Monday, September 26, 2011

No Answers

One of the (numerous and varied) highlights of my week and a half long trip around the west coast at the end of the summer was visiting Mars Hill (the Seattle version) for Church on a Sunday morning. Everything about the service was inspiring and convicting, and I walked away refreshed.

A major reason for this was the worship team, a band called Kenosis. (A big thank-you to Olivia for passing on exactly which praise team was on duty that Sunday.) Frankly, I don't think I've ever heard a praise team as good. Check out that link for several of their songs, they're fantastic, and you get a bit of a feel for what the entire service was like.

All the songs that morning were fantastic, but one stood out to me then and continues to stand out as I continue listening to it. It's not an original song, and if you've grown up in the Church or attended for any significant period of time you've probably heard it. It goes by the name "How Deep the Father's Love For Us," and it's a pretty powerful faith anthem. (I posted it on my Facebook wall, so if you came here from there, go back and give it a listen.) Regardless of my mood or situation, there's always something in it that grabs me, and today it's the following line:
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
This is a point lost on many, including me, these days. I think if asked most Christians that question, you might get quite a few responses of "I follow the ten commandments," or "I tithe," or "I volunteer." By the same logic, there are numerous responses to the question "Why shouldn't so-and-so gain from His reward?" There are countless people today doing magnificent things for the glory of God, and there are countless people doing atrocious and abhorrent things just to spite Him. What's interesting is that it doesn't matter one tiny bit who's claiming he or she deserves this stunning mercy and grace, the appropriate response is and always will be stunned and utter silence. It's not that our answers just aren't very good, it's that we literally cannot give an answer.

That sucks, but thankfully it's not the end of the story. The fact that we're even trying to answer to the "why" question implies we expect answers to the "who, what, when, and how" questions as well. We don't get all of those answers spelled out as clearly as we might like in this life, but we do know that Christ redeemed us when He sacrificed himself for our wrongdoings.

He's the answer.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Units of Measure

As a fidgety person, I tend to find a lot of little pointless things to do in my head to pass the time. Usually these things happen while I should be concentrating on something else, but that's another matter entirely. One of the things I often find myself doing is unit conversions for one reason or another, and while on the subject today my mind wandered somewhere interesting. 

It's been three weeks and one day since I found out I have diabetes. Let's put that in some context, shall we? I've known for approximately 196 hours. That's 11,760 minutes. 705,600 seconds. That's the obvious set of units. Moving on.

I've been a diagnosed diabetic through four Michigan football games. That's 552 rushing yards by Denard Robinson, 128 points, and one miraculous win.

Some other metrics for the last three weeks:
  • 13 classes
  • 3 project meetings
  • 5 interviews
  • 3 beers
  • 1/2 a liter of used needles
The crazy part? Besides the sad puppy face I keep making at the doughnuts that show up mysteriously on the kitchen counter on Saturday mornings, the fact that I'm actually eating decent breakfasts, and the ~15 minutes a day I spend actually taking care of my shots, nothing much has changed. It's a conversation starter, and a heck of a way kill peer pressure. (Not really an issue in the first place, but the exchange, "Hey you want another beer?!" "Nah, thanks though!" "Oh c'mon, why not?!" "Diabetes." "Oh..." will probably never get old to me.) My daily prayers don't consist of pleas for relief; I have more stressful things going on than this.

Life goes on, with or without shots.

I guess it's at this point that I'll apologize for the scourge of diabetic posts I've hurled on the internet in the last few weeks. No promises that it doesn't continue, but at least you know that I know that it's probably annoying and comes off as a bit passive aggressive towards my (good-for-nothing, deadbeat) pancreas. 

But now I need to do homework. Thanks for taking part in my distraction. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The New vs. The Old

If you were on Facebook before bed last night, you may have witnessed a miraculous feat of engineering and planning. Granted, you may not have known exactly what you were experiencing, and you may be nonplussed at the result (I'll get to that in a moment), but I think it's important to point it out:

Yesterday evening, Facebook performed an overhaul of its entire user interface seamlessly between page loads.

