Sunday, January 25, 2009

Filled to the brim

I've found that I go through seasons where I feel overwhelmed by the fullness of all that is going on within me. There are moments where the fullness leads to a sort of purging as I somehow find a way to expel the contents of my mind or heart. But there are other times when the fullness doesn't feel so much like something I must get rid of, but rather something I must swim around in until I find words capable of expressing the heaviness I feel all the way to the bone.

For the time being, I am entrapped (necessarily) in a season of wordlessness...partially prompted by the re-reading of a book I was brave enough to play with initially last Christmas season by the suggestion of my practicum facilitator. I am now re-reading it for a class assignment and I'm struck by how I am able to read my own life through my interaction with the real life characters of this book.

Here is a simple taste of what has led me into this season of dumbness:

"Driving away in the gray, muted green of the early evening, I want to hide myself in the yellow leaves and silent shadows, slink into the dusky edge of myself. Out of sync with the new clinical speech of my friends, I feel like a foreigner in a strange land. I admonish myself not to take it all so seriously. I roll down the window and the night air blasts in, roars in my ears."

"I watch the snow begin to fall under the streetlight outside the window. I push aside the subtle but ominous feeling that my life is not whole, the increasing sense that the pieces simply don't fit together. I push aside the knowledge that I am leading a double life of sorts: as a promising young woman without a past, or with a past made up to fit a life she wants for herself so badly that anything invented is bound to be a better choice than the actual past. I push aside too the impression that although many people feel close to me, no one has a whole picture of me, and this is bound to catch up with me sooner or later."

From A Shining Affliction by Annie G. Rogers, Ph.D


Friday, January 23, 2009

It's natural for me too...

"When I paint an open field or the inside of a building with lonliness implied, it's not concocted. Perhaps I dream of more lonliness in a thing than is actually there. But I'm not trying to be dramatic; it's natural for me. Have we lost the art of being alone? I think we have."

From Richard Meryman's Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life, pp. 183-184.

One of the TA's at school posted this compelling blog about Andrew Wyeth.

(Lauren...this is especially for you.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

on the down slope

and by that title i'm not referring to the frequency of which i've been blogging (although that would be appropriate given that it's taken me a few weeks to get out of the holiday rest period and into the swing of the new year).

instead, i'm referring to your tenure at mars hill. 1 1/2 years down...1 1/2 years to go. you're on the down slope. you've crested the mountain's peak and are on your descent. you must feel relief that you've made it through the toughest climb and now it's a matter of wading through the tricky terrain. some people get cocky on the way down, thinking it's easier - while it may not be as strenuous, it does require much more dexterity and attention. it's too easy to roll an ankle or slip on a rock or trip and tumble down if you're not watching every footstep.

so - my hope for you on this down slope is that your attentions are sharp and your feet are nimble. that your eyes are clear and you can see the landscape laid before you, map your descent and arrive safely at the bottom. godspeed to you, shauna.

2 Samuel 22:32-37

32 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?

33 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.

34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.

35 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

36 You give me your shield of victory;
you stoop down to make me great.

37 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Coffee Break

Just a little quote to start out your day:

"Only we can know what it is like from the inside to be on our particular journey, and there will always be times when the world in its various guises tries to make us go its way rather than our own. Our individuality, our true sense of self, grows to the degree that we are able to hold fast to what we know to be true or ourselves, even when others are crying out for us to follow more well trodden paths." By Roger Housden in Ten Poems to Set You Free

I don't know what it is about this book, but every time I read it I notice a significantly sized lump lodged deep inside my throat. Maybe it's because the author shares my same love of poetry (though mine is a new discovery), or maybe it's because of the way in which he allows the poetry to read his own life and thereby teaches his reader how to do the same.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back to life...

Back to reality. Wasn't that a song from the 90s? I'm starting my 5th of 8 trimesters at MHGS this week. It is a strange feeling to be on the down slope of my Mars Hill experience. I think that when I initially made the decision to enroll here, I anticipated a revolutionary transformation in my life and I keep waiting to feel like a completely new person. I have this hunch that when I leave this place I won't really have any life-solving answers...just more questions. But I'm learning to swim more comfortably amidst the pool of questions. I'm no longer trying to conquer them by diving head first into each one like a mad women. Nor am I turning against them with a cynical heart unwilling to engage because the pursuit seems too daunting. Instead, I am learning what it means to live into the mystery of existence.

I was reading a collection of old journals this last week. The re-discovery of an ancient version of myself is one of my favorite experiences. I read a quote by one of my philosophy professors from Metro that I had jotted down in the margin of a tiny leather journal that spoke to how I'm feeling these days. Professor Chu's offered wisdom I wouldn't quite understand until now as he said, "Once you learn that you don't know as much as you think you know - only then will you be motivated to seek knowledge." Grad school has done that for me. It has revealed to me just how little I really know. And what does it mean to really KNOW anything anyway? I know that many people are scared of the threat such relativism seems to pose...yet, I don't find that I suffer from either an indifferent or fatalistic attitude as a result of acknowledging the difference between knowing and believing. But rather, I find myself intrigued even more by the pursuit...because I actually think it is in the journey of pursuing greater understanding in the external realities of this world that we truly find ourselves.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Missing what's familiar

As I anticipate the long journey back to our current home in Washington I am keenly aware of the ache in my stomach indicating my desire to return to what is familiar. I am ready (and have been ready for a few days now) to re-enter the nature of my life in the rainy city once again. Visions of my cozy little apartment office, a warm cup of Chai Tea, my Africa blanket and my blog-writing tablet (a.k.a. my computer) are dancing in my head this morning.

Until then...