5 Years and 10.8 Months Ago…

January of 2013 will mark 6 years of having this blog. 6 years.

I don’t know why I started a blog, but I always had one throughout college with xanga and blogspot. But in January of 2007, I started this particular blog to… I guess more to reflect and hash out my thoughts and feelings. It was a new life for me. I was married and had my first full-time ministry gig. So, I figured I had lots to reflect about and lots of things to hash out. Regarding the full-time ministry gig– not the marriage.

My very first post was about my hesitation (which I realized, today, that the title of the post and, hence, the URL of the post is misspelled. “HESITIATION.” Go figure…) to go visit a 12 year old who had cancer — and ultimately died before I got to see her again, which I briefly shared in a post about the passing of a parishioner here at St. Mark.

The funny thing is, I hated writing all throughout my school career. I didn’t like English. I didn’t like all of my writing classes that I was forced to take. Couldn’t avoid grammar mistakes. Was told by one professor that I write the way I speak, and the way I speak is wrong. What can you do with that?

Yet, since the age of 12, I kept a personal journal. When I was 14 or so, I kept 2 separate journals, because I discovered that my parents were reading my journals. Tsk. Tsk. So I kept a dummy one out where anyone could find them, filled with mundane entries. “School was okay, but I don’t like school. I like seeing my friends and hanging out. And I like doodling in class. Here’s a picture of Mario.” I kept the real one hidden where no one could find it and in that one, I wrote my deepest and darkest of secrets. Not really. It was still the same as the dummy one. Except, with this one, I knew that no one was reading it but me and had the comfort of knowing that I could write something very secretive that no one would know. Oh. I would use expletives here and there. “School was okay, but I @#$&!*% hate school.”

I had no idea why I put in so much effort to maintain this blog. It was fun. It was a release, too. And there was this struggle within me — I wanted as many people to read it, but at the same time, I wanted to keep my anonymity as much as possible, therefore wanting no one to read it.

During the early days (years) I would obsessively keep track of the visits to the blog, all the while hoping that no one from church would discover it. I was frustrated that no one seeing this blog — and tried all the free ways to boost traffic. Blogging can be such a vain medium. I mean, really, what can I offer? What impact can my voice (writing) really have in the sea of millions of better bloggers? Even more in the early days when all I wanted was heavy traffic to my blog.

I’ve made mistakes here and there through these almost 6 years. Some posts — they remain private now– should have never been made public, particularly one about the events that took place at the end of my tenure at one church. My good friend who worked at the church had to call me and ask me to take it down because kids had found that post and were asking the leaders about certain things.

I don’t post as much as I used to. I don’t know why I tried to have one post per day during those early stages. Currently, I shoot for at least 2 a week. I read that consistency keeps the blog alive. Also the experts on blogging said that I should have a clear theme/purpose for this blog. Which I don’t have. It’s about my thoughts and experiences. And again, it’s vanity to think that people would want to read it.

I’ve also stop being obsessive about the traffic to my blog. It wasn’t helping. And I realized how narcissistic I was being. It also gave me a freedom to talk about whatever I want to talk about. Instead of fussing over traffic numbers, I used that energy to really think. (And that takes a lot of energy for me).

It’s been a nice hobby to have. I’ve never really been creative but always yearned to be. This blog has served as an outlet for whatever creativity I have. It also has been an outlet to think and reflect and document things that are happening in my life. But the real deep things — things that I don’t want public or might hurt people or incriminate me somehow, someway — I still have a personal journal for that. It has also open a few small doors and opportunities here and there, and every opportunity and doors opened, I am extremely grateful for.

Thanks for being part of this, rather vain and narcissistic, journey with me. I apologize for all those posts that made you think you wasted precious moments of your life. And I am grateful and humbled if any of my posts made you think and go, “huh, that was interesting.” Even if it was used in a negative way. And also, I should apologize for all the grammatical errors that run rampant on this blog. It happens when I speak, too. English just hasn’t been a good, good friend of mine.

But, really, honestly and truly — thanks for reading.

The Blog’s Good for My Mind, but the Journal is Good for My Soul…

I like updating my blog because it gives me a venue to share my thoughts, ideas, observations among other things (granted, no one asked me to share these things…).

It also helps continue thoughts that I couldn’t share in a sermon because it would take too much time and focus away from the heart of the message.

And well, honestly, it’s nice to have a soap box to stand on, even if no one’s around to hear the opinions coming from the one standing on this soap box. It’s just nice to know there is one.

And it’s been an interesting journey for me, blogging. I’ve had many since my college days, starting with Xanga. Then I moved on to blogspot and started many different types of blogs (the best one being a bit exaggerated sagas of my personal life). Then in 2006, I started this one, with the intent that it was going to reflect who I am as a person, a child of God and as a pastor.

Over the years, I’ve had some decent post, but mostly some hodgepodge of thoughts that were okay at best.
I’ve had interesting comments made by people, some that I had to delete. One person called me out on my “inappropriate” language on this blog, especially since I’m a pastor, to which I simply replied, “uh… you don’t have to read my blog…”

Overall, I really enjoy blogging. And yea, maybe it often serves as a small ego boost here and there.
I wish I could provide solid content without the grammatical errors that drive my wife (and perhaps you) crazy mad. Meh, I’d be content with solid content.

However, since a very young age, at the suggestion (read: command) of my parents, I kept a journal.
The early entries started out with, “Today was a bad day. Mom made me clean my room. I just want to play outside. She’s Mom, why can’t she clean my room? I have better things to do. If she wants it clean, I think she should clean instead of making me. I’m happy with the way my room is.” and (thankfully) the entries got deeper as I matured.

Oh, I also once discovered that my parents were reading my journal, so I kept a dummy journal out in the open, but kept the real journal hidden where I could write things like what I just shared with you without the fear of repercussions.

Whereas the blog may be where I share intellectual thoughts, the journal is where I pour my soul into. It’s filled with joy, anger, praise, worry, anxiety, discontent, unhappiness, frustration, complaints, hopes, fears, mundane thoughts and descriptions…
I write about my day, where I am spiritually, where I’m lacking, where I need to start lacking…
I complain about things and people in church, and yes, I use real names so that years from now I can still hold a grudge against you. (Kidding.) If someone were to obtain this, I think it could jeopardize my job at the Church (that’s right, not just my local church but the Church church).

I like going back and reading my entries.
At times I’m thoroughly embarrassed of my reactions and interpretations of certain events. Being years removed and able to see what I wrote without highly charged emotions, I can say “Yea… I totally overreacted.”

At times, I’m (and please hear [er... read] me without thinking I’m arrogant) rather pleased with myself with how I handled a situation or interpreted certain actions of people and say, “Yea… I’d handle it the same way today.”

There are times where I see that I’ve come a long way and other times where I realized I haven’t changed at all. There are times where I see that certain scars are (surprisingly) still there and I still need to work on healing them. The writing also has served as therapy or as the necessary buffer before responding to someone (given that I have time between events and confrontation). Writing out my honest-to-God feelings and emotions help me (most of the times) to get most of the strong emotions out of the way and approach the situation with a cooler head.

I think every pastor, nay every person, should keep a daily journal.
For me, keeping a journal has helped me mature and grow. It has helped me to get to know myself a little bit more, as strange as that may sound.
It’s good to know how I handled past situations to help me deal with current situations. It’s rewarding to see how I have grown and eye-opening to see where I still need to work on. And it’s fun to see my past-self from the eyes of my current-self.

Now, if anyone were to find my journal… I think I’d be in trouble…