Thursday, December 30, 2010

You are building
a fortress of
stillness in my
soul. Here is the
place where You
will forever dwell.
I ask You,
Come in.
Come in.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Soul Enema.

This is a weird semester for me, weird in that I've been awarded a copious amount of alone time. It's starting to get to me, Literally. I feel like I've caught some sort of alone time illness that makes me do strange alone-time things...

Such as:

Dip a banana nut muffin in my tomato soup. Eat it.
Paint a rock with nail polish and watch it dry.
Bleach a pair of Black socks to make them gray.
Go on a walk, pick up pretty leaves, put them in my pocket. (Crunch them up in my pocket later when a lady with big teeth makes me uncomfortable at work.)
Cut slits into my clothing. i.e. The sides of my pants and the collars of my shirts.
Get on Facebook and look at pictures of babies and cute animals.
Text ChaCha asking the names of Reese Witherspoon's children.
Reheat a third cup off coffee and take one sip.
Tune my guitar. Immediately put it back on its stand.
Lotion my elbows.
Cut all my gum in half so it will last longer.
Do arm lifts with a can of beans.

There, you see? Worthless things. Stupid-fill-the-time-up things. Honestly I feel guilty about all of it, as if they were guilty pleasures rather than moments of total boredom. I feel bad about it because I "SHOULD" be studying every chance I get. I should be rehearsing my notes and absorbing Othello and downright obsessed with algebraic expressions, but I just can't. I can't bring myself to take on that monotony any more than I have to.

The truth is I'm tired of living a life mapped out by midterms and semesters and deadlines. My heart is leaning towards a time I can't wait to know. A time that will resemble my childhood in that it is governed by seasons. By birthdays. By dinner dates. I want to LIVE. School has this downright nasty draining affect that leaves my soul ashy. Then again, I've been at it for about twenty years. Not that I'm putting all my hope in "after school." I know it'll be pockmarked with downfalls and loneliness, and probably a little bit of money issues. But I'm excited. I want to get my eyes back, my seeing eyes. In a world ruled by details, I never notice the way the sun plays on the leaves, or the way shadows fall fast in late afternoon. I need these things the way some people need Ritalin and Paxil. I downright need the ocean. I need both hands to be emerged in the rapids of temperance river in Northern Minnesota. I need to be counseled by the sound of trees blowing before a storm. Basically, I need God. And He speaks to us in the ways He knows that we will listen. Yet for some reason, I get lost in duties and then programmed to be bored when I'm alone. I start ChaCha-ing the names of celebrity children (which are Ava and Deacon by the way) and lotioning body parts that frankly don't need lotion this time of year.

I read about a man named Christian in The Pilgrim's Progress. He was about to cross a river that was tossing all violent and war-like. Scared, he called out for help from a guy named Hopeful. He said, "How deep is this river!? Am I going to make it!?!!!" Poor Christian was downright panicky. Hopeful stayed perfectly chill and said, "you shall find it deeper or shallower, as you believe in the King of the place."

Whoa.

My eleven o'clock British-Lit-Bored-Bottom woke up when she heard that one.

When I start drawing different tree species all over my algebra notes I know it's time to find the Lord again. At this point, November 18, 2010, I feel as if I've just peed my pants. I look up at God (an absolute humiliated mess) and He's like. "Boo. Love. Why Didn't you just go to the bathroom?" It's true. When We have a need, why do we hold out and ignore it all the time. Why do I paint rocks with nail polish and cut sticks of gum in half to fill the time? Why does anyone feel uncomfortable about going for what they really need? Because.

Because we just do.

We like idleness. We like to keep busy, and fill our heads with rap, video games, stale conversation, shopping trips, talk shows, workouts and movies so that we don't have to live. Living's a lot of work.

Nathan tells me every day that Life's a battle to hear the truth and get it inside of you. I'm the warrior. You're the warrior.

The truth is, I want to spread my arms as wide as I can and fall off a cliff into the vastness of the ocean so that God can close his presence over my head and make me laugh for joy of the outright silliness of fill-the-time-up-things. Then He can send that salt water all through me to clean me out like a soul enema thankyouverymuch.

