Tag Archives: life

pessimism, her cohorts, and her enemies


I’ve always viewed myself as an idealist. I can dream up ideal situations of any kind. I dream of a utopia, where everything works as it should, people treat each other with respect and kindness, and give God’s creation the care that it should receive. I dream a lot.

In my mind, I am aware of the reality of sin, but that reality hasn’t sunk in. It remains a concept that lives only in my head, for the most part.

You can imagine what happens when actual reality, the kind that doesn’t live in head, collides with the utopia I have inside my head. It’s not pretty. It usually results in pessimism and loss of hope, which eventually leads to a wicked cynicism.

Picture this:

A tranquil, bright blue body of water surrounded by trees, birds singing, the sun shining brightly but not too hot. You are in a canoe, humming happily, peacefully paddling to nowhere, but eventually hoping to reach the other side of the water. Suddenly the water becomes very murky and thick, and it becomes harder to paddle. The water is almost like mud. You furiously paddle harder and faster, and only manage to inch along. About twenty feet later, a fin pokes its way through the surface on the right side of the canoe, and on the left side, you glimpse a crocodile snout. Losing all hope, you stop paddling. What’s the point? You’re just going to be eaten, anyway. And nobody will come to help.

After my ideals collide with reality, I begin to dream again. But these dreams are not happy dreams. In these dreams I imagine everything that could possibly go wrong, and WHAT IFS flood every space in my imagination. It’s paralyzing.

It’s difficult for a person in this situation to actively cling to hope. And I’m not even speaking of an individual who is going through legitimate suffering.

This applies to my current writing habits. I try and think of things to write, and then promptly shoot them down with the excuse that better people are already thinking and writing about those things, and much better than I ever could. Thus, I don’t write. Other criticisms emerge, such as: don’t use your blog as a journal, that’s sappy stuff nobody wants to read. Don’t blog that, that doesn’t sound theologically coherent. And the list goes on.


It’s easy to to abandon optimism and hope in exchange for pessimism and cynicism.

But, and this I tell (and pack the punch to) myself as well as everybody else who struggles with pessimism (you might even be reading this, who knows?): abandoning hope is stupid. Abandoning joy is stupid. Especially if you believe what scripture says is true. You have the best Hope of all hopes to cling to, and it’s the last reason in the world to give up.

So, don’t give up. Don’t give in. Pursue joy like you’re training for a marathon, and cling to hope like a gnarly burr on a wool sweater. And dwell on this with me:

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (!) 1 Pt 1.3

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God help us all…

..I’m actually going to need a semi-grown-up planner for this upcoming school year.  No more of those simple monthly spreads.

I have this perspicuous reminder in front of me ; I’m getting older, and I forget more things every school year.

Ergo, the planner.

Dang it, I knew I shouldn’t have already made a rough time map, but as they say about me, curiosity kills.  (I have a million lives, though, so no worries there.)

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Tell yourself you really don’t want OR need to read this.  Tell yourself it’s a complete waste of time!  Boring!  Sleep-inducing!  Truly!

Consider yourself warned, then I shall proceed.

1) Are you still reading?  Go away!

2)  I had this gut feeling (whatever you want to call it)  that this year would be different from the past few years, and by golly, my gut was right.  I’ve got a new job I’ll absolutely love, dear friends old and new, a cute place to live, and for better or worse, a new and different grad school that is partially the same as it has always been.  Oh, and I made the student council.  Look out, world.

3) Not to mention new ministry opportunities.  The ESL students at church are going through Living by the Book, and I get to help teach!  I’m excited to see what else I can pack into my schedule….right.

4) Still reading?  There’s no hope for you, I’m afraid.

5) Last, but certainly NOT least, Roomie is getting married to Rascal tomorrow.  Never thought I’d live to experience the day(s) of living with a preoccupied, bedazzled, forgetful, bride-to-be.  Okay, well, that is not entirely true.  I figured these kinds of days would come soon enough.  I’m nearing 30 quite rapidly, after all.

