It’s okay. It’s alright. Is it really? Then why is she crying? And why can I do nothing to stop the pain? I’ve never felt so powerless in my whole life. My hands are tied, and I can only watch, and feel my stomach turn inside out. I can’t stop the tears of an angel. It hurts even more to know that I’m the cause of those tears. You think everything’s going just fine until you discover the truth. The tears can be wiped away, and you can put on a happy face. But what’s going on underneath the mask? What’s your secret pain that’s tearing you apart? What is it that makes you cry into your pillow? And why do the rest of us foolishly accept your mask, and think that it’s okay. It’s alright. I’ll never forget the crying voice that shot back at me, “It’s not okay.”
Do you see everything in black and white? Or do you see the world in full, vibrant color? Is every day the same for you? Waking up, going to school or work. The same old thing? Are you stuck in the rut of the way things are supposed to be? Well let me ask you, are thing really supposed to be any certain way? The story of your life doesn’t have to follow the template that everyone else follows. That’s why it’s a story, write it yourself!
Tonight I watched an amazing movie. It’s called Pleasantville. Hollywood doesn’t crank out many good movies. For probably the first time ever, I’ve wanted to own a movie. This film was so original, so intelligent, so phenomenal… I was impressed. It asked some interesting questions, and said some powerful things about life. It made me laugh too. Not only was it entertaining, but it was valuable. You can’t say that about many movies. For those conservatives out there, I will warn you that this movie is rated PG-13. They talk about sex. If your eyebrows are raising right now, you are the person who needs to watch this movie. Go on, I dare you.
Life is more than Camaro’s, game systems, and striving for pleasure. Life is vibrant. Life is wild. And life is free–or at least it can be. God has blessed us with an amazing world, and he has showered us with a very unconditional and very astounding love. Claim that love, be free, and really live.
Everybody’s been asking me what I’m planning to do during my spring break. My answer? Nothing. At least that’s what I say. But as the first real day of nothing began, I found that I was kind of busy. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I did a lot of stuff. I think I’m just kind of impressed with myself.
What kind of a person goes rollerblading at 10:00 at night with a flashlight? A college student, that’s who.
Dr. Seuss once pulled a prank on a friend who was out of town. He filled the bathtub with Jell-O, fruit, and fish, and then left the window wide open (in the middle of the winter)–leaving his friend with one heck of a Jell-O Salad when he returned.
Hey, it’s my spring break, I don’t have to be serious. But in case you are searching for some intellectual stimulation, you can check out a few things I updated on my page. My Art Gallery (that sounds so high and mighty, MY Art Gallery) has a new “piece,” and I added another page to the Down the Toilet section. It’s my one of my Anti-Valentine’s that you’ve heard so much about. So go back to the Unnamed Web Page and check those things out (yeah, I’m too lazy to put a direct link there).
“I can’t believe the news today / Oh, I can’t close my eyes / And make it go away / How long… / How long must we sing this song?/ How long? How long…/ ’cause tonight…we can be as one / Tonight… / Sunday, Bloody Sunday / Sunday, Bloody Sunday / Sunday, Bloody Sunday” (“Sunday, Bloody Sunday” by U2)
“The problem’s not Hollywood, the problem’s not Washington / The problem’s a weak divided church of schizmed Christians.” (“Unite” by the Supertones)
How is it that I can walk into a church and feel judged because of my grubby blue jeans and scruffy tennis shoes? Do torn jeans instead of a suit and tie make the difference between a Christian and a hell bound punk? I certainly don’t remember Jesus pausing to comb his hair and put on his best tunic before marching into the synagogue. When is this going to end? When will the church be able to stand as one unified body? Or will we continue to squabble as the world looks on and laughs?
And so a new day begins. I can’t be your Prince Charming anymore. It’s just not the way it was meant to be. Meant to be. I’ll just keep whispering that to your falling tears. I have a box of memories, I have a head full of unfinished dreams, and I have a heart full of hurt. It’s over now, and I can only tuck the box away in the attic. My head and heart, however, will have to ache. What else can you do? No aspirin will deaden this pain, only tears will carry the hurt away. And my stubborn eyes are dry, so dry. And the box, well you can’t just throw it away. It’s worth more than that. But my eyes can’t stand to see it, so stashing it away is the only answer. Flames would be an adequate end, a rather poetic farewell. But I couldn’t do that either. I watched you cry tonight, and I wanted to throw up. My jacket is stained with your tears, and I am proud to have leant my shoulder for you to cry on. Now everyone will ask why, and I won’t know what to tell them. If only they understood. If only they heard the ice crack.
