The Whispers

Whispers. The whispers are his guide. Without them, he is lost. Without them, he stumbles in the dark fog and knows not what they are. The husks of his past. The skeletons of his plans. They control him like a puppet, even beyond the fog.

The fog. Sometimes I think the fog is safer. For him. For me. But then the whispers. They live in the fog and leech off of him. They feed off the doubt. The fear. The mistrust. They get stronger the more they control him. They are strong. They control him, even on the outside.

Outside. The whispers give him words for the outside. No one notices the whispers. They’re drowned out by the words. The words which are empty. They’re an act when spoken and depressant when held. He believes himself empty.

Empty. The whispers’ words don’t fill him. He’s already full of light. The whispers’ words fog up the light. He doesn’t need the words, but the words make him feel safe. They’re a plan in a world of uncertainty. He doesn’t need the plan, but a plan is safe.

Safe. He put his safety in the hands of the whispers. Where have the whispers brought him but where he is right now. They don’t know any better than he. The past knows less than the present. The present is alight with faith, if only he would let go of the fog; mute the whispers; listen to the truth.

You Get What You Ask For

Speaking of poetry being emotions and having a point…

You know how I care,
And it rends at my heart
To hear you speak your life
And of ills you don’t know

How do you persist
Without a power in the world
That understands your plight;
Died so you would not?

YANA and Listen!
The words I cry to Self
Are not just what I need
But all who live must hear

But how can I show
What you need most clear?
What are the words
That I must speak?

Your heart is so sick
And so precious to me
Yet I can do little
To breathe life into it

How do I tell you
The cure for your aches
Without the words
I have yet to speak?

I don’t know if you’ll see this,
If you’ll understand,
But I know that the answer
Lies in the answer

He’ll show me the words,
He’ll show me the time,
And He’ll show me what you
Need to hear most

I don’t know if you
Will take hold of His hand
But I pray everyday
You draw closer to Him

Without His embrace
Or His payment for you
You live in a world
So bleak and so cold

I am given the task
Of talking to you
Of showing to you
That life can be better

But trust when I say,
YANA, Zilo,
Others have struggled,
But in Him I trust

Realizations

A few things today. Well, I say today, technically I wrote this the night before it was published because I can do that.

First off, I went to this year’s first poetry jam last night with some people. Interesting thing about poetry, it can be anything you want it to be. Interesting thing about what people want, they use their emotions to want. Interesting thing about emotions, I’m bad at them. Interesting thing about me, I write a poem (pretty much) every day. (http://figment.com/books/883917-Project-365-Random-Poems/)

So of course I’m not about to say that I’ve been writing my poems wrong, after all, I already said they can be whatever I want them to be. However, there was another thing I noticed about the poetry that was read. It had a point. And that’s not the first time I’ve encountered that idea. In Brit Lit last year, I’m afraid I can’t remember who it was, but some British poet said that poetry must have a point. There must be some ultimate enlightening you desire the reader to attain.

Now, if you’ve read my poetry, you know that a lot of them are just random musings, or you don’t understand them at all. Either way, it doesn’t fit with the above requirement, but like I said, poetry is subjective. I’m perfectly allowed to write musings, it’s just very counter to what other people think poetry should be, or just counter to what they think poetry is.

Yet another thing I noticed. The poetry was clear in what it was about. There may have been some ambiguity, but in the end it was all sorted out, and everyone understood what it was really about. My poetry is almost specifically designed to be un-understandable. Certain people might understand it, but that’s only because I’ve told them about whatever the poem is about before they read it.

So why do I do that? Surely it would be better if people actually understood what I wrote? That depends, would you ask if everyone should read and understand your journal? Because that’s what the poems are. They act as my journal of whatever is weighing on my mind at the time, from games to writing, from crushes to God. So if you don’t understand what I write, it could either be because I’m writing nonsense or it could be that I’m writing about something very personal to me.

Well, that turned heavy surprisingly fast. Lightening up time!

Kinda’

Second thing I’m going to mention requires a bit of background, as I don’t believe I’ve mentioned here what my major is in college. Admittedly, most of the people reading this know me personally, but.

I’m currently a game design major. I love game design. I think in systems and see how everything fits together. I love complicated stuff and telling stories. I love game design. However, I did say ‘currently.’ That’s because, while I love game design, I do not love being a game designer.

See, being a game designer and game design are two different things. As a game designer, you do game design as part of your job, but you also spend a lot of your time marketing the game to the people giving you money, which goes back to the first part of this post. I don’t care particularly if you understand what I’m writing even in my general story writing which isn’t journalistic. If you understand it, chances are you’ll at the very least appreciate it and be able to recommend it to a friend that might like it or something like that.

