starving for substance

Hooray for Nihilism!

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on March 31, 2009

This is going to be a bunch of loosely connected paragraphs and assorted thoughts going through my head.

So today when I left my apartment I was kind of in a rush.  No time for socks, I had to go with the Crocs.  Despite their obvious ugliness, I have quite a fondness for my Crocs.  They’ve served me well over the past 2.5 years I’ve owned them and would say they’re worth the $30 I paid for them.  However, their “no-slip” bottoms have worn down to the point that when wet, walking on linoleum is like walking on ice.  After wiping out or nearly wiping out on three separate occasions today, I’ve decided that it is time to retire the Crocs.

I take a lot of pride in getting a lot of use out of the things I own.  My laptop is still going (though rarely used now) at 4 years, I had my phone for three before changing it for another plan, most of my clothes I wear now I’ve had since high school, the list goes on.  My pride comes from the fact that I try and maximize the value out of everything I have so I can look down on others for their frivolity (once, I thought a restaurant ripped me off so I ate all the condiments they left on the table).  This attitude comes from never being able to afford what the cool kids had in school, so I started taking the high road by telling myself I was better than the cool kids for not having what they did.  Then I realized none of that mattered anyways but the habits still stuck.

I’ve realized lately how much stuff I have.  Most of the hoodies in my closet could be replaced with a decent spring jacket.  I have so many shirts I don’t wear because I do the laundry every 2 weeks and have more than 14 shirts.  There’s so much excess in my life, and even though I spent one month in Mexico with relatively little, it’s so easy to get trapped once again into the consumer culture of America.  Where my pair of Crocs are a “good investment” instead of a “luxury I never needed in the first place.”  In the grand scheme of life, it’s not going to matter that I kept those Crocs for 2.5 years, it’s not going to matter that those $30 2.5 years ago could be better spent (anyone up for a time-value of money problem?).

One of the classes I’m taking right now is a creative writing class, and it’s one of the funnest classes I’ve taken in undergrad.  However, reading through the stories of my classmates, it’s almost comical.  In order to properly portray the depth of their feelings and issues they present in their stories, they always have someone die.  I think there’s only been 2 stories submitted so far that have not included the death/suicide of one of the characters.  While some of the stories are good, most have good ideas but are poorly written.  Yet the gravity that the writer attaches to the story by including death pushes the boundaries of absurdity.

It was reading one of these stories in Espresso Royale where I thought back to Mexico, at an orphanage where I met a kid whose family died in a fire.  Contrasting real life and the contrived lives of the characters in the stories my classmates write was pretty depressing.  One nine-year old’s real life was worse than the fictional lives of a character the author designed to suffer.

While this thought was still on my mind, another person at a table nearby was explaining how difficult the material she was learning in her accounting class was.  This is why I started listening in on the topic, though I usually like eavesdropping on conversations anyways.  She was talking to a friend about different ways inventory can be recorded (LIFO and FIFO for all you readers with accy backgrounds), and blah blah blah.  This isn’t exactly high level stuff.  At the easiest, it’s just an understanding of the definition, and at the hardest application of the topic, she’s probably talking about cost accounting and again, it’s not rocket science.

It’s funny how our problems are only as serious as the weight we attach to them.  Someone complaining about the differences of the LIFO and FIFO method while another kid sat rather content knowing that there was a God who loved him despite his circumstances.  Who had more reasons to complain and who was the one complaining?  There’s me, slipping and sliding in an old pair of Crocs, completely missing the point that the cost of everything I’m wearing could probably feed a 3rd world kid for a year.

I’ve become so disgusted with the banality in American life while neglecting the fact that that’s all my life has become.  A collection of mundane problems that I exaggerate well out of proportion.  While I’m a firm believer in thinking that our problems are relative (I’ve never been a starving kid in Africa so why should this be something driving me to change?), there is a grain of truth in the fact.  That’s why this is one of my favorite Onion articles.

How many Christians don’t stop complaining about what’s going on in their lives or in their world?  I’m not saying that life isn’t difficult, I’m saying that if we really are Christians, and our life has been changed by the Gospel of Jesus, then why do we continually complain about how boring class is, how hard the CPA exam is going to be, how much it sucks that a pair of Crocs have worn out?  If the greatest problem in our life is sin, then why are not continually thankful that this problem is gone?  Instead, why do we look for other problems to attach weight to, to be so self-aggrandizing in making our lives look like they’re more important than they are?

I know we know the answers, but there’s a difference between knowing the answers and living them out.  To paraphrase a John Piper quote, the reason why no one asks about the hope that is in us is because we look like we’re living for the things of this world.  And how do we look like we’re living for the things of this world?  By acting like your entire life is dependent on whether or not we pass a test.  Or look a certain way.  Or whatever b.s. reason that’s out there.

And I think as I look at this blog, that’s all I do.  Instead of joy, I look at the things I don’t like in my life and blow them out of proportion.  This has only become a platform for complaining with a “holy” sounding slant, that if I redeem a post at the end, it justifies whatever else I said in it.  Essentially, I’m writing to the world like I’m some super important person, and that it’s such a privilege that you all get to be privy to my thoughts and emotions.  For the 3 of you that actually read this, and if you’ve been following along, this blog was supposed to be about poop.  Well that’s failed because I like talking about me.  So a change in direction is coming.

Thanks for reading (if you did).

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3 Responses

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  1. Hannah said, on April 8, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Can’t believe you ate all those condiments… O_O


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