Voices in the Wind

I see flashes of red and gold blow by the window. I am safe here, protected from the wind and the chill.  I should be content to stay here in the house.  Should be.  But something is calling me, pulling me.  It’s tugging at the little hollow place where my ribs come together.  The center of my being.

I yank on my boots.  Warm and black and rubbery.  Designed to keep out wet and dirt.  I wrap the yellow scarf around my neck.  Bright and happy.  Why am I not content to stay in this refuge from the outside world?  Something is out there, drawing me on.

In my haste I slam my fingers in the closet door.  Pain!  Flash of white hot light!  I consider stopping to get some ice to calm the throbbing in my hand.  No time, no time!  Nothing can divert me from reaching out and answering that call.

One step and I’ve left the safety and protection of the house.  A chill runs down my spine as a cool breeze toys with my hair.  I can feel it here too, even stronger than before.  The desperation in the hollow of my stomach is large and round and hard, pushing out all other thoughts and feelings.

Down the gravel path, crunching, grey, determined.  I see the trees before me, purple and orange and red.  They are waving to me, beckoning to me, inviting me to join them.  I run, almost fall, keep running.  I must get to the woods!  The pulsing in my chest is so strong, I know I’m close.  If only I can reach it before it overcomes me!

Suddenly the path is no longer gravel.  The moist earth beneath me, spongy and welcoming.  Shadows fall across me, and I am here.  The insistence in myself that was so consuming is now gone, leaving in its place a quiet.  I listen.  Whispers of the leaves as they fall from above, joining their brothers and sisters on the ground.  Creaking and groaning of trees as they speak to each other.  If only I knew what they were saying.

Burst!  A fresh gust of wind blows through the majestic trunks, swirling and wrapping around them like a river.  It takes hold of my hair and throws it in all directions.  It blows in my ears and eyes and nose, sniffing me, touching me, testing me.

I can understand!  “What a strange being to be out here in the wide cold world” says the gust blowing through my clothes.

Why are you here?” demands the powerful wind wrapping around my neck.

My throat feels hoarse.  Dare I speak?  Will human words uttered out loud defile this moment and break the spell?  But if I don’t answer will they abandon me, thinking me to be only another dumb creature, lumbering by and taking no notice?

So I whisper as softly as I can, afraid of the sound of my own voice, “I was called here.”

Oh!” they all cry and go rushing away.  I feel deflated, as if they have left and taken a piece of me along with them.

But then I feel the slightest tug on my shirt.  A little breeze, that I hadn’t notice before among all the turmoil, had remained.  It must have been a young wind, for it was very small, hardly more than a breath of air.  It climbs up my body until it reaches my ear.  I can barely hear it, but it trills in its gentle whispery breath “I know what you’re looking for.  I can take you there if you wish.”  I only nod my head, terrified that I will startle this one too, and it will leave me as well.  Yet, as small as it is, it must be the bravest of all the Winds for it stays with me.

Gently, ever so gently, it wraps itself around my hand and leads me deeper into the woods.  Farther and farther, how far I do not know.  I am too captivated by the magic of the situation to notice much else.  Finally we stop.  We’ve reached a clearing ringed by trees.  The sunlight breaks through the leaves here, dancing on the ground carpeted in a soft and welcoming bed of leaves.

All is still for a moment and I’m afraid that the little breeze has left me, but I had no reason to fear.  Quiet, ever so quiet, I hear the word “Listen.”

At first all I hear is the tumultuous sound of my own breathing.  Slowly it returns to normal.  The bump, bump, bumping of my heartbeat in my ears.  The throb, throb, throbbing in my hand returns.  I am impatient, waiting to hear…what?

Then something inside me clicks.  I hear them.  The voices of the leaves.  They are quiet, oh so quiet, I would never be able to hear one by itself.  Together, they sing their song.  They sing of dying, slowly dying, but not to no end.  They are dying so that there can be new life.  They sing of the One that came before them, the One they model themselves after.  He, too, died to bring the world New Life.

The trees add their voices to the song, singing of winters past, and the winter to come.  Singing, knowing it will be hard, but they will make it through, and will be even stronger on the other side.

The sunlight laughs, shining on everything, bringing light to all.  No matter how great the cold, or deep the frost, or painful the change, it will always be there.  Singing, laughing, bringing joy to all who look upon it.

The wind returns, adding its harmony to the others.  Determined.  Persistent.  The wind bears the task of changing the seasons, bringing warm and cool air, each in their turn.  It sings of always moving, never resting.  Touching all and seeing all, it tells of places unseen and stories untold.  No one knows from where it comes, or the place to which it goes.

I listen.  I can hear them!  The song that they all sing, the tales that they tell, the lessons that they all have for those who are willing to listen.

