Becoming

becoming

I’d love to pretend that I’m a gracious follower…. That whether or not I see the road God has planned for me, I just keep on walking…

“One foot in front of the other…”

But I’m not here to lie to you. If I had to describe my relationship with God as realistically as possible, I’d probably be a toddler. You know the ones who conveniently decide to throw tantrums in the middle of the toy aisle, and all of a sudden they’re lying in a messy heap of tears on the floor? Have you ever seen a toddler go boneless? It’s a tool they employ where they go completely limp because *if you cannot move them without essentially dragging them across the floor*  then maybe they’ll get their way. Anyways- point proven, I hope. I am a toddler.

I have gone boneless. I have thrown myself on the floor in tears, screaming at God because I didn’t get my way. He has patiently turned to me again and again and said “I love you, hang in there. I have a plan. Please, please trust me. Get up.  Stand up. Let’s walk together.”

And I have, so skillfully, continued to lie in a giant messy heap on the floor. So He has taken my hand anyways, and He has been patient. So patient. He waits until I collect myself just enough to stand up and take a few steps. And some days I keep walking after those first few steps, but some days, I fall right back down to that crying, boneless heap on the floor of the toy aisle.

You see, everyone’s toy aisle is different. Mine contains all the plans I had for my life. All the things I wanted to happen. All the relationships I wanted. All the moments I feel like I’ve missed out on.

It’s a painful aisle- not gonna lie. I’d really love to sit here and pretend that I have no baggage. That I trust God entirely. That I trust people entirely. That I remember all my blessings and all the gifts and love that surround me every day. I’d love to say that on rainy days, I sit at a window, watch the raindrops race down the glass, and pray. That I thank God for sunny days and fireflies on summer nights.

It is far easier for me to see all the things that have been taken away from me than to see all that I have received. It always has been. It is a struggle that I far too often refuse to fight against. I am not as grateful as I should be, and one day, I hope to change that. I hope that my heart rests joyfully knowing that I am so deeply blessed by more things than I could imagine and in ways I could never know.

But I am not entirely there yet. Instead, I am too often a girl who sits inside on rainy days. My mind runs back to sad memories and people gone too soon. It runs to the goodbyes I didn’t get to say. To the goodbyes I had to say. To the people who left far too soon. It runs back to all the hurts that my tired heart holds.

There’s a phrase that always stands out to me in one of my old blog posts:
“…and I am slowly learning to be okay with that.”

The post was about who I am: wobbly knees, a big heart, and a hunger for the world. It was about learning to be okay where I am, with who I am.

I want to learn how to sit with my memories, good and bad, and still praise. I want to learn how to say thank you for everything- sorrow and joy. Because even though I don’t know God’s plans yet, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll know until the day I die, I know that our God is merciful and just and He loves like none other. So until my heart learns to live joy in every moment, I’ll teach my brain to say thank you for everything first.

 

Thank you for teaching me to cherish every moment with my loved ones.

Thank you for teaching me to say “I love you” always and often.

Thank you for teaching me to rely on You alone.

Thank you for teaching me how to be strong.

Thank you for teaching me that I didn’t always have to be.

 

Patience is a grace we so often give others, but when we look inward, we fail to give ourselves. Healing and growth are two things that can never be rushed- you cannot tell a wound to heal faster, just as you cannot tell a child to grow faster, taller, quicker. It’s a waste of breath. Instead, you must nurture a loving environment- shield the wound, care for it- allow healing to take its own sweet time. It’ll arrive, you’ll realize eventually. In much the same way, fostering growth has a lot more to do with providing for the body and soul than measuring height.

We need to learn that it’s okay to not be where we wanted to be by now- the striving is what makes life what it is – a beautiful battle of becoming.

I beg of you – if you say only one thing to yourself every day- let it be words filled with patience and grace. Keep striving- keep fighting- keep becoming.

But always remember that becoming takes time- be patient with yourself. Never give up on your journey- never stop fighting for what you need- but know that sometimes in our long journey, we may have to pause on the road, and that’s okay. Contrary to popular belief, life isn’t a race. Take your time- breathe in the beautiful (and sometimes not so beautiful) things surrounding you – and remember…

You are becoming, and that takes time.  

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How 36 Questions Helped Me Fall in Love with Humanity Again

36

I have a tendency to have a little bit of a cynical heart. For me, like most people, the negative moments in life tend to dominate my thoughts, my conversations, and most importantly, my attitude.

