Going on an Adventure: Scotland

I AM ALIVE. *brushes the cobwebs off this blog* Hello, my wonderful and incredibly patient readers! I know I haven’t posted in a shamefully long time (minus last week’s poem), so I’m going to try to make it up today with lots of lovely pictures. The short version of the big life update I owe you is, I’ve decided to defer from college for a year to give me time to figure out what’s going on with my arms. They’re still bothering me (which I guess you’ve deduced from my silence). In that vein, I’d like to give a shoutout to those who have recently found my blog and to everyone who has posted such lovely, encouraging comments. Right now, I just can’t reply to comments because if I do so, I won’t be able to do other important things like emailing friends or journaling (Page’s dictation feature is a wonderful thing). I hate having to prioritize like this, but I do want you all to know that I read every comment, I try to like them to let you know that I read them, and every one always brightens my day (who are we kidding, my week). I can’t thank you all enough for continuing to be and here read my stuff and communicate with me, even when I can’t always get back to you. You guys really are the best. Okay, on to the fun stuff. (Seriously, guys, I have so been looking forward to this post. *capers about*)


This summer, my family and I got to go to Scotland. Let me just say that again: I got to go to Scotland. Saying that feels so unreal. I’ve dreamed about visiting Scotland for years, and I still can’t believe it finally happened. We went to Glasgow, where my grandfather grew up; Loch Lomond, a big and beautiful lake in the highlands; Aberdeen, the city I’m named after (!!!!); and Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. When I look back on our trip, it feels like a dream.

You’ve probably heard two things about Scotland: 1) it’s beautiful; 2) it’s rainy. You’d be right about both. Thankfully, we got a few sunny days during the Loch Lomond leg of our trip, so all our hikes were lovely. No, scratch that. All our hikes were stunningly gorgeous. Words just can’t describe how beautiful Scotland is. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place as beautiful. And that’s saying a lot, since I’ve been to the Alps. I mean, obviously the Alps are jaw-droppingly spectacular, but the highlands of Scotland just have this unique beauty that gave me chills and made me want to stay there forever. It’s not just natural beauty either––from the warm sandstone in Glasgow to the austere and elegant granite of Aberdeen, even the city buildings were attractive. Everyone we met was lovely too—and they spoke English! I didn’t have to stare at people with a blank face and feel like an idiot while they babble at me in German. When waitresses asked, “Hi, can I take your order?” I could have hugged them. Also, THE FOOD. I was expecting yucky British food, but everything we ate was really good. Maybe the gross British food stereotype only applies to London or maybe we just got lucky, but my mouth waters whenever I think of the scones, meat pies, toffee cakes, and shortbread we consumed. Basically, you guys have got to go to Scotland. Everyone of you. No excuses. If you’re still not convinced, just look at these pictures:

(Click on one of them to scroll through; they look better bigger, and I wrote captions for almost all of them. There are a lot, but I’m kind of assuming nobody will mind. ;D)

 

In the year of our Lord 1314,

Scottish patriots, starved and outnumbered,

charged the fields at Bannockburn.

They fought like warrior poets. They fought like Scotsmen.

And won their freedom.

Forever.

~ Braveheart

I’m so proud to be from this beautiful country. ❤

So, friends, have you ever been to Scotland? Do you want to now? Which picture was your favorite? And how are you??

 

 

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I Will Go (Remembering 9/11)

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Even if, when this is all over, no one knows my name

Even if no one points to my picture in the paper and says, “here was a hero”

Even if the parades pass me by and the ash stains on my shirt are my only medal

Even so

`

Even though, before I take one step, I am afraid

Even though the flames are the ghosts of my past failures reaching out to finally and forever drag me down

Even though the sweat on my skin is more real to me in this moment than the screams from the tower

Even so

`

Even if, for all our desperate tries, you die

Even if all the effort is a waste and we stand at the scene of a massacre, helpless

Even if every night after the stars are replaced by the screaming souls I could not save

Even so

`

I will go

I will try

I may live

I may die

But I will go

`

I will pick up my helmet––my first aid kit––my keys––whatever thin threads of my courage I can weave together into some kind shield to hang between me and the fire and the fear

To weave into a blanket, like when I was little and thought if I huddled behind one the bad guy could never get me

To weave into a banner, just a piece of cloth and yet it makes the men marching under it so much stronger

Is my courage strong enough? Will the thin threads hold?

