I don’t mind fighting. Because I know we’ll make up.
I guess that’s love. Holding on instead of running away. I guess love isn’t perfection, but rather commitment. I guess love is saying I’ll take the blunders, the missteps, the set backs, and the fuck-ups. I guess love is saying that seventy times seven is only the beginning. I guess love is saying I won’t even count.
I guess love lets you go to bed mad, but still wants to kiss your cheek first. I guess love is knowing that its okay to feel frustrated, even angry or upset, provided you know that love is the deeper emotion. I guess love takes the miles and the missed moments and the heartache for the joy of reunion and the peace of returning.
I guess love is both now and eternity.
I say I guess, but I know. I know because you love me.
Once, I wanted to watch the sunrise. I was working at camp and I thought it was about time I crossed that one off my bucket list. Not seeing the sunrise because I was dragged out of bed at that godforsaken hour for some function, event, or fundraiser, but because I genuinely wanted to sit and see the sun come up.
So, the night before I went to a weather website, checked the time of the sunrise in the morning and set my alarm for a few minutes before that time. I woke up the next morning, stepped outside and saw sunlight…It was already bright out. Turns out, you have to be a little bit early if you want to catch sun-up. I’ll remember that in the future. Timeliness isn’t my game, but I’ll remember that.
I like to take close up photos. I have been this way as long as I can remember. I will take the obligation vista shot. The wide shot of the horizon at sunrise. Or I would if I ever decided to wake up that early. I love other people’s wide pictures, where it seems like you are looking out at the world through their eyes. I even occasionally like my own distance photos. You can’t capture the magnificence of the Great Wall by taking a picture of one brick.
But in general, I focus on the details. I’ll put on my zoom lens and capture the texture of one leaf, one clump of dandelions, the area of your face from your cheek to your forehead. I feel uncomfortable with my photos that show too much. I think I am afraid that what I see will get lost. That if I don’t focus on the detail that is captivating me, no one else will see it. I want to explain to you, so you have no possibility of missing the point.
I do this in my life, also. I want to use my words to help everyone to see what I am seeing. I am terrified of being misunderstood. I can’t leave things to chance, hoping that you’ll catch the message. I want to spell it out, even when it destroys the mystery and the beauty. I think this is also why I struggle to write. I’ve never mastered the skill great writers seem to have of leaving it up to the reader’s imagination. Ambiguity is a partner with whom I’ve rarely danced.
And thats okay, sometimes. Sometimes you need to see the details. Some photos are all the more beautiful for being colourful, vibrant, and detailed. You won’t notice texture from one hundred yards away. But too, you won’t capture the the magnificence of the Great Wall by taking a picture of one brick
There was a huge storm here last night. It rolled in just an hour or two before midnight. The sky turned a sort of yellowish lilac colour and the rain was pouring down. I woke up several times in the night to hear huge claps of thunder and see lightning streak the sky. I love storms, especially at night when I am in bed. I love feeling the house shake from the thunder and seeing the rain wash everything clean.
But this post thunderstorm day just doesn’t feel as good. I overslept and I have the headache that comes from trying to stay in bed too long. I had terrible dreams (though they seem silly now that I am awake). And I’m faced with a day full of homework that I really need to be focused on.
Come on self, time to get it together.
I have so much to do. Three large research papers plus two shorter papers, two presentations, and two finals. I also need to clean and pack up my room and prepare to move back to Iowa for the summer (which is exciting). But there is so much to do. And I have bedbugs again. So I am covered in large, red welts. I am having a hard time focusing and its getting stressful.
Right now, I’m most frustrated that I don’t have a place to live for next fall. I had a place lined up but it fell through. I just feel like I keep hitting brick walls out here. None of my decisions seem to work out. The program isn’t great, I’m not thrilled with Public Administration. Whatever…I can finish it and have a degree. But that would be so much easier to do if everything else out here didn’t keep falling apart as well. If some of the other details would just fall into place, the next year would seem a lot less daunting. I’d love to catch a break.
I haven’t even blogged about Easter yet. I feel just a little too busy to marvel at the resurrection. Like most of the church throughout its history. Its easier to leave Jesus in the tomb and make up our own rules as we go.
I hate not knowing. I like to have at least an idea of a plan. Maybe the cosmos is forcing me to live in the moment. But doesn’t she know I already had a plan to do that next year after graduation? Irony. I’ve got to focus on now, I guess. I can’t do anything else right now.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
No. I wasn’t. I haven’t touched his feet like you, Mary. I didn’t recline against his chest, John. I didn’t break bread with him at that last meal. Judas knows the feel of the Lord’s rough cheek beneath his dry, nervous lips. But I don’t.
I didn’t see him as he walked through the crowds who had so recently greeted him with hosanas. I wasn’t with him before Pilate, Herod, or the crowd. I’ve heard you could see his bones beneath the whip marks on his flayed, open back. But I never touched them. I didn’t walk with him to Gethsemane. I didn’t bear the weight of his cross like Simon.
I never laughed with the soldiers, mocking him as they nailed his beautiful, dirty feet to the tree. I didn’t grab the ropes to lift him up toward heaven and let the gravity he created rip open his wounds. I didn’t stand beneath him and let the crimson drops fall upon my face. I didn’t mix his blood with my tears.
I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there two thousand years ago. But I was there today. And I swear I heard Jesus cry as he was hit by an abusive husband. I heard Pilate wash his hands of my lord and order the troops to head to war in the Middle East. I watched the crowd mock the loving promises of Christ as they spit poisonous words at a junior high boy for being gay. I felt the weight of the sin, the hate, the bigotry, the hypocrisy of our world and of my own heart echoing two thousand years after the cross and I felt the Father turn away.
My god, my god. Why have you forsaken me?
Today I took a swim and a walk and a nap in the sun. Because I have so much to do and my body is sick and tired and I needed to do whatever it was telling me to at that moment, in the hopes that it would agree to cooperate later when I sat down to my homework. I love walking at night. There is something about being out under the stars, under that sky that is just not quite black, that is good for the soul.
And I was thinking about what the world asks of us, what God asks of us, what love asks of us. And I think sometimes, we have an obligation to be better than we could be. Because in doing so, we give others permission to be the same. I don’t think we have to be Pollyanna. I think sometimes the best thing we can do for others is to be honest about ourselves, life, and the state of the world. We always have to keep our chins up and our feet moving. Because someone has to believe. Someone has to be more than the diet books and the perfect marriage and the six-figure salary. Someone has to keep reading good books. Someone has to keep finding new music. Someone has to look in a mirror and think they are beautiful. Someone has to speak passionately about what they believe in. Someone has to laugh deeply at a well-told story. Someone has to take the risk to be good and do good things, so that the rest of us remember that those good things exist. If we all started drinking Folgers, the good coffee roasters would go out of business. Someone has to keep believing that something tastes better and is worth the effort of that French press.
I dont know who those someones are. Maybe they’re my friends. My friends who are incredibly brave and strong and passionate. Maybe its all of us, one after another in turn, believing so the person to our left in this global circle can believe as well. Maybe its people we’ll never meet, who we only encounter through fairy tales, stories, or speeches. Who knows? I don’t. But I suppose, as always, I’d better start with myself.