Monday, September 28, 2009

what i mean

[I wrote this last December but never posted it. It was somewhat interesting.]
Meaning is so complicated. Just the other day, I wanted to send a poem on email, and I admit that I was sort of hesitant to do it because I was afraid it was making too strong of a statement. But since I believe that some things don't have a moral implication, as in, there is no right answer per se, I made the decision to send the poem and accept whatever subsequent reactions would come. So there I am about to send this email when mozilla suddenly cuts out! Oh man, I was so mad! I thought to myself, is this a sign that I'm not supposed to send this email? But I quickly shook that off and decided that if it happened twice, THAT would be a sign. So I write the email again, and this time, webmail cuts out! I couldn't believe it happened twice! Then I asked Julia if she thought that was a sign, and she said this: maybe the fact that you think it means something means something. How deep is that! I thought it was so cool. That's totally what we do all the time! Meaning gets so convoluted when we put our own fears and desires into things. It's so frustrating! Do we even know what we mean when we do things? If I don't know why I'm doing something, how in the world could someone else figure it out?
BUT on the other hand, meaning fascinates me (obviously). It's the literature freak in me who likes to analyze EVERYTHING. I really notice in myself that I see my life as a novel. I see foreshadowing, irony, climaxes, metaphors. Not similes though... I'm not a fan. Similes are like a herd of wild boars charging down the savanna. Whatever that means. As if we needed a reason to use the word "like" more than we already do.
Anyhow, when you act a certain way, doesn't that reflect how you feel about something? Maybe it's just subconscious, and you aren't even aware. I don't know.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

keep singing

I once asked an "if" question that was: Would you rather be a really great singer but think you aren't good... or not have a good voice and think that you do? The first option seems a lot better. But if you think you aren't good, you'll never sing. So what good is that to the world? It's just like when I was a kid, and I told my mom she couldn't sing well, and that made her stop singing. Not that she was under the illusion that she was a great singer, but still, it seems that it would be much better for her not to know.
When praying one evening with my bible study co-leader, Jenn, I was struck by her words: that I would know that I am making a difference, that my place here at M-ville matters. Because you know what? I don't feel that way most of the time. I feel like I'm failing. I feel like it's all crashing down. It's like I'm that person who is a good singer, but I think that I'm not. And what good is that to the M-ville students? It reminds me of this kid who sang at Jump Start, a middle school BIC conference I went to... there was a talent show, and this kid just got up there and sang the song "Don't Laugh at Me" acapella. I mean this kid wasn't Billy Gilman or [insert child prodigy's name], but God shined through him that day in amazing ways. He got a standing ovation. Plus I'm sure that none of those kids knew that song, seeing as it was popular when I was in middle school, and that was only in country music circles. Actually, I tried out for the Brownstown talent show in 6th grade to play "Don't Laugh at Me" on the piano. hahaha!
I say all this to say that I'd much rather be the person who sings just so-so but thinks that I am good. Because that's the only option that results in me singing. God can't work through me if I've handicapped myself in believing that I'm a failure and will be forever. God can only work through me if I keep singing, knowing that the story doesn't end here with the failure. What a beautiful truth it is to know that God's story always ends with a win! My weakness results in God's strength.
Of course, when it comes down to it, and you find that things didn't work out as expected, you will ask yourself, was it just an illusion all along? And frankly, it very well could have been. Whatever you thought it was, well maybe it wasn't. But that doesn't mean it didn't matter, that it was a waste of time, that you made some wrong decision. And I'd much rather live under the false pretense that it was real rather than to risk the tendency to "be safer"--to protect myself--next time. Even if it seems like ignorance, I must keep singing.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

feeling blessed

Last night I got the chance to visit an F&M IV event called The Well. My roommate Amber was sharing her testimony, and so I really wanted to be there. As I was sitting there, I was thinking that I am so blessed to be able to still go to lots of campus events at both Millersville and F&M. It's so great to share in the ministry of other campuses because the "Christian community" on these campuses are so different from LVC. In general, I'm just feeling really blessed lately. How lucky I am to be living on W. James St. in our awesome house and have the wonderful roommates that I have! How lucky I am to have made such great friends that I just love spending time with. There are other things that have been difficult: my job, my IV internship, finances. But I was just struck this morning with how blessed I am.
We studied the beatitudes last night for bible study, and it was interesting to look at the things that Jesus calls a blessing, as opposed to what we normally think is a blessing. I don't usually consider it a blessing when I'm mourning or when I'm meek. But it's in those times, when we are "poor in spirit," that we are completely aware that we are relying on God. We are completely helpless and reaching our hands out. That is when we're blessed. And that's how I feel these days. I have been so blessed with the support of great roommates and friends, but I want to consider it a blessing in these times when I feel weak and like I am just failing at everything. I want it to be a blessing to be meek and to seek peace... even though it is often the harder road. Blessed when the sun's shining down on me and blessed on the road marked with suffering. My heart will choose to bless His name.

