are marvelous, are terrible, are suffering, are jubilant.
are complicated, are multifaceted, are difficult to please, are predictable.
I’m a whole tangled mess of feelings tonight about human beings. It’s been a weird and emotional few days — feeling exultant, grateful, terribly annoyed (and then terribly sorry), and so, so sad about so many different things.
There are complicated feelings about friendships and relationships and the troubles of mankind. And troubles of my friends, too. People are going through some real deep and sad things, and here I am sitting and wallowing in an incomprehensible self-pity. There’s grief over a lost romance; uncertainty about sacrificial decisions made for family; deep, inconsolable hurt from people who had been trusted. And then there’s me, crying about who knows what.
After a certain point, I can’t point my finger at any one thing as the cause or the beginning, and Mark just rubs my shoulder as my eyes leak tears cause of overflow.
There are a few things I am certain of:
Music has a weird magic about it that makes us feel complicated and wondrous things. I think it’s a tool (and a gift) that God’s given us. For our pleasure and development. And his glory.
Community is crucial and lifesaving (and lifegiving).
I am a rude, rough-around-the-edges kind of person who needs more of God’s grace in her life.
Cuddly kittens are therapeutic.
Humans are marvelous, are terrible, are suffering, are jubilant. Are complicated, are multifaceted, are difficult to please, are predictable.
How much is a love experience shaped by the trappings of life at that moment? The life stage you’re in. The hard/sad/awesome stuff you’re going through. The level of maturity your heart and head are at. People talk about connections — soul, heart, mind, spirit?, humor! — but just how much of all of that is about…timing? Different lovers you meet don’t necessarily result in different kinds of connections because of who they are, but because of who they are at that moment. And who you are at that moment. And how ya got there.
Is this why there is such a magic/aura/myth about first love? Because, in its most glorified form, first love takes place early on in your formation as a human — teen years, early 20s, young adulthood — though each of those, obviously, is different and beautiful and anguished in its own way. But all in all, those are magical times, even as just a singleton. Add the explosive reactants of loving and of being loved, and the reactions are that much more formative. Is it, too, about the new pathways your brain is forging in that first relationship? Is each following iteration a follow-on glide down the already formed pathway? So the first glide — or cut, depending on your perspective — is the deepest. Could we almost call it the first learn?
What about, then, effort and time? Relationships — romantic and otherwise — need time to bloom and to breathe. They require you to stop rushing about and to give them some attention and love. (Much like a garden, a pet, a catch-up dinner in the WMA.) To plan an actual evening away from duties and responsibilities, even if that requires planning to travel an extra three hours back and forth that day (for. real.). Cause it’s worth it to you. Maybe that, too, is a matter of the timing of your life. Relationship-building requires you to be the type of person ready to put in that kind of effort, and a person with some breathing room in your calendar to devote to the growth of a relationship blossom.
Sometimes I get stuck in Feeling ruts, trip-falling hard on a crag that makes me plunge SPLAT into an emotion puddle. I look up and get up, shake off and keep on walking, but soaked, drenched, in allll the feels. It takes me a whole evening-night of bleary-eyed blogging to dry off sometimes.
One big puddle tonight. And I’m bleary eyed and stubbornly sad indeed, and wondering about these age-old questions again again again, again.
The coming together of two individuals in marriage is just one — crucial, but — relatively small facet of two families coming together.
Even when you’re just the catalyst for a storm, you can get caught up in the middle and get quite hurt, tossed to and fro in the fray.
When you’re feeling that distance from your people — impermeable, imperceptible — press in bravely and they just might surprise you with their reaching-out in kind. And remind you that you’re among family indeed.
THINGS I’M LEARNING, STILL:
The impulse to pull away and be cold toward the one I love most when I am hurting comes from a darker place that I’ve been willing to imagine. As God brings us togetherer, so Satan works to separate. Don’t let him win. (“Choose each other. Always choose each other,” she said.)
It doesn’t do any good to tell yourself the victim’s narrative over and over — in fact, it will only make you cry more, probably in public. That song of self-pity is a tempting one to hum sadly to oneself (though loudly enough for people to hear), but it’s not healthy or productive. Or fair.
