The Gauntlet.

You know, I love to draw meaning from stories, it’s one of the most fun things I know of. I hope all of you have had that experience of sitting (or standing) with someone and just analyzing a story you both like. You get such a satisfied feeling afterward.

As I mentioned, I’ve been watching RWBY, and the show is just too good not to analyze in depth. There’s a lot to choose from, but today I’m thinking of one of its more sobering themes. It’s problematic, but it plays into a common concern parents and teachers, as well as young people like myself, have with entertainment, and how we should prepare kids for the world.

RWBY has, ever since season 2, not hesitated to bring up the question of when children should be considered adults. The idea the show deals with is if it’s really correct to call kids kids after they’ve taken up the gauntlet to fight for good.

This dilemma is presented literally by Yang, a girl who actually uses “gauntlets” to fight, and makes a point on multiple occasions of saying she doesn’t consider herself a kid. Now that she (spoiler alert) has made the choice to risk her life defending the world, been on a mission armed to the teeth, and then lost her arm defending her friend, she feels pretty adult.

Yang’s perspective is understandable, but it is counted by her mentor Ozpin and also her father, Ozpin never talks to Yang about it specifically but he does wish for the youth on the show to retain some of their child-likeness as long as they can, knowing it won’t be for long. He also hopes they will  not lose their sens of humor. Yang’s father Tai tells her directly that she’s still got a lot to learn, just fighting and undergoing trauma doesn’t make her an adult.

Yang does go on to prove she is growing up by making her own difficult choices. But we are still left wondering if it had to be that way. And if it’s right for children to take on such adult roles.

It’s an old problem on shows with young characters that they tend to act more adult than the adults, but this show takes a closer look at why that is. Maybe the simple truth is that we talk down to kids, and they are capable of handling far more than we realize.

Children, as any teacher who’s had any success might tell you, are capable of grasping very deep subjects, often faster than adults do. Things like loss can be hard on kids, but sometimes they still handle it better than adults.

It depends on the person, but it’s fair to say that children surprise us with their maturity often enough to make us question if sheltering them really makes sense.

i don’t mean you shouldn’t protect kids from knowing about evil. But some people think that includes not telling them about suffering and pain, and that’s not something we really can keep from kids. There’s no sense dwelling on it, but if it comes up, should we hedge around it as we often try to do?

RWBY is honest about one thing: This is war. As a kid, that’s what I was told. We’re in a war between good and evil. That wasn’t hard to accept…it’s not really like that’s news to a child. They see the fight all around them.

But in a war there are casualties, an damages, and wounds, and losses. What do we do with those? Some say we should encourage children to think about the happier things in life as long as they can. Others that we should not shield them from harsh realities.

If I might offer some insight on what I think the real answer is…

I think that we over think it, honestly. Unfortunately, the reason we do that is because we have the luxury of it. Not so long ago, most kids would have known someone who had died, or had lost a close family member. Tragedy would not have been a strange notion to kids. They weren’t sheltered from it because there was no way for them to be. Parents couldn’t hide the truth. Cruelty and hate were things kids witnessed, not just in bullying or movies or online, but in person. Between adults.

In many countries, this is still the case. I don’t know why the West doesn’t get it, honestly, I think it’s because we spend so much time running from realities like that ourselves. For some reason, we think our happily ever after comes without a struggle.

It’s not that we should give up on happy endings, which our culture has more of than most, all over its’ fiction and sayings and ideals, and I love that about America; but we tend to pass over the part in every story where the hero or heroine had to got through nearly hell to get to the better ending.

It’s quite simple, if you want a mediocre, quiet ending, then live mediocre and run from what would make you a hero. If you want a truly happy ending, then you have to embrace the sorrow in life and let it temper you into something new.

My pastor pointed out this past Sunday that Jesus said “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” He said “we need to learn how to mourn.”

And that got to me, because, I don’t know how.

Golly gee whiz, I’m not the only one am I? As a freaking culture, we don’t know how to mourn. Our whole message to people is that if you get knocked down, you get right back up. You shove people’s abuse of you right back at them. You keep moving forward.

Well, yeah, you should, but first you have to mourn.

