I have little hands.

I remember my ex-boyfriend marveling over these hands. “They are so small and sweet,” he’d dote. Lifting each one of my fingers with his, he would peer at them as if he’d never seen something so delicate or amazing. In that moment, my hands made me feel beautiful and not small at all – and it’s precisely why I’ve tucked away that memory. It makes me brave. Small hands can do big things. Small  can be big.

Last week after the river walk, I met a young man from Guatemala. He walked toward me, and I looked away from him as if I had not noticed – because I hoped he wouldn’t approach me at all. I happened to be sitting alone in a very romantic spot that overlooks the river and the University of Tampa – which, if you’ve not seen it from Curtis Hixon, is majestic. This is the exact spot where Justin and I shared our first kiss, a ledge that does all the work for a man looking to impress a woman. I assumed to know the motive behind his approaching me, but he sat about four feet from me the entire time and didn’t seem disappointed to find out I was married. He talked away (in broken English) for about an hour and a half after the fact. He is 23 and comes from a very religious family – both his dad and brother serving West Palm Beach as pastors. He referred to himself as the “black… black goat?! However you say..” of his family, having a love for partying and a little boy out of wedlock with a woman that never was his girlfriend/spouse.

He is here illegally, working in construction, and has to wait 3 more years to find out whether he is approved for his green card. It was amazing to learn of the process – and I have a deeper compassion toward the immigrant because of it.

I sense that he needed to have this conversation with someone. I shared some of my beliefs and doubts with him, and it was quite lovely to see him look at Jesus with fresh eyes. Right before I left the park, I was showing him photos of my artwork and Justin – and as I was scrolling, he slipped flowers in my hair, and I tucked them behind my ear. I wore them around the city the rest of the night.

Jesus works in ways I just can’t understand.

Goes above and beyond my expectation of Him (which rests embarrassingly low on the scale) and certainly goes above and beyond my own nature/deeds.

Which brings me to this evening. His faithfulness is evident in the time I shared with new friends Kevin and John, in particular. Mike, the blind one (still seeing in left eye, though his glasses are half an inch thick, and he has to hold things right up to the lens to be able to see) wasn’t quite as fascinating – so I won’t mention him much. His father was a colonel in the Korean Army, but he didn’t follow in those footsteps and is currently overweight, seemingly careless, and mooching off of Kevin and John. Though, with due credit – he is about to begin work on his masters in Business Admin and John and Kevin seem to like him just fine.

I went to Starbucks after finally getting over to the Cancer Survivor Plaza to explore. Justin’s mom sent me a “survival” box of my own for the week packed with gift cards and snack bars so I wouldn’t starve while Justin’s away, so I used the Starbucks one on the biggest, sweetest drink they could make – since it was such a treat.

I pulled up and analyzed the crowd through the window, hoping to meet someone. A large  man sat with earbuds in and a laptop at one table. Another middle-aged man in the cushy chairs. At the other tables, a young grunge-y looking couple working on a project for school and a young woman waiting for her coffee. I just wasn’t feeling any of them, really. So, I approached the door without any intention of staying past the time it took to consume my drink and play a few rounds of 2048.

As I walked through the door, I saw Kevin in his wheelchair at the ordering counter. I immediately perked up and thought, “That’s who I will talk to.” I walked up behind and was so distracted with my order that I didn’t noticed him roll away to a table with two other men (who weren’t visible to me while sitting in my car, due to where they were sitting). When my drink was up, I sat down at a table – already forgetting about Kevin, zoning in on my game.

I remember looking up to see all three men on their phones and chuckling at the technology umbrella that seems to cover us all with no discrimination – since they all appeared to be older than 45.

When I got up to leave, I had to throw away my empty cup. The trash can was conveniently located next to Kevin (50s?), and without hesitation – I went over to him and said, “Can I ask you a personal question? (With his nodding approval) Why are you in a wheelchair?”

side: I suppose I gained some confidence in this arena when I asked Bill, if you remember – my in-flight-Dad, why his hands shook so badly. Bill had severe tremors that caused his hands to shake noticeably and violently, and I asked because I, too, have some shaking in my hands at times.

