Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What you already know

In retrospect of recent findings, or at least the finding of those around me, there's something I've been wanting to say for a good three weeks now.

People are disappointing.

People change. You think you know someone inside and out and then one day... they become something unexpected. The person you knew, doesn't actually exist. The person you depended on for a laugh or some wisdom or love is no longer a person. They let you down.

Now I'm not saying this because something terrible has happened to me or because I'm feeling bitter or because I no longer believe that there is good in everyone. Rather, I'm trying to get at something much bigger than just people vs. other people. Something much greater than all our problems.

See, you can't live without people. If you really wanted to you could go live in the mountains and eat berries and tree bark for the rest of your lonely days--but that might be a little extreme. Most people prefer to be with other people. You can't live without them. The heart of a man (or woman, just to be fair) craves to connect with the hearts of other men. (or women.) We are created a social beings, made to talk and touch and fellowship with others.

However, that doesn't mean people are everything. This is the part where I want to get personal. I want to tell you stories--stories that aren't even mine--explaining why people can't be everything. But I won't, because here's the thing: you already know.

You are already aware that people will let you down. You have been disappointed, your expectations haven't been met, you've been hurt and slapped and ignored. You don't need me to explain that people are imperfect. People are necessary, we love them and we can forgive them when they screw us over, but that doesn't mean we have to continue letting them hurt us.

There's only person you really need, one person who won't let you down. And that's the Creator of the universe. He might not seem like the nicest guy because he allows some painful things to happen to us, but he doesn't leave us when we're hurting. God doesn't ignore us--even though he has every right to because we're really annoying. God doesn't get bored with us or tired of us when we're whiny. God moves through pain with us, walks with us on the roughest paths, and will be on the other side of the storm when we coming running out of it.

So to my friends who are waiting for some person to meet all your needs... give up. There is no one. There is no human who will fulfill all your desires or grant you wishes or make everything perfect. They will let you down.

I'm not saying that you should ignore all people for the rest of you life and never depend on anyone. There are people in your life who will try their darnedest to be good to you. Be loved. Love others. It's important.

But you already knew that.

Friday, September 10, 2010


In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. It was beautiful. There were no wars or fights, no cell phones, no panic attacks, no cafeteria food. It was perfect. Then a deceiver entered the scene and ruined everything.

Fast forward to the rest of time. Life is, at least in some aspects, miserable. Sin and pain and brokenness cast shadows and cause destruction at every turn. There is a great separation between humankind and God.

But sometimes, when we least deserve it, when we least expect it, God shows us his presence and allows us to experience Him, to be surrounded by him. This doesn't mean he speaks aloud or shoots bolts of lightning from the sky. It doesn't mean that we are healed of all afflictions or have "all the answers." I'd like to show you what it means for me.

August 21, 2010

~I've been on the road with my parents for two days, with two days left to go. We stop at the Wall Drug Store in South Dakota, a giant tourist trap with lots of junk you can buy for a ridiculous price. We've been walking around for a few minutes, and I'm looking at some insignificant souvenir, when my dad calls me across the hall to show me this:

August 13, 2010

~It's my last night at camp. I have been working 11-12 hour days pretty much all summer. It has been exhausting. My entire being is wrought with TIRED. So we have an impromptu bonfire before curfew. And I sit... and inhale... and exhale... and the fire to my left reassures me that the coming months will be endurable, and that the last three months were worth their trouble.

August 7, 2008

I have no photograph for this moment, but it is the one that started each similar moment after. I would like you to picture a younger me, a me that most of you don't know. In the past month I've been fired, helped my father paint an apartment complex, was convinced by the Holy Spirit to go to college, and currently am at the end of a 2-week mission trip in South Dakota. In the coming weeks I will be packing up my life and flying across almost the entire country to start school in a place I've never been.

It's the end of a long day. We said many painful goodbyes to the kids in Wakpala and drove most of the day to find a camp ground. It has grass. And plants. And I am lying underneath the wave-like branches of a willow tree.

The wind is warm and soothing. My aching body is surrounded by the softest grass I've felt in years. Beyond the leaves above me I see blue sky. There are birds singing, crickets chirping, cicadas making their obnoxious noises in the distance. My friends are nearby, talking amongst themselves. My recently-washed hair is all blown to the grass above my head and I can literally feel all the tension leave me, like the dirt beneath me is soaking it up.

I am aware of reality. I am terrified of what's coming, of doing something all on my own. But I trust. I have come SO far and I know now, to trust.

September 11, 2010

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now there are wars. I have panic attacks and arguments and get sick. But I still remind myself of trusting Him, and seek moments so similar to it that I cannot help but look--cannot help but gaze into stained glass windows or feel the heat of a fire, or immerse myself in grass and willow trees and wind. I remind myself of that moment every day. It's what got me here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the jitters

Inside my head there's an ongoing story being told by an older version of myself. This older version is not much older, mind you. She is probably 25 and has done all the things that I aspire to do. She's gotten her degree--complete with a semester of student-teaching overseas. She's married, and is teaching in some meaningful location while living a meaningful life with her husband--who also finished his AA and then got a full-ride scholarship to get his BA.

This woman tells me that it's going to be alright. She tells me that in two years the sun still rises every morning and sets every night. She says that I will never cease to find enlightenment in a cup of coffee and that my love for Joseph will not falter after the wedding, even if his jerk brother says some jerk thing at the reception and a chaotic brawl ensues at the desert bar. And, naturally, she reminds me that teaching is definitely my perfect career choice and my adoration of and obsession with words is a good thing. (really. it is.)

My older self narrates my life with such wisdom that I would never do anything stupid to keep myself from the future that is being dangled in front of me. Right?

Alright, that last part was a let down. I'm not going to reveal some stupid thing I did. I haven't done anything to jeopardize myself or my future. In fact, for the most part, I'm doing pretty good at staying the course and all that jazz.

There's just one problem: I am impatient. In other words, I am restless.

In January when Joey proposed and I gladly said yes, we were both under the impression that we would wait until I graduated to get married, as directed by my father. Well, 8 months have gone by since then and a 2 1/2 year engagement is beginning to feel ludicrous and rather painful.

So there's the impatient part. But everyone is impatient, so why is that a big deal?

That's where the restlessness comes in.

I can't sit STILL.

I went to the financial aid office to see how my tuition costs would change if I got married. (they would be better! haha.) I've been looking into overseas programs with the same mad speed that a rabbit... well, you know rabbits. And at every spare moment Joey and I have been yabbering about ways to convince my parents to let us get married next summer. (so far it isn't working.) I also added another class when I got to school, joined a new church and a new prayer group and started up in Yearbook (finally!) and made new friends and scheduled meal dates with professors and ordered the New York Times and I'm looking for jobs and looking for photo opportunities and went to three thrift stores.

Seriously. I'm usually a pretty chill person. Sit down, read a book, drink some tea. I think having a car at school this year is going to kill me because it just sits in the parking lot, looking cute and forlorn. Side note: it's not even my car. I had to TOTAL my car this summer. I hit no one but myself, too. Extra disappointing.

So if you're wondering why this post is all over the map it's because my head and my heart are also all over the map. Perhaps in posts to come I will elaborate. For now... I remain restless. And in perpetual motion.

Watch out, here I come!