Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Love God, Love People

This has been my first semester without any creative writing classes in college, and it's a funny thing. It's been a huge relief, honestly, just having the break from it. I don't know if it was having to write by deadlines all the time (something surely I'll have to get used to) or having to do an inordinate number of critiques, but it wore me the heck out. And now I'm not in any of them and I'm so glad. And I've found myself wanting to write on here the way I used to, thinking about ideas for my story about Adam and the wheat field--I still don't know where it's going to end, but the getting there is getting more and more detailed. And so while, as much as I love to write, I was ready to be done having to, if that makes sense, and now it's already building up in me again. And I'll tell you what, it's a wonderful feeling, wanting to write. I love words so much, but there have been several times in the last few months when I'd be all full of some frustration or just thinking a lot about stuff and I'd know I'd need to write out, whether to understand it or get it out or, every once in a while, make something nice, something I'll be proud of having written. And almost every time I wouldn't write. It felt like a chore, even though I knew how glad I'd be after I did it. So now all I'm thinking is how good it is feel the pull back. I love this, and I want this--words, I mean, just writing stuff out, all of me and always.

So now to the real part of the entry (I think):

First, I was standing by the sink earlier tonight and I was just thinking about a thousand different things going on in my life, how I don't know what's going to happen or what I want to happen, but I've always been the kind of person who has hypothetical conversations in my head. Not consciously, or even always to people, as in this case. I don't intend to have them, I just sort of realize that that's what I was doing. And it's not like rehearsal for what I'm going to say--not exactly, it's less than rehearsal, but if it were like that, then it would be for what I would say. Hypothetically. So.

Somehow all of that got me to thinking about how for so long after my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, I was a mess. A whole heap of different things in there, but one of them is bitter, and I still wonder if I'll ever completely heal there--that is, I'm so happy now and I just want to love people the best I can, but I'm wondering if I could even come remotely close to that with him, or if I'll always just have hard feelings there. I don't know. I hope not, I suppose, but there's not much conviction in that.
And so I thought about how it was true that I was okay and how that had everything to do with God, and everything to do with Colombia. And then it occured to me how much God used those four weeks there, and in so many different ways. Even now, seven months later, I'm seeing for the first time different ways being there changed me, and how it's almost like God's working backwards in me--things that are forefront now are reaching back to experiences from then.

First, Colombia showed me what it was like to love again. And I know how that sounds. Those awful I never thought I'd love again things, of which I'm just as guilty. Buh. But I don't mean that. I'm not talking about relationships with boys. I'm talking about loving people. I came across this verse tonight, Rom. 12:9. It says "Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tight to what is good." I still suck at loving people. Like, really badly. But I was completely closed off to any of it before. Not because I didn't want to or was angry at all the people around me or anything like that, but something along the lines--I think--of my heart just shrinking back in me and closing off to everything. I don't know what my thought process was then, and the more I write this the more stupid I feel and feel like I sound, but everything hurt. So badly I didn't think it would ever quit, and so it was all I could think of whether I wanted to or not. And because of that, everything else just sort of wasn't there. Everyone else. I was just closed off to it all.

Enter: Colombia. I fell in love with that country, with its people in every possible way I could. I fell in love with the mountains and the way the the clouds sometimes pulled away and the sky came through like the world being born all over again. I fell in love with the way David loved his music--I saw how openly and deeply and fully a person could love something, without hesitation or thought of anything else. I loved the people, even when it was hard, even when we got all the cultural things wrong and Alicia's dad and step-mom made us feel like we were imposing (and maybe we were). What I mean is that those aren't the things I remember. I remember Alicia's Tía hugging me and crying in the airport when we left, and I remember trying to know the people where language got in the way. And something about the way people hugged and kissed there. It was like I finally reached back out and it wasn't just that people were there, they were all reaching too, and suddenly my heart was bursting to love again, to love everything it touched. And it did.

Maybe it was a hundred different things. I don't know. Another thing--and this one's only come to mind in the last few days--but there's something about God's people of other cultures just loving him. I'll tell you what. I don't really have a lot to say about it yet, but I hope to.

But I do know this: there was something in that country and that people and in me and it opened me up to let the whole world in, and it filled me up with something that's bursting to love the whole world now, and it's all I could hope for, really.

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