You know what, Valentine’s Day really sucks when you’re 700 miles away from your girl friend. I realized that tonight when I was talking to her and just wishing I could be there with her. But I suppose it’s not all that bad, because she really cheered me up.
When we first started talking I was bummed out, and when we finally hung up I was in a very cheerful mood. It’s just kind of hard being that far apart. Most people are shocked when they hear that we’re that far apart and still together. In fact, it was three years ago today that this whole thing kind of started. That would be the joyous day when I put my foot in my mouth and made my feelings known. Of course the official date isn’t for another month or so, but that’s a long story that you single people really don’t want to hear about right now.
That three years part shocks people all the more. I like to think that’s where we have something special. I see so many people who only see love as sex or people who are very quick to get married. They don’t go through the roller coaster ride of the relationship and really find out what the person is like on those hard days. They don’t have time to deal with the really tough issues, and I really wonder what’s going to happen when those issues come. ‘I love you’ is a phrase we often throw around. I wonder how many people really mean it.
I found a cool new program for my computer today. It’s called Sticky Notes 6. It lets you put sticky notes on your computer screen. It’s really cool and pretty convenient. You can get the lite version at http://www.downloads.com and you can check out the real thing at the company’s web page: http://www.tenebril.com/ (sorry Mac users, you already have a neat sticky notes program, so today’s pondering is pretty well useless for you, except you can keep telling yourself how much better Macs are).
Oh the wonder of music. Tonight I listened. I saw an acoustic performance by the band Ethan’s Well. I was there by myself, and I sat down with a pad of paper, eager to jot down whatever came to my mind. It’s kind of a cool way to listen to music. There’s just something about acoustic music like this that soothes your spirit, relaxes your body, and engages your mind. I slipped into a very contemplative and reflective mood while I listened to the music. There’s something about music that’s very captivating and appealing. I found myself rather observant tonight, and I watched people’s reactions to the music. They were playing a free show at a Christian bookstore, and people walking through the mall would stop and peak in. I watched a decrepit old man tap his foot and nod his head to the beat. I watched a little child’s eyes fill with wonder and awe, and I saw his big smile as he clutched a new CD in his two hands and gazed at it triumphantly.
I also realized something about this kind of music. Maybe it’s true for other styles, but acoustic especially. The songs are a much more personal and intimate expression for the artist. A lot of rock or ska songs are about much broader topics and usually a lot more energetic. They generally don’t promote reflection. They make a statement, but it’s usually a bold statement, stated plainly and clearly. There’s not a lot of thinking involved (or in some cases there’s so much thinking involved that it loses any significance). Or maybe it’s just Ethan’s Well’s music. I don’t know, I’m just rambling. But it seems like the song is such a personal thing for the artist. And there they are on stage, singing it to a room full of people. They’re putting their heart on a platter for the world to look at. That’s kind of scary. You have to be a brave and strong person to do that. I admire people who can do that. I appreciate it. Just some thoughts about music. It’s kind of fun to just sit there and listen and not do anything else. It’s something one of my roommate’s Josh would highly recommend. Listen closer.
Yesterday with my 2D Design class I went to the Walker Art Center in downtown Minneapolis. I’d highly recommend it if you ever have a chance to go. I suppose I should clarify my reasons for recommending it. Outside of the Art Center there’s the Sculpture Gardens. Those are just cool. There’s a really big cherry on an even bigger spoon. It’s bizarre. But that just makes it fun. The actual Walker Art Center isn’t quite to my liking. There’s some modern art stuff in there that I certainly don’t understand at all. But I should probably try to be more open minded about it. Being immediately repulsed by something doesn’t mean that it has no value. Some people treat my work that way, and I’m almost insulted that they don’t look more closely. I should at least give some of these modern artists the same respect that I yearn for.
I’m taking a moment today to talk about art because more and more it seems like I have a connection with art. I’ve taken a few art classes here at Bethel, and I’m considering an Art Minor. I don’t consider myself to be an artist, but in some ways I may be inching closer to that title. This week I was working on two art projects that I had a lot of fun with. A portion of that work may be on this site soon. Also, today I picked up a pen and some paper and tried to do some drawing. Now I’m not good at drawing. It’s not one of my skills. But I figured I’d give it a try and practice a little bit. I took a drawing class last year, and I didn’t do too bad. I took a picture of my girl friend and tried to sketch it. I learned a few things. The creation of God is so beautiful and so magnificent, my feeble attempts to mimic it are laughable. The curves are so perfect and precise. The subtle changes in light and dark boggle my mind when I try to copy them. I think the artist certainly has a greater appreciation for God’s handiwork than the rest of us do. Try it sometime, it’s kind of humbling.
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that Valentine’s Day theme. Today’s topic? SEX.
