And in the end
I have fought,
it might not be worth it
but it was what
I needed, to let
go, of fighting.
And in the end
I have fought,
it might not be worth it
but it was what
I needed, to let
go, of fighting.
I have written about writing a lot on this blog. I’ve been exploring why I write, why I think it matters, and what I write and how what others write helps me. One of the reasons I write is to document some of my feelings. Sometimes these feelings do not last, solely the products of the feelings in the forms of poems or rants on paper. However, when these things re-occur, I can go back to my writing to understand how I felt about something, and perhaps how that changed. Growing up in a strong Christian tradition we quickly learned how people often remember only the good things about a previous situation if something goes bad. The Israelites when in the desert after being freed from Egyptian slavery reacted to a lack of meat with the words: oh but in Egypt at least we had meat, forgetting that they also had masters that knew no mercy. Similarly, I am always critical about my own recollection of events: was it as good as I remember? Or was it a bit more nuanced than that? Was it much better?
Reading back helps me understand sometimes, but first, it has to be written. Sometimes, struggling with what to think of feel about a certain event I long to write ‘something intelligent’ about the matter. Hoping that words will help me understand something that feels quite uncertain. In fact, this is also how I pray sometimes. I hope that somehow I could address some meaningful words to God, to connect when I feel disconnected. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it does not. And so to improve my meditation on the words I could address to God, I decided to sew a prayer. I started embroidering with my sewing machine again a few days ago and after some trials, i thought of combining the meditation of sewing and praying. I started to sew: God, U bent hier, maar u voelt zo- (meaning god, you are here but you feel so- ), I wanted to continue to sew ‘ver weg’ (meaning ‘Far away’) however, wandering in my mind I started to write Dicht ‘(meaning: close’). To be honest to my first intention I decided to compromise: I finished with ‘weg’. resulting in : ‘U voelt zo dicht weg’- ‘You feel so close away’. It is not correct dutch or English and a word play between far away and close by, yet this felt like something very intelligent to write. It is beautiful and also helped me to understand how I was feeling these past days- not necessarily about God but about some things around me. These things felt ‘away’ but at the same time to close to let go. To remember what I wrote, I restitched the last part of my prayer: ‘U voelt zo dicht weg’. I pinned it to the wall to remember that something letting go of thoughts and accidentally straying can give beautiful insights.
Vermin, mess, and teddy bears
How did I now find me here
In this world of ever growing
People coming to our yard
Bike rides from my home to work
And back again
And I remember when
I did just start cycling down the street
Holding the handle bars so tightly
Still falling down having the biggest scab I ever had
Right there on my elbow, and the joy of it.
And the joy of it.
The freedom that I found
Let me find it once again.
Last Sunday I saw an angel. My guess was that she was 5 years old, and obviously, she was British. She had long gold curly hear and a dark blue dress partly covered in sequins. And this little angel was eating jello. Now I know she was an angel because I met her in a church, and because of what she said to me. Now here I was, sitting alone, waiting, waiting for a friend I just made to arrive. I was looking at the angel for a while, so beautiful, her legs adorned with blueish stripes, that might be drawn by pencil, or perhaps a sign that she had fairy blood as well. After a while of thinking of the fact, that I, in fact, had never eaten jello (we do not have this in the mundane world that I come from), it appeared that the angel also had been looking at me. She came with a spoon held out. I tried to make some conversation, telling her about that I had never had jello because we did not have it where I was from. And in turn, she told me that “Actually, it is raspberry flavoured”. At first, I was sure she came to give me a bite of the spoon, yet I was unsure how to proceed. So even though I wanted to try, I made awkward conversation, and we looked into each other’s eyes. And then she said it: ‘I’d like to share’.
Relieved by her confession and eager to fulfil her desire, I told her: “Shall I take a bite?” “Yes,” she said. And so I took a bite from the bright red jello, that I for me always was more the stuff of nightmares instead of dreams, and I found out that it was unlike anything I had before. Indeed it tasted like liquid raspberry. Then, without warning, her mum came to us, half embarrassed that her daughter was bothering me, and the moment ended.
Although this was short and unsophisticated encounter, this angel taught me. Sometimes the best way to go is to just tell others about your desire. And, it is ok to do something, just because you like it. At the same time, it taught me that things that might seem horrible and fake from a distance can still be wonderful and tasty. And lastly, it taught me, that where ever you are, you might just get surprised by an angel, teaching you life.
oh the boiling lightning in my belly
oh the tiredness in my arms
oh the tightness in my jaws
and the tremor in my eyelids
I am almost there
I am almost there
I am almost there
There is life beyond the deadline.
