Little Girl Lost

Just moments ago, when at the gym in my condo complex, I watched a little girl enter. By little I mean no more than twelve years old, clad in bright workout shorts, fluorescent shoes, and plugged in with customary white earbuds. She climbed onto the elliptical machine – this child. She may have been dressed the part, but her uniform didn’t disguise her youth.Deftly hitting buttons and programming the parameters of her workout, she gazed at her cellphone all the while, as entranced as everyone else. Her tiny hands reached up and grasped the handles of the machine, her short legs struggling to keep up with the pace she had set for herself. She moved in intervals of extreme speed mixed with backpedaling to get every muscle toned.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing occurred in one of the moments I chanced to sneak a glance in her direction. While wrestling with the machine that was much too large for her small frame, she lifted up her tshirt and inspected her stomach, gazing for a few seconds before picking up pace and increasing the ferocity with which she raced. Whether checking to see if her time at the gym had yielded any results, I cannot say. But it was obvious that this little girl had begun to believe lies, and that her body image was suffering greatly because of it.

What are we doing to our youth? I silently said a prayer as I stretched and ended my own time at the gym, wondering if at that age I was conscious of the flatness of my stomach and shape of my hips. Junior high was a nightmare for me, filled with mean girls, cocky boys, and the question of who I was and what I wanted to try to prove myself to be. I can say that I never went to a gym until I was an upperclassman in high school, but then again, I didn’t have to compete with the cast of Gossip Girl, either.

I am sick at the moment – sick with longing to speak truth, to see change, and to be a light where none seems to be. Lord, help me flicker a little brighter to those who need illumination.

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For Sale – My Home

Our home is on the market once again. We had taken it off a few months ago, thinking that with the slow economy it might be best to just content ourselves with this small condo and make do. But we’ve found it to be cramped in here. And we know that it’s only going to get smaller as we acquire more, as most are likely to do as the months become years. And so, the house is for sale once again.

My FairyTale Cottage in the Clouds

Why can I not be content? Why is it that no matter how many people come to view our home each week, I still get ahead of myself by searching the real estate listings in my target area, attempting to find the one that would be “perfect” for our next residence – our first home with walls and ceilings not shared by others?

Imagine Taking a Bubble Bath in Front of This Roaring Fire

Because this isn’t my home. I am not content because my heart longs for something that will never be attainable here. And no matter the amount of improvements we make, the number of times we upgrade and move to accommodate our changing lives, I will never be able to nest and feel completely at ease with my surroundings.

What a Cozy Kitchen - And Fun Staircase!

Somewhere there is a home for me that is complete with a clawfoot tub and fireplace in the bathroom. It has a bright white kitchen with a cauldron and black and white tile floors. There’s also a library that soars up into the rafters above, and chandeliers in every room. But I’m not going to find that here, no matter the amount of money I possess. Because that is my dream home, and that type of dream can only be fulfilled above the clouds, in the land of far, far away.

Just To Sit for Hours...

My hope lies in the Word, and being sure of this is what can content me with the many temporary homes I’m going to have in the future. Even if our next home is the house that we will build onto for the rest of our lives, its only temporary.

Today I’m grateful for peace. Peace in the here and now – and peace in the knowledge that my heavenly home is continually being stocked with my dreams…even if they are dreams I’ve yet to realize.

Battling the Impossible

Driving slowly behind a cyclist as he struggles up an ever-steepening hill, I watch and think, “There’s no way I could do that.” There’s no way I could make it up that hill. I would give up. Actually, I wouldn’t have attempted it in the first place. I’m much too comfortable in my own vehicle, safe from the elements, sitting still in the cool air conditioning as I watch the biker struggle to make it up the hill that is for me effortless, but for him taking every ounce of strength he has.

But perhaps I have cycled in his shoes before; simply in a different circumstance. Sometimes you have to struggle through the hurt. You push through, and it makes you stronger, so that the next hill isn’t quite as trying…doesn’t seem to loom quite so threateningly in the distance.

And yes – there are seasons when we need to stop, to rest, to tend a wound. And then there are times when we have to continue through the pain so that we can make it to the summit. Those are the times when you finally reach the end and realize that you had it in you, even when in the midst of the struggle you didn’t think you would be strong enough.

But the Word that is in your heart whispers to you – letting you know that you can do it. You can make it through this struggle if only you listen to that voice. Perhaps this time around you only make it up that first hill. Perhaps you turn around and have to try again another day. But the Word will guide that path for you, if only you listen as you climb.

Listen – can you hear it? Sometimes it may only sound like a small breeze. And sometimes like a thunderstorm that rattles the windowpanes and shakes your foundation. When you listen, you’ll be guided. And you’ll know whether to summit that next hill, or if you should simply rest and let the Word heal.

Common Sense 101: The Intoxication of Existence

Before you read the below poem, written by Mr. Gilbert Keith Chesterton, try first to picture the person speaking and the environment in which that person is in. Create in your mind a baby, lying in a dark womb, trying to imagine a world of blue skies and green grassy hills. To this tiny person, what we call the commonplace and everyday can only be imagined as a dream. The baby believes that if only he/she (whichever gender came to your mind) could attain it, if they could see the world and be a part of it, their gratitude would be never-ending.

By The Babe Unborn
G. K. Chesterton

If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air
To warm me one day through,
If deep green hair grew on great hills,
I know what I should do.

In dark I lie: dreaming that there
Are great eyes cold or kind,
And twisted streets and silent doors,
And living men behind.

Let storm-clouds come: better an hour,
And leave to weep and fight,
Than all the ages I have ruled
The empires of the night.

I think that if they gave me leave
Within that world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me
Of selfishness or scorn,
If only I could find the door,
If only I were born.

After reading this I was…convicted. Not just by the words of the poem, but by what Chesterton said in explanation of those words. “A literary man who cannot see that a baby is marvelous could not see that anything was marvelous. He has certainly no earthy logical reason for regarding a movie vamp as marvelous. The movie vamp is only what happens to the baby when it goes wrong.”

I have to admit that I have never been one to oooh and aaah over babies. Actually, for years my natural inclination was to stay as far away from them as possible. A child’s cry could send me running for the door as soon as those high-pitched octaves reached my ears, and I could never quite understand their constant motion, never-ending talk, and silly antics. That’s because I had lost sight of my own sense of childhood, and didn’t remember what it was like to be a child, in a constant state of discovery and wonder.

Babies remind us to be in awe of the world. We should never stop being in awe of babies, because as Chesterton explains, each time a child is born it is as if a whole new world has been created. The world is being seen as if for the first time by a new soul as if it were the first day of creation; inside that little head, there is a new system of stars, new grass, new paths to follow, a new sea.

We don’t recognize a baby as marvelous quite simply because we refuse to see basic obvious things. It is the obvious things that are never seen; the things we have been viewing all along without really seeing them. The wonders of this world are in every green blade of grass, and every lap of water as it pounds against the shore. All of these things were created to be drank in and cause the viewer to be intoxicated by the magnitude of existence.

I had to ask forgiveness for my own lack of awe. The marvelousness that is a baby is something that the world seems to have taken for granted, and I find myself truly thankful that my eyes and ears are now open to the giggles and shrieks of delight that come from the discovery of new worlds.