Saturday, March 31, 2012

Patience

Patience is a god-like quality. I do not believe it is something humans inherently possess, it must be developed. Patience and confidence are almost synonymous. You cannot patiently wait for something unless you are confident that at some point your waiting will be worth it.

Cowards rush things. Cowards don't wait. They grab whatever they can take from life whenever the opportunity presents itself. They have no confidence that what they experience now will be even better if they hold out longer.

Patience also requires hope. If you have no hope, waiting turns into dread. You must wait quietly, choosing to listen to that small, still voice inside whispering: Don't give up. Don't give in. It will be better tomorrow. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cherish it.

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. - Thomas Jefferson 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Every day is a chance to witness things greater than ourselves.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

IRun.

I'm convinced running teaches me more about life than college. I've learned over the past couple of years that I need to enjoy and embrace suffering. It sounds crazy! There are a lot of things in life you hate doing, or just don't feel like doing because you see no immediate gratification. It's at these times when you should not resist the suffering or just run away from it, claiming you don't have enough time or energy. You make time for what's important to you. And even if you don't get any reward for your hard work, enjoy the journey it took to get there. Enjoy the effort, the sacrifice, the courage. In the end it is not succeeding as much as persevering that matters. And of course, pray to God you do see results, but understand answered prayer isn't usually the way you expected it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Branches

"Abide in me, and I in you." - Jesus Christ (John 15:4)

abide |əˈbīd|verb: continue without fading or being lost.• archaic live; dwell.

Jesus asks to no longer relate to him and yourself as two separate things, you are one. You live in Christ as much as He lives in you. However, you must understand your place. He goes on to say he is the vine. The vine is the life source, nothing can survive cut off from its source of life. We are his branches. We grow from the roots of his being. We are one tree, but separate parts. If we want to bear fruit, we need to stay connected to that life-source. Fruit can't grow from branches that lie on the ground after being pruned. May none of us ever face the pruning of Christ's vine.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Faith

No one is great by their own right. It is the perspective in which people see you that brings the greatness out or hides it within. People have so much power. When you believe in someone, truly believe in who they are, and not what you want them to be, you empower them. You are giving them an opportunity to be themselves with no expectations.

Silent Words

Some people have asked me what I am thinking about when I'm quiet. I can only look at them and smile, I'm not thinking about one thing, it's a million things all at once. There are no words to explain, so I say, "nothing."

Language is too limited for human understanding. Humans are capable of processing information at a much higher level. I wish there were more ways to communicated rather than merely words. If only there was a stronger, clearer way to transmit thought.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Power of the Pointless


"The novel alone could reveal the immense, mysterious power of the pointless. - Milan Kundera

If you seriously consider life, much of what goes on seems pointless. You drop your apple and it bruises. You trip on the third step going to your room. You put chicken on your sandwich instead of turkey. There are hundreds of moments everyday that we hardly bother paying attention to. Novels are about life. It is the intention of the author to give power and purpose to everyday, pointless moments joining together to create a meaningful story.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Art and God

True art captures God--revealing the complexity, creativity and deeply-hidden desire in all of us.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Opposites

There is no such thing as darkness, only the absence of light. I wonder if there is really no such thing as death either, only the absence of life. Could it be true in the reverse, that light is merely the lack of darkness, life merely the absence of death? Can darkness and death exist without the light and the living, or is the one dependent on the other? What is the meaning of death if there were no such thing as life? 


Maybe I should stop asking so many questions...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Circumstances

Energy and happiness do not come from comfort. Choosing to draw your energy from your circumstances, whether good or bad, hard or easy, will transform your burdens into wings.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Vision

Ask yourself: will this matter 30 years from now?

Every tiny decision you make is steadily leading you toward one of countless directions in life. It is important to have a clear vision of what you intend to do and who you aspire to become. Your choices in life bring you towards that person you imagined yourself becoming or lead you further away.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Small Instances in Time

In a good book, the author plants tiny instances throughout the story that build and grow on each other. At the time that subtle sentence here, that brief paragraph there, may seem insignificant to the reader. We breeze over them without a thought. Later, however, we see them for all their  vitalness to the story. We gasp to ourselves as the story comes together and it all makes sense in the end. We wonder at the brilliance of the author, at the ability to weave those instances so intricately, so beautifully, without us even realizing them, or remembering them, until the story finishes.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What is it About Childhood?

