What I do when Andrew hogs the sleep

We depart for civilization in 6 hours and all I can think about is how dark it is in this room and how Andrew is in the bunk across from me hogging all of the sleep. Or: what is vacation, a place to get away or a place to get alone?

Or: what I need is fresh air and I need to dig words out of that dusty place I threw them when we got here. For some reason.

Words are stubborn when they've been wadded up. They crinkle a little in their unfolding and you have to flex them back and forth for them to be of any use. Go figure, you don't call for a week and all of the sudden they're mad at you like you did something wrong. You tell them you just didn't need them right now because you're trying to unwind and take a breath before the train hits again and they get all defensive cause they feel like you're using them. You forget that words have feelings too. And trust issues, I think.

I tell them, let's take a stroll, because we need to talk, and I figure the humidity would help with that.

I step outside and I can smell the ocean. I can feel on my skin the sticky hot Atlantic wind and the salt in the air makes me thirsty. When the air conditioner kicks off behind me I can hear the steady rhythm of the waves crashing to a meter that seems asymmetrical at first, but on longer listen is just a complex set of hits stretched out over an ambling, slow, incredibly steady tempo. We are waltzing, that sound and I. We're going nowhere in a hurry.

And now I'm asking something different. Something about what keeps sleep away. Something about what brings it in the first place. Something about the nature of things that comes alive on still hot nights like this.

I always related to Thomas the most, I think because I know I would have been the one trying to call Peter and the Beloved one out on their excitement until I actually put my hands in the gaping, miraculous, saving holes. I can look back on him and frown and ask him "how could you" when really I should just look at myself and mutter the very same words. Ask myself if I believe simply because I have seen, or vice versa. The curse of looking for reason and knowing that until you find it there will be sleepless nights. The pain in that place you can't touch when belief sometimes feels like a listing sailboat after a changed wind. When you wish you could be Elijah and call down fire from heaven not so much for proof but just to see something wet catch fire.

Sometimes even just for the proof, I suppose.

You can drown in your unbelief, and it does feel like drowning. Gasping, groping, frantically kicking your feet until your hands slide upon something already being rocked gently to sleep by the tide. When finally on the surface you realize that it is the surface itself that snapped you awake. Just when you started to think that your whole world was underwater and enslaved to wet, you burst to the surface and your lungs ache for more of whatever it is up here that just tastes so good. You realize there's way more up here than there was down there and you can see better too.

You can hear, somewhere in the distance, those waves pounding the shore being heard by a boy sweating and swatting flies on a porch in South Carolina.

The funny thing about them is that as they roll over the sand they pay no mind to us. We can build sand castles to try to stand in their way but the water won't have it. We can try to drown out the sound with music but they crash all the more. We can film them and stick them in a spotlight and draw attention to their beauty but they pulse humbly. We can mock them with barriers but they will power through them mightily.

They are constant. The same when husbands get fired and when brothers die and when babies are born and when teenagers get pregnant and when empires fall and when songs are written and when animals sleep and when it rains and when boys want so hard to just believe as fierce as the sea but let reason get in the way. These waves operate separate from reason. Blame it on rotating planets and spinning moons and shifting continental shelves and trade winds all you want and the waves will be there when you crawl back to simply see them. They represent something that goes on despite us. One way in a long list of ways God can shake us up to refresh our belief. One thing in a long list of things that proves that there is something besides us and our petty human problems.

They are beautiful to taste for a soul crying "why".

 

I believe this is all the thought I am allowed on this sticky summer's eve before my skin becomes fodder for a thousand hungry insects who will bite me no matter the vigor with which I question them.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>I Think That George Clinton Is The Only Man Ever Who Wants The Funk

>I often wonder why I never get in regular, normal people funks. Why can't I just get upset about something somebody says or consumed with worry or become anxious about a test or filled with regret or jealousy? Those are far easier to deal with. And articulate.

Instead I am wrapped up in these earth-shattering, perception-altering, "everything-around-me-is-an-elaborate-ruse-disguising-something-bigger-than-we-can-realize-while-occupying-these-bodies" existential funks. It's not every day. Some days I can push it from my mind and think about something happy and fluffy (so fluffy!) and fleeting and find some sort of gratification in it, but other times I look around at things people do and words we say and cliches we repeat and clothes we wear and habits we form and obsessions we create and the absolutely pathetic attempts we postulate to accomplish something meaningful.

