Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Audacity Of People

It amazes me how absolute selfish we can be as a race. Humans are so blind to the fact that they don't have a clue. Especially over privileged rich boys who piss and moan when they don't get their way.

Don't get me wrong, I have my own problems and piss and moan about plenty. I mean, hell, I have a blog! Read my posts, I do it often. I hope though, that I am not so careless and so ignorant to a situation that I created, which due to circumstances have emotionally hurt another person, that I completely ignore everything around me and go about my business like things are nice and jolly. No, I'm hoping I'm not that heartless and inconsiderate of others.

Maybe being on this mission trip has actually been more helpful than I thought. I know that one of the things I've often found myself thinking is - "well, now I know how not to act." I guess that's something good to learn, right? Really though, it truly boggles my mind how people can be so careless and be so focused on themselves that they see the wrongs they have done and simply something along the lines of,

"Woops, my bad! Now get over it, thanks!"

In classic fashion, what is one to do? That's what I was asked when I maybe slipped in my temper expressing his need to shut up about the situation, upon which he asked me, "what was I to do? I said sorry!"

Sometimes, especially when you make someone cry and then are completely rude to them after the fact just so you can watch your damn movie, SOMETIMES sorry just doesn't cut it! Sometimes, action is in order. Talk to the person, express that you didn't know what you were doing was a bad thing (as the actual act that I am writing about was a bit of a misunderstanding and even I was surprised at the outcome) but the response of the person responsible just shows the nature of man. This terrible nature that infuriates me so much, only begs another question I constantly find myself asking, is there anyone left I can trust? Is there anyone left who isn't completely self-absorbed? Someone that can care for someone else more than they care about watching a bad online copy of Tropic Thunder?

I hope so but that hope seems to fade more than it grows. It only seems that "I" matter to myself and no one else matters but me anymore. I can't even count the number of things I've done to try and be kind and generous to people who act this way, including who this blog is about, only to be met with more ridicule and a feeling of being used. Yet, I keep persisting to help them and honestly, probably would help this very person tomorrow if they needed it. Why do I do that? Am I just weak or do I actually believe that there actually can be some amount of good in every person, and it's just a matter of time before they realize their own potential?

I wonder what Jesus felt like when he was around Judas Iscariot. I don't think there is a verse in the Bible that says anything along the lines of Jesus being wary and cautious of Judas. He invited him and chose him to be among his 12, his group that he was closest with, even though he knew that Judas was going to betray him and sell him into the hands of his killers. What would we do if we were put in that situation? How would you respond if you were given knowledge of the future and could know the person who would later betray you in such a way, even a way that would lead to your death? What would you do?

I would avoid them at all costs most likely. I wouldn't want to deal with the pain that person's betrayal would put me through. I would rather just not know them, regardless of the insights they may have been able to give me during our time. I really don't think I would be able to handle being around that person if we were in contact. If they were apart of the group that I even hung out with, brought in from a friend, I'd be cautious around them and not let them get close to me - but that's not at all what Jesus did and he knew that this person would be key in leading him to his death.

And he loved him. I think that's what gets me the most. If you look into what I believe of love, a central point of that belief is that love is an action and I think that Jesus was a man more full of love than anyone else. He loved him. He knew all his dark secrets and knew his future and what would happen but it didn't matter because in the moment, Jesus loved him would of done anything for him.

As an act of servitude (something I've only done with a few people close to me who were on the 2nd Hot Metal Bridge mission trip to Mississippi) Jesus even washed his feet. He didn't say to him, "well, you're not the best of friends and I'd really rather not" or anything like that. He humbled himself and washed his betrayers feet. Would I be willing to wash this person's feet? How about any of the other people in my past who have hurt me?

What about the people I've hurt? How many times have I been a Judas? Maybe not necessarily to the extent of some but what about other ways that I've been a Judas? Will anyone accept me? Love me? Wash my feet?

Well...maybe after my time in Brazil wouldn't be the best time to wash my feet as I've worn sandles the whole time and my feet, though washed, still resemble the dirt on the roads we walk.

That's a bit off point though. I guess when it comes to my betrayers, I need to realize that I'm no better than them as every person, in their own way, has a little bit of Judas in them. That doesn't mean that we should stand by and let a rude remark, a complete disregard for another human being or even the exteme Judas' injustices go on unanswered. The Judas here won't respond to the confrontations of anyone, including our leader, as anything less than us blowing up a situation that's simple and everyone should get over it (since he doesn't care and doesn't want to feel bad, then we shouldn't care and he shouldn't have to feel bad. Right?) Not all of us are very good with confrontation though, and that's when we can still do something for those who have been hurt and showing them that we care.

I hope that anyone that I have hurt that is reading this will know that any harm done was unintentional. I know the pain that others can inflict and wouldn't wish that on another person. To those who are hurting, I hope that someone will come to your side, no matter how much pain you've been put in.

