Light and Darkness

                I often like to think of life in poetic themes. One of the themes that I find myself coming back to is one of light and darkness. Light, is everything good and right in the world. Laughter, hugs, love, coffee, candy, sunshine, rain, swimming, and relationships. Darkness is everything wrong and broken in the world. Hunger, tears, pain, death, wrath, jealousy, and conflict.

                As often as I have moments of brilliant Dead Poets Society inspired expressions of good in the world, I have a love affair with the darkness. My sister and I both do. No one else in our family, does. Not our parents, grandparents, or any of our cousins. We love the macabre. Dark comedies, antiheroes and just plain dark material. Edgar Allen Poe, The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello, and any number of other authors that kill their darlings.

                My sister and I have very different reasons for our love affair with the darkness (definitely an affair). I don’t entirely understand why for my sister, but for me it is because to ignore it, and not give voice to it is deafening to my soul. I am all too aware at every given moment of the sadness and despair that everyone carries with them. Hurts, betrayals, loss of loved ones, and all sorts of wickedness, all leave a mark people.

                I see these marks in their eyes. I see it in the way people walk, I hear it in cracks in voices, and I see the tears that it causes. I don’t forget it. I remember the hurt and pain I have seen in others. The only way I knew how to deal with this is to turn it into stories. Dark and macabre. To help people tell their painful stories. To listen to tails of darkness, and then share my own.

                Marvels Agent’s of Shield is the best show I have ever seen that shows us how we are supposed to react to evil. In the beginning of the series Colson follows faithfully with SHIELD’s modus operandi of keeping secrets and only telling what needs to be known, begins to change and has faith in people to handle secrets.

 Rather than hide the truth from Skye, Colson tells her of all the people who have died, and all the chaos that has happened around her. As we watch her respond, Colson narrates for us, “The world is full of evil, lies, pain, and death and you can’t hide from it. You can only face it. The question is when you do, how do you respond, who do you become?” How do you respond? Who do you become?

                

Life Worth Living: Purple vs Green part i

Life Worth Living: Purple vs Green part i
A life worth living is a life worth enjoying. The inverse is also true. A life worth enjoying is a life worth living. But I also assert that life enjoyed is part of life worth living.
I share honestly now, that I often have struggles with a Christian existentialism. Or at least, that is what I call it. Existentialism normally is the idea that everything you do is absurd and meaningless, but it is very important that you do it anyway. As a Christian, my struggle is to enjoy the vastness of Christ’ Creation, when it doesn’t seem to have any eternal significance. Souls are not being won to Jesus, so why bother? What benefit is it if I like purple instead of green? Why should I ice cream when I could satiate myself with broccoli? Why should I enjoy games when I could tell someone about Jesus.
Unfortunately this hasn’t had what would seem to be the logical outcome, I am the person who tells everyone he meets about Jesus. I am much to coy for that. I attempt to bring it up, but this attitude is marred by sin and so merely keeps me from enjoying life. I confess now that much of my writing is me trying to work out my own life and view of the world.
This is why I love the book of Ecclesiastes. He speaks so perfectly what I feel. Meaningless, meaningless, (like trying to catch smoke) is everything of life because it only lasts a moment. Throughout the book we are told that God has given man life to enjoy. But in chapter 2:26, just shortly after we are told to eat drink and be merry for God has given us this life, he says that this is meaningless, and striving after wind. It all seems hopeless.
But, I have hope. For at the end of the book it says that the sayings of the wise are given by one Shepherd. That one Shepherd is Jesus. He gives us wisdom, but also gives us redemption and life. Everything is meaningless because it will all be lost, the righteous perish and the wicked prosper, claims the writer. This is very true here and now. Wicked are blessed, righteous are punished.
The answer will never come in this life. The answer to these ills only comes when Jesus returns and brings justice and eternal life to the world. In Him there is hope of broken relationships mended, lost family reunited, sickness taken away, and life lived eternally in God’s presence.
But until then, I still find myself asking, “Why enjoy purple over green?”

From Pain to Hope

I am going to start doing different topics on different days of the week, much like radio programs. On Mondays, I am going to be telling my story as I am moving from one who focused on growth, to pain, and now hope. I emphasized these three things not only in my own life but in how I interacted with others. 

I had been having a long stretch of no motivation, wondering why anything was worth while, and general existentialism. After much prayer, some time in the sun, conversations with friend, and watching the following Ted talk, I realized something rather important. For the past four years I had been focusing on pain. I would ask others questions about how they were, and find bits and pieces of a story, hone in on the pain and start digging. I got rather good at it. 

Unfortunately, that was in stark contrast to the hope and motivation I had been sharing years previously. When I was in and taught martial arts, my primary goal was to share the hope of a better life. Constant improvement and moving forward. I was the example for others to follow. 

Then after the divorce of a close mentor I began to seek and look for pain in others, as I ran away from my own. When I realized this was causing problems, mostly in emotional connections with women, I was left with nothing, no hope, and no pain even though as said by Three Days Grace said, “I would rather feel pain than nothing at all” 

Then I watched this video, (don’t read the transcript, watch the whole thing)

This changed my whole outlook. While watching, my mind was running and racing through past ways of thinking, how he came to think this way, how it compares to my own thought and interests. What drew me to Benjamin Zander the most was that he was using what he loved, music, to put a light in peoples eyes. Before I had used martial arts. The creativity of how he strung together stories, music, and life lessons of moving forward inspire me. So I have made a commitment, to work to inspire hope and love creatively. Through whatever one is interested in, we can learn to combine our interests with helping people, we can truly be engaged in this life and the people we love.