Category Archives: Dreams

2021: The Insignificant With The Sacred Unique


I hate marathons. I hate waiting. Especially for something that I know is coming. It makes me feel not only unsettled, but as if something terrible is going to happen until that thing that’s supposed to come, comes. Until that thing that’s supposed to occur, happens. (That feeling is called dread. Or a constant panic attack. Anxiety.)
That feeling like something is missing.
That feeling of being…incomplete.

Well I’ve been mulling over this whole new year business–a second time around–and I’ve come to only one possible conclusion:

Okay but…for real.
2021? THIS New Year Needs More Sister Act.

Last year, I was facing personal unknown, and I wrote about redefining our understanding of resolution. I had ZERO idea what was coming for everyone, not just me, because not a few months after that, the novel Corona virus caused everyone to lock down, and everything to change. And I spent the year rolling with it. I was excited to get back to teaching, only for my classes to get cut due to low enrollment, which itself was due to all in-person courses being moved to online. So I was ready to come back with a new energy and a new outlook, and then I had to adjust to teaching daily from my study.
And here we are, a year later, and…not much has changed. And yet at the same time, it feels like everything has changed. Maybe because I’ve changed. We’ve changed.

And yet…change doesn’t feel enough, does it? Because slow (possibly lasting) change doesn’t feel as noticeable as a drastic change. And it’s been a year of slow change for most. I don’t like that I feel I’ve personally changed, and yet also feel like I don’t show it. I made a goal of taking better care of myself, and connecting with my physical self (challenging as an enneagram 5), and I’ve spent the past year doing so. I’ve been flossing every day for a year now. I’ve been working out and exercising consistently for a year. I’ve watched what I’ve been eating. Meditate regularly.
Maybe that’s why I love getting new tattoos. There’s something noticeable, from before to after. I always feel like I’m closer to my fuller, more complete self after every new tattoo.
Or really, it’s that sensation of getting a new tattoo is more of a temporary diversion from the reminder of my incompleteness.
As such while I love that release, what I hate though is the time between booking my appointment, and waiting until the time comes. Because I want it now. Because I hate waiting. I want the visible, noticeable change right when I set about getting it. And it’s during the in-between, I’m facing a reminder that I don’t have the thing I believed will make me feel more complete, and I have to wait to get the thing that’ll make me feel more complete. Thus, I’m stuck feeling incomplete.

And that feeling seems like the worst part of this past year. The slow change, whatever those changes may be. The constant reminder of our incompleteness. The year itself dragged on and on, until all we’re left with is the personal and collective mindset of the “before times.Before last year. Before what we’re STILL in. A desire to go back to the time where we weren’t reminded of just how incomplete we actually are.

Ever wonder what does ‘Auld Lang Syne’ mean? It’s customary to sing it at New Years, but what’s it mean besides a call to remember?
Well, the most accurate plain English interpretation of the Auld Lang Syne’s famous title is ‘old long since’, or ‘for the sake of old times’.
Remembering the before times. And then looking forward to what will become the NEW “old times.” As I talked about last year, we mark moments like a new year as a fresh start. But how do you “fresh start,” when you can’t? When you have to wait.

How do you have a new year, when it all feels like a continuation of the old?

How do you live when we’re still stuck in limbo?

It’s not like you can just take your WaitMate pills until Covid is over, or the year, or the election.
Or until that point you believe you’ll finally be complete.

It’s not like you can just fake it and turn the clocks forward.

Here’s the thing. I really wonder how many are still holding onto the Auld Lang Syne, the “Before Times,” out of a desire to return to them when this is all over. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are so ready for this all to be finished, to return to the way things were before. Who want to return to normalcy and decency. Who view this time (or however long) as a stopgap, a pause, on life; and once this is all over, we all can get on with life.

But we can’t. Things won’t be same, probably ever again. Because we’re not the same. I know I’m not. And I won’t be. YOU won’t be.

