The Small Things

     After watching the film American Beauty for my sociology class, I have begun more and more to notice the beautiful things I am surrounded by.  Especially here, to quote Ricky, "Sometimes there's just so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it.  Like my heart is just going to cave in."  Beauty is everywhere in the Shenandoah Valley right now, and even though it's going to get wet and cold and miserable over the next couple of days, it will still be there.  Beauty can be found in almost anything, not just the obvious.  You only have to look for it, and more than that, you have to be able to feel it.  The sensation is hard to describe, even to someone who is familiar with it.  You have to have felt it to understand, and you have to understand to feel.  So pretty much, if you weren't born with it, you're out of luck.  But most people are born with it, so you're not hopeless.  Sometimes it just gets buried inside of you, under all of the superficial things that make up our lives.  You have to get past the makeup and the clothes and the friends and the relationships.  The fad diets and workouts so that your body can be what society considers beautiful.  Your own insecurities.  You have to let all of that go, at least for a moment, and just allow what is around you to wash over and around and through you like an ocean.  Let yourself drown in it, because when you get to the other side, you will not be the same, and that's a good thing.  Surround yourself with beauty, with encouragement, with joy and love.  But let yourself feel.  Not just the good feels, either.  Feel joy and love and happiness and success, but also feel pain and remorse and sorrow and despair.  Let yourself go, just for a little bit, and explore those feelings.  If you don't know what it's like to truly hurt, then you cannot know true healing.  If you keep pulling yourself out without letting yourself go down, you can never really get away from it.
     I saw something beautiful today.  Actually, I saw many beautiful things today, but the one that struck me the most was a little girl.  She sat in the row behind me at church, and I heard her 7-year-old voice singing the hymns and reciting the prayers as if she'd known them for years.  Then, when the pastor called for the children to come forward, she got up and marched to the front of the church for the piece of the sermon that, for today, was entirely her own.  She was the only child in the entire congregation, and I wondered if perhaps Rev. Bolin would simply deliver his usual message, ignoring the fact that there was only one small girl sitting in the front row.  But he didn't.  He sat down in front of her and proceeded to tell her about the coming storm, and how Jesus was her rock in all of life's storms.  He reminded her of the story of the two houses, one built on sand, and the other on rock.  By now, he was talking to her and her alone, and we were merely observers.  But what fascinated observers we were.  I know I was not the only one who leaned forward to catch every one of the living, breathing, hope-filled words he uttered to that little girl.  He shared with her, but we drank it in as well. And perhaps we also got something a little more.  By watching not only him, as he shared the gospel in words the child would understand, but also by watching her, young as she is, listening and loving and believing them.  It was beautiful on so many different levels.
      I can only hope I've painted the picture well enough for you to see what I saw, and feel what I felt, and know what I knew.  For that is the ultimate goal of a writer, is it not?  To impart to others through their words a picture or an emotion or a sensation.  Preferably all three, so that the reader is part of a story not their own.  To offer up a piece of their soul in hopes that someone will understand.  It takes a lot of insight, to create something that hundreds, maybe thousands of people will relate to.  It takes a lot of hope to put something out there not knowing how it will be received, but knowing that, whatever happens, you have put your all on the line and created something that is irreparably part of you, and will become a part of someone else.


Nothing Else Matters

   Listening to my moody rock music isn't helping my strange and sudden case of depression.  Metallica is great, but it can't cure homesickness.  I don't know why I feel this way.  I just do, okay?  That's how it goes sometimes, isn't it?  You feel things that you know you shouldn't, but the feeling won't go away and there's nothing you can do about it.  It lingers like a bad hangover, heavy like an elephant on your chest.  Sleep cannot alleviate the sense of loss, that inexplicable feeling of being torn in two.  Drugs might make you forget for a little while, alcohol might, partying might, but you will always end up back in the same place.  So I go to the music.  At least then I can know that someone else has also felt this way, and someone was able to put their feelings on paper so that they could be imparted to us without words.  I have found, actually, that music is one of the most effective ways of conveying an emotion without losing it through explanation.  That's why my taste in music is so diverse, but tends to be colored towards the sorrowful or emotionally deep.  I like everything from Mozart to Metallica, from One Republic to Owl City, and Five Finger Death Punch to Fleetwood Mac.  '70's light rock, '80's hair bands,  '90's boy bands, heavy rock and classical, electronic pop and christian contemporary.  It all depends on: a) what I'm feeling at the time, and b) what I'd like to be feeling.  Sometimes I don't care, but mostly my music is mood-based.  Other times, however, the converse is true: my mood can change depending on what I'm listening to.  Classical and Owl City calm me down, while Metallica and 5FDP make me moody.  Fall Out Boy and Journey get me singing along (loudly and off-key), while James Taylor and the Beatles make me happy in a subdued sort of way.  My emotions go all over the place when they can.......  I know this is so random, but I felt that it needed to be said.   Just because I'm insane like that.