Category Archives: Dreams

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.
Except…
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.

Become a Patron of Leaving La Mancha, by supporting me on Patreon

OR…

MAKE A ONE TIME PAYMENT TO ME ON VENMO BY CLICKING HERE.

->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

HIT OR MISS! I GUESS THEY NEVER MISS, HUH? (Trust Issues 2.0)

(Written 6.June.2019; almost 3 years since my previous post)

Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a white room. The white room was filled with rats.
Rats?! They make me crazy!
Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a white room. The white room was filled with rats.
Rats?! They make me crazy!
Crazy? I was crazy once…

When I was a kid, I all too often engaged in idiosyncratic behavior. Such as repeating a phrase over and over and over and over and over (whether under my breath, or simply in my head), or twiddled my hair until I ended up pulling pieces out.

Things didn’t change as I got older. I just got better at hiding it. And then I simply found new ways for it to manifest. New outlets.
Count stairs.
Make sure volume was numerically on a prime number.
Get my hair or my beard or anything appearance-wise to EXACTLY how I needed it to be before leaving the house. Well…before leaving the bathroom.
Checking the locks on every door.

And then things…kinda settled down. I…kinda settled down.
Things became relatively…okay. I found that having kids did manage to kick up my anxiety, but it also quelled a lot of it. Especially my OCD. You either become even more obsessive, or less. And I found myself becoming less. I didn’t need to get the dollar amount of the gasoline tank a prime number. Then volume didn’t necessarily have to be prime. Appearance, I felt free to not have things perfect. That, or I was simply coming into my own. Door locks were something I didn’t think about. Sometimes I didn’t even lock the car door after getting the kids out (GASP).

I found myself accepting more, being present more, letting go more.
I used to write scripts in my head of how I cinematically desired my life to play out, and then tried my damnedest to make them do so. And as life went on, that wasn’t the case. I took a backseat to my life and began to just let what happens, happen.

And I was fine with it.
To just let life happen to me.

But then…life seems to decide that maybe, perhaps maybe, you’re becoming a little too complacent.
Remember that book you were writing?

What about that album you were set to finish?
Remember how often you used to create, and write, and share and just…put it all out there?

And then…remember how Fuller Seminary said they didn’t want you?
Remember how your acting fizzled out after really taking off?
What about your music?
And your garden, and your backyard, and your longing and yearning for that…SOMETHING.

And that’s when life decides to basically end for you. Nah, your old life is done. Time to start over. Guess what. Remember all those idiosyncrasies? Remember that anxiety? Remember how easily your thoughts drift to suicide? Well those are all going to come back.

Because your life is over.

…but it’s not over.

It’s just that what came before is over. And now it’s something new. And it’s not like you’re new. Because this has happened before. Your life has ended…before…

Quite a few times now. And every time it has, it’s this weird mix of you being the same you, but becoming something else. Like…a Doctor Who…regenerating. Same person, becoming different persons.

I wish I could go into details. And looking back, I oh so often do. But this time, it’s this multiple front that involves SO much that’s in flux, and varying family in my life that I just don’t feel I can come right out and say. If /when things get resolved, then I’ll probably end up editing this. And I’m more than happy to share personally, so message me if you’re genuinely curious, cause it involves some pretty heavy and ridiculous shit.

So here’s where I’m at: I have this overwhelming feeling that I SHOULD be titling this post “Trust Issues 2.0”. Because it feels like a new beginning. “Trust Issues” was my very first post on my website. And it wasn’t as thematic, it wasn’t as clickbait-y as other posts, and it was a bit more freeform and just stream of thought and consciousness than any of my posts became from there on out.

Since then, I wrote (read: contributed) for major online publications, I switched career goals at least 3 times, I moved, I became a parent (twice), I began professoring, and got ordained as a reverend.

In fact, THIS POST is the first I’ve written since those last two have occurred.

I don’t have any pithy or profound endings right now. But I can say this, I really and truly, actually think it’s time to “lay down the melancholy burden of sanity” and conceive the strangest project ever imagined.

It’s time to get back to it.

Time to go to work.

->and the world WILL be better for this…

 

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Filed under Dreams, Tragedy, utter nonsense