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Friday, March 23, 2007

Plato's cave

tonight i care about others much less than usual. i feel like releasing myself from the responsibilities i took on years ago; if i'm Atlas, i feel like tossing the earth into oblivion. (hopefully it lands in a happy place.)

lately, i've been sacrificing myself for others much less often, and that's one change that truly bothers me, even as i revel in the freedom of it. i think i can get used to the extra energy, the easy laughter, the active social life. ironic, of course, since i'll be leaving these wonderful people in 6 short weeks... but the point is, i can accept these changes going on.

most of them.

as fun as this bright-sunny chapter is, something at my core is begging me to return to the comforting darkness of my cave, where i can be me again, lonely but unhindered in my inward search for understanding.

perhaps i'll find a way to visit there for awhile.

Friday, March 09, 2007

dear hole-in-the-sky

this isn't how life is supposed to be; thus, this post will have a different timbre than my usual. hmm... maybe a dash of humor thrown in...

i dunno. as cliche or cheesy at it may be, it just feels like i should be doin' a little sum'n sum'n like,

dear journal:

we've known each other for a long time. 9th grade, right? alot's happened since then, especially here at VU. now, i don't want you to take this the wrong way, but i've got to say it: my life is changing, in such a way that you and i just aren't as perfect for each other as we used to be.

i'm sorry. this is hard for me, too, but... don't be surprised if things become dry between us, in this next chapter. you know me: i'm the kind of guy who's most productive when he's miserable. pain and suffering and dark reflections are my creative catalysts. poetry and song and epiphanies emerge from storms and tribulations, whether of my own making or of external origins.

lately, i'm just overwhelmed with happiness.

yes, i'm off-balance; yes, i'm uncomfortable; yes, i'm breaking some of my own rules. but it is more of a hermit-crab thing and less of a rebellious-teen thing. you understand, right?

anyway, i've got to go before anyone catches me writing to you. i'll write again soon, though
.

yeah... actually, that works well, because if i feel like i'm distancing from my contemplative self, then i should be writing letters to it, as if it just moved away to a different city. that way, i'm still journaling with integrity, even though 1) i'm a different person and 2) i'm writing to rather than through.

=)

but it shouldn't be 'dear journal,' because every journal is named 'journal.' so it has to be something else. hmm... something that speaks to that 'dark reflections' phrase i used... and, it would be cool if i could use a different name for it every time, to show how familiar i am with it, and yet distant, since i never call it by its real name.

...ahh. that's it.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

moon-bathing

hey! that's the name of this blog!

i'm not settling for an unoriginal title, i swar (as Caleb and i are wont to do from time to time). it's just that tonight, i actually did it, for the first time in quite awhile. i took my Mexico blanket to the baseball field and got a nice moon-tan. loved it.

tonight i realized all over again the importance of rarity.

one of the greatest things about moon-bathing, is that i don't do it very often. that's what makes it special. simple enough concept, right? familiar to all of you, i'm assuming. the less often you enjoy something, the more you enjoy it. this is generally true... i'm sure there are exceptions. but like i said, i want to talk about rarity tonight, because i've realized how important it is to me.
  • it lengthens the life-spans of things.
  • it intensifies experiences... like anticipation. are they cousins?
  • it ensures that any attached meaning, remains attached.
  • it prevents stomach-aches... "use sparingly"
  • makes sure certain things don't define us too much.
  • it keeps particular aspects of life from becoming flat.
for example, a friend asked me once if i like hugs. i said, "yup, i love them. i think two per year would be the perfect amount." in contrast, her preference was about 10 per day. i would probably suffocate.

i answered "2/year" with local friends in mind. when i come home to Fresyes from VU, i get hugs all over the place-- from people i haven't seen in weeks. so the hugs are still rare. my answer wasn't a rule that i have to follow, or else i get tired of hugs. it was an expression of one of my values: rarity. i need rarity in my life. i need it to be that i don't hug any given person every single day. that's what keeps me loving hugs.

rarity heightens experiences. i don't understand how certain peeps around here (i won't name names... Michelly...) can go to Disneyland a few times every month! sometimes weekly! it baffles me. "doesn't it get old??" i ask. sometimes they reply, "well, it becomes more of a place to hang out, than some exciting amazing experience that you look back on."

