As I do homework, clean my room, hang out with people, etc, I usually listen to music. One line has been playing over and over in my head from a Sister Hazel song was, "this kind of love." So I wrote a poem.
Done with our workout and walking back to our dorm, Katherine received a rather sinister, "come to the kitchen" text. Slightly worried and wondering what on earth was going on, I figured someone was having a huge argument or something, we hurried up to the room. It was packed with people, the fullest I've ever seen our kitchen. "Surprise!" everyone yelled, launching into a fabulous rendition of "Happy Birthday." There was a huge monster made of cupcakes in the middle of the table. It was covered in piles of green and purple icing, green fingers and toes protruded from the arms and legs, and two big eyeballs rested at the top. The red "Happy 18th Katy" was accentuated by a few large plastic spiders. It was definitely the best Halloween-birthday-cupcake-cake ever. I really love my floor family. They're so awesome. The cupcakes were completely unexpected, and so very, very sweet. It made my day!
So yeah, I'm 18! Craziness. It was a fabulous day. I woke up and just felt very full of Jesus and life. It was lovely. Then the sun was shining, and I went to yoga. It was super cold today though! Very windy. But I was glad it was sunny, as opposed to yesterdays grey skies and rain. As I walked to class I listened to Fall Out Boy. I haven't listened to them in forever. I love that band so very much.
Despite being an adult, I still manage to act rather childish. I enjoy the simple things in life. So even though I'm legal, I still stepped on every single crunchy leaf that found its way into my path.
Fall is great. I don't like the cold, or the winds that literally freeze your bones, but the colors are spectacular. The air has a crisp, fresh taste to it. The biting cold is almost refreshing the for the first few moments that it brushes against and snaps at your face. And leaves, ah, leaves. Walking through leaves is such a treat. I love dragging my feet through the shallow piles of golds, crimsons, oranges, and greens. The leaves crunch and break beneath my feet. It's freeing, a simple joy, one of the many unnoticed pleasures that life has to offer. Try it. Growing up, gaining privilege and freedom is great, but treating some things with a childlike sense of amazement and joy is equally wonderful.
My dearest friend, Charlie, introduced me to the band Sister Hazel way back in 8th grade. We've attended a few of their concerts, and they're still one of my favorite bands. For my fsem class we were instructed to pick a poem or song and do a close reading of it. I picked Tear by Tear by Sister Hazel.
Here's a link to a video someone made using that song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8tAQIGbfOA
Here's my paper:
Everyone experiences difficult times; everyone has ‘those days;’ everyone feels sorrow, pain, and despair. Sister Hazel’s song, Tear by Tear, reminds us that everyone suffers, but that life goes on. At the same time, they draw our attention to the spell of desensitization under which our world has been cast. The band strengthens their touching lyrics through use of repetition, meter, and rhyme. Mournfully they sing heart-wrenching stories filled with implications.
We all know sadness
And I feel your pain
Well everybody knows a little loneliness sometimes
'Cause we're all the same
We all have sorrow
We all have shame
Everybody feels a bit of emptiness sometimes
Now what you gonna do about that
With almost identical structure, Tear by Tear introduces a sense of unity. The song could easily have begun with the tear-inducing stanzas later sung. It is important to note that the verses begin by reminding the listener that we are ‘all in this together.’ Not wanting to ostracize their audience, Sister Hazel draws on moments that all can relate to in some way. “We’re all the same,” they chorus.
“Now what you gonna do about that,” the last line of the second stanza states. This line is a statement, not a question. It seems as though the writers had already answered the question, a sense that perhaps no one will do anything “about that.”
Take a look around you
Every face that you see
Well everybody gets a little paralyzed sometimes
The epidemic of our insanity
Beginning with a similar structure to the first two stanzas, the third line also beginning in the familiar ‘Well everybody,” the song's mood diverges. The ambience of the piece changes. It no longer possesses the same feel of an almost encouraging sense of union. The last verse has a foreign tone, “the epidemic of our insanity,” or the desensitization of humanity. Nothing phases us; we're so used to the pain. We become paralyzed, apathetic, indifferent.
