Tag Archives: women

Backwards

Originally written (but never previously posted) on:

January 11, 2012

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a journal, even though I’ve had a number of topics culled from real life worth blogging about in the last few months. Drivers who honk at me from behind because I’m not cutting off the guy who’s trying to turn in front of me. My walking into a park restroom to find two guys forgoing the privacy of a stall to change into their athletic clothes while in the open (awkward). Missing my self-imposed deadline to finish writing a novel before Christmas because it’s ballooned to the length of four novels and needs to be split. The joys of losing three weeks’ pay during the most expensive season of the year, every year, because I work in education, something that has less time devoted to it than common vacation-free stupidity. And, of course, discussing my favorite books or movies of the year in an effort to convert anyone reading this to my side. You know, just a few of the topics I’ve missed writing about because I was too busy devoting my time to things that didn’t matter (computer games), and looking back I regret that.

Kinda makes you wonder what’s snapped me out of that dry trend, right?

Truthfully, I don’t see this turning into a real blog. Real blogs spend time investigating an issue. They ask the question: why are those junky cars in back of the college upside down? Oh, because that’s part of the firefighter training facility. Why is that water fountain marked with a sign that warns potential thirsty people not to drink from it? What’s unsafe about that water fountain, but is perfectly safe about every other water fountain within a hundred-foot radius of it? Did somebody spike the pipes there? Is it too close to the firefighter training facility where that gas tanker nuzzled up to the roof of that junky car on its side is possibly leaking into the underground water table? Is it just to make those warehouse guys in the back of the building hate their job? Am I only concerned about this because the Property Records Office wanted me to walk all the way across campus, not to return my lockdown key, but to confirm that I still had it? A real blog might attempt to speculate on these questions until it returns a viable answer. For now, I don’t think I care to do that. For now, I just want voice a concern that has suddenly become clear to me after having stealthily given me a number of headaches over the years.

The human race is a backward one. We want answers before we ask the questions. We want flat bellies before we bother to exercise. We expect money whether we work for it or not. It’s kinda crazy. If I’m waiting at a turnabout for the driver with the right of way to finish clearing the circle, is it too much to ask of the driver behind me to lay off his dang horn? If something in government already works fine, is there some reason why Senator X feels compelled to break it and then sink the economy with his new plan to fix it? If I want to finish fixing my novel before the 23rd to make a contest on time, do I really need to be wasting my time writing blogs? I’m beginning to suspect that we, as a human race, are approaching our decisions with ignorance. We think, therefore we are correct.

I’m not one to complain about this. I was once infamous for my tendency to fall asleep after drinking coffee. I think I’ve tricked my body enough in the last seven years to recognize that caffeine is supposed to wake me up. But it still doesn’t understand that five-mile walks in the park are supposed to encourage the same outcome. Nor does it understand that thirty minutes of cardio at the gym three days a week is supposed to trim a pound or two off my weight, not add three back. My body and I are still working on the things it’s supposed to do versus the things that it does do. It’s kind of an idiot, but I’m patient.

Women are still an enigma to me, and are the leading cause of most of my blogs, including this one. In most situations, a single lady who is available should be more readily accessible through texts, e-mails, or phone calls to a man than are the several married female friends he knows. I mean, I think that’s how things are supposed to work. If I were to conduct an impromptu Man on the Street interview right now in some crowded city, asking the question, “As a single man, who do you have better connections with, the single ladies you’re interested in, or the married ones who are forever platonic toward you?” I would assume that the common answer would lean toward the single ladies. Isn’t that the ideal response? Isn’t that the ideal truth? For some reason, whether through irony or cruelty, that’s never the case with me. And I know that “never” is too extreme of a word to use in any case, but I’m pretty sure that “never” is pretty accurate here. Perhaps that bears opening a window into my life.

