love and timing

  • 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.

Advertisements

chronicles of a recurring thought

April 24 – May 2:

  • Monday, April 24: Met up with EnfJ at a Gainesville coffee place, rainy rainy afternoon. Talked about what’s been saddening and lacking and what my heart desires. Sadness. “Maybe we just haven’t evolved quickly enough for these suburbian lives!!”
  • Tuesday: Exhaustion and small group. Put on a brave face and talked a lot anyway.
  • Wednesday: Exhaustion and premarital counseling. Another good meeting, nevertheless.
  • Thursday: Exhaustion and worship team practice. Everyone seemed exhausted on this day, but the music was good.
  • Friday: Exhaustion and Netflix. A little less exhaustion, cause, Netflix. I worked extra hard this day because I wanted to forget about the exhaustion and sadness for a little while.
  • Saturday: HBC Ladies Tea Party. Ocha Tea with Sarah, (+Isaac, + Mark). Sadness, feeling too raw to share at the tea. Feeling too inarticulate to share with Sarah. Blab blab blah. “I, too, believe that God honors the desires of our hearts.” “God’s people are good.” “Maybe what you’re looking for is a best friend.” “It’s really not that far. I make the drive cause…it’s worth it to me, you know?”
  • Sunday: Post-church lunch with G&E. And…exhaustion. Asking questions, answering questions, making an effort. [Wait… Is this what MM feels like all the time?]
  • Monday: Work and a little bit of grace in the lifting of the sadness. Sarah celebrated with me. Wrote a thank you card and a Mother’s Day card, sat quietly and did some Bible study, caught up on life admin things. Recharged. “As randomly as it set in… It has lifted.” 
  • Tuesday: Small group and honesty. And vulnerability. And hope. Went in with a prayer for openness and totally got it. The sadness over the past week, seemingly random, wasn’t so random anymore but a little bit redeemed. “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” Eph. 4:25

P.S. It’s so interesting to look through the pictures that accompany these days. They are brighter and happier than I remember feeling. Is it the photos that are off, or my memory, or a lil bit of both?

 

of time, of trees

Time is finite.

I am finite.

^Things I was re-reminded of, during a dinner with an acquaintance from high school, from college. Our paths didn’t cross much when back in those places, but she’s in town now for a new job and reached out to me…just cause.

Which is a nice thing, in and of itself, but I came out of the venture feeling older and tired-er. She’s the introvert between us two, but I was the one who trudged back to my car with my people battery drained rather than recharged from our dinner together.

The caveats, they are many:

  • It didn’t help that we had had to reschedule the thing more than twice, and that I was feeling put upon but not cared for (weird, self-pitying combo, I know).
  • Also didn’t help that she was LATE, after I had already had to kill time at work and at the mall. And that I get hangry, like a child.
  • Also also that I was cold cause I never check the weather and was inappropriately dressed for the day and the overly-air conditioned mall.
  • Yes; I, too, am seeing that this list is in decreasing order of her fault and increasing order of mine. So there are two sides here, obviously. And yet.

We sat down, facing each other across the cold plastic of the food court table and chatted about some things and nothings — just details about our lives, current and past. Remembering how we had known each other, reconnecting dusty pieces of puzzles we both had moved on from, rehashing what it is we are doing here in the nova area, all just for the sake of “catching up.”

But “catching up” implies a continuity that just isn’t there for us. (For me.) Especially after all my minutes of mall-wandering and grumble-grumble waiting, I just kept feeling like there wasn’t anything to build (or build upon) there between us.

And I think, at this point in life, I’m in need of some building-up of things. Bricks upon bricks to create real, useful, and hardy things, like a house or maybe like a condo. Or like, a garden, or a porch.

A table?

[Sidenote: I’ve been a little obsessed with thinking vaguely about bricks since a little while ago.]

Don’t get me wrong; she is doing everything admirably for her circumstance — being in a new place, making new connections, wanting to spend her time well. Planting lots of new seedlings, in expectation of green shoots everywhere and seeing how things grow. I know that feeling, and I value that desire. I recognized it because that was me, too, just a little while ago — endless seeker of newer and greener things.

It’s just that, in observation of this, I recognized a little shift in my heart, in the definition of what “time well spent” means, to me.

Right now, my heart desires to turn and tend to those things in my life that are already established and firm. A desire for maturity and solidity. For continuity. Pause the new ventures, please. Not cause new ventures are bad. Just cause, otherwise, I’m afraid that all I’ll end up with are a bunch of disjointed brick patches and table legs with no tops. Nothing to sit on, nothing to rest in. Just a bunch of windblown patches of blooms, here and there — no real harvest.