If we hold it together all the time, then our strength will be brittle and a strong enough blow will shatter us. But if we let ourselves break over and over again, we’ll heal a little faster each time.

And this applies so much to children.  I wasn’t usually told to stop crying when I was upset as a kid. Mostly, I could express my feelings. But I still bottled them up out of insecurity, a huge part of my christian journey was learning to cry over my hurt. And just let myself admit it sucked. It’s funny, when you quit trying to be strong all the time, you find things aren’t so hard to bear. Not with God’s help.

And other people’s.

And dang it, that’s what we need to tell kids. Yes, you’ll have hard times. But it’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s because we treat suffering like it’s something to fear that it’s so hard to deal with it. It can be scary, but that doesn’t mean we need to fear it coming.

And there is comfort. That’s important to remember.

–Natasha.

 

Purpose and Loss.

At my Youth Group last night we started talking about purpose. More specifically, is it hard to believe that you have one? And what makes it hard, since to be honest, most of us would agree that it is.

It’s always been easier for me, my parents raised me and my siblings to believe God has plans for our lives. They used to pray with us every night about that.

Even I had to admit, however, that it’s gotten harder over time. It’s hard not to get jaded by the world as you get older. The older people get, have you ever noticed, the less they tend to believe they can accomplish anything big, and the less they want to.

You might have heard the song “7 years” it’s a great song, very moving, and one of it’s fine points is the shifting attitude as the singer talks about getting older. He goes from a friendly kid, to a kid trying to be edgy and conquer the world, to an idealistic twenty year old, and then looking ahead, he recognizes that come thirty, things will start to seem like the highlight was in the past and he just hopes he’ll have friends still. And that he’ll be able tot each his children. Then he leaps ahead to when he’ll be sixty.

Looking ahead to old age, the singer has two or three profound thoughts. The first is that you remember life and then your life becomes a better one. This could be a reference to heaven, or to old age maybe being better in some ways than youth. His other thought is that he doesn’t want to be stone cold, but have children around to make him remember that kind of hopefulness he had once.

As you age and lose your energy and drive, being content with a family life seems appealing, and it’s not necessarily wrong either. For some that is their purpose. The people who go through mid life crisis’es feel differently though.

Even the people I know who didn’t have an outright midlife crisis definitely struggled with knowing their youth was gone and wondering if they were accomplishing anything with their lives.

My recent experiences have led me to believe that there is one huge factor in how we lose our sense of purpose, and it only gets worse with age. I think that factor is LOSS.

Something about losing something or someone important to us shakes us up. Even if you go numb, there’s a part of your mind that is reeling from realizing how little control you have. Since we automatically base our sense of purpose in what we think we can control (Think “Wait for It” from Hamilton) feeling out of control makes us wonder if we can do anything.

Realizing that young people can die just as easily as old made me question my age as any safeguard against having a wasted life. While realizing that older people can live a long time and not really learn anything about love or purpose made me question if getting older will help me be wiser, or will it just make me more cynical? It already has in some ways.

I wouldn’t say I’ve lost my ideals, but I tend not to get fired up about them like I used to. I tend to want to fight less over them. What I want more now is to know I can do well what I do, and to have people around who love me.

Yet I can’t get rid of that fiery side of me. I’m a born fighter, I fight whether I intend to or not.

Where does that leave me? And you, I know I’m talking to someone reading this.

The first step toward a Loss not defeating us and our purpose is admitting that our purpose never had anything to do with what we could control. Some people think we control our own destiny, I say that’s only partly true. We’re going to end up in some places whether we like it or not, all that we control is whether we let God use those times to help us fulfill His purpose for our lives, or we let ourselves become purposeless, dragged around by the breeze.

I had no control over ending up living in someone else’s house for two years. And that really bothered me for a long time, sometimes I still wish I could control it. Yet I chose not to give in and let that make me a vegetable, just going through the motions of living. I believed God had a purpose in bringing me here. I still try to have control, probably too much, but I don’t have the reins of my life.

Aging is tough on our resolve to live well and live bigger than ourselves. We realize how little we control as we get older. We don’t singularly control who runs our country (in other countries, the common person controls it not at all), or what taxes we pay, or where we live, or how well our business does. We try, but there are always factors that do not depend on us. That should make us humble and grateful for other people’s help, often it makes us despairing.