Does it even matter?

`

Even so

I will go

`

Because there’s a fire inside me that is stronger than the one I face

Because hate can be fierce and hot and it can burn but there is a fury in love that can raze every forest of cruelty to the ground

Because in the end we’re all afraid every second of every day and that is no excuse

And so

`

Because what if every moment I have lived has led up to this one?

Because what if every choice I have made has prepared me for this one?

Because what if this is the point of me? What if I’m here on this planet to be here for you on this day?

And so

`

Because I have no idea who you are or how many of you there are but I know that you are a human being and that you matter

Because not trying is worse than failing

Because I’d rather be haunted by faces I couldn’t save than by ones I didn’t try to

And so

`

I will go

`

Remember when you feel the rain on your face and look up into a bright blue sky and bite into a freshly baked cookie and hug that person who makes you laugh and turn on music in your car and feel sorrow shoot its silver arrow into your soul—remember that you’re alive and that that’s very good thing and it’s worth protecting. Remember that if you stop trying to help other people stay alive too, then you are already dead. Remember how there were two of them, twins, and how we’ve got to stand together. Remember to act, so that each tomorrow find you further than today. So that you can die with no regrets. Remember. Then go. Fight the next fire, and the next, and the next, and don’t be afraid. The day is coming when they will all die out. Just make sure you were one of the ones who fought when you had the chance. 


A post with pictures of a really cool place I visited this summer plus a mini life update is coming soon. =)

for all I have lost (he never tells me why)

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for all i have lost

for all i am not

for all that was not as i had hoped

for every crumpled dream

for every tear on every mask-cracked face

for every piece of the world that breaks

just a little bit more…

for

all

the

pain

`

i weep

`

i nestle knees to chest

and wonder

WHY???

which he never answers

`

instead he always tells me

who

truth, way, life

hope, strength, refuge

creator, redeemer, sustainer

right hand, banner, shepherd

bread and water, vine and door

one who hears, who sees, who knows, who—

why?

who?

I AM

in which I tell you how my year has gone & stuff I’ve learned

When you take AP classes, the test looms over your whole year, an ominous mountain in the distance you never lose sight of, despite the many hills of lab reports, essays, and projects. By April, it is huge, the only thing you see.

Like any other student, I was crazy stressed for all my AP exams (I had Biology, Calculus, and Latin.). But unlike most others, I desperately wanted to take them. Much as they fray my nerves, I love big tests like these because I relish the challenge. I wanted the satisfaction of surviving and doing well in something hard. A good score would be a validation of everything I put into the subject and the class. It had to do with my pride but also just my desire for all my hard work to pay off.

And it had been hard work. AP Calculus is challenging enough, but when picking up a pencil, much less writing with it, causes pain to shoot up your arm and embed itself deep in your hand, well, AP calculus is really really hard then. Eventually I had to remind my perfectionistic self that this time I had a valid excuse for not doing things as thoroughly as I thought I should.

essay-writing

In late October, when I began to accept that whatever was going on wouldn’t resolve itself soon, my mind flew over the upcoming months and settled on the second week of May. I imagined myself sitting at a desk in an unfamiliar school, bent over one of my AP tests. I remember thinking, There is no way that is going to happen. No way.

In January, I thought I wouldn’t be able to graduate. I’d lie in bed at night and watch my future and my dreams crumble around me. Before, I had wondered how far in education I’d like to go—a Masters or even, who knew, a PhD? Now I was concerned about simply finishing high school. I started judging how well a day would go by how much it hurt to brush my teeth after breakfast. Sometimes I would sit at my desk waiting for math class to start and cry, wondering how I would get through it.

