_Feb. 13, 2012 • A POSITIVE PRESS PUBLICATION • VOL. 2, ISSUE 4
A Little Dose of Liberation
I was about sixty years younger than the average age in the room that night. To my right sat my grandfather (71), to my left, my uncle Joe (96), and across from me, feet propped up on an Audubon, rested my uncle John (75).
John is a rather loquacious fellow, but not to the point that he discredits himself by speaking too much. He was puffing on a pipe.
I listened as they collectively recounted stories from their lives, and at one point John looked me in the eye and said quite suddenly, “Austin, you’re gonna live. And then you’re gonna die. And in all those hopefully 80 plus years of living you do, you’re not gonna prove a damn thing to anybody. So you shouldn’t give a hoot. Do what you love, enjoy those people around you, and prove to yourself why your life was worth living.”
Well that was a bit heavy. Also, I may have added a little bit. That
said, I remember it vividly, largely because it was so blunt and so honest. Oddly enough, it reminded me of my own thriving narcissism.
I’ve spent much of my life operating under the assumption that what I do is somehow of cosmic importance – I imagine it’s the generation that I’m a part of. We’re the generation sent to college so we can discover our passions and ‘come alive’ (to reference the often quoted Howard Thurman phrase).
Yet the reality is that literally billions of people have come before us and billions will come
after. In the grand scheme of things, we are tremendously insignificant.
We ultimately aren’t going to prove a “damn thing”to anybody.
I find that tremendously liberating. As it was once said to me: if you’re standing alone in a desert and you pick up one grain of sand and move it, what have you done?
You’ve changed the world.
A thing that once was one way is now another way, and it doesn’t matter who knows it, so long as you do.
I think life is a lot like that. No, I’m not advocating for some sort of anarchist, devil-may-care approach to living your life. In fact, I’m not sure if I’m advocating anything. I’m just sort-of-saying something that I felt I should say.
make it worth it?
Moneyball: Embrace Your Inner Underdog
By now you have probably noticed that The Chapel Bell is not a typical publication. We don’t have the funding or resources that others have. We thrive on the commitment of a group of dedicated believers. We’re small, but with great aspirations. We’re young, but age doesn’t matter. We’ve rethought and readjusted, determined to do it our own way.
It is that commitment that makes our successes sweeter and our failures simply fuel for the future. We are the underdog. We know. But who doesn’t love an underdog?
Tate Theater recently showed the movie Moneyball. It’s about Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team in the early 2000s. He essentially had no money. History told him that such a small-market team simply couldn’t compete with the big boys. But he didn’t care about what had or hadn’t been done before. Billy was out to change the game.
Traditionally, a baseball player’s value had been judged by the number of homeruns he hit or the smoothness of his swing at the plate. Scouts even went so far as to recruit players based on their attractiveness. Being handsome, they thought, made a player more confident.
Billy didn’t buy it. He thought other statistics were more important. On-base percentage, for example, or how often a hitter actually gets on base, was his favorite. A high on-base percentage created more opportunities for a team to score runs. More importantly, because the other general managers didn’t value players like he did, Billy could get those guys for cheap.
He took criticism at every crack of the bat. Radio talk show hosts called for his head. His coach refused to listen to him. “You can’t do that,” they said. “It’s never been done that way before. That’s not how it works.” But he pressed on.
By the end of the season, his small-market, low-budget team had blown everyone away. They made the playoffs, and in doing so, set the record for the longest winning streak baseball had ever seen!
Those underdog stories are undeniably romantic. They inspire us to think big, to blast through the boundaries of “what’s been done before.”
At The Chapel Bell, we also want to change the game. But more importantly, we want to inspire you to do the same.
What’s your underdog story?
With Valentine’s day in the mix and spring right around the corner, we’re going to be taking lots of pictures in the coming weeks. That’s why I have to tell you about Sincerely!
Sincerely is an awesome new company that makes a suite of apps for iPhone and Android. The included screenshot shows each app (as they appear on iPhone).
Each Sincerely app is unique and serves a specific purpose, but they all have a common goal. Sincerely prints pictures you take and sends them to you, your friends, or your loved ones.
