Sometimes I Forget What a Minority I Am…

The responses to my discussion question for my ISS (Social Studies) course completely blindsided me today. Initially, I got really defensive and irritated. No one there even knows my views on faith yet — Can’t I just submit a question about society and nature without suddenly getting barraged by comments about the pointlessness of religion and the narrow-mindedness of Christianity?

Then, this funny thing happened. See, when you start reading the Bible, you start thinking the Bible.

I thought about how lonely, from a human perspective, Jesus’ life must’ve been. Think about it — people either hated him, were talking about him behind his back, loved him but couldn’t do anything in return, or loved him but then screwed up when it was crunch time. The emotions amassing within him weren’t revenge and disgust, though. He didn’t tell God to forget humanity, that we weren’t worth it. He wasn’t seething with anger or saying “Screw you!” when they hoisted him up on the cross. I sure would have been.

Shh, Listen. Let God tell you straight from his Word.

“Jesus was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.”

“But when [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” 

And with the skin of his back hanging off, open gouges haloing his head, and nails the size of butterknives wedged between the bones and muscles of his wrists and feet…

“Jesus said,

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.””

(Matthew 9:36, Isaiah 53:3, Luke 23:34)

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The Case of the Mental Hairballs

Here it is, another post, I think to myself. It’s time to impart some sort of knowledge or wit… What should I say? Why have I lost all ability to think? 

Earlier today I checked my blog stats. Supposedly fifty-some people took a little look-see at my thoughts. And as soon as I saw that, my mental momentum vanished. Where’d my influx of premeditated ideas go? My mind seemingly spasmed and gagged up a hairball of bland, useless blog subjects. Maybe blogging isn’t for me, I thought.

Why? Because I went from imagining that people may read what I write, to knowing that they do. My thoughts went from being confident and independent, to under par and second-guessed. What if I offend someone? What if I sound hyper critical? What if someone criticizes me? What if this is just a big waste of time?

Then it occurred to me: This problem extends far beyond my cyberspace paragraphs.

Here’s the deal. Everyone, to one extent or another, is deeply concerned about what others think of them. This quiet paranoia bleeds into our self-perception, our self-censorship, our confidence. One negative comment on a shirt and it never again leaves the closet. A sideways glance at your complexion and from then on you feel ugly without makeup. Say something sensitive and suddenly you’re no longer a man. Ask too many questions in class and you become a know-it-all (or a dense know-nothing).

Basically, others become the standard by which we measure our actions, and ultimately, ourselves. 

It isn’t my style to simply talk at you and then tell you how to live. But while I go brainstorm more blog ideas… Stop searching for your value in others instead of in yourself. 😉

Someday Daddys

One average day last semester I freaked myself out. I was walking across campus people watching when suddenly in a surreal, out-of-body way, my mind began seeing all the young men I passed as the next generation of not students, not entrepreneurs, but fathers. Instantly, every man I imagined as someone’s father — that scrawny kid longboarding, the voluntarily deaf black guy with his Dr. Dre Beats, the guy in too short of shorts jogging commitedly, the Asian with thick-framed glasses. Maybe it was a daydream. Maybe it was an epiphany. 

I was both fascinated and disturbed. I was fascinated because while not all of them would become fathers, many would. And it could any time between, well, already and the next twenty years or so. The idea of young women as mothers didn’t phase me, though; as a woman, it’s a far more common thought.

Mostly I was disturbed. How many of them would actually make good fathers? What is the best description of a “good father,” or does it change person to person? Are these young men prepared? Will they be? How well is MSU preparing them? How well is life preparing them? Do they realize what a grave responsibility it will be, or does today’s generation of college-aged men define a child as the accidental result of a broken condom?

I shuddered to imagine any of them as the father to my child someday. I have unusually high standards, I know that. At times I despair in it and the loneliness that it carries in tow. On a campus of 24,000+ males, it’s ‘funny’ that I still haven’t found “The One.” But mostly I rejoice, having confidence that my high standards are the insurance of finding the best husband, and the best someday daddy, possible.

My Thin Bubble

I’m surrounded by people who have lost loved ones. Cancer, car accidents, surprise illnesses, old age... Death. Death is everywhere. It is as prevalent as life.

These people grieve through social media, they grieve with those around them and they grieve in a very personal, unknown seclusion. I’ve realized that I can’t grieve with them. I have no idea of what they’re feeling. I don’t know what it’s like. My mind cycles through my nuclear family members then expands to my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends. Nobody. I haven’t lost one person dear to me — only two dogs. A thin bubble of life has protected me from loss and grief for twenty years.

A blessing? Absolutely. And I know that I don’t understand how huge it really is. But then I realized that death is inevitably going to happen. My bubble will someday pop. Every day it creeps closer to someone I love, but I don’t how close and I don’t know who. 

Sometimes I’m burdened by this hyper awareness — almost to the point of guilt. Fear of death plays no part in this, by the way; I believe confidently in Heaven and Hell. But I do fear losing someone unexpectedly and then living with the regret of having things left unsaid. Often this anxiety taunts me. This could be the last time you see him, it says, the last time you talk to her. Am I making my conversations count? Did that really matter? 

I know I take things to an extreme at times. I’m not meant to life in constant anxiety and fear that someone I adore will drop dead.

But we aren’t born with expiration dates stamped on our foreheads. Life is a vapor, and I want to respect myself and love others like it.

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