Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Dropping the F-Bomb

The world is flatter and smaller than ever before!  What a blessing, right?

Maybe not...

As the world shrinks and the miles between us become more and more meaningless, so do our relationships.  The nature of friendship has evolved immensely in my lifetime alone, and I can hardly imagine what my ancestors centuries ago might say about the way we treat relationships today.

Valuable friends acquired through years of shared experiences are often diminished to an occasional wall post on Facebook.  The same courtesy is extended to the bully whom we dreaded in junior high but have graciously befriended on the world's most influential social media site only so we can offer a meaningless "Happy Birthday" on a day of the year that truly means nothing to us.

Facebook is such a wonderful tool to connect long lost friends, but it just as easily connects total strangers with nothing in common save an alma mater.  The relationships we toiled over for years, even decades, to build, have become so easy to maintain that we have stopped trying.  And more, we have decided that we might as well treat everyone we have ever met with the same meaningless cordiality.  How thoughtful of us!

Ah, but if only it were that wonderful!  Facebook not only allows us to establish meaningless connections.  It also simplifies relationships so beautifully that we can as easily end relationships with the click of a button.  If you say something that hurts my feelings, I no longer have to endure a meaningful dialogue to overcome our differences; I can simply "unfriend" you.  Thank God for the convenience associated with the trivializing of relationships!

And when it comes to that pesky family - why, they are just as dispensable as that kid who you think you might remember from elementary school but aren't quite sure!  One social/political/religious comment too many, and they are eliminated from your social network in less than five seconds.  Whew, that was easy!

At least, even though sticks and stones can break my bones, words can never hurt me.  Therefore, when you post whatever you want in front of the entire world without turning on any sort of filter, I will not be affected in any way whatsoever...


In that case, it becomes even more interesting that you intentionally stated that opinion with me in mind with the sole intention of hurting me.

Social warfare has exploded in the last decade thanks to the ease and globalization of communication.  I do not want to be a victim of it; I do not want my friends, my family, or my wife to be victims of it; and I certainly do not want my beautiful daughter to be a victim of it in the future.

This "F-bomb" has become the simplest way to destroy social credibility by diminishing the value of genuine relationships and by equating acquaintance with genuine connection.

If you want to use Facebook as a tool to connect with people with whom you might never interact otherwise, first, ask yourself why, and then go for it.  If you want to use it to make the management of genuine relationships with friends and family easier, first, ask yourself why, and then pray for the wisdom it takes to give all you need to give to those who deserve to receive it.

I am tired of watching people sabotage relationships with friends and family by dropping the "Facebook bomb" by posting offensive comments, "defriending" one another, liking someone's negative comment about me or someone I care about, not liking my comment or picture that they normally would have liked if they were not upset about something, etc.

I have been hurt; my wife has been hurt; we have hurt other people.  Sometimes these hurts occur unintentionally, but more often than not, we know exactly what we are doing.  We may be socially inept, but we are not idiots...?

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Now that the baby furniture is assembled and Brittany's hospital bag is packed, the fact that Ella will be here soon almost feels real.  This week alone, I have dreamed that I delivered her when Brittany unexpectedly went into labor and that somehow we saw a picture of her before she was born to discover that she looks like she is Asian and has a lot of freckles.

I have no idea what day Ella will arrive (my money is on June 27th), but I know that the day will become enormously meaningful to me.  Each year on Ella's birthday, Brittany and I will look back on another year with our beautiful girl, freckly or not, and recount the priceless memories we have shared with her.  One day each year, we will focus on celebrating our little girl's life.

What is one day?  24 hours?  1,440 minutes?  86,400 seconds?  Dawn to dusk? 

Sure, a day may be those things (as long as my math is correct), but it is more.  A day is a stretch of your life's road.  Some of those stretches are only a few feet long and keep you moving slowly and steadily in the direction you are already heading; others are miles long and send you in a direction you never expected.  A few stretches have feasts and parties set up at the side of the road where you take a break from the journeying to stop and celebrate; a few others lead you nowhere because you stop to stare at the road behind you, aching to go back and claim something you have lost, but knowing that the only way is forward.

The only way is forward, and each stretch of road that is a day paves the legacy of your life and becomes a permanent reminder of where you came from and where you have been.  The more life we live, the more journey we have to look back on - and the more joy we have to look forward to.  Do you remember those parties and feasts at the side of the road?  Well, as a kid, we get a few of those days each year - Christmas, birthdays, a few other big holidays.  As we age and accumulate experiences, we accumulate reasons to celebrate, and by the time we die, hopefully we are celebrating life every day.

Because of the course my life has taken over the past 24 years, I already have so much to celebrate: birthdays; holidays; graduations; wedding anniversaries; anniversaries of the deaths of people I have loved and lost, but will never forget; anniversaries of firsts - first dates, first kisses, first day on the job, first finding out that we were having a baby, first finding out that baby would be a little girl, first hearing that little girl's heartbeat and feeling that little girl's surprisingly powerful kicks. 

And as I meet and love new people, I have more people with whom to share those same experiences.  I used to think I only had one birthday a year, but now I get to celebrate my birthday, my wife's birthday, my sister's birthday, my parent's birthdays, Brenda's birthday, Cameron's birthday, Jenna's birthday, Josiah's birthday, all of my coworkers' birthdays - and very soon, Ella Rose's birthday.

What is a day?  24 hours, here and gone?  Perhaps.  A day may not seem like much, but when you put them all together...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Know

I Know

When we were young, you made everything seem easy.
Your hollow truths and empty promises
Could mend my broken heart and make my dreams come true.

You told me I could do anything –
That I could take my life in my hands.
But you knew I would do anything
To save your life instead.
So you knew you could do anything to me.

And the tangible lies
Through your Jezebel eyes
Screamed realities truer than sin.
And your well meaning words
Never sounded so absurd
When I took my fate in my hands.

Now I’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears
Over hours and years
For no more than a castle of cards,
And no mountain of words
From the meaningless herds
Can soften my well-seasoned heart.

I know they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions,
But I’ve walked that road far enough to know that I paved it with compromise.
Now the calloused fingers on these Midas hands
Cannot lay the best plans of mice and men.

I’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears
For so many years
For dreams that have fallen apart.
Only mountains of words
From your meaningless verse
Can comfort my well-treasoned heart.

Now you tell me I can do anything –
That I can take my life in my hands.
But still you know I will do anything
To save your life instead.
So you know you can do anything…
You know you can do anything…
I know you can do anything to me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bachelor for the Weekend

Surprisingly, my weekend as a bachelor has been far more productive than expected.  I have cleaned the apartment (including a fair share of laundry and dishes), and I have only ordered pizza once within the last 72 hours.  Heck, I don't even have the TV turned on.

The truth is, being alone for a few days has been a huge blessing.  Until now, I have not had (or perhaps taken) the time to process all of the changes of the last few months, but being alone has driven me to wrestle with myself.  To be expected, I suppose.  Regardless, I am grateful for a wife who realizes how much I need some time alone, as well as for the time itself.

So far, I have:
  • Grilled steak
  • Grilled chicken
  • Grilled potatoes
  • Grilled apples
  • Done some laundry
  • Done some dishes
  • Made pancakes with homemade strawberry sauce
  • Written a few lyrics to a song that has been humming itself in my head for years
  • Defined the characters for a play that I would love to (but probably never will) write
  • Watched multiple seasons of How I Met Your Mother
As you can see, lots of grilling, and lots of introspection.  Two wonderful things.