Time is finite, like I said. Time that I’ve got, even more so.

But I also sit in humble recognition of the fact that it took a cold, wind-blown, inwardly cranky dinner date with someone pursuing the opposite thing from me to see, and realize, all of that.

So yay for seedlings.

And yay for real, full-grown tables.

And for all the stages of tree in between.

adulting coupla steps ahead of me

I was feeling people-weary and in serious need of a nap after a few weeks of busyness. Even this meet-up had been delayed by weeks (weeks!) of missed schedulings and packed agendas, but Mary sought me out and even treated me to a dinner — work had run late and I was coming to 7 pm on an empty stomach.

The tiredness, combined with our shared — though light — history, made me especially honest and vulnerable with myself on this evening. I’ve known Mary for a long time now, though never closely. I munched and aired all the struggly thoughts I’d been (not) working through, and she was patient and gracious to listen.

About friendships. About disappointment. About feeling like I’m regressing socially, though society tells me I am progressing just fine (“wait, how do I make friends again?”).

About small talk and the dread of it on Sunday mornings.

About writing. And feeling like I was doing a lot, at the expense of thinking a lot. Cause it does feel like a zero-sum game. Time is limited; so am I. This is especially so for time belonging to me.

She responded with wisdom that made me think that even this lil sandwich-and-tea meeting — such a small little blip in the grand scheme of everyone, everywhere — had been preordained. Made me think that she’s been where I am and that she’s stepped forward into betterness. Made me think: “There’s hope for me, too, then!”

She heard my woes about friendships and affirmed, yes, that the conclusion shouldn’t be a deflated, disappointed one. There’s more to hope for there. We were made to live in community for a reason, and friendships are a huge part of that. Shifting, changing, sure, but not disappointing.

She agreed about the social regression and the small-talk dread and the limitedness of time and energy. And with her agreement, helped me feel not so alone, at least.

She said that she had asked herself all these questions, too. And interestingly, the progress was found in asking even more questions. Sneakily similar to the ones before, but really crucially different.

  • Instead of “what does it mean to be a good friend,” ask: “what can I do differently to be a better friend?”
  • Instead of “when will I finally feel comfortable and belong-y here,” ask: “how can I better serve the people of my community and love them first?”
  • Instead of “why must I make so much small talk in life,” remember: “small talk is the juice and the glue of the every-day Wednesdays.”

It’s all about slight shifts in perspective. I hadn’t been all that off track. The tiniest pivot will catch different glimpses of light, display different hues, make different shapes.

Thank you, Mary unni. Yeah, it feels right to call you “unni” at the end of this dinner and this post.

IMG_2080

more thoughts about friendship

 

“yeah, you go deep all quick and stuff, but it’s not really the same as getting to know someone over time and having the opportunity for them to disappoint you.”

maybe 2-3 years is the sweet time, the honeymoon phase, of a friendship. [sidenote: did you know that “honeymoon” in Spanish is, quite literally, “luna de miel”? being a nonnative (read: noob) speaker of a language has these perks, of your ears perking up at the sounds and literal meanings of words — of your mind immediately envisioning a full, yellow moon of comb, dripping with honey at the sound of “luna de miel” that “honeymoon” simply does not conjure up because you’ve become desensitized to the cuteness of that word, in its naked self, stripped of all its contextual trappings. if I were talented at illustrating, at this moment, I would try to draw a naked-in-a-cute-way WORD. someone do this for me.]

and after this period, chara said, you start to come to a period of conflict. 

-because you start getting to know a person better, in all their good sides and their bad ones?- I proffered.

well yes, that, but what I wanted to say was that after this period, you come to a place where you have certain expectations of a friendship of [however many] years and so does that other person. and more often than not, these expectations will not match up perfectly. at least that’s what I can deduce the reason to be; that’s the overarching umbrella reason for conflict in my long-term friendships: mismatched expectations. do you know about the [example of just this thing] of second year?

-this…makes sense. buhcause, [offers example of just this thing] that happened my first year!

