The most dangerous social policy is the idea that someone else is lower than you. I’ve seen people who lost everything achieve much. I’ve seen people who had much achieve nothing.
I myself am trying to look at everyone I see through human eyes to see their human potential for exceeding the human condition. It’s difficult, at times nearly impossible. But we’re all one hair’s breadth away from rock bottom.
Find myself gravitating to stasis. Baseline. Flatline.
Same old. Same grind, same rut, same accidental friends. Like a gaggle of bar flies you see at the same dive every night. Talking about being and going and wanting and living, but never really doing it. Just surviving on the stories of strangers. Shit, maybe that’s just me.
I have dreams of travel, of going outside my bounds, of seeing, of experiencing. Renewal. But my eyesight is short, long view dim. Nearest I can focus is the following weekend. Miracle if I can focus beyond the next five minutes. It’s a problem.
My life needs a swift kick in the pants. Not a push, but a pull.
Man, do I miss walking.
Every time I think, “Hey, maybe I should go take a walk!” I’m all “No it’s too hot” or “No I’m too tired.” But jeez, when I do actually get over myself and take a walk, by the end of it I am thankful that I did it, possibly even joyous. It’s a good activity; it’s what we as bipeds were built for. We don’t swing through trees (all the time); we don’t fly through the air (without assistance, if we want to live)…we walk.
The activity awakens me, brings up good memories, gets the blood flowing. I get good ideas. I walked a lot as a teenager, even through the crappy not-so-nice streets on my side of the tracks. Aside from bicycling, it was my main mode of transportation. When I graduated school and went on to college, I walked through the streets around campus and around Arkadelphia more often than I rode my bike, blissfully so. It was my solace, my personal space, a world-sized room for introspection. On the occasions where I walked with friends, it was a bonding experience (my god, do I miss those days).
I should walk more. I keep saying that. I feel like I should bike more, too. Biking feels safer on the paranoia scale because, you know, walking puts you at ground level and on a 1:1 matched velocity with trouble. But it’s not nearly as pedestrian as walking (Hah! Get it?). It’s more a Point A to Point B activity; more huff, less duff.
When I walk, my situational awareness allows me to notice things in the neighborhood in realtime, and subtle bits of miscellany pop into my attention: the shape of the curb connotes the former presence of a driveway onto an abandoned lot; a herd of cats are holding quorum in front of someone’s porch; the mercury-vapor streetlight someone installed on their garage casts a pleasing glow over their well-manicured lawn. These details are fuel for inspiration and a balm for my fevered ego.
Tonight’s walk was necessary, and I swear this time I’ll do it again soon (right, sure). If only I could convince others to join me. That’s the good stuff.
Thought of an old friend tonight who I hadn’t considered in a while. A pair of neurons rubbed together and formed a new insight, and in that moment I understood a part of why I liked her and treasured our friendship: she didn’t carry on like she wanted to shred every man alive.
Sure, she reached for truth and would correct me if I was mistaken, no doubt, but she didn’t push against me every step of the way to make me feel wrong even if I was right in order to soothe her vanity or put me in my place. When she listened, she didn’t search my words for a weak spot to jab with poisoned barbs when I least expected. I could trust her. That’s what I miss most about our friendship. Everybody needs one of those friends.
I hope she’s doing well these days.
Many of you may remember me from the days when I was a fervent believer, when I held high the banner of Evangelical Baptist doctrine. Many of you may also have noticed that this banner no longer defines me and my lifestyle. A few of you have asked me what happened, what caused my change in heart; I’ve responded, in personal channels, so that you may know where I stand now and how I got here. But with this blog, being read by mixed company, I’ve not hazarded a public statement on the matter. However, for some reason, I feel it necessary now to relate my story for the record so that I may point all queries to this page and be done with most of the conversation. It’s a method of saving my breath.
Hello. My name is Shawn Thomas. I am no longer a Christian, and here is my witness. Continue reading “Stairway”