Monday, May 10, 2010

Coffee Shop Gossip

I sit outside a coffee shop reading with my girl. A middle aged woman, overly tan for the first week of may, in a pair of shorts much more fitting for someone twenty years her junior, steps out of a car and walks towards the front door. As she reaches the threshold, she pauses mid step. I wonder what she possibly could be doing in such an awkward posture. However, my fiance informs me that she is straining her ear to listen to our conversation. What she heard must have disappointed her. We were reading from the book of Peter.

I sit inside a coffee shop typing on my laptop. Across the room sits a middle aged woman, overly tan for this time of year and speaking in hushed tones with a an overweight woman in her twenties. As I observe, I hear, "So Jan and Rob broke up, huh? I never would have thought!" The look on her wrinkled face is reminiscent of those overly tan girls back in high school... minus the wrinkles. She sits and talks and talks about high school events, i.e. "I can't believe they canceled the J.V. game! There were so many cute high school boys I could have flirted with."

As I sit here, I realize, first, this is quite a disgusting ritual. Sit at the coffee house, eat a black bean salad (gotta watch out for cottage cheese thighs) and mingle with the lives of a couple of teenagers. Poor kids. They have enough things to worry about (and be insecure of) than wondering what Mrs. Jones is talking about. Why does she care? What is her reason? Are these just the activities of a bored, middle-aged housewife?

Or does this do something for her? In a sad, strange way, does all this tanning and being in the know with Jr. High drama make her feel young? Why not embrace your age, and use the things you have learned in your life to help better the younger generation, rather than gossiping about them. Of course, if you've been living in high school for the last thirty years, there probably is little help you can offer.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Decaying Legacy

There is a certain beauty in decay, decline rust. A certain wonderment in all the peeling paint, broken glass, off-hinged doors. This world breeds a certain curiosity. The little clues that remain, a broken chair, a rusted cart, any assorted rubbish feeds the mind’s wonder. The absence of life and its allusions makes the mind drift wildly into deeper wonderment. This is where stories are born. Who made their abode in these dusty chambers? What dramas occurred in this very room? What were the faces, what were the circumstances? How has the drama changed throughout the life of this structure? What has its walls seen? Perhaps the stories the mind invents are superior to reality. In the mind, however, the creative supersedes reality. Why know exactly what happened? Often it serves the mind better to imagine.

How decay takes on a life of its own. It creates its own culture. Nature makes its brush strokes with decay. It paints a picture upon urban walls. You will be forgotten, it says. You will become me once again.

Men remember other men by what they leave behind. Every man leaves a legacy; whether or not that legacy is righteous or evil, they nonetheless leave something behind. However, the lifetime of legacy is a short one. As history works, it forgets what it was working on. Legacies crumble like the buildings of the men who created them. Civilizations fail. Nature bulldozes it over, clears the lot for the next buyer. Or conqueror. Legacies crumble. Histories powder into dust. Civilizations into disarray.

And one day, they excavate. The past is rediscovered and reinvented. Civilization takes a few crumbled broken pieces and tries to create a story.

And once again enters the mind. It alone can find the answers. Whether they be true or false, the mind creates the story.

And that is myth. The mind is an incredible thing to waste. Did Romans wonder as I?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ain't No Grave

Rick Rubin is a genius.

February 23 marked the release of what probably will be the final studio album of Johnny Cash. Rubin, who produced the record, brings Cash back from the grave. The title is certainly appropriate for this album, released seven years after Cash's death.

When I put my headphones in and listened to the first track, I did get a strange feeling. After the man being dead for so long and not hearing anything new in years, it was odd hearing his voice in a new way. Odd, but very welcome.

The title track, "Ain't No Grave," is by far the best song on the album. Rubin's work is evident the most in the first few tracks, and he does a great job in choosing the proper accompaniment to Cash's voice. Shaking shackle chains are used to keep the tempo, the very chains that can not "hold the body down."

There are a few other strong songs in "Redemption Day" and "For the Good Times." Another track of note is the last song Cash ever wrote, "II Corinthians 15:55," a song exemplifying the power Christ has given his followers over death. "O, death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy victory?" Cash sings out with confidence. Other albums in the American Recordings series contained spiritual songs, but not nearly so many as "Ain't No Grave." It is a fitting epitaph, however, to a hard life, and it is noteworthy that both the final songs Cash recorded and wrote were about overcoming death and seeing his Savior.

In reality, the album is seems more of an extension of American V, not surprising since they both contain selections from the same recording sessions. American VI stays true to the standard of the previous albums, however. While not quite as well done as V, American VI gives us a final listen, a glimpse into Cash's final months. Definitely worth the buy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Scribble... Scratch that. Sweat... Scratch that... Bleed it out

Sometimes inspiration flows out of control (think Kubla Kahn). Sometimes, you have to rely on you to inspire yourself.

Sometimes it is really hard to inspire yourself.

Like right now. I couldn't even tell you how often that in order to write something, I have to... write something. ANYTHING. I have to start writing about practically nothing to get myself to write something. Often, I have to work through heaps and heaps of trash before my mind creates something remotely creative and useful.

It is interesting how this principle plays out in many parts of life. In order to have a stronger relationship with the person you love, you have to work at it. If things have been rough, in order to make them better, sometimes you just have to do.

Do something.
Show up.
Do anything.

Work your way through your problems. Don't sit and sulk. Buy her flowers Buy her chocolate. Buy her flowers AND chocolate (though honestly, you don't even have to necessarily do that - though I would suggest it). But just show up. Talk things through. It is only as awkward or unhappy as you make it.

Before we succeed at anything, we have to show we are willing to put forth an effort. God will not change my life for me. I ahve to show HIm I want change. I ahve to show Him I want change. I need to show Him desire so He can create a greater desire in me.

Doing something.
Reading His Word.
Letting Him speak.

Things do not come naturally. The only time that real love, devotion, and inspiration strike are after the time of sweat, toil, and frustration. Things only come naturally as we have made them natural through working things out.

So scribble on some paper.
Make a phone call.
And most importantly... Get on your knees.

This is Balian. That's all I have to say about that.

Existence OUTSIDE of Space Itself

In the beginning God created not only the earth, but also the heavens. The heavens. Everything above us. From our earth’s sky to the solar system to the galaxy to the universe, God did not start by creating the things that fill these spaces. Before the beginning, God lived outside of space.

Wrap your mind around that!

There was no space; God existed and dwelt literally outside of nothing.

As human beings, we create art on a canvas, film, or paper.

God, however, created the canvas itself; yet not only the canvas, but also the space in which the canvas sits.

Only then did he begin painting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

Yes. That is exactly the last random thing that my Gen Psych professor said. And yes, I am taking this opportunity to blog during in class. It has nothing to do with how interesting I find psychology. It has everything to do with how boring my teacher is.

However, I must say, it was quite entertaining when he squeaked while speaking on puberty.

Anyways, this is just me taking an excuse to blog something, because I haven't done it in forever. Just you know to get back into it. Expect more... hopefully soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Too good to be true

It is time that I get used to this. Instead I am sure I will continue to personally shoot myself in the foot by listening to my heart instead of my head. I just went through three of the best weeks of quite possibly not only this year but the last few it feels, only to be trodden to shreds by one phone call. Where do we go from here. So very, very confused. Jesus Christ forgave me, however. And I have hurt just as much as anyone. Jesus would forgive. Jesus, however, is both good and true. Amazing!

Its, Balian, and truly I don't know what to say right now. Imagine that?