I get all choked up when they sing.
Such a changed note, but I won't ever sink from there again.
So, more personality tests, more analyzing, more blessing, more redaction, more lies, more truth, more fooling myself, less of me, less of the same, less of the past, less of the nothing that I used to wallow in. Find out what we used to say, and then we don't say it anymore. Or do we?
This personality stuff we did today really has made me think a lot. Because I see the things in me that I had wanted to change, but I guess I haven't.
Monday, June 30, 2008
I get all choked up when they sing.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
One Love. It seems I learn more and more about this in different ways on different days. I went to a Meeting this morning at a local gathering that felt over-produced, shallow, topical not expositional, and still realized that this connects some people just as much as the Meetings I am used to do. So more growth, I guess.
We played Ultimate tonight! It was pretty fun, except my probable shin splints are back and hurting more, and that made the second half of the game kinda crummy because I lost my vertical and my cut. But it was still fun.
One of the things that I hate about these two week training kind of things is that eventually, you have to leave and I suspect that I won't see most or any of the friends that I've made here again. Unless I make some sure huge effort to stay in contact with them, they're here and gone. And that is a little sad, but I guess just part of the lifestyle that I'm placing myself in. And in reality, after a few weeks, it won't be a big deal...
It doesn't rain every day. And I won't ever fully fit into this world, but that's OK. I've learned a lot over the last year, but the biggest thing I think I've learned is to hold on to joy. Because joy flows from Love, and if I can be joyful, I will have, will give, and will know Love. And one day, I will go Home, and Love and joy will be complete.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/29/2008 10:36:00 PM
More training today, I was starting to really zone out on the teacher stuff. But oh well. I did try. I went out and hung out with friends I've made here tonight. It was not entirely my thing, but it was OK, and a good thing I went. So that's life. I'm about at the turn over point, where the training will be almost done.
Take back what's mine.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/29/2008 01:23:00 AM
Thursday, June 26, 2008
So. Here I am at training, still. And here I am with some more observations.
I am not who I thought I was. I am just me, and in some ways I realize that I am who I wanted to be. And it is weirder and not as weird as I thought. For example, tonight, I went downtown (in an American city of around 500,000) with 6 people, 5 of whom I didn't know before I got in the car with them, all but one of them single girls (and I was going to go before I knew the other guy [the only one whose name I knew] was going.) which just doesn't happen. Or at least, didn't in the past. And I didn't get freaked out or anything at the idea of going and hanging out with a bunch of random people I didn't know. It was weird, but good. I guess Kabul and life there changed me more than I thought.
So. Here I am at training, still.
It's been pretty good training so far, in a lot of ways. The strange thing has been synthesizing and applying what they're saying to my situation of having already been there.
One of the really nice things has been freedom to be more me and more free. I've just gone outside and sat a couple times during breaks. I've been my weird and goofy self. I'm growing less and less concerned with people's perception of me and more and more concerned with just living my life as I feel guided. I don't know if this is entirely a good thing or not, but it can't be bad.
And yet it's just another cycle in my life. Always is, always will. The challenge is not just yo-yoing between two extremes, but finding the balance in the right and wrong of what I am. I just want to find how I can serve better. And if I will serve this way forever.
Farewell to hollow words. Farewell to semantics. Farewell to fake affections. Tomorrow, I will burn, and be light to those who need it around me. Tomorrow and every day after.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/26/2008 10:57:00 PM
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
So, I'm having a decent time so far. Ran this morning, played basketball this evening. Oh, and learned more about different cultures, and met more new people. Life is good.
I have more random life comments but I have to do some internal reflection before I feel comfortable posting them.
What do you think you want to change in the next year?
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/24/2008 10:58:00 PM
Monday, June 23, 2008
So, here I am at training. Some thoughts from the drive and part of the first day -
America is beautiful, and I love driving.
I remember coming here last year, dreading it. I was looking forward to it this year.
I got to meet three of the new folks, and they're pretty cool people. I'll miss the other folks, but the new folks are great.
I like having new music.
Wahoo! Two weeks of training!
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/23/2008 10:38:00 PM
Sunday, June 22, 2008
It seems that sometimes making the right decision takes far longer than I wish it would have. I feel really good about it, I feel it's what I was supposed to do, what I should have done a long time ago, and I'm just sorry that it had to happen like it did. Still, knowing that it's made and right and past, I feel good.
No man can bring me the assurance that I feel now.