Kevin grinned and invited me to sit down. After explaining that a car accident caused his spinal injury in the late ’80s, I shared that Mom is in a wheelchair and explained that I’m always looking for ways to keep her motivated and encouraged. That seemed to spark a light in him.

side: I call this a “lighthouse moment,” because when a shipmaster sees the light from a lighthouse, he begins rowing toward it as it is comforting and instantly familiar during a storm. That’s what happens in conversation when the uncomfortable (my asking about his wheelchair) turns familiar and safe (my experience with Mom, who also uses a wheelchair) through some connection or relation to ones own self (he’s been in a wheelchair for 29 years). Mom helped bridge the gap between us – she was the light from the lighthouse.

He pointed across the table to John (71), and said – “well, ask him. He had a stroke.” I looked over at John for the first time. ” ’92,” he said, and shared the story of his stroke that happened some 24 years and two wives ago. His stroke was on the opposite side of his brain, but his injuries are similar to Mom’s. We discussed that for quite some time.

We all proceeded to go in different directions with the conversation. Retirement, travel, Trump, military, art, Bob Ross. iPhone vs Android.. Yoko Ono and Hillary Clinton having an affair:

“They say she’s bedded more women than Bill!” .. little did I know what motivated her LGBT rights campaign. “My cat looks better than her,” chimed Mike (40s?).

We shared the rest of our conversation over piping hot tea and laughter. They kicked us out due to closing, but we stuck around the parking lot for a few minutes to talk about “next time”.

It was phenomenal, and I’m meeting up with John tomorrow night at Barnes and Noble. Since I now know that you don’t have to have a disability to be a part of the club, I’m going to try to convince my John and Justin to join us sometime.

I am really thankful that God entrusts me with the “weird” – He affords me opportunities that many people, particularly Christians, don’t take for fear of appearing a certain way, or for fear in general. (I mean, imagine a young married woman sitting atop a ledge with a young man who isn’t her husband – most would consider this a recipe for complete disaster, and even I would under most circumstances.) Many of my actions and relationships go against all the laws of our tradition and nature, but… still He provides when I ask.

Bill, with shaky hands. Mary Ann, praying over me in tongues. Lenny, the dirty homeless man that we invited into our home for lunch and a shower. Tim, the hilarious and slightly inebriated Brit that I hit it off with at the Angels game. Louis and Stan, the gay couple that organized and lead our Paint Your Heart Out efforts this weekend. Adam, the professor-turned-friend. Sarah, the body-paint professional. Young Guatemalan, the single-dad with a penchant for hard partying. Kevin, John, Mike – with their varying disabilities. + so many more.

I pray that God is always at the forefront of these moments – and that His will is being done and not mine. There are many moments/opportunities not taken for the Spirit’s pause, many moments where the invisible hedge of protection prevents me from speaking or acting.

And then moments of pure Spirit, pure “go”.

I am little, but I live big and love big. All because the Spirit, whose size isn’t seen with the eyes at all – is so vast and big, Himself.

I wish these moments happened as frequently when Justin is around – but unfortunately, they almost always happen out of necessity when I am alone and not distracted.

It was rather special, anyway.

A nice, big ending to a week to myself.


The tears of a twenty-something.

A friend reached out to me this morning,

“I don’t want to cry because I feel weakness. I keep the joy flowing and just go on.”

I was sitting on the floor with Nora, playing with a pile of stuffed animals whose faces depicted a joy that my friend clearly was not feeling. The joy she feels tends only to mask her greatest fears and doubts. Initially, I responded with something humorous – because that is how I manage stress and sadness on my own. It would be several hours before I could manage a meaningful response.


I continued with my day, trying to catch a good response between all the unhelpful buzzing of my mind.

It became a bit more clear to me after visiting a friend at work. Bodies trickle in and out of his door each day, and I am simply another who claims a little more baggage than the last to enter. There is an eerie sadness in my steps as I approach the room – because this friendship, unlike most, leaves me feeling confused, vulnerable, and unsettled for the realities that present themselves in our conversations. It has been typical of me to unravel a heart full of grief during our time together, to tear up. I am uncovering stones that haven’t seen light in years.

But I walk away and fail to process what was said and felt. Instead, I quickly brush past it – not letting the tear roll down my cheek. I have heard it is not a tear until it falls.


Afterward, I went to the park and paced the boardwalk in the rain.