In February, I had written out emails in my head to my teachers, explaining why I wasn’t able to take the exams. Even the week of all the exams itself, I still had an email planned to my Latin teacher, since Latin was the last test and also the one that required the most writing. I am not usually one to give up hope, but this year I was absolutely sure there was no way I would be able to complete the Latin exam—and probably not the others either.

In March, things began to look up. I was in less pain, I was doing things I hadn’t for a while. The terrible fear that I wouldn’t graduate stopped haunting me at night. For the first time in many months, I started to feel hopeful.

Then April hit, and for no explicable reason, things got bad again. It was worse this time, probably because I had experienced, very slightly and very fleetingly, what it was like to hurt less. Descending back into the pain after that was horrible. The shadow of the AP mountain smothered me in stress. Discomfort prevented me from sleeping well.

Camping

Enter the first week of May. I had arrived at base camp, and I was determined to everything in my power to prepare myself for the climb. That Friday, three days before my first AP, I decided to do something I had never done before: I skipped an assignment (gasp). I did it to preserve my arms, and I clamped down on my internal shrieks long enough to enter a score of zero. (In case you’re concerned, I emailed my teacher to explain the zero, and she was super nice and understanding about it.)

The next part of my get-through-APs plan was physical therapy. We had scheduled an appointment for that Friday morning. I’d been doing PT for several months now, and while it didn’t improve things permanently, it did prevent them from getting worse. But when we got to the office, it appeared there had been some miscommunication. Somehow, we didn’t have an appointment after all. Great.

I felt discouraged, but I resolved that I would simply stay away from any writing or typing for the next few days. When I was trying to figure out an activity that wouldn’t hurt my arms, it hit me: I could look through all my cards from friends and family! How fun and relaxing, and it didn’t involve a pencil or a computer.

An hour into the affair I suddenly realized that my arms were aching. With growing dread, I realized—way too late—that all the unfolding, refolding, and flipping through of the letters required just as much from my hands as typing would have. I felt sick to my stomach and behaved very much like Dobby. “You’re so stupid,” I told myself. “Stupid. Stupid.” I kept thinking that after everything I’d done to try to protect my arms, I had just blown everything. I had ruined everything I’d worked for this year. If I couldn’t make it through the APs, it would be my fault.

The next two days I was in the worst pain I had been in all year—and at the very time when I needed my arms to be strongest. Something in the back of my mind whispered, Maybe God is having all this happen to show you how strong he is. Maybe he’ll get you through it, and you’ll come away seeing how great he is.

But I was too frightened to believe it. Another part of my mind yelled back, God isn’t that good.

So Monday morning arrived, and with it the AP biology exam. I sat down at a horribly uncomfortable desk. My feet could barely reach the floor (yeah, I’m kind of short), and to get high enough to write naturally on the desk I had to sit on the very edge of the chair, since the seat started in a valley in the back and rose up steeply from there (who designs these things anyway?). I picked up a pen, felt the pain, and thought, like I had all year, no way.

But I guess when God says that his ways are above ours, he really means it. And when he says he’s the God of the impossible, it’s actually true. Because I got through all three AP exams. I not only finished them, but I did my best on them.

hands

Friday night, when my last AP exam was over, I went into my room, closed the door, and whisper-shouted at the ceiling: “You did it!!” (I rarely use multiple exclamation points.) Then, in awe, “You did it. You did it. You got me through.” It was almost a question, not of doubt but unfathomable wonder. From a human point of view, there is no way I should’ve gotten through those tests, nine hours of holding a pencil, not to mention the other assignments I also had that week. But then, when were we ever supposed to look at things from a human point of view?

Guys, God is good. He is so good. He is so powerful. He is so above us in the best of ways. The whole point of this story is to say—to shout at the top of my lungs, to sing to all the world—that God is good. That when you are your very weakest, that is when he is strongest. That when everything looks impossible, that is when he reaches down to make it happen. That when you reach the coldest, loneliest part of the night, that is when he tells the sun to rise.