When I started this blog, it was out of procrastination. I think around that time I also watched all of the Game of Thrones seasons available for the first time. I was making immense progress in doing what I wanted (write) and what others thought I should do (watch game of thrones). I did all of it for the reason that I found it very hard to focus on the task at hand, undoubtedly some writing or assignment for school. You could say easily, I was doing it for the wrong reasons. A little while ago I was having an honest conversation with someone. For the sake of ‘What do we loose by being honest’ we both honestly shared what we were feeling. Our doubts. The feeling that we were doing things for the wrong reasons. I met this vulnerability with honesty again, honesty and affirmation. ‘I think indeed you are doing this for the wrong reasons’. Based on this the conclusion the other wanted to draw was that the only right thing to do is to stop doing what they were doing because they were obviously for the wrong reason. I simply said, I do think there is something like doing something for the wrong reason, yet I don’t think it is the worse thing. It is often just a copings mechanism- we become aware of where this coping mechanism has brought us, and we see what it brought us and others. True, sometimes doing things at the wrong time for the wrong reasons can mean great harm. But I refuse to life in a world were everything is supposed to be right or it is doomed. A in a long conversation about the meaning of life a few weeks ago, the person I was talking with was sharing his view of life. ‘The purpose of life is to what is perfect for you, where you can be most effective and happy, mind over matter.’ I was trying to say that efficiency although a great love of mine (nothing as frustrating than things going wrong when some efficiency could have stop them from happening), it did not do justice to human life. Humans, although we have the gift and the ability of reason, are very unreasonable creatures :). We have emotions, we have desires, we have hope, we have faith, we have love. All of that is not very efficient. Connection, is not very efficient. Human connection is made through simple biology- blood, and then blood is family. Being somewhere at the same time provides us with friends, lovers, enemies. With every connection we make we are changed. Our heart is met with that of another, and we change, whether we are open to it or not. Now, this is not some argument for that everything is equal, that the only purpose in life is meeting others and in that way moving on. I think the world is very bleak when we lose a sense of right and wrong, purpose and suffering. However, what I am trying to say, to convey, to celebrate is the complexity of life. That there is no one answer to human behavior, how to improve or to judge it.
This perhaps becomes most clear in the bible. Sure, this book teaches us about God, but it mostly teaches us about ourselves, about our nature, about others. And I don’t mean necessarily the great doctrine, original sin, or men as the great custodian of the world. I mean the stories, the little things. The completely ridiculous things that are so relatable. The struggle with what is right, the struggle to see our own wrongs, the judgment we carry for ourselves and others, the endless discussions we have about the meaning of the things in our lives. How we can walk with God and still not really know if we believe in him, or want to believe in him. The need for salvation. But this need is for salvation is only based on honesty. On honesty and honoring of God. The ‘I am broken, I am not complying to the modern worlds demand of efficiency, but I made something, I wrote something, and it is proof of your grace’. That You make beautiful things out of dust, out of us. A prove that God is so much more loving than we are: ‘You’re much sweeter than me, by far, You’re much stronger than me, You know You are’
‘So far my dramatic writing of the day, have to give credit to some ‘you make beautiful things out of the dust/out of us, comes from Gungor’s song ‘Beautiful things’. Similarly the ‘You’re much sweeter than me by far, you are much stronger than me, you know you are’ is from the wonderful Aaron Sprinkle. Also, I have to give credit to all the wonderful people around me that no matter what they believe teach me about the grace of God. And lastly, my thesis that desperately needs some work. I wouldn’t be living on the edge without you :).
This weekend I spent the weekend with family because we were invited to come to my newest niece baptism. The reverend who did the service I only knew by name, because he has written a lot of books. I don’t remember whether or not I have read one of them, and I think if I did I didn’t think it was very good, mainly for the lack of surprises. Today, however, the sermon had a nice surprise in it, the subject was love. Now it had all the ‘standard’ love Bible text that even the pagans know ‘1 Corinth 13. Love is patient, love is never jalouse, all these kind of things. However, rather than giving a holy praise of love the Reverend started with more of a confession: despite the fact that it says clearly: then rest us, hope, faith, and love, the greatest of these is love, and ‘God is love’ he would move back to but isn’t god angry as well, or truth, or justice?. And sometimes we are so fast to ask in church ‘how is your faith’ and not ‘how is your love’. He confessed how he in the past often met with a guy who would always go back to the greatest commandment: Love God above all and your neighbor as yourself, and honestly, sometimes he would think: don’t we know that one already? Diving more in the subject of love he remembered the man, understanding a little more why he went on and on about this core of the Christian faith. What does this love mean? He shared a quote he found attributed to Augustine, a 5th-century theologian- ‘love is ‘I want you to be’. Simply that. I want you to be. He went on to share a quote from someone who had in their religious life made a daring promise to self: to no longer believe based on fear, but rather from love, starting with loving others to understand better what this meant. The reverend went on to say how indeed sometimes when you don’t know how to love God -because he is so high and mighty and ephemeral- you could love God by loving others.