When that show The Office was still in its prime, my married male friend wasn’t the one who called me every Thursday and insisted that I come over to watch it with him and his wife; his wife was the one who generally invited me over. Sure, he was happy to have me over to watch the show with them. But it was never through his insistence that I actually went over there. If I told him I didn’t want to come over this week, he’d usually say okay and that would be that. If I told her I didn’t want to come over this week, she’d try to bribe me with a pizza or a soft drink or something until I said, “Fine, I’ll be over soon.” As irony or cruelty would have it, in that same era when I would get these weekly invites to hang out with my married friends, usually through the wife’s suggestion (and that didn’t include the other occasional days in the week when the three of us would go to a movie or to Applebee’s—some weeks, not all weeks), I was waiting several to many weeks for the single lady I was interested in at the time to respond to my last three or more e-mails that I had sent her. Back then, I knew something was off about that dynamic. But I realized I couldn’t change it. At the time, I chalked up the single woman’s increasing lack of response to disinterest on her part. I didn’t want to believe that was the case, but the signs were evident. I kept writing anyway because I was in denial. I thought there was hope, therefore I was correct. In the meantime, I would hang out with my married friends, week after week, almost consistently by the wife’s invitation, wondering why in the world the single girl I was interested in wanted nothing to do with me. But now, when history repeats itself again and again, I have to start questioning whether I’m delusional, or part of a society that has missed an important ingredient in the recipe for a sensible life.

Ever since those Thursday nights when The Office was still hot on NBC’s lineup and people were still wondering if Jim would ever break through the thick shell around Pam’s heart, things had finally died down, the players in my life had gradually shifted, and I now have a new series of married friends that I hang out with on occasion. But the dynamic between the two social groups hasn’t shifted. The married female friends in my life are still quick as ever to respond to funny texts or questions I might have, and in some cases invite me on a group outing. And the single ones still take forever to even say hello. The married ones are generally speedy to help me with a problem. The single ones…well, I’m still waiting to hear back from them. In 2011, I started devoting special attention to a new single lady, the first to really catch my attention in about five years. Most of my married female friends have since spent time listening to me defending this girl even when it was clear that something in my connection with her was gradually failing. I, of course, didn’t want to believe that anything was failing—that the current situation was just the way things were supposed to work for us. The breakdown, of course, comes down to communication and expectation, and a clash that both have with the current season in her life. I still believe that frequent contact is imperative for the growth of any relationship, friendship or otherwise, and when that comes under threat, so does the relationship. This lady of interest had explained to me a couple of months ago that it isn’t normal for her to chat on a regular basis with a man she’s not committed to (as in preparing for marriage—I know this sounds a lot like disinterest, but this was happening even when she admitted to enjoying messages from me). When a single woman is the only person who tells me that (and I don’t think this is the first time I’ve heard this from a single woman), I realize something is off, and I become utterly confused by the logic. I’d expect this kind of statement from the married ones. Yet, none of them feel the conversational distance is even necessary. Is it because they’ve already established their emotional ties? I’m really confused by this. I actually want to be okay with her statement because I want to be okay with her viewpoint. And I know she has said this in context of committing to her singleness (another detail that isn’t this blog’s business). (The background story is too complicated for a blog, so I’ll just say that against modern logic, I’ve been supportive of her decision to keep a certain distance, even if it doesn’t actually make a lot of sense to me, and even if it secretly pains me.) This has not been easy, though. After going nearly a month without a phone call (in spite of my requests for a response), I realize my frustration has nothing to do with her lengthy breaks from communication, even when it’s obviously eroding the possibility for growth and even more obviously a repeat of my painful past that I’m certain is leading to disappointment if things continue as they are, but from the simple fact that my married (and notably emotionally off-limits) female friends are, on average, responsive within four hours or less. I feel like that’s kinda backwards. Aren’t the single ladies supposed to be the more readily available ladies?