Speaking of fair: Past hurts, built-up issues, personal sensitivities are not fair. They blow up at inopportune moments and burn innocent victims. If you’ve been hissed at, the only thing you can do is propagation prevention. Make sure the hurt doesn’t go forth and make more victims.
PRAYERS I AM PRAYING:
God, teach us how to be closer to each other through difficulties and hurts. Use these times to teach us what it means to “have each other’s backs” and to “be on the same team.”
God, let my heart be more like yours — in undeserved offenses, let me see the hurting heart. In unfair circumstances, remind me of the grace that you lavish on me. In those dark and stormy corners of my heart that I like to sit in sometimes, back to the world, humming that song of self-pity, show me hope and teach me peace.
God, help us to continue to press into this community you have us in. Let us not miss out on the present for fear or shyness or laziness; let us be open, and give us opportunities to learn from that openness. Keep teaching me about community, God, it’s a fascinating gift you’ve given us on this side of heaven.
Thank you for surprise interventions and people who love us through treats. Thank you for places that are private enough to cry in, public enough to hold hands in. Thank you for being greater, more merciful, more gracious — more light and hope and everything good — than all of my grievances and fears.
I wish I could blog, but my computer is so, so ded. Assortment of things I wish I could blog-think about:
grammatical tidbits and general word-geekery, rhapsodizing about independent clauses and adjoining commas
friendships and how it feels like they’re shifting — and how my backlog of blog-thinking has caused a shift (a growth?) in my own thinking about the subject.
about that metaphor of the house being like a friendship with its little bricks, and also
about small talk and big talk and how I think both are important now — another shift in thinking, another addition to the house:friendship metaphor
wedding planning and how it’s surprisingly easy and smooth and unstressful, and just what it’s kinda been like — just to record these things and think about them and not let these lil moments pass me by
about how much I’m loving living with J&Q. and D. best housemates ever.
New Year’s resolutions! and the lack thereof. and what that means! another shift? who even am I?
of love and family and Christmas and the lasts of everything — and how that means the firsts of everything. and the overlap of those two things. these chapters are not as neat as the word “chapters” would indicate.
about how I’m loving the word “lil” these days and how I’m loving the lil asian smileys with the underscore mouths. @__@ and o_____o and all those bewildered faces.
late-night, year-beginning thoughts of a ladisonmee, thumb-scribbled from a lil phone that’s dinky in its own right, in cahoots with the laptop, probably.
I have just eaten 2 brownies. These are wonderful brownies that are fudgy and textured, the second of which is maybe my number-two favorite feature about foods. maybe 1.5th-favorite. Seestre and I made them this past weekend with rye flour and she was mean to me because she thinks I’m bad at everything in the kitchen but that’s not true. But…it’s okay. Second-brownie-wind, huzzah!
I have decided to forego SHOWERING because I didn’t run today and this is such a rarity. Go dry shampoo, go dry shampoo.
I like reading my own blog a lot a lot. Like, I’m encouraged by the nuggets I discover here, after having written them and instantly forgotten about them. It’s just a relief to see that I’m still thinking things worthy of writing and reading — at least on here. Like, hey…I’m still thinking some good thinks! I like ’em. Good job, self.
Staying at work late feels good in a very productive scratching of the itch way. There’s something magic about those last couple hours where people are filing out of the office and everything gets q u i e t and I somehow read WAY faster than I can during the height of the day.
SG was stupendous today. God is working. Here is home.
Things I am concerned about:
Now that I have this journal section of blawg, what do I deem to be postworthy and what do I cast into pageland? (Posts go on the main page; Pages under the tabs. Posts get noticed by blog feeds; Pages slip under that radar like sneaky spies. Posts are where I journal my rambly pieces of unfinished thoughts; Pages contain more finished works. Oh wait, the other way around for that last one.)
Googling manic-depressive disorder.
I like reading my own blog a lot a lot. Like, see bullet number 3 above, but I mean, then again — see also the previous sentence. It’s maybe the most self-concerned and self-indulgent thing I could think of, in the world, except maybe vlogging and then watching said vlogs in great self-admiration. Although…I dunno. Maybe these are pretty similar and I shouldn’t even be so high-and-mighty-horsey with even this comparison.
