Generally Relevant Experience.

Today was GRE day, and it was a day full of being mindful of God’s hand in my life. From the get go, I woke up with a slightly stuffed nose and a cough, but soon after I finished brushing my teeth, breathing deeply cleared my nasal passages – thank You, Lord.  I checked my phone and had received a few text messages from my friends with prayers and well wishes – thank You, Lord.  I went downstairs to make myself breakfast, but found that my mom had already made breakfast for me – thank You, Lord.  I checked how long the commute would take after using Google a few days ago to predict the commute time, and I found that the prediction was way off mark; it would only take me twenty-two minutes as opposed to the predicted forty-five to fifty minutes – thank You, Lord.  After arriving at the testing center, I was able to find the testing center without too much hassle, and I ventured into the room at 8:15 a.m.  After locking up all my belongings and entering the exam room, I found myself confronted with the computer screen I’d be looking at for the next few hours.  Taking a moment to pray, I was overcome by the thought of all the people who had been praying for me with regards to the exam – thank You, Lord.  I began the test, and found the first essay topic fairly accessible, finishing with ten seconds left – thank You, Lord.  In each of the one-minute periods following the sections, I took time to quickly pray and ask that I be more focused on His glory than on my results, thanking Him for surrounding me with family who would be praying for me and standing with me as I took the test.  The next essay was also fairly straightforward, and I finished with an extra two minutes – thank You, Lord.

The rest of the test was filled with prayer before and during each section, and at times of frustration or confusion, I felt encouraged when I thought about the blessing that existed in having a praying family.  Eventually, I finished the test, got my scores, and walked out.  I was really satisfied with my scores, and I found that my heart was full of praise; as I started my car, the song that was playing on the radio was “10,000 Reasons,” and I thought it couldn’t have been more fitting.  However, as I listened to the song and sang along, I began to realize that so much of the day had been in God’s hands from the beginning.  I also realized how much bargaining I had done with God prior to the test, and felt deeply that I was, once again, not given what I deserved.  I didn’t deserve the scores I had gotten because I really hadn’t worked that hard.  I didn’t deserve the mercy that was evident – and that I was mindful of – throughout the day.  And yet, God was pleased to guide me along the path He had for me.  In the depth of my embarrassed acceptance of God’s mercy, I found myself making new promises that I wouldn’t keep, and I realized that God had mercy not because of what I had done, but because His love was and is for who I am.  Thank You, Lord, for loving me despite myself and for being faithful in every season of my life.

Election Day 2016.

I was fairly certain that I was going to write a post when (and I say “when” because I had an odd gut feeling that Trump was going to win) Trump won, so here it is.  I’m hoping to keep it as short and as accessible as possible to spare an already grieving public the grief of sifting through something barely intelligible.

Brothers and sisters, I hope we’re all awake now that Trump is our incoming President.  The thought should terrify us – some of us, at least – but it should also be something we invite into our lives.  As I’ve said before, this election has exposed how far away many of us have fallen from full reliance on God.  How can we be gracious when the result is so obviously disappointing to many of us?  There’s a challenge here for all of us.

For those who proudly supported Trump, I must gently request that you re-examine that pride in the light of Christ.  For those who supported Trump believing he was the lesser of two evils, do not be arrogant, and rejoice not in the rulers of this age. Do not be boastful except in Jesus Christ, who is your Lord.  Now that the election is over, be reconciled to your brothers and sisters.  I have seen many examples of unsavory language from both camps, and so now more than ever, we as the Body of Christ ought to let love reign in our hearts.  I don’t know enough about Trump to assume anything about what will come from his term as President, but I do know that we have not been called to revile one another, boast in the policies of a temporary government, and increase division in His church, so may we be faithful to attend to loving deeply and radically as Jesus did.

For those who proudly supported Hillary, I also humbly suggest that you re-examine the grounds of that pride in light of Christ.  For those who supported Hillary believing she was the lesser of two evils, do not be self-righteous in your decision.  Do not allow yourself to be tempted to keep an account of the sins of another.  Do not continue to rail against your brothers and sisters who voted in opposition to you.  Righteousness is not on account of man’s works; if a man had indeed worked for his righteousness, should it not be his rightful wages?  However, we must believe that it is the gift that comes from an undeserved sacrifice.  We may believe that we voted for Hillary because we voted in the name of love, and yet I say to all of us that God alone is love.  To stand in the shadow of the Cross alone is to realize the eternal manifestation of love.  Let us love our brothers and sisters who voted for Trump because they are not any less deserving of salvation that we are; are we capable of dying to self in view of God’s infinite, unconditional mercy?  We must.