The apps are free, but you do have to pay a dollar or two for the prints. I was nervous the first time, but it was worth a dollar to satisfy my curiosity. I was blown away by the photo quality, and the finished products look very professional.
I have had great experiences using the Postagram and Holiday Cards apps. Over the break, I created and edited a postcard while riding through Virginia with my family. I sent it to my mom for two bucks, and it was waiting for us in the mailbox when we got home.
These apps provide an easy way to go the extra mile. That’s my favorite thing about them. I’m always snapping pictures on my phone, but many of them don’t ever make it to Facebook. Postagram has become my favorite way to say thank you and
remind friends of good times together. For a dollar I can send them a little picture of us hanging out or remind them of an inside joke.
I’ve been dying to share about Sincerely, because it seems like such a natural extension to the usefulness of all the cameras in our pockets. Be sure to also check out Dotti, which works like a disposable camera, and PopBooth, which sends photo strips.
Hope you enjoy sending and receiving some real, physical photos this year!
The Fault in Our Stars
You are a girl with Stage IV thyroid cancer, taken out of high school to live at home until your miracle drugs stop working. You wonder: will I be remembered, and is that a selfish question to ask? What is important anymore?
These are the themes John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars grapples with. The prose is honest, mature, and written from the perspective of a sardonic yet charming girl with cancer.
This isn’t a light high school romance; this is literature written in an attainable way that reminds us about the importance of the individual–and if we are sufficiently dealing with our humanity.
It begins with the main character, Hazel, alone. Her mother persuades her reluctant daughter to go to a cancer support group instead of focusing on her limited supply of days.
Hazel meets the mesmerizing Augustus Waters, a character who doesn’t hide from disease. He smokes an unlit cigarette so he “‘doesn’t give it the power to do its killing.’”
This frank confrontation of their situations is what makes the story symbolically rich and necessary to tell. Hazel feels she needs to distance herself from others “to not be a malevolent force in the lives of people [she] loved.” This becomes a futile point when she learns that our purpose is not to leave an indelible mark, but to make connections that create a story worth telling. She discovers it is more important to love with dangerous attachments than to live without depth. As someone about to lose everything she finds adventure, tenderness, and meaning. Can you muster that kind of vulnerability?
Green’s story is beautifully written even if “people always get used to beauty.” Read the book before you see the new movie and appreciate your life, your viability. You might do something worth remembering.
Do What You Love--Just Do It!
Recently I have been plagued with so many decisions, and you probably have to. Here are a few that may strike a chord with you - housing for next year, summer plans, whether to go home this weekend, major, who my close friends should be, and the list goes on. Literally until three days ago, I have spent my life being weighed down by making the “right” decision.
My most recent battle with fate concerned my summer plans… my ideal summer plan was to work at a Young Life camp in British Columbia, but that plan was shot to pieces. Like most people, I took the precaution of having multiple “Plan B’s,” but I had no direction as to which options I should pursue. To apply for everything was impossible. I would do
ANYTHIING to uncover the cryptic code that would reveal to me the right options to pursue… I was desperate.
All this to say- that is NOT the way that life in intended to be lived. If you are currently making any type of decision, then pay attention to this; there are no wrong decisions, only wrong intentions. When I was finally able to wrap my mind around this concept, the 2000 lb. burden that hung over my shoulders evaporated.
I was free to make a decision, the possibilities were endless! For the first time, I could get pumped up about the myriad
options that I am lucky enough to choose from!
Now, there is a fine line between naivety and optimism. I realize that we cannot just throw everything to the wind and take off for Africa on a whim; but, I do not
think that we have to fret and make up “what if” futures in an attempt to figure out where is the “right” place to spend our summer, the “right” person to date, or the “right” company to work for!
Here is my advice- look at your REAL intentions for what you are deciding on. It is usually easiest to lie to yourself, so take precaution. But, if you can honestly declare that your intentions are for good (good is subjective), and that whatever you choose involves doing what you LOVE, then just make a decision. It will be okay.
I will leave you with this. Simply do what you love and what contributes to a higher good. If this is the filter that you pass your decisions through, then there is no “wrong decision”.
There is good in every new season and situation, we just have to be willing to get off the road of what we KNOW and make a turn.