Grouch

“You’re being a grouch-grouch,” he says as I sit on the couch and sulk.

My feelings are hurt over something stupid and I’m secretly ashamed. But if my feelings are hurt, I reason, it must not have been that stupid.

(My feelings, of course, are infallible.)

I scrunch my face into a out, my lips overly pursed and my brow furrowed. He laughs at me – I look four. His laughter, of course, makes me angry and I sigh.

(Sighing is one of the female’s most mastered talents.)

I grow from a four year old to a bear in a matter of seconds. I growl and huff and knock things over. And like anyone facing a bear would do, he steps into the cover of the trees, lying low until the bear goes away.

At the end of the day I am myself again and I try to pay my penance with kisses.

“I’m sorry I’m such a grouch-grouch,” I whisper onto my pillow.

“It’s alright,” he answers in the dark. “I love you anyway.”

Before I Say Goodnight

Hey! Guess what? It’s officially Wednesday morning, and I haven’t given you dear folks a post. Sorry about that! Today was our first day back to class after spring break, and well, I was a bit busy. I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you before I say goodnight.

Today I was stressed. I’m getting married. I can’t flunk school. I need money. I need time. I need chocolate. I also need to eat better. And work out more.

All these stresses combined to form one heavy, globular mass. I get stressed easily. This is one of my biggest faults.

I also hadn’t read my Bible in over a week. I do that; I slack off in what matters most. I coddle my body while I starve my soul. This is my biggest fault.

That didn’t help my stress at all. “God, I’m so busy!” I complained. “I need a job! I’m not fit and healthy! I’m always running out of time! Help me! Where are You? Show me that You love me!”

(Now that I see that all written out, I feel like a snotty three year old. Oops.)

And then God lovingly, laughingly reminded me of how stupid I am. A scenario came to mind.

What if Alex were on a trip far away (as he has been before), and so he, being the wonderful guy that he is, sent me some texts to let me know he loves me and misses me (as he has done before)? That would be swell.

But what if I never opened the texts and instead sat around crying because I missed him and wanted to hear from him, to know he was there, missing and loving me? That would be really stupid. There I am crying because I want to hear from Alex when he has already sent me several texts that are probably full of declarations of love, mushy emoticons, and stuff like that. There I am whining for some communication when it has already been made.

All I need to do is read it.

(For the record, this scenario has never happened. I am not that stupid.)

…except when it comes to reading the Bible. Then I am indeed very stupid.

When that scenario came to mind I had to laugh, and I sensed that God was probably laughing too, with me. (And also probably at me, which is okay, ’cause so was I). How eye-opening spiritual situations become when they are put in practical settings! Makes you realize why Jesus used so many parables.

So I hope this encourages you to “open those texts” from God (eek. I never thought I’d say something like that. Cheesy.) Please excuse me as I say goodnight and do just that.

Modern Travesty

 

She bought a flat

In the sparkling town.

Made of brick,

Vines running down.

 

She dressed it up

In shades of green,

rugs on the floor

like a Persian queen.

 

She hung down lights

that twinkled merry,

painted the door

like a trampled berry.

 

She lit a fire

In the mortared hearth

and soaked in mugs

of copper warmth.

 

And when the morning

came and went,

she left the flat

to go be spent.

 

She spent the day

at a plastic desk

where the phone kept ringing,

the callers brisk.

 

She spent her dimes

to repay her loans,

and joined the masses

in their moans.

 

She spent her tears

in a bathroom stall,

when the man who loved her

didn’t love her at all.

 

She came back home

to the little flat,

cried to sleep

curled like a cat.

 

And in the morning

when the sun rose red,

she rose up like it

to do it all again.

 

She left the flat

and her insides groaned

with the hunger pains

of an empty home.

(Not Another) Love Poem

One thing that bothers me about society is our obsession with love, and yet for as obsessed as we are with it, there is still so little of it in the world. Every book, movie, TV show, and song describes our quest for true, lifelong love, specifically romantic love. We talk about finding love and losing love, falling into it and falling out of it.

DSC_0055-001

We tend to see love as a fated thing; either we are destined to love someone or we are not, and if we are not, we have no control over whether we fall out of love. In our minds, we are at the mercy of fate. That thought is terrifying, and yet it is captivating. We can’t wait to be under the influence of a destiny so wonderful and so terrible. We give up jobs, our hearts, and other relationships in pursuit of that one, destined and fated love that will perfectly satisfy us.

Some of us spend our entire lives looking for that perfect love, and when we can’t find it, we become disillusioned and cynical of the world and the people in it. Or we do find it, or think we do, and someday we wake up to realize that this one, perfect person is a real pain in the neck sometimes. And we start to wonder if this love is true. Then we believe is isn’t, and never was, and we throw away what we had to go on to pursue that one elusive, perfect love, certain that if we could just catch the tail end of it, all of this would be worth it.

I propose a different concept. Cynical as it my sound, the truth is that we will never find perfect love in another human being, because human beings are not perfect. Sometimes love does seem to be destined; I’m not sure how that all works, but I do know that meeting someone you love is only part of the equation. It takes work, lots of really hard work, to keep love strong. We are not at the mercy of love or at the mercy of fate. Circumstances may bring us together or pull us apart, but it is our responsibility, if we choose to love someone, to keep loving them, even if they do end up being a pain in the neck.

