There’s a great scene in Fight Club where Tyler Durden tries to convince the narrator to “just let go” and give up the control he thinks he has over his life. It is a powerful scene that encapsulates many of the themes of the film (and Chuck Palahniuk’s brilliant novel), but what always stood out the most for me is this: People spend much of their lives trying to control the things that happen in their life, when in reality we have little control. By shattering that illusion of control, Tyler leads the narrator on a path toward self-actualization.
Control is a difficult thing to relinquish. We all want to feel like we’re in control. We can take care of ourselves. We have our own plans. Put your best foot forward and you’ll get the job, the girl will like you. Work hard and you’ll be successful, respected. Eat right and exercise and you’ll be in good health. When that illusion of control is shattered like the windshield of Tyler’s car, it’s a traumatic experience, not necessarily as violent but always painful.
There have been times where I have felt close to God, as though I am walking lock-step in the path He has laid out for me. There are times when I feel as though I am all alone and my unheard prayers and cries are echoing off the bare walls of my bedroom. This is the latter. It’s easy in such times to ask “where is God” or “doesn’t He care?” Recently, however, it occurred to me that maybe times like these happen because he cares. Maybe it’s his way of saying “Jeremy, just let go.”
The more we rely on ourselves, the more we try to maintain control, the less we rely on God. Maybe sometimes God takes something from you to show you that it wasn’t what you need, that your heart and your mind are focused on the wrong thing. I have a hard time letting go. I have my own hopes, dreams, and desires. I have my own plan for my life. I have my own ideas of what it means to be successful and secure. And no matter how much time I spend trying to convince God that my plans are the best — and believe me, I have spent a lot of time doing exactly that — I know that God’s plan is likely very different. Read more…
Mankind at its core is a selfish animal, one that is concerned with consuming things and collecting things. Well, that and having sex with things. Pretty much those are our passions. We like having things and many of us define ourselves by what we have and what we don’t have. Never is that more apparent than any time possessions are split and divided.
How possessions are split says a lot about the parties involved. For instance, splitting payment on a TV or entertainment system with your girlfriend is saying “I hope we stay together forever.” It’s also saying “I am a huge idiot who didn’t learn anything from any of my past failed relationships.” Once you break up, you have to convince her that it’s pretty much your TV; you just let her watch it sometimes. You can try that, but you would probably have better odds of convincing her that you didn’t break up. Read more…
Dinner is probably the most common activity for a first date. It is something that is safe and allows you to talk and get to know each other. Sure, you can try something a little more original, such as touring ancient ruins, or a little wilder, like skydiving, but your date might not be into that. Dinner dates are safe because, with the exception of anorexics, everyone enjoys eating.
“So, do you like food?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Oh my god! So do I! We have so much in common already.”
Even if you do go on a date with an anorexic, dinner is fine. It just means that she’ll save you money by ordering a salad and that her breath will smell bad after her little trip to the restroom. I’ve done dinner dates many times, usually followed by some fun activity – definitely not seeing a movie. There probably isn’t a worse date idea than seeing a movie. Read more…
Single life is hard, but it’s harder still when you’re in your 30s (or older). Every couple you know and every couple you see is a constant reminder that you’ve been left behind. While your friends are raising children, you are still eating ramen noodles alone on the sofa while watching 30 Rock before passing out alone and wondering whether or not it is actually weird to spoon with your dog at night.
One of my favorite lines from 30 Rock came from Liz Lemon, whose love life is as bad as mine. When a friend asked if she had plans, she said “No, I was going to take this class called ‘Cooking for One’ but then the teacher killed himself.” Read more…
Though few will admit it, people enjoy lies. Deception has many purposes, but the most innocuous, and possibly the most celebrated, is its use as a motivator. Lies are unparalleled in their ability to get things done, to get people onboard with your plan and motivated to do something. Would Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have risked their lives in the Apollo 11 mission if they hadn’t been told that the moon was made of cheese? Probably not, and it’s pretty telling that we haven’t sent men back to the moon once we learned that it was just rock.
Following is an excerpt of a transcript of communications during the Apollo 11 mission:
NASA Tower: Just rock? Are you sure it’s not cheese? Maybe Gouda or Limburger?
Armstrong: Negative, Houston. It’s definitely rock.
NASA: Well, hell, we have rock here. Alright, come on back. Are you sure it’s not Gruyere?
Armstrong: Affirmative. Definitely not Gruyere.
NASA: Okay, the mission is over. Come on back home.
Armstrong: What do you want us to do with the space mice? The ones we brought to test whether the moon cheese was edible.
NASA: I don’t know anything about space mice, and neither do you. Do I make myself clear? Read more…