Eyes of Love

Melanin, Cartilage, Curves

Genitals, Wrinkles, Nerves –

they’re categorical words,

not the treatment one deserves.

They’re not traits people earn,

but they’re worth fighting to preserve.

They’re pen strokes that occur

impacting our hopes and concerns.

They’re flashes of light in a darkened room,

that barely allow us to see or to move.

They’re what we observe and what we assume,

utterly disregarding so much of the whom.

The surface is telling, but never enough

to recognize the soul beneath its make-up.

For the colors we paint on ourselves and each other,

stifle the truth: we are all sister and brother.

Blood has been the ink of human legacy,

but moving forward, it doesn’t have to be.

We can become our ancestor’s wildest dreams,

if we only let love teach us to see.

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A Friend Is What The Heart Needs All The Time

You know when you’re sitting in a crowded room with your best friend and you use that unspoken, secret language mostly consisting of facial cues to have a full blown conversation?

Well, that is what I want to have with God.  To be in life, in any normal situation, however busy, boring, or baffling and subtly carry on a conversation with Him.  I want to be in a constant dialogue with God, to be sending and receiving messages as easily as giving my best friend a slight eyebrow raise from across the room, receiving back a sly wink, and knowing exactly what it means. I want every heartbeat and every breath to be part of the discussion.  I want two way communication.

The only problem is that I don’t know where to begin.

I read the bible every day; I pray every night; I go to church on Sundays.  But, I want more. I want to know Him on a personal level. I want to see Him, hear Him, feel Him.  I want to hear his laughter more often, for I have on rare occasions and it is a miraculous thing.  It’s not as though I have yet to receive any messages at all.  He has sent a few – most often when I am complaining about something… Did anybody else just hear a soft chuckle?

But I want more.

I want to live my life for him, with Him, and because of Him.

The bible says that if you seek then you will find, if you ask then it will be given, and if you knock the door will be opened.  So, this is me: seeking, asking, and knocking.

Here I am Lord. What now?

The Dancing Introvert

I ended up at a little dance last night. Well, actually, it was a surprise party thrown for the seniors on my track team, but regardless it turned into a dance session with a DJ, a photo booth, and some good food.

For all of you who don’t know, dancing is way out of my comfort zone. I am a very quiet, very still, calm, introvert, who likes nerdy TV shows and plays cards for fun. But, I forced myself to jump in for a few songs before I needed to retreat back to the safety of my empty table.

I found that I had a lot more fun watching my teammates and friends have a good time, than going out and trying to look like a fool myself. Purposefully being ridiculous makes me uncomfortable and that makes it hard for me to enjoy myself. Still, I think it was good for me to venture outside of my comfort zone a little bit and give this thing people call dancing a try.  I was not very good at it, but the experience allowed me to learn some things about myself.

I’d like to encourage all of the introverts out there who may stumble across this post to take a chance from time to time to stretch your boundaries, because you never know, you might find something you really enjoy.  Or, like in this instance, you may learn just how far you can go before you hit that feeling of being overwhelmed.  Stretching and growing your boundaries are a healthy, natural part of life.  (Even if it is really scary sometimes!)

A Chocolate-less World Is A Sad Place To Be

Has anyone ever tried to described something to you that you have never experienced? Something you’d love to try — like a new game or maybe eating some tasty food.

Let’s stick with the food thing.  In fact, let’s get specific.  Let’s say there is some poor gal out there who has never had the experience of falling in love with the taste of chocolate.

She has heard tales of what it supposedly tastes like.  She has read books and seen movies about how it’s made, how it’s formed, and how, if over heated, it can melt and fall apart.  She has been told about how delicious it is, how satisfyingly sweet it tastes as it coats one’s tongue.  She has heard about how it can be bad for you, how consuming too much of it is unhealthy. She has seen first hand the happiness it brings to people, the light it puts in their eyes, right along with the stomach aches it can cause.  She knows the positives and the negatives, the enjoyments and the dangers.  Almost all of her friends have tried at least a little.  Some have had a lot.  Many have even eaten it right in front of her.  She has imagined it to the best of her abilities.  But she has yet to actually taste any, yet to even have a whiff of the heavenly candy.  She would probably think it was just a myth if she wasn’t constantly surrounded by it, and she didn’t have an overwhelming, aching desire to have the tiniest nibblet of the delicacy that many people take for granted.

“Just be patient,” they tell her, “you’ll get some eventually.”

She sighs and gives a pathetic little smile. She tries to ignore the chocolate stained lips of the people around her, the songs sung about it on the radio, the stories and films that portray it in more ways than she could have ever imagined.  She tries to ignore the burning sensation right behind her stomach that is waiting, as patiently as it can, for her very first piece. And then, she does the only thing she can do, carry on about her day.

Life is good because God is in it

I’m thanking God today.

