Wednesday, January 18, 2012

There Goes My Hero

I find it strange just how similar I am to my dad. We think the same, act the same, we even have the same handwriting. My dad is my absolute hero, and if I turned out exactly like him I would okay with it. For some reason, I was thinking about this a few days ago, and it really made me wonder how my dad became my hero. I know that there are a lot of small boys who idolize their dads and want to be just like them, but how and why is it that we become just like them? Well my friends, let's find out.

My dad and I work at the same place; and by that I mean I work for him, so we're around each other 40 hours a week (unless we work overtime...which we do...because we're men.) An outsider looking in might not notice anything peculiar in the way that my we interact, but underneath the obvious appearance there is a lot going on. For instance, when my dad is talking on the phone to a customer, I can tell by his word choice, inflection, tone, and facial gestures what kind of person he's talking to. Without even speaking words to each other, I can tell when he needs me to get him a calculator or a pen. I don't recall sitting down and studying my dad's habits in such detail that I can understand them as I do, I just spend an inordinate amount of time with him. There have been times when people read notes that we make and cannot tell if I wrote them or if he did. We can both clearly tell the differences, but to outsiders it looks the same. I understand that genetics plays a heavy role in common characteristics in offspring, but having a hero goes so much deeper than that.

Some of the things that I have in common with my dad are by choice. From my earliest memories growing up, my dad absolutely despised ranch dressing. He won't eat it on anything. I hate ranch dressing; I genuinely cannot stand the way it tastes or smells for some reason, but the first time I refused it was not because of my opinions. It was because I wanted to be like my dad. The same goes for Dr. Pepper, milk, lengthy board games, people who talk too much, and so on. It is fascinating to me that some of my core likes and dislikes are direct copies of my dad's preferences. They're deeply seeded in my character, but they came from outside of me. My adoration and respect of my dad shaped who I am. I know that Dr. Pepper and board games are not integral aspects of my character, but they are part of who I am; and the areas that my dad has influenced in my life go much deeper that surface preferences. My dad has the softest heart of anyone I've ever met. He feels things incredibly deeply, and cares in ways that I cannot understand all the time. Over the years I've come to realize that I feel things like he does. We don't even have to discuss it, but our reactions to situations are very similar. I haven't always acted on this tendency as well as he does, but I am growing as we all are. 

The fact that we are able to copy another person is amazing to me. It is also horrifying in a way. I think of all of the people in this world who people are copying and it hurts my heart. There are some people out there who do not need to be imitated. I, as always, am not going to judge anyone. I understand that we all have setbacks and areas that we struggle in, but I hurt for the youth who are copying individuals who live in ways that are unhealthy. I love my dad and he understands me like no one else. How does the dynamic change when we don't know our heroes? When we can't question them and work with them and come to know them inside and out. I have nothing against heroes that we will never meet. Jon Foreman is and amazing person. I love his outlook on music and writing and life, and I draw inspiration from him, yet he will never mean as much to me as my dad does. Jon is an ethereal hero. My dad is a tangible one. I wish so deeply that everyone could have tangible heroes as amazing as my dad is. I understand that this is not possible, and I cherish my dad close to my heart. 

Find heroes who are real. Be a hero to someone who needs one. End your blogs with very feel good sayings. And have a wonderful day everyone.

(Thanks for reading today. Follow me on Twitter @MattHillEC if you want to chat.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I'm going to write from the heart today. As usual, I might become incoherent and lose my train of thought, and I applaud anyone who makes it through all of this (whatever this may become.) Hypocrisy is something that both fascinates and annoys me. Obviously I don't like the fact that some people claim to be one thing and are evidently something completely different. My heart breaks when I see Christians who proclaim the love of God but are some of the rudest, mean-spirited people I've met. Hypocrisy is the arch-nemesis of integrity. It is acid rain on a forest of respect. At the same time, I am deeply intrigued by the thought processes that precede moments of hypocrisy. 

At one point or another, we all have fallen victim to hypocrisy's clutches. It is highly improbable that any of us are perpetually upright individuals who never act in ways contrary to our previous statements, but I believe that often we don't even realize when we are being hypocrites. Let me restate that: I don't realize when I'm being a hypocrite. Being all-inclusive in that is judgemental and hypocritical in some fashion. Imagine this with me for a minute: a man has been hurt by some careless people's misguided, ill-thought words. His reputation has suffered the shrapnel of human conversation, and he has been deeply affected by what was said. Now these individuals who hurt him had all claimed and appeared to be outstanding people; the man would never have suspected them to slander his name. Nonetheless their actions appear contrary to their claims, and are thereby hypocritical. Here's where I begin to lose my cohesive grip on the subject. If he tells anyone what has happened, is he not too being a hypocrite? How can he be upset with those individuals for talking about him, and then go talk to someone else about the same people? It's like seeing some people smoking cigarettes in a non-smoking park and running then turning to a friend to bring it to their attention while you yourself are smoking. Now I don't have anything against smoking (Although it can probably kill you. But I used to smoke.... hypocritical, parenthetical statement. Wow.) but the principle can be extrapolated I think. It's hard to not be hypocritical.