So…. May I ask a simple question? Is this really my life? And is it supposed to be this way? This is the very reason why I’m tired of meeting new people; inevitably I’m just gonna have to start over again and again, remember a new name, discover a new face, again and again, get my hopes up, again and again, and then accept yet another reason why I’m not allowed to draw close to the single one who matters the world to me, again, again, and yet again, and I have no more interest in doing that. Many times I’ve prayed to God to give me a heart for singleness if He’s just gonna keep throwing me in the path of wonderful women who will ultimately break my heart. It’s not my boyhood dream to run face-first into so many dead ends. This is the kind of pain that offers no gain. It’s really just soft cruelty.

As I stated a moment ago, I don’t really need to explore this issue in-depth any further. It’s just something that has crossed my mind again, and I felt like writing it down. I don’t expect it to be the key to my resolve. Early tomorrow morning I’m supposed to visit the college dental school to sit in a chair for an hour and a half while dental students poke around in my mouth trying to figure out what state my teeth are in. I expect that in that hour and a half, they’ll reach the conclusion that my four-year absence from the dentist will render me in need of a new cleaning, and possibly an X-ray. At that point they will schedule me to come back at another time for the actual cleaning, which I’m told can take about four hours at the school. And this is good because when I tried to get my teeth cleaned at the school last month, the person responding to my card didn’t leave a message on the first call, nor did she answer my calls any of the times I tried to get back to them to schedule an appointment. The only reason I got in now was because I came across a dental student in the computer lab on my first day back at school for the new semester (on a Friday) and told him in my most formal and polite way, “Hey, get me an appointment, dude. Sheesh.” I got the call right after the weekend ended to come in Thursday morning bright and early. I filled out my first request for a cleaning in early November. But that’s why I don’t really have time to invest in this question further tonight. I should be asleep now. But I’m not because only normal people go to bed early enough to get adequate sleep. Nope, I’ve got to do things the nonsensical way because I am human, dangit!

The Great Frustration

Note: In an effort to bring my blog up-to-date, I’ve been reading old journals and looking into old issues, investigations, and funny stories I once had. Rereading this journal reminds me that I don’t always see the bigger picture. Having said that, I don’t know how much of this I still agree with. When I wrote it, I was hurt because someone accused me of not being “close enough to God” and used it as a weapon to tear down my heart when that person had no knowledge of my spiritual journey and just assumed the accusation was correct. Like all things that frustrate me, I had to write down my thoughts in an effort to make sense of them. I don’t necessarily agree with everything I once wrote here because I can see where I’m basically making similarly misunderstood assumptions about people. But writing under the influence of pain can blight our ability to think with love and wisdom. So, the following is another example of what happens when my heart is broken.

Originally posted to MySpace on:

March 6, 2007:

I’m tired of letting this control me: this issue of who I am, and how I’m perceived. Since when was it anyone’s business to define my identity for me?

I still find myself asking God to heal my heart. And I think that’s a given for any of us—we all have something that breaks it. But I’m tired of asking for the healing when the things that keep breaking it are out of my control. Just a few minutes ago I caught myself asking for this—for this healing—and realized I’m asking because I haven’t let go of my hurt.

And why not?

I don’t know if my relationship with God is exactly what it’s meant to be, or if I’m missing something. Frankly, I don’t think God is keeping score. I have a relationship with Him—He knows it, I know it, what more is there to say about it? As far as I know, I’m where I’m supposed to be.

I know my relationships with people falter, though. Today, for example, I had one of the worse days at work that I’ve had in awhile. There wasn’t any one defining thing that made it horrible, it was just a medley of sour feelings, great frustration, and all around chaos that made being there awful. And I found myself getting angry. Over what? Over picky people? Over low pay? Over my own exhaustion? Frankly, there was nothing worth getting angry about. And yet, I still had to ask God for the strength to love others.

Such a strange thing to ask for at 2:30 in the afternoon, isn’t it?

Truth was, I found myself resenting the people around me: the strangers, the friends, the whole bloody circumstance. And it was torturing me. It was just another Tuesday in Boynton Beach, but I wanted so badly to run away and never look back. Much like I’ve felt about my place here for the last, say, decade or more.

