Another Lonely Summer?

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Thank God for the sunshine. I need sunshine more than most people; fog seems to exacerbate my depression. Thank God that the summer months when I am the loneliest are the ones filled with sunshine and watermelon.

I know that loneliness is one of the major themes of this blog. I complain about how I feel lonely in both crowds and isolated crawl holes. I have approached it from many angles, dissected it with various tools, given a myriad of reasons, I have tried against my will to be positive, I have experimented with various coping mechanisms… yet I am still here, addressing it again. I still feel alone, in not much of a different way than I felt last year.

What does it all mean? The sun continues to rise and set, dancing along the tops of the beautiful trees around my house in between. The world goes round. People make money, get married, and eventually die. Babies are born, children play, teenage girls giggle and gossip just as mindlessly as ever. Other children starve to death. Politicians keep lying. What does it all mean?

But I know that I’m not really alone, even though it feels that way. Maybe that’s what’s different about this year- that I am a step closer to not feeling lonely. I have the company of my parents, which really counts for a lot. My friends are somewhere, maybe thinking about me, maybe not, but I believe that in heaven we are laughing and singing together. Enemies who in this life won’t even give me the time of day will be singing and laughing in heaven with me. And for now, I am joined by many people who are also feeling lonely, whether I see them or not, and there are many brothers and sisters even on this blog space feeling the same way. If worse comes to worse, I can call up one of my fictional characters to get coffee with me at any time.

But more importantly, I have the friend of all friends, Jesus Christ. The friend who always understands, is never too busy, and will help me with absolutely anything (if I let Him, which I usually don’t because of pride). If He was here, I know He’d help me move or drive me to the airport.

The light is dancing on the leaves, the steaks are on the grill, and the birds are chirping. Even though I can’t go to the beach now because of my foot, I know that it’s calm and majestic as ever. I know that somewhere, somehow, girls my age are talking and laughing and having a good time in spite of it all. And that is enough.

I know that, by the grace of God, I will get though this month, and maybe even rack up some good memories, or at least some trials that I will learn something from. I know that there is eternal life, and that is where I put my trust. I know that I don’t need to cry. I know that I am not alone, even if I feel alone. And that is enough.

 

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There Have Been Better Days

Ever had one of those days when it seems like the entire world and everything in it is conspiring to exclude, demoralize, and humiliate you?

Ever have one of those days when all people seem greedy, ugly, and very difficult, if not impossible, to love? And you are the worst of the bunch? 

When awkwardness abounds?

When anger and jealousy take hold? 

When you don’t understand why you’re living?

When the Bible seems uncertain and God distant?

When every pursuit seems tedious, vain, and painful? When there’s no one who will understand?

When you want to tough it out and cry it out at the same time? When you wish someone would notice that you’re not okay? 

Never had a day like that?

Neither have I…

 

Well, at least golf is starting to make sense. At least I got to eat some noodles. At least the day is almost over. 

You know what sounds good right now? Besides drowning the cares of the day with some kind of drug? To just lie in someone’s arms. Maybe Jesus’ arms. That sounds nice. Just like a helpless, thoughtless, little lamb. Warm, sleepy, peaceful, a lullaby being sung by angels. 

“No more tears and no more fears.

No more pain and no more rain

Never be lonely never be sad

Never be angry never be bad

Just singing songs to God above

Peace joy love, peace joy love.”

It sounds nice when the angels sing it, if not in your head.

 

 

A Blue Christmas

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I am beginning to understand why the approach of the holidays (Christmas, in my book, because it least it has the word Christ in it) often makes people depressed. I remember being a kid, and loving Christmas, for materialistic reasons, mostly, but being excited about it just the same. Was I going to get the newest gaming system thing, or, worst case scenario, just some new dolls? I wish I hadn’t been so greedy, but I miss those simpler sorts of dilemmas.

But this Christmas is not going to be so hot. With no friends, no extended family coming over, no material things to receive, and nothing that I even want that can be bought with money… what’s there to look forward to? No wonder suicide rates are so high this time of year, a lot of people have much less to look forward to than I do.

“It’s just another birthday (my birthday is a few days before Christmas), just another Christmas, just another New Year, which will be the same as last year or even worse, and at the end of it, I’ll be the same as the year before, or even worse. Where are the best years of my life?”

I can spend a lot of time thinking like this, thinking about how pathetic my life is and how I can’t wait to go to heaven and sing with the angels and my Christian friends who never liked me on earth. But then I remember… why am I wasting my time being sad and holding back tears? What does it matter if some parts of my life aren’t perfect? Who said that life was going to be easy and predictable and rosy all the time? Am I the first person who has experienced hurt? No. Will I be the last? No. Does anyone want to hear me complain, does anyone think my pain is justified, and does anyone really care? No.

I have everything that I need. And at least I can look forward to spending time with my immediate family, writing, perhaps some cookie baking and tree-decorating. What more can a person want out of life?

