step back, and laugh

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:57 pm by Administrator

i don’t mean to be irreverent. it just is what it is. sometimes you have to take a step back, see what people are doing to scripture or with scripture in order to justify what they believe, and laugh about it. no single interpretation is ludicrous. but the whole enterprise—the great assemblage of scholars, pastors, and believers dissecting, reformulating, and presenting scripture in their own ways, for their own distinct agendas—is at once impressive and maddening.

and i want to take a step back and declare what is intuitive to me: that the categorical use of scripture to decipher mores is futile.

last night, i heard an erudite lesbian scholar interpret Leviticus 18:22. on a theoretical level, it was a fascinating experience for me to examine her intellect in action, as her historical approach to the text established a compelling context for doubting a straightforward interpretation of the verse. but on a personal level, i felt great sympathy for her. it was not an exercise she enjoyed. it was an exercise forced upon her, as a direct result of her inherently conflicted position within the Christian community. and as she labored through exegesis of a kind, for the sole purpose of getting past the scripture to something of greater personal relevance to her, i realized that the scripture—as interpreted by heterosexual white men—has become an obstacle, a hindrance, and a minefield for her, in her personal faith journey. for her, the study of scriptures pertaining to the LGBTQ experience is veritably burdensome, however revealing; and it is anything but central to the essential substance of her spirituality.

for every interpretation of a verse that is used to judge or condemn a race, a gender, an orientation, or a tribe, i am certain that i can find several well-substantiated interpretations to rival that interpretation. i don’t mean to imply that the truth of scripture is invariably relative; but i do mean to assert that the scripture will never be, in and of itself, an effective arbiter in polemics of the social realm. and any great social issue, whether it pertains to ethics or social justice, will never find its resolution in any single, definitive interpretation of the scripture.

i wonder if we the church need to be reeducated on the purpose of scripture. since Luther’s split with the Catholic Church, it has been the prevailing assumption of Western Protestant Christendom that every believer can be individually enlightened by the personal exploration of the written Word. inherent to this assumption is the idea that the Scripture, whether by its utter clarity or by the ever-present lens of the indwelling Holy Spirit, can speak for itself. the price of this prevailing assumption has been denominationalism—a splintering of the church that we now view as facile and constructive, when in fact it has been historically divisive and even destructive to society. i think that the history of the church, and the nature of biblically-centered polemics in our time, really ought to force us to question this democratic idea of scriptural interpretation. in fact, there is a spiritual calling to discernment, as there is a specific calling to teaching, and beyond this, not all believers are equally trained in properly presenting the essential truths of scripture.

to concede the interpretation of scripture to those divinely inspired, and to submit oneself to that specific teaching, requires a certain belief about spiritual authority within the church that most every American Evangelical resists by nature. without question, we assert that a Bible in every household is our right and responsibility, and the personal study of it is an essential discipline of the Christian life. yet, any person who has not been blind, deaf, and dumb in this age of reckoning within the church ought to understand without too much effort that the Bible itself is contributing to the undermining and outright persecution of marginal identities in society. the Bible is so frequently a hostile and oppressive entity because it is so often a weapon in the hands of church leaders who have not been accorded the gifting to properly teach it.

every man brings his agenda to the reading of the Word. if he is fortunate, his lack of influence will limit the extent of damage that his misinterpretation of scripture inflicts on others. if he is fortunate, his weaknesses will spare him the judgment that his ill-conceived teachings would otherwise warrant. at some point, we must face this fact: that the reader’s agenda with respect to the Word is the Word to him. and the Word is only truly the Word when the one who reads it has God’s incontrovertible agenda in heart and mind. otherwise, the Word is just a cruel infliction upon the lives of those who manipulate it in their ignorance.

all my life, i have been accused of taking scripture piecemeal to serve my own purpose and agenda. here i am; i admit it wholeheartedly! the question you ought to ask me is whether my purpose and agenda are those of God. and that is for me to wrestle with, in that private, terrible space where i struggle with God. it is your responsibility not to be right in your reading of the Word but to discern whether your purpose, beyond any shred of doubt, is aligned with that of our common Lord. if He designates you as my authority, then i will submit to you. but if we discern the opposite, then submit to me. there need be no right or wrong when it comes to men; but there must be lordship and proper authority.

