Signal

I just found something I wrote a long time ago about something I’ve run into consistently with people. This helped me understand it in a different way as well as articulate it in a way that uses my culture to help others understand it more clearly. Which made me think about making meaning with cultural contexts, but that’s another topic ūüôā here’s a little poem: 

I’m like a weak wifi signal – 

I struggle to connect.

And when I take too long, 

I’m just another network

They push a button to forget.

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It’s a Friday in May. It’s another end of a college semester. Only it’s not just. It’s my last end of a college semester, because tomorrow, I graduate.

I have spent four years six hours away from home in a new state near a big city at my small school.

Around this time of year people start getting nostalgic, especially those of use who are graduating. We start reflecting on our time and memories from college and what’s ahead for us. There are a lot of lasts and a lot of goodbyes. Lately I’ve heard and read a lot of fellow graduates’¬†thoughts on how they changed during these last four years, and how they are different people¬†from the freshmen just beginning this strange middle ground of not-quite-adult-yet. And a lot has happened in these last four years. But as I’ve been reflecting on my time, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m¬†not¬†a different person from who I was when I moved here.

During my time in college I’ve been stretched and challenged in many ways. I’ve had to work harder than ever before to have academic success. I’ve met a lot of people and had amazing and challenging¬†relationships. I’ve had the privilege of having many amazing experiences out in schools, in the jobs I’ve had here, and in volunteer work. I’ve gotten to do some cool things in the city. I’ve been able to be involved in leadership at my school. I’ve grown closer to God and seen and been involved in some amazing work of the Spirit. I’ve done a lot of things I’d have never thought I could, and I can see that I have grown in many ways. But I don’t feel different from what I was four years ago. I feel¬†more.

I don’t think I have changed much. I think I have become more of what I already was. Sometime last year I realized that there’s a lot that I hold back, that I’m not willing to risk. A lot of things about myself I’m scared to fully be. And in the midst of wishing that I could unapologetically put my full self forward without shrinking back, this phrase came to mind: someday I’ll be all of me.

These last four years have been spent becoming stronger, more confident, and better at being me. Not only have I more fully realized and understood my passions; I’ve been able to¬†live¬†them. Not only have I decided what I wanted to do with my life; I’ve started to¬†do¬†it. Not only have I identified more of my strengths; I’ve had opportunities to use them. I’ve discovered more of who I am supposed to be, and I’ve become more of that. And now, more than ever, I believe that I will continue developing, continue discovering my gifts and how to use them, and find the right place with the right people to give those gifts to.

These last four years taught me that people make me stronger and hard things help me learn. Darkness never lasts and shadows always shift.

I’m fearful about my next transition as I leave what has been my home for the last four years and step forward into the most alone and unknown period of my life so far. But I’m also excited and thankful. Because now, more than ever, I believe I’m more than I once was, more than I thought I could be, and will be more than I am now. I’m the same me that I was four years ago, moving my things in for the first time, as I am now, moving it out for the last. In fact, I’m more of me.

And someday – someday I’ll be all of me.

Yield

I took this picture because I was loving the sunset. I didn’t even notice the sign. But when I was looking back through my photos I loved this one because of the sign, as I started considering the word. Yield means to surrender or submit. It’s something I’m being challenged to do lately, as a lot of things are out of my hands and a lot of things seem scary and unknown. But yield also means to produce or provide. And I realized the yielding in my life is a bit of a quid pro quo – one that I’ve seen over and over. When I let go of what feels safe and open up my hands and hold out the things they hold – my experiences, abilities, hopes, and efforts – I make connections with others, receive opportunities, invest in important things, and develop and grow. But my life won’t yield any of those rewards¬†until I’ve yielded what I have to give.

Shortly before I took this picture I was walking through a field listening to my swirling thoughts and found a wistful patch of dandelions. I wished on one, and do you know what I asked for? The first word that came to mind. Life. Because I’m about to build one for myself from the ground up, and there’s so many things I’m unsure of. I don’t know what to make my foundation out of, how to design a structure that is both safe and beautiful, or what tools to use. But I do know that the yield of everything we long for comes after we yield the things we are tempted to hold onto most tightly. And then we find life.¬†True, real, vivid life. So when I see the need in my life to yield, it’s not only a reminder to surrender what I have to give, it’s also a sign that I will soon have a life-giving harvest.

This sign is a command, but it’s also a promise.

Water Color

I heard this one night while watching the sun set over a pond.

 

The golden glow is rippled

By shifting, flowing pixels

That take the sun and flip it upside down

To paint it in a liquid picture.

Frontier

 

It all used to be like this –
Open sky, open land,
All untouched, all uncharted,
Every eye saw every star.
Now some never see and some are never seen.

Were we made to explore,
To be pioneers?
Were old lands meant to be new frontiers?
Or were we made to be grounded,
To be settlers?
To find our place and cultivate,
Instead of constantly trying to recreate
Newer, better worlds?

It’s shifting away from this –
Closed-in skylines, polluted light,
Blanketed cities, clouded minds.
Every star is overshadowed
As if progress was all that mattered.

The work of my hands 

Usually I post what I create with my mind, here’s something I’ve created with my hands. Doing some experimenting with handlettering some my favorite words and phrases.

Haiku

Haiku capture a single, simple moment in nature. They are a transcription of the voice of the earth speaking its mind. Here’s one of mine.

The sun bows its head

Gold fingers weaving through grass

Drawing its hand back.

I also found another version I wrote a while back:

Sun casts long shadows

Selecting where it singes

Fingers combing grass

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