My friends and I have had a long standing joke. We’ve applied the word “freedom” to the lack of a significant other in a man’s life. A dating relationship, of course, would mean an end to that freedom. We always got a great chuckle out of it, and if you’ve ever seen the movie Braveheart, it almost seems comical at the end. But tonight I find new and wretched meaning in it. At the end of the movie, William Wallace is tortured in a feeble attempt to force him to pay homage to the king of England. Wallace remains silent throughout the torture. In the end, they slice open his stomach, and you can imagine the pain involved. Finally, Wallace speaks. With every ounce of strength left in him, he shouts at the top of his lungs, “freedom.” He is then beheaded. I can tell you now that my guts are being twisted and spilled from my body, I open my mouth to speak. But it is not with triumph and victory that I speak, but with pain and agony I mutter the words that seem like vomit on my lips, “freedom.”
But somewhere ahead lies the hope. It’s not clear to me yet, but I do know it’s there.
Okay, so I lied. I will ponder after driving for twelve hours. Twelve long hours through five states, featuring sleepy Wisconsin, rush hour Chicago, and 70 mph through blessed Michigan. And now I’m finally home, where the cookies are fresh (go Mom!) and the toilet bowls are round. Has anyone else ever noticed the round toilet bowls? I only notice them after coming back from school, because at school they’re more of an oval shape. But at home they’re perfect circles. Maybe it’s a late 70’s thing, I don’t know. At any rate, I’m finally home.
One more class until the freedom of Spring Break! It’s about time. Now I can head home and do nothing. So think of me tomorrow as I’ll be taking the twelve hour drive home to Detroit. I apologize in advance for skipping tomorrow’s pondering. I doubt I’ll feel like pondering when I finally roll in.
Why do we live life in such a boring way? We do what everybody else does, just like everybody else. And don’t tell me that’s the best way. It’s certainly not the only way, and I doubt it’s the best way. Life is a creative expression. God made the sand on the sea shore unique. A jar of tiny pebbles from Lake Huron sits on my desk. They’re all different. They’re all unique. Each one is beautiful. Isn’t that how people are supposed to be? Yet we all follow the status quo. We’re really not that unique. We’re too scared to be unique. At least I am. Yet I have this urge to break away from what’s expected. Society can’t tell me how to live. I have the capacity to make my own decisions. Why do we always accept with such blind allegiance? Money is not all powerful. Success as the world defines it is worthless. Sex does not equal love. My generation prides itself in being different and unique. But are we really that different? From our parents and the generations before us, yes we are different. Just as different as they were from the generations before them. And we’re all just like each other. We all accept the plan laid out for us. We don’t question. Well, it’s time to start questioning. What do you want to do?
The pondering is kind of sporadic tonight, just to warn you.
The bombs are falling, the missiles are launching, and my young eyes are opening wide. People are dying as America, the great superpower of the 20th century flexes its military muscle. Supposedly it’s in order to save lives. To stop killing. Killing to stop killing? It doesn’t make any sense, but I suppose it’s the last option. The Serbs are fighting for Kosovo, a land they lost in a bitter war with the Muslims 600 years ago. Calling it the ‘grave of their liberty,’ they want it back. A sort of monument to their pride. So they butcher and kill the ethnic Albanians who make up 90% of Kosovo, an ethnic cleansing by none other than Christians. Or at least that’s what they call themselves. Why are wars always fought in God’s name? How often do you think God has put his stamp of approval on a war? And so the United States steps in, the mighty hall monitor of the world that we are, and tips the scales to stop the slaughter. Will there ever be an age in this world where people aren’t suffering? Where bombs aren’t falling? Where gunfire isn’t echoing through the night?
This relates to a lot of what I’ve said about the traditional way things are done. Why is it that everyone wants security? We all go off to college so we can have a nice, well paying job and be able to easily provide for ourselves. We want to work for the rich company, so we can make a lot of money. We all know that money doesn’t buy happiness, yet we all chase it. Why doesn’t anyone want to work in the slums so they can make a difference. Yeah, there are people who do want to do that, but the vast majority are going for the money. What good is your money if others are suffering? You can’t buy them love. You have to put forth an effort to see that a difference is made. You have to make that difference. Yet all we want is a nice job, in a nice neighborhood, with a nice house, a nice car, a nice wife, and raise a nice family. You know what? Nice sucks. Jesus lived a radical life. He didn’t have a nice job, live in a nice neighborhood, live in a nice house, ride a nice horse, have a nice wife, or raise a nice family. He didn’t have any of this nice crap. So why do we chase after it? I’m not saying it’s necessarily bad, but should that be our goal? Since when is average mediocrity a worthwhile goal? Is that what Christ has called us to? I don’t think so. Satan may call you to such a nice life, because then you’re too comfortable to worry about anything he’s doing.
A friend asked me today what I want to do. What a profound question. What do you want to do with your life? I suppose it’s especially poignant now because I can actually chase those dreams. This is the time in your life when you have the choice of whether or not to make those dreams a reality. The scary thing is, I’m not too sure what I want to do. I don’t have a list of things I want to do that’s been growing in my head for the past six years. I don’t know if I could rattle of five or six things that I really want to do. I don’t know if that’s bad or not. I suppose it makes me more ample clay in the potter’s hands. I know I want to write a book. Or books, however things work out. But what else? I don’t know. This one could require a little thought.
