When You Feel Like You Are Letting Everyone Down

Hi, my name is Abby, and I deny the fact that I am a perfectionist and a people-pleaser. But alas, I am both of these things. On the enneagram scale I am a 3w2, which is a combination of “The Performer/Achiever” and “The Caregiver”, as well as being an ESTJ on the Myers Briggs scale. If you look up basic traits of these personality types, you find these major points across the board.

  • Basic Strength: leading and serving other people.
  • Basic Fear: failing and being unworthy of love. To avoid this, they set and accomplish goals to feel successful and worthy. They also fear having a bad reputation
  • Basic Desire: to be admired and accepted. They seek value through accomplishment, which may push them deeper into their work, which sometimes leads to being a workaholic.

Now, you may not subscribe to personality theory, but over the past five years of learning more about various theories, I have come to better understand myself and others. The biggest thing I have learned about myself is that I am my own worst critic. Seriously, I am probably one of the most self-critical people you will ever meet. However, my mindset tells me that I must be hard on myself in order to achieve and not let others down. This ends up being horrible counterproductive and a hole that I have a hard time escaping.

No one is perfect. There are times when you will mess up. You will need to ask for forgiveness, and 95% of the time, if you truly communicate your remorse, the other party will forgive you. I have found though that often times it is easier to forgive another person than it is to forgive yourself. Sure, the other person can say, “What you did upset me, but I forgive you.” But with me, the fact that I have upset another person destroys my soul. I feel that I need to keep punishing myself, even if I have already dealt with the consequences.

Here’s the kicker though: I am saved by grace. The God of the Universe came down from heaven to die for my sins so that I didn’t have to pay for them. Jesus took all the blame so I don’t have to suffer the eternal consequences. The fact that we are commanded by God to forgive one another is to be a representation of His love for us. If God forgave all of mankind, then we are supposed to offer that same kind of love to others. Just because God forgave us though, doesn’t mean the task is complete. It takes the other party to accept forgiveness to make the transaction complete.

When you beat yourself up after someone has forgiven you, you have thrown that person’s grace out the window. More often than not, people move on. When you dwell on the fact that you messed up two weeks ago on something, you are hindering yourself from moving forward. You cannot expect yourself to be perfect. It is foolish to think that you will never let someone down. But when you realize 1) that you are not a disappointment to everyone in your life, and 2) that you must give yourself grace when you mess up, you are able to be a much happier person.

I’m currently about to begin finals week. I am stressed. I’ve shed many tears over the past week. I have felt like I have disappointed every single one of my professors and that I’ve been a bad friend and a crappy girlfriend. But to anyone who feels this way (myself included): STOP. These are lies. You are not a failure. You are not a disappointment. You are not a bad person. You are not defined by your mistakes. You are human. Every person that you feel you are letting down? Yeah, they have all screwed up in the past too. Give yourself some grace. Dust yourself off and keep going. More often than not, you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. Embrace the chaos, remember to breathe, and keep moving forward.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

Things Change

Things change. 

“Yeah, duh. Come on, Abby. We all know this, what the heck are you getting at?” That’s what I’m guessing you’re saying at least. But you know what? I just watched “Frozen 2” and I have T H O U G H T S, OKAY?

*deep breath* Sorry y’all, I’ve been going through an emotional roller coaster over the last week and a half. Watching this gorgeous movie has made me sit down with a cup of coffee and process the jumble of thoughts I have been pushing aside for the past ten days. 

 I am not the same person I was a year ago. To be honest, I am not the same person I was at the beginning of the summer. And as I have changed, the people around me have changed as well. Some of those people have stayed in my life while others have drifted away. Along the way, new faces have entered into my life and friendships have grown that are now divine blessings. Others have left deep wounds in my spirit that have left scars. While healing as happened, there are still reminders of pain that have come from change. 

A year ago, I was mourning the loss of what I thought was my future. The “ideal” that I had created in my mind was gone. But, praise the Lord, I was surrounded with good people. While I was struggling with my grief, I was presented with opportunities to let my burdens to be carried by others. I also was given the chance to pour into the people I cared about most. I was able to witness miraculous life changes that I might not have seen if my life hadn’t been flipped upside down. 

Without giving away the plot of “Frozen 2,” let me just say that this is a great example of showing how even when things seem to be the worst that they can possibly be, you can still choose to move forward. When you accept the fact that change is a normal part of life, it allows you to be on the lookout for the good things that are coming. Life often does not turn out the way that we think it will, and more often than not, it’s for the better that things change. 

