I Need to Tell You

October 27, 2010

All I can see is a little child in my mind’s eye right now. I’m thinking about how I feel, and all I can see is a little tiny me, not even four years old, standing in the middle of the house, lit by a ray of sun streaming in through the window. That little child, that inquisitive little image of myself that I remember so fondly, is just looking around, trying to take in what she sees around her, trying to understand slightly more than what she did the day before.

If I could hold that child right now I would. Of course, it’s not quite possible for me to hold myself, to embrace and reassure a much younger me as the young adult I am now. If I could hold her now, though, I would. I would take her by the hand and lead her to a quiet place in my backyard, where the shade made the air cool. I would show her everything beautiful that she would learn to see. I would hold her when she became tired and rock her. Somehow, I would tell her heart how brave she would need to be. I would tell her that she would be very strong and beautiful, and that she would never be alone. I would somehow, while she slept, plant all these things deep inside her spirit so that she remembered them in the years to come. Most importantly, though she had to carry all those things, I would tell her not to worry. I would tell her to love with everything she had–to share the best of what she had, to do what she could to be good, to not fear skinned knees and dark rooms. I would make sure she grew to love herself. She’s beautiful–I’d tell her so, over and over again. I would make sure that tiny little girl knew it as well as she knew her favorite songs.

In my mind’s eye, that little girl is standing next to me. She’s tugging on the leg of my pants. She’s hopping up and down for my attention. She’s looking up at me with her giant blue eyes and bumping my hand with her head so I would feel her soft hair and know she is there and wants to speak to me. I can hear the desperation in her young voice, her beautiful, pure heart telling me things that had meaning far beyond her understanding. I know what she’d say to me. “I love you! You did it! You do it every day!” Her smile is bringing tears to my eyes. She tugs my hand. “You don’t need to be scared. I’m right here with you. You are very beautiful, Miss Helen!” She does something silly that makes both of us laugh, then suddenly becomes a bit tearful, clinging to me, crawling into my arms and onto my lap. “You need to laugh! I LOVE YOU!” She cries in my lap. I am puzzled until I remember what I used to do when the tense parts came up in movies and at home with my family. I wanted to hold her tighter, but something in my heart broke. I wanted someone to come and hold me. “Share the ‘people piece’ with people you care about most. Believe in magic and a happy ending. Don’t worry. Ask for help. Cry when you’re sad and smile when you’re happy and for pictures. Have fun. Look at the moon. Help make tea and dinner and jello too. Hug Mommy.” She felt my face and the tears coming down. “Is being a grown-up scary?” Her own face was wet. I could only look at her and smile. I remember the feeling I used to get when I thought about being a grown up–a mix of terror and angst for it to come sooner. Now, I could only think of myself before all these duties came–before I grew up, and the lessons I’ve learned and need to learn better. The things I hope I convey to the people I love. The words I rehearse in my heart to make me feel better, lessons I am trying hard to learn and live in.

In my mind’s eye, the little girl and I make a promise, to live side by side and learn from each other, to take care of one another, and to be brave together. We would learn to love like we should and learn to be brave. She would have someone to rock her when she got tired, and I would have someone to remind me that laughs and naps are ok.

If I could hold me now I would. I would tell myself it was ok that I forgot, but I know it’s not. I would tell myself being brave comes in time, and that even though I’m sometimes afraid, I will never be alone. The tension that filled the air is gone. Softly, I whisper to the little girl…”Don’t worry…you’ll be alright.”



October 18, 2010

The best part of your grace, the part that shocks me most of all is that even when I run too hard you never let me fall. I act like I’m some superhero–that’s never what you wanted. When am I going to grasp the fact that you’re everything I’ve wanted? You’ve only asked for me, unconditionally, running to you because you’re life to me, because you gave me another day, because I know in my heart you’re the only way, but right now I can’t even say you’re missing me because you’re always seeing the back of me while I walk, run, fly, look the other way.

