Your Love Endures

Darren and Jessie Clarke are leading worship at our church this morning. I’m super excited to hear their new single, “Your Love Endures.” I’ve been listening to these two lead worship for nearly ten years now and I’m still in awe of their talent. Darren has written some incredible worship songs, such as, “My Lord, My God” and “I Love Your Presence.” He wasn’t leading worship for a while, due in part to his work at Modern Music Academy, and beginning a family with his lovely wife, who’s voice is angelic. Seriously – angelic.

So, two things. It’s 7am now, so if you live within four hours of San Luis Obispo, CA – I suggest you get on the road now and you will have an opportunity to be lead in worship by these two. Secondly, whether you have a chance to hear it live or not, you should download their new single now, “Your Love Endures.”

Happy Sunday everyone.

Out of the fog

So, last week I had strep. Of course it was at its worst the night of the Mat Kearney concert, which I took Jenn to. We got back, got on meds and I finally felt better after a few days. Now I’ve got this nasal congestion thing. Lame. Luckily it only lasted a few days. Today I feel fairly normal again. If you’re anything like Jenn and I, the first thing you want to do when you start feeling better is to clean your house. It’s like you can actually see the germs on the surfaces and simply cleaning them will make you feel normal again. So that’s how my weekend will be spent. Oh, and hopefully bottling this new Belgian Tripel that my friend and I brewed months ago. It’s going to be delicious. I would share it with you, but…well, it’s a logistical nightmare.

In other news, now that I’ve finished and released “The Necessity of Despair,” (soon to be on the iBook store) I get to focus on some other writing projects I’ve been neglecting. I’ve got two book ideas. One is an allegory, and the other is a….actually I’m not sure what it is. A book I guess. The premise is that Christians have a beautiful thing in salvation through grace, and it doesn’t need dressing up or better marketing. It will make more sense once I’ve figured it out ;)

Anyway, sorry for the scattered post. The Bean is sleeping and Jenn took Bubba to the store, so I’ve got about 15 of the most precious minutes known to parents. But now it’s time to clean the house. Later.

The Necessity of Despair

If you’d like to download the article I wrote on the necessity of despair, head over to the “Necessity of Despair” page above, read the preface and click the download button. Or you can just read it below. Share it with anyone you’d like. Hopefully it give a fresh perspective on the topic.

Thank you! Hope you enjoy it.

The Necessity of Despair

Some say it’s as a child that we experience the most joy. Our days are filled with play and our nights with peaceful sleep. We win great victories as children. Young boys slay the dragon and rescue the princess. Girls play dress up as they prepare for their future wedding. Men are born ready to fight and women ready to love. We will carry the desire with us throughout our lifetime, but it doesn’t take long to realize that the fight is more than we can bear, and love has gone awry. Our notions of life and love are ripped away from us at a painfully slow rate. Eventually we realize there is no dragon to slay, and no love like we imagined. As we age, we can be left feeling cheated and misinformed – all the while nostalgic about the ignorance of childhood.

Mostly likely, the first time we are met with the question of despair is when we experience the death of a family pet or relative. Though unable to fully grasp the concept or weight, the event weakens our human fabric. We are taught about death only as experience and intellect allow. It is in these moments we realize things are not as they should be. As a child, I couldn’t tell you why. I only knew that death felt too final – and joy, for the moment, was replaced by fear. However, I would venture to say that it isn’t joy we feel as children. Certainly, happiness is abundant, but to fully appreciate joy, one has to recognize the feeling of longing, and specifically, of loss.

Granted, I’ve painted a fairly bleak picture of life and love, but when I’m honest with myself, this is has been my experience. I assume it has been the same for most of you as well. Certainly, a differing personality type can mask the symptoms and manifestations, but it cannot remove the condition – that we have a desire for life as it ought to be, not as it is. We live in a world where love and hate breathe the same air. They war around us and against us, and sometimes…even within. The problem is that we can feel the struggle. It seems as if every success is followed by failure, and every pure moment, will eventually show a blemish. Either through brevity or superficiality, love is followed by disappointment. And joy, however prominent, is short lived.

I’ve never been surprised to find hate, disappointment and loss, which seem to hide behind every corner. What has surprised me though, is joy. It comes in unexpected moments, and while brief, joy carries with it enormous weight. Why then, does joy seem to be so transient? Why, for

such a weighty thing, does joy seem to leave such an ephemeral footprint? Why is it that hopelessness echoes and settles deep down in our bones, while often, joy fleetingly ripples across our skin?

