No, this is Patrick!

I got to spend some quality time with a few of my teammates this weekend. Two or three of us spent basically the entire weekend together, going to Dirty Dan’s, watching Lord of the Rings, jamming to some sweet licks… It was a lot of fun. It’s funny, being part of a team like this, because you’re kind of obligated to hang out with each other when no-one else is around. Like, you do friend-type activities without actually being friends, but along the way you realize that these people are so awesome and you end up becoming best friends.

Then last night I did something stupid.

We had a couple of inside jokes after the weekend, and since I was around those people again, I brought up my favorite one. It’s directed at one of the guys and inherently embarrassing, but I had to go and make it worse. Another teammate and his girlfriend were with us at the time and neither of them knew what was going on and they started asking questions and yeah, it was a train wreck. At the time, I didn’t even realize how bad it was, but later, he mentioned how embarrassed he’d been.

So I texted him later and apologized for being insensitive and he replied and was honest about how he felt and forgave me. We’ve moved on. I felt so old and mature and still so foolish though. Foolish for what I did, but mature for how I handled it.

For a long time, I’ve been trying to get a handle on what maturity is. I think there’s a lot to be said for how well we maintain relationships. My teammate and I spoke honestly about what happened and moved on.

My sister and I had a phone conversation the other day, wherein we discussed something that we were both pretty passionate about. Opposing sides, of course. And we had to keep saying things like “No, you’re right, I should have worded that better,” or “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for that to make you feel that way.” Guys let me tell you, this is about a thousand times better than how we used to argue.

It’s been a while, but in one of my classes we talked about development and how kids can only see from one perspective. Empathy is a learned skill, and it takes a long time to acquire. I think even through our teen years, even when we ‘know’ how a person feels, we still don’t connect that to our actions. We have to come to the point of “My actions had this effect on you, and made you feel this way, which made you act this way.” Not to say that everything is our own fault, but the older we get, the more we see similarities between ‘their’ situation, and our situation.

I think the maturity looks different from day-to-day. Some days it means shutting the door and finishing a paper, and other days it means seeking and finding forgiveness. It’s putting an arm around a brother who is hurting, and also singing out loud if a song is stuck in your head. It’s recognizing when your sweet potato crepes didn’t turn out the way you planned and making something new up on the fly.

So I’m proud to announce that I’ve matured a little bit. Leveled up. Still not ready for the boss level, though.

 

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

 

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An Average Wednesday Night

Sometimes writing is a huge leap of faith. Like tonight. I committed myself to blogging every week, and tonight, I haven’t a clue what to write about. But no matter, I have to open a blank page and see what comes out.

This is what the title of my blog refers to: when words just kind of come flying out and I take a step back to see if they make any sense, to see if there are any hidden patterns.

I got a test back yesterday that I did really well on. Like, really well. Almost aced it (thank you, gratuitous extra credit.) And I had a test today that I kind of didn’t study for and part of me was riding my emotional high from the test I’d gotten back and I convinced myself that I was invincible. That tests would never again be a problem for me. Just like in the story books, today’s test rolled around and was easy as pie. Seriously. Reinforcing my procrastination and infallibility are we, fates? Cool.

One of the strongest thoughts that I had today was that if the Minion movie doesn’t live up to the wildly high expectations I have of it, my life is going to be really hard for a few days.

A guy from IWU died in a terrible accident over the weekend, and the past few days have been pretty somber and quiet. It’s such a small school that everyone at least had “heard of” him, and many people had actually known the guy. I’d had class with him last semester and for our class final, we had to act out a script that someone else had written. He and I were the two leads of one of the skits and we won the extra credit prize for best performance. It’s such a weird and random connection.

There’s a lot of pain right now. Not in my life, but in the people around me. It’s hard to watch.

And then in other people’s lives, there have been new nieces and nephews and grand-kids and it’s so hard to understand. Sometimes, I don’t know if I believe that “all things work together for the good….” I don’t think God is watching us, going “Yup, you did that right, you love me. Okay, I’m going to make this all better for you.”

Maybe that’s a little contrived.

I think it’s more like its us living by the spiritual and natural laws that He created for us, that He imbued with Himself. I know it kind of sounds like simply following a formula, but I see beauty in that way of thinking. It seems more timeless and constant, not as arbitrary. It’s something I’m still deeply considering.

This short film is super cool, to me. I think it embodies the Spirit of the Game, something that people who don’t play or watch Ultimate don’t often pick up on. It’s not just a game; it’s about taking ownership of something important to you.

“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – Nick (Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald)

Indistinct

I think I’ve gotten less than 8 hours of sleep in the past two days combined. Hoorah.

This semester is going to be so intense. My senior research project (“What’s Your Power Hour?” a study on the effects of time of day on exercise performance) started last week and I’m just going to go ahead and whine about how early I get up. I know, 7:30 isn’t terrible twice a week. It’s the staying up until 1:30 the night before for Ultimate practice that does it. I’m really excited, though, to see what we find out. This week wraps up the first round of tests, and we move on to our next set on Monday. It’s taught me a lot about being flexible, working with other people who aren’t as invested in something as I am, and how to write a semi-professional email REALLY fast.

