Sunday, May 20, 2012


So there was once this THING that I didn't understand before.

This odd depression I noticed people about four years older than me getting. You know, they'd be leaving college. I, a freshman, never understood why they all looked so mopey. They just graduated...they're movin' on. Gettin' a career. What's wrong with that? They should be happy. And it was always only the single ones. Why the single ones?

Now I get it. That thing. It happens when everyone your age is getting married or engaged. It looks like this:

These posts always make me a little self-conscious. I like to pretend I don't care but I do. I know that people will always be quick to jump to conclusions about someone making a post about being single. I do it myself sometimes. Well, here's to posting about what I want to post about anyway. I can't stop you.

Anyway, I know I won't be forever alone and I'm not lonely. That's not the point. The point is, I'm saying something about people. About life - in all its stages. And I'm at that stage where I see everyone around me getting engaged and getting married. And it's hard to be happy for them. It really is.

It'd be a little different if I were in a relationship myself. It truly feels like I did something wrong - because I was with someone for a while, and for the most part I loved it, and almost everyone I know who was in a relationship at that time is now engaged to their significant other. It didn't end that way for me. I dealt the final blow myself.

But when I go to an awesome wedding for two people whom I both look up to so much...and all I can do is clap along with everyone else and pretend I'm not, it just sucks. It just does. At a wedding, everyone loves you, sings your praises, eats, dances, and has a blast with you...your best friend at your side, with whom by the end of the night you will be having more than just a little fun. Heck yeah, I want that. At least I'm honest. I don't play along with a pretend utopia where I pretend I don't want what I want. Sometimes that's all I got really going for me - the balls to be honest and say it like I see it.

Balls - there's a word I seem to be using a lot today. That's what it's taken for me to put myself out there. Over. And over. And over again. None of that guarantees someone success. They can do everything right - I can do everything right. And nothing is guaranteed to come of it.

But I gain nothing from just not trying. And I try. I do. And I listen when people tell me to basically not worry about it. To pray. And I do, and and I try. But that's not how this thing works. What I want is something really good - and you can't take the desire for good from me.

My only temptation is to take the easy way out sometimes - and believe me, it's there. Always. But what I keep holding on to is this idea that I must always, always do the right thing. No matter how hard it is. Oh, and I know I fail sometimes, but that is what I always strive for in the end. I want to do what is easy so bad just to feel like my life is going somewhere I want it to for a while.

All I can do is just keep trying as hard as I can to do everything right. Be myself. Keep praying. Trust. Move on. And I do. But it just doesn't get easier.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for ever together.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Long Defeat.

"I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect 'history' to be anything but a 'long defeat' – though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory." - J.R.R. Tolkien

I keep coming back to this quote because I believe it applies to my life. I know it is cliche to talk broadly about one's life, but really. More often than not, I really feel like I'm just getting beaten.

I was talking with a friend who is undergoing similar circumstances, and at one point in our conversation we came to the same conclusion: we have no idea what we're doing.

I think we all grew up with this notion that all adults know what they're doing. Our parents know everything and are completely capable. How wrong we were. I really feel like all we ever are is clueless until we die, with the only advantage of age being a little more experience. How I wish it were different.

I feel like I'm just along for the ride sometimes, and no matter how hard I try, control is just out of my reach.

Me too.
All I can ever really do is just keep trying, but sometimes it just feels ridiculous how little progress I make. That's what makes me feel clueless - I think if I truly knew what I was doing, I'd be doing better.

So, I am living this long defeat, awaiting final victory that has already been won for me. But there's so much I'd like to do before I get there. Like get married, God willing.

I think I could have gotten married. I might have been engaged by now, at least. But I ended that relationship half a year ago, today, I think. It was a good decision - don't get me wrong - but I lost more from breaking it off than she did. I always thought that I was more replaceable to her than she was to me. I think she's the only one who ever really knew me in the way she did - something that I'd wanted for a long, long time. Turns out I was right. Here I am, single months later with no real hope of dating anyone anytime soon, and she's started a relationship. I've never been more upset finding out I was right. I am disposable.

I've been writing letters lately to people whom I really feel are important to me. At the same time, I'm discovering how unimportant I am to most people. I really feel like there are just three people who would miss me - really miss me - if I were gone. All I can do is whine about it like a little kid on this stupid blog and hope that someday, if I just continue being patient and nice to people, that might change.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream of the end of the long defeat.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Death, Exile, and Magus.

