My parents were the stable parents all through my child hood. Every dinner meal requried a meat, corn, green beans, & mashed potatoes. While my friends' parents were splitting up, mine stayed together. My dad worked at the same company for 50 billion years & retired from that company. Only once did we move because of Dad's job. Brief stint in Missouri, then right back to Henderson, KY. While things weren't perfect, (yeah, yeah, what family is?), we did have quite a bit of stability. That was good. Very good. Probably unappreciated at the time. But yeah, good.
Now my parents are retired, and I have trouble keeping up with them! They take trips. They've worked a myriad of part time jobs. They uprooted themselves from Henderson, and moved to Bardstown (also in KY). They didn't know anyone in Bardstown. Now, they eat all kinds of interesting foods. I never would have dreamed I would ever be eating in cool restaurants with them. I get a kick out of taking them to new places for culinary adventures.
Now, they have taken off on this crazy treck out west for the winter. They'll be spending this winter volunteering at a small, um very small, monument here. Tiny little town. Not much for excitement. They will be snowed in, up in a mountain somewhere in the middle of New Mexico. Yeah, me, the twisted son suggested they watch The Shining before heading out. They laughed, but didn't take me up on it. They're wise people.
So, today, I salute them. I think it's great watching them enjoy the fruits of sacrifice.
Go for it Dad & Mom! Hope it's a great adventure for you both.
I've had a little time off from the nuttiness & have been doing some thinking & sorting. Thought about posting some thoughts up here, just in case you decided to drop by.
What a full year this has been. A lot of changes in my life. Overall, I think I'm in a much better place than I have been for a long time. Much more honest with myself and with God. Probably more so than ever. But I also feel quite vulnerable....kinda scared at times. Maybe some day I'll write a little more in detail here...or maybe not. Maybe after a little more courage. But then not sure if want to exercise that much emotional exhibitionism. But for now, I'll continue to write in vague terms.
So what has Matt been doing this year? Still workin both jobs. Day job has gotten pretty nutty. A lot of changes there, but still pays the bills...er most of 'em! The night job selling coffee is still a great outlet for me. I've met so many interesting, cool, scary, annoying, lovely people over the last 2 years at Common Grounds.
I've been playing quite a bit of music. The band I've written about before, Plan A, is no more. Our Yoko is a sweet young thing who lives in LA. Lead guitarist is in love with her. She doesn't love Lexington, so he's headed out there. Actually it's a good thing. I wish Sean the best. He's a great guy.
Instead, I've been doing some acoustic stuff with Mike, our former lead singer. Check him out at myspace. He's really a very gifted writer.
Also, still playing with Daniel Bailey. He's also a great songwriter..and a great performer. He has a real gift for connecting with an audience with his self-deprecating humor...And I never get tired of hearing those same stories!!
And more recently, I've hooked up with Charlie Denison. We've only played one show together so far. We will probably be doing some more in the near future. Charlie's a great guy. White boy soulfulness. Loves some of the old school stuff. Only white boy I know who can get away with covering Sexual Healing and not get laughed off the stage!
OK, I guess that's it for now. Actually, I'm gonna cheat & back date some more posts. I spent this last weekend at Gethsemani. Beautiful time as usual. Have some thoughts from the weekend, but I've already written way more than you probably want to read in one sitting. So I'll put them in separate posts. Read 'em if ya like. Or not.
Trail to the Statues One of my favorite spots out here is the end of this trail. Two statues I find moving: One is of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemani. The other is the 3 disciples outside the garden asleep.
Today, I'm struck by the artist's choice in positioning these 3 men sleeping. There is a closeness between them captured. Most men here in the west would recoil from sleeping that close together. We would immediately sexualize it. But that's not the case here.
Perhaps they found comfort in this posture. After all this had been a strange night so far. Passover Meal, Jesus took a different tone. Actually he's been like this for a while, now. What did he mean when He said, "This is my body...this is my blood"? And what was that about with Judas? How is he going to betray Jesus? Why would he betray Jesus? Jesus takes us to this Garden, but then tells us to wait here & watch. What are we watching for? All very strange....
