Saying Goodbye

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I haven’t posted in a while. There’s a lot of reasons for this, I’ve taken on several projects, I’m knee deep in the renovation of my home, I’m actively creating art for my Patreon page, I’m involved in a new business venture.

But more than anything I just listed, I’ve been emotionally wiped out by a death in the family. No, it’s not a human family member, thank god. But it hurts like one. Four weeks ago, our beautiful Lab/Husky mix, Koa, was hit by a car. His back was broken in two places and there was no realistic way to save him. Now people lose pets all the time, and we have had our fair share of pets die over the years. Dogs, cats, bunnies, living on a busy road claims it’s victims. But Koa was more than a pet. We adopted him 5 years ago, to help fill an empty place in our home after my mother passed away. At the shelter, while his siblings rushed the cage to bark and get our attention, he sat back and just looked at us. Kris and I looked at each other and said together, “I like that one”.

He was beautiful and gentle and an unbelievable mooch. For the past 5 years he has been our constant companion. He was always part of the family. Nearly a month since he died we still think we hear him at the door, or we’ll have food and think “Koa’s gonna love this”, only to remember he’s not there anymore. We cried when he was hit and we cried when we had to put him down. I’ve cried more often than I care to admit the past few weeks. There has been a dark cloud of sadness in the house.

We will move on of course, that’s what you do with loss. But it’s hard to imagine not still missing him and feeling sad. For my family, Koa’s loss is the latest in difficult deaths. My mother’s passing in November of 2012 was followed by the sudden death of my brother in November 2016. Koa leaving us too soon just continues the sadness we feel.

I don’t have a point with this post, other than I needed to put my feeling into print, to work through the pain. To say thank you to Koa for the joy and companionship he gave us. To tell him we loved him and we miss him.

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I Love You #19, A Memory

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Quick story about the concert in the image. Ok, not that specific show, but one a year earlier, nearly the same setlist, etc. At the time I was working and going to art school in Ft. Lauderdale. I was a big fan of the band Daniel Amos, (which had morphed into the name DA, which would eventually morph into da), but I digress. DA was one of the first CCM groups to move into new wave territory musically. They started in the 70’s as a country rock band, moved into Beatle-ish pop rock, and then burst out all new wavey.

I had seen them a few years earlier in the Horrendous Disc Beatle era, and enjoyed it greatly. I was curious to see how they were in full new wave mode live. The show was being put on at a local YMCA and I was careful to get there early, figuring it would be a small venue and seating would be tight. Well it was small alright, maybe 150-200 chairs setup in a medium sized room. Nobody was seated yet and I took my place in the front row, pleased that I would be front and center.

As show time came closer and closer, I noticed there was very little activity. A few people were setup in the back to sell things, and hardly anyone was walking around. A handful of people came and sat down, and I do mean handful. Start time came and there were still only a few of us, less than 10, sitting there. I wondered if the concert would be canceled. But after a few minutes, out they came, doing they’re best to look enthusiastic. I was mortified, I had never been to a show with this few in attendance. For a major CCM band. And so, for the next hour and a half, DA played cutting edge music on a full concert setup, strobe lights, extremely tight musicianship, to 10 people. And I sang the songs at the top of my lungs, embarrassed for them that they had to play for so few. Anyone who knows me well knows I can’t sing a lick, but I did my best, trying to create some kind of crowd feedback.

After the show, I talked to a couple of the band members as they were taking down the equipment. I thanked them for giving us a full effort despite the attendance. They said they were experiencing similar turnouts else where on that tour through Florida, and wouldn’t be using the same promoter again. It had to be depressing for them. But for me, it was a concert to remember, the night DA played almost exclusively for me. I left humming their song “I Love You #19″…

All right!

[Verse 1]
Now if I say it real pretty in a pretty rhyme
Well, does your mind get cloudy? That’s a dirty crime
Does it do things any good to tell you that I’m standing here Because I love you?

