Confident Expectations

The Sweet Life“God who has led you safely on so far, will lead you on to the end. Be altogether at rest in the loving holy confidence which you ought to have in His heavenly providence.”  – Francis de Sales

Oh holy night and goodness gracious combined where do I begin to recount the Lord’s provisions of the last two months! May I begin with the fact that the Lord certainly works in mysterious ways. For the last few years the Lord has kept my life still, or at least it seemed so. Sometimes it felt painfully stagnant and I felt like one of the Psalmists crying out to the Lord in confusion and frustration with his provision. Of course in the back of my mind I knew, I truly understood that the Lord was setting everything in place. ” For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Well just slap a sticker on me; I’m sold. How incredible are the words of our Creator! He is truth. He is light. He is HOPE. So there I was just waiting and I was tired, so tired, and hungry, so hungry. I was thirsting desperately for a community of believers that would, through Him, fill up my cup with His love, and provide me with the opportunity to practice filling up others. Then, the Lord when He said GO, He meant it. As soon as I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Early Childhood and Special Education the Lord threw me into a whirlwind of love, confusion, but praise my Lord so much growth. Six days after my graduation day I left for the summer to begin His work as a camp counselor to hundreds of His little girls. Never have I experienced a more painful and beautiful feeling. I felt as though I was Eustace from C.S. Lewis’  “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:”

“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.  You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place.  It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away….Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”

I experienced such a strong, vital Christian community that poured out love without hesitation. I learned what it meant to sow seeds and what it feels like to see His harvest. I have begun to embrace that the Lord is the creator of time and that even our most fervent prayers are subject to His schedule. God rarely works according to our time tables. I learned how to depend fully on Him as I poured out so much of myself emotionally each day and never once had a camper return that exchange. He has led me to the Red Sea where my new job as a teach awaits me two hours from my childhood home and has revealed Pharaoh’s army, time, charging on behind me and He has told me, like Moses relayed to the Israelites, that He is my deliverance.

“Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 – Isaiah 41:10

I am terrified and thrilled to continue on as a messenger of God’s love in world wracked with a lack of Hope.

“I press on to win the prize which Christ has called me for.”

 – Philippians 3:14

Subsist

An empty room, white-washed walls of one-way mirrors. Question. Forgotten or put on display? A shelter within an imploded world.  For the inhabitants, two, are unfamiliar with any revision.  Cold. Every wish reaches for the ever-increasing urgency to be cocooned, taken in, sheltered, considered, swathed in another’s languishing. And in the center, the final fixture, like a birdcage shaped as though elephants, horses, and tremendous cats pranced and hissed their disagreement of the jolly spectacle they’ve become.

Two, yes, each arguing with the reality of the other, approach their opposite with utter disdain and revulsion as though one wish, one action, one word could quell the other. Yet timidity prevails. Feral instincts. Smell the hand, chance a glance or touch, but no prediction can be made as to the outcome. It is either peace or abolition. One space, vast as it is, cannot hold both and so they circle each other like boxers in a ring only gambling a blow when the other lies comatose. It is endless,  a consuming cycle of fear, guilt, desperation, guilt and the prevailing facade. Repeat.

Person

 

“She’s my person. If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She’s my person.” ~ Dr. Cristina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy. I have found my person. I am twenty-two years old and I have found my person. Not a significant other, or a best girlfriend, she’s my sister, D.D.(short for Nadine, when I was barely knee-high). I found her a little over twenty-one years ago. Of course I had no idea, no idea at all until quite a few years later. The years were long and the fights were longer, but at some point, my obnoxious, overachieving, opinionated ‘brat’ of a little sister, became the precocious terror of my best friend. For that I am always proud.

I’ll begin with the early years. Although  I have no true recollection of this happening, I hold the memory of this story dear. When D.D.  was a little over two years old, she spent Sunday mornings in the church nursery. One particular Sunday, my mom went to pick her up and the caregiver reported that D.D. had been asking incessantly for something called her ‘Lini.’ She asked whether this was some sort of toy, stuffed animal, or blanket, to which my mom replied that her ‘Lini,’ was in fact, her sister, me. Since then we’ve been Lini, and D.D.. We could have been twins considering how similar we looked, and it did not help that our Mom dressed us in matching ruffled dresses and bows. Our great-grandmother would say we were her peaches.

As we grew up, Nadine and I came to be known as ‘The Girls.’ We answered to one name by friends, family, and teachers. One could say we were inseparable and not always by choice. In fact, we had more than a heaping spoonful of sugar of clashes. These may be credited to our blaring differences in personality, and also to the inevitable parallels we shared in our extracurricular activities and academic records. We had practically the same life, but differed drastically in our perspectives on how to live it. This continued through high school and through part of college as we ran the race of the GPA. We tied in the end.

Eventually, we both followed our own branches, but I will say I am especially proud of my sister’s branch. After graduating high school at sixteen, my D.D. went on to be editor-in-chief of our college newspaper at nineteen. She will graduate at twenty-one at the top of her class. Her most recent accomplishments include a highly praised short film, two years as counselor and program staff at a well renowned summer camp and is currently working as the marketing intern for the same camp.

