Sunday, June 7, 2015

Standing Up

I've been asked to post the speech I gave at senior celebration, the school awards ceremony held a few days prior to graduation. The video of me actually delivering the speech is MIA, so the best option I have is text. I'm currently procrastinating diligently working on another piece about a personal project I undertook this past year (look for it to show up here in the next few days), so I'll put this up to fill the time. Before you start reading, I'd like to share a few fun facts:

  • Speeches for senior celebration and graduation were selected based on auditions before a committee of teachers. I was one of three students who gave it a try, and I found out the next day the results of my audition. They told me that my speech was the overall best without question, but that I couldn't give it at graduation because "they were unsure how the graduates would react in the new venue, given how exciting the speech was. After all, we don't want graduates crossing the three-foot wall between the audience and the floor." So, I was relegated to Senior Celebration speaker
  • "Senior Celebration" was marketed as an awards ceremony to recognize every student, not just Honors Students. The teachers told me it would be great for everyone. It was not.
  • I was warned to cool down and to not get too informal in my speech. Oops.
  • Towards the end, as everyone was reacting to my speech, multiple teachers were giving me the "kill it now" sign. God forbid a senior class be excited about graduating.
  • In his brief farewell address at graduation, the senior class president urged the class to "in the words of Austin Hays, stand up." I seem to recall some shocked looks on teacher's faces as the graduates suddenly stopped being quiet.
So, I was an anti-authoritarian idol for a short time. Enjoy the speech that made it so.

Good evening, guys.

Well, shoot,  we’re about to graduate. Can I get a collective sigh of relief? Yeah, that’s good.

It is an amazing pleasure to be speaking right here before you in this moment. To have conquered these four years at Dutch Fork High. To put every struggle that got us to this place behind us, and to turn our gaze to what comes next. To have done it all as one class united by the Silver Fox. Truly, there is no group I’d rather stand among and no place I’d rather be than with you, the Class of 2015, in this very place here and now.

Now that we’re all done with classes, and I know y’all are so disappointed about that (especially you, our esteemed faculty), it’s easy to get sentimental. I think this point in the speech is where one would typically start listing off all those memories we had as high schoolers. The chatter between friends walking from class to class. The crisp air of the stadium Friday nights in October. The sudden panic as we realized we were walking through the commons without our ID’s. In a few short days, we’ll don our green garments, with all of our regalia around our necks, and walk together as a class one more time. They’ll say that that’s our defining moment:  gathered together in our caps and gowns, wearing cords and stoles that represent our achievements. They say that’s our greatest moment at this age.

But I don’t think that’s all of it. There must be something much more powerful within this class of 2015. This class, with its state championship rings, its award winners, and its strong, diverse minds and hearts that keep on beating, just doesn’t feel like it can be summed up by simple descriptions. There must be more dwelling within us, waiting to be revealed.
The last time I was with this large of a group of high school seniors was at a conference in Philadelphia last year. There, the speaker was a man named Michael Curry, and he told us all that he had one word he wanted us to remember: “go.” Folks, that word hit me hard. This zany old man running around the stage yelling at the top his lungs that he wanted us to go. Is that a challenge, Mr. Curry? Where do you want us to go? I know you said we were so young and full of energy, but how do you expect us to go somewhere while we still have to finish high school? Some of us don’t even have a car!

But--it was that word and the challenge that came with it that assured me of my place. That we, as young men and women, were on a mission, and that individual talents--yours and mine--make us strong. That as graduating seniors, graduation is just the sudden beginning to what we’re about to do, and that in spite of the ups and downs we faced as students, we’re primed to make an impact--even the most subtle dent--in our communities, our state, our country, and the world.

I’m not speaking here because of any special achievement I had in school. I’m not in the top 10, I never did a sport, I was never voted class president or prom king, and I never joined that many clubs. That’s not to say that no one deserves those achievements; we all labored to get where we are today, and we’ve earned everything we’ve got. But ask yourself, when graduation is over, and you hang your cap and gown et cetera in the closet, what is it you are going to remember?
Are you going to remember your GPA and class rank? Are you going to remember the number of cords you wore and their specific colors? Are you going to remember how many times you were quoted in the yearbook?

Or will you remember the moments that genuinely made us what we are today? The teachers, coaches, and staff who challenged us and made us greater than we were. The family and friends sitting around us who have supported us in every step of our journey. Moments of self-discovery and growth that somehow, someway made us realize our talents and told us “hey, I think this is where the road should take me.”

