Today is my older brother Andrew’s 21st birthday, so this little post is dedicated to him. So here’s to my long-time dish washing partner back in the pre-machine days, my cohort and driver on countless fantastic adventures, my co-playwright on what may be the world’s worst pseudo-musical, my favorite GM (don’t tell Dad), my sparring partner, my confidante, my voice of reason, my fellow crazy person, and, most importantly, my close friend. Thanks for being the kind of brother who makes life fun, whose jokes never fail to make me laugh, who puts up with all of my flukes and foibles, and who is always up for another wacky escapade. Thanks for loving me for who I am, and even for helping to make me who I am. Thanks for listening, thanks for talking, thanks for 21 amazing years of just being the incomparable you. I love you, Andrew. Happy 21st birthday!
Tag Archives: love
(Edit: Be sure to read the follow-up to this post, One Life.)
I love deep questions, questions that make you think, questions that get to the core of who you really are and what matters to you. I love it when my friends ask me those kind of questions and I love asking them in return, and one of my favorite questions both to consider for myself and to ask those around me is this:
If everyone in the world was listening to you for just one moment, long enough to say ten words, what ten words would you say?
It’s not an easy question to answer, but it’s worth the time and effort to come to a conclusion. You have to boil down everything that matters most to you, everything you’ve ever wanted the people of the world to understand, into one simple phrase, but in doing so you begin to realize what it is exactly that matters most to you, what ten words you believe the world cannot do without. For me, those words are as follows:
You only get one life. Don’t waste yours on yourself.
There are so many more things I would say if I had the chance, things about God and love and what it means to be human and how much we all need each other and how little we often realize it, but that is the heart of soul of it; that is my passion. My life is not about me. Your life is not about you. The world does not exist to make us happier people, we exist to make the world a better place, to make other’s lives fuller and happier, to exemplify Christ’s love until he returns to make the world into what it was always meant to be. So I challenge you tonight to do two things. First, think about your ten words. Let the question roll around in your mind for a while, let it define and articulate the loves and the longings that are always at the center of your heart. And second, think of one way that you can invest your life in someone else tomorrow, a way that you can influence their world for the better. You’ll be glad that you did, because your life was made for more than you. Don’t waste it on yourself.
Today, I have a guest post for you from my very own Dad, Paul Newton. He recently took a trip to Mexico, and this is the story of one of his most profoundly memorable experiences there. I hope you enjoy his disarmingly honest and deeply moving account of how God brings comfort to His children in their time of need.
So many ridiculously great things happened this weekend that I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just do this thing mind-dump style! Here we go:
– My dad and my sister Christiana came up to Lake Ann this Friday night and took my brother Jonathan and I to spend the weekend with them at my Uncle Don’s house in Traverse City. I usually try not to miss posts on account of PostADay, but when it comes to spending time with my family nothing is allowed to get in the way, so that’s why I didn’t post on Friday or Saturday.
– At my Uncle’s house, we got to relax and laugh and play together, something I haven’t had a chance to do with Dad and Christiana for months now. It was incredibly refreshing. We played the Funny Paper Game and watched Robin Hood and took a guided tour of the nearby peninsula with Uncle Don. He pointed out all of the Fudgies and how poorly they drove, and he said that Jonathan and I aren’t so much Fudgies as part-time residents. So there you have it. I have been officially certified a non-Fudgy by a Traverse Citizen.
– Fun fact: hippos make the sound “Meh. Meh. Beh. Beh.” Chefy will back me up on that.
– Manzana Lift is the most delicious pop in all of existence. It’s better than Fanta Orange. It’s better than Rock ‘n’ Rye. It’s better than pure liquid splendor. I learned this many years ago in Mexico, but I didn’t know until this weekend that it is finally available in a select few places in the great state of Michigan, and one of those places is twenty minutes from my house downstate. Dad was kind enough to bring me a bottle, but now I can’t wait to go home and get some more.
– My mom sends the best care packages. I know I already mentioned this back in the spring semester, but it’s worth repeating. This time around, she sent me a Friendship is Magic coloring book and a shark-shaped water pistol and a giant ball full of water and glitter. And, of course, a bunch of candy. This time the candy was Super Mario themed, which makes it extra delicious.
