Standing at the Door of the Future, As Always.

After so many difficult things in our lives we seem to stand in one place and stare at the earth spinning faster and faster away from us and all we can ask is “where do we go from here?”

 

“what’s the next step?”

 

“can there be a Future?”

 

I suppose I’ve been asking those questions with a higher frequency lately. I’ve spent a profound amount of time letting my eyes wander over my own skin at night when I should be sleeping, memorizing the scars I’ve earned as of late, wandering if the scars on my soul will ever heal as well as the ones on my skin have. Those questions are the types of questions that keep me up at night, pacing and pacing, wishing that the number on the thermometer were higher so I could actually cover some ground in my contemplative prowl. I’ve always been a fan of walking fast enough so that my body can keep up with my brain.

 

Where do I go from here?

 

These questions plague me and I sit at the altar of God (also known as the drivers seat of my car) and I ask what could have been avoided and how much worse things could have been. Full people tell me that I am free and that I am still beautiful, and I wonder if they knew the details, the details I don’t even tell myself, if they would still be able to say that. I wonder how conditional their forgiveness is. I wonder when or if they will someday hold it over my head.

 

I remember the first time I ever heard the words “You are absolved of your sins. Your record has been made clean. You are free.” I was at a youth conference up in the Rockies and after a led time of confession and repentance, the speaker verbalized the change that we were supposed to have felt.

 

And I was floored.

 

I was left crying and in awe, because for the first time in my life, I actually felt forgiven. They say that forgiveness is something given to you freely by God if you only put your faith in Him, but He had been a concrete wall I stopped trying to scale years ago but this verbal absolving showed me the door that had been in that wall all along. It was unlocked, too, with a sign that said ‘All Are Welcome’. I felt welcome.

 

Ever since then, I hadn’t been afraid to face God with my sins laid out clear on my forearms. He has never been late to removing that weight from my shoulders. But what I have yet to learn or understand is how any human can give that kind of love like He can.

 

I remember walking at night when I was younger and thinking that even the fireflies were avoiding me, thinking that I was far better suited to wear nothing on my head than that shimmering crown of flowers all the princesses wore in the books my parents read to me at night. I would ask God why the earth shook under my feet in a way that made people run from me instead of want to shake the earth with me. I saw so many women who were always one predictable shape and who fit neatly into the puzzle but no matter what I did, I could not stop from morphing between ‘uncomfortably too big’ and ‘far too small’.

 

But now that I am older I have realized and believed in a world that doesn’t need me one size, but that world is lonely and since coming back from South America I have felt like I once more don’t belong in the puzzle box I was placed in. I have felt like I was haphazardly picked up from behind the couch and thrown in with an image that I do not belong to.

 

God has been Good and Faithful and He has been speaking to me about the future in ways I don’t deserve to know, but I am still too afraid to ask Him questions. I am still too afraid that if I try to engage in conversation with Him versus just listening to Him speak, He will turn into that concrete wall that towered over me for years. He is not that wall. I know that. I have known that. I will continue to know that. But the human spirit is not impermeable to doubt and I have been known to find great success in the ways of being a lost cause.

 

When I read His Word and see words like “all” and “my people” I still have that little voice inside that says “except you”. I am grown enough to know to challenge it, to tell it to speak only when spoken to, to realize that voice is not someone led by truth but rather by lies, but I can’t help but wonder if anybody else hears it, or just me.

 

Do you hear it?

 

Do you hear me?

 

Why do I still desire to be heard?

 

There is a new smell on the winds of the days to come, and I greatly look forward to falling headfirst into that storm. I have no doubt it will be positively electrifying. I just know that I am probably more at risk than ever to believing the lies of my past. But perhaps in being aware of my susceptibility, my resistance is fortified. I am still taking things one day at a time, but it’s been month since I even considered giving myself an expiration date and for that I am thankful. Forgiveness will come and I will not run from goodness in this next season of my life and Jesus will continue to be inside of me versus just barely at arms reach. I believe that the voice of Doubt will get softer and I will more and more be opening my own mouth to speak and God will be there listening.

You are Good with a Capital G

I’ve been writing a lot of music lately. I’ve been writing a lot of music and it’s all been sounding like nothing. I’ve been writing a lot of music about mountains and God and girls who don’t eat and nothing I lay beneath my fingers or behind my lungs seems to hold enough talent or depth or whatever you want to call it to be something worth listening to.

 

That’s been my problem for most of my life; being something worth listening to. Even today as I talk to my new friends and message my old friends, I find that my stories are led with a question and followed with an apology, I find that my mouth falls shut more than it falls open, I find that I lose a lot of words inside my head than out in the open air. And even then, there are very few people I trust enough to sit in silence with, without feeling the need to put something, anything, no matter how pointless into the air between us. There is just air between us.

 

This time it’s not a language barrier thing; it’s a people barrier thing. It’s my music sounding the same day after day and all the words I write sounding too much like 14 year olds listening to Panic! At The Disco. Is it wrong of me to want to write like a 27 year old listening to Grieg or a 65 year old listening to Radiohead? Don’t get me wrong, P!ATD got us all through a lot of our years, but I’m tired of being blonde and black at the same time and I’m tired of people mistaking my angst for youthfulness. I’m tired of keeping my mouth shut. But when I do open it to scream, I find that most of the time nothing comes out in time for anyone to stay long enough and if something does, it sounds a little too much like Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” to make anyone believe I am serious.

 

If I come home to find someone has shut my window while I was at school, I am afraid that the good spirits have already left after getting tired of knocking on the glass pane all afternoon long.

 

Maybe the music thing is that I am living too much here to have time to process what it has meant to be alive, maybe the music thing is my ears are too busy hearing a new continent to want to hear myself, maybe the music thing is I am much more empty than I thought. Or maybe I am enjoying being full for the first time in my life.

 

All I know is that I’ve heard a lot of laughter here that I want to remain belonging to the atmosphere instead of trying to trap it inside my piano strings. I’ve got notebooks full of scribbles and Word documents full of lines that rhyme, but nothing inside my mind seems fine enough to line up in front of you saying “Listen, this is mine.”

 

I wonder what it felt like to be David writing the Psalms, I wonder if “Divine Inspiration” leaves room for creative liberty and expression, or if the pen God held to David’s head felt more full of lead than ink. I’d like to think that God wasn’t exactly expecting the profound amount of anguish and sorrow that David put into the Psalms, but when He read them He found favor upon His creation because he saw that David’s sadness was good.

If you’re reading this, I hope you’re sadness is good, too. I hope you understand why the word “death” is feminine in Spanish and I hope that you have periods of time when whatever art you make stops coming to you and you have to take the energy to figure out why. Please don’t become complacent in your goodness, because things change and people change and you will sometimes have to rock yourself to sleep at night. You are good, with a capital G and even zeroes for O’s if you want, G00D. You are good and you deserve to eat ice cream at 10 in the morning and you deserve to know that even though God gave him the pen, David got to choose whether or not he put it to paper and started writing. Please choose to start writing, even if its just scribbles in a notebook or lines on a word document, please choose to start writing. You are something worth reading.

 

-HA