Monday, September 27, 2010

Homeward, These Shoes.

Sometimes, I google earth my house.

That was just a little confession.
But here's the great news: I'm coming home! For the last week or so, pretty much every song that has flitted through my head has been about home. And my dreams, too. It's like thoughts of home are tangled in my hair, and they just keep slipping back through into my brains.
What I'm saying is there's been a lot of Iron & Wine in me.
And "Paint Me a Birmingham," but you don't need to know about that.
Things at home that I can't wait for:
1. Hugs. I really miss knowing people well enough to do hugs.
2. SMI. I miss my family there. Church is not the same without them.
3. Watching football with my dad.
4. Target. They have them here, but it's just not the same without Haley.
5. Eating dinner with my family. That my mom cooked.
6. Jonathan and Kristin Owen. And that kid of theirs.
7. Driving in Birmingham. And being able to park. Somebody should tell Nashville about parking lots.
8. Having real conversation with home people. Talking on the phone is kind of iffy for me. And skype is just weird.
9. Comfort. Don't seek comfort. But hey, it's nice sometimes.
Here is what I am up to:
We played intramural kickball. We dominated in spirit. (In reality we lost 20-1.)
I went to a movie. It was expensive and ehhhh.
I had a chemistry test. Still no idea how I did.
I have to memorize the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds by Wednesday. Too bad I didn't grow up Methodist.
I watch Alabama football by myself.
I really am liking the friends I am making.
Jane Roommate forgot she had toes.
Mostly I do homework. And eat. And sleep.
We went to a really cool church on Sunday. The service was long and beautiful.
"For God alone my soul waits in silence." Psalm 62. That is being a real big part of my life right now.
Something else is that I keep trying to write. And it just comes out all squashed. I think it is because I feel a little squashed. By which I mean... Well... I think I mean that I don't feel full right now. I haven't found a church which is really throwing me off. And I just feel that I'm in between. In between what? I don't know. But there it is.
I want to write something like this:
"Homeward, these shoes worn to paper, thin as the reason I left here so young."
Iron & Wine.
Or this:
Or this:
Or this:
Mostly i just want to write, but it's stuck in me.
Last thought. Today, I was reading my Christian Doctrine textbook. We are talking about humanity right now. You know, what it means to be made in the image of God, sin nature, the lot of it. And this bit struck me, "To be in God's image means to hear God's word and to respond obediently to the will of God, living one's life coram Deo, before the face of God, faithfully reflecting God's character and concerns in the world." Faithfully reflecting God's character and concerns in the world. Am I doing that as a Christian?
What is God's character? That question is beyond what I can answer, but there are a few things I do know about Him. He is beyond and within, above and beside. He is holy, perfect, glorious. He is beyond our conception. He is a mystery. He is kind. He is love. He is humble and huge, patient and jealous. He is paradoxical and yet He is the only way that things make sense. 
Perhaps the most important way we should convey His character is by love. Christians are to be known by their love. (John 13:34-35) So I suppose it would be good for me to start by loving fully and unconditionally, to focus less and less on myself and my needs and wants and desires and more and more on the needs and wants and desires of others. I really suck at that.
What are God's concerns? He has many of course, but to me, some of the most prominent ones in scripture are for the poor, the orphan, the widow. (James 1:27)
What am I doing for the poor, the orphan, the widow? Not much. I have been spending most of my time trying to make friends so that I would feel comfortable, trying to live so that I don't have to face anything beyond me. I'm far, far too focused on me.
Forgive me, Jesus. And use me, please.
Sorry this blog is so long.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

There's No Way To Grow That Don't Hurt.

I feel very.. feel-y.
And I miss the people that know me.

"There's no way to temper your thirst
With lasting impressions or pictures of home
There's no way to grow that don't hurt"
She growled from the station then hung up the phone.

~Iron & Wine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Of Books and Youthful Expeditions.

Today, I went to the library.
Libraries are a beautiful thing. They make me kind of giddy.
Ever since I was a wee babe, the library has been a good thing.

But especially, exploring libraries is a good thing.