It is a difficult thing to put into words, because it's deeper than words. Words are part of the problem - they are nothing but signifiers pointing to a more abstract signified that we can't really prove matters. It's more of a sinking gut thing: everything is going to burn, I am going to die, and even the most indestructible thing we can think of, time, will stop.

We are force-fed a desire to consume which has been carefully crafted by something more ominous and designing and evil than corporate heads. We are inundated with guilt for not giving money to the next big cause. We hear news about the riots in Egypt and the woman who shot her children because they were disobeying and the teenager who killed his parents and chopped them up and put them in the freezer and the statistics about poverty and the dwindling job market and the rising taxes and the (gasp!) threat of companies forcing you to pay a la carte for internet so they can turn a profit and the imminent nuclear war and on and on and on... not because that is reality but because it makes the commercial market with people smiling and holding products like cheeseburgers or diamond necklaces seem like THAT is the shining beacon and end-all of happiness that you can obtain in this life. Thus begins the cycle of realizing that "oh wait, it's not that new gizmo that makes me happy, because 2.0 is coming out next month, and that is what will really do it for me."

But I'm not done. Then I think about just how good we have it here and how our squabbles are petty compared to people who, say, don't have things to eat because everything around them is rubble. Somebody dealing with their sister having killed herself. Breast cancer. Malaria. AIDS. Insert cliche world problem here.

And I'm covered from head to toe, from home to school, from wake to sleep, and even during sleep, with stuff. Insert subtly superior American "I hurt for the world when I see how good I have it" sentiment here.

"It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind."

You cannot tell me that you believe that this is it, that in the light of eternity our goods amount to chaff in the wind and our problems span the sea. If you can see, like I do, that what is going on is bigger than humans could possibly contrive, that what we care about is nothing but a series of icons that point to literally nothing, then you understand the funk. It is a difficult thing to shake, because all the things we use to shake the burden of our "problems" are pointing straight to the problems that we are dealing with ourselves.

* I have to be careful with this next part. One thing that I despise the most is trite, vapid, cliche language that talks about my Savior.

What we live in ("the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air" "sons of disobedience" "vanity" "Desires of the flesh" -- Ephesians, Ephesians, Ecclesiastes, Galatians, respectively) we have been saved from ("But God, being rich in mercy... made us alive together with Christ.") as soon as we have accepted it.

Everything above that asterisk is the best that you can ever hope for without Christ, because apart from the incredibly simple, beautiful alternative to a vaporous existence, it all goes away and you are stuck as the marionette on a paper stage. We call Him Savior (some of us out of habit) because that is the best way we our frivolous human words can describe Him.

If you only ever read one more thing I have to say, I want it to be this: this solution which I just presented will cost you your life as you know it. Everything that you are will change. Being rescued is a choice that you alone can make, but know that nothing about who you are will ever be the same again. You have the option to say no. You have the option to say yes.

You can email me or Facebook message me or Twitter or whatever, and I can help you find the right people to talk to, because I don't even pretend to have all of the answers. But if it is answers you are looking for, I promise you they exist only in the Savior I just mentioned. And I promise you they are more beautiful than whatever you've seen before.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>If I Were to Write A Book, Something Like This Would Be the Introduction

>

E Pur Si Muove 
-Galileo Galilei

I was charged with reading this dreadfully boring book called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn in one of my World Civilization classes. If my memory serves correctly through the fog of the book's massive inability to hold attention (much like this blog?), it was basically his dissertation paper that he had bound and packaged and delivered to only this particular professor's doorstep in a glowing basket of joy, because, as far as I know, he is the only person who has ever taught it in a school setting.

That is how exciting it was.

I was tired of learning the history of the telescope and I was tired of hearing about mitochondria and I was sick of all of these people insisting that they were absolutely correct and the pinnacle of knowledge of the day only to have some punk like Galileo barging into your sanctuary insisting that the Earth moved around the Sun instead of all of creation centered right smack at the Vatican. The unmitigated gall.

This one story intrigued me, though. It was not so much the "Scientific Revolutions" portion of it rather than its broader implications. After doing much research, he decided to pay the ol' heads of state a visit. He stated his research and divulged his theory that the Earth is revolving around the sun, rather than the other way around. It was literally so shattering that he was forced to recant his heretical philosophy under threat of torture and death (the Church back then was apparently pretty big on irony), to which he purportedly muttered under his breath, as I quoted earlier, "E pur si muove."

