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!

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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!

Are you gonna keep your word?

My wife’s iPhone went off this morning around 5:30 am playing this song by the christian band Guardian called Are You Gonna Keep Your Word. It’s a beautiful song of truth in love and marriage and/or relationships. We must strive to keep our word, fail as we might at times.

“Sometimes it gets so thick in here,” she said
Clearing the plates from another power lunch
Then she laughed at herself and told me what was good
No ring, no coy disguise, but world-weary innocence in her eyes
Said, “Every false move you make will be withstood”

“Lies, like rust, decay
Is your heart that way?
Vows, like prayers, are heard
Are you gonna keep your word?

And when in time I pledged heart and soul
She said, “Love is patient
But you must know that feelings come and go Like these sainted patrons”

Lies, like rust, decay
Is your heart that way?
And good intentions are no guarantee, just look at me
Are you gonna keep your word?”

When the seige begins
When the thieves break in
Will you stand your ground?
And when you fight the wars on foreign soil
Will I rest assured?
Are you gonna keep your word?

And as we watch our children sleep
I take her hand, I feel her ring
I have been faithful, but I know my heart is not above deceit

Lies, like rust, decay
Is your heart that way?
Vows, like prayers, are heard

Will I keep my word?
Lies, little lies come back to haunt you like petty fraud
Vows are made forever before God

And I will always keep my word to you

Vega memories

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“Chevette”
Twenty years ago I watched in awe
as my dad drove up the driveway.
More than proud to have a brand
new family car.
Thirty miles to the gallon, 0 to 60,
sometimes.
I remember putting down the back
seat and lying in the hatchback.
Looking at the sky watching
trees go by.
I was the son of a preacher, and
he was a rich poor man.

No A.C.
No FM,
And no regrets,
in my Chevette.

The winter cracked the highway and
we tried to dodge the potholes.
He never promised us it would be a
gentle ride.
He never had a problem though,
keeping it on the narrow road.

The christian band Audio Adrenaline recorded this song probably 20 years ago now. It always reminded me of my dad, and the Chevy Vega he bought new while we lived in Kentucky. The experiences match my memories of the early days of that car and my dad. If you change Chevette to Vega, it’s a match. My dad was indeed a rich poor man. We’ll talk about him in depth in another post. We went to Lexington to buy the car. How dad was able to I don’t know, he wasn’t being paid by the college. But he decided we needed a newer car, so we went to a dealership, traded in our red Taurino, and drove away with a new 1975 Chevy Vega.

That would have been fine, but dad had agreed to pick up some visitors to the college and bring them back to the campus. So instead of Dad, mom and me riding home, we added another five people. If you’ve ever ridden in a Vega, you know it’s small, and there’s not a ton of room. Plus these people had luggage! All I remember is I was stuck on the backseat floor, under somebody’s legs for the whole trip back home. Longest couple of hours of my short life!

I eventually had the car pasted to me, after my first semester in college. Seems my parents were worried about my transportation after I told them about a date I had where the car I borrowed (my roommate’s car) broke down somewhere in the Miami area. I can’t remember all the details but my date decided that was probably enough and we didn’t go out again. (You know who you are!)

The vega became something of a legend at college. I was always hauling people around in it and it always had a ton of soda cans in the back seat. Occasionally a few random cockroaches would show up. Went to a lot of concerts and got lost a lot. I painted my name on the side door above the handle to personalize it which was kinda corny. It saw me through my three years at Miami Christian and a lot of good times.

My first year at The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale I was working as a cashier at Cumberland Farms in Ft. Lauderdale. My vega was parked in front of the store and a customer backed into it, driving it into a barrier and crunching the car a few inches. I drove it like that for a few months, a very hard ride! One sunday night I was taking my buddy Tim and his girlfriend to church. Although Tim was 6’7″ and 270 lbs, and his girlfriend was a tiny girl, Tim sat in the back seat. We didn’t get too far before there was a loud bang and the back end of the car dropped on the rear tires. I turned the car around and we drove back to our home with smoke streaming out from the body rubbing on the tires. Great smell! And so the Vega came to a glorious end, crushed into a cube at a local junkyard. But it had served me well and I still miss it.

Life on the move

I’ve been corresponding a lot on FB with friends from different stages of my life. It seems many have no idea of the crazy twists and turns my life took during my school years. From birth through my senior year of high school I moved ten times and attended 9 different schools, in three different states. How did that happen? My dad, as I’ve mentioned before, was a Baptist preacher and a teacher. Staying still just didn’t seem to be in his DNA. It started when we left tiny Throop, NY where I was born, and moved to Mt. Morris, NY where dad took the position as pastor at a Baptist church. While we were there I started kindergarten. My dad’s health began to decline and after a couple of years at Mt. Morris he took a teaching job down the road at a christian college located in Castile, NY. And so I spent first and second grade at the elementary school there. Dad then took the pastorship at a small church in Springfield Center, NY, just up the road from Cooperstown. We were there from third grade to part of sixth grade. Dad then moved us to Letcher, Kentucky to be a greek and hebrew teacher at a very small christian college. This lasted 3 years, I finished sixth grade there and we moved again halfway through my freshman year. This is where it gets a little crazy and I even have trouble remembering it all.

 

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Calvary College, and my mini bike, 1975.
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Mt. Morris, NY with dad.

 

When Dad resigned from the college, he didn’t have a job to go to. Why would he do that? Well, the college hadn’t paid him in two years, providing an apartment to live in was the compensation, and Dad was forced to look for support from people, much like a missionary does. The college was literally down to one student, I’m not kidding, and the end was in sight. (The college campus is still active, now known as Calvary Campus https://www.facebook.com/calvarycampusletcherky/). So we packed up our stuff and headed to Seffner, Florida, where friends had a place for us to live during the rest of the school year. I attended the Jr. High school the rest of that year. For those keeping score, thats two high schools my freshman year.

At the end of the school year dad had not been able to find a job teaching, so we headed north, back to Throop to live that summer with my Aunt in the house that would one day be the home for my own family. I started my sophomore year at a christian school in Auburn, NY. We stayed through the first two weeks of school in the fall. Unable to find that elusive teaching job, and with another home of a friend in Seffner opening up for the fall/winter, we headed south again. I then attended a large high school in Brandon, Florida. Between the semesters, dad was hired to teach High School in Miami. So off we went to a decent sized christian high school for my second semester of my sophomore year. That’s three schools in one year and five over two years for those keeping score at home.

The difference in the three schools I attended my sophomore year is pretty comical really. Emmanuel Christian probably had 100 students from K to 12th. Brandon High had over 4,000 students 9th to 12th. And Mueller Christian Academy I’m guessing had a few hundred students. In two and a half years I had lived in the coal country of Kentucky, the heat of Florida, and the small town farm area of CNY. I felt like a pinball, bopping from place to place. I made a handful of friends along the way, and had my first real girlfriend in Miami, but it was crazy. Miami was a crazy place to live in the mid 70’s and my dad didn’t like it. He was also unhappy with the fundamentalist bent of the principal at Mueller and the day after school ended we were packing our stuff and heading back to Throop. I wasn’t happy, leaving my first girlfriend was a bummer. After living that summer at my uncle’s home, dad was determined to stay put and not have me go to another five high schools, so he took the only available job he could find at the local high school, Port Byron, as a janitor. He had graduated from PB 38 years before. PB was my sixth and final high school, I spent my junior and senior years there. Interestingly enough, after I graduated, 40 years after he did, dad was asked to be the pastor at a small church in Oatka, NY. I headed back to Miami to go to college and he headed back to pastoring. It had been a wild four years.

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Port Byron Basketball, 1978-79