Thursday, December 30, 2010

antiquated

as much society goes after "progress," "modernity," and "the new," so much of the old-fashioned and historic remains in vogue. we marvel over relics in museums, purchase old fashioned cars, shop in antique stores, print our favorite photos in black & white, and dress in vintage clothing. we keep looking back, trying to revive it in the present, which seems contradictory for all the praise that progress has gotten. i for one am quite please that footprints of the past are visible and growing in the modern era. traditions are still passed on and glorified, people still use the post, silver screen movies remain (although some adapted to technicolor), old sayings are chuckled at by youth but then adapted into conversations despite their best efforts to not be "just like mom and dad," and old souls are born into every new generation who pine for an era they never knew.

as we race towards the future, the past still captivates and intrigues us

Sunday, October 31, 2010

costume

costumes...why is it so fun to dress up in them? to shed our person, our identity for a brief period, and don that of someone else. think of today...halloween...people all over this country of all ages excitedly rally behind pretending to be something or someone else for an evening. we try to be convincing, so that others will be able to guess who we are. even if you are not an actor or actress, we all seem to find this enjoyable. the combination of a creative opportunity and a moment of escape seem to entrance us all on hallows eve

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

letters

i wonder if there is any psychology to letters...or rather if the first letters of your first & last name has any influence on the development of your personality. maybe some people would think i'm odd or crazy for thinking this, but in some ways, if you really think about it, don't you sort of feel an unexplainable attachment to your initials? Growing up & going through school we are sort of classified and organized by our initials. We feel a sort of unexplainable kinship to someone with the same or similar initials and in some ways feel that these letters help define us. Artists often develop a logo/signature/tag to represent themselves. You grow up doodling those letters, they become the easiest letters for you to write, those that flow most smoothly from your hand. If you are being completely honest with yourself, i think you too can find that you also feel some sort of affinity for your initials, and i am left wondering if my initials would have been different, would it have changed the way my personality had developed, or the way i have come to view/understand myself?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

sweet

sometimes i truly feel that i could live off the sweetness of a few memories of beauty and pure contentment for the rest of my days. or rather if the rest of my life was filled with no more happy moments, i think i could still be satisfied. thus lies the beauty of nostalgia...which i am somewhat addicted to...always musing over blessed times God has granted me. they are always very simple moments: words or actions that probably few other people involved (if any) took any note of. but to me they are treasures, ones that i store up to call back as i please. they are enough. more than enough. and yet God continues to sprinkle more in my life, when i am not even looking for them, before i realize how much i needed them. but the sweetness sustains...

my cup overflows

Saturday, May 29, 2010

evil

inspired, yet again, from a conversation with friends (hence i cannot take credit for this musing), how have certain things come to be labeled as "evil" compared to their opposites/contrast? i am not talking about ethics here so much as about archetypes and stereotypes that aren't really founded in anything concrete.

take music for instance. certain genres of music have become somewhat stereotyped as "evil", esp. heavy metal or metal in general. screamo voices (regardless of the lyrics) and the cords/keys of music that are common to metal are often immediately written off as "evil", but the content and intent behind the music is not necessarily so. are lyrics or sounds more powerful in suggesting an "evil" nature to someone?

also consider emotions. anger and wrath are often seen as "evil" emotions, but why? I, for one, believe their can be a righteous anger...Christ exhibited anger at the Temple (John 2:12-25) and God showed righteous wrath all through the Old Testament...and i don't consider either emotions in those cases to be "evil"...so must anger and wrath always be evil when coming from man, or does it more depend upon the condition of the heart behind the emotion (or any emotion for that matter)

finally, there are certain archetypes in literature that suggest evil, but for no true rational reason. crows and ravens are attached to a dark, ominous stereotype as are black cats. certainly "superstition" is part of it...but how is it that they became attached to such superstitions? the color black is almost always the symbol of evil in stories and movies, but black inherently isn't evil...so why was it chosen to represent evil and not, say, white?

just wondering...no real answers i guess...perhaps these kind of things stem from the overwhelming need of mankind to categorize everything...plus its given me food for thought

Thursday, May 20, 2010

party

It would be interesting to keep track of just how many parties one attends in life. I think the creation of a party goes beyond a desire for celebration, I think it is connected to something deeper in human nature. We have graduation parties to celebrate the completion of education, a baby shower to celebrate new life, a funeral to celebrate (for lack of a better word) the completed life of an individual, a wedding to celebrate the beginning of a new life of two becoming one, a birthday party to celebrate the completion of another year (or the beginning of a new one?), a going away party to celebrate the end of one chapter of life and the start of the next, etc. And while celebrating for celebrating sake is certainly enjoyable, I think that the desire (need?) for a party serves to satisfy deeper needs.

First, these types of celebrations become a tangible marker for chapters in our lives. Without a graduation celebration it just doesn't feel like you finished school...the cap and gown somehow make it official. Similarly, years of life tend to bleed together if one doesn't have a birthday party...you almost forget your own age after a while or have to think twice when asked to state it.