Also, last week, I started my internship! I’m with the Training Center this semester, an after school program for some Marion kids, kindergarten through 7th grade, I think. I’m mostly with the 3-4th grade girls. I go in twice a week and there’s a chunk of recreation time that, as I get more used to the whole program, I’ll be leading. It’s so great to be around kids again. They’re so funny, and I forgot how quickly little kids form relationships. I’m thankful for that. The other volunteers there are really cool. One of them, Kinsey, who I’ve been informally shadowing, is such a great teacher. I start tripping over my words and concepts and she steps in with an awesome example and hands-on activity.

Ultimate finally kicks off this weekend for real with our first tournament, in Alabama, T-Town Throwdown. We’ll finally have our whole (almost…) team and our new coach, Joey, is coming with us too. I’m excited to see how our team develops and grows through this. Also, apparently we’re making dinner for ourselves. So that will be an adventure.

I’m exhausted. So here are some other people’s words that I really like.

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

“‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.’”
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
—John Steinbeck, East of Eden

“We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered.”
—Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead

“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

And my personal, forever favorite

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

If you have a second, check this out. Andy is a good friend and teammate of mine, and he has meant so much to me over the past year and a half. He has so much passion and drive, and a story that gets at my heart. He’s a guy that I’m proud to know and call a friend.

Catch you on the flip side!

Two Things.

First thing: I’ve really been passionate lately about the idea of “your story.” Whether people know it or not, they have a specific way they like to tell their story. In writer lingo, it’s the “voice” of their life. I have a distinct “voice,” and only I can tell my story right because I tell it in my “voice.” When I tell stories to a certain sibling, I tell it exactly one way, and when I talk to my best friend, I tell the story in exactly another way.

I’m not sure that made any sense. Anyway, the point is that, though some people may like it, most people would prefer to tell their own story in their own voice. And we should let them. Sure there’s a time for the real story to come out without bias, but there’s also time for understanding someone in their own way.

Second thing: this past weekend was the Camp T summer staff reunion, and as always, it was a blast. We talked about how we could change summer camp for the better, in so many ways. One of the sessions ended up being about responsibility, basically, and how we could get the kids to really “own” camp. I liked that one. Dave Wright, the old CEO, modeled responsibility every time he stepped outside, always finding a piece of trash to throw away. That’s a resounding image that a lot of us will hold on to forever, and hopefully begin to model for our own campers.

I got to see a lot of my favorite people in the world, but the brightest minutes of the weekend were when Brody was around. Last summer, after trainings, we were in separate villages so I didn’t get to see Brody a lot, but whenever we ran into each other on lake road or in Main Field, he gave the best hugs.  He was in top form this weekend, coming up with brilliant thoughts like “What would human Bop-It look like?” (hint: hysterical, competitive, and totally doable. New camp game?) and “Can you imagine if someone was late to the Last Supper?” (“Freaking Judas, I’m going to die tomorrow and he can’t even be here on time??? I told you guys 6 o’clock, right?”) Things of that nature.

After people had started leaving, a handful of us were sitting around a table in the fellowship room and, out of the blue, Brody goes “Did you guys know, it was shameful to run back in Bible days? So like when the Prodigal son’s father ran to meet him, he just stopped caring about what everyone else thought?” Then Scotty D told us the origin of the phrase “gird up your loins, how to gird up our loins, and why they had to “gird up their loins” (they couldn’t run in those big old skirts anyways.) They painted a picture for me of an old man, his robe wrapped up like a diaper, running down a road, probably tackling his son into the ground in his joy.

Everybody always goes on about how we are to chase after God and “dance like David danced.” So true. I’m a fan of dancing, and I love David’s attitude. I’ve been there. When you’re feeling so on top of the world and blessed that you can’t stand still.

But I love the other image that Brody gave me; of a God who’s so excited and in love that he’s willing to look like a fool, just for us.

Coming to you live from DeMoss Acres, it’s the Wednesday night blog!

I honestly don’t have a lot to say tonight. Being home is awesome.

Some thoughts on being home:

1-It’s a lot like what I imagine British Parliament to be: you drink tea while a bunch of morons run around, doing who knows what.

2- Pancakes are better hot off the griddle, even if that means getting up at 7 am.

3- Sitting in the living room without the t.v. on is usually as funny as sitting the the room with the t.v. on.

4- Cold pizza=breakfast of champions.

*unless a sibling picks the pepperoni slices off

5- Contrary to popular opinion, family game night does not always have to devolve into fights. Fun fact.

Listen to this.

I have a love-hate relationship with this song. There have been some times when it’s really meant something to me, and other times when it just brings up a lot of bad memories. God is a God of order, and a lot of times, that order is a good thing. But at the end of the day, so few of us have a big capacity for hope anymore. We forget that good things can spring up on us as quickly as the bad, and that if we actually put some effort in, things turn out pretty all right.

“[Gatsby had] an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.”  – The Great Gatsby