This is a long post, my little babies, to make up for the lack of posting this week. Also, for those whom this may affect, there is vulgarity in it. But not much. Also, I wrote it last night, so yr gonna have to deal with the fact that the timing doesn’t make sense. SORRY.

Ahh Thanksgiving, that one time a year when we truly fake an attempt to act like we’re aware that other people exist. Bullshit, right? Lately (particularly in my case) it seems to be more of an excuse to glut ourselves on the way to Xmas, where it’s gifts a’plenty.

Yeah, for me, it’s that bad. At the request of a Bible worksheet, I sat down earlier this week and attempted to write out things that I’m thankful for. I managed to choke out “friends” (probably because I’d just seen Ben Kopel and felt a bit more faith in humanity), freedom in Christ to be who I am, and some other thing which I can no longer even remember. I think I slammed my laptop shut while struggling to remember ANYTHING in my life worthy of my gratitude. To quote Jordy, it’s so tough to be a baby. I was pretty disgusted with my lack of appreciation and my inability to eloquently state those few things which I’m actually thankful for, so I was prepared to spend Thanksgiving as I always do: sitting around my aunt’s house not talking to my family members (more on that later). To make matters worse, I haven’t really been in the mood to do much of anything lately, be it pray, write, study, or hang out. I had to be practically strapped down to watch Coal Miner’s Daughter on Wednesday evening. My mind and soul were far too busy feeling sorry for themselves to, you know, be thankful.

That’s one of the stranger things about the human condition, at least in the case that I’m most familiar with (that’d be my own). We seem to be inherently selfish. Maybe not in some overtly, never-share-your-ice-cream way, but at least internally. And I’m learning more and more every day that it’s the interior life that matters far more than the exterior. Most days, I just don’t give a shit about anything not named Martin Billeaud Garner (and if there’s another, screw that guy). So I’m sitting there dancing across my Macbook, trying to avoid thinking about things that I can be thankful for.

For those who don’t know, I have a good friend named Billy Price who lives in one of the trailer parks set up by FEMA in Baker, LA, following Hurricane Katrina. I met him while volunteering at the River Center after the storm and we’ve stayed in contact ever since, though I hadn’t seen him since I left for Europe in early June. I struggle in my relationship with Billy because he’s ten years older than me and lives at a financial level that I have never come close to. Am I spoiled? Damn straight. Point is, I don’t love Billy nearly as much as Christ calls me to, and, when I think about it, it bothers me. This is part of the reason that we hadn’t seen one another in so long; I have had trouble finding time and energy to make the thirty minute drive to Baker.

So Billy calls me a couple of weeks ago and asks me what I’m doing for Thanksgiving. Going to my aunt’s to sit quietly in the corner, like every other year since my parents got divorced. Billy asks me if I want to accompany he and his girlfriend to a Thanksgiving dinner being held at the River Center for those who sought refuge there in the month after Katrina. A quick aside: I find it a tad morbid that whoever sponsors these events cannot find a different venue for them. I went with Billy to a Christmas event there last year, eating turkey in a place where, two months before, everyone at my table had been sleeping on donated cots. Maybe I’m the only one it bothers. Probably.

Anyway, I end up inviting Billy and his girlfriend Trudy to come have dinner with me and my family, and they gladly accept. I wasn’t really sure how my family would react to having two complete strangers brought into their home, particularly since they were brought in by the person who has made it their goal to be as timid as possible in large gatherings. So Billy and Trudy are sitting outside, eating this huge meal that my Aunt has cooked (big Cajun family, you get the picture) and they’re surrounded by my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., all of whom are full of questions and answers on everything from the obvious (hurricane experiences) to the not-so-obvious (model helicopters, the NFL). The weather could not have been more perfect. And it hit me. My family is amazing. I’ve been through seven or eight different personality changes in my life, and they’ve stood by me through all of them. I’m the one who’s hidden from them all of these years. No matter how I have dressed or presented myself, they’ve always had things to ask and tell me. The love has always been there, I’ve just never received it. And they’re like that with everyone. I’ve been the asshole.