The other deeper need these types of things satisfy is our innate necessity to share in life with one another. A wedding is largely the bride & groom's opportunity to bring all those that are significant to their life together and let them know that they are (indeed) significant to them, that they are the people that they value most in their life. Its almost a silent "thank you" card. Going away parties are similar, and attendance to such a gathering lets the individual that is soon to depart know that they will be missed and that they are supported. The desire for such gatherings reveals to me all the more just how much God created us to love one another and to bear with one another...and that I find to be the best reason to celebrate.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

fog

There are certain chapters in everyone's life (or maybe just mine?) in which God keeps you in a fog. It leaves us feeling lost, confused, and frustrated for a lot of the time, but at the same time it is sort of freeing in a backwards sort of way. It frees me from planning because...well...i just can't. If my future is a fuzzy blank space in my mind, how can i possibly go about concocting a plan to reach it? This foggy period I'm in now has forced me to look more to God, to lean more on Him for guidance and to admit that I don't "have it all figured out". It has humbled me to accept the love and service of other people as they lend advice, a hand, or just a listening ear (and willful heart in prayer) It has freed me to be open with others which has freed them to be open with me. It has allowed me the blessing of bearing with people in my life the burdens that we each individually carry, and I have gotten to grow deeper with many people in my life. All because of the fog...a blessing inside of a curse, how God often works in my life.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

worship

when most of us think of worship we think of music first. and not that this is bad or wrong, in fact it may be the truest and most natural form of worship for some people. i am just not one of them. i used to struggle with that a lot, thinking there was something "wrong" with me because music didn't seem to be the language God designed me to worship Him in. but then i learned, which was really no surprise, that God is not as legalistic as many of us make Him out to be.

to me worship is thanking God for what He gives, recognizing the ways in which He moves in our lives, expressing awe for what He is...and that all comes out sounding like mush, or not really sounding like anything concrete. i guess its just one of those things that is a bit difficult to define, because it is such personal and individualized term: it means the same yet something slightly different to everyone.

at any rate, i don't immediately go to music when i think of worship. the language of my worship comes in a few forms. first, i have always connected with and felt God most in nature. in the whispers of the wind, in the crash of the waves, in the height and sway of trees, in the strength and power of mountains, in the intricate hues of a sunset or dawn. simply being in God's creation and recognizing that He is the Creator of it all, the Artist of it all, is one way i worship. a second way i worship is writing. most times poems, sometimes just streams of consciousness, but words have always been this captivating source of beauty for me, a joy which i attribute completely to God. lastly, seeing God move in the lives of others and recognizing His presence in others is a form of worship for me. there are so many times that i hear His voice in the words of others, see Him reflected in the emotions emitted by the eyes of those i know, feel His love while in the presence of friends and family. i too often take these kind of blessings for granted, but sometimes i am able to articulate internally that these things are God at work, are God reaching out to me in my own life, and that is worship.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

truth

The other night, a friend of mine brought up the question to a group of us, "is it possible to ever be living in complete truth?" As a disclaimer, we are all Followers of Christ, so we do believe in an essential Truth, that which is outlined in the Bible.

However, we were really speaking of truth in the sense of what it means to be telling and living in truth in our day to day life. We all know what lying is, yet we tend to categorize lies, as if some lies are somehow more truthful than others: fibs, falsehoods, white lies, deception, slander, fiction, hyperbole, fable, tall tale, etc. But all of these things are really all one in the same: an untruth.

And what does it really mean to know the "truth" about something? Can we ever really know the full truth about anything? About someone? About ourselves? We are so limited in the construct we label "time" that it seems that there is not a way to know the entirety of anything. Yet, this is not discouraging, for it means that there is always more to learn and to inquire about.

"Truth" has become one of those words that we throw around too liberally, such that its meaning becomes lost over time. "Love" and "Happiness" are other such words. We know that a "lie" is an untruth, but what about withholding information from someone, is that still "truthful". In a sort of classic example, someone gets a hair cut...and it does not suit them well, and you are left with three options:
1) Tell them that it looks good (a lie)
2) Tell them that it looks bad (the truth)
3) Say nothing (withholding information: lie or truth?)

I feel that I am writing/thinking in circles, but this is something I do often, turn around ideas and meanings in my mind, and throw ideas back and forth with friends...and I enjoy it. Its not about finding an answer, its about exchanging ideas...and we didn't really come to any conclusions, about whether one can ever live in complete truth...but life's a journey of exploring such musings.


Friday, February 26, 2010

connection

I find it interesting that the excitement over connections with other human beings is such a naked element of human nature. Simple commonalities can breed a feeling of instant kinship, and even a sense of discovering a long-lost kindred spirit.

Let me provide some examples to paint the picture of what i mean. Finding someone with your same name can give you a feeling that you must be similar to the other individual. However, a name sheds very little light on the nature of someone's character or interests. Discovering that you have the same birthday can also give a subconscious impression that perhaps this is your long-lost twin, you feel that such an occurrence is a rare treasure, but countless people are born on the same day every year, so it isn't all that rare at all.

