Friday, July 30, 2010

My Name. His name.

When I meet most people, they assume that I am named after a city on the California coastline that shares my name, but I'm not. Here's the story of my name: (Which I may have told before in greater detail, but I cannot for the life of me remember.)

There is a long tradition of first born girls in my family being named with the first initial C and June as our middle name. My grandmother is Carol June and my mother is Celeste June and as you already know I am Cambria June.

My mother being the unique, artistic woman that she is was always in search for a unique "C" name.

When my parents were dating they went to a little art expo somewhere. There they saw a painting of an artist that they cannot remember. They say it was of a little girl in a field of wildflowers and it was called "Cambria". They decided that if they ever had a girl, that would be her name. They said I came out, they took one look at me and then at each other and said this is our Cambria.

I had a unique name before it was cool and celebs were doing it. What I resented soon became a part of my identity.

Recently my name has begun to become more popular. I've heard of 3 babies in the last few months named Cambria. What I didn't expect was for it to rock my identity. So much of my identity is wrapped up in being unique, original, like my name. My name made me feel like their was no one else like me and I liked that.

As chance, or probably something more would have it, I'm going through a study on the names of God right now by Kay Aruthur. I'm learning about all of God's names. How they represent Him and how we for centuries have tarnished His name. I'm shocked by how commonplace His name, that once was so reverent has become.

I've come to realize something. His name doesn't shape Him. Who He is calls out behind His name and gives it it's meaning. His name is good because He is good. Therefore, my identity is not wrapped up in a name and the child I someday have is not going to be unique or original or wonderful or horrible because of his/her name. Their character will determine the value of their name. It's meaning. It's relevance. It's significance. That's why when people who don't know who Christ is use His name it's often in a derogatory context, because they don't know of whom they are speaking. When I forget who He is His name, His power, isn't evident to me.

Instead of letting my name guide me, I'm going to choose to give meaning to it by working on the person behind it. By building a character that gives it meaning and significance and hope that through that practice, I reflect His name to those who don't know how good it really is.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

42 minutes

It's only been 42 minutes since I've been on vacation and already my mind is more clear. I am more relaxed and I'm connecting more to whichever side of my brain is creative. (I always forget which one does what.)

In these 42 minutes I've come to realize that I love my job. When I'm stressed or close to burnout, I forget just how much. I continue to work hard, but sometimes it becomes more labor than love. I know I love my job because I am already feeling like I'm going to miss it for the next week. I am going to miss calling strangers to talk to them about Jesus. I am going to miss hearing the stories of what random people ask at a church office. (My favorite this week was a guy who left a message on the counseling center voicemail and then when I called him back didn't remember calling me at all and freaked out.) I'm going to miss my cube buddies. I'm going to miss my boss. I'm going to miss watching my amazing volunteers make people feel like they belong at our church.

I feel privileged to get to do what I do. Though I doubt my calling, or rather, my deserving of my calling every day; I know I am exactly, precisely, where God wants me to be.

In case you were wondering Well Church, absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I've been a little creatively stunted. Solution: Vacation next week. Expect to hear more soon. If I posted right now I promise it'd be real, real boring.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Space You Leave

I step.
As if I walk.
I breathe.
as if the air is there.
Ever present your space remains.
it sings till it echos in my mind.
the hope of you hidden in my heart.

You're here
In what's left, in what's lost
and I never want to set it right.
calling to me:
my arms, my heart

it's only here that I am home.

-For my dear friends,
Thinking of you. Remembering him.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Caffeine FREE

It's hard to believe, but for over a month now, I've been caffeine free. What brought on this life altering change? Great question. A plethora of things I suppose, but mostly, getting into a "discussion" with my boyfriend.

We make it a habit to lightly tease each other about our vices. About a month ago, I was giving him a hard time about one of his, to which he responded, "I will as soon as you give up caffeine". I emphatically insisted I could give up caffeine if I wanted to and challenged him to bet me. He refused, but I took it as a challenge none the less. Immature? Maybe. But you're a stupid, butthead if you think so.

