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Tonight I was listening to some music on grooveshark, and I finally just got tired of the strangeness of it. I wanted someone that I knew singing to me, not a stranger. So I put on Roy Rogers, and found some funny old radio shows with Gabby and Dale too. Hearing their voices was just like going home again for a while… I put down my science book and just laid down my head to hear them. It reminded me of spending Saturday evenings the way they should be spent- with popcorn and chocolate and a good old western. Then it ended, and I sat up in a daze, feeling like I had gone home for a few minutes… and wanted to stay. But here I am at college, toughing it out with art and people and work, and so the dreams of Christmas break begin.
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This is one of my recent desktop wallpaper creations. I love it because it’s mostly by God, with a few little touches from me…
Today I had a revolutionary thought. Maybe it’s not actually life that is so busy, but me that is hurrying. I think I’m in the habit of going fast just because I am used to it. And what I need to do is simplify… slow down… be still… and take time to do stuff that isn’t life threatening. Little stuff, like adding marshmallows to my cocoa and smiling at people and putting on lipstick. I’ve been landing on 1 John out of pure necessity lately, mostly after eleven after I finally shut my laptop and crash with my Bible. John saw things so black and white… not like me, who sees things in a million shades of gray. Some things aren’t complicated. Things like this: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Let’s hear it for the teachers, the pastors, the mothers and fathers of the world. The ones who have gone farther than we, who call back and cheer us on. They teach us what they didn’t know when they were in our shoes, and tell us what they didn’t want to hear way back then. They gave us love and spankings and cookies when we were little… they still provide the listening ear, and the confrontation, and endless patience. Even though we sometimes hate the counsel and the boring lectures, there came a point when we saw their sacrifice for us and cried. We never knew what they gave up for us, what they suffered, how much overtime they spent on us. We never knew… but now we do, and we regard them with awe and deepest honor. We will never forget to pray, lifting up those who wear the weight of responsibility on our behalf.
I wonder if it’s really possible to change and be the kind of person that likes bright sunlight, energetic children, and parties… I’m not sure if that’s the goal or not. Hasn’t God created me to love things like fog and rain, and dusky skies, and sleeping babies, and an evening alone? Maybe love means being willing to change, to spend your life in ways that you might not have chosen. Isn’t that what my own mother has done? I know that I get my personality from her. She, like me, prefers silence and solitude, yet she had five children and not many times of quiet, and then had to start all over with grandkids. Sometimes I look at her and absolutely tremble at the thought of having to endure and learn and grow as she has. I know that with God all things are possible, even though I still am surprised whenever he answers my prayers. I just need the eyes to see what should change in me, and the faith to actually pray for them.
This quotation makes me shrink away… but it is true, I know.
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” (C. S. Lewis)
God reminded me today that sometimes, stillness is needed more than anything else. “Be still and know that I am God” is not a suggestion… and things that were foggy before become clear in the light of his grace, when I stop and close my eyes, still before him.
Today in class I was trying to think about philosophy and theology and design and all the other things I am studying, when home just crept into my thoughts and wouldn’t get out. Before I knew it I was absolutely longing for my old purple blanket with the flowers, and a pillow that has that slept in scent, and a story on my big old radio. Then I started remembering about things that fill the cozy corners in my heart- an old musty book of horse stories and my sandy cat and a window with a pine view and country house where nothing matches but all is clean and organized. I think that in spite of all my artistic worlds of contemporary modernity, slick stainless steel and abstract art and fab furniture, I will always love the country best. And when I am so tired that it hurts, I only want to be home in the winter when the snow is drifting and the wind is blowing, but I am warm inside and sleeping long, long into the morning.
But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow;
Let His love warm me,
lighten my burden,
be my heaven;
May it be more revealed to me in all its influences
that my love to Him might be more fervent and glowing;
Let the mighty tide of His everlasting love
cover to rocks of my sin and care;
Then let my spirit float above those things
which had else wrecked my life.
Make me more fruitful by living to that love,
my character becoming more beautiful every day.
If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me,
may he work upon me with his divine brush
until the complete image be obtained
and I be made a complete image of him, my master.
-Valley of Vision
I’m feeling the burden of school and work, school and work… with hardly any breaks. Even if I do have time for something else I keep myself busy out of habit… this afternoon I automatically suppressed my thoughts of God that were turning themselves into ideas and words and poetry. I didn’t have time for the extra stuff. I had to get more work done and deny myself, just as I have been doing for the entire semester. But after I thought about it, I stopped and wrote the poem- mostly because of a beautiful concept I learned about in class, of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
I keep thinking about that explosively powerful trinity, and how Beauty is the most dynamic of the three. God uniquely gifts some people with ways to creatively express His beauty; I can’t make the beauty of poetry less important than it really is. Another concept the teacher introduced to me is sehnsucht [longing + addiction]. I had heard the word, but when he explained it a whole new realm of thought opened. Sehnsucht is the longing for God that He has placed in every human’s heart, sometimes known as the “God-shaped hole.” This powerful desire is like a horrible thirst that cannot be satisfied; it is the reason that people get addicted to things. They cannot fill an infinite hole with something finite. Ever since I learned about this, I see sehnsucht everywhere- and it breaks my heart to see the people around me so deceived. They are throwing pebbles into the Grand Canyon! Only God can fill the human heart.