Monday, 17 March 2014

Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day. May we know what it's all really about. Love this tweet by singer Daniel Bashta and likewise I love the quote by Saint Patrick.

And that is all. Don't stuff yourself on Lucky Charms... at least not all at once.

Friday, 14 March 2014

He May Be Taking the Longer Way, But Aslan Is On the Move.

I feel like Spring and Summer are just two fairytale words that derived from some beautiful but fictional fantasy tale, right now. I never minded the cold until this year. I never minded the snow until this year. I never minded winter until this year. Oh, this year.

"When Aslan bears his teeth,
Winter meets it's death.
When He shakes his mane,
We shall have Spring again!"

C. S. Lewis`words from The Silver Chair have never struck me with such awe and wonder and beauty and hope and I could go on. Seriously. I`m awake to the intense beauty Spring brings. Life. Warmth. Colour.

I`m not a winter-hater. I love hot chocolate and sledding and Christmas especially, but its that subtle absence of colour and that apathetic cold that rudely catch hold of you after a few months.

It`s March now, though. Hang in there friends. It won`t be long. Aslan is on the move. You can`t see it, you can`t feel it and when those surprising and depressing storms hit again it seems impossible, but Spring is coming.

Yeah, I was kind of getting deep about winter, but in truth I really wanted to encourage my fellow Canadians to hold on and persevere. How sweet Spring will be to us now. Just think on that. Brave the cold and look ahead.

On another note, this was probably the best winter ever for Disney to introduce their newest Pixar film Frozen. Good on them.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Not Just a "Celebrity"

He wasn't just a celebrity. The fact of the matter is that not any resident of Hollywood, any NFL player or any Iron Chef are 'just a celebrity'; they're people too.

When Heath Ledger died I was in grade eight. I didn't know who he was and I hadn't seen him in any of his several movies. In fact, to expand on the truth of my ignorance of his identity, at first I believed his name was Keith. But when I watched the remake of The Four Feathers I got to know a tiny bit of who he was and his death became a great loss. I get what you might be thinking: "You don't know a thing about the guy. You've never met him. Cut the cliché" but that's not entirely right. I have no clue what he loved to do in his free time, what his favourite colour was, who his family was... but I was privileged to see him create his art and every artist knows that when they create their art, their gift and their passion they express a bit of themselves. So I was able to see this artist in action and now I know how incredible and terrible a loss it was when he overdosed in 2008.

Yesterday it was as if the realisation of Heath Ledger's talent occurred all over again when Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who I've seen in films and already admired greatly, passed away at 46 years of age. You see, I got to see this actor and artist create his art and I know how terrible a loss it is. I don't know his family, his favourite flavour of ice cream and etcetera but at least I know a bit of him through his work.

I guess the point that I've been pathetically trying to point out with fervent passion is this: it's okay to grieve for a celebrity, a movie star, someone you never met, someone you only saw on your television screen and on a poster at the gas station, someone who was passionate about their art and tried not to abuse it.

Sure, movie stars make bad decisions and we hear about them everyday. Heath Ledger was in some doozies and Phillip got into drugs early but you know what? They are people too. They are people too. Each one of them is a portrait that God painted.

So many people die everyday in appalling and heinous situations from poverty to murder and for some reason I wrongly feel this irritating guilt for grieving over a movie star. Hollywood is just as much of a battlefield as poverty. And it's alright to wish you could have said goodbye to a movie star.

Some of these stars don't take their jobs sincerely, yes, but others act not for money but for the art itself of telling stories and seeking after answers. I feel like Phillip Seymour Hoffman was one of those passionate artists and visionaries and seekers.

"Oh, that guy in Patch Adams died. That's sad," someone might say as they scroll down their Facebook page and then fascinate themselves with a convivial vine video. No judging, you must understand, only asking you to think of these artists as creations of God and not just troubled movie stars. They never were just "celebrities".

Monday, 20 January 2014

Let It Go

I get scared.

I get scared when I don't know where I'm going in life. I'm a bit of a control freak and not knowing is like... it's like I'm some soft shell crab without it's shell, stripped of my confidence, vulnerable and like a piece of bait to the doubts in my head. Yeah, I get scared.

I feel stuck.

But I'm not really. Now that is a truth I believe, and yet have to keep reminding myself.
If I was the writer of my own story in full, I should be scared. I should be restless and anxious, fighting to find answers, to make decisions and to make something of myself. But I'm not.
I'm not the writer of my story in full.

Let it go.

If it was all up to you it wouldn't turn out half as beautiful as it would if it was up to a God that knows you better than you know yourself. Oh you're strong, no doubt. You can do more than you think sometimes. But hey, we aren't supermen and superwomen. We aren't perfect and no one knows that better than we do. If it was ALL up to us, it truly wouldn't be the best.