If I don’t care about people understanding me or me marketing myself in what I’m really, truly passionate about, how would you expect me to do that in a secondary passion? So this comes down to that little word, ‘passionate.’ I am really passionate about writing. Even when I realize what I’m bad at, and see how much I’m bad at in my writing, I love it and want to get better with a burning passion that rivals my passion for God.

So I’m almost certainly switching over to writing as my major. When I first started considering switching, I told myself I would wait until registration for next semester’s classes, and if I still felt that way I’d talk to my advisor, but at this rate I’ll be feeling about fifty times this by then, so I don’t think that’s a question I’ll have to ask myself. I’ll definitely still feel this way.

Much happier of a note to end on. Oh, by the way, if you try to find my poems about crushes, you won’t find them. I wrote them in the Ancestor language, so you won’t be able to read them.

Commandments

An observation I had in reading a fellow Christian blog.

In Deuteronomy, we have the Ten Commandments, as well as various others. In the New Testament, there are many, many places where we are commanded to do something. Christianity is full of commandments; full of rules.

Well… not really.

See, that’s just how we see things. We’re so used to thinking that everything is about what we do. We’re taught from a young age that success is about wealth, fame, and then occasionally self-satisfaction sneaks its way onto the list. Even when we grow up we’re told everyday in the omnipresent news that the most successful people are people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs… excuse me while I go brush up on my pop culture… Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Spielberg, or your pick of action movie, comedy, or romance movie actor. It’s not who these people are underneath, but what they do that defines them.

Of course, in our minds we know better. We know that that little saying of Bruce’s is completely counter to a Christian view of things, and yet we continue to place value in what we do rather than who we are. We measure ourselves against others. We have people around us who we say “At least I’m not like them” about. Again, rationally we know this isn’t how we should be thinking, but it’s how we end up thinking anyway. It’s a part of human, sinful nature.

Now, I’ve been ranting against caring what people do for a while now. Does it not matter what we do, then? Of course not, don’t be silly. If what matters is who we are underneath, then if someone does something bad, then they are bad underneath. To use an analogy from the Bible, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18, NIV). Commandments are not meant to tell us what to do. Commandments are meant to show us our withered branches. They show us where we fall short.

So how do we cause our branches to flourish? We can’t just do good things all the time and hope that will fix things. That would be like taping good fruit to a bad tree, a practice everyone can agree is silly. What we need is a higher power that could heal our withered hearts… “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17: 7-8, NIV).

Oh, right!

Without God, we can only be facades of goodness. We may appear good from the outside, rushing around and attaching good fruit to our branches, but only through God will we produce good fruit naturally. And what’s the point of good fruit thrown onto a bad tree? The tree will still produce the bad fruit, and every now and then, people will see through the facade and see the withered, sickly branches of the heart. A good tree who trusts in God and is in a personal relationship with Him has no need to hide their withered branches. We’re not perfect, but God is working on our imperfections. We can see them through the commandments He gave us, and we can give them to Him to restore to healthy, good branches to allow us to have a deeper relationship with Him, allowing Him to work on more of our withered branches. It’s a never-ending cycle of awesome God-ness.

Observations of an Anecdotal Kind

The thing I wanted to talk about was something that I’ve noticed in listening to the GameChurch podcast. In it, the hosts interview various people in the games industry about two things. The second, as that is less relevant, is whatever sorts of ethical, moral, or philosophical things the interviewee thinks about when making games. The first thing they talk about, however, is where the interviewee comes from in terms of religious and spiritual background, and where they are now.

A majority of the people they interview are non-Christian, which makes it even cooler. It would be understandable for a Christian to talk to a Christian about Christianity, but it’s not often that a non-Christian talks frankly about their religious background to a Christian. Of course, that’s not because it’s particularly uncomfortable for either side, but rather that we make it uncomfortable by thinking that we have to persuade the other of the right way of thinking. We don’t. It’s good to know where people stand, what they think, and where they come from. What makes them who they are today.

Interestingly, from the two-dozen or so episodes that I’ve listened to, I can predict where 75% of non-Christians came from. It’s obviously all anecdotal, but disregarding that, my findings are that many non-Christians were raised in a Christian home, wanted to ask questions, and were told to just believe, or what have you. Every time a non-Christian interviewee says they were raised in a Christian home, the deciding factor in every episode I’ve listened to has been whether or not they were allowed to search for their own answers.