Italian for "Nevertheless, it moves." A legendary statement from one who saw the truth of the situation despite the majority shouting the contrary and, although he caved to save his life, held that conviction to continue on to be one of the most famous scientists and thinkers of all time.

The book was about advances in science and regime changes and it droned on and on about the topic with more specific examples than Elin Nordegren can cite against Tiger Woods, but all I could do was think about the implications of what I was reading.

If every time in history we have believed, for whatever reasons we choose to state, that we are unshakably, undoubtedly correct with our complex theories on anything at all and we are proven wrong, what does that say about us today? In the age of the epitome of thorough knowledge? What if we have gotten so wrapped up in the way that we perceive things that the Truth (and yes, that is a capital "T" Truth) slips right by us, unnoticed, going about its business as it always has?

I will deliver yet another turn of the screw with this: if even the mostly secular scientific community can see it in our perceptions of the physical world, how much more important is it for us as Christians to beat it through our thick skulls that for a thousand years we have been missing the point?

What if we're so busy interpreting that we forget to live? What if we're too busy boycotting abortion clinics to love on the girls shaking with fear and tear-blurred vision who are trying to hide themselves walking in? What if we're so busy defending our "God-given Constitutional Rights" to own a gun that we overlook our God-given Mandate to love God before anything else, and then take that love and love each other with it as well?

Am I saying that I am the example by which you should live? By all means, no. Of all the ill-tempered, arrogant, most undeserving people of Divine grace that occupy this world, in the words of Paul, "I am the foremost."What I am saying is that I should try even harder than everybody else to follow the example set for me.

There is absolutely, definitely, concrete Truth that exists in this world, and it is probably not in the places that we think it is. It's not in our rules or our currency or our imaginings about how things should work or in our ideas or in our education system or in our denominations or in anything we can imagine that has been constructed by human hands. It became flesh 2,000 years ago, died, and is the only thing that hasn't given up on our race as humans yet, despite our best efforts to twist it around to fit it into our little boxes.

Best of all, it has a name.

Together, with Him, we can discover how to be black lines in this world constructed of gray paper.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Disambiguation

>I am sitting in my chair in a towel, because I am waiting to get a shower until the clothes in the dryer are done tumbling so that when I am done they will be warm and dry and ready to cover my cold skin.

I bought a cd today too. It is a departure from my musical tastes of late (meaning primarily that it is not Lovedrug), and I welcome the departure of style if anything just because it is new material and it is a switch and a temporary break from the monotony that has become my minutes, hours, days, weeks. It is scary how fitting the title of this album "Disambiguation" is.

I perhaps do my topic disservice by restricting it with that "my" above, because I think I meant to address a broader audience than just my busy self.

Go to school for 20 years. Get a job. Do not live on the street. Walk on the sidewalk. Make enough money to eat. Give the rest of it to the establishment created by us. For us. That has forgotten about us. Complain about something and then realize how pointless complaining about that thing is, because it's done and you can't change it. Fall in love. Create. Recreate. Retire or die. Now repeat after me: I am free.

I think that the most compelling evidence for the existence of God to somebody who is in search of it is the system in which we are trapped. The little box of earthly, physical existence. Rich or poor, old or young, we are in chains, and I dare you to find somebody who would disagree with that. We are enslaved to time and to desire and to passion and to lust and to love and to sin. Each and every one of us. But just like there can be no dark without light to be the contrary, no rich without poor to be the opposite, no high without low to compare, the mere fact that we are enslaved means that there exists freedom.

But, since there is nothing earthly that we can do to break free of these chains, that means that there has to be a spiritual key to the locks. It must exist outside of time, because if it existed within time, it would eventually decay or rot or turn to dust. It must have no beginning because that would mean it would have an end. If all we know is the here and now, there must be an unhere and an unnow.

This is nothing new. Solomon knew it: "Vanity of Vanities! All is vanity!" "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." Since the literal dawn of time the disconnect between us and God has been both the proof of God and the burden on His heart. Because the presence of the physical means the presence of the non-physical, or else physical would be nothing. It would have no alternative. And we know that this disconnect is the burden of God's heart because of the lengths He went to restore it. We live among sin. He dwells among perfection.

Beauty is not beauty without un-beauty. Pain isn't pain without pleasure.

