About Me

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Sunday, September 30, 2007


“The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence” - Thomas Wolfe

Transport motorways and tramlines,
Starting and then stopping, taking off and landing
The emptiest of feelings...

Probably the greatest ongoing struggle of my life has been loneliness. The longer I live the more I realize this to be a central problem common to all... We are in this world one of many... with enough unique qualities to isolate us from others. I have some of the most amazing friends in the world...who know me intimately...and yet that can only go so far... it's complicated... and we are as fundamentally similar as we are fundamentally different...

"Isn't everything we do in life a way to be loved more?"

Are we ever fully understood? Are we ever truly known by another?

Isn't that the very reason we seek love? To find someone whom we deeply connect with... in an exclusive way... because it makes us feel just a little less alone... a little less like we're floating...drifting into nowhere... but of course even this will fail us.

Our greatest ache is also our greatest clue to our purpose in life...

A couple years ago I took a business trip in the middle of the week... One evening after the conference was done...I sat alone in an empty hotel room. Exhausted, restless, sleepless... i was isolated...in a city unfamiliar to me. I couldn't help but feel like life outside my window was resuming...but i wasn't at all a part of it... a part of anything...

in airports, at bus stops, in foreign countries... when we feel pain, when we see beauty...on an idle evening...

I just wanted to share the sunset with you...

I feel it most during the twilight...as each day gives way... and every now and then even as I'm surrounded by friends... in a noisy bar, in the middle of conversation...at the climax of laugther... as an unwelcomed guest...an odd interruption... out of nowhere, suddenly i lose my voice... i look away...and with an internal sigh...remember how alone i really am... how alone we are. and how severely...i want to be known.

maybe i'm homesick... for a place i've never been.

ego sum unus. me atra bilis


This is a quote that I have really taken to... It will likely be my next tattoo, though it's long I can't seem to part with any portion of it...so i'm going to make it work... the author is Blaise Pascal:

We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. When we think to attach ourselves to any point and to fasten to it, it wavers and leaves us; and if we follow it, it eludes our graps, slips past us and vanishes forever. Nothing stays for us. This is our natural condition and yet most contrary to our inclination; we burn with desire to find solid ground and an ultimate sure foundation whereon to build a tower reaching to the Infinite. But our whole groundwork cracks and the earth opens to abysses...

Monday, September 24, 2007

So Much More Than Nostalgia....

I sat in silence at the close of another day...

sometimes we feel things far too complex to sufficiently put to words...even though a picture is worth a thousand of them...often even a photo won't do.

One mild evening maybe a year ago, I recall driving through a retirement community just down the street from where i live... It's a road that essentially loops in semi circle and the houses are among golf courses and small man made lakes; my favorite thing about it is the residential speed limit... On this particular night I happened to catch a glimpse of a light in someones living room... they had left their drapes up and i could see through the windows of their house...it was delicately yellow and I imagined it was a reading light...I could also make out a small recliner nearby... and as strange as that might sound...this strangely simple sight...well it made me feel things...that transcend description...

Tonight it was the skies...that made me apprehensive to move... and so i waited, motionless and allowed myself to...feel.

The skies were a milky pink and purple..like the remnant puddle left after a bowl of colored cereal has been consumed.
i couldn't see where the pink ended and the purple began... it was a perfect swirl as far as the eye could see...
The sun was on it's way down... and i opted to look to the east... favoring this view over the actual sunset.

as i sat there like a stone... i felt so many things all at once... I had a hundred different bits and pieces of memories that spanned from just a year ago to my early childhood... nothing comprehensive, but very scattered portions..of sights, smells, sounds and even emotions... i felt like had been here before, like i was young again, like i missed something, i felt that i had recognized this very backdrop the very colors and weather... and i felt that time has been moving much too quickly... all of these feelings amagalmated into a soft melancholy perched at the edge of my soul... and i ached...

Of course I really attempt in vain to capture this moment with my words... These are the moments that we feel, but we can't really begin to articulate... they are far too rich and deep and complex... and we only struggle to understand them...but at the heart of them...i think there is a profound longing...for life as it was meant to be... for something so much more than I have...or could ever have... more than i could be... really, more than i could imagine with every ounce of creativity that i have...

perhaps it's a recognition that i'm so very far from really being at home...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Better Days

Better Days Robbie Seay Band

First of all, thanks for listening to our song,
We hope this finds you driving in your car,
Or where ever you are,
Breathe out and breath again,
Know that life is hard,
But it's worth breathing.
Listen to me now,
For love, oh love,
It's waiting for you just to say:

Here come better days,
And here come better days,
Better days, and a better place I know.

