Monday, September 21, 2009

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.

I've been thinking a lot on forgiveness today. When someone who cares nothing for you offends you, it is far easier to let it go, move on, and perhaps even smile at them as they pass you by. But when a love of your life causes you hurt, it feels so right to hold it against them forever. They should have known better, you say. There's no excuse. And you're right. There is none. Not ignorance or distraction or forgetfulness. None.

So what does that say about you? That you care more for the well being of some almost stranger to release them from your grip, but for someone closer they, have to live under your bitterness until you decide you're ready to let it go? Oh, well that's different. The stranger didn't know better. Okay. Is that still an excuse?

"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." - Proverbs 27:6
What does that mean? I took it to say that when our close ones rebuke or discipline us that we shouldn't be discouraged. We should trust them to speak those things for our benefit. And when others we don't know or trust very well begin to feed us with words sweet to our ears, we should be suspicious. They might be after something for their own selfish benefit.

What if it means that when someone we love hurts us deeply, whether intentionally or not, it is still to be trusted? Only the ones who know us best can know how to hurt us most. What does that mean? At what point do you give up and say enough? Never? What if it continues? How much hurt are you supposed to endure? And maybe they didn't know better, though they should have. Isn't that an excuse? Maybe they really should have known better, and there is no excuse.

However, the ultimate truth of all these questions is that no matter the extent of betrayal and cruelty, the only true freedom from it is forgiveness. Never let anyone have a grip on you because of somthing so wrong. And never hold a grip on them, because you will hurt yourself and strengthen the pain. I have no answers. Just that people, no matter who they are in your life, will cause you harm. And people, no matter what they've done, can only be saved through forgiveness. Don't you want everybody saved?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I will live by my pen...and a man who makes money.

I'm going to spoil a movie if you haven't seen it. But don't worry. When you watch it you'll see that I've really done nothing wrong.

Why can't I have both? Must I choose between love and the pen? This feeds the hate side of my relationship with pop culture. I just finished watching Becoming Jane and I will say it was not a bad movie. The only problem was that I kept seeing Anne Hathaway instead of Jane Austen in it. But other than that issue, I was pleased with the overall production.

As for the actual message of the movie, though, I was saddened. Jane couldn't marry the man she loved because they were both too poor and he had to support his family. She left him so he could marry someone with more money to provide for his parents and siblings. And she would "live by her pen." It is a rather encouraging message on one hand, it proves that no matter how desirable a lover may be, he is not necessary. She made it just fine by her career. However, when she was making plans to run away with her love (though they were both engaged to other people at the time) her sister pleads, "How will you write?"

What the heck? Is that supposed to mean she can't pursue her other dreams and desires because she's married?!? I'm sorry, but I thought we lived in a world where having both is entirely possible. Certainly not easy, but having each individually isn't easy either. And I don't want to hear how the times were different then. It's easy to say that because of Emily Dickinson, Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Louisa May Alcott. And then we have those of the 20th century, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, whose lives were downright tragic.

Guess what? I don't want anyone telling me what I can have and how much I can have. I'm not unaware that most of those things will be sacrificed at times, but I'm getting what I want and you better understand that. I will work and I will love. I've never had trouble with priorities. I'll make it. And I'll prove that to you.

But the dilemma is, if some things will have to be sacrificed at times, how will I know which one to sacrifice and when? am I being too selfish if I say no to love so I can build up my career? Am I making the biggest mistake of my life if I give up my dreams so I can have a husband? Either way, I'm going to look back and wonder what could have been if...

No. If I want both, I'm getting both. If he doesn't support me and my aspirations, then he doesn't deserve me. I know there IS someone out there who understands that if he wants a woman to support him and what he wants, than he BETTER be expecting to offer the same. And he better realize that if she doesn't expect that from him, he deserves better. And that's when I will introduce myself, "Hello, my name is Better, and you are?... Oh, well it's nice to meet you Mr. I've Been Waiting For You My Whole Life. I'm so glad to be making your acquaintance and your life worth it."
Hmmm... it does sound nice in my head. But we can't all live in a Jane Austen novel. Let's just be thankful we don't live in a Jane Austen biography. That would suck. Although, if she did marry for love, would we still have those novels? It was, after all, a different time. And the ending was satisfactory.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sad day, sad say.

I have a love/hate relationship with pop culture. I love movies with happy endings (predictable chick flicks) and I love top 40 (my seat bouncing music in the car). What I don't love is that when I turn the radio off or leave the theatre, the world I return to is nothing like what I've just left.

I want to have a sit-down with Taylor Swift and make sure she knew that Romeo didn't get a happy love story ending with Juliet.

