sideshow.

“can’t you see that all that stuff’s a sideshow?”

-let go- frou frou-

from what i remember about my childhood, not a whole lot mattered more to me than sports. collecting sports cards, playing sports, watching sports, listening to sports, reading sports… that’s all there was. i had one mindset. sports. well, and girls… but i never had enough nerve to actually talk to girls, so i just focused on sports.

then i got older. and more aware. i realized slowly, and with my mom’s insistence, that there was more to this world than simply sports. my brain was shocked.

i learned about politics and religion and that traveling is good for the soul. i learned in high school that girls could get me in trouble, as would lying to my parents and stealing candy from the gas station.

then 9/11 happened and i learned quickly that the world was full of hate. not just from those who hated america, but from americans who hated the outside world. remember “freedom fries”? we hated the french because they wouldn’t go to war in iraq with us so we took the one thing we know would get them to understand we were serious… how tough we americans are…we would call OUR fried potatoes “freedom” fries because…dammit…fried food is american and we stand for freedom more than anything. fried. potatoes.

i learned that people with power could and would go to great lengths to get what they wanted. i started to realize that the religion i had believed in was not what i thought it was. that jesus is somehow bigger than that religion.

i watched as obama won the election and for some reason i thought that would unite america. it did not. clearly.

i realized that there is a lot outside of my control, and what i cannot control doesn’t matter anyway.

how much of what is in our lives is just a sideshow?

how much are we influenced by what is around us and not what is in us? how much do we forget about the people who actually matter to us everyday?

there are all these factors competing for our attention. we live in a hyped up world. no matter what it is, it’s overblown. unless it’s about the good in the world. we don’t hear so much about that.

so much of what is around us is just a sideshow.

there isn’t much we can control these days. there never has been. instead of fighting about who should pay the most taxes and racial tensions and same-sex marriage and whether pete rose should be in the hall of fame, what if we started blocking out the noise? what if we started focusing on people and how we relate to each other? we spend so much time focusing on all the things that really do not matter and forget that what really does, people. maybe then we can start to see past different skin tones and religious beliefs.

when we start breaking down all the nonsense and leave the sideshow behind, that’s when we truly see the value of why we are on this planet.

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wonder.

this world is a wonder.

and it makes me wonder.

i wonder about the past… it just seems to happen so fast. one day, two days turns into a week, a month. suddenly a few years have gone and i’m left remembering where we’ve been and wondering about where we’re going.

i wonder about today. i wonder how we got here.

social media blasts us with stories of ferguson, missouri in a blaze. an officer shoots an unarmed man in the head and doesn’t go to trial. i wonder about that. going to trial doesn’t mean guilt or innocence, it just means that more questions need to be asked. i wonder how the grand jury can decide that all necessary questions have been asked and answered.

the president puts forward an order regarding immigration.

the internet explodes.

i guess we have forgotten that almost all of us are not from here. we are the byproducts of immigration, some of us illegally. but that doesn’t seem to matter anymore. why bother with the truth of history?

the united states spends more on defense than the next twenty-six countries combined. somehow it’s justified. yet there are those who think cuts need to be made to education. as if we haven’t made life tough enough for kids. now the one place they are supposed to go specifically for learning, we cannot even sustain that? then we cannot figure out why kids are on the streets and crimes escalates. that makes me worry more than wonder.

i wonder about those who proclaim to know Jesus and celebrate his miracles and his life. many of these people are the ones who believe you must earn health care, that it’s not a right, that there then must be a premium on health and life. if being healthy and having access to health care is a privilege and not a right, i wonder how that works with your theology. what has any of us done to deserve Jesus? we christians like to say that Jesus is the ultimate healer right? yet the system in place for those who need it is only accessible for those who have earned it? i wonder how that can be possible to believe.

some headlines ask questions that we cannot possibly answer.

i hear that sex trafficking in this country is on the rise. why? how? who are the monsters that think this is okay?

 some questions have easy answers… at least in my mind…ISIS exists now because of an unnecessary war we started over a decade ago that ironically opened the floodgates for something we vowed to destroy.

this world is full of wonder. there is good in this world. i know too many good people who are doing so much good. there is also the opposite. people more concerned with bank accounts and power and image to worry about anything else. that is what concerns me.

it makes me wonder about the future.

transparency.

the thing about writing is that it requires a high level of transparency and honesty. especially when you are writing about yourself and your own thoughts. you cannot simply make stuff up and expect it to work. i mean you can always make stuff up, i just don’t know how well it works.

this level of transparency and honesty sometimes scares me as a writer. it actually keeps me from writing often because in reality, i’m more comfortable with being vague and keeping my distance. that doesn’t work as a writer. or i guess maybe that’s why i like to write. maybe these words are a shield. in blogs, the ease of typing and then hiding is appealing. you can write whatever it is that you wish you could say to someone’s face without actually having to look them in the eye. you can express yourself in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise. but i don’t want to do that. as a writer, i want to be the same person on print as i would be if we were meeting face to face.

there is a balance that is difficult to keep at times for me. anyone who knows me knows that i am full of opinions. i cannot dispute that. but that’s the trick, that’s where growing into the person i’m becoming can be difficult when it comes to actually writing about my opinions. sometimes i want to be outspoken and speak my mind and write whatever it is that comes to mind. sometimes writing my thoughts is the last thing i want to do because i know how much my thoughts can differ from others. believe it or not, i hate conflict and the last thing i want from writing is to create any. there are plenty of things i have opinions about that probably differ from my family’s point of view or my wife’s family’s point of view. i have different thoughts about politics than how i was raised, different thoughts on religion, the environment and gays and lesbians. i like the president, that probably isn’t a universal opinion in my family. my parents are MSU grads, i love U-M. it’s just how it is.

the one thing i’ve learned about becoming an adult is that it doesn’t magically happen. and it doesn’t really matter what others think. when i was a teenager i assumed that hitting thirty years of age meant that i would suddenly be more mature than the twenty nine year olds in the room. i figured i would just know how the world works and how to fix stuff. i assumed that there’d be a pay increase in my salary because i was at an established age, and yes, i assumed i’d be established because being thirty meant, immediate success and establishment.

i’m almost half way through this decade of thirties now. nothing happens automatically.

i’m still figuring out this stage. i make mistakes and take leaps and risks. i’m not afraid of being told no and i know full well that things and thoughts can change. ask my wife, life with me is nothing if not unexpected. i call it an adventure. what fun is life if you always know what is coming next?

i’ve changed a lot the past few years. i consider it maturing. that’s what life is. i’ve learned that we have to always be evolving and being prepared for what’s next. i don’t like writing about myself as much as you’d thing. i mean this is a blog where that’s sort of the point right? so it should be easier, it’s not. but i’m evolving. i’m admitting that in order to improve in life and as a writer, i have to show more transparency. life is better when we can really just be who we are supposed to be and not worry about what anyone thinks. right?