Posts Tagged "identity"

The Hunt

Posted on 8 Nov 2011 | 4 comments

Well folks, here is the next installment of Emmeline, sponsored by NaNoWriMo. I hope to get back to my Holstee Manifesto Series once I’ve caught myself up with the novel. Hope you enjoy a bit of fiction this evening. Much love and warm fuzzies to all my readers.

As we approached the dragon, it stood its ground, barring our way. Derek placed his palm out in greeting, dragging me along behind him. I wasn’t precisely sure what the protocol was for meeting dragons, but I didn’t want to insult him by looking him in the eyes. So I kept my gaze downcast, even as it paced back and forth. Derek stopped, a bit confused.

“Lig, what’s the story?”

Apparently this dragon had a name. I didn’t like the way that it kept staring at me and snorting, however. And I’m guessing that Derek didn’t either.

“Derek, she is claimed.”

Derek looked at me directly, with a great deal of compassion in his eyes. “Emmie, I need you to answer this honestly, ok?”

“Sure, Derek.”

“Have you at any point in time, to your knowledge, made a bargain regarding your soul?”

“Are you talking like a Faustian soul sale? That’s ridiculous.”

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Doing It Afraid 2: This Is Your Life

Posted on 31 Oct 2011 | 0 comments

Image courtesy of Leland FranciscoWelcome to the first day of the rest of your life.

Are you ready for it?

It is, after all *your* life.

But what does that really mean?

One day, you will decide to wake up, and take ownership of your life. It will become your own. It won’t belong to anybody else, and no one else will be responsible for it. And this possibility is both liberating and terrifying.

Liberating, because the only person who will hold you accountable is yourself. You’ll begin to realize that your life isn’t about what other people want from you. You will begin to see that other people’s expectations really don’t have any bearing on your own expectations. When people try to tell you how to behave or believe, you can simply ignore them.  You begin to realize that you have the power of both Yes and No in your own hands. You get to decide just how much of your time, your passion, your talent, your treasure goes to other people. You can reclaim your own destiny.

Liberating, because you’ll have complete freedom to pursue the things that *you* want to pursue. You’ll be able to make your own decisions regarding the things you love and want to follow. You can begin to carve out your dream space and your own desires and hopes for your own living. You’ll begin to believe again.

Liberating, because nothing is now impossible for you. You will be taking charge and going forth with enormous ambition and desire and passion, right?

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Posted on 30 Sep 2011 | 3 comments

There’s a smell and a sound to it.

The chalky aroma of pancake make-up and slightly singed hair from curling irons.
The robust odor of people sweating under intense lights.
Slight decay and decades old musty mildew from ancient costumes.
From behind the curtain, the gentle murmur of hundreds of voices whispering in the dimly lit auditorium.
Young ladies and gentlemen humming their scales in warm-ups.
Consonants clicking and popping with various rhymes and verbal gymnastics.
The squeak and grinding of gears and sets.
And then the moment arrives. Instruments tune, a hush falls, and the whisper of the curtain drawing itself open to an overture.

I loved every minute of every show. From the three hours of preparation before to the hours afterwards. Fine tuning a fantasy until it came to life so realistically that the line between truth and fiction was blurred. I loved the auditions and the rehearsals, the endless hours painting and hanging lights and designing. I loved the theater. I loved it in a way that I never could describe or portray accurately enough.
The great craftsmen of musical theater had a gift for bringing the human experience to life. In some of my favorites, the very darkest shadows of the soul came to life. Carousel – the pain and twisted joy of an abusive marriage. West Side Story – gang violence and falling in love in an urban jungle despite the odds. Phantom of the Opera – sacrificing light for the sake of fame while watching your mentor crumble into insanity because of deformity. Les Miserables – war, vengeance, and a young mother abandoning her child. Even the Disney animated musicals from the 90s had this ability to capture the very essence of human existence. They told the simple truth that life is not fair, it is often ugly, but it is our Spirit that trumps those dark places. Light can always penetrate the darkness, and there is always a blessing to be found in love – however tragic it may be.

I miss it.

I can’t even say how much I miss it. I sing along to my favorite musicals, but it almost hurts to put the music in my playlists. When I hear the beginning bars of the Carousel waltz, my heart breaks for never having had a chance to sing those songs for an audience. When I hear “There’s a Place for Us,” one of my only regrets is that I never got to play Maria on stage.
That was my dream for the longest time. Playing Maria on Broadway. And only slightly less so? Singing as the voice for a Disney musical.
But times have changed. I’m older, I never made it in ‘the biz’ because I wasn’t splashy enough, wasn’t skinny enough, wasn’t *whatever* enough to cut it.
I never believed I would ever be enough to sing “I Feel Pretty” on the big stage.
But I think the beautiful thing about nostalgia, about hindsight and learning who I am… I know that feeling pretty isn’t about what others think about me. It’s about who I’m designed to be. The person that I was created to be. I was designed with a vision and a purpose. My dreams have significance and meaning. And I may never play Maria on Broadway, but I may just audition for some community theater when I return to the USA.
I may never be the image of a starlet that the world tells me I have to be in order to make it.
But I’m in the image of something far greater. Something that spoke worlds into being and whispers life into my own dreams. The music from West Side Story will never stop moving me, inspiring me, leading me to tears. And the truths in the lyrics will always rattle my sense of purpose:
There’s a place for us, a time and a place for us.
Hold my hand and we’re halfway there.
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there.
Somehow, someday, somewhere

