the superbowl

they call it a game but everyone knows it's more--
too much capital to be gained and lost.
oh but who are the losers you ask?
especially with all those great commercials!
just ask the bookies, they'll tell you.

the longshot or the safe bet--
none of them are safe, thanks to the spread--
some arbitrary thing bought by public opinion,
but public opinion will not change the game.
nothing bounces quite like a football.

i can't keep myself away from the gamble,
laying down big every time--
and yet almost expecting it to be lost.
but aren't you paying for the experience too?
better to have bet and lost...

you learn so much every time,
as if that made the whole thing worthwhile.
next time you'll get it right--
never mind that you are that much poorer,
your pocket has infinite hidden reserves.

i watched you last year in excitement
muted by other blowouts past and yet to come.
on the couch with anticipation,
before the bookies hunted me down--
they always get their man.

so this year i'm closing my wallet,
empty as it is anyway.
though still i'll cheer with friends,
with a little bit of hope
that one day i'll hold the title's prize.

damn i should have just played football.


no man is an island

i've been quoting a lot from this book by thomas merton of late. maybe because it's the only thing that has really been speaking to me of what i've been reading (along with lord of the rings). or maybe because it is just that good. i thought about typing out the entire first chapter as a post because i felt it spoke about love so well. the quotes i do select to put on here are by no means the only ones that are worthy of it. and unfortunately they lose a bit of their clout removed from their context. still i hope you are finding them speaking to you. this is a book i want to let sink in me more. so good.

though i understand that certain things speak better to us when we are at a certain place in life, i still recommend this book strongly to anyone and everyone. go check it out if you are so inclined. here are a few more quotes i read today from the chapter on sincerity.

Fear is perhaps the greatest enemy of candor. How many men fear to follow their conscience because they would rather conform to the opinion of other men than to the truth they know in their hearts! How can I be sincere if I am constantly changing my mind to conform with the shadow of what I think others expect of me? Others have no right to demand that I be anything else than what I ought to be in the sight of God. No greater thing could possibly be asked of a man than this! This one just expectation, which I am bound to fulfill, is precisely the one they usually do not expect me to fulfill. They want me to be what I am in their sight: that is, an extension of themselves. They do not realize that if I am fully myself, my life will become the completion and the fulfillment of their own, but that if I live as their shadow, I will serve only to remind them of their own unfulfillment.

If I allow myself to degenerate into the being I am imagined to be by other men, God will have to say to me, "I know you not!"


The delicate sincerity of grace is never safe in a soul given to human violence. Passion always troubles the clear depths of sincerity, expect when it is perfectly in order. And passion is almost never perfectly in order, even in the souls of saints.

But the clean waters of a lake are not made dirty by the wind that ruffles their surface. Sincerity can suffer something of the violence of passion without too much harm, as long as the violence is suffered and not accepted.

Violence is fatal to sincerity when we yield it our consent, and it is completely fatal when we find peace in passion rather than in tranquillity and calm.


If we are to love sincerely, and with simplicity, we must first of all overcome the fear of not being loved. And this cannot be done by forcing ourselves to believe in some illusion, saying that we are loved when we are not. We must somehow strip ourselves of our greatest illusions about ourselves, frankly recognize in how many ways we are unlovable, descend into the depths of our being until we come to the basic reality that is in us, and learn to see that we are lovable after all, in spite of everything!

This is a difficult job. It can only really be done by a lifetime of genuine humility. But sooner or later we must distinguish between what we are not and what we are. We must accept the fact that we are not what we would like to be. We must cast off our false, exterior self like the cheap and showy garment that it is. We must find our real self, in all its elemental poverty but also in its very great and very simple dignity: created to be a child of God, and capable of loving with something of God's own sincerity and His unselfishness.


janelle monae

this is cool. "many moons"

ps i didn't mean to offend any women in my last post. was the question in any way helpful? i don't know. it is probably more an inquiry into the perceptions that we have of the other gender or our own, and how that affects the way we allow ourselves to act--rather than a helpful inquiry into gender differences and the way women make decisions, which is probably the other side of what i was wanting to write a little bit about but probably shouldn't have put them together. maybe someday i'll come back to that issue on a little more serious level. yes that last post wasn't entirely serious in case you were wondering.



