Veronique’s Life Adventures, Continued

At this moment, I am sitting on a barstool without a backrest at a high counter with a table easel to put my work on because it hurts to bend forward and write like a normal human being. I am wearing a brace that goes around my neck and torso. The skin on my jaw and chin is red and irritated and on the verge of becoming a raw wound because of the brace. My back did not take into account when it fractured that I am in the last semester of my Honours year with four huge essays, two huge tests, and a giant thesis still before me. It apparently didn’t think things through properly. The horse that threw me off also did not take any of this into consideration (thanks a lot, Lady).

But. This is life, isn’t it? Things like this don’t happen if you’re just spending your life sitting on the couch. This happened because I am living. I am doing things. I am making my life as adventurous and full as I can. And that is not something that I will ever regret or wish away. So even though I am intensely frustrated, very super duper behind with my work, and planning a ceremonial Burning of the Brace when this plastic and foam creature can finally come off, I am thankful. Thankful that I just missed landing on my neck, thankful that this isn’t permanent, thankful for all the amazing people who visited me in the hospital (aka the Pit of Awfulness), for how amazingly helpful my friends and family have been, and thankful that this happened because I am living my life to the full. I am thankful for so many things that if I were to list them all, this would be a novel, not a blog post. And so the frustrations, while they are huge and my current reality, will pass eventually and somehow I will catch up with my work and everything will be okay.

Everything will be okay in the end. That’s all I know.

Letting Go (in a non-cheesy-90s-song way)

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Change and pain are often partners in crime. The very nature of change, whether it is voluntary or involuntary, means that something is lost or given up. The old must go away to make room for the new. But it is always worth it. You’re going through a storm and it’s dark for days, maybe weeks…until one day, eventually, you look up and see a ray of sunlight, and suddenly you’re in a new place and the whole awful journey now becomes precious to you because of all the things you learned and because of how strong you’ve become.

This is the time of year when everyone starts evaluating. How did I do this year? Did I grow? Did I regress? Did I make use of opportunities and learn from my mistakes? Did I get just a little bit closer to That Person I know is somewhere inside me, fighting to get out? Did I let go of the right things and fight for the things I should have? Was I the best I could have been for my friends, for my family, for God?

But I think that this often becomes a session of failure-wallowing. I did this wrong, I failed there, I should have called this person more, I could have been like this by now if I’d only done that…et cetera. So I would like to say this. Yes, we can all always do better. We can all always look back and find things we did wrong. We make mistakes. This happens to be a fact of life, or it wouldn’t be life and we wouldn’t be human. It is also a fact of life and of being human that we cannot go back and change what is past.

One of the best things we can learn in life is to note a mistake, learn from it, and move on. Move on here meaning “not hold it over your own head until you die.” If God forgives us when we repent of sin, who are you to hold yourself in captivity over much lesser things? We have the fantastic ability as humans to change. To grow. But our growth is massively hindered when we don’t let go of things in the past. Learn from it, give it to God, and trust Him when He says “It is finished.”

I Will Overcome

It is a heart wrenching fact of life, fact of life, that nothing new can come without something old passing away first. And in many cases, it is not simply taking off old clothes and putting new ones on. A part of your flesh must be torn out, a part of the structure of a building must be demolished, a page must be ripped out before a new one can be pasted in.

 

Without change we would not be human. We would not be happy. We would not be alive. Change is good. But when it happens, it is like a surgery, but one where all the anaesthetic has run out, and all you have to keep the pain at bay is half a shot of morphine and whatever you’re biting down on between your teeth.  After, change is good. After, change is adventurous. After, it is easy to say, “Look where we were, and look where we are now. Aren’t we glad to have come this far?” But while it is happening, change hurts more than anything.

 

Change is ruthless. It is like a train without brakes. It does not stop or slow down so you can catch your breath first; it has no mercy for you, regardless of whether you are tired, or fed up, or grieving, or in pain already; regardless of whether or not you have recovered from the last train, this train surges forward, and it comes, ready or not.

 

I have no control. There is nothing to hold onto. I am not standing; God is holding me up. He is all the anchor I have, and sometimes I cannot see into the darkness ahead and below and above me. Sometimes all there is, all I can see, is the darkness, like a night without stars, and I only know He is there because I have to know it to move forward, or else cower in fear. Sometimes fear is the darkness and the darkness is fear, and He is my shield against it.

 

I do not know the future. I do not know tomorrow. I know this moment, this minute, this second. I know I am breathing. I know I am home and with my family, in this moment, with my cat lying beside me and my room a mess because I have enough clothes and books to make it a mess. I know I am healthy, in this moment – I know I can run, if I have to, and I can dance, if music plays. There is a hope deep somewhere in me that does not come from me, because on my own I can have no hope. But this hope, and this love, and this joy, is deep in me, and because it does not come from me I can trust it. I can trust Him.

