Idolizing

The summer is ending, and it’s almost time to go back to school -less than 10 days, now. There are thousands of thoughts that pass through my head every hour: What will I do the day I get back to school? How will I move the furniture to re-arrange the room? What will I do for my senior  thesis? Will I be a failure as an RA? How many times will I get sick this semester? Well, those aren’t exactly thoughts, but questions. However, knowing that my last days at home would be pretty empty of work, I decided to make my hands busy with organizing and crafts.

Every time I finish something my mom looks at it and tells me how beautiful it turned out. If there are other people in the house, she’ll get up to go show them what I just made. They will also approve of it and praise it. I really, really, really dislike praise. See, I used to have a problem with pride and self-sufficience, and it was hard to overcome it. Praise takes me back to my addiction. If I pay too much attention to the compliments I am given, I begin to think too highly of myself. I begin thinking that I am a good student, writer, artist, daughter, etc., when in reality, I’m not. I am only a good student because it pleased God to help me get good grades. I’m only a good artist because it pleased God to give me hands, to give me dexterity to hold my instruments, and to give me a head to think creatively. So, really, I don’t deserve any of the compliments I receive, but God does.

Thanks to my crafting, I’ve been receiving compliments. Every time I hear one I have to remind myself to think, What if I had no hands? What if I suddenly lost them? Thank you for the hands you have given me, Father.  My reading this morning reminded me of the way I am prone to think of what I make,

” All who make idols are nothing, and the the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant to their own shame… The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it our with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory. that it may dwell in a shrine. He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. It is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Be he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meals and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, ‘Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.’ From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, ‘Save me; you are me god…’ No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, ‘Half of it I use for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a destestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?'” (Isaiah 44: 9-19)

I may not make carve idols out of wood or bow down to what I make, but am I not idolizing my hands by feeling proud of what they make? Am I  not idolizing the talent  I did not conceive, but which is given to me only because God is gracious?

I pray I remember idols are not only made out of wood. I’ll pray I remember to look for those tangible and untangible things I tend to praise and idolize.

Roads, Sunrises and Sunsets


Today has been a little bit of an overwhelming day, but it has also been a reminder, a good reminder.

The one day I didn’t have to go to work, I still got woken up early because we were heading out on a small trip. My parents and I go out often, but only to places that are close to the main city. My parents love greenerie, but they’re not real fans of the outdoors. On the other hand, I really enjoy spending some time outside -when it’s not too hot. I like the beach, I love the forests and mountains. Today we drove almost three hours south to go visit one of my uncles, and go to the beach. On the way there I finished reading a book that I had been wanting to finish for a day or two.

After seeing my uncle and his family we headed out to spend some time at a quiet beach. When we got there everything was very serene. There were less than twenty people on that large stretch of sand and salty water. We parked at one end of the beach and I took of my sandals to walk to the other end and back. It had been a long time since I had last felt the wet beach sand under my toes. My parents didn’t follow me to where I walked, so my only company became the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks at the other end of the beach stretch; it helped me think about what I had just finished reading.

While walking I realized that it had been years since I had had peace at a place like that. I remember one morning six years ago, I was at a youth group retreat and woke up early one morning. It must have been around 5 a.m., since the sky was starting to show its blues without displaying any sun rays. I got out of our cabin and walked to the small dock that led the way to the lagoon, and I just sat there waiting for the sun to rise. I remember having watched the sunset the day before. On the same dock I watched night fall and storm approaching. There had been some people swimming when it was all dark, and I would wait for the light of the thunders to shine on their faces; it was the only way I could distinguish who was still in the water. This were just some of the many times I’ve sat contemplating my natural surroundings, gazing a creation. Today was a reminder that I need to go back to sunsets and sunrises, for these have been moments that bring tears to my eyes. They remind me of how small I am, and of how mortal. They remind me of God’s precission and His incredibly attention to detail. They remind that I need to be in such silence, and in company of His creation, to be able to hear His whisper. The thoughts that raced through my mind today cannot be written in one blogpost, and they certainly cannot be digested in one three-hour ride back. However, there was one passage in the book that I identified with as I got through the day:

God is an artist, I think to myself. I have known this for a long time, seeing His brushwork in the sunrise and sunset, and His sculpting in the mountains and the rivers. But the night sky is His greatest work. And I would have never known it if I had stayed in Houston. I would have bought a little condo and filled it with Ikea trinkets and dated some girl just because she was hot and would have read self-help books, end to end, one after another, trying to fix the gaping hole in the bottom of my soul, the hole that, right now, seems plugged with Orion, allowing my soul to collect that feeling of belonging and love you only get when you stop long enough to engage the obvious.”

