aloha

I watched the movie Elizabethtown yesterday for the 4,587th time. 

I fell in love again. I’m not sure why that movie captures my heart every time I watch it, but I guess it’s an inexplicable sort of magic. 

Elizabethtown isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I know people who hate it. But I submit that they hate it mostly because they were expecting something else. Expectations definitely ruin movies. Please, I beg you, go into every movie you watch with an open mind, your only expectation being to learn something, and pay attention. It’s the best, because then you learn something from every movie, whether you feel like you enjoyed it or not. And most of the time, if you’re lost, pay attention better.

That aside…Elizabethtown was released in 2005. I was…13, young, impressionable. 🙂 But really. It affected me. I watched it over and over again. I watched it during high school and found out it was more than a story – it was a relatable truth.

It’s hard for me to explain why I like movies, and it’s hard for me to make recommendations, because I like them from a deep place where explanations don’t really matter. And I know you’re going to color your movie-viewing with your own opinion, no matter what I recommend. And I always avoid recommending things too highly, because people seem to turn off when they think you’re too excited. People don’t tend to take my recommendations seriously, anyway. On many occasions, I recommend, people thank but don’t do, and as soon as someone else recommends the same thing, they’re suddenly into it. Oh, well.

That aside….

It was a good way to cap my Spring Break. I’ve been feeling like the future is just in my way. It’s in the way of my experiencing life right now, and I want it to go away. A little nostalgia broke that up a bit, so I’m grateful.

It was a good break. Went to Nashville and felt bombarded and overwhelmed and encouraged and excited and afraid and everything else. Grateful for the trip and for everything we learned about the place, the people I got to travel with, the people we met and saw and stayed with, the music that lives there, the idea of future trips.

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Nick & Will at Fido. (BREAKFAST YUMS) We stayed with Will, who recently moved to Nashville. 

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Tuesday night during dinner, we found out that Dave Barnes, Steve Moakler, Andrew Ripp, and Ben Rector were playing in mere hours (or less) at a nearby venue. AND WE RAN THERE OF COURSE.

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Probably the best part was getting to be with this guy.

And then we came home.

 

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Where I sat ouside in a dress with wet hair and was warm. This is exceptional news, because SPRING.

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disjointed

I feel the
hands –
slimy grip

on my
brain
strang
ling and
war
ping
its
vision
so I
fall

I fall into
warm arms
soft elbows

come out,
Spirit,
and be me

slippery vision
trips and blinds,
and I strained –

until I stopped
thrashing and
rested my head

exude gloriously
the light in your
wide open heart

I sat down at Meadowlark the other morning and pulled out everything I was going to use, except my Bible. Wondering whether this was intentional or not, I got it out and set it on the table. I felt conspicuous. For some reason, I feel like everyone in the vicinity knows when a Bible is nearby. But why did that make me feel strange? I thought about the way new Christians act when they find the TRUTH and want to discover and explore and SHARE. They read the Bible passionately, openly, fearlessly, and confidently. They open their mind’s eye to whatever they might read. They open their hearts to everyone they encounter and to all of the potential. They are ready to be filled – to accept forgiveness and a grace so overwhelming it HAS to be shared.

So why my cynicism? My awkwardness? My refusal to completely abandon my affinity for darkness, for questioning, for not quite knowing (because knowledge is power is responsibility). So I need to remember some of the final words of Ecclesiastes: “The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (12:11-12)

For some reason, I am afraid to completely give in. What am I giving in to? Acceptance? Accepting forgiveness and grace? Gratitude, because it might take some work? That leads to complete EGO. That leads to ME. That prevents love. Love is selfless.

Guilt begets shame – BLINDS to glory and love and seeing anything beyond myself and my world – begets worry and ego and straining in everything I do. I am forgiven, and yet I hold on, can’t move on, I grieve instead. I see the broken and am stuck in the mindset of this world and no hope.

Sometimes I wish I could fast forward my life experience. I feel inferior around adults, of which I will be one very soon. (Assuming I’m not one already, since people still sometimes think I’m in high school.) I understand that I don’t really understand much about life. There’s not really a line, is there? A line that you cross into the official domain of adulthood. If I could fast forward my life experience…I would feel wise and I would feel like I could contribute to conversations. I would somehow know what to say in difficult situations, and I’d know how to handle my own insecurities. Right? Isn’t that how it works? I want to have all of those “mature” qualities without going through the process of gaining experience. Without having to learn by doing it wrong, by treating people poorly and needing to ask for forgiveness, by repenting for the same things over and over again.

Maybe I want to skip the gaining-experience because I don’t want to feel my heart ache or my face puff with tears and snot or my eyes burn. I just want to be a person – I don’t want to become one. I don’t really know if I can do it – if I can handle everything I might be required to.

But none of this adulthood-anxiety and striving for wisdom is really worth it if I’m so attached to my own status as a human being. Being open and knowing that God is directing every step is a huge relief. Isn’t the reason it’s so hard because we just want that control? I want independence, and so I forget to thank God for upholding me, for carrying me and pulling me up and building the path and blessing my life. I didn’t do any of the things my independence wants to take credit for.

Dwelling and stewing leads to perpetual brooding.

But there is hope, and it’s right there, and all I have to do is repent, and pray, and smile as I listen and feel the approval – the love that only comes with grace because no one deserves it. Sometimes I forget I’m not the only one who doesn’t deserve it. It’s not as though people with that true joy, open-hearted faith deserve the love either – but they have chosen it and it has grown and they EXUDE. I want to exude God’s love all over people.

God is in the difficult moments and the about-to-be-annoyed moments and if I just see him there, I will remember to rejoice. I can hug the hard person and laugh as the hard situation threatens, knowing that it is in this temporary place.

Learn from everything, or else I wasted it. Remember how good everything can be – every good thing comes from God. Get there with grace. I must stop feeling entitled to joy in the way I want it to start seeing it everywhere.

“A happy heart is good medicine, and a cheerful mind works healing. You may think you need to experience healing first in order to gain a cheerful heart and mind. However, you have a powerful source of happiness within you: the Holy Spirit! He can empower you to live above your circumstances. When your heart is heavy, ask Him to fill it with buoyant cheerfulness. He takes pleasure in doing this as you entrust yourself into His capable care.”  – Jesus Lives, pg. 80