picture 8 – the benefits of a lake

This is a picture of the cookout I hosted yesterday for my apartment building and some other folks intersted in coming. We spent three hours up on the beach and played football and cooked hot dogs and all sorts of just spending time together. I found that last night was one of the best reminders of why I love what I do (and that includes why I love each student I've met this year – yes, that includes you, reader of my blog). In each of these people here – all of them I know – I see potential. I see gifts. I see awesome people who are going to change the world. I see God in them. And each time I get to just relax and hang out, I feel God's presence there. It's how I can spend week after week cranking this out and that out. It's how I can deal with beaurocracy. It's how I know that while I'm exhausted now, in a couple months I'm going to be wishing them back to Gannon. It's why I'm motivitated to stay in the CCO: tranforming college students to transform the world is about the best thing I could imagine doing right now.

Good night all.

major realization pt deux

I've kept holding off and holding off on this second realization of Easter, mostly because I really had no clue what to say. I've had so many thoughts and thoughts on top of those thoughts that it just felt like a lot of things at once. So I've spent some time today away from people and secluded myself to my journal (the real one I have that feels and smells a lot better and sexier than this one). I don't have a whole lot I want to say about it, except I'm going to put an excerpt here. Maybe some of you feel this way, and if you do… I understand.

…I feel unsettled. To boil down how I am in one word feels like I'm missing something, but it could be absolutely perfect. It's not as if I'm not happy – I can look around me and see all the wonderful things that are happening… I'm finding myself recommitting to my faith and my identity by "throwing thoughts away, destroying bets made" to "Joining thoughts, preparing every part" for You. That's where I am…

I thought of adding more, but the rest seems too personal to just broadcast to a random populous. It's as though it wouldn't do it justice, and really just whore it out because I had an epiphany.

I still feel unsettled, but I feel unsettled with purpose. I feel like I'm made to be at this space at this time – if for anything to take the days as they come and discover them.

I can never deny the fact that if I stare at my life long enough it will get more and more complicated. I can look at my hand right now as it types as see an extension of my body to four fingers and a thumb to multiple hairs and skin cells to mitochondria to DNA to adenine and so on a so forth with complexity beyond my ability to understand. I can't deny the fact, either, that the more complicated it gets, the more beautiful it becomes because it all works together in harmony: adenine connects with thymine, it works in such a way that constructs me. But if I just stared at the cells in my hand, really only tried to focus on one, I'd miss out on writing to you right now, because my hands wouldn't by typing at all, but paralyzed as my 10th grade biology education tries to make sense of all that's going on.

I feel like I might have just contradicted myself, but that's where I think it all works out. If I look at my hand for what it is, and understand what it's for, knowing full well about the DNA and loving it for what it is, and occasionally stopping to appreciate it, it makes typing seem so much more beautiful.

But I can't stop typing.

my love affair with poetry

I've always enjoyed writing poetry. It's something I can't help but want to do. I've found that it's a muse hard fought, but so fleeting to catch that when I do finally get around to feeling like I want to write something, I better do it because before long the idea will have passed and I will have lost my muse.
Truth be told however, I piss myself off when I'm writing because I always think about the poetry I read that isn't good. For every George Herbert and TS Eliot there's a prepubescent teenager regaling his or her last frenzied love with multiple monosyllabic words and phrases that do not make much sense except they rhyme well. And, unless I somehow get "discovered", I'm always going to associate more with the latter than the former. And maybe we all should. Maybe that's when poetry is its most real and most beautiful.

It still pisses me off.

To that end, this is one I've been working on (and will be revised I'm sure):

We are all amateurs when it comes to poetry.

Each line, clumisly written, thought, unwritten –

(because lines never endure the

half-smile delivered

while sitting two tables away from each other)

Develop down the page with the fire of kindlingwood.

(and I know more from you at that moment

than I swear I would have in years beside)

We burn brightly with hot heat

Having no consideration to the fuel

We spend until it's far too late.

