Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Light Pollution on the Clouds

Tonight, as I was driving back to Lincoln from Fremont, I noticed a strange glow in the sky. I first noticed it on the highway right outside of Fremont, it was red-ish, but thin and not bright. I wondered if it was from the lights from Wahoo, and wondered less if it was from the lights from Lincoln. After driving through Wahoo, and Ceresco, I still saw the glow, but it was stronger, and I could see the outlines of some clouds in it. It was also larger. Apparently I was still approaching whatever was causing this glow.

Then, as I was approaching Lincoln (the last 2-3 miles outside of the city), I was about 99% sure that the lights in Lincoln were causing the glow. And the song God of This City started playing. (The song is at the end of this post.) So, as I was singing the chorus (Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city) and approaching Lincoln, I started to see the lights from the city. It was pretty magnificent.

And it was in that moment, or one of them near that one, that I felt something with God that I have missed for quite a while, I think. That feeling where God just shows you something you didn't expect, through a method you didn't expect, in a place you didn't expect. And He showed me that some of the greatest things that happen in a city or town are not the things that are written down in the history textbooks. And I realized that my life is one of those things. God has changed my life; He has altered my path to something greater than where I would have been without Him. I realized that some great things have happened in my life and in the lives of my friends, and those things will not be recorded as 'great' but we all know that some of the times we have had together have truly been great.

And I realized that there are still greater things to come, even in the city of Lincoln, even in the cities of Ceresco, Wahoo, and Fremont. Because it isn't about the size of the city, and it isn't about where the city is located geographically. It isn't about the financial status of the city or whether or not the city provides enough light pollution to put a glow on those stratus clouds in those December nights. Great things happening in cities happen because there are two things involved: 1) God, and 2) His people. When God's people are open to doing God's work, and when they are open to God doing His work in their own lives - their own hearts and minds...that is when great things happen.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I don't know how to embed.

Just kidding, I remembered..

I hope that will work..It works :)

Alright so, I just watched this video. And I looked at some of the comments (never do that on Youtube if you want to remain in a positive mood) and got pretty upset at some of them. Upset as in disappointed. Irritated even.
I get irritated when people are...unloving, or ignorant, intolerant..that sort of thing. And people seem to show that sort of thing with videos like this.

When people are open and real about their struggles and insecurity, others will sympathize and encourage them. Others seem to be obscenely rude and call them names or make fun of them. That irritates me.

And you know what, it irritates me when I see that same attitude in myself: apathy, laziness, stupidity. What do you think, if God is love, to choose to not show love...what does that indicate? :/
I have seen this in myself way too much this semester. I feel like I have changed in many ways since last spring, in both good ways and bad ways. But I don't feel like I am doing a good job of loving others. I just don't feel like I have done a good job of being a Christian this semester actually. And I want that to change.
And that is going to change.

Because you know what? People are still hurting. People are still struggling. People are still attacking other people. And what am I doing about it?
I know, some of you will say, 'but Nick, you can't do all those things!' And I agree. I can't, and I won't. But if I feel like God wants me to do something about something, then I am going to feel like I am failing until I do that something. And I am definitely failing.

I said, on facebook, that this video has a message for everyone. To those who are suffering, the message is that you are not alone. To those who have suffered, the message is that you are strong, because you made it through that time. To those who are not suffering, the message is that others are still suffering, so what are you going to do about it? To those who have never suffered, I don't know what the message is, because I do not believe you exist. In fact, I am quite confident that you don't. Even God suffers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I am slightly frustrated. I have such a desire to help others. To help them through their struggles, their pain, their insecurities, and to celebrate in their successes, their joys, and their victories. I want to share so much of what God has shown me and blessed me with so that the blessing may also go to someone else. But I don't know how. I want to so badly, but I feel like I just hit a roadblock, because I don't know how to continue. I feel like no matter what I do to try and 'get the word out' it won't be enough...whatheck.

How many problems/arguments are caused by misunderstandings? Or miscommunications? Or assumptions? I see people who have different views of the way reality is, and they think that they are being attacked when views are stated. Recently it has been pointed out to me that emotions/stress can stack on each other and cause relatively small things to seem larger than what we can handle. Perhaps that is playing into it- we get stressed and worried and then some small thing happens and we find an opportunity to 'take control' of some small part of our life, and we end up stepping all over someone else because we think we need to be in control of something, even if it is just a small conversation. Why do we do that? (Link here to Jessica's blog)

And now, interruptions make my night. Thank you to Carol and Jenny for being rambunctious, bubbly, hug-giving, and my friends. You two mean so much to me :)

So, this is a piece of my life right now. These are some bits of my thoughts. And I hope you find them encouraging, and I hope to put more of them up here, because I want to share with you some of the things God has shared with me.

Verses to end with: Ephesians 4:29-5:2

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A peek into my mind

Right now, there are many things that hurt. But here is one.
I gave a little bit of this, from a different angle, in my other blog. But this one is more personal, so it goes here.

It hurts me to see my friends hurt. It hurts me when I see them struggling, but it hurts me even more to find out that they have been hurting and I was unaware of it. Because when I am unaware, that means I am not involved in their life in a way that I want to be. Because it hurts me more to see them hurting and not know what to do to help. It hurts me more to see them hurting and feel like I don't have time to help them. It makes me want to scream at myself, "What are you doing with your life right now?" And not in a nice tone. Not at all.

It hurts me to see what I am doing with my life right now. It hurts me to see that I have not invested in more than 3 to 5 friendships this semester. It hurts me to see how I have fallen from where I was this summer and last spring. It hurts me that I have to try and push all of this away so that I can go to class in 10 minutes.

I guess what hurts the most is the crushing disappointment that I feel right now. It hurts feeling like I am stuck in some position because I know what I want to do, I think I know what God wants me to do, and I hear what a select few want me to do. It hurts me to not see my friends very often and not be able to talk with them and know them and learn about what is going on in their lives. It hurts me to complain so much, because I know there will be those of you who read this and say, 'Oh Nick, life is not always fun and butterflies. Get used to it!' and you probably mean well with that, but I am not going to live this life in a way that is normal. I am not going to get used to having pain here, because I am going to fight this. I want to be one of those people who hears, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.' And I don't expect to hear that if I just get used to the pain here. Have you heard the story about the girl throwing starfish back into the ocean? Well I want to help those starfish too, and I know there are many more that are hurting, but I will do what I can for who I can. But right now, I am not doing enough. So I will keep striving.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

frickin frack

I have a feeling that there will soon be a post on here about how much I am not pleased about my life right now. There are things going on that I am looking forward to be done with. I know I have a lot in my life that I don't want (hey, who doesn't?) and I am trying to figure out how to change things for the next semester.

But like I said, this is not that post. This is a precursor to that one. Because right now, I'm in class. And now is not the time to try and get emotional and deep and complain about my cushy life in America. Hush.

It will probably be more of a rant than anything else, but I will try to bold the parts that I want my friends to know...because I care about you more than I have shown lately. You mean more to me than what I have said. And I'm sorry.

