Monday, November 29, 2010

Wave goodbye, November

Things I've learned today, this week, this quarter:
  • First impressions mean little to nothing.
  • Prayer is terrifying.
  • My hands will always be cold.
  • Friendship takes time (and time is spelled s-a-c-r-i-f-i-c-e).
  • Surprises aren't all bad.
  • It's very easy to exist without caffeine.
  • Google is the most helpful.
  • Music.  Yes.
  • Optimism feeds contentment.
  • Fifty thousand isn't that many.
  • Anyone can be a morning person with enough sleep.
  • I love Harry Potter more than most things.
  • Being patient sucks.
  • Throwing Bible verses at problems is never a solution.
  • I'm never by myself.
  • Adding a little bit of cinnamon to hot chocolate makes it the best thing ever.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is not a real poem

Empty apartment.  No school for three days because of snow.  No school for four more days because of Thanksgiving.  Good music.  Make haikus.  Build poem.

It grew increasingly harder to rhyme as the tiles dwindled.  Enjoy.

Science promises a logical tangle
Following no whispers for light;
He, feeling wicked (desperate), opens
Fire for the radical right.
My alternate dilemma honestly clear,
They embraced happy fortune fast;
God, who glorious, shot down
Peace in the ugly ass.
I ran behind the dripping
Slimy tiger heart; also lots
Consume your point, baby girl,
Blocks sweet travel home (so not).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A bit more

Sometimes I steal things directly from my life without citing.  Is that plagiarism?
Later, when Mark was at the library and Piper was practicing in the apartment (with no irate Garrett this time), I was eating some toast. I stood in the doorway of the kitchen, leaning against the frame, watching Piper’s hands move over the strings, moving his bow faster than seemed possible. When he’d finished one of his pieces, I asked, “Why do you like playing at church?”

“Why not?” he asked back, looking up at me, bowing a few random notes, sounding like the first phrase of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

“Well, I mean, it’s nothing like the pieces you play for orchestra.”

“Oh, I see what you’re saying. Yeah, I mean, worship songs aren’t symphonies; hymns aren’t concertos. But, I don’t know, I think it’s a nice break from all of this crazy hard, crazy amazing music. It’s nice to play just for the sake of playing. It’s nice to play to serve others. And it’s nice to play in order to worship. That’s a new experience that I’ve never had and it’s turning out to be really cool. I like the people I play with and…” He was thinking at this point, stretching his arms out in front of him, holding his violin up propped between his shoulder and his chin. “My entire life seems to be music. And it’s nice to have a part of it that’s not graded.”

“Does your worship team know you’re gay?”

He played a small run. “Uh, yeah. I told them a couple weeks after I started playing with them. But I don’t think it ever really comes as a surprise when I come out to people. I try to just be who I am all the time. I’m not trying to hide from anyone.”

“Has that caused any issues?”

“My being who I am?”

“Your being gay and in a position of leadership in the church?”

“I wouldn’t say I’m in a position of leadership exactly. I’m more on par with the ushers and greeters than the pastors, but no, it’s not caused any issues. Mostly because I don’t try and stir up trouble.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I could be totally wrong here, Matt, but by your questions it sounds as though you want me to tell you about how the entire church body sat down and had a big discussion about homosexuality and the church with me standing in some spotlight, and then at the end of it all, everybody voted and it was decided that I would be allowed to serve on worship staff. Nothing happened like that. There was an announcement one Sunday that they were looking for some more musicians; I went to an informational meeting; I went to an audition; I met with the music pastor, and I was in. There wasn’t some great screening process. There’s been no church split: people have not left because I play on Sundays.”

I felt like he was snubbing me a little bit. “I just thought that maybe,” I said, trying to backpedal but be defensive at the same time (yeah, try and work that one out), “some people on your staff might have an issue with it.”

“With ‘it’? Oh Matt… I don’t go around my church, sticking an interrogation lamp in people’s faces and screaming, ‘I’m gay! Do you think homosexuality is a sin?!’ I don’t want to cause dissention.”

“But how can you-”

“Matt, stop. Think about this. What is it you’re searching for? What answers do you want? You’ve got these huge questions that a lot of Christians have very concrete and stubborn answers to. This is what they believe and they’re not straying from it, thank you very much. But you can’t just go around asking people questions, waiting to see if they’re on your team or not. Is that really what’s most important to you? Is it more important for you to be right or for you to be loving? Think on that.” He nodded emphatically, and started playing again.

Well, of course it’s more important to be loving, Kevin. I know the right answer to that question, at least. But isn’t it ok to want to be right also?

