Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Invalid

To be sick is something I find very depressing. I don't like it one bit because it forces me to slow down, if not stop entirely. I want to keep hurtling through the week (as often seems demanded of me), and stopping or slowing down or not being able to do it all... it makes me anxious.

But eventually my body just shouts at me, and gives up in protest of what I put it through. The past day or so I've just been so tired... that is the really the only time I get sick, when I wear down my defenses. Now, this cold is mild, but it has forced me to slow down and actually catch up on some sleep. It has forced me to take the to-do list one thing at a time. It takes all my energy just to do that, one foot in front of the other. Usually, I have energy to spare worrying about the future and how I am going to fufill it's obligations. Not this week.

I wonder if that in itself isn't such a bad thing.

Postscript: I had a marvelous Easter, though. It was a day that showed me how much I have been given and that knowledge continues to fill me with wonder and joy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Walk The Line

I love when it rains, because every time it does I feel like I get a new start. A kind of mental reboot happens to me, especially the morning after the rain has cleared. The world seems twice as intense; the sky, the grass, the sun... and the sheer beauty of being alive hits me all over again, and whatever I was worrying about doesn't seem as big and intimidating. I know that as long as I am able to keep getting up in the morning, things will work out. One way or another. Then I look at my flowers, and I can't help but smile thanks to the person who gave them to me. (A boy gave me flowers! Imagine that!)

Some days I feel like my skin is paper thin, and I'm walking around with my heart pinned to my front shirt-pocket. The future scares me just as much as it excites me. (But perhaps they have to go hand in hand?)

It's also a little frightening to realize that growing up essentially means making decisions of your own, and then living with those decisions. But once again, fear and excitement go hand in hand.

Here is one decision: I think I'd rather live with heart on sleeve, rather than buried deep where no one can find it. I really don't know what the consequences of that might be, but I don't want to know anyway. There is only one way to go: forward!

Because you're mine,
I walk the line.
-Johnny Cash

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger. (So They Say)

I sit here with swollen, bruised feet and a mashed up arm, and I wonder if I ever really learn anything. And I don't mean how to conjugate irregular verbs in Spanish, or finding the mean of a sample. I'm pretty good at learning things like that. I just wonder sometimes if I'll ever learn not to do dumb things. Like sparring too hard, just as an example. Sparring to hard, worrying too hard, not being able to say, "no thanks." The only problem is that it's really hard (sometimes) to tell if something is dumb until after you've done it. My feet tonight are a prime example of that. (Tae Kwon Do injuries are always that way, though.) I'll be okay, it's nothing super-serious. But if I could go back...


I think there is something deep here to be learned, but I'm too tired to get at it.

That's all for now. I'm going to go ice down my arm.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Life From Sunday Afternoon. Again.

Life marches forward -- I can't believe it's Palm Sunday already.

Spring break is also coming to a close. I am trying to make peace with that. Right now am I at resignation, I think. It was a good week, if totally hectic thanks to a visit from the G'ma and a trip to Asheville. It was fun mini-trip, and it was very enlightening to tour UNC Asheville. I liked it, and it was very cool, and academically probably the equal of Guilford... However, I still prefer Guilford. Now, I hate to generalize and stereotype, but Asheville is a very counter-culture kind of place. Hippies, environmentalists, activists, you name it they're there. That's cool, I respect that. But I felt so out of place, both in Asheville and at the college. I just don't think I'll ever that cool, funky, stick-it-to-the-man kind of person. Which is perhaps why I felt so at home at Guilford, the neat and tidy Quaker school...

We shall see how all of this ends up. But I had, after getting home from church this morning, the usual sense of anxiety that I get when I'm just home from being out of town. The to do list, ignored for a few days, is back. I'm trying to stay calm and just work on one thing at a time. I have found, though, that my main way of dealing with stress in many cases is sleep. Feeling overwhelmed? Take a nap. It makes me feel a better even if it doesn't get anything done.

Now I think I will try to get something done, although it's tempting to sit and peruse the new additions to my bookshelf, acquired at my favorite used book store in Asheville: my own copy of My Antonia, by Willa Cather and The Fine Art of Literary Mayhem; A Lively Account of Famous Writers and Their Feuds, by Myrick Land.

I feel there is something unfinished in my train of thought, but I really must go. More later.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fickle Spring

Yesterday a (relatively) merry group of friends decided to spend some time in the great outdoors. They thought, why not hike this charming trail? It may be slightly overcast and very windy, but let us be intrepid and carry on through the park, they said. They were rewarded with an appearance by the sun, and all was well for a time. They walked, and walked until no one was quite sure where they were. So, they kept walking. It was just then that the wind began to gust more strongly, and the clouds took back the sky. It got very cold. Then it began to rain. Soon after, it began to hail. The trail suddenly seemed much longer. But did our intrepid walkers quit? No, because they had no choice. They slogged on through mud, and rain, and hail. When at last they return to the parking lot then, and only then, did the sun decide to come back out. Wet and tired, the group retired to a restaurant and watched as the sun shone brighter and brighter outside.

Spring may have arrived, but it is very fickle. Spring also has an odd sense of humor, and I am in love with every moment of it. Even the hail and the mud.

Having survived this past week, I am now faced with all the glory of spring break.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Fresh Arrival

It happens this way every single year: one morning I wake up and it's spring. That is how it comes in North Carolina, practically overnight. Suddenly the chill has lost it's bite, the daffodils have bloomed, the tree tops are fuzzy with new buds, and pollen coats the windshield of my car. But what really tells me is the sound of the frogs, suddenly awakened down in the creek bed, singing their strange song. It's the most beautiful sound, and it stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it a few days ago. The world is silent no more, life is resurfacing.

I like spring. It's such a promising season. I cannot worry too much during spring, for simply stepping outside is a cure for the blues.

I think I have finally run into someone who takes me the way I am, and that/he is beautiful too.

And because it is spring, I am not going to worry. I am going to fall in love with living all over again.

Like a flower
Waiting to bloom.
Like a lightbulb
In a dark room.
I'm just sittin here waiting for you
To come on home and turn me on.

John D. Loudermilk

Sunday, March 2, 2008


I was going to write a post about accepting grace, and how my life has been a crash course in just that lately. The only sticking point came up when I realized what a constant battle I really was faced with. Every day is one step forward, two steps back. Because it is one thing to recognize grace, and something else to actually accept it. I feel unworthy, and that trips me up even though I know that is just the point. It is not something you earn.
Then I realized what my problem really is, why I can't seem to get around my own fear and doubt: I want to live a life without mistakes. I want to live life so perfectly that I don't do anything wrong. I want grace and forgiveness to become unnecessary.
And pigs will fly before that happens, because simply being human means that you are, in some sense, a screw up. It doesn't mean that we aren't capable of good things, but it does mean that things like grace and forgiveness will always, always be necessary. It means that life is messy. I just can't seem to come to terms with the amount of pain that comes along with joy. That is why I don't want to make mistakes, even though that is how I learn.
Now that I've made that diagnosis, I don't know what comes next. But maybe that was two or three steps forward instead of one.