“I haven’t changed, you have!”

To begin…

In 2007, when I first moved to South Lake Tahoe, the first friend I ever made was a girl named Miranda McLaughlin. Her and I met in a spanish class in sixth grade and quickly became friends. We were best friends all the way through middle school but she moved to Gardnerville in ninth grade. We still called each other from time to time and, because we were such close friends and our families trusted us, I even spent a few nights at her house. However, at the end of 2011, something happened between us that altered our friendship and, really, told me that things were different. Every time I go back to our last conversation in January 2012, I’m selfishly proud of my choice of words and the way the conversation moved, if that makes sense. Our friendship ended and we never spoke again. People move, people change, situations change, things change. I don’t like change, let’s talk about change.

The Bumble Bee’s Beauty

When I was young, my favorite animal was the elephant. Maybe it was because of my similarity to them concerning the size of their freakishly large ears but I digress. My love for them evenentually faded and maybe I tried to replace them with fruit bats but, at least since 2010, I can’t remember a time when I gave serious consideration to a “favorite animal”. Although, all throughout high school, I can remember an ongoing joke between my friends and I about bees. I’m pretty sure it had to start with Nicholas Cage’s performance in The Wicker Man but we just found bees funny. I recently named them my favorite animal just because of how much I enjoy jokes about them. When my friend brings up random bee facts from a book she obtained, I’m not opposed to hearing more information about bees either. To me, it serves both comedic purposes and I am usually quite interested to hear about their behavior and whatnot. My favor for bee jokes actually plays its part in some of the music I listen to.

See, I listen to a lot of electronic music. I, sort of, think it plays into my character at least a little considering how much I enjoy computers. In that respect, I think I hold special favor for the sound electronic devices can make. I’m not sure on the exact psychology of it but whenever I meet a new person, I like to ask them their favorite music genre because I think maybe it can allow me a better view of their personality. With that in mind, just know that I don’t really enjoy it when people answer that question by saying they enjoy all genres of music but again, I digress. As I was saying, while listening to a mix of tracks related to music by Skrillex, a song played: Bumble Bee by Zedd. I’m pretty sure, by now, it has to be one of my most played tracks right beside Clarity by the same artist or Alone by Marshmello. I, really, only listen to my “I’m Rockin’ Out” playlist when I’m in the shower or when I’m cleaning my room but I have other playlists.

Likely mentioned in other posts, I have a Worship playlist but I also have a playlist nicknamed “Classic Study” I listen to when I’m studying Scripture or reading a book. Right now, I’m reading Balancing the Christian Life by Charles C. Ryrie (for Spiritual application) or Black as part of The Cirle Series by Tedd Dekker (for leisure) in addition to reading the actual Bible. While reading and/or studying, I enjoy listening to piano. I was taught by a friend who actually listens to classical music that the music I listen to isn’t really classical so I’ll just say I like music played on the piano. In fact, I was recently telling my good friend, Rachel, that my favorite pianist is a musician named Kyle Landry. I first heard of him while looking up music from Kingdom Hearts but fell in love with tracks from him like Sappy Sundays, White Sun or especially Lost Depression. Anyway, the reason I bring up classical music is because one of my favorite tracks, more for comedic purposes and consistency, has to be Flight of the Bumblebee by [some dude].

Then and Now…

When I was young, the first movie I ever enjoyed was The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was real. The amount of research and infatuation I had with that movie showed that. I don’t remember a lot of things from my childhood but every kid has that movie he watched every day for about a year. My sister, Katryna’s was The Lion King. Even though I wasn’t in his life when he was a kid, my Platinum Class-level friend, Max, has told me his was Lilo and Stitch. Mine was The Nightmare Before Christmas. I would go so far as to say there was a time I had every line of that movie memorized. It still sometimes plays in my head today. Short scenes but it still has a place in my heart. Eventually, though, I saw Tron: Legacy. The 2010 film easily made its way as my new favorite as soon as I began my interest in the Rapture of the Church. Until 2015 (at least), I would tell myself and other people Tron: Legacy was second on my “favorite movies” list but I assure you: this was always a lie. The Nightmare Before Christmas held nothing to the symbolism, the stunning visuals or even just the original music found in Tron: Legacy.

I even transferred the title of “favorite band” from The All-American Rejects to Daft Punk, the French electronic music duo behind Tron: Legacy‘s original soundtrack. When I learned of Daft Punk’s existence, I absolutely adored their music as well as their robot helmets. The story they offered was that they were composing music for either their Homework or Discovery album when there was an explosion and when they awoke, they were robots. Daft-Punk-Helmets-HD-WallpaperOh, the idea of being a robot was so admirable to me! Not only because of my love for computers, but also because of my religious orientation. See, I was convinced that if I was a robot, a machine, a computer, I would easily accept orders from my Lord and Creator and carry them out as requested and not postpone orders by allowing myself to rationalize or be called away by video games. The comprehension that I prioritize video games above God was the turn of my life and where I really began to accept and worship God. With that in mind, video games usually act in opposition to my spiritual life. Regrettably, this is particularly true with Kingdom Hearts.

