Sunday, April 29, 2007

This Is the Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to rebuild.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It's Hard

It's hard, this living thing. This getting up every day and being with people and doing work/school and dealing with problems and trying to make sense of it all - it's hard. Sometimes it seems too hard. Sometimes you feel like you can't deal with this right now and if anything else goes won't make it. Some days you just lay in bed and wonder if you can make it through the day period, much less without breaking down. You wish you could just lay there and skip that day and whatever problems it may entail. You wonder if it would make a difference if you didn't show up to class or just ran off somewhere and disappeared for a little while; would anyone notice? Would anyone worry or really be concerned about you? Would someone take the time to try and reach you in some way; not because someone else told them to or they felt obligated to but because they truly want to know how you are.

So many days I wondered that. So many days I've wasted wondering if I could just skip out; could I run away from this situation, this problem. And knowing that that is a childish way to deal with things and definitely not a solution doesn't change the fact that you don't think you can get through it for one more day. How many times did I wonder if people around me saw me - really saw me? I was walking, talking, and breathing, but oh the pain involved. Every breath was a trial, every word was a fight, every step was exhausting. Who saw that?

Buckle in; this is a long ride.

I was angry. I've never thought of myself as one to hold grudges, but I believe I've changed that opinion. It depends on what was hurt. My pride? Puh. What pride? Shoot down my pride till it has no wings for all I care. I don't need it. My intelligence? I don't much believe in it anyway. ;) My heart? That's another matter. I give you my heart and you throw it away? Oh, the grudges I can hold. The anger I can repress, the bitterness I can direct. It's hard, having your heart forsaken and undervalued. Especially when what matters to me is that I can share my heart with you in order for you to share your heart with me. When you shut me off, when you turn me away - you break my heart. But tell me the truth! Don't act as though I am something to be protected from the facts at all costs; don't undermine me. I can take pain. And I HATE lying. I hate false love. And never tell me we will be friends forever, because it doesn't happen that way. Not always, and maybe never. I haven't found out yet, but I have found that you should never say something you can't guarantee. You may want to be friends forever all you like, but you can't back it up. Not truly. I can tell you that that's how I want it to be; however, I will never tell that that's how it WILL be. Because I don't know. Only God knows, and He's not telling.

So many things to be concerned about... It's hard. I have to think about being at Union for another three years, who my fourth roommate will be for next semester, trying to be an example for others, supporting my friends the best I can, and thinking about having to step into a position I don't believe I am yet equipped to occupy. But what can I do? I have made a choice to keep going. I have made a choice to not run away, not take the easy route. Maybe there will be days that I regret that - and those have come - and wish I hadn't been so stubborn, but I know that in the end I made the right choice.

What about the end of the day? What if I got to the end of each day and was able to say, "I made the right choices today. I did the right thing and didn't take the easy way out. I did what I could to be who God wants me to be and didn't make excuses for it."? A sense of accomplishment would follow that realization. I don't know that I've ever had a day where I could really say that I made all the right decisions that day. How many people could? But there are days that I have moments in which I can say, "I did it. I did the right thing. It was hard, but I did not back down; I stood my ground." And though that's all I have, that is what I will take. I don't often feel good about myself, so I have to relish those spare moments.

I think about those bad days and those good days. And I wonder if, truly, neither of them are wastes. There have been long periods of time in my life when I have been mad at the world, having an extended pity party, and/or struggling to get through each minute. At one time I considered my whole first semester as a senior a waste, because I was bitter and had a horrible attitude about everything - all because my "best friend" betrayed my trust. But was it? It makes me appreciate these times, in which things are okay - I'm okay - but hard. It's always hard. No matter how well things are going, something always comes up. Something always doesn't go exactly as planned. And maybe you do take it in stride, but it is still a bump in the road - and who likes bumps? However, we are supposed to enjoy life, every day of it. It is a gift from God. So, those days where we feel like life is stupid and this is not worth the pain and we should run away from our problems instead of facing them...that is not us enjoying life. At the moment, we're resenting it. We ask, "Why am I here if all I do is screw up? Why can't this be easy?"

God never said it would be easy. He also said that we would screw up. Constantly.

So try. Try to be someone trustworthy. Try to be someone you would hang out with. Try to help others. Try to put others before yourself. Try not to worry about what people think. Try to see those who are hurting and reach out to them. Try to be there for those who refuse to let anyone else be there for them. Try to bring people together. Try to be a peacemaker but also a revolutionary. Try to be a leader but also a devoted follower. Try to be an amazing friend. Try to find people who love you for you and don't ask for anything else. Try to do the right thing. Try to be your best. Try to be yourself. Try to be who God wants you to be. Try to do what He wants. Try to follow His plan before forming your own. Try to take things in stride and deal with issues wisely. Try to think before you speak. Try to do what you can. Just try.

Trying doesn't guarantee results. It definitely doesn't guarantee you'll get it right. But without trying...what are you doing?


And what will you get from that?


