Tag Archives: ramble

Message to the Wondering

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Hey. Hey, you.

One day you’ll look over your shoulder at the past and realize everything you did right. And everything you did wrong.

You’ll see how all the pieces fit together. Every right decision. Every mistake.

And you know what? You’ll be just fine. The catastrophes to today will have taught you how to live in your tomorrow. Today’s mishap is tomorrow’s song. Today’s joy is tomorrow’s happy memory.

It will be okay.

I’ve been there. I know.

It will be okay.

With love,

Rizzy

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Who knows

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Who knows what it is–

maybe the smell of perfume or flowers (or

maybe the smell of everyone else’s

perfume and flowers);

maybe it’s the resin dust and

the sound of bellyaching tuning

strings or the experimental

twitterings of clarinets (sounding oh

so very modern); maybe it’s the stars

(oh so very old) or us

(oh so very young) and the dance

that musicless sways us.

Who knows what it is.

Sight

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What would it be like to see for the first time after being blind your whole life?

The concept of “color” would be completely foreign. Any knowledge of a loved one’s face would have been obtained through the fingertips. You wouldn’t even know what you looked like.

Would you speak of fruit by flavor instead of by color and shape? Would you think of objects and places in terms of smell instead of layout or design? Would your brain paint pictures of how you perceived the world, even if your brain had no concept of line, shape, color, or light?

And then what would happen if one day you could see the world as it is?

How deliciously confusing that would be. Suddenly “red” and “blue” make sense. The faces you’ve felt are now as real as they feel under your fingers. Sunrises are more than warmth on your face in the morning, they are dazzling displays of beauty and brilliance.

Suddenly seeing would be walking from a world of limitations into a world of boundless sensation and possibility.

There are some who call my faith “blindness.” I am blind because I don’t embrace debauchery or agree with everyone I meet. I’m blind because I see some things as wrong and others as right. I’m blind because I use words like “debauchery.”

But my faith, my God, has given me vision. I see the road of human experience with clarity I didn’t know before. I know where the world is headed. I know where I am headed. I am unlimited. Because the sin, the blindness, has been removed, I am free.

Do I see perfectly? No. But I see.

And everything around me is dazzling.

The Girl Manual

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Yes, there’s a Girl Manual. It’s a book that teaches girls how to be girls and keep at it through womanhood. Yes, I’ve read it.

Most of it, that is.

I skipped a few chapters. I paid close attention to the chapter on male-female interaction (which, despite my highlighting and dog-earing,did me little good). I read the chapter on emotional independence (even though I didn’t heed it much until late college). I frequently revisit the chapter on how to be a good daughter. I devoured the chapter on how to be an intelligent female (no matter what popular culture tells you you must be). I carefully marked all the sections on God’s view of women (a deeper love than most would imagine) and remind myself of those daily.

I skipped the chapter on cosmetology.

Sometimes, when I visit friends’ homes, I’ll enter the restroom to be confronted by a room of mysteries. Straighteners. Curlers. Tweezers. Powders. Creams. Minerals. Waxes. Lacquers. Highlighters. Lowlighters. Buffers. Trimmers. Sprays. Thousands of bottles and little tiny boxes for smearing and polishing and coloring and glueing and changing.

Most girls take delight in all of the above, own all of the above, and know how to use all of the above. I’m not trying to demean those ladies in any way. To each her own.

I’m just saying that I’ve never really understood what the fuss is all about. Is it to impress the men? Most girls would say “yes,” but most men (at least the ones I’ve asked) say they prefer an unpainted face to a painted one. So we’re trying to impress…each other?

Having struggled with persistent acne for over a year now (and some have struggled with it from adolescence onward), I can understand the desire to cover, to alter, to balance, to change. That I understand, perhaps now more than ever.

Most women believe they are ugly. That is why the cosmetology chapter exists.

(And most of us aren’t. Culture tells us we’re ugly and we need to change. That’s another post for another day.)

And even though most of the cosmetology chapter doesn’t make much sense to me, there is one part I wish I could master:

I wish I knew how to do cool things with my hair. I have a lot of it (it hasn’t been cut in a year), and it sort of hangs around my head in a quasi-wavy mane. It’s great, but it gets in may face, and putting it up rips the hair by my scalp and gives me wispy bangs. Pulling it back sometimes does the same. So usually I either let it hang, push it back with a headband, or so a side braid.

I dearly wish I could figure out how to do something with a little more variety. Something that doesn’t involve waking up at 5:30 to apply hot curlers (which I don’t have) or hairspray (which I don’t have) or a billion bobby pins (actually, I have about a billion of those, so there’s a start).

Maybe dreads….

Sometimes

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Sometimes you need to be twenty-two. Twenty-two and seventeen at the same time.

Most every twenty-two year old has a seventeen-year-old on the inside, anyway.

