Where We Will Grow

I smear red lipstick across my gray sweater. It is wine splashed across a stormy sky. At first I hoped it wouldn’t stain; now I hope it does. The car keeps rolling through the wind that warns of distant rain. The hills have warmed from brown to green. They are bright beneath the darkening sky.

As far as I can tell, I only have a few months left in the town of my childhood. My husband would like to move “anywhere but here” and I would like nothing more than to join him.

We are happy. It is strange to be so happy in a place yet want to leave it so badly.

We like our house. Our walls display photos from our wedding: Framed happiness. There is artwork: Hanging inspiration. There are bills on the fridge: Chilling procrastination.

We like visiting my parents’ home. Two dogs and a cat greet us. One pisses in excitement, one runs in circles and the other scurries away until he can return later to have us all to himself. My mom and dad are always glad to see us. They listen to our stories and give us food to eat. They remind us what joy and hopefulness look like whenever we struggle to remember for ourselves.

We like our friends. We laugh with them. We go to school and work with them. Sometimes we hide away together and sometimes we go exploring. We learn from them and they learn from us, although no one ever admits to being the student or the teacher.

We like the overcast sky and the mile walk to campus. We like the mud that sticks to our shoes. We like the buildings we’ve known since we were young and the shops and restaurants downtown. We like the sidewalks which have memorized our feet.

But we would like to leave.

Sometimes we outgrow people or places or things. I have found that outgrowing people is the very hardest of all. As I sit with my growing pains and my husband sits with his, I wonder where we will grow to next. And who we will grow to become.

I look down at the lipstick stain on my sweater. Perhaps it has smeared across my face. If my husband sees he will smile and think I am cuter than I was a moment ago. But instead he keeps his eyes on the road. I’ve known him to be one who is certain of where he should go and what he must do to get there.

Perhaps the thing I am most proud of in my life is that before I met him, I became the sort of person who would help him on the path he is already determined to take, rather than steer him towards a course that is easier.

“I want to show you something,” he says, and he drives past a house hidden in the fields where he once kissed a girl for the first time. I remember him telling me about his awkwardness in response to the aggression of her tongue.

I laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Then ask him to tell me more stories.

We love to share in the past, but we also like to be away from it, driving forward onto the next rolling hill.

 

 

Circus Girl 1

They never could quite make sense of her. Rarely did her behavior warrant a reprimand and yet she wasn’t quite what they wanted her to be. She was strange. Her essence demanded attention, whether she meant it to or not. Just when they thought they had no use for her, they put her on the stage.

Crayola Crayon & Free Hand
Circus Freak

They never could quite make sense of her. Rarely did her behavior warrant a reprimand and yet she wasn’t quite what they wanted her to be. She was strange. Her essence demanded attention, whether she meant it to or not.

Just when they thought they had no use for her, they put her on the stage. Suddenly they cheered for what had once befuddled them. The fire they had fought to extinguish was now a flame they clambered to take credit for igniting. It was a fury that gathered crowds, sold tickets, sparked talk all across town, and so the crowds grew and grew.

To be clear, they still hardly approved of her. How could they approve of what they did not understand? But that which they saw they admired. And they no longer asked her to change.

Eye to Eye

me1Even in the most joyous of times, the world can drain a soul. Confusion breeds confusion and I question my mind into tangles. With quiet intention, I scan my life, looking to each set of eyes, hoping for answers.

In the first I see only darkness. Faint circles hang beneath eyes that would be lovely were they not so hollow. They sit in a face of skin that has grown gray and gaunt wanting flesh to soften the harsh lines of cynicism. She is bitter. She is cold. I try to make sense of her words but she speaks only perversion so there is no sense to be made of it. Any comfort I try to offer is promptly rejected, so we sit in silence. I stare longer than I should as her brokenness brings me down. Finally she goes away. Still stung by her envy, I search for another pair of eyes.

With great determination, I move along.

The next eyes are blue, bright yet sad. They are hopeful but they are weary. Tiny pupils filled with fear wishing to be brave. Cheeks rosy, lashes long. A face much prettier than its owner knows. There are moments bright and beautiful
before her, smiles so shining and new, but to her they are
tainted by the clinging past and daunting future.
me1 - Version 2Loved ones gather around her table warmed by a meal she prepares, but she misses the joy in their laughter as she questions if she got the spices just right. I tell her the food is perfection; she tells me I am wrong. Her dearest calls her lovely but she does not hear him as she wonders what everyone in the room thinks of her. Another flicker of fear lights her eyes and I do not want to look anymore.

I welcome the next eyes for they are familiar and kind. Gray like the skies they were raised under and the sea they grew up beside. He talks while the rest of us listen, smoke in the air by a tree I used to climb. Wisdom walks boldly from a soul that has seen much more than mine. Still, he always speaks plainly, eyes growing humbler with the passing of time. For every betrayal, I see no bitterness. Both pupil and iris are steadfast and grateful, fully loving of life. For every hurt I’ve had, he’s hurt more and every sin I’ve forgiven, he’s forgiven double. When asked how he loves the hateful when they hurt without having the right, he says, “Hurt people hurt people, so be understanding and always be kind.”

My grace may wear thin to the hurtful, but I’ll heal in a matter of time, for as I watch him loving the hateful, he builds up the grace in my eyes.


Papakea

 

 

11427735_10152961737503034_5180485841754136828_nSometimes we say we are homesick for a place we only knew for a week. But to us, it is our first home.

On the morning after our wedding, my husband and I had to be on the road by 5 o’clock. From our hotel, we took a detour to Walmart where I clomped around in the formal black shoes and socks of my six-foot groom until I found a pair of $4 shoes to fit my five-foot-two self. I have always been the sort of girl to remember her lingerie but forget her shoes. June fifth was no exception.
img_8398For months, getting married and running away together was all either of us had wanted. Now, with new shoes purchased and coffee in our cupholders, we were finally making our grand escape.