Ah, what a day. Spring Break is coming closer, and I can certainly feel it. The big assignments are done and there’s not much left to do. A week of doing nothing will soon be upon me!
It’s been a pretty intense day in another sense as well. I guess NATO has ordered strikes against Yugoslavia, and they could come at any time. In fact, by the time you read this it could have already happened. Bill Clinton had this to say about why the U.S. was participating in the strike, “If our country is going to be prosperous and secure, we need a Europe that is safe, secure, free, united, a good partner for trading, wealthy enough to buy our products and someone who will share the burdens of taking care of the problems of the world.” Now that’s a mouthful. What’s he really saying? First off, he’s saying that we have every right to attack Yugoslavia because we want a united Europe. Why do we want a united Europe? Because we need someone to buy our crap. That’s a lovely reason to launch missiles and drop bombs. Does it make a whole lot of sense to preserve your economic well being by flexing your military muscle? If your economy is that troubled, and our isn’t, then I think you’re in way over your head. A few bombs and missiles isn’t going to do you much good. And don’t forget, we need a united Europe to “share the burdens of taking care of the problems of the world.” Since when was it our business to take care of the problems of the world? I realize that the United States is a superpower, and we have the power and the responsibility to watch out for the little guy, so to speak. But are we really solving the problems of the world by throwing bombs at them? Bullets and explosions don’t seem to solve any problems.
Another thing I’ve thought about today is the idea of community living and the “proper” notion of family life today. In America today you’re expected to get a job, get a house, get married, and raise a family. That’s your purpose in life. Of course variations exist, but that’s the gist of it. Economically, that doesn’t seem like the smartest way to run things. Especially when most jobs today require a college education, which usually means entering the work force with a substantial debt hanging over your head. Then you’re expected to buy a car, house, and all the rest? In my Concepts of Community class we’ve been reading a book called “Walden Two” which is really opening up this idea of community. Today in class we discussed a few real communities that are based on the fictional Walden Two. Now don’t worry, I’m not about to join some exclusive community in Mexico or Virginia, but I do find the idea intriguing. Why is it that Americans are expected to do it on their own? Why isn’t community living an accepted way to live? Why is it such a foreign concept to graduate college and live with a small group of people, pooling and sharing your resources? It sounds so simple and easy, but it’s not an acceptable way to live in America. Why is that? Wouldn’t such an arrangement be so much easier on those involved? It would ease financial burdens and provide closer circles of friends. Perhaps I’m just dreaming in an idealistic world. I’m a college student though, that’s what I’m supposed to do.
And finally, I found the following quote while I was looking at my old high school’s web page. This was on the main page of the West Bloomfield School District. If you know anything about West Bloomfield, you’ll think it’s pretty funny.
“Avoid the fuss. Take the Bus. It’s fast. It’s free. It’s convenient. Be Cool. Take the BIG YELLOW LIMO to school. Let us do the driving. Let your parents sleep in.”
Wow, what an evening. Once again the events transpiring on my radio show are taking the stage on of my daily ponderings. Tonight on Mission Control we had a live hostage situation. I’m not making this up, and I’m not joking. Seriously. We were planning a semi-normal Mission Control (normal by Mission Control standards), giving away concert tickets and such. We were also planning to apologize to some people who didn’t get some of the free stuff we were passing out last week. My cohost, Josh, was going to go to an entire dorm that got overlooked, and one person’s room in particular in another dorm. We got through about half the show, and Josh was venturing to this one person’s room in another dorm, and things got weird. I was in the station, and Josh had called up from this person’s room. I put Josh on the air live, and he starts telling me how he’s walking in, and how the person (we’ll call him Bob) had pizza and food for him. Then he puts Bob on the phone, and everything goes nuts! People are screaming, the phone starts getting fuzzy, loud shouts are heard. I’m sitting there in the station trying to figure out what’s going on. We didn’t stage this, and we had no clue what was happening. Finally some order was restored and Josh was put back on the phone. He had been taken hostage by the Getsch 3rd floor boys and they were giving him a list of demands. It was nuts. The episode went on for half an hour, and involved a friend of ours being taken hostage as well, then I was taken hostage, a guest on our show Andy Fast was taken hostage, and finally we were all released in good fun.
It’s amazing where a radio show can take you. We couldn’t have staged a better stunt. It was so spectacular. We thought last week’s show was good. Wow. The drama, the suspense, the shear hilarity. It certainly is true that the listeners make the show. Josh and I have been having fun with Mission Control since the fall of ’97. We’ve always wanted to put on a fun show that people will enjoy. I think tonight we’ve taken that to a new level, and we didn’t even do it. Our listeners did. What more can you ask for? It’s a good thing we have three weeks off before our next show, we’ll never be able to top this. Of course, that’s what I said last week.