Tomorrow morning, I head to two weeks of training that I skipped last summer. We'll see how it goes. Life has a way recently of becoming what I need it to be, not what I want it to be. I wish I would have seen the roadblocks instead of seeing the obstacle course.
I'm fine again, and aware that I made mistakes. I'm soon to be all right and all wrong again, but I just trust and give thanks for the direction so far.
I feel better about this than I thought I would.
Not sure how much I'll post in the next two weeks, so I'll see you later.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/22/2008 06:49:00 PM
Friday, June 20, 2008
So, I've now been in the states for over a week. I've eaten out with numerous people, hung out with friends and family, read three books, watched a couple movies, played through a couple computer games, and generated lots of assumptions about life, the universe, and everything.
I've got so much to say, and no real way to say it. My context switch is fumbling and sticky, and I'm never quite sure where I am or who I am. The last year changed me more and less than I thought it did. See, when I went to Kabul, I said, "I'm going to adjust to this no matter what." I did. I adjusted. Coming back to the states, I didn't get that idea in my head. When a number of things have changed in the states, too, I needed to adjust. But I didn't have it in my head that I would have to. So, I'm struggling to adjust.
I'm also just struggling to grasp the Reality of life around me. There are a number of situations occurring in and around me that I was not expecting to occur as they have, and I am struggling to know how to approach them properly. I wish I had a greater measure of strength and knowledge in my attempts to follow the path I walk down, but the interesting thing is that if I had a greater measure of strength and knowledge, the path would grow more difficult in grade, but not more difficult in my effort to tackle it, I think. Put another way, if you are training with weights, when you begin, forty kilos might seem extremely heavy. But the more you work out and gain muscle, 40 kilos is no big deal. The weight isn't any lighter, your ability to deal with it has changed. Likewise, as you learn math, you begin to be able to do problems like derivation quickly. Has the difficulty of being able to derive changed? No, you're just able to do it, and so you get harder and harder problems. I recognize that as I grow and learn to walk down the path, the difficulty level stays the same, but my ability to deal with that difficulty grows. Must admit here, sometimes it shrinks, but it mostly grows. None of this means that it isn't a struggle, however. I still wish that I could have the wisdom to understand the steps I should take. But I won't stop just because I can't see the way. At some point, I just have to trust, walk forward and not get angry when my foot catches along the way, or my muscles get so tired.
I used to take air for granted. Now that I live in a place where the air quality is horrific, I still take air for granted. But still, I receive life and breath. Care to come along with me up into the air, and someday leave this rough and broken path behind?
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/20/2008 10:29:00 AM
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Well, I have some observations about life, but some of them are just really judgemental statements about the culture and excess of the United States. The rest of them are just moer overanalyzation about everything. I've been working some in the yard, which has kept me busy. Also reading and playing computer games. Fly over me.
I have no idea how or why anything like all of this has happened to me, just little, plain old me. I guess maybe I'm not as useless as I used to think I was. I guess maybe I'm more useless than I ever thought. After all of this, I am ashamed that I curse far more than I praise. Taste and see.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/18/2008 11:13:00 AM
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Well, my good friend jetlag is back, and letting me get up early. Jetlag, I hate you. I hate that you make me lay awake and just think for hours. I hate that I want to randomly fall asleep at weird times. And I hate that you make my coordination weird. Please go away. Thanks.
I ran a two mile road race yesterday morning, I ran a 12:57, didn't do as well as I wanted to, but did ok. Saw the new Indiana Jones movie with my dad, it was OK, the first half was good, the second half was decent, I thought it fell apart the last 15, but not bad overall.
I'm going to try to go back to sleep. But it's 4 A.M. And I've been awake since 3. And not gotten back to sleep. Who knows.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/15/2008 04:15:00 AM
Friday, June 13, 2008
Observations from a few days in America.
I still try to throw toilet paper away.
Carpet is weird.
It's strange how I just can 'come back' and I'm here, no adjustment seems necessary. Yet there is of course, adjustment. It just feels like I don't need to adjust, if that makes sense in any kind of strange way.
My hometown is the same and different in all these subtle, little ways. Streets have been redone, advertisements have changed. I drove the truck before I got back, and then my folks' mini-van, so driving my car has seemed weird.
Watched my old baseball team play last night, they played about the same as usual. Watched q3 of the NBA Finals but was too tired to watch the fourth. Now, I'm running errands, one of which involved coming to the public library to do some work-related stuff, so I of course had to take time out to blog.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/13/2008 10:14:00 AM
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
It's green here. There are no mountains. Funny how the little things make life seem different.
