Monthly Archives: August 2012

Building Bridges

Bridges can be very difficult to build. I’m not sure of the engineering that goes into it, but I know I have trouble with anything beyond basic algebra. In fact, I’m honestly astounded that I scrapped by with a C in my high school physics class. Therefore, bridge-builders deserve to be recognized.

It’s a fact of life that bridges are necessary. They help people get from one place to another. They give people options and help avoid traffic. They make it easier to connect and they make it easy to experience new places and the cultures that go along with them.

Metaphorical bridges do much the same thing. One often hears the expression “Don’t burn any bridges.” This generally means that one should avoid making trouble and aggravating a particular person or group of people. This idea is very similar to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” We see this in the story of the Good Samaritan. A traveler is beaten and robbed and left for dead. He is avoided by a priest and a Levite (considered outstanding citizens), but is helped by a Samaritan (considered to be scum by the Jewish people of that time). In the story, it is the Samaritan who is the bridge-builder.

Another obvious example of a bridge-builder is Martin Luther King Junior. Again, the hero of this story is a minority, considered to be inferior by the white majority. He successfully exercised the novel idea of peaceful protest. The reason this was so successful and noticeable is because it didn’t force people to pick a side or fight one another. Again, bridges were built.

I think the reason the government is in such turmoil is because it’s being run by bridge-burners. Politicians and perhaps people in general seem to have forgotten about something I like to call compromise. I believe this is also part of the reason the divorce rate is so high. I won’t go into it here because it’s not really my business, but (NEWS FLASH), marriage is about compromise.

Something that the younger people in my parents’ generation and certainly a lot of people in my generation seem to have forgotten is that you can’t always get what you want. Something I’ve seen a lot in sports is that kids will get trophies even if they didn’t win a tournament or something. If you lost, you shouldn’t get a trophy. You can’t always win. It’s not how the world works. If parents teach their children that they can always have their way and that they will never lose, they will never learn how to compromise. Quite frankly, without compromise, nothing would ever get done.

Of course there are some cases where compromise is just not an option. Ironically, I’ve seen people try the hardest to compromise in these cases. In the past couple of decades (the length of my life so far), I’ve noticed that people absolutely adore the gray area. I’m a child of absolutes. There is black and white, right and wrong, correct and incorrect in many cases. The trick with this is that people need to realize that disagreement isn’t evil. One also has to realize that what is 100% correct in one person’s mind is 100% incorrect in another’s and vice versa. At this point two people at a disagreement will reach an impasse. There can be no agreement and no compromise. This absolutely does not have to end badly. One does not always have to prove that what they believe is right. It’s enough to know that you are right. It can be a lot easier to convince someone that you’re right if you do it subtly. Just be nice. I promise it works.

The fact of the matter is you can still meet in the middle. You can still get along just fine without agreeing. Chances are if you don’t agree on matters of religion, you can agree on matters of politics, or if you don’t agree on matters of what is enjoyable, you can agree on matters of money. It is almost always possible to find a middle ground and that is how you build a bridge. If you are unwilling to find a middle ground, you will eventually find yourself bitter and alone.

The best thing to do is to find a neutral territory and meet there. If two people agree that a particular video game is fun and nothing else, they should play that game. In cooperating or even in playing against each other, one will discover strengths, weaknesses and personality traits in the other person that would have gone unnoticed when the two were at odds. Often, they will discover that they are similar in many subtle ways and this can also bring people together.

Advertisements

Camping Part 2

We made it home today, and thank God! it rained almost all week. We spent a lot of time sitting under tarps and trying to keep dry. I brought my Nintendo DS (portable video game playing device, if you don’t know), but I didn’t really play it at all. We played cards and drank hot chocolate and it was fine; it was just boring.

There were a few nice days, and one day we went fishing with my crazy Uncle Gary. He’s my mother’s best friend, but he’s also my brother’s and my godfather, so we call him uncle. Ironically, he can tend to confuse me at times when it comes to matters of faith and morality and things like that. He’s a wonderful person, we just tend to disagree on some things. I won’t get into detail, though. The point is, I didn’t actually do any fishing. I brought a notebook and a pencil and finished writing a song that I had started the night before. Of course a day later I decided I didn’t like the song.

The weekend was fantastic, though. It was hot and sunny and we all had a lot of fun. We did have a little show on Friday. I hosted the open mic. My cousins and a couple of their friends got up and sang a song about cats, which was funny. I think it kind of weirded the audience out, but I approved. A little boy who was maybe around 10 got up and sang some of Bohemian Rhapsody. He was a little off in some places, but it was impressive, nonetheless. Another very little boy got up and got the whole audience to sing Row Row Row Your Boat. I played a bunch of originals and a few covers and then the sky threatened to dump multitudes of rain upon our heads, so we all went back to our tents.

Last night we did our swim to 3rd beach and back, which I think is a mile round-trip. Needless to say I was tired when we got back to camp. The lake was wavy and it pushed us on the way there, but we had to fight it on the way back to camp. I prayed a lot just to get back. It was actually the first time in years I’ve been able to finish the whole sim, and I can’t imagine i”m in better shape.

