Sunday, 27 January 2013

Love is... My Parents.

Love is in the hugs from my Mum and Dad that make me feel safe and untouchable. Love is in their eyes when I have done something to make them proud. Love is in the number of times they've sat through endless carol concerts/founders days/school productions then calling my sister and I their "little stars" even though I've either just sat through it or had one line in one scene. Love is enduring the endless concerts given by my sister/cousins and I when we thought we were pop stars. Love is loving us even when we mess up. Love is in those precious moments so saturated with emotion that the silence says it all. Love is in the pain when they wipe away my tears, put plasters on the grazes and tell me it'll be alright. Love is the fear in their eyes when we venture onto something new. Love is their desire for us to be happy. Love is the evenings spent tucking us into bed whilst reading us bedtime stories when we were little. Love is the support and sacrifices they have made for us. Love is spending lazy weekend mornings with them talking before breakfast. Love is the random laughs and jokes shared over dinner times.

Love is me wanting to do anything to see them smile. Love is me wanting to hurt anyone who hurts them. Love is me wanting to say thank you but not being able to express it in words. Love is wanting to show how much they mean to me  but knowing nothing would ever be enough to accurately express it. Love is knowing that even when they're angry with me, it's because they want the best for me. Love is me wanting them to know that they are my world.

Mum and Dad, I love you. No words could ever say how much.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Love is... Over-used and Under-valued.

Upon face value this statement sounds nothing but cynical and depressing. But think about it. How much do you use the word "love"? We hear it in music, it either is or features in the main plot line of almost every book/theatre production/ TV drama/ film in existance and as if that multitude wasn't enough, it is also used in daily life: "I love this/that" "I am a little in love with..." The list is endless. Has this put paid to us devaluing something powerful and important? Has this changed our expectations of what love should/ could be like?

In 1 Corinthians 13, Jesus describes love as the most powerful and essential thing a person can possess. Without love, everything, from the small gestures, to the grand ones is rendered meaningless. Yet, today it is thrown around all the time, volleyed  back and forth without any real consideration for its meaning or power. This means that when, as a people of God, we are commanded to "love" one another we get so stuck with what this is saying and how this looks practically. 

Love is often portrayed as the soppy romantic kind which belongs exclusively to the genre of cheesy chick-flicks and romance novels. It is shown as the grand gestures, the heart-felt declarations and the happy endings we spend so much of our time devouring (I could just be speaking for myself here). But when we love people, we don't go round declaring our undying love to everyone, and giving chocolate & roses or expensive jewellery to everyone (although those would be welcome in my house). These novels give us an unrealistic expectation of romance and relationships: that once that life affirming "happy ending," is reached love is nothing but good and happy, maybe even easy, from thereon in. 

The constant use of love when referring to objects has weakened the value of it. How can you really "love" cheese/chocolate/alcohol? Is it that great? It confuses the definition and takes power away from the word. I am guilty of saying I "love" things a lot, even though I probably just really like them.

People are precious and beautiful and love is used to express the strong need and desire to make those you care about most happy, and to be the best person you can be for them. How can you attribute the same word to describe this emotion to something as trivial as chocolate?

So here is my challenge: Next time we say "love," be careful. It holds real power and thus we need to use it wisely.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Fine. I admit it...

I always told myself that when I wrote this blog I would write from the heart. I would be truthful and frank and write what I know about. So far I like to believe this has been the case.

I find it difficult to admit how I feel. To those who know me I seem like quite an open person, someone who wears their heart on their sleeve. A lot of people have also said I am like an open book. Those closest to me however, know differently. Yes I wear my heart on my sleeve, but in reality talking about how I feel is nigh on impossible. Sentences become jumbled, my speech (which weirdly is not eloquent anyway) loses all meaning and becomes stunted and physically painful to listen to. I hate talking about how I feel. I hate confrontation. I used to think this was just in the case of arguments but now I realise I much prefer to bury everything and pretend it is fine. I think a lot of us do this. So here I am, confessing in the only way I know how: writing.

I am lost.

In a few months I am no longer going to be a teenager. I always assumed that when I got to 20 I would have left the "awkward phase" behind and be this beautiful, thin, confident, happy, self assured woman. I assumed I would have life sorted. I would be going on wild adventures, doing wild things, meeting new people and know what I wanted to do with my life. 20 seemed like the end of teenage years and the beginning of a life led by a confident happy woman. It's naive I know. I've met people in their 60s who still don't know what they want to do with their lives. I have had this ideal in my head for a long time and the reality of "wild adventures" (my year abroad) is scary. The prospect of meeting new people is scary. Life is scary. And not knowing the ends I am striving for and questioning so much is enough to make me feel lost.

Life feels like a never ending maze of twists and turns, dead ends, games and it is so easy to get lost. I am trying my best to hang on to Jesus but at a time when life seems nothing but a storm and the path is treacherous and uncertain this is difficult. My grip is weakening and I am mere millimetres from letting go. Talking to God is difficult. I don't know what to say, or how to say it. But I forget one thing, which one very wise friend reminded me of:

Jesus knows our hearts. He sees into the very core of us and knows our every thought before it is voiced. Yet he loves us all the same. Psalm 139 is a well used and perfect example of God's intimate knowledge of each and every one of us. 

In other words, God knows I am lost. He knows I am frantically searching for Him, and he is guiding each and every step I take. All I can do is trust that He will bring me through it and light my path.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Why do I write?

Because writing gives me hope. Because I'm scared if I speak I'll get it wrong. Because writing gives me freedom. The freedom to pretend, the freedom to express what I cannot say aloud, the freedom to escape for awhile. Because writing comes straight from the heart. Because language is beautiful, exciting and powerful. It's capable of cutting like a knife or helping to heal wounds. The power of writing scares me but the excitement of not knowing who maybe reading or whose heart your words touch make it worthwhile. I write because I love the pictures words can paint.
I write because I love it.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A New Year & The Same Old Story

I am Helen. I love Jesus. I find life difficult. I have a slightly unhealthy addiction to chocolate. I resolve to be different every year. This year I resolve to be me. This year I resolve to be assertive. This is a year of change. That frightens me. I love my friends. Sometimes you have to lose something precious before you realise its value. I am trying to let go of the past but it haunts me. Sometimes a brave face is the best you can do. I want to learn to love who I am. I want to learn to accept my faults. I want to see the people I love most  be happy. I don't want this to be a new year and the same old story. I don't want to repeat the same mistakes. This year is the chance for something new, something better. I want to take that chance. So here I am, taking that chance. Welcome to 2013.