we are fragmented. all of us. we are made up of the bits of our memories & odd quirks & adventures & brutal regrets & dominating personality traits & stories & cruel biases & inside jokes & scarred pasts.
i know, that’s not all we are or all we’re made of, but sometimes that’s all we see. we put these cold labels on each other in conversations behind closed doors & in the dark closets of our minds when we scroll through souls on a screen without even bothering to ask each other, “wait, what actually is your story?” we rob empathy of any opportunity when we stick our noses in the air & walk past faces in subjective silence.
the truth is that we are so much more than anything any of us might ever see in each other & we need to make a valiant effort to try to see the whole person. we need to convince ourselves of this reality: we will always be learners of God, of each other & of ourselves. we need the humility to know we never know the whole story & that there’s more to discover in a person (& in ourselves) past what we’ve labeled them to be from a distance.
instead of jumping to conclusions, i want to ask questions. instead of assuming, i want to listen. i want to be the kind of person that other people want to let into their hearts & their stories & in order to be that, i have to let other people in to see all my scattered fragments in their effort to know my whole person.
i’ll start with this awkward introduction by telling you that i feel everything really deeply & even though i sometimes think it’s great to be sensitive & emotional, i’m pretty insecure about the way i think & feel & the people closest to me have this supernatural patience & grace they give me which (ironically) usually makes me get even more emotional when i think about it & even though i constantly feel a vicious pressure to prove myself & tell you that i’ve solved all the problems in my life, i’m really starting to enjoy the journey of living unfinished.
a lot of times, we don’t let other people see the whole of us because of fear & shame & guilt & all those joy thieves. so what do we do? we hide. we stuff vulnerability in a dark drawer & swear to ourselves we’ll never open it again. not after we’ve been hurt like that. not after we gave our trust over only for it to be trampled under foot by someone who failed us in a gut-wrenching kind of way because that pain is real. but in so doing, i really think we lose more than we gain.
i know there are seasons & i know there’s a time for everything because not only does the Bible tell me so, but my professor also told me that it’s OK to distance ourselves for awhile from what’s hurt us to give us time to heal. but i also know we were build for connection & we humans can sometimes be really, really horribly bad at it, but it’s also the way towards freedom.
i think the loudest question in all of us is: “when you see me — like really see me — will you stay?” & i can’t answer that for every person because as unfinished people, sometimes the answer is, has been & will be, “no.” & nothing hurts more when “not good enough” comes in & punches you in the face & you just kinda sit there for awhile.
but The Story, your story, my story, never ends without hope.
on a God level, i know the question i’ve had for Jesus even though i rarely ask Him is: “will You keep coming after me? will You keep pursuing me? even after i treat You like this? even after i rip my hand out of Yours & say i’m gonna do it my way this time? will You still come after me?”
i know His answer, even though i don’t always feel it & for those who are still unsure of what He’d say, i’m here to tell you that He will.
we are whole because before we even knew His name, the cross took all our broken pieces in His scarred hands & told every single one of them that He's actually going to make them into something. He saw us: our whole person shattered in a filthy heap of all the million moments when we’d treasure ourselves above Him & told us that we belong. He saw us & in scandalous mercy & redemptive grace, He let His healing blood seep into the mess of our broken shards & its power actually began to weld them all together in the shape of a cross, in the sound of the loudest cry that shatters every fear of ever being made whole again when we hear: it is finished.
so when we see others & when we see ourselves, i hope we seek to see more than just fragmented selves that are oddly proportioned, but i hope we seek the whole story always & seek each other as whole persons welded together by the blood of Jesus that shattered Himself so that we would know what it means to really live.
sometimes the transitions into our seasons of life are gradual & other times they’re abrupt. my grand entrance into this season feels like a bit of both. in some ways i feel like i woke up in this season one morning & everything all of a sudden seemed to lack luster, & it was a bit cold, everything started numbing. & yet in other ways i feel like i should’ve seen this coming, watching my habits from the past few months playback in my mind on repeat & well, of course that got me here. there are hard seasons & there are soft seasons, & sometimes — most times — hard seasons accompany some warmth & oftentimes, the soft seasons aren’t void of some colder days. anyways, i hate sitting in the cold.
