When It Rains

“When it rains, I don’t mind being lonely, I’ll cry right along with the sky. When it rains, I don’t pretend to be happy, I don’t even have to try. When it rains, some people get down, they’re sporting a frown so they fit right in. Yeah, the sun may brighten your day, but if I had my way, I’d take the rain.”

Once again, greetings! Today’s post will be short and sweet (he’s lying, don’t believe him), so let’s get right into it. The above lines come from the song “When It Rains” by the Eli Young Band, and I thought I’d blog a little about the lines in the chorus. Or ramble. Mostly just ramble.

There’s something wonderful about a rainy day, isn’t there? The sound of fat raindrops striking a glass window, the rumble of distant thunder, and the delicious coolness that comes with it all is simply marvelous. With a hot drink, some good music, and an engrossing book, it’s one of the most wonderful experiences one can have. But there’s more to it than just that. Sitting and reading a book is one thing, but being out there is quite another.

There are different emotions that one can feel while being out in the rain. If it’s during a sunshower, there’s a sense of being alive as the sun shines down on you and yet the raindrops are falling. It’s bright and sunny and cool and refreshing all at once, and the contrast makes such a delicious feeling that you can’t help but feel alive. You feel as if you’re finally living. And it’s glorious.

But when the rain pours down with all its fury and the wind lashes through the trees, and the dark blue sky seems to be alive as it churns, and the thunder goes boom, boom, boom, and the lightning lights up the sky with a terrific sound that seems to split the world in two—it’s then you realize how small you are. How insignificant you are compared to all there is out there. How tiny and meaningless you are as you look at the majestic and powerful Nature that’s been created and placed here.

And you can stand there and feel the raindrops strike you in the face and hear the lightning strike and the thunder roll and smell the wetness and you can embrace it. You can embrace your smallness. Your insignificance. And you can realize that ultimately, we aren’t as important as we make ourselves out to be. And as you embrace it, you can accept the feelings that come. You can be lonely, and you don’t care. This is the truth. This is how it is. Behind the façade of constant happiness that isn’t always quite real, you can realize that you don’t have to pretend to be happy. Because it’s not the truth.

Other people pretend to be depressed and down to belong to the group that realizes the truth. But they pretend. Those who realize and embrace it know the truth. And it’s the Truth that is important. The Truth is not a lie. The Truth is what’s real. What’s honest. What’s raw. It gladly admits that all is not right. It welcomes the fact that there is more to life than pretending to be all right. And yet, it also believes that there is more than what we see here. That there is something greater.

What is Truth? God is Truth.

Less than three,
Josh

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” –Jerry Chin

Let’s Talk About The Internet

Hola, amigos!

Instead of posting something that I’ve written, today I decided to just. .talk. That’s right. I’m going to sit here, stare at my computer, and let my fingers do the talking. Right now. About things that annoy me. Oh yes. I’m going that way.

Let’s talk about. .the Internet. It’s handy on so many levels, isn’t it? From finding song lyrics to getting directions or connecting with others, the Internet has made our lives easier in so many ways.
However, with it comes. .the people. And I firmly believe that the Internet can bring out the worst in people. Have I offended you already? If I have, you might want to leave now. It’s going to get worse. Because I am about to list some pet peeves I have about people on the Internet. Right now.

People on the Internet lack grammar and mechanics. Look, people, I am NOT asking you to use the subjunctive correctly. I’m not asking you to have your modal verbs in order. All I’m asking is that you take the time to type something that makes SENSE. You go on a chatbox somewhere and this is what you see:
Person 1: heeeyyyy whats up hows it goin
Person 2: nm u
Person 3: idk im bord n sittn here b/c i gots nutin 2 do
Person 1: sucks!!!!!!!!! me and my girl r going out 2day.
Person 2: cool
Person 3: totes awesome! g2g ttyl
Person 1: kk l8r
What even. WHAT EVEN. Does it really take that much time to just type out the word “you”? Will your heart stop pumping because you had to take the time to type out TWO MORE LETTERS? It’s not “ure”, peoples, it’s “you’re.” It’s not “l8r,” it’s “later.” I understand if you’d rather say “gtg” or “brb,” but trying to cut every word down to under five letters is NOT how it goes. Computers and the Internet make our lives so much easier; does it really take that much effort to type a coherent sentence? Also, what is it with excessive punctuation? Two or three, I understand. But fifteen question marks? What in the world? Why say, “How are you????????????” when you can say, “How are you?” Have you not seen said person for five hundred years? Please, people. Enough of that silleh nonsense.