You’d think I would have something figured out by now. Is anything ever truly figured out? Decisions are made, but process always follows. Process is what makes “figuring things out” cumbersome. It is like reaching the pot of gold at the end of rainbow road, only to learn that you have to pay to see it.


Process. That’s it.

I finally knew how to respond to my friend.

You’re going to be okay, you know. You’re a brave girl, and filled with good spirit. No amount of tears removes that from your character.

It is with child likeness that we are strong enough to cry in the face of true difficulty.

There is a switch that turns on somewhere in a lifetime that seems to imply that we are less when we are vulnerable. The Cross flips that switch, turning on a Light where all are welcome to be weak because He is strong. 

It’s ok to cry.


I whispered it to myself after sending it to my friend, “it’s ok to cry.”

And then I did.


There is radiance in a twenty-something-year-old tear.

It is a moment to be tucked away and shared with later generations – because this time in our lives seems to be a time where we waver most. We aren’t confident about who we are or who we are becoming. We are scared for the future and what the present says about it. We feel like we’ve failed to achieve what has been expected of us. We feel like we don’t have passion, or drive, or success.

We don’t have anything “figured out” despite all of the things we have decided, despite some of the things we’ve accomplished. And though we all feel this, we all feel alone.

Yet, acknowledging and processing these things creates a moment that is beautiful and satisfying. To cry seems childish – though I think we all wish to be children again. Things are decided for us and the process is handled by someone else. Only, in our childhood we don’t realize that we possess the ability to handle such great things on our own. We assume minimal responsibility, and fail to feel the weight of difficulty.

The twenty-something seizes that ability as they embrace adulthood. To feel pain and to process challenges is a beautiful ability – to empathize, to sympathize, to grow in grace and patience and humility.

We long to be children – but in our twenties, we become new creatures who truly feel gravity.


What a remarkable thing to feel gravity instead of float on another man’s soul for comfort.

You’re doing what you were created to do in moments of doubt, and fear, and sadness, and joy, and pain, and triumph, and uncertainty. You are feeling – and that is the greatest process of all.

There is radiance in a twenty-something-year-old tear, and you are not alone.



Periscope: the way we talk about helping the homeless.

“This may be the biggest social media war on any issue that I’ve ever seen.”

I immediately knew what was being referenced: the refugee crisis.

All day long, I waded through my Facebook feed seeing snippets and thoughts about the refugees being accepted into the United States. No matter what position was taken in the original posting, there were just as many “yes, but” comments as there were hoorahs. As a dear friend put it so well, it was like watching a ping pong match with no ability to peel the eyes away.

We need to protect, help, and strengthen our own, they say. We need to protect, help, and strengthen the weary refugee, they say. Matthew 25, they quote. Look at history, they cry. What if there are terrorists(?), they fear.

My heart, and it seems the country itself, is a hung jury.

Despite my own internal revelry, I began to realize that there was something that I could actually speak to: helping America’s homeless. Whether referencing them to point out that we need to take care of our own homeless crisis or to accuse someone of not helping the homeless here, thus nullifying an opinion on keeping refugees out of the country – it seemed that there was a general consensus: “we” need to come to the aid of the homeless in America.

Having loved and given much in the past year to homeless relationships and initiatives in the Tampa area, I now understand that it is not easy to build relationships with them or to care for them.

I do not throw caution to the wind in the name of love and self-sacrifice – there is most certainly a measure of wisdom dispersed to each of us who wears the Spirit and still goodness and mercy to those who don’t – so please read the following with fresh eyes and a pure heart.

It bothers me greatly when others (so flippantly) say “we need to be helping the homeless here!” because on the flip side of it being a true statement, as well as a beautiful, rewarding experience that benefits those in need- it also has the potential to be a painful, emotionally draining journey for those trying to serve.

I will not speak to families evicted from their homes due to back rent, to those fallen on hard times due to unemployment, or the young fatherless. I speak to those who are far past those circumstances, because those men and women are the friends that I have made.

Many of my homeless friends are dry wells. They are battling very, very heavy things that result from years of abuse. Physical, sexual, substance, social. They were not helped or did not accept or seek help at the outset of their problem – and the resulting feelings have colored their perception of others and the world for years, if not for their entire life.

I love on these homeless friends, feed them, and give of my time and energy – but the problem is much worse than I realized. It goes much further back into the stories of their lives – and finding the source is much like searching for the back to your earring when it has fallen on shaggy carpet.

