Friday, November 20, 2009

Falling for fiction

I have touched upon this topic previously; however, I believe it needs focused revisiting. As a society, we are hopelessly inundated by a fictional world. I posit that society, specifically the media, are at the greatest fault for this reality, or I suppose I should say non-reality. The majority of what we intake, as a society, is a gross unreality. Movies and television, on the whole, portray nothing but fictional living: fictional families, fictional friendships and fictional romances. I assert that the third is the most abused. Society is so trained by the Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett type love stories as "seen on TV" or as "seen in movies" that subconsciously such fiction has become the standard for our real-life romances. Has it not? Examine yourself. Perhaps I am speaking largely to females at this point, but it's universally applicable, I believe, because such delusions regarding life and romance affect both sexes. Women (and men) are trained, by society, by media, to assume certain things about relationships, and I believe them largely false. However, we believe such delusions, I assert because they are more comforting and desirable than the alternative realities. Am I wrong? Why then do we indulge in romance novels, chick flicks, (for example) as opposed to spending time in reality--because the fiction is more appealing. I also believe that said fictional delusions muddy or confound our perceptions of actual reality and genuine relationships, causing them to become unsatisfying in comparison with our created and indulged fantasies. Confound fiction. And confound media. But, moreover confound altogether our inability to impose discipline upon ourselves and maintain the distinction. Would that all fictional men were more like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and simply say, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!" because that would be so much closer to the truth...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall has arrived...finally.

I think fall has come to Texas, finally. Yesterday was muggy and warm, as is per usual for this time of year in South Texas. I fell asleep last night to the sound of rain pelting against my bedroom window, and awoke to a crisp, cool, fall day. It almost felt like I was cheating as I drove to the store to pick up my daily newspaper, wondering if I was in some state other than Texas. The cold wind caressed the trees, as if to familiarize one with the other, after such a long absence. I experienced similar sensations this weekend as I explored the Texas Hill Country with two dear friends and witnessed colors that I didn't believe existed in the Lone Star state. I am continually being surprised by this place. And it pleases me. It always pleases when something I have placed in a box defies that box, and defies me. So, fall has finally come to Texas, and with it the infinite possibility for my expectations to be exceeded, I look forward.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Alone

Ultimately, we are all infinitely alone. No matter how close another person may get to us--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually--no one other person can ever climb inside us and muddle about in our thoughts and emotions just as we experience them, or take a walk in our shoes, to quote a cliche. In that sense, we cannot ever be fully known by another person. That's an isolating feeling, is it not? To realize that we are all truly alone within ourselves. It's an interesting concept to ponder. This idea of pure isolation. It's almost frightening.

The notion can foster and breed a multiplicity of responses. As already stated, fear is one possible reaction. However, another possible response could be that of the victim. If we cannot ever be fully known, then we must all live and function as horribly mis-understood individuals. This could sadly create a society of purely self-absorbed, egotistical human beings who care about nothing other than wallowing in the reality of "unknowablness," and thus people would cease trying to know anyone or be known themselves. Resultantly, human connections: family, friendships, marriages, etc. would cease to have meaning or value, and society would crumble beneath the weight of the unknowable self.

So, with this knowledge, will we as humanity choose to retreat even further within ourselves, or will we try all the harder to open ourselves up to those around us, in hopes of being known, if not in full, then at least in part...? What's better, to be known a little or to not be known at all? Your choice.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Motives

Why do we do what we do? What motivates us? Do we ever examine this, our motives? Do we ever take the time or energy to delve deep within our hearts, our minds and ask ourselves why we do things? It's an uncomfortable concept. Truly asking ourselves the question, why? However, before we do much else, I think we need to learn to ask this question...

I believe it was Socrates who said, "the unexamined life is not worth living." Let's examine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reflection...

I spent the evening wrapped in reverie and nostalgia. I took a walk down memory lane to quote a tired, but true phrase. I poured over old journals, yearbooks, and notes from high school. It was surreal. To see myself from the lens of, well, myself. It was painful and it was humorous. To replay scenes and memories in my mind. To recall emotions evoked by specific events. To laugh at myself and laugh with myself yet again. To cringe at the elementary thought processes that were characteristic of my high school brain. I am not sure if it's comforting or discouraging to realize that many of my journal entries could have been written yesterday. In that, so many of the same struggles and vices persist. They seem to have clung even tighter with time, like some sort of parasite that grows larger and stronger when it is left alone to grow and fester in your dark and secret insides. However, I was also encouraged to see what things have changed, what vices have not persisted. This is the benefit of reflection: self awareness. Why else do we record our lives in such ways? If not to learn from the past and from our own poor decisions and patterns? I suppose I have some more reflecting to do...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Be careful what you pray for...

