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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

colorblind.

Perchance there are greater things in this world besides the seemingly important visible things? Why is it that people must see before they believe? Why can we not believe and then see because of that belief?

It's funny, I cry out to the skies with anguish and frustration; with fists clenched, teeth barred, and knees weak, hoping that by some good luck, a strike of brilliance will overwhelm me and melt me from my stiff, mundane worries - hoping that there will be a solution if I seek hard enough. Answers don't pop out of the skies from the Lords throne room as we (or I) would like them to. They come through quiet suffering. They come through crazed and frantic minds. They come through soft whispers and giggles. They come through heads bent over words of wisdom. They come through frustration. They come through hardships. They come through moments of light and dark; relief and infamy.

It sounds cliche to tell someone going through a tragedy that, "Everything happens for a reason", or "This will help you grow". We don't want to hear that to comfort our pain. We want to numb that pain. We want to freeze it. Burn it. Kill it. Anything not to feel what seems like its slowly killing us inside. But if we do not feel, how are we human? How can we even be alive? We must feel, even if it seems to execute our very being. And when we feel, we must feel it all. Don't try to lie and tell yourself that everything is okay when it isn't. Why? Ohh. I know. It's like if someone were to ask you casually, "How are you doing?" and you didn't reply with the normal, "I'm good, how are you?"but with, "Well, I'm just terrible. Cried myself to sleep last night. What about yourself?" Sure. People would be aghast at that transparency.

And that's okay.

You don't have to tell them the complete truth, no; you can be polite with them, being nonchalant with no animosity. Just don't be polite to yourself. It's not like you're going to offend yourself. Why? Because it's okay to hurt. It's okay to feel down. It's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to be frightened. It's okay to not have it all together. It's okay to be human. The truth we face is that, it's the world. We live in sin and we always will. Why am I saying this? Because I am hurting, deeply. I've been too busy to seem to notice it though. And when I do, it's shamefully pushed aside, as if I'm scared to face the fact that no, life isn't where I want it right now. I had such a huge struggle last year that when this year turned out to be better in the sense of meeting people who liked me, and making friends whom I could trust and relax with, I forgot my fears. They were numbed by me. No, not faced - numbed. Because I thought, they would pass if I just had a good ol' time and left them alone. I was wrong. They were skeletons in the closet, created, made, and formed by my own crafty, deprecating past self. Oh why am I writing this? Because, even though I know that I don't pretend to be Miss Perfect, there is an innate part of me that wants to contradict how I think people might see me. As much as I want so deeply to be smart, beautiful, fun, loving, motivated and everything that is good...I am not. I am covered in this skin that I want to be pulled out of. Rip it off me. I am not who you think I am. My classes have not turned out the way I had hoped, or planned, and that is tearing me apart. I am struggling with myself; this skin that I am in. As much as I want people to see me in a marvelous and good light, I just as much don't want them to see any good in me. I am deplorable and dark. I am wretched, worn, wasted, broken, defiled, and ruined. I have to be honest with myself right now. Whatever part of me thought that I was different to every other teen, is not there any more. Because the truth is, I am not motivated, easily distracted, not wanting to do school, lazy, addicted to the computer, vain, thoughtless, ungrateful and colorblind to the beauty of this world. I wish I appreciated things more. I wish I saw the beauty in everything.
I am ready.

For what?

To accept, with an odd feeling of relief, that I am at odds with myself. I am not who I want to be, and I have to be okay with that. As much as I want to be a strait-A student, there are limits. Perhaps, yes, I could be if I truly wanted to. But the reality? I want to talk with people, I want to take breaks, I want to be laid back, I want to learn on my own accord, I want to enjoy other parts of life - music, nature, non-school books...the things that keep me from being focused. I want to be with people. I want to help people. I am far from who I could be and, perhaps this sounds terrible... but I'm okay with that. I'm okay with not being okay. I'm okay with admitting my faults, my darkness, my damage, my regrets, my vulnerability. I don't want to hide behind a facade of who I am not. I want to be transparent; not colorblind to life.

So where is the happy note in this rant?

