Kindred

I do not crave you

I do not hope and wait and seek you

I do not haunt your hours and stalk your times of solitude

I do not covet your looks and longings, the heady rush of crush and scent

I do not seek your passionate soul that does not know what way it bends

I do not yearn for a quest for me

And yet

Yet I crave the quiet fellowship

Yet I hope and wait and give the gentle words of cheer and challenge

Yet I hold and freely join the laughter of late nights and the joyful and fierce voices of life lived among others

Yet I covet and carefully bestow the hug of greeting, the look of anticipation, the touch that speaks what we cannot, the hand that holds what we do not always understand

Yet I seek the steady pace of life together

Yet I yearn for the grip of faith, the abundant joy of life as one

Yet I crave the love of another, the call to die and be undone, the astonishment of one accord, the profundity of fellowship that seeks not itself

Yet I crave us

And yet

I crave You

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Homesick

You make me homesick

You white hills and lonely trees

You farms and fields and far away beauty

Homesick for white hills and crop stubble, for lonely trees and sunset silhouettes, for farms and fields and far away beauty

*

You make me homesick

You gravel roads and country lanes

You homes and hearths and clean-made beds

Homesick for gravel roads, for country lanes of dirt and dust, for home and hearth and a clean-made bed

*

You make me homesick

You starry skies and fresh snow

You belted hunter and big dipper and great bear of the night

Homesick for starry skies, for fresh snow and glittering frost, for the belted hunter and big dipper and great bear of the night

*

You make me homesick

You smiling baby girl and little boy with shy hugs

You friends that stand and hug and fit just right

Homesick for a baby girl who smiles in my arms, for a tall boy and his reluctant hugs, for my father who stands and hugs and I fit just right

*

You proud cities and crowded streets

You highways and horizons and roads to everywhere

You make me homesick

Homesick for places you are not, for streets no longer mine, for highways and horizons and roads that lead everywhere but home

*

I am homesick

*

Homesick for all that does not exist

Homesick for the home I cannot find, for the people we no longer are, for the sun on the horizon that used to be

Homesick for the lonely tree that is not mine, gilded by winter frost and cut down by summer lightning; those autumn fields that grow yellow and red before someone else’s eyes; the great bear of the night that waits beyond the fringes of this city’s greedy lights

Homesick for the easing of the ache for better things, homesick for the final turn in the lane when the prodigal comes home, homesick for the promises too great and glorious to be found in the dust and stars of this place

*

For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

*

Letters From An MBI Student – 1/20

Dear Family,

I don’t think I have ever been so glad to see a Friday. Oh, glorious Friday, you came. Or the end-of- Friday, at least. You wonderful end-of-Friday you.

Brief recap: tour was great and fairly chill (but a little weird). But this whopping version of the flu started around right before tour, picked up a few new members on the bus, and settled in my lap on the ride home.

Yay. It’s been a dandy, with a cough that eats up your insides and the fever wobbling between 101 and 103 for four days. I managed to do the baby amounts of homework for each class the day before, so I wasn’t actually late on anything. And Lady was a champ, even if her reactions were totally different than mine.

I got ready for class Tuesday morning and lay down again instead of going. All Lady said was, “Good.”

I went to work, made it 2.5 hours, and went back to sleep. Lady didn’t wake me up in time for Chorale.

Wednesday I didn’t even bother doing anything. Lady brought me Perrier.

Thursday morning I decided I was going to go to class. I got everything together, made it to the bathroom, and had a rather embarrassing episode of needing to poop, puke, and pass out all at the same time and having trouble deciding which was most important. I may or may not have still had a fever and was a little delusion. Lady woke up in the midst of this little crisis, picked me up off the floor, and helped me decide my priorities, which included this insightful gem: “I don’t think you’re going to class today.”

I didn’t, but after sleeping, getting fed and babied all day by Lady, and finally kicking the fever into normal territory, I toddled my way to Chorale that afternoon and found a friendly chair for an hour and a half, because you can’t fall over if you’re already sitting down.

Today I went to class for the first time this week. In fact, I made it to work, to class, to sleep, to class, to a class that was cancelled which was glorious because I could sleep again, to work, and now heading back to glorious, wonderful sleep. Thank you, end-of-Friday.

