Spencer: “Let me show you what I know so far.” (takes needles and stabs skien repeatedly)
Laura: “No, you have to cast on 12 stitches, then put the right needle through the loop, bring the yarn from around the back, and pull the needle to back, sliding the stitch off onto the other side.” (demonstrates each step proficiently)
Spencer: “Do you see this! Its witchcraft! Do you see her spell compared to mine (compares knitting work), she’s Hermione, and I am Ron. This is a horcrux!”
Laura: “Spencer, it isn’t a horcrux. Its knitting.”
Spencer:” I don’t even know what a horcrux is, but it sounds terrible. People at Hogwarts are dying right now! Witchcraft!”
“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. it will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell. I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness…We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if he chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it.” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
We went to see Harry Potter today. I’ve been imagining what it would be like if magic existed ever since. I know that sounds rather juvenile, but my creative tendencies often run away with me and I find myself in a fabricated world of what-ifs and irrationality. But I suppose I’d never write if everything I wrote about was completely non-fictional. While in the world of literature, it is common for lines upon genres which one finds interesting to be blurred by specifics, but in a world of absolutes, some people are wired for the factual interpretation of life. Those who find nothing of fantastic origin good enough to waste one’s time on. You know, the article-dwellers, history and biography buffs. These are contrasted by the fiction consumers, which are divided into many categories and dialects, and most accumulate loyal followers. You have fictional life stories, modern, historical, futuristic, and fantastic. I’ve mostly found myself in fantasy. Just because it is a world outside of our world, that revolves around rules that are made by that other place. I don’t know why that kind of thing is so intriguing, but I’ve loved it for a long time. I suppose some things never change…and now I know about the Deathly Hallows.
We can’t stay away from Forest Hill. Seriously. I’ve been 3 out of 5 days this week. Today we took our mountain bikes. I was told that the 2 mile trail is rated one of the IMBA most epic trails. Then I was told it wasn’t “hard”…when I haven’t mountain biked in over a year, I do not believe that the equivalent of a human powered roller-coaster would be easy. However, it was so very breathtakingly beautiful. I say breathtaking in the most metaphorical sense, but literal moments occurred within the hairpin turns followed by uphills covered in the brilliant carpet of leaves. Confetti of red and orange, yellow, purple and brown. That magical pathway also concealed the rocks and roots that continuously kicked my back tire from beneath me, once sending me into a cluster of saplings in effort to dodge a fellow mountain biker heading in the opposite direction. It was rather embarrassing, seeing as how he stopped to make sure I was alright and instructed me to be careful. So goes the venture of riding a cheap bike. The nut around my stem (that which secures my handlebar to the bike frame) also came off. It was merely a jingling metal ring to aid a passer-by of my approach. One day, I will procure a bike of lighter weight and sturdier construction. All the adventure aside, there was an enchanting aura about the park. A wonderment that fell when you found yourself in the midst of hundreds upon hundreds of trees, all blazing in their most glorious garb, if only but for a few weeks time. They captured my heart. Combined with the old stone walls and meandering, writhing trails, the beauty of such a place was made so very real to me. I wish my eyes could show you the memory I have of it. That I could project into words the delicate vibrance of such a place. It was as if God took the stained glass of a thousand man made cathedrals and gave me one day, where I could look around me and realize His sanctuary is endless, that this world is fleeting, and allow me to feel the warmth of His creation. That nothing is better than what He has made, because in His perfection, it is good.
