Tag Archives: relationships

Give. Get. Grow.

There’s this profound thought. The thought that there are people who just give and give and never expect anything in return. These people are mothers, they’re fathers, sisters, best friends, crazy aunts, godfathers, they’re everywhere in this world. The thing about this thought is that there needs to be reciprocation. Everything in this world has a good and a bad; there’s heads and there’s tails. The sun has night and the cold has warmth. There’s give and give back, and sometimes these people who give and give will need to get in return.

There’s this mother that I only know in passing. She doesn’t even speak English and I have never really carried on a conversation with her, but I know she’s her children’s world. The children no longer have their father, so she’s become even more critical to their lives. She is one who gives and gives and never expects anything back. Her family has come upon hardships and it looks like she will be separated from her children. I know what it feels like to be separated from my parents, but these children will not get the opportunity to really see their mother again. I had my sister send one of her daughters a message because they’re friends, and offered to do family portraits for them so they can have this one small memento. It is one small thing that I can do to give.

Turn around. These people who have been propelling you and I forward need people to turn around and grab their hands. Pull them into an embrace and pull them along with us. Be it from our own propulsion or from the momentum they have created for us, they deserve to get some “give” in their lives. There will also be times when people seemingly unrelated to your success or journey will look like they need help. Give to them. Not only will they have been given the opportunity for someone to cheer them on, you will be given the opportunity to grow from it too.

Happy Birthday, Ulu!!

Ulu is one of the people that my blog was created for even though I didn’t know it at the time that this blog was created. When I created this blog I started with the foundation that people can affect you negatively or positively and it would still influence you to become who you are today. I’m glad to say that Ulu is one person who has positively influenced me.

For the longest time, Ulu and I thought that one hated the other and only in my last couple of months working at the bakery did we really get to know each other. Of course we were both like “I thought you hated me!” so we wasted all that time not being friends when we could’ve been.

In the short time that I’ve known Ulu, I’ve realized how similar we are and I didn’t feel like quite an anomaly. Ulu’s quick wit and joking manner has set me at ease even though most of the time I feel like she’s making fun of me.

Thanks for being willing to be my friend, Ulu. I don’t know many people whose heart is truer than yours. Even though you don’t show it, I know that you’re so full of love; the fierce kind of love that will always fight for the people you care for. I want you to know that you have been a great example to me and have encouraged in not only my relationships with other people, but also my testimony of the Gospel.

Even though we no longer work together, I plan on keeping in contact with you and becoming even greater friends. There are many nights of long-boarding, swimming, and jamming ahead of us! I love you Ulu!

Okay we can go back to not being sappy now. 😉

Heard

Hands. She felt hands. Hands that were covered with satin gloves. She felt them on her shoulders, gently guiding and pushing her forward in the dark. 

Her feet, shod only in mismatched socks, padded gently and hesitantly across the wooden floor. She stepped carefully, each time expecting a precipice from which she might tumble. So far, there wasn’t an edge or a cliff in this darkness, only the occasional squeak. Wherever she was, it was old. 

The hands never wavered and there was never a voice to accompany them. Aside from the squeaks, this journey was a silent one. 

The hands press down firmly on her shoulders, making her stop. Finally a voice spoke. “Up,” it said simply, and she noticed a tall stool in front of her. At some point a dim light had come on and illuminated this red stool. How had she not noticed? Were her eyes closed the whole time, or was there really all that darkness she walked though with the mysterious guide at her back? Her thoughts were only faint and she didn’t have the energy to care about an answer. She got on the stool, pulled her knees close, and sat there waiting, now alone, for something to happen. 

She didn’t have to wait long in her solitary spotlight; as dim as it was, it was so much brighter than the surrounding darkness. The first thing that happened was she heard a sound. She closed her eyes and listened to the sound. A scraping and scuffing of shoes. A person was approaching and she didn’t care who it was. She had lost all sense of herself anyway, why would someone coming toward her shell matter anyway?

The sound stopped and a spotlight clicked on, illuminating a young man. She hardly noticed because her eyes were still closed. He cleared his throat and that’s when she opened her eyes and her gaze focused on him. Her recognition was instant. Tom.  She squeezed her knees closer as her heart started pounding, the first active sign of life she had felt in a long time. 