I’m always such a busy body, always something new to do, when time demands me I don’t slow down and stand close to you. Even though you’ve got all my time in your hands, in all your plans, even though you’ve got my heart and soul on your mind– I fast forward and beg for you to rewind. Looks like I’ve been living like a mastermind, but I’ve been too foolish to let you in, and now I’m lost without you,  tripping over my own feet, laying in my own street, tired of running away from you, apart from you, begging for a new start from you, but too tired to even look you in the eye, too broken to cry, too exhausted to hurt, and almost too spent to try…and for who? Just for me, but look where it’s brought me–tired, worn out, heart-aching and in danger of losing myself, when all I need is you.

I’m glad you don’t react like I do when I do something stupid–I’m glad I don’t have to fear you, because you’re not shouting me down. You just miss me and you frown and wonder when I’m going to come back down to earth and set my eyes on your heavenly love again, the deep love that keeps me frantically breathing in, the heart that thirsts because you made it to, hoping that I would love you and thirst for you.

Now I’m waking up, after hours without sleep, deep in thought about the time that I keep and how little of it I give to you. Day after day I run myself ragged, I run my treads smooth–in the end it’s only a reason to hold pride, a false strength that I’m trying to prove. Now I confess, I’m a mess, but that’s ok with you, because all you ask of me is a heart that’s true, a heart that’s sold out for you, and I know that it’s due. I know that as I come here on my knees, begging you please for another chance, another touch of your grace, another chain to be broken so I can dance, you’ll go with your grace, put your hands on my face, touch my heart and make me new.

Invade my heart, and show me the ugly parts–I want to see the walls that break up me and you, so I can quit breaking my heart being far away from you. I don’t know what to say except I’m sorry, I don’t know what to do but to love you, and I thank you that you’ll take me just as I am, because with all of my so-called pride, I know I can cast it all aside, because I’m nothing without you.

So break my pride, from the inside–without your love I’ll never get through. I never thought I’d get so conceited–I know you spoke to my heart while it was breaking and after these days of aching I feel how far I was from you…so I’m asking you, while you’re healing me, make me new–make me like somebody I deep down adore and let down before–make me just like you. I only want to be like you. It’s going to take awhile but you will bring me through, tried with fire like gold because I’m precious to you–and you’ll take away all the ugly and the shame and the heart aimed for fame, and you’ll make me like you.

I’ve taken a moment to confess all the mess in me, and I hear you saying, “Rest in me” while you hold my heart that’s all worn, I feel you close to me, like a blanket over me making my cold limbs warm. While I sleep, Lord, my tired soul to keep–help me remember my promise to you, Lord, all that I’ve written you–I want to do! I need you like the rest I seek, so please make what’s weak in me strong in you.



October 16, 2010

I saw the sun smile this morning when she woke from her sleep, filling the sky with color in the cold fall air. The gold stretched across and through the blues and stole my heart away. What could this be, this sight, a thousand wonders every morning? Factually, this is merely the spectrum of light unfolding. Factually, it is the everyday effect of the earth’s timely turning. To me, it’s not everything, but it lets me know that life is beautiful, in a simple, quiet, bright and beautiful way. To me, it’s not everything, but it’s something I could never replace. To me, it’s not everything, but I know that everything’s going to be alright. I can’t be the only one who has felt this way–who looks at the sunrise with still lips and wide eyes, taking in the golds into my own blue skies. I can’t be the only one whose mind, heart, body, and spirit are set on fire. All the things that these sights could have inspired! It is overwhelming–it is energizing. It’s a sunrise, a new beginning, and a reminder of second chances. It’s a memory of all the bright things in my life. It covers me in warmth like an embrace or the sound of laughter. To me, it’s beautiful, completely–and though I’m sure it’s not just me, you need to find your own. Find your own sunrise. Find something in this world that takes your breath away. Those things are the things that teach us what we hold closest to our hearts–the things we think about when we see something that lights up our faces and our lives. So go, find your own… waterfall, mountaintop, thunderstorm, wilderness, shoreline, roaring fire, sunrise.


