Friday, April 30, 2010


Today I am struck by the transience of this world. As I begin to face goodbyes, I realize there are people who come into our lives, rub against us, nestle up to us, and then disappear, perhaps never to be seen again. I have friendships from college that I know will never end. But there are other faces I have come to love—professors that have mentored and invested in who I am, fellow writers I have sat next to in class for at least four semesters—and once I leave this campus I don’t know if I will ever see them again. Some of them will move from my life and I will hardly blink. But others, I feel this stab of loss, sense the desire to linger a little longer.

I don’t believe the human heart was ever created for separation. We don’t have a place in our brain to process the gaps completely. We just learn to cope, move on. Train our hearts to steel themselves and take another step.

I never fully understand what I have until it’s gone. I’ve seen these faces every week for years and taken them for granted. But now, I want to touch them, remember their faces. I want to acknowledge that they have touched me. And I wonder just how much our fingerprints will linger on each other’s souls. I wonder what God had in mind when he sent us all to be in the same place at the same time. I wonder about transience, and if it will all have a point someday.

And as I wonder, I mourn. I’ll be saying goodbye to someone or something nearly every day for the next twelve days. It’s hard. I want to just skip the end, jump in my car and leave it all behind. But I don’t think I can. I’ll carry it with me, in form or another. So I have to stay to finish and say farewell and hope for see you later. I have to experience the pain, and then let God heal my heart to carry me on to something new. I have to know that I am changed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Rollercoaster

Yesterday, I strapped myself in for the final rollercoaster ride of the semester and my undergraduate career. If I go a little insane over the next three weeks here is why:

I am writing a fiction manuscript about a cantankerous older woman in Nebraska who refuses to evacuate during the threat of a propane explosion. She is convinced that this fire is God’s judgment coming for her, and somehow it is my responsibility to convince her otherwise (through the use of another character of course), without making the whole situation sound cheesy, ill-written, melodramatic, or unbelievable.

Secondly, I just signed my life away to Fringe Fest. Next Thursday and Friday my playwriting class will all be producing the ten-minute plays we’ve been writing this semester. There are nineteen of us. So in the course of the next week I will be rewriting and producing my own play about an abused woman and her sister. I’ll be directing my classmate’s play about friendship and the perils of miscommunication. And I’ll be acting in another classmate’s play, taking on the role of a fairly wild woman who has dumped her illegitimate daughter into her older and more responsible sister’s care. But of course, we are all rewriting our plays through this process, so who knows where we’ll all be in seven days.

So if you try to call me in the near future, I might not answer. Mostly because I won’t be able to hear you over the multitudes of characters living, breathing, and talking inside my head. Some people think being a writer is a boring life, but it only appears that way to those who don’t know any better.

I’ll also be finishing a literature course, studying Chinese, mailing out graduation invitations, researching grad schools, writing a curriculum vitae, planning a menu for an open house, saying goodbye to friends, and packing to move. And we’re off.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I bought my plane ticket for India today. In exactly four months from yesterday, I will be setting foot on Indian soil for the first time. I’ll dawn a sari and pull my hair back into one long braid. I’ll strap on my sandals and hopefully find paths to walk through the streets and the slums, into the hearts of the Indian people and the God who loves us both so strongly. I expect the unexpected. To be shocked, riveted, captured, enthralled. To weep and laugh, dance and rage. To be faced with questions, injustice, and a God who’s bigger than them all. I expect to be awed into silence and to crawl my way out with words. It gives me goose bumps to think about it, because I’ve got a receipt in my inbox that says I’m actually going.

Monday, April 5, 2010

One Word Past My Own...

Today I don’t want to write. I’m tired, and I look backwards at all the pages and hours and drafts and semesters, and I wonder, isn’t that enough? Can’t I quit now?

But now is when I have to write. I have to keep going, because it’s after this moment when my words might take on something more than I can give. When I’ve written every sentence I know to write and then I write some more—well God must surely indwell within some of them.

It’s easy to start something. Raw energy, new material, fresh perspective. It’s not always easy to finish, to run mile 25 and 26 when you’re already covered in sweat and your feet ache and you think, “Hey I’ve run 24 more miles than most other people I know.”

Right now I’m staring at a finish line. My diploma is waiting at the end of this season’s race. And I’m going to make it. The question is, will I walk or will I run to claim it? I’m close enough I could slack off, slow down, give just enough to walk across the line and get my finisher’s medal, but what about finishing strong? What about pushing through the pain and running, teeth gritted, head thrown back, heart pumping till it might break out of my chest, full-on run. That’s what I envisioned at the beginning of this semester. I still want it now. But there are a million small moments in the next thirty days when I’m going to have to choose to keep going. And the first one is right now.

I know it’s worth it. I have so many good reasons to talk myself into just finishing. I have no excuse not to finish reworking another draft on my final manuscript other than the fact that I don’t want to. Sometimes it’s painful to rip something apart that you’ve already accomplished, to admit there are flaws, and to believe in the process strong enough to undergo the pain of surgery and correction. And it takes energy and time, when honestly I’d rather go to sleep or turn on a movie… anything that takes less work.

But I can’t. That’s the only answer I have. There’s too much at stake. I’ve worked too hard and come too close to give up now. And there’s something beautiful to be said about finding a nook of beauty beyond myself, of discovering God writing something within that I did not know existed, at coming to the end of my strength and finding God has the muscles of heaven willing to carry me if only I’m willing to take one more step.