The X-Files had a profound effect on me. And this new reboot on it did not let me down. In watching that first episode, it struck me why the philosophy of the show impacted so many GenXers just like me. It embodied a way of thinking. Here are a few common threads that stood out.
The idea of pursuing your passion and working to get fired for what you think is right, is very GenX. Even if it gets blamed on the Millennials, they basically embodied an old idea. Fox Mulder played this role throughout the whole series. This sentiment was passed on to the coach of the Carolina Panthers, and recently reiterated as they soundly won the NFC championship: “You’ll eventually get fired anyway, so do what you feel is the right thing to do.”
I am working towards an older and bigger truth, an idea of what should be, beyond the curtain of reality. And that is a much bigger than a job.
This thing I am working at is not a maintenance role. And I may get fired for the pursuit. But I am working to discover a truth that is greater than just a mere existence to fill the space and time required to earn a paycheque.
There is something bigger. I look bored when I am forced to only uphold a mediocre standard. The pursuit and discovery of the greater truth, asking the terrifying questions, that is a calling.
He is the entity behind all the mysteries and road blocks. There will always seem to be someone with force and the wherewithal to keep things they want them, usually from behind the scenes. And they do not live the one who asks hard questions or demands that all may see the truth behind the curtain. The X-Files reminds me that this pursuit will always be terrifying to those who do not have the answers.
Bit of a giggle moment at the office yesterday. No, not the empty can of Maxwell House that has been there forever. It’s that breakfast tea!
It’s been sitting propped on the shelf for almost 3 years, and no one dares move it! Just a funny moment as we consider what it means to be living in a culture of curators. Even in our food space.
I double dog dare you to post your best staff coffee room pics. If you feel brave, maybe you’ll even post something from your home pantry!
Last year I shared about my first Christmas as an adult, and you can refresh your memory on that post here:
This year I look back to Christmas eve 21 years ago. That’s right, the first Christmas my wife and I shared as a married couple. Certain parts of that momentous occasion stand out in my memory like it was yesterday. New bride, new love, new life together, new place, new job, all made for a fresh Christmas moment.
I recall my search for our Christmas tree. She said it was fine to go without one. Those who know me, know that is simply not acceptable. Due to my strict work schedule I did not have time to get the tree until Christmas was almost knocking at the door. Truth be told, it was kind of a family tradition to put it off, and then hunt down a tree by some unconventional method. I was simply continuing a historical lineage.
I drove all over the countryside looking for a tree, resisting the urge to simply fell a pine on crown land off some country back road. As the sun set, and my options slimmed, I drove further from home and further into defeat. Then, out of the blue, I stumbled upon a small cache of trees, in a small town, on someone’s front yard, somewhere near the end of my Christmas rope. I went to the door, only to realize that no one was at home. Of course, all normal people were doing something festive. I left my new bride at home alone, in the middle of the country, so I could treat her to her first amazing Canadian yuletide.
Evidently, she was a godly woman already at that time… Or gracious… Or trapped…
Anyway, I was at a loss. Again, the urge to simply place a tree in my car and just drive away presented itself. Frustration can do that to a man. But my ethical muscles out wrestled my physical desires to be done with this venture. I walked over to the small grocery store across the street, and appeased my conscience.
“Do you know the people selling trees across the street?” I asked the bag boy.
“A little” He looked a little unsure of whether he should reveal any information. I may have looked a little disheveled at this point.
“Can you tell them I left $10 in their mailbox for a tree? Thanks.” I walked away feeling satisfied, and he looked confused.
Tree in car, joy in my heart, I made my way home. I arrived to a warm reception, and my wonderful young bride preparing homemade decorations for the new tree. I had never seen anyone do that before. She was adjusting to get new surroundings, her new husband, and was making one of our new traditions. My heart melted. I’m not sure when I fell in love with my wife, but that Christmas eve stands out as a fall in love moment.
Our histories were officially disrupted as we embarked on making a new history together.
That seems to be a theme for Christmas, right from the beginning. The story turns, the unexpected happens, and what seemed unlikely is now a new history. God interrupted history in an unlikely manner, and we celebrate it. Why? Because Christ disrupts our history as people who tend to lock in on what we want to be a safe bet. A controlled, safe trajectory with no surprises. God just doesn’t play that game.
Happy disrupted history!
It’s funny how little patience we have when we feel stood up. We expect a large heaping of grace when the shoe is on the other foot.
Our foot to be exact.
Advent is an irony. We are waiting and anticipating even when we assume we are in control and content. Waiting for anything reminds me how tender the earthly balance of being full and empty truly is. The moment of grace experienced should result in the awareness of how universal the need is for all. Unfortunately while we wait we can easily forget the need. When we are full, we forget hunger.
While you wait for the Christmas celebration, remember how good it is to have someone waiting for you. Regardless of what time you show up.
As is usually the case, I found another op-ed debate piece in the New York Times both intriguing and challenging in our times. Have a gander, and then read on, or just read my post:
We are moving from the week of hope to the week of peace on the Advent calendar. Not surprisingly, those both prove to be a challenge to the average person these days. We are swimming in luxury and convenience, both of which were intended to create an experience absent of worry and trouble. Both are in high supply, and seemingly high demand. Not wanted, but readily given. Reviewing my recent conversations on social media and in person, regarding the frequency and mercurial motivations of these mass shootings, there is no end to solutions and supposed influences at work.
We are caught in-between.
Hope is a place of anticipation and relief. It is here we expect the coming King, the fulfilment of promises, the reward to those who waited. At least that is a large part of the Advent message. Hope is not fulfilment, no matter how deeply you wish for it. It may appear sad and forlorn in the darkest moments, but it is not despair. Despair is the absence of hope. We hope for all that we desire, and we hope our desires are true and pure.
Peace is tough. It has a sense of completion to it. It is whole. I cannot imagine a partial peace. I can only see and experience how my mind and heart crowd peace out with my fears and hurts. When I speak of a small sense of peace, it has more to do with my clouded vision and the ‘tinnitus of the soul’ which limits my spiritual hearing. That is why the peace surpasses all understanding, because when I have a handle on it, I probably was not in a place where I needed to fully comprehend it. It is when I do not understand that it strikes me, and I realize I had nothing to do with perfecting it; I had nothing left to fight against it.
In many ways hope sees its completion in the presence of peace, at least in how we experience it on this side of the veil.
But when we look at the world around us, that is being caught in between. It is a constant reminder that we cannot expect hope’s completion in this world. And we kid ourselves if we say we do not fall into this thought trap. When people let us down, when we are shocked by stupid actions, when we experience hate… those are all moments where we sought hope’s fulfilment in another. And it is at that moment where peace appears to be an impossibility.
This Advent, when you are feeling caught somewhere between hope and peace, be reminded that the Christ-child embodied both. Even when our vision is blurred and the world is too loud to hear the message.