Monday, January 31, 2005
About four girls raised their hands. It's a class of about 40 or 50. Everyone was kinda laughing.
"Really! Wow! Okay, now guys, how many of you would work seven years for a girl? Think about that... you take a job for seven years just to earn a girl's hand in marriage."
Four or five guys raised their hands, including me. Some of us were joking and talking, punching each other's shoulders, that kind of thing.
"Amazing! So how many of you guys are single?"
I kept my hand raised. I was in the front, so it wasn't until a few seconds later that I realized I was the only one with his hand still raised.
Everyone was laughing. Yeah, yeah... I know. You're about to say, "Oh, Isaiah, it only seemed like everyone was laughing." No, I'm serious. Half were laughing before; I looked around. Then the sound doubled. Simple mathematics.
Plus there's the fact that I was laughing too. For a different reason, of course.
"Right here, ladies!" Prof. Hebbard said, pointing to me with both hands and smiling.
"No, no... you don't understand!" I insisted, still smiling at him. "There's a specific girl-"
"Ohhh, so not just any girl."
"She would have to be a pretty special girl."
. . . um . . . no, she would have to be Llaura. "No, I mean-"
"Okay, so where were we? Alright, so Jacob agrees to work another seven years..."
Geez. Am I seriously the only one? Besides Jacob, I mean.
I was thinking about it throughout the rest of class, imagining how a one-on-one conversation with my prof might have gone. I would have ended up telling him about how this girl had Loved me, and how I Loved her, and how the very thought of marrying her put such a vibrant thrill in my heart and mind that "seven years would seem to me like days." Not to mention proving it by working seven (or fourteen) years. Not that I would plan on marrying Alissa, cuz... you know... she's a good friend of mine... but you get the idea. =D And then there's the whole polygamy thing, which just doesn't work, really (according to God, and I believe Him).
You should read the story. It's pretty cool. Genesis 29. Read it slowly, and use your imaginations.
I'll keep looking for that romantic heroine. Good call on Mulan, but I think there are some even bigger stories to find out there.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
I dunno what that phrase meant when it was first coined, but to me, it describes a person whose heart is unfailingly stirred by and devoted to the great Themes associated with romance.
In the movie Braveheart, an orphan named William Wallace, who left his home as a child after his parents were killed, returns to his hometown as an adult.
He recognizes a girl he used to know, and falls in love with her. Actually, she gave him a flower when they were children, and he kept it pressed all the years he was away. Though she didn't recognize him when he first returned, he took her for a horseback ride in the rain one evening and gave the flower back to her. She returned his love.
Unfortunately, the laws put in place by King Edward (an evil usurper of Scotland's throne) say that whenever a Scotsman marries, his wife is the 'property' of the nearest English noble on their first night of marriage.
William Wallace isn't really happy about that, so he marries the girl in secret. Ahh, what the heck, I'll just copy-paste part of the script for you:
"This Scottish rebel, Wallace. He fights to avenge a woman?"
"I nearly forgot. A magistrate wished to capture him and found he had a secret lover."
"So he cut the girl's throat to force Wallace to revolt. And Wallace did revolt. Knowing his passion for his lost love, they next plotted to take him by desecrating the graves of his father and brother, and setting an ambush at the grave of his love. But he got out of the trap fighting, weapon in hand. And carried her body to a secret place. Now that's love, no?"
Do I admire William Wallace? Heck yes!!! If someone stole the girl I Loved, the girl who Loved me, I would grab the nearest sword or pebble or axe and freaking tear apart anyone who stood between me and her. And if anyone harmed her...
*makes his meanest face, and does that whip-crack evil-eye thing from The New Kid*
In The Matrix, Neo bends the laws of surreality and challenges the power of destiny and fate to save Trinity's life. In Spiderman, Peter Parker loves MJ so much that he hides his love for her, for the sake of saving her life. As strong as this commitment to her is, he eventually abandons it, for the sake of her love.
How about Jacob in the book of Genesis? He works seven years for Laban just so he'll give him permission to marry his daughter Rachel, and at the end of the seven years, tricks him into marrying Leah instead, so Jacob works another seven years for Rachel! Fourteen freaking years! Do you know how long a guy today will wait for a girl? And that's just waiting, not working.
Ocean's Eleven. Danny Ocean makes plans to steal $150 million total from three casinos in Vegas, all owned by a guy named Terry Benedict who is known to take ruthless vengeance against anyone who touches his money.
Sorry to spoil it if you haven't seen it, but Danny's plan to steal the money is also his plan to reconcile with his ex-wife, Tess, who is dating Benedict. Danny's clever and elaborate plan eventually exposes Benedict as a greedy man who loves his money more than his girlfriend, and despite the separation and even animosity between Danny and his ex throughout most of the movie, the couple is reunited (after Danny spends six months in jail, which of course was part of the plan all along).
50 First Dates. Henry Roth decides to devote his entire life, one day at a time, pouring his time and energy and heart and soul into this girl named Lucy, who suffers from short-term memory loss. Since she can never remember meeting him, Henry has to romance Lucy every single day and hope that she falls for him.
Bruce Almighty. A guy with all the power of God Himself uses his supernatural abilities to make his life perfect... but then his heart changes, because he realizes how messed up everything is, especially his marriage. He turns around and uses his powers to remind his wife of how much he loves her.
Sweet Home Alabama. Shrek 2. Aladdin. The Wedding Singer. Serendipity. A Knight's Tale. The Recruit. Hercules. Robin Hood. The Princess Bride.
In all of these Stories, some guy sacrifices or attempts something amazing for the girl he Loves. In some, they even deny their own Love (or other commitments/desires) so that the girl they Love can be happy.
Dang... where was I going with all of this... I'm supposed to be doing my Old Testament Survey homework...
Oh, yeah. I was saying how I am a hopeless romantic. When I see those heroes attempt the impossible (or near-impossible) for those girls, my reactions range from a strong, slow smile, to a brief tear shed, to jumping off of my top bunk and throwing my fist in the air and shouting, "HECK YES!!!"
For the past, oh... I dunno... nine years or so, I've admired these guys, or the qualities that they represent, at least. I've even tried to emulate them. Wow, good job, me. Apparently I'm more of a Prince Humperdinck than a Westley; more Captain William Boone than Mowgli; more like Wilson Croft than Professor Phillip Brainard (Flubber).
I want to be a guy who welcomes her back no matter how many times she runs away. I want to be a guy who falls for her every day and every night. I want to be a guy who sees and loves every beauty she possesses, because to him she IS beauty. I want to be a guy who can drown in her tears, burn in her anger, fade away in her rejection, and suffer to death in her pain... and at the end of it all, be willing to endure it all again for the sake of her Life.
Now, I know some of you girls make lists for us guys. I know you have "standards" that we have to meet, or else. It's pretty common, as far as I can tell, even among guys. I really disagree with these lists, in general (not absolutely), but despite that fact, I'm going to make one of my own.
This is what I would want in a girl, if I were looking:
when I run away, no matter how far.
I want someone who is willing
to sacrifice me for us.
I want someone who doesn't mind
telling me everything I'm doing wrong.
I want someone who isn't afraid
to hurt me for Love's sake.
I want someone who will remind me
of who I am and what I believe.
I want someone who will acknowledge my weaknesses,
and help me strengthen myself.
I want someone who will not simply put up with my anger,
but will quietly refuse to yield
when my temper gets the better of me.
I want someone who can, at any given moment,
tell me how I can show her that I Llllove her.
I want someone who will
ask me to pray for her.
I want someone who will
push me away when I am stubborn.
I want someone who can be
confident of the girl I see in her.
I want someone who Loves and pursues God
more than she Loves or pursues me.
I want someone who
knows and values Committment.
"Isaiah, I hate to tell you this, but... you're stupid. No such girl exists, nor could she ever exist."
Okay, yeah, I know this already. This list isn't real. It's not the truth; but it's a true expression of what makes my heart leap. I'm not saying I deserve any of those things. Quite the contrary: I deserve to suffer in complete isolation, from God and from people. Jesus changes that picture, of course, since He basically put a price tag on me that says JESUS BLOOD, but you get the idea.
It's not my list of requirements, it's not what I deserve, and it's not realistic, but... Those things are the things that make me start crying and saying, "Oh God, that is amazing" over and over again. And I was crying and saying that, for awhile. Someone who fits that list perfectly doesn't exist, but that doesn't mean I've never seen any of those qualities in a girl before.
Anyway. Mandy, I have to give you partial credit for this post, because of the brief conversation we had tonight, about your current boyfriend. Thanks.
There are others who deserve partial credit also, but I won't list them. Loneliness is like emptiness, and emptiness is a vaccuum: the bigger it is, the more it pulls at you inside, threatening to swallow your outside whole so that you simply collapse into nothingness.
So I do my best to feed it secret thoughts and feelings every day. If I were to let it out here, it might cause problems.
One last story.