And the mother she waits
‘Cause her teenager’s late
Till the knock on the door
He says ma’am I am so sorry
Often it becomes natural for us as a culture to simply belt out ‘I’m sorry's’ with no sincerity to back our words. This exists as yet another symptom of our outbreak of apathy. This point is illustrated as Sister Hazel makes another point, the emotionless “ma'am I am so sorry,” the policeman recites. Too often humans listen halfheartedly to someone's plight, automatically blurt out “I'm sorry,” and launch into the story of their own lives, not waiting, and worse - not wanting, to be compassionate.
And soldiers come home
One leg less than they’d gone with
We all walk around like there’s just nothing wrong with it
Sister Hazel poses a question, asking how we can be so insensitive to the suffering of other human being in an indirect manner. A direct route would allow the audience to ignore the question. It’s so extreme they don’t feel as though it applies to them. As before, Sister Hazel puts the song in a perspective everyone can relate to, causing the listener to truly ponder their indifference. The final blow comes in the third to last stanza of the song.
And the fat kid at school couldn’t take anymore
All the taunts and the names and the ugliest words
No one even stopped to notice
Went on with their day
Till he pulled out a gun and blew himself away
Though this theme of suicide is one audiences have heard about often, it still remains powerful. Sister Hazel chooses to place this most extreme and more commonly used example last for a reason. If it had been posed first, the audience might have distanced themselves from it. Perhaps feeling as though,
since they had never mocked the fat or ugly kid, they were free from the reprimand of the song. Again we see how the band forces the audience to relate and then contemplate.
“The doctor he cries cause his last patient died/Did I mention before he was a father of five.” This line differs from the past verses. The doctor is the only character not desensitized, though around death and tragedy and suffering as a normal part of his day. He still weeps at the death of a child. His child. This gives us hope. Perhaps the world, although sinking quickly into the mire of impassivity, still clings to a fistful of hope and care.
Jumping away from the philosophical and examining the poetic devises employed in this song, we see a significant difference in the rhyme scheme of this third to last stanza. The forced rhyme of “waits” and “late,” “cries” and “died” and “five,” “home” and “gone” all occur in the first two lines of these people’s stories. No rhyme scheme occurs in the soldier's story, perhaps because it is not an individual story, but applied to a vast group of people. The stanza about the suicidal boy does not rhyme until the last two lines of the stanza, with the words “day” and “away.” In each story there is tragedy or death, but not of the individual whose tale is recounted. But he's gone, this young man, he blew himself away. His life, over. Sister Hazel’s choice to change the rhyme scheme of this stanza draws the eye immediately, causing one to think more deeply about this epically tragic event.
Dashing back to the philosophical realm of this song, we find a sense that all is not lost. That we can keep going, despite tragedy, is strongly represented by the methodical words in the chorus.
There's a way to keep going
Step by step
Try to fix what's been broken
Brick by brick
While your life will keep coming
Year after year
Drain the pain
Tear by tear
Drain away the pain
Tear by tear
Sister Hazel prompts us to recall that if we keep going, allow ourselves to mourn, and continue our journey, we can fix the rubble that is sometimes all that remains of our dilapidated lives. Keep walking, life will keep coming. The step by step, brick by brick, year after year, tear by tear, invokes a methodical rhythm of continuity. Life can be hard, often to a point that seems impossible to bear, but we can pull through.
A genuinely profound and touching song, Tear by Tear, invokes reflection, leaving one with much to consider. Bringing us together through common feelings and then sending us reeling with realization, Sister Hazel accurately invokes thought and understanding. The audience comes to a better understanding of the desensitization of the world. This song is not meant as an accusation, though. The song leaves us with tears melting the corners of our eyes and hearts, but not without hope. It unites and reminds us that “There’s a way to keep going,” a way to “fix what’s been broken,” that life will “keep coming” and that through those tears, we can “drain all the pain,” and begin to heal.
I feel like the title is explanatory enough. So instead of doing homework, I'm blogging!
So today was incredibly stressful. I almost had a nervous breakdown. I was very near tears at work, which was only slightly awkward. The reason for my stress? Class scheduling...pure torture for college students. Figuring out my art classes, Russian class, and writing class isn't exactly easy. But I realized stressing so much wasn't particularly trusting. So I stopped, looked, listened, and placed my scribbled tentative school schedule in Jesus' hands. It felt so much better.
