Thursday, April 24, 2008

Emotional Revolution

I am supposed to be writing about biofuels. But I always do my best writing here when I'm supposed to be writing somewhere, or about something, else. That's just the way of it.

Life is not easy. I'm wondering how we ever came to the conclusion that it was supposed to be?

All I know is that my 66 year old grandmother has been in the hospital for a month... and a 15 year old boy died the day before yesterday after spending weeks in a coma...

I know that we are faced with questions that have no answers. And we are thrown into this cycle of life that is continuously changing...

You find yourself in your very last week of college... ever. A life you've known for four, maybe five years, is coming to an end. There will never be this many people around again. No more community bathrooms or parking tags or greasy cafeteria food. And maybe you wonder what life outside those walls will feel like...

Or you're stuck in a job you hate. Or starting a new one that terrifies you. Or you love your job but dont make enough money.

You want to buy an engagement ring, but can't even make ends meet. Maybe you want to take her on a date, but life is just too crazy, people are too demanding. Maybe you want to sleep in your own bed tonight, but she, your other half, needs you by her side.

Maybe you're facing a move. A change of location. Or you feel unsafe in your own home. Maybe you've become static... and this place where you are is no longer where you need to be... but leaving just doesnt seem like an option. Or maybe your heart is somewhere else entirely. And your body just hasn't caught up yet.

Maybe you are worried about the world... your mind is filled with thoughts of sustainable living and nonrenewable resources and energy efficience... about those who labor to give you your lifestyle... about being selfless and innovative and free.

Some of us are angry at God right now.

Some of us have just succumbed to the tears... all but let our bodies collapse beneath us.

Others are enjoying the sunshine today.

Our minds are consumed with thoughts and feelings.

We are stressed and stretched too thin and we are scared.

Or we are excited.

Or we miss you.

Or all of these things rolled into one.

Life is not easy.

I've heard you're supposed to take it one day at a time... but I haven't learned how to do that yet.

All I know is that I can't resist the revolution... with this unpredictable life, these unpredictable people, these haphazard ways of living... there's no telling where we'll end up.

But we count on His grace.

And we cling to hope.

And we treasure peace as if it were worth more than gold...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Archives

I am sitting in Coffea Island. I'm supposed to be doing computer homework, but have gotten distracted. A barista just put on Alison Krauss, I am drinking a bottomless cup of Peaberry coffee, sitting in the sunlight coming through the blinds.

In my distraction, I logged onto Myspace for the first time in months. I had one task in mind. I went and opened up my blog archives and started reading.The earliest one dates back to June 2006. On paper, that doesn't seem that long ago. A little under two years. But I started reading what I had written, and felt as though I was reading about a stranger's life.

I remember all the experiences. I remember all the people. But I dont remember what all the subtle references mean. But what amazes me... is how much people can change. Our fears, our anxieties, our residence, our friends, our language, our music taste, our dreams. There is one blog that has a list of about 50 things I wanted to accomplish before I die (you know, the typical bucket list). As I read through them, I realized that the only ones that still resonated with my new heart are the ones I've already done. Does this mean it's time for a new list? Or time to celebrate?

There are people who were an intrinsic part of my life two years ago, who are nowhere to be found these days. The Beaver Creek house stands empty, with a drained pool. My green room still smells like the candle Ellen gave me. But we dont live there anymore. We don't dance down the hallways or hang air fresheners from the ceiling fans... my room at the Hays house is no longer mine either. I gave back the garage door opener and changed my address. I don't go to Starbucks anymore. The lessons I learned as a college student fresh out on her own, about cheap prices at Walmart and the best route to work are of no use to me now.

There are lessons that I learned back then that I've already forgotten. These are the lessons we all learn... and relearn... and teach others... and then forget again. Lessons about God and love and loneliness.It's been two years since that first blog. And I am nowhere near the girl I was then.

Except for the part about being a hippie. I laugh about that now... knowing I had no idea what that meant the first time I said it. The first time I felt the twinge in my heart for dirty feet and breezy skirts... how could I have known that would get me here? To this place?