I almost patted him on the back. I thought it was quite significant what he had shared, but I wanted to add something. Tonight I confessed the same to my dad. I told him, there yet is another way of looking to this commandment when perhaps you don’t know how not necessarily how to love God, but how God loves you. Some of us are very aware of what it means to unconditionally love others, but for some reason find it very hard to love ourselves. In a way we are missing the ‘self’ from the trinity of the greatest commandment, ‘God, the Other and the Self’. However, by knowing the love found in the self for others, a fraction of the fierceness fo gods love, or how to love ourselves can be understood.
I as I told this all to my dad I told him: Oh, and I know the title of the book explaining this: “how the greatest commandment is like the law of Pythagoras”. A2 xB2 is C2. You don’t have to know all the corners to understand and learn the all the angles. All you need to know is that it is a triangle. And, when you know two angles the third will become inevitable. No one can know how high, how deep and wide the love of God is. However, the love triangle between God, the Other and Yourself give some indication of exactly how unmeasurable it is.😊
So. Imagine this movie scene. One of the characters goes and sits on a bench on a small airport, notices the other character, who seems to be a Russian, since the book he reads has Cyrillic letters. The characters stay side by side and little to nothing seems to be happening. and then… The supposedly Russian guy starts talking to the girl who came to sit next to him. And we have no idea what he says, neither does the girl. We find out that for some reason the guy thought that maybe this girl was from his country, and for that reason spoke to her in an unknown language. Everyone can guess what happens next: they start to talk about where they came from and where they are going and the meaning of life. Since the conversation is not finished and they both have to catch a flight they travel together through security and follow the flow of the conversation. And then. In a split second the girl realizes she is late for her flight, and without knowing anything about this guy except where he is from and where he is going and his vision of life she runs off, leaving what this conservation could be when she would not be running off, to everyone’s imagination.
In the second scene, we see this girl again. This time she is in the town where she lives. She carries a book and goes to sit on a bench and there she reads it. A little later a guy comes and sits next to her, working on his laptop. Nothing really happens for a long time, until the girl puts the book next to her on the bench and the wind opens the book, and takes out one of the precious notes this girl found in this book, that she has on permanent loan from someone she loves. Of course, for dramatic purposes this bench is on a canal side and the note flies to the water and lands there. The girl runs after it and since she does not know how to get the note back she considers quickly reading it again and copying it. Yet then the guy that until now did nothing of particular interest comes over, puts away his phone and jumps in to the boat that is next to the note and rescues the piece of paper. The guy asks: “Was it a shopping list? Because sometimes when I find other people’s shopping lists I buy the things that are on there.” The girl is a bit confused and starts copying the note to a book, to save its content and to wait until it is dry. When she finishes she decides to continue the conversation and you can imagine what happens, they end up talking about where they came from and where they are going and the meaning of life. The sun moves around the sky and the shades get longer. Yet the girl has no clue what time it is until she gets a phone call from the person that she is supposed to meet: she is half an hour late. The two introduce themselves to one another, spell their first names and the girl runs off, leaving what this conservation could be when she would not be running off, to everyone’s imagination.
I love stories. Stories and images, the two things I can really remember well. Names and numbers? Not so much. I just started reading ‘The mortal instruments Book two. Now I thought I had read book one, but I’m not so sure I remember all the all the stories and what happened ad what didn’t. One of the reasons why is because I have been watching the Shadowhunters tv series, thing is, that both helps and doesn’t. Similar themes play a role, yet the timeline is completly messed up when you compare them. One way or another, the same characters are there and so it is kind of like a dream: you know this place is a place you know although it looks nothing like it. You know who someone is , even though they don’t look like the person. The difference between the book and movie in general is often discussed. There always seems to be a group that is upset that things are not exactly like they were on paper when seen on the screen. I’m not one of these people, I love paralel stories. A story is such a gentle thing, you have to move it subtlety and you cannot fit everything that could possibly happen in there in. For that reason i love different versions of stories, they tell the same but differently allowing the story to reach it’s full potential. I think that’s what storytelling, art history, faith and life is. retellig the same story finding true meaning and endless possibility.
oh the freedom to feel
a home that I found
The mess that someone just
puts me right into
And all of the blessings that I have
To kling to
I’ll be alright i’ll be yours god
and meet you
whereever you bring me.