Stream of Unconscious

Often I wake in the middle of the night with thoughts and visions that must be written. A lot of it may seem like mere rambling, but I am a born writer; I need to see what happens to my words once they stare back at me from the pages of my computer screen. Since I am ususally more than half-asleep when this happens, I jokingly entitled the original document: "Stream of Unconscious." Now that I am finally starting to publish in a blog (as so many people have suggested I should do!), I thought the title remained appropriate.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chasing Rainbows

There is no metaphor here. I literally chased a rainbow last weekend, and caught a few moments of magic in the process. I needed it, too. I desperately needed a chance to believe again; a glimpse of the impossible made possible. These are difficult times for many.

God is good, but sometimes very hard to see when your eyes have been clouded by the pain of this world.

It was a cloudy day, and had rained earlier. I was in the car with a group of friends, heading down a mile of memories, just laughing and enjoying the simplicity of a day off with good company and conversation. All of a sudden someone said: "Look! Look outside at the rainbow!!" and I caught my breath in sheer wonder at the sight. I have never seen one so close or so clear before. It was right before our eyes, and close enough that we could... almost... see the end of it.

No one really knew what to do. It felt shockingly out of place in the midst of our crazy, busy, stressful lives. I made a joke about using the pot of gold to pay off my loans and go back to London. But really there were no words for it, and deep in my soul, something that had been restless was quieted again, and a little of the veil was lifted off my eyes for awhile.

I am amazed at how easy it is to lose sight of things; to get caught up in the daily grind, the fear of layoffs at work, paying the next bill, and wondering when a lasting relationship will find you, or if that even happens anymore. It is easy to forget about simple beauty, and the basic need we have to believe beyond what we can see, and the thrill of that which is out of reach of our understanding and control. In this moment I am grateful to have the privelege of knowing an infinite God, who does not give me everything I want, but has complete knowledge of what I truly need.

People often tell me that I over analyze things. I am still pondering the rainbow, wondering what it meant and how I can teach myself to believe again. I am still hoping for a better life, not just more money and more stuff, but how to live in contentment and joy despite my circumstances, how to bring the light of hope into people's lives, how to write something compelling and relevant to this new generation... if I am ever able to do so.

Upon brief examination of my 26 years of existence, I can honestly say that I have always been chasing rainbows. There is some part of me that, no matter how bad things have gotten, has managed to keep believing beyond the dark shadow of reason or practicality or "reality." No matter how many bad choices I make, God seems to have chosen to protect and preserve that heart in me... I just do not know to what end.

I wonder when, if ever, it will be made known to me what my purpose is? Is there any point to all of this? There must be. I know there must be. But I just cannot see it yet. I suppose I should just keep praying for direction and trying to make good decisions and looking for the rainbows along the way.

Is it too much to ask for a companion though? Is it wrong of me to desire such things? The road gets so hard sometimes. And chasing rainbows alone is only half as fun, I am guessing, as sharing the experience with someone who also sees what cannot be seen at first glance.

But... that is not what I have been given for this season. So I guess I just keep on keeping on for now. Wish me luck on the way to finding that pot of gold. You never know when my day might come, at last.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weary Days

The days have grown cold and crisp, the leaves have all turned into radiance, and are letting go, one by one, to the playful breeze. I have begun to just bundle up, grab my coffee to go, and frequently forget to stop and take a deep breath.

The sun is just coming up when I leave for work, and setting as soon as I get off. I miss daylight in the evenings and sunshine on my skin, and layering tank tops. Yet Autumn and Winter are just a different perspective on beauty. I will also miss them when they go.

Lately I have felt like I have lost my way. You know that instant you realize that you are honestly and truly lost and don't know how to find your way back to something familiar? I don't know how to find my way back. But maybe I'm not supposed to find something familiar. Maybe I am supposed to take another risk and step out into something new.

It is terrifyingly obvious to me that this season of my life is coming to an end. I'm not ready for it to end. But I, like the leaves, seem to have no say in when the letting go happens. I just hope I find a safe place to crash before long...

The restlessness is stirring up in me again, and I just stand here in practical helplessness, because there are bills to pay, and a lonely gray cubicle I have to fill in order to pay them. I have a lot of dreams, but I have already begun to see them fading, already felt the inevitable cynicism taking over the timid optimist in me. Perhaps I need a good fiction novel to help me keep my head on straight.

