Not up till 3AM this time.

The last two days I have been up until 3AM hanging out with guys on my floor doing things like watching Smallville and playing nerdy sorts of video games. We found this game online called X-COM: UFO Defense. I used to play it when I was younger….in 1993. It’s about 8 Megabytes. It used to be a HUGE deal. It’s still awesome, but it takes up about as much room as a power-point presentation. Times change, but the sweet-awesome fun of defending the world from impending alien doom does not.

I was looking out my window the past few days and there’s this tree out there with some pretty amazing flower blossoms. You should look at them if you randomly walk by my window.

There was this episode of Smallville that made me wonder something. Clark Kent went to a dance with his friend Cloe, but then had to run out of the dance hall right before they kissed to save people from a tornado. By people I mean the girl he is really into. So he did that, but he and Cloe were still on the track to being more than friends (wink, nudge). BUT, Cloe did this thing where she said, “So I was thinking that it’d be better if we just stayed really good friends.” and then Clark said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.” Here’s the thing. After this Cloe cried and was sad. Why? Because her mind-game failed. Clark wanted to protect her from getting hurt…if you dated superman he’d be worried too. Clark didn’t want that to be what happened (I could tell), but it seemed like what she wanted and he’s a man and doesn’t read in between the lines well.

This brings me to my point. If you’re a girl, reading this, do us men a favor. We need you to say what you mean. We’re not gonna get your silly mind-games otherwise. Seriously. Give us a hand. Clark Kent is a good example of what happens when you play games: He doesn’t get the game and goes with what you say and not what you mean. I’ll give you a high five if you say what you mean all the time.

I was in church today and I was not very into it. I dunno what it is, but for some reason today it felt like everyone in church could have been objects of my imagination. Besides a guy named Seth who introduced himself to me, I don’t think I would have imagined someone named Seth. It was odd though. Maybe it’s because I really don’t know anyone at church. Everyone there is just a face without a story. I think I’m tired of going to church and letting it be that. I want to know people’s stories, I want to have real community.

I was thinking about the community in which I live. There are about 40 guys on a floor. We hang out and talk and occasionally spend time in prayer or talk about the Lord, but mostly we just hang out. I know a few of the guys pretty well, but to be honest I realized that I don’t know many of their stories at all. I see them and I interact with them and they with me…but am I just an empty face to them who could be imaginary? I don’t think they think I’m imaginary. I doubt their imaginations would make them go to floor meetings. Still though, I’m learning that people’s stories are important to them and to me being able to know them. I just wish I could hear more of their stories.

Well. That’s it for now. G’night.

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Watchin’ Smallville

I’m watching Smallville whilst I type this, so if it sorta sucks then it’ll be okay cuz I’ll make up for it with Clark Kent’s childhood silliness and love-sick dreams as a teen-ager…It sounds familiar and he can run really fast at this point.

I play this fun game sometimes when people are talking. I take what they say literally and out of context, it’s pretty fun. So when Dr.Neuhouser says something about roaming nomadic “bands” I think of a group of people carrying drums and guitars and wandering from place to place. The drummer’s got it pretty rough I think to myself. Tee hee.

My friends have this baby. He’s really cute. His name is Lucas Huckaby. The other day I was over at his house and I was sitting next to him and he was watching me. I moved my face close to his and he made uncomfortable baby noises, but when I moved my face too far away he made the same uncomfortable noises. It ended up with him wanting me to be at about a foot and a half distance so he could see me, but I wasn’t too close. Sometimes I wonder if we do the same thing with people and God. We want them close, but not too close. We want people in our lives, but not too close to the point that they become able to find out who we are. We want a close relationship with God, but do we really? What happens if He gets too close? Then He’s scary.

Clark Kent is friends with Lex Luther in the show. Lex wants to know about Clark’s powers. Lex is kinda shady. I wonder if I had a shady friend, would I tell him about my powers for the sake of being honest or would I be too careful like Clark? Hmmm….

I snowed today. It’s Spring quarter and it snowed. I got sorta wet. No worries though. I had a jacket.

Oh yeah. I forgot. I got my back waxed today. My friend Jeff agreed to do it and I bought the stuff. It hurt alot. I don’t recommend it. Really, I don’t. It leaves a whole bunch of wax on your back and it stings. It was interesting how many people wanted to watch. Mitch turned on Latin Jazz and it became like some kind of strange spa in the kitchen lounge on my floor. The wax doesn’t come off easily, I hope it doesn’t take too long though.

