The grand adventure
April 25, 2012, 2:13 am
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I’ve never been one to think like others. I don’t like convention, it’s no fun. I like creativity. I like weird stuff like unicycling and telemark skiing. A few years ago, after attending a year of Bible College I decided to scrap my plans to go on and pursue a profession of Biblical counseling. I had gotten into a fairly reputable Bible Institute, everyone was proud of me. I went for a walk with my dad and decided not to go. I stayed home and worked for a year and a half. This chapter was amazing.

I was infatuated with life. I loved people. I had spent a year swimming in the depths of truth, and now I had the freedom to apply what I’d learned. I went back to my high school job and smiled a lot. I think this is when I started to really dream. I spent my freedom on exploration and creativity. I started drawing beautiful things, screen-printing them on t-shirts and even on my car. I had a 91 Honda civic that shook violently when I hit the brakes. My car had rust holes in it the size of softballs…but that didn’t matter. I also had a pair of hand-me-down hiking boots that were 2 sizes too big. They, just like my car, had holes in them. I would go for long hikes with my dog. I explored new places and examined every trivial intricacy along the way. I owned nothing and nothing owned me. It was a time of reassessing everything. I had no commitments except showing up to my cush job each day. Out of nowhere with a friend of mine I decided to take a few days off and drive to the coast and ended up staying with the most generous strangers. A few months later we talked about going to Cody, Wyoming to look at a school my friend planned to attend. Four days later we left for Wyoming. Several hours into the trip we decided to go to the west coast instead, in my car that had holes in it and shook like our off-balanced washing machine. I was living. I loved someone that despised me because I was so caught up in life I didn’t have a moment to reciprocate their ill feelings. We became good friends.

Those days were like the renaissance to me. I was rediscovering the things that make life captivating. With my best friend I would watch the sunset over Barnum pond spending hours by a fire talking about how much God loved for us to be free from everything. Since then I’ve held tight to my free spirit. I will forever question everything you tell me is right. I don’t see any value in the conventional way of life because it is boring and life is way too awesome to get bored.

I looked up renaissance and didn’t like the definition I found. Renaissance to me isn’t so much about art and culture as it is about evaluation. You may ask who I am to attempt to redefine that word. I am Brent Wittmer, Gods kid and renaissance to me is that place in life where you put it all on the table. You lay out all the joy, freedom, beauty and excitement right next to the pain, bondage and the crap. With everything openly strewn about you start to scrap everything that obscures your perception of joy and your experience of freedom. Renaissance can be really hard. You may end up splitting that parasitic relationship that has cost you years of your life. You may need to kick an addiction. But it’s so worth the fight! What you get in the end is love, freedom, and a grand adventure. That’s what God did for us, after all. He pointed out the fact that we were mad crusty and unfit for his grand adventure. He didn’t like that at all. He actually hated it, so he did something about it. He had His son come evaluate the situation and eventually allowed him to be killed so we could leave the crap in our tracks to live with abundance.

There is a story in the Bible where all the big religious mucky-mucks bring this woman to Jesus. They say that she is an adulterer, that they had caught her in the very act. They went on to say that according to the Law of Moses, they were supposed to stone her. When I read the story I picture a beautiful young lady. A girl that fed into the lies of society because there wasn’t a real man in her life to shower her with truth and love, and grace. She was used.  Jesus with his divine smoothness says to the big wigs those of them that were sinless had his permission to throw the first stone. When they had all turned to walk away Jesus said to the woman:

“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Those words are renaissance. He didn’t say ‘if you sin again you’re going to get it!’ He simply said to go and sin no more. I picture Jesus driving away with the woman passenger and when she looks back and asks about what happened back there he rips the rearview mirror off the windshield and says “forget it”. That is a glimpse of life. God beckons, He pleads that we don’t get caught up in the muck but that we pursue life with every ounce of passion that he displayed to us. That’s why I hate convention. Do you think that God intended that everyone of us graduate high school and go to a highly reputable university so that we can get rich; buy big houses and a brand new car. Do you think that he intended for us each to live in a house that is so big that its up-keeping consumes our free time. He never told the world to go to work from 9 to 5 then come home and watch television until you fall asleep just to do it all over again tomorrow.

