Sunday, June 23, 2013

Culminations


SAT Word- Desistance: to end, to stop

(The {X} are links to previous posts)
In some ways, I’m glad this is my last post, since I am quickly running out of things to write. I feel it’s much easier to write when you’re struggling with something hard and dark. It’s much easier to vent on a blog when you have a deep controversy going on within you. However, now that I’ve finally found some peace in my warring world, I have few words left to write.

The last sentences are being scribbled out on the pages of this chapter. It’s all ending fast. This chapter I’ve walked through will soon be over. Soon, the writer will pull out a fresh blank page and begin writing the sentences of the next step of my life. Tomorrow, I leave for college orientation and immediately after that, I will leave to work at summer camp. After that, I will leave for College.

Wednesday, we finished the trail. After three long years, we finished it. We had cut away branches and sawed down trees for so long that Jared, Eric and I thought we would probably never make it. Luckily, we were wrong. We cut away some branches next to the stream and we found ourselves unexpectedly connected to another trail, which led us perfectly to our destination. We had finally done it: made a trail all the way from Jared’s to Eric’s house. As we walked out of the trail and walked over to Eric’s house to grab a couple Gatorades, we couldn’t help but long to show someone the journey we had been on. We desperately wanted to share what we had worked on for three years. My friend, Sarah, lives down the street from Eric and Jared. We called her up and made her hike the trail we had made. It probably didn’t make sense to her but we needed to share the trail with someone.

Perhaps it is for the very same reason that I’ve written this blog. I have a story, being written out right now about me. I’ve written this blog wanting desperately for someone to hear about the journey I had traveled and the battles I have fought. Everyone has a story.{X}  Everyone has a writer, writing out their adventure. Somehow, these stories are all connected {X}, woven together into a beautiful story about humanity and the God that created them. If you are reading this, I ask you to go back and read through my story and after that read through the stories of so many other bloggers. After that, write out the story you are living.
I finally finished my book “Life of Pi” yesterday after three long months of non-diligent reading.

“What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell. I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape. For example - I wonder - could you tell my jumbled story in exactly one hundred chapters, not one more, not one less? I'll tell you, that's one thing I have about my nickname [Pi], the way the number runs on forever. It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.” –Life of Pi

I must say farewell now. I must end this blog.
It’s funny how, I wrote about Pi on my third post and the fact that it runs on for infinity without ever stopping. On Pi, you’ll find any sequence on numbers that you can think of. It runs on for so long that you’ll find your story somewhere on it. It’s all there, somewhere between the beginning and infinity. {X}
Speaking of old posts, I was re-reading my first post a while back when it dawned on me, how much that first post foreshadowed everything that would come. I wrote about the nature of “Romances” in literature and I compared it to the way Christ has shown his love for us. I didn’t realize how much of a romantic wave I would go on myself. {X}
Before I knew it, I found myself facing darkness, horrible darkness. Haunted by mistakes of the past and loneliness, I began to lose hope. I lost track of God, and started panicking. I lost my faith and began to doubt and suddenly began sinking fast. It’s like what I discovered about running after talking to Erin when she asked me what it was that made me good at running. {X} If you want to run a good race, you can’t panic. You’ve got to have faith and trust and push yourself to the edge of you boundaries.

Luckily, God always seems to come in at the right time and rescues us from the darkness. When we can’t see him anymore and when we’ve been driven to a point where we so desperately want him, he shows up and we’re blown away.
He shows up and shows us the city of people he loves and reminds us of the love he has for us. {X} Not long after he showed me that, he brought me up to a hill once I was back home and showed me my home town and reminded me how much he loves everyone in our town.
That’s something I find strange about this whole entire battle that I’m fighting.
                On one side I have Satan jumping around and yelling to get my attention. He’s repeating the same lies over and over again hoping that if I hear them enough times, maybe I’ll believe them. He jumps around waving his hands in the air and he yells in my ear until eventually I begin to believe what he’s worked so hard to get me think.
                But on the other, we have a God, a great star breathing God who made the mountains with a sweep of his finger and formed the galaxies with the breath of his mouth. I’ll become distracted from what’s truly important and all he has to do is tap me on the shoulder, whisper in my ear {X} and I stop and am put in an incredible state of awe and joy that is impossible to find anywhere else.
                See Satan’s working so hard to drag us all down into the darkness. He’s working so hard to keep us from seeing God and sometimes it even seems like it’s working. But God is patient. He waits until exactly the right moment and he shows up just for a second, just enough so that we can get a glimpse of him and we’re dumbfounded at the glory in front of us.
                This isn’t a fair fight at all. It’s not even close.
                All we have to do to win this fight, its make the decision to fight. We can define our battles or let the battles define us. {X} {X} We have to fight against sitting still. We have to fight against apathy {X}.
                We have to clean out the darkness stored within us. We have to clean out the grudges and the hate we’ve stored up for so long. We have to let go of the balloons we hold on to. {X}
Only then do we feel alive. Only with God’s love does this crazy life that we’ve been living mean anything. I remember going into the bedroom of my Grandfather dying of cancer. I remember it being weird to see him in such a weak state and I remember him looking straight at me and telling me that I should follow God. He said that following God was the most important thing. That was the last time I ever spoke to him. I made a promise there. I intend to keep it.
Today we graduated from highschool and I received an envelope with my diploma inside. I opened up the envelope and inside it was a letter written from the seventh grade me. Most of the letter was pretty silly and strange to read but when I got to the end, my seventh grade self asked my present self if I was still following Jesus and if I still had faith.

