C'est La Vie
What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be. Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy. And I use these words pretty loosely. There's so much more to life than words..
Things I love
Sunday, August 29, 2004
When I was maybe 11 or so, my family switched from the Lutheran church we'd been going to since we'd moved to FL to this tiny little Lutheran church filled mostly with Carribean Islanders in Fort Lauderdale.. and by filled I mean there were about 20 of them and 7 or so others, including the 5 of us in my family.
One of the first things I noticed is that the choir was both loud and off-key. Very much both.
This choir reminds me of that one. Except for the loud part. And there're those with very nice voices in the choir, mind you.. but the few of us that aren't so graced, even if we sing quietly, still break up the beauty. And we're not supposed to sing quietly anyway. And then there's that some of the ones with great voices still don't know the songs too well, so that's a whole nother factor.
So, after the church service and my assumed responsibilities therein, I went to the galley for some grubbage, and then came here. I'd gone to breakfast before church, too, and back to my mod since I had a while before breakfast and church. On my way back to my mod, I was walking up a very muddy hill, and thinking about how much I miss walking around barefoot, and especially going to church that way. How much I miss wearing headpieces, and holding children. (When I got to church, the Catholic service was just letting out, and all these couples had little tiny babies or toddlers among them, and I wished I could've held one of them.)
While I was still adamently against myself and the Navy sharing one life, I was in the recruiting office talking to Murray about any leads he may have for jobs in that town. Dean, the other recruiter, and Murray were trying to convince me to join the Navy, and one of the reasons I gave them against it was that I'd have to give up who I really was. My clothes, my way of life, etc..
Dean, in typical recruiter style, assured me that I wouldn't. I'd only have to wear my uniform 8 hours a day after getting out of bootcamp (and we'll go ahead and leave these two weeks here in which I've had to be in uniform anytime I'm outside my mod as part of the boot camp experience) and then I'd be able to wear my own clothes. But what I knew inside then and didn't voice was that I still wouldn't be barefoot, I still wouldn't likely be wearing my headpieces, I'd still have restrictions on what I could wear.. which (considering how modest I am) is hard to make me care about.. it's rare I feel restricted in my clothing choices, since you don't have to tell me to cover up decently and all. But here, there are restrictions indeed, and I feel them. And in the fleet, if I'm on a base there will still be restrictions, along with those 8 hours a day of uniforms.. some of which, by the way, are really not comfortable. I'm really hoping that wherever I work, I don't have to wear my working blues in the cooler months, because they button all the way up to the top button, and freakin' choke me to death.
And I may not technically have to give up who I really am beyond how I prefer to dress, but the Navy, and the population within it, is different. So very different. It's like the people here, in the civilian world, would have made up maybe four or five of twenty or forty possible social groups. You've got the men that are macho and the men that are players and the men that are drunkards.. the females that are preppy and the females that're macho and the females that're likely to jump into bed with more than one guy a month, or even a week. I had plenty of friends or acquantances in each of these catagories in my civilian life, but there were OTHER people then. There were more to choose from, more people to spend time with, more people to get close to. Here, there're only so many others. At least that I've been able to find yet.
In my indoc class, we had a day when we were talking about sexual harrassment, AIDS, and life choices.. The instructor asked who in the class was a virgin, obviously expecting no one to raise their hands. (We had maybe 25 or so people in that class.) I raised my hand, and it was quite apparent everyone in that class was surprised. Likewise at bootcamp, when most people in my division knew I'm a virgin, and that I was the only one I know of there that outright admitted it. I'm sure I wasn't the only one there, but no one else was about to step up and be in that crowd. Not that I heard of, anyway. Now, again, in my civilian life outside of my church crowd, the percentages are nearly the same. But again, I HAD a church crowd, I had other friends (non-Christians or Christians alike) that had morals more similar to mine in this and some other areas in which I differ from the mass Navy thought process.
I'm feeling the homesickness, the desire to be at my old church, to be around the people that knew me so much better because I WAS me then.. I'm feeling all of it strongly these days. Which isn't to say I'm alone here or not having any fun. In my usual style, I met and got to know a number of people quickly, and have been entertaining myself (along or with friends) quite well, thankyouverymuch. I just miss my old life, too. Especially knowing that I'll have about two weeks there when I get outta here, and then will be off again, and I don't know where to.