– Some of the best memories of my life were created on Wal-Mart runs with Adam Beckmeyer. We have never gone to Wal-Mart without having an insanely good time in the process. This time, we went to buy a giant box of crayons so that I’d have the right colors for my coloring book (the box Mom sent only had one shade of purple, which is definitely a hindrance when trying to color Twilight Sparkle, who is several shades of purple). We ended up also buying some pink shoelaces and waving at a lot of random people as we drove past them. I think I accidentally scared one lady because she wasn’t looking at us when I yelled hello, but most of the people waved back and were very friendly. Except for the guys in the farting truck, but they were slow drivers and they loved pollution so they didn’t count.
– I finally received my packet from Chrispy after the longest week of my life, but Adam Beckmeyer found it before I did and hid it from me. Fortunately, he’s terrible at hiding things, so I found it and opened it immediately. What waited for me inside was the very definition of exceedingly cute:
I could not have asked for a more perfect rendition of the sketch I requested, and I am still geeking out about how awesome that sketch is. Also, you all need to go read Chrispy’s comic, Precocious, right now. I’m not kidding. Do it.
– I now have about eight minutes to go to bed before I’m past curfew, so it’s time to wrap this up. Long story short: I just had the best weekend of my life, and I’m still geeking out about it. Life is good! Bring on week 6 of camp!
I’m so happy to be away from you this Fathers Day. I’m glad that I wasn’t able to call you, that I couldn’t hear your voice or tell you that I love you. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t give you a hug or even send you a card. I’m proud because I know that my Dad is in Mexico right now, serving God and encouraging the church, living out everything that he taught me so carefully about love and responsibility and trust and faith and what it means to be a Christian. I miss you, but if following God’s voice means that I don’t get to hear yours today, so be it. I’m praying for you, Dad, and I love you. Thank you for being a thousand miles away this Fathers Day. It’s just another example of the kind of father you are – the kind who loves not only in word but in action. The kind of father I’m proud to call my own.
I finally watched that Daniel Ingram interview (which was splendid, by the way), so now my subconscious seems to be content to sit in the corner humming the new Coldplay single and let me write in peace. Hooray! Now if I can just stay away from Hyperbole and a Half for more than fifteen minutes at a time…
Anyway, since I answered all those stellar questions from my friend Adam Swensen in yesterday’s post, I’m finishing off our little interview today with some equally inspired queries from the broniest of bronies, Tekaramity! Let’s do this!
1. What do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your life? Yes, “God’s plan” is an answer, but I’m looking for a certain specificity. Have you established yet any goals you’ll be looking to reach long-term? Do you know yet what approaches, tools, talents, and allies you’ll need to reach those goals?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a best-selling author. I still have a book bound in cardboard that I dictated to my mom when I was three years old. It featured a brave knight and a princess and a baby named Penelrocker, and at the end I told her to write “look for more adventures of the prince and princess coming soon!”. Sadly, that series was discontinued, but I held tightly to my love for storytelling and my desire to be a famous writer. As I matured, however, I realized that becoming famous is never an end, it’s a means,and if I were to gain all the fame in the world and use it as a means to make myself feel good then I would have utterly wasted my life. In God’s hands, however, fame becomes such a powerful tool for influencing the culture, and as I caught the vision of how He could use me if I were both a best-selling author and a sold-out, fully-surrendered Christian I knew that that was what I wanted to pursue. In many ways, I’d like to live a life much like that of John Green, a successful author who leverages his fame to, in his words, “decrease worldsuck and increase awesome”. I want to proclaim the gospel, help the hurting, challenge the apathetic, and encourage the disheartened, and I want to use my passion for writing to do it. I want to reach the world in big ways, and the only way I can do it is through perseverance, dedication, the support of my friends and family, and the power of my God.
2. Why do you write this blog? Put simply, why do you believe what you say matters to your reading audience? This isn’t a confrontational question, mind you, nor is it an assault on your writing or mindset therein. This is simply opening a venue that allows you to explain the blog’s purpose and the dedication driving it.
