“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
One of the hardest things I’ve ever been able to do is to get out and live. You sit behind a screen long enough and you really begin to feel something within you straining to break free. I’ve felt that way for awhile now. It’s so easy to be apathetic and lazy. It’s so easy to stay at home alone, which, don’t get me wrong, can be absolutely wonderful. However, I do too much of it. I don’t have many friends…oh, but I do. I’m just horrible at maintaining friendships, keeping in touch with people, taking the initiative. But as I sit at home each night, I feel my bones yearning for something so much more.
So to remedy this problem, I’ve begun a journey, an adventure. One that will take me out of my comfort zone to places I haven’t been before, or meeting people I’ve never met, or doing things I’ve never done. Getting out and doing great things, heroic things. I’ll be on the news, in the paper; people will know who I am. I’ll rescue dogs, women and children in distress, and homeless men getting beat up by gangs. They’ll create a nick name for me…a superhero name. Awesome Matt, no, no, no, Super Awesome Matt, no, Captain Mattman, yes! Politicians will seek my support. Scientists will ask me questions concerning the subatomic particles that make up our universe. Religious scholars will beg me to write a book on the vast knowledge I’ve obtained about the greatest theological question of all time, “Will my pet go to heaven?” I will live a life without regret, I will conquer this town, I will conquer our social problems, I… honestly have no idea what I’m doing, or where to begin.
In fact, it took me a good month before I began to be proactive in this little quest. That’s because I didn’t know where to begin. Before I continue it may help to give a brief background on what got me to this point. Not too long ago I was a college minister at a Southern Baptist church. I grew up pretty conservatively, went to college and got a B.A. in Ministry, knew for certain I was going to do this forever, and planned my life accordingly. I got this position as a part time college minister making about $10,000 a year, but I ended up getting burned out quickly. There are many reasons why this happened: 1) it was a Southern Baptist church, 2) I was a college minister at church with a median age of 65+, 3) I got paid in peanuts, and 4) it was a Southern Baptist church. For the last few years my faith has evolved (gasp!). I began to no longer align myself with the faith I was raised in, the faith that I always knew was flawless (oh, how naïve). But like most twenty-somethings, things were beginning to change for me – how I viewed God, people, faith, social issues, sexuality…and I began to wonder if I’m still “called” to do this church ministry thing. So, I resigned. That was three weeks ago as of this writing.
I was tired of being constrained, held back. I wanted to experience more for myself. I needed to do something that would shake up my world. I needed something that connected me to the rest of world – in whatever capacity that would be. I need to know if God is truly out there, if He cares; but where to begin? Of course, taking that first step is always the scary part. As my friend Lao-tzu (yeah, we’re bros) would say, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Apparently that first step brought me to a PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meeting.
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- the19thhistory said: But you already have a superhero nickname: The Ivory Tickler. Oh, wait, that’s a supervillain. Um…Well, regardless, A+ use of Foer. Actually, just A+ in general.
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