Tag Archives: Fear

Who Do You Trust?

Yesterday massively sucked. Our house cleaner comes every other Tuesday, which basically means I can’t work every other Tuesday because I’m out all day doing mind-numbing errands with my mom and brother and by the time we get home I’m kind of fried. Yesterday was a house-cleaning day. Usually we’re up and out of the house pretty quickly, but for whatever reason, we took what seemed like over an hour to leave. On top of that, we had decided to go to Flat Bread Pizza for lunch, which for us is in Salem. Salem is a pretty long ride for us, and by the time we got to the restaurant I was famished. This is probably sounding like whining so far, and under normal circumstances, it probably would be.

Shortly after we got to the restaurant I started feeling sort of sick, so I just sat still and figured I’d be fine once I got some pizza in me. Flat Bread is my favorite. However, shortly after I got my first piece down, my head started spinning, I started feeling faint, and then I got sick in my plate. We left after that and went to a gas station next door where I tried to keep down some chips and some Gatorade. I couldn’t even keep down the chips, and I could keep down the Gatorade for a while until we got almost back to our house. Then I got sick again in a container of wet wipes.

I was so dizzy I could barely make it to the bathroom on the second floor of our house (which is across from my bedroom) to get cleaned up before I slept for several hours. I did finally get up around nine PM and was finally able to eat some crackers and drink some Gatorade. I was also, thankfully, able to get my epilepsy pills down, and then I slept pretty well last night.

Today I got up feeling almost back to normal. I ate a pancake and some cheese and crackers and a bit of fruit before going to get my blood drawn (to make sure I’m not, you know, dying or anything), which went swimmingly, and then I got coffee with my mom, and I just finished writing the fifteenth story in my mythology.

It kind of seems like I’ve had more weird health issues lately. I had a thought a little bit earlier today. Is a cry for help a kind of worship? I’ve learned to say, when I ask God for help that I trust him. He did get me through yesterday, and yesterday was one of the worst days I’ve had in a quite a long time. A little while after we had left the restaurant I was feeling really crappy, and I told my mom I thought I should go to the hospital. Willingly going to a hospital is like admitting the worst kind of defeat for me. I have to be almost convinced that if I don’t I’m going to die. I’m not exaggerating. My whole family (on my mom’s side, anyway) is like that. Luckily my dad talked me out of it, but I prayed to God before we got home, and I said, “I don’t want to die, but I trust you, and whatever happens, I’m ready. Just please help me.” Now reading it, it sounds absurd. I’m twenty-four, but yesterday I was ready to die if that was what it was coming to.

I suppose this needs a bit of explanation. The symptoms I was experiencing yesterday seemed to be the result of really low sodium levels. One of my epilepsy medicines does deplete my sodium, which stinks because I’m also kind of a health nut, and a lot of salty things aren’t particularly healthy. Sure enough, though, once I got some crackers and Gatorade down, I was a lot better. I should also say that I’m only a health nut in the sense that I try to eat fairly small portions and ration the amount of actual junk food I eat. I also prefer, in general, to snack on fruits and vegetables, but I certainly don’t go overboard to the point that I feel like I’m missing out on something.

Still, none of this really answers my question. Is a cry for help a kind of worship? After yesterday I’m inclined to think so. I think it depends on whether one trusts God, and if one remembers that he’s there in the good times as well as the not so good ones. I remember our priest talking about this a handful of times in church when I was younger, before I had ever even accepted Christ, really. He said it’s so easy to remember God and to call out to him when we need something, but he’s not just here to give us whatever we need or want. He seeks our worship when things are going well because he loves us and he wants us to love him back.

While I was waiting for my appointment today I was trying to work through this in my head, and ultimately I had to realize that I keep asking myself the same questions over and over, which all boiled down to one: Am I worth dying for? In the opinion of the God I worship, I am. Part of that question is: How am I, one out of millions, and nothing special, worth it, and why am I worth it? I’ve decided to stop asking, though. I told him that in the waiting room. I’m done asking, and instead I’m just going to say, “I love you, too.”

