August 31, 2009

Home(sick)

Towards 1:30 am this morning, it finally clicked.

Let me explain. I had been complaining to Kristen about how I felt like I didn't belong in our ICC Chapter. I told her how I'm frustrated that I'm always the one who has to inspire people, and since I'm not being really invested in, it's hard for me to stay motivated. I wailed about how I wanted to grow intellectually.

"Why is it always about you?" she asked. It hurt. I guess... in a good way.

It bothers me, that all this talk of growth and belonging is, in my case, selfish. This little intellectual monster that in a way has become my self is asking for more, more, always more.

I realized, last night which was technically this morning, that if you take a little of my stupidity away from the equation, all I want is to belong. With Kristen gone, I don't quite feel like I belong anywhere. I have my family, yes, but it doesn't feel the same.

Being the largely unemotional person I am, I don't feel like I too terribly miss Kristen, and by the same token, neither do I my wonderful, God-fearing friends. But I know I still miss them dreadfully, and here's where I'm seeing it:

I'm trying to love everyone. I'm trying to give everything (to my Chapter, to my family, wherever). And I know that God makes everything possible. Only it's harder when you don't have a deep Christian community. I look for belonging in my Chapter and am disappointed.

I miss my community of friends. I miss home.

Kay and I were singing the Jon Foreman song Over the River. "All of us longing, longing for home. Home. Home is somewhere I've never known. Over the river, over the river... I find my home in You."

And it finally made sense. Everyone wants to belong, and though there are friendships that seem heavenly on earth, they're not as lasting as my relationship with God. Ultimately, this world is not our home.

I guess I forget that sometimes, and I should take separation as an opportunity to draw closer to God. Because He loved me first, I can love others. Because He gave His all, I can give everything.

I'm not home yet. But I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

August 30, 2009

Faith

We people are so fragile
We're each a world our own
Balancing on circumstance
And facing life alone

When full, we have a weight
to keep us on the ground
But full of self, our wants and needs
Can't stop our falling down

When empty and abandoned,
we're "swaying in the wind"
So easily we're blown away
For to nothing are we pinned

We need a rock to hold to
A truth that is not moved
We either fix ourselves to it
Or wait until it's proved

By faith we're sure and stable
Though we cannot always see
We can be certain and believe
The truth will set us free.

August 27, 2009

Hollow Men [for Catey]

Imagine you're a statue,
a person made of stone
A glorious shining sculpture
without a heart to own

Imagine you are beautiful
And praised as good and fair
But inches past your perfect skin
Lies empty, hollow, air

A blow from true reality
Would crack that shallow shell
The self you though was you would fall,
Revealing deepest hell

The One who poured his life-blood out,
His emptiness makes you full
The truth he speaks in words of love
Breaks you, then makes you whole.

August 26, 2009

"When she trod on mud, the mud was beautiful."

There's a twinkle in your eyes today, my dear
It tells me that there's something lovely afoot
A forest, or a splash in the stream perhaps
Or simply an idea that delights you

Light is the color of expectation, I think...
But you must excuse my irrational pronouncements, love
Simply because your delight makes me giddy
To see you happy is my greatest joy

Who can think straight when the stars are dancing?
I can't tell if your eyes are reflecting them,
Or if the light comes from within you... But there's little difference-
You are everything beautiful to me.

August 25, 2009

Alien

"Why don't you hear me?"
"I hear you," he reproached. "I'm listening."
She had imagined him as a boy in a glass bubble, impervious to sounds from the outside. She hated feeling that she was ignored. It seemed that, isolating himself, he had isolated her. They were both alone.
But not quite. This was worse than complete isolation. He did answer her questions, and sound waves were entering his hears and his voice was responding to her, but their minds were missing each other. Their hearts couldn't have been more distant.

"I just asked why you said 'Bri's truth doesn't matter.' I want to know."
"Sorry."
"I don't want you to be sorry! Well, I do..."
Is this him? she wondered. I don't want repentance to be only a facade. Are you really and truly, in your heart of hearts, that guy who cuts me off and tells me that truth doesn't matter?

"Who are you, Chris?" A dumb question. It wouldn't be dumb if she already knew the answer. But with her attempts to reach out into that divine realm of knowing, every seemingly random question pushed him further away.

Chris was reading a sports magazine during this entire time. Still, he answered her question fairly promptly. All this debate occuring in Bri's mind happened swiftly. Her thoughts were less articulate desires than they were vague feelings of frustration and helplessness.