Ever since the game was introduced to me in 2008 (probably), Kingdom Hearts has been a story I enjoyed immensely. As a matter of fact, I can’t even remember why I enjoyed the series so much. I still do but there’s not exactly a reason. Maybe there was a time in my life I found the story of the series’ protagonist’s “other”, Roxas, relatable but I, obviously, owe it some respect because it is the cornerstone of my friendship with Max. Max and I met in middle school and, although he tells tale about a time he met me beside another friend I had in 2007, the line that just had to begin our friendship was “‘You play Kingdom Hearts?” He helped me defeat an antagonist from the first game and we’ve been friends ever since. At one time, it was my favorite game but it, too, has been replaced with another video game series entitled Halo. Now, I can tell you why I like Halo so much: I love the story! Aside from the fact that I found slight symbolism in the original trilogy, the story of the Master Chief is somewhat relatable to my own. Relating back to my desire to be a machine, Master Chief was, quite literally, trained to be one. In fact, the story behind Halo 4 was to deal with the Master Chief’s humanity. Although I may still try to convince myself and others that my favorite video game franchise is Kingdom Hearts due to my dislike of change, I play Halo on my Xbox quite often whereas I don’t even own a PlayStation to play Kingdom Hearts with. Further, I find the relationship between Master Chief and Cortana similar to my friendship with Rachel more so than I find comfort in comparing Max and I to Sora and Roxas. Honestly speaking, my love for Halo has essentially replaced my love for Kingdom Hearts and even adds that comfort of a home console.1

“It was time.”

Now, you may be examining these changes in my “favorite [noun]s” lists and saying, “Why, O handsome and most awesome Christopher, for someone who claims to dislike change, you sure have changed a lot since your childhood.” Yes, I realize that, young pain-in-my-side but that’s only because in 2010, I recovered from an “accident”2 that radically changed my life and, really, just hit the reset button on my life. In my Discovery of Daft Punk <abbr title="Ah! See what I did there? …Because Discovery is by Daft Punk? Get it?”>3, in addition to my obsession with computers, for a long time, I called life before 2010 “Version 1.[x]” and life after “Version 2.[x]”. Sometimes, I’ll even sign my electronic documents, Christopher, v2.2 because of my own familiarity with the Holy Spirit. However, it honestly took a lot to declare a change so dramatic as to issue myself a new version number. The transition from Version 2.0 to 2.1 was really a tribute to Windows Phone 8.1 but was later realized to mimic my transition from a natural man to a carnal Christian. Similarly, Version 2.1 to 2.2 took place after Bible College as a result of my second testimony and was symbolic of my step from a carnal Christian to a Spiritual Christian. If I were still using version numbers publically, the two would be in constant rotation. However, although it won’t be an enormous Spiritual step, I fear it may be time for a new version number.

See, On May 12, 2018, my hazbehn-Platinum-Class-level friend, Max, got married. “What!? Max!? That guy you made idiotic videos with in middle/high-school that you deleted from YouTube but still have and will only share with Platinum Classers!? You’re best bud who you used to goof around with you about bees!? …who plays video games and eats Taco Bell!?” No, a different one …and that’s no joke. At first, I was asked to be best man but turned it down because I didn’t approve of the wedding and a best man ought to be able to do just that. After a discussion with Rachel about it, I opened up to the idea and decided to attend because, after all, it is my best friend’s wedding, right? WRONG!!! Similar-but-not-identical to Miranda, Max moved a few years back to Reno/Sparks area for college. After dropping out, Max changed. The situation changed. Things changed. When I attended the wedding, it wasn’t my best friend who was getting married. I won’t describe the ways in which he was different because the language is foreign to me but he’s not who he was. …But, y’know? Maybe that’s a good thing.

After the wedding, Mother’s Day 2018, I was telling my dad about how I disliked the wedding, about how Max changed and I knew neither the bride nor the groom. I was quoting my line since ending my friendship with Miranda: “People move, people change.” My father dispensed wisdom when he replied, “You know I’ve experienced the opposite?” When issued a facial prompt expressing curiosity, he went on to tell me of a time when he moved back to Stockton during his bachelor days in Tahoe and was catching up with old friends. Old friends that had grown up, got married, had kids but he chose a discouraged tone when referring to a friend who was taking life pretty slow. This friend didn’t change all too much and behaved in a way that caused my 29-year-old father to ask (most likely, mentally), “What are we? 21?” That’s me.

End of Line

And, y’know? Maybe I have changed or perhaps developed just a little bit in my Spiritual Life. Maybe I have tried to make myself less dependent on video games and other electronics like my phone or computer and attempted to replace those evil habits with healthy habits, like reading books. Y’know, maybe I have changed, even just a little bit. Though, when I look at myself, I still live with an elderly roommate that might as well be my second or third or fourth mother (I’ve been metaphorically adopted more than once). I still don’t have a license. I still walk to work and around town. I still work a low-paying job at a fast food restaurant. I still don’t have a life plan. I still take life slow. Granted, I am only 21 (Err– today makes 22) but that’s just it: when will it end? In my eyes, I’m still just some kid. I’ll never change because I don’t like change. Change terrifies me.

Although, maybe this new direction I’m taking in reading and writing will lead me to a better relationship with God. A more education-filled life may lead to a more Spirit-filled life. Who knows? In time, I might come to a better knowledge of how to listen for God or even seize God-given opportunities. My life may not be clear over the mountain of fears and questions in front of me, but God can see with a top-down view and He sees past this mountain in front of me. As long as I can put my faith and trust in Him, there is not a doubt in my mind that in His own timing, with proper devotion and perseverence, God will lead me to a life worth living. With a willing heart, God will fix me.

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