By looking at creation and reading of the Creator I have come to find that he is about passion. He wants us to above all love Him, to love everyone around us and therefore to live this life with abundance. He was creative, have you seen the stars or a toad, wasp, or porcupine? My god didn’t do things the way society tells us to. He lived big on earth and had no possessions to own him.


Risky Business
April 22, 2012, 5:26 pm
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Risk is” the potential that a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) will lead to a loss (an undesirable outcome). The notion implies that a choice having an influence on the outcome exists (or existed). Almost any human endeavor carries some risk, but some are much more risky than others.” (wikipedia)

I feel confident in saying we human folk were intended to take risks, real risks. I think we were wired for it. Perhaps when we keep risk in our head we are holding back something more valuable than we realize. Those unlived actions and words could be the missing ingredient in “the norm”, a subpar existence. What if you told her she’s beautiful without the worry of her thoughts? What if you told them you need them? What if you muted the critics and changed someone’s world, be it a stranger’s world or even your own. I’m sure if we trashed the existence of what ifs and programmed ourselves to simply do, the world would instantaneously be turned upside down. If history intended to teach us anything it is that one person can impact the masses. Maybe you and I should take social responsibility to a different level. Maybe we should observe and explore and do something about what we find.

I spent a year at Bible school, just out of high school. A year away from ‘the real world’ submersed in Truth, and fellowship, and service. During the winter term all students were required to work “Snow Camp”. In all honesty, it was brutal. One of the stations at snow camp was ‘The Ice Chute”, a frozen water slide.  Sounds pretty awesome, right? I wasn’t so thrilled. One rainy grey night, hoping that my duties would be dismissed, I got assigned to the ice chute. Murmuring, I dragged my bad attitude out into the rain and down to the slide. After the whole low-down the supervisor said something along the lines of “If everyone in the church acted as you do each moment, what would the world be like”. Those words hit me like a train. A big heavy train. That moment has stuck with me more vividly than any instruction that year. If everyone lived like me, would this place be any better? Would it be worse? I think it shook me because there isn’t a situation that it doesn’t challenge. This idea challenges my actions, my thoughts, what I prescribe worth to, it challenges everything I do.

That challenge became like a cross roads for me. It wasn’t a mile post where I decided to or not to change my thinking. It is a challenge that I took with me. What I do with that idea each moment is the challenge. I have found myself veering from the challenge. I numb myself by staying too busy or justify myself with lame, yet culturally acceptable excuses. I find a fix. A “fix” is a temporary satisfaction, or momentary escape from an addiction. We have these grand capers all potted out in our head. We spend hours reeling inside, dreaming of another life. Then we flood our minds with an empty fix to blind ourselves from fact that we aren’t putting our dreams to action. It’s like spinning your tires but never going anywhere.  Life gets replaced with a fix for today, and maybe tomorrow. I wonder how many of us hate our jobs or even hate the life we live but instead of doing something about it…we step outside for a smoke, turn on the tube or we crank the music up louder than our dreams. I don’t want a fix. I want an all out addiction to life. The moments that I embrace the challenge and truly live are the moments that I never regret. I remember those moments. The times I find a fix to avoid putting effort into life go unnoticed, they’re unmemorable. Useless.

I’m disappointed with culture. I guess that the group was never really a good thing but I, personally, want so much more for the world around me. I suppose change starts with me. I don’t like that people, valuable minds, are safely squandered living vicariously through James Bond, Mr. Miyagi and Lady Gaga. We have built these beautiful bubbles around ourselves so that we will forever be safe. We don’t say what we think. We never question what others say and how dare you criticize me for talking big and but never doing anything worth a dime. I would like to save dreaming for my pillow and become a manifestation of abundant life. Jesus took big risks. Jesus lived (He still does).

April 19, 2012, 2:13 am
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Sunsets are one of my favorite things. They are entirely underrated. Tonight I went out to a cliff band, on a small mountain, just outside of town. I watched the sun set.  It was a clear day and, overwhelmed by my schoolwork, I needed to get outside.  After having dinner with my family I took the opportunity to escape for a little while and clear my mind. I loaded up my dog and raced to the trailhead.  After running up the short trail to the lookout we found a flat spot and got comfortable in preparation for the unfolding of the grand performance.

A sunset pans out much like a ballet routine or a complex symphonic piece.  It is the place where art and nature collide… and explode.  I’ve arrived just as the sun is making its final descent behind another peak across the valley.