Monday, September 26, 2011

You may not want to read this...

...the whole way through, but trust me, it should get better. Challenging things always do, don't they?

So here is my challenge to you (and myself, haha always myself included in this) : Consider that you are small. Realize that you are small. Accept that you are small. And then...well I'll get there ;)

Earlier today, I was talking with a friend about how life is beautiful. More than that, she was explaining to me how life is beautiful, because, I'll be honest, it is hard to see at times. And lately, it has been one of those times. I have been going through, well, no. I know people who have been going through tough times lately, and that weighs on my heart.
And she mentioned how it feels to stand at the base of a tall building and feel small, almost as if the building is about to fall on top of you.

And here we are.

A couple weeks ago, I went to Chicago. Twas my first time there, and I was in the downtown part of it, as I understand things. I saw taller buildings than I have probably ever seen (not counting the Space Needle in Seattle) and it was fantastic. I mean that in the etymological (with the root of 'fantasy') sense as well as the common-societal sense (as in being wonderful or something). It was hard to walk while looking up at the buildings, because I felt like I was going to fall over. Even just standing still and looking up at the top of one of them made you feel like you were falling over if the clouds were moving behind the building. Crazy stuff!

A couple weeks ago, my grandma passed away. The only other death in my family I have experienced was my great-grandpa, but I was significantly closer to my grandma. It is an odd thing when someone who has always been in your life is gone, and for a long time. As in, until I go to where she is now. It may seem ironic, but death is a part of life. Everyone, no matter your wealth, skill, social influence, popularity, or anything else you can think of, will die. Even God, when He was a human on this earth, experienced death. We seem to get so used to life (Tangent: What is it to really live vs. just survive?) that we are almost surprised by death...it is a reminder that what we have here is temporary.

Have you ever tried to take in the vast complexity of our planet? (please forgive me for the potentially cheesy vernacular) Have you thought about the different cycles and processes that allow it to continue to do what it does? Do you think about how weather is the way our planet circulates heat around its surface? Do you realize that the primary source of energy for our planet is about 93 million miles away, but that to be any significant distance nearer to or farther from it would be to end life as we know it?

We are small. Yes, we have made it outside of our own planet's atmosphere, but at a significant cost: it uses money, time, resources (materials like metal and oxygen and whatnot), and even the very lives of some humans and other animals. We have to be concerned about falling a distance that is more than our height. How many people die each day because they do not get adequate food or clean water?

And how many of those people matter? If 10 people die in an accident, how many lives are affected?

Have you ever watched the ripples in water when a single rock is tossed into it? Have you seen what happens to the ripples when multiple rocks are tossed into it? The resulting ripples from throwing stones increase exponentially in complexity when more rocks are thrown. Humans are more complicated than water. What do you think happens to us when 'rocks' are tossed into our lives?

We are small. And we are of such great importance. We were made in the image of God. Now, what that means, I am not entirely sure. But what I do know is that nothing else in all of creation was made in the image of God except humans. Stars and galaxies were not made in His image. Mountains and forests were not made in His image. Angels and oceans were not made in His image. But we were!

When God decided that He was going to come to this earth, to limit himself and become a human, with human qualities - physical and otherwise - He knew what was going to happen. He knew He would be rejected and scorned, insulted, beaten, spit on. He knew He would pay the price that was deserved by many. He knew that He would take the wrath and punishment that the Father directed towards us. And He still planned on it, from the day before creation (see Ephesians 1). He counted the cost worth what was to be gained (Isiah 53) - our hearts, our minds, our entire being.

You are more than the choices that you've made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You've been remade

Cause this is not about what you've done
But what's been done for you
This is not about where you've been
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel
But what He felt to forgive you
And what He felt to make you know...

You are more. (by Tenth Avenue North)

We are small, and we are more than what we are. haha funny how God seems to cause seemingly contradictory things like that. We are wretched and beautiful, sinful and righteous. Although, to be fair, we are wretched and sinful, but God makes us beautiful and righteous. Right on :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thoughts on God and Our Perception - ish

God loves us, yes. And we want to see that, we want to have evidence of His love. We always do; we find it hard to believe that someone really loves us when we don't see them showing that love in some way.

And we sit here and pray and sing and read, and we keep wondering, where is God's love?

But I think we too easily forget the most significant display of His love, as well as the experiences we have had in our own lives of His love and compassion...
We also forget the 'small' things He puts in our lives every day - food, (warm/cold) water, couches/chairs, cars, clothes, stuff like that.

But, it is still harder to seek Him and praise Him in the times of bad....isn't it? It is easier to praise God for being loving when we feel that love. It is easier to ask God for help when we feel His presence in our lives.

Keeping our eyes on the prize, does God's love or presence in our lives change? Or is it just our perception of those things that changes?

So why does our perception change? If we are not feeling the Lord in what we do and think, what are we doing wrong? Maybe it is what we aren't doing that is wrong? Jesus often went to solitary places to pray. He sought His Father more than anything on this earth, and He stayed focused on His Father more than anyone else on this earth. That seems logical, right?

What would happen in our lives if we earnestly sought the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? And what does that even look like, anyway?

And now, change the perspective. What are things like from God's point of view?
Obviously, we don't know. But can we speculate? I honestly am not sure about that either..

Let's start with what we know... God wants to be with us, right? I mean, He wants to be with us so much that in order to be with us He took the punishment that was necessary to bridge the gap (so to speak). He wants to be with us so much that He even sacrificed His own Son to the wrath that was due to us. Wow.

Now, in order for that to have its full effect, we first have to understand our sinfulness in the light of God's goodness. We may think we are 'not that bad of a person' by a human standard, sure. Maybe even a 'good person' by the human standard. But on God's standard, we are all evil. We have all fallen short. We all fail to meet the requirements of holiness. And so, we deserve punishment. We deserve separation.

But God doesn't want us to receive those things....isn't that something? God doesn't want us to receive what we deserve. The wages of sin is death, but instead God gives us the gift of life through His son.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saves a wretch like me!

Yet still...do we always feel encouraged by that? If the joy of the Lord is our strength, what brings the Lord joy, and therefore brings us strength?

How long must I wait, must I wait for You?
How long till I see Your face, see You shining through?
Cause I'm on my knees, begging You to notice me
I'm on my knees; Father will you turn to me??
[Hold my Heart - Tenth Avenue North]

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What I think I have in common with you

I think we have a lot more in common than we realize.
I think we both have struggles. I think the things I struggle with may be different than the things you struggle with, but I believe that both you and I have something we have a hard time with in our lives. I am not going to say that my struggle is any harder than yours, or vice versa. But I think we both have a struggle in our lives.
I think you feel good when someone that you care about reciprocates those feelings. I think we have that in common. I think you want someone to be with, even till 'the end.' I think you don't want to be alone, even though you still want time to yourself. I want you to know that I care about you, and I want to be here for you, even though you may not feel the same to me. I don't expect everyone to reciprocate those feelings, but it still hurts when a friend isn't there for me.
And I think you feel that hurt as well. I think we have both had times in our lives when we dearly wanted someone to talk to, but either that person was not there, or you did not know who 'that person' was.
I think we both know friends who are hurting. I think we both want to help those friends, but sometimes we don't know how. I think there have been times when we would have liked to take even some of their pain in order to ease theirs.
I think we have both had at least one point in our lives when we were upset at a friend for something they did, either to us or to themselves. I think we have both been at the point where we want to rant at a friend for the decisions they have made. I think we have both wanted to show where they took a wrong turn and how to get back to a good road.