The more profound connections we seek and get excited about, however, are those of interests and beliefs. Discovering you have read the same book, are mesmerized by the same album by the same band, or are made speechless by the works of the same artist have a tendency to breed friendship, at least to a small degree. Discovering that you have similar views on religion and faith is perhaps the connection i celebrate the most, but perhaps this is the element that is most core to my being...so that could be sharing in common politics or philosophies for others. Once one connection is unearthed, you seek others. You end up exchanging interests in the process of trying to find those you hold in common.

The reason i have been pondering all this is because i have noted in myself that I always search out for commonalities when i meet someone new or speak with an old friends. I feel inspired by the passions of others, whether they are shared by me or not. Once a commonality is discovered, i get sort of swept away in the enthusiasm of it, or rather in the enthusiasm of furthering my web of connection with others. I think this is how we were designed by our Creator. He longs for connections with us, and since we are made in His image, we long deeply for connections with others.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

valentine

Valentine's Day...never been an eagerly-looked-forward-to holiday in my book, its kind of here or there for me. Perhaps it is because I don't have a valentine, but I think i would feel the same even if I did. It is really because I think that this day, which is supposedly supposed to celebrate love, often does so in a shallow and cliche way. It becomes all about the guy having to buy the girl roses, an idea which takes very little romance if you ask me. As my girlfriend said, "I'd rather have a handful of picked wildflowers on a random day than a dozen red roses on Valentine's Day", and i couldn't agree more.

However, I can see some positive sides to this day. If nothing else, it is one day a year when we are reminded to let others in our life know that we love them. When i say "others" i mean anyone and everyone: parents, siblings, significant others, friends, co-workers, mentors, etc. If Valentine's Day were more about letting others feel Loved as God created Love to be, I think i would be a bigger fan. So, I'm trying to keep that in mind this year...and to keep that in mind for all major holidays. I am hoping to make those days not be a 24hr period of cliche and thoughtless activities, but to be days in which i remind myself to let people know that they are valued by God and people in their lives.

So happy Valentine's Day, and know you are Loved.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

instant

Today we live in a world of instant communication. This is not a revolutionary observation or anything, but sometimes i forget that this is not the way it always was. I have grown up with email, texting and Facebook...all of these things are abnormal and confusing to my parents. And i began to think how odd i would consider someone my age to be if they did not have a cell phone or an email address...but where is it written as law that we all must?

I sometimes wonder what will be the consequences of instant communication will be, of always being on an electronic leash of sorts. There is something tragic in the loss of older forms of communication: telegraph, carrier pigeons, pony express...even the standard letter writing. But then again I am an old-fashioned soul, so maybe i am the only one mourning the loss while everyone else is rejoicing in the progress to electronic communication. In fact I still stubbornly maintain snail-mail communication simply because I think it more exciting to get something in the mail box than in the Inbox.

However, this is not to say that I don't utilize and enjoy the instantaneous methods of communication. I spend way more time on Facebook than I should and it has truly allowed me to stay in touch with people and to know people better than I would have otherwise. This seems strange to say, but I think online personal pages like Facebook do allow people to know each other better, as long as it is used with face-to-face communication and conversation as well.

With all the methods we already have, what could possibly come next? We already have a way to talk at any moment (cell phone) and to write at any moment (texting, chatting, email, etc.), so where could 'progress' lead now? Are personal Marauder's Maps* a possibility, so that we will know the whereabout of anyone at all times? Whose to say where the limits will be drawn. As for me, while a Facebook junkie, I'm still buying stamps and and putting pen to paper for post.
*for all of you who don't know what I am talking about when i say "Marauder's Maps", that little reference just revealed me to be the unashamed Harry Potter fan i am

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

search

I want to be a writer...or at least i think i do. I don't know in what format...books or magazines or what...but that is the the current flavor of the month: a writer. But how does one even become a writer? I have great doubts about whether i could even be any good at writing. I mean, must because i'm constantly writing in a journal and love to read the writings of others doesn't mean i could actually write anything worth reading in the opinion of others.

Still, i am at a point in my life in which i have to start searching for what it is i was made to do, for what my niche in this world is, for the format in which God designed me to bring Him glory. And to be perfectly frank, i am feeling and have been feeling quite lost in this search. What i do know is that i am very passionate about words. I know that sounds over-sentimental and vapid to some, but i know of no other way to describe it. Words are like hues of paint to me, the mood and tone they give off seem to illustrate scenes and emotions as an artist does on a canvas. I simply get lost in them. This fascination and love of words has led me to believe that perhaps the niche God has created me for would involve words in some fashion.

So i have decided to start a blog as an exercise to see if writing is something i could in fact become adept at. I doubt anyone else will ever read this or that i would show it to anyone else, but it will help me in my personal introspection of what direction my life should take career wise. You simply cannot know if you are suited to do something unless you try it, and blogging is a risk-free way to see if i was designed for the production of written words.