What does a picture of me and a cousin possibly have to do with valuing pain?


A snow storm.


As I was driving into New Life this morning, I had one of the fundamental laws of physics rolling through my head:

Objects in motion tend to stay in motion; objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

As I applied that same idea to my life, I recognized another very interesting “law” I’ve found to be true:

People who live intensely tend to enjoy life more; people who live blandly tend to enjoy life less.

As cousin Philip Thomas and I lounged in the St. Lawrence yesterday (in-water for over 2.5 hours straight), he said yet another striking truth that correlates to all this:

People who live through the pain of cold winters enjoy hot summers even more.

“My two bothers live in Florida,” he said. “And whenever I visit we’re always talking about how much we miss the extremes of New York and how much we wish we were back north, even the winters.”

There truly is something to be said for valuing what you get less of. All my friends who’ve lived in Phoenix, AZ have noted that you eventually get sick of the sun, as crazy as that sounds to me.

Even today, an incredible woman, Patty Jennings – a regional director for Operation Christmas Child – was saying how children she’d given shoe boxes to in parts of Africa didn’t know what to do with a pack of crayons. Because they’d never had any.

Talk about being grateful.

Intensity, extremes, and hardships serve many purposes; one of the greatest, however, is giving us a profound and almost hyper-sensitive appreciation for what we have.

I can tell you, I’ll be clinging to this photo of me and Phil when it’s February. I’ll even remember Brian Fetzner took it of us – can’t say that of all pictures.

Live big, live loud, live hard. The intensity with which you live life in the extremes will increase your appreciation of the present. ch:



Christian Fahey · 4 Sep ’11 at 9:23 pm

Two thumbs up, CKH!! (Love the reiteration of the law of inertia!)

    Christopher Hopper · 4 Sep ’11 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks…I was hoping I didn’t appear too random. But that’s how my mind works. Btw, absolutely LOVING “How to Think Like DiVinci.” I feel very foolish to even consider myself in the same sub-class as him, but reading it makes me feel not so weird! (The author is equally inspiring).

      Christian Fahey · 5 Sep ’11 at 9:00 am

      Dude, I KNEW you’d dig that book! (You were the first person I thought of when I got it.) I remember your mom once telling me, “When Christopher was a boy, he created a project for himself EVERY DAY.” Thus, your many and varied active interests (music, art, technology, literature, commerce, theology, equestrian and maritime sports, etc.) I love the way Gelb brings out how da Vinci used drawing as a way of seeing the world and would draw things UPSIDE-DOWN to sharpen his perspective and not miss things “hidden in plain sight.” He drew something like 5000+ sketches of “hands” before painting Mona Lisa. Amazing!

        Christopher Hopper · 5 Sep ’11 at 9:57 am

        Precisely! In fact, I’m taking part in an international story mentorship program run by an Emmy winning writer & filmography guru (more on that over coffee). Our first assignment was to write a biography in 6 words. Wow, talk about a challenge! Mine:

        “Legos at dawn, culture at dusk.”

        I’ve often felt outcast, or maybe square peg in the round hole, for all my various interests. I’ve only recently come to grips with “this is how I am,” and that book is very much helping.

          Christian Fahey · 5 Sep ’11 at 2:04 pm

          “Simba, remember WHO you are!” Very cool new venture, C. BTW, I have a follow-up volume to “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci” by Gelb. “Discover Your Genius: How to Think Like History’s Ten Most Revolutionary Minds” (Einstein, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, etc.) You’re welcome to borrow when you finish that one. Go bro! And don’t look back! 🙂

          Christopher Hopper · 5 Sep ’11 at 10:02 pm

          Hold me back!

Billy Jepma · 5 Sep ’11 at 10:33 am

That is so true. The summers here are just so great, but I still wouldn’t mind if they lasted just a month longer. 🙂

    Christopher Hopper · 5 Sep ’11 at 10:59 am

    Indeed. I’m still trying to figure out how I can get on the boat more in September. 😉

Will · 5 Sep ’11 at 9:54 pm

What a challenging post! I dread the idea of going through the challenges that I have recently again, but I thrill in the idea of having the closeness that I have with Jesus because of it (not to mention the euphoria when he provided a miraculous solution!).

I suppose I should live my life with a greater intensity and appreciation for what God is doing in my life, and maybe He won’t need to draw a contrast as often 😉

    Christopher Hopper · 5 Sep ’11 at 10:01 pm

    Was so thrilled to get your call Saturday, Will. Rejoicing with you.

    The key to not having to endure the past again is learning from it, and changing behavioral patterns to suit. I always found the “God will not be mocked” section of the more famous “A man reaps that which he sows” Galatians 6:7 scripture really strange. What does anything I’m doing have to do with mocking God?

    And then I got it.

    To think the same things aren’t going to happen again and that God is just going to jump in despite my stupidity is mocking God. James said it best, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:17)

    No matter how many times I add 2 and 2, I’m always going to get four. The problem arises when I keep asking God to make it 5 without me adding something more when it’s within my means.

    May this new victory never need to be re-conquered. MUCHO love.

      Will · 5 Sep ’11 at 10:10 pm

      Quit making so much sense. It is really making me uncomfortable.

      Seriously though – great point punctuated by the concept of mocking God. That freaks me out a bit, to think of it that way, but I am in agreement. Certainly not my intention, but the result none the less. Yikes!

      Looking forward to some significant changes.

        Will · 5 Sep ’11 at 10:12 pm

        “The problem arises when I keep asking God to make it 5 without me adding something more when it’s within my means.”

        Wow – so, so true…..

          Christopher Hopper · 5 Sep ’11 at 11:22 pm

          The plus side is, not mocking God means life gets insanely more wonderful! Because we’re eliciting amazing consequences from awesome behaviors.

          The same “God will not be mocked” context applies here on the converse, too: if heaven doesn’t respond to the faith-motivated lifestyle, then God is mocked!

          Life such a life of faith that heaven has no choice to back your every move.

        Christopher Hopper · 5 Sep ’11 at 11:18 pm

        Ha ha, sorry. Sadistically, I guess it makes me feel good to know I’m not alone in my experiences. lol

        But seriously, hope it does help.

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