ok, alright, i know if you are a woman you're already skeptical. if you're a man, you're waiting with eager anticipation for what i am going to say. so everybody check your attitude at the cyber door and try not to be too biased for your gender--because we all know that some generalizations are true and that a lot of stereotypes come from at least hints of truth.

so at some point in a conversation with my brother-in-law this last weekend, he said this: "now what you have to understand luke is that all women are crazy. some are just less crazy."

now before you go thinking him an insensitive chauvinist--i feel the need to point out that my sister agreed with him, which i found even more surprising. when my niece objected defiantly my sister asked her, "well do you know any who aren't crazy?" to which she could not come up with an example. that didn't mean there might not be one or two out there, she just couldn't bring any to mind.

so. women? are you all crazy? what do all of you say? i might have tried to argue with my brother-in-law if i felt so inclined, but my sister is a pretty smart woman and i figure she has a little closer acquaintance with you all than I do.

is this perception of "craziness" just a lack of acceptance by society to allow a woman's behavior to be acceptable? is it just a rationale-driven man's world that makes you all look "crazy"? i'm not saying you aren't rational, just that...well, not everything is always the most explainable.

maybe you think we are just as crazy. if not we at least are clueless enough to be the other side of the sometimes seemingly massive wall between our two genders. if i look to the ways that i have been hurt by some of your craziness, then i also would want to know the ways in which it works the other way. is it man's insensitivity? that would be the stereotype. though i feel like sensitivity is a thing easier learned than not-craziness.

have i offended? i expect and await your comments. enlighten my poor ignorant man mind. please.



Vincent van Gogh

There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passersby only see a wisp of smoke coming through the chimney, and go along their way. Look here, now what must be done? Must one tend the inner fire, have salt in oneself, wait patiently yet with how much impatience for the hour when somebody will come and sit down--maybe to stay? Let him who believes in God wait for the hour that will come sooner or later.



there was once a time when time moved forward,
events passed one another like falling dominoes--
the numbers matched up or they didn't,
91 tiles meant endless possibilities.
it was all a game with only so much strategy.

are we playing hide and go seek or is it sardines?
are all of us hiding or are we looking for the same thing?
wandering down the dark hallway all alone,
it doesn't seem to matter either way.
hands grope for what will not be grasped.

hide from me you fools.
for you don't really want to be found,
not in place of it.
what dwells in the shadows is not ours,
but now only mine to reach for.

hands lifted open in the air--
though wrists are cuffed.
seeking a touch of any sort of warmth--
though they are nailed down.
what's the use of a conciliatory last meal?

as a beggar receives bread
so my soul goes hungry.
as a widow finds embrace
so my heart is distant.
and i am weary of losing this game.

wouldn't you quit playing?
or at least stop giving lessons?
the challenge is part of the fun,
but only if you're up for it.
so many seem to die in the trenches.

the Lord upholds them with his hand,
though they stumble they will not fall.

will i fall further than my knees?
will i continue to reach out for some stabilizer?
the temporary crutch against crossbeam.
or will he finally extend a hand--
though the chasm goes deeper and deeper?



"Till We See the Shore"



I'm thinking that vulnerability is a good thing. Especially when someone in your gathering says that if there is something on your heart that you have thought about saying but aren't, you should go ahead and say it. I think vulnerability is a key to the lock keeping God back--probably because usually that dead-bolt is pride. It can be other things too, like fear or discomfort, but I would guess those are rooted in pride too. Of course there is a place for everything, and some might say a blog isn't one of those places--but to each their own. And if I would share the struggle I sure as shit better share the joys. And damn well curse while I'm at it, just for emphasis. I choose my words carefully.

