Nebulous

I would like to shout at God.  I would also like to hug Him, in a big way.  A big, fling-myself-into-His-arms sort of way.  And then I want to yell again.  Back and forth, strung between anger and joy and tiredness.  I walk through my days joyful, bouncing and beaming and laughing.  And it isn’t fake; it isn’t a face I’m putting on.  Then, I pause for moments and I realize that I am exhausted.  Exhausted in a way that sleep doesn’t seem to cure.

Then, I un-pause.  I tell myself that I am in my third year of college, which means of course I will feel exhausted.  I tell myself that I have four jobs.  That I have lots of people who love me and with whom I want to spend time.  I tell myself that everything I do, I enjoy.  I tell myself that I have to think about next semester, next summer, next year.  I promise myself that I can take a break from writing poems.  There aren’t words.  Or there are too many words.  Nebulous, disconnected words that mean a great deal in my head but do not yet mean anything when I write them.

Sometimes, I fear that God will take away my gift, and I will be left with nothing to offer.

And I recognize how completely ridiculous that sounds.  As if the gift were mine to begin with.  As if God took where He had no right to do so.  As if God left His children worse off than He found them.  As if He left at all.  I know that He is good, that He has created me for His glory and so He will give me means to glorify Him.  But when I can’t feel that twisty tug at my heart, the one that whispers write, write, write

That is when I question.  And I shouldn’t, because there is so much more to me than the blogs and poems I can churn out.  More to me than the metaphors and the pretty pictures I can paint across a page.  I know that I am loved – very, very loved – for more than what I can do.  I am loved for the heart from which the thoughts and words are spun.  I don’t understand it.  And yet I know that it is true.  I go to the Lord and I stand before Him in awe of the treasures He bestows upon me.

A place to sleep.  A family to call.  A relationship with a man who cherishes me and pushes me toward the Father every day.  Friends who build me up and let me ramble and share their hearts.  Countless other blessings.

So if He asks me to put aside my gift for a month, six months, ten years – I will do it.  If I can never move thoughts to the page again, I want to be content with that.  If I never get my dream job, and if I never have the house with the kitchen island and the big oak in the front yard and the kids in the backyard, I want to be content.  If all anyone ever sees in me is Jesus, I have more than fulfilled my purpose.  That’s what I want.  I want to make sense of the world and I want to have a family and a home and a career and I want to write poems and books and plays – But I don’t need any of it.  I need to desire Jesus.  I need to seek Him – not passively wander about, glancing here and there –

I need to tear through the desert and the jungles, cut my bare feet on the thorns and the broken rocks.  I need to find the faintest trail and never stray from it.  I need to seek Him with a passion, with a ferocity and a fire that exists for nothing and no one else.

If I shouted at Him tonight, I would ask if He sees me.  Does He see me when I’m paused – exhausted and stretched out and distracted?  Is my brokenness and darkness real even in the midst of my joyfulness?  And when I’m un-paused, does He see me then?  As I scurry and stumble and dance through my day, does He see my excitement and anticipation?  Are those as real even in the midst of my brokenness?

I could shout.  I have shouted before.  But tonight, I want to fling myself into His arms.  I want His comfort.  I want Him to use me even when I don’t understand it.

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A writer’s benediction.

Last night, at 2:30 in the morning, I wrote this. I was talking to a friend when he threw out a few of the phrases in this poem (though I altered them somewhat) and all the sudden, my mind was racing. Obviously, a racing mind isn’t the thing one wants before attempting to fall asleep. But I was far more excited at the lines already forming in my head. After a few days of radio silence, it’s awesome when the wheels start turning at an unstoppable rate. So I wrote. God speaks loudly to me at night. I’m grateful for the voices He chooses to use – those of friends, but also sometimes my own.

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You once read that we exist for nomenclature.
We give meaning in a way
we understand.
We are not the Artist
but we translate.
You don’t always believe it is a gift.
May that humility always reside
But may your gratefulness never fade.
May you hurl words at your adversaries,
especially the ones that live in you.
May you stare longer than necessary
at everything that begs for your attention.
There is beauty in caring
where no one else does.
May you punctuate your sentences honestly
and not sensationally.
May you never bow to the cliches
or fall at the feet of the cop-outs.
And when you do slip,
trust the words that try to catch you.
Even when they’re not your own.
May you cling to your idealism,
your bright and bruised optimism:
Hope that you’re heard by those
who matter.
When they shower you with praise
may you reflect it to the heavens.
But do so softly –
Loud modesty is often quiet pride.
May you recognize your weapons:
when your words are daggers
and when they are shields.
Use both,
because this world requires
both.
May you trust your instincts:
pen only what must be penned.
The universe needs no more useless prose and empty poems.
When you’re grasping for a phrase
you are often killing the one that is already growing
deep within.
May you have patience for the slow-forming words.
And when you’re overflowing,
when you cannot catch the dripping letters,
may you have peace for what gets away.
May every day be contemplated
so you never feel guilty about
missing your muse.
If dragons swoop in
and carry away what you love,
may you never be afraid
of the curses you pour onto to page.
But if the eagles return to you
all you treasure,
may you be ready to eat your words.
You are always more blessed than you think,
especially when you are literate.
May you have the courage to sleep
when your thoughts will not hush,
and may you have the wisdom to stay up
because sometimes you must.
May you dream of great victories
over great evils.
May you never know enough
except when you do.
May you always crave understanding.
May the words flow from your fingers like lightning
and may God take pleasure in the storm.

The making known of a secret.

It’s a strange revelation for a writer:
to discover that there are many things
for which words were not invented.
So it has to be enough
to immerse myself in the existence
and trust that the reality is not lost
simply because I can’t understand it.

Maybe this is the point of all our words –
to finally skid haphazardly into the place
where everything just comes apart.
It might be that this is the permission:
to rest in the midst of the melting words
without the need to glue it all back together.

Space

He grabbed a handful of stardust
and cradled the glimmering powder in his hand.
He exhaled softly,
and the remnants of the star twirled into a person.

She was pale and lithe.
The dust from which she rose settled into her cheeks,
flecking the bridge of her nose.

When she was twelve, she tried desperately
to hide the star splattered across her face.
Her powder would wear off by midday.

As she grew into her sky-spun body,
though,
she found new things to cover up.
In her heart, she buried the ideas that seemed too big for the world.

She had trouble realizing her homeland.
She didn’t know that she came from another world.
And when she looked at herself,
all she saw was an overflowing glass –
too many words for so small a person.
Too many dreams for so small a universe.

The alien girl would fall to her knees
and beg the stars for freedom from her thoughts.
make me easier she whispered.
No one balances a spilling cup for long.

But years went on and on and
on, and she did not become smaller.
The stars on her face had long since faded
but the fire in her bones was alight.
Blazing,
consuming.

She whirled round the flames,
and the breeze only brightened the embers.
The star in the star girl was shining too brightly.
She was not easy.
She couldn’t make herself easy.

The alien girl fell to her knees
and begged the stars for freedom from her thoughts.
make it easier she shouted.
The alien girl with her alien words.

He grabbed the stardust
and cradled the fading powder in his hand.
He exhaled softly,
and the remnants of the person twirled toward the stars.

Glimpse of her homeland.
Grace to contain the fire of a galaxy.