Thursday, December 30, 2010

Inspired by Laurel

There is so much about this world that is sad. Sick people. Hurt people. Scratched up and screwed up and broken people. I believe in hope, but I also believe in entropy. There's so much to mourn, and rightly, in a world that's falling to pieces.

But oh, at weddings, it's dumbfounding how such a thing could exist in such a world. At weddings there is beauty, and happiness, and love. Weddings were probably God's idea.

God has told us to rejoice. And He has given us reasons to do so. I thank God for creating things I don't yet understand, among them, marriage. For in this we can rejoice.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If only I was more like Hannah!

I am smitten, completely smitten with my sister's guitar. It will probably lose its novelty shortly, and after that, my interest will be gone as well, but for now I am enchanted with its portability, its versatility, its ease of use. I love how forcing my fingers into foreign chords makes me retreat into the piano, how it makes me pursue mastery of that neglected instrument, too. I love sitting at the piano making music with my sister, or clumsily following her on guitar, our voices converging in worship. "We are the broken, You are the healer. Jesus, Redeemer, mighty to save."

I lack so much resolve, I never seem to master things I'm not good at. I'm so lazy, I generally give up when it doesn't come naturally. And this is me with instruments: I've never pushed for mastery because I was contented with the diagnosis of ineptitude.

I think of Spanish, too. I've taken so much Spanish, you'd think I'd at least be able to claim proficiency. Instead I stare at Bryna's SPA 102 homework and wonder how I can weasel out of URI's language requirement. Which is really ridiculous, because if I want to be an immigration lawyer, speaking a language in addition to English is kind of imperative. The point here being, I have a vague desire to learn Spanish, but my efforts have never amounted to substantial comprehension. Because I am unwilling to endure the struggle to learn.

Lilly explained on that lengthy trip to Virginia last summer, that mastery is not dependent on genius, but rather that practice and precision and discipline are the stepping stones to achievement. Or something like that. And I think I was skeptical of her position, first because people like John Nash exist, but also because it was too convicting of a prospect, that effort really is everything. And I'm still not really sure. But, your IQ doesn't need to be through the ceiling to be proficient at a language or an instrument. And the conviction grows in my stomach every time that guitar case looms in the corner of my eye.

Okay, so, my infatuation with her new toy is already dying.

Nevertheless, thanks to that glossy instrument, I pulled out my Spanish textbooks today. Did a few hours of Rosetta Stone, too. I even messed around on the piano. The pursuit of self-discipline will hopefully have a few practical side effects.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Each glimmer of hope

I've got so much to say to myself, but I haven't journaled because I'm afraid of my thoughts. Geez . . . I mean, what the heck does that say about me?!

The older I get the more flaws I discover, and I just have to cling to that hope:

"You can't stick with Jesus your whole life and not end up radically different."

Perhaps one day I will look forward to growing older, too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

North Main Street

Every night, when I'm driving back from campus in the dark, and I come to that last left-hand turn, I think, "What if I pulled out right now, and a car came out of nowhere? What if I was hit, and I died, just another college student taken out on the road, coming home from a late school night? What if I got hit and died in this turn?"

And I sigh, and I look both ways, twice, and I take the turn, and I think about how my family would be sad, how terribly inconvenient it would be, dying, but I also wouldn't have to do any more papers or file taxes or deal with anything unpleasant ever again, and, I could go home.

Of course, I always make the turn without getting it, not even close. Because it's Wakefield, and no one's on the road at this time of night, and the turn isn't really that blind, and I'm actually quite careful when I drive. So I never get hit. Because the sovereignty of God prevails over my driving.

And over my life, I suppose.

Every time I take that turn, and survive, and roll into the Bankston's driveway feeling tired but still decidedly in one piece, I think, "It's not my time. It's not over. I am still here, to what end?" It's a radiatingly reassuring and frightening prospect, that there is still more to be done. On the one hand, this means I haven't really done much for God yet. On the other hand, I must still be useful, or have the potential to be useful, because if I wasn't, He would have off'd me, right? It's kind of irreverent to think about it that way, but, I think you get what I mean.

