It’s been a long couple of months, that’s for sure.
Writing this at the moment could be a mistake, because my head’s not together and I’m tired and frankly I’m not sure I’ll make any sense. But I’ve got to write this, because I like the idea of having a blog, and if I don’t update it now, with some semblance of honesty, I never will. I’m in that sort of a mood.
I suspect the last 18 months have caught up with me. My Dad passed away in September 2004 (about a year or so after my nan), following a long illness. And, me being me, I had to be the one trying to hold things together for the rest of the family, who had to divorce himself from everything that was going on just to keep ploughing forward, who could see what was coming but couldn’t bring himself to talk about it because it’d become some unspoken secret, the elephant in the room. Everyone deals with this sort of thing in different ways, and that’s fair enough.
Only I don’t think I’ve dealt with it, not really, and 18 months have passed and it’s starting to hit me, like a hail of bullets, or a truck.
I changed job roles around the same time, mainly because someone suggested it would be a good idea and I was in a reckless enough state to go along with it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it for a minute – it was the smartest career move I’ve made so far. But making a smart career move can just complicate things when everything else in your life is forcing you to confront big issues, like purpose and meaning and faith.
Yeah, I’ve been going through a two-year crisis of faith too, not so much because Dad died exactly, but because of the circumstances under which it happened. Mesothelima is a cruel disease, and to suffer from it in the year of your daughter’s wedding, leading up to the anniversary of your wife’s mother’s death, well, that’s just taking the mick. To hear your Dad crying in the night is painful. To do that in the context of a church family going back a hundred years sometimes feels like an added twist of the knife. Does that sound selfish? Probably, yeah, I know. But I can’t help it.
And yet I’ve preached in the last 18-months, a bunch of us took a service and we took it well. I pushed for a slight revamp of the Sunday School, and it seems to have worked, and I’ve had my best run as a Sunday School teacher in the last few months. I’ve dressed as a pirate, for goodness sake. I still have some faith, but I haven’t faced its paradoxes yet, haven’t processed it into a form I can comfortably carry. And I won’t walk away from it, because somehow I know that would be a mistake, and I know how that sounds, and anyone who wants to could surgically take my current position apart in under five minutes, but there you go.
Everything keeps coming back to purpose, I think; what the heck am I doing here? What’s the point? You know, the sort of questions you ask at three in the morning, or in the pub, or when you’re in Sixth Form listening to depressing music. The phrase that keeps jumping to mind comes from a font of philosophical wisdom (ie. a Babylon 5 novel) – “We’re all on a mission from God, the trick is figuring out what it is.” Of course, sometimes that’s a pretty big trick, up there with David Copperfield and the Great Wall of China. I certainly haven’t figured out what my ‘mission’ is. Sometimes, even in the best times, it feels like life’s going precisely nowhere, that I’m going to keep taking the pay cheque and plodding along before dying old and alone in a house full of books and cats. I feel like I’m the one who’s never going to get married and have kids, the one who never figures out what he’s meant to build, the one who can’t even compare himself to Jimmy Olsen, because at least Jimmy gets storylines occasionally. And there’s a need here for me to be proactive, I know that. I just don’t have a clue where to start. Got to put the work in, no matter how much I don’t feel like it after a day at work. There’s more to life than a pay cheque, I know that, but LIVING like that, well, that’s the challenge. And its a case of rising to that or going a little bit crazy. And how to rise to that? Well, answers on a postcard to…
Blah blah blah, self-pitying whining, blah blah blah. Well tough, it’s my blog. And that’s where I am right now; I’m coping, and I’m not about to jump off the roof, but there should be more to it than that.  Just got to get back to looking for it…

9 thoughts on “Howdy

  1. sudge

    I met you through chance.
    I was a frequent browser of the DC Comics message boards, and in particular, the superman boards. I’d frequently see this poster with is hotmail address as a signature, and toy with adding it. He was from my country of course, so wheres the harm? So one day I do it, and its after an episode of Dr Who no less. Nothing happens for a week or two, and then “bad wolf” signed in my MSN. Dr who fan. good start.
    From then, I spoke to you most weekends. We talked comics, Dr Who, sci fi in general. Some pretty fantastic geekery if I do say so. Then I go and so somethin crazy – I made it personal. Why ruin something as perfect as consistant sci-fi talk with real life problems? Well the thing was, I was in a bind with some women trouble, didnt quite know what to do about it. Had an idea you could help. One conversation with you was enough to know how intelligent you are, and two for the depth of thought to become apparent. So there I am, some little internet oik, complaining to you about women trouble just when we got to how Superman was gonna take Zod out and make it back in time for chicken pot pie. You helped. Honest to god, you helped me.
    See, i think some people just do that. They’ll spend that ten minutes talking someone through a relationship problem, they’ll dress as a pirate for sunday school or tip waitresses even though they are skint (you know what I’m talking about). Some people, by their very nature help others through their example. Sounds like a superman comic, eh? Changing the world through example. Making the world a better place, one person at a time. I personally beleive in ripple effects. One person becomes better, who becomes two, who becomes four. The world changes because one person’s view of it has changed. I know one thing for certain: I am a better man for knowing you.
    I know it can be little comfort. When questions of faith and place in the world are looming, unnoticable changes are the farthest thing from your mind. Still, its worth thinking about.
    I’m not sure about destiny. I said it was chance i met you, but its concious decisions that have kept us talking. a combination of destiny and free will. Sounds like a plan to me. Some people are destined to do certain things, but the form of those things can be up to them.
    Losing a loved one is never anything less than painful, and the scars it can leave arent easily healed. Taking care of your family is a dammed noble thing to do, but now taking care of yourself is essential.

  2. andy_dickens

    Apart from some of the sc-FI references which are totally lost on me (sorry) sudge hit the nail on the head. I kinda knew something was up, but we’ve not really had the time to chill and discuss it. As you imply in the post, i think we have become slaves to to the wage, part of the sheep nation, the autopilot zombies. Reading that made me realise more than ever we NEED to do the australia thing, despite other people thinking we shouldn’t go. You appear to be in that place of extreme disillusionment with everything that i’ve been slipping in and out of for the best part of 2 years, you’ve supported me and helped me out, and you know i will do the same. I guess we need to stop being so blokey and just say….Dude i need some help here….
    remember, as you walk through this world, do so with your head held high. yes it is hard sometimes but sometimes you need a bit of bloody mindedness to help you fend off the hail of bulletts….Well either that or wings that are like a shield of steel

  3. matthewhyde Post author

    I’ll reply properly when I get a bit more time, but thanks to both of you for those comments, they genuinely mean a lot. And I think there’s a lot to be said for being more proactive in sorting things out and focusing on the little things that go un-noticed as well as the big picture stuff.
    Thanks again,

  4. andy_dickens

    sorry i’ve taken this post and turned it into a random tv show quoting topic
    the sentiment remains.
    as for the hookers and blackjack sorry sudge, my pimping suit is being cleaned this week

    1. matthewhyde Post author

      Re: hehehe
      I ask you, I pour out my heart and it becomes one long line of Futurama quotes. It’s just like the story of the grasshopper and the octopus. All year long, the grasshopper kept burying acorns for the winter, while the octopus mooched off his girlfriend and watched TV. But then the winter came, and the grasshopper died, and the octopus ate all his acorns. And also he got a racecar. Is any of this getting through to you?


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