Monthly Archives: September 2013

Still

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*if you want to understand life better, you should know about addie zierman. She writes this blog that is amazing, and she wrote one in particular that inspired this a good bit. addiezierman.com. seriously. she’s great*

The last night we laid our bedding spread out across the suddenly empty living room and watched a movie on my laptop, which was propped up on a taped up box full of books. We lay there, as the lights by the pool went out and the view from the patio doors dimmed. Our breathing synced slowly, and it felt so very final. We were full, from the last college hour. From a lunch of fierce hugs and leaking goodbyes. From a week of piling, tipsy and emotional, onto couches and amassing a last onslaught of inside jokes. Full of the things we weren’t sure we would have again. We lay there in the dark and wondered, or at least I wondered, if we were ready.

And in the note Becky sent to me, she told me I was. I set it aside when she handed it to me on the sunny porch of Jamba Juice during study hall. I went back with it shoved in my backpack and leaned deeply into what little I had left of the dream. I read it for the first time, that night in the fading  glow of the pool lights as Jen and Lauren slept and we were one thing for the last time. It said “you are so ready for this”

How could we have been? How could we have been ready for the change that was already sweeping over us? I coasted into Oklahoma mere miles in front of a devastating tornado. It missed me by twenty minutes. How could we have been ready? For the crookedness of every church service, for the staleness of the moments together…How could we have known? How could I have been ready for the dense fog that would settle over my heart?

There was no way for me to be truly ready. And as I re-read Hamlet, I started to realize. I felt the words so deeply in my bones. “there’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow…readiness is all…let be”.

I always loved Hamlet. It’s centering, somehow, to read the words playing in my head so frankly on a page in language I cannot quite wade through. So that they make sense on a different plane. I can see myself shot all through the pages. I can feel the tension in his arms as he says this, knowing that the onslaught to come is inevitable. Knowing that his defenses are weakened. And in the knowledge of that, he can barely be ready. And he stands there, with his jaw tightened, claiming finally that something invisible and profound has guided every step. Letting the wave sweep his feet from beneath him to carry him into the deep water.

Readiness. I knew starting probably last September. The edges of the picture were starting to sharpen, and I knew the darkness that hovered at the edge of the world I was leaving. I knew, and I confessed it to them that night at prayer awakening. I let the words out in a slow hiss, and we lifted them as high as we could. We took communion, and I let it settle deeply inside of me, absorbing every last piece of together. It stayed there, suspended above me, until that day in July when I blinked and found it crashing down over my head.

There are some things you can never be truly ready for. We sit together in the dimness again, on the same couch, and it is clear that we were never ready for this. That we could not have preserved it.

“there’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow” and we chase a God who sees us. Who lays out this tangled snarl of path that carries us forward. The fault lines begin to stabilize again under our feet, and I am panting, doubled over trying to catch my breath. The fight has been what I expected it to be, but that doesn’t mean I was ready. As Hamlet stands, knowing the struggle will be his last, he begins to understand that his story has an ending. That no amount of preparation or anticipation can carry the words past the inevitable duel and arrival of Fortinbras. The story ends, and he confesses weakly that the end is coming whether or not he is ready.

It comes for Horatio, in a different way. He’s the only one of the lot who stays, I would imagine with the last monologue of his friend dangling in his ears. To be ready in this is so much different. To be ready for the days beyond the last page of the book. To be ready for life that is not a comedy or tragedy or drama. It just is. “let be”. And maybe the speech was less for Hamlet and more for his friend. Maybe the readiness was not so much embracing the end as it was embracing the hazy uncertainty when the ending isn’t your own.

I don’t suppose I ever really expected to get to the other side of this. It’s one thing to embrace the drama as the story fold in on itself, but it’s another thing entirely to be Horatio, looking out on a future with uncertain form. It’s another thing entirely to see my own “exeunt” written at the bottom of the final scene, and to be left standing in the wings uncertain where the story goes from here.

So I survived it. And Becky was right, when she wrote that note in what feels like another lifetime. I was as ready as I could be. Someone asks me, as I sit still trying to catch my breath…”still?”.  “yeah”

It is still hard, but I am still fighting. It is still hard to understand, but I am still believing. It still feels futile, but I am still following. The word envelopes this moment so beautifully as I am still and waiting in a fragile way to see what on earth could be coming around the corner. I am sure that I am still not ready. But all you can do is let it come. Because you’ve made it through so much already.

