The Wonders of the Desert

Standard

Over these past couple of months, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel quite a bit. In July I went to Montreal with my big sister, Naomi and about a week ago I got back from a trip where I went to see friends in Albuquerque, NM and Denver, CO. Spending time in New Mexico was particularly interesting to me as I’ve never been in the South West before and the culture, landscape, and people out there are perhaps some of the most unique I’ve experienced in the states.

Spending time in the desert was a treasured experience and I loved the subtlety of it. I would wake up and there would be a cool breeze. I’d get ready, eat breakfast on my friends porch then we’d head out for the day. My first day in Albuquerque my friend insisted I take a bottle of water with me on our travels. I didn’t think I needed it, but desert heat is different to tropical heat (I do live in Florida after all). It sneaks up on you. You start off thinking ‘oh, this is nice. There’s no heat’ then four hours later your throat is dry as hell, you’re sweating and you’re struggling to breathe. That water bottle comes in mighty hand at that point. The heat crept up on me. It wasn’t direct or in my face, no it was slow, steady and almost secretive. After spending a few days out there, I could see how being stranded in the desert could be torturous. But it also gave me this incredible appreciation for the life that managed to survive out there. Small patches of plants and wildlife flourished, and that was intriguing to me.

I left the desert for the green mountains of Colorado and didn’t really think about surviving in the desert again until the Sunday I got back from my trip. My mother’s church had a guest speaker from England, and the pastor (a long time family friend) insisted we attend the service. So my entire family dragged ourselves out of bed and attended the service. During worship, I felt the presence of God and became emotional (as I sometimes do ). And during that time I began to write. Now, there have been many times in my life when I feel the presence of God and I just start writing. I’m usually half crying through it and can’t understand what I’m writing. As silly as this might sound to some people, I know the thoughts that pour out of me during that state are not my own. I truly believe they come from God, and when I finished writing and read what I’d written, I was amazed to see it was about the desert.

A subject that in the Bible is often used to represent a time of hardship or seeking, but somehow as taken on a new meaning for me after actually experiencing the desert. To me, it’s more about appreciating what the desert can teach you and make you appreciate. Anyway, I think this particular combination of words is meant for more than just me. So before I share a little of what it means to me, here it is:

And if I tell you to move

It’s not to set against you or to hurt you

I know there are things that you desire

Things you don’t understand why they are being denied to you

But have you stopped to consider the wonder of the desert

There is a way to be made; an endurance to be created

Since while it may seem all-consuming at this moment, your life, your work is vast and there is a time I must bring you through

A time where you are seemingly denied every desire of your flesh

But my dear it’s only a time, only a moment in our love story

And I know you resent me, I know there is pain but I’m still here. I am still loving you even though it seems I couldn’t be further away

This is not a punishment or an unasked for sacrifice. It’s a time for me to stretch your heart little by little

And if you have to weep, if you have to crawl through the pain and heartache know that I am walking beside you, wiping the sweat from your brow and ready to carry you if need be

But you’re my daughter of Zion and you are stronger than you think. So focus on this, focus on the green pasture, just over there

Over the next hurdle. It’s right there and I promise it’ll be more than you can imagine if you can make it through this desert with me at your side.

 

For me, this word came at a time when I’ve felt a little lost and confused. I’ve always had specific dreams but since graduating from college it seems like the struggle just to live and take care of my responsibilities has overshadowed those dreams. I’ve also had some things that I really wanted denied to me, and right now it hurts. But in the long term it may turn out to be something that makes me stronger and more of the woman God wants me to be. In short this word reminded me that I know what I want; I just have to be faithful enough to fight for it.

And being in the desert for a week showed me that although it can be exhausting, there is a real beauty in the act of walking through a desert and choosing to see the life that grows where nothing is supposed to. If fields of sunflowers can bloom in the desert heat, then I can endure and I can make it to whatever lays beyond the next hurdle.

I hope it inspires you too.

Until next time,

Be Blessed,

Grace

Cherish Your Pearls

Standard

Hello World,

It’s confession time. I have to admit I’ve been having a bit of a pity party recently. I graduated college in May and a large part of me feels like I’m not where I’m supposed to be, not in a physical sense, but in an accomplishment sense. I was blessed to attend a college that demanded a lot from me. My Alma Mater, Warren Wilson College, gave me challenging academics, two jobs, the opportunity to be a crew boss, an active social life and a demanding service schedule.

Often my days would go from 7am to 2am and I thrived on it. I loved the feeling of constantly achieving. And so now I’m post-grad, working one uninspiring job, dealing with various family situations and unsuccessfully attempting to write. And in truth I feel sort of lazy and unimaginative. Thus the catalyst for my pity party began. Then it sort of overtook me, crept up and consumed.

Now this was my mental state about a week ago when I had the privilege of finally seeing the movie Begin Again. Begin Again centers around a down and out record exec whose about to throw himself onto the subway tracks when instead he stumbles into a bar and hears a woman sing a song. A song that inspires him to create music again and throughout the movie the two, who are both down and out in their own way, heal one another and allow one another to rekindle their passion for music. In turn they record an album all over NYC. It’s a great movie and here’s a clip of one of the songs in the movie.

 

And in adorable scene Mark Ruffalo’s and Keira Knightely’s character travel around the city listening to each others playlists. After this they compare life to a string of pearls and how for Mark Ruffalo’s character there has been more string than pearls lately, but then Keira Knightely’s character turns to him. She recognizes the moment and says “this is a pearl,” and Mark Ruffalo’s character adds (in reference to the experience of recording the album) “this whole thing has been a pearl.”

It was a brilliant moment, on because the writing was so good and secondly because it planted a thought in my mind. That moments can be pearls.

I didn’t think about it much more until a few days later I was lucky enough to attend the event Rock the Universe where one of my favourite bands, Switchfoot, was headlining. I watched them with my big brother, Nathan and as Jon Foreman sprinted around the stage belting out songs that have meant so much to me I was in bliss. Then between songs he spoke about the meaning behind many of the bands song saying “I’m talking about abundant life here my friends.”

Immediately after Switchfoot played my favourite song off their new album, “Let it Out.” An ecstatic Jon Foreman jumped to the front of the crowd, the music was booming, the crowd was singing at the top of their lungs, the moon was shining, and I recognized it. This was a pearl. So I hugged my brother and mentally thanked God for my pearl and that sustained me until my next pearl.

Which happened to be a weekend in Miami with my sister a couple of days ago. And the point of all this is simple; recognize and in turn cherish your pearls. It’s very easy to get stuck in our pity parties, trust me, but if we take the time to recognize and be thankful for the great moments a.k.a the pearls in our lives (no matter how small) as they happen, it will inspire us to get out of our slumps and go out looking for more pearls. Until we have a whole, beautiful string of pearls.

 

 

 

Goo

Standard

Hey All!

I recently realized that I haven’t posted any writing I’ve done at college recently, so here is something I wrote back in April at some odd time of the night, but I often feel this way at college. As always its original work so no stealing. Let me know what you think of it.

“There comes a point where everything is gone. Where every desire and motivation I have just drains from my skin. This happens every few weeks and I simply look around and think I could be anywhere but here. Why am I forcing myself to study works and writers I don’t particularly enjoy?

Why am I pushing my body and mind to physical exhaustion for the sake of college? 

It’s on these nights with my desk light bulb buzzing to my left and my pile of papers, stories, and letters creeping up around me that I wish I could throw my head back and melt into a delicious pile of goo. Goo has no need to be anything other than a pile of substance. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Until next time be blessed, stay strong and never give up,

God Bless,

Grace Hatton