God is the greatest storyteller. Just let go and listen. (The word "just" in the previous sentence mocks me sometimes, because it is hardly easy to just let go, but it is more than necessary.) Let it go.

I don't feel like writing much more. In reality, there's not much more to add. Let go of the duties you don't need to take on, like your destiny. Be still. Listen. It's humbling and it's beautiful.

God is the greatest storyteller, even when things are twisted and chaotic... if we depend on Him, the adventures with Him are nothing short of incredible. C'mon, let's be patient and seek after Him with a surrender of rights. He's got this. He created you, He knew you before you were thought of and you still think perhaps His plan isn't the greatest for you. Relax and let go. It'll do you a world of good.

He's got this.

God is the greatest storyteller.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Why Jane Eyre is Better Than Pride and Prejudice

First, do not be offended and don't gasp at this opinion piece because it is just that, an opinion piece. I perhaps would have taken offence to this if I had come across it a few months ago, before reading Jane Eyre, and so I understand devoted Austen fans and their passion.

Well, let me start my rant, my collection of thought and my opinionated diction and you can decide if my points are at all valid. I must let this out.

1. Jane Eyre is plain. I suppose Lizzie Bennett is much plainer too than her older sister would have been but I do not mean just in appearance. What's wrong with a beautiful and vibrant main character? Nothing. You see, Jane is plain in dress because she doesn't feel as though she deserves finer things. Jane is arguably more relateable (that has to be a word... spell check mocks me) than often confident Lizzie to those who struggle with self-image, to those who cannot afford Calvin Klein or Versace, to those who come from humbler circumstances and to those who have been mistreated in some way.
2. Misinterpreted religion and beauty of relationship. In Jane Eyre there is a detailed part about her childhood at Lowood school where Brocklehurst declares Christianity a religion of constant humiliation and pain (for the lower class) to cleanse one's soul from their sins and imperfections while the wealthier ones enjoy their ignorant pleasures. Jane sees corrupted religion but then in the heart of Helen (a fellow student) she sees a loyal and joyous relationship with God that keeps her strong. Jane Eyre is better than Pride and Prejudice because it so often expands on more topics than just human love and redemption (which are great themes nonetheless but arguably the only main themes in Pride and Prejudice). And with expansion on more themes, a book becomes more relateable and ultimately better.
3. Thornfield is gloomy. Pemberley is splendid. Perhaps too splendid. It's quite a Cinderella story that Lizzie ends up to be the woman of Pemberley, and I am a true lover of Cinderella tales. I suppose if Darcy had owned a Netherfield it wouldn't have been as unreasonable, but no, he owns an even richer and more extravagant home than Bingly. Rochester's abode in Jane Eyre is a mansion, yes, but it is gloomy and a place Rochester himself rather dislikes. Now I'm not trying to argue that realistically life is more dull and and plain with the points I have made but that using plainer imagery illuminates the brilliant themes underneath quite a bit better. And it is the themes in the story that touch us.
4. Rochester is not handsome and not gentlemanly.  Hang on a minute, you think, doesn't that make Darcy all the more better? To me, the answer is no. Rochester is harsh, impatient, described as ugly, rude and commanding. Darcy is merely unsociable and proud. They both have their faults, and they both have sad pasts (secrets even) that have broken them a bit. But Darcy is easier to like, you think. And I agree, of course, but in Jane Eyre I find it even more fascinating to have a main male character be altogether disagreeable and yet have the protagonist still love him for the good she could see underneath. It's brilliant. To have pure eyes like Jane, to seek out goodness in others is a gift I wish to receive. And to have a character, like Rochester, who is tainted by his past and sees the purity and beauty in Jane, the very plain, is quite inspiring. It's almost like Beauty and the Beast versus Cinderella and both are classics. You just decide which tale speaks more of goodness to you. Beauty and the Beast always spoke more of goodness to me.
5. Sacrifice is essential to relationship. Sure Darcy spends bundles of money on patching up the scandalous wedding of Lizzie's sister, and all for Lizzie's sake, but they still must have plenty of money to own that incredible mansion. Darcy, I really like you, but you didn't give 'til it hurt. And giving until it hurts is the most beautiful illustration of love that there is. When Jane returns (after sacrificing all of her happiness because it was the right thing to do), she finds Rochester quite altered in appearance, afflicted with great loss and all of it was because he tried to do what was right and save the person that had caused him so much grief (not out of romantic love, mind you, but that is never the strongest love). Thornfield was gone. Rochester as he was before was gone. He was stripped down from his selfish pedestal when he did the right thing and nothing could have aided him better. When they reunite it is of a purer love than before because now they know truth (for truth is vital in any relationship), they know themselves and they know sacrifice.

