a Treaty on character

Authentic. Trusting. Passionate.

We live in a culture that no longer values putting an honest image of yourself out there. Preferring for each of us to fit a preset mold. most often this causes us to wear a view of ourselves that is far from the truth. The authenticity that I seek is contrary to this cultural norm. I choose to pursue the entirety of who I am. and not just the most convenient parts. Fully aware that pieces of who I am are faults. And while I will try to overcome said issues, I refuse to hide them from view. We are best as a whole person. To disregard our blemishes is a hindrance to the truth. A lie that damages us most of all. St. Irenaeus told us, “The glory of God is human being fully alive.” We cannot hope to become fully alive if we do not accept who we are. So I choose to be authentic. To show the world my whole self, the good with the bad.

everyday we are surrounded by individuals who give us no reason to trust them, or worse, give us reason not to.It’s easy to walk through life wary of every step and each character we meet. not only is it convenient, but also the safer route. We are more likely to come to a gentle rest at the end of our days if we have kept to ourselves. Unfortunately, though it be a softer landing, it will most certainly be lonelier. Therefore it is in our interest to trust others. To bring them into our inner circle. The trouble with this is that we feel an obligation to protect those we hold close. This becomes difficult the more trust we give away. Regardless, we must simply do our best to trust them all and embrace the consequences. Now I do not wish for you to think me naive, I know that my trust will be misplaced often. Yet if I must error it will be in favor of an innocent trust. I believe that every person deserves my respect, and so I choose to begin at the top of that spectrum. I will trust.

Both Shakespeare’s King Leer and the Greek philosopher Parmenide Proclaim Nihil Fit Ex Nihilo, that is “nothing comes from nothing.” This continues to hold true to this day. If you want something you have to put the effort in. I am part of a generation oft associated with demanding the world be handed to us. Welfare babies and laissez faire workers. We are millenials. And still we are the generation with the most potential to change the world. Passion is about pushing the envelope. A passionate person cannot afford half measures. To be passionate is to envision what it takes to complete the task. The pain, frustration, and sacrifice that passion requires is enormous. The guiding light is that the rewards of these are limited only by our imaginations and the effort we put forth.

It is my desire that these will define who I am. Authenticity boils down to fully being the person you are. Trust is simply loving each person for who they are. Passion is a commitment to what we love, and a rejection of half measures. These I’ll strive for today, tomorrow, and after that.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

In thanksgiving

cornucopia

I wasn’t going to post anything today. But then I thought, you know what? Tomorrow is thanksgiving here in the U.S. might as well capitalize on it. God knows every other niche in our society uses it to their advantage.

I’m reminded that I have so much to be thankful for in my life. Among which I must count this this site where I am able to share my pointless writing with you.

As a treat I want to share something that is actually beautiful, aka not written by Joe… Below is the ancient prayer of thanksgiving. Enjoy.

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
V.  Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
R.  Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
V.  Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
R.  Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
V.  Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
R.  Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
V.  Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
R.  In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

If you have a few minutes go listen to it in the traditional Gregorian chant here or there’s one of the better known English translations of it here.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving, eat too much turkey and all that. If you happen to see a retail worker who has to leave dinner early because people can’t seem to wait one more day to shop, give them a hug. Make it weird for everybody.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

blackfriday

untitled

It’s a tired Feeling

an Exhaustion that creeps into your bones

“Get some sleep” they suggest

If only it was that easy,

sometimes turning it off and back on again

Simply doesn’t work.

though it’s not all gloom and doom

retrospect shows more good than bad

there’s always something to smile at

our lives are comprised of moments

yet even the biggest pile of beautiful ones

struggles to offset the emotion of one bad one.

.

I tell you this

not so you’ll fret

rather that maybe you’ll understand.

To show you the cracks in my facade

my belief is that they’re a beautiful part

of a whole person.

These are my immense and unique flaws

.

