A thought

Hey. I was just doing some Spanish homework and I thought I would need to tell you about it. I was supposed to write a letter to someone from someone else talking about a shared experience. I wrote my letter to Luke Skywalker from Lando Calrissian…in Spanish.

Yes.  I like Star Wars a lot. While I was writing my letter I looked at a trailer for when they rereleased the old movies in special edition mode…Remember? Gosh. Do I ever. I went to see all of them and it was so bomb that looking at the trailer made me really really excited to watch them again. Here: Experience for yourself.

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi4254269721/

You loved it. I knew you would.

Anyhow, I have noticed that while I scorn the TV Series LOST in an active manner…I am the one who likes Star Wars too much. So while I plan on continuing to mock LOST because it’s cheesy and ridiculous. (I mean really. The island is jumping through time. That’s just about the stupidest thing ever.) I also am the person who wishes that lightsabers were real.

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Early Morning questions

Sometimes I ask Andrew Ryan questions in the early morning. Thus far there have been two. I will go through them one at a time:

A) This one time in Cuba I woke up and told him “I am really frustrated with our government.” I asked him what he thought. He was still in bed. It was probably about 7:30AM

B) Recently I woke up and as we were eating breakfast at 7:30AM I said “Do you think people have souls?” He responded with “yes.” I said “why?” and he said “because the bible says so.” I took this to mean he didn’t really want to engage in dialogue and ended it there.

Lately Kile Petersen and myself have been thinking that the next time I wake up that early I should have a question ready for him. The next one on the docket is “Do you ever think I will find true love?” Ha. That’ll get him.

I rehearsed for my presentation on Wednesday tonight. I read through my words that I will say about 5 times. It took awhile. I got antsy. Then after I had finished I went and worked out. That was fun…

well…see ya later.

Today was Sunday

I went to church this morning and discovered something grand. When you work out (I went running with Katie Litz and then hit the gym with Kile Petersen on Saturday), the next day’s sleep is amazing. I mean really good. You wake up feeling great! I got what I would usually call not enough sleep and woke up this morning feeling super-dandy. I went to church, came back, did the powerpoint presentation for my presentation that comes on Wednesday and then hung around a bit.

After homework I looked through old blog posts for awhile. It’s odd to look back in time at the places you have been. They seem so very similar to the places you are now, just in different circumstances. Chauncey of last year was sad that school was ending and that his PA experience was coming to an end (he was also glad about that too). Current Chauncey experiences many of the same things about this year and life in the now. Devilish cycles that keep coming back and making me wish my whole PA staff was in the room so I could tell them I loved them and cry forever. Well, maybe not forever. Afterwards Ben, JJ, Nate, and I could kill a bear with only our wits to prove our manliness after the tears.

It’s strange looking back at the past and seeing God in your life to such an extent that you can’t try to deny it. It makes you wonder what will happen in the future when you look back on today. Does the current you see God at work? I don’t know that I am savvy enough to catch it. I wish I were. I think it was easier for the apostles seeing as how they were healing people and getting lowered out of cities at night and stuff…Is it harder to see God in a life in which you get to do homework a lot? Or does it just mean you have to look harder?

It’s funny when you look back at the past version of yourself and wish you could give him a hug. Sometimes I think that would be all he would have needed. Of course that’s completely silly, the idea of time-travel that is…but nonetheless. It’s nice to know that the further in life that you move on the more you actually start to like the people you have recently been. I say it that way because you won’t get to be the person you were yesterday ever again. Sorry, but it’s true. I looked back at Chauncey in the early summer of last year and wished I could talk to him and pray for him and give him advice based on my experience…I don’t get to do that. He never gets to know the things I know now and I never get to be where he was. That’s the tricky business of it all.

How can we live life today so that when we look back on our past selves we can do so with joy? I’m tired of looking back with frustration at the idiots I have been. Perhaps I am learning.

Lately it seems that I’ve been less of an idiot…I get to look back with sadness and joy at the awesome things I have been blessed to do with the knowledge that I don’t get to do them again. Maybe it all has to do with learning to love oursleves. Maybe that’s what I am learning. I really am starting to look back at myself in the past and wish the best for that man I was. I want him to not make the mistakes I made. However, following a blog only makes you aware of the futility of wanting things like that. The person I was will do the things I did, no matter how much the story seems to give him room to do otherwise.