this is my great preoccupation and concern in these days and times. i do not understand how we, the democratic church, will ever come to understand the true purpose of the Word, unless we recognize our God-appointed teachers and submit to them. our blindness to God’s appointed is our blindness with respect to His Word. there is no truth in one without a great clarity regarding the other



Posted in Uncategorized at 6:30 am by Administrator

the city must be strange,
the mornings noiseless
and perfectly still,
the music intentional,
not ambient,
the people occasional,
not unremarkable

and the feeling behind my eyes
and upon my skin
a lightness
like the surface of the soul
flush with first wine
with no mind for sleep.

it is not enough for me,
the place i have known,
the things i have consumed,
and the experience
heavy like deliberation
or even decay.

no, the city will be strange.
i will forget
what i despised.
and from a balcony,
i will chance upon morning
and find it nothing
but stillness.


5 Things About Me that I Worry About

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:20 pm by Administrator

1. My Boredom. i used to think that i tend toward depression, but in retrospect i think that this isn’t true. i have appropriately sad reactions that i work through. what i don’t work through well is boredom. and the recurrent boredom that i experience is a pervasive and frustrating experience for me. it makes me despair; it drives me to impulsive changes; and it compels me to continuously and intentionally seek change in my life.

it’s the flip side of a strength. i’m agile with change. i like new things, and i can adapt quickly to new circumstances and constraints. but a daily grind—any kind of daily grind—eventually gets me down. and if i’m not intellectually stimulated or challenged by my work, i fail.

2. My Friendships. i’m not the kind of guy that develops camaraderie with other men. and related to this, i don’t have a consistent circle of close friends. on the other hand, at every stage in my life i seem to have a wide array of acquaintances who admire or respect me for my strengths and abilities. i’m still not certain why that is.

over time, i’ve had friends explain to me that i don’t make them feel important or valuable; more specifically, i don’t seem to need the counsel or companionship of my friends. this is not something that i consciously convey, and in fact, i feel like a very needy person. i often miss having close companions.

3. Intimacy. this relates to #2. while i don’t naturally develop camaraderie with men, i occasionally develop intimacy very quickly with women. this seems to occur particularly with private, insecure women. i can only guess that this has something to do with the way i express myself and the way i experience sympathy toward others.

the “Vacillator” in me enjoys creating intense connection with people who are unaccustomed to it. again, this is a flip side of a strength; i am very good at being with people in times of crisis and inspiring people who are stuck in a box. but i can also very easily fall in love with the experience of connecting with someone, and that is a dangerous weakness that i struggle with.

4. My Anger. road rage in particular is something that i have to work hard to control. i’ve had it since age 16, and it’s only gotten worse with time. i can be perfectly placid and then driven to rage in a matter of moments. this rarely happened on the East Coast, but at times in L.A. it has been a weekly experience for me. this change has something to do with the culture of driving and the congestion of the highways; but it may very well have to do with the evolution of my personality as well.

interestingly, i very rarely get angry at people i know, and it’s very unusual for me to yell at my wife or kids. my rage is invariably directed against faceless strangers, and it is fueled by a general frustration within me regarding the way people are and the way the world works. i occasionally experience that same anger when i read the news or hear about social injustices. the older i get, the more i realize that anger is how i deal with my powerlessness in the face of evil. i have to work at self-control every hour that i spend outside my home.

5. My Unique Spiritual Experience. part of the reason i blog is that i feel a constant tension between myself and others with respect to the spiritual experience. it is rare for me to experience mutual understanding about the spiritual experience with others. this blog is the one place where i can express what i am, in a more complete way. it’s more than catharsis; it’s self-realization.

the thing i worry about is that i don’t want to be so “unique” that i can only be considered a deviant by my peers. the matter of scriptural authority in particular is a recurring issue that i wrestle with in the church. i believe that scripture is authoritative in my life; but the way that i interpret scripture is so different from the way my peers do that i am often accused of not truly accepting scriptural authority. those accusations just make me feel more angry and more at odds with those who adhere to a particular mode of interpretation.