I love these night drives home from campus, where I unpack all the failures and stumblings and amusements and heartening moments. And I am thankful for a daily opportunity to reflect and wonder, what do You ask of me, God?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pink versus magenta

I'm thinking about perspective; about ways of thinking about things, seeing things, understanding things.

If I've learned a single thing from my horrific math class it's that if you shoot a single concept through a prism, it can be explained twenty different ways. "I never looked at it that way, but if that works for you . . ."

Certain words resonate with me that don't pluck the same heart strings in you. Things go over my head that cut to the heart with you. The connotations I find in a word, or a phrase, or a symbol, or an expression . . . they're not always the same as the meaning you find. Which is all right. I'm not making any value judgments here. I just think it's interesting. I'm wondering at it right now. Healthy awe and all that jazz.


I have a drawer full of glasses. Spectacles, you see, not tumblers. I yank open the drawer, and rifle through the pairs, trying on this one and that one . . . and some pairs I keep on for a while. Some I whip on and off. Some I throw out, or some I tuck away for a later day. I cycle through these pairs of glasses, looking at ideas and situations and the world through a mindset not wholly my own, and these glasses give me meanings and judgments and values, a point of reference. When I wear X glasses, X is how it is. And I'm always trying on glasses.

Because I can't see anything without a point of reference. Both literally and metaphorically. Not that I really expect my metaphor to be effective. It jives with what's in my head right now, and I can't step outside of myself long enough to explain fully and objectively what I mean. [Well. You know. A working meaning of objective.] I only mean that, I don't care about communicating effectively now, only expressing for my own sake. Because I ought to be studying, but I hate what absorbing some of these concepts is making me see.

Excuse me while I go drown in my own muddled reflections on the relativity of expression and meaning. I mean, study. Excuse me while I go study.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Live from the Bagelz loft

Comfortable is warmth, with a nice breeze and the smell of bagels and muffins, and a cushy chair with armrests that are broken in but not suspiciously stained. Comfortable is being inside, not out, today.

Comfortable is overhearing bits and pieces of pleasant conversation, seeing the smiles and feeling the familiar lulls, and knowing that around you people are engaged and content and coping. Comfortable is steady productivity, head bent over the book and fingers tapping the keyboard and the smile as results accumulate.

Comfortable is hipster music playing loudly but unobtrusively from downstairs into the loft, and a soft but bright light from the windows overhead, leaving no shady corners and unilluminated words. Comfortable is the hiss of steamed milk and the clack of ice, and the safe slow atmosphere of meeting.

I've come to this conclusion: comfortable is a coffee shop.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Perpetually disjointed.

What if I could choose:

To not be jealous. To be at peace. To be thoughtful and observant and resourceful. What if I could turn on kindness like the flick of a switch. I want to be kind.

This is my desire . . .

Not an island. Luke's words, "it's nice to be home with one's own family and 'real' friends." The people you can rest in, be quiet and full and comfortable with. Each weekend I'm filled again to return.

It's a little bit of a tug of war, though. I want to be at URI, investing in the people there, devoting my spare time to cultivating relationships there. [It's why I'm even at URI in the first place. I nodded vigorously during my memere's rant this afternoon: yes! I understand this need to be out and engaged!] But my family is always first. And each weekend I am abandoned not to the college student demographic, but to my former world.

And it's nice. Comforting. Each weekend fills me with the assurance, "You have friends and you are loved", because I am insecure and need these remindings. What if I could choose? To not be insecure? [If one can choose life, than why not peace and assurance? If we can choose, why don't we?]

I wonder if this safety net of these warm weekends holds me back, keeps me from choosing. When you already have friends, why would you bother making new ones? I wouldn't put it past myself to be this subconsciously lazy.

Oh, I'm a Derek Webb song. "I love slash hate you [college]."