It comes back to my broken heart—that lonely thing that has hope, but little outlet; the thing that allows me to appreciate my family and the few good friends that stuck by me for years and years, despite my bursts of intensity and self-reflection, but recognizes that they can only give so much; the thing that relies on God for fulfillment, and yet becomes seduced by the holes that He leaves open for others to fill. That broken heart—a device weakened by misunderstanding, unfairly shaped by frustration—that thing I offer to God for healing but can’t seem to free from the things that broke it.

The wounds have festered. They’ve mounted on top of each other. Simple joys have been compromised by stupid things. And I’m tired of it.

It’s time to get honest here: my wounds are relational. There are several things I’m unhappy with, but only one seems never-ending. Lately, I’ve found myself resenting women—that frail gender that wants to be more like men every day. And it makes no sense. My mom faced trial after trial just to make sure I had a decent upbringing. As my first example of what a woman was supposed to be, she did one of the best jobs a mom could do, enduring all sorts of crap from my dad, from demanding employers, and even the church (the ‘80s / no grace version) just to make sure her family had provision. That character should’ve engrained a firm understanding of what a good woman looks like in me. It was a true testament of strength.

To have that as my base, my respect for women should currently be through the roof (as it once was). But then, that might be part of the problem. Maybe she’s one of the few women in my life to ever understand what it means to be a good woman. And maybe as a kid, it blinded me from the reality that I’d face as I grew older, when that gender would come to mean more to me—that women, for the most part, just don’t get it anymore. And maybe it’s the realization that a good woman is such a rare thing to find that brought my heart into this accelerated descent that I can’t pull out of. In the end, it’s a scary thought. What do I do with that?

Not to say I think all women have missed the mark, granted. But I do wonder why, out of more than a thousand examples to shape my view, only fifty or so seemed to get the point.

In the end, I’m just frustrated. If not for the media blitz of Bennifer, Brangelina, Ronald (Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump—one can hope for such a pairing), Maybelline, Victoria Secret, and Budweiser, then I probably wouldn’t care that there are so few good women out there who might respect me. But add that to the endless words buzzing my ears at work, the endless surveys poking my chest on MySpace (which I usually don’t read, but you get the point), and pretty much 95 percent of the things and the people I encounter each day telling me it’s so bleeding important, and I can’t help but to kind of care. So the frustration mounts when good women chase after dirty guys, when bad women creep around in their shadows, and all women think I’m a nice guy and therefore must run for the hills.

Of course, I’m probably responsible for most of my broken state. And that’s the point here: I’m tired of letting these creatures with their psychological imbalances (not the fifty or so good ones that actually take sensible risks and demonstrate a fair amount of strength in the face of chaos) shape my identity. And more so, I’m tired of dwelling on the ones who broke my heart.

I hope by writing this journal, I can start releasing the hurt, to claim that I won’t be beaten by unfairness or disrespect. Though, I know I’m taking a great risk in posting it, since it might consequently leave me branded as a jerk (or at least a misguided soul). But then, that assumes the people labeling me in such a way think they know me, when the truth is, they don’t, and I’m far from this.

Of course, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that we guys aren’t screwed up, too. (My father didn’t get the point, and it often pissed me off that a careless guy like him still ended up with a good woman. And maybe that lessened my mom’s quality—she herself would admit that she can’t choose a good man worth crap, probably because there are fewer good men in this world than there are good women—and, to be honest, that’s part of my gripe with women—that they can sit here telling me I’m a great guy, and then go run off with some complete A-hole who doesn’t give a flying flip about them (my dad cared, granted, he just had a LOT of baggage that he couldn’t shake and it wrecked the family).) But, as a man, I know where I’m weak and I know where I’m strong, and I’m at least trying to improve on those areas where I’m not the latter. Therefore, for a girl to tell me I need greater intimacy with God because I admitted I was interested in her (and was hurt that she didn’t reciprocate) is just disrespectful—it attempts to invalidate my relationship with God to get her off the hook, which frankly, I don’t need—and I don’t need such a wound infecting my identity. Like all men, I have my issues, too, but I’m still a good man as far as I know; unless there’s something I fail to see. But if everyone who’s taken the time to know me can agree to this, then it’s probably true.

