Openness

You don’t like those fake people, right? Those that try real hard to be something they’re obviously not. The ones that smile at you and then talk behind your back. You know, those people who are just like you.

I’m fake, aren’t you? Sure, you may not be as fake as Jenna or Steve who are seriously gonna be praying for ya (you go, gurl!). But don’t we all wear this mask to hide those smaller or larger imperfections we just can’t stand and wish we didn’t have.

That’s not a bad thing, is it? I mean, it is great that we are trying to better our selves. One implication may be that we have to know ourselves before we decide there is something that must change. This is not necessarily true, and even if it were, it could just go away the more we wear our meticulously crafted masks.

You may not know yourself, you pick your favorite from the self store. You’ll get tired of wearing a self that’s not yourself, I suppose. So, what do you do then? Is your self somewhere inside or were you meant to develop it?

Shouldn’t we take the time to know ourselves, to know who we are—our noble ambitions, our bad habits, our reprehensible desires? Isn’t this the only way our self can truly engage in honest interactions with other selves?

I understand the need to wear a mask. Perhaps it is the ideal self I aspire to be. However, I believe it can only work if it represents myself instead of someone else’s self, like a lake gives you an accurate, yet somewhat blurry, reflection.

The more I think about it, the more I begin to think I’m talking about my own condition. I’m that fake person I don’t want to be.

If only I could show myself as I am—but then you might not like me, would you? So I show you my reflection, the one I’m talking to now.

Those plans are not yours

If we have talked recently, you know things have not turned out as I expected, or at least hoped. Even then, I felt confident I was heading in the right direction and it was only a matter of time for things to come together. Little by little, as the reality of the situation settles, that confidence wanes. Those plans I was so sure about, even when interrupted as they are now, now seem a bit unclear.

Were my plans ever clear then? No, they really weren’t. I just knew the general direction. But the problem doesn’t lie there—I can deal, even thrive, with some uncertainty.

The thing is that those plans were not mine. I liked and internalized them, but they still didn’t belong to me.

It was at a moment when my devotional life, although not great, it was stronger than at many other points in my life. God helped me to constantly remind myself of who was in control and what I was really after (or wanted to be after)—Him. Surrendering my fears and dreams, I began to experience His promise from Jeremiah 29:11.

As my connection with Him grew stronger, so did my confidence in His plans, regardless of things not heading in such a hopeful direction. I knew my way, because it was His revealed way.

Just recently, I can’t even point out when, I seemed to have forgotten about God, being preoccupied with graduating, figuring out a way to afford grad school, staying in Lincoln, moving out of the dorm, finding work—becoming an adult.

I don’t even know what happened. Without realizing it, I soon found myself lost again. My plans didn’t work. Without Him, they meant nothing and directed me nowhere. They only mattered because they were His. He had shown them to me and I took them away trying to make them mine. I took them away from He who had designed them, and without Him I couldn’t understand them.


Perhaps this is a bit unrelated, but I want to show you what brought about this epiphany.

I just finished reading C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” where he writes:

The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead.

For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves’, to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good’. We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way—centred on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do.

Life (a week) after college

Now that college is over and I join the ranks of the unemployed, I should have some time to write. I can write all those things I wanted to for the last six months, but just didn’t find the time to do it.

After a senior clarinet recital, a conducting recital, and an honors thesis, I can feel quite accomplished and happy to have a break. Moreover, having to wait about three months for the government to either approve or deny my application for OPT (basically a one-year work permit as part of my student status in the US), would force me to stop.

That stop for me, of course, means having time to work on personal projects and read tons of books on all kinds of topics. I can read Eduardo Galeano’s “The Open Veins of Latin America,” a Christmas gift, or Jorge Catañeda’s “Amarres Perros.” Also, it is a great time to read that one Kent Haruf novel I have not read.

I could resume my creative writing efforts and start a second short story. Perhaps it is time to write those creative essays I’m scared to write. Or I could also try to begin a novel that I’d probably abandon by August.

It is also a great time to review music theory, work on my aural skills, expand my music history knowledge, attempt to finish some compositions, become familiar with more orchestral repertoire, and improve my staccato and altissimo register on the clarinet.

Honestly, I won’t accomplish most of these things. Above all this, I need to learn to become an adult. That seems to be the priority if I wish to survive a world I’m not prepared to join and yet I must.

This is all to say, it’s been a week since I finished college, five days since my parents returned home, and I’m ready to admit I do not like this.

While the break comes every summer, this time it does not arrive with the (sometimes feared) promise of school in the fall.

Whether I like it or not, though, doesn’t matter. I know it is time for a transition and I must go through it. There is no way around it.