Gone Fishin’.

It’s a lot like fishing though not at first glance.

But it’s about waiting for that one perfect chance.

At first, you feel nothing, no signs of interest

but then you get a nibble, just waiting to invest.

When the nibbling becomes constant,

go ahead and set the hook.

Pull up and reel with all your might

to try and get a better look.

In the ocean wide, there is more than one fish

but to catch the same one is the sign of a wish

come true, for in the blue of the water

one may see a glimpse of a heartstopper.

You smile at it and throw it back,

and cast the line in small hopes that

it once again returns.

What yearns in the heart of the baited

is met by the unsure one who waited,

waited for familiar churns.

The red string of fate, the line of His design

whatever one calls it, this thought comes to mind:

if the fish was the one baiting

and I was doing the chasing.

Book of the Month: June.

Book of the Month for June.

 

What to say about this book.  The thought continually occurs to me that it is because I have a great grasp of and appreciation for modern literature that I enjoyed this book.  Simply put, upon finishing this novel, I can say that it is perhaps my favorite book to date.  The plot, a family reunion for one last Christmas together, is simple enough, but the way that Jonathan Franzen frames the lives of the characters within the book is stunning to behold.  The characters all have vividly different lives that they live out, but their link back home to their parents seems to give them even more multi-faceted lifestyles and personalities than have already arisen from their circumstances.  Franzen’s writing style is something that I found myself consciously admiring much more than once throughout the read, and I aspire to achieve his level of accomplishment in describing the middle-class life’s ins and outs.  The story had its humorous moments, intensely immoral yet fascinating pitfalls, and moving scenes of a family wrought in five parts attempting to reconcile.  If you have the time and the willingness to take on the baggage of the darker underbelly of living in modern society, I definitely suggest reading this book.

Day by Day.

The leaves plunged in summer yellow were paired with various hues of green, causing a distinct, but aesthetically pleasing portrait of nature’s simple sketches.  The shadows of the leaves on the wall reflected the perfection of each leaf’s design, more or less in keeping with each other in a uniform array of yellow-greenery.  The wind that gently blew over the heads of the stems proved the plant fickle, as it bounded upwards and downwards in an inconsistent fashion.  The once red, now weathered pink, brick wall provided a soft backdrop for the plants.  Solid green leaves marshaled themselves at the feet of the tall, standing plants, providing a miniature canopy for any insects or lizards desiring refuge from the  summer sun.

The car gave a gentle lurch backwards, the gears shifted, and the low whine of the garage door was heard.  Then, with a mechanical purr, the car surged forward smoothly, guided by the driver at the steering wheel.  The red glare of the brake lights flashed as the car eased to a crawl before the speed bump, gently bouncing up on down on the white obstacle plastered on black asphalt.  The car turned the corner and was gone.  Day by day, this routine continues at 7:35 each morning.

That God designed the leaves goes without saying.  The vivid hues of coloring reflect the life within that life-giving Spirit.  However, for all things man-made, the colors are constrained to either violently dull tones or merely black and white.  Something within the soul of man desires to tear the suit of routine apart; that the safety of what is known has now become too yawn-inducing for him, and in an attempt to create a new vivacity in living, he needs to turn elsewhere to restore the thrill of living.  His mind roamed to sports, reading, and drugs as alternate routes to shaking up his current journey.  Yet, it was inevitably the last one which had the greatest appeal.  If only he realized that indulging in the wonder of God’s radiant creation would be enough to make a daily routine ever filled with new discoveries and appreciation, he would have avoided the self-destructive end to which he led himself.  Imagination can here fill in the blanks with the life of secrecy and deception that followed.

The Porcelain Throne.

A regal throne lays in darkness still –

A battleground proving force of will.

Many come and are exhausted by the try

For it is to waste that they’ve come to deny.

The gleaming bowl, it shines with malice.

A peace of mind clouded within the white chalice.

Warriors struggle and strive with great force

as they sweat and swear along the treacherous course.

At last, the pain passes; they sigh with relief

and wipe off the sweat that the ordeal bequeathed.

Some come to the throne, begging for mercy,

longing to lose the dark kisses from Hershey.

The porcelain throne, would I call you my own!

Yet I have not talent enough on you to hone.

One is a Terrifying Number.

One is the loneliest number.

So says my phone when I ask Google what the loneliest number is.  However, it made me stop for a moment and reflect on loneliness.  To be alone and to be lonely – though very nearly the same in terms of morphology – are exceedingly different in the kind of emotions that are engendered within the experiencer.  To be alone may often make one feel lonely, but to be lonely does not necessarily come with being alone.  The difference is that one is, for the most part, external (alone), while the other is mainly internal (lonely).  Being lonely is a constructed limitation that comes from the mind’s conscious and subconscious observations of oneself that end up discouraging the lonely person ever more into a downward spiral of sighs and wistful thoughts.

Then, in comes God.  Many of us feel so lonely and that loneliness absorbs us into exaggerated introspection that leads us into darker alleys.  When we suffer from external circumstances, we ask God for help, but when we inflict internal wounds, we put a veil between God and us and dim His joy and peace and glory, preventing them from shining into our lives.  It seems like in doing this – settling our own issues by ourselves – we become too reliant upon God, but where is the fault in that?  Is it so wrong to depend on the One who created us?  He is capable of filling our all in all with His love, erasing all of the self-doubt and self-hate that triumphs over our shackled minds.  But sometimes, we need reminding that we can rely on Him, the One we should love, and not fear the number one because it never exists if we remember that He is always with us.

One might be the loneliest number, but the One who saves has a love that overwhelms that perpetual loneliness we often feel.

O Seniors, My Seniors!

The day has now come, one I’ve been slowly dreading,

pushed back in my mind in a forceful forgetting.