What started off as something ridiculous became something real for me. Brad Bell, my boss and pastor of our church, challenged our staff to make sure we were taking a Sabbath after a recent visit to Israel. As he was speaking to us I realized, I don't even know when my body needs rest. For so long I have joked about my coffee, pepsi, and in general caffeine addiction that I didn't think about how I was medicating my body. I didn't think about how I was interfering with my body telling me when I needed rest. Instead, I just kept telling it to go, and go, and go. Suddenly, this ridiculous challenge became something more profound. I decided I wanted to listen to my body. When I did, it started telling me a couple other things:

1. you never work out anymore and I don't like it
2. it hurts when you eat Mc Donald's (even though it is disgustingly awesome)

I had once again fallen into a familiar cycle of overcommitting and ignoring what I need to stay healthy. What I joked away was actually a symptom of a bigger issue.

Since then, I have been eating healthier (not like crazy healthy, but I've been staying away from the golden arches and started paying attention to what I put in my body). I'm not going to lie to you, at first it sucked. Like those first few days I was off caffeine were horrible and I hope if I get Alzheimer's some day I won't remember them. Though I probably will, because Alzheimer's seems like one of those horrible things where you forget the people you love, but remember that one time you fell on your butt at a football game in high school.

My sacrifice has been incredibly worth it. A month in I can tell you, I miss pepsi sometimes when I'm at a mexican restaurant, but really it's not worth it because I feel so much better. I have more sustained energy. I have less headaches. I'm sleeping better than I have in a long time. In general, my body is beginning to function like it was intended to. Which gives me more energy to pour into the things and people I love. Like for reals, this is the business.

Caffeine free is the way to be.


Monday, April 26, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name

I’ve lived most of my life in Fresno, Ca, in fact, I’ve lived most of my life on the same square block. It’s a sad fact for me to admit, but it’s the truth. I say it’s because my family is here, and that is a big reason. I say it’s because it’s so cheap to live here, and that doesn’t hurt. I say I’ve tried to get out and it keeps drawing me back, and on some level that’s true, but the reality is, it’s comfortable.

Everything about Fresno is built for comfort. No matter where you are in town you are two miles from a Target. There are a total of 5 in the city. No matter where you go in the city you are 1.5 miles from a Starbucks (give or take). Most of which you don’t have to leave the comfort of your car to enjoy. Everything about this city is built for two things: comfort and convenience. While those things are nice and have a certain appeal, lately I’ve been thinking, Is that really all there is? Is that really the goal of a city or a group of people? Of life? Comfort and convenience.

I refuse to be one of those people that lives in Fresno and bags on it like crazy, but I can also put aside my idealistic tendencies and look at it honestly. Fresno doesn’t have the greatest rep. Though there are tiny portions that are lovely, for the most part it’s a box ville of chain stores. Chain stores I’m embarrassed to admit, that I adore. ( As you know I love me some TJ Maxx.) However, there is a downfall to all this comfort and convenience. Comfort and convenience almost always produce mediocrity and mediocrity is what we have producing for some time. It’s what we’ve been settling for. Heck I’ve settled for it. Some where along the line mediocrity speaks to you and convinces you that you are safe, that you are comfortable (which you are) and then it lies to you and tells you that that’s really all one can ask for. I’m refusing to believe that’s the truth.

I’m refusing to believe comfort, convenience and mediocrity are all that life has to offer. Are all that one can hope for. I have let myself be convinced, for too long, that my comfort is what’s important, but it’s not. In fact comfort, almost never, produces excellence, or the extraordinary.

So what does this mean? I don’t know yet, but I’m excited. Excited to learn beyond my horizons. To challenge myself to make my life less convenient and more meaningful. To manage my time differently. To pursue what excites with fervor.

The older I get the more I’m learning, maturity and growth are about learning to be fearless. That’s the secret behind any great art. Not great technique or planning, but being willing to risk failure. Being willing to not be afraid to fail and whatever it is you’re trying to create. I think it’s the secret to living an extraordinary life as well.

Fresno, hear my call, abandon the numbing comfort we’ve all become accustomed to and embrace something unexpected. Someone suggested that we should change Fresno’s name in an article in the Fresno Bee once. The author claimed that the reputation has been so badly blasted in the media that this was the only way to change the nation and the world’s notions about Fresno. An interesting notion, but a flawed one. If we change the name, but fail to change the people or the city, the world will not be fooled. I’d rather change us. I’d rather inspire us to be more and sit back and watch as the world notices a group of people truly living.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"I'm Sorry"

When I was a kid I was a dreamer and a liar. I would get carried away in my own imagination. I would imagine scenarios and stories. Play out conversations in my head. (Many involved the president and Oprah, not joking.) When I was in trouble, there was always a period of time that I would have to "sit and think about what I'd done." I didn't usually think about what I'd done though, usually, I'd think about how I could get out of it. I'd craft arguments and positions in my mind, colorful explanations for what I did and why. Though I would dream up wonderful, matlock-esq explanations, I never really lied outside of my own thoughts. Not until I was in High School anyway. Usually, I would come up with all my stories and by the time my parents came in, what came out of me was, "I'm sorry."