Tomorrow I intend to do nothing. Except, maybe, the mountain of homework since I did almost none of it this week. And laundry. And cleaning. And things that living human beings do. On the other hand, I could just sleep, because the living do that, too, and that’s what I think will make me most feel alive.

Cheers, family. If you need me, I’ll be sleeping.

~Rae

P.S. One silver lining to all of this? I think my weight loss has finally reached the realm of “impressive.” Considering that this is my fourth time getting the flu in the last six months, it’s about time.

Letters From An MBI Student – 10/30

Dear Family,

There is never a dull moment in Chicago. And that includes studying.

Tonight I escaped off campus to drink coffee and read the 400 pages I needed in order to write a paper. It was a predominately unsuccessful endeavor, for three reasons.

  1. I drank coffee (duh) in order to stay awake (yay) because I was so tired (sigh) that I was going to fall asleep (yep). But caffeinating an exhausted body is like putting electricity to Frankenstein: weird things happen.
  2. I sat by a window, because sunlight and sunlight and please let me see a sunset so I won’t be homesick.
  3. My coffee shop was on an unquiet street corner, and it was the weekend before Halloween.

So instead of reading my book and sipping my coffee, I kept popping up like a livewire and watching the parade of strangeness right outside my window:

Like the avacado that nearly got hit by a car. He was too busy talking to Mario to pay attention. Or staring at Mario’s impressive mustache, like I was.

Shortly after them was a leopard who, apparently, found Waldo!

And Goldilocks in a pink dress, with a beard and a beer bottle…or a lumberjack with a blonde wig and an identity crisis.

Then a black widow spider got into a taxi. Unsure if the driver made it.

The cats were out in droves, including a few that should never have been let out of the house, and that is no longer figurative.

Big Bird was…big. And obnoxiously yellow.

Catwoman didn’t chase after him, but probably because her pants didn’t let her do much more than shuffle.

And, of course, a parade of superheroes like Batman, if Batman wore a yellow belt and a t-shirt, and Thor, if Thor was 100 lbs skinnier and wore dark blue shorts and a shiny red cape that only came to his waist.

I dressed up as a very tired college student, and I really think I nailed the look. The heavier-than-I-am-backpack was the clincher, although I thought the sweatpants and sporty lanyard were a great starter kit.

So, all in all, it was a scintillating night! Drinks and a show, basically.

Now I just have to go finish my reading with all the other people doing Halloween as college students. I’m sure it’ll be exciting!

Ha. Sarcasm over, here was tonight: sometimes you get homework done, and sometimes you sit back and let Chicago do its thing.

And sometimes you watch someone in spotted brown onesie scurry over a crosswalk while holding her tail.

Maybe missing you,

~Rae

Letters From An MBI Student – 9/12

Dear Family,

I’m writing to share proof that I am at a Bible college. I can now confirm that the stereotype is true, and so are comments like these: “I don’t know math! Why do you think I came to Moody?”

It’s not Moody’s fault, per se, but it’s just the way of things here. Sadly, the relative lack of STEM individuals is demonstrative all by itself that Moody is a Bible college. Now I just have documented, quotable proof of it. Enjoy.

[This conversation is directly transcribed from an incident that took place in front of me, in class, during the break. Today. All individuals are college students who are at least juniors. All individuals were male, but how that influenced this conversation is under review. All nicknames are pending.]

[I have no clue how this conversation started, but I do know that all individuals involved were serious in their opinions. Save us all.]

Young Daschle – “The Pythagorean Theorem. You know, a + b = c.”

Baby Einstein – “What?”

Ex-Thor – “You know, if a is b and b is c, then a is c.”

Young Daschle – “The Pythagorean Theorem.”

Baby Einstein – “No, that’s a2 + b2 = c2

Young Daschle – “We’re not trying to find the circumference.”

Ex-Thor – “That’s 2πr2. Boom!” *mic drop*

Baby Einstein – *headdesk*

[True story.]

Maybe missing you,

~Rae

 

 

Letters from an MBI Student – 8/22 Notes

Dear Family,

So how is school? Well, it’s the first day of class, and here’s how it started.

6:00 – Alarm #1. What is happening?

6:05 – Alarm #1.1. I must have hit snooze? Why am I waking up to birds chirping? This is weird.

6:10 – Alarm #2. Bells. Huh? Oh, right. New phone, new ringtones, still the same Dismiss button.