For whatever reason, they were not allowed to. Either the Sunday School teacher didn’t know the answer and so told them not to ask such questions, or maybe they didn’t think the child should be asking such deep, theological questions. In any case, if the interviewee is denied answers, that is cited as the reason they no longer follow God. Of course, that’s not to say that the interviewees that are Christian were given all the knowledge they wanted, but the ones that did leave point at the lack of allowed curiosity as the reason they left.

Why, in a religion based largely in faith, would that not be the right answer for a Sunday School teacher to give to a ten-year-old kid? Quite simply put, if God can’t handle someone questioning him without someone there to shut down the questioner, then God’s not that great and powerful, now is he? But he is powerful, and he doesn’t need us to protect him from, of all things, questions.

So what should we answer when someone asks a question about God that we don’t know the answer to? “I don’t know,” is a start. It’s actually a really good start. It doesn’t shut the question down; it tells them to go further with it, to find someone who does know. So why not help them along? Tell them you’ll look into it, or better yet, “We should look into that.” Not only will that prevent you from dodging the responsibility of actually looking into that, but it will be much more personal and will allow you to develop a relationship with the person, kind of like a certain Father who art in heaven…

The latest podcast I listened to was interviewing someone who was still a Christian, and he actually cited his family’s encouragement to seek knowledge and be curious as the reason he is as strong a Christian as he is. It goes both ways. Encourage your children, your friends, your family, everyone, to be curious. Encourage them to search for knowledge, and be right there along with them. God can handle the questions, and he can use them for awesome things.

The Boy in the Fog

The whispers are all around me now.

Leave the boy. Let him be. Save yourself. Listen.

But that’s not who I am. Have you ever been in the middle of a soybean field? It’s dead silent. I’m not in a soybean field, though. It’s just grass, grass and fog, everywhere. I can hear nothing but the whispers. They’re suffocating me.

I shouldn’t be here. I should be six feet under a hundred times over. Somehow I’m here, though. They know it. The whispers. They know I don’t belong. The boy doesn’t belong either, but they like that. They called to him like sirens to sailors. They call to me like silver to a werewolf.

We hunger. You are frail. We are not. Listen.

I push on. I venture into the soupy fog. I’ve been away too long. I couldn’t trust myself. If I couldn’t trust myself, who could? I’m back, now, though. Back for the boy. He’s somewhere in the fog. He’s known the whispers for so long. It’s been five years, but it feels like fifty without me.

Every day he came out here. Into the fog and the whispers. Every day he would go home. Safe. With his family. This time he won’t go home. This time he can’t go home. He’s stuck in the fog. He needs me. I’m sorry I left. Can you ever trust me again?

Personal Oddities

I don’t actual know if that title should be pluralized yet. I’ve only thought of one oddity at the moment.

First one is the one that prompted this post. I like to keep people on certain sides of me. A perfect example of this is what would happen after every writing club meeting. I would walk with my friend and vice-president/dictator/leader/monarch to her locker, and then on to the front of the high school. I walked on her left, but her locker was also on the left side of the hall. Often times what happened is we would stop at her locker, and then when we continued on I ended up on her right, and that’s just not right.

Another example is what happened today on the way to church. I was walking with two others in a triangle formation pointed back with myself as the back point. Thus, I was in the middle, one was to my left, and the other was on my right. Just from me telling this as an example, you know it didn’t stay that way. At one of the crosswalks, they ended up switching. Right was left and left was right, and that’s just not right.

Another oddity I thought of is that, due to my high N (MBTI), I assimilate others’ personalities into a general framework and can’t describe it, at least not in terms most people understand. If you asked me what someone’s like, I wouldn’t be able to tell you in words. I could, however, tell you what my assimilation had typed them as in terms of Myers-Briggs. In my Communications class, all of us students had to give an introduction speech, and those that weren’t giving the speech at the time were to take notes on their impressions of the speaker. So, of course, I typed everyone as best as I could.

Obviously, typing someone else isn’t very accurate, so my impressions of someone aren’t any better than anyone else’s. They’re just less understandable.

Oddity number three: Definitions. I have strange ones. Prime example is differentiating between an oddity and a quirk. This came up when I asked my sister for some more personal oddities, and she mentioned that I say “admittedly” a lot, but that’s a quirk, not an oddity. Don’t ask me what the difference is. That’s the main problem with me having strange definitions. If I can’t define them, they’re useless when used to communicate with others.

Of course, generally my definition is close enough to the actual one to get the general gist across, but if I’m asking my sister for an oddity, then I risk getting a quirk.

That’s all I could think of. I’m sure there are others. In any case, it seems my pluralization was correct.