Clark Kent and that girl with dark hair are totally into each other. Hopefully there’s someone who I am that into at some point. I’d like it. Hopefully my awesome powers don’t get in the way.

Before Bed Notes 1:06AM

I had my first entirely free Thursday during Spring quarter in 2 years today. It was glorious. Homework got done, but so did fun. I had a good day. Kaleb and I played catch….I’m not great, but nor am I terrible. He’s got some game though. I went on a walk with some friends and had a dinner with a friend of mine. He told me I should write this down (what I’m about to write) So I’m going to. Maybe you’ll like it. He seemed to.

He was talking to me about how there’s all sorts of shitty (my word, not his. I feel the ugliness in the word conveys my meaning better than other words do) things in life. There are people who are crippled, people who get cancer, and people who experience a variety of other crap in their lives that are no fault of their own. “Ought we not get mad at God for these things?” He asked. I thought about this. On one hand yes. These things suck. Some people through no fault of their own experience the worst things….but perhaps that’s not what we should be thinking about. A tangent if you will allow it.

I watched Patch Adams over break with my mom. It was a great movie. The man loved Jesus and other people. There was a scene that stood out to me in the film. Patch was in a mental ward and interacted with this genius man who was there because he was too smart. He held up four fingers and asked Patch how many he could see. Patch said, “four”. The man got angry and called Patch just another idiot. Later Patch went to see him and asked about the fingers. The man told him to look beyond the fingers. When patch did that and didn’t focus on the fingers, he saw eight fingers. The man said something to the effect of “You must look beyond what is right in front of you. In doing this you will see things and experience a greater reality filled with that which other people cannot (or choose not to) see.”

Firstly what I’m about to say I learned in class. So I’m not the genius here if this comes across as great otherwise, it was me that screwed it up. The author of a book I read echoed this scene from Patch Adams. He said when we look at the problem of evil and suffering in the world we rightly acknowledge it’s horror and tragedy. However, most of the time in doing so that is the extent of what we see. We fixate on the bad and we get tunnel vision. We fail to look at life in terms of the overarching story of redemption that the bible lays forth for God’s people. At the end of the bible, everything is okay for the people of God. Every tear is wiped away. God dwells in physical reality with us. The author (Scott Bader-Saye) went on to say that in looking at life in this manner (without thinking of the whole story) it’s easy to become destroyed by grief and pain and be overwhelmed by the suffering of the world. If we were to look at the problems we see in light of the whole story we take to be true, then our tragedies are blunted. People experience pain, grief, and suffering in frustrating amounts through no fault of their own. It is important that this is acknowledged. This is part of the story…but it is only part of the story. It is not the whole story. The whole story ends with the Lord Himself redeeming our pain and suffering through the perfection of our relationship with him.

Yes. There are shitty things in life. Acknowledge that. We exist in a broken world filled with things that hurt us in every way possible. Existence is no bed of roses without thorns. It is no walk in the park. It is often tragic. Yet, don’t stop there. Also acknowledge that the truth we (as Christians) live into is a truth that includes an end where things are set right. The brokenness doesn’t have the last word. Be encouraged to live knowing that the end will redeem what hardships we experience now.

One more thing: The truth also has a part where God is with us. It is not just us dicking around accomplishing nothing and suffering in a broken world. It is God working through us and with us to make the world a more Christ-like place while we are in it. Just because the end will redeem everything that is broken doesn’t mean that redemption begins in the afterlife. It begins here and now. It’s just like the Kingdom of God. The story of redemption is both “within you” and “here” and also not yet.

Very Tired. I desire sleep, and yet I blog.

Here. It’s 1 AM. Short update on life according to me. I had all my classes today. I think they will all be interesting. I had the first engaging business class lecture of my life today. It was a pleasant surprise.

I think there will be lots of reading this quarter.

Today flew by and at the end of it (now) I feel like I ought to have accomplished something of value. Dunno that I have.

A guy on my floor moved out today. It was depressing. I am gonna miss him. I realized in that moment that I am going to do exactly that with every other guy on the floor in about 10 weeks. The thought of it almost made me cry. It’s a good thing that I’m a man and tears only come out when I’m crying in joy because I have slain a dinosaur.

