A Man Smoking a Cigarette

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About a week ago, I sat down with my mom and talked to her about my life. The things I am happy with, the things I am not happy with. Mostly for the purpose of evaluation. I wanted to make sure I was still on the same path I had set myself on at the beginning and during this conversation, many things came to light.

It’s important to talk to someone about where you are at, especially when you feel downtrodden and struggling. They can check and balance you against the things you say you want. Having that is such an important aspect of growing and changing.

As I left, I felt refreshed and more in tune with myself. Knowing that I was failing some things and succeeding at others, I went about my night with my girlfriend and we stopped at Maverick to refill our water bottles as she asked me about what my mom and I had talked about. I started to tell her, and before I realized it I was spilling deep seeded fears and frustrations I wasn’t even aware I had until then. I was revealing all of these things about my life in a Maverick parking lot with my window rolled down when one of the employees came out front to smoke a cigarette.

He was tying up his apron and puffing along on his smoke while I ventured dangerously close to mental breakdown territory. When it was all said and done I watched this man turn and look at me, and smile.

It was brief, if I hadn’t been paying attention to him I wouldn’t have noticed. But it was just a short moment after I had finally finished venting and being excited about the future that he looked up and flashed that smile at me.

Now, I could never know why he did or what reason he had for smiling at me, but if you ask me, it’s because he watched a young man through the corner of his eyes as this young man fought off the evils of his own mind. Aloud, for everyone to hear. That quick glance was all I needed to see that everything I do, even the venting and the frustrations I release are seen by the world. He listened as I talked about how scared I am of the future, how ashamed I am of the things I’ve failed, how much pleasure I get from writing and how I have bound myself to a contract I can’t escape from and he watched a young man, on some level, come back from the dead that night.

I think that’s why he smiled.

We never know what we will see or hear, and sometimes it can be horrible. Somethings in life are disastrous. Some things make us want to curl up and die, but sometimes, we see bright lights flashing. Bright fires burning inside the souls of others, finding a new path or reconnecting with the path they had once walked.

But regardless of what we see, a smile is important. It is the thing that can change someone else for the better, and all you need to offer is a split second of your time. Flash them a smile. Let them know that you are there and that things will be okay, even if your presence is a flash in the pan.

It is still something, and something hopeful is better than nothing at all, I’d say.

http://www.linmtba.com

Bloodbark/Poison Bread (Poetry)

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2018.8.8- BBPB

Thank you for reading. I appreciate any kind of feedback or just a conversation. Let me know what you thought. If you liked it, what it means to you. Anything is welcome.

Overwhelmed by Nothing

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From Ryn,

Wandering through the desert on your own, laid bare before a grand jury of plants and dust. The way it creeps into your head and heart. The way it grinds in between your bones, where the joints twist to push you forward grows weary as these tiny pieces of stone line the surface of your frame and push against it. Making every pop in your joints something you grow to worry about.

But the worry doesn’t last long in the hot sun, as it beats on your shoulders and neck. Through the thin cotton rag you draped across your back and laid in the oasis you found four months ago, hoping for some ounce of moisture is within. You hope the piece of fabric is enough, but with every breath you push forward, searching for a temple, a city, even a small palm tree you can rest upon for only a moment.

But that is all it would take, isn’t it? Only a moment to shift where your mind is and change your entire reality.

Sincerely, Chaim.

I work like a machine. At least, I tell myself I do. I want to be that person who can sit down and crank out project after project as if they are simple tasks, like formulas I just need to complete.

It’s easy to fall prey to our own ideals. Wanting something so bad that it drives you to the point of solidarity is fine, to an extent. If your focus evolves to a true solidarity, then you’ll see the things you once loved become tasks you should complete. Like the passion inside of your work became a tally to see how much of one thing you could handle doing at a time. You set out this list of goals and the only thing that mattered was doing them to completion.

I am especially guilty of this, I want the things I do to be done so I can work on the next thing I have, but I had to stop a few days ago and ask myself what the purpose of it all was.

If I am only writing to meet some sort of end goal, then why am I writing in the first place? It is a difficult task to take on, and if the end result is my goal then I would be wise to select a task other than writing. One that is much easier to accomplish. Basket weaving. Knitting. Even dog training. I could train forty pets in the same time it would take to write six novels. But writing those novels, this creative process I’ve entangled myself within is nothing if there is no soul within the words I’m penning.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed. My goal-oriented mind often absorbs itself in accomplishing a task for the sake of accomplishing a task. To simply get the shit done and to focus on something else. Which is fine, I suppose, for a D&D campaign. To tell the story and build it with my friends, and then when it is done perhaps record it for memory’s sake.

Of course, that doesn’t work so well with relationships, living day to day, or pursuing a passion.

The funny thing is that I felt so overwhelmed by all of these tasks I laid out for myself that I elected to panic and hide away in video games or sleep instead of getting back on track. I tightened my schedule, and in doing so, my grasp on my joy, so much that I didn’t have a way out. I just felt strangled all the time.

It was funny to find that I was strangling myself for these past days, to be sure.

What I’m saying here is that it is okay to take a break. Everything doesn’t have to be sectioned off into a schedule. Everything doesn’t have to be comprised of strict order and nothing else. We should take time to enjoy the way the world spins while we set about doing whatever we desire.

I focus my struggles through all manner of lenses. I inspect myself and what I’m going through, and I end up venturing through games with those feelings in mind. Dark Souls is one of many, I build these characters with a fiction in progress diluting my thoughts. I created a girl named Ryn for that purpose. I gamed through Dark Souls as I considered the possibilities for this character that seemed to spring from nowhere. As I poured free time into these games, this character came to life within me. Taking a shape and a form inside of my mind that I can’t shake.

