“And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?” - Donald Miller
Monday, April 22, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I just finished reading Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir and really recommend it. While it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it was quite refreshing and didn't sugar coat dealing with life and Faith.
I'd love to share some of my favorite passages:
"Where there is real love, there's real pain. I'd be more worried if you didn't have any grievances."
"He appreciated you. But he couldn't feed your soul for the rest of your life. Can't you just appreciate that he was great for you for that period of time?"
“Just say it: I'm angry and no one will like me. God: No, I will not say that. But don't you think we ached for you to find a love you could share your whole life with? I used your teachers to encourage you creatively when the church could not... I worked with whatever I got my hands on. Can you see that?”
“I remembered something Father Michael said to me a the monastery. 'The human soul is meant to expand. Things that once captured your heart may no longer be able to contain it.”
“It often felt like God had merely let me into a foyer where I could hear others playing my note in another room, with no way to get to the music. And that's really what I wanted to do. I wanted to play my note. I wanted to do the thing that made me feel alive.”
“There's a very simple reason why quality relationships are scarce: we live in a fallen world, and it sucks.”
“I thought I was over him! So why did my heart still rip? Why did I still feel this sorrow? I got this strange sensation that God was with me. And he was angry. He was very angry--not at me and not at Jack. God was angry at the pain I was going through. I wondered if that was why God hated sin, because of the destruction it caused. For a moment I felt awe for a God who loved me enough to hate the things that hurt me without hating me for causing them.”
Now I'm reading Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar and already am enamored with every word. Have you read it? Have you read the columns on The Rumpus?
Also: I love this Dear Sugar print. I'm going to buy it as soon as I get home and frame it for next to my front door. I'm nerdy like that.
Now I'm looking for some more inspiring reads, what's your favorite?
Monday, April 15, 2013
[Munich. Englischer Garten. April 14, 2013.]
My sweet mom left yesterday morning and I miss her already.
I also moved out of my (very first) apartment.
I would say bittersweet is too weak of a description.
Right now I'm on the cusp.
Ending one season and preparing for the one ahead. It is terrifying. I am sick with not knowing what to do. And more than anything, I'm so embarrassed I have no plan. I'm twenty-three and I have no idea what I should do next. Oy.
(But, I do have a job interview Thursday. Fingers-crossed!)
So that's why I've been a bit scattered, down.
I'm overwhelmed by everything and I need to reach out and just let everyone know that.
Please don't hold it against me.
p.s. This poem captures so much of how I feel.
[Munich. March 2013.]
“The fact that you’re struggling doesn’t make you a burden. It doesn’t make you unloveable or undesirable or undeserving of care. It doesn’t make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, we all fall apart. During these times, we aren’t always easy to be around — and that’s okay. No one is easy to be around one hundred percent of the time. Yes, you may sometimes be unpleasant or difficult. And yes, you may sometimes do or say things that make the people around you feel helpless or sad. But those things aren’t all of who you are and they certainly don’t discount your worth as a human being. The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved. You can be difficult and still be cared for. You can be less than perfect, and still be deserving of compassion and kindness.” - Daniell Koepke
Thursday, April 11, 2013
[Munich, March 2013.]
Oh, Munich. You've been swell, really. I wish I could gather my life up back home and bring all of it (and them) here to this magical city ... but for now, we will soon part. But I've scattered so many pieces of my heart around this city, you'll always have some of my love.
And sweet Kansas, see you in May.
It's sometimes funny the things I stumble across at just the right moment, that I find myself nodding along to while reading and saying, "YES. THIS. SO MUCH THIS."
This is one of those moments::
"I believe one of the reasons people don't leave the comforts of home is this insidious belief that you must change everything in order to make it valuable.Click here to read the whole piece.
Simply not true. You can set out to live in a country you've always dreamed of. You can learn things and test yourself and have a hell of a good time. You can drink cava in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, hop on a train and get off on an unplanned stop, dance drunk, dance sober, kiss strangers. And you can hold onto what makes you love your city at home. You can prefer waking to an alarm and riding your bike to work, eating vegan food, and having co-workers. Being surrounded by friends and having a backyard. And you can go back.