This is a question with which I’ve been wrestling for some time. I started this blog as a place to post samples of my writing, and it’s slowly evolved over time into the eclectic mixture of posts that it is today. Lately, I’ve really lost track of what exactly I’m trying to do here, and my writing has suffered as a result. I’ve been overcritical, like if there’s any chance that someone might not like what I’m writing then it’s not good enough, and I end up spending hours writing stuff I don’t even like. Finally, I sat down and thought about it for a while, and I realized that I’ve lost sight of why I started writing this blog. I don’t write to impress anyone or to garner a lot of views or to become some kind of Internet celebrity. I write to practice, I write to stretch myself creatively, and I write in the hopes that, by sharing my life and my experiences with others, I can bring them some measure of the encouragement or inspiration or laughter or guidance that God has given me. This blog’s purpose is to brighten the day and nourish the soul of anyone who happens to stumble across it, and the best way that I know of to do that is to be myself and love God with all of my heart, and to let that come out in every post I write.
3. Suppose there exists someone you’ve personally known for quite a while (preferably much of your time alive) whose contributions into your life you really ought to acknowledge verbally more often. Acknowledge that individual, describe what that person has done for you, and explain what you hope you can do to return the investment. Be bold.
As it just so happens, someone like that really does exist, and his name is Pastor Derek Max. Pastor Derek, I first came under your leadership as a cripplingly insecure Junior Higher. I had almost no friends and even less confidence, but you saw that there was more to me, and you gave me the encouragement I needed to open up and overcome my shyness. As I grew as a person and as a Christian you took time out of your life to study the Bible with me, to take me out to lunch and talk about life, to push me to reach for more. Even when I couldn’t make it to youth group for two years in a row because of other responsibilities, you made it your mission to include me in your life. I remember one year when I didn’t want to come to Fall Retreat. You called me up at home and asked me why not, and you wouldn’t take any of my weak excuses. That weekend turned out to be one of the most important of my high school years. You gave me opportunities to use my gifts to serve the youth group, and you worked alongside me as I wrote and taught and offered me advice on how I could be better. Your love and guidance have been fundamental in making me the man I am today, and I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever thanked you for it. So let me say it now: thank you, Pastor Derek, for showing the love of Christ to a loner and helping him to become a leader. I know that the only way I could adequately return your investment is to pay it forward, to invest myself in the lives of hurting youth and give to them the same gift of friendship that you’ve given so abundantly and selflessly to me.
4. Why is Photo Finish so amazing!? (I want lots of mature analysis on this one!)
One ridiculous accent + one pair of fantastic sunglasses + several quotable catchphrases + epic personal background music that follows her around everywhere = best secondary character of all time (sorry, Luna fans).
In layman’s terms, she has… DE MAGICKS!
And now, it’s time for me to sleep. After all, tomorrow I have the thing at the place, and I don’t want to be late. Thanks for the great questions, Tek and Adam! I GO!
What can I say about “The Scientist”? It’s a poetic, tragic, touching, dramatic, soothing, exquisite song, and while the lyrics may be a little cryptic, its story still comes through with enough clarity to be moving. And “The Scientist” is really, at its core, a story. On the one hand, it’s a sad story, a story of lost love, wasted opportunities and lingering regrets, but it’s also a story about forgiveness, starting over and learning that love is not a science, but an art – difficult to master, yet worth every ounce of effort.
“The Scientist” by Coldplay
Come up to meet you, tell you I’m sorry
You don’t know how lovely you are
I had to find you, tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets and ask me your questions
Oh, let’s go back to the start
Running in circles, coming up tails
Heads on a science apart
Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start
I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
But tell me you love me, come back and haunt me
Oh and I rush to the start
Running in circles, chasing our tails
Coming back as we are
Nobody said it was easy
Oh, it’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I’m going back to the start
Oh ooh, ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ah ooh, ooh ooh ooh ooh
Oh ooh, ooh ooh ooh ooh
Oh ooh, ooh ooh ooh ooh