-and, and, and I wonder if all relationships are like this. but other kinds of relationships have more rules decided by society on how they “should” sorta be. take romantic relationships, for example. society, more or less, dictates certain expectations for a romantic relationship. like, an average healthy, happy couple should probably talk to each other [some range of] times per week. and you should probably see each other [some range of] times per week, or per month, or whatever. and for anniversaries, you should probably do [whatever kind of thing] to celebrate. you know? like, there are certain EXPECTATIONS for a romantic relationship, predetermined, that are just not so for friendships. expectations for friendships can be wildly varying, and that’s where the trouble comes in, because you’re not really sure where that person could be coming from, in terms of what they are expecting from this friendship with you. people love and feel loved in different ways. people are and inspire different kinds of thoughts and feelings that makes this whole thing of RELATINGships really very complicated. it’s like a beautiful thing, too, though, that it’s this freeform, freewilly kind of substance, malleable and putty-like in your collective four hands (or six or eight or seven).

yeah! exactly. basically, I think it’s inevitable that you’re going to disappoint and be disappointed by these mismatched expectations. 

-but see? I haven’t really. it’s only been the peachy, moon-of-honey years of friendships (mmm peach + honey) that I’ve lived. I feel sort of stunted in this. but also…glad that I get to learn this in theory before mucking it completely up in practice. I feel much better equipped for this.

what you have to do is decide that a relationship with that person is worth pushing through that disappointment and make it work. there are gonna be sad moments; there are different kinds of friends for different portions of you and portions of your life. and that’s okay. 

-friendship is hard!! what the heck.

just a few things, I promise.

Things I am elated about:

  • 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.
    • C.
  • 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.
    • yeah, I can’t wait to see you again.

Brownie power, wearing of.f..f….. .zoop.

screenshot_2016-07-27-21-47-06.png
Snapchat speaks to my heart once again.

some rambly thoughts on a temperate June evening

IMG_9259
thoughts born at a local shavery we know

Some stray thoughts I would like to share:

  • Today I discovered yet another way that God intended for us to live in community. I was talking to a meesheree about self-esteem and how, when you have the assurance, deep in your heart, that you are liked by people in your life (whoever it may be: family, friends, etc — people who genuinely and deeply care for you while knowing the true you), it’s easier not to crave attention and approval from EVERYBODY else because you already know that you’re likable and lovable. And if the people who like you and love you are people you also like/love/respect, you have an even deeper sense of self-worth because you value their opinions and judgments, just by virtue of who they are and what you know of their character. But let’s generalize this a bit here; expand it out. How much greater and deeper would the sense of self-worth be if I truly (deeeep in my soul) knew how loved I was by God? And if I truly and deep-within-my-soul knew how GREAT this lover was, how much MORE confidence would I have in my lovability and likability?! It sounds so simple, but it’s so hard to do — envisioning God as the lover of my soul isn’t always tangible or accessible with my leetle human brain (and heart). So God gives us fellow humans whom we can love. And be loved by. And get from and show toward a little glimpse of what God-love is like, and to gain and share all the benefits that come along.
  • I also talked to the meesheree about my recent and giant tremblings of heart because of my conversation with another (nonbeliever) friend about the lack of archaeological evidence for the Jewish enslavement period in Egypt. Apparently there is no historical/archaeological evidence for the period described in Exodus. I had been doing a lot of confused searching of the internet these past few days and basically being distraught because everyone seemed so sure of what they believed, with scores upon scores of (the lack of) evidence on their side. what is a girl to believe? how is everyone, all believing in opposite things, so convinced that they are all right? m, in response to all this, said that historical lack of evidence and whatnot…she isn’t too fazed. Because 1. (and we agreed on this) Anyone can make an argument and a case for anything and dig up some kind of evidence to back up their claims. The world is more mysterious than we give it credit for sometimes. A lot of the time. Case in point: the endless number of theses being written about every aspect of every argument or every discipline, like all the time endlessly. So I needn’t be so troubled by the fact that everyone seems to believe opposite things and yet seems to have Definitive Evidence about all of those opposite things because, ultimately, it’s all about how your framework of perception and Life Reality is built, and how you’re working toward fitting (or not fitting) new information and data into that framework. Faith is a crucial part of how Christians’ frameworks are built and how they work, and observable evidence is what a lot of atheists’ frameworks are built on/with. And 2. Because no matter what randos on the street or bloggers on the internet or even what people in her life may say about the realness of God, she says, it doesn’t really debunk anything she feels about God himself because he’s been so undeniably real to her, in her personal relationship with him. It’s like, she said, if someone came up to her and started telling her things about me that seem out of character from what she knows of me. Because of the relationship we have, she’s not just gonna take that person’s word as truth and believe these hearsay claims about me — she’s gonna suspend judgment and at least seek me out to ask me about the allegations. Like, there must be some kind of misperception or miscommunication that this person thinks this about Madison! That would be her first reaction. Because she knows me. Because she likes and loves me.  Because she remembers the history of our relationship together. This part made me feel small and weak in my faith.
  • And another thing that makes me feel small and weakly and unmoored from anything is the fact that my emotions have such a sway over the way I decide (or don’t decide) things. Ultimately, I’m unable to do something if I just don’t FEEL right about it. And I can’t not do something if it FEELS right. In those moments of strong feels, I am the most decisive person in the world! But feelings change — o fickle heart. This affects the way I behave in my human relationships, in my general attitude toward life, in my thoughts and hopes about God and my relationship with him. How can I ever trust to do anything right if I’m so dependent on my fickle emotions to make my important decisions?! But then m reminded me that I’m not just a feeler — I have to make sense of a situation to feel a certain way about it. Whether that involves logic, or a certain way of reconciling two seemingly irreconcilable things, or a steadfast decision based on principles or values I would like to live by. And this part wasn’t fleshed out so well in examples but I do agree with her about this. More reflection needed, I think. And prayer. For my heart and mind and soul not to be so easily swayed by feeling, but more on truth guided by emotions.
  • Observability/logickability isn’t all that smart seeming, after all. A random thought that popped into my head as we pulled into my parking lot, this one — but. When viewed from the construct that everyone simply has a certain worldview they’ve created and are continually trying to fit new data into, organizing it all in a way that makes sense without too much disturbance, the argument of the strict scientist or historian isn’t so appealing anymore. If your construct only allows you “truths” that you can observe, take in, digest with your human mind and body, how limited is the world in which you live! Either that, or how arrogant you are to think that this universe is even remotely understandable in its fullness by your relatively small human life and brain. There are vast stretches of the galaxies (not to mention the OCEAN. on planet EARTH) that we haven’t even figured out how to experience. The world — and explanations for why we’re all here — is bigger than I am. And I hate that this gets boiled down to the Christian cliche: “God works in mysterious ways.” But the truth is that he ACTUALLY DOES! And that cliches are ACTUALLY the biggest, the underdoggest truths in the entirety of human experience. That’s why they are cliches, dang it!! Because everyone keeps realizing the same human thing over and over.

