Monthly Archives: November 2013


I was given a book over the course of my summer in Brasil. A very, very important book. A book that if you were to simply read the cover, it could change your entire philosophy about life. It was one of the best birthday presents that I have ever received.

Ostra Feliz não Faz Pérola. Happy Oysters don’t Make Pearls.

To the friend that gave me this book, I sincerely thank you. The title of this book alone changed the way that I look at my daily life, my mission field, my approach to my classes and my work, and the way I view human trial, suffering, and tribulation.

A comfort zone, a routine, a feeling of contentment. None of these things inspire change. None of them long for something more. They are utopian in the since that change is not seen as necessary. They are sickening and broken things in that they make you buy into that philosophy– that everything is as it should be.

Everything is not as it should be. Ever.

Pressure, suffering, trial, tribulation. These are the things that inspire revival, an awakening, a long for change, a need for something different, something better. All of these things are so misunderstood by so many people because they are seen as unnecessary. Why suffer? Why are we put through tests and trials and tribulations?

It’s because you shouldn’t be content with where you are. It’s because you shouldn’t be so set in your routine. It’s because you are trapped in your comfort zone with the idea that change is a bad thing.

The oyster. A simple, underwater, ocean-dweller. An animal that creates one of the most sought after products in the world. One of the most beautiful accessories that anyone can obtain; a pearl. The oyster gets ahold of one grain of sand and begins to crunch, crush, and painfully exercise that grain of sand until it becomes a beautiful, valuable pearl. All the while, the oyster is in pain. That oyster is not happy, is not content, is not free of pain until his work is complete, and what a wonderful, beautiful product results from that struggle.

It is not in times of comfort and ease that we as human beings create our most prized possessions. They are works of labor, tests of strength, endurance, and will. An artist slaves over his paintings for hours, days, weeks, months, sometimes even years, before he is happy with his final work. He becomes a slave to his work because he is pouring everything he has into that work. It is a labor of love. It is in these times, with these attitudes, that masterpieces are created.

It is only by pain and suffering that the oyster is able to create his pearl, his masterpiece. It is only under great pressure and with much time that a diamond can be formed in the earth.

Pressure, pain, and suffering inspire greatness. Comfort, routine, and contentment with one’s current position do not.

How will you react to your next test? Your next tribulation? The next time you are under pressure? The next time you suffer greatly for something you love?

Be the oyster. Go make a pearl. Next time you’re under pressure, be determined to come out on the other side with a diamond that you can be proud of. Be the change, aspire to greatness, and inspire others along the way.

Now go find some sand to crunch on.


Also, if you’re interested in reading the book that I mentioned, Ostra Feliz não Faz Pérola || Happy Oysters don’t Make Pearls, the author is Rubem Alves. He’s a Brasilian author and Presbyterian theologian. A truly brilliant man. To the best of my knowledge, the book is available in English. Go check it out!


Halloween as a Philosophy

If you’ve ever spent more than 10 minutes with me, you probably know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s the coolest day out of the year, I’ve always been nuts for Halloween. I grew up in a neighborhood where the roads would be closed down for the evening. Literally close to a thousand people in the streets, music, costumes, candy, laughing, singing, scaring; these were all elements to my every Halloween as a child. Houses even got dressed up for the occasion, as kids, it was almost as if our neighborhood turned into a little Halloweentown of its own, if not just for a night. Most of my Halloween memories come from wandering around my neighborhood in costume with my best friend David and my sister Emily. They’re some of my fondest from my childhood.

Memories like this have created a real soft spot for Halloween in my heart. It’s important to me. I imagine I’ll always celebrate the day.

But last night, out with my friends in a college town, I realize that Halloween is so much more than just a holiday. I’ll except the history of the holiday because it has nothing to do with the point of this post (Though it is interesting, so I highly recommend checking it out when you get the chance).

Last night I began to view Halloween as a philosophy, not just a day of the year, a holiday.

Halloween is the one day out of the year that allows people dress up in all sort of weird fashion. Police officers, cartoon characters, hippies, animals, celebrities– rest assured, if it exists, you can find it on Halloween. Take a moment and imagine having to pick a Halloween costume and wearing it on a random day of the year. Sure, you’d be able to find the type of person that wouldn’t care at all, but if I had to dress up as Abraham Lincoln on the 15th of March I’d feel really out of place– I would be outside of my comfort zone.

Sure, it would get some laughs, but mostly I would just get weird looks. Not that those looks would really effect me, I’m sure I’d find a way to make it my own, believe you me, I would own it- there’s no need to worry about that.

But the fact remains that I would still feel out of place, out of my comfort zone.

Think about having to wear a random Halloween costume on a random day of the year, excluding Halloween, and freakin’ own it. Now imagine that costume as a metaphor. Again I encourage you, reader, to find a way to get out of your comfort zone. “The Comfort Zone” and how to escape it has been, is, and always will be a big part of my philosophy on how to approach life. It’s how I’ve learned to trust God, it’s how I’ve learned a language, it’s how I’ve met some of my best friends; it’s also how I’ve had fair share of injuries when it comes to trying new things on a skateboard. The risk is part of it, it is inherent, and I’ve learned to love that risk, embrace it, make it my own. 

By getting out of my comfort zone, I’ve learned to own my fear through trusting in God.

Go find your halloween costume for the day and own it. 

Good luck.