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Adventures in Columbus 2: Overview

July 26, 2012

Once upon a time, there was a blogger named Tim. He decided that he was going to write more, so he told the Internet that he would give them a post every day for the rest of the week. The next day, Tim went to work and never came back because his family abducted him to eat food and watch a spectacular movie about two cosplayers who battle for the fate of Gotham City. Tim had a great time, but he felt kind of bad that he hadn’t even gotten one day into his I’m-gonna-post-a-bunch plan before failing, so he made another plan. The next day, he would make an effort to write two posts, one for the day and one to make up for the Wednesday Post That Never Was – after procrastinating for a little while on YouTube, of course. Friendship is Witchcraft isn’t gonna watch itself, you know.

So anyway, now that the urge to write a self-referencing-third-person introduction is out of my system, here’s the first of the two posts I’ll be writing today (although the second might not get to the Internet until tomorrow): a quick bit of background on what I was doing taking a trip to Ohio in the first place. Exposition time!

The Great Columbus Adventure started a few months ago, when my great friend Tekaramity told me that he was making plans to go to a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan convention called Trotcon in Ohio. Since I haven’t seen Tek since our marvelous expedition to Bronycon in January and Ohio is right next door, I was totally on board with his recommendation that I come to the con and share a room with him. I examined all of the expenses involved with making the trip, decided that I could afford to drop a little cash on the endeavor, and registered for my badge. Being the incredibly generous and lovely woman that she is, my mom offered to cover my bus tickets to Columbus and back out of nowhere, so all I had to do was wait for Tek to confirm that he had a room in which we could stay and I’d be all set for a great weekend.

Unfortunately, that never happened. During the week and a half between when I drowned my phone in the washing machine and when I finally gave it up as dead forever and replaced it, Tek discovered that he wasn’t going to be able to come after all. Since I’d fallen off the grid, however, I booked some definitively non-refundable bus tickets before he could warn me of his withdrawal, so I suddenly found myself locked into a plan that would take me to the unknown reaches of Columbus with no friend by my side.

As much as I hate to admit it, my first impulse was one of self-indulgent indignation. After all, a large part of the reason I’d signed up for TrotCon was to hang out with Tek, and now that he was out of the picture I wasn’t sure the con would be worth the expense. Who did he think he was to have difficulties in his life that interfered with my recreational plans? Couldn’t his life have waited for a month to spare me from a minor inconvenience? How inconsiderate! I think that’s the way humans naturally respond to the unexpected twists that life throws at us, and it bothers me how often we give in to it, myself included. We chafe at the sudden subversion of our well-laid plan, and we look for someone or something to blame for things that are beyond our control and already in the past. We waste huge chunks of our lives being upset over things that don’t even need to be a problem, and pouring that frustration out on the people around us only serves to wound and alienate those on whom we should be lavishing love.

The real issue at hand, as is all too often the case, is one of perspective. We choose to see situations from a standpoint of selfishness, where we are the most important character in the story and everyone and everything else exists to make our lives better. When they fail at their duty to please us, we assume the role of the victim and strut the stage delivering ashen-faced monologues on True Sorrow & The Unfairness of it All™ and being generally insufferable. What if we looked for ways to do good for others instead of sitting around demanding that they be good to us? What if we looked at the world the way God calls us to see it, as an unending series of opportunities to dispense love and grace to those who need it? And what if we made it our goal to seize all of those opportunities that we could?

I think we’d be embarrassed at some of the things we had categorized as “problems”. The only thing that made them problematic, after all, is that they inconvenienced us, and when we choose to look outside of ourselves then convenience ceases to matter. Love means ditching the schedule to sit down and talk with someone who feels alone. Grace means letting go of what you want in order to bring someone else what they need. Getting a new perspective means looking for the good in every circumstance and going after it with gusto, and that’s something that we as Christians need desperately to do if we’re serious about representing God to those around us.

When I looked at the TrotCon situation from that perspective, I got very excited again. After all, I realized, if I’ve got to go to Columbus no matter what, why shouldn’t I do all I can to make it great? Here was an opportunity for me to pray for a friend, go on a grand adventure, meet new people, and enjoy some pony-related fun, all things that I like very much, and since I needed to share a room with someone if I was going to afford lodgings I’d definitely get the chance to overcome my shyness and show some radical grace to strangers. The plan for TrotCon may have changed, but it certainly held immense potential if I could just overcome my own vanity and seize it, so I told my haughty complaints to take a hike, had a good chat with Tek about life and the living thereof, then threw myself back into planning the trip with a renewed fervor and boarded the bus early Friday morning bursting with anticipation for the weekend ahead of me.

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