There is absolutely no need or pressure for you to respond to these rambly thoughts. But let me know if you have anything that could add to my understanding of things!

email-thinking on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 after some snoxream in a K Mart parking lot. mysteries and hipsterness abound.

connections in commiseration

we’ve already shared a lot; lots of car rides and first moments, of joys and sorrows and fears of young adulthood — even tears and subsequent consolation.

I wonder why it is, though, that I feel such a disconnect as we make our endless smalltalk, as I nod along to your endless stories, as you share with me your world via pop culture. no, don’t get me wrong — your smalltalk is masterful, your stories epic, and pop culture, well, that’s prolly a lost cause to begin with. but there’s something stale and crunchy and frictiony I can’t get past, and I’m not sure whether it’s me or it’s you or it’s us. prolly a combination of all three, on different occasions and different environments.

there is one thing, though, that always brings us together: commiseration. about how expensive rent is, how tired we feel, how sad and measly our lives are in this great and epic place and time. there’s something about complaining about things worthy of our gripes while trying our best to be optimistic and belly-laugh our way through it all that makes me feel genuine with you. maybe it’s a human thing.

you are lovely. and I know that. I just don’t know why I can’t feel it. why I can’t touch it, grasp it, talk to it. without complaining about it. eh hem.

layers

By the end of my life, I want to have experienced all the layers of love that my circumstances will have offered me.

Mads: All the layers of romantic love, yes, but like, all the layers of all the other kinds, too. Wow. Can you imagine what kind of life you would be able to lead if your goal, each day, was to experience more layers of loves? To give, to receive, to witness, to empower others to do…all kinds of layers, of all kinds of loves! Marriage love and parent love and acceptance love and covering love. And tucking-into-bed love and you-can-shower-first love and let-me-rub-your-tired-feet love and here’s-some-soup! love and dearly-beloved-we-are-here-to-say-our-goodbyes love.

Meesh: Yeah! I mean, the Bible is full of commandments to love one another, honor one another, mhmm!

It is a good thing you are here, Meesh, to tap my path straight and remind me of the purpose of it all. I can wander into lalalayerland far and wide, if left to my own devices. Thanks for remembrin’ us about the Bible. About our God. And of His plans and purposes and layers of love for us. Without that, it’s just indulgent philosophizing.

image