Friday, May 13, 2011

easy

when we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure
~peter marshall~

easy has always been something preferred by society...easy living, the easy life, the easier path are the things we chase after. but why is it that easy is valued above the hard? why is struggle seen as some complete evil. we seek products and invest our dollars in methods to make our life easier, faster, more convenient. there seems to me there is something lost, a cost, with all of this insatiable searching for ease. has it always been so? has easy and fast always been preferred?

i won't deny that i feel the same most times, that hard work and longer waits are a disappointment and irritation, but when i stepped back from my conscious definitions of such, i began to question just why i was seeing things in this light.

in most of my life i feel that hard work has yielded greater fulfillment, greater rewards in the end. a job or tasks that requires more effort and more time i must infuse more of myself into, and i feel more pride in at the end of the day. a book that takes me weeks to read i feel i know more intimately than a quick read i can complete in a day, the characters have become intimate friends of mine rather than mere acquaintances. running a marathon, while torturous for a majority of its duration, gives such a since of achievement, builds up a sense of perseverance. back packing to high altitudes, while bringing burning soles and aching shoulders allows you to see such breathtaking natural beauty that is absent from the paths of an easy day hike. and every trial i've had in life, spiritually, physically, emotionally, has built me up as a person, allowed me to love better and relate more deeply to others.

it seems to me that difficulty and waiting should not instantly be thrown into the category of a curse, but should rather be looked at, embraced, for the future beauty and gift such things are likely to become in hindsight.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

personalize


The desire for self-expression afflicts people when they feel there is something of themselves which is not getting through to the outside world.
~fay weldon~

so much of our world today is characterized by personalization. i have yet to see a home, apartment, or dorm room with bare white walls: no paint, no posters, pictures, or paintings. even working space at your place of employment gets personal touches. most bring in photos of family or friends, have a special pen or trinket that sits upon a desk. we personalize the way we look to: a hair cut here, jewelry and make up there, and top it off with a pair of designer sneakers. few of us keep the default wall paper on our computers, our phones, we make screen savers, and playlists that somehow summarize our life, our interests into neat little bundle. we add key chains to our key rings, bumper stickers to our cars, colored rubber bands to our braces...

we are driven to self expression.

the social media craze is the best evidence for this. facebook "likes" and the pinterest allow you to tag all sorts of things to yourself, to your virtual identity. you put out pictures, change your status to a favorite quote, a fleeting thought, and observation. you post links from favorite websites, share articles you find of interest, all as a way to connect to others and to share pieces of yourself.

there is this innate need to be simultaneously relatable and distinguishable, to connect with others while define yourself as something apart. we enter this subconscious struggle to personalize our personality on a daily basis.

there is something about us that simply cannot stand a blank slate, and vacant palate...we have to throw character onto it. we seem to be overflowing with expressions that simply cannot remain residents of our thoughts alone.

and that got me to thinking about how we are truly expressions of God, designed to reflect His nature, His love. so all this personalization and self expression we are dabbling in is merely an echo of what the Creator has already done when He created the heavens and the earth. He did not long dwell in "formless and empty" (Gen 1:2) before He reflected bits of Himself elsewhere in the wind, forests, rivers, deserts...and man, made in His image, vessels of of His self-expression who are naturally driven to be creators themselves.