You can go back!"
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
But to know the pain of losing someone to distance is to remember it forever. There is something about it which feels so deeply unfair, so callous, so uncaring in the face of all that you have together. You want to look at the sky and know that the other person sees what you see, call out to them that you still remember what it was like when you were able to hold hands. You want so badly to cover a thousand miles in a single step and you cry at the permanent indifference of the map. When love fails to bridge these enormous gaps, it serves to remind us of how precious the moments we have with the ones we love are today.-When Long-Distance Love Fails By Chelsea Fagan
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
[Germany, August 2011.]Right now my mama is flying across the big Atlantic to see me. All.by.herself! That's a big deal for her! I'm so proud -- and so thankful she's making the journey to visit. Now I know what she and my dad mean when they get "nervous" about me traveling. My heart is in my throat, my nerves are chattering as I think and pray that everything's going well on the trip. I hope people are nice to her. I hope she doesn't get lost. I hope she is having a good time.
At long last I get what my parents are feeling.
And I have to admit, they are troopers. With the amount of times I've called home sobbing about something, I'm surprised they haven't finally said "ENOUGH."
Instead they do what I feel they've allowed me to do since I was a wee babe.
They encourage me, trust me, simply let me be me.
In my life I've flown abroad eight times (with who knows how many connections and layovers). Seven of those times have been alone. I've taken more overnight trains, buses, subways, and boat rides than I can count. Not all by myself. But most with friends I've made along the way. I've only ever felt legitimately scared on two occasions. Thank goodness.
I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm an "explorer" of the world, rather, I can't seem to keep my feet in one place for an extended period of time. I attribute it to the fact I haven't yet found "my place," found my "aha, this is what and where I am meant to be for my life." (That's a bit exaggerated, but hopefully it makes even a tiny bit of sense... I keep getting side-tracked thinking about my mom...)
I would say it's because even though I'm terrified of being vulnerable, I am always drawn to be exactly that; Heart on my sleeve, take it or leave it, here I am, vulnerable.
Especially when it comes to love.
First I must confess that I am a letter writer. I love finding the perfect card and filling up all of its flaps with words. Letters to professors who've inspired, friends who've listened, doctor's who have helped, an ex after our breakup--I have this need to express how they have affected my life, and show my gratitude and perspective.
A few weeks ago, on one of the hardest of nights post-breakup, I began thinking about what I would tell him if I were completely honest. I told my friend JP about it and he asked what I would say. As I typed it all out, I began realizing things I hadn't consciously considered. It was eye-opening, therapeutic in a way.
JP said I had to tell him what I said.
I said maybe.
In the hub-bub of life and distance I wasn't in much of a position to tell him this all in person. And over the telephone is just not my style. So, in very 21st Century fashion, I private messaged him on Facebook and, after carefully crafting what tone and words to use, I hit send.
Then I threw up.
It was like handing him my heart and letting him have it on loan until he made a decision.
This is what I knew: I shouldn't expect a response. If it went viral on Buzzfeed with OMG and LOL badges, my friend Gabby said she'd still be my friend. But most importantly, I knew I had done all I could. It was out of my hands.
I received a kind reply. As kind as a rejection reply can be.
But I didn't throw up.
I was at peace. I was relieved.
I did all that I could do.
I said everything I wanted, needed him to know.
And most surprisingly, I'm here to tell the tale.
I survived and I have absolutely no regrets.
That's how I hope to live my life, after all -- don't we all?
With no regrets.
So no matter where I am in the world, what adventure I'm seeking, or the people I'm meeting, my parents have let me live it all though knowing I am a sensitive soul with a heart I wear right out there for the world to see---or write about on this blog...
...Then they comfort me when my heart gets soggy and they celebrate with me when it soars. But they let me live my life how I want to.
