Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Six Months < 6 Months

Today I received a letter. The letter was from my dear old self, wayyyy back in September! It was so lovely to read and to be able to reflect on what amazing things God can do with six short months, and how humbling it is that He would choose to rain down His blessings on me, even when I am not paying much attention.

Dear Tia,

It's September 29th and it's the first cold and rainy day of Autumn. I love living in Robson with so many of my friends, but the year has started off rough. I'm still feeling some of the pain from my surgery this summer, and I'm praying for God to provide the money to make it through my school year. Mum is home from the hospital and Dad is overwhelmed with taking care of everyone while dreading his own November surgery. I have had to give him an ultimatum: if he doesn't go through with the operation, I won't come home for Christmas.

I'm having a hard time seeing my parents so helpless, and find myself making plans to take care of my little sister and brothers. Worst case scenarios are where my brain goes when I am not heavily distracted and my Doctor said it's affecting my health. A lot of days, I can barely breathe.

I think God is trying to show my just how DESPERATE I really am. I long for commitment, yet I fear it; I yearn for romance with a future, yet I feel God showing me that now is not the time. It scares me, but I know God's hand is ever present on my shoulder and path. I have made a list of ways I want to grow this year and it hangs by my bed. More than anything, what I need is a desire to grow and right now I feel more apathetic. I'm asking--or plan on asking, if I'm really honest--God to change my heart into a heart of FLESH again; something has hardened it, and I haven't objected too strongly.

I hope that when I pick this letter up again, I will be thinner, but more than that I hope I will be happier, breathing, praying, and LOVING LIKE MY LORD DOES.

if I'm not...take heart. this year is not your whole life.

The Lord is With Me Like A Dread Warrior.

Tia xoxo

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dreaming of my Dreams

I actually dreamed about the Addams family the other night. My waking life desires were close enough to touch...until I woke up. At 21, I am just losing hope. I fear I will have no choice but to become a pageant-type mother who lives vicariously through her black haired, pasty white daughter. If I ever have a black haired, pasty white daughter. Only time will really tell.
Lately when I sit down and think of it though, I don't think it's really Wednesday that captured me so much as it was her morbid, mysterious, and melancholy air. I think I feel so attracted to her because I see those same qualities hidden deep within myself. A couple months ago, I saw a heart-wrenching musical called Nevermore that just brought me to tears. I saw it alone and found myself face to face with my own reaction.
I realized that when I experience art with a friend or classmate in tow I think very differently about the subject, constantly watching for my friend's approval of the piece and for their reactions in general. Riding transit alone, finding my way to the theatre alone, and sitting alone between two very squashy (but nice) old ladies, gave me ample opportunity to get to know myself and how I interact with the world as a solitary person. Come the end of the first musical number in the production, I was surprised to find at the back of my throat a most unexpected lump. By the time intermission rolled around, tears were streaming down my face and the squashy ladies were giving me sympathetic glances...I escaped to a glass of white wine and fresh lipstick (alone). At the end of the play, as I waited for an empty cab, I think I discovered that while I felt a definite connection to Edgar (Allen Poe, upon whose story the play was based), and my heart broke at experiencing his tragic and mysterious story, what I really found myself wanting was a place in that story. A place on the stage moving my body in the almost unnatural ways these actors used to portray their characters, a place in rehearsal being challenged by my director to dig within myself until I found the darkness needed to truthfully portray Elmira or Sissy. I wanted someone to ask me, "Tia, are you dark? Tia, do you know sorrow? Tia, will you let it out?"
The overall darkness of the production (proverbial and literal), made me realize upon further introspection, that everything I have envied in Wednesday Addams is the darkness and morbidity lurking deep within myself. As a smiler and a people person, I find myself hiding from anything other than that within me--even if what I conceal is true. My joy is safe and approved of by the people around me. I desperately fear the judgment that might come were I to reveal to my friends and family the dark things of my soul. Everything I loved in the characters, set, costumes, music, and general story of Nevermore depicted the 'role' I long to play in my life. I don't want to hide behind my smile (although my joy is real) because there is more to me than laughter, there's more to my heart than bright colours and a sanguine point of view. I am coming to terms with the grief I have experienced in my life so far, and I am no longer so ashamed of the attraction I have to melancholy music and poetry.
More than I have ever feared the darkness I feel so inclined to though, I fear that no person could love or appreciate, or most of all just believe in the truth of this dark soul. It is not a despair that I harbour in my soul, rather a darkness that recognizes the hope in the light. It is not so much of an opposite to my loving and joyful nature as it is a reflection of my experiences and the suffering I have seen, little black beads stringing together a rosary of little (and big) sorrows that strengthen and justify my true joy, and the consolations of Christ that heal my broken heart.
If you're asking, I am dark, I know sorrow, and I want to let it out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Staunchly Liturgical and Loving It

Reflections of a Humbled Roman Catholic

I remember cutting an article out of the Mars’ Hill (my university's student newspaper) a year or two ago, which discussed the spiritual diversity of our campus. In it, one of my wise evangelical friends quite innocently mentioned what he seemed to think were two opposites: Protestant “Charismaniac” and “Staunchly Liturgical” Catholic.