Friday, October 29, 2010

KetchupDay.

Today I got mad at a lady.

Not just any lady.

Today I got mad at a Southern lady.

Let me clarify. For starters, today was a ketchup day. Now, I’m in love with ketchup, and I can eat it on anything. I smother my chips in it, dip my veggies in it, squeeze it out all over anything fried, processed, and crunchy, and just plain treat the condiment with total adoration. But a ketchup day is not a good day. Not at all.

A ketchup day gets its entire connotation from anything blah: A partly cloudy day in February, brown leather shoes, Double-mint gum, the daily grind, a number 2 pencil, my Shakespeare teacher, and skin-colored hotel tissues. I think I somehow made this connection in 1996 when we ate fish sticks a lot because my mom had to feed five kids before waving to the babysitter and rushing off to work. Of course we ate our fish sticks with none other than: Heinz- The red stuff which, fifteen years later, tempts me beyond all reason.

So today was a Ketchup day. Blah. Slow. With worries. Not to mention that around 9:14 AM I became so unnaturally aware of my hands that I haven’t known what to do with them all day. I literally walked across campus pretending to count on my fingers in an inward conversation with myself in order for my hands to have some kind of occupation and not feel so…awkward.

When I walked into (an office) within (a particular campus building) to drop off a (pile of white sheets with which had been sent on an errand) I was greeted with a bothered drawl that could have been from Western Illinois (if you have attitude qualms with the unkind people residing in the land of Lincoln).

No, this lady was not chipper. She was not kind. She was not happy. She was the thumbnail, and I was the little staple she sought to remove. Her reaction to anything I said was a mixture of annoyance, and dumbfounded wonder that I had actually been born yesterday. At first I thought she might think me too blonde to drop some papers off in her office. But the woman was in her fifties and blonde, with pastor’s wife hair teased up and sprayed in an immovable bob.
I was angry, and I stood there looking at her blonde-do in disbelief, wondering at her unkindness. A Southern lady! Really? I mean, I’d expect such malarkey in the North, and certainly from the state of Illinois. But Tennessee…oh, it just couldn’t be.

Yet…her office was kind of bland. Like hotel tissues and arthritis, if arthritis had a color. And I stood there thinking of lined notebook paper and Tylenol, cloudy days, and February, and I felt sad. She was just having a ketchup day with her piles of files and telephone calls and I was another to-do on her list of rather-not dos.

As I walked back, I prayed this lady owned an apron. I imagined her waking up in the morning with her pastors-wife hair all matted to her head, and I hoped she made herself a pretty pot of tea and drank it in her side-yard with a little white dog. I prayed she stuck her pinkie out to take a drink and knew the solace of morning like I do.

I prayed she knew of things like Christmas parties and shivering smiles, all tight in the cold, and apple trees and beach balls, and rolling pins and flour all over the floor. I prayed she knew hard-cover books with old inscriptions, and sock feet sliding on the tile, brimming bubble baths and thunderstorms, and wild chives on her cutting board.

And I prayed she wouldn’t ever hear from the arrant-knaves ready to call her a lemon in that colorless, hotel tissue of an office she didn’t care to be in the first place.

No. It wasn’t the color of my hair.

Or the fact that I was the thorn in her tired, four o’clock side.

Or that I had ventured into the infamous “Registrar’s office” (said with much horror and renowned fear) where all Southern ladies with lemony mouths turn in an application and work with sour-faces and exasperated sighing.

No.

It was just another ketchup day. Even for a Southern lady.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dear X,

The thing I hate about equations is their lack of mercy. X doesn't decide to give you a break because your alarm didn't go off, and milk splashed out of your cereal bowl all over your pants when you had two minutes until the bell rang, and as you made for the door you caught a glimpse of your hair standing straight up on one side. X doesn't take these things into consideration when X sees you bent over your math test biting another hangnail with the ticking clock blaring in your head. X doesn't care when the entire class has turned their test in, and your last mechanical pencil runs out and you still have ten problems to go. X keeps on hiding behind the five steps your supposed to take to find him, and he laughs when he sees frustrated tears in your eyes. X waits for you to simplify and check your answer, and the truth is, you couldn't care less because you smell like warm milk and feel the same, and frankly, you'd like X to please come out just so you can strangle his egotistical butt. X always has a problem.