Life is riddled with irony. We are all familiar with the saying, "be careful what you wish for?" I know it more intimately as, "be careful what you pray for." I far too often underestimate the power of prayer. I beseech my Father, making petitions and forming requests, yet not fully understanding the potency or possibility in what it is I pray for. And then I am utterly surprised when He answers me, sometimes indignant. It's as if I don't expect it. My response to His responses usually progresses from surprise, to indignant anger, to utter gratitude. Gratitude for his realness. Yet, when we forget our requests for patience, for humility, for brokenness, and the answers arrive, the irony becomes painfully apparent. Maybe it's not irony, and something far more spiritual like grace or faithfulness, but to me, it feels pretty damn close to irony--the irony of getting exactly what you asked for--thank goodness for such painful irony...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Striving...

We all strive, towards some end or other. But, do we really know why we strive? Is it towards some self-created ideal or rather is it some outside force which impels us forward? We strive for self-betterment. We strive for approval. We strive for perfection. We strive endlessly. This constant striving, whether mental or actual becomes utterly exhausting, and truthfully self-defeating. Ultimately, I believe we strive for one thing--control. Otherwise, the unknown engulfs. And we would rather be exhausted by the stress and strain of striving then surrender to the pit of the unknown. Perhaps we should take the plunge into that pit and find out...?

I'm tired of striving.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Criticism

Constructive criticism generally makes us stronger, yes? I believe so, on the whole; however, I also think that perpetual criticism over a long period can create imperceptible and unseen weaknesses to ones permanent ego or ideas of self-worth. It's like a building that is being attacked during a siege for example: one or two hard blows may not cause much damage, but incessant and determined blows can cause irreparable damage. And it is so with people. We are strong, and arguably made stronger by "constructive criticism," but be careful humanity how often you dish out said constructive advice, because you may or may not be creating hurts that are not easily healed. The old proverb is wise: "Think before you speak..."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vida

What makes life bearable? Manageable? Livable? Many things--but, for me, it's people. People make life worth living. Good or bad, individuals give value and meaning to my existence. My existence is ultimately to seek after and Glorify my Father, and I feel I do that predominately through my relationships with people. I am fascinated by people. I will never fully understand them, but I hope to spend my life attempting to learn more. I love people. I have been hurt by many, but I do not think I will ever cease to open myself up to the possibility, because with that comes the possibility not only for hurt, but for beautiful things that would not be possible without the other. It's worth it.

I had an incredible conversation tonight with an old, but good friend. We talked of transitions, ideals, hopes, dreams, passions, futures, jobs, and the like. It was utterly refreshing and stimulating: the kind of conversation you live for, the kind of conversation that rekindle the buried ideals of your heart. And it reminded me of one reason I love people--they inspire me. We talked a great deal about the fact that life is what you make it, what you bring to it, what you take away from it, etc. and I realized afresh--it's the damn truth. I can bemoan life eternally and miss it, or I can face it, embrace and ask my Father what He wants it to be. It's all about what you make it...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Resolutions

The resolve of humanity is weak. Or at least mine is. It seems that we are always making resolutions: new year's resolutions, resolutions to spend more time learning a foreign language, resolving to consume fewer calories and exercise more frequently, and on the whole, resolutions to be a better person. Yet, it also seems that people in general, me specifically, lack the gumption required to stick to said resolutions. And it's maddening. Is it weakness? Or simply laziness? Or is it something else altogether? I have yet to decide.

We all suffer from thwarted resolutions, whether by our own hand or by unforeseen outside forces. What does it take for resolutions to be pursued and actually maintained? Is it inevitable that our resolutions will fail? Or rather, has it become so customary that we expect nothing less, so our resolves begin frail and insipid? I feel positive outside forces are required. Accountability or incentive seems necessary for the weakness that is inherent in the resolve of humanity, or perhaps simply in my resolve...

Friday, October 2, 2009

The breaking dawn...