“Not a whit. We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves knows, what is ’t to leave betimes? Let be.”

repeatedly prodigal

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So he comes home. And at first it’s fantastic. There’s joy and forgiveness. He feels knit back into the fabric of his family. His old friends are still around, pleasantly bemused and patting him on the back. Talking about how down to earth he seems. How much he’s changed. It’s the talk of the room, and it feels like these people are here for him for the long haul. Like it’s all going to be different.

But then there’s all this tension with his brother. And it starts to enter his head that not everyone thinks he’s changed. Not everyone believes in him. Not everyone is on his side. It starts to toy with him, because he knew (he always knew) that it didn’t make any sense for him to be forgiven. That they were thinking too much of him. He hears the truth of it in his brother’s words. Maybe it won’t be so easy.

And then, maybe his phone rings. And there’s a message from a friend from back in the glory days. And there’s pictures on Facebook of his old friends, all of them lit up with the spark of the way life used to be. And everyone is gathered around him, waiting for him to fail. The tension is heavy, and he wonders if he could spare them the wait. It starts to seem inevitable.

So he starts sleeping in the room closest to the door. Starts leaving a bag or two packed. And maybe his father points something out…just something small…but it reverberates around in his head. Because maybe he was looking for a reason to leave. He sees the person he wants to be dissolving. It can’t happen. He slinks out the door.

What if it happened a hundred times? What if he just couldn’t stay there? What if the guilt and the shame was just too much? How’s he supposed to outrun the ghosts of his mistakes?

Maybe there won’t ever be a time that his father isn’t waiting. Maybe there won’t ever be a homecoming without a party. But the wine will start to sour in his mouth, and the calf sit heavy in his stomach. Maybe the embrace of his father will start to feel like the greatest shame of all. And he will sit on the floor of the bathroom, looking up at the ceiling and wondering “why do I keep hurting these people who love me so much?”

Is this what they call hardening his heart? So why doesn’t he just stay there? Perhaps because he can’t shake the feeling that he will always be ‘the son who screwed up’. He feels like they’re waiting for him to do it again. It magnifies every failure.

And maybe, partially, he doesn’t want to be a puppet. He doesn’t want to feel like a servant, even though he was welcomed as a son. No matter how many times he ends up face down in a pig stall, he still starts to feel like he can make it work this time. Like he will do better on his own. Like he can prove he is good enough all by himself.

He can’t. And his father sits up at night watching him leave, knowing there’s no good way to make him stay without turning him into a slave.

His father lives for the nights his son comes home. It’s always worth it.

thy kingdom come

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Build it here. Across the street, there’s a boxy apartment complex connected to a kitschy and wonderful barbecue place with dollar store blue plaid tablecloths. On the other side, there’s a white stucco house that doubles as a Mennonite church. The neighbor one way gives cello lessons to a string of sullen looking school kids trailing instrument cases and parents with fluttering gestures. The other way is a retired aeronautical engineer who hasn’t mowed his yard in a while and likes to wave when I ride by on my 80s reject scooter. We don’t really know each other, but we wave and smile. When the ambulance came we whispered prayers for healing. When the drug bust came, we whispered the same words. We could come to mean so much to each other.

Build it here. The whole pack of us are manic in the eyes, vacillating wildly between boredom and breakdown. Spending our days together, trying to form something coherent, useful. We sit loosely on one another’s skin like clothes a child is growing into, barely touching but constantly there. The glow of you is dim, like lanterns we fought to keep lit when the night was long and we waited. But we gather around it. We listen all day, trying to be full for the days when we will go and fill others. Trying to take in the daunting process of healing, of wholeness. It is heavy, and it is light. We are joking and we are serious. We are still waiting.

Build it here. The room is dim with mood lighting, trying to jolt You awake inside of us. The weave among us is looser than we might prefer, but is just enough to keep the chill off our arms. The words are rough and scattering, and our hearts are the same. But, in the middle of it, our voices are brave in the darkness. Weak, uncertain, but there; darting audaciously through the hurt and insincerity. We will fight for each other, even if we aren’t certain how. Even if we don’t know exactly who or what we are fighting for. We will pray to the God who does know, and we will unwrap our hurts…maybe just the slightest bit.

