Friday, March 25, 2011

Swiftly still.

When you become aware of the fact that life is a constant series of transitions, it makes the things that are constant that much more important. It's like, when you see a rushing river, and you notice the rock in the middle that causes the swiftness of the water to part ways, even if only for a moment. The water continues to move, of course, but it is forced to move aside, because it is not as stable or strong as the rock that it is trying to move past. It is still, and it is constant.

I look back at the moving water of my life and I see friendships that have been gained and lost, I see hopes that have come true, and fears that have also. I see an immense amount of growth. I see different homes, and places, and people.

All of these things add to the swiftness of my river. They make the water go faster and make it hard to remember what it's life to be still. How can one be still when it is caught in a strong current?

In order to be still in the river, we must take a moment to grab ahold of the rocks. We can hold on to that one still piece of land, and rest for awhile, and we can know that it will always be there. It is understood that one must keep going through the current, but it is also understood that one must take a few moments to sit on the bank, or hold onto the rock.

Lately, in this river of life, I have tried to stop and learn what my rocks are. What are the things that have remained constant in my life? The things that have kept up with my adventures. The things that have remained still, even when I kept moving.

As I looked back, some things that had provided stillness for awhile had been loosened as the pace of the river quickened, and were no longer still. But, some things I was able to find had remained still, always.

One of these things is my brothers. Lately, I have been overwhelmed by the swiftness of everything. My brother soon to be married, my other brother soon to graduate. It seems as if the river is getting faster, and I am putting all of my emotional energy into stopping it. I started to get so upset that we kept growing up, and, with that, growing further and further away from each other. We have experienced things, met people, learned things, that we will never be able to fully articulate to each other.

Here is the wonderful thing, though. My brothers are there, they always have been, and they always will be. We have been through really hard times together, really happy times together, and impossibly funny times together. And, although we no longer get to experience each other's day-to-day beings, we no what makes each other tick. I know that with one brother I get to talk about J.D. Salinger and Animal Collective any day. And with the other, I can talk about N.T. Wright, and Ryan Adams. I am thankful for brothers that I want to spend time with, not just have to. And, in this time of growing and transitioning, I am able to understand that my brother are like rocks. They are a part of my life, and they always will be. They will cause the water to move aside, even if only for a moment. And I am so thankful for that.

So, let us not get caught in the current.
Let us remember to hold onto the rocks, to understand stillness, and to be grateful.

and let us understand that without the current, we wouldn't be able to fully appreciate the stillness.

[This day was swift, but it was beautiful.]

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Profound benevolence.

This is the longest that I have ever gone without writing a blog. There is several times that I have sat down, thought of a clever title, and began to write. However, it never turned into anything. I could never hold on to a thought long enough to articulate it. And, to be quite honest, it was killing me. I hated that I couldn't write. I felt like I had so much to say, but something in me was blocking my ability to make my thoughts into words. These past two months have been up and down, here and there, and this and that. They have been hard, but they have been good. I have grown, and I continue to grow. I mean, life is a series of transitions and changes, isn't it?

In my desperate attempt to use words carefully and meaningfully (largley insprited by shakespeare, c.s lewis, and ) I find myself using a dictionary more than I ever have in my life. I love to look up commonly used words, and see what other words are used to describe the one that I have looked up. And, usually, it's pretty surprising and makes me think really hard about the words that I am using and how I am often using words incorrectly.

One of these words that has made me think the most is importance.
Now, when you look up the word "important" in the dictionary, you get: of great significance or value; likely to have a profound effect on your well-being. When I read this definition I thought about all of the things in my life that I am treating with importance that do not have a profound affect on my well-being. In fact, they don't really matter at all. Immediately after thinking this thought, my mind traveled to thinking about all of the things that are having a profound effect on my well-being that I am treating of no importance at all.

Not only did this realization help me sort out my priorities, but it also opened up my eyes to notice important things in my life that I had never realized before. Certain books, sunsets, good conversations, postcards, certain emails, letters, pictures, and sometimes, even just a really long drive.

And also, writing...

So, why, now, do I write? I write because it is something that I love to do. It helps me process things. It helps me learn things. And, through the grace of God, it helps other people learn things too. To be honest, I think that the main reason I stopped writing was because I lost all confidence in it. I didn't see any quality in the things I was saying, the the way I was saying them. And I gave in to the spinning vortex that is self-doubt. I stayed there for awhile. I am thankful for it this time, because while I was at the bottom of everything, I had honest people there that asked me honest questions. And as I answered them, I could feel myself standing up a little straighter, and smiling a little bigger. People were there to love me in a way that didn't look like, "Hey, everything will be fine... So, anyway..." There were there to love me in a way that looked like, "Kinsley, you are wrong." and "I want to come alongside you and help you." It was a beautiful love that I needed. Although this honest love was sometimes hard to swallow, it was always paired with kindness- not false "make you feel better" kindness... but genuine benevolence.

And kindness is important.

During these months of growth, the amount of kindness that has been thrown my way has been incredible. And the great thing about kindness, is it comes in all sorts of ways. Conversations of literature and of concerts. Free coffee. A few words here and there. A letter. Help. Dinner. Honesty. Questions. or Cheesecake.

So, recognize the things in your life that are important.
and put all the other things in different categories.
Be kind to the people around you. Buy them coffee, or smile at them.

and let us be people that profoundly effect each other's life.

[This is a picture that I took in a bookstore in Oxford that had a profound effect on me, indeed.]