So there was one red top and yet another — God, can I ask for another? Just one more, for third-time’s-the-charm’s measure? Specific, this time. And if you say to, I’ll do it on the spot.
Things I’ve been thinking about:
Who are my friends? Today, I counted like two people I would say I see/hang out with regularly and outside of church/work functions with some acceptable frequency and then added roommate and boyfriend to make a list of four. And then spent the next two walks to the bathroom being like, oh wait, there are two more. So a grand total of six. And then I tried to finagle seestre onto that list but I really can’t count her because of criteria 1 and 2: see regularly, see frequently. But then, when you put it that way, Madison, it sort of seems like your criteria might be off. Is that really how you would define friendship?
Why do I feel so sad after hanging out with certain friends? What is this wall-feeling? Am I not being honest with them? What am I so scared of? Have I been hurt? Did I forget?
I am very naked right now. I mean figuratively.
People I’ve been thinking about:
Potential accountability partners/mentors: Who could this be?
A: You are the coolest. You say the wisest, most mind-blowing things in sg and it always really blows me away, the depth of your life experiences and thought sharings. I just think there would be a lot to learn from you, and I think there’s enough distance between us in terms of life stages that you would have a lot of wise counsel to offer me. But I fear that you might be too deeply entrenched in the experiences of your own life — just really busy, just really intense — that I would be infringing too much on all of that.
H: You know your Bible stuff. You are kind. But sometimes you look at me with these probing eyes that make me feel really judged in a really bad way, though I know that is not your intention! It’s hard to unfeel it and I clam up and get shifty-eyed in response to all this. But you are kind and solid and trusting and trustworthy. And there’s definitely a special corner of my heart for you.
People I no longer want to marry:
m, as always. every day.
[My] feelings really are so undependable. One minute I’m vowing the end, and the next I’m reading journal pages in a flurry and feeling reaffirmed because I REMEMBER. sidenote: woah, even in human relationships this is true. oh yeah. of course. this is circularularularular. like, in this moment, I feel like all the first half of this is so defeatable. like all these reasons to stay seem flat and too-eagerly-self-explainy in comparison to the feelings that my heart holds in this moment. Like, they’re way not enough, that listuf things; they don’t even scratch the surface of why I actually want to here. And in these moments of certainty and gingerly making plans of future us, it all feels so right and good.
You call me in the middle of a crazy text flurry because you’re good at being there for me (though maybe neither of us knows what we’re really in for). You are bighearted and caring, albeit a little slow. And you have good thoughts in the shower and on long drives — inexplicably, they come. You know my failings, you’ve seen some of my worst moments. You still like me. I miss you, even if I don’t admit it.
You are a way better human than I am. We joke about your brokenness and all, I know, but I am way, way more selfish than you are. Or at least you have this magic kind of love that makes it a bit easier for you show love to me despite me. But then again, no, because you’re more generous and kindhearted to people who are not me, also.
+ follow-up q, developed over the course of question-asking: “do you think it is a choice, or something you fall (or are born) into?”
+follow-up, follow-up, only posed to a few: “who do you love?”
