Before 2014 gets underway…(a 2013 recap of sorts)

As 2013 comes to an end in a matter of hours, I’d like to recall my year…

It has been productive on many levels, the first being another good year in a job that I really love. I have always enjoyed working with others and helping out where I can, and I can honestly say that as much as this job is the most stressful, it is the most rewarding job I have ever had.
I had the privilege to represent my work in a state-wide conference pertaining to a health group that my agency and others run.

I also went on vacation this year! And not just a few days vacation, but 3 weeks off all at the same time! ๐Ÿ™‚ I had some personal anxiety, I kind of felt like Sam Gamgee when he got to the point where he traveled the farthest from where he grew up.
I laid off the caffeine during these times as it only added to my anxiety, and when I collected my thoughts and feelings, as well as my camping equipment, I was on my way to Tennessee.
Tennessee was wonderful, but more to the point, the people I met were wonderful. (A shout out to Jimmy, my host my first night in Memphis.) It was also fun to spend time with some of my church peeps who relocated to Nashville, to take it easy and not rush life.

While I didn’t travel even further into TN because I wasn’t prepared for the weather (so much for this former Boy Scout BEing Prepared, eh?) so even though I came back sooner than I would’ve liked…I still had 1o days of vacation on my hands, and they were well spent.

***

There’s also the nature that I finally moved out of the parents house. Good fortune came my way in finding out about an opening in the townhouse my then coworker lives at. The price was right and I have been there and I enjoy my distance from my parents. I can’t say that at this point that it’s making our relationships with one another better, but I will say this, as much shit as my parents have given me they really can’t give it to me anymore; proximity works wonders, especially in unhealthy relationships.

***

While there have been issues surrounding 2013, some big and some small, I still think I come up way ahead. I’m looking forward to another year of living and whatever it entails I hope I’m ready for it to the best of my abilities. I have some goals and aspirations for 2014 (not so much resolutions, but in the same vein) for my life, and they’ll be incorporated in community and with family and friends.

So long 2013, see ya soon 2014! ๐Ÿ™‚

~Nathanael~

Adopted for Christmas (part 2)

Well…

Plans changed and my friend’s post-Christmas get together never came to be. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’m not completely bummed out, I am sad for my coworker’s sake that the get together didn’t happen because that’s her family and from what she has shared with me I know they mean a lot to her.

So I made some plans as I still worked the 7-5 shift at work, and those fell through, but I shook it off and made alternative plans to my alternative plans. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anchorman 2
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If you liked the first one, there’s a good chance you’ll like the second one as well. A lot of cameos, it was a good way to unwind after work and after other plans fell through. That’s me though, I am resilient and capable in finding alternative things to do when life happens, and it does happen all the time.

~Nathanael~

O Holy Night revised; personal contextualization to this Christmas carol

For the last 3 years when Christmas comes around and when the Christmas carol O Holy Night is sung, I alter a part of it a little bit:

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I am fully aware that slavery still exists in our world, but if I recall the song was written outside of United States, but when it did come to the United States it was in the time of slavery. With that being said, I get why it was written with slave added to it, but where do I find such conflict within the church today?
Certainly in the churches across America there isn’t a master-and-slave paradigm that exists. However there is a straight-vs-Gay paradigm at times; while there are churches that are accepting, affirming, and loving of members of the LGBT Community there are some churches that practice (whether they acknowledge it or not) exclusiveness not inclusiveness, judgment over love.

So I changed the words knowing this all too well as a straight ally, it is for my brothers and sisters in the LGBT Community whose voices are not heard within Christian circles, who are silenced intentionally as well as unintentionally. I sing for those who cannot sing, who have been kicked out of church because some Christians have not extended Christ-like love to them, I have met some individuals who have gone through this and it breaks my heart but I also know it breaks God’s heart as well.

***

Now this isn’t a post where I’m urging you to “do what I’m doing”, I’m writing this as a wake up call to Christians everywhere! End the marginalization of those who are the “other”; and it very well could mean that it isย  someone who is like you more than it means someone not like you.

I recognize in my own life the “other” are Evangelical Calvinists who have a strong sense of believe rather than faith, who have hammered down their personal theology in a controlled and precise matter. Why do those who align themselves like this bother the hell out of me? …I once was like this myself.
In realizing this after the fact (to which it served as a building block not a stepping stone) I dislike who I was, but it is part of my story and I am believing that nothing is wasted, even in those years of creating and perpetuating us-vs-them paradigms.

Yet it is these individuals I need to put more time, more patience, and certainly more love into. It is these people I want to avoid at all costs, but as my pastor wisely put it “you can’t be inclusive to all if you’re exclusive to some”, dammit! Why do you have to be so…right? He is right, and I’m getting that it is like putting a puzzle together; I need all the pieces and not just the ones that strike my attention or are easy to assemble, because any exclusion of puzzle pieces makes for an incomplete puzzle.

Altering “O Holy Night” by saying Gay Man instead of Slave is something that I have no qualms about. Yet I realize that maybe I need to broaden it, because the Evangelical Calvinist is my brother and sister too. That! That is a line I need to sing, because I need to sing for them too. So maybe if I sing it fast enough I can sing Gay-man-and-Evangelical-Calvinist at the same time ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will do my best to do so, because it’s more than a song to me, it’s a posture ofย  living as God would have me to, it’s living in a more Christ-like way.

