Thursday, February 22, 2007

Forgive me Father

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been 23 years and I have never confessed.

My entire life I've been told that the Lord has a plan for me. My father is a pentacostal minister and it has always been expected that I will eventually take up his cross and bare the burden of his ministry. It is a calling I didn't ask for, it is a calling I never want.

And yet night in and night out I lie awake in my bed with a pain in my chest that constantly reminds me of this calling. I look at my father and wonder if he really wanted what God had for him. He has served people for 25 years and I see the tole it has taken. His life seems so selfless, and despite his flaws, I can't help but admire his sacrifice. Maybe he never wanted his life anymore than I want it now.

We look at figures like Ghandi and Mother Theresa and admire their selflessness. Thier ability to set their own desires aside and serve a greater purpose. I doubt Jesus begged to be sent to earth only to be ridiculed by man and eventually pinned to a cross.

I have always resisted this so called 'calling' on my own life. But now, in my 23rd year, I can't help but wonder if I'm just not strong enough to give up my own selfish desires.

I work as the youth pastor in my father's church. I have become so attached to the kids in my youth I can't imagine letting go of them. And yet, the longer I stay in this position the harder I feel the tug on my heart. I feel like I'm playing tug of war with not only my father, but the entire church, and can't help but wonder which side of the rope God really is standing on.

I have never doubted God: His existence or His sovereignty. What I have doubted is which God is calling me... the God of my Father, or some other form of him.

Perhaps my dearest friend, my witch, my Virgil, often talks about the God of Love versus the God of Righteousness. The truth is I don't know which one truly exists.

The God my father preaches of and serves is clearly the God of Righteousness, and He is real enough for my father to live a life of complete and utter servitude. I once had a dream of my father and he was in a hospital emergency room. He was standing with three tables surrounding him. On each table was a faceless person lying unconscious. From my father's arm a needle ran into a tube, which ran into a blood bag, which in turn ran into each of the three patients. He was giving all three of them a blood transfusion at once, using his own blood. I think that image has stuck in my mind and I picture my father giving everything he has in him to the members of his congregation. The God he believes in is real enough to inspire such selfless sacrifice.

On the other hand there is the God of Love. And my witch lives a life of her own servitude. She sacrifices many of her own comforts to help whoever she can. She would do anything for one of her friends, and if I could count on anyone to kill for me, it would be her.

How can two people, who are so opposite, believe in two different forms of God and yet be willing to sacrifice so much for others-- quoting God as the reason they do so?

And where do I fit into this? Where does my ministry fit? What is my ministry and what God's jurisdiction does it fall under?

This hasn't been anything close to a confession. My chest still feels like it is slowly being crushed by a vice and I desperately need a cigarette. But as i lie awake in bed tonight I will pray that whatever my calling is, that I would be able to set my own desires aside long enough to step into it. In todays world everyone is so concerned with their own story. Our culture is obsessed with highlighting the importance of an individuals experience, their own life and their own reality. But as I look around at these people and admire their strength I am beginning to think that our individual lives are too insignificant to put any stock in. These days everyone is suffering so much that it seems all we have to feel good about is that we've somehow contributed something to the world. I suppose being a part of God's grand narrative is all we can take comfort in anymore. Which ever God He is, I can only hope that one of these days I can clear my head of all my own shit long enough to hear His voice.

I can only hope. Forgive me Father.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Births and Birthdays

I've heard that a birth story sets the stage for someone's life. If that is so, I have one of the strangest...

I was due on February 6th, 1984... but my mother didn't go into labour until early morning on the 8th. It was 10 am or something, so when she came in ready to burst the hospital filled out my registration as born on the 8th. Apparently I was a bit of a handfull even in my bith story though as my mother was in labour for over 30 hours and I wasn't actually born until February 9th.

After a long, difficult birth where there were a few comlications my mom went into a mild coma for 2 days (there were no long term results of this, she's fine now, though reminds me what a bastard I was right from the start). While in the coma, the onus fell onto my dad to fill out my paper work, on which he wrote my date of birth as my due date, the 6th.

So when my birth certificate came it said I was born on the 6th. When my parents tried to correct it they discovered the only day they could have it legally changed to was what the hospital records say: the 8th. Needless to say they didn't pay to change my birthdate to another incorrect day.

And there you have it. My birthday remains, on paper the 6th of February, I was actually born on the 9th, and well, if you ask the hospital, they'll tell you I was born on the 8th.

The story is far better with my animated hand gestures and facial expressions, but you get the general idea.

What does this say about my life? My parents celebrate a false birthday like they celebrate the false me. The world (or hospital) has their own idea of when I was born just like they all make up various identities for me. I am very good at letting people see what they would like to see. And the 9th... my real birthday, originally only celebrated by a select few. I have told more people this story as of late and have chosen to do something with friends on the 9th this year. Does that mean something as well? Who knows?

Today is the 7th... the day between my three birthdays. Yesterday my answering machine, text messages, e-mail and facebook were flooded with birthday wishes. Some were surprises, some were genuine, some dripped "fuck you" and some were... something else. It's funny who comes in and out of your life throughout the years and how something as simple as a birthday can bring people out of the woodwork.

My current female companion got me tickets to see my favourite band. The concert is the 8th, my worldly birthday... who will I be?

My ex-fiancee called and wanted to take me out for dinner. I don't understand girls in the least.

The Queen of Spades wants to take me out this week to a bar. I said no... and even though she's not supposed to be working Thursday when my witch has organized an AIDS benefit and I will be at Joe Kool's... QoS assures me she'll stop in for a drink... wonderful. Suddenly I remember Halloween.

Cheers to birthdays!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Queen of Spades

Today I talked to one of the females in my life. I will call her the Queen of Spades, QoS for short.

QoS and I went to highschool together many years ago and I have always found her extremely attractive, funny and an actual joy to be around. I know we are very different. I know she and I could never talk about literature or religion the way I love to. Yet I can't say her name without smiling. There is something about her I can't put my finger on that I am drawn to. Maybe it's because she was 'that girl' in highschool. You know the song "____ is the girl all the boys want to dance with, and I was the boy losing too many chances."

She and I recently reconnected and throughout Novemeber and December met up for several drinks and talked over the phone and computer. I must say the 'verbal foreplay' was intoxicating and when we would spend time together I had a lightness about me that could have been very easy to get used to.

Nonetheless I admitted to her today that I have been seeing someone for the last month. Her reaction was curious. She accepted it. She has had many boyfriends in her life and her and whenever her and I reconnect (every year or so) we always push it right to the line, but never cross over. Never cheat on whoever we were/are with. She said this time that she knows her and I will get together one of these days, and she knows it will be great. So she wasn't bothered by this, just made me promise to keep in touch.

I know that's dangerous. It was already deceitful for me to keep my late night discussions with QoS from the girl I am currently seeing. I told QoS that I wouldn't completely lose touch again, but that I couldn't do the flirty talks and the pre-planned run-ins at the bar etc.

I feel unburdened by telling her the truth but at the same time, there is a strange other feeling I can't describe. Like I can't put my finger on what it is that attracts me to her so much I can't define what emotion I felt as soon as I hung up...

3 months ago when I broke up with my fiancee I thought I would be able to start getting to unravel the real me. It seems though I'm not finding any answers, just more questions that I throw into the big black unknown.

Who knows...