During my junior year of college, I was faced with many challenges and opportunities for growth. Along with 6 credit classes, I also handled 2 8 hour clinicals a week and was the coordinator for my household. In addition to the previously mentioned adventures, I also embarked on a new and unexpected adventure- I began dating the love of my life, who had been my best friend since freshman year. (Spoiler alert- we’re engaged, so we have many more adventures to come!)

He has challenged me to grow in so many ways- one very small way he has challenged me is eye contact. Before we began dating, I really hated making eye contact for extended periods of time- especially when we were close to each other. Every so often when we would be talking, there would be a natural pause in conversation and he would just ask to look into my eyes. Anything longer than a few seconds usually made me cringe. I truly believe when people say that eyes are the windows to the soul, and at least for me personally, I know that when someone is looking into my eyes, it feels like I can’t hide anything. They see me fully, flaws and all.

A few months into our relationship, I saw a really cool TED talk- you should watch it here. The talk is about a social experiment that was performed in which they introduced 2 total strangers and had them ask/answer 36 questions, ranging from random to very personal, covering topics from families of origin, childhood, memories, and personality. They then had the participants make uninterrupted eye contact in complete silence for 4 minutes. There was an unspeakable connection formed and reported by almost every participant.

I loved the talk, and although I obviously already felt a connection, I really wanted to try it out, even though the idea of that much uninterrupted eye contact made me cringe. Junior year, we would take walks around our campus almost every night- star gazing and doing our best to summarize our busy days. Those walks hold some of my favorite memories, and I look back on them often. One night, we did the 36 Questions Challenge together.

Somewhere in that semester, in the midst of juggling classes, clinicals that brought me to assisted living centers and locked psych units, learning about countless mental illnesses, and seeing so much suffering in the world, I started to lose my love and passion for humanity. To choose the self-checkout line instead of asking the cashier how her day was. To finish long days of emotionally draining classes and retreat back to my room to watch Netflix for hours on end. I didn’t look for the spark in people’s eyes when they talked about the people and things they loved. I stopped wondering what stories people were carrying around in their hearts.

Back to the chilly winter night full of questions- though I knew a lot about my (then) boyfriend, with each question, I learned more about the man I love. I learned funny stories from his childhood, I learned the big differences in the ways we answer questions, and I learned to love the spark in his eyes when he talks about the things he loves.

Quick funny side story- one of the 36 questions is “what’s your most embarrassing memory?” To highlight our differences, I’ll give you our answers. Ned’s most embarrassing memory was divulged to me in the form of a 15 minute story in detailed description. He’s always been a spectacular story teller, and I could easily picture the scene- the smells, the sounds, the whole scenario. My answer to this question, you ask? “I thought there were 52 states until I was 10 years old.” Yes folks, that’s an exact quote.

The time we spent answering these questions (and more importantly) listening to each other’s answers followed by that magical (and uncomfortable at first) 4 minutes of eye contact bought the two of us closer together than I would have ever anticipated. I owe the 36 Question Challenge many thanks for some of my favorite memories with him so far.

Even more than bringing us together, the challenge also allowed me to recognize once again how beautiful humans can be. It left me hungry to hear more- not only more about my lovely fiancé, but also about everyone in my life. I wanted to hear all the stories of the people around me- I skipped the self-checkout. I talked to cashiers again. I avoided the Netflix marathons every day. We could all use a reminder every so often of how marvelous humanity truly is, and this was mine.

Here’s hoping we all always remember to love people and all the stories and answers they contain- awkward eye contact and all. But more than that, here’s hoping that when we forget to love every day, we find something to remind us to begin again.

 

Photo Credit: http://blogs.lexisnexis.co.uk/dr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/02/36.jpg

When God Shows Up at Punk Concerts

dont lose your fight kid

This Sunday, I woke up and crawled out of bed, found the comfiest dress in my closet (a hard feat, mind you), washed my face, and piled all of my hair into a messy bun. I shuffled to the kitchen, brewed some coffee, and proceeded to drink it as fast as I could, inhaling the steam rising from it, like it was better than oxygen itself.