Every single one of us has worked hard for this, and we’ve got it now. We got here not because we are all capable of doing everything, or because the green and silver are magical colors that turn us into superhumans, but because we each carry our own set of talents that as a whole cannot truly be summarized by words or symbols. We’ve endured aching limbs and sleepless nights, we’ve pushed ourselves to the our limits of our will, and we’ve lost some battles along the way, but dagnabbit, we’ve made it here. We have this moment, where we’ve reached the mountain we’ve been climbing for four years, and in this moment, there is not a single person who can bring us down. You can tell me just how high Dutch Fork is ranked by all the news outlets, but unless those guys actually have an algorithm to measure us not as test-taking students, but as diverse, passionate leaders, I don’t care about any arbitrary rankings.

But! (Yes, there is still a “but” in this moment, and just like in Finding Nemo, I’m going to touch upon that “but” and make it clear). But, let’s remember that we will still have to come down from this mountaintop moment eventually. We’re walking out into a much bigger world, and we will face struggles and tasks anew. We might not always be sure of what we’re doing or where we’re going. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, that scares the CRAP out of me. In spite of that, let’s remember the individual talents that brought us here, and keep using them to power through those trials. We’ve done it before, we’ll do it again, and we’ll do it bigger and better.

You can tell me that you never enjoyed your time here, or that what we’ll never use what we learned in real life. And I understand how frustrating these four years have been, believe me. But if you can look me in the eye and tell me that you have never grown or discovered yourself in these four years, you can come down here and shake my hand, because I don’t think a single one of us hasn’t been changed for the better.

Now, in the spirit of the man who first told me it was time to “go,” and also keeping in mind that we will have to do a lot of sitting down at graduation, I want you to remember these words: stand up.

Wherever your talents bring you, stand up to show them. Stand up, you scientists and engineers, in the laboratories to research the answers to the questions we still face. Stand up, you artists, to create the works of beauty that reach for the soul. Stand up, you activists, to bring justice for the suffering. Stand up, you fighters, to defend this country and work for peace on Earth. Stand up, all of you who believe in the wild notion that though we’ve made it to the summit, this is not our limit. That there is an even higher peak out there, and that we will find it, and we will keep climbing as hard as our bodies will allow, and we will reach that peak, too. That even when we get knocked down, we’ll stand once more. That even as the powers that be tell us to sit down, we will keep standing.  Keep standing, because our greatest achievement will not be walking the stage, but running the world. Keep standing, because now that we were told to be “Responsible, Respectable, and Reputable,” it’s time for us to be “Relevant, Reinvented, and Revolutionary.” (Give us some classy cash for that, world).

We are the class of 2015, and as long as we’ve been sitting down, this is our time to stand. Once we’ve followed through with all the pageantry on Thursday, when this is all done and over with, let’s make the rest of the world stand with us.

This has been Austin with your afternoon announcements. Stay outstanding, foxes.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Brief Rumination on Mother's Day

Here's to you, mothers everywhere!

Let's not deny how freaking badass our mothers are.  They've sacrificed sleep and free time to keep a watchful eye on us as we grew. They've known our emotions and called our bluffs whenever we said something was "fine." And ultimately, until you manage to shove a living baby out of your recreational pipeline, you will never be as tough.

Today is the day we recognize that might, because not even the Hulk is strong enough to do that with a baby. This is the day that all of that labor in raising us, from the womb to the living room, gets recognized. Mother's Day is designed to be a reward for the elaborately programmed maternal units: whether it be a sabbatical from day-to-day chores, a chance for indulgence, or receiving gifts and grotesquely tacky cards.

Above all, it's supposed to send a message: everything you have done, dear mothers, has made us into what we are today. Your work should have some reward, and we appreciate everything you do. You are more badass than the Hulk!

If you're doing it right though, that message should be sent everyday. One day isn't enough, Hallmark.

Mornin' Hays, signing off. Thanks, Meesh.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cobwebs: A Midnight Musing

Those of you who have followed this blog for the longest time should be well aware that I update it at the same rate your middle school probably updates its website. But, I am a busy man, and teenagers have to fill their schedules with as much teenager-alia, so this blog ends up being much more seasonal than continuous. Just in another day in the life for the ambitious youth slowly trying to take over the world.

Fortunately, I'm not the only person with this problem, which is why I'm partnering with the not-as-adolescent Tori Hurst (whose musings can be found right here) to keep my writing muscles in shape. After my last post, I challenged her to write a new piece based on one word. After she completed her end of the bargain, she gave me one word in return for me to base my next post around, and I'll send her a new word after this post, and so on.