This whole year—well, my whole life actually—I have put limitations on God. I have told him that he can’t do things. Not directly exactly, but when I looked at that mountain and thought no way I can climb it, what I really was saying was no way you can help me climb it, God. I assumed that the only way for me to be able to complete the APs was by my own strength—by my clever planning, by all the appointments and exercises and remedies. Instead, God had every single plan of mine fall through. He set me in the middle at what appeared to be a worst-case scenario and then said, Watch what I can do.

I’ve always loved quotes like “the shadow proves the sunshine” and the verse about “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” But until this year, I’ve never truly lived them out. I’ve never experienced to them for myself.

This year has felt in some ways like a nightmare. I’ve always had a ridiculously low pain tolerance, and often I couldn’t believe this particular trial was happening to me. But if it hadn’t happened, I would never have experienced all the love I have. The love of my family (which deserves its own separate post) and the love of God have colored these painful days in strokes as glorious and vibrant as a sunset. When I think about last week, the week that haunted these past few months, my heart can’t stop dancing. I feel his smile all around me, and I keep thinking, “You did it!!

Our God is so much bigger than we let ourselves dream. And this is coming from someone who calls herself a dreamer. I used to feel like it was presumptuous and arrogant to ask God for things or to believe he’d really forgiven me. He has helped me and forgiven me so many times, who am I to ask him for more?

But I am learning (quite slowly, granted) that that’s just what he wants us to do. He wants us to keep coming back, keep asking for help and forgiveness, keep trusting him to do great things. Who am I to tell him he can only forgive me so many times? Who am I to limit God’s help to a finite number I determine? Isn’t this the place he most wants us to be, on our knees begging him for salvation? I’ve got to pound it into my head: he wants me to depend on him.

I’m graduating this week. It’s certainly not the senior year I was expecting; it was far harder than I could have imagined but also so much better. This quote sums up what I’ve learned—or really, what I’m learning:

[God’s] love disposes him to desire our everlasting welfare and his sovereignty enables him to secure it. {A W Tozer}

What a good God we have.


God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. {Psalm 46:5, 7}

I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise you forever, because you have done it; and in the presence of your saints I will wait on your name, for it is good. {Psalm 52:9b-10}


So my arms are still fried from APs, but once school finishes this week, I won’t have to use them for much. Your prayers and support have meant so much. ❤ It would be such a blessing if you kept praying that my arms will completely heal. The hope is that by resting them this summer, they will heal enough for me to go to college this fall (more on college another time). That will require a lot of self-control on my part, and if you guys have any ideas of activities that don’t involve too much repetitive hand movements (like knitting xD) that would be awesome. =D

Okay, enough about me. I want to know how you are: How has this year been for you? What are some things you’ve learned? Am I the only one who thinks of God as way too small (please say no xD)? What are your summer plans?

a celebration of spring

A few weeks ago my family, aunt, and two cousins went to Keukenhof, a huge garden in the Netherlands with literally millions of flowers. The weather was perfect, and I took 400+ photos. *sheepish grin* My family kindly put up with me stopping every foot and snapping more pictures. There was just too much GORGEOUS. Anywho, I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you guys since I want to share more of my photography. Enjoy my little celebration of spring. 

(Also if you click on the pictures you can see a bigger version, which I’d recommend since I think they look better bigger. =D)


 

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

~ e. e. cummings

So, dear readers: How’s your spring coming? What kinds of natural beauty have you enjoyed? Which picture is your favorite? *hands out some lemonade and cookies*

 

holy week | poem 3

I was thinking about all the different characters in the Easter story, and I was intrigued by how Peter and Judas reacted to so differently to their failures and to the offer of forgiveness. 

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They say he promised paradise to the sweat-stained, sin-soaked scumbag hanging next to him.

