These are the chronicles of the esoteric . . .

MONDAY, MAY 11, 2009

i'm all that's in the way

The other day, as I was jack-hammering the concrete step to the back door of a customer, a surveyor of some sort came around the corner and asked me, 'Are you the home-owner or just the renovator?'

It took me at least five seconds to answer her.

The process in my head immediately began by acknowledging that I was definitely not the home-owner. But then it hit a tough spot: Am I the renovator or the renovator's assistant? Or merely an employee to the renovator? I knew that to answer I was the renovator's son would be giving an irrelevant designation, but under which other category did I fall?

I drew a blank as I looked around me, mentally clawing for a reply. Even in the moment I was surprised at how difficult it was to answer such a simple question - how strange it was to be at a loss because of one simple enquiry. She gave me two options, why could I not place myself so easily in either one of them?

I eventually stammered out, 'Uh, yah, I'm the renovator,' to which she turned around and left.

Of course I was bothered afterward by my struggle. Was the complicatedness really necessary? Was there a reason for so much confusion in stating my work-position? Was it that I was simply startled out of a focused task by a stranger?

While the element of surprise is valid, I felt it could not be the sole contributor to my strained search.

When I worked at Price Chopper I always had a problem when people asked, 'Where do you keep . . ?,' 'Where are your . . ?,' or 'What are your . . ?' It bothered me that simply because I had a uniform on I was immediately equated with the company - you, your - but I only worked there. I never responded with 'we,' but instead used 'the store' because I didn't want people to make the mistake of thinking I somehow was or belonged to Sobey West's discount supermarket when I was merely an employee.

I wondered whether this same mentality was being brought out here, even as an employee of my own father's company? I concluded that this was true, but where with Price Chopper I hesitated to be interchanged with some mass corporation, with my dad it's that I hesitate to equate my shortcomings, inabilities and lack of knowledge with his work and expertise. Both with Price Chopper and my dad I was reluctant to be recognised as a serious representative for the company - one because I felt it too far removed from myself, the other because I could not allow my inexperience to be expressive of the business.

The fact is, while I am wholly committed I am not entirely devoted. And it was then that I found a direct correlation to that of my faith: Not only do I find that I don't measure up to what a Christian should be, I also do not find that I am utterly dedicated to it. This of course is a bold statement to admit, but it is the honest truth. While in my heart I want to be a Christian man, my actions have borne little if any fruit thereby rendering my best intentions invalid - to consider myself worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven would be blasphemous. I am hesitant to go where I may be lead to go in fear that I will not live up to divine expectations. And so the struggle is to confess my faithfulness when I feel I have become merely a nominal Christian - how could I truly be a citizen of God's Kingdom when I am not by any means an adequate sort of representative, ambassador or example.

Yet, to be a Christian it seems one must simply accept full-heartedly the grace that while we are not and perhaps never can be what we should, we are still accepted, wanted, used and indeed saved. Though I struggle to truly and deeply answer, 'Yes, I am a Christian,' the fact remains that since I have accepted God through His Christ, since I attempt (the key being to attempt, for although I fail I continue the effort) to shape my life around Him and His will, since I try daily to follow God I am of course a Christ-follower.

Even though I know very little in regards to working a renovation job, the truth remains that, in spite of my mistakes and under needed guidance, I am learning, I am trying, and I do in fact get work done; therefore I am a renovator - even as, in spite of my inabilities and under needed grace, I am learning, I am trying, and I do follow; therefore I am a Christian.

Perhaps this is something I will always fight doubt about, but it seems God never fails to somehow show me that I still belong to Him, even if I am a horrible failure - because then I'm simply His horrible failure, His horrible Christian failure - yet somehow He weaves a good from it, even if I can't see it or ever know it, unlike a renovation job where the end result is tangible.

Worthy or not, I am what I am.

[posted by ericjordan at 2148 hrs]  

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FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2009

wordy wisdom: inspirational lyrics, pt 3

Not only is it the title track, but this song also serves as the climax to Dead Poetic's CD, ending the album on a beautiful and raw note. The lyrics are revealing when read carefully as to what Brandon Rike was feeling as he wrote the song - feelings declared in his message on Dead Poetic's MySpace blog (check it out here). Yet, despite this very real basis for these words, I believe on some level we all can relate to it - at least I certainly can.

People tend to form certain expectations as a result of what they hope. We define, we declare and anticipate by our own biases, not realising what is truly going on beyond what we want to see - we blind ourselves to the truth while we watch with hopeful eyes to see our desires fulfilled. Like young children who worship their parents, we look upon others with the expectations that arise from the demands we place upon them - when it is not necessarily the case that these people are as perfect, as holy and as wonderful as we would like them to be.1 The same of course goes for parents who believe their children are as perfect as they hope - or other family members or even friends who create certain ideas based on notions, traditions and beliefs. But we're all human, and we all have our vices - we all have our faults, inadequacies, and failures.

We may never live up to others' expectations, or even for that matter our own, but there is peace in knowing that we are not alone. In fact, Christ is quite familiar with the struggles we go through and the vices we face; He is not one to blame us for our faults - He redeems us in the midst of them - even when we try to push Him out. In our darkest hours, He is our strength and remains our Lord, our Saviour, our friend.

Vices / Dead Poetic // Vices

feeling cold,
feeling empty.
set the stage
where you want me.
and this crowd
right before me
doesn't care
that i'm dying.

and the audience
stands with their eyes fixed
on a preconceived
version of me.
i'm so betrayed by your hopes,
but i
will not hide myself
for your peace of mind.

oh, but child,
i've got vices like any other man.

raise a boy
to a cynic,
take his love
and then let it
turn into
something passionate,
something sick,
something rabid.

and i vent
to keep myself from caving.
i don't hate you,
i just hate where i'm headed.
i'm left here asking
when did i trade in
my bleeding heart
for a selfish win?

oh, but mother,
i've got vices like any other man.
vices that you're not used to;
vices that'll make you think less of me.

leave me numb,
leave me jaded;
she's the dream,
i just play dead.
i've been blessed,
i've been hated;
she's the constant
and i'm her addict.

she's the only peace
in this world uneasy
while i bite my tongue
to keep from breaking
the heart that i
spent my whole life seeking -
the only heart
i've ever needed.

oh, but lover,
i've got vices like any other man.
vices that you're not used to;
vices that'll make you think.
oh, but lover,
i've got vices like any other man.
vices that you're not used to;
vices that'll make you think less of me.

less of me . . .

feeling cold,
feeling empty;
i am low,
bleed the god,
bleed the blessing -
like a vulture,

i'll resist
as if i don't feel conviction
of my ignorance
to my perfect prison;
but i feel the stabs
on my wrists and ankles
every time i try
to forget You.

to forget You . . .

oh, but Jesus,
i've got vices like any other man.
vices that You're so used to,
vices that won't make You think less of me . . .

1. This of course is not to say that I don't think my parents are wonderful, amazing parents - I love them so terribly - but they're still only human and have learned, despite many surprises, not to expect anything more than human.

[posted by ericjordan at 1918 hrs]  

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