Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shadows

We drove through Montana today. It was just a normal drive, nothing special. I sat in the back and played taptap on my brothers iphone, until I'd had enough of skrillex and set all the new records. I watched "Pretty Woman," and afterwards read my book with earphones in to drown out the silence. I would look up out my window every once in a while to watch the mountains pass, and to let the thoughts on the page sink in, when all of a sudden, this random thought just hit me.
There are shadows behind those trees.
I had never noticed the darkness behind each tree. Yep, sure enough... not one tree was missing a shadow! I double checked, and rechecked. How could I have never noticed the black color on all the mountains? The sun is shining down! That means there's got to be a shadow, duh! I was sure that if I hiked up that mountain, and I stumbled onto that black ground, I would fall a million miles straight down into a pit of darkness deep in the earth. That's what it looked like as we passed. And then I began to wonder why I had never seen the mountains this way before. I had always noticed the front of the trees, and there color, height and fullness. Like scoping out a Christmas tree after Thanksgiving...
Every tree has a shadow, something black and dark behind them. A whole that looks so dangerous it could suck you right in... I'm sure most people, like me, don't notice the shadow. Everyone's caught up with the beauty the tree possesses in itself. Everyone just wants to see the front of the tree, the side lit up by the sun, no one wants to shiver in the shade. The shadow is cold, and dark, and well.. just not beautiful, and who would want to see that? The trees do a pretty good job of hiding there shadow, I'd say. I almost never caught it. But, it's got to be exhausting trying to keep the shadow hidden, probably a full time job.
I just wonder how long you can run from your shadow, and pretend life is perfect and everything is beautiful. Because life is beautiful, but sometime's it can get real messy, and I'm tired.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back on the Ranch

We pulled into Steamboat Springs, Colorado around 2:30 CO time, and took off to the river around 4:00. It was in the 90’s, and we were all hot. We climbed up two fallen trees, laying one on top of the other across the river, and jumped off into the fairly shallow water, only to get swept away by the small current. Sometimes I wonder why I never spent a summer here. I wish I had.
We got back to the ranch, and I found a horse saddled up and ready to ride waiting for me. Missy is her name. She’s an old horse, but I took her out to the field, and we found our rhythm trotting, cantering, and looping. 8 years!  It felt so good to be back in the saddle, which may sound funny coming from me. On first glance, I’m sure no one would’ve guessed that horses were my cup of tea. And I thought I didn’t care one way or another about them, since I’ve grown up, and become “too mature” for those childish things… but being back here, makes me miss the 3 hour drive from Denver. I miss running into the house to get greeted with hugs and ice cream cones. I miss immediately after our greetings and snack, running out to the fence to set up camp and stand on the wooden railing to pet the horses and tell them about my day. I miss the morning rides out through the field to the river, and galloping with my trusty horse Gambler and my sister right on my tail. I miss the speed, the wind in my hair, and the risk that came with it all. I miss it, and I like it, and I want to come back, because this place is only full of the best memories!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Every Crossing

I found myself out paddle boarding for the first time last week. First, I started out with lots of friends all horse-playing around on our boards. Boys tipping over and rocking the girls tanning on their boards, girls stealing the boys’ paddles and the like, all fun and games. When I finally got the board to myself, I wasted no time and took a paddle in hand, stood tall, and started a trek across the bay. I spotted a small green dock cover off in the distance and set my mind to reach it. At first, I really felt like I was flying. I was already almost to staff beach, which is quite a ways from camp. But, taking a look back at camp, it didn’t look too small… not like the green dock cover in the distance. THAT was much smaller.

And that’s how stories go. You start a story, and it just takes off, ZOOM, like that. But once you get to the middle, it kind of slows up, and you feel like after paddling and paddling your arms out, nothing is getting further away and nothing is getting closer, you’re just kind of stuck in the middle. You think you can feel the resolution coming, the feeling of getting off your board and walking on the beach on the other side. You think it’s going to happen fast, and you’ll be there in time for a good rest and lunch. But the truth in fact, is that, lunch will never happen, and the paddling won’t be over soon.
But see, the thing about stories is that, it’s never about the ending. It’s about the character, and how they are changed and molded by all the hard work in the middle. At some point the shore behind you stops getting smaller, and you paddle and wonder why the same strokes that used to really move you, now only rock the board. There are only two options when you get to this point: 
1)      stop
or
2)      keep paddling.
Every character in every story faces it. The conflict in the middle is what makes up the story… let me rephrase that, it’s not the conflict that makes the story, it’s the way in which the character changes from the conflict. What does the character learn? How do they grow? Does it make them into a better person?
It’s like this with every crossing and every story. You paddle until you think you can no longer bear it, and then suddenly, the green dock cover off in the distance begins to grow, and it grows fast. The trees get taller and you can make out the large rocks along the land. The shore sort of reaches out to you, to welcome you home, almost pulling your board up onto the sand.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Resistance in My Story