If only we could keep the euphoric feelings that come on the wings of a dawn. Mornings bring the cliche, "new beginning," or "fresh start," or whatever it is you want to call it, but it is most profound. Upon first waking, there is the realization that whatever happened the previous day, whether good or bad, is past and what stretches before you is completely void of yesterday. We are not bound by our past, but rather set free by the endless possibilities of our future. It's a wonderful feeling. The concept that anything is possible within a new day--that is freedom enough to put the despair of yesterday at bay, if only for a time..."today is a new day."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Change

It is inevitable. It can be counted on. It is the only constant in the universe. We cannot escape it. It is change. I loath it, almost universally, but I am beginning to change my tune, if you will. If I learn to accept the inevitability of change, perhaps life will be less scary, less ridden with anxiety. I resist change so adamantly because of the comfort that accompanies the familiar. Everyone loves comfort, sameness, consistency, yet it cannot be had--at least not for long. We live in a universe where things are constantly changing, altering, growing; it is the nature of life. It is then contrary to nature to resist change, to put-at-bay the inevitable of existence. The uncertainness of change should bring excitement and anticipation of something different. The unknown. That is why I fear change. I have no ability to control what I cannot see or do not understand. I can control the known, the familiar. But, ultimately that is a false sense of control, because if the only constant in the universe is change, than I am continually functioning beneath a delusion. The crux of the issue is control. Change is being out of control. But, perhaps that's not so bad after all...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fact or Fiction?

Society inundates and immerses its members in fiction. We are engulfed in continual non-reality. Media: movies, books, television, magazines, internet--all fantasy. It's not a wonder that the majority of humanity is perpetually discontent. We are somehow always striving towards an ideal, a standard that simply doesn't exist. Yet, we are so deeply entrenched in this non-reality, that we cannot understand why life is not "like in the movies." We want a life that only exists in the pages of our favorite novel, and we are continually disappointed when we discover that our own reality does not fit the ideal of our fictional worlds. Why is my husband not Mr. Darcy? Why don't I have Brad Pitt's body? Even if they are not these inane questions, but instead a deep-settled and unspoken unhappiness with reality, they exemplify the condition of society. I believe this obsession with fiction and disbelief in fact arise from the current culture. We are so surrounded by fiction and fantasy that our own realities seem dull in comparison. So what will we choose? Fact or fiction?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What's your major?

Have you ever noticed in casual conversation that people will often refer to their college major, and do so in the present tense. Like if someone, upon mentioning some obscure philosopher and receiving an odd look, will comment in response, "I'm a philosophy major." And this someone could potentially be a forty-year old woman who owns a coffee shop and is as far removed from higher education as twenty years and an espresso could make her; however, she remains forever a philosophy major. And I find this. Despite my recent graduation, I still find myself being referred to or referring to myself as an "English major." I wonder if it's an identity crisis. I believe so. It seems somehow one of the most singular things that defines a person in their lives. And it cannot be taken a way. Once an English major, always an English major, right? I hope so. Understanding that it doesn't define, but describes a person. Listen closely in your next conversation regarding economics or religion and just see if you don't find perhaps an economics or religion "major" in the bunch. It's interesting to discern what humanity clings to for identity's sake. Just listen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Crutch or Coping mechanism?

Confined. Restricted. Penned-in. Or am I? I feel constrained by my own constraints. I create them, yet simultaneously resent them. My sister has a particular dislike for personality tests, as well as the importance I place on them. I find it fascinating--the categorization of individual behavior, which ironically aligns perfectly with my personality. In the world of the Myer's Briggs personality types, I am an ESFJ. The portion of my personality which is, I believe, my distinguishing, yet most frustrating factor is the J. It stands for Judging. But, not in the traditional sense of judging--rather it insinuates that a J personality tends to function within the context of expectations or pre-conceived notions about life. As well, a J processes things in a very linear fashion. Unlike my best friend, who is a P (perceiver), I cannot make the distant or random connections in my brain that she can. I see black and white, while she sees grey. I frustrates me often, how I process and engage with the world. And I am not sure if it is because I am a J that I have latched on so heavily to this notion of my personality and am confined by it, or if it is that I am confined by it because I'm a J? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I'm not sure if we'll ever know. But, it is maddening to watch myself through my own eyes and not really be able to alter my own neuroticism. Am I simply using my personality as a crutch for my bizarre behavior? Or rather, does it simply help me cope with the bizarreness? I'm not sure. I've run out of categories in my mind, I shall resume this ranting later...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Actively waiting...