Build it here. We are sitting on the couch watching a TV show a couple of notches too loud for conversation. The chill of a wayward comment has thickened the air and tensed the muscles in our shoulders. Our eyes skidding around, searching for purchase as everything becomes unstable. We prod the darkness gently, looking for something to say. It doesn’t come, and we sit again, for the millionth time, not quite connected by anything more serious than DNA. We ache in a lonely sort of way, until I’m out the door again to where the air is easier in my lungs. I want so much to fix it; I’m not certain it can be fixed. The atrophy is slow, but constant. As though our ears have gotten used to the shrill sound of the alarm clock in the morning. And there is nothing left to do but pray.

Build it here. My gaze is fixed behind me, and the darkness has settled over me like a blanket in the winter. The itch of it against my skin has gone, and I can barely feel it against me. The fight has grown weak, almost for show. Slowly, the anger and the apathy are reshaping the surfaces into cold, sharp points. It feels like I cannot win. So build it here. Start here in the wasteland that used to be my heart.

Build it here. There are mountains to be brought low and valleys to be raised. There is binding and loosing to be done, and wounds to tie together until the scar begins to form. It is too much with us, and there are walls to build to drive it away. There is planting to be done, and harvesting. There are wanderers to chase after and captives to set free. There is a war to fight, and it will cost us everything. We are not ready. It will consume us with its light. So much will not survive.

Build it here. Shake us, until all that remains cannot be shaken. Until the consumable is combusted and the broken remnants begin to shine. Until the soft, new shoots begin to grow and the rain begins to collect again in the deep places. Until You sit, again, in the high places where we had stood ourselves in the waiting. Send us down, by the still waters to the place where we are held.

The light has grown so soft, as the darkness got so heavy. We wait, clinging to but not quite believing that all will be made new. The harshness of Your light to our dark-weary eyes is terrifying. We wait, not quite certain. Not quite knowing. But hoping that it can happen here, in the middle of the dark. Hoping that the words are not for some far flung people, but that they might instead be a commission…that You maybe are calling us toward a work you have begun. Maybe that you are doing, even as we feel the darkness will consume us.

”build your kingdom here. Let the darkness fear. Show your mighty hand. Heal our streets and land. Set your church on fire. Win this nation back. Change the atmosphere. Build your kingdom here. We pray.”

Aside

“Come, let us return to the Lord.

Frustrated, I text her that it feels so futile. Like I’m here spinning my wheels. Like it won’t get better.

I’m praying for real community while I’m dismissing everyone who disagrees with me as an idiot. I’ve been awful. I’ve thrown rocks at windows from my lonely seat, watching from afar. I’ve been too proud to get into the imperfect family of God. I act surprised when He seems far away, but in truth I haven’t been trying. I’ve been praying that God would show me where the good people are at.

“there is none righteous, no not one”

She is frank with me. She tells me I’m not trying if I keep shutting God out. And she’s nice about it, but she’s honest. And I drag myself, tear ridden, into the church, not expecting to sing. But I’m suddenly desperate to hear voices crying out to God. Because I can’t, not in this moment, and I feel deep in my heart that I need to be dragged into His presence.

 He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us;

It all has to be broken down. And not in a neat way where you label all the pieces and put it back together. In a sledgehammer to the glass and I hope you never needed that window again kind of way. For a few days I stayed up all night, frothing in crisis. What do I believe? Who can I count on? It’s coming up inside of me that a lot of things are going to have to change. I am afraid.

 he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.

I spend a weekend praying. And instead of complaining about the people around me or my situation, I’m complaining about myself. I start to hate the pride and complacency and hate that have taken root in my heart. And I can’t fix it.

 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.

And I wake up Sunday morning and go to church with a single resolve: listen. Not analyze, not criticize, not weaponize. Listen. I am surprised to find that God is speaking to me. I guess I’d been pretending I didn’t need to learn anything else.

 Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him.

I eat lunch on Saturday with a girl who is just spilling over with Jesus. It seems ludicrous to say that I couldn’t find Him here. It seems like maybe I was doing the idol thing again, telling Him how He should look or where He should be. I forgot that God is bigger than my ability to understand. I forgot about the humbling confusion that comes with wonder.

