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Philosophical vitamins

24 August 2008

This entry is more like 4 entries smooshed into one. I was feeling all inspired-y and quotes-y last week, but didn’t take time to write it all down until today. Roll your eyes if you must, but there are little bloggable moments all over the place, if you’re paying attention.


Move in day
Yesterday was move-in day at Drury U, and for the first time since MY move-in day in 2002 [I remember it rained. I truly had NO idea what was going on. I met my best friend. It really was a great day.], I didn’t set foot in a dorm room or answer a single question about lofting beds or spend a second worrying about underage drinking. [I spent the day at a Vietnam “Team Awesome” meeting, then outlet shopping in Branson with friends. Finished the evening with NetFlix at home. It was a really great day.] Really strange to completely remove myself from something that defined me for so long. A little freeing and a little sad.

One thing I really did miss was the inspirational welcome speech by Will Keim. He’s one of those motivational speakers who gives pithy college advice [example: repeat after me: it’s legal for me not to drink] and manages to speak freshman-ese reasonably well for a guy twice their age. My favorite bit of his goes a little something like this:

(re: sex and how it’s okay to not have it in college)
2 guys are in locker room—
g1: I went out with this girl last night.
g2: Who Lucy? Man, she’s loose.
g1: Yes, I respect her, too.
*and scene*

No seriously, watch the same speech for 6 years and you develop a fondness for it.


Amish lady
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned yet that my new office shares space with a massage studio and counseling center… [I know, right? If it had a Taco Bell and a shower I would never leave.] Well on Monday I went out in the hall, and noticed an Amish lady waiting to get a massage. We’re talking full on dark blue shirt, black jumper, and bonnet Amish lady. And I’m thinking…get it girl! …but…are you supposed to do that?! Good for you.

Made me think of a quote from yet another inspirational speaker in my life: Father Jeff. Jeff Vomund is one of the highlights of my MSA life each year. Hearing him speak is a mini-spiritual retreat. He gives life lessons about finding your purpose while following your heart, and quotes from wisdom traditions and popular culture. Never fails to make me sigh and cry and feel bigger and better about life. The particular quote I’m thinking of is from Tom Robbins:

“real courage is when you make decisions you have to live with. Real courage is making decisions that may cause you to have to change your behavior or stretch your consciousness. Real courage is risking your clichés.”


First Dates
I was forced to defy some clichés of my own last Tuesday, when we did an improv show for faculty of a theological seminary. [Not that I think church people don’t have a sense of humor, when you stop to think about it good pastors do a little bit of stand-up in all their sermons, but I was a little concerned about this roomful of people my parents’ age who make a living teaching theology…] Between dinner and our show, the spouses of the professors went around and answered questions about their hobbies, hometowns, and best of all—their first dates. What became of this was a good half-hour of really hilarious and really REAL storytelling.

Love-at-first-sight stories, girls-waiting-forever-for-boys-to-get-up-the-nerve stories, adorably churchy “fellowship group” stories.

I was smiling and laughing out loud with these people I don’t even know—who maybe know each other through little more than small-talk as co-workers most of the year—and also just really in awe of how cool it is to be a person in a room with people who are just being. Just another example of one of my favorite ideas: that STORIES are what make us human. Our show started 45 minutes late, but I didn’t even mind.


Running in the rain
Wednesday I went running in the rain…not questionable wet t-shirt style pouring, mind you. more drizzly. It felt really great, except for the wet-windshield effect on my glasses. I didn’t want to go all the way upstairs and put in my contacts, so stuck my glasses in my mailbox and went running practically blind. [As much as I roll my eyes when my parents warn me to “be careful…” when running at night, I have to admit I did worry a tiny bit that this would be an inconvenient time to be kidnapped. No phone. No glasses. Soggy running gear.]

The world is really a blur past twelve inches past my nose, and I couldn’t see much besides the fuzzy line of the sidewalk and large car-like shapes beside me. So naturally I started feeling all philosophical about not being able to see where you’re going, but going anyway. And I thought of yet another favorite quote, from Anne Lamotte’s Bird by Bird.

E.L Doctorow once said that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.

SO there you have it. A week’s worth of life lessons in easy-to-swallow form.

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