It’s time for sleep now. I don’t feel all that jazzed about waking up tomorrow. I will though. At least I’m pretty sure. I guess you can never be positive. Stay away jungle beasts.

It begins again.

It’s officially spring quarter now. This means several things. 1)It will get sunny. 2)Girls will become scantily clad. 3)Class will increasingly become not where I desire to be. Sigh. I’m ready I guess. I suppose that we’ll have to see just what exactly life has in store for me. I’m sure I’ll talk about it when it comes up.

Sometimes girls get haircuts. I think that most men fail to have the appropriate response to their haircuts. When girls see other girls’ haircuts they scream with joy and the phrase “That’s so cute!” is thrown around liberally. When guys see girls’ haircuts we’re not sure what to say. Obviously, not all haircuts look good (no Courtney, don’t worry. I wasn’t lying), but at the same time girls are very sensitive. You can’t say the same thing to a girl with a bad haircut that you can say to a guy. So, whether the haircut is good or bad it is always a matter of diplomacy. “How excited do I get?” I don’t know that haircuts ever excite men the way they do with girls and I will not use the phrase “That’s so cute!”…Even if it’s a good haircut I feel that my response to it is always somewhat lackluster. I’m sorry. But really, It’s a haircut. You are currently missing some of the hair that you had the last time I saw you and it makes you look better or not. Congratulations. That’s not to say that men don’t want to hear that our haircuts look nice. I think it’s just that we take them a bit less seriously (at least I think so). My friend Zach Brenneman has had a mullet for 2 quarters now. He has no fear. People don’t tell him he’s got nice hair and he doesn’t care. It would be nice if girls followed his example, however if they did how would we flirt with them about their hair? Hmmm…Anyhow, the point remains that I don’t feel like I get excited enough about haircuts. Is it an acquired skill? Like watching basketball?

Another thing. Girls use the word cute alot. My friend Robb and I discovered whilst talking with his younger sister that cute is not something that is universal to all girls. Each girl has a different definition of what is or is not cute. No. There’s no reasoning. They just know what is cute. Then they check with friends. Then they agree that it is in fact cute. How? I have no idea. Maybe there’s a secret chart that they hide…maybe girls hold secret meetings every year and decide on what is and is not cute and expect everyone to fall in line….or maybe it’s just one of those things. One of those things like the way we as men can tell when we’ve taken a joke too far…it’s just obvious.

Successfully maintaining a lifestyle of prayer as opposed to morning devotions that encapsulate my relationship with the Lord is difficult. I am not great at it. It feels like relearning how to pray. It seems to be a slow process. I guess I have to be okay with that. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike all at once. In an unrelated note, I did learn to not like riding bikes all at once. I fell off my bike twice in one ride and scraped both legs against a large rock. One each time. My brother told me I had to keep riding. Well balls Marcus. It hurts to ride bikes when both your legs are bleeding. I prefer to walk or run now. Stupid bikes.

So, I ended up reading about 4 fantasy novels over break. It was so good. I lived in a fantastically magical universe for several days with dragons and stuff. Why is it that when we watch these films and read these books we say to ourselves “YES. That is awesome. I want to ride a dragon.” or “That was the coolest thing I have ever seen!” There are lots of examples. When Tony Jaa fights 4 of the biggest men ever in The Protector. When the Rohirrim charge Minus Tirith in Return of the King. When Morgan Freeman meets Tim Robbins at the end of Shawshank Redemption. When Lirael and the rest of the big blood lines of the old kingdom break Orranis the destroyer. When Jesus rises at the end of The Passion of The Christ. All these moments awake this thing in me (at least) where I am suddenly carried away by the pure excitement or whathaveyou of the scene. Why is it that we experience this so many times in fiction, but fail to experience these things in real life? Seriously, We are told that we are offered “abundant life” or “life to the full” in Christ, but why is it that the times where I feel truly alive are hidden in these moments in life that are uncovered during films or stories or at the all too seldom momentous occasions in life? Does this say something about what we have done with the gospel? I don’t know. It’s just that I find myself desiring something that I cannot seem to grasp. Something that I cannot easily find in places other than the moments in stories where good triumphs over evil, where things are set right, and where we find the ending to the story that we hope for our own lives.

