Running, Drifting, Chasing the Wind

“Anytime the world sees you as just one thing, it’s exhausting, because you aren’t just one thing, and it’s very difficult to have to constantly meet someone’s expectations. Someone’s simplistic, less than complexly-human definition of personhood, is exhausting to have to live inside.”
– John Green

There’s an unavoidable, honest, deep-felt sigh that follows when someone finally says, “You look tired.” It’s as if your soul, delighting in being finally uncovered, joyously betrays the ‘I’m good’ lie you just spoke in obligatory reply to the ‘Hello’ with which you were greeted. Our personal rat-races are built on such deceptions – meant to convey sincerity and care, but mostly just regulated to the realm of polite, social etiquette.

Productivity, my Stockholm lover;
Verily, your name is weariness.

Finding That Still Small Voice

Finding That Still, Small Voice

This past week, I spent four days on a Spiritual Retreat. That might sound super lofty, but it was really just four days alone at a Christian retreat centre. I’m blessed to have a job that gives me spiritual retreat days every year, but this is the first time I’ve used them.

I had one main goal when in going: to reconnect with Jesus. God spoke to me back in March, informing me that I neither loved Him nor understood His love for me. Wow. That was a shocker. Like, hit-you-between-the-eyes shocker. Jesus can be a no-holds-barred kinda guy at times. So my hope was to rekindle that divine romance (and avoid a few more punches).

Robin Williams, Suicide, & the Demon Called Depression

Robin Williams, Suicide, & the Demon Called Depression

This morning, I did something I’ve never done before: I cried for an actor.

I’m not one to follow celebrity gossip or obsess over the lives of Hollywood stars. I’m not even one who’s overly excited to get autographs from the stars who’ve played my favourite television and movie characters. And unlike a friend of mine, I don’t have a list of the young and famous that I pray regularly for (though perhaps, more of us should). But this morning, while eating breakfast, I found myself crying and I didn’t know why. I prayed about it, and realized, I was grieving.

The news of Robin William’s death by suicide last night crashed through the internet like a storm. For many of us, though we didn’t ever meet him or talk to him, he held a special place in our hearts. In his roles as John Keating (Dead Poets Society), Mrs. Doubtfire, the Genie (Aladdin), Hunter Patch Adams (Patch Adams), and many more, Williams didn’t just steal the show; he stole our hearts. He gravitated towards roles that called out our hearts’ desire for love and beauty and passion and joy and acceptance.

Magic Eyed Faith

Magic Eyed Faith

As a kid, I loved getting the Saturday comics. Like most kids, I didn’t read them in order; the Magic Eye (a stereogram) was one of the first I looked at. I was one of those lucky kids who figured out how to see the 3D image or text buried inside. It’s a little tricky and counterintuitive if you’ve never been able to do it. Essentially, you need to look past what’s right in front of you. The image is there; it’s just not visible when we look at in the “normal” way.

So much of truth and life is buried right before us, hidden in plain sight. What if our understanding of spiritual things is hindering us from seeing the truth?

Blood For Blood

Blood For Blood

Monster or revolutionary? Hero or villain? From the torrent of comments on Twitter and Facebook, it’s fairly clear that most put Justin Bourque, the Moncton cop-killer in the same category as Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, or Osama Bin Laden. I am glad that Justin Bourque was caught, I am glad no one else was killed, but what surprised me was the amount of Canadians, young and old, male and female, voicing their desire for the shooter to die in a barrage of bullets. Among the comments were even a few requests that Canada reinstate the death penalty.

Little Kings, Little Thrones, Little Kingdoms

Little Kings, Little Thrones, Little Kingdoms

When checking out at the grocery store the other day, I realized the cashier hadn’t given me the one plastic bag I’d asked for (at this store, you have to purchase each bag). I’d filled my two cloth bags and so I turned to the cashier to to ask for one, and what came out of my mouth was, “Uh, one bag?” She told me I hadn’t paid for one, to which I sarcastically snapped, “Well, I asked for one.”

I could tell the cashier wasn’t impressed. To clarify, I hadn’t meant to sound sarcastic or rude. I wasn’t having a bad day; in fact, it was a good morning. So why was my ad hoc response to a simple miscommunication delivered with such a rude tone?

We all live with this fundamental principle underscoring our entire worldview: I am the most important person in my life.

She Completes Me (Is A Lie)

She Completes Me (Is A Lie)

I saw this image come through my news feed this morning. And it angered me (if you posted it, this isn’t an attack against you; this picture just started a morning-long conversation in my head). It’s a cute picture, and it’s a cute sentiment. The idea is that ‘she’ makes everything better. ‘She’ cancels out the negative thoughts and self-talk in his mind. Essentially, she saves him.

Just like that terrible movie, A Walk To Remember. Again, a cute movie, but like so many movies, idealizes a view of relationships that is actually quite destructive (I realize I’ve scandalized a lot of you by now). That movie, like this image, sets my blood on fire. And here’s why:

It is extremely selfish and a terrible burden to lay on someone you love to expect them to save you.

Rather Be Right or Happy?

Rather Be Right or Happy?

A common joke from married men is, “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?” Another simple one is, “Happy wife, happy life.” Though jokes, they seem to be a somewhat true indicator of an attitude that does exist in relationships, but is this right?

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I were joking about this as we drove to a friend’s house. On the way back, she turned on the GPS and I asked if she didn’t trust my directions. It was a joke, but it also wasn’t. Frustrated, I vented somewhat jokingly and a little self-righteously until she told me that sometimes, I talk too much. Now I was really frustrated and I felt that she’d just dismissed a valid critique. But I let the issue drop because I’d rather be begrudgingly happy than right.

Is this what relationships amount to, or is there a better resolution?

Welcome!

Welcome to Mark Stromenberg’s blog and website. I have just started this, but plan on updating it regularly. Please consider clicking the FOLLOW button on the right hand side bar to receive emails about new posts.

Please share or comment on any posts that you like!

If you would like to know more, please click on the ABOUT page or the CONTACT page in the top menu.

Thank you!