There are plenty of older people who are exceptions to this rule, and I’m glad of it. I’m more scared that younger people are giving into despair far more often than the old are.

Don’t let loss shake your faith in having a purpose. Even short lives can be bright and powerful. It may be true that every day we walk out the door is a fresh risk, but that means every day can be a chance to do something brave and meaningful. If we simply do not let ourselves lose our confidence.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

At home in the universe.

Yesterday I had the great opportunity to go to an observatory. I am a big fan of the universe and stars and planets. A friend of mine and I were discussing recently how awesome it would be, after we get to heaven, to just go hopping around the universe.

And it would be, because even the pictures I see of clouds of stars and galaxies are breathtaking. Imagine seeing it in person. It’s no wonder some astronomers are dying to discover the secret of space travel.

You can Google images too if you want to know what I’m talking about. Rainbow clouds, huge whorls of pink galaxies or solar systems. More stars than you can fit into your mind. And it goes on forever. Literally, it’s all still expanding.

Which is proof of a higher power if you ask me. Where did the space to expand into come from? The big bang couldn’t have created it, even if you buy that crud, which I don’t. But the Big Bang doesn’t solve the problem of where everything cam from, it just presets a very long drawn our method of it expanding.

I am getting to the point where I find the Theory of Evolution too ridiculous to take seriously. If you look at what the universe looks like, you’ll see it’s astoundingly beautiful, and it truly is other worldly.

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King David wrote about seeing all the worlds God had made  (You might be more familiar with that in the song “How Great Thou Art.”) I don’t think David meant there was literally other earths out there, like in science fiction, I think he was probably referring to the planets.

I don’t believe in aliens. But I don’t rule out the possibility of other worlds, Not ones that could support human life. I think we’re here on earth for a reason. I don’t expect we’ll ever find anything resembling a life like a life on earth in the universe.

I think that out there, the’re life of another sort. If you look at the pictures of the Galaxy, you’ll feel like it is alive. But not alive like we’re alive. It’s not a sentient breathing being, but it’s not dead. It’s vibrant, it’s magnificent, and there’s so much of it.

Why would God put beauty all over the universe when it is doubtful we’ll ever be able to find it all?

Well, because God is much greater than we can know, in this life anyway. And He does not limit Himself just because we are limited.

Which brings me to something a little less pleasant. The folly of man.

While I was at this observatory I saw a sign (one of those informative ones like you see at museums) that was talking about what we’re discovering about the universe. At the bottom it had the amusing thought to present that because we’re learning abut this “We are finding our place in the universe and feeling at home in it.” That’s almost exactly what it said, but I wish I’d had a notebook to jot it down, my phone doesn’t take accurate enough pictures for it.

Yes, ladies and gents, because we can take pictures of stuff billions of light years away and form theories about things we’ll never touch, we are finally able to feel at home in the universe.

The plaque also said that the reason for this was because we could understand it. BS I say!

We have our theories, we can’t even agree on those. But if we think we are anywhere near understanding the universe we are beyond delusional. We don’t understand DNA, something all around us, on us, in us, and something we’ve studied up close for decades. Yet we think we could understand something we’ve seen only at a great distance.

We can’t predict our own weather with great accuracy, yet we think we know weather on other planets. Do you see the humor in this? And the arrogance.

At home in the universe? Give me a break. Do you feel at home on your block?

When I consider the heavens, like David, I am in awe. And there was a quote about that too. From Griffith J. Griffith talking about the Mount Wilson Observatory.  “Man’s sense of values ought to be revised. If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world.”

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I know that I don’t exactly feel at home in the universe. There is something entirely beyond my understanding even just looking at the photos. Let alone if I tried to study it. See if it doesn’t make you feel the same way. Small.

But I do feel like I differ from a lot of people in one way. The universe does not make me feel unimportant. Unimpressed with man’s attempts to snatch glory apart from God, yes.

But not unimportant. I do feel small and extremely limited when I think of all the places I can’t reach, but it only makes me realize that one day I will be free of this body “of death” as Paul called it.

