December 10, 2017

Sunday Dialogues: Clenched Fists


Moments of infinity.
There she is. A city of glittering yellow and orange, a Southern skyline standing proudly in the shadows of a forest. The December chill sends a shiver down my spine, but I don't walk away. I can't. So I stay, lingering with the cold and the city.

They're the moments in which you can't stop smiling, inside and out. They're not gone in the blink of an eye, but you savor them as much as possible, wishing they would last forever. Your heart doesn't seem to have the capacity to hold this much joy, peace, contentment.
Moments of infinity.

...

Two years ago, I stood on top of a parking deck, moments away from unchaining myself from deep secrets. The freedom that would follow would come not only from my disclosure, but from the unprecedented vulnerability with people I barely knew.

Today, I am confronted with my hesitance to give myself fully to others. Yes, I have experienced the tremendous fulfillment and joy of being a part of a Christian community. I crave the ease at which vulnerability arose within me then. But having lost that sweet freedom, I've allowed resentment, comparison, and insecurity to occupy its former residency.

Missing out.
On Instagram, I see people, whom I knew separately, meet each other. Truthfully, I don't know how to feel. It's cool, because I'm reminded of how small the world can be. I'm happy for them. But it's also uncomfortable. I, once the original link between the two, am no longer needed to function as that link. I'm left out of the equation.

I'm left out.

...

A part of me continues to grapple with feeling stuck. Who would I have been if I had stayed? Would I still have been friends with them? What would I have studied? Where would I have lived? Would I have gone abroad? What kind of an upperclassman would I have been? 

My refusal to regret aside, I know without a doubt that transferring was the right step. I know I couldn't have stayed, and I am overcome with gratitude for the people I've met at my new school. I sincerely mean that. So what lies at the root of my issue?

I want to be there, I want to be here. I want those friends, I want these friends. I want that life, I want this life. I can't have it all.

Callouses.
In Exodus 4, a continuation of the burning bush, God sends Moses to free the Israelites from the Pharaoh. Moses is doubtful, insecure of his leadership and apprehensive of their response. In his hand is a staff. God instructs him to throw it to the ground. Get rid of it.

Immediately, the staff becomes a serpent, and Moses runs.

...

I've grown so comfortable with my past that I can't seem to let go of it. I can't seem to let go of the people who have walked away, nor can I immerse myself fully in my present surroundings. As I've clung onto the past, I've become calloused. It has calloused me.

Truthfully, I have no easy answers. It's hard to let go of your career goals, your ambitions, your loved ones, the ones you want to love. It's hard to relinquish control. It's hard to be confident in God's plan when it's not all mapped out in front of you.

But Moses' obedience? That's trust right there. When instructed by God a second time, he picks up that serpent. It becomes a staff once again.

God gives the power to control what we let go of.

A similar pattern of events continues with his leprous hands, serving as a reminder to him, and to us, that God has the power to restore. Will our lives play out like Moses'? I don't know. Will whatever we let go of, return to us the same? That's hard to say. Probably not, if He gives us authority over it. A new perspective or power can change the subject at hand, right? But how will we know what comes next if we don't follow that first command? We have to let go in order to hear what's next.

Time fogs. God heals.
I still find myself feeling stuck. On January 30th, 2018, it will have been two years since I cried to my parents over the phone, realizing that the decision to transfer was my own, realizing that I had already made the decision while every atom in my body begged reconsideration. You'd think I'd have gotten over the pain by now, but it lingers.

In order to progress, I need to actively remind myself that God was, is, and will always be in control... that His control is so much better than any vain attempts I make to take command. Today, I have to stop saying that it'll get easier with time, because pain resurfaces. Time fogs. God heals.



December 3, 2017

From Russia With Love (Pt II)

If you missed Part I of my three-part series, you can find it here!

Day two of Russia happened to be one of the three sunny days that St. Petersburg gets every year. How lucky were we?

November 19, 2017

From Russia With Love (Pt I)


When I think of our time in St. Petersburg, I think of rain, intricate palaces, Easter eggs, stern customs officers, and our wonderful new friends we met through our tour group.

November 12, 2017

Ithaca Through the Seasons: Summer 2017

Adjusting to Ithaca was a task easier said than done. I missed my friends, routines, and environment at my old school. Starting over without knowing that I'd need to grow up and make my new school a home for myself was rough, but springtime in Ithaca brought more changes than just beautiful weather. Ithaca finally became home. Unfortunately, it was about time to leave!

November 5, 2017

Homemade Pasta

Homemade pasta with oven roasted tomatoes, homemade meatballs and tomato sauce, fresh basil and parsley

October 29, 2017

Sailing the Baltic Sea with Royal Caribbean


Today's the day! I'm so excited to finally share this video that I've been working on.