To be honest I'm not sure how sorry I was. I bet sometimes I was sorry. Like if I'd made my sister cry or something, but usually I think I knew "I'm sorry" was the way for me to make things right with my family. It would end the separation I experienced when I had violated the terms of our arrangement. I had disobeyed my parents and I knew "I'm sorry" was my ticket back in.

I still say I'm sorry a lot. Sometimes at inappropriate times in conversation. I think when I say it, what I'm trying to say is, I don't want things to be uncomfortable between us anymore or I want things to be right with us or Are we ok? But instead what comes out is I'm sorry.

I've noticed the same pattern with me and God. Often I'll quickly run through my list of confession to Him. I'll breeze over the list of my sins and quickly get to something more tolerable. It's made me begin to question, How grieved over my sin am I? I know I want to be right with God. I know I don't want things to be uncomfortable or weird between us. I don't want to feel like He's far from me. I wonder, am I actually repentant or am I just trying to appease God by apologizing for my sin.

I think the motive of getting out of the dog house isn't completely bad, but it's not complete. God wants me not only to apologize, he wants me to grieve my sin, to hurt a little. To long to be right with him again. Not so I sit in self pity, but so I don't want to do it again. So I can identify with the pain Christ felt on the cross and so I can appreciate how great a sacrifice He made.

Even though it's awkward, it's good for me to think about what I've done. If I don't think about it how will I be motivated to change it and if I don't work towards changing it, am I really sorry at all? I know I'll never be perfect, I recognize that full well, but I can't grow weary of trying to change. I can't get cold to the gravity of sin or else I'll demean the gravity of the sacrifice of Christ for me.

Now once I do grieve, once I do confess, I can't dwell. I've got to let it go. I've got to let God do what He does and restore us and not hold on to it. I've still got accept what He's done for me, but I can only accept it fully if I experience the pain fully. I do it a disservice if I numb myself to it or hold on to it.

There are a lot of things I'm not sure of, but I have a feeling God wants a little more than an insincere "I'm sorry" from me.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Feeling pathetic about yourself doesn't make you a better Christian. Though popular thinking might support that. For most of my life I thought that guilt and shame were just a normal part of a Christian existence. In fact, I even convinced myself that when I felt that way, it was because I was repentant over my sin, but that's not the truth. What started as repentance quickly became wallowing in self pity. Which isn't pretty from any angle.

The truth is, the root of my self-depricating behavior was not my grief over my sin, but my lack of faith and my pride. The truth is, it's easy for me to believe in the grace of God when I don't need it. As soon as I sin, especially a sin that I judge as "big" or "dirty" or "extra bad", I doubt whether God really forgives me right away. Which is pathetic and the reason I do it, even more pathetic. The reason I do it isn't because I'm so broken over my sin. The real reason I do it, is because most days, no matter how many times I read "it is by grace you have been saved through faith, so no man can boast (eph 2:8)" I still believe in the way I respond, that God is keeping a record of my rights and wrongs. I still believe, in that moment that I'm not measuring up. And then, instead of turning to Christ and accepting his Grace. I sit, in self pity, because I've failed again to redeem myself in my actions. I feel that way because I still, some days, don't want to admit that I need a Savior. I still believe I should have some part or role in my own salvation, even though I don't.

If whatever you are feeling after you sin, doesn't cause you to worship and seek Christ, it isn't repentance. It's guilt, self-pity, or shame, no matter what you name it, it's your pride. True repentance produces worship. True repentance puts God in His proper place and you in yours. True repentance is the first step in healing, not wallowing.

When it comes down to it, my true theology is what I practice; not what I claim to believe or even what I've memorized and theorized about. When my reactions and emotions do not match up with what I know or believe to be true, it must begin the process in me again. It must take me back to Christ and to a process of self-evaluation, so that what I believe can match what I practice.

Lord, help me not to be pathetic.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Annoying Boyfriend.

With permission from Andrew.. here you go.