these days i find myself awkwardly hardened by things that used to help thaw me & days that seem to run fluid into each other & i’m often at the end of my day under my covers & christmas lights dreading the night’s close, my blinds down, meaning i won’t get this day back & how well did i love today? i reach for my journal, but i only jot down questions i don’t feel like finding answers for because i’m scared what they’ll tell me, but i write them anyways because i think the first step towards discovery is always asking questions even when it hurts.
but there are other days i catch myself caught in moments of curious fervor, when the invitation to learn & create does nothing less than enchant me. i love the feeling of coming across a poem that seems to ignite me & i have no real reason for it to & nothing to credit it to except for the fact that He sees me. there are other moments of random elation when i just have to smile at feeling the joy of telling a story slow & smooth & when the punchline brings us some sort of contagious laughter. i think it’s absurdly important to listen to one another. if we don’t, we might miss something too precious to pass by — like the incessant glow that lingers in the air after she speaks & his smile that stalls me in the in between.
regardless of my season, i wanna be the kind of person who, when caught off guard, still says automatic, “come in, you know you’re always welcome.” the kind who knows one of the ingredients to thriving in seasons of change is to remain insanely curious. i wanna be the kind of person that is never in a rush to tidy things up on the inside before someone asks to catch-up because it can be pretty annoying to talk to a person who pretends she has everything figured out.
i wanna dance through these seasons & all their days in between, even when i’m unaware of their constant progression. i wanna dance through the hard & soft seasons as God watches me from where He reigns & smiles because He knows He’s the author of the labored seasons, with all of their rhythms, & He knows i’m trying hard to believe that, rest in that.
i’m on a quest to live fully alive. at this point, i’m not even really sure if i know what i mean by that, all i know is i want to explore & exhaust its possibility in 2018.
january 1st has a notorious habit of shaking me a bit - yeah, another year has passed & i can feel the hands of my heart & mind scrambling to gather every piece of wisdom & knowledge & every memory & experience i’ve gained & encountered in the past year, so as to prove to the people around me that “yes i have grown this year & this is how...” just in case they ask. at the end of every year, it's like i need to compose a neat list of the strides i’ve made.
at the end of this december, i opened up my journal to write. & as i scrawled down a half-hearted prayer to God, i realized i had nothing to give Him except more broken shards, more guilt that i was tired of lugging around, more anxiety that i felt had become like an annoying sibling i was tired of wrestling with. then i turned to the first page in that same journal i started at the beginning of 2017. it was the same kinda lines i was writing at the end of this december & i realized that maybe growth isn’t always what we’d imagine it’d feel like. it sure feels a lot less glamorous than i ever thought it would & it happens small & it happens slow & it happens when i feel like it’s really not happening at all because my brother told me that even when you admit you don’t feel like you’re growing, that’s growth.
growth is a good desire - a really good one. & as for me, i’m growing jagged & straight, lopsided & lean, sideways & straightforward.
this past year, fear made a coward out of me on backroads & in notebooks & silenced all my courage. i floundered in a sea of still maturing emotions & let its waves crash me, shake me, change me. i trusted too many voices, let them all pound me at once & discredited the joy found in the journey. i forgot what “journey” meant, what it entails, what it requires.
this past year, i grew thankful for possibility & finally held onto opportunity. i dangled my feet off the edge & stopped apologizing for how i’m wired & let brave sprout on the dry parts of my heart. i looked forward & i looked back & i lived now & i loved in vulnerability & trusted i was loved in return, regardless. i let healing words soak into me like balm & worshipped under stars when i felt the most unworthy to be there & i let the gift of presence cherish me in my mess. i leapt & i listened & i learned that grace gives up on no one, giving me the most hope that His mercy goes to the greatest lengths for me & for you. i sat across the table from people who really care, really love & really know that God has this whole thing in the hollow of His scarred hands & He will not ever let us go.
so here’s to 2018, in the quest to live fully alive & the pursuit of discovering all that it means.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.