I saw when he looked at a prostitute with eyes that spoke not condemnation or revulsion but love, deep, unshakeable love.

But I can not believe any of that could be applied to me.

I am not just a murderer or a thief or a slut; I am a traitor.

The sound of thirty pieces of silver shattering in shame on the temple tiles haunts my steps.

The taste of the bread he handed me when marking me as the one sours my mouth even now.

The look in his eyes right before I kissed him with my lying, poisoned mouth—

No.

I am impossibly far from mercy.

Impossible. After all I have seen him do, I dare to declare that.

So I turn my back on the light, and I run headlong into the darkness

With monsters whispering in my ears of despair, of my sin, of the blood on my hands that is seeping into the fetid depths of my charred heart,

Of me me me me wretched me.

They tell me that I am a good man, to recognize my sin, to hate it so much, to consider it so great as beyond redemption,

That at least in this I am not betraying him.

I do not see that all I am really doing is saying that he is too weak to ransom me.

That my sin is more powerful than his love.

And so my death gains not my absolution

But only proclaims my greatest blasphemy.

Silhouettes rooster crows in the morning

I remember when I first met him.

I was sweat-soaked and red-faced, the odor of fish permeating my clothes and skin.

The numbing repetition of my days had snuffed out any dreams. There was no escape from my destiny of loud, stupid, reeking fisherman.

And then he looked into my eyes, piercing me like I would a fish,

And what could I do but follow?

For he looked at me like I had some sort of worth.

When he looked at me, I felt like a warrior. I felt the rags of my past life slipping away.

He pulled me up from the waves and called me his rock.

And I betrayed him.

When I needed him, he saved me.

When he needed me, I abandoned him.

I was ashamed of him. It was like a sickness had invaded me, like I was falling into a swirling vortex, dizzy and dark. I raged against it even as I gave into its clutches.

When the rooster crowed, I thought

I’ll kill myself. 

I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t deserve to live anymore.

And then I saw him. He saw me.

His eyes bored straight into mine, like the first time—

I’ll kill myself

And all I saw was

Forgiveness. Compassion. Love.

So I didn’t kill myself, but I ran away anyway,

Back to my boat and the only thing I was good for. Who had I been kidding these past few years?

But again he sought me out

And again he told me I had a purpose, that I was his rock.

Forgiveness.

Who was I to take it? Three times, I had spit on him, on all he had given me.

I had made it to so very clear that I wanted nothing to do with him.

And here he was, hand outstretched, saying it again,

Follow me.

And I realized that it wasn’t about me, about my failures, that to truly love him would be to accept his love.

It is finished, he had said.

Who was I to say, no, it’s not, I must redeem myself? Who was I to say that I even could?

So I took his hand, and he pulled me up,

As he would do again and again and again the rest of my life.

holy week | poem one

*appears with a dramatic flourish of my cape* Hey hey hey. Spring break is this week for me, which means more fun writing (well, any fun writing at all). It happens to line up with Holy Week, which I’m really happy about because I wanted to write some Easter poems. Ugh, guys, I’ve missed poetry writing so much I can’t even describe it. Not being able to do NaPo this year is painful. But this week I’ll be doing what I can, and I’m excited to share whatever poems or musings I come up with. *prances about happily* Okay, let’s get started. 

So. Palm Sunday. Here’s the story if you don’t know it.


palm

when we sang

hosanna

we were dreaming of

white horses and grand armies,

freedom from oppression

and the destruction of Rome

we imagined riches and peace

and comfort and defeated enemies

so we paved the path with palm branches

and all these gilded dreams

and we cried

hosanna

`

but when your path led only

to shame and pain and dark,

when instead of conquering the Romans

you became their next victim,

their next victory,

how could we sing

hosanna

then?