Flowers in the Corner

October 12, 2010

I’m pressed against the ropes again–this is the time I decide. Do I push back and get back into the center, back into the fight? Careful timing is involved here. Just when the onslaught of pressure starts to lag, just when my opponent eases up on me a little, in the short pause before the move to pin me onto the mat, I push back, suddenly sending her stumbling back. There is no time for gloating–she is ready to swing. I duck and recover, and as we stand, focused and ready, the bell rings. The round is up. In my corner, I can expect to hear the voice of my corner man and I would feel the balm he would use to rub the quickly bruising area on my back and the red marks from friction on the ropes. I would drink greedily and mop the sweat from my brow and shoulders. But as I look to the chair, I see it is occupied–a bouquet of flowers waits there for me. For a moment, I remember quieter times. The crowd screams at the ring boys, the offers, the entertainment, the excitement. I sit and remember the breeze. I can hear my corner man. I drink my water with thirst and determination. I dry my sweat. Among all these steps in this dance called boxing, though, I remember–I must return to the fight. More beautiful things remain outside the ring. The flowers remind me what I’m fighting for. I love the fights– the adrenaline, the power, and the pressure–but they aren’t my life. The delicate scent remind me of peace, warmth, comfort, family, and love. I can see the faces and the sunlight. I can feel the breeze. I am summoned to the next  round. As I hook, jab, and block, I can smell the flowers in the corner. In the ring, I go the distance–I would see this through and fight to the finish. In my mind, each movement was one step along that winding road–one moment, one smile, one part of my journey. The journey doesn’t stop when the fight gets overwhelming–it keeps on going, with little reminders like flowers in the corner.


On My Feet

September 29, 2010

It’s been while again, and while I didn’t mean for this to get intermittent, I guess you can say I’ve been busy “gathering material”. Life doesn’t stop so I can sit down and blog about it. It keeps going onward–and that’s one of the things I love about it.

I learn on my feet. Lately, whether you, dear reader, would call it a cake walk or a rat race, I’ve been on my feet. I’ve been running from appointment to appointment, internship to class, class to meeting, meeting to meeting to meeting, and then to classes again. Between all this, and in addition to this, somewhat of a social life and service to my campus, family life, work, and a little rest. I love it, I really do, because I feel like this is just a little taste of what “life beyond college” is like. “Life beyond college” doesn’t give us semester breaks or any such luxury. Sometimes we take a vacation, but the whole trick to balancing it all, or so I’m learning by my experiences and by the stories I’m hearing from others, is to find the joy of living in the every day parts of life. Whether I find time to stand still and take in the sunset and dance for a little while, or if I catch a glimpse of the colors of the sky on my way to class and get to sing with the radio and have a little moment of joy that way, I’ve got to enjoy where I’m at. People say these years are the time of my life. I’m beginning to believe them, in terms of what I’ve already experienced this semester and what I see on the horizon. I believe fully that every minute of stress is absolutely worthwhile because it’s positive stress–I can’t believe how much I’m learning, and I’m learning every day that I have so much more to learn. I learn on my feet, and I’m so happy, I’m dancing.Through the early mornings of my schedule and late-night study sessions, I’m growing and stretching in a way I don’t think anyone can easily take from me. I’m doing something worthwhile with the opportunities that are coming my way, and I’m 21. It’s the beginning of everything. It’s learning in the little moments how to be the woman I want to be, the woman God is creating in me, day by day.  I’m tired, but I’m happy, and I’m learning to manage this life with the grace and skill I’m going to need for years to come. Right now, I’m not the best at all this. No one’s pushing me to be perfect, though, and if they are, I’m not listening. I’ve jumped in, like I said I would, and landed on my feet. It’s just the beginning.


