Post-Mortem

Autopsy report conducted December 31, 11:50 pm EST.

Subject: Anno Domini Two-Thousand and Fifteen.

Cause of death: it’s compicated.

Other notes:  It would appear from preliminary examination of the body that the subject died of natural causes.  However, death may have been hastened by a number of causes, including but not limited to severe depression, distraction from electronic devices, and meme overdose.

What am I saying?  You can never get enough memes!

Look at it long enough.  You’ll see it.

Every time the end of the year rolls around, the first thing I think to write about is the fact that New Years celebrations are really kind of arbitrary.  Important things never happen on New Years or birthdays, only on dates of entire randomness and seeming insignificance.

On the other hand, one of the things I’ve realized more this year is that even if celebrations like those are arbitrary, that doesn’t mean they’re not important.  Even if one has to deal with annoying people singing annoying songs on stages with flashing lights and such.

The eve of a new year stands as a sort of moment of collective mindfulness.  Mindfulness of the fact that time passes more quickly than we often think.  It’s a moment when for once we slow down, take stock of where we stand and who we are.  Am I on the path I truly believe I’m meant to be on?  The path that God wants me to be on?

Of course, New Year’s Eve and our own birthday, fine and dandy as they are, i’m gonna keep typing the same thing over and over and see if mom notices.  I’m gonna keep typing the same thing over and over and see if mom notices.  I’m gonna keep typing the same thing over and over and see if mom notices.  I’m gonna keep typing the same thing

There is no denying now that you can read what I’m typing mom, because you started laughing, so don’t tell me it looks like a blur because you’re not wearing your reading glasses.

Haha.

This is our family.

Anyways,

Of course, every day of the year should be dedicated to this kind of mindfulness.  New Year’s Eve and our own birthday are fine and dandy, of course.  I, at least, sometimes have a tendency to shove mindfulness to the back burner of my head so I can focus on more important things.

But really, can we focus on important things if we’re not mindful of what “important” means?

Maybe you’re in a place where you’ve got the hang of mindfulness a lot more than I do.  And if so, that’s absolutely wonderful.  I’m just thinking out loud here.  🙂

To be honest, I have no idea what 2016 will be like.  We’ll get a new president, which should be interesting.  And we’ll have an extra day of February, which should be fun.  Beyond that, only time and people who know more about the world than I do can tell.

It’s been the best of times.  It’s been the worst of times.  I feel like I’ve seen the flag flown at half-mast many times too often this year.  It’s a terrible world out there.  And yet there is such beauty in it.  One has to wonder how the two things can exist simultaneously; beauty and evil, goodness and pain.

I suppose we can only trust in God to reconcile the two in the end.  And ask Him for the strength and wisdom to further His kingdom in this world as we advance towards the next.

So here’s to another year of advancing.

And here’s to those moments when you’re bored, your iPod is out of batteries, and it’s late, but you stop and take the time to be thankful for being alive, for the fact that you’ve just come from church, that you’ve gotten to stroll briefly around downtown Manassas, VA, and that you’re listening to U2 with your dad.  (It’s been a long evening, but a good one.)  Moments of unusual, healthy, necessary silence in an otherwise cacophonous world.

That’s all I got.  To all of you my dear followers, I love you.

But it wouldn’t be a new year if I didn’t quote this song…

So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let’s make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogues bleed into one
I wish the world was flat like the old days
And I could travel just by folding the map
No more airplanes or speed trains or freeways
There’d be no distance that could hold us back

– “The New Year”, Death Cab for Cutie

To anyone and everyone reading this, I wish you a merry Christmastide, and a blessed new year.  Peace to you.

On this lovely Autumn morning, a few things must be said:

  1. Hi.
  2. I hope this post finds all my fellow bloggers in good health and spirits.
  3. Just wanted to post something Ike because I kinda miss you all.

Of course, sometimes deciding what to post is the most difficult part.  Lately, the world has seemed a very serious and tragic place, judging by the news, and my propensity for silliness occasionally feels out of place.  Still, sometimes silliness has its place.

It’s about balance, really.  Nothing is 100% joy or sorrow, not one passing second of our lives.  Every emotion in existence is ringing through the atmosphere at light speed, guided by unseen paths to weave a tapestry of unimaginable complexity.

