Monday, December 12, 2011

Life = perspective.

Isn't it true that so often when we are passionate about something--a cause or effort, changing other's minds on a topic, our involvement with a group or organization--it is our current perspective which fuels that passion?

As a first-year student, I vividly remember getting blindsided by the paradigm shift that my individual perspective truly ruled my life.  How I was raised, where I grew up, conversations with friends, sports teams I was part of, classes I took and the many unique experiences of my life truly have an affect on how I view the experiences of daily life now.  Life is like a staircase, each moment building on the last.  At first I actually felt guilty about this, thinking I was somewhat at fault for not considering other perspectives more often. But, really, using perspective is a good thing. (usually!) It allows us to function in our daily lives, use prior knowledge to make decisions, and form opinions.  

This whole perspective things can also make things pretty tricky sometimes, too.  Huge controversies would come about (and often do!) simply because a person's life was filled with certain pieces and missing others.  

Now, as I reread this, it seems like I'm stating very obvious facts that need not even be thought about.  So, why?  Why have I been pondering the fact that life=perspective for a good 8 years now?  Why did it intrigue me so much when I was only four years old to lay in bed at night and ponder how different I would have been had my parents been different, had I lived in a different state.  Why is this notion so powerful to me?

I think it's really an adventure in empathy.  Instead of writing a person off as "stupid" when they respond poorly to a situation or make a bad decision, I want to know what past experiences they've had to push them to think the way that they do.  Instead of assuming I know what a person is going to do, or how they think, I want to consider my own beliefs and feelings and how they got there.  It's empathetic and compassionate to consider perspective instead of relying on judgement.

Admittedly, posted this about a month after I wrote it.  This topic makes me think really hard for a really long time, and even now I know it is only about 10% of my revelings about perspective.  Truly, thought processes like these really can never be finished, because my perspectives will change and I will learn and grow through them. 

And if the humbling process of life-long learning isn't one of life's joys, I'm not sure what is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shadows of Joy

Last night was filled with choosing a few wedding pictures to have printed, both for Brandon and I, and for our parents.  As I was flipping through the thousands of pictures (okay...1200: I rounded up) I was filled with so much joy.  Not only did I think back to how extremely happy I felt on our wedding day, I could see the joy on our faces and on the faces of our families and friends.  What a beautiful, inexplicable, overwhelming happiness it was, knowing that I was officially allowed to spend the rest of my life with a man whom I loved, but who also loved and cared for me in ways I didn't know were possible.  A man who made me want to be a better person, just by being near him.  Surely I floated two feet above the ground, taking in a day full of firsts as man and wife, and continue to as we live life together...

Now, there is a song called "Only a Shadow" that was sung at Chapel about a month ago.  The lyrics to this particular song struck me so much that I still find myself thinking about them, at least four weeks later.  It's about how as much as we love, believe, and dream--it can only ever be a shadow of how God loves us, has faith in us, and dreams things up for us.  

The very last verse of the song looks like this:

The joy we feel today, oh Lord 
Is only a shadow of your joys for us. 
Only a shadow of your joys for us 
when we meet face to face.

I think back to my wedding day and the joy I felt as I walked down that red-carpeted aisle lined with our family and closest friends in a lovely white dress towards the man I love. 

And that's only a shadow? Talk about powerful...

I have tried many times to wrap my head around the capacity of joy available when we meet God face to face if my wedding day was simply a shadow of it.  Attempting to imagine what this must feel like is incredibly overwhelming in an amazing way.  This love, this belief, this dream, this joy cannot be attained or even hypothesized while I am still human.  I do believe, though, that the tiny shadows of joy we experience are truly gifts from God and opportunities to share his love with others.  Everything which is good in my life is just a shadow of what can be in store for me when I meet Him face to face.

...what joy, indeed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

So much new.

It is crazy for me to contemplate how drastically my life has changed in the last 6 months, and also how incredible positive each change has been.  This life makeover was not something I planned for or anticipated, but it has been so welcome and refreshing.

In the last six months I:
1. Moved to a new city in a new state where I knew less than 10 people total.
2. Lived truly alone for the first time in my life.
3. Was more bored than I ever remember feeling.  This was during the month period that I was unemployed.  While I did read a lot and decompress from my previous, very challenging job, I also realized the intensity of my love for human interaction and contact.  I am most definitely more of a people-oriented person than a task-oriented person and felt the ramifications of that during this month period.
4. Started two new jobs.
5. Worked my first ever retail job @ the Gap.
6. Landed a position in my all-time dream career at an incredibly forward-thinking, friendly school with many   opportunities.  
7. Began seeing a chiropractor.
8. Planned a wedding.
9. Got married to the love on my life, propelling my bliss even further into the atmosphere :)
10. Changed my name.
11. Tripled number of family members.
12. Moved in with a boy.
13. Traveled to a new continent and 2 new countries!
14. Ate escargot.
15. Paid off my car loan.
16. Made minestrone soup.

Wow.  What a crazy, beautiful few months it has been.  Even though it was quite the whirlwind, I love how it's settling in and look forward to finding new amid the comfort of each day.

Live with joy,


Inaugural Address

Well hello, world.

After much consideration, deliberation, negotiation, and meditation, I have decided to become an official member of the blogging world.  I hope to use this as a place to give my thoughts and reflections space to marinate...a way to have a sounding board of sorts as well as to document what my current struggles and joys are.

Throughout my life I have always attempted to find the best in everything: people, situations, my surroundings.  At times I succeed and at times I fail miserably: I do believe that bliss is a perception and a choice, however.  That a person must be willing to stretch their mind in every circumstance and believe that it is all part of a journey of joy.

I look forward to sharing the various happenings on this humble journey God blesses me with.
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