Saturday, December 29, 2012


I have been writing poems that would get me burned at the stake.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

On becoming.

Right now I work at a job in Colorado where I often take kids on hikes through the National Forest, among other activites designed to shove them out of their comfort zones. Most of the students are from LA and have never even walked up a large hill before so needless to say, the trudge up and down the rocky paths through yeild for some interesting complants. "I can't breathe."  I always respond something to the degree of "It's ok if you're breathing hard, it's good for you." "But I'm going to have a heart attack." "Your heart is beating fast. It's ok, it's good for you." "But it hurts." "It's ok, sometimes pain isn't a bad thing. Sometimes, it's good for you."

When I give advice to 17 year olds, I'm often giving advice to myself.

Pain is good for you.

Looking back at the entire journey that brought me here to Colorado, I kind of wish I knew that earlier. Between nights of lonliness being so heavy it cracks my ribs, to mornings where my body was trembling like a new born rodent because I was throwing up so much. Between goodbyes that sound like they're being said underwater and hellos said in such sharp silence you cover your ears. Between packing up as much as I could into my Honda civic and driving halfway across the country, to finally seeing the magnificant Rocky mountains about one year too late.

I always tell people that the three months I lived in Denver before I moved here are three months I try to forget. Those three months simply erased from the Great Colorado Adventure. Because they were horrible. It was numbing. Like a moth fluttering around a lightblub making the sound of a train derailing. I was so embarassed about the person I had become, I wished I had never become anything at all.

God's timing always throws me off. Writing that sentence itself, feels obvious and contrived. But it seemed like just as I was done digging my own grave, He reaches down and takes the blindfold off my fucking face. The blindfold I had tied when I was drunk, with dry hands and dirty nails. Squinting in the light, the brightness burned my retnas.

"Sometimes, pain is good for you."

And I have to say that to myself everytime I think of home. Everytime I think of how badly I need Ohio to hug me. Everytime I realize that not only have I not talked about God in weeks, I haven't thought of Him either. I love my job. I love what I do. I love the students. I love the mountains. I love watching the student's pupils open wide as they love the mountains as I do. It makes my heart swell so big I can feel it in my toes. I would never leave. I look at the mountains and they are so delicious and  magnificant and terrifying. I look at the mountains and I can't help but think, "God is good."

But the memory of Ohio is like a cigarette burn.

"Sometimes, pain is good for you."

I'm excited to see what I will become after these 8 months at the ranch are over. Through the brutal pain, the soft voices of students telling their stories for the first time, through aching for a hand to hold, through mountains that stretch your soul wide. Through forgetting and remembering God: it hurts to become. But, sometimes, pain is good for you.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On Waiting

Ever since I was little my soul ached to do. Constantly. I would wiggle in my chair in the classroom because I needed to walk. To move. To discover something new. To touch a tree, to bounce my sneakers on the asphalt,  to find a treasure, to run, to play, to explore. Especially if I knew what I wanted, I couldn't wait. I had to reach out and grab it right then. And most of the time, I did. Sometimes it was spontaneous and beautiful and poetic, other times I would get in trouble. Most of the time, it was both.

I'm still like this. During my five years in college, life presented me with a very close by pear tree that I could reach up and grab whichever one I wanted. Road trips, jobs, India, Colorado, Cherry Street, community, a degree. There was no waiting. It happened. The supply was luscious and endless. It filled my soul to the brim. Nourished my inner and outer adventurer. The pears where sweet and ripe and always there.

Then, God asked me to wait. Well, He didn't really ask me. Because if He had, I would have said no. He's making me. It's dry here. It is not luscious or nutritious or sweet. And it is certainly not an adventure. My eyes feel heavy and my skin feels dry. My bones are dusty. It hurts to move. It's being stuck in an elevator, or in the car at the bottom of a Ferris wheel. And there are definitely a whole lot of tears for being in such a dry desert. I graduated college, and  from everything I knew, I moved away from my sweet pear tree. At once, everything was ripped out from under my feet.

Yet, my heart is still so full, it's bursting at the seams. With dreams and desires of Colorado, of working with the homeless, of uproarious laughter, of raw almonds, of mountain tops, of deer femurs in my back pack. Of new tattoos and new friends and men with beards and bare feet and thunderstorms and of eating black beans out of a can. Of broken-nosed faith and mercies that make you crumble. 

God is still making me wait. And waiting is a lot like Ohio. 

I keep hearing people tell me that God uses these seasons to strengthen us. I know that biblically, it's true. Some of the greatest faith came from some of the hardest and longest periods of waiting. But to believe I could ever be this person, drives me crazy. I don't WANT to fucking wait. I never did. My organs are going haywire because my heart is too big for my body. Everything is insane. Nothing is still. Waiting is not still. Waiting is an exasperated bird convulsing ruthlessly in it's cage because everything in it's heart says fly. 

But. If I believe God is good, then I believe he'll open the door to my cage. He raised Jesus from the dead, I'm sure he can handle my pear tree. 