Imagine if you were given a word and a minute. In that one minute you are to write everything that comes to mind in relation to that word. This is the exercise we did in class today. The word was 'shore,' my result:
Shore. A beach. Sand, flowing for miles. An endless stretch of sea.
Can you make it in? Swim faster, harder, keep going. Make it back, back to the shore.
We were also assigned to write a poem. It could be in free verse or ballad form, I chose free verse, of course :)
Writing from my feelings of stress and trust earlier, this was my resulting draft of a poem:
crumpled again at your feet
I think the world, or at least America, puts a lot of security in backup plans. We work our butts off in high school to get good grades, so we can attend a good college, in order to get a good job, resulting in money for a comfortable life style, while saving up our retirement funds to live comfortably when we're finally sick of working. This is a mindset that is placed upon us at a young age. Constantly saving money, we're always buying the next big thing, a nicer car, or a better house. Save your money. Buy nice things. Prepare for hard times, so you don't have to worry. But still, we worry. We worry our saved money won't be enough. We worry we won't be able to buy nice things. We worry the hard times will come, and our meticulous preparations will fall, shattered at our feet.
The solution is to cast it all away. Money can be lost. Expensive gadgets can be broken. Cars can be wrecked. Houses can catch fire, or natural disasters can strike. It is impossible to plan for everything. Worry could easily kill us.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6: 27 & 34
God has a Plan, and it doesn't have room for backup plans. Our life goals should only encompass the great story He has written us into. Sometimes the part of the plan we are performing is simply to live. But we must live with the knowledge that God is there, not spending our time worrying about clothes or food or house. God will provide for the needs of His children. Just as an earthly parent or friend provides, so does God.
It's so hard sometimes not to fall into Satan's traps. How easy it becomes to wonder if there really is a Heaven, or God, or Something out there. For me Heaven is impossible to imagine. I can't comprehend what it will be like. The concept of eternity is impossible to grasp, I'm so used to beginnings and endings. I know it's there. When I die, I know where I'll go. Though I have absolutely no idea what Heaven will be like, I trust fully that it will be the most amazing place. More incredible than I could possibly imagine. All I know is I'll be with Jesus, singing and praising Him, and that is all I could ever need. That is all I need here, on earth. So, with God's help, I'm not going to worry about tomorrow. It is a struggle though.
Matthew quotes Jesus in chapter 6, saying,
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures in on earth,
where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where you treasure is, there you heart will be also."
Still, window displays at the mall are so tempting! Having a nicer car, a fancier house, a bigger TV, the best video games, a plethora of expensive shoes and purses, name brands and admired belongings almost seems like the goal. I'm not saying these things are wrong, not in the least. The problem arises when our things own us. One of my favorite books/movie, Fight Club, has a wonderful quote:
"You buy furniture.
You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life.
Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong,
at least you've got your sofa issue handled.
Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug.
Then you're trapped in your lovely nest,
and the things you used to own,
now they own you."
That movie/book has some great theology. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.
Our security cannot be placed in the world, stability, or any number of backup plans we can concoct. There is nothing in that. Anything we desire, need, or lack, God will provide. We must place all our trust in Him. We can't doubt Him. We can't ask God for the money we need to fix our broken car, while in the back of our mind going, "Well just incase God doesn't feel like helping, or won't help, or can't help...maybe I can ask Uncle Bob, or Great-Aunt Georgina, or my best friend Billy, and maybe even the neighbor would be willing to help out. Or I could have a bake sale...or sell my old TV - I only need one right - or I could..." No. It doesn't work like that. If we fail to fully place our lives in God's capable hands, He'll allow us to flounder about, grasping for the loose straws of the world, until we realize that He is the only answer, and only He can provide.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt,
because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea,
blown and tossed by the wind.
That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double minded man,
unstable in all he does."
~ James 1:5-8
Jesus loves us. He desires good things for us. He can't give them to us if we're living in the future, trying to scribble hasty backup plans on notecards behind His back. He sees all, He knows all. We must trust Him, because He is good, and He is there, and He loves us, and He will never leave us.
