When the weekend comes, all of the old demons have a chance to be heard above the roar of work

When the weekend comes, all of the old demons have a chance to be heard above the roar of work. There may be a few angels in the mix, too, but don’t count on it.

You have too much to tell, and only a few hours to talk about it. So, what do you talk about?

From where comes that wistful nostalgia for friendships never found? People you didn’t meet until later in life are busy posting pictures of their schooldays on Facebook, and you are putting yourself inside their photos. Your own school life wasn’t much to talk about, but you wouldn’t mind reliving it, were you given such a chance.

You were an exceptionally average student, and you’ve always been exceptionally average at everything you’ve done since school. Can one even be exceptionally average? You think so. You think that in all of your aspirations towards greatness or infamy, you managed to exquisitely average yourself out until you are as much at the top of the Bell Curve on any chart as a person could possibly get.

This is not to say that you are a cliche. Your favorite color isn’t blue, and you don’t like football, and you can’t stand country music. But, nobody who’s ever taken an average amount of time to get to know you has ever proclaimed you to be something special.

This used to bother you a lot. Lord, please don’t let me turn out to be just average at everything I do, please make sure there is something I am especially good at. It hurt more to hear people say that your work was good, but not terrible or great. You were wounded more easily by people not responding to your efforts to elicit responses, and finally floored when they said they didn’t mind having you around, but they didn’t particularly care enough to include you on their next party invitation.

You didn’t think you’d been working so hard just to make yourself mildly agreeable and at best, not offensive or unpleasant. You thought people were secretly deciding they absolutely adored your or completely hated your guts, but you rarely allowed yourself to believe that you were just somewhere in the inoffensive middle.

In your mind’s eye, you were always great.

You shone like the brightest star at every single party, and created endless black holes when you made your absence felt. You imagined that people who hadn’t spoken to you in ten years would be bursting with delight to start up a conversation with you. You thought that just by virtue of you being you, the especially radiant and important people would eventually find you like some kind of homing beacon.

However, you didn’t feel the need to actually do anything great.

I haven’t had a lot to write about lately

I haven’t had a lot to write about lately. My life has been active on the outside, but not on the inside. It’s the kind of activity that isn’t interesting to other people. It is the stress and bustle of being middle-aged and starting my first real managerial job, and having my firstborn go into daycare as an infant. I have enough stamina left to raise him, I think, and be useful in the workforce for a couple of decades, maybe three.

My inner life has suffered because of this, but I’m not sure it’s been a complete wash. How many years have I read about what it means to be holy and reverent, but I’ve never completely gotten rid of my vices and bad habits? Being busy does seem to block out the devil, even if I know that the old nasty thoughts are waiting to grab me early in the morning and late at night when I’m on the edge of sleep.

One thing I haven’t really thought much about is how much I’ve been blessed.

It feels kind of hokey to think about it, and I have to get into the right state of mind to be sincere about it, but I’ve been blessed.

I have had good health, and so has my wife and baby son–and so have the animals. I have been blessed to get a good-paying job at the right time when I need it the most. God has kept me from lashing out too much in anger at the world when I think the world is slighting me, and God has allowed me to find private moments to read and rest and recharge. My in-laws have come almost every week to visit the baby and help take care of him during at least part of the day.

My father is in good health, even though he’s now 75.

My wife and I have had the opportunity to travel together to Mexico, Rome, San Francisco, Charleston and Galveston during the almost three-year period between marriage and the baby.

I am living in a time period of relative prosperity, and I’ve never had to really worry much about not being able to find employment once I developed my web design skills. Even during the past two economic recessions, I was mostly buffered from the worst of it by living in Austin, which didn’t seem to be nearly as affected as other parts of the country.

I live in a part of the country that is free of hurricanes, earthquakes and the really bad tornadoes. Now that I’ve moved a bit north of Austin, I’ve gotten away from some of the really bad droughts, floods and wildfires that seemed to plague the Austin and the surrounding areas.

I have lashed out in fury and anger many times at my neighbors for being slow, dull, un-cultured and conservative. But, they are mostly peaceful people who only show their aggressive side when they are driving their oversize pickup trucks behind your little Japanese coupe or SUV.

I have survived some of the worst parts of my young adulthood, coming out of it unscathed with no more than a few emotional scars that only made me stronger. I certainly wish my brothers and my mother were still here today to enjoy life with me, and I wish I was closer to my dad and my remaining brother, but it never seems to go anywhere when I make the effort to call them a lot.

I came out of my young adulthood without any venereal diseases or illegitimate children, without any major addictions or criminal records. I don’t have any tattoos, and I’ve never been fired. Other than the time I took at the end of last summer, I’ve always worked full-time.

But, I guess you could also say that there was plenty of near-misses. I almost went bankrupt. I almost died more than a few times from an overdose. I almost ended up married to women that might have turned me into a monster. I almost went south, but I held on by a thread.

