December 30th, 2010 § § permalink
I don’t usually do this. actually, I’ve never done this, but a post from my uncle got me thinking that it might be a good idea to spend some time thinking about some ways to improve in 2011. not that I haven’t thought of ways in the past, but I’ve certainly never written them down. There are only a few things that I actually write down, and most of them have to do with her, so, like I said, new territory. I would like that add that that last stat isn’t entirely my fault. My Greek professor (who also taught a number of other classes I took) told us not to take notes but just remember, which I did for the most part. As an aside, the business world isn’t that conducive to “just remembering”. I found that out.
Ahem. *Trumpet Blast*. Here are the ways that I hope to improve this year:
Seth Godin talks about this all the time, which means it’s a good idea. Seriously though, the most important part of any idea is actually making it happen. My head is constantly full of ideas, but there are only a few things that I haven’t left half-done or half-engaged during the course of my life. I just lose interest, which is often just another phrase for “I’m lazy”. I’m not sure where one ends and the other begins, where personal laziness ends and being in the wrong line of work begins, but I want to get better at pulling good ideas out of my head and into reality, into a state of being. I don’t just mean in my work either.
I’m not very good at budgeting/saving. There are various reasons for my wanting to improve this, and while they are far from unimportant, they will be given the luxury that so many of us ought to treasure more than we do: anonymity. I’ve set for myself a $50/week budget. I’m not sure if I can do it, but I’m going to try. The thing about New Year’s resolutions is that people usually give up when they fail the first or second or third time, which has never made any sense to me because they should be going after things that are actually helping them grow and mature, things that actually improve them, and if they are, setbacks can take on a cathartic property. She would like/laugh at that sentence. I’ve wondered before if all relationship wisdom could be boiled down to needing to find someone who cares about sentence structure and expression as much as you do. I’m glad it can’t. The cycle of failure/assessment/struggle-to-improve is not only a human approach, it is THE human approach to anything. Imperfection breeds progress. At least when it comes to budgets. So back to the real world, all that to say, it will be hard to get myself down to $50 a week, but I’m going to try. My most recent, and most permanent, abandonment of cigarettes will certainly aid in this quest. Mark Twain once said “Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world to do. I should know, I’ve done it a thousand times”. That quote always makes me laugh.
I’m basically already tired of thinking of categories, so the rest will be Faulknerian. That was a literary reference that is intended to make you think I’m smarter than I am. Eat it up. Please. For my sake.
I want to get better at focusing on the aspects of work that suck the most. I’m so good at putting off the painful, ugly assignments that I get for work and, instead, crushing all of the more enjoyable stuff. That needs to change. Not really much else I can say about that.
Ok, I’m tired of reading this and you’re tired of writing it, or is it the other way around? Either way, that’s enough for now.
2011 is going to be a really big year for me, and I’m thrilled. Actually, I’m Tyler. If you got that, I’m sorry, I’ve looked but I don’t think there’s a cure for people like us. Take care, and as fuel for your New Year, I’ll leave you with the send off I left my college class with, which apparently made it to our graduation video despite my rather altered state:
be brief, and be brilliant.
December 25th, 2010 § § permalink
I miss her. It’s always hard to write about her because of who she is and how I feel about her, but it’s especially hard tonight. My heart is heavy with her wine, and it isn’t in the talking mood.
She means more to me than I know how to write, more than I may ever know how to write, and her ache spills over my heart’s mountains and suspends between it’s trees.
Tonight, I’m just me drunk with her.
December 22nd, 2010 § § permalink
There are moments that make you word-scarce, leaving you not a dollar short, but a penny short, of the phrase that would pull your heart closer to the surface so that someone else could see it. Maybe we all spend our whole lives trying to pull our hearts closer to the surface so that anyone, even if it’s only ourselves, can see it better.
The only real difference between a great writer, a mediocre writer, and a shitty writer is that great writers have the exact change for that phrase, while the rest of us are left short changed and shuffling our feet in embarrassment. I’m a mediocre writer, and that’s usually more infuriating than being a shitty writer because being a penny short is always more obnoxious than being a dollar short, which you know if you pay attention to what goes through your mind at times like that. There is a discipline to art, and that discipline is learning to be unsatisfied, which sounds quite nice to just about everyone, including me, until we learn that being unsatisfied is a bit more consuming and intensive than we had hoped. It is a discipline, after all.
