Dec 27, 2008

rhythm of winter

each time i visit home i am knocked off my feet with the same uncomfortable period of adjustment. the first three days are terribly painful. it is as though a dark cloud of melancholy follows me wherever i go, blocking out any chance of happy rays of sunshine. then, by the end of the third day i am comfortable and in routine with the culture of the midwest.

this trip it was through the words of a friend that i was able to cross the awkward threshold of west-coast california meets the frozen tundra of minnesota. his words shooed away the raincloud that stunts my contentedness. this friend of mine and i were sharing a cup of coffee and conversation when i shared with him that i am not particularly fond of the bone-chilling weather; that in fact, i hated it. he responded with an invitation to see the beauty in the season. to my friend, his life is lived in rhythm with the changing of the seasons. the ways he described this lifestyle was so poetically articulated that the once upon a time embedded appreciation i held for minnesota was immediately resurrected.

now, as i sit in my old favorite coffee shop 'blue monday', i see that there truly is a certain rhythm to living in a state that offers a deeply unpredictable weather pattern. i am surrounded by knitted scarves, furry hats, and enormous winter jackets. but we are all nestled in the warmth of our towney coffee house, gazing out the windows at the blankets of snow that cover main street. this is a contagious life-beat that i am actually (thanks to my friend's description) excited to get in-sync with once again.

Dec 13, 2008

future bethel student

today i found a large, white envelope in the mailbox addressed to ms. brianna millett. it was from bethel university. inside i found a letter that read, "dear brianna, congratulations! we would like to welcome you as a student to bethel university for the fall semester of 2009..."

Dec 11, 2008

beginning song of myself...

sometimes i take an inward glace at myself and focus in on the areas of interest that are "me". i have noticed that i am not just one thing. you know how there are those people who are really good at something? johan santana rules as a lefty pitcher, c.s. lewis revolutionized the world of christian literature - make that literature as a whole, ansel adams defined black and white photography, walt whitman continues to influence people to find their own "song of self"...the list goes on and on. in each of life's passions/interests/professions there are people who are the masters of it. i have decided that i am the jill of all trades; though (sometimes sadly) a master of none.

often times i get insecure about this part of me. shouldn't i have one direct path in life that i follow whole-heartedly? i suppose i do, and that is the path of christ. but i'm not really talking abou that. tomorrow i will be turning 27 years old. for some strange reason i am looking forward to this year, but with it comes a temptation to look back on the years that have preceded it. what have i accomplished? well, i've milked a couple cows, served up a bunch of pizza and beer, snapped a ton of photographs, written some horrible poems with a couple decent ones, i've been in love (i think. it was a young sort of love, but it might have been love. i'm not sure...) coached cross country, lead a handful of different small groups, mentored a few lovely ladies, and i've increased my big foam finger collection from 1 to an impressive 8. if you take an aerial view of my life you would grow dizzy with the web of directions it has taken.

even still i am adding another interest to the pile of tattered accomplishments by pursuing my b.a. in english and theology. i love the world of literature and writing. but if you were to ask me to name some of the greatest poets that ever lived, i would stumble my way around digging for an answer. in my early twenties i studied photography for two years under one of the most incredible teachers around, but if you were to ask me to show you my portfolio, i would extend an empty hand. i ran a marathon two years ago, and i am in training for my second race this june; but if you were to compare me against the girls that i coach you would quickly realize that i am harldy worth a second glance. the point of all of this introspection is not to test my value as a person only to find out that i have failed horribly over the past 27 years. but it is to give myself an opportunity. to begin creating my very own "song of myself".

the fact of the matter is i am not a master of anything. in my little world i hold dozens of different interests and to be honest, i want to do them all. i love to teach, write, read, run, photograph, listen, speak, and i often times jump off the deep end and float back to the starting line with the colorfully decorated parachute of life. this 3 sentenced conclusion is the opportunity i have granted to myself and it has already offered the empowering confidence i need to make my 27th year of living just as gaudy and adventures as the rest of them.

Dec 6, 2008

stress and the prophet isaiah

i have officially decided that i'm a little bit stressed. it's hard for me to recognize when this debilitating state of mind greets itself at the door of my being, for rarely do i feel the effects of it. but i've concluded that by the new family of friends making home on my face, otherwise known as horrifically ugly, depressing, and self-confidence crippling zits (is there anything that makes a person feel more unattractive???) sleepless nights, and a tornado of thoughts that are as tangled and disheveled as the ratty hair of my niece after she wakes up from a nap. yeah-i'm stressed.

as i creep into the last 6 months of my internship i find myself in a position of questioning. through many months of prayer i have sensed that the next adventure for me is the completion of my b.a. degree from bethel university. so, two months ago i sent in my application andwith that i invited complete strangers some 1800 miles away to determine the next couple years of my life. this is the only plan that i have. there is no back-up. as the weeks pass i receive emails from BU that say the same thing:  "thank you for applying to BU, we should have a decision soon." soon my ass. they seem to be on god's time-line rather than the impatient one that i hold.

although there are days when stress runs through my veins like boiling lava, my soul remains calm. i have been spending time in lectio divina the past few weeks and it has proven to be a meditative exercise that re-directs my doubting mind to the faithfulness of the cross. there is a passage in isaiah that god has used time and time again in my life as a solid foundation for me to lean upon. the opening words "do not fear" wrap around my body like a warm blanket and at once i am lost in a sea of tranquility. what is there to fear? in the whole grand scheme of life, with god as my god, there truly is nothing that i need to fear, worry, or doubt.

so, i will continue to wait in this season of unknown, as awkward as it is. and i will take the truth of isaiah and use it as a beacon of hope to light the darkness of my night. the fact of the matter is is that "do not fear" is actually a command, and therefore to worry is sin. my human nature cannot see the colorful array of possibilities that await my company at the end of my internship. but i can lean into truth and walk forward, keeping my gaze fixed on the one who says, "for i am with you". 

Dec 3, 2008

holy sonnet #14

as i crawl through the process of formulating my second paper for british literature, i stumbled upon a sonnet by john donne that demanded my attention. as i meditated over the carefully crafted words of this early 17th century poet, his sonnet slowly shaped itself into a prayer of my heart.

holy sonnet #14

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise adn stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new...