April 28, 2011

Gogyohka-Thursday [32]

it's raining

we find shelter

we stay warm

we gaze in triumph out at the wetness

such is man

April 27, 2011

Morning Walk

I was struck by how light it was when I got up at six this morning. This Wednesday was a bit different than  usual- our class was to convene at the Vanderbilt Mansion for a walk. I've been there on multiple occasions. I'm not fond of the house as rich, large, or old houses go but the grounds are beautiful. In summer the gardens are full or roses and fountains and archways (very romantic) and there is an open field surrounded by very tall shady trees (perfect for sleeping under) and of course there is the river-walk (and I have heard tales of a trail).

Down the descending asphalt path we began- small, meaningless chatter reverberating throughout my group of classmates. I hear someone mention Middle Earth, "Did you know they're making The Hobbit?" I remark. The girl turns and looks at me blankly (earphones in her ears) and queries, "You look like a hobbit?" Everyone giggles. She explains about the earphones. I laugh because I'm short enough that I do look a bit hobbitish- minus the feet hair.

There lay this morning over the river a great fog- we couldn't see the other side as we walked  down (just a billowing white duvet warming the sleepy river). It had rained- giant earthworms lounged on the road. At one point a dirt path lead away over a hill towards the river, "A short cut!" was the general exclamation- and the group split. A friend and I jested about the possible outcome of our choice to stay on trusty asphalt, "Is this the strait road that leads to salvation? Or the wide and easy road that leads to destruction?" We all got there ok so it was alright.

I went right up to the water. It seemed very close and intimate on account of the mist- and having gone through woods and being so far from the road. I edged out onto a rock low down and stuck my hands in the mighty Hudson. So cold. So real.

In another place there were more rocks and lots of slate stones. I gathered flat ones to my liking from tide pools. We practiced skipping. One of the guys could get his to go five or six times (the most I got was three). There was an iron ring stuck into the rock- where once Vanderbilt boats might have docked. One of the woman (a large Texan of German descent) informed me they really aught to tie me to the hook with a chain and leave me to the sea urchins (and I promptly invoked the rescue of Perseus).

As we girls clambered back up the gorge and I listened to the female small-talk, which so easily turns from subject to subject- worms, to the heat, to the rising of the mountain, to the Vanderbilts (I told what little I know of them), to what one girl called "west egg" and  "east egg" (I had no idea what she was talking about) and some movie which was made from some book which everyone reads in High School and what in the world was that- (I hit upon it) - The Great Gatsby.

I wished I could stop... I had wanted to read and write in the rose gardens... But we walked instead. The benches looked so inviting- perfect for two to sit upon and gaze out in communal, comfortable silence at the mountains and river. Maybe next time. But it was time to get going for our next class... and my pen and notebook were in the car.

So this is my memorial of the morning.

April 24, 2011

This is My Body Broken For You

The pastor invited us to partake. This is my body- broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Snap! Crack! As the Good Friday communion matzo broke and snapped into a thousand pieces in my mouth, I suddenly had a tangible knowledge of "brokenness" wash over me.

My mind began to muse... The perfect, sinless One... broken... but His body wasn't really broken, was it? Not a bone... then what did it mean? Are we referring to His flesh being scourged and lacerated?

But more importantly (this is where my mind went next) who broke it? The Jews who called for His crucifixion? The government who condemned an innocent man? The Gentiles who nailed His feet and hands?

It always strikes me how many people were involved in Christ's crucifixion- Jews and Gentiles- and so all peoples are there- partaking in guilt. There's a John Michael Talbot song that goes something like, "Would you crucify him? Talkin' bout the sweet Lord Jesus- if he walked right here among you once again?" The answer of my heart always says "yes." Natural man hates God. If He hadn't saved me- I'd have been right there cursing and condemning. Purity and righteousness are hateful to a heart that loves sin.

Though the pastor touched on one of my favorite points in regards to the crucifixion- (that it was the spiritual alienation between Christ and His Father, the severing of the Godhead, that was the true torture of the cross)- this Easter Sunday my thoughts keep coming back to the idea of brokenness.  "But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5, ESV). I keep feeling... and hearing... the snapping and crushing of the bread under my tongue and teeth...

This is my body... broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

April 21, 2011

April 19, 2011


The other day I went to the mall. I don't normally do something like that, but I needed to get out of the house, and I needed to get errands done, so off I went. I bought my mother tea-cups to replace the one I'd broken that morning and I tried on clothes and shoes (which I didn't buy) and got myself lunch (comforting Mexican food).

The mall was remarkably quiet. It was a Thursday morning. I found the warmest place in the open seating area- where the sunlight filtered through the glass ceiling and had warmed the table and chairs (because I felt cold- inside and out) and positioned myself so I could see the play area around the carousel.

