August 30, 2010

I am a ripple now, breathing a little fast but soft, soft.
Imagine stretched staircases rising from the mist,
Broad and sturdy, separate from dew-laden spirit.
I stood, I stand; climb, one hand on the rail
The other, fingers lingering over a whisper.
Could I not be the water, steam turned liquid
Lapping up the steps inch by inch?
I remain. Whole and alive, to rise,
A tide in a path I've never known.

August 25, 2010

neediness

I watched you.
You wretched one.

I followed you as you scattered flowers through the air.
Who can do nothing at all.

You slowed down and held my hand as we walked together.
Do not forget to be merciful!


Be merciful to us more fortunate ones!
I let myself be next to you. You call it acceptance, I call it home.


I’ve been toying around with this quote (the italicized part) from Kierkegaard, with me as the wretched one, who can do nothing at all. I wonder if shame and pride are the same thing: attention-seeking and unredeemed. Holding on to your broken self.

Perhaps mercy is belonging where you are. It's not quite the same as the unloved, poor, and lonely letting themselves be helped, letting the strong slow down. I think that acceptance of compassion can only really happen when we are able to stand without shame. People are only able to encourage when they aren't my savior.

I'm still not yet completely sure. Does that make times when I'm sad or lonely untrue?

August 22, 2010

liquid.

Isn't there a solid knot in my throat
and a heat in my mind
grieving my eyes?

I shall escape
the draughts of thought
in blank smoothness, no creases on my face

until the peace
ripples my skin,
and earth and heaven be one.

August 17, 2010

"My heart is star, not grieved."

my weightless heart
I will be
a diminishing, a steely soul
if only for you

misguided bearing.
my burdened heart I am
and lonely, full
I cannot take away your tears

I was left
to listen to the sea
the shell to my ear, bending
my heart to harmony

August 15, 2010

peacock, pedestals, prison, pain, place.

I painted this today; it's called "Psyche."

The image came into mind, piece by piece, and then I had to paint it. I don't completely understand it, but I do know it is about being made separate, both by grace and by nature.

August 13, 2010

it's in the friction
(crooked meeting straight)
touch
where sparks fly

you only bleed
when the thorn strikes your flesh
so it's in the movement
that love comes out

warm hearts, apart
freeze over like the pond in winter
trees lose the soaring outwards
for the growing underground

knowing the presence just past your wall
(hand on wood to hand again)
it's the testing of your faith
in this place, amen.

August 11, 2010

Leadership

I am alone when I trust no one.
I wish to have spiritual leaders in my life, but I have hardly any idea of what that's supposed to look like: people I'm needy towards? People I can go to, asking for their advice? Or are they supposed to come to me? I think in most mentorships the one wanting to be mentored asks for guidance.

I am not alone, if my trust is in the Lord. And my parents become more and more an encouragement to me.
What about all the adults who could have led me, but whom I hardly feel close to? But there are some who've cared about me, and been role-models for me.

My sister is coming next week and I'm glad. But I was never meant to place my entire trust in people. Instead we are to bear one another's burdens, a mutual trusting, through reliance upon the provision, the grace, of God.

August 10, 2010

The Life of the Mind

Wheatstone asked me yesterday to write them a few-paragraph testimony of my experience at the Academy: how it changed me, what made it worthwhile. What I want to say is that it made me care more about learning for its own sake, helped me realize that there is so much more to know.

But now I'm in a place where I don't know how much I want to know. Even this post, I began it with a question burdening my mind, and now I can barely recall that original question. Perhaps it will disappear completely. It seems to keep resurfacing, though.

I've had a lot of experiences lately, times where life itself forced me to learn more. When you're presented with a problem, knowing how to solve it takes on a lot more significance. But before I face it, I could hardly care less. This, utilitarianism, bothers me. I am divided: part of me thinks that seeking God continually is all I can do, and He will weather me through every difficulty, the Holy Spirit will keep me. The other part questions that mindset, saying that the Holy Spirit works through human words and thoughts I've picked up, to connect ideas so that I understand. And isn't it foolish, unfaithful, of me to let the talents I've been given fall to the wayside? I'm thinking of that parable, where the master went away leaving his servants behind.