(I thought to get up then to see you, but you

were done, looking intently to the door)

a question for everyone who reads my blog

I don't really want to answer the question myself, but instead turn it on all of you.  Leave a comment, let me know what you think:

Can someone be a Christian (as in, a follower of Jesus Christ and his teachings), and at the same time be Buddist?  Hindu?  Jewish?  Sikh? 

I look forward to your answers. 

the second major realization of Easter postponed

I was going to write about my other thoughts of Easter break, but then I started reading ee cummings poetry. He very well might be my favorite poet (a term some would prefer to use loosely with him), but when you get beyond the feeling that he's just being pretentious and he's actually developing beautiful art and beauty, maybe he'll become one of your favorite poets as well.

And because I'm a giving kind of guy, here's one of his poems:

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for eachother: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

so i thought about not posting while home…

    …but this is usually when I get some of my best thinking done.  However, silly dial-up makes the idea of being online somewhat daunting.
    The first thing I've come to realize is about relationships (and for clarification, I think this is appropriate to all relationships, not necessarily dating relationships), and it's that too often people (and I'm certainly included as I, indeed, am a person) are working really hard to "get over" previous relationships.  I've found myself in that boat more often than not trying to see how I can push through old relationships as fast as I could to get into the next one okay.  It was as though it was something to just fight in.

    And then, as is the case usually, during my time with my spiritual mentor, I learned something.  Gregg said to me, "Adam, I don't know if you ever get over old relationships".  At first I really didn't like that idea.  I've had a few relationships, most great, some not so good, and I just always thought you did work through and that was it.  But, really, isn't that silly thinking?  And really, do I ever really want to get over old relationships?  Each relationship I've had makes me who I am.  It inevitably affected me somehow – I realized I can do something, I can't do something, or I need something:

    P.K. showed me I could be a steady, reliable friend.
    D.T. showed me I can't be in a relationship with someone who's really shy.
    L.P. showed me I need to be better at forgiveness.
    R.A. taught me how to love and respect people who are different than me.

      Each of those relationships mean so much to me, but yet in half of those I just wanted to blow by them, which really doesn't give the dignity to any of those relationships they deserve.  And "getting over" would seem to equate some sort of moving beyond something like it's a roadblock to life, not life itself.

    So we don't ever get over relationships, but rather find their place in the patchwork that becomes our hearts, our souls, and the rest of the relationships we have.  It doesn't mean it hurts any less to work through the negative realtionships – in fact, it probably hurts a little more, because one has to say "what happened here?  What was good?  What was bad?  How can I grow?" instead of "that sucks, next", but I, for one, have found this realization to be helpful.  After all, if God has placed these things in my life good, right, and holy reasons, I should probably pray and reflect over them.

     On another note, I am home, it's been gorgeous, and I saw Russell and Chrissy today for the first time in almost a year and probably a year and a half respectively.   I also recieved wonderful phone messages from Ian Kane, Beth Herman, Jeff Hodge, and Aaron Eller.  This random influx of folks who I've cared about for quite sometime now is so refreshing, and a joyful reminder of how relationships really have shaped me.  I also just love looking in my backyard, feeling hardwood floors, and knowing here I can slip into just Adam.  As much as I love my job and the people I work with, and as much as I loved college, there's always a peace to just go home and be Adam the son, grandson, and brother.

happiness

    These things have occured within the last 48 hours and have in many ways began to de-burnout-ify me: 

  • Walking on the beach
  • Watching trout try to jump up a waterfall
  • A bonfire on the beach
  • Laughing with friends
  • Maundy Thursday services
  • My body waking me up with the sun at 7:30
  • Finding out I may have only 1 kidney
  • Learning real friendship and real care and real love
  • Learning forgiveness
  • Thinking… I mean really thinking
  • Planning fellowship groups
  • Eating good food
  • Watching movies until 1 in the morning

    I'm more sure day after day that happiness is found with God in control of my life, and me not just simply allowing Him to do so, but thirsting for it.  Even recently I've found the less effort I put into control and the more effort I put into awareness of God in situations and loving who I'm in that situation with, the more blessed and Spirit-filled they become.
    For once, I'm really beginning to be okay with no control.