Today's post is brought to you by the word "spark." However, because it has been weeks since I received that challenge, I have since lost whatever my original vision for this post was. I'll just say that my spark of creativity has returned (hooray!) and my supreme writing powers have returned from that spark.

I've always been curious about the nature of relationships between us as humans. I imagine us as spiders spinning webs between branches, or perhaps as Spidermen pursuing Doctors Octopi in a weirdly graceful way. I'm one of those that believes that every encounter with other humans, no matter how brief, is insignificant. It's when you try and plot out all those encounters on a chart or a map that you really see the complex and typically incomprehensible nature of human interactions. But just as there is a mathematical yet free-from beauty in the web of the spider (as well as the extra benefits of Spiderman's webs that go without saying), there's something in that vast network that keeps on drawing me in, and it has been the driving force behind much of my writing.

The big fear I've always had is the unforgettable possibility of the individual strands of this web of people being severed. We've all felt it: the sudden concern that the friendships we have aren't built to last, and that this web we've formed will cave in as if a nine-year-old boy struck it with a twig. My reflex is always to tell myself "well, if I just say one or two more things, I'll get closure with this person." I like to think that every friendship I have is within my control and it's my duty to maintain or cease each one. Haven't we all been disappointed over our relationships turning out to be more temporary than we hoped? We certainly don't want to be disappointed again, and we just keep on trying to tie that loose end, to get that sacred closure we need.

I'm beginning to think that full closure for which we yearn is just a myth. And I'm not saying that to sound depressingly futile.

Psychologists have proven that humans really hate losing things, a phenomenon known as "loss aversion." Often, as a means of loss aversion, we tend to turn our goals away from taking a risk for more gain. It's why football teams punt on fourth down. We focus too often on keeping what we have, because heaven forbid a slight loss should plunge us into crisis. But come on, we do not control everything in our lives, and our relationships are no exception.

As long as we are loss-aversive by nature, closure will always be on our minds. We will try and keep up every single strand of our webs, and frankly, there is a lot of things we won't accomplish by doing so. Let's not forget that there is no love that can fully match the perfection of Agape, and there is no bond between people that is inherently inseparable. Not all loose ends will be tied, but there is still a lot to be accomplished with those loose ends. Hell, The Big Lebowski leaves countless plot threads unresolved at the end, but what we learn is that they don't need to be resolved and, well... the Dude abides. So remember that if you're trying to keep up some threads, and remember that even the most broken spiderweb can be reconstructed.

Mornin' Hays, signing off.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On The Fourth Quarter

Ahhh, senior year. A time for closing loops and making memories. A time for clickbait trying to tell you how to do so. A wonderful time, truly, and it becomes even more wonderful as the 4th and final quarter of the school year commences. Splendid, I tell you.

This is also the time of year when the family's "My Baby Is Growing Up Lawd Jesus" anxiety is really beginning to flare up. I received my cap and gown for graduation yesterday, and was forced to endure a series of startled onomatopoeias from the rest of the room. Mother gasped and clicked away on her phone as she posted her reaction to Facebook. Sister, who is well-known in the family for her ability to express surprise with minimal words, reacted in the only way she knew. Those were the only people in the room at the time, but I'm certain I could hear the gasps of the rest of the immediate family from hundreds of miles away.

Now, I'm not here to start the sentimental countdown clock to graduation, so don't get sad quite yet. I believe I've established before on this blog that the present is the holiest of tenses anyhow. This is a call for you, my valued reader, to make use of that tense. After all, it just wouldn't be a Mornin' Hays post if I didn't decry a common notion as a load of wombat crap.

We often like to perceive the final moments of any period of time to be the most important, but let's be honest here: how much of that is spent doing something? The trailing team in a basketball game will tediously attempt to freeze the clock in the closing minutes, whether by timeout or by the more intimate strategy of barraging the opponent with fouls. We see incomplete art and writing hastily slapped together, eschewing quality in order to reach a deadline. And don't even get me started on that load of crap that they call "senioritis." What's that, you're getting me started anyway? So be it.

I'll skip trying to point out for the 2,015th time that the correct suffix is "-osis" and not "-itis," because grammar just isn't (insert millenial neologism here). I suppose I should also avoid trying to point out that slumps exist every year in school, and the belief that it's any different as a senior was probably just created by some marketing ploy. The real emphasis, I guess, should be on the fact that it shouldn't be used as some half-ass excuse to fold early or to give up personal goals.