And sometimes you need to be with some of your favorite people and be a little crazy and speak to each other in your own language and laugh at things no one else finds funny.

Sometimes you need to eat junk food and sit in the trunk of a car and talk about girl things. Sometimes you need to walk barefoot through muddy field.

Sometimes you need to backtrack.

So you don’t forget what you were. So you’ll know better how to be what you are.

The New Saturday

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Oh, so Saturday doesn’t mean sleeping in anymore? I’m cool with that. I get more done, anyway. 

Oh, and I need to be social? During the day? Hmm. Okay, I can handle that. That…that could be fun. Yeah. Fun. 

Shopping. Shopping on Saturdays. That’s a thing I could get used to. In small amounts at bargain prices. 

I’m still not going to the dining common on Saturday. That’s just too much. Especially now that I drive there, instead of walking. I might walk there for lunch when fall gets here. 

And I can’t spend all day cleaning. There’s homework to do, now. And plenty of it. 

But Saturdays are more than just curling up in a chair and reading, now. They’re more than that. It can be an active day, and I will survive.

Things got done. Good enough for me. 

Reminders to Self

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  1. No matter how bad your day is, someone else is probably having a worse day than you are.
  2. You are blessed far beyond what you deserve.
  3. A good family makes all the difference in the world, and you’re part of one.
  4. People around you are suffering.
  5. Actions shout what the words can only whisper.
  6. Time spent helping people heal is never time wasted.
  7. Not everyone is just like you. And that is a good thing.
  8. With God, there is always hope.
  9. You share common ground with criminals. Sin made you a criminal once; best not forget that.
  10. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind. 

Job and Hopkins

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College lends itself well to pondering things. A good education will make you ponder deeply and often. And more often than not, all of your areas of study will overlap, teaching you one great theme that will remain with you for years.

In my daily Bible reading, I am exploring the book of Job. I go to my 8:00 modern poetry class and come back at 9:00 with my head in the perfect space for analyzing deep poems—which is precisely what the book of Job is. The margins of my Bible are filled with notes; allusions are circled, repeated themes are underlined—it’s a mess in there.

The book of Job explores the age-old question “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The main character, Job, is a righteous man. Satan tells God that he can bring Job to curse God’s name if he can remove all happiness from him, and God allows him to try. All hell breaks loose in Job’s life—he loses his family, his possessions, and his health. His “friends” come to comfort him by telling him he must have sinned, so all he has to do is repent and life will be awesome again. But Job didn’t sin. Could God still be just?

Gerard Manley Hopkins addresses this same issue in his poem “Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord, If I Contend.” He says that it seems the enemies of God accomplish more for wickedness in their spare time than he has done for righteousness in his whole life—and he’s lived a while. God allows his enemies to grow like weeds, but he feels withered. He writes on the assumption that God is still just—and He will “send [his] roots rain.”

So is God still just if He allows His servants to suffer?

Yes.

There’s no simple answer to this question. Not really. But, speaking as a servant of God who has suffered, this much I know: every dark valley has led to greater light. Every broken bone has healed back stronger. Every scar is a story and a warning to others. Because I have suffered, I am a better servant. There are others I know who are fighting the same battles, or worse ones—but I can be there for them now in a way I couldn’t have been if I had never known pain.

Maybe my assertions sound masochistic—but I will remind you that I await an ultimate prize, an eternal life, and unending joy at the end of my life. Those who do not follow my God can’t look forward to that.

Perhaps He lets them win now because He knows that “the now” is all they have.  

So God is just. In every possible way, His plan is right. 

One Hundred Thoughts

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I had a hundred thoughts today, and none will make it here. 

I wrote down a few, but didn’t have the time to write them all. A few will sit in my journal and simmer until they make it out into the open for everyone to see. 

Today I found out an old friend symbolizes me in his mind with an image of an open book and the Subaru logo. That seemed appropriate. The writer (the reader) who wants the road. 

Yes, I know this post is disappointing. But not every day will be a productive one–not in terms of results. Sometimes you need a day of productive ideas to move you along to the days of productive writing. 

It’s all a part of the journey. 

Interesting Times

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There’s an old Chinese curse that says, “May you always live in interesting times.”

Interesting here implies a never-ending trouble. Wars. Famine. Big, scary, and definitely interesting headlines. Interesting stands apart from boring, predictable, and safe–which is what most people would really prefer in their lives.

It’s a good curse, come to think of it.

Today was an interesting time. it wasn’t traumatic or terrifying or even all that busy. but it was interesting. In my case, the interestingness was more of a blessing than a curse. Interesting times give us experiences that teach us things we wouldn’t know otherwise.

I will be grateful for interesting times. 