In economics, we learn about how self-interest makes the world go round. We learn how “smart for one, smart for all” puts food on the table. Yet I don’t want to live that way. I don’t want to always be thinking about how to improve my life and worrying about what people think of me. I want to do my job and keep my soul, living a life that responds to Christ’s great sacrifice. I’m so tired of being tired… it’s time to wake up and suck it up.

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Reflections on Failure

As I feared, it seems that beginner’s luck was the explanation for the success of my first golf lesson. Today at the driving range, I think I made more contact with the dirt than I did with the golf ball. 

This evening, I suddenly got very depressed, looking back on my life. I know it seems like a strange reaction to a bad day on the driving range, but I don’t claim to always be rational. Sometimes, I just feel like my life has been one big failure. My physical shortcomings, lack of publishing credentials… the fact that no matter what I do, people find me repulsive… my inability to control my emotions and create the appearance of “having it all together.”

I look at other people all the time, and whether I realize it or not, I’m wondering, “Why can’t I be more like them?” It’s not even in the most noble ways. I wish that I could look to others only to make myself improve as a person. But instead, I wish that I was as poised and confident as them, as likable as them, and not even for the right reasons. For my own reasons, so I can bring glory to myself. It sounds sick and narcissistic when you put it like that, but, well, that’s one way of putting it, and sadly, it’s fairly accurate. 

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones 

-Psalm 14:30

All the time, I want to be someone I’m not, because I can’t stand who I am. How much of who I am is what God intended and how much isn’t? I can’t tell, but I do know that I’m going about this the wrong way. And I know that I’m going about this the wrong way because I’m not always asking for God’s help. I need to ask God to make me who He wants me to be. And maybe that person isn’t the most suave, the most likable, the most charismatic, but I do know what that person is. That person is kind-hearted, loving, generous, patient, and resilient. That person loves God with all their heart, soul, and strength…and that person seems like a million miles away. Sometimes it seems like they’re the polar opposite of me. But in me is the potential to be that person, that much I know, and if I would just let the Holy Spirit come in and do its thing, I’m sure that little by little, my outer shell would be chipped away, then I will be chiseled and molded, and some bright day, when I’m no longer on this earth, that person will have her day. 

 

Gravity: A Movie Reviewed and A State of Mind

As you can glean from the title, I saw the movie Gravity today. Half the time I believe I was cringing or making very unattractive faces. It really “pulled me in” (pun not originally intended) because the acting was good, and the sense of tension and mortal terror that they were going for was achieved. I knew what was going to happen in the end, but I just couldn’t help wondering, questioning, feeling. I even got reasonably close to crying one time (and I actually don’t cry much in movies, even though I’m such a sap).

I thought it was funny how you could hear sounds when the things were crashing in space. It was not true to science, but I see why the director did it. Without the sound, something just would have been missing, because we as humans are so accustomed to sound.

And here’s the part where I, without shame, try to relate the movie I saw with my personal thoughts. Why am I such a girl? Can’t I just talk about an action movie without getting all weird?

Gravity. The laws of physics that we naively believe govern the natural world as independent entities that came about through their own means. The laws of society that can seem almost as strict.

I never really learned to use those things to my advantage. I am graceless, uncoordinated, awkward. Just today I picked up tennis again. To be fair to myself, I haven’t played in a long time. But I performed badly today, either hitting the net or hitting homers a solid portion of the time. Not that I was ever much of a pro, yet it’s the only sport that I have potential for being passable at. So I think I’ll give it a shot. Ugh, another pun.

I’ve never had good posture either. I just kind of let gravity do it’s thing to my body. Not to mention, I’m not exactly a walking embodiment of physical fitness either. I always feel like something is weighing me down, keeping me from getting in shape. I think it’s just a lack of willpower.

And with people. I want to be diplomatic, funny, and charming. But my own nervousness and fear of being dull, jerky, and uncomfortable holds me back. I let the pressure, the “gravity” hold me down instead of letting myself be grounded by it

When things aren’t going well, I like to think about heaven, an ideal world with beautiful views and no worries. I like to think that I’ll get there, Jesus will hand me a pina collada or something, and we’ll shoot the breeze in this perfect paradise with puffy clouds, islands and classical architecture. And then I’ll meet all the people who weren’t too fond of me in this life, the people that were too cool for me, the people who gave me charity, and everyone else, all the colors of the rainbow, and we’ll all hold hands and laugh together and dance around in the most beautiful harmony.

I think that my idea of heaven is a little distorted, but that’s okay. I guess I’ll just leave it up to God to decide what He likes. And it shouldn’t just be about the atmosphere there anyway, the most important thing about it is that we’re spending eternity with God. Chew on that. But what I should be focusing on now, is what I can do while I’m here on earth. And yes, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be here long, but that doesn’t mean that every second is not a gift, to be used in the best way possible. So maybe it would behoove me to try and be comfortable in my own skin, to get acclimated to this thing called gravity, and fine tune my skill at defying the norm (but in a way that is productive), while at the same time, learning to love the individuals that comprise this world that is both surprisingly orderly and excessively crazy.