I think we both want more in our lives, if we are honest. I think we want to do more with what we have been given, or maybe just more hours in the day. I think we both long for intimacy, but are also scared of the vulnerability that requires. I think we both have walls that have been built up, but will be torn down (or scaled) by the one person we are meant to be with.

I think we have more in common than we think. And I think we have more in common with the rest of humanity than we realize.

I think we are all human before we are America, Asian, European, or anything else related to country. I think we are human before we are smart, poor, talented, tall, or well-dressed. I think we need each other more than we realize.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Questions about School - Discussion

I must apologize...I feel so strictly formal while typing this. I am not a fan of that. You may notice that I am not writing with my normal tone...I felt that way at least. At any rate, I would like to know your thoughts, and there is one final question at the end :)

Who/What are schools for?

  • Giving kids knowledge, teaching them about the world
    • Schools are for teaching children about how the world around them works. They learn the rules of language, mathematics, and even physics, chemistry, and biology as they grow older. Schools are for showing kids what is going on outside of their house and outside of their neighborhood.
  • Taking care of kids while their parents are at work
    • Schools provide a sort of day-care while parents are busy bringing home the bacon. Schools with recess provide children with an outlet for their energy and playfulness, and even for their imaginations while they play and interact with each other.
  • Kids, but also for parents and society
    • Schools are directly geard towards benefiting the children that attend them. However, as was stated above, schools also benefit parents by providing a means of childcare, and they benefit society by providing knowledge and experience for children to become functional members of society, even though it may not be until later in their lives.
  • Kids who want to be there, and for those who do not want to be there
    • Schools such as colleges/universities provide opportunities for kids who still want to learn to continue to expand their knowledge of the world around them. They may choose to pay for classes and spend extensive amounts of time learning more about language, math, science, or other people. Public schools, like elementary, junior high, and high schools, on the other hand, may be geared more towards trying to teach an appreciation for learning to pupils who would rather be somewhere else.

How do you know?

As one member of our group stated, this is a short and simple question that is deep and difficult to answer. However, we discussed the following reasons:

  • Giving kids knowledge, teaching them about the world
    • We see evidence for this from our own experiences. In early education we learn about how to speak with proper grammar so that we can understand others and so that they can understand us. We learn about how math works so that we can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. We learn simple skills early in life so that they may be built upon later, in more advanced classes in later stages of schooling.
  • Taking care of kids while their parents are at work
    • The evidence for this line is seen in parents who drop their kids off at school but then do not talk with their children about what they learned. They do not work with their children on homework problems or help to reinforce the lessons given that day. Then, if their children do not perform up to the standards that are given, the teachers are blamed. Other parents do not seem to have any interest in how their children are doing in class.
  • Kids, but also for parents and society
    • We know this by looking at significant historical figures of the past. A greater education generally leads to a greater involvement and/or impact in society. Children who grow up to be adults that do not understand what is going on around them (whether it be dealing with language, science, or politics) have little reason to concnern themselves with anyone but themselves. If a society is to continue to grow and advance, it must teach the next generation what there is to know, as well as encourage them to want to know more, as the last point shows.
  • Kids who want to be there, and for those who do not want to be there
    • The strongest evidence towards school being for those who want to be in it is seen every day by our class. We are surrounded by a thriving university that only exists because people have decided that they want to keep learning. Colleges around the country, and the rest of the world, would not be in existence if there was not a desire for knowledge among the public. The evidence that shows that schools are for the students who do not want to be there is seen in the legal mandates that state a child must attend school until they are 18 years of age, in the United States. This law is trying to keep kids in school so that they might find what they are interested in and find their passion so that they may continue to pursue it in higher education.

Final Question: If this is what schools are for, are they fulfilling their purpose?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Storms, Clouds, and other things that block the Sun

When it is cloudy, I have a tough time seeing the sun. When it is storming outside, I usually do not see the sun at all. It is disappointing that the same happens to other things as well. Have you noticed how easy it is to get down when you don't hear positive comments? If I had to guess, I would say that you, too, have had a time (or times) in your life when it felt like there were only negative comments being directed towards you. Clouds were coming in, storms were on their way.

When it is storming, it is hard to feel the warmth of the sun. We forget that it is summer when the rain is cold and the wind is driving. We forget that the sun even allows there to be rain, for without it the earth would be a frozen ball. Have you seen Pluto lately? The sun's warmth does not extend there. It is cold. There is no rain; there are no clouds.

But while we are here, and we are here, it is hard to see the sun sometimes. It is hard to remember the ones who actually love us and care about our well-being. We hear the sneers, the mocking laughter, the lies that we are a waste of air. What else is there to think about when you are in the middle of a hurricane? I know for many, it is hard to imagine. I do not know what it is like to be in the middle of any sort of serious storm (at least one concerning weather)...I am thankful for that.
But when you are in a storm, when the wind is blowing and the rain is coming down; when the clouds are dark and the sun is not visible. When it feels like the night may last far longer than only until the next morning. How easily we forget that life has rhythm...there are seasons of heat and cold, life and death/hibernation. There is rain, there are rivers, there is evaporation. There is respiration, there is photosynthesis. Things go in cycles. Do you think humans are an exception to that?

What are the storms in your life? What are the clouds that try to block out the sun's light and warmth? Are you fortunate enough to have someone who holds a mirror, or a lamp, to remind you that there is still light, warmth, and hope, even in the midst of these dark clouds? Or do you keep looking at the clouds and saying, "There is no sun. I thought there was once, but now I see I am wrong."

No, you are wrong now. The sun is still there. Clouds do not negate the existence of light. Storms do not cause warmth to cease from coming to here from the sun. Simply because one essence is in abundance does not mean the opposite or alternative is no longer around. It may simply mean that it has been pushed somewhere else. We seem to forget that. People say, "There is no God, because there is evil." Would someone say, "There is no sun, because there is darkness." I should think not. Could it be that, because there is darkness, there must be a source of light? For what would shadows be, if they were not a lack of light in a certain area? Could it be that what we understand as darkness is not true darkness, but just a shadow?
This is abstract, I am aware. For those of you who have understood the metaphor, congrats, and I hope you get a lot out of it. For those of you who have not yet seen the metaphor, here it is:

God is the sun. The Son is the sun. The sun is the Son. Source of light, warmth, and life. God may seem to be blocked out by things like sickness(not just of the physical variety), pain (again, not just the physical), lies, stress/worry, or just the day to day grind of this life. These things are clouds. They get in the way, they block our view, they make this world colder. But those things seem to forget that, apart from God, they would not exist. (And to not exist is not beneficial for anyone, anything, any time. As CS Lewis said, how can you say it would be better for you to not exist?) That is just...wow. How often do we consider that? Without God, there would not be clouds. There would not be light, warmth, life, or rain. I'm not sure if the analogy extends this far though.

