Sunday, November 29, 2009

4 random thoughts tonight

For anyone who does not know me at all, my favorite band is Switchfoot. A line from a song of theirs is referenced in my mind at least once a day. Every so often, I will think it important enough to write about. Tonight, I am referencing their song "The Beautiful Letdown".

The Beautiful Letdown

it was a beautiful letdown
when they crashed and burned
when I found myself
alone, unknown, unheard

it was a beautiful letdown
the day I knew
that all the riches this world had to offer me
would never do

in a world full of bitter pain
and bitter doubts
I was trying so hard to fit in
until I found out
that I don't belong here

no, I don't belong here
I will carry a cross and a song
where i don't belong
I don't belong

it was a beautiful letdown
when you found me here
yeah, for once in a rare blue moon
I see everything clear

I'll be a beautiful letdown
that's what I'll forever be
and though it may cost my soul,
I'll sing for free

we're still chasing our tails
and the rising sun
and our dark water planet's still spinning in the race
where no one wins and no one's won

see, I don't belong here
no, I don't belong here
I don't belong
I will carry a cross and a song where I don't belong
I don't belong
I don't belong here
no, I don't belong here
I don't belong

I'm gonna set sight
and set sail
for the kingdom come
kingdom come
your kingdom come
won't you let me down?
let my foolish pride forever let me down

easy living, you're not much like the name
easy dying
hey, you look just about the same
would you please take me off your list?
easy living, please, come on and let me down

we are a beautiful letdown,
painfully uncool
the church of
the dropouts,
the loosers,
the sinners,
the failures,
and the fools
what a beautiful letdown.
are we salt in the wound?
hey, let us sing one true tune

I don't belong here
no, I don't belong here
I don't belong here
feels like I don't belong here
I don't belong here
goes like I don't belong here
no, I don't belong

would you let me down?
come on, let me down
you always let me down
I'm so glad that I'm let down
yeah, come on and let me down
cause I don't belong here
please, won't you let me down?

Now for why I was thinking about this song.
Well, honestly, I was just having a bunch of random thoughts that somehow fit together even though they are about very different things. The lyrics fit the state of mind.

One thought was about earlier this week, it was probably around 8 pm, i was laying on the floor, I had eaten practically nothing all day and really didn't want to eat even though I was very hungry. Normally I love eating, especially chocolate and sugarry things. I have never really understood how someone can simultaneously be hungry and not want to eat at the same time. It's kind of a weird thing to experience, but it doesn't really feel like it at the time. Anyways, I was telling myself that if I do not eat, I am participating in a form of self-destruction, which is bad, in case that wasn't obvious. And then I had the same argument I've had with myself a few times. I ask myself if I am really worth the food I eat, and whether my life is worth living, whether I am worthy of being alive. First I look at the question through my eyes, as if God is a non-existant fairy tale and all that is is what I know or can know. The answer to my question is no, my life is not worth what it requires to continue, much less thrive. I am so dependent on other people and many resources that my output is a fraction of my input. The quantitative value of my life is low. This state of mind lasts just long enough for me to understand it before it switches into gnostic mode. Then I try to look at the question through God's eyes. He created me, willed me and the rest of this world into life, gave me His body, blood, soul, divinity, spirit, and truth. He wants me to live life and enjoy it. He is all-powerful and He loves me. So the question of whether or not I think my life is worth it is irrelevant to the question of whether I should put forth the effort to sustain it. These are the moments I think I see things clearest: when I know I am not worthy of living, my only justification for existance is found in God's love, in what I can't comprehend. No quantitative values here. Infinity and beyond is beyond measurement. So I got up and ate something.

