Monthly Archives: December 2009

…for familiar faces!

I think the worst thing about coming home is trying to figure out what to say to old friends and acquaintances.

What do you say?

Often, I won’t say anything at all. On the rare occasion in which I actually find the strength to do so, I tend to find myself at a loss for words. I stutter and smile. Sometimes, if I am courageous enough, I may do a Woody Allen impression.

For conversations that go beyond formalities, I will talk about how life at school is, what my grades are, and vague offerings about what life may have in store for me after school. Whenever I do this, I don’t actually know what I am talking about. I only make myself sound as though I know, so that I sound intelligent and thoughtful. Oh, the art of conversation!

I ran into an old acquaintance from high school today. At first, I almost didn’t want to talk to her. I had a thing for her in high school, and she didn’t feel the same way. Today, I’m glad that things worked out the way they did, though I was worried that it would make approaching her now awkward. I feared that time would not be on my side; that time would make things worse.

Time can make even the most casual and passive of friendships a bit strange. Time not only changes friendships, but our faces too: we appear different on the outside and think differently on the inside.

On the other hand, time is also fleeting. We do not know what tomorrow has in store for us! So, I took a deep breath and paused. Rather than rummaging through my brain for the right words, I ran up to her, wished her a Happy New Year, and gave her a hug. And in that moment the past and all thoughts of awkwardness dissolved.

I said nothing profound or fantastic. I just recognized a familiar face, and paid my respects. And for this, I am thankful. For putting the past to rest. For recognizing familiar faces. What are you thankful for today?

…for pausing!

I like Christmas for very selfish reasons. It gives me something to talk about.

For instance, rather than pausing awkwardly while conversing with strangers or acquaintances, I have an instant go-to topic. “How was your Christmas?” “Are you ready for the new year?” And so on.

I tend to compare gifts, occasionally get religious (and remember what Christmas actually celebrates) if I’m in the right mood, and contact as many people as I am able to.

That part I enjoy the most.

I think it’s beautiful that a holiday so often characterized by consumerism (in that of food and gifts) can bring everyone together, if not for once a year. It’s a good thing to remember people. I tend to forget to do that, and I hate it.

But what are we to do once the holidays have passed? Convention dictates that we are to return to our lives as they were. And this is true. But there is some sort of vacuum in that, something frustrating. For me, it leads me to look towards the next holiday. The next big event. What does it make you look forward to?

Being creative is a difficult thing, because it requires me to think. And when I loose the cushion that distractions such as Christmas offer, I tend to feel anxious. Yet all too often in that anxiety I tend to overlook the peace from the passing of holidays. The release of moving forward with life.

So, I relished in that today. I did absolutely nothing for the first time since, well…I can’t really remember. I know that I have at least been in one place and out of the other since I have gotten off the plane.

If any of this makes sense, what I am trying to relate is how I am thankful for a true break. For a pause. For the moments after what we all look forward to in our lives, be it Christmas or some other anniversary.

Whenever I think of Christmas and Jesus and everything in-between, I feel guilty, as though I am supposed to be very religious. But then, I pause, and realize that Christmas is merely a reminder for how to live on the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year. And that gives me peace. It gives me encouragement.

What are you thankful for today?

…for snow!

Today is the second day of snowfall.

There’s something captivating about snow. I’ve always been fascinated by the countless poets and religious texts that obsess over a mere layering of the ground as a metaphor for purity. To me, at least lately, the snow has meant nothing but pure discomfort as I scramble from building to building trying to go to class. It makes walking to dinner an even more difficult endeavor for a lazy fellow such as I. And it also doesn’t help me to think that the color “white” alone is a symbol for purity, but that is an entirely different conversation.

But I’ve really been appreciating the snow. And stop me if I’m wrong here, but I think I’m starting to get what makes all these poets excited.

The very first snowfall is so pure. It’s so lush outside–hardly a sound can be heard, unless you are intentional with noisemaking. Feeling the snow gently crumble underneath your boots makes one feel as though they are on a cloud! Yes, I realize this all sounds silly. And a little melodramatic. But snow, fresh snow, glimmering crisply and caking everything around you, is beautiful. And you don’t realize how beautiful it is until it’s been around for a couple a days. Until muddy footprints stain the snow. Until rain comes by and moves it around. Until the snow darkens and becomes slick as wind turns it to ice.

Once several days had passed, and the previously welcome entity became little more than a brown, gushy annoyance, I had lost all appreciation for snow. I was sick of it and wanted it to go away. And then, this morning, on the second snowfall, snow fell again and covered the brown, gushy snow once more. Throughout the day I watched the footprints disappear and the color steadily turn brighter.

I thought about getting mildly philosophical here, offering some sort of Sunday Sermon-punchline for everyone to go on about their lives with. But sometimes I think that we all read a little bit too much into everyday things.

So, rather than leaving everyone with something that they can instantly relate to, connect with, or place inside a fortune cookie, I would like to leave you with the joy found in renewal. The ordinary beauty found in fresh snowfalls. And it is for this that I am thankful. In renewal I see many things dear and personal to me. What do you see in renewal? In the disappearance of slush? What I am trying to say is that,

What are you thankful for today?

It’s good to be back, by the way. I’ve missed writing.