Month: March 2018

Exit 194. Angry mobs.

Today is Palm Sunday, the Sunday that falls one week before Easter.  The name Palm Sunday comes from a passage in all four Gospels, where Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a triumphant King, and he is greeted by a mob of fans waving palm branches.  Just a few days later, the mob appears again, but this time they are shouting for him to be put to death.  What caused the change?  The Bible, of course, does not say how many of the people in the angry crucifixion mob were also in the palm branch mob.  Those in the palm branch mob were expecting Jesus to be a conqueror and drive out the Roman oppressors, but instead he preached a message of humility and love for your enemies, which is not what they wanted.

Angry mobs have been in the news a lot around here lately, with another fatal and tragic case of alleged police brutality and racism, as well as the anti-gun marches happening across the USA this weekend.  I don’t really feel like going into any more detail about what I saw or what happened.  I’m kind of tired of talking about it and of all the arguing that it inevitably leads to.

I do know one thing, though.

I can pray.

This world is broken, and this world needs Jesus.  Before you try to tell me that European missionaries devastated cultures all over the world in the Age of Exploration, or that so-called Christian pastors molest children and cover up their gay affairs, and such, I didn’t say the world needed any of that stuff.  I said the world needed Jesus, and that stuff is not Jesus.

I can also fix myself.

I can do the best I can to understand people who view life through a different lens than I do.  I can try to understand what others have been through.  (And I would appreciate it if others extend the same sentiment to me and try to understand what I’ve been through.)

I feel like I’m not very talkative (writative?) tonight.

Exit 193. It really wasn’t a bad week.

I’ve been having a rough week.

I had some ideas for things to write about.  Then I forgot them, and I misplaced the paper where I wrote them down.

So I’m going to do something else instead.  I’m not even going to think about my rough week.  I’m going to list everything good that happened in the last week and a half or so.

I went to three Sacramento Kings games.  They won two of them.  The one that they lost had a significant historic highlight: Vince Carter passed up Patrick Ewing for 22nd all time in total points scored.  Vince Carter is the oldest active player in the NBA, approximately the same age as me, in his 20th season.

I took a trip to go have lunch with an old friend I hadn’t seen in over 20 years.

I was able to help out a friend who needed a ride, even though it was a trip that took a few hours total.

I played lots of games with friends.

I went blues fusion dancing.  One of my favorite dancers ever was there; she doesn’t come as often as she used to, and when she does, I sometimes don’t get to dance with her, because a lot of other people want to dance with her, and she often leaves early.  We had a good talk about life, and I got to dance with her.  Twice.

I had some time to work on a creative project.

I watched a performance that one of my friends was in.  We stayed up for over three hours talking afterward.

I was at Walmart, I checked the garden section on a whim, and I bought a tree.  This was something I was thinking of doing soon, but it didn’t occur to me until the last minute to get it at Walmart.  I just happened to be there for something else.  And I got an interesting reaction from some teenagers who probably weren’t used to seeing someone pushing a tree around in a shopping cart, along the lines of “Whoa!  Is that gonna get real big?”

And in a moment of desperation, on the one night I was up all night and couldn’t sleep, I temporarily made a post on Facebook that said, help, I need someone to talk to, or pray with me, or just listen.  And I got three responses pretty quickly, from three people in three different circles: one of the admins of a Facebook group I follow whom I’ve never met in real life, a relative in another state, and a local friend whom I haven’t seen in a while.  All of them had helpful things to say.  Two of those people were also having trouble sleeping because of things on their mind, and it was nice to know that I’m not alone.  (The third was up because she works nights.)

So it really wasn’t a bad week.  And by early afternoon today, there was not much more I could do today about the situation I’ve been dealing with, and my appointment this afternoon was cancelled, so I took the rest of the day to relax and do absolutely nothing.

Life is good.

Exit 192. I hope all of those people grow up.

One of my friends, someone I’ve known online for a very long time but have never met in person and don’t talk to often regarding the little details of our lives, recently posted a clickbait-type article that had a list of strange reasons why couples broke up.  Among them were such petty grievances as someone who said “my bag” instead of “my bad” and someone who ate chicken drumsticks with a fork.

My first instinct was to make this about me.  I replied, what about these?  Are these good reasons to break up?  I told her about Acrux, moving far away without including me in the decision, and then putting little effort into the relationship once we were a long distance couple.  I told her about SN1604, repeatedly flaking on me, rescheduling on me, and standing me up, telling me after a month of this that it just wasn’t a good time for her to be in a relationship with anyone because of everything going on in her life, and then meeting someone else a few weeks later.  My friend told me that it sounds like I’m still hurting from these experiences, and that my worth doesn’t come from how others treat me.

These are things I’m still working on, both with my therapist and in my prayer times.  But my friend is right; I am still hurting.  It’s been too long to keep carrying this baggage around; the two stories I told happened in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

I replied that this gave me an interesting shift of perspective.  I wish that I could meet some of the people who wrote these breakup reasons.  I wish that I could tell them how happy I would be to have someone special who loved me for who I was, who didn’t make everything in the relationship all about her and who valued my opinions, even if she did eat chicken drumsticks with a fork.  I wish that I could tell them how much I long for someone who says she wants to be with me and actually follows through on her words, someone who is honest and does not hide things from me, even if she thinks the expression is “my bag.”  I struggle to meet anyone, and these people are treating their significant others as disposable just because of some little thing that really is not all that important in the long run.

I hope all of those people grow up and learn to accept their significant others’ imperfections, and I hope they learn to stop discarding people for petty reasons.

Exit 191. More important than winning.

As I’ve mentioned before, I occasionally host an event at my house that involves staying up really late playing video games from the 80s and 90s and listening to 80s and 90s music.  I did that last night.  At one point I was playing two player Dr. Mario with my friend, whom I’ll call “Adhafera.”  Dr. Mario is a puzzle game first released for the NES in 1990, with subsequent rereleases on many other Nintendo consoles.  The object of the game is to match up colors in little pill-shaped pieces in order to kill viruses.  This game is often placed in a category similar to other block-moving games, like Tetris, and other games that involve matching pieces, like Candy Crush.  In the two player game, two players go head to head to see who can clear their viruses first, and special combo moves in which more than one row of pieces is cleared result in garbage blocks being dropped on the other player’s game, making it harder for them to clear.

Adhafera came to my last retro gaming party two months ago, with his girlfriend.  For most of the time they were there, they were playing games together.  I felt bad when they left, because I had hardly talked to them, and they came from 30 miles away.  This time, his girlfriend was not with him.  So at one point, I joined him for a two player game of Dr. Mario.  Adhafera is way better at Dr. Mario than me.  Usually I have to play about four or five levels below him (i.e., I get fewer viruses) in order for it to be competitive.

And this time, I got a chance to talk to him more.  We talked about life.  We shared stories from our respective childhoods and younger years.  I told him about my struggles at church and the new church I’ve been going to.  We talked about the sports fan cultures at our respective almae matres.  I told him about the novel I’ve been writing off and on (more off than on) since mid-2014.  And I didn’t do too well at Dr. Mario.  He swept me 3 games to 0 most rounds.  I think once, maybe twice, he won 3-1.

At one point he asked if the talking was distracting me from winning.  It might have been.  But I said, “I think getting to talk is more important in the long run than winning.”

Because it is.