I'm Just Saying

Perspectives On What You Know

I’m just going to say it. I’ll admit it. I will.

I am a slave to my emotions.

It’s true. My emotions have a mind of their own. I am one of those people who, quite frankly, feels everything. And even more than that, I feel everything very, very deeply. Joy. Sorrow. Hate. Love. You name it, when I feel it, I FEEL it. It can be pretty overwhelming sometimes. Some days it is annoying, to be perfectly honest.

brave thingsBecause of this, I have a tendency to run away from my emotions. I know just how intense they can be, and as a result sometimes I try to run before they reach intensity level infinity.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to run from your emotions. Trust me.

So I generally have about two options: I can just embrace them and let them rule the world, or I can ignore them. The second option isn’t very effective. It usually lasts a little while, and ends in the first option anyway.

If I’m being honest, the last few days have been pretty rough in the emotions department. I’ve been fighting the universe pretty hard the last few days. Actually, since I’m being honest I’ll just go ahead and say it, I’ve been fighting Satan pretty hard the last few days. Whether or not you believe that’s a thing, I’m sure you’ve experienced days when doing the things you know you need to do is harder than normal. Like there is a force out there who knows you too well and it’s doing everything it can to throw you off course.

I have talked to quite a few people about this emotions aspect of my personality. Most of them tell me that it is a good thing that I feel things this deeply. They tell me that it makes it so that I can experience life more fully and richly. I see the merit in this line of thinking, but honestly on days like these it’s more than I know how to handle.

There is another flaw in this personality trait of mine. And it is that because I live life in patience and trusultra-feeling-everything mode, it is really hard for me to understand people who don’t. But I’m working on that.

As I’ve been praying and meditating the last few days, trying to get my emotions figured out and trying to get back on track, one phrase has been sticking out to me time and time again:

Go with what you know.

My biggest problem is that I let surface emotions and temporary situations rule me when, deep down, I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what I really feel underneath all the junk, and I know what God wants me to do. But I let all the “stuff” get in the way and then I end up confused and crazy discouraged.

But I think that this happens often in life. There is going to be junk that gets in the way of what we really want and what we’re really supposed to be doing. There is always going to be a million things going on that you don’t understand and that don’t make sense. But underneath it all you really do know how you feel. You really do know the answers.

truth feelsI tend to get weighed down with everything I’m feeling in the moment, and as a result I can get distracted from the answers I’ve received and how I know I feel in general. So my biggest battle is to try and get perspective. To step back and go with the things I know underneath. To see the bigger picture and understand my true feelings, not get lost in the emotions of the moment.

Sometimes you just have to stubbornly throw aside all of the junk and cling to what you do know. Even if it doesn’t feel like you know it in the moment. Just hold on to what you know you know, and continue forward. Just go for it.

I'm Just Saying

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.

 

I'm Just Saying

Faith, Trust, And…

Many of you are aware that I am a very religious person. I also know that many of you are as well, and it has been a real pleasure to share my belief in God with many of you.

Today being Sunday, I’ve got lots of spiritual things on my mind. Well, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve usually got spiritual things on my mind. But today in particular I’ve been thinking.

To put it mildly, my life has been very interesting lately. And I have learned a lot of things. So many things. And every time I have prayed, God has been right there. Comforting me. Supporting me. And giving me countless answers.

Seriously.

The answers I have received from God in the past weeks have been endless, and too intense for me to ever deny. And they have come in a variety of ways. One of the things I love most about God is how well He knows each and every one of us. As we get closer to Him, we are able to communicate with Him in a way that is unique for each one of us.

Because I love music, He has often answered my prayers through song. Because I’m really observant and love looking at people and the world around me, He often answers my prayers through small things. Even something as simple as a license plate or a shooting star. Or a feeling. Or a small voice whispering to me.

But unfortunately I’ve got this problem. I have a really hard time trusting, and more often than not this gets projected on to God. He’ll give me answers, and suddenly I put on my suit of armor and say, “Okay! Cool! Answer received! I’m ready to make it happen! What next?”

Imagine my shock then, when He simply says, “Nothing. I’ll make it happen. Just trust me.”

Like…what?

You mean, you don’t need my help?

What can I do to help this thing along?

“Nothing.” He says. “I’ll take care of it. Just trust me. Be patient.”

And there I am, kneeling beside my bed in prayer all like…okay. Cool. Answer received. I’ll just…go on my merry way.

