The child sat alone. She looked right. She looked left. Nothing. All was good. The room was calm. Her skin was not bleeding. The room was not flooded. No attacks. The physical realm was fine.
But then the rancid voice sharply whispered to her, "Look inside."
She did not want to listen to the voice, but her curiosity controlled her.
Nimbly, she lifted the metallic key from the table in front of her. Gently, she placed the key inside of the lock above her mind (which was on her forehead), sure nothing would be wrong. Why would it? Everything was fine. Good. Well. No reason to be in trouble. Slowly, she turned the key. Calmly, the lock opened. And frantically she screamed.
An awful flood of chaos poured forth from her mind. It spread far upon the floor, oozing sickeningly and bubbling with boiling darkness. The little child cried aloud in a pitiful voice, confused and panicked. What was going on? Why was this happening?! The black tar-like fear dripped over her face, turning her eyes pitch black and filling her open mouth with foul taste. The darkness soiled her once beautiful tunic, and she shook in a huddled ball as the deep darkness suddenly engulfed her. She remembered the key, and tried desperately to seal the lock and keep out all of this, but she could not. It was too much too fast. She could not see. She could not understand.
As she slowly collapsed under the weight of the darkness, her father burst through the door, summoned by her shouts.
"What is wrong, my precious child?" He whispered, tears developing in his eyes, "It hurts me so much to see you in this way! How can I help? What is wrong?"
What is wrong?! What is wrong?! The child thought. She was dumbfounded the father did not see the flood of dark surrounding her. But she did not understand the father could not see it, for it came from the mind, and those things can not be purely seen by anyone except the sufferer.
"I am filth!" Cried the child, "I am dirt! There is darkness in me!"
"No, my child," replied the father, reaching down for the second key, "You are not filth. If this is of the head, then this is not you. But is it of the heart?"
The man turned the second key in the second lock of the girl, which is the heart. The lock opened. And to the girl's surprise, the heart glowed pure white. The heart remained untouched. Through the liquid darkness filling her lungs and eyes and mouth with pools of death, hope burst alive, and the girl smiled still. Her flailing arms subsided, and she began to calm.
"This will not last, my darling," whispered the father, holding his daughter tightly in his arms, "I may not be able to see this, but the one who holds your heart can. He knows your pain. He will stop this flood. And if you remember this, if you remember that there is a light even when you cannot see it, and you fight against this dark, your heart will remain pure. That is what matters. You just must wait."
The father held his daughter, and whispered more promises of the Greater One in her blackened ear. And they waited. And they wait.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever." -1 John 2:15-17 Let me start with this. The world sucks. I know that may not be the prettiest, most educated way of describing it, but it really is the most accurate. When I say the word "suck", I normally say it with my teenager-ish attitude that is usually accompanied by a groan or some kind of look of disdain. That is precisely what this world deserves. Every day I get so much utter garbage thrust into my face. It's like somebody keeps shoving dirt down my throat and expects me to be okay with that, or even be like "Oh yes, dirt! Give me more! More dirt! Awesome!" Ah, no. It's more like, "Okay, what?! You people actually like this stuff?! What is wrong with you???" (Of course, I cannot actually say that, because I must still love my neighbor. I will say more about the "loving you neighbor" thing later.) Some prime examples of this: I go to sit down at my computer, and open up Pinterest or Facebook or Youtube. (Or Buzzfeed on occasion, which I am actually trying to stay away from.) I try to look for the "good" stuff, the funny stuff, the wholesome stuff, but everything is just littered with horrible, mortifying displays of obscenities and people looooooooooove it. They really really love it. And I am horrified. And my day is pretty much ruined. Apparently, the people of my generation, and supposedly me, are all getting pregnant, doing drugs, defying their parents, and cursing. A lot. Oh man, there is simply no way to get away from the cursing. This "s", that "b" and "f" after "f" after "f". I suppose they just are not educated enough to know any other words to express themselves. But, hey, everyone's doing it, so, everyone's cool with it. Sex outside of marriage? Hey, why not! Homosexuality? Sure! Why not make your favorite characters- who are brother and sister- date each other? Well, we have no moral limits so, go ahead! (Yes, ladies and gentlemen. There have been a few times when people ship siblings, or even siblings of the same gender. Why? I truly do not know.) So that covers the cursing and debauchery of this messed up world, but there is a whole other section that I think I can say has probably ruined my life! The twisted, horrific, gruesome, scary side. (If you have read my post about fear, then let me just tell you right now this is the fuel for ALL of my daily fears. All of it. Not even exaggerating.) Essentially, this group takes anything- anything at all- and turns it into some kind of horror story. Even My Little Pony. No, especially My Little Pony. Why? Because the world refuses to let me enjoy anything in peace. There is essentially no way to go throughout this world each day without encountering each of these diseases at least once. And you know what? I think it's slowly killing me. I really think it is. Creeping under my skin and picking at my brain, infesting my blood with poison. And the worst part of this all is that the world expects me to like their ideals. They expect me to toss away my virginity before the age of twenty. To smoke weed or do meth. To agree that man can marry man or woman can marry woman or both. And even those general ideas I can deal with. For the most part. But the world likes to "dig deep" into the great details of these events. They love to give prime examples of sex being casually tossed around on television or the internet. Or show just how awesome drugs are. They especially love to flaunt around homosexuality and how they don't give a care about anything I have to say. It's like they grab me by the shoulders and scream into my face all the most horrible things they can think of. I struggle to get away from them, but they chase after me, still smirking, still calling out terrible words of hateful, vile substance. It almost feels like I don't belong here. But truly, I don't. "Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain fromsinful desires, which wage war against your soul."
