Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eyes for Tomorrow

Summer days drive on
Day by day passes
How so are you missed...

The words of a poet
Scribbled down
Have no resting place...

They float from pen
Up currents away
Drifting with the clouds...

Beauty seen
Is now gone
Love given
Is now missing...

Eloquence is hollow
When words of joy
Turn to sorrow
And eyes of sadness
Turn to a brighter tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Millennial's Take: Old Media vs. New Media

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin'

In a world where the old dinosaurs of media are trying to put a cap on new creation of new ways to distribute to the masses, we have a new group of us out there not accepting the status quo of the world.

We cross ideological divides. We ignore our differences of thought, accept our differences of background, and celebrate our common similarities as they exist.

We do not take "no" for an answer. We take it as a challenge to do better, to strive to improve not only our place but also the world around us. We don't accept the answers of the old vanguard at face value. We question thoughtfully and fully what is presented to us with an eye of discretion. We do not want to be lectured to on what direction to take. We want to be talk to—like human beings.

We are disappointed in the old way of doing things but don't think they should be completely ignored like was done by other recent generations that came before us whose complete rebellion was the answer but was hardly the solution to the generational problem.

We are constantly yearning to find the answer to the Human Condition. We are striving to bring peace to a world torn by strife that is consumed in "us-against-them" rhetoric. We are constantly dreaming not of impossible dreams but of ones grounded in reality and bits of fantasy all the same.

We are the 9-11 Generation. We are the Columbine Generation. We are the Internet Generation. We are the generation of the Virginia Tech tragedy. We are the Echo Boom Generation. We are the Millennial Generation. We are a generation that defies labels and wishes to transform what might be a tragedy or loss and turn it into something greater.

We are a generation born into a world where terrorism and our fight against it is all we have ever known our adult lives. The Cold War is but a distant dream and a harder one to juxtapose against the present day's wars. We are the generation of disappearing borders.

And yet the Old Way wishes to continue putting up the borders against creative change and against innovation in media, in technology, and even in the way we think and live. The Old Way wishes to hold back the winds of change, the winds of new creativity never before seen on such a scale. Why? Why must they try to stop the inevitable? The eventual?

Because they are dinosaurs of understanding in a new world of connectivity, of continuous mixing and mashing. They cannot see beyond the old paradigm of locked creativity where things were static and not dynamic. They have limited their reach of understanding like every aging generation before and like every generation in the ages to come.

What we all must realize as Americans and as free people of the world is that we must find new ways, inventive ways to bridge the new with the old, to bridge the traditional with the cutting edge, or we as a civilization as a whole will cease to exist.

We are the Millennials, and we are ready for change.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This Gift

This gift is one I wish to give back every chance I can...
One I wish to be in every breath I take...
In every step I take...
In every ounce of my soul...
In every instance I take a stand.

Giving back what was not mine to begin with...
Giving back what is only a fleeting moment...
A moment of inspiration, of drive, of love.

If only every moment were like that moment of creation...
If only every moment were as luminous as the time of creation...
Then the world would truly be on fire...
Then the world would be afire in love.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Terra Firma

I shall have to categorize this posting as one of the more negative ones lately. I am deep into the end of a semester, and I am craving to get away. Away from the pressures I have put on myself, the failures I have set up for myself, and for the sadness I've caused.

There is a great deal assumed in how I approach life. It's not that I must have the answers. I feel like I must always be making progress towards whatever the goal may be. If I am distracted whether it is boredom or exhaustion or a mix of both, it presents a particularly difficult problem. I must have some solid ground to work off of to make my way down the road. I have a need for some terra firma.

General satisfaction, or what some might call happiness, is not so much about the amount but the quality of life. I'm not entirely dissatisfied but I feel like I am accomplishing less with more time. I see my failures and I cringe. I continue to get the same hands. I'm treading water.

What do you do when you start treading water? Do you stop? Or do you change your approach? Of course you don't stop. You can't stop...else you'll sink to the bottom of the lake. You've got to adjust and make changes.

As a kid, we'd have at home what was generally called a "junk drawer." Everything that either didn't have a place or was frequently used went into that drawer. Eventually that drawer would be too full of literal junk and it would need to be reorganized until it could be remotely functional. It seemed like everything this semester went into that junk drawer for me. Relationships. Classes. Projects. Work Plans. Future plans. Current plans. Yesterday's lunch. Tomorrow's future.

Why can't I shake this funk? Why do I feel so ineffective? So useless? Yes, a flattering self-portrait, one to garner many admirers... No. I can't shake this funk because I have put everything into that single drawer. There's no organization—at best it's cluttered organization.

