Saturday, July 31, 2010

This is fact, not fiction.

Today, I finished a novel, gave up on another book, watched my favorite movie with my mom, and listened to too much Mumford & Sons.

Yesterday, I went on an adventure with Clarissa and Chester, learned some things about Alaska, ate fro-yo, and watched a movie about zombies.

Yesterday's yesterday, I forgot to set my alarm, organized some storage cabinets, Coldstoned with Jill and Val, shared sandwiches and apple slices with Becky Jo, met a stranger, and was forced to reconsider the importance of prayer.

The day before that, I learned almost all of 2nd SUB is introverted, drank fair trade coffee and texted my cousin about it, which made me miss him more, and paid three dollars to see an awful movie with my best friend.

Even earlier, I finished searching church websites for important updates, learned that a dear friend is shy, and hung out with Prince Caspian.

Days and days ago, there were a lot of goodbye hugs.

I really miss you.  A lot of you.  Jon and Mike and Em and Lara and Victor and Andrew and Joseph and Jess and Bri and Sarah and Cody.  And a lot of others, who I can't say just now.

Tomorrow, I'll go to church and see some Shakespeare.

The day after that... who knows?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Forster's Wisdom

"There is only a certain amount of kindness in the world... There is a certain amount of kindness, just as there is a certain amount of light.  We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows.  Choose a place where you won't do very much harm and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine."  - A Room with a View

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


A haiku from Sunday, after saying good night to one of my favorite second cousins once removed.
Luke knows eloquence,
"Dear poker: go fuck yourself."
I close with, "Love, Luke."
My family is the best.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

1 John 4:8

Slumped in the dark, talking to God
[Talking to myself]. I just ask
Questions –
Broad, open ended wonderings.
Unanswerable. Or unanswered?
Coming to terms with how
This year left me – that ten days of
Sea breezes didn’t heal everything.
Turning the psychoanalysis inward,
Realizing it comes down to

“It felt like this empty word that you just
Threw around with no meaning behind it.”

The whole point of my life crumpled,
Flung to the side, an utter failure.
Words written in January caused a crippling
Doubt; walls went up instead of bridges.
Don’t you understand:
I’ve no idea where I should go,
What I should do.

Will you answer me already?
Will you take this self-destructive
Will you help me to forgive, to heal,
To know worth?

God [whom I can’t call father] –
If you are not love then nothing
Matters anymore.
"It makes a difference, doesn't it, whether we fence ourselves in, or whether we are fenced out by the barriers of others."  -E.M. Forster

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Playing [with] God

A work in progress.  The last four lines can stay.
My God sits there, across the board
Face serene, behind black pawns
I sit here, behind white knights,
Arms stay crossed, [and thoughts] withdrawn.
We both know the move is mine,
But I refuse to flinch or blink
“Let God be the one to crack
‘Cause I can’t win,” I crossly think.
God sits there, just watching me squirm
Waiting for my attack.
But I have left this bench before:
Unchained, I’ve turned my back,
But give it a lifetime, give it a breath
And back sneaks that black and white itch.
Knowing there has to be one simple way
To get un-cornered and make the switch.
We’ve played this game for some odd years,
Attacks both sneaky and sly,
Watching each other as much as the board
[We find and follow the eyes].
I slump on the bench, frustrated with God
Knowing I’ve one move to make.
And God [looking smug] is just watching me sink,
To counter my move with “checkmate.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Teach Me Some Melodious Sonnet

These little pieces of encouragement
Thrown out without a thought by sowing birds
“Have you no idea?” says she, while bent:
She’s gleaning hope from simple clicks and words.
What means this now? That words have worth? No fear:
The shaking of a confidence will last.
But with these seeds, a brighter thought comes clear:
Voicing the silenced’s worth a break in fast.
I cannot promise you I’ll be succinct,
Clear, sane, driven or sober. Only this:
I’ll pen to build up love, and that [I think]
Is worth these breaths when my voice won’t exist.
You sneak up with that sideways smile and see
Me, ink stained, tired, silent, on my knees.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Small World

My heart is split in a lot of ways right now:

Sierra Leone

Can you all please come home?

Friday, July 9, 2010

In Starbs, while reading Andrew Marin

"Christians talk too much because we really don't know what to say and how to say it.  It's time to pay more attention to living out what we believe instead of always trying to say it."   -Andrew Marin
Here's what I'm thinking: the love of God.  This is what has been given to us and this is what we are called to give to the world.  What did Billy Graham say?  "It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love."  I'm not sure it could be put more succinctly than that.  Our call to make sure the world knows about the love of God means that we have to be constantly aware of what this love is, where God is moving, and what approaching others with an attitude of love looks like.  While God's love is unchanging, my understanding of it is small, shifting as I learn more about His nature and our world and people and relationships.

I just got so freaking excited about love around the middle of freshman year that I think I stopped searching.  I had found something that made so much sense, I said, "Yes!  This is it!  Sweet.  I figured it out," and I sat back with my composition book full of verses, all ready to hug everyone I saw.

But my definition of love has been changing ever since then: this is not something from which to flee, but for which to be grateful.  It means that God is still moving.