Secondly, I'm all messed up so royally,
And I stumbled my way here,
But wait, oh wait,
Grace has found me,
Shaken up my soul,
Grace will follow,
Where ever you will go,
Listen to me now for grace, oh grace,
Is calling for you just to say:

Here come better days
And here come better days,
Better days, and a better place I know.

Green grass, and I'm laying in the sunlight of you,
And the wind is moving through the trees ushering you,
And the better days you bring, the better places found,
Feasting at your table I am overwhelmed,
I lift my glass drink to love and never gave up,
Clouds pass fading into memories gone,
And all I'll show life is life, and love is.
What else could there be?

Here come better days,
And here come better days,
Better days, and a better place i know...

Where would I go?

"When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from Him; but in heaven's name to what?" - G.K. Chesterton

I like this idea. Ravi quotes it in his sermon about Job and suffering. We do have a tendency to turn away from God when we feel so much pain... but really where would we go and what would that solve? Who have we to turn to? In our pain we gain nothing by turning from the only one Who can save us.

I sang this song this morning it was all I could muster up...I believe it's derived from Psalms 40.

Oh Lord, have mercy on me and heal me.
Oh Lord, have mercy on me and free me.
Place my feet upon a rock
Put a new song in my heart, in my heart.
Oh Lord, have mercy on me...

I really feel like I've been on sinking sand...and the thought of standing on a solid rock is so comforting...

His Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

-Annie Johnson Flint

This is a lady that was orphaned at an early age, then lost her foster parents in high school, was crippled with a severe case of arthritis, became incontinent, bed ridden and as if that weren't enough she grew blind and eventually overcome by cancer... she suffered daily with immense pain for 40 some years... and still could pen hymns as the one above...through her shrivelled hands. I can only conclude that His Grace is truly sufficient...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Leadership Weekend

I just got home from Lost Canyon in the beautiful Williams area. We drove up there yesterday afternoon just in time for dinner and spent the night there... At the moment I'm feeling strangely down...

Last night we had club...there were hundreds of kids in the clubroom and it was something else to worship amongst such a crowd. I cried out to God... just one voice of many... At the end of the evening people were dismissed, but several of us remained... I didn't want to move... I just wanted to talk to my God...to hear Him. I cried out to God about everything going on around me...about all the pain and brokeness in the lives of those closest to me...and in my own life. I felt the devastation of my failures all over again... and I wept. A stranger sat next to me in silence for sometime... I would later learn that he was looking for some answers as well... I could have stayed there all night, but the night wore on... The rest of the evening I was in a strange mood... I really didn't want to be social or to have fun... I wanted to continue my conversation with God... I had a lot to say.

I don't know what I learned this weekend... perhaps the lessons have yet to surface and will do so in time... It seemed many were really moved by the speaker Tim Brown. I think he had some really good things to say...but I was lost in my own head... and he didn't move me like I would have liked... There's no doubt that God changed lives at Lost canyon... but I found myself only in another wrestling match...only to be broken again...

It's often difficult to really understand this season in my life... Things could be infinitely worse, but for some reason I doubt I've ever been so heartbroken...

At brief moments I can take a step back and objectively look at everything that's occured... I can see that I'm generally in a somber mood...that I'm constantly fighting...struggling.

Nevertheless, I know that if I should know God more through all of this...even should it get worse... I suppose it will be worth it in the end. That's the only hope I have to hang on to...

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for who's sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ... I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection... Phillipians 3:8,10

Take these hands and lift them up,
For I have not the strength to praise you near enough
I have nothing, I have nothing without you.
All my soul needs is all your love to cover me
So all the world can see, I have nothing without you.

I woke up this morning in the same mood as the night before... I was so completely engulfed in my own thoughts I could hardly pay attention to anything going on around me. We had club and communion, but I left before the latter... Somewhere in the middle of the speakers message I walked out feeling like I wanted to be alone. I walked for a while with my eyes opened to the wonder of the enormous hills of pine trees... Then massive clouds rolled in and with a sudden crackle of thunder it began to pour... I found cover on the 2nd story balcony of our cabin and watched in wonder as the storm blanketed the camp...

It was cold, rainy and i was completely alone... but it was beautiful...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Grand Weaver continued...

What a week it's been... I went through forgetting about my own problems...to being emotionally drained...to remembering my hurdles...to getting migraines.