Things I Never Understood (and Never Will) About the 90s

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From the perspective of a (still confused) child of the 90s:

  1. Pastels.
  2. Massive hair, with the accompanying scent of ten gallons of hairspray.
  3. Also, massive plastic earrings.
  4. Paisley. Okay, this wasn’t so bad—I like paisley.
  5. Pilgrim collars.
  6. Deliberately blurring the focus on photos.
  7. Those sticker earrings. What were we thinking?
  8. Those floppy hats with the flowers.
  9. Those devilish pencils with individual plastic-fitted leads that you rotated out like machine gun bullets.
  10. Furbys.
  11. All, repeat all of the popular music*.

*Except the Disney stuff. That was pretty awesome. 

The Trouble with Fridays

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See, here’s the problem with Fridays.

Fridays are my lamest posts, I know. But here’s why. 

Friday nights my head is so full of dreams. So many snatches of rhymes and bursts of colorful and impossible images explode into my head that I can’t possibly put them all on paper. So many happy thoughts. So many puzzling ones. 

And tonight, I really can’t handle the rush. My brain is Grand Central Station, trains chugging in and out, newspapers flying, newsies calling out the headlines, the smell of coffee and roses.

That’s the trouble with Fridays. My mind is off on a journey somewhere, and has no time to send you a line telling you where I’m going. 

So goodnight. Watch the stars. Remember what you forgot. 

All me love, 

Risabella

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

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Students at Undisclosed University have been unusually blessed this semester—if we can call inclement weather a blessing.

Historically, bad weather affected the school about as much as the Titanic affected that iceberg. Drifts as high as six feet, snow clogging the roads, and the show went on. Teachers got to school however they could. Students snow-shoed to class. Nothing stopped the tide of learning. The rest of the county would be out of commission for a week, southern towns being as incapable as they are when it comes to snow, but not at UU. No, sir. They could build life-size replicas of the university president and a ten-foot bust of Bach, but there wasn’t nearly enough snow to cancel classes.

Times have changed. Two weeks ago, a sleet storm iced over the roads surrounding campus, making driving a dangerous affair. Classes were cancelled all day long, so we got an impromptu holiday. The ice was gone the next day, but everyone got to have fun playing what little snow there was and/or sleeping.

And the weather man is predicting solid snow and ice for the next two days. County schools have already closed up shop. My modern poetry professor already handed us our quiz for Wednesday and told us she’d record the lecture, so don’t bother coming to class. UU students wait with bated breath to hear the verdict—classes or no classes.

I, personally, am torn. I like not having to go to class. I love snow. I love the coziness that comes after being out in the middle of it. I love an excuse to drink hot chocolate and curl up in a blanket and read things—or write them.

But I had plans for Wednesday. Nice plans. Plans that would be interrupted by several miles of snowy, icy road between him and me. Snow is fun and all, but it’s better shared.

And I wouldn’t mind being home. Snow days at home are always so magical. Mother and I bake things. We watch movies and eat the baked things. We go out and build snowmen and take pictures of our house in the snow. We walk around and look at other houses’ snowmen. It’s always so lovely. But if things work out the way the weatherman says, I’ll be on campus tomorrow. Campus is nice and all…but it’s nothing compared to home.

We will see what tomorrow brings. In the meantime, I will sleep, and wait for the morning email that determines tomorrow’s destiny. 

Better Than Expected

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Life can look a little bleak when you have to get up at 5 in the morning.

Sometimes getting up at 5 means that you’re about to go on an adventure. I remember many journeys (and/or field trips) that began by waking up before most of the world was awake. Mornings like this were always accompanied by a quivering knot of eager anticipation sitting in the stomach, making eating that balanced breakfast nearly impossible. Mornings like this involved sweatshirts and jeans and climbing into a car or bus and going somewhere new and far away.

I’ve woken up at 5 to make sure I get to the airport on time. For some reason international flights are always scheduled in the morning, so in order to make sure I have everything and get to the airport in time, I have to get up at some unholy hour. Still, it’s an adventure. Adventures are worth early mornings.

Waking up at 5 A.M. to study, on the other hand, is nowhere near as fun.

You’re groggy, for one, and desperate for coffee. You pour yourself the first cup of several, and climb back in bed, mentally kicking yourself for not foreseeing the unavoidable roadblocks that kept you from studying the night before.

Then you stuff information into your head, hoping things will stick. They don’t—at least not many of them. But it’s better than not trying.  

Then, at the last possible moment, you trade your PJs for actual clothes and head to class, pencil in one hand and thermos in the other.

Eight o’clock tests are the worst.

Thankfully, the worst part of the day is over. Now all you have to do is go to one more class (or a few), pay attention (mostly), work out (lengthily, stretching a lot), and then go to bed—that thing you’ve been missing for the last several hours.

But you were prepared. You did the best you could. No, you didn’t wake up for a trip into the wild unknown, but you did wake up in time to do what you needed to do. Which is good enough.