Slowly the sun begins to sink, drawing night into the world.  Shadows deepen, and all prepare for sleep.  I can still hear their song, but I am now aware of my body as well.  There is no telling how long I’ve been standing here, in rapture to the words I was hearing for the first time.  I am shaking, chilled to the core.  My muscles ache, complaining of the strain I’ve so uncaringly put on them.  I know I must go in, but I never want to leave this place.  I want to stay and listen.  I want to hear the strains of snow adding its beautiful voice to the others.  I want to listen as the flowers emerge and life returns to the world.  But I know that even if I go in now, I will be able to return and listen to the songs of nature once again.

For once you have learned their language, you will always hear Voices in the Wind.

This is a story I wrote a long time ago, but just recently re-read.  I hadn’t remembered why I’d liked it so much, but I think I reminded myself.  For that is the power of writing.  To capture the world you see in your head, to share it with others, to preserve it so you can re-enter the land of your dreams.  I don’t want to be a professional writer.  But I love it.

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Me

Who am I?

The soul-searching question that many ask themselves and few are able to answer.  Scientifically we know that our past actions and surroundings play a part in who we are at present, and our actions now change our future.  We are genetically set up from birth to look a certain way, to have a distinct personality, to become a specific person.

But how can we sum up in just a few words the complexity of human nature?  Is there one word that is capable of capturing past, present, future, mistakes and failures, hopes and dreams?

I WAS so young and unsoiled.  I loved nothing more than to enter the magical lands of my books or to create worlds of my own.  I believed in fairies and truly thought Peter Pan would come for me one day.  The world was good.  Life was beautiful.

But through years of sickness and hardship I became hardened and afraid.  An insatiable depression swallowed me alive, burying my hopes and dreams in its inky despair.  I would lay in bed and not even have the energy to cry.  I didn’t dream anymore – my daytime imaginations had dried up and turned sour, and the only dreams I’d have at night were nightmares.

Only by the power of Christ did I come out from under that weight of Darkness.  His Grace poured over me, cool and sweet, soothing the crack and sores of y spirit.  He lifted me out of sickness and despair and set me in a safe place.  Trials of life still reach me, and sometimes drag me down.  But I face them stronger and wiser than before.  On days I fall back into the trap of hopelessness, I know there is a way out, a place of Salvation.  I AM alive!

So it is there, in Him (my Savior) that my hope for the future rests.  One day I would like to have a husband to call on and children of my own.  I would love to publish my writings (nonsensical scribbles though they may be).  I want to go into ministry and pour into the lives of others.  But all of that comes after and through One Person – MY HOPE – Jesus.

We move, we change, we love, we hurt, we stumble our way through life trying the best we know how.  Each one of us is so different, strange and complex.  But we share one thing, the one word that encompasses our lives, troubles, mistakes, hopes and dreams – who we were, are, hope to be.

We are HUMAN.

Above is a writing assignment I completed a few weeks ago, and I was fairly pleased with the way it turned out.  We were supposed to analyze ourselves – who we were, are, and hope to be.  I tell the story, vague as it is, of my life.  I became a Christ follower when I was very young, but only just a few years ago did I learn to love and rely on that Christ as my best friend.  This is my story.  This is me.

And this is the story of all of us.  We are human.  Human nature is not a bad thing, no.  We are created by a Great and Powerful God in His image, just the way He’d have us.  It is our SIN nature that drags us down and causes us to be less than He intended.  Yet we find REDEMPTION from all in the pure and beautiful Savior – Jesus Christ.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The One About The Hunger Games

May the odds be ever in your favor.

If you are one of the millions hooked on The Hunger Games, just reading that simple phrase will send shivers down your spine.  Anticipation, fear, excitement, horror, romance, and terror, all wrapped up in one.  But why?  What is the craze all about?

I have been asked multiple times why anyone would want to read a book or watch a movie that features kids killing other kids.  It got me to thinking.  Why does everyone love this concept so much?  And more importantly, why do I love it so much?

In order to answer this question, we may have to go back to the beginning.  Not the very beginning…I wasn’t there then.  No, we must return to the fateful night that I first set eyes on Katniss Everdeen.  Mom and Sierra were at a photography class, and I was in charge of the young ones.  After putting everyone to bed I decided to start reading a book we’d just gotten.  I probably wouldn’t have even heard about this book until after the movie came out, except for (duh, na, na!) FATE.  A friend of ours was hosting a book club and had invited us to attend.  The title of the book: The Hunger Games.

Nine o’clock at night I began.  “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold“. Captured by the characters, enraptured with the writing, there was no turning back.  Mom and Sierra got home, hugged me, went to bed.  I remained on the couch, reading furiously.

