July 27, 2009

Wordle is way too much fun!

Wordle: Let your love be strong

Wordle: Style

Wordle: Be My Escape

Named

The light was painting her hair and the sun was warming her cheek as she knelt down in the grass to inspect the tickle on her toe. It was an ant that she found, and she carefully picked it up and rested it on her finger. A little distance away lay an ant hill. She stared in rapt attention at the goings-on there. Wonder filling her words, she whispered to the creature she held. "I'll name you Brilly, dear. Brilly-ant. Simply because you are."

She thought herself clever, but she laughed a little when she realized that she thought that. "But after all," she reasoned, "wasn't this ant brilliant? To build a city with bricks of dust and dirt. To be able to live in a world sustained by the castaways of my society." But reasoning with herself was a little difficult. Whatever happened, she always seemed to lose the argument.

In this particular self-scrimmage, the fact that every ant acted the same way made her worried. By her logic, every ant would be named Brilly. And then, she feared, the name would be a lie, for no one would stand out. Unless. Unless there was something especially wonderful about this one.

She turned to glance at her friend Brilly. She'd find a distinguishing feature, she was sure. But by now, the ant was gone. And because she hadn't found anything special about it, she couldn't in good conscience call this common ant Brilly-ant. The ant was nameless. No, she corrected herself, not nameless, but named simply "an ant." That was a name. Wasn't it glorious enough? This ant didn't need to be set apart, did it?

She wasn't satisfied. "There must be something I can name you," she argued to her memory of the ant. While this ant should have been forgotten amid the masses of ants in the world, she knew she did - and would - remember it. While every ant was like the others, she had only named one. And in a flash, she understood.

"You are Brilly-ant, simply because I found you. You are wonderful, because I have wondered in you."

July 26, 2009

Do I like being different?

What comfort there is in knowing that others are the same. That they go through the same struggles. Yet how lame and pitiful it seems, simply nodding your head in assent, without anything new to share.

How harsh and bitter it is to be viewed as an outsider. To be scorned is bad, but to be envied is worse it seems. Perhaps if I showed off less, asked fewer questions, or concealed more of my knowledge, less dissention would be aroused.

How pleasurable it is to be praised, to be set apart. To be rewarded and recognized for standing out. But does this admiration carry with it whispers of pride on my part, and jealousy on the part of others?

Love requires connection. I think. Or perhaps relating to others is part of love. And I think that something in common is necessary to love. So to love, I have to have to be similar to others.

Or no? Is similarity just necessary to be identified with, to be connected with, to be loved? Does connection simply benefit myself?

I take joy in the fact that people are the same. We are all human, we share a conscience. And I feel even more at home with other Christians, and so on as people share increasing levels of experiences and interests and desires and philosophies with me.

I scoff at people who try to elevate me. Or do I? Do I only mind it when every person's self-esteem is elevated, when everyone is told that they're unique? But why should I mind being different if I truly am? Everyone is unique, everyone is different. But everyone is the same.

Now I'm confused. People have much in common. There is also much that we differ in. Everyone wants to feel like they belong. But everyone wants to feel that they are something special. Are both wants selfish? Are both wants natural? Oh dear, is this simply becoming a cooperation (love, acceptance, similarity, belonging) versus competition (success, independence, intelligence, undivided praise) debate?

July 18, 2009

It's been quiet.

My mind is always humming, thinking, drifting, floating away on some circular adventure, to tour some faraway concept.

And yet, somehow, I've not really wanted to talk about it. I don't know why. But I've barely emailed anyone, or chatted, or blogged, for the past few days. Perhaps the fact that Kristen is leaving early tomorrow morning, and that tonight is the last time I'll see her for two weeks, is weighing over me. Undeniably, I've been busy- busy trying to get ready for two camps, one starting Sunday, another ICC's summer camp, two weeks away.

Well. I wonder, why is it that sometimes I am just bursting at the seams, wanting to talk and communicate, and other times, I am content to keep it all inside?

Yesterday, a lady at Dad's library asked me if I needed help. I thought, "Um? Do I need help? what should I say? Should I explain what I'm doing?" Before I'd consciously answered my questions, I heard myself say, "No thanks, I know what I'm doing." Was that me speaking? My outer self is polished and knows how to act. My inner self is bumbling, confused, and out of place.