So it turns out that God is good--go figure. Even when it seems like he isn't very nice. I don't think this season is necessarily over, nor does this feel like a brief respite like I have had in the past. No, and I'm glad it's not joy for that. Because then that would be just about how I am feeling and that I am out of it and all about me. I wouldn't be glad for what God had done, just that I was feeling better. This is a different joy. And joy is something I have been thirsting for and asking for in prayer. And here it is--at least a taste. Did I say yet that God is good?

I suppose I should tell the story now. So we have prayer meetings most weekdays at 4. Have had them in some capacity for several years now. They are one of my most absolute favorite things. Perhaps nothing has changed my life more than beginning to pray regularly and communally. Not because prayer is amazing (though it is), but because it is how you find the heart of God. But that's a tangent. So prayer today was pretty low key. Just 3 of us there, pretty quiet, happy in the silence with God. After awhile someone got a picture they felt like sharing.

The picture was of a lake, tranquil but covered in fog and lots of clouds. The trees around were dulled grey by the lack of light and everything was just a little muffled. But above the picture was the word "beauty." And then a picture of the same scene, only now the fog was gone and light broke through and the leaves were illuminated into gold and green. The lake was a deep blue. And above the picture again was the word "beauty." Did I get all that right Jenna? I had the sense that it was for me, then Jenna said that she thought it was for me. This place is a place of beauty, though tranquil and somewhat desolate in a way. But not desolate--the things are all there, they are just covered in fog and lack light. And there is still beauty and goodness in a darker time, just as there is in a colder season. It affirmed the goodness of this time even in all its pain and struggle.

That was really great. And then lifegroup tonight. Man. It's cool when you as a leader are able to be ministered to by people in your group, without setting out a time for that sort of thing even. Isn't that how every group should be? with that freedom? Anyway, I like I mentioned earlier I was encouraged to share, even without her knowing it was me she was encouraging to open my yapper. Two side notes: I get uncomfortable when I feel like I am taking up too much of the time on myself. Everyone should have a prophet in their groups/bible studies/churches--something about God speaking to people. I heard somewhere that's important. Anyway, so I say my thing, not too unlike my entry a couple back along with more past details. And then God opened His mouth. Nicolle saw the image of my silhouette with only the heart visible, and there was a bunch of wax melting off it. Then she could see a light in my eyes--not a bright shooting out kind of light, but a gentle light that conveyed depth and strength (kinda weird to write about myself like that). It was not an overt power or prowess, but one for a subtle use by God--though for the greater goodness. Or so it was said. And then God was telling* her to tell me that I am beautiful, which she did, but not in an awkward way or with anything more than that coming from God of course. We laughed off the potential awkwardness. I know my beard is a beautiful thing, but more than just that? Really? No but seriously, these words were such a blessing. I told some more of my sense of connection to the Lord of the Rings story about Gandalf falling into shadow, and it seems like I might have some demon to fight--literally or figuratively. I don't know what that is but God give me strength, for I am weak. Though I get the sense that perhaps it is not that sort of battle, but one in which victory is found in surrender. Life is found in death. And God may do a lot of the fighting for me. I will have my part though I suppose. We shall see. But for the first time in a long time I feel perhaps somewhat able. I know God is near though I don't feel Him. I know this is good though its effects of feeling are not. I am learning something of faith.

All of that feels way personal and a little daunting to share (not to mention self-inflating). So it's back to vulnerability. And while the whole world wide web maybe doesn't deserve my trust, fortunately I don't have that many readers. And I'm pretty sure you all have it. Besides, who am I to hoard the blessings of God? Would I not share joy? To what purpose would I close my heart? I mean really, what is truly the value in such privacy?

This quote from OKC also comes to mind: John the Baptist said 'I must decrease that Christ may increase.' But the church in America says 'I must increase so that Christ may increase."


Ok well i'm sorry for all of these (super) long posts--really putting a strain on you. I promise to post a few shorter entries next with just a song or something entirely shallow. Or at least entertaining enough to get you to laugh. I'll consider it a duty. And if you say the word "duty" out loud and don't laugh, then we haven't much hope now do we?

