You wake up coughing and go to bed coughing. It’s been one of those days. Although I suppose it’s not as bad as it sounds. The in between wasn’t that bad. It’s just the morning and evening when this cough likes to attack and drive me nuts. Although it sets the tone for quite a lazy day. When you get out of bed only because you’re coughing too much to fall back asleep you really don’t feel like doing much. But the energy did come and the cough did subside. One week until spring break. Not even. Five days of school. Sometimes you just need a break. You’ve stretched yourself far enough and stretching yourself much farther is possible–just not very healthy.
That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m not putting up with it anymore. I came to a point today where I realized I am completely discontent with my jeans. That’s right, denim pants. I’m fed up with mine. Maybe it’s just the static in the air that’s making the material suction to my already skinny legs. Or maybe I’m actually getting bigger. I don’t know what it is, but something is causing me to be completely dissatisfied with my jeans. I’m not sure what it is, but they just don’t fit right. I walk around feeling self conscious like I’m stuck inside some 80’s music video where everyone’s wearing tight pants and t-shirts with no sleeves.
Sometimes I need to work my jeans in a little bit. They come out of the wash a little too stiff and that first day is a little uncomfortable. But by the second day they’ve loosened up and feel fine. That hasn’t worked lately. The second day is just as bad as the first, and at that point I’ve given up by the third day.
Not only do my jeans not fit right, they’re just not as cool as everyone else’s. Maybe I just don’t buy my jeans at the right store. Maybe I shouldn’t let my mother buy them anymore. Everyone else’s jeans are torn and ragged in just the right spots. I wonder if they do that on purpose or if they wear like that. Everyone else’s jeans are the right color, the right fit, and have just the right amount of grunge. The closest I have to grunge is my most comfortable pair of jeans. I had to resort to them today. They used to be very grunge. A ragged whole in each knee–air conditioning. But the holes kept getting bigger and they had to be patched. Which launches my fashion far beyond the grunge and into the patched realm–which isn’t anything cool and original. I stole the idea from my fiance (she was the one who patched them).
It’s my jeans-dilemma, and frankly I’m tired of it. I’ve decided I’m heading to the closest thrift shop and buying cheap jeans that fit. So why is this worthy of my daily thoughts? I don’t know, I’m too fed up with my jeans to worry about it. You can draw your own connection between my discontentment with my jeans and the state of our society.
Ever have one of those days where it seems like the best thing to do is take a nap? Today was one of those days. So I’m not too sure what I’m sitting down to tell you tonight. Take a nap, maybe that’s it. Sometimes we could all use a nap, even if we’re not in preschool anymore. It’s kind of fun how similar college and preschool or elementary school are. Simple things never cease to please, you enjoy TV shows no one else understands, and a nap is more a necessity than a luxury.
I don’t comb my hair anymore and I wear baggy thrift store jeans and a faded leather jacket left over from high school. I am a college student. But the reality of life is beginning to set in; loan payments, rent, a real job. Homework and extensions and class will soon be a thing of the past. I can’t help but wonder and ask if this is what it’s all about. I flip through the classifieds wondering when I’ll find that one with my name, the one tailor made just for me. It’s only late at night when the campus grows quiet and the buzz of the caffeine wears off that I realize there won’t be a position with my name on it. I’ll have to make do and I’ll have to live with it. I may have to resort to a plan b or a plan c. But I so wish I could sit back in my thrift store jeans, read about zen and motorcycle maintenance, watch a causeless rebel and wonder if I have a cause. I want to find that cause and live for it, put the tie away for another day and another man’s money. Fight for that cause that stirs the passions in my heart and actually make a living on that. But there’s no listing in the classifieds for a dreamer, or a rebel, or a kid with ideas. They all want 1-2 years of experience in something I didn’t do, a degree in something I didn’t study, or knowledge of something I just don’t know. Can I walk away with a liberal arts degree and become a custodian? I could have done that three years ago and be $60,000 better for the deal. Something about it all just makes me wonder and I throw my arms in the air. I know there’s a description I can fill, I know there’s an answer, I know there’ll be a paycheck in the mail. But right now it just isn’t very clear. Life isn’t very easy and I’m following my road of American rites of passage. It’s like following the rabbit, and right now I just don’t believe there’s a forest between the trees.
I always thought there might be a hidden path there. I’ve walked by that patch of ground a million times. But for some reason, tonight, I noticed something odd. As I walk the path late at night the rabbits usually jump when I go by. I never really thought of rabbits as nocturnal creatures, but there they are. If they just stayed put I’d never even know they were there. I always like to watch the rabbits, too. They watch me for a few minutes–I’m usually completely oblivious to them–and then they hop away as if they had to decide how dangerous I was. After they start hopping I watch them disappear into the woods, and they stop to turn around and watch me again.