People on the Internet lack manners. Like, why? Do you really need to insult someone? Because it’s the Internet, people have the mentality that, “I can say whatever I want and get away with it,” and therefore feel the need to say whatever they want, whenever they want, and in the most insulting manner possible. Look, people. A little respect goes a LONG way. But no. It’s the Internet. LET’S TROLL AND FLAME TO OUR HEART’S CONTENT.
No. Just no.

People on the Internet are all too often idiotic. Honestly, people. All you have to go do is scroll through the comments on a YouTube video. You’re going to find people saying all sorts of meaningless, offensive, and trashy things. I mean mention one of these words, and you’re bound to get a debate: God, Obama, homosexuality, abortion, or feminism. Alternatively, you can go to a video of a music group, or a clip of a movie, and then say that so and so is better than whoever’s in said video. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with debating and discussing different viewpoints, people, but when you start spouting of senseless garbage that makes zero sense, what on earth is the point of that? It does nothing but make YOU look like a fool. However, you can take comfort in the fact that are countless more out there who fail to follow basic rules of common sense, and will allow you to be just another face in the mass of silly Internet people.

Having said all this, I in no way “hate” people on the Internet. Well, I try not to. It is incredibly frustrating, but after it happens over and over, you get used to it. That does not, however, make it proper for people to lack social grace and decent etiquette on the Internet. You can’t do all that you say and do on the Internet in the real world, can you? So, for those of you who still are reading, I’ve taken time to compile a brief list of tips you can follow while surfing the interwebz.

  • Take a few extra seconds to make a sentence you type look legible. Cut down on excessive slang and Internet chatspeak. Make sure you spell words properly. The bad habits stick, believe me.
  • Remember other people have different opinions. Not everyone thinks the same way you do or believes the same thing you do. Don’t yell at them in ALL CAPS and decide that they’re worthless people.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. If someone’s out trying to flame others on the Internet, don’t fall for it, good people. Live, and let live. Let them live in their own bubble. You’re not going to be able to change them.
  • Respect others. This one really sums up a lot. If you treat others with respect, you’ll make your own life—and other’s—so much easier and more fruitful. Respect is really important.

    Anyways, readers, I’ve rambled quite a bit. Thank you once again for taking the time to read this (and for not hating me too much, I hope)! It’s always a pleasure.

    Also, I’d like to let you know that I’ll be moving next week, and I’m not quite sure how things will be in regards to Internet access. I have, however, scheduled a few posts to help cover you during the start of the next month. Hopefully I shall blog once more before the month ends, but if I do not, rest assured that I shall be around at some point or another.

    And that’s all! Have a good one, folks.

    Less than three,
    Josh

    “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul; And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.” –Emily Dickinson

  • Saturday!

    Hello again, good people!

     So tomorrow is Monday, quite possibly one of the most hated days of the week. Therefore, I took the liberty of writing a short piece based on another day of the week. Enjoy, friends.

     

    I open my eyes as my alarm goes off. It’s 6:30 a.m. Perfect. The day I’ve been waiting for is finally here. I grin inwardly, still too exhausted to make the effort to actually do it. In one fluid movement, I roll out of my bed and stand up straight on my feet. Shaking my head to clear the cobwebs, I mentally wake up. Then I quickly touch my toes ten times, followed by fourteen push-ups—I’m working to get to fifty, but it takes time—and then do twenty sit-ups. Gotta try to keep in shape.

    A quick shower is in order, after which I brush my teeth. Even though I don’t have to, I fix my bed because I can. And because I’m partly a neat freak. Once that’s done, I grab my backpack, then I open my bedroom door and step out. I’m tempted to race down the stairs, but my little siblings and parents are still asleep. I don’t know how they can be, but they are. Maybe they don’t realize what today is.

    Downstairs, I grab a bagel and spread some cream cheese on it, then wash it down with some milk. I leave a note on the refrigerator, telling the parents where I’ll be, even though they know. After all, it’s that day.