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Bring It On

Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about when Jesus talked about building a house on a rock versus building a house on the sand. Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I see a lot of cynicism and a lot of pessimism, and I wonder what this has to do with where one chooses to build their house. I remember at the beginning of Advent, going into my church and being surprised to see the purple on the altar and the Advent wreath by the entrance, but I was also excited.

A week or two later I was asked to explain the meaning of the Advent wreath to my fourth grade class, and honestly, I had to google it. The wreath itself represents eternity. The three purple candles represent love, peace, and hope, The pink candle represents joy, and the white candle which is lit on Christmas Eve represents purity. My godmother came to visit during the first week of Advent, and she drew an advent wreath on our chalkboard. Even though it’s just a drawing, it’s been exciting each week to draw a yellow light on each of the candles.

In scripture, God is referred to as our rock, our fortress, and our refuge. He has been that for me over and over. This weekend is Christmas. All the candles will be lit. There won’t be any more darkness. Still, scrolling through Facebook, I see darkness, sadness, and bad news. I heard once from someone who went to a therapist that they were told every ship needs a sail and an anchor. Some people are sails, and some people are anchors. Some people lead to new adventures, risks to take, and experiences to delight in or learn from. Others lead home. Using that analogy, it seems to me that so many people are sailing ships with no anchors.

Last week I finished a song about the aftermath of the election. Don’t worry, this’ll be quick; I know we’re all sick of talking about it. Both Clinton supporters and Trump supporters have been unfair and unkind, and in some cases, violent. I supported neither candidate. I didn’t vote. There’s a line in my song that says “I have one king.” The chorus of the song says:

I dare you to lose
Stare down your own defeat
And defiantly believe
That it’s true you can live on hope alone

I think a lot of people have lost hope. I think Trump won because people lost faith in the government, and I think the people who didn’t support him lost hope because they still had faith in the government. Either way, everybody lost. Everybody lost if we’re only talking about the present, the immediate future, and the reality we know apart from God’s part in it. Everybody lost if we forget to hope.

Jesus is king no matter what, and he will always be king no matter what. There is no reason to lose hope at Christmas time. It’s not about whether or not one has amazing decorations, or can hold extravagant parties, or can afford the newest, greatest gifts. What matters is the reason for celebrating. Last week I spent an hour with my fourth grade class as usual. I brought my ukulele and a bag of cookies my mom made. We sang a few songs, and my assistant teacher read a couple stories to the kids. It was one of the most worshipful hours I’ve spent during Advent, and I spent it with eleven little kids.

For some, Christmas is one of the only times to get together with family. For some, it’s a good excuse to eat junk food. One of our favorite traditions is to get my parents, brother, aunt, cousin and me into the car, get some hot chocolate or coffee and drive around and look at everyone’s lights. It’s fun to make our neighborhoods look pretty, and Christmas is a good excuse. For some, however, the weeks before Christmas are not fun. While everyone else is enjoying themselves, some are simply stretching themselves too thin. Some are reminded of bad experiences connected to this time. Some go hungry. Some are cold. Some spend the holiday alone.

The first Christmas wasn’t a party. The first Christmas was dark and dangerous. Jesus’ life was in danger from the moment he was born. I don’t think he would want the world to forget that for the sake of having a good time. I think he might find it easier to identify with the people who aren’t having a good time. For those of us who are, it’s important to remember why, and to invite the Lord to have a good time with us. It can be as simple as remembering to pray before Christmas dinner, and making sure we get to church.

I’ve seen so many posts about how 2016 has been a really crappy year. Okay, in many ways I can’t disagree. Maybe it’s just been another year for me, but we’ve had political unrest in our country, and the Middle East is still in turmoil. There have been terrorist attacks in various countries all over the world, and sometimes it looks like the world is going to end. As we fight for a better life for ourselves and others, we are dished out more problems. Yes, 2016 has looked bleak in many ways. We’ve had to stare darkness in the face.

