Wiser Words

Sometimes I hear CS Lewis’ words mock me… 

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. 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.” 

I feel like I too easily become a part of people’s scenery. I am a face in the crowd. A static character that’s just there to fill up gaps on the wall. I have recently been running around giving my heart out to people and it’s never been enough. But that’s the point, isn’t it? I can never be enough and they can never be enough… because if I was enough, then why would they need God?

“Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.”

I cannot live this life with closed fists. I cannot selfishly insist on my dreams. I cannot focus on my flaws and think that they explain why people put me down – and why I let them.

Becky once asked me if I thought I was important enough to hurt her feelings – if I could affect her life… I said no. One negative comment from someone and my world is shaken. Yet if I’m the one throwing stones, there are no ripples to be seen from my perspective. Somehow I’ve made my existence one of invisibility. 

“Hell is a state of mind – ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind – is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakeable remains.” 

I am not who I want to be. I don’t fully love myself… and I wonder if that’s why I can’t find someone to truly love me – or at least why I won’t let people truly love me. 

I’m ready to leave Waco. 

It’s Kind of Like Being There

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I met you when it was cold outside, but the sun was burning my skin. I got dehydrated and you noticed me sitting beneath a tree. You didn’t come over… you were always more responsible than loving.

My first impression of you was way off – I thought you were a snobbish frat. We had mutual friends and I didn’t know why they would like you – snobbish frats weren’t in their crowd. But then you came downstairs and you became less snobbish.

 No one introduced us, but I didn’t really want to meet you. I even accidentally threw a ball at your head. It was an accident, I promise. You said something to me and I thought it was childish and I left. You didn’t follow.

Then you started picking up on my habits, my comforts. You mainly noticed them because they were similar to your own. We somehow became loners together. 

Your memories are where you captured me. I loved your stories. I surprised you with my knowledge of a life you thought was distant and almost secretive. I gained your respect. You called me a rebel while also protecting me. I never knew if I was supposed to be weak or strong. 

I went with strong. I left that tree I was sitting under and we never really found each other again. Later, I tried to reach out to you. I tried to catch another glimpse of your world. But you moved on – you didn’t want me to see the beauty anymore. There was someone else. 

I Am Anything But Winning

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Let’s make the most of these words.

Let’s pretend I meant to correlate when my parents were having less control over my life with Texas becoming less of my home.

Let’s say I told my family about Oregon early so that eventually going home to answer my family’s questions about my future would become so exhausting that I wouldn’t want to go back… 

Let’s act like this isn’t ripping me apart.

I’m about 5 yrs old. My family is camping next to this lovely waterfall that feeds into the river right next to our tent. My brothers and I have set up our little chairs right next to the edge of the river. They of course turn it into a competition to see who could sit the closest. I think Brandon was in the lead. Then, I set my chair right at the edge and sat down and fell into the river. I couldn’t swim. My dad had to pull me out, along with my pink chair. 

Let’s make believe people don’t look at me like I’m a sad person who can’t find someone to love and marry me. 

I’m in the 4th grade. I’m in the dugout as my team is up to bat. My dad spots a ball that rolled in between third and home. He tells me to go get it as he’s behind the fence. I wait until the girl on deck stops swinging and I go get it. Then, as I turn and walk back, the girl on deck hits me right in the mouth as she swings her bat. I fall to the ground and there was so much blood. When my dad got me home and my mom saw me, she said it wasn’t that bad. 

Let’s pretend I enjoy being alone.

I spent all summer before high school at tennis camp. I got good enough to join the team. I eventually got to #1 girls doubles at my high school. My parents never saw a game. 

Let’s say I know exactly what God’s doing in my life.

Life slowly releases you from that constant reliance on your parents. But even though this has been accumulating over time, it’s still weird. There’s still some resistance. My parents support my decisions – more and more of which are being made without them. However, life is tricky and though it shows you independence, it shows that when you leave – life still happens. I’m going to miss moments in my family’s lives when I’m in Oregon.  This helps with reliance on God, but does nothing for my joy. 

Let’s act like this isn’t ripping me apart.

 

Wearable. Happiness.

So. Much. Shirt. Happiness.

Oregon

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Oregon. I think everyone knows that’s where I’m headed. And I think most people knew my parents didn’t quite know how serious I am about it. Today I told my mom.

I had gone home this weekend and was kind of in the background with my family. I hadn’t really seen them in a month and everyone was too distracted with Brent’s new project to ask me about life. It was like a Sixteen Candles vibe except it wasn’t my birthday and my brother wasn’t getting married. But you get the picture.

So today I was packing up and attempting to go back to Waco before I cried. I don’t know why this weekend made me sad – usually I enjoy my family not prying into my life. Still, I guess no one likes to be invisible. However, my mom came in and noticed I was packing and heading for the door. She stopped me and said she hadn’t gotten to talk to me this weekend. I didn’t mean to come off so harsh, but I responded, “Well, you’ve been a little busy.” (Which was said in a piercing way… it was meant as a ‘well you picked which child you wanted to give your time to’) I love that my mom cares enough to ignore my rude comments and keep trying. She insisted we get ice cream and talk before I left. I agreed.

I think I was a little worried, though. I knew Oregon was going to come up – I mean, it’s a life-changing decision that’s occupied my thoughts every day. It was going to surface.