It seems like a paradox--to actively wait, doesn't it? I thought so, but it's not. There can be active waiting, and I think God is teaching me right now to do just that--wait, actively. I am trying to discern the difference between actively waiting and striving. There's a difference, I think. Because we cannot simple sit idle, expecting life and its opportunities to come to us, but at the same time, there is such futility in continually striving for the mere sake of striving, you know? It's actually exhausting. I am in a waiting period, and it's painful because I cannot see the conclusion of the "waiting," yet I know I meant to wait. However, He desires me to actively pursue Him in the midst of this waiting. I guess I'll just keep asking what's next...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Brevity

Life is short. I am just beginning to realize how short. We are here for a short period to live, breath, love, and then die. I think of the Scriptures that say we are like dust, or like a plant that blooms today and withers tomorrow. Our lives are indeed brief. My sister and I were talking tonight about this tangible reality, as we ourselves are growing older. She commented upon the futility of life. It does seem futile really, when one has no purpose or point. What is the point of life, truly? I believe there is no point without Christ, none. If we are not here to know Him, glorify Him, and become more like Him than this brief passage through what we know as life is meaningless. Mortal, finite life is indeed brief; however, He came to save us from that futility. It was not meant to be this way--brief. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said that this material world is like a dressing room, simply preparing us for what's to come. I think he was right. Life may be brief, but it is not futile...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Walking...

A friend of mine just gave me an analogy regarding the Christian life that he discovered in a book he's reading. He described how there are moments in life where we soar, others where we run and sometimes when all we can do is walk. I have been soaring and running for quite some time, but I have found that often in those times of soaring and running, I have little need of God. I am sufficient. My situations are sufficient. I am now entering though a time in my life where it is all I can do to simply walk. I am finding it is in these times, however, that I truly have need of God. I will honestly confess that I much prefer to soar, amidst the beautiful places and experiences of life; however, I wonder if we learn more there? Or, if God allows us in His grace to revel in those periods, but then in His love He slows us down, bringing us into places of dependence. I love God when I am soaring, yet I have no real need of Him. I need Him when I walk. I wonder if God causes us to walk, so that in His love He can shape us, chipping away at what was otherwise inaccessible while we we ran or soared above our need for Him? I wonder...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The fog of uncertainty...

This fog hangs thick about my mind and heart at present. I feel discouraged, but not without hope. I cannot see even the very next step, but I continue to trust the hands that have guided me faithfully thus far. I am so tempted to wallow in self-pity and despair as I wander through this fog, but I know I should refrain from such wallowings, for they lead only to paralysis. A that is what he wants, but he shall not win. I cannot lay down and die as they say; instead, I have to fight and be active as I walk blindly through this fog of uncertainty; this too shall pass...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Purpose

Life is determined by purpose. Our actions, motivations, are all driven by some type of purpose. I feel my purpose, for which I have lived the past so many years of my life is now over and done--just like that. My life up to this juncture as been fairly scripted and pre-determined; however, this after college, "real life" business is another issue. It is, on the one hand, beautiful and open, free and utterly available, but on the other, it is terrifying and unbounded. Some of my close friends would say both hands are exciting. I am caught in the balance between terror and excitement. What's next? Who knows. I don't. But, I am beginning to realize, I don't have to know. Because honestly, as soon as a plan would formulate in my mind and heart, He would be directing me somewhere else in the meantime. I might as well surrender to the unknown. It seems like my only option at present...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Surreality

Life is continuing progression of the surreal. I feel caught in a vortex of forward motion, with no reverse option. How did I arrive in this place? How I have finished a time, a season, a period of life to which I shall never return? Life will move on and I will form new community, disjointed and "adult," but never again will life be so community oriented, so integrated, so holistic. I know I am losing an irreplaceable part of myself, but it's a part that must end. If I were to attempt and keep it alive, it would rot. It's like when you eat a delicious meal, and the meal was so perfect you want to repeat it; however, the repetition would diminish the perfection of the original meal. Contentment. Life moves forward. I cannot go back...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Postcards

Richard Gere stares at me as I get dressed in the morning. He stands, seductively immortalized on my closet door. Cowboy boots, worn jeans and a white, ribbed, sleeveless under shirt. He stands lazily in front of an old Buick. His manly armpits are exposed to the world as he grasps the back of his skull. He languidly holds a cigarette in his mouth, because it’s apparently cool to smoke. It was my birthday postcard. A friend gifted it to me. Alright, I asked her to buy it for me, but I bought her Willy Nelson in exchange.