"interesting," i reply. i wonder what would happen to me, as a healthy soul-body-heart-mind individual, if i took all of my most intense, memorable experiences, and re-lived them three times a month for the rest of my life.

we treasure things that have unique meanings attached. that's why Mandy Shepherd keeps a napkin (and other various mundane items) on her wall. they aren't amazing works of aesthetic excellence... they're sentimental thingies. i don't keep sentimental thingies on my wall, but i definitely keep them in my heart/mind! i don't ever want to forget the one time (as rare as it can get!) when i drank one of those Big Gulps from 7-11, on the 10-hour drive from Mexico back to Clovis... i'm such an idiot! =D or the one time Nathan White and i noticed an upside-down "T" on an EXIT sign, and couldn't figure out how only one letter of the word was upside down. (ask me about it, if you can't figure it out. lol)

as for preventing stomach-aches... this one we should've learned in late childhood, right? but nope! i still pig out on things from time to time. video games, starburst, etc. that's why i go through phases of liking sunflower seeds, and not liking them. i always end up OD'ing on them, so i stop liking them for awhile.

rarity keeps things from remaking us in their image. i've noticed that whatever my favorite classes are, the vocabularies they use tend to dominate my mind. i start to think of all of life the same terms used in class. for example... after taking calculus for two semesters, i had this epiphany that most things in life can be better understood and dealt with if you take their derivative. another example: having taken classes from our campus pastor, Bill Dogterom, i sometimes talk about friendship as "walking life with someone," and my definitions of faith have to do with "standing in the reality of the spiritual kingdom" and "re-arranging the furniture of my life in the new light of the truth of God." spending a few hours with him every week for a semester sort of re-defined me, in certain ways.

that can be a bad thing. example: i don't want to be defined by pleasure-seeking. i definitely want to have pleasant experiences... but if the pursuit of these is at the core of who i am, then i am missing the point. eventually i would become self-destructive, and probably dangerous to others as well. notice, i would never make a conscious commitment to become a hedonist. it's the subtly dangerous nature of pleasure, that it wants to get us in the habit it pursuing it first and foremost. the more we engage in it, the more it asks of us.

i sometimes get into arguments with people about statements like these: "everyone is beautiful. everyone is unique. every day is special. every blessing is a miracle from God. every breath you take is precious." i strongly disagree with all of these. would you look back at your life and say that each day was just as special as the day before it? no!! this flattens the world out into a really weird two-dimensionality. you're simply not designed to !gasp! in wonder and surprise every time God gives you that next breath. you are designed to assign differing degrees of significance to different things. some days are much more special than others: annual holidays, for example. once a year, right? rare. and if everyone is beautiful, then how can anyone be beautiful? are we comparing them all to mucus and orangutans? (seriously... those guys are ugly.)

~ ~ ~

the bottom line, folks: keep rarity as a strong value in your life. treasure those special, meaningful experiences. keep them precious by honoring their unique significances (is that a word??). don't OD on stuff; keep things delicious. don't rush ahead to the best parts; anticipate them. don't flatten life out; keep it complicated and diverse. otherwise you'll find yourself inured, numb to the kairos moments.

this morning, as i hunker down into my ninja-cave for sleepy-time, i'm very grateful that the moon is full only once every 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 3 seconds.

paradox

the very worst thing that could ever happen to this blog, is happening.

i'm becoming someone i don't know. i always thought becoming myself would involve alot of discipline and struggle to acquire those skills and strengthen those traits that i desired, or wanted to desire. i thought becoming myself entailed intentionality and planning. well, apparently it also involves interruption and surprise and mystery and confusion and dissonance. that is bad for this blog, because if i don't know who i am, or who i am becoming, and especially if i don't know why i'm becoming, or how, then whose blog is this that i'm posting on?

...on the other hand, some of my very best posts have come from surprises... things i wasn't prepared for. in fact, most of the best things in my life have been 'interruptions' of one kind or another. most of my friends, most of my spiritual experiences, my greatest pains and joys and defining chapters or moments... yeah.

the very best thing that could ever happen to this blog, is happening.