The happy note is that I wrote this several weeks ago during exam week, when emotions were high, feelings strung out, and desires burning deep within me. Yet I still agree with this fulminate.

Summary? Life is not perfect here, and it is okay to admit that, because if we don't, then we don't acknowledge feeling. If we don't feel, we don't live. If we don't live...how are we human? There are greater things in this world besides the seemingly important visible things. And we must see, without actually seeing but believing, that there is a happy ending to our stories if we do feel. And we must feel to the hilt. God created us to feel this world, to take it in, the good and the bad. Being human, who He created us to be, brings him great pleasure. True feeling brings about true believing. True believing brings about true seeing. And then? We are not colorblind, but awestruck at a new world before our eyes bursting and budding with life and vibrancy. This is the life He wanted us to see. Don't cover it up with being frightened to admit things are not okay or you will be colorblind.

Monday, December 12, 2011

nostalgia.

When I look through my old journals, I wonder, "Where has time gone?" It's bittersweat to realize that I'm not a child anymore. Where did those years go? It seems like so long ago. I feel like I've nearly forgotten that little girl. As I look at my old entries, I smile at my handwriting - sprawled across the page in cramped, untidy letters. I laugh at my stories that once seemed so dramatic and time-consuming. I chortle at my maturity that wasn't so present back then (and is still quite void today). And I weep when I realize that that is time I will never have back. That is a little girl who has grown up and gone away for the rest of my life. Perhaps I can pull her out every once in awhile when I'm with children and I can get away with childish things? It almost seems a pity that you only have one life, and such a short life at that. By the time we become mature enough to realize what life is all about and what we should do with it, we're already too close to the finish line.

Perhaps that is not correct, though. Many people know what they want in life, and what they want to do. But there are also many who don't. I just think it's sad that 2008 is long gone, and oppertunities that I had then, have passed me by. Oh, what fantasies used to run through my little head - they're gone now, too. That's what makes me sad. Things that once were, are now no more. They're lost.

"Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: You find the present tense and the past perfect."

Somehow it is so true that both the past and future seem like better places to be than the present. Why? Because we're not dealing with them at the moment. We're not living in the past, nor occupying the future; we live in the present, and that can often be hard to accept when the present isn't what we want it to be. Hence we remember only the good things in the past, and wish to high Heavens to be there...or we dream of hyperbolized conceptions of the future and desire destiny now. Maybe I should be switching out those "we's" with "I's". Well anywho.

It's encouraging to think, however, that this isn't the end. This isn't my real life. My real life hasn't even begun yet, and there is no reason or rhyme to regret, or feel remorse about what has been, or be anxious about what will be. Even though the past sometimes seems like a better place, when I think truly about how I felt then, I remember not being able to wait for where I am right now. And then I see how far I've come, and who I am, and I wouldn't change or alter who God has made me at this exact point in life. And I will wait patiently until he molds me into who I will be in the future. Besides, in the end, these trivial anxieties won't really matter.

...........

Pippin: "I didn't think it would end this way."

Gandalf: "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

Pippin: "What? Gandalf? See what?

Gandalf: "White shores. And beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: "Well, that isn't so bad."

Gandalf: "No. No, it isn't."
.......

The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A note from the past...


Found this entry while looking through my second journal the other day....and wanted to share it for some reason.


.......

"Ever since we've moved into this house I've been lonely. Lonely because my friends weren't close by; lonely because family was no longer near by to see and be with; lonely because everything I saw was new and different. The smallest things that I knew every day, just never thought about, changed. Smells, sounds, views, people, activities, weather, schedules, routines...and everything else. I used to hate being in a house that didn't buzz with life; doors slamming, cars honking, food in the kitchen smelling up the entire house, people talking, music playing, chairs scooting, doorbells ringing, voices whistling, mowers clanking, dogs barking..... I miss it. As weird as it may sound, I miss the familiarity it gave me. I knew the smell of my house, the usual sounds that floated through it, the voices the usually seeped through the walls, the constant flow of energy that was always giving "life" to everything.

