Oh My God, look at her Butt

As with every summer break as it nears its conclusion which comes mid-July for me, I’m always trying to figure out ways to to spend the last few days of break. For previous years I’d usually just do the same activities I’d do while school is going on. Work, and hang out with friends as much as possible, and work on MK Online here and there, while chatting it up in IRC. Till this year if someone had told me I’d be spending it at a church, or by reading books (Christian Books for that matter) I would have laughed at you.

Ever since February I seem to be going through this transitional change in my life. Kind of like the signifgant changes that happen like from when you graduate from High School and experience your first year in college as a freshman. During that time the transition, though fun at the time, is probably not the best change, like partying and drinking and the sort, going to clubs with friends every weekend watching your favorite hard rock cover band. That particular change in my life anyway was more out of being rebellious then anything else. I don’t wish it never happened, I got to experience new things, a lot of which I gave up for the most part. For example, I don’t go partying every weekend, now it’s come to maybe a few beers here and there every few months (or even more) casually with friends. Still though, some things from that period of my life, you still do, I mean Hitting the clubs and watching Stikken at Al Rosa for instance, is still fun for me, but now just on a rarer occasion. Once that phase of my life was over, which was honestly has finally ended just in the past year, I spent a lot of time just doing nothing. I’d sit around, do nothing but school, hardly hang out with friends, and I pretty much just worked on the MK Site.

As of February like I said earlier, things have begun to change for me. The events leading up though happened around the end of 2003, most likely October and November. It was during that time I wasn’t happy with myself, grades, and other things and was a little depressed. I’ve always been a shy guy and at that time interaction with me and people was always a problem. It was hard for me to meet new people, and even though I wanted a girlfriend, I was more concerned with primarily making new friends. Life was just boring, I needed some excitement to it. So what did I do? Well I prayed which was something I had pretty much stopped doing since I graduated from High School. I started to pray off and on to a God I barely even worshiped anymore. I wasn’t going to church or anything and I hadn’t necessarily lived a sin-free life in the past months beforehand. I just prayed for “something”. I prayed for a change, most importantly just new things in my life and new friends. Well until November I’ve always been skeptical God answers your prayers all the time. But in November I felt as if maybe he was listening? Around that time I felt the sudden urge to go out of my way to make new friends, and I wasn’t necessarily trying to meet a girl. Just people in general. So I started bringing up the idea of going to Harvest Moon a bunch, and we started going on Sunday Nights, just me, Nic, Bobby and sometimes Josh. I wanted to go because I figured if we went enough the chances of making a new friend in the long run was inevitable.