If there is any activism to participate in, it is only on our knees in faithful prayer.  Pray not in judgment that others would see the light of Christ; may we pray instead for our own hearts to joyfully submit to the sovereign will of God, recognizing these times as times in which His glory and love may boldly and richly be displayed in our lives.  I understand that the heart and the mind are inclined towards arguing for morality on both sides of this election, and yet will we continue to stifle the Spirit within us that calls us into deeper fellowship with Himself and one another?  In disappointment, call on Jesus’s name.  In sorrow, call on Jesus’s name.  In triumph, call on Jesus’s name.  Regardless of where we stand, may we find the grace to kneel before the throne of God and ask to be consecrated again unto Himself.  May God have mercy on us all not because the times seem bleak, but because we all lack the strength and the faith to serve His Kingdom in all aspects of our lives.

“Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”

Well Taco.

It was a strange thing when I found myself in a position where I was driving home in silence and the urge to eat hit me, but the hour was just advanced enough for most stores to close their doors to the public.  Immediately, my mind started racing to various fast food options. Burger King was the first one that came to mind, perhaps to the dismay of the general public. Yes, I am aware that their food may very well be microwaved.  Yes, I know that there are other fast food restaurants in the area.  But, Burger King has established itself amidst my formative memories as one of the first establishments I was able to independently travel to and sit down in.  As I started driving down the road to Burger King, Kariya, a hot-pot, Korean BBQ fusion (wow that’s a lot of commas), lit my decision-making up with its neon signs.  Despite being supremely mediocre, it seemed interesting to try and eat there alone without feeling uncomfortable (due to the other patrons indubitably preconceiving notions about me and my life).  I performed a textbook ninety degree turn into the plaza and parked.  I told the hostess that I would be forming a party of one, which prompted her to inform me that single parties are to be made more miserable with an additional charge of five dollars. I was not that desperate to see both my spirits and my funds dwindle into smoke, so I politely (I hope) retreated back to my vehicle.  Isn’t it enough of a price to eat alone in a restaurant stocked to the brim with liveliness and camaraderie?  The aghast hole (read: gaping) that I reckoned to be my hunger was reconfigured in this moment of indignant self-awareness.  I wasn’t hungry; I was lonely.  In that moment, I realized: Lord, I am the woman at the well.  There is a hole in me that I presently had been trying to fill with food, and it’s no wonder it wasn’t working.  I know what caused the hole, but I hadn’t remembered or thought about its existence for a while until tonight.  Maybe it was the silence.  I was far too tired to commit to furthering the line of thought, so I settled on getting some Del Taco since I had already driven back and forth no further than five miles of my house.  Lord, I need healing, and I’m sorry for not following Your prescription.  I know what I’m supposed to do to fill the hole, but I need more time I guess. Forgive me.

A Long Run Home.

This is a stab at what I saw here.

The sunlight darted in from the blinds, waking him up.  With a groan, he propped himself up on the hospital bed, which proved to be quite the hurdle.  Eyes closed still, he slumped forward and sighed heavily, breathing in, then out. In, then out. He looked out the window, watching as cars overtook one another in the endless Indian run that they called a highway.

“Why’d you ask for me to come?”

Turning left, his heart raced as he broke into a smile.

“Sarah!”

A light snort escaped her – she was taken aback by his enthusiasm.  No sooner had she smiled at him than she saw a strange look dart across his face.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m so sorry.  How are we going to go to the fair when I’m in the hospital?”

“The fair? What fair?”

Confusion spread itself along his eyebrows.  He opened his mouth, looking down and away before speaking.

“I – I was going to take you to the fair for your birthday.  It is today, isn’t it?”

“What?”

Her eyes narrowed, and the disgust began to rise within her.  He had that stupid look on his face, like he knew he said something wrong, and he was going to apologize – again. It never stopped. What he said did jog a memory of when they had gone to the fair for her last birthday nine months ago, however, ending with the two of them not speaking to each other as they drove home in sullen silence and suffocating traffic.  The nurse came in, and she took the opportunity to ask her about his state of mind.  She told her about what he had said, and the nurse just shook her head and gave the diagnosis they had so far.  It seemed he had forgotten what had happened over the past few months, and he even thought the hospital was pulling a prank on him by having the month of the calendar in the room changed.  She looked back at him and saw him with his head down, tears streaking down onto his shirt.

