A moment never seems as happy until it has past. When it passes, you remember it ten times as fondly as it ever was when it happened, even you can remember thinking to yourself at the time you were sad or angry or unhappy.
The other day, it occurred to me that I should look back through my past profile pictures on Facebook, to see if there was one I’d like to use as my profile picture again. To my surprise, there were several worthy candidates, that, after all this time, still reflected my personality and who I am.
As I scrolled down through those past portraits, I realized that so much of life simply passes without our knowing. Even though I may have the same, distracted face in a lot of my photos, I’ve done a lot of different things. As camera technology has improve, I’ve changed glasses, traveled, even bought a house and moved. I’ve written more than I ever could have expected. I fear that soon, I’m going to wake up and feel ten years older.
But I know that God has a plan for me, and that no matter, what, he’s guiding my footsteps.
Epic is a very overused word. That epic game last night. An epic speech on YouTube. Epic plays. I wish the word epic only applied to stuff that was at least 75 years old, like epic books or epic wars.
Our phones give us some much self importance that we don’t need. Instead of worrying about epic, let’s just worry on the ordinary and normal. Let’s not tell everyone they are special for getting the mail, or reading a 1000-page book. If I can’t remember something in ten years, it shouldn’t count as epic.
I had been thinking for a long time about what to write about with the picture above. At first I thought back to when high school, through two-and-a-half years of youth group, the time spent maturing on our little acreage west of Seward. No story came to mind.
Then I tried to think of a quality, like sadness or control. No idea presented itself. Trends around Seward? Nothing. Stuff at church? I’d use a different photo for that, if I had anything.
Back when I started this blog, someone asked me what the theme of it was. Defiantly, I told her I didn’t need a theme. Now, I realize if I had come up with an answer to that question, I might not be as stuck as I am now.
In case you are curious, the photo above was taken in Clearwater, Nebraska, west of North Platte a ways. The reason it is crooked is, at the time, I didn’t feel like slowing down or stop, and decided to wing a photo. Thus a distorted perspective.
Windows like my front window are supposed to be like traps for suburbanites. (Ok, that’s a little too Revolutionary Road.) But it’s odd, going from the small kitchen window of my old place to my new big living room picture window that looks out at the mild traffic on First Street.
It’s harder in the winter when the snow and low temps keep you. I pace the floors and watch tv, forgetting that I’ll be mowing and tending to the outside once the sun comes. But then there’s a mid-January thaw and it’s all good.
My headphones are missing. A few years ago, I would have overturned every couch cushion, or even cleaned my room in fervor to find them. Now, I don’t do that. I go about my business knowing they’ll turn up in a day or a week of whenever they do. Last time I found them strewn on the lawn outside. I’ll make due with my half-broken headphones until I find the others.
I met with a personal adviser on an ongoing basis. In these meetings, I detail my daily interactions in an effort to change my behaviors.
These conversations take me to daily places. Every time I encounter a decision, there is a small space in my head where two options arise. First option, the bad decisions I always make. After the fact, I will tell myself that I didn’t have any self-control. I did what I always did, and I can’t say the right thing. I can’t say the positive thing. I can’t make it about the other, and not about me.
Then there’s the right option. When it comes into my head, I just have to take it. Yes, usually it takes a bit more effort, but I always pose the question: do I really want to stay down in the dumps, blaming myself all the time? Do I really want to be lonely, and say that it was someone else’s fault? Or do I go out, and find the places in the world where I can make a difference?
That’s what my half bedroom looked like last year. Here’s what it looks like this year.
Junker Part 2…
So yes some new furniture and the photos have been hung in rooms I work in, but no real change. The other day, I went into my closet-room to hang clear plastic insulation over the window, groping over every box on the floor.
The leaves collect the ground outside. It’s a glorious furnace now, but from December until April, the coloring of the earth goes silent. Oh well. At least I don’t have to mow.
Most of our lives pass with nothing remarkable happening, just days going by while we are none the wiser. If we slow down to appreciate things, we lose opportunities. If we bury ourselves in opportunities, we lose perspectives. Our personalities form through actions we don’t even realize we take.
You forget so much in life. The only knowledge in our head is what you need to make sense of your current situation. If that includes your history, so be it. It’s this silence that makes the big moments so memorable. You can pass years of your life doing the same thing every single day, and yet, something big and unexpected can be around the corner.
I love not changing. I love waking up every day in the same house and the same bed. I drove the same car for eight years, been at the same job for nearly seven. I’ve been at a Husker football game nine years in a row. I’ve lived in the same town for all but the short time I was away at college and when I briefly worked in Lincoln.
Sameness is a comfort. Sure, maybe it makes people a bit too comfortable, but it is a comfort nonetheless. Next year, I will have to make some bigger life changes, changes that are inevitable. I can only hope to find ways to keep my traditions going.
Sadness is a primary emotion of the human condition. It is that distance between you and something that appear, or maybe really will, complete you. Sometimes sadness is a reminder to look for a better way to do something, but sadness indulged in becomes self-pity. Sadness, contemplated over a period of years, can become an excuse for a lack of will or an acceptance of low standards.
Is happiness the true opposite of sadness? In the momentary sense, yes, but simple euphoria that passes quickly is not the true opposite of sadness. Such momentary exuberance is often married to sadness itself, as its coming is often associated with sadness’ arrival and long stay. In some way, completeness is the true opposite of sadness. Being a whole being allows one not to indulge in the throngs of self-pity but reside in the comforts of a true, well-formed self.