Brave Batmen

It’s October 31st again,

And though I thought ahead,

I’m not wearing a costume.

My pink sweatshirt, made Karen one year ago as a gift,

Fits just right (even though she painted my face white upon it);

It says “Get real” as if it were my catchphrase then,

I guess it’s more fitting now.

I had a nametag that was leftover from a board meeting I went to,

Just a guest for my introductory nonprofit sector class;

But still: my name.

I cut it up, saving the plastic sheath and elaborate magnetic back,

I left my name alone, with only an invitation:

Ask me for clarification.

I put it together in five minutes, a month ago, before it made sense.

I was annoyed at the time; why should I be dressed in a disguise?

Am I not enough?

Yes.

It used to only be a question;

Some sort of angry glare into the void.

I’d dress how I want, put make up on when I pleased,

But still, such an unresolved question.

The trick or treat-ers come.

A little girl less than three

Comes up the steps

Dressed like Batman.

So young, but already left in the dust of her siblings.

Brave Little Girl,

You may be dressed like Batman,

But you received two Starbursts instead of their one

Just because you fought your way up the stairs.

I whispered to you to not tell,

Not because it’s a secret,

But because they wouldn’t understand.

Dear Batman:

We are all Batmen,

We are all people,

We can all be heroes.

You may not know your powers,

But they come with practice, not age.

You don’t need a costume,

To be a Batman,

We need Batmen every day of the year.

Batman, don’t grow up;

We need your superpowers around Gotham,

At least, while it’s still so dark.

There are many Villains who seek to destroy you,

But you are stronger.

If you give up now,

Who will wait for the other little Batmen,

And give them twice the Starburst?

Woe unto the Deceitful Pomeranian

For today’s dose of biblical wordplay on salvation, we draw our material from (mostly) Matthew 7, which teaches on the personal danger of judging others.

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Woe unto you Pomeranians who steal their master’s gyros sandwiches and the last piece of pita bread, left as low hanging fruit in the edge of the bathtub, sneaking across the tile of her only warm place of work to take what you impatiently covet. Woe unto you Pomeranians who steal from their master in her time of seasonally sinus infected need, you will receive only what you have stolen.

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Woe unto you Pomeranians who look their master in the eye and ask for what more you have graciously left refrigerated.

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You will turn back in your shame like Judah, and you will come before your master as she sits on the porcelain throne to beg forgiveness, receiving the exact measure of mercy that you have thusly given.

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Lo, even the forgiven Pomeranian will receive that judgment that she so cast against her master in her time of need, and will not share in the infinitely greater patient sauteed victory of her master, but will find only that which she has taken.

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But the Son of Man so came into the world to redeem even the Deceitful Pomeranians among you, and through faith in his sacrifice will you be redeemed.

Flourish

And a lot does change in a handful of weeks. It’s so funny to me the great lengths we use to ask time to evaluate our lives for us and place value on celebrations, meetings, or planned spontaneity that we don’t uniquely value ourselves. We ask things like Google Calendar, the home screen on our iPhones and the right hand corners of our digital desktops to make sense of our lives, and we think that we can evaluate the love that we have or should feel based on whether we’ve checked our phone enough times to equal a certain hour marker.

You guys I’m tired. I’m tired because my love isn’t measured in minutes or miles, and I work so very hard to reaffirm that every day. I have to un-train myself to just sit and be satisfied with exactly what now is, and it has been such a blessing. But still, the human dark side in me just longs for a time when it will be less complicated, easier, and with fewer worries. I wish that I could be a better friend. I wish that I could keep up with my family better. I wish that more often, other people didn’t see the things I love as selfish, versus help me find ways to care for them like I want to (but have somewhat constructive limitations over). I wish that knew how to convince them with fewer words that I care and that I am still here (for coffee chats, for editing papers, for sitting up and watching stupid movies, for just sitting without even talking and knowing that we don’t need to). I am busy, but I love being busier because I learn so much moving than I do sitting still. I am easily amused, but the part of me that get’s bored is fed by change, contradictions, and fun surprises and I am not myself sitting still. I wish it were simpler. I wish it didn’t require sixth year dark arts training in the art of Google Calendar (my one true love), and an apprenticeship in tough decisions and the unfortunate art of priorities.