“I’m really sorry, Sarah. I can’t believe you’re even here for me when it’s your birthday.  I just wanted to make sure that the spot I wanted to take you to at night to see fireworks was still there, and next thing I know, I can’t even take you there.  You don’t have to be here with me, you know; I understand if you’d rather spend it with your girlfriends or your family.”

She smiled, almost laughing at how he used to be so consumed with self-pity; he was the only headwind in his own otherwise brilliant life.  So he had really forgotten the past nine months, huh? She could just imagine how he listened to her before things started falling apart, staring intently into her eyes and soaking up every word. She loved that about him. She loved how well he listened and how much he thought about what she had said. She remembered being just fascinated by him and constantly just thinking about the way he thought.  Maybe this was their chance to change things and keep love alive.

But no, it was inevitable that he’d become the person she eventually saw.  He chased after his own sense of comfort, ignoring her when she was going through obstacles in her own life, yet expecting her to sprint to his side when he stubbed his toe.  He was selfish and self-centered, and she was glad that she saw who he’d become later on in the relationship.  Yet, how was she supposed to tell him that they had been broken up for four months already?

“Hey, there’s something I need to tell you.”

He looked up at her, desperate for a sign of forgiveness, and yet, his gaze was also tinged with resignation to the fact that he’d be crazy to expect her to spend her whole birthday with him in the hospital.  Then, when she was about to continue, he figured it out.

“Are you – are you breaking up with me?”

She sighed, and looked down at her hands.  What else could she do? She didn’t want a repeat performance of the worst months of her life.

“Sarah, whatever it is, I’m sorry.  I know I was stupid for going out so late at night, but I just wanted things to be perfect for your birthday. I know how hard you tried to make my birthday nothing short of a miracle, and I just wanted to do the same for you.  I’m sorry for always making things about me, for only being concerned about what I wanted, when I wanted it.  You deserve so much more than that because you have such a beautiful heart; with its every beat, I learn a new melody.  You’ve taught me so much about myself and what I need to work on, and even though it’s taken a while, I hope you can tell that I’ve at least been trying.  I’ve spent all this time running away from you, but this whole time, you’ve been keeping up with me, running by my side, at my pace.  I love you more and more, and I don’t want to run away anymore.”

She held back tears – what was she doing? She said that she wasn’t going to cry over him anymore, that he was dead to her, that she was going to just forget him.  She realized that the reason he fell asleep at the fair on her birthday wasn’t because he was bored of her.  He did the same thing the night before her birthday all those months ago.  He was such a stupid, stupid boy. But she loved that about him too.  With her eyes closed, she breathed in, then out; she glanced at him, and saw that he had already been staring at her.

“It is an exhausting marathon, isn’t it?”

He nodded slowly, his heartbreak seeping through the catch in his throat.

“Then let’s keep running together until the end.”

What else could she say?

Tourist in a Dream.

What if love was lost before they even spoke,
if silence was the lone language they both knew?
What if vows saw promise ere they broke
because they chased tear-rivers through and through.

Do we slay the demons we forget?
Do tulips miss the petals sunlight kissed?
Do strangers greet those they haven’t met,
or sparrows fall before their fleeting tryst?

How could I have fallen short, just as before –
before my body cast out its last breath?
How did I keep on living evermore
when treading softly on a mem’ry’s death?

Epitaph.

*Note: This was written on my old blog, Poet in a World of Prose, which has since been deleted.

What’s love to you, kid?

The young man hesitated, unsure of what to say to someone who was possibly the girl’s father.  His mouth was left half-open before he closed it and swallowed, preparing himself to answer.

Love is when you care about someone so much that they’re all you can think about every moment of the day.  For me, it was spending time watching sunsets with her.  I asked her why she stayed out to see the sun go down, and she would only ever say that it was because there was nothing for her to do at home.  Love is when you devote yourself to learning all about the person you love, when you are willing to suffer what they suffer so that they’re not alone.  It’s considering that at the end of the day, the life you live has been affected so deeply by that person that to lose that person would be to lose a part of yourself.  The Good Book says that love is patient, and that love is kind, sir.  I cared about your daughter more than you could understand.  She knew the parts of me that I wouldn’t dare to tell anyone else, and she shared the deepest parts of her life with me, until her life experiences were almost mine.   I think that’s what love is, sir.

The man looked hard into the young man’s watery eyes, holding him there in his gaze for a while.  Then, he spoke.