By definition, hope is something unfulfilled. For those of us in the Christian faith, this is where we place our trust; in the hope of glory. Still though, we are faced with the truth that our hope has not and will not be satisfied until we come to the end of our lives. With that understanding, we are asked to run in such a way as to obtain the prize – making it known that we are not immune to feelings of hopelessness, but that there is a greater hope to come. A hope which is impenetrable. I am becoming more and more convinced that our role as Christians is to mourn with those who mourn; to stand alongside the broken and oppressed, offering hope. And having the courage to admit when it’s us who are broken.

One of my most debilitating struggles was that of pain and hopelessness. Through the course of my lifetime, as the things I thought would satisfy me, didn’t, I wondered if my expectations were wrong and needed to be lowered, or if the things themselves were incapable of offering satisfaction. In time, though happy with my life, I became disappointed that I didn’t feel the “joy” which we Christians speak of so flippantly. My understanding of joy was that it was a kind of immovable force which ruled our emotions, such that if any hint of sadness invaded our souls, this joy would scatter it immediately. Life experience disproves this idea; and while we cannot use joy as a means to remove despair, we can use hope to help us through it.

For Christians, our hope is impenetrable – sealed by the Holy Spirit of God upon salvation. It cannot be taken away or corrupted. Impenetrable though it may be, this hope is not a vaccine against moments of sadness and despair. Our hope does not prevent or mask negative circumstance. Rather, it gives us reassurance that the world we live in is a shadow of what was intended. In a way, acknowledging the pain makes the hope that much sweeter. Some Christians have conditioned themselves to believe despair has no place in the life of a Christian. I’ve dealt with this in my own life. I used to feel incredibly guilty when I wrestled with sadness and discontentment. My belief was that I shouldn’t feel this way given what Christ went through to free us from sin and death. I’m convinced this

thought process still exists in much of the Christian population – even if only subconsciously. When dealing with despair, most Christians take one of two positions.

The first is to believe Christ will remove feelings of despair. The assumption is that He believes, like we do, that despair – while impossible to ignore – has no function in the lives of Christians, and therefore, it should be removed. The tendency is to treat despair like a human gallbladder. It’s there, but not critical, so why not remove it when it causes you trouble . When he doesn’t though, you have a decision to make. Most begin to believe they don’t have enough faith. They need to pray more, read more, do more, etc. Once you’ve gone down that road, the “easy yoke” begins to dig into your shoulders, eventually breaking your back. The problem is, when you subscribe to that notion, you will never “do” enough. Despair is a consequence of the world we inhabit. So long as we live, we will be exposed to it. The only advantage of this thought is at least it involves acknowledging the pain, which is a better option than the next, which denies the pain altogether.

“I shouldn’t feel hopeless because Christ died to give me hope, so I will emotionally invalidate the pain, essentially pretending the pain does not exist.” However, pretending the pain does not exist actually means wearing a mask to hide the pain. I’ve met so many Christians who are seemingly happy all the time. When you ask them how they are doing, they respond with an answer reeking of insincerity. I wonder who they think they are fooling, and where they got the notion that being a Christian meant being continuously happy. Our desire, I’m sure, is to make the decision easier for folks considering the Christian faith, but what a burden to puts ourselves under! Not only does it trivialize our faith, it sets those up for failure who decide to trust Christ as their Savior. Soon after conversion, they realize they don’t feel much different than they did before. Christ had done them no good, because we had sold them happiness when we should have sold them hope.

Perseverance, not denial, should be the attitude of Christians toward despair. Inevitably, we will feel hopeless at times. After all, we are humans before we are Christians, and humans feel pain. When the depth or consistency of pain leads to feelings of despair, understand that this does

not negatively impact what Christ did for us on the cross. Acknowledging the pain does not hurt our witness. In fact, it improves it. We have become so afraid of letting others see our pain that we put happiness on as a mask, which does infinitely more damage to our witness. I understand the fear which comes from being honest when our circumstances are less than ideal and we feel a sense of hopelessness. Someone might see us and wonder why they should consider Jesus as their Savior when He doesn’t seem to have saved us from anything. The misunderstanding is that Christ saved us from negative circumstances – and Christians have fueled this fire. We believe that if we don’t look different on the outside, we aren’t different at all. But Christ did not die to make us caricatures of joy. He died so we could be witnesses of what was seen – that despite our momentary afflictions, there is a hope for the future which cannot be taken away.

