Dear Child,

Boys, do not date until your are ready to have every action made and every word spoken be out of love, trust, respect, encouragement, and protection. Do not act out of selfish gain, or lash out spitefully when hurt. But instead love, not naively, but openly, knowing that she could say goodbye, and you must graciously hold open the door for her.
Girls, don’t date the man you want to ‘get’. Soon your fickle heart will just want to ‘get rid’ of him. Instead, love because of character and passion and how often he makes you laugh. Lead, often by example, the nonnegotiables of mutual respect, sensitivity to other’s needs, trust and faithfulness. And call them up from being boys to being men.

In a world so often full of selfishness, deceitfulness, insensitivity, and mistrust, carry the above. Don’t be someone’s reason why it’s oh, so hard to love.

Discontented Heart

I was born with a discontented heart
Not that I despise my house and deny my home
But that I know I am not meant for this place in which I live
I am always reaching out, imploring to be carried away from here
Always second guessing, always questioning
Is this the life I am meant to live?
Are these four walls all there is?
I was born with a discontented heart
Not that I cannot love because the aptitude to love is present of course
But that the tendency to doubt is all the more
I am always feeling trapped, always feeling stuck
I cannot know for sure, but these questions haunt me
Is love to only feel like suffocating?
Is love always so quickly fading?
I was born with a discontented heart
Not that I smile not and laugh disingenuously
But that I yearn for the next moment of abandoned joy instead of making it my own
I am always looking out, looking past what I have here and now
The world is not always gray, but more than often I make it that way
So quick to forget the friends I have
So quick to displace the trust I lack
I was born with a discontented heart
Not that I believe I am here by mistake
But at times I query my God on his timing and placement
I am always falling under, always lacking faith
So I turn to the universe to question my fate
Is this all there is?
Is this lot all I’m given?
I was born with a discontented heart
I pray you, dear God, your pitiful servant do not depart

Fight or Flight

I’m sitting down to write this blog post after an emotionally draining week, and I have to admit that I don’t know entirely what it’s about. And then I think, exactly. The truth is I don’t know what it’s all about.

For those of us who were lucky enough to have teenage love in all its fiery downfall, we experienced a sureness, a confidence, a blind and damning hope beyond all odds that love was what it was all about. Of course, life progressed and our naivety, at best, faded, and at worst, crashed and burned into oblivion. We then spend most of our lives searching for that utter confidence in someone, something, anything. Something that we will hold to in every circumstance, something that will not fail us, something that we see in every projection of our future, but that is something illusive and impossible. In this world there is no constant, no promise that things will remain the same. In fact, the mere seasons, ushered in by angry winds, guarantee us change. Loved ones leave, or worse, are taken from us, dreams fail, plans collapse, even relying on our own physical being condemns us. We live in a chaotic, ever-changing world.

This is where I must remind myself that my God is bigger than the chaos of this world. And that I do believe with all my might that no minute detail of our pain is lost or meaningless, but is instead, somehow, working for God’s glory. I say that I believe that with all my might because that is what it takes. It takes a physical and mental strength to put my hope and trust in God. And tonight I’m not feeling as strong.

When faced with a new and potentially dangerous situation, it is said that our body has two mechanical responses: fight or flight. I have come to find that my instinctual response is flight. In fact, my brain has convinced itself that in “flighting” I am actually fighting for myself, protecting myself. I don’t think I believe that anymore. As a declaration of my shift from flight to fight I’d like to tell you just what it is I plan on fighting for.

I want a quiet, confident, clarity and a swollen heart.

Friends are like flowers.. Buds.

I was thinking again of how blessed I am by the friendships I share around the globe. Each one is different, special, and often, specifically designed for a particular period in my life. However, a recent event made me ponder what exactly friendship is. And while it is not a composite definition, I have two analogies that encompass much of what I believe to be the definition of true friendship.