“what brings him joy brings me joy; what brings him sorrow brings me sorrow” -sl
“having the patience…to deal with his crap, and him with yours.” [it is a choice.] -qk
“LOVE?! did we worry about stuff like this when we were in our 20s?! you guys are so complicated! we just fell in love!” -the rs
“oh like… dedication. and honor.” [wait seriously?!] “no, like…I just feel like these are words that go together…” -gr
“extreme like” -lg
“you love them like family, you’ll be sad when they die, you actually care when they talk about their problems, you are actually genuinely worried when they are sick.” -cs, via ca
“she was sweating when I asked her if she loved him hehe”
“my definition of love would be an unconditional emotion of care and wanting what’s best for them irregardless of other feelings?” -kk
“lol you ask me this every couple of months… love is insanity. it’s an odd sensation of illogical bliss and hapiness even when you’re down in the dumps. when logic tells you nothing is okay, love tells you everything is fine. kind of an indirect definition” -o
“when you really care about someone no matter what the circumstances are. it means being there during the trials and the joys and providing hope and support” -ab
“hmm I think love is…an unconditional acceptance of someone else? valuing and caring for them in any circumstance, I suppose.” -sc
“unconditional respect and caring for one another.” & “loving someone at their worst cause you know what they’re like at their best” -co-worker of sc chimes in
“hmm…a loaded question. maybe love is knowing the truth about someone and not letting that change the way you feel about them.” + “for the most part, I think it is a choice.” -rl
+4 days –> “maybe love is still being [there] for someone even though that person continues to exhibit behavior that gives us every reason to give up. maybe love is simply in forgiveness. idk I’ve been thinking about this a lot since you’ve asked. tough q and tough answers but I think love is a pretty tough thing of itself”
“the commitment of unconditional and willing sacrifices for someone that stems fro the desire for their good?” + “hm I think a large part of love is deciding you will commit to loving them. attraction may not be a choice, but I think love is.” -sh
“ah. long answer.” -iz
“oh man that is a loaded question. I think there are many, many definitions of love and that multiple definitions can be true at the same time. but I think for me, the greatest indicator of love has always been a desire for another’s success, safety, and well-being that is as free from impurity and selfishness as it can be. and potentially come at the expense of your own success, safety, and well-being.” -dr
[translated from de korean] “you’ve asked me this before 🙂 and I think what I said was something like: trying your best to understand the other. knowing that you’ll never ever perfectly understand, but trying nonetheless” + [how has it changed since you got married?] “okay yeah so understanding is important but so are actions haha. I think it’s important to make an effort to be good to each other. I mean there are so many little things that go into taking care of a household, you know? you can understand all you want but if only one person is doing all the chores they’re bound to get annoyed.” -jhj
“to me, love is unexplainable amounts of care, affection, and even respect for someone or something.” + “my personality makes e choose what I invest energy and time into loving. like God, my friends, nature, hobbies (outdoors staying active, singing even though I’m not good, learing how things work, learning, driving, etc.)” -jk
“doing something for someone ‘in spirit and in truth’ — meaning that you have a person in mind whom you want to do something for (spirit), but what you’re doing is meeting that person’s want/need at the same time (truth). so for example, if I were to buy you tickets to like a Nascar race for your birthday, it’d be in spirit (because I bought them for you, but not in truth, because you have no interest in and may in fact dislike Nascar. does that make sense? this response stems from a discussion we had at my church recently.” -mk
“thinking of another’s needs and desires and showing them that you care!” + “choose!” -jm
“it’s like one of those things that everyone knows about but doesn’t understand, I think I’d have to think about it for a lifetime before I figure it out lol” -gj
“such a difficult question! hmm… I must think about this for a sec.” -gk
“oh man I don’t know… appreciating someone for who they are, accepting their flaws, being willing to sacrifice things for them?” + “hmm I think you can grow into it. esp. as you mature.” -ah
“Godly love? agape love? or a love of lasagna? haha but I believe love is when you put someone before you and don’t expect anything back.” + “two people care for each other and will put the other before their own needs. ladeda. I think you can try to choose… but it doesn’t work out for me that way. I tend to fall I think.” -hs
“God is love. Hahaa wait, is there like a multiple choice option?” -jo
“God is love. If you want to discover what true love is, listen, we better know God.” -pij @ sc 2/8/15
“loving is caring, thoughtfulness, love is unconditional. yeah sorry I got nothing deep and sorry this is so lateee.” -sw
“definition of love (generally): caring about someone enough to make sacrifices” -dc
“mhh strong feelings toward somebody. makes you entirely trust him or her and sometimes you lose your mind. and it can hurt like nothing else.” -sk