As a teacher and as a reverend, I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I’ve learned, and what lesson I can give about this past year. Some…morsel of wisdom, to make sense of it all. To make them feel better about their incompleteness, or to forget about it.
And the truth is…I’m not there. Because I’m still struggling with mine. I can’t give something worth while. Not for anyone but myself, anyway.
I honestly just end up either sending them the following Monty Python clip, or singing it to them:

Over the holiday, my son had an experience causing him to suddenly believe Santa is real. You see, my kids have been raised a bit free to explore their own beliefs and come to their own summations. I happily and readily tell them what I believe and why (on a level they at their age can understand), but for the most part, things like Santa, Krampus, etc, are all things conveyed to them that are fun to pretend are real. I’ve never pushed them into belief one way or the other. But sometime over the holiday break (and I have a feeling I know exactly when), my eldest went from believing Santa was just pretend, to telling me one day while having a thousand yard stare in his eye, “Papa, Santa is REAL.”

santa is real
He looked just like this when he said it, cigarette and all.

And so this Christmas, for the first time in his 5 years, he actually believed that some of the gifts left for him from “Santa” were ACTUALLY from Santa.

The thing is, I never thought I would be a parent that would perpetuate the illusion. But then, I never realized how much joy I would personally get out of my children’s sense of awe and wonder. Yes. I could explain to him what he actually witnessed. I could explain to him who the gifts are actually from. And eventually, I will. I will share the truth. And expose the lie. A lie that I am currently perpetuating.

But for one, I don’t know if he’ll actually believe me.
Or the truth.

And for another, in a way that’s just a return to what came before his experiences. And as I said, there is no going back.

So how can I even think to give ANY sort of universal statement to any of you? Something just as personal, if not more?
For one, I don’t know if you’ll actually believe me.
Or the truth.

And for another, as I said, there’s no going back to everything before the experiences of this year.

If there’s one takeaway or “truth” I can give, it’s this:

Stop holding on to Auld Lang Syne.
Stop hoping to get back to the way things were.


The worst thing you can do in the middle of a panic attack is fight it.

But you fight it because you want to get back to how you were BEFORE the panic attack. My daughter struggles with getting too worked up, and it is like a panic. And all she wants to do is go back to before her tantrum. All the way back to before whatever set off her overwhelming sense of anxiety and emotion. But that doesn’t solve it. And you can’t just do that every time something overwhelming comes up and causes you panic and extreme emotion.
Instead, recognize it for what it is, and then trust that it’s not forever. Let it wash over you. And through you. And come out the other side.

I sit in it with my daughter. It can be overwhelming. But I live it with her. I strive to remind her that it’s okay to feel it. But that we’re not going back to the beginning. Because that’s not going to help. And because there’s no going back.

And I’m trying to get to the place of doing that with myself.

Because it’s not about getting back to how you were before the event. Yet here’s the thing, it’s ALSO not about doing whatever you can to just…get to the other side.

Sometimes it takes just sitting and being present in the anxiety. The dread. The belief.

The incompleteness.

And so it’s not about finding the lesson (or the takeaway). It’s not about finding the purpose. It’s not about finding the point. It’s not about finding the meaning.

It’s not about finding your spark.

In the newest Pixar film, Soul, the lead character Joe Gardner has been holding out “living,” hoping for the day his life will truly begin. That is, when he gets to be an actual performing jazz musician, rather than just teaching band to inner city kids. He dies.
And the rest of the film ensues.
But the thing I kept thinking is this: How can someone die who hasn’t actually lived?

See, Joe doesn’t accept his death, because he died right on the cusp of what he believed to be his life beginning. “I can’t die now! My life is about to finally begin!

It’s only through seeing a soul that doesn’t want to live, actually live his life (in his body. Movie logic), that he not only helps said soul (22) accept life, but maybe on a deeper level, is jealous of that someone else is living his life better than he is?
And why? Or rather, how?
Not by satisfying what he believes to be his purpose, his reason for being, his spark (jazz musician), but just “regular old living.” Talking with people. Truly connecting.

The insignificant with the sacred unique.

Soul ends with Joe accepting his death. Accepting the great beyond. And looking back over his life and realizing he’s already lived.
So then…when he’s given a second chance…

“So? What do you think you’ll do? How are you gonna spend your life?”
“I’m not sure. But I do know…I’m gonna live every minute of it.”

Living is what happens in between the moments you think or believe you’re actually waiting for.
Living IS the incomplete.
Not being complete. Or in the things you think or believe will make you complete.

The insignificant with the sacred unique.

You ready? To come live?