So, why is joy so temporal? Because for now, it must be. This is our message. This is the beauty of the gospel – that one day, joy will not escape us. One day, joy will be the rule and not the exception.

“They shall neither hunger nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:16-17)

Foiled!!

Jenn and I had it all figured out. We would rendezvous at the getaway car after the kids had gone to bed and travel to Los Angeles under the cover of darkness, leaving my poor unsuspecting mother at the mercy of two midgets. It was the perfect plan. We would get to LA late Wednesday night, I would work Thursday, then go to the Mat Kearney show Thursday night and get our faces melted by his gentle, hipster rock. We rarely get time alone without the kids, let alone two nights away. We had been looking forward to this trip for weeks.

I woke up on Wednesday morning with a tingle in my throat. I figured it was because we left the fan on throughout the night, but I was wrong. Jenn woke up with the same symptoms, but we left Wednesday night as planned. We stopped in Oxnard and picked up some medicine at a CVS and started pounding it. We know how to party. When we arrived at the hotel, it was about 11pm, so we checked in and passed out. I woke up the next morning not entirely feeling up to a full day of work, but I had commitments to keep, so I rallied. Jenn took shots of lemon juice every 30 minutes throughout the day (a little trick we learned), so by the end of the day, her sore throat was gone. I however, was not so lucky. By the end of the day, I could barely speak and it was super painful to swallow. We decided we wouldn’t let it ruin our night, so we drove downtown and had dinner at LA Live, which is right next door to the Staples Center. I’m sure the food would have been great if I could have tasted it and if every bite hadn’t felt like swallowing razor blades. We finished our dinner and headed over to the Mayan Theater for the show. Doors opened at 7:30, so we showed up at 7:15 to get in line, which was awesome, except that doors opened at 8. After 45 minutes of waiting in line, we were both ready to call it a night and spend the next three hours sleeping in the car. We wouldn’t be defeated though, so we leaned on each other (literally) and made it to 8pm. Doors opened and we found a spot where we could lean again the railing and watch the show. We stood there waiting for the show to start, but soon realized that we wouldn’t last if we remained vertical the whole show. I was in serious pain and Jenn was exhausted. We walked up to the balcony, found some seats and hunkered down. Mat Kearney finally went on at 9:45, after the supporting band. He put on an awesome show and the new songs sounded amazing. I just wish we would have been in better spirits and could have enjoyed it more, but it was still a great show. We drove home this morning a little defeated after feeling like our trip had been ruined by sickness.

At the prodding of Jenn and my mom, I decided to go to the doctor today. Turns out I have strep throat. Huge bummer! I’m supposed to lead worship at church this Sunday too. I’m on meds now, so hopefully I’ll be ready, but I’ve got a plan B in place if I’m not. Dang though, I really don’t want two things ruined by this crap.

Cross your fingers and pray for me, but don’t lay hands on me…..cause I’m contagious.

You got burned!

“What is that on your arm!?” he asked with a disgusted face.

“It’s a burn,” I replied.

“What happened?” he asked.

“I burned myself on my motorcycle,” I said

“You have a motorcycle,” he asked, looking skeptical.

When I confirmed his question, his head almost exploded. I understand the confusion, given my body type and general feminine qualities. However, your confusion is misguided chumps, because I am all man. Actually, that’s not completely true, so the motorcycle question is a valid one. I shall take your questions now….

Q: “Is your ‘motorcycle’ really a Vespa?” (Sally from Orlando)

A: “No Sally, you smart ass. It’s a ’95 Honda Magna”

Q: “Is it pink?” (Nick from Los Angeles)

A: “No, but it is purple…which is the color of royalty.”

Q: “How did you burn yourself on the arm? Don’t most people who get motorcycle burns get them on their legs?” (Jenn from Arroyo Grande, who also happens to be the wife of the victim)

A: “Good question, Jenn. Yes they do usually get them on their legs, but I was syncing the carburetors and was trying to get to a screw with my arm, not my leg.”

Q: “You know what carburetors are?” (Jenn…again)

A: “Not until I Googled it. Which is probably why I burned myself.”

Now that we’re all caught up, I should tell you that the burn was pretty gnarly, but it’s healing nicely. Jenn thinks I’ll have a scar, which is pretty cool. So now I’m a man with a motorcycle AND a scar. What’s up now, fools!! So if you see a tiny man riding a purple motorcycle, give him a little wave – or a salute. A salute would be much cooler.

