28 10 2009

(Somewhere along the line, I started using weak puns as post titles most of the time.  I don’t apologize for it, but please do understand it as less of a plea for attention and more of a neolithic spark to get the writing juices flowing.  That said, I will now simply paste lyrics below and publish.  Huh.)

I posted this solely for the song, not the video.  Feel free to let the video play without watching.  It seemed pretty corny to me, subject matter notwithstanding.

This song ran through my head a lot for a few years of my youth.  I’m not sure why, as I didn’t know anyone who had taken their own life at the time.  It simply haunted me and made me melancholy.  I have no follow up.   This is just a piece of my childhood that is now out there for everyone to see and judge accordingly.

Youth is Wasted by the Young

27 10 2009

I’ve been raised, deliberately or otherwise, to view Sunday as a day to relish. For me, this has usually involved sports.  Whether it was the pre-service touch football games in the parking lot, church softball team practices, evening bowling games with friends in San Luis, or even wiffleball games in Grandma’s back yard with John,  (I still have a cool scar–two, actually–from one of those) I’ve always enjoyed a bit of friendly competition on Sundays.  Lately, I’ve been playing soccer with some miscellaneous cohorts in the afternoon, and  I have occasionally indulged in frisbee later in the evening to boot.  Yesterday, however, I inadvertently planned a veritable deluge of sports for myself.  My buddy Corey had planned a good-sized inline hockey game at around 5 or so in Chino Hills.  Since I usually don’t play soccer much past 4, and I wasn’t planning on playing ultimate frisbee with Andrew and co. until 9, I figured I could squeeze in brief showers before the latter two events and just stay energized through pure gumption and a couple of Powerades.

Turns out, I don’t have gumption any more.  I think I used it all up around sophomore year of college, which is also the last time I remember drinking more than one Powerade at a time.  There’s a reason for that.

So, of course, Sunday afternoon arrived warm, with mid-eighties temperatures and a sweltering soccer field beckoning my naive legs to their doom.   However, I’ve conditioned the old tree trunks to take their share of punishment when it comes to football, and a couple hours’ worth of play left them tired, but sweating gracefully.  If only I had been able to see theirs tears of pain amidst the glistening perspiration.

As soon as I walked into the apartment at about 4:30, I could tell I was in for some trouble.  My muscles were beginning to tighten up, and I was less confident than usual that my standard calisthenics and stretching would prevent them from taking a quick five on the 30 minute drive to the hockey rink.  I showered, making the water as hot as possible in a miserably futile effort to keep the ol’ gams elasticized, and picked up some liquid electrolytes on my way over to Chino Hills.

Let me say now that the drive over was extremely pleasant.  As I gave my body no choice but to relax and enjoy the cooling evening air and diminishing sunlight, I began to feel peaceful.  Life is good.  I’m just sitting here, listening to the radio, driving past the unicorn palace on my way to my first NHL practice.  Oh, right, I’m dreaming.  Thanks for the wake up honk, jerk.  Ahem.

(I didn’t really fall asleep, but I very much wanted to.  It was that pleasant.)

I lackadaisically* carried my stick, skates and such over to the rink, and was greeted by an enthusiastic cheer from the Red Wing Jerseyed Corey.  Seeing hockey jerseys moving at full flight always gives me the itch to revisit my Flippos days, and here was one of the few times in recent memory that I had a chance to respond to that call.  The anticipation to hop onto the rink as fast as humanly possible was intermittently tempered by my knowledge that I hadn’t played more than once within the past two years, and that my body was not exactly ripe for intense physical activity.  Thankfully, I learned to stop listening to my body a long time ago.  What does a stupid hunk of mostly-water-filled carbon know anyway?

The play was good, all things considered.  My passing was good, but foolish at times.  I also cannot stickhandle at any decent speed to save my life, and my slapshot resembles badminton more than hockey.  However, I did beat Kyle the Goalie with a nice head fake and wrist shot to the far side fairly early on, which helped to ease the chagrin that set in as the evening wore on and my severely limited skill set quickly began to erode alongside my lung capacity.  When 8 came around, I knew I had to go, prior engagement notwithstanding.  My body and lungs were begging for mercy, and I knew better than to ignore their pleas this time.  I bid farewell to the boys, and rather gingerly loaded up my car for the drive back.

As my tender frame informed me of each and every pebble my tires felt on the freeway, I tried to soothe my back/quads/hamstrings groans with the only medication I had available:  Powerade.  I think I envisioned the sugary liquid coursing through my veins and purging my body of the evil lactic acid I could feel welling up all too quickly.  Instead, it just felt like I was drinking Powerade when I needed a sauna (sa-OO-nah, according to some people) and acupuncture for an hour.  Which I did.

(If you need a frame of reference for my condition, just know that hearing the Angels end their season through multiple errors and discombobulation failed to ease my pain one iota.)

When I straggled into our apartment this time, I looked at my roommate, Cory, and made my decision:  I was not leaving this apartment again tonight.  After text messaging Andrew to inform him of my prodigality, the following conversation (inspired by real events) ensued:

“Cory, are you still wanting to go play ultimate?”

“Well, I was kind of planning on it, yeah.”

“Ok, well, I’m not gonna go.  I can’t move like forfty percent of my muscles, including, apparently, the muscle you use to come up with real percentages.”

“Oh, that’s ok.  I actually need to get some stuff done anyway.  What are you…Robert?”