1. Happy Despite
I watched, this past, brisk Saturday morning, as the community youth soccer league held its kindergarten game. A stampede of miniatures clumped from this end of the field to that. There was a point, however, when one little girl broke away from the pack, and ran full force to the opposing goal. Living in this small town, I happened to know the little girl and the goalie that she was coming up against. They are the best of friends. Hannah, we’ll call her, was running, unopposed, toward her best friend Emily in goal. This is one of those difficult situations for young friends. I’ve seen numerous parents giving pep talks and coaching lessons to tear streaked faces after situations just like this. How do you handle being on opposing teams gracefully and fairly? But I believe that these two girls have a wisdom and a bond beyond their years. As Hannah sprinted toward Emily in the goal, Emily was overcome with happiness for her dear friend. Elated, she stepped out of the goalie box and yelled, “Go, Hannah! Go!” Her hands moving from her cheeks to her knees and back again. She watched, overjoyed, as her friend scored against not just her team, but herself. Friendship is being happy for your friend, despite any penalty to self.

2. Loving in Sadness.
The second is a personal example, and comes with a bit of a spoiler alert. This past fall I went to see the Mockingjay movie, the second installment of The Hunger Games novels. I am an extreme fan of the novels, and have read each book at least twice. My friend, Kristen, had not read the books, but had seen the first movie. Here is where the spoiler alert comes in. If you haven’t read the books or seen the movies, uh, go, read, see, and also stop reading this point in the blog, bookmark, and don’t come back until you do. But really, this is my, both hands waving above head frantically, warning that I’m giving away some of the storyline. Kristen and I, having seen the first movie together, both had our favorite characters, and hers was Cinna, Katniss’ designer. Going into the Mockingjay movie, I did not want to spoil anything for Kristen, but knew the time was coming when Cinna would be beaten to death. At that point I reached over and gently squeezed my friend’s hand. From the corner of my eye I saw her glance over at me and whisper, “No.” I had already faced the sadness that was coming, and knew there was nothing I could do to stop it from reaching my friend. Instead, I sat quietly in the dark, hand in hand with my friend, and confronted the sadness with her.

While these examples are not ground breaking, earth shattering, life changing tales. They are, I believe, beautiful analogies of what selfless friendship can be. And I am thankful to bare witness to these accounts and many more.

The time that one guy thought it was funny to pick me up and set me in a trash can.

I hate it when boys shove you or grab you or put you in a head lock and try to act like it’s some sort of joke. If you need to portray physical dominance over me, let me say first of all that you probably have an inferiority complex. But secondly, don’t expect me to accept it kindly, and don’t you dare call me a “bitch” for standing up for myself. Physical dominance is a weak man’s crutch. And it is time for women to recognize and discourage such behavior, and men, to hold themselves to higher standards of how they treat all people.

Parts of Me

I sleep curled up in a ball.
Mostly on my left side.
In the perfect place for someone to wrap their arms around me.

I watch tv like I watch sports.
Always yelling at this character or that.
But I would be quiet if you told me it was your favorite part.

I listen to music really loud.
I get ready and dance through the morning.
But I would turn it down for you on all of your days off.

I cook big portions.
And always something to dip in hot sauce.
If it’s too spicy for you I might call you a baby, but I’m sorry. I don’t mean it.

I watch people dance.
And I can’t help but stretch to help them move.
But I would be still if you were beside me; you probably like to concentrate.

I get stressed.
And I worry a lot.
I was made for someone who will remind me of how beautiful life is.

I like to be clever.
Challenge me with words and you’ll probably lose.
But sometimes I’ll let you win because you smile and I’ll forget what I was so cleverly trying to say.

I have long hair.
It’s usually a mess.
But some days it is perfect for someone to run their fingers through.

I like parties.
I like to go out and enjoy people.
But sometimes can we stay in, build a pillow fort, and watch Friends?

I sing in the car.
And in the shower, kitchen, bedroom, work, and public.
Even if it bothers you, I hope you’ll just smile let me keep on singing.

I love the idea of being yours one day.
I’ll blush when you wink at me across the room.
And no one will write you a funnier birthday card than me.

I know who I am.
And I like who I’m becoming.
But I know there are parts of me just made for another.