My favorite class this quarter is 3-D Approaches with Kevin Curry (if you're at DU I highly recommend his class). It's held in the sculpture studio, probably one of my favorite rooms in the School of Art and Art History. There is a plethora of sculptures, random objects, and masterful works of art.
I love just walking around and observing. After shooting my fork and boot (pictures in an earlier post) I spend a blissful half hour using my camera to see the rest of the room.
The current project I'm working on involves plaster, a lot of plaster. More importantly, plaster dust. After becoming severely dusted through the process of pouring plaster, I was privileged to become even more plastered while sanding my block of plaster! It has been quite the experience. Starting with a solid cube of plaster and the instructions to just carve is a bit daunting. It's like in a drawing or painting, the first stroke is the hardest. That reminds me of my my photograph, titled "The First Stroke's The Hardest" - below:
I finally began sanding, working off of the word 'free.' My finished result doesn't really embody this notion, but that doesn't matter. After hacking, chopping, hand-sanding, drilling, and hammering my block, I finally took it to the Dremel Tool. Engrossed in my work, I didn't realize what a mess sanding plaster creates. Both of us sanding were covered from head to toe in a fine white dust. It looked as though we had stepped outside right as a blizzard hit. There was a sort of pure beauty to the dust. It was so white, so clean, so untouched. Soft and light, it was innocent.
I don't have any professional photos of my finished result yet, but here are a few Photobooth pictures, and a lovely photo of my (taken by my professor) sanding:
I went to my very first hockey game tonight! Quite the experience. After an hour or so of the "Go Denver!"'s and "Wisconsin, your mom's a whore!"'s I definitely couldn't speak anymore! Hence, the tea :) We tied though! That doesn't sound great, but we were losing 2 to 0 until the last period. In two weeks we play our rivals, CC...
A few weeks ago was my roommate Logan's birthday. Her family and boyfriend brought her a beautiful array of flowers and balloons. I was pretty happy to get to enjoy them as well, and photograph them of course!
Yay alliteration! That was the only reason for the title.
Yesterday I read this story:
"Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are going to drown!"
He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"
There are many great parts of this story, but what stuck out the most to me was the line, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"
I was so struck by this passage that I grabbed the nearest Sharpie and scribbled it on the back of my hand. I woke up bright and early this morning for yoga and discovered the words happily printed on my face. Note to self: do NOT sleep on the back of your hand.
I'm not really sure why those words of Jesus stuck out to me so strongly. I don't think I've been afraid recently. I supposed I have, though. It's difficult not to worry about how people view you, if they will judge you, what they think of you, and then allow that to influence your life. I believe that's what this verse is saying to me. Do as Jesus says, don't fear people. Jesus will take care of me. I don't ever need to tremble in terror in the face of the world.
Plans. They're pretty important, huh? You need them when you figure out where and when and how to go on vacation. You need them to set up your computer, you need them to build a house, you need them to decide what to do on the weekend, geez, sometimes you even need them to tie your shoes!
But, plans can go awry. Sometimes we take them too far, rely too heavily upon them. Because here's the great and scary news: it's not actually our plan. To an extent, yes. We plan the color of our socks each morning, but the final script is written by the Master Playwright.
Sometimes we, after realizing this, take it too far. God making the ultimate plans does not mean we sit our little behinds in a big comfy armchair and wait for writing to appear on the walls in front of us. We have to be moving, living, and breathing in order to act upon God's plans.
There is this huge war ship owned by the Navy. I forget what it is called. Anyways, there is only one way to make this great vessel turn to the right or left...it must be moving. We are the same. In order to act upon God's commands and plans we must already be moving. We can't see God move if we are stagnant.
At times God's plans have not yet been revealed. I think sometimes we are tempted into a seated position, thinking we can't do anything for the Kingdom if we haven't been handed our life blueprints. This should not be the case. We are to live passionately and obediently with whatever we have in life. God opens doors, and He closes doors. We must simply say, "yes." Often that's the hardest thing to do.
Even once the 'blueprints of life' have been handed over, that's not the end of the story. We have to stay open and listen. These plans can be edited, scratched out, rewritten, and extended at any moment.