I don’t hate my body, but it’s a humbling thing to have a mortal body. It does things that don’t really make you feel all that proud, and it limits you. What Outer space reminds us off is that our body is a very temporary thing.

If you don’t feel at home on earth, I don’t think space frightens you so much as it makes you want to expand. If people are too busy int heir lives to ever look up even at the heavens we can see from here, I wonder if they are just a little too comfortable on this fallen planet.

Nathaniel Bowditch looked up at the stars, his mother said they made your problems shrink if you looked at them long enough.

I think the scariest thing for some of us, and also the most alluring, is that the galaxies are not full of man made objects. They are wild, in a way. Divine in their design.

I hear a man quoting one of those ole shows “Space, the last frontier.”

The frontier we can’t reach yet.

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The Unimaginable.

I recently was introduce to the Musical Hamilton. What sold me on it completely was the end. I actually came near to crying, the tears were in my eyes. I know every girl says that about every movie or book with a sappy story in it. But that wasn’t what got to me. Up until the lat half or so of Act 2, I thought it was pretty good. But when Phillip died it got serious, and then this song. “It’s quiet uptown” got to me. I would definitely say listen to it because it’s better with music. But check out these lyrics, especially at the bottom:

 

Angelica: There are moments that the words don’t reach. There is suffering too terrible to name. You hold your child as tight as you can, and push away the unimaginable. The moments when you’re in so deep it feels easier to just swim down.

Hamilton: I spend hours in the garden. I walk alone to the store. And it’s quiet uptown. I never like the quiet before. I take the children to church on Sunday. A sign of the Cross at the door. And I pray. That never used to happen before.

You knock me out, I fall apart.

Company: Can you imagine?

Hamilton: Look at where we are. Look at where we started. I know I don’t deserve you Eliza. But hear me out. That would be enough.

If I could spare his life. If I could trade his life for mine. He’d be standing here right now. And you would smile, and that would be enough. I don’t pretend to know the challenges we’re facing. I know there’s no replacing what we’ve lost. And you need time. But I’m not afraid. I know who I married. Just let me stay here by your side. That would be enough.

Company: If you see him in the street walking by her side, talking by her side. Have pity.
Hamilton: Eliza do you like it uptown, it’s quiet uptown.
Company: He is trying to do the unimaginable. See them walking in the park, long after dark. Taking in the sights of the city.

Hamilton: Look around, look around Eliza. 

Company: They are trying to do the unimaginable.
Angelica: There are moments that the words don’t reach. There is a grace too powerful to name. We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable. They are standing in the garden. Alexander by Eliza’s side. She takes his hand.

Company:

Forgiveness. Can you imagine?
Forgiveness. Can you imagine?
If you see him in the street, walking by her side, talking by her side, have pity. They are going through the unimaginable.