The Bible. This Guy, God, creates an entire world full of beauty for his beloved to enjoy. He knows they're going to betray him and hurt him, over and over again, yet He falls in Love with them anyway. God's Enemy- someone who used to worship Him but now hates Him- tricks God's beloved into betraying God, and the beloved ones are separated from their Lover and infected with a fatal, contagious, hereditary plague.
God immediately plants a Seed in the earth that He says will one day destroy the Enemy who deceived the beloved ones. His voice calls out to a man named Abram, telling Him to follow the voice wherever it leads Him. The voice promises to make Abram into an incredibly large and blessed nation of people, through whom God will one day bless the entire world.
They- His chosen ones- spend a couple thousand years following Him- tripping often, running away often, betraying Him again and again, yet they are always led back to Him. God makes a way for them to survive the plague, but just barely, until His plan emerges. Finally, after several thousand years at LEAST, the Seed God planted sprouts, and grows into a young tree.
The tree's branches wave in the wind, beckoning to the dying world. People begin to gather around this tree, and the tree tells them that it will soon bear fruit for them. There are some who are comforted by the strange tree's shade, but there are others who see the tree as an unwelcome weed in their garden of tradition.
The Enemy cuts down the tree, but it comes back to life in three days, grows into its full form, and bears a fruit called Zoe, a fruit which the beloved may eat of and be forever cured of the plague that infected them at the beginning of the story.
And now a sacred, mysterious Wind blows, whispering to the beloved ones that the original Lover is alive and well, and is pursuing His lost ones. Those who heed its call, renounce their disease, and eat of the fruit of the Resurrection tree will be reunited with Him, and with each other, in eternal community where no one will ever be alone or unloved again. Ever.
I hope something, somewhere, in this post, stirred you somehow. May the God Who IS romance bless all of you with a greater hunger for His Love.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
I just don't understand how He works my scribblings into art.
Katie... happy Birthday.
I hate the fact that I need it. So I fight it. I am not supposed to be resting. I am supposed to be working. There are things in this world that matter, and then there's me. How good I'm feeling is completely insignificant compared to the needs that need to be met.
I have responsibilities. I'm responsible for the completion of any tasks my uncle sends me (for his freelance web designing and building job). Yeah, he's my uncle, and he loves me, but you know what, I asked for this job. I asked for it, and I am really grateful for the work he lets me do. But that means I feel twice as bad when I need to rest, and his work doesn't get done. I should be doing what I said I was going to do.
I'm responsible for the web work that the Vanguard Theatre Department gave me. I ASKED for the job. They are paying me quadruple the amount offered on their flyer. They are trusting me to do what I said I would do. The next deadline is Wednesday, and I've only done about an hour of work on it in the two weeks the director gave me.
I'm responsible for my homework. I have an exegetical paper due on Wednesday, for my biblical interpretations class. I didn't even do the first assignment on time.
I'm responsible for keeping my committment to Ben Harbor at Mariners Church. I'm supposed to help him lead the 6th graders in worship, and then participate in the small group discussion.
I'm responsible for four chapters of "The Master Plan of Evangelism" by this Friday.
I'm responsible for the Old Testament study questions that are due this Monday evening. I haven't done any reading for that class yet. I totally missed the first assignment.
I'm responsible for caring for my friends. They trust me to BE their friend. I have prayers to offer, questions to ask and answers to listen to. I have apologies to make and promises to keep.
Oh, and here is my favorite set: I am responsible for seeking and saving the lost, tending God's flock, making disciples of all nations, growing in devotion and knowledge, disciplining myself spiritually, following God daily, loving my neighbors, expanding the kingdom, encouraging the body, and freakin' serving the world.
And you're telling me it's okay, or even good, to rest? Please don't joke around like that.
When my eyes will no longer stay open, that's when I will feel no guilt going to sleep. There's no point trying to read those chapters if my eyelids won't cooperate. When I have talked for so long that my tongue is dessicated and crumbling, then it will be alright for me to stop sharing the good news. When I have spent every free moment pursuing the achievement of the goals I have set and the fulfillment of the promises I've made, of my own free will, then I will rest with a clear conscience.
Until then, all my so-called free time, all my sabbaths, everything I do for myself, I will consider sinful.
Please don't ever ask me why I hate myself. This is only one of several reasons.
God please come back soon...
Friday, January 28, 2005
- a just-so-happened class
- random, directionless, Inspired
- truth from chaos
- good notes
- connections & connections
- Sadopa's story
- life in a glass-bottom boat
that's all i can remember. i feel like i'm already forgetting. i don't want to. maybe my four pages of notes will help. thank you to the people who left me away massages. i love those. i love all of you who did it, too, and not because you left them. ;)
to Mandy, Llaura, Katie, Sadopa, Bixlers, Alexa, Ug, Micus, Jolynn, and many others: i talk with God about you often. you're all in my heart and mind.
leave a comment! =)
i miss you.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
I only put all this together today, when I was out walking. I also came up with some questions for heaven.
#1. Is the pursuit of happiness a God-given right, or a mistake I'm making?
#2. All I know is what I experience. Is my faith based on what happens to me?
#3. Does God's consistency of character make it alright for me to validate or invalidate His actions as 'good' or 'bad'?
#4. How do I know what is and isn't from God, unless I know what His goals are?
#5. Is my value as a person affected by my choices? What about my importance in the Story?
I could think of more, but... I feel like five is good for now.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
I was meaning to introduce you to God, but apparently you've already met Him. ;) Isn't He intriguing?! Doubt His plans if you want, but if you're going to doubt, don't forget to doubt your doubts. I have no doubt that He orchestrated everything that night, from the time that guy started hitting on you, to the time I fell asleep the next morning. Everything makes so much more sense to me in the context of God's schemings.
Anyway: I hope you continue to look for the Story in your life, because you're right, you're probably not going to find faith by reading the bible or being in a church. God is Life, and it's in His Story that we find out who we are purposed to be. I can't wait for you to tell me more stories about how God is showing Himself to you.
We should talk some more. Contact me somehow...
i was supposed to be in bed at 1a. i have two classes and chapel and a meeting with my RA, plus a posterior-load of web work. but nooo. i am thinking about moon bathing. that's the title of this blog, and i swear i have no idea where the idea came from or whether the picture idea or the phrase came first.
anyway. i was inspired. what was i supposed to do? let the idea die?!
click on "some poetry" over there in the upper-right corner. enjoy.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Dating is just enjoying each other's company, one-on-one. There's no committment except to have fun and (hopefully) be fun. Going out, maybe there's some committment. Maybe it's a committment to date for a certain period of time. Sometimes it's exclusive, if it's a serious going-out. I think boyfriend-girlfriend relationships are the next step up from going out.
But no matter which of those stages you're in, you're still being careful. When you start to invest, to truly commit, you approach that thing called marriage, which isn't a contract or a ring, but a joining of body, mind, heart, and soul. Acknowledging and accepting that commitment from someone else is a very serious step of faith.
(It's not like you suddenly gain the ability to marry when you turn 18. When you can make that committment, you can [not should] marry for real.)
When faith is misplaced, there's potential for pain. Big deal if you and someone only date once. When you date or go out, your actions say that you expect the relationship to end. Even if you don't consciously think, "This is going to end"... by not committing to the relationship, you're inviting it to end at some point.
Llaura Noelle Kennedy, I do not, in any way shape or form, on any level whatsoever, regret the committment I made to you. In fact, I rejoice in it, because I believe it's what God wanted. I would never have wanted to give you half my heart, or loan it to you for awhile. The very idea makes me want to laugh.
Maybe I did act like I was married to you, but like I said, marriage isn't as lofty and far-off as it used to be. I know this one lady who was married at 18. A caucasian girl with brown hair and brown eyes, actually. She married a Filipino guy, and they've been happily committed ever since. My point is, I Lllloved, and still Llllove, you. Only you. You're the most beautiful (to the fourth power) girl I've ever seen, and I pray for you, not us, with all the passion I've been given.
It's a blessing for me to Llllove you in this moment. And when I say I'm blessed, I am really saying that I am happy. I am so happy to Llllove you, regardless of your response or reaction, or lack thereof. I'll probably be looked down on, for my perceived immaturity (lack of wisdom and experience), or my young age (and I know I'm young for my age), or for my hope in things that everyone else would say are not certain.
But not only do I have hope for things that are uncertain, but I also Hope for things that are certain.
I know I don't make sense to you. Likewise, right?
In times like these, I just have to pull out that cheesy old cliche phrase:
"But this I know."
God has created you, cared for you, chased you around Kentucky and Fresno and Pismo and San Diego and Westminster and Costa Mesa and Santa Barbara and Goleta and Morro Dunes; He's led you through pain, emptiness, longing, loneliness, sickness, evil influences, brokenness, and famine; He has given us an absolutely incredible year together; He has made it possible for you to pursue your dreams, each in their turn; He has brought you true friends, in every place you've been; and He has used your bad experiences to teach you valuable lessons.