As surely as the sun rises, he will appear;

It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. In fact it’s really hard. And sometimes I’m still in pieces, waiting.

 he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3, NIV).

this is the way my life goes

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I cut my toe on a door a week ago, and never really took care of it. Which has led to some interesting yellowness and infection-y looking things that I am adamantly ignoring. Despite this situation, I wear Chacos everywhere and just invite the germs to set up camp. Literally everywhere. And I have all these Xs drawn all over my knees and feet all the time because class and axes, and it helps me visualize.

Additionally I pulled a muscle in my OTHER (read non-infected) foot yesterday. So I have a lovely limp, which was somewhat exacerbated by the fact that I played sand volleyball today. In the rain. Which was fine. I mean it wasn’t like all my clothes are in the laundry so I wore my brother’s old workout shorts (not only is he six inches taller than me, he’s just big in general) and a scrawny tank top that almost matched the shorts but not quite. In fact, my shorts matched another guy on our team exactly. He didn’t have them pulled up significantly past his belly button, but it’s a taste issue. And did I mention it was raining. And I had my infected toe just chilling in the icky sand mud (which is now all over my car). And by the way I’m terrible at volleyball. So then I realize that anytime I put weight on limpy foot that leg will just cease to hold me up and I faceplant in the sand. Also you know what looks dumb in the rain? People with bangs.

So, setting the stage. I am covered in sand, limping, and oozing some kind of bacteria. Also wet and strangely dressed. And also frustrated because I’m terrible at volleyball and “get it, get it, get it!” and then I faceplant. Good times. So yes. Post game I sat in my car and tried to regroup my brain. It was spinning rather fast, you see. You know where I like to go to feel like I have things together? Barnes and Noble. You know what I didn’t consider at all? My appearance.

So I’m in Barnes and Noble looking for a book. And it hasn’t occurred to me yet that I kind of resemble a sand creature. And then I’m minding my own business looking for a Mother Theresa book in the Christian living section when it is all just suddenly exhausting and I sit down, sand and all, on the floor of the bookstore. I pretend to be studying the Francis Chan books, but in reality I put my wet, icky forehead on the bookshelf and drip everywhere.

And then I go home. And I’m thinking about school and friends and how this place is still so freaking lonely. And I’m praying again, but not in a particularly pleasant way, you understand. And it has been the longest day. So I just stretch out on my bed and…

Crap.

So now there is sand in every conceivable crevice of my bed, my car, and the C shelf of Christian Living at Barnes and Noble. And for some reason this feels apocalyptic. Because I just cleaned every last surface in this freaking apartment on Saturday. And I haven’t started this paper that is due tomorrow, which is unreal amounts of aggravating because I had a paper due today.

And also I haven’t eaten since 11:30 this afternoon. It is ten at this point, so I remember that I have leftover pizza in my fridge. Great. I heat it up and eat some. And an hour later we are clear on the point that it was older than I realized, and that my stomach does not want to deal today (and by the way whatever the over was on number of times I would throw up this year? That was a good bet no matter what it was).

So I take a shower. And then I try to start this paper and can’t make myself do so. Which leads definitively into a spiral of frustration that ends with me throwing my phone across the room (which, ironically, is how today started). And so I take another shower. There is still sand in my hair.

 

 

Stepping onto a kind of a soapbox of mine.

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*before you read this*

lest anyone be stressed by this, allow me to explain myself. it’s world suicide prevention week (depression and suicide? they’re besties). I think that awareness is a good idea. I’m also generally for being honest about the fact that sometimes life is hard. And if one person reads this and feels less crazy/alone/invisible then that’s the best thing. The very best thing. so I’m considering this my tiny contribution. Do I think God is able to defeat suicide/depression? yes. But I also believe He has given us each other, and we need to be seeking to understand one another and looking out for one another. You’re His body, yeah? Maybe He’s wanting to use you. So. Don’t read this as some kind of play for attention or whatever. I just sort of wanted to be honest about what it’s like when things just kind of suck. And I’m praying for people I love who feel this. I’m praying God would show me how to love them well. I’d be beyond honored to have you join me in that.