Comfort in this close brotherhood. Intimacy between these 3. Affection. Love. They've been brought close together as a community. Even when there is uncertainty about what Jesus is doing in this community, there is comfort in drawing close together to watch & wait.
For as long as I can remember, I've been busy. I've always had a lot of activity in my life. I periodically find times to slow down - weekends like this, checking out of "real life" to dial it all down a bit.
One thing I've noticed when I do this is how life seems to be so much more sensual. When things are simple, decadence isn't required to give you a taste of life. I love food. The meals here are OK..rather institutional. But I find myself enjoying the meals. Tasting each bite. When things are quiet, I'm much more aware of the sounds around me. The chime from the bell tower. Sound of wind in the trees. Chink Clink of silverware at mealtime. Footsteps in the hallway outside my door.
But I fear simplifying my life. I work 2 jobs - always have. Because of this pace of life I have lived, I've acquired a decent amount of debt, so now I work 2 jobs out of necessity. As has always been the case for me, the lesser paying job is the more enjoyable one. The better paying job is the necessary evil to pay bills.
So what do I give up? Playin music? It's been too long since I've enjoyed playing this much. The other things in my life seem to squeeze in here & there. Friendships, hanging out, finding love, etc. Oh yeah, then there are those quick moments when I remember to fit God in - pray the office, reflection, etc.
Yeah, a little upside down. So how much longer before this topples over??????
So, he turned 90 this year. Entered Gethsemani at 45 in 1960. He was a novice under Merton and later spent some time as Merton's confessor. (That had to be interesting!!)
No longer doing the talks after Complne. Rides around the Abbey in his souped up "hovearound." What a sight that is! Wheels into chapel, usually late, pulls up next to the seats, spins around & parks it. But it's probably not the same for him as the motorcycles he loves. I've only been recently introduced to this man through my trips out here to Gethsemani over the last few years. But I always looked forward to his talks. I will miss those. They have been some of the richest experiences for me out here. It has been during those talks I have felt most loved and accepted by God.
Looking through the library I came across Daily Readings with Jean Pierre de Caussade. I read one of his books last time I was here, Abandonment to Divine Providence. Some pretty thought provoking stuff. Maybe it's time to look at some of that again. Couple of quotes from the Intro.
Faith is carrying on with what in our calmest moments we know to be right, even when mood and emotion are carrying out a blitz on our reason. C.S. Lewis
The life of faith is nothing less than the continued pursuit of God through all that disguises, disfigures, destroys, and, so to speak, annihilates him...faithful souls endure a constant succession of trials God hides beneath veils of darkness and illusive appearances which make his will difficult to recognize; but in spite of every obstacle these souls follow him and love him even to the death of the cross. Caussade
THe intention is everything in God's sight, either for good or evil. Caussade
It's funny what inspires me to post on this blog. After a Looooooong break, here I'm back again. I've started to write several times in the last few months, but have either ran out of time & quit the post, or scratched it....some of them have just been asenine (like that ever stopped me before), but others have been maybe way too intimate or made me way too vulnerable & I haven't wanted to air these things publicly. I haven't wanted to be vulnerable to people lately. I recently realized this and have taken some steps with a few friends. It's still scary...but worth it.
Life has been quite full lately. I've started playing music again. Playing with some guys in a band called Plan A. Although, there's talk of changing our name because we've discovered a few other "Plan A's". So if you have any suggestions, let me know! I've also done some shows with my buddy, Daniel Bailey. Great fun, both of these outlets have been for me.
Still hawking coffe at Common Grounds. That's also such a great outlet for me. Although, I haven't been spending as much time there as I'd like. Mostly coming in to work & leaving. But the last week I've tried to spend more time there, just hanging out. I didn't realise how much I had missed that. I think in my busy-ness I've chased after other things, good things but not as good as relationships. I have not spent as much time with PEOPLE...those I love...and those who love me. Still trying to find that balance. I guess that will always be a challenge in my life.