The women to come and go in my life, friends and family alike, I care for. I still believe in Chivalry, even if everyone else thinks it’s dead, I still believe in kind words, and I still believe in that dangerous little word called “love.” To let resentment creep in about these same people just sickens me. That is my issue, and it’s something I’m giving to God, even as I type this. But to let go of the resentment, I have to accept the fact that the people I care about will continue with their issues, and I have to be man enough to deal with it. To let a few misguided souls try to make me into something I’m not so they can feel better—so they can feel less challenged (accepting that I have a deep nature), or conversely, let themselves continue with their own destructive habits (choose a jerk over a good man)—I just can’t accept that. I am who God made me, and I’m not going to apologize for that. My family accepts me, my close friends accept me, and most importantly, God accepts me. So why should I start becoming the A-hole? Why should I lower myself into the shallows so a girl won’t feel “crowded”? I won’t resent women anymore—why bother?—but I won’t lower myself to their standards, either. If they don’t want a good man, then that’s their problem. I’ve gone thirty years without a girl by my side—I think I’m getting pretty good at it.

The important thing here is that I let it go, that I stop letting the arrows of discontent pierce me.

My prayer: “Lord Jesus, spare me the burden of becoming something I’m not. Give me the grace to be who I am without accepting misguided influence, or to offer it back for the sake of pleasing others. Let truth speak through my lips, even when it’s hard to hear it. Put people in my life who will help me grow, but let me love those, still, who have been like weeds to me, and let me know which is which, that I might recognize life-giving words from the poisonous ones. Most of all, be enough in my life that these things, for better or worse, will be merely a side trip, where You are the Great Adventure. Let nothing, no woman, no circumstance, no hurtful thing steal my joy. Don’t let me slip into despair from a broken heart—what’s done is done, and it’s up to You to heal me now. Help me to let go of the things that have damaged me, but transform me with Your Spirit that they may not strike another successful blow. Shield me from Satan’s onslaught, as he will do whatever he can to destroy me. You alone are good, though I thank You for the blessings you give, and for seeing the good in me. Be who You are through me, and let not my identity or my faith be damaged. Give me Your grace that I might reflect it back to others, especially to those who’ve injured me. Give me the grace to forgive myself when I still fail in spite of these things. I love You and thank You for helping me through all things. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

A Case for Beauty

Originally posted to MySpace on:

April 2, 2006:

Referring to points made in the book, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge:

I’m the first to admit that I don’t read as much as I’d like. It’s a shame too because there’s a lot to learn from reading. I suppose there’s a lot to learn from watching the Discovery Channel too, but the point still applies. I just don’t do enough of it. Not that I need more knowledge or anything—I barely use the knowledge I have. But it’s a shame to waste away the knowledge that I do have, or avoid the knowledge that I could have.

I think the area of advice might come into play here for a moment. “Ironic” by Alanis Morrisette has a line in the chorus (in the midst of a list of ironic things) that states, “it’s the good advice that you just didn’t take, and who would’ve thought it figured? Isn’t it ironic?” My response, of course is yes, yes it is. What almost seems miniscule in the sight of lines and stories that include spending an entire life being afraid to fly, just to have the plane crashing on the first flight, or sitting down after a hard day to drink an elegant glass of Chardonnay, just to find a freakin’ fly swimming in it (I guess wine drinkers are picky about that sort of thing), or meeting the person of your dreams and then meeting the spouse; a line about good advice seems almost cheesy. But, if that good advice can change a life, and it’s not taken, what then? Well, it sucks actually.

Good advice can come out of reading a book. Strange but true. If you read a book about finances, it’ll probably offer tips about how to invest wisely. Chances are the book wouldn’t have gotten published if the author didn’t know what he was talking about. Researchers and experts in the field typically research that stuff before it hits the shelves, so odds are high that the methods described are sound (maybe not the best—there are after all a number of books on the same subject, but still reasonable). And that would be a fine indicator that the advice given would be advice worth following. And for someone to deny the advice, and ultimately end up in the poor house, might be a good indicator that the advice should’ve been followed.

