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Posts Tagged ‘life’

I was reading in 2 Corinthians today and I came across a verse that I feel like writing about. Please don’t let that scare you away. Maybe you’ll find it interesting.

2 Corinthians 5:6 says “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.”

Paul was just talking about how we are confident not in ourselves, but in God. No one can stand against God, so if He is on our side, no one can stop us.

Anyway, this verse hit me because for a moment I was confused. It seemed like it had been saying that we shouldn’t feel happy here. Now I have a different look on it.

This world is not our home. It is a waiting place until we reach our real home. Some will call theirs heaven, some will call theirs hell. We aren’t supposed to want to stay here. The more comfortable you are with the world and do what the world does, the farther you allow yourself to be away from God because this is not the world God wants for us. We allowed Satan to take over so we have allowed chaos to happen to us.

A friend once told me, “For those going to heaven, this is the closest to hell they’ll ever see. For those going to hell, this is the closest to heaven they’ll ever see.” God wants people who want to be with Him. He’d never force someone to be with Him, which is why there is Free Will. The absence of God is hell. It’s not that He wants to send people there; it’s that they wanted to be on their own, and you will find yourself falling into more and more holes when you don’t allow God into your life. There will always be a space that you can’t fill because it’s a space that belongs to God, since we are made from Him.

Everyone will have some sort of suffering or trial in their lives. Multiple. But your faith isn’t tested when your happy and living well. It is tested through trials to see how you handle situations when there are bumps in the road.

So find someone to spend your life with, make a family, find a job. . .but don’t think that this is the best it’ll ever be. I am not afraid to die because where I’m going will be better than this place can ever be. I hope you find the same hope as well. 

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Across the room from me, there are 36 pink, heart-shaped post-its pressed against the wall, though some curl at the edges like crippling flowers. These little notes are my room’s version of a photo album. For some people, pictures are some of the most important memories because they are able freeze a moment onto a sheet so they can relive it in their minds later.

Scribbled onto these post-its on the wall are quotes my roommates and I have said to each other that we’ve found humorous. This kind of memory is able to capture a personality. Whether it’s an opinion about something or someone, a whitty remark, a miscommunication or ignorance about something that makes us laugh is a way for us to remember each other and smile.

Memory can sometimes feel like a curse, but to remember things like your adventures into new places, your failures that became lessons, your loved ones whose bodies now shrink in boxes underneath marble nametags is a gift.

Memories become pillows and chocolate on the days you wish life wasn’t such a pain in the ass. Those moments in those pictures will never be lived again, or at least not in the same way; just as those moments on our post-its will never be relived except in our minds.

So when opportunities arise, take the chance to make some memories that you’ll want to remember. I’m almost 22, and already I have done and seen so much that it excites me to no end to think that this is only the beginning. Fear and worry are your enemies. They will do nothing for you, so don’t welcome them. Try new things, go to new places before you tire out and don’t have the energy to go anymore. Already I feel more tired than I felt even a year ago.

As addicting as Facebook is, it’s not going to do much for you. Of all the things you post on Pinterest, how many are you actually going to do/make/look at again? Trust me, I have these problems too. But remember how precious time is. Take your lazy day when you need it, follow the rules so you don’t get fired, but there is so much life in the trees just outside your door, and we have a tendency to use that time to sprawl on the couch and watch a second movie we’ve already seen. Even in your priorities, there’s life and excitement that you haven’t noticed. Never lose your sense of adventure, of wonder, of a love for life, for people, and for God. Let your mind be as free as that of a child.

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Everyone is a book on a shelf. 

But you’re not just a book. You’re a specific book on a specific shelf in a specific part of the library. 

I’m a waitress, and there are a few ladies who have worked at my restaurant for over twenty years. I have a tendency to get annoyed of the job by the end of the week. Sometimes I worry that I’m going to be stuck there for the rest of my life. But then I feel guilty for thinking that that would be a bad thing. At least I have a job. I have money to buy groceries every week and a new shirt every once and a while. But I tend to think of my job as something towards the bottom of the food chain. But when I take a step back, it’s not. A waitress is needed as much as anything else.