When we were little, my brother, my mother, and I went on escapades through the Hoover Library. I still remember my first time downstairs in that place. We were on our way to the library theater. I remember peering around the corner, overjoyed to see that there was a whole other green-carpeted library world hidden beneath the first level's bookshelved floors. We always spent our summers going to library science shows and listening to books on tape. And that day was the beginning of many happy memories in the annals of the Hoover Library.
When we got older, Logan started doing research projects. As it turns out, libraries do not always have all the researches you need. So, we trekked the long three miles down 31 to the Vestavia Hills Library, named after Richard Scrushy at the time. (At this point in time I thought that this new library was practically in another state.) We took the elevator to the third floor, and Momma and Logan started searching for books on flying squirrels. But, to young me, flying squirrels weren't quite so exciting as they sounded. So I wandered. And I found miracles. Books. That antiquated little home library held mysteries that even smelled reverent. In the end, I found myself in the adult section holding some book I could hardly lift about presidents or something like that. They are killing that place soon.
There have been other libraries, the Birmingham Library where I gained a rational fear of escalators, the education library at the University of Alabama, full of oversized children's books. Libraries have never let me down.

And today. I took an excursion to the Lila D. Bunch Library at Belmont, and let me tell you, I felt like a movie.
It's not an imposing library, actually. Indeed, it's nothing compared to the University of Kentucky library. But that is what made it so lovely.
This library is old and has perfect comfy chairs that my feet reach the floor in. It smells like library, and there's that library feel in the air.
So I sat. And read my homework.
But after a while I couldn't resist. The library pulled me away.
I slipped off my shoes, straightened my cozy green dress, and dashed off into the aisles of wonderland.
And sure enough, wonders I never imagined awaited.
An entire wall of books, each titled "Life" with a different year emblazoned on every spine. I plan to investigate those guys one of these days.
I skipped up the stairs and found the music section, the children's section. I found a mural of books painted on a wall.
I felt invigorated. I was seven years old again.
However, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People still sat in my chair, lecturing silently from floors away that it was time to return to my homework. And slowly, unwillingly, I peeled myself away from the exploratory wonders and finished my arduous homework.
I think that The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People should include library exploring. I feel more effective today than I did yesterday.

Thank you, Lila D., you've treated me well.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Mamas and the Papas.

I am Becca. I have a mom and a dad.
They are named Gary Edwin and Janey Lee Campbell Kennedy.
Sometimes I call him GarBear.
Those two have always been the mama and the papa of me.

Sometimes when you always have the same momma and papa, you don't think too much about it.
Then, one day, you do.

For college, I had to write a paper, a very long paper on something that happened to my family. Familial Rhetorics Paper, it was called.
The basic idea was to write about something that has happened to my family that has affected my life. Something about my family that struck me as "alien" or "different." Something that was "heavy" for me.
I was drawing a blank.
Then, my father came through for me. He thought of the story.

Some of you people may not know that before my parents had me and my brother, Logan, they had another son named Geoffrey.
When he was born, my mom had preeclampsia and they had to do a c-section at 31 weeks.
Geoffrey was very sick. For his whole life, he was in and out of the hospital. The longest period of time he ever spent at home was something like 6 months.
At 18 months, Geoffrey passed away. He had an infection in his brain that gave him crazy fevers and seizures.

So, this is the story that I chose.
It was obviously heavy. It was different. But did it affect me?

When I called my mom to straighten out the details to this story, we ended up talking about it for something like thirty minutes. She told me how worried my dad had been when she was sick, how kind Geoffrey's nurses and doctors were, how the hospital staff became their friends, how they had a schedule while Geoffrey was in the hospital: Momma got off work at 3:15, and went to spend time with Geoffrey, Daddy got off work at about five and met his wife and son at the hospital, they spent a while there, then went home. She told me about the first week they spent at home with Geoffrey, they took him for a walk in his stroller and it was beautiful. She told me about the schedule they worked out when Geoffrey was home, how Dr. Logan would stop by twice a week on his way to work, just to check on Geoffrey. She detailed their final week with Geoffrey, telling the story of taking little Geoffrey's temperature and the mercury going all the way to the top of the thermometer. She described Geoffrey to me, his expressive eyes that could, so aptly, share joy or disdain.