In a few years I may go back and dig into the blog archives again. This one, from April 19th in 2008, may be completely foreign to me. I may have changed so much again that most of my words are those of a stranger...

But isn't that the beauty of life?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Where Your Heart Is

All our lives, most of us struggle with issues of identity.
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
We can take classes on the subject. We go through therapy because of this. Halfway through our lives we go through a crisis. Relationships break up, bad habits are formed. Our lives can be drastically changed just by the pursuit of the answer to these sorts of questions.
And the repercussions are not always negative.
Sometimes... we run into an answer that is infinite. And we come to grips, are satisfied with, our ever-changing, fluctuating, shape-shifting, evolving self. Those of us who accept change so graciously are lucky. And few and far between.
An old Creole proverb says: "Show me who you love, and I'll show you who you are."
Perhaps it is the secret to life...
While it is important to search the inner workings of our souls, to turn inward and figure out what the heck is going on in our hearts, delving into a kingdom belonging only, and specific to ourselves. Perhaps the secret is to turn outward.

See who we surround ourselves with.
Who do we seek out?
Who, what, do we surround ourselves with?
With whom are we the most comfortable?
Where are we the most at peace?
Who do we love?

Yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours at Keeneland. This is a tradition in my family, way before I was ever legally allowed to gamble. The past few years I have started going with friends instead of family. Yesterday, my sister, my roommate and a few friends of ours got breakfast and then drove to Versailles Road. I knew, before ever reaching the first gate, that we were in for a ride. Because of my past experiences, I knew what the expect. The traffic. The cops. The parking. The programs. The beer and hotdogs. The silks. The trust fund babies. The girls with high heels and short dresses. The expensive sunglasses. And I was comfortable, because I understood. I knew what I was in the midst of. I could determine the wealthy from the wanna-bes, the regulars from the first-timers. I knew when to go to the concession stand, how to bob and weave in the "traffic" of people. I knew when to hold my breath to keep from inhaling cigar smoke. Comfortable.

But I found myself leaving, knowing that I had enjoyed myself. That I had been able to hold my own. That, had I placed any bets, I would have won a little bit of money. But I was not at home. I did not feel like it was safe to be myself. Or that anyone around felt it was safe to be themselves either. A good place to spend the afternoon... but as we turned back onto Versailles Rd, I knew I was glad that was not my life.

After church, Caleb told me we were going on a date. "Where?" was my first question, always feeling a little apprehensive about surprises. My mind went through all the possibilities, and could not come up with anything. His eyes were bright with excitement. "Come on, " he said. "We're gonna be late! Get me to 64 east."

Those were the tell-tale words. 64 east. I started to laugh.

In Powell County, Clay City, last night there was a bluegrass concert. J.D. Crowe and the New South.

The sun had started to set. Once you're on 64 east, the landscape starts to change. Houses are farther apart. There are more cows. Less power lines. More tractors. The rolling hills of Kentucky were crowned with golden sunlight, the wind whistled through the back windows. Caleb put on his sunglasses. The sun hit our faces as we drove farther east, taking the Parkway and hanging a left, following homemade signs to the park.

We pulled into a gravel parking lot, got out and walked toward a barn. As you got closer, the gravel crunching beneath our flip flops, the sun shining off a flooded pond, you began to hear a banjo. People were standing around in Carhartt and baseball hats, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. We walked past everyone and into the barn. Dim light, smoky air. An older woman sat at the front door with the family dog selling tickets to the show. Later, the music would start. Banjos and mandolins and fiddles. Fried apple pie and cowboy boots and banjo-pickin'. Just a group of people, no pretension. No one was putting on airs or pretending to be something they weren't. Simple people. Dirty people. People who were asking themselves the same questions I was asking. We were the same.

We left around 11pm, laughing at the strange turn of events that had landed us in Powell County on a Saturday night. The stars were bright overhead and the grass was wet with dew.

I drew the correlation on the drive home. Feeling utterly content and amused and at peace.

Who do you love?

Where is your heart?