But here I am, learning things. This is honestly such a new experience for me. And I get anxious and frustrated and discouraged too easily. I start wishing I had more faith. But then I’m reminded that I did get this far, and that’s something. And to be honest, I think that all of us have more faith than we think we do. Really.

God is giving me answers that make my heart want to burst and soar all at the same time. But then He asks me to trust Him. He’s going to make it happen. For some reason that is so much easier said than done. I’m not used to reaching out and relying on others that much, and yet time and time again recently God has been asking me to learn how to do that. And now it’s time to rely on Him. To trust these incredible answers I’ve received and wait patiently.

It’s all about trust right now.

But then again, maybe that is the lesson. Maybe it is always about trust, and realizing that God has a plan, and trusting that He has everything under control. He loves us infinitely. And He is able to answer our prayers and do ALL things because, after all, He is God.

 

Just Writing

Heartbeat Part 4

My broken heart has been a funny thing.

Actually, in case you didn’t get this, it hasn’t been funny at all. Like…at all. After one month, I expected to be better. I expected it to not hurt any more. I thought that by now I’d have moved on. I’d have forgotten. I’d be okay.

Well, that isn’t really the case. It still hurts so badly sometimes that I have to wonder how I made it this far. I still feel so confused about so many things. I’d still give anything to have it be different.

But God is teaching me things.

I’ve always been the type of person who could look ahead and see myself in the future. I’ve always been able to just see ahead. That hasn’t been the case for me recently. Every time I try and look ahead past the next hour, all I see is darkness. So I’ve been praying about this very sudden shift in my vision. And what do you suppose He said in response?

“Be patient.” God said. “I have a plan. I need you to trust me.” God has been pretty adamant about teaching me patience and trust in the last year and a half. Don’t even get me started. He keeps telling me things like, “I have everything under control. You work on you. Fix you. Leave the rest to me.”

You’d think that this would be easy.

Turns out it isn’t. It turns out that I like to be in control of my life a little bit more than I was aware of. So this moment in my life, when I can literally only see for one hour at a time, is really hard for me. It is really hard for me to simply let go. To trust that God has a plan, that ultimately He is in charge, and that no matter what happens in the near future it will all work out the way that it is supposed to.

I’ve realized that pretty much everything is easier said than done. This last month of my life has been so incredibly hard. There aren’t words for it, actually. I honestly wasn’t aware that a person could feel this kind of emotional pain and live through it.

But somehow my heart is still beating.

I wish I knew what the ending was. As an author, I’m pretty used to knowing the ending of things. I feel very out of my element right now. But God is teaching me things, so I have to trust Him. The truth is that I don’t know what the ending is. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the day after that. And right now, I know that I’m not supposed to know. I’m just supposed to have faith. Trust God.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have my hopes or desires. I was praying about them earlier today, in the middle of a particularly hard moment when I couldn’t believe it still hurt that badly. God let me know very quickly that He understands exactly where I’m at, and He’s got everything under control. I get this feeling that something big is coming in my life. Something wonderful, just around the corner, and I need to be ready for it. God is just asking for a little bit of faith and trust, and something totally amazing is going to happen. I know it. I have literally no idea what this something is. But I know that it’s coming. One of my best friends in the world, Adele, said to me today, “You don’t have to know what it is. You’ve been given all the answers you need. Just move forward, hour by hour.”

She’s right. She’s pretty much always right.

Sometimes the pain is so fresh, like it just happened yesterday. And it feels like I’m drowning in it. And I can’t get to help fast enough before I absolutely lose it and cry so hard I can’t breathe. Sometimes I feel so confused and angry I could scream.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learned anything, though. There have been a ridiculous amount of blessings in my life in the last month. I’ve repaired relationships with siblings, become closer to my friends, spent much needed time with my grandparents, gotten a stronger relationship with my dad, and have had countless moments with God. He and I have talked so much about all of this. And it has been really wonderful. God is good, everyone. He is so, so good.

I’ve realized so many things about life.

I have realized that life is scary. And love is scary. And there are a million things to be unsure about and worried over. And I’ve also realized that there will never be a moment when you feel you are 100% ready. It’s going to be terrifying. There’s going to be things you don’t know. So many of them. But you just have to do it. Just jump. That’s all life is. A lot of jumping off cliffs when you only have the tiniest seed of faith in your pocket.