The last part with Angelica and the Company is so true. It stuck me as profound.
In case you haven’t been caught up in the Hamilton craze, let me explain why this is so big. Hamilton cheated on his wife. It’s was a long messed up story, but he ended up publishing his letters with the woman to the public to clear his name. Very, very stupid. And the man was a genius in other respects. (There are some pretty scathing songs directed at him int he musical. And the fans get pretty hard on him too.)
Then Hamilton’s son got in duel, much like his father would after him, and was shot by the other man while he also fired into the air. The Hamiltons moved uptown after that, hence the song.
Eliza we know carried on Hamilton’s legacy after he died, for the next fifty years. She collected letters about him, she started an orphanage. She wanted him to be remembered. She had to know that would meant he affair would be remember too. As it has been. But clearly, she forgave him. Actually it might’ve been sooner then the song suggests, or later. But they had another kid.
Funny, whenever I hear some great forgiveness story on YouTube, I find in the comments that people can’t understand how they could forgive that. It can be fictional, often it’s real life. But either type of forgiveness blows people’s minds.
And it occurs to me how little we encourage it in each’s other. On TV people are petty, and rarely ever let go of event he stupidest of offences. They nag each other. How many of us are imitating that pattern? I know I am far too often.
And I struggle with forgiveness over really serious things. I am committed to justice. When it comes time to let that go, I fine it hard.
 Christians are told to forgive everyone for each offense and show love.
Forgiveness is hard enough even when you’ve been raised to believe in it. But I think it is made harder when as a culture we feed on vengeance.
In entertainment, and the news. In politics. Of someone smears our candidate of choice, we smear theirs. If they talk bad about our party, we talk bad about theirs.
It may surprise you to know I see more blame on My own party’s side in this. Republicans and Conservatives. I think the Left does it too. Possibility more than we do. But I expect that from them. They always have. What shocks me sometimes is the contempt Conservatives show, and the lack of difference between how we talk about them.
True, we acknowledge some of them mean well, but that’s about it.
But political differences are a lot easier to forgive then something like cheating. Probably someone who reads this has been cheated on. It may make you livid to have it suggested that forgiveness is even possible. OR maybe you wish it was. 
This one puts it well. Grace and recovery form grief are both unimaginable to us. I can’t imagine the kind of grief losing a child would be. I can try, but I know I get only a small part of the picture. My Aunt and Uncle have gone through this experience now. They have been quiet about it.
But anger in understandable to, and necessary for a time. The question is, and the question Hamilton is asking himself in this song is can the anger eventually pass? Can it be quiet? And can there be forgiveness?
I understand the outrage over what Hamilton did, and I would find it hard to get past myself. But a lot of couples do. I will say this, a man may make that kind of mistake, but not be worthless. It depends on the man. It depends on the woman too.
That kind of broken trust is hard to repair. But as someone who has been on the receiving end of not being forgiven for a long time, (as many of you have no doubt,) I can’t help but feel some sympathy for Hamilton. 
Until we kill the desire, all of us at one time yearn to be forgiven and to be set free from the guilt of everything we do wrong. Eventually we let that die because we give up hope.
It’s an odd pattern that people who hate God or who give up on Him, tend to not have forgiven themselves or feel forgiven. 
Anger at God for the things that have been done to us it nearly always built on the anger of not feeling forgiven. Which is fear, really, not anger.
Because in the Bible, and in the testimonies I’ve heard, it is always after we’ve been forgiven that we can forgive.
I think we hold grudges as a kind of covering for our own nakedness. So we can say that though we did wrong, we were wronged too, so there should be pity.
That’s not what the Company in this song is talking about when they say to pity Hamilton.
They mean, pity a man who is trying to redeem himself, or trying to accept grace. Because we do hide from what we don’t understand. especially grace.
People have been killed for it. People who forgive have been hated by those they’ve forgiven.
Yet the guilty often only change after  they know they’ve been forgiven. When we get a blank slate, suddenly we feel we can rewrite our story.
Grace is unimaginable, more so than grief, because we live in pain easily, we live in freedom with great difficulty.
But what I love is that int he song, and apparently in history, it happened. Eliza did extend grace. She was a spiritual woman we know.
I guess the only appropriate way for me to end this is by telling you the good news: Jesus offers forgiveness. And maybe you don’t feel it, but you do want it. Or you did once, and it’s just buried.  Maybe it seems to good to be true to you. (Skepticism is built off that feeling) but it’s true. All you have to do is ask him for it. And follow him.
Maybe you have already done that, but do it again. We all need to revisit that often.
And if there is someone who had done the unimaginable to you, there is a chance to forgive them. They will never deserves it. That’s why we can’t understand it. But thank God, we don’t get what we deserve.  The bigger the offense, the more beautiful it is when it’s finally washed away.
Until Next time–Natasha.

Can I do the Honors?

I found out last week that I made the Honors list at my college, and this week I got admitted into the program. Nice!

I never planned to try for Honors, but it started to seem like a good idea, and then I got the letter letting me know I qualified so why the heck not? But I’m still glad I don’t base my identity on grades.

College is teaching me about two things: Self Confidence and Anxiety.

It’s easy to panic when an assignment is due and you haven’t done it. I was watching this YouTuber talk about their anxiety, and they said the definition of anxiety is a feeling of inadequacy to meet life’s situations.

I suddenly understood why the doctor told me I was suffering anxiety.

True Confession, my dad has suffered anxiety consistently for years. My grandparents have suffered it (some of them) and I’m sure other people in my family have that I don’t know about.