`

this does not look like what we dreamed

this is not glory and power and freedom

this is suffering and sorrow and sacrifice

this is hard and lonely and

we do not want it

`

we will only sing

hosanna

when you give us what we think we want

when your path lines up with our dreams

when you save us from anything but ourselves

an unseen kingdom, a spit-soaked cross

is too high a price for our

hosanna

thank you, pi

cirkels

we live in a world bereft of wonder

all these ones and zeroes,

supermarkets bloated with too many trivialities, and

news flash fast food facebook frenzies

whittle away at our sense of awe

until the word ‘awesome’

is as flat and empty as a computer screen when the power’s out

don’t we all hate power outages?

seems like society is suffering

from one big power outage

seems we’ve all forgotten

that power comes from fairy tales and children’s stories,

from those old-fashioned things called truth and charity,

from people who value silence and family dinners and walks in the park

 

but every once in a while,

something comes along that strips away at

the callouses encasing our souls

and opens our eyes to the magic that hides in the mundane:

something like pi

 

you brush your teeth and the water flows down a circular pipe

you walk to work and step over a round manhole

you slip on a bracelet with a diameter unfortunately much wider than your wrist’s

the clock on the wall, the ball in your garage, the shape of your favorite coffee mug—

everywhere, circles

you learn about them almost as soon as you can walk

you experience them the first time you look into your mother’s eyes

no beginning, no end,

just one continuous curve

so simple, right?

and yet woven into their nature is a ratio that defies rationality

we’ll never truly understand it, never fully map it

infinity—

with all our learning and research and inventions,

what do we understand about infinity?

we are building a tower so we can touch the stars

but there are some things that will forever remain outside our grasp,

some mysteries that will always demand humility

mysteries like a number that goes on forever and never repeats

mysteries like a God who can create such a number and knows its every digit

 

here’s to circles,

constant and familiar and sure

and here’s to the pearl at their centers,

the marvel that never stops unraveling,

a trail of mystery and magic winding past anything we can know into infinity …

thank you, pi,

for shaking us from our stupor

and reminding us again

what it is

to wonder

Happy Pi Day, everyone!

 

 

there is a kind of poetry in pain

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I read a blog post the other day encouraging writers to write. Like, don’t ignore it because you’re busy with other hobbies or projects or life because if you’re really a writer, it’ll hurt you, body and soul, not to write. It’s unhealthy not to write.

But what if you can’t, literally can’t?

There are twin wings of fire stretching across my back, searing into my shoulders. 

The thought comes to me one day, one of the bad days. I like how that sounds, twin wings of fire. I imagine them stretching behind me, devouring my days in a smoky haze of hurt.

I take a shower and let the soothing warmth cascade down my burning shoulders and start composing a poem in my head about twin wings of fire. There are many different kinds of pain, I am learning. When it’s bad, I like to describe the pain mentally with the most vivid words I can conjure. They’re good poems, these ones inscribed in my mind.

I wonder if I’ll ever write them.

I discover that every part of me that hurts is also a part of God mentioned in the Bible.

My hands scream after holding a pencil—but He has a mighty right hand, and I am held in His palm.

My arms throb—but He has everlasting arms (teach me to lean on them).

My shoulders ache after only an hour of work—but His shoulders, they bear the weight of kingdoms.

These comparisons comfort me, they get me out of bed each day and quell the cries of terror at night.

When I scroll through blogs, I feel a cold ball settle in my stomach. With every word I read, I feel a dart of pain shoot through my heart. I should be happy, should be encouraged by my friends’ words, should rejoice over their art. But I don’t. Instead, I feel sick. Sick with jealousy. I want to write, I want to create, I want glowing comments on my blog. And then I feel sick at myself. I’m a horrible friend. I’m a horrible person.

I guess that’s one good thing that’s coming from this: I’m realizing how weak I am, physically and spiritually.

i watched the city burn

these dreams like ashes float away

Your voice I never heard

only silence 

/

where were You when our hearts were bleeding?

where were You, it all crashed down?

never thought that You’d deceive me

where are You now?

why

I have asked this question many times.

why why

But I have found that it only leaves me drained, full of more despair.

why why why

It leaves me focused on the darkness. But oh God, I need to see the light.