So what inspired me to write? I guess it was hearing the news of the Pope's passing on. I have no idea why that caused me to want to write here. But I have felt a sadness today. I have chosen not to turn on the TV & watch the coverage. Maybe it's because I don't want all the bullshit the media will give today & over the next few days. He is deserving of more than that. While I am not necessarily a Catholic , I do have a connection as part of the catholic church.
Intead, I read from the Liturgy of the Hours today, The Office for the Dead. I was encouraged by Job:
I know that my Vindicator lives and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust; And from my flesh I shall see God.
Today Karol Wojtyla has seen God face to face. I am jealous.
common grounds after hours Got a nice treat tonight. Jerry showed up at the end of open mic. He hung out with us for a while & played a little for us. I've mentioned this before, but...I love to hear & watch this guy play. Here's a sample of his stuff.
OK, people. 2 more new bloggers to check out. I work them at Manpower. They make it a lot of fun....especially now with all the crap we are going thru. Now their blogs are currently being constructed, but with my inconsistent blogging, I thought I'd throw this up here now anyway. David's not as dark as he let's on, so don't be scared of "the Pitt." And I don't think Kenneth will spend most of his time talking about flatulence....but then again, maybe...
new blogger...check her out Allison is now official...check her out over at life as an unfabricated egg. She has a lot of good things to say...at least that's what I discovered this summer hanging out...hopefully she'll spill some of it out here. Oh, and by the way she refers to me as "Bob." Just go with it....
OK, got really inspired tonight to blog something intelligent regarding hospitality & Henri Nowen's book, Reaching Out. But, as I was typing I began dozing off. So I guess you'll have to wait...or go read the book for yourself!
I saw this in a junk store today & had to buy it. Definitely a worthy investment! This guy on the cover is my new hero.
From the back cover....
The total chef is a man who can:
Whip up an elegant, intimate dinner for the woman in his life...
Take over in the kitchen when his wife's detained at work...
Live like a swinging bachelor, but eat like a king...
Fix chili for the poker gang - and coq au vin for the in-laws...
and speaking of cooking and eating
I put up some more pics on my fotopage. Sunday I had a few over from Common Grounds to grill out. Actually it was a Kirby Vacuum demonstration. My friend Doug started last week as a Kirby Vacuum salesman. He had to get in so many demonstrations last weekend, so he came over to my apt to vacuum my floors. Good excuse to eat, don't ya think? Invited a few more over & grilled out. Anna brought the ground deer meat...I think she killed it herself! Tasty burgers.
Thursday we said goodbye to Allison. She's a summer regular @ Common Grounds & goes to school in Lousville. Gonna miss her. Of course it's not like she's moving to China. Louisville is just an hour away. In addition to hanging out @ CG, she's also been coming to some of our stuff at Vine and Branches, too. Kyle, another Kyle, and Debi helped me with the food. It started as a small get together, but by the time the last people left at 3:30 am, many people had floated in & out of my place....including my favorite local homeless guy.
Tomorrow night I'm hooking up with Saul and Patrick to play music. We're going to work on some stuff to do at Open Mic. Saul is a guitar/singer/songwriter and Patrick is an amazing Cellist. I think it will make for a nice combo....at least that's the plan!
check these guys out! I snuck away from Common Grounds tonight for a few minutes to check out Sunday Valley a few doors down at High on Rose. I only got to hear a couple of songs, but was greatly impressed. Go to there site now & hear some clips. They are a hybrid of rock, bluegrass, and country. Huge energy.
bringing you up to speed It's been a full life since I last put up a real post. Let's see...eventful things to write about? Hhhhmmmm....Couple of weeks ago got to see several great shows. Check out my fotopage for some pictures. I got to see Glass Harp over at The Dame. You know Phil Keaggy? His band from back in the day. They are back together touring around & playing for old guys who play guitar. Yeah, it was a room full of old hippies, old hippies turned Republican wearing Gap & sipping Chardonay, and me! A couple of nights later, got to see semi-local faves Over the Rhine, also at The Dame. Between Linford's keys & Karin's lungs, I don't know if it gets any better. Then Sunday night over at Short Street Lounge, I caught hard core punk local boys, HearthThrob Jesus. The lead screamer, Eliot, works with me at Common Grounds. The rest of these guys hang out there pretty regularly. Very likeable crew, those boys are.