-1 Peter 2:11 Funny how the Bible just sort of speaks to you sometimes, huh? Like it just, lays it all out there, plain as day and pure as truth can get. Because I, and all other members of the body of Christ, have been completely changed by the Holy Spirit -basically our old, filthy souls were dragged out of our body and replaced with fresh, new ones- of course we will find the ways of old repulsive. It's like looking back on the things you did in high school, back when you were young and foolish, and groaning in disgust, saying, "Why did I ever even think to do that?!" Well, you didn't know any better. Neither do they. They don't know the joy of God, they haven't read His life-giving words, they aren't filled with the literal Spirit of Christ, who is constantly guiding you toward a greater goal. This is all they know. All they know is the "it feels good, I do it" policy. You know who made that policy? Satan. He's whispering pretty little lies into their unknowing ears and telling them to do things he says are right. So why get mad at them? And why be surprised? It's fine to hate sin -in fact, that's what God does and wants us to do- but remember to never hate the sinner. They don't know that there is something better, so they search out for good things. Little do they know that what they think is good, is in fact worse. What's the best way to wake them up? Love. Sure, it may be hard. Sure, it may even seem impossible. But if you choose to love your friends and "enemies" (but not their sin, of course) then they will listen. Love is the loudest voice, yet the one least spoken. And also, showing them love gives them a taste of the real good they can have. So, what do we do now? I think this. Well, actually, God thinks this (from what I learned): 1. Hate evil, love good (Amos 5:15) (Romans 12:9). 2. Love everyone. Everyone. (Mark 12:31).
Get away from the junk, but remember you aren't part of it. The ones who are part of it are the ones whom you must help the most.
So yeah, I just wanted to show you that yes, I did change the format of the blog. Now its a water-droplet theme. Before it was an orangish-brown with birds in the corner. Do you like it? Should I change it back?
I have done some soul searching. Well, soul sorting would probably be more accurate. Anyway, I have been thinking. And this time, I have been thinking about feelings.
Feeling is kind of a big deal. Well, when it is real. If you have ever felt something, and I mean really felt something, you might understand how overwhelmingly powerful it is. It can make your head rush, your soul lift or fall, and even literally make salty water come out of your face (this would be crying for those of you who did not understand my reference). And my "thinking" escapade has led me to believe that I am totally and irrevocably in love with powerful emotion.
In fact, my favorite emotion is currently... bitter sweetness? I think? I enjoy sad things. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? Loved it. Cried and sobbed 'till I thought I would be sick. Hachi: A Dog's Tale? Amazing! Loved/hated the ending so much. So sad. I search the world for sad things, because you know why? In one plain and simple statement, to me, sadness is beautiful.
But of course, somebody (don't know if it was me or Satan's little minions dancing around me) whispered in my ear consistently that I do not have the authority to say that sadness is beautiful. They back up their argument by claiming I have not known true depression, I have never really known the overwhelming pit of despair some battle against day by day, I have never lost a loved one, I have never known any loss and therefore would be insulting all who are constantly stalked by depression if I were to say I enjoy crying. If, dear reader, you are friends with me on Facebook, you have seen I posted a "little" poem titled The Happy and The Bitter, written by your's truly. In it, I personified these two battling sides of me; the "Happy" side, which enjoys many emotions including sadness, is bullied by the "Bitter", which is in reality the unknown voice that whispers to me the previously mentioned claim about my lack of rights to sobbing. The poem in itself, I suppose, could be considered ironic. I have taken hold of my, you guessed it, emotion, and made something that questioned its own origin, purpose, and authority. Is deep emotion (especially melancholy emotion) wise, or foolish? In fact, why must there be a label for such things at all? Whatever it is, I clutch it like a soft blanket on a daily basis. In the wee hours of the night, or when I create art, or enjoy art, or simply sit, I roll over thoughts in my head. I seem to enjoy thinking quite extensively, and will at some points get lost in it. Maybe my subconscious sees thinking as something similar to truth, which is what I believe all humans crave.