You've conquered slumps, you can do it again.

For the sake of time, I want to wrap this puppy up, so I'll begin my series of fourth quarter reflections with a challenge: take time to pause and appreciate what you have now. Not because it will be gone, but simply because it's just a nice, underrated thing you might as well take advantage of. And keep yourself passionate about something despite the anxiety that the close brings. I've learned this year that no door truly can be locked shut for good, and I challenge you to keep all the doors in mind. That's what carries us through slumps and sprints to the finish: a burning passion and an understanding of the time we're given to keep the flame burning.

Mornin' Hays, signing off.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Myth of Stuffing the Resume (From The STEM Observer)

This week marked the debut of the STEM Observer, a gazette founded and run by those in the STEM magnet program at Dutch Fork High School. Mornin' Hays has his own column on the Observer, which is below. While more Mornin' Hays articles on the Observer will be shared here, you can check out the newspaper itself at this link, and if you like it and/or pity us, you can subscribe to it right here. This week's topic: needless resume-stuffing (which is a quite prevalent plague at Dutch Fork).

Last spring, I, like several of my peers, received a nomination for National Honors Society. I recall that it came in the form of a letter folded in thirds, completely identical to the dozens of others most of my classmates got, only unique in the fact that my full name (even going so far as to include my middle name) was neatly handwritten on one of the folds. It told me that I was part of a select group who qualified for such an honor, and that I definitely should pass by Room XYZ after school to get enrolled. Make no mistake, this was a noteworthy distinction I received from all of my hard work to get such outstanding grades (I presume my essays on self-defense against fresh fruit also helped my case). Nevertheless, I opted to ignore it, feeling a little deterred by the entry fee and the fact that I would miss induction due to opening night of Aida.

But they were not going to let me go that easily. After missing the first deadline, I received yet another letter during class that again urged me to come by. My teacher fully endorsed the notion, citing the fact that it would look good on a college resume and give me experience and (most important of all) the shiny thing I get to wear at graduation.  I decided to be fair and give NHS some consideration, but a thought eventually occurred to me: how much would this really help on my resume?

Now, granted, NHS is by no means a bad organization, and I can’t say what it’s like to actively participate in similar service clubs. I haven’t done Beta Club since sixth grade, and my Y-chromosome automatically disqualifies me from even thinking about being a Junior Civitan. Also, my grandmother insists that the NHS was a distinguished honor way back in her day, and to be fair, it probably was once one of the few organizations available to give such honor through nominations. And truly, if you really want or need to get service hours and gain experience, the NHS and its contemporaries are a pretty good route to take. Unfortunately, if you’re only looking to join it because you already are very accomplished and active and only want to stack your resume, you’re wasting your time.

The constant search for resume-fillers are all part of a widespread misconception that I think too many high school students are falling victim to. For lack of a more creative phrase, it is just plain redundant. Most people I know who join NHS are exactly what the letter says they are: they receive good--sometimes outstanding--grades, they’ve impressed teachers, and they likely have been active in numerous extracurriculars. Those are some pretty good qualities to show off to colleges in and of themselves (even though they’re probably already fit to be accepted). For that reason, there really is no extra good that joining a group for no reason other than to name ONE MORE CLUB that, apparently, will automatically guarantee your admission into any school of your choice. Think about what you are already doing and how busy you already are before you try and force another extracurricular in, and only join clubs if you think they are meaningful and if you can gain something from them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

While You Were Sleeping

There are twenty-three minutes left of July 22nd, 2014 as I begin to write this post. Never mind, twenty-two minutes. I sit in an overdecorated living room in the house we're staying in, with a single lamp fighting back the darkness. Long story short: it's nighttime, y'all. And pretty damn late at night, too.

I've always had a sort of undiagnosed syndrome of quirks and hitches that manage to distinguish me from others, but also provide a lot of difficulty. The fidgeting and pacing while others sit still. The construction of mountains of distress from emotional molehills. Inconsistent ability to communicate with others. And last but not least, the many nights spent in high function, which you can imagine is the reason I am straining myself putting this new post up so late at night.

Now, mind you, I understand that many other youth above and below my age also dapple in nocturnal life their own way, particularly when some sort of social activity is in the mix. Darkness truly does not exist in their nights, chased away by bright lights and loud conversation that break the silence of the evening. I could satirize the nature of teenage obsession with neon and strobe, as well as the remedial bass-driven noise that they feast upon, and how they are the bread and wine of their idiot's communion, and how fast the sense of judgment and brain cells deplete...