Over this past year, I have learned to loosen my grip on plans. Slowly but surely, the grip is becoming an open palm. I strive to let my life be an offering, regardless of whether or not my plans go the way I think they should go. So, as I travel deeper into the unknown, I will be holding on tight to the thing that never changes: the love my Heavenly Father has for me. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby 

Writing Q&A

Woooooooo Abby is drowning in homework and studying and memorizing scripts, so she decided to do a Writer’s Q&A she found online. Enjoy! 

What type of writing do you do? I used to want to be a novelist. Like, that was my dream career. While I still would love to do that, my favorite thing to write at the moment are plays! I also am an avid journaler. 

What genres and/or topics do you write about? In this season of life, I have been writing a lot about mental health. However, I used to write an insane amount of Star Wars and Marvel fanfiction. I plan to get back into the Star Wars storylines I was working on at some point soon. 

How long have you been writing? Last time I cleaned my room, I found a “book” I wrote in second grade. 

Are you published? On the internet? Yes, hello, this is my blog. 

What was the first story you ever wrote? I think it was about an island girl named Maya or something about Thomas the Tank Engine. 

Why do you write? A lot of the time I feel like my brain is spinning with a billion words. I write to get them out. 

How do you find time to write? At the moment, panic procrastination is how I have been writing. Ideally, I would like to spend time in the mornings writing after I spend time reading my bible. Hopefully we will be able to get back into that routine soon. 

When and where are the best times to write? When: when I don’t have Spanish homework. Where: give me a local coffee shop with decent wifi and we’re in business. 

Favorite food/drinks while writing? See above (just give me hot coffee and I’m set)

Your writing playlist? The “Monsters Inc.” and Star Wars scores are my long time favorites, but I recently got into Alec Benjamin’s work. 

What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing? I think they like it? 

Parts of writing you enjoy the most? I love writing fight scenes and witty banter scenes. 

Parts of writing you find challenging? I hate writing transitions, man. 

What do you write with and on? I prefer writing in a notebook, but I have recently become addicted to Google Docs as my saving grace. 

How do you overcome writer’s block? Ha ha. 

How do you motivate yourself to write? Freaking deadlines. I thrive on deadlines. 

Writers who inspire you as a creator? John Green, JK Rowling, Stephen Edmond, Christine Riccio, David Auburn, Alex Hirsh, Rachel Hollis, W.T.R. Shaw (Sweet Ben) and Nathan Gonder

Books that inspire you as a writer? “Winter Town,” “Again, But Better,” “Turtles All The Way Down” and the Harry Potter series. 

Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer? Never stop writing, even when you don’t like your work. 

Writing goals this year: In 2020, I want to write a new short play and have a friend at Missouri Western direct it. 

 

Life is crazy, but writing is always a wonderful escape, even if it’s just a self-reflection on the craft. 

Thank goodness for Fall Break. 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Hard Days

There are mornings that I don’t want to get out of bed. I lay burrowed under my blankets and stare at the alarm on my phone. I know all of the things that I have to be responsible for and wonder who would notice if I didn’t show up for those responsibilities. I pull myself up and sit on the edge of my bed, looking down at the floor as I try to decide if I want my feet to touch the floor. I look back at my pillow one last time, wanting to head back to blissful sleep. But I don’t, because I know there is joy to be awake for, even in the hard days.

 

There are afternoons when I find myself wondering why I am doing what I am doing. I feel as if everything I am doing is absolutely wrong and that everyone around me thinks I am a huge idiot. I feel that I will never move forward because whenever I make progress I seem to also take steps backwards. I often times consider giving up on the plans I’ve made and the dreams I’m chasing. But I don’t, because I know I am capable of pressing on, even on the hard days.

 

There are some nights when I just stare at my open pill bottle. I hold it as I stand barefoot in the bathroom and I glance up at my reflection in the mirror. I sigh. I look back into the bottle wrapped in washi tape and begrudgingly take a dose. The whole time I’m thinking, “I don’t want to take this. I shouldn’t need to take this. I hate taking this.” There are nights I want to dump all the little white pills into the toilet and send them swirling away. But I don’t, because I know they help with the hard days.