We have two options this Christmas and in the weeks to come. We can look at that darkness, often disguised in songs about snowmen and sleigh rides: candy and chaos: we can look into that darkness and see only war and death; or we can look into that darkness and defiantly say, “bring it on. I have the Light of the World inside of me. Jesus is with me, and that’s all I need.” We can live on hope alone.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Katie’s Can Of Worms

My bird is snuggling with me and chewing on my necklace, which is cute. I just beat my dad at our nightly racing tournament. I’ve been making a lot of spiritual progress in what feels like very short order. I’m being intentional about things. It feels like I’m doing everything right. It feels like I’m in control. At the same time, I feel weird, for lack of a better word.

I find myself thinking “I can do that,” as I read about being dedicated to God in one way or another. Normally details scare me. At the beginning of each semester in school, there was always one class that would scare the crap out of me as the professor explained the requirements for success, how much homework we would have and other details. It always freaked me out, and I always did just fine. I find myself thinking about this movement in my life like I thought about that class, except I find myself thinking “I can do that.” I’m going to have to learn stuff, and I’m going to have to change… but I can do that.

Today I got in touch with the “Delegate for Religious” (whatever that means), Sister Marian, for the archdiocese of Boston. I want to meet with her. She got back to me fast. She wants to meet in person. I guess I’m bugging out because on one hand, I hear God calling me–practically yelling “Hey! Hey, Katie! Tell people about me! Love them! Love me! You can do this!” On the other hand I find myself thinking, “I’m a sinner. I’m a scatterbrain. What the heck am I getting myself into?”

I almost didn’t send Sister Marian an email today. In fact I found her email address yesterday, thought about contacting her, and found stupid reasons not to. Today, as I was somewhere between sending and trashing my message, I thought, “What’s my problem?” Then I realized I was scared, and I remembered that Jesus said not to be scared, so I hit “Send.” My message to Sister Marian contained a question: am I jumping into this too fast? She said I’m not. In fact, I don’t think you can jump into this too fast. I think this is one of those things you have to jump into head-first. I’m taking a pretty freaking big leap of faith, and I don’t know what I’m going to find when I land. Then again, I still find myself thinking not only can I do this, but I want to do this. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a situation quite this perplexing before.

Actually, I’m freaking out about this because I’m in control. I have free will. I can say “no.” Saying “no” would be way easier. There are so many possibilities that would open up if I said “no.” In fact, as I write this, I’m realizing that life could be absolutely amazing if I said “no.” I don’t want to say “no.” For at least the last week I’ve been constantly reading things and watching things about nuns and other religious people and thinking “Yes! That’s what I want! That’s perfect!” This is actually hilarious, because when I was a kid I was scared of nuns, and when I was a teenager, I thought religious people were all old and annoying and weird.

I need a third (fourth?) hand because there’s another reason I’m freaking out. I intend to meet with Sister Marian. What if I tell her my story, and she says I’m not meant for this? What if she says, for whatever reason that I can’t take a vow in the Church? What if I’m wrong? What if I’m hearing God’s call, but I’m interpreting it wrongly? I feel like I do before any kind of audition. I hate auditions. I’ve had three big ones in my life. I auditioned for the drama club in my Freshman year of high school, and didn’t get a part. I auditioned to get into Berklee College of Music, and didn’t get in. I auditioned to be a singer for my college’s worship team and didn’t get the gig. I know this probably shouldn’t feel like an audition. I know God loves me and has a plan for me no matter what. It’s the people involved in the process that I’m worried about.

The fact of the matter is that I know God is calling me. I know for sure that he’s calling me to love people and to love him. I think; I believe that he’s calling me to something else, too, and I think I might know what that something else is. I really hope I’m right. While this process is scary, a part of me kind of feels like the kid who doesn’t know what she’s getting for Christmas and still believes in Santa Claus. I’m excited.

