Sunday, November 30, 2003

November is Over
Now that I'm done preaching, I feel like everything tomorrow goes back to normal. Nothing big going on. Just work and the everyday, ordinary, living of life.

It's been an eventful month. Tons of stuff thrown my way this past month. The wedding, the funeral, the sermon, the sickness, Thanksgiving, friendship issues. Even though I've grown a lot, learned a lot, and experienced a lot, I'm quite ready for things to get back to normal.... all the while being open to the small moments of grace that God throws my way.

The Reception
I never got a chance to mention the wedding reception. I was in charge of most of the food. It was at UBC. It was wonderful. Literally the most joy-filled time I've had in many, many years. Everyone danced... no one sat on the sidelines, which is normally my tendency during times like that. I made this corny comment to Blake, but it was so fucking true... I'd never in my life been in a room that contained more love than at that moment. It was so true. Euphoric. Life-giving. I truly think times like those are glimpses of heaven. All the story without the conflict. It is just another thing I will take with me during the dull times to remember the possibilities of love.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

How Europe gets Bush Wrong

I read this very cool article in time magazine this week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


I worked today. I've felt very lazy the past couple of days. There really hasn't been anything for me to do except for help customers and pretend to shelve books while I read them. Today I read bits and pieces of Grenze's "Beyond Foundationalism," Michael Moore's "Who Stole My Country" (completely and utterly ignorant writing,) Norris' "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography," and Nancy's "Letters from a Nut." All in all it was a great day. Even better, I'm off until 10:00 on Friday.


My plans for the next few days are as follows. This evening-- lounge around, watch "About a Boy" for the bazillionth time, start working on my sermon. Tomorrow-- work on sermon most of the day. Maybe go see "Love, Actually" or something else. I really need to watch the second Lord of the Rings since I missed it. I really loved the first one, but was never motivated to see the second. Thursday-- Go home to the Nash Thanksgiving, complete with rednecks and everything-- I'm so excited about that. Then a second Thanksgiving dinner with Brent and his family. I spent several years having Thanksgiving with his folks, but they moved away. Luckily his sister just moved to Lake Palestine, just minutes from Uncle Johnny's farm where we'll be having the holiday. Then it's back here for dinner prepared by Tracey and her family.

The Lakes
I'd ordinarily have some time set aside to go play with the best kids in the world, being off for so many days. Unfortunately, the entire Lake clan is sick and contagious. In an effort to stop the cycle of germs being floated around, I've been ordered by Jen to stay away-- to save myself. So I will. I hate it that they're ill.

Back to the Wedding

Friday, after driving back from Dallas with Jason, Jason, Blake, and Mark, most of the day was spent at UBC getting ready for the reception. Then the rehearsal and then the rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal Dinner

This is where the tears flowed. First of all, Jason gave all the groomsmen and ushers a gift. In that gift was a card with him sharing what we mean to him. He passed them out, we all looked down to read, and looked up to find each other trying our best not to cry. It was hilarious.

Blake, Jason's brother and one of my favorite people in the world, had set up a thing where some of the groomsmen and bridesmaids stood up and told stories about Jason and Christy. Robert got up there and had everyone in stitches. I got up there and started crying, talking about the first time I met Jason and how when you share your stories with him you become the center of his universe. And that's true. When Jason listens there's no bullshit going on. You have his complete attention. He makes you feel very warm inside. You know that you are not part of his spiritual agenda, as is the case with many evangelical Christians these days. Passions aren't important to him, people are. And so that's what I said. And that's why I cried

Monday, November 24, 2003


Here is proof of the power of television, and how true it is that when you have a show that you consistently watch, you really feel like you personall know the characters. I just watched last weeks Friends and when Monica announced to the gang that there is a baby on the way, I totally jumped out of the couch, thrust my fist in the air, and a little tear fell down my cheek. I know, I'm a loser.


Edited for content.

Right now I feel so alive and refreshed. I just woke up from a 9 hour sleep. Since last Sunday night, I haven't had more than 4 1/2 hours on any given night. I'm about to do some major catching up.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Here we Go

As stated previously, I'll be spending the next few days blogging about the last few days. But a quick summary, and the cheese factor will be very high here-- so if you're still enslaved by cynicism you may not want to read on.