[Verse 2]
You say the voice is soothing, got those hypnotic eyes
But man, I wouldn’t want to hand you any alibis
You can blame it all on what you can
But do you see just where I am?
I love you

[Bridge]
I had a flash
I saw you crying in the night
I said a prayer
I saw you walking in the night
And you were saying how it all once was
And how your life had changed because He loves you
And then you turned to tell someone who wouldn’t believe you
When you said, “I love you”

[Verse 3]
Now if I find it rough-going in expressing myself
And between the lines it’s coming from somebody else
Don’t you leave it all together, put this upon the shelf
I said I love you

[Verse 1]
Now if I say it real pretty in a pretty rhyme
Well, does your mind stay cloudy? That’s a dirty crime
Does it do things any good to tell you that I’m standing here Because I love you?
Does it do things any good to tell you that I’m standing here
Because I love you?
Well, does it do things any good to tell you that I’m standing here
Because I love you, love you, yes I do
I said I love you, love you, yes, I do
I said I love you, love you, yes, I do
I said I love you, love you, yes, I do
I said I love you, love you, yes, I do, yeah

 

They Tore The Old Place Down

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Each year for the past 3 or 4 years, I have taken a day to just be alone. I usually pick a place to go that I used to live. I started doing this after my mother died. A close friend told me that I needed to process my feelings, to go somewhere and be still, unaffected by deadlines or other things. And so that’s what I do each year.

This year wasn’t a planned trip. My daughter had come to stay with us for a few days and  I took her to the airport to fly home. I had taken the full day off from work, and she was safely at the airport by early afternoon and I had most of the day left to do whatever I wanted. The airport is only about 45 minutes from a small town that I lived in when I was a kid, one of my many stops along the way, so I decided to head there.

I lived in the tiny town of Castile roughly three years, including 1st and 2nd grade. My dad taught at a small college there. We came to Castile because my dad had contracted a disease that was debilitating him. Formerly a pastor, he didn’t have the energy to be a full time minister anymore. We moved into a small apartment that the college offered, in the building seen at the top of this post. We were upstairs and there were apartments in the down stairs.

I have fond memories of my life there. I had two close friends, Pat and Terry, and we enjoyed the small town and the freedom to roam the village. I especially remember going to a local store after school with Terry and getting a cup of cider. I developed a love of reading there at the town library, and sometimes I can still picture Tarzan in my mind the way I saw him when reading.

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The thing I remember the most is the time I spent with my dad. He would be home, physically worn out, basically bed ridden. We would play catch with a beanbag in his bedroom, a simple thing, but to me it was wonderful. He would tell me years later that he felt so bad that he couldn’t do more with me than catch. But I loved those times, I didn’t think of it as being cheated. Those moments are sacred to me.

I went back to Castile two years ago, walked the town, took pictures, talked with people that I probably went to school with, but didn’t remember. And I visited the old building that we had lived in. It was empty, condemned and leaning dangerously to one side, seemingly held up only by one large tree. I talked to some locals and they said the building was owned by an out of towner who hadn’t been there for years.

So now in 2018, I came back to town. I drove by the library, which looks very much as it did when I was 10. I drove past the cider mill and Pat and Terry’s old homes. I drove by the old school I went to, closed for many years and very rundown. And finally I drove to see the old apartment building. A block away I could see something was different, and as I pulled up I realized the old place was gone. A gaping space where the building once stood. It was a funny feeling, like my memories had been whisked away. Bittersweet. They had torn the old place down.

I’m still processing my feelings. The building itself was nothing. But the memories it represented, of the times with my folks, my dad, my early friends, the beginning of the journey, they are very real. It was a simple life, a bygone time. I miss the place.

Momentary Numbness

Reflect

A brief post about the journey. I have been planning on writing more on my deconstruction/faith journey. This should be Deconstruction Pt. 3. But it won’t be, at least not in the way I planned. Recently I spent a bit of time messaging with a friend and follower of this blog. The topic was the posts I have done on my deconstruction. It was a very good discussion. And it has led me to want to detail my journey in, well, detail. But I’m finding it a bit of a challenge to make the notes I need to make to accurately write about what happened to me.

It could be the things going on in my life at the moment. My recent cancer surgery has left me with some hefty bills. In addition my wife and sons and I have taken on the big challenge of renovating our 221 year old house (yes, that is not a typo, it’s old). Without going into detail, suffice it to say that it is expensive and time consuming and exhausting at times. In addition, I have launched a Patroen page (https://www.patreon.com/marvborst) to promote my art and raise money for the bills that are pressing. That means spending time creating new art.

Whatever the reason, I’m feeling a little numb these days. The political landscape is driving me crazy, so that probably plays into it. The truth is I have left the religious arena for good. And going back to examine how that happened seems exhausting. When it was happening in a big way there was a rush to it, a feeling both exciting and scary. Now there is a peace, but also a struggle to look back in detail.