But I've never been a part of that crowd, and I ain't here tonight to try and make sense of that bullshit (believe me, I've tried before). I know that for me, the night is a time where every thought and every action crashes to my brain at once. My willpower demands that I rest, but my body continues its Asperger-esque fidgeting and my mind works at an extra-high rate to process the information overload it has obtained. Oftentimes, I feel like something I've deferred needs to be finished immediately, which is possibly just a miniature PTSD that comes only from heavy amounts of schoolwork. But right now, I cannot put to waste any thoughts that my brain processes at this late hour, so I am going to keep functioning and delve into my psyche for your viewing pleasure.

At this time, I normally think back to all the interactions I subjected my introverted ass to during the day. Were they good or bad? Did they deviate from normal patterns? What sort of dumb shit did I do this time?
This previous day seemed to be more minimal. For the second straight day, I slept through breakfast, and eventually became the only person left in the house as everyone else ventured out to do fun, stereotypical beach crap. I value those moments of isolation, where I don't have to waste any sort of energy on others and can find quiet to reflect, which is often why try to get moments like these while everyone else sleeps at night. During this time, an old friend whom I hadn't seen in years messaged me, and we spent a lot of time trying to catch up. It brought the past individual I was back to me in a swift wave, and I saw how different I have become. Of course, the rest of the crowd returned, so I was forced to be social once again [groans], and I spent a lot of time dealing with arbitrary issues in my head that I seem to have with people in general. Mission complete.

I think about Jesus. Kind of in the cheesy Christian way that you'll see most people claiming to embody. How He has carried me through these small issues I face, and how far He could take me into the future. I don't always make a clear chain of reasoning out of these individual thoughts, but at least I did something. The question that keeps recurring in my head whenever I bring those thoughts to the blog is "why do I kinda want to throw up every time other people try and talk about Jesus in the same corny way?" Appreciating other people's faith remains a struggle for me, even when I find others who are just as curmudgeonly as myself while retaining the same enthusiasm I am capable of expressing. Weird, I know, but I'll answer it some other time.

I think about the work I still have to do. Particularly the schoolwork. In other words, OH SHIT I'VE STILL GOT TO READ TWO BOOKS AND FINISH THAT PACKET ON THE CONSTITUTION OH LAWDHAVEMERCY.

Lastly, I think about the future. More specifically, I comically alternate between excitement and dread about what lies ahead. Holy hell, finishing high school/college/starting a new life! In times where I am exhausted by the present and feel that I am not fully in place, I don't really care about what lies ahead, just get me over, dear Lord. Maybe a greater degree of freedom sounds good to me. Maybe I crave isolation. No, scratch that, I definitely crave isolation. But I also fear the loose ends that I haven't tied up, whether it be dreams I want to accomplish and relationships with others that I feel are waning. This is where I start to get kinda adolescent-bitchy. This is where I try to make plans to execute, but there's no way in Hell that they could follow through. Lest we forget the occasional fear of getting a terminal illness or dream-ending injury that could screw things up for me (things which I feel very susceptible to given the poor diet and fitness doctrine I keep my body on).

But even as this shit keeps coming at me, the only thing I can do is keep going. Good Lord, I can't sit down, I can't rest, 'cuz I know I'm going somewhere. Freddie Mercury said it best: "Don't stop me now, cuz I'm having a good time." There's some spirit in me that makes me the crazy damn soul I am, and I gotta let it keep me moving. I've come to believe that what makes a human most fit for heaven is the resilience and maturity he or she obtains through trial and tribulation. Even though my brain is turned up to eleven and I'm trying to visualize the time around me, the only thing that can truly make those visions true are my eyes and ears.

Okay, I'm probably going to wake up this morning very late again, and I'm probably going to be unwilling to have breakfast again or do anything, so I should probably crash. It'll probably be at a more reasonable hour that you are reading this, so... hopefully I've said something noteworthy. Maybe I'll do something more notable on another post.

Extremely-gorram-early-in-the-Mornin' Hays, signing off.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Live From St. George!

Oh, dear, I'm far too exhausted for my own good. Pooped. Tired. Running on empty. Unpredictably cantankerous. Truly, this is a heavenly fatigue. If only there was a medium which I could express this exhaustion in front of a large crowd.

