Religion, Macklemore, & Wine

Today I did something completely insane.

I scrolled all the way to the end of my blog. All the way to the very first post. Published on November 12, 2013, and titled “Fear No More” this post was about how it’s okay to love Shakespeare. To embrace the wonderful things he gave us and not shy away from his work, even in this day and age.

shakespeare loveWhy did I do this, you may ask?

Because I have been thinking about this blog incessantly lately. If I posted for the very first time in November of 2013, that means that we hit our five year anniversary this year.

What?

And I’ll be the very first to say it: this blog has been through SO many ups and downs. One of the great things about reaching my very first post, which took a lot longer than I’ll here record, is that I got to see how I’ve evolved in my writing in the last four and a half years. I got to see the things that I used to blog about. The things that used to excite me.

I used to be a very exuberant writer.

The number of exclamation marks. The language. Oh, glory. What a ride we’ve been through to develop the writing style that I know pose on this blog of mine. If you think it’s a little crazy now, scroll back a few years. I dare you.

My blog has been struggling recently.

I won’t deny that. In fact, I’ll be even more honest and admit that my blog has been dead for about a year now. I have blogging friends that I haven’t heard from in a million years. Do you suppose they’re still alive? hello neon

The reasons behind the death of the vitality of my blog are probably many and various, and to be honest I’m not sure if this post is the correct way to go about fixing it. I’ve admitted before how dead this blog has been for a while, and none of that seemed to do much.

Not that I’m complaining.

I love blogging and I always have. My blog has often been a great place for me to go to in order to create and express myself. It’s been invaluable to me for so many reasons.

When I first started blogging, one thing that I loved to do was write posts about specific things about myself. I’d tell people fun facts about me, or overall just try to be funny, in order to attract more followers and feel a little bit more validated.

So I thought I’d do that again today. Just for old time’s sake.

  1. I love God. I love Him so much. It’s not enough to say that my religion is important to me. It’s everything to me. It influences most of my decisions, if not all. My relationship with God is central to my life. I’d be completely lost without it. I love it that I know He is always there. That He loves me unconditionally and knows me perfectly. There is no greater comfort than that. I know that He has a plan for my life. And when I am following Him and doing the things I know I need to be doing to very best of my abilities, there is such a safety and comfort to life. God is so good. He is so, so good.
  2. I am a huge Macklemore fan. I am. Most people would never, ever guess that about geminime in a million years. But Macklemore is one of my most favorite people who has ever lived on this planet. I not only love his music, but I think he’s a great person. If you don’t follow him on Instagram, you should. It’s a treat. I love Macklemore.
  3. I love wine. I have never had wine. In fact, I’ve never drunk at all. No joke. Not a lie. 100% honesty. For religious reasons, I have never drank and I never will. It’s a belief that I hold very close to me, no matter how ridiculous it might sound to the outside world. But all of that being said, you will have a very hard time finding anybody in this world who loves wine more than me. I’m absolutely fascinated by it. If it were in any way possible, I’d be a key figure in the wine industry. I’m fairly certain it’s impossible to do that and also keep my religious standards, so that will have to remain a dream. But I think wine is totally amazing and incredible. I study it whenever I can. I have books about wine that I’ve read a million times. I study every wine menu I ever come in contact with. I love wine. I think it’s beautiful.
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Stardust and Ink

Stardust and Ink

We are trapped behind bars
of paper and ink. Defined by
the black and white. Destined
to form the shapes they call
letters and words. We hide
behind pages and let our
weapons dry in ink. We
count syllables and words.

And in doing so we attempt
to make the everyday count.
We write about things that
aren’t true in order to whisper
about the things we hold inside
us in boxes of pain and scars.
Boxes make the best stories.
So we count those, too. But we
don’t talk about any of this, or
anything really. We just
construct chapters, themes, or
stanzas to surround it with
binding. That’s how we tell the
truth. We present things in a gold-
rimmed goblet empty of the blue
that we turned into ice and when
it shatters we count the pieces.

I lined up bottles of ink
and watched them slowly
drain. Holding in my hand
things mightier than warfare.
The things that foster or
pulverize the peace. Across
the room shelves filled with
pages covered in my new
patterns. I turned my boxes
into pages because they were
taking up space in the corners
where the sunlight doesn’t
reach. Now they are bound
with thread, imagery, and
symbolism rather than lock,
key, and prison door. I’ll let
you read the stories they turned
into. And once the words leave
the page and enter your own
corners they’ll belong to you, too.

