I am blind

"And I will lead the blind
   in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
   I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
   the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
   and I do not forsake them."

That is from Isiah 42, which I "happened" to read this morning. That is me, the blind. These last three weeks, God has been leading me in paths I have not known.

I try to understand, but I cannot see beyond the darkness. I cannot understand. So all I ask is to somehow see through God's eyes. I want to see everything He is, till all that's left is not myself.

There is a song that suddenly means so much to me. "Under My Skin". I haven't understood it very well before, but now it is my one prayer. Lord, take away all of me. Change me. Let me see You.

"Shadow days come to haunt me here
To wrap around me
Dark and cold
To hide the sunlight from my eyes

I can not see beyond these clouds surrounding
I will not forget that this is not the end

Under my skin
Under these scars
Take me again
Tear me apart
Cause I wanna see
Everything You are
Til all that's left
Is not myself

This is life every second here
Gripping tighter
Empty praise 
To all the things I fear inside

But I know that you will rise up from these ashes
Tomorrow will be the light that guides me

Take away everything
Burn away all of me
As I break
I believe
You will come to rescue..."

However long this pain lasts, I will not forget that this is not the end. I have broken. And God has come to rescue.



One Word
a poem by Ariel J

I ask one word

Why do we train
Why do we learn and earn
Why do we plan and hope and dream

    when we come to the point in time
    where something so unthinkable has happened
    that it make us wonder why we did these things

Why –
I will tell you

We assume
Oh, we assume so much
We assume that things will go on
We look at the past
    and expect the future to reflect it
    because so often it does
And so we plan
So we train and earn and plan and dream
We do what seems best
    as if life will continue the way we think it will
    the way it always has
    the way we want it to
    the way it should
    – should according to our hearts

And then we are mocked
    ripped apart
The future does not reflect the past
    not even a bit
    but muddies even our dimmest reflection
Life does not continue the way we think it will
    but the way it has not been
    the way we don't want it to
    the way it shouldn't
    – shouldn't according to our hearts

Then we wonder why we trained
    and earned and planned and dreamed
    when diligent training is mocked
    and protected earnings ripped apart
    and anticipated plans broken
    and precious dreams buried

That is the point in time that makes us wonder

And next we wonder
    if we were wrong to assume
Was it wrong to think life would go on the way it always has been
Was it useless to train and earn and plan and dream

I believe the answer is

It was not wrong
It was what we thought was best
It was how we knew to live
It was how God made us
Because often
    our training is not useless
    and our earnings turns for good
    and our plans finally happen
    and our dreams come true

But not always
Which is why we must assume
    but must also be careful
To never take for granted
    too much
To know that whatever we train and earn and plan and dream
    is unto the Lord
    and whatever he decides to do with it
    is good

And so we live on
Hurt but not fatally
Bleeding but not dead
    just barely
We live on
    with greater knowledge of pain
    and grace
We live on
    with new appreciation
    and new emptiness
    and new joy
    and a new self
We live on
    perhaps a little more careful and cautious
    in our training and earning and planning and dreaming
    but still doing them all the same
    because that is how we are made

Time to time we ask
And the response is
I am God
    I do what I will
He does not answer
He does not need to
For he is indeed

So we live on
    and one day
And coming into eternity
    and great
    joy –
    yes, the face of God
    we finally see why he made us
    to assume
We finally see why
    we trained and earned and planned and dreamed
    when it seemed to be mocked
    ripped apart
    broken and buried
We see that it was not useless
It was simply that part of the story
    that's twist is revealed in a later chapter

And we stop asking
Rather our one word
    is turned to two

Thank you


A tribute...

I feel as though I've never given an official "in memory of" post to Josh. Hm. Others have done so beautifully. One about the river, one to thank him. One who never met him, one who knew him well. His future sister-in-law.  

They have said it more poetically than I could. So I shall show you a picture.

