31/31 – Epilogue: A letter to myself

Wow I’m actually here 31 days later! πŸ™‚

Epilogue: A letter to myself (written from a perspective of hindsight, kind of)

Dear Nathanael,

Life is certainly shitty for you at this time, but take heart! You’re getting there, job-wise and financially you’re doing a great job saving up and there’s the prospect of another job of another 40 hour of working…mental clarity and bliss is just around the corner!

It will be tough, but you’re getting there; for your sake getting away from him and the fubar lifestyle is the only way change is going to take place. It might take a toll on your wallet, but you know that it is entirely worth it.

Don’t worry too much about finding your June, keep praying with your eyes open. Please be intentional in finding someone who is like themselves instead of your first love, because you won’t find a girl exactly and that puts her on a pedestal as well the girl you’re trying to pursue. She’s out there, be diligent and God willing you find her.

Moving out to Southern California was one of the better decisions you made in your adult life, you were right, the possibility of an earthquake happening trumps yearly cold weather and that dreaded snow. You get to surf, you get the mountains, if you want cold weather you have to seek it out and it doesn’t come around on a regular basis as it was when you were living in Illinois.

Life will get better, these things just take time, continue doing what you do and may God bless you on your future endeavors.

~Nathanael~

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30/31 – Someone in my family that means so much to me

 

Someone in my family that means so much to me

My mother means so much to me. Where to begin? πŸ™‚

When I was younger so much younger than today…

My mother was my teacher; I was home-schooled, my sisters 3 and I were, and with the exception of the youngest who spent 2 years in public school, the rest of us went K-12 under her tutelage to some degree. She was put in a difficult spot with my father being absent to her as well as to us kids, so she had to be both disciplinarian as well as our teacher.

My mom and I have a better relationship these days compared to when I was younger, we fight sometimes but I will say I am glad she’s like me when she’s angry, otherwise I might not know when she’s angry. She’s hard headed, stubborn and verbally loud…just like me, which makes things “better” in the sense that I fight the same way and we’re able to work out things within that context, we’re both used to passive-aggressive people not letting on that they’re angry, and even tho we don’t like fighting with one another we’re able to give each other the space needed when you have two verbally loud people.

I think one of the hardest things my mom experienced apart from my father not being there for her or us kids was when she had breast cancer 6 years ago. My father bailed on her even more so when she had breast cancer, and so I took time off from school and became her primary caregiver. Sitting while chemo was injected into her body, when her hair fell out, when she was in utter pain from it all…I went through that with her, sure she’s the one who experienced it, but when you love someone you go through what they go through although in a different way.

In the last few years my mom has stepped out of her comfort zone into trusting God as she does her part to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community. Tho she’s taking baby steps (if that works for her, no problem!) it’s great to see her attitude change, plus at our local chapter of PFLAG she’s very engaging in conversation to those who gather! They’ve taken a liking to my mom, which I’m glad because she’s come a long way πŸ™‚

We recently have been butting heads and the issue hasn’t been resolved yet, but given time she might “get it” and life will be better for her.

She might not be perfect, but she’s my mom, and she means so much to me!

~Nathanael~

 

 

29/31 – My biggest dream in life (I wanted to do as a kid but no longer can)

My biggest dream in life (I wanted to do as a kid but no longer can)

None of my dreams as a childhood were out of the ordinary. I never had dreams of being a firefighter, policeman, astronaut and President of the United States, my “what do you want to be when you grow up” answer was that I wanted to be a burglar.

I wanted to be a burglar because
1) a burglar steals stuff at night, so in my 5 year old mind he must be there during the day for his wife and kids
&
2) a burglar steals stuff… My family was materially poor when I was younger, I was envious over friends who had new toys, I was the oldest and only boy in my family but I still received hand-me-downs from others.

Now my 5 year old self wasn’t wrong, I don’t look back at my wanting to be a burglar with scorn because it is a part of my story, it is something that I processed then because of my given circumstances.

I didn’t have big dreams that were unreachable, I did desire to be a good husband and a dad someday, it’s a dream I still have and God willing I will be both.

~Nathanael~

28/31 – My biggest dream in life (one great thing I want to accomplish)

 

My biggest dream in life (one great thing I want to accomplish)

This question has a two part answer to it, so I’ll just say that two of my biggest dreams in life are to be a good husband and a good father to my kids.

A good husband…

Reading the Bible I have a basic understanding of what it takes to be a good husband, which is submitting out of love for my wife and hopefully she submits to me out of love as well. If both people are giving of themselves to the other, there isn’t room for the patriarchal or even matriarchal authority mindset to take place. I’m looking for a girl who believes in the egalitarian pattern for having a relationship, the mutual nature of giving and receiving.
My parents had their 31st wedding anniversary, I say had instead of celebrated because there’s a severe disconnect between the two of them. I won’t air their dirty laundry, all I will say is that the road to getting on the right track to being a good husband is a good one, because I haven’t seen a good example of what a healthy marriage looks like via my parents.
I will do better than them, and these aren’t empty words of promises or my future wife-to-be, I will do whatever it takes to be a good husband to my wife because she deserves it.

A good father…

My life has an empty gap in it; my father’s there but not there, work takes precedence now and it always has. What he put my sisters and I through has been a generations old problem. He said he’d be there for my mom and us kids, but he didn’t, so it’s up to me to do better next time around. I desire so much to do better than he because it hurts to have a father who is there but isn’t there. Just the other day I was hanging out with my bro, we planned a night of drinking beer, eating pizza and watching Lost. His father was at the table talking to him and he engaged me in dialogue, I talked, listened and then I offered him a beer. I wish I had that dynamic with my father… Little things like this I never had, and knowing how much it hurts I want to do better for my future kids. The generational curse has to end with me, otherwise I don’t see the point of having a wife and kids if I’m not going to do any better than generations before me.

