Tuesday, November 8, 2011


After a week of missing workouts for fairly weak excuses I made it back to the weight room yesterday and feel good about getting back into the schedule.  I have seen this same process in all of my previous commitments.  I start good, then sluff off.  Then I stop.  Now after my sluff I am going to get back on the horse and make a change.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BTG 3: More on Fear

I am pleased to say I have yet to miss a day in the weight room.  Though I feel unsure and awkward at times I am focusing more on what I am doing rather that what other see me as doing.  After my last post I began thinking about other decisions in my life that were altered by some form of fear.  The continual use of the word "fear" might seem a little harsh, but when everything boils down there isn't a more appropriate description.  I've realized that I need to accept that fear has been a driving force, for the negative, in order to correct it.  A quick review of decisions in my life that I can absolutely attribute to some sort of fear.

Ability to build relationships with people of a perceived status.  This started when I was a young kid.  Like most others I wanted to be included, but instead of trying to be included in the "cool" group (whether the group was actually good or bad is not the point) I would employ two different strategies.  I would bend my personality just a bit to fit into the group, or not even try to make friends out of fear.  The idea of presenting myself in raw and being rejected was normally to horrible to even try.

Playing in the post.  This seems a little odd, but for my purposes I should be low post player in basketball, but normally end up floating to the outside where I can shoot jumpers.  I am good at jumpers, but want to create a presence down low.  My ability to jump is quite sad and I have allowed this deficiency, and the problems it causes, to destroy my inside game.  Quite frankly I don't want to look stupid, so I stay outside where I rarely look stupid.

Church responsibilities.  I believe this is tightly related to my first fear.  As I was trying to create my identity as a young teenager, I didn't want to be "Peter Priesthood."  This had a significant effect on what should have been much better involvement.  I managed to skirt the edges of righteousness, but I never dove in.

Visiting.  Part of church is making visits for various reasons.  This was always something I procrastinated as much as possible.  Whether it was for fast offerings or for home teaching.  Getting out of it was normally my goal.

Being able to diagnose the cause of these fears will help me overcome them.  I think in an oversimplification one might say I (like most people) am afraid of being rejected.  Whether that rejected is based on my personality, my religion, my ability or any other of my shortcomings being an outsider is so scary that it has immobilized me at many times in my life.

Monday, October 17, 2011

BTG 2: Fear

Sometimes the gap seems so large it overwhelms just considering bridging it.  The desire is massive, but how to apply that desire to effective action is no where near your circle of ability.  Obviously these things are all creations of your persona, but don't tell that to someone standing on the edge looking over the chasm.  "Hey buddy, don't worry about that them mile wide canyon.  It's really only a foot wide the fact that you can barely see the other side is all just a figment of your imagination." There exists only one truth, but reality is a personal matter and the truth is to the person preparing to bridge the gap, though in truth, is only a foot wide in reality spans a mile.

So here I am standing on the edge not sure how to get across.  I have a desire that burns nonstop.  Now I must connect my desires with my actions.  Last week when I realized my insanity the first thought that flashed into my mind was, "Why haven't I been waking up earlier and working out."  At that point I saw no connection between exercising and my career path, nonetheless I have worked out both Friday and today.  I decided that I would give it a go and see what happens.

I walked out of the gym today my brain began making possible connections.  In the fall of 1998 I had just finished my senior season of football.  I was a good player and was being recruited by Weber State.  After a strange recruiting trip I decided to pass on the scholarship I was offered.  I was ready to move on from football.  This was the main reason I used, but I knew deep down the real reason.  I was afraid.  First, I wasn't sure I could be spiritually strong around people so different from me.  The second reason was a secret I never told anybody.  I was so scared of looking like a weakling in the weight room that I decided to not fulfill a dream I had as a eight grader.

Now as a first step in a seemingly impossible challenge I am faced with a fear so old I rarely think of it.  Maybe experiencing the conquest of this will teach me how to overcome the fears that are holding me back now.  After all isn't fear the main reason why we refuse to walk into the unknown.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bridging the Gap: Post 1

Most days I make the approximately 600 yard walk from the building where I work on the USU campus to the student center.  I justify this walk each day for any number of reasons.  I’m hungry and they sell killer hot dogs for just a buck.  I need to drop off some cash at the bank located in the same building.  I’ve been sitting too long and need to “stretch my legs.”  I need a refill of my large diet soda and out of embarrassment refuse to return to the cafĂ© across from my office for the second time in as many hours.   I use this last justification more than I am willing to admit.  Regardless of my reasoning I always cherish those 1200 yards.  I take them slowly, squeezing every extra moment possible into the short jaunt.  Whether it begins innocent or not almost all of my journeys put me into some sort of deep self analysis. 

