Something More…

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It is no secret that, of all the things I’ve done with my life, living hasn’t been one of them. From time to time, the reality of my mortality works its way into my consciousness, and there’s that inescapable question of when (whether?) I will finally learn what it means to live. Finally decide to live.

Whereas I’ve missed out on so many things that were quite within reach, none of those things, or any combination thereof, had the power to shake me up by virtue of its absence. Usually, being unshakable is a good thing, but when you’re Lori? Not so much.

Discontent has somehow managed to provide the illusion of safety–as if I needed further proof of my insanity. Oh, to step out of that wretched yet beloved prison of my own carving. To taste even the tiniest morsel of the elusive entity we know as freedom.

To be more than a wounded soul most at home in its own poison.

To remember You.

And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee.

Psalm 39:3 (KJV)

 

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Solitaire?

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I’m the only one who can live my life.

That has got to be the scariest thing I’ve thought about in a long while. Whereas it’s indisputable that I’m, at heart, a loner, there’s phantom comfort in knowing that looking around does not yield a barren landscape. I’m so used to living on the fringes of my world (my sister would say the problem is that I have a world…:P) that I don’t often spend time in it. The price paid for that tends to be total disrepair.

Change is hard…and I have to change. As great and supportive as people are/can be, and as grateful as I am for the amazing people in my life, no one can do this for me. No one can hold my hand through the process of learning to breathe…not to the point that they can make me function in ways I refuse to. No one can make me get up one day and decide to do more than take fleeting glances at what it means to live. I want no one to.

I’ve never been that person who can’t be alone, who doesn’t know the value of silence, who finds the company of self to be petrifying. In the same breath, the alternative leaves me most out of my depth. This is who I am. Just a weirdo trying to glean lessons without having to be knocked senseless first. I’m no superhero. I’m not even a real person most days, but I’d like to think I’m learning what that looks like.

This is who I am…and I embrace that fully, remaining cognizant of the reality that I am not static. I will not always be this person, but if I don’t engage in the process, I may not like the person I become.

I’m the only one who can live my life. And, I will.

Thus says the Lord God to these bones: ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’

Ezekiel 37:5, 6 (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Sabotage

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Fear is one of those things I don’t process well. I just don’t have many active fears. I have huge categories of fears, and then they morph into…aversions. 😛 Weird as it sounds, I think I have an aversion to “good”. As soon as my life begins to look up, as soon as I begin to make smart choices, something in me retaliates by finding the quickest way to sabotage it.

I think this would be easier to handle if it were deliberate. It is so intrinsic and so entrenched in the essence of Lori that I very often don’t see it outside of the lens of retrospect. But, I see it now. I’ve seen it before. And, I can’t change it. Maybe that’s what I need to embrace. Left up to my own devices, all I can do is kill myself, succeed only in depriving my soul of one breath at a time.

And, you know, part of me says this shouldn’t be so. I mean, I’m smart enough (I reckon), I’ve known God long enough, I have enough amazing people in my life for this to not be who and what I revert to with such ease. I know God saw this–saw me–coming, and still chose me. Gladly. He didn’t choose me to remain as I am, though. He chose me to remain in Him. But, I don’t…won’t?

Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s the same plight plaguing all of humanity — that innate core of rebellion against the Creator. Whatever the case, I can’t keep living as if God is a liar…as if the life He offers is somehow on a plane that ought not to impact and define my everyday life. I cannot persist in the distorted reality I call ‘grace’, for if grace were seen correctly, if grace were my reality, would it not spur me on to abundance of life? To obedience? My head gets grace, but my heart? Well, that story is perhaps best left untold.

So, why continue to kill saplings of anything good and beautiful in my life? Why act as if my worth is such that I’m most content within the confines of Suckville? Why, if I love myself as much as I’m convinced I do, won’t I give myself the best possible chance at life? Or, any chance, for that matter?

