Monday, November 29, 2010

My Birthday Toast to My Friends

My fear is that what I am about to write will sound incredibly self serving, when nothing is further from my intent.  It is actually with great difficulty I share.  My intent is not to dwell upon my own existence, but to honor you.  I want to honor you for your existence, and for my getting to be a part of it, and for how your existence has shaped me into who I am today. 

So, to all of my friends, here is what I want most on my birthday.  I want you... to hear me.  I want you to hear the very intent of my heart.  When I think about you and your lives, I have one ultimate desire in this moment, and it is this... for you to know that you have affected my life.

Some have been a smile in the hall at NBHS (or just simply tolerated the teen version of myself, a feat in and of itself.), or shared a lunch and a crossword puzzle with me at the BSM at UNT.  Some of you have brightened my day with your comments and posts, even though I haven't seen you in years.  

Some of you... and you know who you are... some of you are so much a part of me that it is only with you in my heart that I can call this existence a life.  When you are near I am whole, and when we are apart I am quite literally am not only not the same, am not really all here.  I am missing not just the presence of your physical person, but the pieces of my heart that now rest in you.  The very world is shaped by your names and your faces.  When I think about my decade long fight through the abyss of depression, I can say with the utmost sincerity, that your existence has saved my life, and indeed, it is because of your existence that God was able to grant me victory.

I fear am too inarticulate to make my point ring true, but whatever.  I know I sound sappy and banal.  (Shrugs)  All I can do is reiterate one more time... you have affected me.  In your own way, big or small, through the ordination of God, you have affected and shaped who I am.  If I had a glass I would raise it to you all, but I am at Starbucks.  So, I raise my Frappuccino (had to look at the menu to spell it correctly) to you.  May God be ever present in your hearts, not withholding anything (including His correction), that we can celebrate eternity.... together.  Cheers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Winter Stars, Everywhere...

Last night, as we drove past the Galleria, all aglow with Christmas lights, I found a bit of beauty hidden in my physical imperfection.  I have been near-sighted for most of my life.  I will never forget discovering my need for glasses.  In the process of giving a fellow student a hard time, I swiped her glasses from her desk, and put them on my face.  My first thought was about how I could see the blackboard.  I just assumed everyone squinted to see the board.  A week later I had my first pair of glasses.  Once in the car, I asked my mother to drive me around town, as I wanted to see everything for the first time.  Leaves and grass are the biggest visual events missed out on.  What was once a big green blur, became clear, with thousands of leaves flickering with the movements of the wind.  Yet, last night, I found myself enjoying my defect.  One of the most beautiful sights, is to look at Christmas lights without my glasses on.  With them on, I see the bulbs, their shape giving them a mechanical, artificial (yet still wonderful) look about them.  Whenever I use my naked eyes, all of those lights blur into a perfectly beautiful sea of stars.  The closest thing I can equivocate it to for those of you blessed with perfect vision, is how lights blur out in movies or photos.  Honestly though, even that isn't quite right.  In the movies, the lights blur into massive spots.  To my eyes, they blur into a shape resembling luminescent snowflakes, thousands of them.  So, while I do wish I had perfect vision, my heart was moved and thankful for the odd and unexpected beauty that could only be found in my imperfection.  As great as it would be to be able to spin this into a metaphor for something, I don't want to.  The joy was simple, and so will this post be.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, recognizing the one to whom all thanks is to be given.  To God be all glory.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The World as an Ash Tray

I have to start by admitting a long term bias and prejudice here.  Both my parents smoked when I was a little one (proof that that whole "don't smoke when you're pregnant or you will harm your child" thing is bogus.  (chuckles nervously) Right?!)  At every chance I got I would hide my parents cigarettes, or, a favorite, I would sit in front of them, stare at them, and hold my breath when they were smoking.  So, I definitely have an aversion to smoking.  I will try to be as loving and tender as I can without diluting my thoughts.
My thought came to me as the car driving in front of me the other day rolled down the passenger window to flick out their cigarette, which hit my windshield.  No damage was done of course, but the whole thing just seemed very thoughtless.  That one act reminded me of one of my long term beefs with smoking... that the vast majority of people who do so are constantly littering.  Just look around you next time you go downtown.  The streets will have cigarette butts everywhere.  It seems like most people who smoke think that when they flick their cigarette remains out into the air that the cigarette fairy will catch and carry it off. (maybe be even leave a quarter under your pillow?)  Yes, this would make sense why it is done so frequently, why so many places would look clean but don't.  It isn't littering, it is a simple attempt to increase the odds for pillow coinage.  (sigh of frustration) I have only known one or two people who thought through the process of what they were doing.  Our old ranch foreman would smoke his big, brown cigarettes through the gap where his front tooth was missing (He pulled it out with a pair of pliers in the shop at the ranch.  No, I am not joking.) When finished, he would pinch of the burning ends, and place the remains in his pocket.  At the rate he smoked, this was pretty darn impressive.  I also know a girl who only smokes when she is in the car, alone.  She collects the remains in the ash tray of her car, and disposes of them later.  The rest of the many, many smokers I have been around are content to fling the remains wherever they so choose.  The world is their ash tray it seems.  At minimum, one more cigarette butt is added to the billions already strewn about.  At the worst... forrest fire.  If you smoke, I love you, so please stop.  If you insist on continuing, I also love walking around and not seeing piles of cigarette butts collecting in nearly every public corner, so take the time, and dispose of your cigarette remains for the rest of us.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

One more thing.

