Shimmering, opalescent:
a breath held prisoner
in an airborne cage.
Bars made of dreams,
of soap slick film floating
-to the stars?
Or merely to an unseen point
where they will break and let fall
my lip's exhalation;
a Lucifer-bright meteor,
here and gone.


Lost and Found

Timesickness. That bone deep longing for a place and a group of people. If you have lived well for any period of time, it is hard to avoid, even as you fight to weigh down the present moments and dwell in this time and this place. Sometimes it's just a fleeting butterfly brush: when I think of meeting Hayden in Chicago, or when I remember walking through the Badenburg at Schloss Nymphenburg near Munich and the way the rain looked as it stained the corroded lions with water streaks and kissed its own reflection in the lake. Sometimes it's an unshakeable, visceral stranglehold like the way it feels to remember too many little details about my time in England from an open window in an attic in Portugal Place to chilly Easter Skype chats at a prayer room in Durham.

We want so desperately to be here and now, but the memories tug and strain to pull us under. And if we do dare to enter time and break old boundaries, then we are only creating more such memories. How do we deal with these warring spaces of time, looking back, forward, and to either side?

I think one of my biggest takeaways from this weekend is that every good thing comes with a sting of pain. Oh, it was good to see Carol Anne and Charles, to process more of what Impact was and how it has shaped where we are going, to remember that there is more to me than there is to me and she's not lost forever. But it also hurt because it meant growing, which is a painful process not unlike working out for the first time after the winter holiday season. I started one conversation with Charles with the rather pessimistic, "Hope sucks," and while that by no means ended the conversation too, I still hold to that. We have to hope and dream or else, as Emma Goldman said rightly, we die. But "hope deferred makes the heart sick:" that's not hope that we've given up or lost, it's hope that we still have, that fires us for the future. As much as they bring us life, our hopes can also leave us living death.

That's why Revelation 21 hurts. Because every beautiful thing is a foreshadowing of consummation, and as much as our longing increases with each encounter with beauty, we have to wait with deferred hope for the day when He says, "Behold, I make all things new." Until that day, our sweetest fruit has the bitter aftertaste of a fall from grace. Our closest friendships require a daily combat against the drag of brokenness. Our dearest hopes both delight and wound us. It is already, but oh, it is not yet, and that makes all the difference.


Living with Future Retrospection

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."

From this article on The Guardian's website.

This evening, I was cleaning the bar and chatting with a new friend and evening regular, Dan. We ended up talking about ages, because he keeps referring to himself as if he were a hideously old man (all of 31 eons- I mean years old) but he joked that people usually think he's twelve. I, on the other hand, frequently get an older approximation, anywhere from two to five years beyond my age. Age is a funny thing. Sometimes it's meaningless, and sometimes it means everything.

In the course of the aforementioned conversation, I touched on something that has been bothering me lately, and it's exactly what the palliative care nurse was talking about when she spoke of unfulfilled dreams. I know I'm fairly young, and I've lived so little of my life, but I feel like I am at a pivotal point. Up until now, most of my commitments have been rash, spur of the moment things dictated by circumstance and opportunity. But at last, I have certain possibilities open to me that involve discipline, sacrifice, and a longstanding commitment (I'm talking about college here, before rumors get started). My first response was pretty pathetic: I had my selfish little fetal position pity party. But eventually my second wind caught up to me. In some ways, it can be hard to give up the security and the comforts that we cling to because, quite simply, they are pleasant. They are even good, in all of their God-ordained glory. But they are also not all there is to life. And so we suffer little in the present so that we might attain much in the future. It is invigorating to be called thus higher.

Something there is that does not love to live ordinary. I can't do it. God, not yet. Please, not ever. I want so much more than this, even though it freaks me out to ask You for anything bigger than what I have. Let's do this thing.


Post-4 Essay Blues Notes

To pour oneself out
in typeface black
in twelve-point font:
emptied, I am
the verbal libation.
All that remains
of this, my bounteous feast;
dry crusts and sour wine:
the dregs.