It was happy; joyous; fun; exciting; mysterious; expecting; comfortable; peaceful. I was used to it. I remember the first night I slept here in the new house: everything was quiet. No creeking doors announcing the entrance of my brothers return from a late night at work; no cars, no trucks, no ambulences sounding outside giving usual city sounds; no cats fighting outside; no people wandering in the streets at late hours; nothing. Absalute silence. (with the exception of a few crickets being in the country). It surprised me how much that would affect me. The thing I miss most, are my brothers. They weren't always at the house, of course, but they gave flavor to the days mixture. Even if they stopped by just to pick someone up, or grab lunch before work, they were there. I miss friends as well, of course. Today I was looking through the scrapbooks mom made for me and found some stuff from our play, "The Importance of Being Earnest", and the program that all the cast members received. We had gone to IHOP after the performance to eat and talk. We also signed eachothers programs. As I leafed through what everyone had said, I started to cry a bit. That's what I missed. The familiarity of everyone; the comfort to laugh easily; the freedom to do something and not be embarressed. I missed my friends. The quote below is something I picked up a little while ago - It caught my eye, because that's just the way I feel. "

"Don't cry because it's over....smile because it happened."

...........

My God's great love for me pulled me out of the mire, and I am blessed to say that I do not feel these emotions as I once did. They are still inside a little...but the flame doesn't burn as bright because I know that every turn I make in life, even if it hurts, is where God is leading me, and if I hurt myself, He will bind me up. He shows His strength through my weaknesses....and that means He shows me His strengths more often than not. And this entry above....this "note from the past", is how He reminds me how far I've come and that the trials I go through every day are 'momentary afflictions'.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Insecurities.

It's heartbreaking to think that as many as 10 million women and girls suffer from either bulimia and/or anorexia. It is heartbreaking to think that over 1 million die of suicides every year and that 10 to 20 million suicides are attempted. It is heartbreaking to think that the people in this world somehow find a way to put others down, to make them feel out of place, to bury them in the ground and not let them grow or even see the sunshine because of imposed clouds of depression caused by others intentional or unintentional actions. It is heartbreaking to know that people suffer so much.

So much suffering is caused by insecurities that are imposed upon us, or self-imposed when compared to the media and beautiful, successful, astute, and illustrious people who are publicized before us around the globe. Every day we are confronted with their success and allure. How can we not compare? Were we not to compare, or have a reason to do so, wouldn't we be more content with our jobs? With our lives? With our looks? With our success?

I wish I could say that the world didn't have a hold on me. That I could handle my own without worrying about what people thought of me, what my appearence was, what my skills were...but that would be a lie. And I don't wish to be anything that I am not...nor to I wish to not be something that I am. Care to hear my litany of insecurities?

I hated my hair...my curls. I hated the fact that I couldn't brush my hair without looking like I had just electrecuted myself. I was vexed that all my friends had beautiful silky hair that you could run your fingers through with ease, whereas a hand couldn't get through mine without it being a bloody mess from the great tangle of a rats nest. I learned to straiten my hair at an early age, and learned how to concoct recipes of different types of shampoos and conditioners to find the perfect combination that make my hair somewhat tolerable.

I had the biggest gap between my two front teeth, an underbite and a crooked tooth on the side that needed to be twisted around to make it normal. This led to braces and that insufferable stage of youth where everything seems maladroit.

I came to a point where I stopped growing...in fact I never actually felt as though I started. My friends were all taller than me...which I suppose was okay as a girl, but at the same time...not really. I felt awkwardly short (being 5'2). Some kids say they suffered with gangling limbs and awkward spindly ligements that they had no idea what to do with. Me? No. I just had short, sqaut muscles that made me believe I had been exposed to gamma rays as a baby and must have turned into some perverted version of mini-Hulk. I had muscular calves and thighs and had a few nicknames as a result...

I also was under the impression that I had an enormous honker because a friend had, quite jokingly, told me that my nose was huge. Of course, she was saying that because my nose was the farthest thing from large, but in my head, I thought she was right and the more I agreed with her, the larger my nose became.

At one point, I became aware that my hands are unusually small. No, no. Insanely small. I'm not sure how I didn't grow into them...especially since I didn't grow that much in the first place it seems like.