*I realize I don't really question whether or not God was truly speaking through her or not. I have no doubt personally, but if you question...well, chalk it up to coincidence but sooner or later all those coincidences add up to either conspiracy or faith. Either one has an author. There is also a really fun story of verification involving her specifically, but you'll have to get that from me in person.


thomas merton on vocation

Our vocation is precisely this: to bear witness to the truth of Christ by laying down our lives at His bidding.

The importance of sacrifice, in accomplishing our work of finding and witnessing to the truth, cannot be overemphasized.

The fulfillment of every individual vocation demands not only the renouncement of what is evil in itself, but also of all the precise goods that are not will for us by God.
It takes exceptional courage and integrity to make such a sacrifice. We cannot do it unless we are really seeking to do the will of God for His sake alone. The man who is content to keep from disobeying God, and to satisfy his own desires wherever there is nothing to prevent him from doing so, may indeed lead a life that is not evil: but his life will remain a sad confusion of truth and falsity and he will never have the spiritual vision to tell one clearly from the other. He will never fully live up to his vocation.

If we are called to the place in which God wills to do the most good, it means we are called to where we can best leave ourselves and find Him. The mercy of God demands to be known and recognized and set apart from everything else and praised and adored in joy. Every vocation is, therefore, at once a vocation to sacrifice and to joy.

That does not mean that our individual vocation selects for us a situation in which God will become visible to the eyes of our human nature and accessible to the feelings of our heart of flesh. On the contrary, if we are called where we will find Him we must go where flesh and blood will lose Him, for flesh and blood cannot possess the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 15:50). God sometimes gives Himself to us where He seems to be taken away.

We know when we are following our vocation when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself and is able to seek God and even to find Him, even though it may not appear to find Him. Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves: these are signs that we have found our vocation and are living up to it even though everything else may seem to have gone wrong. They give us peace in any suffering. They teach us to laugh at despair. And we may have to.

The one thing that really decides a vocation is the ability to make a firm decision to embrace a certain state of life and to act on that decision.
If a person can never make up his mind, never firmly resolve to do what is demanded in order to follow a vocation, one can say that in all probability he has not received the vocation. The vocation may have been offered him: but that is something no one can decide with certainty. Whether or not he is resisting grace, the fact seems to be that he is "not called." But a calm and definite decision that is not deterred by obstacles and not broken by opposition is a good sign that God has given His grace to answer His call, and that he has corresponded to it.


bailout please?

what do you do when everything that should excite your heart fails to do so? what does that mean? have i gone numb? am i still human? or am i a dancer? oh, oops--that's a killers' song.

jokes are healthy sometimes. other times they are a mask over deeper emotion. sometimes i wish i was a funnier person.

it's interesting, i was doing dishes earlier tonight (a somewhat rare occasion i'll add), listening to music while i did it. something in simple mindless work opens up thoughts that other times are crowded out. also, music has such an interesting way of connecting us back to memories of places, people, relationships. songs through an hour of dishes (yeah, there were a lot) led me through lots of different places in my past, and i noticed the difference in my heart. it's good to pay attention sometimes to what affects you. we too often neglect to care for our soul.

i've realized that there are still lots of things in me that need to be healed. i still find myself connected to things that are severed now for one reason or another.

when i was a kid i didn't know how or i just wasn't able to deal with the emotions that came from my parents divorce and other somewhat traumatic events. so i shut down. i buried my emotions and rarely felt stirred by much of anything, save a few girls. it took a lot of work years later to unearth those wounds i had just covered. when they were covered and ignored they couldn't heal. and it took time to get out the infections. and it's taken time to learn how to be normal emotionally--i'm still learning in a lot of ways.

yet i feel like i'm almost in a similar place these days--i'm just able to recognize it this time. i don't know how to process a lot of these emotions. i don't know how to help myself heal. it makes me think of that great horrible movie that's an old dubbed kung fu movie and the guy goes to get neosporin for the other dude who's arms are chopped off (kung pow: enter the fist--brilliantly stupid). and he sings a nice little song about it. my old healing methods don't seem to be enough. and i feel myself shutting off in some ways, just putting a band-aid over the deep gashes. i can't even control it some of the time. there is just nothing there even when i try to engage. i can't think of what to write. i can't focus on what i try to read. i find myself even unable to stay focused in conversations, floating away in my mind and then trying to put back the pieces of what i missed when i shake out of it. forgive me if i've seemed out of it at times in any conversations you've had with me.