I can’t be alone in this…well, I hope not. Undoubtedly, I’m extreme, but there are elements of sabotage in each of us. How easily we tend towards our own destruction. Overcoming that tendency may lie outside of our reach, but there’s nothing to stop us from embracing it…and giving it to the Only One who can make us into what we were designed to be.

O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but in Me is your help. I will be your king: where is any other that may save you…?

Hosea 13:9, 10 (KJV [paraphrased])

My Jorge, one of the best friends a Lori could ask for, gave me this song. (Fine, her name is Georgia…and how much I love her? No words…) Like, she’s all sunshine, rainbows, and pink rooms sometimes, and I kinda thought the song was along those lines, but it’s…sneaky. Maybe it’ll sneak up on you, too. 

And We Thought It Was Over…

When was slavery abolished?

Not yet, apparently…and that must give us pause. It must give us more than pause. It must pull at whatever strings are connected to our hearts, and if it doesn’t, we must ask ourselves why.

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“Slavery still exists. We want every man, woman and child to know that there are 27 million men, women and children, just like them, living in the shadows. Working as slaves. In 161 countries. Including our own. Let’s shine a light on slavery and END IT.” End It, Non-Profit Organization.

For as long as I was online today, I added my voice to those others supporting Shout Out Wednesday. I posted on Facebook quite a few times today, and I wondered if it irritated people, and then it hit me…who cares? Who cares who is annoyed by my posts, if we still have people–27 million at that–without the option of basic human freedom, not to mention any hope of the social media we’re so dependent on? In fact, if there were some way to irritate people into caring, I’d so be on it, but there just isn’t. Whereas I don’t seek to be obnoxious, it makes me wonder what could have gone so wrong with “civilisation” that we can have one set made up of the overindulged, and another made up of…slaves? In the 21st century? Like, really?

I’ll be honest, when I first saw it on my friend’s profile, I was a bit stunned, but I moved on. I didn’t not care, but it didn’t break my heart. Does it have to break our hearts? Not necessarily. Does that make (our) indifference appropriate? By no means.

We don’t have to care to use the oh-so-abused “Share” button. We don’t have to care to add our voices in any way we can. We don’t have to care. At all. But, maybe that’s why we still don’t have an answer for the question I asked above: “When was slavery abolished?”

Then again, maybe we have more answers than we care to think about. 27 million of them.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Waiting for “The One”

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You know, despite my sometimes realistic (fine, cynical) outlook, it seems the major part of me is still waiting for “the one”. Now, before some people fall off their chairs, let’s clear this up. We are by no means referring to this one person who is supposed to complete me (*ick*). Not only does no such person exist outside of the fertile ground of the imagination, that is too great a burden to place on anyone’s shoulders. But, we digress…

One of the promises I made in my last blog was that I’d stop lying to myself. Facing the truth is…more difficult than my vocabulary would permit me to express. It seems I’m still waiting for this one great thing that will change me…in ways that the combined efforts of the events of the past 27 years have been unable to.

(The above paragraphs were written on March 4. I’m not even sure why I didn’t finish.) This has been a better week than most, thanks to the sheer grace of God, which led to my admission that all I can do is fail. Like, I’m not sure whether other people have such limitations, but I. Rather. Suck. I mean, I’ll know I have things to do and, if I can’t be bothered, I won’t do them. I’ll know what I should do to improve my health, and just not do it. A fear of negative consequences has never been one of the driving forces of my life. If I’m honest, I’ll say I have no driving forces. See why I need Jesus? Teehee.

But, yes, this week has been good. I’ve been productive, disciplined, wise about my health, and I’ve even been nice to people. That, however, has evaporated, man. I’m just not capable of sustaining all that. don’t have to–easily the best news ever. Yes, I’m still doing those things ±being-nice-to-people, but I constantly need the reminder that there is no great “one”. No one verse of Scripture that will so challenge my heart that I will turn from the wicked ways I’ve made my refuge…no one song that will so galvanise my soul that I will begin to care…no one teaching, camp, gathering, person, decision, act of the human will with sufficient potency to change the very me that is.