Do you know what happens when you move above the clouds, when you get closer to the sun? It gets colder. A lot colder. The temperature in the earth's upper atmosphere gets below the freezing point of water. But do you know what happens when you get close enough to the sun? It gets too hot, too bright for us to bear. We become consumed, literally, by the heat and light. If we start travelling closer to God...things may seem to get colder. Do you understand that we are in a battle? The enemy does not want you to be warm.

I think that is it. Not much else is coming. But here is the reason I wrote this:
My inspiration was disappointment. It felt like an old wound being re-opened. Like the band-aid was ripped off and the scab scratched until it bled again. It hurt. It still does...but the band-aid is back on now...and I do hope the healing process continues..
I know...well many people who are going through this I think, but there are a couple of friends in particular. When I talk to them sometimes, I can almost visualize them standing in the middle of a tornado of lies. There is no light or warmth, no truth. Only lies.
You are not a good friend.
You really messed up.
You can't do anything right.
This person doesn't really like you.
You still can't do that right.
No one wants to be around you.
They say that it is just hurting you, but it is actually good for you. Keep up the good work.
What you did was good, that person deserved that insult you gave them.
It's ok, even if you would have spoken up, they would not have listened. Just stand back and watch, after all, everyone else does that too.
You are not pretty.
You are not smart.
You are not a good person.
You are not worth their time.
You are not worth anything at all.
You are not good enough, and you never will be.

Are you familiar with these voices? Have you been surrounded by lies, so thick that the truth seems no where to be found? Have you noticed that sometimes, the lies are just missing a piece of truth?
Your friends appreciate you for who you are.
You may have messed up this time, but I am a God of second chances. I will not leave you.
I have put my Spirit inside you. Whatever you do with me is good.
This person loves you more than you know; they just don't know how to tell/show you.
You will learn, just keep trying, don't give up! You are a work in progress, and when I am finished, you will hardly recognize yourself. I will not leave you.
You have no idea how many people would love to spend a day with you, and only you.
You have been seeking things that are not Me. You have been hearing voices that are not Mine. I will give you a new heart, and you will be healed. I will not leave you.
Do not repay evil for evil; let every word that comes from your mouth be uplifting and encouraging. You do not know what that person is struggling with, just as they do not know what you are struggling with.
Have you read the story about Jonah? He spoke up, the city listened, and thousands of people were saved. You have the chance today to change at least one life.
You are made in My image, and you are beautiful. When I look at all I have made, I cannot keep my eyes off of you. You captivate Me.
I want to teach you so that you will know, and give you wisdom so that you may teach others.
You are not a good person, but because of what My Son has done, I now see you as holy, righteous, and blameless. And guess what? I love you just as much now as I did then.
I have been with you every second of your life. I will not leave you. You are worth it. I have thought about it since the beginning of time, and you are worth it.
You are worth more than anything else in creation to Me. Because of My love for you, I have given Myself in your place. I have purchased your life with Mine.
On your own, you are not good enough, and never will be. But with Me by your side and in your heart, there is not stopping us. I am always with you, and I will never leave you. You are mine, and I am yours.

Do you feel the warmth? I do...these things do not come from myself - if they did, I would not put them up for many to see.
Do you see the light? I have, and I long to see it again.
Do you have clouds and storms in your life? I sure do...and it is always nice to be reminded of the sun- to be reminded of the Son. God is good, all the time. I hope you are reminded of the Son, even when the storms are coming in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Honestly (Oooh, Ooh)

Honestly is a song by VOTA, and when they sing the word 'Honestly' it is followed by some "oohs" which is why they're there.

anyway. Honestly. Do you feel the weight of this world caving in on your heart and soul? Do you feel the lies of this world eating away at your thoughts and emotions? Have you been deceived by all the pretty things that steal our eyes away from what is truly important? Do you seek satisfaction by the creation instead of the Creator?

Honestly. Would you rather live in a world of lies? Would you rather have the truth, even if it tore you to pieces? If living in a world of lies was comforting, but the truth hurt...which would you choose? Would God be enough for you? (check out John 14:6)

Honestly. Have you felt that pull, that tug, that shove, that sting, that comes from trying to be 'different' while living in the same place as everyone who is 'normal'? Have you been hard-pressed, struck down, left in the dark, perplexed? (check out 2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

It is the night, but joy comes in the morning. Though we will have trouble in this world, He has overcome it. The fear of being alone is nonsense in the presence of God. (check out 1 John 4:18)
Did you read that? Perfect love drives out fear...I have written about that before, somewhere on here :P Have you experienced that perfect love? Do you thirst for that perfect love? Or do you settle for a cheap shadow, a counterfeit that is used to deceive and spread lies and more fear? Don't settle for what is less. Seek and you will find, that is what I read and that is what I believe. (check out Jeremiah 29:10-14) If you think God is a liar, and He doesn't mean it when He says that you will find Him when you seek Him with your whole heart, but aren't willing to prove it by actually seeking Him....then I would say you are still unsure. You are afraid that He won't be there. I am afraid that He won't be there. But I know that His love, His compassion, His timing, is perfect. And nothing in this world is going to change that.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. [Matthew 24:9-14]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Few Thoughts

First thought: I like the song Ghost Love Score by Nightwish. That is playing right now. Good stuff :)

Second thought: I am leaving on a mission trip tomorrow morning, and I expect to have some things to blog about when I get back. I hope you are looking forward to them as much as I am :)

Third thought: In reference to a post I typed earlier...this week was night. And I'm not sure when the dawn is coming, but I am absolutely sure it is coming. To quote House of Heroes, I will hold on through the shelling of the night.

Fourth thought: Note to self-go to bed before you die.

Good night friends and random people who are not yet friends but are here anyway. I hope you do have a good day :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Before I begin to feel this weak...

Satisfy me, Lord of all.
Satisfy me, I'm begging You,
Help me see, You're all I want, You're all I need
Oh satisfy me Lord!

So I'm listening to the song Satisfy by Tenth Avenue North. And these are some lines I would like to include:

In me oh Lord can You create
A pure heart cause I'm afraid
That I just might run back to the things I hate

Do those words resonate with you? Because I don't know about you, but I definitely seek satisfaction in things that won't provide it.
I have sought satisfaction in music
I have sought satisfaction in friends
I have sought satisfaction in videogames
I have sought satisfaction in television and movies
I have sought satisfaction in many things that will not satisfy me. They may give a temporary 'good feeling' but if they don't fill me up...then is it worth it?