I received a lot of cards upon graduation. Two very important friends of mine gave me gifts as well and I opened them last night.
I opened the first and my face lit up immediately. Before me was a golden cylinder with a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote etched on the cover. I opened it up to find a compass meant for a desk or a table top.
I opened up the second to find a pouch similar to the one that the first gift had been in only smaller. “What are the chances?” I asked myself. I opened it up and to my amazement found a second compass. I couldn’t help but laugh. Out of all the gifts I could have received, I received two golden compasses.
I wouldn’t have asked for anything else. The compasses were a friendly reminder from God that my journey isn’t over yet and that I still have a long ways yet to go.
Thank you to everyone who has read this and taken the time to read my story. I have learned a ton from writing this. Now begins the next chapter of my life. Farewell.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Waiting for the Waterfall

SAT Word: Prescience- knowledge of things before they exist or happen; foreknowledge; foresight.

I feel like I’m paddling a boat down a river. The rivers calm but murky and there’s nothing pleasant about the stream that’s I’m traveling down. In the distance, I can hear a deep rumbling and I know what the sound is. It’s a waterfall. It won’t be long until these slow murky waters abruptly come to end but for now all I can do is brace for impact and wait.

I hate it when my hair starts to get long and I start looking into the mirror and becoming displeased with how it looks. I’ll stare at my thick hair that’s unorganized and wish that I could have my short nice hair back again. I become uncomfortable with the way my hair looks. The only problem is, in order for it to become short again you have to become even more uncomfortable by dealing with the abrupt change that comes with a haircut.
It’s kind of similar to how I feel right now. I’m uncomfortable with this stage of my life and ready to move on but at the same time, nervous for the large amount of change in front of me.

Everything’s ending so quickly. I’m in a series of “Lasts”.
The last chorus concert.
The last chemistry class.
The last school lunch packed in a brown paper bag.

On Sunday, I had my graduation from youth group as I discussed in the previous post. It’s weird thinking about leaving the church you’ve grown up in. I’ve gone to the same church my entire life…until now.

Madi and I
Monday was the last day of school for me. I feel like in many ways it was sadder for the underclassmen and the juniors than it was for many of the seniors.
“You must be so sad to be leaving” hypothetic junior would say.
“Yeah I’m pretty sad” I’d lie in response trying not to seem insensitive.  It’s more bittersweet. I’ll miss some friends as well as some aspects of high school and I’m scared of the change in front of me but I’m anxious to move on. I’m pretty confident most of them will feel the same way when they become seniors. It’s more sad being a junior and watching all your friends go.
Anyway, a bunch of us took pictures in the hallway for the last time and after that I went on a run with David.
Erin, James and I

Jared made this "voodoo" staff out of a stick and a deer skull for the trail
For three years, Jared and I have been constructing a trail the woods behind his house in order to cut through the thick brush that impedes anyone’s ability to pass through. We went out yesterday and worked on the trail for a solid two hours. We brought out machetes and tree saw and spent out time hacking our way through the forest for possibly the last time. It’s as if my life is that trail and I’m just spending my time hacking through a forest in front of me.