So with all of this said, the part about God I mean, it should be no surprise to us that without Him life would be rather miserable. Without the assurance that there IS beyond this, I cannot fathom the shattering hopelessness that would accompany our steps. They would only see the horrid pattern described above. School.Job.Family.Kids.Love.Loss.Death. and they would feel extraordinarily trapped. Herein is the beauty of my Savior, the Messiah, the promised and received Christ. Because He dwells not inside of this wretched box, but rather His father is the one that holds it. And I can't get outside of it except through His arms...

Don't you see? If it were up to me, the highest I could ever get in the vast span of eternity is how far I can run. Whether you accept it or not, the same principle applies universally: the give and take; the idea behind there being no light without dark permeates literally everything. It has to, because things only mean in juxtaposition. God doesn't need your support to exist. You can deny it all you want but your belief or lack thereof is not what keeps Him around.

Rather it is His existence that keeps your disbelief around.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Meanwhile, in Tornado Alley

>A moment stolen away from the world of critical analysis and rhetoric and close readings of texts and parsing out of complex ideas to breathe.

A feeble attempt to clear my mind turns out to yield only this incessant buzzing sensation behind my eyes, a byproduct of my overclocked brain and indulgent amounts of caffeine which keeps the shakes at bay. "I can't, I have stuff due tomorrow," a boy next to me says into his phone. I chuckle, he must be a freshman. Pretty soon that tomorrow turns to today and eventually he'll be sitting where I am saying "I can't, I have stuff due yesterday."

There is no trace of order here, in the tornado of Hamilton Barber's mind. No time for it.

It doesn't help that these big questions keep popping up here and there, through the tumultuous tossings of the sea underneath what's left of a rickety boat fashioned out of the remaining strands of my sanity. They don't have many words, as is characteristic of most important things, in fact, sometimes they come in the form of images. A man with a pipe holding a leather-bound book tinted slightly orange from the setting sun, his socked feet propped up on the railing in front of him, a slight breeze tousling his wafty hair, clumpy from having his weathered hands running through it while penciling in an answer on a crossword puzzle, looking down a valley to a building through a window to a frazzled college student scraping time out of the bottom of the filthy bucket he was handed. The question comes in the juxtaposition. The "how can these two exist at the same time, in the same world, with the same standards of living, with the same loves and the same texts and the same city?"

Interestingly enough, I think that the answer is also found in the same image. Well, perhaps answer is too strong a word. I'll say comfort instead. I can know that in a place where the frazzled college student claws his way to the end of another paper and digs his way to the end of another book and squeezes his way from appointment to appointment to obligation to obligation there is also a man on a hill with a book and a breeze and a palpable calm in his chest. I can know that in the midst of this tempest of things to do, somewhere the sun is shining and there is not a cloud in sight. Whatever problem you're facing isn't nearly as big as you think it is. It is not the whole world.

"In the chaos and confusion I know You're sovereign still," sing the lyrics to a fantastic song. I have things to do, yes. I have requirements, yes. I have deadlines, yes. But in the big picture? I'm still just a speck of a human on a speck of a planet in a speck of a galaxy in a speck of a solar system in a still expanding universe in the palm of an infinite God. Who am I to even think that my problems are the end of the world, no matter how catastrophic they seem at the time? If the things by which I am bounded (time) are controlled and even laughed at by my Father, what could I possibly gain from one second of worry? And just how small is my faith?

I swear, this blog is therapy.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Philosophical Ponderings of the Barely Life-Literate

>Every once in a while, in the course of my pondering, I become hung up on one concept or idea for which I cannot define the terms. The first rule of Rhetoric is "He who controls the terms controls the debate." I am not sure against whom I am debating, but there is an internal struggle there and I am positive that I am not in control.

I am tired of going over and over it in my head to decide just exactly what "grown up" is. I know that, first of all, it is a goal which at a young age we areOh sure we will reach eventually, and which as we get older we see become more and more elusive. We watch birthdays come and go and we graduate from Kindergarten and High School and eventually College and we will repeatedly ask ourselves "am I grown up yet?"
I think after our senior year in High school, in that time between complete freedom, the excitement of new possibilities and a completely blank slate we get our first glimpse of what it could feel like. There is this moment of "I am in control" (even though it is not nearly as complete as we think it is at the time) which seems to overtake all of the general thought processes going on at the time. People will change their clothing styles, their reading habits, their television tastes, their friend groups and they will call it all the beginning of the rest of their lives. Is this when you are grown up? Good Lord, I hope not.