-Don Miller, Through Painted Deserts

Thank you, Father, for making sunrises and sunsets.

Resolutions

As rough as it is to admit, this is the proof that Johnson has left a mark in my life. I believe this to be the first time I write a resolution. It’s not that I have something against them, I simply believed that writing something down did not mean I could or would accomplish it. My beliefs on resolution have not changed, but maybe writing it down would serve as a reminder that I should worry about meeting the goals that I have set before me.

These are my resolutions for the summer:

1. Journal and pray daily

2.Read my Bible.

3. Read a book weekly.

4. Excersise for a minimum of 15 minutes daily.

5. Eat as little meat as possible (beef, chicken, fish, etc).

6. Blog at least three times a week.

7. Hone graphic design skills.

8. Finish the short story I began writing over spring break.

This is where my list of resolutions will end, for now. There are probably many more things that I should think about accomplishing this summer, but these I should give greater priority. I thought of another one:

9. Don’t bite my nails.

 

The Captain Shall Remain Unknown

I had never thought about the importance of footnotes, until I had to write my first paper in Chicago style. As a college student, I was only familiar with MLA and APA; but, one day I was asked to write a paper in Chicago style -a style that I was not acquainted with. Something very particular to this form of writing is footnotes or endnotes. I’ve gotten used to them. They are better than being interrupted by a really long parenthetical reference in the middle of your paragraph. In all books I read, I look for the numbers next to my words, and then look for the appropriate footnote so that I can know what the author is  talking about. However, footnotes vary from author to author, and some footnotes are more helpful than others. Lately, I’ve had to read Lewis’ scholarly work and I’ve found that his footnotes are not very elaborate. They merely take me to the main source. Yesterday, while reading one of Lewis’ book, I came across this thing called The Captain. The text was in italics, and the element was part of a comparison. Next to the text, there was a footnote number. When my eyes scrolled down to the bottom of the page, I realized that it did not explain what The Captain was. So, I turned to one of my best reading budddies: Google. Then, I remembered that the web was vast; therefore, I couldn’t get the answers that I wanted. From Google, I got references to soccer team captains, to Captain America (apparently there was also a Captain Britain), to captains from the army, etc. I’ve kept searching, but my search is futile. Unless I can bring Lewis out of his grave and ask him what he meant, the identity of The Captain shall remain unknown. Perhaps I could just ask someone who has read the book before: my professor.

A Collaboration of Knowledge

The human condition can be traced through all of history, through all the disciplines. If  I didn’t think about this two months ago, it is probably because I was not taking the classes I am taking now.

This semester I’m taking two classes that are not part of my major -Utopian Movements, and Major Philosophers; I thought these classes would be completely different from one another, but I have found out that they are more intertwined than I expected. Maybe it is just the way I think of Utopias, or maybe I’m just too sleepy during my classes and feel like all the material belongs to one same curriculum. Recently we have been reading Lewis’ Abolition of Man, while also acquainting (is that the proper conjugation?) ourselves with More’s Utopia. For some strange reason, I feel as if both books address man’s ignorance and imperfection. More’s book  contains many biblical references and allusions, while Lewis’ book, althought does not adress God explicitly, does present Truth as the foundation upon which all human knowledge should be based and built.

I ‘m not sure what I was getting at with this blogpost, but I certainly needed to get these thoughts out of my head. Maybe I’ll expand on the subject on a later blogpost.

Dreams of Sunset

The earth was bleeding; I could see it through my airplane window and it made me cry. I was looking at the earth’s horizon at sunset time.

About six months ago I had a dream. In my dream I was painting. When I woke up I couldn’t understand what the dream meant -if it had meant anything at all. Lately, I had been thinking about painting, so the morning following the dream, I went to the art store with my dad. There are technically only two art stores in my hometown. One of them has been there for a long time, although they don’t even offer the best quality art supplies; the other is a national chain that sells the art supplies that most colleges require for their design students. I went to the first and oldest art store and bought a pre-made canvas and an easel. When I got home, my dad and I put the easel together  and I set my painting space in our living room. I mixed my colors and began the painting process. However, I didn’t paint what I had been painting in my dream. Because I had been thinking about this for weeks, I knew that I wanted to paint something symbolic for the week of creation; wanted this painting time to be a process about a process. I put my base color and then waited a few days to sketch what I wanted to paint. After I got my sketch and my first layer of paint, I dreamed again. My dream was about the same painting that had been in my first dream but there was something wrong with it this time.

