I Would Rather Build a Snowman

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I don’t’ wanna write a paper.

I don’t wanna go to class.

I don’t want to be here any more,

Want to run out the door—

I don’t care if I fail or pass!

 

I used to be well rested,

But now I’m not.

I feel like I’m going to die…

 

I don’t wanna write a paper—

Don’t have the brains to write a paper—

But I’ll try.

 

 

 

 

 

Paper Trail

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There are a quarter million documents open on my desktop right now. Alright, slight exaggeration—there are only four, and one of them is a revised assignment sheet.

But the fact remains: there’s a lot due this week. Big, long papers, trailing ahead of me, rolling off into the distance. Miles and miles of blank pages that I need to fill. With…things.

First up is the paper for a course covering American novels. I’m writing my paper on the allegory in Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Most of the commentary I’ve read on the book was written by professors with radical feminist agendas who can’t help but see Stowe’s woman-driven plotline as an attempt to supplant the patriarchy. Whatever. These people didn’t read the book. Stowe was more enthusiastic about people understanding the Gospel—and, of course, that just because someone’s skin is darker doesn’t make him subhuman. Her point was that the eyes of faith are colorblind. Ooh. I like that phrase.

Second up is a paper for a course in modern poetry. It’s a comparative essay (1,000 words long) that analyzes Robert Frost’s “The Oven Bird” and “Never Again Would Birds’ Song Be the Same.” Both center on the theme of lost innocence, and use the biblical Fall as their primary metaphor. In both poems, birds are the primary communicators, and are the voice of the poet. That’s all I’ve got. Hopefully I can say it 1,000 words.

Why am I not writing them right now, you ask?

I had a teacher move a revision deadline (another paper, another class) to Saturday at midnight. That means I don’t have to worry about getting it done by Thursday afternoon, as was the case before. After all that internal agony, it turns out I’m not about to be destroyed.

Hurrah!

Now, I’ve got a test tomorrow for which my brain is too tired to study. That’ll get done in good time. For now, seven hours of blissful sleep, and coffee in the morning. 

One Week More

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In seven days, I turn 22.

Just seven more days.

I’ve gotten into a habit of counting down the last few days to birthdays. I’m not sure why I do that to myself. It’s not like I’m eager to celebrate my birthday or anything. I stopped getting excited about them when I turned 19.

Cake is cool, though. And presents are thoughtful things. And having an excuse to go home and sleep in my own bed is also quite wonderful.

The frustrating thing is how I’ll be spending my last seven days of 21-hood. I’ll be frantically putting together three final papers, two of which will determine whether I tip fence-straddling grades in my favor. The pressure is mounting to a boiling point within me. It’s very uncomfortable.

I figured that if I stay up late every night, get up early every morning, don’t eat, and don’t socialize for the next two days, I’ll get things done and done well. The prices we pay.

Also, study for a test. Hmm.

Don’t worry, gentle readers. I’ll find something to laugh about in the midst of all this teeth-grinding. I’ll be praying a lot. God has given me grace in the past, He will give me grace in the future, and He will certainly give me grace now.

A goodness knows I don’t deserve a drop of it. 

Resurrection Sunday

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Some stories never get old. Even after you’ve heard them every year for 21 years.

Even 2,000 year old stories. Even improbable ones.

Especially the improbable ones.

Like the Creator of the Universe deciding to be one of His own creations. Being tempted, but still flawless. Being omnipotent, but still getting tired and needing sleep and food.

Letting His enemies humiliate Him. Call Him names. Letting them kill Him when He knew a snap of His fingers would bring His Father’s heavenly army down to destroy them all.

But not doing so. But giving Himself up to the most humiliating death possible.

And forgiving those who killed him. Myself included.

Then, three days later, turning death on its head and coming out of the grave, unconquered, greater than death and sin. The true King. The only Savior.

You know, that story.

No. It never gets old.  

Forever Sixteen

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A long time from now…isn’t so long from now.

It’s a mercy that time crawls while we’re children. Every year feels like five. We’re allowed to be small and let the world feel big. We’re allowed to feel as though time will unwind before us slowly, like a sweater pulled apart stich by stich.

We wish our way to ten. Then to eleven—because goodness knows the gap between ages was wider, then. We want to be thirteen, then sixteen. At sixteen we’re content to stay.

But we don’t.

I’ll admit, I’m still sixteen going on seventeen. Adults still don’t make sense, but neither do children—even though I’m one of their number. I still do spur-of-the-moment, random things like running through thunder storms or high-fiving strangers on the sidewalk. I read literature aimed at teenagers. I daydream. Constantly.

My outer self, however, is twenty-one, soon to be twenty-two, going on thirty.

Do I like it? Not one bit.

Circumstances surrounding my first two years of college forbad me from being the teenager I still was. I’m not done with being a teen. I had the young-and-fun beaten out of me too early. Years I should have been able to relish…I couldn’t.

So nothing in me wants to be twenty-two. But soon I’ll graduate, come into an apartment, pay bills, pay taxes, buy groceries. I’ll be a sixteen-year-old doing grownup things.