*okay, carry on*

This is what depression is like. It’s like you’re in a crowded room, with a bunch of busy, chattering people. But you have headphones in your ears. There’s no music in them, and they’re just deep enough in your ears to twinge a little bit. The way they fit blocks out a lot of the ambient noise from the room. You can still hear, of course, but in that echo sort of way. Anything you do, whether it’s breathe, swallow, or just quietly bring your back teeth together, is magnified loudly. And if you laugh it is absolutely deafening. So maybe you don’t do that. You can hear all your sounds. But when you try to listen to the words going on around you it’s blurred and hard to hear. Your breath is so loud, and the words someone is saying to you get kind of muddled and hard to follow. So you nod, smile, and hope that you are playing along in a way that is somehow convincing. But it’s all disjointed, and it takes you that extra second to process anything, anyway. It makes it so easy to just sit in the corner and pretend to be absorbed. But it’s not music. It’s a terrible blend of silence and the things you never think about. Who thinks about the sound of swallowing?

You’re hyperaware of everything that goes on in your mind. You’re aware of every wave of emotion, you feel every frustration and exhaustion. But you can’t quite get outside of yourself. And maybe it’s almost like you spend so much time trying to process what someone is telling you that you can’t quite muster up the actual emotion to feel about it. Which leaves you so alone, because nothing anyone can say to you seems to break through the haze. Depression is isolating.

And the thoughts and emotions are like waves. They break and crash. There are lulls and tides, but the waves keep coming. And you’re like a cliff face somewhere in the northeast, and each wave batters and pulls off a mouthful of rock and sand from the face of the cliff and carries it out into the deep water. Until the rocks are smooth and indistinguishable from years of unyielding water and stoic, unmoving rock. The erosion of your soul starts so slowly, but as the days stretch into weeks and months your supports weaken and each buffeting wave takes a little more and a little more until you are worn smooth. Until the whole cliff is unstable and slick with water. It’s not like sand, that swishes around in the skim of water at the beach, poured back with each wave. It’s rock, brittle and breaking and it doesn’t seem like the pieces ever go back together.

The fumbling for words is mortifying, and you hear every slipped syllable magnified in your brain like hearing your voice on a tape recorder. The prayers are like fingers in the cold, stiff and clumsy reaching for a key in a purse. The fine touch isn’t there, and every accidental bump and scrape stings in the iciness of the air.

The pain is almost a welcome thing. The openness of the deep part of the skin to the air stings in a way that assures you that you are here, in this moment. You learn to embrace the aches as the only thing that breaks through the fog. The deep cuts leave you exhausted, and leave scar tissue on your heart. Scars that, when stretched, pull and tear at the skin, clumsily opening. And with each one you become a little less mobile, a little less open. Until it is dense, thick, and knobbly around you like a dragon skin.

In the middle of January, it’s impossible to remember the concept of a sky that produces warmth. The sun seems like a glowing ball of futility when the wind is so cold on your face. You remember, like it was a dream, sitting in the summer sun and feeling the heat soak deeply into your skin. But in January, the warm days seem like something you must have dreamed. And it’s like that. You may know that a person or book or song has made you happy, but the warmth is gone. In fact, you can’t even imagine how that would have worked. How you would have survived out in the elements without the layers and layers of clothing you’ve piled on. In midwinter, summer clothing seems painfully exposing and impossibly light.

And in the isolation and the eroding and the fumbling and the scarring and the hiding…you are so far from things. It takes so much to pierce all of this…to move into the deep places of your heart. The books begin to pile half read on your nightstand, and the homework starts to snowball. Friends become a cursory thing. The things that do make it in bounce around until they seem harsh and mocking, like the song they play all the time on the radio.

It’s world suicide prevention week. It’s the week to light a candle in your window and look deeply into the eyes of a friend. It’s the week to get in the way before the apathy sets in so deeply that the disconnect is really already there. It’s the week to come by for no reason. To bake cookies. To say prayers. To listen. To ask. Someone dies in the US every fourteen minutes on purpose. Eventually it’s going to reach your life. This is the week to air out your own heart. To peel back the dragon skin and let the raw parts sit in the sun until they start to heal.

