Tuesday, December 14, 2010

but actually during the storm.

"And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.

Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That's why I hold,
That's why I hold with all I have.
That's why I hold."

Mumford&Sons, "After the Storm."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be

I spent this weekend at St. Gregory's Abbey in Three Rivers, MI. Over the course of three days, I attended eight services with the monks. These services were very quiet and beautiful. Tonight, like every Sunday night at 8, I attended the Gathering at Hope. This service is much louder and much more crowded than the services at the abbey. This made me start thinking about all the different worship experiences I've had. I've attended traditional Protestant services and contemporary Protestant services. I've attended Catholic and Episcopalian mass. I've attended extremely charismatic Pentecostal services. I've kneeled to pray in Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, St. Patrick's cathedral in Manhattan, St. Thomas's cathedral in Chennai, India, and in the room that houses Mother Teresa's tomb. I have sung praise songs in Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili and Latin.

But you know what's cool? Even with all the theological differences (which, as a student of theology I do find important)...all of those congregations, in their own language, at their own speed, and at their own volume are all praising the same God.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In the beginning

This semester I am in a poetry class. I had been hesitant to post poems before, since they really are still works in progress. But I decided to get over it. So here's one I wrote for the "myth" assignment. Comments welcome since next week we have to revise.

Incest, murder, rape.
Stories not meant for children.
But, for two curious PKs
they were:
before bed, on roadtrips, repeated later
to gawking friends at school.
Stories of ancient ancestors
paralleling the not so ancient ones:

Jacob served seven years to get Rachel
(Keith waited seven years for Denise
to say yes.)
And when the morning came,
there was Leah!
(the que sera, sera
of a career minister.)
So Abram went,
from his people
to the place the Lord showed him.
(So the Krebs went,
from their people
to Iowa, to Michigan, to Arizona.)

And the Spirit of God was
over the waters
(as the Spirit
hovers still
over your life)
And it was
very good.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


my mom was recently cleaning out my grandma's house with her sister. when she was done she sent me a box filled with photos and jewelry and silver spoons and a rolling pin but mostly photos. the photos are beautiful and hilarious and fun. my grandma was gorgeous, don't you think? i miss her and i wish i had asked her to show me all these pictures when she was alive.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


- senioritis has already hit hard. not good news.
- last night, instead of the thousands of things i have to do this week, i wrote my advice list for india (not due until the prep class starts next spring)
- i have listened to the gayatri mantra online so many times yesterday and today.
- i have two internships. nine hours per week each. that is terrifying.
- you know what's boring? briefing supreme court cases. in other words, i think that 1% of me that was still considering law school sometime in the future has been convinced otherwise.
- this morning i went to meijer for: foil, pam, diet coke, school supplies, and eggs. i came home with: foil, pam, diet coke, and two donuts.
- good intentions has been the theme of this year so far. right now i have four word documents open with assignments due today through next monday. i have internet tabs open with schedules for ottawa county courthouse and fred johnson's campaign--for my internships. but i'm doing this blog.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

living life well

Lately I have found myself growing frustrated at the hours of time that I spend doing nothing worthwhile. You know: the hours spent avoiding other responsibilities. And since you feel guilty doing something fun when you are supposed to be doing work, you end up idly wasting those hours away. Scrolling through the facebook newsfeed over and over, thinking "oh I will do that reading in five more minutes." Organizing your itunes even though it's been like that for so long that you know where everything is so who cares? What a waste. I am continually thinking about how I wish I had more time to read or bike or talk to friends face to face so why do I do that?

That is my goal this semester and for the rest of my life. I don't want to kill time. What a terrible thing. I want to spend my time engaging with people I love, enjoying the outdoors before it gets too cold, reading good books, and writing for fun. I want to learn more recipes and I want to do my homework on time so I'm not stressed out. I want to do a good job at my internship. I want to leave my phone at home sometimes and I want to turn it off during coffee dates. I want to learn to appreciate silence. I want to be fully present and I want to live my life well.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

flying a kite.