Three o’clock in the morning (six hours later), four words remained.  “END OF BOOK ONE“. In a daze I wandered to bed.  Images of burnt bread, mockingjays, mutts, and fire floated through my mind.  It was like my brain had been consumed.  All that remained was the hollow remnants of a captivating plot.

In truth, The Hunger Games does not have much literary merit.  I tell people, reading these books is barely one step above watching TV.  So how do I (someone who is in love with authors such as  Dickens, Twain, Austen, Stowe, and Alcott) find such great pleasure in the writings of Suzanne Collins?

Perhaps her style, if not her content, is what originally drew me in.  Up until that point I had read very few books written in present tense.  If you compare the sentences “I looked into his icy blue eyes” and “I gaze into his icy blue eyes”, which one do you enjoy more?  Most people do not even realize what tense they’re reading (and a skillful writer will make you forget), but subconsciously, do we notice?

Back to the original question.  How can anyone enjoy a book that features the murder of kids?  Maybe because it’s not that far-fetched. 

Our society already takes great pleasure in “Reality Shows”.  What could be more fun than watching bratty kids with two tons of makeup prance around stage in ruffles and bows?  Or brides that will kill anyone that gets in their way?  Or (for the guys) cops tackle that ever elusive drug dealer?  The one I grew up with was FEAR FACTOR.  What’s not entertaining about watching a girl in a bikini get in a glass coffin filled with tarantulas?  And those guys that have to drink the putrified liquid they squeeze out of cow intestines?  I really liked them.

WE’RE SICK!

If people ever revolted against the government, how far of a stretch would it be for them to throw kids in an arena to kill each other off?  And how far of a stretch for people to enjoy watching it?  Ask yourself, how great do you feel right now?

Returning to the question, I don’t think it’s only the despair and disgust that attracts such a following. As President Snow says in the movie, “Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear.”

The girls (and even guys) of our generation are constantly bombarded with images of what they should look like, what they should wear, who they should date, and most importantly – how to be important.  “Drive an awesome car, become a movie star, and you too could have a fan club”.  Disney Princesses are the worst.  Cinderella is never noticed until she’s all decked out in jewels and silks.  Sleeping Beauty is Sleeping Beauty (or what Hollywood thinks is beautiful).  I especially love the lyrics in the catchy tune that the women sing in Mulan when they’re getting her ready (read carefully).

Wait and see

When we’re through

Boys will gladly go to war for you

With good fortune and a great hairdo

You’ll bring honor to us all

I love this stanza:

Men want girls with good taste

Calm

Obedient

Who work fast-paced

With good breeding

And a tiny waist

You’ll bring honor to us all

(You know you sang this!  It really is catchy!)

And now to the point that I was making with all this.  In the story, it’s not the super-model with perfect hair that gets the guy and saves the day.  It is an ordinary girl, who is not spectacular at all, and thinks nothing of herself.  Yet she ends up doing amazing things and winning an extraordinary love.  The best part – he loved her before she was made to be beautiful.  The starving, unattractive, harsh, wounded girl is the one that Peeta fell in love with.  Not the Mockingjay.  Not the Girl on Fire.  Just Katniss.

The biggest thing that I was enraptured with was the portrayal of the (very flawed) main character.  She is shown as this selfish person who uses other people to survive.  This appears to be true to a fault.  Do not touch this girl’s loved ones.  Risking her life every day to feed her family.  When Prim is reaped she volunteers, expecting fully to die.  And at the end (spoiler warning!) kills President Coin in return for Coin killing Prim.  I identify largely with Katniss because of this.  The thing that drives her is keeping her loved ones safe.

Several years ago in theater, Isaiah (5 at the time) was supposed to wait in the green room for me to come get him and take him on stage.  Someone else’s mom got him and (instead of bringing him to me) stood in the front hallway talking.  I practically screamed at her when I found my little brother standing with her and a guy I didn’t know in the front of the old CAST building (you know, by the ABC store).  One time a kid was picking on my siblings during Simon Says by making them spin until nauseous, then having them try to jump up and down (all the while laughing maliciously).  It did not bode well for him.  Point being, hurt my family, and I just may hunt you down and shoot you.

Can an ordinary person, who is in no way perfect, still be honorable and heroic?  Is it possible to find a spectacular love, even when you don’t love yourself?  Could people of no consequence rise up and change the injustices they are forced to endure?  Will hope outlive every horror we are subjected to?

Suzanne Collins has captured something very important.  Not just a cool story.  Not just a fun romance.  Not even a great dystopian message.  She has embodied one of the things we all strive for.

Nobody wants to go through life overlooked, unnoticed, blown off as someone not worthy of attention.  We all want to do something.  To make and impact on the world around us.

This is our need to be.

/sīˈkädik/

Because murdering people is frowned upon, a blog is much safer for everyone.

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