    I want to write more, but I have things to pack and work to do.

Blessed Easter. 

another nice relationship post

    This is from my old journal.  Jeremy Shankle (one of my Buffalo friends from college) wrote the quote, and I found it rather appopriate.  I've realized that at this point in my life, I have friends in every single stage of relationship life – good, single friends; friends who have just started dating; friends engaged; friends just married; and a friend soon closing in on 5 years of marriage (who graduated with me, no less).  Anyway, I enjoyed this as I was reflecting on some of my old journals:

"…The real point is that you should try to find (or maybe you already have found) someone who would like to spend their days the same way that you would like to. In my case, this obviously means traveling across Germany at 185.79 miles per hour. And, since my love is sitting across from me, reading Emma, at 185.79 miles per hour in Germany, I have found someone who is just as I described, and I think it was a good idea to get married to her…"

At this time next year, two of my three closest friends from GCC will have found their bullet train partners, spending days they described.

I woud like to spend my days knowing how dorky it is that I beatbox at random times, I live with college students, I'm almost a guitarist, and through all of that having someone say "that's kinda cute" 

sweet new album i made

    So I promised Hannah I'd make her an album documenting my favorite songs.  This is a monumental task for me, and in fact, for Volume I, I only managed to go from A-J (first word… Media Player doesn't sort by last name).  Anyway, here's the first set of tracks:

  1. Amy Winehouse – In My Bed
  2. Aqualung – Extra Ordinary Thing
  3. Ben Folds – You To Thank
  4. Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals – Ground on Down
  5. Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life
  6. Britney Spears – Toxic
  7. Cee-Lo (f. Pharrell) – The Art of Noise
  8. Coldplay – X&Y
  9. Common (f. Kanye West) – The Food [Live]
  10. Jamie Cullum – Frontin'
  11. David Gray – My Oh My
  12. Derek Webb – I Hate Everything (But You)
  13. Dispatch – Silent Steeples
  14. Diana Krall – Peel Me A Grape
  15. Fiona Apple – Criminal
  16. G. Love and the Special Sauce – Rhyme for the Summertime
  17. Guster – Ramona
  18. Jack Johnson – Wasting Time

    As I'm listening to the album (I haven't given it away yet), I think "Dang, this really is a good reflection of my musical taste", and it's not even including a few of my favorite artists in the A-J (Anathallo, Alicia Keys, Amerie, Badly Drawn Boy, Danger Mouse, etc), and obviously arists like Kayne West, Sufjan Stevens, The Roots, and Pete Rock haven't even been thought of yet.

    It's funny too that I've tried to do this for years, and when I finally said "oh, let's just do this alphabetically" how easy it's become.

    If you, too, would like this mixtape, give me a holler. 

this will not be a lyric posting blog… promise

But I love this one.  And I think it might be the single best way to describe how I want to feel when I'm dating someone.  Enjoy:

"First Day Of My Life" – Bright Eyes

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain suddenly everything changed
They're spreading blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go

And so I thought I’d let you know
That these things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realize that I need you
And I wondered if I could come home

Remember the time you drove all night
Just to meet me in the morning
And I thought it was strange you said everything changed
You felt as if you had just woke up
And you said “this is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you
But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”

So if you want to be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery
Besides maybe this time is different
I mean I really think you like me

random thing i did today

    When I'm especially tired, if I think of performing a couple actions or have a couple thoughts in my head, they run together.

Example – I had my Sunday NY Times on my bench plus my Netflix DVD ready to send out. I thought "oh, I should read my Times!" and "Oh, I need to put this DVD in the mail." Consequently, I left my room with the NY Times my hand, ready to take to the mailbox. I said "What the deuce am I doing?" and got my DVD.

But yeah. I'm going to go take a nap.