Postcards were not originally called postcards; they were simply called “souvenir cards.” And it was not until 1901 that they received this title of “postcard.” I am informed that John P. Charlton of Philadelphia first patented the postcard in 1861, choosing to transfer the patent to H.L. Lipman, for whom each postcard possessed only a small border with the subscript, “Lipman’s Postal Card, Patent Applied For.” These were on the market until 1873 when Government issued postcards first appeared; these were known simply as “Postals.” The evolvement of postcards continued.

By 1870 Austria had introduced picture postcards. Interestingly, it was not until nine years after the Americans patented the postcard that European countries began producing them. Funny, I always thought we stole everything from the Europeans.

I collect postcards. From everywhere I go, and everywhere I don’t. The study and collection of postcards is known as deltiology. I’m not a deltiologist per se; I simply dabble in deltiology. It is understood that deltiology is the world’s third most popular hobby after stamp collecting and money collecting. I believe my first postcard came from Barns and Noble, where most amateur deltiologists begin their careers, or at least where I began mine. It was an American classic: a black and white of Audrey Hepburn. My most recent postcard arrived from Frankfurt, Germany.

I keep every postcard I have ever received, or purchased, arranged about my room, as a reminder—a reminder of where I’ve been and where I have yet to go—or just because they have cool pictures. My favorite “picture postcard” is a black and white of a New York City street in the fifties and there is a Lama sticking its head out of a cab window. His name is Larry.

The Louvre, Paris. It’s also a black and white. In my memory it was a wonderful family vacation, but in actuality in was a dreadful combination of too many adults and too many overly large American-style, body-bags, which made for a marvelously miserable trip. It was our last day in Paris. I bought the postcard from a vendor across the street from a small cafĂ©, quintessential Parisian. I never wrote a thing on it, but it lives on my closet door also, reminding me of that epic failure of a family vacation.

My goodness, My Guinness. It’s a traditional Irish saying. I bought this one in Dublin. The saying on the postcard sits right next to a picture of a frothing pint of Ireland’s finest. I lived in Northern Ireland for three months, a study abroad trip. In all that time, I am ashamed to say, I only ever had one pint of Guinness, alright it was a half-pint, but Guinness is seriously strong stuff. I just couldn’t leave the island without at least tasting the famous brown ale. Truthfully, it was really awful. I’m not a huge fan of beer in general, but Guinness is another story altogether. It’s like a meal in a cup, or so the Irish say. It was rumored that during the potato famine, if a person didn’t have enough money for food, they would simply buy a Guinness to sustain themselves. My goodness, My Guinness indeed. I didn’t write anything on this one either, it just exists, along with its story.

Postcards to me are a lot like poetry. They are brief, sharp glimpses of something—images, words, phrases—memories. And as with poetry, postcards must communicate, in their small allotted spaces, the equivalent of a longer piece of writing or a greater work of art, in breadth and depth. Wordless, or scrawled with numerous illegible letters, postcards are able to stand, singular and alone in their potency. Both have much demanded of them—postcards and poetry. They must give much with little. Perhaps that is part of the unique draw for so many deltiologists—a thing small yet significant—or perhaps it’s the pictures, or it could just be Richard Gere.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Timing...

Timing is an odd thing. It is a facet of our lives that we have absolutely no control over. Well, perhaps that's debatable--irregardless. We cannot orchestrate our lives. Well, we can try, but we will fail miserably. We cannot ordain meetings and departures, feelings or love. We cannot anticipate the timing of a broken heart, or a full heart. Timing dictates everything. And we are not the masters of time. He is the master of Time. We can manipulate or interfere with the timing of our lives, but I think ultimately, we will be left unsatisfied...timing is everything.

Verdad

"Our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses..."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cracks

"The little cracks they escalate it, before we knew it was too late."

--Glen Hansard

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The inevitable

The only certain thing in life is change. It is inevitable. Time is always trudging forward, with or without our bidding. We cannot stop it. Though we may try with words and actions, weak and paltry they always fall against the crushing inevitability of time and change. It will come. We can either step forward along the road of existence, accepting the inevitable, or always fighting against the treadmill of time. Treadmills suck.

Attention...

We all want it. Attention. Desperately. Some more than others, but we all crave it. Attention. People yearn to be noticed, appreciated, understood. We are always seeking it...always.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The unwanted converstation...

