Could we sit together like poetry
Me a fragment yet
You are the eloquence
that holds us together,
makes the brokenness beautiful
Could we sit together like poetry
“[Kurt Vonnegut insisted] that the ability to write good fiction was a natural talent. It could be refined by practice and instruction but never created from those sources alone. As for successful student writers, Vonnegut encouraged them to get out into the world. Otherwise all they would have to write about would be love and death in the English department.”
The Vonnegut Effect by Jerome Klinkowitz, page 179
Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
Lord, to not lose sight.
The problem with us when we don’t love from the love of God is that we begin to distort His love so badly we think that love should always be measured out with teaspoons. The problem with us when we don’t see ourselves through the love of God is that we begin to forget that we are made in His image, and end up indulging in worthless comparisons that only hurt God further. That only end up nailing Jesus deeper onto the cross, because then we start accusing Him of not making us good enough, we start blaming Him for all the troubles in our lives, we start mocking His position as the Lord of our lives and the Maker of the universe.
When we can’t see ourselves through God’s eyes, and yet take upon ourselves the responsibility of loving others, our love will only end in frustration, in pain, in bitterness. That is not to say that you’ll never experience all of these when you do love with the love of God. The difference between the two is that when you love from the love of God, you’ll be able to build your relationships with an eye towards God, not towards your ability to give or the amount you can or do give. You do not become enslaved by how much you give, you do not become disappointed or angry with yourself for not giving enough or when your love “fails” to move others - you know that you’re giving out of a strange kind of freedom, you’re not self-conscious about how you’re giving or loving others, but you just love, you just give.
The truth is that we are not God, and therefore cannot love perfectly. This does not mean we stop trying, or do not progress to love others more perfectly, but that we love so that God will be glorified, we love with the awareness that it is ultimately only God who can love perfectly - and when we love others we love them because of the love of God, we love them so that they can experience the love of God. Otherwise, what we are loving is their affirmation of us, what we are loving is this idealised image we have of ourselves when we love, what we are loving is the feeling that we get when we love.
And worse still, we forget what God’s love is really like. God’s love is all-consuming but it is not indulgent. God’s love is fierce but not forceful. God’s love flows out of His compassion for us, but at some point God says, “I’ve given you everything you need. My grace is sufficient for you. Get up and walk. Get up and run. Get up and fly.” At some point God says, “No longer do I call you a servant, for a servant does not know the things of his master, but I call you a friend, for what My Father has made known to me I have made known to you” and that is our call to stop babying ourselves and become what He is called us to be - Kings and Priests unto His Kingdom.
The problem with us and the whole “relational” doctrine is that we relate so much to each other we forget to look to God. We focus so much on our weaknesses and problems that we become comfortable in our pain, in our sorrows, in our uselessness. We want so much to talk about how bad we are, we never SEE the good that God wants to pour out into our lives. We become so at one with our brokenness we push away the light and the oil of gladness that seeps in through the cracks of our hearts and we tell God we are not ready, that we CANNOT. But the truth is that we WILL not let Him in.
And if we don’t let Him in, if we don’t learn how to receive from Him, to let Him just LOVE us, then how would we know how to give right? How would we know how to love right? It is true that the Bible says that it is more BLESSED to give than to receive, but it is also true that when you focus so much on giving and forget how to receive, you’re making your giving a religious ritual that is based on self-centeredness. It is a strange irony that we love to parade and glorify our weaknesses so much but it pains us to do anything that actually shows up these weaknesses. There is, however, a difference between TAKING and receiving. Taking implies dependency and selfishness - we take without giving back, without pouring out. Receiving concerns humility and grace - the grace that we have in order to be HUMBLE enough to recognise our needs, to recognise that we HAVE needs and to be humble enough to let other people fulfill these needs. It is so easy to either just take or to just give because these two acts are always affirming, always puffs up our selves, always involves a validation of our worth, of our ABILITY to give. But how can we give if we don’t receive from Christ? What are we giving when we don’t let God fill us up so that we can give?
We assume false humility when we live only to give, and often this giving is given only to hide our brokenness from others. But when we have true freedom in Christ - there is no need to either display or hide our brokenness, we can love and take on each other’s burdens because we know that God is carrying ours, we can help others only because we know that God is helping us through it, we can listen with sympathy but we don’t let ourselves become weighed down by the burdens of the world because no matter what happens, God is sovereign still.
this is so good that I have to share it with you. It answers some questions that have been on my mind, and I think this will help me to see things with a fresh pair of eyes. I hope you learn something new from reading this, or that you are reminded of the sweetness of the love of God.
I walk outside and observe my tree. Something was different about it. It struck me that that was because it was bare and completely leafless. Usually, I am used to seeing a dense mass of leaves upon its branches, always in swaying in the wind. To behold the tree naked was like knowing someone who used to have hair in his eyes and a really shaggy ‘do, and then suddenly seeing him for the first time after he gets a really clean and short hairdo. You know, when you have a tiny Whoa. moment. It was nice to have the chance to see my tree like this for the first time. Still, I look forward to seeing the leaves on my tree grow back, sitting under its cool shade during the heat of the summer, and observing its bright lime veins reach out upon its wide, soft leaves.
I think to myself: this is such a beautiful rhythm, to shed the dead and then to build anew with the same vigor and beauty and strength. To stretch and grow a little bit every year, yet to keep the integral roots, trunk, and branches and to be pruned. To never tire of rhythm or dwell excessively on that which is lost, but to obey the nature’s call to life and to trust that the leaves will come back.
I also think to myself: Can I be renewed in the same way? To let go of the old, to work and welcome the new, to thrive no matter the weather and to accept that life has rhythms and cycles and ups and downs. Am I willing to let God daily renew me with his love and his grace, and to seek him with all my heart? Will I open up my heart to letting my life be renewed in such a way?
What can’t be done by God? Could this be a new rhythm for me? If my tree can obey and yield to its pattern, I pray that God will give me the strength and love to do the same in Christ, by faith, and live out the life I was made to live.
May this be a year where our roots reach deep and our branches stretch out.
-straight-forward, easy to read
-pleasing to the eye
-the amount of items on one side does not equal the actual weight/influence of that side (for example, its consequences and how much it will affect you)
friends + warmth
Banana smoothie, with whipped cream
Orchestra, snoring in the silence, Prokofiev
lunch, first polaroid, orange head w/ maraschino eyes
running into a friend in the most unexpected place
beautiful aerial sunset
explanation of Passover
riding along the blue skies, laughter carried by the wind
swan, mallard, coot, goose, pigeon
satay peanut beef noodle, curry chicken noodle
Where is the moon and where are the stars?
I only see the streetlights, the headlights of cars.
They were feeding the birds when a lady came up to us and said, “Have you seen the one-legged goose?” She wore clean, white running shoes and had skin the color of caramel. She explained that she always brought a bag of nutritious seed for the one-legged goose to eat, the goose named Heidi who always comes when she calls. She informed them of the effects of leaving fishing line behind in the park, that it entangles the birds and the birds either die or lose a leg. She really cared, and her earnestness stood out to me.