lately, this has made me wonder if in fact anyone would ever be willing to follow me, if i took a path into full-time ministry. i don’t worry about leading people astray; rather, i worry that i just won’t be respected for my point of view. my attitude toward scripture might be summed up in this statement: establishing good theology is not the point of the Bible. if one embraces “sola scriptura”, then one must embrace the inherent ambiguity of just about everything presented in scripture, outside of the lordship of Christ. and i feel that this is simply not a viewpoint my Reformed friends feel comfortable with.

when i look at these 5 things that worry me, i realize that there is a common theme. i don’t “fit in”. i’ve never fit in. i’ve always been too weird; too intellectual; too self-sufficient; and too complicated. and even if i really don’t believe that about myself, other people do. i do want to fit in, and i’ve spent so much of my journey trying to figure out how i can fit in and where. i keep imagining that perhaps part of my “mission” in life is to discover where and when this can happen for me. but as long as i continue to experience society in this way—as an outsider—my abilities as a leader will always be constrained. though i want greater influence in my world, i’ll only have influence of a certain and very limited kind.

i suspect that these are things about me that will be very difficult to change, but i’m willing to change. i don’t want to be an outsider forever.


the trauma of identity: the difference between the gay and Christian experiences

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:37 pm by Administrator

if you think about it, the experiences of gay people and Christian converts in our society have some remarkable similarities. both groups experience a quickening of identity that is rooted in shame. both groups come to see themselves as alienated from mainstream culture and society as a result of intrinsic identity. and both groups experience their identity not only as a personal characteristic but also as a cause. all three of these identity elements are interrelated, and the thing that unites them is the experience of trauma. “coming out of the closet”, for both gays and Christians, is a kind of trauma that radically changes identity and one’s mode of participation with the surrounding world.

here’s the strange thing though. the trauma of growing up gay is qualitatively different from the trauma of becoming Christian, despite these intense similarities. there are lots of obvious reasons for this difference. one could argue that Christianity, though it posits itself as countercultural, is very mainstream, unlike gay life. one could also argue that Christianity is still experienced very much as an orientation of choice, while homosexuality is intrinsic and determined. but i’d like to propose that the most important difference between the two kinds of trauma is rooted in the nature of the moral dilemma. the Christian can externalize his shame; and in fact he is empowered through his paradigm to identify with an aspect of himself that is decidedly not sinful. the homosexual in this society is encouraged not only by mainstream society but also by the LGBTQ community to identify more deeply with the source of his shame, and to separately validate or dismiss the shame attached to that source. in other words, “transcending” the shameful identity is intrinsic to the Christian experience in a way that is impossible for the gay man.

why is transcending the shame of sexual identity impossible for the gay man? ironically, it is because of prevailing moral viewpoints like that of the Christian. as long as homosexuality is labeled as sinful, and as long as it is perceived as morally wrong by the mainstream, the gay man in America will continue to experience sexual identity as a distinctly painful and enduring psychological trauma. and to me, this raises the question beneath all the other questions we ask about the legality and social acceptability of gay behaviors: can anyone justifiably declare homosexuality to be sinful or wrong?

though any true follower of Christ is perfectly entitled to call out the sin in the lives of others, generally speaking he doesn’t exercise his spiritual authority in this manner. this is not because he chooses to be “tolerant” of sin. rather, it’s because he understands that the true foundation of covenantal relationship with God does not reside in the moral perfecting of a person but rather in the reconciling between persons through grace. it’s for this reason that the Pauline epistles do not encourage the church to purge or perfect society at large; rather Paul emphasizes the value of moral goodness within the broader value of inclusion. his was a decidedly utilitarian morality, centered on the ultimate goal of incorporating the Gentiles into the covenant people.

Christians often mistakenly believe that calling something sinful or wrong is an obligation to God. after all, does He not define Himself through holiness—a moral righteousness in the face of all evil? while this is an appropriate way to perceive God through the lens of His first covenant with the Israelites, it is certainly not congruous with the thrust of the new covenant. very little is accomplished by the open indictment of society’s sins, apart from the ministry of reconciliation. and God does not delight Himself in the judgment of man; this was in fact the very reason that He offered His revelation through the person of Christ—one who even at the point of His death upon the cross refused to condemn His torturers.