Okay, I definitely needed to open that can of worms. The worms have been buried outside and the can has been discarded properly. Maybe I’ll find another one tomorrow, but that’s okay. Apparently this is an emotionally complicated situation. I am now going to bed.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

 

Solutions

I am happy, and I want to tell you why. It’s not the kind of happy that you feel when you get some free time after a busy day or week or year. It’s not the kind of happy you feel after getting a really nice gift. It’s not the kind of happy you feel when you accomplish something great. It’s not the kind of happy you feel when you’re with your best friend. I know I just covered a whole bunch of different kinds of happy. The happy I’m talking about is the kind that lasts. It’s the kind of happy that can get you through the worst times; the worst situations in life. It might be more accurate to describe it as peace. I am peaceful.

People are angry, lately, for various reasons. They’re sick of hypocrisy in religion, or a seemingly stagnant economy, or corruption in the government, or discrimination that we just can’t seem to get past. I get it. The trouble is that anger and decisions made because of that anger don’t solve these problems. They perpetuate the problems. The solution is a lot simpler than people might think, and it has absolutely nothing to do with politics. It’s comprised of several parts, and it isn’t exactly easy, but I’m convinced it will work.

Anger feeds anger. Forgive everything, and make sure to forgive yourself.

Be helpful in any way you can. Indifference perpetuates injustice.

Be kind to those who don’t expect or don’t deserve it.

Be positive. Emotions generally dictate actions and decisions. Don’t let anger, fear, or sadness control you.

The solution starts here. Politicians and institutions will inevitably fail to live up to what we expect from them. People are innovative and creative and smart. If we work from the bottom up in small ways and in love we can fix the problems we face. It will force the people and institutions that create these problems to take a second look at us. They will see that we are happy and forgiving in ways that don’t make sense, and it will force them to change. It will make you happy and keep you happy, and it will do the same to them.

I am happy; I am peaceful and I know these things because it worked on me. I have experienced relentless love and forgiveness that was inevitably contagious. I was angry and fearful until I learned how to simply feel differently. I learned that I was loved, and I had to love back. More importantly, I had to spread that love to people who didn’t know it. Love is ultimately the solution to every problem imaginable. It is the strongest force in the universe, and in love, we the people will succeed.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Why?

Last night my epilepsy decided not to behave. Usually this happens when it’s getting a little late (around nine or ten o’clock) for no discernible reason. I take my medicine at eleven AM, and eleven PM every day, but for whatever reason, I still get a little “brain fuzz.” It’s hard to explain exactly what happens, but it usually only lasts a few minutes at most. The problem is that it makes me tired, and I keep making the mistake of going to bed too early. The point is, I went to bed around ten last night and woke up at midnight, wide awake. I couldn’t fall asleep again until around five this morning. Coffee is a beautiful thing.

We figured out I had epilepsy when I was eight. I don’t remember when I started having seizures, but I do remember when I finally got medicine and they went away. I was totally fine on a very low dose until about my sophomore year of college. Since then we’ve been increasing my does periodically because I’ve been having “brain fuzz” more and more frequently. It’s mostly annoying more than anything else. Part of the problem is that it’s hard to explain exactly what my symptoms are because, interestingly, I can’t comprehend language while I’m having issues. I can’t talk, and I can’t understand when people try to talk to me. I say it’s interesting because, unless it’s bad, it doesn’t really scare me anymore.

Last weekend a friend of mine came to my house  for the first time. We sort of officially became friends last year. We had a class together and it turned out we had a lot in common. At least we’re both super nerdy. I graduated last May, and he’s graduating this coming spring. We’ve wanted to hang out since last year, but we never got a chance, so we’ve been talking a lot via Facebook. Last weekend my friend got to see what “brain fuzz” looks like. This weekend he wants to hang out again. I’m so glad. It just makes me feel weird and yucky when my friends see my brain betray me. I know they don’t care, but it bothers me, nonetheless.