I need you. I don’t know how to love people who want to change me, who will tell me that I’m wrong and that ‘don’t worry, Jesus can help you.’ I don’t want help. I don’t need help. I just need you to love me the way I am. Stop trying to fix me. I’m not broken.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


And when you've nothing left to give, give a little more.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

For you:

I want someone to hug you so hard you can’t breathe.

I want someone to be there all those days when you’re feeling just the slightest bit lonely, and melancholy taps you on the shoulder, someone who’ll send a few words that suddenly affirm your worth and remind you that you are amazing.

I want someone to understand you.

I want someone to remind you that it’s ok to be messy and not everything has an answer, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

I want someone to hold your hand while you fall asleep.

I want someone to laugh at all of your jokes and to be able to give you space.

I want someone to tell you you’re beautiful every day.

I want someone to remind you to slow down and to see people and clouds and smiles instead of just politics.

I want someone to scratch your back.

I want someone to play with your hair when you’re feeling stressed, to make you tea when you’re feeling sick, to make you laugh when you’re feeling gloomy, and to make you think when you’re feeling bored.

I want someone to wake you up from a nap with a kiss on the cheek.

I want someone that makes you feel that it’s ok to be you.

Because it’s ok to be you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What does spring feel like again?

I'm struggling to write spring for the boys as it rapidly turns wintry here.  I mean, I wore gloves today.  It's cold.

There are two things that make me absurdly happy about this passage.  See if you can guess what they are.
I glanced around the room, not wanting to meet Piper’s concern-filled eyes. An old man was sitting in an easy chair beside the window, wearing a hat. He looked like he had several lucky grandchildren who got told exciting stories and pushed high on the rope swing in the front yard. He was reading a newspaper, half his face obscured by a front page bearing “Girl Eats Apple in Apple Store.” It must have been a slow news day. I was making up a life for this man (his name is Arnold and his wife is named Esther and they have a cat and a piano) when Piper touched my hand.

I almost jumped out of my skin. I have a problem: I don’t like being touched. Admitting it is the first step. I just wasn’t expecting that and it freaked me out a little bit. Piper recoiled at once when I reacted like a spooked horse. His eyes were big. He didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t his fault; I wouldn’t have known what to do with me either. I’m all over the map lately. I’m an absolute nightmare to be around. See what you’ve done to me, you bastard?

“Matt, I-” He paused to swallow. “How are you dealing with all of this?”

“Can we go? Can we just go, please?” My voice was really quiet. Kevin, you know that when you’re in a small space (a restaurant, the school lounge, what have you) and someone beside you is having a juicy conversation, and the harder you try not to listen the more you hear. I didn’t want to be that person, the ‘yes, finally something interesting to eavesdrop on’ for these caffeinated and recycling obsessed people. I needed out of there, and I needed it right then.

“Yeah, yeah, let’s go.” He bussed our mugs as I booked it for the door, needing to taste that cold mist and not be surrounded on every side by… ah, that’s better. Piper joined me on the grey sidewalk, saying, “C’mon,” nodding his head to the side. I followed him down a block, across a street, and then there was this stretch of water in front of us. That was unexpected.

“I’m sorry, I just…”

“Baby, there’s no need to apologize,” Piper instantly reassured me. “I essentially dragged you from the apartment merely an hour ago. Restlessness seems to be our theme. I completely understand.”


“Jesus, this last month has been shit for you, huh?”

“To put it lightly.”

“So, how are you dealing with all this stuff?”

“I ran away to come live with my brother.”


“Pipe, I can’t talk about this anymore or I will run and jump in that kind of dirty looking canal and never come back. And then you’ll have to deal with a very angry roommate. Tell me something happy.”

“Sometimes I pretend that your brother is Ron Weasley.”

I let this sink in for a few seconds before dissolving into a small fit of smiling. “Would that make you Harry Potter?”

“No. Girl please, that kid is obnoxious. I’m just Ron’s hot roommate. But I think it would be cool to live with him, so… yeah. Don’t tell him.”

“You’re ridiculous.”

“You said you wanted something happy, and what’s happier than a British ginger?”

“Not much,” I conceded.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I really love these people

Dear Snoozy,

Happy Monday!  I dare you to love it.

This weekend, this weekend... I was telling Allyson last night, I cannot get over the goodness of God.  How am I so blessed to be surrounded by these beautiful souls every day of my life?  Old friends, new friends, in the middle type friends: I don't have the words.  I won't ever have the words.  I'm so sorry that I can't tell you how much I love you, how much you really mean.  Know that you're the world to me.

Dr. Spina said this last Wednesday: "Is it more important to be right or to be loving?"  I've been sitting with this for days as God continually says, "Hey Anna," and nudges me.  Through reading an article about Mars Hill for nonfiction, through Richard mentioning Fred Phelps in his sermon, through talks with Holly, through the pastor panel.