Sometimes there are exceptions. Sometimes the person we love ends up being just a really bad person. But I’d venture to say that more often than not we throw at promising relationship away because we have a wrong perception of what love is. We think conflict and imperfections and a departure from all our hopes and dreams shows weakness in the relationship, when sometimes they are just obstacles that need to be loved through and that will make the love stronger when they are overcome.

So that’s my two cents. I’ve outlined them in two convenient stanzas, poetically. And they are much more succinct than the above ramblings, but it’s something to chew on :o). Enjoy.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV).
 

(Not Another) Love Poem

 

Disbelief, luck, and blessing,

grins and sparkling eyes.

Jellied knees and pounding hearts,

so this is love.

 

Stubbornness, pride, and crying,

prayers and giving grace.

Humble words and knitted souls,

So this is love.

 

Square Pegs

Hello everyone!

Today I have a rather raw poem to share with you. It came from a very personal place where I experience a lot of anger, sadness, and frustration.

There is this kid I know and really care about who is on the autistic spectrum. He’s the most darling, sweet, and hilarious little guy you ever met. Of course, he can be very hard to live with sometimes. He has the ability to create a lot of frustration. However, this frustration is magnified by other people’s inability and unwillingness to understand him and the situation he is in. I don’t want to be too vindictive of the general public, because I know we all have a long way to go in accepting and understanding people who are “different” than us for whatever reason.

But I also know that we could do much better. Autism, its varieties, and a range of other disabilities – not to mention the entire spectrum of mental illness (another point for another time) – are documented medical conditions, and yet we as a society are very judgmental of those who deal with these things and the people who care for them. They are square pegs who do not fit into our round holes, and so we ostracize them by designating them as “special” or “bad” or “difficult”. And yes, maybe sometimes these monikers are true. This kid I know is very special, he can sometimes be really bad, and he is often difficult. But ultimately, he is a blessing. He causes me, and anyone who will learn from him, to feel, to see, and to taste the world and the people in it in ways I never would have thought to otherwise.

So the point of this poem, I suppose, is not to be so quick to judge. We really have no right to label our fellow human beings or to put them in boxes that make us feel more comfortable. To do so is grossly arrogant and, indeed, blasphemous. God made us all in His image, in His likeness, and we have no right to deem one image as more acceptable than another.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Thanks for reading! Enjoy.
 
 

Square Pegs

 

Does this, someone belong here?

Can we, trust him to know the rules?

He strange, different than most here,

Don’t care, as long as he turns out cool.

 

Does this, someone belong here?

Can we, trust her to get it right?

We all, walk a tight rope here,

Walk straight, before you get tossed aside.

 

This world is so complicated,

Square pegs don’t fit in round holes,

So let them fall through the cracks

(and maybe in the end)

We’ll meet our goals.

 

Long days, shut in from the outside,

Long nights, making up all the work,

Deadlines, fear and frustration.

Bruised hearts, taking their share of hurt.

 

I think, they don’t belong here,

In this, world of twisted pain.

Vain pride, my way or the highway,

Can’t see, who we hurt on the way.

 

This world is so convoluted,

We cling so fast to precious goals,

Don’t let them fall through the cracks

(and I know in the end)

We’ll be whole.

 

Irony

Happy Thursday! Aren’t you so glad for the weekend? I can’t wait!

I wanted to offer another poem today. (Like I’ve said, I’ve been writing a lot!)

I call this one “Irony”. It came out of me thinking about how ironically beautiful and yet at the same time anguished the world is. Natural disasters, plagues, the food chain. That’s just the nature end of things. Add humanity into the mix and the list of anguishes gets longer.

However, this is not how things were meant to be. When mankind acted in disobedience to God, bringing the curse of sin upon the world, we did not just curse ourselves; we cursed creation too.

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it… For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” (Romans 8:20,22).

The world which should have been beautiful and full of joy became ugly and full of pain. And yet, it still has some semblance of beauty. It still has some joy in it. And this bears witness to the hope we have, that someday Christ will come and make all things new again. The beauty that once was will be again.

But until then, we have the job of reminding the world of its beauty. And by world I mostly mean people. And that’s hard. Because for all the beauty that people can create, they can also author some pretty disgusting ugliness. Sometimes even we, intending to bring beauty, find ourselves the bringers of ugliness. But the importance is in trying, in getting up each day and purposing in our hearts to communicate God’s great love, mercy, and beauty to an increasingly loveless, dying, ugly world. That’s one heck of a job, but He’s given it to us. And with His strength (gosh, only with His strength) we can remind the world of its beauty and fight the ugliness,

fight the irony.

 

DSC_0849 1
(state game lands, Pennsylvania)

       

 

 Irony

 

Across the rocks of emerald moss,

across the mountain’s crest,

I walk and ponder life’s great loss,

the death of all the best.

 

Across the streets of greasy stone,

between the towers of steel,

I trudge and ponder those alone,

devoid of all that’s real.

 

Across the paths of hemlock pines,

and lanes of lush green grass,

I stroll and ponder better times,

empires of oil and brass.

 

Across the scrubby, boiling sand,

the arid plains of waste,

I trek and ponder Christian hands,

in vain they made their haste.

 

Across the rug between the panes,

stained red to match His blood,

I plod and ponder us who bask

in comfort, doing “good”.

 
 

Thanks for reading!

Hannah

(Poem and photography by Hannah Allman)