So, for anyone who needs a smile, these are for you.








And lastly, the one and only rap song in the world that I enjoy listening to.  Because if anyone were record such a glorious parody of rap as a genre, of course it would be the goofballs in Relient K.

Peace to you all.  Enjoy your weekend.

Quietude

Irony is everywhere.  Take, for example, the irony of my supremely irregular posting schedule this summer after I looked forward to having more time to blog all semester.  (I’m just really really good at wasting time.)

But enough about me.  Let’s talk about you.  I hope you’ve been well, whoever you are that’s reading this.  I’m in the mood for writing something lighthearted today.  Let’s see…

Sitting here, I happen to smell something burning upstairs.  It’s quite amazing, the noses God’s given us.  I’ll admit to being a little jealous of our dog sometimes, but it’s remarkable that even my sense of smell is capable of assuring my brain it’s someone’s food that’s burning and not the house.  Of course, I could be wrong.  You can’t always trust your senses, and that’s assuming said food and house actually exist.

But we’ll shove Descartes back into his cupboard for now.  To be honest, the argument that it’s possible nothing exists but me, myself, and I has always struck me as a tad arrogant.  But I really can’t see any way to counter it.  So, maybe you’re a figment of my imagination.  Or maybe I’m a figment of yours, and if so, I apologize if ever I am annoying or disappointing.  Personally, I think I have a pretty good track record for a figment.  Any of my flaws are really the fault of your own defective imagination anyway.

I actually don’t think the English muffins are burning though.  Just well done, which for baked goods is generally the way to go.  Cookies you can eat à la tartare, but I don’t recommend eating your pancakes rare.  May I just add that if you’ve never had homemade English muffins, you absolutely must.  Find a good recipe and to your nonexistent kitchen with you.  (Many thanks to Mom, head baker.  You’re the best.)

Then again, I could be wrong that those are English muffins I smell.  Or that England exists.  Or that the song I’m currently listening to exists.  But then, that would be really sad, ’cause it’s a beautiful song.  I’m not gonna make you listen to it, but you get extra credit if you do.  Like 3 free points here on your final grade, no questions asked.  (Ugh, I’m so not ready for school to start yet.  Thank God for our beach trip next week, and I mean that with all my soul and to the credit of His name.)

It would be hard to say I’m excited for the beach (clever transition, eh?), because Cape Hatteras isn’t the kind of place you go to find bright lights and oceanfront hotels… that (*spoken with contempt*) kind of beach.  It’s literally a beach.  Dunes with grass on them.  Lots and lots of water.  No cars on the sand.  No lifeguards, even.  You can take your dog on the beach.  And if you’re that member of the family that isn’t really fond of the beach proper, there is a mini-golf course / ice cream parlor, two thrift stores, and an even less-developed neighboring island.

It’s really a beach for people who like the beach.  And it’s not something I’m excited about because I don’t get excited about quietude.  But it is something I am looking forward to a lot.  Quietude is something that only gets harder and harder to find.  It’s something I need.  It’s something we all need, really.

Unless, of course, Cape Hatteras doesn’t exist, but I choose to believe it does.  It’s too awesome not to.

Even if it’s not possible for you, dear reader, to visit the ocean any time soon, I encourage you to get your daily recommended dose of quietude today.  Close your door.  Meditate.  Pray.  And then venture forth into the world to be awesome.  😉  You got this.

While we’re making lists, stay hydrated.  Can’t tell you how important that is.  Make sure you eat something (healthy), find something that makes you smile, tell your best friend you love them.  Give yourself a break from the internet, maybe.  In short, dear reader, take care of yourself.

Assuming you exist.  But then, you are at least as awesome as the beach, so I don’t doubt that.

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine quietude, and God bless you.

Here’s a little something to go with your quietude this afternoon:

Pax vobiscum,

Luke

Resurrection

I admit, I am a bit remiss in commemorating the most important day in history on this old blog of mine.  But I hope you all can forgive me.

After all, that’s kind of the point of Easter.  Forgiveness.  And with it, unimaginable joy.  The single astonishing fact that everything changes.  Everything.  We become unrecognizably (Luke 24:15-16) new in that forgiveness, since we share in the life of Him who rose.