How can we explain childhood? While some of us could admit we had a good childhood, would we ever want to go back? Would we ever want to return to the days when the world outside our own was a dark, unknown abyss, and all that really mattered was the present moment? We claim there is so much freedom in this! But is there? Is there freedom in being vulnerable, innocent, unknowing, and unsuspecting? Children are utterly powerless.

Do we love children because they hold a portion of humanity that is forever lost to those who have outgrown it?

I wonder at children. I remember my own childhood, how I literally believed almost anything could be possible. Even though I knew it wasn't true, a part of me suspected my stuffed animals truly did have souls. I worried if I covered my bear's face with a blanket, he would suffocate, that if I didn't leave the window open a crack, the tooth fairy wouldn't come. I suspected that my kittens really could understand me, that I could fly if I jumped off my bed high enough, and that it really might be possible to dig to China. Even if in my heart I seriously doubted any of those things were true, somehow it didn't matter. I chose to believe them regardless. Why not believe? Why not? I didn't stop and reason my way through it. I didn't pick it apart, analyzing every component, every detail, every potential flaw, I just believed and moved on with life.

There is a child-like part in all of us that was never meant to grow up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Be Free

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." - Mother Teresa

One of my favorite quotes. I found this in a run down little sandwich shop with my mom the first day I visited my university. She wrote it down on a napkin for me. Mother Teresa is an incredible inspiration. I can't imagine going through what she did...may God give us all courage to live in the same manner. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Team

"Sports remain a great metaphor for life's more difficult lessons. It was through athletics that many of us first came to understand that fear can be tamed; that on a team the whole is more than the sum of its parts; and that the ability to be heroic lies, to a surprising degree, within." - Susan Casey

What if you had the courage to do something you never dreamed you were capable of? Whether you succeed or not, it is always worth trying. Dare to break through your comfort zone. Sometimes it's okay to be proud of failing. At least when you fail you know you've tried.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Year From Now:

I wonder what I will be thinking when I look back on these posts a year from now.

If all goes well, I will be living in Xiaomen China at this time next year. Here are things I want to keep in mind:

1. The Chinese language scares you. Use it anyway. You're only limiting yourself if you don't.
2. Make Chinese friends. If you're not confident, pretend to be.
3. Don't find your identity with the American group. You're in China, so be in China. Don't make a little American world with the other foreign exchange students to help yourself feel more comfortable.
4. Take advantage of every opportunity. That's a no-brainer, but seriously, this is an experience of a lifetime! Don't waste it.
5. Don't compare. It's easy to be ethnocentric. Western culture is not better. It's just different. Love the different. It's not like America and it's not supposed to be!
6. Learn to laugh at yourself. You feel ignorant all the time. There is so much underlying culture you're completely oblivious to. You mess up your Chinese a lot. It's okay. It's not meant to be a stressful experience. If people laugh, learn to laugh with them. You're ability to adapt to a new culture is not what defines you!

7. Have fun and learn about everything possible!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Living

To be alive is a good thing. To be enjoying the experience is even better. To be intentionally engaging life with a greater purpose in mind is the best of all.

Realize these moments are your life...but this life is not yours.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blasphemy?

What would I see if my vision was truly his? Often I pray, "be thou my vision," but do I know for what I am asking? I am asking to see the ugliness I so desperately try to turn away from. I am asking to see the hurt, the need, the hunger, and the pain. The rancid brutality of war, rape, violence, and so much more I couldn't dare imagine, all these things in life that don't make sense to me, are in his vision. Death by starvation, abandonment, despair, he knows them well. I pretend that this draining, daunting, life-sucking evil doesn't exist. Yet, this is what he sees. This is what he hears. This is what I want nothing of. Why should I? It is not my problem, I certainly did not cause it, I am not responsible to help, and I cannot hope to fix it. I am only a drop in the ocean. It makes no difference whether I choose to live for myself or "world peace." Is that what I believe? Is that how I justify it? If only I could understand the world the way it's meant to be understood, the way he understands it; stripped of bias, ignorance, and self-preservation.