Yes, it is not good quality. But I love this picture. It shows so much of who Josh was. First of all, look at where he is. The roof. Creative place, is it not? Josh's mind was forever thinking of new ways to do things. But just standing on the roof was ordinary for Josh - because he always thought outside the box.

Next, see that he is barefoot. Josh never let anything get in the way of his feeling life to the fullest. Shoes? Nah. Let me feel the earth with my bare toes, let the hot cement sting me, let the grass tickle me. Unafraid. Bared. Ready.

Lastly, can you tell what he is looking at? Perhaps not; it is a Bible. That is what he was doing on the roof - memorizing James. This, too, so symbolizes Josh. Here he is, in the midst of beautiful scenery, with gorgeous mountains behind him... but he is focused on what matters. His eyes are fixed on the word of his Maker.

That is Josh.

^ this is one of the last "real" pictures taken of him. 

I could say so much more about this young man, but words are not everything. I have learned that in the past weeks. Besides, you can learn most about him by reading his blog. He writes of profound issues on there, with passion and conviction. 

For those of that knew him, his blog writings took on a deeper meaning than those who didn't. Because we saw him live. We saw that he longed for these things, but did not always achieve them. We saw him fail, get up, and try again. No, he did not live out perfectly the things he aspired to do. But he tried so hard. And he was not afraid to write what he wanted to be, even while knowing that he would not live them out perfectly. He was imperfect, but unafraid. That is one of the many things I admire in him.

I am so incredibly thankful for the time I had on Earth with Josh. So thankful. He inspired me, encouraged me, laughed at me, worked with me, even gently rebuked me. It is hard to explain just how much he meant to me. Right now, he's only a memory in my head, but in reality he is more alive than ever. Praise God.

To close, I'll share something I wrote several days after he died.

And Josh, remember our hike to Rainie Falls? I was so lucky to get to talk with you the way there. Of course, it was free will debate. And you laughed at how my Mother was enthralled by every single wildflower. Josh, be proud: my knee didn't bother me one bit. You were worried about it, but it held up.

I remember as we met a couple people walking the opposite way, you (being the awesome extravert you are) asked the man with the fishing rod, “Did you catch any?” He said he hadn't, and as they passed I saw the women behind him had a big net over her shoulder – with a water bottle in it. After they passed, we both mumbled, “Caught a water bottle, though.” Exact words; exact inflection. We did that so often it was scary.

And then, when we got to the falls, it was so beautiful I just stopped and stared. You said, “I can't help it” and ran out to one of the island-type rocks. You looked around and I could just feel that cloud-nine feeling emanating from you. Then you flexed your muscles, feeling like a man, on top of the world. I smiled. Then you came back and I pointed to the falls. “What do I do with that?” I asked. You knew, like you always did, just what I meant. What do I do with such beauty, too wonderful for words? Your answer will stay with me always, as the last thing you said to me on this old Earth.

“I seem to have written a blog post about that recently,” you said, laughing. “You can't take it all in, so you just take in what you can and enjoy it.”

And that I did. I don't know if you saw me, but I sat there, on a rock just over the falls, and stared and stared. Silent, alone. Just taking it in.

That is where I was sitting when Josh was swept away into Heaven.



Josh, my life is a writhing stew of contradictions right now.

I know everything is going to be fine – I feel like everything is never going to fine again. The difference? Know vs. feel. I know God is blessing me; I feel God is hurting me. I know you weren't meant to live past 19; I feel you were meant to live to 100. I know you're happy and I'd never take you away from seeing the face of God; I feel that I would, in an instant, if I could. I know I have a purpose; I feel like nothing matters anymore.

I've been talking to God about all this. I'm waiting for him, waiting for him to act. Waiting for him to change me. Waiting for this to pass. I'm waiting for real life, for real happiness, for real purpose to come again. I don't know how long I'll have to wait. All I know is there's a reason I didn't fall. Psalm 56, the last verse, says “For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” My work isn't finished, so I've got to get up and get to it. It's just so hard to do it without you, Josh.

