Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes

I've been thinking about dreams a lot lately but more specifically about how most of us never live to see our dreams fulfilled. I think this comes from me trying to give up on some of them. Its a lot more difficult than just hitting a switch. In a way, giving up on some of my dreams feels like I'm not only betraying myself, but betraying everyone I ever told about my dreams. I guess a part of me feels like all those people shared in my dream also because they really wanted me to get it. Which has led me to think of the first line of this poem over and over: "What happens to a dream deferred?"
I think many of us deal with this situation in different ways. One way is to totally convince yourself that that really wasn't your dream and that your real dream was what you have already accomplished or are in the process of accomplishing. Another way is to simply let go of the dream and move on. But I also think there are some people who can never move on. I'll even go as far to say that some people begin to turn really bitter towards life when they realize their dreams will never come to them. I'm not sure which category I currently fall into. To be honest, I think I feel a bit of all three. But my question is why do we even have dreams if we know that most of our dreams will turn to poison? Is it so we can learn disappointment? Or patience? Or is it something deeper, like how we could have fulfilled our dreams if we had just tried harder? I don't know. I don't have any answers. But I do know that a man is either with hope or with despair, but never both and never neither. With that in mind, I think I'd rather dream; dream dreams as big as the sky. Why not?

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men."
-from the book "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by
Zora Neale Hurston

Saturday, August 23, 2008

You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello

This coming week is going to be a little strange. A lot of things are gonna happen. Let me break it down.

On Sunday, Stacy and I will teach our last lesson to our Sunday school class (12-14) as we will be released. I don't love teaching but I don't hate it either. Its a pretty easy calling (for me anyway; for Stacy, who has only been an active member for around 3 or 4 years of her life, its a struggle) and I really enjoy the kids' spirits. Often times, I don't even start class till half past the hour because I enjoy talking to them more than I do teaching them. This is the third Sunday school teaching position I've had and its good to be moving on.

The following Saturday, Stacy and I will be moving back into my parent's home. Luckily, the move will probably only take Stacy and I two hours tops to move, since we have so little of stuff. It'll be good to be back home. Most people don't get a chance to move back home after they move out so I'm grateful that I do. It'll be especially nice to be in my queen bed (we've been sleeping in Stacy's bed which is a double; being that I'm nearly 6'3" and she is almost 5'8", it makes things really uncomfortable) but more than that, it will be good to see my Mom and Dad a lot more before they leave. I feel really blessed in that respect, because I think all of my siblings wish they could have that chance as well.

And now for the sad part. On Wednesday, Stacy and I will say goodbye to one of our best friends, Cory. He will be moving to Virginia where he will internship for the next 10 months. The 10 months isn't so bad but both Stacy and I have a feeling that with so many opportunities on the east coast for him (he is in set design; he wants to create and build sets for theater, TV, movies, really anything where he can get his foot in the door) there is a big possibility he might not move back. Its sad for me but especially sad for Stacy, who considers Cory to be her best friend. He's one of the best guys I've ever known just because of his positive attitude towards life. He will be missed.

However, Cory is only the first. In October, my father will move to Ireland, followed by my mom in November. Also, sometime around November or December, my other best friend Mike will be going to Oklahoma to train to be an air-traffic controller. Luckily, he will only be there three months before he comes back. But still, to lose 4 of my favorite people in the span of 3 or 4 months is hard.

Stacy and I have fun with each other, alone, but we often enjoy the company of our friends. With them gone, it will be hard. I suppose, eventually, you live long enough to see all your loved ones go away. I suppose I'm a selfish friend and son, that I'd deny my loved ones from doing what they want to do just so I could keep them around me, so I could talk to them, and hug them, and offer them advice when they need it. We are all selfish in our love, I think. But it is who we love, not who loves us, that makes us who we are. I'm beginning to understand that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Gilbert-Girl!

Today is my sister's birthday. As has become standard on these blogs, I have included some favorite memories I have of her.

When I was a kid (I don't quite remember how old but it had to be less than 9), it was my birthday and after the festivities, my sister called me aside away from everyone else. She told me she had to go but she wanted to give me my present. It was a toy car of a blue porsche. She said she loved me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and left with her friends. I remember feeling really special. The car was cool, but the fact that she called me away from everyone else made me feel like we were in on a secret together. She made me really happy.

Gilbert-Girl always stood up for me and always took my side in arguments. I thought sometimes she did it just to irritate my brother and sister but I think it was because she was trying to look out for me, just like my mother would. There were even times when she would take my side in arguments where I knew I was the one being stupid, and it would make me feel bad for getting her involved in a ridiculous argument that I started.

I always kind of had the feeling that she would make all of her boyfriends talk to me and like me because they always made a HUGE effort even when I didn't really want them to (like times when I would be playing video games and they would try to play with me when I just wanted to be left alone). It was almost as if I didn't approve of them, then they weren't the right guy for her. But maybe thats just me being ridiculous.

If she wanted to play the Legend of Zelda, she always made me turn it on for her because "I was the only one who could get it working" even though Survival Knife was just as capable. I didn't mind it though because I was just excited that she was playing my favorite game too.

She always told me when I was a kid that I was her favorite sibling. I never really understood why (although I could see why she didn't like my brother cuz I didn't think too highly of him either) but I sure appreciated it.

Recently, I admitted to her that I used to take spare change from her desk so I could play arcade games at the convenience store. When I said this, she replied, "Well, if you had asked, I would have given it to you." I'll always remember that. It made me feel so bad for taking it (as I told my wife later) but also made me feel the deep connection her that her and I have always had. It wasn't that the connection was gone, it was that I had just forgotten about it.

There's a photo I have of me as a child, and Gilbert-Girl who still looks like a child as well, and we are standing in the backyard of our home in Garland. The sunlight is shining through the trees and Gilbert-Girl is making me look at the camera. She has a bright warm smile and she looks as if there was no one in the world she would rather be around. I think its one of my favorite photos of all-time.

Memories are the bright lights in an incresingly dark world. Though she has her own family now, and I have been significantly bumped down her favorite peoples list (as I should be), I'll always remember how, for some reason, she decided to become my protector and 2nd mother, lovingly doing things for me even though she did not have to. I have nothing but the happiest birthday wishes for her. I love you, big sister.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I've been thinking about this for awhile but haven't posted about it because I was kind of scared of the response I would get. But it's built up in me to the point where I have to share. Lately, I've been trying to be...well, a man. That sounds like its a god given right but it really is something that a young man has to learn how to be. I think part of the reason I've had the urge is I'm just burnt out with being a kid. I'm tired of wasting money. I'm tired of being unsure and afraid of a variety of things. I'm getting old. I know I'm far from grandchildren, wheelchairs and pointless surgeries but 23 is old enough where a person has to start growing up. Part of me feels like I can't really be a man till I find a REAL job and start making some real money (which is part of the reason I've been looking so hard for a job). But its other things too. I want to do the right things for my family and my friends. I want to be an example to them. I want people to respect me for who I am. I want to be the guy that people come to for help or advice. I want to be like my brother, or brother-in-law, but most of all, like my father. To my recollection, there is no better example of how a man should live his life. This doesn't mean I'm going to become some lame shut-in who only worries about money and never has fun. It doesn't mean I'm going to stop playing music or video games. But I want to be better. I'm trying to be better. I know I'm a ways off...but I'm trying.