Finally brushing the dust off the old dslr and taking a much needed trip outside of the US. Asia, I’m coming for you. Be good to me.
Question 114: But can those converted to God keep the Ten Commandments perfectly?
Answer: No. In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience. Nevertheless, with earnest purpose they do begin to live not only according to some but to all the commandments of God.
Question 115: If in this life no one can keep the Ten Commandments perfectly, why does God have them preached so strictly?
Answer: First, that throughout our life we may more and more become aware of our sinful nature, and therefore seek more eagerly the forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ. Second, that we may be zealous for good deeds and constantly pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that He may more and more renew us after God’s image, until after this life we reach the goal of perfection.
It’s been over a year since I really sat down to write anything about my life. A lot can happen in a year. A lot has happened. And I’m pretty sure that if 2012 Justin came face-to-face with 2013 Justin, he wouldn’t recognize him.
I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment when things started to change, when I began to feel differently, but I do remember the list.
Money to be made. Ambitions to be pursued. Friends to be sought. Love to be chased. Bills to be paid. Vacations to be planned. Books to be read. E-mails to be sent. Movies to be watched. Errands to be run. Weight to be lost. Outings to be had.
It’s like you become this machine that cranks out a never-ending to-do list. And as soon as one thing is checked off, another just as quickly takes its place from the queue. I always thought the older you got, the better you’d become at managing your time. That’s not true at all. You’re just ambushed with more responsibilities, so there’s simply less time to waste. We become time-management experts by default.
What’s more surprising, though, is the numbness. The numbness that you get slowly acquainted with, that you learn to accept and submit to, and that eventually settles into every ounce of your being. You convince yourself that the lack of feeling is far better than a confrontation with the emptiness, sadness, darkness; so you check another box off the list, and for a brief while, you feel okay – content even. You think, maybe we’re just not meant to be really happy.
Woody Allen, in a recent interview with Esquire, said, “It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone…The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.”
I’d agree wholeheartedly if not for the few seconds of quietude and inactivity I’m occasionally granted. Though these instances seem fewer and farther between, they are nonetheless profound moments of clarity for me, as if being awakened from a dream. And as the dream fades and reality whiffed, I’m left feeling broken, hollow, and alone – gasping for air. But oddly, I feel alive. And a part of me, a part I often forget is there, is aroused and reminds me: in brokenness, restoration, in hollowness, fulfillment, in aloneness, communion. So I am left longing, though not for a distraction or an item off of my list, but for joy. A joy beyond myself, beyond this world; a joy that I believe and know to exist.
“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
I don’t know why I’m feeling particularly nostalgic tonight, but I have to admit it’s making me a little sad. I’m thinking about my friends – how we met, who they are, the dynamics of our relationship. And I’m suddenly hit with the reality that these friendships will never be the same. They are changing this very moment. They will continue to change until the day I die.
To be honest, I’ve never had much trouble with change; on the contrary, I’ve often craved it. Moving to new places, experiencing new things, and growing in age and maturity have always excited me. But when it came to changes that dealt with my friends, there was always something that made them difficult for me to accept. I was almost always in denial about these things, and I’d desperately try to cling to something, anything really, that was once there. It never worked.
I’m not simply talking about friends we lose touch with after some time. I’m talking about our closest confidants – those whom I’m certain we’ll be with us for the rest of our lives. Things will never be the same with them either. That perfect storm of sorts that brought the two of you together, the circumstances surrounding that particular season of your friendship, can and will never be replicated. We move away; we start working; we gain significant others; we get married and have kids. Yes, we will still be friends. But it will be different.
Tonight, I have fragments of moments, bits of memories. They are beautiful, as they are fleeting.
Men’s Chambray Two Ways
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