So I have been trying to say thank you instead.

thank you that I can get out of bed by myself, dress myself, feed myself

thank you that I can hear music

thank you that I can see the faces of people I love and ink on a page and sunlight through trees

thank you that I can taste chocolate

thank you that I can smell the air after a rain storm

thank you that I can touch my soft sheets and my little sister’s cheek

thank you that I can think, that I have a good mind, that I can learn and analyze and ponder

thank you for friends that pray for me and laugh with me and help me keep on dreaming

thank you for a family where we say “I love you” to each other and make up after fights, for a home that’s a safe place

thank you for You, for Your crazy promises that You’ll never leave me and You have a plan

emre-gencer-15152

Nothing is wasted, sings Jason Gray.

And my dad says to me: God will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten.

I guess, if I really needed to write right now, I would be able to. But I’m not. So God will get me through another way.

One day, I was sitting on my bed, crying, and the fragments of poems I’ve drafted in my head whispered through my mind, and I thought of all the poetry I’ve been memorizing recently because that at least is something I can do, and it hit me suddenly, a Truth so much stronger and truer than the reality of my current affliction—

there is a kind of poetry in pain

I jumped off the bed and scribbled it on a piece of paper, and it lay there on my desk for days, a silent shout of defiance.

Somehow this pain is opening my eyes to deeper truths of poetry and art and beauty and how they are all woven into our lives, and someday it will help me create poetry that is better and deeper and truer than it ever could have been if I had been fine.

I read, once, that all great artists have some kind of tragedy in their lives, and I used to be anxious because I’ve really had a great life, so I probably would never be a great artist … but now, I’m suffering. It’s not a tragedy as horrific as many others have endured, of course, but it’s suffering all the same.

And I believe that God will use this taking away of my art to eventually enable me to create even better art.

Your heart is full of broken dreams
Just a fading memory
And everything’s gone but the pain carries on
Lost in the rain again
When will it ever end?
The arms of relief seem so out of reach
But I, I am here
/
I am with you
I will carry you through it all
I won’t leave you, I will catch you
When you feel like letting go
Cause you’re not, you’re not alone
/
And I will be your hope, when you feel like it’s over
And I will pick you up, when your whole world shatters
And when you’re finally in my arms, 
Look up and see: Love has a face.

I want to create art. It’s what I’m called to do, made to do. I can hear my soul crying out to add some beauty to this world.

But I can’t draw or write or play an instrument, I can’t create art, I can’t

A quote rises from the mists of my memory, from Henry Hames’ The Portrait of a Lady:

“Don’t you remember my telling you to make your life a work of art?”

It’s one of those moments when I know God is speaking directly to me.

I may not be able to create art of paper or pen (or screen), no, but couldn’t I make it of my life?

Could me praising God in the pain be my painting, with  brushstrokes of thankfulness and a fierce, shining, defiant joy?

Could me treating my siblings kindly, with respect and care despite my own problems or agenda, be my song, with notes of love and grace?

Could my every breath, my every mundane task, my every falling and being forgiven be my poem, etched in my actions for all to read?

Could my life be art?

What a masterpiece a life could be, so far beyond one small novel or sketch. Maybe by taking away my original dream, God is showing me one far greater.

Of course He is. That’s the kind of God He is. I put limits on Him, told Him He couldn’t use me to make something beautiful if I couldn’t write.

But whoever heard of God not being able to do something?

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~ 2 corinthians 12:9-10


So I’ve been on break this week, and it’s been so wonderful to write two whole blog posts. Now that I’ll be diving back into school, I might disappear again, but I will be back eventually. Oh, and *hands chocolate to the wonderful unsplash for the photos*

Thank you as always for your comments and likes—I love hearing from you all, and I honestly feel blown away that you guys are still around after my sporadicity (word?) and silence. Don’t forget how fabulous each of you are. *hands you all some chocolate too because y not chocolate is da best*