Okay, so what does all this have to do with beauty? Well, I think it has more to do with reading at the moment. Last night I read a chapter of the latest book by John Eldredge (co-authored with his wife), to which it talks about the beauty that God made into woman. It points out the subtle fact that most art down the ages portrays woman as a work of beauty, but doesn’t do the same for a man. If I were to thumb through an art book right now, I’d probably have to agree with them. For every portrait of a man out there, there are probably at least twenty-five to a hundred portraits of a woman. If I were slow on the draw, I might fail to see the truth in this.

According to the Book of Genesis (that’s in the Bible for those who are unaware), woman was created last, as the pinnacle of creation. That’s actually quite impressive, now that I think about it. This book I’m reading describes it as the crescendo to a great symphony. But it also does more—it describes woman as the image of the beauty of God. Where we (men) are supposed to be the warriors of God (and boy do I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon in that department), women are supposed to be the romance of God—the part of God that says, “take me with you, get to know me, etc.” By the time I got to the end of this chapter (after having to stop many times to meditate on how much truth I’ve overlooked most of my life), I realized exactly what it was that I’ve missed with God. I’m so busy expecting him to be the father I no longer have, that I forget that he just wants me to investigate his glory, explore it, and take it with me. That he wants to be recognized as the source of healing beauty, and as all the other attributes that define beauty. I don’t want to go into too many details about the other points made because that would basically ruin the beauty of the words written (summaries tend to do that), but it got me to realize what I’ve been missing.

I suppose that’s one reason why I like to visit the beach so much (or rather why I go there when I really need my heart back, after wasting it on stupid things). It’s a place where I feel refreshed—where God’s natural beauty restores me. If not for that, I’d be a mental case. Thanks to work, and pettiness, and stupid gossip, and all the other things that surround me or pick at me, my will to walk into the next day steadily decreases. But, thanks to the beauty God has allowed to step before me (in this case the beach and sometimes the park), I have a chance to recharge.

So far I might not be saying anything particularly impacting. So far I’m hyping up the beauty of God without really making it real. I suppose anyone and everyone has his place, but I know there’s so much mud in the world that it’s often hard to see true beauty. I’d like to hang out in that rolling field in a mid-summer’s evening, but a train wrecked nearby, and I can see it from the hill. I’d love to sail off the coast of Hawaii, but the frequent shark attacks have turned the water red. I’d love to spend an evening hanging out with this physically attractive woman, but her chain smoking makes me sick (and her boyfriend probably wouldn’t appreciate it anyway). It seems wherever I’d like to find beauty, something’s out there trying to ruin it. Even when the burden of my heart becomes so weighted that I can’t even bring myself to the beach (because this time it just isn’t strong enough), it becomes overwhelming. In those times I have to force myself to let go of the baggage. If I can’t let go, I can’t really appreciate what I have around me. And how am I supposed to think about the beauty of God when I can’t really see God, just his creation?

That was the point in my reading when I had to stop for awhile and think about this. The beauty of God—what is that really? I’ve never seen God face-to-face, so how can I know what true beauty is, if everything in my world is only an image? Only an image? The ocean, the sunrise, the rainforest, the tiger, the zebra, the desert, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand? Only an image? Woman? Only an image? What the heck have I been ignoring? If these are only the images, then how beautiful, pray tell, is the source? If an Elven forest like Lothlorien (in the Lord of the Rings movies) is merely an image of a mind created by God (in the same way that a political cartoon is only an image), then what level of amazement comes from the source?

The thing I realized here was that everyone at the end of his or her life will see this beauty, experience this healing, be overwhelmed by this joy. And some will be invited to enter in and share with it forever. Lying down next to a crystal waterfall, the woman you love in her best sundress next to you, God smiling down at you from all around, and no one bugging you to pay your bills, or your taxes. The freedom of flying without a plane, or the freedom of racing without a speed limit. And those are just appetizers. And yet, many others won’t get that far. Many others will catch that glimpse of God for only a moment before finding out that he never knew them, and that they missed their chance—that they ignored the good advice.

