Sunday, February 21, 2010

I hate running

I really do. Yesterday was the first time I had to run for time... since 10th grade? Wow, it really has been that long. No, I'm not out of shape (at all). I recently joined CrossFit Charlottesville, which is a group of athletes determined to become as fit as they can be. However, currently, I'm stuck in the beginner's section, the On Ramp Class. They introduce the movements to us three times a week, and after four weeks, we're allowed to join in the regular classes. So far they haven't been terribly difficult. I've gotten through all of the workouts in less than 6:00.

Yesterday, they decided to add running to the movements that we had learned that day (lunges and jumping pullups). It wasn't that long, 3x200m. However, this was a workout that I suspected I would be beaten handily by at least one person. Especially when one girl is wearing a shirt that says "Runner."

Anyway, they start the clock off, and I'm not on the front line. I jog most of the way, touch the marker, run back, and start my lunges. The three coaches are cheering all of us on just in general. I get done with my jumping pullups right after the runner girl and head back out, but way behind her.

Feeling pretty good, I keep my pace on the way back, and I see one of the trainers outside watching us run towards him; he yells, "Don't let him catch you!"

Then I realize that he's making it a race, and he's choosing her side. I've definitely seen it before. I nearly pass her on lunges (let her have the inside track on the turn) and, once again, finish my pull ups right after her. On the run out, she's still a good 20 feet ahead of me. However, I get the marker right as she does. Fortunately, I still have plenty of energy left, so I continue at a pace slightly higher than the one I just ran at.

Now the other trainers are watching, and the other two have taken my side. I slowly take the turn in, brush my feet off. The runner zips in from the other door and starts lunging beside me. I once again give her the inside track, because I know that I can out-lunge her.

We're done with lunges at the same time, and head towards our last set of jumping pull ups. I crank them out faster than I have that day (mainly because she got a fraction of a second head start on me) and finish marginally faster than she did.

Don't worry, I gave her a high five afterwards.

This is why I wanted to CrossFit.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Like a yo-yo

I've noticed a nice, little cyclic nature to my romantic feelings. I don't know how valid either of these viewpoints are at the this points, and I definitely feel like I'm shifting towards the latter, which is no problem. Usually the shifting between these two modes comes naturally, and each lasts a good bit of time. Anyway, I've decided to share some thoughts about each of these viewpoints, and how (and why) I move from one mode to the other.

The first mode is independence. Let's face it: as a modern American, I enjoy being able to think that either I can do it all myself, or, as from my Christian perspective, that I can do it all with God. Just me and God. There's a bit of biblical evidence towards this end, mainly the quote from Paul that implies that Christian's lives will be for the better if they remain single (and are called to do so).

I'm not gonna lie; at times I've believed I'm one of those people. These weren't down points whatsoever, they were in fact very invigorating moments of my life (I will put a little caveat in here that sometimes I get a little bullheaded talking about this with women), one in which I believe I got grand visions from God on what he could do in my life (alternatively, those could have just been grand dreams that I made up to include God just so that I could justify my current position.

Another reason why I find credence in this mode is that I view all of the expectation from parents/friends/relatives to be a love life, that simply does not match up at all with who I am. I also find it very peculiar that the only people that are giving me advice are people who are married. I've met a few older people that have lived a life of celibacy willingly, and they definitely have some wisdom about them that makes their way of life just invigorating!

Anyway, the way I usually get into this mode of thinking is that I become frustrated with a woman I've been pursuing, give up, and try to re-evaluate my choices (not referencing the women out there, but the choices I have in my own actions). After a long period of peace, I usually come out on the other side to this independent streak.

The second mode is, of course, seeking and pursuing. Initially in this period, I usually recognize deep longings within me that have long remained dormant, yet have seemed to grow stronger still. Once I begin to exercise what these longings actually mean for my actions, I find myself able to seek who a woman is. Now, I've had plenty of thoughts that would make for quite a long post, so I'll sum it up in a quote: "To love [someone] is to see them as God intended them." -Dostoevsky.