I don't want to appear as if I have no hope in humanity or think that everyone is a huge hypocrite; far from it. I've just been hit really hard lately with the reality that often times the people that I am the most upset with probably have solid ground to be upset with me in return for the way I handle situations. If you're talking about the "lying psycho who went behind your back and cheated on you" to a friend, that lying psycho might be talking about the "crazy girl who never could keep her mouth shut and spreads stuff." It comes full circle. This topic has really been weighing heavily on my heart of late. I'll be the first to admit that I have been hurt by people. It is relatively easy to be in that group. Though none of us want to fall into this next group, most of us are included in its ranks just as easily. The "I've been hurt by people, but I've probably hurt people as well" group. This is rough stuff for me. It's not fun to realize that I am my enemies. I've been gossiped about. I have gossiped about. I've been lied about. I have lied about. My reputation has been cut down. I have cut down reputations. I don't want to lump us all into one group. I understand that everyone deals with this differently, and I really respect those of you who remain integrity-enriched through episodes of hypocrisy directed at you. I wish I was as strong as you are, but I realize I have lengthy ground to cover. I am not a good example of how to not be a hypocrite. 

My heart is running out of words, so it looks like this is going to be another short post. Maybe these are better. Sometimes wading through shallow water is better that diving off of a cruise ship into the ocean. Everyone needs their fair share of bite-sized pieces of life. (My Oprah-esque moment has now concluded.) I hope that these words never feel judgmental or feel like I am trying to tell anyone what to do. I certainly don't have life figured out. There are countless areas that I struggle with. I just hope to spark thoughts and conversations. People figure things out together better than they do alone. That being said, I am going to go ride my motorcycle at breakneck speeds to burn some agression off. Have a wonderful day everyone. God bless you.

Oh I forgot that I have some exciting news. Sometime in mid to late February, I will be having an entire week of guest posts. It's going to be fun for everyone. I get to have some of my good friends and mentors sharing their thoughts and stories. Can't wait for it!

(I aways say this in parentheses at the bottom, and I don't know why. Anyways, thanks for checking this out today. You can leave comments or chat with me on Twitter at @MattHillEC.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Just A Little Something

This one is just something I wrote. Hope you like it, and I hope it means something to one or two of you.

That year seems to have divided my heart and my head.

Good intentions only take us so far, we've all been misled.

One day I'm coming back home to show you my hands.

Until then just know I'm sorry, and I'll do what I can.

My mind is the culprit no one knew.

But my blood still bleeds for you.

You could fall in love with someone else.

But you've got nothing left to prove.

I was a hunter you were my prize.

But like a good father you opened my eyes.

Like a good mother you saw the inside.

Like a good lover you gave me your time.

Would you believe my skin is a wall.

Oh but your words are the bomb that makes the bricks fall.

I'm alive because you are alive.

I'm complete because your eyes don't see indecency.

Only dreams.

Thank you all for spending some time with me. Have a beautiful day.

(If you want to chat, leave a comment or follow me on Twitter here @MattHillEC.)

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Thursday, January 5, 2012


Imagine something with me for a moment. Picture yourself in charge of building a house. You have the blueprints, the work is contracted out, everything is ready to go. Now imagine picking up the first hammer and going to work (since you are evidently a hands on owner of this construction company.) Suddenly, the hammer becomes very rubbery and is unable to retain its shape. The wooden handle melts in your hand, and is rendered completely useless. What do you do with that hammer? You throw it aside into the scrap pile and get another hammer better suited to accomplish your task.

Story number two. Imagine that you are a NASCAR driver. You're enjoying a substantial lead and preparing yourself to take home a trophy, when something very uncharacteristic happens. Your tires become stones. Literal stones. Obviously this is a severe hindrance on your driving abilities, so you quickly pull into the pit stop and get some new tires that are actually made of rubber (or whatever they make race car tires out of these days.) The rocks were of no use to you, and they held you back.

