Coping with nostalgia

I think you can tell a lot about a person by how he/she reacts and copes to difficult circumstances. I know that’s a familiar mantra, but I’m not actually referring to the person’s direct response to the struggle. Instead I’m talking about what we would probably call coping mechanisms.

Last month I had about a one-week stretch of great frustration, and I found myself going for extended walks almost every day. That’s not really something I’d done in the past, but it seemed as if each day I had this great urge just to walk around downtown Ashland and listen to whatever random song came up on my iPod.

One of my friends responds to tough circumstances by surrounding herself with people close to her. She’ll hang out with people and watch movies and pretty much do anything that will preoccupy her from the tough situation. Another one of my friends will head to the gym and play basketball, possibly for hours. After growing up playing the sport, it has become a calming aspect of her life. When everything else is going wrong, she can just step on the court and find peace for a time. Continue reading

I love the Feeny Call

There’s something heartwarming about old television series. I think the exact era would depend on the generation, but those “shows we grew up with” just hold a special place in our memories.

I spent about two and a half weeks during the past month rewatching “Boy Meets World.” All seven seasons. In less than three weeks. I should probably be ashamed of that fact, but I’m not.

Three things really stuck out at me following the series finale (although I actually thought of them throughout my watching): 1. Old TV shows cared much more about having some sort of moral lesson than new TV shows, 2. It’s amazing how much the writers abandoned any attempt at continuity throughout the series and 3. Topanga is a really weird name.

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To making it count

I honestly don’t know why over the past few years I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with the movie “Titanic.” It really makes no sense.

I’ve tried to figure out why I enjoy the movie so much and why I was so excited to see it in 3D (on opening night!) and then watch it again less than two weeks later on the night of the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.

My excuse is to say it’s a great movie to make fun of. And it really is. I can watch it with a group of friends and crack jokes about listening to Billy Zane since he’s a cool dude (Zoolander reference), or even just throw out random quotes from Titanic at various wrong points in the movie. In many ways it’s a movie begging to be mocked.

But since I want to believe I’m not such a horrible person as to derive great pleasure at mocking a tragedy that cost the lives of 1,500 people, I’ve been trying to figure out the deeper reason I love it so much. And I think I found it a few months ago.

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Family means you’re never alone

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12

John Wayne is not a good role model. Our culture idolizes him far more than we recognize, but it is a very misplaced worship. We follow his image of the cowboy loner, the tough guy who can overcome everything on his own. We believe we need nobody. When life gets tough, buckle down and power through it. Show no emotion; never ask for help.

I believe we are called to live in a way entirely opposed to the John Wayne culture. I believe God is love and we are made in God’s image. This means we are called to love, and we are called to base our entire being on loving. That doesn’t really work if you’re a loner. Love by definition is relational and requires community.

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A standard with no winners

Tonight we saw that eight points and a couple brutal turnovers can define a legacy.

If that sounds crazy, it’s pretty much because it is. But that’s where we are in today’s sports world. And I think it’s a symptom of a greater issue beyond sports.

Tonight John Calipari finally shed the great backhanded compliment-of-a-title “Greatest Active Coach Without a Title.” And if everything that’s been written about the 2011-12 Kentucky men’s basketball team is to be believed, that is validation for a long coaching career that otherwise would have been incomplete.

Further, it finally satisfies the horrible title “drought” in Kentucky to appease a rabid fan base for the next nine months or so.

It amazes me how much meaning we derive from some of the most trivial things. I’m a moderately obsessive sports fan, and I will readily acknowledge how special winning a national title would be. But it terrifies me to think so many people allow it to fundamentally impact their identities.

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