I had a unique experience in Brazil today. I got my hair cut.
Getting your hair cut can be a scary experience. After all, you’re trusting the appearance of your hair, one of the most noticeable physical attributes of your head, into the hands of another person. Even though I have my preferred style of hair down to a tee at this point in my life, it still gets a little frightening when a complete stranger is thrashing around my scalp with a pair of shears.
This fear amplifies when you are no longer able to communicate with the barber outside of a few basic phrases such as, “A little more here” or “Shorter, please”.
Coming into Brazil, I knew that eventually I would have to face the day where I got my hair cut. It hung around the back of my head, ready to pounce the moment I was no longer content with the appearance of my head.
Today was that day. Today was the day for a haircut.
Actually, the haircut went pretty well! I couldn’t describe very much, but the barber doing it had apparently been in the business for like 40 years. He knew what he was doing.
Anyway, what I learned from the experience is not that mysterious barbershops are trustworthy. What I learned is that this victory required time.
This is known as the long lost art of delayed gratification.
Adventures are full of them.
What I’m learning is that true adventures don’t offer payoff when you want them. They throw you into a perilous situation with no readily available solution. You won’t win because you can’t win…when you want to.
Adventures require us to be disciplined with our time. You can’t slay a dragon without first training for several years in the art of dragon slaying. You can’t conjure a magical potion without accidentally making poison a few times.
I couldn’t have enjoyed the success of a nice haircut without the grown confidence in my Portuguese and the accompanied slow-growing of my hair.
These things take time. And real adventures last longer than we want them to.
But the payoff is far greater than we can imagine.
Question: What is a long-term goal you’re working towards right now? What ways do you try to gratify that longing instantly? What does it look like to train for the long haul?
Question: What do the following people have in common:
Answer: They all pooped in the woods. A lot.
I don’t like talking about poop. At all. I think it’s something people should keep to themselves.
But the truth is that, well, everybody does it. Including people on great adventures.
They never show you the scene where Aragorn pops a squat behind a bush and lets it rip.
But it happened. Multiple times.
Think about it.
Think about it hard.
People in the stories need to take bathroom breaks too. And chances are it’s just as awkward for them as it is for us.
Sorry, Viggo Mortenson.
I know, I won’t be quiet about this Brazil stuff but lately I’ve really wanted to document some thoughts on the topic of “Adventure”.
Since I was a child, the idea of Adventure has been implanted deep into my head. I think it’s typical for men, especially our current generation, to long for a mission that is bigger than themselves…something that proves they can be a man. We want to compete, we want to conquer, we want to slay a dragon. Probably for a good cause.
We grew up in the shadows of great men who fought in wars and raised families in the face of adversity (and we do still have great men that fight in wars, and adversity). But most of us boys these days don’t fight real battles. We end up sitting on a couch and participate in imaginary ones through videogames or television.
Much of my life has been spent fantasizing about what the perfect adventure would be like. I grew up with Lord of the Rings, StarWars, Final Fantasy, Harry Potter, Dragonball Z, Pokemon, Dungeons and Dragons, Redwall and countless other tales of unlikely heroes journeying across a foreign land to fulfill their mission. These heroes traversed dangerous swamps, slew dangerous creatures, acquired magical artifacts, and occasionaly rescued damsels in distress.
There is something about these stories that gets our adrenaline pumping. Something about them fulfills a very primal longing in our soul. I think it’s a fulfillment that has been heavily diluted in today’s culture…but don’t listen to me about this. You should read: The Art of Manliness. I highly reccomend it. (Of course, this post isn’t limited to only men. Adventure is for girls too! Woohoo!)
Anyway, I am no professional on the art of Adventure. I do not carry a M.S. in Fire Magic or a Ph.D in Dragon Slaying (which would be the bomb by the way). However, in my short time here on this modern academic adventure to Brazil I have noticed a lot of disconnects between Fantasy Adventure and Real Adventure.
I think it is important to distinguish between the two. Our culture has given us unrealistic expectations on relationships, success, and satisfaction through material goods. In the same way we are taught a very, very unrealistic view of adventure.
Transformers is not realistic.
Dragonball Z is not realistic.
Dare I say it, StarWars is not realistic.
And I’m not talking about the fact that they have giant robots and super powers. The characters themselves are not real people.
Han Solo could not shoot Greedo in the face without flinching and still be considered a normal human being. Of course, he’s awesome, but he’s not real.
