Monday, September 10, 2012

Fighting to change.

"I always thought I'd just naturally change.  I thought that both my heart and my body would become stronger as I got older...  I swear (to protect the ones I love) to transform from a caterpillar into a butterfly and take flight.  I have to change!"

One of the great things about having a computer again is the ability to watch videos again (having no TV in our house.)  This weekend, after actually accomplishing several things, I decided to spend some time catching up on one of my favorite series.

It's about Ninja, and the world they live in.  The story follows the main character from when he is 12 to 16.  It's a great story with wonderful character development, even among the minor characters.

One minor character has always had a special place in my heart.  He was the fat kid (actually, it was an inherited body type for the special ninja powers that his family had, but kids don't care about that.) and he was teased for being fat.  He developed an inferiority complex.  But the problem was, he was an exceptionally kind boy.  He didn't want to hurt anyone.  He understood pain, and didn't want to inflict it on others.  But he was training to be a ninja.  Ninja fight and hurt people.  When push came to shove, he managed to fight enemies, but he still remained reserved, and in some peoples eyes, a coward.

And in some ways he was.  He was hiding behind his kindness, using it as an excuse to run away, or not give his all.  And this caused his teammates and friends problems.  They often had to save him when he wouldn't fight to protect himself, or do his job properly.  I think, he was afraid of failure and pain.  Afraid of trying your best, and it still not being good enough.  So if you never give your best, you don't really fail, it's not a reflection of who you are at your core.  If you try your best and it's not good enough, that can crush who you are in your core, you are a failure.  So don't try that hard, run away before it gets to that point, and you never have to face that great of a failure.

He grows, and trains his body, and grows physically powerful.  But he still cowers inside in fear.

Until war breaks out.

When he is confronted by the war, he of course reacts in fear.  But then comes the turning point.  He is faced with a situation where his full strength is needed.  He must stop hiding behind kindness and fight, to save his friends, to save his village, to win this battle.  But he can't.  He stumbles and falls, while his friends keep trying to make him realize they need him to fight, and to fight honestly and with his full strength.  Until finally, in the dramatic climax, he realizes that he can't just "become" an adult.  He won't just automatically become strong one day.  His fears won't just disappear.  He has to choose.  He has to choose to change himself, to move forward.....

to fight.

And once he lets go of fear, and embraces his true strength, he is able to transform and become stronger than he ever realized he could.  He defeats his enemy, and changes the tide of the whole battle.

I really empathize with this kid.  I understand many of his fears.  I'm not quite as nice as he is, but I understand not giving your all, of being afraid to fight.

But sometimes, to move forward you have to fight.  This is a world at war.  Good vs Evil.  I have to fight to protect my own heart, to not give into my fears.  I have to fight to protect those who cannot fight themselves.   I have to fight to protect what I love.

If I don't, then I'll always be falling down and depriving my fellow fighters of my strength.

It's a good lesson for me.

Fight with all my heart.  Love with all my heart.  Love and kindness are not the same.  Love and peace are not the same.  There are times when it is necessary to fight, and fight with everything I have.

I won't just change naturally.  I have to fight to change myself.

It's not just a story.  It's a reminder to never settle for less than I should be.

I love a good story.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Mourning the end of summer, looking forward to autumn...

It wasn't one particular thing.  In fact, it was more like the accumulation of my summer, or maybe more like this season of my life...  But I found myself in the middle of a field, tall grasses waving in the light of a sun thinking about setting.  The sky was open and clear and big, like West Texas sky.  I was in the middle, in the place where I've chosen to be for now.  All around me were people I loved, who I wanted to share my life with me.  But every one of them was in the process of moving away.  Some north, some south, some quickly, some slowly, some moving towards other people, some just growing up and moving on.  And suddenly I felt the tears spill over, mourning the loss of what was, of what is.  Because the future is never the same as the past.  I can't stop the flow of time.  And I know God is good, and I know the future is in God's hands, but just for the moment, I mourn the loss of the present, for it will never come again.  My throat tightens with this overwhelming emotion.  I close my eyes, and more tears streak down my cheeks.  Even now I still feel the trails, stinging slightly in memory.
I mourn the loneliness of the human condition.  I cry because I know no matter how many people surround me, we are each trapped in our own loneliness...

I mourn the passing of summer into autumn.

At least for today.

But I know I can't mourn forever.  Tomorrow brings new beginnings, new opportunities, new adventures and maybe new people to love.  Tomorrow will not erase today.  Tomorrow can't exist without building upon today.  But I did love today, and the people who lived there with me...

It was a pretty picture in my mind, as I stood at a train station, listening to the same musician I have been listening to for 7 years now.  But I cannot hold onto that picture forever.  Reality is stronger, and I can not live in my tears.


I wonder what it will be like...

I remember other times when I wanted to hold on to my todays...  When I was in elementary school, I wanted to live at school.  In High School, I wanted to stay forever at the dorm I lived in.  In college I wanted to live forever at the camp I worked at one summer.  But after I left each place, and look back, I can see there was always a better place waiting for me as I matured.  And I don't regret leaving those places.

But I still feel the melancholy of transition and the uncertainty of the future.

Yet, I know...  My God will never fail me.

 I remember Jesus mourning for Jerusalem, for the people he loved who would not love him, who would not see the truth.  Jesus mourned for the pain that awaited him, for the lostness of the people, and maybe he understood loneliness then too.  But Jesus knew there would be joy in the future.  There would be many saved.  But still, that moment, those people, that season, was worth morning over.

So this time, I mourn differently.  I don't try to hold on longer than I should.  I mourn the passing of today, while waiting in anticipation of tomorrow.

So, summer has come to a close.  I have gone back to work, my roommate has returned, I have been given a new computer.  Summer was good for me this year.  I spent some time with a community of friends, I spent time with God, I read books.  I was encouraged, fed, rested and stretched.  I'm still processing everything that has happened, and what it all means.  I'm learning every day how little I know about my future.  Every time I think I have a grasp on the situation, something else is left up in the air.

I waiting to see where everything lands.

Hopefully I'll be able to find more concrete words later to describe what I'm thinking.

But for now, I leave you with my picture, watching people move away from me, waiting for what comes next.

But the sky certainly was beautiful....