Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 14: A Hero Who Has Let Me Down

Today's is yet another writing prompt that's tricky for me. Any question involving heroes has always been a tough one for me, because I'm not sure I've ever had one! Certainly there have been people who I've admired, but I'm not entirely sure I ever put someone on that kind of pedestal. I think that most likely I learned early on in life that everyone is fallible. This doesn't mean cynicism, understand - just reality. I honestly can not remember a childhood hero or heroine, though at age 4, in DisneyWorld, I apparently asked (the young woman playing) Cinderella if I could come to the castle for a sleepover. All my pre-schooler dreams were crushed, of course, when she kindly told me that at least that night, it wasn't possible.

I've had people I admire let me down, but upon reflection any real failing was on the part of my expectation, not their action.
When I have seen something in a "hero" that to me seems incongruous, I've asked about it. While this has been perceived as a lack of trust, I see it differently. I ask because I trust that person to give me an answer; I trust them enough that I don't believe a challenge will immediately destroy the relationship; I trust that there IS a reason behind what they've done, and I want to give them the opportunity to share that.
As far as heroes, though? I don't see the point of blind trust in a fallible human being, and I believe that's ultimately what leads to disappointment. I can admire someone while still realizing their fallibility, and hopefully that allows me to better understand and respect them. Or maybe this is all far too complicated, and I should just go back to Cinderella. A sleepover at the castle sounds good right about now. Then again, sleep *anywhere* sounds pretty amazing, so on that note - goodnight!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13: A Band or Artist That Has Got Me Through Some Tough Days

I could choose any number of songs and bands here, I know.

Paul Brandt is always a highlight - and I really admire the man in the way he seems to conduct his public and private life. I like that he works with Operation Christmas Child (Mum and I went shopping for a shoebox tonight - good times!) and he's now working on a hand-up program in Calgary to combat homelessness. Basically I just think he's good people. The first song of his, that some may interpret in a more male-female romantic sort of way, but I've always seen as a "God song", is this one:

That's often made me cry and warmed my heart at the same time!
He also covered this fabulous song, by the very talented Nichole Nordeman. Not only does she have a gorgeous voice, she writes the sort of lyrics I'd hope to someday!

Finally, the one that's been closest to my heart lately, as I've been listening to cheesy Christian radio, is a new release by MercyMe. The first time I heard it, it "got" me. There's a lot more to 'beautiful' than people think, and it's not about the outside stuff, not really. This song helped me to feel that - to know that - I have a beautiful soul.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 12: Compliments II

Something on which people never compliment me. Well, I can't say I have any brilliant responses to this one, perhaps because I don't hear that which no one says ;-)

Hm, let's see...I have never been complimented on... lovely green eyes (because they're blue) talented accordion playing (somehow never picked that one up) sweet Aston Martin (oh, how I wish!) ability to do a triple lutz or a camel spin or death spiral (that last one looked pretty awesome/freaky at BodyWorlds!) nose ... it's just a regular nose, I suppose! (Ooh, rhyming!)

I know, I have a weird sense of humour. Tough, it's my blog :P What about you? Any brilliant non-compliments in your life?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 11: Compliments part I

The thing on which people compliment me most often is my voice. It used to fluster me terribly, but after years and years of playing in front of a couple hundred people a couple times a month, I got used to it! One of the many things being a church musician taught me was how to graciously accept a compliment - at least the first few times. One can only say 'thank you' so many times!

I would always respond with, "Thank you, I really enjoy singing" or "Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed it" or something else along those lines. Only once in a little teeny tiny while did I feel like saying, "Shhhh stop paying attention to me!" (Only when on the worship team, if I'm singing a solo, then no, I don't mind if I'm the "star" haha! Just when serving expressly for the purpose of aiding the congregation to worship does it seem peculiar to garner attention.) The fact of the matter is, I do really enjoy singing, and even after years of compliments and 99% confidence that I'm good at it, it's still nice to get that little ego boost once in a while, the confirmation that I am gifted in this way and I'm using it the best I can.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 10: Someone I Need to Let Go...

...or wish I didn't know.

I need to let go of Hurt. I could say that I wish I didn't know Grief, but of course if that were the case I'd never fully know the beauty of Joy. In the same way there's no one I wish out of my life; everyone comes with their own ups and downs, periods of trial and blessing. It all balances out, though hopefully the glass a little more than half-full at the end of it all.
This will seem silly, I'm sure, but something semi-related happened today on my drive to the ferry. As I was heading to the terminal, I was driving through one of the most incredible views BC has to offer, and the sun was about to set. It gave life to the phrase "the golden hour", but my enjoyment of it was a bit tainted because I so badly wanted to take a photograph, and at the most incredible point of elevation, it went by in an instant. The very best part is on a freeway, with no stopping allowed due to an avalanche zone. Mum always tells me that I need to just take pictures in my mind when the camera isn't available, but I whined to myself that I wanted to share with friends and family and the wide world of the internet. And then I heard that "still, small voice" one hears about so much: "It's just for you, Beloved."
Rationally, I know that thousands of other people saw that particular gorgeous sunset, hundreds from that view, but emotionally and spiritually? I let go of the idea of the photo and making things the way I wanted, to enjoy a beautiful gift prepared for me by a loving God.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Day 9: Letting Go