After I threw a pair of heels on and stepped out the door to head to the church, I tried to focus my heart on God. I’ve been trying to focus on God so much- on setting realistic goals for myself and getting back in the zone with my prayer life. I haven’t been in the zone for a while, but I’m growing to learn from the quiet and I’ve in the silence. I’m finding God more and more in places I’ve never found Him, because I never had any reason to look until now. I knew I heard God in church. I knew He was there. I wouldn’t say He just stopped showing up for me- He’s God. He doesn’t do that. There’s not a single day in my 20 year long existence that God hasn’t shown up somewhere. I haven’t always seen Him or heard Him, and there are some days where I swear He watches silently from heaven, just praying I remember that He’s there. Every day. He’s there. Always.

But on Sunday morning, kneeling on those pleather kneelers, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little annoyed. The thing is, even though I can wrap this situation in words- summarize my spiritual life in adjectives and analogies, I’ll be straight with you- this isn’t poetic anymore.

This isn’t a beautiful sacrifice anymore. There are only so many times that I can describe the feeling of my prayers “bouncing off heaven like tennis balls” before the angry prayers begin. The prayers begging to hear again. Begging to see again. It doesn’t take long until I start chucking those prayers like the tennis balls they so often resemble straight at the sky, full of angry words, frustration, and disappointment.

I know God’s still showing up. I know that. But He’s not showing up in the ways I want Him to.

I can’t find Him on pleather kneelers and in comfy church dresses and heels. I can’t find Him in quiet sunsets and little flowers right now. Usually those are my go-to God moments. I guess it’s all a lesson in the fact that we’ve grown to put God in tiny boxes where we want Him and then get mad when He shows up in other places but not in tiny flowers and sunsets and churches.

On Sunday night, I threw on jean shorts, a black tank top, and the Target version of Chuck Taylors that I’ve owned since my freshman year of high school. I pinned my crazy wavy hair back so that I could see enough to drive with my windows down and sunglasses on. After picking up a friend, I drove 20 minutes down the highway, and parked in a big grassy field. Walking through the entry gates, waiting for my e-ticket to scan, I didn’t think God was going to show up. I didn’t think He would be there next to me in my old Converse, standing in a big lawn surrounded by a bunch of high schoolers who managed to make me feel old. I didn’t know He would linger in the air like their cigarette smoke, but He did.

The concert I went to that Sunday night was All Time Low, A Day To Remember, and Blink-182. I hadn’t heard Blink-182 until the morning of the concert- I was there for All Time Low, and there were a few songs by ADTR that I was a fan of.

I first met All Time Low on a mix cd from one of my best friends during the tumultuous year that was 8th grade. Jasey Rae serenaded my dramatic girly heart as I navigated the harsh years of high school, and Weightless was the song that I would scream along to on nights that seemed like they would last forever.

Maybe it’s not my weekend, but it’s gonna be my year. I’ve been going crazy, stuck in here.

Those were years of darkness and doubt and sitting alone with my thoughts. Nights were scary back then, and it didn’t seem like they would come to an end anytime soon. I was ready to be done. Done with high school, done with Virginia, done with everything. Life was hard, and I couldn’t see past that at all.

Flash forward- curly hair, chuck taylors, and a sunny summer day, warmth radiating to burn my shoulders, and here I am. Standing in a dusty, grassy field. Dirt clinging to my knees, ankles, and generally everywhere.  All Time Low takes the stage- they rock out to a few songs I’ve never heard before… who knew you could feel old at just 20 years old? Why did the middle schoolers have to ruin it?

Then, it began. The first few notes of the song brought a lightness to my heart that I hadn’t felt in years. As the lyrics began, all I could do was stare straight up into the blue sky and smile, screaming along with every word.He was there. I could feel it. Right beside me. Singing along.

This could be all I’ve waited for… This could be everything I don’t want to dream anymore.

 I’m here. I made it. We made it.

He was there all those dark nights. All the lonely days, all the memories I can’t quiet look back on yet. It wasn’t my weekend, but it’s gonna be my year.

And that’s the story of how a good Catholic girl found God at a punk concert in the middle of a giant crowd of middle schoolers and 30somethings smoking cheap cigarettes.

See, I knew it. He shows up every day. If only we looked.  

PC: http://talksandlyrics.tumblr.com/page/17

God Doesn’t Need Your Tent

God Doesn't Need Your Tent Pic

 

Patience has never been my strong suit… I don’t like waiting and I always want to be doing something purposeful. I’m not one for small talk, silence, or standing still, but lately that’s been changing a little bit. In my last blog post, I included a quote that I’ve adopted as my focus, theme, and prayer for this year.