 

There will always be hard days. I accept that there are periods of life where there will be more hard days than easy ones. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself on hard days is remind yourself that they will pass. It may take time, but our hard days show us how great that easy days are. To anyone dealing with a difficult season: keep pushing forward, even if it means just taking one step each day.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

Revists: What Else is Good?

We have reached the point in the semester where I am starting to give less of a crap about passing my classes, which is quite dangerous with my Spanish class. When this starts to creep in, I have learned that I must snuff it out quickly before it destroys any chance of me being productive. One way of doing this has been writing. However, I have no creative energy to spare. So I started going through my old blog posts. I found an entry from 2015 where I talked about a faculty advisor who would always ask us, “What else is good?” So, in the spirit of my other “Revisits,” I decided to look back on my list from 2015 and make a new list for 2019 to compare what was good then and what is good now. The items in italics are from 2015, and the items in bold are from this year. 

 

  • I haven’t gotten lost yet in my math class.
  • While I am frustrated in my Spanish class, I have a solid 75% as my overall grade right now and that makes me super happy.
  • While my meteorology class is super boring, I have over 100% in the class because my teacher gives so much extra credit.
  • I love my Directing 1 class. It’s such a solid group of students who are going to put on a fantastic showcase in December.
  • I am growing as an artist in my Drawing class this semester.
  • I have lined up two projection design jobs outside of school.
  • Cinderella opens next week and this show is gonna be awesome!
  • Right now, I am stage managing for five short plays and today our technical director said I was doing a good job.
  • I made the Improv team again! This summer, I get to travel to San Diego with nine other super awesome, talented funny CYT students to compete in a comedy competition called Improvaton.
  • I have dates set to visit Lubbock, Texas to check out the grad school I will hopefully be attending in Fall 2021.
  • My car works in the snow, thank the Lord.
  • My dear, temperamental car is still running.
  • Walking Dead starts again on Sunday.
  • Sweet Ben and I have started season 4 of Yugi-Oh!
  • I got four new piano students!
  • Over the course of five years, I had the opportunity to teach 25 kids music. Right now, I currently only teach my professor’s daughter on a weekly basis, but it is still so rewarding to be able to pass along musical knowledge.
  • My Mac doesn’t restart every ten minutes anymore.
  • I have figured out how to make my iPad keep a charge.
  • Art Club at school is going great! It’s been so much fun so far, and I can’t wait to see what this awesome group of people do this spring.
  • Our pledge class for Alpha Psi Omega this year is so stinking big and it’s awesome.
  • One of my paintings sold at the Juice shop that I sell art at this week.
  • In a few weeks I get to go back and work at Songbird.
  • While I love doing shows, after next week, I’m going to have a month and a half off from rehearsals. I’ll be able to catch up on school stuff and get a handle on my big research project.
  • Ha, what is a break? However, I love all the scripts I am working on right now and all the peers I get to create with.
  • I have a free drink to go get at Starbucks tomorrow.
  • I have kept a promise to myself and have not had Starbucks for 40 days. It sucks but I am proud of myself.
  • I have a warm home, food in the fridge, running water, a toilet, wifi, and a wonderful family to come home to everyday.
  • I love my suitemates, my dorm is cozy and fun to be in, and have a trusty coffee machine.

 

What else is good in your life? Don’t forget to take time to remember what positive things are going on. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have 26 Spanish verbs to go memorize. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Reflecting on “Crazy for You”

Ever since I can remember, I have been a theatrical person. When I was younger, my parents had me try sports but nothing ever stuck. My mom and dad didn’t want to force me to do activities I wasn’t interested in, so I was never a top athlete by any means. However, in elementary school, I always had a blast with our yearly musicals. From kindergarten to fifth grade, I participated in the class musical. I would usually get some sort of featured roll, but it wasn’t until fifth grade that I got a “lead.” Around this time, I also started participating in a community theater group called Christian Youth Theater. My family was originally only going to participate in one show, but by the time I graduated from high school, I had over thirty acting credits under my belt via CYT. 

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If you had told me when I began my time at Missouri Western that I would be playing a role like Polly Baker in “Crazy for You,” I would have laughed. While I have had the opportunity to play major roles in musicals, I had never been a leading lady. More often than not, I was the goofy sidekick character who would be the comic relief for shows. I had done extensive dancing in shows before, but long duets with a leading man? Nope, not me. The only time I ever got close was with “Beauty and the Beast” when I read for Belle at callbacks and was ultimately cast as Lefou (which was an absolute blast). In high school, it seemed like only a handful of girls were cut out to being the leading ladies, and I wasn’t one of them. I was a funny girl, which was just fine with me. 