This type of homelessness is physical, mental, and emotional – and it is much more difficult to be rescued from because it does not find healing in your handouts. The kindness, the love, the effort – it has all been rejected at times by those that I have tried to help. This response has left me wounded, confused, hurt, and ultimately embittered in moments where I’ve felt as if I’ve failed at something that should be “easy”. Looking at each relationship apart from the other, I know that these men and women at one point in time would have reached back in response, and that is comforting – but there comes a point in that life where one stops reaching and begins to retreat. The privileged need to realize that thousands of quarters have been dropped into the cups of the homeless, thousands of meals dished out, but few of us have ever come with the promise of a true home.

Having shared some of my experiences with the homeless in and around the Tampa area – I feel confident in what I am about to say: caring for the homeless (of many years) in America is a very, very different thing than caring for a Syrian refugee. I feel that it does a grave injustice to each of these situations to lump them together and discuss them in one swing. Like apples and oranges, these are two vastly different types of “homelessness.”

I don’t feel the need to explain these differences. They are evident, and you’re all capable of researching yourselves. I can say, however, that these refugees are at the beginning of their homeless journey – a place where each of my friends described above were at one point in their lives.

Before you speak so plainly about experiences before having shared them – please think, and perhaps consider not saying anything at all. Rather, would you step outside and breathe in a moment with someone in need? Seek them out, walk with them, pray for them – and find ways to offer “home”. It is a weary task, as I mentioned – but it is better, by far, than staying inside our paneled houses only to dream about what a purposeful life would look like.

We will meet face-to-face with One who was once homeless with nowhere to lay His head – and in that moment, I’m guessing that we won’t be asking Him to play ping pong.

I am praying over this – and praying for a home on high, where all will meet their Maker and, if only for a moment, share in His glory.

I can only drink so much.

I am starting this sentence for the sixth time. Turns out, that statement was actually more profound than the original five that were crushed underneath my backspace bar. How miserable it is to have so many thoughts and an equal amount of tension built up in the mind.

The past few months have been strange for me. I was so eager to begin a new year, but the excitement has since faded as I settle into what seems to be another routine. I’m just sort of stumbling through each day, hoping for inspiration and looking for it everywhere. Life is really beautiful in it’s peculiarities, please don’t assume that I don’t know that. It is pretty selfish of me to say any of this, and that, I also know.

Routine breeds familiarity, familiarity breeds grief – and grief, well, grief sucks. Grief is a lonely thing, and by golly, if I let it nest within my heart any longer, I just may wilt.

What would you do with this big world? Where would you go? Whose hand would you hold? What story would you tell years from now when reading this chapter?

I hope to be inspired this year – and maybe, for the next four months that I spend in routine > familiarity > grief, I will see inspiration somewhere – and feel a sense of “togetherness” with the world.

In the meantime, I have taken up painting.

It tapers like a carrot.

“I think it is a man. I had never seen a man, but it looked like one, and I feel sure that that is what it is.”

There is a peculiar creature taking refuge in this apartment. After work, he claims his spot on [what I call] “his throne”, where he winds down and scrolls through the interweb on his iSomething. Why, oh why, is he in there for ONE MILLION MINUTES? Don’t mind me here, just jumping on one leg, chirping at you deliriously, while going blind in my left eye from the need to micturate. No, I’m fine. Absolutely fine, sweet creature – continue. The blessing in all of this is that we’ve cut out one of our expenses entirely. Zero need for pest control, you guys. Every day at around 4:30, all living things within a 45 foot radius wither and pass away – save myself, and I am only spared because my predictive efficiency allows me to escape to a safe location until the nebula lifts.

And how, just how, can he fall asleep in any position, anywhere, and at any time he chooses? What a gift, dear Carrot. It takes me 23 shifts and an hour of trading in prayer with God, “4 hours of sleep for no Grey’s Anatomy for six weeks, Lord – and I’ll even throw in an additional week-long fast from Chickfila – surely THAT is good and holy.” But no, he sleeps. He sleeps within minutes, and I lay there in his arms… until I feel that awful twitch that he tends to do on the cusp of a deep sleep. That twitch haunts me as I pull away and turn over. It’s as if the twitch only occurs to notify me that my sleeping patterns suck. Thank you, twitch. I now have something else to consider while restless.

