Friday, October 19, 2001  9:45 PM


In the moment thoughts on a Friday night in October

 What the hell am I doing here?  Iím 22 years old, living in Greeley, Colorado.  I donít know where I thought Iíd be by nowÖ maybe famous, maybe on my way to something that would make me famous, I donít know.  But definitely I didnít think I would be here.

Every time Iíve ever had a great idea for something, itís never turned out to be as good or as big as Iíd wanted it to be.  And I hear this voice in the back of my head telling me that life is like that.  That sometimes, all we can do is to shoot for the stars, and that if we get off the ground, then itís been a success.  I think this is bullshit.

            It bothers me so much that people just settle.  It bothers me even more that I just settle.  And the question I come back to so, so, so often is to ask what God wants of me.  And I get an immediate answer; to turn my life over to the will of the divine.  Oh, Iíve been there once, or at least thought I wasÖ it led me to a break-up, financial debt, and headaches.  During this time, I thought I was listening, and I was.  I just havenít decided yet, or maybe I donít yet have enough information, to know what it was that I was listening to. 

I often feel like giving up my life to Godís will would mean for me that I would follow the path of people like Francis of AssisiÖ who give up everything and live in the middle of a field somewhere rebuilding some broken-down church.  These people are generally misunderstood and ridiculed by family and some so-called friends their whole lives, only to achieve some sainthood posthumously.  Donít get me wrong, I believe that the path St. Francis took was a courageous and valuable one, itís just not a path I believe I can or should have to take.  But thatís me and my desires coming into play, and my desires sometimes seem to have so little to do with the divine that I donít know what to do with them if I turn myself over.

I donít feel like I belong at UNC.  And yet, when I leave here, and go out into the ďreal world,Ē (I hate that term, itís as if someone thinks the world that I live in right now isnít realÖ the fact that I look at my bank account every day to see that Iíll be sure that I will have enough for rent and food seems pretty real to me.) I will probably look back and see just how much I did belong and how much of a family I had here, just like now when I look back on my four months in Germany.

And I am blessed.  Donít get me wrong there, because I have had a lot given to me.  I just donít know what to do with it.  I really donít.  I feel like every time I try to use the skills I have been given and am developing, I am not rewarded, and in fact am sometimes punished for doing so.

            Moreso, I feel out of control of my life, my world, and myself.  It is as if I walk into traps, kind of knowing that theyíre there, and am there to intentionally find my way out or something.  I donít know.  I guess that might not make much sense.

I just feel lost.  I donít belong with a group of men who say one thing and sometimes do another, being so big on talk that some donít understand action.  I donít want to be there just to be an example for some of the others, which is what I feel like Iím doing there right now.  Not for me, but so that I can be there for others.  Is that a righteous path?  I donít know.

I lack foresight.  Hindsight, I am excellent at. But foresight eludes me.  Itís as if Iím driving a curvy mountain pass, and foresight would have allowed me to see that deer which I thought might be there, but dismissed because of my own stubbornness, or because of my own tendency to not believe in myself, and instead of avoiding the deer, or better yet, stopping to admire it, BAM! I smack right into it.  Leaving me dented and the deer injured.

I donít feel like Iím being true to my heart either.  I never really believed in falling in love until last year, when I got to spend some time with this beautiful girl.  I guess not believing in falling in love led me to believe that people donít fall out of love either.  When Iím honest with myself, I realize that I still am in love with her, but donít understand why.  I know as well that she is no longer in love with me.  She has Ďfallen outí of love with me.  She still loves me, but sheís not ďin loveĒ with me.  And there is a difference, one which I never understood, and maybe still donít.  I donít know.  But my heart really hurts, now knowing that I will have to learn, through this, that falling out of love exists just as much as Ďfalling iní love. 

