Category Archives: My Life

I Don’t Know

If they weren’t ringing in my ears and always at the front of my mind these words would seem simple but yet there they are – three penetrating syllables that occupy a new and strange home in my heart.

“I don’t know.”

I’m sitting across from one of my best friends on a late Friday night in the City and these words roll off my tongue in an unnatural but yet easy fashion.

Just a few moments ago I had taken a large sip of beer, kicked my ego out the door and I told him that I was gay.

As my friend starts to ask questions these words find an awkwardly comfortable space that might best be represented by the Sour Patch Kids candy I enjoyed as a kid: first sour, then sweet and finally gone – all the while not quite what you expected.

Answering the questions (and being open to them) may be just as good for me as asking them (and being open to the responses) is sometimes for others.

Yes, some questions are easy to answer but I find that others bring unexpected delays.

Sometimes this is because the answer itself is hard to say and lays somewhere between the black and white of normal human comfort.

My friend has asked the question and the question begs an answer but with that sip of beer wearing off I’m finding it hard to answer because the words and the place I find myself, as I said, are still very foreign.

I push on.

It’s not that there’s difficulty in being open.

In fact, each day brings new ease and comfort in being open about who I am.  It’s both healing and cathartic to speak about who I am; I love sharing the version of me that extends past the character I’ve lived for my first thirty years.

No, for me it’s the limited vocabulary that the new openness has brought.

Gone, or at least waning, are the days of covering up who I am. I’m exhausted with the half-truths and misdirection that I lived and rich/verbose language no longer suffice.

The masks fit the person who I was, not the person I know I am.

“I don’t know.”

There it is again.  Another question asked for which there is no good answer.

The questions people ask that I don’t have good answers for aren’t trivial questions.  In fact, they are the questions I ask of myself.

They’re the questions that have risen from the past that now have the potential to create restless nights or long days.  They are the questions that I ask of myself – the who, what, how and why of what has made me ME over the years.

It wasn’t ‘supposed’ to be like this.

‘I’ll come out and everything will make sense.’

‘I’ll have explanations for the years of misdirection and half-truths I told myself and others.’

‘God will speak into my life in ways I can understand.’

‘I’ll come out and I’ll be able to tell the ones I’ve loved and cared for the most.’

“I don’t know.”

Again and again – the words ring out.  It’s at some point in this conversation or the one after that or the one after that I start to laugh.

It’s not a crazy laugh but a subtle chuckle when I realize that there’s something bigger at play.

I realize that I’m not meant to have the answers that I want.  Sometimes the best answer is not black or white.

It’s gray.  It’s neutral.

My heart speaks and says that time needs its space to do its thing to help me find my way – to the answer, to the conversation, to the part where you and I break bread together.

And there’s beauty in that.

It’s the realized beauty that says that “I don’t know” is a resting place.

This resting place is where I stop trying to understand and I learn to just be.

There is beauty in that unknown.

—-

I live between two worlds now.

Instead of places of ‘being’, these worlds feel more like the stereotypes that we grew up with as kids in grade school.  This is ironic because I’ve always struggled with stereotypes because when we use them they inevitably draw larger borders around our worlds than what’s really needed.

I’m gay. There’s a big one.
I’m Christian.  There’s an equally big one.

I may have a clearer sense of my sexual identity but that pride and confidence wanes when I fall into the trap of rationalizing who I am with who I was, not just with myself but with others.

I may trust God more because of the hellish road he and I have journeyed on but I wake up in the morning sometimes wondering what it really means to be a child of God.

Most days I still struggle with what it means to be me – publicly, privately, spiritually…

I know that there’s nothing that makes me different from the person next to me – I’m the same person I was before but now I see more of who God made me than I did before.  I am closer to who God made me but I also know that the closer we get to anything truly of God the more messy things and maybe confusing things get.  What I forget is that with the messiness comes the inherent (divine) beauty that comes on the other side.

Not every question is meant to be given a crisp, packaged answer.  With thirty years of inadvertent misdirection to unpack I realize that some of that may be meant to stay packed.  Perhaps by being openly gay God is teaching me for the first time the essence of surrender found in three simple but humbling words.

I’m still new in this space but I believe more than I have in the past that these words can lead a person, in any situation, to a place where grace and love slow you down leaving you speechless and on your knees.