I am a bit late for the performance but I havent missed the good part.  The sun makes its final drop.  Seemingly impatient for the final stretch of its arch, it appears to speed up but the show has just begun. The mountains on the eastern wall of the valley become the canvas for a low orange light, transitioning to red than purple as the sun sinks west and out of sight.  Before long the canvas is blank, a black silhouette humbly allowing the sky to brag boldly with its fire. A single airplane paints its signature on the unstained canvas alongside clouds stretched thin, pleased by the warmth of the setting sun.   The horizon line swoops down perfectly, meeting a lake to the west before climbing to the summit of a distant peak and crawling back down low to the lights of town, only impeded by a single white pine silhouetted pure black. From the horizon light shines bright red leading to orange higher up, yellow, than almost white it turns to the lightest blue. The sky gets darker untill looking away from the sunset it is navy…almost black.  The stars slowly pierce the blue blanket overhead. The silence gives way only to a distant bark, the faint whisper of tires furiously pulling a car across pavement outside of town and the wimper of my dog, Makita, wondering why I would sit and stare off into it all for hours.

Like I said Sunsets are underrated, what awful thing keeps us all from putting the rat race on the shelf each night and escaping everything to see The Creator paint majesty across His canvas. That moment almost unfailingly draws my thinking to the creator.  It’s a place where I talk to God. Engulfed in defining beauty my words are generally few.  “Wow, God. What do I say”.  I sit there for hours sometimes, untill I become part of it all.  It gets to the point when surrounded by all-encompassing beauty, it starts to penetrate the soul. You can eventually feel the beauty of it all welling up inside.

As the orchestra plays its final verse, the show comes to a close.  The end of a sunset is the intro of the equally majestic night sky full of stars. What a way to end the show…the canvas littered with diamond light uncountable in its infinite spread. What is man that You are mindful of him? I’m overwhelmed.

Perspective is everything.
April 7, 2012, 1:22 am
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A Life of living (excerpt from my personal journal 11/17/10)
April 5, 2012, 4:50 am
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Living in a disposable society has caused me to sink into a passive existence. I am simply allowing life to happen to me.  I’m surrounded by waste and sadly my nature is to do as I see. My nature needs to be aggressively corrected, changed.Image I’ve squandered valuable time but today I intend to find in myself a milepost declaring a change in direction. This day I intend to fight the ruts of the norm and veer off the beaten path.  I don’t want to write a new chapter in the same book but rather to make today the preface of a greater story. The preface to a story of pursuits, a life of living! I will stir things up and befriend risk, never to let it out of sight. I will cling to the truth and to a desire to inspire those around me. I will throw caution to the wind along with preconceived notions,  societal norms, prejudice, laziness and passive existence. I will live with a desire to improve and lift up, a tendency to question and invent. I will inspire others. No longer will I distract myself with vicarious entertainment but I will live a life that is needless of distraction.

Stay Captivated
April 4, 2012, 2:44 am
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Stay Captivated

I stopped at the Ray Brook golf course after work tonight, the third green is a prime spot for stargazing. Under the bright half moon and the blanket of stars, with the distant whiz of night traffic on rt. 86 and the faint glow of the Ray Brook prisons, my mind was free to wander. I came to the conclusion that If I could wish one thing on myself and everyone around me, it would be that we don’t get used to life. I wish we would never get used to the stars, to sunsets and city lights, I don’t want to get used to meeting new people or driving at night, to silhouetted mountains or being somewhere Ive never been. Maybe if we just get caught up in the truly amazing stuff, we will forget all the petty things that our silly society is so obsessed with. Maybe we could be real people? I don’t want to get used to life..

A new leaf over
April 4, 2012, 2:25 am
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I have realized, again and again, I have more thoughts, dreams, and aspirations than I could express in a life time.  Its not a bad thing, I suppose. From time to time I get the greatly cherished opportunity to escape it all and just dig deep into observation and celebration at the world around me. For years Ive intended to crack down and get serious about journaling my thoughts and experiences  but motivation is fleeting and I find my self back at square one. So, here is my fresh attempt to create an outlet for the deepest and shallowest of my thoughts. Most of my reading lately has been that of blogs and Ive found great enjoyment in getting lost in the words of another, so this is my way of giving back, perhaps, or simply a place to unload my thoughts. The title of the blog is simply catchy nothingness, to be honest. Enjoy!