Since I got off of work on Thursday afternoon, until just a few minutes ago at love feast, I've experienced more joy, had more genuinely incredible tender moments with friends- old and new-, and had more hugs than in any three day period of my life. Real hugs. Not half ass sidal hugs. I'm talking full on, frontal, squeeze the life out of you- and breathe it into you - type hugs. And man, was the life breathed back into me this weekend.

Bachelor Party

After I got off of work on Thursday I met up with my friend Jason Fortenberry, then went to get my tux. After that we drove up to Dallas together to the bachelor party. Jason was bitching the whole time that he had to drive, but he really loves to do that for fun. We met everyone at the Magic Time Machine in Addison. I was expecting it to be a very tame, Christiany, type party but it wasn't. Nothing really wild happened, but it was by no means tame. Lot of beer floating around. We had an amazingly fun time.

My first of the multitude of hugs came when my friend Robert came in. Robert is an ETBU buddy who is living in Tampa, Florida now. He sacrificed a whole lot to be there this weekend. He's really kind of like a younger brother to me. I so love being around him. He's one of the funniest people I've ever known.

After the meal we went upstairs to the karoake bar. We hung out there for a while. One of the many funny parts of the whole wedding weekend was when Robert and Daniel Hazlewood got up to sing Johnny B. Good. Robert ended up singing while Daniel ended up making a fool out of himself by dancing. EDITED FOR CONTENT
Sleep and Joy

Sleep will come much sooner than I expected tonight. My guess was that I'd be in bed around 4:00 a.m. Fortunately, though, many amazingly sacrificial people stayed after the wedding to pitch in. We were done at midnight.

In the next couple of days I'll be blogging about the past few days. Now I will just say that they have perhaps been the most joy-filled three days of my life. And at just the right time. I had begun for a little while to lose hope in many things.

Not now.

Friday, November 21, 2003

In the Midst of My Madness

I'm sitting here in the middle, in a small window of time I've been given by myself during the madness of Jason's wedding and other stuff. Rehearsal dinner is over, people are on their way over here.... and here are my thoughts. Thoughts I've long suspected and even believed....... The holy moments are found when there is no agenda but love-- detailed, thoughtful, and demonstrative love.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


1. Jason and Christy's wedding....
2. Having Blake in town....
3. My grandmother's death....
4. Processing through "About a Boy"......
5. Last week's illness and subsequent tiredness......
6. Playing with Jude and Sutton......
7. The music of Johnny Cash, particulary "Sunday Morning Coming Down,"....
8. My fatigue, weariness, and grief....
9. Conversations with Tim....
10. Contemplation......
11. Unwilling isolation....

have all converged on my life at the same time, making me realize many things about myself. namely-- i am a very emotional, sensitive person who feels deep thoughts-- close your eyes while singing type thoughts, about people and ideas, that i tend to think are best kept hidden from full view of those i love. but the reality is it does me, nor those around me, any good to leave them guessing about who i am and where i stand.


all the good stuff we say we believe about God really is true. unapologetically, un ironically, un cynically, true.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


It's really been a shitty couple of weeks, with a few glimpses of grace. This song by Burlap to Cashmere brings me comfort tonight:

This tent not mine
My hands are on
If I had no feet to run
It would be a blessing
It would be a blessing from above

And if the trees were never planted
and the mountains not slanted
If there was no more water to part
it would still be a work of art

And in my darkest rooms
I push and shove away
But in my fall
He will stay

To the sea I will love
Higher mountains I will discover
From above, from above
From above, I will heal

And I am just a prisoner here
A breath away from another fear
Seasons one day will shed my soul
This tent not mine
Him in control

And my emotions sometimes controls me
And my pride can toll me
But as I was sent here I am loved
in the realms of heaven up above

And in my darkest rooms
I push and shove away
But in my fall
He will stay

Monday, November 17, 2003

Most people will read the following and say to themselves... "Craig's pretty funny. Saying all that shit for dramatic effect." Well, from my skewed perspective, it's not drama. It's reality.