I know God was right to take you. I know it was right, in my head. My heart is still trying to catch up. It means one thing to say whatever God does is right when you live a life like mine on May 4, but when you live it on May 5, it's a much different thing.

Lord, help me. I stand now only because of You.


Change My Name, Lord

I was listening to music and the first lyrics of this song caught my attention: "I haven't seen the sun in seven days."
It's been seven days.

The song has never meant so much to me. Read the lyrics and take hope. As much as I strive to change myself during this time, I cannot. I must wait, patiently, for Him to change my name.

I haven't seen the sun in seven days
I can't remember when I saw Your face
But I still believe that You led me through the wilderness
And You have not forgotten me through all of this

A million miles have led me to this place
Where all I've ever loved has been erased
Changing my song to a disenchanted lullaby
With a name I never really felt was mine

But I have learned that I can't earn any love You've given
So I'm finding hope in letting go of all that I have made

Because the pain defining me is holding me lifeless
So I am waiting patiently for You to change my name

Open up to my heart's surgery
The waiting rooms of my reality
Where I still believe there's a purpose to this pain inside
And You are not, not leaving me here to die

But formless hope will never know while the storm is raging
So I will strive to stay alive in these waves

Because the pain defining me is holding me lifeless
So I am waiting patiently for You
To change my name



"I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;

I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can't help
Dimly seeing there,

And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.

Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.

You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all."

-- by Roy Croft

Oh, Josh. You impacted my life more than I can say. Thank you. 

I will say more when I am able. But words are so inadequate. 

You will always be Ua to me.

See you in Heaven. I'm looking forward to talking theology with you again and I'm so jealous that you'll probably have most of Free-will figured out by the time I get there. 

As you always said:


Rose-colored glasses?

You know how certain things just stick in your mind? Well, one of those things is something that has been said about the INFP - my personality. It is that we see the world through rose-colored glasses.

Now my first reaction is to chafe at this. To see things as not the way they are means I'm blind! And after all, I'm a realist - just ask my sister. For instance, I view romance in a very logical (if not cynical) way, which irks her. (But maybe that's just because she's in love...)

But after that initial reaction, I begin to wonder if it isn't true after all... Consider this quote from yesterday's journal entry.

"On the way to band, I stared at the sky while driving, it was blue with puffy clouds - SO beautiful - and wondered if I really did see the world through rose-colored glasses. Why is everything so beautiful to me and not to many other people? Yeah, maybe other NFs, but that's about it. Like... are my eyes closed, or opened? Why is my backyard so wonderful over and over again? The sky has been blue with clouds many times, but that doesn't make it any less beautiful."

I tend to think that my eyes are opened to see beauty that others do not see. But maybe they're the ones who's eyes are opened. It is true that I forget about the world's suffering so often. I live in this column of Grace and blessing, and am repeatedly shocked by cruelty. Perhaps because I subconsciously thought the world was beautiful, and everyone as happy as I?

This thought sobers me and takes away whatever pride I might have had in my "open-eyed-ness." I never should forget the suffering that is all around, the evil that poisons the earth. Yes, the world is beautiful, but it is also terrible. Hmm.

So perhaps I do have those rosy glasses on after all. Perhaps it's because others see so clearly the sadness and tragedy of the world that they cannot see the beauty. Perhaps their eyes are the open ones.


Well, on a completely unrelated note, I thought I'd let you all know some random information.

I have Precordial Catch Syndrome and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.

PCS means I have occasional chest pains and can't take deep breaths. TMJD means my jaw pops when I open it and occasionally dislocates. Fun stuff, eh? The best part is, in both of these doctors aren't really sure what causes it.
But hey! I'm not complaining. My knee is fixed and these little problems are microscopic. Although I can't deny that sometimes I get rather frustrated with my weird body...

That's all, folks. Hej då!