“I don’t know.”

I say these words when there’s no easy answer and the question turns into a momentary, paralyzing thought.

These words surface when nothing makes sense.

These words are blunt.  They are scary and cause the heart to beat a little faster.

They are also bold and very beautiful – they are words that provide rest.

For me, these reactions can happen all at once.  The words lead me down a path into new territory – they stretch past the stereotypes, they straddle the gray found between comfort and discomfort, and they safely envelope my past but firmly reach toward my future.

There are times that we runaway from the things that are scary and unknown.

Trust me when I say that this is both a good thing and a bad thing.  Sometimes this is the only response I’ve had to something that I didn’t quite understand or couldn’t easily comprehend.

But what I’ve found is this: Running parallel inside and between the scary and the unknown is beauty and contentment waiting to wrap us up in this crazy force of healing momentum.

It may sound like I’ve found a place where I’m OK with not having the answers.

I have not.

I still want the satisfying answers but I know that the way I’ve previously sought the answers was wrong.  The emphasis of my search was on the past rather than from the point where my story continues today.

I strive to start the answers with who I am today – who God made me – and make my way from there.

“I don’t know” is an OK and safe place to be.  It allows me to prioritize questions with the expected answers.  It replaces the emphasis of speaking with the practice of thinking and being.

There’s power and strength when we look into the eyes of the unknown and say “I’m not comfortable and I’m struggling at times but I know who I am and who I am not. I know that in what I lack, God is there.  And all that wrapped together makes things OK”.

My hope is that this will stick with me as I mature.  My hope is that this practice will strengthen my trust in God.

I hope that these raw and beautiful words can be building blocks for a future where I understand more of others, more of myself, and most importantly more of God.

Then again… I just don’t know.

Retro Poetry Hour – ‘Your Spirit’

In the past I’ve shared some poetry I wrote in high school.  I wrote this attempting to capture the essence of God, who he was and is to me, and how he’s with through every storm giving us what we need.  I hope you enjoy –

Your Spirit
By Tim Bogus

Your Holy Spirit fills my soul
Like the juice that quenches the thirsty body.

Not half empty,
Not half full,

The amount’s just right
Like you already knew.

You are the pitcher of life
That fills every needing soul.

The mighty river runs through
The parched valley longing for life.

The Week Ahead – March 5th

Fun things are happening this week – not necessarily in my life but rather in the life of the things I like.  Here’s a preview of what’s on my radar:

Tuesday – Super Tuesday: I’m politics junkie unfortunately and it’s been a really great primary season.

Wednesday – The iPad 3 will probably be announced as well as the Apple TV (?).  Also, I’ll hopefully be going to the Nets/Clippers game at the Prudential Center to watch Blake Griffin.

Thursday – This is the deadline for Peyton Manning’s bonus option renewal with the Colts.  Will he stay with the Colts?  I think so but not with the same contract.

Saturday – I’m going to hit up the Greenwich Village Country Club; it should be a hoot – indoor mini-golf and bocce ball, here I come!  All in NYC.

Some (further) thoughts on change

If you follow me on twitter or are my friend on FaceBook, you have probably already seen a thought I tweeted earlier this afternoon.

I wrote: One of few constants in the world is change. I’m beginning to see this as a *great* thing!

I wanted to expound on this ~140 character tweet and give some nuggets of thought behind it, if merely for the fact that I think this is some good stuff that’s taken me some time to figure out, am still figuring out, and is definitely worth sharing!

I really do think change is a great thing.  However, for me, change is not easy.  I feel, sometimes, it is painfully hard and I don’t like it.  A lot.

The change I’m referring to is not the ‘small stuff’ but the big life changes we all experience and grow from as a result.  The type of change that God instills in our lives and pushes us to figure out who He wants us to be.  This type of change is hard, difficult, and is easily pushed aside for the status quo.

Through a lot of prayer, meditation, and counsel I am beginning to see benefits, at least in my own life, that change has brought, is bringing, and can bring if I embrace it:

  • I do not like the status quo.  Not just in my personal life but all around me, within certain thresholds.  Even if I don’t show it all of the time.  Even though there are constants in life and in the world, I treat too many other things as the status quo when they shouldn’t be.  Change or a more ‘evolving’ way of living is the only way to break the status quo.  However, lets not get too much of a post-modern thought process underway…
  • I’m at my best when I’m being stretched.  Change is bringing new variables into my life that is forcing me to stretch my knowledge and understanding of what I know and how I react.  I’m learning new things about myself, life, and the world I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Living a constant life takes what fun we have on Earth and turns it into a more mundane way of living.  If you’ve seen Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell you know where I’m coming from with this.