I find that one whom my longings have been pointing towards and try to treat her (whether she is responsive or not initially) as I would treat the person God intends them to be. This bolsters the parts of them that really remind me of Christ and forgive the parts that are well off of the mark.

Actually, saying how this mode starts is a bit of a chicken/egg circular argument. I can't say whether it's God speaking to me in my inner self that awakens the longings, then seeking a woman, or whether my truly seeing a woman well finally awakens the longings within. They seem to coincide, or at least come very quickly, one after another.

Anyway, when I am in this mode, I feel like more of a complete person, because it really tests the boundaries of my emotional self, for good or ill.

I have no clue what to do with this, but I'm guessing God does.

Saturday, February 6, 2010



A term that comes from computer usage. To reboot a computer is to start it up again after a computer crash. Hence, “reboot” has the connotation of starting a process over again.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition

I think enough of Web 2.0 has gone into disrepair into the land of the forgotten that you'll forgive me that I haven't been on here in many months. It took the wisdom of a very good friend of mine for me to:
1) Appreciate the written word (especially my own).
2) Remember the importance of introspection.
I'm not going to lie, I really only like writing things down once I already have them all set in my head. This aspect of me also bleeds out into other areas of my life, sometimes to my chagrin. In other words, unless I'm sure that I approve of what the idea is, I'm usually not comfortable with sharing that idea with others.

I think at some point in the space below this entry, life became what it did. I figured out something. I can know what I need very well. Unfortunately, sometimes my mind is so disassociated with my heart (and my being) that when confronted with how I need to be transforming, I am content with stating verbally (and mentally) what I need to do, what I can bring up like a script at a press conference. Sometimes, it even convinces myself. But, when I come to places of normalcy in my life, where I'm not confronted with myself, I am able to say to myself, "tomorrow," and leave it there.

I read something very interesting in this period of blog-silence. It was referring to monasticism, and its effect on the monks themselves. Monks went to monasteries for many reasons, but one thing is fairly obvious, is that the usual temptations that the rest of the world is not that present in the monastery. Within the monastery, monks no longer face murder or adultery on a daily basis. Instead, they endure the very real presence of normalcy. Inside their sanitized environment, that which seems like a given becomes an obedient and life-giving act of worship.

At the beginning of the year, my church decided to begin to better define membership (it's a young church). They asked for people that were seriously dedicated to the church to take on a rule of life. This rule of life has three aspects: sex, money, and power. For over a month, I made careful observations and listening periods to try and figure out how God wanted me to take my vows in each of these areas. However, I came to realize that most of my problems exist because I almost always leave God out of the normal areas in my life, as if to say that I wish my ordinary not to become extraordinary.

God is slowly correcting what has been covered for far too long, recovering my desire, my feelings, my soul. I don't know where are a lot of things are going, which is comforting, as it means I'm not in control, and the world is much bigger than I.

-a member of all souls

Saturday, September 26, 2009

From "Fall" (1997)


So, a few days ago, I started on a very painful path of waking up at 5 a.m. It's not something of choice, it's definitely forced by my body. Anyway, the first morning this happened, I tried to go back to sleep, then went and watched TV. There was very little on, which is kind of hard to believe with 200 channels. Anyway, I flipped to a movie called "Fall", which is an indie flick about a cab driver and supermodel who have a fling. Far from the creepy movie that it sounds like from its short description, it was very good (and I don't like sappy movies really). Anyway, what I wanted to share was the monologue at the end, which is in the form of a letter that the cab driver sends:

I've wanted to tell you for awhile now. I wanted to say it as you reached for a tea cup in your kitchen after our 'why do we always have to eat Chinese food on your floor?' fight and make up...

...I wanted to say it as the moonlight shone on you as you slept in your bed the first night we made love there...

...when I felt your heart racing against my chest in your suite foyer in Spain when you first saw your roses...

