Wednesday, June 24, 2015

sigh

there is nothing quite so
delicious,
so gloriously peaceful,
so sweet to the soul,
as the sound of the wind
sighing through conifer branches,
making them sway gently
to let the sunlight break through
in soft pockets
to a rhythm,
to a symphony of light.
this wind announces its approach
through ripples
on an alpine lake
in conversation with
several unseen song birds
speaking that exactly
which needs to be said
and letting silence
proclaim all the rest.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

timshel

but the hebrew word, the word timshel—‘thou mayest’— that gives a choice. it might be the most important word in the world. that says the way is open. that throws it right back on a man. for if ‘thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘thou mayest not.
-john steinbeck

dear dad, 
 
i mentioned east of eden to you as a common thing - our usual book recommendations where we pass them out casually, where some stick and other do not (but most of mine do for you, don't try to deny it, you know it is true).  i have found myself feeling rather proud that i'd introduced you to, what became, a new favorite of yours. a book you'd read, a re-read, and "re-read" regularly via audiobook too. proud, oh-so-vainly proud (yes, double vanity). 

and we've most frequently spoken of a particular passage in this book, a theme carried throughout the novel : the notion of timshel.  and i just realized, here on father's day, that although i introduced you to the book that this passage is encased in, you had already, long ago and continuously, aquainted me to this most penetrating and powerful notion of "fiction" in the non-fiction of my life and raising.

because you have been there to guide me in choices, but always left them as my own to make.  never making them for me, even when i wished you would, even when my heart silently begged you to do so, because you know the importance of developing the understanding of timshel in the making of my own choices. me deciding. me moving forward in shaky confidence, learning to have my own sea legs in the voyage of my life.

you have been there to exemplify that doing and not doing are both part of this process.  that not doing has a responsibility and weight of its own, that the absence of action has its own set of consequences that one has to consider in the type of wake we choose to leave in this life. and you have helped me learn how to leave a more lovely wake (although the perfection of this is a never-ending learning process of course), one that will glorify our Heavenly Father.

you have shown me the freedom of this timshel as this open way, that we are not bound to any one path, that no choice is so heavy and final that we can not change our path, but that also no path is wrong to take, if God walks with us on it, and God always does. and you have walked me on my path, and down what ever fork i choose to go, and even when i've turned around and back-tracked, or stood still, indecisive and fearful of having to find my bearing.

you have talked with me over the beautiful contradiction of having free will but also having a plan God calls us to, one that we may or may not choose to follow, but regardless one that ends up being something God works in and through us on.  at times you have been a shoulder for me to lean on when i've been to weary to stand alone, when my endurance ran thin as i waited for fog to clear so i could feel more self-assured in seeing clarity in this sensible contradiction we were created to live in.

so today, i thank God that i have such a father to discuss and live out this timshel with.  and i choose today to say that the fact that i may have such a friend and role model to discuss all my "mayests" and "mayest nots" with is a gift i can never praise fully.

happy father's day

Sunday, June 14, 2015

sameness

i will learn to love the skies i'm under
-mumford & sons 

it seems to me, that the vogue mentality of my generation is to crave change.  a thirst for the new and different is the cool thing to have.  the trill of uncertainty.  the high off of the unknown.  maybe that is because most people truly do love and crave change, i can't say...but, all i do know is that i'm not such a person.  i crave sameness.  i like routine and predictability.  call me boring (i call myself such, and i don't mind at all), but that is what i prefer.  it is true that i have the travel bug, and like to go see new things, but then i like to return to the sameness of home, and the home i've had for a long time.  the truth is, i could happily walk the same route, do the same things in the same order every day and be content.  or so i was able to do until God intervened, shook up my world, and called me to a rather regular dose of constant and continuous change for going on 9 months now.

sometimes, when i take a moment to process this new phase, i feel like an alien in my own skin.  and that leads me to wondering if my skin or my innards are the foreigner?  is the person i project the stranger or is what i am clinging to deep in my core, that substance that has always made up my heart and mind, the stranger i need to let go of?  

maybe God calls us to the opposite of our comfort: sameness is comforting to me, so God has called me to change, where your comfort might be change so He calls you to sameness.  either way, i ache for the things i had to leave behind to follow this recent calling to change.  ache in the heart, but it bleeds into an almost physiological ache as well.  and when i say "things" i really mean "people" that i had to leave behind.  i feel like a child who has left all her treasures in a shoebox, buried under her favorite tree.  she gets to visit the tree every so often, and open the box, savoring the time with these treasures in the pleasant shade of the canopy of leaves overhead.  but, eventually, she has to return home, put the treasures back in the box, and bury it once more, put it out of her thoughts.  it is almost a tease to get to open the box at all, only to have to put it all away again. a reopening of a wound, but better than never having the joy of the treasures at all.

the problem is, i have felt so much confirmation from God and even from these people (aka: my treasures) that i've left behind that what i am doing is what God wants me to do.  some secret part of me wished there was less of that, so i could crawl back to the sameness i crave and call that God's will for my life.

