Thursday, February 16, 2012

good-bye, mi vida...hello Life

I loved you once.  I love you still.  My emotion seem to make me ill...

Who put this notion into our heads: "Never give up on someone you can't go a day without thinking about?"  What does "never give up" even mean?  I've often found that people take this to mean you shouldn't give up hope on a relationship that deeply impacted you.  But what if giving up, or more accurately letting go, is exactly what you need to flourish?

In today's societal atmosphere, we find beautiful the love stories that endure, the ones where two people, however different, make the relationship work.  But because of this, we too often fail to realize what's staring us in the face--that perhaps the person you have fallen in love with isn't the person you should love intimately forever.  Maybe this person would end up being your unraveling. (By the way, I'm speaking to the unmarried.  Marriage is a binding and beautiful covenant and should not be corrupted)

I want to be in a love story.  I forget that I already am.  I'm in the greatest love story ever told, for I am His and He calls me beloved.  As I was sitting at dinner today with my roommate, she stopped, paused, and said in a quiet voice, "Thank you for loving me."  I thought about this for a while, and thought wow,  nothing like a deeply committed friendship to show you what future marriage between a man and a woman should look like.  I don't claim to know the secret to love, but I do know one thing: you should be with someone who wants to be with you, who lets you in.  And you should be with someone who is stable enough to love him or herself.

I don't give up on people, period, but maybe a long-standing emotion you have for a particular person isn't meant to do anything else besides point you to Christ.  People are beautiful, but something beautiful that is not left to become wilts into the shadows of darkness.  Stepping back from someone who you love but who you also want desperately to change can help you understand that love, although transcendent, can only bind you forever to One.

It's more important to be with someone who complements you than compliments you.  With flattery and camaraderie we often tie each other up in emotional attachment, but with it we string lies and deception that are uncovered only when the former disappear.  Love turned poisonous is deadly, and it is Satan's favorite weapon.

So here's to saying good-bye to what was in order to understand what is and anticipate what is to come.  Cling to what is good--love love, but let it not be perverted into a choking agent.
You may not end up with your first love, but the past you carry with you.  It is not a burden.  It is a testimony.  It is power.  It is forgiveness.  You'll always have Paris, my friend, no matter how much pain and suffering your heart endured, and that, is something worth keeping.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Today was such a collaboration of different emotions.  I had a great day--got a work-out in, received several Valentine's Day cards from dear friends, talked about the importance of emotions for normal cognitive functioning in philosophy with the poetic Dr. Wood, had dinner with a lovely friend, and went to night class.  But as I sit here trying to keep my mind focused to finish my homework for SCI 301, I can't help but feel like my whole world is zooming forward at the speed of light and time is escaping me.  Perhaps this has been on my mind because we just finished On The Road by Jack Kerouac in Modernism & Beyond, but it seems this way in every aspect of my life.  Soon the quad will be over.  I speed read through adolescent lit, barely skim the surface of the texts for science, and sometimes skip the reading for philosophy.  Yet I don't have a job, and the only outside thing I'm involved in at the moment is dance practice for Confessions and my neuroplasticity research team.

I'm not using my blog to vent, but rather to analyze what this means...I mean how much am I getting out of my education if I'm being rushed in every subject to get things done?  On the other hand, how can a college compete with other schools if this much work is not required?  By the middle of the week I'm almost a walking zombie, counting days til the weekend.  This has never been me before, and I start to wonder if my education is doing the opposite of its intent.

I'm exhausted. I want to stop and stand and look up at the sky.  I want to cherish every sentence and feel gratuitous for all the opportunities I've been given.  Instead I'm stressed, a frenzied American girl rushing around, and I'm trying so hard to keep my heart attached to my head.  It's so easy to fall into not feeling, not really letting anything into the will because so much is flooding into the mind.

Sometimes I want to take all the time wasted from my past and throw it into my present, but as I look back, much of that wasted time wasn't wasted at all.  I learned how to sit and do nothing, something I wish I could do, or even justify now.  Is time a precious gift or is it a constraint?  How much more could we do without it looming over our head, reminding us we can't have too long of a dinner without feeling guilty?

They always say what you put into your education is what you'll get out of it, but what if I'm pulled in so many different directions that I'm really no where at all?  When Jack Kerouac was in a place, he was in a place.  But we're not.  We're not on this earth permanently, we leave home, we leave college, and we transition from place to place.  Not only that, but it takes a long time for our hearts to join our physical bodies.  And way too often our emotions seem to follow the trail of our physical reality, never really investing in a person for fear that soon he or she will be gone.  We resist depth of passion and intimacy because we don't want to place our true selves in a place that will have to eventually be evacuated.

I've learned a few lessons in college: sleep > caffeine.  people > education.  love > detachment.  God > love.