I was looking at concert dates in my emails today, out of habit, and suddenly realized that I could look from now 'till about October 7th (my expected graduation date) in MS, and for mid-Octoberish back home (the dates are far from certain just yet), and then had no idea where I'd be. The concert dates more than anything else helped kick it into my reality that I don't know even that near of the future just yet.
These two weeks have been very interesting, very eventful, but I'll just mention a couple of things here.
Wednesday morning, 5am, I officially PT'd for the first time since I got here, and we had a good-length run after the regular workout of pushups, arm circles and jumping jacks (etc). Lots of pushups, btw, because anytime someone in the group I was in (the holding company, since I was waiting for the personellman class to start up) messed up the count for jumping jacks (ie, after finishing the number 25 jumping jack, put their hands up starting another jumping jack when we were supposed to stop), we had to do 25 more pushups. That happened twice. Anyway, so we're running, and I start really having trouble breathing. I run through it and finish the run, calming down a lot during my shower. But by that evening, it was really painful to breathe remotely deeply, and the shallow breaths I could take painlessly weren't cutting it. So then I'd breathe deeply, and it would hurt and keep hurting for a while, with this vicious chest-pain type thing. So I gave in and went to medical Thursday morning, and it still hurt. They put me on four medications (I swear they get paid every time they prescribe something to us), including zithromax and something I can't pronounce or spell, that's supposed to break up congestion. They diagnosed it as something else I can't pronounce, but basically similar to bronchitis and a very severe case of Recruit Crud, as it's known in bootcamp. By Friday mid-morning (I'd taken the first two zithromax that day as directed), my chest had stopped hurting and I was breathing better. I can still feel all the congestion in my sinuses, and my voice STILL hasn't entirely returned from the last time losing it at bootcamp, but I'm really glad to be breathing almost normally again and that it was nothing particularly serious. And ... now I know how the medical system here works, which is helpful.
Also on Wednesday, the Personellman who will be in my class and I started our typing week, which means our real class will start this upcoming Wednesday. In order to be qualified to start class, you have to perform to a certain level on the five-minute typing tests. For non-petty-officers, that means typing 25 wpm with less than five errors on at least three of the tests. You just keep typing and testing 'till you qualify. We had to do at least four before she'd qualify anyone, and my four results were something like this (where the top number is the wpm after some adjustment for errors, and the bottom is number of uncorrected errors): 75/0, 79/3, 83/0, 85/1. Yes, I qualified.
Friday, we had a command picnic to raise money for the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation fund on this base. MWR funds were cut a while back, so now commands, ships, etc have to raise money to support that organization in providing sailors productive and entertaining things to do with their time. It's an MWR computer I'm on right now, for example. So they'll be doing a junior Navy ball for the students here in November, which is what most of the money we gathered up Friday will go towards. If you paid five bucks, you got to wear civilian clothes (even if, like me, you're still in phase 1 which means no civilian clothes for your first two weeks here) to the picnic, which I was very grateful for. It was SO nice to be wearing a pair of cords and a tank top and actually be outside with other people dressed normally. It actually looked like your typical high school or maybe college function in a lot of ways, but I guess that makes sense, as that really is the largest age group for training commands. My fellow Personellman-that-have-qualified and I helped set up since we had nothing better to do while waiting for the class to start, and we had a lot of fun doing so. The picnic, too, was a great time, in my humble opinion. But then, I wasn't as bothered by the heat and humidity (what with having spent most of my life in Florida and all) as many of my shipmates were. And right as the picnic was starting, one of the highest-ranking PN students brought me a package from mail call, which was from Jim and included my cell phone charger (STILL haven't gotten my cell phone.. grr! argh! Murray, what the snot did you do with it?!?), three CD's (two of mine and one he got for me), and a few sets of photos. So then I had the photos I'd taken just before leaving for boot camp, which was exciting and several of them came out very well, and I also had the photos of my hair from before I shaved my head the first time when I was 19, and some from when I had a mohawk for a few days, and when I was bald for a few weeks. I got to show those off to some of the people I've come to know here, which was very, very fun.
I still can't put my hair into a neat bun as is acceptable in uniform, but I can almost do two french braids (the hair behind my ears still doesn't want to tuck into the braids) and it's plenty curly enough to wear down without it going below the bottom of the back of my collar. Hopefully, by the time it gets long enough to be a problem that way, I'll be able to pull it into a bun or some such.
