Category Archives: Dreams

Left

We – the beautiful Hannah and I- live in a nomadically transplanted city. Most people aren’t from here and most won’t stay… as we are learning.   People come for work, school or adventure often in their 20s and stay as long as they can or want.  The city houses a lot of people with grand dreams and plans who hang out until another job, partner or dream pulls them away.  We came as part of that group.

The beautiful Hannah has over a decade here.  I have lived here four times as long as anywhere else in my adulthood and am approaching that decade mark too.  We have lived in multiple parts of the city and are on the edge of it now it sometimes feels.  The mountain can be seen from our patio window when the leaves are gone and the sun is out.  The coast is an easy drive away and allows us to have lunch after a nice drive if we have a free day to play.  The food is amazing.  The beers were good and hopefully will be when we can go out again.  People are generally laid back and welcoming.  And even though it is touted as the Whitest City in (US) America and part of the Least Churched Region in North America, we have many people of other colors in our inner circle…and our “local” church.  People think and act similar enough to us for us to feel accepted.  We don’t get weird looks for talking to homeless or people with special needs.  We can own chickens, garden and buy only from the edges of the grocery store without judgment and know a lot of others that do the same.

We really like it here.  We have a house in a neighborhood that has a lot of real locals.  We have our spots, our stores, our communities, our old and new neighborhoods and the beautiful Hannah has a career at a school that won’t be transferred or moved.  We plan to be here a long time.

But we are consistently saying good bye to friends with whom we have connected it feels.  They move because of work promotions.  Because they want to move closer to family before having kids.  Because it was a short term thing that lasted many years and is now over.  Because parents need them back home. Or because housing is silly expensive and they didn’t buy a place yet and can’t imagine living paycheck to paycheck just to stay here.  Whatever the reason, Junior has a lost a lot of friends as have we and we realized we need to start making more connections again.  And in chatting with people we have heard that many are planning to head back “home” at some point.  When the kids need to go to school, or when it’s time to have kids, or when they need a real job.

The beautiful Hannah and I initially bonded over not wanting to live near where we were raised again.  Shortly after we met we began to make Portland our city together. We shared with each other what we loved.  We started combining traditions, routines, drinking spots, eating spots, and friends.  We made our home and are strengthened ourselves in the communities that would take us.   Those communities changed and shifted with marriage, work changes, and Junior and his demands.  And they change substantially when close friends move to green pastures they find or dream.

Leaving is not our plan or story it seems.  So I guess we are a little different here but that’s ok.

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Filed under Adulthood, Dreams, Freewrite, Global Community, Junior, Marriage, Overthinking, Transparency, unfinished thoughts

Happenings

Engaged!

 

I haven’t written here a lot lately. One of the reasons is because most of the time when I sit down I can only write something like…

The beautiful Hannah is the greatest thing to happen to me ever.  She makes it too easy to love her and loves me more than I ever deserve. And I am constantly amazed that I can love someone as much as I love her.

And most of the time, I figure that is not what people want to hear and delete the paragraphs.  But it’s nearly Valentine’s Day and by the time this posts she will have brought Junior into the world.  So here goes that post that my head keeps writing.

The beautiful Hannah is the greatest thing to happen to me ever.

We did happen.  We traveled in the same circles of friends for at least a couple years without noticing the other.  Then one day we did and fell in love faster than I would recommend other people should.   We have spent at least some time together every day for the last 2 years which as someone who likes his space, is pretty crazy I crave being with her more than alone.   I judged girls a lot before I decided if they were “datable” yet with her deep connections happened before we could put expectations on the other.   We happened…not courted or dated.

She makes it too easy to love her and loves me more than I ever deserve.

There are so many examples of the beautiful Hannah being an amazing and kind woman I need to isolate one thing.  In the past few months, while pregnant and working too hard at her school, she has made sure to make time for me.  She has done more than her share of chores and given me time to sleep or read or relax.  While I was sick, she made me soup and let me be lazy.  Then when she was sick, she made herself soup and cleaned the house!  I don’t get the second part there but she likes to treat me like a prince.

We have only been married for a year and a half yet it seems like we have journeying through life together for at least the last ten. 

Sometime we get confused and even surprised when we realize we weren’t together when we went on a vacation three years ago or knew that person or struggled through that time.  Because we figured that we just knew each other for so many years.  It is like our hearts and lives were prepared for the other or something.

And I am constantly amazed that I can love someone as much as I love her.

For years I fought connecting on a deep level with anyone.  The word love was not something I was willing to say to anyone…  They might die, they might reject me, they might hurt me—intentionally or unintentionally, so I was quick to keep everyone at arm’s length or farther from me.  I was facaded with cinderblocks to most people and yet, I can’t keep a secret for the beautiful Hannah now.  She knew my darkest secrets within a couple months of meeting me.  She learned my struggles and asked how to help.  She heard my pains and offered to build a new life with me without those pains.  That is why the beautiful Hannah is greatest thing that ever happened to me and the love of my life.