Phrases stick out and people pass
by, all with different contents.
And so we pull them apart only to
string them back together to form
the realities that you escape inside
of. Rather like the equations that
we chose this work to hide from.

We go to lands misunderstood
and covered in shadow: a race
of explorers with no guide but
the organ we are more inclined
to follow. We discover things in
these dark corners, things we
attempt to explain with a form
of permanence. But ink only tells
the truth it is shaped into. And
understanding what we find is
half the battle of immortalizing it.
There is no table of elements for
the soul, no way to categorize the
mysteries it never told.

The only equation that we really
understand is the one that created
our kind: write and bleed. Bleed
if you do not write, and bleed if
you do. Bleed in every color that
your jar of pens contains – stain
the pages (line or unlined
according to your preference) with
the ink that runs in your veins.
And when the words stop coming
you count their swoops and swirls.

There are shelves lined with words,
bound with gold or silver or faded
like the edges of a hymnal. Each
the delicate account of one traveler
or another. I’ve often wondered
why we let others read them.
Perhaps to help them – to spare
them from their own discoveries.
But instead of learning they escape.
And when they put it back on the
shelf it’s nothing but another check
on a summer reading list.

I visited a library once and
saw tall plastic shelves, a
spinning column of paperbacks.
You know the kind I mean.
Sitting near the door they were
nothing but an impulse buy.
Soiled virgins, millionaires.
Centuries of art reduced to
cheap ink and thin paper meant
to heat your skin rather than
inflame your soul. How many
read and returned in one day?
And what is the story of the
tree upon which this is printed?
Tell me that one instead.
Let the ink dry on the thick
pages of that rare truth. How
many rays of sun did it soak in?
How many raindrops? How
many leaves did it love and
let go?

I learned long ago that when
we write we choose a life that
requires facing the wounds.
Whether they be our own or
the still open sores of humanity.
As long as you can remember
the feeling of the cold floor
on your cheek from where you
lay broken, you can write.
Some of us turn that cold tile
into books with pink covers
and some of us turn it into
roads with no destination.
But the shelves behind the
spinning plastic columns hold
them all. Maps leading the way
to the truth of everything.

We are drawn back to the
writing desk on sunset days
when the turntable crackles
in a song fit for David to play.
Or sunrise days when tea
whispers over porcelain. On
days when the memories of
the cold floor rise from
whispered conversations. On
gray days when humanity is
weeping from the sky. When
headlines use their ink to
inform, and fields of flowers
can’t find the sun. We sit and
open those jars of ink, and
watch as it bleeds across the
page. Writing is like the love
that you always go back to.
The love that creates the tempest
of chaos as well as the only
real peace. Writing is like
that love. Paradoxical and
necessary.

A fortune cookie once dared to
tell me that happily ever after
does exist. And I chose to believe
it because through the snuffing
candles and endless mazes I can
see a brighter light that sometimes
grows faint but never fully leaves.
Stars shoot across the sky when
I look at an endless night, and they
seem to whisper the same thing.
My heart settles into this truth
and decides to hold on.

I’ve always hoped to know the
truth behind the majesty of a
starry night. But the more I try
the deeper it gets, the further
into the stars I fall. So far that
I get lost there and don’t wish
to return home. And then the
bright star with two tails picks
me up and takes me back to the
soft warmth of a summer night,
and it tells me something good.
And I believe it every time.

patience

patience

I believe that God knows best,
and I believe that He doesn’t lie.
I believe that no matter what forces
rage, it is always better to trust Him
than others. I believe that He may
tell us things, or maybe give us answers
that are hard, or that don’t make sense.
Even if what He tells us is something
that we want, it isn’t always easy. In
fact, doing what God asks of us is
usually the harder road. But above all,
it is always better to trust in Him and
what He says. If He says go, go. And
don’t look back. If He says wait, wait.
And He’ll always have a reason for it.
It will be more than worth it. Following
His plan, learning what He wants you to
learn, listening to Him: though perhaps
harder at times is always better than
whatever you have planned for yourself.