"Who am I? Christopher Driston. The name kind of rhymes, if you haven't noticed. But why are you turning all philosopher on me? I said I was sorry. Isn't that enough?"
"Alright, Chris. I, I forgive you."

She turned away. Those words felt so contrived, so mechanical. Of course, when someone apologizes, you forgive them. Better to forgive now than later. And she'd read it all before, that you don't have to feel loving to be loving, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

She felt sick, as if she hadn't been talking to a human being.

As if...no, this indeed is how it was: he had no desire to be known or understood. By her, at least. Little sisters were ultimately unneeded.

He apparently thought she didn't matter. He treated her as if she wasn't a real person. And in doing so, he alienated himself to her. In more than one sense of the word.

August 22, 2009

I need to stop putting my life into boxes

I thought, "Today I'm going to work. It'll be a departure from real life."
But I signed on to my email, and found my friends were still there. I found a breath of connection. Life is still where real life is not, I thought.
A man passed by me, and gave a friendly comment about the weather.
Why get to know someone with whom you won't come in contact much?

But this is real life. For some, perhaps the only community.
People matter everywhere.

August 19, 2009

I want to be the sky

The sky, it seems, is the most beautiful thing in the world. Though, since it is the sky after all, it's not as physical or tangible as the world, it's made of different matter. It is not of the world. The sky simply stays in what we call the world, visible to all who care to look.

I want to be the sky, in but not of the world.

From the sky comes rain, rain that forgives and washes, the grace of rain. Through the sky, light shines, illuminating true reality. The sky is where where we see the glory of the stars. The sky is where we go to when we want a glimpse of the dwelling-place of God.

I want to be the sky, where God can be seen.

Lonely?

We're alone, but I don't think we have to be. Joanna feels, (or at least felt) alone, with only her mother as her mentor. Hannah feels alone, sometimes, wishing she could participate in human love. Zach feels alone, it seems he's without a community to hang onto. Michael feels alone, too, I think, partially because Katie and Grace are gone. Kristen feels alone, because she's interning and teaching and I'm not there with her. (Though, I don't want to exaggerate my own influence.) This must feel like criticism... who am I to tell people they are lonely? Yet doesn't everybody feel alone, sometimes? Doesn't everyone, at some time, have nothing left but to cry out to God, "Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help" ?

I've felt alone, too, desperately alone, though I don't feel it presently. Why? Is it because I have a wonderful mother? Is because I've had lovely chats with friends? Is it because God's love is unfailing? How is it fair that I live in joy when others feel despondent? Of course, I don't want to imply that my friends aren't constantly being strengthened and loved abundantly by their Father, or that they don't know how to deal with problems by themselves.

I just wonder.... Is the solution for loneliness a human one? Something that could be solved by people, maybe "if we wore big tags or we threw big parties where only lost people could go." Something that could be solved by me? I've been given love, and I want to share it. But I take too much credit if I think my love can be anything but feeble, if I think my love can save anything- or anybody. I know how it is: I am just supposed to be willing to be used by God. *sigh* No one wishes to be pitied, unless they are the ones taking pity on themselves.

Is there a real problem? If there is, I wish I could help. I wish I could do something. Could you tell me how to pray for you?

I don't know. I guess... I just want to let all of you know, as helpless as I am, I love you. So don't you forget it.

August 16, 2009

All you need is love.

Right, the Beatles are our authoritative source for truth. But if God is love, then all you need is love. It should be simple.

God's love is all we need, and all we need to do is to love.

I was reading through my notebook yesterday, and I found myself impressed by all that I've thought about. (Silly, I know.) "Knowing God evaporates all pride," Devin said in a devotion he gave at camp. So perhaps my knowing, as interesting to me as it was, was not knowing God.

Then I wondered, what is the purpose of ideas? Ideas do not sustain us, ideas do not save us. Ideas, ("like friendship?" I asked myself) are simply blessings, ways perhaps that God shows his love, but not the source of our existence. We do not need them for survival.

But if ideas don't find their ultimate purpose in benefiting ourselves, do they help us love others? Perhaps, perhaps, I thought. I can use my intellect to engage and connect with people who think similarly. I can challenge articulately ungodly worldviews. I can speak about ideas that will help others to live more fully.*

And perhaps, having people hear my ideas helps them know me better. It seems to me that being willing to show yourself is part of loving people. Related to this is the question of why should I blog? If it's for myself, I might as well write it in a journal or notebook. If its for others, then it takes ever so much more effort to decide what is beneficial to them. And they don't need me, remember? All they need is love- God's love.