6)  STILL reading?!?!  I sentence you to at least a two sentence comment!  There!

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counting stuff; it’s fun.

The number of things that have had to be repaired in ze auto this year: about six.

The number of people who have gotten engaged/married this year: I’ve lost track.

The number of times I’ve injured myself in the past twelve months: three. That’s a record.

Out of those three injuries, the number of times I’ve injured my feet: twice.  Right foot, inside metatarsal tendon.  Left foot, outside metatarsal tendon.  What are the odds?  (Well, with my royal clumsiness, really high, actually.)

The number of times I’ve had to speak with B of A this year: twice too many.  (Time to switch.)

The number of times I’ve eaten a bowl of popcorn for dinner in the past ten months: umm…….???

The number of books I’ve gotten for free the past ten months: maybe twenty?

The number of books I’ve touched in the past ten months: I’m guessing around ninety thousand, give or take a little.

The number of cookies I’ve eaten: a lady never tells.

The number of pages I’ve read in the past year: sorry, lost track.

The number of Lara bars I’ve consumed the past year: around two hundred and fifty.

The number of poems I’ve composed this year: too few.

The number of stories I’ve written in the past few years: [blank]

The number of babies that have greeted this evil world in 2010 or will be before the year has past: that I know of?  About fourteen, at least.

The number of times I’ve tallied stuff like this to a T: never.  I haven’t even given you numbers for everything.

Happy summer!

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I’m Sorry cards

Working a retail job one Saturday afternoon, I helped a woman move her walker from her car to inside the store.

After I pointed her to the greeting cards, and set the walker down so she could sit in it while perusing the cards, she asked me if there were any “I’m sorry cards.”

“Uhm, I don’t think so, but I’ll look.”  I knew I had never seen any inside this store.

Bible bookstore.  Wouldn’t this place carry I’m Sorry cards?  (You’d think.)

After my search come up dry, the woman began to tell me that she had come looking specifically for an I’m Sorry card, and proceeded to tell me why.  As she opted for the Thank You cards and enlisted my help in finding just the right one, she got further into her story, and began to weep tears of regret (2 Corinthians 7 came to mind, particularly verse 10).  Unsure of what to do or say, I ran (well, not literally, but almost) to a tissue box, took it, returned to the woman and offered her the box.  She took quite a few tissues, as is to be expected.

An older woman, just out of surgery from the VA hospital, in search of an I’m Sorry card. Coming up dry.  Crying her eyes out.  She was really sorry, and didn’t have the right card.  I was beginning to feel sorry, myself.

Pondering this situation much later, I wondered if the lack of I’m Sorry cards  pointed to a much larger problem in Christendom. (At this point, this is where you may want to stop reading if you do not wish to unravel different thoughts and attempt tying them together.  I am quite capable of making my own head hurt, along with yours.) Perhaps we have lost the art of saying “I’m sorry” and truly meaning it.  Maybe we have treated “repentance” too flippantly for the sake of keeping on a serene holy mask that would fool anyone, letting pride sit on our hearts, slowly eating away, just like a lazy worm.

After doing a preliminary search for Apology cards, I discovered that they are quite difficult to locate and obtain, although they do exist.  Then a random piece of trivia came to me, a piece that I had probably read in one of hundreds (thousands?) of books I’ve flipped through (the problem with working with books year after year is that one can arbitrarily come up with little pieces of information, and have little recollection of how that information got into one’s brain).  The piece of information in my brain said something like:  constantly saying “I’m sorry”  reflects a low image of oneself.  Call it “low self-esteem” (self-esteem would be a whole ‘nother blog post, so I’ll avoid becoming side-tracked).

Hm.  If this is how people think, no WONDER Apology cards are hard to find.

Although, that piece of information is quite legitimate in some aspects.  I could see situations in which that would be very applicable, to which I will leave to your imagination.  But flip the coin.  Wouldn’t that also be indicative of pride?  Apologizing more than necessary to avoid punishment?   Saying three little words to sweep it all under the rug and say, All gone now.  Done.  No worries.

