Sunday, October 28, 2012


The ground has turned cold again. The air is crisp and bitter; the wind harsh. Fall has turned into winter. But I suspect that as it does most times in this chilly little town, the Fall has simply adopted the negative characteristics of the cold, grey months ahead and we will all enjoy one or two more golden days of fall.

Some things, like the changing of the seasons, can happen over night transforming your reality, burying it under six inches of snow.

But not all things.

I walked a familiar path to a familiar building on a frigid Friday night. I took small steps in my constricting pencil skirt, trying to rub my bare legs together, hoping the friction would warm them up.

I opened the giant glass door and stepped inside of the white colored building. It was warm, clean, quiet, peaceful. An ancient looking man in a white suit greeted me with a smile at the front desk.

I told him I was here to work, and walked around to the back dressing room. Thoughts from every direction flooded my head as I contemplated my life.

I changed into a white dress, and put on a white name tag that read EMMILIE BUCHANAN. As the magnets of the tag clicked in place with a loud snap, I was suddenly reminded of another name tag I wore over a year ago, only it read SISTER BUCHANAN instead.

Suddenly, I was filled with an unendurable sense of longing for a former version of myself.

There has been a change in me. I gradual one. A complex one. A change with many components and variables. A change that has affected nearly every fiber of my being. It is a change I cannot name. It is a wonderful thing. It is a terrible thing.

As I took thoughtful steps up a silent staircase, I began to ponder my life. What had changed? So often I feel disconnected from my potential, as if I am continually grasping at something I cannot reach.

Swirling in a sea of introspection, I began my volunteer duties at the temple. There is no place I love more. It is a place to pray, meditate and recommit.

I started a shift with two women I had never met. I realized how distanced I had become. Meeting new people had never been a challenge before. But that night, I stumbled awkwardly over my words, searching my mind for something to say.

The distance I had placed between myself and the world was starting to become alarmingly apparent.

Lately, I have pushed everyone away. Keeping the world, and people I love at bay has become a defense mechanism, and frighteningly easy. Don't get close, I think. Stay away, I rationalize. Don't feel, I caution.

But this isn't living.

As I came face to face with the muted version of myself, I realized it was due to changes in my life I found uncomfortable, even painful. A deep sigh of realization escaped my body.

As I walked back to a different set of glass doors, I looked up. It had begun to snow.

And that's when it hit me.

Change is inevitable. You simply have to adapt.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Network of Connections

It had been long enough since I had spread my heart thinly across the pages of this blog. My soul, the very makings of my being were itching to be written. But what more could I possibly say? I feel that more often than not, each post becomes an altered version of the last. I fear becoming a wobbly, broken record of monotony.

But everything intrigues me. The colors of the sunset, the alluring smile of a stranger. The mystery of moments unlived. The wonder of the shadows of the evening. All of these things inspire countless words that begin to write themselves in my head, spinning a web of beauty in the twisted maze of my mind.

I knew I wanted to be a writer years ago.

I was walking through the Taylor quad, hurrying from one class to the next, the sweat building up on the small of my back from my overly-stuffed purple backpack. As it always does, life was unfolding before my eyes as I caught a glimpse into countless lives. I saw the wind rustle through the leaves. I saw a girl hurrying down the steps toward her apartment. I knew my brain was wired differently when I not only noticed these simple moments of life, but found great beauty in them.

And that is why I write. That is why my soul aches for it. Words. Beautiful, eloquent words that my fingers can express better than my mouth can that capture the most beautiful moments. Moments of reality. Moments of truth.

Life continues to move forward. I am a great liver and observer of it. I find no greater joy than reveling in the moment. Embracing the now. Grasping my present.

But the beauty of life reaches the epoch of fullness when it extends further than my own foolish, selfish, calloused heart. The great beauty of life is that it connects with so many others.

I am supremely selfish by nature. It seems I am always thinking of myself first. Perhaps it is because I am comfortably on my own. Perfectly lonely, perhaps. But life has a way of molding the blemished parts out of you. A wise carpenter who I have come to know dearly, continually refines and repairs me.

In those moments of careful crafting, I come to learn that my life is made wonderful by connections. Connections to a dear friend from long ago, whose kind, inspired words can warm the heart. Connections to loves now lost, moments now passed, and hopes now faded. Connections to the ones who have never strayed, even when leaving seemed easy and giving up seemed right. Connections to a wise old woman in a blue coat with a heart of pure gold who taught me what true, Christian compassion is.

And through this network of connections, I find the beat of my own heart. The movement of the blood pumping through my body. The air pushing in and out of my lungs with each breath of sweet, precious life.

And so I'll write them all. My record will spin on. My life will go forward. And along the way, I'll meet people. Love people. Lose people. Forget people. Remember people. Write people. For people have been written on my heart, even one as calloused and fickle as mine.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Deep Breaths

The air has turned colder. And with that comes a certain introspective haze that has settled over my heart. The crispness of the air has heightened my awareness of the gaps in my life. these gaps are found in the inner-workings of my soul. Small, subtle disconnects that pull me further away from where my heart longs to be.

But just like the quick bursts of an autumn wind that rustle through my hair and chills the skin under my light-weight cardigan, the introspection is refreshing.

The magnification of each flaw and shortcoming is like a deep breath that comes before taking the plunge into an icy deep. It fills every nook and cranny of my lungs allowing me to exist for a few minutes in adverse conditions. As my head breaks through the surface of the frigid waves, the breath begins to circulate, and life continues.

This weekend a took a deep breath. I looked into the vastness of my soul, seeing more clearly the parts that were missing.

Perhaps it's the change of the weather. Perhaps it's the coloring of the leaves. Perhaps it's the dust and the allergens that are carried on the wind.

But my logic, coupled with my spirit argues that the introspective reckoning was a result of something greater.

This weekend I heard from a prophet of God. His words were soft, piercing and true. I believe them. And I believe the words of dozens of others who lifted their voices to testify of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

But it was more than their words that penetrated my being. It was the words of my God. I was poignantly reminded of Him, and of a belief that is deeply rooted within my heart.

I believe in a God of miracles.

I believe in a God who is an artist. A God who can take the simplest and mundane thing and create beauty. It's in the way the clouds settle in front of the moon. It's in the smile of a sticky-faced child. It's in the wink of a trusted love. It's in the falling of the leaves and the transformation of night into day.

I believe in a God of patience. Against all odds, he meticulously and painstakingly educates me in the ways of Christ, determined to turn my calloused heart into something greater; something I always knew I could be. That same God of patience never gives up, never turns away, never leaves. Constant and true he has been by my side for years.

I believe in a God of change. Blessed with the gift of His Holy Spirit, each day comes the whisper of something higher carving and molding the worst parts of my soul into something reminiscent of his high expectations.

I believe in a God of tenderness.

I believe in a God of mercy. The sweet peace of forgiveness has flooded over me countless times as I recognize my pride, my follies, my erroneous ways. That sweet relief reminds me that despite my innumerable imperfections, through the infinite power of the atoning sacrifice of my God's only begotten, I may one day return back into his presence, completed and whole.

And I exhale. A subtle almost imperceptible sigh escapes my frame. It is enough. The remembrance of this omnipotent, magnificent God has given me the determination to move forward. The will to endure. The hope to embrace the light.