Today's 30 Days of Truth topic is "Someone you didn't want to let go, but just drifted apart...". The trouble is, I don't feel particularly comfortable talking about any in specific - because it's less of a drift than a case of being cut loose from the raft unwillingly - and there have just been so many, jettisoned or otherwise . I have a hard time accepting the adage that some friends are "for a season", and at this point in my life, when I've just moved and haven't had the time or emotional energy and motivation to find new friends, I don't really want to think about those I've lost.

I'd rather say that I'm thankful for those I had for whatever season was meant, and look forward to meeting new ones in the future. Sure, it's a blogging cop-out, but it's where I'm at, and that's what Truth is all about. Also, I'm exhausted. Goodnight.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Day 8: Someone Who Made My Life Hell

As much as I could speak of some of the trials of high school, and yes, some of the comments still come easily to mind, the fact is that I would much rather not dwell on that sort of unpleasantness. I refuse to give power - particularly to ONE person - to have such a detrimental effect on my mental health and well-being! I will not allow my life to be made into any kind of "hell", and if anyone treats me in such an abhorrent way, I will end the relationship if possible, or simply distance or remove myself from the toxic behaviour.

This is, of course, not to sound self-righteous or as if I never have any unpleasantness in my life! But the truth is, besides high school bullies, I've never had an awful boss, or a terrible, malicious gossip, or a cruel "friend" in my immediate vicinity. I've been pretty blessed this way, and I am thankful for it.
I hope if you have such a person in your life, that you can make it right, find a way to get out of the situation, because I believe that things can and will be better. Oh, and if I've ever inadvertently been that person to you? Please, feel free to set me straight!
Today, I'm spending time with someone who makes life better:

Somebody's in Trouble!
(Click through to see on flickr.)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Day 7: Life Worth Living

Those who make my life worth living aren't about the grand gestures. People who make my life better just by being in it range from family and dear close friends, to the man at the supermarket who returned someone else's cart - and didn't get a quarter out of the deal, either. It's the pretty little things, like the pretty hydrangeas I took photos of the other day.

It's the little kids I'm babysitting saying, "I wuv you, Hedder". It's looking forward to a short visit in Vancouver to spend time with my lovely cousin, and hopefully some with my sisters as well (schedule dependent, of course!) It's a bedspread I like, a cheapo from IKEA with blue and white sand dollars. It's a million little things, and all the wonderful people in my life, and a million little moments that I get to spend with them. As Brad Paisley would say, "I live for little moments like that".

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Day 6: Something I Hope Never To Do

Like everyone else, I imagine, I hope to never, ever have to bury a child (should I have one!). A dear friend of the family lost her son to suicide a little over three years ago, and it very nearly destroyed her. I can not even imagine the pain. While there is really nothing good in that kind of grief, I must admit that in some way, it has been helpful to me - allowing me to understand the effect a suicide on the family.

When I was suicidal, when it was very, very bad - years ago, now - I truly thought my family would be better off without me. I think it's important for people to understand that most suicidal individuals are not thinking rationally. I understood that had I succeeded in my suicide attempt, my family would grieve, but I believed they would "get over it" before too long, and the grief from my death would be less damaging than the grief I caused them by living and by being...well, by being me. I understand better now, having seen some small fragment of the effects. Even though I survived, I know that my actions have left many scars on my family and others who love me. I know now, no matter how tumultuous things seem or are in my mind, that I do have something to offer, and that I can make people's lives better by being here, even as so many wonderful people enrich mine. I hope that I never have to feel that depth of despair again, I hope that I never, never, never give up, and more than anything I hope that, should the demons chase me down again and I can't escape that pain, I hope that I continue to resist. I hope that I can stay strong, and that I can ask for the strength of God and loved ones when I need to. Most of all, I hope to never, ever cause my loved ones that kind of pain again.

(Note: I promise I do not feel suicidal now. I am quite happy, considering the recent loss of my grandmother. This is me, being reassuring - I am okay. And if you're not? If you know what feeling I'm talking about and you need someone to talk to? Please don't hesitate to email me, or to call someone you love or one of the many suicide hotlines available.)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Day 5: Something I Hope to Do

In a broad sense, what I hope to do is to make a difference, even if a small one, in the lives of as many people as I can, while not sacrificing quality for quantity. I hope (and plan!) to ease the hurts of children and young people in this world, the best I can, to help them work through their pasts and embrace their futures. I hope to someday be able to help with something like a Red Cross trauma team, probably on a short-term, emergency basis, dealing with PTSD and other mental health concerns after major disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the flooding in Pakistan, the earthquake in Haiti - to work with other like-minded people to heal body and spirit. I hope to do something, in at least some small way, to help a child out of sexual slavery, because I can not imagine anything more heartbreakingly wrong than what happens to some of these children in places like Cambodia. When I hear their stories I don't know whether to bawl my eyes out or punch a hole in the wall, but I do know that neither of those actions help them, and so other more applied action must be taken. Nothing should be allowed to destroy the amazing exuberance of a small child; they have so much to teach us about finding joy in the everyday.

