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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is the first collaborative post on Via Chicago compliments of Bobby, Dan, Amy and Zach. We have spent the last week in nostalgic bliss in what we have labeled as the ‘warm-up’ reunion. Unfortunately, the only thing missing happened to be the most important: Adam. We miss you bud and hope you are enjoying France (as if it could hold a candle to North Little Rock, Arkansas?!?) We are going to do our best to fill him in on all he missed by listing the top 10 memories of the week. Here’s the music to get you in the mood…
M. Ward– Never Had Nobody Like You
10 / Damgoode Pies and Dan’s Margaritas – Listen, the four of us spent significant amount of time in Chicago. We’ve had plenty of deep dish pizza. Yet somehow, this little Little Rock pizza joint makes it way better than the Chi Town boys ever could. Also…Zach showed us why Parmesan cheese jars have lids that unscrew. Giddy up, cheese monster! (DClark felt like he had Giardia in Afghanistan again the next morning. I’m guessing that’s some sort of sad sickness that inclines one to read 3 magazines at a time while sitting on a certain porcelain chair.) Luckily D Clark’s Passion Punch came thru in the clutch to settle everything back down. Or did it…
9 / Damn good Food! – For some unknown reason, Little Rock is home to some of the most amazing restaurants. We all spent about half of the week in various food comas taking siestas on Bobby and Amy’s over sized couch. We also got our favorite Amy dishes: Queso, Enchiladas and the best home made salsa we have ever had. Lastly, we had the amazing privilege of having Wednesday dinner at the Chino’s. If you have never had the opportunity to try Alison’s cooking than you should do whatever it takes to get invited over: offer free baby sitting, beg, send bribes etc. We promise it is worth it.
8 / Pranay Argarwal – Who knew Daniel’s freshman year Indian roommate got invited to the reunion? Well…at least our best efforts at his amazing accent made the trip! Dan, you like your brown friend again? That is one impression that will never die.
7 / Trivia – We were planning on heading to the minor league ballpark where Bobby’s dad did play-by-play while little Bobby was just a boy, but there was a massive southern thunderstorm that caused us to look indoors for shelter. We ended up at a local bar’s trivia night, where our team showed up halfway into round one, but still managed to barely miss out first place on the entire night by only one wrong question! Great times to put great minds to use. College may have been years ago, but the brains are still sharp!
6 / Bobby’s Show – Bobby’s second performance as a professional musician included an obsessive screaming fan, his mom’s plea for him to enter American Idol and a packed out cafe. Oh…and the chance for a few people to say “I was there before he made it big…”
5 / High School Friends – Coming back to visit our friends from the Crossing had many highlights: chilling with Michael Hall at Bobby’s show, Blocking Dillon’s shot repeatedly in basketball, watching Bobby drop some knowledge on them at Wednesday night service and hanging out during lunch, video games with Hayden (Zach dominated!) and some one-on-one time with Big Phil. It also included the very sweet, but sad moment of saying good bye to our good friend Jose. We will miss you!
4 / Zeke shows Bobby who is Alpha– As Bobby began to wrestle with his dog Zeke, he got a nuzzle and a lick in response. Pinned underneath, Bobby gave up the fight. Zeke responded with a pole to pole display of dominance.
3 / Pingus Pong – Four years ago, Dan and Bob collaborated to create one of the greatest sports known to man: Pingus Pong. As the name suggests it is a mixture of ping pong and tennis. Dan ‘the beast’ Clark dominated this years competition with a nearly undefeated record. Bobby endured a healthy dose of frustration. Zach faked a shoulder injury and took a nap.
2 / Front Yard Wiffle Ball – Bob’s front yard. Old beat up wiffle balls. Some small trees serving as Wrigley’s Ivy or Fenyway’s monster. Having to stop for cars coming down the street. Game on.
1 / Home run derby- A sunny Friday Afternoon, a bucket of balls, a couple wooden bats fortradition’s sake and a metal bat for distance. We even had Zeke nearby to finish off the recipe for the sequel to the Sandlot. The contest ended when Zach broke an aluminum bat in half the first swing after his one and only home run. **Bobby can now expect a new bat from Wilson for his birthday next week**
Something special happens whenever all of us come together: we are reminded of how blessed we are that God has a greater purpose for our collective lives. I am completely and utterly convinced that God brought us together for a purpose and will continue to use us in a way that is greater than any of us on our own. This post is a tribute to our missed friend Adam, to future reunions and to unforgettable memories.
Two months ago I watched a very sub par movie called The Bucket List. The concept is these two dying men who try to accomplish a list of their life goals. The movie was not moving at all, but I loved the idea of having a list of life goals and even better the idea of having a group of people dedicated to helping one another achieve them. Bobby, Adam and Dan, I am throwing down the gauntlet and challenging you to help me write a collective bucket list. Some goals can be personal, some can be group goals. Large or small, short term or long term. Doesn’t matter. I am hoping that this bucket list can be a work in progress throughout the coming months or even years. Here is what I have so far divided between group goals and personal
1) Visit all 7 wonders of the world (Could switch to group if I have any takers)
2) Visit 50+ Countries
3) Become fluent in another language
4) Drive a car over 150mph (Yeah, I have a need for speed)
5) Be best friends with all of my children (You need at least one goal you can never check off)
1) Game of wiffle ball with all of our children and wives
2) Ski trip to Colorado with wives (Addendum by Adam Schaechterle)
3) Have a group reunion at least every 3 years (I would push for every year if I thought it was possible)
If you guys are willing. Than simply add to the list. I also welcome suggestions from our readers.
Unfortunately, I fall into the massive stereotype of young men that think they are invincible and incapable of injury. It is this flawless reasoning that convinced me to go play broomball to celebrate a friends birthday. For all of you that have not been introduced to this backwards sport, it is basically hockey without skates. You run around an ice rink in street shoes with a broom shaped plastic stick. At first it is pretty easy because the ice hasn’t hit that partially melted state, but right around the time you finally start to feel confident it instantly switches to a slip and slide.
In hindsight it was very unwise to play such a ridiculous sport, especially without medical insurance, especially when someone has been injured every time I’ve played the sport. I, however, clung to the history of my life that I always end up injuring someone else and rarely get injured myself. It was this reckless bravado that made me the only one willing to actually run on the ice, which I might add, resulted in a hat trick in the first 10 minutes. It was the same bravado, however, that made me the unlucky guinea pig for that precise moment when the ice finally begins to melt. My feet came out from under me creating a comic fall directly on my right shoulder causing my head to whip lash into the ice. All sound cut out except for a high pitched whistle. Finally the words came back to the tune of “Are you alright?!?”
Fifteen minutes later I realized I should have answered no, but instead of stopping the game again I went to the side to call my sister for some free medical advice, one of the many benefits of having a brainiac sister who just graduated from medical school. A couple of Aleve and some retina tests to make sure that I wouldn’t fall into a coma in the middle of the night because of a severe concussion. The next day I woke up to find that I no longer cared about my head because I could barely lift my arm and there was a strange lump on the top of my shoulder the size of an egg. Once, again the sister to the rescue. She walked me through how to do a shoulder exam to see if anything was broken, sprained, or torn. My room mate conducted the test and came up with the diagnosis of a sprained AC joint. Three to five weeks of an immobile shoulder and then some physical therapy.
I think I am going to have to vote for hate on my broomball ballot. At least until I have medical insurance again.