I think folks don’t always realize that our attitude toward life and ourselves is learned. If kids hear anxious words constantly, they will have anxious thoughts, unless they are that rare biological sport who is somehow different without even trying to be.

I was anxious growing up. The person in the video described it as feeling like people were watching them constantly. While as a shy kid, I had that, I mostly worried about losing control of myself.

It’s funny, if you know me now, you’d know I don’t seem unstable or out of control. People say I’m refined. But I chose to develop that attitude.

My anxiety did not start to go away until I became a Christian, and at first it wasn’t a choice. I know I always say it is, but the first few weeks, I didn’t feel I was choosing to be at peace, it was just flowing out of me. As a new believer a lot depends on what you do right by accident. I remember I would keep chasing that peaceful feeling whenever it started to drain, I would pray, I would read the word, I would worship, all to get in God’s presence and feel close to Him.

And there was nothing better I could’ve done. I built a foundation for myself that lasted me through the time when the good feeling dies away. And now, it’s like marriage, I don’t feel good every day. But I feel happier in this the I ever would alone; and I think it’s worth it.

Over the last six months I had anxiety return a lot like it was before I was a Christian. And that bugged me. Maybe you can relate, you think you’re over something and then boom, it comes back out of nowhere. And it gave me some bad weeks..months… I am still coming out of it. But in the end, I found out my faith was stronger.

And what God showed me through that struggle was that I am stronger, because of Him, then I ever thought I was or could be.

Now I am taking a Self Defense class that’s working me harder then I’ve ever worked in my life.

I want those of you who’ve been reading my posts consistently to appreciate this: I was feeling sore and stiff all the time and having a hard time doing things, and I signed up for a class where getting sore and stiff is part of the description.

I consider this to be a flat out miracle.  It makes no sense why I would do that, and furthermore why instead of making me more anxious, it actually is helping me to learn this stuff. And it’s showing me something else I didn’t know.

I always thought I was non athletic, weak, kind of out of shape. And while to an extent that is true, I am not getting killed in this class. I’m slower then some of the more fit people, but I am not blowing it, and my endurance is more than I expected. I think the reason partly is now I push myself to do better because doing well is important to me.

Back when I played volleyball, I just wanted to have fun and be automatically good at it. And a part of me always starts out a new class hoping I’ll prove to be good at it naturally. But God in His wisdom hasn’t given me that kind of Leonardo Da Vinci genius. Which is a good thing, because I have to try. I have to work. And I enjoy doing it. I enjoy proving that I am made of something stronger than I thought.

And I enjoy getting to prove everyone who ever thought I was a wimp wrong.

But all this is not just to brag on myself. I have a point.

This doesn’t have to be my lucky experience. This can be you to. I figure, I am not the only one who underestimates herself.

It’s easy as a millennial or an even younger person, to believe that you don’t have the chops to handle life. We’ve been told so much that we have no understanding of anything, I think we all believe it.

Many of us are naive it’s true, but naivete can be fixed. here’s the thing, we need to stop whining. I hear other students all the time griping about how things are going. Never in their favor.

I get it, we want to blame someone. That would mean people were wrong about us. IT’s not our fault we can’t do life.

But the thing is, you are probably way more capable than you realize. It’s a fact. human beings are amazingly resourceful. And though we do stupid and clueless things, we learn.

Teens and twenty somethings are terrified of getting it wrong. Relax. You’re going to. But that’s okay. Age isn’t the factor here. we all get it wrong. That isn’t what counts . What counts is if you get back up and try again. Immediately. Don’t slink away in defeat.

I do plenty of dumb things when I drive. But I do a lot more things right. I know that one mistake is all it takes to sink you. That’s why we hate making mistakes. But we don’t have the luxury of letting that stop up. The daring accomplish more than the doubtful.

That being said, I am going to keep moving forward.

Until Next Time–Natasha.

A lantern in our hands.

I just read another great book titled “A lantern in her hand.” This isn’t a review of it, but I want to credit the book with inspiring this post.

The book is, as it turned out, about love. And I am a sucker for any story where love is the focus and the savior as it were. I say sucker, but I don’t believe it’s really naive to think so.

