Saturday, January 9, 2010
Saying It Out Loud
The holidays have come and gone and I may not have even noticed their passing were it not for a brief appearance by some family, a few Christmas lights in the street and a random snow fight at 4:00 a.m. Soon enough it’ll be back to the “grind” although you will hear no complaining from this man. I enjoy a break as much as the next person but recently when my landlord has come a’knockin and askin for rent I have had to shrug my shoulders and ask him for patience. The holidays in Spain are more abundant than the amount of students that I have these days and with each day off my trust in God’s provision is tested to its fullest.
Along with spending time with loved ones, this holiday break has given me some time to think about some things that have been at the forefront of my mind throughout my time here. I am not usually one to put things on the internet that need to be spoken face to face. However, I am making an exception here for two reasons. Firstly, it is my belief that the people that read this blog care about me and I care about them as well. The words I have to speak in this blog are for loved ones and I am hoping that the ones who read this are exactly that. If not, I hope my words speak enough truth that they can at least be used to touch on some things that are on my heart and will subsequently touch on a few issues that are on someone else’s heart as well. Secondly, I seem to be a bit better at expressing what’s on my mind through writing. Instead of my bumbling and a squeak here or there because of my body’s reluctance to remember that I’m not in puberty anymore, I have this good ol’ backspace button to help me along the way.
I hope the words I write are taken in love. Again, they come from my heart and reflect things that I firmly believe. I am still learning in life. I am still falling and getting back up. I ask for your patience and understanding as I do so. Alright…here we go:
I want to approach this subject tenderly because I know that when you care about someone, their well being is something that is closely associated with your love for that person. I think though that it is actually because of this point that I need to say something. Let me start by giving an example: About a year ago my sister and I were having a conversation about her doing ministry in another country. The point came up that she may end up someday in a country that is hostile and potentially life threatening. My initial thought on the matter which I then verbalized to her was “I think if that happened you should look for somewhere safer to go”. There was no way that I wanted to picture my baby sister being killed or tortured or some other awful thing. Ok. So again, this isn’t the easiest point to make but I’m going to attempt to make it. A while after that conversation I started thinking about the actual point of my sister going to these countries. Her intention was to share something she considered to be truth and life saving in Jesus Christ and also to help the people of these countries through medicine; two beautiful things. She would have the opportunity in helping these people eternally and here in this life, loving on these people, healing these people of their diseases or illnesses. If the cost was my sister’s life…my sister’s “happiness”…then I should be ok with that, especially if she was. So, why am I talking about this? One of the first questions that many of my friends and family ask me about me being here in Madrid is “Are you happy?” and many times honestly the answer hasn’t been yes. But my point is that I think that’s ok. I have been growing so much here. I have learned so much about myself and about life. Even in my singleness which is something that doesn’t always bring me a lot of happiness I am becoming stronger as a man. I think it can get us into a lot of trouble…it has certainly gotten me into some…when our primary focus is happiness. I know that my “sufferings” here are not necessarily comparable to the hardships I described in my sister’s situation but my point is that there are things that are greater and fuller and more meaningful than happiness. And while I do believe we should enjoy it when it happens, we should keep it in perspective in relation to the other things in life that have more value.
On Being Conventional
I have been “lost” for the past 6 years it seems like and coming to Madrid although I have “found” a few things it seems that I have discovered that I am even more in the dark than I had originally thought. Direction appears to have eluded me and as much as I seek it, it continues to remain hidden. So you see, finding my career path and working towards it and building my résumé isn’t necessarily that simple. I can’t bring myself to pick something if my heart isn’t in it…and unfortunately I haven’t found that thing. So, a traveling flame was ignited in me this past year. I think for me it’s just a way to have something to hold on to. The thing is, I have found my purpose already in glorifying God and serving and loving others. I just don’t know what the heck I’m supposed to do with it. I have the paint, if you will, and even the paper. I just can’t find my friggin paint brush. I have been thinking lately though that maybe there’s a reason for this. It may not be God’s plan for me to be a lone vagabond for the rest of my life but I’m beginning to think that maybe for right now that’s what my direction…my “paintbrush” is. I have quite a bit of flexibility in my life right now. I can move wherever I want. I can work wherever I want. And although some part of me yearns for stability and completion…maybe that’s just not the way it’s supposed to be yet. So I’ve decided that until I find that “thing” that seems to be eluding me, I will just let my thing for the moment be living life wherever God takes me and loving people along the way. I will try to keep somewhat of a consistent “career path” and will also try to trust…sigh…the hardest part…I will trust that God knows what He’s doing and that everything is going to be fine.
This one I don’t really talk about much. It is no secret for those of you who know me well that romance has eluded me (haha). This may not be the way that many of you would put it. I haven’t taken the most direct approach when it comes to relationships but I haven’t abstained willingly necessarily. In my opinion it’s just worked out that way. But can I say please that this is something that I actually do think about and want? I know kinda stupid to say right? Pretty obvious? But the number of times I am asked about why I am not dating or married or the father of Geezer Jr. says otherwise. I want love. I want it. But I don’t…I can’t make it happen if it isn’t there. And even more so, I’m not sure I even want it yet. There are things about it that I certainly desire but I’m (judging by my former paragraph) not really ready for a steady relationship…certainly not a family. When it happens it happens. I will be patient and trust that God will provide this for me when it’s right…and if I can do it so can you friends and family. Benjamin Adam Scott Gillens is single (and has been for a while I know) but someday God may bless him with a beautiful wife and a few little G men. Maybe this won’t happen for a while. Maybe it won’t happen ever… The point is though that my objective in life isn’t necessarily to start a family. I want to serve God. That’s why I believe I’m here. So me being happy and having a family are only an added bonus. Please help me to treat it as such.
On Friends and Family
It came to my attention that because of my travels many of you may be hurt. I know that we learn as we grow older that life is always changing and moving but that doesn’t seem to make it any easier. I want all of you guys to know that I love you. I mean that. Ensuring that the people in my life that I love KNOW that I love them is something that I have placed very high importance on. I think many people don’t do this and I don’t want to be one of those people. My moving around is not a reflection of how much I care about you. As I continue to travel around and live wherever I’m living at the time, please know that I will always listen. I will always respond. I won’t always be as accessible as either of us may wish, but I will always be a friend. I will always be a brother. I will always be a son. Always. Even as I write these words today in this blog, I write them hoping that with them we will only grow closer together as friends. Keep me close. Keep me informed. I love you guys so much.