It might not seem that impressive, and you might hate it, but take a second sometime and go to Facebook, right click, and click "View Source." That gibberish has to work together flawlessly so that you can know what everyone else is doing all of the time. Ridiculous amounts of planning, coding, testing, more coding, and re-testing went into that gibberish.

That's enough CS apologetics for one post. The other thing I want to touch on is how hilarious it is that every time an update is pushed to the users they get so worked up about it. Do you remember what Facebook looked like 8 years ago? 4 years ago? Last year? Probably not. The problem is that people hate change. They want to be comfortable. The fact is, Facebook as a company has a whole lot of interest in keeping its users around, so they're not going to just throw together a whole bunch of crap and say, "Well, we hope the users like this, but we don't really care because we think it looks cool!" What shows up when you navigate to has been tested internally for quite a while by people with a very critical eye.

Now, Facebook is great and all, but this mentality isn't restricted just to social networking sites. The mantra of the public these days isn't so much "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," but "We know it's broke, but we're used to it, so don't you dare touch it!" This is true on the web, and it's true in the education system, politics, professional and college sports, and the list goes on. As soon as something changes, it's often deemed worse than its predecessor on principle before anyone has a clue about whether it's an improvement or not. 

In many cases, the old actually is better than the new, but let's not jump to that conclusion before even giving the new a chance.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -- Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes, scratch that, every time we make plans, big or small, we forget that our plans are actually pretty meaningless. We think we know our plans, but rarely if ever do they align perfectly with God's.

Personal example: I was in the process if working up some pretty awesome blog posts (which may or may not get written now... it's hard for me to go back and work up an idea again) about my summer, my adventures, the incredible relationships I formed and strengthened and renewed, and what I think might possibly come next. I probably would have had a post or two about running all over the west coast with my brother Timm. I might have even included in those posts how I downed as many glasses of water, hit up as many drinking fountains as possible, looked for every excuse I could find to go to the bathroom, and still somehow ended up with a constantly dry mouth.

Wait. What?

Admittedly, that last one would have been a pretty boring blog post, but it was something to write home about. When your mom is a nurse and you're seeing those symptoms, the natural instinct is to have her set up an appointment to get it checked out, so I did. One urine test and some quick blood-work later, I'm sitting at home with a bunch of (the best) friends shooting up insulin in the dining room.

I have diabetes.
  • Yes, it's strange to write that. 
  • No, I haven't wrapped my head around it yet. 
  • Yes, it's a hassle to inject myself four times a day (for now... doctor's appointment Friday should have me being a lot more precise with my dosages). 
  • No, it doesn't really hurt. The needles are very small.
  • Yes, I have the most incredible group of family and friends a human being could ask for.
I need to expand a bit on that last point. 

I can't express how incredibly loving and helpful my parents have been already. My mom's deep knowledge of what my situation entails is invaluable. My dad's text saying, "Hey, I'm just getting out of a meeting downtown, can I meet you at the hospital while you wait to get into the lab?" calmed me instantly. (He didn't quite make it. Blodgett is actually pretty quick at getting people in for blood-work.) My siblings have taken the news with grace and have been light hearted about it.

And my friends. Wow. I had a party scheduled for yesterday night at my parents house, and the thing I was most terrified about throughout the entire afternoon was having to try to work this into a conversation. Luckily when it came up, they took it in stride, and didn't shy from it throughout the night. Like I told them:
If anyone ever has a hilarious diabetes joke and doesn't say it because I'm in the room, I'll be furious.
They obliged. Jokes flew. Tracy Morgan stand-up comedy on the subject was proudly shoved in my face. And I loved every minute of it. I hope that continues.

That's really all I have to say. It's frustrating, but I've got it, so it's better to know now (found out VERY early from what I can tell, praise God!) than to find out later when there are serious complications like a foot falling off or waking up blind or my brain oozing out of my ear. (I honestly have no idea what all the possible complications are. I'll probably hit up Google a million times in the next week.) I've made up my mind to avoid self pity, do my best to take it in stride, and refrain from complaining.

Now it's time to meet some more of the guys at the Dutch House, get into a school routine, do some job searching, and find out what other plans I have that aren't quite aligning with God's.