And we know they’re not real.
But we still want them to be.
We haven’t accepted that they aren’t real.
Fortunately, real adventures DO exist! In fact, they’re right around the corner! Do you want to go on a Real Adventure? I think I do…
Where do we start?
I’ve opened up a new blog on Wordpress to document my travels in Brazil.
You can find the link on my facebook, or right HERE:
More updates are to come as the adventure begins!
As many of you know, I will be studying abroad in Brazil for the Fall semester. My departure from the US is in 10 short days.
I am the first and only student from UIUC travelling to Pirassununga, Sao Paulo, BRA. There are two others from Texas A&M, but we are not bound together by any program (I don’t even know their names). Also, all of my classes will be taught in Portuguese, and just about everyone out there will speak only Portuguese too. I have never taken any Portuguese classes, and what I know has been self-taught on the side over the last 7 months or so. The odds feel against me, but I feel a need to consider this a true adventure.
"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered." - G.K. Chesterton
Just to let you know, I’m not a travel junkie. Studying abroad in Brazil has not been my dream since I was a kid. A year ago I had no plans to do this thing, and if you had asked me I probably would have given you a confused look. I’m pretty content with the Midwest. I elaborate on this point because I have always imagined the folks who did study abroad to be these wild, extroverted, people with a sensational love for people, culture, and being out of their element.
I am not that person.
Well, okay, yes, I love people and all that. And I do feel adventure is a privilege often not utilized. But c’mon, Brazil? Why am I doing this? (Okay, I do have plenty of reasons why I chose to follow through on this, but sometimes…eeyyehhh..)
There are a lot of mysteries coming up (I do not have a confirmed place to live yet) and I currently can’t do anything about most of them. I have no idea how the Portuguese thing will work out. I can speak enough to survive life, but probably not enough to survive classes.
But don’t let me be a downer, I am legitimately excited too. Statistically, 100% of the students I’ve talked to that studied at this school absolutely loved it and wished they could go back. Those are pretty good odds!
I’ll be keeping a blog of my experiences out there (hopefully with pictures!) for everyone who wants to keep up with my life (for which I would feel very flattered). I want to share to you all what peculiarities of life unfold, what experiences occur, and ultimately what God teaches me over the next 5 months.
Please, keep me in your prayers. There will be all sorts of temptation for anxiety this next week.
Pray that the language comes quickly and that my living arrangements work out well.
Lesson 2: The Country Bears are awesome
Let me tell you, for the longest time I have always thought the Country Bears were these ugly, disgusting-looking, slack-jawed leftovers from the 60’s that were only ever kept around Disney because of tradition. Just look at them. They’re creepy as heck.
I feel like I’ve seen this face before…
And I still think they’re ugly. Really. Really. Ugly. And scary.
But I’ve warned up to their charm. When I was at the Magic Kingdom we visited the Country Bear Jamboree. This is the official show of the Country Bears where they take turns singing to their heart’s content. I came in expecting a performance similar to this. I left the performance very surprised.
Those bears have soul. Although they are meant to be funny, their lyrics are deep and heartfelt. In one song performed by the Sun Bonnet Trio, they explain their deep desire to finally be known by a man someday and how no matter how hard they try they have never truly felt cared for in their life. The final solo, performed by Big Al, is essentially a lament to all things in life. It is terribly sad and beautiful at the same time, truly a modern day psalm.
The Country Bears know they are ugly. They know they’re the misfits of the Disney Universe. And they’re okay with that. They have a strong bond amongst one another that can never be broken. I think the Country Bears are a great model for true community.
We should really try to be more like the Country Bears.
Last night I just got home from visiting my sister for 6 days in Orlando, Florida. It was a pretty neat trip but I’m definitely glad to be able to sit back and relax at home again. We spent the week in Disney World which also happens to be the epicenter of nostalgia for me. Needless to say, this vacation taught me a lot of things about life (Well, I learned about more questions than answers).
First off, I’m gaining a new perspective on what a vacation actually is. Since I was a kid I’ve always related vacation with rest. I think vacations can be restful but in my experience they rarely turn out that way. Last year I drove out west to the mountains with two good friends of mine. I’m a guy who likes his space, so spending 30 hours crammed in a car with two people is not my favorite activity in the world. The structure of vacations tends to make me claustrophobic mentally, and cars just make me claustrophobic in general. Also we stayed outside Salt Lake City for a few days which is an area where coffee is a scarce commodity. No space, no productivity, no coffee…I had a rough time (You can ask my friends, they will attest to this.) It was hardly a restful vacation but I was challenged by the unique experience.