Conclusion —

pick your chin up,

Because we all hurt a little.

and you are definitely not alone

you see we all share the human condition

So Apply the past to the future

know that the good always trumps the bad,

the sun will rise tomorrow,

and that we always continue to Be more


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

be more Poetic

nowadays we all talk about loving yourself. That’s good and great and all, though it’s an incomplete idea. Often we choose to overlook our flaws and problems as part of a beautiful whole. It is a betrayal of what has shaped us into who we are. The reality is that it is entirely possible to follow the popular sentiment of “loving yourself” and still acknowledge the rough parts that got you where you are. For myself, I appreciate everything that comprises who I am, but I also recognize that some of it is not so great. Some of it is down right awful and needs to be done away with.

So long as we’re going to be spend all this time being introspective we might as well consider ourselves in the future tense. There lies all our hopes, dreams, and visions. It is there that we can go beyond who we are now because future us contains all possibilities. I encourage you to try this. I encourage you to dream. You’ll find it makes you poetic about yourself. In turn that helps you be poetic about your past and present also. And just maybe you’ll discover there’s beauty in the light and the dark.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

dreamer

the “almost” hiatus

I almost quit writing. I almost sat down and typed out a post that entailed a hiatus I planned to take. Almost. My reasoning was that my writing had gone to crap. That I had failed in both quality and frequency. In recent months the decline has been noticeable and it was mirrored by a lack of reading. My plan was to leave you until after the new year. To read intensively and purposefully, only writing if I simply could not contain the thought. I don’t know what changed but the words began to flow again. I still lack the quality, but the passion for this art has returned. I realized that to not write would be a betrayal to the person who I was when I began. To not write would allow a poison to creep into my heart. The corruption that comes from the path of least resistance. So I will continue to write, I will make time for literature again, and I will not quit. And though I will never write for you, my audience, know that I appreciate you being here.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

hiatus

Ode to Kerouac

There is a highway that stretches the breadth of this nation. Along it you will find the hopes and dreams of four generations. Drive it and you will pass though both great metropolitans and one-horse towns. You will witness monuments to days long gone and the construction of days yet to come. Utilized by agriculture, industry, and the entrepreneur alike. Yet truly appreciated by a miniscule few. This highway creates issues contested by legislators. Though somehow it unites us as a people. This open highway could always take me home, instead my heart follows it ever onward.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

highway

leader3

a Call to Leadership

“A good leader has a compass in their head, and a magnet in their heart.”

-Howard G. Hendricks

 

 

A quality leader tends to be an enigma, but that shouldn’t have to be the case. Consider the authority figures in your life. Teachers, pastors, friends, politicians, family, employers these are the people who shape our lives. Now how many of those authority figures do you look up to for guidance? A leader evokes that from you with ease. Far too often we force ourselves to follow authority figures that we simply don’t trust. We do this because we know that they should be creating these feelings in us. We do this because we desire leadership. We are social being, and the very act of our humanity causes us to seek out a leader that can keep us safe. When our authority figures fail to lead us they are denying us a natural craving. Only chaos can come from that.

I’m quite public with my disdain for the term “millennials.” The label that simultaneously categorizes an entire generation and assigns blame for problems that should belong to us all. My argument is that the disarray of my generation, both real and perceived, spurs from a lack of leadership; from that violation of the natural order. I hate to sound like a cynic, but it is too late for the older generations to do anything. They can attempt to explain away the problems with their labels and theories, yet their time to lead has come and gone. The issues that face us will be overcome by my generation.

We “millennials” are often accused of being narcissists who demand that everything in life be handed to us. The truth is found to be a little different. Perhaps it’s not that we demand too much, rather that we fail to demand enough of what we really need. Our entire lives we have been told that we can be anything. That is an idea we hold sacred in our society, and rightly so. Though somewhere along the way a lie crept in. A lie that says because we all have infinite possibility, than we must all be equal. The result is that we did away with the notion of leaders, and consensus became the dictator of our every action. Don’t get me wrong, I know that every person is of equal value and that a consensus of the whole is a useful tool for understanding. The problem is that it fails to accomplish anything. We are a diverse people so there will always be dissent. Only a leader, with that compass in their mind, will pick out the best course of action and make it happen. What’s more is that a leader, with that magnet in their heart, is able to unite a group in order to accomplish a goal.Because of our diversity, a group could never unify itself without a leader.

We must not allow leadership to remain a mysterious quality. It belongs in the natural order as much as seeking shelter or some other basic need. Every person is of equal value, though thankfully we are not all equally the same. Within our social groups everyone of us possesses a different set of strengths and abilities. The beauty is that through a little effort each of these talents can be refined into a specific type of leadership. Every moment of our lives is a chance to lead and to follow. A good leader is an excellent follower, and vice versa. Every moment we must choose to be more, the status quo only hampers solutions. We need to become a people of character that demands the best of each other and of ourselves.

I’ll leave you with this. Our way of life requires leaders. Only a leader can put the chaos to rest. So demand that authorities be quality leaders. In return give them the trust and respect they deserve. And should they break your trust, put your abilities to work. Demand of yourself the leadership necessary. Each of us has that ability, that will, and that responsibility.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

leader4

a consensus wouldn’t have built the car

 

Simply Be

We’ve all been there we get caught up in life and forget to actually live it. We turn our lives into chronological lines and mark the passing of time through tangible objectives that we have deemed important. A dramatic reminder for you is that we continue on and eventually we die. No amount of successfully completed objectives will stop that.

Occasions will arise throughout our lives that allow us to slow down and see more than just a straight line. In these moments we are given the benefit of seeing ourselves with all the depth and complexity that we contain.

One of my recent experiences with this is a weekend I spent camping. Not a rare occasion for me, but this time I was entirely surrounded by fellow Catholics. Now we weren’t doing anything religious per se, we were just enjoying each others company along with the beautiful weather. On Sunday morning there came an aha! moment for me. It was like we hit a pause button on the weekend and an altar sprang up in the middle of our camp. As we gathered around it occurred to me that we had not come together to specifically do anything Catholic, and yet there was no doubt in anybody that mass was the central point of our weekend. It was beautiful because we were being Catholic. We were fully alive in that moment.

My challenge for you is to simply be. Be present. Be you. Be whatever defines you, and allow that to encompass the moment you’re living in. That’s what allows us to see our lives for the inspiring functions they are.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

the Man & the Moon

¶Here’s to the traveler on the long road

growing weary with the passing miles

His to ponder and smoke

His to pace and listen

the moon his guide, he ever presses forward

 

¶Here’s to the student deep in his books

looking towards a future yet to come

Regret and worry pursue him

Rain and doubt assail him

the moon grows faint, and his hope is the daybreak

 

¶Here’s to the lover lost in another’s eyes

patiently waiting the words to say

Stars and laughter his currency

Songs and whispers his language

with the moon as witness, a love always remains

 

¶Here’s to the tale that goes on

of the Man and the Moon

ever companions in it all


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

beautiful chaos

chaossuntzu

Last night at 11:53pm I glanced at the clock and had one of those moments that are hard to explain. Maybe it’s existentialism, or maybe it’s sleep deprivation. Regardless, at 11:53pm last night I had to stop and ask, “what in the world am I doing with myself?!” Let’s paint the picture. I’m sitting on the edge of a futon in my small, dimly-lit bedroom. Next to me is a cast aside textbook that was explaining the evolution of the correctional system from the Code Hammurabi onward. In the background some French pop artist is singing extremely fast about love an death or something. I was sitting there trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to write a blog post. my laptop was open in front of me and I had several tabs running. One was a Wikipedia article on Andrew Sullivan. Another was an op-ed on why too much democracy creates a breeding ground for tyranny. On Youtube there was a clip from the movie Dead Poet’s Society. And the finally a poem from the 17th century telling virgins what to do with their time. And I know, none of that is overtly important. my illustration is to show you the chaos of that moment. The clock read 11:55pm before I realized what had caused me pause. The beautifully chaotic  that I regularly allow into the inner sanctum of my life, the one’s that I honestly enjoy, are accurate visualizations of my mind. my hope i sharing this with you is that maybe you’ll understand me a bit more. maybe you’ll understand that when I write excitedly in a ranting tone it’s spurred on  by a false urgency of so many thoughts. And maybe if you’re someone I interact with in my life and you ever encounter me silent know that it’s not because I have nothing to say. Rather it’s because I see a dozen thought processes spiraling out and I can’t seem to pick the correct one fast enough. I am constantly searching for a single thread amongst the chaos. I don’t always find it, but every day I continue the search.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

chaos