Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reprise #1: one month home

i'm not sure what to title this, but i've been back home for one month now. there might be a group of friends and readers on this blog that still may be interested in this fact. for you, my handful, i fulfill a promise to share what's been happening.

to be honest, the perspective and momentum is being challenged here. often. and not always by others. the trail of adventure and life on the road has changed from its narrow line of motion and has transitioned back to the box of mazes and levels of familiarity of people and home and still not having much money.

i sometimes sense the pressure strongest while trying to draw out the characteristics of the midwest. a few dozen people had surprised me while on the road when they randomly identified my ''midwest accent.'' it must be the oily pronunciation of aaahs, like in the word chicaahgo. for the most part, though, the midwest is conservative (whether they think it or not) and earnestly routinized and is a place where humor seems to be found in over-exaggerations, enthusiastic reactions, and corny jokes (of which i'm now guilty...corn, get it?).

some of the little kids here suddenly look six years older and, strangely, some of the older people look ten years younger. but people grow up wherever they are and through whatever they're doing, whatever that might be. whether we realize it or not, we're forming perspectives that will guide us and will maybe one day surprise us when we compare it to one different than ours. i've found much fascination in the stories of these others through way of these comparisons and it's happening here, too. our collective growths compound with past routine and creates the cycle. the cycle. the cycle.

i've found it useless to avoid the cycle as such. people grow up in whatever way they do and in the way we best know how. but i'm trying hard not to fall back into my old cycle and this is becoming a hard thing to do. here's how i mean this.

the hardest part in returning is the lack of a short answer for the three hundred, eighty-three days of past friends, faith, and adventure. my mind jars and scrambles for balance in the random appearances and interactions with the questions of old friends who continue to happen back into this new life. i mean, it's been a year; i'm obviously older than the past year. but i'm no longer the traveling, curious guest with stories and a backpack and temporal sense of time and place. here people ask what i've been up to and most every conversation seems to focus in on the most significant responsibilities i now carry or plan to achieve (which are not many at this point, sorry). every once in a while the questions are bypassed by reminders for a shave and a haircut or another crack at the geico caveman comparison. i still have my own razors, thanks. nonetheless.

i very much had (and still do have) a vision in returning for sharing the life and faith and community of the life away. i remember our house in fernie and then the boys place in portland. i wondered if rockford could use a house of twenty-something guys who were all trying to do the right thing together. i'd like to try to start something like that and, even though i'm technically in debt, i've seen more happen to me with the meager beginnings of four hundred dollars on day one that i'm not really inclined to be hasty against either reality. there have already been some small ways that this has already been taking place, albeit in a way i never thought would have connected.

one of my friends claire is involved in the lives of kids whom she lovingly calls ''her ghetto babies'' and they've grown so attached that she has decided to forgo a year long mission to africa in order to, in part, continue growing and ministering with these kids here in their projects. she asked eric and i to do music for their camp on thursday night and we did. the little girl's black voices squealed and chimed and the boys looked skeptically at the cajon drum box i was playing. but we sang and towards the end some of the guys took a quick lesson on the cajon and afterwards asked if i wanted to play basketball with them. i barely pulled off a dunk to satisfy their wonderings if ''whole wheat can boom.'' they shouted out the names of different nba players (they didn't know who luke longley was....hah) as they sat back and looped baggy jump shots towards the rusty backboard. we shot around and played until it was too dark for me to see the ball or, for that matter, to be able to tell them apart during their speedy dribbles and drives.

i'm not entirely sure what the rest of those boys' life is like- their cycle and perspective. i heard back from claire that the kids really liked us and i hardly feel like i did anything. josh, another friend who's been involved with the same kids, and i were talking before a classic reunion game of capture the flag (of which some people still cheat and it drives me nuts) on friday night and josh shared his surprise on how easy it is to get involved and be a positive role model with claire's ghetto kids. i'm not even sure how claire got involved with these kids and families, but the distance she has come with them is huge. josh's mom had given the devotional before the playing of music on thursday and i deeply respected her fraying of usual proper mannerisms so that she could reach the kid's rougher attentions. it wasn't hard to tell by their quiet, long stares and little steps of coming out of themselves that they have a desire for respect and relationship that probably even they don't quite understand. here are kids growing up in ways they best know how and who seem willing to find a perspective that might begin a different, better cycle in the way they feel about themselves and God and for the way they treat each other and live their lives.

now tonight is sunday. eric and i played some music at church this morning. yesterday i met a photographer who was shooting the wedding i was playing and he shares some ideas for rockford. i left the college group bonfire tonight and realized i've driven just over one thousand miles since being back. that's too much, man. what have i been doing with one thousand miles? and here i am back home for who knows how long or for what specific purpose, but i wonder what i've done with these days as well. even heavier i admit to myself that, for whatever reasons, it seems harder to live the right life of faith in action. but how worthless would it be to sit around and wonder what could be diminishing when i'm finding ways to be a part of things that are going right.

trust and acknowledge and solvitur ambulando.


Whitney Autumn said...

i love your thoughts. you put words to a soul's rhythm and challenge a seemingly limitless strength... which is, of course, complacency in the everyday life. I appreciate your cycling... thanks for writing aloud.

Francis Bell said...

WOW-Great blogsite!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really enjoyed the pictures! Thank you for brightening my day- Francis