something in my blog post a couple days back really struck, and not until i had written it. i feel that this season i am in is really well characterized as a "poverty of spirit." my heart needs a welfare check. i keep getting laid off and the union seems to have cut me off. the rich internal spiritual experiences of the past seem really far away. i am not destitute now, but there isn't that much change in my pockets.

but i am fortunate to be part of a community that is quite rich in a lot of ways. and i feel like the other night someone dropped a few bucks in my open guitar case as i sat there not playing (let's be honest, i don't even know how to play). geez you'd think i could have put this together myself, but it seems Jesus had something to say about all of this. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." hm. that strikes me in a couple of ways.

first it gives me hope for being called to kansas city. i mentioned in that same post how the contrast of that calling with how i am feeling has been causing me concern--but it seems as if that is almost a good thing actually. as if a poverty of spirit gives me some sort of "authority" in the kingdom of heaven. i put authority in quotations because our understanding of that is very different from the biblical concept. it is much more about the ability to bless rather than the ability to control. and i hope that i have the ability to bless the people of whatever neighborhood God leads us to, because right now i really wonder how i am going to do that at all.

i also notice that the only other beatitude that talks about who also receive the kingdom of heaven are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. so i'm also hoping that this keeps me from some suffering! well, ok i'm not sure the two are entirely different. one is more inward while the other is outward--but i think there is a connection here Jesus is making. i've heard it said that maybe the american church needs some persecution to shake it out of apathy--well maybe there are other similar things to that. but the challenge is knowing how to stand up to it. knowing how to confess your passion in the midst of numbness. knowing how to hold your faith amidst a myriad of doubts and questions and loneliness from God.

but like i said i don't know how to process these emotions. i don't know how to heal from these wounds. i don't know how to let go of the things that still hold sway over me despite all i do. and i don't want to shut down. if nothing else that stirs my heart. i know what that's like and i never want to do it again. but i don't know what to do. i throw my hands up and let them fall on my head. i can't figure it out. and maybe that's the point--this thought just came to me. it is a further continuation of learning how to let myself die. a cutting off control. turning myself over in all aspects, the mind included. and that is another loss. i like to be the one who has all the answers and is usually right. it is a security and a sort of power. but this--i won't figure it out. i can't. i don't have the answers. i have to empty myself of that as well. another surrender.

shadow holds the day,
but clouds will break;
winter will loose her icy fingers.
though not until i quit looking for shine,
the warmth that will rouse the old.
no, newness is born in death,
when i close my eyes to finally see
the end of myself--
and the life new
that cannot be known
on this side.

we do not know resurrection.
it is not a doorway we pass through.
it is not something to be figured out.
there's no groundhog to foretell the season change.
six weeks at least.
stupid furry little animal.
so while i'm here,
how about some food stamps?
warm chicken soup for the soul perhaps?
or do you not have that kind of aid?


a journey through lord of the rings (pt.ii)

finished the fellowship of the ring, onto two towers. here are the quotes that stood out to me:

All that is gold does not glitter,
~ Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
~ Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
~ A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
~ The crownless again shall be king.


...and their eagerness for knowledge, by which Sauron ensnared them.


"Despair, or folly?" said Gandalf. "It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning."


"Bill my lad," he said, "you oughn't to have took up with us. You could have stayed here and et the best hay till the new grass comes." Bill swished his tail and said nothing.

(bill is a pony, obviously. i think this is one of my absolute favorites)


"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."


"In this high place you may see the two powers that are opposed to one another; and ever they strive now in thought, but whereas the light perceives the very heart of darkness, its own secret has not been discovered. Not yet."


All of them, it seemed, had fared alike; each had felt that he was offered a choice between a shadow full of fear that lay ahead, and something that he greatly desired: clear before his mind it lay, and to get it he had only to turn aside from the road and leave the Quest and the war against Sauron to others.


