Your Chapter.

17 Aug

There’s a story in the Bible of a girl named Esther. Through a line of somewhat random events, Esther ends up becoming the Queen of her country. Esther was married to King Ahasuerus for only a short times before trouble came. The King’s most trusted official deceived him into passing a law to kill all the Jews in the land. Little did the King or his official know, Esther was a Jew. She knew she must do something, but going before the King uncalled for often resulted in death, even for his Queen. Esther was speaking to her cousin one night and he said some very frightening, but encouraging words. 

 

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” 
Esther 4:14

Examine your life. What were some of the times when you felt hunted, like the Jews? The times where you felt like everything was out to get you. What were the times where your life seemed hopeless?

Name ém. 

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 I don’t think that life is a rolled dice. I don’t think this all happened by chance. I believe in a strategic God. The God who placed us intentionally in the time, place, and with the people in our lives not because he “eeny-meeny-miny-moed” it, but because we have a purpose there. 

I’m sure many of our stories are aching, tender, and raw, or infuriating and exasperating, or even confusing and desperate. These may be tough chapters of our lives to open up. It’s infinitely easier to keep these pages closed and collecting dust. But I would like to suggest that God placed you in that book, chapter, and line “for such a time as this.” 

Telling your story isn’t easy. You have to be useful, scrappy, and original. But I believe the most useful and original device you will ever have is your story. So, take the easy way out. Leave the book on the shelf. Or.. pick it up. Share it. Your story and your character could create some amazing things and affect so many other peoples’ stories. 

p.s. Esther single-handedly stopped a genocide by telling her story. 

Gutting

24 Jun

This week I’ve been working with my grandparents, gutting and remodeling their new lake house. Every day, working to some background music with just me and my thoughts I’ve been able to clear some mental space. But just like remodeling a house there are so many steps. This is a collection of my lake loft life lessons.

Nothing is ever beyond repair. Through years of use, houses have endured beatings and bruises. Storms threatening the walls to collapse and trials from within. Much like a heart endures. Chips in the paint, dust in the corners, even signatures behind a cabinet, these things all make the house what it is. Now sometimes there is a lot of dust and dirt and grime in our hearts or in our homes. It can be overwhelming. But it’s essential to remember that these areas can always be visited, cleaned, and restored. But never forgotten, for they make the house what it is. The scars and chips in the walls give the house its character.

Secondly, when gutting a home, you have to decide what to keep and what to let go. Just like my mind, over the years this house collected its memories. The owners had drawers upon drawers, from floor to ceiling full of what I’m sure to them were memories. But any outsider could see it was past time to let go of these objects and create some breathing room. The truth is we don’t need to hold onto these things, they don’t make us who we are. The memories will always remain, but sometimes the objects that trigger these memories need to be let go. We will always remember the past, it made us who we are. But we don’t need dragged back by our collar by something we should have given up. Sometimes, we need to make space in our lives for change, for new things. And sometimes we just need to empty ourselves. Carefully leave all the extra baggage on the curb. Sit down in a quiet room, and decide how we’d like to decorate our own walls.

And lastly,
“Gutting- definition n. – to extract major or essential parts of…”
Think about that. Gutting a house. What about gutting your heart and your mind? Not the gory ripping veins from body fiber, but taking out the main subject matter of your heart and mind. We’ve all been there.  We’ve all had to try and forget what used to be an “essential part” of us. We all know how intense, how agonizing a process it is. It takes forever to reorganize the material in your brain. Taking what used to be top priority, at the front of your mind, and forcing it to the far edges until you feel it’s gone completely. Continually moving stockpiles until they are situated just where you wanted. A grueling process for the heart and the home.

Remember, gutting is the hard part, but redecorating can be invigorating. 

a pinch of encouragement, a dash of inspiration, and a sprinkle of hope.

27 Sep

Almost every morning I leave the apartment for class at 8:30. Recently, I’ve tried to rouse myself out of bed and leave ten minutes earlier. Why, you ask? Because I have become
inspired.

If I leave my house at just the right time, I have the privilege of seeing one of the most magical moments. Every weekday around 8:35, a man, about 50 years old crosses the bridge. He is grandfatherly, but still young spirited, with a short graying beard, light steps, and cute black rimmed glasses. Unlike many here in Spain, this man walks with a smile, which was what first caught my attention. But that is just the beginning of my magical moments.

The sunrise is much later here than at home. So at 8:35, the sun has just stretched over the buildings in Sevilla. Most people are briskly walking, heads down, rushing to their already busy days, but not this man. Every morning, he walks about halfway across the bridge and then stops.. He turns and takes in the beauty of the sun over the buildings, the clouds reflecting in the water, and the skyline that I’m sure he’s seen for years. But then comes my favorite part.
He smiles, pats his heart, and keeps walking.