It's amazing really. The unwanted conversation. You can see it coming--a person cocks their hip to the side, or rests their elbows on something for support--the signs of settling-in. It's painfully inevitable and seemingly unavoidable. And it often seems to occur when you are in the least mood for conversing, and it is always that person who you know doesn't comprehend the universal "leave me alone" language. You can see them continuing to talk, but at a certain point into the conversation, you have ceased to listen, simply wishing internally that they would you leave you the hell alone so you can write your paper, or read your book, or simply not talk to them anymore...I'm a horrible person, I know.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Relationships are Arbitrary

I am becoming more and more convinced that romantic entanglements are purely arbitrary. Perhaps this sentiment springs from cynical embitterment; however, I am confident it is based partially, if not entirely, in reality. I am continually amazed at the people who end up together. Really. Also, it astounds me to observe the people who so quickly transition from one relationship to another, non-pulsed. It almost seems that the person, that "significant other" is not the issue, but rather, they are simply a need-filler. We all possess a deep, etched hole within us that we attempt to fill with something--and often times it is a relationship. People seem to be, from my jaded perspective, indiscriminate when it comes to their romantic endeavors. Seemingly, anyone will do. We simply want someone to fill that hole. Tragic. Perhaps. True. I have no idea. I simply observe and draw my cynical conclusions.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Expectations

Life is pregnant with expectancy. We live and function within this realm of hope, expectation, longing. We hope for tomorrow, expect great things from the world, and long for what we cannot yet foresee. So much of what we do, our mental state, our emotions, our energies are tied up in the game of expectations. Expectations can both exalt and crush. With expectations comes the possibility joy and satisfaction, but likewise the sad reality of disappointment. Expectations are a fact of life, but we choose just how we will react to the results of our expectations. Paul encourages believers to be content, irregardless of circumstance. Expectations are circumstantial, inevitable, but circumstantial. We have a choice. We can still hope, expect, long, etc. but ultimately in remains within out power whether we will be exalted or no. Expectations are fact, but likewise our reactions. Choice. The beauty and terror of humanity.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The transition of "knowing"

Everyone experiences the transition of "knowing" with someone else at some point in life. It is that period, that moment of transition that occurs between knowing and not knowing a person. You can know a person for example, casually like an acquaintance, but at some decisive moment, a change occurs. Generally, both parties feel this change innately, a definite shift. The threshold crossed is an almost imperceptible barrier, but a barrier nonetheless, and when it is crossed, there is no returning to the land of "not knowing"--it's all knowing from thence on out--and once knowing and being known, who would want to return to that land of "not knowing?" I honestly don't know...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paradoxical things are women...

Women are odd beings. I cannot quite figure us out. We can be incredibly sweet, loving, and caring, etc. yet almost within an instant, we are able to turn inside out and become the most loathsome creatures imaginable. Our sweetness becomes embittered backbiting, our loving nature turns mean spirited; and such things are always directed towards other females--cattiness. The terrible truth is I recognize this paradoxical duel nature, because I live within its reality. How I loath it. The characteristics in others that are often most irksome or loathsome to us are often so because we ourselves possess them--as is the case with the cattiness that is innate in the female gender. I am able to recognize it so fully because I practice the terrible trade. I do not, however, believe that women are bound to this awful stereotype. Just as with any stereotype, it can be overcome; however, we must choose. Stereotypes are simple and unfortunately easy to embrace because it is truly not easy to be different, to stand out. I loath this part of my nature, but in this case, I believe I have a choice...we always have a choice.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Deliberate living or no...?

I have been pondering a balance as of late. It is a balance of decisions. It is a tenuous daily pendulum swing between strict intentionality and deliberate living, contrasted by the impulse to simply allow life to come as it may. I struggle. I feel I live somewhere in the web between these two extremes. I attempt to live deliberately, being intentional with people and circumstances, yet I often yearn to simply engage with life as it meets me, instead of trying to pre-prescribe everything before it arrives. I must be intentional to a point, otherwise I will live with regret and un-pursued dreams; however, if I cannot learn to simply "go with the flow" and allow life to take me where it will, life will be awfully frustrating, because I will be out of control...and life is out of control, I better get used to it. Deliberate living or no..? I say yes and no.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Walks...