Yes, giving up is an option. But what excuse do you have for quitting? Yes, it's hard. But what reason do you have for it being otherwise? We bring this upon ourselves, no matter how much we whine about life being unfair. Of course life is unfair; we make it unfair. We make the good bad and the bad good. We let things slide until we can't ignore them, but then it's too late. We make innumerable mistakes, then expect our accomplishments to make a dent in the cities of degredation? 897450987023 + 41 does not equal zero; how can you expect a lifetime of wrongs plus three years or so worth of good deeds to come to a different sum? The thought of earning your way to Heaven is absolutely ludicrous! There cannot be a scale on which God weighs our good and bad; one side would hit the ground every time. The same side. Don't ask why life is hard; ask God for His mercy and grace to get through it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


It's not easy
Stepping out
Stepping up
Bring us together

There are wrongs
In and out
But don't mistake me
There are rights

What to say
And what to do
They all elude me
Clouded mind

You say what you will
But, oh, what you have
And now - what you do
What is there left

Not a choice
No way to abolish
Take up your torch
Bear it as you can

So much to fix
Too much to know
And where to start
Only God knows

But - we can try
Start it slow
Build it through trial
Do something - anything

Letting it slide
Waiting for self-resolution
Is simply asking for
Implosion eventual

So here I stand
Asking you to try
I don't know what else to do
When you sit idly by

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Best Friend

When I was really young, I would sometimes wish for a friend that didn't talk. All he or she would do would be to listen to what I had to say, without interrupting me. I wanted someone to hear my thoughts; I could talk and talk and never stop. Now, I was a pretty quiet kid. I didn't talk as much as my brother, who could never seem to shut up. Lol. We've kind of switched now, but that's how it was back then. I guess I just had all this stuff to say that I didn't think people would understand or want to hear, so I held back and restrained my words.

These days, I don't wish for that. That would be boring. I could talk to myself all day long, but where would that get me? I realize now how that wish was a little ridiculous, but, come on - I was just a kid! Sometimes I still feel like a kid, though. Sometimes I remember that time and wonder what that would be like. Things get to accumulating in my head, and I want to just ramble on about everything that flits through my mind. Writing it takes too long - not if I want to get it all down. And it's not that I just want to get it out; I actually want people to hear it. I doubt that it would make much sense, though. I always do, I am digressing. I will continue on my original path now...

Now my desire is to have a friend that shares his/her life with me. It's a mutual thing; it's not just me talking about what's going on in my life. I want to hear about the other person's life, too. And, thankfully, I have at least one friend with whom that happens. Which is great. However, we don't have the chance to spend a lot of time together, and we miss out on a lot in each other's lives. As a result, it's not an ideal situation.

But what if there is someone who can be the perfect best friend? Someone who has seen everything you've been through, and is there in every moment of your life? Someone who can read your mind - even better than you can? If you haven't figured out who I'm talking about, I'm talking about Jesus.

When you meet new people and become friends with them, no matter how close you get to them there are pieces of your life that they just haven't shared with you. They may know about your past, but it's what you've told them, not what they've been through with you. They didn't truly see the effect things had on you, how different you used to be. How different you are now. I've found myself wishing that some of my newer friends could have seen me before - before I got to college, before I grew up in a way, before I was this damaged. I wonder how they would look at me now if they knew my past. Would it change anything? I don't know. But I wonder.

There are moments in your life when you experience ultimate joy or depressing sadness, and you wish that your best friend was there to share it with you or help you through. Describing it to them later just doesn't cut it. They had to have been there.

Jesus was there in my past. He is here in my present. And, of course, He'll be there in my future. He has seen everything I've been through and knows how it affected me - much better than I myself understand. Every moment of every day, He is here. Countless times I take this for granted. I take it for granted more than I even think about it. Honestly, I think I don't get it. I can't really grasp the idea of Him being by my side constantly. Can you? The only experience we have with someone "being there" is with people who come and go; we can't comprehend an eternal presence beside and inside us. It's beyond our understanding.

On to another part of this: When I was having a hard time last semester, I shut myself off from basically everybody. I felt like I didn't have anyone to talk to and didn't really feel like talking to anyone. Because of that, I felt as though I didn't have any friends. Then I would think, "I have God." But that thought actually did nothing but make me sad. Why? Because I wanted someone who would also talk to me and tell me about themselves. Sure, I could talk to God all day, but I didn't believe I would get a response. I didn't expect to. That was my mistake.

God does respond. And He does tell us about Himself...if we listen. I have to confess that I still am VERY inexperienced in this area and have no clue how to go about it. I just know that it happens. I thought God couldn't be my "best friend" because He wouldn't share Himself with me, but I was oh so wrong! We go through hard times in life, because we have to learn to lean on Him. When we do so, He brings us close to His heart and shows us the lesson in the fire. He gives us a way to grow and mature - in Him. Jesus has been on this earth, and He knows how it is. Why do we continuously forget that? I know I do. One more thing I take for granted, among so many others. He does share Himself with us, because He shows us how limitless His mercy, grace, and love are.

So, in essence: Jesus is the perfect best friend. He is perfect, after all. And, of course, there is that little fact that...

He is God.