He also throws “whatever” into a pot on the stove, and somehow, he ends up in Southern Living for the 19th time with a feature recipe – because “whatever” just tastes fabulous when he’s making it. When I make “whatever” – we end up paying for a 3-month stay in a hotel because I’ve burned down our 6th apartment. I fail so often, but never as often as I fail in the kitchen – only reinforcing that the superhuman that I live with is actually Gordon Ramsey with a killer mustache.

Speaking of, the creature has a fondness for his facial hair that I’m not entirely sure that he’s aware of. Swirling and twirling the long whiskers that sit beneath his nose, he always appears contemplative – and perhaps, in the right (or wrong?) setting, extremely creepy. A heavy glaze rolls over his eyes in these moments, and I have to do something “good-wifey” to get his attention. The mustache is a portal. To where, you ask? We shall find out in time.

I have observed much about my new roommate over the past two months. It has all been significant, to say the least.

Perhaps I will continue to document my findings. In the meantime, enjoy.

Inspired by Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve, which has become somewhat of a humorous field guide to navigating mine and Justin’s marital relationship.

nothing ever comes close.

What will quiet my soul? 

I am keenly aware that my hour will come. I will depart from here and my spirit will be lifted. In the interim, I desire that my days are marked with love for my people – even though evil fills the heart of man, and especially my own. Though we are marred with pain and filth, there is a unique opportunity to extend the Kingdom through our expressions of love, humility, and service during our time on earth.

When I see disease, within it – will I find the opportunity to heal?  When the weight of all sin is held within my two weary palms, will I lift up my hands and seek refuge in redemption and freedom in forgiveness? Will I find it within myself to kneel and wash the dirt off of wandering feet or lay bread on the tongues of the hungry?

My hour is coming – and dear friends, it is not far off.

What will quiet my soul?

My soul is faithful to it’s design. It rustles and wrestles, and rest never comes easy. I am made for service, but how do I serve without serving my own self?

That, my dear, that is the question I should answer first.

To the girl “without a Valentine”.

As tiny heart-shaped confetti falls from the sky, Cupid sits on his throne admiring his handiwork below.

Boxes marked “proflowers” are laid on doorsteps, frat-guy-Matt plays his guitar and professes his love outside the window of homecoming-Heather’s room, teddy bears are administered like flu-shots, and chocolates are sifted through.. because.. even though I love you, I don’t like the ones with the pink filling.

And all you can manage to do is roll your eyes when you pull up your facebook, or rock back and forth in the corner of the room while the Hallmark channel is frozen on your TV. Put your finger in your ears, and sing the “la la la”s while every girl around you sings in unison “my boyfriend is the best. I’M ENGAGED. my hubby bought me 144 roses for every day we’ve been married.. #husbandoftheyear”.. right?

I love my Justin, really. We’ve fought for our relationship. We’ve chosen to be together. One reason being.. we just don’t want to be alone. 

But I remember the first time I looked at Justin in resentment and said to myself [and probably out loud]: “Before you, I was independent, tried new things, did things I didn’t really like to do, and took care of myself. What happened?”. I’ve thought this many times since.

When Justin and I finally lived in the same place – paralysis seeped up my spine and into my brain. I became the type of girl that I am never friends with.

.. fearful of bugs and darkness and big scary, hairy men. I was adamant that I would not try things that would break a nail or stain my clothes. I would not eat things that smelled funny or looked like a fish. I wouldn’t try things at the outset that I didn’t deem fun or beneficial. I reduced myself to staying home, cuddling, and shutting all others out. I needed his arm around me to feel secure in comfortable and uncomfortable social situations. And I started getting really lazy, because he loves me just the way I am. So that’s all I let myself be. Most importantly, I stopped making efforts to learn. Because.. why do that when there’s a man? Who is smarter and will do it with less effort anyway, right?

You may think that this day just ridicules your singledom – but I beg to differ. I think you’re awesome.

But don’t get me wrong – I think “23 things to do before you’re 23” girl is whack and setting a pretty poor example of how to be inspiring and live beautifully where you are.

Don’t be that girl and reduce yourself to “eating a whole thing of nutella in one sitting” just because you’re single and can do it.