The Great Things

September 7, 2010

The good things in life, I have a little trouble explaining. How do I describe the tug on my heart that makes me smile? How do I explain why I keep going sometimes, except to shrug and smile and say “I’m going to keep going”?  How do I tell someone how to be happy, when I sometimes don’t know how I got happy? These are the good things…just the little everyday things that make me smile…watching people fall into their old routines after some time away, watching the season change. It’s a warm day, but I still feel autumn in the air. The little feeling of glee when I wake up in the morning or the sense of satisfaction I feel when I’m going to sleep at night after another wonderful day. These are just the little things… I’m sure that they could be overlooked. With their mystery, though, they’re there–those things that are difficult to explain. I think they change for everybody.

Still greater things remain…I feel like receiving a smile is so much better than giving one. Just seeing somebody else you care about SO happy–this is one of the great things. How do I explain that? It isn’t pride…most of the time I’ve got nothing to do with it, and what’s so awe-inspiring about me anyway? I’m just another happy human, drowning in joy to see others’ faces light up like a country sky at night. Delight is contagious. Catching somebody else’s euphoria is one of the greatest things. 

A greater thing remains—that thing in your heart that you can’t explain, that makes you do things you try to explain away but never could. It’s not always seen as rational, but it’s the greatest wisdom the world has ever known. It’s that tug on your soul that draws you into everything you’ve always wanted to be, and what you haven’t yet reached, you’re working on with all of your might. It’s that thing that shapes your character from the inside out with its consuming power, and outside in as your actions start to manifest themselves into your heart. Some say it blinds the heart, but when it’s real it never does…it makes you see something for everything it is, and you appreciate it with all of its factors–the positive, the negative, everything–because it is worth the investment. It is the most powerful, most wonderful thing we could ever know, as human beings, besides the God who created us and created this force. It is too beautiful for words, but countless words have been written about it. Grasp for it, be greedy and thirsty for it, and it will evade you. Like a child, treat it gently and carefully, but with full intention, and it grows into something even better, even stronger, even deeper and more beautiful. The greatest thing we have in this world is Love. The best thing you can do is to love others with no reservations.


Candle on my desk

September 2, 2010

I sit with a little candle on my desk, in a luminary by my side. It’s not that I need the light. I pay the electric company for all the light I want. I sit with the little candle just because I love its flame and shine. It gives me joy and the kind of light that this monitor can’t. It’s warm and just dances about, but it’s steady–it doesn’t shapeshift on me. It’s a candle. It’s what I want. It’s what it’s designed to be, and doing what it is created to do.

Am I such a light? Do I contently shine, with all my might, with all I’ve got, until I’m the brightest I can be? Am I lively and warm? Do I bring light and joy to others, just being me? Am I steady and reliable? Am I being everything I can be, with what I have and where I’m at? To some, I will be a source of light. To some, I am warmth, and to some, I am just joy. Whatever I am, though, has to be because it’s what I’ve been made to be. Whatever I am must be genuinely me.

I live with a little fire in my heart. It’s like a little candle that helps me get through the dark. It’s a bit of warmth of the midst of the cold I feel sometimes. It’s a little push to just keep being me, to just keep living life. It keeps me dancing. It’s a reminder that as long as I’m around, I’m allowed to shine. It’s a responsibility to share my light. It’s simple but it’s beautiful. It’s a joy to be alive.

Sometimes the wind blows and we need a set of hands to wrap around and shield us from the wind that would steal that fire away. Sometimes for a time our flames are out, but with a little breath, a little inspiration, the embers heat into a flame again. The fire burns on. Life is good when our outlook is bright.  When the storms cause all the other lights to fail, if I look around, I’ll find a candle to light. There’s always hope, even when the darkness is daunting–its spell is broken by just one light.

I sit with a little candle on my desk, in a luminary by my side…and sometimes, I see the world by candlelight.