Disney has been the same way. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the Magic Kingdom and Epcot all day (I Loooooved it), but it’s not what I would normally do on my day off. I like to sit back, watch TV, and not talk to people; that’s what’s restful to me. After spending the week at Disney I don’t feel very rested at all, but the unique atmosphere got me thinkin’ about a lot of things I wouldn’t have otherwise. So here is my new series entitled, “What My Vacation To The Magical World of Disney Has Taught Me”.
Lesson 1: Parenting will take patience
If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you probably know that I really want to have a family someday. Turns out there are a lot of families who visit Disney World. And a majority of these families seem to include young children. I spent a lot of time observing families (mostly the parents) to see how they interacted with one another. They came in every shape, size, color, nationality, and language. It was fun, because even if I couldn’t understand what the families were saying it was always the same situation: A drained parent trying to control an erratic child.
I have to confess, sometimes people frustrate me. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person but it’s true. I worked as a daycamp counselor for two summers and had a mild foretaste of what it is like to take care of children on a regular basis. I’m no expert on parenting by any means, but I’m going to guess that raising children requires a lot of patience. Coincidentally, patience is not something I have a lot of.
Last year, I participated in a year-long men’s ministry group in my church called “Men’s Fraternity.” We covered a lot of good material on biblical manhood through reading scripture, discussion groups, and weekly lectures. For several weeks we went over the topic of fatherhood. These discussions (along with a lot of good podcasts) have all reinforced this idea of being a servant-leader in the household. In scripture, two common descriptions of God’s relationship with his people are that of a husband loving a wife and that of a father loving his children.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” – Ephesians 5:25
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1
Obviously, God is King. He is more than capable of leading (and kind of by definition, must). Among many other attributes of God (specifically, all of them) I have a hard time wrapping my mind around his patience. Sometimes, I tend to imagine God getting completely fed up with me. “Ryan, stay over here! Ryan, sit down! Don’t say that word! Just hold on, we’ll be there in a second! Can you stop whining?! Gosh! Why did I even give you the free will to disobey me?!” Fortunately, this is not God’s character. God is a patient parent.
When I did Daycamp I had a special tree I would run off to during especially frustrating days. It was a Ponderosa Pine Tree to be exact. I would find the tree, make sure no children were looking and then madly kick off the bark to let out my frustrations. As the summer went on, I gained a better understanding of how to control the kids and let them enjoy themselves too without building up a ridiculous amount of stress. I began to develop a little more patience, day-by-day. But it was still hard. Consistent patience is difficult.
It’s a very high calling to lead a family like Christ leads the church. If/when I have a family; I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. There are some ways I will probably mess up my kids somehow with my lack of patience. Fortunately, there is still grace for that. No one is a perfect parent.
Also, fortunately, patience is something that can be refined today! We have all sorts of things to be patient with in life. We live in a culture that gets what it wants. Imagine: what if you were using a dial-up connection for your internet right now? Your patience would probably be tried. (If you are using dial-up, hang in there man.)
What tries your patience? Who/what can you try to be more patient with? Who frustrates you? The Miami Heat? The Miami Heat frustrates me.
So this week I’ve been indulging in a teenage past time of mine: Dragonball Z.
If you’re not familiar with Dragonball Z, let me familiarize you to it. The show is furrreaking amazing. The premise is that a group of super-powered fighters from Earth must protect the universe from the forces of evil by utilizing martial arts, flying, energy blasts, and their emotions. It is completely over the top. Please, just watch the opening trailer to get a taste of what this show offers.
Did you watch it?! …..good.
I, alongside millions of angsty teenage boys LOVED this show. After revisiting it, I’m beginning to understand why. It hits on pretty much every single thing boys want out of life. Let me run through a list of reasons why boys love Dragonball Z:
We couldn’t get enough of this show. When us angst teens weren’t drinking mountain dew, listening to classic rock, or writing out our existential thoughts on videogame forums, we were watching Dragonball Z.