As stated previously, I got in to see a 103 year old doctor. I get to the place and the lady at the desk asks me to fill out some information. I say ok and then ask her how much it cost. Evidently that's not an easy question to answer. She looked at me like I'd lost my mind. She said that all depended on what your insurance co-pay is. Let me just start out by saying, being a rookie at this whole medical industry thing, I have no fucking clue what any of these terms mean: co-pay, deductible, premium, ppo, opo, opp, whatever. She asked to see my insurance card, which I have lost. But I do have a phone number to call some prick at Barnes and Noble in New York, who tells me all my numbers to give the bitch. So I give her the numbers and she says "Well, you don't have a co-pay, but you have a $400 deductible at which point your insurance will go in 90%-10%." At which point I say, "Huh?" Basically, I figured out, I pay the doctor money until I get to $400, then the insurance takes over from there. What kind of shit is that? I average a doctor visit about .0000000243 each year. So with that, it's not even worth the money being taken out of my paycheck to even have insurance. So I suck it up and say "Alright, well then how much does a visit cost?" She says that it basically depends on what the doctor does, but a general visit costs $60. Ok, that sets me back a bit, but not anything I can't handle.

So I get called into the office. Some fairly attractive nurse takes my height and weight, and sets me down to take my blook pressure and pulse. I was actually beginning to think that this chick was my doctor, because she seemed very doctorly. But she left and said the doctor will be right in to see you. I'm sitting there waiting. Luckily I had thought to bring my own reading material, so I began to read this absolutely hilarious story by David Sedaris in his "Holidays on Ice" book that I bought yesterday. There was something that clicked in the hallway every not and then that sounded like a door about to be opened, so I was startled several times, thinking the doctor was coming in. But it took about 30 minutes before that happened.

Finally a lady in her early forties came in and introduced herself as Dr. Something (I forgot her name.) I introduced myself and almost asked where her grandfather was.

I forgot to mention one thing. There was this poster that had a diagram of the male reproductive system. I was looking at it during my wait, and I couldn't help but think how well endowed I am compared with whoever they used as the model. Did they use a model, or just draw based on collective memory? Who knows. But all that to say, I'm no John Holmes (a dead, well endowed, porn star I've heard people talk about (wink, wink)), but compared with the reproductive system guy, I'm pretty big.

Anyway, back to the lady doctor. She checks my ears and nose and mouth and chest and back, and had me breath really deep, and told me that there was a little discoloration in my left ear, but that was probably due to the scarring of tissue during my childhood problems, and that she was going to have some other chick come in and do a nasal swab to check for flu.

I begin another wait. I get tired of sitting on the patients table so I get down to sit on a chair with a back on it. I start thinking about a million different things. After another 20 minute wait, another girl comes in with a big long Q-Tip to shove up my nose. She starts to do it, then says "Oh, wait, I wanted to show (insert some other girl's name) how to do this. So she goes and gets the original girl who took my weight and shows her how to put a q-tip up my nose. It's actually pretty easy, she could have told her over the phone how to do it and everything would have been ok. But who knows, maybe she was doing all kinds of subtle shit that my untrained eye was too ignorant to see. Anyway, I get the q-tip up my nose then am told it'll be about 15 more minutes and that the doctor has gone to the hospital. What kind of shit is that? I'm in the middle of being seen by the doctor and she goes to the hospital.

Anyway, another 30 minutes pass and the doctor comes in and says I don't have the flu, but I do have an upper respiratory infection and that she's going to give me an injection of something and prescribe something and something else. She leaves and about 10 minutes later this pentecostal lady comes in and says she's going to give me an injection in my bottom (ass). I'm glad it was her, because I didn't want the semi-good lookin girl seeing my bottom. I wanted to ask the pentecostal lady if she spoke in tongues, but I didn't.

Man did the shot hurt. I literally made vocal noises expressing my pain, and the word "Shit" came out at least twice. I wanted to apologize to the pentecostal lady, but I figured she'd heard it before. I get the feeling that pentecostals are pretty wild under the surface. When the needle came out I felt something leaking out my butt cheek. It was either blood, at which poing I think the lady got a little too overzealous, or it was medicine, at which point I was probably going to need another shot because all of it leaked out. I guss it didn't bother her, because she just put the band aid on and said "Here's your prescription."