I do this because as a 31 year old father of 2 I have uncertainty where my career will take me.  I fight my worst fear every day of “leaving something on the table.”  I spend the time thinking, praying and sometimes pleading with God for help.  I am more than capable it is only a direction I am lacking.  On my walk today I had the thought pop into my mind, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result”.  At first I brushed it aside assuming it was to be applied to someone else, but as I neared the same 8 steps that lead to the patio in front of the student center I remembered that I had been doing this for nearly 2 years.  At that point I officially accepted the terms of my handicap.  I'm insane.  I've been pleading for the direction I need for years refusing to change much else.  This can go on no longer.  

The gap between thoughts/dreams and actions/reality has been in front of me for a long time now.  I am now going to bridge the gap and see what happens.  I know that I have to make certain specific changes, but have yet to incorporate them.  Let’s see if doing something different actually results in a “different result.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Killing Secrets

The squeaking was faint, but discernable enough to wake the man.  He laid motionless, listening as it grew louder and more confident.  He fought back the emotions trying to rouse his body.  It was not uncommon for strange noises to echo through the walls of the old house, but this was different.  They seemed self aware, like they were trying to avoid detection.  His wife rustled beside him.  He could ignore it no longer.
The man slid sideways out of bed without lifting the covers.  His bare feet tiptoed silently across the new carpet with double thick padding.  It was now audible enough so he could determine its source.  He picked up a metal softball bat from the hall closet.  Like teenagers at the local mall, thoughts ran aimlessly through his mind.  He was confused and angry, but mostly he was afraid. 
Thankfully whoever was in the house had not ascended the stairs to his son’s room.  He stood at the top weighing his options.  If he rushed down the perpetrator would be surprised giving him the upper hand.  It was now or never.  He began counting in his mind.  3. . . His hand turned white as his grip tightened on the bat.  2 . . . He took a deep breath and crouched just slightly grabbing the handrail for support.  1 . . . He aimed for the fourth step down and began to spring.  Then everything ended as a dark figure flashed past the stairs and out the front door.     
He followed the trail of the intruder; nothing was disturbed except the front door which rested a third of the way open.  He stepped outside and scanned the yard and neighborhood.  Everything was silent.  He lowered the bat and relaxed his shoulders.  Confused he reached for the door handle to close it behind him when he noticed a key still lodged in the lock. 
The man looked at the single key and came to the only available conclusion.  His wife must have forgotten it.  It was an innocent mistake, the man thought, and if he told her about the intruder the key would definitely come up.  So he pulled it from the lock and decided he wouldn’t share the events of the night.  After all why burden his wife with so much guilt?

When the familiar sounds returned a few weeks later the man was furious.  Not at the intruder, but at his wife.  How could she make such an irresponsible mistake twice?  He repeated the process learned from his first encounter only with more courage.  He focused on quiet deep breaths as he descended the stairs.  A soft light glowed from the kitchen.  His biceps flexed as he lifted the bat to the ready position.
He turned the corner to see the fridge door open and a cloaked figure casually routing through its contents.  The man froze, bat still at the ready. The intruder lifted his head up above the open door.  They locked eyes.  The man saw something unexpected.  They were familiar, very familiar.  But only the eyes, the rest of the man looked less human and more like a monster.  He swung the bat, but it was an awkward swing, barely worthy of an infield blooper.  It wouldn’t have matter anyway as the cloaked figure had already disappeared.  The front door flashed open and the man found a single key in the handle.

Panic dominated the next few weeks of the man’s life.  Still unwilling to worry his wife he installed new locks, motion detector lights and a high tech security system under the guise of a reduced homeowner’s insurance premiums.  He sought outside help from security professionals, private investigators and a random priest at a random church.   After thousands of dollars and numerous vague explanations to his wife the man felt safe again.
It worked.  Days turned to weeks, weeks to months and months to over a year and the intruder had not returned.  He could now start working on the process of archiving the memories.  A few months of mental gymnastics and they were completely gone from his mind, as if nothing happened.