I hope you guys enjoyed these thoughts; at the very least, though, this is a plug to get you to follow me on twitter or to friend me Facebook if you haven’t already!

That red nosed, cross-eyed guy

OK – I’ve been slightly flummoxed lately.  In a span of one week (7 days), two complete strangers that I struck up conversation with pointed out two somewhat overly noticeable physical characteristics that I’m already painfully aware of.

I don’t why but this might possibly the single weirdest thing that has ever happened in my life.  I have never had this happen before.

I mean, I’ve had good friends point these things out to me – sometimes in jest, sometimes in frank seriousness – but never has it been two random strangers adding it to the conversation like that.

Wow – I guess you really never know what you’re going to get in New York City (and that’s probably why I love the City so much!)…

Very Weird.

Retro Moment: Poetry and Jeeves

I’ve been cleaning through some boxes of papers that I have accumulated over the past years and I came across some poetry I wrote during my senior year of high school.  I’m going to post some other poems over the next few weeks but there’s a particular stanza in a personal timeline poem written just days before I graduated about the culmination of my high school years that I wanted to share.  We pick up in the sixth stanza out of ten:

The Four Year Journey
By Tim Bogus

He was an average kid two years ago,
An eager junior, ready to leave.
He had many problems, he wished for one thing:
He wished he really could ask Jeeves
.

Loaded with ‘corn’ and ‘cheese’ for sure, but I love what my creative writing teacher had to say, complete in red ink:

“Please . . .   NO . . .”

This poem, albeit the last one I wrote for the class, was definitely not the crowning achievement in that creative writing class.  I’m going to share some other retro poems with you over the next few days and I hope you enjoy them.

Oh – if there’s enough of a popular demand I’ll post the rest of The Four Year Journey. Leave a comment if you want to see the rest of it but like I said it’s good, but definitely nowhere near a crowning achievement – they call it a class for a reason!

Why I continue to love NYC after four years

Each time I go to my hometown in Indiana I’m often asked in one way or another why I live in New York City because the pervasive reality of New York City is that not every type of person would like to live in the City because of the hassles and the questions are numerous as to why I live in New York City.
Oddly enough, I struggle to describe the reason I live New York, in coherent manner, not because of a lack of endearment for the City but because of a lack of words that can correctly embody the sentiment I carry of the opportunities and hope that this City has given to my life and can give to so many.
After four years, almost to the day, I think I may have finally found something that gets closer to what I mean to say each time when I ramble on:
“New York is not a static thing – It’s not ‘New York is…,’ it’s ‘New York is becoming…'”
Kenneth T. Jackson – Historian
The American Experience: New York, Episode Four
For me, New York is where the opportunity is.  Due to the transient nature it is also the most exciting because once you’ve in New York you’ll always take a little bit of that back with you.
This is why I love New York.

Each time I go to my hometown in Indiana I’m often asked in one way or another why I live in New York City because the pervasive reality of New York City is that not every type of person would like to live in the City because of the hassles and the questions are numerous as to why I live in New York City.

Oddly enough, I struggle to describe the reason I live New York, in coherent manner, not because of a lack of endearment for the City but because of a lack of words that can correctly embody the sentiment I carry of the opportunities and hope that this City has given to my life and can give to so many.

After four years, almost to the day, I think I may have finally found something that gets closer to what I mean to say each time when I ramble on:

“New York is not a static thing – It’s not ‘New York is…,’ it’s ‘New York is becoming…

Kenneth T. Jackson – Historian
The American Experience: New York, Episode Four

For me, New York is where the opportunity is.  Due to the transient nature it is also the most exciting because once you’ve in New York you’ll always take a little bit of that back with you.

This is why I love New York.

Relationships. Rinse and Repeat.

Relationships have been on my mind lately — partly due to my experiences over the past few months – trying to adapt to my new environment as part student/part adult professional/part New York City dweller (more on that later) – and also partly due to a very deep and ongoing Summer sermon series at Forefront called Ancestry, ‘exploring our past and shaping our future’.