I leave the office and go to the paying window. The bitch on the other side said "Alright Mr. Nash, what we'll need you to do now is undo your belt, drop your pants, boxers included, turn around and bend down. We are going to rape you now."

That's not exactly what she said, but that's what it sounded like. What she really said was "Alright Mr. Nash, that'll be 260 dollars." And I became the asshole customer that I hate. "What! 260 dollars!?" She gives me a list of all that the doctor did. The visit was like 80 dollars. The q-tip was 90, and the pentecostal lady was around a hundred. So I paid a hundred and they said they'd bill me the rest. Maybe I'll get it paid off by the time I retire.

I go to Wal Mart to get my prescription filled. I ask the lady how much it'll cost and she says it depends on my insurance. I give her the info and ask her how much it'll cost if the insurance doesn't pay any. She says $90. And I say "What?!" Oh well, I've got to get better. I go and eat at McDonalds. On my way back to the pharmacy I'm arleady unbuckling my belt and pulling my pants down, getting ready to be raped again financially. I walk up to the counter, ass first, and say "Please be gentle with me this time." The lady says the insurance pays most of the prescription, I just have to pay $25.

That's a lot of writing just to say I've had a shitty day, and I still have to go to work.

It should tell you how horrible I feel that after seven years of not going to a doctor, I finally woke up this morning and decided I need to see one. Do you realize how hard it is to get seen by a fucking doctor these days? When I was a kid in Chandler, I'd wake up sick, mom would say "You're going to the doctor," we'd get in the car and drive to the doctor and thirty minutes later I had a shot or some medicine and I was feeling better. Today? "Yes we are taking new patients. We can get you in on November 30. Not good? Well, we have an opening on January 2, 2005." What the fuck! Just take me in, listen to my shit with your fucking instruments, and give me the goddamned medicine! How hard is that?!

So I finally, after calling literally 23 doctors, got someone to see me at 11:00 today. I was calling from a list from my insurance company. After I got the bitch on the other end of the phone to let me in, and thanked her, and hung up, I looked at the doctors information. M.D. good. University of Texas..... good. Graduation date 1946..... oh my God. I'm about to go see some eighty year old doctor. Unless this guy tells me that Doogie Howser M.D. was based on his life, I'm not going to feel good about this.

Sometimes it just feels like the world is going my way (see myentries from around the end of October,) and sometimes the world just seems to be going to shit. This is one of those going to shit times. I feel as if I've lost my way.

Saturday, November 15, 2003


My plan was to wake up in the morning at around 4:30, leave around 5:00 to get to Marshall in time for homecoming festivities. Tonight at work I decided it would probably be best if I didn't go. This cold I have is still lingering and I'm quite sure I have a fever. Plus being gone last weekend for the funeral, and next weekend being so busy with Jason's wedding and Thanksgiving lovefeast, and then Thanksgiving..... I think it'll be good to just sit around the house and rest and try to get better.

I was really wanting to go to homecoming though for my five year reunion. If you know me even a little you know how special my time at ETBU was. Most people don't understand though... and I suppose that's ok. I don't understand them either.

Somebody please respond under my comments, so I know it's more than just me and Ben reading these things.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003


Without going too far into what is going on in the deep parts of my being right now, let me just say this. Within the past five minutes I have come to a very painful realization that I have the same tendencies to try to make myself into the victim in many situations-- a condition that I have railed against in other people and groups. Somehow it is easier to be a martyr than it is to suck it up and take your blows as they come to you.
Thanks Ben for the Comment Section

As you can see, my friend Ben has set up a comment section for my blog. So feel free to comment.

All I'm thinking about right now is how extremely wonderful Ed was tonight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I'm so extremely blessed that even when I feel left out and isolated from so many people, God continues to break through my world in so many ways, both profound and mundane....... through the biography of St. Francis I'm reading....... through a day of work in which I leave with a sense of accomplishment at a job well done........ through dinner with a good friend...... through a night in which I spend 4 hours alternately reading, staring at the wall, napping, checking email, then repeating the cycle all over..... through a day off tomorrow, well deserved.....through knowing that crying brings comfort.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

I had long suspected that my grandmother and I were the only people on my mom's side of the family who hadn't completely lost their lids. The funeral this weekend proved that to be very true.

