09
Feb
13

Blinded By The Light

Anyone that knows me well, knows how much I love social media of all forms. Most especially, I love twitter. I will admit, I was at first very skeptical about it. I did not see the point in posting “status updates” all day long, or reading others’ for that matter. As I began to find the greater use of it, I couldn’t stop using it. I went to “tweetups” (a physical gathering of people you know on twitter for some sort of event or purpose, even if it’s just to meet up and hang out). Because of these tweetups, I have met some incredibly fantastic people that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

 One of those individuals is a man that goes by the alias BgKahuna. He is well known amongst pretty much any social media platform as a man of absolute ridiculousness and hilarity. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a conversation with him and not left smiling or laughing until I almost peed myself. Kahuna however, is not all glitz, glamour, unicorns, and kittens though. He is a man with many thoughts on life, and this morning as I was scrolling through my timeline he posted something to just that extent. “Help me understand this, people hate workout posts. However posts about college sports, they never played, is acceptable.” To him I responded, “and getting wasted, making bad choices, self-destructive behavior, and half naked pictures. Positivity is no longer encouraged.”

It was a very quick response, one I hadn’t really put much thought into until after I said it. These two statements got me thinking a bit deeper though, along with a written piece by my friend Steven I read over this morning. We truly have become a culture that gets disgusted with people’s happiness, positivity, encouragement, and so on. The pictures we “like”, the posts we “repost”, and the statuses we comment on are most typically ones inspired by the events or lifestyle choices mentioned above. Now, before you bash me for being “holier than thou”, please hear this: I’m not in any way tearing down people who say those things, live that life, or make those choices. It’s their life, and they are free to live it however they should so choose. I have even been someone that lived that very life, for a long time. So please, spare your onslaught of “you don’t’ know what it’s like”. I am not judge, jury, or executioner. Do what makes you happy. I am however saying that because we are so consumed with the darkness of our own depravity and misery, we become blinded and disgusted with the light of others.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about why we fail to see the blessings we have every day. In the wake of that, we also fail to see the incredible lives we have been given. We are made to exude happiness and positivity not only to ourselves, but to everyone we encounter. The problem is, it hurts. It hurts because it is no longer what we are used to. We are so used to being destroyed by people and our own choices that we reject the joy of others. We no longer care about their accomplishments because we are too busy ignoring our own opportunities to accomplish things ourselves. Or at least accomplish things we are proud of.  We can change this though. If we slowly start to allow the sunshine in, piece by piece, we will no longer be blinded by the light it pours out onto us. In fact, it will even inspire us to pour out that same positivity and encouragement to others. The choice is ultimately yours. You may stay right where you are, temporarily happy. Or…or you can step up and choose a life of happiness and joy. I for one will be choosing the latter of the two. I would encourage you to do the same.

23
Jan
13

Lost In Selfishness

I was speaking with a friend this morning about his recent trip to Haiti. One of the first things he said to me was how beside himself he was at how happy the people he was with were. “It just amazes me, they’ve had so much tragedy, and are constantly surrounded by it, yet they smile and laugh more than anyone I know. I’ve never smiled so much myself in fact!” The sad reality of it is that he is right. That same day I was talking to another friend who has a coworker is just constantly miserable, despite my friend’s constant state of happiness. In fact, this coworker tends to be more negative towards her seemingly BECAUSE she’s so happy all the time. “I just don’t get it. Why choose to be upset when there is so much to be thankful for? It just seems like a no brainer!” Again, she is 100% correct. We DO have so much to be thankful for. But is that possibly the problem? I would venture to say yes, yes it is.

We are so blessed that we have forgotten just how much we truly have. Now, this is not a new concept or profound realization. It’s one that has been said time and time again in so many different ways it’s almost confusing. But, again…IT’S TRUE! I can almost guarentee you the majority of people in third word countries smile, laugh, and cheer more than the better majority of those of us who have all we need. Because their lives are surrounded by tragedy, it’s easier for them to find things to be thankful for, but why does that mean we can’t still be thankful for the significant amount of things we DO have?  It’s actually really sad when you think about it. Especially when you think about the fact that we have one this to ourselves. We have CHOSEN to become this way. Just like those without have chosen to be happy, even in the midst of devastation, we have chosen to be miserable even in the peak of having more than we could ever deserve.

