Square 1

Previously on Underground voices, we saw that, once again, I was freaking out about making a decision. Do I leave home (sort of) and live at university, risking my very life and relationship with my family? Dun Dun Dun

Well, turns out that the decision wasn’t really mine after all. I didn’t push too hard. I told tell her that I didn’t want to do it if she wasn’t going to give me her blessing. And this was probably a good approach. I mean, what if something did go wrong? I would never hear the end of it.

“Apparently, now’s not the right time.”

“$10,000 for room and board!”

“This might make you happy- it can’t be right.”

“It’s true that you can’t love your family more than God- but if you can’t even help the other members of your household, what makes you think you’ll have any luck in the world at large?”

So here we are, back at square one. The show is over and the status quo is restored.

Why am I not thrilled about this? I was perfectly happy before I got the call. Everything is the same, but why do I feel so disappointed?

I know that I’ve got to stop martyring myself, but I don’t want to. You see, I don’t think I really want to accept and embrace the situation. I don’t even think I want things to get better this year. I just want them to see me bravely suffering, and I want them to feel kind of bad about it. Isn’t that messed up? Oh, sure, I won’t cry all the time, but why not sigh every once in a while? Why not let them see the subtle sadness in my eyes?

I know this is stupid, especially when they think they are doing what’s best for me. They really believe they are. And maybe this is what’s best for me. You can’t really argue with God’s decisions. Or, I guess you can, but why even bother in this case? Why can’t I just be flexible and patient? Just a sliver of good attitude would go a long way.

I know that my “dream” couldn’t have been that great in real life. It’s doubtful that I would have found everything that I was looking for there. At the other end of that tunnel is probably just loneliness and confusion, albeit in a different setting.

I really shouldn’t complain. I mean, what would I really complaining about? “Oh, noooo, I have a nice home and my family loves me, and by the way, I am getting a college education and I have a few friends, and the Lord of all creation sent HIs son to die for me so that I could become His daughter and have eternal life, despite all the pathetic failures and horrible, unspeakable  sins tallied against me that will all be wiped away as if they never existed.”

Yeah, doesn’t get that much worse than that.

Hehe

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What’s Really Going On (Spiritual Warfare Trigger Warning)

I guess I shouldn’t try to exact sympathy. It’s got to be my fault that I’ve let my mind become the violent battleground of God and Satan. I could have just let Christ’s victory on the cross be enough. But no, I had to have my own absurd, psychotic, philosophical war which makes so little sense that I can’t even begin to describe it properly. And yet here I am talking about it. 

I wish there was some kind of drug you could take to wipe your mind clear, like amnesia. I’d trade any intelligence I have for a day of peace. 

But there’s not, and I can’t. The easy way out isn’t the right way out. 

How did this all begin? And what justification is there for it? My life is more peaceful than usual, on the outside. Really, I’ve made peace with a lot of things. I’ve made peace with loneliness in a way. I’m grateful that my family seems to love me, despite all the reasons not to. I’ve slowed down the pace in the rat race. I have no particular beefs with anyone because people have generally been good to me, so it seems that Satan has decided to turn me against the human race in general, forcing me to philosophize, judge, mistrust, and hate when I obviously have no right to do any of that when I am apparently a million times more screwed up than anyone just for entertaining these evil thoughts.

This is all so confusing. I am torn between two poles: a hateful, jealous, violent, destructive, disgusting one, and a kind, loving, forgiving, peaceful one. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. I would just like to be on the second pole. Or would I?

Of course, a lot of this has to do with too much free time and a lack of focus. And that’s certainly part of it. Sometimes these thoughts go away, or God drives them away… but they always seem to return. Because it’s hard to forget what you know. 

I know this all seems really dark and hopeless, and in a way it is, because it’s not an easy problem to solve. But I still believe that I’m saved. I know, I know, Christians are supposed to be good, sane, and normal people. Yeah, I get it. It makes a little sense if you’re a mess before you’re saved, but afterward? That’s just not… good. And I don’t claim to be good. I don’t think this is good, but that doesn’t mean that good can’t come out of it. Good can come out of it in the same way a plant can grow in the ashes of a house fire (that does happen, right?)