In my first dream I had been painting a landscape that was very similar to something I had painted when I was in middle school. When I had the dream, I couldn’t tell whether I was seeing the sunset or the sunrise, but the colors were beautiful, surreal, and like nothing I had ever seen before, and I have seen many sunsets and sunrises. In the second dream, the landscape was still there but there were also circles of dissonant colors that covered part of the canvas. It seemed like a had painted those there, but my role in the dream was to fix what I had ruined. Towards the end of the dream, I worked on getting rid of the circles and painted what was originally supposed to be there.  It was a landscape and and the sky had the features of a human face, and extending to the earth were a set open hands; I was not told what it was but I knew those features were a representation of God.

The following day, I woke up and put two layers of white to cover what I had initially ruined. I began working on the painting from my dream, but I left for another semester of college and never finished the painting. When I went back home this Christmas, the easel and the canvas were just where I had left them, but I didn’t work on it because I was unsure of what I was painting; how could I ever paint something I had never seen before, something I had only seem in dim dreams?

I took the plane to fly back to Bethel on the second. My flight departed from Managua at two in the afternoon, so we would be arriving in Atlanta at sunset time. There were only twenty minutes left until our plane landed so I lifted the cover off the airplane window and I saw it. The colors were the exact colors from my dream, and after a moment of staring at the horizon my mind was taken back to the painting I had left unfinished. It was a line of orange red -the color of fresh blood- and it ran from one of the earth to the other. It created a separation between earth and sky and I wished I could have pulled that image over my canvas. The colors were amazing, a dream come true, but they were not what made me cry. It was the idea that I didn’t need to see the features, the hands, to know that the striking image was the representation of God.

Beautiful Tunes

Although, I have absolutely no musical talent, I love music. I go out of my house and sometimes I leave my ID or my license behind, but never my Ipod. A friend gave me an itunes gift card before I left for Christmas break and I’ve spent most of my free time, at home, thinking of songs that I would like to buy. I decided to wait until the end of 2011, ’cause that would give me an excuse to start 2012 listening to some good music. I asked two friends of mine and they both asked me if I had checked out Gungor. So I listened to some of their songs and found many that I liked; In addition to Gungor I also got some songs from Satellite.  These are some of the most beautiful tunes with which I’ll welcome this new year.

Turning On My Own by Satellite

beautiful-things

Happy 2012, peeps!

Writing as Prayer

It’s been a while since I last wrote. I had to stop writing because my feelings kept getting in the way.

I cannot write fiction; at least I haven’t matured enough to write something fictional. Rather, I write as a response to a scene I see at a stoplight and as a response to pretty much anything. My writing is not elaborate, does not have fancy words. I don’t write with a voice of grandeur but with the same eloquence I have on any of my conversations with someone else; because my written response is the same as the oral response I would give in any conversation, it has simply been transfered from sound to ink on paper.

While I’ve been at home for Christmas, I’ve read three books and I’m making progress on a fourth one. The first two were novels, one of them I have alreay blogged about. The second novel, Gilead, was essentially a long letter from  an old congregationalist pastor to his son. In Gilead, John Ames reflects upon his ways in life and writes about how his sermon and prayers formed. The third book, however, was a book about prayer. Hence, prayer was the one that the three books had in common. Although one of the books was written by a secular aughtor, the other by a christian author, and the third by a pastor, the books were linked by the individual’s thoughts on spiritual practices. Now, the book that I’m currently making progress on is a book about writing; but it sometimes adresses writing as a form of conversation. After a semester of reading literature and writing about it, I’ve learned that I have a spiritual relationship with writing. When I was in middle school and high school, the only reason why I wrote was to pray. I found that the only way I could remain focused during prayer was if I wrote out my conversations with God. After writing a longer paper about my relationship with Jeremiah -which can also be read as a paper about my personal relationship with God -it struck me that Jeremiah was not only a favorite book but a living character in my life. Therefore, after writing the first five pages of the paper, I read it to myself, erased, and re-wrote the paper as a letter and a conversation; in the first part of the paper, always adressing Jeremiah in the second person, and in the last portion, re-creating the voice of Jeremiah.

