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June 18, 2012

We’re like moths to a flame when it comes to bright, colorful lights in this culture of ours.

We love bright booming fireworks, flashing florescence, awe building billboards, etc.

These sort of things are exactly what I have become most skeptical of because they simplify things and I believe it is extremely unhealthy to shallow the waters that are in reality very deep and very muddy. It’s a masking, a simulation over the truth.

Truth that becomes buried and hidden like an unwatered seed incapable of sprouting or rooting.

That is why, in recent months, my life goal has become “to encourage people to look beneath the surface.”

And the more I think about it, the more I feel like I have been created to do so, whether by God, circumstance, or my own cowardice, or some combination of the three. I usually don’t buy into that sort of thing, it seems a little too close to predestination to me, but maybe I should relax that stance a bit. I’m not going to go into details, but if there is one message I could excel at getting across to people, it is probably that one (and it’s probably more of a testament to my failures in aspect of my rather than my achievements).

But what I have learned this last year, probably the most mentally challenging and wearing year of my life, is that truth and genuine is hardly ever found on the surface. Even those people and creations with the gift of wearing their core on their shell (something I greatly admire and respect) are still hiding something inside that takes effort to find and understand.

I have learned that if you live your life looking at things solely on their surface level, you are choosing to live your life in a blissful ignorance. Because if you do so, you can live in your own personal heaven on earth where everything is immediately accessible, easy, and cheap.

However, if you look below the surface, the results can be greatly inspiring or greatly terrifying.

And this applies to the food we eat, the music we buy and download, the movies we watch, books we read, and even the churches we attend.

We live in a culture with countless quick fixes, but rarely sustenance. We get married and then divorced, download songs that go stale within a month, eat food that we can eat while we drive isolated in a car but that is terrible to our health. In other words, we don’t want to work at anything we don’t absolutely have to. And I’m as guilty as anyone, but I’m making a commitment not to be.

I’m sure we all have friends whose relationships are built on this sort of ideology, who we never talk about anything beyond the surface with. Relationships built on jokes, or alcohol, or only fun. But those aren’t relationships that force personal growth and make one another a better person or ones that typically last a lifetime.

The relationships I invest time and depth in are the relationships that will last forever. The food I eat and the products I buy that requires an interaction with its creator or grower make an impact on not only myself but the world around me, no matter how small of an impact it is. But it pumps good into the world and any portion of that good is a portion well worth it.

The American Dream has been under question recently. Not it’s ideology though, it’s attainability. But the American Dream is based on material wealth. How can I work my way up from poverty to wealth?

But what if we stopped caring so much about how much we have and care more about what impacts we are making with each decision we make?

What if we focused more on quality rather than quantity?

It seems we would be much healthier physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.

We may not have as much music on our iPods, or food in our refrigerator, or toys in our yards, but we would have more fulfillment and overall happiness to offer those around us.

It takes self discipline and motivation, but doesn’t anything truly worthwhile?

Success isn’t built on shortcuts and ease. It’s built on sleepless nights and blood, sweat, and tears. And it means different things to different people.

So what if we stopped gravitating toward the bright lights placed on the surface and instead wandered past to their shadows? I think the natural beauty would surprise a lot of us.

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