He's not about to quit.
Okay, yeah. I certainly didn't intend to say all that at 11:55 p.m. I'm actually posting this at 2:29a! Anyway, I hope you take all this to heart.
We miss you. Read the Lletters if you don't believe me.
(By the way: I have to give some of the credit for this post to a wonderful, Loving person named Jolynn. Usually, inspiration slaps me in the face. Tonight, she gave me a hug instead. Thanks.)
This one's for Reelika, the 18-year-old deep-thinking song-singing poem-writing blog-writing English-speaking young lady from the far-away country of Estonia, who likes a good sleep. The song is written and played by an awesome guitarist named John Eric, who also likes a good sleep.
Don't forget: if some image or 'feeling' comes to you as you listen, let it. Half the music is in the sound... the rest is in you. =D ;)
Sadopa finally came.
On the right, you'll notice I've added "Posts of the Month" to the sidebar. If you click on "twas the night before Sunday" and scroll all the way to the bottom, you'll find some new comments. Actually, how about I just link you?
'twas the night before Sunday
That should take you straight to the comments. Those of you who are living in the Story right now... this is what I Live for. I cannot believe how awesome and amazing God is.
I just wish He'd tell me the plan a little sooner... ;)
Sadopa, I am too grateful and happy for you to understand right now. You have no idea how amazing you are, and how amazing God is, but I really hope you find out... and not just because the island is going to be perfect, but because this life, no matter how good it may have seemed at the best times in your life, is infinitely sweeter in the Story.
[NRSV - 1 Corinthians 4:16-18]
"We don't lose heart. Even though our bodies are wasting away, the deeper parts of us are being rejuvenated every day. This slight, temporary suffering is actually getting you and I ready for a hefty helping of glory that can't be measured, neither in space nor in time, because we aren't looking at visible things but at invisible things; for what you see is only going to last a little while, but those things you can't see are the true reality, and they are going to last forever."
Sadopa... there's tons more cool stories I could tell you, if we could get in contact somehow. You need an e-mail address or something. If not, we'll find some other way. Plus I just wanna talk, if the stories i tell get boring.
Anyway... God is amazing. Look for Him, and you will find Him... and you will not be disappointed.
Monday, January 24, 2005
if you- not all of you, but YOU, specifically, individually- have some kind of pain or problem that you don't feel like you can deal with, PLEASE contact me. have i got something unbelievably inconceivably impossibly REAL to show you.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
there's still alot going on, don't get me wrong. nothing's really changed. maybe that's why i have nothing to say.
please pray that i can have patience and guidance.
oh, and 'house of flying daggers' was a great movie. better than 'hero' in my opinion.
hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. leave a comment if you're not a loser. =P jk. sort of.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
somewhere along the edge of me, i find my heart enchanted
by a spell of arresting charm and reservoirs of feeling,
where life is found in moments, and they leave my senses reeling.
every part of me is dying; all my lusts, her eyes are stealing.
i shout, and silence echoes; i whisper, 'here i stand,'
yet my footing isn't sure, for i dance upon the sand.
i dance upon the shifting sands that scorch the skin and sear the soul.
i writhe in pain as dust attacks my eyes like freshly kindled coal.
i gasp my last as i start to drown.
i float in a dark and peaceful sea.
i scream with joy as the moon goes down.
i trade my grin for a guarantee-
of new life begun.
of hope reborn.
of a glimpse of the sun.
of a single thorn-
from a rose, tossed down from a balcony.
from a rose, which never belonged to me.
from a rose, who dared to kiss the grey.
from a rose, that doesn't care to say-
what color, her petals?
what strength, her stem?
what depth, her roots?
what price, her gem?
i have no wealth, save memories,
(and memories fade, like clouds in a bleak desert sky).
i have no strength, save hope in dreams.
(and who hopes in dreams, when dreams so easily die?)
yet some dreams refuse to pass away,
thus the life i have is just a ghost
of the life that i once knew;
and some say, "you have no prayers to pray.
though the eyes of gods see more than most,
all their ears are turned from you."
when i come to the end, i find a chest.
it is made of stone, and locked with steel.
i reach for the key that was given to me,
and realize: it was never real.
was it ever real?
It might be the best movie i've seen here on the 3rd floor, and i've seen several since coming here in the fall. i've decided to save up money for a complete vampire costume, for Halloween. It'll have to be after my braces are off, and i'll have to find a Ggggood photographer so i can frighten (or inspire) my kids someday, but i am definitely going to do it.
Andrew is saying i'll need someone to airbrush the blue veins effect onto my arms and head. i have no idea where i'm going to get that done. He says i had better go all out, or else. i agree with him.
Another thing i've decided to do: make a complete Windows sound scheme, composed entirely of Bill's voice. Imagine, if you will, the amazing voice of the amazing Bill Deans, greeting you as your start menu appears: "Hello, everyone. By the way: I'm amazing."
And as you log off? "See ya later, people. Oh, hey... did I mention I'm amazing?"
And when there's an error: "Oh, wow, that's not cool. Remember that one time, when I was so amazing, and you were like, 'Hey. He's amazing.' ?"
Wow, i'm bored. i got a nap from 6p-9p, then watched Interview, and now i have no idea what to do. Man... i'm just rambling. i don't like rambling. it makes me uncomfortable with myself, like i'm talking just to talk. i always get annoyed when other people do that.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Isn't that a great feeling? i have no job, yet many responsibilities. i am majoring in religion, and pursuing God and His kingdom is (in my mind) the most seriously important thing in existence; yet i feel like that's the area in life where i fail the most, and fall the farthest. The least important thing in life (in my mind) is, i guess, enjoying it; yet day by day, my behavior seems to indicate that it's the most important goal i have.
Everything i act like i don't care about is what i need and crave the most, and everything i pursue so naturally is what i value the least. Some of you have told me to lighten up about stuff. Why should i? If God is so important that His value cannot be measured, shouldn't i be trying to value Him as much as i can?
How can God be telling me to enjoy myself? Look how much work there is to be done. Think back to all the sermons that convicted you to go out and do something. Pile them all up on top of you. Think back to all the times God spoke to you, and you realized the magnitude of your responsibilities as one of His servants. Did you ever complete those tasks? Did you ever even start any of them? How do you feel about your responsibilities as a Christian?
Now: enjoy yourself and your life.
Here is the truth: i feel guilty whenever i enjoy myself. If there's something wrong there, then it's my responsibility to find a solution. If there's nothing wrong with it, i'm going to hate myself for the rest of my life. Every time i watch a movie or play a game or blog something, i'm going to think, "i could be doing something worth while right now. i could be writing letters to friends, studying the Word, cleaning my room, getting ahead on my homework, applying for cashier positions at department stores, or making to-do lists."
i know we need rest, but i rest too much. i know having fun can put us in a good mood, and that we sometimes do our best work when we're in a good mood, but how much of my day is supposed to be fun, and how much is supposed to be work?
i'll close with a quote from one of my favorite books:
"Death is lighter than a feather;
Duty is heavier than a mountain."
i had no school today, so i slept in until lunchtime. it isn't 84 degrees today, but it's still a summer feeling. The wind, the sun, the leafy shadows, the smells, and just the overall feel. It makes me think of my backyard, when it was quiet. i would go out and play with the magnifying glass, or read a ridiculously long fantasy novel, or try to catch the bright moths that i thought were butterflies.
There's such a strong feel of the past, yet the present pokes me in the butt to get my attention, and the future is a darkly-dressed stalker that puts on a different face every day.
blinded by distractions
lost in matterless affairs
reaching through the darkness
trusting You will meet me there
day by day
day by day
day by day
three things i pray
to see Thee more clearly
to love Thee more dearly
to follow Thee more nearly
day by day
i need some music...
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Next episode, Web-Logger... next episooooode!!!
teen girl squad #8
My biblical interpretations class makes me shiver. Foundations with Twyman last semester was basically the clearest vision of theology (as a whole) that I'd ever experienced. It stirred my mind and heart. Now, with this class that basically deals with exegetical study, God's stirring and adding ingredients. Last semester, God gave me His painting, and eyes to see it. Now He's handing me a magnifying glass, and telling me to go at it. It turns out He painted this thing with a million tiny words, each one colored and shaded to add to the picture.
Growing up, I knew I was told to be a good Christian. So I tried to be. I memorized all my Scriptures. When I realized there was really going to be an eternal existence, I got scared, and got baptized. Later on, when life actually got hard for me, I began talking to God. That was pretty discouraging, because I had no faith except what my parents had given me. It's not like they didn't do a good job, but it just wasn't enough for me. I knew the fundamentals of Who God was, but I didn't know Him at all.
And how could I? I heard everyone at church talk about Him, but what good does that do? You have to know Him if the words are going to matter to you.
I feel like I've been longing for real food, but only getting milk. I wanted to leave Fuzion and start going to adult classes, because even though I was hearing good words, I wasn't growing or learning. I've been begging God to teach me the real Truth for years. I think that's finally starting to happen.