I heard an interesting thought from one of my professors today. Why do we compartmentalize our devotions? We pray at a certain time or read our Bible at a set time during the day and call it our “devotions.” We separate our devotions into this tiny corner of our lives. My professor made the comment that every moment of our lives should be a prayer, every moment should be lived in an attitude of devotion. When I sit down to read my Bible I have a certain attitude. That’s the attitude we should have through the entire day. Why section it off to my quiet time for half an hour a day? Certainly this isn’t an excuse to completely skip having devotions, but more a different way of looking at it. A new mindset.
Gas. I’m sure if you have anything to do with driving an automobile you’ve noticed the rising gas prices lately. Here in Minnesota I’ve seen it as high as $1.55, and the best deal I’ve seen is $1.47. Like every other driver I’m grumbling at the high prices. But I have noticed something very interesting–no, disturbing is a better word. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to lower their production because they thought prices were too low. So now there’s a reduced supply and hence, higher prices.
Listening to the politicians try to figure out what to do about this is rather disheartening. Suggestions range from dropping the 4.3 cent gas tax, to canceling the moratorium on off-shore oil drilling, to imposing sanctions on OPEC members, to tapping into the US reserves, and they’re even considering opening a wildlife reserve in Alaska for exploratory drilling. Gas prices are too high, so we go to any length we can to squeeze more oil out of anywhere we can.
So hot they’re cool, so cool they’re hot. Yeah, right. Tonight instead of popping up and flying across the room, my Pop Tart popped up and then fell into the depths of the toaster. I had to rescue it through the crumb door.
I came across an interesting dilemma tonight. My fiance and I were doing some pre-registering shopping, checking out the stores to see what we needed and where we wanted to register. While we were browsing through all the gizmos, gadgets, and mounds of stuff you need to fill a house or an apartment, I began to feel a twinge of guilt. It didn’t manifest itself until we were in a furniture store and I started to realize just how expensive some of this stuff is. I couldn’t help but wonder if we really needed it.
For a study break tonight I had a Pop Tart. I went grocery shopping last night and picked them up for two reasons: 1) they were nearly half off, and 2) my munchie supply was dangerously low (peanut butter and crackers has sufficed for the past several months). Now I’ve never really eaten Pop Tarts. But I vividly remember the commercials: So hot they’re cool, so cool they’re hot. They always popped out of the toaster with bright, wild coolness. Yeah, Pop Tarts. But mine didn’t fly across the room when the toaster popped up. It was kind of disappointing.
Poverty has become a rising issue in a few of my classes. Okay, one of my classes is about poverty, but the issue has been coming up in a few of them. How are Christians supposed to deal with poverty? It’s a question I think we’ve terribly neglected. We live in one of the richest countries of the world. It’s kind of difficult, because I don’t feel rich. I’ve got loans to pay and very little cash in my wallet. But I’m still rich. I drive a very nice pick-up truck, I’m typing on a decent computer with all the toys and gadgets, my shelves are lined with books, and my closet is full of clothes.
From looking at the Bible it’s becoming clear that God judges a society by how they treat the poor; the alien, the fatherless, and the widow. How do we measure up? What have I done recently for the oppressed? This is a difficult issue because these are hard, personal questions. And it has more to do with how you spend your money then what you give away. Sometimes I feel good because I put my ten percent in the offering, or I sponsor a child. But what good am I really doing if I buy designer jeans, name brand tennis shoes, stuff I don’t need? I know there’s nothing wrong with that stuff, but how often do we buy the more expensive brands just because we can? What if we lived as cheaply as we could and used the rest to help the poor? It’s a pretty radical concept. I was reading an article about a family that put off buying a new couch so they could use that money to help the poor. Is that something we as Christians can do? It seems like such a bizarre concept. But what really scares me is that’s a foreign concept to us.
There’s something about nighttime that I love. Everything is still and quiet. Each tiny little noise is magnified and you have to move slowly and purposefully. Outside the night air is just as peaceful, but cooler, refreshing. Animals are out, warily scampering across the grass, eyeing you as you pass. Inside everything is calm and quiet. Everyone else is asleep and a deep quiet descends on everything. It’s tranquil. I could almost sit on the couch for hours and enjoy it.
I can’t help but wonder what happened to the days of long ago when nighttime meant sinister shadows and creepy shapes. I used to think a monster lived in my Dad’s bathroom. My bedroom was across from my parents, and when I crossed the threshold into my room I could see the darkness that was my Dad’s bathroom out of the corner of my eye. I always dove for my bed so the monster wouldn’t get me. If I made it to my bed before he got me I’d be safe. Once I was in my bed I couldn’t see the bathroom anymore, and it was okay. Sometimes I’d march right into my parents’ room and turn the light on in my Dad’s bathroom. The monster never liked that, but then I didn’t have to worry about him.
But no for some reason those thoughts never come. I’ve embraced the darkness. I’ve realized its peacefulness, and I bask in the quiet. I can’t help but wonder what that says about me.