Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ordinary Roads

If you take a a left on the road that runs past my apartment complex, it takes you to an ordinary intersection similar to countless others that dot the maps of innumerable cities and towns all across this country.

There is nothing special about the road that cross. The cracked pavement in my small corner of Idaho is the same as the pavement in Connecticut. It's covered with potholes and worn out paint. Portions are filled with crudely placed tar, sticky and vaguely sparkly when the sun hits it just right. There are loose bits of gravel that have traveled the nation being passed from tire tread to tire tread, that now, traveled and worn sit right outside my door.

But perhaps what's more than the physical characteristics that make these roads more than just commonplace are the stories of those that travel these roads each day.

I, like so many others, am a creature of habit. I take the same route to class each morning acquainting myself more with the roads. They have come to know my deepest desires, most paralyzing fears and greatest joys. They know my soul as my thoughts that pour out over them give me away one secret at a time.

But these roads are the greatest of secret-keepers. They will never tell of experiences long past that still haunt and shame me. They will never disclose the names of the boys I've spent my days thinking of. They will never hint at the hopes I have for my present and my future. These trusted confidants will never betray me with tales of my childish folly, secret success or penetrating loneliness.

Along with my secrets and my idiosyncrasies, the roads have been infused with my trust.

These magnificent pathways are what guide me to the companionship of a dear friend. The safety of my small, cramped apartment. The sanctuary of my job. The fortress of my faith.

At the end of each road I arrive somewhere that defines who I am ever so slightly. Often times, it's imperceptible.

However, the introspection doesn't come until I'm back in the safety of asphalt, where my soul and my secrets are protected.

A few nights ago, I sat in the back of a white Jeep watching the moon from outside my window. Transfixed, I silenced my racing thoughts and felt the momentum of each turn that was taken too quickly. My stomach swooped down to the ground as the Jeep conquered a roller-coaster like hill. I peaked past the headrest of the passenger seat through the bug-stained windshield.

The steady rhythm of the music playing on the radio, fast and steady like the sound of a train engine somehow steered my thoughts to reality. The headlights only extended to the next curve moments before we hit it. Though I knew these back country roads almost as well as they knew me, I still felt uncertain as to where I was, and where I was going.

A small fleck of anxiety rushed through me. Where was I? How could the roads who I had confessed everything to abandon me so easily?

As the song on the radio crescendoed into a familiar chorus, and the effervescent moon shined through my window, constant and unchanged, I realized that my dear friends, those winding roads, had taught me a lesson I had long forgotten.

It's all about the journey.

And so I closed my eyes, let the music wash over me as the last notes faded into my heart, and enjoyed the long and winding curves of the road that will forever lay ahead of me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weak Frame

Three small brown freckles caught my eye as I fished around to reach a faint itch on the squishy part of the back of my right arm. It was a part of my body I rarely see. My fingertips, calloused and cracked from my feeble guitar-playing efforts brushed over a patch of dry skin underneath my shoulder. 

I was suddenly very aware of my body. I also became acutely aware of the moments that encompassed me, which for days had threatened to crush my weak frame. 

I felt the breath fill my lungs after a quick inhale, and a pensive exhale. It was sharp, filling every corner of space as if desperate to feel anything more than the mundane. Even my own breath was frantic for a change of pace on nights like tonight. 

I felt the burning in my chest after eating too late for my own good. My thoughts, a mixture of lyrics and memories, wandered to a bottle of Tums that could soothe the dull burn. 

My legs, in their characteristic criss-crossed fashion tried to rejuvenate themselves as a familiar ache settled into my shins. 

A small knot in my upper back stole attention from my clouded mind as it grew tenser and tenser as my posture worsened. 

My hair, a tragic mess had begun to fall out of its tight messy bun and tiny, unkept wisps tickled my neck, ears and cheeks. 

My thoughts were on people tonight. People I had left behind. People I had sat on the grass with, sharing secrets. People I had loved. People who had carelessly tossed aside a part of my calloused, guarded heart. People who had taught me great wisdom. People who had let me down. People who love me dearly. People who make me laugh. People I had disappointed. People I had failed. 

