Here’s an update on me! And some thoughts…hopefully I will get some pics up soon about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met, but the internet is a bit hit-and-miss where I am at…so for now…
I’m chillin’ low-key in Cork, Ireland…the southern part of the island. I took a bus down here a few days ago. I’m stayin’ with a few lads who really don’t mind me comin’ and goin’…haha…almost to the point of I wish they noticed me more! One of the guys is real cool…it turns out he’s actually from Ohio! He came over here to study. The other guys just really don’t pay much attention to me!
They asked me to go out with ‘em last night, but I was so tired…so I opted to stay in. It turns out I slept a good 11-12 hours AGAIN. It’s crazy. I woke up late in the morning, and the guys were all still asleep, so I just headed into town. I needed to buy a converter for my camera batteries and laptop…the UK has a funky three-prong set-up that doesn’t match ours.
I came back and crawled through a window I had opened as I didn’t have a set of keys from them! Easy enough.
The weather is absolutely beautiful here, and I obviously couldn’t stay inside, so I asked how to get to the beach! Oddly enough, several people weren’t familiar with the beach or didn’t seem to go their themselves! I think it’s one of those things where you don’t take advantage of what you have when you live close to it…case and point…over one million people have come to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum since it has opened. Me? Not so much. It was actually on my list of things to do before I left, but it didn’t happen in time.
So the beach. An hour drive by bus, and we’re there. And let me tell ya…beaches are God’s gift to His children. I don’t know what it is about ‘em, but I could honestly walk up and down the beach every single day and still be happy.
I found a couple of cliffs (see the pictures!), and the beach itself was rather nice. There were mostly families with their children…not a whole lot of people in the teens or 20’s.
But it was a nice day of walkin’ around (with no shirt on, nonetheless!). I couldn’t help but smile. You know, it’s crazy…I’m on Day 12 right now, and I’ve already had a TON of time to just sit and think about life. It’s been nice to reflect on it, but it’s also been quite frustrating. I’ll share what I’ve been thinkin’…and some life’s lessons gleaned from it all.
Today on the beach I was thinkin’ about how I seem to have life backwards! I have done so much!!! Sometimes I wonder if it’s not to a fault. Let me explain…much of the time walkin’ up and down the beach I was just thinking that this is what married couples do! This is what honey-mooners do! Honestly, I had the perfect set-up for a great honeymoon! Green hills on the side, a vast ocean in front, small bars and restaurants littered throughout, and gorgeous weather to boot. “This is what wives and husbands should be doing.” Or at least boyfriends and girlfriends!
I don’t know. As much as I liked the beach, I felt a little out of place! And when I walked by the GORGEOUS ocean-front homes, I kept thinking how nice it would be to have a place like that. You wake up every morning and just look at the ocean. A nice wife, a cup of coffee (I don’t even drink coffee!), and what more could you need, right? I can’t imagine how much money a place like this would cost, but every time I think about something like this, my mind instantly starts thinking about places like Mexico. People without houses. People without food. And water.
Where’s the balance?
But it wasn’t just at the beach. I head to the city. People everywhere. And Cork is a bit different than Dublin…there are way fewer people around. But we still have thousands walking around each day. Sometimes I just sit and people-watch. As my dad and I have talked about before, “everyone has a story.” This girl is walking with this guy. This guy is walking to work. This wife is frustrated with her kids. This man is on top of the world! Her mom just died. She just had a baby! She hopes her make-up will cover-up. He hopes his new kicks will get him places. So I have all of this time to think, to observe, and I have learned quite a bit already!
And I’m not goin’ to lie…I have found myself so frustrated with…MYSELF!!! No joke. In the past two weeks, I have probably looked at myself in the mirror more often than in a long time. Of course, everyone does it at home when they are getting ready, but I have seriously become anal when it comes to looking at myself. And actually, it’s not in the mirrors (they aren’t around). But what I’ve noticed is that I have developed a habit of looking at myself in the stores…in just about every single glass window that I walk by on the street! And that is A LOT!
But here’s the not-so-fun part! Somewhere along the line, I have come to not like what I see! Now I say that somewhat half-heartedly…somewhat serious. I know I have gifts, but at the same time, I yearn for what I do not have. Herein lies the battle. (And let me say right now that I know so many people will be reading this and will undoubtedly offer their encouragement or wisdom or kind words to build me back up…but that is NOT what I am looking for. I just don’t know how not to be honest, and when I said I would write, I didn’t promise just those stinkin’ stories that made me famous…I would write what I feel and think, too!).
So in the past few days, I have just noticed an unhealthy habit. I am trying to measure up to something. I don’t know if it’s because I have found myself in the deep end of a very materialistic culture (Ireland might even put the United States to shame…), or if it’s because I feel like I don’t measure up. Let me see if I can’t make this more clear with a couple of stories…
When you walk down the streets of Cork or Dublin, you meet people doing various tricks on the streets. Some are drawing, some are singing, some are standing still, some are playing instruments…they are all doing it for money. And frankly, some are doing quite well. And in the creative and business side of me, I started thinking what I would do on the street to make money…
And I came up empty. The closest thing I found was doin’ Etch-a-Sketch art…and I even found myself in a Dublin toy store shoppin’ for one (over $20!). But my mind startin’ thinkin’…
“If I were Adam, I would be able to play a guitar and sing, and I could easily make money!”