4th of July weekend was, well, rather uneventful. Probably what I needed. Pretty antisocial the whole weekend. OK, maybe the antisocial thing wasn't necessarily needed. But I did inerface socially with some. Did the VBCC monthly gathering Sat. night. Went out to eat after & then bailed on the crew wanting to go to Karaoke at Chinoe Pub. Yikes! Karaoke? Not my thing. Besides that, feeling old & tired, so planned on going home to crash. But instead dropped by Common Grounds to see what was going on there. Ended up hanging out with Saul (co-worker) & headed to see Spidey2 at the 12:30 am showing. Forgot I was old & tired. Man, I liked that movie. Of course, I enjoyed the 1st one, too. I was never a big Comic Book reader, but I dig the Spiderman movies so far.
This week at work was not a fun one. Very full plate. Then Thurs got the bad news that in Sept we will not be renewing our largest contract...a multi-million dollar contract....the contract that has kept our franchise floating during some lean times....Several of us have been very involved & poured a lot of sweat into this baby. Even though we saw it coming, it still was a pretty heavy blow. Once again, I got to see the ugly side of Corporate life. Reminded me again how little I like that culture. Kingdom values don't seem to fit too well. Got to see a large, well-known corporation do some pretty ugly & dirty things. They cited philosophical differences as the reason for ending the contract.....I'm glad to be part of a philosophy that doesn't match their's. In the big picture, I do think it is for the best. It has created some pretty unhealthy behavior among our staff. Higher stress...too many hours...and we really weren't making that much money. It was costing us more & more as we went along. Unfortunately it will mean that not everyone in our office will be keeping their job, and those that do remain will have some pretty big changes in their job duties. I think I will be OK, because my position has a little more security. Maybe?
OK, now you're up to speed. I'm heading off to Common Grounds to sell some coffee.
I'm watching the late night (early morning) drama...weather reports. Flipping back & forth between the few channels I get on my "non-cable" TV to find the least obnoxious weatherman. Maxtrack Doppler...Live VIPIR 3D...First Alert Live...geez. I guess the life of a weatherman ain't that exciting, so when they get some storms like this...it's drama..."Take cover now! We're all going to die! Repent! The end is near!!!!!!" AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
The storms earlier this afternoon were fun. The crowd at Common Grounds was without tv or radio. So they were hollering across the street to me for weather updates. A couple of them wound up over in my living room to get the latest info.
Yesterday was a beeeeautiful day. It was the 1st real day off I've had in a couple of weeks, so I thought I deserved a some Matt time. Took a little road trip to Cincy. Here are a few discoveries I made:
1. These little critters, when working together, can make some noise!
2. Break Dancing is back with a vengeance...much bigger than what I had realized!
3. I had forgotten how much I love to watch action sports like the bikes, blades, & boards. These guys aren't making near the money other athletes are, & they really seem to love what they are doing. Huge comradery among the competitors.
4. I can actually go for 24 hours without thinking about Manpower (the day job) one time!!!!
Check out the rest of the pics over at my fotopage.
The Hong Kong Brother My friend Glenn has been living in Hong Kong the past few years teaching children how to speak engrish. He put some of his kids recent writings on his newspage the other day & I think they were quite funny. Here's my favorite.
