"how to fight loneliness "

"How to fight loneliness
Smile all the time
Shine your teeth to meaningless
And sharpen them with lies

And whatever is going down
Will you follow around
That's how you fight loneliness

You laugh at every joke
Drag your blanket blindly
Fill your heart with smoke

And the first thing that you want
Will be the last thing you'll ever need
That's how you fight it

Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time
Just smile all the time


i've been incredibly, almost unbearably lonely this summer.

and maybe you think i'm silly because you've hung out with me a lot this summer or because i smile and laugh and sing.

but i've been lonely. and i'm not sure i ever felt this depth before.

i was on the phone with my mother a few weeks ago. we began to talk. and i began to talk about how badly i want a dog. and as i tried this act for the millionth time (i've been working on this since birth), she said something that pierced me. and maybe it struck me so deep because it was true, but more so i think because i was afraid to admit this to myself.

she told me, "you don't want a dog. you're just lonely."

and she was right.

and i'm not sure that she even knew how deep a chord she had struck. i quickly wrapped up the conversation and shut my phone. and i pulled my car over to the side of the road.
and i cried.

not a lot.
but i cried just a little for myself.
i cried for myself.
and then for my selfishness at crying for myself.

and you know. it's been good. because its made me examine myself like i've never done before. i've had to face the cruel reality of who i desire to be and who i really am. and how far apart those people are. i've had to lay down a lot of pride. and being on my own has forced me to do that. to examine myself. not just to vent to other people, but to look at the issue as it is, instead of through a vail of pride and stubbornness.

it's been good. it has. but writing it out. its strange. it makes it a little too real. to admit just how alone i've felt. it scares me to hit the "publish post" button and release this into the world.

but its growth. and i've done a lot of growing this summer. so here it is.

here's reality.

i've been really lonely and i think alright with it.


this summer i learned humility. i'm still figuring out exactly what that looks like. but i know that i've learned a lot about it. i've learned how to examine myself. how to be honest with myself. and i think, for the first time. i'm alright with that degree of honesty.

so thank you. thank you thank you thank you.

i know that you weren't sure if you were ever going to break my hard hard heart.

but you did.

and i'm grateful.
so. so. so.

"i write because it keeps me sane. because i find God in that place where my thoughts escape my finger tips and make contact with my keyboard."

"about 90 percent of the reason i write is for what it does on the inside of my life, and about 10 percent for what it does on paper. "
-shauna niequist

before i sit down to write. i usually have about a million different things racing every which way through the folds of my mind.
i usually set my stuff down, grab a cup of coffee, sit down, check the weather, check my email, etc.
well, I check my email, then I add events and meetings and workout schedules and work schedules to my calendar. and then i think about how busy i am. how little time i have. and i think about how tired i am. then i panic about how i will handle my new schedule in the fall. and how i am going to get good grades. and then i think about things like the pull and lacrosse and sailing team and how i will make all of those work. and will i have enough energy left to do all of them. especially working a 5 am shift? and all of that craziness makes me think about my grades again.
and my grades make me think about how badly i want to be a veterinarian. and then i think about why i'm here. and can i really justify spending this much money on school every semester? then i wonder if it's really worth it? and am i really where i'm supposed to be?
but then i remember how i was brought here. and that i had no part in ending up at this college. and i remember that saturday afternoon in the kitchen. i remember sitting down with my parents, and them telling me that Hope was where i had to go. it was cheapest with financial aid. and i had no choice. it was Hope or nothing. and i remember being so upset. with them, with myself, with God. and i remember being so crushed. so, so crushed. i was going to be stuck in holland forever.
but then i remember the past year. the overwhelming beauty, brokenness, and love i've experienced. and all the things i thought weren't possible, became so much more so. and dreams and hopes and stories whispered under breath were no longer fiction or wishful thinking, but reality. and i learned more about God and therefore, more about myself.
and the learning reminds me of the seemingly insurmountable walls i faced. the ones i thought i'd never get through. and the hardship, the brokenness reminds me of the immeasurable blessings.
but the blessings make me wonder if i'm still on the right path. and i walking in a way that pursues the narrow gates? and i panic and worry about my schedule and school and everything over again. and i wonder if i have any chance of making a difference in this world. any chance at all. or if i'm just a crazy, aimless, dreamer? am i waiting to change the world? why am i not changing the world now? and maybe with all these crazy thoughts, it's best i didn't.

