Conveniently Disconnected Paragraphs.

"I have found it convenient to put my remarks in the forms of disconnected paragraphs." — T.S. Eliot

having considered all the facts.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about hope, and attempting to breath new life into that word, redefine it, or even let myself remember how unbelievably necessary it is in order to live well and honestly on this earth. Often times (and sometimes unfortunately so) words lose their meaning to me. Essentially, they die. And most times it is people (myself included) who are using them incorrectly and irresponsibly that kill them. So, in order to bring them back to life again, I have to strip them down, revisit them slowly, humbly and with desire.

And, to be honest, I have a hard time doing things slowly and humbly, and it takes awhile for me to gain a desire that is born out of both of those things.

I think the death of the word hope is partially due to the fact that I always considered it as a sort of synonym for optimism— a trait that has always been very far from me. Being hopeful to me meant being sort of unrealistic, closing your eyes to the inevitable disappointments that come our way. A temporary emotional bandaid that would leave us feeling stupid and alone. This understanding is unfortunate and so incorrect because it complete disregards the active and hardworking nature of hope.

Set the table just to set us free 

When you look up the word hope in the dictionary, you see lots of action words. Words like expect and desire and anticipate, “to desire with expectation of obtainment, OR to cherish a desire with anticipation.” Hope is the reflection of our capacity for beauty. It is the representation of our belief that there is more coming. By hoping, we recognize the current beauty in our lives, and we acknowledge that there is more of it. We desire with the total acknowledgment of inevitable fulfillment. Hope is active and it is hardworking and hope is not easy. It’s not easy because life is full of confusion, unfulfilled desire, and grown-ups who change their mind. But we hope anyway, considering all these facts. And that is hard.

Take my love and my tendencies

In my life I have encountered so many people who are capable of so much beauty that it is almost too much to bear. Some of those people are in a band called Giants & Pilgrims, people in touch with the fact that honesty is what makes things the most beautiful, and that hope takes hard work. Their whole album “Almanac No. 1” seems to me to be this important acceptance of the dirtiness of living, and that sometimes desiring more— believing that there is more to come— is not easy but it is worth it. I listened to this album for almost entire year before I heard it for the first time, and I’m so thankful that I finally did. (Italicized words in this post are from the song “Rally Those Hopes”  written by artist Tim Coons).

Our fingernails are full of dirt and hope.

Doesn’t this idea of active hope makes sense for the way we are supposed be in relationship with one another? We must love with the expectation that we will receive it, even when we have experienced the moments that we haven’t. Having considered all of the facts, we must love in a way that instills the confidence in others that there is more to come. Right?

I’ll stay with you if you stay with me.

spring time/hope time

spring time/hope time

the virtue of the excited.

My roller coaster relationship with my blog is directly connected to my insecurities about writing/the things I have to say/being a young millennial with a blog/hating lots of other blogs/etc. So, thank you to all of you who really care by also not caring about my moments of drought/shielding my eyes to any inspiration at all. But here I am, above water for now. And man, I have missed you.

I think that when we love something, I mean like really love it, there is this element of excitement that sort of organically becomes a part of it. We buy t-shirts, we have a sort of innocent and constant willingness to talk about it, and we believe in it— we accept it as something true in our lives— and we don’t care who knows it. It is unashamed, and unembarrassed.

There is this weird culture that exists now that seems to me like a bunch of people that love stuff but find more value in pretending that they don’t love it “too much.” There is an expectation of being unamused and unexpressive. This lack of excitement or enjoyment seems to be a epidemic that creeps its way into our lives so slowly that we barely recognize it. The band shirts we bought when we were younger have become something that we have apologize for, we can’t scream or yell at concerts (or in my case cry our eyes out), we shorten our conversations, and we make ourselves less articulate about what we really love, almost unnaturally. Even in the context of art —a place in which people are supposed to find a kindred solace- a place to rest- to find truth- to find others- has somehow become an environment filled with egg-shell faux pas of what we are allowed to love, and how we are allowed to love it. We have somehow, along the way, taken expressiveness and married it to ignorance. And the scary thing to me is that this attitude might start manifesting itself in the way in which we love people.