Suddenly, I was horribly tired. It was a tired that extends further than the gauge of hours spent awake compared to sleeping. A tired deeper than running a marathon, performing a show-stopping number or dancing a finale. 

It was a tired that was rooted deep within my soul. A tired laced with fears and worries. Hopes and expectations. Hellos and goodbyes. I'm sorrys and I'll be betters. 

But I learned deeply and truly many years ago that a life worth living should be exhausting. Though I hide in my castle of walls, my eyelids heavy and my soul tired, a peaceful smile inexplicably forms on the corner of my lips. 

Life is for learning. Life is for loving. Life is for living. And despite the road blocks, the set backs and the moments of utter desperation. I remember that so far, life has been nothing but wonderful and awful surprises. 

All that's left for me to do is to walk forward. Live forward. Look forward. Love forward. 

It's easy to stay stagnant. But it's brave to stay moving. And despite my weak body, my soul was built for something greater. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Confessions for No One

I love the feeling of the brisk fall air that colors my cheeks and makes my eyes sparkle.

I love laying on my stomach lackadaisically, letting the minutes pass me by and my daydreams carry me away.

I love the feeling of being right, the wisdom that comes from being wrong and the joy that comes from being loved.

Cutting vegetables makes me feel domestic. Always.

The home decor section of Target is my very favorite. I could spend hours there.

I find immense satisfaction in watching someone read a news story I wrote.

I used Google search as spell check daily.

I Instagram silly, whimsical things, and absolutely love it.

I instantly love anyone who can make me laugh.

I instantly love anyone who I can make laugh.

I like when people take me by surprise, talk to me straight and wink from across the room.

I like the smell, feel and nostalgia of nighttime.

I find complete and pure joy in the happiness of others.

Witty people are the best people.

I could drive and drive for hours and never get bored and never feel lost.

I strive to be like every genuinely kind person I have ever met.

My favorite way to wear my hair is in a loose, messy pony tail.

Eyes are my favorite. And smiles. And laughs. And clever words.

I wish people said what they thought, lived what they believed and did what was good.

I like rich foods, rich men and rich conversations.

I could be content to live in a cottage by the sea for years and years.

Sometimes I dream of getting lost in an unknown place with my love at my side.

I love having freshly painted fingers and toes.

Everything sounds better if you put "licous" at the end of it. Watch-  Emmilicious.

I hate portraying any type of weakness to anyone.

I love walking hand in hand with someone simply to enjoy the silence.

Crazy moods are my favorite moods.

I wish for two things only: for Harry Potter to be real and to sing like Norah Jones. And Sara Bareilles.

Simplistic happiness is my favorite.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Prayer of the Heart

Tonight my heart was not sitting in front of a large LCD screen. It was not with me when my wrist curved to the left and right clicking the mouse to create a page layout. It was not with me as I stared dully and read about the new SRC president and the new housing complex.

My heart was on its knees, pleading in simple supplication to the Most High for plethora of adjectives that could sooth my frazzled nerves.

Help me remember, it begged.

Help me forget those who have done me wrong, it yearned.

Fill me with kindess and charity, it implored.

Keep the cracks and tares of my calloused chambers at bay so I might perform properly, it pleaded.

This foolish, fickle heart of mine is often my most transparent window to my soul. Tonight, it beat stilly, softly, soundly in a cage. A cage I keep locked expect to the very few. Each rib bone protecting the calloused wreck is nothing but another weapon crafted to keep the world out and at a comfortable distance.

But every so often, on cool evenings such as this, I can see beyond those sturdy bars into the depths of my own being. I pass through layers of fears, layers of worries, layers of distrust, layers of caution to an expanse and wide field of a brilliant, glowing substance: love.

It's a love that when released, penetrates every organ, cell and molecule. It is enough to extend to the stranger in the grey hoodie and ear buds to my left. The dulled voices that drone behind me. It extends to people who live in cities I've never been to, and countries, the names of which I cannot spell. It is a love that extends beyond the confines of gravity, the barriers of the atmosphere and the far reaches of the universe. It is a love that is rooted deep with in my Savior, Jesus Christ, and therefore knows no boundaries of time, space or matter.