Thanks for being my baby mama, Cintamu.

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Filed under Dreams, Junior, Marriage, The Jesus Way, Transparency

A year ago

A year ago today, I woke up alone in a basement room.  It was a little early and all of the food and drinks I had the night before were fighting in my belly.  This would be a rough day I thought.  I had to shop for Christmas dinner things and then go decorate a gym, with just a couple other people who might not show…or stay.  But then better dreams became real and the following story started gaining momentum.  Enough momentum for me to be sitting in a tiny apartment a few feet from my sleeping wife who will celebrate this anniversary by decorating the same place, but with 17x as many people!  

Here are some older words I wrote about the beginning of our story starting a year ago today.  I sure am glad you stayed and helped that night, Hannah Meeks!

For almost 20 years I wandered around looking for this elusive thing called love.  According to Wikipedia:

Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. Love is also a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection; and “the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”. Love may also be described as actions towards others or oneself based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.

Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.

Love may be understood as part of the survival instinct, a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.

That is all well and good but like a lot of life it was not as easy to put into practice.  For me, after losing a friend and then my father to car accidents at age 19, I shut down and decided I didn’t need love.  Pushing away friends and family for a period of time and just dwelling in my own world.  I was still looking for things like love, but never really was able to give or receive it while being emotionally locked down.  The fortress was solid, the walls high and the inner workings idling but never revving.  As it turned out nineteen is an interesting age for that to happen since most guys go through that period for a few months or a year.

I was in that shut down, emotionally closed off period of life for 7 or so years until someone tried to break me out.  She was great and amazing but her eventual rejection brought up all the past rejections again.  It brought up a lot of pain and brokenness that did not allow me to trust.

“Do you trust anyone?”

-Not really

“How about yourself? Or your family? Or God?”

-Nope.  I don’t think they have my best interest and I apparently don’t either.

Those might not have been my exact words, but in 2009 I uttered something like that to a counselor…who then teared up and said he was sorry that the world was not a safe place for me.  We took a couple years to get through some of those issues, but I came out the other side victorious…mostly.

In the midst of those years, I started looking more actively for love.  I was pursuing what I knew as love.  It wasn’t always what love is, apparently, because it hurt, stung or made me drunk for a couple hours.  The dates weren’t defined, so the rejection wasn’t as harsh.  The interactions and calls just ended, and was often my fault.  The words and feelings were dealt with, to an extent, and laughed at by confided in friends.  It was fun most of the time.

Then, it wasn’t.  I realized I had fake love in 5 area codes, 3 country codes, and a couple Facebook profiles.  How was I to trust anyone when I couldn’t trust myself?  So I gave them all up.  I let some of them go.  I confessed fake, or projected, love to others and reconciled a couple more.  More dudes were confided in for advice.  A couple more girls entered the outer gates of the fortress but never were issued a treasure map to the hidden passage way.  Eventually those who were trying to be close gave up and no more invites were given out.

It seemed like a good day to renovate.  To open up a couple windows and air the place out.  To dispose of some old souvenirs that held more hurt than pleasant memories. While cleaning up the corners and deep recesses I was allowed the chance to see some amazing examples of love in those around me.  Love that isn’t written about but simply lived out.  The examples of friends and families loving each other whether in spousal relations or in neighborhood, employment or community realms.  I started noticing more and more how people made time for each other and just listened.  I started taking notes and planning when I would be done with the cleaning process…figuring the fortress needed to be cleaned well before anyone would want to come in or should be invited.

The yellow caution tape was put up… and this metaphor is losing steam.

As the old adage goes, when you aren’t looking you will find what you want and need.  Or something like that.

Last Christmas Eve, I was minding my own business doing what I needed to do relationally—preparing a Christmas dinner for 200+ people when circumstances set me up.  Only one girl stayed more than a few minutes to decorate. Since both of us were holiday orphans and had nowhere else to be. we worked for about 3 hours together decorating significantly better than the previous year…and talking… and towards the end I started admiring her smile and joy in life.

That girl quickly became a woman and something special to me.  Hannah walked past all the caution tape and somehow found the secret pathway into the fortress like she had been given the code and map by a higher power.

For almost 20 years, I had been searching for this elusive thing called love. Looking high and low, in corners and rooftops, in person and on phones. And yet that elusive thing called love simply showed up one day in a greater way than I would have ever imagined.  A way that in two months has made me a better man than in the 200 months previous.  The way that makes me wonder if dreams do come true and if Hollywood is writing my life story right now.  In a way that things just feel right…including the timing.