"La, da-da, dee, di
Look at my kite fly
Over foggy fields
The pungent pines
The verdant veils
The vapid vines
And the thousand purple cups of wine
The tearing teeth and the four full tines
The crumpling feast and the dawdling dine"

i just love joanna newsom so much.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

sing to the mountains

"sing to the mountains,
sing to the sea,
sing to the sparrow
high in the tree
sing to the forest
sing to the breeze
sing to the weed
that grows up through the street
sing to the spider
sing to the bee
sing to the seaweed
dry on the beach
sing to the mountain
sing to the sea
sing to the dog
that curls up by your feet"

- vio/miré

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

ooh la la!

- Here is a list of my activities in Paris, in order of how often I do them: sleep, eat Nutella-filled crepes in parks, aimlessly wander about Montmartre. Not a bad life I'd say.
- It rains all the time in Paris.
- Today I saw a small French boy walk up to a mud puddle, exclaim "ooh la la!" and jump in. Precious.
- Yesterday I went to the Louvre. It was beautiful, of course, but also stressful. No English anywhere and also thousands of people shoving you everywhere.
- One of the most wonderful things about Europe is the fact that I can ingest the tap water. I can fill my water bottle from the sink when I wake up thirsty at 3 a.m., I can eat salads, I can buy drinks with ice in them...
- Instead of attempting to get my body off of India time, I keep going to bed at 8:00. I can tell my roommates at the hostel think I'm really lame. Tomorrow I need to leave for the airport around 5:30, so I may go to bed even earlier.
- Today I once again forgot that a kilogram is bigger than a pound, and also I was flustered by the fact that the man wouldn't speak English, and ended up walking away with 2.2 pounds of cherries.

Monday, June 7, 2010

oui oui

Yesterday I said goodbye to India and flew to Paris to spend the next few days.
- Today my plan was to just relax and perhaps walk around a bit. Instead I went on two guided tours. Perhaps Chacha's ADD wore off a bit? Now I have seen almost all of the touristy things, at least from afar.
- When we got here this morning it was 50 degrees and I was freezing. It warmed up quite a bit but I was never sweaty.
- I would say that 90% of the time here I think in a British accent. That makes no sense.
- This is my first time staying in a hostel. I think one of my three roommates is a boy. Or a girl with freakishly large feet. Hmm.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


- I overuse the word 'also' in my life.
- The thing I want more than anything these days is a good spinach salad. We get zero raw vegetables here and I can feel my arteries clogging. Yesterday I bought a green pepper and ate it plain because I miss raw vegetables so much.
- Yesterday Kallie and I followed two different wedding processions trying to get invited to a wedding but it didn't work.
- My Chacos smell worse than they ever have thanks to the cows of Varanasi and my own sweat.
- in Varanasi we had mangoes that you squeeze until they are squishy and then suck out the pulpy juice from the top. I will be trying this method with mangoes at home and I will be very sad if it doesn't work.
- In the month or so before India I probably took about two photos. I don't know what caused my lack of motivation, but it lasted into the first few weeks of India. Before Varanasi I took 500 photos. In Varanasi I took almost 200. I cannot wait to edit them all.
- The desktop image on this computer is the guy who works here's face. I find that hilarious.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wavin' Flag

- The bus drivers who drove us from Chennai to Mahabalipuram and back were straight out of the Three Stooges. Hilarious.
- When we were in Kolkata we volunteered in Mother Teresa's ministry. We worked in Daya Dan, a home for handicapped children. The children were beautiful and it broke my heart that we could only help out one day. I loved Kolkata and I really hope to go back and explore more someday.
- While I was on the bus going to volunteer I heard some guys singing K'naan. It was beautiful.
- Later, at Daya Dan, I talked to one of the guys who was singing K'naan. Turns out he's transferring to Hope next year.
- Yesterday (in Varanasi) lots of beautiful children begged me to take their picture. I was happy to oblige.
- Today a man holding a machine gun told me that he likes my sari.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


"India is in some ways like a fun hall of mirrors where I can see both sides of each contradiction sharply and there's no easy escape to understanding.

What's more, India's extremes are endlessly confronting."