I took a stroll tonight. I needed to be alone, to think. It was a tranquil walk and gave me mental space I do not normally allow myself. I meandered a long and aimless route about campus, pondering life. It was cold, brisk and clear. My nose was quite cold. The stars were brilliant, like bright pin pricks appearing through the black paper of the deep winter sky. As I strolled, kicking rocks and contemplating the universe, analogies and seeming life lessons kept cropping up, nipping at my heels like a litter of bothersome puppies. Balancing along the curb, I thought about the tenuous balance that is life-- sanity vs. insanity, control vs. not in control--all manifested along a concrete curb. The moon shown over my head, though only half of his face peered down. He watched over me, it seemed. Wherever I wandered there he was, and realized at that moment, there He will always be...

Monday, February 2, 2009

The insatiable longing for love...

We all long for love, don't we? It seems inextricably woven into our beings. It is manifests itself in our constant striving towards relationship--of all kinds. We are born into relationship. People buy pets, pore their life into them, love them, care for them and ultimately lose them. We form friendships, spend time investing into people, loving, caring, sharing, bearing (alright, a little too rhyme happy). We long for the romantic catch and pursuit; we hope and we contrive, we wait, and hopefully and eventually obtain. I assert that all such things are a testament to our universal yearning for love--deep, true, honest love. Humanity is built, created with an unquenchable desire to be wanted--for exactly who we are--and we pursue this desire in whatever means happens to suit us, yet we often seem to avoid the One who can truly satisfy...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Waning Moon

As I drove home from Fayetteville last night I was struck by the incredible beauty of the waning moon. It rested upon its back like the shaved edge of a disk, or like a bit of mustard yellow construction paper, set against the inky blackness of night. Its back gently kissed the horizon as we drove along in the dimness of the evening. Its hidden face added to its mystery, its allure. As it peeked its strip of self at me through the ever-moving trees, I felt a sense of privileged awe, as if it waned just for me...

Friday, January 30, 2009

The poetic irony of the tragically disconnected

My generation is seemingly the most "in-touch" generation of any before its time, yet the tragic irony is--we couldn't be more disconnected from one another. We live in the age of iphones, blackberries, facebook, blogging, instant messaging--instant everything. Every facet of our society speaks of intense longing, desire, for relationship, for intimacy, for connection--all of the aforementioned "gadgets" speak to this end. Yet, we sit together around a table together, iphones in hand, fighting with all that is within us to remain connected to the world, but in the process we lose the very connections right in front of our face. The poetic irony is almost too painful to grasp.

Things that leave a feeling of satisfaction.

1.) Sliding down banisters

2.) Waking up before your alarm and not feeling tired

3.) A sunrise experienced in silent contemplation

4.) A great cup of coffee or tea in the morning

5.) Birthdays had with good friends

6.) Laughter that draws tears of mirth

7.) A deep yawn

8.) A sigh of relief

9.) The world before it wakes up

10.) An indelible conversation

11.) Meals consumed at ease

12.) A fond embrace

13.) Gifts given in love

14.) Snow days

15.) Yoga

16.) A task accomplished

17.) Sweating after a workout

18.) Numbers that come in integers of five

19.) A good hair day

20.) Hand-written letters

21). Unsolicited admiration

22.) Genuine affection

23.) Grilled cheese and tomato soup on a cold evening

24.) A newly sharpened pencil

25.) A good sneeze

26.) A skirt or dress with pockets

27.) Crossing something off a do-to-list

Additions to follow...

Doughnuts and Friday Mornings.

A new tradition is being paved--doughnut runs on Friday mornings. My housemate, Annaka, and myself started this beautiful tradition towards the end of last semester when we stayed up nearly the whole night writing our American lit. term papers, rising after only two meager hours of sleep and driving to Daylight Doughnut Shop to revel in fried flour, sugar and coffee. Doughnut Fridays change often in form and consistency; it varies who happens to join and augment our small party of two; it changes whether or not we venture out every Friday, or perhaps just once a month, but tradition is tradition and doughnut runs on Friday mornings will continue as long as sugar, gluten and a desire for such combinations exist. Tradition is tradition, after all.

The haze of time...

