Suffering, Sacrifice, and the Weight of Words.

Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old woman, is all over the media right now because of her violent, terminal brain tumor, which is expected to take her life in less than 6 months, and her decision to eventually take a pill that will end her life peacefully instead. I’ve watched her videos and read several responses to her decision and spent all morning thinking over this tragic story that is so far removed from me, and I don’t know what to say. I feel like I have a good sense of both sides’ arguments and I know where I should stand, but I don’t know where I actually do.
How would I feel if I went to the doctor and heard something that harrowing? Would I want a bunch of people sitting around arguing about whether or not I was a coward for wanting to hold on to the last bit of power I had? For not wanting to suffer unnecessarily? For wanting not to succumb to paralysis and losing control of my bodily functions? To be in limbo between weeping and powerlessness and terror and have a slew of able-bodied strangers plead with me to keep living and tell me to suffer through my sickness would probably tempt me towards rage.
My heart cannot completely agree and still, I cannot say that these people are wrong. It hurts to watch people call it “sin” and “selfish” and “weak”, but aren’t we all? Aren’t we all dying? Aren’t we all grasping at cliff-side twigs as we free-fall towards death? Snatching fleeting moments of comfort from our food and our electronics? From our alcohol and music? From our relationships and religions? Trying to push death to the back our consciousness, or at least dull ourselves to its power over us? Trying to avoid suffering, blaming others for theirs, and refusing to see it may be some fault of ours that it continues? Who are we to so brazenly pass judgement on another person if we are not lifting a finger to ease their burden?
How much of this post is me rationalizing my own fear to suffer like so many people expect her to? Maybe I am afraid to tell a truth I am not prepared to live myself. Maybe I’m afraid that I’ll have to have this conversation with someone in person one day and be responsible on much larger terms to suffer through a slow death beside them. Maybe it’ll be someone I didn’t want to live without. Maybe it’ll cost me some sacrifices I didn’t want to make.
Either way, I just needed to write it out. Maybe I’ll get my answers one day. I hope I have enough valor and faith to live them all the way through.

A God Bigger Than Buildings and Books.

Sunday morning, I was in a worship service joyfully singing about an incredible God who “placed the stars in the sky and knows them by name” but by Wednesday afternoon, I realized that I didn’t really know sh*t about what I was singing about Sunday. Continue reading

#61 I Don’t Know, but Okay.

Everybody has had a time where they feel as if God isn’t there, or that He isn’t real. A time where our prayers seem to dissipate before they can reach the roof, or where He just doesn’t seem to be paying us any attention, or where it feels like our world is falling apart and He is nowhere to be found. Everyone feels that at some point, right? Why haven’t I then?

I’ve been reading a book on prayer by Richard Foster and though he’s a brilliant and intimate author, he always makes me feel as if I’m… I don’t know… weird. Or more precisely like I’m missing something. This time, it’s in a subject he calls the “prayer of the forsaken” where the Christian feels abandoned by God.

As he steered us through the chapter, I feel as if each assumption he makes proves untrue for me. I’ve never felt abandoned even during the most difficult stretches of my life. But then again, I don’t often get the sense that God is even there. I don’t feel like He receives my prayers, I know He does, but I honestly wouldn’t feel the difference if He didn’t or did. I do sometimes wonder if prayer is simply self- manipulation though, and I wonder if I am simply deceiving myself into believing that the order of the universe and the chain of events I’ve witnessed throughout my lifetime is somehow an unmistakable mark of divinity. Maybe that’s what he was talking about. Maybe not.

What’s my point in all of this?
I don’t know.
No really, I don’t know and I just have to be okay with that.

#58 Broken Promises

What started as an everyday writing commitment has turned into a desire to “write when I actually get around to it”. I’m not sure how I feel about that…

After neglecting to return his phone calls for two weeks, I told a friend that I’d give him a call after work today. When I got off of work, I went to return my rental car, went to Walmart, looked at some parts for my car, dropped it off at my parents’s house, and fell asleep for four hours, woke up for dinner, washed dishes, and helped my parents move some furniture before coming home and climbing in bed before realizing that I never called him. Well, I guess I left some things out: I read the new chapter of the Bleach manga, posted two pictures to Facebook/ Instagram, watched an episode of The Cosby Show at dinner and watched a movie called Black Roots as I washed dishes and helped my parents.
Obviously, I’m capable of multi-tasking, I’m just bad at prioritizing, I suppose. Anyway, that was another broken commitment.

Three months ago, I told the internet that I wasn’t going to kiss my girlfriend, and despite all of the bravado, I broke that commitment a couple weeks ago and now I’m breaking it regularly. I don’t feel like I’ve let anybody down or like I’m doing something terrible, but I just know that I made another commitment I failed to keep. (I’ll be devoting a post to the issue soon, look out for it)

I’m sorry if I’ve made a commitment to you that I didn’t keep, I really am. You aren’t the only person I’ve hurt that way. I take full responsibility for my lapse and I am working at becoming more dependable.

I’ve read somewhere that men are supposed to make bold promises and deliver on them.

But I’ve also read that wisdom is making small promises and over-delivering on them.

And that the only promise I should ever make is never to promise anything because I can’t even guarantee that I’ll wake up in the morning.

It has also been said that all a man has is his word…

One way or the other, I need to reevaluate the way I make promises. Either way it goes, I know what type of man I want to be:

Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on Your holy mountain? The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart — who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, who despises the one rejected by the Lord but honors those who fear the Lord , who keeps his word whatever the cost, who does not lend his money at interest or take a bribe against the innocent — the one who does these things will never be moved. (Psalms 15 HCSB)

#55 [Exposed.]

“It is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” – Proverbs 17:28 NIV


Which would be worse: to open my mouth and expose my foolishness, or to keep it closed and forever remain so? Continue reading

#37 Sight=Lies, Faith=Truth

It’s funny,

How we know exactly what we want until we get it

And how,

We are so sure of ourselves

Until we turn around and see we are not who we thought

Our track records are not what they ought to be

Who are we to say what we’re not if the evidence contradicts it?

Who do we become when we see it?

When despair is a legitimate option, do we find ourselves there?

Do we give in to our reflections or reject them?

What will I do?

Who am I to deny my own track record?

Is my reflection realer than grace?

Am I what I look like if it ain’t what God says?

Should I trust my sight or faith?

That’s why they told me to walk by it…

I see now.

I can’t be trusted.

I’ll try to embrace your words though I don’t always feel that way.

You are more real than my perception.

I believe that.

I’m done making exceptions.

Help me believe that.