Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Youth. The freest time of our lives. How should we spend it?

Let's get down brass tacks. This blog will be a little confusing, but I hope my point becomes clearer as I go. I am going to have to give you some context before I get to my main idea, so let's begin.

Here's a big question for you: What is the meaning of life? Well--here's my answer, or semi-answer. Whatever the meaning of life is, it revolves around people. People, relationships, friendships, encounters, acquaintances, kisses, hugs, handshakes, smiles, glances...it's about people. Memories.

Personally, there is nothing more fun for me than to go out to a great restaurant with people I love. Eat, drink and be merry, right? Being in good company for a great meal and having time to talk is my idea of a good night.

Here's the part that comes out of the blue: Some memories can cost money. Some of the more magnificent memory-making settings cost a LOT of money.

For example:

Today in dance class one of the guys made an announcement about a music festival that will be held a couple weeks from now. Music, camping, food...basically a mini Woodstock. I was really interested until he announced how much tickets cost.

"Tickets are fifty dollars."

Well. Never mind then. I don't know about you, but I can't afford a $50 ticket to a two-day festival. I need that money for...for...wait--what DO I need that money for?

Oh I remember. For boring stuff. Loans, tuition, gas, clothes, prescriptions, blah blah blah. Yes, I know I need these things, but that goes back to what the point of living is. Yes I know, life isn't just about having fun. But...in a way it kind of is, right?

Why shouldn't we spend money on the memories? Why not go to that music festival?

Youth. The freest time of our lives. How should we spend it?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Penelope and Bloom

Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching a movie called "The Brothers Bloom" which could quite possibly be one of my favorite movies to date. It's a movie about two con-man brothers, one of whom wants out of the charade, and the other always wants a little more. Together, they agree to pull one more job that involves the lovely and eccentric Penelope Stamp.

Now this is where I could ruin things for you. But I'm going to try to keep that "could" from turning into a "will".

At the end of the film Penelope says to one of the brothers, "...then we're going to live like we're telling the best story in the world." Even without context this one half of a line has so much meat on its bones. It says everything I've ever wanted to say.

After hearing that line, I began to think about all the memories my grandparents have told me...all the adventures my friends have been on, all the love stories across the ages. Imagine combining the best parts from all the stories into one legendary tale...and then living it.

Music: Meet Joe Black-Whisper of a Thrill--The Film Music of Thomas Newman

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ever noticed how damp clover feels cool and sticky on the bottoms of your feet?

Ever realized you smell like earth when you come in from the outside?

Nothing beats sitting outside on a blanket, soaking up the sun and playing with the breeze on a day like today. Simple, earthen, clean, dirty, fresh, cool, open, and alive.

Things make sense when I'm outside. They get smaller and less significant in comparison to the bright blue canopy over my head. Threads of conversation are no match for the threads of bare branches against the sky. Green envy pales in comparison to the green clover beneath my feet. Whispers of trouble are drowned out by the quiet stirring of leaves in the breeze.

Being outside is being young again. It's running again, laying in the grass again, not caring about dirt or sweat or how you look. Being outside is freedom. No one can tell you you're captive when you have the sky above you.

No one can keep me captive when I'm free.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Memory triggers are fantastic.

I'm sitting in the commons adjacent to the laundry room of my dorm waiting for my clothes to dry, smelling the detergent, and listening to songs that I grew up with. The Lion King's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" by Elton John just ended and now I'm listening to "Caribbean Blue" by Enya. Both songs conjure up the best feelings.

Lion King always makes me think of my sister. We used to act out the intro to the movie when Simba is presented to the other animals and I remember I was always the zebra. It brings back flashes of my old house...the smell of freshly cut grass, feeling the dark blue carpet underneath my feet...seeing dad mow underneath us as we played on the swing-set. This is tending to be stream of consciousness, but I don't mind.

Enya brings back a very specific memory. I don't know if this actually happened, but this is what I see when I hear "Caribbean Blue". Mom and Dad were having a party of some sort at our old house with their friends, the Fergusons. Somehow after dinner, I ended up underneath our dining room table. I don't remember if anyone was with me, although I wouldn't be surprised if Amber was. I just remember sitting there under the table listening to this song, and feeling very comfortable. No one was paying attention to me, and in that moment, I liked it. I just sat there and watched everyone talk while the other kids played. It was home personified. I feel so relaxed when I listen to this song because it reminds me of home.

I don't know if you readers think this is interesting at all, but I had to share.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wait, what's your name again?

One of my biggest fears is that people won't like me as much as I like them. Looks like he did a number on me.

I'll meet someone and be amazed at how well we got along, or how well I thought we got along. Then I'll walk away wondering why I never got her name or his number. That cliche line of "Did I do something wrong?" starts taking affect and I begin scrutinizing what I said...what I didn't say. It's discouraging. You find someone that you really think you could be friends with and then they don't...like you.

Then I start to wonder..."Maybe I should just..." But no. I don't want to be annoying. Nothing worse than a pest. I hate that kind of internal dialogue. The kind that complicates and mucks up everything. "The ball is in their court." Mental tennis matches drive me mad.

I wish I could say that I didn't care. I envy the thick-skinned. The social butterflies that can make up for lost friends in the blink of an eye.

I suppose I just don't like being the expendable crewman. Lost in space and forgotten in three minutes.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Time is so taken for granted. We think we have it all. We are sure to live our lives on schedule, no interruptions, or stops. But this is so naive.

My friend Megan Baldwin died last night. She was my age, and I had known her since fourth grade. When I heard, it didn't click. It clicked in the sense that I cried and was sad, but...I still thought that I'm going to see her again in the mall, or when I go to her church. It didn't click.