Andrew used to do this really annoying thing when we started dating. When I would vent to him about a person, situation, or nearly any frustration he would take the finger I was pointing at the person I was frustrated at and point it at me. He'd remind me that I do whatever it is that I was frustrated with another person for doing and it drove me absolutely CRAZY. To answer your question guys, Yes, Andrew is fearless. Most guys would not have the cajones to say that to a woman who's frustrated. You can see how this would be a recipe for disaster.

However there is something that he doesn't know... the reason it drove me absolutely crazy is cause he was absolutely right. Actually, he probably does know that. Man, it's annoying dating someone who is mature, pretty much always right, and knows it. Annoying and Awesome.

But I digress. Even though he graciously hears me out and doesn't say it anymore, it still plays in my head every time I'm frustrated with someone. What started out as annoying has become a really useful tool in not wasting time and energy being annoyed by people. By recognizing that I do the very things I'm annoyed with, it's made it much easier for me to love people where they are at, because when I do those things I need that grace from others. It's helped me point out areas in my life that I judge myself too harshly and because of that, I judge others too harshly too. Now, when people annoy me, which they do, it's an opportunity for me to discover something about myself and sort it out.

The result has been that I am much more Zen about things. Much more peaceful. Much more unburdened by the eccentricities of others that I used to use and still do at times as a distraction from dealing with my own issues. It doesn't mean I want to be everyone's BFF all of the sudden, but it is making it easier to give grace to myself and others.

Tuche Belleci. Tuche. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Old Regimes

"Although this kingdom was given to David by God, David would have to take it from the old aristocracy."-Beth Moore

A group of ladies and I have been going through a book about David written by Beth Moore. It's been an interesting experience. I think I've been more interested in the time I get to spend with these ladies than what we've been going through, though both have been rich. I have a very Texas sort of crush on Beth Moore. I wish I didn't like her, because I feel like that would make me a lot cooler, but she's pretty much one of the only legit Christian women speakers. (In my opinion, which is the only one that matters on my blog).

I love this quote. I've written a lot about the effort it takes to move on, to grow, to move past, and this speaks to that. You're probably over it by now, but I'm not so ha. Personal growth takes work and effort. You don't magically become a different person, or in this case King. You'll remain under the "old regime" for as long as you allow yourself to.

This quote also speaks to the awkward in between. I feel like I keep finding myself in these almost/not yet sort of situations. I haven't arrived in any area of my life which is exciting and yet unsettling. There are certain things they don't tell you when you're growing up. Like, when you graduate from college, you aren't going to get the job of your dreams. In fact, you'll probably have the job of your nightmares, if you're lucky, that will have nothing to do with what you actually want to do. Oh, or you'll find what you thought you wanted to do, you wouldn't want to do in a million years.

You'll find yourself in relationships that are grey and confusing with people who are grey and confusing (which are the best kind of people by the way, see Alice in Wonderland:

The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter's temperature]
Alice Kingsley: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.)

You'll have more questions than answers, and much more to learn.

But no one tells you that. They tell you what to do next, but not what's coming after. They don't teach you how to pursue the future for yourself. They don't prepare you to make your own decisions. Because all of the sudden, you decide what's coming next and what's happening after. And while that is an all together terrifying experience. It is rich with possibility and those of us who believe in God can do so with a peace that there is purpose in whatever place we find ourselves.

What I love about this quote is what hope there is. David might not have the kingdom yet, but He will, because it's God's will. That doesn't mean David sits back and waits for God to hand him the kingdom. He had to do the work. He had to take it.

So what did he do in the meantime? He spent time with God so he'd know when to move and then he moved when God said move. He took the kingdom.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Messy Grace

I don't know if I mentioned it much, but I work for this church. This church that believes in grace (aka "unmerited favor"). What church people mean when they say that is God did it all. It's not cause we're good or cool (if you've ever met a Christian you can approve that statement). It's cause God is so gracious He chooses to be kind to us. Even though we're, well, us.

There is one catch though. Once you've received grace, you're supposed to extend it. We have a hard time with this one. Especially at church. Most churches are places where people feel judged, guilted or shamed for who they are. I'm lucky to be at a place that doesn't value that. We like to consider ourselves a church of grace, however, putting our money where our mouth is is hard. There comes a point when you are extending grace to someone that you come to a place where you are forced to allow your reputation to be "tarnished" for the sake of extending grace to a person the world might feel is unqualified. It's really easy to extend grace to someone when it makes you look good. I mean even talking about it makes you look good. Who wouldn't want to call themselves gracious? It sounds so altruistic. But actually doing it? That's messy. That's hard.