That's right! There is!

So, anyway, I'm pretty damn worn out from these past two months. Since school let out, I've traveled through or to 10 different US states and the District of Columbia, rode in countless different means of public transportation, and done waaaaaay too much walking in the heat. And that doesn't even begin to describe what I did when I wasn't moving (but don't worry, I'll get to that later). Oh, and there's the fact that I'm less than a month from beginning my final year of high school. But I'm finally still and calm, here and now.

As I write this, I am sitting on a porch overlooking Apalachicola Bay at night. The buildings on the other side of the water are illuminated, the air is crisp, and a chorus of crickets trying to get laid is chirping. This is a level of tranquility which is hard to obtain living in suburbo-rural South Carolina, and an atmosphere that allows me to think clearly. At least when I'm not thinking about the fact all these crickets out here are trying to get other crickets into their pants. Their... cricket-y... pants.

Anyway, moving on from the insect porn, I've got a lot to think about. First, we took Manhattan (I've always wanted to say that) looking for Jesus. Then I went to camp up at Clemson to get my brain flowing and make some music (which you can listen to at this link). Then I rode the train up to the City of Brotherly Love for mission and fellowship with 1000+ Episcopalians at EYE '14. That was all fine and dandy, but after being active for so long, it's time to decompress. I've always used this blog to get my thoughts free and flowing, and the environment around me is a great setting to forget the distractions that this world presents. (Author's note: before starting the previous sentence, I spent three minutes on an unsuccessful mission to capture a frog that ventured onto the porch).

Now, I've already mentioned looking for Jesus in New York, but, let's face it, spirituality has always been a pursuit of mine ever since I stopped complaining about my momma haulin' my ass to church every Sunday. This remains a pursuit here on this quaint little island off the Florida Panhandle. The most frequent sightings of the Lord's presence seem to be in whatever place is quiet; this is definitely a justified account, as I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't hear His voice out by these waters. High elevations, whether in the mountains or on the Empire State Building observation deck, also can get the spirit moving, particularly considering the idea of being a few literal feet closer to heaven. I could talk about those two locations in great extent, but so could a lot of other people. Therefore, I'll put the mountains and silence on the backburner and talk in brief about my new spiritual companion.

Flat Jesus.

He's a little laminated version of our savior that I got at EYE and now carry around (especially for downright glorious photo-ops like the one above). I first thought of It as a silly little knick-knack to carry around, but I've begun to think that he captures a bit of ministry that few ever think of. It manages to be completely irreverent as well as completely a living icon of the Lord. Now, to be clear, I mostly carry it around for irreverent use (see above photo), but I've found that a meager bit of irreverence is actually praise in disguise. Think about it: to have been present with humanity as an individual, Jesus humbled himself to a very far extent. We talk a lot about how fully divine He is, but the holy paradox exists in the fact that He was fully human as well. So, even while being present as a heavenly force and spirit, He also was just an average dude sneaking into our everyday lives.

Wait, say that last part again?

Sneaking into our every day lives.

Yeah, coming full circle now! Remember what I was saying about pursuing spirituality every day? Well, that's kinda what He did down on Earth, being a living vessel of God. So, He's just as much present in the crass humor involving Him as the fervent (and sometimes a little obnoxious) praise of Him. So maybe taking a picture of His goofy caricature at some tourist trap is a way that He sneaks into our lives when we least expect it. Oh, that little jokester.

In light of this, I suggest that everyone else chasing the Spirit need not overthink it. Even finding time to acknowledge Him with a hammy cutout is finding time to acknowledge Him. I suggest that looking at Christ with irreverent humor, while not always fit to use in excess, should also be considered a form of intentional worship and acknowledgement of the Lord. Hey, if you can focus on Him after implying cricket sex, there's plenty of time and ways to focus on the Spirit.

So, let's not strain ourselves searching for spirituality. To my brothers of other religions, I say that I believe in a universal over-soul that unites all who believe in some sort of spiritual being, and I think that anyone can feel this force. Even atheists whose beliefs lie in science (which I of course have a strong obsession with, as well) cannot deny the existence of a universal force that seems to power the function of all the universe's processes. We can each find ways to live a life in spirit, and we can be one in our individual lives.

That's just tonight's thoughts on the Spirit. There should be more to come on it in the near future, with utmost crass humor and irreverence. Here's to the heavenly rest yet to come, for me and all of us.

Blessed are the cheesemakers.

Mornin' Hays, signing off.