That was a silly dramatic rambling, but hey. So is life sometimes.

There’s a baby who has my birthday-Shout out to Loa Pai

My friend Ron Pai had a baby on my birthday, that’s December 16th. He had a baby and then several days later I trudged through the snow to drop off his house key. I was among the first to see the baby before the typical Baby-lockdown phase happens. What’s baby lockdown you ask?

Baby-lockdown is what happens when friends of your have babies for the first time. The house becomes locked down as though the theoretical presence of outsiders will shatter the moments of peace inbetween taking care of the baby. I think that it’s probably a very likely truth of the situation. Nonetheless, the baby-lockdown phase makes me feel sortof oafish. Being large and loud I just associate the fact that I can’t get ahold of anyone with new babies with who I am. “I am so loud. Surely they don’t even want me around their baby. I’d probably break it.” These are the sorts of things that go though my head. Not to say that it’s even really the case, because you find that as soon as the iron-curtain of baby-lockdown ends the parents are extra ready to have people come watch aforementioned lockdown baby and interact with him/her. It’s then when I realize that something about babies does several things:

a) discourages guests.

b) hurts one’s ability to sleep.

c) makes a big hullabaloo. “you’ve gotta see the baby.”

All of this being said, I would like to put a large congratulations out there to the Pais. As far as I know I wasn’t put through baby-lockdown this time by them. At the same time, after the first baby lockdown you come to expect and understand it. I am super pumped to meet this baby girl that came into the world on my birthday. Perhaps someday we can draw with crayons. They’re still my preferred artistic medium. Despite my 22 years of life…somethings just still are awesome.

Shout out to Loa Maile Pai, born December 16th, 2008. You have some awesome parents. You were worth walking through the snow to see. Someday I will be that guy who says “I knew you when you were this high!” I know that will be obnoxious. It’ll be okay. Maybe I’ll be cool enough then that you will still want to color with the crayons I will bring. If not I’ll bring icecream.

3 pairs of boots and 3 pounds of bees

I think that people who are foreign exchange students who speak Japanese in the library have their own secret language. It’s Japanese. Part of me wishes that I too spoke Japanese so I could find out if they were all really witty and we never knew. Someday maybe we will find out that they know something really important that we don’t and we missed out that day in the Library due to our lack of Japanese. It is highly possible. Or maybe they were making fun of my scarf….That couldn’t be it.

On a related note, I was strolling through campus the other day (I think it was Tuesday) when I noticed something striking.The 3 girls in front of me were wearing 3 almost identical pairs of brown boots. I have noticed that cold weather brings out the boot-wearing side of girls. It’s like the way that the gym tends to bring out the cut-off shirt wearing side of guys, except that it tends to be seasonal. I usually don’t notice obscure bits of clothing like this, except that I for some reason have been doing it more often. I am starting to notice haircuts, scarves (because I like them and want to encourage others to wear them), boots and when girls have taken time to do their hair. Why? I am not sure. Mostly I think it has something to do with the fact that people need affirmation. They like to be told that something they put time into picking out/deciding on (if they’re a girl) is cool or something. So I try to do that. Not just to be nice. I only say it when I mean it. However, I’ve noticed that once you start you can’t stop noticing. I’ve also noticed that you cannot point out the similarites in boots to people speaking a secret language…that happens to be Japanese.

Shortly after this I talked to my folks on the phone. It seems that my parents are building a bee hive. Apparently one can get up to 3 gallons of honey out of a bee hive during a year. If that’s the case I will be using HONEY ON EVERYTHING when I go home. Sandwich? Honey. Cereal? Honey. Lasagna? Maybe honey. When my mom brought it up she said that they were buying a queen and 3 pounds of bees. It seems that bees come in pounds. I don’t know if I can fully express the very strange nature of this statement. I guess I wonder if there is an insect that comes in kilos…

My brother was in town this weekend. On Valentine’s day I went maternity shopping with him and my sister-in-law. They’re having a baby. It was a pretty fun day. I am not huge on shopping, but hanging out with my brother and his wife was super cool. There was an interesting scene downtown. I would go so far as to call it a gong show. Let me tell you about it.

