For the like of Guinness! – 27/28

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I enjoy beer, not overly so, but enough to enjoy it and converse about it and hang out with those who do.

Is drinking wrong? I think it depends on the person; if you’re prone to drinking in excess, or alcoholism runs in the family, or if you don’t even taste what you’re consuming…drinking might not be for you.

There was a time in my life where I probably identified with drinking and not really giving a rip about what I was drinking. I wasn’t a drunk, I wasn’t out of it, I just kinda went with the flow of things and drank a bit too much one time from not paying attention to what I was handed to me. Ugh, Jagermeister/Jager shots/all things Jager…that was me, excessive and hard liquor for a usual lightweight/bantam weight drinker…bad combo right there, but that was me, and how I “celebrated” NYE/NYD a handful of years ago.

As I look back at it wasn’t healthy, oy vey it wasn’t, they say being hungover is akin to drowning due to dehydration and I believe it…my hangover was intense, after vomiting it all up again, I was out of it for a good 11-12 hours! I don’t recommend it, and yet it strikes me as pure Hollywood to capitalize on this ala Hangover 1 & 2 and I think I read somewhere that a 3rd one is in the process. It strikes me as bad taste to focus on such a low in someone’s life whether it be the first time or if it is a repeated occasion…but that’s Hollywood so much of the time, schadenfreude packaged in a 2 hour movie.

I haven’t gotten drunk since that day, I drink hard liquor but in very very small doses, and even with the beer I drink, I drink in moderation. I don’t want to be caught up in a beer today gone tomorrow ordeal ever again, getting drunk once was twice to many.

~Nathanael~

The Bible is not the Bible

Before I start writing this post let me explain that this isn’t some Matrix-y there is no spoon metaphysical post. This isn’t a post that is trying to determine what is really is, it’s more about the words used to describe something, and in this case the text I am describing is the religious text primarily used by Christians. I am a follower of Christ and I read this text, I don’t have a full grasp on it, and I actually don’t think it’s possible, but here’s my thoughts on how the Bible is not the Bible.

***

It strikes me that the religious text Christians use is called the Bible, and yet apart from Christianity the word Bible is used as well. A brief perusing on Amazon has found me these Bibles; Boston’s Gun Bible, Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible, The Cook’s Bible, The Dog Bible, Mini Car Bible, and so on.

The thing is, the way Bible is used for the above books are from the perspective that what’s contained in the compendium is the be-all end-all final word on the product, whether it’s about guns or fashion, these Bibles start and finish, and if you have the Bible that’s all you need.
Yet with my faith, The Bible as my faith’s religious text is not a Bible. What’s contained in The Bible isn’t a rule book, a be-all end-all, something that someone can say out loud with audacity “The Bible says it/I believe it/That settles it.” This last statement to me perplexes and bothers me to no end, really? The Bible says it, so you believe it, and that…*gulp*…settles it? I’m not going to tackle the verses some Christians use to clobber members of the LGBT community, instead I will tackle briefly Psalms 137:9 which says

How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock
.

If the statement of The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it, in light of the psalm written by David is “that settles it” a healthy response to the text? Well considering the book of Psalms is essentially a book of poetry about God, about life, about lamenting, and celebrating. David, who certainly had a way with words both in this Psalm and others, was probably writing out his frustration in a pretty grim way, about what was going on in his life and sometimes you gotta bring out the heavy guns with your language, and I am sure that when this Psalm was written the individuals who read it at that time “golf clapped” David for his latest Psalm I am pretty sure it rocked their minds.

So when you get down to it, the Bible is the story of God and it is the story of us…but story is it’s our story, and yet our story consists in our life and every up, down, twist, and turn along the way. Then there’s the instructions in how to live that comes from God through Jesus in which we’re called to not just be hearers of the word but doers of the word, to “go and do likewise”, to love God and to love others…That is what the Bible is about, our conduct unto God and others, about making life the quality of life for ourselves and others better, to go and make disciples. It starts with God and it also ends with God, The Bible is very much a part of it but it isn’t the be-all end-all, we have our lives to lead that should mirror what I think sums up what God wants us to do as found in John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Live a life of love!