I have also realized that for too much of my life, my priorities were ridiculously out of wack. There’s a really long backstory as to why that was the case, but I spent so many years being bitter and angry about the things that are the most important. I don’t feel that way anymore. Not in the slightest. Those things I was so angry about, those things I was so scared of, they are all I want now.

God is teaching me so many things.

Tonight was hard. Today was hard. I left work with a very heavy heart. The steering wheel of my car got washed with a lot of tears tonight. My very wonderful roommate got bombarded with a lot of my pain tonight.

Then she suggested we go for a drive. We ended up on top of the hill in our city. We shut the car lights off, unrolled the windows, turned on some music, and sat on the hood of the car looking up at the sky. It was absolutely stunning.

I felt truly happy for the first time since it happened.

We talked about God. About how He has a plan, and ultimately He is in charge, and sometimes we just have to have faith that everything is going to work out. Right as we were saying this, an absolutely stunning shooting star zoomed across the sky right in front of us. It had two tails. I’m taking it as a sign.

We laughed a lot, too. I can’t even remember what about. All I know is that it felt good to laugh again. God has been feeding me constant support and hope recently. He has never left my side. He’s given me numerous answers, and always sent me help in the moments that I needed it most.

I know there is hope.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow. And it will probably hurt again tomorrow, because it hasn’t stopped hurting. But tonight I saw a shooting star.

And today God told me He has a plan. He asked for my patience. He asked for my faith. He told me He understood what my hopes, desires, and pain are, and He’s got it under control.

This is what He told me.

And for now that’s all I need.

I'm Just Saying

The Best Is Yet To Come

It has been a really long time since I talked about God on this blog. I guess that’s probably because, surprise surprise, I’ve let myself get distracted again. I have that tendency.

do it with passionYou see, I have this character trait which is simultaneously a strength and a flaw: my passion. When I become passionate about something, it absolutely consumes me. There is really little else I can think about. That’s why, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I can see things in black and white terms at times. I don’t have it in me to be halfway passionate about something. I have a tremendous amount of loyalty that way. It isn’t something I’m trying to be boastful about, it is simply the way that it is.

And it is always completely amazing to me how God can find me in the midst of these whirlwinds I get myself caught into. Here is a truth: I have to be very, very selective about what I give my energy to. Because I know myself. And I know that once I get in, there is no getting out. That is why I try to avoid popular fads and phases as much as possible (not only because I’m a bit rebellious and a nonconformist at heart), but because I know how easy it is for me to get caught up in something once I’ve put my toe in the water.

But last night, I had a tremendous experience. One that has happened to me before, but happened to me again. I was reminded, in a very simple way, of just how much God knows me. How much He loves and cares for me.

As He so very often does for me, He answered a heartfelt prayer with music.best is yet

I went on a drive to clear my head. Once I’d returned home I sat in my car, holding my head in my hands as I prayed for direction in a stressful time. Frank was singing quietly in the background, as he so very often is in my daily life, and as I finished this prayer, the song changed to none other than the classic: The Best is Yet to Come.

This is significant not only if you know the lyrics of the song, but because this is the second time that God has answered this type of prayer in this exact same way.

I was at a turning point in my life the last time it occurred, right before I left on my religious mission. Many things about my future were up in the air, and though I was tremendously excited, I don’t think that I’ve ever been more afraid. I drove to a quiet place on the farm and stood in the trees, praying that I would know what to do. After several moments of waiting and listening, only to hear the rustle of leaves and the chirping of birds, I walked back to my car in the fading light.

Once there, I closed the door, started my car, and turned on Frank. I hit the shuffle button, knowing that whatever song came on would be able to calm me down and help me think straight, as that is what Frank Sinatra does for me. And what song do you suppose started playing then?

takes us as we areAs I mentioned, I have now had this experience twice, and both times it has happened, it has reminded me of several things:

  1. Trust in God. He loves me, He knows me, and He’s watching over me. He understands my frustrations, He understands my griefs, He understands my confusions. He is there.
  2. Trust in myself. Far too often I find that I am trying to rein myself in, and control this uncontrollable thing that is my soul. But I believe we are all a little bit that way, and we don’t give ourselves credit for the beauty that we are and the joy that we have the potential to bring into others’ lives.
  3. Trust in the process of life. Things rarely go according to plan. I look back on every intricate plan I’ve ever laid out for myself and realize that most of them haven’t turned out anything like I thought they would, no matter how great I felt about the plan in the moment. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. My life is wonderful the way that it is, and it would have never come to this if I hadn’t been willing to change my plans and do what I felt was best for me, even if it wasn’t necessarily what I’d always had in mind.
  4. Believe. Life is a beautiful thing, and more often than not it is messy. But it was never meant to be perfect, only something to become better at. I have this long-standing, and perhaps irrational, fear that I’m going to mess things up. I love having deep discussions with people, I love getting to that point in a relationship where I can trust them enough to open my heart, and when they’ll share a part of theirs with me. But then I start worrying that by exposing these depths to others, that I’ve ruined something, and then all of the sudden I feel a million times more connected to them and I realize that they’ve become an indescribably crucial part of my life. Like I said before, I have to be careful about the passion thing. But experiences like these brush away all this worry, and make me grateful for experiences that crack open my heart, because all too often it is a little bit shut away. Experiences like these teach me to have faith even in the midst of the mess of life.
  5. Have understanding for others. If these experiences open my eyes to anything, it is all work outthat God speak to all of us in a different language. He speaks to us in ways that we understand personally, because He knows us. He knows how to help soothe each individual heart. I can always tell when I start to get close to somebody because I start wondering what things they are passionate about, and what things help soothe their heart. And I start wanting to share mine with them. It is a beautiful perspective, to realize that God understands us so well, that He speaks in different ways to His children. It helps me understand that we all receive comfort or revelation in different ways. Its an incredible thing.

For several posts now I’ve been alluding to a struggle I’m experiencing in my life. You all know me well enough to know that I’m not going to be pouring out all the gory details to you probably ever, but I will tell you this: with the end of my semester approaching, it has me thinking a lot about life in general. It has gotten me thinking about what I want in life, and how I’ve realized that it is quite a bit different than I expected.

Endings always cause this kind of reflection for me. So not only am I trying to juggle finals and papers and moving and good-byes that I’d rather not face ever, but I’ve all this philosophical stuff taking up room in my already very over-crowded head.

But then last night happened, and I was given a very personal, profound, and simple reminder: God is there. He knows me. He loves me. He has a plan. Have faith. Have courage. Have hope. Be loving and kind. Don’t worry. The Best Is Yet To Come.

I'm Just Saying

Give It A Little Soul

platoToday I want to talk about something very important to me. Something that I’ve talked about a few times, but nevertheless it’s a huge part of my life and today I just want to share a few more of my thoughts about it.

Ever since I can remember, music has been the background noise of my life. Music of all genres and eras. Music is attached to every special memory I have, music brings sounds and smells and emotions I could never describe. As a writer I’ve often been a little jealous of the ability that music has to say absolutely everything without saying anything.

I love music because underneath the lyrics or the instrumentals there are always a millioneverything layers of other meanings. I love music because when I have a bad day and I turn on my favorite music a feeling of peace and calm instantly washes over my soul and I let out a very deep breath of “everything is alright now”.

In fact, this happened to me last night. After returning home from work I was feeling a little bit stressed about a few things and I turned on some of my favorite music. That wave of peace and calm was instantly there and all of the sudden the stress was gone. It’s the small moments like this that make me grateful for the creation of happy things.

And I love music because it is through music that I have had some of my most profound answers from God and special moments in life. Just recently I was reminded of how amazing God is, how much He knows me, simply because my sister showed me an up and coming musical artist that I have completely incorporated into my existence as if his music was always there.

piece of artAnd how simple is that? I’ve been struggling a little bit the past couple of weeks, and how simple that finding a new musical artist gave me the kick start I needed? This gave me not only an even deeper appreciation for the role of music in my life, but helped me realize that it truly is the small things in life that weave our happiness. I didn’t need anything grand or incredible, just a couple new songs and my life was instantly a brighter, happier, and more creative place.

I'm Just Saying

The Wisdom Of Bike Paths

bike pathI remember sunlight. Hot, hot sunlight falling in giant golden waves from a wide, blue sky. So hot that the cement of the sidewalk burned my feet through my shoes. The air was so thick that the only relief was getting on our bikes and riding along, just to get moving through the humidity. There came a point when I just had to acknowledge that I would never be dry again.

There were bike paths we used. We’d fly down the sidewalks, skirts flying, through groves of trees where cicadas chirped loudly. At first I hated that sound. Probably because one tried to attack me once. We’d ride under the trees, in the dappled light, and come out on the other side in a whoosh of air.

I miss it that feeling.

My religious mission ended about nine months ago now. I cannot believe that it has been that long. And though it was a huge part of my life, so incredibly vital, it isn’t something that I talk about a lot on this blog.