~Nathanael~

Communication is vital/367 days later

This is going to be a semi-difficult post to write. It may also be semi-difficult to read. So read with caution and I’ll take caution in the writing…

Communication is vital, and there is someone in my life albeit a bit less now that I have away from my hometown and out on my own. This person is family, and despite being family, we haven’t had a serious conversation with one another in 367 days. Now you might ask me how do I know how many days it has been, well simply put, we talked on a serious level prior to the midnight showing of the first installment of The Hobbit.

***

One thing I recognize with communication with me, I do what I can to get from the

of the conversation pool and into the

pretty quickly. I like getting past the general/typical questions and asking the more difficult questions. Some people think I transition into these types of questions faster than I ought to, but I think I am pretty good at assessing character and whether or not someone is capable and willing to get there conversationally with me.

Yet with this person in my life whom I haven’t spoken to in 367 days there’s the nature of we hardly get to the deep end, and it’s not that I don’t try to get there, I just think that the other person’s incapable of getting into deeper waters conversationally. It’s hard, it really is, because I sometimes don’t know how to go back to the shallow end when I’ve been to the deep end; I guess I kind of have to adapt to these present circumstances. Yet I realize this despite the difficulty of this self-perceived backtracking, if it will help foster communication and restoration to a fractured relationship then it is totally worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚
I also realize that it begins with me; as much as I’d like to wait around on this person to get their shit together, it isn’t necessarily going to solely happen based on me wanting or hoping that they do it, I need to be willing to be the one who gets it going! So with all that in mind, this is a resolution that I carry out. If I meet resistance, I’ll withdraw but not fully retreat; as someone who has been discarded like trash before, I don’t like the feeling and realize that redemption is for everyone if they’re willing to be redeemed.

~Nathanael~

Adopted for Christmas (part 1)

Having talked to my coworker about where I’m coming from, where I’ve been, and even where I am now she has decided to “adopt” me for Christmas.

She has put out there to a large extent the skeletons in her and her family’s life, and as she puts it “We have skeletons in our closet, but we take ours out to dance”. As macabre as that sounds, it sounds lovely to me. There are plenty of skeletons in my closet, and at times that impedes me in getting close and intimate with others because I ponder if I will be judged, if I will be discarded, if any ounce of a relationship we have will still exist once I put myself out there. These are all valid questions, and certainly it can blow up in someone’s face, it has happened to me before and will happen again, BUT I will keep putting myself out to those I am willing to put my trust in.

I will say this about the overarching familial closet of skeletons, they’re not healthy they’re musty and there’s a collective perspective at times of keep that shit out of sight and out of mind. But it, for better or worse, is a part of me and some times it is apart from me. I recognize that I need to address my issues more otherwise I sense I’d give in to the fear and learned helplessness would settle into my bones and I would be in a bad place that I wouldn’t want to leave. Fear still has its benefits in my life, it is a motivator and it is a tool; I let fear into my life long enough to let it course through my veins and then I release it and act on what I need to do at that present time.

I am encouraged to be going into an environment where there are issues and there are problems, but they have been dealt with and it has made them collectively stronger in a lot of ways. I am also looking forward to the element of celebrating the Christmas holiday in community that is inclusive.
Someday I hope to have an open door policy for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. I met a guy in Memphis whose family does this every year and it sounded amazing and I got a glimpse of bigger and better; a glimpse of what I want to transpire in my life when I get there, and more importantly a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven.

***

So with that I’m looking forward to Christmas now, to spend it with an awesome coworker and her family and friends. This is part one, so when Christmas has come and gone, so starts part two. ๐Ÿ™‚

~Nathanael~

3 weeks to Christmas and I’m not remotely ready

It’s 3 weeks to Christmas and I’m not remotely ready. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to know if I am ready, but I do know this; Christmas has never been an eventful holiday for me, and to some degree it still isn’t, but I have hope that one day I will have a family of my own and I will be able to start from there in making it better. I have hope this will come to fruition.

Hope. I have plenty of it sometimes, it keeps me going on my darkest days and even when things are going good for me I still hope. I have had a few good Christmases in my life, and I think my favorites have been when I was in a relationship celebrating Christmas with my SO’s family and extended ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve also been fortunate to go to Florida for Christmas, and let me tell you (if you’re a fan of warm weather) 80 degrees in December on the Gulf of Mexico is awesome.

***

One thing I do enjoy even if I’m not celebrating Christmas is the Advent season leading up to Christmas.

To prepare my heart, my mind, in what was the greatest gift God gave to mankind, his son Jesus. Jesus came into this world as an individual who stirred up the system to the point that he was killed for going against the system’s status quo. If you think about it, Jesus came to live with us, be amongst us, but ultimately Jesus came to die (which goes into the bigger holiday in the Christian calendar; Easter).

So slight morbidity aside, I await and engage in my senses in preparation of Jesus. I take time to read, take time to go about life slowly in light of hope and in light of the greatest form of hope the world will ever know. I might be post-Evangelical in my beliefs, but I am aware of the meaning of this Christmas season and its many implications.

I wait,
I desire,
I hope. ๐Ÿ™‚

~Nathanael~