“If I could draw better, I could just sit out here and draw people or buildings!”
“If I were that guy from the Pizza Machine, I could do magic tricks and impress people, and people would stop by, be amazed, and leave some cash!”
And really, it’s not the cash that I want/need. It was the desire to have something. People have said I am a gifted speaker. Great. So what? People have said I am good with kids. Great. So what?! And I’m not bitter about these gifts…I don’t know…it’s just that they don’t…hmm…I’m not sure. Just some thoughts I’ve been wrestlin’ with!
And that’s not all! Then there’s the clothes. I was never “gifted” at bein’ the fashion leader back home. A t-shirt and jeans was good enough for me. So maybe I didn’t splurge for $100 jeans or $80 shirts. I didn’t need two letters on me to make me feel beautiful. And I sure didn’t need no stitched moose. But I look at myself in those windows, and I wonder what would make me look better! An Adidas jersey? Some better shoes?
So why these feelings all of a sudden? Why do I feel like I don’t measure up?
Sadly, I think I know why. Agghhh! Haha…I’m not wantin’ to go here…but it’s been a long time coming! Haha…stupid blog.
I look at people when they walk down the street, and I yearn with the depths of my being to be loved. That’s it. And I have countless people back home that do love me. I understand that. I think. I’ve got an entire community that would take me back in a heartbeat. I’ve got a Mom and Dad that worry about my every move. A brother and sis who (sometimes) claim me. A tight family that wants to know what’s goin’ on in my life. People who e-mail me to see how I am doing. So what am I missing?!!!
I look at my website, and it’s the exact opposite story of what is going on in my depths. I need a wife!!! I need someone to tell me they care about me, they love me, they forgive me, they KNOW me! I think that is what I am missing…someone that knows me. Deeply. I haven’t been able to hold a close guy friend for various reasons, and so I have been bitter or sad about that, and the only other thing I know will fill this void is a life partner. I guess I’m finally ready for her. Now granted, I know it’s not all peaches and cream…I do. I’ve heard countless stories from my friends, I’ve seen my parents, so I know it’s not a bed of roses.
Yet at the same time, it seems like it’s all I crave! I want to walk through downtown hand-in-hand with a lady I can call my own! I want to take in the beach, the island, the sun with someone that I will see again tomorrow! It’s a great beach alone…but c’mon now! I want someone to know these inner struggles that I have…and still be OK with me!
I want to grow old and gray with someone!
A couple of nights ago the stoners and I watched a movie called HEAT. More or less, this group of guys goes around stealing money and killing people. Not the best for morals. But the movie also focused upon the love lives of the guys, too. The girls were essentially put through every worst relationship possible…divorces, no time with the kids, no time for the wife, etc. But that’s beside the point. Ok, anyway, I resonated with the bad guy. For years, he’s been stealin’. “It’s all I know to do,” he says. But halfway through the movie, he meets the beautiful girl, blah, blah, blah. And all of a sudden, that is “all he wants to do.” His bad-guy game is thrown off because of the chick…typical story-line. But that night, I was understanding his every thought! He’s traveled the world, he’s done it all, but he just wants to spend time with a girl…
“I’ve done it all, I’ve seen it all, but I ain’t had a feeling like that…” It’s the country song written about me! Except for the “feeling like that” part! Essentially, I’ve seen the world…or am at least workin’ on it. And I’ve got these stories that people want in books. I’ve got a great family back home. What more do I need?!
And yet I still feel like I’m missin’ somethin’!
Ok, enough of that. On the four-hour drive up to Chicago for my flight, my dad told me the same thing that I think I am realizing. “You’re just lookin’ for your life partner.” Yup, yup, I am.
An e-mail from one of my students repeated the same words two days later. After reading my blogs and seeing my desire for someone close, he said the same thing. Yes, sirree.
But therein lies the problem (I’ll tell ya in a sec). Which takes me all the way back to the top…it’s all one big vicious circle. Allow me to go on…
You know, I’ve come across a good bit of poor people on my travels. Maybe they started out like me…but couldn’t make it. Maybe they thought Ireland was the place for wealth…only to find it’s a rough fight to the top. Either way, there are poor people on the street. I get asked for money nearly every time I sit or stand in the city centers. I was invited to a homeless shelter by a guy named Greg…the poor are all around…I talked to some of them…normal talk…but then the question always comes, “Do you have any money?”
These guys want to spend what they don’t have. It’s a frustrating life, I’m sure. But as I am on a tight budget, I somewhat understand! When I walk by the hundreds of cafés and restaurants, I want to eat what I don’t have. It’s a frustrating feeling for sure. (Mom, I am eating for the record…just not fancy restaurants every night…thought you should know!).