Yesterday (Saturday), I spent the day getting a few more clearance-priced civvies (civilian clothes) and groceries, and then cleaning and reorganizing my tac (the room I share with my roommate) and my belongings within it. I feel much more at home and prepared for class now, but there's still some more cleaning to be done today, along with the paperwork for joining the choir, and I want to actually finish up the letters to people I'd started before leaving boot camp, and maybe write a couple of others. To that end, I'm off now.
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Hippie: (after hearing Max wants to avoid the draft)You still have options man.
"So how do i do normal
"It's been known for a train to jump its track. It's ok, so you'll know, most times they come back. It's ok to lose your life, when you finally see your birth. It's ok to say, "I love you," and figure sometimes it's gonna hurt.
"As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can't be like pancakes, all exciting at first, but then by the end you're sick of 'em!"
"Hey, this is weird! I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?" "I love it!" "You're kidding! What a crazy random happenstance!"
"Only one more trip," said a gallant seaman,
"It was Flannery O'Connor who said that 'grace must wound before it heals.' Her words help me to separate what is most true about life from the things we want to be true. We want life to be painless. True grace is a hard sell because in order for the human heart to understand forgiveness and love, it must first experience darkness and isolation. A life lived under the rule of grace is a life of need which allows us to receive an appreciate the gift of the giver of grace. This is why we will always have the poor with us; this is why God will not allow us to ignore injustice; this is why we are called to a life we cannot handle alone, which can and will break us in the effort to live it -- because grace must wound before it heals."
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
I thought Christmas Day would never come. But it's here at last, so Mom and Dad, the waiting's finally done. And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up, it's Christmas morning.
O little town of Bethlehem,
Walk humbly, son
Strings of lights above the bed
"In a little while I'll feel better
"Please tell me once again that You love me. That You love me. Please tell me once again that I matter to You and You really care. Please tell me once again that You're with me, forever. It's not that I could ever doubt you, I just love the way it sounds. I just love the way it sounds."
"Every once in a while, a bannerzen posts."
"7:30. What kind of people have to be at work at 7:30?"
have you seen my love
Traveling is significant because it takes so much effort. Either you're going to some place you love, or you're leaving some place you love. Usually it's both.
I think I have Bond's ability to get into trouble but not his ability to get out of it. Someday I'll be in some foreign country with 5 thugs with automatic rifles pointed at me, and I'll just.... fart
"You had no alternative .. We must work in the world. The world is thus." --- "No .. Thus have we made the world."
The summer ends and we wonder where we are And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car And you both look so young And last night was hard, you said You packed up every room And then you cried and went to bed But today you closed the door and said "We have to get a move on. It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead, We push ourselves ahead."
Looking out the bedroom at this snowy TV.. ever since commencement, no one's asking 'bout me. But I bet before the night falls, I could catch the late bus.. take small provisions and this Beethoven bust. I could find work in the outskirts of the city, eat some fish on the way.. befriend an old dog for a roadside pal, find a nice couch to stay -- a pull-out sofa, if you please!"
Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
"The trouble with folks like Brownie is they hold their life in like a bakebean fart at a Baptist cookout and only let it slip out sideways a little at a time when they think there's nobody noticing. Now that's the last thing on earth the Almighty intended. He intended all the life a man's got inside him, he should live it out just as free and strong and natural as a bird."
"Life is a phantasmagoria .. It is a pell-mell of confused and tumultuous scenes. We try in vain to find a purpose - to bring an order, a unity to life. I suppose that is the appeal of art. Art is the blending of the real and the unreal, the conquering of nature. It is real enough for it to reflect life, but has the unity that life lacks."
"in time memories fade.
I've always had this feeling about Patty that she's complex and intriguing...I like Patty alot. She's got a good heart and tells terrible squirrel jokes.
"Try to remember that world-weariness isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the book of Mark, I think its Mark, Jesus looks at a blind man and sighs. Jesus sighed before even telling the man he would be healed. He sighed, and I'm not sure that there's a much more human expression of frustration than this. Faced with the horrid picture of a cursed earth and looking into the white eyes of a man blind from the day he was born, He sighed. The Creator of the universe in human form was sad "of the evils of this world," the world He created. Your Creator sighed for you in the same way before He healed you and made you His."
After the last secret's told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that's just too hard
There is love
-- Andrew Peterson, After the Last Tear Falls
"when you most need people, you don't need perfection - just to know someone gives a damn"
"My brother's always [telling me], 'You should be more mysterious--boys like that.' But I'm not good at that. It would just make me more uncomfortable."
