Scripturient

Stirring
A sense of turmoil in the gut,
A knotting of the heart,
And a sense that this too is
Beautiful.

A room,
A window,
A desk,
A chair,
A page,
A pen;
The world.

To write is
A paper cut,
Bleeding ink.

Kintsukuroi

I wish I could make you see that
Even in silence
You are a music
Lovely to hear.

May I apologise for my blindness?
For my failure to hear?
For the irrevocable redness of your (forever lidded) eyes?

For the ache I failed to fix.
For the wounds I can’t stitch.
For the stains that will not wash.
For the final, heady rush.
For the voices dying with a dying fall
And the silence in between.

For lingering,
Arriving late,
And only knowing
Secondhand
How much you craved your sleep.

An anchor at work is rarely seen,
But always felt.

When I open my eyes
Screwed tight against the blackness of the dark night
I see you there-
A table and a feast-
In the shadow of the rift,
At the enemy gates,
At the end of myself,
At the foot of the cross.

In the shadow of the valley
Broken bones may still rejoice.

I want to be the rain;
Impartial,
On just and unjust alike,
Loved by some,
Not by others,
And yet
A sign of life,
A source of renewal,
A mark of hope,
A promise of love.

How strange a thing it is to be broken,
And better for it.

To The Days Receeding

Dear 2014,

As we both know, I love notes-either writing or receiving- and feel I best express myself therein. So it seems only fair to write a letter to you expressing my overwhelming joy, disappointment, confusion, sadness, and hope towards you.

The joy you have borne me takes form in the many lessons and moments of laughter experienced throughout your 365 days. What those lessons are I cannot definitively nor exhaustively explain but for the few distinct examples that have already formed direct impressions- learning how to navigate sadness (more on that later) and move on from it, how to love others, how to do what is best for me and how to honour God in doing so. The points of laughter need no explanation-laughter is one of the few things in life that does not.

You disappointed me through promises that I or others did not keep, and goals we did not reach together. For this I blame myself– you are a creature of time and I am a creature subject to you. I am responsible for my own actions and reactions. This too was a lesson.

You confused me, and still do. How do you march so tenaciously, mercilessly forward? What watch do you keep, what beat guards your steps? Perhaps if I understood how you move (besides the obvious direction forward) I would be content to not understand you yourself. But then again, you are your movement, and therein lies the paradox of relativity and how we -I- relate to it.

You bore much sadness. I have cried hardly at all and that, I think, is the greatest sign of sorrow. It is to be so full of emptiness that it pours out of you in ceaseless, blank nothing. You take away dear loved ones with you as you leave, and I must remind myself that it is no ones’ fault as God is not surprised by the timing of death, and neither should we be. To sit in consternation would be to embrace bitterness.

And then there is hope. How hope for something in the past, you ask? It is because the past bears heavily on the future. The laws of physics apply to life in more ways than I like to acknowledge, but I am bound to point out that Newton’s third law works with choices too- there is an equal and opposite reaction for each selection I make, consciously or otherwise, and I am certain to see those reactions throughout the coming days of this bright new beast of 2015. I hope that the things I learned educate and shape my decisions in the now- this tiny, fleeting moment touching eternity that we call The Present.

So there you have it. I am allowing you to be 365 days of life and lessons, and no more. Not a grey dog of grief to haunt me nor a snowglobe of nostalgia to be turned upside down whenever I want to feel sorry for myself. You are the past, and I am ready to say hello to the future.

Goodbye 2014.
It’s been grand.

In Which I Listen

It snowed again last night– an entire foot of it in the space of a few hours that kept our strongest hard at work in their frontloaders as they attempted to keep the sidewalks clear. I tromp my way down the sidewalk, stray snowflakes settling on the shoulders of my coat, successfully (albeit gingerly) maneuvering my way across the icy patches, and through the door of the Grind (our campus coffee shop), stomping my boots on the mat to free them of the excess white fluff. Campus shuts down for Thanksgiving break today, and between the adjusted class schedule, the weather, and the frantic need to pack, the Grind’s is slow and peaceful, already decked out in holiday splendour, sporting a blazing fire on the hearth, and offering a view of the steadily falling snow accompanied by the smell of coffee. It’s perfect listening weather, and that’s what I’m doing– listening.

I don’t know what truly happened in Ferguson on August 9, and here’s the thing: neither do you. With all of the social media behind this- the videos, the pictures, the live-tweeted updates- it’s easy to feel like we were there. Do not be fooled. I know a life was taken. I know that life is precious, that his life was needlessly snatched due to a misunderstanding, a threat, racial discrimination, or all three. I know that racial discrimination in this country still runs rampant. I know that many more needlessly lost their lives due to this affair, and that after last night many more probably will. However, I also know that all of the angry statuses and tweets and photos and picket lines and rallies from both sides by people who were not there create more dissension and noise and confusion and hurt about the issue than clarity and solutions. All the anger in the world will not repair it.