You’re right about love being all of that, for a young man.  That’s how I remembered it too, when I was chasing after her mother.  But there’s a part of love that you haven’t quite experienced, and I don’t blame you.  Love never ends.  That’s in the Good Book too.  When you were describing all of that, yes, it’s true that love is devoting yourself to learning all about that person; yes, it’s being willing to suffer what they suffer; yes, it’s about having them become a part of yourself.  But that’s not all.  When her mother died, there was never a day that would go by when I would tell people that I cared about her, because that care never ended.  So when you say that you cared about her, that she knew you and that she shared with you, you really do put her in this dirt we’re standing over; don’t you talk about all those things as if they were in the past, but speak of them as the truths that they are, in the present.  Every day after her mother passed, I would come visit her and talk to her as well.  When you love someone, she doesn’t need to be there for you to experience things about her.  When you love someone, the world is constantly reminding you of her and how she is.  I still love my daughter, kid.  She’s not gone because so many things remind me of her.  I’ve just retired, which is why you found me here so late, but I still woke up for the sunrise to spend it with her.  Call me crazy, but I saw her smile as that sun peeked over the mountains there.   But, that’s enough of that.  Point is, if you love someone, even the separation of death won’t stop you from loving that person.  Keep loving her, kid; she’s never been gone anyway.

With that, the man turned to walk away.  The young man watched him go, tears falling from his eyes like rain.

Oh, wait.  She left you something, underneath the pillow she slept on at the hospital; the nurse gave it to me when I visited the hospital late at night after she passed.  I never thought that I would meet the young man she wrote it for, but you’ve got to be the one.

The young man trembled as he opened the letter, and the man, with his hands in his blue jeans walked off, whistling.

I love you.  

I know you normally don’t start a letter off like that, but I just wanted you to know that that’s the first thing I thought when writing this letter.  I think that, as much as it hurts me, I don’t have much time left here.  The doctors and nurses have been wonderful to me, so pay them a visit and thank them for me after I’m gone.  

By now, I hope that I haven’t been wrong in thinking that both of us love each other.  It’s funny, I kind of knew that you always liked me by the way that you would always watch sunsets with me, no matter what.  I guess it was my way of testing how loyal you were.  But, you never missed a sunset with me, and I’m assuming you won’t even miss my own personal sunset.  I was never really interested in the romantic parts of life; I just watched sunsets because I thought they looked pretty.  But eventually, it was more than the sun setting that I looked forward to.  I loved the way that you would walk me home slowly after it got dark, the way that we could talk about anything at all that was on our minds, the way that you looked into my eyes and made me feel like I alone captured your attention.  The other girls at school always really liked you because you were so nice to everyone, so respectful…and so handsome.  It’s weird, but I feel like growing up together never created an obstacle between us.  It sounds so silly, but it’s like we were just made to love each other.  I wish I didn’t have this disease; I can only imagine how hard Daddy’s been working to pay for all of this.  But, I know that you and I will be with each other forever.  Daddy used to always say something like “Love never ends,” ever since Mommy passed away, and I believe him.  I know that eventually you’ll go off and marry a beautiful girl who adores you and would treat you as you deserve to be treated, that you’ll have a loving home and a wonderful future; I hope that you won’t forget me in the process.  I know it’s unfair of me to do this, to ask that you let me occupy your heart when I’m about to leave this place, but I hope that in that big heart of yours, you can make space.  Anyways, thank you for visiting after school every single day and bringing me wildflowers that you pick up along the road.  They always make my day, even when I’m feeling horrible.  I hope that this letter gets into your hands; I’ve told the nurse to tell Daddy who to give this to, but he might not know it’s you because he’s never met you before, and I’ve never talked about you with him.  I started this letter with my love, and I’ll end it with my love, so that you know that my love continues on from beginning until whatever end may come.  Take care of yourself, and keep on loving the people around you with as much love as you poured into me.

I love you. 

 

Del Playa.

This may be a dangerous post to write, but perhaps those are the posts actually worth writing.

https://www.change.org/p/berger-bros-entertainment-shaun-hart-josh-berger-halt-release-of-del-playa-movie?recruiter=356467616&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-share_petition-no_msg

The above link is something that is being shared by friends and schoolmates of mine as of late, both past and present.  By all means, I encourage whoever reads this to go and sign the petition; it is a call to action to stop the making of a film that seems to bear a vague relationship with the May 23rd tragedy that occurred at UCSB due to the film being insensitive to the tragedy.  I have not watched the trailer, nor have I done any research on the film itself and what it is actually about.  For all I know, it could be an unfortunate misreading of a low-quality film’s premise because of the emotionally charged location and plot.  What the people sharing this have said about the film is that it glorifies the shooter, that this is what he would have wanted, and that the making of this film is profiteering from a tragedy that affected thousands of students – all fair sentiments to be shared.

