Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Wrinkly Dinky Dee, Dinky Do...

Some of my friends have said that I act like an old man. That's probably true. I can't wait until I'm old. Sometimes I wonder about what kind of old man I'll be. The coolest grandpa, for sure. I also can't wait until my ears droop this low.

"Age imprints more wrinkles in the mind than it does on the face..." So says Montaigne, anyway, speaking of the wisdom in growing old and how we are all moving toward our perfection and decay. But for some odd reason, here I am, looking forward to both.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

So there I was...

I'd have sworn that it was deja vu all over again. After all, it happens every year and Walmart just so happens to be where I buy a lot of groceries. Anyway, a Walmart run isn't a Walmart run unless it's with your friends at 2 AM. It's just better that way. With the Supercenter to ourselves, I took the liberty to do my shopping in one of those 3 mile-per-hour motor carts, with comfy seat and basket. My brother and Daniel could have walked faster but we all tend to shuffle our feet in true slacker form so I kept up well.

My typical routine for shopping involves starting in the back, then working my way forward. So off I rode, on the way, picking up my leg and crossing it as if it really didn't work. There was one moment that I was very tempted to ask a worker to grab something for me off the top shelf... but I chickened out, just laughing at the idea. When I finally reached the back and passed the eggs and juice, I headed for the milk and suddenly without warning, a glimpse of heaven caught my eye! Could it be, so early in the season? I was nearly giddy with excitement and little could contain it. There, behind the hand smudged door to the refrigerator, sat bottle after bottle after bottle of cold, creamy, delicious egg nog!

Needless to say, I bought some... as did my brother and we all drove home happy and excited, reminded of the coming Christmas season.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's the Season for Falling...

So, I recently signed up for eHarmony... and don't hate. I did it for the personality profile. It's a good one, measuring 29 dimensions of compatibility! Anyway, it asked me what three things I'm most thankful for and being my typical indecisive self, I took an hour to decide.

First on my list: Autumn and the change it represents. I know... It sounds so romantic and deep, right? I couldn't help myself. Seriously though? This is my absolute favorite season. I love this season more than any other season, as it flirts with me, seductively blowing that chilly air in my ear... And all week long, I've worn light jackets and sweaters. The past two days? Overcast, little to no rain, and need I say perfect?


It's late but it's finally fall and I feel that I'm falling in love, with life and everything in it. If the environment really does set my mood, maybe I'll just have to move up north again...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Second Rhyme

What can be said of these feelings inside?
Born out of Beauty, chasing the night
Feelings of wonder, of love, and of hope,
But also of how I’ve adopted my rope
Bound to my fear, I’ve continued to be
No worse than before, still yet to live free
This someone in me, I’m hoping will bear
More wanting to know, to relate, and to dare
I want to step out, this time, to succeed,
If not to gain these, then only to bleed.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

On Breaking Up With My Seasonal Girl

Lately, I've been getting that feeling that milestones are coming to an end, excitement is in the air, and Dick Clark is just around the corner. So, I've prepared myself to give a New Years kiss goodbye to my seasonal girl.

Summer's way too hot for me anyway. And being so, I know she'd leave me soon. Actually, for once, I'd like to up and leave her. If you ask me, I think she's noticed too... Because she seems to stick around longer nowadays, like the half of certain relationships that wants to feel wanted, that needs to feel needed, and takes it too far to get some attention. So she stays a little longer and a little longer and it's suffocating.

As a man who loves cycles, it does happen to be this time of year that feels most like New Years with its confetti made of falling leaves and textbook receipts. Summer is fun, don't get me wrong. Even when we're doing nothing, I enjoy it but I need a change. I need a change for camp-side moods, coats with hoods, and turkey-pumpkin-winter foods. You know? A change for Starbucks runs, college fun, and Bama football run-and-guns. For things that Summer barely knows and places that she rarely goes... but how do I tell her that?

It's not you, it's me?

Friday, August 1, 2008

On Today's Decrease Of Manliness

So, today I decided to take my dad's motorcycle for a drive. I'm not unfamiliar with driving a motorcycle but his is bigger than I'm used to driving. I took it easy at first but, being adventurous, it didn't take long before I decided to hit the main streets of Evergreen, Alabama!

On second thought, maybe I shouldn't have.