The corner of pine and somethingorother by Westlake center was abuzz with activity. There were angry protesters of Israel’s military action in Gaza who were shouting things like “Palestinian Pride” (that’s what I recall), there were angry Jesus yellers shouting about people being damned unless they turned to Jesus, there was a guy waving a US flag and an Israeli flag at the same time, the firefighters were out trying to raise money for cancer research by doing stairclimbing in full gear, and to top it all off there were people offering free hugs.

What exactly does one do in this situation? The Gaza protesters weren’t doing a great job of triggering useful dialogue or even being balanced in their approach to protesting, the Jesus yellers were trying to scare people into heaven, the flag man was being contrary, the firefighters were trying to help, and the hug people were just out to be nice.

My response was to tell some guy out there that Jesus loved him (regardless of what the street yellers said), make jokes with the firefighters about how people should give them more money, and get three free hugs. Free hugs are awesome. Whoever thought that was a good idea on Valentine’s day was a good thinker. Seriously. Makes me feel okay that I am single on the most couple-oriented day of the year. Frikkin’ disgusting. Tyler Gorsline told me to ask a girl out on a date. I didn’t. I don’t think I missed out on anything.

Today was a day that reminded me of free hugs. The sun was out. I went and walked around in it. I enjoyed it until it was too cold to enjoy any more. I got all hyper because of the sunlight. I felt like superman, but still was unable to fly like he does in the movies.

Riddle me this world. Is batman a superhero or just a hero? I vote hero. He doesn’t have super powers. Punto. Nobody counts “super-rich” as a super power. Not a superhero. The end.

It’s sort of late, but since I rambled about silly things I have been thinking about without conveying any deep sorts of things. Maybe I will try to do that briefly.

It’s funny when you have trouble finding God and then ask Him to reveal Himself. He does. The deepest points of my own despair, frustration, self-loathing, and pain are the places where I find myself reaching out to God and then waiting to see His response. I guess I don’t expect Him to answer sometimes. Not because He’s not there, but rather because I get all melodramatic or distraught “Why would He answer me?” part of me asks. It’s shocking what happens within a few hours of praying. The fog lifts. The sun rises. I find myself standing on solid ground in the middle of a sunny afternoon wondering why I ever thought myself to be stuck in a bog to begin with. I don’t get why He loves me the way He does. I don’t necessarily think that’s my job though. I think my job is to get over myself and just accept it. What would we be like if we owned the love God has for us? I don’t even know…but I think it would shatter a few people’s worlds. Would the loss of our own silly self-condemning world be such a great loss in comparison with a world of uncontrollable grace that drags you into who you were meant to be? I doubt it.

It’s 2AM, and I thought I’d share something with you all.

I am doing an assignment for class. You can play too. It’s good. 3 Steps:

1) Read this http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians%201:%2015-20&version=31

2) Look at this http://www.eldritchpress.org/jkh/gr5.html

3) read what I wrote just now. Maybe it’ll be worthwhile…

The thing that strikes me is the triumphal manner in which the Colossians passage speaks to who Jesus is. When this is read and then the reality of the cross lies plain before us, we are able to see what a bold and bitter-sweet reality this text shows.

Somehow Colossians and the painter manage to cast Christ’s death in a manner that is lovely and yet haunting, disturbing and yet hopeful. The challenge of this text and the painting (maybe its just 2AM talking, but maybe not) is that it makes me want to cry.

I want to cry that Jesus had to/chose to experience so much pain and suffering in order that I might experience so much beauty through a relationship with Him. In this painting the Lord is dead. I know He didn’t stay that way, but I think the point of this painting is to hammer home the sacrifice he made for us.

We, who are an undeserving bunch of doubting, denying, failing human beings that He loved enough to die for.

Who are we? We are the beloved for whom God incarnate gave up everything.

Who is our Lord? The One who gave up everything only to gain it and share it with us.

Why? Love.The big sort that overwhelms you with the simplicity of its all-encompassing reality.

Will we ever truly grasp the depth of this simply question? No, but hopefully its beauty and challenge will captivate us for eternity.