After reading Eat, Pray, Love and Gilead, I’ve learned why writing is one of the things I cannot imagine living without. I can’t bear the thought of having no hands because I wouldn’t be able to make art, I wouldn’t be able to write; and if I can’t write, then how will I pray? I’ve learned that writing is an, if not the most, intimate form of prayer.

“For me writing has always felt like praying, even when I wasn’t writing prayer, as I was often enough” –Gilead

“When the crying doesn’t stop, I go get myself a notebook and a pen (last refuge of a scoundrel) and I sit once more beside the toilet. I open to a blank page and scrawl my now-familiar plea of desperation… Then a long exhale of relief comes as, in my own handwriting, my own constant friend… commences loyally to my own rescue” -Eat, Pray, Love

“The greatest stories touch on the sacred, that moment when head and heart and soul combine” -Take Joy

“As a reader I read stories that developed me. As a writer I write to discover what I am thinking and feeling” -Take Joy

On “Eat, Pray, Love”

Having heard that the movie had become one of my favorites, my friend Caroline recommended the book to me. I was skeptical about the novel at first, since I did not want to hear a woman talk about her life for 300 pages. However, my feelings changed as soon as I began reading, for the novel is actually a neverending chain of thoughts. The novel moves from one experience to the next, always depicting them with minute details. Within each paragraph, there’s not only great description, but also really long tangents that allow you to get a better understanding of the author’s feelings and thoughts.

The book and the novel differ greatly. The novel is a chronological mess, while the movie, although chronologically faulty, provides a better timeline for the audience. Nonetheless, both works of art (the novel and the movie) successfully link you to the main character. She is easy to identify with, especially  since the novel is actually a spiritual tale, or the tale of a spiritual journey. Maybe it’s hard to understand why I would relate to a book that talks about “Hinduism and meditation”, when I believe in “Christianity”; the truth is that most of us have gone on spiritual journeys of some sort. Usually, although the subject we search for varies, the process of transformation remains invariable. One of the things that Liz Gilbert makes an emphasis on is our human need to look for comfort in something greater when we’ve gone through a painful situation. In the author’s case, there was not one painful situation, but a combination of many catastrophes. Her book, although never explicitely says it, presents the idea of hitting rock bottom; many of us have been there, and it is when we see no man-workable solution that we seek for divine guidance. The journey that the novel depicts, takes us from suffering, and a search for hope and love, to lessons on how to enjoy life at its fullest -keeping a balance on how to please oneself, while also seeking the best for those around us.

There are many ways in which I identified with this book. For instance, the author talks about crying on bathroom floors; I must confess, I’ve done the same and still do it when life makes wrong turns. The author talks about the importance of writing in her search for God; my most intimate moments of prayer have happened through writing. She talks about her love for food; can’t judge her! All I do when I come back home is munch on anything that looks edible. The book talks about our longing as human beings, and her personal story is a reminder that we are all joined our by spiritual searches.

I’m glad Caroline told me about this book. I can see how she could have related to it; and I can also see that just as our kinship with the novel is based on a search, our friendship has also sprouted from long, vulnerable talks about our spiritual journeys. This was a book definitely worth reading.

*While reading the novel, these were some quotes I found memorable; sometimes even funny. Some of the things the author says are things that I can relate to, for I have heard the same thoughts wandering through my mind before.

“‘Do you have friends in Rome?’ and I would just shake my head no, thinking to myself, But I will. Mostly, you meet your friends when traveling by accident, like by sitting next to them on a train, or in a restaurant, or in a holding cell” (42)

“And here recommences my strangest and most secret conversation. Here in this most private notebook, is where I talk to myself. I talk to that same voice I met that night on my bathroom floor when I first prayed to God in tears for help” (53)

“You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight” (115)

“There’s a reason they call God a presence –because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time” (132)

“I wake up crying and shaking. I don’t want to disturb my roommates, so I go hide in the bathroom. The bathroom, always the bathroom!… Oh, cold world -I have grown so weary of you and all your horrible bathrooms” (147)

“I liked having him nearby, opening doors for me, complementing me, calling me ‘darling.’ Then again, I noticed that he called everyone ‘darling’ -even the hairy male bartender. Still, the attention was nice…” (267)

 

Amusing Ourselves During Final’s Week

With so many papers and proyects that are due during final’s week, I haven’t had time to blog. However, on one of my “final’s work” break, I decided to amuse myself with some music and turned to Simon and Garfunkel. While “youtuebing” for one of their videos of “Mrs. Robinson,” I came across this cover of the song by Pomplamoose. Although, I am a fan of the original version, I find her voice very compelling, although not as “chimey” as the sound of the original duo. However, the song is good, so I’ve decided to share it with y’all:

 

*Yes, after so much writing, there is a need to make up words.