And that is why Jane Eyre is better. Don't hate me too much.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

You Are Part of The Medicine, Not The Cure

Depression and anxiety issues are incredibly relevant to so many people nowadays. I would think that you reading this know at least one or two people who have suffered from these terrible and dark conditions or perhaps you suffer with it yourself.

Depression is ugly. No question.

To me it is one of the ugliest things I've ever known. It tries to suffocate joy and confiscate hope. It takes a beautiful and capable spirit and tries to drag it down, sometimes further than was thought possible. It tries. Yes, it tries.

But there is always hope. Yes, sure all of the counsellors say this, all of the supportive media declares this... the campaigns, the friends, the family... And they speak truth, definitely and I am an advocate for the truth, but sometimes a smile and a hug isn't enough.

We want more of an answer. Well, sure, I think that's fair. One-sentence responses are fine and dandy but generally they don't suffice an aching spirit. It's not wrong to encourage, by any means, and I urge you to do so, but some days people need to cry and just be heard. To be understood, if only a little.

I guess, I'm just spilling out my experience and what I feel I've learned. "Positivity" is a great medicine, but it's not a cure. And if you are living with someone who unfortunately deals with depression and high anxiety then you have to know this:

You are a part of their medicine. So you help, you comfort, you speak truth and you pray for them and don't stop. However, you are not the cure. You can't fix someone and you can't fix yourself. Trust me, I've tried. My mother's tried a hard many years. Don't say we don't have enough faith, we don't have enough trust in God, we just need to focus on good things... You don't know. You just don't know.

If someone you love is alone in a very dark place, it rips and scratches and gnaws at you horridly and all you desire is for them to be happy, or better yet to be joyful. I understand the pain. I know the anxiety that comes when you walk on eggshells to avoid stirring up discomfort in someone who is sick. But they need someone who can be strong, not fearful... honest, not passive... faithful, not proud.

That is the medicine.
The cure? My mother's learning it everyday. It's not an easy, five-step cure. It's a daily commitment to God and letting Him reveal your beauty, your purpose and His love. And sometimes you don't feel God. It's true. But listen to this if nothing else:

God's love is infinitely more powerful than a feeble and distrustful human emotion.

In essence, I pray depression can be managed better, ultimately cured forever, but if it isn't I will not stop hoping. I've learned to bend and not break. I've learned to be grateful. And often I feel I've learned enough from the disease, and beg for it to end but I haven't a clue. Refined through the fire... pruned and clipped to bear fruit... pinched and stretched to form the pot. The pain is all very real and yet sometimes it is all very purposeful. Don't give up on your loved ones or yourself, but don't put them on your back as if you are capable to cure them. Take care of yourself and you help them more. Remember, you are only a part of the medicine.

& So An Introduction

Don't expect to uncover much literary genius, like that of Austen and Dickens and MacDonald riddled in my, no doubt ill-structured, paragraphs of deep thought that I've decided to dribble and pour out in this very unfamiliar vessel called "blogging". This is just a way for me to organize, share and even discover my entangled collections of thought and maybe reveal to myself if my passion for writing is a passion that is undeniably strong. But, (and yes, I start sentences with conjunctions sometimes) I have found that even in dribble there are beautiful truths.

Anyhow, I am a storyteller. In fact, I firmly believe all human beings are storytellers. I tell stories through music some days, visual art other days and when the stories are too clear to manifest in ways that (as music and visual art) are often interpreted with incredibly variety, I write. Mostly without the proper this and that because I always stunk in grammar and I like the way certain rebellious writing patterns I've created for myself  sound. Scattered and deep, stubborn and individual; my writing may not appeal to you in the least and so please, if that is the case, do not trouble yourself to push through this sorry excuse for a blog.

I'm a tea-drinking, sushi-loving, music-admiring, nature-adoring, history-cherishing, Kingdom-seeking, art-respecting kind of person that gets lost in my own head quite often enough. Since I was very little I have favored Road to Avonlea over Curious George and the King Arthur legend over Arthur the Aardvark. (Don't get me wrong though, I love Arthur the Aardvark.) I've always been old-fashioned. Perhaps I'm hopelessly old fashioned. But hopelessly is an awfully strong word.

But if you want to know me really, truly know me, you must be aware that everything I am, everything I love, everything I dream and everything I create is nothing without God. That's the truth.

And so, there is my introduction. If I interest you any feel more than free to follow my posts which are basically an outpouring of what builds up in my often over-crowded, sometimes random and silly, usually deep mind and heart. I don't have all the answers, I don't have all the insight and wisdom... I'm a wanderer in thought and spirit, who knows that she doesn't belong on this earth, that she was made for bigger things, that there is purpose and hope and that we are but a moment here. If this is my one shot, my big performance (for lack of a better term), then I'm gonna live it, and live it awake. -We Are the Sojourners.