Sometimes We All Blackout

Lovedrug, a band some friends of mine are in, are coming into town on Saturday to play at the Knitting Factory; a line to one of their songs is the title of this post and the current state of my life.

Sometimes I get lost in everything.  It’s not that I am aimless, I try to avoid aimlessness at all cost; it’s just that I get piled under too many things.  Ambition can get the best of you, I know it does me quite often.  Its not really even that I have a ton of commitments, I have enough to keep me busy, but its more that I am trying to have a ton of commitments: you know what I mean? 

It’s like I am working so hard for something, I always tell myself I am on the brink of something big. That is really how I feel, don’t get me wrong its not that I think I should be onto something big. No, consider the flip-side I feel like I keep missing something due to poor timing, bad luck or just plan stupidity: if only I try harder.

Do you ever feel like you are spinning tires or swinging your fists in the air?  Or “Punching skulls on the bathroom floor???

So I’ve got that going, then of course there is our big move in a week and half.  Moving is enough to make anyone “blackout;?? though I don’t think Michael Shephard (lead singer and write for Lovedrug) was thinking of packing up a Uhaul when he wrote that.  We are excited about it but its never easy packing everything and moving into a new situation.

Plus, I have to be honest, I am fretting over the PhD thing.  We went to a dinner the other night with other PhD students and it just made me feel out of place.  I don’t know if I really know what I am doing or talking about.  It seems like just about everyone outside of Fuller is anti-PhD, and this is a problem for someone who is considered a “feeler?? on the Myers-Briggs test.  I have so many things I am interested in that its really hard to focus it all down.  My plan is to study Quakerism and postmodernity, my hope is to help reshape the tradition a bit with my research but I often fear its too narrow or too hopeless.  And I have all these other “great ideas.??

Read that last bit with a hint of sarcasm please.

So sometimes we blackout, I think my case is blackout from being piled under too much. 

And then as I think about it, Christ says “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.??  This has got to be one of my most favorite passages in Scripture, its like Psalm 23 summed up in a sentence.  Can I take a piece of that rest now, or was there some kind of eschatological meaning to all this…?

A few other things I am doing to combat blackout currently are; writing a blog post about it, listening to new music (the Finches, King Geedorah, MF Doom, Smog and Atlas Songs), wishing I rode my bike home, and going to bed.  What are other ways to battle blackout? 

——-

I’ll save my life for something good, oh yeah
For something good, oh yeah
For something good, oh yeah
And when you’re punching skulls on your bathroom floor, oh yeah
Does it get you off? Oh yeah, does it get you off to know that
Sometimes we all blackout

~Lovedrug

Check Lovedrug out at Purevolume

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Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

9 thoughts on “Sometimes We All Blackout”

  1. I don’t think I can live with a “feeler.”

    What do you mean everybody outside of Fuller is anti-Ph.D.? What about me?! Oh, I guess I’m at Fuller too.

    Anyway, I still think it’s a good idea for you to go ahead. Opportunities to be taken and whatnot. You have a gift and the best way for you to share it with the world may be to get a Ph.D. Other opportunities will reveal themselves if you end up deciding that the doctorate is not for you.

  2. Chase you may not be able to live with a feeler I don’t think I can live with the Captain of the enterprise – it seems like egos may come between us.

    Did I say everybody outside of Fuller, I mean it seems like everybody but I know its not. And you’re right you are not counted in the list, as we talked about the other day – Way seems to have opened in this direction and I would be silly to not try and take it.

    I may be silly but…

  3. As someone, now, outside of Fuller who did choose not to pursue a PhD, it sounds to me like you’re just in a lull of grace.

    What was the Spirit doing six, seven, or more months ago? How did the Spirit work out the circumstances? You felt absolutely driven to pursue a PhD and everything opened up in the ideal situation for you to pursue it. When it was time for decisions to be made you were given open doors. Now, while decisions have already been made and before you fully leap into it, there’s no need for the extraordinary drivenness of the Spirit. So you feel the lack of grace as you wait, and the doubts that come with that.