The Hollywood voiceover narration would begin like this

There I was minding my own business when we were brought together.  Literally and figuratively. I wasn’t really paying attention to her when I realized there was something attractive about this girl whom fate made the only other person in the massive room that night. With whom I had to work together to string lights over a basketball court in the gym.  I dismissed the thoughts quickly.

The week before I told a friend that meeting people and starting to date around the holidays was worthless and would never be genuine.  It would be all about emotions, like spring flings and filling the need of being a holiday orphan.

Plus, the only reason I was in that gym was because no one else was willing to lead decorating on Christmas Eve. Also, I was done with girls for another few months.

But there she was.  With an amazing smile.  Giving up her Christmas and Christmas Eve to volunteer with a bunch of ragamuffins to a larger bunch of ragamuffins.  She seemed to love people, was beautiful and goofy and sarcastic and funny.

After what might have been the most stressful day of my year being a “leader” the beautiful Hannah invited me to a friend’s place for Christmas dinner and some games.

I was just invited to the decorating girl’s friend’s place for dinner.  If I go I know emotions will be involved. Encouragements and rebukes welcome” is what I texted a buddy.

I had noticed Hannah blush a little as she wrote down her number.  It seemed like there was something there, but I was exhausted, but what if this is the one chance Eminem talked about, but I’m really tired and I’m already late, but I should just go.

I went, late and with beer to celebrate making it through the largest event of the year, and for nerves.  I made a short appearance, lost at Skip Bo and went on my way home.

How was your night?” was the text I received as I got home.

It was fun. She is really cute and funny, but not sure if she is nice to everyone”, to the same buddy.

And 20 minutes later he got another. “Well, I know now…we have a date Wednesday

‘What am I doing?’ I thought.  I just asked a girl out on Christmasby text.  I thought similar things when I invited her to my friend’s New Year’s Eve party for our second date.  And when we took a 12 hour road trip two days after.  But… she was different…beautiful…caring… and open.

Little did I know these emotionally open, exhausted, completely censor free interactions would influence the rest of my life less than 3 months later.

Last Sunday, having planned a super romantic and creative way, only to have it not completely work, I surprised the girl of my dreams in her house when I asked her to marry me.  I was sick and Hannah was still waking up from her nap, but it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.  The timing was a surprise but the act was not.

We had talked about marriage early in the relationship as we clarified our intentions.  A couple weeks before I walked out of a horrible movie with my mentee to call her mom and ask if I could marry her.  Her brother also gave his blessing.  My family was on board as was the inner circle.  My grandmother’s ring had been restored, sized and cleaned for her…and wasn’t going to wait until our trip to majestic Crater Lake next week.  And it is a good thing I didn’t wait!

We spent the weekend with friends in Bend, where it was cold and snowy and forest-y and beautiful.  I had gone to retreat, pray and figure out how to take over the world.  Hannah came because I was going away for the weekend.  Since I had the ring, and am not an eloquent speaker…just writer…I decided to type my thoughts out.  How amazing she is, has made my life better and how much I want to spend every day of the rest of my life with her. The standard things.  Because I knew I would want to actually say the words, I left the last sentence unresolved and asked her to read the last few sentences aloud…

The forecast for the mountain pass coming back to Portland was treacherous at best so I found a hiking trail near Salem that we could take a short hike and then when we returned to the car I would give her the letter while I changed my shoes and shirt, leaving me time to grab the ring and listen for her cue.  The pass wasn’t that bad but my cold was. It started to make me tired, stuffed up and nauseous occasionally.  As we approached the turn off for the trail, the skies opened.  It was not raining- even by Oregon standards.  It was dumping a month’s worth of sky water in a matter of hours.  So we kept driving, skipping the hike and I prayed…

God, I thought this was it.  Did I miss something? Am I supposed to wait? Is there a better place or did I mistake your timing?

The negative thoughts flooded in as my perfect plan failed.  I still had the letter and realized there was a better place and it would have more meaning.

After a much needed nap, we were sitting on the same loveseat we confessed love and infatuation for the other.  It was where we had shared some of the largest and deepest pains and hurts in our life.  It is also where we decided we were in this together and neither Hannah nor I was leaving. Now to make that official.  I had called her over to the chair after finding a song that we both enjoy- and she sings to me- and handed her the letter.

As she started reading, I held her and I could feel my heart in my chest, then throat… then forehead.  I waited as she read.  Setting the laptop to the side so I could get up and down on one knee.  I waited more.  I notice she was reading parts again so pointed to the margin note to read the last part aloud.

She started, “After thinking of you in all these ways, I have made a decision that both delights me because there is no one as perfect as you and scares me as I wonder if I can protect and love you as much as you deserve, but it is with incredible certainty I ask… ”

I have to admit I teared up a little as I asked her to make me the luckiest man I know.  She accepted. We hugged and stared at each other.  Called family.  Texted friends. Told my Portland family at Sunday night dinner.  Then I went home alone to my cold now lonely bedroom, ready to start the next chapter of this thing called life.

