The subtle murmur of conversation wafts through the Starbucks as I ponder what to write. A fishbowl full of crushed beans whirs a few yards away, dispersing a faint “roasty” smell throughout the shop. Outside people walk back and forth along a snow lined sidewalk, their breath creating micro clouds that quickly vanish in the frigid air. Life is good.
Take some time and soak in where you are right now. How are you feeling? Smells? Noises? Anything catching your eye? It’s fun to stop and enjoy the moment.
Don’t become over-focused on what you’re about to do or what you have done. It’s no fun.
If some of you have recently seen people walking around in a trance as if pondering life’s deepest questions, it’s probably because they just finished an episode of Black Mirror, and thus, are doing just that.
I was exposed (for better or for worse) to this show about two weeks ago on a ski trip. It was late, about 12 AM, but we decided to throw on an episode anyways before hitting the hay.
Black Mirror (BM) almost always begins innocently, with well rounded normalcy in the lives of each character. As you continue watching, you’ll start to realize every episode features some aspect of technology blown way out of proportion. Whether it’s a device implanted under your skin that captures every memory you’ve ever had, or being able to rate those around you based on interaction, BM delves into the shadow cast by technology. And it’s strangely intriguing.
The episode finished, and each of us realized we were in the fetal position sporting a thousand yard stare. The show isn’t for the faint of heart.
Anyways, if you like sci-fi but wonder what could potentially happen if technology “took over the world” this show is for you. Just make sure your mind is ready for the inception roller coaster*.
(*Note, some episodes, in my opinion are much better than others. If you’re trying it out for the first time, try USS Callister, Nosedive, or overly risque Hang the DJ. Those are my top picks).
Monday, the 8th of January. I write this sitting at coffee shop, surrounded by the hum of steady conversation and a soft munsell yellow blanket of light. One rather stocky gentleman with small white studs in his ears seems to take up the entire room with his laugh. I’ve put in headphones.
My random goal for this week is to write one blog post each day until this next Sunday. Should be interesting, seeing as I have no planned posts and creativity is somewhat of an elusive creature in these post-holiday times.
Today I was thinking a lot about the future. I know you “shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, for you do not know what it may bring” and such, but it’s so hard not to think about what my life is going to be like in this coming year. A LOT has happened this past 365 days, to say the least. Graduation, weddings, and a new job to name a few. I’ve made New Years resolutions this year, as I usually do every year, but this year feels different. I think I actually have the drive to succeed, and have been maintaining them thus far (a whole 8 days, wow!)
Anyways, I wish you all in the blogging community motivation and perseverance in whatever goals you have for the year. The stocky dude just laughed again. That’s my cue to head home.
This past weekend I embarked upon a Campus Ministry (Outpost, or Chi Alpha) event called Men’s Advance. Nearly 100 gents packed into a mansion overlooking a misty lake set in the Fall scenery. Games were played (last night we got no less than 12 noise complaints from the surrounding area.. Don’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed about that haha), wrestling was had, clay pigeons shot, and Jesus preached.
Throughout the trip as I met and shared life experiences with these guys one thing stuck out to me. I noticed how different each person was. Different backdrops, different personality types, different appearances, and different lifestyles were all represented here. Normally a situation such as this would not host abundant diversity. Like personalities would have split off, forming their own “click”, and authentic bonding would have been no more than a figment of our imaginations.
The thing that brought us all together was outside of any of us. It was Christ that united what would otherwise have been a group of guys searching for true meaning. This unique bond was created between everyone on the retreat, forged only through our pursuit of Christ. This, to me, felt like true community. I didn’t know half of the guys and yet felt as though we understood each other. We were brothers running after truth, touched by love and purpose that only God can provide. This truth transcends just men’s advance. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and occupation/major, we’re all united in Him. I can’t wait to see what God does in each of our lives throughout this next year, but I know it will be exciting, nerve racking, and all together rad. #Mensadvance2k16.
My good friend and I decided to go “surviving” this past weekend. This is a term I use to describe trekking out into the Colorado woods with nothing but warm clothes, a knife, tinder and flint, and a rope. Food? Nope. Water? We brought a pot to boil any water we found. A tent? No chance.
After parking the car on the side of a bumpy dirt road we decided to get to high ground and scope out any areas we thought could provide water. In the distance the slight shimmer of a small lake caught our eye. We hiked through a forest of fallen trees and shrubs for the next hour and a half and finally stumbled upon a small stream. Screw the lake, it was time to make a shelter. We pieced together a basic lean-to structure with an entrance that opened up to a small fire ring. Soon we had a fire and began to boil water. A dash of pine needles made for a faint taste of tea. Heck, we were living in the lap of luxury here.
Just before dusk we decided to explore the area and make sure we weren’t on private property. Earlier that day we had seen keep out signs and headed in the opposite direction. Unfortunately the evidence was clear: Salt licks, a chained up picnic table, and quite a bit of untouched firewood not 3 minutes from where we had set up camp. My hopes sank as I realized we had to high tail it out of there. To get busted for trespassing let alone making a fire on private property is serious business. We quietly packed up what little we had and bid farewell to our shelter.
By this time the sun was well below the rim of mountains around us. The moon provided little light but not enough for us to see very far. We headed for the first ridge back to where we had come. An hour and we would be back to our parked car. Stars poked their way through the blackness around us and the moon fabricated shapes with which to navigate. After the first ridge we headed towards the next. And the next. Before long the shadows blurred and the ridges loomed. The car surely was just over the next crest. Time seemed to slow. It had now been three hours since we left the shelter. Jordan and I were exhausted. No sooner had we stopped to rethink our navigation when a light illuminated the darkness. We had found the road.
There was a point in the hike where fear wormed it’s way into my head. Would we make it back, or spend the whole night in the cold without a shelter? We both wanted to give up. But we kept hiking and finally made it back to the car. We could have just sat there in denial and let the night take hold but we suppressed the temptation and soon found our way back. In what situations do you feel like giving up? How can you overcome that temptation?