it is wrong for the follower of Christ to declare homosexuality to be sinful and wrong. it is wrong not because homosexuality is not sinful; it is wrong because God intends for the discourse between His church and the world to be centered on transcendence of sin through Christ, rather than on moral justification of the self through the Law. this is not to say that morality becomes irrelevant to us; but rather morality must be a value understood within God’s great values. He does not wish us to primarily represent Him as one who is preoccupied with right versus wrong. rather, He commands and demands that we represent Him as one who wishes to free us from the trauma of sin, through a redeeming newness of identity in Christ.

the gay experience can be a transcendent one, in the same way that the heterosexual experience (no less fraught with sin) is permitted to be transcendent. we just have to change the way that we talk about what is good and what is not good. that shouldn’t be hard for a people who’ve been delivered from sin and the shame attached to it. but it is hard, perhaps inexcusably so, and i think it’s time for us to question why


perfect day

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:16 pm by Administrator

i wrote an entry a few years ago about what my “perfect day” in various cities would look like. it recently crossed my mind again when i entertained a friend who just moved to L.A., because L.A. is a tough city in which to have a perfect day. here’s the honest truth about Los Angeles: no single neighborhood has a good enough variety of cultural attractions, but the driving required to gain a satisfyingly diverse experience is inordinately painful. invariably, L.A.’s denizens end up gravitating to one town, conforming to that town’s norms and values, becoming like everyone else in that town, and losing any interest in anything that goes on outside of their town. i’m specifically thinking about people in Orange County.

in any case, here are my “perfect days” in various cities, in no particular order, peppered with the things that immediately come to mind, and mostly rooted in my memories of those cities from ten to twenty years ago:

1. D.C. Area: i grew up in the D.C. area. it’s incredibly “gentrified” now, but i still find it a fairly pleasant place to visit. my perfect day there used to revolve around Northwest D.C. attractions, all of which were pretty easily accessible by subway: bar/restaurant crawling in Adams Morgan or Dupont Circle, then migrating down to Navy Yard to club at Nation, which used to be scary (because of the low lifes haunting the streets outside) but awesome (because of the space and the sound system). nowadays, i still love the white chocolate macadamia nut cake at Filomena’s in Georgetown, and it’s fun to walk along the riverfront on a moderately muggy summer evening before a show at the Kennedy Center. i’m not so much a fan of the bad parking and the crowds down at “the Mall” and the Smithsonian.

2. Baltimore: it’s a small town with a lot of bad parts, which ironically makes a “perfect day” experience very simple and straightforward. an O’s game at Camden Yards simply has to be the centerpiece; really, Baltimore has no point outside of a baseball game. i like to get crabs in Federal Hill (LP Steamer’s!), then diurese at a shi shi bar in fells point, and then drive past the Harbor (skipping the annoying touristy stuff) to get to Camden Yards to heckle the New York fans in attendance when the O’s pummel the visiting Yanks.

3. Philadelphia: it’s my favorite city, and i have many perfect day scenarios, none of which involve cheesesteaks. ideally, it’d be a dry, cool day in december. i’d start with a run along the Schuylkill, then grab brunch by the old prison at Rembrandt’s (if it’s still there). i’d end up on South Street with some old friends (back when South Street was energetic and weird) and listen to records at 611. we’d keep migrating east and end up grabbing dinner in the Old City district near the Delaware waterfront, at some new hole in the wall. after that, we’d roll up to watch the Eagles win the NFC championship game at the Link, and then we’d take the celebration cruise back up South Street, in an open-top lowrider.

4. New York: as complex as Manhattan is, my perfect day there definitely focuses on brunch, the Met, and a painfully crowded midtown bar/restaurant. it’s the best city for walking and talking, yelling over background noise, and eating (anything).

5. Boston: Boston has no perfect day scenarios in the wintertime; it’s just not a fun city when it’s cold. i love Boston in the Fall. my favorite day in Boston usually involves a lot of driving in and out of the city. shopping on Newbury Street; eating a snack at the Public Garden; driving out to the burbs to go apple-picking and to see the Fall trees.

6. San Francisco: my wife and i have our favorite way to do SF, and it’s centered on Sausalito, north of the bay. we like to wake up late, drive across the Golden Gate for a leisurely brunch and city walk, catch a reading or a show in the city, and then get dinner back up in Sausalito at the best sushi restaurant ever (Sushi Ran). the night walking between downtown Sausalito and the restaurant is really quiet and pleasant, with the city lights (on a not-so foggy night) providing a nice backdrop.