and that's the craziness inside my head.

and that's why i write. because, understandably, if i didn't. i might lose it. i write because when i scribble things down and rearrange and organize and visually see the craziness, the insanity looks a little less scary. it looks a little less overwhelming. because when i write. i believe in the good. in the beauty. in the joy. when i write. some part of me empties onto the screen. words tumbling out faster than i can type them. and i rewrite entire paragraphs because i get so ahead of myself. like i've been saving up all these words. and they explode onto the screen in front of me. i write because it keeps me sane. because i find God in that place where my thoughts escape my finger tips and make contact with my keyboard. i find him there. and when i do, i feel like i am breathing for the first time.

"when i write, i believe that all the ideas might have a place, instead of just running themselves around and around in a circle. writing gives me a place to use all the flashes and thoughts and rabbit trails that rattle themselves around in my head making me crazy. writing is my best chance at happiness, and it is the riskiest thing i can do. but that's how life is. the riskiest things always yield the best, most beautiful things. what writing teaches me, over and over, is that God is waiting to be found in the darkest corners of our lives, the dead ends and bad neighborhoods we wake up in, and in the simplest, lightest, most singular and luminous moments."
-shanua niequist

"and it was good."

i've written in passing about this before. but regardless. i found myself thinking about it today.

it's april 2004. my friend matt and i were sitting at the top of a mountain. by top, i mean some where over 12,000 FASL. we had arrived at the top of a ridge. we were so far up that the trees had ceased to grow any higher, making a crisp, green line across the gray snow below us. we unstrapped our left feet from our boards, settled them into the crook of our arms, and looked up towards the top of the ridge. we began to climb up about another 40 feet. we got to the top.

the two of us.


enveloped in our own thoughts. enveloped in the sheer magnitude of the beauty around us. enveloped in the overwhelming feeling of being so small, yet part of something so much greater than ourselves.

i've never felt such a loss for words. a feeling, a sight, a moment so much greater than our small lives, that to put it into words would be a crime.

there were only a few small words uttered up there on that sharp, rocky, peak.

we had been sitting there for i don't even know how long. matt didn't even turn his head to look at me. and i didn't even answer his question. but quietly, and almost under his breath, he simply said, "i don't know how you can see this and not believe in a God." I'll never forget that moment. ever.

there is something in that fiercely cold afternoon that speaks to something deep within me.

it's the same thing that spoke to me last summer. ally and i drove out to the marina late in the summer evening. the hot sting of the day had succumbed to the coolness of the night. we walked out to the end of the docks and laid down on the wide wooden dock. we gazed up at the stars. we watched hundreds of meteors. flying, hurdling, flaming chunks of space rock streak across the night sky. we laid there staring up at the great unknown well into the night. at one point, ally slowly spoke a few words, echoing the words of another friend, "how can you see this and not believe in a God...?"

i think that too often we separate our world into two separate places. a physical and spiritual world. when the truth is. they are one in the same. creation speaks so strongly of a creator, because that's what it was designed to do.

God reached across the earth and covered it with beauty and majesty and ceaseless wonders.

"and it was good."


God is good.

and life is so so so good.

but i truly miss all their lovely faces.


things i've learned lately. (+ random thoughts/remarks):

good friends are good friends through highs and lows.

holland is beautifully sleepy in the mornings.

suntan lotion is a nice luxury.

God is steadfast and sure.

i'm not so steadfast....

i'm terrible at saving money.

i know how to change a tire.

turns out my car has a spare tire, jack, and wrench thing under the carpet in the back. (rob conrad is a car genius)

when in doubt, call dad. he can fix everything.

my landlord is actually a very understanding man.

i like a new tea. pomegranate-papaya.

teaching sailing is more work than going sailing.

i love middle school age kids. they are so great. so. so. so. great.

as a student said this week, "so you're 19, so you're in charge of yourself?"


i miss the beach, even when i live 5 minutes from 5 beaches....

new sunglasses are the best.

fall is going to be challenging. but good. really. really. really good!

i'm not always who i claim to be. i'd like to change that.

i love my brother. a lot. i miss him. a lot.

"i need to change the way i look at, all i look at..."
-warren barfield