Sunday, September 30, 2007

Life's First Two Years (Lessons from Creed Barrett)

Since moving in to my new place las month, i have had the pleasure of spending much of my freetime in close proximity to the Barret family that lives upstairs. This means that I have been able to get to know their almost-two year old son, Creed. I'm told that two years old is a crucial age in the areas of development and discovery. This kid is great, and I am continually amazed by how much I learn about myself by witnessing life in such a pure form. Consider this the first installment in what can hopefully be a regular report on what I'm coming to understand about life and adulthood through the life and infancy of Creed Barret.

I've noticed over the last month that this two year old's greatest weapon is that of repetition. He has a limited vocabluary, and the words he does know come out with such resounding indistinctness that anyone listening is lucky to understand it on his first try. Creed always quickly repeats the last two words of anything he hears that he doesn't understand, whether question or answer. For example, we were playing his favorite game, which I like to call, "I'll point at a picture and you tell me what it is." This kid is good at it. We were going through a stack of his favorite DVDs, he was telling me that the giraffe was a giraffe, that the alligator was an alligator, that purple was purple, etc. As soon as I asked him, "Creed, what's your favorite animal?" he promptly responded with uncertainty, "favorite animal." So I learned that his best defense against the embarrassment of not knowing what words mean is to assertively throw them back at you. In doing this, he accomplishes two things. First, he can make you question if the words that you used were, in fact, words; or if perhaps you somehow had forgotten English and were speaking some other language. Second, he buys himself time to formulate some alternative method of participating in the conversation, avoinding further embarrassment. It's genius.

I see in myself the same habits. In my crippling insecurity, I am so quick to spout out the first thing that comes into my head, in hopes of averting judgmental stares and the embarrassment of being exposed in my weakness. I am also quick to reproduce anything I hear or see in front of me, so as to preserve my own image before a world that doesn't really care about me. I dress how I'm supposed to, I fake other peoples' accents, I speak Christainese. I have become a master of changing myself into something that can be accepted and loved in any and every circumstance. Circumstantial love is what I constantly chase after, hoping to be accepted and validated by the people around me. Creed does it with words, I do it with far more. I am slave to my image and so often give myself to that, withholding myself from the Lord. Thinking, "if everyone else accepts me, I am saved." but Christ has already secured my eternal acceptance from a God that will never change His mind. And still I run from Him to the arms of this mistress world that isn't interested in me.
Someday, Creed Barrett will outgrow his linguistic deficiency. I pray that I might someday outgrow mine.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Directions (Here's my best attempt to transition out of creative stagnation)


Other people's two year olds

Hosting Parties

Pam Beesly


Agreement over things that need changing


Tupac Shakur pillows

Coffee cake


Surf Boards

Babies holding on to my fingers

My new Young Life hat

Young Life

Visiting friends

Remembering the life I used to live



Knowing what I love

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Things I've Learned at Home

Being back in my element has taught me some invaluable lessons. Here're the ones I can remember:

1. I much prefer hunting cheap CDs at an Indie record store to downloading albums from iTunes. iTunes has no character.

2. My dog remembers me the second I walk in, unfazed by the 8-months she hasn't seen me.

3. I am no match for the things that haunt me.

4. There's only two instances when I feel genuinely enraged; seeing the Cardinals get hammered, and losing ping-pong to my little brother.

5. I would rather be bored silly than have to go to work at night.

6. I am intrigued by the idea of being at a traditional four-year university. And I fear that I won't ever truly experience it.

7. Home and family are enough to keep me in one place forever.

8. Everything changes.

9. No one remembers me, except those that I have loved and those that have loved me. It makes me focus in on the relationships that I'm developing right now.

10. No matter how old I get, no matter how many years I stay away, no matter how much about me changes, I want to always have a home to return to.

And may we always have a home to return to.