And after listening to all of this, all I could think was, "How did you do it?" She was young. This was her first baby. She and my dad had barely been married a year when Geoffrey was born. She must have been something else.
So I asked her. And she answered, simply, "You just do it."
I don't think I could ever "just do it." (No Nike pun intended.)
I think I would sob and cry and scream and break. I think I would let God know that He had handed me too much, that I was in over my head.
But my parents, they just trusted.

In Brennan Manning's The Furious Longing of God, he prays, "Jesus, human words cannot bear the weight of Your mercy and compassion. My union with You is like being so attached that life seems impossible without You. Detached from You during my days of sour wine and withered roses was a shadow life. I have no sense of myself apart from You. My bones say thank You for this now moment. Amen.”
Since reading this, I have longed for that kind of radical faith in my Jesus. To "have no sense of myself" apart from Christ. That's what I want. To make no sense without Christ.

And, in writing this paper, I realized that's what my parents' life is.
As I sat here in my dorm room trying to figure out how it was that they were bonded together rather than being torn apart, how it is that despite this great loss, they are still now so in love after, what, 22 years of marriage. I tried to figure out why losing a child pushed my parents to clutch Logan and I less tightly, to hold us with open hands, to give us fully, with no reserves, to God's will, even from the time we were tiny babies, how this pain caused my parents to trust all the more fully in God's rich sovereignty.
And I couldn't. I couldn't figure it out.
It made no sense.
No sense at all.

Apart from Christ.

So, I guess the point of this post is to exclaim my joy in seeing that I have two parents whose love, and whose life makes no sense apart from their Savior.
It's some of the best news I've learned.
And I'm jealous of them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Naming of Things

Today I just wanted to say why my blog is named, "Cut Out All the Ropes and Let Me Fall".

First things first. Skinnny Love, Bon Iver. That is the song from which my blogging title is derived. Enjoy it. Feel it. That song is one of the good ones that you can feel inside your bones.

Well. Once upon a time, I went to a little country called Costa Rica. My high school youth group took a trip there to share our Jesus. We met some kids in a slum called La Carpio and we took them on a trip to a camp in the mountains and had a week of overnight camp there. My youth group was dedicated to loving in deed and in truth, according to 1 John 3:18.

1 John 3:17-18 (English Standard Version)
17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

This is why I miss my youth group a lot. It was so scriptural. 

So, as per 1 John, we loved in deed and truth. Not only did we share with them the Gospel (truth) we gave them backpacks full of new clothes and toothpaste and such (deed). And 17 of those beautiful little kiddies were saved to a new hope in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, yes, we were in Costa Rica. And I did a lot of learning there. The thing that stood out the most to me was learning to trust. I learned so much about trusting God in Costa. Although I am so imperfect and fail everyday to rely fully on Christ, I am trying and I am growing in my trust.

One of the biggest ways God speaks to me is through music, although not usually through Christian music. I kind of hate Christian music actually. But that is another topic for another day.

But in Costa this song kept coming into my head, especially the line that says, "cut out all the ropes and let me fall." To me, that is about trust. Not relying on your own ropes, whatever it is that you put your trust in, money, your face, boys, whatever, just cutting out the ropes and falling into God's ridiculous love. It's beautiful to me.

So, now in my life, I want to trust entirely in my Jesus. So that's why this blog is named that. Trust.

On the cover of my notebook that I write all of my thoughts and my words and my Jesus times in is taped a note from my friend Meg. It says, "Dear Becky, Rest in Sovereignty." That's where I'm at. Resting, Trusting in the marvelous sovereignty of my glorious and holy God. He's got the whole world in His hands, right?

Psalm 91:2 (English Standard Version)

2I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust."

P.S. This blog is named after a song by a wonderful boy named Andrew Bird. To learn more about this, click Archipelago. Also try "Heretics" and "Why?".