This is an idea I thought a lot about during my involvement in debate competition, too: that the right attitude toward competition isn't flippancy or a need to win, but faith. Trust that God will work out what he wants, showing me himself through a win or a loss (-my hope is not built on how I place), but with that trust, action on my own part, to do the best with what I've been given.

Side note: this is mostly my head talking, quickly, running like a train down the line of thoughts. I'm mostly writing this so I can get it down, work it out.

So the question, right. There are times when I can hardly manage to counter the tasks at hand, much less prepare my mind for the future by stretching it. But, I think, I must care about the life of my mind in those in-between times that make up the majority of my life. I think of the question submitting on the Year of Questions channel, "What is the purpose of education?" Perhaps I wouldn't mind so much answering it. Speaking of the video project, I have yet to decide what I should talk about tomorrow. Yay. Not this, it'd be far too boring.

So what am I still wondering about? Maybe I don't know where to go: I try to read often, but I don't know what to focus on. I love poetry, but have hardly read much, only a smattering of poems, and not studied them in depth.

I think this thought connects to any sort of study. My mom's been cleaning house, and today I looked at an old portfolio from an art class I had taken years ago. I've liked art for a long time, and wonder how seriously I mean it. My art course is tremendously good for me, to help me make time for art, but I wonder if even so I've lost something I used to have - creativity, passion, maybe even technique? And I wonder what I'd do with art. I'm thankful for pictures for their expressive powers - much like I'm thankful for poetry - but by thankful I mean I have a use for it. Am I being utilitarian again? Maybe it's called practical. I've never been one for applications in debate, but I'm all about application in everything else, it seems.

So I wonder, how deeply can I get into art, so that it benefits more than just myself? So that I can praise God through creating beauty, or - somehow - be a truth-teller, a warning of the way life is. If that is indeed what artists do.

This, of course, relates to the ever-present college thought. I'm excited for college, because I desperately want to keep learning, to be revived, to find joy in learning and understanding, and to live better. To have substance to my thoughts, in such a way that I discover things, form opinions. In the present, probably the biggest area I'll get to do that is as I dig into this year's NCFCA topic. Yay for political philosophy! And yet I admit that though it's interesting, I hardly take it seriously because it doesn't relate to what I'm doing. I wonder if it's right that I find English to be so much more enchanting than most other subjects, because (as I see it) it's subject matter is life itself.

I want to see how this all ties together, unfortunately I'm not yet sure what I'm looking for (Meno's paradox, a bit). This is what I think I know: study, learning from others, adds to understanding. Understanding of truth. This then adds richness to life - isn't it a sweet feeling to describe something precisely and see light dawn on someone else's face? - but more importantly, rightness to life. To love God fully, my whole self must be engaged.

So what next? Faithfulness, again. To take the opportunities I have - conversations with friends, life experiences, books, prayer. To search for where else I should be going - asking questions, thinking about college some more. To trust that it is by God's power alone that my time and my mind, my heart and my living, bring glory to Him. And isn't that all I want?

P.S. I feel like a published author.

Summer :)

The pieces are up in the air,
I'm in the middle
They fall like fireworks, like confetti
Somehow I'm not afraid.

I totally slept in this morning, when I was going to wake up early to read Downright Dencey.Whoops. By the way, the book is lovely. The story especially. It reads quickly, because it's a children's book, but there's so much of it that I sympathize with; I see my own friendships echoed there.

This week I'm so happy, glad about what there is to do. Learning how to manage my own kitchen, tutoring a girl from my homeschool group, planning a dream room for a home economics assignment. Thinking about colleges, (how much I want to go to Biola because I loved the Wheatstone discussions) tackling my delightful list of books, waking up each morning with more to learn about God and love.

I was planning yesterday to write a post about self-examination, and perhaps the thing in my soul still needs to be pondered about, but it's better today, though I don't stop to remember the details. I clearly never found the time to write it, but in my head, I sang to Willy Wonka's tune about "a world of self-examination."