“May I be I is the only prayer. Not may I be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong.”
(ee cummings)

I’m getting a little better about not losing my identity in all the things I want to change and to be, and thanks to that, I’m becoming more wholly myself. I’ve given myself permission to not be perfect (which is a relief, because let’s be honest, I was never even close…), and I’ve given myself the freedom to examine my behaviors, attitudes, and actions without frustration and self-condemnation. Don’t get me wrong, I still stumble, trip, and do the occasional graceful full-on face plant into bad habits and sins. I still have to go to confession far more often than I care to admit, and I still avoid it far more than I should. I still recognize that I have faults, but I also recognize that if God, upon creating me, said “it was good,” I think I should be able to recognize some of the good in me too, as well as learning patience with the areas that I still need to grow in.

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” (John Steinbeck)

One of those areas is stillness… I don’t stand still… I’m practically incapable of even sitting still, which has made 4 hour lecture classes quite the experience. My brain always seems to wander off to what is next. What I can do to fix the problems I’m hearing about. What the right words to say are. Hug or no hug? I’m usually quick to spring into action and quick to find something to do if there’s nothing to do. To be honest, I’ve always liked that about myself. The “take charge” attitude. The “get stuff done” mentality. It does come in handy often, and it’s a helpful skill to have, but having a disposition always looking to do/fix/arrange/run things gets in the way of relationships more than I care to admit.

Having a heart always looking for adventure, living on highs and lows, is all fun and great until God places you in the plains for a good long while. The mountain top? Been there. The valley? Done that. But the plains? Flat, boring, no end in sight plains? No thank you. Yet here I find myself- not high or low, just here. I have been so frustrated through this adjustment, but the Lord is doing amazing things in my life. Even in the plains. Especially in the plains.

“Tis good Lord to be here, yet we may not remain. So since you bid us leave the mount, come with us to the plain.” (Lutheran Hymn)

He has been teaching me to pray and accept who I am and where He has me. He has given me more peace than my restless heart has ever knowns in those 4 words: May I be I.
After years of searching for who I’m supposed to be… after walls, binders, and notebooks filled with inspirational quotes on healing and change and growth, I’ve learned to simplify. I still have quotes up in my room, but far fewer. My prayers are no longer pleas for change, pleas for a new heart, pleas to take away my scars. They have become pleas to be Him to others.

Back to stillness… As I was reading the gospel from a few Sundays ago, I found a part of the Transfiguration I had never even thought about before… Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain, is transfigured, and then… Peter’s response:

“Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:4)

Alright, first off, before I get all serious and insightful, can we just acknowledge that Peter’s very first reaction to seeing Jesus transfigured in His full glory and might, as well as the appearance of two very dead prophets was “oh hey cool, let me build a tent.” I like to think it was adited because I’m pretty sure if that was me, “oh hey cool, let me build a tent” would not be the first thing coming out of my mouth. I don’t think any of my surprised exclamations would have been followed by “Let us prepare to casually all camp here on this mountain. I totally prepared for this. Let me get the tents.” Alright, I’m done… I could go on all day about how hilarious this is, but I’ll try to get back to the point.

Peter and I have always seemed to share a personality… we both jump into action, sometimes a little too fast, though I am proud to say I’ve never cut anyone’s ear off. There Peter is on the mountain with James and John, the transfigured Lord in all His glory in their midst, along with Moses and Elijah, and Peter’s first response is to spring into action and explain why “it is good” that they are there- after all, he can help make the situation easier. Clearly Jesus forgot all about tents… It’s okay, Peter’s got it covered. He jumps in to solve the problem. But here’s the thing… Jesus didn’t bring Peter, James and John up the mountain to build tents. He brought them to reveal His glory. To give them a glimpse of what was to come. To give them an image to carry them through the passion. To allow them to experience Him in His fullness. He’s God… He can handle tents on his own.

Yes, “it is good” that they are there, but not because the Lord is calling them to spring into action. In fact, He does not. Peter builds no tents. He is just there, and that alone is good. Jesus praised Mary (sister of Martha and Lazarus) for choosing “the better part” by sitting at his feet in Luke 10. She was not solving any problem, she was simply there in His presence, and that alone was good.

There are times in life where the Lord brings us to the plains… there are no tasks to be accomplished, no projects to conquer, no tents to build. But still,

It is good that we are here.

