Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On Learning to Say

"Don't stress.  I know it's stressful.  But don't be overwhelmed.  Just take it one step at a time.  And I love you."

That was me, giving advice to a friend a few minutes ago [I rock at this whole advice giving game][not].

Just take it one step at a time.  I get that now.  It doesn't mean that, all of a sudden, everything is great.  It doesn't make running into walls of complications at full speed any easier.

But we're not looking for easy.  Manageable is fine.

Learning to say no. 
Learning to say help. 
Learning to say I don't know.
Learning to say God's got this.
Learning to say I'm sorry. 
Learning to say I love you.

Because I love you.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

On a Love like This

all this time
the sun never says to the earth

'You owe me.'

what happens with a love like that
it lights the
whole world.


Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper,  I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attetion, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

I have come into this world to see this:

the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger

because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our

I have come into this world to see this: all creatures hold hands as
we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way
to even a greater being of soul,

a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.

I have come into this world to hear this:

every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine's womb and began spinning from
His wish,

every song by wing and fin and hoof,
every song by hill and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,

every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,

every song the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as

for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching -
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.

I have come into this world to experience this:
men so true to love
they would rather die before speaking
an unkind

men so true their lives are His covenant -
the promise of

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands
even at the height of
their arc of

because we have finally realized
there is just one flesh

we can wound.


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing you place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

Friday, April 23, 2010

On Breathing

Last night, I legitimately thought I was having
A panic attack in the hall.
As each minute passed, and my brain wouln't quit,
It got harder and harder to breathe.
I had to sit back, put my computer aside,
And hold my head in my hands.
Willing myself to not pass out or cry
Just because life's getting full.

I sat there and breathed, and then tried to go back
To the slides about creation and faith;
But the moment I returned my eyes to the screen,
My throat squeezed tight once again.
I got up and walked down the hall with the thought,
To get a drink and come back.
I couldn't stop studying [things have to get done],
So calm the hell down and retain.

But my body was stuck on this new freak out mode
So I had to turn in for the night.
A few extra minutes of sleep, I argued,
Would be all the cure that I need.
Now my class's in an hour, I need a topic
For a paper which I get to write.
My test is still later this afternoon and I
Don't have the time to remember.

It's too much, you're saying, along with everyone else,
But there's nothing that I can cut out.
Just get through these next six weeks without dying,
And everything's cake from then on.
And even for now, I'll grasp a palpable goal:
Six hours from now I can flee.
With five beautiful women to an island escape,
To talk, and be still, and to read.

Grades aren't that important, and neither is sleep:
We'll find a roommate, I trust.
Remember the families who need prayer more than most,
And keep Him the front of your mind.
Keep life in perspective; keep trying to love,
Because without that you will fail.
And above all else, keep trying to breathe:
So simple, just air, in and out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On Silence that Speaks

Just a quick comparison:

Here's the Falcon article on the Day of Silence from last year.

Here's the Falcon article on the Day of Silence from this year.

Chains be broken...

On Assignment Number Three

I really don't like rhyming.  And really don't like busting out a poem in fifteen minutes flat and turning it in for a grade.  But what are you going to do at midnight on a Tuesday?  Sleep is more important right now that being the next T.S. Eliot.

a silence that speaks.

The universe is as small to God
As a poem is to a poet.
Held in his hands and seen from above,
Jehovah alone can know it.

The intricate rhymes and delicate meter
Make sense to his Creator’s mind;
While creation sits ‘low, scratching its head,
Surrounded by a world to remind

Of his infinite glory [the grandeur of God]:
So much bigger than we can perceive.
Father Almighty, Creator of all;
These gifts that you’ve made, we receive.

His place in this world, though, is questioned by some:
Where dwells this Maker we seek?
Found outside our reason and outside our realms,
His absence, a silence that speaks.

Too big to be known, too grand to be shrunk
And to fit inside thoughts in our heads.
He created the world, like I’m typing these words,
Carefully weaving the threads.

All knowing and powerful, Lord of all life:
How can I see you on earth?
The better question, though, is how can I not
See the signs of your unbounded worth?

Proof of your love screams from all that I see
Each moment that I am awake:
The trees and the words and the people you’ve made
Overwhelm me with a joy-filled ache.

I thank you, my God, for creating the world
Though we’re failing and falling each day.
Keep making me new and open my eyes
To the beauty and grace you display.


There's that.  There's that.

Friday, April 16, 2010

On Day of Silence

a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. 
Ecclesiastes 3:6-8
Last year.



"I live as I must, in silence and in honesty."

"but there were months of silence, of this knotting fear of uncertainty, of condemnation, of paralyzing terror that I had no power to overcome on my own.  I don’t think I can even begin to describe the silence, the overwhelming disguise of my old self covering up that which was developing in my life."

"prayer has always just seemed like talking to yourself. Just a glorified way to reaffirm what’s already in your mind by repeating it to some deity. Or a way to become thoroughly discouraged when whatever higher power you choose to address your pleas toward is wholly indifferent and unresponsive and silent. "

"I won’t talk to God anymore. I refuse. I can’t handle the fact that he would allow me to go through the most difficult and confusing part of my life, when I was searching for answers anywhere I could turn, when I still believed that he cared about me, and leave me in utter silence. How can a God of love be so heartless? I just don’t understand why he would speak to all of these people, the givers of their testimonies, in their hours of need, but leave me alone to break and crack and splinter into desperation. Why would he show such favoritism? Why does he only speak to some? Why [deep breath here to try and remain calm] are only some called to be spoken to? "

"I am a liar and a corrupter. Leading others to condemnation along with myself; dragging them down trying to slow my silent slip into the flames.
Don’t let him be there. Please, God, if you can grant me one thing in my life, may it be that he’s not in hell.
Please, God.
Won’t you answer me, even now? Just one word. Just a breath.
Why are you always silent?"


