Tuesday, August 28, 2012

thirty four

august 17 2012

you probably
don't think like me
and if you do and if you do,      
                    that's a misfortune.
because if
you do think like me,
every time you put
you over-analyze and pull u  s   a  p  a  r  t until we end in
if you think like me,
every time a little ant of a thought of us that's ideal and happy occurs,
your mind squishes it with it's
great    big      rational      thumb.

and moves on.
I think too much.
that's why I'm always
that's why I'll always be

I've thought enough about my own heart's condition to know that
there is a
       wound in my heart
                         that cannot and
                                          will not be healed.
until I die.
"but you're a happy person" you say.
well I'm happy because that makes you happy and I want to make everyone happy because we're all going to die in the end anyway.
"but you believe in something beyond this life" you say.
I do. I do.
50% of the time
I am
believing and rejoicing.
the other 50%
I wonder
"what's the point"
"if I died, would anyone care?"
"why don't I just die now?"
and that leads to a spiral

into a

 deep pit

of self-mind-mutilation that only someone whose mind is built like mine could know.
a mind that thinks
a mind that knows
that the
                                     one  thing
its heart wants
can never be
on this great big earth.

so all this to say

but I
don't expect
it's true.

*the style is shamelessly based on the style of e.e. cummings, who is my favorite*

Monday, August 27, 2012

thirty two/thirty three

thirty two/journal entry from the beach with Jen
(July 30th, 2012)
...God promises "peace like a river" in the end [of Isaiah]. I could not help but think of the coursing waters of the Tennessee River. It is so powerful and beautiful. It's life-giving and it never stops. It cradles those that are upon it and it snuggles with Chattanooga. God's going to give us peace like that.

thirty three
(this is a snippet of a larger idea that will be expounded upon someday)

an expiring flashbulb in the skies
the bright street lamps and my blinking eyes
the asphalt shifting below a thousand tires
and the smoke rising from the forest fires
this drought of my heart now plaintively crying for rain
expected satisfaction when the thunder came
your arms held me close, but no showers did pour
instead my heart was left as parched as before

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

thirty one/reasons

so here's the deal, I didn't write a thirty one.
I had a spotless record until the week after I got home from camp.
It makes sense to me though. The summer was so hard and long and draining. When I got home, I just wanted to detox by unpacking and doing laundry and laying in my driveway in the sun at noon and hiking with Joe and getting coffee by myself.
Things like that helped me process everything.
So I guess I'm okay with not having an official "thirty one".

This summer, Bethany, Jamie, and I were going separate ways. We wanted to do something that would tie us together. So we were supposed to ask ourselves, weekly, why we believed in God. The reasons, as expected, varied from week to week.
Here's a list of reasons why I believe in God:
-the childlike faith of the Haitian people
-I see His wisdom in my campers
-God is our Father and He is good, He is good, He is good
-He swallowed up death forever
-He can use any fumbled, sleepy words I say for His purposes
-He works through the broken hearted
-If you ask, you will receive because He remains faithful to you
-The incredibly powerful ocean and incredibly powerful forgiveness

Why do you believe in God?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

twenty nine/ thirty

journal entries from cedar lake camp

twenty nine
(July 10th 2012)

...the crickets fill the quiet night with a plaintive song. the hushed voices of children harmonize with the night music. camp is so perfect most of the time, but especially nights like this:
-nights that are cool because of the rain that fell during the day.
-nights full of the sound of Chad strumming and singing beautiful little songs written from a young heart.
-nights where the words "I'll miss you" keep running through my head.
-nights when the sandaled feet of my kindred companions are resting on the wooden porch.
-nights when the rocking chairs are empty.
-nights when the birds are hushed.
-nights when the stars are tucked in a blanket of clouds.

perfection seems to sprout out of these moments. reminding the young to have hope, that life can always be beautiful, and that they are wildly loved by an untamed God.


