Why Do We Tear One Another Down?

Arg. Papers, finals, stress. Somebody shoot me. It’s the ever-joyful end of the semester, and the teachers are just piling the work on. Or maybe it’s all my procrastination catching up with me. Probably the latter, so here I am, enjoying the hell weeks of college. And yet I still find time to do this—I’ve got to keep my sanity somehow Mom, gimme a break.

You know, friends are cool. One thing I’ve learned since coming to college is the value of friendships. Your friends will make you who you are. Friends can influence you and provide insight in ways you never thought imaginable. I only bring it up because last night some friends and I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. learning the value of the relationships we had.

Considering that, I have to wonder why we are so often entertained by sarcastic and witty comments that only serve to degrade others? I’m only teasing—but are you really? Someone told me that every joke is half true. Think about it. So what’s the point? Is the laughter worth the strain on a valuable friendship?

With that in mind, I’m gonna take another leap (Kevin’s Daily Ponderings now become Kevin’s Daily Segues) and wonder why we humans always have to be so negative. You know, if we were just a little more positive, and didn’t cut each other down, and had a good attitude—life would be a lot more fun. So what am I suggesting, that we all join the local Optimists club and sit down to a round of half full drinks? I don’t think so.

I’m just saying that we should stop a minute and think about what we’re doing. I walk down the halls of Bethel College and my eyes wander from person to person, judging. I glare at that girl who annoys me, and exchange understanding glances with my sympathizers. I slam my roommate, and laugh, thinking he can handle anything. The last thing the Body of Christ needs, and the world in general, is more of these walls and barriers. Wouldn’t life be better if we were all friends?

It’s sad to think that we won’t achieve that until eternity—but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.

Mis-Marketing, the Simpsons & a Crying Coach

To start things off on a less philosophical note, today in my P.O. I received something inviting me to attend Minnehaha Academy—a Christian pre-school through 12th grade school. Needless to say, I’m just a little confused. Secondly, I just finished watching an episode of the Simpsons that proves once again the value of the show. Sure, my mother still frowns at it, but this episode made a glaring statement about the violence in sports (hockey was the example) and the mixed statements we send to our children by condoning such violence. Now to get philosophical on ya…

My eyes opened today, and I tried not to groan. It helped a little. Then came something I never expected to see at chapel. The football coach was speaking, and he cried. Not once, but several times. A football coach getting emotional? Hmmm… He was talking about having an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ It amazed me the way he tried to find the good in everything. It was oddly similar to what L’Engle said yesterday. Hmmm…

Another quote stuck out at me today after reading an article by Mark McCutcheon. Mark was talking about living the Christian life as a relationship with God, not a mere religion. L’Engle said:

“Live in such away that your life would not make sense if God didn’t exist.” (Walking on Water, 31)

It’s becoming more and more clear what this life is all about. And at the same time it gets cloudier and cloudier. Do I live my life in the way L’Engle describes? Rarely. Is my Christian life just a religion? (Is there a distinction between my ‘life’ and my ‘Christian life’?) I hope not, but at times I think it stoops to that. The connection isn’t clear yet, but somehow I think my cheery pants from yesterday and the attitude of gratitude mix together with the religion vs. relationship to say something to me. It’s days like these that life becomes a little less muddled, and I can see.

Cranky Pants

Sigh. What a day. This has been one of those days when I put on my cranky pants and anything anyone did annoyed me (no Abby, I won’t give you credit—doh!). On days such as these I wonder how a God can love someone such as me. But yet He does. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why.

Lately I’ve been learning from Madeleine L’Engle (the writer of the dreaded CIFA book, Walking on Water. It’s amazing how much more interesting books are when you aren’t forced to read them), the acclaimed children’s writer, whose books include A Swiftly Tilting Planet and A Wrinkle in Time—books I never understood when I read them as a kid. Anyway, in Walking on Water she is making the point that we often lose our child like creativeness, and it is often the artist who regains it. Remember being a kid and not wanting to go to sleep? The day was too exciting. You woke up and shot out of bed, barely pausing to rub your sleep filled eyes. Not a second could be wasted. What happened? L’Engle says:

“When we lose waking up in the morning as though each day was going to be full of adventure, joys, and dangers, and wake up instead to the alarm clock, and the daily grind, and mutter about TGIF, we lose the newborn quality of belief which is so lovely in the child.” (page 56)

Why can’t I wake in the morning filled with the wonder and awe of a child? The alarm blares, and I groan. What happened to the sense of adventure each day brings? I also think of another writer that I’ve been learning from. Reese Roper, and the rest of Five Iron Frenzy:

“When I was young, the smallest trick of light, could catch my eye, then life, was new and every new day, I thought that I could fly. I believed in what I hoped for, and I hope in things unseen, I had wings and dreams could soar, I just don’t feel like flying anymore. When the stars threw down their spears, watered heaven with their tears, before words were spoken, before eternity.

Dear Father, I need you, your strength my heart to mend. I want to fly higher, every new day again.

Man verses himself. Man versus machine. Man versus the world. Mankind versus me. The struggles go on, the wisdom I lack, the burdens keep piling up on my back. So hard to breathe, to take the next step. The mountain is high, I wait in the depths. Yearning for grace, and hoping for peace. Dear God… increase. Healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again. Jesus Christ, light of the world burning bright within our hearts forever. Freedom means love without condition, a beginning or an end.

Here’s my heart, let it be forever Your’s, only You can make every new day seem so new.” (‘Every New Day’ – Copyright (c) 1997 5 Minute Walk Music)

Let that be my prayer Lord. Maybe tomorrow I can wake up and find my cheery pants. Somehow they seem to fit a little better.

In the Beginnning

So I’ve decided to cement my daily thoughts in immortal type, and plaster them here on the world wide web for all to read. What kind of an idiot am I? One with hopeful ambitions, I guess. So why am I doing this? I’m glad you asked. The main reason is because I call myself a writer, and writers are supposed to write. I like to journal, but it’s hard to do that every day. This is kind of a sneaky way to force myself to write everyday. Knowing that, I think it’s also a good way to realize that not all my writing is going to be good writing. Sometimes I get that lofty idea in my head.

So what’s in it for you? Well, I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading what I have to say. But I know I’m not that special. I’m just hoping that at times my jumbled mess of thoughts will make sense to someone, and make them think. Maybe you’ll scratch your head at an interesting idea, maybe you’ll have to write something down. Maybe you’ll step away from your computer screen a changed person. Maybe you’ll see that there’s a little more to this life. Or maybe you’ll just laugh and shake your head. I guess we just have to wait and see.

So here we go. Thanks for joining me on what could be a wild ride.

A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.