 

This light is not from me. This is light of another kind. Darkness must always run away from light, but this is a light that the darkness doesn’t even understand. This light is like nothing else the darkness has ever seen. The darkness cannot understand it. It flees not only in fear but in chaos, in confusion; it cannot understand this light that burns with such loving, fearful might. He is the light, and the light is in me. I will walk in the light, as He is in the light, and then, although I cannot see ahead or above or below, I will know that I am walking on a road that has already been prepared. He is behind me and before me, and He has made the darkness His own covering, and so I do not fear it. I am not afraid. I will walk on, and I will overcome, by the blood of the Lamb.

Where Has the Light Gone From the Lanterns

For Charmaine Mare, for the Indian woman who was gang raped, for all those who suffer and go hungry and are in despair while the world turns a blind eye. This is not the mind of Christ, this is not the heart of God.

There is a whisper in the darkness,
a mournful wailing through the trees
that no one hears, for all their silence.Where Has the Light Gone From the Lanterns
There is a crying in the night;
a weeping voice that mourns the plight
of every innocence that’s taken,
each time that blood is drawn this night.

Where has the light gone from the lanterns,
why are the stars so dim tonight?
Where is the song we sang so brightly
for justice done and hearts alight
with passion burning for the helpless,
filled with a will to guide them right?
Where has the wind gone from the treetops,
why is the world so still tonight?

What can we say in this dark hour,
what can we do when hope is lost?
There’s no defense to shield our sorrows,
no compassion we can claim;
for every sinless life that’s taken
is the proof of our own shame.

Why have we not stood up to conquer,
but left the world to face its blame?
We have the light, we claim to carry
hope eternal, hope that’s real;
and yet we cower in the shadows,
fearful of our own demise.

When did we leave the candles burning
at the altar of our souls;
for we have sacrificed our freedom
for the comforts of this world.
We suck the marrow from its bones,
though dead it lies before our feet;
we who claim to be the light,
we cannot see our own defeat.

Where are we when the evil clamors,
breaking doors and throwing stones?
Where are we when the helpless suffer,
do we let them stand alone?
Is there no hope that they can cling to,
is there no truth that we possess?
We are like corpses, only shadows
light-filled beings, clothed in dark.
Will we forget the swords we carry,
will we neglect those whom He loves?

Where has the light gone from the lanterns,
where is the song we could not sing?
Where is the fire that once was burning,
and the hearts of strength, once young?
Will they come forward from the shadows,
let the beating of the drums
breathe fire into their sleeping souls,
recall them from the darkness sprung?

We are devoid of all our glory,
leaving songs of light unsung.
We are sleeping on their graves,
the brittle ropes to which they clung,
we left them in their deathly throes
and threw them to the devil’s tongue.
We watched with sleepy eyes, glazed over
as they perished in the flames
and gave no help to those who floundered,
even when they called our names.

This song is death, this song is darkness
but the truth must come to light
or never see the shadows flee;
so take the scales from our eyelids,
let us step into the night
brandish our weapons,
chase them from their perches high
and take the night back for ourselves
and make it shine as bright as day.

O come all warriors, come all carriers
of this light we crave with hope;
come and hear the mournful wail,
come and light the shadows dark.

Still the weeping spirits, sighing
for their pain is at an end;
embrace the ones whose lives were ended
at the flourish of a knife
and to the innocent down trodden,
give them hope that there is light.

Blind


I’m tired
I’m mangled
I’m dead on my feet
like a dead man walking,
shouldn’t be in the heat

get me out of the spotlight
get me out of the sun

and all the while
someone’s shouting
step it up, step it up!

what can I do?
be deaf to the noise?
deny my Creator,
my lover, my choice
to follow
wherever he leads
step it up, step it up!

flirting with death
hanging back in the shadow
like a live man dying,
striving hard after death

what is this here?
playing with fire,
scorning the life
he has given
my soul ripping to shreds
turning my back on
he who gave his life

no, no
step it up
step back into light
the fire is waiting
refining, creating
like a new dawn bringing
new life to the hopeless
new hope, new goodness

bring it on, yeah
there’s no turning back
forward is up
and death’s at the back

move it, move it
life’s short so don’t waste it
make your decision
true God or illusion
no excuse for your ignorance
he’s everywhere, everywhere

you can’t see the light
you’re blinded,
blindsided by well crafted lies
turn around, see the LIGHT
his face and his glory
what love is this?
like no other
bring it, bring it on

accuse him and mock him
think he’s the delusion
how wrong could you be
see the LIGHT in the darkness
no tales, no lies

raw truth unmistaken
truth unmistaken
praise him, adore him
make your choice,
don’t abhor him
the one who loves you
no fear in your eyes
as you step up to the light
confess that Jesus is Lord
sin is broken, love opens
and your eyes see the LIGHT
no more lies
see the LIGHT