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qui·e·tude [kwahy-i-tood, -tyood] 

noun

the state of being quiet; tranquillity; calmness; stillness; quiet.
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i recently re-discovered a ton of old photos in folders entitled with dates that spanned years. After spending well over an hour going through them, looking at the places i went and the angles i shot, i felt something akin to loss. A sudden realization of creative drought circled around me. Like an opening scene, a dark vignette slowly widened on a deserted landscape. How long have i been sitting here like this?

A little over three weeks ago, i put in my two week notice at a place i’ve worked for the last ten years. A decade may not seem like a long time in the span of an entire life, but it feels like a mini-lifetime was lost there. While they were a good employer for multiple reasons, it was still the absolute wrong place for me to be. It took a while for me to allow myself to not feel guilty for leaving something that, in the worlds eye would appear like a “great opportunity”. Health benefits – check. Vacation time – check. Higher management and a well-cushioned paycheck – check. Starting out in the low ranks, i found myself climbing up an invisible ladder i never wanted to even be on the first rung of. i never dreamed of dressing up every day to sit in a gray box, staring at a computer screen 9+ hours a day. Thank God for some more wintry difficulties to occur to push me out of complacency. Thank God for Spring and rediscovery of all that is brand new, yet strangely familiar being unearthed. 

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ag·ed (jd) adj. 1. Being of advanced age; old. 2. Characteristic of old age. 3. (jd) Having reached the age of: aged three. 4. (jd) Brought to a desired ripeness or maturity: aged cheese. 5. Geology Approaching the base level … Continue reading

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space (speɪs) — n 1. the unlimited three-dimensional expanse in which all material objects are locatedRelated: spatial 2. an interval of distance or time between two points, objects, or events 3. a blank portion or area 4. a. unoccupied area … Continue reading

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path [path, pahth] noun, plural paths [pathz, pahthz, paths, pahths] 1. a way beaten, formed, or trodden by the feet of persons or animals. 2. a narrow walk or way: a path through a garden; a bicycle path. 3. a … Continue reading

2012.10.11

A slight obsession with all that is “wedding” has consumed my brain for the last 5-6 months. Now that that preoccupation has subsided (thank you God) my brain has shifted into the realization of sudden blank spaces and new avenues to traverse yet again. i was a little worried that marriage would consume my everything and now that I’m at the expert level of almost 3 weeks in, I’m happy to report that I still have longing; longing to be schooled, engaged and inspired and not exclusively within the bounds of all there is to learn about marriage. I really wasn’t sure where that longing had gone. I haven’t had a jumping out of my skin desire to read or hear or do something that didn’t relate to marriage in quite a while.

I haven’t been able to get the Relevant podcast to download in a while, so when 08.24.12 :: Bob Goff suddenly made its way to completion in my iTunes Library, I jumped at the chance to hear the familiar voices I’ve listened to for years now. It probably sounds silly, but hearing the Relevant crew’s voices after not hearing them for a bit, felt a little like coming home again. Warm, friendly, slightly ridiculous and strangely comforting banter; they’re a little like my version of a winter’s eve Campbell’s soup commercial. Y’know, the timeless one where the snowman comes in for dinner and after consuming a bowl of soup, promptly melts into a little kid with wet hair, red cheeks and a grin. I’d never heard of Bob Goff and didn’t really care to. I was hopeful for a new-to-me music group to be spotlighted rather than an interview. And then the interview started. I was engaged by even the sound of IT. When i meet/hear someone who has IT, my skeptical nature kicks up dust like Pig-Pen in the Sahara. Can someone really be that full of IT (Joy and Love and interest in everyone and everything that is made of this life,) always? Is it a ploy; some of sort of dare or practice in the art of drama that they’re mastering? I am an awful untrusting skeptic sometimes. I’m not sure what Bob said, maybe it was his admittance to adamantly not liking something that made him sound more real, but my cynicism was doused somewhere along into the interview. What remained was captivating. That night I ordered his book online and contemplated actually calling the number that he mentioned would be listed at the end, just out of sheer fascination. I researched his org. and him, just to see if there could possibly be a bad review to be found – of him, not the book. I’m always leery of the high potential of things that I’m drawn to, ultimately being false. The only thing I found was a girl blogging about how much she didn’t want to like him or his book, but felt her heart softened towards both in the end.