When I was 13 that was the only thing I wanted in life. I wished for one day I could charge up all of my pent up emotions in a mad fury and transform into a powerful, new self. I wanted to fly through the air at a million miles per hour and beat up evil with my angry fists. I desired the power and authority to conquer evil.
I couldn’t do it in real life so I had to settle with watching it in TV. Dragonball Z provided a glimmer of light in my early teens.
Parenthetical thought: (Teenage boys don’t get enough credit. They’re often labeled as punk kids who don’t appreciate authority (which is probably true), but deep inside every teenager is a lost soul looking for their identity. Our voices were cracking, we grew peachy facial hair, acne erupted on our faces like Dante’s Peak, and our bodies grew into disproportionate shapes. We found ourselves on the bridge between boyhood and manhood with little knowledge how to cross it. Next time you interact with an awkward, immature, teenage boy who speaks in Family Guy quotes and smells like the AXE factory just exploded; remember that they’re probably just confused and lonely inside.)
I use the term “angst teen” a little jokingly, but it is a rough time for anyone. Looking back, those were difficult days. Between school, social life, and personal things, there was plenty of yuck. I do feel very blessed to have grown up in the environment I did. I have many friends who have grown up in less than ideal situations and I’ve seen the different ways they coped through them. For some, it has been miraculous to see how they have climbed out of the rubble and grown stronger through it.
We all had little things in our childhood that gave us hope. One of mine was Dragonball Z. What were some of yours? What trials did you face as a kid or teenager, and how have you grown through them?
At this exact moment I am sitting on my bed listening to 50’s music and savoring what’s left of this Spring Break.
Spring Break usually ends up being the same story. Leading up to it you think, “Yes! Now I can catch up on work! It’s five weekends in a row!” and of course, it never turns out that way.
I made the bold choice of buying Seasons 1 and 2 of How I Met Your Mother and have been inhaling them at an average rate of about eight episodes a day. Spring Break is slow and I enjoy having space away from people, so a good TV show is perfect. I’ve followed my share of sitcoms throughout the years: The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Friends, Scrubs, The Office, and Community, just to name a few. I enjoy getting to know the characters and seeing them grow through all sorts of stuff. Not to sound like an old cat lady, but it’s like the characters become my friends. Sure, I can’t interact with them, but I do get to observe their lives and see them go through highs and lows.
Oh, how I would love to have a life where I apparently never have to go to work and I can just meet my 5 friends at the bar beneath our apartment complex every night to hang out. Then our one quirky friend that we all love will make an insulting remark to a stranger and get us into trouble, and we’ll all run away and play laser tag or something. (Note to self: go Laser Tagging with friends)
But, alas, that is not life.
And it’s tempting; it is dangerously tempting to treat these stories as an escape to life. I want my life to be that interesting.
But there’s GOOD NEWS!
My life, your life, all of our lives. they have great stories! Seriously! And your story is unique to you! And I don’t mean this in a “you’re special because no one is as good at being you as you” kind of way.
Have you ever sat down and looked back at the events of your life? How have they shaped you? Good and bad? Maybe not even the big dramatic ‘season finale’ type events, but the little ones too.
I’ve been thinking about mine lately. I don’t mean to brag, but you’re life has not been anything like mine, not by a long shot. Right now we’re filming season 21 of “Ryan’s Post-Modern Life” and things are really picking up. Each year, different things have happened in my life. Some years were rather depressing and slow (like the 5th Harry Potter Book) and others were non-stop crazy (like the 6th Harry Potter Book). To be honest, there are some parts of my life that are difficult to look back on, but they were uncoincidentally the most important years of my life.
I once saw someone post in their blog a small description of their life for each year from the last ten years. I thought it was a cool exercise and I’d really like to try it. Here we go:
I just started Middle School. I tried counting how many friends I had and concluded that there were “6 people I talk to.”
I was introduced to Punk Rock and wore a lot of AXE body spray. I asked a girl to dance with me at the Halloween Dance and it was totally awesome.
I spent most of my evenings online arguing with internet trolls about free will, the existence of God, and all sorts of deep philosophical concepts. We had absolutely no idea what we were talking about.
In order to flee from teen angst I joined the track team and started long-distance running.
I was convinced the secret to life was running. I also wore a lot of youth-medium T-shirts with Pokemon and Star Wars on them. I thought it was ironic. I was such a hipster.
