- If I Could Teach One Lesson: Have expectations of another. Living in the giftedness of another’s presence is not enough. You have to be there for someone and s/he for you. Understand if someone cannot do this for you as they probably are not being selfish which is a possibility, but more likely they have their quota of this already. If this is the case, live in that pure grace of enjoying one another at those times you can, but try to find at least one person who can be the greater thing.
- If I Could Teach a Second Lesson: Figure out who you have time for. The problem with good people is they try to make time for everybody. That doesn’t work. You have to avail yourself to others as much as possible, but you also need a few in your life that mean more than the others. This is not selfish. You make a poor friend or companion if you are so much out there for others, you can’t find the time to be the raison d’etre of anybody else.
- If You Read One Book of the Bible: You should read it all, but read Isaiah. It is beautiful beyond compare and ties together wonderfully the Hebrew people and the messianic expectation realized in Christianity. My favorite verse: They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:9.
- When You Decide it is Time to Read a Second Book in the Bible: Ruth. It’s absolutely beautiful. It is also the best exposition of knowing joy in kindness that has ever been put to the written word.
- Read One Book About Marriage and Family: That would be Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. The moral here is that it takes great courage to love another person and see the beauty of everyday things, but if we fail to do this, our lives are diminished beyond repair.
- Two Movies to Earn Your Man Card: “Das Boot” and “Apocalypse Now.” War movies should have plenty of action, but they should also show us war is hell.
- I Wanted To Watch a “Chick Flick”: This belongs to “When Harry Met Sally.” You can’t be a good lover without being a good friend. The best scene is not in the restaurant, it is the one from New Year’s Eve.
- I Don’t Have Time for a Chick Flick, Give Me One Scene: It comes from “The English Patient.” Sikh and masculine Kip affirms everything he sees beautiful in the Catholic feminine Hannah.
- I Want My Man Card and a Chick Flick: “Casablanca.” War torn lovelorn Rick is cold though never cruel and he carries his broken heart without ever being pathetic, well almost never.
- Watch One Director: Terrence Malick. He is the only man who could knock Bergman off his throne for me. He poses all the same existential questions, but is so much more human about it. Just get use to a lot of twirling around by religious women and if that doesn’t do it for you, get lost in the beauty of a beautiful world.
- I’m a Millennial, I Don’t Want to Watch That Old Geezer Malick: Fine, watch Jeff Nichols. “Take Shelter” will give you a lesson on how to be there for another person and “Mud” will give you the best coming of age story in years.
- I Listen to Mumford and Sons, What Else Do You Have for Me: Many friends expect me to say Wilco, but my closest friends know I’m going with the most critically overlooked band of all time: Over the Rhine. If you are an Ohioan, listen to “Ohio.” If you have had your great romance in life, listen to “What I’ll Remember Most.”
- I Know You Like More than OtR, Pick an Iron and Wine Song: “Trapeze Swinger” is my favorite for very personal reasons.
I could go on, but for now that is enough food for thought.