Broken-down Poetry: It is fine, it is fine with my soul.


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Sunday, February 28, 2010

It is fine, it is fine with my soul.

Most of you are well aware of my cynicism. I haven't done a very good job of hiding it, after all. I've been trying to get to the root of it, to know exactly why it is I feel so jaded, but I'm not sure I can narrow it down to one or two things. But I'll try. Maybe then I'll be healed of it.
Friday in our typical day-before-break praise and worship chapel, we sang the hymn "It is Well with My Soul." For some reason, singing it reminded me of when I was in middle school and I'd pray before getting a test grade back.

I'd say: Pleaseohpleaseohplease say I got a good grade, God.
The Spirit would reply: You did fine.

Every time he'd say that: "you did fine." I knew even then that "fine" was a relative term. When I'd pray that in a history class, "fine" meant an A or A+. When I'd pray that in geometry, "fine" meant passing.

God's telling me today that I'm fine. I'll be okay. Whatever I'm going through will pass, and I'll be stronger because of it.

But as an apology to all the people affected by my cynicism, I present this blog. Here's why I've been so melancholy, or at least a few guesses:
1. How hard I work in class or how naturally gifted I am - manifested by my GPA - determines my worth.

I wrote a creative piece the other day about Sixteen-Year-Old Lauren haunting Present Day Lauren. It made me miss my youthful optimism. Observe:
I really don’t have time for this, Laur.
Come on. Here. I’ll help you pack up your books. Where you going anyway?
World lit.
Oh man. I’m in American lit right now. What a killer.
You’ll get an A. Well, A-.
Same thing.
Ha, I like your optimism.
Remember when "A-" was as good as an "A"? Now I'm well aware of the raging gap between a 3.7 and a 4.0.

Prof. Perry and I had a conversation about this a week and a half ago. I told him how desperately I wanted an A in his class, and how he should consider making the class easier in order for me to achieve that. (Despite our good relationship - I have been called a brown noser, teacher's pet and suck up more than once, thank you - he did not relent.) Actually, I think that upset him - that I wanted an easy A.

The thing is, that's not even true. I don't want an easy A. I want to learn. That's what I want more than anything ... to know as much as I can about the things I care about. I want to know more about media and society; I want to know more about writing prose; I want to know more about the character of God.

I just want my grades to reflect that.

And you know what? My grades would reflect that if I tried harder, if I pushed myself further. But physically, I can't handle that. I can't stay up all night writing an essay just to get it to the right word count (sorry, Dr. Allison, you say 1500 words, I say 1000).

So right. Correct. I would rather get an A without the unnecessary hard work, if I was still learning. True. I believe that. I want to be pushed harder, but when I push myself harder ...

I get obsessed.

Vicious cycle. It doesn't even make much sense.

Except that I want to be good at everything. I want to have A's in all my classes. I want to make Mom proud and Dr. Ferguson (my advisor) proud and Prof. Perry proud and all the other lazy comm. students jealous.

It's just not all possible. I can't be good at everything, which is a hard truth for me to get. Thus, it's making me cynical.

2. Despite what I tell myself, I let boys define who I am, or the act of liking boys define who I am.

I was listening to this song on the way home from Jacque and Carlee's:
Say you're wrong
Let's get this over I
Would like to get some sleep tonight ...
Now I know that I was not the man you wanted
You know I loved you and I wanted to make you proud
My intentions were to never give myself to anyone
Look what I've done

Mmm. I love those last two lines: "My intentions were to never give myself to anyone, look what I've done." I'm going to try to remain vague and general here, but I don't know how successful I'm going to be. Pretty much I let myself get burned because of a crush. I haven't been burned like this in a while, and though I've done a pretty good job at blaming him for this, it's my fault.

It's my fault, friend.

Though I don't regret liking him - and despite my general attitude of hatred toward him, I still think he's a really cool guy - I handled it horribly. I expected too much out of someone who didn't return the affection.

I go back to my quote of the month: "When people are in love, they act stupid. When people get their hearts broken, they act even stupider."

As Lindsey would say, "That's not very profound, but it's true."

I want to make it up to this kid. I'm trying to think of the best way to do it, but I think it involves leaving him alone forever. And deleting his number from my phone. Maybe.

All I know is hating him and writing essays for Prose about how much I hate him isn't solving anything. I'm brooding; I'm just getting angrier. It's been seven weeks - seriously. Heart, move on. Start focusing on things that matter!

3. We Christians are good at talking, but we're not very good at doing.

I have Matthew Paul Turner's "Jesus Needs New PR" blog bookmarked on my Google browser - I frequent it often. (Probably because he updates it like a madman. Imagine if I updated this blog three times a day!)

MPT blogs about the Christian subculture mostly, and likes to pick fun at it. He grew up a fundamental baptist, so he has room to make fun of fundies, but sometimes it gets a little ridiculous. He has a "Jesus Picture of the Week," for example, with paintings of our LORD with his own snarky, semi-sacrilegious captions below. Or, he'll rant about Joel Osteen (using $ for all his s's). Or, he'll post videos of dorky Christian musical groups.

It's cool to have a sense of humor. I told you that I frequent this site often - it makes me laugh. But it gets draining after a while. In fact, it makes me wonder if MPT isn't turning into his own kind of fundamentalist. ...

I like what Brian McLaren said (via a character) in A New Kind of Christian: "I've found that liberals can be fundamentalists too. Liberals are often just fundamentalists with a different set of beliefs. Not all of them, but many." p. 9

Huh. Sounds like me most of the time.

(And please, Matthew, if you're reading this - thanks, Google Alerts! - know that this isn't about you. You're just a for-instance so my audience gets it. I will still read your blog. Keep up the JPotW!)

But I am just like MPT. I roll my eyes at people who believe in the literalness of the Bible or who quote scripture in their sleep. I've taken a liking to MPT's jingle: "You can't spell 'fundamentalist' without F-U."

It's kind of disconcerting though. Making fun of something gets old after a while. I wish instead of talking about what's wrong with the Church we could be busy being the Church.

I wish I would. I wish I'd stop focusing on myself or rolling my eyes at others.
Finishing this blog doesn't make me feel better - surprise, surprise. Reading this blog probably didn't inspire you all in any way either.

But I guess that's okay. Here's where I'm at spiritually. It's messy, but oh well. I'd rather be honest and transparent than pretend I have it all together.
"Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred." - The Scarlet Letter

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul
It is fine, it is fine with my soul


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