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Fast forward to my second to last semester of undergrad. I had just come back from a summer of recovery after a rough semester. I was a little wary of auditioning for a brand new director, but I had been told by multiple KC friends that Sarah Crawford was an amazing person to work under. I continued my streak of flubbing the words on each of my Fall semester audition songs (which horrified and astounded several freshmen). Callbacks were a nerve racking blast, and I must say, I have never left a dance call more confident that I did a good job. Waiting for the cast list was awful. When that list went up on the call board though, I was shocked and over the moon to see “Polly Baker” next to my name. 

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Sarah is unlike any director I have ever worked with. She is larger than life but still down to earth. She exudes confidence with grace and humility. She’s the kind of person who demands respect without ever having to verbally ask for it. I wanted to please her, but not in a way that I just wanted her to like me. I wanted to please her because I knew she knew what she was doing and if I got a thumbs up from her, that meant I was on the right track. 

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Getting back into the “musical theatre” actor mindset was a bit difficult for the first few weeks of rehearsals. I had received amazing technical training from a previous professor that truly helped me get grounded in straight play and film acting. Sarah was constantly telling me to raise the stakes with my character work. She even once said, “You’re too ‘on camera.’ This is musical theatre; I need BIG!” There was almost a bit of fear in going bigger. In the past, I’ve had certain people tell me that I was not believable on stage. I was worried that I would be too much, but Sarah promised that she wouldn’t let me look foolish on stage. She instilled a trusting relationship between the two of us right off the bat and I knew that she genuinely wanted to make me a better performer. 

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Working with Dr. Paul Hindemith is always a joy, but this show was extra special. I have been studying voice with Paul for almost two years now and it is astounding how far I have come over our semesters together. The techniques I have learned have helped me produce music that I ever thought was possible to come out of me. During this show especially, I learned how to maintain consistency in performances, even if I was exhausted. Before college, I didn’t know how to properly take care of my instrument, but now, I have gained the confidence that I could take care of myself for multiple weeks of shows. Anytime I can make Paul smile because of my singing is a blessing. I cannot thank him enough for the skills he instilled in me to do Polly’s track every night. 

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I worked opposite a transfer student named Ray Clark. My first impression of him was him wearing a full Scottish get-up to the TCD Meet & Greet, kilt and all. I thought he was a dork. When we got cast as Polly and Bobby, I was keen on becoming pals quickly. Full disclosure: I was stupid nervous about kissing him on stage and was a bit of an awkward potato until after we finally got it over with for the first time. As the weeks progressed, Ray and I established a strong bond between each other that made us wonder if we were long lost siblings. We would yell and whine about our dance steps while we practiced together. After an hour of practicing, we would rejoice together at the progress we had made. He was a trustworthy scene partner and someone I knew who would take care of me on and off stage. Now, he’s become one of my best friends! Funny how things work out.

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There were other moments throughout the process of this show that will make it unforgettable. Libby Denny and I were able to bond more than we ever had before. I got to invest in the new freshmen by showing them the ropes of our department. I got to aggressively kiss Sweet Ben in Act 2 every night. It was a bop. Above all though, playing Polly Baker showed me that I am not limited as an actress. I am capable of playing the roles I told myself I wasn’t pretty or talented enough to play. I am so proud of myself for not giving up. Walking in Polly’s shoes for six weeks helped me gain back the confidence I once had as a musical theatre performer tenfold. While the show was full of obstacles, it is a show I will forever be grateful to have been in at Missouri Western. 

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On our second to last performance, I left the stage after bows knowing that the previous two and a half hours had been the best performance of my life. All of the struggles, nervousness and juggling of homework and rehearsals was worth it. I was reminded of why I chose this path of study. The arts help us express our human experience. Even with a show as silly as “Crazy for You,” we are able to express childlike hope that making art will fix our problems. While that may not be the end-all-be-all solution to the world’s struggles, I full-heartedly believe that there is a special kind of joy that only theatre can bring. Being a part of this cast and crew made me realize this, and because of that, I will never look at the performing arts the same way again.

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Until Next Time,

 

You Might be a “Mom Friend” if…

Me: “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t climb over the room dividers on the balconies in this hotel.”

Friend: “Okay, thanks MOM.”