...But mostly, I wanted to say it the last night I saw you, as I held you in my arms; looking down at your precious face knowingly looking up at me, still inside you. Quiet, motionless but so inside you...

I wanted so badly to tell you that I loved you. The words, each time, graced my lips like an impostor, only to fall away like some great blizzard that was taken out to sea to rain its fury on the dark ocean, alone, unbeknownst to any hearing. I was afraid you would take them as a responsibility. I was afraid they would frighten you. I pray that you can hear them for what they are, and not mar them with the knowledge that they stand apart from your ability to reciprocate them...

Please take them in your heart and feel them with your eyes closed and your soul open... for just a moment, my voice speaking them softly in your ear with a kiss... Sarah, I love you.

...I love you. Baby, I love you. I know you can't love me right now, and it's all right. But I wanted you to know, what you already knew, outside, in the light... I wanted you to hear it from me...

...when you smile, when your head lightly moves to dance, when your tongue finds my lips, when you ramble over a glass of wine...

...when you sit naked, after you've made love with me, when you act boldly, when you laugh, when you squeeze my hand...

...when you call my name in a gruff whisper, when your heart races on my chest in a close embrace... when you love me... I love you.

What I'm sad about is selfish. I'm sad at God's timing. I am only a man. And as a man, I miss you. I miss you terribly. I miss your kiss. I miss your smile, oh, how I miss your smile. But most of all I miss the moment that hasn't happened yet. The moment when you let yourself fall for me. Your racing mind, your hard beating heart, the expectancy, the yearning, the warmth, the thoughts, the love of your love. The Sarah of you in love with me.

What makes it hard for me is knowing how much you care for me. How much, in a way, you do love me. How much you would enjoy smiling wryly as you hurled yourself backwards off the cliff and said, "catch me baby." If I didn't know that, I could make you a villain, me a victim and soothe myself. But I can't because it isn't the truth. The truth, we both know... the truth is... not today.

I know that you're not leaving Phillipe for me, and I wouldn't want you to. I would want you to leave him for you. I also know you would never fly a million miles just to see me smile at you. Someday maybe, but not today.

So I guess I better disappear, Sarah. I know you'll be okay, and soon I will be too. And maybe, just maybe, if god so desires, a day will come when, as friends, we will find ourselves accidentally strolling along the white cliffs of Dover, or the mountain rocks of Mendocino, or the bonnie, emerald north of the Scottish seaboard...

... or the glistening harbor of old New York, and from the heights, in the stars, among the angels whose arms will cradle us, in a moment neither of us was told about but knew like our oldest happiness, we will look into each other's eyes and know... it is today. It is today. And whether that day is tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or next lifetime...

...I will finally get to tell you to your sweet face. The face I will miss more than I could ever tell, that... I love you. And you'll smile wryly, close your eyes, say "catch me baby,"

...and fall.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Something I need(ed) to hear


Over the summer, I decided that I would do away with all of the music that legitimately wasn't mine. If I didn't have a CD of it, I didn't really own it. So, I got rid of over 6 years of il1egally downloaded music. Anyway, along with a lot of crappy music also went a good band: needtobreathe. However, slowly but surely, I've been buying CD's of the artists that I miss, artists that I still need to hear every once in a while. So, this past week I brought needtobreathe's 3 CD's, which I like to just pop in and listen all of the way through. Anyway, some lyrics caught my ear for the first time, and I thought I'd share them. If I needed to hear them, perhaps one of you out there also need to (breathe) hear them as well:

Every heart goes down and every fire goes out, when we don’t hurt anymore. I know it’s all my fault that you’re behind this wall, but I’ll be here when you break it. When you let it down.

I’m giving you my heart to break again, I’m leaving you a way to get back in.

