I call myself a friend.

Wow...what a week.
I got back last night from a full week of free travel...
Here's what went down in a nutshell.

Forgotten passport.
Late to Madrid.
Robbed on the metro.
Prado was awesome.
Bullfight even better.
Molested on the metro.
The metro is evil.
Time for Barcelona.
I love Gaudi.
Kelsey's phone got stolen.
We hate Spain.
On to Southern France.
Avignon is the perfect little town.
Thought we got on a train to Nice, but ended up back in Avignon.
Time on the beach in Nice.
Had to find our hotel in Genova scavenger hunt style.
Finally home safe and sound.

It was an awesome trip, and definitely full of experiences. We never had a dull moment, that's for sure! I look back on that trip, and I think that I finally had my "AHA" moment. Robbie is always talking about that one moment...that place and time where we finally get it...the thing that we are here to learn, and I think that Kelsey taught it to me while we were in France together.

I am a terrible friend.
Point blank.
On our trip, I talked to Kels a lot...mainly because she was the only person around me that I could speak to in English for an entire week. While we were traveling, though, we got into a lot of really awesome conversations about life and religion and philosophy. It wasn't until then that I realized how utterly selfish I am. I call myself a friend to many, but when have I ever cared about there opinion on such issues? I've walked through years of friendships with people without so much as asking more than their middle name and their favorite color. I've been selfish enough to think that they will have the same views on life as I do. Maybe I think that we are too much alike for them to have such vastly different opinions. Maybe I think that my views are so obviously correct that no one could think otherwise. Maybe I think that because they grew up in the church then we must have the same opinions. Maybe I just don't care enough to ask. Whatever the case may be in each situation...I am ashamed. I want to know people better than that. I want to ask them the questions that matter. I want to truly know the people that I call my friends. I want to have that intimate relationship with my closest peers. I want to question, and to learn, and to debate. I want to discover truth. I want to find love. I want to love people. I want to love my friends. I want to love my God.

So here's the question of the day...
How do you know that your faith is true?
It seems like the most simple question, but it can also be the most difficult.
How do you know that your parents were right?
How do you know that the biblical writers got it all correct?
What if you had been raised as a Muslim?
Would that change your faith?

So I know that was more than one question...but these are the questions that haunt me. These are the questions I want to ask. I want to know you. If anyone has an answer they would like to share, I would love to hear your opinion. E-mail, facebook, blogger...I'm available anywhere.


Eleventh Day, First Story

This is a creative writing I had to do based on the structure of the Decameron. If you've never read any of the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, you should totally check it out. He is brilliant and hilarious! This book was written just after the Black Plague and is one of the most brilliant written works that has ever come out of Italy. The following is my attempt to tell a story like Boccaccio, but trust me, he does it better. Enjoy!

James is the husband to Andrea, a beautiful lady who inadvertently falls in love with another man, Tate. When James discovers the disloyalty of his wife, he does everything in his power to regain the love of his wife – an effort that proves to keep Andrea and Tate apart for all eternity.

TODAY I will tell you a story of a man who is driven so passionately by his love for his wife that he will do anything to regain her love and hold her from her lover. It is in this passion that he makes a promise so strong that even fate cannot break it.

James, the CEO of a big company, had everything in life. He had a good job, lots of money, and the love of a beautiful woman. His wife Andrea was one of the prettiest girls in the city, and everyone knew it except for her. Whenever anyone paid her a compliment, she thought they were just being polite. Even with the constant praises of her husband, she never believed a word of it. That was until one day when she was in the market. It was a day just like any other. She was shopping for groceries and other such items of nonchalance, when out of nowhere a boy appeared, a boy that she had never seen before. Tate was a handsome boy, young, and inexperienced in worldly things, but he was a man of outward passion. It was this passion that drove Andrea straight over to the place where the young Tate stood. The handsome boy had uttered not a single word, but the gaze of his eyes was plenty. At her approach he said nothing, but handed her a single red tipped rose. From that moment on, Andrea and Tate were inseparable. They spent every day together on his lunch hour and with James being a man consumed by work, they had no problem finding evenings to spend together as well. Sometimes when the company was extra busy, James stayed the night to get a jump start on things in the mornings. It was these nights that Andrea looked forward to the most. James noticed that Andrea was happier these days, and attributed such joy to the collection of flowers that she had begun to keep. She had become quite famous for beautiful arrangements featuring a single red tipped rose.
One night, James realized that he had been spending quite a bit of time at the office. He had already called Andrea with disregards for not coming home yet again. Perhaps, he thought to himself, he should take one night off to surprise his ever patient wife. He stopped off at the market and bought her a dozen of those red tipped roses that she seemed to love so much and headed home. When he arrived, however, his wife was nowhere in sight. He waited by the door for ten hours that night before he walked back out the door, jumped in his car, and headed to work. Once he arrived, he realized that he had not changed his shirt or let loose of his grip on those roses for 10 straight hours. He threw the roses on a table in his office and sat in his chair staring wordlessly into his empty computer screen.
Three hours later the first employee entered the building. It was the newest member of their company, a young man who had little experience, but a swift mind. He arrived early almost every morning and was a good worker. James had hired the boy himself. He had taken a chance, but one that he thought had little risk. You could see it in the boy’s eyes; he was a hard worker.
The boy had never had much contact with James, but on that morning, he noticed the older man’s distraught look. The boy entered the office of his CEO and noticed the roses that had been thrown haphazardly onto the table. “You should get those in some water fast,” the boy said. “They are the most beautiful flowers in the entire market, but if you don’t keep them in water they die quickly. I should know. I give one to my girl every week, and no matter what we are doing, at that very moment she insists on making a new arrangement for her table.” The boy gave a light chuckle, hoping to lighten the man’s spirits if only for a few moments. It was then that the boy received an unexpected response. James stood up with the most determined face the boy had ever seen and said to the boy, “My boy, today you are being promoted. You will leave on a flight tonight for our headquarters. Don’t worry about your belongings or having a car or a place to stay, I will take care of everything.” The boy was awestruck. Surely such a small anecdote had not been means for such generosity. The boy smiled and thanked his boss continuously. “What could I ever do to repay you,” the boy inquired, and in a split second the man responded without even a change in his voice. “Tate, you will live in this new town, and you will die in this new town, and my every moment from now on will be dedicated to ensuring you will never speak to my wife again, or everything that you know will be stripped from you. Now leave me forever.” Tate could see the passion in his eyes. James had meant every word he said. Tate knew that James had the power to destroy his career forever, and so he left Andrea’s life the same way he entered it, without a single word.
Over the next year James spent more time at the office. For some reason that Andrea could never understand, James had pledged himself to oversee the affairs of both his office and the headquarters. It was through that year that James saw the happiness in his wife begin to drain. The flowers died, and so did her spirit. Slowly but surely ever part of her beauty drained from her very being until the day that James came home to a woman who would never be sad again.
Andrea was buried on the first day of spring with a bullet in her brain and a beautiful bouquet of red tipped roses in her hand.