Think about this for a second: when you recollect all the things you have, all the friends who love you, the family you were blessed with, and so on, how often do you still feel like you DESERVE more? How many times do you feel like you are getting the short end of the stick in life? I’ll be the first person to admit I’m guilty of this almost daily. It’s rare that I ever get in my vehicle, turn my ignition on and say “man…I am SO thankful I have this, even though I in no way deserve it.” We have gained so much that we’ve forgotten about what lucky people we are. Sure, we work hard for our things and our relationships, and whatever else, but does that mean we can’t still be thankful? I would venture to say no. In fact, the fact that we CAN reward ourselves for the hard work we do is something we forget to be thankful for. There are so many people who work themselves to death and see very little if any reward for it.

We have created a dark, dirty, desolate, and disasterous hole of despair and misery for ourselves. And it causes us to be angry at just about everything that embodies happiness and joy. The true tragedy is most of us are completely aware of this fact and would rather stay in the hole than attempt the climb out because regardless of how unhappy we are there, it’s just easier to stay. Again, I am one of the largest commiters of this that I know. I think it’s time for a dramatic shift in our attitudes. Together we can climb out of this hole and create a new world where happiness is the way of life, not anger, hatred, and isolation. Will you climb out with me?

08
Oct
12

The Perfection of Fall

 Fall brings about many delightful scenes for so many people. Football, turning leaves, bonfires, hoodies, chili, boots, beanies, and the list goes on. It has been one of my absolute favorite times of year for longer than I can really remember. I just love everything about it. The clean crisp air in the mornings, giving way to low 70 temperatures in the afternoon, back to slightly chilly evenings, perfect for getting cozy under a blanket in a hammock beneath a sea of stars. Tailgating at 9am before a college football game. Driving around and just admiring the beauty of creation. It just can’t be beat. 

Fall….the perfect time of year. At least it used to be. I still very much love all of the aforementioned things, but this year fall is a little harder for me. I’ve always spent fall with someone special, and someone quite in particular the past few falls. We’d watch/go to Colts games, go to country concerts, take walks, carve pumpkins, make apple pies, lay in the hammock counting bats as they flew by, cuddle up by a fire, have a blast at thanksgiving in Lebanon, and again the list goes on. She hated fall because it meant winter was coming and I’m not sure she loathed anything more than cold weather, but she was always my absolute favorite person to spend fall with. She was my favorite person to spend any season with, but most particularly fall. 

I don’t know if my connection with her in the fall seems so much stronger since that’s when we met, that was when our first date was, or that that’s when we were usually the happiest, had the best memories, or what. All I know is that the only two years we haven’t been together in the fall, I have felt this unrelenting urge to tell her just how much I miss having her around. I really thought this year would be a little easier, but it isn’t. In all actuality this has been the hardest. I’ve never wanted to see her name pop up on my phone, her bright smile burst through the door, her loving arms to wrap me up and hold me tight as much as I do this year….but I know none of that can be. It will never be again. We can never be.

Fall is beautiful. Fall is special. Fall is vibrant. It’s a time of people who are in love falling more in love. A time for people to enjoy this magnificent earth we are so blessed to live on. It’s a season of change. Fall is when I can truly see God in the physical. It’s a time of reflection over the past years as the turn of the year is on the horizon. Fall is perfect.

At least it was. Now fall represents something else. Fall is a memory. Fall is full of frailty. Fall is really…really fucking hard. I know that I wouldn’t be going through this if I couldn’t get through it, but sometimes it’s hard to find the strength. As I read proverbs the other day, I was reminded how I WOULD find the strength: Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” I cannot do this on my own…I can do nothing on my own. I must stop trying to go through this alone. Fall can be perfect again, and I can be whole again. 

01
Oct
12

The Godfather…not the movie

To anyone who’s been around me the past couple of months, they know that I’ve been an absolute disaster. To those a bit farther on the outside, this may be a bit of a shock, but it’s the transparent truth. My heart has been a wretched mess. I spent about 5 months not even sure what me following God looked like anymore. I wanted to give up and not look back. I had no idea where to find the strength to continue on anymore. I felt like I was losing everything that was important to me and I no longer had the ability to keep fighting for anything. I didn’t know that anything was even worth fighting for anymore. I spent so many nights crying and plagued with anxiety, just begging God not to let me die because I was terrified that I couldn’t find the strength to wake up the next day. I needed a sign from God that He still had His hand on my shoulder and heart.

 Right about that time I found out two of my favorite people were going to be having a baby. Just about anyone who knows me knows that babies are the farthest thing from exciting to me. The thought of them is actually rather terrifying to me. But, I love these two so much and was SO excited for them I instantly began to weep with joy. I was in awe of the fact that I was so overwhelmed with excitement about a child; especially one that really had (what I thought at the time) no real relevance to my life outside of having parents I look at as family. I figured I’d be “uncle Johnny” and just kind of do like, distant uncle stuff. No big deal.