And I hope we will realize that all human beings were created equal and maybe, just maybe, that means that there's good somewhere inside us all. In some, it may just be deeper than others. I think I've said all I need to say. Thank you for reading.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Insomnia (And How Much It Sucks!)

The title's are similar cause I'm going to pick up on some things I discussed in the last one. First though, we should all be able to respect how awesome New Found Glory is and how excited I am that tickets to the show next month (while I'm home) are only $16. Someone should buy them for me. It would make me SO happy cause then I could see the perfect pop-punk/hardcore show of the year. You don't have to though, just thought I would throw that out there. Anyways...

Things are still rough. Sadly, as I was talking about before, my project that was having trouble is now defunct and dead. It was canceled due to some interview problems. Apparently, no one actually felt like answering my questions but decided to just talk about whatever they wanted, therefore giving me 3 different interviews about 3 different things. Needless to say, I couldn't really make a story out that and had to sadly pull the plug on the project. There is a glimmer of hope left in the good interview I did get though, so we'll see what happens with that. With that gone though, I'm now out of a project and don't really have to much to do. The days are long and I'm a bit burnt out from the daily routine and the lack of sleep.

Sleep. What a concept. They say that when you sleep, your bodies at rest. I wouldn't know what sleep felt like if I tried my best. I swear, I lay in bed every night and it takes me longer and longer to fall asleep. I checked the other night. I had laid in bed for over 4 hours trying to fall asleep and still I stayed awake. I am reading through the old testament right now (deuteronomy) and even THAT isn't helping me sleep. It's so repetitive and gets boring when you read the same thing over and over and yet, not sleepy. It's terrible. I can't wait to get back to Hawaii where I'll be on a normal sleeping schedule. If only I could get a Dr. Pepper and some Captain Morgan...hmm...

Granted, today it was suggested that I make use of my insomnia. Apparently, University of Pittsburgh pays big bucks to study people with sleeping disorders. I am desperate for an HVX (or at least am saving up for an HD camera) and could use some big bucks. If I can make money off my insomnia, then it's a win win! So, I think I might sell myself to the University for scientific testing (that sounds so cool and creepy when you put it that way. It's how superheroes are made!)

Until then though, I'll have to suffer through it and deal. It's really a pain though. I just want to sleep and wake up and not be in pain or tired. Can't I just have a good nights sleep? Please? Is it really so much to ask?

Pain is the other part of this that is an irritant. I wake up every morning with an intense amount of pain in my lower back. It's not anything new and I would imagine by now that I would be used to it. I'm not though and it's irritating me. I'm really not sure what to do. It's hard to get tea in the mornings here too. Pretty much, I'm just a crank who shouldn't be bother for the first 4 hours he's awake. Yeah, that makes sense. Take off an hour if I get a back massage. Take off another hour if I get a BIG cup of tea. If it's a small cup...then only take off 30 minutes.

I'm really running off the point here. I'm not sure I had much of a point. Everyone is starting to wind down since it's our last week. Sleep deprivation and morning back pain is taking a toll on me and I'm kind of tired of taking cold showers (sooo cold).

I think I'm coming to terms with not having a project to share with everyone. I mean, I can't expect everyone to be so needy. I don't really understand why I was like that but I'm starting to come to terms with it and realize that maybe, just maybe, people are glad that I am here doing what I can. I might not have an amazing story like some other missionaries, but at least I was here to serve, right?

I think I've been distracted by to much to keep going with this. I lost what I was writing so this will serve as an update. See you in about a week, Hawaii!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stress (With A Happy Ending)

I won't lie, things have been getting heavy on me lately. We only have 2 more weeks left in the Amazon and I am still not even close to being finished with the project I'm working on. My stress is at a peaking level and I am wondering when I'm going to totally break down and start telling people that life would be better if I were an ant or something while I roll on the floor laughing and crying simultaneously. I'm waiting for the moment when somebody spills a drink and a trigger in my brain goes off that causes me to simply explode in a panic and heavy crying for no real reason other than because I'm so weighed down right now that I couldn't handle it anymore and my brain just went haywire.

More than likely, I'm totally exaggerating here, but I feel heavy. I feel like there is something on top of me and I know I'm the one causing it because I have a poor mentality. I've been working on this project for a while and haven't been able to make much progress for this reason or that. Whatever the reason though, I still blame myself and look at the impossible task of editing this and having it totally done in the next 2 weeks. Could it get done? Yes. Do I imagine it being easy? Not in any way, shape, or form. Will it require numerous sleepless nights and me screaming at walls for no reason, knowing they won't respond back? Probably. Am I going a little nutty? You better believe it!

Although, if I'm able to realize the bit of crazy that has attached itself to me (not that I was ever very normal), am I really that crazy after all? I think my stress is exhausting me and placing me into a state of delirium (which is when I write my best, interestingly enough). It probably doesn't help that I am on a lack of sleep right now too. I barely got any sleep last night. I'll take that into account with the crazy talk above.