This 3-hour once-a-week class is going to change my life. Everybody says "changed my life" nowadays.
When I say "it's life-changing," I'm not saying "it's a good experience." I'm not saying "it was alot of fun, and broadened my perspective." I'm not saying "it's something I needed." This class is all of those things, but it's more than that.
The Word of God is what keeps you and I alive. When you read the phrase "the Word," you can read it three ways: 1) "the inspired, God-breathed Word, which is the gospel of Christ, which brings abundant life," or 2) "the creative, creating Word, which is why this world and everything and everyone in it exists," or 3) "the incarnate, spirit-made-flesh Word, which is Jesus Christ who was born and killed on earth."
(EDIT: a note on 2), there. "In Him we live and move and have our being." This doesn't mean, "God is our reason for existing." It means, "Outside of Him, we do not live, move, or exist.")
If you start getting into the details of those three 'manifestions' or 'dimensions' of the Word, and if the Word really is all those things, then we can deduct some very interesting and profound thoughts. Here are two of my favorites:
If God were to stop thinking about you, you would cease to exist.
If God closed His mouth, existence would collapse into the formless void it started out as.
Back to the concept of biblical studies. If I don't know what this Word means, how can I live faithfully? How can I grow at all? The Spirit guides us, Christ died for us, and God Loves us, but if I don't understand His Words or recognize His voice, I cannot hope to follow Him. And if I can't follow Him, I have no Faith. Without Faith, there's no Hope (confidence in, and assurance of, God's promises).
If one day I realized, and knew for certain, that I had no Hope, I would kill myself. During specific moments of my life, I have experienced living the way my Creator meant me to experience it, and I have understood that there is no point to life if my life is not for God. If my purpose is not in God, then my life is completely devoid of any worth or significance or absolutes or Truth or reality! Without an understanding of His instructions, I have absolutely no idea how to do any of the things that matter at all, like Loving people.
So you tell me what my major should be.
Alright. I just added about a page and a half to this post. I finally got a good chunk of my thoughts out on the screen. I lost it all when Blogger told me there was an error posting my changes. Do you know what 'seething' means? It's part of a phrase people use sometimes. They say they're 'seething with hatred.' Or how about 'raging with fury'? Which one is more expressing and meaningful, do you think? I am angry enough to punch through my 3rd-floor window, toss my laptop through it, and then jump out the window myself.
Whatever 'seething' is, I am it. I hate what just happened.
I want to type it all again, but see, that doesn't work. I type because I need to get rid of my thoughts. I need to get them out. I think about them until I get them out. When I get them out, I forget them. That's how I work. That's why I'm stupid. Okay, it's just one 'why' why I'm stupid. But I just want to say that I hate that this happened.
I might try again. I just hate this. Alot.
it was a strange day today. the weather felt like autumn in Fresyes. it reminded me of the summertime feeling i got when i was in highhomeschool. everything looked and felt and smelled and sounded different. i liked it. it was lazy. it was warm. it was smooth. it was the past, like a cozy, invisible blanket.
someone please teach me how to smile for real.
- print Ben's songs
- call Llaura
- Professor P ~ 1:30p to 2p
- class at 9a
- buy books
- class at 2:30p
- blog something interesting
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
This is a Public Service Announcement for those of you who may have been misled by my post concerning the Great Romance. If you have any questions or comments (and the patience to listen), please talk with me. I have not 'found someone else;' in fact, I've never actually 'looked for anyone,' nor do I ever intend to. Those of you who have read the Andrew Peterson letter know that...
I thought that my committment was clear to everyone, but now I realize I never discussed my relationship with my family, except for Hannah. If you would like to read the beginning of the story, it's here. It would take more time than I've been given to say everything... of course, I'm an open book to those of you who like to read. =)
I will answer one or two of your questions right now, hopefully.
Strongly influenced by some very un-Loving things I did, Llaura has betrayed her commitment to me, but I still love, as well as Love, her. There are dozens of issues/problems to deal with, most of them very complex and messy, so at this point I am simply waiting for her to be open and honest with me about what the heck she's doing, and who the heck she is. She's become a frighteningly different person over the last 7 months or so, and she hasn't been communicating with me (in a constructive way) at all. I am praying for her mind/heart to clear, for God to keep my eyes on Him and not my problems (because they're far beyond me now), and hoping (along with Llaura) for a happy ending and a new beginning.
Sorry I didn't tell you earlier. I was in so much pain over break that I didn't want to talk about it with anyone, and I knew you would (with good intentions) ask questions and perhaps offer advice, but I wasn't ready for any of that. I was (and am) in such a deep, dark confusion about the whole situation, that I can't really explain anything to anyone's satisfaction, including my own. The only people who can answer my questions are Llaura and God. Llaura is unwilling to be open/honest right now, and God is... well, God. He'll reveal things to me in His timing.
If you pray, pray for the Holy Spirit to both convict Llaura and also lead her into the wonderful story God has prepared for her this year. Pray that He will keep my eyes on Him and remind me that these problems are in His hands, not mine. Also pray that He will continue to teach/show/discipline me to Love like He Loves. I know He has a very definite plan to prosper those who are faithful, through my classes and my search through the Word and through the building/strengthening of my other relationships.
Monday, January 17, 2005
God's Word is alive, I've been playing d&d, I've been getting lots of sleep, and my blog really needs some work. Llaura is ('b'-'u'-'t')^4, summer break is far away, my hallmates rule, and my friends are the best.
I'm bleh. Comment on some poetry.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
so this has been my project since Friday morning. spent 2/3 of the time on design, and started the build today. i don't even have the sidebar stuff coded yet, but tomorrow's a holiday, so... =D
what do you think? was the sailing one better? i was getting bored of looking at it.
i just want to tell all of you that God is amazing. yea yea yea, amazing, we know. amazing grace and all that, died for us, etc. No, you don't understand. you seriously don't.
imagine that you are single, but today you met someone. imagine how your attraction for this someone seemed to just bloom out of nowhere, and you can't stop thinking about this someone. imagine they are so attractive that you see their face whether your eyes are closed or open.
imagine that this someone just met you today, but that this person told you they've been waiting for someone like you all their life. imagine that they told you they wanted to go out with you somewhere, and that you said yes, barely even aware of what you were saying. imagine they the person gave you a gift to unwrap when you got home, and you got home and it was a lamp of three wishes. a REAL lamp of three wishes. and they gave it to you. they didn't use any of the wishes. in fact, they made the genie promise to be especially nice to you.
imagine this person that you met whispered "i really enjoy being with you" and you responded by whispering that same thing back.
now... say out loud, "that person is amazing. that person is so amazing, that that person makes me shiver with delight."
THAT is how intensely amazing God has been tonight.
so go talk to Him. He is amazing.
(p.s. He's amazing because i never would have thought of this kind of blessing. i never would have thought to pray for it. but God have it to me, knowing how much i would love it. and He did it at the perfect time. and He did it after i was seeking Him in His Word today. i asked Him which he enjoyed more, being with me or disciplining me to be a better person, and today He not only gave me a Divine gift, but He answered question I've been asking for about two years now. plus, He showed me that He HAS been working on me, and making progress in my life. all i want is to make Him smile at me and my life. i thought i was a worthless no-good sluggard, and He showed me something different. He is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *screams*)
okay, post is actually done, now. i want ZERO comments about how the p.s. was the longest paragraph of the post. you can comment on other stuff, though, like maybe, oh, i dunno.... how amazing God is?
Saturday, January 15, 2005
You see the world with one eye and stock images with the other.
When asked what the primary colors are, answer "RGB"
You get the urge to 'fix' poor quality images.
You start teaching your significant other to use this "evil" program and in the space of one afternoon convince them it's at least only quasi-evil in the face of PSP.
You ramble about a breakthrough in the piece you're doing to people who have no idea in hell what you're talking about
You ponder the meaning of existence without layers.
You never leave the house without a digicam and notepad.
You drop something and your brain tells you automatically "Ctrl-Z! Ctrl-Z!". When you realize it won't work, your brain tells you "Ctrl-Alt-Z! Ctrl-Alt-Z!"
You're getting dressed for something important and you look in the mirror and realize you would look so much better if you could just tweak the levels a little and apply a slight gaussian blur.
You stop on the street to rant about cheesey effects that should not be on professional posters.
You scream out fonts as they appear on TV.
You have dreams in "glowing edges"
You're standing on the beach and wondering who used Ocean Ripple.
