words for the people to hear and turn away from
Their evil and praise Him.

Finally, I AM spoke Himself bodily into
The world to serve justice and save people
From themselves.


Stranger in a strange land.
Wandering with wonder amongst the dusty hills.
I watch from stalks of grass as the mountain's beasts stalk their prey.
The sun sizzles my Saxon skin while my eyes gaze upon sizzling bodies with sun-kissed skin.
Social ladders, social networking, socializing, money, and beauty are the values here.
Do people see the poverty, like at the Salten Sea?
Air clogged up with noise and ozone blankets freeways clogged up with tension.
Heat heating everything without ever an escape.


Grace me with your grace.
And face me with your face.
You know I cannot stand to be
Away from your embrace.

Favor me with your favor.
Forgive my misbehavior.
Help me to reach out to you,
My only Lord and savior

Love me with your love.
Send peace now like a dove.
And let it be on earth right now
Just like it is above.


Grace me no grace.  I don’t deserve it.
Don’t tell me your rules.  I won’t observe it.

Run away.  Run away.  Run away from the son.
Run away.  Run away.  Run away from the one.
Run away.  Run away.  Run and hide in the fear.
Run away.  Run away.  Yet I know you are near.

Don’t will me your will.  I am not ready.
Don’t tell me to be still.  I’m so unsteady.

Run away.  Run away.  Run away from the son.
Run away.  Run away.  Run away from the one.
Run away.  Run away.  Run and hide in the fear.
Run away.  Run away.  Yet I know you are near.

Hope for the hope.  I feel so lost.
But I’ve turned around now, since I crossed the cross.

Run away.  Run away.  Run away from the sin.
Run away.  Run away.  I’m beginning again.
Run away.  Run away from the lust and the talk.
Run away.  Run away.  Now I’m learning to walk.


In the beginning, God created.
In the beginning, He took all the things He hated
And wrapped them up and spit them out.
And made them pretty, ain’t no doubt.
In the beginning, then He waited.

But in the beginning, weren’t no light.
In the beginning, God thought there should be more than night.
So He blew up some atoms and made the sun.
Crashed the moon into the earth, and He still wasn’t done.
Yeah, in the beginning, it was outta sight.


I heard you say that there's no God, and perhaps because of the Dr. before your name, it sounds more true.  It's not as if you're living a facade or playing a game, of telling us what we should or should not do.  You've got accolades, the perfect car, seven figure accounts, and a gorgeous wife.  A company that beckons your call.  Colleagues who stand astonished at how you've managed to live your life.  But only you see inside your soul the damage that's been done  The many hearts you've had to break to play this game you've won.  And you've cried out at night, if there was a God, why does he not avenge the victim's pain?  Why do the wicked prosper and the loving slain?  Why is there so much hatred in this wretched place?  And why can you see the weight of the world in an orphan's face?  So with your mind made, you cloak your pain in scientific mask.  You posit your truths without shame and laugh at religion as the story of myth from the past, and so I ask, so when we ran into each other the other day, why did you say, "What makes you so happy?"


The sheep is walking forward.
It's lost and walking this way.
It's far beyond where it should have gone.

The sheep needs safety and peace.
Why can't it see they are there.
The green and quiet places to go.

The sheep is thirsty and lost.
Darkness is all around it now.
The staff is close - just within its reach.

Man is hungry and afraid
Oil is dripping near his head.
The cup is so full of water today.

Man is walking on a path.
Life is all so short and brief.
My home he needs as love succeeds.

And the sheep and the shepherd are complete.


In the beginning, God created Heaven and Earth.
The virgin Mary gave birth to His only son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our sins He forgives, only if in His name we pray.
You have many chances to be forgiven before it's too late.
Are you sure you still want to live in the gray?
He has told us there will be a time when it's too late.
So I must say goodbye and walk away.
I don't want to be left that way.
So I pray, ask forgiveness, and try not to live in the gray.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Criminal Mastermind

“You’re doing it wrong.”  What?  Who said that?  And how could they possibly know?

