Friday, June 24, 2011

spring cleaning

Not really spring, but it still feels like it he thought to himself as he walked up the front steps.

The silence is broken by the sound of rusty hinges. A man enters the dust covered room and peers around. As he steps forward, the air is filled with a crunching sound that breaks into the stillness as well. He looks down and finds pieces of broken glass strewn about the floor and a brick in the center. He bends down to pick up and inspect the brick. On it are stenciled the letters OVOM. That's odd...

After surveying the rest of his dust covered surroundings, he notices a sink full of dishes. I suppose I should get on those...

So he runs some water. First for dishes, then for counters, followed by the mop bucket.

Finally, he runs some water to make coffee. As he sits down with a fresh mug, the smell of it, along with the smell of baking snickerdoodles, fills the air. And as he sat there he wondered whether this was just going to be a time of peaceful solitude, or if something else might find him...


Erin said...

Hi Jon. How is everyone doing? Been thinking about you all.

I vote 'Something Else'. :)

jON said...

I am doing quite well. Better than I have in a long, long time. Going through divorce right now but that's actually a good thing for me. It's difficult, but I feel more myself now than I have in a very very long time.

Sorry that the last time I was here I had a mob with torches and pitchforks after me. :) Quite odd that one even knew about this place, isn't it?

As you can see, since I've had to write daily communications to my employees I've started using capital letters!

I vote Something Else as well. We can just hang and see who else finally rolls in.

How are things with you, Erin? I see that back in Oct you were being harassed about your "spiritual well being." Is that situation any better for you?

Erin said...

What's OVOM?

I'm sorry about the divorce...not necessarily sorry it's happening, because sometimes it's a good thing...but sorry that everyone has to go through it. How are the kids?

I'm just fine. Just took the kids to Disneyland, they had never been before. That was the most fun I've had in a long time. Still a college student here, probably 4 more years at least, but plugging along.

I'm a functional atheist these days...I gave up the fight of trying to make sense of it all...because, being honest, it never really made sense to me in the first place. I just had all these people around me telling me Christian was the thing to be. I have much greater peace now for it, but of course, it has displeased some people in my life. :(

Other than that, things are good.

jON said...

OVOM = One Voice Of Many. Saw that she chucked a brick through the window here back in October. Thought it would make a fun reference for the story. :)

The divorce is, for me, a very good thing. Learning a lot about myself and finding that many of the problems I have had for so long were simply extensions of those problems. But because I had always been taught that divorce was never an option, I was always just trying to make it work. Each day hoping that today would be the day things would finally click. They never did.

The kids are doing well. Zaavan is Zaavan. A constant ray of sunshine. Rowyn is doing well also. A little confused about why dad isn't around all the time any more, but enjoying our time together and the time at grandma's more than she ever did before.

I've never been to either of the Disney parks. Heard they are a lot of fun. Glad you got to go. :)

What are you going to school for? Anything in particular?

"Functional atheist"? I'm intrigued. Is that different than a regular atheist? Glad that you have greater peace in it. And yeah, I'm sure that has rattled more than a few cages in your life. Big changes that free and benefit you usually do.

Good to see you again! :)

Erin said...

Aha now I get it (re: OVOM). I'm dense.

Glad your kids are doing well. I've been thinking about them since I heard the news. They will adjust.

I'm going to be studying social work. Not sure of my context, but it's the full circle of my original dream when I went to school 20 years ago and didn't finish. I've already been going for almost 2 years, and have about 4 more for a BA degree. Just doing what I can.

Functional atheist as opposed to "militant" atheist. I don't care so much what other people believe, and don't spend any energy trying to convince them of anything, but I know this is right for me. I don't believe, and don't pretend I believe, but otherwise, to each his own. This revelation has freed me from a lot of issues. What was I trying to prove?

Glad to hear from you, Jon. Don't be a stranger.

jON said...

Yes, I'm sure the kids will adjust. Zaavan doesn't seem to know or understand anything is different. he just seems happy to see me. Rowyn, although she knows things are different now, will most likely have few memories as she gets older of time before now. Other than a few good fights I'm sure, which is why I think things are better now anyway. For her sake.

It's good. Since I'm not with them full time right now, the time I do have with them is much more focused and planned out. I actually plan out fun activities and things like that which i didn't do before. Much to my own regret and shame. But I do now so I'm glad for that!

