Sunday, August 31, 2014
I was planning on writing today about how this is the last night. It's the last night in this house, in this bed, with these people. At least for a little while. And in a way that seems sad.
I remember when we would always move houses when I was growing up, and during one move about three houses ago I sat in my room and wrote about how the walls were becoming too small for me. They had already held my secrets, my tears, my joy. I had already existed so fully in this space. And now I had to move. I had to move forward because somewhere out there was a new space big enough to hold the person I was now, and because someone else somewhere needed to be in this space to further their evolution.
A few months ago, I was watching an interview with some teacher who said that the more resistance we encounter, the more important the event is for our soul's journey. And at the time, I thought it was fitting as on this journey, the one in which I transition from high school to college, from being a kid to being an adult, I've encountered a lot of resistance.
It often feels like running into a brick wall, and I wonder if there isn't a reason why I should turn back. I think that's the way it is, though. Staying always feels safer than going.
But I think moving needs to happen. It needs to happen to keep things from sticking and settling and to keep things shaken up and so you keep growing and evolving and changing and learning.
Just as much as I needed to take those first steps into first grade, I need to take these first steps.
And yeah, it's going to be scary. Those trembling first steps of something new demand that the person taking them be a little scared.
Just like dorm rooms demand to be lived in and some relationships demand an expiry date and the Universe demands to be noticed.
And I think everyone is scared to some degree because creating your own life is scary and moving into new spaces is scary and being someone who actually matters and does things in the world is scary.
Being a person is scary. Which lends itself to the idea that everyone is scared.
Everyone is terrified of something. Life has a crazy way of shaking things up and demanding to be noticed and acknowledged and experienced and felt.
And if everyone is terrified of something, it means that not one person is alone.
I am not the only one standing on this platform between what was and what is, holding up this beautiful thing I created which is my life and myself and letting the world make of it what it will. I am not the first, nor will I be the last.
And if life demands to be noticed and experienced and new spaces demand to be moved into, then it means that every ending is also a new beginning.
Or maybe there isn't a distinct line between endings and beginnings, just a bunch of lines blurring together until they make a life. Where one thing ends another seamlessly picks up its place, even if that thing is not totally recognizable to the human eye.
Maybe there is no answer on how to do this. You do it as loudly or quietly or spiritually or mentally or fast as you can but in the end you do it the best way you know how and I think we as people need to learn to look at the other people around us and see that they are doing the best they can too.
And nobody has any of the answers. And everyone is terrified.
But the fear doesn't mean we should stop experiencing life or love or moving into new spaces. Fear and resistance just means this is a big deal and its important and it matters so pay attention.
Fear and pain demand to be noticed in the same way that life demands to be experienced and great love demands to be a little crazy and great happiness demands great risk.
If every ending demands a new beginning, however soft and small, then this will be the beginning of something wonderful.
And despite all the reasons to turn back there are more reasons to keep going. Because everyone is scared and maybe this part demands a little bit of fear and the fear demands to be felt.
And it is only by feeling this that I will continue to grow, and evolve and create and live.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
I’ve always had issues with the church, some of which I’ve discussed publically before. There are crazy statistics about the number of youth that leave the church, and to be honest I always thought I would be one of them. It’s not that I don’t love Jesus, but the idea of organized church services never seemed to fit me. I didn’t understand in a real way what the church was supposed to look like, and despite growing up in it I had all these misconceived notions about what the church was.
I was terrified about being judged for my mistakes by the Christians who sat in church every Sunday. I grew up with this image in my head of having to get ready for church. You got dressed up, put on your I’m a Christian and I’ve got it all together face and you went to church.
My view of church has changed in the past year or so, thanks to some wonderful people who pushed me to be real. But I still tend to see the flaws in the church. I see that we’re a body of people gathering together trying to follow God but I also see so clearly the fact that we are a bunch of broken people.
I think the church would be so much better if people lived this way. If, on Sunday morning or whenever, people got together and said, “You know, this week I’m really struggling with this…” or “This is one of the worst things I ever did and God is still working through me on this.”
