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Showing posts from August, 2011

Architecture and Artifacts

Sometimes the intangibility of my life is driven home to me. It's not just that I'm a daydreamer; there's a good role for the imagination in creating a better reality. (And it's not that my vocation is words, either - words are real things, palpable objects.) It's that I've lived in my head, clung to mindless routines, and insisted that I was happy in order to escape a reality that I found very confusing and frightening.
I'm a more real person now, trying to live a more real life. Last summer I got rid of over half my belongings (clothes, books, furniture) in order to be ready to move on to whatever was next. Now, my possessions barely fill up a quarter of my massive bedroom. To me it stands for the fact that I've started over, but also the truth that up till now I never thought it was okay to fully invest in my own life.
I want to build something. I lie in my bed and stare at the windows, framed by gorgeous curtains, a tiny picture frame on the windowsil…

Real Christianity?

I grew up being told that God loved me, but I really didn't believe it. Certain things about my life just didn't make sense. My heart was broken by pointless loneliness during my teenage years, and then, at about the time when life seemed like it was really becoming possible, I got so sick that I couldn't reach for what I wanted. I couldn't get out of the trap. It wouldn't have surprised me to learn that God sat outside guarding the exit, whip in hand.
I believed that God was perfecting me through suffering. (Which meant He cared more about my perfection than my happiness.) I also believed that I was receiving the greater gift of Himself in place of lesser gifts. (Which meant I had to pretend I loved Him and was grateful even though it hurt like hell.) I believed God wanted me to demonstrate faith by looking past the circumstances of my life to some strange reality beyond that I sometimes caught a glimpse of. (Even though my very life and identity were dissolving.)
Y…

Story People

I'm one of those either/or, black-and-white, all-or-nothing people. I'm not saying this is always a bad thing, but at this time in my life it's not the best way to find emotional, spiritual, and mental balance. Dismantling the faultily built areas of my internal structure requires a steady mind, not one given to extremes.
So, it helps me to think about life, and myself, in terms of stories. When you're thinking about stories, you can't deal in extremes. For example, the Calvinist/Arminian debate goes out the window, because who can really sit around quibbling about fate versus free will when both are so clearly in evidence?
This weekend I started musing over one way to categorize the various personalities involved in a story. Here are the categories, and how they bring clarity to various personal conundrums:
Me (a.k.a. protagonist). While it's true that God is telling one big story about the history of the universe - the super-story, if you will - it's not tru…

Sheer Silence

In church today, the Old Testament reading was the story of Elisha hearing God not in the wind, earthquake, or fire, but in the "sheer silence." I found this phrase particularly beautiful (other translations render the phrase "gentle whisper"). It makes me imagine God as so gentle and loving that when we need to talk to Him, He sits there quietly, patiently, really listening to us.
There are people who can't listen because they're making so much noise, externally or internally, that there's no room for your voice. And other people exhibit a dead silence, like a wall of snow that muffles you and protects them.
"Sheer silence" is something different entirely. It's like the silence you hear when you park your car at one of the overlooks on Skyline Drive, and no one else is around, only you know that all the trees and plants and leaves are growing and all the animals are scurrying about, and the Shenandoah Valley is scooped out before you like h…