Monthly Archives: April 2011

Beauty

Today I recognized a little of what Job felt.

No, I don’t mean the “woe is me, disaster has befallen me” part. I mean the part where Job says “I put my hand over my mouth.”

I decided to look at photography, and so I went on Flickr.

There is the greatness that inspires you to greatness, and there is greatness that says, “okay, you can be quiet now; the professionals have arrived.”

I desire to look for the sake of the first; I am afraid to look for sake of the second.

So often when I get into a slump of sorts, I find myself thinking that I have nothing worth saying, nothing worth showing, nothing worth sharing. Compared to what else is out there, the words that I find are pale and weak; the experiences shallow and with few facets, the things I create childish and unimaginative, the thoughts repetitive and irrelevant. I lift my hand over my mouth.

But while I think that it can be a very appropriate response in the face of the glory and splendor and unfathomable depths of God. . .I don’t think He meant us to live our lives in silence. I think His desire is that in Him we would also find the greatness that inspires to greatness; there is the careful reminder that He alone is The Greatness, and we are but imitators. . .but that He desires us to imitate. (Only let us not get so foolish as to think we’re the real deal.)

All the flowers are different in their beauty; I don’t wish to imitate anything I have seen this world as the one perfect ideal. But I do wish I could rise to doing something–or somethings–well. The well we recognize when we hear notes ring true and strong and clear; the well we see, when something is crafted with great precision; the well of beautiful proportions, which we recognize without even being able to identify; the well of refined skill as opposed to the careless action. The well that appears effortless precisely because so much effort has been exerted.

I want it; it alludes me.

Somewhere

This transition between school and work has thrown me off stride more than I’d expected. Yes, I always expected I would graduate; yes, I always expected to get a job as a PTA after graduating. And in the grand scheme of things, I don’t see what the big deal is if I go a month or two or three before I’m employed as a PTA.

But there all certainty ends. . .I have a million different “voices” in me, each saying a different thing, but nothing that is “me”. So lacking a proper opinion or sense of comportment, I feel tossed about and shaken up. Apply to every job you see, you never know. . .why apply for jobs you don’t want? Can you dictate your life by what you want? How long do you have to try for what you do want before you compromise? Is there such a thing as too late? Should I make myself do things that I don’t want to, as is fitting Diligence, Responsibility, and Duty? Should I listen to the little voices saying not to do certain things, or are they the voices of Sloth, Fear, and Carelessness?

I desire to do nothing all summer long. I feel I ought to work. I come to a compromise of wishing I could work-part time for the duration of the summer. The sneaky part of me says, the duration of the summer? Heck, part time all the time sounds good! The dutiful part of me severely reprimands me that I’m not entering a very highly paid profession right now anyway and I’ll have hardly any money if only work part time. So what, I say, I didn’t enter this field for money, and it will still be more than I’ve ever had in my life anyway. You can’t live life off of part time work. Yeah, yeah. You can’t pay your way through college anymore, either, and I did that. Without meaningful amounts of money, you won’t be able to do meaningful things. Without meaningful amounts of TIME, I won’t be able to meaningful things.

I’m supposed to be the dutiful high preforming top achieving uber-responsible student. But I’m just sick of being perfect. No, really, I am. Miss four-point-oh doesn’t even want to know her grades, as long as they are passing; I have no respect for the teacher, so I have no respect for the grades she hands out. Everyone is running around filling out applications and/or lining up interviews. Everyone expects me to have a job lined up and go straight from school to work, and I don’t want to. It is the dutiful, responsible thing, and I’m sick of being dutiful and responsible.

Sure, I wouldn’t mind if I had a little work here and there over the summer; it pays for things like cracked windshields and replacing pants with growing holes. But I don’t want to be dutiful and responsible; I’d rather spend the summer learning how to swim, taking pottery courses. I want to indulge in some of the creativity that I’ve almost completely repressed for almost two years. In short, I’d like to take a little break and have a little of what is colloquially referred to as “a life.”

To my dutiful and responsible ear, that sounds a lot like me whining that I don’t want to do my chores. Who cares if you do or don’t want to? That’s the way the world works! But on the other hand, I can see no real pressing or urgent need to get substantial employment except that that’s what the world expects. But phoey on that–I’ve never been one to say I should make myself miserable based off of what the world expects. If that were true, I’d have gone to college a loooooong time ago.

So I find myself at a bit of an impasse with myself. I can’t do the “dutiful” thing of looking for a job without MAKING myself, and yet I feel so uncertain as to whether or not it is a thing to make myself do. One half of me says “cast your bread upon many waters’ and the other half says “God will provide in His time.” One half says “the good jobs will all be gone”‘ and the other ‘the good jobs are the ones no one else was willing to wait for.” One half says, “I’ve probably already done more than most in my class.” The other half–“most of my class is probably looking frantically.” Part of me says, let them look. I don’t have college debt breathing down my neck or piles of unpaid bills. I’m not desperate; they can have the nursing home jobs. The other part of me says, it’s time to stop worrying about other people and start looking after myself.

I want this indecision to be resolved. I want to know–can I enjoy my summer? Or should I feel guilty to put my feet up? Should I work? Can I play? It’s a feeling of unease that I just can’t shake. If I’m supposed to be doing something else, then I can’t really enjoy it. It’s like ‘goofing off’–you always know you’re going to get it, that you’re only making things worse. But a vacation–you’re supposed to do nothing. That’s a blessed relief. One that I feel like I need; but the line between ‘need’ and ‘want’ has always been very difficult for me to find.

One thing I do know that I have learned: there are other limits besides physical limits, and they are not always at the same place. Nor, it should be noted, is it good to always be pushed right up against the limits. They are there for a reason; sometimes it is necessary for them to be broached, and sometimes it’s good to push them. But a body needs to breath, a person needs to heal, and you can’t sprint forever. Full-out, all the time, is unsustainable–and my lines aren’t necessarily where others would draw the lines.

Yet still I hesitate to write myself off the hook entirely. . .but if I don’t do that, where is the refreshment? I am teetering on the fence, and I don’t know which way to fall.

I swear, I’ve been sleeping for days!

me again

me again 2

Yes, I know, I know. I’ve photo-edited them. I don’t really look like that. But the thing is, my philosophy with photo editing is to use it to simply make the photo look more. To intensify what the camera captured. It doesn’t tell a different story; it just puts a sharper edge on it.

I wanted to take the semi-obligatory self-portrait that said “me. i was here when i took the pictures.” But they almost all looked liked these.

What I mean to say is, yes, they are edited. But I don’t know what else you can do to a photo that comes out of the camera looking like this:

sooc me

I’m not hiding what the camera saw. . .I’m seeing what the camera saw.

I didn’t know I looked like that.

me 3

Woods

woods1

woods2

woods3

woods4

I actually used the “underwater” setting on the camera for these ones. . .it gave me the best color. At the same time, it amuses me to think of how much some of these pictures remind me of underwater “foliage”. . .

woods5

woods6

woods7

This type of lichen makes me think of Ents.

woods8

woods9

me in woods

I wuz here. And I like Picnik!