Epilepsy is confusing from a spiritual standpoint. Sometimes it doesn’t even cross my mind to pray or talk to God, and sometimes I get seriously angry. Sometimes, depending on how bad my symptoms are, it terrifies me. I don’t know why I started having symptoms again just a few years ago, and I don’t understand why they seem to be getting worse, but I guess at this point I don’t really care. I don’t think it’s going to go away, so there’s not really anything I can do at this point. I know God cares, even if it doesn’t seem like it, and I know he loves me. Everything is going to be okay, and I refuse to believe otherwise. If he won’t get rid of it, and pills won’t get rid of it, there’s a good reason. Maybe I won’t figure it out, but that’s okay, too.

While I couldn’t sleep last night I read, and I found this: “Don’t ever lose hope or let your tears stop” (Lamentations 2:18). At first that didn’t make sense to me. If you have hope, then why are you crying? If you’re crying, then you must not be hopeful. God tells his people not to be afraid because he is in control. He also says not to worry. I’m really good at not worrying. People actually find it annoying. Of course I occasionally worry, but it’s really not often. On the other hand, things scare me. I’m jumpy, and I’m superstitious, which is a bad combination. I don’t think God is asking his people to literally not be afraid. I’m not sure that’s even possible. Fear is a survival instinct. It’s natural. I think he’s asking us to scurry to him when we are afraid and to remember that we can rely on him no matter what. He will always make things okay.

He says, “Don’t ever lose hope or let your tears stop.” I think he’s saying that it’s okay to fall apart. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be scared. He will carry us. I think we can’t be utterly vulnerable or helpless unless we do have hope. I can’t do anything when my brain misbehaves. I cannot for the life of me figure out why it happens or how to stop it. Sometimes it’s just a minor inconvenience, and sometimes it’s terrifying and infuriating. I kind of know how to get rid of my symptoms of they’re not so bad, but sometimes there is nothing I can do. If it’s bad enough I just have to go to sleep, and at that point I just have to say (sometimes without words) “Lord, I’m at your mercy. Please take care of me.” I always wake up. My brain always gets better.

I think God allowed me to have MD and epilepsy so that I would have to rely on him, so that I would know him, and so that I would understand things better, and maybe be able to explain some of those things. That’s pretty cool. He picked me for a special reason. I can live with that. I can play three instruments now. I can write well. I can snuggle my stupid little bird. I can play my nerdy games with my nerdy friends. I have a pretty awesome life. It isn’t perfect, but that’s okay. It’s darn good.

I get to invent words like Wuja: a thing that is too cute for words!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Why I Am Against Extensive Gun Control

A few summers ago, my dad, little brother, godfather and I took turns shooting at a pineapple with an assault rifle on my godfather’s property. It was completely pointless, hilarious, and innocent. It was also the first time I had ever shot a gun. We were very safe about it. My godfather owns a lot of guns and has plenty of experience from hunting or going to the shooting range. To make a long story short, we decimated the pineapple and then put the gun away.

I have to assume that most peoples’ stories with guns are in a similar vain: it’s just fun. Do I deny that these are dangerous weapons? Of course not, but I firmly believe that it’s your intentions that matter far more than what a weapon is capable of. Why does my godfather have assault weapons? He just likes to collect them and occasionally do pointless, hilarious, innocent things with them.

Many believe that if we had more gun control, or if civilians were not allowed to own guns at all, we’d have a safer society. This, at least from my estimation, is just not the case. If civilians were not allowed to own guns, the criminals would still find ways of getting them and the rest of us would be completely at their mercy. Last night there were gun shots and a bomb threat at my friend’s college in D.C. He and his girlfriend were evacuated from their apartment building across from campus and taken to a safe place. It seems like this kind of news is almost constant these days. My dad takes the train into Boston every day for work, and he carries a knife with him, but what if something really dangerous happened at North Station? What if something happens when I go see Star Wars with my friends? Whether we like it or not, these are dangerous times, and I personally would feel safer if more reasonable people had weapons.

