Boyhood Living

boyhood-ellar-coltrane-620Don’t see Boyhood if you want some kind of escape from life or some kind of happy sappy story loaded with feel good and images of two who ride off happily on a horse into the setting sunset. You won’t leave happy and you will have wasted your ten dollars. And, for sure, you won’t be coming out of the theater talking about how funny this or sad that. Oh, and you also won’t be talking about deep meanings and provocative messages and such after experiencing this almost three hour long movie.

Thing is, this movie is about life. Quite literally. And, for most of us, we probably go to movies to get away from life, right? So maybe it’s odd to enjoy (as I did) a movie about life. Specifically, this film took twelve years to make. Small bits of the movie were made every year – for twelve years – as two kids grow up from being little, silly elementary school students into some pretty hardened but surviving kids in college. It’s about the changes in their lives – physical and emotional – and it’s about the changes in their relationships, their family, their education, and their evolving views on life.

What is important to remember, I think, is that this is a film about one set of siblings in one family who live their story the way they live it. There can’t be any judging here. Your family is different than that family next door, right? This film is about a random family and what goes on for about twelve years.

It might be hard to watch because it might be too painfully true.

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Much Arguing

pushthroughGod and I have been going at it for several weeks. I’m very confused about some things and we have been going back and forth. I get tired and angry and tell him so. Other times, I’m weary and give up and tell him to deal with it – I can’t. My logic clashes with my emotions and it creates a crisis that we argue about. What is right? What is risky? What is the limit? What are the consequences? We go back and forth and back and forth. Something has to give and is it better to burn the bridges or is this all about being patient and somehow pushing through regardless of how hard it feels?

I’ve never seen God as some big gift-giving, father-figure who sits in a chair looking down at me with some kind of understanding (condescending?) smile. Rather, God and I have always lived in the trenches together. We talk with each other! I’ve never quite understood the whole problem some have with prayer and how much is not enough and all of that. For crying out loud, God and I are constantly reasoning things, arguing, being honest, or being sad together.

But as two who are together all of the time, we have our fits. He kicks my butt sometimes (in really hard ways that don’t feel good) and sometimes I simply open up on him with everything I’ve got. Sometimes we are gentle and other times we argue.

Right now, we disagree.

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Not There

rodeI’m not there yet. There’s lots of talk about being joyful, thankful, satisfied, and fulfilled. Frankly, when I hear talk like this it mostly shoots over the top of me in a meaningless fashion. It’s like fireworks, sometimes. There’s lots of noise and pretty colors and big bangs but, down here on earth, things pretty much are still just plodding along. I won’t begrudge anyone their own emotions and beliefs and I fully understand the ideas that are being presented – I’ve said them myself in other situations and in other times. But without context, all these words, when administered, seem like giving cough syrup to heal cancer.

When I was in a therapy session a few years ago, our facilitator was saying some wise and helpful things. She was going about her business in a professional fashion and, I think, we all appreciated her efforts. But there was something… After awhile, she told us that she had lost her spouse. Of course, this gave her words much veracity. But what struck me was this – she said it had been four years. And she said she was far from getting over it.

You probably grow weary of my commiserating. If so, you are welcome to move on and have a nice day. I will love you anyway. But where I am – not a day goes by and not a relationship happens without the ache of comparison and the wish that the free fall would stop.

No. I’m not there yet.

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Agree Disagree

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Best Letter

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Chinhae Chaplain

20140724-024054-9654770.jpgJuly 22

Hey All,

Today I received orders for my first active duty Chaplain tour. Praise God! It’s a three-year billet at Commander Fleet Activities Chinhae, South Korea. I’m ordered to detach from NAS Whidbey Island sometime in August and attach to COMFLEACT CHINHAE sometime in September.

We’re thrilled to be going to Korea! Both the Detailer and the Chaplain in Korea that I’m relieving told me this is an O-4 billet (one rank above me) and an overseas tour, which are both good things. They said it’s a duel-hat billet with high-visibility because not only will I be the Command Chaplain there at the base in Chinhae, but as the only US Navy Chaplain in the entire country of Korea, I’ll also be on the Admiral’s staff as the Region Chaplain. Not bad! They said I’ll be ministering to the US Navy ships and flight crews coming in and out of Korea during their deployments, as well as organizing community relations projects. COMRELs are projects that US Navy sailors do around the country to develop stronger ties between the government/people of the US and Korea. I will also be working closely with the Korean Navy Chaplains, and the US Army and Air Force Chaplains in the country. Everyone I’ve talked to and sought advice from has said this is a great billet, so for now I have to take their word for it. 

So now we once again begin running around like chickens with our heads cut off. All five of us will need to go through a screening process to ensure we’re medically okay to live overseas for the next three years. We’ll need to get everyone passports and I will need to start turning over and checking out of my command here. We also need to begin packing up our house. You won’t believe this, but the Navy won’t ship our belongings to Korea – they provide fully furnished houses over there to save on shipping costs – which means that yes, we’re going to have to put all our stuff back in storage here in the US! Ha! (For those of you keeping track at home, that will mean in a 5 year period from 2012 to 2017 we will have had our stuff out of storage for a total of 5 months!) We will also have to store one of our cars since the Navy will only ship one vehicle to Korea. Please pray that the Navy will store our belongings in a weather-proof location!

I know there will be much more to report on as we transition from here to Chinhae, so we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop. In the meantime, if you’ve been thinking about coming up and visiting us on beautiful Whidbey Island, you only have a couple more weeks before we’re gone!

-Zak (and family)

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School Pix2

Jana sent this photo, too. This is Regina in the 3rd grade. Can you see her over by the teacher?

(Click photo to enlarge.)

Regina 3rd Grade

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School Pix1

Jana sent this photo. It’s actually a photo of a photo from an old publication. The picture is of Regina’s 2nd Grade class. She was cute then, too. And almost always with a smile.

Jana sends this note.

Easy to spot sweet Regina : ). This was the last year this school was open. Regina was in my classroom several other years.

(Click photo to enlarge.)

Regina 2nd Grade

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6th Grade

1st Quarter: Regina has done very good work this quarter, but her grades in social studies are a little lower than they should be. I am sure that studying harder in this area will correct the difficulty. It is a pleasure to have Regina in my class.

2nd Quarter: Regina has made very good progress during this quarter.

3rd Quarter: Regina is a very cooperative and energetic worker.

Grade 6

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5th Grade

1st Quarter: Regina is working on or above grade level in the following subjects: all subjects except science. She is working below grade level in the following subjects: science. She needs to spend more time on her science since she has had difficulty with it this quarter.

2nd Quarter: Regina is working on or above grade level in the following subjects: all subjects. She is working below grade level in the following subjects: none. Regina is conscientious and dependable and makes a practice of doing all work that is assigned.

3rd Quarter: Regina has progressed very nicely this quarter. She is very cooperative and seems to be interested in learning. Let’s encourage her to always do her very best.

Grade 5

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