This morning I followed my routine... I showered, read a little and noodled on my guitar...then I headed off to work. I felt for some odd reason that I didn't want to follow the normal route (101 E to 56th St) instead i opted to drive down Union Hills all the way to Tatum blvd. I sang along to worship songs...though I didn't really feel like it. I attempted to remember the things that I was grateful for... one of them was simply the fact that there was another way to get to the store...

I've been continuing my reading of The Grand Weaver, by Ravi Zacharias. I hit a section about finding our "Calling" according to God. Ravi has some very interesting ideas... I love when you're reading a book and an idea is provocative enough to make you hit the brakes...

A calling is simply God's shaping of your burden and beckoning you to your service to him in the place and pursuit of his choosing...A call may not necessarily feel attractive to you, but it will tug on your soul in an inescapable way, no matter how high the cost of following it may be.

Ravi actually shares that he has held two lifelong dreams. One was to open a restaurant of his own, the other- to be a professional cricket player. - that makes everybody laugh for some reason? Apparently both dreams haunt him from time to time to this very day. But Ravi knew he was called to evangelize, particularly in hostile environments.

How fortunate are we that people like Ravi who have added tremendously to the furthering of the gospel had come to submit their lives to fulfilling not simply what they desired, but what God had in mind for them... I have to admit I do at times feel like I have a dream and I just want God to back me up... when in actuality I should simply find what God's dream for my life is... and follow Him.

God trained Moses in a palace to use him in a desert. He trained Joseph in a desert to use him in a palace. Some come through winding paths, some through the nicely paved road of priviledged birth or influential friends. Others come through the visitation of circumstances with wanderings and sudden signposts. Finding one's calling is one of the greatest challenges in life, especially when one has gifts that fan out in many directions.

So I have an aptitude in music, to take it further I love doing it...it brings me tremendous satisfaction to write songs and perform them... It makes me feel more like me... like i'm doing what i was designed to do. I also know I have an academic mind, and a heart for contributing to the lives of others... and I feel evangelism is the most important work any person could do...whether on a small or larger scale. I have always imagined doing both, in the sense that I would always leave it open to minister and share with others while in the music industry... but I can't help but think about how Ravi could have felt the same way about opening a restaurant. He would likely have been a great person to his clients and employees and shared the gospel within his sphere of influence. But how different would the WORLD and millions of lives be without RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries)?

"I wanna be a rock n' roll singer,
I wanna be a rock n' roll star..."

(I just couldn't resist quoting AC/DC in the middle of all this serious pontification.)

The real challenge is to ponder how we come to terms with God's sovereign working and how we respond to his plan and calling. This is where our hopes and dreams often become confused with our capacities and our calling...

During my first semester of college I recall taking a UNI 100 course. We had a bohemian-type professor who consistently stressed the importance of "finding ourselves." One day she led us in an exercise where we closed our eyes and sat silently for a while. She talked us through a scenario, fast forwarding time by 10 years and then suggested a number of questions like, "Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with..etc..." To this day I can hear her calm, leading voice...

I imagined myself waking up next to someone, presumably my wife, the bed was purely white, white sheets, comforters and pillows held together by a dark vintage metal frame. I brewed a pot of coffee for two and then walked over to the balcony of our 2nd story condominium and opening the windows that swung inwardly, I took notice of a beautifully overcast monday morning. I was in San Fransisco the fog common in the early hours was telling enough.

After breakfast and a short conversation I would head down the street through enormous slopes which the bay area is known for. The air was slightly humid and cool and cars were lined up for miles to usher in a new work week. Eventually I would land at an unmarked building along the busiest street in town... I was a musician heading into another day at the recording studio to finish out our latest project...I was tired and slightly stressed, but excited to see what the day would bring... This was the life I had imagined.

My life might not look like this at all...and I guess i'm mostly ok with it. If i'm truly honest a part of me is resistant to letting it all go. Truth be told, life would not be paradise if I had every bit of that dream... life is life.

It brings with it trouble, pain, and we have to barrel through it most of our days. We all hold elusive dreams, idealisms... but reality often suprises us...and we know that even the greatest of fantasies will ultimately disappoint us or they won't last. But maybe this is also a liberating thought. To hope for so much more than doing great things in this life...and enjoying it. The truth is, you might win a pulitzer, be the next Claude Monet, make your mark on wallstreet or write the next best selling album or book... and you might be remembered for years to come, save a place in history for yourself, have monuments or statues in your honor...but you won't be here to enjoy any of that...

at the end of this life...it will only matter who and how many people you took with you to eternity... so what should this look like in my own life? More questions...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Some thoughts...