So there is the story.  And no, we are not getting rid of that chair anytime soon.

Let's go.

Let’s go.

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Filed under Adulthood, Dreams, Marriage, Storytime, Three O Clock People

Work

Copyright (c) <a href='http://www.123rf.com'>123RF Stock Photos</a>

 

It is my flawed belief that we are not made to enjoy work.  There are a lot of biblical verses that mention how hard work is tied to the Fall.   How we will toil and reap only what we sow.  How those who don’t work don’t receive.  And that work is good, just not always easy.

One of my new routines has been to sit at the dinner table with the beautiful Hannah every evening.  We light a candle, hold hands, breath out deeply and say a quick prayer before we eat.  It is often the first time we sit down together after our respective work days.  The last few weeks it has included the following phrase –

“Thank you for work and jobs, that we do not always enjoy but have been given by You.  Let us have rest tonight so we can once again return to work.”

If I am honest, it is often less poetic.  The heart of it is often more “I really wanted to sit at home and read but thanks for work until I figure out how to get paid for that”.   Also, honestly I know people struggling for work who sit at home and read and really want something to do.  They are sick of not having a day job, and not just for financial reasons.  I have been there before and occasionally long for what I don’t have.

I have a day job that isn’t something I went to school for, sought out or necessarily something I will ever want to identify myself as or by.  But it pays the bills. It makes ends meet easily — as long as I watch where the ends are going.  It gives me a space to rest and sleep with paid days off and a regular daily schedule.  I have health care and life insurance and free food sometimes.

I have benefits in addition to my paycheck.

That statement puts me in a top tier of people that work, which in itself is a tier of people that is smaller than the majority.  I don’t have to pay for required equipment or even a bus pass to get to work.  That puts me in a higher tier of the top tier.

I don’t always enjoy work, but I enjoy the rewards.  And I enjoy that I have a rewarding job.

A rewarding job…

For some reason, probably culture, when I hear “rewarding job”, I get a picture where I am sitting in a fluffy chair, with a pipe and writing stories of life, instead of at a desk in a corner of an inventory room, writing emails to unhappy customers.  Yet both are rewarding and who is to say I won’t one day grow a long white beard and sit on a porch as a “job”?

Sometimes I just need to stop and think about how blessed I am to have work, even if I didn’t want to wake up this morning to get on the bus.

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Filed under Dreams, Global Community, The Jesus Way

Dreams

I have dreams…a lot of them…but I am not really a dreamer.

I am not a dreamer because I have a hard time getting out of the practical.  When I have a dream of living somewhere I generally make plans within a few months to move there.  When I dream of making changes in my life I talk about them to friends and get the ball rolling quickly.  When I had the dream of not being single, I started risking.  All of these dreams had little specifics attached to them.   I didn’t know how I would actually be able to move, or to where.  I didn’t know how I would find new work or new life rhythms, just that I wanted a change.  I didn’t know who I would marry or how fast or how amazing she would be, just that I wasn’t willing to be single anymore.  No specifics, just desires.

Yet I have found dreamers have a lot of details attached to their dreams or desires.  Since I don’t and rarely know how to verbalize the specifics let allow want specifics to narrow my focus, I don’t have dreams.

But you said you have dreams?

Indeed, I have vivid dreams while I sleep that I remember sometimes for days.  I don’t know what it says about me. I had one last night where Justin Timberlake called a friend’s phone while we were cleaning up an outdoor graduation ceremony where all of the tassels had to be put back on.  He told me to come meet Adele because we were going to play a practical joke on her.  As I was leaving my wife said I should make sure to kiss her, so I can say I snogged Adele*.  (Apparently even though she gave me permission in the dream, this is not okay in real life.)

I don’t know what all that means or why I remember it.  I don’t think anyone I know has JT on speed dial, or why I would be invited to prank Adele, but if that did happen, believe me I would write a better post than this about that.

But more I don’t know why I have details about that scene remembered in my head, yet I can’t dream of how to get some of Portland’s 5000 houseless off the streets, or how to create community for them or when that would happen or with whom exactly.  So I don’t dream about life and instead dream about ludicrous things.

I have heard really intelligent people dream in color.  Or the ones in color are from some higher being.  I am not sure if either of these are true, but I wish some, or one, of my real life desires would become a dream where all the details are figured out in my sleep.

Are you a dreamer?

 

* I have long held the belief that you should do something big when you meet certain people.  Like punch Mike Tyson if you ever bump into him at the Safeway.  Then you could say you fought him, and use your permanently disfigured jaw to prove it.

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