It’s no secret that I’m enamored by communication, drawn to that, which I have little to no grasp of. Bob Goff isn’t the first human being I’ve encountered that has IT. To further define IT: a communication mastered by sincere out of this world love. Any time I see it, hear it, read it, stand close by or have coffee with it, I long for it. IT, to even further define it, is Jesus. That “out of this world love” is the sort that has the authority to change things. It’s that kind of love that 1 John 4:16-19 talks about. With fear being pushed aside, freedom in interaction is a tangible heavy reality; one that firmly plants itself down in front of whoever comes into view and remains present, engaging and inspiringly interested. I want that while still being so unbelievably far from it. How can I believe and trust in Jesus while still being so far from this?

Something happens when you feel ownership. You no longer act like a spectator or consumer, because you’re an owner. Faith is at its best when it’s that way too. It’s best lived when it’s owned.” (FWD xiv Love Does B. Goff)

 Great. OK. What does that mean? 

Belief. Trust. Faith. Ownership. I think I can define them fairly well, but they’re all weighty words to put into actual practice.

A few days ago, Chris and I unintentionally left the back door to our home wide open. We didn’t realize it till later on when we came home around 11pm. The first thing he said to me was, “Uh-oh… are you gonna be able to sleep tonight?” After my expression confirmed “no freaking way”, he proceeded to check the entire house for the something sinister that could have crept in while we were gone. Even though nothing was found and we were both tired enough to fall asleep pretty quick, no more than a couple hours later my over-active, Stephen King filled imagination was wide awake. I laid in bed watching the dark outlines of branches swinging up and down with the wind outside our window, while intently listening for something, anything out of place. As a little kid, I used to fall asleep after reading R.L. Stine’s teen version of Goosebumps, Fear Street. I read every one I could find and still have a collection of them somewhere collecting dust on a shelf in my parents home. I remember seeing Pet Cemetery with a group of girls at a sleepover and trying to read through my first Stephen King novel, because Stine wasn’t scary enough anymore. I used to be enthralled with this stuff. Little by little, catching glimpses of the daily news along with documentaries showcasing the crazy of what’s really out there, infiltrated enough to officially turn me back into a little kid, no longer playing pretend, but really afraid of the dark. Real, wide awake at 2am FEAR.  

This past Sunday, our pastor taught from Mark ch.1. The verses he covered talked about Jesus being more than just an excellent teacher and how with one sentence he made a demon to flee from a man. He talked about another passage in Acts, where a demon is mentioned again (aka an Angel who decided to follow Satan rather than God), except this time, that angel/demon was able to embarrassingly conquer 7 men at once with no problem. In his sermon he talked about the reality of the spiritual world around us, the power of Satan and the greater power and authority of Jesus, to which I wrote this:

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AND he continued on teaching about the power and authority of Jesus – the same Jesus I believe in AKA put my trust in as Savior and Lord, to which I wrote this:

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What does this have to do with Bob Goff? The same power and authority that allows Bob Goff the ability to love people so authentically well, is the same power and authority that should allow me the freedom to not fear. Fear is the sinister scoundrel behind my bad communication, fractured interactions, and sleeplessness at night. The cold air in me storms the warm air notion that this all seems entirely naïve while still being so very true at the same time. The key to this all being Jesus – (v.) BELIEF IN. (v.) TRUST IN. (v.) OWNERSHIP OF FAITH IN, seems very (n.) simple while still being so (v.) unfathomably profound. After having been in churches all my life, throwing around these terms like candy on Halloween night, I can honestly say, I’m in awe and wonder as to how to DO these things. As IT pursues me, I’m gonna start with pursuit.