Photo by yours truly, click through to see on flickr.

I hope that I can live so that the spirit of empathy God has given me is a blessing instead of a curse. I do deeply, truly hope to have children of my own, and more than anything, to fulfill the purpose He has for my life, and to live it to the absolute fullest.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Day 4: Forgiving Someone Else

Island Sunrise

If mercy is new for me with every sunrise, then it does for everyone else, too. And if someone has hurt me? I'm able to get past it...eventually. Sure, things sneak back in and I have to do an attitude check, remind myself that we're all human.
But if you hurt someone I love? It's a whole other story, a hard story, and one that I can't fix. And I don't know how to let that go.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Day 3: Something I Have To Forgive Myself For

(or, Something for Which I Have to Forgive Myself. *cough*grammar nerd *cough*)

I need to forgive myself for so many things, whether from yesterday or from 10 years ago. There is no grand event that stands out as something for which I'm still angry with myself, but instead small things creep up, and I wish I hadn't carried one situation too far, hadn't spoken harsh words out of anger, perhaps hadn't made certain pivotal decisions quite as carelessly. I think that what it all comes down to, whether it's a big fight with a loved one or an unkind thought about the person who just cut me off in traffic, is forgiving myself for being human. This of course does not mean giving up and never striving to be better, but to allow myself to start every day with a clean slate, and all the potential in the world.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Day 2: Something I Love

It's harder than I thought it would be to choose just one thing! The simple exercise of sitting here and thinking of it, however, is making me smile.

I love my ability to see and appreciate beauty. I was walking around the property earlier today, and I could see beauty in so many places. Even where things are falling apart, becoming dormant for the winter, or just plain dying, I can see something beautiful. The bright red maple pictured here encourages
me on some of my grayest days - it remains vibrant amidst the rain and fog, doesn't allow its colour to be leached out by its surroundings.
Even when humanity is disappointing, or others around me are decrying the loss of decency, most days - and I wish it were every day - but most days, I can find something worth keeping. There is always a bright spot, a redeeming factor. That woman - she has a smile that lights up her whole face, if you can only coax it out of her. That child, mid-tantrum, is secure enough in his parents' love that he knows, even after his meltdown, and during and after the necessary discipline, that love will not reject him. That man rushing about, budging in front of you in line at the grocery store, he's doing his very best to care for his family, even if he doesn't always know how to express that in words.
I love how entrenched I can be in a symphony, or the bluegrass (the lovely Alison Krauss) to which I'm listening now. I love that through music, through photography, and through learning to give grace in some small manner in accordance with what I've received, I am getting better and better at seeing the beautiful. In this, I have many great teachers, many photographers and writers and beautiful souls, but I'd like to thank one in particular today, and that is Karen Walrond, who is all three. She's just come out with a book called The Beauty of Different (The book is available from Bright Sky Press and Amazon) and if you'd like (and of course, I think you would!) you can read about it on her blog by the same name. (Don't ask me how many times I had to check that spelling!) I encourage you to enter the contest - I did, and gained an additional entry by linking to it here.
More importantly, though, I want to thank Karen for helping `me to learn better how to see the beauty in everyone and everything around us. That learning, and looking, has helped me to learn that the vision in me is something that I love.

Monday, November 01, 2010

On Being Brave, and Day 1

I commented on my dear Robyn's blog yesterday that if I were to attempt NaBloPoMo this year, I might try the '30 Days of Truth'. And then I realized that would probably be terrifying, so I chickened out and said I may write it in a paper journal instead. However, over the last day or so I've come to realize that without the accountability factor, I don't think I'd be brave enough to delve into some of these tough questions, and so, with some judicious editing, of course, I have decided that I will indeed post each day in November, with 30 truths.

Day 1: Something I hate about myself.

I hate that this starts with hate. While it would be more challenging, I'd prefer to start with something I love about myself, because then I might have less trouble choosing just one. So, deep breath...
I hate that I so rarely follow through. Whether it's cleaning house, taking better care of myself physically (or mentally, or emotionally!), academics, you name it - I can start off with the greatest intentions, but as time wears on, I wear out.
I know that it is partly the discouragement and low spirits that come with clinical depression, the lack of motivation is not purely my own, but I also know it is something that I can work at, chip away, little by little. Maybe that's why I'm doing this - to remind myself that I am capable of finishing things, albeit simple and perhaps unimportant ones. I'm taking this chance to remind myself that every day is a new day, and today, I can start working on one of those hated characteristics, to come a little bit closer to wholly loving myself.
(gag, saccharine, I know, I know. Bear with me, this could end up actually being fun.)