I watched as young mothers talked amongst themselves- and as their golden-haired toddlers romped through mini jungle gyms and hugged (or hit) the plastic, animal playmates which charmed the indoor playground.

As I watched the curly pony-tails bob and little-boy feet traipse over every obstacle- I thought in waves of emotion- turning one upon the next. They were so innocent. So small. And so beautiful. Do you remember when you were still young enough to be called a "little kid" and so you avoided "little kids" like the plague? And then you thought kids were kinda cute. And then you wanted one. And then- someday- I suppose you got one of your own.

They were laughing. They were peaking their heads into the shoe cubbyholes. They were smiling at strangers. They were jumping on cuddly looking bears and wrapping their arms around flannel trees. I wished I could take off my shoes. I wished I could shrink back into three-year-old size and go exploring in a plastic tunnel.

Where did life go? When were my worst problems whether my shoe was too tight or the spilling of my orange juice? When were fairy tales and baby dolls enough to make me happy? And when did they cease to content me? I suppose it was when I began holding real babies, playing with real food, met real princes, and fought real battles. 

I was holding baby Timmy in church- well, that is- he's nearly one and today I thought he looked less like a baby than ever and more like a little boy. He is the chunkiest, manliest, most smiley little guy I've ever seen (with wide, big blue eyes which want to see everything in the world). I've only heard him cry once (he was tired and I was putting him to bed). It delighted my heart to have him in my arms, sweet perfection.

Why don't we stay that way? Practically perfect? When I look at other people's lives I typically wind up thinking my problems are pretty small. And they are- in the grand scale of things. But the problems of choices, circumstances, the present, and the future are only the outward signs that people compare their lives by. I see children and don't just see simplicity- I also see a clean slate. Because most of my life-problems are inside of me. And the more I learn of them the more I am disgusted by how deeply the roots of my problems go. They started years ago. Even when I was playing.

And so I am filled with a longing for the fresh and the new and the clean. It is the blessedness of being a child of God that he offers us this "newness" every morning.  I want to be reborn every day.

April 17, 2011

Beat Box

This is a poem I wrote for school. Our assignment was to write four stanzas with each line having the same syllable count. [Note: this is a poem. Places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.]

Bouncing down the sidewalk-
Keys clank in my pocket-
Hop in my Camry, hike
that music way up high.

Bobbing to this rhythm,
beat throbbing through the car.
Palms spank the wheel, playing.
Head bops up, down, smiles wide.

Then I fall to thinking
on the lyrics running
through my dancing, blissful
head- I’m swirling around.

Swerve! Regain- thump of my
pounding heart. I am still.
The car pulses.  Beat box
brings me back to bouncing.

April 14, 2011

Gogyohka-Thursday [31]


soft cherry blossoms

if my hair was black

we would dance

my fingers would not make you wither

April 9, 2011

Remembering Reality

It's been an emotional week. I felt panicky all Sunday and Monday for no good reason whatsoever. My stomach was in knots, my blood was racing, and I felt a constant impulse to cry. I have my theories. I think maybe I'd been happy for too long and my body was thinking to its confused self, "We have too many unused tears stored up here. Let's make her do something crazy so she cries!" But it didn't work. So I just felt weird all week. Then on Thursday I finally had something happen worth crying over and afterwords I felt more or less (physically) better. But, then there was the reason I was crying in the first place- so I was back to square one.

This morning rolled round. I always know that Spring is finally here when the crocuses pop their cheery heads up from the sulking earth. My brothers had gone on a hike. My mother had gone shopping. My neighbors were having a party (who knows why) and I was stuck at home with myself (myself!) and a pile of homework.

It was a prime opportunity to be royally miserable. I considered putting on all my sad, moody music and making a day of it.

But before I got to work I went through my routine  habit of being unproductive for about twenty-minutes- checking all my tabs, blogs, and e-mail. I stumbled upon a fellow blogger's musings (yes, you, Natalie) about worship, joy, and glorying in God.  She said, "Joy is something that has to be fought for recklessly. Will I fight? Will you?" Yes. Yes! Where was my joy? Where was the precious joy which I so prize and treasure? I needed that post. I needed to remember reality.  I resolved: Today I will glory in God.

So I decided not to listen to my sad music. Instead I put on Sons of Korah and began listening to their wonderful rendition of Psalm 95. As the notes drifted through my room and bounced of my sun-lit window panes I felt my spirit rising- rising- lifting up to God in song. 

Come, let us sing with joy to the Lord. My fingers reached towards Heaven. Come, let us shout to the Rock of Salvation.

