Category Archives: Thoughts

Life is a Trade-Off.

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I knew it was coming.

It had to.

That special wistfulness of times past, the knowledge that this was really the last time, and there would be no more after this.

The romanticized versions in my head that ignored all of the frustrations, discouragements, and feelings of helplessness of the past two years.

I never thought I’d be here. I’d already thought that I’d never miss it; that when I hear of a game this weekend, I’d chuckle at how much I hated sacrificing my entire Saturday to do something I didn’t even like: watching football. And that I’d remember how much I loathed getting up early and ending up sick and voiceless the next day.

But it’s the school songs that get me. The ones I know with my heart and not my hands or lips. The ones that simply tumble out with the ictus of the drum major’s hands, through me.

Was it a family, but I just didn’t notice or partake? Could I have made a difference if only I didn’t believe that I was powerless? If only I didn’t listen to the wrong voices? If only I’d opened my eyes to the people who actually cared and wanted to see a change?

Did I waste my time and my potential by giving up and going through the motions–by acting sullen when I could have done much better by offering a cheerful spirit?

Oh, how I wish I could return. I feel a terrible debt to them, because I could have given so much more if only I had remained hopeful and persistent.

But regardless of my regret, my pride that makes me want to prove myself, or the what-ifs that swirl in my head, I’ve already made the choice. And now I must live with it. I must justify it…make myself certain that I chose rightly. For that is the human way.

Life is a trade-off. Time is a commodity, a scarce resource. In order for me to choose to capture one opportunity, I must give up another opportunity that I have never experienced, or one that I’ve had previously. I’m still not sure which is worse: the torture of not knowing what could have been, or giving up that which you already know. Perhaps it is both intertwined that torment me so.

When the mind and the heart are at odds, who is to say who should win? But the heart shouldn’t always win, and neither should the mind. One who only follows his heart may find himself in a sea of aloof impracticality, and one who only follows his mind builds walls that forget about feeling.

In this, I have chosen the mind: I must do what I must. For my education, for my marriage, for my health. And I must have faith that there are greater things waiting for me. I must trust God to “make all things work together for the good of those who love him.” And above all, I must make peace with myself.

I’ll  allow myself the luxury of sadness now, so it won’t tear me down in the months to come.

Perhaps I’ll entertain the bitter memories to prevent the nostalgia. Or perhaps I’ll preserve only the good ones, that I may have lovely thoughts to look back upon.

Either way, I know this:

I will continue.

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The Search for Identity

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Since I can really consciously remember (since middle school or so), I feel that I’ve been on this quest to understand who I am and how I fit in with the world. I know, that’s not at all unusual for such an age–but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Throughout high school, I wore the clothes my youth group wore. (I tried to make my boyfriends wear them, too. That was weird.) I dyed some of my hair purple. And later, I started dying it more natural colors, and I tried all kinds of lengths and styles. I hiked through some trails and tried taking pictures, thinking I could be a photographer if only I tried. I ate vegetarian because I wanted to be a health nut, like my dad. I played in the marching band, jazz band, concert band, church worship band…I played saxophone, and trombone, and guitar, keys, bass, and even tried drums. I was in honor societies and other clubs that I can’t even remember. All I remember is that I was busy, doing everything.

Some of that stayed. Some of it didn’t. That is normal–in fact, it’s what Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, calls that age from 12-18 years old the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage. This is the part of our lives where we form our identities, decide who we’re gonna be.

And yet…I had forgotten all of that stuff I did when we had started talking about the stages of Identity in one of my Psychology classes in college. I feared that I had been a case of Identity Foreclosure–where no exploration happens, a person simply accepts the beliefs of his/her parents without questioning, altering, or choosing. I mean, the people who do engage in identity foreclosure do tend to be very successful, happy, and have good self-esteem. But that is so frowned upon by our society–and I tried not to think about how “bad” I would be if that were true of me.

But, after more examination, it’s not–all of those things are typical of the stage of Identity Moratorium, the precursor to Identity Achievement. Moratorium is the period of searching and exploration before one decides on an identity; Achievement is the decision for that particular identity.

I do think that this stage extends into the college age–why else would people be hard partiers, experiment with substances, and try on different religions in college, only to turn out to be someone completely different after five or ten years? I mean, those are drastic examples–but this period is the time when we’re learning about what the world really is and how we’re gonna fit into it. Who we are, in terms of the rest of the world. The factors of finances, being away from family, doing stuff for yourself, and generally being alone weren’t previously there. And now they are, and you’re navigating them and trying to figure out who you are with them.

Maybe I’ve foreclosed on some things. I’ve certainly achieved some things. And…I think I’m still doing some searching on some things, too. I don’t think those stages are an all-or-nothing deal–one can only be “mostly true” for a given person…some are closer to those extremes than others.

So I’m not so sure that the quest for identity ever truly ends. Or maybe, I’m not ready for it to end right now. I’ve chosen some things and am dedicated to them, but I haven’t chosen on some other things. And that’s okay.

I don’t think it’s ever to late to discover.

Day 6: Steal; Savor the Journey

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This is Day 6 of the Great Writers series from Goins, Writer.

I haven’t really been blogging through it because I’ve kinda been lacking inspiration (as silly as that may seem…seeing as I am given a prompt every day to work on). Most of them have seemed to me to be “thinking” prompts, and they all seem to be centered around starting a project. I haven’t been at this whole writing thing for long, so I don’t have any dreams yet to put into action.