Return to me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mister Joe


This blog is about my man, Mr. Joe Wilson. No, I'm neither being sarcastic, nor am I a rabid NObama-niac (did I just make a new word?). However, I understand completely the position from which Joe Wilson is coming. He (and many of his constituents) have been reading the bill that is currently put forth, have been listening to the President's speeches, and noting that the two do not agree on very large fronts. [As a side note, intention when writing a bill and how it can be interpreted when put into action are two very different things sometimes.]

He is forced to appear on television in front of the rest of Congress to listen to a speech about health care reform. Say what you want about the Daily Show, but I think they've got one thing right: "If [the president and his cabinet] say something often enough, it becomes true."

Repeatedly have misleading statements been made by the President, namely that 43 million people are without health care, and that illegal aliens will not be covered by this plan. Most people would put that together and believe that either a) Illegal aliens had not been counted in that plan and they won't be covered or b) Illegal aliens were counted in that plan and they will be covered. However, neither of those statements are true.

So, Mister Wilson decided to do the same thing that the President had been doing to his face for the past 20 minutes: become blunt about opposition to his own view; he simply said, "You lie!" Now, if you think that these were the only heated words coming from this speech, think about the fact that Obama was essentially saying earlier that all opponents of the bill are simply people that employ scare tactics to get the way of the special interest groups. Essentially, he called all of them people that take bribes to strike unnecessary fear into the heart of Americans. To me, that sounds much more like name calling than "You lie!"

However, I'm digressing. Why am I behind Joe Wilson? First, I'm glad that people are so willing to show their disagreement when (what they see as) imaginative ideology is shoved down their throats, they disagree with a voracity that matches the level of ridiculousness of the rhetoric. Second, when people are lied to from an authority position, they should not simply sit there pensively. Something needs to be done when lies are present and building upon one another.

When I was in 8th grade, I went a major part of a youth group that was doing major things. We started pushing 200 people in a youth service in the middle of the week, while the normal service on Sunday was barely getting above 300 a week. We were tight as a leadership team, everything was going quite successfully until the Pastor decided he did not agree with what the Youth Pastor was doing. Some say that it was jealousy that caused the tension, but whatever happened, the Youth Pastor resigned under the tension.

The Sunday after this happened, every single youth sat on the back two rows instead of our normal front three rows. The pastor was not present. In his stead, he had the senior deacon stand up and give a prepared statement. Suffice it to say that the statement was misleading, inappropriate, and almost slanderous (in its implications about the actions of the Youth Pastor). When I heard the first deliberate lie, I immediately got up noisily from my chair and left the sanctuary.

Later on, I wished to God in Heaven that I had confronted that deacon in front of the congregation. Would it have caused a huge stir in a Baptist church? Heck yes. Would it have been more of a dialogue than the filth that was being spoken from the pulpit? Yes. Unfortunately with my exit, it only highlighted the lie to a few select people. I wish, in that situation, I had acted more like Joe Wilson for the sake of Truth.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A summer story


Because my last post was a little too sobering for my tastes, I'd like to take a step in a more emotional direction. A friend of mine and I have been talking a lot about manliness lately, mainly because we were roommates in college, and now, we're no longer in college and expected to have "grown up". So, whatever that means, it means. So, as I've been thinking a lot about what manliness is in everyday situations, I'm forced to search my own life and "put away childish things" in this search for existence, fulfillment, and direction in the post-college years. Anyway, after reading an article about whether manliness is becoming more emasculated, which included great (albeit slightly archaic) raw descriptions of manliness, I realized that there was a great story of manliness that I haven't really shared in a general atmosphere. So, here it is: a story of manliness.

Virginia and I have been very good friends since our senior year of high school. Upon graduation, the question that (nearly) every high school friendship comes to was brought to light: How do we spend time around one another despite the fact that we go to different colleges? The summer after high school, she came up with a great idea: concerts! We had always had very similar tastes in music and needed excuses to drive halfway across a state to hang out. So, Virginia and I began going to concerts on a regular basis. She would choose one, I would choose one. Sometimes other people would join us, but, for the most part, it was just a great time that she and I would momentarily get to see one another and talk candidly before having to have most of a state separate us once again.