Truth is a solid rock. It brings meaning to a meaningless and constantly shifting world, and so then it is natural to assume that something right and good is beautiful. And enjoyable. This is why, I suppose, I practice thinking so often. The problem is, asking why typically brings about a large sum of confusion. Emotion is such a large part of my life and daily routine, so therefore, that is what I think about a lot of the time. This is why I am writing this post, to question a vital part of my essence. For if something of such importance that demands so much attention is part of my life, I want to be absolutely certain that I am engaging in this activity correctly.
So, lets look at what I know (or what I think I know).
For starters, is God okay with loving emotion so much? I believe that yes, He does indeed enjoy emotion. God didn't just casually throw the universe into existence as if it was no big deal, rather He carefully constructed it, speaking life into His creation. By speaking the universe into existence, He gave a part of Himself to His work. I like to think that God did not simply mumble "Let there be light, or whatever." No! I think He shouted with such extreme passion and authority! If you were to say God did not put passion into His art, you would be wrong. Just look outside! Gaze upon the brilliance of light! Look at the way the sunlight (or moonlight, depending on what time you read this) dances on the ground, the way it simply gives life to everything it touches! Men have tried to replicate this work of art, and have failed. Electricity, no matter how bright, cannot match the beauty that is the pure glory of the Lord's creation. Only God can shine the radiant sun, or bring about a delicate crimson rose, or give a lion it's ferocious roar, or orchestrate the sweet melody of birdsong. God's creation is His art. In the book of Genesis, it says God made it all and saw that it was good. Never does God shy away or critique His masterpiece with ugly comments or discard it to some box in a closet in the corner of His room. When the universe sings of His beauty, never does God say "No... its not really that good, its okay I guess..." No, I say! He cries "Yes! Yes! This is my art! This is my soul! Sing of it! Enjoy it!" The universe is overflowing with the glory of God, with the passion of His soul. He takes all that is purely Him and demonstrates it as a visual feast. So is that part of us that desires to do the same not but the image of God in us? Do not hesitate! Strive! Create! Build! Construct! Whatever it is that the Holy Spirit burns in you, pursue it! What a shame it would be if that flame were snuffed out!
So now knowing that our God is a very emotional God, the question returns: is sadness beautiful? In my mind, just from what I assume, I think yes... and no. ("Oh thanks, Michaela. That really clears things up.") The process of pain is not a lovely experience. Death and destruction is ugly and nobody wants to go through it. However, the things that come from death and destruction can be good... if the victims of this process allow God to show His glory through it. One of the great things about God is that He works through us fragile humans by breaking us. Redemption, love, and forgiveness can only come to those who are willing to accept it. Because we are sinful, we have rebelled against these things. But the beautiful moment comes when we realize that we need those things. That nothing in this world that we thought we needed actually matters, or can give us redemption, love, and forgiveness. Our hearts break, and God's heart breaks for us. We cry out "God, I am so, so filthy and I need you so, so very bad". And so God hears us, and answers us with love. That is the main point of this entire story of life. This single line, this scene, points back to the real reason why anything even exists at all: God's glory. The glorification of God is all throughout everything. And because God is light and beauty, and creation honors Him, this is why sadness is beautiful. Because it all points back to God.
So, why me? Why do I enjoy brokenness above all other emotions? Well, I asked my counselor one day. You know what she said? She said God has given me the gift of feeling deeply. This means that I enjoy sad emotions so that I may have empathy for the broken and suffering. This is true. When I see somebody broken, my heart breaks for them, just as God's heart breaks for us. He has made me so very emotional so that I may help others. Just like Abraham, I was blessed to be a blessing. And so is every member of the body of Christ.
