Monthly Archives: June 2013

Peace, I give to you

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It’s funny sometimes how things click into place and are so much better that you want to tell everyone all about it so they can be so much better, too. . .but in some quiet place, you know that the words are powerless. If anyone had shared those words with me even a week ago, it would have touched me not at all. It wasn’t the words, it was who spoke them.

I have been struggling for forever (you know, superlatives are the best!) with anxiety and with stress, and with carrying things around emotionally and not being able to let go—worrying over things in my mind the way a dog would “worry” a bone—not getting anywhere with it or resolving anything, just dwelling and dwelling on it. Little bits and pieces would come to me from time to time—about love casting out all fear (why can’t I feel Your love? Other people say they do), about dwelling on good things, about being thankful, about faith being trusting in things not seen, about believing that God uses all things for good, even things that don’t appear so.

And then this Tuesday, something clicked. God will take care of me. (Duh.) It’s not like I didn’t know the words; it was just that suddenly the words had power. God will take care of me. God will take care of me. God will take care of me. The anxious thoughts, the tormenting emotions—every time they would rise up, there would be my defense. God will take care of me. And the thoughts would fade away and the emotions would ease, and I would catch myself with a small, satisfied smile. God will take care of me.

It was still a very long week. I’m still exhausted. Things are still terse and stressed. I still dread next week. But I have this defense now that I can run to. God will take care of me. And He did. And He will. And though I dread next week, I am less afraid of that then I am that those words will lose their power and I will go back to having empty words I know are true yet cannot find refuge in. I want it to be that for the rest of my life, for as long as I live, I can say, “God will take care of me,” and feel a draught of peace spreading through me. But somehow I feel like I know that this is a passing gift, given in a time of need. He will always take care of me—always—but I may not always feel that palpable relief when I bring those words up.

(Somehow, I guess I get to thinking that this is a shadow of what it was like for Jesus when He walked this earth. That He was so close to His father He didn’t have to feel fear or anxiety or any of those other nasty emotions. But I guess if that was always true, He wouldn’t have been sweating blood in the garden, wondering at how quickly His friends were failing Him. Not that I am justifying my emotions; I’m only noting, as many others have, that God’s promise to be with us always is not the same thing as a promise that we will always emotionally feel that He is there. This is a concept I understood much better after I realized my physical nearsightedness was a good metaphor. I take off my glasses and I can’t see things I know are there. I put the glasses on, and there they are. Their existence never changed, just my perception of them.)

SomeOne Has To Do It

It’s interesting, sometimes, thinking of all the little things that make the world go ’round. Someone has to pick up the trash. Someone has to be a plumber. Someone has to write the blurbs on the back of the cereal boxes.

The flip side of that is that someone has to be the one discovering new things. Someone has to make the beautiful things.

Sometimes I hear about lives, about things people have done. Past lives. Past lifetimes. Some people–they’ve done so much. So many things. It makes one think about Heroes. Maybe there is just another class of people that just isn’t like us. They do wonderful things that us ordinary folk just can’t quite obtain.

I guess one of the things that fascinates me is that at some point, one seems to have to choose. I suppose that irritates me. I want to have a piece of everything. Why does one have to devote oneself to ONE thing? It’s boring.

Sometimes, I’ll do something like read a piece of journalism, and I’ll think “I could do better than that!” Or perhaps, “That would be fun to do that!” But I’ve never, ever thought that I would like to be a journalist. Take those classes? Adopt that value system? No. I can’t ever even say “The people need to know!” or anything like that. It’s just that when I see something powerful–a flood, a huge project, a personal struggle–I want to capture it, make a way to grasp it.

That’s essentially what I like about photography. Things are so fleeting, and it’s so hard even for your own two eyes to take it in. When you capture it well with a camera, you have a chance to hold onto things for just a little longer. To really look. To try to absorb it. And I think that one can do that with words, too, to help capture a picture that is bigger than even words.

But I don’t want that to be my job. I don’t want to network, I don’t want to go to school for it, I don’t want to work long hours meeting deadlines. I just want to be able to see something powerful, capture it, and put it out there for other people to try to grasp as well.

But that’s a different story. When you color inside the lines, that’s not something you’re allowed to do unless that’s your job, and that’s the job of a journalist.

Sometimes I can’t help but entertain ideas about selling my hand-work; putting my artistic aspect to monetary function. Not devote my life to it, mind you. A person can find a million thoughts to shoot that idea right out of the sky. But why not? Some in the world sells things they make. On the side.

Someone out there sells their novels.

Someone out there wins the lottery.

Someone out there is happy in their job.

Someone out there is quitting their job and taking their life in a totally different direction.

Someone is experimenting and exploring.

The thing is, when they fail, we just call them fools. And when they succeed, we call them heroes. And if they don’t even try, we don’t remember them either way.

Mostly, what we tell people is “choose.” And it kind of makes me mad, because it’s true. The human experience is a finite one. You CAN’T do it all. Just as I find I pursue photography or writing to try to capture things that I can’t experience fully in one moment, a single human cannot experience everything that can be experienced. That’s why “someone” is doing it, not “everyone.”

Even if I can see it, I don’t want to come to terms with it. I keep trying to find a way to do more, to be the hero–the heroes we’ve all heard about, in big ways and small ways. But there is, of course, always the fear of failure–or, to put it another way–the realization and the rebellion against the idea that we are limited. That maybe everything isn’t possible. That we really are mortal, and there really isn’t anything we can do about it.

What then?