hol(e)y quilts

hol(e)y quilts

The topic of all our conversations seems to be the future.
When we all come together,
we laugh and pray and talk about any number of things
but we are not fooled.
Whether we say the words or not,
we are talking about tomorrow.
We are talking about all the days we will have together
and all the days we will not.
With our specific loves for one another,
we secretly grieve a parting,
one we cannot predict
but are sure will happen.
And maybe we are not sad;
maybe we can grieve without tears.
Maybe we are ready for whatever life our tomorrows hold.
Our strange family,
meshed together out of mutual friends
and shared interests
and some desperate need for people to call our own –
maybe this strange family has prepared us for unknown worlds.
If we found each other once,
we can find each other again.
Maybe next time,
we’ll be different people.
Or maybe we’ll be the same.
Who can say?

Some night,
we will let our conversation twist and turn it’s way to next year
and ten years
later.
With my feet on his knees and her back on his shins and his hand curled over her’s and all the others –
maybe, without words, we will understand the meaning of tomorrow.
We will wonder on love.
We will wonder how many small ones the years will bring.
We will wonder if our us will remain even if some of our pieces melt away.
Time may bring new people to our shores,
haggard and in need of a door to walk through.
Perhaps another will take our place at the table.
Perhaps we will find another table,
and take the place of someone else.

We are not stagnant people.
In our laughter and our conversations,
we have always known that.
We have only found ourselves woven into a swatch of fabric that was already part of a quilt.
So when the proverbial seam ripper tears us away,
we must understand that the future does not mean to harm us,
but to carry us.
These nights,
these days,
will always remain stitched together at the edges,
though holes dot the middle.
Let us take heart –
some of us can sew patches.

In the quiet spaces between dinner and a movie,
in the ruckus of people and the energy of youth-on-the-cusp,
we will hear the faint beating of the one heart within our one chest.
(And as it’s been said)
Come hell or high water,
the one faint whisper that remains:
Who will I be?
The one faint whisper that knits us into this patchwork of people who found ourselves remaining:
Who will I be? Who will I be?

Who will we be?

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Requited.

I think we are all really good at coming up with reasons as to why we are unlovable.

I’m mean.  I get angry.  I’m too emotional.  I come with baggage.  I am not good enough.  I am not smart enough.  I am confusing.  I don’t understand why I do things sometimes.  I don’t love God the way I should.  I’m no good at relationships.  I am not really even that fun.  I just can’t be what someone would want me to be.

We don’t think we deserve it.  We don’t think we’re worth the investment.  I’m not (just) talking about romantic love; in general, we are quick to block the love of friends and family and the Lord.  So self-deprecating.  So convinced that we are the most broken person.

Not tonight.  Not anymore.

Because I am loved.  And you are too, and I will bet my (nonexistent) money on it.  Every (nonexistent) penny.  So loved by a God who does not make mistakes, a God who cannot abide in anything but love because all He is is Love.  And by some beautiful divine design, when He created humans, His Love-soaked hands permeated our pores with drops of our own love to give away.  That love that we all think we are unworthy of is the same love that we shower on our sisters and our brothers and our parents and our children and our friends and our spouses and our boyfriends and our girlfriends… Everything we think we can’t have we already give to others who think they shouldn’t have it.  And they give it back to us.

Because we are flawed creatures.  So backwards in our thinking and our loving.  But there is a remnant of the divine in our hearts, and it is that remnant that whispers to us –

Sink.  Sink into this love.  Let this love be a part of you.

And all the while we are loving other flawed people, all hearing the very same whisper.  So maybe there is hope for us yet.

These last few days, I have been overwhelmed with this love.  The whisper has become a shout, one that I am all-too-prepared to give in to.  I have been itching to sink for a long time.  So I did.  And it is wonderful.  It is like this summer was meant to culminate in love, in me realizing how cherished I am and then just allowing myself to dwell in it.  I don’t get how people can see all the good in me when I am so apt to see all the messy, weird, broken-up, hollowed-out pieces.  And yet they do, because perhaps the good outweighs the hollow.  Perhaps the Lord crafted me into a better person than even I realized.

I look around me and I see so many bright, startling, beautiful souls.  People with hearts so big and minds so sharp and laughs so loud – people who seek to spend time with me, who sit and talk for hours with me, who love me.  And they are so quick to say so.  People I love, love me back.  People I love, love me as much as I love them.  I can’t believe that’s possible.  I can’t believe God has blessed me with reciprocated love.

My heart yearns to give away its love.  I want to care for people.  I want to exhaust whatever supply of love my Creator poured into me.  I am not-yet-whole, so I screw it up a lot.  I withhold compassion; I greedily cling to the love purposed for my neighbors and for strangers alike.  Even the tucked-away love, the love I want to give to a someday-husband, is sometimes too tangled in the roots of fear and confusion.  And yet somehow, by the grace of God, I am still able to love abundantly, even when I feel that I can barely love at all.

How is it that so many people who I love earnestly are also willing to love me in the same way?  Isn’t that what everyone searches for?  Requited love.  Friendship that means as much to you as it does to me.  Siblings who fight with ferocity but who would give up the world for one another.  Two souls sitting in a balance, straight across from one another – smiling.

I am exhausted with finding reasons why I shouldn’t be as cared for as I am.  Anything I come up with is untrue.  I have been bought at a price – blood of Love, pierced hands that once molded my own heart and imbued it with goodness.  I was claimed by God not because I did anything to be worthy of it, but because He looked at me and loved me.  And in His infinite mercy, He created others who would look at me and see the things He saw.  Parents and family and mentors and pastors and teachers and friends… He let me see them, too.  He let me love them, too.