(June 12th 2012)

in Isaiah 53, it talks about how Christ was afflicted like us.

(June 15th 2012)

how He carried our afflictions and burdens and sorrows. if I believe that, then it makes me wonder if Christ ever suffered from [the consequences of] misplacing His affections. If He ever loved someone He could not ever tell He loved. If His heart ever wanted and longed for a person who could never be His.
yikes. that's so far-fetched.
but it makes you wonder.
Is. 53:3-7
vs. 4 "Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrow..."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

twenty six/twenty seven/twenty eight

(from my journals at cedar lake camp)

twenty six
June 20th 2012

Noodles the Terrifying Panda (he is real)

-He doesn't like it if you bathe in "gel-low" chocolate pudding from Canada
-He loves Tapioca
-He is neutral on vanilla
-He was created in the twilight zone of the Atlantic Ocean
-He attached Guy in 1884
-He attacked Chad in 1966 (sucked out his bones)
-He is a nomad
-He likes fat Americans
-He doesn't sleep
-He's immortal
-He has 5 hearts and 3 brains (he's very cunning)
-A wooden stake tipped in "gel-low" Canadian chocolate pudding through the heart will kill him!

twenty seven
June25th 2012

camp sunsets are gorgeous
the silver sliver of a moon is hanging in the baby blue sky. lace like clouds surround it
dust and ants are covering the land beneath me
it seems to be wailing, crying out for rain
my feet stomp the ground in rhythm, my heart beats fast
the trees around me shake their leaves, my voice raises-imploring the sky to loose her tears and water the earth
the dust cakes my feet, my hands
by the time the golden light streaks crimson in the evening, I am exhausted from my dance
"red sky and night, sailor's delight" sounds over and over in my mind.

but me and my friends are not sailors.

-I love it when the pink light of the sleepy sun leaks through the wise old trees at camp. the cool breeze blowing. Daniel's voice speaking truth about my Savior-God. the campfire crackling. kids falling asleep and whispering.gold sparks against the blue of the pool. the smell of dirt and sweat and camp being blown in the breeze.

twenty eight
Canoe Camp 2012 (MK, Jen, and Julie helped with this one)

day one:
As the sun rose over the plateau, we set off on our journey. Like a ghost in the night we were whisked away that early morning to the water's edge. We could say "we were gone with the wind." After losing our way, we answered the call of Taylor's Ford. Backs bent and brows sweating, we loaded our bags and our burdens onto the valiant vessel. The Spirit of Dale Hollow welcomed our canoes as we guided them in.
The bow of our boat cut through the water like a knife through slightly warm butter. Our paddles shattered the serene glassy blue-green surface of Dale Hollow.
The burn in our arms was like a furnace cooking the clay piece of a master potter.
And our hearts beat as one.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

ayiti mon amour. from Leogone./twenty five

(june ninth 2012)

...the air was polluted by dust and smoke. beautiful dark children with their arms around each other's waists and their flashing smiles. the chaotic city marched and ran and balanced her way around our vehicle. the lightly golden crumbling rocks and grey metal sheets coat the area all around. bursts of vibrant color interrupt the  monotonous shades of neutral.
there are currently two precious little girls in our courtyard...they question us with their little dark eyes while never uttering a word. they respond to our love with only their unwavering trust.

(june eleventh 2012)

Henry Nouwen "The Genesee Diary"
pg 1. "...maybe I was slowly becoming a prisoner of people's expectations instead of a man liberated by divine promises. Maybe...it was not at all that clear, but I realized that I would only know by stepping back and allowing the hard questions to touch me even if they hurt." holy crap.

in Momance, I was physically exhausted and emotionally strained. we walked around the village and prayed for the women in the "houses." we prayed for health, love in abundance and safety. my heart was stirred by the simple genuineness of the people. the beauty of their faces and the touch of their bodies moved me. when we returned to where they were working, I couldn't comprehend the emotions and thoughts that were pounding in my head and my heart. I cried because the people are strong in the face of adversity. I cried because of the beauty of the people in the midst of disaster. I cried because of the joy of the people in the midst of extreme darkness.
I'm still drained and emotionally damaged. it's okay, though. I will be renewed.
today has been about settling down. and that's okay.