I recognize that what it will take to get me there is Godly men and women who will hold me accountable, individuals who’ll speak into my life and help me make better choices if needed be. I am willing to be held accountable where needed be for the my sake, my wife’s sake and also my kids’ sake. I don’t want there to come a time where my wife or kids feel like they aren’t loved or feel like they can’t approach me about something difficult.

Here’s to making a difference in the lives of others for the better! πŸ™‚

~Nathanael~

 

27/31 – My vocation (why are I here on earth)

 

My vocation (why are I here on earth)

Since I won’t be the next Valentino Balboni (former test driver for Lamborghini) I might as well be me…

My vocation, my calling, is youth ministry. God put it upon my heart in my Senior year of high school, and I have been active with different youth ministries some 9 years later. I don’t aim to reinvent the wheel when it comes to youth ministry, but I do desire to engage students in helping out others, that is social justice; to which I consider myself blessed to have had some students of mine help me out at the local soup kitchen, getting to know the homeless and poor in my hometown and feeding them has made my perspective change 180Β°.

I do know that some things with being a part of the Emergent church does spur me on in a different way than my Evangelical upbringing. By no means am I dropping Evangelicalism altogether, but there’s a bit of a progression, and so on the shoulders of Evangelicals I’ve become an Emergent. Instead of making “getting to Heaven” the drive for one’s actions, I hope to express and instill in students that while Heaven is part of the equation, the nature of “getting there” isn’t where I’m putting emphasis, but rather living out a life faithful to God, “on Earth as it is in Heaven”, kingdom work here and now, reconciliation and restoration, being part of the process that ushers in perfect shalom…because I think Heaven, for what it’s worth, might not be what Evangelicals have told and sold over the years, and I want to present a dynamic reality instead of a static one.

I also want to further my education by way of getting a Masters of Divinity (M. Div) in either Ireland or Scotland; I want to get some studying abroad as well as traveling abroad in my lifetime, I think this’ll help me get both in, in the proverbial killing two birds with one stone kind of way. I love learning, and I think expanding my education in the realm of what I find my calling to be will serve me well.

I also think and believe that part of my vocation is to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community, not that there isn’t any overlap but there needs to be more. I have written quite a bit about that, and at the risk of beating a dead horse, I will just say this; Christians aren’t overall bad when it comes to engaging the LGBT community in a Christlike manner, I just think that we can do more. I also think about who Jesus spent his life on earth with, the ones in his day and age who were people that were marginalized, people who were looked down upon, people who were ignored…if Jesus spent his years here on Earth right now, I think he would spend a good deal of his time with the LGBT community. I think if we’re called to be like Christ as followers of Christ, stepping out in faith and building friendships and loving on the LGBT community is a very good and Godly thing to do.

I also like to write, I don’t know how that works into my vocation at this point, but down the road I might have some clarity that I don’t have at this present time.

~Nathanael~

 

26/31 – How do I handle/deal with both success and failure

How do I handle/deal with both success and failure

When it comes to success I usually figure what brought about this success, and take those ideas and apply them (if applicable) to other similar areas. Take youth ministry; I have been involved with youth ministries for the past 9 years, both with high school students but also middle school students, inside the church as well in a parachurch youth ministry. I recognized early on that Sunday morning and Wednesday night alone wouldn’t cut it, as far as getting to know the students better, so I made arrangements to hang out with some of the students apart from the designated times, which I got the approval of both the leader but also the student’s parental units. I still do that when I can, and in a way it serves to get the student better but also to some extent the family of the student better.

I also try to pass on what I’ve learned from my successes (as well as failures) and pass them on to people who are in a scenario I was once in, if I can help given guidance to another individual what to do or what not to do based on what I’ve done, I will, does it mean they’ll take my advice and go with it? Not necessarily, the choice is always theirs, but if I can help out I will.

When it comes to failure I evaluate and reevaluate what I did wrong; sometimes the failure couldn’t have been avoided but there are other times where I “get it” and where I went wrong. Growing up I learned a lot of things by either a negative example (hence I learned what to do by seeing someone else demonstrating what not to do) or simply the hard way. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I will say that a good portion of the time I’ve learned from them and have done my best not to repeat that mistake.

In all honesty I wish I didn’t have to learn some things I’ve learned the hard way, if my father had played an active role in my life growing up I probably could have gotten some key things right the first time. But he wasn’t there, he still isn’t there, and so I learned by failing and not by succeeding. I can only hope for the best that I will help my future kids because they deserve to have what I didn’t.

~Nathanael~

25/31 – Something I planned that ended up not being what I expected

Something I planned that ended up not being what I expected

About a year and a half ago I made an online friend, she and I would IM, text, talk on the phone and Skype one another. I didn’t know if a relationship was in the works, so I just played it cool and continued talking to this girl.

About a year ago I went to Indianapolis to meet up with her, so I drove out to Indianapolis which was a halfway location for her and I driving wise. We went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and spent most of our time there, grabbed dinner at an Indian restaurant, hung out in her hotel room and then I was off at the end of the day.

We talked a little since then but that’s about it. I kinda realize she’s someone my younger self would like to be with, but I desire someone who’s more mature and drinks a bit less, who isn’t so conscious about outward looks. Meeting someone online should be done with caution, I knew her longer so I didn’t feel all too worried with going out to Indianapolis to hang out with her, I had a good time with her but it wasn’t what I expected.

Oh well, I’m still praying and looking with my eyes open for my June. πŸ™‚

~Nathanael~