25 July 2012

The Obvious Metaphors.

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end."

We have an insatiable need for story. Story is how we understand the world. But our understanding of the world isn't always accurate. The story we tell ourselves about ourselves isn't always true.

"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."

Being in a relationship is like looking into one of those funny mirrors at the circus. It shows you who you are, but you're all out of shape in all the wrong places. Fat belly, wide face, long feet. The only problem is, usually the mirror is just fine. It's me who's out of shape.

23

Like the difference between waking and sleeping, being with you is the life that matters.

We are once in a lifetime.

The doctor wakes up and realizes he has to account for all the things that the mister has done.

23

After brazenly denying the most common reasons I have heard against succumbing to a life filled with lust, Mauriac concludes that there is only one reason to seek purity. It is the reason Christ proposed in the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Purity, says Mauriac, is the condition for a higher love - for a possession superior to all possessions: God himself.

Obedient to the point of death.

Even death on a cross. We are called everyday to take up our cross and follow Christ. We are called everyday to die to ourselves. It is the most difficult task, when you think about it, because crucifixion is the most difficult death. Crucifixion was effectively death by exhaustion, death by suffocation. Being in a relationship has taught me this one lesson more than anything. Our lives are not our own, but we have been crucified with Christ.
and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
— Romans 5:5-8 
When I reflect on this past year, I see failure after failure after failure. I have fallen short of the expectations of my friends, family, roommates, and co-founders. I have disappointed those closest to me. I have disappointed myself. But there remains hope at the end of all of this, and it is only accessible by death. Death to my passions. Death to my flesh. Death to my selfish wants and desires. Then, when all that is done, a rising to life—an awakening of the Spirit, and the gift of everlasting life.

24 July 2012

"But they're different from me."

"Yes. But you do have an advantage. The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph."

Nightmares, and blessings, and curses.

There are a few things I share with my dad. One is a strong moral intuition. With it a sense of dread at knowing how the world should be and seeing how it actually is. A sense of guilt that haunts. A sense of restlessness that colors the world. When I feel shame, suddenly, all things are shameful. I can't hide the expression from my face. I can't mask the dread in my voice.

I did not have the typical childhood nightmares of running from giant bunnies, or being eaten by monsters in the closet. I remember distinctly three nightmares from my childhood. Recurring ones. One's that stick with me, even till today.

The first is being in the basement of a mall. I can't find a way out. There is an escalator, but it's going the wrong way. I enter it, and begin climbing the steps. But beneath my very feet, they are working against me. I climb, and I climb, and I climb—and I never reach the top.

The second is being in front of a computer. I have the monitor before me, knowing what I am about to enter is heinous and terrifying. I have the keyboard at my fingertips, I double-check it. The escape key at the top left corner. I feel it for its own sake. I mouth the letters, e-s-c. And I reassure myself, if things ever get too overwhelming, if I find myself backed into a corner I can't handle—just press this button and everything will be ok. My own mind won't even let the dream proceed before I go through this little ritual. Before I tell myself it'll all be ok. I press the enter key. I start the game. I'm hunting down a monster. A bigfoot. But when I find him, I find that instead of me doing the hunting, I am the hunted. I scramble for the keyboard, but it's disappeared. I'm stuck in the game. I feel for the escape key. I can't find it. The monster approaches. I hide behind a wooden crate. He corners me. I can't escape.

The third is of the stuffed animals in my room coming to life. At first they are benevolent creatures. Nothing to be afraid of. But slowly and surely they transform into darker creatures. The protagonist becoming the antagonist. How long can you bear with it? How long will you suspend your disbelief before you finally give into admitting that the person you trusted has become the evil one? I run. I run to my parents room. There they are, waiting for me. Security. Comfort. Peace. But they don't see the animals. I tell them, they're right out there. Right outside the room. Knocking. Knocking. Knocking. Grating at the walls. Scraping at the door. My parents don't believe me. They can't see it. The room darkens. The door opens a crack, but my parents are fast asleep, and the little army of evil ones surrounds me. They surround me, and no one else even knows. No one else believes me. I am overwhelmed.

12 July 2012

I'm still a generalist.

I once bought a pair of sunglasses for a far greater price than I had originally set out to pay because the box promised that with each purchase they would plant a tree. I care about the environment, sort of, and so I decided it was a good investment. Months passed, and although I was pretty satisfied with my new spectacles, I was still curious about how much of my money actually went to doing a social good. After some short googling, I discovered that the non-profit the for-profit company outsourced their philanthropy to had reduced the cost of tree-planting to a mere ten cents per unit.

Ten cents. My sunglasses cost 2000x that much. I could've bought a comparably stylish, functional pair of sunglasses for half the cost.. And planted with my own money 1000x the trees.

10 July 2012

Crusoe

"We have all read... the story of the man who has forgotten his name. This man walks about the streets and can see and appreciate everything; only he cannot remember who he is... Every man is that man in the story. Every man has forgotten who he is."

— G. K. Chesterton, from his book Orthodoxy

As if I am about to be torn in half.

I bought a new shirt and jacket. Usually, when I look at my new clothes in the mirror I get excited over what I see as a new skin, but it was different with this shirt and jacket. Though they were new, it felt as if I had been wearing them for years.

— Wim Wenders, excerpt from Notebook on Cities and Clothes, 1989

09 July 2012

Visceral

The journey took me, eventually, to the city of Rome. What I remember most vividly is the fact that the city made me furious. Any building found on any alley leading off any major avenue had a story behind it, an anecdote connected to it, or some sort of meaning associated with it. It made it impossible to relax and simply take in the sights. The entire city was itself a sort of museum, and it made me sick to my stomach.

— Yohji Yamamoto, from his book My Dear Bomb

05 July 2012

If Less Than Three, Check

There are three cases,
  1. I am right and you are wrong.
  2. You are right and I am wrong.
  3. We're both wrong.
He's right.