"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish."


"Tell me Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord. Alas for Gimli son of Gloin!"\

"Nay!" said Legolas. "Alas for us all! And for all that walk the world in these after-days. For such is the way of it: to find and lose, as it seems to those whose boat is running stream. But I count you blessed, Gimli son of Gloin: for your loss you suffer of your own free will, and you might have chosen otherwise. But you have not forsaken your companions, and the least reward that you shall have is that the memory of Lothlorien shall remain ever clear and unstained in your heart, and shall neither fade nor grow stale."

"Maybe," said Gimli: "and I thank you for your words. True words doubtless; yet all such comfor is cold. Memory is not what the heart desires..."


cat skeletons & puppy chow

long sprawling entry to follow. just try to keep up. (of course i say that to deter you slacker-readers out there who clearly didn't read that article i linked).

hard drive recovery update: i have searched through the recovery files and it seems the only ones that were not recovered were most of my europe pictures, which just so happen to be the only pictures i had kept on my computer because of their value to me. coincidence? i think not. i want to say God is good, but does God bestow his favor on me by saving pictures for me? perhaps. God is good.

ok now to the real stuff of this post. got back from the trip to okc, which was really great. i won't bore you with details or uninteresting events that just tell what we did and really have very little interest to anyone who wasn't on the trip, and those who were already know all those details. so i will tell of other things in connection with it. (and yes, the title of this post is related to the trip--of which i will spare you the stories but both of those things were somehow quite prevalent this week).


i'm almost hesitant to get into all of this--partially for my sake, continually needing to call it forward and keep it at hand is hard, but necessary. part of me wants to retreat into the zombie state that i feel from tiredness after the long trip, but i've got a good night of sleep in me so i should be mostly physically recovered. i guess i am also hesitant because i don't know how open i should be. i suppose though that i'm open enough about everything else. and i have been thinking that i want my blog to be more wholly representative of what has been going on in me--both the good and the bad, the hard and the uplifting, the questions and the learnings. of late i feel like i have been offering mostly the pain and struggle. it is the greater reality at the moment, but it is not the whole reality. so here's to authenticity, holding back only what God would keep between us.


first of all, i'm almost certainly moving to kc this summer. it's not moving to the suburbs or a trendy part of midtown. it's going into the city and living in community with brothers and sisters and loving a neighborhood. it's not safe or comfortable, but what of those values anyway? God confirmed those thoughts just before the trip, and so the time down in okc was a great place to look at what God is doing in the heart of the city and to dream about what he might have for a community in kc. there are some amazing things that have happened in okc. what could be in store for kc? it gets my heart so excited.

all of those thoughts and plans stand in great contrast to the immense poverty of spirit i have had within me of late. indeed, this idea of a kc community is the only thing that stirs my heart right now really. why is that? well, some of the reasons for that i can identify. others are simply what the Lord seems to have me going through right now, both in circumstances and in interior realities. a couple of these came to the forefront on the trip.

i believe the first was a recognition of an idol in my life--one i had been wary of in the past but has crept its way back. ever since my parents were divorced, or i guess since i can remember (since i was so young at the time) i have wanted to have a family of my own to do it right. this desire has at times been a greater motivating factor to me than following God, but not for quite awhile. a serious relationship came that God was leading a lot, but then it ended. my choosing ultimately, and i am not sure if it was the right choice. i am not sure if God wanted to do more in that situation. i'm not sure i will ever know, but i have accepted it now. that was not an idol in my life. but then came another relationship, and somewhere along the line--perhaps from the fear of more heartache, pain, and loss--the desire to maintain and hold that relationship started taking over my thoughts and intentions. i realized the intensity of my love was not passion, but self-preservation, trying to allow anything but the ultimate freedom to not choose me. that may be one of the hardest things in life, at least for me--to let someone walk away from you. but that's more about loyalty as a form of control, which is for another post. i confessed this idol in my life, and how i don't want to reenter that cycle of holding a relationship above God's plans for me. i don't want something like that to take over again like that did. i want that desire for something good to be just that--good and not consuming and unhealthy.