“I am sorry.”  Those three words have certainly depreciated.

As people in general, it would be nice if more could truly say, “I’m sorry.”

But take it back to the Bible bookstore.  How many books would you find on, say,  conflict resolution, community life, repentance, reconciliation?  Not many.  How many books would you find on Becoming a Better Version of oneself?  Too many.  As followers of Christ, we have to learn to live with each other, not just one person (myself, yourself).  That means having to say, “I’m sorry” and not just saying it.  None of us is better than the other, and none of us are above screwing up.  We need to show others what “I’m sorry” means.  (Check out 2 Corinthians and Philippians, just to name a couple of resources on living as family in the kingdom.)

P.S. Just so we’re clear, I am far from having this whole thing down.

P.P.S. I think apology cards are only the beginning, but they need to be more easily found.

P.P.P.S I am not surprised that apology cards were nowhere to be found in that store, and difficult to be found anywhere else.  After all, [insert dry tone here] according to Joel Osteen, aren’t you supposed to be Activating Your Faith and Achieving Your Dreams?  Come, now.  Who has time for I’m Sorry cards?  Think positive.

P.P.P.P.S.  Forgiveness deserves a separate blog post, too.


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on metaphors

I have a thing for metaphors.

After I had quite the nerdy discussion with someone about similes versus metaphors, I got to thinking about why I like metaphors so much (yes, RB, those include similes ;)).

Here’s what I came up with.

1) We use them everyday, and don’t even realize it.

2) Because the imagery provoked by the metaphor communicates much better than just a sentence with adjectives, a sentence interpreted according to literal definitions and syntax, and I’m a visual person. (You could say that all words have their connotations and thus provoke a certain imagery, but I’m speaking of pictures.  You know what I mean…a picture paints a thousand words, right?)  This is the main reason I use metaphors in poetry so often.

3) They make me think, and if you know me well, you know I like to think.  A lot.

The problem with metaphors, though, especially with many literary pieces (and this is why I scored higher in the math section of the CBEST than on the reading section…stupid multiple possible interpretations!), is that they sometimes contain so many different possible interpretations, one could spend years debating.  But guess what?  Most likely (meaning, there are exceptions), you will never know the real meaning and intent of the metaphor unless you are the author of said metaphor.

So, the very thing I love about metaphors is the very thing that sometimes annoys the crap out of me.  What gives?

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over the past few days…

I got officially lost, for the first time, and skipped the first in this season of baby showers as a consequence.

Tried to articulate a book review onto digital paper, and failed (still in the works).

Dealt with fraud and won.

Have developed a loathing for craigslist.

Laughed at doofuses.

Cancelled my e-crapimony account.

Baked & ate too many cookies (chocolate chip; vegan and gluten-free).

Blanked out on some basic chords during Sunday’s worship service, and realized that I really do depend on green tea every a.m.

Took a break from computers for over 50 hours, and now find facebook and email to be quite tiring.

And I miss my MacBook.  Very much.

How was your memorial weekend?

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the quest

I am a classic jack-of-many-trades.  Good at many things, I excel at nothing, and dabble in everything, right-brained and left-brained, creative and analytical, writing and mathematics; you get the picture.  I am still looking for my niche.  It is quite possible I will never find it, and that I will have decide which of my “trades” can be my “niche”.  I think I will always be close to living in a cardboard box, though, because I don’t really care about money.  

I would rather be a missionary overseas more than anything else.  

I really do not have a preference as to what I end up doing as a missionary, I guess I just have to choose a “niche” and a location.

Perhaps I am not searching.  Maybe I am procrastinating.  Perhaps the answer is right in front of me, and I have yet to rub the sleep out of eyes to gain a clear focus.  Excuses for my lack of quick-decision-making skills.

After all, it is not rare for me to use half an hour in determining which flavor of soy /rice/coconut milk ice cream I want.                        



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