Finifugal: (adj.) Hating endings; of someone who tries to avoid or prolong the final moments of a story, relationship, or other journey.
This past week has been a veritable tornado of things and feelings that have ultimately formed themselves into a crisis of sorts, reflected in the fittingly changeable weather plaguing north-eastern Pennsylvania. My birthday coincided with the sudden death of a close friend, leaving me breathless and wondering how God works all things (all things) for good (because He says He does, and I sometimes don’t know how to trust that). I’ve spent the last seven days waffling between busy okayness and moments of exhausted despair.
In the midst of the guilt that trails in a suicide’s wake, as well as the existential questions that naturally form as another candle finds its way on to the cake, I’ve found myself questioning my identity. Who am I in Christ? Who am I as a person? How do the two meet and mesh? If there’s anything I’ve learned moving through these things before, it’s how easily it is to let the weight of sadness overwhelm you, turning life into a question of blank futility. “What’s the point?” you ask. I have a theory: I believe that sadness is like matter– it can be neither created nor destroyed, just manifested and passed along. Suicide passes the greatest of sadness onto those left behind, a sadness so great you feel like you become the emptiness itself. So it’s in this moment that I find I need to remind myself who I am, and especially Whose I am. You don’t necessarily need to this list (although it may help you understand me); but in this moment, I do.
I like to think that God believes in irony, but never coincidence.
I can (modestly) climb a tree while wearing a skirt. This talent took years to cultivate.
The quickest ways to my heart are flowers and books.
I want to take a cross-country road trip in which I stop and spend time on a swing set in every state.
I take sermon notes in free-verse poetry.
I can spend hours in a museum.
I like pots of tea at 4 PM- scones of course are always welcome.
The only place flannel and plaid belong are on blankets and kilts.
I sometimes get caught up thinking about the micro-worlds that could exist on every single dust mote.
There are few things as satisfactory as a purring cat.
I love tall windows and natural light: I avoid using overhead lights.
The best part about tall windows and natural light are the patches of shadow-and-light they throw across the walls and floor on clear afternoons.
I drink coffee out of necessity, I drink tea out of preference (and sheer enjoyment).
My favourite films are in black and white.
Even so, I know almost every line from the original Star Wars trilogy.
No matter where I go, I almost always have two books with me: a small anthology of Eliot’s poetry and essays, and a rather battered copy of Donne’s verses.
Someday I want to live somewhere I can keep a garden.
Kindles are convenient, but real books are best.
Paperbacks are for dog-earing and annotating.
I like to buy used books with notes in the margins: it’s like a peek into the previous owner’s mind.
Both my favourite poem and song have the same title: Clair de Lune. One was written by Paul Verlaine, the other by Claude Debussy.
Cumulus clouds are my favourite.
I don’t know who I prefer: Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald.
We will obviously be singing choral music in Heaven, because it’s simply the best. I imagine the set list will include Eric Whitacre, Arvo Part, and Gregorio Allegri. Also, there will be cellos.
I desperately want to have a picnic in a graveyard.
The thing that astounds me most about salvation and God is the incredible freeing nature of His grace and love: I am a fearful person, and I find it hardest to rest in the knowledge that the only thing that could ever make me whole was completed by His Son. There is an amazing kind of peace in that.
My favourite day and place is a foggy beach along the Pacific.
Stargazing is wonderful, but it’s better with someone else.
I could survive on banana pancakes and orange juice.
Everyone has a story, and stories are for sharing.
I don’t trust people, but I’m working on that.
If you cut me I would probably bleed salt water, ink, and earl grey tea.
As hard as it is to move through suicide, I’m coming to understand that perhaps one of God’s desires for me is to continually find and work with people who struggle with it. And that scares me.