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..: stories

..: Redeeming the Time

1:30am, Memorial Day weekend. I see the flags, and the Veteran center here in Westwood, and I think about our recent trip to Oahu, stading on the monument floating above the submerged Arizona. The quite shuffling of the visitors, respectful, moving slowly. Occasional flash of a camera. I can see that flag, the one high above the monument, blowing with vigor and pride.

And I feel nothing like that flag tonight. Totally afflicted with purpose and purposelessness at the same time, I watch the spending of my minutes. I am on the computer, I am spending 4 hours creating the Sermons section on the New site, and I wonder if anyone will notice the changes. I am amazed at how long it takes me, thinking, I should be faster than this. I wonder if anyone at the church will use the site at all, for that matter. I reread my letters to the leaders about the new site, and I just don't understand what intangible thing causes them to completely ignore me. Many of the leaders there ignore my email. It pains me to write it. It reminds me of the art directors at the Revolution, the way in their snobbish ways they announce silent non-allegiance simply by what they don't do: they don't attend the meetings, they don't rsvp, they don't write back, they don't respond, they ignore you.

And where else did I spend my time? Oh, there was the 15 painful minutes in the Xterra, parked in the empty lot of the Togos sandwich shop on Wilshire. KJ was telling me what a selfish, self-centered man I have proudly become. Five minutes into the conversation, I knew she was right. I cannot be bothered to have friends, she reminds me. She considers it a joy to receive a friend's call. Maybe you didn't have it modelled to you, she offers. But she is kind, she puts her hand on my shoulder to reassure me to get on with it. I feel sick now, and I feel hungry, and emotionally, I am not sure what to do to fix this. I get an Italian sandwich at Togos, and wait for her to return with $8 of sushi from a few doors down. We sit, and I return to something safe: making fun of the lousy job the old man outside is doing of painting the black iron fence.

And we spent 2 hours in the theatre, watching a musical. There was so much color, humor, art. I have never seen anything like it, and I was mesmerized. Selfishly, I wanted to fold it all into myself and keep it like a secret. I emerge devestated, because I know I will never achieve such art or creativity in my lifetime. Not in that magnitude.

There was the 2 minutes when my coworker called. He was going to office with his family to pick something up, and had forgotten the code to the building. I listen to myself talking on the phone, making an effort to be friendly, to not be self-centered in my conversation, and I realize I have no control over that kind of thing. I get about 2 phone calls a week now. When I was in high school, I would get 5 a night. Nobody calls me now. I imagine a great field that I own, filled with nothing but dirt, because I have not sowed anything, nor have I watered anything. The other day, I saw 15 people at my funeral. You stand up there, on your wedding day, and look at the sanctuary, and see all those faces, and you wonder how many will be watered and nurtured enough to consider me a friend at my funeral. Oh but I was too busy beaming on my wedding day.

There was another 20 minutes spent about 1am, 24 hours ago or so. I put Gran Turismo 3 on, and played the game for a long time. The 20 minutes I spent that accounted for nothing were on an endurance race that is 100 laps; I make it to 10, working out the fuzzy math in my head. It is late, and I can't manage the multiplication and so I know I must quit. 10 laps, wasted. Some will say any time on that videogame, is time wasted. One day, maybe I will agree.

We spent 3 extra minutes when we approach the theater parking. $4, flat rate, the sign says. And just above it, the competition has posted a larger orange sign that says $3 flat rate. And so, I am moved to action. I turn right instead of left, and we drive around the alley into the other lot. It is more convenient, and I take kj's hand as we walk up to the theater.

And there are these hours and hours I've worked on the site tonight. I love the dull monotonous work; I daydream, and the songs in the player take me to new places, some worship, some regret, some joy. My mind moves to the rug, and lifts the corner and I carefully take out one of my secret pains, the one about the only man in my life that could have made a difference, and the impending divorce 12 years in the making, and the lies we tell. How we live with lies, how even now, I am 30, I am the victim of those lies, taken for a fool. He brings another woman to the house, and denies it to my face, as if I am 6 years old, and too occupied with my Transformers to look up and see the house is on fire. My house is on fire, damn you! And you could have made a difference, you did not, and I am fighting the generation curse that only Mother believes in, but that I fear more than death. Sometimes they say I should talk to other men, create a group of trustworthy ones, and I realize I have nothing to give them in return, will they still hear me out? Do people like that exist, ones that I trust and respect? Sometimes they do, but then they tell me that everything is ok, and I am too hard on myself, and I realize I have gotten nowhere.

Have you ever noticed, sometimes I hate the RageBomb? I wish it did not come to this, so alone and frustrated that this is the only way I know how to share? I sought out some help the other week, but the search lasted 3 days before I managed to cover the pain over, and the search for help was over.

2:07am now. The music player is louder now. I have to keep the volume loud, or the sensor in the speakers just shut off. I looked at the song set for tomorrow, Sunny is leading. I realize I would rather play acoustic than electric. I don't know many of the songs, and they don't seem like fast ones. Sunny reminds me of myself. I see her art, and her methods, and I know and recognize the heart. Except hers is more mature. She has moved beyond making noise, being cynical, to joy in her Savior. Gratitude is the other song she wrote.

I look at 4 years of sermons on the Epic site, and I know I am part of something bigger than me, something with purpose. Am I to be the historian? Or should I do something else? What exactly is my ministry in the website? Could it be I am a glorified digital secretary? Would it better benefit someone if I spend these hours on something that more tangibly made a difference in a person's life? I suspect, I have found another place to leave my legacy, and that is why I am drawn to the project.

I don't hate you, really. I hate the RageBomb.
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