I haven't always been a person who errs on the side of grace. In fact, most of the time, I fear I've been the opposite, but that's slowly changing in me. The older I'm getting, the more I'm realizing just how disqualified I am from earning God's grace. As I realize it, it compels me to show it to others. Grace though it seems passive, is actually a very active choice. You have to choose to care more about extending grace to a person that what a judgmental loudmouth (see me a couple years ago, and still on a bad day) would say. You have to care more about grace than your reputation.

Recently, I was handling a sticky situation at the church. A person of a not so perfect reputation coming around and wanting to serve. We've seen this many times. I mean if we disqualified people from serving based on their sin, we'd have a pretty empty church, and no staff members. What do you do when people are pointing out someone and asking, should this person be "allowed" to serve?

As we were chewing on the issue, we examined the persons heart and intentions, their openness to truth being spoken into their life, their ability to really understand truth, and where they are at in their relationship with the Lord.

Then I started to think. God really tarnished his reputation by extending grace to us. I mean, God is perfect. Holy. Awesome. Wonderful. And yet, a large part of the world sees Him as a joke because of Christians. God chose to care more about loving us, about extending us grace, than protecting His reputation. The least I can do is forfeit mine in the same way. Will I get burned? Maybe. Probably, but God's been burned a few times too. Does it mean I stop speaking truth? Absolutely not, but I want to do so considering where a person is at in this journey with God. If we get in the trenches with people, odds are things are going to get a little dirty, and I ain't scared of getting a little dirt under my nails. Will there be those who don't understand? Surely, but it's not my job to appease the masses. It's not my job to silence the voices of judgment. All I need to do is be willing to be misunderstood for the sake of grace.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Pygmalion Project

You may or may not know the story of Pygmalion. In ancient Cyprus, Pygmalion went on a search for the perfect woman. One problem, he couldn't find her (go figure). So he decided to build one. He had the perfect woman carved out of stone and he fell madly in love with her. The only problem? She was made of stone. Aphrodite felt bad for him (I'm not sure why) and turned his woman of stone into flesh. A true love story indeed.
In the field of psychology there is a phenomenon based on this myth. I learned about it in a family relations class I took in college and it has always fascinated me, because I've found it to be crazy true.

The Pygmalion Project is a struggle going on beneath the surface in relationships. Basically, each member of the couple is trying to change the other into their "perfect" mate. The problem is, they were attracted to their mate for a reason and part of that reason is their "imperfection." If they succeed in their efforts, they are often disappointed, because the person they fell for isn't the same anymore.

I started thinking, Are we doing the same with God? Am I trying to change the image I have of God? And what happens if I succeed? When I attribute characteristics to God that aren't true, I am doing that very thing. It may be impossible to change God as you can change the person you're in a relationship with, but you can certainly change, dilute, or distort your image of God. I can easily start to believe untruths about God. When I do that I am pretty much composing my own god out of stone. A god that accepts my sin. A god that brushes over my mistakes. A god that is mellow. A god that is passive.

If I'm honest, I am much more comfortable with a loving, always accepting, grandpa, teddy bear of a god. I am much more comfortable with a passive god, because that means I get to be in control. I think the root of this is biblical. In Genesis 3 it talks about "a woman's desire being for her husband." What that means is a desire for his position, a desire to be in control, and I think that desire does not end with "my husband's" position, I think I'm after God's too. In fact, I often breeze over, excuse, and belittle my sin, when in fact, God is far from cool with it, though He graciously forgives it.

Men distort their image of God too. Their ideal god is cool with their sexual immorality. At the very least he tolerates it. Don't believe me? Check out every religion created by men, it ALWAYS involves a distorted view of sexuality. Mormons? polygamy. Islam? a buttload of virgins. The greeks? Oracle sex. And the list goes on and on, but it is not just limited to other religions. Lets face it, guys would really like it if God was cool with or glazed over their desire for pornography or their lust for other women. The issue is rarely talked about publicly, but is a secret struggle for many good men. When the truth is, God is far from tolerate of it. Though He provided mercifully for it's covering a long time ago.