It seems at times our greatest freedom... our autonomy is also our greatest curse. Life is full of these paradoxes. I'm in no way theoretically challenging the system God has placed in the universe... this is simply an existential exploration.

We have the freedom to choose to live however we like. And with every choice comes a consequence, in actuality a web of them...

God has set up rules to govern the universe, to govern our lives. We have the autonomy to choose to abide by these, or not. We encounter this daily, moment to moment.

Life is full of decisions some of these will affect the very course of our lives...and the lives of those around us for we don't live in a vaccuum even though there are times when I really wish we did. This is often where a worldview is of utmost importance... to state that more succintly a solid, stable, authoritative worldview is essential (assuming of course we desire to make the correct choices). But we're feeling animals...with strong and complex emotions...to add insult to injury, we have a million voices constantly selling us something. Again we don't live in a bubble...and pop culture has infiltrated our lives in such a way to confuse our ability to think rationally... or maybe it's more fundamental than that...perhaps it's too simple to blame pop culture, for where would culture be without the very people that comprise it.

Nevertheless we have the ability to think, ponder, criticize and think rationally... Some would argue this rationality is really what separates us most from simplier life forms... but that in no way spares us from carnal responses. We are still so capable... In the end it's a choice and a hard one at that.

Animals will seek food to feed their appetites sparing no cost, we call it instinctive. They cannot to the best of our knowledge, think rationally. They take into no consideration the consequences, they cannot consider whether their desires are good, or for their best interest. They are incapable of really planning for the future...or considering how their behaviors affect others...I think about my dog...how he escapes from the backyard every chance he gets. Every now and then he runs out of the yard if someone forgets to close the gate completely. I'm not sure what he does...but he won't be back for days at a time. To the best of his ability to "believe" anything...I think he really believes he would be happy being able to run freely wherever he pleases... but he isn't able to consider the dangers...traffic, other dogs, people... and it's a life or death matter. He does what he feels he wants to do... but i haven't met too many suicidal animals (strange how only people seem to be that way). I don't think he wants to die... he just doesn't know better...in some senses, he doesn't actually know what he wants. I on the other hand know better than he does...I want to protect him and I have the information that he lacks... but as always it's his choice... in the end, whether to trust me or not.

I think sometimes we mistake feeling good with being happy...they are not one in the same...

When we go about our lives independantly from He who has all the information...we are apt to find ourselves in trouble...in the process we may violate one another in significant ways, violate God...and ultimately ourselves.

This world, modern society, civilization has a system...one that is always in flux, it's inconsistent at best and that should speak volumes about the validity. It depends on trends, culture, media, politicians and fragmented artists... And there's nothing passive about it. Sometimes it's as though we've taken all our worst qualities and amalgamated them into a hodge podge, system of life. It's the post modern worldview that has taken a strange form over the last several decades... really it started with the creation of man...but it has intensified, snowballed prepetually through the centuries...

At the center of this dogma is the SELF, it's built around man's primitive appetite. "If it feels right, do it..." "Do whatever makes you happy." "Life is about whatever you want, it's all about you." Of course this has dangerous presuppositions and ramifications.

Tim and I were discussing a book by JP Moreland the title of which eludes me at the moment, but within the pages is a discussion about rationality and how we have as a body of Christians dumbed down the gospel. The gospel is anything but dumb, it claims to be the very inspired words of God. It is full of controversial ideas...ideas that will make you lose sleep, toss and turn and shout in the dark. Ideas that claim to give life and deliverance. Ideas that will stretch you beyond your means....It calls us to swim upstream... against the current. Against our appetites, against everthing the rest of the world holds onto so tightly. I think we've been lied to. I think even "christians" have come to believe that basically God will help us get what we want... we think that's what life is about we also think that this will make us happy. I think our desires have to be challenged by God...refined...and in some cases completely shattered until they can be truly called "good" desires. Then and only then will they fulfill us to the extent that we long for...

The bible does not paint a picture of a cruel, ogre God looking to set up rules to make our lives more difficult, for the sake of being difficult. Instead, a parent who knows infinitely more than we do. (Or a benevolent master to treasured pet.) Knowing what tomorrow brings, knowing how things will turn out and knowing from that what is in our best interest. Furthermore, He is the one who has set the foundations of the earth, the world into orbit, the universe into existence... he knows how the thing works.

The promise of the bible is that if we choose to follow His ways, we will actually be happy in the way we all so deeply desire.

The promise of the world is that if we follow our desires we will find happiness somewhere along the way. There are two obvious problems with the latter.