- Sarah MacDonald, "Holy Cow! An Indian Adventure"

Можно изменить

- Today we arrived in Mahabalipuram for the "beach holiday" portion of our trip. We are in a lovely resort on the water and enjoying some relaxation before jetting off to Kolkata tomorrow.
- It is so humid here. I've been out of the pool for over an hour and I'm still wet. ...probably some of it is sweat now. Lovely.
- Beaches here include lots of dead sealife, fishing boats and cows. The fishermen find it very amusing when I take pictures of those things.
- 21 is still not legal to drink in India. But also no one ever checks IDs.
- Someone set this computer to be in Polish (I think) and it is confusing me.
- I just finished reading "Holy Cow! An Indian Adventure" by Sarah Macdonald. It was lovely. Most of the pages fell out because it was a bootleg copy that I paid $.50 for in Mumbai.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

48° celsius

- We are in Chennai and it is definitely the hottest it's been so far. Also humid. I drank 5 liters of water yesterday. Luckily they cost $.30 each.
- Right now it is 4:30 pm on my 21st birthday. So far I have been to the zoo and the "snake park." ....I am a 7 year old boy.
- I have the greatest farmer's tan.
- I have shaved my legs once in the past two weeks. Gross.
- I think I found the cheapest phone in the world - I just called home for 40 minutes and it cost $2.
- I haven't mentioned this but long distance phones in India are called STDs. Also there are a lot of them so every 10 meters or so you see a large sign that says "STD" on the street. Since I'm really mature I always giggle.
- When I went back to look at my hostel reservation for Paris it had me down for June 6, July 6, August 6 and September 6....instead of June 7-11. Hmm.
- I have the weirdest dreams here. Last night I dreamt that I killed Hitler. And my guy friends from Orange City helped me bury him in the middle of the night.
- I left my ipod in my bag in Delhi and every single day I kick myself for that.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Indian pharmacies

- Yesterday I was pretty sick. I told Chacha my symptoms and he told me to take antibiotics. Unfortunately, I forgot to fill my prescription at home, so he took me down the street to a pharmacy where they gave me a 5-day antibiotic and anti-diarrhea meds for 60rs. No prescription. Awesome.
- Today we went to a temple on a mountain and took a "holy bath" in a miraculous spring from the Ganges. Basically, there is a natural spring on the mountain and a guy filled a bucket from it and dumped it on our heads. It was refreshing and kind of fun.
- There is a small, old temple in Madurai. During the day, a bunch of tailors work in it. I've had 3 pairs of pants and an apron made. I also bought a few cool bags. It's making me wish I had my own tailor.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Today we are in Madurai. There was an optional hike this morning but I needed a break - physically and emotionally.
- Mango tictacs are the best. Don't worry, they are 10rs. so I'm going to bring home so many.
- In India, lines don't mean anything.
- The punjabis we bought are really cheap and really small, so I am getting pretty good at mending stuff. I had to let out the sleeves and the sides of one of them.
- Yesterday while we were driving to Madurai we stopped at a Murugan temple. Murugan's vahana (animal helper/ride) is a peacock. There were peacocks everywhere around the temple, many with their tails up. Of course it was the first time I didn't have my camera.
- Monkeys in India are not cute. At that temple one attacked Sarah and stole her water bottle.
- Once you have gone to a public bathroom in India barefoot...you can do anything.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

10rs. an hour

Today we are in Trichy (Tirucchirappali but no one says that). We found an internet place by the hotel that is 10rs ($.25). for one hour. At least nine of us are in here, spread out through the different rooms. A couple minutes ago Dirksen yelled "We're on knowhope!" (it's our Times of India article) and everyone scrambled to check it. Here are some more random thoughts:
- If you ever want to know what it's like to have paparazzi, come to India. Today we were just sitting on this rock resting and I think fifty pictures were taken.
- If you ever make it to Bangalore, India, do not take an autorickshaw. All of the drivers are nuts.
- In Tamil (the language of the state we are in now), 'goodbye' is 'tata.' So apparently Tigger can speak Tamil.
- Today at the restaurant they put butter and cheese powder on our rice and it tasted like spicy macaroni. Yum.
- This 9 hour time difference is annoying.
- My mom sends the best, most random letters. Today's included pictures of a sculpture she saw in Des Moines recently.
- My little sister is running at the state track meet today and graduating on Sunday!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Times of India!

They printed our story really fast! Haha the guys in our hotel were so excited to show us this morning!

Also only two of us are staying after to volunteer...they made us look like such philanthropists!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Today marks one week that I have been in India. It feels like months. We have already been in four cities (Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Bangladore) and so much has happened! Here are some highlights. Random order as they occur to me.

