Archive for June, 2011

Year Eight

Posted by on Thursday, 30 June, 2011

These annual reflections seem like quite a farce at this point, but it seems that I have somehow managed to retain a couple of regular readers. Also, my previous post reminded me of something that I was thinking about a long time ago but I never got around to posting. So let’s do this.

Someone once told me rather bluntly to simply “get over whatever it is that you’re mad at God about.” This was probably a couple of years ago now, yet it has stuck with me, not as a useful piece of advice, but rather as an indication of a total lack of understanding of my situation.

Mad at God? I remembered in that moment that I had already once admitted to being mad at God, and one thing I have learned about dealing with conservatives is that it is important to not take back anything that you have said lest you be labeled a “flip-flopper” and they will never respect you.* So there was no denying that I was mad at God.

The question then becomes: what does it mean for me to be mad at God? For someone who has a “relationship” with God, I can see how it would be quite simple. It would be like if you had two friends that had a fight and and now they are not speaking to each other. One of them needs to make the effort to apologize and take it from there. (Obviously if we accept such a scenario, then God being infallible and all, the fault is entirely mine.) But what if I am not mad at someone that you know? What if I told you instead that I was mad at my grandfather? (My mother’s father, and I am not, by the way.) However, if I were… he is dead now and whatever the issue, no reconciliation is possible. Or indeed, what if I had some reason to be mad at my father’s father? Well, he died long before I was born. He is not even a “real person” in my head, more of vague person-shaped idea.

What if I were mad at a legendary figure? Someone who either never existed at all, or is so surrounded in mythology as to be essentially fictional? Santa Claus. King Arthur. Odysseus. What would it even mean to be mad at one of these?

So then, what if God were not real? What if all that I have attributed to Him over for the last eight years was but a mishmash of hopeful naïveté and confirmation bias? To be mad at this is to be mad at an abstract concept. One might as well claim to be mad at “love”, or mad at “peace”.

This is where I stand.



*I am fully aware that this is a downright insulting over-simplification, but I could write a whole separate post on what I actually mean by this. I do not feel like doing that now, so maybe you could just pretend to understand what I am getting at here and we can move it along.

Cold Silence

Posted by on Friday, 24 June, 2011

In my last post, I was trying to make some point about coincidences that, to be honest, I do not even understand myself. I thought I could throw some anecdotes together and allow the reader to draw their own conclusions. However, I was not very respectful to the young lady mentioned.

I have been struggling over this for the past couple of weeks. I did not know her well; she was just one of the kids I knew at a job that I used to have. It must be a decade or so since I last saw her. With the modern stalking marvel that is Facebook, I was able to surf through friends of friends with poor privacy settings to find some recent pictures. Had I happened to encounter her somewhere in the past few years, I doubt I would have recognized her. She merely looked to me like some random twenty something year old.

So I do not remember much about her, but the disturbing part is that I am ashamed of what I do remember. The fact is, I really did not like her. Looking back now through the fog of time, it is hard to say why. I thought she was a brat, but perhaps I was too quick to judge. She was only, I do not know, in her early teens, I guess. That is an awkward time for everyone. Maybe she grew out of it. I was quite young myself, and not mature enough to deal with conflicting personalities. Perhaps if I had met her again more recently, we would have gotten along much better. We will never know now.

There is one incident in particular that I had completely forgotten about, but now it haunts me. I am not comfortable going into details aside to say that there was a conflict. As far as I can remember now, it was a conflict that was never “resolved”, but rather never mentioned again.

It is troubling in a more general sense as well. I tend to be an out-of-sight-out-of-mind type of person.  To think now about all the people who come and go in life, and I never give them another thought until maybe ten years later I hear that they are gone forever. It is especially unsettling in cases of unresolved issues, where it was just easier to never see the person again than to address the problem. Which is pretty much my default.

There is one other thing that has been itching at my memory. That contrary to what I said above… I did see her more recently. I want to say that one time I went into a store where she happened to be working. Yet it is so blurry, like a barely remembered dream. Did I actually speak with her? Did I just see someone who resembled, and may or may not have actually been her? (Especially considering that, as I mentioned above, the young lady she became did not look like the girl I remember.)  Maybe this incident did not involve her at all, and I am confusing her now with one of the other kids that I had not seen in equally as long. I am just not sure. I want this to be real, although I hardly see why it even matters now.

I realize that this rambling nonsense probably means even less to the reader than my usual rambling nonsense, but still I want to say, thirteen years too late: I am sorry, Rachel.

Twenty Minutes On a Thursday

Posted by on Friday, 10 June, 2011

For the past few years I have worked setting up the sound equipment for a local community’s summer concert series. As I was heading to work yesterday to pick up said equipment, I happened to be listening to Zooropa. For the unfamiliar, the song has a rather long ambient intro with synths and heavily effected voices and samples. Right at the moment when the full band kicks in, I noticed a pedestrian a little ways in front of me suddenly lean to one side and make a motion to hitch up her jeans slightly or something. Or in other words: shake her booty in time to music that only I could hear.

I drove on thinking about what an unusual occurrence this was, and at some point I realized that this coincidence did not effect my belief in God in any way. Because I know that we live in a complex and chaotic world with uncountable variables, and sometimes coincidences just happen.

I was talking with my dad earlier this week and mentioned that this concert series was starting up again, and then I happened to remember that it was while setting up for one of these shows a couple of summers ago that I heard the news that Michael Jackson had died. I do not know why that is important to anything at all, it was just some random detail that I remember for some reason.

So anyway, when I arrived at the shop yesterday, one of the secretaries was on the phone. Toward the end of the conversation it became apparent that she had received bad news. After hanging up she asked me if I remembered [a girl I used to know], and that she had died that morning.

WTF? Now this is just bullsh