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Sunday, June 19, 2011

waking from the American dream

if we boil it down past the point of cultural content, then the American dream is really just "i want my life to gradually improve until i reach a point of contentment." in other words, "i want to become happy at some point."

the problem with this, is that happiness is always temporary. so if i let happiness be a goal, i will be setting myself up for failure.

i'm okay with being happy. i'm not okay with expecting happiness, or expecting happiness to last, or working toward happiness as its own goal. it is long past time for me to stop pursuing happiness.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

my life could be better

and i could be the one to make it better. so i will try. but i need your help.

"what kind of help?"

glad you asked! step 1: read this note (which is a large task in and of itself), without calling me emo (which is almost as tough). step 2: decide whether the note is worthy of a response or not. step 3: decide whether you want to help or not. if you don't, i may cry a tiny tad, but it will pass.

there was a time in my life when i was just the weird homeschooler/bando, and mostly hung out with others of the same calling. and that was okay, because those people were mostly cool. not totally satisfactory, but still cool.

next there came this time in my life when i decided i wanted to be really intentional about my friendships and the purpose of them. i realized i needed to give of myself to others. and that was great; very biblical, very fulfilling. alot of those friends were at church. it was awesome... but still not complete.

then after that, i went to college, and during the first half of that, i was pretty much forced to make new friends, who turned out to be some of the most awesome so far. or maybe the relationships were the most awesome so far. yea, that second one is true. i resisted them at first, but they grew on me and in me. at this point, i had some nerd/homeschooler/bando friendships, some give-of-myself-to-you friendships, and-- during the second half of college-- some receive-from-you friendships. i benefited from all of these, and loved them all, and figured that this was the best social situation i could hope for... aside from having two halves of a life (one at home in Fresyes, one in SoCal). 

THEN... there was this chapter where i actually did adult-y things like get a full-time job, get married, etc. at this point, things slowed down a little, socially speaking. it was a very tough time for me personally, in all areas (not just socially). i left most of my mentors and receive-from-you friendships behind by returning to Fresyes permanently. most lamented were the give-and-take mutual-investment deeply-connected relationships i had to leave behind.

FINALLY: we come to present day, wherein i have tons of friendships of all sorts. mentors, brethren & sistren in Christ, people i give to, people from whom i receive, nerds, musicians, atheists & Christians, board-game-lovers and family-friends and friends-of-friends and people who are always welcome in my home. i even have passing acquaintances with the offspring-of-close-friends!

...but one category is sorely lacking. or perhaps it is a critical element that's lacking in my life. i don't know what to call it, but i can describe it this way: i hang out with awesome people all the time, but hardly ever connect with them on a personal level. my wife & Caleb Werner are the exceptions to this. the only exceptions. why is that?

it is very likely that you, reader, are one such non-exception: someone with whom i often interact, but hardly ever connect with. why is that? what happened to the old isaiah, who would often greet people not with a high-five or fist-bump, but with "how are you feeling?" or "can i ask you a personal question?" or "life sucks, lemme tell you all about it." ???

i've lost the intentions that once infused my relationships with an awareness of the most meaningful things in life. sure, i discuss theology and how it affects us and the world. i even confess mistakes i've made and flaws that trouble me. but it isn't quite deep enough, and i don't like that. so i've decided to go back to what i used to have, because i feel as though i'm coasting through my social life.

i shouldn't be comfortable with coasting.

so now you get to decide whether to help me be a driver or a coaster. can i ask you the question, "can i ask you a personal question?" and receive an open, genuine answer? can i disturb the surface of the 'middle Christians' pond by throwing pebbles (and occasionally doing cannonballs)?

no pressure, friend. no obligation. just let me know: help me coast, or help me drive? i won't like you less either way, nor will i hold anything against you. but i need to know who is up for deep-sea diving, and who is not. i need to know who will shy away from DTR, and who will not. i need more freedom to really be myself, out in the open and deep in the heart.

as someone who naturally pushes people out to arm's length, i need to put myself closer to people. that includes those who are already close, like my wife and my Caleb. it may also include you, if you are 'down,' or 'up for it,' or whatever the phrase is.

if you are not up for it, please say that as well, so that i don't turn to you during our Settlers of Catan game and ask, "so, can i have two sheep for one ore? also, your friend who's abusing your generosity: what do you intend to do about that?" ...or whatever.

this invitation is global and ongoing. be forewarned that i am a devoting Christian (devoting: becoming gradually more devoted), and that if you are 'in' on this, our relationship will not stay as it is, and even though i will do my utmost to respect all takers of all beliefs and personalities, i will also not pull any punches. i will be who i am loudly and sometimes uncomfortably.

i think that's enough for now. time to go do something else and pretend i'm not eagerly awaiting your response.