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
Monday, November 21, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
No, I have not yet decided if I will re-apply next year, for the very same reasons that I am quite certain I will not reenlist. If I were to reapply next year, I believe I would likely be selected if my age and my health do not negatively impact my chances too much. Not only would the criteria of my package be a lot stronger (ie, college classes including upper-level math and more leadership experiences, a much better PRT or two, an additional eval or two, etc) but the package itself would be developed with the experience of last year behind it so that it would come out better and hopefully not require all of the after-submission hoo-ha that my last one did.
However, I don't know that it would be worth it. I really want to be a civilian again. I think the military is wonderful for many, many people. I also think that I'm just not compatible with it. And I only ever joined to get some job and financial security in the first place and to build my resume, so I would feel no qualms about deciding not to stay in after this term. It's been more than enough already at less than one and a half years. That's over three and a half to go, and I'm sure my resume will be plenty boosted by then.
I may consider cross-rating, but I'm still not sure that would increase my likelihood of reenlisting or reapplying for officer.
I went home with a migraine, leaving lots of work on my desk for tomorrow, which really makes me uncomfortable. And then, while lying in bed waiting for word about when my plumbing will be fixed and hoping for my migraine to go away, I remembered several items that really needed to get done that I had not done before I left.
This is the thing about getting overwhelmed and burnt out.
So after calling work to let them know about those items, I was still lying in bed, thinking about how I can be so overwhelmed and so burnt out even though I meet most of the Navy's definitions of a very successful junior career: I have advanced quickly, I do fairly well at my job, I know the Navy regulations decently well, and I'm somewhat sought after in departments. I get good customer service comments from most of my Reservists, and I'm a "go-to" person for both tasks and information. Overall, people can rely on me and I learn quickly. So why am I feeling so unsuccessful?
I realized exactly why today. If at the next All-Hands meeting at my command I were to ask a few simple questions of particular import to me, I would not be very glad for the results.
I would ask, "Has anyone here been motivated to live a life more pleasing to God, because of my presence? Has anyone here felt the love of Christ on their lives more? Has anyone here found more interest in serving the Creator of the Universe as opposed to just their country or government? Has anyone here really felt displayed in me the kind of love I desire to live out? Has anyone here seen in me the unconditional love of the Christ I profess to believe in; indeed, whom I profess lives in me?"
I don't know that there would be very many positive answers. I think that at work I come across as a hard-charging, ambitious individual with a fair amount of intelligence and a significant vision for the big picture -- but the big picture in this perception is the Navy's mission, not the grand scheme of Creation or the eternal and abundant life in which I'm participating.
That is, people see me as a good Sailor -- not necessarily a good Christian. I don't think that the definition of good Christian is really as understood anymore. However, that is no reason for people to not see it in me.
I was thinking about the famous St. Francis quote about spreading the gospel to everyone you meet, and using words if necessary. Is my life one that reflects the love, mercy, and grace of God clearly, or just reflects me as a "rising superstar" and God as an afterthought?
I was thinking about servanthood and washing feet and taking the last seat at a dinner. So contrary to the values of this world and even more contrary to the values of the military's advancement system. And what does the advancement system affect -- paychecks, responsibility, and authority. So why has that mattered to me in some ways more than servanthood and things that will effect eternity? There is the underlying theory that with more authority there would be more influence, but I don't think that's necessarily true at all. Perhaps as the most junior person fulfilling the most junior roles without complaint I could have more influence than as a senior enlisted who would be in my office more often than not. I don't know. It's possible to have great influence on both ends of the spectrum and every point in between, so I need to focus on the now right now and let the later come when it does.
I was thinking about how people there can perceive me as arrogant and selfish, as not being a member of the team. Now, there's only so much people can do for others' perceptions, and I do get very frustrated trying with little measurable result. And of course, plenty of people had very inacurate perceptions of Christ Himself, so I don't need to worry myself over my coworker's perceptions too much. However, I do need to make sure that there is not just cause for such perceptions.
God made me who I am through my personality and my experiences. There are certain characteristics that He has in me intentionally that I will not share with, say, Jesus, Henry Nouwen, St. Francis or St. Clare, or Rich Mullins. And some of those characteristics should not be changed in an attempt to emulate others by becoming something that I am not -- some of them are things that may bring glory to God in a way that others with different characteristics might not. It's hard, though, to find which those are and which of my characteristics are really character flaws.
Until more of those questions can be answered with a yes, with a "you have shown me the love of God, you have inspired me to love God more and to live a life pleasing to Him", I am not successful at all.
I do need to regain my focus in order to overcome the burnout. My focus is the love of God for me and my love for God. My focus is being the only Christ that many of these people will see.
The same has always been true for my interactions with my family, friends, strangers. I am nothing if I am not living out God's love.
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