“The one” is both not coming and already here. Maybe “the one” isn’t an isolated act, but a series. Maybe it is not that epic moment, but those tiny moments that shape the fabric of humanity as gently and indelibly as water shapes rock. Maybe it is one day at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time, all fueled by grace.

Seems to me God has a plan. HE calls us. He calls us to Him; He says all we need to do is come. God doesn’t need an outline of how we’re proposing to be true to Him in the future. We don’t need to impress Him with our reliability–as if we could. Salvation is a gift, not a loan. We need only to accept His gift and live in, and by, His power to please Him. 

I know not where the future leads. Honestly, based on the mural presented by the past and present, I’d rather not know. What I know is I have today. We have today. We have joys and tears, strengths and failings, and all the other contrasts that make us human. And we have the One who saw us coming. The One who made us, knowing full well how much we would fail, how much we would need Him. And still made us, still loves us. Still delights in us.

We have the God who is Love, the only “One” worth waiting for.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

— “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” (Robert Robinson, 1758)

Skip A Few

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“One. two, skip a few…ninety-nine, a hundred.”

That takes me right back to my childhood and games of hide-and-seek with those creative, borderline unscrupulous individuals who just wouldn’t be nice and decent and just count properly! 🙂 That aside, that silly little song has come in so handy over the years. Unknown to most of the population, whenever “One, two, skip a few…or a lot” or some variation of that features as my Facebook status, it’s my little way of giving myself a heads-up…that I’ve skipped more breaths than is safe.

I often question the existence of my soul (in a purely non-theological fashion). It is as if basic, human elements that function for other people don’t function for me. I used to have them, until the expedient nature of checking out of the human race revealed itself most clearly. I was fine, until I realised I wasn’t.

Very few things touch me deeply enough for me to remember that I may/used to have a soul. Most days, I’m okay with that. Recently, though, it’s as if I’ve been stuck in neutral, or on some nebulous plane that allows me to stand outside of myself and behold the unfolding horror. My mind registers the horror, but nothing responds inside me. Whatever passes for my soul forgets to breathe.

Sometimes, all I need is a good reminder. My sister posted a song I’d heard before, but forgotten how much I’d liked it.  A song so beautifully human. Soul-deep.

According to the lovely folks at Wikipedia, “the song asks the fortunate to consider the plight of the less fortunate”. The writer died at the age of 37, and it makes me wonder how he managed to live so much life in such a short time, for such words can come from nothing but the power of the human experience. Over 150 years later, that power prevails.

It feels strange to share something that so deeply connects with me, but I’d consider it an honour if you would listen to this song. Thank you.

 

“Hard Times Come Again No More” [Stephen Foster (1826-1844)]

Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh, hard times come again no more

Chorus
‘Tis the song, the sigh of the weary
Hard times, hard times come again no more
Many days you have lingered
Around my cabin door
Oh, hard times come again no more

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay
There are frail forms fainting at the door
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say;
Oh, hard times come again no more

‘Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave
‘Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
‘Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh, hard times come again no more

Saying Goodbye

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Not too long ago, I said goodbye to what was easily my favourite television show. Granted, I do not watch much TV, but it was the first show in a long time to really engage me. It was simply brilliant, which usually means cancellation is only a matter of time, but it was fun while it lasted.

The thing is, I’m not that great at goodbyes. Sure, I’m not one of those clingers, but I’d probably prefer if some things didn’t have to end. Still, goodbyes can be good, and the time has come to bid farewell:

To the pursuit of perfection. I said in a previous post that “For all my talk of not caring, I’m a bit of a paradoxical perfectionist. I’d rather do nothing, than not give something my best (very often, an unrealistic best).” Even if failure is assured, I should still try, for therein lies the true test of what is inside me. 

To the idea that my life is somehow ruined because the past ten years quite drastically diverged from the path projected by the first seventeen. This is where and who I am. I am not an unfortunate tale, not a mass of one “if only” after another. Everyone’s story is different and, ideal or not, I fully embrace this as mine. And you know what? For the first time in maybe forever, I’m excited to see where the road will lead.