I’m scared I’m not good enough. And I never got my spark.

Yes, you did.
Your spark isn’t your purpose. That last box fills in when you’re ready to come LIVE.

I don’t have anything to say beyond this: I think I’m done teaching for a while. I mean, I have to for my job. But I don’t want anything beyond that for now. I’m tired of treating life like I’m waiting for it. I want to live. And see life. I want to learn. I want to meet you. And hear your story. I want to see life through your eyes. Because THAT is living.
If we only ever live through our own life, well then how much of life itself do we ever actually get to know?

It took a suicide attempt to fill in the last box and give me my spark.
It took a year like last to make it really matter, and for me to get intentional about it.

I wanna know all of it.

How am I gonna spend my life?

I don’t know. I don’t want to plan it.
I just want to live it. And see what happens. Or rather, what happens next.
Good. Bad. Boring. Lively. Panic. Joy. Known. Unknown. Doing something. Doing nothing. 
All the “moments.” And the in-between.

For all the love you’ve left behind
You can have mine…


See you all around the bend.

Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece:

(I WILL be pausing all donations and billing during this time)

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Filed under Celebrating, Celebrations, Dreams, Uncategorized

The Fellowship of the Ringos… (Ringoes? Ringo’s?): A Tale of Forming Community

If only it were as easy as those Beatles make it out to be…

Why is it that “Help” feels like another four letter word we’re not supposed to say? No matter how much and how far we’ve progressed forward, it fascinates me how we still correlate helplessness with weakness.
No, not all of us. And I’ve spoken often of how vulnerability is truly a strength. So why can we agree with that statement, but still feel the need to cover up our helplessness? Why can we agree that vulnerability is truly a strength, and still feel shame when it comes to asking for help?

Helplessness tends to speak to failure (on our part), and failure (on our part) tends to speak to worthlessness.

and [they] were naked and felt no shame…” – Genesis 2:25

It’s interesting that the verse above tends to correlate the bit about feeling shame with the bit about being naked. As if it was their nakedness that they weren’t ashamed of, until they were. As if they didn’t have any self consciousness about their nakedness. Perhaps this has to do with what happens later, when “their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked (Gen. 3:7)” and made clothes for themselves. And then later, Adam’s response to God as to why he was hiding: “I was afraid because I as naked; (v.10)” But it doesn’t mention shame in correlation to these verses. Simply that they “knew” they were naked.

So what if the story actually means to convey that they were naked, and also that they felt no shame? What if those two facts were separate truths?

Or what if it wasn’t their nakedness that they were trying to cover up after “their eyes were opened,” but instead it was their shame? (Maybe they were just too “young” then to understand or comprehend that that’s what they were doing.)

I think the confusion of correlation with that Genesis 2:25 verse conveys the same sort of confusion of correlation we have between helplessness and worthlessness. And so to ask for help isn’t to expose our nakedness, but expose our shame.

If you watched the music video at the start of this post, did Ringo Starr stand out to you like he did me? Sitting in the back, doing nothing productive but holding an umbrella? Constantly trying to get his face in view of the camera?
To me, Ringo was the only one in that video that truly displayed, truly manifested, the message of the song. Not hiding in the back. Put in the back. And striving to be seen. Help. I need somebody.

You ever feel like Ringo?

Personally, shame and coverups are a recurring theme in my life. Being physically and sexually assaulted on a bus in middle school, I was left with scars on my chest and torso. These were specifically done so that every time I saw the scars, I’d remember everything else that happened.
Every time I was naked and exposed, I’d see those scars.
And remember my moment(s) of utter helplessness.

And it worked.
And I did everything I could to cover up.
Not my nakedness, but my shame.
(I’ve preached a sermon on the full story years ago, so if you’d like it, click here)

Here’s what I find interesting about the close of the story of the “Fall of Mankind” in Genesis. We so often feel like it’s our fault that we’re not what we “should” be. We hear God calling and we hide. We see ourselves naked and exposed, and we cover up rather than be reminded of the truth. We don’t want to be around God because being around the Divine means that we (have the opportunity to) continually see ourselves as we (think we) are—incomplete, imperfect; inhuman.
We are the reason we’re in this helpless spot. It’s our fault. And we would rather cover up than be reminded of that shame.
But is that the story?
Is that how the close of the Genesis story of the “Fall” ends? With shame? And a nakedness and exposure that constantly serves to remind us of all that happened before?
If you’re John Edwards—or anyone that adheres to and follows the “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” doctrine—you are. It’s our fault. We screwed up. God came a’lookin’ for retribution. And God WILL get the pound of flesh owed.
God didn’t leave the humans naked and exposed. Nor did God leave them to their own devices to try and continue clothing themselves.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” – Genesis 3:21

It’s as if the very shame they themselves continued trying to cover up, God covered for them.

