I have sat looking at this page several times throughout the last few weeks. The result has been a white page with a blinking cursor, winking at me as I ponder... I have found most of the time I too just need a little time to process... gleaning through a mind that works too quick for its own good.
Lately I've been reading a stack of books - mostly to help curb the apnea that steals away my sleep, but also to calm a restless mind - Yes, it's always been restless - this is no different than it's been since I was in grade school, or high school, or college. But these books remind me of the things that are most important to me, the person who I want to be and what I hope to bring to those around me... I can't put my finger on what it is exactly - it's not any single thing, but I want to be a jambalaya of joy and grace and hope and peace and understanding and love - all things that any of us might need with the deepest sincerity I have to offer it. And in turn, I want the truth - Not an abbreviated version, or a hidden agenda - but the truth - all of it.
Those who have the closest spots in my life don't lie to me - even if they know it's not what I want to hear. They tell me the truth because they know I will respect the truth - Truth requires courage. And the things that are the truest aspects of our lives - what is it that makes them real? - I think usually you will find, they are based on the truth. There is no replacement or substitute and there is no compromise. So the books I read at night when I can't sleep remind me of these things - the big things - the reason I write - the reason I sing - the reason I keep trying to be something better than what I am right now. They remind me that we all have Ransomed Hearts...
"I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory..." 2 Peter 2:12-13
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly... who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat." - Teddy Roosevelt
"Hope is not what you expect; it is what you would never dream. It is a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I'm dreaming ending... it is not a granted wish or a favor performed; no it is far greater than that. It is a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there in the flesh to see our reaction." - Max Lucado
Like my lack of sleep, there is so much that occupies our time - our thoughts, eats up our money, stresses us out, dulls our interests and steals away our reminders of these things that are most important to us - the things that make us so perfectly unique and most importantly - the things that make us come alive. It is a certain tragedy when all of who we are is dulled by the unimportant information - what we "ought" to do verses what we love and where we are most gifted. Had I known in college what I know now, I would have possibly made different decisions about my education, maybe different decisions about my life - instead of searching for "livelihood" and "safety" I think I would have searched for "fulfillment". What is it that fills us up - Wakes us up - and makes us come alive? Where in that restless mind is there room for your heart?
And so, I lived buried - for years. I was salty and a certain pessimism began to take over my insides. I had let it live there and had let it grow. And then a few years ago, I changed my mind and decided to live by my heart - I woke up. Risky, atypical and at times even scary. But with every ounce of who I am, I want to live a life with an unaffected heart. Unaffected in a way that I will not hide because of what has come and gone before - we each have our stories, our things that have happened, our chests full of ache. But, we are also meant to live through them to grow and change and become - better, stronger, more complete, more compassionate people by the things that test everything we are..."as gold is tested in fire.." Maybe it makes me naive - to see the world as full of hope and exist in it - in a way like you've never been hurt. It is my theory that the greatest rewards come with the greatest risks and usually there are miracles mixed in there somewhere... Surprise.