I let out a deep sigh of relief. Buried deep in my soul is this love. But my troubled mind and bruised heart threaten to hold it prisoner.

Perhaps fear is the great inhibitor. Perhaps the unknown. Perhaps doubt, or weakness or pride or a multitude of reasons keep me from basking in the expanse of the deepness of my soul's capacity.

But on night's like tonight, when the last of summer seems to dwell in the air, reminding me of people now gone, loves now lost and moments now reduced to a memory that the rust that has been building up around the hinges of my cage begins to crumble.

The love is beginning to penetrate. It's nights like this quiet September evening that push me to be a better person.

And slowly and surely, the prayer of my heart is heard.

Monday, September 3, 2012


The light at the end of my hallway casts a dim, gray glow on the worn, brown carpet speckled with green and maroon flecks. Strange how something so simple, mundane and ordinary can occasionally pull one's mind out of the monotony of life, causing it to reflect on something vastly more important and infinitely more personal.

Yet, the impersonality of that light, rather than taking me back to linger on where I've been days ago, months ago, even years ago like so many impersonal memory triggers do, dragged me backwards but then propelled me forward with impressive force. The momentum of the jerkily crafted introspection left me befuddled and flustered.

It sent me backward to a time when I was a young, naive daydreamer who fantasized about the life she would one day live. Her long hair fell to the middle of her back. Her blue, wire-rimed glasses occasionally slid down the bridge of her then only once broken nose, and her mouth occasionally twitched to the left then the right, a mark of her insecurities when she felt scrutinized by all who were deemed by her as superior.

She was uncomfortable in her own skin. But that was only because she had yet to discover the soul held inside the awkward, ungraceful body. Though it is a process still taking place, the years have whittled away some of the rougher edges.

The girl in the blue-rimmed glasses would look out the window and dream of what lay ahead for her. Occasionally, she would catch her own reflection in the mirror. Depending on the day, the color of shirt she wore, or the way the sun glinted in her brown hair, the eye color looking back at her would change. This was one feature of her antagonistic body she had come to terms with, even loved. That day, her eyes were a faint green.

She dreamed of a future filled with people, events, places and memories, all of which would take root within a small portion of a heart she was willing to fill.

Since, and in between those days spent in front of windows her heart has been filled and emptied by the 24 years of experiences she has lived. They have been glorious and horrific all at once, as anyone who has truly lived can claim.

Tonight, as my hall light flipped on, I was reminded of this small, unnoticed, insecure girl.

I was reminded of this girl as I walked home in the cool air bringing Autumn to a small town in Southeastern Idaho.

I was reminded of this girl as I sat on the steps of a large apartment complex yesterday, as the shadows from the setting sun illuminated the landscape of a sleepy little town.

I was reminded of this girl as I thumbed through a stack of newspapers, the black ink from the type smudging on my fingers.

I was reminded of this girl as I drove from a quaint home in Lehi, Utah singing at the top of my lungs to songs by men named Jason, John and Adam.

I was reminded of this girl when I faced a fear. The familiar surge of triumph and accomplishment brought her back to me vividly.

I was reminded of this girl when a trusty, old cowboy scooped me into a bear hug and nearly took the wind out of me.

Each day my a quiet voice in the far reaching corners of my mind, perhaps even my soul, reminds me of this girl. Simply because she is where I've been.

My life has been one of glorious imperfection. My actions, my circumstances, my decisions are all filled with blemishes. Yet I wouldn't change a thing.

That imperfect girl has grown into a more refined imperfection. A more confident imperfection. A secure imperfection.

With the switch of a hall light, I remembered her, and smiled. Look how far she's come.

And that's when my thought propelled me into a vast future of unknown. It's a story that has yet to be written. Many things remain undecided, unscripted. But one certainty is that it will be marked with wonderful, colorful, defining moments of imperfection.