ah, maze. ah, musing.

continuation of gratitude series..

dear __,

m, maybe, u’ll stumble upon this, ah, highly doubt you will, but you are the king of surprises, so if you do, congrats, and cheers; this entry’s dedicated to u, for my personal keepsake, because my middle name is Introspective, ok, back to u.

i know where to start, not how to start, so i’m in my car with the engine on, in my parking lot, but i could reverse or put it in drive. get it?

__, i’ve worked 38 jobs, and i know ive not had a more real, to-da-point, honest, boss. ive had really nice ones, but i think the kindest gesture could come from the tiniest splashes truth. youve told me to never trust you, so i didnt. youve told me to trust God, which ive been doing. even before i met you these two  rules applied.

__, im 28 but when i’m around you i feel like im 14, clueless and starry-eyed. both when the reproof kicks in and when youre uh, relieving stress in uh, hhhilarious ways. i hope, if ever i get a shadow, he’s as cool calm collected as i am. in two words, open-minded.

__, ___ ________ __ __ ____ _____ ____ ____ ____.  thank you, really, that’s grace collab’ing with mercy, then packing a punch to my gutt, like because i really need it.  the time i didnt edit 100percent, that time i dropped the rock by coming late to a somber gathering, the time i, the times i.

and to not toot my own horn, im glad you dont sit there and ? my work ethic, whew. ive matured a lot since 2012.75; not saying i deserve anyyyy opportunity, but im glad i bet on myself and followed through.  the toughest of times will be the easiest of times later because of your discipline, __.

theres a lot more to cover; save that for later.

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Trust God! K.

Eh, I guess it’s time. 

Can’t believe I’m choosing right now and right here to type this out all out; can’t believe I’m not penning this in my journal; can’t believe a lot of things.

It’s okay to not be okay with what happened back in April.

My professor’s words are ringing the bells of my heart even eight hours after speaking with him about what occurred in my life late April.  I – honestly – didn’t have the light of day to process anything related to that event. For those who don’t know: I had to call off a wedding due to reasons I am able to identify, but I can’t fully blame.  Locking in a wedding date was unacceptable, and human of us in God’s view; actually, complaining about the results isn’t something I never had in my agenda. 

I should have been patient. Am I learning? I think so? Am I growing? I believe so? Am I stupid for doubting God’s timing for my life? Yes. 

So I failed because I lost faith.

I lost faith in a God who cares and loves and is good. Faith slipped on a banana peel and instead of picking up my prayer life I kneeled and sobbed about my unluckiness. The bounce back is crucial for any Christian’s life, we know the standard protocol: attend church service, reach out to the pastor, ask for guidance, read the Word, read the Word, pray to Jesus, and repent.

What I didn’t do (at all), is examine my own heart, not ask Christ to reveal what’s hiding beneath the dark clouds of my guilt and shame. 

So, back to the banana peel. What made me slip? What are my internal struggles? 

Rumble, jumbled garbled ramblings

What’s absolute in this life besides Jesus?

Divorces sever marriage vows. Cancer can be conquered. Guarantees don’t fill voids, and friendships, on the contrary to popular belief, end.

Unfortunate yet true, nothing in this world lasts forever. That’s probably why people reject the notion of eternal life. How could there be? It’s a challenge trying to cling onto monogamy for adults – to believe that there’s a God out there who loves and care about me?! Wha?!

There is an unnumerable amount (approximately 1.2 trillion), thoughts ricocheting off the walls of my brain right now. Call it m-indigestion. Mind-full. Mindy, pronounced windy. I want to scream inside a pillow but that’ll wake up my parents and possibly neighbors. I want to go outside and take a walk but it’s 2 degrees and snowing.

Help me, Jesus.

 

 

Remember Where You Started?

Don’t get too hooked on serving tables.

Aside from the social skills you’ll acquire, there’s not much more the restaurant industry can teach you. I’m not joking.

The quick cash, the networking, the free take-home meals: great?

Yea, no. The long hours, goodbye-weekend-nights, the late cuts, the baby’s aftertrash, the frustrating variance of tips, the unrewarding feeling of rolling silver, the two-table sections and a bar top, the neglectful host, the triple-sat-sorry-I-had-to combo, and the list goes on.