If you are thirsty, and you drink salty water, will it satisfy your thirst?
If you are hungry, and you eat a salad, will it satisfy your hunger?
If you are lonely, and you turn on the tv or radio, will it satisfy your loneliness?
If you are scared, and you pull the covers over your eyes, will that satisfy your fear?
If you are sad, and you decide to eat ice cream, will it satisfy your sadness?

The list goes on....when you are _____ and your try to satisfy it with ______ [not God] then what will you end up with? Maybe it will be temporarily lessened...but have you noticed that things like thirst, hunger, loneliness, fear, and sadness seem to come back...almost rhythmically?
Have you experienced the complete-ness, the fullness, the satisfaction that comes with knowing God and experiencing Him? Have you been more aware of God's presence around you in such a way that when you consider these auxiliary items of life, they just seem...inconsequential?
Do you want to experience that?

I sure do. I want to be consciously aware of God all around me in everything I do. I want to be more aware of His power, His Spirit that is living in me. I want to feel the love for others that I have felt before, the love of wanting them to feel the love that is felt for them! Do you know what I am talking about? ..Do you know that you are loved?

I want to be satisfied by God. I want Him to satisfy me so that I do not seek satisfaction in other things- in lesser things. I want God to satisfy me so that I would be reminded that He is always faithful and never gives up. I want to be reminded that there is so much more to our existence than this life and this world!

Really though, I think a lot of it comes to this: I want my life to be different. If what I am doing is not showing the results I am desiring...then why continue? Why keep doing what is not giving you what you desire? Why keep drinking salty water? Why keep eating only things that will make you hungry again?

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [John 4:13-14]
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. [Deuteronomy 8:3]

A comment on society: We have, at this time, probably the most advanced civilization this world has seen. We have the highest standard of living. We have abundance that a hundred years ago was only dreamed of. We want water, we turn a nob. We want food, we open a door. We want a friend, we click a button. We want light, we touch a switch. We want to be entertained, we push a button. We have all this, yet we have at the same time, probably the most antidepressants used, and the most lives lost to suicide. Lost because they don't feel good enough. Lives lost because they don't feel like things will get better. Lost because they are hurting and don't think anyone else understands. What is wrong with us? Why are we so lost? Are we pursuing things that won't satisfy us? Or are we striving for the The One that will provide us with all we need? Do we know what we need, or does our Maker know exactly what we need to function, to thrive?

Do you sense my frustration? I am upset! I am tired of being let down by this world! I am tired of not caring, of not knowing, of not hearing! I am tired of being a fool, being a jerk, being broken! I want pure water. I want to be satisfied. And I know of only One that will satisfy me today, tomorrow, and forever.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. [Romans 8:22-25]
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” [Revelation 21:1-4]
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. [Revelation 21:6-7]

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

If you are like me...

then you probably listen to music. Even sing along with it every now and then. And if you are like me, you may not often think about the lyrics of what you are singing, what they mean, and whether or not you mean them.
However! There was one night when I was thinking about the lyrics I was singing. They were, "There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning"
A variation is, "Though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes in the morning"

So I was thinking about this, and my first thought was, "Do I actually believe that? When I am stumbling and tripping and afraid of the dark, in the dark, do I believe and look forward to the morning, when light breaks through and warmth surrounds me once more?"
That is also my question to you. (or, I would encourage you to ask yourself that, since it is phrased in the 1st person ;P)

The following is (sort of) my thought process....

Well, do I actually believe that? Do I believe that, though the sorrow may last for what feels like a very long time, that there will be happiness again? I would like to think that I do, but do I really? To be honest, I would say yes, but that is not while I am in the middle of the night, trying to stay dry during a storm. This is not when I am trying to resist the winds and storms of this life. This is when I am in a warm house, with a comfortable chair to sit on and food and water surrounding me. What else should I want?

So lets go to a time when things were not so hunky-dory. I was confused, sad, disappointed, and wondering what had happened. I was feeling alone. I wondered what had happened, how things had progressed to where they now were. I was glad to be alone, but I so desperately wanted someone to be with, someone to hold. But there was no one to hold. No shoulder to cry on.
I wanted to see the light of dawn. I wanted to behold the joy of His truth and love. I wanted so badly to be reassured that things would turn out ok. That things would turn out good. That things would get better than they were. But, as they say, it is darkest before the dawn.

You know, I don't think that is actually true. Just before the dawn, you should be able to tell that the sun is almost up, and you should be able to see that it is crawling its way up over the horizon. No, I think it is darkest when the sun is the farthest away. When the sun is on the completely opposite side of this planet. When we may have the light of the moon to see by, if we are lucky. That is when it is darkest.
It is interesting though. When the sun is literally the furthest away...it isn't much further away than it normally is. The distance from the earth to the sun is about 93 million miles. The diameter of the earth is (does a quick internet search...), at the equator, almost 8 thousand miles (7,926.28). (At the poles it is 7,899.80 miles in diameter. How about that.) So, when the sun is shining on the other side of the earth, it is only .0086% further than it is when it is shining on 'our side' of the planet. That is a pretty small difference. (yay maths!) Interesting, I find it, how our perception of things is not always accurate.

Long story short, things did get better. I realized that I do have friends I can hug and talk to and get advice and comfort from. I was reminded that God's grace extends beyond our brokenness. I have learned so much from that experience, and I have become much stronger because of it. I now know that things do get better, even when they feel like they have become the worst they can be. I have learned that I can go on, that I can keep on keeping on with the strength that God provides me. I have learned that when we are weak, He is strong.

So, I feel like yes, I can say that I believe that even when it is the darkest night, the sun will rise again in the morning. I believe that even though things will get bad, even worse than what I can imagine, they will get better, and even better than they were before. I am convinced that God works through all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. I know that even though I may not know what will happen, I know it will be good. I know that God is good :) and I am so thankful for His mercy towards me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Romans 1

This may be more for you; it may be more for me. I don't really know yet. But I hope that both of us will benefit from this :)
I am using Biblegateway.com for reading different translations, and I am not planning on reading any extra notes. I'll let you know if/when I use some though ;)
1-6: The letter starts with Paul introducing himself, although he quickly moves on to what/Who is more important: God, and His calling on Paul's life. Paul starts off with what is most important; he has his priorities straight-God is first. I like that. I admire that. And I want that in my life. Do you ever think about that? Where should God be? And where is God?
11-12: I like that, "that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith." I think that is how spiritual gifts are supposed to work. One person, gifted by the Holy Spirit, uses their gift for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7) and it encourages others in their faith. Then the one who used the gift gets to see and hear others' excitement for God, and are mutually encouraged. I like that :) It reminds me of being at church and singing worship music. I quite look forward to singing worship music (now, that has not always been the case). It is wonderful to be reminded of who God is, and what He has done. It is great to hear others sing His praise and to feel the connection that is provided by the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3-6). God is so good :)
Verses 1-17 are all quite encouraging, I think. The compassion Paul has for the people is prevalent, and he is clear that his mission is to spread what God has revealed to him-that righteousness has come by faith through Christ. And this is good news :)

And then he gets into why we (humans) suck. Why we fail. Why we are evil in God's eyes.