When I got up this morning, I knew today was going to be different.  I wanted … something.  I wanted to be bad.  I wanted to do crimes.  Yeah.  You know why?  Because I’m mister goody-two-shoes.  I’m the guy who follows the rules, does his homework, tells the truth, doesn’t drink or do drugs, doesn’t sleep around.
                But not today.  Today, I was going to be bad.  Bad ass.  So, like any criminal mastermind, I came up with a plan.  I’d start small, and work my way up.  The grocery store.  First up: a grape.  Yeah.  And it wasn’t a sample it to see if I wanted to buy the whole bunch.  I just took one and ate it.  Ahhh, the sweet taste of crime!  Actually, it’s a little sour.  But still!  Next up: a baby carrot.  Oh, yeah!  Crunched that little sucker!  Bad ass.  Time to step it up.  An apple.  Red delicious.  Delicious like a fox!  I’m gonna munch this guy all over the store.  Except … hmm.  There is a security camera there.  I’ve probably spent too much time in produce.

Canned goods.  Now we’re talking.  I look both ways, eyes darting furtively, then pick up a can of pineapple chunks.
                “You’re doing it wrong.”  A voice.  Talking to me.  Sounds exasperated.  I look around and spot him.  Strange little man with a bulky coat.
                “Excuse me?”
                “You’re doing it wrong.  First rule of shoplifting, act normal.  Ya’ gotta cool it with the shifty eyes and looking all around.  You wouldn’t do that if you were shopping normally, wouldja?”
                “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
                “Sure.”  He rolls his eyes. “Go ahead.  Play it your way.”
                Not knowing what else to say, I put the pineapple back and walk away.  He rolls his eyes again as I pass him.
                “At least get a shopping cart!  You stand out like a sore thumb!”

                The store is hot.  I have to get out of there.  So, what next?  Starbucks across the street.  Perfect.  I jaywalk, of course.  Bad ass.  Inside, I scope out the scene and come up with the perfect plan.  I hang out by the little side area where they put the drinks when they’re ready … and wait.
                “Chai latte for Bob!”  I wait.  Don’t act too fast.  Bob must be on his phone.  I reach for the cup.
                “Excuse, me, is that a chai latte?  I think that’s for me.”
                “No, I ordered a chai latte.” I stammer.
                “I think this one’s mine, though.  See?  Bob.”  He indicates the name on the side.
                “Huh?  Oh!  Oh, sorry.” 
                “No worries.  I’m sure yours is coming up next.”

I’ve been made.  Have to get out of there.  I stuff my pockets full of sugar packets, then make my way back to the grocery store parking lot, using the crosswalk this time (no need to press my luck) and get in my car.  Where to?  Let’s see.  I’ve stolen.  I’ve lied.  It’s time to get liquored up.  I look up bars on my phone.  Good thing I had full bars on my phone, so I could … you know.  Heh heh.  There was one nearby.

                I belly up to the bar and order a beer.  I actually don’t care for alcohol, as there’s something in it that tastes bitter to me.  I’m a ‘supertaster’.  It’s a whole thing.  But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, right?  So beer me.  Yeah.  Bad ass.
I look around, taking in the seedy surroundings of the sports bar.  Not a lot of people here at eleven in the morning.  There are a couple of ladies near me, though, and the Asian one is pretty attractive.  I slip my hand in my pocket while trying to think of a good opening line and pull out – an apple?
“Nice apple.”  The Asian woman is talking to me.  Her friend must have gone to the little girl’s room or something.  I look at her.  She’s pretty.  She has a warm vibe to her.  The kind of girl you feel like you could really talk to.  And she’s smiling.  At me.  Say something.  Anything.  Just open your mouth and talk.
“Is that a red delicious?”
“Uh, yeah.”
“Those are my favorite.”
“Mine, too.”
And … back to silence.  Not talking.  Awkward.  Man, I wish I could talk to women.  But I never know how to get a conversation going.  If only I had an opening line!
“Gee, I’m thirsty!” she says, looking at her empty glass.
“Well, good thing we’re in a bar.”  Just need an opening.  Something clever.  Or compliment her?  Tell her she has a pretty mouth?  No, that sounds creepy.  Her eyes?  Or is that too forward?  Don’t want to come across as a stalker.  Wait.  Thirsty.  She’s thirsty!  I can offer to buy her a drink!  That’s a thing people do -
“Well, see ya’.”  Her friend has returned and they’re walking out.  I nod back glumly.  I sit for a few minutes, contemplating my next move.
“Say, barkeep,” I query, “ever get any fights in here?”
“Uh, no …”  He looks at me like it was a weird question.  “Maybe some shouting when a game is on.”
Yeah, figures.  Alright, so no barfight.  And I don’t feel like nursing the bitter beer anymore.  So I leave.  