Your attention is undivided – and that… is invaluable. You can learn so many things in this time – this moment, if you just go out and rock today. And continue to grow, learn, develop strength, wisdom, and confidence.

Because when you meet someone that you want to give your love to? You won’t have to give yourself away with it.

You inspire me, girl without a Valentine.


keep me a child.


Spending the semester at home with Mom was the best decision I could have made – but with it came a laziness that I felt no control over. I was overwhelmed with all that needed to be done, and often didn’t get anything done, including my online schooling. So, as a result – my final semester of college will be flooded by 26 credit hours. And I am surely going to drown. Why am I in school, guys.. really..

This past week, 4 friends and I got a cabin in Sevierville for a few days. For me, it was the last waltz before returning to Florida..

I rarely think about the distant past, but lately – it has been a constant in my thoughts.

When we got to the cabin, it was the knotty pine walls that opened up the door to childhood memories. As we drove (and hiked) through the mountains, it was the trees. It was meals at the table together. It was bedtime stories and prayers with little Reghan and her Dad (who stayed with us the first night due to a snow “storm”). It was sitting by the fire with toasty toes and laying in a bed finding creatures in the textured ceiling, as if they were cloud animals.

I grew up in the very home that my Dad grew up in. A modest 5 bedroom home with knotty pine walls, track doors, a stair landing, a basement that tended to flood when it rained, and counter tops that looked like they came straight out of TV Land. We had four dishwashers… named Shannon, Allison, Hayley and Garrett. We filled up ice trays every other day, and watched the PBS when we came home from school. We were frequents to peer birthday parties at Chuck E Cheese, the Hickory Hollow mall, and spent the first Monday night of each month at the Cane Ridge community center with all of our neighbors (two of which were my grandparents, next door). We climbed the Magnolia trees in Grammy and Papa’s yard, went on long “walks” with Papa to find shrews and sink holes, and ate a lot of oatmeal cookies. We searched for “Indian money” in the rocks that were laid for the playground my dad set up… and scouted out four leaf clovers in our field.

*I buried a “time capsule” [a dirty coke bottle] a few feet away from where “the big tree” stood. In it contained my deepest secrets about and a letter to my childhood crush, Johnny Knotts. I called him “gecko boy”, because nearly every shirt he wore in the first grade had a gecko on it – a name he resented and certainly got annoyed with. They built a new school that was finished the summer before fourth grade.. separating us. He later ended up at a magnet school anyway, with his really smart, cool and older sister Kimberly (who I aspired to be just like, of course). I was crushed. Life was over as I knew it – there was no way to get back to gecko boy, and that meant I’d be single for-ev-er. (I do hope that you read this, Johnny. This is a real feat to admit after all these years of secrecy) 


Life is just something you do, and later you look back on parts of it and label them appropriately. The part of life lived during my childhood was innocent and simple. It was not yet blackened by what becomes “real” in adulthood. There was no time for inward debate – my childhood was almost entirely impulsive, which certainly gave way to actions that resulted in severe punishment – but also gave way to freedom. I recall many times I lied to protect my paddle-bruised “hiney”, a few times I pushed my younger brother off of a pretty tall something-or-other just to see him cry, a time when I stole a locket from Walmart while my parents gave out puppies on the curb, and many times I threatened to run away with a “to Grandmothers house we go” mini suitcase filled with valuables (like all “BFF” halves, my secret code journal, and a lot of Indian money). There were also many times I jumped from the tall height just to feel the wind beneath my sails, times I shared my lunch with a friend in need, and countless times I eagerly sat on the bus ride home thinking about Mom scratching my back as I watched the last of Arthur.

As I walk through my childhood, my cheeks become pink and my smile grows wider. I am not burdened by tears or fears – and there is an innocence that paints itself back onto my heart – a desire to learn and “grow up to be”, to give away my only cookie, to take field trips, to study Sesame Street themed Math flashcards, and go to the skating rink (a Friday night fave) – and to do all the mischievous things, too.

I desire to look at God the way I did when I was a child. Actually, even more, I desire to feel that God looks at me as if I am still that child – the little girl who refused to wear anything but dresses, who played “Lord’s supper” with peel-away biscuits and Hi-C in a bottle cap, and always had dirt under her finger nails from constant exploring – and the girl He loved despite pushing my brother off the top of the mantle [it was his fault for being on the mantle].