To the lies I’m so famous for telling myself. As much as the dark has been my refuge, it makes no sense to keep hiding. God is Light; there is no darkness in Him. Sunrise follows sunset, and I’ve chosen to stay hidden in shadow because it is comfortable. Content to remain in the prison of the familiar, I’ve dropped out of the human race, but no more.

To the belief that I can do this. Maybe other people can, but I can’t–not of my own strength, anyway. I’m much too passive to take life by the reins and send it where I want it to go. I have no trail to blaze; no frontier to claim. I possess no grand dreams of changing the world; no great mark to etch on the surface of history. What I do have is a Saviour who makes all things new; a God who delights in redeeming those who can do nothing but fail. I have friends–amazing ones–and family…people who care, and that rocks.

All I have is grace…and that’s enough.

Our humanity is the perfect canvas on which to display the masterpiece of God’s Divinity.

An amazing young lady I know wrote this song. It has this irksome way of teasing my soul into the light, but I reckon that is a good thing. May God continue to bless you, Sasha.

If I Could Have My Way…

…I’d leave the country for a year, and go somewhere…where no one knows me (with the exception of my all-purpose sister/friend/weirdo/whatever-she-chooses-to-be).

It’s not like me to be this…open? aware of my ‘feelings’?…but I want to run away…snatch a break from the clutches of this vacuum passing for my life…take the time to explore why my mind is thinking about a vacuum in physics terms and telling me a vaccum would technically be incapable of having clutches.

The year’s almost over, and the days have just passed, especially since coming back home. Five whole months, and I don’t think I have five days I wish to remember. Thoughts of change and taking first steps are constants in my world these days, but I tend to excel at the illusion of planning, but super suck at execution.

The thing is, I’ve had my way for over half my life, and it has led me here…to a place my alleged way with words cannot aptly capture…to a place I fear I’ve been too long…a place I may never leave.

If I could have my way, I’d stay here forever, not caring it’d kill me.

This is why I need the Saviour. I’d gleefully catapult myself into hell (both on this earth and after my alloted amount of oxygen has expired) without Him. Still, I forget too easily.

That was a good little conversation, I think…a bit bleh, but I think I needed it. We’ll see how things go in the next couple of weeks or so. So, for the general purposes of accountability, here are the things I need to ‘work on’ in the coming months:

• My journey towards God’s heart
• Becoming healthy
• This writing thing
• Exploring and embracing a future…rather than letting the days pass without any goal in mind

Change is hard. Maybe I’m just in some unique category of terrible, but all this being a person stuff? So not my thing. One breath at a time, eh?

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

I Tell Myself…

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…what I want to hear…and then I tell myself I don’t want to hear it. By then, it’s already too late, and I’ve managed only to dig myself deeper into this hole I tell myself I want to come out of.

…what I don’t want to hear, and then I use it as an excuse to not do anything about it…”Oh, at least I know what the problem is”, and then I tell myself that’s progress.

…that I’m changing, perhaps finally growing up. After all, if I can perceive the lies I tell myself, it must mean I’m moving in the right direction.

…that I’ll never change, and this growing up thing is yet another doomed seed planted in the fertile soil that functions as my imagination. After all, if I can perceive the lies I tell myself, yet hold on to them, it must mean I am even more of a moron than I thought.

…to hope and dream. How else will my soul catch those much-needed breaths? Of all the things I tell myself, this is perhaps my least favourite.

…not to hope and dream. How else will my heart remain in the seclusion that guarantees my sanity? Of all the things I tell myself, this is perhaps the most dangerous…

…I love You, and then I tell myself I’m wrong.

…I don’t love You, and then I tell myself all the reasons I must be right.

…to shut up, for it is long overdue.

…to talk to You…and that just may be the best thing I tell myself.

Thus says the Lord:“The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness—Israel, when I went to give him rest.”

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

Jeremiah 31:2, 3 (NKJV)

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.