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue came out this week. Could somebody please tell me what women in really skimpy bathing suits (or birthday suits in some cases) have to do with sports? It’s crap like this that associates airbrushed models with beautiful women in men’s minds and we have the misconceptions about beauty that I talked about on Sunday.
You may also have heard about a major study that came out today. It made the front page of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It reported that 40% of women suffer from some kind of sexual dysfunction. The study suggested that the explanation behind some of those cases is “partner turnover,” or simply put, sleeping around. You mean having sex with lots of different people can cause problems? Gee, what a concept. Marriage was invented for a reason.
While we’re hitting the topic of sex, another report was released about sex on TV. Primetime sports an average of three sex scenes per hour. Isn’t that just wonderful? My first thought was that the cartoons are always safe. But then I remembered the recent previews for Fox’s “King of the Hill.” Every one of them I’ve seen has featured sex. Cartoons are not supposed to be naked. There’s just something inherently wrong with that.
I may only be a tiny voice crying out in a vast wilderness, but I’m going to scream just the same. Society is messed up, and something really needs to change.
Art is draining. For the past two days I’ve spent almost every moment of free time working on an art project for class. I finally finished it tonight, and I feel so tired. And this isn’t even real art. I have a new respect for all the artists out there, be they painters, sculptors, musicians, writers, or what have you. Good artists poor themselves into their work for the benefit of their audience. Take notice of that next time and be a little more appreciative of the effort the artist puts into the work.
Love. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching (sorry for the continued topic, but it should be obvious that lately I’ve been working hard on my contribution) I’ve been pondering what love is all about. Love. What a stupid language we have that I can love my yo-yo, I can love my friend Adam, I can love my girl friend, and I can love God. All the same word, yet all have a different meaning. I could slip into a Greek word study right now, but that’s beside the point.
With all those different meanings, love is very hard to define, much less understand. It can get very confusing and cloudy. It doesn’t help when most people equate sex with love. It’s such a mixed bag that it’s really pretty hard to talk about. Yet I think love is very important. I think it has the ability to bring about a lot of change. But it also has the ability to fade into confusion with an over abundance of hearts and “I love you’s.” Do we really understand what we’re saying when we say those words? Do any of us even say those words? And why can I only say those words to my girl friend?
I think love is so much more. It’s something higher. It’s something that is grossly misunderstood today, even among couples that should understand it. I wish I could define it in exact language. The ambiguity is killing me. I just wish I could get a blanket statement, Love is x. I suppose there are a few of those. A chapter in the Bible lists off several (1 Corinthians 13). A certain cartoon featuring naked eight year olds who are married (as Homer would describe it) tries to explain what love is, and I think it usually does a good job. I think a lot of people need to understand these definitions of love. They’re not so commercialized and marketed. Love doesn’t come in boxes or bouquets. It’s higher than all that. And it’s something everyone needs.
Valentine’s Day is next Sunday, so I think it would be appropriate to talk about love and beauty. The following is an edited exerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend talking about beauty.
“Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.” – Pablo Picasso
Continue reading The Depths of Love
Today I rediscovered the joy that is hockey. I’ve only managed to play once so far this year, so I donned the skates this evening and went out for an hour or so. Seth and Anders, the two ten year olds I played with, were really cool. They let me play with them and we had a blast chasing the ball around. The ice stunk, my skates were dull, and we were using a tennis ball. But that’s okay, it was hockey, and I loved it. Broomball may be a blast, but nothing comes close to strapping a pair of metal runners to your feet and gliding gracefully across the ice.
Truly remarkable literature tells a story. But not just any story. A powerful story. A wonderful story. An enchanting story. A story that makes you sit back and think and wonder and dream. Tonight I watched the movie version of Les Miserables (1998, the movie, NOT the musical). It’s been a while since I’ve seen such an amazing story. If you don’t know the story, I’m not going to explain it. It’s not exactly that easy (which is what makes it such a great story). Basically what I find amazing is the measure of grace Jean Valjean receives. After being released from 19 years of prison working hard labor, Valjean is angry, bitter and resentful. An old priest gives him a place to stay, and Valjean attempts to steal his silver. When the police return the crook in the morning, the priest ransoms his soul, giving him the silver as well as the silver candlesticks, telling the police he gave the silver to Valjean. The priest’s act of grace astounds Valjean, and he goes on his way a changed man. He begins a new life and lends grace to others as it has been given to him. A near perfect picture of Christ and his love. When we were far from deserving, Christ pardoned our debt and sent us out on a new life. Our mission is to do unto others as Christ has done unto us. That is only the beginning of the story, and it unfolds wonderfully from there. But I found myself captivated and drawn to Valjean. His actions were odd. They called him a hermit. But he was living a life of grace. A life of love. Unbelievable. I could ramble for hours about this. I’m tempted to read the book now (with all my free time, ha!). Such a powerful story is the basis for any good movie, musical, play, or novel. It is a tale of this type that I desire to weave.