Thursday, March 19, 2009


Helen Hays said, "All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar."

According to my calendar, tomorrow is the first day of spring.

Nothing magical will happen in the morning, I'm afraid. I will wake long before the sun rises, go to my office, and sit with my back to the window all day. Then I will leave and feel the afternoon sun for the first time, as if my day begins at 3pm and not 7am.

Nature does not heed the instructions of the paper calendars very well. For the past few days, the last of chronological winter, the earth has been whispering promises of spring. Warm winds, short rain storms. I could hear Tates Creek's marching band practicing this afternoon. My windows in my car have been rolled down for three days straight now. My sister's birthday is in just a few days.

Just because the calendar says tomorrow is the first day of spring does not make it so.

But it has been a long winter.

I am itching to get my hands dirty. To hike a trail, to climb a mountain. To touch the earth in a way winter will not permit. To be part of something big. To be made to feel small.

Part of me secretly wonders if the onset of a physical spring might induce a spiritual spring as well. If March 20th won't ring in the season of singing after all.

The world is waking up around me. The physical world, the spiritual world. Our windows and our hearts are being thrown wide open. To let new air in, old air out. Time to shake the dust off. Expose our skin to the sun. Let our bare feet sink in the dirt, be tickled by the grass. Let our minds be renewed, opened to new ideas.

I have been preserving hope throughout this past winter. It was not in ample supply, that is for sure. This was the first Kentucky winter during which I experienced a level of seasonal depression. Perhaps this is because only in the past few years have I discovered my God in nature. And the onslaught of a winter in the Bluegrass means inconsistency, ice, bitterness, grayness. Containment. Confinement.

It is almost as if tomorrow holds a promise.

Whispering of an opportunity.

To reconnect.

With who I am.

And who God is.

To climb a mountain and be close to Him.

I might have even fooled myself into thinking that by being in nature, I might find some direction. By becoming lost in the woods, I might find my way.

These past few months have sent my brain spinning. My heart. As if my faith, my creativity, my perseverance, and my hope were seeds. And a big wind came and scattered them right out of my palm ...

And I've been lost without them.

Like every aspect of myself has been pulled in an opposite direction. Setting me flailing ungracefully.

But the promise of spring awakens this hope for peace inside of me. For what can only be called a reunion. A coming together. Congruency. A joining of soul and body.

I have a suspicion that this awakening hope has nothing to do with the 70 degree weather.


Maybe soon my flailing will be transformed into a graceful pirouette. I will regain control of my limbs and my thoughts and my aspirations and my fears.

And the world will make a little more sense because all of me will be spinning in the same direction.


I look forward to Saturday when we will all pack up cars with people and bagels and hiking shoes and drive to Slade.

There we will enter into a sanctuary.

A holy place filled with Him.

Set apart ... nearly untouched.

Where our hearts are safe.

And we can fall to our knees, let our hands sift through the dirt, and be reminded.

God is everywhere.

All the time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


We want to be respected for who we are.

Not for what we can do.

Not for what we bring to the table.

But for who were are, stripped down, simple, without degrees, labels, or achievements.


We want to be known.


Not as who we pretend to be, but who we are when we look in the mirror.

The quirks of our personalities. Our faults. Our attributes.

The way we process information, the way we handle conflict.

Why we do what we do.


We want that person, the "real us", to be loved.

For someone to see us for who we are, for what we are not, and consider us something worthy of love. Of admiration. Someone to see us worthy of pursuit, or investment.


We know we want this for ourselves.

But very often, more often than not, we forget others feel this way as well.

Such needs are reciprocated, mirrored in the face of a stranger, echoed in the voice of a neighbor, written on the arms of a lover.




We are selfish.

Every last one of us.

And we are forgetful.


We forget to love others as we would want to be loved.

We forget to see.

We forget to recognize worth.

We forget to value.


This is why we continue to hurt.

To be lonely.

Not just in the context of romantic relationships.

But in regards to community in general.

We do not love with the kind of love we long for.

Which is all it would really take...


We worry about what strangers think of us.

Neglect the person who lives across the hall.

Our love, our attention, is farsighted.


We long to be known.

Yet settle for casual, unintentional relationships.

Our arms reach for a warm embrace.

Passing up the waiting arms already extended to us.


How is it we have forgotten the desire of our heart?

To love and be loved.

To know and be known.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Troubled Mind Blues

Life usually makes sense in my head.

Not since I was fifteen years old was my life in such chaos that I didn't know which way was up.

But here I am again.

A lot of time has passed between then and now.

I have learned a lot.

It still feels like chaos. Pure and utter.

But this time, I know what waits for me when the spinning stops.

I know that this is the discomfort of stretching.

The pains of growth.

Life works in cycles like this. In seasons. There are patterns and inconsistencies and valleys and peaks.

Right now...

I cannot make life make sense in my head.

Simply, I do not know how I will make it work come August.

How I will pay for housing. Will I commute? Where will I work?

These are questions I answered three years ago when I moved to Lexington.

I thought the next time I made a huge lifestyle change, education would no longer been an inhibiting factor.

But I am looking at two more years of school. And a scholarship that requires I remain full time.

A car, which might explode at any minute.

Preparing to possibly live on my own for the very first time. No roommates. Just me.

And maybe this all wouldn't be so hard... so stressful ... if I didn't care about people so much. I cannot consciously sacrifice my relationships for a successful career/education. Nothing is so important that it is worth secluding myself. I have dreams that have nothing to do with a BSW or a stable career. Dreams that involve people. Beautiful people. People I cannot live without.