Progress

It’s strange how you can look back on the past year and realize that the things that held the least value were the ones that took the majority of your time. How does that happen? Is it wrong, or is that just the way life goes?

As I’ve grown, I’ve seen men become shadows of their former selves – devoid of any passion for life. It’s like they just got…stuck or something. They were doing life, but not really living it. I would later attribute this to a loss of purpose, but would describe it as a conscious decision. It wasn’t like flipping a switch though – it wasn’t just one decision. I’d see men walking around like robots who, when they got home from work, didn’t have anything left for their families. I knew that this didn’t happen overnight. I knew that it was the result of hundreds of decisions they had made every day.

When I was in college, I was really living. Weren’t we all? A normal day entailed waking up around 9am and going to classes, then journaling at a coffee shop downtown for about six hours, then going to worship practice, then to a Bible study. I never felt more alive, and I swore nothing would ever change, because in my mind, it wouldn’t need to. I knew that I would have a job and a family and stuff, but how much would that really change? It’s the kind of naivety that causes married people to think that after they have children they’ll still be able to stay out until 10pm or travel or eat nice meals or drink their coffee while it’s still hot, or hell – even shower. Life was easy in college. I could taunt life because I was in the shark cage. I vowed to never let life steal my passion. And it didn’t – until a few years ago.

Turns out I wasn’t even wrong. I still believe that we have conscious decisions to make every day in order to keep our passion. I still believe that we have to be purposeful. What I wasn’t prepared for though, was the struggle. I’ve realized now that robot mode is our default setting, and it takes deliberate effort to avoid it. I’m not saying that’s how God created us or anything, just that it’s the path of least resistance. I fell into the trap partly because I got so caught up in doing the daily activities that I forgot the larger picture. I brought a knife to a gun fight.

Granted, there are things we have to do. However, there are also things that we need to do, and unfortunately in my case, they were the first to go. Usually, we end up doing what we have to do, followed by what we should do. If we are lucky enough to have some time for what we NEED to do, it usually ends up futile. Take me for example. I ended up staring at a blinking cursor on those occasions. I didn’t have anything left. My priorities were all out of whack and it was seriously affecting myself and my family. Recently, I’ve made a decision to get more deliberate about my life. It’s not going to get any easier, and since I’ve tried to handle it myself and failed, I think it’s time to surrender. Leave it to Jesus to make surrender the one sure way to victory.

I’m going through this great exercise over the next eight weeks or so, which should reveal a lot about my attributes and characteristics, giving me some insight about myself so that I can have a plan for my future. I’m curious to see if my strengths and weaknesses are what I think they will be. Whatever the case, it’s going to be progress – and that my friends, is something I’ve been waiting for.

LUVD

LUVD is a clothing brand that gives a portion of each sale to the cause of your choice. LUVD is a brand on a mission. LUVD is a means to amend. YOU ARE LUVD.


If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted anything in nearly four months, please check out www.luvd.com. I’ve had the privilege of writing the copy for the website and helping with brand development. Eight months ago, a guy I didn’t know approached me about helping him revise a vision he had written for the company. Today, that vision document has turned into a full on website that will blow your minds right out of your faces. And the guy I didn’t know, I now consider one of my best friends. LUVD has been the most demanding, rewarding and outright fun project I have ever worked on. I will continue to be involved with LUVD as it grows, so plan on hearing about it occasionally here as I keep you updated. I will also be writing for the LUVD blog at times, so be sure to subscribe to it! Good stuff coming! So check out the site, buy a shirt, support a great cause, and be sure to let us know about the experience!

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming….

Exercise is for men being chased by bears

A few months back, my wife approached me with a simple request – don’t die. She was implying that I begin to exercise in order to save the old ticker. Little did I know that exercise is one of the most gratifying experiences known to man…if that man was a self-masochist. So unless you’re running from a predator, I wouldn’t recommend it. But I told my wife I would do it, so I thought I should have a goal to keep me on track. A doctor friend of mine challenged me to a triathlon in March, and I thought, “perfect.” Swimming, cycling and running. Can’t be that hard, right? Actually, my first thought was “Crap. I want to quit and I haven’t even started training yet.”

I’m not really worried about the swimming portion of the triathlon, because I’ve always been a good swimmer, and I’ve been surfing for ten years. Sure, I’ll have to train a bit, but the swim isn’t what I’m concerned about. Actually, I can do any of the three independently – it’s just doing them all in succession that scares me. I should tell you that the triathlon I’m doing is the sissy version. The lengths of each event are quite a bit shorter than a normal triathlon, but I’m not ashamed – it’s still way more than I ever thought I would do. (Actually, I haven’t even registered yet because I want to give myself the option of backing out at the last moment).