But is there a moment when you
ignore all of that? Is there ever a
moment when you look God in the
eye and tell Him you’re going to turn
your back on the thousands of answers?
Is there a moment when you conclude
you’ve had enough, that you know
better, and that it’s your turn to decide?
Is there a moment when you decide
for yourself that you’ve learned your
lessons? Is there a moment when you
shun all of it and walk away? No matter
how much the very thought hurts? When
you take all of the memories, the ones
that you drown in every single day, and
burn them away? And step onto a path
you create for yourself? One where you
are in charge and you don’t have to wait
upon the Lord? Do you ever just give up?

I think they call that turning away from God.

And I think that moment, at the giving up
point, is when you hold on the hardest.

And I think they call it faith.

When The Night Is Coming Down

Today I want to talk to all of you about anxiety and depression.

This post is something that I have had on my mind for a really, really long time. For a few years probably, if I”m being honest. I have mentioned this kind of this vaguely in some posts or posted about it indirectly in others, but today I want to be open and honest about it. True to Jordan fashion I’ll probably remain a little vague, but I’ll share the most important facts of my story with you.

Mental illness is a pretty touchy subject for a lot of people. Despite the growing understanding of it in recent years, I think that it still remains a largely taboo subject. I think there are a lot of reasons for this, honestly, but one of them is because mental illness is really hard to understand. And until you’ve dealt with something like anxiety or depression it is really hard to wrap your mind around what it does to your brain. Another thing that makes it hard to understand is that even though there are common symptoms or feelings, it honestly does different things to everybody. But today I want to tell you my story; or give you as much of a glimpse as I can.

I grew up in a family who operates by ignoring the deep issues. My father was severely boxesabused as a child and to this day has never sought any kind of professional help for the things he experienced. We are a farming family: hard workers who believed in getting the job done. Because of these many different factors, any kind of emotional struggles we ever had as children were dealt with with a “get over it” mentality.

Before I continue let me just say that I don’t think this was any fault of my dad or his experiences. Or my mother for that matter. The older that I get the more I realize that the generations before mine simply dealt with hard things that way in general. If there wasn’t a physical problem or a physical way to fix it, then it is easier to forget about it. Box it away in your head. And even though we’ve discovered that this isn’t necessarily healthy, I understand it. Maybe because I was raised that way or maybe because sometimes it just makes sense, there are days when boxing away the emotional baggage is incredibly tempting.

Anyway, with this background as context, this was the mentality I grew up in. Looking back at my childhood now, I recognize one period of time in particular when I was very depressed and needed help and didn’t get it. After this experience, I followed in the tradition of boxing things up. A lot of other factors played into this, factors I won’t get into, but eventually, my mentality was to either deal with my issues by myself or act like they didn’t exist. I didn’t feel like bothering anybody with things because I didn’t like asking for help. I didn’t like inconveniencing anybody with my problems. So if I couldn’t deal with it alone, I simply ignored it.

For me, anxiety and depression go hand in hand. I think that’s the case with a lot of people. (I will also say as a quick aside that there are way more people in this world that deal with anxiety and depression than we even know.) As a general rule, I think I deal with depression more than I deal with anxiety, but anxiety is still very real and usually triggered if I’ve had a bad day depression wise.

All of this information about myself was hard learned. If I’m being completely honest, the words “anxiety” and “depression” did not exist in my vocabulary in reference to myself until I was 19 years old. I was serving my religious mission when all of that happened, which is really where everything came to a head.

I will never forget the moment that I broke.

I remember where I was and who I was with. I remember what time of day it was – 9 brokenp.m. I remember every detail of how it felt. Like a giant cavern had opened inside of me and I was falling inside of it, falling forever and ever and ever and smashing into the sides along the way. After several weeks of intense pressure, one single moment not only cracked open the emotional boxes I’d packed on my mission itself but every emotional box I had ever packed ever. Every single one split wide open all over inside of me.

To date, there have been two such moments in my life when this type of thing happened inside my head. And both times my very first thought was, “Well (insert expletive of choice), this is going to hurt.”

I’m not sure if this practical/joking approach to emotional decimation is healthy, but nevertheless, that’s what my brain decided to say in that moment. The last moment of sanity before the madness, apparently. But I digress.