I mean this- that I am sharing this story (again) in the hope that it will glorify God. Why not? Why isn’t it to God’s glory if He can save even miserable people like me? Why isn’t it a miracle that I feel loved by Him, in spite of it all?

But right here is where one of my pitfalls is. Sometimes I focus too much on my personal relationship with God, forgetting that so many people have personal relationships with God and will have personal relationships with God. Sometimes I feel that it is just me vs. this evil, superficial society and its endless members whom I am supposed to love, somehow. 

Lord, I’ve admitted the sin, please help me to truly despise it with all my heart and soul and turn from it! Anyone out there who’s reading this, please pray for me, not for my own sake, but for the sake of those around me who deserve my genuine love and not the politeness that masks my depression. If you don’t understand anything I’ve said, then give yourself a pat on the back. You are likely a sane and upright human being. If you do understand, thank you. If you understand too much, please let us bear this burden together in spirit. 

And now I’m a bit teary again, what’s new.

 

 

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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Alone Again, Naturally

A little over a year ago, when I was just on the cusp of finishing high school… that was one of the most hopeful times of my life. I thought that in only a few months my life was going to radically change for the better. I wouldn’t be alone anymore. I wouldn’t be unsure of myself anymore. I was going to blossom into some kind of normal, productive citizen. I was going to become the ideal Christian, someone whom people would think of as a “good person,” whatever that means. Yes sir, the next time my classmates would see me at our reunion, they would hardly recognize me. I would be a completely calm and functional human being. Hopefully a little stylish and charming too. 

My, was I off the mark. I am no where near that goal, and thank God for that. 

I had foolish and vain dreams of a better life back then. I still have those dreams. 

I was lonely at the time. And I am still lonely, but in a slightly different way. 

I was worried, and I am still worried.

I was a horrible sinner, and I still am. 

Then what’s different? It’s hard to say, really. The good news is that I don’t have to measure my worth with some kind of instrument. God would rather me focus on the here and now, what I can do at this moment, rather than what I was and what I have been and what I “am.” It’s the enemy who forces me to constantly look within myself for guidance.

I may still be lonely, but I have no right to be mad at God about it. I know that it’s good for me, He knows that it’s good for me, and we both know why. God gives me all that I need and more.

You want to know something? I’m not okay. Not okay. I won’t tell people that, but it’s true. And I can’t be the only one. 

But God is more than okay. God is the glory. God is the light. He is my rock and He is my Doctor. 

So it’s okay that I’m not okay. Let my dreams die, what does it matter? Let me ask the question, for once in my life, “What do you want, God?”

 

Contemplating Exercise

In a coffee shop with ice from green milk tea from another coffee shop
Some kind of Euro cafe music playing
And here I contemplate exercise. Should I stay or should I go?

All alone, happily alone, sadly alone
No one to talk to, but no one to please
I don’t feel charming today

Deep contentment, profound sadness coexisting in my heart
Shall I let it splatter on the page
Or forever hold my peace?

In love with writing, the life I’ve been given.
And yet…

Pleasure in [Your Own] Pain

I am going to segue a little here from talking specifically about Job. But I am interested by the topic of pain right now, and another side of pain. The good side of pain.

“The good side of pain? What is that?” You are probably asking. 

“Are you really just going to start with that ‘what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’ stuff? Is that really all that radical, worthy of being posted on a blog called ‘underground voices.”

Yes. And no.

What I will say first is that I have come to realize that my suffering, at times, brings me joy, pleasure. I know it’s weird. You may not be able to relate to what I’m saying at all.

You see, my pain is like a mild throbbing one that every once in a while flares up because my spirit grows incredibly weak. It’s not a root canal, just a lingering little thing hanging over me. it’s only a big deal because I make it a big deal in my mind.

So I don’t have a tragic tale of woe about how I was sold by pirates. But I do experience feelings of loneliness and inadequacy on a daily, hourly, minutely basis. Often, these feelings breed bitterness, anger, jealousy. But at the same time, there is something else going on. My feelings bring me joy. Bittersweet, profound joy that I can’t even describe in words. The knowledge that I will be misunderstood for the foreseeable future, and what’s more, that I thrive in seclusion, and what’s more… that it’s okay. 

