Friday, December 13, 2013

Pound Signs and Colons

                I was going to write this without revising. I failed. I got half way through my first draft and I said, “No that’s not good.” And so here I am, starting over. Rewriting:

                I use words that my friends use. I find myself doing things the way my Mom does them.   I love how a friend is not afraid to sit on the floor: I sit on the floor too. Another friend studies hard: I tried to be studious too.  I imitate people all the time.

But I never imagined that I would be imitated. Late Sunday night I pulled up a friend’s blog post and was completely surprised that she had captured my writing voice, and then turned it into her own. She even  used pound signs, a writing tool meant to block out scene changes. (She had given me a lot of grief over them, calling them, “silly.”)

Even in a section of writing where she strictly limited herself to my style, her quirky playful-self came out and I was relieved to see how it didn't rip away her identity. (She couldn’t avoid her beloved colons.  I rarely use colons; am only just beginning to adopt them, if look above I have three. This never would have happened without her. You might say I’m imitating her too.) 

She gave me one of the the best gifts or tributes she could make to my writing with her imitation. And just to add to it, she also offered a peak into her heart that night.

Imitation. A window into our hearts: God wants that.

If I, a human, feel so privileged to have someone imitate me, should I not remember that I am meant to be an imitator of Christ? After all, I was made in God’s image. I never quite thought of it that way before. I always thought we imitate Christ so that we could be perfect, like He is perfect. So that we could… improve and be better. I wondered if we would loose something of ourselves when we did it.  I knew it made Jesus happy as kid, but I never thought about why. I never thought that me thinking, What would Jesus do? might be an act of love.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Little losses

     I pack the ballet slippers tightly into my red suitcase. There they go, another loss.
    I have to just move on. I pick up the suitcase. I'm in the airport of life. Every one's rushing and hurry to get somewhere.  
    I run into another loss.
    I shove a long berry colored dress in there too. It won’t zip. I have to sit on it.
    I hear voices. Flight 789 is boarding. I look down at my ticket. “ Flight 917, Gate E 15.” I’m in gate “A.” It will be a long while before I get there.
    I keep going, but I have to stop again. I’ve run into another loss and I can’t carry it in my hand. It goes into the front pocket.
    It’s probably fifty pounds now. If not more.  
    The pilot  texts me, "It's okay to check it."
    But that would take time, and then I can't keep moving.  I’d have set the suitcase on the scale and weigh it.  I'd have to remember how much it hurts.
    This is not a big loss. It’s a just a carry on full of little ones. There's no reason to mourn it. I'm only one who thinks it's heavy. No one died. These are just wants. I have something better, I know that.
    But the wheels keep rolling behind me.
                                            My arm is starting to ache.
                                                                     It's holding me back.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Link

      Deisal pricked my nose as I looked out of our  fourth floor window and watched a blond woman and two light skinned men stop in front of the Chuchucara restaurant. They hoisted dark blue and deep green climbing backpacks. I don’t think I’d like to be a tourist, everyone would watch me.  The irony of the thought hit me, and I started laughing. I had been the gringa all my life. People already stared at me. It wouldn’t be any different during the European tour I dreamed of.
     I never used to pay special attention to the darker skin or hair of the Ecuadorians. The Quichuas were just the people my dad worked with. Dad’s students were normal people.  They were different, they wore wool ponchos and black dress pants. But it was normal that we were different. I didn't really understand how strange they would seem to Americans.  Sometimes I hated my white skin because  sometimes it stopped the darker Quichua kids from really talking with me, especially as I got older and simple games like tag no longer helped us to understand each other as normal people.