The aftermath of this first breaking moment was not good, to put it mildly. For months afterward, every moment of my life was a constant battle to try and figure out what was going on inside my head and how to fix it. It was the hardest thing I’d ever dealt with up to that point in my life. Looking back on it now, depression was probably the main thing I was dealing with, but anxiety was close on its heels.

I remember waking up every morning. Waking up was the most horrible thing to ever happen to me for days and days and days. The instant I gained awareness, the dark cloud descended on me again. There was absolutely no escape from it. Have you ever woken up in the morning crying? I wouldn’t recommend the experience. Every single morning was the devastating moment of, “Oh, I’m still here. This is still my reality. I have to do this again.”

candleDepression is horrible. There’s no way around that. Nobody should have to deal with things like that. Nobody should be trapped inside their own head like that. There is something about depression, about the moments when it is the worst it gets, when you are in the darkest of places, and you sit and realize that nobody is coming to save you, that is one of the worst things a human can experience.

And as hard as it is for those of us on this side of it, it is also incredibly hard for the people who have to watch us go through it.

Because more often than not, they just want to help. They can see the value of life and the potential we have so much more clearly than we can. More than anything they want to be there for us and help us fix it. But when we don’t even understand everything that’s going on in our head, it’s so hard to let others try and figure it out.

For me, one of the hardest things about depression is that even when it is horrible, just downright terrible, and I’m in the midst of that kind of darkness, I still know what all the answers are. I know the value of life, I know there’s a point, I know great things are ahead of me, I know that God has promised me incredible things and that He does not and cannot lie. Everything motivational you could think of, I know. I know all of that. But in those moments that are the darkest of dark: I just don’t care.

And I honestly think that’s the greatest tragedy of all. Just not caring.

When you mix this mental illness that brings you to a state where you truly and honestly do not care with a mental illness that makes you care too much, you’re going to have issues. It is 100% completely immobilizing. And honestly a little bit humiliating. I have a hefty record of canceling plans, being unable to make it to work, and basically avoiding the process of life because of things that are going on inside of my head. It’s frustrating because you want to be fine. You realize how crazy all of it sounds, and that by all accounts you’re completely okay.

It’s hard because on the outside you appear completely fine.

But you’re just not.

To continue with my story, I eventually got things figured out. I say “I” but honestly I was not the one who figured it out. I was surrounded by an army of supportive people who refused to leave me alone, but not in a way that suffocated me. They were simply there. To talk when I needed it, to support me when I needed it, and to cry with me when I needed it. They figured it out for me. They carried me through. They taught me that love is the key.

I wouldn’t say that there just came one day when everything was suddenly okay. Because to this day, I still fight the same battles sometimes. And they are still just as devastating. But I will tell you a few of the things that helped me get to a point where I could entertain the notion of life again.

  • When I realized that the things I was dealing with were real, it became easier to move forward. I had spent so much of my life feeling like emotional things were fake, something to be pushed away. But once I came to terms with the fact that it was a real thing it was much easier.
  • For a period of time, I allowed myself to embrace the darkness. It is a risky strategy lightthat I’m not sure I’d recommend. But for a moment I let myself be completely immersed in the darkness, I embraced it, I lived in it. The hard thing about this strategy is that it is so easy to get stuck there. But for whatever reason, allowing myself to be in the darkness helped in the end. I didn’t stay there long, not at all, but getting to a point where I could admit the issues with complete honesty and face them head on helped. If you’re going to pull this kind of mental battle, you have to know when to retreat. If you fight it too long really bad things happen. You have to run away from the darkness before you’re ready. If you get too comfortable there that’s not a good thing.
  • I had to understand some things about my mind. I had to come to terms with the fact that I am a human being who feels things on an incredibly deep level. That goes for sadness or happiness and everything in between. Once I came to terms with this fact about myself – or was at least aware of it – it became easier to move forward.
  • I learned the difference between moving on and moving forward. I learned that “moving on” is pretty much a myth. Sue me, but none of us really ever “move on” from anything. Nobody just forgets completely about the things that happen to them and live life merrily like it never happened. To be honest, I felt dirty. I felt dirty and used after going through all of this. And when you feel dirty and used, moving on isn’t really a thing. You just do your best to move forward and cling to whatever whispers that someday you’ll feel clean again. You move forward, not on.
  • Along with this, I had to learn that being beaten up by the world doesn’t make me dirty. For reasons I don’t know, my entire life I’ve thought that if I remained untouched or innocent of certain things in the world then I was clean. But the moment I broke I was dirty, the moment I let the world hurt me I was dirty. To this day I still struggle with this and fall prey to it, but until I began struggling really badly with anxiety and depression I didn’t even know it was a thought pattern that I had. Becoming aware of it made a lot of things a lot clearer.
  • I learned to find joy in small or new things. I learned to dig the joy out of small moments. I went on this crusade to discover new things and find the joy in learning and discovery. This discovery of new things to love and find joy in is a great strategy that I still use.
  • I learned that sometimes we just have to go for certain things – even if we aren’t ready. A few months after this breaking moment the time came for me to move areas in my mission. I was terrified because even though I’d been struggling so badly, at least everything in my life was familiar. I felt I had come so far and I was scared that a move would take me right back to square one. But even though I wasn’t ready I went forward with faith, and it ended up being one of the best parts of my mission. I didn’t feel ready, I was still so trapped inside my own head, but I went for it anyway.
  • I learned to hang on to words. Because my brain/body is so crazy steeped in emotion, I had to learn how to hang on to facts. For me, this came in the form of words. That way, even in the black moments there were words I could remember. As a person who loves words, this was an especially effective strategy for me. Even when I wasn’t feeling great, when my emotions were so dark and so overpowering, I could remember words, comforting words from others or from God, and get through it.