I will continue this, I will write in much more detail about deconstruction, but not today. I’m tired of religion. But hey, tomorrow’s another day and maybe I’ll be ready!

The Story Behind A Painting

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Here’s a quick post about the rose painting above. I have been notorious for taking forever on my artwork. I drive my wife crazy with my tendency to work on a project, then spend hours looking at the unfinished art, usually with the artwork upside down (it always looks better that way, trust me). And to top it off, I usually give up on it, sure that it is crap, and stick it away in a closet somewhere.

The rose painting has a completely different story. Several years ago, more than I can remember, I got into a pretty good argument with my wife. I’m sure I was wrong, I usually am! At some point she stormed off and I knew life would be emotionally painful until I set things straight with her. Unsure how to make that happen, I decided to paint her a yellow rose. Yellow is her favorite color.

Of course, my normal working time for a project like that would be two weeks to never, and I didn’t have that kind of time. So I started painting and I painted and I painted until sometime in the early hours of the next day I finished it. Nervously I slid it under our bedroom door (from where I had been banished) hoping for the best. I don’t know if it was the actual painting or the fact that I finished something in one setting, but Kris loved the painting, and I lived to see another day.

With a different set of pressures, I’m working on creating art with the same sense of urgency now. I have started a Patron page, and I’m looking for supporters who will journey with me in the creation of new and enjoyable art. Please check out the page, and if you  like what you see, join me. https://www.patreon.com/marvborst

 

Deconstruction Pt. 2… sort of.

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted pt. 1 of my deconstruction story. The response from it was good, (although you wouldn’t know it from the likes at the bottom, click the Like button people if you enjoy a post!). I’ve been busy with life (https://www.patreon.com/posts/first-of-images-18749716) and haven’t revisited the deconstruction theme. Today’s post will only touch on the theme a little. This will be more about random thoughts on deconstruction.

So what do I mean by “deconstruction”? For my purposes, deconstruction is the breaking down or breaking away from something that has been the bedrock of my existence. For the first 50 something years of my life I was defined by what I believed. I have come to think of that as a bad thing. Why? Because what I believed relied a great deal on only showing one side of things and trying very hard to not be exposed to other schools of thoughts. Now if you had asked me if I was only seeing one side, I would have denied it. After all, I was active in christian apologetics, I went to a public school (okay, 10 of them, LOL. See my post on my school years and moving). I felt I was balanced in my viewpoints. But I wasn’t and when I began to seek answers to the nagging questions, I began to have those “aha” moments.

It’s funny, because I’ve been in this place for a couple of years now, and I now view my old life like someone having an out of body experience. I can see the blindness to other views, the unrecognized bias and the always trying to shoe horn things to fit my worldview. I struggle with balancing my old community of friends with my new beliefs. Some have gently tried to “save” me from where I am, using the very arguments I would have used if they were the ones deconstructing instead of me. But I feel free more than anything else.

So this post didn’t really tell much of the story, but I promise to post Pt. 2 in the next few days. Peace.

Baby Violet

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A pretty special event happened over the weekend for my family. My first grand child was born. Baby Violet, mother Eve and father Tyler, my son, are all doing very well. My wife and I are thrilled and Violet’s Aunt Alicia and Uncle Kyle are excited about her arrival. She’s beautiful and tiny and perfect.

I wish my parents had been here to see her. My dad died when I was 25. He died of cancer, and we were all shocked because we believed he would beat death, because he had beaten it twice before. When we heard he had cancer he told me he would beat it because he wanted to be there to see who I married and to see my kids. We were all wrong, the cancer was too far into his body, and he died two months later. My mother on the other hand lived to 94, and saw and lived with and loved my kids. She would have been giddy over little Violet, I can almost hear her excited squeal, the one she would make when she was really excited about something. Like a great meal or family visiting, the things she lived for.

I don’t know about the hereafter. I used to believe I did. But I like the thought that Mom and Dad are aware of little Violet, that they can somehow share in the joy. So even though I don’t know if they can or not, I’m going to go with the hopeful idea that they can, especially dad, who missed so much because his body let him down.

So we’ll go forward, as a family, and do our best to shower Violet with the love and care that my parents would have. I’ll tell her someday about her great grandparents, and the extraordinary lives they lived, simple people who were filled with love. Welcome to the world little Violet!