Over the past couple of weeks my friend, Brian Moll, who’s the lead pastor at FF, has started this series by delving into intimacy and relationships (among other topics) pulling context from the Old Testament and relating to and incorporating teachings from the New Testament.

While a lot of profound of thoughts have been presented and I’d encourage you to head over to the church’s website and checkout the vod/podcasts, I’ve had a lot of thoughts swirly around my head in regards to my own relational condition.

The one thought that keeps coming up but that I keep fighting is that I don’t have this thing (meaning relationships) figured out and never will.  Deep down, there is a part of me that wants to master friendship and perfect the art form of relationships and I see this as a black and white situation rather than in shades of gray that it really is.  At the end of the day I’m yet a novice in the world of friendships and relationships, continually learning and honing.

I’m at a place where I’m having to (painfully) admit this to myself.

You may wonder why I’m sharing this with you.  Often times, I think all of us, either in practicality or in our spirituality, at one time or another think we’ve mastered a skill or honed an ability to the point and we forget to take care of it and keep it tuned.

I’ve come a long way from my early college days – six years ago – of being jokingly called an ‘anti-social butterfly’ but just because I’ve made great leaps and bounds (in my opinion) shouldn’t mean that I should want to accept the status quo and say that there aren’t areas of my social fiber I wouldn’t like to change.

I believe that while we can never master the friendships or relationships in our life it doesn’t mean we should stop trying.  Not everything will work to your or my advantage but the human condition provide an infinite opportunity for improving one’s personal and relational life.  This is something I’ve realized I need to take advantage more of in my own life.

Free* College Text Books

As I mentioned on Saturday I was cleaning my room and I am now starting to get a rid of a lot of stuff that I no longer have use for. I have a lot of text books from my past college years that I don’t need (or want anymore).  A lot of these books cover more of the basic learning and overall theory on the topics and are not that perfect for reference.

Take a look over the list below and shoot me an email or post in the comments below if you’re interested! A lot of these books would be good for teaching someone who needs to learn the basics!

I’ll have more books when I go home and clean my room at parent’s house in July – so stay tuned!

  • Web Security for Network and System Administrators – 5 Discs (Red Hat Linux 5.0)
  • Murach’s ASP.NET – web programming with VB.NET
  • Access 2002 – Complete Concepts and Techniques
  • Introduction to Java Programming (covers Java 1.5)
    – basic theory; old concepts but probably still good for a beginner
  • Concepts of Database Management
  • Programming in Visual Basic .NET – 1 disc, which I believe is VB.NET
  • Flash MX – Graphics, Animation & Interactivity – with learning CD
  • Creating Web Pages with HTML and Dynamic HTML – great learning guide
  • Arguing Through Literature – A Thematic Anthology and Guide to Academic Writing
  • World History – Volume II – Since 11550: The Age of Global Integration

* I’ll be offering these for free – so grab them while they’re hot! I’ll be in Indiana in July if you want to grab them from me then – let me know ahead of time!

Sifting Through Memories

Today was Spring Cleaning + Day for me (I still have a couple of days to go!). I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to downsize my possessions (or at least filter the clutter) in my life. Moving for the 3rd time in almost as many years last October I realized that I had accumulated a lot of stuff that I don’t need. Coupled with the fact that my parents are ‘itching’ for me to move the last of my stuff from our home in Indiana I figured needed to create some room!

As I was going through everything I uncovered a lot of lost relics that brought up memories of the past four years and beyond. As I was deciding what to do with the stuff (whether to throw, keep, or donate) I was just struck with an odd sense of placing values on my memories and deciding which items to keep and which ones to throw. I was very quick to think of throwing away photos and objects that reminded me of the less than pleasant periods of my life.

I’m a very sentimental person and am a strong believer in remembering the entire past because of the lessons learned from the good and bad situations. However, today I was caught with the thought how much weight we place on our memories and how given life’s roller coaster mentality we should never completely let go of the past, lest we choose to not forge a different and hopefully better future.

Never deliberately and quickly choose to ignore (or forget) the not so pleasant memories of your past because, if my life is any indication of yours, the greatest moments of my life have been built upon on the weakest moments on which I chose to forge a better future.