I wanted to write more than this, but I need to take my wife home.  She isn't feeling up to par. (I would cherish your prayers for her health)  Still, I wanted to add something to my introductory blog post, where I gave my reasons for starting to write these posts.  I want to say that, in the end, my ultimate reason is that I am filled with discontent with my role in ministering to this world.  Forgetful and procrastinatory, everyday I am left yearning for a way to do something, anything to minister.  Each day as I go to sleep, the realization that another day has come and gone, and all I have done is collect a few more pieces of green paper, get my Wood Elf up to a level eighteen, and eat another spoonful or two of peanut butter.  It is GONE!  One day I will stand before the Almighty God of the Universe and I will have to tell Him I took all of that talent, time and wisdom, and chose to apply to everything but letting every one I could know just how wonderful, mighty, holy, and merciful He is!  God doesn't need me.  God saves people without me.  That isn't what I am saying.  Still, my heart longs to tell Christ I love Him everyday, and He has called me to do so by loving His people, and telling them just how wonderful knowing and loving Him is!  So, I blog in hopes that somehow God can use some of my drivel for His glory.  That would be a miracle indeed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My name is Gavin Apple Wilshire III.

Little side post here.  I was just reading the other day about how people are no longer naming their children, they are "branding" them.  If I understand correctly, and I am sure that I do, supposedly the difference is that when you name someone you are thinking about what is important to you, i.e. heritage, family names, the name of the pizza shop you met at, etc.  Branding is where you select a name based on how you want the child to be perceived, i.e. changing your name from Jin Kim to Chaz Johnson.  Whatever.  I actually like the creativity of names lately.  I am a sub and let me say that people have gone nuts with the names.  There is a Tomorrow, a Passionette, and more. What I actually found the funniest is how, as humans, we can manage to make everything end up sounding materialistic.  We spend time, earn respect, and now we brand children.  (With thick Texas accent) "Branding your child?  That just sounds painful."

(with action hero conviction) Balance?

I tend to spend a great deal of time, probably too much, inside my own head pondering cultural problems and what not.  For some reason I find it entertaining.  Now, whatever the topic my brain has decided to cling to and "meditate" (obsess) over, I tend to always come to a conclusion that there needs to be... BALANCE.  Let me start by giving you a little insight into how I process problems.  I like process problems by imagining that I am either teaching a class on whatever I am thinking about, or I hold a debate inside my head.  It's a very useful way to process a problem I think.  Besides, I like it, because I always win debates held in my mind, though my imaginary mental opponent would be quick to point out my massive home field advantage.  He would, but as my opponent lives only in my mind, I have the power to do whatever I want with him, and so have lit him on fire.  Now, the last time I won because my opponent kept sighing loudly and rolling his eyes whilst I made my comments.  Back on track, I always end up mentioning the need for balance when addressing almost any problem.  Pick a problem, and you will find the need for balance.  I feel it necessary to apply balance because, for whatever reason, we humans tend to gravitate toward extremes.  Yet, I always seem to come back to this same problem with just saying balance is needed.  The problem is that just saying the word "balance" is too formulaic I fear.  Take one half of extreme A, one half extreme B, and presto... balance!  A great example would be people that I would call "extremely" moderate.  These are people who have chosen their political stance based on this simple take on balance and peer pressure.  They take a problem, add one part liberal, one part conservative and done... moderate cocktail.  The funniest part is that people who are extremely moderate are every bit as proud of their extreme moderation as the most zealous ditto head or green peace member.  Then it hit me, that further explanation is needed to make the term really work. What is needed is the understanding that not all parts weigh the same.  Maybe on some subject liberalism weighs more, and so less of it is needed, and visa verse. Either way, the point is that attaining balance is not as simple as it first appears.  I realize this is the worst opening blog post ever.  I had a hard time writing it, as my own eyes involuntarily began to roll.  Hopefully it will be like watching a movie that is "so bad it is good", if there is such a thing.  Perhaps I will become the Ed Wood of blogging.  (Shakes head in shame)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why bother?

I don't know if others feel this way, but I feel the need to explain why I am bothering to share my thoughts publicly in the first place.  I feel this way because so many questions can come be asked about blogging.  Do I simply feel the need to fill the air with my thoughts?  Do I blog because I think I am smarter than others, and they need my thoughts?  Am I simply looking for attention?  I think it is only healthy for anyone who decides to blog to ask such questions, and be able to answer them honestly.  For the longest time I didn't blog because I hadn't answered those questions.  Yet, I surely don't need to fill the air with my thoughts.  I have a private journal, complete with diagrams explaining teleportation and doodles of unicorns for that.  There is no need for approval from random readers.  I have enough family and friends to fill all approving and disapproving needs.  I wouldn't have the foggiest clue how to even judge such a thing as smartness in the first place.  (I could have the I.Q. of a pomegranate.  I don't know my I.Q.)  I simply enjoy learning from others, and I figure I will share my thoughts in hopes that they are of some value to you and others in return.  Perhaps my thoughts will be so stupid that they will bring you humor.  Perhaps you will look at them and think, "Well, now I know what not to think."  Of course, my hope is that my pursuit of wisdom and truth will bring forth those very things, wisdom and truth.  I will share my thoughts.  Many will be wrong, but hopefully many will also be worth your time and thought.  Whatever the case, you can look at what I say, and take it for what it is, the thoughts of a human being, with all the limitations and prejudices and shortcomings that entails.