7. Los Angeles: so here we now come to Los Angeles. the best two things about L.A. are its weather and its food. you can get the best food of any specific ethnic cuisine anywhere; you just have to suffer through the experience of getting there. in the evening, most everyone in L.A. seems to migrate toward Hollywood (that mecca of trendy restaurants, uber exclusive clubs, and boutique fashion), making the 101 an almost impossible transit experience. as long as i don’t have a particular culinary craving, i think the best day in L.A. involves Santa Monica beach and the Getty Museum. it’s a bright, colorful, pleasant experience with relatively clean air and plenty of pretty sights. there’s nothing good in L.A. that’s sports-related (due to the aggressive/obnoxious fans and the extreme difficulty getting in and out of the stadiums); i’d also take care to avoid cultural wastelands such as the Glendale Americana and L.A. Live, which are simply abominable.


the irony of motion

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:35 pm by Administrator

once in a while, i look around.
i am moving down a river
of steel and metal parts.
where are we going, and why?

i think it is because we have to move,
very much like the falling of water
from the clouds, to the earth,
down gullies, to a berth in the deep seas.

a relentless cascading,
down to bottoms inevitable,
to be laid bare beneath thirsting heavens,
and onward—to immateriality.

often, i love the rain
but at some point one must ask
on strange mornings,
with just a bit of rage

why the clouds can’t hold it in,
why water must sojourn through rain,
through dirt, through the futile rivers
to the languid seas.

but never mind. i am, like the rest of us,
part of a steel procession, trafficked
in commotion, but for evaporating emotion
just an iron in motion


Eagles Draft

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:24 pm by Administrator

well, i haven’t written my recap of the Eagles draft because frankly it was devastating to me. i waited a week so that i could calm down, but i haven’t calmed down. and worse, i’m now questioning my ability to follow this Eagles season, given the tragic errors committed last week by Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman.

our first-round pick—a supposedly speedy outside linebacker in Marcus Smith—was a shocker. it was graded the very worst 1st round pick by several experts in attendance. but forget the experts. it was the wrong pick because it was a tremendous opportunity cost. Marcus Smith was projected to be a 3rd rounder (at best) because he built his reputation on one good year (his senior year) during which he piled up sacks against middling to bad competition. he did well in college because of his versatility; he’s fast for a guy his size. in the NFL, he’s not fast for a guy his size. in fact, he’s too small to play end, and he’s not a particularly standout athlete at linebacker. he’s a “tweener”. most pro scouts look at him and see a great deal of risk. chip kelly looks at his measurables and thinks he can see what no one else can.

we could have stayed at pick 22 and taken one of the best cornerbacks coming out, in Darqueze Dennard. when we traded down, i felt my stomach drop. and when Verrett and Dennard were both taken between picks 22 and 25, i realized that we had made a true error, no matter what we ended up with at pick 26. the Eagles need defensive backs badly; it was their primary need entering this draft. despite this, they failed to come away with any real upgrades in the secondary after this draft. we are left with an injury-prone shaky prospect in earl wolff and a fill-in with Malcolm Jenkins.

even after our 1st round, the draft continued to devolve. we focused on WR in the second and third rounds, actually trading up into the early 2nd to grab Jordan Matthews. he’s 6 foot 3 and has a nice 40 time, and he racked up inflated stats with Vanderbilt. yet, there is nothing really to separate him from cody latimer (taken at the end of the 2nd) and donte moncrief (end of 3rd). in fact, he’s drop-prone and thought to have some issues with separation—two big red alerts for an NFL receiver prospect. once again, i think this was Chip Kelly falling in love with measurables (height, weight, wingspan, and 40 time) while underestimating psychology, physicality, and skill.

the 3rd round pick of Josh Huff is almost universally being judged a Chip Kelly “homer” pick; and though i know nothing about Josh Huff, i know a little something about the receivers who went after him, which just plants another seed of doubt in my mind as to exactly how Chip Kelly rates talent.