But most of all I wish that all of these things weren’t negative. I wish that I didn’t run into so much subconscious resentment when I asked “why” (at least, maybe not quite as often). “Why” means the ability to make things better, it isn’t a curse word and it isn’t an impulse. It’s the deep seated root of curiosity that makes us trip over ourselves trying to slow down quick enough to not smash into the burgeoning tidal wave of change rippling through our carefully maintained institutions and plaster structures. Like children at recess, we are protective until tears of our little square cubbies and the coloring books and markers we keep inside them, except we forget that the cubbies are a means to an end and nothing more. We possess what we want to possess, and abandoning the idea that possession is the goal, we no longer know how to function. In all of the dystopian novels I’ve read in my time (my favorite genre), nothing scares me more than the concept of recognition of the aliens living among us. It’s like the Twilight Zone, but what they never tell you about the Matrix is that regardless of red or blue pill, you can’t escape it, you’re just in a different reality. Do we value our comfort because we value what we have built with it, or do we value what we have constructed in order to value our comfort more? Both.

What I want more in the world is to be near more dreamers. I need no more friends, I just want the friends that I have to accept my questions and feel welcome to ask their own. I don’t want to be divergent, but I am, and while it’s glorious, sharing is my joy. I want to live in a world where my questions are silenced by the splendor of everyone elses’ inquiries, in which I am put to shame by the simplicity of my thoughts and yet, still encouraged to grow them. If my thoughts are my garden and my words are my fortune, then let me spend my fortune on the various lilies and roses and black eyed susans that  will live in my garden eternally, and abandon the need to focus on making sure it grows within the chickenwire placed around it. Let it spill out and into the grass and reclaim the yard for it’s own because flourishing was always on track to happen and the thought of not flourishing was never even a concern. I want to be like a flower, ask any of my friends, they will tell you so. If Thumbelina didn’t have such a bad run in with racist tropes in frogs and a controlling fairy prince/royal family, I bet you five dollars she’d be my favorite Disney princess. Alas, Cinderella is too well versed in the highs and lows of the human condition to relinquish her crown, and I am better for it.

You guys I’ve rambled for too long and I need sleep so that is what I will be doing. I hope that tomorrow is productive, and if not, there’s always plenty of words to spend growing my garden. Goodnight.

Sitting without thinking

It may seem contradictory to some that I would take the time to write about just sitting and not thinking, but bear with me.

Life goes so quickly. Even with as many nonsensical changes as have been filtering in and out of my life recently thus making time seem like years in a day, I still find myself a little shocked. Shocked because we only get a certain amount of time. It’s over before we know it, and important milestones in your life and the lives of those you love go by like a piece of confetti blown by an industrial size fan, where the hell did they end up? I wish I knew. 

For that reason, as much as I can and especially lately, I try to slow down. Knowing that life is the common stomping grounds of a whole host of overlapping cycles and stages coming to and end and just beginning gives me peace, but only when I stop to take all of it in.

Right now, I’m sitting in my bedroom. I’m laying on my bed, and although I am typing, in a minute I will go back to visually tracing the shadows of the early morning sunlight that have befriended my skin as they come through the slats in my taupe Venetian blinds. Detail matters. I spend so many hours of my day thinking, for the next five minutes after I close the lid to my computer, I am going to let my mind wordlessly wander into every crevice of this room and just absorb consciously what it feels like to be 20. They say that youth is wasted on the young, so I may as well savor it to the best of my ability while I am still mobile, still relatively clueless, still waiting (more or less) patiently on a lot of milestones. A lot can change in a tiny window of time, and I can’t guarantee that any of the people I love will be around in the next few minutes, let alone when I finally get the chance to realize how valuable they are to me. I could die today. Probability may be in my favor, but probability goes to crap once it’s in practice.