A friend of mine, that I met six years ago at a teeny bible school in England, is the perfect glow bug of an example here. He is one of the most excited people I have ever met and is beauty’s number one fan boy. I like to think of him as a permanent tourist. Thirsty for the new, thirsty for everything he has never known, and thirsty for human experience. With a camera around his neck, and love in his heart, he runs at the world from across a field of flowers like a lover being reunited with his one and only after coming home from the war. He is untainted by the sexiness of indifference, and I swear you can see his brightness from a thousand miles away.

Now, please understand that I am not making a case for optimism (something that has never been quite accessible to me), or even a case for not being sad when sad things happen, that is not what I am talking about at all.

I am talking about granting ourselves the freedom to be excited, of letting ourselves connect our minds with our bodies and aggressively sprinting towards the things we love.

And let’s start buying band shirts again, yeah?

 

Chilly Chicago. [February 10, 2014]

Chilly Chicago. [February 10, 2014]

familiar.

I’ve always been  excited, ready, and willing for adventure. I say yes far more than I actually should, and, when it comes to experiences, it’s hard for me to make a “cons” list, because I am simply too focused on the competing “pros” of any and every possible decision I can make. Although this has created some serious issues in regards to efficient decision-making, it has also allowed me to experience some of the most incredible, precious, and unexplainable experiences of my life.

So, graduating college and moving to Chicago didn’t necessarily feel like a big deal, and it definitely didn’t feel scary. Despite the warnings of basically everyone about the few months after graduating college being hard and horrible and lonely, I felt confident in the fact that I was good at doing new things, that I would “grab it by the horns” “start a new chapter” “carpe diem” and all the other horribly lame things that people say in these situations.

But then came the time when I realized that everyone was right. And, of course, I tried everything I could to spin the uniqueness of my feelings, to say that the things I was feeling and was going through had nothing to do with my transition. And although some of the more heart-wrenching moments of my summer were a result of particular situations, a lot of it was just this general cloudiness that I seemed to be carrying around with me on a daily basis, this underlying unsure-ness that seemed to be influencing even the smallest decisions.

And that is where I am now. Sometimes these creeping feelings come in the form of fear, or regret, or even on somedays anger. And that is weird because those things are not things I am used to feeling, let alone dealing with on a daily basis. I am constantly overwhelmed by all of the things I don’t know. About my life, particular relationships, even my desires or goals.

But, what I find myself doing more and more is clinging to what is familiar. But this familiarity is not one that is usually connected to the average connotation. In fact, being in a new place makes the familiar seem really far away. I am talking about the familiarly that resides in participating in humanity. Ya know when you read a book or a poem or something for the very first time, but there is something about it that feels immediately familiar to you? I think that is because there is some sort of general awareness in people creating good art of what it means to be human, and it is beautiful and connected and empowering.

And I think God is constantly and consistently trying to remind us of his crazy and new and radical love that sometimes seems to come in the form of something familiar and unassuming, and when it comes, it feels like we have been waiting for it all along.

And through all this cloudiness and heaviness that seems to be a strange and unavoidable companion of mine right now, I am constantly running into these small but shinning glowbugs of familiarity. And they are mine and they are beautiful and they are enough.

Living room in the evening light. 2014.

Living room in the evening light. 2014.

Kitchen in the morning light.

Kitchen in the morning light. 2014.

appetite.

Let’s start this post by all pretending that it hasn’t been six months since the last time that I have written. Please and thank you.

It seems almost impossible all of things that have packed themselves into the last six months of my life. Some of them I wish to explain in detail, and some of them I wish to never really speak about ever again.When I think about it all at once, I get very overwhelmed and then I read a poem out loud to myself to interrupt my brain and slow it down a little bit (or to ignore and/or avoid, but to each his own).  It is so strange to me how large and how small life can be all at once. Anything can change in an instant. Location, relationships, even desires or beliefs.