First of all, the funeral. It was nice, the pastor was kind, but the frustrating thing is that the service reflected very strongly the people who planned it, namely my mom and her sister, but not my grandmother. Maw Maw would have preferred much more silence and reflection that what occured. After the pastor gave the opening remarks, he sat down, and the CD player started blaring out drum beats.... pow, pow pow pow, pow..... and I seriously look back to the control room because I think they've made a mistake and switched the music. But I looked over at my mom, who had the biggest smile on her face, so I knew it wasn't a fuck up on behalf of the funeral home people. It was what my mom wanted. After a few bars of the drum beats, we hear the beautiful, melodic voice of the great Canadian singing sensation Anne Murray belting out "I can see clearly now the rain is gone..... I can see all obstacles in my way... blah blah blah..... It's going to be a bright (BRIGHT!), bright (BRIGHT!), sun shiney day." Oh well, so much for the silence and sensibility that my grandmother exhibited. I guess it's ok, though. She wasn't the person who needed to be comforted during that time, but my mom was. And she was.

But the funniest, and I do mean funniest (I was laughing about it even during the funeral,) part of the whole time came about fifteen minutes before the service. Many of us grandchildren, and other assorted relatives, casually congregated in this little lounge area of the funeral home where they have coffee and drinks. Now, before I tell you what happens, let me let you in on a little secret that I let you in on at the first part of this blog. My family has completely, totally, utterly, and every other exhaustive term you can use, lost their fucking minds.

So we're all sitting around waiting on the service, and one of my cousins blurts out "I'm bipolar. I was diagnosed two years ago." Now, in any other group of people this would cause great discomfort... someone, without provaction, letting you know they have a serious menal illness. But not my family. Nooooo. What comes next? Another cousin (not really a cousin, but someone we call a cousin), "Really!? Me too!) My sister (who is really my sister) "Yeah, me too. I was diagnosed a few years back." Another cousin (of the not real variety) "Wow, me too!" Another cousin (again of the not real variety--- there's a lot of familial confusion in east texas) "I'm not bipolar.... I'm just crazy!!!" So here we are, fifteen minutes before my grandmother's funeral, and we have a group of highly sedated thirty somethings comparing their Meds. "I'm on Zanzadil." "Oh, I tried Zanzadil, but it made me break out." "Oh, then you must be allergic to Zanzadil, you have to balance it out with Kryptonite." "No, I tried the Zanzodil and Kryptonite mixture.... didn't work. What you need to try is a coctail of Tryphoid and Kakal in the morning, balanced out with Zanzadil in the evening, and a nice shot of prozac before you go to bed." ***

When my grandmother was alive, and people were being total idiots, she would always look over at me, furl her eyebrows and roll her eyes, and say "Sheee- ut" (east texas for shit.) And the reason I laughed during the funeral is because I can imagine that's exactly what my grandmother was doing. Looking over at me and saying "Shee-ut. These fucking people have lost their goddamned minds. They're minutes away from putting my body in the ground, and all they can talk about are the pills they're swallowing."

It's great to have a relationship with people in which you instinctively understand each other. I think it's very rare. Such was the case with my grandmother and me.

*** All medications are made up, except for prozac. I can't pronounce, much less spell, the stuff they were saying.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Last night around midnight I laid down in bed and started reading the biography of St. Francis of Assisi. The opening chapter tells of Francis' death and the great fanfare (even though he would have hated that) that went along with it.

About the same time I was reading the account of his death, my last grandparent, my mom's mother, passed away-- with very little fanfare. In her sleep she quitely passed on. A couple of days before my mom knew it was getting close to being time, so she went to the nursing home and sang to maw maw and told her that everything will be ok, that it's ok to go whenever she needed.

My grandmother was a giant in my life. My dad's parents died when I was very young, so I don't remember them very well. My mom's dad passed away when I was a senior in high school. WWII did horrible things to him, and he was terribly distant. I loved him, but he was never able to reciprocate that.

