A Letter

Dear God,

Yesterday at church I was helping out on the parking team and I watched a girl get out of her Infinity and walk into church wearing her TOMS shoes. The girl is probably a really sweet girl with a much bigger heart than mine but for a moment she was the object of my own self-aggrandizement. I patted myself on the back, not because I don’t have an Infinity (I can’t afford it) or a pair of TOMS (I look like a clown in TOMS), but because I don’t want them.

Then I realized that I don’t want a new house either, my 600 square-foot apartment will be just swell, thank you very much. I realized I don’t want a limitless gift card to the Nike and J. Crew outlets or a lifetime supply of Southern Tide or Vineyard Vines shirts. I realized I don’t need a new iPhone, in fact, God, I don’t even want a new iPhone.

I realized that as much as I would love to watch Oklahoma State go 12-0 in football some year and play for a title, it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things.

God, you made some really intelligent people who created this thing called the iPad. Apparently it makes Bible-reading much easier, but I don’t want one.

I got to thinking about it and I don’t really think sports are all that important either, which implies that fantasy sports are even less important. I realized I love sports, but sports don’t love me, and sports don’t actually matter eternally.

Oh, one more sports note, thank you for making that tract of land us humans named “Augusta” but I guess it’s not really that wonderful, you know, relatively speaking.

I realized that I don’t really want to be wealthy someday, or famous, or even moderately well-known. I don’t really care about those things. They’re vices, mostly. I don’t have much desire for power or what our depraved culture labels “success” for my marriage or family.

I realized that all I have any yearning for is you and my community of family and friends. I patted myself on the back a few more times at church last night for all these realizations. I’m so holy.

After I realized all that, I realized something else:

Every word I speak and action I take…
Every Tweet I proclaim and ‘like’ I click…
Every email I send and website I visit…
Every magazine I read and meal I eat…
Every phone call I make and conversation I have…
Every TV show I watch and thought I think…
Every single day I live, my life…

Says something vastly different from what I wrote above.

We’re worlds apart, you and me. Thank you for relentlessly shattering me with your grace.

Your son,

P.S. Thanks for my wife Jen, she’s pretty cool. And she’s always reminding me of how unworthy I am before you. Do you think you could maybe, you know, get her to be a little less sweet about it though, it makes getting mad at her pretty hard. Thanks.

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I was listening to NPR yesterday (I warned you that would become a recurring theme) and they were discussing doctors and how they interact with their patients. My mind wandered from “ I wonder what the status is on medical integration of the iPad?” to “Man, I really want an iPad!” to “Hmm…I need to get my mom a birthday present in the next week or so…” to “Jen’s A/C just went out, I wonder if my mom will sell us one of her cars.” And then I was at work and the segment was over. So you can see what Jen is dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Thankfully, I did catch this (and I paraphrase because clearly I did not hear the actual quote):

“Doctors are being criticized for the amount of time they spend punching formulas and diagnoses into a computer compared to how much time they spend touching their patients.”

That sounded a LOT less creepy in my head.

Now you have no idea where this post is going.

And I might not either.

Here was my thought though: I spend so much time instant messaging Jen, texting Jen, and writing blog posts for Jen to check over that it takes away from my actual, real-people interaction with Jen. It’s a wonder we don’t text each other at the dinner table. Actually, I have a semi-confession…we do text each other from the other room sometimes (yes, our apartment is 600-ish sq. ft.)…I like to think it’s because we don’t want to interrupt each other but at least 35% of the time it’s just because we don’t want to get up and don’t feel like yelling back and forth between rooms.

Seriously though, I spend so much time with digital Jen that when we’re actually together in person my mind seems to say “wait, we already caught up with her, we already know what she did today” and tends to shut down, even if just a little bit. One solution could be fewer texts/emails/instant messages (one I should probably implement) but I think the bigger issue is sitting her down, sitting myself down and just staring at each other and talking.

Ayn Rand once said, “you can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

I’d like to think the consequences of avoiding the reality of having good, solid conversation with my wife are trivial at best, but I know better. I know that my marriage should not be an iMarriage, lest I forget the deep, purposeful eyes of the woman I wed.

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T Free

I love technology. The things you can do with a phone or a computer remain relatively unfathomable to me. I actually probably love technology a little bit too much (when a person can conference call/stare at another person halfway around the world on a device no bigger than a brownie, how can I be blamed?) so Jen has to reel me in sometimes. Of course, she wishes we still lived in the 1920s and churned our own butter…but that’s a different post for a different day.

Anyway, yesterday we went to the lake with a small mixture of old and new friends. We played on the jet skis, went tubing, got sunburned, ate a ton of food, and sat around in hammocks and chatted about our lives. Basically if you could create the ideal day at the lake, this was it. At some point late in the afternoon we headed in from having our bodies flung about the water on a giant raft Chuck Noland would have killed a man for. My friend and I were chatting back and forth and he said “isn’t it like the best thing ever to not have your phone with you and not have anything to do or worry about?” “Yeah,” I exclaimed, “it feels pretty good.” It did too, it was the perfect end to our summer (I know Summer isn’t technically over until the end of September but for me it’s over next Saturday because I measure seasons by sporting events…and college football starts next Saturday…judge me).

I could go on and on about technology and its pitfalls and how it sucks our souls clean of every good thing, but I would just like to encourage you to do this: take a technology-free day, or at least half-day. No phones, no computers, no iPads, Kindles, anything. Just you, some friends, some family, some good food…and just enjoy being alive.

We used to do fast from technology on Sundays (though writing on this blog has temporarily killed that) and we enjoyed it to the point that we looked forward to that day more than any other day of the week. It was refreshing. So stop reading this and go get some sunshine! We encourage you to do something similar. Your iPhone won’t break up with you while you’re gone. Promise.


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Engagement Week (Part 7)

The answer to yesterday’s clue is Coldplay’s album X&Y (it’s algebraic, get it?).

The thirteenth song has a line at the 26 second mark that says “let me in” which is what I used to say when I would climb the trees in her yard, get on her roof, and knock on her window (sounds shady I know…and not just because of the trees…)

Anyway I’m putting tomorrow’s treasure (see below) just outside the window I used to rap on for her to let me in. The “treasure” is…ahem…some gift cards to a popular women’s undergarments establishment that rhymes with Mick Poria Leak Met and the 2nd to last X reads as follows:

Here’s the key to my apt.
And also to my heart
After 7 tomorrow
Is when you can start
Go and enjoy yourself some music
And watch the Xideo
Drink all this wonder up
Sip it rXally slow
Oh I almost forgot
There is no turning back
The X is on the software
That’s iXstalled on our Mac

And that completes the Xs:

Aspen on Saturday at Seven (which is where this whole enchilada is ending…hopefully she’ll figure that out before then)…also I started showering the pavilion where I’m proposing with Christmas lights tonight, it’s going to look awesome!

I made a video of me citing the last clue which I will post the transcript of manana.

In case you missed them: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6