And there we were, sitting at a bar with swivel stools, eating ice cream as we talked and looked out the window. I’m glad we were looking out the window or else the ice cream shop would’ve seen a lot of tears. (I kept them in and if I felt tears swelling up, I just ate ice cream until the roof of my mouth was frozen)

My mom kept the talk light – she didn’t know about the impending doom. And then she brought up this job she keeps trying to set up for me after graduation. In Dallas. She kept talking about how the CEO is wonderful and the company would be great. She was so excited. It felt wrong not to talk about my thoughts on my future. I tried to start gradual and just mentioned the Northwest. That idea failed when my  mom went off on how liberal they all are.

I’ve always known my mom’s view, but I didn’t expect the conversation to go the way it did. I guess since Oregon is like my future home, I’ve become a bit protective of it. My mom, not knowing the protectiveness in my head, kept talking about all the heathen liberals up there. I would say something here or there, but I don’t think my mom really listened to me until I said, “Just because North Dallas has a church on every corner, doesn’t mean that even half the ‘christians’ in them are actually living a life for Jesus.’ I could defend Oregon all day long, but it was always theoretical to her because I never lived there and didn’t know from first-hand experience. Talking about where we live, my mom noticed I wasn’t just throwing around ideas. I had her attention.

Then I just went for it:

“Mom, I don’t think I’m supposed to stay in Texas.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because my heart hasn’t been here for awhile.”

*Silence*

“Well… that makes me sad to hear that.”

Then, my mom proceeds to tell me all about her regrets in life – how she felt the same about leaving New Mexico for Texas, how she always wishes she stayed near her family, how other people in our extended family have moved away and are now outsiders/weird, how family is key to it all, how she wants to be a part of my life and my future kids’ lives…

Once she was done and the roof of my mouth pretty frozen, I talked about the disciples. When Jesus called them to follow Him, their families weren’t considered. They dropped everything and followed Him. I wasn’t implying that God’s going to use me to change everyone’s lives in Oregon – but for some reason, I need to go there. And I would be disobedient if I listened to all my mom’s regrets and stayed in Texas for family instead of going to Oregon for God.

My mom eventually said that wherever I end up, they will support me – but I still heard the unspoken “but I want you here.”

I know I made my mom sad today. It makes me sad. But when I finally got in my car to come back to Waco, I cried – not because my mom was sad, but because all I wanted to say to her was if she would pray that I would be strong enough to not only get to Oregon, but flourish there. But I couldn’t. I didn’t want to ask my mom to pray for something she didn’t want, for something that would break her heart. But I just know that when she prays for me, it won’t be that I get to Oregon. She’ll pray that I meet some guy who will keep me in Texas. She’ll pray that this thought of Oregon will leave my mind before I graduate. She’ll pray that I listen to her regrets. And that’s hard.

But if this was easy, then I wouldn’t appreciate making it to the other side. This is my journey to Oregon. There are going to be a lot more goodbyes to come. More challenges. More lonely nights and tearful car rides.

But guys, this isn’t a defeat. My journey has started. One foot in front of the other. Oregon is waiting for me. And all this is worth it. This journey is beautiful. It’s beautiful because it’s finally started.

God in Cameron Park

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I need nature to redirect my thoughts like 90% of the time. Trees, fresh air, dirt, and all just sort of surround me in a feeling of God’s love that I need. Like when people fail to love me when I’m amongst buildings, technology, and concrete… I need nature to remind me God is still here. He still loves me.

This last week was hard. I’ll admit I probably cried more than I should’ve and I was sleepless most of the nights. Why, you ask? Because some people are stupid and they forget that you have feelings and a heartbeat. Because people forget they are powerful.

So Wednesday happened. I woke up with a horrible migraine and emailed my boss that I was sick. Slept more. Then I had to go to class because we had our first test. I took the test and decided since I didn’t have work, that I could see where Becky Boggus works. So I met her at her office and as y’all know – nothing gets past Becky. So I cried in her office and I used the last of her tissues. It happens. I think I insulted her by not telling her what happened because I said she wouldn’t understand. I meant that she wouldn’t understand because it went far back – farther than I was willing to go. I didn’t mean to insult a helping friend. I was truly sorry. So eventually I left before I completely self-destructed. So where to go? Nature. I needed God’s love.

So I went to Cameron Park. For 3 hours. It rained most of the time. I love rain. I didn’t see a single person for the entire time. I cried, I shouted to God. I ran. I fell. I was vulnerable. I was invincible. I was liberated. I didn’t want to go back to civilization. I didn’t want to deal with people anymore. I just wanted to keep walking with my mud-covered legs and dripping wet hair and just live with God and whatever else lives in Cameron Park. But I had to come back.

I went to Trailhead to get some mint tea to warm myself up. I knew they wouldn’t mind my appearance because they’re outdoorsy. As I sat there with my tea and book on Oregon, a girl I knew came up to me. She hugged me and smiled at me as she genuinely cared and asked about my life. Then I went to the Boggus’ and we all planted 2 gardens. People aren’t all bad. There’s some good ones out there.

Today I went back to Cameron Park. Just 2 hours this time. Somehow it’s still easier being out there. It all hurts less out there.