So, when you think about that cliche, overused phrase, "Live every day like it's your last", take it to heart. Repeat it to yourself, let it sink it, and understand the magnitude of that little epigram. How would we change if we did just that? Would we care about most of the things we care about now? Would time seem so ready to be wasted? I think we'd become completely different people if we lived that way.

So watch the Time, my friends. Watch the Time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blind Faith

There is a time when your senses deceive you, your heart fails you, and your flesh fights you. But that is the time when Christ grows you. As you grope through the fog of pressure, pain, and confusion, you have to trust His voice, when even He, the Lord, is invisible.
Your emotions scream, "There is no God." Your flesh cries, "You fool, He is not there!"...but He who overcomes whispers through His Word, "I have not forgotten you, I will never let go of you, and you can breathe long and deep again."
I am weary of the wanderings, I'm finished with no foundations. Substance, truth, purpose, and divine power are my prizes to be sought. Once more, the weapons of this world have failed me, so now I arm myself with the love of Christ.

The sun glared in my eyes as we looked across the dunes. It was almost time. Fear called from far off in my mind but dared not get too close for the Lord stood beside me. He wore red and gold armor, with no helmet. His black hair blew in the breeze, and his darkly tanned face was set. I looked back to the dunes. The Enemy trumpeted from afar, but was still marching. An oasis to my right glimmered in the sunlight. Jesus looked at me; I could see Him in my peripheral vision. My heart leapt at the sight of its Creator. I looked at Him, bearing all my fear and worry in my eyes. But they were met by a look of excitement and zeal.
“Jesus, I’m scared. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am,” I said. My eyes fell with disappointment. Jesus came close to me and squatted down, looking up into my face. His eyes were filled with fire and eagerness.
“I know. It’s all right. I get to protect you. Nothing will hurt you today. Do you understand? I will kill for you today, if need be. I will kill for you.” He looked at me with a hard-set face, assuring me that I would be safe. Once He knew I believed Him, He smiled and stood up. We looked up at the horizon, searching for the Enemy. He didn’t keep us waiting. A dark hooded figure came over the dunes. His figure looked watery from the heat of the desert rising off the sand. He came forward, each step making the earth tremble. Jesus turned toward me and took me by the shoulders.
“Listen to me. I don’t expect you to be brave and heroic, but I do expect you to obey me. Do whatever I tell you to, no matter if it makes sense at the moment or not. The Enemy will tell you things, horrible things to make you second guess me, but remember I love you. I love you more than you will ever know. Do you understand me?” He said, looking straight into my eyes. My heart leapt again.
“Yes, Jesus. I understand,” I said. I swallowed hard. The Enemy’s presence was starting to chill the desert. We both turned again to face the dark, shadowy Enemy. He was much closer than I expected. Jesus smiled and looked at me. His eyes seemed to say; “You ready? Let’s do this.” I smiled and laughed, being filled once again with excitement. I set my feet, ready to run at the Enemy. Jesus stood staring straight at him. He had a look of sadness in his gaze, remembering the dark creature’s former beauty. The Enemy slowed a little, almost fighting against Jesus’ stare. I looked at the Enemy wondering what he would do next. He slowed and stopped.
Jesus looked at me and said quietly, “Ready?” I nodded and He smiled. Then He looked at me again and said, “When I tell you to run, run as fast and as hard as you can, right at the Enemy. Don’t stop until I tell you to.” Jesus set His feet and hardened his jaw. The fight was about to begin. We waited, Jesus, the Enemy and I for what seemed like hours, then as if on some supernatural cue, Jesus and the Enemy both started to run at each other.
Jesus yelled to me, “GO, RUN!” I bolted. I was slightly behind Jesus in our pursuit of the Evil One. We got closer and closer to him and I began to hear hissing, terrible hissing coming from his mouth. The closer we got, the more I heard that it wasn’t hissing, it was talking. The Enemy began to talk to me in my mind.
“Child, you can’t win. As you run, your blessed Shepherd runs ahead. He’s deserting you. You can’t hear Him, how does He expect you to obey His orders when you can’t hear him?” He hissed. I started to feel weak and frightened. My mind slowed down and became foggy. I watched as the dark, lumbering figure and Jesus race toward each other. They hit. Pure light mangled with the blackest of black. They fought in a supernatural battle, good against evil. I kept running, all the while becoming more and more certain that Jesus surely didn’t want me to pass them by. Don’t stop until I tell you to. His voice became muddled with my own, telling me to slow down and stop. I started to ease up and hesitate. The Enemy pounced. Smothering darkness immediately surrounded me. Fear yelled its obscenities in my ear, now becoming bold with Jesus not at my side. I choked and started to grope for light. There was none. The Enemy yelled at me.
“Child, you can’t win! Where is your Shepherd NOW, CHILD? HE’S GONE! Dead and rotting in a tomb on a hillside with the stone still set! He’ll never win. I am mightier than God!” The earth shook.
“JESUS! OH GOD, HELP ME! JESUS!” I screamed. I ran every direction, searching for Him.
“I’M HERE!” a voice bellowed to my right. I jumped and turned to face Jesus, standing at my side. The darkness was blasted away and the Enemy stood before us, cowering. Jesus faced him, sword drawn and angry.
“You shall not touch my child, Lucifer. She belongs to me. I love her and you will never speak to her again. Now GO!” Jesus commanded. The Enemy turned and fled from the Lord. I collapsed at Jesus feet and cried. My heart ached at my own disobedience. Jesus’ did too. He kneeled down beside me, taking me up in his arms.
“Jesus, I’m so sorry! I should have listened to you, you were right. You were right. Please, please forgive me!” I said, sobbing.
“Hush, it’s all right. It’s all right. I love you.” He picked me up in His arms and carried me across the desert.