Admittedly, I’m biased. I’ve lived very much on one side of the argument, and I’ve seen how guns can be used safely and reasonably… although blowing up pineapples isn’t exactly reasonable. I think it’s also a matter of knowing yourself. Though I am against more gun control, I don’t think I should have a gun. I’m clumsy, and I don’t trust myself enough to know what to do in a dangerous situation. If you asked me if I tend to have a “fight” or “flight” or “freeze” impulse, I think I have a “fight” impulse, and I know that can be dangerous. That being said, I still would feel safer if I had some way of defending myself and others.

The sheer amount of mass shootings and death and bad news lately is staggering and really discouraging. Perhaps my stance on gun control is partially in response to all of this. I want nothing more than peace on Earth. I want everyone to love each other. I am an idealist. Maybe I’ve become cynical, but I’ve begun to believe that you can just wish and pray evil away. There is a part of me that is a fighter, and though I don’t want to have to, I am willing to fight evil. It has to be fought. I will fight it with words because that’s what I can do, but I think the people who can do more should be allowed to. At heart I’m a pacifist. I will never start a fight, but if it’s a fight worth having, I will finish it.

To some this will sound violent and scary, and you could probably use my words as an argument for gun control. To be fair I’ve heard ridiculous, super conservative people say things that sound similar, but I’m not them. I believe in people, and I believe in freedom. At my core, I’m a Christian, and I believe in peace. In a perfect world there would be no guns. We could get rid of them, and I’d be okay with that. Put them in a box, and send them to the bottom of the ocean. We have much more constructive things to do with our time. To me it’s a matter of allowing a lesser evil to fight a far greater, far scarier one. I don’t believe that guns are necessarily a good, safe thing to own. They are simply a necessary evil that might keep our people a little bit safer for the time being.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

I’m Proud

I had a good day yesterday. For the longest time I’ve been wanting to ask my friend just to talk to Jesus. I didn’t know how to for a while, but yesterday I prayed about it right before she came over, and this is what came of it: I felt her out first and I asked how she felt about people trying to convince others that what they believe is true. It sounds invasive when you say it that way, but all it means is that one person wants another person to believe what they do. She wasn’t too keen on it, so I asked her just to talk to Jesus and if nothing happened, I promised I’d leave it alone. She said she would, and then we changed the subject.

I felt like this went well but could have gone better. I’ve tried things here and there to try and help her see who Jesus is, but I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere at all. I pray for her every day if I remember, and I share spiritual stuff that’s happened to me. I had her sing harmony on a worship song I recorded, and she’s come to church with me once or twice around Christmas. I promised I’d leave it alone, so I guess the only thing I can do now is pray. It just felt good to finally get that out in the open, though.

While I was on vacation I read a list of sins that the church ignores or is okay with. One of them, and probably the biggest one I deal with is apathy. In the article it was meant that we don’t fully acknowledge or understand how great it is that God loves us. We don’t quite “get” the implications of that, so we just sort of go about our day. I’m definitely guilty. There are some days where I don’t do much of anything, and I don’t think about God very much, if at all.

There’s another kind of apathy that I think is also very important that the article didn’t address. I think people in general have a very apathetic view of the problems people face in the world. A key example is how the Western world is doing very little to combat ISIS while Christians and other religious minorities are being killed, enslaved and raped in the name of their so called god. This stuff bothers me immensely, but the truth is that I can block it out. I can very easily push it out of my brain so I can think about what I want for dinner or how to go about completing the next quest in Oblivion. It wouldn’t be healthy to think about it all the time, it’s depressing, and it’s a very complicated problem, but I could remember to pray. I’m good at writing. I could write to the president (although I know now that that doesn’t often do much). I know there’s no easy answer, but we could at least try and find some answer.

Another one of the big ones on the list was flattery. People are more interested in what other people think of them than what God thinks of them. Again, guilty as charged. I realized that when talking to people in person, I avoid talking about religion. I avoid letting people know I’m Christian. On the internet it’s different somehow, but when talking to my closest friends I feel embarrassed for some reason when talking about spiritual things that have happened to me. I realized that that’s pretty screwed up.