It’s more than a week. It’s living life deeply with people. It’s being able to notice when we shrink back into the dark. It’s choosing not to shrink away from the pain.

And if this is you, all locked up inside yourself…it is okay to be weak. It’s okay to need medication (seriously). It’s okay to be not okay. And if someone tries to put a bandaid over the gaping chest wound…it’s okay to be kind of frustrated. You don’t need to sit in guilt. And speaking from experience: if you keep lying about being okay then no one is going to know you need help. You can be honest (you can definitely be honest with me). It is okay to let your scars show, let them bleed. You want to jump back into the land of the living? Ask for help. Ask for love. Because somebody already went through the pain and isolation for you. Already has your scars. So no, you don’t ‘deserve’ it. But it’s been dealt with.

It can feel like you need to do something drastic to fix that relationship. To bring attention to the hurt. To shock some kind of feeling out of your heart. Listen to me. The relationship is fixed, and you are seen. The God of the universe came all the way to Earth because He saw your hurt. He saw your need to be made whole. And it is finished. There is nothing left for you to pay. It’s done.

I say this from a broken place. And don’t think for a second that I’m writing this from a place of inexperience. I know it’s not that easy. But hey…for what it’s worth I care. And  I’m sorry. And I wish I could fix it.

Let’s stay strong, okay? together.

you haven’t lost me yet

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He told me to be a writer. Every day for years, he was constantly poking at it, pulling it over my head like a hand-me-down sweater with a stretched neckline. He told me, a thousand times, that I was burying my talent in the sand. And it felt like shame, and I hid the secret that I could never, not ever, be everything he wanted. It was so much easier to fall into something else. To let go of this thing, this dream I used to want. Because the air was clearer above my head, and there was no one waiting for me to set the world on fire.

It was easier not to try. It was easier to quit the things I used to love. Because what happens if I fail? What happens if I can’t be that?

I’d rather hide behind the excuse that I never tried. To let it all go dim from lack of use.

“You’ve never worked for anything a day in your life”

That’s true. No matter how many times I sit with my forehead against the wall, staring fixedly and silencing the echoes in my brain, I cannot ignore this one. Amidst all the smoke and clamor there is a single bullet, winging its way into the soft tissue somewhere in my chest. Because it’s true.

I never wanted someone else’s dreams. It felt so dangerous to venture into that. But now I stand here, and you’ve told me in no uncertain terms that there’s nothing there to be proud of.

I cannot disagree. I’m not proud of this crumpled mess of things. And when I’ve let down everyone I care about…when I’ve torched the last bridge…what then?

There aren’t many people leaving their lights on for me. I can’t ride forever on good luck, charisma, and the ability to talk my way out of a corner.

I’ve never worked for anything a day in my life. I never wanted this, and to be honest there are a lot of days that I’m completely indifferent about whether or not it works out. I don’t want to work for this.

But also? I don’t want to give up so easily. Isn’t there anything that’s worth the fight? I’m quick with the joke, the shrug of my shoulders, the sheepish admission that I probably could have done better. I make it into a joke, and I act like it never mattered.

But what if I can’t…not anymore, at least? What if it does matter? What if I’m out of things to wave off? What if I put down roots, invest, try, only to discover that it doesn’t work?

I am afraid. And it’s been impossible for me to say that. It’s been easier to just shut down, to quit on myself before anyone else gets the chance. I’ve quit on myself, and I’ve quit on the work God wants to do in me.

What’s that supposed to mean, anyway? And I listen to that old Switchfoot CD and I write it on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt.

“If it doesn’t break your heart it isn’t love. If it doesn’t break your heart it’s not enough. It’s when you’re breaking down, with your insides coming out. That’s when you find out what your heart is made of.”

I might be brave enough to try, to invest deeply in this place and this life. I might even be brave enough to fail dramatically, in front of everyone.  It might destroy me, but God help me, because I’m kind of out of other options.

“And you haven’t lost me yet. No you haven’t lost me yet. I’ll sing until my heart caves in, cause you haven’t lost me yet.”

Faithfulness. That’s a fruit of the Spirit you don’t hear so much about.  Standing tall in the broken places. Boasting all the more in weakness, because it makes Jesus and grace look so big. Embracing the hard things. Learning to dream again.

If I don’t fight for myself, no one else is going to.