Some changes matter so much, and some of them don’t really matter at all, and sometimes I think I mix up which one is which. But I think that the ability to discern between the two, or at least the attempt to do so, is part of the pursuit of being a good human, so I guess I will keep trying.

Amidst all of this transition and change and loneliness and confusion and patience and excitement and blah blah blah, I am trying to recognize the things that are still, the things that are causing the ripples in the river.. ya know? Unfortunately, I don’t think I know the answer to that question in an articulate way. So, what I have started to do is, instead of chipping into my ever-growing reading list, I am taking some time to re-read old books that have played a significant role in my life in attempts to remember some things that I have learned about myself/life/God along the way that maybe I am too overwhelmed to remember or simply need to relearn. (These books include East of Eden, Jayber Crow, A Severe Mercy and Flannery O’Conner’s Prayer Journal). This has felt so restorative to me and I have been overwhelmed with gratitude for the ability to reclaim and remember these truths simply by picking up a book that is already sitting on my bookshelf.

The book that has been the most impactful specifically to the last six months of my life has been one that I received as a gift from my dear friend Amy, and that is Flannery O’Conner’s prayer journal. I think I read this book all the way through ten times this semester, not counting the times that I picked it up simply to just read a prayer or two. Never have I ever related so deeply to a writer before. The things that she pleads for from the Lord are so courageously honest and are also things that I never knew or understood that we could ask for from God.

One prayer in particular has been something that I have been praying for awhile:

“God is feeding me and what I’m praying for is an appetite.” 

When I first read this I thought, “Whoa, now that’s pretty gutsy, Flan.” But then, as I was honest with myself, I realized that these words, this pleading for an appetite was exactly what I needed to be asking for from the Lord. But, before reading this simple sentence, I was scared of the implications of the truth inherent in that statement. Praying for an appetite means that I’m not hungry, and if I’m not hungry than I am doing something wrong.

But reading these words provided for me an embrace of freedom that my fears and insecurities had been fighting off for much too long. I realized:

Even this. Even this I can ask for in His name. 

I can ask for an appetite, I can ask for the strength to love and believe when I don’t want to, I can ask for an impatience for the second-coming because sometimes I am a little too patient for it.

As I attempt to make the daily decision to not drown in a (surprisingly strong) desire to not move forward (and somedays, not even get out of bed,) I will pray these simple prayers, I will worship in their midst, and I will embrace this time of restoration.

Well, I’ll try.

This is a picture of what I get to see when I walk home from the grocery store.  [Chicago, Summer '14]

This is a picture of what I get to see when I walk home from the grocery store.
[Chicago, Summer ’14]

What are you going to do with that?

I was recently asked by one of my professors to defend my English major. This is what I wrote. (Note that I also have a Philosophy major that I love and appreciate very much. But, that wasn’t the assignment. Although I’m pretty sure most of my main points would translate.)

I do not remember the moment I chose to be an English major. It wasn’t a dream I was desperate to accomplish, nor was it a single moment or book or person that inspired me to do so. If anything, when the time came to decide what major to claim, English Literature is the only one that seemed to make sense—although, at the time, I was not even aware of the reasons. With every class, professor, summer reading list, and paper, I discovered more reasons.

By choosing to be an English major, you also choose to subject yourself to the constant curiosity of friends and family that usually comes in the form of questions such as:

“What are you going to do with that?”

“So you are spending four years reading books?”

or “Have fun working at a coffee shop for the rest of your life.”

There is an assumed lack of connection between the humanities and vocation, and it is this assumption that has threatened my major into a place of question. So, in defense of my education and dedication to the study of English Literature, I say that I am an English major because I am dedicated to an art form that illuminates some of the essential qualities of what it means to be human. In my pursuit of literature and its function, I have some to realize its role as a sort of bridge between us and this accessible but misunderstood “otherness.” or “middle” place. In his book The Singularity of Literature, Derek Attridge uses a term called “otherness,” which is similar to this idea of a middle place. Attridge writes, “Otherness is not something the would-be creator can simply take hold of, as an idea, a formal possibility, a mathematical equation, lying outside familiar framework.” It’s as if Attridge is suggesting that without literature, we would have no access to this “other” or “middle” place.