I feel called to adopt children globally. I have felt this desire since I was around 10 years old. Still, I can't become stuck in this. I have to realize that this might not be the only plan God has for my life. Often I listen to talks about God's Plans and think pridefully to myself, "Oh, well I already have a plan, this doesn't apply to me." NOT TRUE. I know God wants me to adopt children, but I'm sure there is more to the plan. Maybe I'm to be a missionary, maybe I'm to foster kids as well, maybe I'm to start a business, or a speaker, or own a bakery...who knows! I have to always be open, trusting, moving, listening, willing, and saying "yes."
I've been terribly busy in the past few days/weeks, so I apologize for my lack of writing. As I'm utterly exhausted tonight and planning on getting to bed early, I'm only going to post a quick poem I wrote the other day. It definitely needs work, but here goes:
Last night a few people from my floor and I dressed in our finest and adventured downtown to the Buell theatre to watch the musical Grease. Having never seen the play or movie before (I know, I know, how on earth could I be SO deprived?), I enjoyed it immensely. The actors and actresses were young, talented, and attractive. The music was beautifully performed and the singing was fabulous. The dances and costumes were flawlessly designed, resulting in a very enjoyable performance.
The only disappointing part of this fabulous play was the ending. Apparently the movie is a bit different, but the morals seemed pretty skewed. At the end, Sandy changes from the sweet, debatably too-innocent, girl, to a raunchy almost-slut in order to win back Danny's heart. I was sincerely disappointed by this message of changing who you are in order to get the girl/guy. There is a level of being willing to change one's faults in order to become a better person. Or realizing that leaving your dirty socks all over the floor really bothers your boyfriend or girlfriend and choosing to change and clean up. Yet, I think that people still overall need to accept one another for who they are. Changing your personality, clothing, and lifestyle for the worse to win someone's affections. Or giving in to their immoral demands to keep the relationship going, this isn't right. All the same, the performance was fantastic, and dressing up was great fun as well!
I was just going through the notes/drafts saved on my phone. I had over seventy! Here's a glimpse of my life, via my phone:
really dirty hands. Clay? necklace inside. color and b&w
eyes. one set in focus, other person’s eyes behind. infront of black background. natural light. focus only on eyes
Shadows - light fixtures, darkness falling upon stained walls
“What does a blonde sound like at a flashing red light? Vroom-screech-vroom-screech.”
“The photographer must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child, who looks at the world for the first time, or of the traveler who enters a strange country” - Ruth Thorne Thomsen
“Everybody can look, but they don’t necessarily see.” - Andre kertesz
“One day I realized: that’s what almost all artists have in common - they all managed to continue being a child”
“The enemy of a good story isn’t bad things, but not knowing what you want”
I Am Sam
macbooks for dummies
Perfect by Hedley
Cooler Than Me - song
Airplanes - song
Circa Survive - band
Anthony Green - artist
Beauty and the Breakdown - song
Boxcar Racer - band
steel mangolias/steal mangolias?
mightyauthors.com writing contests
look for half price book store
story/life vision statement
store - Ross
a fork? or a many tooth comb? what am i who am i or it?
Who are you? It’s a simple question
smell of freshly cut grass
I am a small child again/held in the arms of/Someone who loves/Strong arms/wrapped around/Never release/Never leave/Always
brilliant red leaves in a sea of green. unique.
glass glistening like diamonds in the sun
layer of sawdust covering everything. A new kind of ‘winter wonderland.’
Do you know what you want to do? Do you have a life templet, a map, a timeline?
the fire consumed them, but then there came a cleansing rain
Penny penny lucky/ sleeping on the ground./ Lucky lucky penny/lost and not yet found
It is Satan’s greatest victory when people just senselessly destroy one another.
I am so incredibly small. A speck of dust on a tiny speck of earth in the entire huge universe that He holds in the palm of His hand. And He cares about me! That is the wonder. We’re drowning in His grace and love for us. Never ending and never comprehendible.
Ezekial 18:28 Jesus will forget those sins and forgive. You can never be ‘too sinful’ for salvation
1 Peter 3:13-17
Become humble enough to stop defending yourself.
Give up being “master of your fate” because you, quite simply, are not. And Jesus will join you and love you. Big, strong Jesus, He will take care of your problems.
You suffer to do what is right, keep going on, even if you are filled with fear.