Archive for January, 2009

The Move & the Why’s

Posted in Life/Stories on January 30, 2009 by lspray

1413870606_dbd3e9fa1e_o2“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit; stop whenever you want. You can change, or stay the same – there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” -Benjamin Button


I’ve been meaning to write about moving to San Francisco for awhile now. But, like always, my mind works much faster than my vocabulary.

It’s no secret that I struggled going to Jessup and living in Rocklin. Rocklin is a far cry from San Bernardino, and it was a divide that I felt more than most. People talked about their parents making six figures like it was no big deal. Friends of mine got more money for clothes than my parents had spent on me for Christmas-for the last two years. Needless to say, people had money, and I definitely did not, and I did not really understand those who did. This ties into my struggles at Jessup. Before I got there, I understood Jessup as a small christian college. And I understood college as a place to learn, grow, and flourish into whatever I chose to be.

Donald Miller says, “When you build a city near no mountains and no ocean, you get materialism and traditional religion. People have too much time and lack inspiration”

Maybe that’s how Rocklin was for me. I felt like Jessup was telling me all the hows of life. How to get money, how to be a good christian, how to not cause trouble. It’s not like those are bad things to learn. But I’m at a point in my life where I feel like I’m asking all these why questions. It’s not that the how questions are bad, its just that I don’t feel like I need that much help figuring out how to do things. I certainly don’t feel like I need to be paying $300 a unit to answer how questions. I can go to Barnes & Noble and find shelf after shelf of books telling me how to do things. I want to know why. And alot of those why questions are big and heavy, far to heavy for this conversation. But I feel like San Francisco is filled with people who are also asking why, and they don’t really worry about the how of life.

Rocklin worried about the how of life. How to get a big house, say the right things, go to the right church, all that. And honestly, at this point, I don’t care about how to get a big house, I don’t really care if I say all the right things. I want to make mistakes, and I want the freedom to be able to make mistakes. I don’t want to be judged for the risks I choose to take, I want the freedom to take those risks. Jessup didn’t seem offer that freedom.

Me and TJ got grilled by so people for our decision to move to San Francisco. People “worried” about our “spiritual health” and such. I don’t have enough fingers and to count the amount of people who disapproved of our decision. And as much as I want to write this as a big “F you” to all the people who thought we would crash and burn, as much as I want to show them our sick apartment in the middle of the city and say, “I told you we’d effing make it”, I’m going to try and refrain.

This isn’t about how I dislike Jessup or Rocklin- as my Mom loves to remind me “you wouldn’t be in San Francisco if it weren’t for you’re experience at Jessup.” It’s true, without Jessup I wouldn’t have gone to Africa or SF. In preparation to go to Africa, I was really struggling to raise the money. I sent out more than 75 support letters, some 20 of those I sent to WJU staff who knew me. Of those 20 or so staff members who got my letter…only one responded. And that killed me, It wasn’t about the money, it was about support. My tuition paid for these people’s groceries and their house payments, I went to their churches. And now I was trying to go, be, and find out some of the whys of life, and I felt like I had no support. Could we just get some support to follow dreams and ask questions bigger than how?

I could talk about generosity, or how I don’t understand God in relation to blessings, or a number of other things, but I’ll try to stay on point.

I don’t know who I want to be, I know I’m on that journey right now. San Francisco is a part of that journey, and I know it will be a valuable part. I want the freedom to make mistakes, I want to screw up in the name of taking risks and trying to do whats right. I don’t want to play it safe, I felt like Jessup was all about playing it safe, and I don’t feel like God is about playing it safe at all. Look at his Son, who is supposed to be our example, He sure as hell didn’t play it safe, and I don’t plan on it either.

I feel like whatever I decide to do in life needs to relate to San Bernardino, It is a part of me, and I am a part of it. I see all these people I know there, and it seems like they all search for the wrong things, they all search for some authentic feeling, and nobody’s finding it. I felt very inauthentic is Rocklin, a lack of inspiration as Don Miller would say. I felt like I was supposed to fit the mold, and as those who know me can attest, I don’t usually do that very well. whatever I do, I just want it to mean something to the people back home…to let them know that there’s gotta be something more to being a “christian” than going to the right church and saying the right things. Again, I could go on a tangent, but I’ll save all that for later.

