» Vessel. Voice. Visionary.

Because, its my time.

Cut the String of Brokenness

Growing up, I had a lot of "friends". It was never an issue to make them because I deemed myself a social butterfly. Talking to people was rather easy for me, and subsequently making friends was too. Being older, the same isn't true. It's not that I've lost my charm for talking to people, it's that I allowed my circumstances to push people away. You don't realize how much things hurt you until you look behind you and recognize the string of brokeness that follows. I had broken relationships with people because of how hurt I was. I pushed those that cared away because I lumped them with those that appeared to but didn't. Now I look around at the lack of friendships I have, and quite frankly, it makes me sad. I want to have friends that I can call and say "get dressed, we're going out" or vice versa. I want to have friends that if my boyfriend goes out or my closest friend/roommate is with her friends or out, I don't have to be lonely, laying in the bed watching tv. I want to have friends that I can be transparent with, have fun, without worrying about whether they're thinking about how "holy" I should be. Going away to college was a great experience for me in that it taught me to be independent and such, but the experience also took me from my home, my friends, and my family. I know I have them, but in Philly, they aren't tangible. I can't go see them or hang out. That's what different about now. My boyfriend and roommate are both "home". Seeing their friends or family is as simple as a drive or train ride. I don't share the same simplicity. My journey takes more than three hours to another state. Maybe that's the saddest thing--when I am most in need of my comfort, it's out of reach. 

BUT, the point of this post is not all about being sad about not having friends- it's about this: cut the string of brokenness. Too often we get so wrapped up in situations and people that hurt us that we go out and sometimes unintentionally, hurt those around us. We don't let people get too close for fear of hurt, or we push away those that care because we don't see why or how they could. We lump everyone together and think the world is out to get us, when in actuality, either a small insignificant number or frankly no one is. Living in hurt hurts. Living in hurt stunts growth. Living in hurt limits the possibility of truly enjoying life and all that it has to offer. Living in hurt continuosly gives control to the source of the hurt. I lived in hurt so long and was so deep into it that I didn't see that I was isolating myself until it was revealed by others and ultimately by myself when it was too late. I realized I had isolated myself when I could scroll down my phonebook, or better yet, look around the room and realize there was not a single person I had an actual substantial friendship with. I realized I had allowed my hurt to consume me to the point where "are you okay?" wasn't even a question anymore--it became the statement of "oh she's just having another one of her days/moments". Living in hurt robs you of the ability to love and I think more importantly be loved. It's okay- you're human. But at the end of the day, you're not the only one who has ever been hurt and you surely won't be the last. The hurt that you're going through isn't unique unto you. Others have experienced debilitating hurts, and yet, they manage to still love and be loved.

Bottom line: Be mature enough to realize that as long as there is life within you, there is life to be lived. Forgive. Forget. Move on. Most importantly, never lose your ability to recognize, receive and reciprocate love. 

Behind The Wheel

I drove. For the first time, I didn't drive in a limo or another person's car. I was behind the wheel of the car that drove in the funeral processional. It was the marker of how grown I was; this time, I wasn't being shielded from the pains of death--I was head-on in it. It felt weird, icky almost. I didn't want to do it once it began. I wanted to relinquish control, be able to give up the wheel and retreat to the back seat where I could stare out the window and imagine myself somewhere else, or escape to sleep. Now, this post isn't all about death and neither is my blog; rather it's about the process of growing up. It's not easy. It comes with great rewards and great pains. Driving behind the wheel made me acknowledge that I had a license, a car, a degree, an apartment, bills to pay etc.---grown up responsibilties. It also made me acknowledge that even when I didn't want to do something, it didn't matter. If it had to be done, it had to. I realized the sacrifices of growing up. It was my boyfriend's uncle so of course he shouldn't have driven, and his little sister couldn't drive so I was the perfect and only candidate. It was the last place I wanted to be, but the only place I needed to and should have been. I had my own battles, but my boyfriend needed me in his so I had to put my adult pants on, and even if it hurt, be present. 

The greatest lesson though, is past the sacrifices themselves--it's the strength in the sacrifice. The last funeral I went to didn't work out in my favor; I was a big ball of mess, and I didn't think I would be able to go to funerals for a long time. Now, I'm sure I won't be attending funerals all "willy nilly", but I made it through this one. And I'll make it through another one day. There is an untapped well of resilience within me. In my process of growing up while getting older (because they can happen independently of one another), I realize that there is more in me than I give myself credit for. I am more than even what I allow myself to be. The sacrifice that day didn't show my strength: my strength showed my sacrifice.

The Ultimate Paradox

Death must be the most paradoxical thing I know. With few other things does a dichotomy exist. How does one both rejoice and mourn over death at the same time? How is one supposed to be grateful that their loved one no longer has to feel the sting of life on earth while simultaneously acknowledging the void that they have left? This week should be one of the happiest weeks of my life and for the most part, it is. I am graduating from college after four years with a bachelor's degree. I did the major I wanted and I have nothing but brightness in my future. But, one piece of the puzzle is missing, and pieces of other puzzles are making their way into mine.

My father died when I was eighteen years old, three years ago on July 30th. It still seems like a foreign concept to me. People have said that they've seen me grow with dealing with it and that is true to a degree, but the other truth is that I've done a great job of covering how I really feel. As a newly elected minister in training, I never really got a chance to do the whole mad at God, lock myself away from civilization and refuse to get out of the bed thing. I had to immediately display grace and strength and be joyous that my father was in the bosom of the Lord as a believer. But looking back, that stifled my grieving process. I didn't realize that I could still love God with the all of me and love the all of who my father was to me as well; after all, God gave him to me. Now, three years later, I struggle with crying and mourning because I don't even know what it truly looks like or feels like. In one of the happiest weeks of my life, facing one of my biggest accomplishments, one of my biggest motivators and supports isn't here to celebrate with me. Yea, I get the "he's looking down on me" but I want him to be looking face to face WITH me. How do I both celebrate the joy of walking across the stage while realizing that it's happening without my dad in the audience? To be honest, there's a little twinge of guilt because I want to be beaming with pride but.....

Then, there's the other pieces of puzzle. My boyfriend experienced a loss in his family. He is fresh in a grieving process, as is his family and naturally, he's sad. But herein lies the dichotomy that is death, even past just the concept of it. The effects of death are far-reaching. Here, I want and should be there for my boyfriend but I want and should be there for me and my special day too. How do I balance? I feel awkward and even a tad guilty being happy around him as he mourns, but I then feel guilty not being happy because I deserve to; all because of death.

For me, death has just been a thief. I'm sure over time, I'll see it as a blessing in all parts of me, but for now, everything in me doesn't have that viewpoint. I want to cry but I don't want to cry, I want to lock myself away but then I want to be around others. I want to heal but then it hurts too bad. Deep down inside I know I'll get it one day; until then, I'll deal as it comes. One day, I'll be able to tell my story and be okay with how it all turned out.

Dad, this week is for you.