At the time, I was still very much on my guard and pridefully fearful concerning my Catholic faith and the way I practised it. It was almost as if I expected to be offended by sloppy language or by ignorant hole-dwellers at every turn. The accusation that I was a polar opposite of charismatic, and ‘staunchly’ anything, really ticked me off.

‘Don’t you know, Mars’ Hill writer, that I am quite charismatic myself when given the opportunity?’ I shouted in my brain. ‘Don’t you know that you don’t know me?’ Well apparently, I didn’t know myself very well either.

While a perfect storm has been brewing in my head since reading that article and posting it on my bulletin board all those months ago, I have been trying to come up with a noble way to ‘defend myself against the haters’ who accused me of this heinous crime. Quite recently, a curious professor challenged me in class to look at what shapes my lifestyle, and I was forced to think on the spot about the culture surrounding my spirituality. I realized, to my embarrassment and excitement, that I am staunchly liturgical!

My life, spiritually and generally, is shaped around the liturgy. It is through the liturgy, through the ancient prayers of David, Mary, and the Church Fathers, repeated and relived through the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours (the two official prayers of the Roman Catholic Church) that I have come to know and grow
in Christ.

It would be unthinkable for me to miss Mass on Sunday and painful for me to go too long without the sacrament of Confession. While you may catch me praying in tongues under my breath or raising my hands to our Lord in Praise Chapel, I can also be found in that posture during a recessional hymn after Mass. I am most at home on my knees before a tabernacle with a missal or rosary in my hands, praying in the ancient liturgical (but often fresh and charismatic) tradition that I am so proud to be a part of.

Friday, March 19, 2010

my fears

fingertips and tailbone aching,
torn heart breaking,
why do the ones we love
hurt us most deeply?
i am so afraid.
what if i can't do this?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I am Crazy.

Tomorrow morning I'm waking up at five to stand in line to sign up for a hockey game.

Monday, March 8, 2010


to the one who
burned me:
i hate you.
with all of my charred heart,
i love you.
which is not awkward
and entirely comfortable.
and i'll bring you milk and honey
even if i need
to break my bones
climbing the hills
and milking the brown cows
to get it for you.
even if the bees sting
while i fetch your honey-
you break me worse,
you burn me worse,
you sting me worse,
you love me worse,
"my little bee".
you'll change the world,
you broke my heart.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I prefer to end sentences with prepositions, so I will tell you where my Lord is at.

Psalm 73

How good God is to the upright, the Lord, to those who are clean of heart!
But, as for me, I lost my balance; my feet all but slipped,
Because I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they suffer no pain; their bodies are healthy and sleek.
They are free of the burdens of life; they are not afflicted like others.
Thus pride adorns them as a necklace; violence clothes them as a robe.
Out of their stupidity comes sin; evil thoughts flood their hearts.
They scoff and spout their malice; from on high they utter threats.
They set their mouths against the heavens, their tongues roam the earth.
So my people turn to them and drink deeply of their words.
They say, "Does God really know?" "Does the Most High have any knowledge?"
Such, then, are the wicked, always carefree, increasing their wealth.
Is it in vain that I have kept my heart clean, washed my hands in innocence?
For I am afflicted day after day, chastised every morning.
Had I thought, "I will speak as they do," I would have betrayed your people.
Though I tried to understand all this, it was too difficult for me,
Till I entered the sanctuary of God and came to understand their end.
You set them, indeed, on a slippery road; you hurl them down to ruin.
How suddenly they are devastated; undone by disasters forever!
They are like a dream after waking, Lord, dismissed like shadows when you arise.
Since my heart was embittered and my soul deeply wounded,
I was stupid and could not understand; I was like a brute beast in your presence.
Yet I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand.
With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor.
Whom else have I in the heavens? None beside you delights me on earth.
Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever.
But those who are far from you perish; you destroy those unfaithful to you.
As for me, to be near God is my good, to make the Lord GOD my refuge. I shall declare all your works in the gates of daughter Zion.

I am so grateful that my God is faithful even while I wander. Lord, teach me to be faithful as You are faithful, to love like You love, and to open up my broken heart to Your healing power.