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Archive for October, 2009

The Night Sky

Marissa leaned back onto the cozy cotton comforter as she looked at the night sky. The crisp, clear sky allowed the stars to shine to their full potential tonight. For a short while, she lost herself in their beauty. There were just so many. Every direction she looked, they twinkled “hello”. But the comforting feeling soon began to edge away. She felt herself being sucked back into her private black hole despite all the beauty.

Alone. Here I am, all alone again. Nothing changes. It always ends up the same. Her sigh seemed to encompass her whole being.

Loneliness ate away at her soul. For years it always seemed to lurk in the background waiting for something to fall apart so it could pounce on its prey. Every time Marissa felt she was strong enough to move forward, she always fell backward. Nothing seemed to change.

“God, why?” The crack in her voice made her cringe. She knew the tears would follow soon. They always did. Tonight she was prepared though. A large box of Kleenex sat next the comforter. “I try. I put so much into these relationships and they always fall apart. ALWAYS. What am I doing wrong? Is it me? Is there something wrong with me? I just don’t understand why I don’t have any friends…it’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve put forth every effort I know how to, God. I pray every day for a friend. What am I missing? WHAT?” Then the heaving tears flowed.

Now, Marissa had friends. She had plenty of friends. They called her for advice almost every day. She helped with their problems, encouraged them the best she knew how, and genuinely loved each of them. Though it helped them, it didn’t supply what she needed in a friendship. A person can only give so much of herself before she needs someone to help fill her back up. Marissa was running on empty. She wasn’t sure she could even give good advice anymore. She felt so unbelievably broken, like scattered puzzle pieces on the floor before assembly began. Only it seemed as though there was no one to start the assembly process.

For years, more accurately most of her life, she struggled with finding a real friend. A true blue best friend. She would have friends, people to confide in, laugh and cry with, and experience life with, but they never lasted more than a few months and when the relationship ended, she felt more empty than before it started. As a result, she tried experiencing life alone. Maybe then she wouldn’t get hurt. Unfortunately, that was worse. The loneliness grew worse, as did the depression.

Then for a while she reconnected with church, and most importantly, God. She thought that would help solve everything, but even as her relationship with God grew and her influence grew, she was still alone. Empty and alone.

“Life is meant to be done with other people,” the Pastor would say. “You can’t do this alone. You weren’t meant to be alone.”

Then why am I still alone? Why am I still friendless, God? Why? Why? Why? She asked herself every time he said those famous lines.

That night, lying underneath the black holes in the universe, Marissa knew she had God. She knew He wasn’t going anywhere. Her faith hadn’t wavered because of this plight. She also knew that right now she needed more. She needed something more tangible than God. She needed God and a good female friend. She needed a mentor, an accountability partner, something more than just a counseling session or a superficial conversation. She needed transparency, openness, love and consideration. She needed someone on the same wavelength as she was and the same maturity level….she just didn’t know where to start looking.

God, what do I do? Where do I look? What am I missing? You know what I need. How long must I wait?

She dried her eyes and gathered up the comforter. She had no answers. She knew she wouldn’t. She never did, but she still tried, hoping that God would show up as a burning bush and tell her exactly what she needed to do. At that moment, she was oh so jealous of Moses. He didn’t even have to ask for a sign and there it was, right in front of him. Stupid Moses, she thought as she headed inside.

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Mirror

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

Ugh, she thought while blindly looking for her cell phone that was pretending to be a much larger alarm clock. I don’t want to get up yet. Snooze it is.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

Stupid five minute snoozes. Fine. I’ll get up, you piece of crap.

As her fingers found their way to the OK button to silence the overcompensating beast of an alarm, she unwrapped herself from the cozy cocoon of blankets. She stumbled into the bathroom, somehow managing not to trip on the random articles of clothing scattered on the floor. As she hopped into the scalding hot shower, her pajamas added to the heap of clothing. After the routine washing and cleansing, she shut off the water and opened the shower curtain hating the frigid wall of air as it hit her. She dried off as she scurried to find some clothes that were not on the floor in an attempt to regain some warmth. Once that was accomplished, it was back to the bathroom for more morning fun.