Everyday want I pray this prayer,
God, you know already how much this season hurts,
you know that I struggle to believe You. To believe what you say. To believe that You are good.
I am depressed, heart broken, and sleepless.
But thank you for giving me such an adventurous spirit.
Thank you for birthing me a woman of the mountains.
I am excited to see what this season of waiting brings.
And I will never truly know how much my wings love to take to the air, unless I am caged from time to time.
Help me Lord, to praise You for my feet even though my hands have been amputated.
Help me Lord, to be like Your son.
Help me Lord, to wait in patience and in gratitude.
Hold me tighter when I need to run free,
and let me go just at the right time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quarter Life Crisis

Today, I went with some Cherry Street guests to the Heidelberg Project for a field trip. From what I understood, the Heildelberg project is basically art made from abandoned homes in Detroit to make a point about social issues. I really liked it, others sat in the van and waited to go home.

One installation there, however, was a river of shoes. I mean literally, a river of thousands of old shoes. People are encouraged to walk over said river of shoes to gain a rounded perspective on the piece. After we grouped back together and debriefed many discussed how they felt as if the shoes represented all walks of life, different experiences, different shoes, if you will. However, what someone else said made me crumble into a million pieces. He said that while the shoes may be different, and have different experiences, they are still in the same river. On the same path. At the core, we share the human experience.

It struck my nerves like a drum not because I resonated with it. It's because the moment he said it, I had never in my life felt more alone.

My entire life, since the moment I was born, has been basically laid out for me step for step. And while for the most part, it felt out of control and dysfunctional or like a train off the tracks- the next move was always planned for me. Sure, I had some involvement in the process of  driving through life but, can I really say what I chose had a whole lot of adversity against me?  My time in college was incredible, but looking back it seems as if these experiences where a mere chain reaction to each other. Tied to each other like prayer flags. I was a student, an intern, a leader of Cru. had a place in a community. I was a puzzle piece that vaguely and strangely fit into the world somehow, and even if I had to be jammed in, I was still there. Safe. There.

Between May 4th and May 5th, everything I had accumulated in order to create my identity had literally been ripped out from under my feet. I am not a student. I am not an intern. I am not a leader of Cru. I am nothing. I exist.

This has got to be the loneliest a person can be.

It simultaneously feels heavy on my chest, yet distant and airy. All day, everyday it's pick pick pick at the edges of my seams and everything is falling apart. I feel lost in this. I feel like I had just jumped off the dock into an ocean and swept to sea. My salty eyes see nothing but more vast blue. Vast blue upon vast blue upon vast blue.

This must be why they call graduating college a quarter life crisis.

And that's what it is, and this is where I am. I feel so incredibly alone in this. A speck in a universe that has no other specks in it. I'm unsure about who I am, and what I believe, and who I can go to for support.

This is where I am: I am confused, I am lost, I don't know what I want, I'm lonely, I'm angry, I'm depressed. I'm terrified. I don't think this is any kind of fun adventure. I'm not having fun. I don't feel like I have anyone I can turn to for support. I know my identity is in God but, I don't believe it and I certainly don't know how to live it right now. I don't believe things will work out, and sometimes I burst into tears for no apparent reason. I'm also really, really broke. That's where I am. That's where I really, really am. I am an old shoe in a river of other shoes who is afraid that none of the other shoes are in it with her. I am a busted up, partially spray painted person who's lost her laces. Sometimes being nothing sounds better than that.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

1 in Six Billion.

Today, marks my graduation day from Bowling Green State University. It means I'm the first in my family to get a college degree. It means that I spent 5 (one too many...) years writing papers, taking exams, and kind of studying. Oh, and a lot of day dreaming. It means I am part of the 2% of the world's population who has a college degree.

But, to me, it kind of means more than that. College ended up being my most brutal and rough yet my most beautiful and incredible times of my life. I remain astounded at the amazing things I got to do, be a part of or just simply happened to me. I feel woven into this part of my life. Plucking at the seams of it hurts. I feel heavy now that I'm graduated, and moving on to a scary part of life. I feel lost. Purposeless. Like the last leaf is falling off my tree. But during this time of grief, I want to remember. My time in college really was a blessing. I got to do things that really were once in a lifetime experiences. Let's remember.

1. GeoJourney. I got to spend 9 weeks traveling around the United States. Seeing the most beautiful sights a person can see, sleeping outside under the stars, dancing in big cities, and hiking mountains. It was by far the best experience of my college career.
2. Meeting my best friend, Rachael Holmes. Who is funny, smart and loves me.
3. Going to India, TWICE!
4. Spending a summer with the Seifferts. Who took me in like family. Showed me Jesus. Loved me a whole whole lot. Who continue to be my BG family today. They have been a HUGE part of my life here.
5. Accepting Jesus on August 2009. 3am. In my room at the Seifferts. I was sweaty, my heart was beating like the wings of a hummingbird and I didn't really know what I just did. I also didn't know how crazily and insanely my life would be transformed from then on.
6. Interning at Cherry Street. Teaching women art. Painting Listening to their stories. I was kind of shocked over how much they showed ME love. I feel really blessed by this awesome experience. I also met some great friends.
7. Being involved in Cru. This community is unmatched by any I have seen. They allowed me to be honest and open. They allowed me to walk were I was. But encouraged me well and spoke truth in my life. I will miss this probably the most. I wear heavy boots as I think about how my community will probably change as I leave college.
8. Spending a summer in Colorado. Hiking everyday.
10. I met Andrea Gibson!!!

These are just 10. I could list 100. I could list a million. A million things that make me and my experience truely 1 in six billion. How beautiful. Thanks to you who have integrated yourself into my life. Watched my triumphs and my train wrecks. Listened to my word vomit, and let me cry on you. (That was a lot of wet shoulders...) I love you guys.