I've thought about this concept (the one I'm about to tell you) a fairly good deal, and whenever I think of it, I think about Ransom, being told that he is the miracle that would save Perelandra. The point is this: people are often God's tools of showing love. Whether that love be in the community of believers, or in the culture (the culture that is made up of individual people, mind you! :D), our love is a reflection of God's love.

This brings me back to what I started with: God's love is what sustains us. And we need to love people.

For some time, I've seen the two as slightly conflicting, though I know they should not be. I've been afraid that being absorbed in God cuts me off from people around me. (But I've found that this is no true focus on God, it is an absorption in self!) And I've experienced times when devoting myself to the cares of others leaves me feeling drained and alone. (But how can I expect to give to others when I derive my strength from myself?)

This is how it has concluded, as simple and obvious as it is: God's love (and mercy in saving me) is what gives me joy. Love towards others is the overflow of joy in God. Loving is simple (or simpler) when the joy of the Lord is my strength. We love only because Christ first loved us. We can't do anything unless we dwell in Christ first.

Love is all you need.

*As a meta-comment, I'm currently recalling a thought process that I've already had. It's rather interesting to see how mood affects your style of writing. If I'd written this blog post last night, it would likely be more vibrant, less breezy and narrative-like. It makes me wonder, if your mood affects your communication so much, should we save some things to say for when we feel like it? Of course, there are some things that are pressing and must be dealt with, but blog posts never needed to be posted. If I wait, I may forget what to say, (and not because all words are dust- just because the idea has left me) and it may never be said. But then, ideas don't need to be said. Or do they?

August 15, 2009

Quotes and insights heard or read at/around camp

"All the good I know is in this, that a man might so love this world that it would break his heart." -Jayber Crow

"I have called you by name and you are Mine." -Isaiah 43, both the song and the chapter in Isaiah

"I'm like Jesus. Fully introvert yet fully extrovert." -Michael

"Good is defined by God's nature, not his approval." -Tim, in answer to the question "Whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods."

"The closer I get to God the more I've learned about evil." -Hannah M, (and so began a new development of thought on innocence)

Katie Anne?: "Why are you staring at me?"
Me: "I am trying to find out what you think about me."
Josh: "Whoa. I never do that."
Kelsea: "I do. Just...Rebecca's more honest than I am."

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." -A quote from someone, conveyed via Hannah K

"Culture is made up of individual people." -Hannah K

"I said that you looked like a giant by your shadow. The shadow was the truth." -Smith of Wooton Major

"Their beliefs are their life. Don't kill them. Show them a difference in who you are." -Tim, on how to convince others

"He has been healed by love!" -The beast, in answer to Beauty's question, "But where is Beast?" It is love that leads the escape!

"Where the Spirit is, there is freedom." -2 Cor 3:17, via the Lead the Escape program

There is so much to learn, so much reason for contentment. "I have an emotional need for intellectual stimulation," I tell myself. But even if that is true, there's no reason for me to not be happy! :)

August 1, 2009

in the presence of God

I am so overwhelmed by love. Most prominently, the love of God. The love of an infinite God for a finite human. I am pondering the mystery of eternity in my heart and the enormity of love that it takes to redeem it. I am (figuratively now, but literally a few hours ago) lying on the wet grass in the Moons' backyard, a human of the earth, yet with my eyes fixed on the clouds, the skies, the heavens.

I think, sometimes, that I am a parrot, wanting to know how to pray but only finding the words already spoken: "Heavenly Father, you always amaze me." "Thy will be done." I want it to mean something, and I desire to communicate truly, but I have to start somewhere.

I sought the Lord today. He answered me in with the sounds of the crickets (or were they cicadas? I don't know), in the grass that hurt my feet at first but strangely started to feel like home, in the grey cloudy skies, in the giddy spinning, the warm rock, the leaves with raindrops still clinging to them delicately.

Psalms 34:4 tells me "He delivered me from all my fears." What do I fear? I fear solitude, being alone. Am I simply inventing fears to go along with the pattern I desire to see in my life? No, I don't believe so. I know that this fear of being alone is one directly answered by the presence of the Lord.

These thoughts seemed so real, yet so surreal when I thought them. Perhaps I didn't think them: maybe I felt them. I'm not sure I know the difference. But I know that love is real, and it's been bubbling over me all this evening. God is good, ever so good, and He is more wonderful than I can ever imagine.