To taking your own advice

Five days. That might be a new record.

Over the years I’ve somehow established a confidence in advising people. I’m not really sure how this happened. I’m not old and wise and I haven’t really had enough successful life experience in much of anything to warrant my liberal desire to share advice.

This can work a few different ways. People can ignore whatever I have to say, and depending on how things work out they’ll be either happy they did so or I’ll have a chance to be obnoxious and say, “I told you so!” (Side note: I like to believe I’ve matured past stooping to that snide comment, but who am I kidding?). Or, people can follow whatever advice I share and either have it work out well or blow up in their faces.

Naturally, I remember many times I’ve offered brilliant advice, which worked out perfectly for the other person. Naturally, I don’t remember any times I’ve offered bad advice that failed to work out. In a completely unrelated revelation, I’m pretty sure I have a very selective memory.

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Perseverance and proper timing

I’ve heard the cliché too many times: you reap what you sow.

It’s basically become a haughty way of warning people to be nice. After all, mean people suffer and nice guys finish first.

Wait, what? The longer we live in our society and world the harder it is to believe a proverb that claims that we get what we give. It just doesn’t seem to work that way.

And that’s where we fall short in our understanding. Part of human nature is a longing to know everything, and another part is an arrogance that refuses to realize that such knowledge is not possible for us to attain. We look at the world and see how it seems to work, and we possess the highest knowledge we can imagine, so we must be right.

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The universal acknowledgement of parents everywhere

They grow up so fast.

Tonight I had the opportunity to babysit two of my favorite kids in the world. Don’t worry, I was not alone on this adventure – I don’t think any parents would be crazy enough to trust me alone with their kids for any length of time.

Once Mom and Dad came home, we looked through a bunch of pictures of these two kids as they’ve grown from babies to, well, older babies (eight months old and almost two years old). And since I’ve never really had much of an opportunity to be around babies as they’ve grown, it just amazed me how quickly these two are growing up.

Of course, that made me think of myself (obviously, since I’m a self-centered person). I am less than six months away from my 25th birthday, which means I’m nearly a quarter-century old. Now for me that feels ancient, and my little kid memories seem so long ago. But I recently asked my mom to put together a collection of photos from my childhood for me to keep down here in Ashland, and I can only imagine the thought running through her head as she reminisces with these pictures of me and my big sister – they grow up so fast.

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Rediscovering story time

Recently I’ve been on a story kick. I love stories, and I think that’s why I enjoy writing so much.

In anticipation of the upcoming “Blue Like Jazz” movie, I’ve been reviewing some of the stuff I’ve read by Don Miller and remembering just how much he focuses on the idea of our lives as stories.

Naturally, I followed this experience with a trip to the movie theater to see “The Vow,” which uses a framing narrative that describes the theory that we are all a sum of our experiences. Essentially the idea behind this theory is that everything we go through in our lives makes us who we are. I’ve always believed something along those lines, and hearing the idea applied to a movie like that really made me think it over a bit more.

I’m a story person. I love hearing stories; I love telling stories. I think most people would tell you that I am a pretty good storyteller, provided you have several hours to kill. I’m longwinded and believe that it’s better to share too many details than not enough. This is because I believe sharing our stories offers a glimpse into who we are and how we have reached this point in our lives.

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The shame of clothing

Would you be more comfortable if I took off my pants?

It’s been way too long since I last spoke those words. Most of my college friends will know it was a common question in my room, one that often led to much more physically comfortable (though probably far more socially awkward) gatherings.

I kept thinking of this as I recently reread the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Author Don Miller talks about how much we often gloss over the part of the story about them being naked and unashamed. I know I’ve joked with people before about how if Adam and Eve hadn’t blown it, we’d all be naked right now. But I think Miller’s right in that we don’t ever really give any serious thought to our original design.

What would it mean to be naked and unashamed? The first realization Adam and Eve make upon eating the fruit from the forbidden tree is the simple fact that they are naked. Shame enters the world as they seek covering.

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