“BF”, Consumerism, and Breathless Idols

Here goes year the second of the american thanksgiving tradition.

Having placed aside the yearnings, I have to see my family, has made this Thanksgiving a more enjoyable experience. Dinner was amazing, and I most certainly loved spending time with Sara’s family. However, this year a new experience was added to the holiday; Black Friday shopping. My initial reaction was, why not? We would have Thanksgiving dinner, we would watch a movie, sleep a few hours, and at four in the morning we would head out to the one and only mall in Mansfield, OH. So we tried to stick to that initial plan, but a new piece of information completely changed out plans to sleep for a few hours. We though the mall opened at five in the morning, so if we left the house at four then we would get all the good sales at the mall. We were mistaken. The mall did not open at five in the morning, it opened at midnight on Thanksgiving night. We were rolling through several episodes of The Walking Dead (first season) when we got a phone call from Sara’s cousin, who we were heading to the mall with. It was two thirty in the morning, and we would be leaving in ten minutes, ’cause we were apparently behind on the sales by now. We put some jeans on, and thew on a t-shirt and a hoodie, and we headed to the mall.

As we were driving to Mansfield, I felt really pumped. This was something I had never experienced before, but that I had heard many times about.

We arrived to the mall, and from all the bags in the parked cars, I could only imagine how demented and crazy people were as they shopped from store to store. Our first store  was Hollister. There some semi naked models to attract the female shoppers; okay. Then we moved into the heart of the store. I can’t even decide whether it had a heart or not, ’cause I thought it lacked a lot of organization. It took me a long time to find their clearance rack, and when I looked at the prices I became disillussioned with the store. However, it seemed that nobody else around the store shared my same sinking feeling. There were people moving around everywhere; Grabbing as much as they could; Paying without even trying things on. To be honest, it was kind of catastrophic to see. There was barely any cash, most of them swiping their plastic keys to freedom and individualism. My heart sunk when I saw crowds and crowds of people spending money recklessly; their behavior went against all that I was taught as a child. I would probably be bankrupt, if I had not been brought up the way I was. The behavioral pattern did not change as we walked from store to store. How could these shoppers not see that these were not real sales, and that the prices were not that different from their regular prices?

They were finding comfort in man-made items that were “breathless”! As I read my devotional with Jeremiah this morning I realized that I had come into culture shock with a side of America I hadn’t yet fully been exposed to. This was consumer America at its fullest. On Jeremiah chpt 10, God, through Jeremiah, warns about idols and the effect that they have in our lives,

“For the customs of the peoples are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold, they fasten it with a hamer and nails so it will not totter. Like  a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good” (3-5).

The clothes we buy cannot speak to us or walk with us. They cannot guide us. The most they can do is make us think higher of ourselves because our confidence is boosted by a cute, new outfit. But they’re not even capable of doing that. We shouldn’t fear such items and think that they can tell us what kind of person we are. At the same time, they don’t do us any good either because the confidence they give us is but a mirage.

“Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish. He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, [including us]” (14-16).

I love buying scarfs, and bags, and jewelry, but my life should not depend on these things that “have no breath in them”. My spirit should be revived and awakened all my days, by the Maker who gives us breath and breathes into all he makes.

Growing Up: An Artist’s Vulnerability

According to Robby who co-teaches my Lit seminar, it is painful to introduce one’s favorite books to others and have people disregard them or give negative feedback about them. However, I believe negative feedback, which I prefer to call constructive criticism, can be something good for both the artist and the writer.

A friend shared with me this morning how hard it is for them to do independent study because even if they read the material and finish the homework, there’s no one to give them feedback and tell them whether they are doing things right or wrong. Their concern serves to support my point of view on criticism: We need it. Anyone who creates needs an audience to present the creation to. It’s true that many times we create just to please ourselves, but it is necessary that we have an audience if we intend to grow as artists and writers.