I know I’m not totally innocent. I am still a part of the problem. While there are many issues I’ve been open on with my close group of friends or those I’m involved with in different areas inside the church, its so much easier to put on that paper doll face and pretend everything’s fine. It saves me from being confronted with things I don’t want to face, or bringing up things that would be painful for me to deal with.
I rarely write on my blog about my faith directly, not because it’s not important but because it exists separately from my art. Often what I believe influences what I write about, but what I write about is not limited to my faith and what I believe. I also find it hard to try and capture the essence of what I believe or face big issues in my writing without taking away from the issue and the importance of it, so I often tend to stay away from writing about the topic directly all together. It’s one of the big problems I have in Christian music, or any form of art. The idea of God and his grace and love and power is so big and mighty that when it’s confined to a catchy pop song and made to be entertaining, I often find it’s taking away from the bigger picture.
This morning in church one of the things that was brought to my attention was the idea of being real. Yes, it’s one of my big issues within the church, but aren’t I part of the problem? I do try to be real and talk about my struggles within the areas of the church I am involved in, but I need to have that constant desire to stay real, and not retreat into myself when life gets hard.
Lately I’ve been struggling with the idea of not being enough. I often feel like I’ve exhausted grace. I am so aware of my faults and shortcomings. Things I’ve dealt with in the past keep coming up, and while it’s been amazing dealing with all of this and experiencing radical grace, it often leaves me feeling undeserving. I’ve been struggling in different areas of my life, and while I’m trying to get better it feels like I keep falling on my face. There are often times I doubt what I’m doing, or the strength of my faith. And while I want to not struggle and not doubt and be confident all the time, I know I probably will never be that person. I will always be the person who is wrestling with my faith and what I believe and the big issues. Odds are I will walk away, and come back, more times than I can count.
I’m scared about the future, and the big steps that are going to be happening over the next few weeks. And while I know it’s what I’m being called to do, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it will be hard work. It’s not something I’m excited to do. It’s not exciting to shown truth and faults, but the amazing grace that I know is coming, and the grace I have already experienced in such a huge way has been amazing, and exciting.
There is a lot I don’t understand. I am an absolute mess, and if anyone is the least deserving of God’s grace I’m probably at the top of the list. Today it was mentioned in church that if you’re looking for the worst sinner, I’m it. We’re all it. And I definitely feel that. I feel so flawed, and so imperfect and undeserving. I feel like I can never get it right and that the weight of the mistakes I’ve made sit on my shoulders ready to crush me.
I feel weak, and small. I feel like nothing compared to the giant that is my past and my mistakes that is staring me down. And I struggle with accepting grace.
I’ve always tried not to be that cliché Christian who finishes a long rant with “But by the grace of God…” but I don’t think there’s any other way. Because I am an absolute mess. I am a dirty, broken sinner who has made so many mistakes and bad choices. I am the worst of the worst. I am weak and small and nothing, and I absolutely feel it. I’m a bad Christian, if there is ever such a thing.
The only thing that I have going for me is that I have a great Savior. I won’t even try to fully understand it, because I know I will never understand how someone could look at me and everything I’ve done and still call it worth loving. Some days I can’t even accept this because I feel so shameful and guilty. But I have encountered grace in a real way, and while I doubt it at times I know I can never escape this radical grace that has been offered to me. I don’t deserve it, I wish I didn’t need it, but I do.
I’m just one person, but frankly I think the church and Christianity would be a lot better off if more people were more real. Maybe they are and I just haven’t met them. To all the people who have modeled this in my life, I thank you.
There is a lot I don’t understand about Christianity and God, and a lot I have to and am currently wrestling through. But none of it matters. What matters is this: I am an undeserving, broken, sinful, awful person who has been saved by grace. For some reasons which I won’t pretend to understand, I am loved by a great Savior.
And despite the feelings of inadequacy and failure, in this moment all I can be is grateful.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.
This season is the beginning of a lot of things in my life. It’s the ending of a lot of things too, but someone I love always taught me that the ending of something is always just a new beginning.
And I’ve never been good at beginnings. Whenever I open a new journal, I always stare at the first page for a long time and wonder where all these pages will take me. What will happen mid-way through? What will have changed by the time I reach the end? I’m always so afraid to begin writing, to leave my mark on this previously untouched page.