I’m taking time to learn how to follow the dreams that I have and to lead others into the hearts of their own. I may never stand on stage again, but I just might chase that dream someday. I’m consciously deciding each day to live and believe that I am more than enough. Whether I’m overweight or short, or not dressed properly.
I am precisely where I need to be.
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there…

What dreams have you let go as you’ve gotten older? Do you ever have nostalgia or longing for them?
Do you dwell on all the ways you’re not ‘enough’ or do you allow yourself to be perfect exactly where you are?

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There You Are

Posted on 27 Jul 2011 | 0 comments

From Mike Yaconelli’s Messy Spirituality:
Rest is the ultimate humiliation, because in order to rest we must admit we are not necessary, that the world can get along without us, that God’s work does not depend on us. Once we understand how unnecessary we are, only then might we find the right reasons to say yes. Only then might we find the right reasons to decide to be with Jesus instead of working for him.

I like to work. I like to *do* things. But sometimes I forget that the most important thing I can do is absolutely nothing. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I am not a machine.

I love this quote, because it reminds me that I don’t keep the world spinning. If I’m honest with myself, I realize that the splash I make in the pond of life isn’t really even that huge. It’s always the ripple effects that create the most impact. But have you ever noticed that it’s not necessarily the strength or the speed of the throw that creates the ripples? It’s a million different factors, including the angle, the gravitational pull, the stillness of the water.

If the water is raging and tossing, the ripple effect is negligible. It’s just one tiny bump in a sea of frothy madness. But if the water is still, a pebble can create an effect that goes on for ages.

Too often, I act as though the force of my throw will increase the ripple more than the stillness of the water. I allow my soul, my heart, my spirit to rage and toss – and when the Divine tosses anything good into that water, it goes wild, not really making any impact at all.

But when I rest…when I quiet myself down, and really pause in the midst of life to remember that it is the state of my heart that matters as much as the actions that create motion…those are the moments when the smallest stone will cause effects I could never dream of.

The last few days have been restful, restorative, rejuvenating. And I’m remembering again why I have been created to need rest. The Sabbath is a gift to me, not a burden.
Life as we know it...

I’m not responsible for the world. I’m responsible for me.
And when I’ve been busy, when I’ve been running crazy, these are the times when the Divine calls to me, celebrating my work; but also inviting me back into the Divine presence and rest. So, I think I’ll enter into it for a while, and allow myself to find peace, restoration, and fresh life.

Mark 6:30-31 (NIV)

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Hebrews 4:9-11a (NIV)

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.

(Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A letter

Posted on 11 Jun 2010 | 0 comments

I wrote a letter today. And old-fashioned, pen-to-paper kind of letter. It started out as an exercise, merely to eradicate some of my own demons from the past. The plan: write a letter to someone who had corrupted my vision of art and beauty. But it turned into something a bit more. It turned into reflections on life, practice, and the reputation of the Church in today’s society. In my field, I engage with thousands of people who have been wounded by churches. And thousands more who have been wounded by people within those churches. The predominant complaint has been – I thought that Christians were supposed to be different! I don’t have any issues with Jesus, but I have loads of issues with his followers. There’s even a film with the title “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers“.
Christians that I know mostly fall into two camps. First, there’s the group that tend to be a bit volatile – they fulfil every stereotype that is splashed across the media. They tend to politic almost as religiously as they attend their Sunday services. Their lives and claims are earmarked with verbal violence and judgment. They tend to interpret the Bible literally and are relatively devoid of irony. Many of them even had significant issues with A.J. Jacobs and his experiment with The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. The second group tends to be on the apologetic side. Our favourite phrase is probably “I’m a Christian BUT…” And they fill in the blank with whatever phrase is necessary for that particular conversation. This is something I find myself saying on a regular basis. There are others who fall in the spectrum of these two extremes, of course.
It seems that something has gone significantly wrong with the Church if half of us have to apologize for who we are. But more than that, it’s a tragic thing when those of us apologizing are the ones cleaning up the messes of those who are the most vocal. And I think that’s why my letter this morning became such a rant of frustration and hurt. Because the person who did the damage will never have to face the consequences of his actions.
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