Well I don’t think me and Nic ever expected we’d now be great friends with Ryan Patnaude. The first time we saw him, none of us even spoke to him. We were all goofing off one night, drinking our coffee and Milky Ways, as Nic was throwing spit wads at me. A band was playing and we were honestly being a little obnoxious as it was evident from Ryan who was sitting at the table next to us. He kept looking over at me, and I saw that he had a notepad, I think a pen, and a copy of the Holy Bible. Ryan to me was the stereotypical Christian, he was much a bigger build to me, had glasses, and just looked like the last person on the planet who’d be interested in what I was interested in at the time. The presence about him to me was that he was one of these Christians who had no fun, and did nothing but quote the bible all day. Well to an extent that is true, but he’s a lot more then that. But anyway he looked over at me a bunch of times as I was goofing off, I guess pretending to be cool, and none of us continued to say a word. I whispered to my friends that I thought this guy had a problem with us, we even joked that maybe he was gay and was appalled by the way we presented ourselves. We left the coffee shop and at least I figured the chances of us running into him were slim. But whenever we went back, even though on the rare occasion, he was there every single time. We started joking around to ourselves that this guy must live at the coffee shop or something. Well about the fourth time we went to Harvest Moon, we’re there again, and he comes over to us uninvited and introduces himself. Ok I thought, this will be quick.. besides we had just got done drinking our coffee and we’ll be out in a few minutes and back home. Well that wasn’t the case, he wouldn’t budge and somehow we got on this huge debate between Evolution and Creation. It ringed close in my memory as I had just done a speech not to much earlier on the topic. Anyway, after we finally got done talking to him, he asked for our screen names, and told us to give him a holler at some time. Well I didn’t really want to, I’d never been close to what I considered a good Christian. The idea drove me nuts, I believed in God, and that belief was good enough for me, I didn’t need a Christian friend preaching to me all the time to convince me that God was real. I was raised Catholic so I believed it all my life. I had questions sure, but I had better things to worry about I thought. Ryan kept iming me and from time and time again, I quickly ended the conversation saying I had to go and what not, I remember being appalled that he invited me to go Skiing with him, when I didn’t even know him other then from one meeting at the coffee shop. Well me nor Nic went Skiing, but we weren’t going to let this Christian get in the way of us doing our daily routine at the coffee shop. But again like I said, Ryan lived there it seemed, and we couldn’t get away from him. He’d come and talk to us every time we came and we always ended up staying longer then we wanted to. For what ever reason, I think it was I that suggested to Nic that maybe we should invite him to do something with us, I don’t know what in me was wanting to suggest it, but I think it was because I felt bad for ignoring the guy so much. By this time it was February, shortly before Ash Wednesday and the news was all talking about Mel Gibson’s new movie he was directing called “Passion of the Christ”. I was no atheist, so I thought maybe I should see this movie, and at least try to retouch on the story that I had been told so many times during CCD classes back at St. Mary’s growing up. Ryan agreed to ago without question, and that started the beginning of what has became the beginning of not only a great friendship, but also a change in my life. The Passion really did something to me, for the first time I gave up something for Lent which is typical of Catholics. I began ever again curious about God, which was a flash back to a small obsession I had on the topic for a few years back in my lowerclassmen years of High School when I wasa part of the Youth Team at St. Mary’s. After this Harvest Moon became almost a daily stopping place, and for the first time ever I’d go somewhere by myself without having a close friend like Nic or Josh around, to go visit Ryan. I was honestly scared for some reason to step out of the comfort zone of my best friends and hang out with somebody new. I had a great time, and Ryan invited me to his apartment where we hung out for a bit and talked about all kinds of things.

The thing that really did it for me was when Ryan told me and Nic he wanted to start a Bible Study on Sunday’s at his place. I was dreary of the idea, because not only did I feel really uncomfortable discussing God around other people, I hadn’t touched my Bible in years and was honestly covered with dust. The Bible study group started off with big numbers, but has dwindled down a lot since the first meeting, it’s mostly just me and Nic, Ryan, and Justin, a guy who works for a program called Young Life. He also goes to New Life Church. He’s a few years older then myself and is married, and helps out troubled teens at Bloom Carroll, the high school I graduated from in 2002. Justin has became a really good friend too, and I am still astonished by his story on how he was an atheist and how he went from drug use and problems with his father, to being to what I now consider a great Christian role model.

The point of this now apparent essay I’ve wrote is just that I can’t believe how much can change in time with just a little Faith. I’m still not going to church, but I’m about to make that step soon I think. I don’t even know if I’m that interested in going back to a Catholic church right now. I’ve been going to a lot of activities at Peace Lutheran church where Ryan works and the people are so nice. Ryan has been encouraging me to go to a service on a early Sunday morning, and I’m taking it into consideration. Just last night, Ryan gave me and Nic the call asking us to drop by his Vocational Bible School that was going on. There was a lot of events for kids, but for us and the adults the Pastor David Barnhart gave a class on a temple that once stood in Israel and it’s connection with the book of Revelations. Had a great time, It was a great class and I was honestly disappointed that I couldn’t hear the second part tonight because I had to go to work. I’ll be going back tomorrow night though. But anyway, as you can see I’m doing things that were so unlike me just seven months ago. Right now I’m reading this book by Lee Strobel called the Case for a Creator which is an investigation on how Scientific evidence is pointing towards God and not Darwinism’s theory of Evolution. This is actually the third in a series of books by Strobel. I became interested in the author when I read a few chapters of “The Case For Christ” which Nic was borrowing from Ryan during our Virginia Beach Trip. I’ve bought the three books, the other one being “The Case for Faith”, but I’m reading Case for a Creator now, because it arrived first and I’m sick of waiting for the other two to show up. But yeah, I’m reading a book. I haven’t read a book since my sophomore year in High School when I was kind of into the Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

Well that’s about it…. heh.. It just amazes me how one person, Ryan, has changed me so much. He probably doesn’t even know that I went into Harvest Moon hoping to make a friend, but I couldn’t ask for a better one than him. Thanks God.