She is calling to be written, she is calling to be brought to life.

But that interfered with my plan, so would I have been so courageous as to write two books at once?

I asked myself this and felt the pressure of my schedule bearing down on me. Losing hours of sleep or wasting hours’ worth of valuable work time simply to figure out my next step. Whatever I wanted to do would lead me, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do because I wanted to do it all.

It was around this point when I realized I was only 25 and didn’t need to focus all of my attention on getting these stories finished. I set goals for a guideline, I don’t need to write every book I want to write by the time I’m thirty. It will be impossible.

But of course, I was born to do the impossible, wasn’t I?

I think so. That is what birthed the passion of creation inside of me. To make something that is impossible, that is magical, that is worth every second I spend on it.

That is a grand achievement, I think.

To get there, sometimes you gotta take a break.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by nothing, but there is nothing that can overwhelm you if you don’t let it.

If you enjoyed this, please consider checking out my website. I am working on starting a youtube channel + I’d love to hear what you have to say! I’ll be posting a (late) analysis of my last video on the blog this coming sunday. (8.5) and a new video will be out on Tuesday.

Alva Tobias (YouTube)

www.linmtba.com

Tremble

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Colossians 2:10

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

Since Chance the Rapper dropped four (FOUR) new singles last week, I thought it would be good to talk about faith again. It just seems right, especially given the circumstances of my life right now.

It has been a difficult month, I’ve watched friends lose loved ones, the threat of lost loved ones looms over others. I’ve spent time with friends for the last time in a while, I’ve suffered in private and in public and all these things hearken back to something I don’t remember as often as I should.

I should be spending much more time praising my Lord than I do.

This week, I returned from visiting my Godmother with my girlfriend. We just hopped up to say hello and I hadn’t seen her in some time, she’s been dealing with an autoimmune disease that was hard to identify and difficult to deal with. As I laid in her living room and spoke to her for a while when we arrived, I could do nothing but thank God that we are given the lives that we are given.

Some would say lucky.

I think I could agree to that, but it is so much more than simple luck. I’ve believed in a Creator since I could perceive the world around me. There is something to be said about the terrible things that happen, and I wish they wouldn’t.

I recognize that I am in a position of privilege when I see the chaos and destruction happening in the world around me. I recognize that blessing when I see people taken before their time, when I see tragedy without definite reason, I recognize that I am blessed beyond measure, and I can’t take that for granted.

My life, despite the struggles and the hardships, is so fully packed with new blessings every moment. I can’t count them all. They number more than the stars in the sky.

It’s a difficult thing to do, when we are suffering, to look to God and still worship him. To praise him. It’s so easy for us to say we should, because that thing isn’t happening to us, but is that the case? Can we praise God with the “me before you mindset?”

I don’t think so. Not truly, not wholly. I can thank God for every blessing I have, but when I thank Him by regarding the curses or sufferings upon the heads of others, am I not inherently disrespecting the body of the church? Am I not distracting myself from the reality that we are one body in Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

To pray and to say “Thank you for not putting me through that, Lord. I would never want that to happen to me.” Is disregarding this biblical teaching.

It’s something I find myself trapped within occasionally. It isn’t the subject of my prayer, but I’ve noticed often, that I find myself thankful to God that I don’t have some suffering, because others do. I am not thankful because it’s suffering and it’s horrible. I am thankful that the suffering in question has not afflicted me, without considering the implications. It’s a short-sighted thing to pray for, don’t you think?

In essence we are saying “Thanks for not cursing me, but cursing another.”

Because when we look at our hardships in that light, we disregard the purpose of hardship and struggle. That we are to see these things for a reason.

Philippians 3:10

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

When we look to another, we see it as a curse, a plague upon someone that, while we can feel the pain of their suffering, we are still quietly glad that it isn’t us. Yet, if this is true, then why are we one body? If we are supposed to be separated in our faith, why would we silently celebrate the suffering of another? We suffer for a purpose.

I’ve been asked why I take so many things so personally over the course of my life, why am I so troubled about the pain in the lives of my friends? Why do I care so much, when someone is plagued by something that I can’t fix? Why is it that I shed tears for the dead that I don’t know?

It is because of this. I am one with them. Each of us, children of God. When your finger is broken, your arm feels the pain. When your neck is kinked, your whole back aches. When you are blind in one eye, your hands know not where to go.

1 Corinthians 12:15-20

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

I seek to praise God when my life is going the way I want it to. I seek to praise Him when my friends and my loved ones are in good health, with good faith I sing praises when the body is celebrating, when we are rejoicing and it is so easy to praise God in these moments.

But what of those with broken hands, shattered hearts, or infected brains?

Will we abandon the praises to God then? Because we are scared? Or is it because we are selfish? When the finger becomes infected, we don’t sever it from the hand to save the body. We apply ointment, we take time to seek it out, to care for the infection and heal it that our finger might be capable of writing once more.

The dreadful knowing that I am guilty of this, makes me tremble.

But the calm knowing that my Lord is bigger than it all, that He will see to it that we will be safe and protected, the reminder every moment that those in pain, those suffering, need me to remain steadfast more than ever before. Those in moments of plague and pestilence should not halt my praises to God. They should not stop the song from my heart. They should strengthen it.

Because we are one, fulfilled in Christ. We are wrapped in the arms of a God who cares for us all. We were never meant to be left alone, to wander in silence, with no one there to hold on to us.

We are connected, and when one of us feels pain so deeply it makes us shake, the rest of the body should shake along with that pain and let it lift our voices in praise.

Because we didn’t deserve this life. We were given it.

And in awe we tremble at the King who offered it to us.