"At the heart of the Christian faith," says Thomas Merton, "is the conviction that, when death is accepted in a spirit of faith, and when one's life is oriented to self-giving so that at its end one gladly and freely surrenders it back into the hands of God the Creator and Redeemer, then death is transformed into a fulfillment. One conquers death by love - not by one's own heroic virtuousness, but by sharing in that love with which Christ accepted death on the Cross. This is not apparent to reason: it is, precisely, a matter of faith. But the Christian is one who believes that when he has united his life and his death with Christ's gift of himself on the Cross, he has not merely found a dogmatic answer to human problem and a set of ritual gestures which comfort and allay anxiety: he has gained access to the grace of the Holy Spirit. Therefore he lives no longer by his own forfeited and fallen existence, but by the eternal and immortal life that is given him, in the Spirit, by Christ. He lives 'in Christ.'"

This post shall talk about three things: emotional death, feelings of exile, and a character named Magus from Chrono Trigger. And even though I never plan these posts out beforehand, I'm sure I'll be able to tie it all together somehow.

First, Magus. Who is Magus? Magus is a character from my favorite video game, Chrono Trigger, a game about using time travel to save the world. If you plan to play this game on SNES, PSX,  or DS/3DS, skip the next three paragraphs. Magus' story begins in the game's "middle ages" period, wherein Magus is an evil villain bent on taking over the world. The "good guys" at this point, believe that Magus is the creator of an evil creature named Lavos, who eventually destroys the world. After a puzzling series of events, it becomes clear that Magus did not, in fact, create Lavos at all. Lavos crashed into the planet 65 million years ago. Magus was merely attempting to summon Lavos out of the ground - to kill him. Why? Revenge. However, the "good guys" foil Magus' attempt and through a bizarre accident they all end up in 15,000 B.C., a time when the "magical kingdom of Zeal" reigns over the earth. It is my personal favorite part of the game - the scenery, the music, and the dreamlike experience of the area is glorious.

Anyway, apparently, Lavos' presence on earth actually has given some humans magic powers. The Queen of Zeal, however, is bent on resurrecting Lavos to use him as a gigantic source of magical powers (which at this point in the game we have already discovered is a terrible idea). Your group follows the events as they unfold, and it is clear that Schala, the Queen's daughter, is instrumental in being used to help bring about Lavos' return (against her will), while the younger brother, Janus (whom you discover is actually Magus as a young boy), has no apparent magical ability and broods around the Kingdom, disliking his older sister's treatment. Your group, the good guys, show up and make trouble, but are foiled by a mysterious prophet. You cannot stop the resurrection of Lavos, and once it occurs, the prophet reveals himself to be Magus in disguise. However, at this point in the game Lavos is so powerful compared to all of you, including Magus/Janus, that you must make a desperate escape and actually lose one of your characters to Lavos' wrath. The young version of Magus, Janus, is sent to the middle ages, where we can easily assume he eventually became Magus. The adult Magus goes off to a remote area to think about the course of events (being a Byronic hero of sorts).

Not only did Magus live his entire life exiled almost 20,000 years beyond his birth date seeking to gain enough power to summon and destroy Lavos to revenge his sister and fail that, but when he finally gets another chance in his original time period to defeat Lavos, he is still not strong enough. He had to live through the most traumatic time in his life twice.

What does this have to do with me? Well, first of all the character of Magus strikes me as admirable in a sense. Of course, he believes the terrible means by which he gained power justified the ends of killing the evil Lavos, which would be bad enough except he also was motivated by revenge...but yet, I can't help but admire the great tenacity. The determination it would take to live one's entire life motivated by avenging his sister's (apparent) death - well, I don't know what else to say except I like that. It reminds me of my own lesser determination to follow God's will for my life, which I believe is to take part in the self-gift of married life. Right now, however, it's not going so well.

In fact, I feel like I'm reliving some of the worst parts of my life, as Magus did. It hurts, but it is a necessary hurt. I know that one cannot gain something good without sacrifice. Often times, it ends with me sacrificing my comfort in not saying something terrifying and making myself vulnerable to someone else, only to get stepped on. So be it - it will all certainly be worth my trouble, someday. At least, I have to believe so. Magus did, and he's not even real.

And so now, however, I go into an exile of sorts. I feel as though in this moment of my life, I am really bidding farewell to many of the people who have known me the best in my life. Who I have become emotionally attached to...I have to let them go. There is nothing I can do. I can only move on. That is the nature of friendship - it's not forever. It's transient. And it feels like being exiled. It hurts to feel so alone in the world. But what am I to do, except go on.

It feels like a death. Did you read the quote at the start of this post? It is all about this kind of death. I am not experiencing a literal death, however, but an emotional one. If I am to not let this conquer me, I must look at it realistically - if I have given myself as a gift to these friends who are leaving, then I should be happy to give it all back to God as they go on. I must conquer this death through my love of them.

In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, "I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect 'history' to be anything but a 'long defeat' — though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory." I believe this applies also to my life - it will be no more than a long defeat. But it will have "glimpses of final victory," in which, perhaps, I will see the fruit of my love. Perhaps in only a smile.

I know this is a long post...but thank you for reading. It always means a lot.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream of conquering death by love.