But anyways, I am totally up for today’s challenge: take inspiration from somewhere else, and incorporate it into my writing.

One thing that really inspires me is my mom’s art. She is so talented and it’s been a beautiful journey to watch her art change and develop as she pursues it more. When I see a new painting of hers, I feel like I am looking directly at her heart.

“Savor the Journey” by Heather Santos at Sparrow’s Journey

I want you to take a long, hard (or soft) look at that piece before reading on. Notice the details. Notice your emotions. Think about what it means to the artist…to you.

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Courage

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I’ve always found it hard to reconcile God and country in my mind.

I’d always thought that it was hazy, at best, what a country like ours–with all its “freedom” and “the Constitution is always right” philosophies–should do about a thing like God.

Ah, well, let me catch myself here–I suppose that when I think about “country”, I think about “law”, and all of the controversies surrounding church and state. One time, I posted a rather vague blog on another domain about my reflections on abortion, and I got like, 4 messages from some liberal (not that ALL liberals are like this) who just wanted to tear me apart for all of the reasons I always hear thrown against Christians: “What about the people who are raped”, “This isn’t a theocracy”, etc. etc.

It made me so angry. It always does. I hate it when people get all angry at me–and believe me, I’m a fighter. It took me a lot of reading those messages, and then walking away, in order to finally come back to them without anger and look at them levelly. Even then, I never responded because I knew this person was only looking for a fight. And what I thought was most ironic was that their username was something like, “LivingQuietlyAndPeacefully”.

There was another message that I got, from someone else, assaulting me with a profanity and telling me that they hope I burn in hell. Or something to that effect.

Ah, my point is, I didn’t even attack anyone–I just calmly listed some things with little to no explanation. And I suppose I should explain my opinions better in the future so that they aren’t so blown out of proportion…but a cynical part of me believes that they always will be.

So…things like this, and all the liberal arguments I hear on Facebook and on a college campus, only perpetuate the confusion inside of my heart (and I remember who is the author of confusion). This post is my attempt at dissolving the matter (though it will probably something I come back to over and over again, only to be healed further in Christ each time).

There are things in life worth standing up for, no matter how hard it is. And if people are going to attack you no matter how you say it, you may as well take a stand. Sure, who am I to say that I, or that Christians, know better than everyone, but I know a God bigger, and stronger, and smarter, and wiser than ALL of you. And everyone in the world. Yeah, he’s pretty awesome.

So I believe Him when he says in Jeremiah 9 that ruin only comes to the nations who perpetuate lies so badly that you can’t trust anyone you meet (when was the last time you left your car unlocked in a parking lot? When was the last time you left your house unlocked? It wasn’t always like that). I believe  him when he says destruction comes to the nation who runs from sin to sin and wears themselves out from all of their sinning (how many people do you see who come to work or school miserably hung over from the night before? How often do you feel burned out or unfulfilled from chasing the things of this world?).

Now, I’m certainly not trying to declare the whole “doom and gloom” message. No one wants to hear that–I certainly didn’t. It was actually really tough for me to accept and understand last night, as I was sitting in my comfy chair, listening to my pastor. The thoughts trying to enter my mind were, “That’s outdated. That was meant for Judah thousands of years ago.” “That doom-and-gloom message isn’t real. Maybe he’s gone off his rocker.” “This kind of stuff isn’t important, in light of everything else that’s going on in the world.”

For I am guilty as charged. I’m not the perfect person who is sitting back and saying that everyone else is terrible or wrong. I do those things, too. My heart is just as deceitful and evil as the rest of them. A part of me wants to believe that those things are normal, because it’s all I’ve ever known and I don’t want to take the time or energy to change them.

But I do know God. I do want to do and be those things He made me, and all of humanity, for. And He redeems me. He’s taken everything that I’ve done that hurts other people and myself and Him, and He’s cast it away from me. “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12, NLT). And that’s what He promises us, when we choose Him. This…is faith. That He knows what He’s talking about, and He never changes.

Jeremiah was known as the Weeping Prophet. He had so much compassion inside of his heart that the knowledge of his people’s path of destruction just tore him apart inside. It overwhelmed him.

And at the end, my pastor asked, will there be anyone in this country who weeps from their compassion for the people in this country?

I suppose, at the end of the day, after all of the arguments have been talked to death and all of our anger has been spent, that’s what it comes down to. Compassion. Will I have the compassion to speak the truth in love? Will I have the compassion to tell everyone I know about the amazing grace that I experience daily? Will I have the compassion to weep and pray for those who are making decisions for my nation?

Because at the end of the day, God is God. He’s still faithful. He still forgives. And He loves so, so much. He doesn’t want our weaknesses to destroy us. He wants to heal them.

But He is also good, and mighty, and powerful. He is so purely good that by His very nature, He cannot tolerate evil for long.

His character never, ever changes.

And sometimes, it just takes the courage of one person to say that.

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If you have any response, or questions, or even anger to hurl at me, please leave it in the comments section below. I’ll respond with no anger or malice. I want to hear what you (YES, YOU) have to say!

Staying Up Late

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I hope you’re up late reading this.

There’s nothing quite like being up late at night, being so exhausted that your eyes may droop shut at any moment–but nevertheless awake and yearning to learn, to know, to think.

Truly, there is no longer a nagging inside of you that is ever-present at Daytime. The daylight itself brings with it a sense of needing to do. You must be awake and working, or interacting with others, or being useful. There is a sense of should and should not in Daytime…one that cannot quite be shaken.

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