I stalled numerous times in front of countless people, burnt my leg on the exhaust and almost laid down the bike in front of an older man cutting his grass. That's almost as embarrassing as when I had to push the bike out of the way of an oncoming truck. At one moment, as I approached a stop sign, I stalled out but played it super cool. A few young construction workers said "Hey!" and "What's up, dude?" and, to feign any problems I had, I quickly shifted gears, restarted, and drove off... feeling like it was smooth but deep down knowing that today was so unmanly.

Yeah, funny but so embarrassing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On Who I'd Want to Be...

I found in my email, that my dad sent me a quote of the day. He knows that one day I'd like to teach. His note said this:

"The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself."
~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton

I love that. You know... He's taught me well too, my dad. He really is an example I'd want to become. Yesterday was his birthday and, as we met for lunch, my grandmother reminded me of a note she passed to me during church a few days ago. We were sitting in a Sunday school class that my Dad teaches and she couldn't get over how much he reminded her of her own father, Papa McGraw. Here he was, showing that he'd become the great example she would have hoped he would. One that her father shared. One that inspires me to teach myself and also to become that sort of teacher.

I hope that I do become that teacher, if not just that sort of father.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On Eating Books and Chips for Dinner

I love PostSecret. Those who send in their secrets never cease to amaze me with their honesty. While many show the serious side of life and learning, other secrets admit some really funny and unusual behavior. Prime example:

It's SO bizarre that I find myself wanting to start doing it! I can't help but picture myself in my room, all alone, finishing a book and then actually considering it. I'd probably get hysterical just for thinking it. Then, to actually do it, I can't imagine how crazy I would feel! I'd probably feel pretty ridiculous... but then again, in the end, wouldn't that be the point? To feel, to experience, no matter how absurd, little things that no one else might understand...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On Living in the Past

I've done a lot of traveling lately. I'd guess I've spent about 100 hours on the road just in the past month. School trips for history's sake, road trips with family, and bus rides to reunite with old friends have made this past month one to remember, and to remember. In all of the traveling, it would appear that for every destination, I haven't been able to avoid that one scenic route we all love to visit: Memory Lane.

It seems longer than I remember. Also, as much as I cherish my return it's a little difficult to drive on. My conservative soul is sensitive and so change can be hard. I really consider myself fortunate to have the experiences I've had and the friends who have come and gone. They make it easy to pass through life wishful that some things will never change.

But oh how they do! It's funny to me how the things I love the most change more often than anything else. I don't know why. Friends move away, family members age, and opportunities to do the things I've wanted seem to slowly disappear. They remind me to take greater advantage of the present, to enjoy the moment, and in that respect, live more fully.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On Dreams and Perspective...

I've found that I love writing letters, on life and love and sometimes God. With it, I become more familiar with the Book we're all reading and writing. My friend and I have spent a little time thinking about dreaming recently and written each other on the topic. I found it interesting as my favorite questions are "Why" questions and our discussion dealt with why we dream.

Two notions were made. First was that we dream because God gives us dreaming for learning, particularly about ourselves. Second was the notion that, while we dream, we instead are the active creators of that dream, acting in whatever manner we wish. Suggesting that it's one or the other, created a problem from where exactly dreams originate.

Despite the contradiction, I believe they paradoxically fit together. I think it's a matter of perspective, one no more right than the other. Any 4th grader is familiar with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person pronouns. 1st person referring to "the person who is speaking" (I, me, we). 2nd person refers to "the person who is spoken to" (you and yours). Finally, 3rd person refers to the person or thing being spoken about (he, they, it).

I find a better understanding of our problem by applying this approach to spirit and the source of our dreaming...

For example, spirit in 1p is the Great I, the Maha-atman, the Overmind, Christ in me - the very Witness within ourselves of this and every moment. Spirit in 2p is the Great You or the all-giving God before whom I surrender in love and devotion, understanding my lack of self-sufficiency. Spirit in 3p is the Great It, the Great Web of life and existence, Gaia, the sense of spirit and energy being in all nature, in all matter, in all of creation.

Most people are comfortable with one of these faces of spirit (or of God) but find trouble acknowledging the others. I have grown up in an environment which is very comfortable with spirit in 2nd person. These theistic traditions of which I'm accustomed have long had trouble coming to grips with spirit in 1st person. Until recently, I did too. If anything, now I have a harder time holding on to my appreciation of spirit in 2nd person.

