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The little things.

November 19, 2008 Leave a comment

I felt like today I needed to celebrate the little things. Specifically. Mostly because I don’t want to. That’s why I need to do it.

• My best friend finished the episode of LOST we were watching before she went with her boyfriend.

• My roommate left her door open while we were home for the first time.

• I laughed with my friends from camp over Skype for an hour about nothing.

• Twilight midnight showing: ME and my best friend.

• The sun was out this afternoon walking to class.

• My mom and I had a great conversation full of laughter.

• I got 5 pages of my paper done, 5 days before it’s due!

• The space heater is sitting right next to my feet.

• I beat ‘Purple Haze’ on expert for Guitar Hero World Tour.

• My Lord let me live another day, even with all my screw ups.

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Categories: Life Tags: ,

I couldn’t keep it from spilling.

I know trying to write all this down is going to come up so short in comparison to the emotions that are welling up in me at this moment. There’s this book called The Shack by William Paul Young, and it’s been pretty popular and talked about among my church body here in Lexington. I picked it up a few weeks ago, and I believe God orchestrated it for me to read it at this period in my life. I’ve been having a rough go, and made a choice this past weekend, and now this…

I don’t want to talk about the theology of the book, because I think God uses everything for good, no matter how wrong or right it is, but I will say putting words into God’s mouth doesn’t sit well with me. That being said, from the get-go, this book stirred in me. I’m not going to get into the plot, but talk about parts that resonated to the core of my soul.

The main character Mack, is tied down by what he calls “The Great Sadness,” and it’s the most fitting description I have found of the depression I have gone through: “…The Great Sadness had draped itself around Mack’s shoulders like some invisible but almost tangible heavy quilt. The weight of its presence dulled his eyes and stooped his shoulders. Even his efforts to shake it off were exhausting, as if his arms were sewn into its bleak folds of despair and he had somehow become part of it. He ate, worked, loved, dreamed and played in this garment of heaviness, weighed down as if he were wearing a leaden bathrobe—trudging daily through the murky despondency that sucked the color out of everything. At times he could feel The Great Sadness slowly tightening around his chest and heart like the crushing coils of a constrictor, squeezing liquid from his eyes until he thought there no longer remained a reservoir. Other times he would dream that his feet were stuck in cloying mud…”

Going along with this has been my struggle in my close relationships to be content and satisfied. To feel an equal, and to feel loved. I had come to a point where the hurt was so great, and so I was done being transparent and open and just put on a face in order to be there for my friends and reciprocate what I was not feeling, but so desperately desired.

See, I feel like I deserve things and because of this, I feel the need to control things. And this is why “’…experiencing true relationship is so difficult for you,’ Jesus [in The Shack] added. ‘Once you have a hierarchy you need rules to protect and administer it, and then you need law and the enforcement of the rules, and you end up with some kind of chain of command or a system or order that destroys relationship rather than promotes it. You rarely see or experience relationship apart from power. Hierarchy imposes laws and rules and you end up missing the wonder of relationship that we intended for you.’”

I have ruined my relationships. The evil in this world and the independence I feel like I have the right to assert ruins my chance at real relationship. This realization did not overwhelm me with grief as I expected it to, but served as a lifting of a burden, a freeing feeling.

Near the end of the novel, Sarayu, the character the represents the Holy Spirit, says this: “’…Mack, if you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else. But what happens if I change that ‘expectancy’ to an ‘expectation’—spoken or unspoken? Suddenly, law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about you and me, but about what friends are supposed to do, or the responsibilities of a good friend.’”

This is what I have done. I have expectations: an unprompted hug, being confided in, hearing “I love you” not out of obligation, an effort to spend time together, or even just my expectation of attention. I cannot do this and have relationships survive, and I am sorry that I have done it.

This day started early—6:30 AM—and when I finally turned the last page of this novel, it took time to pacify the intensity I felt. It is unfortunate I was sitting here at work in front of a computer and not outside where I may have just run for the sheer thrill of exhaustion. I do not know how this is going to change my life once my shift ends and what I am beginning to process collides with real life and my quickly-changing future. But I do know my first order of business is to remove expectations, and to live with expectancy. Even today as I have walked to and from class and work, I have been able to marvel at my God and well up with nothing other than complete trust.

I could not have arrived at this point without the events the preceded it in their precise order: the healing I experienced at camp this summer, the turmoil and changing of mine and my best friend’s relationship, the struggles my mother is experiencing, and the removal of myself from those I love so dearly. I praise my Almighty Creator for giving me such a small bit of clarity and I pray I never act as though it never happened.

to capture it would remove its wondrous nature.

there are times that i walk out of my place of residence with music in my ears and i get swept up in a moment that makes me pause to recollect myself and catch my breath.

then there are times (usually in the middle of class, while i’m not paying attention but have already finished the crossword in the Kernel) when i can’t contain a grin that spreads across my face so easily that many people would assume some thing momentarily possessed my usually melancholy existence.

these times, i feel more alive than when i breathe in crisp fall air, more alive than when i feel loved by someone i love, and more alive than when the meaning of a God-ordained video of mine flashes across someone’s eyes.

what saddens me is this. well, two things actually. one, is that my mind cannot fathom these moments in all its finiteness. it cannot fully appreciate the fact that-as a dear friend of mine put it-it’s as “if He pulled back the curtains for an extremely short moment.” my mind does not take these moments in as it should. the second is that these moments are most of the time forgotten amidst my moments of desperation, fear, stress, and most upsetting: normalcy and circumstantial happiness. these moments outweigh themselves in number, but i let them outweigh themselves in gravity. i concentrate not on those breath-taking, invigorating moments, but my brain and thoughts are purely consumed with everything else that doesn’t matter.

i have been struggling lately. i will not lie about that. my past has decided to try and become my present in more force than i’ve had energy to fight. i have been pushing away the places i normally get my strength, and that i am going to stop. i would appreciate any prayers. but that leaves me still with this question:

what about those moments?

credit Brittany Pressley.

my melancholy nature may cause me to seem mellow at times, or my friend’s favorite teasing of ‘debbie downer,’ but it also makes me sentimental. and for that i am thankful. i can vividly remember these moments when i choose to recall them. i had one this morning actually. i came out of the back door of the BCM, surprised by the sunshine, with david crowder crooning “You’re everything” and a wash of inexpressible peace, rest and gratitude came over me. just as soon as i realized it, it was gone. its remnants will never leave my subconscious, but i will soon despise my inability to harness its power and live out my joy.

the exultations of my aforementioned dear friend are those i choose to end everything with. “oh… the thousands of sweet mornings i’ve awoken to with only the expectations of duty. i feel sick to think of all the wonder i speed by on my way to all the places i feel i must go. [c.s.] lewis pegged the loss of this bliss as ‘cold, spacious, severe, pale, and remote’… satan doesn’t even have to work too hard to distract me, i’ve become so efficient at doing it myself. am i even a threat to him anymore?”

through all of this i realize: i have a choice to make.

Categories: Life Tags: , , , , ,