In his essay “The Study of Poetry,” Matthew Arnold writes:

“Even if good literature entirely lost currency with the world, it would still be abundantly worthwhile to continue to enjoy it by oneself. But it never will lose currency with the world, in spite of momentary appearances; it will never lose supremacy. Currency and supremacy are insured to it, not indeed by the world’s deliberate and conscious choice, but by something far deeper,– by the instinct of self-preservation in humanity.”

Arnold presents literature as essential to humanity. It is part of the currency of life because it speaks into a place that we all recognize as humans, and its relevance will remain because of the connections it provides between beauty and us.

I have come to see an understanding of beauty as one of the most important and necessary passions in which to dedicate my life. The Victorian writer Walter Pater calls art a sort of necessary companion to lived experience; he writes:

“For art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments’ sake.”

Our lives are made up of passing moments in which we feel different variations of unexplainable emotions. When you choose to study literature with Pater’s understanding of art’s relationship to the quality of our moments, you begin to understand literature as essential and unavoidable.

More than ever, because of this overly symbolic transition in my life, I am answering questions about my future. Somedays I answer confidently, and somedays I crack a joke in order to steer the conversation in another direction. In a sea of all these unknowns surrounding the future of my relationships, location, vocation, etc. I am still trying to only live within the time that belongs to me.

So, when asked the question, “What are you going to with an English major?”

I will quietly and confidently reply,

“I hope to live well.”

This winter is brutal, but man is it beautiful.  Lake Geneva, WI 2013

This winter is brutal, but man is it beautiful.
Lake Geneva, WI 2013

A Tribute to a Fish.

I have never been an “animal person.” I didn’t really grow up with pets, and have never really been aware of the proper etiquette in regards to interacting with animals. I don’t want dogs to lick my face, I don’t trust cats, and I have never really felt the desire to have a pet. I’m sure that this is a combination of several things: the fact that the one family dog I can remember was a suicidal greyhound that we rescued from the racing life, my allergy to cats, and the ease at which I get grossed out.  

My closer friends will attest to my natural aversion to animals, and some friends, in fact, doubt the gentleness of my overall character because of it. Apparently I missed the memo about an affinity for animals being a part of what it means to be a good, sensitive, well-rounded, earth-loving individuals. I like to think of myself as someone who is trying to be all of those things, however, the animal-lover part is something that I have never acquired into my personhood. 

However, the capacity for this love of creature is possibly growing in my heart.

And it all started with a fish. 

While working on the farm this summer, I learned a lot of things, both literal and symbolic. This was important for my life in some really meaningful ways because it was all happening simultaneously with one of the more confusing and sad seasons of my life. To experience the juxtaposition of hopeful participatory growth and desperate heartbreak was one of the most interesting and best things to ever happen to me.

Everything felt fragile,

and, because of that, I treated everything with a carefulness that I don’t think I ever learned to do before. 

 After a series of important conversations over long afternoons of weeding and harvesting, I decided that during this particularly tender time in my life, I was ready to have a pet. I was a little bit over humans at the time, but still felt like I had all this energy towards wanting to love something, wanting to care for it, to be sensitive and willing towards something who needed it. 

 So, I got a fish. Along with a well-researched companion, I went to PetsMart and I found the fish that I had a “connection with” (per the advice from my well-researched companion), I picked out the best fake plant I could find, and a classic fishbowl. On the drive home, we named him Miles, and thus was born, quite possibly, the most symbolic fish of all time. 

 Now is the part of the post in which I realize that I am running the risk of sounding literally insane, but I think that this is one of those times when it is absolutely worth it. My ability and desire to take care of Miles and to love him was something that really was important to my daily routine, and to my remedial thoughts of this summer. It was part of my life, to take care of this fish, and I owned the responsibility with great pride. 