Due to a late project the night of their anniversary plans were made to meet his wife at dinner.   He decided to drop by the house for a shower and change of clothes.  He stepped out of his car and without looking shifted through three keys pinched it between his thumb and forefinger.  A few paces from the door he noticed something lodged in the door lock.  He stopped and slowly brought up the key in his hand.  It could not be the house key like he expected, for it was the objected protruding from the door handle.   .
The man ignored impossibilities and stepped inside.  It was more than empty.  It was deserted.  He glanced around recognizing nothing.  Numbness spread throughout his body.  The relays connecting his mind to his muscles were disconnecting.  After a long moment he sprung up the stairs to his son’s room.  It too was empty.  Not empty of just his son, but empty of everything.  The bed, the rug, the cloths, and the airplane paintings on the wall, even the smell was gone.  He checked his bedroom.  There was no sign his wife had ever been there. 
It had to be a kidnapping, he thought, but why?  The man was not wealthy, no possibility of ransom.  He had not caused anyone so great harm that required such harsh revenge.  It didn’t add up.  The only remaining explanation caused the man to collapse.  His hands covered his face and the tears fell through his fingers.  It couldn’t be true, could it?  He sobbed loud and hard.
Why would they leave? The question formed in his mind but had already been answered in his heart.  Then in that exact moment when he'd lost everything the floorboards outside the bedroom door squeaked.  The last ounce of hope, brought his eyes to the door.  It opened slowly and in walked the intruder.  He waddled around the man's legs and hunched his back so their eyes met.  Its hot breath rose the hair on the man's neck and the smell curled his stomach.  With great effort the muscles around its mouth formed a pathetic version of a smile.  Its left hand opened and house key fell to the floor. It nodded appreciatively. 
 Truth delivered blow after devastating blow and he could no longer withstand the effects.  The man laid on the mat like an over-matched fighter waiting for the ten count, but the truth refused to wait.  It stood over him and brought the soul of its boot to his head.  The last and final truth was uncovered when the scar in the intruder's palm flashed before the man's eyes.  It was the remaining evidence of good in his life and just as he saw it in the creature's hand it disappeared.  He felt the original scar in his own hand and it too was fading.  
He quickly called up the memories of the night it happened.  He saw his fiance nodding her head as he handed her the ring.  The sound of the glass breaking, due to the nervous death grip he applied to the vase of flowers, echoed through his mind.  Then, without warning, everything disappeared.  The scar was replaced with undamaged skin and he could no longer remember anything about that night.  There he sat, completely broken and despondent.  Alone except for the intruder that he protected for so long.  The intruder who crept around his house threatening his family.  The intruder who became so powerful it could not be defeated.  The intruder, that many years earlier,  he created.

A graduate student version of the same man woke from the dream, covered in sweat and breathing heavily.  The clock on his cell read 2:45 am.  He'd been sleeping for less than five minutes. A quick glance around his college dorm room confirmed he was dreaming.    It was more than a that though, it was a prophecy.    There was no doubt that he had already created the monster.  He scanned his memories looking for the grievous offense responsible for the birth of such a hideous beast.   It had been less than two hours since his boyfriend status had been upgraded, but the joy of that moment felt like a lifetime ago.  The fresh gash in his left hand provided a clarifying pain that lead his mind to the guilty act.  It wasn't the unintentional yet erroneous mouse click just before bed , what he saw or how disgusted he felt after seeing it. 
 The second he gave light to a monster that would become an unstoppable force took place just before he fell asleep.  A random thought trying to gain traction in his sleepy mind failed.  Call her and tell her. . . !  It said, but armed with defending ideas like, you did nothing wrong, it was an accident, you didn't pursue further, it's too late and what good would it do, the man ignored it and rolled over to sleep.  He now noticed something different about himself.  It felt like somewhere in the darkest corner of his soul a stowaway was hunkering down for a long journey.  His could barely sense its presence, but it was there, and it would stay there until he purged his vessel.
Wasting no time he called his fiance of less than a few hours and related everything.  The accidental encounter with a devious world and his triumphant victory.  He used at least thirty minutes to describe the dream and another twenty for its interpretation.  
At 4:30 am, the exact moment he was alone and full of peace for he tossed the stowaway overboard.  His entire body let out a sigh in relief of a dodged bullet.  Then to his delight, the throbbing from his hand grew so intense he fell back on the bed.  The way the blood mimicked the scar on the white gauze was beautiful.  The excruciating pain flowed through his body like massive waves.  He put his head back on his pillow refusing the pills on his nightstand.  He would endure every second possible of physical torment the wound created.  And he would never, never let anything take it from him again.