Here's another one (there is an end in sight I promise.) You are the CEO of an investing firm. Your company is hours away from completing a huge merger which will lead to grand pay increases and deep growth for all involved. You have assigned your right hand man to oversee the happenings, but on the way to the meeting in which the official papers will be signed, he decides that he is better suited to be a fry cook and quits on the spot. Wendy's on his mind, he jumps in his car to reevaluate his life's calling.

If you're looking for a thread running throughout these stories, search no more. Objects or people that choose not to function within the parameters set out for their purposes are more often than not discarded and replaced with suitable alternatives. A hammer that cannot drive in nails is useless; tires that are made of rocks will simply not suffice on vehicles; and a corporate executive who has a hankering to flip hamburger patties will never belong in the financial world of business. I wonder what the world would look like if we all realized this. How hard would we work? How much more attention would we pay to our duties and responsibilities? There is no way of knowing, but what I also wonder how miserable it would be to live life constantly in fear of slipping below the line of appropriate adequacy and being replaced. That is a terrifying thought; never knowing if today will be your last before you get tossed into the same scrap pile as a flimsy hammer. Everyone will inevitably fail and be less than their best at one point or another, and the thought of not getting any free passes is very scary. It gives me the image of an almost 1984-esque dynamic. How horrible. Still, in the back of our minds I think we all realize that making a decision to be less effective than you can be, or to attempt to thrive in ways that are not set out for you can and maybe will end in losses for you. Hammers that are not hammers are not hammers (wow...that's deep.)

So where is this all going? Let's find out. I don't know how all of you feel about having a purpose in life. I'm sure some of you think we do, and some of you think we don't. Humor me for a minute regardless of your view if you don't mind. Why do we, in clear sight of our purpose in life, choose to morph into shapes that pull us away from what we know we should do? I don't want this to just apply to Christians who feel like God is calling them to do something. That is definitely one area that you can apply this to, but I think it can go beyond that as well. What does your heart beat fast for? What stirs you? Why do we often run from these things? It doesn't make sense to me. I'm going to use some more literal examples to help me hash this out. A girl notices that her school is a breeding ground for bullying. It is an everyday occurrence, and it is disintegrating the social integrity of the school. She feels like she should be a voice and try to make a change, but she chooses instead to focus all of her efforts on excelling in her classes, and being quiet; quieter, perhaps, than before she felt led to make a change. Here's another: a young man feels God calling him to become a missionary. This young man proceeds to let his relationship with God falter, runs from the prospect of leaving behind his comfortable life, and accomplishes nothing. He is worse off than before we felt this calling. One more can't hurt (unless it can.) Just kidding, I can't really think of another one so let's move on. How deep are the effects of turning from purpose? We may never know. There is an endless number of people that have the potential to be affected by your actions. If you are steady reader of this blog, you might remember that I asked you all to share a blog with one friend a few posts ago. It was all connected to this. I'll just share one story from it. One of my friends told me that she had shared the blog with a friend who really liked it, and I believe that friend also shared it with a friend. Everything we do can have ripple effects, and it takes just one rock to start it all. Another thought is this: what all are you missing out on by choosing to ignore your purpose?

Let me digress a little bit. We talked about the world's tendency to discard those who do not live up to their expectations. I want to introduce you to my own personal view of how this works in my own life. I truly, deeply believe that I have a purpose in life. I also live in fear of losing that purpose from time to time. I fear that if I deviate far enough off course or apply my attention to the wrong areas, I will be discarded and someone else will receive my purpose. I'm going to incorporate faith for a minute. I do understand that God cannot use us if we are living in sin. He cannot use people that are living in ways opposite of what he instructs, but he can absolutely turn anyone around and then use them. Every step we take away becomes part of our story, and subsequently an aspect of our purpose. It is never God's plan for us to fail, but unlike the world he does not offhandedly discard us when we fail. We can always come home to him, and always get back on track with our purpose. God is the master of making hammers that are not hammers become hammers once more (...I have no words. And I am done with hammer illusions.) What scares me the most is the possibility of missing out on some amazing things while I choose to do my own thing and put purpose on the back burner.

Where does this leave you? As confused as you were five minutes ago undoubtedly, but hopefully you can begin to see that following purpose yields rewards both to us and to those around us, in spite of its difficulties. Be a hammer made of wood, not rubber (I was obviously not being truthful earlier.)

This is again unrelated (and probably petty advertisement) but Ellison's Cage is finally off of hiatus! So if any of you are in the Little Rock area, feel free to come out to our first show at The Friction House on February 10th. Here is a link to the details

(Thanks for taking some time out of your busy day to read. Follow me on Twitter here @MattHillEC .)