Dear Sister

Poetry

Dear Sister,
This is about a girl who just caught her bus.
She is one of us.
She wants to be everything at once.
But mostly feels like nothing at all.

She wants to be tall.
She wants to be taken seriously,
But is usually taken for granted,
And now is being taken to the corner
of Grant and Avenue D.
She is part of you and me.
Her hair is a mess
And she’s wearing a dress
That hasn’t been washed in a while.
She cracks a small smile.
At the boy in the front
Who just shot a glance her way.
But he’s not looking at her.
Instead he looks at the seat
Next to hers where he meets
the eyes of a girl
Whose dress is clean.
He wasn’t being mean.
But she felt in his eyes
a life’s worth of lies
She’d been telling herself in her dreams.
The lies that crept in her head
When she laid in her bed
Wishing the sun not to rise.
Clenching her eyes.
The lies that said she wasn’t good enough.
Not smart enough. Not pretty enough.
Not tough enough.
Her heart was rough.
The soft tissues that grew
Were now black and blue
From the beatings she gave to herself.
She put her dreams on a shelf.
Since she’d never achieve them
She’d much rather leave them
Far out of reach.
If she only knew
That the lies were not true.
But they tore through her like bleach.
Fading away, a bit everyday,
her marvelous, colorful hue.
This girl is me and you.
Constantly bombarded
And hopelessly guarded
from a world that demands nothing less
Than perfection and grace
Power wrapped in lace
A maiden who’s not in distress.
Because heaven forbid we feel stressed
And wear a dress
with hair that hasn’t been washed in a while.
Heaven forbid that we smile.
If the world only knew
All the things we could do
If left to achieve our own dreams
But the world isn’t as cruel as it seems
If we stand hand in hand,
Change from ask to demand,
We can finally go the extra mile.
We can learn to truly smile.

My dear, dear sister
we all have grown blisters
from where the world has rubbed us
against the grain of our souls.
So let’s make some new goals.
Be messy.
Be graceful.
Be crazy.
Be tasteful.
Be your own kind of strong.
Together, we’ll right the wrong
And tomorrow’s sisters can live the lives we wished for all along.

I Write A Lot

Poetry

I write a lot of poetry,

That nobody will ever see,

Because a little part of me,

Is afraid they’ll say it sucks.

When We’ve Failed

christianity

Many of you have probably heard the recent story about the woman who took it upon herself to restore a 19th century painting of Jesus. For those who haven’t heard, the story can be found here.

To make a long story short, Cecilia Gimenez, a woman in her 80s, had no training in restoration or background in art history, but took it upon herself to restore a 120 year old painting of Jesus Christ that belonged to her church in Zaragoza. Well, she failed. Miserably.

When I first heard about this, I was horrified. The history-buff inside me cringed at the thought of such an artifact being tainted, possibly permanently so. What kind of person would seriously think they could properly express what the original artist intended when they didn’t have the proper training, tools, or talent? What was once a beautiful, though fragmented, work of art depicting Christ (or the “white” version of him anyway) was transformed into something more resembling a monkey than a Messiah. I was in awe and a little bit angry at the audacity of the woman. But then I realized something even more horrifying: we, as Christians, distort Christ’s image every day.

Just like the woman, we often think we have enough training to skillfully reflect Christ’s message. So, instead of drawing conclusions strictly from the framework we have been provided, we fill in what we consider “the missing pieces” with our own opinions and ideas. We go into theological debates with unbelievers armed with the wrong tools, using loosely backed theories instead of scripture. And we arrogantly consider ourselves talented enough to be the spokespeople for Christ without fully grasping the humility and sacrifice of our own Savior.

However, like the woman in the story, we did it out of good intentions. We thought we would help people by filling in the frustrating gaps and holes in God’s Word with simple answers that didn’t create too much controversy. We thought people would like Jesus better if we made him a little fuzzier around the edges and easier to digest. Because of the “good intentions” of Christians, oftentimes the Jesus of today looks nothing like the original. Overtime, we have blurred the lines of doctrine, distorted Truth, and made Jesus into a laughing-stock instead of our Lord.

Today, Cecilia’s attempt has garnered worldwide attention and people are coming from all over to laugh and gawk at her failure. Some are even asking for her to be held responsible for the damage she caused to the historic artifact.

Thankfully, unlike the 120 year old painting, which experts have said may never be recovered, God’s Word is eternal and we aren’t powerful enough to destroy it. Christ trusted the beginning of His ministry to a bunch of sinners and look how far it has come since then. While we constantly fail at restoring Christ’s image, He is faithfully and graciously restoring us. We aren’t  meant to restore Christ’s reputation on our own. The only one who can fully restore Christ’s image is the original artist – Christ himself. We must look to Him for guidance as we strip away the extra paint and added strokes that have been piled on over the years. We need to train ourselves in His Word so we can have the tools to defend it. And we need to be humble enough to admit it when we fail. Because we will: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Even though we will be held responsible for how we’ve lived this life (as Cecilia will be), we can take comfort in knowing that Christ will always be redeemed in our failure and His death was justification for all of our sins, even being crappy Christians on occasion.

Colossians 2:8 – “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

Matthew 7:13-14 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Hair in your mouth.

Everyday, Ponderings

This weekend, I went to the Deep Ellum Arts Festival this weekend – as I do every year. Walking down the street passed art booths and food stands, I was taken aback by a building on the street. There were no markings on it and the only reason that I knew that there was something going on behind its doors was the red carpet that lined the sidewalk and two long-haired men dressed in coattails and carrying elegant walking sticks who guarded the door and a sign that read “By invitation only”. So what do I do? I google it of course. I discovered that the venue is called Quixotica and is a “magikal” event space whose goal is “to entertain, give good feeling of positive energy and a sense of childlike mischievous adventure”. Thrilled by this most interesting find, I delved deeper into the magikal realm that was their website and discovered my newest passion – to be a hair poet. The good people at Quixotic provide a definition of this most elegant craft as follows:

Hair Poet (noun)

A man or woman who expresses his poetry through his hair, as well as on paper. A hair poet will have poetic hair. He may communicate with others through his hair. He cuts, sculpts his own hair. His hair may portray his joy, his sadness, possibly his confusion. A hair poet is most of all, quite a character. (also not in the dictionary)

Despite the clarity with which they so eloquently wrote this description, I am still at a loss as to what exactly a hair poet is. Is poetry about hair really so popular. Let the search begin!