I wish to express to you the great joy that fills my heart when we meet. When we converse and we share moments of like-minded conveyance. I love listening to your minds. Hearing out your stories about life and hearing you laugh for reasons that no one else quite understands, but the general humor is shared. I love when you sing your music and play what’s in your blood to play, write what’s in your blood to write, live what you were made for. I love harmonizing with your recordings and reading the excerpts of thought you put up on display. I love when you call me and we talk about God. I love when we miss those phone calls repeatedly, and your voice is left as a historical monument to my failure to recognize your effort. I admire you so deeply for being willing to let me in, if for a brief instant or less, so that I might know you a little more. I am thankful that you hear me out and call me out. I am glad you love beyond yourself. That you let me sleep on your bedroom floor in your cold house, that you invite me over, and invite me to lunch. That we can sit at your table and know that we are settled in our relationship, knowing that the clock will not stop for us and we must make the most of the time we have. I want to rejoice with you, to mourn with you, to pray with you, to revel and learn and live with you. You come to see my band, you buy our records and feed me. You actually hear out my silly attempts at art. You encourage, ground, challenge, and love me.
Tonight I heard a whole list of religions’ views on the afterlife. None of it was what I believed. Most of it was inconsequential to my belief system, although I will not be ignorant of it. It just won’t change how I live, just perhaps how I react. It made me realize something that seems to run in the veins of humanity: we want to mean something. There are volumes upon mountains of stories concerning the real life attempts of people who wanted to impact something. For better or worse, it differs. But every person wants a purpose, wants to change something. Innately. I’ve seen many give up in many ways, but there is a desire in the fabric of our souls that we just want to hold a place, to have a definition. To know that we are of consequence. I hope you feel it, and I hope you know you are.
"How long He laid siege to our hearts! How often He sent us terms of capitulation, but we barred our gates and fenced our walls against Him. Do we not remember that glorious hour when He carried our hearts by storm? When He placed His cross against the wall and scaled our ramparts, planting on our strongholds the bloodred flag of his omnipotent mercy? Yes, we are, indeed, the conquered captives of His omnipotent love." - Charles Spurgeon
This analogy was so vivid to me. I feel that the spiritual state of humanity is constantly entrenched in a fight, whether we choose to recognize it or not. Something or someone is always vying for our attention or loyalty. There is an idea that must be accepted or concept that must be sold. People, no matter what they say, are trying to find a black and white (even if its only for themselves). Some may have settled into one place or another with the intention of being content, but motion is in our blood. If someone can jump that hurdle on their own and stand still, I suppose they have beat out life. The war does not affect them. One thing that strikes me about God and war is that His war was not a war of hate. It was a war of redemption. The cities of our hearts besieged by sin and death, and He was the King out to free them. At times it is hard to expound upon this, because when looking at God, some see anger and wrath, and others see love and truth. But justice combines these things, because truth and wrath in the endlessness of His love would denote perfection in action. I have tried to find fault with this, but if I can argue with it, I find I am forgetting some aspect of Him. The fact is, that we were made by Him. I am fully convinced of this, and every time I contemplate on the intricacies of what makes life, spirit and flesh together, I know that we were crafted by omniscience. Some argue against the soul, attempting to boil humanity down to “chemicals and meat”, said my friend Zach. But they can’t explain things like dreams, or why it is that a fold in the brain is a memory, or where the things that are needed to support life came from. Its all speculation. In this light, it is more reasonable that we were formed with the amazing ability to be relational, to think, create, communicate by Someone. We are Imago Dei. Made in the likeness of God. He creates, he deliberates, he communicates. And He wants to be relational with us. Because of this, we are the created, because of sin, are constantly attempting to dethrone the Creator. To deny Him existence, presence, power. He started a war to change that. And He has given us the fruits of His victory. Hebrews 9:14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Romans 5:9-11Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. John 15:13 ”Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Went to the park this morning. I love it. The trees are on fire.
We have found an urgent need to move. But we have more than enough: 2 boxes of Kashi crackers and oatmeal came for free. At least 50 bagels and 6 loaves of bread. $50 boots for $4.98. Why do we ever think we need anything?
Pain is generally not sought after. Unless you’re a masochist, of course. But sometimes the actual understanding of it, how it affects you and others, brings about change. Even though the hearing of your own wrongdoing and shameful action may cut to the quick, and the observation of others blind waywardness demands us address it, to the dismay of our hearts. Sometimes it is for the good of everyone that we brave the pain of correction. Sometimes for destruction when people cannot see there is hope for their brokenness. There is a difference.