 

You ever deal with conversations like this? Well my friend, you most likely can be categorized as “The Mom Friend.” This special type of person possesses abilities that can be both a blessing and a curse. Over the years, I have found myself in this category, and I have identified ten traits that might help you too realize that you indeed are “The Mom Friend.” 

 

 

  • You know other people’s schedules better than they do. You know when they’re free to hang out because you know when they have classes and what days they work late. When making plans, you’re the one to remind people not to double-book themselves. Bonus points if you have a color-coded planner for your own schedule. giphy (6)
  • You’re usually the sober one. I’ve only gone to four parties over the past two and a half years and have sober at 75% of them. Most of the time, the Mom Friend can also be known as the “DD,” aka, the Designated Driver. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with college pals who don’t make me feel like a loser for drinking my Diet Coke at a get-together. tenor (1)
  • You check in on friends when they have a long drive home. Oh Lord, I cannot tell you how many times I have stayed up waiting for a friend to text me that they have gotten home and have freaked out irrationally that they have died when they don’t tell me they are indeed safe. Y’all, just send me a snap so I can go to sleep.  giphy (5)
  • You’re the one to get the phone call. On the flip side, if a friend is in distress, you best know that the Mom Friend will be the one to get a phone call. Whether it’s letting someone vent over the phone or coming to show up when someone needs you, you’re the one who will always pick up the phone to lend a hand. giphy (4)
  • You take on the weight of your peoples’ problems. And here’s the thing: you’ve also got a ton of problems. However, you more often than not will set aside your own issues to help others work through their struggles. You gotta be careful with this though, because you will often forget that your problems are just as valid. giphy (3)
  • You experience burnout about once a month. When you inevitably forget to take care of yourself, you experience a phenomenon called Burnout. You’re overly tired, lack motivation to be your normally chipper/organized self and end up snapping at people you love. This is when you take a step back from everyone and have a magical thing called, “Me-Time.” I spend my Me-Time scrapbooking, watching cartoons and/or reading something that does not involve school. It is so helpful and needed to avoid burnout. tenor
  • You don’t understand the term, “Letting Loose.” See #2. ‘Nough said. In all seriousness, it’s not just at parties involving adult beverages I’m referencing. I’m talking about going to the movies with pals, playing games or just sitting still for 30 minutes. It’s hard to relax when you feel like you always have to be taking care of other people.  calm-down-gif
  • You have a really hard time not telling people that they are making stupid choices. When your friends are being dumb, most of the time you just want to smack them and tell them to fix their life. While it is needed at times to call people out when they are making bad choices, sometimes, you have to let people learn from their mistakes. You can’t fix everyone else’s problems. *GASPS* I know, right? giphy
  • Your friends ignore your well-thought out ideas. And then they end up doing your idea in the end after they spend 30 minutes trying to figure out a plan. source
  • Your go-to question to ask when people walk into your home is, “Can I get you a *INSERT HOT BEVERAGE*?” Literally whenever any person walks into my dorm room whether it’s to study, watch Gravity Falls or play rowdy card games, I will offer them some form of hot beverage from my super cute coffee bar. This especially comes into play when someone walks into my dorm room with a sad look on their face, though there are many other reasons someone would need a hot drink. I follow the Sheldon Cooper Beverage Social Protocols, which are as follows: 

 

Upset: Tea

Upset about an unannounced house guest / Outraged: Cocoa

Angrier than ever and filled with despair: Hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks

Drunk: Coffee

For Jewish guests: Chicken broth

For Indian guests: Chai tea. If cardamom seeds are unavailable, English breakfast tea.

(See https://the-big-bang-theory.com/sheldons_beverage_protocols/ for more details on how to properly serve hot beverages) 

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We all need at least one Mom Friend in our lives, even people who fall into the category of companionship. Take time today to encourage the Mom Friends in your life; they’re probably the reason you’ve eaten, had enough water today and have a smile on your face. As the cover photo shows, Mom Friends are Superheroes! 

 

Until Next Time, 

 

Abby

Broken Streak

For the past 43 weeks, I have uploaded a blog post to this site every Friday in a way to keep a promise to myself that I could keep a habit going for a whole calendar year. Ideally, I like to finish these posts by Wednesday night/Thursday morning so I can have time to sit on them and process what I have written. However, it’s 11:30pm on Friday night at Applebees and this is my first time all week sitting down to write. It’s been a stressful week, but a show has been opened and I survived my Spanish test. 