If someone starts chatting with me right now, who will answer back? Will it be truly me typing a response? Is introspection making my identity disintegrate? What am I saying? It feels good to find myself capable of blogging about what I'm thinking about.

It seems the more I stare at myself, the less I know who I am. The only response, I suppose, is to start looking elsewhere. That's why you're reading this now.

July 11, 2009

I wonder...

What is joy? How can you be miserable and unhappy and still call yourself joyful? Is joy mental or emotional? That is, is joy the ability to experience happy feelings when the situation would contradict your emotional response, or a knowledge of hope even when you feel frustrated?

What is prayer? How is praying different than talking to yourself? How can you tell if God responds? Is prayer just reminding yourself of spiritual things you already know?

What is music? What is the value of music? If it dies, do we die as well? Do I appreciate beauty as much as I should? Is beauty tied to emotion? What does it mean to appreciate the beautiful?

July 10, 2009

Meaning in the fleeting, hope in the impossible

My hardened mind, which cares too much to care, wants to believe that a few of these seeds will live to canopy the forest floor and one day drop their own helicopters. But the odds are against a single one outlasting the snow.

And yet- moments are meaningful! Read the whole thing at Boundless Webzine.

July 6, 2009

"Souls aren't built of stone." (a.k.a. Overquoting 4:12)

"For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart."

I came across this verse, Ecclesiastes 5:20, yesterday, and was reminded of it again today.

It made me think of times when I've been depressed that life seems meaningless. All you do is wake and sleep, work and rest, live and die. In a purely material world, all you can do is survive- you can't live. When everything is meaningless, it doesn't matter that we're alive. Nothing matters.

It's kind of hard for me to wrap my mind around: are we trying to make our material existence more bearable? No, that's not it. Is the point of living simply to have happiness? No, not that either. Circumstantial happiness is vanity, and it passes...like everything material.

This verse refers to how fearing God gives us joy. It is possible for there to be something bigger than all this vanity, and for there to be something truly worth living for. Yes, we live and die in the same way, but when we fear God, it becomes meaningful!

Finding meaning makes me enjoy living. When something matters, everything matters. Having a purpose - remembering that souls aren't built of stone - gives me a reason to live in the material world.

July 5, 2009

"You got mud on your face. You big disgrace."

I want to be real. I'm not quite sure why I feel this so strongly... is it an innate part of human nature to desire to be real, and be known truly? I think I understand the innate desire to be loved. Is being real part of that? I don't know. But regardless of why, I know I want to be bareface. (Bareface was the working title of Till We Have Faces, by the way. I think the title we have now is an improvement, but still, the old one makes me think.)

For a long time, we've (or I'll just say I have, depending on how well I know you) talked about transparency and honesty, how avoiding pretension- fake kindness, the polish of pleasing others- leaves a face, but a disgusting one. Seriously, the face below the mask is ugly! Wanting to hide this ugliness is why we have lines like, "Show them all your good parts, leave town when the bad ones start to show."

Since I want to be myself, I try to peel off the misleading. It's hard enough, terrifying at times, freeing at others. But what I'm realizing is that underneath my mask of social conformity is the dirt of selfishness. It's the grime of myself. This is the problem: I say I want to be myself, but the self is not desireable. Always being, or acting like, my self prevents me from being who I want to be - who I should be. So I must either cover the mess with a mask, which is only regression, or wash it off.

I can't wash my self off by myself. That makes no sense at all! It's the blood of Jesus that washes me, transforms me. I'm getting closer, getting rawer, getting truer. "Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." -Psalm 34:5