18-20: Paul outlines why God has reason to be angry at people. Paul says that "what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to [all people]. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." 21-23:Even though it is clear that God is powerful and divine, we have still chosen to put something else above God in our lives. We think we know what we are doing, but we don't...we think we can live a life that is better if we choose our own way, but that is foolish, Paul says.
24: Ahh, this reminds me of a quote I heard recently by CS Lewis. I'll see if I can find it :) Found it! "There will be two kinds of people in the end: Those that will say to God 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God will say 'Thy will be done." In this verse, God says to the people, "Thy will be done." God continues to do this in the later verses...He lets us have our way...He lets us continue in our foolishness, in our lust, in our pride. And Paul ends it by saying that not only do we know that God tells us to do what is right, but that we approve of those who do wrong. We say, "Good show chap!" to those who deliberately choose to disobey God.
We know what is wrong. And we approve of it. We know it deserves death. And we pick it anyway. We choose death over life, because we have chosen not God.

Things are not looking so good for us humans at the end of this chapter. I hope you keep reading though ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let's do Another Love Post

Alright so here goes something.

I don't think I have asked this yet, but how do you know someone loves you? Or, if you are not sure if you can know whether or not someone loves you, what gives you hints that someone loves you? If you prefer, what evidence is there that a given person feels love towards you? What is it that gives you reason to believe that a friend, family member, whoever it may be, loves you? Do you really believe it? Or do you just know that you are loved, and you struggle to believe that it is true?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

After a Week at Camp...

I am tired. I am worn out. I am thankful. I am convicted. I am desiring more. I am going to do something.

This post will probably be mostly incoherent for those of you who do not understand my thought process. Which should be most people, unless you know something I don't.

I do have something that I will type a blog about later. I don't know when later is.

I feel like my life is quite full. And by 'my life' I actually mean my time. I feel like I am missing out on something. I feel like I am falling dreadfully short of what I want to accomplish with my life. I am so discontent with what I do day by day. I look forward to the things that are 'different' from my routine: Maranatha camp, Bible study, church/youth group. There are things that I want to add to my daily routine: more time in prayer, more time spent reading my Bible, more time spent getting to know my friends and showing them that I truly care about who they are and what they are going through.

It bothers me when I think about how I want to spend my time getting to know people. That is something I (re)learned this week; hearing a person's story, what they have been through, how they got to where they are, where they are now, and what they still struggle with, hearing all of that makes me feel alive. Listening to someone pour out their heart makes me feel like I am doing something right. I'm not sure if you know, but I feel constantly, and I mean constantly, harassed by what I am not doing good enough. It doesn't always come from outside of me, but there is hardly a moment when I don't feel like I could be doing something better. I don't feel that way when I listen to someone. When I pray for or over someone. When I show a friend that I deeply care about them. Maybe there is a reason for that...

I felt like God gave me a clear command this week. I do not know what He meant by it, but I intend to figure that out (haha not by my own power though, no sir!). I felt like God moved in my heart this week, and I am so thankful for that. He has given me a new heart of flesh and removed my old heart of stone. These bones have been raised to life :) [Reference to Ezekiel...I don't remember which chapter(s)]

After this week, I dearly miss some of my friends... Some of my 'old' friends, many of whom I have not even known for more than a year, but have known more about me than some who have known me for years. I miss you, friends. I long to sit down somewhere with you and hear what you have been through, what you are going through. I want to pray for you, pray with you, and watch God come and redeem these broken parts of this world. I would like to hear what God has been doing in your life lately, and if you have been feeling far from Him, I would dearly like to help you get back to Him. Know that He has never left you. Know that He has never stopped loving you. That is something else God showed me this week. God's love goes beyond His wrath! God's love for us goes beyond His hate for the sin that we commit! He loved us, even when we were His enemies, enough to be patient with us and teach us how to live, to be beaten and bleed, to take our punishment, our death, so that we could take on His life. Breathe deep. Breathe in His Spirit, and live. Be refreshed by the God of all things, know that you are loved by the Lord of Lords. Know the Lord, and find out what He wants you to do in this life, on this earth.

Be cut to the heart, and ask what you should do next. Do not sit and wait (unless He tells you to do so) but take action. Speak, if that is what you are called to do. Listen, do not hurry, take time in silence and solitude. (Who am I speaking to anyway?) Be in awe of the Lord and remember who He is and who you are.

Why do you think God says so many times (especially in the books of the Law) 'I am the LORD'?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What do you look forward to?

Tonight, as I was driving back to my house, I thought about my Grammy dying. She has cancer, and she has been going through chemo for almost a year now, I think. Or something around that. Anyway, she has stayed strong through it, and I feel like if she would die tomorrow, I could accept that. (Tomorrow she is getting something done with her lungs; her oxygen levels have been a little variable lately, as I understand things.) I trust that God knows what is best for her, and for my family. And I know I can trust Him with her life, with this situation. I feel peaceful about it, which is not something I have felt in the past few weeks.

Tonight, as I was driving back to my house, I thought about my Grammy dying. I thought about what it will be like to see her again in heaven. I thought about how she will not be frail as she is now. Her right arm will not be shriveled from polio, as it is now. I don't even know if she will be more than 60 years old, as she is now. I thought about how there will be incessant peace and everlasting love. Actually, thought is not the right word. Though, to me, suggests some form of wordage. This was more, considered. Felt. I... I didn't think, not with words. I felt, with...with what? With the Spirit's assistance, of course. (Tangent here, fruit of the Spirit suddenly seem to come into my life. Interesting.)

Thinking about heaven is something that has come to me more in the past year than it has in all my life before then, I think. I even recently bought a book about heaven. Actually it is about what happens after we die, but the evidence pointing towards there being a heaven is quite interesting. Feelings of intense joy, love, and peace. A feeling of finally being at home. The words people use to describe their experiences are non-existent; words cannot accurately describe how it will be after we die. And some people think that consciousness ends after death....but how many of us actually look into that idea, the idea of what happens after we die?

Oh, well I am only 20 years old (Double Digits!!!), I still have 50 or 60 years before I will die. Yeah? Try telling that to the girl who was diagnosed with lukemia when she was a teen. Tell that to the mother who lost her son, when he was 18, in a driving accident. Death doesn't wait for us to be ready. (That was my tone of, you don't know what you are talking about. I may show you sometime, if you really want to hear it. But it might scare you. Seriously.)

What do you have to look forward to? What do you look forward to?
Are those the same question, anyway?