But that’s that problem I’ve eluded to…I want to like what I don’t have! I want to be infatuated with someone…but I don’t even have a girl to think about!
I told my dad the same thing I wrote back to that student of mine…”How do you wake up one day and say, ‘Ok, today I’ll find my wife,’ or ‘Ok, today I am going to go on a date.’” It just doesn’t happen like that. A guy in Montana is tellin’ me that it will happen when I least expect it. Right.
When you’re hungry, you’re always expecting food…
So I don’t know what the future brings. I may find someone this year, I may not. But I will go on. I don’t know how not to. Last week Ruble and I talked about how I used to pray for my wife when I was younger. It’s somewhat crazy, really. 10 years ago I would be prayin’ that she would be godly, would say no to temptation, would persevere…it’s probably been about 8-10 years since I’ve done that.
I guess that can change tonight, huh. She may be in Ireland, or Scotland, or Portugal, or London, or Chatham, or Loami, or France. She may be within two miles of me. She may be across the ocean that I looked out upon today.
She may be praying right now. She may be giving herself away. I just don’t know! And I may meet her this week. Or in five years. I may already know her! Grr!!! Anyway…
Well, no story tonight. But that’s me. My guess is that there are others who feel the same way, day in, day out. So maybe my words can be your thoughts. I just don’t know how I used to be so confident. I never really used to struggle with self-issues or worry about this stuff! Maybe 25 years of singledom is catchin’ up with me!
Hmm…a couple more things, then I’m done! I feel like there is so much to share, and I’m not sure if it all ties together, but it’s a blog, so I can do that, right?! Ok, when I was staying in the house of the six girls in Dublin, I shared my website with them, and why other people (my friends) wouldn’t come with me on my trip…jobs, school, money, debt, boyfriend, girlfriend, marriages, etc. The whole bit. Well, we talked about marriage a bit, and then I made a comment that freaked them out. “Yeah, in America, my friends get married between 20-25.” And the girls gasped!!! I’m not jokin’…the only thing I can compare it to is the gasp that came out of 100 people when I announced my two months’ resignation at church. It was that high quality. So I did find a small dose of encouragement from them…except for this one little exception. Marriage is later, yes. But sex is now. So for them it’s kind of like a reward before marriage. You just sleep around with whoever…and get married to one later. Forgive me, God, for the words what I am about to type, but, yes, I can imagine that I wouldn’t feel as dejected as I am if I was having sex every week. Don’t take that the wrong way. I’m just saying that you never really feel the acid in your stomach between meals if you nibble on snacks throughout the day. That’s all.
So with that said, that little dose of encouragement I had is now gone!
Ok, one more story about the things mentioned above, then I’ll share some lessons learned…then I’m done!
So yesterday I was walkin’ down the street, and I saw one of the strongest men I have ever seen in my life! He had a huge upper body! He could have crushed me with just one arm! And to make matters all the more worse, he had the absolutely beautiful work-out babe walkin’ with him. And, of course, it was no surprise. Because the strong guys always get the hot girls, right?
That’s been another frustration for me! It seems like the girls I like…don’t seem to like “my type,” whatever that means! I don’t even know what my type is! But whereas I used to think I would be blessed with a gorgeous wife (can you sense the lack of hope creepin’ in here?! Haha…I do laugh a bit…I’m not at the end of my wits yet. Yet. Frustrated? Yes. Hopeless? Sure thing! But you can’t hear my inflections in my words…so just know that I haven’t completely lost it!), I now question even that thought. It’s been a pattern, and patterns are, well, patterns. Movies have been written about it, sitcoms love it…it’s the whole “normal Joe” getting’ the cheerleader/prom queen/town babe. And it’s a battle that is all too real! For me, I feel normal. I weigh a buck 50 when wet. I don’t have street gifts. I’ve got nothin’ special. I blend into a crowd. So I don’t know. I’m just average, I guess.
Now for the other side of the equation…the problem side. I don’t know why I like cute girls. I don’t. I can’t explain it scientifically, religiously, or any other way. I just know that I do. Sometimes I feel like the scum of the earth for not likin’ certain girls that I know have amazing hearts. But it’s a force I can’t seem to battle. So my hope has always been for an attractive girl for as long as I can remember. But even that is fallin’ apart! I’m losin’ my edge! I feel like a normal guy is goin’ to get a normal girl. I don’t know what that means, really, but it doesn’t always sit well with me! What is a normal girl? I wish I knew. My only fear is that it is not what I am looking for. <sigh> I don’t even know my own thoughts.
Wow, so this trip has brought a lot out of me so far! I don’t know what I’m lookin’ for or what lies ahead, but it’s good to share them, I guess. I really am not seeking sympathy or anything. I’m not sure…I may have even shared some stuff that some girls may take offense at? I don’t know. I’m just being honest. If you resonate with what I said, I’m sorry! Haha…it’s a rough place to be! And if you have any wisdom to speak to me, I’m all ears. This living thing is a bit precarious sometimes!
2007-08-25 00:28:01 GMT