when i look at this NFL draft, and i think back to what drove Kelly to pick Vick over Foles in training camp last year, i am led to believe that Chip Kelly trusts his intuition over data and analysis. that’s OK when you are firmly rooted in a winning system. but Kelly was a total flop coming out of the gates last year, until his hand was forced by Vick’s injury. i don’t trust Kelly’s assessment of talent; and what’s more, i have a sneaking suspicion that every player that he drafted this year will bust.

the two guys i’m going to compare for years to come will be Darqueze Dennard and Marcus Smith. Dennard is the guy we could have built around; but Smith is the guy we took a risk on. if Smith fails in the NFL, despite Kelly’s best efforts to prop him up, then this draft will go down as the Eagles’ very worst draft in recent history.


my best moments

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:53 pm by Administrator

it seems obvious that every week has its best moments and its worst moments. more specifically, i feel like i can identify when i’m at my best and my worst during every day of every week of every year. and that’s because i have a very distinct sense of what i like and don’t like about my personality and behaviors.

i feel that i’m at my best when i’m energetic, focused, and driven. i’m at my best when i’m involved in something competitive that i win.

and i feel that i’m at my worst when i’m angry, depressed, or lost. i hate being reactive; and i feel like i’m at my absolute rock-bottom when i’m helpless and dependent on others.

the funny thing is that i can recognize, when i look back at my life, that i’ve made my very worst mistakes when i was at “my best”. and conversely, i’ve come to some of the most important realizations of my life when i felt that i was at my lowest. there’s an inverse correlation between when i feel i’m at my best and when God works through me most strongly. this isn’t to suggest that i ought to feel down and out all the time; but i think it does show that “success” is so often a non-intuitive thing.

i often see my life in two dimensions: as a cycle of reactions to challenges and hardships. my first stage of reaction is always confrontation and anger; my second stage of reaction is withdrawal and rumination; and my last stage is synthesis and reengagement. perhaps these stages are universal, and perhaps we only differ in how easily this cycle is triggered and how long we dwell in each particular phase of the cycle. my first stage (confrontation and anger) is brief but very intense, while my second stage of stress response is very prolonged. i ruminate a lot on my struggles and on the struggles of others. invariably, this is when i blog the most—and when i most avoid the company of others.

i think that i’m at my best when i’m in the engagement stage of my stress cycle, and i profoundly dislike going through the rumination/withdrawal stage of my cycle. i dislike that stage so much that i do whatever i have to in order to minimize stress. but i’ve learned that my stress response cycle is not only unavoidable but also necessary—every stage of it. and nothing i experience within that cycle is evil or reprehensible in and of itself. what determines the value of the cycle is how and where i emerge, in synthesis. it is the change in my perspective as a result of the cycle which proves the value of what i experienced.

God urges me to see my life not in two dimensions—as a revolution between pleasant and unpleasant states of mind—but rather in three dimensions. there is a centrifugal force after all that is driving the stress response cycle; and that is the reason why i do not disengage from my stressors as a result of repeated stresses. in fact, going through the stress cycle time and time again seems to draw me closer to the thing which triggers my stress—closer in understanding, closer in relationship. the morality of my process lies in this trajectory: my tendency to veer toward the thing that i struggle with and even fight against. and in life, the main thing that i veer toward is community, just as the thing i struggle with most is people.

it is sometimes hard for me to admit how much i dislike people. God doesn’t ask me to pretend that i don’t often despise them for the ways in which they hurt me and one another. He presses me through my stress cycle, and the more i twist and turn upon that axis, the closer i get to really understanding the thing beneath. love is not affection. love is the nearing, the approaching, the inexorable gravity. i orbit the thing that consumes me, and i am changed through every turn of my cycle, out of love. i call it completion; God calls it reconciliation. however you see it, it is a journey, a neverending motion, and though it hurts, it is me—at my best


my tears

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:06 am by Administrator

we threw a goodbye party for one of the counselors in my department today. it was a group lunch, with our traditional time of personal sharing and goodbyes at the end. i’ve been through many of these (too many) in my time with the company, but i knew that today’s party would be particularly difficult for me. i’ve worked alongside this counselor for my whole four years here, and though we never got to know each other outside of work, he and i developed not only a friendship but also a deep mutual understanding. he saw me in my moments of greatest suffering here at work; and in turn, he shared with me some of the real personal struggles of his past. he was an older, wiser presence in my life, and even when we didn’t converse for days at a time, i felt good knowing that he was in the office next door.

