the trouble of denying ‘the one’

From a Christian perspective in the 21st century, admitting that there is such thing as a ‘soulmate’ is being increasingly seen as a dangerous faux-pas that can lead to complications for one’s faith: what if I never find ‘the one?’ or what if I marry someone and realize they aren’t ‘the one?’. These are not simple moral issues to navigate, but our preoccupation with concrete, practical solutions has driven us too far from the beauty and enchantment found in love and throughout all of life itself.

A recent example of this that sparked my urge to respond, was Margaret Philbrick’s “The Trouble with Finding ‘The One'” published in Relevant Magazine. My problem with this perspective is that it offers a rigid and bland image of human life. I certainly see the hope and truth that it offers, but I can’t help but feel that Margaret’s advice and general viewpoints deny the beauty, mystery, and enchantment that truly exist throughout the human experience. And this enchantment I have seen in a very familiar place—my own story.

“The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.”

Once upon a time, there was a girl roaming the halls of a quaint, private college. She had been going through a particularly lonely and soul-searching time and dated a bit along the way. Most of the relationships during this time had failed, mostly due to her inability to feel the kind of love she wanted to feel. She began to fear her future and what her love life would look like, but she found contentment with the idea of being alone.

There was this boy who always seemed to follow her around and she began to be comforted by his presence. She liked that he liked her but she was sad that she would never feel that same way about him. One day, he finally worked up the courage to ask her to coffee and she turned him down…

Well, a couple of days later they went to coffee with the intention of staying friends. As they began to talk, they found out that they grew up with the same rare family and friend dynamics. She shared how she grew up with two (much older) half-brothers, one was her mother’s son and one was her father’s and she met my best friend in first grade. He laughed and then shared that he grew up with two (much older) half-sisters, one was his mother’s daughter and one was his father’s. He had also met his best friend in kindergarten and his name was Jon Wilson. She thought he was playing some kind of joke to prove that they were perfect for each other because her best friend’s name was Jess Wilson.

It was all quite comedic and rather enchanting but she was not intending to fall in love with him. After a couple more friend dates, she was head over heels and never looked back for a second. It was the kind of love of which she had always dreamed, but the world told her it wasn’t possible. And they now live happily—and will continue to—forever after. She met her soulmate.

Maybe that made it better and easier for me: to not expect it and settle for much less. Although I can’t say it made my childhood or young adulthood easier not having believed in the power of magic and enchantment. It was not until I met him that I saw how God could work in miracles even in the ordinary parts of life that many of us have given up on. I have always believed that His will would be done no matter what, but I now believe that we have been limiting Him far too much. Just because humans are flawed doesn’t mean that magic isn’t real. Life won’t be perfect quite yet but it can be far more beautiful than you ever imagined.

“As you walk into Starbucks to meet the potential person for the first time, approach them with open-hearted faith, rather than a list of criteria you expect them to fulfill.”

Margaret is right, and her insights necessary, but if you truly feel called by faith into this life of beauty and enchantment don’t expect or accept dullness from the world just because you believe you have to. The world is a beautiful place that is filled with wonder. Please don’t stop looking for it.

//

Advertisements

overgrowth

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

Ideally, we all want to grow. We want to mature and become wiser and ideally we should do everything we can to make that happen. But it’s not that simple. Growing in incredibly difficult and takes an entire lifetime (which still isn’t enough).

Growing is a change of perspective, attitude and heart. Whatever you value in life will be your ultimate focus and that focus is what leads you either toward growth or regression. Sometimes we value justice and other times we value ourselves. Some values are intentional and others are not.

We can’t always control what we value and what we invest our energy and thoughts into. If it was as easy as it sounds than I’m sure we would all be better people, but it doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

//

searching for beauty

 “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”

The world is perfectly laced with both beauty and brokenness, though brokenness is often much easier to see. Brokenness demands our attention by inflicting pain, drama and devastation on our lives—making us victims of the world. Sometimes we can’t seem to escape it and other times we are just drawn to it.