My mind aches sometimes from the sheer weight of all I am learning.  It's funny how everything fits together.

I miss this: sitting on a couch, surrounded by seven people, listening to about four conversations all happening at the same time.

Maybe I'll never be able to set wisdom down in words that just make people sit back and sigh and say, "I have always thought this.  Thank you for the solidarity."  There is something so beautiful about the union that brings: in the midst of all our differences, we still have the same fears, the same hopes, the same longings, the same needs.  The difference is important; not to be dismissed for the sake of the whole.

I can't... I just have too many thoughts on not enough sleep.

But I really love you: you need to know that.


This is my favorite sentence from today: There’s a certain stinging betrayal in those words, as though there’s this little part of me still clinging so desperately to the possibility that maybe all of this was just some horrible nightmare, that the last month hasn’t happened, that the last seven months haven’t happened, that I’ve just been sleeping and will wake up at any moment to climb out of bed, don that uniform for the first time in three months, and go to the first day of school and nothing will have changed and we’ll all still be in third grade with Tucker in tears.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A small taste

Hi dear,

Today is a beautiful day.  Here's why:  I woke up five minutes before my alarm.  I continued to doze for the next hour.  My roommate tried to bring me tea in bed (because she wanted to surprise me with the best present ever*).  I went to the bakery, where Holly, Paul, Liza, Valerie, Laura, Em and her mom all got to be together at one time or another.  I wrote.  I bonded with George.  I went to Crawford.  I made banana bread.  It's pouring down rain, but our apartment is cozy and it's a Saturday afternoon.  I love this day.  I am so grateful.

I was telling Jill the other day how I am in wonder by all the goodness in my life.  There's no drama or discomfort.  I don't have anything to complain about: that is beautiful.  And a little scary.  Who knows what's around the next corner?

But for right now... I say thank you.

And now, just a peak:
I made a move to get a paper towel, but he thrust his body in front of me, barring the way. “Why so quiet, Matt?” He reached forward and tugged lightly on one of my curls. I swallowed hard, forcing down the bile that was rising in my throat. “Nothing to say?”

“I have to go to class,” I said, trying to push past him, my hands silently dripping onto the floor, onto our shoes.

“We’ve five minutes yet.” His eyes were all over my face. “You just want to corrupt him, don’t you? Drag him down with you to have some beautiful company in your slow descent. You’d love that. To take this shining light and bend him for your sick, perverted tastes.”

“Get out of my way.”

“You can’t, you know. Know why?”

I breathed deeply, nausea turning my stomach.

“Because you’ll never be right. And there will always be people who will hate you just for being who you are. Always.”

He gave my shoulder a little pat and turned his back on me. I watched his retreating form, terror gripping the edges of my being. When I wasn’t in class, you came looking, finding me curled in a ball in the corner of that bathroom, shuttering like a leaf desperately clinging to its branch in the midst of a gale. Thank you for holding me then. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you why you needed to until now.

All this to say: Piper and I, we have some serious solidarity. Hatred is discouragingly powerful. And the only way to kill it is with love. You taught me that. But even loving people doesn’t guarantee that they’ll stop hating you, they’ll stop marginalizing you, they’ll stop trying to fix you. Life taught me that. I might not believe in your God, sweetheart, but I believe in your love.

I suddenly ache for not being in the same town as you anymore. I really miss you, if these words have not construed that enough yet.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


coasting on exhaustion
paper chains count down the days 'til Christmas
watching for snow
surprised by sun
yes, tired.
wondering how new routines, still not cemented, are soon over
coffee lines grow
word counts
time management (?)
procrastinatory (that's not a word)
wow, can we please slow down?


"I've discovered that SPU students smoke a lot more weed than I thought."  Thanks for that little gem in the middle of class, Tom.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good

There's a blister on my thumb, from where I burned it on a cookie sheet yesterday before church.  I fed some of those cookies to Nate later that evening when he came over for tea.  We talked about (everything, but at some point) church and how the two of us and Richard prayed over a woman having a seizure, and the awesome power of God.  Which we also talked about at Wendy's with Nate's friends, who I want to make my friends.

I wasted a lot of time last night, after the cookies and tea and talking, getting way too excited about Harry Potter.  Story of my life.

Also, I might be writing a novel... shh, don't tell.

My roommate is really awesome.  She's so good at loving me.  And she makes me laugh everyday.  Sometimes to the point that I cry.  And that's my favorite.  You should probably be friends with her.

Bon Iver is good for writing.  So is Franz Ferdinand.  But not together.
I'm gonna write you a letter.
I'm gonna write you a book.
I want to see your reaction.
I want to see how it looks.
I love you!