I live in a world filled with possibility. It’s a bit too full really.

So I was pondering lately several things.

Thing one: Sleep is one of those blessings that hurts when you don’t get it. I went to church after far less sleep than was pleasant on Saturday night and fell asleep. In church. I go to a small church. There are about 30 people there. I was nodding off during the sermon. It was embarrassing. Then I went to church again in Burlington at a place called Tierra Nueva. It was pretty sick and they had a bilingual service and make a real effort to work in the community in Skagit Valley with migrant workers. The thing was…I fell asleep again! Frick. Then I also failed to go to bed early enough.

Monday was a giant mess. I went to class, then I went to the library to work on homework. I was tired still, hungry, doing way too much homework, and just generally pissed off. The night got better, but part of that included me going to bed early.

Tuesday I woke up at 6:30 and went to bed at 3:30AM. I got home from a busy day and small group and realized that I didn’t have my keys. As such someone I know was awoken to let me in. I felt quite the chump. In spite of all this, things are going quite well really. Let me tell you why.

I had this lovely moment in the library yesterday. I spent 6 hours in the library doing homework for my gospels class. I was actually enjoying the time I spent that I will never get back in the “whimsy-killing” (thanks to Lindsey Goff) location that is the library. I was looking at parallel gospels and looking up words like “law” in bible dictionaries and in spite of my own extreme dislike for tedious attention to detail sorts of assignments, I loved it. I still disliked it at the same time. That was just one of those weird things. The word of God is sweet like honey, but at times tedious like paperwork in the midst of its sweetness. Who knew?

The other thing that has been great has been the people I have spent time with. I am beginning to realize (and I usually do all my realizing after things), that I have some great friends. I have people in my life who will gladly get up at 3:30AM to let me in to the house and are chipper about it, I have friends who will have dinner with me randomly, I have friends who give me advice about relationships and life in general, I have friends who are okay with me being open with how I feel about how things have been going, I have friends who I stay up with until 3:30AM and like it (them and the time with them, not the staying up late). I can’t be whiny with people like this around. Really though I am blessed by God with great friends. Really. I mean you.

The last great thing has been this moment I had regarding grace. Most people seem to figure out simple, yet profound truths in a moment. I, however; am the one who needs to figure out that in baseball you are supposed to swing AT THE BALL, not just swing in general. I’m serious. I say this because what I might be writing could be something about which you could say “oh yeah, I know that.” and you might be one of those people who give me the “don’t you know that yet?” look. Well, no. I don’t. So here:

There’s a verse in the bible, I think it is galatians, where Paul says “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” I thought about that. This is grace. Grace sets us free. Jesus sets us free to be free. That might seem redundant, but look at the way we live. We (as in Christians) are free from sin, we are free from it to live into the reality that God has for us. The ability is there for us to live as though we didn’t have to sin, because we don’t anymore. It’s not somekind of “I will crush you if you don’t live like this!” sort of freedom, we are free to pursue real freedom. That is obedience to God. I guess that might seem simple to you, but how do you live? Do you live like you are free? I don’t think I do most of the time.

However, when we think about jail and being freed from it we ought to think about the fact that the prison system builds a mentality in people. It builds this idea that you are in jail, you’re stuck there, and you’d better not expect anything to change. However, when people get into real life from jail everything is different. They are free to live into real society. Yet, it’s a process. You don’t forget however many years of jail all at once because you’re free, you have to work through the mentality and be socialized to be a part of real out-of-jail people again. That reminds me of Jesus and our situation. We are in this place where sin holds us no longer, death’s power is rendered stupid, and the glory of a relationship with the Living God is our reality…but we (me too!) don’t live that way. It’s as though we are free from jail, dressed in a suit and tie, standing in a park, and rubbing our hands as if they were still in handcuffs while looking around accusingly at the trees and sun as if they were really concrete walls and guards.

We’re free. That’s one of the wonderful things about grace, about the love of God for us. We’re free to participate in the thing that we were born to participate in without guilt regarding our failures. We are free to have an imperfect relationship with God that strives towards perfection. We’re out of jail. The next thing is live into becoming fully human.