1) It presupposes that we are all intrinsically good and/or that our desires are good. But history is replete with cautionary tales of desires gone wrong... one austrian desired to dominate the world...and in the process exterminated 6 million people.

2) We presuppose the desires we seek will provide what they promise. What if it's a lie? What if it doesn't pay out like it promised? And what do you do when it passes? Nothing lasts forever...

The bible states that we are all depraved in mind, that our desires are often off and that we need rationality, information, truth... to navigate through the smoke. This means that you can feel so strongly about something and good about it...and it could still be completely off. Yeah, the opposite of the egoist approach...maybe that's why people have such a hard time with the Christian message. We like to think of ourselves more highly... I think we can only go by whichever best reflects reality. Watch the news...

In the end, God will let you do what you choose to do with your life... and that's the frightening reality. Your life will not turn out in the way that He saw it fit... It will turn out the way you did... and that I firmly believe is a taste of hell...

Hell will be the place of full autonomy, to be completely free from God and the cold metal bars of your own depravity will imprision you.

On our best days, we don't know what tomorrow brings.
On our best days, there is more we don't know than we do
and on our best days we are by nature apt to make the wrong choices...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A feeling I could be someone...

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere

Any place is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
Me myself I got nothing to prove

You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
We won't have to drive too far
Just 'cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living ....

I remember we were young driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder

And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone...

Some words from one of my favorite songs... I'm really feeling this story at the moment, I think that will have to suffice because i couldn't begin to describe the emotions it evokes within me.

I spent the weekend in Southern California and it was beautiful. I imagined I would get a lot of thinking done... truth be told I just soaked up as much of the breath taking ocean, the curvy roads through beverly hills and the busy ness of the santa monica promenade as I could... I lost myself for a while driving along the pacific coast highway.
Photo Sharing and video Hosting at Photobucket Strangely, when I got home yesterday after a significant amount of time on the road I didn't feel the comforts of being amongst familiar surroundings. They used to greet me...

I'm a stranger in this town...

I'm still wrestling with the idea that my life might not go as I once imagined... I'm trying to reconcile this idea with hoping and dreaming again, as I once did. I don't know who I am if I'm not a dreamer... They were beautiful dreams, I was going to change the world.

I was humbled today. I sat across the dining room table from my mother this evening...and we discussed and argued a while... I have an opinion on everything, I know quite a bit...and sometimes I forget that my parents have lived a lot longer than I.... I forget that they still have worthy advice that comes from years of experience, to consider. Sometimes I forget that I don't know everything...I told my parents about some of the things that have been going on in my personal life... It's strange that it took me so long... My dad asked me what I was going to do now... and after a few moments of silence... I looked at him...and said "I don't know dad..." Somedays I feel like getting up and going for it again... so I try to do something...record, or write or just noodle on my guitar... I look through musician classified ads... I try...but can't seem to shake the feeling of failure...and discouragement... Other days I have trouble getting up in the morning.

I felt like running away today... I've been feeling that frequently. I don't know what I actually have to run away from...or what I have to run to...so it all seems quite impractical. Emotions have a way of making us do impractical things, so I fought the impulse. Truth is, I would have the same struggles if I were anywhere right now... a change of scenery rarely changes our circumstances... I think it's usually more of a metaphor... we feel an uneasyness when we're going through a storm... we feel restless within our souls...so we want to keep moving... sometimes we can't move emotionally, so we move physically...or geographically.

At the moment, I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life. I say "at the moment" because I know tomorrow I may wake up and feel like i'm in a nike commercial... That's just it though, it's all very fleeting...unpredictable and I'm not used to this. It makes me feel uneasy.

There's got to be a practical way to find some answers...well I know there is. I'm having a hard time praying... I was determined last week to do it...to make the effort to spend real time seeking God for guidance...and for healing. But I find it's proving quite difficult. I'm not giving up...though

I just wish I could stop hurting...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

It's 5am!

Spent my days with a woman unkind,
Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine.

Made up my mind to make a new start,
Going to california with an aching in my heart.

Someone told me theres a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.

Took my chances on a big jet plane,
Never let them tell you that they're all the same.

The sea was red and the sky was grey,
Wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today.
(Led Zeppelin, Going to California)

It's 5 a.m. and it seems like I just got to bed... strange that it's still dark outside. I'm headed to Cali... I'm supposed to take the first leg of the drive up there and I'm going on 2 and a half hours of sleep... which is always a good idea. :)
I'm taking my computer, thinking I might continue to blog this weekend... we'll see.