Yesterday, Miles died. Now, I realize that the sudden death of a fish is sort of part of their reputation as pets. They are “low maintenance” and are often times a buffer pet that parents give their children as an object lesson to teach them that they probably-won’t-be-able-to-take-care-of-a-real-puppy-so-please-stop-asking-for-one kind of things. But that is absolutely not what Miles was for me. He was this living representation of a growing sensitivity and desire in my heart that had somehow continued to flourish and thrive- despite all of the circumstantial evidence in my life that was pointing towards the sign that said that sometimes trying to love something isn’t worth it at all. 

When I realized that Miles was dead, I felt that feeling you feel in your stomach when you would do just about anything to make what is currently happening un-happen. The feeling was too familiar, and instead of letting a few poetic and precious tears roll down my face, I wept in the ugliest possible way. And all of these thoughts and emotions came flooding into my freezing cold living room, and I just sat there. All of the things that Miles’ presence was holding back came rushing into the room, and I felt the heaviness of every single one of them. And I think it was then that I realized that this sensitivity that has grown in my heart that just so happened to be disguised as a fish is one of those lessons that I think I needed to learn in exactly that way. To, despite all the proof in my life, care about things with tenderness and fragility is so important. And to truly care about something is to do so with the acknowledgement that you might also lose it. 

 And then I thought to myself,

“Am I crying this hard over a fish?” 

And then I started laughing, while still crying, and probably looked more like a maniac than I ever have before in my life. Because the answer the that question is:

Yes. I am crying over a fish. And I really think that that is okay. 

Image

 

[Miles. July 2013-December 2013] 

tennyson.

I am currently taking a Victorian Literature class, and I like it more than I originally anticipated. Not only is that time period endlessly fascinating to me, with all of these authors struggling with science and faith and nature and grace and how they can all interact with each other, or even if there is some possible harmony to be attained for all of those things, but the writing that was produced during that time period is a beautiful representation of the real dissonance that is floating between so many life experiences. (Ya know, speaking into the middle.)

When we first started reading Tennyson, I was fully aware of the fact that this was one of the guys that I was supposed to like. Ya know, to add to my “canon” of literature that I can intelligently discuss. We spent an entire week and a half talking about In Memoriamand I very sincerely enjoyed going to class every single day. I underlined the poem like crazy, and could not wait to talk to my entire class about why I loved it so much. If you don’t know already, In Memoriam is 133 section poem written by Tennyson about his close friend Hallam who died unexpectedly of a brain hemorrhage. It is a massive piece of literature that depicts a really honest process of grief covering a variety of things that can’t even really be articulated.

Now, I know that that idea seems to be contradictory, but that is also the reason I think that poetry is so important. Poetry has no motivation of trying to articulate something accurately, but only to speak even more into the fact that there are so many things in life that can only be talked about abstractly, but even the abstractness is comforting, because it represents a recognition, a feeling of familiarity.

I think Tennyson sort of talks about this in section 5 of In Memoriam:

V.

I sometimes hold it half a sin
      To put in words the grief I feel;
      For words, like Nature, half reveal 
And half conceal the Soul within.

” But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
      A use in measured language lies;
      The sad mechanic exercise, 
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.

” In words, like weeds, I’ll wrap me o’er,
      Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
      But that large grief which these enfold 
Is given in outline and no more.

Poetry demands simplicity. It demands thoughtfulness. It demands a responsible use of words, and it usually demands a fewer amount of them.

One of the hardest parts about living in a Christian community for me is the constant use of really hefty words that are so easily thrown around without much thought or consideration. Now, before I go much further, let me preface all of what I am about to say with making it clear that I am also talking about myself, and the habits that become easy to me living in a place like I do.

Anyway, when we don’t treat language with care, when we say things we don’t mean, or when we use too many words to make people feel things that aren’t founded, we can find ourselves in a serious mess. We have the potential to seriously hurt people, more than we ever intended. And, I’m not talking about dishonesty necessarily, I am just talking about responsibility.