 

NEED

NEED

:Synonyms

 
1. See lack. 2. Requirement. 3. Need, necessity; imply a want, a lack, or a demand, which must be filled. Need, a word of Old English origin, has connotations that make it strong in emotional appeal: the need to be appreciated. Necessity, a word of Latin origin, is more formal and impersonal or objective; though much stronger than need in expressing urgency or imperative demand, it is less effective in appealing to the emotions: Water is a necessity for living things. 4. Emergency. 5. Neediness, indigence, penury, privation. See poverty. 6. Want, lack.

Antonyms:

7. Wealth.

 

Be it monetary or educational or emotional or physical or spiritual or etcetera, why does NEED feel so hard? To be in true need of something is to admit that we cannot meet a necessity on our own. Maybe that’s just it. We are little fireballs of pride, proposing to be masters of our own weaknesses; even if we don’t know it, we really are. I don’t like to be humbled or put in my place. I don’t like to be wrong or to not have the proverbial ‘keys to success’ (whatever that really means). I want to be knowledgeable and wise and have everything I touch turn to gold while simultaneously not desiring it one bit. I want to have perfect understanding and reek the prowess of life in its entirety, so much so that as I leave a room, a pleasing scent remains.

Well… I am not that human being. No one is, really. Last time I checked, I’m still not Jesus. I have lofty deeply rooted pride, covered in dirt dreams of being godlike. And in the moments where it is painstakingly evident of all the ways I’m lacking, I become acutely aware of NEED. I assess my options. I can busy myself with myself asap, pushing aside any extended hand or just outright refusing to seek out the hands I need. I can create a thorough hot mess of overwhelm, stirring up enough dust to cause short-sightedness for weeks. {OR} I can accept outstretched hands. I can seek out the talents I wished I possessed in another human being. I can lower myself off the “high” pedestal of manmade omniscience to ask for help. 

I lift my eyes up. Where does my HELP come from?

Growing up in the church, the most natural route for me to go here, is to talk about the human beings most essential Helper to alleviate NEED : GOD. Thing is, I personally, more often than not, have no problem getting on my knees before God and asking for help or fulfillment of a need. God is perfect; I am not. It makes sense for the imperfect to seek out the Perfect. The wily Pride can acknowledge the power and might of God, while still remaining intact. It’s much harder for that beast to stand firm while reaching out to another human being.

To be fair, there are times need is misapplied. Sometimes we seek it out in ways it never should be sought out in another human being. Other times, as I’m discovering now, the hardest thing seems to be for the imperfect {me} to admit that NEED to another imperfect human being. Why is that? It seems so silly when I write it and read it back to myself but I feel it still. When I don’t understand something at work and have to ask a coworker a question, I feel it. When I feel burdened by too many tasks for a week and I have to admit to myself and to others that I need help, I feel it. This pinching nagging nerve that is annoyed at acknowledging its own inability to be superhuman, threatens peace. Why? Maybe it’s the within that dark abyss of unknown human behavior that this uncomfortable difficulty lies. The heavenly realm God operates in, when we acknowledge weakness is characterized with love. Tied to earth, mankind’s response to another’s weakness is dependent on the man. And who can know the heart of a man? {only God}

As I get older, I am all the more convinced that this life is not just about one person singular with God. Sorry Thoreau, but there’s nothing enlightened about one person altogether (supposedly) separating themselves from the rest of humanity. I’d be bold enough to state that I’m convinced God purposefully made us relational beings, not just solely in need of God {the ultimate wealth} but intrinsically in need of one another {all of us containers of wealth & need simultaneously} for intentional significant reasons. And so what are they?