Since 2006 through 2015, I have served at 16 restaurants. You don’t believe me? Check my W2s.

Woo Lae Oak. Glory Days Bar and Grill. Silver Diner Tyson’s. Fireside Grill. Silver Diner Innsbrook. Bonchon. Cafe Chocolate. Willow Oaks Country Club. Seasons 52 Wine Bar and Grill. Korshi. Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel. Sakura. Ichiban. Sushi King. Hayashi. The Boathouse.

Every restaurant, TBH, holds a warm place in my heart. I got fired from Fireside Grill because I told my manager I couldn’t work on Church Sundays. Bonchon had me painting their steroid-injected yet delicious wings in the back of the house for only a week and cut me off the rope … Not long after I obtained Johnny Vy’s (NFL Photographer) and Justin Hathaway’s (then NESN.com’s Digital Media) contact information through some of the chefs in the back of the house. The chefs were brothers of the mean owner-sister. Silver Diner Innsbrook was a tough steak but hey, I only got the job because Dhiraj and Nirmal (my former managers at the Silver Diner at Tyson’s), were running the show in RVA.

So yes, God provides every penny we need to survive. I’m going through some financial struggles right now, and perhaps you, reader, are too.  But hey, I write this with wishes to encourage you:  Jesus will steadfastly hook you, and me, up with exactly (down to the penny), we need. He knows our concerns and cares about us. Seriously. I think, what He needs from us is our hearts, as vulnerable as we are, to trust Him with allllllll of it.

For now, stay diligent with what He’s entrusted you with. It’s kind of like asking your boss for a raise. When He knows you’re ready to handle the more responsibilities, He will promote you and yep, that raise comes, too.

If you’re a student, grind hard and get out of college. I’ve learned to not fall in love with the result, but to fall in love with the process moving towards that result you want to achieve.

I assure you again and again: God got you.

You’re far too kind 12

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

Who knows exactly when we met, as long as our first encounter budded into a friendship burgeoning with laughter and watered by tears. For those moments that we shared I am humbly grateful.

It’s ice raining in Richmond and my thoughts are frozen.

What are you doing? How is it in Oregon?

We don’t talk as often as I’d like, no … but I know.

So why are you on this list? Please. You turned out to be one of my closest friends in RVA over a two-year span. This radical pairing launched in early 2013, when we both worked our first Zero Gravity Basketball event and ha, boy am I glad that you recruited me for the job.

I am thankful for the times that you housed me. You entrusted me with your apartment key for a few days while you left to stay at your parents’. You’ve entrusted me to walk in and out of your place with no splintering doubt that I was holding a malicious intentions. You confided in me with things not often told to people. I learned much more from you than you did from me, believe it or not. Staying at your place last summer initiated me to shave off 20 pounds. From staying at your place last summer, your $60 voucher for City Diner fed me for a week and a half.

I sincerely enjoyed taking those random walks downtown, even the time we were caught by the police slipping out of the Governor’s gates. We were innocent but our photographic head shots were taken anyway.

You’re a good juggler; you’re easily entertained. I wish you the super best, brother, hope our ends meet in the future. Study hard and stay strong, mentally, over there. If you ever do decide to return, make sure you come back a better person.

You’re far too kind 10

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

The first time was the worst time. From that point on you improved as a poet, as a friend, as a listener. When was it — the fall semester of 2012 — when I persuaded myself to perform at a Slam Poetry Open Mic at the Shafer Street Playhouse. After registering and picking our names out of the hat (I was 10th out of 13), I forcibly sat in the cushioned seats and waited with the rest of the artists.

There you were, standing on the stage with a come-at-me-bro demeanor, a magnitude powerful enough to keep an 8.6 from quaking. When they called my number … let’s just say that my hands would never get that clammy quarterbacking a flag football championship game.

You recited a poem about a job you once had at Bojangles! and I will never forget the punch.

Bam! and my man went slam on the counter. Girl left her hat, would you give it to her?