dream of sunlightThis is definitely my longest post to date, and if you’re still with me, thank you so much. The end of my story is an interesting one. And since I’ve dropped you this novel I’ll give you the short version – I mostly “recovered” from this breaking moment for a few really wonderful months that are very precious to me. I met great people and had so many wonderful adventures. I eventually experienced a relapse, however, and became so ill that I had to return home. I had to sort of begin again with my recovery process, but all the things I had learned about anxiety/depression and myself made it much easier.

Anxiety/depression aren’t things that you ever 100% recover from. They are things that you learn to live with and manage. Some bouts are more serious than others. And you do your best to move forward step by step even if you don’t care, even if you’re surrounded by darkness. Hang on to the words, the facts that you do know. Remember that you aren’t alone, even in the moments when you realize that nobody is there to save you. Because even if you can’t believe or feel that you’re not alone, it is still the truth. That’s the beauty of truth: it is the truth no matter how we’re feeling. That’s been a huge comfort to me in my own journey.

Much Love.

Palace Views

14375342_1898733117020628_440956483_oA year ago today, I set foot in London, England for the first time. And realized I was home.

I went to England for three weeks on a study abroad tour with the English department at my university. We spent the first several days in London, and continued from there. Each Sunday that we were there we attended church. On the last Sunday I remember sitting in the meeting and weeping. I remember silently praying, talking to God about a lot of different things.

I remember praying, “How can I do it? How can I leave here? I’ve never felt such a sense of belonging in my life. How can I leave, Father? How?”

Then I prayed, “And you’re probably so tired of hearing about my problems. You’re probably so done hearing about the same concern over and over again. Even though I’m here in England I’ve still been praying about it and I’m sorry.”

More tears just came pouring out of my eyes. I thought the woman next to me was going to have to pull out her umbrella. “Please,” I finished, “I can’t leave. I don’t know how to leave this behind.”

The thing was, even as I was caught up in this sorrow, I felt a peace I’d never experiencedPhone Pictures 707 before. To be honest, this peace settled over my heart the instant I arrived in England and never left the whole time I was there. But in this moment, I felt so much genuine sadness. I was so grateful to be there. So, so incredibly grateful. I had known that I would feel that way. In fact, much of my life my parents had been reluctant about letting me travel to England because, as my mother once said, “You’ll go there and realize it’s your home. And then you’ll never come back.”

She was right. Because a part of me is still there, and it’s never coming back.

But as I spoke this prayer, and felt this peace, I also heard something. Very distinctly.

“I’ll never get tired of hearing you speak to me about anything. I don’t care if you say the same prayer all day every day if that’s the prayer of your heart. And I know you’re sad. I know it’s hard. And I’m right here with you. Don’t worry. This isn’t the end.”

Phone Pictures 927My time in England was the happiest time of my life up to that point. It was so much more for me than just seeing things I’d always wanted to see. It was so much more than a great thing I got to experience.