- American summer clothes are slutty, hot, and uncomfortable. I love punjabis and saris!
- I keep picking the craziest clothes - they all have at least three patterns. Love it.
- Saris are impossible to tie and we are so bad at it. Luckily the Indian women are gung-ho about fixing us. Yesterday when we were flying to Bangalore the lady at security wouldn't let me go through until she unwrapped and re-wrapped me.
- Modesty here is different. The saris show your stomach, which I absolutely hate. But if your sari slips and shows the front part of your sari blouse that is way slutty. Or if your petticoat shows on the bottom.
- In India you can buy a candy bar called Maria.
- We rode elephants in Jaipur. Definitely the most touristy thing we've done but so fun. A boy took our picture and printed it out. I waited until right before we left and then bought it for 10rs. (about a quarter)
- Jaipur is in the desert state of Rajasthan and it's so much like Arizona! I loved the dry heat and I recognized a bunch of plants.
- My peacock obsession is being nurtured nicely. One of my saris has peacocks. Also I saw one fly for the first time!
- Someone asked us to be in a Bollywood movie in Mumbai. We had to say no because the timing didn't work...shoot. We did get in the newspaper though. Apparently Americans wearing saris is big news.
- Corn on the cob with spices on the street in India is the best.
- Coffee in India is so bad. Think one tablespoon of instant coffee in a mug of hot cream. With more sugar than coffee powder.
- Today Kallie and I bought designer saris. Like while the shop people were pulling them out they were telling us the names of the famous designers who made them. Also it only cost $12. $16 with the matching sari blouse that the tailor is making for me overnight.
- The food is absolutely fantastic and I'm going to be so sad when I'm back to cooking for myself. Also every restaurant has delicious vegetarian food. I'll miss that too.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"It's better for the heart to break than not to break."

The very best kind of books are the ones that crack your heart open and then fill it with beautiful things that you never thought of.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Go do!

"Tie strings to clouds
Make your own lake - Let it flow
Throw seeds to sprout
Make your own break - Let them grow

Let them grow (Endless summers)
Let them grow (Endless summers)

(Go do endless summers)

You will survive, will never stop wonders
You and sunrise will never fall under

You will survive, will never stop wonders
You and sunrise will never fall under
We should always know that we can do anything

Go do!

From Jónsi's new album, which I cannot get enough of.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

festival of faith and writing, day 3.

"I became a writer because I was born baffled."
Parker Palmer, "The Shadow of My Hand on the Paper: Writing and Living a Life."

"Faith is being willing to acknowledge the contradictions and live among them."
Parker Palmer

"In my experience at least, God does not tell me what to do but companions me in the darkest places."
Parker Palmer

"[poetry] offers us a way to be creative with our faith that sometimes we lose if we participate merely in the church side of our faith."
Rhoda Janzen, "Writing With a Poet's Eye: Rhoda Janzen and Thomas Lynch in Conversation"

"I wasn't trying to say 'this happened to me.' I was trying to say 'this happens.'"
Thomas Lynch

"In my relationship to nature I have chosen lust. I have chosen promiscuity...to love and to enjoy as many things as I can."
Kathleen Dean Moore, "Leaves and Bones: the Art of Spiritual Nature Writing"

"I truly believe that one of the most wonderful and reverent things you can say to another human being is 'look!'"
Kathleen Dean Moore

"The way to get rid of cliché in your writing is to be absolutely honest. Did the wind 'roar in like a lion?' Not really."
Kathleen Dean Moore

Friday, April 16, 2010

festival of faith and writing, day 2.

"I was flabbergasted to learn that thousands of women had burned their bras in public. I didn't even know you were allowed to say 'bra.'"
Rhoda Janzen

"This leap from captivity to restoration is the same leap we take to move forward toward the mystery of faith."
Rhoda Janzen

"This is our story and it isn't pretty but it can change."
Rhoda Janzen, "Memoir as Captivity Narrative"

"Not writing what I know but edging into what I didn't know."
Eugene Peterson, "Poet and Pastor on Patmos"

"You have to find a way to pull the readers through the pages - but not a cheap way."
Brady Udall

"Formal structure allows the emotional and creative mind to take over - readers need the formal structure to allow emotions free rein."
Brady Udall, "How to Build a Novel"

"If you try to work from the raw material of life you very quickly come up short."
Dara Horn, "Belief as a Generator of Plot in Fiction"

"Books are slow. They draw you into contemplation and solitude. Computers are for grazing and impatience."
Karl Pohrt, speaking on a panel entitled "the Case for Printed Books"

Today was, for the most part, more instructive. But everyone was still beautiful and eloquent and gave me so much to think about. Also, Rhoda is still fabulous.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

festival of faith and writing, day 1.