We must simply learn to be still, rest, and experience the Lord, however He is revealed to us, and always remember that whether or not we understand why we are where we are,

It is good that we are here.

“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt you, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness.” (Isaiah 25:1)

 

Image Source: http://www.sheridantent.com/

The Patron Saint of Dust Bunnies

  
When I was younger, I read a lot of Saint stories. Yeah, I read the normal fairy tales, but just for the record, St. Lawrence will always beat out Cinderella in courage and St. Francis talked to birds before Snow White even showed up on the talking animal scene. I prayed I would be like them. As a kid, I prayed the most hilariously exaggerated prayers. I feel like God giggled when He looked down and saw a 6 year old who fought with her sister all the time asking for stigmata. Did I understand what I was asking for? Nope. Do I have stigmata? Definitely not. 
I used a phrase earlier in my writing to describe my prayers- I felt like they were tennis balls bouncing off heaven and back down to earth. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t have the words anymore. I just don’t. I can’t pray exaggerated verbose prayers. I can barely form a coherent sentence when talking to God. I try. I really do. But on a scale of walking in the park to attempting to stay calm in the presence of an angry gorilla, I’d say the ease of my conversations with God are far closer to the panic inducing gorilla than the picnic in the park kind. 

 

I found a quote recently that stuck with me. 
“May I be I is the only prayer. Not may I be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong.” (ee cummings)



I love it. It’s perfect. Maybe my prayers are made to be uncomfortable and awkward. I moved past my gloriously complicated prayer days. On these days, I need to just sit and be. To pray to God and beg Him to make me more me. 
I used to want to have stigmata. Be a martyr. Do something glorious for God. (Don’t judge me… I’ve always had a bit of a dramatic flair.)
“May I be I…”



I want the simple. I want the small. I want to find Him in cleaning countertops and making dinner and taking care of littles. I want to meet Him in boredom and mundane life. I want to meet Him in every small moment of every day. 
Lord, if I’m going to be the patron saint of anything, make it dust bunnies. I want to earn heaven through muddy floors and dirty dishes and sticky fingers that always seem to pull me in a million different directions. 
“May I be I…”

New Year, Same Old Me

  

In a few days, I’ll pack up my car with far too many binders and organizational supplies and far too few shoes. I’ll hit the road early and head north. I’ll add another 200something miles to my odometer.
Steubenville, I’m coming for you.
To be honest, this is the part of break where I’m least excited to go back to school. These last few days are always filled with far too much anxiety for my liking….as if my brain, which has successfully pushed off most of the worrying until know, finally gives up for a moment. What if I fail? What if everyone is mad at me? What if I can’t do this whole college thing?
On New Year’s Day, my Instagram feed was full of glorious selfies, captioned with the following: “New year, new me! My theme for the year is _____.” Fill in the blank with variety of beautiful and deserving words: purity, courage, confidence. All fitting themes for life, but a year is a good start. You name it, it was there. I’ve spent 2 weeks now trying to come up with my word…my theme…the summary of what I want 2016 to be in one word. Well, ladies and gents, I came up with nothing. The posts that filled my feed continued for days. I swear if I had seen one more caption “New year, new me!” I was going to throw my phone at the wall.
I couldn’t figure out why I was so frustrated with this concept until today. You see, as I stood on the doorstep of 2015, ready to cross the threshold to a new year, I didn’t feel like a new person. I still don’t. There was no Cinderella-esque moment at midnight. There was nothing. I’m still me. Not only am I still me, but I’m still thoroughly confused as to how this many people my age know exactly what they want to be and how they want their life to look this year.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, I was pulled over on the side of the GW parkway. Parked in a pitch black parking lot, I was debating whether to watch the fireworks from my car or make the dark walk down to the water’s edge by myself. My love of water won over, and thus I rung in the New Year festively sitting on an old picnic table, in a semi-deserted park, listening to the water and waiting for the fireworks. On my walk back to the car after the fireworks were done, I realized something that hits me every New Year’s Eve, at approximately 12:03 AM.
When the fireworks die down, confetti settles, and the cheering has subsided, I’m still me. I feel no different.
I spend a lot of time these days thinking about the woman I want to be, how I want my life to turn out, and how to get there. To be honest, I spend far more time wondering how people have figured this all out. They don’t tell you how hard growing up is when they say “be a big girl.” I’m not really sure what my life will look like, or how I should become the person I want to be, but I do know that this year, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the last few years…
“Lord, I’m running fast and free to you.” (Rend Collective Experiment)
I don’t know what this year will hold. I don’t know how I’ll get to where God want me. I can’t give you a promise that I’ll feel different next year at 12:03 AM. I don’t know where the Lord’s taking me, or who I’ll be when I get there, and I’m learning to be okay with that.
So I guess this year, my one word is surrender. New Year, same old me.
 