Why is it so cluttered? Old baggage. Old expectations. Debts, dreams, and distractions. Why? That's what I am asking myself now. Why? Why isn't the future clear?

Well, the future is no murkier than the past. The past has the tendency to crystallize the best... Ever heard of The Judd's country song Grandpa, Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days?
Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like this world's gone crazy
And Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
When the line between right and wrong
Didn't seem so hazy

Did lovers really fall in love to stay
And stand beside each other, come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say?
Did families really bow their heads to pray
Did daddies really never go away?
Oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days

Grandpa, everything is changing fast
We call it progress, but I just don't know
And Grandpa, let's wander back into the past
And paint me the picture of long ago

Did lovers really fall in love to stay
And stand beside each other, come what may?
Was a promise really something people kept
Not just something they would say?
Did families really bow their heads to pray
Did daddies really never go away?
Oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days
Oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days

I have a tendency to not allow for the positive outlook for the future. It ends up being that I look to the past either as better or that the future isn't good enough or that I haven't done enough to justify the past or warrant my future. Odd, I suppose, but it's me. Like I said before, I need to feel like I've made progress. Or else, this might show that I have a great lack of patience with myself, if only at times.

And sad to say, after five years, I feel as though little if any progress has been made on my behalf. I just see a larger stack of papers in a never-ending game of shifting bureaucracy that's my life at present.

I am surrounded by friends. But I don't feel their touch as much any more. Any progress made in this area is lost to the feeling of being alone to myself in a crowded room. This is not because I don't have a lack of important things to discuss or a fervent desire to care for the other in my midst, rather it is because I am completely incompetent to order this task promptly and thus proceed with patience. I push myself back in circles. I am now back to where I started five years ago, no more and no less.

And what do I have to show for it as of late? An Aggie Ring, yes. But not the satisfaction that I am going into a future I am pleased with. How could something so good go so horribly wrong? Poor management? Poor willpower? Poor desire? I don't think it's any of these three. Maybe it's a combination but not just any one of these three.

How can I focus on my personal matters if I can't first solve my academic/financial ones? It's the basic order of needs that comes to rear its ugly head. Shelter and food are first, all other needs follow behind.

I think the "easiest" decision **on paper** for me right now would be to get my degree and go to the seminary. Financially this makes sense for what I'm looking at. Spiritually it is okay. Academically it would be fine...I love to learn things I am actually interested in... But there is a chink in my armor of surety here, too. It's almost as if God has decided to put an anti-hubris device in the models coming off the assembly line when I was born. There's always another fault that comes forth to break the assuredness of any situation.

However, that is not what I want. I will not be a priest. There, I've said it. I won't go as far as cannot, just as Thomas (of Doubting Thomas fame) could not himself say, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." I just as well might make the same demand now for my own personal belief in His plans in my case.

I am not emotionally fit to be a priest. I know there is something deep within me, that's been there for the longest of times, where I feel the underlying need—no, compulsion—to give my all to another—my attention, my wealth, my understanding, my compassion, my love. You probably don't know what it is like to have this well inside only to be made, in essence, to learn in exercises of patience that God—and therefore love—requires it.

Yes, both priest and husband require such a self-giving sacrifice, but it is in the latter that I see myself most clearly, even if I don't see my future as clearly as I once did. It is in the latter I see requiring the greatest patience and, for me, the greatest love. For if one freely chooses God who has loved him since the beginning, is it not merely a return of the favor? However, is it not greater that one chooses to love someone who has not loved him first? Is this not a mirror image of God's love of each of His creation? And so I must emulate the One who has loved me first, bringing what love I have been given to another. For we do not know love until we are first loved. And it is in knowing His love for me that I shall have to not only return the favor but bring that love to others as well.

And so this compulsion requires that what wells inside of me be nurtured and tended to even though the garden remains fallow and untouched. That the brambles be trimmed back, even if the guest does not arrive as planned or even if she makes plans and then promptly runs away never to return again, for a garden elsewhere, one more distant and greener than can possibly be cultivated in the taxed soil of the garden's surroundings.

Why should you care about all of this of all of this timid psychobabble? I don't have an answer for that. But what was once private now is public, and even so, I am beginning to feel some peace and satisfaction on this stasis I am experiencing right now. I am simply saddened I have gotten myself into a cynical wheel of sorrow.

Dreams rarely come true, especially when one cannot keep those dreams—and wishes of happiness—straightened out for longer than five minutes. After those five minutes the world comes crashing back down, saying to me: "you stupid boy." If only I would learn and be at peace more often. If only, but there is still hope ahead. If there is anything at all, there is still hope, hope for solid ground.