It’s a dangerous feeling because it’s not always clear what it’s directed to. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to call myself Christian because of the goofy or even unethical things people in the Church sometimes do. However, sometimes I’m embarrassed to call myself Christian because people think my beliefs are ridiculous. The body of Christ is not perfect, but we’ve also done some pretty cool stuff that doesn’t get enough recognition by society as a whole. I don’t mean we deserve all kinds of praise. I just mean that people tend to see only the faults of the Church. It’s those things that are embarrassing because they turn people away. I feel I am somewhat justified in my impulsive feelings on this issue. I am not justified in my feelings of embarrassment when it comes to people questioning me or laughing at me or giving me “the look” when it comes to what I specifically believe because it implies that I am embarrassed of my God. That’s really screwed up.

I shouldn’t care how ridiculous people think I am. I mean, let’s face it, I am ridiculous, for a number of reasons. I’m silly, I’m impulsive, and I’m frustratingly and unreasonably optimistic. What I believe is unreasonable, and yeah, it sometimes takes some intellectual gymnastics to make things make sense, but it’s also amazing, and I should be proud to call myself Christian. I should be proud of what my God has done. I am proud, and I’m going to change.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

“You Need To Get Out More”

Last night my dad and I were playing video games, and he said to me, “You need to get out more. The only people you talk to are yourself and your bird.” I found that rather offensive. The reason I don’t go out more is because I live in suburbia and can’t drive. Every time I need or want to go somewhere I have to ask for a ride, and I hate inconveniencing anyone. Plus, even if I did “go out more,” I don’t even know where I would go. I don’t drink; I don’t like crowds; there’s not much in Boston that I haven’t already seen.

Later, I realized something: I am absolutely terrified of the real world. I am terrified of making a fool of myself. I am terrified of failure. I just finished writing page fifty six in my novel. I actually love how well it’s going so far. There are things that need tweaking. There will always be things that need tweaking, but this is the farthest I’ve ever got in the endeavor to write a fantasy story. I’ve wanted to be a famous musician since I was a little kid, but I’ve always wanted to write a good novel, too. Last night I thought: “What am I even doing? I don’t have a paying job; I don’t know how this is going to go; I don’t even know if I really actually want to write a novel.” Sometimes I don’t.

My parents gave me a year to do whatever I want. I have to try and do something meaningful in that year. That was the one stipulation, but I can do whatever I want. The trouble is I don’t want to do anything. I literally just want to do nothing. I want to sit and enjoy the sunshine. I want to read books. I want to read the Bible cover to cover. I want to play video games. I want to waste time and not feel bad about wasting it.

My mom suggested finding a group for writers who are working on novels for the first time. I like that idea, but the truth is that even that scares me. I guess I’m more scared of people than I even realized. It’s not just that, though. I feel like I should know what I’m supposed to be doing by now. I feel like I should have a clear path. My brother knows he wants to be a doctor. He has at least the next ten years of his life planned out. I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow. People at school would say that they felt “called” to do X or Y, but I feel like I’m just floundering. I don’t know what I’m “meant” to do, if anything.

I still don’t, but what I realized is that I have to do something. I have to choose a path and stick to it, so I’m going to finish my book. I may not feel like I’m going anywhere with it sometimes, but I have to finish it. I can’t stop now that I’ve got so far. I think it’s a good story, and I’m proud of what I’ve written so far. I just have to remind myself, when I don’t feel like it’s going anywhere, that the sooner I finish, the sooner I can get it published and maybe make some money off of it… or if it flops, the sooner I can do something else. The other thing I reminded myself of last night is that things happen slower than I think they will, or want them to, sometimes, and I don’t know how most things will end. I have to be patient, and I have to trust God, because I may not know what I’m doing, but he knows exactly what he’s doing, and he’s not just going to leave me floundering. I’ll figure it out. I’m going to finish my book, and I’m going to go outside of my comfort zone and find a writing group.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Forgiveness Of Birds

This probably means a lot more to me than it might to other people. I have a tiny green bird named Seamus, and when I say tiny, I mean he weighs no more than two ounces. Every day we have a routine. Every morning my mom gets up around 9:00 and lets him out of his cage and refills his food and water. Then around 10:00, the two of them come and help me out of bed. My mom has to help me with some stuff in the bathroom, so while we do that, Seamus sits on my shoulder and tries to kill my toothbrush and my hairbrush and the cloth I use to wash my face. One of his many nicknames is Murder Bird.