However, two things give me pause about this sudden deluge of protests against the film: the disintegrating clarity of rights and the limitation of human sympathy.  I’ll start with the more unsavory of the two so as not to leave my readers with a bitter taste in their mouths.  The notion of rights being infringed upon here is evident when we take a step back from it emotionally: the freedom of speech.  It is possible to claim that the film is infringing on public order, in which case someone who is vehemently against the production of the film might take Berger Bros. Entertainment to court.  However, at the core of it, what is being called for is the prevention of some people, however misguided in the context and plot they chose, from expressing a story that they want to convey.  Now, this statement comes not with support of their actions, but in defense of an idea; the more passionate among us might challenge this claim by asking, “Well, why don’t I make a movie glorifying the terrorists who flew the planes into the Twin Towers?,” to which I respond, “Because you have the decency not to.”

The interesting thing about having freedom is that it can be abused.  Just yesterday, in fact, we had Bible study and went over 1 Peter 2:16, which says “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (ESV). While not all of my readers may be believers, this notion itself still can apply; it’s about how to use the freedom we’ve been given.  As a believer, that freedom is the freedom to operate within God’s will because the freedom is not a freedom to act on my own, but a freedom from sin.  In the same way, the freedom of speech that we have all been given according to law is a freedom that can be used to encourage and a freedom that can be used to disparage.  How we choose to use our freedom is based on our individual sense of respect for one another and the imagination of how other people would respond should we choose to say one thing or another – which brings me to the limitation of sympathy.

It hurts my heart thinking about the incident, and even the poem written soon after the shooting could not fully encapsulate the fear, sadness, and disillusionment that followed after.  Nevertheless, this depth of sorrow only extends to the realm of my own personal experience, for no other tragic shooting that has happened across the nation brings me to a yearly remembrance of the tragedy each year with a deep personal sadness.  There are certainly people who feel the anguish of tragedies that occur across the nation, much less across the globe, and yet fewer still are those who consistently remember global tragedies with a deep personal investment.  In many ways, the tragedies of Sandy Hook elementary, or many other shootings, are only remembered when something similar has happened.  Our compassion only remembers with repetition; that is to say, we only recall tragedies when similar situations occur, and it compiles into a vast amount of temporary grief.  Perhaps it’s that we haven’t learned anything from these tragedies which brings them back in different manifestations time after time, or perhaps it’s just that for all of our ability to commiserate, we prioritize our sympathies based on our own personal experience.  People who rarely share these types of posts have been seen sharing this one, and why this one? Why not share about any of the atrocities occurring around the world?

Our hearts are far too small to help one another; our brokenness is illuminated by tragedies, and we are loathe to gaze on it, believing that we have progressed.  We believe that our world is getting safer, that people are learning to love one another more.  And yet, look at the darkness that is filling our world.  We are so overcome with grief that we have forgotten to love out of the grief; we seek justice too soon, we dry our tears with our fists.  For those of us who believe, it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves lest anyone should boast.  We have been loved from the depths of grief.  God is not pleased that we bear sin’s shackles, but His great response to that sadness is sacrifice, and with sacrifice, a love that sets us free.

I do not support this movie.  I do not support the glorification of perpetrators of tragedy.  This is my opinion.  But, I do not want this single case to arouse my sympathies; I want my sympathies to extend around the world that exists within the boundaries of “all nations.”  Because if I am upset at this case but not the circumstances of people being killed on the other side of this planet, I am involved in too small a vision.  The only effect that will bear any useful fruit from this opinion is to be loving towards all around me, that they might share a similar view of the world – perhaps even the view of the world from the eyes of one who believes in a God who loves perfectly.  It may sound naive, perhaps, to believe that the desires of people to profit from tragedy, to commit enormities, to discourage those around them can all be changed by loving more.  And yet I know how I have been changed by the love of my Saviour, and so I believe.

Save It for a Rainy Day.

