We Must All Make Sacrifices (response to Blake Lively’s video on child porn)

    I wrote this after watching Blake Lively speak on child porn. Watch here.

    The world is dark.

    We suppress this knowledge with alcohol that tastes like coffee and binge watching Netflix. We are okay with watching shows like Criminal Minds or Law and Order for entertainment but we are not okay with acknowledging the reality of “special victims” in our own world, in our community, perhaps even in our midst. Our excuse is that we have a lot going on. We have our own stuff to deal with. Yes. Yes we do. But we are also not alone. You cannot receive healing in isolation, indeed, often healing comes in the form of interactions with others. Even if they do not know how they have helped you. Even if that relationship was hard. We cannot grow alone and we cannot be fulfilled without contributing to society.

    We should not be alone or voiceless in our pain. We should not allow others to be voiceless and alone in theirs.

    There is a darkness in this world. We don’t see it. Maybe we don’t even know it exists yet. But there are children being sold for sex. There are videos of infants being circulated for perverse arousal. They are being sacrificed on the altar of ignorance. They are kept hidden from those who would stand up to help them if they knew. Who would speak for them if they understood the depths of how that violation of human rights would affect these babies for the rest of their lives. That is, if they live long enough.

    There is a darkness present. Shrouding the helpless. The small beings that should be innocent. That should never live to learn about such violence, let alone survive BDSM and torture before they are old enough to read. Its not elsewhere. It’s here. Its rooted in the hell on earth so many suffer to know intimately.

    We cannot keep our altar lit.

    We must tear it down and become aware, watchful, and allow ourselves to feel the pain. It’s a fresh wound, pulsing in the wind around us. It’s throttling the people we pass without a second glance because they are somehow less than us. They are different and unapproachable. They are mentally ill and left without adequate care for their inner self. They are a waste of taxes… why can’t they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and take care of themselves?

    We are asking the wrong questions.

    Instead of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Ask, “Why are good people not standing up against evil?” Instead of “Why is God absent?” Ask, “Why am I not doing the justice and good works God has called me to do?”

    We must all make sacrifices to survive, to get by, the father reasons as he sends his 9 year old daughter not to school but to what the Western world has rationalized as “sex work”.

    We make sacrifices when there are babies with their umbilical cords still attached being penetrated by grown men and showcased to thousands.

    Will we make the sacrifice of our conscience? Or we will sacrifice our ignorance, our safety, and our gifts for the voiceless?

    Yes, we must all make sacrifices.

    5 Reasons I hate listicles (and why you should hate them too)

    1. They use emotive words to raise the hairs on the back of your social justice loving millennial neck.

    Use the same kind of caution as if you were driving across a bridge without railings that has a steep drop-off when someone on the internet is says “You should do this, too” That being said, read this listicle on high alert. The machines are always watching you.

    2. They want to make everyone morning people.

    I can’t figure out why every listicle from tech support to beauty routines tell you to wake up earlier. Please. No. If all my adulting problems could be solved by waking up early I’m sure we’d all be doing it. The truth is you’re just more grumpy and hard to deal with than if you had gotten that extra hour of sweet, life-giving sleep.

    3. It oversimplifies the complexity of everyday life.

    YOU WILL BE BEAUTIFUL, HAVE PERFECT SKIN, KIDS, GRADES IN THESE FIVE EASY STEPS. You can’t control your life no matter how hard you try. Happiness is the ability to live in an insane world by reveling in our lack of control over anyone else. Beauty is when we move through the chaos and make peace in the midst of it.


    4. They give you a mental nail-on-chalkboard feeling.

    My brain gags on the list in my head of how I’m already screwing up my unborn children. This “advice” doesn’t help, it turns me into a shallow ghost of a being that has nothing real to offer the world. What listicles fail to do is recognize the limitedness of humanity. We will never be perfect. Honestly, most of us are just trying our best and are tired of MORE rules of how we should live, organically of course.

    5. They give you judgement instead of grace.

    If I followed every rule of every listicle I’ve ever read I wouldn’t have time for a job, let alone afford lunch after purchasing every product they recommend. Even relaxing has started to come in listicle form. Society pushes you to be the busiest (best) self you can be and then expects you to find your inner zen when they’ve set you up for failure from point 1. 