"The Holy Spirit doesn't seem to mind being embarrassed."
Eugene Peterson

"Poets are the high priests of language."
Eugene Peterson

"Food and healing often go together."
Sara Miles

"Prayer can't cure. Prayer can only heal. The difference is that God's idea of healing often doesn't match our own."
Sara Miles

"When we share that bread and wine we can't stay the same."
Sara Miles

"I think that I've seen miracles and the way that I could tell they were miracles is that it was different than what I thought should happen."
Sara Miles

"I hope you begin to experience abundant life - all of you."
Sara Miles

This conference is feeding my soul and creativity in ways I was not even expecting. Except Wally Lamb. He was boring.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This might seem trivial...

The very first time I prayed intentionally by myself I was sitting in our orange tree. Orange trees are the very best to climb. The branches are knobby, which makes it very easy to climb, even for a small five-year-old. In the spring, they grow very beautiful white flowers, which are lovely to smell even if you are allergic. The leaves are thick and very dark green, which block out the Arizona sun and create your own little world. And of course...there are oranges. The biggest, juiciest, naval oranges you have ever seen. What could be better than perching in a tree and eating oranges all afternoon long?

Friday, while procrastinating, I was on Google Earth. Since the town I currently live in is a green blur on Google Earth, I was looking at the Arizona house. Last time I did this, I noticed that they got a trampoline (which Dad always told us wouldn't fit). This time I noticed something more tragic than that: the orange tree is gone. I don't know if it got sick or if it just got too big. I know that it is silly to mourn a tree, but it really was a great tree.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

it IS.

"If you are mesmerized by televised stupidity, and don't get to hear or read stories about your world, you can be fooled into thinking that the world isn't miraculous - and it is."
- Anne Lamott

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

All that I have seen teaches me to trust God for all I have not seen

The number one response when I tell people I'm a political science major: "Um...why?" Number two: "Well...what are you going to DO with that?" My number one response? "I don't know." Throughout the past year I have seriously considered law school, Peace Corps, overseas missions, grad school, and simply finding a crappy job and living in Chicago for awhile. Next year I'm going to take the GRE, take the LSAT, and apply to go into the Peace Corps with not a clue about how seriously I am considering any of those options. I have no idea where I will be in a year.

The truly awesome part is that I am not scared of this one bit. I deliver my "I don't know"s with a smile. I know that I don't have to have my career all picked out at age 22. I know that if I'm not married at 22 that doesn't mean I'll be lonely forever. But the bigger reason that I'm not scared is that I have learned to trust God. I know that he'll show me the next step that I need to take, and that's all I need to know.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

peace like a river.

Tonight I turned off my phone. I shut my computer and turned on the record player. Then I finished my book, talked to Jesus, and began to make a journal...all with a beautiful sense of being disconnected from this hectic world at least for awhile. Why did it take Midwinter Break to make me do that?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

calling us back to why, how, whence such beauty and what the meaning

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles, nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

- Mary Oliver

Sometimes I miss summer but then a day like today happens - perfect, fluffy, glittery snow - and I remember how truly grateful I am for the beauty of all the seasons.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I have finally reached a point where I'm not embarrassed about this.

Poetry by me, age 7. I had checked out a rhyming dictionary from the library; can you tell? Spelling/grammatical errors kept intact.

"I hoped"
I hoped to the pawn shop
to buy a cough drop.

I saw a little Flower
growing in the ground. it was
such a sunny morning That
it led me to another flower.

I saw a bear in underwear, I didn't care I dared go.
Just then a mare apered holding a pear.
He saw the Bear and disappeared

I sneezed in the breeze
I wonder if I have feas?
do you sneeze in the breeze?
you must have fleas.

Blue is the blue-birds,
and the ocaen so blue
and blue is. you, you, you!

There is so much more and it's all this good. Wow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

i miss my puppy.