So maybe I am just trying to say that we should speak more poetically. Now, I don’t mean that we should speak like annoying little Shakespearean weirdos (although there are times for that..), but let us talk with responsibility.

Let’s use fewer words.

Let those words mean more.

And let our language demand simplicity.

the golden hour.

the golden hour.

I should have been home yesterday.

Recently I went on a road trip with my four dearest friends from high school, and it was exactly what I needed in so many ways. There is something really unique about people who knew you and loved you before you had braces, while you had braces, and after you got them taken off. That is a lot to go through with someone, and I feel so fortunate to have friends like them.

We camped in the mountains of New Mexico, and then made the trek back to Arkansas, so we could all return to our respective colleges on time. But I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we all felt very “filled” by our brief time together.  We had the perfect balanced conversations of who we were, who we are, and who we are becoming, which are important subjects to talk about all at the same time, I think.

During one of the more silent moments of our road trip, I was thinking a lot about a lot of classic “back to school” thoughts (which all seem to be terrifyingly enhanced because of that fact that it is my senior year). And I was looking out the window, and John Denver’s Country Roads (one of the best road trip tunes of all time, probably.) was playing in the background, and I was trying to sort out all of the different anxieties and stresses that would be waiting for me upon returning to school. I opened by journal in an attempt to maybe at least try to make a list of them all, because one of my friends always says that lists make everything better, but instead I just looked back at some of the older pages and found this Rilke quote that I scribbled down in May.

This is what it said:

“Think, dear sir, of the world you carry within you… be it remembrance of your own childhood or longing for your own future. Only be attentive to what is arising in you, and prize it above all that you perceive around you. What happens most deeply inside you is worthy of your whole love. Work with that and don’t waste too much time and courage explaining it to other people.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

I’m not sure how much helpful reflection I can add to this particular thoughts of Rilke’s, besides just drawing attention to it. Because, like I wrote about earlier in the summer, to ignore what is going on in the present, to what is arising in us, is the worst thing. I was so drawn to the idea here of wasting courage. Ya know? I think that courage is something that I don’t think about enough, and a lot of what we do in a day requires a sort of courage that often goes unrecognized. But to use the courage that we do have to convince other people that we are worthy is a waste.

Because what is arising in us is worthy of our whole love…… And I’m pretty sure that it is worthy of other peoples love too.

Does that make sense?

A New Mexico morning. August 2013.

A New Mexico morning. August 2013.

cliché.

I think for awhile I have been fighting against walking on the road totally travelled, marching to the same music as everyone else, and swimming the way of the stream, and all of those other sayings. People are always trying to be different from other people, and I am one of them. We do this with the clothes we wear, the tattoos we get (or don’t get), the thoughts we think, the blogs we write, the music we listen to, etc. I think that I somehow had it stuck in my head that individuality was directly equated with full personhood. Like, you weren’t really a person until you had reached total uniqueness, and there was no other person in the world that was like you at all. To be a cliché, I thought, was the ultimate failure and representation of robot non-humanness. I took this sentiment to such an extreme that I applied it not only to my outwardly decisions, but also the way I though about things or experienced extreme emotional situations.

Now, I think that some sort of individual-ness is important. To “be who you are” and “embrace that we are all created to be unique” and all of those other things are completely true and beautiful and if it wasn’t for the uniqueness of mankind, than there would be no interesting books, music, conversations, or even relationships. In someways I was right, I mean, embracing our uniqueness is a super important part of being human and learning how to love ourselves well.

However, more than ever, I am realizing how beautiful it is to engage the commonality of humanity. Yes, in someways I’m talking about community, and how wonderful it is to live in a community that grows gardens, has people over for dinner every night, supports their local farms, and makes excellent mojitos. But, I am also talking about the community of human experience. And to experience the truth of the ironically cliché phrase, “…. there are clichés for a reason.”  To live in a space that you have desperately tried to avoid, and embrace the fact that humans have been there before you, and have only been anxiously anticipating your arrival.

