It’s Time to Begin, Isn’t It?

No climax is reached in an instant.  This choice to start living again wasn’t an arbitrary decision, although it felt like it at the time.

It was being questioned about my faith and the novel concept of reading a book for edification and the Friendly Freshman and a homework assignment about vocation, and walking in physical and verbal circles with a friend, and remembering that I do actually love people and want to spend time with them as a result.

It was the devotions at SGA and calling sin what it is and a new insight into the relating of our time here and finally getting tired of hiding in my sleep.

It was a decision to grow and a few too many times of getting taken away by a mysterious train and finally getting the control of the plane off of auto-pilot.  It was a screeching door alarm and exams getting moved and inconsistencies and someone always waking me up and realizing that none of that mattered at all. It was the decision to be happy when I truly was and the relief of not having to pretend to be happy to cover up the stress I wasn’t experiencing.

It was the realization that not only can I change, that I should be changing and mere survival has never been my preferred mode of life. It was recognizing that I have failed the people that I love the most but they are still here with me regardless.  That I have so many improvements to make to be the person I could and should be by God’s directive and standards.

It was running until I thought I was going to die and listening to the same three songs over and over again and finding a healthy apathy about the things that don’t matter and an equally nutritional passion for the things that actually do.

It was changing the overwhelming need to be anywhere else to the desire to be here.  It was a failure of cognitive dissonance and no longer having the patience to wait for my thoughts to catch up with my behavior.

It is mind over matter and living again.

This is living.

She shudders as the thunder blankets the sky.  Her reaction is to hide, to withdraw inside of the house, herself, a book, anything.  Sheets of rain driven by powerful winds rush by the window.  The movement of the individual rain drops down the glass and the immense force that they command together frightens her so much that rationality is abandoned.  Rubber boots are adorned instead of logic.  The umbrella is left lying under the tackle box in the closet, her mothers warnings are left unheeded by ears that need to hear the wind in its full force.

The wetness is trapped in her clothing.  It wraps around her tightly, clinging to her skin.
She runs.  The neighbors peer from behind their gingham curtains and wonder why she must run, never once thinking that they must run as well.  She doesn’t notice.

There is renewal in the rain and joy in the puddles.  The rain forms moving walls that travel down the road.  She laughs and runs after something that is impossible to catch.

Mud splashes with every step, barely noticeable on her legs and shorts that are saturated with water.  She does not stop running.

Until she does stop and opens her eyes and her arms because this is the time to create a photograph.  This is the time to be symbolic and embrace the rain.  The smile is small but it has started from the heart and it cannot be stopped.  Exhausted, she lets her hands fall, palm-down, over her head, onto the ground that is so wet that it accepts the hand prints willingly as they impress into the mud.  Her body forms an arc.  Slowly, she lowers the spine and lets it mold into the ground.

Eyes closed she lays there, soaking in the water from the earth and from the clouds.  The thunder no longer blankets the sky.  Each peal moves through the clouds on a diagonal, followed by a slight turn of the head.  Sunshine replaces the darkness but the rain has a steady, lulling, consistency.

Each drop feels like it will pierce her skin as it lands on her legs and arms but the way it kisses her lips balances the pain.  This is living.

I need a checkered bandanna.

I was driving to church the other day in my usual habit of thinking over all the things that must be thought over.  I was driving along when something caught my eye.  Turning onto the road was a person on a bike.  I couldn’t tell their gender because they had a checkered bandanna pulled up over their mouth and a big floppy denim bucket hat on.  Their orange backpack clashed with the tomato red shirt.   As they turned the corner, they looked back behind themselves.  I knew that look.  They were watching to see if someone was following them.   I don’t know if they just robbed a bank or were escaping a psychopath or just simply paranoid.  All I know is that in the five seconds it took for me to take in this oddity I had this crazy yearning inside of my heart.

“I want to be that person!”  my soul was screaming at me.  They might have been in trouble or causing trouble but I didn’t care.  They were having an adventure and they were living.  Not that going to church isn’t living, this really has nothing to do with faith or religion.  It’s just that my drive up this road is so incredibly routine.  Here are some things I want:

I want to hold a mug full of warm tea and drop it and watch it fall and hear the ceramic crash into a million pieces and possibly cut myself on the sharp edges.

I want to throw my gum out the car window when I am done using it and not worry about littering.

I want to refuse to show up where I’m supposed to.

I want to hop on my bike and pedal and not stop until I physically can’t go any further and not bring a cell phone just to be safe and get lost and have to figure it out.

I want to do all these completely unreasonable things.  Yet there is that annoying rational voice that keeps my mug securely in my hands and my gum in my mouth and my empty body at its appointments and my feet planted firmly on this mundane ground.  I know this all sounds rather out of character but I’m sure you’ve felt like this before.  Sadly, I am quite too sensible to show up somewhere late or not study for a test or stop being responsible and stop being me.

Changed Forever

“And then my life was changed forever.”

The words dangle in the air, ready to fall into anyone’s mind that might be listening.  But no one really is because we’ve heard it all before.  We’ve heard the tragic childhood stories and inspirational climbs to success that inevitably climax at some event and causes one to utter that they were “changed forever”.

There is nothing wrong with this, I just feel like the forever part really isn’t necessary.

What change isn’t forever?

How can anything return completely to its original state after it has been changed?  You can replicate the setting, circumstances–and if you are lucky–the people that surrounded you.  Yet as time moves on, life moves on, and you have been changed.  Permanently.  No matter what you do to return external circumstances, you can never fully revert your mind to where it has once been.  There are new ideas, thoughts, and experiences in your mind and your life will be inherently different because of that.

The smallest event can completely change your perspective on life.  The life that I face right now is somehow different than the life I faced a week ago.  Not because I had a momentous epiphany or a soul-bending experience, but simply because a week has passed and I now have a week’s worth of thoughts and experiences that have ingrained themselves into my brain and become a part of its permanent collection, whether I am aware of it or not.

This is not to say that we are simply helpless pawns in the face of destiny.  Every small detail of life changes you somehow, whether it is a glimpse of pure beauty or a snippet of a strangers conversation.  Yet we have some decisions to make.  We can allow a hurtful remark to embitter us or enjoy the freedom that giving the benefit of the doubt gives back to us.  We can listen to the wind rushing aimlessly or scowl as we pick up the papers it scattered.

Don’t wait for the events that society has labeled as milestones to realize that you have been changed forever.

You are forever changing.