My heart hurts too that I feel like I have lost the ability to be a good friend for her and to have her do the same for me.  Our friendship was partly based on illusions, and partly based on the greatest form of reality man has ever known, and what Iím finding is that neither seems to exist between us in our current every day lives.  Or maybe the reality exists for her, and it doesnít for me because I feel so lost, and so we are at a loss for common ground.  I really couldnít say for sure.

Have I always felt this lost?  The answer is of course no, but this feeling has been around for at least five years, when I really stop to think about itÖ that deep down Iíve not really felt at home. 

My actual home where I grew up is home, and is where I feel the most fulfilled and most needed and most taken care of and is where I feel the best, but I can not feel completely at home there because what was created there, or I should say what is created there, is only partly mine.  And the idea to create it was not mine.  That beautiful idea come real belongs to my parents, the people who I admire most.  And I want something big that I dream of creating to turn out just as big and awesome as I dreamed. 

But maybe thatís the problemÖI just dream too big.

I thought about going out tonight, but what I am looking for is definitely not out there.  At least not at some club or some bar where theyíre all going to forget that theyíre looking for something, or else where theyíre going to try to find what theyíre looking for.  I donít know where or what it is that I am looking for, but am 99% sure that Iím not going to find it there at the club or the bar.

The friends I have are great.  They are some of the best friends someone could ask for.  But the one thing I feel like they all share is that I donít feel very legitimate around any of them.  Like Iím on a different path of some kind, and somehow that becomes de-legitimized when Iím around them.  I donít even know if I can explain that any better.  They are awesome, the friends I have, and I am blessed to have them.  The de-legitimizing feeling is probably my own insecurity more than anything else.

The nicest compliment I ever received was in 10th grade.  A guy named Jon who was from Las Vegas and was in my English class came up to me and said, ďYouíre really genuine.Ē  And he meant it.  And I guess I donít feel like Iíve been genuine for at least five years.

So what does it mean to be genuine?  I guess it means to be true to yourself.  And Iíve just spent the past few minutes of your life telling you that I feel like Iím not being true to myself.

I want to share, I want to contribute, I want to really make a difference, I want to make things better.  And Iím in Greeley, Colorado, where: Iíve managed a barely existing radio station and turned it into a somewhat prosperous one, which is now getting better because of those who have followed my lead (I think); Iíve made connections with people which will last me for life, Iíve learned that I canít effectively do something if I donít believe in it.

Getting my degree will be a good example of this.  Speech Communications has been, for me, quite possibly the busiest set of busy work Iíve done in my life.  I havenít really believed in what Iíve been doing, because I donít see it leading to anything other than a piece of paper called a diploma, which will land me in some corporate world job, sitting behind a desk, feeling like I am now; lost, stuck, like I canít really make a difference in the big scheme of things since Iím just one small part of a 6 billion-plus organism, which is so deeply entrenched in its ways, that even now, after history showing us countless millions dead and us pledging that weíll never let it happen again; the seeds are being sown for it to happen again; war.  Massive war, destructive war, and deathly war, stupid war; wrought over money and ideologies, and the ideologies of the opposite sides are not even really very different at their core.

So I am on a path I donít really want to be on.  This diploma-desk path is one that will lead me to feel as stuck as I do right now.

A popular song lyric says, ďIf you want to be somebody else, change your mind.Ē  My mindset right now says that I have to be in college to get my degree, because thatís what I expected of myself in four years before coming to college.  Why did I expect it of myself?  My parents expected it of me, or so I thought.

I am not blaming this on my parents, just saying that me, being their kid and heavily influenced by them, decided on my own that I was going to go do this thing called college where you magically become some sort of new creation when you come out the other side wearing a dress, funny-looking hat, and carrying a rolled-up piece of paper.  Excuse meÖIím sorryÖ I donít mean to interrupt, but didnít I already do this once about four years ago?

Will I be any better of a person for having had my college education?  This I really canít say right now either.  More educated, more informed.  But more prepared to go out and really make a difference and make things better?  I donít know.  Only time will show what skills Iíve been able to receive here.  Time and distance I suppose.

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