Monday, February 13, 2017

Thoughts Post La La Land

caution: spoilers

I saw the film "La La Land" tonight with my siblings in a dark theatre. I fell in love, head over heels love, with the opening scene. And by the climax, I was sobbing my eyes out until the end credits: trying desperately to keep my sobs at quiet and respectful bay in the midst of a crowd, holding their breath. That's what my theatre was doing the entire film, it seemed, (or most of it)...holding their breath. And by the end, a flash of thought told me "you should write about this. About why it's making you cry (pardon my French) so damn much." Yes. When something moves you, when art moves you to create...that's when you know you've struck a chord with something inside you. You've struck gold, as they say.  

The ending was nothing like I expected, but everything I needed. Mia and Seb both get their dreams. Get their "pipe-dreams", as Mia says to Seb during a fight. Mia married another, even after the words muttered, "I will always love you" to Seb hang in the air. As the film took me through Mia's imagination and memory combined of everything that had happened, I wept. I saw the Boy and myself there, and saw my imagination alongside hers. Everything that could have been mine, but is not. Everything that we could have done, but did not. The ebb and flow of memory and imagination, of past and dreaming past; I wept for all that the Boy and I could not have. I wept most as Mia and Seb exchange a look, with almost no expression on their faces, and I saw myself and the Boy mirrored in their faces: trying to understand what was dream and what was past reality.  

This film helped me grieve like nothing else has, thus far. It made me feel un-alone, that someone understood the grief and the hope and the confusion about past and present lives that still co-exist.  

Of course, the great focus on jazz touched a soft and delicate part of my heart. I was raised on jazz. My grandfather played the saxaphone, played the keyboard, played all these instruments. His passion is jazz and forever will be jazz. As he said once to me, "I hope I'll be playing until I die." I saw him mirrored in Seb's life as well. It haunted me and enlivened me to see a younger Dennis Dobbs live before me on the screen. It was terrifying, how similar all these struggles that Seb had about following and understanding his passion, and what that would look like.  

Again, Mia was my mirror. She grabbed my hand and pulled me into her shoes when she stood before Seb telling him she wasn't worthy, that she wasn't enough, that it hurt too much to continue working for her passion. In the song she sings for her final audition, I see myself: a lone, terrified storyteller, with stories to tell but with the smallest kernel of courage to tell them. A dreamer, a foolish dreamer. A hopeful romantic.  
This film, so far as I can say realistically, was something that I needed in my life, right now. It was something I didn't know I needed, but yet something I have been waiting for all along. It showed me parts of myself I forgot I had in me: my roots, my story, my foolish fears and stupid excuses. It guided me through my grief and reminded me that I still want to live my life for myself and for no one else.  

Thank you, La La Land. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Now, my hand trembles. Now, my thoughts whir. Now, I tell myself, “Plant your feet, small one. Stand rooted, stand grounded in the Lord.
              I am a dreamer, a free spirit: a girl with small hands that wants to touch the world with all that she is, with the time that she has been given. I want to feel everything I can and experience the world and it’s multicolored, jewelry faceted pieces. To know love, to know my heart beating out of its chest, to see and know peace in the mundane bits of life, and to see Jesus more clearly with every passing day, to understand and know what is a contented and grounded heart: these are my desires.
              As I am sitting here on a chevron couch on the third floor of Calvin Hall, I ponder my life again. What am I doing here? What does the Lord desire of me, want of me here and now? What are all these little flutterings in my chest that I get when I start dreaming of big plans and adventures? I can conjure up a million and one things that I want to do and be and experience and live. I want to feel fully myself now and always, and find God and his will in all the special dreams and passions that he has planted in my heart.

              Lord Jesus, in the midst of all these plans and dreams and crazy things I want to do, teach me how to be rooted and grounded in you first and foremost, and teach me how to love and serve you with where you have put me (and where you want me) right here, right now. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September Seventeenth