The difference between words and people is that words aren’t people. People are like words though. She is, and she’s the kind of word that is always meaning more and more and more, absorbing your thoughts and soaking into and through fears until all you can say is her. You spend a long time trying to say her in ways that get closer to what she means, and there you are, always a penny short, trying to get it all out, shuffling your feet not out of embarrassment but out of dissatisfaction because she wasn’t said in the best way, and then you’re off, trying again.
Find someone who doesn’t stop meaning more, and whom you can’t stop wanting to say like they ought to be said.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
December 11th, 2010 § § permalink
The real depth of the way things are is something you spend you’re whole life sounding. If you know me, and it isn’t hard to know me because I’m pretty simple, you might know that that word sounding is a play on words when I talk about trying to understand the depth of things because I love music. Music is something that I couldn’t get away from even if I wanted to. I was driving in Richmond today and there were some of those skinny metal towers with lights on them that blink, and anyways the important part is that they were blinking at different times (I think two were blinking their blinks in their usual way and the third was blinking on the downbeat) and the rhythm bothered me. Not an angry bother, just a “please turn the lights down in this room a bit, my eyes are hurting” kind of bother. There isn’t much in my life that isn’t associated in some way with music, and I’m grateful for that.
I’m grateful for a lot of things. I’m not very wise, and my friends and family know that, but I’m grateful that I’m a little bit wiser than I used to be because I haven’t always been in the best waters and most of the time I was churning up those waters, though I have been under the weight of a few things that I didn’t create or invent. Creation and invention are different things, that’s something you should know. Another thing that I learned yesterday when I was outside was that squirrels don’t run like dogs or cheetahs, they spring off of their back legs and just bounce on their front legs. Watch them sometime. Some science someone might respond and say that squirrels do run like cheetahs, and that’s fine, I’m often wrong.
One thing I learned about myself over the last couple weeks is that I don’t understand as much as I think I do. I don’t mean about any certain thing, I just mean in the general way, like when you remember that time you told your parents in high school that you hated them because you weren’t allowed to go to a party or some such thing because they wanted “family time”, and then you grow up some and you realize that family time is a hell of a lot more important than whether you get to go to every social thing that ever happens. Anyways, the things is, the reason for holiness dawned on me over the last couple of weeks. I know that it did, because I did some marginally stupid things (not the kind of bad things you write down in a book or try not to watch in a movie, the kind of bad things you bring up at care group so that people have a sense of awe and wonder at your wildness. They probably don’t have either of those things after hearing about it, but you hope that they do and so you say it, and you say it in a “oh, if only the Lord could get a hold of ME” kind of way. Sorry, that’s just how I’ve been in the past.) and I was grieved by them. I mean honestly saddened. My parents just read that and rejoiced a little bit, as well they should. Anyway, holiness is like maturing which is like seeing the real value of things. I’m starting to think that sin is wrong in some ways because it steals the value that things are supposed to have, like letting the air out of a balloon a little at a time until it’s not so much of a balloon anymore.
And that’s the infuriating thing about grace, and why grace is the most uncomfortable thing about God when you think about it. I agree, it is maddening at times that God sends people to hell, I’m not hiding from that. But the more I learn about myself, the more I’m surprised that He doesn’t send everyone to hell. I mean, I’m glad also, for the record, but the weight of grace is something else, I swear. I’ve asked God to strike me with lightning a number of times, including in the last few weeks, and He never does. (Ok you atheists, this is your moment to shout that He hasn’t struck me because He isn’t there. Ok, you’re moment is over. This is my blog after all.) There are people who probably wish I’d been struck by lightning, and if any of you reading this are numbered amongst them, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve deserved that early and often. Instead, God brings us to His table and dresses us in his finest clothes at the very moment we wish He would order 30 lashes. 31 would be a bit harsh of course, but 30 is something we could suffer through and brag about.
Maybe God designed grace so that we can’t brag about anything. And also so that we could know Him and keep on knowing Him.
