Here I sit, perched on a sofa, mind racing through self-reflective critical analysis, and not a word comes out. Chest boiling up with emotion, an unbalanced dichotomy between my rational thought and utterances of my soul: the depths of insecurity, desire, fear.
I project the image of strong, easy-going, secure. Don’t let them see that you’re hurt. Don’t be a burden. Don’t be annoying. You might drive them away. You have to present yourself in such a way…you can be what they want, what he wants, just don’t be too much. Make sure you’re funny enough, clever enough, cute enough, friendly enough, busy enough…but don’t try too hard, because they’ll see right through that. He’ll see right through that. Don’t let him know how much you still care, but keep going for him. Don’t throw yourself at him, make him wonder. If he doesn’t notice, you should probably freak out. But internalize it, you don’t want him to think you’re crazy and dramatic and clingy. Just change everything about yourself to be perfect and if he doesn’t want to be with you then you probably didn’t do it right, you probably weren’t good enough, you probably either cared too much or not enough. You should probably just go back to the way you used to be, at least that was a form of false fulfillment. Devaluing yourself and letting someone use you for your body is probably the best you can do anyway. NO. No it’s not, I deserve better- Christ thought I was worth dying for, right? If I know that to be true, why won’t it sink in to my existence and fill up every pore of my being? I want to believe it; I want to feel that truth with my whole self. The hurt, the rejection, the disappointment: it’s just so heavy, so clouding. I’m stuck in the thick of the smoke, feeling my only option is to plop down and wait for it to pass. But the smoke hasn’t cleared, and it’s affecting me. It’s burning my eyes; it’s filing my lungs, choking out my gasps for air. I can’t see, I can’t breathe, I can’t move, and the cloud just lingers around me. I need hands to pull me up. I need eyes to guide me to a place where I can breathe. If only I had the strength to stretch out my hands.
Reflections of a Hammock Dweller
A six week old baby girl lays on her play mat, kicking her little chicken legs and tapping me with the soft pads of her feet. She flails and grunts, grasping outward for a need she doesn’t understand and can’t communicate. I swoop her into my arms. We step through the back French door into the haze of the fresh new day. We cozy into a canvas hammock, eggshell with knitted trim, slouched from the rafters. Together we sway, slight creeks with each steady rock, as she nods into a dream.
Simplicity is far more peace-giving than the credit it’s given. Simplicity is flagged as immaturity, foolishness, denial, irresponsibility, clueless thinking, disconnect with reality. I beg to differ.
I seek beauty. Beauty encompassed in complexity of design and thought, intricacy of craft, captivation of imagery and creativity. The beauty of which I speak is not rare, not a buried treasure. I see it in everything. The vibrancy of autumn leaves, the symphony of melodies spinning circles around me, the joy in a stranger’s smile, the butterflies wrapped in a certain embrace. This is the work of a master artist, the Savior of my life, gifted to me that I may delight in it and better love Him in response. My love and excitement for the simple, the beautiful, does not rob me of a sense of reality. In fact, it enriches my sense of purpose and gives me hope in spite of the realities I face each day. Ugly things happen in this world, I have no false perceptions of that. But the harshness of reality does not own me. The more ugly I see, the more beauty I crave. I stand firm in the beauty of God’s love. I will not be shaken.
❝ Tangible wanderlust is awakened outside of kronos time ❞
Four years of transformation have come full circle. God knows what’s going to happen and always will. It’s foolish to ever think I would know better than God. I’m so thankful for the changes God has made in my life.
❝ Academic motivation has run dry. ❞
Around my neck, a key. Engraved in the key, a word. A word which represents something I hope to attain within myself. Once I feel I have attained within myself this word, it is to be passed on to another. Once I reach this, I give this key away.
Something tells me a key will hang from my neck for quite some time.
Fruit Comes Through Struggle
A wonderful story was sent to me:
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8
Last week Ken and I visited Tim, a friend from church, who grows several rare varieties of grapes on the hillside behind his house. I was surprised that Tim had planted his vines along a steep and rocky portion of the hill. “Why didn’t you plant the vines at the base of the hill?” I asked him. “The soil certainly looks a lot better-and there’s more sun.”
Tim smiled. “There’s a rule you need to remember when it comes to growing these special varieties of grapes,” he said. “When you feed them luxuriously with lots of nutrients and fertilizer, the vine produces a profuse bush of leaves and cane. But the fruit it grows is sparse and very poor. Oh make no mistake,” he laughed. “The plant loves lots of fertilizer. But it invests all those nutrients into growing lush, dark, beautiful leaves. And when the vine has finished doing that, it has very little energy left to produce fruit. It certainly looks like a beautiful vine. But that’s it. It just looks good.”
How, then, do you get good grapes? As Tim explained it, you have to make sure the grapevine struggles! You plant it in rocky, flinty soil, or you girdle the vine by wrapping wires around the cordons, forcing the plant to struggle as it tries to draw nutrients from its roots. This causes the distressed vine to divert most all of its prized and hard-won nutrients into the fruit, instead of the leaves. The result of these trials and tribulations is the sweetest fruit possible!
So… maybe the rocky soil and steep inclines in your life aren’t so bad after all. The trials and struggles, disappointments and setbacks you face, this “girdling” that presses you in from all sides… is a bruising of blessing. And you won’t bear a crop without it.
Lord, when this life is all over and I stand before you, I want you to find sweet fruit in my life… and not just leaves”
High in my nest five feet above the floor, restlessness has sunk in once again. Perhaps it’s the lingering bits of intense discussion exchanged over the last three hours. Could it be my ever frenzied existence manifesting counterfeit energy filling up what I’m lacking in sleep? Or just maybe, I’m in that familiar place- a place that embodies my greatest joy and my deepest struggles simultaneously. Cuddled in the softest of materials, I can hear the crashing waves as I lay my head down to rest. Regardless of the day’s events, I feel God’s presence.
Edna Ida (Wentling) Barr- July 19, 2012
Should you go first and I remain to walk the road alone,
I’ll live in memory’s garden dear, with happy days we’ve known.
In spring, I’ll wait for roses red, when fades the lilacs blue,
In early fall when brown leaves call, I’ll catch a glimpse of you.
Should you go first and I remain for battles to be fought,
Each thing you’ve touched along the way will be a hallowed spot.
I’ll hear your voice, I’ll see your smile, though blindly I may grope,
The memory of your helping hand will buoy me on with hope.
Should you go first and I remain to finish with the scroll,
No length’ning shadows shall creep in to make this life seem droll.
We’ve known so much of happiness, we’ve had our cup of joys,
And our memory is one gift of God that death cannot destroy.
Should you go first and I remain, one thing I’d have you do:
Walk slowly down the long long path, for soon I’ll follow you.
I’ll want to know each step you take that I may walk the same,
For someday down that lonely road, you’ll hear me call your name.