I started running shortly after my wife threw down the gauntlet. Everyone told me that it would be tough at first, but that I would become obsessed. I didn’t believe them, but wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. I bought the right shoes, downloaded a running app, and hit the road. After months of consistent running, I’ve only got one thing to say about it. Running still sucks.

Now, on to cycling. I don’t have a road bike, so I called my father-in-law. He’s got a legit, expensive road bike, which he agreed to let me borrow. The first thing I noticed about the bike was the seat. I might as well have branding irons glued to my crotch. I rode it twenty yards to the mailbox and I’m still not sure if I’ll ever be able to father children again. I knew I had to get padded cycling shorts, but there are two problems with that. Number one, I don’t wear shorts – ever. Number two, there is nothing more embarrassing than cycling shorts. I picked up a pair on Saturday at a local sports store in preparation for my first ride on Sunday. I got changed into my cycling gear and gave my wife a quick teaser before heading out the door. I was nervous to be out in public with these offensively tight shorts because, well, they tell a little too much of the story if you know what I mean. Basically, they are socially acceptable boxer-briefs. Except that they’re not really socially acceptable. This is where cyclist fool themselves.

Ultimately, I took to the country and completed a twelve mile ride with only mild pain. I’m told that eventually, I will get blisters in parts of myself that even I couldn’t see in a room made of mirrors. This is not comforting. As bad as that sounds though, I will say this, cycling beats running any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I never thought I’d get into it because cyclists look like toolboxes, but I might have to join their spandex ranks and swallow my pride.

The triathlon is still a month away, and I’m not training as seriously as I should, but at least I’ve found one part of the race that I might actually enjoy.

When the black sheep is the most holy

If you ask me, one of the most intimidating verses in the Bible is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” This is especially frightening to me because I seem to have made a hobby of picking fights. If you’ve read this blog lately, it seems to have become a forum for challenging the thoughts and positions that Christians hold most dear. This is a change I’m actually happy to accept. It’s not because I think I’ve got all the answers. To be honest, on a good day I’m likely half wrong, and completely off base on the others. Which…brings me to my next question.

In 1 Timothy, Paul talks about the qualifications of deacons and bishops. I suppose you can argue about whether this is or isn’t for the modern church, but my personal belief is that it is. Maybe we don’t have deacons and bishops in our local church, but I think we can accept that church leaders need to be appointed by the church, and there should be certain criteria by which they are chosen. The interesting thing is that most of the requirements given to either position are outward actions (i.e. the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, not double-tongued, etc). Because leaders are typically appointed by members of the church, how else are we supposed to choose the right candidate, except if we use actions to determine the position of the heart. This is where the slippery-slope begins. How do we choose the right leader when outwardly, he could be blameless, yet on the inside, he’s full of pride? On the other hand, what if someone doesn’t exactly “fit the mold,” but is the most righteous?

The bottom line is that we do the best we can, but ultimately, we don’t know the condition of a heart. My concern with how we hire the typical church leader is that they seem too good to be true. The problem is two-fold. First, when the church finds out that they are actually human and capable of mistakes, it sets the leader up for a massive fall and the church up for undue disappointment. Secondly, it creates a sense in the general congregation that, should they as a layman fall short of this example (which is hardly ever the reality of the person in the leadership role) they aren’t a “good Christian.” I should say that I’ve had the privilege of knowing many local pastors who make no qualms about their humanity. Bryan Stupar, Ron Salsbury and Paul Sisemore, just to name a few, are completely imperfect, and they’d be the first to admit it from the pulpit.

That said, here’s a question for you. Would you hire someone who smokes, drinks and curses, but absolutely loves Jesus, as your pastor? Most churches would say absolutely not. It seems to fly in the face of what we consider a good witness of the gospel of Christ. Or does it? What if I told you that man was C.S. Lewis – a man guilty of all four offenses? This is the disconnect; that if you asked a church if they would hire C.S. Lewis as their pastor, they would undoubtedly say yes. But if you simply looked the outward actions, without knowing the man, you would never consider it, which begs the question – is C.S. Lewis not qualified to be a church leader, or are we looking at the wrong criteria when making our decisions? It seems as if Christians put a lot of stock in what not to do. So much so that my fear is that it outweighs the question of, does this person love Jesus? Personally, I refer to Matthew 7. I don’t know the condition of the heart, and many times, the outward actions are not an adequate representation of the position of the heart. To be honest, I’m more afraid of the “too good to be true’s” than the “C.S. Lewis’.”

