A Broken Romantic

After my ‘poetic’ post a few days ago, I got a few responses from friends (and family) asking if I was in love and who was she, or extolling my romanticism. Actually, the post was inspired by a woman—one of my best female friends; it was in the context of a conversation with her that we reminisced about the time I sent her a poem that I’d been studying in an A-level English Lit class, coz I loved it so much (‘Words, Wide Night’).

As for the second question … I remember the days when I was young and impetuous; whenever I thought I was ‘falling in love’, I’d let myself go all-out. In those days, I suppose I was a romantic, buying gifts and flowers, hanging out so I could open doors for whoever I happened to be ‘in love’ with at the time. It feels like an age ago …

Now … I’m a little more jaded, more cynical, more aware of my limitations and how much it really, really hurts when things don’t work out the way we hope. Now, I’m (a little) more guarded, more broken and put-back-together:

The broken clock is a comfort; it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though I still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you’ve already figured out

I’m falling apart, barely breathing
With a broken heart that’s still beating
In the pain, I find healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I’m holding on, I’m holding on, I’m holding on
Barely holding on to you

The broken locks were a warning: you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded; I’m an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
That are looking for purpose; they’re still looking for life

I’m hanging on another day
Just to say what you will throw my way
And I’m hanging on to the words you say
You said that I will be okay

The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way home; haven’t forgotten my way home

I’m falling apart, barely breathing
With a broken heart that’s still beating
In the pain, I find healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I’m holding on, I’m holding on, I’m holding on
Barely holding on to you

— Lifehouse, “Broken”

I was so sure …

“Maybe you’ll get married before you graduate,” my friend joked. I laughed, my mind going back to two years ago …

***

On August 7, 2005, Ally and I got back together for the last time. Of course, we thought it was the last time because we’d be getting married—that was the basis on which we got back together. We’d dated on and off for three years, we’d known each other for four; and we’d exhausted the other options, it seemed—there was no more time for ‘let’s just see what happens’.

Of course, in retrospect, this is not the best reason to get back together with a view to getting married. But retrospectively, I know that it didn’t work out. Looking back on my thoughts that week, though, I found myself alarmed at how sure I was about our decision. The conviction and confidence I had that nothing could sway my decision is shown up by the fact that we didn’t last two more months. I had a sense of peace about committing the rest of my life to this person that, two months later, became: “[we] broke up (again) tonight. It felt clear. It was right. We both knew it.”

I wasn’t in the right place at the time; I learned the hard way about the fickleness of emotions.

I’m still learning. And probably will be for many, many years …

***

P.S. I was reading 1 Chronicles this morning. In 26:32, it reads, “Jeriah had two thousand seven hundred relatives …” (and that’s just the men!). For those of you know how small the Christian world is, I’m employing this verse as proof that we might just be the new Israel. ☺

Poetry and Love

From A-level English Lit. classes, I came to love poetry; these poems in particular:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft’ is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

— William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say it is sad?
In one of the tenses I am singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La la la la.
See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills
I would have to cross to reach you,

For I am in love with you and this
is what it is like or what it is like in words.

— Carol Ann Duffy, (1955- )

Happy birthday, Aims!

Yesterday was my niece’s 11th birthday—happy birthday, Aims! (For those of you who think I’m a bad uncle for sending belated greetings, I already sent her a card in the post.)

It’s a little bit frightening to think that Aimee is almost as old as I was when Clem and Justine got married. When they got married, I was a scrawny, 4’5 13-year old with huge glasses and unruly hair. Now, well … a few things have changed, as things tend to over the years.

I’m a lot busier than I was when I was 13. That’s for sure.

Beckham and Being Here

I realized that I forgot to blog about one of the events of the last couple weeks … I met someone.

Haha. No, that wasn’t it—if I’ve told you about it, I’ve told you about it. If not … I might tell you about it.

Seriously, the event was, of course, David Beckham’s debut for the LA Galaxy in a friendly against Chelsea last Saturday. My friend Micah was generous enough to get me a ticket for the game (for my birthday), and so I went with him and Christie, and his dad. It was okay …

Who am I kidding? It was awesome! I got to see Becks, and Landon Donovan, and all the Chelsea players (though I would’ve preferred it if it was Arsenal, and Henry hadn’t left). And, Posh and Katie Holmes were in the box behind us, so we saw them, and … I was fairly excited the whole time.


I really hope he raises the profile of soccer in the States—it was the first sellout that the Galaxy had had in a while, and the highest rated soccer match on ESPN, so there were some positive signs. But at times it felt more like a spectacle than a soccer match, solely focused on Becks. I think, for the game to take off, people are going to have to see it as a viable career and a credible sport to keep playing after high school.

As for me, until I get my fitness back (which I hope will happen soon), I’ll keep putting my beaten-up body out on the pitch once a week (and twice a week in the summer) to kick around with Fuller folks. One of my friends invited me to try out with him for a semi-pro side, but until I can offer more than a hard sprint every two minutes, I’m going to pass.

“Be Here Now”

On another front, the first lot of Fuller folks whose admission I helped process (coz I work in the Admissions Office, for those of you who don’t know) started at Fuller this summer. I’ve been at Fuller for coming up to a year now, and I feel like part of the old guard, watching all these newbies come in, excited and looking forward to their time here.

Not that I’m not enjoying my time here. But you can tell the people who’ve been at Fuller for awhile. Well, I can tell that I’ve been at Fuller for awhile.

In many ways, it’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple months—to see how new friendships form and new relationships (there are always new ‘special friends’ popping up), to see what friendships last and which ones don’t. It’s been interesting, and a little sad, to note that of the people I hung out with the most when I first started at Fuller, I only still hang out with two of them.

[
At the end of my first week at Fuller, with Rachel, Stephen and Nikki.]

So I wonder what’ll happen with these new friends that I’ve made (and will make). I wonder what’ll happen in the coming months as surgery looms, and my second year of Fuller, and internships. Will I have any more time this year than I did last year to write music and to find a creative outlet? What will God reveal to me this year about my future?

At times like these, I often have to remind myself to chill out and trust God. Ecclesiastes 11:9 has been a regular verse for me during these last few years:

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your hearts give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

In other words, as a friend said, “Be here now.”