It all comes down to this [wait until tomorrow when things have changed]: respect, unquestioned respect for everyone (including that homeless man whose eyes follow you on the sidewalk, those high school girls sitting two tables away who can talk of nothing but boys, those homophobic legalists who just happen to be related to you, oh and your best friends); an earnest desire to listen to and understand the stories of those people with whom your path will cross: to listen without judgement, to listen without formulating your counter argument, to listen without the agenda of wanting to change whatever the other believes, to listen and come alongside and live life together, seeking truth together; to be willing to change, whether this means our plans, our beliefs, our words, our opinions, our goals; a commitment to the fluidity of what it means to live in the Spirit: while He does not change, our understanding will; and to live what we claim as truth [the world reads Christians, not the Bible].

This is love to me.  Too broad a definition?  Well then, what's yours?

This is what makes sense right now.  I still don't know how to talk to God.  I still don't know how to talk to people.  But I'm trying to learn.  While my fingers shake from caffeine in my veins and Bon Iver softly croons, I honestly can't tell if I'm panicking or excited.  I'm just trying to learn, trying to not be afraid of change and movement, trying to find my voice so I can say, "Yes, He loves you and there is nothing you can do to increase or decrease that love."

That's all I've got.
“But Matt, don’t you understand? God is bigger than this issue, and therefore, so is our faith. We can’t pin God down and ask for specifics, refusing to move forward until He spells out what is sin and what is righteousness. Your being gay is just one part of you. By letting that be the only thing that matters between you and God, then you’re never going to get anywhere. Think of this: what if I defined myself as an asthmatic and only that? I’d argue with God over why He had created me so imperfectly and ask for healing. But I’d be cropping myself, not offering all of me to God. God loves me, all of me, and my worship is not less worthy because sometimes it’s a bit breathless. My asthma does not define me before God.”

“I find it a little bit disturbing that you’re comparing your disease with the essence of who I am.”

“Is being gay the essence of who you are?”

My mind said ‘yes’ immediately, but I sat there and thought about it, mouth open like an imbecile, for a few moments.

He said softly, “I don’t think it is. I see you: you’re introverted, thoughtful, brilliant. You hate books and hate seeing people hurting. You don’t like confrontation but are willing to have hard conversations. You are seeking after truth and wanting to respect people. Your mind works in ways mine never could and all of this would still be true even if you weren’t gay.”

“I think I’m missing your point.”

“Does God love me any less because I have asthma? Because I’m sometimes off key when I try to harmonize? Because I lost my temper and yelled at Claire last night? Because I’m willing to wrestle with Him over thoughts and doctrines that don’t make sense?”


“Right. And God doesn’t love you any less because you’re gay.”


“No! You can’t contest that, Matt! God would not love you more if you were straight. Ok?”

I sat with this for a minute, then breathed, “Ok.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On Summer Reading

It's fantastic how much what I'm reading at the moment can affect my writing style.  Right now, I'm almost finished with When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris [bless him].  Here's just a sample of how my interior monologue sounds:
Hello, passive aggression. How I’ve missed you in my life. With your lack of capitalization and uniformity of punctuation, I know you mean business. Upon seeing you for the first time, I suck in my breath through my teeth, a wave of guilt encompassing my being. Uh oh, I’m in trouble now. But wait: full stop, let’s rewind. I haven’t done anything wrong. Defensive Anna is getting prepped. I have to calm her down, shove her out of her track lane and sit down and look at this.
Besides Sedaris, my summer reading list includes:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
And whatever else wanders by [if anyone has suggestions, I'm always open].

I'm also listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on tape during my commute to and from SPU three times a week.  I started this morning, and [oh my word] you can't even imagine how happy and excited it made me.  I know these tapes so well, listening to them whenever I was sick or bored as a child.  Such fantastic memories.  Such wonderful stories.

I had been at work for a grand total of twelve minutes this morning, and already done a run to Weter and given someone directions to the library.  It's good to be home, especially now that summer weather is making its entrance stage left.

My skin is peeling off in strips.

Can I just say really quickly that Valerie is one of the most beautiful people I've ever met?  I am truly blessed.

I love you [yes, you].  So much.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

On Truth

Sometimes, during sermons, I accidentally get really distracted by my notes.  Pastor Phil talked on freedom this morning [oh, how appropriate] and John 8:31-38.  Slavery to sin, the truth will set you free, and so on.  I got distracted, and think I distracted Nate beside me as well with mad scribblings.
Truth leads to life.  Sweet, awesome, yes, this is right.  But an issue [so much tension] arises when we believe that truth leads to life but we narrow down truth to this one tiny thing we believe.  Because of this, anyone who doesn't hold to this one tiny thing is falling into death.  And we're like, 'oh no!  must fix their life! here is the truth!' causing their [understandable] reaction of 'hey man, calm down.  I've got some truth.'  But their truth seems wrong because it's not our truth: cue massive screaming matches.  But, but, but it's the Truth; and this tiny part that we have a weak grasp of understanding on is a tiny little part.  And Jimmy over there, at whom you're screaming, has grasped a little tiny part of the truth, too.  Just because it's a different part of the truth does not make it less true.  Because God is truth, and therefore we can't fit truth inside our heads.  We have to let go of the idea that our truth is the only truth, and start respecting everyone who is seeking after truth.  Ok?  Ok.
I love it when I'm distracted by myself.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On Knowing

I don't know where I'm going.  I don't know if I'm staying.
I don't know who I'm calling.  I don't know what I'm praying.
You don't know if you know me.  I don't know if I know you.
But we're both searching for what sounds most true.