    Now go hate listicles and be cool like me.

    The Lord is Vast

    The Lord is vast.
    He is holding you in the center of his palm and he is laughing over you. He is laughing with joy over who he made you to be. He is bigger than your sin. He is bigger than your victories. He has bigger plans, bigger dreams, and bigger hopes for you and for me than our small minds, our small boxes, our smallness can ever hope or believe for. He wants to break our minds and our hearts to make more room for the good he has put before us.
    To enlarge our hope and our faith from a mustard seed to an entire mountain range.
    We have a platter before us, stretching farther than your arms wide, than your eyes can see to the edge of the horizon. A platter full of intricate beauty, of broken pieces made into a new thing, a new season, a new time.
    The fractured image you see in the mirror is new. It has been put back together by the loving hands of your Father. He is delicate with you. He holds you like a new baby, holding your head steady, holding you close to his chest and he is singing a lullaby of peace and rest over you. He is bigger than any oppression. He is stronger than any pain.
    The Lord is vast. You are in him and there is no end. Plumb the depths, run to the edge and find he is full and there is fullness for you. He is whole and complete.
    The Lord is forever and ever. There is always more for you in him. 

    Failing is a form of courage

    A few months ago my roommate and I discovered a bat in the apartment for the third time. It was sleeping and we noticed a trail of dark liquid on the wall beneath it. I figured it just had a healthy digestive system. We prepared for the battle of removing it from the apartment and into the woods. My roommate was standing on an upside down laundry basket, on top of the piano stool, wearing gloves and wielded my Toy Story 2 beach towel as a weapon to grab it and wrap it up.

    I stood by with a small trash can ready to cover it and take it outside. We had done this before, except this time, it was dead. My roommate leaped off the top of our makeshift ladder screaming, her arms wide as if she were the bat ready to take flight, but instead fell on me, and began to have a panic attack. Eyes were wide, chest showed signs of hyperventilating, nostrils flaring.

    I wasn’t 100% convinced the bat was dead and lost my cool. Extremely annoyed and concerned the bat was going to have its revenge. I shook my finger at her and icily said “You need to chill the fuck out and get your shit together.” It was a two pronged approach because I was not only angry at her for jumping on me but didn’t need her to pass out from fear either.

    She snapped out of it and we discovered that it was completely dead. My cat must have swiped its belly while it was swooping because we could see each delicate intestine. What I had seen on the wall was just the largest of many blood stains on our walls throughout the apartment. A few weeks later I saw a remaining smear of blood over my bedroom doorway and decided to leave it as my Passover blood.

    I see now that adulthood tries to make you into one of the four upon entering “the real world.” You end up on the floor hyperventilating, super annoyed and controlling, dead on the wall with your guts open for the world to see, or the beast who takes out anything standing in her way and ends the day casually licking the blood off her claws.

    This morbid scenario has led me to realize I don’t want to allow the “real world” to make me into any of the four. I want to be able to bend without breaking, to be sad without despairing, to be vulnerable without being needy, and to be strong without cruelty. In the end it could just mean having the courage to try and fail every day for the rest of my life.

    Parachuting into Adulthood

    As Seen On: That First Year Blog

    Fear and Becoming an Adult

    Adulthood began with the heavens opening, a waterfall pouring over my piano in the living room. A broken pipe (maintenance suspects that it was a sabotaged pipe) connected to the upstairs neighbor’s shower was the culprit. Ceiling tiles fell and broke upon the piano, the ivory keys using their last bit of life to indignantly testify against their perpetrator.  Unfortunately, this is the third time that bathroom has flooded into my apartment this year.

    The same evening, my middle-aged neighbor, who is addicted to a variety of drugs, came to my door asking for a knife. As I stood there, I realized that I wasn’t even worried considering it isn’t even the strangest request from a neighbor I have gotten at 1 am. He claimed someone broke into his apartment, damaging the lock. Somehow, he thought a butter knife would help the predicament and denied my request to call the police to report the break-in. I doubted that the lock was really what he wanted to use the knife on, and I’ve always looked strange in jumpsuits, so I sent him away muttering only to hear him breaking into his apartment through the basement window.