I had shed my clothes, gear and way too much time not bathing in steaming hot water.  I filled our tub with steaming hot water, and plunged myself into its depths armed solely with what Micah called a “teen hockey romance novel.”  Well sure, if you only read the back cover.  Man, wise up.

And so ended my day of indulgence.  Andrew came by later on to chastise me for said truancy, and I made bachelor food to replenish the billion carbohydrates I had burned.  To all those that say youth is wasted on the young, I urge you to look no further than this entry’s titular truism, and bow at my athlete’s feet.

Wait, that didn’t come out right.

*Spelled that word right the first time.  Take that, creepy spelling bee kids on TV.

Living on Prayer

23 10 2009

I listened to Francis Chan this morning (after spilling coffee on my pants).

If he hadn’t been swarmed by adoring fans, I would have asked him if my Pike’s Place Roast-stained jeans were ironically indicative of my materialistic mindset.

Instead, I just thought about prayer.  I don’t really pray enough, and I don’t really immerse myself in the Word enough.  I think those two things should go together in my life, and I think Lewis’s emphasis on nonverbal prayer is perfectly paired with the Word Himself.  Mr. Chan always makes me think a lot, and he is, to reiterate, what sparked my interest in the conversation I had with Alex the other day.

The only part that frustrated me is how distracted I always am by contemporary worship times.  I am wholly in favor of praising our God, but I’m seriously wondering if putting a bunch of people on a stage to lead repetitive ballads is the best way to do that.  Maybe it would be better if we mixed in more A cappella Psalms?  How about some group Scripture reading?

I just don’t like the idea of singing a set of widely-known (or recently-written by the song leader) praise songs as the sole method of “worship.”  It seems vainglorious to me, although not all the time.  Maybe this just means they are doing of a good production job for me to be distracted by the glamorous nature of it…?

We at the apartment were talking about how some famous “worship music artists” do concerts, and are paid for them.  I can understand that people need to make a living in their ministry, but I can’t help but think that St. Paul would be tearing his robes if he heard that a small church couldn’t afford to have _____ play worship at their church.  How screwed up is that?

Diddy’s Release

22 10 2009

Bad ideas start the way good ideas end

With intentions great in the interest of friends

So check yourself next time and maybe you’ll find

That once-good idea is now less than sublime

Not Again

19 10 2009

Listening to Vin Scully call this one was like listening to your beloved grandfather telling you about your parents’ death in an airplane crash as he watched it happen on television

Putting the Contempt in Contemporary

18 10 2009

Is it just me (it’s not) or does Smitty look EXACTLY LIKE JOHN STAMOS?

The Secret World of Alex Mack

15 10 2009

I had a great breakfast with a friend this week.  I really like breakfast in general, but breakfasting with friends is always a great way to start the day.  It’s strange, however, because if I am eating a normal breakfast at home, I prefer to just make some _____ and grab some grapefruit juice and read an article or two in a quiet place.  I’m not much for conversation, words, or even grunts in the morning.  However, when I’m pumping coffee and cholesterol into my bloodstream with an enabler, look out world.

One of things Alex and I talked about was money.  While both of us are in the “needing some” area of the money scale, it was interesting to hear each other as we basically echoed similar thoughts back and forth about the fixation upon money that our society has.  In fact, Christians as much as (if not more than) anyone seem to seek financial security as if it’s an identifiable point in life that will enable them to live more freely.  But when has money, of all things, ever granted true security?  Surely, having money to support and sustain a family is a worthy goal, but once we begin to think that it is we who are providing that money for ourselves, things start to get murky.  I don’t need to retread tired anecdotes about how the richest people are the unhappiest, but it’s worth noting that the middle class is as dominated by financial worries as any demographic.  The security that we preach to be solely found in God is, however, much more pleasing when we know that our next paycheck is going to cover more than we need.

I’ve been blessed throughout my life to be strongly supported by my family.  While I have had a job of some sort ever since my paper route in ’97, there have certainly been lean times.  You know what, though?  I seem to worry about impending monetary difficulties more and more despite the fact that every previous one has somehow been dealt with or provided for through God’s provision.  This has often been family, and sometimes been random blessings, but I should be one of the last people on earth to be worrying about how I am going to feed myself.  I know that things may well get worse before they get better, but I also know that what I may fear as the “worst” is probably a far cry from an actually terrible situation.  In fact, it might be fair to say that, by constantly concerning myself with cash flow difficulties, I am squandering the wonderful time that I am enjoying right now thanks to the aforementioned.

I have so much more than I deserve, yet I continue to plague myself with doubts about my abilities and potentialities.  If I (and lots of us) could, for a serious amount of time, simply buckle down and work my tail off doing whatever I can find to do regardless of how much security it offers I would probably be a much happier person.  I think it’s all about a lack of faith.  I wonder how long I can sustain myself on my earnings now, or how long I can be blessed from new (and familiar) sources of generosity, but I fail to trust that provision will come as it ought to, and in doing so, I dilute what should be pure gratitude and love with a feeling of relief from worry.  How sad it is that I think my petty problems deserve worry when I could be praying for and worrying about others instead!  Someone told me today that they cannot wait to see what sort of career I end up having with my “experience,” and while I am tempted to take that comment wryly, I believe I would be better served to look with excitement upon tomorrow, waiting with bated breath to see which of God’s mercies are new this morning.  No matter how many times I experience them, I always feel that mere thanks are inadequate.  In that way, at least, I am blessed when people that love me show me generosity, because I can at least direct thanks (and potential blessings) back to them.  I guess this means I’ll get the joy of buying breakfast next time, Alex.