For those of you reading this thinking, "well then stop putting such heaviness on yourself and weighing yourself down with this project," it's really not that simple. There is so much more going on here than just me wanting to get this project done, at least inside my own mentality of what this all means down here. See, for me, I can't see my being down here, with all the support that I've been given (thank you all again, I love you and am so grateful for your help) that I simply can't see anything else as acceptable for this outreach.

Basically, my mindset is that I either get this project done or my coming here was a waste of time and money. Is that true? Probably not, but for me, I view it as the utmost important thing. I don't really know why I can't see the good in my just coming down here. Why isn't it enough that I'm simply here to serve the people around me when they need me? Why do I have to have some big elaborate project done and ready to go so that I can show everyone what they helped accomplish? Do I want praise for it? Maybe a bit but I hope that's not it. I think I'm deciding what other peoples expectations are for me. I've made a decision that those who have helped me get here are expecting me to come back with some amazing stories and show them everything we've been doing and it has to be awesome or they won't accept it. It's not enough that I'm simply here to be here and serve.

Or is it? Is it enough that I'm simply just here?

I'm really not looking for praise with this project or anything, I'm looking to help. I want to help. This project means a lot to me and I want it to be something that can bring more help here in the future. It's something that broke my heart when I heard about it. That is all true, but I still have those expectations that I have decided others are expecting for me to present to them.

I still think to myself that, well if I don't have something this great to show, no one is going to be happy they helped me come here because I won't really have anything to show them. I won't have anything to connect them to what has happened, connect them to being down here. I won't have a way to indirectly make them a part of this outreach. They're going to wonder why they bothered even helping me and think it was more of a travel experience and vacation than anything. I am worried that I'll come home and not have this great project or video or story to tell and so everyone will be disappointed and I don't want that to happen.

I know I'm probably only getting myself worked up over something that more than likely won't happen. There are times though when you can't help it and this is one of those times for me. I can't help but think that my time here will be viewed as a waste if I don't have something really awesome for people to grab on to. It could be that such a mentality is there to push me and get things down. I don't know. There's more that goes into this as well besides just what I shared, but everything I wrote has probably the most to do with the stress I'm feeling right now.

This is how things are going right now for me though. Other than this, I mean, I'm good. It's rough but I'm doing what I can to stay positive. It's been raining the past few days. Heavy downpours, supposedly from how hot it's been here lately. We're in the dry season down here so it's clear skies, humidity and an ever growing heat. The rain brought out some animals that I didn't want to see though (snakes) and that has been a bit unpleasant. I only saw two (one big one and then a smaller dead one). I am not a fan of snakes so I wasn't really very happy when I saw them. An 8 1/2 foot Boa was found yesterday on the road to my cabin. Thank God I didn't see it.

I want to give you guys a positive update though, or at least leave you with something good. You went through my rant and my fear of snakes so I will talk about other things that happened this weekend. On Saturday, a large group of us went into the city to experience it some more. We didn't have anything to do there, we just went because we could. So we walked to the bus stop (2 - 3 miles away) and took a bus into the city. We walked around for a while trying to find a place to eat; I was starving. After about an hour of walking, we're finally taken to a small festival/park area where there are dozens of small food vendors lining the park and the street. One of the places had probably one of the best burgers I've ever had. I was so happy. A burger patty with a ton of sausage and bacon on top; it was huge!

For some reason though, this past week I have found myself with a huge craving for chocolate covered bananas. It was really very random but I really wanted them; I still do. After walking around the area a bit, we found a place that had Crepes on a stick. Interesting, I thought and sure enough, they had Banana and Chocolate filled Crepes. It was probably one of the best things I've eaten since getting down here. Not that the food here is bad, but it was really really good. I wish I know how to make them. Talked with some locals on the bus, including a guy who spoke pretty good english. We discussed a Mexican director who's work I love (Guillermo Del Toro - Pan's Labyrinth, Devil's Backbone, Hellboy, etc) and he asked about New York City, as he's going there in a few years. It was nice. It was nice to just get outside of the base and out of the jungle and hang out.


Sunday, August 3, 2008


I saw monkeys the other day. Finally. It was very cool. They were jumping through the trees. A whole family of them. So let's see, since getting to Brazil I've seen: Tarantula, Iguana, Strange Birds, and now Monkeys. All that's left that I want to see are Alligators and Jaguars and I've seen the animals I wanted to see. Hopefully when we go into the jungle to explore on our day off, we'll see some more stuff.

I'll hopefully be able to post some newer pictures soon. This is all I really have for an update thus far though. We're going into town to do some stuff that I may write about later. There are things that have been happening, I just don't really have the time to write about it right now.

So enjoy my shortest post ever!