In airport security lines, where others bore long faces and impatience, I smirked as my husband cracked jokes with the TSA agent who had pulled him aside for an extra screening. Everyone in uniform laughed with him and wished us well. We held hands up and down the terminals, feeling a bit overly-excited to call each other “hu’band and waaf.” I could hear a collective sigh of relief from our now distant hometown as her residents rested their eyes from the shining glare of our young love.  Well, maybe not. But our cuteness had been undeniably shiny for quite some time. Honeymooning only increased the condition. And so did Hawaii.

11393487_10152958289298034_4042817901742708614_o

On the island, there were the luxuries we’d seen in a million ads and photographs from tourists: Sandy beaches, ocean waves, scenic palm trees…. All of these were even more beautiful than we’d hoped, but there were also the adventures we made up. The ones that were all new to us.

There was crawling, running, jumping, climbing through crags and cliffs by the ocean. Not a speck of foliage could be found. All we saw was the sky above and gray cratered rocks all around. So we pretended we were on the moon. I had never been to the moon before.

Next was the giant red floppy hat that I had only seen in my mind’s eye. I described it to my husband at 10,000 feet. Days later he found it at sea level in a market by a banyan tree. He put it on my head and told me it was mine.

Then there was the cheap wine we bought as we walked barefoot to a local food mart. It tasted like those summers at the cabin I stayed at as a kid. My husband agreed. Hands waved and voices raised as we drank on the balcony, retelling every moment of our wedding. The sun set. As night faded into morning we ran inside to jump on the bed like children at a slumber party. We fell into a heap and after catching our breath retold stories from the months that held our engagement, laughing at the moments we loved, laughing harder at the moments we didn’t.

With each blink I see dozens of other stories to tell, but for now, I’ll keep the rest of my memories to myself. Some for the sake of length. Others for the sake of propriety. But I will share this:

We decided Papakea was our first home not because it’s the place we liked the best. Not because of the sunshine or the jungle hikes or tropical breezes. It is marked as our first home because it is where a marriage started. We were told from the time we were young that someday we would leave and cleave. This was the place we left to. It is where two people started to learn what it means to become one.

I am blessed to be rooted in the words “The greatest of these is love.” Love can be displayed in no truer way than by the cross where Christ gave himself for us. After Christ, no one will ever love my husband more than me, for I have given my life to him. And after Christ, no one will ever love me more than my husband, for he has taken to heart the Word; “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

We are clueless about a lot in life. We are young. We are impulsive and emotional. We are often foolish. There is so much left to learn because we are only at the beginning. But everyone has to start somewhere. And we started at Papakea.

To My Something Blue

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…

b2There is a girl with blue hair, blue eyes and a sometimes-blue soul who has always dreamed of living in a house with a blue door.

She loves her mother, her friends and songs for sopranos.

She hates harsh words, loneliness and April 24th.

Tomorrow is April 24th, and I couldn’t help but want to make it a little bit better for her.

So I will tell you why this girl is lovely. Why the world is better off with her in it. I’ll do that with a little story from not so long ago.

For a few years now, I’ve noticed strange things happen when a wedding is on the horizon. There is joy and happiness, squeals and winks and presents and hugs. There is also sometimes bitter-sweet talk, sadness and worst of all jealousy. Single friends sad to be losing another single friend to impending matrimony. Single ladies in particular feeling a prick of jealousy that their turn has not yet arrived. Sometimes even spite thrown from family members as one person or another clings bitterly to the past, disheartened to watch one of their own leave and cleave. There can be an ache brought on by the conflict of, “I’m happy for you but sad for me.”

The unfortunate truth is, when two people find true love (yes, twue wuv), some build that love up and others poke and prod at it for their own gain. This is the human condition.

In planning for my own wedding, it has been made clear to me that there is nothing new under the sun. Some rejoice in selflessness. Others, the opposite.

In light of all this, I must admit I was nervous to talk about my relationship to my lovely Something Blue. Her and I have been single together, not-so-single together, and burnt and bruised together. Things always seemed to line up so we could relate in real time, and we were always there to encourage one another in hope and strength.

Now picture February. I am newly engaged. My dear friend, the little Something Blue, is talking to me from across the state about the hurt in her heart over boys and loss and loneliness and all the things life tends to throw at us. As I comfort my friend, I fear that it will add to her sting that I now have what she someday wants.

bbBut then she says this, “I know this sounds weird since it’s your wedding, not mine, but it makes everything so much better that you’re getting married. I’m just so happy for you, that it makes me feel less sad.”

I don’t recall exactly how I thanked her then, but this is how I’m thanking her now:


Dear little Something Blue,

That. Is love.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…” (1 Corinthians 13:4,5) Love is powerful to a degree that is humbling. 

I am humbled that there are souls who are so loving that merely the happiness of another would ease their pain.

You, little Blue, have a better grasp on love than so many of those who claim to know it so well.

b4It is sad that you are often treated with less than the kindness you show others, but do not let the darkness of the world overtake you.

For my wedding day, I am told I should have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. You are the best something blue I could ask for.

Please sing for us. Celebrate with us. Join in every bit of joy and thanksgiving because it is meant to be shared.

And remember every day that all of us are so blessed that you are here. Blessed that you still sing, and laugh, and love. Blessed that you can smile and hug your sweet mother and make breakfast with your family on April 24th.

There are those of us who see you for who you really are and love you immeasurably for it. I hope that someday, you see what we see.

Until then, I will never stop praying that you do.

See you in June.

Sincerely,

Kira

bandme2 bandme

 

P.S.
You can still be my something blue even when your hair goes back to brown.
😉