Twenty Minutes

When I woke up today, the last thing I honestly wanted to do was reflect on points in my life that had come and gone.  However, I was reminded by an awesome colleague and even better friend of this:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

 

It really resonated with me because of something my driving instructor at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas said to me.  He said that he wouldn’t have been telling me I was doing good things if I hadn’t been.  For a long time, people telling me I had been doing things well just to be nice.  Brandon, my instructor, also said that he had been around way too long to tell people constructive things for the sake of being constructive.  Looking back at it all now, it really makes me wonder just when I had been doing good things or just being told I was doing good things.  However, that is something for another day.

 

What I really wanted to get off my chest is that we seem to only really encourage or impart words of affirmation only when we’re on the journey.  We feel that the need to encourage one another only has punch when we’re about to do something important, risky, or unknown to us.  I can agree that those three instances can be critical when it comes to being encouraging.  However, it is disheartening to see it practically in only those three instances.

“For the most part, we have to work on small things right now.  So, if we’re having to work on small things after six laps, that’s pretty good.  It’s a car you don’t know.  It’s a track you don’t know.  It’s a driving style you don’t know.  After six laps of doing pretty good… getting to where you’re working on small things, I think that’s pretty good, right?” -Brandon, my instructor

Halfway into the experience and to have this spoken to me by an experienced driver was… for lack of a better way to put it, encouraging!  Here I am… no competitive racing skills or experience under my belt and just there for the sake of getting to drive a $120,000 sports car… to be told, by an experienced driver, that is what I would need to work on to progress?  That’s what we all want!  We want to be naturally in a position to have to make subtle adjustments instead of these whopping, life changing ones.  All too often, we take those whopping ones for granted because we don’t necessarily appreciate the journey we took to get there.

As I’ve gotten a little older since then, I’ve learned to really enjoy not abiding in being stationary.  Just because I haven’t left Canyon, USA doesn’t mean that I’m stationary.  There’s always a place to go or a thing to do wherever you are.  Lately, I’ve been exploring my faith and what it means to me.  I’ve been exploring my talent for composition and creativity.  I’ve been lots of places that a car could never take me.  But, for those twenty minutes in that Nissan GT-R, I found that a car could take me places that I wouldn’t have ever considered otherwise: a place that showed that encouragement is a journey all its own and not merely just a stop along whatever path you happen yourself to be.

 

So, as I find myself sitting here reminiscing about the things I have experienced and the things yet to come, I am encouraged.  Because at some point, somewhere down the line, there either has been or will be a Brandon telling me that regardless of what point I exist in, I have done good things and those little things will resolve themselves with understanding and application.  It’s kind of a shame that at first, I didn’t believe him.

 

Now, I do.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction serves you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

I can still hear “Turn now!  Brake now!  Push through the apex!  Go, go, go!!!!” in my head.  A lot better now because I can appreciate what it means to be encouraged through proper guidance.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction continues to serve you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

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-Kevin

P.S:  Thanks, JP!  As one racing fan to another, “Boogity!  Boogity!  Boogity!”

 

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Bill of Rights

So, oddly enough, my best friend asked me if I was still feeling good about things.  Normally, this isn’t such a big thing because it is something he usually asks me about whenever we talk.  But, this time was different.  He asked me how I felt about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

So, being the snarky guy I can be sometimes, I responded with, “Aren’t those things guaranteed by something…”  Not to be outdone, he responded by, “Well that’s self-evident :)”  Asshole.

 

But, thinking about it now, he did have a point about things.  We live in an age where we believe that we are so entitled to things.  However, we are not really entitled to anything other than discord, conflict, and a life marred by an endless sense of competition.  Why you ask?  The reason why it is so is because we all believe that the universe owes us something and won’t settle for anything less than what we may find acceptable.  Personally, it’s more like we won’t settle for anything less than something in which we can find gratitude.

Up front, it doesn’t sound so bad.  I mean, it offers you an opportunity to earn your way into prosperity and appreciate developing a work ethic that aptly describes your approach to life.  We believe that if we work hard, we will get out of life what we put into it.  Sounds fair, right?  WROOOOOONNNNGGGGGG.  SOOOOOOOOOO WROOOOOOOONNNNGGGG.

“Nothing reveals Humanity so well as the games it plays.” -David Hartley

Actually revealed best in how it plays.  However, I’ll get into that later.

 

In response to all of this, I decided to start a simple experiment:  I wasn’t going to compete for the affection of another, period.  If someone wanted my attention or affection, I’d freely give it to them.  But, I wasn’t going to fight for something that didn’t want me.

We put in all that time and effort with people only to figure out that ones who either have put in more time and effort or with more to offer are the ones who win out in the end.  It still holds true and we feel indignant because there isn’t any justice.  We invest ourselves so much in something or someone only to get nothing out of it.  How fair is that?  It’s a question that I found myself asking daily.  Well, until yesterday…

Yesterday, I decided that I wasn’t going to be engaged with intentional community.  What I mean by that is things like bible studies or anything that was orchestrated to create the environment.  If I was going to be in community, I was going to be in community with anyone who sought my attention or affection.  I decided I was done making the offering and it going for nothing especially with the consideration of how isolated it made me feel.

I found it to be surprisingly liberating.  I may not have hung out with the groups of people I would have normally but I found gratitude and understanding when I did find myself in it.  It was so nice to not have to compete!  It was free of expectation and free of obligation and it was perhaps some of the best communions I’ve ever had.  It was strange but at the same time I couldn’t really help but feel disappointed and let down.  I couldn’t help but feel guilty for having a singular instance of it.