Beginnings sometimes come softly, creeping up on you and before you know it it’s there and it’s begun and the hard part – the part where you actually begin – is over. And other times beginnings come loudly, with gongs and symbols. And the idea of beginning is scarier then the actual beginning itself.
I’m there right now, where the idea of the beginning is much scarier then I know the actual beginning will be. Because it’s new and it’s untouched and it’s all just waiting there for me to put my mark on it. To grow here and touch here and love here, yes, but also to mess up here and make mistakes and fall flat on my face again, and again.
I think beginnings are always necessary. They bring promise, and hope. Even if you mess up in this one, there’s always a new beginning. There’s always a new day, a new hour, a new week, a new month, a new year. People tend to be really romantic about new beginnings, but I guess I tend to see them for what they really are.
We carry our old selves into new beginnings. We just add new layers, change and shape what already exists. The change that comes, that’s the hard part. Beginnings leave so much room for error, but so much room for the sweet things too. And I think I need to remember that.
I need to remember that it’s time to begin, and that they aren’t nearly as scary as I make them out to be.
It’s time to begin reaching out and reaching in and making decisions.
It’s time to begin being honest because it’s in this honesty where the healing can begin.
It’s time to begin making room in my heart for the new things, and letting the old things be changed without fearing what’s coming next.
It’s time to let go and watch my life begin again, and wait for hope to rise up. Because it will. It always does.Beginnings make room for all this hope to rise. And let me tell you, that’s the best part.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
This afternoon I had an appointment with my massage therapist. And as I was lying there she began telling me her life story. Maybe she was telling me because she needed someone to listen and I was there. I don't know what made her trust me with her story, but in her telling of it I knew it was something precious. I wanted to leap up off the table and give her a hug. I wanted to go sit by a river with her early self and listen to her and toss rocks into the water.
Later my mom and I went for supper. We got on the topic of friendship, and I realized just how distant things have become. Summer changes people, and I know this. Graduating high school and moving on to college and working and planning for a future changes people. I know it's changed me.
But I was thinking the other night how sad it is that in this season of life I'm feeling very untethered.
I know it's partly my fault. I get into these seasons where I am writing and thinking and processing and go very inward and I forget that I still need people.
I become very self reliant. I get so busy in the process of becoming that I forget. I forget that I need people, that I am not an island.
I think at times it gets lonely being by myself. For a while it's satisfying, and I'm creating and discovering and it's exciting and I love it. I love this time to dive deeper into myself and make art and make messes and make changes and discoveries. And then I seem to hit a wall. And it's not that I'm no longer enjoying the solitary process of creating and self discovery, but it's that when the creating process stops, or when I have this big discovery that I just have to share, or when something unplanned happens, life has already gone on without me.
And I know it's not true, and that the people I love are still out there waiting for me to catch up, but it feels like since they are not exactly where I left them when I wandered off into myself that it's harder to find them.
It's hard for me to look at myself in the mirror and admit that I need people. Maybe it's a pride thing. Maybe it's because despite everything I still like to think I'm invincible and don't need anyone or anything.
I feel like maybe I missed that day in school where they taught you how to be a good friend. I'm fiercely loyal to the people that I love. But I go into these places where I forget I need people. And I go into these places where all I need is people and I feel like I exhaust those I love. It seems like there's never this state of evenness, this state of the right amount of give and take.
I think everybody just wants somebody to listen. Everybody wants somebody to step in and let them know that they're not alone. If I'm being totally honest I wish that friendship was easy and I never had to work at being a good friend and that I naturally loved being around people all the time.
But I don't.
I don't because I go into these periods of time when I'm a solitary creature and I'm very self reliant and I forget that sometimes I need people to take care of me. And then I'm too proud to admit that I need people so instead I stubbornly hold myself away and wish for someone to break through the wall they probably didn't even know I had.
I forget that I need people. But I think everyone does. I think everyone who has ever existed and will ever exist needs somebody, even if they say they don't.
I think we need people in our lives to talk to and listen to and keep us accountable and teach us about life. We need people so we can feel connected, and be reminded that no one is an island unto himself. Everyone is a part of something so much bigger than themselves. And maybe I forget this.
I forget that I need my people, to stand with me in the good, the bad and the ugly, and to love and to grow with.