If that's not love, I don't know what is.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
I've always meant to keep a notebook with me everywhere I go. Only on three occasions have I done so successfully. I'm always meaning to get better about it, tired of scrambling around for scrap paper and napkins and pens at the most inopportune time--to remind myself of everyday encounters, ideas I've had on the run. But, having read this essay by Joan Didion, (an excerpt from her book Slouching Towards Bethlehem) I'm even more intrigued to carry a notebook. If not for my future self, than for my past selves.
It all comes back. Perhaps it is difficult to see the value in having one's self back in that kind of mood, but I do see it; I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.
Thought Catalog is a site I read almost daily. I enjoy it (most of the time) and always get excited when something is posted by one of the writers I dig. (The two I love? Ryan O'Connell and Chelsea Fagan.) Chelsea has a way with just saying how something feels; how to cope; and how to console someone going through whatever the topic may be. She's a writer who has an ability to come at the topic from every angle. This post she wrote on How To Move On was like someone on a megaphone yelling YES, ANNA. SHE IS RIGHT. TAKE THESE WORDS TO-GO.
Everyone will tell you that you’re going to forget about this, that one day it will seem like nothing, that it will be a blip on the horizon behind you. But the thing is, at least at the moment, you don’t want that to happen. Even if you are never to be together again, you can’t give up that beautiful hope, that memory of being with them, back when they loved you. All of the advice will mean nothing, all of the experiences of others — offered in kindness, in an attempt to empathize — will pale in comparison to yours.
A friend recommended Lorrie Moore's book Like Life and I just finished it a few weeks ago. I couldn't put it down and found myself dog-earring many pages to mark passages that made me say Man, I wish I had come up with something that brilliant. Needless to say I was excited when I came across this interview she did in 2001 with the Paris Review.
INTERVIEWERSo you don’t feel you were destined to it, that you had no other choice but to be a writer?MOOREWell, that’s all very romantic, and I can be as romantic as the next person. (I swear.) But the more crucial point is the moment you give yourself permission to do it, which is a decision that is both romantic and bloody-minded—it involves desire and foolish hope, but also a deep involvement with one’s art, some sort of useful self-confidence, and some kind of economic plan.
I am always eager to hear what artists say inspired their works. This quote from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon about the meaning behind the track Towers was especially interesting to read.
It’s about falling in love, but also about what happens when you’ve long fallen out of love and those reminders are still there. You drive by them, these two buildings, and you look, and you realise that we really built that up. That we really built that love into these things, and for a long time afterward looking at them really made me feel sad; to see these empty buildings that I don’t go in to anymore. But then, as time goes on, they start to become kind of joyous in their own way: you can look at them and think ‘that love was great and these buildings still stand tall.
Monday, April 1, 2013
This winter was a tough one. (It was even recorded as one of Germany's darkest on record.) For myself personally, it hasn't be as terrible as it could have been. And as I sat here thinking today I realized that the reason for that was mostly because of the whirlwind of a romance I was lucky to experience from January through March. Because when things were good, they were wonderful. And so I find myself feeling especially thankful today for that season of my life, even though it ended abruptly and with so much hurt. Without those winter adventures and snow-filled kisses, I sincerely have no idea if I would have made it through the long, dark months alone. (I would have probably been long back in the states by this point...)
Even though the pain is excruciating at times; even though it ended; and even though I am still struggling; It was all part of the The Plan. And for the joy and the pain, I am in someways thankful. Grateful for that oh-so-complicated season.
Am I excited about this new season? Oh yes, very much so.
Am I terrified about this new season? Abso-freakin-lutely.
But here we go.
P.S. I hope you had a beautiful Easter.
I think this quote captures this Easter, for me at least, especially well.
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
― Pope John Paul II
“So here’s my advice: Study broadly and without fear. Learn a language if you can, because that will make your life more interesting. Read a little bit every day. But more importantly, surround yourself with people who you like and make cool stuff with them. In the end, what you do isn’t going to be nearly as interesting or important as who you do it with.” —John Greenimage.