I want to document an attempted entry into Harvard Law School using the same techniques as Elle Woods and send it to MGM.

Life isn't full of happy endings. It's full of crying little girls begging Daddy not to go away again. It's bombarded with disappointment over both possibilities of a pregnancy test. It's abuntantly supplied with headstones displaying a shorter than wished for lifespan. It brings us big red F's and criticism. It has long and drawn out court dates. It has the brokenness of unreturned love, the shattered pieces of relationships, and the tears of unanswered prayers. And worst of all, the unbearable loudness of God's silence.

The movie told me I could leave everything behind. I could run away with nothing but a duffel bag, and begin a new and successful and better life. I've tried running from my problems. On a smaller scale, of course. Guess what? They followed me. Like the smell of Mexican food from Mi Toro. They just stuck around.

But maybe a happy ending wasn't always the intent. Honestly, I don't think God ever intended on any kind of ending. Just an ongoing party forever. And if I flew straight to the happy ending, I'd miss the whole middle. And I'd never grow. And I'd never be better. And I'd never know the beauty of hope or how far grace would go. If I missed the whole middle of brokenness and strain and missing pieces that I endlessly search for. How would I ever know how far his love for me goes if everything's peachy?

I don't always wake up to peppy music starting my day. It was rainy this morning. And dark.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

All I want is a room somewhere...

I had to get a new phone last Thursday. First one they offered me? The iPhone. Did I want my monthly phone bill doubled? No, thanks! Would I have used half of what it offered me? Most definitely not. Soooo... I settled for some other touch screen thing that I don't like. I'm taking it back. I like buttons. And preferably something that doesn't cost $100.

This recession has caused many people to cut back. For instance, microwaves and dryers have gone down in sales. Kind of scary, isn't it? That is until you look at the products that have NOT suffered any decline: HD televisions, iPhones, and designer jeans.


That makes me wonder if we really are in trouble or if most don't believe we're really in trouble. Probably the latter. Those all sound nice. I like pretty and shiny, but come on, let's be practical here. If I'm going to spend a buttload of cash on something, it's probably going to be my trip to Europe, or children in India, or something that won't completely die once water contacts it. As I read recently, "Trips to Europe give memories that last a lifetime." Jeans from Europe?

You know, I've never been one for labels. Truth is, you could be covered in them and I wouldn't think they were any different from my hand-me-downs. I just don't notice it. And maybe it makes me weird, but I just don't get the big deal about it. I almost want to be famous so I can go to some award show and have all the annoying people with microphones ask me what I'm wearing so I can say (after all the stars have responded "Armani/Dolce & Gabbana/Dior"), "My mommy made it!"

I do love pretty things. But I aspire to practicality. What will this mean to me in a year? A microwave is something I would rather have on hand. Seeing how I don't like to cook and we're not allowed to have anything else in our dorms and that's my only way of food preparation and I don't want to pay money all the time to get food when the caf's closed, I kinda need it.

The life of a nomad is looking pretty good to me right now. Yes, yes, I know. A guaranteed roof and income for food and gas and stuff is nice. And anyone who really knows me knows that I go on freakout mode when that's in jeopardy (at that point I usally run from the room and call mommy so she can talk me down with common sense). But Jesus never had any needs unmet. I wish we could still live like that. I wish I trusted God enough to not worry about anything if my life did take some crazy turn.

No, I don't feel a call to leave my home and travel around with no money, trusting fellow brothers and sisters to take me in until I have to pull out my umbella and fly to the next set of people in need. I feel like a spiritual nomad already, and that's enough unsettling for me. In a way, we're all travellers, wandering, searching, running, dancing, limping, crawling, even being carried at times. But physically speaking, I'm supposed to be here right now. And I like stability. But even then, perhaps the simpler life of those with nothing but peace and trust in God to provide for them in their area of calling can teach me that I don't need much. The state of the economy is scary, but if it shows me that I can cut back and still be okay, then it's not all bad. I really don't need much. Just to see the world. I can do that barefoot, right?

Let's all be hippies! And then stuff ourselves with Twinkies when we get tired of it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I have a blog.

I have to admit that I thought blogs were for people with no social life. And I like to think I have a social life. But I like to write. And I like people to hear what I write. And Facebook isn't primarily for that. So I have a blog. If you want tidbits of my scholarly wisdom, if you're bored, or if you're a stalker, then hopefully you can find something of use to you here. I enjoy expressing what I think through type and ink, but I am learning to use my mouth when necessary. But I still like writing more than talking. (Okay, maybe that's a lie half the time, BUT I love writing.)

I think everybody has something to offer. This is what I have. I'll be back.

Grace and peace to you all!