You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends who are addicted to Photoshop.
i worked on my new blog design most of the day, transferred all my poetry from the old website to a new blog, e-mailed and chatted with people, listened to several CD's, and finished watching "The Usual Suspects" just now. excellent movie. old, with just a hint of cheesiness at some parts, but still excellent.
if you know the Bixlers, check this out: Island Family
if you are Llaura, you are beautiful, and you are His. i'm not saying you aren't if you're not... i'm just saying you are if you are. i've been saying that in my head all day, so it seemes apropros to blog it. is apropos the same as appropriate? i feel like the Architect.
oh, who am i fooling? i feel like Santa Clause on December 26th. i know, i sat around all day... but i'm talking about the sleep. am i just in the habit now? i guess having lots of fun is as good a reason to stay up on a Friday as having lots of work to do is to stay up on a school night. what a confusing sentence. at least it's not a segment frantence.
i hope tomorrow God smiles when He sees me. i've heard it said that if He stops thinking of you, you cease to exist. that's a cool-thought/cool-theological-exegesis thing that you'll hear about again in the future.
Kevin, save me a cool song if you get to heaven first. singing is the greatest.
Bill is amazing, everybody.
Friday, January 14, 2005
home of the wind
i call it that because 1) it's long-winded; words just keep coming out, and 2) because the wind has no home; it's always moving and changing.
i basically made a new blog and posted all of my poetry, old and new. go check it out. Phillip... i think you will like "the sailor," "i sail alone," and "untitled."
Thursday, January 13, 2005
i would like ideas for a new look for the blog. the ship that sails alone is going to sail over the horizon soon. maybe it's the edge of the world
maybe it's the edge of the world
where serpents swallow you whole
see, i was inspired just now to write a poem, and that's all that came out. that's how tired i am. i need a weekend. oh, hey, Monday's a holiday. i am stoked.
i can't believe i'm 'stoked'...
a special 'greetings' to Phillip, my newest devoted fan. yeah, right. Phillip, you don't have to be a devoted fan, but if you don't comment, i'll tell everyone you keep a link to this site on your desktop. how nerdy is that???
i'm just teasing. it's not nerdy. it's cool. too bad i just told everyone already, though. =) see how un-cool i am?
i feel bad, writing a post like this. the paragraphs are about three lines each, or less. this needs to stop. i hope someone revitalizes me soon. i'm going to watch a movie i'm not in the mood for and eat popcorn i don't want. then i'm going to sleep. this was originally two paragraphs. i shmushed them together to make this post seem more like a good one and less like one that really shows HOW TIRED I AM!!!
i'm not angry. she doesn't like me when i'm angry. anger's a valid feeling, though, right? i mean, i don't tell you to stop crying when you're sad. i don't tell you to stop laughing when you feel, er, laugh-y. when you are excited about something exciting in your life, i don't tell you to frown and be quiet. don't tell me to talk about how my classes are going when i'm so upset. and don't tell me i'm choosing to be, because that goes without saying. i chose to tie that knot, and now that you're trying to un-
. . . . . . . . . .
ooooooooooooohhhhhhhh. . . . . . . . . .
not you, Phillip... someone else needs to read the above paragraph. and the following poem.
your rowboat next to mine,
we paddled on together,
and tied a rope between,
in case of stormy weather.
but now the storm is passed (for you)
and i am left behind.
but if i can catch up to you,
i hope that i will find...
...a rope tied to your prow
with the strongest knot of all:
romance, true Love, and chivalry ;)
to catch us when we fall.
yet i watch with growing terror
as your hands attack the knot;
but, why try to untie it,
when you can simply -cut-?
does it go against anyone's grain that i used an emoticon in a poem? hope not. hey, whoever guesses the reason for this post's title gets a gold star. sorry the last poem rhymed "knot" with "cut." like i said... i'm tired. that's my universal excuse, i guess.
excuses. i never buy them. i need to stop selling them.
neither steady nor failing
it scattered the leaves
one by one, far away
in many directions
with no single purpose
her voice is the wind
that scattered the leaves
her song is the breeze
a powerful grace
that captured the earth
in her lukewarm embrace
heedless of motion
her melody persists
her song is the breeze
that captured the earth
her dance is the storm
both splendid and strong
that tortures the soul
and shatters the heart
forward, and backward
unfeeling and kind
her dance is the storm
that tortures the soul
her gaze commands fire
at her touch, all is still
her breath lifts him higher,
for his wish is her will
but his rise is arrested
by a ceiling of grey
and, for lack of a kiss
his Word melts away
in the eye of the storm
he finds pause in her words
as her lips plead the sunlight
to abandon the shore
the sands are now cool
given rest from the flame
but soaking in blood
they may find life again
words fail, unspoken
as empty hearts bleed
but he knows that, for now,
her want is her need.
her movement is guiding
his eyes to and fro
by her touch and her beauty
may hearts be made whole
in the wind, rain, and fog,
and the shadows, skin-deep
he finds virtue in patience
and patience in sleep
because waiting is all
that a cripple can do
except cry out for help
to begin life anew
the fog finds its home
'round the edges of joy
and waits, every morning,
for the smiling young boy
who sprints through the darkness
with the greatest of ease
that daring young man
who kisses the breeze
a storm drew the boy
from his mottled-brown tent
when thunder was heard
he jumped up, and went
to find pieces of metal
and other safe things
to capture the lightning
the storm always brings
the storm brought no light-
a murderer, instead:
sly stealer of faith,
inspirer of dread
it smashed through the walls
of false hopes and dead dreams,
at the call of a boy
who is more than he seemed
sorrow and joy
pretend to be coy
they flirt with each other:
young girl, younger boy
they've lost sight of the story
and the trust, from above
yet neither is willing
to suffer true Love
so they settle for romance
and the fun of the fling
and as the two dance
the other wind sings:
"through fog, storm, and murder,
through the burning i feel,
i will wait for you here
where true Love is real"
i will wait for You here
where true Love is real
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Pa rum pum pum pum
We'll pay the AmTrak fee
Pa rum pum pum pum
My heavy bags I bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
And when I'm lost, I sing
Pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum
Please, don't leave me here
Pa rum pum pum pum
When I come
I used Sadopa's phone
Pa rum pum pum pum
Then I was all alone
Pa rum pum pum pum
Rain, wind, and heart were cold
Pa rum pum pum pum
Yet I was ever bold
Pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum
One place to sit down
Pa rum pum pum pum
On my bum
Pa rum pum pum pum
I am an emo boy
Pa rum pum pum pum
Got no more songs to sing
Pa rum pum pum pum
Why won't the pay-phone ring
Pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum
Shall I wait for you,
Pa rum pum pum pum
and the sun?
Pa rum pum pum pum
The Micu family woke
Pa rum pum pum pum
Felt like a homeless guy
Pa rum pum pum pum
None of my stuff was dry
Pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum
Then they rescued me
Pa rum pum pum pum
By the sea
rhythm is the way a techno remix starts
rhythm has a way of causing feet to dance
rhythm is the chaos of a brief romance
rhythm is the drum that leads young men to war
rhythm is a salesman knocking at your door
rhythm is a cricket chirping in the night
rhythm is the 'tap' that gives the blind girl sight
rhythm was, before the evening sun began
rhythm was, when woman gave herself to man
rhythm was the humming of a small boy's sling
rhythm was, as David danced before his King
rhythm is the herald of a thunderstorm
rhythm is the crackling of the fire warm
rhythm is the scratch of branches at the glass
rhythm is the murmur of the midday mass
rhythm is the howling of the shifting sands
rhythm is the clapping of an ocean's hands
rhythm is the labored breath of sweating slaves
rhythm is a crashing hull against the waves
rhythm has been threshing wheat at flour mills
rhythm has been smithing under ancient hills
rhythm has been pumping blood and drawing breath
rhythm has been twirling swords and cheating death
rhythm is the avalanche of rock and snow
rhythm is the skipping-rocks that children throw
rhythm is the fall of rain on earth so dry
rhythm is the sorrow of a seagull's cry
rhythm is the sweeping of a dusty floor
rhythm is the song you hear when high winds roar
rhythm is the thunder of a crowd's applause
rhythm is the snapping of the Pacman's jaws
rhythm is a blogger typing thought and verse
rhythm is the clinking of a stolen purse
rhythm is the scraping of a piece of chalk
rhythm is the tension of a ticking clock
rhythm will be: running when we're all called home
rhythm will be: praises at the Father's throne
rhythm will be: tears that fall from tired eyes
rhythm will be: trumpet-calls as spirits rise
Just wanted to write and see how things are doing, how you're doing, if things have improved. How's college going, any interesting classes?
>=) <-- me Jenihe, if lavender isn't your color, let me know.
A few months ago I would have said, "Read my blog," but I'm not exactly the same person I was a few months ago. Go figure. Anyway, you deserve a detailed response from me (for the reason that I'm your friend, not because you're mine; though you are, of course). And since you haven't commented on my blog lately, not only will the reply be detailed, it'll be very long-winded. =) =Þ
Okay, so... I used to not know how to answer the ridiculously vague (it seemed to me at the time) question- "How's stuff and stuff?" -and its various forms. Now, I see that I'm supposed to interpret the question in whatever way that most strongly motivates me to disclose to you the quality of my existence. Therefore, when you say, "How are you doing?" I will hear instead, "I'm your friend, and I care about your choices and circumstances. Plus I enjoy talking with you; you're a unique, interesting person. I have known that since you first e-mailed me out of the blue."