As rain graced the front lawn with its mild pitter-patter, he sighed as he turned his eyes from the window back to looking longingly through an old photo album.  The fact that he had a photo album at all already hinted at the amount of dust he had to blow off before opening it.  Eyes watering before he even got to the first page, he waited for his coughing fit to subside before attempting to make out individuals, years younger than they were now, on the glossy, colored rectangles.  He saw familiar pictures of him as an infant that had been embarrassingly shown to every family acquaintance, family photos at various scenic locations and unremembered birthday parties, and his dad’s transition for donning glasses that made him look like a human fly to lenses that made him look like a pretty fly human.  These were all just memories now; re-creating some of these events wouldn’t even be possible.

With a sharp intake of breath, he saw his first pet, Buddy.  How had he forgotten him?  A warm golden retriever, Buddy had been with him during his teenage years, loyally sitting at his side through all of the unspoken troubles that rebellious teenagers inevitably go through.  He remembered throwing the frisbee as far as he could and watching Buddy race after it, then laughing as he watched Buddy jerk his head from side to side trying to throw it back to him.  He remembered sitting on the couch, watching the television, and seeing Buddy amble along and plop down right under his feet – he remembered Buddy’s breath swelling slowly up and down against his legs.  He remembered…

He killed Buddy.

As he pulled into the driveway late at night, that foolish, affable, loyal creature bounded right in front of his car and the consequential thud said enough.  He ran out of his car without a second thought, but it was already too late; Buddy lay still, never to catch, nor attempt to throw, another frisbee again.  He forgot about how he cried as he held the cooling body in his hands, waking up with a blanket draped around him.  He forgot about walking into the house, shivering, holding Buddy in his arms, and collapsing in a chair, hearing what his parents said to console him, but not understanding anything they said.  He forgot the months spent in quiet everywhere he went, swallowing bit by bit the guilt that had consumed his soul.

He got over it eventually, but they never talked about it again in that house.  Buddy was in many more pictures in that album, but something suffocated the desire to continue reminiscing on the matter.  It was raining that day as well.  Suddenly, the rain outside intensified in volume, and it took on a more menacing tone, a rumble of thunder, a glare of lightning.  He saw the headlights of his car rove into the driveway, he felt the thud, the rain washed over him.  How quickly it was all over, years of companionship ended by an exaggerated gesture of welcome.  He missed his Buddy.

He had no idea how long he had been repressing this memory.  It has been decades since he even thought of Buddy, much less the circumstances in which Buddy had been killed.  He never got another dog, nor did he ever desire another pet.  He always felt pangs of melancholy echo in the chambers of his heart when he saw other dogs, but he figured it was just puppy love.  He sighed. He thought he had suppressed recalling the tragedy for so long because he took the life of what had been his best friend – turns out he had just been saving it for a rainy day.

Love of My Lift.

Warmth and unfeeling, mingling

nervous sensation, tingling.

Iron and mirin’, benches inclinin’

gotta get gainz that I’ve been desirin’

Today is leg day, call me Quadzilla

cold metal bar on my neck, I’m a killa.

A2G cus there’s really no other way

to make sure my legs grow more everyday.

Ten by ten, or should I go heavy?

Call me Spongebob, cus I’m ready, I’m ready.

As I squat down and prepare to explode,

A voice shouts something, makes my esteem implode.

I shot up with the bar, but my face, it did fall;

his words rung in my ears,

Bro,

you’re hella small.

Hold me, brahs.

Invited by Redeeming Love.

Invited by redeeming love
Before the throne of God above”

– Rend Collective Experiment, “Boldly I Approach”

As I was meditating on the topic of grace, which I’ve been doing in recent times, I came upon the verse Luke 15:10, which reads: “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” and it gave me pause.  I read the verse many times before, but the frame of mind in regards to considering grace put a slightly different perspective on the verse.  This time around thinking on the verse, the power of redemption really stuck out to me.  By grace, lives have been delivered from their former darkness, but the extent of that salvation does not end simply on Earth; even the angels rejoice as they see the will of God manifesting itself to further reveal the depths of His love.  The power of redemption is such that it allows us to approach the throne of God whereas in any other circumstance, our mortal striving would amount to consistent failure, an eternal undershooting of the mark.  It displaces us from the former paradigm of working towards an end goal, and places us far beyond any previously attainable accomplishment.  The invitation is extended to all, but because of a mysterious love, we still have the choice to take the invitation or not.  And yet, when we make the choice to invite Him into our lives, the very hosts of the heavenly realm exult in the occurrence.  While I’m not any closer to gaining a different understanding of grace, it was a refreshing reminder of how little we actually do in the way of the eternal will, and how incredible it is to be redeemed, both in the process and the consequence.