This whole ordeal only takes about 10 seconds, and others may not understand, but that man has become such an inspiration for me. Taking the time every morning to be thankful for another sunrise, stopping and making up his mind that today is another beautiful day, and although he doesn’t know it, he is reminding everyone else to do the same. He has taught me that I have to take the time every day (often times more than once a day) to remind myself that this is a beautiful life I’m living, that I have the opportunity to see, and do, and be something beautiful.

Today, was the first rainfall in Sevilla. It was damp, dreary, and overcast. Like every other morning I tried to leave a little early to see “my magic moment”, but I started worrying the closer I got to the bridge. Because of the clouds and the rain, the sky wasn’t very beautiful, you couldn’t see the sun at all, and the water looked sinkingly green and grey. I saw him walking from the other side of the bridge, so easy to pick out his happy stride from the herd. What would the old man do when he turned to see the disappointing view? I’m glad you asked.

He turned.
And looked.
And looked some more.
Searching the skies for about twice as long as usual.
Then he smiled, patted his heart, and continued walking.

At first I didn’t know what to think of this moment. Was he disappointed by the view? Why did he stare for so long? What exactly was he thinking? Of course, I can’t read his mind, but this is what the old man taught me today.

When you turn and you find yourself surrounded by dreary sky, when the view isn’t as inspiring as it was yesterday or the week before, when the clouds and the road look dark ahead, keep looking. When things seem ugly, keep searching for the beauty in your skyline. It might take you a little longer, or much longer, but there is beauty to be found in any and every situation. Even if it’s just that tomorrow’s forecast calls for sunshine. How beautiful that we have tomorrow to look forward to.

So smile because you’re able,
 pat your heart ’cause you’re still breathing,
and keep walking forward. Image

Seven Years Rule.

20 Sep

Every seven years our body sheds and replaces every single cell of our being. 

 

Before you say nothing will ever change, wait seven years. You and everyone around you will be entirely different beings.

I thought you should know.

18 Sep

After three years of dragging myself around, my feet are picking up again.
When I saw your photo with her the other day, with that smile I hadn’t seen you wear in so long.
I really thought that would kill me. I really thought I’d hit the floor.
Lose myself like I did before, every time your knuckles found my door.
But after a moment of whatever that feeling was– shock, raw, lonliness–
I smiled.
I thought you should know.
Can I tell you that yesterday I watched a romantic movie and felt… good.
I didn’t cringe at the specifics of a love I thought could never be.
I thought you might want to know.
Today, I almost listened to an entire love song– of course one of “ours”
And something remarkable happened.
I didn’t think of you at all.
Of course then I thought about how I wasn’t thinking about you.
But I can count on one or two fingers the times that has happened in 3 whole years.
So I thought maybe you’d want to know.
Today I realized I can do nothing but thank you for that simple photo.
I don’t even know how I saw it,
But I did.
And it was beautiful.
And I’m so happy for you.
And I’m even more happy for myself.
Because you finally let me go.
And I’m smiling now, really smiling at the freedom of it.
So I thought you should know.
Tomorrow I will smile at something else. Not that I haven’t smiled a million times a day.
But it will be a carefree smile with no regrets.
A smile with no invisible strings pulling at the ends.
A smile that doesn’t have a past.
I’m smiling right now.
And I thought you should know.

One is the loneliest number.

17 Aug

People say that being alone is the worst place you can be. One is the loneliest number.

I’d have to disagree with the all-knowing “they”. The truth is that you are never really alone. There are two leach-like beings that you can’t get rid of. Even when you’re in the quiet, in the dark, with no one else around, they’re presence is booming. These two have been with you forever and have built up all their arguments against you. The looming creatures are known as the Head and the Heart.

The Heart is a sullen fellow. He seems to memorize your lowest moments and present them to you when you’re down. Like a picture show the scenes race by, one after another, the Heart himself, narrator. And just when you feel you can’t take anymore, like your chest might implode, the Heart delivers his monologue. His pathetic plea for pity. His agonizing attempt for sympathy. He then makes his retreat. Letting his words echo around first in your chest, then sinking to your stomach where they rest. They lay waiting for the next hiccup to bring them forth just for a second, or the next “lonesome” moment when the Heart will pick up his drawing board and start again.

The Head is conniving. He has stockpiles and stockpiles of not only stories, but data: facts of the past, facts for the future. And don’t you dare doubt his figures; he has entire reports to back his claims. Each excruciating account against you sinks you deeper in your chair. The Head never forgets. No matter how much you plea or how big the bribe, he will never forget his charges against you. You can try to salvage yourself. Conduct your own argument for what you did and why. But the Head is as unmerciful as concrete on bare palms.

I’d agree that by definition, one is the loneliest number. But you are never truly alone. 

we all know i’d never really say it…

8 Aug

It’s probably unfair how much I expect from you. But I will never apologize for seeing the remarkable potential in you that no one else seems to notice. So go on, live your day to day boyhood. I’ve decided to stop making excuses in my mind about why you haven’t found the high road by now. Finally, I can be angry. And not at anything you’ve done, but at all the things you haven’t

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