    Was the Spirit working before? That’s the question. Did you and your wife pray about this? I prayed in similar directions and was pushed out of the pursuit by the Spirit. If there is conflict then you have to figure out when the Spirit was working, now when decisions have already been made, or before when they were being made. Did the Spirit lead you into something new and different, or did the Spirit trick you into making a misstep.

    You’re doing something others around you may not understand, but in my estimation that makes you quite a good Quaker. It’s all about following the Spirit, who like the wind blows where he will. Sometimes even into PhD programs.

    Of course, I’ve only talked with you on a couple of occasions. So what do I know? That’s just how it seems to me. Let the Spirit be the Spirit, not other people, and you’ll find something wonderful.

  4. Patrick, thank you for your thoughtful response. You are correct to suggest through your questioning that I have in the past believed it was the Spirit leading; a “lull in grace” is a nice way to put it.

    Its interesting how, at least for me, people can have such a trumping effect on things that you do and believe – even if its against what you believe the Spirit to be saying.

    Of course – then there is the competing voices, those who are close to me who say yes and those who say no. Sometimes God speaks through both at the same time, I will continue to listen and trust in the silence as you’ve suggested.

  5. Today was the first time I read this post on your blog, or just about any other post than the three I had read and posted on before today, plus one about a bike accident. First time I heard you talk about a PhD program. First time I knew you thought about eschatology (or however it’s spelled and whatever it means). If you recall … what I said before (before June 14 here, June 15 as the date-stamp is being applied) … might be a reason He had me put it that way.
    I just finished my master’s thesis, so I can understand some of what you are thinking. In fact, the ink isn’t even dry–isn’t even on the revised submission pages yet, since I still have to print it (after making a few more corrections) and hand it in tomorrow. I had thought about getting a PhD. Not in theology, though. Tired of studying now.
    I’ve completely lost the callouses on my left hand. It’s time to spend more time with my guitar again.
    John

  6. John I know the feeling, sometimes I think I am too tired to move on and do this. Sometimes I wonder if I am “cut out” for it.

    You have a sharp mind from what I can tell here, and I think you would be a good candidate for a doctoral program if you ever choose to move forward.

  7. So, apparently you see that I didn’t just come here to complain…
    All of it. Guitar, mostly. A little keyboard, the number two pencil, the computer… Sonar …
    From Bach to Beatles, from Palestrina to Beethoven to Jimi Hendrix. Someday, the Lord will do something with it, I believe.
    John

  8. The point of my posting here in this thread is mostly to say that I see you as a person not altogether unlike myself—that is, with various likes and dislikes, various hopes and dreams, an idealism that is, more so than many have, the idealism of someone who is passionate about consistency—and that I also can identify with some of what you are going through—in more ways than you might otherwise have guessed. I wanted you to know that I listen, I don’t just speak. And I am the more inclined to speak at length to someone the more I can see myself in their place. How would I feel if I started a blog and was suddenly confronted with an insistent criticism? I have spent a lot of time thinking about precisely that very question, Wess. You’re not just a name on the screen of a webpage that includes a bio and a role and an attitude. You’re another person. Can the foot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” and be speaking the truth? The body of Christ is We, not I and them. If one suffers, all suffer. If one is put to shame, all are put to shame. If one is glorified, all are glorified. I would therefore prefer not to see you sad, or uncomfortable, Wess. But the Lord forbids me to flatter you. You’ll have to listen to the Spirit to know what to do concerning the PhD program. Whichever choice you are led to make regarding that, I do pray that you lift up your eyes and see the far-reaching potential influence of your every thought, word and move. I posted in this thread that you might have an opportunity to take the broader picture into consideration when you reflect on what I have said elsewhere, and other things that you undoubtably have on your mind.
    The message of uncompromised peace and the universality of truth is so vitally important, as you sometimes appear to grasp. I so hope not to see that important conviction—that desperately needed contribution—dimmed or obscured behind a shadow of turning brought on by even the most minimal kind of worldly factionalism. Excuse me while I slap myself. You wouldn’t know why, but it’s enough to say I make my share of blunders, and that we all “weigh the violence of the world in our hands.” I pray you learn to choose your battles wisely, Wess. School won’t teach you that part of what you’ll need to know to be more effective. That’s my 2 cents.
    John

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