Prince and Young Girl One a upon a time, prince that lived in a palace and he was bored. He thought of an idea. That he took a walk go to the park. He saw a beauitful youny girl in the park. He right away inititive went up and taked with to her. Soon, they become good friend. Prince picked a beauitful flowers, "Could you marry with me" prince said. The youny girl agree marry with prince. Since then they life very lacky.
Added some pictures from my recent trip to Gethsemani over at my fotopage yesterday. Got me thinking about my trip & the nourishing silence. I thought I'd give you some more thoughts, quotes, insights, & grand revelations here today. OK, maybe not all of that, but some stuff I thought about & a couple of quotes I stole. Here we go.
Ego Ego. It's big. It's ugly. It drives & controls. How many of my decisions are based on - or at least affected by - my ego? What will make me look good? Be seen as part of something good or cool? Long haul spirituality does little to feed the ego. It feeds its enemies: humility & surrender.
Holiness Holiness comes less by what I do & more by what is done to me. The focus is to be on love - sacrificial love. The more I focus on what I do, how I pray, how I "get there" the further from "there" I find myself. Give. Love. Serve. That's where the heart of Jesus can be found. Do I allow others to encroach on my time? My resources? Not to be seen as a servant, but to be a servant.
What is Life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grasses and loses itself in the sunset.
More on Life One day when I meet Him face to face and He asks me, "so, how was it?" I hope to answer, "I loved it."
Life is a gift. This life is a gift.
--Fr. Matthew Kelty
Words and Silence The Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu expresses this well in the following way:
The purpose of the fish trap is to catch fish and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of the word is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
--Henri Nowen, Making All Things New
Spent the day in the Ville...Louisville, that is. Went to an EEOC seminar for the day job. After that I hung out for a while. I've been away from Louisville for a couple of years now & there's a lot about that town I really miss. Of course I have some great friends there. Beautiful people. I love the restaurant scene. For a city it's size, it has some great food. There's a lot to do in that town. Bars stay open later. You can still smoke in bars & coffee shops...oh wait I don't smoke. Anyway...I do miss that town. But it seems I have a new life here in Lexington. Even though I miss my old home, I feel like I'm in the right place, things are clicking. Not necessarily easy, but those cosmic tumblers are a-clickin'.
I went up to the Highlands area & tried a new restaurant. I already forgot the name, but it was Argentine cuisine. Tasty. It was such a beautiful night I decided to walk up & down Bardstown road. Enjoy the the atmosphere. Go into some of the shops. I bought some used CD's....Ryan Adams, Love is Hell Pt. 1. I'm listening to that one now, & I'm digging it. Also picked up Five for Fighting America Town...Reliant K The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek....Violent Femmes Add It Up (1981-1993)...and John Prine Diamonds in the Rough. Except I just opened that one up & they put the wrong CD in...Kathy Troccoli????!!! Blech! I guess I'm going to have to run back to Louisville to exchange it!! Hope they believe me.
Speaking of music...check this little lady out! Beth played at Common Grounds Fri night, and then she came back Mon night to do a set at the end of open mic. I loved her stuff - traditional Irish music, some originals, lot's of humor. Had the opportunity to talk with her & her boyfriend/"soundslave". They are very nice, humble people who just love to do music. No egoes. Very refreshing! Hope to catch them again. Check out my fotopage to see Beth in action.
Having a little technical difficulty here with fotopages & my pics. But click here & you'll find yourself on my fotopage. Good enuf for now, maybe?
a little about my blog
Fast food. Microwaves. Sound bytes. We live in such an instant society.
Every day I seem to come a little closer to grasping the truth that life
is a journey. Cliche? Maybe. We often experience the extraordinay. But we
live in the ordinary. Yes, at times even mundane.
Here I hope to share some of the "stuff" of my journey. Some of the
big stuff...some of the ordinary stuff. Join in the discussion with me.
To add your 2 cents, click on comments.
a little about me
Matt McDonald DOB
Music, Getting outside (hiking, camping, etc.), Cooking, Reading, Hanging
out with friends Current Reads Reaching Out Nouwen