I feel as if I have been walking around in a daze as of late, a daze of Time. The passage of minutes, hours, days, and weeks seems to transfixed, and I am simply meandering along on a treadmill, going nowhere. I am perpetually moving, ever faster it seems, yet I often feel that I am simply remaining stationary. Will I ever reach a destination? Or is the very process the destination? I cannot tell. I am inclined to believe the latter, but who truly knows? I believe I live as if the destination is the goal, yet I fear I too often miss the point of it all. Time is extremely limiting, confining. Humanity is finite, limited. We are by our very nature confined by Time, yet we can choose within its context to get off the treadmill and go somewhere, or rather, we can become content with the walk...it's up to us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tidal waves

Life often engulfs one like a tidal wave, filled with activity and stimulation. These waves can at times be overwhelming, they afford one with peaks and crests of wonder, and at times coupled with troughs of despair. The saying, "when it rains, it pours," is similar to the tidal wave analogy--far more image-evoking though--don't you think? Would we not prefer to live in the crests and troughs of these waves rather than reside in the stagnant stillness of the open sea? But, then again, I suppose it depends upon what kind of surfing you like?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A thousand voices

They blend and mingle in my mind. They are my many counselors, kindred spirits, mentors, confidants, and bosom friends. I hear them whisper and guide me, listen and cause me to heed. Conversations countless and wonderful engulf my memory. Thank goodness for the beautiful gift of friendship...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mirth--a gift untold

Laughter is truly like medicine to the soul. It releases so much of what we otherwise would not process or allow space to be examined. True, honest-to-goodness laughter communicates infinitely more than a thousand words could express and such laughter tickles areas of your soul and psyche that otherwise would remain dormant and untouched. A good laugh relieves stress, eases sorrow, diminishes awkwardness, and adds to the beauty of an already beautiful moment. Mirth and laughter are indeed beautiful gifts of life that ought to be reveled in, otherwise, what's the point of mirth...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The real me....?

I'm a bit terrified if the world were to find out who I really am. I am convinced I can only hide behind my facade of an identity for so long until someone, somewhere will discover I am a phony, a fraud. It's only a matter of time until they will uncover my feeble attempts at being suave or debonair, finding sadly that behind the boots and scarves and the "typical English major" there exists a scared, insecure girl of 5 or 6, who struggles with spelling and cannot do basic algebra to save her life. It's not so much that I'm scared of not being "cool" but rather being found inadequate, lacking. But, then again everyone is afraid of not being "tragically cool," as my house mate Annaka likes to say...we all just need to get over it and spell everything phonetically.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Anti-contentment

This concept is scarce in our ultra materialistic society. Everything screams at us yelling: "You want this!" or "Just this one last thing" or "You won't be happy until you have"...fill in the blank. We are not encouraged to be content, ever. We are rather suppose to exist in a perpetual cycle of grasp, obtain, become discontent, and then begin again. It's never ending, never ending. We, has humanity are never allowed to feel as if we have enough. Why? Do we grasp simply because we can? Do we continually seek and desire more because that is where are society has arrived? I'm not sure, but I know when I do find myself becoming content, I begin to feel as if something is wrong with me, perhaps I could just go buy a new pair of shoes to fix that feeling...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Modern trappings...

I loath the modern Christian bookstore and all that it represents. I cannot stand the shelves upon shelves of sappy Christian romance novels, that are essentially the same cliche, horribly written story retold again and again, just with different, repeating titles. I detest the tacky ties displayed near the cash registers, embossed with a fish or a cross. Who actually wears those? I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't wear ties. I particularly enjoy the entire wall dedicated to the infinite variety of Bible covers and cases. "Here we have a lovely industrial strength leather, complete with the owners initials, or here we have a plain steel casing, that ensures you will only read your Bible when YOU want to!" My favorite is observing the people who frequent these stores. Like the middle aged woman, who is wearing electric pink athletic pants and talking very loudly on her cell phone, as she bickers with the cashier because her items are more expensive than expected. Where is Christ in all of this? Where have we banished Him in the midst of these modern trappings of the faith? Maybe He is in the children's corner with veggie tales? I forgot to look there...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Order from Chaos into Madness

There is something incredibly gratifying about achieving order out of chaos. Cleanness from dirtiness. Neatness from disorder. Beauty from ugliness. This is satisfaction. I revel in emerging from the muck of chaos into the clean open spaces of order. This can, however, become an obsession. When the maintenance of order overtakes ones life. I wrestle with this problem, daily. I strive to maintain order in a universe where all tends to disorder. Madness? Maybe.

But, if we are not continually striving against the ever-encroaching chaos, we will be overcome. It does seem like madness, but life is madness. Nothing truly makes sense in the universe, or at least very little. Take love for example. It makes utterly no sense at all. Why would one individual completely surrender themselves body and soul to another, leaving oneself open and vulnerable to all possibilities, both good and bad? Foolery. It's all foolery.