The routine rarely changed. Brush Hair. Brush Teeth. Moisturize. Conceal. Foundation. Mascara. Eyeliner. Eyeshadow. Blow dryer. Protective Hair Spray. Hair Straightener. Hairspray. Spray perfume. It was always in the middle of the process when she started to wake up – some times that involved a boost of caffeine thanks to her coffee pot. Either way, now she was awake and busy applying her simple pieces of everyday jewelry. Glancing at her watch, she smiled. I have time to pause and breathe this morning! Yay! She looked up and the grin grew. I look good. Flawless makeup, perfect hair, coordinating clothing. I really do look good.

She grabbed her purse and headed out the door to class. The drive to the university gave her time to think about that last moment before leaving. When was the last time I felt confident about how I looked?….I really don’t remember. How sad is that? But it is so very nice to have a day when I actually think it. It’s taken so long for me to get to this point; I guess the only way is up from here. With that thought, she turned up Taking Back Sunday and enjoyed the rest of her drive, knowing, at least for a while, that she was self-confident and prayed it last more than just hours.

Individuality…

means according to dictionary.com: “a person or thing of individual or distinct character”. It’s been strange lately how much this term has entered my life as of late.

First off, it is the monthly virtue/big idea for PowerUp – the Kindergarten through Fifth Grade children’s program at RPC. Secondly, it was part of a conversation with my husband this afternoon. Thirdly, which is the main inspiration for this blog, the term came to mind while analyzing a discussion with a friend of mine.

So the conversation started by his status on Facebook, which caught my eye: *he “thinks all tattoos are ugly”. Such a bold statement, I thought to myself. So I replied quite casually, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

*His next comment really got me thinking though.

*He replied, “not many people think poop is beauty. So, let me say – I think tattoos are as beautiful as poop”.

Interesting comparison. I cannot say I would have put those two things together. I will be honest, I am slightly biased when it comes to tattoos. I love mine and have considered getting another. I know several people that have them and most of their tattoos I like. Some of them, not so much, but I understand that is not my call. I would never call them “poop” though.

So I started to compare and contrast them as I have been taught to do in school oh so well:
Contrast: Poop smells, is messy, and just plain gross. Tattoos are art,  sometimes messy, and not always pretty.
Compare: They are both unique. Every poop is different for each person. Some smell, some are messy, some are simple, while others are a bit more complicated; some are often, while others are a little more infrequent. Some are colorful, while others are dark and dreary. You just never know. Tattoos mean completely different things to different people. Some are beautiful and intriguing, other are scary and threatening; some are drunken  or spontaneous decisions, others are well thought out and planned precisely; some are colorful, other are dark and dreary.

So my conclusion? Tattoos are more like poop than my dear friend thought. They are both individual, unique things that cannot be duplicated. Sure they may not all be pretty, but you cannot generalize and say you don’t like any of them. When you’ve seen every tattoo in existence, on every person that has one, then you can say they are all ugly if you still think so. But until then, if you still feel the need to compare them to poop, go for it. Just remember that the comparison might not be a bad one.


*The names have been hidden to protect the innocent.

Musically Inspired…

She stood still and screamed.
No, not the wussy little scream that comes from a little girl when she sees a spider. This scream started at the tips of her black painted toenails and ended  at the dyed tips of her hair. She refocused the scream to culminate in her lungs and come out of her mouth. That scream contained it all…
It held traces of frustration, dashes of anger, hints of depression, a small smidgeon of repressed joy,  and topped off with a dollop of loneliness. Every emotion, every failed attempt, every unsaid word, every word that should have been unsaid, every thing inside her unleashed.
Oh how wonderful it felt! How joyous! How invigorating!  Suddenly, she didn’t feel like a shaken can of Cherry Coke, about to burst from pressure. She started to feel human again and less like a robot. Who knew it was possible? Who knew she could let it out?
When there was no more sound to release, she popped her jaw closed and let out a sigh of relief. She smiled as she looked around because she could make it through for a little while longer, until she needed to scream again.


**Thank you, lostprophets, for your inspirational song, “Rooftops (a liberation broadcast)”.

Perspective Changes

Well, I usually try to prove people wrong, but this time I get to prove Timm right. He said I’ll probably write three-for-three and so here it is:

While talking with my husband Chris this morning, I began pondering how much I enjoy impacting others’ lives. We discussed a few instances that really got me thinking – who have I had the opportunity to impact?