If I were into Twitter, my update would be that I'm watching Tristan and Isolde right now, which is really different from the book. I'm home sick from work. Today is TJ's 25th birthday, and we're all going mini-golfing to celebrate. Don't know if I'm going to ZUMBA tonight yet.

`You're thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can't tell you just now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.'
`Perhaps it hasn't one,' Alice ventured to remark.
`Tut, tut, child!' said the Duchess. `Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.'
-Alice's Adventure in Wonderland

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

kissing you was too hard

Kissing you was too hard.
It always fit the formula:
Take a risk, go out on a limb,
See the results; it’s always worth it.
But you finally being less than 87 miles away,
Finally starting to ease up and just love,
Finally feeling like it’s okay,
it finally felt like less of a risk to me.
Time tested and failed, but we still prevailed,
And so all I could think was, finally.

Kissing you never made this any easier,
Not that I thought of it as a solution.
But there was always some sort of comfort
In knowing that kissing was okay,
That I could feel what I felt,
And you could too.
All I wanted was for us to just be.
But we couldn’t do that.
We started the fire, we precipitated it all
With our shoulds and shouldn’ts and should haves.

But all I wanted was for it not to be so hard.
I was not interested in drowning again
in the plaguing questions of what your words counted for
when your actions or your body language didn’t match up
with the rhetoric you professed to me.
And now I wonder what was the gain
In risking my heart, putting myself on the line
When I am left with nothing but poems
with haunted memories seeded between the lines.

In the end, there’s “I should have” and “I shouldn’t have,”
But how could I have ever known
That the desire to learn to love you as Christ would have me do
Would lead me to a place without you.
And since this is where I stand,
Should and shouldn’t don’t matter anymore,
Which is more freedom than I ever knew I needed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

the moment everything changes

I was at Rosario's recently, and a wonderful couple came in. Now I hadn't seen Ray and Cindy since last summer, but that's because I had been away from Rosario's all the school year. But as it turns out, they hadn't been in for a long time because Ray has cancer. He has a rare cancer that he just got surgery for a month ago or so. So now he is recovering. Praise God, he is healing! I saw him a few weeks ago, and he couldn't taste food at all. He ordered tomato soup and ate about half of it. The next week, he ordered lasagna, and he ate a bit of it. He ordered a kid-sized spaghetti this past week, and he ate all of it. He is slowly beginning to taste food again. The first day that I saw him, I was sort of angry and wondered why God would do that to such a great man. But I realized that it is so amazing to watch Ray being healed. It's possibly even more amazing to watch how Cindy takes care of him and stays by his side. They are so brave.
Another thing that happened recently was my friends Allison and Spencer losing a good friend of theirs. Their friend John from school died in a car accident about a week ago. John was one of Allison's best friends. It hurts my heart to think of the pain that Allison and Spencer are going through with losing a friend suddenly.
It makes me think about my life and how angry I get when things change all of a sudden. I am healing right now from my recent break-up with Ryan, which is hard for me because my life feels so radically different, and yet at the same time, not that much has changed. Life keeps going on at the same rate; it doesn't stop. About the break-up, I'll just say that I know it was the right thing, though that doesn't stop it from hurting at times. I think it was for the best, and I do feel some freedom from the confusion that was plaguing me. But as much as I saw it coming for a few weeks before it happened, it felt sudden. And as we were breaking up, IV students were worshiping downstairs singing the words "you are so good." It wasn't irony to me that something painful was going on with me while others were declaring that God is good; rather, it was a reminder that even when things hurt like hell, God is good. And that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him.
Life can change so suddenly. You could find that you or a loved one has cancer, or you could lose a loved one in a car accident. I was asking God the other day why things have to happen like this. And He reminded me that if there is no pain, no sickness, no sadness... then we can't have healing. And healing is so incredible. What a beautiful manifestation of God's grace it is to watch Ray get better every time I see him and to hear Allison say that she knows that everything is going to be okay even though she has lost a good friend. It makes me realize that I, too, am going to be okay--that because in all things God is working for the good of Allison and Spencer and Ray and Cindy... He is also looking out for me. And that is the faith you have to hold onto in the moment when everything changes.

Do not fear for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. -Luke 12:32

"Though I don't see, I still believe there's a purpose. You're the eye of the storm. God is good all the time, even when little girls die." -"Eye of the Storm" by Cool Hand Luke