There will be a day that I look back on this time in my life with a lot more perspective and a lot less ability to remember, and when that day comes, I want to say that I spent my time to the fullest extent I could have. Living boldly means taking enough risks to not regret, but also not tolerating a spirit of regret-fullness and sloth in yourself. If I can, I will do what I dream of doing, and today if possible. 

Yet for now, I choose to spend my time just enjoying what it means to be alive. The thoughts will still be there when I return.

A few words on luck

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a lucky lady. I don’t know when or how it began, but I look for four leaf clovers fairly consistently and thus find them casually with frequency. I wrote these words last year, as part of a gift to some dear friends who were about to start a new cycle in their lives (and survived). While many aspects of my words have changed in a years time, my love has not. If you are reading this, I challenge you to search for the luck in every corner of your life, wherever it might be hiding. Who knows? You may find it. If you think that this is just about clovers, feel free to go ahead and stop reading here. 

A few words on luck…(orginally written 5/7/2013)

After searching for 4 leaf clovers for much of my life, there are a few things that I have found to be simple life truths. I am not an expert nor do I pretend to be, but as you are about to start this new stage of life, I hope you consider some simple facts about luck, 4 leaf clovers, and life.

  1. Luck comes when you least expect it. You can search all year, month, or day for a 4-leafer and it won’t come until it is ready
  2. Luck can come all at once. Because of plant genetics, you will often find 4-leafers in a cluster, if at all. Embrace it.
  3. You have to look. You won’t find luck if you aren’t looking for it and the wonderful, beautiful things of this world will only be known to you if you pay attention.
  4. Luck must be shared, or imparted, or passed on. Share your knowledge and insight with those around you. Share your love. It will come back to you.
  5. Failure is inevitable, but it is also a mindset. You will fail so many times before you find a 4-leafer, or any other beautiful thing. Accept it as a sign of progress.

I know you will find luck. I am thankful for the conversations that we’ve had, and consider myself lucky to be your friend.

As always,

Location: LakeLocation: Between Strong and Bailey HallLocation: Between Strong and Bailey Hall 2Location: My neighborhoodLocation: ? KU

An open letter to Dreamers

An open letter to Dreamers

To those of you who have been called too much and too little,

I am sorry.

I do not know at what stage of life you have happened upon this letter if you are as young and frustrated as me or as old and frustrated and I aspire to come. Regardless of who you are or what you have done, this letter is yours.

My friends, I will be honest because it is likely that no one else will be, and if all of you have made it this far, you deserve the truth.

You may have realized by now that the world is full of hypocrites. People that will exploit you, lie to you, and otherwise try to discourage you. Those of you who who think too much will be told to think less, those of you who know too much will be asked to lie, and those of you who cannot help but questions will be forced to abandon your queries without ever being treated to their answers.

First and foremost, I am sorry. I know that it can be quite lonely, triggering despair in even the hardiest of you to be rejected or passively ignored time after time, but I want you to know that you aren’t alone.

Now for the gritty part.

You have a choice. No matter how you were born, whether you were given a mind too brilliant for most to understand or too lovely to be called “less”, you have a choice. You can find the quickest and most efficient way to make it stop, or you can live. I will level with you, the first one is going to be infinitely easier. Whether through drugs, sex, food, alcohol, or the effects of the compounded regret and guilt upon your body, you will die alone and misunderstood. You may be able to achieve death quicker this way than if you let nature run her course, but your legacy will be the misery that you wasted the unconventional and precious gifts God gave you.

The truth is, there is no escape from this except in God. You will be tired and disoriented, and you will have to keep going. Whether it is only for a short time before you can sufficiently sell your soul and forget, or whether it is for the rest of you natural born life, you have a high stakes decision to make and you should know that it is a contract.