Today I hate X, and Y, and I also hate common denominators, and functions, and distributing factors. No, I would not like to learn to fluently factor polynomials... Though if I could, I’d put it in my Facebook info right next to my other rare talents, which include: building things out of large sticks, jump roping at high speeds, drawing trees, and finger picking small, repeated ditties on my guitar.


I have fifty pages of chicken scratched numbers in parentheses where I have tried and failed more than a hundred times to solve equations. These numbers make me look very brilliant, but they don’t mean anything. They don’t solve anything. They’re like little lines scratching off every minute of the fifteen hours I have spent in the last two weeks trying to fluently solve God’s map of the world. Algebra. Math. I’d rather look up at the sky and simply acknowledge you exist. I’d rather drop a leaf from the top of a building and silently bless the numbers that represent it’s slow float to the ground. There are some things in this world that come naturally. There are some things that we were just not made for.


I was not created to divide fractions. Or multiply them. Or break them up into parenthetical pairs using the “trial and error method.” I was made to write them neatly across the page and move on. Which is what i’m about to do because my pants still smell like milk, and it’s a cloudy day with fire leaves against the sky.


Tomorrow I will enter a white-walled classroom at 9:25 with a pencil and a sober heart because I have never been able to understand the way the world fits together in neat little bundles where X makes his home. Tomorrow I will take my test and get a 65% because my math teacher awards me half-credit for trying. And like a headache, fleeting sadness, or the rain, X will one day fade out of my life and be no more.


Dear X,


I feel bad for you. Nobody loves you. Not even the math major in McFarland who solves you with a flourish. Maybe you should love me more, X. Because I see that you’re much deeper than anybody gives you credit for. Come out across my page with your equal sign tomorrow, X, if anything, because I value your mystery, and all the unrelated things that make you beautiful.


Brittany

Butter Beans and Vacuuming for Peace

I am tired of hiding behind jackets and sweaters and baggy clothes.




I am tired of being too afraid to speak, to give an answer.


I am tired of the church. Of arrogance and hierarchy, of pride and self-centeredness.

I am tired of being self-centered.

I am tired of overlooking Jesus.

I am tired of forgetting that I’m worth it.

I am tired of walking around, facing the broken ground.

I am tired of sending myself into the swirling blindness of fear and snow.

 

[ I will take my God out of the box I put Him in. ]

I will know Jesus...The man Jesus. The Jesus I forgot to think about...to welcome in.

I will be fearless.

I will be innocent.

I am not thirteen years old in purple pants with a hole torn in the knee, mocked in school. I am not invisible. I do not wear braces anymore. I am not eight. I am not shy and cornered and controlled. I tell myself, and I can hear me.

I am somebody else I’ve never met. I am somebody who has watched from the caverns of all I’ve been. I am secure and trustworthy. I am honest and intelligent. I have peace in the core of me. Soundness. And I am firm now. I am her. And no, I will not be moved.

Because right now this moment, I give up.

I give up insecurity

......I give up fear (dread, torment, anxiety, horror, timidity, panic, D I S Q U I E T).

I give up all the pretty things I’ve tried to make.

All of this living in vain.

I give up controlling my body- Consuming butter beans from a can to fill me up-

instead of a hotdog with ketchup and pickles and garlic bread and donuts and chocolate chip cookies and god forsaken spaghetti and chocolate milk.

I give up hating myself for wanting a hotdog. One hotdog. One hotdog will not cause me to be the size of Tulsa. I give up wanting to be someone else entirely.

I give up the fear of fat.

 I give up the making for myself- a perfect situation to live in. I give up vacuuming for peace, and drinking more coffee for happiness.

 I give up all control over the things I thought I needed, including but not limited to:

[ Cosmetics. A debit card. Exercise. Movies. Security. A shower. Reassurance. St. Ives cocoa butter lotion. Twenty Dollars to spend. World Travel. A diet. Nothing to do. Anger. Judgment. Music. Thinness. An Escape Route. Perfection. ]

Idealism. I run from you.

Perfection: I give you up.

I let you go.