Perfection in perceived hardship (being a trial embracer)

I hear crunching, chewing coming from somewhere behind me in the darkness.

Trying to figure out what kind of animal it is.

Sounds too large to be a mouse, and I’ve noticed that mice will grab their food and scurry away with it rather than chow it down all in one spot.

It’s a deep crunch, as that catalyzed by a substantial jaw. My guess would be cat or raccoon.

Probably cat. I can’t imagine a raccoon having the kind of jumping ability required to get in through the back window.

But maybe raccoons climb? Not sure. I really should know these things, you know?

I could just turn the light on to satiate my curiosity, but then I’d interrupt. Probably startle the poor dear half to death.

No, I will just let you dine in peace, my presumably furry soul brother or soul sister (wouldn’t it be weird if it is something without fur? Holy crap, what if it’s from outer space?).

This is maybe my strangest blog post yet. And I’ve written a couple odd ones in my day.

It’s 4:33AM and I’m in a garage.

Naked, covered in a blanket my friend gave me, laying back on the reclining lawn chair that’s basically been my bed for the past… oh, I don’t know… several weeks? Couple months?

A cicada-like symphony serenades me; an abrasive backdrop to the crunch, crunch, crunch of the feline or the raccoon, or the giant extra-terrestrial mouse.

When I roll over on my side with an awkward plop, the cicadas or mutant crickets or whatever (again, my ignorance shines) stop singing for a few seconds.

This makes me feel strangely powerful, important, that a mundane act as shifting my body can silence such a boisterous bunch.

Thanks for noticing me, cicadas.

Now it’s 4:43.

I just spent a solid ten minutes straining to find the right words to describe how it makes me feel when bugs shut the hell up for two seconds when I roll over.

Is this really my life?

I just woke up from a dream that I was moving into a house. It was the first dream I ever remember having of moving into a new place. It was nice. I felt good.

It’s a dream I’d like to turn real. I’m ready, baby. My time has come.

I’m not really interested in settling down long-term; I want to travel, trot the globe, assimilate with every culture, make love with people all over the world.

Making love doesn’t have to be sexual, by the way. Right now I’m making love to my blog. Authentic words are love. Everything real is love. Let’s all make lots of it everywhere we go.

But yeah, I’d like to buy a house. Have an HQ. Go out into the streets and find soul sisters and brothers who need a roof over their heads, take them home, light up their lives and let them light mine up too. Then while I’m out in the corners of this pseudo-spherical earth, I’ll have instant house-sitters.

(If that sounds terrifying to you, sorry. You genuinely have my sympathy. The world doesn’t need to be as scary as we often make it out to be. Promise.)

5:07AM. Haven’t written a word in minutes. Staring at nothing, trying to work out how to get to some kind of point. Fantasizing about warm beds and hot Epsom salt baths.

5:13, already? Time is tickin’ away, friends.

8:44AM: No, I haven’t been sitting here this whole time. I clothed myself and went for a walk.

Most of my walks are joyous (or at least peaceable) excursions, but this one was a bit odd.

Bought a pack of smokes and sucked three of them down on my way to a nearby park. Smoking is nasty. I left the remaining seventeen cigarettes on the ground by a bench for some lucky person to find. Score.

I wouldn’t have bought them to begin with if my mental state had been within the realm of normalcy.

I was restless. Uneven. Frustrated with my situation, getting worn down.

As I shuffled down the street like some kind of zombie, I muttered to myself.

“OK, Andrew. Get a grip, dude. What am I forgetting? What’s missing? Why am I so disheartened? What do I need?”

Thankfully, the answers came right away. All I had to do was ask.

What I’d forgotten was to be present with the stillness and perfection in every moment.

An unpleasant mood or attitude doesn’t equate to imperfection. Dark colors and uneven lines are beautiful and integral to a great work of art just as much as smooth strokes and radiant hues.

The only person who can determine if this challenging stretch of my life is beautiful or hideous is me. The thoughts I engage in, the words I use are everything.

When I find myself loathing my circumstances, I know it’s time for a re-frame. A shift in perspective. An attitude check.

Being a trial embracer

One of my heroes is an incredibly passionate musician named Keith Green, who physically passed away in the early 80s but absolutely lives on in his music and in the hearts he inspired (including mine).

Green once wrote: “Make me: one, a prayer warrior, two, a trial embracer, and three, a mountain mover in Jesus.”

Believing in Jesus is not a prerequisite for feeling and finding solace in the power and conviction of those words.

I especially gravitate towards the term Trial Embracer. One who finds purpose in hardship.

When I look back on my life, it is clear that my most challenging trials reaped the most fruitful rewards. All the pain I’ve endured had a reason. All the shame and chains and suffering.

I know this in my heart. All I have to do when the going gets tough, is remember.

And if every so-called tragedy I’ve experienced ended up having a perfect purpose in the grand scheme, then why would now be any different?

Answer: it wouldn’t.

And that’s why I can smile and hang out with my mice roomies in this dirty, smelly-ass garage and continue writing books, blogging, life-building, social networking, smoking the occasional cigarette, and holding a vision in my heart for a glorious, peaceful world that begins with a peaceful, glorious me.

It’s all good. My stumbles are just groovy new dance steps that haven’t caught on yet. But they will. Or not. Doesn’t change a thing.