Throughout high school, Jared, Sam, Eric and I would go on bike rides down country roads to nearby towns. Eric suggested yesterday, that we go for a last ride. We rode off to Walmart so that Sam could buy a helmet and we after that we rode down some of the trails at FLCC.
After that, we sat around at Eric’s dad’s house and played x-box (Lord of the Rings Conquest) for the last time while I munched away at Eric’s goldfish.
It’s weird going through these past couple days knowing that everything you do could be your last and I’ve been forcing myself to make the most of these moments. Perhaps, I should treat every moment like this because I suppose I never know when I’ll be called home.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rebuilding What Was Lost


Posts to make this blog more understandable:
 An Old Truck
 Accumulated Tires

SAT Word: Rectify- to make, to put, to set right

Life is moving so quickly.
               
                On Friday I skipped school to go continue to clean my Grandfather’s barn. I spent much of the day loading tires on to trucks and sorting through dozens of coffee cans full with thousands upon thousands of nails. My grandfather never threw anything away ever. Everything was saved on the off chance that it might be needed.
                The problem with this is once he died, it meant that we had to spend hours upon hours sorting through everything he had saved throughout his entire life. Most of what he had saved had been destroyed by rust or bugs or had rotted away.

                Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

                We did find a couple treasures though. We found a couple of license plates that looked rather interesting and my parents found some old family photos that everyone found interesting to look at. We even found a family bible from the 1960s. However, these treasures were few and far between compared to the piles of nails, rusted bikes, old doors, and even rusted broken refrigerators.
                On the way back home, we passed by the cemetery where my Grandfather is buried. It was closed so we couldn’t visit but I heard that they finally got the gravestone set in place a couple weeks ago.

                I’ve spent a lot of time cleaning out my soul lately just in the same way that I’ve cleaned out my Grandfather’s barn.  I’ve been tearing out all those things I regret and letting them go finally. I must say it looks quite a bit nicer in here. For so long, I was caught up in my failures and my mistakes and it’s nice to finally let the past go. We are not defined by the mistakes we’ve made in the past but instead by the effort we put forth to keep moving forward.
                Today, I went to a graduation ceremony for all of the graduating seniors in my youth group. We got to eat food and listen to our youth pastor speak about the life after graduation and the important decisions we will have to make soon. After that, the families prayed over the graduating seniors and the ceremony was wrapped up.
                To me however, the best part of the ceremony came when I told Eric, Kasey and Caleb that we should take some of the balloons used for decoration and let them go. Kasey jokingly said she was letting go of the balloon to forget the grievances we had committed against her which she listed off (including me making fun of her club that she bought in NYC which you can read about here) and Caleb and Eric followed suit with similar grievances. I said that I was releasing my balloon in order to forgive myself of chopping down Eric’s tree in middle school before I let mine go.
                Remember how I wrote about the time Ivy died and the entire youth group was gathered together releasing balloons to let the pain go? Remember how I wrote that I never felt as if I had truly let that balloon go? Well, as that balloon floated toward the blue sky, I felt as if the balloon inside of me finally flew up to heaven with. For the first time, I’m letting the black balloons go and taking the old trucks and the old tires to the dump.

                God is good. He has found me and finally pulled me from the darkness. Finally, I’m starting to spend time with him again.
                I was thinking to myself the other day. I thought about the fact that regretfully there are certain “friends” that I will not miss once I leave for camp/college. It’s not that they’ve done anything wrong. We’ve just grown apart over the years and they’ve moved on to other things and haven’t found much time to spend with me. It’s as if I don’t know them anymore.
                Suddenly a voice whispered in my ear.
                “Do I know you anymore?”
                “Of course you know me. You know everything, don’t you?” I responded.
                “Maybe, but don’t you get to know someone through the time you spend with them. Perhaps, in the same way you’ve been neglected by old friends, I’ve been neglected by you.”
               
                “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ – Luke 13:24-27

                I want to know God, not just pretend to.
                I feel like I’m standing on the battlegrounds after the war, thinking about the fight that has been fought. I want to rebuild. I want to reconstruct what was lost.

P.S.  The time of “A Philosopher’s Digest is running short. My journey seems to be ending. On June 24th, I will be leaving to visit my college. Immediately afterwards, I will leave to work at Beaver Camp for the summer and after that I will go to College. This chapter of my life is so close to being over and with it Philosopher’s digest is reaching its conclusion. I don’t know how much more I will write before I leave but I hope to wrap up this incredible journey I have gone on.However, the blog is not over yet, there will a few more posts to come to wrap things up. Thank you to everyone that has followed this blog all these months.