that is something in the past and done and then about looking forward. and i've realized i am nowhere really ready to look forward, at least in so much of my heart. i've held a wall in front of it in a lot of ways--and monday night was a time of penetration past it. it took some pretty specific prayer and words of ministry to get there. parts of me had gone numb, and i had closed off places in my heart--fearing the lose of ideologies and hopes. the word in prayer was to stay open, continue to give myself away. but i'm finding that to be so hard. removing the wall brought some truths, but it also brought the impact of the things that have been pressing against that wall, trying to get at my heart. i have called manhattan my island before--feeling isolated and remote from so much of my life of the past. there is newness and a few good friends who i am so grateful for, but also much that has been difficult. also pressing was the impact of watching nearly all of my closest friends get married within the last year. people would ask me if it was weird, and i would generally say no. but now it is hitting me. especially after wading my way through two serious relationships that came down just as my investment in them went up. and the number of my single friends is contained on one hand. there is something that just wears over time when you only hang out with couples, or parts of couples that can't really relate any more. it just slowly wears away at that strength of independence within. especially when you don't even really believe in independence. anyway, i say none of this for pity.

it raises deep questions in your heart that you don't want to deal with. what's wrong with me? why did it happen like this? etc. i won't get into those too much. but significantly monday in a moment of silence God spoke to me clearly, "you are loved." he didn't say "i love you," and i wondered why for a moment. i suppose he wanted me to know that it was more than just him. perhaps. i know romans 8:38-39. it is in the core of my heart like little else. yet the places that his love leads me i feel like i so rarely understand anymore. yet, "you are loved." it just is really hard to see sometimes. and perhaps the hardest part of it all is getting my heart to believe that.

i don't know if all of this writing is comprehensible or helpful to anyone else in any way. it is jumbled and confused as is my heart right now. but somehow it is at least something for me. so that's that, and this is but a part of my journey now.



ok, so after a little bit of panic and then relief, it seems as if pretty much all of my data on my external hard drive has been recovered by technical services at k-state. thank goodness. 27.50 is a small price to pay for all of that stuff. but once again, it's just stuff--and hopefully now i have learned something and am a little more free of it all. hopefully.

well i'm going to oklahoma city tomorrow on a mission trip with ichthus--it's going to be really awesome. i am so excited. so, more time away from the computer and the blog. so i'll leave you with a link to an article that i found very intriguing. if you are reading this blog (or any blog), or even using the internet at all you really should read it. and if you look at it and it seems too long--that is exactly the point. so for those of you who think my blog entries are too long at times, this is also for you. read it!



digital fire

there is no time for the neighbors to come watch,
no, a fire like this burns in the slightest moment,
catching on the slightest click to ember and flame.
ashes in an instant,
there is no decision on what to grab on your way out.


ok so a poem about all of that is a little silly. and i didn't really want to write a full one anyway. i was pretty distraught last night, upset at all that i had lost. but then things became ok. i mean, it's just stuff right? everything burns. and really it is not all lost. or at least it is not all lost. the music i can get back from my ipod, even though i care about that the least. the pictures--a good deal of them are on one of my old computer, as were some of my stories thank goodness. i lost all my other writings for books or other things, old papers and conversations with friends and letters i'd written. those are the hardest for sure, but it's ok. would i ever have gone back and read them all? maybe, but they do not make up my memories or really give value to those relationships and such. i took in my external to technical services so perhaps they can get some of it back. we'll see.

no there is almost something kind of freeing in it, in this loss. this stuff doesn't have that big of a hold on me. it is just stuff. of course it's easier to say all that since i'm not really losing everything, and i still have the physical stuff like my computer and such. it would be something to really lose it all, or to give it all up. so, in that light, and in the spirit of this not so great experience i will leave you with one of the few songs i still have. and i'm off to nebraska tomorrow to visit friends. i'm looking forward to a good little trip.

midlake "bandits"


oh shit

i just erased my entire external hard drive by accident....

all my photos. stories. writings. music. letters.


you've got to be kidding me.

recovery? giving it a try tomorrow at the IT center. hope and pray.



untitled poem

Sing, oh muse, your siren song--
A new song it is,
More selfish now than devious.
Call forth your fools,
At who's bidding you'll offer
Hope, Heart, a hand--
Though halfway do you heed the call.
You sing the song
But do not grasp the words--
Until you let them go.
Until you let go.