August 7, 2010

Wrap me up as part of Your history,
I don't want a lone identity
My life is full of mystery,
but it never was my own.

----

Please don't say less because you fear you'll make me sad
Didn't I tell you though I thought you might get mad?
I want you to be honest, to see light once again
so don't hold off your questioning, and let me bear the pain.

August 5, 2010

1 John 4:7

all of it is joy
still tinged with aching tears
and I cry for beauty

I let go
told him I could not bear this alone
and he lifted me into love

I've found a waiting peace
seeing you as you are: how you have your being
we are blessed to be his.

August 1, 2010

"I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."

I would be quiet, I would rest with. I would speak, I would break from imagining into communion. (Would in the sense of my will, not "I would if I could.")

I wonder about mistaking God for people, or people for God. I'm coming to realize that I cannot see God's face. I think I talked about this in my "image of God" post. This upset me for a while; it's hard to talk to someone you can't stare in the eye. Eye contact is very significant to me. I've talked about this with a few people here: who is God? How do you think about him? What I think is that God is a presence, a greatness, that demonstrates himself in people, in the sunset, in beauty. They don't simply speak about God's nature, or declare the glory of God, they communicate him, in a way.

But. I can think about this in the wrong way, somehow upsidedown. (I overuse the word somehow.) I can try to picture God and put the face of my friends there, subconsciously. Or when I miss people, or feel mournful or poetic, I wonder if I breathe by feeling or breathe the spirit of God. Yet God is not pure feeling, nor is what is intellectual spiritual. The song "human" took on significance for me two days ago, as I witnessed people who live by feeling, brimmed, and myself, seeming hardened, devoted to nothing. But love is as much reason as it is emotion. Logic is found in love.

I am... weighed down now with what I've found through examining myself. I'm tired, of course, but there's more to it. Do you know how it is when you feel like there is much you need to pray about, people who you want to feel loved, people you want to enjoy, your own self you need to be made right, and yet you don't seem to have the strength to pray to God sincerely heartfully as you should? It's like that. Which is no comparison at all. Wry smile.

Something I was meaning to say as a continuation of my thoughts from my last blog post. The reason, I think, we say "I love you" both as a statement of excitement or spontaneity and to promise responsibility towards a person, is found in the different types of love. The more lighthearted love is more of a "taking joy" love, an appreciative love, seeing them as they are (as they could be), while the more serious love is agape love, or sacrifice. On that note: something that stuck with me from Wheatstone was what Dr. Reynolds said in response to a student's question. "I look at you and all I can see is how amazing you could be," he said. And so I want to see. I am ... humbled by those who do see, and right my perspective. It is joy to see clearly, to think of people as redeemed creatures. "I knew now, that it is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another." I tell you, Phantastes changed me.

The evening program was true, startling me in its depth and beauty. A work of art, in that it lifted me from incessant work and reminded me of all there was to think about (similar to, oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!) and live by. I hardly caught anything, except an appreciation of its theology and George MacDonaldesque scenes.

...
1 Peter 1:22-23: "Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God." 

To speak is a gift, not a hope (like happiness is added to joy, not enough alone). I long to explain my heart, how... something so simple as writing a blog post makes me wonder if I care about expression more than I care about God and honesty. And to stop and listen, and grace. The holy spirit. I felt the Lord asking me if I loved him more, if I could seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. I answered that I wanted all things to be added to me. I saw what it was to love from a pure heart. Obedience to the truth that God is above all and everything and that I am His. So reminded of my identity, of the permanent, (of the new covenant ... 2 Cor 3) and secure in loving him, blessed by how he yearns jealously over the spirit he has made to dwell in us, I may then love humans, love them through the love of Christ.

It was as if God called me to his side, and I spoke with him intently, then filled with joy, asked if I could go off and enjoy the other people there. Yes, he said, and Catey walked into the room and demonstrated the perfection of the will of God.

I go off singing.