It is my masked face and my muddy face that feel shame. The true self needs not hide- why would it? Bareface, it reflects perfectly the image of God.

~~~

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." -2 Corinthians 3:18

July 3, 2009

"Pete and repeat were sitting on a boat. Pete fell off. Who was left?"

Think think think
Write write write
Ah, these are my thoughts, I'm finally getting them into words
Let me at least say what I think I mean and it'll get worked out

No, I'm still wrong
This isn't worth saying
It's repetitive, it's silly, I've already second-guessed myself
Don't want to spoil it by bypassing the guards my mind's employed

I need to start afresh,
This isn't getting anywhere
I know I have something to say, it mattered to me when I thought it
Why doesn't it matter now? It doesn't exist anymore.

Grasping onto what I know
The certainty of a cliche
If I know it's right, it won't matter how stupid and uninspired it sounds
But I grow weary of spinning in circles, repeating old tired words

I want to say something
But every stupid word that flows from my fingers
Degenerates into confusion. I'm not sure where I'm going.
Will I have to try again? Simplify until there really is nothing left?

My mind is extremely circular. I think one thing, then it leads to another, before I know it I'm back where I started. Today I realized again the truth of statements that have gotten me excited for a while.

I realized that I'm selfish, I only want wisdom because I love myself. That I'm half-hearted. That "unite my heart" is a plea that I can say again and again. That I don't want to belong to anyone besides God.

I remembered lyrics to songs I love. "I pray to be only Yours." "You belong to Me." "You are turning our hearts back to you. Again." And they're true, that's why they bear repeating. I want to pray to belong wholly to God forever and ever and ever. (This feels like two David Crowder references in one sentence. I really astound myself.) I remembered that I've been wanting to write a blog post about repetition for a while, and what better time than midnight when you're falling asleep?

"Re" is really a lovely prefix. It embodies the unfailing persistence of God's love. It proclaims the hope that this dying is not the end.

Restoration is on the rise.

July 2, 2009

Must I continue extraverting feeling?

[written partially while processing Hayley's poem, posted because I like feeling emotions. Really I have no explainable reason beyond my braintype. Lameness.]

I'm thirsty, most predominantly. It's doing strange things to me...kind of like what happens when I listen to Eisley. Gahh. Can I breathe? Can I understand? Reading Hayley's poem is like being tossed into a ship in the midst of a thunderstorm. It's like riding the rides at the amusement park that I've been too afraid or apathetic or unreckless to try. My eyes are burning, my stomach is churning, my brain is moaning, all of me is groaning. This dramatic life. How afraid I am to be completely confused. How much I want capture this rare moment when reason doesn't suffice!

So, I have a job.

I go to work with my Dad, I come home exhausted. I try to catch up on my social life, but I feel unable to appreciate my friends, their writing, their ideas. I don't like living in this blank, blank world, when even the most vibrant is made stupidly bland.

The more I stare into meaninglessness, the less able I am to realize anything. Oh, there can be no overdose of Truth, avoiding the Truth does not help us appreciate it when we find it. Not as if meaning isn't present at all at the library. It's a nice place, in its own way. The people are friendly, and I like seeing how my dad knows everyone. But ehhh. When I came home today, I felt so weary from being in a little windowless room, my fingers were tired from typing up lists of Jazz DVDs all day, my mind felt like it was asleep. Not so much now, thankfully. (And I don't think I felt any repurcussions from the utterly freezing air-conditioning.)

I want to like working, but so far I don't think I do. I want to be optimistic, I want to try again next week. I am glad to have a job that isn't too physically taxing. (It feels so official to call it a job, but internship is more misleading- in actuality, I'm just doing odd jobs around the library.)

I think the best parts about going to work are the times I'm not working. (Hah.) The campus is beautiful, the sun was lovely, the 3:00 break was refreshing. (Oh, and I know how to use IRIS to search if the library needs more books!) Coming home is relieving. And, I think I appreciate my dad more, too. Cooking, or doing school, or working on debate is hard enough, but this seems harder- or at the very least, more foreign and unnatural. I feel like I'm getting older, simply by working at a library. If you measure age by perspective, then I guess I am. Today's experience is making me look at the world in a different way, and that makes me happy. :)

July 1, 2009

I really, really like this verse

Colossians 1:18 (no particular translation except my attempt to translate from Greek, gratis A Graded Reader of Biblical Greek, by William Mounce.)

And He is the head of the body,
(The ruler, the director, the life-giver)
that is, the church;
(all of us are His hands and feet, His thought inspires our action)
who is the beginning,
(and the end! but remarkably the beginning- no infinite regression, He didn't create himself even, He has always been- I AM)
the first born from the dead,
(the dead yields few children, eh? He died, but then was resurrected- born from the dead. How, except in Him, can death bring forth life?)
so that He Himself might come
(bringing Himself glory)
to be preeminent in all.
(taking hold of our lives through His awesome power.)