March 23, 2014

On Being Brave

I sit quietly in my chair, tears rolling down my cheeks. I can hardly believe what I'm reading. Jason, deep in his own book across the room doesn't notice and that's fine with me. I don't really want to share this moment with anyone. Not yet. I sniff and look at the clock. I'm supposed to leave for a coffee date with a friend in a few minutes. I need to pull myself together.

After all, it's only a story, right?

I can't do it. I can't shake the sadness. Oh, I cheer up at coffee. My friend provides the perfect distraction. But even sipping my tea, I can still feel the weight of something-not-right. Heroines are not supposed to die. After giving so much, after surviving so much, they are supposed to live. To restore and heal and live.

So much of this story deals with healing and forgiveness. Potent messages that are not preached or pounded, but simply discovered. The characters are as surprised as we are to find that past wrongs, even grievous ones, can be overcome.

Why then, did the author choose to let the heroine die? I don't know. Her choice is unsettling, unhappy, but I respect it. And I respect how she handled the last chapters of the book afterward. Nothing rose-colored or happily-ever-after here. But there is courage. There is hope.

"There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn't.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.
That is the sort of bravery I must have now." 
-- Four (from Allegiant by Veronica Roth) 

March 17, 2014

In Which I Try to Talk Sense to my Heart

We probably looked a little strange, the three of us huddled around one video game. Jason and Caleb manned the guns on the deck of our virtual pirate ship, while I stood at the helm with ship's wheel in my hand.
"Here comes the kraken! Get it, Caleb!"
"We gotta avoid the shipwrecks, spin the wheel!"

I know people were looking at us. I saw one young man smiling our way. He came over later during a lull in our pirate adventures and handed us a wad of tickets he had just won at ski ball. A random act of kindness that did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Our hands got tired of pulling triggers after a while. We tried to interest Caleb in other games. Maybe the race cars or the whack-a-duck? Nope. He would not leave the pirate ship until we had beat every map, completed every quest. So we did. The three of us working together.

I've never beat a video game before. Feels pretty good. :)

I want to hold on to days like today. We've had a lot of good ones recently. And while I am grateful for each and every one, I find myself grabbing and clutching at them like a miser. Life is good right now. My hands and my time are full. I don't want anything to change.

My brain understands that's not a realistic expectation. Change is one of the few constants in the universe. Life sends challenges, God allows circumstances to mold and shape us. But my heart does not understand. It continues in a ridiculous hope that life can remain constant, always joyful, always ordered, always controlled. And even as I enjoy these lovely, full, busy days, my heart is afraid. Afraid I'll wake up tomorrow and these days will be over. Something will happen to throw my life into chaos again and I will be plunged into exhaustion and uncertainty and disarray.

So I grab and I clutch and I horde. And I wonder if I'll ever be courageous enough to open my hands and allow God to give or take away.

When did I become so invested in the status quo? Where did the adventurous girl who existed a year ago disappear to?

I have no idea. Questions for another day, I think.

Has it really been nine months since my last post? My jaw about dropped open when I realized that the last time I blogged, I had three kids in my house. Seems like ages ago. The Inkwell is still here, though. Like an old, faithful friend. It feels good to see it again, to feel the keys under my finger tips. It's been a long hiatus.

I guess we'll see where this keyboard takes me. :)