6:20 – Alarm #3. My poor roommates. I forgot to tell them this. Hope they don’t hear. Or mind. Snooze.

6:25 – Alarm #3.1. Five more minutes? Snooze. Or was it Dismiss?

6:30 – Alarm #4. Oh, now or never. Dismiss. But I’m up.

6:50 – I will be late, or maybe not. “Wonderwall” by Hurts takes me halfway to PT.

7:30 – PT is done and I am back and starving and leaving before having breakfast is as terrible an idea as I thought it would be. The first and only time I will leave my room before sustenance.

7:40 – Stuff my face, stuff my backpack, do dishes, make a list – these all happen somewhere in here.

7:50 – Makeup is overrated. Today is a Husker shirt day. What do I need? What am I supposed to be doing? What is today?

8:10 – Monday morning and Joe’s is open. Two old floormates to greet, one kid in a suit to run into, my full name is written on a coffee cup (that hasn’t happened in a while), and the new counter at Joe’s is exactly where the broken-hearted dudes sit at a bar. The kid in the suit agrees. He takes a seat.

8:20 – where am I going? I’ve turned into one of those kids who walks and is on their phone and will probably run into a pole, but Hallelujah, I have a phone that works and it doesn’t take me 15 minutes to log in and look up my classroom.

8:25 – in my first classroom, not lost, an acquaintance next to me, and the perfect seat.

I could continue, but you get the point. Basically, every minute is full and I feel like I’m hitting Snooze to give myself five more minutes until the next thing. But I’m not adding time to my day, I’m just pretending to.

Welcome back to Moody. Maybe I’ll write to you in class next time, since sitting in a classroom is the only time I have to catch my breath so far.

Maybe missing you,

~Rae

Letters From An MBI Student – 6/1

Dear Chicago,

You know I don’t hate you, right? You know that I don’t hate your trains, your traffic, your yellow clouds at night, and your cardboard signs on every corner. You know that I don’t hate the claustrophobia of the Purple Line at 17:05, the ambulance sirens at 1:15, the taxi horns at 6:30, the dogs and crickets and slurred speeches at 20:00. You know that I don’t hate the smell of coffee and bagels and trash and homelessness, the sounds of angry drivers and weary travelers and untethered foreigners, the looks of the curious and tired and filthy and ordinary, the feel of a city that wants to be remembered for more than its violence, and the knowledge of a place with its head in the clouds and dirty feet on the ground.

You know that I just don’t always want to be here, right?

You know that you can’t be everything to everyone all of the time. You know that it is never silent here, never still, never quite real. You know that the little pockets of serenity here are man-made and hand-carved, with a thin line between the city and silence–or maybe just a fence–and the stale breezes of The Windy City are always trespassing between them. You know that you teach us to make our own silence by making our own noise, to find our own space by choosing what to fill it with, because there is nothing here that has not been drilled, labelled, approved, pegged on a map somewhere, and tagged with graffiti and yesterday’s gum. You know that your streets and shops are in collusion against the sky, because there are too many potholes and pickpockets and people to be able to look up long enough for the clouds to get in our lungs. You know you have taught us to stare at the ground and everyone around us with distrust and disillusionment, because nothing and nobody is as good as it is supposed to be. You know your billboards are a conflation of need and selfishness: you tell us to demand the best, donate the rest, never be satisfied, find it in gleaming steel and something out of a bank account. You know the spaces you are crafting into the next best thing are littered with cigarettes and angry car horns and the appreciative whistle appreciated by no one.

You know you are the city. You know you are layer upon layer of good and bad and ugly and no matter how high your buildings, how crystal your windows, how promising your developments…you are still most beautiful when your windows are red with a sunset you did not paint, when your streets are splattered by a rain you did not manufacture, when your walkways are covered by a lake you did not carve, when your buildings and alleyways and streets and scaffolding are bright in the sunlight you do not own. Did you know that it is the things you cannot control that keep us sane?

Don’t try too hard to make me love you, Chicago. Try as you might to dazzle and sparkle and glitter brighter than everyone and everything, you will never quite be enough. You will always have your passion and your violence, your pinnacles and your projects. You will always be trying to be better and you will always never be enough. And that is okay. Because don’t forget: you were created, too. You were built by those who are forever confronted by their inability to create utopia and forever confronted by the Creator who will. But He won’t call it Chicago.

~Rae