My point is, I want the freedom to make mistakes in the name of striving for something better than figuring out the “hows” of life. I can’t look at a sunset, or notice the intricate designs on my own fingers without thinking, “why?” There’s gotta be something more to life than this, more than Rocklin, more than being a “good” christian. There’s gotta be something real, authentic, that doesn’t tell me how….but struggles through why. Something that doesn’t accept pat answers about life, but realizes that life can be a dark place, that sometimes life sucks, and that choices aren’t always easy.

I don’t have the answers, But San Francisco gives me the opportunity to ask those questions. And maybe, just maybe I can figure out some answers for me, and help find some answers for you.

“We are shaped by our experiences. Our perception of joy, fear, pain, and beauty are sharpened or dulled by the way we rub against time.” -Donald Miller


The Chase

Posted in Life/Stories on January 1, 2009 by lspray

This last year has made me think about life and meaning and hope and change, and the things that matter the most to me, the things that matter most in life. The things we chase after.

I heard a story recently from a friend, of a beautiful girl, who goes to a big UC school, who has big dreams of being a professional sports agent. And this girl knows that being a sports agent, and getting professional athletes to be clients is tough work. So her plan of action has been to analyze the stats of the best players of her school, and then sleep with them, in hopes of getting them to be her clients when they go pro. I heard that story about two weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Thats alot of ingenuity…but really, how much money is she going to have to make to cover the cost of losing her soul? I know so many people that chase money, but for what? To have a big house with enough empty rooms to remind youself of how alone you really are? I just dont see the point, I dont want to get the the end of my life and have a house and a boat and a sportscar, only to realize that I chased the wrong things. Only to realize that my life didnt mean much to anyone other than myself.

As some of you know, I’m a big fan of Kanye West. He is comepletely honest about who he is, and he doesnt care what you think about him, and I find that facisnating. His brilliance is in understanding his own emotions, and his ability to express them. and although I dont like his last album (not one bit) I think it’s a facinating case of someone who has made it to the top….only to realize that it wasnt everything thing he thought it would be. He sings:

“Do you think I sacrificed real life, for all the fame and flashing lights? There are no clothes that I could buy, That could turn back the time, There is no vacation spot I could fly, That could bring back a piece of real life. It’s like I’m looking for something out there, trying to find something, I turn on the TV and see me and see nothing…”

I dont want to get to the end of my life an feel like Kanye West does now. I dont want to reach the end, and realize that is wasnt everything that I wanted. I dont want to be like Kanye and chase all the wrong things.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, especially with going home, I see so many old friends, who arent doing much more than they were doing when I left. And every time I go home it gets a bit harder, because all the things I wish were the same have changed, and all the things I wish had changed are exactly the same. I know so many of my old friends who’s lives arent what they’d hoped. I have a friend who hate the holidays because it reminds her that her dad isnt there. I have friends who go through the holidays with significant others who dont treat them well, others who struggle with their relationships with their parents, and still others who struggle to find reasons that they want to live. But mostly, I see people who struggle to live the lives that they want. And it seems like each time I come back, I see these same people becoming more and more complacent with the lives they have rather than striving for the lives they hoped for.

I see all these people back home chasing, and I’m not sure what they’re chasing, but I can’t hardly blame them, I rarely know what I’m chasing. But I do know that I want to chase after the right things, the things that matter. So that when next Christmas comes, I can sit around with the people I care about most and know that the last twelve months of my life meant something for me, and hopefully made a difference to them.

I dont know where you’re at in you’re life. But I hope that in the next year, you begin to live the life that you dreamed of. I’m still figuring it all out, and my guess is that you are too. So by the time we’re unwrapping presents next year, I hope that we’re both chasing the things we want, and chasing the things that matter.

Lastly, like I said, I know alot of people have a hard time with Christmas. I don’t have many answers, but someone very smart recently said something very insightful:

“the enormously bold claim of Christmas suggests that God loves us, and that he wants to know us. To say it a different way, it suggests that perhaps we were created to be loved, and created to be known. And the flip-side is that maybe we were made to love and to know as well. It’s a wild mysterious story and if it’s remotely true, then we’re far-less alone and far-more loved than we could ever know.” -TWLOHA

Happy Holidays everyone.