But my grandmother was a moving force in my life. She spent all of her energy taking care of others. I probably learned more about being a decent human being from her than from anyone else in my life. Her life was every bit as honorable and kind as any caricature of "the old times." She used to make pies for neighbors, for no real reason at all other than being kind. She was still of the generation that you go on daily walks and when you get tired, you find who is out and about, and you go sit on their front porch and shoot the breeze.

My greatest memory of my grandmother is the times we spent in complete silence sitting on her front porch. When I was growing up, we lived about an hour and a half from Carthage-- my grandparents home town, and the town my mom grew up in. So we only got to visit about once every couple of months. But when I went to college, I was only a 25 minute drive from her house. The four years I spent in Marshall were wonderful for our relationship. I would go to her house about once a week to wash clothes, take her out to the Dairy Queen or Daddy Sams (she never found time to learn how to drive, so I was her chauffeur.) But most importantly, we would sit on the front porch, drink iced tea, and watch the afternoon go by. No pretension. No irony. No chic attitude. No need to be cool or accepted. Just two people enjoying the breeze rustling through the pine trees of east texas.

That's what I'll keep.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I had the hardest time sleeping last night. I seem to be coming down with a cold. I had the thing where I had a minor sore throat yesterday that had the feel that something worse was on it's way. When I went to bed I had phlegm all in my throat, I woke up sweating with my mouth leaking. I ended up taking some of Tom's NyQuil to go to sleep. I could get addicted to that stuff.

It was rough going to work because I was so tired from yesterday. I was a little more productive today, though.

Every now and then I get frustrated and depressed with my situation, and here is why. I live among leavers. Most everyone that I have a relationship with here in Waco doesn't plan on being in Waco in the next few years. That mentality was ok when I was 23 and all my friends lived very transient lives, but I'm about to be thirty. I can't keep having people walk in and out of my life every few years for the rest of my life. No matter what anyone says, and no matter how much technology and progress allows people to move around and travel all the time, humans weren't meant to interact this way. There are supposed to be close bonds that last, within proximity of each other, for years on years. Unfortunately most of my friends are more interested in the illusion of happiness just around the corner, leaving me here in a content, but potentially lonely, place.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Too often I wait until I think I have something cool to say before I journal. I need to be more comfortable sharing the boring facts of what goes on in my days. I always say it is in the mundane that we truly experience life. I guess it's time I wrote as if I really believe that's true.

Today I worked from 7-4. It was a frustrating day because I never really got anything done. I started several things, but it was one of those situations where I started something and realize I had to get something else out of the way before I could start. Then I realized there were something to get done before I do that thing, and on and on. Next thing I knew it was 4:00 and nothing was done. I decided to put up the Sting poster so I could have something to show for it.

Afterwards I came home, took a nap, went for a walk, then started watching TV. There was a special in ABC about "The DaVinci Code." It was very interesting. The book is extremely popular, and I have had a very general sense about what it's all about, but I have never really given it a lot of my attention. Where I'm at now with it--- I think it's possible that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, but I really don't see any evidence either way. I guess the big question is this: Does it affect my faith in any way? And I think the answer is no. If it is true that Jesus had a wife, and had children, that doesn't really change my belief about who he was, and is. I absolutely loved what this one priest said. He feels like, even though it is possible Mary and Jesus were married, he thinks too much is being made about it-- mainly because of Christianity's skewed views on sex. What he thinks is being passed over is this extraordinary truth: that Jesus, more than any other religious figure in history, extolled the value of women-- so much so that one of his closest followers was a women. I think that's cool.

Later on I watched the Gauntlet. I think the Matt guy needs to grow up a little. I appreciate his fervor and dedication. I think he did a lot to alienate a lot of people. Had he tried to build bridges with certain people, rather than destroying them, I think he'd still be on the show. But having been the way he was before, I know there is no way other than experience that will encourage him to change.

I had the day off yesterday. Sunday school was good. I was in the nursery, so I'm not quite sure how church was. Later I watched the Cowboys v. Redskins. I'm very happy we won, but man was it an ugly game.

I've got about 45 pages left of Eggers book. I should be finished with it by the end of this week.