Megan naps on Holly's bed.  We are quiet together.  The world is louder than normal, while landscapers mow lawns and trim edges; motor noise screaming in through the open window.  The one time I actually had the answer to a question in Mythology, I sat staring at my notes, unable to voice it.
I feel ineffective.  My silence is too close to the norm.  I'm silent every day for this cause, not out of protest, not that anyone notices, but because I don't have a voice strong enough to overpower the fear that keeps me mute.  Endless situations play themselves before my eyes.  It's people I respect telling me I'm wrong.  It's members of my family casting judgment.  It's putting my opinion out there and finding that I stand completely alone.  It's believing something so wholeheartedly and not having the words to justify why or the experience to prove how.


Thirty people.  It is enough.

Feet washing.  Be silent no more.  And embrace passed around the still circle.  Unknown but united.  No condemnation, I swear.  But why aren't there more people here?

What silences you?

Hugs from friends and from strangers.  God's love for you endures forever.

Trying to bring together these two worlds that don't mix.

I love you.  But I am discouraged.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On a Good Morning

Alarm sounds at 6:55 A.M.  Exhaustion has not been cured.
Too hot, too cold, too hot.  Music doesn't fit the mood.
Crabby, quiet.  Eyes red and sleepy behind contacts.
Blueberry pancakes; listen to the crew team laugh.
Freezing cold, sitting on a bench at the bus stop.
Walking across the loop, trying to be awake.
Take a peek in the mailstop, find it empty.
Pull open one glass door to the SUB.
See the coffee line, the bagels too.

"Good morning."

Scurry, scurry up the stairs.
Smiling sheepishly all the way.
Lighting an empty and silent office.
Laughing to myself behind still tired eyes.
Checking email, finishing tasks, writing guidelines.
Greeting each other, organizing spreasheets, yawning.
Getting ready for chapel, blue tape and red signs sit together.
Not ready for the day, not ready for the week; I want to run away.
But you're right, it is a good morning.  Thank you for making me smile.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

On Sun Soaking and Wind Sweeping

As Jill and I chatted about earlier on the sun soaked and wind swept beach, wasn't this quarter supposed to be better than last?  Wasn't all that crap supposed to be left back in the winter, and the doors opening on spring would be crap free?

All the good thoughts in the world don't add up to what we always want, though.

It's further details opening up wounds that had just healed.  It's stories like this.  It's sleeplessness.  It's noise when quiet is needed.  It's silence when words are neccessary.  It's absence.  It's promises that mean nothing.  It's broken harmonies.  It's heavy sighs.  It's regrets.  It's wanting to love.  It's too much with no acknowledgement.

The deepest part of You is where I want to stay
And feel the sharpest edges wash away.
But when I close my eyes, and feel You rushing by,
I know that time brings change, and change takes time.

I can't right now.  I'm not sure if you understand that.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

On Sleep and Yesterday

Let's face the facts here: I am really bad at sleeping.

Most people who know me know this.  I'm just a picky sleeper.  It needs to be quiet.  It needs to be dark.  It needs to be not too cold but not too warm.  And it needs to not be moving.

Alas, even when all of these criteria are lined up nicely, sometimes the sleep refuses to come.  My mind won't turn off, my heart won't stop racing, my thoughts won't subside, my twisting and turning will not be stilled.


I'm conditioned to function pretty well on limited sleep.  But it makes me crabby and impatient.  Sometimes, I don't realize, but I did yesterday.  First the line at Gwinn for lunch...  And second, wanting to rip off the head of the girl sitting behind me in UFND who was crunching on ice for the last hour of class.  Oh my gosh, I was so mad.  But I looked at myself (that's a fun trick), and said, "Hey, calm down a little.  It's just ice.  Don't even worry about it.  You're supposed to be Miss Mellow.  Let's get back to the happy place, ok?"

Speaking of happy places, yesterday (after the ice crunching) was fatastical. 
Salmon 'n' chips and pier wandering.
Jumping pictures and frozen fingers.
Toilet paper wrappings and condiment naming.
Jesus videos and laughing laughing laughing.
I love celebrating people.  And I love Michael.  So it was a great, happy, super, apple slices happy time.  Love when the four of us are together.
Photo Credits: Em Weissman

All this to say: in the midst of sleep deprivation, not really wanting to be here, a lack of motivation to try at school, and really cold hands, God is good.  He provides.  In reminders of his love: through adventures with friends; through hugs and words of affirmation and cups of tea; through the community of group mixed with the musical feel of chapel; through a corner of my desk with lantern, sister picture, flowers, and balloon; through cancelled class; through so many things, He reminds me that I am His and all will be well.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

On Your Porch

Happy Spring!
Over spring break, I listened to this song a lot.  It's one of my favorites.  And I think if a boy ever sang it to me, I would fall in love with abandon.  Enough of this.  It's sunny.  I'm off to the papasan to read Gilgamesh, and wait for days where it's warm enough to 'study' outside.
Love to you all.