But to function as a college student in Western civilization, the only way to put God first is to put Him in everything else.  Maybe this is how He intended it to be, or maybe this is the only way we know how to get by.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

3:00 a.m. thoughts

Do you ever feeling like writing at 3 in the morning, something that is visible to the public and not just for your own satisfaction? Yeah, me too.  Maybe it's my way of making a statement in an era where our connectedness has obscured each individual voice, paradoxically by trying to change Facebook into a personal timeline that makes each person just a chain of events.  I'm sorry, I don't happen to care what you were doing in 1996...

I do have a sentiment for the past and love to discover the past of those I care about but not in one sentence summing up location or "major events."  Please.  Let's have more dignity.  But this post isn't about Facebook at all.  In fact, it doesn't have a clear thesis although I do have some things on my mind...

I've been reminiscing lately about my childhood, how my parents raised me, my fondest memories, and the fact that few at Wheaton would even know what to do with it.  I've been thinking about what it would be like to be a missionary kid, to not really have any sense of home, or to feel, like someone said once, "In a way, everywhere I go is my home because the people I love are with me."  But I'm talking about the familiarity of knowing that this particular living room houses memories of your fourth grade year, sitting by the fire in an orange shirt, long hair in pigtails, your dad preparing the dining room table to make ginger bread houses with you, your dog rolling around on his back.  I'm talking about knowing the exact location of your house's cracks, knowing where to walk so the carpet doesn't squeak, laughing every time you cross the spot where you accidentally bleached the carpet while trying to clean up dog throw-up.  Or what about the yard where you learned to ride a bike in the spring, and in the winter where your brother dislocated his shoulder after building a ramp for his snowboard?  This was home for me, and it was sacred.

Everyone has a concept of home, whether it be concrete or not.  The disparity between some threatens to tear people apart, yet I'm not convinced it's the confusion about camaraderie of home that makes the split.  Instead, it's someone deciding that you're too different, that your story isn't worth hearing, that you'll never understand them.  People create the chasms and then wonder why they feel so distant.

You shouldn't settle for having friends or significant others in your life that don't respect where you've been, however humble, however outrageous.  Your past is part of you as is the perspective you have about it, and its sacredness should be shared with care.  I used to be of a different opinion but am now convinced that a sense of home will only be created between two people when both have submitted their fears of never finding it in each other.

And to those who think home doesn't matter, who go about wrecking it in their friends by ripping them apart with everything vulnerably shared, with accusatory guilt trips, save it.  Yes, I'm dramatic, I'm the first one to admit it.  It's in my blood--I'm half-Spanish...everything is extreme for me, I feel in extremes, but I also love in extremes.  And if the only way you know how to live is to criticize people who think differently than you, then you have a lot of maturing to do.  The strongest people are the ones who can admit that they're weak.  Where there is loss of love or friendship, there is redemption.  And we should be filled with nothing but gratitude.

Only in this posture can we examine ourselves rightly, and in turn, begin to cherish the longing for home housed in each of our hearts, placed there by the Living God, and forgive each other for the sin we perpetuate in getting there.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Expense of Knowledge

Lately I've been tripping over my words, unable to articulate exactly what I want to say.  Because of this, I've felt extremely isolated from several people, like I've been dropped in the middle of the ocean only worse because I don't know what words to use to call out.  This may seem like a dramatic description of loneliness, but it's's more of a longing for something specific because of someone I used to know.  And honestly, I think this feeling, or sense of reality, rises parallel to an increase of knowledge.  The reason I say this is because my vocabulary has grown, and in turn, my knowledge of words that symbolically demonstrate exactly what I mean through language.  Therefore, if I'm talking and cannot find a word that will connote my exact intention, I get frustrated because I know it exists.  Not only does it exist, but it exists somewhere in my mind only I lack the ability to recall it.

Little more drives one to madness than knowing that which you desire exists yet is ungraspable.  I actually think this is the downfall of humanity.  However, God has brought the ungraspable to us through Christ, but somehow this seems like more of a metanarrative when compared to everyday life.  I'm not saying God isn't sufficient by any means, but I am saying we as humans sometimes long for what we don't have not because we don't have it but because whatever "it" is directs us toward Christ.  So when God withholds these things from us, He could be saying a multitude of things: 1) Recognize the inadequacy of that which is not Divine, like words for example.  Have patience with those who don't understand the unarticulated parts of you, and rejoice for the time I give you with those who do.  Let the latter not become idols, or they will eventually lead to your destruction.  For only I can know the disgusting nature of a sinful heart and still love you. 2) Wait.  Now is not the time to be given what you desire because you are not yet ready for it.  Trust.  Endure. 3) You have deceived yourself about what you want.  Be rational.  Remember. 4) I came so that you may have Life and have it to the full.  I will not withhold Life from you, but I may withhold knowledge for Life's sake.

Knowledge comes at a great cost.
So we may not find the words to ever have perfect communication, but don't take for granted those who connect with you through the unspoken.  They surely are few and far between.  And this, God most avidly knows.