      I’ve been in America for the last two years. (It’s been three years since I looked out the window in our Latacunga apartment.)  I came back for the summer before my senior year in highschool, and except for a short visit, I haven’t been there since.  Memories were fading. I was beginning to wonder if I was losing Ecuador, until Dad pulled out old videos and we watched some of the Sundays he and I had taped. For the first time, I saw my world from an American’s eyes. Dad looked like something from an old movie with his blue checkered shirt, black mustache, and old round-squared glasses. He stood behind a big white podium and preached.  Quichua women might have come up before to sing for a special occasion. Maybe one of the mothers had been nursing uncovered while singing. The air would have been cold. There would have been no carpet, the floor was either dirt or cement. The pews were unfinished-wooden benches. How rustic that seems compared to the heated, polished churches in North America. How desolate and needy. No wonder  I struggle with our sometimes careless attitude about money!  Memories of a life before American culture- shock slowly slipped into my mind as I recognized my Spanish voice and then, when the camera turned to a white girl standing amongst a crowd of dark haired people, I realized, God let me be part of His miracle. 
  My parents are under supported and have been slowed by the inability to find housing.  We are in a time of transition, but I cannot help but wonder at the privilege we have been given, and they still have. They are one of the only missionaries reaching to the yet-to-mature Quichua church who is still just emerging from hundreds of years in slavery. Many have come and gone, but few have been able to last this special, rejected people. Nineteen years into the work, thirty years into pursuing missions… my parents are looking to keep showing Christ’s love the Quichua people by investing into the life of one pastor at a time. They're just two normal people, a link in the “telephone game,”  that shares God’s love to hundreds. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Battle of Horizons

        Grey clouds lurk on the horizon, a wall in the east that is slowly fading away. I wade through a puddle and tepid water swishes against my sandals.  The grass is sagging after the weight of the torrents. In the west, the sun pours through the wall, a golden glow on the opposite horizon.  It grows brighter and brighter, and a gentle crimson dances along the dissipating clouds. I look from one horizon, with its dark menacing sky to the other's brightening dance. The world trembles in between. Maple trees are laden with raindrops.  The cracked sidewalk is dark with rain. But then a bird chirps, and Heather and Lauren are laughing. I stop. I stare at one sky, and then the other. I stand suspended between the two worlds, a memory of a storm that came through mingles with the hope of what will be. The dark description of pain, and  a gentle, quiet beckoning,  the comforting sound of waves along a beach; or wind in tall Eucalyptus trees calling, “Come and find rest.” 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Speck on a Speck

      Who are you, human, a speck on a speck, to speak to the God of the universe with anger, to demand that He work? Who are you? Have you made a star? Have you formed the human heart? No, you are nothing. You, human, were formed yourself, you were set in place. Who are you to question?         

     Who are you, human, to determine your worth? Does not your Maker know your value, does not He know if you should last forever, if you are nothing… or so valuable they call you priceless?        Who are you, human, to proclaim your purpose, or proclaim you have none? Do you know you are being prepared for something greater? Does not the Maker know the use of His tools? Do you not realize, you have been born into eternity?    
     Who are you, human, to say your skills fall short, that others are better than yourself? Does not the Maker know how to form His tools, does He not shape and mold His treasures?      
      Who are you, human, to claim you know what it is to suffer, to cry out in mourning? Have you been separated from your very self?Where are the nails in your hands? The wholes in your feet?I see you have no lashes on your back.      
     Who are you, human, one amongst many, that you say you are alone, claim you have no hand to hold? Do you not know the God of the Universe? Has He never touched you heart? Who are you to doubt His promises?     
      Who are you human, speck on a speck, that you hide yourself from God, that you run from Him who knows all things? Who are you to demand from the God of the Universe, when all you need do is ask?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Heart Exposed
It stands, grey, bare, stark against the cold grey sky. Cracks in the bark streak across its trunk. Its spindly sticks reach into the empty air. It twists and turns in a mangled mess, this is not a tree, it is a dead pile of sticks.
It is stripped of what we think makes a tree look beautiful, stripped of bright color, rustling leaves, stripped of its soft gentleness. It stands there, the heart of the tree exposed to critical eyes. Then, a gentle snow slips through the sky, and silently collects on the tree. The branches,what one would  once call generically ugly, now hold a gentle beauty. The snow creates a soft blanket over the wood, collecting deeper layers closer to its heart.
The mangled pile of sticks become a beacon of beauty.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Whispered Letter From God

You think you should know these things, and your mind knows that they should be true.

Isn’t it time you admit you don’t believe it, and learn it?

Do you know that you are valuable?

Do you know that you are loved?

Do you know that you can trust me?

Do you know I want to use you?

Do you know that the pain, the tears—or lack there-of—

The loneliness, the despair you go through, to find me, is worth it?


I treasure you, when will you believe it?