Notice how when the snow clings to trees, only a certain amount of snowflakes can catch the branches and hang on. The rest fall to the ground. Imagine those snowflakes as people. Only a certain number accomplish their dreams and stick to the branches on different levels. The rest fall to the bottom and get lost in the hills of snow. They find jobs as waitresses, janitors, bus drivers, cashiers. . .

Sometimes we tend to think of those bottom jobs as the lowly jobs. “Why would you want to do that for the rest of your life?” But just because I won’t be a lawyer, doctor, or scientist, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute something. Maybe I won’t end up being the writer I hope to be. Maybe the most I’ll accomplish is win a short story contest after losing twenty others. Besides, without that bottom snow, what would we use for snowball fights? For snowmen? What would we use to snowboard on? To snowmobile on?

Everyone is needed in this walk of life. You may not own the restaurant, but people are needed to serve the food. Without janitors, everything would dust and mold. Without bus drivers, those who don’t have a car wouldn’t be able to get around. 

I am in the middle of reading 1 Corinthians, and I came to chapter 12:12-31 that has a heading called “On Body, Many Parts.” I will quote a few of these lines so you can get the gist:

“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body…But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other…”

So don’t misunderstand me. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to climb the ladder. Work your butt off to get somewhere if you can. Find your gifts, and use them. If you are doing what you can to put food on the table for yourself or your family, then you are doing great. We don’t all need to be waitresses, but we can’t all be doctors either. If you kick yourself every time you fail, you focus on the struggles instead of allowing on the strengths to encourage you. You are needed in whatever you do.

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Sometimes it feels like there are more voices in my head telling me to do or not do something than there are stars in the sky. It is quite exhausting to figure out which one feels more right, but even harder when the majority of me wants to do the opposite of what would be right.

But there’s something I’ve been realizing lately: Of all those voices, only half of them are right; which means the other half is going to tell me whatever I want to hear or whatever may convince me to take its side. At the end of the day, our choices are our own. Sometimes we will choose the right path, and sometimes the stubborn sinners that we are will be blinded by what we want to see rather than what is. Sometimes those choices help us grow to make better choices in the future, and sometimes our choices wreck things for us just because we didn’t want to listen to anyone but ourselves.

So before you go thinking up other names that partake in where you are in your life, you got yourself there, whether that’s a good or bad thing. Your attitude, your laziness, your alcoholism, your stress, your busy schedule, your weight, whatever it may be. . .you’re where you’re at because of you. It almost feels natural to start thinking about how other people did you wrong, about other’s choices that landed you in the dumps, but the way we take in information, the way we deal with it is our choice.

This almost feels like I’m going off track, but I promise I’m not. Of all those voices in my head, there’s only one that truly matters to me, and that’s God’s. That is, when I figure out which voice is His. But after that, the decision I make is up to me, even if it strays from what God would have preferred. I haven’t always made the right choice, and there will be days where I make a wrong one again. But when the time comes to make an important decision, remember that the choice you make affects you. The ones who disagree with you aren’t the ones living your life. That doesn’t mean to not take what they have to say into consideration, but remember that there will probably be people fighting on both sides, so not everyone is going to be happy.

So take the time to weigh all sides, and choose from the heart. Sometimes we have to say no to things we want. It sucks. But when we are able to say no to those things, we save ourselves unnecessary heartache, as well as the time to find what we were meant to find all along.

As abstract as this may seem, I hope you can find some truth of it in your own walk of life. Don’t blame anyone else for where you’re at. If you don’t like where you’re at, change it. 

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I’m terrible with goodbyes. And they are everywhere. Each day has an end. Each book. Each adventure. Each person.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my trip to Ireland and my 3 months spent in Italy. It is a deep sorrow that needs to be learned to live with and accept. But before the goodbyes, there’s life. There’s love. There’s hope.

