what’s the secret, max?

So I’ve been driving everyone crazy (leading crusades to every antique store in town, agonizing on ebay, etc) for the past year or so about salt cellars.  I saw one at a friend’s parents’ house, had no idea that they even existed, and got obsessed with finding one like theirs.  It’s hard to find them in silver or pewter, but you can find them everywhere in glass.  And of course I wanted an old one.  It’s a tiny thing to make such a big deal about, but then again I don’t spend money on subwoofers or diamonds, so forgive me if I want a particular type of salt cellar.

Anyway, I finally found mine.  And it’s on its way to me.  And I can finally shut up about it.

But if we can have all of our friends over for a cookout, and have a fancy tea cart for our little bar in the living room, and generally live a pretty comfortable existence…shouldn’t we be able to do some things for the general good as well?

The past year has been awesome in terms of my faith; I spent the whole year of 2006 reading the entire giant Bible, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Since then I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to do / study next.  So far I’ve

  • Subscribed to a couple of amazing podcasts so that I can listen to both sermon-y and not-so-sermon-y stuff, mostly at work while I’m shuffling around with databases.  I’ve found that I’m needing less attitude adjustments when I keep myself more focused on kindness and such throughout the day.
  • Ordered some of the most classic books on theological commentary ever, so that I can start to at least understand some of the ideas behind major movements in the faith.
  • Subscribed to some blogs so that I’m a little more in tune to the conversations floating around about this stuff, at least in my age group.
  • Started trying to be more generous to people in my life in general.
  • Gotten connected with stuff like church and small groups to help me quit being such an isolationist and start being a functioning contributor to other peoples’ lives.
  • Done a ton of research about different charities, and finally (just today!) narrowed it down to the charities I want to donate to, how often, and how much.  I finally started my periodic giving today by buying a bee hive kit in the name of somebody who’s inspired me to do this: Maddie.

It’s a huge no-no to toot your own horn about how well-read / charitable / whatever you are.  I feel kind of weird even talking about my giving habits on my blog, for fear of seeming like I think it’s enough, or I think it’s a lot.  It’s not.  I wish I could give more.  But I figured I should at least mention this stuff for a couple of reasons: (1) To recommend some things that have made me really happy to my friends, the people that I most want to be happy too, and (2) To have some representation on this blog of what I’m actually spending time thinking about – besides having cookouts and stuff.

Earlier this year one of my coworkers came into my office and said that she had noticed a change in me.  “It’s not just that you’re fit or really well-rested.  You seem to have a sort of peacefulness about you that maybe wasn’t there before.  And I just wanted to say that I noticed.”  At the time I was just really startled by her saying that, and I think I thanked her and answered something simple about cutting things out of my life that made me miserable and injecting things that were good.  So here I am accounting for it in more depth.  So call it a “post-adolescent idealistic phase,” call it happiness-induced yuppie guilt, call it whatever.  But this is it.  That’s the secret, Mr. Blume.

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7 thoughts on “what’s the secret, max?

  1. You should check out The Way by St. Josemaria Escriva. While it *is* written by the founder of Opus Dei, don’t let that throw you. It is the most legitimate, thought provoking, life changing book about my faith I’ve ever read. I bought 6 copies and gave them to people for Christmas. I read it and the Bible every night before bed.

    I seriously endorse this book.

  2. I am so happy that Maddie the Great One from on High could inspire such Kindness from a heart as shriveled and stunted as your own.

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