The real question is, what makes us clean? Ultimately, it’s nothing external – it’s Jesus. If this weren’t the case, we’d all be screwed, right? But the beauty of the Christian church is that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. Our witness is that Christ came for sinners, of which we are king. So, given that we are all on the same playing field, maybe it’s time that we reconsider how we choose those responsible to lead us. Since we can’t know the condition of the heart, we are limited to external markers. Just make sure that the external marker you are judging someone by isn’t trumped by your internal sin.

Ultimately, I don’t have an answer to the question of criteria. I’m not sure how to choose the right leader for your church. I’m just saying that we should be careful – because it might be that the black sheep is the right one for the job.

The 3-Year Itch

“Are you happy?” she asked me. It was as if she knew the answer before she asked the question. Perhaps she was looking for a glimmer of hope, but I suspect she was simply confirming the obvious. It was the last question in a series regarding my career. Or should I say, it was her last. If you ask me, there was one more question. The most important question.

It was a warm day. Unusual in December, even for San Luis Obispo. I can’t remember if it was a Saturday, or if I was playing hooky from work. Same difference, really. Either way, I was with my family walking the streets and enjoying the weather when we came upon an old friend, pushing her baby as he lay content in his stroller. We chatted briefly about the horrors of parenthood, the loss of the female body, and the superfluous amount of crap we have to carry to keep the little monsters happy. All was well, until a butterfly fluttered past and whispered in my ear that I was being an a$*hole. Normal, butterflies are timid creatures, so you can imagine my surprise.

Soon enough, we had reached the point in the conversation where everyone knows it’s time to find a new topic, so our friend turned to me and asked, “What is it exactly that you do?” I thought through about fifty-seven smart ass things to say before I finally settled on, “Medical sales.” It’s just easier that way. Apparently, she had been talking with some mutual friends and they were trying to settle upon what I did for work. Had I been in the room, I’m not sure I would have been much help in finding them an answer. In some ways, I hate the question, because the one I want to answer is “what would you love to do?” I feel like answering the question of what I do sort of lets the wind out of my sails. It’s not that I’m ashamed of what I do. It just feels like a comma, when I want to answer with a period.

“Are you happy?” she asked me. It was an interesting question, and a good one at that. “No,” I replied. “I’m not happy.” I wasn’t looking for pity. It was an honest answer to a direct question. Keep in mind we were talking about careers. With respect to family, you’d be hard pressed to find a more satisfied man. But for many men, their careers have a lot to do with their overall impression of life. Careers are where men make their name – families are what give it value. It’s a sad man who doesn’t feel like he’s made something of himself. I am just trying to avoid becoming that man. It seems as if every three years, I get this itch to switch careers, which is one thing if you’re single, but it’s quite another when you’ve got a family to support. You can’t just “start over” whenever you please. The problem is that I become incredibly indifferent with a job after three years. When it’s lost the new car smell, and I’m just doing the job to put food on the table, I feel my soul slipping a bit. So, the question of “are you happy” is an easy one to answer. But the more important question, I think, is…”should I be?” I’ve got an amazing life – a better family than I could have hoped for, and a relatively comfortable lifestyle. But it’s not enough.

Turns out it’s not enough for our friend’s husband either, who is dealing with the same questions I’m dealing with. Maybe the same questions you are dealing with. How do I balance contentment with what I’ve got with the desire to see my dreams fulfilled? If the desire to make something of oneself is tempered with humility and control, I don’t see anything wrong with the desire. On the other hand, I’ve only got what I’ve got at the moment. I believe that I should be content with whatever that is. The rub is that I’ve got unrealized dreams that push me towards this idea I have; the idea that if I could wake up every morning and generally, love what I do, I would be a happier man. Who doesn’t want that? I know that contentment and dreams are essential, so maybe humility is what keeps the scales even.

The issue for me is really one of unfulfilled dreams and how they should affect my outlook on life. I can’t yield to the thought that hardly anyone gets to do what they love, so if everyone else is miserable, it’s okay for me to be miserable too. So I’m dealing with what might be the harsher reality; that my dreams are what make me…me. Pass or fail doesn’t even matter. It’s not the realization of the dream that gives a man his name – it’s the pursuit.