Behind The Keyboard

The other night I had coffee continuously in my mug for about 6 hours straight; it wasn’t because I didn’t drink it. I’m pretty sure I could have drained it about three times, but the constant in/out flow and draining and refilling from multiple locations with who knows who many types of coffee, creamers, flavorings, and finally a bag of chai spice tea “just because” ensured my coffee mugs are definitely getting their fair share of use. This is a normal occurrence for me, though. Even right now, I’m drinking a dirty chai as I write this; after a busy day, this is exactly how I want to spend my evening: drinking some hot, caffeinated beverage and writing up my next blog post.

 





















started a blog for much the same reason as many other people: I love to write.
I’ve been writing since I was 12, and much of my early writings came in the form of plotless short stories and half-witted attempts at novels. A large part of my mind is glad that I no longer possess the notebooks that contained my earliest writings, because I’m certain they were terrible to behold in a literary sense. Still, there remains the small portion that would like to revisit some of those old writings to see how far I have progressed in the last decade. When I was 16, I joined a website called Booksie and to this day have been publishing writings that I either determined to be good enough to publish or simply didn’t want to lose.
Still, there were things that are difficult to express through song, poetry, and short stories. While Booksie offers a creative outlet, I sometimes grow tired of expressing myself in cryptic form. Sometimes, I grow tired of waiting for somebody to come along and decipher the coded messages. So when I was 20, I started a journal that I use intermittently and it is something I’ve found to be incredibly useful. However, the journal has a singular drawback: it feeds my natural tendency to be hermit-like and secretive. After reading blogs by others that I’ve known, I thought it might be a good idea to gander into the open and start my own.
Like a journal, a blog allows me the opportunity to let solidify some of my abstract thinking into concrete form while generally forcing me to write (and think) cohesively. Unlike a journal, it offers me an outlet through which I can share bits and pieces my life with others. I have two blogs currently; one is home to academic papers I’ve typed and happened to like enough to share with others, while the other is more recent and home to more personal things, such as thoughts and stories from my own life. The title of this blog is Epitome of Toast. “Toast” also happens to be one of my online screen names. Unfortunately, some people do not share my fascination for this delicious substance, and I get asked the question.
“Why do you call yourself toast?”
To be fair and honest, the alias “Toast” resulted from a brief fascination with the famous song by Bob and Tom and initially held nothing more than arbitrary significance to me. However, there is another bit to the story: I honestly love toast. Peanut butter toast and tea (earl grey, Irish breakfast, or chai spice, please) happens to be my favorite snack. Fortunately, this is a fairly cost-effective snack. Unfortunately, toasters are not dorm-approved because they are considered to present a fire hazard. As a result, toast simply does not happen right now. Sigh.
Now that, you know where “toast” came from, I will explain where “Epitome of Toast” originated. I did not think of “epitome of toast” on my own. On the forum I frequent the most, my screen name is Ben Toast and there is a section for personal journals. When I joined, I titled my journal “Insert Title Here”. After a while, one of the moderators thought it funny to change the title to “Insert tile here ——>> I AM THE e·pit·o·me of TOAST”. Shortly after, somebody somewhere (I honestly do not remember who or where) first asked me the question:
“Why do you call yourself toast?”
At this point in time, I was all about quick, witty, sarcastic answers, and so spouted a response that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would slowly begin to change the way I think about life.
“Without Him, we’re all toast.”
A quick, in-the-moment reply planted itself in my mind and, like a seed, began to grow. I didn’t grow into the idea; it just grew in my mind and, as I would read the Word, little snippets here and there would feed it. Phrases like “apart from Me you can do nothing” and “no one comes to the Father except through me” began to take on meaning in my mind; that is, they were more than simply words on a page. This led me to begin examining the way I was living and the things I was actually doing. What I found was that my lifestyle was inconsistent with the truth of the statement I made; I was living without Him. What seemed at first an intangible concept was coming to life, and the implications prompted me to make a choice between knowingly (and thus intentionally) living on in sin, or repenting and surrendering myself to Christ. It is a choice I must still make every single day.
Now that I’ve explained that, let me explain to you why I’ve chosen to name my blog “Epitome of Toast.”
e·pit·o·me
  1. A person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type.
  2. A summary of a written work; an abstract.
Toast (slang)
  1. Destroyed, terminated, ceased functioning, ended abruptly be external forces.
Perfect example of being destroyed. That is what I am without Christ. Being a sinful person, without Christ, I am toast. How could I measure up to the standard of perfection? Apart from the grace that is found in Christ, I am left to be measured up the impossible standard set by the Law, a standard with one purpose: to show that it is impossible to please God on my own. Outside of Christ, I’m toast. I believed it in my mind, but it wasn’t until later that I came to these three scriptures that show it to be true:
For the Law made nothing perfect. (Herews 7:19)
For by works of the Law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the Law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
Without Him, we’re all toast.
Yet there is hope:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
It is a hope comes through a promise given to us by God Himself: He cares for us and will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Hebrews 13:5; Joshua 1:9; 1 Peter 5:7), and He is always with us (Matthew 28:20) So even though I’m toast without Him, He will never leave me. All I have to do is stay near to Him with everything I have in me. But it takes everything, and it costs everything. To say it could cost anything less than everything to follow Christ would be to sell myself short of the truth; anything short of the truth is hopeless. But my hope is not for what is within today, but what lies on the other side of tomorrow. To quote one of my favorite songs, “Forever seems so far away, but we’re on the brink of eternity.” The hope of eternal life in Christ is what I have my eyes set on.
And that hope is what keeps me going on. To quote another song, “Until my time arrives, love is the reason I’m alive.”
I hope this explains the name of my blog. If not, then trust that it’s not just a silly name. I write because I love to write, but not only that, I write because I know that even if I see my own story as insignificant, to someone else it could be just the encouragement they need. I write because each person has a story that is invaluably important. I write because I want to share the things that I have come to terms with in hopes that somebody else might be spurred toward Christ as a result. Beauty from ashes, life from death, hope from hopelessness; that is the epitome of toast. 

Later edit: of course, “epitome” is also defined as “a summary of a written work; an abstract.” So, if “Toast” is me, then the epitome of toast could also be an abstract of my life. That seems much more simple.
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