Life with D.D. is an adventure. Although we are both highly driven and ambitious, she is a constant wonder. I know in the future she would adore a full-time contract with the aforementioned organization, but only as part of her daily endeavor to be the best she can be for the glory of her Creator. I have no worries. Although she is climbing the ladder rungs two-by-two, she is sure-footed, confident, and humble. SHE is my person.

 

 

Huddled Masses on Her Chest

The ties are cut.

Only the loosest root, an unwavering glimpse of

unquestionable loyalty remains. Her routine,

held sixteen years fast,

now discontinued, now neglected, now without value.

What can be said?

Her boxes, like cardboard, now shredding at the seams;

each author scrambling and mocking

as though they were senile poultry to keep things

just as they have always been.

Who is afraid?

mark one

It was a silent dive, without resistance, no extension extending to the surface. She landed with purpose once she arrived. She spoke little, but said much; each carve, jab, reversion, and pressure point promised a perplexity obscured from sight. Her’s namely.

Two years, a sudden sound effect, and now, only an inhale. Consolation, if such a word exists outside hyperbole, was to her the pervasiveness of those little saviors. This had always been. No speculation of tension could exist in concert with them. And now, in her pending absence of muchness, she presupposed their presence. Or was it her’s? No matter. They were there, they would smile, bringing back her familiar moppet.

Twenty strides towards them, for, of course, her gait must match theirs. ” Criss-cross, applesauce…stack up your plates…” You know that nightmare, the one where you flee with all of your voice. This was her shriek, crippled by the dampness of sudden desolation, like the hope of a vibrant breath of a summer in Georgia. “They were not…They would not smile…There would be no familiar…!” This inarticulate sob brought her to the deafening cognizance of her prevailing, absolute reality. It was a glimpse to the final inhale. Everything revolving, but those roots anchored to a cloud, the room spun wrong-side-out. She was left behind, inert, clutching on to the only familiarity omitted, that of her own sensation. And so it goes, digging trenches in her skin.

ground zero

“Whoosh!…” What gripping irony? That single enunciation encompassed at once a direction and the onomatopoeia of that moment, if such an absence could make a sound. Mid-sentence, mid-thought, mid-smile, hurriedly taken from her haven amid the storm. Little ones are that way, or course, unknowingly, each is a savior. This is what struck her. She was relieved, curious admittedly, and frightened. Relieved you see because although she had remained active in the past year, a constant presence, she had long been an umbrage of what she had once known. She was now only a gear in a clock set to stop, each tick a tally of compliance.

     It was only one half of a breath, she inhaled and ceased to be seen, and with it her will to speak.  All the words that never came out, trapped mindlessly running circles in her head. From here, new thoughts emanate. Was she only imperceptible or entirely intangible? Had she been forgotten?  Had this inhale had any effect, or had time simply collapsed about her former visage? What intrigue! She felt quite like what she imagined Alice must have felt, always a puzzling change from one minute to another. and then quite the mad hatter interpretation, she wondered if she had, by this technicality, ‘lost her muchness’, and what of that. Would it matter? If yes, to whom?
     She is still there, standing in the harsh repose of those fluorescent lights. The thirteen thigh huggers have moved on to sway like rocking chairs. Down, bow front, down, arc back, fall and lift, fall and lift, hypnotizing to the point of oblivion.

All Sufficient

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Where do I start? It has been a few months since I have written and I can only give one pathetic reason. For two years now I have felt entirely insufficient for any task presented to me. Any role, feeling, accomplishment set before me was faced by my own insecurity, my own inability to  trust, not myself, but the power behind it all. I had let go of the original reason this blog began, to find the hope, to find God in every moment. I’ll be honest, I’ve been throwing myself an epic pity party, which of course only led to more self-hatred. And so it goes.

Let me see if I can give clarity to the line in the sand drawn two years ago.  Simply put, my dearest friend met a great deal of tribulation and as a consequence of knowing, a consequence of thinking, trying,  feeling, caring, I let everything go. That silent dive I once spoke of held me in, swirling, churning and loathing. In that moment, that dreadful awful moment simply one step from oblivion I let everything go. Imagine  the culmination of every cliché nightmare, falling, running, screaming, diving, drowning, all brought about by the single defenestration of two sentences. From there it felt like quicksand. Footsteps held no weight and each glance pleaded for recognition.  But I was just tired right? Working too hard and then of course not enough. And so it goes.

Hallelujah! This life is not my own. The same friend is now two weeks from marriage and what great joy is this! And although part of me is grasping to mentally equip myself for this coming reality, being myself so far from that mile, I cannot help but close my eyes  and smile in wonder and amazement at our GOD.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Even more I have struggled these past two years to step out of myself as a dancer. I find that mentally I have done this, but having held to tradition and loyalty I find myself placed in a box, a set list of adjectives proclaiming my identity, my limits, my purpose. I can no longer stand for this and although I am eternally grateful for each critique, each opportunity, each smile, each private lesson, something must change.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.