That is what troubles my mind these days.

Trying to make the world make sense in my head.


And I find myself praying this prayer:

My mind cannot come up with anything new. I have run out of ideas. I've been here before and You've walked me through. Open my eyes. Let me see a third way. In the middle of this crazy, spinning world, teach me to stand still. Still the wild beating of my heart. And let a peace fall on me that is unexplainable."

And desiring, deeply, these things:
To be in a quiet place. A high place. To climb and look out over the world. To be close to God. To hold hands. To rebuild family. To push myself. To drop the dark baggage I carry and walk in light. Walk in love. To be loved. To help. To be able to put into real, meaningful words what it means to live this life...


That's the stuff that makes sense in my troubled mind tonight.

The logistics are hard to come by... I wasn't prepared for change in this direction.

But real change always takes us by surprise, I suppose.

And no matter how old you are, how experienced, how wise... you are never prepared.


So I will climb up to the top of a mountain.

He'll make the world stop spinning for a while.

And years down the road we'll laugh about how I thought this was hard... and I will have learned lessons and grown stronger and smarter and gained skill and sharpened my personality.

This is life, you see.

My troubled mind just forgets sometimes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I am experiencing an emotion that has no name.

It is an emotion paired with an internal rhythm.

Matched with a deep calling.

Married to an unparalleled purpose.


I remember when hundreds of people slept in Triangle Park one night a few years ago. I stood looking at the television with Larry in my grandparents' kitchen and asked: "what is that all about? it seems so pointless. do they even know what they are doing this for?"

It would be years before my question was answered.

Before I realized why they used terms like "invisible" and "displaced".


The first time I watched the documentary, it was required for my communications course. My COM252 professor led us all to the auditorium and we all sat together.

I held back the tears that came. Pushed down the swelling in my heart. This was a vulnerability I didn't want to share with classmates.


I wanted to DO something.


Tonight, in a different auditorium on the other side of campus, they showed a second documentary.

I walked in the cold and sat down.

With people I trusted with my vulnerability.

And I felt the rhythm.


I saw faces.

I learned their names.

A familiar story unfolded.

The villain was finally introduced.

A plan was forming.

A plan of rescue.


This plan, which has impacted humanity,

was set in motion by three men my own age.

Humans with a passion.

Who found a third option.

Who are acting more like Christ than most preachers I know.


Humanity is being terrorized.

Innocence is being stolen.

Beauty is being extinguished.


But the gates of hell are being stormed.


I sat still in the auditorium for a few minutes when the documentary was over.

I was crying internally.

Weeping in my heart.

I could feel the swelling in my chest.


You see, I've always wanted to DO something.


There's a rhythm inside of me, which I feel belongs with a larger one.

As if I were created to be a part of a symphony.

I've always felt called to be a part of something BIG.


It's why I declared social work my major.

Because I can sit here on my bed and write down pretty words all night long.

But change only comes through action.

Change occurs when we take initiative.


When we cut a path where there has never been one before.

When we ask questions.

When we explore.

When we step outside our limits, our capabilities.


There are invisible children everywhere.

In our country.

In Kentucky.

In Lexington.

On your street.


The rhythm in my heart is growing stronger.


Let your prayers rise with the incense tonight.

For children who are being held captive.

For people who have been forgotten.

For those who are brave enough to do something about it.

For humanity.


Jesus has called us.

Let us storm the gates of hell.

And rescue the children.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

begin anew

Across the table she smiled knowingly.
"It really is just so hard to get your life started."

My heart skipped a beat.
I thought I had already begun...
I thought it had already started?

She meant the career, family-building, home-making life.

She meant a season I've yet to come to.

What she said was not wrong.

What she said made me think.

I get this sense of finality... when I think about my life the way it is now.

This season is about to end.

I am in the dead middle of a winter.

My emotional, social, even spiritual life are buried deep in cold, preserving snow.

But I hear it some days...

the sound of ice melting.

And I know the seasons are about to change.


With that sense of finality, along with that sense of change, I feel a paralyzing fear.

Because everything familiar will soon be gone.

What is comfortable, habit, normal, will disappear.

And I feel helpless.... as if I am starting back at square one.

New job, new home, new city, new people, new school.

The past four years or so there have been a lot of transitions and changes in my life.

More than I can really count.

But there have been some constants...

Small things I could rely on to stay the same.


It is time for the constants to change.


And I feel like all of this was for naught...

These three and a half years spent at a two year college.

These four years spent in an office.

Three years learning the roads of downtown Lexington, where to get the best cup of coffee, the shortcuts home.


I was struggling with this desolate feeling a few afternoons ago.

Starting over.

The thought just broke my heart.

I feel like I have come so far...

Only to return to the drawing board.



It's a nasty word.


On this afternoon, I was on Limestone.

Just past UK hospital, the light at Washington Street to be exact.

And a Volvo passed by.

As the Volvo drove ahead of me, I saw on the bumper a single sticker.

It looked homemade, the way it was cut.

"begin anew".


I dug for a pen.

Wrote on my palm.

Watched the Volvo drive away.

I marveled at the idea of God showing up on the bumper of a car.


I knew this was the answer.

Not starting over.

Not square one.


Yes, back to the drawing board.

But I am returning with a new set of skills.

With new eyes.

With more calluses on my hands.

With stronger muscles.


It is not starting over.

Because I grew this season.

The old garments won't fit any longer....


Very soon, I will begin anew.





And I wonder if that is not, in fact, the beauty of it all.

The tragedy.

The romance.

It's the purpose.

It's the story.


So what else is there to do? But return and anticipate change.