    I can’t help but wonder if these are all signs—the world above me falling in on itself and my neighbor politely asking for a knife to murder me with as I politely stand in my entryway. Maybe I take concrete things too abstractly but I always want to know that I’m making the right decisions. Now that I’m graduating college, the stress to make all the right decisions is heightened. It feels like if I make one wrong step now, people will shake their heads because they knew I would never be able to accomplish my lengthy list of goals. I don’t want to be known as the girl who failed because she didn’t have whatever “it” is.

    If college is like being suspended in gravity, then That First Year is the fall to planet earth. You know you’re falling but you’re not sure when you will reach full impact or what the damage will be. In an effort to minimize what I assume will be utter destruction, I try too hard to pretend my heart has not dropped down to my stomach in anxiety. The mere thought of a 40-hour, 9-5 work week makes me nauseous. I’ve even lost count of the number of times I have woken myself up from a falling dream because my legs jerk up to my eyeballs.

    What I’m beginning to understand though, is that I don’t need to try to make a parachute out of thin air or even get one of those little umbrella hats to wear in my apartment. Instead, I need to lean into those hard times when everything seems to be in mid-air and allow the impact to break my shell and find out what I’m really made of. When I think worst case scenario I am forgetting that I am my best case scenario. Worst case scenario is doubting my resiliency and determination to do the hard work to develop myself personally and professionally. Becoming the CEO of my own company could start by making good little decisions, like not giving away butter knives at my door.

    Let’s be real together

    Let’s be real here. There’s no need to make a perfect Instagram photo (it is unlikely you’ll find one on my feed). You’ll probably catch more than one editing mistake. You’ll probably find a  mistake in my theology. In my ideology. But that is normal. It is inescapable. Yet, we devour perfection. But hate people who are fake. We want the perfect workout to make a perfect butt to imitate a perfect celebrity. Have you ever noticed that celebrities are people too? The only difference is that they are handed to us through People Magazine. We are a world that doesn’t have the right to judge them when we have had an affair or a run in with the law, or, or, or. What have they done that we too do not face in ourself, in our family, in our own community? We rest with our magazines creating monsters to distract us from the abyss which is the human heart. Your heart. My heart. It is stressed, it is sad, it has dealt with tragedy, it has dealt with triumph. We feel it all… or struggle with our incapability of feeling. We’ve given ourselves 49 characters to express what cannot be explained. To write what you would not say face-to-face. Our middle fingers have been given more meaning than our cordiality. Let’s be real here. But also kind. To ourselves, each other, and whoever our enemy might be. We don’t need more monsters than the ones we want to kill inside of ourselves.

    Let’s be unreasonable here

    Let’s be unreasonable together. Belief is not logical. It does not follow any pattern or law except the ones God has set for it. His ways are beyond us. He does not ask us to reason our way to him. He asks us to believe. Take him at his word. Follow him. When others shout that you cannot do it or question “how” we respond. God. God will make our way.
    Let’s be unreasonable together. The pharisees were reasonable. They knew the law, they knew what it said. They were so reasonable they missed Christ in front of them. Christ was not a reasonable Savior. He came as an ordinary man, from an ordinary family, in an ordinary town and was raised in an ordinary Jewish faith. How he died and fulfilled his promises to Israel was unreasonable. It was unexpected and flew in the face of what Israel thought “should have” happened.
    Let’s be unreasonable together. Because reason has gotten us into tight corners of theology where we can hope, but only so much. Where God can work, but only so much. Where we can grow, but only so much. Where we can sin, but only in certain ways. We look at the would-be sinners and we say that our theology, our reason, makes them an abomination and the only way they can know God is to join our judgmental reason. Fall in line so God doesn’t leave you out. So your prayers will get answered. So you won’t burn in hell. So you will fit in. So God will love you.
    Let’s be unreasonable together. Because God is good and we don’t have all the answers. We can only learn to hear his voice and grow in love for the people he died for (which is everyone). Leave the conviction to him. Leave the reasons and the answers to him. We follow. He leads. By faith, not sight or know-how. Let’s be unreasonable here.