But it's also strange that I'm just back, with no real adjustment needed so far (except carpets. That's weird.) I went to bed around midnight, woke up at 5:00, went out, ran, came in, had breakfast, read the paper, worked out in the yard, and then decided to check my e-mail since I am a compulsive e-mail addict, then realized that I hadn't blogged about the fact that I am back, and since everyone in the world was just dying to read my blog to know that I was back, I had to post.
The trip was long but good. Didn't really sleep much, but that's OK. Not too tired right now, although we'll see tonight how I feel.
It seems like yesterday that I left, but like forever that I've been gone.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/11/2008 10:13:00 AM
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Well... I decided not to buy internet access in London because it cost 8 pounds (almost 17 dollars), but I did buy it here in Chicago. Yeah, I made it to Chicago mostly OK, I'm dead tired though. Didn't really sleep on the Dubai-London or London-Chicago runs. Maybe an hour total. I did watch a couple movies, none worth ever watching again. Charlie Wilson's War was self-indulgent, boring, and pointless. Jumper was short, had no character or plot development, and the one interesting character (the other jumper) was overdone. Cloverfield was interesting but ultimately predictable.
I have had a lot to think about over the last couple days (of flight time). Thinking about the last year, thinking about the summer, thinking about the next year. Thinking about forever in a way. The time that I have been given over the next seven weeks is to be spent productively, not regressively. I may have regrets, I may have faulty steps, but the tide will come and wash away the aged and infirm parts of me, and all will become new again.
Time will come again.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/10/2008 05:04:00 PM
Monday, June 09, 2008
Well, I'm now sitting in the airport in Dubai, unable to check in because my flight doesn't leave for about six hours. I'm going to read for a while before I can check in. The takeoff out was a little worrisome, I wasn't entirely sure we were going to make it off the ground, but we did, eventually. I'm definitely ready to get going, and I'm going to have to sit here for a while...
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/09/2008 09:32:00 AM
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Well. We hiked this morning, then I came to my office and have been trying unsuccessfully to work. I guess when I know I can procrastinate this stuff until August and probably not get in trouble for it, I do. I leave in a couple hours. Not looking forward to the journey, but the result will be good.
I've learned so much here this year, it would be impossible to try to describe it all. I guess the thing that I have learned the most is to be patient, wait, and trust. I had originally come over on a six month contract. I got the opportunity to extend it, and the opportunity to come back next year. I took a lot of time to make my decision, and I really had to be patient and listen to the counsel that I was receiving and the Guidance I got. I'm in limbo about what happens after next year, I don't like it but I know I just have to be patient and trust that what I am supposed to do will be revealed to me in time. I've had to depend on others and on Another to make things happen that I previously could have done myself. I've had to trust in the duration and strength of my relationships, even when I didn't understand them.
I've grown, I've struggled, I've learned, I've leaned, I've helped, I've been fed, I've seen change. In some ways I fear going back to the states because who I am does not want to become who I was. In many ways, I know all of this is just preparation to going Home.
Had I stayed where I was, I could have had a whole world. I'd never trade that world for the scars that I've gotten this year. I'd never trade my growth for the comfort I once sought after. I'd never trade what I had for what I have. I'd never trade the pain that I've had this year, never trade the joy, the struggle, learning, time.
I'll probably blog some on the trip, but perhaps not much over the summer. So until next time... stay safe. Don't die.
Fare well. Trust.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/08/2008 10:56:00 PM
Rolls along, gathering no moss.
We went out to the Lebanese restaurant tonight, had good food, good company. The six of us just kind of got to talking about funny anecdotes and laughed for most of the evening. It was great to just relax and have a good time, barely talked about school except for funny things that had happened. I'm going to miss folks, but it was a great last evening with them in Kabul.
I fly out tomorrow. Seven weeks and I'll be back. And even though everything will be the same, it will never be the same.
I often wonder why I was sent here this year. What was I supposed to do, to be, what effect was I supposed to have? I know at least one person I helped by being here, another that I hope I have helped by being here, and many more, I will never know. But that's OK. It makes me just have to rely more on trust and being who I've been created to be, and do what I am being Led to do.
Come what may, I will run.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/08/2008 12:04:00 PM
Saturday, June 07, 2008
The dissolution continues. A big group of my friends left today, including one I'll perhaps never see again. Others that I won't get to see for two months, one I'll get to see at the airport tomorrow.