if i look back, i am lost 
-george r.r. martin
 
to reconsider whether or not leaving was "right" is not the point.  i know that God will work in and through me wherever i am.  further more, looking back is a dangerous exercise for me, as a person who is clinically indecisive and who will never feel "certain enough" to feel "certain" of any choice.  there were too many open doors for me to deny the leap through them, as much as i secretly wished there had been even a closed window somewhere to keep me in my sameness.

fear not, not every day is this full of these confused thoughts.  i (and i'm sure God had a hand in this too) have kept myself busy, busy to distraction, and i think that has helped me not think too much about my treasure box, buried back where i've come from. so, most days i'm not full of this hallow yearning for those which are far from me.  but, some days, i do feel this.  and today was such a day. 

all of this swirled around in my head today while i sat in church, attempting to focus on the sermon (only fractionally successful attempt).  and the verses we studied were about stephen, the first martyr of the Church.  and the pastor ended with this thought: "regardless of what you face in this life, what will your posture be?  will you gaze to heaven like stephen or will you hide (from the discomfort)?"  my desire is to be faithful to what God wants for my life, and i pray that i not hide from whatever that is.  i want my posture to be heavenward, and let my feet follow that path, whether it be towards or away from my treasures. 

i don't know what i'm getting at with all this.  i don't put this out there to get answers or solutions or to elicit pity.  and i am sincerely not intending to be over-dramatic.  i just was so full of emotions that i didn't know how to name, that i had to write, because i am me in this is how i process things.  but i guess it is also to remind myself how blessed i am to have those treasured people i have elsewhere, and to let them know how much i do treasure and poignantly miss them.

i just want what i can't have: to be where i'm going and also be where i've been (with my treasures).

it's got mountains, it's got rivers, it's got sights to give you shivers, but it sure would be prettier with you
- lulu & the lampshades


Thursday, June 4, 2015

blew


You blew away before you had a voice
But maybe you were absorbed instead
Maybe you became a thread
A magnet
A button too

Because your absence
(Perhaps)
Created a deeper presence
A greater awareness
To draw near one another

You gave a lesson on time
And how value is detached from it
How legacy is free from it
Because you left an impression
And your time was a blink

And when I sit and think
Of how all might have been changed
How my life might have been rearranged
If you had rooted down
I am not left with a tear or frown

Because you blew away before you had a voice
But you have given awareness of my daily choice
To be intentional
To speak love and light
And to know you in hindsight

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

familiar

i took a good look at myself today.  not a reflection in a mirror, but a reflection of a different sort. i am not sure if i look familiar or a stranger.  see, lately, everything has been new and changing, it is my new constant. and i haven't had many quiet moments to actually look at myself, to reflect on it all.  i have made myself busy, whether intentionally, subconsciously, or necessarily so, i can't say.  but regardless, i haven't had much time to reflect.  so when i looked at myself today, i was left uncertain if i recognized myself or not.  am i new or the same? is it good or bad that i'm not sure?

it is so hard to see yourself as apart from yourself, so i don't really know.  but, if i have changed, have i changed in that way of peeling layers away to get to the core of who i've always been? or have i left some part or myself behind somewhere and acquired new layers instead?  or (my greatest fear) am i just play-acting at being someone i want to be, but am not?

i really don't think it is the latter (certainly hope not), but the fear is swimming around now in the pensivity pond. see, as a rule, i'm a rather anxious person. i like to plan, i like to know what is coming. i like a plan B, plan C, plan D "just in case" plan A doesn't pan out. i like routine and comfort.  i like things to remain unchanged.  but, looking at my recent track record, my life has had none of those things, anything but.  and, shockingly, i've been for the most part relaxed about that.  so relaxed i almost haven't noticed?  which may sound like nothing to you, but that is so shocking it is almost unsettling to me.

so are those things, the need to plan, the constant state of anxiety, still part of me or are they now gone?  because sometimes i hear words come out of my mouth that suggest i am not anxious about "not knowing" and am excited by all that is "new" and "changed" and i wonder if these are encouragements (albeit lies) i am trying to make myself believe or do i really feel this way now?  i am not sure i know myself rightly if one of the first adjectives to describe myself is not "anxious" or "a planner."

maybe it is a "chicken or the egg" type scenario...in which case, i do not know if i'm in a chicken or egg stage.  am i telling myself i've grown apart from these things and then i do grow apart from them, or have i grown apart from them and have now just articulated the newness to myself?

tomorrow i start a new job.  a kind of job that is so polarly opposite from what i've done before that i feel like i'm jumping in the deep end when i have only just learned to wade up to my knees.  maybe that is the only way i can learn to swim anymore.  maybe being thrown in the pool before i have time to consider the option of floaties or an inter-tube is the only way i can learn something now.

and before you think this whole post is some cheesy reinterpretation of a Mulan song, my primary hope is not to see "who i am inside" but rather "who i am in God's eyes" (after all, that is who i hope "i am inside", or at least am working towards that).  i want to reflect Him in what i do with my life, with how i use my words, which is why i hope i am being true to His calling, and not play-acting at something i just want for myself.  so, my prayer (and i'd appreciate some from anyone who reads this too) is that if He is not in my reflection now, that the next time i look i will see mostly Him and less of me. a purposeful anonymity.