” 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” -out of II Corinthians 7
I awoke to a phone call. It was my dad. My grandmother died a little after 5 this morning. I refuse to write a piteous blog concerning the surreal and strange nature of death and its effect. Some people have death hit them in manners that differ greatly from the method it approaches old bodies and terminal illness. I am sad, but I am happy, because cancer and cigarettes and pain won’t be a part of her life anymore; because the past week has made many things come into the light of realization and I was not the kid without regret, nor was I wishing for what I can never accomplish. Death is only one of those events in life that entered into my own today. And telling you this does have a purpose. I promise. The relationships I have with people vary. I am deeply involved in some people’s carrying on of life. Others are passing, joyous happenings. Still, others are the potential catalysts of honest and heartfelt transfer of conversation that convict and encourage. And while all these positives exist, there is the negative conglomeration of drama, polarization, selfishness, pride, and meanness in a few of the interactions I have with people. For a while today, I was strongly considering giving up on a relatively integral part of my life. It was frightening, to put conclusive thought into the idea of tearing your reality apart, along with someone else’s. Every once in a while, I desire change. Not that I have ever been efficacious in the embracing of it, but I just want some motion to the problem, when there is one. The problem is in me, and it is in us, and it is in others. I suppose you can call it sin. The Human Condition. The need for grace and understanding and humility. The need for God and Truth and someone to tell you that you’re being ridiculous or inane. Sometimes we must accept that we’re wrong and need to be re-taught right. Because today, a lot of things are “right” to a lot of people, but the very concept of such a thing negates the definition of truth. I need truth. Like air and water and all the foundational, sustaining, elements of life. But this dilemma has been thrashing my will to be a relational being. I do not wish to continue feeling as if I am outside of my body looking on as I have no self-control. Please, don’t take that statement and assume anything just yet. I’ve been caught up inside of my head for a long time, sorting through the rubble of religion and real relationship and God. During that time, spiritual warfare became all the more real to me, and the fears and hopes and gritty, bloody weight of our spiritual states as humans became tangible. I was sent reeling by the expansive idea that it struck me with. In that time, I was fearful of almost everything, and fear makes you selfish. So I was as it would have me. So now I am weary of fear, and lack of emotional stability and the results of this has brought me to where I am now. I want Jesus. I really don’t care what it takes or takes away to get to him, but there is nothing worth not loving him to the fullest extent. I’m disgusted with the extreme want to tell people how it is and yet, failing to go to the furthest reaches to get to the place where God is everything. I don’t want to stand in the way, or let anyone/anything else do the same. My grandmother’s funeral is Wednesday. My mom asked if I could play “Just As I Am” and some other hymn for it. I found it ironic, that this is a traditional, familiar and I dare say Southern hymn (just because it never fails to close Baptist services all across the Bible-Belt). But these are the words that stood out to me: 3. Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
5. Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
6. Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. I choose to not let this lose meaning in tradition and religion. I come.
I feel that there is something so true about height and the hardest fall. I have been so constantly in contemplation concerning the events in my life and the relationships that are intermittently woven into them. Some people grasp your heartstrings with all their might, even if they are unaware of it, and others let them go without any sort of qualm. I desire community. Not in the sense of getting together once a week and being happily insubstantial with one another. I am talking about spiritual reality. A raw sense of the need to expose our hearts to one another. Friendship. Brotherhood. The actual commitment of human companionship. My best of friends are miles and miles from me. I want my new ones to become such as they are. The kind of friends that find picking up where they left off the only way to live, and never letting the last place be forgotten. They are constant because our hearts rely on the same Constant. Its in the very fabric of our relationship. I need those friends. I think simply knowing they exist gives me hope. I find that whenever I hit the ground, some things are still level.