I listen for a whisper that is fading further away.
I embrace a vapor that is cool between my arms.
Seeking warmth from a candle when embers prove weak.
Fall far and stay away.
I've lost my way,
And all I can see are the paths behind.

Seek reverie in a metaphor--
For joy is a construction crafted in silence,
Or on the keys of a typewriter.
When all looks bleak the hero rises
Yet we fall.
Take your eyes off the stars--
The reality is just across the street,
Catty-corner from your heart.
The market is bad and you cannot move,
Who will buy this old fixer-upper?

None of us know the songs we are singing.
Nor do you know what this poem is really about.
But take your bits and pieces of what you glean--
It's all we can do.
Make your judgments and move forward,
Casting a sidelong glance back as you go.
Some make it a lot further than others,
If only they knew where.

Quiet and curl your feet.
Gather your bearings.
What's this mess you've found yourself in?
Sometimes riding out the storm means hunkering down.
And wondering,
What will be left?



2008, you were a _____________ year. (for the phrase, thank you IM)

as impossible as it is to characterize an entire year in one adjective, for some reason it is a good thought. it is good that it is in second person, a direct address. it is good that the year has a distinct reality, as sometimes our past can seem hazy and blended together. so what comes to mind? how would you fill in that blank?

in the context i first encountered this phrase, the blank stood for shitty--a word they didn't want to explicitly say. i'll say it, because i think there is a reality in appropriate language. not "appropriate" language, but language that truly fits a situation.

did i have a shitty year? well, no--that wouldn't be entirely accurate by any means. and yet, that's what i want to call 2008. disappointment can be quite the shading light. or shadow is probably a better term. maybe it's about looking for the light, not peering into the shadows. "shitty" is by no means the appropriate word. it is not the reality.

so what is the word for me? the word is dark. i don't mean for that to sound as dreadful as it perhaps might be taken. it's the rain not just the sun that helps a flower bloom, and light is scarce through the thick clouds of storms. i feel like i often flirt with vulnerability here, never really going too far--perhaps it's because a blog isn't an appropriate place for that, perhaps because it is so hard to be truly understood in this sort of medium. well, i think that i would rather be misunderstood or borderline inappropriate than disingenuous.

it wasn't long into you old 2008 when during a prayer vigil i was given the word "emptiness." that was to be my season, my place. it's strange how so very often this very inward place can be so unconnected from many of the outward realities of my life--how i interact with people, relationships, ministry, etc. but the inward reality is sharp and strong, and it is what pervades in retrospect. though the outward would in many ways begin to follow.

there was a search for a way out for a good while. a lesson, a revelation, a great purpose to have it all make sense--the ornate doors through which it would all be left behind, into freedom and fellowship and joy. no. pragmatism in no redemption. and loss is in many ways unredeemable. there is no reclaiming. for there is no claim on a life that is no longer your own. it is death. and that is the path down which any must go who are so foolishly willing before they begin. i fear that path ahead. i fear what else will be lost, what else we be taken.

i'm beginning to realize that my view of God is somewhat demanding, always wanting more. not in a sadistic way, but still always progressing. and i think i treat others in much the same way. if you're not growing you're going backwards. riiight. Lord save me from pragmatism and product/results-based spirituality.

what makes us think that a change in a number can cause all the old to go away and the new to be completely fresh? that just isn't the case in so many ways. i will live with the same things i bore in 2008. they will be no better simply because some numbers have reset. that doesn't mean i won't hope and look for a little light, though that certainly has been getting harder of late. is the heart the last thing to go?

a new year doesn't mean a new season. but here's to hoping that newness finds our way into the tired and wearisome places of our journeys. happy 2009.