I am surrounded by people at work who are in the same boat I am in. Am I not the one that's supposed to be showing them how to live this well because I have been redeemed? Instead I have blended in with the crowd and taken to just surviving every day, as if I have not been filled with a spirit of hope, or tasted living waters.

Once again, I have no answers, merely observations. Tomorrow is just another passing day on the calendar. Or would be, without God. And I just don't feel Him very close tonight. I am weary of working, and weary of dreaming, and weary of disappointment and mistakes. I am weary of myself tonight.

But maybe He knows things that I don't know just yet. So I will try to get up in the morning and believe...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ponderings of a Ragamuffin

I can't tell you how many incomplete posts I have sitting under my "Edit Posts" tab. I'll start them, get distracted, plan on coming back and finishing them, and then I never come back and finish them. I have found myself in a very frustrating season of incompleteness. The half-full aspect of my life has become very apparent to me, and I am at a loss as to how to fill it up again.

Of course I know the Sunday school answers. And there is some validity to those. But isn't there something practical I can do as well? Or is pursuing and trusting God the only thing that will make the gaps in my world start to shrink?

I am speaking generally on purpose, because I am too chicken to talk about what is bothering me specifically. But basically, I just feel empty, or half-filled, or unfinished, or all of the above. There is a little part of me that even feels short-changed, though admitting that is scary, because the truth is that I am blessed and I know it, or ought to, and don't want what I have to disappear on account of my ungratefulness. But maybe God doesn't work that way, and that's just my legalistic background talking.

I have found that there is a type of unfilled that keeps us running to God for filling, and that is the good kind. And then there is the kind that I have recently identified in myself, that is just a source of pain and frustration, and drives me to cope instead of live. And I hate that with a deep and mighty passion.

I've surprised myself with the way I have handled people and situations in my life lately. I am not entirely comfortable with how my stress and sadness has been effecting those around me, or how my response to said stress is reflecting Christ. I do not feel like I am a very good witness right now. And I'm not doing anything particularly bad, but neither am I doing any particular good, and that in and of itself is probably bad.

I am truly overwhelmed, and deep-down sad, and incapable, perhaps, of being a help instead of a hindrance to the people I care about. I want very much to be successful, and make good decisions, and bring light and joy into people's lives. Instead I have been angry, disgruntled, and even leaning towards bitter, depending on the day and the person I am dealing with. I know I probably just need more time with God and a clean apartment and more sleep, and that would most likely cure the majority of my problems. But none of that is as easy as I would like it to be. And why do I expect life to be easy anyway??

I'd like to do a study (and by that I mean I'd like someone else to do a study) on how many times the Bible says "take heart" or "be encouraged" or "do not fear" because I'm pretty sure it says it a lot. And the truth is that that's because Jesus didn't come to make perfect people more perfect, but came for people like me, ridiculous and sinful and wallowing in self-pity, desperate for salvation, desiring to be filled, and needing to be made new again.

We are ragamuffins, all of us. There is just too much of me and not enough of Him hiding underneath this skin of mine. I have grown weary of myself, and I am the one person I can never get away from. It is abundantly clear to me that I need something other than myself, my stuff, and even my friends in order to find serenity, joy, and strength for each new day.

How is it that something can be so crystal clear and so difficult to change at the same time? It is as if I can see straight to the bottom of an infinitely clear pool, but I stand stupidly on the shore with the knowledge that I cannot swim, and therefore cannot attain the prize at the bottom.

I don't know that I have any answers tonight. I may have just needed to confess my abundant weakness as a cry for help or comfort in a dry and weary season. Perhaps I am currently wandering in the desert, and the promised land does exist, but I haven't quite made it there yet. My downfall is often that I assume if it's not here it's not anywhere, and that is a false assumption.

If it is true that I am in a desert season, then I can say for sure that I hate the desert. Is it arrogant of me to say that I hope God knows what He's doing? Because I really hope God knows what He's doing with me right now. I am not sure that I would lead me down this road this soon. I am not certain that I'm going to make it through to the other side. But maybe that's the point.

I only hope that the blessing I long for is close, and worth the pain of waiting in the end.

Come quickly, Lord.