"Loners want to kill you, but not for any particular reason, and they'd probably like you if they weren't being guided by the violent voices in their head."
"No one wants to oil a snake these days!"
Her mom: "We're all safe."
-- Jamie Bevill and her mother during Christmas-Decorating dinner, December 20, 2002
i'd throw out all my shoes
i'd set up cans for friends
to dump their shoes senseless shoes
a pioneer of callouses
lordy-be and bless my soul
i'd be a barefoot spaceman
the first you'd ever know"
"The best way to have God's will for your life is to have no will of your own!"
"Generations circle and each one atones. The sins of the father are seperate from my own. In Pilgrim's Progress, it's forgiveness that makes whole, and as time levels and consoles, I place the daisies in your bowl."
"For a moment he just stared at her. Then, with an urf-urf-urf of laughter, he turned back to the controls."
"It's on the internet.. so, then, it must be true."
"Be at least as interested in what people can become as you are in what they have been."
Blessed be the rock stars!"
Get up for the shower.. wash and scrub and scour every part as if a cleaner man could better bear the shame..
"She was eating gnarly amounts of calcium."
Homeless man to girl trying to give him money: "No, thanks, ma'am. I never work on Sundays."
"Wow! I never thought I'd need a radar-guided spatula!"
"Isn't it great that I articulate? Isn't it grand that you can understand? ... I can talk, I can talk, I can talk!"
I believe that people laugh at coincidence as a way of relegating it to the realm of the absurd and of therefore not having to take seriously the possibility that there is a lot more going on in our lives than we either know or care to know... I suspect that part of it, anyway, is that every once and so often we hear a whisper from the wings that goes something like this: "You've turned up in the right place at the right time. You're doing fine. Don't ever think that you've been forgotten.
When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child; you don't understand."
CCM: You've spoken a lot more about crying than I ever thought you would.
"Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul. Preoccuptaions, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man's soul."
""Don't go matchmaking for me, Ilse," said Emily wit a faint smile... "I feel in my bones that I shall achieve old-maidenhood, which is an entirely different thing from having old-maidenhood thrust upon you."
"I wish Aunt Elizabeth would let me go to Shrewsbury, but I fear she never will. She feels she can't trust me out of her sight because my mother eloped. But she need not be afraid I will ever elope. I have made up my mind that I will never marry. I shall be wedded to my art"
"Tomorrow seems like a long ways away. But it will come, just like any other day... Deep inside, where the wounded creatures hide, I am afraid. Maybe I got lost somewhere along the way somehow. Please rescue me... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the dark shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me... Though I fear, though I am afraid, You are with me. Though I'm angry, tired, broken down and confused, You are with me. Though I sin like I've never sinned before, lose myself right out an open door, You are with me."
"The invisible people agreed about everything. Indeed most of their remarks were the sort it would not be easy to disagree with: "What I always say is, when a chap's hungry, he likes some victuals," or "Getting dark now; always does at night," or even "Ah, you've come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain't it?"" -- C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"When People object... that if Jesus was God as well as Man, then He had an unfair advantage which deprives Him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water should refuse a rope thrown to him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying, "Oh but you had an unfair advantage." It is because of His advantage that He can help."
"But, you know, as a Christian, one of the big questions you always ask yourself is, "So we believe in Jesus, we believe in the teachings of the church, but what does that look like when it's lived out?" Because surely, one of the things that Jesus said that I think we often overlook is, "The person who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his house on the rock." He didn't say "the person who hears my words and thinks about 'em" or "whoever hears my words and agrees with it." But he said, "Whoever hears it and does it."
"find that which gives you breath and grants you more to give
"I have packed all my belongings. I don't belong here anymore. This pair of sandles, one pack to carry, this old guitar and this tattered old Bible. And I know I won't be afraid. 'cause I know, I know Home is where You are."
"Open up your weepy eyes, everyone is dancing. Angels peer through sweet disguise, through a fire of cleansing.
"You may be bruised and torn and broken, but
"I don't deserve to speak, and they don't deserve
to hear it. It's makin' me believe that it's not
"Kickin' against these goads sure did cut up my
feet. Didn't your hands get bloody as you washed
"They say God blessed us with plenty. I say
you?re blessed with poverty. ?Cause you never
stop to wonder whether earth is just a little
better than the Land of the Free"
"Computers will know everything in the 21st
century. They'll be like me in the 20th