Today we couldn’t have finished packing fast enough. We all desperately wanted to get home to our own rooms, our computers, our toys, etc. It was another beautiful day though, and the lake gave me the inspiration for a new song. It’s called “Home,” and it’s sort of about being home but not realizing it until you get lost and then wanting to get back. It’s also sort of a metaphor for where I feel like I am with my faith right now.

Lately I’ve sort of felt like I’m just going through the motions and I’m expecting things of God just because I’m a Christian and I haven’t been trying to improve myself or my current situation (which is stable but sort of going nowhere fast). Over the past couple days, I have been trying to be nicer to my little cousins. To put it bluntly, I don’t like children, but I tried to be a lot more patient with them and I did alright. I was definitely nicer than usual to them, and I gave them rides on my wheelchair, which is usually a big NO if they ask for it.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to really try and get some momentum going in my life. I need to work a lot harder to get my business up and running and to get my album finished. I thought of something yesterday, perhaps. I have never been in a relationship. I’ve never even been on a date. I could think of a million reasons why, but I think the most likely one is the one I thought of last night. It’s probably true that God is making me wait for the right time and the right person. I also think that I will have to wait until I am able to support a relationship. I think this is the only way I could possibly be happy in a relationship. The fact of the matter is, I rely on people for help a lot because of my disability. I also want to be able to help people in any way I can. I think I would be happy in a relationship where I can financially support myself, but I would be happiest in a relationship where I can support the other person sort of as reciprocation for helping me with my needs. Maybe that’s weird, but I really just want to be helpful.

Well, I’m tired and I have things to do, so I will have to write more later.

Goodnight world!

Camping!

We’re going camping on Friday. I’m so excited! I’m especially excited this year because I’m just itching to get away from home. Lately all of my friends have been busy, so for the past couple days I’ve had to entertain myself (the horror). It wouldn’t be so bad except my friend had a family tragedy last night and I was sad because he and his family were sad. I just worry about him sometimes, so I’ve just been hoping he’s doing ok. He’s usually crazy busy, so he probably has things to take his mind off it, but I still worry. Meanwhile, I don’t really have anything to take my mind off of it today. I played guitar for a particularly long time this afternoon, but after that I sort of got bored so I took a walk and of course my mind started racing a million miles a minute (yay alliteration).

I’ve also sort of got writer’s block, which always manages to put me in a foul mood. I did figure out a cool way to play Ode To Joy on the guitar, which was sort of ironic and entertaining considering the circumstances. I still need to figure out what I’m going to bring to camp for entertainment. I’ll probably bring a book (I’ll probably only have time to read one) and a guitar. I might bring my electric guitar with a little battery powered amp. It’s really small and actually sounds decent. I just need to figure out what book I want to read. My dad suggested “The Age of Reason,” so I’ll probably end up reading that.

I’m hoping to set up a Jam Night sort of thing at the campground. There’s usually a handful of people who bring a guitar or a ukulele or what have you. I guess We’d have to do it all acoustic. I don’t feel like dragging a microphone and an amp and what not. I don’t think anyone has ever tried to set something like this up, but I figured I could make a few fliers and see if the rangers would let me put them up near the bathrooms.

There are two halves of the campground, and both of them are pretty big. I think there’s three different bathroom/shower houses on the side my family camps on. I’m at least going to see if I can get a few up on our side. Even if the ranger doesn’t let me put up flyers, I suppose I could just go scope out some music people and ask them in person.

They always have a movie night twice a week at an outdoor amphitheater that you can walk to. It’s part of the campground and there’s a stage there, so I figured we could probably use that. Whoever is playing will just have to sing/play loud so everyone can hear. If it goes well I might bring a microphone and stuff next year or see if anyone else would be willing to bring something.

We’re going to be packing and stuff tomorrow mostly. We borrowed a trailer from my mom’s cousin, so between that and my dad’s pickup truck we should have enough room that we can just throw everything in and head north. After that the only thing to do is pray that it doesn’t rain while we’re setting up.

Artsy Fartsy

I’m so happy, because earlier today my friend, Joe showed me the final version of the album cover he’d been designing for me. The album is called “Replace My Empty Spaces,” after a line from my feature song, “You Answered.” I’ve got two songs professionally done. I’ve got about half the album finished. I’ve been doing most of the recording at home. My friend, Nate has been helping me put extra guitar parts or mandolin parts or harmonies or what have you on a few of my songs. I’m super excited to get this done.

I’m going to be hosting and selling my music on a website that my cousins and I are developing. When it’s completely ready to go, I will certainly share a link. We’ve been making a fair amount of progress. This all stemmed from a vague and crazy idea I had for starting a business, but I think we’re finally getting our act together. Once we’re fully established I’ll give some more details.

Sorry,

I had to…

BUT I LOVE YOU ALL!!! ❤