Love gets a bad rap when it comes to making it the saving grace of a story, but I would wonder what else is better?

So I have a question to put to you, viewers, what makes life worth while? I mean, what makes anything we do important?

You see the main character of the book has dreams to be an artist, a singer, a painter, and an author. She wants to put something fine into the world. As a modern woman (or man) we can all empathize. Almost all of us aspire to greatness at one point in our lives, whatever we may settle for later, and movies and popular stories have certainly helped drive it into our heads that any life that doesn’t change the world is common and ordinary.

I personally relate. I think I tend to see life as wasted when you aren’t doing something big.

The point this book made is that being a mother and a wife is a big thing.

Now, to even suggest that motherhood might be enough of an aspiration is resented by most women.

I won’t say I haven’t seen it that way myself, but I know better.

It’s not that motherhood is all a woman is good for. That’s not it. The point is that what is done in love is done well.

If someone dreams big dreams, it’s a good thing, but they have no failed in life if at the end of it, they fulfilled different dreams.

Some women dream of doing big things, and also of being mothers. Is it a failure if they fulfilled the latter, and fall short of the former.

What if it’s not wrong when a parent’s dream of the finer things is fulfilled int heir children’s lives?

It seems hard on the parents. But if there’s one thing the age of pioneers and pilgrims should have taught us it’s that one generation has to light the lamp, or the lantern, and dare to dream, even if they will never see the completion of the dream. Because sometimes one lifetime isn’t long enough for us.

Back in the Bible when folks lived to be 900 years old, they could have all lived to see their dreams fulfilled, but maybe now that our lives are shorter, we have to learn to be more content with less.

That’s not bad, I think on the contrary a shorter life leaves less time to get too comfortable in this old world. Which isn’t where we all belong.

I guess I’m rethinking my goals. I still hope to make an impact on the world, but if I end up in some corner of the globe with a small circle of friends and family to take care of and help and inspire, my life won’t be wasted. If I only get tot ell my stories to my children they are still worth telling.

Some parents, like the father in “Little Britches” and Casper Ten Boom from the writings of Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding place; and In my Father’s House.) shine out most in when they leave behind in their children.

The Bible knew that parents are reflected in their children, not always, not every time, but often. I think today we’ve lost that.

Actually, we’re ashamed of it. We hate being like our parents because we feel it makes us less ourselves.

But the truth is, humanity is interconnected. When I went to Cambodia, I felt a common bond with the people there who couldn’t even speak English, it had nothing to do with how similar our lives or personalities were, but in that we’re all human. WE all share certain things.

In spending a few days in their lives, I expanded mine. For I became a part of theirs, and they a part of mine. I don’t mean that they influence what I do over here a whole lot, but there is a connection.

It’s hard to describe, some people have already hit upon the idea that humanity is all connected with each other, and I believe it’s true.

Even more so in families. We are a part of each other.

I believe strongly that we are all unique. But sharing our traits with others doesn’t take away from that. I resemble both my parents according to some people, but I don’t look exactly like either of them simply because I resemble both.

People are like those math problems where you have to figure out how many different way you can arrange the numbers. Only our numbers are limitless and we all have our own special part.

But what we share is, when you think about it, what enables us to love each other.

That’s why there’s so much hate now over he areas of racial tension both in America and all over the globe. It’s because the politicians are focusing on our differences. We should enjoy our differences, and I do, but inflaming them makes them more important than they really are.

Just like in any family where the parents or children puts too much emphasis on being alike or unlike each other. It’s just not important enough to fight over. (I mean of course, to ever begin to fight over. If one side is being unfair about it, I do think sometimes it has to be fought out.)

I might be white, privileged, young, and geeky, but it’s never bothered the people around me, no matter what their background is, and why should it?

To bring it back to the idea of accomplishment, I think the big things are kind of life the differences between people. Important, but not more important then things like love, wisdom, and nurturing and protecting and dreaming.

A wise man leaveth an inheritance for his children, the Bible says. And it’s no shame if in your whole life, what you accomplish benefits someone else more than you, some might even call that selfless living.

Until next time–Natasha.img_1549-4