    In five minutes, I’m on my bike, pumping my legs as fast as I can go. As I whiz down the road, I take in the surroundings. There aren’t that many people out—a few morning joggers, the odd couple, several cars. Most people are sleeping in. Good. There’s less noise, which allows me to hear the birds singing their morning song. The cool wind blows in my face, and I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs. I’m alive!

    Soon I coast to a stop in front of the local coffee store. Mr. Edwards is already up and serving coffee and breakfast to the few people in there. Soft bluegrass plays through the strategically located speakers, and there’s a barely audible buzz as people sip their hot drinks and eat their toast and eggs while conversing with others. I glance over each of them, feeling as though we’re silently communicating. Those of us who’re here have realized that it’s that special day. They’ve taken the initiative to get up early and enjoy the day, unlike the others. And because they’ve done that, they’re like me.

    Maybe I’m just over-thinking everything.

    I get a cappuccino and donut and then go through the back door. There’s a little pond several dozen yards away, which is where I’m headed. Once I find a shady tree, I take off my backpack and sit down on the verdant grass. Humming, I pull out my iPod and put on my earphones. Soon epic movie soundtracks are playing.

    Then I take out my new book that I just bought the other day and open it to the first page. As I take a drink of my coffee, I pause to relish the moment. Everything feels perfect right now: there’s good music playing, I’m holding a great book, and it’s early morning. Everything feels alive right now. I feel alive.

    I love Saturdays.

     

    Less than three,

    Josh

     “Education…gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them.”—The Idea of a University, Discourse VII, John Henry Newman

     

    The Smile

    Hello yet again, good friends!

    He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to carry.

    This quote comes from what the book that F. Scott Fitzgerald is best known for. I’m talking, of course, about The Great Gatsby. This book is set in the famous Jazz Age, during the 1920’s, an era where moral and social values are almost nonexistant on the East Coast, and most of the upper class citizens are hollow, empty people who live for nothing more than to seek pleasure. They are vulgar and cynical, empty and pretentious, and Nick Carraway, the narrator of the story, finds himself interested in the gaudy and flashy lifestyle of the rich. However, he quickly is repulsed, as he notices the lack of social grace and taste.

    During the scene the quote comes from, Nick meets Jay Gatsby for the first time. Gatsby, who is Nick’s enigmatic neighbor, hosts lavish weekly parties at his large mansion. When Nick gets a personal invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties, he goes, but does not see the host. When he finally meets Jay Gatsby, he is surprised, for Gatsby is a young, charismatic millionaire. Gatsby strikes up a conversation with Nick, who has no idea that he’s talking to the party’s host. Once Gatsby reveals his identity, not realizing that Nick did not know, Jay offers Nick a smile, which Nick describes in the above quote.

    That brief snapshot gives the reader a first glimpse into the life of Jay Gatsby. The reader sees him as an irresistibly charming character that one cannot help but be drawn to. Fitzgerald introduces us to Gatsby and gives us a good impression of the character; however, throughout the course of the book, he tears down the Gatsby we are first introduced to. Though the great Gatsby is not all that the reader–or Nick–first sees him for, that smile wonderfully sums up who Gatsby is; at least, it describes who Gatsby *portrays* himself to be. And despite all that is revealed about Gatsby throughout the novel, at the very end, one can understand why Jay did all that he did and truly admit that he was, indeed, the Great Gatsby.

    Less than three,

    Josh

    “To die, to sleep; to sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
    for in that sleep of death what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.”
    –To Be, Or Not To Be, William Shakespeare

    Greetings, humans!

    Short story I wrote roughly based on a writing prompt I found a few weeks ago. Enjoy, or not.

    The man slammed his car door shut and took a deep breath. He turned around to make sure the other driver didn’t have any other trouble with his tire. The driver gave him a thumbs-up and eased his way back onto the highway, honking to show his thanks. The man nodded once, even though the driver couldn’t see him, and then slowly got back onto the dark and nearly deserted highway.

    The man wasn’t sure why he’d stopped to help him, why he went out of his way to assist those in need. He did not abhor human contact; no, he merely was a lonely soul floating through life as though he were a ghost. He was but an ordinary person—he lived in a middle-sized town and worked at a bank, offering brief nods and perfunctory smiles, but nothing more. The man was the quintessential John Smith, and he was comfortable that way.