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” –Psalm 37:7

When You Can’t See The Stars

whenyoucantseethestars

These days, I’ve been very nostalgic and sentimental- fall always seems to have that effect on me. The crisp air makes me want nothing more than a mug of cider, a fire, and my friends all gathered. Fall is for old stories, memories, and reminiscing. Fall is for looking back and learning.

The clouds blanket the sky with a gray, dreary coat. I’m surrounded by hills, scattered with the skeletons of trees once vibrant and lively, now barren and somewhat haunting. Fog clings to the desolate branches, echoing their emptiness.

My eyes scan the hills for signs of the glory that fall in the Ohio Valley is… was…
There are a few lonely leaves, scattered amongst the trees- gold, orange, and yellow. They seem to stand as silent sentinels, guarding the last few memories of golden sunsets and giant leaf piles. Reminders of what was and will be again.

The sky was blue this morning- a bright blue usually reserved for a 10 year old’s nail polish or a Sandals Resort poster. White smoke billowed from the power plant, forming puffy clouds in the wake of smog. (Who knew pollution could be so pretty?) For some reason, blue skies have always made the cold tolerable to me. Blue skies bring hope and peace and even joy sometimes… The joy is reserved for blue cloudless skies, because I know that when the light fades and the night creeps up, I’ll be able to see the stars. The sky will be lit up with stars. I’ve written about the stars before, but in case you haven’t read this (LINK), a short summary of my affinity towards these cosmic wonders… I swear, my name is written somewhere in the dust of old galaxies… Like when God was forming my heart, He looked down and said “Yeah, this one… this one is made for the stars.” The stars are my hope and my joy and my peace.

This morning, the sky was blue, no clouds in sight. Suddenly, like an unwanted guest, the grey rolled in… No, not rolled in. It permeated everything. It brought clouds and fog, and suddenly, the cold became less bearable… And oh, my stars. Can a heart mourn for a constellation that will now go unseen?

It seems as if winter is tip-toeing in, however unwelcome it may be, and bringing gloom along as its plus one- I don’t remember sending an invitation, but I guess if I had to assign the title “party crasher” to a season, it would be winter. Stepping on the toes of a season that symbolizes vitality so well (at least in the beginning before the days of lonely leaves and barren branches), winter brings no such warmth to the air or the soul. These months do not bring golden sunsets or beautiful colors. They bring early darkness, bone-chilling frosts, and the sniffles.

It seems as if I were to pick on word to describe it, “struggle” would be the most appropriate. Now that I’ve given fall a proper eulogy, and painted a thoroughly depressing picture of the season to come, I’ll go back to reminiscing. I’ve walked through far too many lessons left unlearned, and I recently stumbled upon a quote that brought my heart to its knees…

“Be who you needed when you were younger.”

I’ve been trying to engrain those 8 words into my heart, tattoo them on my soul, and let them soak into my brain. Above all else, I want to live with that in mind.

The rest of this is for the girl staring out the window on a dreary gray day. This is for that girl, and for what she needs. I’m doing my best to be just that.

Darling,
Stop your mourning. Dry your eyes. You feel so much, girl, and what a beautiful gift that is… but do not let this fog into your heart. Do not let the desolation that days like this bring take you over. You’re right… You won’t see your stars tonight. Your comfort blanket of constellations is in hiding for now. I know, girl. I know that at the end of days that ache, all you want is those lanterns… To be able to look up and know that it’ll all work out, but there are nights where the sky won’t say that. Where it feels as if your words bounce off heaven. Where the fog is too thick to seem like anything gets through. God is still listening, sweet girl. It will all work out. Believe me- you are fierce and strong and loving. You are the closest thing to a firecracker that a human can be, and no winter can kill the fire in your soul or the light in your eyes. Please, darling, listen when I tell you…

It’ll all work out.

Even on the dreary days. Even with blankets of fog and wind and cold. Even when the sun is hiding. Even when you can’t see the stars. They’re still up there. They’re still shining for you.

It’ll all work out.

“Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.”