First, a few general things about the concerts that we'd been to: 1) There is no concept of personal space (if the band is good or if you want to get close) 2) Never assume that any given person is not roaring drunk 3) There is always crowd surfing (if the band is good). So combining 1) and 2), I knew that if a guy recognized that Virginia was good looking, he would have no qualms about trying to rub himself all against her in a strange drunk (attempt at a) mating ritual. So, the easiest way to combat this in a crowd would be just to cock-block him literally. However, this is difficult if you have more than one girl in the group; nearly impossible if the crowd gets a little crazier than normal (crowd surfing and/or mosh pit formation).

So, early June, Virginia told me about a concert she wanted to attend. I immediately said yes, and responded with "HECK YES!" when I finally listened to some of their music on their MySpace page. A mutual friend of ours (also pretty) decided that she would come as well.

When we got there, I realized that it was going to get crazy. We arrived a little after the first set started, and I noticed two things: I've never been in a more crowded venue and the distribution of the ages was split half and half between late twenties and teenagers (not at all a peaceful mix). Anyway, we made our way onto the back of the main floor, which wasn't so bad. We had enough room to move around and talk to one another, but everyone was constantly walking around me, so I was constantly paranoid of someone taking a swipe at my wallet. So, as the night dragged on, we moved through the crowd, closer and closer to the stage. Thankfully, there had been little craziness up until that point, just a few people crowd surfing.

Once the main band got up on stage, people went ape-sh**. People were -thrown-, not surfed, around the crowd. A 10-15ft mosh pit appeared behind me whenever any song with a heavy beat began.

To combat the first, I had to catch people flying at us (the girls were beside me), pushing them either from whence they came, or towards the stage so that a person with security could escort them to a more safe location. At one point, a person literally hit us so hard that I had to bend over to avoid falling.

To combat the second, I decided to use a non-traditional technique. Usually, you just push the people in the mosh pit, which, unfortunately, only fuels their fever to mosh, and, more often than not, grows the mosh pit instead of keeping it at bay. So, I decided that I would avoid their upper bodies, and just create a barrier for their midsections. Basically, I put my butt in the mosh pit, and it worked fantastically! No one hit my head or anything, and it started to decrease the frantic nature of the pit.

Anyway, during one really good song, the mosh pit wasn't a problem, so I was able to look around at people (since I couldn't see the stage too well). I noticed that there was just one person getting crowd surfed at the moment on my left. She went up and came back down, went -farther- up, came down, and didn't come back up.

I couldn't hear anything. The floors were concrete. A small hole had appeared in the crowd. Not big enough to accommodate a mosh pit, not small enough to be nothing. I immediately tore my way through the crowd. Everybody on the edge of the circle was just looking down. I looked back momentarily and noticed that Christina, my friend who is also a volunteer medic, was right behind me. I quickly grabbed the girl and tossed her into a fireman's carry. Moving through the crowd was much easier than it would have been if I didn't have a girl on my shoulder. Most of the way to the door, security was finally there. I looked at the poor girl's forehead: a small bump. We walked her outside. My mind raced while Christina determined that she had a mild concussion, but thankfully there was no blood. I looked back at the girl's forehead; the small lump had become something that would still be around for at least a week. It made me cringe. She was hurt, but she was safe.

Once we made our way back to where we had come from, the mosh pits started up again. However, the girls beside us thought it was funny to push others around until they got themselves pushed into the pit. A quick look of desperation and an outstretched arm later, I pulled them to safety. In all, I think I had to pull girls out of the pit six or seven times.

Did I know any of these girls? None other than the ones that I effectively protected.
Did that matter? No.
Did I act without forethought? Absolutely.
Was it the manliest part of my summer? Heck yes.

I find it interesting that those girls didn't reach out to their friends or even try to pick themselves out of the mess that they had gotten into: they reached out for a person they thought could save them in their time of need, their time of desperation. They reached out for a man, and I guess they got one.