I want so badly for my life to be this thing that I love living during each moment I’m able, but so often I find my life being something that I compare to stories I love and find it coming up short. I don’t need to ride dragons. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying I need more than what we are told that a faith with Christ is. I need a faith that rips my world apart and forces me to survive. I don’t want complacency. I don’t think any of us do. I think that’s sometimes why we watch movies and read books so that we don’t feel complacent. The truth hidden at the bottom of each moment that grasps us and leaves us in awe makes us want something more. It reminds us that sitting on our couches is not what we really desire. We don’t just want 9-5 jobs, we don’t just want a family, we don’t just want a car, we don’t just want to feel good about ourselves. We want to be fulfilled. What does this fulfillment look like? I won’t agree with Karl Marx that fulfillment is found solely in labor in which we control the means of production in a world where people are perfectible. I’m sorry Mr. Marx. I don’t agree. Fulfillment is found in Christ. I just don’t understand how to live in a way that makes that fulfillment something I own. Maybe I’ll get it tomorrow.

Barefeet in the Catholic Church?

<>So it’s been a few days of break. It’s been pretty good on the whole. I’ve relaxed, thought a minimal amount about things that aren’t important, and I ate some good food too. Fun stuff. I read two books out of the Eragon series so I read more than I’d planned on…but those “nerdy dragon books” (as my friend Robb calls them) are just so frikkin’ good that you’ve gotta read them all once you finish the first one. Come on. Seriously? Haven’t you ever had that happen? No? I bet you think that books with magic and dragons teach kids that witchcraft and Satan are okay. I don’t agree. One thing’s for sure though: They make great stories.

I got lost in Bed, bath, and beyond when I went with my mom to buy my brother’s wedding gift. I felt like I was five again. I had a giant wicker hamper in my hand and couldn’t see my mom. Part of me wanted to shout, but the rest of me remembered I was 21 and I need to be able to find my way out of stores these days.

I mostly hate bed,bath, and beyond. It’s stupid in there. It’s as though every useless thing made by man has been placed on display in the sense of “you ought to buy this, it’ll make you happy”. There’s a brand called simple human there. Simple Human. If we are to measure simple humanity by the brand then in order to be simple humans we all will need shiny wastebins and polished chrome trashbag holders before we can ever claim the title. Sigh, I guess rational thought, emotions, and a soul don’t count anymore…or at least they’resupplimentary to the trashbag holders.
Sidenote: I dunno if I told you this, but I went to Nordstrom’s for the first time several weeks ago. My friends Wayne, and Jeff and myself all went. One of them wanted to buy a ridiculously expensive shirt. I hotly debated the issue. Needless to say, people end up spending their own money how they want. When we were in there Wayne pointed out a pair of shoes to me in the Men’s Department. He said, “This pair of shoes costs 500$.” I responded with, “What kind of jackass pays 500$ for a pair of shoes?” I said it quite loudly. All the jackasses in the room looked at me in shock that someone would doubt their fashion sense. I wasn’t really good about holding thoughts like that back, so Jeff and Wayne decided we should leave before we got kicked out. All I’ve gotta say is that 500$ can buy a lot of things. Think about that before you buy shoes at Nordstrom’s . Also, if you go there and see that foxy lady at the cosmetics stand…tell her I’m coming back sometime to overcome my shyness and introduce myself….not like the last time when I awkwardly walked by and wished I would have said something.

I was on a walk today (by the way I should have worn a jacket, because it is balls cold in Bellingham still) and I ended up desiring to talk to Jesus so I went into the Catholic church in my town…Why? Because it was there. Anyhow, I went in and sat in a warm gigantic room and listened to several hundred years of tradition go on about this and that. I sat next to a kindly old gentleman who married a filipino woman who used to be a nun for 19 years. Talk about impressive. I met her. She was intimidating.