 

There is nothing profound in this blog post. In fact, it’ll be late. I have broken my streak. Whenever I break a streak, I usually give up completely. But here I am, chugging away at a post, trying to keep a promise to myself. 

 

This post is not for anyone else but myself. It’s now Saturday afternoon, and while my streak of having a post every Friday has been broken, I still intend to keep this promise to myself. Abby, it’s okay to slip up. However, just because you slip up doesn’t mean you have to quit completely. Life is insane, but you’re tough and have conquered so much. Brush it off and keep going. 

 

*Deep breath* See you next week. 

 

Until Next Time, 

 

Abby

 

The Best Cartoon to Ever Happen

Okay, so I’m running on a cup of coffee (that I almost dropped my phone into) but fighting off NyQuil that is trying to knock me out. It’s 10:27pm and I’ve been sleeping half the day and dancing throughout the other half. I’m about to hit crisis mode before this musical opens. In light of this, let’s talk about the best tv show to ever exist EVER:

Gravity Falls

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After I made the family watch Girl Meets World a few years ago, my brother Jeremy suggested that we start watching a new Disney show about a set of twins who go to live with their great uncle in a very strange town over their summer break. The show follows Dipper, a very smart boy who wants to crack the mysteries surrounding the town, and his sister Mabel, a girl who embodies the word “whimsical”, as they make friends and discover the insanity that makes up Gravity Falls. Their con-artist Gruncle Stan hides his own secrets throughout the plots, and we come to find that his has a truly huge mystery that he has been trying to overcome the whole summer. 

Spoiler time: if you’re reading this and plan to watch this brilliant piece of television, scroll past this paragraph. When you see the next gif, you are safe. Come back after you’ve enjoyed two seasons of beautiful story telling. 

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In season 2, the twins find out that Stan is actually a twin himself, as he pulls his brother, Ford, from an inter-dimensional time portal. The two brothers are at each other’s throats, even when saving the universe was in the balance. It wasn’t until Stan and Ford realized that they needed to regain the comradery like Mabel and Dipper have that they were able to work as a team to stop the evil triangle demon, Bill. Anyone who hasn’t watched the show would probably think that this is a super lame villain, but I kid you not, he is one of the best written villians in a TV show that I have ever seen. 

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End of Spoilers

 

I love this show. It’s a very complex story full of cyphers and mysteries for the audience to try and crack. In fact, the fan-base figured out what major plot points through clues before the episode even aired. Stories that inspire that much passion are to be commended. Television like that is what inspires me to keep working on my own stuff. If I could create something that inspires that much excitement, I would be a very happy wolf pup. 

There’s a quote I found from Alex Hirsch, the creator of Gravity Falls. It says, “Gravity Falls was never meant to be a series that goes on and on forever. It’s meant to be an exploration of the experience of summer, and in a larger sense, a story about childhood itself. The fact that childhood ends is exactly what makes it so precious, and why you should cherish it while it lasts.” I found that quote while scrolling through my Pinterest, sitting on the couch with Jeremy on the floor with his giant blue exercise ball. We had been watching episodes all day together, enjoying each other’s company and not at each other’s throats. It was so nice. 

When I was living at home, I got my bro-bro to get off the Xbox tonight and come watch more episodes with me while I worked on a new drawing project or fought against my homework. I hope that my friend’s kids are watching my shows or reading my books and feeling the same whimsy I feel when I enjoy stories. I plan to start another watch-through with Sweet Ben and a new college buddy very soon. If you too would like to experience a story that will make you feel good about life, check out Gravity Falls: you will not regret it.

 

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Until Next Time,

Abby

Revisit: Grief

This past Wednesday should have been my buddy Houston’s 22nd Birthday here on Earth. Luckily for him, he spent it in heaven with his Saviour as he has done for the past several years. While the grief has evolved over the years and become manageable, there are still times where I find myself longing to see loved ones that have passed on before me. There is no time table on grief, and sometimes you will have waves of emotion come out of nowhere. 

This Revisit is from my first winter break of undergrad. I was back in Kansas City about to head back to St. Joseph for my second semester. With these revisits, I make it a rule for myself to not change anything that I originally wrote in 2017. I started this experiment with myself when I was cleaning out my Google Drive and ran across two documents in which I was pushing myself to write once a day for an entire year. Neither project was completed to the intended goal, but the original drafts serve as a sort of time capsule for myself. This week, I wanted to look back on where I was at almost three year ago in terms of how I thought about grief and hard questions we ask. Words in bold are 2019 Abby, and italicized words are from 2017 me.