If you choose to live, it will not be easy. This is not the last time you will have this conversation. You will fail but you will grow, and it may be a long time til you find anyone who even remotely understands. They will bully you, and belittle you, and find unexpectedly creative means to attack your soul.

For those of us who see the stakes, living means you must be bold. I am not talking about climbing Mt. Everest in a day, but you have to start somewhere. Get out of bed. Dare to eat and eat well. Challenge the Devil to a bet and even if you aren’t certain you will win, do something. You have to believe that the mustard seed of faith in yourself will grow into a little more than it was yesterday. Eventually, you will be able to be bolder because you will have seen it grow (quicker than you expected, I might add). There will be a day that others will be struggling and you will be able to understand them. And after you demonstrate that you understand, you may be able to help.

There are people in this world that will come after you, and if you accept defeat now, who will guide them? There are people already living that need your light. There are those who will be the beneficiaries of all the thinking, “extra” questions, and knowledge you are accumulating, and as of now not even a sane person would dare to dream of the greatness you will become. There have been great creators throughout all of history, and surely a handful of them discovered that it was worth it before they died. Even if you don’t reach that privilege, you must try.

If you are young, then you must not belittle your gifts of awareness, they are rare. If you are old, then can’t you see we desperately need people to look up to? We don’t expect you to be perfect, we will love each other for our brokennesses.

In the meantime, between now and the day that you sign on that celestial dotted line, don’t you long to know what it feels like to be brave? The voice of the truth inside you that screams “This could be better! Is anyone even listening?” is right. What would he say if you passed the mic?

For the love of God, be brave. Do you have anything of worth left to lose?

Because my dears, if you can’t live and live boldly, who the hell will?

Much love now and always,

Haley

Personal Rules for Learning, Blog creation

I write. I write often. And although I have grown past the need to fail justifying my thoughts, my dear friends and family can no longer keep up with the volume of thoughts I share, whether through text, email, Facebook, letter, Snapchat, etc. ( and thus, my point). I need a better solution, so that the dreams that come and become fossils can be examined before the next layer of thought dust settles and becomes silt, then sediment. 

The beauty in words is their ability to share a moment, a lifetime, an experience, or a feeling that is still vague and in need of polishing. There are no right answers here. There is the truth, but answers imply that the truth is fixed. I believe that the truth of God never changes, never fails, never stops being available to those who seek it. I also know that humans, at least every human that I have ever met, can stumble and struggle and exalt as their vision continues to change over time, despite what the prescription may have been two days, years, or minutes prior. We fail. 

If learning is meant to inspire boldness and motivate past old fears, than let this silly collection of e-scribbles point to the truth, and the love from which that truth came. The following is a list of carefully considered and hastily penned rules for the classes and any other extracurricular pursuit of the truth this semester (thus, this blog). Some of them will be more applicable than others.

My Personal Rules for Learning (as written before class today at 2:30pm)

-It all goes in the same notebook. This is a journey, not an end product, and my thoughts are a process.I will define my notebooks by date ranges vs. “subject” (hah)

– My phone will not be a distraction during class

– I will not use my voice as a distraction during class

– I will not disconnect. I will engage silently, if appropriate

– I will be bold. If something needs to be questioned, mentioned, or reserved for later, I will follow the love

– Fear is not the enemy. Apathy is. Big risks mean big learning, and risk means the possibility of success and accepting failure so that all might succeed

– I am aware and young, thus, I am lucky. I must be a good steward of my gifts, otherwise I destroy vs. edify

– God comes first, last, in-between, and consistently throughout all of it. Nothing matters unless I am firm in him, nothing can replace him, and nothing can be done without his will

– Love > Creation > Others > Myself + Jesus > Death > Myself. Don’t be an idiot and forget (as little as you can-you have power over this through him)

Let this blog be a bold chance to explore dreams, learn about God, and dive into the waves before they smash into me. Amen.