If we're not careful, if I'm not careful, to preserve my image of God for who He really is, I'll attribute characteristics to him that are untrue. I'll in effect change Him into someone I'm more comfortable with and in the meantime I'll be creating my own god of stone. The result is not only that I have distorted His image, but I am no longer attracted to Him or desire Him, because the god I've created is no longer holy, righteous, or just. I've succeeded in completing my own version of the Pygmalion Project. He is no longer Him and most likely I'll blame Him for my lack of desire for Him. I'll wonder why He's become silent. I'll cry out to my god of stone, while a holy, perfect and true God is waiting for me to acknowledge Him for who He truly is.

Is your god a god of flesh or stone?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good Stuff Coming soon.

And by soon, I mean like later today, but I'm so excited about it I thought I'd give a teaser.

"Women want a god who is passive. So they can feel loved and walk all over him. Men want a god who is cool with them having sex with everyone and everything."

yep, I actually said that. Check back in for a full explanation later :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Short Comings

I'm short. Not midget short, but definitely below average. I didn't know I was short until I was in first grade. Peter Brionez told me. During 1st recess he told me that I was so short I looked like a tater tot. I didn't have a come back. I just went back into class when the bell rang and then went home and cried. Now it doesn't seem that terrible. I mean tater tots are awesome and thanks to Napolean Dynomite they have become a pop culture staple.

I wonder how long it would have taken me to figure out that I was short if Peter Brionez hadn't told me.

There are some things about being short that are nice that you might not be aware of (especially you tall people):

1. Low center of gravity, I rarely fall.
2. I've never been too tall for a guy
3. I don't hit my head on things
4. Never have to worry about high waters (well, I guess I have to worry about actual high bodies of water, but not the fashion don't)
5. I'm awesome at hide and go seek
6. I always have enough leg room. period.
7. I've never scared a child.

However, with all of these advantages, there are some drawbacks:

1. People pet you a lot
2. they also pick you up. Not cool.
3. there's the obvious inability to reach things on the top shelf, that sucks.
4. I'll never be "discovered" as the new face/body of Chanel
5. I think it contributes to people not taking me seriously.
6. No matter how old I get I'll look like a kid.

Whatever the pluses and minuses are, I am, and there's no fighting it. I couldn't look at Peter Brionez and tell him, "no I'm not," or "so are you," because what he said was true. Harsh, strange, immature, but true. I wish it was as easy to admit short comings about myself that aren't so obvious. When I'm faced with criticism I usually have a come back. Why do I fight even what I know deep down to be true? Why would I rather pretend to be taller than I really am? Especially when I'm not fooling anyone. Why do we fool ourselves into believing we are a bigger deal than we actually are? Why do I care so much about covering up those short comings? Do I really believe I am fooling anyone else? Do I really believe that if I argue hard enough, and hide long enough, that the world around me will think I'm good and perfect?

I think I do. On some sick level, if the people around me think I'm good, a nice person, fun, sweet, friendly, insert whatever you wish to be here, then it must be true. Why don't we want to believe about ourselves what we already know to be true on some level? Probably cause it sucks. Probably because it's a lot easier to think we're doing better than we actually are. That's why I'm thankful for the Peter Brionez's in my life. People who can be honest with me about my shortcomings. I just hope I can grow to acknowledge them, accept them, and work on changing them.

My dear reader there are areas in your life where you are a "tater tot." I can only hope you have a more tactful Peter Brionez in your life to let you know.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Faces of Stone

Have you ever really looked at old people? Like a lot of them? I grew up in Armenian church, so I became an expert in interpreting old people. The human form and it's aging is fascinating to me. Recently, I've become more in touch with the idea of my own mortality. We get old. At 25, my body is starting to change and each day I look more and more like my mother, which isn't a bad thing at all, but it is different. While I know, I hope, I have a long way to go, it's made me think about how people choose to cope with the process of aging.
Angry old man by Souljacker.
As a young girl, I studied the faces and personalities of the old people around me. Partly out of fear and the rest out of a morbid curiosity. I mean, they were EVERYWHERE. Some old people are really scary. They hate kids and their faces all look like that guy on the bitter beer face commercials.
Then there are some who make you feel warm and safe just looking into their eyes. There is a peace and comfort in some and with others a bitterness and sharpness. As I studied, I developed a theory. I came to realize that as we age the soul of a person gets closer to the surface. You can read it in the lines of their face. Those who age gracefully and those who don't. There are those with laugh lines, and others that seem to have faces of stone and as life has caused their souls to grow bitter and their hearts cold, their outside seems to more and more reflect their insides. Youth is beautiful because it's full of potential and is unmarred by the sometimes unfair, sometimes wonderful, sometimes beautiful world we live in. I've realized the older we get, the harder it is to hide behind your youth. We are forced to take responsibility for ourselves. For who we are becoming and what we have become. Youth and ignorance are a perfect excuse, but it only works for so long. At some point we have to take an active roll in who we are becoming, or we'll blink and life will have passed, and we won't be ready to face the reality in the mirror.