Maybe you could argue that I took the worst possible path. I always took myself to the edge of trouble without throwing myself completely off the cliff. I wasn’t looking for the same thing that the other people I hung around were looking for. Or, if it was the same thing, none of us knew it.

I was looking for spiritual fulfillment in places where most of the people had completely given up on the notion of a soul or spirit altogether.

Today is the first Saturday

Today is the first Saturday after my wife returned to work, and baby started daycare. I’ve returned to work full-time, and it has been only my second full week. I returned to an employer in my small Texas town who has been about the most bass-ackwards employer I’ve ever worked for. This employer purchased a software company, and genuinely believes they can make money off of it.

The really horrible bosses have all been kicked out. Their smoke and mirrors act finally collapsed around them as they could no longer power forward on simply their charisma. The product, as they took it from the original developers, has probably been made worse during the time they had their hands on it. They engaged an outside development firm and bled cash for two years as the firm happily took their money to deliver shoddy code.

I returned to mentor others with what I’ve learned working at a handful of corporate and non-profit employers in Austin. I also returned to store up enough savings that will hopefully allow me to stop working full time for at least two years and … I was interrupted.

Mentally, it’s impossible not to abstract something

Mentally, it’s impossible not to abstract something. All thinking of a reflective nature is abstract thinking. The only thinking that is not abstract thinking is the processes aligned with the here and now.

Everyone creates mental models of reality and then calls those models reality. If someone is reluctant to trust their own model, they are quick to rely on the model of a group or a particularly charismatic individual.

You are as much of a tool and a pawn as anyone else. Your desire not to be is what compels you to seek out teachings where self-proclaimed enlightened beings state that they know they actual reality, the true Truth of the world and our existence.

Reflexively, you create hierarchies of greatness in your mind and deem someone worthy or unworthy to set above you in your particularly pantheon of greats. Unquestioningly, you assume that everyone who has been proclaimed great by the majority of historians or media outlets is indeed great. When one of them falls, and they are exposed to be charlatans, evil mongerers, or just plain human beings, you enter into an existential crisis.

The reality that you’d crafted to be perfect, sound and sane completely erodes. For a moment, you have a window into another sort of reality that is completely empty.

Staring into this emptiness, you can see that the way to fill it is entirely up to you.

I had to start taking the medicine again

I had to start taking the medicine again. I left off from it for a week, and sure enough, the moments of not being myself were starting to creep back up.

Today is Dec 1, the first day that we are both back at work full time. The weather is nasty–windy and cold. Perfect weather to let me know that the good and perfect life is far away.

I am trying to remember a dream I was having, but it’s not quite coming back. There are a handful of themes for dreams, and some of the themes haven’t been presented to me in years.

The usual ones that still do appear are the “back to school” dreams and the “leaving Missouri” dreams.

In the “leaving Missouri” dreams, I am usually given a car that is rather different than any car I drove in real life. It’s often an old muscle car or German sports car, but it’s in sad shape. The car has to get me across the country to somewhere. I am not always leaving Missouri for Texas in these dreams, as I did in real life.

They say that the dreams of one’s home represent the dreams of the body. The primary home I lived in growing up usually appears in these dreams as the point of departure. I am guessing that there is some will or inclination in me to depart from my body, and not in the vein of the curious astral traveler. I’m talking about the yearning to be or become someone else.

***

Church was yesterday. The third time we’ve gone since the baby arrived. At church, I always feel all of the old social maladies come forth. I am not especially impressed with this church. It’s kind of a default church–a “best of the worst” pick, I think. The problem I have with the churches I’ve been to is that they are filled with little cliques that are highly impenetrable. It’s like having to go back to high school and figure out how to find your niche. But the main problem is that when you go into the sanctuary to try to have some degree of communion with God–to be reverent, silent and holy–you end up feeling like you are sitting in the high school cafeteria while everyone yacks away about sports and how their week went until the service starts. Is there a church where people are reverent when they are in the sanctuary?

Catholic and Episcopal churches are a little quieter, but they tend to have the same experience. I guess the social circle part is unavoidable, but you would think that someone at the church beside the pastor and the unofficial welcoming committee would see how numbers are dwindling and be a bit more welcoming of outsiders. Of course, you have some churches that go completely in the opposite direction, and you feel overwhelmed by the insincerity of everyone who is coming up to you and pouncing upon you as fresh meat to extract tithes and churchly duties from.

Eventually though, those churches become much the same–once they start to see your face every week, they stop getting as excited about you being there and you see that they pretty much have their established social circles as well, which are impossible to penetrate.

***

I am giving a year to this experiment in seeing me go back to work full time as a Sales and Marketing Director at a company with little or no potential to succeed. At any time we feel that this isn’t the best choice for our baby son, I will simply quit, no matter how many people I let down.