I wonder if those priests ever want someone to start playing free-form jazz and have the whole congregation start dancing…probably not. I wish they would sometimes. I walked by the synagogue in our town and there was singing and happiness inside. It was lovely. I wish I would have gone in.  It was a Maundy Thursday service at the Catholic Church. That means it’s the night they remember the last supper. Christ washes Peter’s feet. They had a footwashing basin.The old gentleman and myself took off our shoes and walked barefoot down the isle (with many others) to the front of the church where we had our feet washed by total strangers. In serving everyone they became HUGE in the eyes of God. Impressive and Christ-like. As I was walking to the foot washing place without shoes on, in a flannel shirt and carhartt jeans I realized something . I was walking barefoot in a catholic church. We got to parade an awesome part of the kingdom (service) in a manner that spited Nordstrom’s and all those people who pay too much for shoes. Showing Jesus to other people means not being to big on their shoes. Not to say that shoes don’t matter, it’s just that the shoes get in the way of you washing their feet.That made me smile. If the priests are up for that…maybe a little free-form jazz wouldn’t be so out of line afterall.

Everyone’s gone. I will be gone soon too…gone to Bellingham.

Well, there aren’t anymore residents left on the floor. Just me. I walked through and assessed fines. I hate that part of my job, I really dislike fining people for soap scum on their bathtub. I really dislike having to look for soap scum. SIGH. Oh well. Anyhow, it’s really quiet hereabouts. It reminds me of the beginning of the year when I was doing half-assed decorations and being really nervous about what this job would be like. I was really worried that when the guys walked on the floor that I wouldn’t connect with any of them and that I would have to enforce rules all the time. That’s not the case. Luckily.

Being here on an empty floor makes me think about the other times that this has happened and will happen. 1)before everyone was here 2)at the end of Fall quarter 3)now 4)at the end of the year. When I think of it like this I realize how much I love my job and really enjoy being around the guys on the floor. I think that for all the effect that it’s had on my social life, relationships with other friends, and schedule I am really going to miss it. Not the title, but what I get to do. I get PAID to hang out with college age guys and (for lack of a better phrase) dick around. What’s more I get paid to do that with college age guys that I enjoy being around. In essence I get paid to do something I enjoy doing. Hmmm. I don’t enjoy it all the time. Some guys are a pain in the ass sometimes, and fining people is a challenge…but overall…this is something I really like doing. I’ve got one more quarter of this job and that makes me excited/sad/challenged all at the same time. I am very ready for Spring.

I got a thing from my Chilean foreign exchange program. In case I didn’t say or you didn’t know, I’m going to Chile in July. Until December. I sign a thing that says that I won’t speak english while I’m there. I was also told i na pamphlet to keep “a low profile”….Well…I’m 6′ 6”. I’m American. I weigh about 250 pounds. I have voice that carries and I’m not going to but chilean clothes just to fit in. Looks like that one is out. By the way, foreign exchange is really pricey. It makes me worried about next year financially, but then again…it’s just another fun opportunity to trust in the Lord and His provision. Do I really take Jesus at His word when He says not to worry? I think I ought to. It’s alot easier that way.

I’m going home in about two hours. Back to Bellingham. Not too much to do there, but there are people I really appreciate there. I think in general it will be nice to spend time with them.

My friend Michael Miller left for Europe today. I’m going to buy him something in Chile and he’ll buy me something and then we’ll trade. That makes me pumped. We’re both hopefully going to end up with some cool stuff. I’ll miss him while he’s gone though.

Sometimes people (especially me) try to feel for just a set amount of time. We’re always trying to quantify emotions (and relationships). The odd thing is that they cannot be measured like that. We can’t give ourselves just a day to mourn someone we lose. We need a vague amount of time that isn’t measured in days, but rather in the time we need to heal. Instead of setting time limits and deadlines on emotions and relationships maybe it’d be helpful if we let ourselves feel for as long as we felt. That way we could stop when it was natural to do so. The concept that we’ve been fed about “just getting over” things is silly. It doesn’t work like that. People don’t work like that.

I feel like reminiscing. I’m looking back on what I’ve experienced this year and I find myself older and more emotionally calloused than before. In some ways I wonder if that is what everyone experiences. Do we all get more jaded as life goes on? or is the point to achieve the opposite? I really don’t know. It’s just a strange and new place to be. I think when you mess about with romantic relationships there’s the possibility of being significantly hurt. There’s that possibility in every real relationship. When it happens it’s not fun and then you feel older afterwards. At least I do. It’s harder to try again because you’re older and know more of what the stakes are…which really means you got hurt and you’re scared to get that way again.

That’s about all I’ve got to talk about. It’s been a bit depressing hasn’t it? Probably. I wish I had more funny things to share. I don’t though. Youtube might. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMo_boi1Yw0 Stick the whole thing out. Good stuff.