Five Minute Friday (late): Small

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Lately, I feel small.

I am small. I am so small, and the world is big, and it turns on its big axis, and the large sun shines its great rays and warms the giant oceans. People around me are big and they carry their big dreams with them in tow, grasping them firmly, and on their way toward dreams and running full speed toward some grand end.

And I am here, in a seemingly smaller world of my own that is seemingly apart from this big world around me. My small world is one where waking up in the morning and putting two small feet on the ground is a victory. Where working full-time is about as adventurous and big as I get.

Perhaps I need to stop comparing myself to others. I may be small, but I am who I am. My world may be small, but I am where I am. I may do small things, but I do what I do. This is the season I am in. A season of small. It will pass—or it will grow. But right now? Small.

I feel small because all of my big dreams are still so far out of my reach, even as I strive toward them. I’m held back by the small but real chains of the here-and-now, the tiny ropes of reality reminding me that I really am kind of stuck here, even if it is just for a time.

But at night, I think about where I want to go, what I yearn to do, who I want to be, and those dreams feel so heavy, so unattainable, so far away.

I am small. I am so, so small. And the world is big. Reality is massive. But my dreams are somewhere amidst all of that.

Some day, my small little self with search through the mire and find them. I’ll grab them and run with them full speed toward grander and greater ends.

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Every Friday, join the blogosphere for five minutes of free-writing on a single-world prompt, and watch where the Muse takes you. Find out more about Five-Minute Fridays here.

Words that won’t be said.

When someone asks me how I’m doing, there are words I could say—honest words, true words, real words, words full of pain and joy. When I try to grasp them, to place them on my tongue, to release them, they sink deep down out of my reach. They are heavy like an anchor. They do not want to move; they will not be said. They remain within, and I remain silent.

The words I want to say are, I am heavy. I cry, but I’m not really sure why. I want to say that I’m sad a lot lately—but happy, too.

The words I want to say are, Yesterday was good, but today has been bad, and I’m terrified of what tomorrow will be. I want to say that’s how it is every yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I want to say that some days feel like a victory merely because I’ve woken up and put two feet on the ground. Other days, I accomplish everything on my to-do list, yet I feel like a failure.

The words are, I’m weary and worn.

The words are, my dreams and wishes are too heavy for me to carry, and I am tempted to abandon them. The words are, I am afraid.

The words are, when the sun comes up in the morning, I am happy for a new day and at the same time filled to the brim with the anxieties that a new day brings.

The words are, my reflection in the mirror makes me sad. The words are, I’m my own worst enemy, my own worst critic, and I’m tired of being at war with myself.

The words are, I cried six times today but only three times yesterday, and tomorrow I might not cry at all, and maybe it’s not as bad as it sounds, or maybe it is. The words are, I don’t know.

I want to say the words, I have no idea why I feel the things I feel or think the things I think.

The words are, I’m lonely in the good way, and I’m lonely in the bad. The words are, I don’t know why.

But all those words that I want to say that are as heavy as an anchor sink too far beneath the surface; they are unattainable.

They will not be said.

So I say, “I’m fine.”

Hope Deferred

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12 (ESV)

There are times that I feel absolutely hopeless, rejected, incapable. It isn’t logical because I know who I am in Christ. Yet, there are nights that I cry myself to sleep, or lie awake, or panic, or hate myself even as I am telling myself the truths about Christ’s love for me and who God has made me to be. It’s like the lies are screaming louder than the truths sometimes.

During those times, I often wonder where my hope went. Did it leave? Did it disappear? Did I lose it along the way somehow? What do I have to do to get it back? Is it really gone? It can’t be true that I am actually, literally hopeless. Even in my hopelessness, I have to believe that hope is there, buried somewhere or hiding or blocked by the smog.

At the small group my husband and I attend, we discussed the first half of Romans 5. Hope, peace, and reconciliation are huge themes in that passage, and the group was somewhat fixated on verse 4-5: “…and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.” Some translations say that “hope does not disappoint us.” People mentioned that it seemed contrary to what society often tells us–to not get our hopes up because we’ll be disappointed. People referenced situations in their lives where they were hopeful and then sufficiently disappointed when things didn’t work out. How can we have hope that doesn’t disappoint when it is known fact that reality often does not match our hopes for reality?

Worldly hope will always disappoint, someone said. And that’s part of life. That suffering we experiences from hopes that disappoint us produces endurance, and the endurance produces character. Our hopes are deferred, and we suffer, and as we suffer, we develop character. And that character in turn produces hope (see vv. 3-5)–but a different kind of hope from the hope that initially disappointed us.

The hope Paul is talking about in verses 4 and 5 is not the same kind hope we have for a new job, or the hope for a raise, or the hope that it won’t rain on our wedding day–because those kind of hopes will inevitably disappoint.

But the hope that doesn’t disappoint or put us to shame is the eternal hope that we have that is rooted in Christ. It’s the kind of hope that is always at the back of my mind even in my despair. It’s the kind of hope that hopelessness, depression, anxiety, fear–you name it–cannot, will not touch.

It’s the kind of hope that wipes the tears from my eyes when I cry myself to sleep. It’s the hope that gives me the strength to get up in the morning even when I don’t see the point or when my body hurts. It’s the hope that gives me some unknown will to live. It’s the one hope that matters–the hope and trust that comes from knowing God’s intentions for me. The hope that comes from the love “God poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (v. 5b). Even in my most disappointing, seemingly hopeless moments, I still have hope.

Five-Minute Friday: Lonely

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I’m learning to love loneliness. Being alone is like being with a good friend. You don’t have to explain yourself to her.

I invite her to sit next to me and enjoy a cup of coffee—or a vodka and cranberry, if that’s what the day calls for. She sits next to me while I watch my favorite TV shows. She follows me to work, to church, to dinner with friends or family.

Loneliness reads my favorite books with me. She sits next to me while I write. She holds my hands together when I pray. Sometimes she prays with me, or in my stead.

She has become a confidante.

I welcome her with open arms. She is quiet and pensive. She is reliable. She accepts me as I am. She points me to Jesus.

She teaches me how to be okay with myself. She patiently watches me travel through the deepest parts of myself, and she isn’t harsh with me when I reveal what I find, or frustrated when it takes me a while.

She travels the pages of my favorite stories with me. She makes wishes on stars with me.

She moves me to tears. She tells me its okay to laugh at myself, and she laughs along with me. She tells me truths. She helps me crumble up all the lies and toss them out.

She is quiet when my mind is clattering. She is loud when the silence suffocates.

Loneliness points out the details and funny things in the world around me that I otherwise wouldn’t notice.

She shows me who I am. No—who I really am, not who other people tell me I am or expect me to be. Loneliness reminds me that the reflection I see in the mirror is not who I am.

She’s helping me learn to dream again.

Loneliness is one part of me.

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Every Friday, join the blogosphere for five minutes of free-writing on a single-world prompt, and watch where the Muse takes you. Find out more about Five-Minute Fridays here.

He

To my husband, who is love to me every day, who is the fire and air and water around me, the moon in the dark and the sun when it’s cold, the living fulfillment of God’s promises to me, the beat of my heart.

I am the changing leaves in autumn, and
he is the air I fall through,
the ground that catches me.
After the wind has felled me,
he is the boy raking the pieces of me
back together.

I am a bud that won’t bloom.
He is the ripe morning sun,
warming and coaxing me into life and beauty.

He is crisp winter air.
I am a snowdrift.
If I am melting snow,
he is the salt.

He is a rainstorm
after scorching heat in summer.
If he is a flash of lightning,
I am the rolling thunder that follows him.