I look forward to giving Jesus a hug. Seriously. Not a prayer-hug, as I have come to eagerly desire as of late, but a full body hug. I know I will not want to let go of my Lord, of my Best Friend.
Sometimes I am scared that God isn't pleased by the things I do. I fear that what I am doing on this earth is not good enough. I fear that I am turning my back on God, and He is getting very angry at me. But when I think about being in heaven and hugging Jesus, guess what? No more fear. Do you know why that is?

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV)
There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection]. (Amplified)
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. (NLT)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (ESV)
That is because fear and perfect love do not coexist. When love is full, complete, and perfect, there is no fear at all. What is there to be afraid of? You are wholly, utterly, head-over-heels loved by the Greatest Man this world has ever known. He is smart. He is kind. He is wise. He knows when to tell you to stop doing what you are doing and listen. He knows what kind of pain you have been through. He knows what temps you most. He knows how to help you best. He knows where you have been going all your life. He knows that your Father in heaven loves you more than you can imagine. He is powerful; the wind and waves even obey Him. He is alive; He died, but death has no power over Him. He is watching over you now, even asking His Dad to help you in the things you do, asking His Dad to give you what you need to complete what you have been put here for. Even now, He is looking at you, and He sees your heart. He doesn't see your clothes. He doesn't see your shoes. He doesn't see how much makeup you put on. He doesn't see what brand of cologne you wear. He sees your heart. He knows your heart. And He loves your heart, with all that He is.
Do you believe this?
You know what He said? "Don't be afraid, just believe." "With God, all things are possible." "He who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened to him." "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." "I am the First and the Last." "Don't worry." "Surely I am with you always." "I will send you the Helper." "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." "I do not give as the world gives." "I have come that you may have life, and have it to the fullest."
Do you believe this?

What do you look forward to?

Do you see what I have to look forward to?

Do you look forward to it as well?

Do you want to know where all these verses are in the Bible? haha cuz I know I do! The Spirit was definitely feeding me verses there, and I want to look all of them up now :)
Let me know which ones stick out to you, and why :)
(please and thanks)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Going, Going...

But where to?
I feel almost lost. I hesitate to use certain words because I don't want to be over-dramatic.
Tipping Point isn't coming tonight. No Sir.

Friends, let me tell you a little secret. (that probably isn't the right word but oh well)
I prefer that you be honest with me. If you think I am making a bad decision, let me know, please. If you think I am being incredibly stupid or unnecessarily silly, let me know, please. If you think you may offend me, say it anyway. I prefer truth. I will come to understand at some point, and I may argue with you, but please...speak truth. Don't settle for a lie because you think it is better for me, that I won't get hurt, because sometimes the truth hurts. Don't think you know what is best for me, because you may not. God loves us perfectly, right? And do you think He keeps the truth from us?
Sometimes, yeah, He does. So hey, is it a balancing act? Bah, I don't know. But in the situations I am speaking about above, I think it is better to be told a stinging truth than a fluffy lie.

Because sometimes, I just need to hear the truth. Sometimes I need to be told that what I am doing is not right. Sometimes, you just have to tell me that once, and not keep going about it for unnecessary amounts of time. Because, lets be honest here, I am obviously not anything near perfect, and I still have pride. I despise that part of me, but it is still there. And the fleshy/sinful side of me wants to keep that pride quite intact, thankyouverymuch! So I may be hurt by the truth, I may feel like you are attacking me or something, and I may try to defend myself. But just let me know what you believe to be truth. And if I am willing to talk with you about it, then let's have a discussion :) I like talking with my friends.

Let me know if you would like me to try and do the same for you: Tell you the truth, even if I think it may hurt you in some way. Because I believe the truth will, at some point or another, bring about something that is much better than lies.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Excerpts from John chapters 8 and 14.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


It means to start up or initiate, especially an insurrection.

Alright, time for round dos! (2!) = 2
[it actually does... 2*1=2 ;) ]

Hmm.... Lets see. Love is pretty great huh? Otherwise we would not use the word 'love' to describe the things we care about most, or like most, would we? But what is love, really? Is love simply caring about someone a lot, or is it liking someone a lot? (I am sticking with love between two people because I do not want anyone talking about how they love nachos or something else like that :P) Is love being really really nice to a person? Is love smiling at someone, even when they hurt you? Is love telling a person that you agree with them, even if you may not? Is love encouraging someone to keep doing what they are doing, even if what they are doing is not what you think is best?

I suppose here is where I am leading: Is love polite, or is love honest? Can it be both, or neither? But, suppose you had to make a decision: being kind (polite) or being harsh (honest). Which one would love (real, honest to goodness love) show?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This one is for you

You. The reader. The commenter. The person who, somehow or another, has come across my blog. Consider the following statement, please:
I love you.

What does it mean to you? What do those words entail? Are those words enough? Are there things that people do that show these words instead of say them?

I will (hopefully) post another blog after this along the same lines. I'll include a specific tag.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story

Um...I want to kill myself...
{hands over paperwork}
--Oh great...that will help people, won't it? I know it is supposed to be funny...but is it accurate? When a person comes to us with something they need help with...do we give them help, or a process? I know those may be the same...but paperwork?

Man, you are stressed out for 16. You need to relax.

I thought you guys could do something quick...I didn't think I'd be committed... 5 days? I can't be here till Thursday...I'll miss school, and my friends will find out where I am.
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of.

Some of the people here are.. really messed up.

They're professionals, they can help you in ways that..we..can't...
--Letting go is tough, isn't it? But is it better than holding on?

You should know, Craig, if you don't open up, you're never gonna heal.
--Is this true? And if it is not, how will you heal on your own? They say that time heals all things. Is that true?

Well I have 8 dollars..
Well you don't have to brag about it! People here have nothing. Show a little humility!

Why'd you stop taking [Zoloft]?
I guess I felt like I didn't need it..
Maybe that means it was working :)

Do you have anyone you can explain it to? Friends? Family?
I have friends..and family but, its not always easy.

--He puts school high on his list of priorities. He keeps asking if he can get out so he can go to school... That kinda makes me sad.

Yeah, I don't get wrapped up in a bunch of stuff I don't have.
--Who does? Do you? Do I? How do you know?

Why won't you accept [his offer of kindness]?
Because I don't want any handouts.
--Is that pride? Or is it a legitimate reason?

I see a therapist...yeah, it's pretty embarrassing.
--Why is it embarrassing? Because we don't have it together? And if everyone is embarrassed that they don't have it together...what does that mean?

I guess..I didn't really want to kill myself. But I kind of did. Does that make sense?

--He is so concerned about being around people who are different than him. Why does that make us uncomfortable?

There is so nothing wrong with you!
Yes there is!
--Is there something to be gained by admitting that we have a problem?

I don't have any friends.
This is very tough thing to learn.
--The truth can hurt..and the truth will set you free... What do you think about those statements?

You shouldn't stress about it. That doesn't mean it isn't important, though.
--Is that conflicting in any way? Why or how? And have you ever heard anyone say something like that before?

And was that difficult, seeing Bobby like that?
I was scared..seeing someone fall apart like that. All the stress and pressure and anxiety just bubbling up. But I'm never able to let it out like that, I always keep it inside.

Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I can't change, the courage for the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

It's like, get a clue dad! There is something bigger going on.
And what is that?
I don't know, but it feels big.
--Have you ever thought about that?

There are some cool people in here.
--When is that true? Where is that true? What determines whether or not it is true? Does it have to deal with how well you know the people there?

Cool Craig what are you afraid of? c'mon!

Why can't we give love a chance?
--What would that involve? And, instead of thinking about the risks, what are the potential gains? What are the potential gains that we don't know/think about, too?

You've really gotta get out of the room more...there is a whole world out there.
--Quite the perspective change :)

Well, I like her, but I think I'd be too nervous to ask her out.
What are you nervous about?
Man, you can't let you live by fear. Otherwise you might end up like Muqtada. Or you might end up like me.
That is the part where you say 'Your life is not that bad.'
Oh, sorry...
--Let's be honest, who is not nervous or afraid of rejection?

And I've uh..tried to kill myself 6 times.
I thought about doing that...but I couldn't.
Well what stopped you?
My family I think...knowing how bad I'd mess them up.
See, that's the part I don't get, Craig. I mean, you're cool, you're smart, you're talented. You have a family that loves you. You know, what I would do just to be you, for just a day? I would... I would do so much. I would... I don't know. I would just... I'd just live. Like it meant something.
--What do we take for granted? Do you see the things that others see in you? In your life?

This is enough for one day, I think.
--Baby steps. Baby steps :)

--The breaking point. Here it is. He is looking at the drawing... 'Under Pressure'
Things are going to change now. Let's see what happens :)

You've had it figured out all along...never get out of the bed.
--Back to this logic. Why? He was hurt. He got rejected. Twice. Shot down. Turned away.

Being not busy being born is busy dying.

[There are so many people struggling to live...]

Have you told [your dad] how you feel?
Not yet.
But you will?
....I think so.

So you're in love with her?
Well of course not. You thought she was hot, so you told her what you thought she wanted to hear.
--Boom roasted.

I like how you don't hide your problems like everyone else. And I don't feel like I have to hide mine when I'm around you.
--How freeing is that? Have you experienced it?

So, how come you never asked me why?
I guess I just assumed you would tell me when you wanted me to know.

I know I might hide it pretty well, but I get that depression stuff too, sometimes. Don't kill yourself, k? Seriously..
{bro hug}

--It is amazing what happens when you get to know a person as a person. When you get to know what they like and don't like. Who they've been and who they don't want to be. (haha I know I'm quoting The Fray, but I think it is true :P) You can really help someone to be who they were meant to be.

It'll come to ya!

Okay, I know you're thinking, "What is this? Kid spends a few days in the hospital and all his problems are cured?" But I'm not. I know I'm not. I can tell this is just the beginning. I still need to face my homework, my school, my friends. My dad. But the difference between today and last Saturday is that for the first time in a while, I can look forward to the things I want to do in my life. Bike, eat, drink, talk. Ride the subway, read, read maps. Make maps, make art. Finish the Gates application. Tell my dad not to stress about it. Hug my mom. Kiss my little sister. Kiss my dad. Make out with Noelle. Make out with her more. Take her on a picnic. See a movie with her. See a movie with Aaron. Heck, see a movie with Nia. Have a party. Tell people my story. Volunteer at 3 North. Help people like Bobby. Like Muqtada. Like me. Draw more. Draw a person. Draw a naked person. Draw Noelle naked. Run, travel, swim, skip. Yeah, I know it's lame, but, whatever. Skip anyway. Breathe... Live.

--Now the movie is over. And here are some of my last thoughts :)
The dad. Too focused on work to notice what his son is going through. Too focused on work to notice what his son actually cares about. To notice what the 'bigger thing' is.
What happens when we get focused on one thing? Or even a couple of things? Is it better to focus on one or a few things? Or is it better to keep a wide view?

This could be very important for your future.
But what about now??
--This is from the deleted scenes, but I feel like it is so true...we concern ourselves so much with the future, it seems. Is it such that we are so focused on the future that we forget about the present?
Gah, I know I do sometimes. I start thinking about what I want to do after college, but before that what classes I have to take, and what if I don't graduate in four years? and what if I don't graduate at all? What would happen if I just sort of went off and did something that everyone did not expect?
But I have to be reminded that I am living now. I am living here. I am not living in the future, and I am not living 'there', wherever 'there' may be. I may do something that no one expects, but I would have to do it now, wouldn't I? I know there is planning involved, but eh. An idea I have heard: We figure out the what, and leave the how up to God. What do you think about that phrase?

I know I asked a lot of questions in this one. That may be because I liked the movie, and I felt like it was pretty easy to identify with the main character. It might be because I have wanted to see this for a while. It might be because I simply opened up my 'questioning mechanism' a little more. Or perhaps it would be better stated that I lessened the filtering I do from my mind to my typing. I ask a lot of questions. And I ask because I want to get to know you. So if you feel like I am asking too much, just let me know. I'll stop asking questions for a while :)
But I will still want to get to know you more ;)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fight Club! (again)

Its only after we've lost everything that we are free to do anything.

Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Homework assignment
--Hey, is that a gun?
Meet me in the back.
--What are you doing??
Meet me in the back.
[In a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.]
Raymond, you are going to die.
What did you study Raymond?
What did you want to be Raymond K. Hessel?
The question, RAYMOND, was what did you want to be?
--A vet...too much school...
Would you rather be dead, would you rather die here on your knees in the back of a convenience store?
Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel's life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.

You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f***ing khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

Like a monkey ready to be shot into space. Like space monkey, ready to die for the greater good.

Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

Hi. You're going to call off your rigorous investigation. You're going to publicly state that there is no underground group. Or... these guys are going to take your balls. They're going to send one to the New York Times, one to the LA Times press-release style. Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not... f*** with us.

Is this about you and me?

F*** what you know. You need to forget about what you know, that's your problem. Forget about what you think you know about life, about friendship, and especially about you and me.

Guys, what would you wish you'd done before you died?
Guy: Paint a self-portrait.
Other guy: Build a house.
And you?
--I don't know. Turn the wheel now, come on!
You have to know the answer to this question! If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?
--I don't know, I wouldn't feel anything good about my life, is that what you want to hear me say? Fine. Come on!
Not good enough.

In death, a member of Project Mayhem has a name.
--His name is Robert Paulson.
---His name is Robert Paulson.

All the ways you wish you could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I f*** like you wanna f***, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.

And in the end, what is it that really matters?
This is why I like this movie a lot. Well, this is part of why I like this movie a lot. It makes you question things. What is real? What is important? What do we do in our minds that we don't even realize we are doing?
Can one person change the world?
If one person cannot change the world, what is the least amount of people you have to have before you can?
If one person can organize a group, what is not possible for them to accomplish?
When we realize that we have lost everything...can we do anything?

Its only after we've lost everything that we are free to do anything.