A short little film I made. Shot on an iPhone 6 Plus. Tried to work with silence, slow motion, and the idea of cinema of transgression.
A meditative reflection on home.
** WARNING: Overly sentimental rumination on an existential crisis to follow. Scroll past if you’re like…smeh 😊 **
I took the picture above a while ago when I was throughly depressed (and added the filter effects to be cool and artsy). I’ve been making a similar face lately, the kind I have when I just look up at the night sky and think, what in the world am I doing with my life.This past year has been such a journey:
I now have tangible evidence that I am not a genius, having failed one class and not done very well in a few others here at Princeton Seminary; my GPA is abysmal and it is demoralizing.
This year I had the honor and ecstasy of unfolding into my first relationship, only for it to dissolve into the squirming torture of my first breakup.
Working with my counselor and psychiatrist all year, I’ve gone through a roller coaster of emotions, only to still be fighting to reach an equilibrium.
As the year has gone by, I’ve leaned into uncertainty only to feel my faith lean away from me.
And looking forward, I am scared by what I’ve learned, that just because you want something so badly doesn’t mean you will succeed at getting it, that loneliness is never far away even if you do all you can to love boldly, and that certainty more often becomes more uncertain rather than enlightenment.
I share this to share some darkness. I know that sounds bad, but what I mean is, life ain’t always light and we shouldn’t pretend it is. It’s easy to hear others talk about the light; it’s easy to forget we all have darkness.
But one thing I hold onto that I’ve tangibly learned this year is the power of embracing darkness…and sharing it. We must share it. This act of vulnerability has made me feel more connected to other human beings than I have ever felt before; it is truly what makes God among us. It is the only way I know how we can connect with one another, even if it risks hurt and embarrassment.
I hold onto it…the power to connect with others through our darkness. It’s the only thing that helps me look forward to the future.
Here’s to darkness birthing light between us all.
I am going to feel it,
Every barbed-wired inch
That passes through my veins.
No running but inhaling.
I am going to let the tears
Fall where they may,
Let the salt sand its way
Into my wounds.
Let it melt, electric in my nerves.
I am going to feel deelpy because I fell
deeply with you.
I am going to feel your roots
Pull from my pores,
And my roots pull from yours.
I am going to
Drink up every drop of blood that falls
Because I want to look at my wounds
And know why.
I want to look at my scars and know that I tried.
How many times do I have to saw your name
For it to become something else,
For it to mean as much to me as Andreas
I like to imagine you hear me when I say it out loud.
That you hear my sound. That my thoughts
Spark yours and you say my name too,
That you say your phrases and wish
You could say them to me.
You know what I mean?
It’s as if saying it makes it true.
Those syllables are yours.
You’ve claimed those sounds and
They belong to you.
Remember how I kept saying them?
How you seemed confused by my obsession?
I was saying them for myself,
For the 17 year old, years ago, who
Thought we would never, could never be.
I want to tell him that only people
Will make it better. Only giving of yourself
Will make it better. Only God, true God,
Only she will make it better.
I cock my head and strain my ear.
I can hear my cry from Colorado.
I can feel the echoes in my chest
But I try to let them pass.
I’m okay now.
I strain to hear more, my future self.
What am I saying?
What am I trying to communicate
About any of this?
And then I hear your prince-like voice. Your whisper. Your rythm.
Your tounge engraves your name in my ear and
My past and my future stop.
Your breath galvanizes your name and
All I can do is wait for the wind and rain because only they
Can take it away.
In their time, they’ll take it away.
Something about the rain,
That acid rain,
Floods my skin.
The puddles in the sky
Keep me honest
When they dribble themselves down
Or evaporate their way up and surround me.
When I want to pretend.
Something about the water, every which way,
Some thing about the moisture in the air,
Grieving with those who grieve,
The chilly air and overcast light,
What did I exchange with you?
What did I give you?
What did you give and what is left?
Bulbs dying in the soil or
Annuals plucked too soon.
We can’t know the answer.
No. I do not know Time.
If I did I’d ask Time to take me back so
We could stay or
Take me forward so
I can see decomposing-organic matter or
Red-spring tulips dotting the path we walk.
I don’t care which.
I just want to know.
What is living if it isn’t to
Stand for what convicts us.
I guess I don’t want to live.
I don’t want to stand.
How could such a person have
Inherited such an gift?
Why couldn’t it have gone
To a different sperm or egg,
One who would develop into
Someone who could withstand
Red shots fired from a cherubim in the clouds,
With the fortitude of a statue, with the courage of a mother.
What is living apart from the cuts
And scars of our missteps? From the guilt
We carry from the hurt we’ve caused? What is life
Without dirty fingernails and rough-skinned soles?
An idiot, a fool, letting go
Of exactly what he’d searched for
Because it wasn’t what he’d imagined;
I want to venture out and come back clean,
Not having sweat or bled anything other than
The drops I’d planned on losing.
I don’t know how to let go, to not let go,
Or how to simply be and hold on strong.
If I knew the end, would I be okay?
Would I throw myself into the wind,
Fly abroad, here and there,
But I can’t know these things.
They are complexities that tear my heart
Until I learn to walk on the tension instead
Of trying and trying again to walk through it.
I don’t know how to hold back my desire
When loving you and it scares me.
I don’t know how to have the fortitude
To be different than you and know that I am loved.
I wanted you to stay,
I just didn’t know how to live as myself
Do what you do
And get out.
Rend my heart
Rend my soul
Reap the tears.
Tear my eyes and
Tear my tongue.
Thrash my throat
Because I just find
New ways of being,
Transforming me divine to
What I’m meant to be.
I can yell without a sound
I can tell you secrets
I can fill a mound
With ghostly things
That make me shiver
Or hills with a glowing dawn.
Come on already!
Rend me apart.
Don’t wait until morning!
I am more, you see,
more than you,
more than narcissistic me.
Obliterate my skin,
Your crimson blood.
Destroy your earthly being;
It holds no treasure for me.
I am busy
With my tasks.
I simply don’t have time
For you, so
Keep on rending, keep
On tearing, and keep on
I’m moving on.
I’ve already gone.
I was born again
Once, twice, thrice, four times.
Living, alone, silently, and kneeling
With my mother in her room. But never,
“Stand for Christ!”
Little rebirths daily, hourly.
Minute changes in a broken heart.
I’ve tried to listen,
To him, her, and Him.
To hear stories new to me
Quietly move forward, but never,
“Contend for the faith!”
Grace, mercy, love.
In pretense a perverted trinity
I’ve left behind.
I embrace unity.
God, Christ, Spirit.
He, Her, It, Universe:
I’ve left behind being offended.
“Believe my side!”
“Let us heal.”
“Let me help you, sinner!”
“Let us love.”
I’ve left behind alter calls
And call for justice.
I’ve left behind exclusivity
And tear down walls.
No more filtering the air,
I embrace the grey,
It’s how I keep sane.
I’m trying something new,
Something unlike it all.
I don’t know the end but
I’m keeping Christ in view.
I left behind the gavel
And take Paul’s hand
To my Savior’s feet.
I am converted.
I’ve left behind the fence,
No longer split myself,
I’ve been converted in Christ,
I am born again.