It’s been a long week and a half and I honestly don’t think I could have survived it without His help.  Between the heavy load of papers thrown at me all at the same time, the late nights (due to all the papers), the early mornings, track practices, and an attempt to at least dabble in a tiny social life, each day felt like running a marathon.

Yet, somehow I was stilling enjoying myself.

Granted, I was stressed to the max and tired all the time (so much so that I almost caved and tried drinking coffee to stay awake!)  I was still seeing beauty around me, still laughing and smiling, still making jokes, still being sassy with friends, and reaching out to a few new potential friends.

I wouldn’t have said this yesterday, because yesterday I had just about reached my breaking point — but today, I am able to look back at the past few days and smile.  Life is good, even in the moments when it doesn’t feel like it. When midterm time creeps up and your much needed spring break transforms into a week long trip with the sometimes obnoxious track team, it is still possible to feel rested and praise God.

Prayer is what got me through it.  It’s something I often take part in and yet sometimes forget it’s importance.  I somehow over look just how much of an impact it can have on not only my life, but the life of those around me!

So…

Dear Father, thank You for being with me this week.  I needed You to lean on and You came through.  Thank You for providing me with energy when I was drained, motivation when I was about to give up, strength when I had reached my end, and friends to make me smile.  I pray a blessing over all the people in my life.  May You show up in our day-to-day activities as an overwhelming presence and bring peace and life and wisdom into our lives.  You are so great to Your beloved children.  We will never deserve the love You shower upon us.  May Your name be lifted high till the end of days, when time has withered and the world we know no longer exists, when we all can join in with the angles and saints singing your never ending praises.  Thank You for all that I have and for providing me with all that I will ever need.  May You use me to spread this energy and hope to everyone that I come in contact with. In Your mighty and awesome name, Amen.

Butterfly Soldiers

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An army of butterflies goes forth into battle

To face merciless darkness and unequaled sorrow

Fluttering around in a moment so fleeting

Bringing peace to the broken and hope for tomorrow

The soldiers are moved when the lonely cry out

When a child’s left behind, when the desperate fall down

Their thin wings of color carry wisdom and strength

They bring gifts for you, a sword, shield, and crown.

For you are a child of a matchless, mighty King

They’ve come to remind you you’re loved for eternity

When sin grabs your ankles, tries to trip, slap, and sting

Remember the army of butterflies, hear their battle cry ring.

Packing one’s life to leave the nest

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The process of packing one’s life up in little crates and tubs, walking out of your empty room, shoving all your belongings into a car that seemed big enough in the beginning but is shrinking by the second, and then of course unloading it all at your new home, is a process unlike any other. It makes you realize just how much stuff you have acquired in your short life span and it makes me, at least, appreciate and be grateful for all that I have been blessed with.   It makes leaving home feel real, even though we’ll be back in a few months for Christmas.  As a sophomore in college, this is the second fall that I’ll be packing everything up for my move, which takes place in a week.  It’ll be easier this time around, I know what I need and what I don’t, I’ve learned how to be a proficient packer and stuff more things than would seem possible into small areas, and a majority of my stuff still remains semi packed in the corner of my room.  My sister how ever, who will be a freshmen, has quite a bit of work to do, and her move in date is a few days before mine!  Both of us are getting started today, putting our noses to the grind, getting our booties in gear, and trying to grasp the idea of making our life fit inside the trunk of a car.

Leaving home is both nerve racking and exciting.  Again, this isn’t my first time moving out, so all of the nervousness that I had last year isn’t really there this time around, but I still have the ongoing war between the sadness of leaving my family and the excitement of moving in with friends and jumping back in to my classes.  I am a nerd and love to learn, so, unlike a lot of college students, I look forward to my classes.  Anyways, to any of you out there who are in the middle of packing I’d like to say, it’ll get easier, keep it up, and if things aren’t fitting be creative in your folding and packing techniques, it’ll fit.  To those of you who are just getting started, find a friend or family member, it’ll go faster and be more fun with two, it may seem like a daunting task, but it can be done.  And to any of you out there who are procrastinating, get on it because it takes longer than you think.

Little Quirks

No one is perfect.  Everyone has issues, little quirks in their personalities that they are aware of but struggle to change.  One that I am very open about, even going so far as to offer a warning to those few people who I hope to befriend, is that I ask a lot of questions, often times too many for my own good.  They vary from simple surface questions, to deep personal ones that require the answerer to go digging in the locked closets everyone tries to hide in the dark corners of their minds’ (however I try to keep those to a minimum).  A flaw of mine that I don’t necessarily broadcast but becomes pretty clear once you get to know me, is that I over-analyze just about everything — and with that comes the tendency to blow things out of proportion, at least in my head, leading me to sometimes worry about problems that may not even exist.   My mind often reacts to little blips in the relationships I have with people in a similar way that the tongue makes a tiny sore inside of one’s mouth feel three times bigger than it actually is.  This is one problem that I really would like to work on.  However, I am not really sure how.  I don’t know that I would be willing to give up my over-active brain even if I could get it to shut off.  It is very useful at times, even if it can make falling asleep difficult and occasionally create unnecessary friction.  I suppose it is one of life’s paradoxes.  It is a useful problem, if that makes sense.  It, just like may of our little quirks, in fact, just like most things in life, have good qualities right along side of bad ones.

