Tuesday, January 29, 2008

From the darkness below

Well, as you all know, I am no poet, and usually don't express myself that way. But, after this past weekend, after the death of one of my best friend's dad, let me just say that it has been a very rough couple of days. So, for some reason, I put my thoughts into a poem.

From the darkness below

Hearts caught up in a whirlwind of grief,
Silent rage,
Nagging guilt,
Too many ifs and whys,
Too many “will tomorrow come?”s.
I stand, on the brink of the abyss,
That bottomless pit of despair,
Born of sorrow and flooded with tears.
Looking down, frantic to reach those inside.
Hands spread out, searching, leaning forward,
“Take my hand,
catch your breath,” I cry,
never realizing that, the harder I try,
the closer I am to toppling in myself.
I reach down, and catch hold of the one I seek.
That torrent of tears over such a loss
Floats her to the top,
Slowly, slowly.
Little by little, her head appears,
Breaks the invisible lid of the chasm.
A smile, a giggle, a laugh.
The barrier subsides, little by little.
Then, suddenly, her eyes glance below,
And the torrent of tears, the heartbreaking cries
Echo once again from the gulf below.
Stumbling, I fall, losing my balance.
First darkness, despair, and grief.
A silent, wordless screaming prayer.
Then, suddenly, an invisible hand braces my fall,
Holds me steady.
My soul is filled with joy,
And a strange serenity replaces the despair.
All the strength that I had given away to lift her up
Came rushing through me.
Swift as a coursing river,
Strong as a gale,
Deep as the ocean.
One last chance, one last attempt
To wrench her out of that abyss.

Silence. A sniffle.
I look around, and there she is, sitting beside me.
No longer in that inescapable emotional prison,
But sitting there, beside me, on the brink.
Swinging her legs almost merrily.
Every now and then, she looks down,
And remembers that grief, that sorrow.
A tear or two she sheds, but then, she reaches for my hand,
And pats it gently.
Some day she will rise, and walk slowly
Away from the sadness that haunts her.
I will be by her side, to catch her when she falls.
But then, I look over on my other side,
And that invisible presence is there, again.
Maybe I will watch her when she falls to this side,
But that mighty, steadying arm will always be there for her,
Long after I am gone.
I squeeze my empty hand tightly,
Now realizing that it was never empty,
There was someone, something there all along,
Guiding me, holding me, carrying me and steadying me when I fell.

Doubts are dispelled, hesitations are fleeting,
Fears are removed.
All that is left is an overwhelming love,
A fountain of joy, gushing forth into my heart.

From the darkness below, she arose,
And from the light above, joy flows
Into my heart, dispelling fear and doubt,
And led the seed of hope to sprout.

Monday, January 14, 2008

"Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!"

Well, my English class can be pretty fun once you get used to it... After having read Patrick Henry's "Speech to the Virginia Convention" (the one with "Give me Liberty, or give me death!" marking the end of it), they had us write a speech, a "Call to Action." Well, as easy subject as drugs, poverty, crime, military involvement, etc. usually are, I have trouble convincing myself of any one set of convictions towards them. So, what really ignites my ire? Arrogant punks that walk around museums and high-five the Thoth, temple-guarding baboons from Ancient Egypt. Seriously~ So, I wrote about that. It is a little, er, odd. But, then again, I can't really write speeches, and speeches are best interpreted and read aloud by the author. But, anyhow, I decided that I would share the rough draft of my Call for Action here. Enjoy all of me and my strange quirks. (Who else would choose to write about this sort of thing? Using guilt-powered speeches on poverty tends to be so much more common...)

Ladies and Gentlemen: how many civilizations have flourished since this world first came into being? From ancient times to the present, cultures have risen to power, blossomed in the spring of their existence, and then met with a sudden and usually violent demise. Today, we collect their pots and coins, the story of both their golden ages and of their darkest hours, and then store them in grandiose museums. The stories of their lives, the golden masterpieces they have left behind, to be remember by, are plastered into books and pounded into the minds of our children in school. Even so, why does it seem like they never learn to respect it? The do not have to like it, but would restraining themselves from playing paddy-whack with a sculpture be too much to ask? Some buildings have withstood the test of time with a surrealistic and melancholy elegance, speaking of times during which people hurried along their lives, pausing only briefly to glance up at the awe-inspiring beauty around them. Other monuments embody the ideals of that age, or the standard of wealth. Others attempt to cover up shady businesses, hoodwinking a people into thinking themselves rich, when, in fact enemies were swarming from all sides. Still, the steadfast majesty of these relics seems to transport us into those days, linking the past with the present in a dreamy hazy.