(june twelfth 2012)
...oh hey, I rode on the back of a motorcycle in Haiti.
yes. it's true.
so exhilarating. the mountains rushing by me and the wind caressing my hair ad the sun beaming down on me. it was literally on of the most exciting things I've ever done.

(june sixteenth 2012)
-tap-tap rides at sunrise
-shooting stars on the roof
-black coffee on an aged stove
-well-water showers
-dust in my lungs
-dark eyes
-broad grins
-peeling laughter
-immense pain
-terrifying amounts of joy
-Kyle and his crazy self
-ta-ta loving on Chris and Lewis
-crumbling walls
-endless mountains
-kisses in abundance
-feeling useless-but knowing you're not
-faces that bear all the traces of suffering and bodies scarred by lost battles against time and sickness and life in general. it seems that Haiti keeps on losing. the people are sick and have no homes. the women are weak and have no hope. the men are lost and have no livelihood. their God is largely unknown in most ways. He is a mystery who takes more than He gives. He is a God that causes the earth to quake and great walls to fall. This God is power. This God is all-knowing. This God is seemingly nothing like my God. My God that blesses me with rainy days and hands to hold and sweet words.
This God is Love.
This small favor-granting God is a pure-bred American delusion. He's there when I want Him, but stays in His box when I need Him no more. this is not the God of the Haitian people. the God of these strong, beautiful people supplies them with Joy.
gives them Hope.
grants them Peace.
Haiti is beating in my heart. the mountains and the water are pulsing through my veins...
-thoughts of goodbye that don't even occur until after the goodbyes.
-prayers. in creole. in anglais.
-Nadine telling for me to wait for her. and me and the tap-tap leaving. me not getting to kiss her sweet face one last time. not getting to see those bows blowing in the wind again. not hearing her say "Em-el-lie" in her little womanly voice. that was so rough!
-this trip has been dreamlike. I want to  I'm going to go back to Haiti and really live next time.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

twenty four

I feel the streets of the city in me:
spreading throughout my body like winding veins.
my ribs are the many bridges that cross over the flowing river of
pulsing life
inside of me.
the quiet nights and the mysterious darkness of the city
is what happens when
I cover my eyes
with my hands.
I'm not wanting to see the sun.
the filthy heart of the city is as dark as
the dirty beggars on the deserted corners are but voices coming from
I'm begging for affection.
for comfort.
I am this city.
this city is apart of me:
with its coffee shops
and museums
and dingy clubs
and public parks.
all of these places people go to
to find themselves.
the street singers.
the lights of the valley.
the mountain sunsets.
I am this city.
this city is a part of me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Psalm 42

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of 
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the LORD commands his 
        steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

I hope to post about Haiti and Camp separately and in-depth sometime in the future, but for right now, I'm going to sum up my summer as best as I can.
This summer has been more difficult than I could imagine or expect. It has broken my heart and left it in pieces. It has challenged my patience. It has not been the easy and refreshing summer I hoped for. It has not rebuilt me in the same ways that I was rebuilt last summer. This summer has been the hardest summer of my life. That sounds so dramatic and a little bit whiny, but it's true.
But, (oh the blessed article, it insures something hopeful after all the hopeless) it has been good. This summer has perhaps been the best summer of my life. I have been crushed and re-crushed by God's breakers and waves. And that's okay. God is never done growing me. He's not ever done taking things that I think I need or that I want away. He's never done refining my faith.
I stumbled upon this Psalm while at the beach last week with Jenny.
I read it three times in a row without stopping. After the third time, I thought "this is this summer."
It is.
I shall again praise Him.