I'm reading a book by Donald Miller called, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In it, he constantly compares our lives to a story. Every story has a protagonist and antagonist, negative and positive turns, a beginning and end, things that pass right through, and characters that make a difference and know how to really live. All these things help make an interesting story. He talked about a book he had read about writing called, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. In this book, Pressfield says that it is critical to sit down and write everyday regardless of how you're feeling, because if you wait for inspiration to come, you may never finish your book. He says that every creative person, and probably anyone else, faces resistance when trying to create something good. He says, resistance, a kind of feeling that comes against you when you point toward a distant horizon, is a sure sign that you are supposed to do the thing in the first place. The harder the resistance, the more important the task must be. His thoughts reminded me of the resistance I'm feeling toward going to Costa Rica. When I think long and hard about leaving in two months, I really don't want to go. Why, right? It's a chance of a lifetime! I'm going to learn Spanish and help children learn English! I tell myself that I'll learn so much about myself and it'll be character building. I can come back and be whoever I want to be. I can take the time to change the things about myself that I don't like. I can learn, and grow, and experience life differently, and maybe that will help me live more fully. I will learn to appreciate all the good things I have in my life! All of this is great, yes, but the closer the date gets to leaving in September, the more resistance I feel. I just know it's really going to be a struggle. I can feel the panic of being alone, shaking my bones. It's going to suck for a while, I just know it. But maybe the good will outweigh the bad... it's hard to say. I'm really getting scared. All I can do is hop into the adventure, try to make the most of it, and hope for the best! But really, who has the pen here? Who's writing this story? I'm picking up the pen, and I'm going to make this experience count. Some people argue that God is the author of our stories, and maybe he ultimately is... but God gives us options, he let's us choose our direction --walk with Him, or walk away from Him. So, right now, I'm picking up the pen and writing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Surrounded

Sometimes loneliness finds a way to creep right on in, even in the midst of being surrounded.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Toy Box Concerts, Music Video's and Talk Show Guests

Often at night, I'll lay awake in my bed trying to grasp a picture of where my life is headed, or what I want the future to look like. I imagine myself a teacher, running around and playing with 3rd and 4th graders. Then I think about secondary education, and I see myself lecturing up front, but having deep meaningful conversations outside of class, and having youth groups over to my house on Friday nights. Then I picture myself running a business, decorating my own small bakery in a little town, baking away everyday. Then I picture myself traveling the world as a successful business woman, knowing multiple languages and selling medical drugs or something. Then I think, what if I became a physical therapist here in Coeur d'Alene and I owned a  house and boat on Hayden Lake. Then I picture myself living in a small house, and teaching Zumba classes everyday as a side job from being a mom. And then I think, maybe when I'm out of college, and I'm still young and single, I'll go find an apartment in Seattle and work at a fancy restaurant. But after all of these options run through my head I always go back to remembering my secret dream as a child.
I remember being a tiny tike growing up and playing library in my room with my brother, and school in the playroom by myself, and house in the small playhouse in the backyard with my sister. There was one thing that I loved more than pretending to be a librarian, a teacher, or a mom, it was being a famous musician. All the way up to when I was about 5 or 6 I would sing songs all day, just making up words that maybe didn't make sense, but it wouldn't matter, I just sang all day long. I would go down to the basement with my sister and we'd stand on our toy box in the middle of the room and sing Shania Twain's "Man I Feel Like a Woman" over and over with hairbrushes as our microphones, at a "sold out concert." When we got a little older we'd record ourselves, using our tape recorder, being "broadcasted on radio talk shows" as special guests. We'd make country music video's with the old video camera, and watch the top 25 greatest hits every morning in the summer. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them with enthusiasm, "I want to be a singer!!!" But as I got older I began to notice that the more people I told about my dream, the more I got shut down. People would laugh at me and say things like, "Well honey, you better start thinking of another dream, that's just not realistic." And at first, I didn't believe them, but eventually I stopped telling people what I wanted to be, instead my answer changed to something like, "Ummm... I don't know, I've never really thought about it." I've never told people I wanted to be a doctor, or a firefighter, or a teacher, I've always just sort of known my passion, and tucked it away, because it's "unrealistic."
And I'm not saying that now, at this age, I still want to become famous. I realize what fame can do to a person. I've believed what I've been told, that I'm not good enough, that I'd never make it, and it's just unrealistic. But I wish people's opinions had never had an effect on me in the first place, because I've been changed by them, and I'm not the same energetic, passionate little girl I once was. 
I wish I never listened to peer pressure, and I never had to battle with society's demands, but I think at some point, we all do. We all fall short of what we're meant to become. If only we knew how much we were capable of. If I could only see myself as I did when I was a kid, without the put downs and the doubts blinding me from potential, maybe then I would know what I wanted, and I would push for it until I made it become my reality.