Laugh through the good times and the bad

Laughing is one of my absolute favorite things.  Whether it be my own or listening to other people giggling across the room.  Fake laughter, just like fake people, bug me tremendously.  It’s like corrupting something precious and pure.  Faking laughter is like wiping dirt all over a clean towel before using it to dry off.  It is a waste of time and energy.  But real, genuine laughter, is something I cherish.  I think one of the reasons why I love it so much is because of where it comes from, the soul.  It occurs when joy starts filling up somebody, eventually reaching the point where the body can’t contain it any more and it has to find some place to go.  The only place it can go, is out.  So it marches its way right on out through the mouth and/or nose — however, perhaps the place laughter is most present, is in the eyes.  Laughter fills up people’s eyes, making them glow like a lighthouse beacon shining out into the darkness, summoning boats back to shore.   It is a beautiful thing, laughter.  A melodious song that attracts smiles and calls out to the chuckles that lay slumber in each of our chests, waiting to be awoken.  On late nights when there isn’t a single thing that isn’t funny, it tickles your brain until there is no way to stop a laughing fit from ensuing.  It is one of the few cures to a bad mood.  And it has a ring of majesty, an echo of gloriousness about it that will never be completely understood nor perfectly described.

Laughter serves many purposes, but one that I have recently caught on to, at least for me, is that laughter is a gage, a way of measuring how much I like somebody.  The more I like someone, the more I laugh when I am with them.  While I was discovering this I thought, perhaps I just like funny people, but I don’t think that is necessarily the case.  When I like someone, enough to call them a friend (and that would be a whole other blog post in of itself) I laugh a lot.  They don’t have to say something funny or do something silly.  They simply create a happiness in me that starts the laughter cycle in motion and out it comes, vibrating its way through my vocal cords.  I don’t think laughter is something you can, or should try to control.  When people attempt to do so, it always becomes fake, and as I mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of that.  But, when you are with someone who you have come to love, be it someone who’s company you are just discovering you enjoy, or someone who has become a person you never want to loose, laughter is practically impossible to stop.  And why would anyone want to?

Another purpose I have found for laughter is a good way to say good bye, or at least bring something to a close.  I have had the same summer job for three years now, and the young lady who trained me and who I have become good friends with, only has one day left.  We are slightly different ages, have different friend groups, and really only ever see each other at work, so once she leaves, getting together will be a rare occurrence.  I decided, when she put her two weeks in, that her last two weekends I would do everything I could so that we could just laugh as much as possible.  Yesterday was her second to last day, and we had a blast.  Both of us have two jobs and yesterday was the last day of the 4th of July weekend (so we both had put in a ton of hours the past few days and were beyond exhausted) but instead of getting crabby or turning into mindless zombies just trying to get through the night, we had an epic squirt gun battle (while getting our work done and not ruining any equipment, I might add).  We literally spent two thirds of the night laughing.  I am still really sad to see her go, but what a way to bring her five year summer career and our three year partnership of pretty much running the place together to a close.  We still have one day left and I have a pretty awesome idea to make the night a time we will both never forget!

 

Warriors of Hope

So, I wrote this a couple weeks ago, but it is where the name of my blog came from so I figured I should post it.

Occasionally hardships and struggles come whizzing into one’s life as unexpectedly as a 4by4 plank of wood falling through, what seemed to be, a perfectly sound ceiling. Other times there’s more of a warning; a rustling of leaves close by as a hiker walks along a trail, putting him on edge right before a bear emerges from behind a tree. Periodically there is a slowness to life’s battles; similar to that of a faint outline creeping its way over the horizon, growing in size as it approaches until it is recognizable as an army, offering precious time for its opponent to prepare.

Regardless of how life chooses to present you your afflictions, you can be sure that they will indeed arrive. You see, our world is broken. Its edges are sharp and its cracks are deep. But it still breathes. It somehow manages to hold life in its mangled, injured, shaking hands. I suppose it was created to do so, to survive – as were we. We are creatures of hope, born in a world that tries to smother it out. But we are warriors, and those of us who have realized that hope is worth fighting for, that there is more to life than just momentary contentment, will keep fighting till the very end. Those of us that have found the Truth and believe in it wholeheartedly will always have enough strength to fight off the darkness, shinning like stars, for our strength comes from Him who put the hope we are fighting for, inside of us. So, my comrades, draw your swords and raise your shields – never stop fighting to protect the flickering flame of hope that resides inside your soul, for without it you’ll become just as broken as the world in which we live.