An IntroductionDan Smith

Where life is lived

An IntroductionDan Smith
Where life is lived

HELLO.


This is a collection of my own thoughts and valuable truths God has shown me. A mixture of parts of my life that I'm proud of and the broken parts I wish I could be proud of. This collection is just as much for me as it is for you.

As John Ruskin wrote in The Stones of Venice, "To banish imperfection is to destroy expression." Now I’ll be honest, I have no idea who John Ruskin is, and I've never read The Stones of Venice. I just copied and pasted that quote from a Google search to make you think I’m cultured and well-read.

So I bet you're wondering, Thin Lines or Oceans? What does that mean? Well let me tell you: it means artsy deep things. Very artsy and very deep things. Things that make people go "wow, that Dan is a deep guy." By the way, my name’s Dan.

Thin lines represent standards, in a way. They are good things to adhere to. They are our goals. Aspirations. Wisdom. There's a specific word that sums it all up.


 

Thin lines represent

perfection.

 

Why? Because imperfections can't hide on a thin line. Try drawing a straight line with a pen. Every bump and groove in the paper throws the ink off it's course.

That's the thing about thin lines. When a line is thick, you can step back from it and still see it. A few steps further back, it seems more even and perfect. With distance, flaws are hidden by the limits of our own vision. But thin lines draw you in. Thin lines beg for a closer look. They're so simple, but so frustratingly unachievable.

Maybe a printer could achieve that kind of perfection. But maybe not. If you look closely enough, you can see all the thousands of tiny dots the printer uses to print, which creates the illusion of a straight line. So that doesn't work. What about on a screen? Pixels are can be perfectly aligned. That's the whole point of pixels, right? The problem is, all the screens in the world are made up of minuscule light clusters of red, green, and blue. Dots; just like the printer. Some phones are getting point now where you almost can't see the individual pixels. But with a close enough eye, there they are. It's still an illusion.

 

I think it's telling that we can only conceive of a perfectly thin line.

 

We can never actually see it. Perfection itself seems to be the same way. There are illusions of it walking around in people we know and people we admire. But as we move closer to them, the flaws come into focus.

But oceans are not like thin lines. Like I don't know if you've noticed that. Think about this: never in the history of the earth has the ocean ever formed a perfectly straight line. It's wild and chaotic. Every second transforms it into a thousand new valleys and peaks. It's peaceful and dangerous. It's beautiful and deadly.


 

Oceans represent

God's love.

 

An ocean can cover anything. People, ships, sometimes even islands are swallowed whole, never to see the sun again. Entire continents could sink beneath the waves. You'd never even know they existed unless you dove beneath the surface.

The ocean is unpredictable and utterly untamable. But look to the ocean's horizon and what do you see? A perfectly straight line. We know it's not straight, but that's what our eyes tell us. We can try to get closer to inspect the horizon. But chasing the horizon will only bring us more horizon. Sure, it begins to change as we approach land. The horizon of a landscape can change. But the ocean's horizon will always be a perfectly straight line, no matter how close we get try to get to it.


I find myself wanting to live my life in perfectly thin lines. It's not what I need, but it's what I want. It would be so orderly and beautiful. So entirely stable and predictable. I can see it with my mind's eye: the perfect version of myself. I can picture it, but I can never quite obtain it. So I want to live life in the thin lines, but the ocean is where I need to be.

I can't create thin lines, only illusions that fall apart upon approach. I need God's deep waters of grace and love. I need to go through the peaks and the valleys of growth. The moments of tranquility and the stormy waves. All of these are necessary. But more than anything, I need to be swallowed up in his oceans of love.

And there is the struggle in which I always seem to find myself. It's the question I always arrive at. It's where most of my life is lived. I find myself torn between the two:

Thin Lines or Oceans.

Pizza enthusiast but pineapple nonbeliever. Intellectually aspirational but emotionally unpredictable. Usually happy but sometimes sad.

Going after God.