So I decided against the "time" aspect being what makes one "grown up." I then thought that perhaps it was less the unfolding of time itself but rather what took place as time was doing its thing. I'm talking about even the most innocuous little decisions that we make during the course of our days, like which shoe we put on first or whether we hit the snooze button twice before we wake up, that have more of a bearing on being a "grown up" than time itself. The little things form the habits by which you live, the standard against which you measure all of the big decisions you make, like where you will go to college or what you will do to be able to eat. The little things are what you use to remind yourself that you are still there, like pinching yourself to make sure you aren't dreaming. I figure that something even as trivial as this that bears such a lasting consequence has to play a major role in shaping who you are. The "up" version of you.

But this didn't give me an answer as to how you know when you are grown up... The best I could ever do is compile a list of things that are either growing you up (making you who you will become) or making you look like a fool. You won't walk across a stage to receive a diploma that declares you officially grown up, nor will you wake up one day feeling instantly accomplished. I think, little by little, you will discover things about yourself that you recognize as reaching towards becoming the person you are destined to become:

You will become comfortable with yourself. You will have gone through a painful process of recognition of your flaws and weaknesses but you will learn to deal with them. You will become less and less dependent on other people for validation or companionship and you will start to savor the little moments when you are completely alone. You will find yourself drinking them deep, storing them on a hard-to-reach shelf in the back of your mind that you can only tap into when absolutely necessary. When the storm around us consumes all of the tranquility we manage to squeeze out and sip like the last warm drops of water in the hot desert sun.

You will learn the difference between necessary and unnecessary. You won't see yourself on this one point on the timeline of the third dimension but you will instead see from above how little things you experience will ripple out and effect things to come.

Because you have this newfound broad view, you will learn to do the things that you have to do, even though you may not want to do them. Doing it now is always better than doing it later. On the other hand, one more cup of coffee with a friend will be more meaningful to you in a week than getting home twenty minutes later than you would have otherwise. Stopping and smelling the roses will make your trip a lot more memorable than if you just blow through, only looking forward.

Each of the things above will lead you to a realization that there is something bigger than you and your little group of friends and your family and the people in your community and in your county and in the state and in the country and in the world. You are blind to not see a plan unfolding before your eyes - blind by either ignorance, naiveté, or prejudice. The recognition of this plan is what drives philosophers to think on and what makes songwriters sing on and what makes lovers love on, knowing that they are searching for something even if they are not entirely sure what it is they are searching for. Even in reading this, you know that on some level, even if you disagree with my methods or my pre-established beliefs, unless you have filled what is missing with the only thing that is big enough to last forever, nothing seems to stick. You feel some sort of longing to reach farther down the path on which you travel in hopes that you will eventually reach the point where enough is enough.

Perhaps it is not that we are meant to know when enough is enough. We may not ever recognize that we are "grown up." There might not be a moment of recognition that tells us we have reached everything we are capable of reaching... but maybe that's the plan.
Maybe we are meant to press on forever and strive each day to be better than the day before and learn that the only way we'll ever know what is sufficient is by trusting in the only One that ever could be.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Breaths and Blogs

>Slow down there, tiger, catch your breath. Breeaaathhhheeee. The room will stop tracing concentric circles around your head and before you know it your feet will touch the ground again. Hands on clocks around you will restart their ticking in a moment. The breeze against your face will again be cool.

But nonetheless, quiet yourself. Hold this moment in suspension for a second and drink deep the magical elixir tumbling over all of those jagged edges of your life before pressing "play" again, because you will thirst for it sooner than you realize. Keep a taste of it on a shelf in your brain where you store the things you are not to forget. Remember how your stomach turns, how your mind wanders, how every facet of your reason questions what exactly you are doing and how logic attempts to take control or talk you down from the perch to which you have floated.

I tell you this because unless you make the conscious decision to file the feeling away, it will pass you by and return only when you are convinced it is the last thing on earth you could need. It will catch you with your guard down and remind you that everything you once thought you had figured out has been proven incontrovertibly wrong as you fumble for things as simple as breaths. Or words... and yet you will keep breathing. And writing.

And both your breaths and blogs will be short.

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Man vs. Self

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3.....2.......1.......

Commence breathing.