 

So, after really being able to sit down with myself and think about why it was so disheartening, I’ve drawn the conclusion that the “More is better” philosophy is the culprit.  We live in a time where more is better and the absence of volume might as well be an absence period.  There was the epiphany…

The extraordinary has become ordinary because the cost of being ordinary is so high.  If we’re not standing out or not in possession of something that isn’t present, we might as well not be where we are.  It’s so painful knowing that we have to do more to be more and the price paid is the expectation of knowing that there isn’t enough we can do.  It is at the root of what we are to aspire.  But, that aspiration has been lost to who we are.  We identity in how much of something we have.  We identify in how much we work.  We have become so confident in volume that we measure ourselves by it.  It has become so altruistic that we’ve made it a philosophy:  The more we have, the more we deserve and those who have more deserve to dictate more.  Thus, creating the atmosphere that if you don’t have more than the next person, you’re not worth anything.  More than that, we believe that if you’re not worth anything, you’re not anything.

 

I may be a lot of things.  I am: a sinner, writer, philosopher, unsure, insecure, optimistic, friendly, introverted, shy, Christian, this, that, and whatever else I can come up with.  That’s what I am.  I can admit it.

But, that’s not who I am.  I’m still trying to figure all of that out.

I’m not any more or less me and I’m finding that the price I’d pay to be any more of the things that make me what I am would be at the expense of who I am.  That’s something I can’t live with nor would I really want to experience such a thing.  I don’t have to have more of something to know that I have it.

 

After all, aren’t I entitled to that freedom?

-Kevin

 

 

 

 

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

As of right now, I can honestly say that there hasn’t been more of a scratchy and rough spot in my life as there’s been right now.

I’ve always felt that I was in the most trouble or danger as when I feel the most comfortable.  I feel like I’ve had to lead a very Spartan lifestyle.  I feel like I’ve always had to be able to pick myself up at a moment’s notice and be ready to transplant myself somewhere else at a moment’s notice.  It’s just never been me to feel somewhere… safe.  I’ve never felt safe… with anyone… anywhere.  I take that back…

I’ve felt safe when I’ve felt like dying.

Maybe it is the sense of finality… or the acceptance of things you couldn’t change… or just the the score was finally settled.  I’ve never felt more at home… comfortable… accepted… as when I talk about dying.  Personally, as morbid as it sounds, I can’t wait to die.  But, not for the reasons you may think…

Every night, I ask myself this question, “Did I do anything today that earned me another chance to do something worth doing with my life?”  Many times, I answer this question with a resounding “No, I did not.”  It makes me wonder just how many more chances will I get?  How many more days will I have to do something I’ve always wanted to do… or meant to do?  To be perfectly honest, I want that number to be as low as possible.

Not because I actually want to die… as the overtones really suggest to the contrary… I’m actually quite comfortable with my mortality.  I embrace death.  Life is a journey and death is an inevitable part of it.  As one journey comes to an end, we must embrace the opportunity to begin another one.  Personally, it’s hard for me to relate to people because I value the act of living a lot differently than nearly everyone I associate with do.  However, this gives me a unique perspective on just how much life is in what we do instead of how many days to live we are given.

Lately, I’ve found that I haven’t been putting much into my days… and I apologize.  I’ve done things that I’m not proud of.  Perhaps, the worst of those things was when I was willing to deprive those who care about me the love, affection, adoration, and respect they deserve because I was selfish and felt as if they would be better off if I weren’t around.

Maybe I was right… maybe they are better.  They deserve to have someone around who wouldn’t abandon them or abuse their character.  We, as people, deserve so much better than to be wounded and to go about our lives in a manner that reflects those assaults.  When you think about it, how many people actually want someone who bears the marks of a turbulent and abrasive life?  Honestly?  Why have a piece of coal when you can have a bright, shiny diamond?

Nobody realizes just how deflating that whole concept is until it happens to them.  But, I won’t excuse human nature.  It’s natural for us to want what we feel we can’t have.  It’s natural for us to undervalue so many aspects to our own character and personality that we inflate our desires way beyond their value that we begin to extend ourselves so that we can afford those things.  For me, there are those who would argue that the summary of my own experiences, emotions, and essence are too valuable to waste.

How I do not share their opinions…

However, there’s an aphorism that says, “Life is like a rainbow.  You need both the rain and sun to make its colors shine.”

Even throughout this whole journey of discovery that I’ve embarked upon since April, a lot of the ringing questions that put me on this path still remain.  Have I done anything today that someone will look at tomorrow that asks the same questions I did yesterday?”  I have a very hard time accepting the idea of someone actually learning something from me.  I just don’t think that there is any… value… in any combination of my three “E’s” for someone to make an investment.  And as the storm rages on in my world and as the effects of being weathered become more apparent…

“This gift that you gave me for my birthday. You never got to tell me why you gave it to me or what it means… but I think I know. I think that you appreciate that there are extraordinary men and women and… extraordinary moments when history leaps forward on the backs of these individuals… that what can be imagined can be achieved… that you must dare to dream… but that there’s no substitute for perseverance and hard work… and teamwork… because no one gets there alone… and that, while we commemorate the… the greatness of these events and the individuals who achieve them, we cannot forget the sacrifice of those who make these achievements and leaps possible.” -Gillian Anderson

I often think to myself… What a wonderful world this place really is… that we can dare to dream… and ask, “Why can’t I?”  “Why can’t I have Life in my days?”  “Why can’t I have a legacy?

“Why can’t I mean something to someone…”

Somewhere over the rainbow… dreams really do come true.

-Kevin

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