    Then what possessed him to go out of his comfort zone and choose to interact with the others—to help those who needed it? He did not know what urged him to, but when he saw the man standing next to his car, trying to work with his tire at 3 a.m., something in him said to stop and help him. And he did.

    Sighing, the man reached over for his iPod, which was connected to his car speakers, and put it on shuffle. The song that started playing was one that he had never heard before, the vocalist singing, “Ah, look at all the lonely people.” Though the man had over a thousand songs on his playlist, he prided himself on being able to identify any song he had in under twenty seconds. But he did not know which song this was. He listened to the story the song told, captivated.

    “Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been, lives in a dream, waits at the window, wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door. Who is it for? All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

    He frowned as he listened. A moment ago he could have sworn that he’d never heard the song in his life, but now the man felt as though he had. Or had he? Was he merely confusing the song with another similar song he had heard? Or had he really heard this at some point? He is driving on a highway that is similar to this one: long, flat, banal. He is eating a sandwich and humming along to the song playing.

    The man blinked. What had happened? A strong feeling of déjà vu had come over him, as though he had been doing almost the same thing at another point—but he could not remember. “This is insane,” he said out loud, trying to assure himself that nothing was wrong. Though he did not take his eyes off the road, he continued to listen to the song.

    “Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear. No one comes near. Looking at him, darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there. What does he care? All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

    He let out another sigh, realizing that he could commiserate with Father McKenzie. He was all alone in the vast universe, without a friend in the world. But whose fault was it? Was it not his own unwillingness to participate in any social activity that made him a recluse? As the man cracked his neck, he was once again hit with that same feeling of déjà vu. He is reaching for his iPod, looking for another song. He makes sure that he still pays attention to the road. It is rather late, and he hasn’t passed another car for nearly ten minutes.

    The man shivered. What was going on? Why did he feel as though something like this had happened before? And why did he feel a strange feeling of dread that slowly was growing? He felt it in his bones, and his heart began to pound faster. Something terrible was going to happen, and he didn’t know what. Paranoia swept over the man, and he clutched the steering wheel tighter.

    He could now hardly hear the music over the fast beating of his heart. The man could hear the blood pounding in his ears, going lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. In fact, it seemed to be getting louder. He was about to pull over when he was once again struck with the overwhelming sense of déjà vu. He is still trying to find the song that he wants. He is distracted, not paying much attention to the road. But then something makes him look up. And then he sees it.

    It was as though he were glued to his seat, unable to move at all. Terror had overtaken the man, and there was nothing he could do. He saw the headlights in the distance, rapidly coming closer. Now he remembered it all. He knew how it was going to end. This wasn’t supposed to happen. How was it happening? What crazy person would be driving in the opposite direction on a one-way highway?

    In the background, the music kept playing as it reached the final verse to the haunting song. “Eleanor Rigby, died in the church and was buried along with her name. Nobody came. Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave. No one was saved. All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

    In the split second before the crash, he suddenly realized that if he died now, nobody would care. Nobody would remember him. His life would have meant nothing. Absolutely nothing. But there was no time to think. The headlights filled his peripheral vision, and there was nothing the man could do but cover his face and scream.

    Collision.

    Less than three,

    Josh

    “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” –Psalm 121:1-2

    Guest Blog Post: Anglo-Catholicism

    Greetings, fellow Internet browsers! Today we have a guest blog post from IrishLioness, as she discusses her faith and what she believes in. Do come along and spend a few minutes with us on this fascinating and informative adventure with said blogger!

    To introduce myself, I am an Anglo-Irish blogger from just north of London, England, interested in all things about life. I blog a lot about nonsense in my life (generally on a Sunday), about current affairs, about how much I suck at being a girl, and a whole host of other topics. But, today, I thought I’d step away from what I call “my slightly grumpy and somewhat sarcastic musings on the world”, and instead write something a little more… informative. Yes, that’s right: I’ll be writing on my faith.

    I come from a particular part of the body of Christ. I’m not sure if it’s a hand or a foot, but it’s a something. It is High-Church Anglicanism, or Anglo-Catholicism, and it’s so often misunderstood. So, I decided to tackle the most common questions that come up when I tell people I am an Anglo-Catholic.

