Friday, November 2, 2007

Web & Life Design

Recently I have been learning how to write html & css to do some web design, mainly so I can revamp my work's website. For some this kind of coding is easy and comes natural, but it's been pretty difficult to learn. It's taken a lot of coding and then recoding and then recoding again...trial and error and fix...
This is a lot like my life.
I am trying to do a deep search into myself to discover who I am at my deepest. What is my identity? Why do I behave the way I do sometimes? Especially why do I behave in the negative ways I do sometimes? Where does this all come from?
How do I change how I act? How do I let God change me at my core?

Well, I am finding that this search for inner discover and change is a lot like coding a web site. I examined our (then) current web site to look at how it looked and behaved and held up under scrutiny. I found all the things I didn't like about it and searched for answers as to why they didn't work the way I wanted. Afterward, and more importantly, I did a much more fruitful, deeper search into the heart of the identity of the website, asking questions like why does this website exist, what was it made for, how should it interact with others and others with it, what impact could/should it make on the world, how might it operate if it were all that it could truly be.
These questions of website identity provided much more fruit into discovering the heart of what the Parish website should be, much more so than just looking at the flaws provided; yet looking at the flaws also gave undertones of comprehension.
And then, I set about the difficult work of learning html & xhtml & css coding using tutorials and other guides on the Internet. While I read an incredible amount of material on web design technique & philosophy & processes, when it came time to write the web site, even though I knew a ton more and a lot more about what I wanted the site to be, it was still very difficult to translate my dream into reality.
I then began a complicated process of practice and trial & error. One time I actually thought everything was working perfectly and that I knew how to do everything--the website was looking perfectly like my dream. That is, perfect in Safari, my Mac's web browser.
Then I looked at it in Firefox. Crap.
Then I looked at it in Internet Explorer. Crap.
What I thought was working beautifully as I "healed" the website wasn't yet working at the Core. Rather than give up or burst in anger, two things I might have done long ago, I took the time to learn more, to examine the errors in my coding, and to recode the website to the best of my abilities.
Today, I have a website that I am really proud of as my first one. I know it is still full of errors. Imperfect. I've already found and fixed some things since I first released it to the world. I tried a web validator to check my code and it was full of errors, but the typical web browsers are forgiving enough to overlook the particular errors I have encoded right now, and I don't yet know how to fix them.

Yet, this is my life. I am walking through life with some pretty screwy coding in me. I act the way I wasn't originally designed to act and I don't act the ways I was designed to act. Yet I am searching out the heart of my identity, what I truly could be at my best as a human being, and I'm finding all the little errors in my coding and where they originally come from. And I'm working with my designer to rewrite the code. And it doesn't always work the way I want it to--just when I think I'm finally changing perfectly and being the man I want to be, I look at myself from another perspective and find out I still look all screwy. But I don't get pissed. I don't give up.
No, I take the time instead to learn more about myself and who I was made to be, and to examine the wrongs in my behavior and their sources, to work with the my designer to the best of my abilities and to the best of his that I might be healed and be the man I should be.
Today, I am a man who is proud of his identity. I know I am still full of behavioral errors that sometimes reach down into the core. Imperfect. Yet the people I love are forgiving enough to not let these get between us, and instead they walk with me to bring change and to help me recode my life to be a good man. And while I have already identified some problems I don't yet know how to fix, I am confident that I will steadily grow into the man I was made to be. I trust my designer.

So tell me: how's my website? Check it out ( Parish Student Ministries)
Please don't be afraid to let me know if you find any errors or if you think something looks a little screwy. I need your help to change it into what it truly could be.
And, I think obviously, the same goes for me..

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