Shocking, I realize. Masochistic, I know it sounds that way. Why do I feel disposed to cry tears of joy when I hear beautiful, melodic love songs, while thinking about how there’s a very good chance that no one will ever feel that way about me? Am I just out of my mind?

But what’s even more hard to explain is how these good feelings can coexist with the bitter ones. I once read in “Jesus Calling,” the Spanish version, that we should thank God for our sufferings. That’s a pretty crazy thought. So I find that sometimes I am doing that, but at the very same moment, also thinking to myself, “And they say these are the best years of our lives” (True story- I once saw that written on a bathroom wall). 

So pain to me is a dichotomy of, well, pain, of course, and joy.  I guess life is full of dichotomies. God Himself is a dichotomy (eg. Loving and wrathful, etc.). It’s not a contradiction. It just proves that life is complicated. I guess you can tell that I just love using the word dichotomy. I hope I actually know what it means…

When I stop and think about it, I do see the reasons for my circumstances. I see the way that having a void gives me the opportunity to fill it with God… or not (No, God’s not just a crutch like so many other things, it happens to be the real deal). I see that my life can’t be perfect, and even if it pretty much was, i would still want more. I see that I don’t need to get what I want to be happy/successful/worthwhile. And yes, it has made me stronger. 

The trouble is, I don’t always remember that, and I don’t always feel that way, even if I use that logic in my brain. We’ve all heard a million times that pain makes us stronger. Maybe some of us have even heard the thing about “thanking God for your trials.” But it’s hard to do it in practice. That’s really what it comes down to.

 

 

Sometimes I Feel Like I Live on a Deserted Island

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Sometimes I feel like I live on a deserted island

Alone- forgotten, foreign, forlorn

There used to be people here with me, but now they are gone. Likely off to the mainland to be like everyone else

I myself have been to the mainland, and my eyes ware drunk with its beauty. The people there are always in a hurry, but every 7th day and first day, they eat, and drink, and dance together. Their ways are sophisticated and their work intricate, utterly fascinating.

Impressed as I was and willing to learn their ways, they did not want me. They said, “Who are you, stranger? You look like us. You have two eyes and a nose and a mouth, and even your clothes are similar. But there is something different In the way you move about, in the way your speak, in the way that your eyes dart about. Your ways are unfamiliar and strange.”

“Go back to where you came from. Sail back to your island. You will be more comfortable there, for certain. We don’t want to be cruel, but we simply can’t have your kind here. You may seek to intermarry with us, spreading your weak genes.”

And so, tears in my eyes, I set sail for my island. I was glad to return to the old place. Lonely as it was, it was at least comfortable and familiar, not sinister and exclusive like the foreign land. But all too soon, my heart yearned again for the excitement and glamor.

Just as I was about to leave once again, I saw something in the distance, ships sailing towards me! Visitors! I caught juicy fish and burned them for maximum savor, and gathered my choicest treasures to welcome them. In the back of my mind, though, I feared they were not friendly.

I was wrong. They called themselves missionaries, summoned to sail and preach by none other than the Almighty God. They were friendly and warm, and I believed every word they told me. They very much appreciated my food and gifts, and even reciprocated with treasures from the mainland.

Sadly, though, we had to part. A tearful farewell it was. I had so fallen in love with their God and their ways. But on my island, my home, I was to stay, and to the mainland, their home, they would return. Good times we had together, but I was once again all on my own.

It broke my heart to think about how I would never get to eat, and drink and dance with them on the 1st and 7th days. Never to experience that beauty again, but banished to my island. What had I ever done wrong? So I cried there on the sand.

“Why are you crying?” said a voice from heaven, “I’m here with you now.” “But they’re all gone,” I said. “Aren’t I enough for you? Do you really still count yourself as solitary? I will never leave you. Island or mainland, I am always here for  you. I love you and I think your genes are just fine.”

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