                  The days somehow feel shorter and longer, together: an oxymoron. This morning the sky is a soft blue, unrimmed by clouds or light. The earth lies in shadow. Trees and leaves and plants and grass are utterly stilled, bowed and reverent before the holiness of morning and the anger of a storm miles away.
                  I woke this morning, marveling at how quiet it was. Usually by half past six the kids are up and playing hard. The house was dark, dark like 4:30 AM kind of dark. But no, the glow of my phone read 6:25, and while my room was shades of black and my bed was calling my name, the rumble of the storm made my soul feel more awake and aware, somehow.
                  I want to find my life here, in my home, where I'm at, with whom I’m with. I know that it’s hard to find a home here and be rooted when I'm always grasping to do, to go, to get away, to adventure: but sometimes I think the gold of life is right here before me, with the people I love.
                  I start listing out things I love about my life:
                  Strawberries. And planning to get donuts to surprise the family, only to hear that my dad had the same idea. The wet sky.  Jacket, soft sweater sort of days. Sleepy eyes and soft kisses and laughter.
                  Today is a good day. The warmth of Bailey pressed up against my leg reminds me of that: that I’m alive, I’m here, and I have all I could ever need or want.
                  I feel like sometimes this culture keeps pressing us and screaming at us in a million silent ways to go, go, go. To do. To adventure and go far away, like somehow “that’s what makes life special and what makes it count” and all that jazz. I think it’s so important to live here in the present, even when my feelings aren’t all jittery and I’m not on a high of excitement, living in the blur of newness.
                  I want to learn how to lean into the familiarity of these days, the rhythm that steams from the Tuesdays and Saturday mornings and the Sunday nights at church. Someday, yes, I want to travel. I’m going to travel. But I want to make sure that my desire for travel doesn’t stem from a need to “escape”, escape from the “mundane” and the rhythm around me.
                  The rhythm of today was really beautiful, actually. The entire day was musky and cloudy, grey with streaks of blue. Rain spattered across all the windowpanes. ChickFila lemonade. Hard, full laughter with my brother. A slow morning spent in books at bookstores. Warm cookies. Chocolate streaks on my fingers. Fresh, homemade bread, swept again and again through a puddle of honey on the edge of my plate. Playing on the piano and singing.
                  Life is so good, dear friends. Even when we sit staring at our screens wishing and clawing for a life that can never be ours, life is good.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Convicted, Again

via google

I felt it this afternoon, after I spent an hour refreshing my Instagram feed and pinning nonsense on Pinterest. It was a heavy weight on my heart. You of all people should know not to live your life like this. I winced at the thought. After post after post after post of how I have been convicted of living my life well and not wasting time, the realization hit me square in the jaw.
                  I will always be passionate about time and life and how short we live. And I am trying to understand how to properly balance social media, sharing life, and actually living my life. Going out in public kind of freaks me out sometimes, because the hundreds of people around me are sometimes all on their phones or devices. I sort of see myself mirrored in them. And I also see strangers who have forgotten what their purpose is.
                  For me, social media like Instagram and Pinterest are addictive because they make me feel like I’m actually doing something productive. They make me feel like I am doing something worthwhile and meaningful and keeping busy. But in reality, they are sucking away my precious time and acting as a drug because I like to be distracted, I like to look at pretty pictures, I like to laugh and comment on my friends’ friends witty comments.
                  So for some, they’ve got this whole social media thing under control. They post meaningful posts and only get on the internet so many times a day. Whenever I see them, I just despair because I don’t know where to start simplifying my social media life. Delete altogether? Just stay off? Fast for a month? And then there’s the question of how often to post? What to post? When?
                  I stumbled across this blog post by Gretchen Saffles, and it strummed on my heart strings and softened the despair in my heart. Goals. Goals for social media are good.
                  So I am praying and mulling over goals for social media: goals that I want to post by, comment by, and live by.

                  Do you have any thoughts about social media and how (or even if) it’s affecting your life? Have you set any goals for social media?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hashtag Community (Pt. 1)

I long for community, whatever that is. For like-minded friends who aren’t afraid to dream big together and sit in silence together and crank up the music loud together and just do life together.
            I don’t know if it’s just me or my personality type, but I don’t have tons and tons of friends to “do stuff” with, compared to others. I have a small cluster of friends whom I love very much but… our social circles don't touch. They live far away. They’re crazy busy.
            I am beginning to understand how much I want community. I keep thinking of community as a group of girls who I’m able to call on to do life, whatever that might mean.     
            Can I rant for a minute? Sometimes, with certain people, I feel like we have to ‘do’ something. Go somewhere. Work on a craft. How about we just sit together and read? Or drive down to the lake and drink coffee?
            Conversations (small talk, really) is just as hard. In some relationships, small-talk isn’t really small-talk. It weaves its way through our what’s-happening-in-Libya conversations and somehow ends up in a fart joke (yes, really.).
            But with others, I want to know how to cut the authentic ‘small-talk’ and make a difference and deepen our relationship somehow with what we choose to converse over.
            Alright, have I said enough about how relationships are super hard and I’m always struggling through them?
                        To be honest, I often ask myself: is it me? Am I the reason behind why I don’t have the relationships I want to have? Or are my dreams getting in the way of reality? Are these sorts of relationships just fantasy?
            I am praying they are not. This ache in my soul won’t end until God opens my eyes to the reality of beautiful community and authentic relationships.
                        Side note: I do believe God is trying to open my eyes through this struggle. Get my attention, so to speak. Show me how I need to cultivate the less glamorous relationships in my life: the ones with Him, my parents, siblings, church body.
                     Can this longing stem from a lack of a deep relationship with Jesus?
            Yet, I won’t stop brooding over the idea of community (what that looks like/what is a relationship vs. friendship/etc.). I’m still considering the war between close, personal relationships and shallow group friendship conversations: and (can there be a peace treaty?) the possible outcome being the best of both worlds.

                        OK, OK, enough rambling thoughts for today. Any thoughts on relationships, community? Do you share any struggles in this area?