Tonight, I’m thankful for everything.

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Read an article today about the Cincinatti Bengals of all things. They’re coming to New Orleans this week to play the Saints, and several of their players played for LSU or are from New Orleans. I dunno, I guess I hadn’t thought about it in a while or something, or maybe I’m just really tired (or an incredible sap), but it made me choke up a few times. Thought I’d share.

http://www.bengals.com/news/news.asp

(That link is going to change the next time the Bengals update their website, so if anyone can find a perma-link or anything like that, please post it in comments.

As usual, God has proven to be very weird and very beautiful. I guess one of my biggest problems in my faith life has been my inability to actually, uh, trust Him when things are hard. I’m a control freak, I guess, like everyone. I shoulda probably passed out or started crying at some point during this entire filming thing, but I ended up not doing so. It was strange. First time I’ve ever really trusted Him with my problems and let go of them completely, and everything worked out beautifully. I didn’t have a breakdown, my film came out great, the Biology test that I didn’t study for more than two hours for and that I wasn’t in class for two weeks leading up to proved to be not much of a challenge. I don’t know why I’m always surprised when God proves to be faithful in these situations, but it never fails.

He’s shown me a ton in the last few weeks. Life is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I dunno, this has easily been the hardest three weeks of my life and I have never felt more drained than I do in this moment, but I have never, ever, ever been happier.

The more I decrease, the more He increases. And the happier I am.

This is another one of those things that I can’t really put into words except to say that life is hard and God is good…

I promised myself I wouldn’t do this again. I promised myself that I no longer had any need to put all of my thoughts on the Internet. So I convinced myself that I was going to create a space to display my work and to vent about the things that trouble me. I seriously hope that this doesn’t turn into a journal, because that is not fun to read. Nor to write. Nor to have people react to.

Word from the wise: the Internet is not private.

Yesterday, I turned twenty-two, and I spent most of the day in agony over a short story which is now close enough to being finished. Yes yes, I missed seeing My Morning Jacket etc, pity me, etc etc. This is the second major show that I’ve missed on account of procrastination. But unlike the Springsteen JazzFest show (which I missed for the sake of REL 2001 — Faith and Doubt), I missed MMJ to do something that I hope will one day matter. Am I hubristic enough to think that my writing will change the world? Of course not. But I do have faith that I’ll be much more proud of any scrap of art I’ve managed to string together than any kind of philosophical term paper (for the record, the topic was “Does the Christian Have to Believe in Christ as a Historical Figure in Order to be Saved?”).

I guess that’s why I dropped my Religious Studies minor, and why I’ve been dropping more of the overtly “spiritual” things I do out of my life. See, the more that I think about God on some intellectual level, the less fascinated I am by Him. When I put God into some text book — even if it’s written from a perspective I agree with — the “magic” of the experience of God is lost. I already believe that He exists; why bother reading someone else’s proof? Yesterday may have been the most beautiful day of the year, but I spent it inside screaming about having to do what I want to do for the rest of my life.

What’s the point?

The point is, I guess, that I always seem to miss the blessing for the loads of crap that stands before it. Would it have been prudent for me to lie in the grass yesterday afternoon, staring into space and thinking about absolutely nothing? Probably not. But should I have done that? Absolutely. I guess I’m just realizing that my sense of holy duty may be more self-authored than I once thought…Overall, I guess, what I’m trying to convey is that I think that most of the time, God wants us to relax. He wants us to calm down and stop worrying about every little thing. I shoulda spent the afternoon outside.

I don’t know what I think about all of this blogging nonsense, anyway. If you want me to keep it up, let me know.

Also, if you don’t actually know me, I’ve included a handy About Me section right above this post. It is entitled “Learn Me,” and you will be automatically entered to win the opportunity to ghostwrite my autobiography. Good luck!