~Nathanael~

I am a funny serious/serious funny guy…deal with it! – 26/28

I am funny guy…this is true.

I am a serious guy…this is also true.

I am both, and can switch gears where needed be and yet it perplexes some people sometime that I am both, well to the naysayers who say you can’t be both…deal with it!

***

So maybe people don’t reject the possibility of being a funny serious guy or serious funny guy, but sometimes in my getting to know the opposite sex I’m isolated or worse, I’m the funny guy who can’t be serious…or I’m the serious guy who can’t be funny. It hurts me a bit to be labelled for this or labelled at all, I switch gears with my funny and serious as needed be, what’s so hard to comprehend about that?

I don’t like being labelled, because as Kierkegaard put it best; “when you label me you negate me”, and I don’t want to be considered worthless for any reason especially reasons pertaining because of the particular type of person you think you I can neatly identify as.

I am not neat, I am a problematic individual, I am a wanderer, I am a questioner, a doubter…these aren’t labels, but attributes I recognize about myself. If I look past the labels affixed to me I see an individual who is bright and cheery about things happening in the now and things that will happen in the future, a dreamer, a planner, a lover of love who wants to love and be loved.
I want to transcend the bullshit that so often is at my feet, I want to avoid the proverbial Damacles’ swords that hang over head, I want to walk through that door and not look back at past mistakes but look back so as to reminisce in a slightly nostalgic way as to what got me from here to there. 🙂

It’s not an easy road, God knows that the portion of “Amazing Grace” that sticks to me is the “Through many dangers, trials, and snares” part, I’m not at the “I have already come” portion of the song but I’m getting there, little by little day to day. There have been moments in my life where I have learned things the hard way, or ways where if I just had a healthy guide to lead me I wouldn’t have made some rudimentary mistakes…but I’ve learned, and sometimes relearned.

So even though I derailed myself in this post that started out about me explaining I’m a serious AND funny guy, not separated or divided…deal with it 😉

~Nathanael~

Last train home from a summer concert – 21/28

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2 summers ago a few friends and I boarded the Aurora IL train out to Chicago, it was free concert night! Iron & Wine were the main attraction, with a few opening acts, and it was good…but before any of the bands hit the stage, we had to get through the crowds.

People? I’ve never seen that many people gathered in one place in Chicago! I’ve seen a lot of people at the Chicago Art Institute, but they’re spread out; they’re all not gawking and being entranced by Night Hawks despite how good a piece of art it is. I’m fine with crowds, I really am, but this was ludicrous or at least so this is what happens when Iron & Wine plays for free was what crossed my mind.

Trying to find a seat was a crap-shoot, my bro and his girl went one way while my friend and I went another way. We lucked out and found two seats that were comfortable and enjoyable…apart from the fact that while the sun was setting I was in a position where my forehead was burning. We watched the show, had a good time, and walked back to the train station to catch the last train home…

Now that experience I had of being around a big crowd was magnified 1000 fold aboard the train! Packed in like sardines would be one thing, but that statement does injustice to sardines and whomever was on that train. I think it was overwhelming for the conductors and other train staff as well, because I was never had my return ticket stamped! So it might have been the most crowded and free train ride ever, I’ll have to get in touch with Guinness Book of Records about that one 😉

The Aurora IL is the last stop of the train line, so it became less and less crowded by the time we got back into town. Our lesson was certainly learned; when free and concert are paired together, everyone, and I mean everyone, will show up for it.

~Nathanael~

The one where I converse about Converse (and other shoes) – 20/28

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I’m not a sneaker freaker, but I do like a good pair of kicks for feets sake!

I have 2 pairs of Converse All-Stars; a black on black pair hi-top and a red-brown-gold low-top pair, the latter looks ugly in a beautiful shoe kind of way.