But my goodness....don't you get to a point where you just want to scream!? Don't you ever get tired of thinking about all these things that seem wrong about you? Don't you get tired of always thinking about you? I know I do. I can't stand it. It's draining to hate so much about yourself.

There was a moment in my life, that somehow came together over time, where all the things I ever disliked about myself, were the things that made me, me. They were the things that I had come to appreciate, laugh about, and enjoy. I love being happy and free, and when I leave my hair alone, with no constraining or concoctions...they are fine. And I feel free and happy because I don't have to worry about it. Last year I had jaw surgery and my braces removed and now those painful memories of awkward braces, aren't so painful anymore. They're in the past, and they only lasted for that time. I will never have to worry about crooked teeth again. A funny thing is that my midline is actually off, and I have recently noticed in pictures that my mouth is very crooked (one side of my lip is higher than the other and my lips aren't even). But I don't care. That's who I am. There is still the issue of height...I'm 5'3 and not growing a centimeter taller. I'm content in that. My large muscles? Yes. Still there. Thanks to the genes from my papie. And they are all the better to support me as a rock climber, hiker, runner, kyaker, backpacker...all the things I love to do and I have the strength to do it and enjoy. My nose? Still there. But somehow not as big as I remember it... My hands? No matter how small they are, they will never be too small to help someone, to lend a hand, to place a hand to comfort somone, to do manual labor, to hold a hand... I am so thankful for every part of me. Sure, there are moments when I think, " Oh, it would be nice to look like that." Or, "I wish I could wear something like that...but it wouldn't look good on my body." It's okay. Seriously. It's more than okay. And I love those things about me. I would never want to be anyone else but me.

Perhaps it sounds like a Sunday school answer, but God gave me these things because He specifically wanted me to be a combination of all these parts. I am unique. So I've learned to let myself be. And that feels like acceptance. It feels like beauty.

There will always be insecurites about something....I have insecurites about life. But just like I have learned to appreciate my God-given looks, I know that I will learn to appreciate whatever God places in my hands (my oh-so-small hands, of course).

Don't ever feel as though you are not who you are supposed to be, that you are not how you are supposed to look. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you are not beautiful in your own right. You hold the key to your beauty, and it's what you choose to do with it that makes you truly captivating.

"You don't love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her."
....

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Elinor Roosevelt

....

No one should feel as though they aren't enough, or they aren't alluring enough. Beauty comes from the eye of the beholder, and everyone views beauty differently.

....

"For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it."
Ivan Panin

....

"Certain things catch you eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart."
American Indian Proverb

....

p.s. Take a hint from the Indian.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the Heart.


I always wonder each time before I write, whether the entry I am about to write will be words of some worth. Perhaps it is silly of me, but even though I like writing about the comings and goings in my life, I prefer to write words that I know hold weight in them - words that I can come back and read to find some small ounce of encouragement or wisdom. It that wrong to want my words to show wisdom? I just want meaning. I feel like I am forever seeking meaning and purpose in my life. A quote that is one of my favorites, and that I have quoted more than once in my journals, is the following:

"I wonder, do we all know where we belong? And if we do, in our hearts, why do we so often do nothing about it? There must be more to this life; a purpose for us all, a place to belong. Perhaps we are all refugees from something. But I see now, there is nothing to fear...that the world we hold onto, the lives we cherish, are apart of something greater, something more. It took me a lifetime to realize, we only have one heart, and we must be true to it."
 Beyond Borders
 
The more I think about working for the UNHCR, the more I think about people...specifically displaced persons around the globe, struggling. I immediately think of refugee camps aiding families and individuals whose houses were defaced, whose families were torn apart, whose lives have been scarred, whose very rights of being human were stripped from them by those who had no right to do so. And then I think of war torn Iraq and Afghanistan, of tattered Pakistan and the wet monsoons, of genocide and famine plagued Africa, of Red China and child armies, of conflict in third world India and Southeast Asia. These places, whose problems and turmoil are seen throughout the news....are they so much different from the rest of the world? Yes, they make me weak, they make me weep, they make me swell with contrition. But families in America have had their homes wrecked by drunken brawls and abusive tempers, their families torn apart by affairs, closed minds and endless courtroom officials pounding their gavels and splitting families apart, changing their lives forever, whether by right or wrong decision, and Americans (and every other nation around the globe) whose humanity is wrangled in some way or another by hurtful words, loss of jobs, witnessing death...experiencing life. We are all displaced person. We are all refugees from something. 