I was facing charges for reckless driving and endangerment of lives. I fell at the state track meet. I had to confront some close friends on recurring issues. I also had to face a large longstanding personal issue. This was a year that very much broke me.
Much of this year was spent recovering from 2006. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was facing a lot of sadness this year. Also, I almost became a math major.
I spent the summer in Colorado and got to be a Scrabbits Day Camp Counselor. That was without a doubt the most life-changing summer I ever experienced. I returned to a uniquely fulfilling sophomore year at U of I with plenty of great memories.
I made a lot of life-long friends. I began to feel confident in who God is and the great role He has in my life and in those around me. Needless to say, this was all learned through helpful trial (oxymoron?). I learned a lot of hard lessons this year.
I took a lot of steps towards “growing up”. I learned to take greater responsibility for myself and pursue assertive action in my relationships. I can’t say I’m great at it, but I’m learning.
I went to Brazil in the fall. There, on a whim, I played the Brazilian Lottery and won 50 million dollars. I used that money to fight world hunger, provide clean water where needed, and build the world’s largest laser tag building.
This is, of course, the abridged version. If we get coffee sometime I’d love to share the full version, and get to know yours.
What’s your story like? What events shaped you? What kind of events are in store for the future?
I want to write a disclaimer that it’s obviously not a good idea to get too self-absorbed in our own lives, as the universe doesn’t revolve around ourselves. However, I do think there’s healthiness in being able to understand our own stories. It helps us appreciate the stories of those around us.
A recurring theme for me these last couple weeks has been this idea of deviating from the systematic approach to life. You know, the Westernized way of thinking that puts every aspect of life into a bullet-point list or 5-step process.
As an engineering student, every day I’m learning how to interpret the variables of the world as a series of functions and logical relations in order to derive a solution. My focus is in structural engineering and we are taught exactly how to put up a building so that it doesn’t fall down. We learn the capabilities of steel and concrete, the most structurally sound shapes, the physical limits before yielding and fracturing occur, the effects natural weathering, etc., etc., and all of which are derived from centuries of research, testing, and learning from failures. It’s pretty amazing actually. The whole scientific method is pretty cool, and I really think the human race is onto something with it.
What I’m doing in my classes is learning a very refined approach to solve a very specific problem. Do the equations work? 99.9% of the time, yep. Are they exact? Nope. Are they convenient and easy to use? Of course! (Unless you’re considering torsion effects which are not easy to use)
And the truth is, in engineering, these are wonderful tools that help simplify and refine the process of doing stuff. They work, and it’s great!
The danger, I find, is applying this systematic view to our relationships. It’s everywhere. “If I do this, this and this, it will humble me and allow me to love people more.” “How do I pursue this girl in the exact perfect way so she won’t think I’m a total creep?” Or a big one for me is, “If I were only to read my bible more and have a regular quiet time, then I’d really have an easier time connecting with God.” Even if I’m not willing to admit it, I do this all the time. I see a problem, I see what I desire, and then I formulate a plan to make it happen.
I don’t even necessarily feel this is bad. After all, simple wisdom often comes in tasty bite-sized pieces. What more worries me is when the refined approach throws out the in-betweens, when they favor the side of convenience as opposed to experience. I mean, we all know it. It’s on thousands of MySpace bumper stickers surrounded by glittery hearts, it’s the messy things that make relationships count. Or as I like to say, the “mess-essary” things.
But What I’m learning is this idea that relationship is not convenient. It never was and it never will be. It is inherently inconvenient to our lives. Relationship is us inviting someone into our room and letting them move the furniture around. “Woah! Don’t move the lamp to that table!” “Hey, why are you setting the alarm clock to 6am? I’m not used to waking up that early! (As a clarification, I mean friendships/partnerships/committed social interaction/relationships in general. Although, the Eros-style relationships count too.)
I’m learning that if I lend someone 5 dollars with the expectation they’ll pay me back in some way (e.g., compliments, affection, 6 dollars, etc.) I will be disappointed. I’m not saying that people won’t, but I don’t think the point of relationship is to treat is an investment. The point is to give them 5 bucks because you want them to have your money more than you want it for yourself. I know nobody, including myself, would admit to this mindset but I’m learning it’s really easy to fall into if we’re honest with ourselves.
A very good friend shared with me recently, “Love is not reciprocal, it’s sacrificial.”
