Friday, December 30, 2011

What Happens Next

As the year comes to a close, radio stations and TV talk shows only have one thing on their minds: reflection, resolutions, and rehashing.  The top 10 songs, the top 3 box office hits, and the best of the political dramas and comedies that seem to be the mainstay of the news nowadays. 

I, however, am tired of reflecting.  Even so, I was browsing back through old blog drafts that never fully came to be.  I came accross one that was titled "Fare Thee Well" and I was very curious as to what my internal musings on goodbyes were considering how many I've made in the last year.  Turns out, the post was blank.  Which is just as well.  Saying goodbye and hello means there are ends and beginnings. 
That wasn't the case for me.  Life was more of an ongoing transition from mountain-biking to nannying to scholarships to summer to college.  Not that these events are of equal significance but just that I can't say goodbye because even if they aren't in the present, my past accounts for a good portion of me. 

The hellos are rather hard to pinpoint as well.  Obviously, I said a lot of them as I started college and got acquainted with the 600 freshmen + upperclassmen.   Yet I can never remember the exact moment when we went from a familiar face to a friendly one to a best friend one.  Some people make me feel like we have been friends forever while others continue to surprise me with hidden pieces of themselves. 

I really don't have much else to say.  If you want to know what my year was like, look back through some old posts.  You might not get the details of what went on, but you'll see the reflection  of them in the ideas, thoughts, and emotions.  Life was beautiful and disastrous.  I had a stereotypically cliche senior year while internally fighting against man-made concepts of success.  Needlesstosay, 2011 was interesting.  Probably the best thing that happened though, is that I realized this year wasn't all that special.  Every year will have its excitements, dissapointments, and lessons learned.  Which is one of the reasons life is worth living.  You just never know what is going to happen next.

And I got my heart
Set on
What happens next
I got my eyes wide
It's not over yet
"This is Home" by Switchfoot

Friday, December 23, 2011

Timelines, learning curves, grace, and Christmas.

After months of trying to squeeze 70 productive minutes out of every hour, it feels very odd to be sitting here, at home, in front of my Christmas tree, with nothing to do.  Of course, I have a list of people to see, books to read, thoughts to think, and things to do.  All those things are on hold until after Christmas though.  Even all my wrapping is done.

So I will now take advantage of this time to reflect on the past semester.  I've been putting that off too, but I need to close the last chapter to start on the next one. 

I really enjoy it when facebook changes things up on people.  As soon as anything changed, my newsfeed becomes littered with angry statuses about hating change and progress.  The funny part, is they are still using Facebook to express their bitter little opinions.  I am personally very fond of the new timeline feature.

This is because I view the present in terms of the future.  I like picturing my life in timeline form and seeing how impactful this semester could be on the rest of my life while keeping it in perspective that it was only an eighth of my college experience and a minuscule fraction of my life as a whole.  If God can teach me so much in just a few months, I can't wait to see what the next semester has in store.

I have learned to depend fully on God this semester.  Correction:  I've learned that I have to depend fully on God if I ever hope to fulfill His plan for me or maintain sanity.  The actual practice of this is less than stellar. 

I've learned to accept being a work in progress and release perfection.  I've learned to let down mental barriers in order to appreciate others more fully.  I've learned the value of alone time for reflection and God but also that introspection can be selfish and I need a whole lot less of it than I once thought. 

I've learned that God is constant and while life is not, I don't have to force it to be.  If I let God be the source of my love, joy, and peace than I can let go of everything else.

Sometimes you read the textbook, pay attention in class, study like crazy, and still fail the test.  That's where I'm at right now (hopefully not in academics) but in life.  I am absorbing so many new experiences and knowledge but I know that I still won't pass the test of putting these things into practice.

Which is why there is grace from God, and a new covenant embodied in Jesus Christ, and this truly is the best thing ever.  It's also why Christmas (even minus the anticipation and coldness and snow) is so special. 

Yours truly,

P.S. I just re-read my Christmas post from last year around this time.  The same tensions exist and probably always will.  Except this year, I'm not at the point of breaking.  Slowly but surely, God is working within me.  Even the littlest bit of progress means there is still hope.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Only Thing Constant in Life is Change

I wandered the slowly-vacated halls for the last hour until I realized it wasn't healthy.  I feel so incredibly conflicted.

I am excited to be going home and seeing family and friends.
I am so sad to not be able to see these dear people here for over a month.

I hate watching people leave.
Yet I want to be one of them.