I didn’t approach you that eye-opening evening, however I won’t forget the time I walked by you, sitting on the bench outside of Cabell Library, in your ugly, brown vest, and your fedora. … God, that fedora. Instant connection, fedoras were my thing.

I introduced myself to you and to my surprise, you said you remembered my performance. Your constructive criticism made me realize that I was more sensitive than I could handle. I wasn’t in this poetry thing to showcase my lyricism. Yes a message was conveyed, but the TRUE reason why I even took this leap …

was to strengthen my vocals. I someday wish to coach. I someday want to analyze a sport. I want to touch lives and through this cathartic, stress-relieving hobby, I knew that I could accomplish this personal goal by standing in front of 10s, 100s, 1,000s of listeners in a dark, crowded room.

You opened up to me and we developed a bond that exists to this day. We don’t talk much, no, but I know you’re out there in North Carolina grinding your buttocks off. I know that your sharpening your talents. We’ll connect later down the road, God-willing, and that lunch bro-date, or wedding, or possibly on a vacation with our wives and children, will be simply glorious.

Some may recognize these nights as an open mic night, but no, those late nights in the studio, or at Emilio’s, or at Addis, or at Kenn Tico’s, or at Aurora, or at VCU, or at your house, or on my balcony until sunrise, were moments that I will forever appreciate and remember.

Your friendship.

You’re far too kind IIIIIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

I guess?

Appreciating an ex is a daunting task, especially if you two broke up on harsh terms. Literally? Yet you spoiled me with love, rotted me with confidence and — ah yes eureka — I know why my heart is eternally grateful for your existence.

Without your prayers and your company, I would, I swear, never have drop-kicked an addiction that I battled for a decade.

You sit there … for how many hours … with nine other guys that … are how old … and lose everything that you work for?

That’s right; those were the words you duct taped, no, stitched my heart with. You were not the first person to persuade me to quit, obviously, but you were the only one to word the phrase in such a mind-blowing way only my stubbornness could grasp. You made my favorite game sound like the most trivial, stupidest  on Earth, which is why I discontinued. …

Anywho.

Thanks for the memories. Thanks for your time. Thanks for making me lunch every morning. Thanks for sharing with me your deepest convictions. Thanks for allowing me help you fight your urges. Thanks for your nakedness. Thanks for your mindfulness. Thanks for your gentleness.

Hope your current antipathy for me will blow over someday. If it does not, I have no complaints.

You’re far too kind IIIIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

This incident occurred recently and as fortuitous as this may seem for some of you, I kid you not – everything I type in this empty box happened.

I paid my friend a visit at Daddio’s Grill one evening, a restaurant and bar located four minutes from my home. I sat next to you and your friend, and we engaged in a conversation about my career goals.

You listened to me tell you everything and vice versa. For the first time in my life I learned about Mr. Jim Lampley and (this is pathetic) Coach Dean Smith. You assumed, at first, that I was yanking your chain. I was doing the exact opposite, I had no idea.

To your disbelief and disappointment I — future sportswriter — had no clue who these iconic figures were. I told you about my passion, the level of fervor and intense love for the game of football. You heard me out, which I appreciated so much, that I even unveiled the truth about my 12 diaries in my shoebox that I’ve kept since 1998.

Shockingly you then reveal that your sister is married to Mr. Donald Davis, a nationally-recognized storyteller. This point I’m either dreaming or God is at work. Always the latter.

When God works everything starts to feel surreal. You instructed me to dial 411, directory services, to figure out your sister’s phone number in Ocracoke, North Carolina. Lo and behold, her number and home address was sent to me via text, and I … went numb.

You suggested that I call and speak with Mr. Davis, to share with him my aspirations.

I called the next day. I spoke with your sister (Donald was packing his luggage for his next trip), and the gratitude that consumed me made me realize that anybody. …

everybody. … is capable of achieving great things, as long as they #NeverQuit.

For as long as I live — I hope to keep your boler (I traded my fedora for your hat). I wish you the best. …

And tonight, I learn that I was literally the first-and-only person to retrieve your sister’s house phone number. Your transparency, your strong suit, is honestly the main reason I followed through and dialed her number.

Nervous wreck or not, we will all survive.