“well I think loving someone and being in love with someone is a bit different. I think we’re predisposed to get along with people who are either more like us or better match our personalities. I feel like being in love with someone is a different feeling than loving someone. in love is like the butterflies in stomach, but even more so I want to make you happy because seeing you makes me happy sort of thing. like it doesn’t matter if you’re together because all you want is the best for them regardless what that means for you.” + “I don’t think you could be in love with someone without loving them as well. that being said I have definitely seen people who are in love but just so incompatible/unable to communicate that their love is tearing each of them apart and it’s just painful to watch, let alone be a part of.” -sm
“oh man, today was a tough day… but I thought about what love is time to time! I came up with something! haha I think Love is when you care about someone more than yourself and always look forward to every minute together. I think time is sooooo uncontrollably limited in our lives, and so how one enjoys spending a lot of time with someone is a really good reflection of love as well, I think” -sp
“love is a choice and people that love u make decisions for your good.” + “you love us ;)” -ism
“I think love is a sense so unconditional good and a complete sheltering feeling towards your dear ones. especially towards the one that it’s at your side. but i think love is a state of the soul, in gneral. towards people society the earth and so on. I will think more. thanks so much to draw my attention to these things.” -eg
“you can have different kinds of love.” “uncommon, strong attachment” “like, I love my vitamix and I love dave and I’ve loved different guys I’ve dated but they’re all different.” -jc
“what I’ve got with my wife.” [WOW ya gotta go home TONIGHT and TELL HER WHAT YOU JUST TOLD ME!!] “I told her that first thing this morning! when I scraped the ice off her windshield!!” -rc
“marriage.” [that’s it?!] “someone cares!” -jh
“unconditional acceptance?” + “both. I don’t think people always fall in love when they aren’t ready. but I also don’t think it’s something that can be forced.” -wp
“I was thinking about this. and there’s this part in leaves of grass that for me, right now, sums it up best:
“Loafe with me ion the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, no music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture
not even the best
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.”
that’s it, I think.
love ya dear” -the other m
“I think to love someone is to want the best for them, to wish for their happiness, and to have their interests in mind. Like I said before, this will change depending on the relationship in question, but the core is similar.” -ead
email response #1 from bn that I have vowed to read again and again until I’ve gleaned all its wisdom juices; cannot be summarized here
email response #2 from ead: systematic and well-pondered; this, too, needs time for digestion.
email response #4 from the other m:
I was thinking about this. and there’s this part in leaves of grass that for me, right now, sums it up best:
“Loafe with me ion the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, no music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture
not even the best
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.”
that’s it, I think.
love ya dear
sneak-sprinkled this into casual conversation with mompops: [you forgot…again!! daaaaad you said this like 20934 times the last time I came home…!] “see, love is forgetting. forgiving! and farting in front of each other. and caring for each other…”
oops I didn’t start out with a hypothesis except maybe some inklings and uncertainties, but here’s the data dump. analysis and conclusion to come, soon.
favorite pop culture bits on the subject:
2. embarrassingly real:
3. usually not mah style but uh:
bonus track: tips for Valentine’s Day for Mark, from little brother Alex
tip number 1: Don’t get her something dumb. e.g. dead flowers.
tip number 2: Don’t get her something ridiculous. e.g. creepy teddy bear
tip number 3: Don’t get her something too expensive. illustration: “diamonds are okay; chicken nuggets are not.”
tip number 4, and you’ve got this one down: Be wise.
developing the mind-folders of what every new iteration of each work email thread means, where it comes from, where it should go, how it should be handled, how many emoticons I can use in reply to it (ZEROOO IT’S ALWAYS ZERO, STOPP), which little outlook folder it should be tucked away into.
all the highlighted To Do’s in my planner for the next few weeks; all the meal dates and catch-up dates and otherwise dates.
learning to Learn From One Another — pulling out all the stops. metaphors. intense imagery. sadnesses and their counterpart happinesses [rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep rom 12:15]
all the Whole New Worlds — college sports (just watching…), throwing things that scare me, hiking and hand-holding, doubling the friend bubbles.
finally knowing where to find everything in my own kitchen. and also, where oh wherrrrrrre is my deodorant?
having people over when the weather is cool, the ac does not blaze, the windows have been sealed and soundproofed so we can speak to one another in WHISPERS if we wanted to, and still hear our thoughts above the roar of JPA traffic.