Desires can be traps. To crave something you can’t have is a sorrow deeper than a grave. Part of me craves to go back to Italy. The other part of me craves to go back to Italy with the people I had been there with, but that would mean going back in time. I can now only relive those memories in my mind. I can hit replay on the laughs, but I won’t hear them there again. I can imagine laying out on a soccer field, but we won’t again. I can see the vineyards, the buildings, the mountains in my mind, but it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to see them again except in pictures. I can tell stories, but they will only be stories. The others will never really know, no matter how good of a story teller I am.

To experience is to live. But to live is to lose. For everything we’ve experienced will eventually come to an end.

Living in the past is like being dead in the present. I look back on my study abroad in Italy, my spring break in Ireland, and can smile at the amazing chance that I was given. But then the other half of me misses it to the point of tears.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. It has been almost 5 months since I’ve been back, but I have yet to find the strength to accept the goodbye. 

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“Often we cleave to things because they possess heavy negative charges. Pain has strong arms.” –Patricia Hampl

Painful memories can be as aggressive as the wind.

I was best friends with a girl from Kindergarten till sixth grade. She was slowly pulling away like silly putty in the fifth grade, but I didn’t realize it till years later. One day after school on the bus, she handed me a note. A few words still stick clearly in my mind like gum on the bottom of a desk: “I don’t think we should be friends anymore.”

Though I have watched my sister lose many friends over big fights, I had never lost a friend straight out of the toaster like that, and haven’t since. 

Through Jr. High she built up a reputation as one of the cool kids, and by High School she was one of the most popular girls in the class, listed in the yearbook as “Most likely to become a gold digger” along with others of the sort. As I had watched her de-pants others in the hall and become a Witch with a capital “B,” I decided I didn’t need a friend who’s wardrobe took on a whole new meaning of  the word “easy.” Still, that note bothers me to this day.

I believe that our hardest critic is ourselves. Maybe that’s why we cling to pain. We usually settle for what we think we deserve, when in reality we probably deserve higher than we give ourselves credit for. But then we are hurt by those we glued to ourselves—maybe they get up and leave or die—and we cling to the pain because it is the only reminder we have left of them. Friends and family help us spew out excuses of “new beginnings” like a rip in a water hose, but once we are alone we admit the truth to ourselves. We wonder what we did wrong.

So if we can’t have love, we settle for pain. Feeling something is better than feeling nothing, because at least if we are in pain, we can punch a wall, we can soak our pillows, we can buckle over and wait for the cat claws in our stomachs to subside. Even if it is a little thing, we feel something.

Eventually everyone we care about and love will be gone. However, we know that we have to eventually expect that kind of loss. But the kind of pain that we don’t see coming, that can sometimes be the pain with the strongest arms. 

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This has been the busiest summer of my life. I wish the days had been longer, and that winter ended before April, but I have also been extra happy at times this summer.

I think it’s basically because of the people I am blessed to spend my days with.

If you can make me laugh, I basically already consider you a friend even if it would be our first time meeting. I love being with and around people that have a good sense of humor, and can make me laugh because laughter can brighten your mood, someone else’s mood, or even your whole day if it was being fed to the pigs. When you surround yourself with people that make you feel good or can make you smile just by being the dorks they are and saying the obnoxious, stupid, or wise things they say, you find less and less bad days.

Now don’t hear me wrong, there will always be bad moments, but then when you talk to or hang out with the right person, s/he can turn it around maybe without even knowing it. And soon, the things that seem to keep going wrong, or the problems that crush like and ever-rolling rock don’t seem as big of a deal, because you know who you can go to.

I’m a waitress, and some of my customers make me want to sharpen the steak knives, but then I get to go into the kitchen and work with some pretty amazing people who can make me forget almost instantly. I am also blessed to be so close with my family that I consider my cousins to be some of my best friends. If it weren’t for them, I would have gone to college in Tennessee.

All of them have their dramatic moments, but we’re only human. Doesn’t mean we all don’t also need space from each other every once and a while.

I guess what it all buckles down to is this: surround yourself with people that make you grin, make you laugh till your eyes sprinkle, make you look to the sky and think, “You know, life is pretty good.” Trust me, your good days will outnumber the bad. And wouldn’t it be nice to have a little break from stress? 

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