I am so thankful.

Convincingly Accurate Portrayals of Sinking and Swimming.

I have only seen beautiful people.
You should sit down for this
because I want you to
understand the gravity of the situation.
We are floating on the surface of an
ocean of possibility.
The probability of dying down there is immense,
and the probability
of finding the pirates’ treasure is not much less.
Still we float,
and we are content to do so.
Do you ever hate that about humanity?
Are you ever ashamed of our irrational fears?
Let us sink like stones to the abandoned sea floor,
once the top of a mountain before the earth turned herself inside out.
If only we could be like the plates,
shifting and breaking,
causing earthquakes and explosions.
I have always lived in the unfulfilled dramas,
praying for a breaking point
but never really expecting one.
Someone once said that the world would fall into anarchy
if we all just said the things we felt
but
I’m not sure if we would really mind that.
We crave that.
Upending the triviality for the reality.
Sometimes I think it’s all in my head,
that I am the only one who sees this.
But they are out there
And they notice things like no one else,
and I think we could change something.
Look!
When you see the ones that mean it,
you believe in your sanity again
and if we just promised one another that there was a point behind the pointlessness
then we could save ourselves a whole lot of wondering.
Let’s fall onto the grass like starfish
left behind after the sea receded into the dirt.
And there,
we will swear to ourselves and the angels that we aren’t going to be hypocrites anymore.
Dance the infinite dance.
It’s not a new line but it’s the truest one I can think of.

Root systems

I started this one a few nights ago, and I didn’t intend on finishing it tonight, because I already posted something and the words just weren’t there with this one.  Then I started typing crap, and it worked out.  So, sorry about two notifications in less than six hours.  :)

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I am almost out of toothpaste.  My walls look like the bare walls of an asylum.  I packed the back of my car with half my stuff (books and notebooks, basically).  The trees are pink, the fountains are back on, and my heart is doing weird things in my chest as I grapple with the goodbyes and with God.  I don’t want this to end.  I want to be done with school, but I don’t want this year to end quite yet.

It feels like too much.  My roommate is heading home soon, and all her stuff is gone.  I’ve got experience with endings.  I’m good at endings.  I hate them, but I can do them with relatively little fanfare or complication.  I don’t cry as easily as I once did.  Generally, that’s a good thing.

I have a friend who is studying in Spain next semester, so I’ve been spending as much time with her as our finals schedules will allow.  She is my closest friend here at school; our hearts are so similar.  We were talking tonight about how much we dislike this week – the moving-out portion, at least.  She said it didn’t feel right, boxing away our things, re-bunking our beds, taking our posters off the walls.  Everything is empty, as if nothing ever happened here.  My friend said that now, when she thinks of the concept of empty, of loneliness, these once-full dorms are what comes to mind.

Because so much happens in these rooms.  For two years, I’ve watched girls laugh and cry and pray and talk in this unit.  Lives have been changed, people have been renewed and blessed and strengthened and encouraged while sitting on beds and floors together.  I have lived in the same room for my freshman and sophomore year: I can tell you exactly how I felt the first night I ever slept in here, but I can also tell you I am so far from being that girl tonight.  I am so different.  The walls should prove that; they should be blood red and bright yellow and glittering, shining blue, changed as much as I am.  This emptiness could never do it justice.

And yet we go.  People have to go, always, and that is okay.  That’s good.  Our Christian places mean nothing unless we leave them.  I am beyond thrilled for this summer.  I don’t have a job, and I’m not going anywhere, but I just know God will continue this new work in me.  This remaking.  I want it, badly.  I need Him, desperately.  I know these friendships won’t die because the Lord is good and He binds His people together, even when we’re apart.  So that’s the peace I’m going on.  The assurance of this place, this home to return to, this makeshift family to fall back into in a few months’ time.  God is good, not only as a character trait we list in Sunday School, but on a personal, intimate level.  He is doing good works around me and through me and in me.  He is so alive and so blindingly, awesomely real.

The other day, I was sitting outside under a tree, and everyone was outside because it was perfect, and I was writing and thinking and the little pink petals were raining down on me and everything just hit me – God is so real, and that is all the explanation I need.  I crave explanations, all the time.  I want to know, to understand and be understood.  I don’t think that is a bad thing – I thank God for giving me that craving.  But there is so much peace in just knowing the reality of God and believing that He is good, and alive, and right.  I want that peace.  I think it’s been something I’ve been trying to grasp for a while.  God is real; I’ve always known that.  I can’t remember not knowing it.  But I have to abide in that truth.  I have to drink it and swim in it and breathe it in and out.

He’s been showing me how, this semester.  School has been… odd.  Not particularly hard, academically.  Challenging in the good way.  Busy in the good way.  I feel planted here, finally.  There’s a cool story we tell kids at camp: that the biggest trees don’t actually have the deepest roots.  Instead, they have long, stretching, shallow roots that intertwine with the roots of other trees nearby, holding one another up.  That’s how I feel.  My roots have stretched far, braiding themselves with others’, strengthening me and assuring me that I belong in this forest.  I am so grateful and undeserving of the love I’ve been shown by so many.  It’s like I’ve finally found my people.  A bunch of really broken people, charred and twisted but willing to be known and used by a relentless Father.  I can’t imagine I’m this blessed, to have friends like this – this makeshift family.

If the dull ache in my chest means I’m leaving people I love, who love me back, who choose me even though I’m so silly and sarcastic and difficult – then I am grateful for the pain.  I welcome it, because it means I’m worth something to someone.  So many people could walk away from me in an instant, and I probably wouldn’t blame most of them, even as I cling to their heels.  But they stay.  I pray I can love them like they love me.

Go in peace.