Since I have stepped into a leadership role at RPC (my church), I have been blessed with the chance to really impact kids’ lives. I have been put in charge of several areas of the children’s ministry, one of which is the Sunday morning arena known as PowerUp for kindergardeners through fifth graders. I suddenly became in charge of these kids. Though I have been helping out in this role since February 2009, it was not until last week when I was part of an actual leadership meeting at RPC that I started to really think about my role. I have never thought myself as leadership. I always thought of myself as just another volunteer that just does a little bit more work. I was quickly corrected by EVERYONE I discussed this crisis of identity with. Now through the eyes of a leader, I realize how important my impact is on those kids, along with the impact of the other volunteers under my guidance. I love these kids. I know my faithful, amazing volunteers love these kids. I know these kids love me and the volunteers. Over the last year and a half of volunteering for PowerUp in some way, shape or form, I have witnessed how simply loving these kids has impacted their lives. One little girl runs up and hugs me every time she sees me. A couple other munchkins are so adorable that you cannot help but love them. I have watched hyper little boys become quiet as church mice walking up the stairs because we made it into a game. They warm my heart to new levels each week. I only want the best for them. If I didn’t, I would not be able to impact their lives the way I can. Through my interactions with them, and that of my volunteers, these kids are able to associate church with love, as a place of acceptance and joy. I didn’t get that as a child. For me, church was a place full of strangers that I saw very infrequently. At PowerUp, these kids receive an experience I never had, and I hope they never receive my experience at all.

Now that I have fully grasped my leadership role, I have also started helping out as a part-time leader in our youth group that started last month under the direction of our new youth pastor. I hope to provide the same relational, loving impact with these teenagers that I can with my  PowerUp munchkins. I guess we will have to wait and see as the months progress. I can tell you this, though, those teenagers will experience the same love and acceptance the elementary age kids do, whether they are willing to accept it or not.

Fun Fact for Now…

Thanks to the brilliant quips from my Media Literacy professor, Mr. Tim Craig enlightened me with this tidbit: Your taste-buds change every seven years. Like Mr. Craig always does, he got me thinking. I started listing in my head the foods I did not like seven years ago that I enjoy now: sushi, some Mexican, shrimp, and the millions of samplings of foods my husband has deemed “necessary” for me to try.

As I contemplated more, I started wondering what else had changed in the last seven years. Seven years ago was October 2002 I was a sophomore in high school. Wow. I was so young, so naive. Awkwardness consumed me at that time, much like it does for most teenagers. I struggled with self-esteem, friends, family, boys, and learning to drive. Now I only struggle with self-esteem and finding friends. I am over half way there. Woo hoo!

Since then, I have moved 1800 miles away from my family, gone to college, made friends, found a dying church, got baptized, found my husband, joined the choir (not my best idea), left a dying church for a really cool one (YAY!) lost friends, worked four years at my first real job, perfected some mad cooking skills, reconnected with some friends, struggled with cutting and low self-esteem, watched my brother graduate college before me (he’s two years younger), participated in a high school/college ministry led my husband and saw their lives change, felt my heart break for those with wasted potential, opened a new door to honesty with my parents, switched my college major 3 times before figuring out I really want to do cosmetology, took a year off from school and am currently finishing my bachelors, moved to another town with my husband to be closer to our church and the few friends we have, grown closer to my siblings, stepped into a leadership role with the children’s ministry that I still struggle comprehending how that happened, became more transparent, grown closer to God….and that is just to name a few of the changes.

So my conclusion? I am a completely different person than I was seven years ago. I have shed most of the awkwardness of my teenage years for a semi-confident coat that looks much better if I do say so myself. I might even go so far as to say I kind of like this new me versus the old one. *gasp* I know! It sounds crazy!…But oh so true. I cannot wait to see what new suit the next seven years will bring!

A Letter to an Old Friend

Dear Social Calendar,

I apologize for the rude remarks I made a few weeks ago about not having much of a life. I realize I spoke far too harshly and too soon. I promise I did not mean it. That being said, I wanted to also let you know that your retaliation, regardless of how hurt you may be, is harsh and uncalled for. My currently retracted statement did not require you to fill every second of every day with an event. A few hours of breathing space besides sleeping would have been a nice courtesy.

I do hope this apology will reach you quickly because I am not sure how much longer I can handle weeks like this. Please do not make me suffer long. I apologize once again for hurting your feelings and I will never say such mean things again.

Sincerely and with all the love in my heart,

Megan C. Weatherly

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