A second random thought was about fighting evils, specifically abortion, but all evils that have a way of disguising and twisting themselves. They take root in people's minds once accepted, and from there invade and destroy hearts and may possess souls. "...the great battle/mission that is not that of brother against brother, but that of each and all against evil, of disregard for the value of all life..."(from an email) In the case of abortion, the war is made of many innumerable and sometimes hidden battles over individual lives. The battles take place when a pregnant woman considers abortion and is encouraged or discouraged, when a person talks another into or out of abortion, when a position on the issue is likely to change. There is no single way to end all abortion forever. Abortions have been occurring since the times of the Athenians and Spartans, perhaps earlier. Illegal abortions were performed in America off the record before 1973, granted, I'm sure in much smaller numbers than the 4,000/day since 1973. A legislation will not end it. A rule will not end abortion, even if the rule is government-enforced. The most I dare to hope for from a law is discouragement in individual cases. (At this point, some "women's rights" activists will explode if the govenment would turn back on Roe vs. Wade now, something I don't think I will need to worry about happening any time soon. It would only create more enmity and division, tear apart those who appear to be united and strong, force us to see ourselves for who we really are. Not that I'm against an argument for what is right, but it is good to have the opportunity to place everything in the open. By the way, I consider myself a feminist. I believe that although men and women are different, we are equals, fellow humans. We deserve the same rights and equal wages for equal work. We deserve the same opportunities and the independence to make our own decisions. I do not, however, believe one of the decisions any human, male or female, should make is whether an unborn human or partially born human is given the opportunity to live and experience natural death. Sometimes, that is called murder. Who is anyone who has been born to decide that? The unborn is not another piece of the mother's body tissue. Physiologically, it is a separate individual. Women's rights are not threatened by having children. Actually, having children is one of the perks and privileges of being female.) Anyways, the dignity of the (innocent and defenseless) unborn can be realized only by the conversion of hearts. So we have our work cut out for us, because it is so easy to believe a convenient lie, no matter how obvious.

A third random thought that I was thinking was about how I was stressing over completing my colleges apps for the last four months. Now that they are basically done, they seem like busy work. They are so easy, really. The essays are the worst part, and they are short, 500 words or less. They are ridiculously easy. Like, it's scary. How could something that important be so thoughtlessly completed? Strange. And the everyday schoolwork that I will never remember doing, the assignments that don't seem to matter are so difficult. Seems kinda backwards to me, but I'm still trying to figure out the logic and strength behind the modern school system. The entire thing seems twisted to me, but then again, I am still trapped in it, so I am biased.

The fourth random thought is so random, I don't know where it came from. I was thinking about after death, when everyone is judged individually, when we are sent to Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. (oh, maybe this is where it came from) I was thinking about the quote from Corinthians earlier, the one that says "Love never fails", and how one of my teachers once said, "Life is full of tests", reffering to real life where books are not as important as what actually happens in 3-dimensional life, in relationships and such. I was thinking that Love never fails the many tests life brings. "You know well enought that our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them." (St. Therese of Liseux) I understand that this sounds unbelievably idealistic and naiive to actually hold as a truth, maybe even crazy, but it depends on what is considered "failing the tests of life". Again, perspective plays a huge role in understanding. "Luke, you'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." (Obi Wan, SW V) While the truth is not relative, it can't really be fully understood if you are trying to see only the part that is easily understood from where you stand, because the truth is huge. It can never be fully understood by our impure, fallen intellects or our selfish, small hearts. But we can try. We do try. Guess what science is? Guess what art is? Guess what life is? We try without realizing it. Ranting again. About Love as this amazing thing that never fails life's tests and is all God looks for when examining our actions. The love I am thinking of is pure, selfless, active, loyal, and eternal. The love I am thinking of is the goal and reason for creation. The love I am thinking of is the manifestation of the Truth. Explain to me how something so simple, so huge, so humble, so powerful, so untouchable can be defeated, and Chesterton among many other logical philosophers will be referenced, yet they can be confusing in their complexity. Back to the main thought. After death, The Test. "Love never fails", right? So for the longest time (I am 17, so for a large fraction of my life), I thought The Test would be something like the question "Have you loved Me?". Then one day, I was introduced to the idea that it could be "What have you done to further My glory on earth?". Do we have enough courage and humility to reply with "nothing", that we are not the source of any of the good that comes from anything we have done, that it was God all along, working through us, His instruments, His servants? Do we have what it takes to admit that we are nothing and God is everything? Can we claim none of our sufferings as ours, and unite all of the blood, sweat, and tears of our struggles to the Cross of Christ? Do we have the guts to let go of everything we know and understand to place our eternities in the hands of this mysterious, omnipotent being? Do we have a choice?

So somewhere between the beauties and the letdowns of this life, between the suicidal naiivity and the fatal despair, there is reality. Somewhere there is a healthy perspective, somewhere there is truth, somewhere there is life, and that in abundance. Somewhere, maybe in letting go of it all. Maybe in realizing the beauty is in the letdown.

Try finding the answer in a textbook, in a class. Try a coffee shop, a gym, a hospital, a soup kitchen, a family with a new member fresh from the hands of God.

"What do they teach in schools these days?"
~ Professor Kirke, Narnia

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