Yet now that it’s here, I can no longer ignore it;

graduation happened, and my heart, it tore it.

You brothers and sisters to me are fast leaving

new stories of your lives you write and are weaving

memories of the now too-short year we’ve had.

I remember it like it was yesterday, cliché I know,

but looking back on it, I see the seeds you did sow.

With showers of grace and encouragement’s light

God blessed me with you to help keep me upright.

Though not finished growing, you are quick to depart

What seemed like forever was a moment in art;

The heart-wrenching news that you’d leave struck through.

At first it was Men’s, where I learned about MOIs,

a transparent meet up with some of the boys.

The next few weeks were the actual study

clearing up verses that had seemed to be muddy.

Freshmen and large group were all but abandoned

But somehow onto the scene I was cannoned,

Led alone by God’s masterful plan and design.

It was at freshmen first when I ventured to seek

after the Lord with the fifth day of the week.

Sour Patch watermelon candies were passed

And soon cookies were also suddenly amassed.

We went over the question of the week to start off

My nerves were on edge; I could only manage a cough

that somehow ended up giving me the baton.

My first large group ever was in the cold November –

Remember, the school year began in September.

I quickly found myself helping put up the old banner

not knowing where the poles went in and in what manner.

Worship was new in the form it was presented

As unified voices, led by one, had assented

The glory and majesty of a living God.

The rest of the year has been a personal blur

As in touchingly spoken with an emotional slur.

Transparency flooded me after a MOI

Not knowing that it could purvey so much joy.

I moved to start meeting with more and more people

taking the church life to beyond just the steeple

and learning about my soon close family.

And now here we are, at time-together’s end

Considering each of you all as my dear friend.

I don’t want you to leave, but holding you back would be bad,

for you have experiences and seeing the plan that He had.

AACF Seniors of 2013,

time’s been well spent, life much like a dream;

I’ll be missing you always, but you’ll dwell in my heart.

Love Like a Hurricane.

It’s always worth noting when we’ve learned lessons.  After all, learning is something that waxes with age though the physical body may decay.  The old adage “The more you know, the more you don’t know” describes learning so well because it is a perpetual process of growth.  However, learning lessons and growing from mistakes is another case altogether.  Upon making a mistake, we either trivialize it and move on, and thus deny ourself the learning experience because we didn’t take the time to care about how our mistakes might have hurt those around us, or we take it to heart, suffer quietly with the results of that mistake, and end up having the experience ingrained in our memories.  It is this second outcome from making a mistake that can really show us God’s love and mercy.

Once that mistake becomes important enough to us to affect the way we even see regular occurrences and interactions with others, it takes hold of our point of view and mangles it, engendering a desire to never come across that mistake again because of the struggle that came in tandem with it.  It’s easy to talk about learning from our mistakes, but the actual process of it is a mix of introspection, fear, and hyper-sensitivity to similar situations that may arise.  Often, shame and guilt, even lack of self-forgiveness, come into the equation, clouding our outlook on life.  However, God’s grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  It is at these low points of our lives where we have difficulty believing that we are capable of any good that God works restoration within us to show us that He has a designated time and place for us to be, and His sovereign will is in all things.  His infinite grace avails us, and it is ultimately up to us to receive it or not.  His love shows through the times when we weather storms headed our way because He knows that we will make it through with Him by our side.  In a sense, His love is like a hurricane in more ways than one; it is so overwhelming that we have no choice but to feel it and experience it.  It is also like a hurricane because after it has ravaged the location, a time of rebuilding occurs, and it is this time of rebuilding that should be more precious to us than the many blessings He showers us with.

As it says in a David Crowder song:

“He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.”

It is only after surmounting the storm that we realize and understand how great His love is for us.

Forge Me.

As laundry churns within the cycle

my fingers unravel denial.

The Internet, great forum of facts,

keeps no track of what it attracts.

Great minds behind screens show

bold statements of how much they know.

I.D. is not checked on the world wide web

so the sites are abused by the stalking dead.

This false life online was more than I could bear;

A few crude jokes here and it was easy there.

Larger than life in the virtual realm

had my confidence running to the real helm.

But crushed by hammers I was in the end

Flattened to a sheet by the words of a friend.

Tempered by loss and shame and guilt

Patience like rock now turned to silt.

So though I donned a forged identity

it lead quite soon to a forged personality

through fire, pressure, and time.

The Second Stall.

One of my favorite places to go is the UCen at SB, and it’s not only because there are a slew of options for food, but because of the ever-dependable second stall.  Namely, the second stall from the right in the bathroom on the second floor of the UCen.  Every time I push past the moderately weighted door to the luxurious lavatory, my eyes shift to the approaching-full trash bin.  The level of papers has never seemed to change in that bin. Beyond that, the left turn leading to the stalls is the one that’s always filled with anticipation.  My eyes always glance over at the standing stalls, which are often inviting if I only have three minutes to spare, but I am on a mission in the UCen bathroom.  When my eyes drift to the bottom of the stall, I inevitably witness a pair of sneakers gently resting on the ground, covering up the exertion that is overwhelming the owner of those sneakers.  I pass by the crack of the first stall, seeing more often than not a lowered head fixated on a mobile device of some sort.  A small inkling of worry makes its way down my spine.  However, the magnificent second crack in the dividers of stalls has never failed to purvey me with a spot.  And it is this spot that allows for the ecstasy of relief that is so absolutely unique to that toilet seat.  Once the latch on the door is secured, I can safely breathe with relief knowing that my own spot in the world of relaxation is secure.  The second stall from the right in the bathroom on the second floor of the UCen puts the “rest” into “restroom.”  It’s almost as if the stall is loyal to me, making itself available should I require its services in any given desperate moment of the day.  What a great companion is this second stall!