I’m not writing to explain my position or to criticize the decision made. I’m writing because today I will listen and pray. I’m not ignoring the issue; but I believe the overwhelming noise in the midst of which we live convinces us that we must shout in order to share our view or partake in something– to be heard. This is not so. I see the darkness of this world, believe me I do. I feel it in a thousand different ways, am acquainted with the chaos that accompanies it– I know it all too well. But I also know that “a fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion,” that “even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise,”  and “when words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” (Prov. 18:2, 17:28, 10:19).

The present sufferings of this world remain hard to watch and always will. Today I choose to pray my way alongside the thousands of hurting people both in Ferguson and beyond, for the family of Mike Brown and for the officers who shot, regardless of what happened and will come to pass. For all that this affects- and there are many- I pray and listen. Do not mistake silence and sympathy for ignorance and passivity. Do not mistake words spoken in anger as the best solution. Do not mistake this present darkness for a lightless eternity.

Darkness passes. It always does.

Mizpah {On Loss}

Mizpah

Have you ever watched those old Looney Tunes shorts with the coyote and roadrunner? Just when the coyote thinks he’s finally caught up with it, the bird disappears so quickly he leaves a puff of roadrunner-shaped dust at the coyote’s side.

That’s what loss feels like; the disappearance of someone or something so suddenly that you still feel their lingering presence, an outline of their dust, yet all the while faced with their undeniable, permanent absence. You hear their voice in a crowded room, see their retreating back on a busy street, go to tell them something, momentarily excited until you remember that they aren’t there. After a while the dust settles and you adjust to the absence. But never, perhaps, to the vacancy.

{I wish I knew how to write what I mean!}

What do you do with the memories?
Sundays in Central Park, “c’est quoi en francais?” pictures in the Met, phone conversations a country apart, all the ways we fought to stay alive despite ourselves.
We’re 857 miles apart but I’m crouched in front of you on your kitchen floor, staring, shaking, into your face, willing you to wake up. How do I tell you that I’m sorry, that it’s my fault I failed you and I don’t know how to carry the weight of that guilt? That I lied when I told you everything was going to be okay. That I don’t know how to sit with the grey dog grief this time and let it pass, that I’m not ready to.

I could describe her to you in a hundred different terms of vividness and life without once mentioning her demons, but she could never seem to see past them.

There is an element of paradox to the process of grieving; a clinging as well as a letting go, a sitting still while moving on. Suicide leaves an ugly scar, but there is grace in the reminder that the lingering burden of sadness need not be borne alone. There is a peace in knowing that it is not death to die, that while Heaven beguiles the tired towards a far greater thing we must still run the race in its entirety, and that we do not run alone.

Logolepsy

Scripture has become so beautiful to me. Not that I didn’t understand the beauty of scripture before, I merely am beginning to appreciate it. Of all the things I may say for a Christian university or Bible college experience, the tools with which it equips you to actually understand God’s word, to explore its roots, to learn the original languages, to read within context, to enjoy the words themselves and the complexity of the message, to value the variety that different translations each have to offer,  is one of the greatest. I no longer take for granted the intangible value of this tangible book, and for that I am truly grateful.

Pluviophile

It’s one of those picturesque autumnal mornings– grey and damp, the mist so heavy it begins to form into a drizzle, the trees aflame as if set to a slow burn by some invisible dragon, their blazing orange and red leaves littering sidewalk and lawn, fallen sentries to the season’s change.
I should be studying, or reading, or working on my script, or any of the hundreds of other priorities I have clamouring for my attention.
Instead, I’m thinking about rain.
About walking, running, dancing in sheets of it as it falls, utterly soaked to the skin and perfectly happy. Of standing arms outstretched, face turned up, attempting to catch it all, and being overcome with a divine, perfect sense of peace in the midst of a chaotic beating. Of dripping my way indoors from the street and into the warm arms of home, sitting on the kitchen floor, swaddled in a towel, hands wrapped around a cup of tea; “you have not known true joy until you have waltzed in the rain.”
I’m also thinking about the deluge of God’s love, the torrential downpour of His mercy and grace and even the storms of His righteous wrath. I am thinking about the constancy of His inescapable presence, His nearness despite my feeling far, the cleansing peace of His perfect promises.
He will come to us like rain, causing streams to run in the desert and dry bones to rejoice.
He will come to us like rain, making all things new.
He will come to us like rain.