These are the first days of the rest of my life. Whatever that entails.

Lest you think I’m depressed…I’m not. But things are what they are, and this is the state of things. I must be an adult. I am not ready. I probably never will be.

I’m perfectly fine with living the rest of my life—all eternity, for that matter—as a sixteen-year-old. I’ll pay the bills, I’ll be responsible, I’ll do adult things.

But growing up is optional. 

Good Friday

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Winter’s back. It was cold and wet today, and walking around outside wasn’t very fun. I had to dig through my closet and find winter clothes that looked spring-ish. I had to get up early to finish a reading assignment that couldn’t happen the night before, and two cups of coffee didn’t help the weariness much.

But today was a Good Friday.

I was always puzzled about why we call Good Friday Good Friday. I couldn’t stand the crucifixion story as a child. I couldn’t bear that Jesus should be beaten and belittled, have thorns driven into His scalp, or be spat upon. I hated how they strung Him up like a criminal. Jesus, the Son of God, Who had done no harm. Jesus, Who had healed hundreds, calmed storms at sea, gave blind men sight, fed the five thousand. It was not a good Friday for Jesus. It was the worst possible Friday. The spotless Lamb of God was soiled with all the smut of the world.

But it was such a Good Friday for us. And He knew it.

He died to tear down the divide between man and God. He died so we wouldn’t have to. He died so we could live.

Without Him, my life would be empty and hopeless. If He had never died, I would never have learned to live.

So yes, even on this rainy day, I could be grateful for a Good Friday. What is one dark day compared to eternity?

Past the Point of No Return

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So I looked at my syllabi today.

My blood pressure levels aren’t thanking me.

Next week is The Week. The Week of all Deadlines. And we all know why they’re called deadlines.

This year, I have it lucky. I only have three papers due. Three final projects, two of which will probably determine whether I get an A or a B in those classes.

Others I know are not so lucky. They have projects due for contests and lessons to plan and teach. They have final performances. They have exams that come early. They have research papers and speeches and group projects. All at once.

Really, I have very little reason to complain. Still, we’re all past the point of no return. It’s a stomach-lurching plunge ahead, dropping us closer and closer to commencement day where we’ll land in an exultant splat, ready to sleep for a year.

Next week’s posts will be very, very short. 

All These Heavy Thoughts

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Once upon a time, many, many moons ago, this blog was perpetually upbeat. Almost obnoxiously upbeat. I dedicate myself to writing humor, and humor I wrote. Every day had a laugh: some kvetching, some funny stories, a lot of verbal situational comedy.

Recently, it’s not bee like that. My writing has been as harried as I am. I can’t force a good mood when I write. I can only write what I feel. Yes, sometimes I can write myself out of a pit of despair, but not all the time.

I suppose I’ve discovered that this blog is a living, breathing creature. It’s as organic as I am. Its perspective shifts with mine. My former optimism has been replaced with whatever “ism” comes with disappointed idealism. My humor remains the same–I still laugh freely and often out in the real world, where few of my readers can see me. But writing the humor–now, there’s the challenge.

The thing is, I haven’t wanted to write “funny.” My heart wants to write poems, reflections on change, nostalgic pieces, and all the self-doubt and concerns for the big hairy adult future that waits for me. But I know that if I write all of that–and put it out there for you to read, you’ll have read my blog and left feeling empty. I can’t have that.

Perhaps it’s because I’m about to turn 22, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to enjoy birthdays. I’m still sixteen on the inside, but my mirror reminds me I’m far too tired to be sixteen.

No one ever told me that being 21 would mean constant oscillation between self-love and self-loathing, ecstasy and misery, pain and pleasure, fear and delight. No one told me how many goodbyes there would be. Or how many wonderful hellos.

That’s the thing that’s made my blog so bare these days. There are so many heavy thoughts in my head. Heavy thoughts can be happy ones, but they’re still heavy ones. I am an extremely happy person right now. Just not in the way that makes sense in print.

My head is in the clouds, but my feet are on the ground. And that’s all I can say for myself.

Surprises

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  1. Everything got done today. Granted, it was all due at midnight, and granted, it all got done at about 11:45, but it got done.
  2. Winter’s back.
  3. There was a red moon last night, and a lunar eclipse. That wasn’t really a surprise—I’d marked it in my calendar months ago—but that’s still a really cool thing.
  4. I got to eat all three meals today.
  5. And I might get to eat all three meals tomorrow.
  6. Despite many obstacles, I stayed cheerful today.
  7. I got to spend five minutes on my back with my feet propped up on the wall, staring at the ceiling of my dorm room. Right now it’s covered in bits of colorful paper with the attributes of God written on them. I was reminded to pray without ceasing, and I had a little five-minute worship session on the floor of my room. For results, see #6.
  8. I got great sleep last night.
  9. Tulsi tea actually tastes good.
  10. I got to have dinner with a friend. A dear friend from days gone by, who will probably always be one of my bests and a true sister. It was pretty awesome. 