I've grown accustomed to this place, not just the physical, but the presences of the place as well. There are between 5 and 9 (depending on how you count) of us left on campus, plus our national staff, but the place feels like a ghost town. It's 12:45 on Sunday, normally the swinging middle of the week, and there is no one here. It's weird.
I hope this is all for redemption, because my world seems like it's going to have more gray than I want in it for the next two months.
I had breakfast with one of my good buddies this morning after we saw the morning airport group off. I've realized that the one thing I hate about this lifestyle that I am adopting is the goodbyes. I've never been very good at them. Part of the problem is that I have surface relationships with many people, and a few good friendships, and a small number of terrific friendships. I'm going back to my family and a couple good and terrific friendships, but I'm leaving some here. I'm going to miss talking to my pal here who knows what I've gone through this year, I know what he's gone through, and we've really encouraged each other through it. I'm going to miss having almost daily Talks along with another of my friends whom I have really come to value in the short time I've known him. I'm going to miss hanging out with another of my friends who... I'm really going to miss. Saying goodbye is rough sometimes.
And yet, goodbye is a part of the life we live, it's a part of the process of growing. It's a relief to know that not all of these goodbyes are forever, that someday soon, we will resume the friendships that we have started. It's a comfort to know that I'm going to get to see a number of my friends from here again. Still, tonight we're going out to dinner, some of us that are left. I've got two friends who I'll say goodbye to tonight that I may never see again, one of whom has been my Talking friend recently. I hope I don't cry tonight or tomorrow night at the airport when I say goodbye to another friend.
I leave tomorrow mid-morning. One last walk, then pack and get ready to go...
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/07/2008 11:59:00 PM
The dissolution started for real today. Some of my friends left to go home. I will see everyone that left today again, if everything happens as planned, but who really knows? Life and plans have a way of changing.
It feels strange, to know that life is changing. I'm excited to see my family again, but I'm indifferent about going to the states. I mean, there is plenty about it that will be great, but I could do without a lot of it.
I drove again today. It was fun. Worked most of the day, helped a friend or two. Got a great smile. The falling stars are pretty.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/07/2008 01:58:00 PM
Friday, June 06, 2008
I guess I've talked before about how school is done. Yesterday was a work day, I worked some this morning, played Ultimate, had lunch, worked some more, and now I'm just goofing off until we order pizza for supper and then have a "we're done" party. Then tomorrow and Sunday I work lazily, then head out Monday. It will take me about two days objective, one day subjective to get back to Kansas. I'll get in late Tuesday and will probably be fairly lagged out Wednesday and Thursday. Do drop me an e-mail or call me if you want to hang out - I've only got a week and a half before I have to leave for two weeks of training. Then I'll be back for the month of July, and leave Kansas again on 31 July.
I'm planning on writing up a fair amount of reflection on the year in the next couple days/weeks, parts of which I will post up here, if I actually write them.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/06/2008 07:31:00 AM
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Today was a work day. Meaning I had lots to do. Between running around helping everyone pack up, sorting out the bunch of new gear we just got that had been in my office, starting to pack up people's computers, finalizing what I'm going to do when I get back. Busy.
I say things I shouldn't way too much.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/05/2008 12:37:00 PM
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Today has been long, long, and long. It was the last day of the school year. We're done, the kids are gone. My office, which I had cleared out, is full of gear. I leave in four days. I have lots to do.
I have lots to say, but no way to say it. This year has been amazing.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/04/2008 12:53:00 PM
Monday, June 02, 2008
The director is doing better. He's fairly stable in a nearby modern city, but will be there for at least two weeks. Lots of Movement happened to get him there, definitely not all by ourselves.
Two more days of school. I'm struggling not to check out, and am trying to still push on and finish.
There are a couple of other things in life I want to complain about, but I don't think this public forum is exactly the way to do it.
There are a couple things in life I am really thrilled about right now. People encourage me, I'm able to be helpful (we helped the principal and her husband move down the street tonight, and truck-surfed on the way back. [Horaagi. Providing the guard force hours of entertainment.])
I'll be back soon. In more ways than one.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/02/2008 01:25:00 PM
Sunday, June 01, 2008
The director is being medivaced out of the country. He had a heart attack while at the hospital, but is apparently fairly stable. Keep remembering.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 6/01/2008 07:05:00 AM