Soon To Be

MARRIED 

: in approx. 2 MO.s, I will be. It’s been about 4 MO.s of being engaged. [ps. How on earth do people do this for YEARS? Crazypants’.] Within this relatively small time frame, I’ve been floored by how much I didn’t know (about life, about God, about fiancé, about me, about what marriage is about, about words and communication, etc.). I feel like a little kid learning to walk; taking two steps and falling on the third. I’ve got feet. I’ve got legs. The ability to move is mine but it’s suddenly all brand new. Exciting? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. Good? Yes. Trying to “relearn” things I’ve done on my own for years are all these things plus acutely humbling. I never knew just how much pride & selfishness I have running through my veins. Maybe Chris & I should have started by entering a 3-legged marathon race? 

ONE [and yet not quite there yet] 

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let not man separate.   

MARK 10:7-9

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

EPHESIANS 5:31&32

We say that we’re about 1.25 currently, which is just an awkward existence. Is this why the third step = falling? Being in this holding tank of almost-married has often cultivated a limbo-like-state sort of feeling. There are lots of books and unsolicited opinions as well as those we have solicited about almost-oneness (aka, being engaged). While we both entered into this with certain convictions of what we wouldn’t do, I feel that God has been particularly gracious with steering us through what is go[dly]od versus not, as we have genuinely craved after Him protecting this soon-to-be-wed relationship. Perhaps God knows how we best learn; with healthy parameters and a heart sincere of the pursuit, He allows us to discover Him in that way. Pursuing and finding God is synonymous with this pursuit in finding our footing leading up to being married (and after as well).

GOD IS IN IT.

Literally. Everywhere. His breath circles round it. His words created it, before we even knew about it, all while we seal it, with “I do.” I’m fumbling fascinated by how connected marriage is to the Creator. It’s more than what I thought it was. And I recognize how I’m partially realizing this, while still only standing on the verge. Even while contemplating this as a soon-to-be, I’m seeing a different picture of God; one that is getting clearer defined every moment, of how He loves me/us and how incapable I/we am/are of loving Him or any other the same. It has left me feeling so very frustrated with my self. Being this close to a man whom I love, mirrors all that is not lovely about me back to me, all while he loves me still. This could be a wrecking ball if I didn’t know the love of God. I feel so undeserving and thankful while still, shockingly enough, being incredibly stubborn and having prideful moments of expectation that pop up out of the blue (pretty much every day).

There’s been a tendency in this pursuit, when something goes wrong or feels amiss, for me to introspectively wonder/ask God, “okay, what’s off here? what are you trying to steer me/us away from, that we’re currently heading towards? hurry up and show me/us so I/we can fix this!” OR the more terrifying one “is this person ‘right’ for me?” (ps that second question, more often than not, is such a huge fallacy.) I look for physical evidence, clearly unsatisfied by the ambiguous idea that sometimes we’re very much human, incapable of tripping over our own selves and each other (repeatedly).

Even though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that God wouldn’t cause turmoil in a relationship as a direct result of a particular sin, I think my biggest realization lately is, that “for better, for worse”(even in the pursuit of it) means that, as much as we long for a Disney-“happily ever after” there’s likely an inevitable Grimm-“for worse” at some point to happen within our earthbound relationship together. As much I’d like to search under rocks for clues to one physical thing to uproot, the answer that I’ve found recently is I’m not God. Shocking, right? My fiancé, as wonderful as he is, is not God. I am incapable of loving him the way God loves him and he is incapable of loving me the way God loves me. As defeating as that may sound, nothing puts GRACE back into play in a relationship than that.  And nothing refines and heals like grace and a perspective that points us back to God as master over all – including US.

To say the least, God is pretty cool in how He connects us to each other and then back to Him.

Every broken branch and loosened leaf
That we’ve grown to ignore,
Is now a part of something greater than before.
Every nest that rests upon our limbs,
Seeking shelter from the storms,
Is a purpose worth being broken for.

Chances are we are the same;
Against the odds, against the grain
We lean, like gardens toward light.
We reach with all of our might
For such a noble aim as love

 Sleeping At Last