It’s impossible to over-emphasize how important the Resurrection is.  It is the very essence of Christianity, its core.  And it is the most unimaginable thing. Impossible even.  Except, nothing is impossible for God.

Some people say these are dark days for Christianity.  And in some ways, maybe they are.  Much time is spent defending the Faith.  I admire such efforts, but the formal apologist in me, perhaps from naïveté, perhaps not, is already weary.  The poet in me wonders…

There are plenty of good arguments for God’s existence.  There’s even one good one for His nonexistence.  We can debate it all day.  We can argue Biblical literalism until the cows come home.  We can pit faith against reason (though admittedly that’s a downright stupid debate) for years.  Do we ever get anywhere?  Maybe?  Or In the end, do we all end up believing what we want to believe?

It tires me sometimes.  I want to lock myself in the Upper Room and let Him wash my feet.  I long for the grace to die to myself, leaving everything with Him on the cross.  I want to run away, to fly, borne on His wings, to home, to heaven.  But there is work to be done.  Is it the work of aligning words into armies?  I never was a warrior…  Shall I try harder?  Or try to live, to love so splendidly by His grace that my life becomes my weapon, a weapon of non-destruction, a contradiction and an oxymoron?  A weapon of self-sacrifice?

You can call me a hopeless romantic, sacrificing my intellect and potential, a slave to my emotion.  But as I gaze at the Paschal fire, I am filled with a sudden childlike wonder that surpasses mere happenstance.  Moments such as that enshrine a strangely sacred and primal recognition of a startling reality, something more than mere emotion.

Peace.  Oh, peace somehow.  That all might know Him.  Until then they will wonder why we laughter at the cold, cruel night.  But we will laugh.  And we will cry.  And our shouts will become the intersections, science and religion, faith and reason, atheist and theist, real and yet beyond real, Body and Blood, brother and sister, all, all one in His love.  For He lives, undeniably, not as a memory, but literally.  And He’s calling,

Calling…

“Follow me.”

Brief Thoughts on the Triduum

At long last we have come to the pinnacle of the liturgical year: the Paschal Triduum.  Herein we commemorate the three most important days in all of history.

Not everyone observes the Triduum, or Lent for that matter.  However, I think to ignore them completely is missing out on quite a bit of the story.  Yes, the focus of our lives is the Resurrection, that one essential, joyous, incredible thing on which our faith is founded.  But the road to Easter joy leads through tears and agony.  It leads through the desert, to the cross.  To rise from the dead, He had to die first.

Well, He didn’t have to.  But He did.  And for that we owe Him everything.

Moreover, there is a profound and important message to be found in the Last Supper.  It was on this night that Jesus gave us His very Body and Blood.  Like, for real, how crazy is that?  None of us deserve that in the least, but that’s how much He wants to be unified with Him.

It was on this night that He washed the feet of His disciples and told us to do likewise.  No matter what circumstances, no matter how we feel about them, we are called to wash the feet of the Baptist, the Catholic, the Jew, the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the agnostic, the atheist, the farmer, the rich CEO, the thief, the drug addict, the stinky through-hiker, the person everyone hangs out with, the person no one will talk to, the easliy-angered, the class clown, the nerd, the philanthropist, the terrorist.

A tall order.  And in the end, there’s only one Way by which we can hope to accomplish it.

Then there is the pain of Good Friday.  The shame, the ridicule, the mockery, borne with such long-suffering.  And we are told that, to some degree, we are called to share in this suffering.  To our pragmatic minds, this is a highly ridiculous idea.  And maybe it would be…

Except, Good Friday is not the end.  It seemed like it was.  For hours that seemed like an eternity, there was silence.  The silence of death.  And then… God called a plot twist.

And so it is that we arrive at Easter Vigil, when aroused from our sleep, we gather amidst the darkness, dazed, confused, disheartened, until a spark illumines the night, firelight frightening the troops of death returning in victory.  They stop dead in their tracks.  And a light is born that will never die.

No, you misunderstand me, like, a real fire, from which we light the candles of our soul and process into the sanctuary.  We Catholics are such daredevils.

Solemn yet joyous, a proclamation: HE LIVES!