Monday, November 14, 2011

Losing Focus and Finding a New Perspective

My life has sucked lately. I think way worse than anyone else's.

How many times do we find ourselves thinking that? I know here lately I have been guilty of the "pity party" talk. My life has been pretty full of difficulties lately and it has been all to easy to dwell on them. I lost focus. I should not be my focus. Life isn't about "me me me!". Life is more than ourselves and if we keep our eye on our own problems we will miss all of the other things.

I found myself whining over the past week. Depressed, angry, sad, even jealous. Then today, for some reason, something clicked. I saw myself from a different perspective and I wasn't at all happy with the life I was creating where I wanted everything to revolve around me. How disgusting. I'm mad at myself for even getting to that point. I had reached my lowest point and it certainly wasn't pretty.

It's funny how little things make us change our direction. I wrote something yesterday as sort of a "vent" and I reread it this morning. While it sounded justified while I was writing it, reading it again I saw nothing but "selfish" jumping off the page at me. How could I be so self-absorbed?? Then I watched Extreme Home Makeover (such a sucker for that show) and saw this huge family that was poor and had lost their home to a fire, but while they were on vacation they took the time to write a thank you note to every single volunteer and worker that helped build their house. Again, I felt nothing but selfish and that just showed me that truth even more. Then, the final word from God came while I was having girls night with one of my friends. We watched the movie Soul Surfer about the teenage surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Well if you haven't seen it, you should... great movie! But I watched as this young girl lost something that could have changed her life for the worse, made her depressed and angry, and forced her to give up something she loved doing. But instead she accepted it, moved on, and became more determined than ever to accomplish her goals. She thanked God for what she did have, she gave praise to him, and she focused on helping others who needed it more than she did. Wow.

We have choices when we are faced with tragedies or difficulties. For the past week (more really) I have chosen to be selfish, isolated, and seething inside. I am normally the girl who sees the positive in everything and clings to reason and hope. For some reason the latest events have knocked me down. But even after knocked down we can always choose to get back up. I am choosing that option now, even if I initially made the wrong choice. I am going to praise God, put others first, and realize that there are more important things than my troubles.

So thank you God, for giving me a bed to wake up in this morning, for allowing me to have 3 meals today, for keeping my family safe, for giving me a night with a friend, for this laptop that I am able to use to keep in touch with people, for the car I can use to go to school every day, for the clothes in my closet, and most importantly today, for waking me up and showing me my misgivings and my faults so that I can correct them and come back to you. My life is yours.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I don't normally share poetry that I write... I'm pretty private about it because I mostly write when I'm having a hard time. Plus there is something deeply personal about poetry... sometimes things end up in poems that we never would be comfortable saying aloud. But I recently wrote two poems back to back and if really made me almost laugh how different the two were. I wrote the first one because I was having a horrible day... to be honest, there is a lot going on in my life right now and I really needed to find a way to express myself and that was all I could think to do. So I sat down and I wrote this poem and I didn't hold anything back. I want you to read it.

Dark Nights

I smell the scent of poetry

Clouds descending down on me

I feel the storm closing in again

A sinking feeling says these black nights will win

Dark clouds, bright skies

Are all I see these recent nights

Inflicting pain upon my chest

Refusing to give me the pleasure of rest

These dark nights they follow me

Creeping, creeping at my feet

Hiding each night inside my dreams

They stalk my mind and I find defeat

Lightning strikes some days, some nights

Others are quieter as I grieve out of sight

Tick, tock, the clock goes slow

How many days I can stand, I don’t know

My eyes watch the ceiling as all others sleep

If they close there is no telling what fate I might meet

Slowly still the months drag by

And as I face yet another day, my eyes invisibly cry.

I love C.S. Lewis quotes (you will find me using them alot to explain points... he just had a way with words) and he once said "no one ever told me that grief felt so like fear". These past few months I must admit I haven't been able to distinguish between the two. This poem is, to me, evidence of my pain. When I finished writing it I felt better but I wasn't done. After I wrote this I immediately began to a second poem because I just didn't feel like I had gotten everything out yet. Please read on.


I am but a desperate fool

Nothing I am resides in you

Tonight I come, weak and small

Asking for you to change it all

At my lowest I ran from you

Tried to fix things on my own

But I have seen my flawed approach

I know you have blessed me with so much

Thank you for the roses

That I smell in the morning

Thank you for the books

That I read at night

For the people that I love the most

And the ones I’ve yet to meet

I’m so thankful

So very thankful

For all you’ve done for me

As I wake up, in someone else’s house

It’s easy to get upset over all that I don’t have

But I’m thankful anyway

Thankful that you gave me another day

And I’m sorry for the times I left you

You are all in my life that’s true

So thank you for the thunder

That puts me to sleep at night

And thank you for the wind that blows

Through my hair just right

For the moments that make me

Forget all pains

I’m so thankful

So very thankful

Every time I touch a water source

Or stand on a beach in silky sand

I see your touch in every natural force

You are the only one who knows who I am

So thank you for your sacrificial grace

For naming me before I had a name

So thankful

So very thankful

For all you’ve done for me.

Just so you know, when I sit down to write a poem I never title it until the end of the poem because I never start with an "idea" in mind of what I want to write. It is therapy for me because I literally write exactly what is on my mind, no filtering it. So when I realized that I had gone from writing about storms and dark moments in life to about how thankful I was, it shocked me. I honestly wasn't feeling thankful, but nonetheless I really was thankful deep down, even though I wasn't feeling that way. It's amazing how God can change your demeanor even when you are so set on being upset, angry, or depressed. I actually went to bed happy that night despite all that was going on because I was reminded of how much I do still have to be thankful for. Everyone has their problems and difficulties... whether it is cancer, an impending divorce, a dying family member, a lost job, a sick child, or other family problems... we all are going through something. No one's life is ever perfect, even if it seems to be. But God is there for us and if we seek him, we will find joy even through our pain. And through writing that poem I found joy, and in a way, I found God again. It comforted me and made me feel almost silly for being upset when I do indeed have so much. The pain will fade away, but God remains forever. I just need to remember that thought.

I saw a new C.S. Lewis quote today that seems relevant to this and wanted to share it and see if anyone had an opinion about what it means. I have my thoughts but wanted to pose it as a question.... so what are your ideas?

"Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ. " -C.S. Lewis

"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting..... 'WHAT A RIDE!'"