"The third thing-which also happened at the same moment- was the only really beautiful thing that night. Every single Talking Dog in the whole meeting (there were fifteen of them) came bounding and barking joyously to the king's side. They were mostly great big dogs with thick shoulders and heavy jaws. Their coming was like the breaking of a great wave on the sea-beach: it nearly knocked you down. For though they were Talking Dogs they were just as doggy as they could be: and they all stood up and put their front paws on the shoulders of the humans and licked their faces, all saying at once:
'Welcome! Welcome! We'll help, we'll help, help, help. Show us how to help, show us how, how. How-how-how?'
It was so lovely that it made you want to cry."

- C.S. Lewis, "The Last Battle"

Sunday, January 31, 2010

She's cute.

Highlights of watching "A New Hope" with Allison (her first time):

- (after the scrolling intro) "Was I supposed to read that?"
- (after seeing Luke for the first time) "Oh darn it! I thought he was going to be cuter." (at this point she made a pros/cons list about whether or not she should finish. Luke's looks were a con)
- "Chewbacca...is he the lizard?"
- "No, the rebels lived in the Death Star!"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Baby VR

Kim told me that she hasn't been able to find a knit hat for baby #3, so I made one! (They don't know if it's a boy or a girl)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


just putting this here so i have it mostly.


i found a little plot of land in the garden of eden
it was dirt and dirt is all the same
i tilled it with my two hands and i called it my very own
there was no one to dispute my claim

well you'd be shocked at the state of things
the whole place had just cleared right out
it was hotter'n hell, so i lay me by the spring for a spell, naked as a trout
the wandering eye that i have caught is as hot as a wandering sun
but i will want for nothing more in the garden
start again in my heart and into every heart but one

meet me in the garden of eden
bring a friend we are going to have ourselves a time
we are gonna have a garden party
it's on me, no siree, it's my dime
we broke our hearts in the war between st. george and the dragon
but both in equal parts are welcome to come along
we're inviting everyone

farewell to loves that i have known
even muddiest waters run
tell me what is meant by sittin' alone in the garden
see the __union in the year of 81.
the honor in __ might be done
i believe in innocence, little darling, start again.
i believe in anyone. ___ i believe in everyone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Made me smile.

Today I emailed my mother to ask for a recipe. This is what I received in response:

"Hi Maria,
Do you want me to do your taxes again? Did I last year?? If so, send me your W-2s. Have you ever tried plain yogurt? Maybe you'd like it. We had another snow (actually ice) day today.

Love you,


Monday, January 18, 2010

Honor what exists.

The new title of this blog is taken from a David Bazan song, from his latest release, “Curse Your Branches.” This album, as with all of Bazan’s work, is full of poignant, thought-provoking lyrics. The album is bitter and heart-breaking, exploring Bazan’s falling out with God. The songs are angry, addressing the age-old question of suffering. This is most evident in the title track:

"Oh, falling leaves should curse their branches
For not letting them decide where they should fall
And not letting them refuse to fall at all."

Bazan’s move to agnosticism is, in the most callous phrasing, cliché. However, it is understandable, and people are often driven away from God in hard times. I have never reacted to suffering as intensely as Bazan has, and my faith in God has remained strong throughout my life. However, I find myself drawn again and again to the track "Bearing Witness." In this song Bazan, through his powerful skill as a lyricist, expresses the same attitude as in the rest of the album. However, in this song I find that what pushed him away from God is exactly what continually draws me to God.

“Let go of what you know and honor what exists
Son, that's what bearing witness is”

Hope College is in a period of grief. Yesterday, we learned of the death of two of our own. Emma Biagioni and David Otai were flying in a small, one engine aircraft that crashed in a field near the Tulip City Airport. They were widely known and loved at Hope, and the news hit hard.

However, on Sunday night at the Gathering, I did not see students cursing their God because of the fall of two fellow students. I saw students clinging to each other and strangers praying for each other. Dimnent was full to the rafters despite the somber mood and the cancellation of the normal Gathering service. Last night I truly saw, more than ever before, the community of Hope.

What I know is that the deaths of Emma and David were not fair. I know that Hope is grieving and angry. However, what I saw Sunday - what truly exists at Hope College right now - is a community that is grieving together. I see God in the community of Hope now more than ever. Our God reaches to us in our grief and brings us right back to him. We may not understand, but we can trust. And that is the witness I will bear.