In 1985, Berry Gordy released “The Last Dragon,” a Motown karate film. It’s been one of my favorite films since childhood. The protagonist, “Bruce” Leroy Green, has been training his entire life in martial arts to reach “the final level.” To glow (both metaphorically, and, it turns out, literally) by being a Master.

The problem is, he doesn’t believe in himself. And the whole movie is a quest for him to realize that he is what he’s been seeking all along.


I moved to Colorado Springs to get my Masters in Divinity in the hopes of pastoring a church. Not because I knew what it’d look like to do so, but because that was the path I believed I was to follow. The path I believed was mine.

I took the long way ’round.

I got my Masters, just not in Divinity. And began teaching almost immediately at the collegiate level. And the more I did that, the more I realized how closely it resembled what I had longed to do.
Eventually, I got ordained (online), and became a Reverend. And have sense been striving to convey to everyone just how much they matter. How much worth they truly have. And to begin to form a community of those who—as I do—seek that reminder.
A “church,” if you will.

I effectively forged my own path to what I’ve been longing to do.

And yet…

It wasn’t. And isn’t. Not quite.

If you’ve been keeping up with me, you know that this semester I’m not teaching. Which is giving me a lot of time to think and process. What I’ve come to is this: I believe I’m being asked to willingly board that bus again from so long ago.
And I don’t know how it looks, or what it’s going to entail. But I’m willing. And I’m doing so.
And I think I’m finally ready to begin actively forming what I’ve longed to do for as long as I can remember.

So this is my call for help.

I’m asking for help.

But not just help. I’m asking for participation. The home page to this website has a call to join me in “Dreaming the Impossible Dream.” But it was never more than that. Never more than a call.
This time I’ve begun laying the groundwork.
I began a Patreon page, and this is my call to you to become a patron. Help support me, and honestly, lets form this community together.
It’s unconventional. And I still don’t know how it’ll look, or what form it’ll take. (Twitch live streams? Chats? Videos? Podcast? More writing content?) All I can say is that this is the beginning.
And I’m willing.
I’m surrendering to getting back on that bus, powerless and vulnerable, and into the unknown.

And this time, I mean it when I say this: “Will you join me?

All this time I’ve been looking and searching for that community, I’ve talked about it as if it were some far off “someday.” But it’s not. It’s “at hand.” There is one place I have not looked, and it is there, only there…
So it’s time to start.
Though…I do not know the way.


Will you join me? Will you help me bear this? Might I have your sword? Your bow? Your axe? Maybe just your company.
It will be…a community of those who find themselves always in the back.
It will be…

A Fellowship of the Ringos.

And let us figure out What Happens Next, TOGETHER.

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->and the world will be better for this…

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Filed under Celebrating, Celebrations, Dreams, God stuff

What Happens Next

This summer, I came to the realization that it wasn’t someone else, wasn’t anyone else, that I longed to have this song serenaded to me by, it was myself. Well…my future self, that is. To sing this song to my middle school self. Let him know it’ll be okay, and if he wants, I won’t tell ’em his name.

Music has always been a huge factor in my life, and I may still long to have my “song” sung back to me. But as I said in my last post, I almost made the choice to not have a life for music to play a part in.

“And scars are souvenirs you never lose
The past is never far
Did you lose yourself somewhere out there
Did you get to be a star”

I used to think I have loads of scars. But if I were honest, I don’t have scars yet. I think I still have wounds.
And that’s partially my fault for not letting them heal.

Well anyway, it’s been 5 years since I got around to not only creating new music, but updating the music section of my website…

Check out the new song, “What Happens Next,” there.
(Or click HERE for convenience)

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Filed under Dreams, Uncategorized