18 January 2010

Baptized in battle.

My father hesitated as he walked upstairs. He wanted to tell me something. I had already told him that I was interested in going to seminary, that I was really considering it post-graduation. He was a marine, and he spoke to me about his days in the military. He said that the toughest job in the military is to be a chaplain.

He said it was because chaplains have to be able to speak to people from all sorts of religious backgrounds, and these people are fighting a war, and they are out there killing other people--and the chaplains have to be able to go to soldiers and tell them, "It's ok. What you are doing is ok."

He said that this was the hardest thing for a man to do. To be a chaplain, to have that responsibility, to provide that comfort, to see the horrors of war--the killings, the destruction, the devastation--and to still be able to tell another man with the utmost conviction: "It's ok. What you are doing is ok."

I still don't know if it's ok. I don't even know if what I am doing with my life is ok. But I understand that this must be the most difficult thing for a man to do. And I understand that it must have been the most liberating thing for a man to hear. Yet even after all these years, I see the scars of war in my father's eyes.

12 January 2010

Because He Lives.

The video is not great quality, but I love the song and I love the lyrics. This simple song has brought me through many hard times--this timeless message has delivered me from much sorrow.

08 January 2010

Found in reflection.

We often find ourselves frustrated at computers. They're complicated and they never do what they're told. But the reality is that computers are quite simple: they only ever do what they're told. And the problem which exists is that computers are too precise. They demand very specific and detailed instructions or they cannot operate, and most certainly will not do what you, the user, intends. We often blame our miscommunication on the computer when in fact the cause of our infuriation is our own ambiguity and our inability to articulate what we mean, think, and feel.

We experience something very similar when we play football. If you are throwing the ball you must communicate to the receiver where he is to expect the ball--and it is only by ingenuity, practice, and luck that any two players ever make a successful connection. Communication is key. We must mean what we say and say what we mean. All else is lost in translation.


Symmetry is beauty: Mathematicians will appreciate my turning of phrases.

01 January 2010

Happy Birthday Mom.

This new years is bittersweet. It's been years since I've seen Gus and Colleen. We used to live next door to them back when we lived in San Bernardino, back before we owned a house. Every new years they'd celebrate with us and our family, they would bring a homemade salsa whose recipe was so notoriously hot that it drew accusations of being repackaged from professionals.

They still tell stories about me to their friends and family, about how when I was but four years old they would observe me and my dad troubleshooting computer problems for other people. We were a team, and I was my dad's little helper. I would remind my dad about things he has overlooked with my innocent attention to detail. It's been many years since I was the little four year old child assisting his father with grown up people problems.

"Tell your husband you love him."
"You love me!"