Monday, February 22, 2010

[Question of the Season]

What does it mean for me to give God my whole heart? to love God with "all my heart and soul and mind and strength"? to "serve Him only"?

"You shall have no other gods before me."

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I'd been feeling God calling me--no, commanding me--to listen up and be really present, to stop cramming my head so full of fiction and assignments that I can't think. So I got back to journalling, and skipped classes on Tuesday to have a real pause, and stopped reading fiction, and fasted on Wednesday night/Thursday, and went to the Ash Wednesday prayer service, and tried to meditate on the bus today. I can definitely see why I needed to slow down and clear my mind and focus on God this week, because intense conversations have been flying at me from every side. A catalog of conversations:
  • On a politicky and tragic family situation, Tuesday night
  • On how to face Bible study having become twice the size it needs to be, Tuesday night
  • On being a real man by God's definition! also Tuesday night
  • On horrifically awkward boy problems, Wednesday night
  • On race and class, 9-11, Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell, Thursday afternoon
  • On what it means to "need" someone, Wednesday & Thursday evening
  • On how the heck to teach people to lead Bible studies, Thursday night
  • On dealing with discontentment and immature exes, Friday noon
  • On Hosea chapter 5, Friday afternoon
  • On how a Christian should address the forest of issues surrounding homosexuality, Saturday afternoon
  • On the problem of pain (case study: a sister's cancer), Sunday night
Holy Spirit, come. Holy Spirit, dwell. Fill this place with joy overflowing, and love overflowing, and peace overflowing, in all of your glory: Come. I would have failed at these conversations if I hadn't been consciously listening for God, trying to "feed on Him" since Jesus is the Bread of Life. I would have been at a loss for words; I would have avoided the hard questions and just been the soft listener; I wouldn't even have been able to listen all the way through, to put aside my agenda. And I certainly could have done better even as it was. But by the grace of God, even the offering I could bring bore some fruit.

"The one who feeds on Me will live because of Me": let me feed on You, Lord, because life comes only from You.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I need Lent

Lent is almost here, and it's good timing because I can feel myself slipping into all kinds of excesses. I need to prune my activities. To clean my mind. To discipline myself. To fast. Lately, I have been squandering time and gobbling cookies and staying up far too late immersed in novels.

The biggest reason my life feels messy and slip-slidey right now is that I have indulged myself by taking on too many things. 25 hours a week of class might just be too many, even if the homework load is minimal. But ... I want to do this. And I want to read, and see this friend and that friend, and have this conversation, and really explore that topic. I am intentional about investing time in schoolwork, people, ideas, work, church. But each thing, like a small but hungry mouse, nibbles away at the twenty-four hours of the day. After so many persistent teeth, the time is ragged and tattered. As my eyelids droop shut, the day droops in shreds in my hand, marked everywhere by tiny incisors. What is this sad remnant? I cannot offer it to my God, and I barely want it for myself. It trickles away, slipping down...

What offering would you have me lay down, my God?

When the torn-up time tapers away, I suddenly realize the time never belonged to me anyway. All I held in my hand was a schedule. But Time has been flowing smoothly by all the while, washing through and around and over. I want to hold my breath and duck under the surface of the time-river, and feel the water rush over me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reading me

I wonder: Who is reading this? I think I know your eyes, Reader. I have stared into them. I have felt their gaze on me (rain that soaks through me, sunshine warm on my skin). Or I have felt your stare from afar, a tickle in my mind. Eye-contact trickles through the fiber-optics, the abstractions, the digitization, the verbalization... Read my words, and you are with me.

As your eyes explore the forest of my thoughts, I feel your steps along my spine. Every wanderer presses footprints into the leaves, scuffs the soil on the trail. You are only sending your mind wandering, your eyes as your emissaries, but as lightly as they tread, they still leave a track. I wake in the morning to find your journey traced on my territory. Here, the broken twig; there, the displaced dirt.

If I were a tracker, like so many beloved characters in the books of my childhood, I would know everything about you by the subtle signs you leave. All I know, though, is the brush of your fingers across my consciousness. I cannot read the forest, though I indwell it. These trees all germinated in my heart, but their names elude me. I do not recognize this pointed leaf, cannot remember that shaggy bark.

The trees know me, though, and they tell me of all the passersby. Their leaves whisper. The susurrus surrounds me, and I lie back on the loam, in the shadow-patterns...

The truth is, though, I don't speak the tree-language. All the gossip they pour upon me, all the stories they rain down on me, all the knowledge they strive to impart: it drifts down like their leaves and joins them on the forest floor. I am just a girl, just a writer, really. The touch of your eyes is a shimmer in my imagination, a quiver in the corner of my dreams. You may not exist. But if you do, you can pass through in the safe darkness of anonymity. Shout whatever you want into the forest, but I am the land, I am the stones. I cannot understand your speech, and I have no eyes to stare back at you. The forest is unfenced: you can wander at your will.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I can't decide if this pun is amazing or awful

From this NYT article:
“Physicians and society are not ready for ‘I have brain activation, therefore I am,’ ” Dr. Ropper wrote. “That would seriously put Descartes before the horse.”

Monday, February 1, 2010

Now that the black sky is blowing even colder air at me, now that sleep is addling my brain, I am folded up under the bed again, wondering how you are again. My life has its frustrations (the demons of over-extension and the imps of unruly software), but you--

You live in the storm, amid the gathering ions. Static electricity shimmers in the air around you. Your shorn hair stands on end, and your fingertips flash and crackle. Soon the lightning will strike again, I fear. Yes, I fear for you, for the thunder that will shake your skeleton, the vibrations reverberating between your very vertebrae. I cannot protect you. You are soaring through the stratosphere; I am planted in the earth. I babble poetry while drama pours down on you. You are drenched. The water scintillates in the flashes of light, and I am dazzled. I cannot watch.

But I trust every storm subsides, someday. The clouds will cry themselves out, and the thunderheads will run out of words, and the wind will sigh instead of shrieking. As the air settles, you'll drift down to land. And I will still be waiting, and the earth will still be solid, and you will stand still again.