In the case for salvation, I’ll admit that I’m not the best warrior in town. I’ve let friends and family come and go without ever sharing the glory of God. When I’m too busy complaining about how much I hate my job, or too busy hyping up my own works (an offshoot of pride if I’m not careful), or too busy judging someone wrongly, I fail to see the avenue in which to speak up and say, “hey, your constant partying and empty promiscuity really won’t add to your life—and you’re better than that. Why don’t you explore the true source of your joy and beauty instead?” Nope, it’s a lot easier to talk about Spider-Man (another creation from a mind created by God—beautiful and adventurous and heroic and unique).

And it’s no wonder that people are afraid to warm up to this. God is often seen as the “man upstairs” (i.e. the man who sees, but isn’t with you; the man who observes, but looks down on you). No one thinks of him as the “being who shares,” or the “being who pursues,” or if we’re referring to the feminine characteristics, the “being who captivates,” or the “being who heals,” and the list goes on. And why shouldn’t we be afraid? It’s a frightening thing to experience true beauty. On a personal note, I finally realized the reality of this last night when I thought back to a moment a year ago when I couldn’t contain the beauty in front of me. At first I saw the beauty (yes, we’re talking about a girl here, not a waterfall or anything) as something unique, but not necessarily “pretty.” Even though the prettiness was there, it wasn’t safe. It’s actually kind of hard to explain, but think of it as a lioness. Lionesses are beautiful creatures, but they scare the hell out of you when you see them face-to-face (assuming there’s no cage between you). I had the same reaction when I really stared this beauty in the eye. It was like the beauty was there and evident, but my eyes were so allured and ultimately made dizzy from the reality of beauty that I could no longer look this beauty in the eye. It actually became too much for me to handle. Sometimes it’s like that with majestic things like mountains and oceans. Sooner or later it becomes too much. I often fear God in the same way. It’s no wonder that in our sinless state, we are physically unable to behold God in our sight, and that to do so would mean death. And yet, when this life is over and we enter into the next one, we’re able to see exactly what true beauty is (and can handle it, and embrace it), and want nothing more but to experience that forever.

So, it sucks when those of us who rejected that beauty in life for the safe pleasures of money and other temporary things face this reality, because what can they do then? Beauty becomes reality for a moment, but is promptly taken away, as a thief steals away one’s priceless possessions, and can never be reclaimed. Life thereafter is a life of mud, maggots, and complete darkness. Beauty may be dangerous, but it’s nurturing. Maggots may be easy to behold, but they’ll eat your eyes out.

People will always make excuses, but deep down we all want beauty. Sooner or later we’ll be able to behold true beauty, but we have to decide on that now. Beauty wants to come with us, but we have to invite it. Beauty wants to heal us, but we have to accept it. There’s no time for screwing around—that’s something that I can see clearly. Too much time has been spent in misery. Not enough has been spent in beauty. Even if I can’t see beauty’s source at the moment, I can still see beauty’s many images, and I think that’s motivation enough to pursue beauty’s source as a prince would pursue his tower-bound maiden.

What would I really have to lose?

Anyway, there’s still more to explore and more to read. But, so far this question of beauty has inspired me to stay persistent. I might have my days where I’m just not hanging in there very well, but fortunately, beauty is also a fierce warrior that doesn’t give up or let go. If somewhere along the line I should fall (and I will because I’m just so good at it), that heroic beauty will pick me up, and say, “here, brush yourself off and get back on the horse. There’s an adventure out there waiting for you.”

Something about that comforts like being under the covers in the middle of a rainfall with a cup of hot coffee by the bed. It’s the kind of thing that increases my desire to keep moving and to be a “man in motion”—the area of art where men are best portrayed.

God, help me embrace this and move with it. I’m tired of taking this stuff for granted.