To be fair, there’s lots that I don’t talk with you about.

It’s not as though I feel guilty or anything. I’m sure there is a lot that the blogs I follow don’t share either. And that’s fine. We can all choose our level of privacy. I’ve just chosen that mine be pretty strict. sunflowers

The reason that I bring up my mission tonight is because I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now. I mean, A LOT! You probably guessed this by my lack of posting, which I apologize for. Honestly I’ve just been trying to keep my head above water here.

But my mission changed my life forever. It changed me. To this day, my mission has an impact on my daily life and I think it’s pretty safe to assume that it always will.

There were many times out there in that Texas heat that I felt so incredibly alone. Interesting, when I knew that I was on the Lord’s errand. It seems so beautifully intricate to me now, though, how God works. How He teaches us things. There were many things I didn’t understand then that I understand right now. In this moment.

As a history student I look at the past every day, it is one of my main passions and makes my heart so happy. These past weeks since being in school again have broken my soul wide open, and things are pouring out of it that I forgot about.

pietaI look at Michelangelo’s work and can’t breathe. His sculpture literally takes my breath away. It makes me cry. Looking at his work Pieta is nothing less than a spiritual experience. His works are so beautiful it aches.

Leonardo da Vinci has forever been one of my all time favorite historical figures. It is only recently that I realize how much his work pulls at my heartstrings. His paintings bring about an awe that I cannot suppress.

I have discovered that Anglo-Saxon literature breathes a fire into my blood. When I read the opening lines of Beowulf I couldn’t help myself: tears welled in my eyes. There was one passage in particular that caused an actual gasp to come from me. A man sees Beowulf and says about him, “He is truly noble.”

This pulled at me in a way I could neither deny nor explain. I’ve been fascinated with the word “noble” for a long while now. In fact, I have a canvas on my wall painted in royal blue with the word NOBLE painted on it in big gold letters. It reminds me daily of what it means to be a noble person, and to act as one.

All of this beauty and inspiration has gotten the wheels in my mind turning in ways they haven’t for a long time. To be honest, I was beginning to fear that I’d lost my talents and passions. I was beginning to fear that my ambitions were gone and that my thirst for knowledge had been drained.

mondaI’ve come to find the opposite has happened. It is as if my mind cannot get enough, and it’s spilling into my heart and soul. And instead of filling, they are only expanding and crying out for more beauty and knowledge. It is incredible to me how it is all working. I sit in awe and wonder how I’ll ever learn it all, how I’ll ever hold everything I wish to know.

And then I think of the practical things. Where will life fit in this scholarly road? For surely one must put scholarly pursuits aside at some point to just enjoy the sunshine.

And there we come to another theme in my life. The sunshine. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been thinking so much about my mission.

I miss the sunshine! I haven’t seen it in days, and my soul is craving it. I just keep reminding myself that someday it will shine and someday there will be green grass again. Grass that you can lay in and roll around in, sunshine that will tan your skin, and the heat will just sit there and roll over you, and it will feel incredible. And all of that sunshine will just go right into your soul. And that is beautiful.

And with it all there has been a lot of confusion. A lot of loneliness. It is strange to think that being surrounded by thousands of people I could feel lonely. But I do. My family isn’t even that far away, but still I feel separated from them in a strange way.

And I don’t know how to make it all fit. Life and family and knowledge and learning. And nobleI know that it can, and I know that it will. But the sidewalk isn’t as illuminated as it was in Texas. The way to go doesn’t seem as clear. But then again, at the time it didn’t either. At the time, apart from all of the wonderful things I was doing and becoming, I was having the hardest time I’d ever had in my life. I couldn’t see the way. But eventually I did, and when the answers came they were brilliant.

Lately I have been going through an experience similar to one I had previous to my mission, where I was confused and felt lost. I felt that something was missing but I didn’t know what. The answer that I received then was very simple: Have faith and continue on in what you know.

I did that. And the answer did come. Though it isn’t exactly the same now, it is similar. I sundon’t necessarily feel as if something is missing so much as I feel that it isn’t all coming together. It has been strange because in many ways I’m very, very happy. All of this learning has fed my soul in a way it sorely needed, and brought me a kind of joy that I’ve dearly missed.

But in the things that I don’t understand, I can have faith. I can continue forward in what I do know and trust that the rest will come with time. I can remember that the sun is still shining, even if I can’t see it, and soon it will be warm again.