 Well, just so happened the very next day the husband and I had already planned on having dinner together long before the announcement was made. As dinner ended and I started becoming tired of my Coors light I attempted to get us to leave to go somewhere that had real beer. Before I could even finish my sentence about heading across the parking lot to Beer Sellar, the dad quickly halted my efforts because he had something very important to ask me. He and his wife wanted me to be the Godfather for their child. Instantly my eyes were filled and I couldn’t help but sob like a baby in the middle of that Red Lobster (yes, I’ve been a bit emotional lately, get over it!).

 This was my sign I was asking for. This was God telling me that He wasn’t letting me go. Not only that, but He was telling me that I needed to get back on track, because I now had a much greater responsibility than just my own salvation: I was being held accountable for both the spiritual growth and development of this little miracle AND the father. I was no longer in this just for me.

 I get that ultimately whatever this child wishes to do is their decision, and that it’s not my responsibility to make that decision for them, and I will always support them however it is needed. But it IS my responsibility to do absolutely everything I can to show this child that the love is Christ is well beyond what they’ll read in a book, hear in a song, or see in a tv/movie. It’s real, it’s powerful, and it’ll never, ever, let you go, even when you fight so hard to walk away from it that you are exhausted just by the thought of going any further. I know, because that’s exactly where I was before this happened. I had no idea if I would see tomorrow. I was completely on empty.  

 I’m not perfect, and I never will be. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll always be somewhat of an idiot doing incredibly stupid things. And I’m even more sure that I’ll end up teaching this child some idiotic behavior and habits that will probably cause it’s parents to reconsider their choice in this…but that’s OK. That’s life. It’s not always about finding the strength to be perfect or even half perfect. It’s about finding the strength to continue fighting for yourself, and the people you love so much you’d do absolutely anything for. This was my reminder. These two had no idea that their child would be my reconciliation with Christ, but it is, and always will be. Thank you both. I promise to always do my best and never, ever give up on myself, you two, or this baby.  

 

 

 

27
Sep
12

War is not a peaceful act, but will bring a peaceful result

There’s an old Chinese proverb that loosely translates into “One cannot know peace, without knowing war.” This is has been taken to many mean more than a handful of things throughout history. Most relevantly for me it means that in order to find peace, sometimes we must fight a war. That nothing comes easy. That sometimes we must be completely broken before we can begin being fixed. That what we want must mean so much to us we’re willing to go to battle and possibly die for it. It can mean what you would like for it to, but this is what it means to me. At least right now.

 

I have started a war; a war that I’ve fought against being apart of for so many years. I was always terrified at the thought of it that the pain I would put myself through in order to resist it was worth more than the paid I’d face putting myself into the battlefield. A buddy of mine told me the other day people will fight only as much as they feel necessary to be happy, but will fight to the death to not be in pain or face sadness. I can’t tell you how true this is for me. I’ve probably hurt myself far more over the last couple of years avoiding this than I would have been hurt had I just faced it head on.

 

I am still terrified. I have never been so scared in my life actually. Fear so gripping, that it becomes unbearable pain. Not just an emotional pain of loss, but a physical pain of permanent damage. I’ve also never done anything that hurt so much I instantly wanted to turn the other way and throw in the towel. My body trembles at the mere thought of the war I’ve waged. Is this really worth it? Is what I’m after really worth going to battle for? Is it something I would put my life on the line for? It has to be. Or I will fail once again and do what I’ve always done, ultimately getting what I’ve always gotten. I can’t do that anymore.

 

One of the saddest realities of war is there are always casualties. I’ve lain to waste too many innocent bodies and put myself through a tough enough barrage of pain that I HAVE to do this or I’ll die trying not to. I want to live and find peace.

 

I can’t help but wonder if I’m fighting a war that can’t be won; a war that I don’t know I have enough power in me to fight through. But I mustn’t think that. I have to be strong…diligent…persistent…and unwavering. I must not let my spirit get weak. I must feed myself the fuel needed to stay standing. I must have the strength to stand back up if I fall, time and time again. I must be willing to let go of the things weighing me down, no matter how much every ounce of me tells me I need them. Heartbroken, I must keep in mind the healing to come. I must realize I cannot do this on my own, that I need my brothers and sisters to help keep me floating and rising above the depths.

 

What I’m fighting against will forever be apart of me, but one thing that I must remember is that even though I’m broken…beaten…torn apart….and barely sustaining…..I’M STILL STANDING!!!! I WILL make a difference. I WILL be the change I need. I will NEVER give up. I WILL BE VICTORIOUS!!!!