Why are we separated?  Why are there walls?
Why are there airports and taboos and falls?
Why is this dark line dividing our lives?
Why are we isolated while we survive?

Negative nastiness hardens my heart.
Screaming and panting and tearing apart.
Stuck in this small town, more like a hole.
Questing for wholeness [a possible goal?]

Thursday, July 1, 2010

From the Journal

My life is a listening.
His is a speaking.
My salvation is to hear and respond.
-Thomas Merton
On the ferry from Oban to Mull (June 16th)
Castles, lighthouses, rocks broken down to sand, narrow roads and tipping boats to a soundtrack of voiced accents.  Fog shrouds surround.  This place has weight with its aged mystery.  It could almost be home, be a jet from Anacortes to Shaw with all these grocery bags, but for the castle perched on the hill over there.  But any place [every place] could almost be home.  Even home is only almost there.  When everything is unknown, there are too many sights to be taken in all at once.  Camera shutter going click, clack, snap - capture these moments in your mind as well.

Sometimes I can't be a writer.  Sometimes I can't be anything.  I'm just a little girl, sitting on a street corner, waiting to be called home, offering smiles, weak beyond description.
On the North Shore beach (June 17th)
This place is beauty, whether crowned in sunlight or hidden by layers of fog, listening to the sea crash, coating each page with grains of sand.

The sea, Lord, in greens and blues
Speaks of your power that daily renews.
When I'm empty of self, a void without stance,
Your breath rushes in, with a crash on the sands.
In moments of peace, when the tide book reads full
Give us wisdom to know we won't always be whole.
And when mist rushes in to hide you from view
And we're blind to the gift of your greens and blues,
Help us remember and listen and know
That you do remain, just as tides always flow.

When you're sitting in sand, a stick works just as well as a pen.  Inked words, all of a sudden, feel a little bit useless and a little bit too permanent.  Because you will move us, and we have to be ready to change, shift, listen, and move as the waves and winds push and pull.  We not are not called to a stagnation, to let the flies alight.  Yes, a call to stillness, but stillness that leads to action.

Let me be moved: drag me in the tides of your will.  First one way, then the opposite.  Here I am.

Creator created courage combines with calculated careful caution as a quiet clumsy girl clambers [climbing] 'cross crags and cracks.  Standing, stretched and smiling, sun-kissed skin, a soaking of senses, a satiated soul, saturated in Spirit, simply savoring seconds of centeredness.
Post Dun I (June 18th)
I love this place and exploring and the sunlight on the rocks and the wind blowing so hard you feel as if you're flying while running up the last meters to the summit.  I want to be weathered [marked] by this place.
After the white strand of the monks with Sarah (June 20th)
Stranded monks in white
Rocks spell out
Feet numbed by shallows
Dimly dusking pinking sky
Follow friended footsteps
Learning to love
Another place
As much as
In the common room, after the ceilidh (June 22nd)
The peace here is tangible, the way of life just lovely, the people incredibly beautiful (like Katrina and Beccy, Felicity and Aaron, Matt and Claudia).  I just want to stay here and soak up the essence of this place.  It is healing in nature; a reminder of how we are to live, how we're supposed to treat nature and people.

I feel the essence of this place, in its stillness, in its silence.  It feels ancient and wild and untouched even though so many have trod across its shores throughout the centuries.  In this place, where castles are commonsense, history is everywhere you look.

I will come back here.  It's in my blood.

This place is like therapy, she said.  Out of the city, you're away from the things that distract you.  You're forced to face up to things and actually think about them.  What's important to you is made obvious.  My heart resonates with this.  All of the fluff and unimportance is stripped away and you're left staring at your life straight on.  There's no hiding from your problems.

And that's what I needed.  Me, with my tendency to bury what I'm feeling under layer after layer of silence and organizing and absence, under, 'no really, I'm fine,' under promise and sacrifice, under selfishness and bitterness.

Here is your life: your one, wild, and precious life.  What are you going to do with it?  That's what the island asks.
On the bunk, all packed  (June 25th)
I feel as though I've written nothing, reflected not at all.  But I know I have.  Talking aloud about what has been affirmed in me though, tonight on top of Dun I... I know I've been taught things here.  It's just going to take a moment to take it all in and to reflect.  And by a moment, I mean weeks.  I'm a slow proessor.  But this place has been good to me.

Everything has been so beautiful that I don't want to forget a second.  All of these images swimming in my head - I don't know what to make of them.

He will provde.  With second drafts and streams of prose.  With understanding of person and worth as being.  With peace to sustain and love to share.  Thank you.
I'm not sure what stories to tell.  Does anyone have a prompting?  A question?  A curiousity?