 

January 8th 2017

During Sunday School today while we were doing a lesson on Job, a few of the girls were asking really hard questions. Seventh grade girls can ask really hard-hitting questions at the most unexpected times. You know, those questions. The questions like, “If God can do anything, why does He let sin happen?” and “Why doesn’t God fix bad things?” Earthly suffering is a tricky topic is juggle when looking at it from a human perspective. When you add God to the mix, there can be a lot of frustration and confusion. 

During my high school years, there were many times I was very angry with God. Like, super angry. As in lots of yelling in my car on drives to school that I didn’t want to go to and feeling guilty later that I was feeling perfectly normal emotions. A big time was when Houston died. A bright, wonderful, loving, talented 17-year-old killed in a car accident right before he was supposed to lead Tarzan. I mean, come on WHY? I’m never ever going to forget that horrible night when we were sitting at the table playing Jenga and mom got the phone call. After that phone call, I went to Target to pick up some things with my dad. I wandered the store, calling every person I could think of, including one of our Pastors. An hour later, our living room was filled with a dozen heart-broken teenagers. For a few weeks after that, I was bitter towards God. Why did He take someone like Houston? It seemed like Houston had so much more to give to this world. Having someone who is such a big light be taken away never fully makes sense to us. 

I was numb towards God in Romania. That night in the children’s home up in the mountains when both Grams and Grandma weren’t doing well and my team was praying for them, I remember praying, “God, please don’t take her till I get home.” It was one of the last few days I spent in the country with my missions team. We had finished our service work and were doing some sight-seeing on our last few days.  Totally selfish thinking, but I didn’t talk to her enough at my graduation party. I wanted more opportunities to talk to her. I just wanted to talk to her one more time. Come to wake up hours later, Susan  was gone from her suffering, leaving me on Earth with my own. I’m glad God took that pain from her, I truly am, and that’s where I find my joy. But the grief, that still lingers, and has fanned the flame of other grief I haven’t yet gotten over. This grief has lightened over the years, but still remains. 

God’s timing is perfect, and that’s not just something I say because that’s what I’ve been told all my life. No, I trust that His plan is perfect, because He is perfect. But man, there are times I’d really like to see His timeline laid out. It’s so aggravating being trapped in this human form at times; being stuck in my sinful body when I know that there’s going to be a time when the pain and hardships that are caused by sin are gone. Constantly fighting against my own body in order to be in communion with my Father is exhausting at times. I know the Holy Spirit brings us strength when we are weary, because if He weren’t inside of me, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be alive right now. I guarantee that if I did not have Christ living in me that I wouldn’t be alive today. 

Oh, how awesome is my God that He would reach out to a wrecked piece of creation like me. How awesome that He would take my little hand and wipe away the tears from my eyes. How awesome that He would carry me through the pain of loss and heart break. How awesome that He would hold me as I shake with anger and grief. How awesome that He would lay down his life for me. How awesome that He would send other hearts that He’s created to live out the call of rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. How awesome that He never leaves us, even when we wander. 

Suffering comes in many forms. It can be something seemingly small or hugely devastating, but regardless of what level it is, I feel as though I have come to the conclusion of how I look at God through it all. God is bigger than me. This is a huge understatement, but it is still true. God is bigger, and He sees the bigger picture, because He created it. Who am I to wag my finger t at Him and tell Him that He’s wrong? What right do I have to shake my fist at the One who went through the greatest amount of suffering any person could ever go through? While my soul may bleed and ache, I know that He knows the “why”, even if I never will. 

 

Life can suck at times. I am unbelievably grateful that I have a Father who remains unmoving even when I am being tossed by massive waves. Is grief ever easy to handle? Absolutely not. Is pain something we should be happy with having? Of course not. Even in the midst of our suffering though we can still find joy when we understand that what happens in life can shape us into stronger people. Do I have all the answers to why crappy stuff happens? No, and I never will as long as I am on Earth. Because of this, I have given up the fight in trying to understand and chose to press on by continuing to grow. Lord, let me today and everyday renew my commitment to reflecting Your Love even when my imperfect life seems to be crumbling down around me. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby