Author Archives: zdillon

One Big Question/Seeking God/ Zach’s Take

Zach Writing (Finally):

First, I must apologize for being so late here. The question of the week turned into the question of the summer. Writing a blog post is deeply cathartic for me because it forces me to engage in some inner reflection. When you are not in constant communication with God, however, that inner reflection is never easy. Then again, what better way to draw close to God again than to return to my favorite spot and write about my favorite activity to seek God.

Here is a picture of a dock by my house. During the day this dock is a yuppie beach that makes me cringe. At night, however, it closes down and turns into a paradise of peace. I have always been one that connected to God by seeing the might of his creation, by being completely overwhelmed by his power in a way that shows me how truly insignificant I really am. I first met God at a summer camp on Lake Sammammish surrounded by a huge bonfire underneath the stars. I devoted my life to God during a weeklong backpacking trip through the Cascade Mountains. Ever since, every major life decision has been made through prayer at either the top of a mountain or at some perch overlooking a lake or Ocean. Somehow nature seems to be the only way to break me away from my own selfishness.

Now back to the dock. I used to come here at night whenever I needed to draw close to God. I would sit for hours watching the moonlight shine over the blackness of the water. A constant reminder and symbol of God’s influence on my own heart. It was the one place where I could quite my overactive brain for long enough to hear god’s voice. It was peace. It was security. It was direction. It was home.

I remember dropping to my knees in the sand and asking for forgiveness. I remember sitting on the fishing stools and simply listening for his voice. I remember climbing down the ladder steps so that my feet rested at the top of the water, wondering whether I had the faith to be able to step out and walk on water, yet never having the courage just to try and risk coming home soaking wet. Coming back, I realize how much I miss these moments. Now I need to find a new spot. One that I don’t only visit once a year.


One BIG Question/vol. 1/House on Fire/Take #3

Zach Posting:

This has been an exceedingly hard post for me to write. Besides my #1 choice, there really isn’t anything I would need to save in a fire. Looking down at my #1 pick you will see that it is depressing in its own light. I would love to say that this is due to my own evolution above materialism, but that isn’t it at all. I love stuff. In fact, my two brooks brothers suits were actual contenders. I think what I cherish most is memories, but I rarely see memories through things. Memories only seem real to me when recounting them with friends, reliving them together. Enough happenstance… to the task at hand.

1/ My Computer

I warned you that it was depressing. I need to give some clarification though. It is not the actual machine, it is all of the files and data. First, my computer has all of my law school files on it. We are talking about hundreds maybe even thousands of hours of work lost. It is so bad that I had a recurring nightmare during my first law school finals week that someone tried to mug me for my computer. In the dream, I always decided to try and fight the guy off, but let’s be honest, I am not a fighter. Black eye and no notes for a law school final…at least I wasn’t in my underwear.

Picking a computer is also slightly cheating because it includes all of my photographs and music. All of Bobby’s famous annual mixed CDs are stored on that piece of metal. The jazz CDs that I listened to when first learning to play the saxophone. All the photographs from my trip through Europe before law school, the family vacation in Mexico (Is that my mom doing a tequilla shot?), etc.

2/ Saxophone

Even though I never play the damn thing, it is still a reminder of who I was. It reminds me of my carefree days where I did not care about ‘changing the world,’ but simply wanted to live and have fun. Sounds great now that I think about it. Back then, my saxophone was an escape. The routine of scales and exercises served to turn off my overactive brain and to just be still. The classical music reminded me of the beauty in practicing towards perfection. The jazz enabled me to let go. If I held on to the chords or the progressions than I would get lost. If I just allowed myself to listen to the music then I could communicate emotion and thought that I could not express or understand if I tried. The samba music a symbol of love & passion for life. Clearly I need to start playing again

3/ My Bible

Got you. You were all thinking this was some pat Christianese answer. I don’t care about the actual book though it has been there for some very tough times. I can buy a new bible for $15 at the local bookstore. My bible is just where I keep the few old photographs that I don’t have on my computer. (1) a picture of me at age four kneeling in front of my grandfather’s footstool and learning how to play poker (he ended up stealing my allowance this way until I was 15). My grandfather, by the way, is the one that taught me to be an obnoxious winner by singing the same song-“bringing in the sheaves”-every time he won a large hand. (2) A picture of my sister and I making thanksgiving pie. IE me peeling apples, and my sister rolling dough. (3) A picture of my first and only attempt to surf. Luckily it is a picture of me on the beach carrying a surf board, and not the countless pictures my Mom probably has of me eating sand. I was not very good. (4) A picture of my first set of campers as a counselor at camp Sambica. I, and 12 1st grade boys, are giving free tickets to the gun show.

 

Perhaps I am more sentimental than I thought.


Prayer’s role in finding the perfect spouse

Wilco – “Lookin’ For A Love” (Neil Young cover)

Zach Posting:

I am a Christian who attempts to allow God to influence, guide or even control all of my major life decisions. The hardest of these to give over to him has been family. Especially when it comes to dating, and the hope of someday getting married and starting my own family. I will leave children, and how to let God lead me as a father for another day, and a wiser author.

Far too many books have been written on Christian dating, courtship, marriage, sex, and all the combinations of the above. So far, none of them seem like a real answer on finding the balance between trusting God, listening for his guidance, and feeling free to follow your own heart. The entire topic is too broad, so today, I focus only on the concept of prayer. What role should prayer play in my decision of who to date, who to marry?

Some say that God is love, and all that matters is whether you love the person. IE if you get that tingly feeling than go for it. This theory leaves the definition of love to poets, movies, and occasionally, scholars.

Others advocate the one simple iron-clad rule: they just have to be a Christian. The only catch, you have to figure out what it means to be a Christian.

Takes us to theory three. Only rule: God must be their number one priority.

Finally, a couple must both love God, and have the same purpose/mission for life.

Now come the prayer theories:

Unromantic Approach: Pray about the qualities/characteristics you should look for in a spouse. Make a checklist. Grade them. What? She scored an 87/100!!! Let’s go ring shopping.

Romantic Approach: Pray for God to point out a single person. God gives you the target? Go in barrels blazing.

Person by Person: Trust the judgment of your friends, mentors, or online dating service. Once you have that gold-star recommendation. Pray to see if that person is a good fit, and go for it.

Smack on the back of the head: Don’t worry about figuring out the right person through prayer. Rely on the instincts God has given you, and trust that he will smack you upside the back of your head if you are going for the wrong person.

All of these theories have benefits. All of them, of course, come with some amazing story that led to a 50 year marriage filled with love, blessings, and adventure. All of them also have crazy stories of heartbreak and destruction. So I leave it to the audience of Via Chicago…What is the answer?

Lovebirds… Send us your winning strategy.

Heartbroken… Tell us which strategies to ban for all eternity

Single and looking? – Give us some market research on what is working now.


Chicago Blizzard of 2011

Zach Posting:

This is partially a response to Bobby’s post on the Siberia Winter. Normally, I would yell at Bobby for ever complaining about a 62 degree day in the middle of winter. I am one of the few that has never grown accustomed to Chicago winters. I simply have to escape for a week each winter. It is necessary for survival.

On the other hand, I absolutely loved the Blizzard of 2011. First, I got a break from an unending stream of work. Classes were canceled and I had no choice, but to stay at home and rest. Instead I had a wonderful low key night with friends playing Monopoly. I felt like a child celebrating his first snow day.

The next day is what Chicagoans always fear. The terrible commutes, the dirty snow, hours of shoveling etc. This day, however, was different. I woke up and grabbed the shovel. The cold air in my lungs mixed with the heat of sweat as I shoveled the walk felt wonderful. It was my first form of exercise in weeks.

An hour later my roommate Matt came out and we spent the next couple hours shoveling side by side in silence. It was very peaceful. More than that, I felt a large sense of community. Families all down the street grabbed their shovels and worked side by side. An elderly woman on cross country skis briefly stopped to talk about the weather and what to do about cars. A couple of girls from down the street even stopped to have me take their picture. Something about the storm drew people together.

This morning, however, I woke up to the brutal reality. The grey snow. Ice attaching my car’s tires to the street. And the fear that someone will take the parking spot that took me 3+ hours to dig out. The parking spot fiasco has creating a huge stir in Chicago to the point where Mayor Daily issued a statement that this year people are allowed to call “dibs” on spots they have shoveled out with lawn chairs and trash cans. I can only hope that my laundry basket will be enough.

I guess the kumbaya moment can only last so long.


Movie of the Year

Zach Writing:

Before I begin this blatant propaganda for The Fighter to win movie of the year I must make a few concessions: I am a huge Christian Bale fan (but who isn’t), and have only had time to see 5 movies in the entire last year. That being said, The Fighter is a must see.

This movie opened up my eyes to an entire new Genre of movies. I have always hated documentary films. What is the point? I go to movies to escape the real world, not to dive into it. Plus, I generally find them quite boring. Now, The Fighter isn’t a traditional documentary. It had actors rather than real people and certainly wasn’t directed by Michael Moore. Nevertheless, it had the same feel and style. The Fighter, however, had all of the elements that I love in a movie: Incredible character development, complex relationships, amazing plot (who doesn’t love the traditional Rocky Balboa story line), and the ability to make you laugh in order to enable you to cry.

The real beauty of the movie, however, was in its status as a sports movie. I am not a boxer (minus my one round during Monday Night Manhood with a man whose nickname is Joystick James- a story for another time). I know nothing about boxing other than you want to hit the other guy more then he hits you. Maybe it is this lack of knowledge or that I wasn’t born with the innate desire to fight, but I have never really become enmeshed in a boxing movie. I like them, but it has never come to the point where I am so entrenched that I was following every move.  In The Fighter, however, I was glued to the screen.

I noticed my hands and arms moving in mock punches as if I could control the screen and would somehow single handedly control the outcome of the movie. I cared deeply about how it ended. After all, isn’t the point of a movie to create that human connection between the viewer and its characters? To make us as viewers understand the world through another’s eyes? A beautiful movie worth the eye gauging $10 a ticket that has made me an exclusively red box movie goer.


Stages of Sibling Love

Zach Posting:

Darren Smith with Douglas Came – Last Drive

Although I cannot remember this far back, my parents tell me that I worshipped my sister while a toddler. I would follow her around, always want to be included in whatever she was doing, and obey her every command. This worked well for her as she took great pride and joy in telling me exactly what to do.

Being two years younger meant that I followed her from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school. Each stage never failed to voice the phrase “You must be Erin’s little brother.” Luckily, everyone always loved my sister so I got to start every part of my education with a good reputation. Though this made it difficult as someone that has always yearned for independence.

Like most siblings, we went through an extended period of fighting and rivalry.  A revolving door between being dear friends and bitter enemies, which only grew worse as we entered high school. The conflicting feelings only resolved themselves when she left for college and all of a sudden I realized what it was that I had lost. Since then we have never lived in the same city for more than a month at a time and both live very busy lives. Finding time to spend together has become a very rare and precious thing to me.


I took special joy spending this last week with my sister traveling through Finland and Estonia. Unlike Rome and Paris where you could spend years without seeing all of the sights, Finland and Estonia are both very simple places. We spent the days listening to jazz in the park, shopping in the market places, hiking in the woods and visiting nearby islands. Most importantly, however, I watched as our relationship began to shift from siblings to friends.

My favorite moments of the trip by far were simple conversations which strayed away from the traditional safe conversations to discussions about what is really important to us. I took special pride whenever she asked my advice or even allowed me to listen to what was currently going on her life. Even if it meant hearing about her love life: a tough job for any over-protective brother.

The intensity of law school this past year has taught me to cherish my family more and more. I don’t know anyone who is as blessed as I am in the friends they keep. Still, there are some moments in life where only family will suffice. Mom, Dad and sister, I love you all and am so grateful for your love.



The World Cup Stole My Heart

Zach Posting:

I did not grow up watching or playing soccer. I have tried to get into soccer before since many of my closest friends are fanatics. I normally find it quite boring. I would watch intently for 20 minutes and nothing would happen: no shots, no goals, no cards. At some point, someone would call my name from the kitchen and as soon as I turned my head the one and only goal of the match would be scored. It was maddening.

Still, I felt compelled to join the spirit of the World Cup and try once again to be a fan. After all, I was in Europe where entire countries stop working to watch their teams play. I saw my first live match when I went to Rotterdam to watch a preliminary match between Holland and Ghana. I’m not sure whether it was watching it live or the intense roar of the crowd, but I was mesmerized. I could not take my eyes off of the field.

A couple of weeks later, I watched my first world cup match in a bar when Mexico played France. I loved the interplay between the different fans. “Mex-i-co!” and “Allez-le-bleu!” rang out back and forth through the bar like a never-ending echo.  I did not discover, however, that I was a real fan until I snuck out of work early to catch the second half of the final USA match against Algeria. I had given up all hope when Landon Donovan scored a injury-time winner to put the USA into the Round of 16. I found myself screaming in excitement alone in my room.

As I sat screaming in excitement, I wondered why the sport had never picked up popularity in the states. Throughout the world it is a source of national pride, yet who has more pride than us red-blooded Americans? I think we need to get our act together, raise a generation of soccer studs, and put out the next dream team.