However much I want to monopolize my own human experience as something that no one can understand, the more I realize how comforting it is to know that people have gone through it before you. They have been there, they have written songs about it, and then all these “cliché” things that you have heard a million times before hold so much more weight, and then you understand why they were written so well that you feel like you wrote them yourself.

“Someone’s gotta do it.” 

This cliché has come to mean a lot to me since working on the farm. My time at the farm has ended, for now. But every single day I miss it. The work that I did at the farm could, essentially, be done by anyone. It was a lot of weed-pulling, vegetable washing, and harvesting. Yes, yes, there are ways to do these things well and not well, but still, my contribution on the farm had little to nothing to do with the uniqueness of my personality. It was a “someone’s gotta do it” job, and I chose to be that person. And there is something so beautiful and freeing about knowing that no matter if I was at the farm that day or not, that the job would get done by someone. And not in a slacker kind of way. But in a way that made every single day that I chose to be the person that “got the job done” feel like I was choosing to be a part of a human experience. And it felt safe, and it felt like an important contribution to a community. 

“I’m going through a break-up.” 

During my 11 hour drive back to Arkansas this last weekend, I listened to what felt like a million episodes of This American Life, because every time I tried to listen to music it just didn’t feel right. So anyway, I finally listened to their episode about break-ups, an episode I have been avoiding since the beginning of this summer. And I was avoiding it because I am recently broken up with and have been desperately trying to avoid being placed into a cliché broken-hearted bitter angry girl box. But I finally listened to it. And in this episode during one of the acts, one of the main reporters talks about “the best break-up songs” (a genre I have been successfully avoiding until that moment because what I felt was “too unique to be expressed in song”) and she talks to Phil Collins about what it takes to write a break-up song… and then she writes one of her own. During the whole episode, I laughed and I cried, but more than anything. I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort. I felt comforted by the entire universe. To enter into all the terrible and wonderful clichés of break-ups, and to call myself a part of this community of humans who just know, and they only know because they have all been there before.

So, after the episode was done. I grabbed my ipod, and I listened to Phil Collins the rest of the way home. I stepped off my island of isolated misunderstood-ness and monopolized emotions, and I jumped head-first into the deep waters of terrible Phil Collins lyrics.

I felt the most human I have felt in a very long time.

(…. How’s that for cliché?)

Image

here is a cliché picture I took of the midwest.

take care.

“We never live in the present. We anticipate the future, as though it were coming too slowly, and we wanted to speed it up; or we remember the past, to make it stay with us, because it disappears too fast. But it is folly to wander around in times which are not ours, and to forget the one time that actually belongs to us; it is in vain that we yearn for the times that have no existence, while losing the one time that exists, because it is the present which is usually what wounds us… In this way we never live, but hope to live, and it becomes unavoidable that in our preparations for being happy one day, we never really are.” 

-John Barton, Living Belief

This was a book that was suggested to me awhile ago, and I only just started reading it. It is simple, and important, and I truly am beginning to believe that it is this exact moment in my life that I should be reading it. This quote in particular meant a lot to me when it was first given to me, and means a lot to me now in a whole different way. It seems to be a constant struggle to treat time with care and responsibility.

To prepare for the future, but not wait on it.

To learn from the past, but not dwell in it.

One of the things I am most grateful for since working on the farm, is a sort of new found hyper-awareness of the present. Every day is different, and you must act accordingly. Every day there is a new vegetable that is ready to harvest, that wasn’t quite ready the day before. Some days it rains, and some does it does not, and there is no way to anticipate how much or how little rain we will receive. No matter how thorough your crop plan may be, no matter how many precautions you have taken, there is always a significant amount of risk you must take. In order to live in a place of risk well, I have come to understand, is to think on a small scale. To understand the time that belongs to you.

Every morning, we must wake up and be ready to make adjustments, to see what the rain has done to our crops, and then we must move forward and figure out what to do next.

Because the next day is coming, and it will be ours soon enough.

 

[Upland, IN]

[Upland, IN]