Beauty, on the other hand, is silent, peaceful and slow to attract attention. Even the most magnificent sights can go unnoticed in the constant presence of pain. Beauty calls us to look outside ourselves and focus on something or someone else. It fosters compassion, love and unselfishness, while pain calls all attention back on ourselves and how unjust our lives are. Beauty must be sought after and protected, even found in the midst and presence of brokenness itself.

Beauty far exceeds the power and strength of brokenness, even in its quiet demeanor. The problem is not with the power of beauty, but with ourselves. It takes faith, courage and strength to put aside our pain and defense mechanisms and fully embrace the beauty woven all around us.

Coming from a devoted skeptic and conscious cynic—this applies to me most of all.

my blog turned one and i, much older

It’s been a year since I started this thing, which means it’s also been a year since I graduated college. A year that I grew up too fast (which, for me, is inevitable being that I’m scared of irresponsibility). This past year has been the most confusing and difficult year of my life and one that I know will be one of the most rewarding because of that. I have a hard time looking at my struggles in complete self-pity (though that is not to say that self-pity never enters this equation).

I don’t know where I am going to end up. I don’t know where God is going to take me, but I know that he must be preparing me for something amazing (I hope). People don’t go through struggles without being strengthened by them and people don’t experience strengthening without a future need of it. Those are my philosophical words of wisdom for the day, I hope they are someday quoted, but that’s unlikely.

I have grown more confident in myself during this difficult year and use of this blog. I care less and less what people think which is both good and bad in my experience so far. I have learned so much through a time that was simply and solely dedicated to providing for my husband and I while he finished up school. I had not realized the extent of all I’ve learned until this moment.

I come away from this nostalgia with thinking only that…

I want to write, teach, photograph, sing and most of all, I want to do some good in the world. I have never been particularly good at one thing in my life, though I do have a great deal of passion. It’s often not backed by much—I’m all talk and no action, which makes me feel like the character Britta from “Community”. Nevertheless, the passion is there—it just needs to be directed toward one single thing long enough. This blog proves a years worth of focus on something…and I’m quite happy with that.

Happy Birthday Blog.

 “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

balloon mist

This is what I woke up to this morning on my way to work—a celebration on my car.

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

//

the infancy of incredibility

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon… It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Man is born with something beautiful and precious—an innocence and wonder of the world that connects us intimately with our Heavenly Father—which slips away the more we become inhabitants of this world rather than curious sojourners.

Throughout history, it has been assumed that children have not learned or experienced enough to judge the world accurately. This stigma is slowly softening because people are beginning to realize the wonders that can be learned from children. They were born with these wonders and will slowly lose them unless they hang on tightly and remember. But as adults who have forgotten of the wonders that were instilled in us from infancy, we have a portal of access through children. Thoreau said:

“I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.”

The sight of the first snowfall.

The first feeling of the warmth of spring.

The experience and sound of an “anthemic” song.

The smell of a campfire through the car window.

The sound of the radio.

Some moments may still trigger this infancy of incredibility for adults—infinitely more if we pay attention and look for them.

weather it makes you happy or not…

“Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms…soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting; when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves.”

As I sit here listening to the glorious sound of the rain pounding against the ground, watching as it gathers in a puddle and runs down the slope of the driveway and makes its way into a stream by the road, and smell the dampness of the breeze that flows through my window—I am at peace.

on now

“Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !

Let the dead Past bury its dead !

Act,— act in the living Present !

Heart within, and God o’erhead !”

Life is meant to be spent presently, yet we seem to be incapable of doing so. Thoughts and worries exhaust our mind and leave us too tired and preoccupied to care about the now. If the present was so easily attainable, we would just as easily take it for granted. The present will always be a short-lived breath of fresh air that consumes our moments until the next worry diverts our attention. So, as life is meant to be lived in the present, at least one, all-consuming present moment each day will suffice. Until death, this battle with time will continue, but until then—the present awaits our arrival.

//