Tom started speaking, slowly and quietly at first, then grew in volume and confidence. He started by saying her name; the same way he used to say it when they would lie in the grass, shaded by leaning shadows of evening light on the side of the red brick house, the lilacs scenting the air. Then he apologized. The very same Tom who had grown distant was now apologizing, the first time she had ever heard such a thing. He apologized for not being ready and asking to marry her anyway. For marrying her for the wrong reasons; a modern day, one-sided marriage of convenience. For not loving her enough. For not being brave enough to let her go until it he had taken years off her life. He apologized for leaving, and for loving her but not quite loving her enough to care to stay and care for her. Then Tom was finally silent. 

She had loosened her grip in her knees some, and now felt her heart slowly beating. 

Before she could say anything, another spotlight appeared on the opposite side of the room-no, the stage, for she could now tell where she was. This time, standing in the pool of light was her sister, Vera. She, too, called her name, “Aviva.” She told her she loved her. She had never meant to push her away all those years Aviva was younger. She said she had felt too lost to help her younger sister find her way too. She realized now, it would’ve been easier on them both if she had let Aviva in as they learned about life. Two separate saplings leaning and twining together. Only growing stronger and stronger as the winds shook their young lives. Finally, she ceased speaking. 

Aviva, for that was her name, let her legs down but transferred her tense grip from around her knees to the stool.

Like before, another spotlight appeared, yet again in a different location on the stage. Nell. Her mother, although she couldn’t recall ever calling her “mother or mama.” “My baby,” her mother began, again, not a term she recalled hearing in her childhood. “I’m so sorry baby. I was never there. You deserved my care at the least, if not my love.” She went on for a while, apologizing, almost begging for forgiveness. She finally ended with “I loved you and I still love you, more than I ever showed you.” 

Aviva’s hands were now loosely clasped in her lap. Every spoken word was a release from a the darkness inside her. 

Aviva’s mother stopped speaking, with both her hands placed over her heart. 

As soon as she stopped, another spotlight came on, another monologue followed. Then another spotlight, and another, and another. People who had been closely associated with Aviva her whole life. One by one, words were spoken aloud that had previously been quieted and hidden away. It made no sense. She had felt wronged and neglected by these people all her life, yet with each word, her shoulders lifted, her eyes widened, and the hardness that had consumed her heart progressively throughout her life, softened. As each person spoke, the stage brightened and Aviva was surrounded by people who wanted to pull her out of her despondency. 

The words they had never said were finally being heard. 

Naïve

“The naïve lose it in dark woods,
but seek it under the street lamps.” -Toba Beta

I don’t know when I’ll stop and I don’t know if I will, but I just know that it happens. When you think you’re worth one thing to someone and it turns out you’re really not. When you think “hmm, this is where we stand,” when really, you don’t.

You know what I mean.

It’s like a misplaced trust. A “well, I thought…” moment.

Well, you thought nothing.

…One is Silver and the Other is Gold.

About 4 months ago I packed up in about 2 weeks and moved down here to the Washington DC area in an effort to literally change my life.

I knew going into this that it wasn’t going to be easy. I mean you know what they say about that rock and that hard place…

I expected a lot of the things that have happened, but I’ve also been surprised by some of the outcomes of this drastic move. Leaving the place where I “grew up” in the United States? Yeah I knew that was going to be hard. Switching from small town mode to big city mode? Logically different. I’d know fewer people? Bah who needs human interaction anyway? You get the idea.

When I moved these expected and unexpected situations were kind of pushed underneath somewhat blanket categories but it became apparent that each situation was different. If you asked me what has been the most unexpected situation, my answer wouldn’t be the same every day.

Today I think the thing that’s hitting me the hardest is the fact that for 8 years I built relationships and associations with people — from convenience store employees to seminary teacher(s) to choir/theatre directors and the list goes on. Sure I’m forming connections here, but I sometimes go somewhere and expect a certain reaction from people and when it’s not as meaningful as it used to be, I get a little sad. People don’t quite know the way I joke. I used to make little comments that usually spin off into crazy conversations with my former leaders and now, sometimes I just get nods of assent and the conversation doesn’t go on. Oh and remember in middle school when the boys and girls wouldn’t interact a lot? Well the boys in my Sunday School class in A—————— took a while to warm up to me and my loud ways (what can I say, I can be intimidating). After laying down ground work since the 6th grade, we finally reached a point where we became friends that went to concerts together, hit the movies together, laughed about Spanish teachers together, sang silly songs together, and made 5 hour (round trip) drives together. Now it’s back to sitting divided: boys on one side and girls on the other, and we don’t even know enough of each other’s lives to call each other “friends.”

So I guess it’s back to square one, huh? I knew that I’d miss all the people in my old life, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be so hard to survive the beginning stages of this thing called “making new friends.”