Faithful readers of The Hungry Pelican will have surely noted by now that I haven’t been so faithful about writing. Well, the good news is that my absence cannot be attributed to a drunken, suicidal binge that left me hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated. The truth is, I haven’t really felt like writing. I haven’t felt like forcing some sort of inspirational moment or event so I could write a blog. There’s nothing more exacerbating than forced spirituality. Forced spirituality is the birthplace of clichés and the graveyard of mindfulness. If it isn’t happening, it isn’t happening.
(So, here’s a side thought. You want to know where all this personal Lord and Savior stuff came from? This Jesus is my best friend, this cotton candy Jesus stuff? It came from pastors getting up in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday with nothing meaningful to say; so, they invented these tropes through sheer spiritual boredom and cut their weekly workload in half. Now these pastors just rattle off one cliché after another and, oddly, they’ve become popular. You want to hear a powerful preacher, listen to a preacher who is given ample of vacation.)
Let’s face it, Jesus is exhausting. And if you’re always on fire for Jesus, how are you not a lump of ash? It may be that we are dust to dust, ashes to ashes, but that also means there’s a mild excursion in between. So, I feel no guilt or shame when I tell you, I got tired of being spiritual. And what’s more, spiritual fatigue didn’t mean my life was in the dumps or that I was emotionally bog down. It didn’t mean I felt distant from God.
(Truth be told, it is during those times of divine dereliction that I am most spiritual. You can’t chastise God for God’s absence if you yourself are spiritually vacant.)
In fact, it was the opposite. I’ve started new projects in my life. I’m taking my photography from a hobby to something I get paid for. I’m getting more involved at the local food pantry. I am more dedicated to going to the gym and pushing myself to a healthier lifestyle. I even serve on the county advisor board for parks and recreation. I took time to edit a chapter of my yet-to-be-published book and, what do you know, a literary journal decided to publish it. I count myself as blessed that God has left me alone long enough to see some of these projects through.
But now, God has moved back in my life. God is the three rowdy grandchildren who now live in my house, banging furniture with toys, taking important things (like remote controls) and hiding them, or, and this is true, creating such a mess when eating the dogs have to be bathed. For some people God is a comforter. For others, God is a harsh judge. For me, God is chaos. God is a disrupter, a breaker of habits, a tornado in a room of routine. God is a child who doesn’t want to go to bed, the child in the playpen with arms stretched towards me crying to be picked up, God refuses to eat green things. God throws things down the stairs. God throws everything down the stairs. God is learning to walk. God is learning to talk. God is the middle child who goes from laughing and giggling to crying and screaming in seconds. And if I can catch myself before a tizzy of impatience sets in, God is adorable. God is precious even when ravioli sticks to the wall and runs around the house with loaded water guns pointed at bookcases or yanks the dog’s tail. God didn’t mean to break that. God didn’t mean to color on the wall. God didn’t mean to take his dirty diaper off and feed it to the dogs. But God does loves me. God loves me on purpose. And I know this because he calls me Grrrr and runs to greet me when I come in the door.
Things have been looking up here at the Hungry Pelican. To celebrate this happiness, here’s a photo essay I’ve called Looking Up.
You will notice some changes on the website. I am now offering a couple of services in exchange for money. And you know how I came to this conclusion? I decided I was worth being paid. I know that sounds pretty pathetic but for the longest I’ve been telling myself (maybe unconsciously but loudly) that I wasn’t good enough or worth being paid. Maybe this way I’ll earn enough money to pay for some of my excursions.
If there’s a print you would like to have, I have a page where you can buy a digital copy. If I have a print that is not on my shopping page, you are welcome to message me, and we can make arrangements. Or if you’d like your portrait made and live in my area, give me a holler. At ten dollars a pop, I’m one of the less expensive portrait photographers around. Or say you live off in California or Lima or Antarctica and you’d like me to take your portrait, all you have to do is pay my travel expenses and the ten dollar a portrait rule still applies. (But if you live in Europe, New England, or a capricious location as yet to be determined by my wife, you’ll need to pay for her travel too.)