Monday, May 4, 2009


I'm pretty tired. Grease, oil, road dirt and soil have worked into every article of clothing I'm wearing. ... and in most exposed crevices of skin. I chopped up peppers, carrots, and a spectrum of lettuce for salad tonight, before sitting down to a flute. It's almost like being at home. Almost. As sad as that might sound... I do not wish to be anwhere other than where I am right now. There are things I love about home. Always will be. But home is not my place right now... and to be anywhere other than where I am would be to live with regret. A gecko is a much better neighbor (than regret). Their senses of humor are leagues ahead. It's been a busy week. I am pondering...

Pondering this place.

Pondering the uniqueness of it. It's a salad too. German carrots. Full flavor. Japanese peppers... in pockets. Korean cabbage. American... bacon bits. umm... what else could go in a salad... olives? Yeah... there's probably some of those too. Sure it's Paraguayan mostly. But what shade? Where does one begin and the other end? And it relaxes me. Weird people bringing weird things onto creakity old buses swerving among the eternally adaptive ant line of motos zigging in and out. No one's in a hurry. Everyone is more or less at peace with the incompetence they will deal with on a daily basis. Productivity is grand. Excellence is to be driven towards. The American ideal of these things, however, is better spent on something that has fewer warts than a human.

I actually asked a guy for directions today and then felt later like I walked away from a conversation he wasn't ready to end. Its odd. Usually... to keep a stranger in conversation on the street is uncourteous. I was dirty then too. I didn't care. Everything was dirty. Everything rubbed together like working hands on a cool day.... and the little twists of skin, grease, and grit rolled between them: a testament to the fact they were moving... that they got dirty... and that there was new life happening behind each surface. mmm... I didn't care that I looked funny. I was proud to finally feel at home in that mysterious, colorful, niche my parents carved for themselves during this time in their lives... the one that most other people work their whole lives avoiding... and insodoing castrate their worlds. The niche of the contentedly different.

I think back to clash day during 'spirit week' this week. I loved that day.
It is the only day of the year I can easily pick out my own clothes.

I loved it too because of how excitingly 3-dimensional that whitewashed world of fear-locked institutionalized Christianity could become in half a moment... given the right stimulus. All of a sudden... people were different. Wierd hairstyles, wierd clothing combinations... some members of which hadn't been seen in decades. Mismatched shoes. Vests over t-shirts. Sideways hats. Gloves. Ties. And do you know what... no one needed to apologize for any of it. Everyone was comfortable that way. Not because we finally had obtained the conformity we were all chasing, but because, by some odd twist of fate, we were given a day out of the rat race in which, for one precious moment in our long social nightmares, we were expected to be different. Not expected as in... you have to be... (many people didn't, and that was ok) but... it was endorsed and expected that we would be. At the time it made me ponder... but I couldn't quite put a finger on it until now... That day was a breath of clean air... of what I want so deeply to practice better... and to see grow in any community I find myself in.
It was a breath of Grace.

Not the tolerance of different personalities, minds, strengths and weaknesses, but the eager expectation of them. The embrace of them. And with that embrace, the expectation of discomfort, clashes, the failures of others and ourselves... but only so that we may work towards the better. If I am unwilling to have failing people around me, I am unwilling to have the material out of which excellence is made. The trick is in processing our failure... so that failure is not a definition, but an inevitable, welcomed means to an end.

And I... am by all means the worst at applying this principle... but by the grace of God I hope to learn from these failures. I believe this not only because I think it to be true... but because I need to be if there is to be much hope for me. I don't mourn that. I am glad for it. This is the God I serve.

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1 comment:

Paul said...

I feel extremely privileged that you wore MY orange shorts for clash day. ....OH, and you did very well with it. You applied the "clash" principle of art (orange and green)!! you are so deliberately, and nurdy'ingly well clashed.