The other shoe style that I like to wear are wing-tips/oxfords, I have a few pairs that are comfortable…unlike the horrible pair they rent you for when you’re a groomsman. In hindsight I should have had them pay me to wear those horrible if-I-wore-them-longer-I-would-have-gotten-blisters “shoes” more like prison chains…but the things we do for love when our good friends get married, and it was a good wedding, and a better marriage was created on that day! 🙂

Lastly in this shoe post, I like hiking shoes; I am a big fan of the great outdoors, and ideally hiking shoes with good ankle support are a must. I have for the most part been prepared for hiking in this area with few blisters along the trail, but I certainly recall being with friends who were not ready for hiking shoe-wise and dang blazes, the horror…the horror!

Choose your shoes wisely, for feets sake!
~Nathanael~

 

The little things in life; where did my childlike wonder go? – 19/28

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(not me, but I did like playing in boxes when I was little)

When I think about where I am now, the “little things” are as follows; drinking French Press coffee, sleeping in, spending time with my little nieces and nephew, driving through the country, taking time to photograph, taking time to read, taking time to be… But even now, some of the “little things” in my life are way more complicated than what were the “little things” when I was young.

When I was young the little things were playing in a box, catching fireflies, watching the sky for shooting stars, playing with my sisters and possibly annoying them all the while. Those little things didn’t require much, just time, friends, and family.

One thing that crosses my mind as a follower of Christ is what Christ said about following him in Matthew 18:3 – and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” The way to get to know God is a simple way, not a simplistic way, it is one holding on to the Father’s hand even if the grasp is a mere pinkie, it’s about faith and doubt and being unsure of where it is all going…where life is going, and taking what he said by faith and bound up religious dogma, making following him a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts.
So much of Jesus’ ministry when he was alive on earth was to the poor, the weak, the marginalized, the downtrodden…and also, to children! He went so far as to rebuke his disciples when children gathered to spend time with him, and in that day and age that’s rather astounding.

So when I examine the little things in life both past and present, I realize that while so much has changed I still can find ways to live a more simple life. It’s the Lenten season for followers of Christ, and while some might be all about giving up something, I recognize that if I am going to do that it must be something that lasts longer than Lent. I’m still not sure how I fully approach a more simple lifestyle, the big one that comes to mind is living in excess, living with more this and that, when I really don’t need more material possessions in my life.
The little things in life help me recall who I was and who I am, but also who I want to be. I don’t live in self-imposed guilt for having too much, but it does weigh upon my soul when I see and interact with people who have less than me. so it begins with change and figuring out what I can to approach life by way of the little things, but also to approach God as a child in innocence and awe of a God who is bigger and better than I couldn’t have ever imagined.

~Nathanael~

Home at last is on the horizon – 18/28

“How far we all come. How far we all come away from ourselves. You can never go home again.” – James Agee

It has been sometime since I’ve been home, and honestly I don’t know when I left. This wandering and meandering has left me restless, but not hopeless, for I know that home is on the horizon.

In a way I think there have been many catalysts in my life to get me to a place where I have a feeling of homelessness. I do live in a house, there’s a roof over my head more or less. But the nature of calling it my own, coming home to someone I love, kicking my feet up after a long day of work, cooking for someone I love, loving someone I love…I don’t have that in this season of my life. I could kick down this road called life begrudgingly and write love and all that, but I have hope for what isn’t in my life at this time and I am doing what I can to get there from here. 🙂
That’s what I’ve held on to all these tumultuous years, that has been a big part of what has sustained me despite going through a lot of bullshit, learning things the hard way, and learning things first hand where if I had proper guidance I might not have made some mistakes…but even though it has stunted me in some ways, I’m still fighting, and I will keep on going and I won’t stop to get what I want in this life, and for beginners, a home to call my own.

I can’t say if I will be tied down to a 20 year mortgage, the white picket fence, the whole house owning bit…but I do want the wife and I want some kids of my own 🙂 That by far is home to me.

These things take time, I am aware of that, but what better time to start than now? In some ways, I have already started, and in some other ways I am striving towards that goal. One of my favorite words is teleological – essentially it is the process of getting from here to there, what goals set can be goals made for a desired result. I don’t have all the answers, but I am doing what I can to prepare a way out for me, a way towards having a family, a home for myself.

I can never go home again, but I certainly can make a home for myself, my future wife and children, it will be a new home and it will be our home.

~Nathanael~