It was the very first time in my life where I saw dreams coming true. It was the very first time in my life where I wasn’t just waiting for my turn. (What can I say, I grew up in a big family. Waiting my turn has always been and will always be the story of my life.) It was the very first time when something completely spectacular, something beautiful, something so, so incredibly good that fed my soul, happened to me.

It was the first time that I realized good things could actually happen to me. And not just to everyone else. I think that the combination of me being number 8 of 10 children and also a writer has doomed me to a life of observation. I have always just been a watcher. I’ve watched things happen to other people my whole life, with me just standing on the fringes.

My deepest held desire has always been that one day it would be my turn.

You see, when your time finally comes, it is so much more than just seeing the sights. It is about dreams you’ve had your whole life coming true. It is about prayers you’ve whispered through tears finally being answered. It is about finally inhabiting a place in the universe you’ve only seen others step into. It is about joy so pure and full that you think your heart will burst. Joy you’ve waited your turn for your entire life.

This last year has been a year of it finally being my turn for a lot of things.

And it all started with England. England welcoming my soul home. England teaching mePhone Pictures 843 that it is about so much more than just the surface of what’s happening to you. England teaching me that it is actually about dreams coming true, prayers being answered, long awaited joy bursting your heart. England letting me go in a very painful moment, but whispering that it wouldn’t be for long.

I remember standing in Hampton Court Palace, only a few days into the trip, looking around me in complete awe. My heart was so full, my head buzzing. I couldn’t get enough of the view.

The Things We Learned Last Summer

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetFrank Sinatra has a song entitled, “The Things We Did Last Summer.” Of course, music being what it is, he’s not the only one who ever sang that song, but as we’re all aware he’s the most important.

I’ve had the title of this song on my mind for quite a while now. You see, the last four months or so of my life have taught me a lot. Particularly the last two months. And for some reason, every time my writer mind tries to make sense of all the lessons I’ve learned this song title comes to my mind. But with a twist. And I’ve decided that if I were to ever write a book about everything I’ve learned in the last two months, I’d title it, “The Things We Learned Last Summer.”

I personally think it’s a pretty great title. It would also be a very good book, too, for that matter.

All of you are aware that this blog has been an interesting place lately. I, Jordan, the queen of keeping my readers in the dark about what’s going on in my life, have been very, very open about my recent heartbreak.

My life just came to the point where I truly and honestly did not care anymore. Every decision was prefaced with a, “Well. Why not?”

So all of you got to see very clearly and deeply into some of the blackest moments of my life. Congratulations. I’m sure it was thrilling for you. (Please note the sarcasm, I’m sure it wasn’t that fun.)capacity

But goodness, I’ve learned a lot. God has been super enthused about teaching me lessons, and I’m doing all that I can to absorb them like a sponge. Tonight I’m feeling a little more introspective than usual, which can only spell disaster to be honest but we’ll roll with it. I’d like to here record a few of the lessons I’ve learned. I’m doing this more for myself than for any of you, so I apologize for that, but hopefully you can take something from this post and not have to learn through experience the way that I did. So, here we go.

The Things We Learned Last Summer:

  • The only one who knows exactly how you’re feeling is God. He knows every aspect of your life, and He’s right there for you. No matter what type of heartache you are facing, He understands. He gets it 100%. I can’t even count the number of times I sat crying and felt Him right there, or the number of times I was suddenly assaulted by memories that caused a jolt of pain and heard Him whisper very love is powerfulsimply, “I know.” He knows. I promise.
  • As scary as love is, it is absolutely worth it. I spent such a long time being terrified of love, and swearing that I’d never let anybody in so far that they’d have power to destroy me. But that’s what love is. You let somebody in further than you even let yourself in, and you give them all of your love and trust. Every single infinite wave of it. And sometimes it hurts. But it is worth it because at the end of the day, love is absolutely beautiful. And it conquers all. It really, really does. Love comes from many different places, and in many different forms, but it can heal wounds and transcend all hurts.
  • Never give up on anyone. Including yourself. God will never, ever give up on you. And you shouldn’t give up on others, either. Or yourself for that matter. We are all going to make mistakes, we are all going to do things that hurt others. We’re human, that’s just the way it works. never give up
  • But we forgive. We forgive because it is the right thing to do. We forgive because we want to be forgiven. We forgive because it is the only way to heal. Forgiveness requires love. They go hand in hand.
  • Listen to God. I’ve been taught this so, so much over the last year or so, and it has really been driven home the last two months. When you receive an answer from God, when you know what you are supposed to do: DO IT. It doesn’t matter how crazy it seems, it doesn’t matter how ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how hard. JUST. DO. IT. If He has given you the answer, He will also provide a way for you to accomplish it. Just listen. Just do it.
  • Be patient. Life is a process.
  • Avoid slamming doors. Literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, slamming doors is just not good for them. In a figurative sense, it is not good for you or others. Believe me, my personality is the queen of slamming doors. It is a defense mechanism that I may or may not have expressed pride in before. I’m quickly learning it’s not something to be proud of. When something horrible happens to me, my very first instinct is to slam the door as hard as I can right pathand run away as fast as I can. To get rid of anything and everything to do with that situation, to treat it as though it is dead to me, and completely move on as though it never existed or occurred. This is not only very complicated (you have no idea how irritating it is when you think you’ve gotten rid of all the evidence of something only to find more evidence weeks later when you aren’t as angry and can’t decide what to do with it) but it’s just not really healthy. And doesn’t promote growth and learning. Most of the time, you’ll be slamming a door prematurely and burning a bridge that wasn’t ready to be burned. And then it takes a little bit of time to reestablish things all because you got a little too hasty to run away from what hurt you. So just don’t do it.
  • Stay creative. It fills a lot of empty spaces, and enhances the full ones.
  • There are, in fact, some things that Frank Sinatra can’t fix. I know. I was just as shocked as you are. For years and years and years I not only wholeheartedly believed Frank could fix anything, he always had fixed anything in my life. No matter what I was going through, it was nothing that Frank Sinatra couldn’t fix. Not this time. Not this time. I tried it, believe me. I played his music and willed it work away the grief, to pull away the emptiness. But it didn’t. Not this time. I even angrily asked him about it and his picture seemed to answer back, “I can’t fix it this time, baby. I’m sorry.” hands of god
  • Never stop turning to God. I needed to learn the previous point in order to better understand this point. My love for Frank Sinatra has brought a lot of happiness into my life, really, and despite how melodramatic I can be about it I’m very grateful for it. His music makes me happy, and I enjoy sharing facts about him. It’s always been a blessing. I have a firm belief that God gives us things like this to enhance and brighten our existence, to help us in good and bad times. But these interests that fill the corners of our lives are not a substitute for God. They make us happy, they are wonderful, but at the end of the day it isn’t our passion for cooking or our love of black and white film that will save us. It is God. Never stop turning to Him. On good days as well as bad, talk with Him. Tell Him everything. Review the plan of your life. Let Him know how you’re doing on the things you’ve agreed to do. Give Him a report. Make sure you’re still doing what He wants. Thank Him. Praise Him.
  • Trust your own journey. God has a different plan for each and every one of us. Nobody’s story is the same. What works for some people won’t work for others. Everybody has a different journey because we all need to learn differently. This is why it is so, so incredibly crucial to stay close to God and to listen to Him when He waygives us answers and direction. To be faithful.
  • Believe in happiness. Never, ever let go of hope. Never let go of love. In the darkest pit of despair, remember that you are never, ever alone because of God. If you can’t see the sunlight, and can’t remember how it feels to have it shine on your face, if happiness is so far away that it is only a cruel memory, just have hope. Hope that you’ll feel it again. Hope that it does exist. Believe that whatever you’re going through will be worth it one hundred times over when you feel the happiness awaiting you. Because when we get to that darkness, complete joy and happiness are closer than we think. Just around the corner. And when the sun finally comes out again, it will be worth every moment. I promise.
  • We all face hardship, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, and telling people that you need it. There is no shame in sleeping on lots of couches or spending too much time with your friends if that’s what it takes to bring you into a new day. Take advantage of the love and support that you have around you. Gather those people around your heart and let them love you. You’ll be able to return this love someday.never walk alone
  • Discover new interests, and rediscover old ones. Like I said, God gives us these things to enhance our lives. It is such a great experience to make room for a new talent or hobby, to feel that passion starting up in your life again. Take advantage of the beauty the world has to offer. Rediscover something you love. Pretend you’re seeing it for the first time. (Frank and I are on good terms, by the way. I’m listening to him right now and all is well. So, there you go, proof of the rediscovery process.)
  • Believe in goodness. I have this personality flaw where I sometimes say that I hate people. And when I say that I usually think I mean it, but somebody very close to me recently let me know that this isn’t the case. I don’t really hate people. In fact, I love people. I love humanity. I love every aspect of what makes us human. I love being human. And I have this overly optimistic view of what that means. Honestly, I do. I love to believe in the better side of people and things. It really takes a lot for me to just think of somebody as downright horrible. I love to believe in beauty and goodness. I love to believe in the good. That’s just who I am. And it is honestly a blessing. We are surrounded by enough negativity as it is. We face enough hardship and sorrow as it be stillis. Just choose to believe in the better side.
  • Don’t look back. When you’ve gotten your answer from God, no matter how scary, ridiculous, or insane it might seem and you decide to just jump and go for it, go all the way. Jump and do not look back. DO NOT LOOK BACK. God has got it covered. He’s led you to that cliff for a reason, and given you that answer for a reason. And He will not let you fail if you just have faith. There will be no hitting the bottom. You’ll jump, and you’ll land in happiness. I promise. Don’t look back. Not for one second. Jump.
  • Trust God. This is just a lump way of summing all this up. Just trust Him. I know it can be hard. Believe me, I know. I’ve got a rich history of trust issues. But He is God, and He created all things. He will not give you answers you cannot follow. He will not let you cry tears He can’t wipe away. He will not give you wounds that can’t be healed. He is capable of ALL THINGS. And through Him, we are capable of ALL THINGS. So no matter what, stay close to Him. Believe Him. Listen to Him. Trust Him. He’s got it under control. Just believe me. Follow Him, talk with Him, and trust the path He sets before you. He wants you to be happy and He’s got a plan to make that happen. Trust Him.

