Tag Archives: peace

Crowd Harmonies, Healing & Hope

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hate it when the perfect words come out at the wrong time.  I never seem to have anything to take my notes down when the words come.

I have no idea how many hands passed over the ticket I took to this evening’s Night of Hope and Healing concert for Newtown other than to say it had to have been a lot. I got a facebook message an hour and half before the concert asking me if I was free.  I thought I’d just been invited to a fundraiser at a coffee shop.

Of course the timing was uncanny since I’d spent the last six hours in the library and was yet to interact with another human today, in addition to the much more important fact that the cryptic and thoroughly nondescript message indicated that it was some kind of memorial event.

We arrived an hour late and spent almost as much time looking for a parking spot as we did driving to Bridgeport.  As we walked out of the parking garage, I heard the traffic director yell at a guy the floor below that the lot was full and to send everyone else home.  Probably less than a dozen cars made it in after us.

Turns out that I mistaked coffeeshop acoustic guitars with Chris Tomlin, Mandesa, Laura Story, TobyMac, Casting Crowns, Louie Giglio, Max Lucado, and Stephen Curtis Chapman.  The truth is, I care very little about seeing these people live.  As far as the music, I’d just have well preferred to sit on my bed and looked out my massive windows with my ipod up a little too loud and quiet prayers falling out my fingertips.

But it really isn’t about the music.

It’s about the people and the worship and the healing.  At one point, a very specific moment, as I don’t know how many people sang the line of some chorus acapella, I remember wishing that they’d have dimmed the spotlight like all the other lights that had just faded.  It didn’t matter who was on stage, backstage, or in the crowd; it was the single loudest, most melodious and pleasing sound of praise I’d ever heard.

I know the night was for healing and hope, but the whole evening left what felt like a shaving over the top layer of tissue on my heart.  I scraped my way through AP bio some years ago, and while that’s as impressive as my science background goes, when I say layer of tissue on my heart, I mean that I am literally thinking about the muscle tissue making up the organ.

To me, this is an odd image, especially given the context of the situation.  I had the perfect words to explain it on our way out the building and they are escaping me now, but I think it comes down to that moment of praise.

I heard harmonies that rarely appear in choirs so large.  In our words melted anger and desperation, and while there was not yet resolution, there was hope, but it was not offered to or received by any one individual.  In simultaneous praise, came simultaneous peace.

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To the man on the moon

A startling thought I had today got me thinking.

I was walking out of the library this afternoon, heading home to talk to my very-close-most-wonderful amazing friend Jenna, and I thought back on my arrival in Spain.  I thought about that feeling I had sitting all day at JRK, waiting for my flight to Madrid, and it shook me in an unexpected way.   It wasn’t the memory that got me.  I just couldn’t believe how long ago that was.

I’ve been pretty wracked up this week.  The magic of knowing what words means hasn’t fully yet transformed into the magic of putting them together and remembering the ideas those words make, and that’s caused a slightly unhealthy stress level.

Everyday’s taken a constant, real effort to maintain my disposition and keep my priorities in order (meaning no matter how bad I want Stanford, there’s a lot that matters more than my grades), but everyday there’s been a lot of prayer and that one thing that’s helped me get through it, like the library man, dinner with a few of the most amazing people I’ve met in Spain, and my host mom editing my homework with me.

And the cool thing about all of the peace-bringing moments is that they are just as intense as the moments of fear and uncomfortability.  They just have the opposite effect.  It’s like living in a world where every sight is brighter, smell is sharper, sound is louder, flavor is unknown, and there are more nerves in every touch.  Every fear is magnified, but the sweet moments are surreal, if only because you clutch on to them because more unknown is coming.

That peace moment tonight brought a realization just as startling as the thought of how far away that day in JFK is.

I’ve always dreamed about having a window seat in my bedroom.  I got the idea from the reruns of an obscure two-season Disney show from the early-90s I watched as a kid.  With a sweet southern accent, the girl sat on her bedroom window seat and talked to the man on the moon (0:00-1:20).

Now, unlike Dorothy Jane, I’ve never talked to the man on the moon, but I’ve spent many a night in my life huddled in a comfy seat next to a beautiful view, looked up, and talked to God.  And tonight I realized that while there is not place for sitting, my little Spanish window has a wide sill and is thus perfect for leaning on.

Behind the clotheslines obstructing my view, I heard silverware clanking on dinner plates, laughter, and scattered bits of conversations from the adjacent apartments, and I thought about that feeling I had when I realized JFK airport was a long time ago.  And it felt good.

And then I said to myself, “Welcome home.”  This is home.


God bless the librarian.

He completely changed my day.

Every Monday, I have a write up to do for introduction to law.  The first assignment was last week, and it wasn’t too hard.  However, I did spend a good portion of Thursday just reading the three pages of text, but come Sunday night when I went to write the answers, I had no problems.

With the disruption in my perfect study schedule (I was sick Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) and the continued absence of a proper study corner, I did not have the opportunity to pour over my analysis of the text this week.  The assignment is technically optional, so I forced myself to let it go.

I knew it was the right decision, but I felt so out-of-place.  That pathetic fear of failure still hasn’t quite left me, so I spent a good portion of my one hour morning commute praying about it.

Class was hard.

After class, I took my  I’m-going-to-tackle-all-my-problems right now attitude and went to the library to try to renew my textbook, despite not knowing how to say “check-out” and assuming that the book was probably overdue.

It was, and standing there in all the morning discontent, my Spanish skills regressed about 4 weeks, and I understood next to nothing.

God bless the librarian.

It turns out that for each day the book is late, a hold is placed on your account for two days.  That means I would need to return my overdue textbook and not be able to take it out again for sixteen days.  I explained to him that I didn’t understand that books can only be checked out for a week (that nuts!) without renewing and he responded –via google translate, since I was a little too flustered to understand anything.

The librarian looked up at me, smiled, said “It’s your first time,” lifted my 16 day hold, and handed me by book back.

How’s that for an example of answered prayer?  All that morning fear and frustration that I was working so hard to get rid of melted away with his patient helpfulness.