I had a dream last night

I dreamed I was in a strange place last night. A place that doesn't exactly exist, but it sort of does. It was very specific.

I was traveling by myself in a group of island countries, out in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, which was much farther north than in reality. There were three countries in the group. Norway, Franz Josef Land, and Icretile Island (which doesn't exist anywhere, to my knowledge). They made a sort of crescent shape with a bay in the middle that faced east. Like the letter C. Norway at the south, Franz Josef Land at the north, and Icretile making the western edge.

Each of the three countries was an island of its own, but the distance between them was not more than a hundred yards of water or so. So you could swim from one to the next pretty easily.

The coasts of each were steep wooded rocky slopes that went right into the water with very little beach. So it was a little tricky to get down one, swim across, and up the other, but it made for a great evening adventure.

Both Franz Josef Land and Norway had modern civilizations, but totally unlike their actual cities, I am sure. I didn't spend much time in the former, but the latter seemed much more like Cuba might be, in reality. Old cars, dirty but charming buildings, nice dark skinned people. Lots of motorcycles with two or three people on them. No real tall buildings, but lots of unorganized streets and alleys and restaurants, all scattered about and bustling. People everywhere. I assumed Franz Josef was the same.

But Icretile had nothing. No inhabitants whatsoever.

I was sitting on the northwestern coastal ridge of Norway, looking across the straight to Icretile, and wondering about what might be there. I occurred to me that every island story may well have taken place there. Robinson Crusoe, Godzilla, Jurassic Park, on and on. It was a dangerous, ravenous place that people had simply avoided for the most part. All anyone knew about it was that there were grizzly bears there, that sometime swam across the straight to scavenge the coasts of Norway and Franz Josef Land.

It was nighttime and the major cities of Norway were behind me, further up the ridge and over, making the night sky dark and huge. The stars were absolutely mind bending. You could literally sit and watch them move, like you see in time-lapse photography, only way faster. It was amazing and hypnotizing.

I was sitting in a rock outcropping near the water, hiding from the wind, when I noticed a grizzly bear climb out of the water and disappear behind a rock to my right. He was coming up the side of the ridge.

He appeared again much closer to me, and I stayed hidden as well as possible. He didn't seem interested in me, or that he even noticed me at all. It was loud out there, with the waves crashing down below and the wind moving over the rocks. He was looking for dead birds or something anyway.

Regardless, I didn't want to hang around to find out what would happen if he did find me. So I snuck out from my perch and scrambled quietly back up the ridge and into town below on the other side.

They spoke a language I wasn't familiar with, but sounded close to something I knew. It could've been Portuguese. I asked someone where I might find a decent meal and a hotel room. They told me a few things, which I basically understood, and walked out from the lively courtyard I was in to an alleyway that led into another less busy street. I found the place, which served good salsa and cold light beer. I sat there a while at a streetside table, watching the people walk by and laugh, sometimes glancing at me.

After I ate I paid the bill and rented a room for a week in an apartment/hotel above the restaurant. I unlocked the door, dropped my backpack on a chair, and fell onto the bed. The windows were open to the street below and the linen curtains moved slightly in the faint evening breeze.

Things are good.

Micaiah and I rearranged our bedroom yesterday in such a way that everything feels new in our house. The light is different, the feel is fresh. It's really weird that we've had our bed on the same wall for three years and it just seemed like the only way to set it up. But now we've moved it to another wall and it feels like an entirely new house. Strange.I like it though. It feels good.

Why does it feel good to have feelings of newness and new stuff?

Why is it so natural to get bored with the same stuff over time and inevitably want newness around you?

Regardless, it seems as though it is impossible to escape. No matter how much you want everything to remain the same, and enjoy everything to the same level that you did when you first got it, or just never get tired of anything or want anything new, you do. You will.

So the trick is to figure out new ways to look at the same old crap. Move your bed and suddenly you just moved into a new house. Use a different coffee mug. Rearrange your fridge. Wear a different hat. If you can get re-excited about the old stuff you once loved, to the point that it has unlimited potential to bring you satisfaction, you will never have to spend your money on anything new again (almost).

You have a limited amount of money, and you will never have any more than what you have at that moment, but you waste your money on bullshit and you never do anything that you really want to do.

Do the things that you like to do. Enjoy your life and the shit that you already have. Forget about the name brand clothes, the name brand food, and the name brand appliances. Life is enjoyed and experienced to the fullest through actions. So instead of buying stuff, do stuff.

When you are old are you going to tell your grandkids that you used to own a cashmere sweater, or that you've been to Iceland?

Beloved, These Are Perilous Times

Listening to Derek Webb again lately, although I still do not have his newest tunes. I am rocking She Must And Shall Go Free like it was brand new.He breaks me heart sometimes with his cutting voice. He just sounds like he is telling the truth, he is very open and readable.

Anyway, he (and Jesus) inspire me to do more, be better, live fuller, and change myself.

I have never read anything by John Piper, mostly because his writing is way inaccessible for me. I generally like Don Millers casual style more, but regardless, I know what Piper stands on and I agree with him (as far as I know). He is all about the thing called Christian Hedonism, which sounds bad, but I rather disagree. It's the idea that we can best glorify God by being fully happy in our everyday lives and experiences. He is most happy when we are truly happy. It makes sense too, especially if you have kids.

So with that in mind I am happy to say that for the last several years I have organized my life in an effort to be extremely happy with where I am and what I am doing. I'll not waste my time being discontented with this difficult world.

So what do I do?

I drive with the windows down

I sing, I jump, I laugh

I travel

I photograph

I love my wife

I love my kid

I wear Chacos

I sit on the porch

I do all these things on purpose. I don't accidentally find myself traveling somewhere awesome and think "Hey, this is great, who would have thought?" I know it will be good, I know I will like it, so I do it.

So here are my two questions:

1. What do you want to do?

2. Why aren't you doing it more?

The first question is very important, because you have to evaluate what you really want most, but the second question is the most crucial, because a lot of people probably know what they want to do, but most people never do any of it. I would bet that the answer to the second question, for most people, is money.

Well guess what.

You are never going to have enough money. No one ever has enough money, so just enjoy your life and forget about being on a tight budget. Have you ever gone hungry before? Ever died of starvation? No. You haven't. And you're not going to.