Social work. WOW! That's quite the heavy undertaking. I'm sure it's very rewarding but I'm positive you need to have an iron constitution to do it. Because from my experiences with it,being around them because of Zaavan, most of the people you are helping have absolutely NO gratitude or thankfulness whatsoever. And the stories you hear take quite a toll on your heart. But, when you ARE able to find those few people who truly need your help and are truly grateful and you can truly help turn their lives around... there has got to be no better feeling in the world. Kudos to you and whatever form your social work takes. :)

Aha! That makes sense. Thank you for not being militant. Militant people from any religion are quite obnoxious. :)
Funny to me that several from our old group have gone the atheist route. Looks like they were all right about us. (kidding!)
I'm glad you've had a "born again" moment where your inner being has undergone radical change and now you have a sense of rightness and peace. You need that. Everyone does. And I'm quite sure you feel more free to just be yourself and be the best person you can be without a lot of hangups. Good for you!

Erin said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Jon, I appreciate it.

How old are Zaavan and Rowyn now?

I think a lot of us take parenting for granted. I know I don't spend deliberate time with my kids as often as I should. It's something I have been trying to think about. It's good that you're finding more motivation towards that. The kids will have lots of great memories of fun times with dad.

For me, the atheist was about it being too hard to try to reconcile faith with logic; it just makes no sense. Maybe that's just how I'm wired, but once I realized that was the real problem for me, it all became clearer. But I was in Christianity long enough to know that people have meaningful reasons for it, too, so who am I to say for someone else?

Some form of social work has been in the back of my mind for over 20 years. I'm hopeful that I'm cut out for it. I'm starting a 2 year intensive program in the fall, which includes some 200 hours in practicum. I'm actually looking forward to it. Now sure what direction I will go, but something to do with kids and teens - possibly something that will help them stay in school and complete their education even in the face of great obstacles.

Erin said...

Weird my comment got all mixed up. Oh well, you get the gist.

jON said...

You're welcome for the encouragement. We all need it from time to time. Seems to be a never ending supply of people who want to discourage, so why not encourage every once in a while? :)

Zaavan is now 8 and will be 9 in about 3 months. Rowyn just turned 4 on May 18th.

It has been good. I did take my parenting time for granted and now I make the most of it that i can. Things that always sounded like a good idea, but I never got around to because I was too depressed. Like walking with Rowyn to the park, or making cookies, or making pizza together. Interactive stuff that make memories for her that she talks about often. And just hanging out with Zaavan or taking him somewhere to people watch. Or, if its nice enough outside, going to one of the few parks with an accessible swing so that even he can have some fun. :)

It's all good with the atheism. If you're at peace and feel true freedom in your spirit, then it's cool with me. I HAVE always wondered, though...

Most atheists that I've encountered, yourself included now, have said that it was what seemed most logical because they couldn't rationalize "faith." Isn't atheism truly a faith based religion as well? I mean... is there any empirical evidence that there is not a god of some sort beyond our solar system? Or even our galaxy? Wouldn't agnosticism be a more tenable, rational, and logical position? Please... this is not me picking on you or mocking you at all... Hopefully, you remember this is just how my brain works. :) Feel free to ignore the questions if they make you feel uncomfortable.

I hope you don't mind the chat. It's quite nice after being away for so long.

I think it's time to switch from coffee to shots. First round is on me. :)

Erin said...

Fair questions, Jon. I started a new blog awhile back ( and if you start at the beginning it should give you a picture. Whenever you have time.

In short, I am an agnostic atheist. In other words, I don't profess to know for sure, but I don't believe. The conversation backing that up would be a long one, and I don't really know how to abbreviate it.

I'm not trying to avoid your questions, I just don't know how to be short about it. In answer to your question about empirical evidence, scientific evidence refutes everything that believers say is evidence for god. I would say that's evidence enough. For me.

jON said...

I will check out your new blog, if you don't mind, because I am curious. :)

I'm not trying to talk you out of anything. I've just always been curious. I think my question wasn't clear enough. Or maybe you understood it just fine. But let me try to clarify it anyway because that's just what I do.

Even if it IS a given that there is no evidence for a god of any sort whatsoever within our planet, or even the larger expanse of our solar system, or even the larger expanse still of our galaxy... What evidence is there that there is not a god of some sort beyond the reaches of places we can see with our telescopes? The universe is a ridiculously HUGE place. So while I can easily accept that there may be no god within our reach, it seems to me that to say there is ABSOLUTELY no god anywhere in the entire universe is a conclusion that has to be taken on faith. Because that is just completely unknowable. And if it is completely unknowable but believed anyway, isn't that faith? And isn't abandoning faith for something more rational, logical, and tangible what atheism is supposed to be about? That's why I asked about agnosticism. Because at least it is honest to say "i don't know." And, apparently, you have gone that route. And that is respectable. :)

I do have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who comes to that sort of a conclusion and be honest with themselves that they truly feel that way and believe it with all their heart. There is something wonderfully freeing for people about it. And it sounds like you've found that and I am truly happy for you.