One benefit of being a hall vagabond is that you pick up wisdom, along with free clothes and food, as you wander along.  One girl described this feeling as being so scary because not only are you leaving, you aren't sure what you are coming back to.

There will be a new roommate and new classes and a new schedule and new friends.
But I liked the old ones ever so much.

Change excites me, and it terrifies me.

Someone else described my inner turmoil to be a result of post-communal living disorder.  That's a big part of it.  Going from constant communication and interaction to a more minimal level of people is unsettling.

Unsettling.  That's what this is.

Yet there is always that lining in knowing that I have wonderful people to return to.  It wouldn't hurt this much to say goodbye if I didn't come to know and love these people so deeply.
It's worth it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Legos Life Lesson

I loved playing with legos as a small child.  Yet considering that I usually started my construction projects in the middle of the highest traffic area in my house, they inevitably got broken.  Have you ever stepped on a Lego?  Now you can understand my parents' pain.  This also might explain why I went to kindergarten so early. 

Anyways, the thing with broken legos is that once I came back to see my little house lying in little pieces and bricks, I didn't just pack them back in the box and move on to a new activity.  This was a chance at something new, something bigger, something better.  Soon, my dinky 10 by 15 Lego brick house became a towering hotel.  with attached parking garage.  and pet salon. and grocery store. 

Brokenness feels like, well, it feels like your soul has just been smashed to smithereens.  Everything constant about yourself that used to give you peace and security is laying in little pieces on the ground and everyone around you is complaining that they hurt their poor little feet while stepping on the sharp shards of soul that used to be you.  Brokenness might feel like the end of the world.

It might just be the beginning of an even better world.  Everyone thinks their little Lego house is pretty sweet until they see the 5 star Hilton made of primary colors in brick form.  Perspective is everything.

Personally, I believe that you cannot have deep joy until you've experienced deep sorrow.   You can be ecstatic, excited, happy, but without having known what it is like to be apathetic, discouraged, and dismal you don't know how beautiful joy truly is.  Joy must be appreciated in order for it to reach it's full potential.

Maybe you are the towering hotel right now.  Just don't forget that its the lows that got you this high.  If you are in shatters on the ground, feeling trampled and bruised, don't go running back to your box to hide.  Let your brokenness build you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


What happens to all of our unspoken thoughts?  Whenever I'm in group conversations I watch people's faces.  Sometimes I see their eyes light up, their lips part involuntarily, an idea about to release......but the moment passes and the conversation dominator rushes along to their next story and there is one more thought never to be heard.  Do all these unheard wishes and opinions simply die?  Or do they stay inside us, begging to be released but never given the oppurutunity?

Personally, I write them down and feel like I'm being heard, that I am understood.  Yet I begin to doubt.  I feel like I am sending imaginary letters to people through the thoughts in my head but I rarely actually say the things I would like to.  Maybe I never told that friend how much I appreciated them.  I never shared that once, their words saved me.  What would my life look like if I didn't avoid confrontation or awkward situations? What friendships would have been deepened and which would have disappeared?

Sometimes we don't have the address to mail these thoughts to.  How can I thank the stranger whose smile and random compliment made my day?  How can I tell a friend that I'm glad they were in my life when we haven't talked in years? 

I can't ever make up for all the words I've left unspoken.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Things I Believe

Usually, I would write a wordy rambling on each one of these.  My new goal for writing: be concise.  Here's one of my first attempts to consolidate my thoughts.

Things I Believe
I am who I am, no matter who I'm with or where I am.

My peace is not grounded in knowing everything will work out in the end, but knowing that even if it doesn't, God is still perfect in love and faithful to the end.

I am shaped by my past but not defined by it.

Compared to eternity, this life is very insignificant.

This life is insignificant when it comes to the things that don't affect eternity.  Sharing God's love and salvation and living out His will affect eternity and more than deserve my attention and effort.

I will often be wrong. It's better to admit when you are wrong than try to defend a lost cause.

I am responsible to the people in my life, but not for them.

To live in blissful denial: don't count the hours of sleep you get, cups of coffee you drink, or amount of time spent studying.

Being quiet and listening is as satisfying as getting to express yourself.

Thinking can both save and destroy you: use your thoughts wisely.

Being busy isn't a sign of productivity, achievement, or success. Nor does God use it to determine our worth.

Balance is beautiful.

People are worth it, every time.  Love is always worth the pain of caring.

If I won't give up on the people in my life, I won't give up on myself either.

Basing your self-perception off of how you interact with others is only half of who you are, a little introspection goes a long way.