whirlpooled topics unbackspaced. streams of consciousness. blurts. scribbled notes. outlined ideas. velocity waves. snatches from icloud. because self-editing is a writer’s cowardly way of preventing a reader from fucking the writer's confidence. dates don't matter. memories and moments aren't chronologically marked on the soul.

2022

As I enter a new year I’ve thought about hope. What do I hope for 2022?

I hope I rise to each occasion:

I hope I’m the son she needs me to be.

I hope I’m the brother they need me to be.

I hope I’m the friend you need me to be. 

I hope I’m the citizen we need me to be. 

I hope I’m the communicant I need me to be. 

May God grant me the fortitude to withstand, to endure, and to prosper. 

Amen.

Very Little Faith

I’ll be flat-assed honest with you. I think Percy Faith and His Orchestra may have received accolades they did not richly deserve. Better than Ray Conniff Singers? Of course. Absolutely. But …

In Kind

It’s 12:58 when i start this blurt.  sitting here. Leather chair. Christmas lights. Wish i had a brandy. But glad I don’t. I don’t need another vice. Got the results of the nuclear stress tests. (Got them by email 20 minutes later.  Medicine is amazing.) No clue what they mean. Could ask doc buddies. But I don’t need to know now. I’ll find out soon enough. Besides. This is only 1 piece of my puzzle. More tests soon. 

Each night I sit and examine my conscience. Every single night. I mentally travel my day and consider what I’ve done and what I’ve failed to do. 

Lately I’m treated with extraordinary kindness. Wherever I go. 5 different nurses/techs helped me with the tests. (4 hours long!) And each were extraordinarily gentle and generous with their kindness.  (The nurse judged me today, “you’re funny!”  Odd. I never think I’m funny anymore. I feel I’m goddamned depressing.) No matter where I go or who I meet: extraordinary kindness. I said last week I thought maybe people were getting kinder. But a dear friend of mine said they were just kind because of me. I hope that’s not true. 

No. I like being kindly treated. Believe me, it wasn’t always my case. I’ve been cruelly treated many many times. 

Maybe I’m receiving this benevolence because of my attitude. I try to be gracious and grateful. Maybe it’s synchronicity. But I hope people are starting to see the us again. 

I’m so fucking sick of subsets. Stop dividing us.

Yet

I’ve had a thought: anyone want to write a great seller? 

Here: there needs to be an oral history written. “How I’ve changed during the racial and medical pandemic.” Title: “Hindsight of 2020” (or something like that …) 

Society hasn’t evolved (an evolution? Revolution?) this drastically since the depression. You can argue the civil rights movement - that didn’t touch rural iowa like this pandemic has. I’d write it. But I’m going to write something else. Besides, I can’t write now. Every emotion is too raw. I can’t open my wounds. Now - go write the book. Go collect the essays and assemble it. Too bad Studs Terkel has left us …

Now. My reply:

I’m not the man I was in 2019. Part of my evolution was the pandemic. Like most global citizens, I pulled out of society and cocooned. Weeks went by without more than my head peeking out of my door except to collect the delivered groceries or take out the rubbish. 

My Father required constant care. Even needed to be fed. And while caring for both parents, I rediscovered silence. Solitude. Contemplation. Privacy. Prayer. Sobriety. Self-discipline. Chasity. Perspective. The proper order of things. My place among God’s creation. 

I remembered the world wasn’t about me. I learned the fragility of the ritual of religion. I learned the privilege of bending my knee and bowing my head and folding my hands in a community.

So who is this evolved Mark R. Trost:

I’m sober. Sober in temperament and consumption. I’m celibate. I’m no longer sexually promiscuous. I’m prayerful. I need an active and structured prayer life i.e. daily recitation of The Rosary. Frequent attendance at Mass. 

I am not born again. I am a devout practicing Roman Catholic. My God and The Church are paramount to me. It is not all the same to me. That’s why I’ve made the distinction. I have allegiance to The Holy See. 

I do not care what others believe, hold in disbelief, or deny. It takes all my efforts to salvage my immortal soul; I don’t give a squatted ass what other’s believe. I haven’t the time, the inclination, or the collar for evangelization.

In 2021 I no longer find representation in either political party. I am not a republican. I am not a democrat. I vote for each candidate. Not any party line. I am a citizen of the United States. I love this country. I see the privilege of citizenship. 

I’m less tolerant than I was. Not of others’ ideology but of their hypocrisy. Bring out a yardstick to measure mankind and we’ll start by seeing how long it hangs toward your knee. 

I’m not fun anymore. The earth is in crisis. I’m too intelligent to turn my intentions to self-satiation. I have the burden of wisdom. In 2020 I’ve accepted my responsibilities. 

I’m broken-hearted. I see the inhumanity of mankind. I see destruction where it ought not be. I see the loss. The losing. And the abandoned.

I’m more hopeful. I have complete confidence in my ability to create change. To urge improvement. To educate the undereducated. 

In hindsight: I don’t think things got better. I think theyve gotten worse. But I’m a better man than I was. And Ive earned the wisdom to know I’m not the man I should be. 

In 2021: I’ve learned the definition of the word YET.

Unsame

Just so there’s no confusion. It’s not all the same to me. That’s why I’ve made distinctions. 

I’ve thought about each theological, political, and social belief. I’ve used wisdom like a prism to examine each ideology. And so I’ve made sagacious choices. I do not half-heartedly hold any belief. And I literally hold my believes within my heart and immortal soul. 

And frankly we’ve reached the age when you can no longer afford to be half-assed.

Fooled You Once

I’m never fooled. I just judge when it’s worth the fight. And when I judge it’s not worth the fight, I pull up my pants and leave the sandbox. And if it occurs too often, I leave the friendship. 

And this isn’t cryptic. Everyone makes these choices each day. “Is it worth planting my feet?” “Is the relationship worth my effort?” 

And frankly. The answer is almost exclusively: No.

Friendships

I woke up from my nap (I’m old people) and I looked over to my phone and saw my friend had texted me. He’s the friend who never forgets. Every important moment, there he is. And I rolled over and thanked my God for putting my friend in my life. 

I think of my friends as little love nutrients for my immortal soul. 

So. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me that true love is not only supportive - it feeds my heart - it guards my soul against the sin of despair - and it educates my remembrances. 

I am a better man because our friendships urged my growth. 

Amen.