And at the same time, hold it in suspension - relish that suspension and the impending breath that lingers in your lungs - because what is to come will take it away all over again. It's one of those "this is you now, and this is you for the rest of your life" things I think, and I can classify it neither as good nor bad. 

I classify it like listening to Bon Iver break out into a 5 part harmony round during a break in the clouds in the middle of a downpour in downtown Chicago. The weather is bitterly cold, with the breeze rolling off of Lake Michigan whipping at your dripping wet skin, causing you to curl up a little bit to preserve what blood is left in  your veins and keep it near your heart. Your knees are knocking together with the surge of people around you ebbing and flowing, mixed with the bone-freezing and biting chill engulfing your skin. 

And yet you can't feel anything except for the rising and swelling of your chest when your head is encircled with the sweeping and soaring harmony escaping from the stage 60 feet in front of you. You don't notice how cold you are, you notice that the rain stopped right when they approached their microphones and that a small beam of sunlight seeped through the clouds to illuminate the band members as they exposed fifteen thousand people to the deepest questions of their soul which can be posed only through melody. 

All of that is meant to expose the paradox that I feel like I'm experiencing. I have more questions than I have answers and I have no tool to explore them other than my mind; I cannot work them out like math on paper or like philosophy in conversation, but only through countless nights lying awake in bed and contemplating the ceiling. This is a battle to fight with myself, for no man may intervene and alleviate the struggle. No man COULD intervene and alleviate the struggle. 

The music has become more melancholy as of late. There is a story in the works. There is a conflict of interests at hand. There is a frustration that will not be untangled. And yet, I know there is also an escape... the most beautiful escape of all, for not only will He take these burdens onto Himself, He already has. 

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.

>Existential Quandaries

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I really apologize to my core audience right now, because this page has been terribly empty for the past couple of weeks. It seems that every time I sit down to try to write something, there is some unforeseen obstacle waiting for me to get the hint of productivity before hijacking my thought process. Most of the time it comes in the form of realization that I need to write some paper I completely forgot about in the jumble of nonsense that is flooding my life, and other times it comes in the form of a wave of paralysis that creeps from my toes to my eyes and covers my brain with this blanket of inescapable and crippling exhaustion. I tell myself that when all of this school stuff is finally finished and I can do things like sleep or sit down again, everything will get back to normal and I'll become reacquainted with the Muse once again.

Until then, I suppose I'll just share this one thing that perhaps somebody out there is battling as well. Matt and I were talking the other day on the way to band practice about this matter of Existential Quandaries and struggling with the notion of all of the "rest of our lives" crap. It was one of those moments of epiphany, whether for good or bad, and got me thinking about just how superficial and petty most of the problems we are faced with are. I look at the people around me in college, being JUNIORS and SENIORS who still talk about how they can't wait to "party, bro" and the people desperate for any sort of income acquiring a job that is perfectly fine but perhaps full of customers that are, as they put it, "unbearable," and they quit without having any sort of backup plan, and I wonder just what they're trying to prove. Trust me, I'm the last person to defend the Capitalist system or to say that we've got it right over here, but I do recognize that in order to survive, there are a number of hoops that you just absolutely have to jump through, and if you don't like it, nobody is keeping you here. 

So, I went up to my room and for a brief moment heard the whisper of that elusive Muse and sort of returned to my poetry roots for a minute. You can read if you want :)

Existential Quandaries

There is this breeze, they tell me.

They say it moves the trees

And even if I find it,

I'm not the God it heeds.

Mine's not the soul it feeds.

They tell me this is calming:

The swaying, leafy blades,

And nature has no quandaries

Yet garners acolades.

It brushes arms with fate

And doesn't look away.

They say it comes as whispers

And illuminates the night

As little lamps in children's

Cribs - rocking, creaking, slight,

Instilling what is right.

They say it bases reason

On what the Breather sighed.

That plans are executed

With ease beyond our minds

And we but seek to question

His perfect, flawless time. 

Hamilton Barber

The subject of this page is an introverted writer/musician/lunatic from Chattanooga, TN who dabbles in lexical dexterity, unorthodox thoughts on prosperity, and being overwhelmingly undeserving of the privilege of waking up every day. He hopes that everybody who reads these words takes them to heart and leaps higher than he ever could. He reads, thinks, and speaks too much; he listens, works, and loves too little; and he says “I” entirely too often. The words on these pages are not his: they are the words that were given to him.