Overall, it seems like we are not only indebted to these past wonders, but should also guard over them and preserve them. Why then, should our generation find themselves so arrogant as to high-five a temple-guarding Baboon from Ancient Egypt, or casually shake hands with the callous marble Roman emperors? The people of our time sway the pendulum of history towards a carefree life of ease and of indolent, arrogant pleasure. Any time we open a history book we are reminded how mankind always aspires to create a beautiful society, even if only to be crushed mercilessly and with savage brutality later on. So why now, now that we have been able to salvage and restore these priceless artifacts, these golden keys that open up the sealed door of our past, why are they being jostled about? receiving high-fives from every arrogant punk that wants a souvenir picture of him patting the royal stone lions?

This disrespect for what humanity has achieved is another reflection of the moral deterioration of these recent generations. This mocking attitude illustrates how lax discipline has become--in a general sense. Slowly, not only respect but all moral values are entering a slump, spiraling downward into a dark abyss of near-anarchy. We must stop them. For the sake of our world, and for the generations to come, we must!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


When people ask me if I am a morning person, I agree with them. What they don't realize is that MY definition of "morning" is probably different than theirs. I LOVE mornings: to sleep through, and stay semi-conscious in bed while the light in my window gets brighter and brighter. I absolutely love touch: textures, feelings, everything. And, I have to admit that morning brings on an entirely new texture to everything: almost like a satin gloss that covers pillows, blankets, clothes... just not my dog. She stinks, and will always continue to do so. No amount of morning-gloss will change that. :)

Well, this morning, after actually getting up and out of bed, I wandered down the stairs, towards the kitchen. Alluring memories of "there's pie for breakfast tomorrow" numbed my senses. Now, I have a question, what kind of day did I foreshadow, when the first words I voiced aloud this morning were, "Pie? Pigs!" :) Well, no pie--turns out it was one pig in particular, not thinking it worthwhile to cut the rest into 4 slices... 2 would be just fine, and then the other two culprits (that I do not blame, really) split THAT last piece into two. A sorry excuse for pie... pie should be big! :D Well, enough rambling this "early" in the morning. Genau!?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Getting those brain juices flowing

First, before I say anything at all, let me just inform you of where I'm coming from with this: during the few marvelous days I spent at ski camp up in the French Alps with my MK buddies, the speaker really challenged us to think. Every night we had to take an agree/disagree stance according to what we thought about a statement he'd put up on the screen. Some seemed easy enough, but then I realized the full magnitude of those apparently simple statements, if I chose to pursue the intricate layers of meaning within them. I want to thank my little group of "thinkers", all those who CHOSE to think, chose to "look beyond what you see" in either complicated and far-reaching theological, social, emotional, and all other types of arguments. I still cannot believe that my Logic class actually did me some good! I found out that I was able to grasp some of the main points that we decided on thanks to everything I had learned in that class.

The first night, I must admit, was brutal. I believe that we felt the full force of the simple, two sentences, and we spent hours afterwards, our little group of 5 or so, defining terms, and reaching out, searching for answers, and taking place in some of the most confusing and intricate theological points. It was wonderful to hear how people thought out loud, brining their own perspectives and understandings, little glimpses of the answer as it may, allowing for a very friendly, yet very deep and hard-core discussion. Even our bunny trails led to some of the "10 top discussed doctrinal points."

These few days, I have been challenged to think, to reason, to discuss, to hear and appreciate what others have thought, reasoned, and learned. We covered such diverse topics as what is truth, discussed social problems of this world (poverty. And! how to go about relieving them), and really taxed ourselves to delve further into a topic that I would have done under normal circumstances. These brief little sentences would bring a flow of creative brain juices flowing, and questions and answers swarmed into my mind like a wasps' nest--needling me until I was able to spit some of these thoughts out into the world and hear what others had to say about them.