From what I’ve gathered from the married men I know, it seems as if marriage is difficult and that marriage is not convenient. “Wait a second – you mean we’re going to live together and make every decision together? And we share every part of our life together? And for how long? Death? Seriously?”
Obviously, I am not speaking from a position of knowledge or authority in the realm of marriage. However, I do know what it’s like to be friends with people and according to Facebook I have 520 of them. (Side note, in case you’re wondering, I keep in regular contact with all of them)
I’ll head into the direction I originally meant to travel. (This blog post is a discontinuous function).
Tonight I just finished reading Donald Miller’s book, “Searching For God Knows What.” It was pretty good, very relateable. To relay some of his ideas, he describes the dangers of being too reliant on treating theology as a bullet-point checklist to reaching God. The Bible does not offer a 5-step plan to reducing stress. In fact, the Bible doesn’t explicitly have a list of ways to “get to know God” like a Gospel tract. Rather, the content is spread throughout. It talks a lot about Love, it talks about us Loving Jesus, it talks about the Kingdom of God, it talks about the Holy Spirit, it provides tons of elaborate examples of how God loves the church like a bridegroom, it talks about God’s relationship with man since the beginning, it talks about man’s longing to be Loved by God, and it talks about plenty of other things. In short, the message in the Bible seems to be very relational. It’s almost as if it’s not even interested in giving us a checklist of how to be good with God. Reading it in itself: the stories, the parables, the weird prophecies, the poems, and yes even the law; that is getting to know God.
If I’m honest, I treat my relationship with Jesus as a series of bullet points. “If I read my Bible enough and have enough quiet times, then I will really know and love God.” I don’t think of my relationship with God as an actual relationship. I like to call Him up occasionally, say, “I Love You,” and immediately hang up the phone and spend time with someone else.
I know, I know, I know, the term “Enter a Relationship with Jesus Christ” has become a cliché in our culture. But I think it’s been said so much because it’s right on the dot.
When we treat God as a series of steps to avoid Hell (both eternally and the occasional emotional anguish during life), I think we’re missing it. Don’t get me wrong, God wants to save us from that, and an accurate understand of systematic theology and the fundamental truths presented in scripture are absolutely necessary to understand God, let alone have a relationship with Him. But I think I’m learning that God is a person that Loves me, sacrificially. God coming down to die for me is scandalously sacrificial. Me choosing to engage in relationship with Him is inherently inconvenient and sacrificial too. That’s how Love works. That’s the point.
It goes against every tendency of my body. Most days I don’t want this mushy relational stuff. I just want hard logic, a function, and a solution. I want for it to be watertight, no questions or anything. I want to have God understood and placed in a clear plastic box where I can see every side of Him. This relational stuff is good, but it’s not enough to hold the truths of the universe. Maybe it’s good for simple-minded people who liked Transformers and think bacon is the greatest food in the universe, but not me. I need more than that.
And I’m completely sincere in that. It is hard for me and I still struggle to get this whole “Relational God” thing. This is probably because God is invisible and has never spoken to me audibly, which are traditionally very important traits that help me know people. But there are also times where I don’t want to believe it because then that means I’d have to accept this idea that God is someone I can talk to, and that is a conversation I sometimes don’t want to jump in to.
But on the other hand, I also like the idea of God being someone that does in fact love me. A lot. God is rooting for me.
I’ll let you in on a little secret about me. I have a dream of being a Jazz singer. I want to stand in front a crowd of hundreds wearing a tux with a bowtie and sing “Mack the Knife” with Bobby Darin’s sultry voice – and everyone in the crowd will quietly sing along with me, but not too loudly so as to ruin the moment. I’ll sip some kind of tan liquor during the performance and make a witty comment to the people at table seven. Oh yes, that is an exciting thought. I like to believe that God gets excited when he thinks about me doing that too.
I often paint God to be this abstract, emotionless, relationless being that stands off at a distance that allows terrible things to happen in the world because he doesn’t care, and my only means of communicating with Him is through ascetic ritual and sacrifice. This type of relationship with God is, uncoincidentally, very pharisaical.
But I think God is more than that. It makes me feel warmer at the end of the day, Also, I think it’s true.
What relationships are most important to you? Do you struggle with viewing them as a systematic routine in your life? Do you enjoy the people in your life? Why or why not? How can you show someone you care about them today? (Hint: it probably won’t be very convenient for you)
I’m mostly asking myself these questions, but you can think about them too.