    But, I thought Anglicanism was born out of Henry VIII’s divorce!
    Eh. Yes and no. There’s no point beating about the bush here: we have to accept that the regent’s divorce was the catalyst for the creation of the Anglican faith. But, make no mistake, the proceedings for a break with Rome were being organised long before Henry VIII decided he wanted Anne Boleyn as his queen.
    I should also point out here, at the risk of sounding like I have a superiority complex, that Anglo-Catholicism is the purest form of Anglicanism. It was all that existed for the years between the creation of the Church of England and the writing of the Thirty-Nine Articles (an abhorrent document, I must add). So, don’t be deceived into thinking that because we’re a smaller section of Anglicanism, we aren’t the real deal. We’re what came first.

    Why do you cross yourself and bow to the altar upon entering a church?
    I believe the sign of the cross is immensely powerful. It’s the sign that priests and bishops make as they declare a Trinitarian blessing or absolution over their congregations. It’s the sign we are marked with when we are baptised into Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, when I cross myself, I am invoking something. I am invoking the power of the cross over myself. I am calling on Christ in a very real, meaningful way, to bless me, and sanctify me. I realise I could simply ask God to do those things, but there’s that old adage that actions speak louder than words; I suppose this is an example of that. It is a very real reminder of the cross that covers me. Now, I don’t just cross myself in church. I do it after prayer, or when I hear the name of the Blessed Trinity spoken, or when I feel the need for protection, etc. etc. But, when I enter a church, or a chapel, or any consecrated ground, I cross myself. I do so out of respect: God dwells in His house, and I feel I need to recognise that.
    Bowing to the altar is a similar thing: it’s about respect. I believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist; I believe He is fully and truly present in the taking of the bread and wine. The altar is His dwelling place, and if that is the case, who wouldn’t bow before the King?

    So, what’s your deal with saints?
    I have always believed the saints can intercede on behalf of us. It would be foolish not to. After all, if you believe in the communion of saints, why on earth wouldn’t you? After much deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that invocation is not the worst thing ever to grace this planet. I’m more likely to ask God to send St. Thomas to my doubting family, or to send St. Cecelia to my friends when they’re about to perform in a concert, or St. Lucy to those who fail to see His way, than I am to ask those saints themselves. But, it is not unknown for me to do it, nor for me to sing the litany of saints. That’s a typical Anglo-Catholic position: we don’t oppose it, in a similar way we don’t oppose confession to priests; we simply don’t think it a necessity. To use an old, Church of England adage, “all may, some should, none must.”

    Sacraments? Say what?
    Ah, yes. This old question. Effectively, Anglo-Catholics believe something that the vast majority of Protestants do not: church rituals are so much more than something we just do out of habit. We give seven of them a name: sacrament. Sacrament means an outward, physical display of an inward, spiritual grace; essentially, we believe that through these seven sacraments, we receive the grace of God. So, the sacraments are: Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion (the Blessed Eucharist; the Blessed Sacrament), Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, the Anointing of the Sick, and Confession and Absolution.
    Each of these sacraments is a stepping stone on a Christian’s journey. They are all the same, in the sense that they all give us grace, but they are very different, too. For example, Holy Baptism is about receiving grace, being washed of sin, and being grafted into the Almighty’s church; Confirmation is about receiving grace, following the decision to go forth into the world, living for God, doing His work etc., and professing Christ, therefore placing us in a position to take the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Eucharist is the most wonderful of sacraments, where we receive grace, through remembering Christ, adoring Him, and allowing His sacrifice to sanctify us. I could go on and on about the sacraments, but note what I have said about each one: they are about receiving grace. It is the Father working in extraordinary ways, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the good of His children. It is love, like no other.
    –IrishLioness

    Many thanks to IrishLioness for her post! As a disclaimer, the views expressed by the guest blogger are not necessarily shared by the author of this blog. Also, IrishLioness will be busy taking exams until Friday, so any comments directed towards her will not be answered until then.

    Thanks to you, reader, for taking the time to read this post! Have a wonderful day!

    Less than three,
    Josh

    “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
    –George Bernard Shaw