One life! It haunts me. Just one life is all I have. What if everything I believe is not true? What if I spend myself—the way so many others have—for the sake of the gospel only to find that in the end it is just another religion. It's just another way for humans to make sense of their world. Blasphemy! You say. But don't deny you've thought it too. Some day I want to mean it when I say: I'd rather come to the end of my life knowing that I gave everything to God and what Christ lived and died for, than realize I spent my life doubting whether Jesus existed at all. Faith is a choice.

While I rack my head struggling through philosophy and theology, there are still hurting, desperate people out there; people who need hope. What Jesus Christ preached, what he did...there is hope in that. There is hope. And perhaps Christianity is just another religion, with rituals, and traditions, and beliefs. Yet, perhaps it is not. I believe that, from the context this religion is based on, what it guides us toward, what it teaches, what it is leading us to; there is something far greater. Something greater than any one of us could ever imagine. Something that is entirely otherworldly. While we pick apart the Bible, Christianity, and religion in general, perhaps we are missing what it was meant to do for our sick world. The gospel fulfills religious doctrine. It should bring humanity together, not pull them apart. It should set our souls free, not bind us to theological obligation. How can we judge the Buddhist, or Muslim, or atheist? They want what we want. We are all humans, why must we distance ourselves in fear of violating our precious belief system? I am no theologian, yet it seems that while we nit-pick and tilt our noses, people are still suffering.

If people's souls are of the utmost importance, and a Buddhists reaches out to a dying human being and cares for them, restores them, can you say God is not in that? Is all the good in the world irrelevant if it does not spring from a Christian heart? I don't know. It doesn't make sense to me. If it is true that God works in and through all things, what about other religions?

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. - Mother Teresa 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Your Own Voice

"Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice you can rise above doubt and judgment and you can see forever."

When it comes down to it, we are all insecure human beings. We always will be to some extent. However, within us is a "still, small voice." Listen to it. I believe that is the power of prayer. God will speak if we will listen. Quiet the heart, reflect and listen to that voice which is so often drowned out by other voices. There is peace in this. There is freedom.

I used to wonder how God could possibly speak to me. I never heard a single word. Then I realized that it is something within us. It is His voice, yet it is ours because we are His. Our voice is His voice, our thoughts are His thoughts. We are connected in a way that can only be explained by the death of the soul. In order to allow two separate thoughts to become one, we must abandon our voice and our thoughts--our doubt and our judgment--completely. When this happens, the birth of something new rises. The new voice is not based on what is human and culturally explicit. It is based on an ancient wisdom hidden deep within us. We can know His voice when we listen to what we were made to hear.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Leaving the Comfort Zone

The end of our comfort zone is not a glorious adventure. It is a dangerous, terrifying risk involving all of us or nothing at all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

At times we must to let go of what we thought we wanted for what's standing right in front of us. It is our choice to hold on. It is our choice to let go...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Basic Energy

"Just as there is no loss of basic energy in the universe, so no thought or action is without its effects, present or ultimate, seen or unseen, felt or unfelt." - Norman Cousins 

In other words, be careful what you think about. Each thought has an absolute effect on your life. Every thought is significant in some unexplainable way.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Our Time and Place

"Ah, how fine it is to imagine our other lives, a dozen possible other lives! But enough day dreaming! We are all hopelessly riveted to the date and place of our birth. Our 'self' is inconceivable outside the particular, unique situation of our life; it is only comprehensible in and through that situation."- Milan Kundera

A lot of who we are is based on where we live and the time period we are living in. I find this fascinating. There are so many variables that come into play when considering the personhood of an individual. Life has a way of shaping us. Despite the choices we make, there are many things outside our control that has shaped us to be who we are, whether we choose it or not. This is no coincidence. You have been faced with these circumstances, these situations of everyday living for a profound reason. It is your choice to decided what to do with your life inside the context of living you were provided with.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Expressing It

Our desire to love is based on the aspirition of heaven.

Every human soul innately desires to empower others with their own ability to love, whatever form that may be. If an individual does not express love in a way we understand, it is not because he or she does not want to love, it is because he or she does not know how without feeling exposed and vulnerable, which are necessary and difficult feelings to wrestle with.