 

New Frontier

New Frontier

all of the memories keep rushing by
like the movies we watched on Tuesday nights
this is a new frontier
there are no maps for way out here

there are empty shelves and a broken path
your favorite book inside of the trash
welcome to the new frontier
I can’t see you from way down here

you always told me that you wouldn’t leave
and I believed you but we did not see
the army
descending

please tell me you miss me, I see it all
the life we planned before we lost it all
the army
descending

we weren’t prepared to have to fight it off
and that is just exactly why we lost
this is a new frontier
you’re not here to dry my tears

something happens when you’re blazing trails
it’s harder than you think and then it fails
that is just the new frontier
I wish you were still right here

I wish it didn’t have to be this way
whatever happened we couldn’t explain
the army
attacking

I’m not blaming you for things that came
I only wish we’d tried to ride the wave
of the army
attacking

something whispers that you’ve been spending time
all shut away, did you finally cry?
that would be a new frontier
I can’t imagine you in tears

did you put up walls to everyone else?
is it only me who’s been through hell?
this is a new frontier
so this is how that feels

remember moments when I heard your heart
pounding so fast, we couldn’t bear to part
the army
surrounding

maybe if I write it all out in lines
my heart won’t burst each time you cross my mind
the army
is surrounding

I get the feeling that you’re feeling lost
and drowning guilty from the times we talked
welcome to the new frontier
you can’t see me or even hear

but maybe you’re fine and your heart’s all healed
and you’ve forgotten what we both could feel
this is the new frontier
where do we go to from here?

there was a moment when I saw your eyes
couldn’t believe you really were all mine
the army
defeating

do you remember how the pieces fell?
I can’t believe we had to say farewell
the army
defeating

I’m learning new things and taking some steps
but I can’t believe the words that you said
welcome to the new frontier
there are no maps for way out here

remember the night you were scared and called
I told you to walk away from the wall
that was a new frontier
you trusted me, I was in tears

was it that wall that suddenly went up?
so many questions but the answers none
the army
is winning

it seemed to me you were being a shield
for things you felt you had to keep concealed
the army
just winning

whatever it is that you’re feeling now
please know that I am on your side somehow
this is just a new frontier
day by day it gets more clear

I know you better that most people do
hard, believing it could really be true
welcome to the new frontier
learn how to be alone, my dear

I think I’m done with counting syllables
It’s time to make it understandable
the army
retreating

I’ll keep on walking for another day
and keep on wishing when I do not pray
the army
retreating

welcome to the new frontier