I’m not sure about so many things as I used to be sure about, but I know more and more how much I care for those I really care for, and that I don’t deserve to be cared for. Maybe on my tombstone, if I have one, I will ask that they write “more than anything, he was astonished by grace”.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
December 5th, 2010 § § permalink
this is a short post about how there’s always something to fix. it hurts my head to think of all the ways that i still need to grow and mature and be less of an idiot, and the thing is, it’s not so i can feel better about myself and be able to a shoot a short film about my heart and mind where everyone is smiling. it’s because i’m worn out with the clamor for more more more more more more more more more more that my mind makes. i’m tired of talking to God about how serious i am this time, because even by saying that i’ve already missed the point. i’m tired of not trusting God enough to let Him all the way inside my heart and mind. i’m tired of being part fool part less fool.
the shift from holiness-as-burden to holiness-as-rescue has taken a long time in my heart, and it has a ways to go still.
i’d be lying if i didn’t say that i wish times like this, times of pick-yourself-up-off-your-ass-and-listen, were the part of the film near the end where I throw my duffle bag in the back of the truck and drive off-screen to the voice of an old british guy talking about how from that time on, things were never the same for Tyler and were always better.
too bad, huh?
i guess what i mean is, there is no sweet-hereafter until heaven.
December 1st, 2010 § § permalink
this is one of those nights where I feel further away from the words I mean than I want to be. have you ever noticed how you can be in the same room with someone and miss them like crazy? i don’t mean that you feel detached from them, I mean that you feel like they have to be as close as they can be to you before you can settle down some. that’s how i feel about my words tonight. they are across the room talking with someone else and even though I catch their eye they don’t leave that conversation for mine.
i don’t think much about death, because death, no matter how close i’ve come to it, which is close, has always seemed across the party from me, not out of the room but out of reach. one thing that I just thought about is how we are in a relationship with death, and some people go through the motions of courtship with it and then engagement and then finally marrying it, except that when you marry death, you don’t find out hardly anything about it until after you’ve said your I-dos. Weird huh? some people, though, have shotgun weddings with death and don’t go through any of the motions. the reason I bring that up is that death sometimes scares me, because i don’t really know what happens afterwards. I’m not scared of death, I’m scared of what happens afterwards, which is a line from a song that I love. we all avoid talking about it except when we have to because something terrible has happened, and we sit around rooms with hearts that are wide eyed and try to remember the times when we didn’t have to have times to remember.
this might sound bad, but sometimes when someone talks about dying for their country I think that they’ve seen to many movies. I don’t mean the people that have died for their country, i mean the people that talk loudly at parties about dying for a country. I’m not saying I wouldn’t, but I’m not saying I would either because shit dude, you’re dead and you don’t get to come back after you’re dead and if I’m going to die for something I want it to be something that’s on my mind all of the time. I’m really grateful for the country I’ve been able to live in, and the people who have died to make it that way, but still, dying for things is deep water and my heart can’t swim so well in those waters these days. Call me whatever you want.
I used to always wonder if, when I died, Jesus would look me in the eye or just look the other way for a second so I could sneak in. If anyone should be sneaking into heaven instead of walking through the front gate it’s me, and I don’t care if you know it. Back when I was more in love with sorrow than I am now, I used to think of how dramatic and grand it would be to be pounding on heaven’s gates asking for entrance and be unjustly cast out into Hell before the whole host of horrified, outraged humanity. Then I remembered that at a time like that everyone is too worried about their own problems to watch and be horrified by anything and anyways it doesn’t work like that because there’s no way to be misunderstood by God, only by yourself and other people, which scared me a lot for awhile until I read something from Peter Hitchens where he said that whether his standing with God is right or not will be up for someone who knows his heart far better than himself to decide. If Peter and I both are as genuine as we would like to be, I’m going to thank him for that.
In the end, I suppose that death is just the beginning of the real thing, whatever that ends up being. The ache that I feel for her or for finding a place or for whatever it is that we ache for that we can’t describe is perhaps just the beginnings of the birthpangs and maybe death is the birth. who knows. i guess someone does but they said it in a way that made it seem unimportant, which makes sense when i’m sitting with friends or i’m with her but it doesn’t seem so unimportant when i’m on my porch by myself every night. maybe what happens isn’t important, it’s who’s waiting on the other side that’s important.
i get my best thinking done on porches. i swear, there’s nothing like them. i don’t know why, but the combination of the world slipping sideways into dark and either the loud quiet of your own mind or the pull of friend’s conversation and laughter is one of the only things I make an effort to include every day. i’ve come to regret some things, but porches aren’t ever one of them. she and i have spent time on porches, and it was the kind of time that you let soak into you and through you.
i hear from the Lord in churches sometimes, but I hardly ever talk with Him there. There was a time when I did I suppose, but that was before I was interested in knowing something about Him. these days, you can find He and I on my porch under the evening weight that pulls so much out of your mind and heart that you can hardly bear it.
she’s so far away right now that it hurts.
in my head, heaven is more like a porch than a church.