 

01
Aug
12

Overreaction to an overreaction

“Oh seriously? You still support Chic Fil A? But they don’t support gay marriage. How can you support a company that is against gay marriage?” This is something that I’m sure a number of us (myself included) who still choose to eat at Chic Fil A have heard. I guess I missed the memo where what one man said represented the feelings of an entire multi-million dollar company. I’ll be sure to read more into things next time.

I have a few things to say in response to this, but before I go any farther, I just want to point something out so there is no misconception. I have a handful of gay friends whom I love, adore, and support. I’ve never once looked down on them for who they are and the people they love. I learned many years ago that the gay community actually had more reason to hate me than I ever would them, so please don’t take any of what I’m saying as my tirade against the homosexual community, because that’s not the case at all. So with all that in mind (although I’m sure it’s all irrelevant to most who have already made up their minds), here’s MY overreaction!

I don’t support child labor, but from time to time shop at Wal Mart because stuff is cheaper there and I still purchase Nike apparel (especially since now that’s who manufactures all the NFL merchandise). I don’t support the cruel and unfair treatment of animals, but still purchase leather and eat fast food. I’m not entirely 100% on board with war and don’t agree with the majority of what politicians (president(s) included) stand for, but I still love and support our troops and this amazing country with all my heart. I believe in fair trade and organic, but still purchase items/food that I’m sure came as a result of innocent people being murdered and treated poorly.

If you fail to see my point here, let me spell it out for you. I almost guarantee that there is a company/organization that the powers to be do or stand for things you do not agree with, YET, you (myself included obviously) continue to purchase their products, support their brand, and live your life as if unaffected by their choices. Would you like to know why that is? Because your life is NOT affected by their beliefs (except the political ones…those kind of impact us all). Some of these things SHOULD have some sort of impact on us, but the majority of us could care less because we like convenience, greasy food, to look good, have the hottest stuff for less money, etc..

I get that people are pissed off about the guy’s stance, but does that really justify “boycotting” the company? I mean, does anyone realize what he actually said? All he said was that he doesn’t support gay marriage. And before I go deeper, I’d just like to point out he was forced in the interview to come out with a response. He did not want his opinion to be something that was reflected as a company message. But beyond that, he never said he does not support the community of people who believe in same sex relationships. He did not say that he did not like them, or that he had a personal vendetta against them, or that he wished they’d all burn in hell. None of those words were spoken, however, this is how his one statement is being treated, as if he’s some gay hate monger. One final point, it IS a Christian company, so is anyone REALLY surprised that someone in the organization would say they do not agree with gay marriage?

I love Chic Fil A because they have delicious food, do amazing things for people around the world and within their communities, and it’s always their pleasure to serve me and I will forever continue to support them. If you can’t see past the opinion of one man that has NO impact on anyone but himself (and those that allow it to) and realize that the company as a whole is the same company it was before this statement was made, then I say that you are even more closed minded than the man you believe to be.

 I end with this, a challenge. Two actually. First is a challenge to put all this effort you’re putting into boycotting something so trivial into going out and giving a shit about things that matter. The world would probably be a MUCH better place if even a fraction of that effort went to actual problems that exist. My second challenge would be that before you leave some ignorant and snap comment because what I said pissed you off, go do some research for yourself and THEN come at me bro! 

30
Apr
12

Free Agency

Free Agency

 

August of 2006 is when I made my first move from my parent’s house. I’ve been through three different houses (including the one I currently reside in) since then. I’ve never really had to “search” for a place to live. I’ve been incredibly fortunate that all three houses just sort of fell into my lap. Needless to say, I’ve been beyond spoiled (and insanely grateful) because of that. 

 

At any rate, both of my current roommates have chosen the path of marriage (which I am incredibly supportive of and excited for both of them!). But, what that does mean for me is that I am now officially announcing my free agency as a roommate. I have an exceptional track record. Rent is always my first financial priority, I am rarely around as I work a lot and have a pretty busy social life, and when I am I spend the majority of my time in my room watching tv. I’m what I would call on the above average level of neat and tidy, meaning I’m no slob, but I’m also not a “neat freak”. 

 

One idea I’ve been throwing out to a few people (to both help me and maybe a young family) is I’m more than wiling to move into a house with married folks or a house with kids. I am doing my best to stay in the carmel/westfield/noblesville area so that I may stay close to my friends, coaching, and jobs. My budget is roughly $300/month. The only furniture I have is what’s in my room, so not a whole lot to bring with. I would probably be looking for late summer/early fall realistically. If earlier was necessary, I’d have to consult with my current agent before a commitment could be made. 

 

I hope you take serious consideration into possibly having me as your roommate and feel free to pass my information along to anyone you may know who is in need of what I have to offer.