And of course my response will be, "Actually, I've made sucky choices, and my circumstances blow. You enjoy talking with me because when I interact with people I put on whatever costume or mask that I think will appeal to them. The only reason I'm interesting is because I try to be- it's not that I am, inherently. The truth is, I'm an arrogant smart-aleck with the social skills of a hermit, the charismatic appeal of a cesspool, and the despicable and clever wit of a Hollywood villain."
LoL Just joking!
Right now, my gut reaction to the question is, "I feel like my life has worth only because God's blessing it, and He's only blessing it because He loves me, and He only loves me because He's God."
My brain reaction is, "There are way too many good things and bad things to list. I take most of the best things in life for granted, and I usually exaggerate the worst things, which means it would take a very great mental effort for me to answer that question honestly and accurately."
=D How about I move on to the second question?!?
I don't know if things have improved on Llaura's side, because she refuses to communicate with me. (Wow... what a ridiculously easy and horrifying answer...)
College and stuff: again, good and bad. I had scheduling problems and job problems and scholarship problems and responsibility problems and sleep deprivation problems and procrastination problems, all in the first week of school. I am actually still dealing with some of those problems.
But here's some good news: I have an on-campus job interview tomorrow, and I took a nap today. Oh, and my Biblical Interpretation class is going to rock my soul. In the bosom of Abraham. Disregard that last sentence fragment. I almost wrote segment frantace. In this class, I'll learn how to exegetically and hermeneutically divide the written Word (as opposed to the creative Word and the incarnate Word), anchoring my understanding of life-giving Scripture in the contextual background knowledge of authorial intent. I'll also be learning about the bible.
More good news: I'm doing 8-minute abs with the other guys on my floor. We're also planning on jogging 'round the school regularly, and we even throw in 8-minute arms and 20-minute kickboxing if we're feeling especially motivated. And I'm getting a gym pass thing next week. When I come back for summer, I will be in top sparring condition. I hope. Right now, I look/feel like I'm in bottom video-gaming condition.
On my desk: some used tissues, my speakers and CD/mp3 player and CD collection, my lamp, some chocolates, some sunflower seeds, some sunflower seed shells, a ziploc bag, a nearly-empty water bottle, a 4-inch stack of papers and folders, a Costco bag of gummy bears, and my beanie. And laptop. And elbows.
I'm anxious about having two design sketches, in three different colors, for the VU Theatre Department website (that's total 6 jpegs), completed by tomorrow afternoon. I'm excited about going to chapel tomorrow morning for worship and prayer. I'm worried about exercising tonight, because this morning when I jumped down from the top bunk, my calf-muscles flipped me off and cussed me out (because of last night's activities). I am worried to emotional death about Lanoke (yet anchored in spiritual hope). I am happy about my GPA (3.854). I am annoyed by the weird smell currently permeating this 3rd floor of the guys' dorm, where I live (it's called Huntington Hall).
I am intensely interested in and encouraged by John Cusack's movies.
I think my eyelids weigh about 2 lbs. each... at sea level.
Hostile jellies and moss of bad genre might name happy zephyrs' hags & zebra-mamas. (Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi.) I think it's hilarious that the mnemonic I came up with in Old Testament survey is something I have to remember by reciting the last 12 books, rather than the other way around.
The floor t-shirts came in yesterday. They look great, except the gray is way too light. Here's the design (mine!!!):
Some of the strength I had a few months ago is gone now. Please pray that it will return when and if I need it.
The cafeteria food has not been impressive lately. It's been okay, though. I wish I hadn't over-eaten tonight. (I'm still cool with the weigh-down thing... just you try eating buffet-style 15 times a week.)
I'm proud of my recent post, "'twas the night before sunday." I am disappointed that I couldn't get the drop-down menu nav to work.
I don't like how the top bunk squeaks like a tortured mouse. I want my bottom bunk back.
Now, I'm just spouting random thoughts of small significance. Maybe that's because I've shared all the important stuff already. Okay, not everything, but who wants to hear everything??? Anyway, I think I've answered your questions.
How are you doing?
p.s. I may blog this. It's too entertaining (for me) not to.
- the time Bill conjugated the verb
- the night we did 8-minute abs, 8-minute arms, and 20-minute kickboxing with the Rock
- the third Serendipity
- the 3rd floor
- the band of borthers
- the hardcore yogging
i just thought about how i thought about how profound it was that i thought that one of my sunflower seeds was saltier than the others.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
i added some things i forgot, though, like the wallet and a few other things. i found the typos (hopefully all of them), and i cleaned up the nav system (though it's somewhat awkwardly sprawled out right now), so don't be afraid to read it again. it's better the second time around.
and for blog's sake, comment. i know you have thoughts about it. you could mention your favorite part, or tell me how dumb i was not to share my personal testimony, or you could even ask a question. you have lots of options. i have lots of talkative-ness. i like to self-disclose. try me out. i'm not cool, like the tombstone or Oceans 12, but i've got a blog...
thanks to those who did comment. Karen, i'll IM you one of these evenings. Sadopa, still waiting for you to make second contact, but you're probly enjoying your week in SD. no rush, don't need any comments from people who were actually in the story or anything...
if you're in His Story right now, please pray that the character who is currently confused and doubting will find divine knowledge and faith.
Monday, January 10, 2005
~ back to top
"Oh... I haven't bought one yet. I'm going to Irvine."
*sudden foreboding music*
. . . . .
"$23. . . cool . . . . . . here you go."
~ back to top
This old Hispanic guy is sitting behind me. I have my seat leaned back, but the one next to me is in the full upright position, so there's this gap between the seats that lets him see me. He makes me a slight tad bit nervous.
But I forget about him quickly. I'm not really in the best mood. Actually, I'm in one of the worst moods. Despite many blessings, it's been the worst four weeks of my life. I'm listening to Sade on my CD player, with my headphones over my beanie, and I've taken off my sweatshirt and shoes because the rain soaked them while I was searching for a ticket station.
(My grey pajama / p.e. pants are wet, too, but the black sweatpants underneath have holes in them, and it just wasn't a take-off-my-pants kind of evening.) I never found one- a ticket station, I mean. The metrolink in Goleta is only a platform.
~ back to top
We've been through several stations by now. Even though I'm listening to music, I can hear the bell sound, and the announcement, whenever we're approaching one of our stops. I'm tired, but not sleepy. I wish I could sleep for a few months.
The old Hispanic guy gets up from his seat, walks up the aisle to my row, and turns to face me. He points to his right eye, then nods at me in a questioning way. Then he points to his eye again, and then to his own seat.
I raise one eyebrow at him and shake my head a little.
He goes through the whole motion again, and I just nod, because I have no clue what he's doing. He nods back and then crosses over to the next car.
When he comes back, he has a bag of potato chips, which he opens, and then holds out to me. I only take a few, but he shakes the bag at me again, so I take a few more. Finally he puts it in his lap, and I get up to get my tupperware of snickerdoodles that Hannah baked for me. I hand him one.
I smile, and have a cookie myself. A few minutes later, he holds the bag of chips out to me again. I take a few more, and he shakes it again, so this time I just grab the bag. He smiles, and I give a half-smile in return.
And the whole time I'm thinking, "What the heck? Why is an old Hispanic guy I don't know giving me chips and pointing at his right eye?"
Then things get weird. He taps me on the shoulder a while later. He starts pointing at his eyes, and face, and head, and he says something about 'Pastiyas' or something, and 'cabasa' and 'no tres' or 'notres' or something. I tell him I only speak a 'poquito' spanish. He sighs. He points at my pants, and rubs his own thighs (where, on my pants, the rain had soaked me), and says something else, and I say, "Yeah, I like them..."
A little while later, he does that same eye pointing / seat pointing thing. I watch his seat for him to make sure it doesn't run away. I wonder if he's gay or very nice or bored.
"Oh, uh, yes, on the bus...?"
"Oh, no... Irvine."
I was kidding about the ominous music. I had no idea what was going to happen.
~ back to top
There's a girl coming down the aisle. She puts a guitar, in a soft case, up in the luggage rack, and then rummages through a duffle bag. I am looking out the window at the dark and the rain, listening to Switchfoot now, but I can see her reflection.
She sets her bag down on the seat across from the one next to me. I'm in one of the areas where two pairs of seats face each other. She is trying to find something. No, she's taking off her sweatshirt. She probly got rained on, too. She's still rummaging, though. She finds her cell phone.
I'm not the kind of guy who takes his mind off of problems. When there's something inside that bothers me, I confront it; my personal problems rarely collect dust. I take them down from the shelf and examine them, like puzzles. I like puzzles.
Right now, it's Puzzles = +20, Isaiah = -18, so I'm not focused enough to avoid having my attention caught by anything remotely entertaining. I watch her reflection.