After we take care of that noise, I need help with the toilet, and since I can’t stand on my own, my mom has to pick me up (it’s a good thing I’m tiny). While we’re doing all of this Seamus climbs around all over me. This morning however, I had a near panic attack. I didn’t realize how far down on my back he was, and I leaned back into my wheelchair too quickly and almost squished him. He’s totally fine, but it scared the crap out of me, and I cried about it, admittedly, a lot.

After we were finished with all of that we went down to the kitchen, I calmed myself down and we all had lunch. Then my mom had to go out, so Seamus’ options were to hang out with me or go in his cage. He decided to hang out with me. He took a nap snuggled up close to my neck, and now he’s preening himself on my shoulder. I was super worried that he’d be mad at me or scared to be on me. I’m finding that the forgiveness of a tiny two ounce bird really means a lot.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Making Sense Of Things

It took me a very long time to understand how one is supposed to love and fear God, when actually, it’s not all that complicated. There are a lot of passages in the Bible where, in the same sentence, the speaker will say one ought to fear the Lord and, oh by the way, he loves you. On the surface that sounds contradictory, but what I think it means is that God is exceptionally powerful, and his power, understandably, should be feared and respected. There are a lot of verses that instruct the reader not to be afraid of dangers in the world. We are loved by the most powerful being in the universe.

Before I continue, I want to address some objections. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are as follows:

1) If God loves us (all of humanity), then why is there so much suffering in the world? If God is so powerful, why doesn’t he just fix everything?

2) If God truly loves everyone, then why does the Bible, as well as many followers of the Christian faith say that a large portion of the world’s population is going to Hell where they will be tortured for eternity?

These are two questions I encounter a lot, and they are questions that have bothered me for a long time. I don’t think I will ever find answers that will completely satisfy me, let alone anyone else, but I wanted to share the conclusions I have come to over the past several years.

1) God has a plan. It’s a good plan, and God intends to redeem humanity: to make the world a better place where there will be no more suffering. For whatever reason, it’s taking a long time, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. It just means that it has to take this long.

2) The fact of the matter is, I know close to nothing about the afterlife. I am certainly not an authority on the issue. I have come to a couple disjointed conclusions, based on research and personal experience, which are as follows:

I: No one is predestined for Heaven or Hell. I should preface this by saying that my understanding of Heaven is being in the full presence of God, while Hell is complete separation. In God’s presence is love and joy and peace, while outside of it is some sort of emptiness and danger. I believe that, in this life, we are stuck somewhere in the middle. That being said, It’s a choice where we end up.

II: Jesus died and rose from the dead so that all of humanity could be redeemed. God doesn’t want anyone to be left outside. Historical and linguistic evidence suggests that while some might go to Hell, it won’t be forever. When the Kingdom comes, even the worst, most immoral people who rejected God their entire lives will be returned to him. In fact, there is reason to believe that Hell is a place of reformation. This is evidenced by the development of the idea of Purgatory.

III: It isn’t the duty of any Christian to condemn people. It’s our duty to teach love and salvation. For one thing, it’s more effective, and for another, it’s closer to the Truth.

Another objection I can think of is: If salvation is universal, then why bother being Christian?

Salvation isn’t about booking a room in eternity. It’s about making the world a better place. Most of what Jesus told people to do was relevant to here and now. It was about taking care of the poor, making peace among enemies, and respecting people because they are worth a lot to God. It’s a way of life: not strictly an escape from death.

I just wanted to get this out there.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!