Whenever I am given negative feedback on something I’ve written or created, I don’t frown upon the world and hide under my bed covers. Instead, I hear what they have to use, and look more into what I’ve written to find find evidence that will refute their argument. Sometimes, it will even make me more convicted of my beliefs upon a subject, or the reasons and emotions behind my writing and writing style. If I did not have people telling me how they feel about what I make, then my writing and art would be stagnant. I wouldn’t be able to write any better, or to mix more appealing colors, or to tell more vivid stories.

My audience’s criticism is what make me grow as a writer and artist. Making myself and my creations vulnerable to the public is part of a process. Without that process, I’m pretty sure, my writing would be mediocre; or would improve at a much slower pace.  It is because of this desire to grow in my abilities, that I’ve searched for criticism. It is probably because of this same desire that I’ve decided to continue blogging; Forcing myself to create a healthy habit and making myself vulnerable, before the vast web, so I can continue growing.

 

*Having written on criticism, please feel welcomed to leave comments and feedback on how I blog.

Savor the Raw Reading

I can’t call myself a writer. I can’t call myself an artist.

Therefore,

As a person, I find nothing more enjoyable than tasting what I’ve just cooked, or looking at what I’ve just drawn or painted, or reading what I’ve once written. If there’s ever another spectator to my creations, I expect them to do the same: contemplate. No, not contemplate, but maybe delight or savor. After I’ve made something new, or even fixed something broken, I step back and walk away to later return and sit in contemplation of the completed work. It brings me such peace, that It has become something I expect forward to doing after completing a task. Maybe it’s sometimes the reason why I make something, just so I can sit back and look at what I’ve finished.

This behavior has become another sentence in my living manual; I’ve written it under the section How to Delight in all that you do. But, it isn’t something that I only apply to what I create. You will never see my face glued to a museum work. The tip of my nose will never be within five centimeters of the painting before me; it’s rude. Whenever I go to a museum, I keep in mind that a human like myself created the art work. So I wonder, how would they feel if they knew that I was tearing their creation apart with every blink? And it is the same principle that I’ve applied to literature.

And it is because of this rule of enjoyment that I’ve become slightly annoyed with my literature seminar.

Yes, literature should be analized.

No, we should not intrude into the emotions of the writer through their works.

Almost every time I go to my lit seminar class I get papers telling me about the novel I’m currently reading or about to start reading. This may be rude, but I usually disregard the papers. Someti

mes I read them once I’ve finished the novel. It just seems to me as if I was about to meet someone, but my friend tells me what kind of person they are before I get the chance to create my own image of them. I’m about to meet a set of characters,  or about to meet someone’s inner-child, and I get sheets of papers that tell me who they are and what they feel before I can reach to those conclusions myself! I find it just a little annoying.

There’s a more pleasant ways in which I like to develop my relationship with books. I like to wake up on a cloudy Saturday morning, run to a coffee shop and get a cup of white chocolate mocha, find a comfortable couch, curl up and take a novel out of my backpack, and then I give my full and undivided attention to the story before me.  Get my own impressions from the characters, have conversations with them. Take a step back, contemplate and savor the book in my hands.

Lamentations and Hope

There is a character that I have a special relationship with. I can identify myself with him because he is so human, and that is the quality I strive for. He is not human in the negative perception, that we nowadays, hold of that  word. He is human in the way God designed us to be. He rebelled, because he was able to feel and choose. But at the same time, he had this constant connection with God. What impacts me the most about this man is his heart. He was a reflection of God’s feelings towards us before Jesus walked on this earth. He lamented along with God. He saw this world, and the ones around him, through the eyes of the Father. Most amazingly of all, he lamented along with the Father. And through his message he carried despair, but more importantly hope.  I had only read the book of Lamentations once before. But because I need to write about my relationship with this character, I wanted to read this book one more time. I understood that this man shared and channeled God’s compassionate spirit, but I always read his words and life as a message of despair. But a book that’s meant to show Judah’s lament and the Father’s pain for his people, I found a message of hope that emerges.

The word came in perfect timing.

Tomorrow is a day of elections in my nation, and my soul despairs. I fear for the future of my country and for the future of my family. I know thsi is my time to lament and pray for God’s rescuing mercy. But through the words of God, through the lips of this character, my soul has found hope.

I know tomorrow will be a decisive day for the future of Nicaragua, but I know that my heart and my spirity will wait and hope in the Lord.

“Because  of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therfore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the onw who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord… Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust- there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men” ~Lamentation 3: 22-33

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” ~Habakuk 3:-17-18

In every season, my hope is in the Lord.