She looks out the window at me.
I give a weak smile.
We talk for awhile. Her name is Sarah. She's on her way to San Diego to stay with friends for a week. She starts college on the 19th, or the 17th, I can't remember. She's going to take guitar lessons and an earth science class at Shasta college. She's like Mandee, because she enjoys meeting people, and talking- but she doesn't talk too much. She's like Mandy, because she is carefree, even when life's not going that great. She doesn't wallow in her depression.
"You seem really organized."
I look at my butt-pack in the seat next to me, my sweatshirt draped over the armrest, and my CD player in my lap. I smile and toss the butt-pack on the floor.
"How about now?"
She laughs. "Still looks like it's supposed to be there."
I smile. I don't know how that thing works.
"You travel light."
I laugh a little, and point to the bottom row of the luggage rack. "See that black bag?"
"The big one?!"
"And the sleeping bag, and the smaller bag next to it, and the laptop bag, and the brown paper bag..."
She's pretty amused, I think.
She's like Jolynn, because she loves kids (and everybody, but especially kids), and when one of them runs by wearing the coolest beanie cap ever, she stops him and compliments him. His mom made him the hat for Christmas. She also made the necklace he's wearing. He looks about 10 or so. He has dark skin and dark curly hair.
She's like me, because she's 18 and on a train.
I watch the little boy run back to his seat.
"He's a cool guy... even though he wouldn't tell you his name."
"Yeah, he really is! Maybe his mom told him not to give his name out."
"He should have a nickname he gives to people... like, a 'stranger' name."
"That'd be so cool! What's my stranger name?"
". . . I'm not really good at coming up with random names. Uh... you name me."
"Okay, uhm . . . . . . Coccopelly."
"What the heck is Coco-pelli?"
"I don't know! Coccopelly!"
She laughs again.
"'Cause you're like cocoa. You're dark like cocoa."
I guess the lighting's dim on this train. I'm almost white enough, now, to be not even one-quarter Filipino, let alone half. At least I've got the nose. Sort of.
"And how about the -pelli part?"
"I dunno. It's just random, you know? Coccopelly."
"How do you spell that?"
She laughs a third time. I'm not really counting, though.
She spells it like it was the first word she ever learned.
"C'mon, what's mine???"
". . . . . . okay, uhm, what are the first two initials of your middle name?"
". . . D-o."
"...and your last name?"
I watch her put her thinking cap on for a second, and then she smiles.
"Yeah, you can do that with any name. Not everyone's name flows, but some do."
Like "Lanoke." Isjami flows, too, but only if you pronounce it right. Iz-jammy is a big pet peeve for me. I don't tell her this.
She asks me what I was listening to.
"Switchfoot. Heard of them?"
I give her my headphones, and she recognizes "Meant to Live."
"Oh, yeah... I've heard this song on the radio."
"Yeah, they're under a secular label now, so..."
I smile inside. I get to talk about God.
"They're a Christian band, but they're under a secular label now, so their Christian songs get played on secular radio."
"Are you a Christian?"
I pause. "Yes. It kinda depends on what you mean by Christian, but yes."
"You're a really spiritual person, huh?"
Heck yes!!! "What do you mean?"
"Like, you're majoring in religion, and you're this Christian and everything... you just seem like a really spiritual person."
I write down http://awhisper.blogspot.com on a piece of paper, and put it inside a CD case, with my extra Switchfoot CD. I hand it to her.
She's a little confused. I like confusing people, when it does no harm.
"It's for you. Take it."
"What's the paper?"
"It's one of my websites."
"You have websites?"
"What's on them?"
"That one's like an online journal. I dunno... stuff that happens to me. Poetry. Pictures."
"Cool. And the CD?"
"When I first got the Switchfoot CD, I knew I wanted to share it with everyone. I made a bunch of copies, and I kept them with me."
We're silent for awhile.
"That's so cool... thanks! Did I say thank you already?"
"Probably, but it's probably because I didn't say, 'you're welcome.' You're welcome."
She smiles. "Probably..."
We start talking about Christianity again.
"I dunno. The only Christians I've met were all like, 'don't do this,' and 'this is what you're supposed to do,' and all this stuff, and I didn't like them."
"Yeah, that's not right... I know what you're talking about." I've been one of those, before. I wish my apology could mean something to her.
"It's sad that Christians don't tell the story. Have you ever heard the Story?"
"No. What story?"
I think of the diabolical look Keith can put on when he does his evil villain impression from Inspector Gadget.
"Well, in that case... the Story goes that in the beginning, before any of this was created, God existed. He was never born or made or anything. He just was. And He decided to create the world, and everything in it, including humans, which He made in His image. They weren't Gods, like Him, but they were like Him."
After alot of experiences in my life, trying to figure out theology and evangelism and my faith, I thought I was finally ready to share the Story with someone. I was missing something, though, and I knew it. I had to find a way to make the Story relevant and meaningful, not just in itself, but in the life of the girl named Sarah.
"People sometimes ask the question, 'Why is this world so messed up? What's with all the killing and sadness and everything? If God is good, why did He create this crap?' The answer a believer would give you- someone who believes in the Story- is that God didn't create crap. He created everything to be perfect. And it was perfect. Even humans were perfect... but then they messed up. They did what God told them not to do.
"Another question people ask is, 'Well, why isn't He doing anything about it?' The believer's answer is that God is the only one doing something. In fact, He's the only one who can do anything, and..."
We talked about good and evil, and I asked her what her favorite movies were. We talked about Finding Nemo, and our favorite parts.
"I like that part when, uhm..."
I paused, and she smiled.
"...when Dory finds Nemo, and Marlin is reunited with him."
"I knew you were going to say that! As soon as you said, 'my favorite part,' I knew which part you were talking about."
Excellent. "Yeah. That's such a cool part."
I try to think of some other movies with reunion moments, but can't. I want to tell her that all these great themes we see in movies and books and stuff are actually themes from the Story. God is community: friendship and love. He is all those things we desire, and that's one of the ways we were created in His image. We were created for community, for laughter, for joy and celebration.
But I kinda flounder; I'm not prepared to have the whole Story / themes / God conversation with this bright, smiley girl. If she were a quiet intellectual male who enjoyed philosophy, I might be able to pull it off.
She takes out her cell phone. She wanted to take a picture of the boy with no name, but her phone doesn't have a camera.
"So, no camera on that phone?"
"Nope. Just the basic stuff."
"What if it were a lamp?"
It's her turn to pause. ". . .what???"
"What if your phone was a lamp? Like a 3 wishes lamp?"
"Oh. What would my wishes be?"
She thinks for awhile. "I would want an island."
*cha-ching* Gotcha! "Your own island?"
"Yeah! Where there were no, like... authorities... so we could pretty much just..."
"Enjoy your freedom?" We're on a roll.
"Who would you take with you, to this island?"
"I dunno... whoever wanted to come, as long as they didn't want to mess it up, or something."
"Awesome. Tell me more about this island."
She thinks some more. "We would all live in treehouses... everything would be natural, like, organic."
"Natural. Treehouses. Why treehouses?"
"I dunno, just cause... treehouses are fun, and they're cool... they're the best!"
"Hmm." I've so got you, now.
"And there would be bikes, and boats..." She continues to describe her first wish.
"I can see why you would want the boats. You could just go out and enjoy the ocean, and the sunsets..."
"Yeaaaah." She's loving this idea.
I pause. This is the moment. I smile.
"You'll get your wish."
She doesn't say anything at first. I can see the "...what?" on her face, though.
"You are going to get your wish. You will be there someday."
"You think so?"
"I know it. And I'll be there, too."
"How do you know?"
"You're describing heaven."
". . .What?"
"It's heaven. Things were perfect in the beginning, right? As soon as humans messed up, God started a plan to bring things back to the way they were. It's going to be heaven."
"But I think it could happen here. On earth."
"What? Your island??"
I shake my head. "It's been tried, though. People get together and decide they want to live in a perfect world, so they pack up and go live in the forest or on their island, and for awhile everyone's happy. But it always fails."
"Well, I mean, it doesn't have to be completely perfect..."
"But what if it could be?"
"Yeah. Wouldn't that be the greatest? We're going to be there, someday. It's going to be awesome."
"I dunno. God's never really shown Himself to me, so..."
I pause. I have to be careful.
"Sometimes God shows Himself in really obvious ways. Other times, you really have to look for Him. One of His promises to us is that anyone who truly looks for Him, will find Him."
I don't remember what she said in response. Maybe she didn't say anything.
"What would your other wishes be?"
A long pause, this time. "I would have to think long and hard about that one."
"What are yours?"
. . . . . . crap! Wow. I am not ready for that one. I thought I was asking an easy question, a question everyone enjoys answering! I'm like... uhm. No.
"Would you have to think long and hard about it?"
I thought I was the one leading the discussion!
"Probably... actually, I know my first one."