I felt my soul pouring out again to my God. Come before Him with thanksgiving. I remembered His Grace and Goodness in my life- and I remembered the overwhelming glory of His throne. For He is our God.

I've asked "why?" of Him a lot lately. But amidst uncertainty, pain, happiness, excitement, stress, and change, I learn yet again that the answer to every question is: God. He is strong, mighty to save- and I am His- and He is mine. And that is enough. And that is everything.

Come let us, come let us, bow down in worship.
Come let us, come let us, kneel before God our Creator.

April 7, 2011

Gogyohka-Thursday [30]


my 30th Gogyohka-Thursday

and my 100th post-

deserves celebration!

Me want cake.

April 5, 2011

And Then I Showed It To Dad

It is a curse to be a writer. Truly. A curse.

I get ideas in the middle of the night. Right before I'm supposed to sleep an idea pops into my head- a phrase, a concoction of lines, a single sentence which sparks an entire monologue. My best ideas usually come to me at night. I know better than to ignore them. What makes it all worse is that I am typically incapable of remembering an idea for more than five minutes. -So the light goes back on. I grope for a pen and scrap of paper- and write.

Sometimes the simple act of getting the idea outside of myself is enough. But even then (and certainly if I keep it within) often my brain takes the idea and runs with it and the race of my brain keeps me up forever- as I think and create things that will be lost by the time I wake up.

So about three nights ago I had such an occurrence. An idea. I grabbed the pen and paper.

I had no time to write it up yesterday because I was at school. And even today I  had a long list of school assignments, but the idea was plaguing my mind. So I gave into this disease- this plague- this madness called writing. I flipped to my notes, I grabbed some water and almonds, I let my fingers touch these keys, and instinct took over.

I wrote for a good three hours strait... and then worked on the thing for another three hours or so. Needless to say I got little school done. But I was pretty happy with the results. It was a story. An allegory of sorts- and theological at that. I'd never done something in that venue before but really, people, it was decent.

Then I showed it to Dad. He reads so fast. And when he was done he told me it was too short (for the questions I asked) and I needed to write a book on it.

A book?!!

People. I don't want to write a book. I barely have enough time to blog. But to an extent I agree with my Daddy- the story needs flushing out and fine-tuning. So stay tuned. But not too tuned. It may take a while.

Because tomorrow I go back to school... and hopefully other, easier ideas will come to me to write about- and hopefully not too late- 'cause I have exams coming up and I need my sleep.

April 2, 2011


There's nothing quite like getting a letter in the mail.

On several occasions I have hypothesized on just what it is that separates cards from letters and e-cards from e-mails. There seems to be a hierarchy of specialness which I want to understand- so I can master- so I can act not in instinct but concrete knowledge.

There is, we well know, an entire art to letter writing- the composition of the letter, the content of the letter, the voice of the letter, and the aesthetic of the letter. Does someone get right to the point? Do they ramble, rhapsodize, or hurl themselves down rabbit trails? Is the envelope plain? Do they decorate it with flowers? Romantic? Business? Classy? Cute? Feminine?

I began letter writing when I was about seven or eight. I remember how each letter would begin.

Dear Samantha,
How are you? I'm doing fine.
(After a year or so I grew tired of that.)

Dear Samantha,
(Getting all fancy.)

Now I say whatever I want to say- and so I think it is the truest expression of myself. Yes. Isn't it that very expression of self which compels us to read letters- blogs, books, e-mails- in the first place? Because I know that I have for years, whenever I sign onto my e-mail, network, or Facebook- I hope against hope that someone- anyone- will have thought of me- and written.

"What will NY152 say today, I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You've got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you." -You've Got Mail

I think it is the thought that counts. Because it's not about whether you compose a masterpiece. It is about the unmatchable knowledge that someone, amidst their life, stopped and crafted, communicated, a message from out of themselves to nobody but you.

I always save letters (and messages and e-mails) for special moments, free of distraction (sometimes I even make myself clean my room just so I'll have visual peace when I read them). Then I saver every word and reread every line. Your comments on my posts brighten my face. An e-mail makes my day. But letters, letters make my spirit dance.

Then what is it about a letter?

The physical existence of the letter, I think, has something to do with it. E-mails don't really exist. Numbers inside wires send little messages and light flashes on the screen- just as easily gone- just as easily annihilated all together. Existence is part of a letter's specialness.

I speculate that handwriting plays a large role as well. A person's handwriting is an extension of themselves- the very imprint that their hands have made. Personality on a page. You can not help but feel physically closer to someone when you have the work of their hands in your own.

Letter - noun 1: The concrete culmination of all the heart-to-heart communication that souls wish for... when apart.

So talk to me.