Even now, after getting home, I can feel that my brain is in a complete stage of "define your terms, think it through, etc." (which is really good, because I have a Logic assignment that I should be doing), and I have already sparked up a few conversations with my Dad.

As much as I hate creating New Year's resolutions (I'll explain in a different post. Too long and answer), I have decided to try and spark more of these thought-provoking statements and toss ideas back and forth with my Dad (it's great how similar we are, and how we both love these sort of things :D) every once in a while, to remind me of how productive and even satisfying thinking can be.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Camp des Cimes

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" I just got back from the little GEM-K reunion up in France. Technically, it was ski camp, but, as the coordinatedly challenged person that I am (that, and the almost innate and uncontrollable necessity to hit anything standing upright in a couple meter radius), there was no skiing to be done in my case. "Shoe size?" "Extra-large hot chocolate." Standard answer. We found one of my friends hanging out at the airport, where he had been for hours on end. Then, after a cryptic SMS to the organizer of the whole thing, and after a short-lived 'hacky-sack party', we zoomed over to pick up a very freezing friend at the train station. From the first moment on, a certain feeling of harmonious cheerfulness united us all.

First day on the slopes, we gathered a small group of people that had turned over to the dark side (aka--they did not feel an urge to ski, and hot chocolate and running around having snowball fights sounded better to them), and trotted around town. Although we ended up drenched and freezing, I'd have to say it was a wonderful day. Especially if you take into account the snowboard-sledding event we started at the bunny slopes. We found out that snowboards make EXCELLENT sleds :D

The next day, one that was supposed to be stormy anyway, a few others added themselves to this core group of non-skiers, and we stayed back at the camp. A most wonderful day filled with stories, laughter, GEM-Ball, ping-pong, foosball, tea, and FOOD! We realized how truly ingenious some of our ideas could be, and how amazingly creative and resourceful we all were when we put our heads together (and when food was involved :D) Roasting apples and grilling our sandwiches, and drinking incredible amounts of tea... that's the life! All that, huddled around a bewitching fire that we kept going 24/7.

The third day, I believe I exercised more than I had all year. A 4-hour hike up in the lower French Alps does sound exhausting, now that I think about it :D But, after a slight case of altitude sickness (and the restorative powers of a well-deserved Mars bar), I not only felt healthy and vigorous, but my legs stopped aching altogether, adding an extra dose of cheerfulness to the whole experience. My question still is-- I know that I am always sore the next day, after walks, when I get up; however, since I haven't really slept these past two days (all-nighters are amazing :D), when will it start hurting? Unfortunately, I have few pictures to commemorate the feat, seeing as the stupid batteries that had been charging for a solid 13 hours wouldn't even turn my camera on. Very sad. We visited these amazing ruins, played rock-wall Jenga, and then hiked the rest of the way up to the Roman Gate. The hike afforded one of the most breath-taking views I have witnessed in a while.

I considered the all-nighter almost to be an entirely different day. There are lots of hours in a night :D So many memories to be made! SO many wonderful people to hang out with! So many jars of Nutella to be finished, and so many games of Dutch Blitz to accompany that gorging! Words cannot describe the beauty of that all-nighter. I'll confess that the nice big bottle of Pepsi allowed it to even take place, but the chocolate truffles sure made everyone perk up! Partings this year were extremely painful, especially because I know of so many that won't be able to make it again. Tears flowed freely--seeing as we left early (6am), the "crying barrier" was broken rather early on.

For everyone who was there, I just want to thank you for the lovely time we had together, and I wanted to let you know how much I cherish all of those wonderful memories we created and your beautiful, unique, crazy selves. Thank you, from the depths of my heart.

For those of you that were not priviledged enough to make it (tehee, just kidding), I cannot begin to describe the atmosphere of these reunions, where everyone can decide who they want to be, and be as crazy, cheerful, bubbly, or dark and mysterious as they choose to be. Truly amazing. Well, that's all my brain can handle right now--I've caught a few hours of sleep since getting home, but only just about enough to allow my mind to wander, but not enough to reel it back in. So, I'm off to bed, and I wish everyone a wonderful day tomorrow, and sweet dreams! Yoi yume o!