We have all lost home, true home, and have been trying to find our way back ever since. In a way, it is comforting to know that we are all wayward souls, searching for significance and meaning in this life. And yet, how hard it is to live when you are so dolefully lost. In this world, we strive to be found, to be at peace, to find a home, a refuge.

A home can never be an exact location - in fact it can never be a spot on earth. Neither can it be seen by the naked eye - it must be felt. Home is where the heart is, and that is why it is so hard to trace - Where are our hearts? I feel as though I lost mine long ago, and have never been able to find it. This heart of ours, this human heart, reverberating through our bodies, is one of the most powerful of things in this world, and yet one of the most vulnerable. Vulnerable because it is living and anything living must come to an end. Also vulnerable because it is such a curiously unprotected part of our body that beats ferociously, and yet can be ended so quickly and easily. Powerful in the sense that out heart is also our soul. And being out soul, it lives forever, reverberating through eternity, albeit separate from our human form. So this heart, this soul, this home, how are they to be found? We must search for them, of course, but where on earth do you begin to look for something so incredibly huge and also so unbelievably invisible?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"  
Matthew 6:21
 
My treasure is in helping others, and it is here that I am at home. Where is your treasure?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Yearning...

I yearn for deepness. I yearn for that part of every person that wants to live with passion, with zest, with most importantly, meaning. Because even though I know I was placed on this earth for a reason, I want so deeply to feel it. Do others search for a life lived with panache? Do others yearn for such things? Do others yearn at all? Is that even a feeling? Not lust, not covet, not wish, not hope, not desire....but yearn. A feeling that wants something, and yet it's not something they really want - it is something that deep down, they know that they need. Only when one realizes what he needs so desperately, does he truly yearn for it. Because he knows he is utterly lost without it. And he begins to wonder what life was like before this yearning overtook him. Oh, how I yearn for Christ. How I yearn for His greatness to exhaust that humanity in me that is evil. How I yearn for His love to carry me in His strong arms. How I yearn for His mercy to seep through every pore of my skin. How I yearn for His grace to pour through every fiber of my being. Does the Lord know this yearning? How could He, when I have such a hard time feeling Him? Yes. He knows. He created it. And thank goodness that He did.

Monday, August 1, 2011

i love people.

Something that I've known for awhile now just hit me like a sucker punch today. In a good way though.

No matter who or where they are, I love people. God truly did create something "good" when He made us. We were His crowning glory and I am in love with His creation. As much as I do not fall head over heels for children, I have found that I would love any child placed in my lap who needed love. I've also realized that I have absolutely nothing to complain about or be depressed about when there is a world of such great suffering that I have never witnessed and could not even begin to imagine. God has indeed allotted to me my own struggles, but as I see so many less fortunate circumstances than myself, I cannot help but want to share my God-given mercy and love with them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rain


Rain is one of the most beautiful things that I have witnessed on earth. Of course, things like the Grand Canyon, or the Black Hills, a snowy night, or a beautiful sunset are all lovely features of this world, but there is nothing like rain. Rain transforms everything it touches into something alluring. It is clear and plain but holds the reflection of everything around it. Rain holds the splendor of its surroundings. Rain makes the most enchanting sound when dropping on a leaf, or tinkling on a roof, or pounding on the mud - every sound is different, almost like a symphony. And when a rainstorm has passed, everything is lush, with cool green grass growing more thickly and more vibrantly. Rain creates a new day because it washes everything that had previously been there, away. Isn't that marvelous.

I know that everything has good effects and bad effects (even a lovely thing like rain) and I know that a lot of people have been annoyed with all the rain and the problems that it's been causing within the past few days. But I can't help but enjoy it. I get to sit inside, drink tea to my hearts content, and look through the window at my world being glazed over with fog and mist. It's pretty fantastic. Thank you God for this present - it made me swell with joy.