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2017-09-22 / Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.” – Cicero
By Brian Miller
HTF Columnist

“People of the world don’t look at themselves, and so they blame one another.”

“O, happy the soul that saw its own faults.”

– Rumi

Are you reflective? An overthinker? Human self-reflection is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about their fundamental nature, purpose and essence. So says Wikipedia.

I find myself to be in a state of contemplative introspection often: What are my motivations? What guides my actions? Why do I think as I do? What is my purpose for living? Why did I used to feel everything – love, joy, sorrow, pain – so much? What is broken that I struggle to feel anymore?

These thoughts and more bombarded me as I enjoyed a beautiful evening on the golf course – by myself – Wednesday evening. The course is where I seem to go now to be alone, to think, to decompress, to let go of things, to forgive – both myself and others – to reconcile my often idealistic thoughts with the oftentimes cold, harsh reality of this world.

Sometimes I just need to compartmentalize all those things that have sloshed together in a volatile mixture of information overload. I should wear a sign on my forehead that says, Danger: Colliding thoughts may trigger explosion.

Ignorance is bliss they say. I wish I knew that for a fact sometimes.

I do tend to live in the moment, which often is a good thing. It allows for the enjoyment of many things, perhaps chiefly the beauty that surrounds us. Sometimes just the brilliant blues of the sky are enough, or simply the company of a good friend. But often I find it easy to get caught up in the trivial, the unimportant, to make idols out of things that are whimsical at best.

I find it is constantly necessary to refocus on things that are of lasting importance rather than distract myself with things that aren’t. And for me anyway, it is necessary to be continually self-reflective in order to not be like the man in James 1:24 who looks in the mirror and “beholds himself, and goes his way, and immediately forgets what manner of man he was.”

Self-reflection can be troubling. When we’re honest with ourselves, we realize how impure our motivations often are. But if it causes us to change course from that which would sidetrack us, it’s a good thing.

Are you reflective? An overthinker? I am. I often long for peace, not only in this world, but also in the world in my head. Often, my only recourse is stated in Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” That’s comforting in a world that seems to have gone mad, where things that used to be considered evil are now called good, and things that are good now called evil. That’s comforting in a country whose debt just eclipsed $20 trillion dollars. Let’s hope a margin call from investors doesn’t come soon.

That’s comforting in a country where you see the Bill of Rights constantly being chipped away at. Freedom of speech and religion may too soon be an afterthought in this virulent PC culture of safe spaces and so-called tolerance. The Fourth Amendment which protects against illegal search and seizure is constantly circumvented by intelligence agencies and law enforcement. The Second Amendment has been under siege for years.

That’s comforting in a time when spreading an agenda of divisiveness, mistrust and fear seem to be the sole aim of most of the mainstream media.

But I digress. Enough of focusing on the negative. I wrote about my duties – loving God and loving others – a few weeks ago and challenged myself to live up to those standards. And that is what I should focus on, kindness – love in action.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go chase some little white balls around and reflect some more. (Well, maybe I’ll wait until after I finish writing this column.)

Random thoughts

• A few years ago when I was working
construction and living on the road, I
considered starting a “Hopeless Romantics Support Group.” But it was just me,
myself and I, so there was no romance
or support and it was technically not a
group, but it was quite hopeless! So I
had that going for me, which was nice.
• I also considered starting a group for
narcissists, but there was only room for
one in front of my mirror.
• Memo to Vikings fans: Don’t Panic. That
was only Week 2.
• Memo to Twins fans: Don’t Panic. Everybody else is choking, too.
• On the Vikings: The Purple lost to a pretty

darn good Steelers team on the road
without their starting quarterback. They
didn’t exactly get blown out. The defense
played decently against a team with exceptional offensive weapons which plays
extremely well in their home stadium. It
appears Sam Bradford will be back again
this Sunday for their home game against
Tampa Bay. The Bucs are likely pretty
good this year – it’s hard to gauge off a
one-game sample as they didn’t play in
Week 1 – so we should know a little more
about the Vikings after this one.
• On the Twins: I don’t know what it is
about the Yankees that causes the Twins
to try to play baseball with two hands
around their throats. Enough of the Minnesota Nice, already. Phil Cuzzi wasn’t
there to hand this one to the Bronx
Bombers either. But a three-game sweep
at the hands of the Yankees when you’re
clinging to a slender lead for the AL’s
final wild-card slot is not a good look.
Fortunately, the Twins finish with seven of
their final 10 games against the awful Detroit Tigers. (Anybody have extra tickets
for that final series with Detroit? Feel free
to drop them off at the office. Thanks.)
• Row the Boat. The Golden Gophers are
3-0 and winning games with ease under
the ever-exuberant P.J. Fleck. Granted,
they haven’t played anyone yet, but I
like the direction the program is heading, which is in the direction of national
relevance for maybe the first time since I
was a kid.

I forgot. The eighth annual St. Michael’s Foundation Chili Cook-off is tonight. Looks like I won’t be chasing golf balls and reflecting. But I can think of worse things to do.

Until next time…

Brian Miller is a longtime local writer who resides in Eveleth. He welcomes glowing accolades and scathing reviews at brianm@htfnews.us.

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