Spring Rain

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Today offered the first warm spring rain.

Winter rains are wonderful, but mildly depressing. Winter rain soaks your bones—a wonderful sensation when you have the opportunity to walk into your living room after trudging through the rain, throw off your coat, get into pajamas and curl up with a blanket and a book. Something which almost never happens in winter—especially if you’re a student.

But spring rains—spring rains are another creature entirely. Spring rains invite you to take off your shoes and run your toes through the puddles on the pavement. Spring rains ask you to dance, and you do, if you refuse to be too dignified. Spring rains take the pollen away—at least for an hour or two. Spring rain doesn’t drive you inside, it calls you out. Thunderless, it beckons. Gently, it laughs.

The greatest tragedy of adulthood is that it douses the enjoyment of little things. As a child, your eyes are wide open, soaking in every detail of new things, old things, old things seen in new ways. Rain is cause for a celebration—a dance party in the puddles.

 For an adult, however, rain becomes a nuisance. It frizzes hair. It splotches clothing. It ruins shoes. We hide under umbrellas and walkways. Never would we turn our faces up to the rain, letting it wash over our tired faces. No—it might smear our mascara. It might slick our hair.

Perhaps we don’t forget little things. We just replace the little things of childhood with the little things of adulthood. Suddenly shoes have become more important than puddles.

Except for those of us who take off our shoes and dance through the puddles anyway. 

Transition

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I and my fellow graduates-to-be find ourselves in a frightening state of transition. Well, at least to me it’s frightening—perhaps I’m the only one.

It seems like everyone I talk to—those of a mentoring age—has fantastic ideas of what I should do with my life after graduation. One told me to go abroad and get a PhD and a ton of other degrees and come back to UU and teach. In fact, everyone I talk to thinks I should teach. I really have no inkling why they think this is a good idea.

I had other friends encourage me to get a grad degree in theater arts. That’s great folks. I’m flattered. I love theater, but theater is not my oxygen. And unless theater is the thing you live and breathe, you shouldn’t get a degree in it.

Why is no one advising me to write? I’ve spent four years trying to become the best writer possible, but so far only my mother and closest friends have told me to shoot for publication. Which I still want to do, by the way. With all my heart.

It seems like everyone wants me to do everything but become the one thing I’ve dreamed of being since I was ten: a writer. In conversation, I still feel like my peers and my mentors consider my dream to be nothing more than a tangential element of my life—a side job—and eccentric hobby. “What do you want to do?” “Write things.” “Yeah, but what do you really want to do?”

Thank goodness I’m not too easily swayed by people’s opinions.

The really frightening thing is…I’m leaving a chapter behind. It’s the last page of a really long chapter. Not to say I won’t be happy to graduate, but leaving undergrad behind means leaving Neverland. I’m Wendy, I know I have to leave and I know why—but that doesn’t make it any easier.

I decided when I was five that I never wanted to grow up, but time and biology say otherwise.

So what do I want to do? you ask.

What I want seems irrelevant. But the desire of my heart—and those who follow God know Who plants desires—is to travel wherever, give the Gospel wherever, and write. Write because I have to. Write because I can’t stop.

I’m getting there. A little closer every day.

Work the transitions. Even those are profitable. 

What Got Done: Things

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Novel concept, that things should get done on Saturdays. What do you know?

Recently, my saturdays have been full of things. Fun things. Spiritually profitable things. Social things. Odd things. But lots of things that involve driving to places and talking to people. Which are two things that, frankly, I’d rather not do much of on a Saturday. 

Depends on the company. 

But today, not so much. Today I got up and did homework and drank coffee. Then I ran an errand or two. Then I ate lunch, did more homework, sang for an hour and a half, went to work and put books on shelves. Then came back and did more homework. 

I’m much better prepared for the week than I’ve been in a while. Or at least better prepared for Monday. 

Fancy that. 

After a week of being oversocialized (read: 2,000 extra people on campus, all of which I had to be friendly towards), it was nice not to open my mouth for hours and hours. My batteries are fully recharged. And I am content. 

It’s the little things. 

“What is ‘This’?”

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This is not a rose

Blushing once in bloom,

In a moment red to brown

And cankered, root and stem.

 

Nor is this a flame

Burning bud and branch,

Consuming and consuming,

Producing only ash.

                                          

Yet this is not a stone

Indifferent to the wind

Or fanfare of sunrise or set,

Eroding into sand.

 

No. This is a tree—

Its core a growing green—

That weathers every winter

And blossoms every spring.

 

So

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In case you were wondering….

…which you probably weren’t, but still…

This has been a very, very stressful week. I’ve been going to bed late and getting up early every morning. And there are 2,000 guests on campus, four of which are sharing my shoebox  dorm room with me this week. 

Which is why the posts have been so short. 

That’s why. 

I’ve been writing so much that my wrists hurt, but not on the blog. I’m terribly sorry, but that’s just the way it will be until…tomorrow. Yes. Probably tomorrow.