My Beard. Or Lack, Thereof...

So for my new job at Boston Market, I'm not allowed to have a beard; however, I am allowed to have a goatee. Whilst shaving the facial hair that I've grown emotionally attached to over the past five years, I decided to try some new stuff too.


First, the beard.

That picture is from the summer, but I just wanted to refresh your memory as to what the beard looked like.


Followed by...


Then I became the star of a 70's cop show...

And, finally...

What's sad is the last time I shaved completely, I looked like this...

I want to look like that again.


My Maybe Baby

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I've been fooling myself for the past six months. Maybe Megan isn't "the one" -- whatever that means. However, I just cannot imagine God putting the most wonderful woman in my life just to have my heart broken... again. As Tom always tells me, "It is not God's will for your heart to be dashed against the rocks."

Maybe everyone else was right. Maybe I should have paid more mind to red flags when they presented themselves. Maybe I was blinded by love. But maybe there was no love at all -- maybe I just wanted to be in a relationship so badly, I was willing to sacrifice my relational needs just to call someone "my girlfriend." Maybe she just wanted a safety net that she could fall into when she was done living out her dreams of independence.

Maybe we really did love each other. I think I truly loved her, anyway.

Maybe THIS meant to be. Maybe this is just the next stumbling block to overcome. Maybe this will only make THIS stronger. Maybe God's going to give us the strength to meet each others' needs. Maybe He's going to give us the opportunities to do so.

But maybe He won't.

Maybe this was meant to be...

Maybe I don't want to move on, because maybe I'm afraid of being burned by a woman once again. Maybe it really is time for me to give up trying to find my significant other. Maybe I'm supposed to be the next Paul -- devoting my life to my ministry. Maybe I'm just one of those people that love isn't meant for. Maybe, rather than finding my significance in a significant other, it's time for me to find my significance in God, and draw closer to Him.

But maybe Joshua Harris and all those pastors who say, "Rather than desiring romantic love, you should be desiring more of GOD'S love" are wrong -- maybe it's okay to feel alone. Maybe it's okay to pine for a mate. Maybe I'm the next Adam and, even though I commune with God daily in the Garden of Eden, I still feel helplessly alone (Genesis 2:18-20).

Maybe another woman will come along and I will fall in love with her at first sight. Maybe SHE'S the one! Maybe she and I will get married and sing together and travel to Ireland to plant churches and lead worship and have children and grow old together.

Maybe this is just a phase. Maybe my friends and family and pastor are right when they tell me, "These things just take time." Maybe I'll "move on." Maybe I'll "get over her."

Maybe this isn't. And maybe they aren't. And maybe I won't. Maybe Father Time isn't the great healer that I thought he was.

But maybe nobody else will come alone, because she was it. And maybe she's already moving on with her life and I missed the boat. Maybe, after all, it really is over.

Maybe God will change her heart. Maybe she will change her mind. Maybe we will change our plans. Maybe, in the words of Paul McCartney, "every little thing is going to turn right in the end."

Maybe, one day, I will fall asleep with her next to me. Maybe I will reach over in the night and brush her hair from her face and kiss her forehead while she's sleeping. Maybe I will wrap my arms around her, instead of the pillow I currently clutch. Maybe passion will fill our nights and her kisses will replace the tears that are streaming down my cheeks now. Even the taste of her lips, in future kisses, will always be sweeter than the whiskey I hide under my mattress now. Maybe, in the future, I will get intoxicated after drinking deep her champagne eyes all night.

Probably not. But...



My Venus

After driving around three of the towns surrounding Yorkville (Oswego, Plano and Sandwich), searching for a tobacconist that is open after 5pm on a Sunday, listening to some of the most amazing music my iPod has ever shuffled, I suddenly felt very alone. I felt very solitary; not in a depressing, "I'm all alone and nobody loves me" way (though I often feel that, but in a "stranger in a strange land" way. I felt like I was passing through towns that I have never seen before, even though I was raised in this area. I felt like a stranger, alienated and detached from my surroundings. I have nothing in common with this area anymore.

When I got home, I lit up a cigarette, took a deep puff and gazed up at the night sky -- in awe of the heavens. An old hymn came to mind: "This world is not my home / I'm just a passin' through / My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue / The Savior beckons me from Heaven's open door / and I can't feel at home in this world anymore." I sang the lines in a whisper, took another drag of my cigarette and sang them another couple of times.

It was a nice reminder.

Tonight, Venus was brighter than usual in the Southern skies. I gazed at her for a few moments and thought about the Romans who named her. She, of course, was named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. It occurred to me that maybe the reason Venus was given that name was because that celestial body, which remains brighter than even the brightest stars, was the most beautiful object in the night sky -- always. Its brightness is so intense that it can even be seen in the middle of the day. And, so, when the sun sets, it becomes very visible as an evening star, and, when the sun rises, it can still be seen as it becomes the morning star. The Romans were clearly infatuated with its ever present beauty.

And despite my state of euphoria, gazing in awe at this beautiful celestial body, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by the weight of her distance from me. I'll never reach her and she doesn't care. I'm just a speck -- not even a blip -- on the universe's radar; and my insignificance is only magnified by the majesty of the heavens.

Ever since I broke up with Megan, I've been trying to figure out just what it is I want out of life -- what I expect from my life. Life goals and dreams, after all, are the reason we parted ways: she wants to travel all over the world and teach English in countries that I don't even recognize the names of, and I never could see myself living that life, no matter how much I think I want to; I want to settle down in Chicago, start my career and a family and she can't see herself living that life, no matter how much she thinks she wants to. This breakup has been giving me an existential crisis of massive proportions.

Who am I!?

It's no secret that I have very lofty goals that often conflict with each other: I want to travel all over the world as a music missionary and plant churches, but I also want a domestic life; I want to move to Ireland and I want to move to Chicago; I want marriage and children and I want to be like Paul, single for life, so that I have more time to focus on my ministry; I want to start my career and I want to enjoy the waywardness of being a twentysomething. These dreams are not compatible -- not even with themselves, let alone with the dreams of a partner. So what am I supposed to do with them?

And, most confusing of all, despite my breakup with Megan, I know in my heart that I really don't want to be with anyone else. When I met her, I knew she was the one that I would spend my life with and she knew the same of me. She is my Venus. She was and still is the brightest and most beautiful object in my Southern skies. And I still want to reach out into the blackness and grab a hold of her hand, or fly to her, experience her closeness and breathe deep her beauty in person.

But she is my Venus, and I'm no astronaut.


My Bookshelf

Okay, so I FINALLY finished my homemade bookshelf last night. I had a working version of it for a while, but it wasn't nearly big enough to house even half of my books. So I went to Menards yesterday and bought some really nice particle board shelving to make a more proper looking creation. I think it turned out pretty well...


Mixtape #16: Halloweenheads

Here is the final track listing for my latest mixtape, Halloweenheads:

1) Scared - John Lennon
2) Halloween - Dave Matthews Band
3) I Am Stretched On Your Grave - Sinead O'Connor
4) I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab for Cutie
5) My Body's a Zombie for You - Dead Man's Bones
6) Halloweenhead - Ryan Adams
7) Friendly Ghost - Eels
8) Dracula's Wedding - Outkast
9) Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - David Bowie
10) Earth Intruders - Bjork
11) Bodysnatchers - Radiohead
12) Spooky Girlfriend - Elvis Costello
13) They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Are Back from the Dead!! Ahhh!! - Sufjan Stevens
14) Scarecrow - Beck
15) The Boogie Monster - Gnarls Barkley
16) Thriller - Michael Jackson