Erin said...

Thanks for understanding. I don't mind talking about it at all, it's just hard to summarize.

Let me put it this way...I tend to hold a pantheist view. To me, the universe IS god. The universe is awesome and amazing and powerful all by itself. I don't know that we need anything else.

I decided I'm not going to spend my life worrying about something I cannot know. I'm going to live as if there is no god (and I don't mean debauchery, but just living without the sense of religion or a god) because I don't find any compelling reason to live otherwise.

I think there is definitely room for what we do not yet know, both about the human brain and about the origins of the universe. There could be a revelation any day that could change everything.

And while my brain operates fully in the "evidence" category, in that there has to be evidence of something existing in order for it to exist...I understand that there are those who function better in the negative space of "no evidence of something NOT existing". For me, I can't think of anything I believe in that there is not evidence for. It doesn't make sense. For me, the argument that there is no evidence that something does not exist is not valid.

But I'm not trying to be argumentative...just sharing because you asked. I respect everyone's long as those beliefs don't bring harm to others.

Susan said...

Thought I'd say hi because I didn't want to be a lurker and then I noticed it's the 4th July. Happy Independence Day to all my American friends.

One Voice of Many said...

I knew it! I knew that was me! Yay... I made an impression ;-)

Yes I did chunk a brick a while back. Nothing says a "fit" better than that description for me.

I can relate to your sharing of your divorce being a good thing for you, jON. I've discovered that I can actually be sane when triggers and struggles are removed from my life.

Good to hear from you again!

One Voice of Many said...

Hi Susan!

Ruth said...

Hey All....looks like a bit of a reunion. So much has happened since those days not too long ago.

One Voice of Many said...

Hi Ruth,
Always good to see you. How are you?

Erin said...

Hi Ruth, Hi Susan! It's good to see everyone!

Ruth said...

Life's humming along. I'm just glad that summer's here and I can catch my breath with a break from the regular kids activities. Of course by August I'm going to be dying for a routine again and counting the days until my kids are out of my house during the day.

Erin said...

I totally understand that, Ruth! I always enjoy the break in summer, but am always ready for the kids to go back to school. When they have been together all summer they start getting on each other's nerves by the end of it. I get tired of the bickering.

jON said...

Susan! Michelle! Ruth! :)

Sorry I had to duck out for a bit ladies. Had the opportunity to take the kids to a lake house. It was amazing! Zaavan and Rowyn had never been to a lake before only swimming pools. I borrowed one of the special life preservers from Zaavan's school which fit around the neck and are stiff. It held his head above water and the rest of his body was able to float with no effort on his part. He loved it so much! He just floated in the lake with a hat on for a couple of hours. He was so blissed out that he actually took a nap like that for about half and hour with a big grin on his face. :)

It was in conjunction with meeting my girlfriends parents for the first time. Very cool as well. Kind of nice to have "in-laws" of sorts that aren't crazy. Her dad plays guitar as well. We played and sang together and harmonize very well doing stuff like Tom Petty and Pink Floyd. Our rendition of Comfortably Numb was pretty sweet if I do say so myself. :)

Ahhh.... That's what I've been up to recently.

@Michelle - I am thoroughly amazed at how much healthier I am. I thought I was going crazy and had all sorts of issues! Turns out that it was just the stresses of the situation. It's funny, when people ask me how I'm doing... you know, with their heads cocked to the side and their brows furrowed and their lips pursed... and then I tell them I'm doing fantastic, they always give me a funny look. As though I'm not supposed to be happy about this. As though I'm supposed to be in mourning. News Flash people, I've already been in mourning about this for over a decade. Now that I'm moving on towards something positive and healthy for myself and my kids, and am not bound inside the emotional prison any longer, I am ecstatic. Life is full of possibilities again. :)

Ruth said...

Hey Jon - It's good to hear from you! Sounds like you've been on quite a bumpy ride.

One Voice of Many said...

jON - I can't say it enough -- I TOTALLY understand. Glad for you!!

Erin said...

Sounds like you had a fun weekend!

I'm glad you are happier and feeling good about this change. You sound good. Thanks for sharing with us, Jon.