I tell her about a girl, someone I care about alot. I tell her what my first wish would be. We get on the subject of Christmas break. I tell her some of my story; I tell her the most important parts. She is sorry for me. We change the subject.
I don't remember what else we talked about, but it was cool.
A bell dings. I recognize it, after over a dozen times. Someone says we're about to stop at San Juan Capistrano. I don't recognize the name. That's weird. I dismiss it.
. . .
"But... I paid for... already..."
"Where are you headed?"
"Where are you really headed?"
"We passed Irvine. We passed San Juan a few minutes ago."
". . .Did you hear them call Irvine?"
"No. . ."
Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap!!!!!!
"Can I use your phone?"
She's reluctant. She doesn't want the charges. I pull my wallet out of my pocket as I dial home. She throws me a questioning look.
"Money for the call."
She half-smiles and half-frowns. "Oh, no, it's okay. . ."
"We are not available now. Please leave your name and phone number. We will return your call."
"Dad, someone, pick up the phone, it's Isaiah. I need Jeremy's cell number. It's urgent. It's Isaiah. Someone pick up."
As I make this call, I notice Sarah is about to give back my wallet, but she pauses, and opens it up instead. She looks at my driver's license, and smiles. I wonder what she's thinking.
". . .hello?"
"Eli! Wake up Dad."
"Mmmkay..." I woke him up. I can tell.
"Yeah, Dad, I need Jeremy's cell phone number. He was supposed to pick me up at Irvine, but I missed my train stop."
"Okay, here it is... can you talk quietly? You're waking everybody up."
He gives me the number. I write it down with my pen, on a piece of styrafoam that Sadopa (Sarah) hands to me.
I call Jeremy.
". . .Hello???"
"Jeremy! Are you at Irvine?"
"Yeah, where are you???"
". . .I missed my stop. I don't know how it happened."
I can name for you a dozen different stops we made that night. I looked at a map later, and I remember every city called, except Irvine.
"I'm sorry, I. . ."
"Don't worry about it." I hear some humor in his voice, even though he's annoyed.
"We're either dropping you off at Oceanside, another half hour from here, or at the San Clemente platform, which we're about to pass."
"San Clemente, please."
He radios the engineer, or whoever is driving.
"It's just a platform, not a station or anything."
"That's fine. San Clemente is fine. Jeremy, I'm going to be at the San Clemente station. Can you find it easily."
"Okay, yeah, San Clemente... yeah..."
"Awesome... see you there."
I hang up.
"Need help with your bags?"
"Yeah, that'd be awesome..."
She helps me with my bags. She's strong, I think. I exit the train. The platform is dark and wet. It's still raining. I turn around to smile at Sarah (Sadopa).
"We'll talk again." Thank You, God.
"Bye!" She waves. I have my hands full. I smile.
The platform is partially flooded, but not completely. There are two soda machines. The benches are nice, but they're not underneath the roof shelters. The wind is blowing the rain underneath the roof anyway.
The train track is right next to the ocean. I could walk 30 steps and be shin-deep in saltwater. I try to think of how awesome God's creation is, but after an hour and a half of waiting, I'm starting to get worried. I sing worship songs anyway.
"i cry out
for Your hand of mercy to heal me
i am weak
and i need Your love to free me
oh Lord, my rock
my strength in weakness
come rescue me, oh Lord
You are my hope
and Your promise never fails me
and my desire
is to follow You forever"
I'm surprised at how clean and clear and strong my voice is tonight.
"for You are good,
for You are good,
for you are good to me
for You are good,
for You are good,
for You are good to me"
"here i am, once again
i pour out my heart,
for i know that You hear every cry
You are listening
no matter what state
my heart is in
You are faithful
with words that are true,
and a hope that is real,
as i feel Your touch
You bring a freedom to all that's within
in the safety of this place,
i'm longing to
pour out my heart
to say that i love You
pour out my heart
to say that i need You
pour out my heart
to say that i'm thankful
pour out my heart
to say that You're wonderful
oh, that You're wonderful"
I sang other songs. I realized I was the only one around, so I sang loud. I liked it.
There's a pay-phone that makes weird noises or silence, but no dial tone. The puddles are growing. I find the high ground and sit on my smaller baggage. I check the phone every once in awhile. I don't want to spend the night here. Cars drive by, and I watch each one until it passes the station. I'm not exactly easy to see from the street. Maybe Jeremy is lost.
I realize that I don't really mean the songs I'm singing. I'm pretending to be a good Christian, at this point. I enjoy the music, but I don't enjoy God right now.
"You know what, I've been praying for Your miracles for months, and I've spent more time with You these past four weeks than any other four weeks of my life. I've changed. I've seen You at work. You told me You were going to take care of me! What kind of stupid miracle is this? I know You have Your plan, God, but what the heck is this!!! What a ridiculous plan! Come on, God!!!"
I actually shout it.
"I'm done singing. I've been making up songs to pass the time. I'm done. It's Your move, now, God, and I'm waiting for You."
I am tired, but not yet sleepy. The automatic ticket booth thing says the time and date.
I am hungry. I eat a snickerdoodle, and buy a Sierra Mist. It explodes all over my face, arms, and sweatshirt. I hate that, alot, but it's nothing compared to the bigger situation, so I smile.
"I know this hasn't been for nothing, God. If anyone knows how to rescue, it's You."
I know I'll be alright. I've decided not to take the train again, because 1) I want to make it easy for my family to find me, and 2) I don't want to waste my money. I'm a half-Filipino bando, after all... I can stay overnight in a strange town at a dark, dead, flooded, windy, freezing train platform.
Besides, I look again and there are no trains stopping at San Clemente on Sundays.
I'm wrapped up in my Mexico blanket, which was in my smaller bag. I have my beanie on, and my hood up, and I'm all grey and black and cocoa, which is probly why the lady at the 7-11 doesn't let me borrow her cell phone. The pay phone there works, but my family won't pick up the phone, and I can't remember Jeremy's cell phone number. I am running out of quarters.
I talk to a cop who is on patrol, and he asks me how old I am, and tells me to get a hotel for the night. I don't want to get a hotel. I don't want to sleep under a bush. That would be a cool story, though. My family would call me "Spartan" forever.
I doze off every few minutes, sitting on my baggage, bending over double so I don't have to hold myself up. I wake up whenever I hear the sound of a car. The paper bag full of food that Aunt Grace gave me is soaked, so I put everything in the small bag after I take out the blanket.
The rain stops. I smile. It's silly that Llaura was worried about me not getting my ticket. I wish she had just left when I got my bags out of her car. That would have made sense to me, at least.
A car is coming. I've been disappointed too many times. I don't look up.
Headlights are shining on my face. They won't go away. I sigh and wake up. It's a police car. Great. He's going to tell me I can't be out here, that I'm in trouble. They're going to arrest me.
He gets out of his car.
"Hello." I begin to feel better all of a sudden.
"Are you missing?"
"Yes, sort of..."
My Uncle Larry pulls up and laughs joyously. He thanks the policemen.
I stand up. "I don't know what to say..."
"No problem!" He has a huge smile on. "We've finally found you, it's our fault, we didn't know where you were. Thank you, officers!"
The two officers smile. There's another car behind the first one. "I got my masters at Vanguard. Just finished."
"That's pretty cool."
Uncle Larry has the heater on. I'm still in my blanket, shivering less now. He tells me that he and Jeremy drove all over for hours, and that there are two stations in San Clemente, but they didn't know that.
They have a timeshare on the beach there, so they know the city... but the train usually stops at the pier, not where I was. Jeremy drove down to Oceanside, then to San Juan Capistrano, and San Clemente, and they both waited hours for me. Jeremy was getting a headache, so Uncle Larry sent him home with some Tylenol halfway through the search. Uncle Larry was up and down the beach yelling my name. The relief on his face must've been really funny to see when the cops who were chatting at the gas station told him there were two stations in San Clemente.
Bill is asleep. I try not to make the top bunk creak too much. My sleeping bag is wet from the rain, even on the inside, and my Mexico blanket fell in the puddle a little, and everything just stinks of wet stink. I throw everything everywhere, and try to stay warm as I fall asleep. I thank God for not shouting back at me. I pray for the people I Love. I set the alarm for 1p,
but my friend Jay Ditto wakes me up at 12:30p so we can go to the cafeteria together. The shower is hot.
I tell Bill my story, catching his attention by saying, "From 11:30 to 4:30 I was sitting alone in the cold rain and wind at a dark flooded train platform in San Clemente. I sang some songs and stepped in the puddles."
He says I'm a little emo boy now.
Jay says the Mexican guy must have noticed how depressed I was. He was asking about the sorrow in my face, and wanted to cheer me up. Maybe that's what it was.
Sadopa, just because we're going to hang out on the island doesn't mean we can't talk before then. Besides, if you're going to get there, I've got to introduce you to Someone first.
If you have comments on my story, or questions about what the heck I meant about something, e-mail me or comment!