during the time of personal sharing, i actually began to cry. that’s a bit unusual, because i’ve never cried in front of my staff before. and once i started to cry, i couldn’t stop crying. that’s also pretty strange, because i’m generally fairly self-controlled in front of my peers. but there you have it; the emotions just started coming out. it was a little awkward for him (and perhaps for everyone) and it was a bit embarrassing for me, but i just figured it was because i knew i was going to miss him.

a little later in the afternoon, i thought about it some more and began to realize that my tears were not entirely for him. my tears were very much for myself as well. thinking about the moments he and i had struggled through together, among these patients, within this community, triggered a grieving that i’ve long suppressed within myself. i thought that with all this blogging and all the things i complain to my wife about everyday, that stuff—the pain, the anger, the sadness—wasn’t collecting deep down. but it was there. i cried and couldn’t stop crying because my work here is painful. our work here is terribly painful.

medicine, healthcare, mental health counseling, all of it—it buries us in the plight of our patients. some of us can handle that. some of us cannot. for twelve years of my life, i’ve spent my days with healthy people who believe they are sick; with sick people who refuse to believe that they are ill. i’ve spent years of my life listening to drug addicts threaten my life, even while they destroyed their own. i’ve been the sponge for all their pain and their anger. i’ve been the camera lens that has recorded their rage, their slow decay, and their final days in agony. some of us can handle that. i have tried to handle it. it has twisted me inside. it has made me angry, hollowed out, and depressed. it makes me drink, so that i can forget them. it makes me cry, because i feel for them.

i grieved today, because i’m losing a colleague who, even when he was wordless, could tell me in a look of knowing that he understood what was happening to me on my bottomless Monday mornings; on my frantic Tuesday afternoons; on my relentlessly toxic Wednesdays; on my tedious and terrible Thursdays and Friday afternoons. i cried today, because every day of every week, i have to convince myself that the day is worth doing, and the life is worth living, even when i don’t feel it inside. years pass one hour at a time, in my mind. i get to the emptiness at the end of my day, so that i can disappear for a while. i wake up, and i put myself in a closet with all the wretchedness of the world, twenty times a day. i take demons home with me, demons so awful that i want to fight other people on the road simply because i need to hurt someone after all the hurt people have caused me.

as always, i grieve myself. i’m not the man i want to be. i’m the man society has made me. if i could, i’d tear it down, all of it—the rules, the laws, the places, the faces of power. i’d tear it all down, and i’d build it back up my way. there’d be no power, of one man over another; and there’d be no addiction anymore. we’d take our pill—that last pill—and we’d leave it all to the children, so that they might have a chance, in a world of their own


My final draft predictions for the NFL’s 1st 22 picks

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:45 pm by Administrator

Here’s my mock, after much deliberation. it’s a crap shoot, but here goes:

1. DE Clowney (regardless of who ends up making the 1st pick)
2. OT Robinson
3. DE/OLB Mack
4. OT Matthews
5. OT Lewan (not sure this is Oakland’s preference if they stay in 5th, but they need a tackle)
6. DT Donald (this is early for Aaron Donald, but the flavor this year is pass rushers)
7. WR Evans (if this is Tampa’s pick, i think they take Evans over Watkins)
8. DE Ealy (once again, the early rush on pass rushers will favor Ealy; lots of teams want to load up on defense after what Seattle accomplished)
9. WR Watkins
10. WR Beckham (i’m predicting a brief run on WRs here, as this is a premiere draft for wide-outs with some strong upside among the top 4 or 5)
11. CB Gilbert
12. TE Ebron
13. S Clinton-Dix (i’m hoping against hope he falls to the Eagles)
14. S Pryor
15. CB Verrett
16. OLB Barr (Barr’s getting hyped up like a madman, but i do see defense getting drafted before QBs this year)
17. G Martin
18. CB Dennard
19. OLB Shazier
20. QB Manziel (yep, Manziel slides down to #20 with Arizona; over the last 2 days i’ve come to believe that most of the convo around Manziel is just smoke. he’s still a big risk)
21. WR Lee
22. S Jimmie Ward. Yep, i’m goin with Ward here. i hope the Eagles take a safety tonight.

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