Whether we are the creators of our dreams or if God gives them to us, in my opinion our problem can't be answered one way or the other. They are both correct, none more right than its counterparts. Being the Creator, we see the source in 1st person. Receiving from the Creator, we see the source in 2nd person. I think if any choice is best here, it is the choice of acknowledging both rather than just the one of preference.

In general, not only with dreams, approaching the topic of God seems best done while integrating all three of these aspects. One might have their preference but I think it's healthier to balance one's understanding with them all.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

On My Hypocrisy...

For some odd reason, there are times I feel like a hypocrite. Yet, it's not like one might expect. I don't find myself doing wrong, all the while acting like I'm perfect. I don't do one thing and say another, giving the impression that I'm better than I am. It's the other way around.

I am perfect... I just act like I'm not.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On Procrastination...

I'm learning to embrace my procrastination lately and it's a beautiful thing. No more worries of trying to become someone I'm not... No more empty promises to myself of getting work done early... No more wishful thinking that someday this may change... as if my character depended on it.

I am a procrastinator... and so what?

Why is that a bad thing?

Procrastination gives me the freedom and time to nurture my creative side and don't forget about how good I've become at handling pressure. Numerous all-night dates with caffeine and textbooks, not to mention Wikipedia, writing paper after paper have made me one lean, mean, stress-fighting machine. I can handle some pressure.

Laziness is another thing, albeit I can be lazy. If it's for someone else, I'll do it now. That's a matter of reliability and my character does depend upon that.

Even if I did plan out my schedule, in order that I got my work done early, I still wouldn't do anything better with the time I had saved. I'd stay up watching Scrubs or hang out with a friend. Even now, I could be sleeping because I have a meeting at nine. But, when would I ever write this? Would I ever write this? Would I ever write this?

I'm serious, you know? I really do think it's a good thing, this procrastination of mine. It has its good fruit. I think it's somewhat beautiful too, because it's rare, to recognize that aspect of my self and accept it when so many would rather me be rid of it.

And so... My name is Joel Williams... and... I'm a procrastinator. But, you know what? I'm not staying for the meeting.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

On the Virtue of Alcohol

I have many friends who drink, who like sipping back on grandpa's old cough medicine if you will, and they will. It's a little something to make them feel good. Whatever. Serving as the universal designated driver over the past few years, I've done a good bit of observing. I've seen some crazy things that make for crazy stories and things I hate but there are little things I really do like.

For instance, there's the guy who thinks he can dance but can't really. Then there's how everybody loves each other. Of course, sometimes that love can be a little too strong and babies are made or cold sores given... People need to control it. Be temperate. However, the way some get more excited or others get more mellow, how either way they're much more sociable, the way people act in ways they rarely do but would more often if only they were more comfortable being themselves. Who can't like that?

Is that weird? Enjoying the beauty in it all when many might condescend the behavior? It is bad for you. I know. It has too many calories... but seriously. It's not that bad...

Monday, March 17, 2008

On Becoming a Spanish Runner

Lately I've felt more present and here in the moment than I have in quite some time. It's weird. Many people talk about trying to live this way more often, not being as distracted on the past or the future, but I haven't really tried at all. It's just sort of happened.

Jokingly earlier today, Kirk said "Hey, new man" as if he's noticed a change...

Is it really that noticeable though?

One of my New Years resolutions was to learn Spanish... Los hombres y un perro!

So, I have a lot more to learn... Whatever.

Another resolution was to run 500 miles this year and while I had a dismal 33 going though the 5th of this month, I've since doubled it. I feel many of my relationships are closer and I'm getting school work done earlier. Things I tend to put off, in every area of my life, I do now. It's odd because my life defines procrastination but now, over the course of a month, I've become more determined than I've been since I don't know when.

Back to Kirk Carey... Vice President of SBLC and my personal dish washer... he also told me that I'm more myself now than I've ever been and you know what? I like that. I like it a lot actually.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I've always had a love for quality time, especially with myself. However, I've recently recognized a significant difference in the amount of time I spend alone. At one time, I was quite independent and gave a lot of my time to writing and reflecting on life. I don't seem to do either nearly as much these days.

Maybe I just don't remember reflecting because I stopped writing...

Regardless, I can't say I like either too much so I've decided to return to blogging, an old flame of mine. It appears to me that as personal growth increases, it cycles through stages, alternating its focus on collective or individual aspects. Perhaps my shift of focus is a sign of growth! If so, it's a welcome one. If not, well... whatever. Blogging should entertain me nonetheless.