Freedom and freedom. Let’s keep it that way.

Can you say why America is the best country in the world?

Let me begin with the shameful fact that I am not politically involved. I have never expressed my political opinions. I have not participated in an election since the opportunity was available to me: at “the age of accountability”, nor have I ever really given it much more thought than when my dad groveled at me for not registering to vote before this past election.

You wont find me picketing, bumper stickered, or tweeting about my political allegiances.

The best I can do at the moment is say the pledge.

Rarely do I watch television, read the paper, or stalk the internet for news, but I stumbled across a video that made perfect sense to me, and I began to care about politics, because finally the media gave me something to care about – the fact that someone behind the scenes in Hollywood is willing to say, “we’re not the “best” anymore… what are you going to do about it?” Start watching, below, at 3:08. I picked the clean version, and though there are a few things in Daniel’s dialogue that I cannot accept, or claim as my own conviction, I do recommend the watch.

You see, since I’ve started to use my brain on these things, for some reason or another – my heart stops me dead in my tracks and says “do not do this”. I remember the election before I turned 18, many of the other kids facebook’ed over their “right” to vote, their enlistment in the political war, their allegiance to… probably Obama, because McCain was too old, and white, and Palin shoots polar bears for fun… *erhm*, what I meant to say is, because Obama promised change.

I dare say that over half the kids at the time had no clue about what was happening in the world, in our country, or down the street. We had no idea who Obama, McCain, and Palin were aside from their campaign slogans and their ethnicity (I am included in this “over half”). However, “change” sounds good. 

For some, it meant lady Liberty would lift her sparkly wand and bestow on her country even MORE magical freedoms.

.. including some pretty interesting freedoms: freedom to abort babies… or whatever those little peanuts are at conception, since they aren’t really babies.. you know, freedom for polygamists to get their own reality show, freedom for the “gainfully” unemployed to stay unemployed and receive benefits anyway for 72 months, freedom to show more sex on television, freedom to use more profanity in the media, freedom to publicize the “new kind of family”, which involves a myriad of broken worlds.

It is interesting that our country, today, is giving us the freedom to be broken, screwed up, and ignited by opinionated flames that never go out, are never alleviated, and never get resolved.

Who has been hailed for their political victories for more than a lengthy “15 minutes of fame”… No one knows Norma McCorvey, but everyone knows Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Jesus, JFK, Ronald Reagan, TR, Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, the list goes on. Why have the people on this list gained notoriety? It is not their political ideas, no – it is for their people ideas. The ideas that made connections with others, that sympathized, empathized, ideas that lead to and gained peace in many ways. Some can shout their objections, but the masses will agree that none of us remember these individuals for where they stood on gay rights.

For all of us, I think if we face ourselves, if we treasured our lives as if they were what they are – that is, fleeting, then we’d realize that our hearts are inclined to think of the best when remembering others, and politics rarely comes into play then.

No funeral orator begins his speech with “… she was the greatest state representative we’ve ever had”. Maybe this would be stated on a letter of recommendation, but not in a list of memories documenting a life well-lived.

So I must face it.

The use of the equality sign on Instagram is never going to solve the issue at hand. For those on the “up” side, winning their right to marry .. don’t look down. It’ll be right back to square one in a few hundred years, if we’re here on earth forever, … and so on and so forth. Look back, and then you’ll be able to prophesy how far down the drop will be over time.

Kony isn’t going to be stopped with a bracelet and a poster. How many of us bought into that and now forget, even to pray, about the people of Uganda?

Trees are still getting chopped down (and growing) everywhere. Plastic is still killing dolphins. Guns are still going to be used to kill (and to defend). And pressure cookers aren’t going to be the first devices detonated to hurt people at the Boston Marathon in years to come.

Awareness won’t be gained with my blog post.

I must face that our world has not changed. My country has not changed. I have not changed.

Sin still runs through the veins of this world, saturating our souls, and making us think that we have any right to call THIS freedom.

The oceans could not fill the tears of a God in great pain, but the world could not contain the love and great mercy of a God on our side. No matter who you are, and what you stand for, you must agree that our lives are greatly challenged and altered by the possibility of an emotional God.

Still, with all of this said, you can have your opinions. You can call me out for mine.

Your freedom.

But I must say, freedom doesn’t look good on many people.