C.S. Lewis said, "You don't have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body." I couldn't say it better if I tried. The essence of who you are is so pure, but that's not all there is to the story. There is a myth out there. A myth that you have to just "discover" who you are. In the movie "Hitch" there is this line that I love. Hitch is telling a dweeby guy that he needs a new pair of shoes. The guy says the shoes aren't really "him." Hitch says, "You is a very fluid concept right now." Who you are is a fluid concept, it is not set in stone. As life happens it must be not only discovered, but developed. Each day, each decision I make, I shape the image of who I am (aka my soul), the life I will lead and ultimately what image my soul will have as it begins to peek through the shell it's incased in.

(and yes I WILL be wearing this when I'm 90)

I hope to be the kind of woman who's eyes tell a story of grace, of love, of peace, and of acceptance of who I am and who I'm not. I hope to age gracefully with Christ. To have my soul become more like Him, so children won't be afraid of me and so I won't resent who I become. I hope to maintain a sense of humor, to continue to take myself less seriously and choose to care about things that matter and get over things that don't. It's going to take work. It's going to take faith and it's going to take time, if I'm lucky, it'll take a life time, but it's something I'm going to start today. I'm going to start by evaluating myself honestly. By asking others to. By recognizing and accepting and changing what I need to. I'm going to start by spending more time with Christ.

What are you doing to develop your soul?

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Holiday Theory of Hope

Hey Blog friends.

It's been awhile. Hope the holidays have been treating you well. I had a unique experience this holiday season that I wanted to share with you.

I've been pretty "mum" on the subject of my guy and that's intentional for a couple reasons. It's also the reason that it's been a little quiet on the blog front for awhile. A lot of what I'm currently learning centers around him and us. It's just the nature of this dating beast and I'm either way too respectful of him or way to selfish to share that just yet. However, I will share this with you.

Leading up to Christmas we often said to each other, "It just doesn't feel like Christmas."

I heard many of my friends of a similar age and season of life saying the same things and I started to wonder, why are we all not "feeling" Christmas this year?

Christmas for me, is usually a mix of sentimentality, reflection, family, and a sense of wishing and even missing the past. Missing the Christmas's and special times with family. The fuzzy memories of precious time wrapped in magic and wonder and probably lacking even a splash of reality. The same components are still there. My family, the sights, sounds, tastes, and excitement, but nothing is quite like the hope for and anticipation of Christmas as a child. Teenage Christmas's just weren't childhood Christmas's filled with wonder, excitement and magic. Teenage Christmas's were melancholy looks at what Christmas had been, at least for me. So, the ones after that were really less about experiencing this holiday and more about reflecting on the ones I'd had.

But something changed this year. This year I wanted to be in the "present" and I'm not talking about gifts. Was it because of the "him" in my life? Maybe, that was probably at least part of it. Was it because I'm finally letting go of some past seasons that were painful? That may be part of it too. I think I finally accepted this year that the best moments of my life haven't happened yet. Each Christmas will be different like each year. Each will have it's ups and downs and hopefully each will have it's lessons learned. That's the beauty of this ride.

All I know is there is something beautiful and hopeful about being able to live in and appreciate the moment we're in. I love sentimentality, history and looking back, but this holiday served as a good reminder for me, that for as much as we look back we also have to keep up, to move forward, to move on in some cases, and to pursue what we're in. To embrace and enjoy where we are at.

This year will not be what was.

Depending on the year you had that statement can carry a lot of different emotions. For my friend who got married this year, that statement was a little sad. It's no longer their first year. Though that's exciting, it's a little bittersweet. For those who 2009 held immense pain and challenges, 2010 will not be what was. It will be what it will be. Instead of attempting to hold onto the past and failing, or fumbling at trying to figure out the future. Do today. Each day this year.

My resolution. To experience this year fully. To learn a lot. To live(fully) a whole year.