One day in English class, not too long ago, actually, my teacher discussed something called catharsis. Catharsis in some ways means "pleasure taken in sad or tragic literature/music/art". Catharsis gives the experience of something sad or tragic so that awareness and experience can be made from that particular event, without actually having to go through the awful experience itself. For example, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas emits catharsis within the viewer so that it can be made known the ugliness and awfulness of WWII/the Holocaust without the viewer having to actually be a Jew in a concentration camp. I very much enjoyed this movie for many reasons, one of them being that it was filled with truth (which, as I mentioned earlier, can be enjoyed and beautiful). Now, obviously, the truth of the Holocaust was not beautiful. It consisted of the dying of millions of innocent people, in horrible, inhumane, and downright Satanic methods of torture. However, I was made far more aware of the horribleness that is sin and suffering, and learned to appreciate the fact that God is far beyond this suffering and has made good out of it (a lesson learned, the changing of a generation, and probably the prevention of many more awful things that could have happened in the future if the world did not know all that could come of it). So, like I also said earlier, God's glorification. Beauty.
Another reason why sadness can be enjoyed so much is because without sadness and tragedy, a story would be pointless. For an earthly example, The Fault in Our Stars. What if nobody had cancer? What if there was no suffering? There would be no story. Everything would be well and good, and no lesson would be learned. For a godly example, Creation in Itself. What if we didn't fall? What if we were still in the Garden? While that may be the way God originally intended it to be, God's glory would not have shined nearly enough if we didn't first turn away. The best stories always have something tragic.
So, in conclusion, we can say sadness is beautiful. We can say sadness is beautiful because sadness contains truth. We can say it contains truth because it teaches. We can say it teaches because it shows God's glory in the end. We can say it show's God's glory in the end because it is part of His story, which always points back to God. So stay feeling, my friends. And never forget to enjoy the story.
Fear. Depression. Doubt. Confusion. Even numbness. These are just a few of the many burdens humans bear at some point in their life. It can get overwhelming sometimes. At some points, you might feel like you are drowning in a sea of utter hopelessness. You can't see God, you can't see light, you can't see anything or feel anything but gripping pain. In these darkest moments, life might not even seem worth living.
But these horrible times in your life can also be the best times.
In the midst of these heavy loads, you will begin to see God's work in you. Just like a rock gets beat up and chipped off along the journey, it eventually ends up as a beautiful crystal, with all its faults lost on the way there. In this same way, God is chipping away foolishness, pride, worldliness, distrust of the Lord's plan, and any other fault even you couldn't have seen in your immature state. You may not be able to see Him, but He is always there, always has, and always will be.
Now, you may be thinking, "Quit preaching me this stuff. You don't know what I am going through."
It is true your burden may be far heavier than mine, but believe me, I have gone through trials. In fact, I am going through one right now: fear. It's gripping, it's dark, it's cold, it's evil. I hate it. Absolutely and completely despise it. It is constantly with me throughout the day. Nagging at me, nipping at my ears and toes, picking at my brain till I can't think. And that isn't even when fear is at it's worst.
A few weeks ago, I had my first ever panic attack. A real one. I can honestly say it is so far the single most worst sensation I have ever had in my life. I felt absolutely helpless. I was pacing around the house, getting sick, shaking and shaking and, for a moment, I almost thought death might feel better than that. And that's a scary thought, because I thought that the end of it would only be caused by death. I didn't know it would stop. In the midst of such terror, you don't think it will stop.
But of course, it did. My parents were right there with me. They fought the horrible, horrible feeling with cold hard truth. And let me tell you, the moment I sat down and really thought about the truth and just let the terror run its course I felt so relieved. I was so wholly relieved that I actually smiled, and my fear shrunk down enormously. For any and every situation, as long as you know God is on your side and has a plan for you, anything that seems insurmountable will eventually end.
Its still not quite over, the fear I mean, and I am sure I will have future battles with it. But that's okay. In fact, I'm happy. Let them come. Let whatever God wants to happen come. You know why I can say this? You know why any person who is in Christ can say this with full confidence?
Because of this one, true, awesome, beautiful fact:
GOD'S PLAN IS LITERALLY THE BEST WAY ANY SITUATION CAN EVER TURN OUT. EVER.
People may think that their way is better. That isn't true. Satan thought his way was better. Adam and Eve thought their way was better. Cain thought his way was better. The people on Earth during Noah's time thought their way was better. The people from the Tower of Babel thought their way was better. Every human that has ever existed at some point thought their way was better. This is exactly why we need God so badly.
So to recap: we will face trials. But that's okay, cause God has a reason for allowing them to happen. And also, nothing lasts forever.
A few tips: next time whatever it is you are facing comes at you, praise God. Imagine how freaking angry Satan will be! His attack has just turned into a reminder to give glory to God! He will be soooo angry. I love it! Also, remember that if you are facing a trial, it means that God is gonna give you something really good in the end, better than you expected, and that He is actually telling You He has an amazing plan for you. Isn't that great???
So stay strong in the Lord in His mighty power, my warriors in Christ. You'll get through this eventually. I promise. God's got a plan for you. :)