But driving down the street, what do I see?  A construction site.  I park the car and stroll onto the lot like I own the place.
“Hey, buddy!  You can’t be here!  It’s not safe!” yells a construction worker.  Big guy.  Hard hat.
“Yeah, yeah, sorry.”  I back out of the site and jog back to the car, pumped up.
Trespassing?  Check.  Still bummed about not getting into a fight, though.  Still, upward and onward.  

I get on the highway and head towards the other side of town.  I would go over the speed limit, but the traffic makes that impossible.  I exit and wind my way to a poor area.  My next mission?  Buy drugs.  Yeah.  Bad ass.  I might even do drugs, but one step at a time.  I drive around a bit, looking for one of those corners you hear about.  There.  I pull up to the curb.
“Whatchu want?” asks the fourteen year old Hispanic kid, leaning in my window.
“What have you got?”
“You want some H?”
“Wh-what is H?”
“H, man?”  He smirks at me.  “Heroin?”
“What?  Oh, god no.  Um.  You got weed?”
“Sure.  How much you want?”
“Um.  What’s the least amount I can buy?”
That smirk again.  “You want just one joint?”
“Yeah.  Yeah, that would be perfect.”
He cracks a grin and flips me a joint.  “On the house, man.  Enjoy.”
I look around, confused, but he’s already walking away, shaking his head.  So off I go, with my ill-gotten gain.  I’ve done it.  I’ve bought drugs.  Well, I’ve obtained drugs.  And, I remember, marijuana is legal now.  But still.  Still counts.  Bad ass.

I drive home.  Get some wooden matches from the kitchen utility drawer.  I go in the bathroom, so the smoke will be contained.  Light the match.  Hold up the joint.  Which end do you light?  Probably doesn’t matter.  I pick an end, hold it up, light it.  Put the other end to my mouth.  Try inhaling.  Nothing.  I look.  The lit end has gone out.  I light another match, hold up the joint and light it again.  It lights for a second, then goes out.  Try sucking again.  Nothing.  I pull up a video on youtube on how to light a joint.  Ah.  Apparently, you have to hold the match there for a while.  Okay.  Another match.  Holding it up.  Sound of front door – oh, crap!  My roommate’s home!  And … I’ve dropped the joint in the toilet.  Perfect.  That’s okay.  I still got the drugs, so still counts.

So, what’s left?  Well … there’s the big one.  Take care of ‘the big V’.  That’s right.  I’m gonna whore it up good!  Wait.  Is it just the hooker that whores it up, or can the ‘john’ say that, too?  Whatever.  I’m going to a prostitute.
Go on the internet, do some proper research.  Why are so many named Trixie or Cherry or Candy?  Why do parents name their kids like this?  Find a young lady that looks pleasant.  And not too expensive.  And not too young.  ‘Cuz, creepy.  I call and set up an appointment.  And off I go.

I sit in my car.  Shaking.  Like I’m freezing, but it’s not cold.  Guess it’s just nerves.  Chill out, man.  You can do this.  I make my way to her door and knock.
“Hey there.  Come on in.”  She gives me a hug.  That’s nice.  We sit on the couch and she asks me some questions … what am I interested in, have I done this before?  Then she pauses.
“Are you okay?” she asks.  “Because you look really nervous, and we can just sit and talk for a while, if you like.”
“Yeah.  Yeah, that would be nice.”  And that’s what we do.  We talk about all kinds of stuff.  She’s really nice.  I tell her about my day of being bad.  And she listens.  And she helps me realize that I really just want some attention.
We hug at the end.  I still pay her, and I give her a big tip.  Didn’t have sex, but still paid for it.  Still counts.  Walk back to my car.  Where I find a parking ticket.  One hour zone, and I’ve been there around ninety minutes.  Law broken?  Check.  Bad ass.

So that’s my day as a criminal mastermind.  The next day I slip back into Starbucks and return the sugar packets.  And I go to the grocery store and pay with an extra dollar.  The checker tries to give it back, but I say it isn’t mine.  She looks at me weird, then keeps it.  Got away with it.  Bad ass.